Monday, June 30, 2008

random thoughts, sports and others

1) I am so glad that interleague play is over in baseball. I know it's here to stay (unfortunately), but why 18 games? Who was riveted to the Jays and Braves matchup this weekend or the Pirates and Rays?

2) I have blogged before on this topic so I will sound like a broken record, but the NL style of play is INFERIOR to the AL style. The main reason is because the AL uses the DH and the NL doesn't. For example, the White Sox, a slightly above-average AL team, swept the Cubs at US Cellular Field this weekend and the Dodgers were held hitless by the Angels this weekend. Dodgers won 1-0. The next game, the Angels beat the Dodgers 1-0. This offensive ineptitude in baseball is ruining the sport. It will turn baseball into soccer (European football).

3) Good move by the Nets in trading Jefferson and turning the page on the Kidd era.

4) There was an editorial in this weekend's Tribune by Radley Balko of Reason Magazine about how Chicago is a very restrictive city in terms of a number of categories, Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs, Sex, Gambling, Guns, Movement and Food. This is quite shameful, in my humble opinion. I thought we lived in America, not the Netherlands or some other weenie European country. Las Vegas was the least restrictive city, among the top 35. Louisville and Kansas City were also more relaxed on these issues.
Even if as a religious Jew, I can't partake in some of these activities, it is the overall attitude of the City officials that is troubling.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Think Bush is a cowboy

Look at this cover photo of the Latest Limbaugh Letter. I would love to see this on the cover of Newsweek or Time.
This photo sponsored by KBR.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

good fun spot

Yesterday, I went to the ESPN Zone on Ohio and Wabash to "take a break". It's a nice place. They have a lot of sports themed games, and I got to pretend that I was 16-19 for an hour.

Cubs-Sox series was fun to an extent. I personally don't care for interleague, because why should we tie up 11.1% of our schedule (Cubs, Mariners, etc.) with a team from another league with different rules? For every Cubs-Sox, Yankees-Mets and Dodgers-Angels series, there's a Nats-Mariners, Reds-Jays or Rockies-Royals series.

Thursday night is the NBA Draft and the Bulls have the number one pick, in case one hasn't heard. My hope is for the Bulls to snag Rose and trade Gordon or Hinrich.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Link to Sal's book

sports book review

Enough with Politics, luggage repair shops and shidduchim. Now it's time for a book review.

Recently, I rented The Paolantonio Report, by Sal Paolantonio of ESPN and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Go to for more info.
It's a book about overrated and underrated NFL players, coaches and moments.

I don't agree with every one of his choices, but it makes for good debate.

One of my favorites is the overrated Quarterbacks section. Number one is Joe Namath, Namath is in the Hall of Fame because of the guaranteed upset of the Baltimore Colts 40 years ago. Outside of that game and 1967, in which Namath was the first professional quarterback to throw for over 4,000 yards, his career was pretty much pedestrian. Sorry Joe Benigno and other Jet fans, Joe Willie Namath is number one in overrated quarterbacks.

Bear fans will love this next selection and Cheeseheads will hate this. Brett Favre is #2. Yes he has 3 MVP's, won a Super Bowl in 1996-1997 and broke Marino's records for TD's and yards. However, he has also come up small in the playoffs, like the game in St. Louis when he threw 6 interceptions. Imagine if Grossman or Chris Chandler did that. But he's Brett Favre, the recipient of EVERY WHITE SPORTSWRITER'S adulation in the last ten years, and he's an American icon. Listen to Frank Caliendo, Fox's funnyman when he does his John Madden impression.

Running backs, Tiki Barber was #2 and Shaun Alexander was #4 in terms of being overrated. Barber was a decent back who got a lot of attention because he played for the Giants, not the Chiefs. Alexander has come up short in big games. However, I don't maintain that Alexander is a HOF-Caliber back. That being said, he's the best back in Seahawks' history. It's too bad that he won't be able to attain the heights of a Payton or Barry Sanders.

Most underrated backs: Ottis Anderson, former St. Louis Cardinals back who later played in NY and won a ring in Super Bowl 25 against the Bills. Also underrated was Roger Craig, back on the 84, 88 and 89 title teams of the Niners.

Sal, don't agree with everything, but it's a thought-provoking book and for that, me and other pigskin fans are grateful.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Luggage Repair Store

This week, I went to a shop in Lakeview on Belmont and Broadway, to repair a broken handle on my briefcase. This shop did an excellent quality job at a reasonable price (under $20). I wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone in Lakeview, Rogers Park and all parts of Chicago.

