Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Great Atmosphere, But the Crew Disappoint. LA Galaxy 1, Columbus Crew 0 9/24/11

It was great to see a sold out match at Columbus Crew Stadium. The Plaza in front of the stadium was packed. There was a huge line to get into the Crew store. The Nordecke was in full throat! And the weather was perfect.
The Nordecke Was Awesome Last Night!

I would like to think the crowd came to cheer on the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference leading Columbus Crew against the Western Conference leading LA Galaxy. But I do understand that the casual fans who came out wanted to see the Galaxy's Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Robbie Keane. As it turned out, David Beckham flew back to Los Angeles earlier this week as he was being rested, Robbie Keane had a minor injury that kept him out of the 18 for the match, and Landon Donovan didn't start.

But the fans were absolutely treated to a very exciting match that ended with the Galaxy scoring a second-half extra-time goal to give them a 1-0 victory. I hope the fans make it back to more Crew matches!

Crew Coach Robert Warzycha started the match in a 4-5-1 formation, which didn't make a lot of sense to me when the Galaxy's two best midfielders, Donovan and Beckham weren't in the match. Predictably the Crew couldn't produce quality chances in the first half, although they played very well defensively.

It was only when Coach Warzycha brought on Emilio Renteria in the second half, switching to a 4-4-2 formation that the Crew started getting great chances at goal. But ultimately they couldn't finish.

And when the Galaxy's Chad Barrett knocked in a deflected Landon Donovan shot in the 93rd minute (both were second half subs) the Crew were left with a home loss, and find themselves in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference.

Left defender Shaun Francis had a horrible match, giving the ball away on multiple occasions. The Crew also missed the injured Eddie Gaven as a stabilizing force in the midfield.

The Crew are in trouble and may not make the MLS Playoffs. They are currently playing worse than all of the other MLS Clubs based on their last five matches. They have four matches left, with only one of those at home. They will be lucky to get 4 points total out of those matches if they don't play better.

I'm an optimist when it comes to my favorite sports teams (the Columbus Crew, the Cincinnati Reds, Ohio State and Purdue football) but I'm not real confident we are going to see the Crew in the playoffs come the end of the MLS regular season.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New foursquare Badge, The Lufthansa Oktoberfest 2011 Badge!

I hadn't received a foursquare badge since August 29th, 2011 when I earned the ESPN Foam Finger Badge.

This past Thursday I decided to have a couple of beers after work with some co-workers at The Dingle House Pub in West Chester, Ohio. When I checked in on foursquare, I earned the Lufthansa Oktoberfest 2011 Badge!

So how do you earn it? Follow Lufthansa Airlines on foursquare and check-in to any German-themed location Worldwide between September 17th and October 3rd.

Don't know how an Irish pub qualifies as a German themed restaurant...but I'll take the badge!

Lufthansa Oktoberfest 2011 Badge

Lufthansa Oktoberfest  
Prost! It's Oktoberfest time! Party on with a coupon from Lufthansa and sing along with some Bavarian songs from the Gstanzl-Parade. 
Unlocked by jiresell on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 5:13 PM at Dingle House in West Chester, OH.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Moneyball? Meh...Movie Review - Moneyball (2011)

I love baseball. I am a statistics freak. I've been known to keep a scorecard at baseball games. I have a formula that I use to determine weekly Major League Soccer Power Rankings and predict Major League Soccer matches.

I monitor to see the critics' consensus on movies to determine if I want to see the movie in a theater. Rotten? Forget about it. Ripe? I might consider it, as long as the subject matter interests me.

So out comes a movie, Moneyball. A story about Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt), who has to figure out how to form a team with a limited payroll to compete against the big money clubs in Major League Baseball. He hires an economics major as his assistant (played by Jonah Hill) who has the ability to analyze statistics to measure the value of baseball players, thus uncovering "undervalued" players to form a team.

This method of scouting goes against the cultural norms of baseball scouting, providing a great backdrop for the movie.

This movie was ready-made for me.

Baseball? Check.

Statistics? Check.

Great actors? Brad Pitt? Jonah Hill? Philip Seymour Hoffman (playing Manager Art Howe)? Check.

A 94% ripe rating on Check!

This movie can't fail!

I was completely underwhelmed.

Don't get me wrong. The movie is OK. The premise is good.

However, I couldn't empathize with the Billy Beane (or Brad Pitt's portrayal of him) in the movie. Maybe it was his ego. The movie tries to show Billy Beane's vulnerabilities, but came up short.

