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Former NBA referee Tim DonaghyRemember Tim Donaghy? NBA commissioner David Stern sure does. See, he’s the referee who was convicted of accepting large sums of cash from gamblers in return for providing inside information on games he was working. He served 15 months in prison for the conviction, was released, then was sent back for violating his parole. Now, to top it off, he’s written a book detailing his transgressions, and the transgressions of the referees he worked with during his NBA tenure. That’s right, he wasn’t alone.

In his book he explains in detail how referees would conspire to keep games close to keep ratings up, make bets amongst themselves about calling fouls, and even swing the tide of playoff games to force longer series (and therefore keep the sponsors happy). Basically the worst possible things you could allege referees in any sport are doing. The sorts of things that call the league’s competitive credibility into question. The sorts of things that make you wonder what the difference is between pro basketball and pro wrestling. The sorts of things that could bring a league to its knees. And make me very, very happy.
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Yesterday I saw a story on CNN about a Russian circus worker being killed by an ice skating bear. After reading that, a co-worker sent me this video. Apparently she couldn’t find one of an ice skating bear, but no worries, she found monkeys on skates. Doing tricks. In bad winter clothing. If there’s anything funnier than monkeys doing human things, I’ve never seen it:

It’s a sad, sad day. Pro wrestler and all-around 80s celebrity Captain Lou Albano died. If you’re about my age you should remember him from the WWF, the WWF cartoon, or in Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” video. Let’s all raise a toast to the man with rubber bands in his beard.

wrestler Captain Lou Albano

Shaq
Do you want to see Shaq swim against Michael Phelps? How about play tennis against Serena Williams? Or take on beach volleyball legends Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh? Of course you do. Shaq is awesome, and he’s got a great sense of humor. And he’s one of the most dominant athletes of the last 20 years. So who wouldn’t want to see him take on the best athletes in other sports?

Well you’re about to get your chance. This fall ABC will air Shaq Vs., a reality show that will put The Big Aristotle outside his comfort zone every week. For each challenge Shaq and his competition will agree on a handicap, and Shaq will have a week to train. Then they’ll pool, court, or field and settle things. There won’t be any prizes though; only bragging rights will be on the line.

Shaq Vs. will premier August 18th, with The Diesel taking on Steelers’ QB Ben NRoethlisberger.

via ESPN

How cool would it be to play Tiger Woods at golf? Probably not that cool, because you don’t stand a chance in hell at winning. But how cool would it be to play Tiger Woods at Tiger Woods Golf? Now we’re talking, since he’s probably a mere mortal at the game.

Jimmy Fallon put this to the test on his show, taking on Tiger on the 11th hole of Bethpage Black (the course Tiger just played for the US Open). Would he be able to show Tiger up at his own game? Or would Tiger prove that he’s a golf master, no matter the medium? Watch and find out:

If you’re not a baseball fan you may not be familiar with the Cubs’ seventh-inning stretch tradition. Before his death in 1998 Harry Caray used to lean out of the television booth and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. Since he died the team has kept the tradition alive by having celebrity guests sing the song. Most guests do a good job, but a few of them have been epically, gloriously bad. We can add another to the latter category after this week’s performance by Mr. T. Check out the video, complete with T’s Zubaz pants:

“One, two, three strikes YOU out at the old, ball, game”

figure skater and Food Network host Brian BoitanoThe boys of South Park could have a field day with this: Figure skater Brian Boitano is coming to Food Network. He’ll be hosting a show called What Would Brian Boitano Make? (a nod to the musical number from South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut), where he’ll prepare food for a different event each week. This is just another sign of the descent of Food Network in to crap. If it wasn’t for Good Eats there would be no reason to watch it at all.

Moving on to good television, if you were a fan of The Wire you don’t want to miss this. It’s original scripts for three episodes (including the first and last episodes) and David Simon’s original pitch to HBO for the series. It’s fascinating stuff. The pitch in particular makes you realize just how much of the series was thought out ahead of time, and how many layers there really are to it. And it’s pretty funny that Stringer Bell was originally supposed to be called “Stringy”. Aw hell no.

Bad news Bourne fans: We won’t see a new Bourne movie until 2011. Apparently everything is in place except, you know, the script. No biggie.

The Detroit Lions' new logoSo you went 0-16 last season. What do you need to do to improve? Get a new coach? Nah. New players? Nah. Make your logo looks slight more intimidating? Yep, that’ll do it. Even without Matt Millen the Detroit Lions are morons.

Drummer Josh Freese’s unique album packages are working. Read about the guy who bought the $20,000 package and played mini-golf with rock stars. I’m not sure it’s worth $20k, but it’s pretty damn cool.

Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon went back home and performed with his old high school’s jazz ensemble. Check out the videos of him performing his songs as well as some standards. Must have been pretty cool to be one of those high school kids.

