Archive for March, 2008

Packers looking at Quinn Gray

March 12, 2008

Read here from jsonline, re Packers taking a looking at Quinn Gray. It’s funny, my gut reaction to this was “he’s not a bad player”. But a couple seconds later my thought was “crap, the quarterback market must be thin”. Then I thought “please come back Favre”.

Rodgers may be able to step in but now more than any time in the last 17 years, it is imperative that the Packers find some quality at back-up. I could have seen Brunell as a Packer a few years ago in his career, but now he seems washed up and injury prone. Though, signing a player like Brunell as the 3rd stringer might be helpful in that he could provide some valuable guidance for Rodgers.

But looking at Quinn is interesting for several reasons. First of all, he did fill in pretty well for Garrard last year and seemed to have poise, especially on the road. Secondly, he’s a big guy and hard to bring down. But perhaps most interesting is the fact that he likely wouldn’t just be brought in as a back-up camp guy. He’s young enough and talented enough to presumably battle Rodgers for the starting job. I’ll say it again, while Rodgers should be considered the #1 guy right now (in part because he’s the only guy right now), he shouldn’t just be handed the starting job. We need to make sure we are starting the best quarterback we possibly can come September.

(Trade for Pennington).

UPDATE: Steve writes: Don’t trade for Pennington.


Follow-up to product conspiracies post

March 12, 2008

Brother Steve wondered in his initial product conspiracies post about whether Head and Shoulders cures or causes dandruff. If it doesn’t cause it, it sure doesn’t make it better. Either way, this leads to a larger question: how do they even make shampoo? How do they decide which ingredients to put in there and which chemical concoction is going to specifically be the one that eliminates dandruff, or adds 3 times the volume, or gives you that silky shine.

This morning, I read the ingredients of my shampoo bottle and have reached the conclusion that shampoo making is a conspiracy on par with carseats for kids (about to spend our 600th dollar on carseats for one child). I noticed that there was one ingredient that was 28 letters long, followed immediately by another that was 25 letters long – both of which started with methyl….Neither of these made up words can possibly mean anything. Then I noticed one ingredient called sodium benzoate. I think what happened here is that they knew they wanted some benzo, but weren’t sure how to end the word so they added the common ending for chemicals “ate” to make it sound better – then they poured salt on it.

But what my wife and I wondered the other day is what it must be like to be a chemist for a shampoo company. Once you add the water, the coloring, some mayonnaise and the fragrance, there is nothing to do but make stuff up. I’ll bet when they write up the “ingredients” to be listed on the bottle, they are well into a keg of Pabst and roaring with laughter. I have to admit, that would be kind of fun.

Milwaukee is the official winner – Best Beer City

March 11, 2008

I just wanted to declare that Milwaukee is now officially the best beer city. My declaration is based on a scientific measure that took years to develop. This is in no way a measure that I came up with in 10 minutes over lunch. Margin for error: .000123% Here are the measurement criteria:

*5 points for having a giant brewery (St. Louis has to be the only 5 point score for this one, but Mil and Den can get 4 and other cities with large craft breweries can get a couple)
*5 points for having quality micro-brews
*5 points for having a strong beer history
*5 points for having a strong current beer identity
*5 points for # of award winning beers at the Great American Beer Festival
*5 points for # of bars per capita

I started by comparing 9 major cities I think of when I think of beer drinking:
Milwaukee (26 – 4,3,5,5,4,5), Denver area (24 – 4,5,3,4,4,4), Chicago (assuming theft of Pabst legit – 23 – 3,3,4,4,4,5), St. Louis (23-5,3,5,4,2,3), Philly (21 – 2,4,5,4,4,4), St. Paul/Minneapolis (21 – 2,4,5,3,3,4), Portland (20), Seattle (20), Boston (20). Places like Detroit were left out because their present culture is weak (used to be decent), and places like Las Vegas and New Orleans were left out because they really only have high marks for beer culture and maybe # of bars. I thought of some college towns too, but in trial phases of the testing, none could score over 19.

Please feel free to send in any other candidates that may be worthy of consideration. Or, feel free to apply this incredible scientific measure to figure out where your recommended city would fall.

UPDATE: Steve writes: We may have to include San Antonio now, as it is the oddly-out-of-place home of Pabst.

Philly, best beer city – I don’t think so…

March 11, 2008

Check out this article from USAToday. In it, the author talks about Philly being the best beer city and leaves the reader with the impression that this is a new established fact or something. Actually, this claim is based on the incredibly biased belief of one beer drinker named Don Russell, who just happens to live and drink – in Philadelphia. The only other support for Philly’s apparent beer city prowess comes from anonymous “beer aficionados” translation: drunk people the author talked to in Philly pubs.