Jonah Hill's character, Assistant General Manager Peter Brand, was somewhat funny. I just felt like I had seen it before, the stereotypical shy nerdy smart-type who is trying to make his way amongst the grizzled veterans in the sport. And how many times do I need to see Jonah Hill do the uncomfortable high five in a movie? Seen it before.

Moneyball misses the mark as it tries to be too many things. Is it a drama about the conflicts of work versus family, or an "us against them I'll be proven right" story, or a biopic on Billy Beane as the trailblazer in the application of sabermetrics to build a successful baseball team?

The movie seems to run too long. Heavy on dialog, as would be expected, but short on the interesting banter I would have expected in the interactions between the characters.

My expectations may have been too high. I can take responsibility for that. But for me Moneyball was, well, meh...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm 0 for 2 So Far This Week In Major League Soccer Predictions

Earlier in the week I picked DC United to beat Chivas USA and the Portland Timbers to beat the San Jose Earthquakes.

Both matches ended in draws, so I'm 0 for 2 so far this week. 13 for 36 on the year, a 36% success result.

After running my model, none of the Saturday matches show a definitive result, so I'm not going to pick any of them

Still looking at a Chicago Fire win over the New England Revolution on Sunday 9/25.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Columbus Crew-Why Don't They Draw Anymore?

Too Many Empty Seats At Columbus Crew Stadium This Year

There is lots of discussion about the Columbus Crew's attendance woes this season. The Crew have performed well this season (1st place in Major League Soccer's Eastern Division as of this writing) but has the lowest average attendance per home game (11,359/game) in MLS. That average is 22% down from last season for the Crew, and 35% below the average attendance of all MLS teams this season.

Certainly there is no limit to the opinions on why. Just check this thread on if you want to see them.

Brian Straus, (follow him on twitter:!/brianstraus) soccer writer for wrote a very interesting article on the subject today. I think he captured the issues facing the Crew very succinctly.

Here's the link:

I think the Crew can overcome the issues, but it's going to take work on their part, and support from the Columbus area population.

Get behind the Crew! Dare to be Massive! :

That's More Like It! My Weekly Weight Watchers Update, 9/21/11

Last week I posted in my weekly Weight Watcher's update some concern that I had plateaued a bit.

Well at least for this week I may have broken through the plateau. I weighed in yesterday at 241.6 pounds, a loss of 3.2 pounds for the week and a total weight loss of 43.4 pounds for the 25 weeks I have been on the program.

I didn't change my behavior much, just stuck with the program and got my exercise in (brisk walks six of seven days last week, total of 15.8 miles).

I think I need to add some more intense workouts to shake things up a bit. Maybe a little weightlifting?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What Should the Big Ten Do? Part 2!

This past Sunday I posted my opinions about what schools the Big Ten should add to the conference.

I found this article on The Quad, the New York Times College Sports Blog. It does a great job analyzing the college football demographics around the country:

Pretty interesting right?

So after reading this, what do you think the Big Ten should do? Vote in my poll!

Monday, September 19, 2011

I've Got Some Explaining To Do...Major League Soccer Power Rankings, Week 27, 9/19/11

I've spent some time on past Major League Soccer Power Rankings posts documenting my philosophy when compiling them each week.

I still like to tweak my formula, but since there are a few surprises (at first glance) in the top ten this week I thought I would post a little more detail/philosophy.

My overriding philosophy in my rankings is to rank the teams from top to bottom in Major League Soccer on who is playing best at that point in time based on a formula. I am not trying to predict how the season will end with these rankings. Theoretically, the top team in my rankings on any given week should be able to beat the other seventeen on a neutral field that given week, the second team should beat the sixteen below them, etc.

I don't purely go by this when I make my MLS match predictions, as I look at each teams' ranking score in my formula and their differential to determine whether the match can be predicted. So if the #1 team's score in my rankings has a very small differential with #2, I wouldn't necessarily pick the #1 team to win. I also take into account the predominant home field advantage that historically exists in the MLS to make my pick.

So what is my formula? I take season to date points per game (not goals, but points earned) as I feel teams should be rewarded for their long term performance in my rankings.  I combine that with points per game in a team's last five matches (a reflection of who is currently hot) to come up with a team's score. I weight season-long performance 60% in my formula and the last five matches' performance 40%. In the last five matches' average I give a higher weighting for away wins, and will punish a team for a home loss.

