Monday, July 25, 2011

3 Weeks in a Row! The Seattle Sounders Maintain the #1 Spot! Major League Soccer Power Rankings Week 19, 7/25/11

Seattle Still #1!

Being idle this week in MLS play didn't hurt the Seattle Sounders, who maintain the #1 spot in this week's rankings, although the LA Galaxy crept a little closer on the heels of their midweek home victory versus the Columbus Crew.

The top 3 teams didn't change from last week. Seattle and the LA Galaxy seem to be the class of the league this week, with FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake continuing to keep pace.

Spots 6-9 are separated by the closest of margins in this week's rankings. The Columbus Crew, Colorado Rapids, Sporting KC and Chivas USA seem to be neck in neck as the continue their MLS campaigns.

Biggest moves up the rankings this week? The New England Revolution moved up 4 spots, Colorado moved up 3. 

Biggest drop? D.C. United dropped 4 spots, the Columbus Crew dropped 2.

Who has the best current form? The Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake.

The worst? Vancouver, Toronto and Chicago.

My Week 19 Major League Soccer Power Rankings:

1) Seattle Sounders FC (West)
2) LA Galaxy (West)
3) FC Dallas (West)
4) Real Salt Lake (West)
5) Philadelphia Union (East)
6) Columbus Crew (East)
7) Colorado Rapids (West)
8) Sporting Kansas City (East)
9) Chivas USA (West)
10) New York Red Bulls (East)
11) Houston Dynamo (East)
12) D.C. United (East)
13) New England Revolution (East)
14) San Jose Earthquakes (West)
15) Portland Timbers (West)
16) Toronto FC (East)
17) Chicago Fire (East)
18) Vancouver Whitecaps (West)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New foursquare Badge! The 30 Minutes or Less Badge!

Sweet. Got another foursquare badge tonight!

It's the 30 Minutes or Less Badge. You get it by following the movie 30 Minutes or Less on foursquare, and then checking into a bank or pizza parlor.

The trailer for the movie looks pretty good. It stars Jesse Eisenberg and Danny McBride and is loosely based on a true story that happened in Erie, Pennsylvania in 2003.

I don't see a lot of movies in the theater, but I just might have to see 30 Minutes or Less, especially because it is directed by Ruben Fleischer, who also directed Zombieland, a favorite movie of mine.

Here's the details on the foursquare badge:

30 Minutes or Less
You're either eating a slice of pizza thinking about robbing a bank, robbing a bank wishing you were eating a slice, or robbing a slice while eating a bank. Either way, be sure to catch 30 Minutes or Less, in theaters August 12. Oh yeah, and #DontBlowIt.
Unlocked by jiresell on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 7:08 PM at Bruno's Pizza in Liberty Twp, Ohio.

My Man Crush for Emilio Renteria! Crew win 1-0! 7/23/11

It's the 24th of July and we find the Columbus Crew tied with the Philadelphia Union on points for first place in the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference. How about that!
Crew Goal Scorer Eddie Gaven and Emilio Renteria!

Another Budweiser $1 draft night at Columbus Crew Stadium last night drew 11,246 people to the match, which was pretty boring and uneventful until the 66th minute when Emilio Renteria entered the match as a sub for an ineffective Jeff Cunningham.

Maybe it was the $1 drafts, but immediately after Renteria entered the match, the energy in the stadium increased 10-fold, and the Crew, feeling the love, began to play with a sense of urgency that ultimately lead to a goal by Eddie Gaven and a 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers.

It's very obvious that with Emilio Renteria on the field, the Crew are a different team. He is a handful for defenses to deal with, and when he is on the field, good things just seem to happen! I have to admit I have a man crush for Emilio!

The Crew's defense have only allowed one goal in their last four matches. And quite frankly the goal that the LA Galaxy scored last week would have been saved by William Hesmer last week if the shot hadn't been deflected by Eric Gehrig.