Now, I don’t want to totally discredit Philly’s beer claims because they do have a nice history and there are some very tasty beers that come from there (Dogfish Head comes to mind). But in a way, this would be no different than me, Packergeeks blogger, declaring that Milwaukee is the best beer city in the country, (which, by the way, it is). It’s funny that Don tried to take a crack at Milwaukee’s reputation because Miller is here – as though that somehow detracts from a city’s credential as a top beer city. Not only is Miller’s presence a supporting credential, but there are many micro-brews that are quality (Sprecher, Lakefront, Milwaukee Ale House, Waterstreet, Delafield) and also craft brews that are doing quite well nationally like Leinies, New Glarus and Capital Brewery (New Glarus and Capital can be thrown in there if the author includes Yuengling for Philly, based on the author’s apparent 75-mile rule).

I just took a look at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival awards and noted that 13 awards were given to Wisconsin breweries (11 of which are Milwaukee Breweries) and 12 to Pennsylvania breweries (no more than 10 of which are Philly Breweries). In fact, after painstaking research, I learned that Wisconsin sits at #3 for most award winning beers from a state. On top is California, which doesn’t count because it’s like it’s own continent and Colorado. Keep in mind that while these states may have more 2007 award winning brews, it is likely that zero or at least very few cities in these states can match Milwaukee’s claim to 11 awards. (Illinois actually sits at #3 and Wisconsin #4 but 4 of the beers credited to Illinois are Pabst products. If not for this FIB-ish theft, Wisconsin would be #3. Also, not sure why Pabst products are credited to Illinois when the Pabst headquarters is in San Antonio and the mailing address on the can is still a Milwaukee P.O.)

Anyway, I think what Don Russell may have meant to say is that Philly is “the most belligerent beer city”.

Sometimes Kids Say It Better…

March 11, 2008

Product Conspiracies

March 10, 2008

Does Head & Shoulders cure dandruff or cause it?

A Lambeau Memory

March 10, 2008

It’s amazing how many times I hear this kind of thing from someone who has just attended his or her first game at Lambeau Field. This one is even cooler, for obvious reasons.

All of us who visited Green Bay came home with the strong feeling that this city has its act together. The citizens of Green Bay and the surrounding countryside demonstrated a sense of patriotism that was clearly genuine.

Rodgers Speaks

March 10, 2008

Aaron Rodgers took some questions Saturday at the Green Bay Packer “Fan Fest.” He might have a little Matt Hasselback in him. Asked if he has grown since he’s been a Packer, Rodgers said: “No, I’m still about 6 foot 2.”

Here is USA Today on Rodgers.

At least in off-the-field presentation. At various points during his press conference, Rodgers showed off several Favre-like qualities, exhibiting an easy-going manner, a self-deprecating wit and an unmistakable — yet subtle — self-confidence.

Says Rodgers:

“I’m not Brett Favre, and if they’re wanting me to be the next Brett Favre, I’m not going to be him,” Rodgers said. “I’m Aaron Rodgers. That’s who I am. I’m going to be the best quarterback I can be.

“He did it his way, I’m going to do it my way, and hopefully I can be successful.”

I’m still skeptical that he’ll be even a better-than-average quarterback, but I think he’s handling the non-football part of this difficult transition quite well.

Sal Paolantonio, Clueless

March 10, 2008

Our buddies at Brats & Beer follow up on the Laura Ingraham criticism of Brett Favre and draw our attention to something even more inane, this idiotic piece by ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. Read the whole thing if you’re bored at work and don’t want to have to talk to the smelly lady in the office next to yours who eats liversausage sandwiches wrapped in tinfoil and doesn’t have any clue that you would rather stab your leg repeatedly with a pencil than listen to her drone on about her cats. Not you?  Okay, here’s a summary of his argument: Favre hasn’t been great in the playoffs over the last ten years, so he qualifies as one of the most overrated quarterbacks in NFL history.

I’m serious. That’s the essence of his claim. It’s the kind of argument one makes to be contrarian, not to be right.

It’s an argument notable only for what it misses. It doesn’t merit a lengthy treatment.

Paolantonio writes:

Yes, Favre played long enough to throw the most touchdown passes and collect the most wins by an NFL quarterback. But let’s examine the second half of No. 4’s career. The truth is, Favre did little over the past decade to earn the gushing praise heaped upon him by our fawning brethren in the media.

Got that? Favre is a passive actor in his own success. He collected the most wins in NFL history by a QB, much as one might collect food stamps or bottlecaps. And what of that second claim? Favre did little over the past decade?