The LA Galaxy are #1
My Major League Soccer Power Rankings, Week #27:

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

At first glance, I'm thinking that readers are going to look at this week's rankings and are going to wonder why two teams with a slim to none chance at making the MLS Playoffs, the Chicago Fire and Toronto FC are ranked so high, and virtual locks for the playoffs, FC Dallas and the Columbus Crew are ranked so low.

The reason is current form (last five matches) and it's 40% weighting in my formula. Here are the teams ranked by current form this week:

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

Toronto FC (last 5, WLTWW) and the Chicago Fire (TWWLW) are playing very well right now and are ranked in the top six in MLS for their last five matches. FC Dallas (TLWLL) and the Columbus Crew (WLLTL) are currently playing very poorly and are ranked in the bottom four.

I have admittedly questioned the 40% weighting on current form, but if I'm going to use these rankings to predict match results, I feel I have to look at who's hot and take that into account.

So that's my explanation. Not perfect, but it entertains me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The ACC Accepts Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the Conference...What Should the Big Ten Do?

The news broke over the weekend and became official this morning that Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh were leaving the Big East and joining the Atlantic Coast Conference:

It's inevitable that more dominoes are going to fall. As an example (although it isn't official yet) Texas A&M looks to be joining the Southeast Conference.

As a Purdue graduate, and an Ohio resident with a wife (Tammy) and daughter (Mallory) who both graduated from Ohio State, I am a huge Big Ten fan. My allegiances are with Ohio State and Purdue football, Purdue basketball and I root against anyone playing a Big Ten school, with the exception of Michigan. (can't root for the school up North)

The Big Ten currently has twelve members with the recent addition of Nebraska. With today's news, what should the Big Ten do?

They can stand pat. Twelve schools, two six-team conferences in football.

I believe they should add two additional members. That would make two, seven-team conferences for football.

Of primary concern to the Big Ten would be additional markets for the Big Ten Network. As a fan, I have some opinions about schools who would make sense from a competition perspective. Note, I can't speak to women's sports or the collegiate "Olympic" sports teams, so my opinions are really related to 1) football and 2) basketball.

Viable Candidates? I would have loved to see Pittsburgh (natural rivalry with Penn State), and maybe Syracuse added, but with both out of the picture, here is a my list of candidates to join:

Iowa State
Kansas State
Notre Dame
Oklahoma State
West Virginia

Who would I like to see? With all due respect to the schools on this list, I would like to see Missouri added as my first choice. It brings big markets in St. Louis and Kansas City to the Big Ten Network, and adds a natural rivalry with Illinois.

My second choice? A close call between Notre Dame (adds another nationally followed school) and West Virginia (makes a lot of sense geographically).

Texas is intriguing, but too far away. If the Big Ten said "let's go with sixteen", I'd want Oklahoma to reinvigorate the legendary Oklahoma/Nebraska rivalry.

After a little thought, I would settle for this (if the Big Ten asked for my opinion); add Missouri and Notre Dame if they are happy with a fourteen-team conference. If they choose to go sixteen, bring West Virginia and Oklahoma into the fold.

What will they do? I would predict the addition of Missouri and Notre Dame.

What do you think? Pick the schools you would like to see join the Big Ten in the poll on the right side of my blog.

Four for Four! Good Weekend For Me and My Major League Soccer Picks! 9/18/11

That's more like it! My strategy of only picking Major League Soccer matches that I thought were locks worked.

I picked four matches this weekend, and got them all correct. As a review I had the Chicago Fire, Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy all winning, and they did! I am now 13 for 34, or 38% for the season.

Here are three picks for the coming week. I will wait to see the results of all the Wednesday, 9/21 matches before I look at the matches played by those teams on Saturday 9/24.

Locks for the week:

Wednesday 9/21:

DC United will beat Chivas USA

The Portland Timber will beat the San Jose Earthquakes

Sunday 9/25:

The Chicago Fire will beat the New England Revolution

Book Review-House of Holes (2011) by Nicholson Baker

Sexy, freaky, funny, nutty, erotic, shameful, weird...just a few words I would use to describe the book House of Holes, by Nicholson Baker.

I had never heard of Nicholson Baker until House of Holes made the cover of the New York Times Book Review on August 11th, 2011. Mr. Baker's first novel was published in 1988 and his first New York Times best seller was Vox, published in 1992. Vox is a story about a pay per minute phone sex episode between two young people, and became famous/notorious when stories circulated that Monica Lewinsky gave it to President Bill Clinton.