Andy Gruenebaum got the starting nod at keeper last night after it was determined that William Hesmer's quad was too hurt to make a go of it. Between him and the Crew's back-line of Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall (who in my opinion is the biggest MLS All-Star game snub this year), Julius James and Josh Gardner the Timbers could not reach the back of the net.

I feel very optimistic about the Crew right now. With two legitimate starters missing from last night's line-up due to injury (Andres Mendoza and Rich Balchan) the Crew still found a way to win. And this Crew team knows how to play defense, which should serve them well going into the final third of the MLS season.

The Crew hit a pretty rough part of their schedule over the next two weeks. First, a Tuesday night friendly versus Newcastle United of the English Premier League, and then two tough road matches at Real Salt Lake and at the Colorado Rapids. Getting 2 points minimum out of the matches at Rio Tinto and Dick's Sporting Goods Park would be a great result.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Just registered my blog on Figured, what the heck...if it's good enough for The Huffington Post, Mashable! and TMZ it's good enough for me!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

575...How About Some Haiku's?

Spent a little airplane time writing Haiku's. What do you think?

Ancho Chiles
  I'm thinking about
ancho chiles. What would drive
  this strange obsession?

  Twenty-five years as
one. Passion and desires
  still lively and fresh!

 Three dogs, fourteen, two
and one. A dull day is
  never an option.

Work and Life
  The burning question?
Live to work? Or work to live?
  I choose the latter.

  The meaning of life?
Get back to me when you can.
  Tomorrow will do.

  The execution
of the suicide squeeze play,
  a baseball wonder!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lost 3.8 Pounds! Weight Watchers, Tracking My Progress, 7/19/11

I weighed in today at 252.6 pounds, for a weight loss of 3.8 pounds over the last two weeks (You may remember I didn't make a meeting last week.) and a total weight loss of 32.4 pounds over the 16 weeks I have been on Weight Watchers.

I continue to be happy with my results. I was also able to keep up with my exercise, getting brisk walks in six out of seven days this past week, walking a total of 14.1 miles.

Steady as she goes!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Two Weeks in a Row! The Seattle Sounders are #1! Major League Soccer Power Rankings Week 18, 7/18/11

Seattle is #1 For The Second Week in a Row!

My top three teams from last week's Power Rankings didn't change this week, with the Seattle Sounders maintaining the top spot for a second week in a row.

The bottom five teams also didn't change, although there was a slight reordering, mostly due to the Portland Timbers winning at Chicago.

The biggest change happened in positions 4 through 13, as Major League Soccer continues to show it is a league defined by parity.

Biggest moves up the rankings this week? The Portland Timbers moved up 4 spots, DC United moved up 3. 

Biggest drop? The Houston Dynamo dropped 4 spots.

Who has the best current form? The Seattle Sounders, Columbus Crew and FC Dallas.

The worst? Toronto, Chicago, New England and Vancouver.

My Week 18 Major League Soccer Power Rankings:

1) Seattle Sounders FC (West)
2) LA Galaxy (West)
3) FC Dallas (West)
4) Columbus Crew (East)
5) Philadelphia Union (East)
6) Real Salt Lake (West)
7) Sporting Kansas City (East)
8) D.C. United (East)
9) New York Red Bulls (East)
10) Colorado Rapids (West)
11) Chivas USA (West)
12) Houston Dynamo (East)
13) San Jose Earthquakes (West)
14) Portland Timbers (West)
15) Toronto FC (East)
16) Chicago Fire (East)
17) New England Revolution (East)
18) Vancouver Whitecaps (West)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I Thought I Had Nailed It, Until...

Wow. I thought I had nailed my prediction earlier today. I predicted the United States Women would win the FIFA World Cup Final 2-1 over Japan with Abby Wambach getting the winner. And in the 104th minute, it looked like I would have it exactly right when Ms. Wambach buried a header off of a great cross from Alex Morgan to make it 2-1 over Japan.

But Japan, playing with all heart (I thought the US Women had cornered the market on heart in this World Cup), leveled the score in the 118th minute and beat the US in penalty kicks to win.