Here is a list of the Packers won-loss records in this time that Favre “did little.” 11-5, 8-8, 9-7, 12-4, 12-4, 10-6, 10-6, 4-12, 8-8, 13-3. Is there another quarterback over the same time period who can compare to those numbers? I think the most remarkable Favre accomplishment is the fact that he had one losing season as a Green Bay Packer. One. And think about some of those teams.

This is where Paolantonio’s argument falls flattest. What if Favre’s greatness came in simply getting otherwise mediocre teams to make the playoffs? What if his most significant achievement was turning unspectacular talents like Robert Brooks, Antonio Freeman into league-leading receivers? Why measure only on his performance in the playoffs during part of his career rather than measure his performance in all games over his entire career? Well, perhaps because Favre’s numbers would have left Paolantonio without an argument at all. And without these kinds of arguments how could he fill up an entire book he immodestly named “The Paolantonio Report,” that is dedicated assessing “the most overrated and underrated players, teams, coaches and moments in NFL history?”

To review: In his final season, at the age of 38, Favre was statistically a top-five quarterback. He is the NFL’s only three-time MVP. He is one of the most durable professional athletes of all time. He leaves in the middle of a streak of 253 consecutive starts. He holds most of the individual records for quarterbacks, including: 160 wins as starter, 61,655 passing yards, 5377 completions, 8758 attempts, and 442 passing touchdowns, 22 more than his closest competitor (Dan Marino). Favre also passed for more than 20 touchdowns in 13 of his 17 seasons. And, as noted, he had only one losing season. One.

Which triggers one last question: Is it even possible for Brett Favre to be overrated?

More Laura Ingraham and Brett Favre

March 9, 2008

Laura Ingraham was on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Friday night. Host Bill O’Reilly asked her about her criticism of Brett Favre for his crying. I’m not sure if this reflects what she said on the radio — I still haven’t heard it — but she redeems herself a bit with her more positive general comments about Favre. See the exchange below. She calls him “an American icon,” “an amazing person,” and a “wonderful family man.” So it’s really all about the crying, not about Favre. I still disagree with her. It’s entirely appropriate for a man who has given most of his adult life to the greatest franchise in the most-watched professional sport in America to be emotional about ending his career. But it’s less offensive to hear her put him in context.

Still, some friendly advice for my friend: I’d steer clear of Wisconsin for the time being or at least wear full body armor on any visit.

O’REILLY: All right, now, you are also working over Brett Favre. Laura Ingraham, everybody, is working over NFL legend Brett Favre.


O’REILLY: What is your beef with Brett Favre, Laura?

INGRAHAM: No, it’s not about Brett Favre. OK. Brett Favre is an American sports icon. He’s going to be featured, I’m sure, in a future O’Reilly icon segment. He’s an amazing person, wonderful family man.

I merely brought up this issue on the radio today, Bill, that even these big, hulky, strong, impressive men today are in a situation where they just break down blubbering for, like, 20 minutes at a retirement press conference. And women overwhelmingly calling into my show said, “Well, we really like Brett Favre. We think he’s amazing, but enough with the waterworks.”

We just — what happened to John Wayne and Ronald Reagan and Lou Gehrig and this idea of, you know, leaving the stage gracefully? You know, maybe having a little tear in your eye. But I mean, the sobs, they just never stopped, and it was kind of funny. Sorry. It was amusing.

O’REILLY: Not all of us will cry upon retirement, Laura.

INGRAHAM: Bill, in when the last “Talking Points” is done, if that happens, heaven forbid, will you be weeping uncontrollably? Will that happen?

O’REILLY: There is, to quote Tom Hanks — to quote Tom Hanks, there’s no crying on in the no-spin zone. At least not on the host part. The guests, they cry.

INGRAHAM: Yes, well, it’s just an interesting cultural development. I think it’s not about Brett Favre. He’s a wonderful person. But you know, you had Voinovich crying, Dick Durbin crying.

O’REILLY: Everybody’s crying, Laura.

INGRAHAM: Dan Rather crying.

O’REILLY: I’m telling you, but emotional men, they do have an attraction for a certain kind of woman. I don’t believe you are that kind of woman.


UPDATE: Commenter “PackerBelle” makes a good point that I’d missed the first time I read this exchange. (See below.)  Ingraham claimed on O’Reilly “the sobs, they just never stopped.”  That is flat wrong.  Favre was choked up at the beginning of his press conference and struggled to get through his opening remarks.  They lasted a couple of minutes.  After that, he regained his composure and was steady for more than an hour.  In fact, it was his ability to talk about his long career without getting emotional again that dashed my hopes that he would change his mind and return.  (Notice I say “dashed,” not “extinguished.”)  If you saw only the highlights of the press conference you might think that the sobs “never stopped.”