House of Holes is a collection of intertwined stories all related to a place called, well, the House of Holes. The House of Holes is a fantasy world where individuals can meet and play out all of their sexual fantasies. You want a bigger penis? Trade your arm temporarily for one. An 8 on 1 orgy? Go for it. Problems with achieving an orgasm? You can get that fixed at the House of Holes.

The stories are really fantastic. Mr. Baker is able to describe sex acts like no other. If you want to play a parlor game on how many different ways you can name a penis or vagina, read this book, as you will win every time.

I felt a bit dirty reading this book, as it is very explicit. But the beauty of House of Holes is it's descriptive prose, it's fantastic characters and how the multiple chapters, each of which could stand on their own, are ultimately brought together in a very satisfying climax. No pun intended.

If you are a bit of a prude, and you read this book based on this review and are offended, consider yourself warned. But if you enjoy good fiction and a great story, read it.

House of HolesHouse of Holes by Nicholson Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sexy, freaky, funny, nutty, erotic, shameful, weird...just a few words I would use to describe the book House of Holes, by Nicholson Baker. A very original and good book. My full review:

View all my reviews

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Major League Soccer Picks For Week 27, 9/15/11

Last week was horrible for me. I only predicted two out of the ten Major League Soccer matches correctly, the home victory by the LA Galaxy over Colorado, and the draw between the Philadelphia Union and Portland Timbers. Combined with me incorrectly picking the Columbus Crew over the Houston Dynamo last night, I'm now nine for thirty, or 30%.

But I will keep trying.

I'm gonna change this week and only pick matches that I believe are locks. If it's not a definitive in my model, I'm not going to pick'em.

Here you go:

9/17 Matches:

The LA Galaxy will beat Vancouver

The Chicago Fire will beat Chivas USA

The Seattle Sounders will beat DC United

Real Salt Lake will beat Sporting KC

The Galaxy Will Be Big Winners Saturday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Couldn't Go to the Match, Bummer...Columbus Crew 2, Houston Dynamo 2 9/14/11

I hate missing home Columbus Crew matches. I just couldn't make it tonight. And it was Buck-a-Brat night too.

So I was stuck watching the Crew on Direct Kick. Worse yet, I had to watch the Houston Dynamo broadcast and listen to Glenn Davis piss and moan about the two penalty kicks that were called against the Dynamo and ultimately converted by Andres Mendoza to earn the Crew a hard fought draw and put them back into first place in Major League Soccer's Eastern Division.

I predicted a Crew win, so a home draw was not only disappointing from that standpoint, but it also was disappointing as I fully expect the Crew to get 3 points out of every home match.

But maybe the Crew can get a lift out of this result. Emmanuel Ekpo was ejected with a straight red in the 11th minute, leaving the Crew with 10 men for the balance of the match. They were up 2-1 until the 86th minute when the Dynamo got the equalizer. That was certainly disappointing, but the Dynamo possessed the ball for more than 70% of the match, so you could say there was a certain inevitability to this match ending in a draw.

Of greater concern to the Crew is Chad Marshall being substituted at the half with a hip injury. That would be a devastating blow if it is anything serious.

But I'm going to maintain my optimism. It still looks good for the Crew to make the MLS Playoffs, but they may do it limping in.

Lose Weight, Have Better Sex? My Weekly Weight Watchers Update, 9/14/11

I am psyched today.

Not so much because of my weigh-in. I currently weigh 244.8 pounds, an increase of .8 pounds from last week. I am down a total of 40.2 pounds. I seem to have plateaued a bit. But I'm sticking with the plan so I know it will work and am keeping the big picture in mind.

Here's why I'm psyched. Apparently as I lose weight I am going to have more and better sex!

There must be some science behind it. I really don't care if there is as I'm running with it! There are six reasons why this is true:

1) I'll be more sexually confident!

2) My wife might suddenly want more sex!

3) I'll keep blood flowing where it counts!

4) Sessions will last longer!

5) I'll have a higher sex drive!

6) I'll ensure future pleasure!

Here's the article that backs me up on this:

So while you enjoy the article, I'm gonna go find my wife. TAMMY? WHERE ARE YOU?