Great game. Congratulations Japan!

The 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Winner? The United States!

Very excited about this afternoon's FIFA Women's World Cup Final! I predict a 2-1 victory for the United States over Japan with Abby Wambach netting the winner!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Brandon Phillips! Winner, Winner Cardinals Dinner! Reds Win! 7/15/11

What a way for the Reds to start their post All-Star break run to the National League Central Division Title! Brandon Phillips hits a two-run, walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to beat the St. Louis Cardinals!
Brandon Phillips Greeted at Home! (Associated Press)

My wife Tammy and I went to the game at Great American Ball Park tonight. We were both there for the brawl between the Cardinals and Reds last year. Tonight's game was an emotional roller-coaster for me, but boy was it nice to see Brandon Phillips stick it to the Cardinals tonight!

One game at a time. Let's go Reds!

Remember Reds' fans, keep those (Pete) Rose-colored glasses on!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Have Faith in the Cincinnati Reds, My View Through (Pete) Rose-Colored Glasses!

I know the Cincinnati Reds have entered the All-Star break at 45 wins and 47 losses. I have been disappointed in their results so far this season. Coming off of last year's National League Central Division Championship I thought the Reds would be a team that ended up with 90 plus wins this year and a second straight playoff appearance.

In my mind there were two primary questions that the Reds needed to deal with that remained unanswered to my satisfaction following Spring training. Would Jonny Gomes prove to be effective as an every day left fielder? And was Paul Janish ready to be the every day shortstop?

The answer to both questions was no. I addition, many of what looked like strengths of the Reds coming out of Spring training have proven to be troublesome in the first 92 games of the season. Drew Stubbs has struggled at lead-off and currently leads the National League in strikeouts. Injuries and an ineffective Edinson Volquez have hurt the Reds' starting pitching. Paul Janish and his back-up Edgar Renteria have played so poorly at shortstop that the Reds were forced to promote Zack Cozart from their AAA Louisville affiliate. And if that wasn't bad enough, Francisco Cordero blew three straight save opportunities going into the All-Star break.

But I choose to look at the Reds and their prospects for the second half of the season through (Pete) Rose-colored glasses!

Scott Rolen is getting back to full strength. Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips are having All-Star seasons. Catching has been a positive for the team. And the depth of starting pitching may finally pay off.

The best news? The Reds are only 4 games back of Milwaukee and St. Louis in the National League Central. And they open the second half of the season tomorrow at Great American Ball Park against the hated Cardinals. It's not going to take major improvements in their weak areas to make a big difference for the Reds!

So, as a fan and the ultimate optimist, I can still visualize a National League Central Division Championship and a second straight playoff appearance for the 2011 Cincinnati Reds!

All the 2011 Reds need to do is to adopt Pete Rose's philosophy. As he famously said, "Somebody's gotta win and somebody's gotta lose and I believe in letting the other guy lose."

This weekend is a good time to start!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weight Watchers, Tracking My Progress, 7/12/11

For the first time since rejoining Weight Watchers I'm not going to make a meeting this week.

For me, the meetings are a critical part of the program. The accountability of going to a meeting, weighing in and celebrating both mine and other's success helps to keep me on track. I also find the meetings to be very informative. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the leaders I have interfaced with at the Weight Watchers location in the Liberty Towne Center in West Chester, Ohio are excellent.

I am traveling out of town all week, so I will have to wait till next week to weigh in. It is the first time I have been on an airplane since joining, and I feel much more comfortable in the seat! I am really noticing a difference physically due to my weight loss.

I exercised 6 of 7 days this past week. All were brisk walks. I walked a total of 14.3 miles.

Next week I will get the tale of the tape!

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Monday, July 11, 2011

A New #1! The Seattle Sounders! Major League Soccer Power Rankings Week 17, 7/11/11

Seattle Makes Their First Appearance At #1!