Finally, this is the funniest thing I’ve seen all week. It’s the TV edit of the famous line from Snakes on a Plane:

football announcer and video game mogul John MaddenLove him or hate him, you have to give the guy props. John Madden is a Hall of Fame NFL coach. He’s an award-winning broadcaster. And he’s built the biggest video game franchise on the planed. Today, after 30 years on the job, he retired from broadcasting.

Madden takes a lot of flack for his broadcasting style, and a lot of people don’t like him, but I’ve always liked the guy. Sure, he often says things that are painfully obvious. And things that don’t quite make sense. And sure, he’s got favorite players that he treats differently (I’m looking at you Mr. Favre). So on paper I should hate the guy. But I don’t. And I’m not completely sure why. It could be because I can’t remember football without him. And because of the hundreds of hours of his games I’ve played, the majority with him spouting the same 20 phrases, over and over. So I’m actually a little sad to see the guy go.

Or I was until I heard who’s replacing him as Al Michaels’ partner on Sunday Night Footbal: Cris Collinsworth. For my money Collinsworth is the best color commenter in the business. And pairing him with Michaels makes something of a Dream Team. So rock on NBC!

Jackie Earle Haley will play Freddy KrugerFresh off his masterful portrayal of Rorschach in Watchmen, Jackie Earle Haley is going to be Freddy Kruger. Haley seems like a good pick, though as a child of the 80’s (whose father made some questionable choices about proper movie choices for his young son), Robert Englund will always be Freddy for me.

From the “Someone’s coming to their senses” file: The remake of The Karate Kid isn’t a remake anymore. The Jackie Chan/Will Smith’s kid movie will be called The Kung Fu Kid instead, and will just borrow some things from The Karate Kid. So instead of being an embarrassing and heretical remake, it’s just a ridiculous and pointless knock-off. I guess that’s a step up…

How bad are the Pittsburgh Pirates? They lost to a community college team in an exhibition game. Ouch. That’s just bad.

Radiohead is doing something cool again (of course it’s something that doesn’t involve their music). They’re testifying against the RIAA in a case against an alleged file sharer. Just like when they tried out the “pay what you want” marketing for their last album, the band seems to be ahead of the curve again. Now if only their music didn’t suck…

Jay LenoThere’s a new twist in the late night shakeup. You may know that Conan is taking over Leno’s 11:30 timeslot, and that NBC is giving Leno a 10pm nightly show. The twist is that some of the network’s affiliates aren’t happy about it. Boston’s WHDH has announced that it won’t air Leno’s new show. NBC isn’t very happy about this and it threatening to kick WHDH out of its club. I can’t say I blame WHDH. I know I won’t be watching the spectacularly unfunny Leno.

Iron Man 2 is getting ready to start filming, and Robert Downey, Jr. let it slip that Tony Stark won’t be an alcoholic yet. The story will revolve around Stark’s adjustment to becoming a super hero, and they’ll leave the heavier stuff for a later movie.

My last post about random stuff seemed to work out pretty well, so let’s give it another shot. It’s been an odd week, so there’s lots of strange stuff to go over.

the super-stuffed oreoBehold the Mega Double Stuf Oreo. This, and more tastiness signs of the culinary apocalypse at This is Why You’re Fat, including a Corn Dog Pizza, a 60lb Rice Krispy treat, and a seven pound breakfast burrito. Most of the stuff on the site looks disgusting, but I’m ashamed to admit there are a couple of tasty-looking treats.

Watch out Titanic! The Dark Knight officially broke the $1 billion mark. I don’t know if that completely makes up for not being nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, but I’m sure the folks at Warner Bros won’t complain.

Mario finally accomplished what Shredder never could. Bebop and Rocksteady couldn’t be reached for comment.

Shaq uses Twitter. A lot. To connect with fans. In a diner. Shaq is a huge dork cool.

Robbert BobbertApples in Stereo frontman Robert Schneider’s getting a kids show. Schneider’s cartoon alter-ego Robbert Bobbert is coming to TV via the folks behind the incredibly trippy Yo Gabba Gabba. Bobbert’s also got a whole CD of kids music coming out.

Mike Myers and Paris Hilton are WINNERS!. Well, kind of. They each “won” three awards at last night’s Razzies, the anti-Oscars. Myers’ three awards, Worst Actor, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Picture, were all tied to his participation in The Love Guru. Hilton snagged three awards for two different movies, The Hottie and the Nottie and Repo! The Genetic Opera. Congratulations to both!

What’s the next step in the evolution of Lolcats? In Soviet Russia Lolcats use better grammar

Uber-douche Michael Bay is finally getting an Oscar. Not!

And finally, CHEWBACCA AND GEORGE FORMAN LIVE IN THIS GUY’S CABINET!

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