The Columbus Crew Will Get a Much Needed Victory Against the Houston Dynamo Tonight! 9/14/11

Admittedly I am not real confident with this pick, but the Columbus Crew should win tonight against the Houston Dynamo based on it being a home game for them. That's pretty much the margin in this one. These are two evenly matched teams.
That's my pick, and I'm sticken' to it...
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Galaxy Will Not Relinquish #1! Major League Soccer Power Rankings, Week 26, 9/13/11

The Galaxy is #1 Again

The Los Angeles Galaxy continue to maintain the top spot in my rankings this week. It doesn't look like anyone will overtake them!

Biggest jumps up in the rankings this week? Sporting KC jumped up 7 spots and the New England Revolution jumped up 4 spots.

Biggest drops? Chivas USA dropped 6 spots and the Columbus Crew dropped 5.

Best current form? Real Salt Lake, the Seattle Sounders and the LA Galaxy.

Worst form? Chivas USA and the Philadelphia Union.

My week 26 Major League Soccer Power Rankings:

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

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Breathe...Toronto FC 4, Columbus Crew 2, 9/10/11

Final score, Toronto FC 4, the Columbus Crew 2. At COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM!

Breathe, deep breaths...

Tell yourself everything is going to be OK with the Columbus Crew.

Tell yourself that giving up 10 goals in their last two matches is nothing to be concerned about.

Tell yourself that seeing William Hesmer play his worst nothing to be concerned about.

Tell yourself that the starting back four of Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James and Josh Gardner will communicate better in their next match.
Trillium Cup Goes to Toronto FC (Getty Images)

Tell yourself that the Crew midfield will not fail to connect on their passes like they did last night.

Tell yourself that losing to Toronto FC...FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER is only a blip, the Crew will recover.

Tell yourself we will see Eddie Gaven return to the line-up.

Tell yourself that the Crew will get things together in time for their Wednesday night home match against the Houston Dynamo.

Tell yourself the Crew will still be in playoff position after their next five matches, where they play four other teams in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference who are in playoff position (the Houston Dynamo, Philadelphia Union, Sporting Kansas City and DC United) and the best team in all of Major League Soccer, the Los Angeles Galaxy.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Review-Paying For It (2011), Graphic Novel by Chester Brown

I enjoy graphic novels. In the past I would say that the graphic novels I have read would be considered comic books in long form, where the illustrations were an integral part of the story and the overall reading experience. Examples would be X'ed out, by Charles Burns, The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, by Max Brooks (Illustrated by Ibraim Roberson) and the The Walking Dead Series by Robert Kirkman.

Paying For It, by Chester Brown is a graphic novel that documents the author's exploits over several years of paying prostitutes for sex.

As noted in the panel below from the book, Mr. Brown really didn't have the desire to have a girlfriend. He figured out that he really just wanted to have sex, without the emotional baggage of maintaining a long-term relationship.

What makes this graphic novel different than the examples I gave earlier in this review is that the story of the author's internal angst over paying for sex, the debates with his friends over this lifestyle and his opinion on the legalization of prostitution would stand alone in a traditional text format. But the illustrations serve to enhance the story, providing an enriched reading experience on a very intriguing subject.

If as a reader you haven't sampled the graphic novel genre, but enjoy a good debate over contemporary subjects like relationships and sex, I recommend Paying For It. Your emotions and mores will be challenged.

 Paying for ItPaying for It by Chester Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What makes Paying For It different than traditional graphic novels (what I call comic books in long form) is that the story of the author's internal angst over paying for sex, the debates with his friends over this lifestyle and his opinion on the legalization of prostitution would stand alone in a traditional text format. But the illustrations serve to enhance the story, providing an enriched reading experience on a very intriguing subject.

My full review:

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Must Have Been Crazy! The Philadelphia Union and New England Revolution Play to a 4-4 Draw! 9/7/11

I don't get Galavision, so I had to monitor tonight's Major League Soccer match between the Philadelphia Union and the New England Revolution on

It must have been a great match. The result was a 4-4 draw, making my prediction of a Philadelphia Union victory wrong. Worse yet, I had it as one of my mortal locks! Oh well...0 for 1 this week, 7 for 20, or 35% for the year.

I have updated my model to reflect tonight's results. I predict that both the Philadelphia Union/Portland Timbers and New England Revolution/FC Dallas matches will end in draws. That completes my September 10th match predictions.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Weekly Weight Watchers Update, 9/6/11

Quick update tonight.

I weighed in at my meeting today at 244 pounds. I lost one pound this week, and have lost 41 pounds total since I started Weight Watchers 23 weeks ago.

I was only able to exercise 4 days out of the last 7, so I'm feeling a little bad about that. My goal is to get at least 5 days of exercise a week. I don't think it was because of laziness. It was more about having to travel last week that kept me from getting the time in.