The Seattle Sounders, on the strength of a win at Portland Sunday tops this week's Power Rankings. This is Seattle's first appearance at #1, knocking FC Dallas out of the top spot. Seattle has the best current form in Major League Soccer, and looks to be the team to beat! (At least this week!)

With only three matches this week ending in draws, there are some significant changes in this week's rankings overall.

Biggest moves up the rankings this week? The Houston Dynamo move up 4 spots, DC United and Chivas move up 3. 

Biggest drops? San Jose drops 6 spots, the Chicago Fire drops 4.

Who has the best current form? The Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew and Sporting KC.

The worst? Portland, Vancouver and Toronto.

My Week 17 Major League Soccer Power Rankings:

1) Seattle Sounders FC (West)
2) LA Galaxy (West)
3) FC Dallas (West)
4) Real Salt Lake (West)
5) Columbus Crew (East)
6) Sporting Kansas City (East)
7) Philadelphia Union (East)
8) Houston Dynamo (East)
9) New York Red Bulls (East)
10) Colorado Rapids (West)
11) D.C. United (East)
12) Chivas USA (West)
13) San Jose Earthquakes (West)
14) Chicago Fire (East)
15) New England Revolution (East)
16) Toronto FC (East)
17) Vancouver Whitecaps (West)
18) Portland Timbers (West)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

One of the Best Soccer Matches I Have Ever Watched! US Women's National Team Advances to the FIFA Women's World Cup Semi-Finals! 7/10/11

Last year as the US Men's National Team was competing in the FIFA World Cup in South Africa I didn't miss a minute of their matches. I scheduled vacation days for their weekday matches. I had several people to my house for the England match. I scouted out a BW3 in Washington D.C. during our family vacation to watch the USMNT ultimately losing to Ghana in the round of 16.

Admittedly I was only marginally interested in this year's FIFA Women's World Cup. I noted the scores during group play, and was disappointed when the US Women lost to Sweden in group play.

But today I was going to sit down and watch the quarterfinal match between the US and Brazil live.

As it turns out it was one of the best soccer matches I have ever seen! From the Brazil own goal in the 2nd minute, to the foul and subsequent red card on the US's Rachel Buehler, to the penalty kick apparently saved by US goalkeeper Hope Solo but then allowed to be retaken and ultimately made due to a phantom encroachment call. Followed by a Brazil go-ahead goal in overtime to a Hail-Mary cross and goal by the US to tie the match. I'm exhausted just typing this out!

Ultimately the US Women prevailed in penalty kicks. The Abby Wambach extra-time equalizer off of a great cross from Megan Rapinoe will go down as one of the greatest goals in US Soccer History. My heart was beating as hard after this goal as when Landon Donovan scored against Algeria in last year's Men's World Cup!

Note to the Brazilian Women's team-faking injuries to delay the match wasn't a very good tactic. The extra time added gave the US the window they needed to tie the match!

I am very impressed with the heart the USWNT showed in this match. With only 10 players on the pitch, for most of the second half and overtime they continued to fight, with a resiliency that was amazing to watch.

I'm going to have to figure out a way to watch the US Women compete in the semi-finals live on Wednesday. But I'm not sure that match, or any other match I will watch will top today!

foursquare Pepsi Summer Fun Badge

Nice to see more badges available on foursquare!

I just earned the Pepsi Summer Fun Badge this morning when I checked in at Voice of America Park in West Chester, Ohio for a morning walk around the lake.

To get the badge, you need to follow Pepsi on foursquare and then check into places that qualify you for the badge.

foursquare Pepsi Summer Fun Badge

Pepsi Summer Fun
Beach, BBQs, Parks and sun - what could be better? By unlocking this badge, you're eligible to win awesome prizes. Now time to relax and unwind - it's summertime!
Unlocked by jiresell on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 8:38 AM at Voice of America Park in West Chester, OH.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Review-Consider The Lobster And Other Essays (2005) by David Foster Wallace

My son Brian's favorite author is David Foster Wallace. His novel, Infinite Jest, is considered a modern classic, and is Brian's favorite.