The name of the store is New Quality Repair Shop II. Their address is 610 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL 60657. Phone # is 773-281-7163 and they're open on weekdays from 8:30 am to 8 or 8:30 pm.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

sports journalism not as good as it used to be

One thing that I have noticed over the past five to ten years is that the quality of sports journalism is not as good as it used to be. It seems like there is more of it, but less of good quality than before.

First of all, you have the extremely idealistic/progressive columnists such as Harvey Araton of the New York Times and Rick Morrissey and Mike Downey of the Chicago Tribune. I feel like I am reading DNC talking points when I read their columns.

In addition, we have the John Kinkades and Phil Mushnicks who wish that we had a culture circa 1975.

Then we have the feminists or girls can do the same things that boys can. That's why we have the Sally Jenkins, Selena Roberts and Jill Carlsons of the world.

Finally we have the Metrosexuals/hip guys like Mike Greenberg and Erik Kuselias of ESPN.

Very few sports media figures are like Chet Coppock, currently of WMVP ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago. He's practical yet somewhat old school in his approach.

In any event, these are my thoughts. If anyone out there, wants to comment, feel free to do so.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

good weekend last week

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Lawyers and Government Agencies Dinner sponsored by the JUF. It was good to meet different types of people in my field and outside of it.

There was a moving video in the beginning of the program, that lasted about ten minutes long, telling us what types of people JUF helps. It could be the Jewish Community and Hillel at Virginia Tech, after last year's massacre. It could be elderly folks at the CJE or it could be families in Israel.

Also, we had the privilege of listening to Bob Costas, the esteemed sportscaster, tell us some funny stories from his broadcasting career, whether in baseball or basketball or even in the Olympics. He will be anchoring NBC's Olympic coverage starting August 8th.

Then last shabat, I went down to Lakeview for shabat. It was the first time that I went when my cousins weren't there, as they moved to Skokie last year. I liked it, it was a little different, but a good and NEEDED change of pace.

The last thing that I want to comment on this post is how I feel that Modern Orthodox Judaism will separate into three camps. The first is the Modern Orthodox Machmir camp, which is modern in terms of secular education and livelihood (number of attorneys, accountants, etc.) but closer to the Yeshiva world in terms of dress, commitment to learning and aversion to mixed meals and other events where men and women would mingle.

The second camp is what I call the old-school Modern Orthodox. This camp is a little more well off than some of the members of the first camp. In general, women in this camp aren't as careful about covering their hair and wearing long skirts. Their numbers are diminishing, as evidenced by the fact that Camp Moshava, which used to have four or five locations, now only has three or four. This camp is traditionally Orthodox, and would not be comfortable with women leading the Tefillah or a Woman's megillah reading.

The last camp is what has been referred to by some as Open Orthodoxy. They are open to changes, particularly within social areas like justice for the disadvantaged, making sure the slaughterhouses are humane, and other related causes.

This camp may be closer to Conservative Judaism in some respects, particularly with respect to the gender role in Judaism. My hope is that these three can find some more common ground.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Chicago on an upswing

Chicago sports is on an upswing, despite the best efforts of some running backs.

One, the Cubs are a major league best 27-8 at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field at the Corner of Clark and Addison.
Two, the Sox lead the AL Central by over six games over the Twins (aka the Piranhas) and by over seven over the Cleveland Indians.
Three, last night, the Chicago Wolves beat the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Penguins 5-2 to win the Calder Cup, the Stanley Cup of the AHL, a triple A hockey league. I saw the Wolves crush the Icehogs over Thanksgiving Weekend and thought that they had a chance to go a long way. Wolves are a good team. Now if the Blackhawks can start winning then we'd have something going.

Also, the Chicago Rush (arena football team) have clinched their division and are going to the AFL playoffs again. They won the AFL title in 2006, not as impressive as Da Bearss, but still quite good.

Vinny Del Negro was hired by the Bulls. Give Pax 2 months and he can find you a coach.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Dvar Torah for Shavuot

Here's a good dvar torah for Shavuot.