But, I continue to be successful, so I can't complain too much.

My Predictions For This Week's Major League Soccer Matches, 9/6/11

Here are my predictions for this week. I use my current Major League Soccer Power Rankings (or more specifically the formula that drives the rankings) and look at the differential between the two teams, taking into account the significant home bias that exists in Major League Soccer. Here's the article on the home bias:

In order of confidence:

Mortal Locks:

9/7/11: The Philadelphia Union will get a home victory over the New England Revolution

9/10/11: The Columbus Crew will get a home victory over Toronto FC.

9/10/11: The San Jose Earthquakes and Chicago Fire will draw in San Jose.

I Can Sleep At Night With These Picks:

9/9/11: The Los Angeles Galaxy will win at home versus the Colorado Rapids

9/10/11: The Seattle Sounders will get a home victory over Real Salt Lake.

9/10/11: Chivas USA and DC United will draw at the Home Depot Center.

Do I Really Have to Pick These?:

9/10/11: Sporting KC and the Houston Dynamo will draw in Kansas City

9/10/11: The New York Red Bulls will get a home win over the Vancouver Whitecaps

I'm going to wait for the September 7th result between Philadelphia and New England before I pick the September 10th matches between Philadelphia/Portland and New England/FC Dallas.

Mortal Lock For a Win!
Mortal Lock For a Win!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Predicted The Sporting KC/LA Galaxy Draw Correctly...Major League Soccer Power Rankings, Week 25, 9/5/11

I was a perfect 2 for 2 on my predictions for this weekend's Major League Soccer Matches, getting both the Real Salt Lake victory and the Sporting KC/LA Galaxy draw correct. I am now 7 for 19 on the year, a 37% accuracy rating.

The LA Galaxy Are #1 Again!
There were just a couple of changes to my Major League Soccer Power Rankings this week with only two matches played.

Real Salt Lake's victory over Philadelphia pushed them up two spots in this week's ranking to #4 overall, while Sporting Kansas City's home draw this evening against the LA Galaxy dropped them two spots to #11 in this week's rankings.

My week 25 Major League Soccer Power Rankings:

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

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I Got This One Right! Real Salt Lake Beat The Philadelphia Union 2-1! 9/3/11

Thanks For Making Me Look Good!

Only two Major League Soccer matches this weekend, and I got my first prediction right!

I am now 6 for 18 with my Major League Soccer predictions, a 33% success rate.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Book Review-Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2010) by Seth Grahame-Smith

Make no mistake. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter isn't going to wow you with some heavy-duty, thought provoking prose. But what it will do is provide the reader a hell of a lot of enjoyment as the author, Seth Grahame-Smith weaves a vampire tale with an historical context, the life of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States.

The book begins in present day when the fictional author/narrator is given a set of secret diaries (kept by Abraham Lincoln from a very early age) by a vampire named Henry Sturges. The author then pieces together a chronological history of Lincoln's life, using the diaries as a guide, often quoting directly from them.

When Lincoln learns at a very young age from his father that vampires not only exist, but they killed both his grandfather and his mother, he vows to dedicate his life to killing as many vampires as he can.

Through life-threatening circumstances, Lincoln meets the vampire Henry Sturges (the same vampire who gives the author the diaries at the beginning of the book) who trains him in the art of vampire slaying. As it turns out, Sturges is a vampire who's philosophy is that humans and vampires can leave peacefully with each other. However, the vast majority of vampires in the United States at that time are part of a plot to take over the country, using the Southern United States' most powerful and influential politicians to that end.

And thus the story unfolds. I give Seth Grahame-Smith a lot of credit for coming up with a great plot idea, and then following through with an enjoyable story that weaves fictional and actual historic figures into a very interesting book. I may be stretching a bit by making this comparison, but if you have enjoyed the works of the author E.L. Doctorow and his ability to bring real-life characters and events into a fictional story (my favorite being Ragtime) and you like a good vampire story, then Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is for you.

I'm also pretty excited that the book is being adapted into a movie, produced by Timur Bekmambetov and Tim Burton, due out in the Summer of 2012.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire HunterAbraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Make no mistake. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter isn't going to wow you with some heavy-duty, thought provoking prose. But what it will do is provide the reader a hell of a lot of enjoyment as the author, Seth Grahame-Smith weaves a vampire tale with an historical context, the life of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States.

My full review:

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