I will have to admit. Looking at the size of the book (1104 pages), and knowing how long it took Brian (a voracious reader) to read it, I am pretty intimidated by Infinite Jest. But I wanted to learn more about David Foster Wallace, and sample his writing.

Consider The Lobster was a perfect entree into David Foster Wallace's writing. It is a collection of ten of his essays originally published in magazine's such as Harper's and Rolling Stone.

Each essay could be considered a sampling of American culture. The title essay, Consider The Lobster, was originally published in Gourmet Magazine, and describes the annual Maine Lobster Fest. The most intriguing part of this writing is Mr. Wallace's discussion of the ethics of boiling lobsters alive, and whether they actually feel pain or not. It definitely forces the reader to become introspective as it relates to the preparation of one of the World's favorite delicacies.

My favorite essay of the ten in this book is Mr. Wallace's review of the late 1970's, early 1980's tennis star Tracy Austin's autobiography. Entitled "How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart", this essay is not so much a criticism of Ms. Austin's book (of which Mr. Wallace gives a very poor review) but rather an overall indictment of the fluff sports biography genre.

I would have like to meet David Foster Wallace, but sadly he hung himself to death in September of 2008 at the age of 46. Apparently Mr. Wallace suffered from severe depression. I found myself connecting with Mr. Wallace ideologically as I read this book.

There are plenty of other published works by Mr. Wallace for me to read, and I plan on doing just that. And yes, I am going to read Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace's seminal work.

Consider the Lobster: And Other EssaysConsider the Lobster: And Other Essays by David Foster Wallace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great sampling of David Foster Wallace's work-I am now going to attack Infinite Jest! My full review:

View all my reviews

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Columbus Crew are Like My Psycho Girlfriend! Crew 1, Whitecaps 0, 7/6/11

Jeff Cunningham Scores the Winning Goal!
June 4th: Psycho girlfriend, "Let's go out, your kinda cute!" (Crew get a dramatic draw at the New York Red Bulls.)

June 8th: Psycho girlfriend, "That was fun, I really like you! Let's go out again. " (Crew beat Real Salt Lake 2-1 at Crew Stadium.)

June 12th: Psycho girlfriend, "I hate your guts, don't talk to me..." What did I do? (Crew play an uninspired match at home and lose to the Chicago Fire.)

June 18th: Psycho girlfriend, "I am so sorry, please come over." Huh...OK. (Crew shutout the Houston Dynamo at their place 2-0.)

June 26th: Psycho girlfriend, "Oh you are so nice to me, I don't know what I would ever do without you." (Crew demolish the Colorado Rapids 4-1.)

July 2nd: Psycho girlfriend, "You're so mean, don't touch me." What did I do this time? (Crew get demolished in Dallas 2-0.)

July 6th: Psycho girlfriend, "Why are you mad at me?" (Jeff Cunningham heads in the winner in the 90th minute to earn the Crew 3 points at Vancouver.)

Game story:

With the win, The Crew maintains 3rd place in the MLS Eastern conference. (Tied for 2nd on points with Philadelphia, but 3rd in the standings due to goal differential.)

It wasn't pretty last night. The Crew fielded a ramshackle line-up due to suspensions (Emmanuel Ekpo, Andy Iro) and injuries (Rich Balchan) to regular starters. William Hesmer saved a PK. But they got the job done, and in a league where 40% of the matches end in draws, getting an away win is gold!

And what better way for Jeff Cunningham to tie the MLS career record for goals (with Jaime Moreno) and become the Columbus Crew's all time goal scoring leader (topping Brian McBride) by scoring the game-winner!

Yeah, my girlfriend is psycho, but she's worth it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

FC Dallas Recaptures The Top Spot! Major League Soccer Power Rankings, Week 16, 7/5/11

FC Dallas Regains the #1 Spot!

FC Dallas recaptures the top spot in this week's rankings, unseating the LA Galaxy after their 6-week run at #1.