Good dvar torah I heard this afternoon. In Parshat Naso we read about the story of the sotah, woman accused of adultery. She drinks water with a potion and a piece of paper on it with Hashem's name. Hashem's name is erased. Why is this done? To maintain shalom bayis (marital harmony) in the home. This Rabbi's chavruta said an interesting vort, in Judaism we would rather erase Hashem's name to preserve peace. The Yishmaelim (Muslims) kill themselves in the name of Allah.He also said that Avraham represents Chessed (kindness), Yitzchok represents Gevurah (strength) and Yaakov represents Torah. Chessed is great but it can be misused and lead to arayot (promiscuity), Gevurah is good, but if it's misused, it can lead to shefichat damim (murder). Torah is the right balance between Chessed and Gevurah.

Shabat shalom and Moadim L'Simcha.

congrats to Wings

Congratulations to the Detroit Red Wings who won the 2008 Stanley Cup last night, with a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins last night in Pittsburgh at the Mellon Arena. Another hockey team inched closer to a championship in Wilkes-Barre, PA. as the Chicago Wolves beat the SWB Pens last night 6-1. In any event, good win for the South Siders last night at the Cell as Paul Konerko hit a walk-off homer in the 15th inning to give the Sox a 6-4 win over the Royals.

Cubs finally lost a game last night in San Diego. Maddux didn't win but pitched well.

As far as Clemens and Bonds are concerned, I think here's an important lesson. Sometimes, a proud star athlete stays around too long and then people take shots at him. I still maintain that both of these guys are slam-dunk Hall of Famers.

In honor of Dave Niehaus being inducted into Cooperstown, on the top of this post is a picture from February with the Press Conference indicating that he won the Frick Award.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

sorry but have to mention politics

Recently, I said that most of this blog would not be devoted to politics. Well, after last night, I have to break that "pledge".

Congrats to the Obama campaign for finally ending this primary process. From the national point of view, this race shows how much we've slipped as a nation. A man with little national experience, who was a community activist who speaks decently (not as great as Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann make him out to be) who happens to be African American and be 6 feet tall with large ears is the Democratic nominee. The Democratic Party was the party of Harry Truman, Warren Magnuson and Scoop Jackson, even Zell Miller. Now it's the party of Harry Reid, Barack Obama and Charles Schumer.

On the Republican side, we have a war hero who has been in Washington for over 20 years and is against free speech, originalist judges and vulnerable to the global warming hoax. The Republican Party was the party of Robert Taft, Barry Goldwater, Jesse Helms and Ronald Reagan. Now it's the party of Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Susan Collins and the country clubbers.

Before I jump in with Chuck Baldwin and the US Constitution Party, I must say that I like the Constitution Party for local offices such as state senator, representative and Governor, even US Senator. However, with their isolationist tendencies, it would be really hard for me to pull the lever for them in November. I will try, but I need to see more and read more from Baldwin and his group.

Of course, I may be put in Cherem (excommunication) for such ideas. Just join Jack(A!@#$%^) Conaty and the Chicago political establishment and vote Democratic early and often. The Chicago Democratic Machine makes Moscow or Warsaw look like Salt Lake City or Birmingham, Alabama.

Monday, June 02, 2008

favorites and non-favorites

In the following sports, here are my favorites

MLB: Seattle Mariners though they're out of it now.

Other teams I will root for, Philadelphia, Cleveland and if they make it, Colorado.

Don't like the Yankees but I respect them and I do confess that I enjoy John Sterling, their bombastic play by play announcer. It is High... It is Far... It is GONNE!!!!!!!!!!!!

An A-Bomb for A-Rod and of course, ballgame over, Yankees win.... th-UHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH Yankees win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Take that Phil Mushnick of the NY Post.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears aka Da Bearssssss!!!!!!!!

AFC New England Patriots, spying or no spying.

Can't stand the Lions and the Raiders. Don't get the fascination that everyone has every year about the Arizona Cardinals. They're the LA Clippers of the NFL.

sports thoughts

One, The Cubs are playing great, if they play decently on the road, starting tonight in San Diego, I expect them to be playing in October for a trip to the World Series.

Two: Kudos to WMVP, ESPN Radio 1000, for carrying Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday, between Pittsburgh and Detroit. Detroit won 2-1 and has a commanding 3-1 series lead. Game 5 is tonight. I expect by 10 pm Chicago time that the Wings will be getting ready to hoist the Cup.

Three: Is it possible for ESPN to have one of these teams on Sunday Night Baseball? Florida, Arizona or Anaheim? I would say Colorado but they have a terrible record because their top four players are on the Disabled List (DL).