Interesting this week that the teams in my top ten didn't change, but certainly there was some shifting within that group.

Biggest moves up the rankings this week? Toronto FC moves up 4 spots, FC Dallas up 2. 

Biggest drops? The LA Galaxy, DC United and Vancouver Whitecaps each dropped 2 spots. 

Who has the best current form? Sporting KC, FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders.

The worst? Portland, DC United, Chivas and New England.

My Week 16 Major League Soccer Power Rankings:

1)FC Dallas (West)
2)Seattle Sounders FC (West)
3)LA Galaxy (West)
4)Sporting Kansas City (East)
5)Columbus Crew (East)
6)Real Salt Lake (West)
7)San Jose Earthquakes (West)
8)Philadelphia Union (East)
9)New York Red Bulls (East)
10)Chicago Fire (East)
11)Colorado Rapids (West)
12)Houston Dynamo (East)
13)Toronto FC (East)
14)D.C. United (East)
15)Chivas USA (West)
16)Vancouver Whitecaps (West)
17)New England Revolution (East)
18)Portland Timbers (West)

I Made My 10% Goal! Weight Watchers, Tracking My Progress 7/5/11

I hit my 10% weight loss goal today! This is recognized as a significant milestone at Weight Watchers, and I received my 10% key chain tonight to commemorate the milestone!

My Weight Watcher's 10% Key Chain
With My 25 Pound Loss Award and 5k
Walk Award
At my weigh in today I was down 3 pounds from last week. I weigh 256.4 pounds and have lost 28.6 pounds since I started the program 14 weeks ago.

I exercised 5 of the past 7 days. All of my exercise consisted of brisk walks. I walked a total of 15.2 miles this week.

There are some real benefits to losing 10% of your body weight. They include:

- A healthier heart
- Lower risk of type-2 diabetes
- More pep
- A mental edge

I know for a fact that I feel great. I'm definitely going to need to buy some new clothes!

My next milestone? Losing 40 pounds.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Best Kind of Lake House? A Friend's Lake House!

View of Beth and Jon's Lake House From Their Dock
 One of my wife Tammy and my motto's over the years has been:

"The best kind of lake house? A friend's lake house!"

You can insert boat, beach condo, time-share into the sentence above.

In all seriousness, we have been very fortunate to have some great friends, Beth and Jon McIntyre (see my post "A Great Weekend" from November 2010), who have invited us to their lake house every summer for the past 25 years plus.

My wife Tammy, daughter Mallory and her friend Katie just got back from spending the weekend with Beth, Jon, two of their kids, Duncan and Annie and Jon's Mother Nancy at their lake house on Crooked Lake in Angola, Indiana. Beth and Jon were great hosts, cooking dinner every night, providing the beer, Crown Royal and Maker's Mark and generally just showing us a wonderful time.

View From Back of Cottage to the Lake
We really don't get together enough anymore with the McIntyre's. We are all in our mid to late 40's now, with kids who have graduated college, or are in college, high school or living out their dreams in New York City. We live too far apart from one-another (The McIntyre's in Connecticut, us in Cincinnati, Ohio) so when we do get together it's fun to relive old stories, challenge each other with movie quotes, eat, drink and just talk about where we are in our lives.

This Fall, we are both celebrating our 25th wedding anniversaries, and while we were together we made plans to celebrate this October in Charleston, South Carolina.

So thank you Beth and Jon for a great weekend, and see you in Charleston this Fall!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My 5,000th Tweet!

I knew I was coming up on my 5,000th Tweet, and was really trying to come up an imspirational thing to Tweet in 140 characters or less.

What I didn't do was keep track close enough to my Tweet count, and missed it by one.

At least my 5,000th Tweet was about one of my favorite subjects, The Cincinnati Reds:


Here is my 5,001st Tweet:

I was going to tweet something prophetic for my 5,000th tweet, but miscounted. This is my 5,001st tweet. Nothing to add. #doh

Follow me on Twitter to help me celebrate hitting the 5,000 Tweet mark!