V.21 No.3 | 1/19/2012
NFL conference championships coming up
So, it'll be San Francisco versus the New York Giants and New England versus Baltimore. All for the right to go to the biggest game of the year. No more upstart Broncos, no more defending-champ Packers. No more surprise Texans, and no more record-breaking Saints.
Obviously, the majority of the public wants to see a rematch of Super Bowl XLII with the Patriots facing the Giants. It's not that simple, though.
In order to get past the 49ers, the Giants will have to overcome the underdog story of the year. With Alex Smith (he of the No. 1 pick who has disappointed in almost every one of his six previous seasons in the NFL) gunning, the 49ers have impressed upon nearly everyone by now the fact that they are a serious team. By beating the New Orleans Saints in dramatic—if not overwhelming—fashion, the 49ers have proved that its sometimes-anemic offense (especially in regards to the passing game) is not a problem and its defense is a facet upon which they may hang their collective hat.
The Giants, on the other hand, rolled over the Green Bay Packers in such demonstrative fashion that their offense, which was well-heralded previously, may become secondary to a defensive unit that sacked opposing quarterback Aaron Rodgers four times. The Giants also had their way on offense, with Eli Manning picking apart the Packers' defense in way that was rather embarrassing.
In the AFC, the New England Patriots put an end to the miracle story of Tim Tebow's Broncos. The team-that-could just ran into a buzz saw and was clearly outmatched. Tebow outlived expectations this year and should be proud of the wins he (and the Broncos defense) managed this season, as well as making it to the playoffs, but the Patriots offense hung 45 points on the vaunted Broncos defense.
New England looks to continue its performance next weekend against the Baltimore Ravens, whose defense is miles ahead of the Broncos. The only hitch in the Ravens' game plan could be found in their regular season record: Of the four games they lost, all were away from home. Next week they'll play at Gillette Stadium, where New England is a tidy 7-1. That sole loss, by the way? It came to the New York Giants.
Both games will be televised on Sunday, with Baltimore and New England at 1 PM on CBS, and New York playing in San Francisco at 4:30 p.m. on Fox.
V.21 No.2 |
The Daily Word in capsized cruise ship, crashing Mars probe, self-whistleblowing bank robber.
Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
The Earth's crust in New Mexico is stretching.
Jon Huntsman to drop out of 2012 race and endorse Romney.
Lobos win first conference game 72-62 at Wyoming.
The 'atrocious' officiating of the NFL playoffs.
A word from Kim Jong Un's best friends from growing up.
May I please have all of these for my birthday?: Astronomy illustrations from 1868-1881.
Russia's Mars probe crashes into the Pacific.
Bank robber calls 911 on himself.
Jay-Z bans the "B-word" and gets a nasty response.
Taliban leader reported dead in US drone strike.
Transsexual-averse Girl Scout calls for cookie boycott.
Jimmy Fallon as Tebowie.
V.21 No.1 | 1/5/2012
NFL playoffs begin
As the regular season finished up last week, New York Giants fans got another win to gloat about in their rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys. This one stung in a pretty spectacular manner, too, since the G-Men's win meant that the Cowboys would be nowhere to be found in this year's playoff schedule.
Things get started this wild card weekend with a quartet of games that offer plenty of excitement, plus the promise of water cooler talk to last the entire week. Cincinnati plays at Houston to open things up and then Detroit gets to play in New Orleans.
If you can find two better examples in the last ten years of cities with everything hanging out on the line playing each other in the playoffs, your memory is better than mine. The Saints' first season after Hurricane Katrina ravaged its city was kicked off with a bang and finished almost as near as one can ask for, without winning the big prize. Of course, New Orleans is past its sportly woes after taking home the Lombardi Trophy two years ago.
Detroit, on the other hand, has been awful for a long time, and has had its troubles well-documented as a result of the auto industry's meltdown. A win for either side will represent just another level by which the respective cities have overcome the tumultuous previous decade.
The Atlanta Falcons get things kicked off on Sunday with a game against the aforementioned Giants. That great game, though, serves merely as a precursor to the ongoing drama of Tim Tebow. The Pittsburgh Steelers (they of the most championships of all time in the NFL) will face off in Denver against the Broncos, hoping to end the miraculous season of a team that virtually no one picked to even make the playoffs.
Let's be clear: This is merely the wild card weekend of the playoffs. Details haven't even been given on the top dogs in each conference, which consist of the Green Bay Packers, the San Francisco 49ers, the Baltimore Ravens, and the New England Patriots. The Packers and the Patriots are the likely favorites to win their respective conferences, but their paths to Super Bowl XLVI are by no means guaranteed.
The best time of the year for a football fan is upon us. It's only going to get better.
Hangover Sports Roundup
Lesnar retires, Lobos on fire, Giants embarrass America's Team
Brock Lesnar made his long-awaited return to the octagon when he faced top Heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem. UFC President Dana White was certainly happy to see Lesnar return as he's the biggest pay-per-view draw in mixed martial arts. Despite Lesnar's bout with diverticulitis, many critics picked him to win by overwhelming Overeem with his wrestling ability. Shockingly, when Overeem aimed to the body with knees and kicks, that ability disappeared. Eventually, Lesnar crumbled to the ground and allowed the referee to rescue him from the Overeem beatdown. In the post fight interview, Lesnar announced his retirement under pressure from his wife and kids. Despite only having eight professional fights, Lesnar accomplished a lot in his brief tenure in the sport. While professional wrestling fans will wish for Lesnar's return to the WWE, Overeem can now become a major star with American MMA fans with a victory over UFC Heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos.
Also in MMA, Jackson's fighter Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone earned his co-main-event spot against Nate Diaz by going 4-0 in 2011. Both men engaged in a war of words through interviews and press conferences before the bout. Then, when the fight started, Diaz’ trash talk seemed to take Cerrone out of his comfort zone. Diaz’ signature boxing frustrated Cerrone and gave Diaz a massive advantage headed into the later rounds. “Cowboy” mounted a decent comeback in Round 2 with huge leg kicks, but Diaz countered with multiple combinations to the head. In Round 3 Diaz continued his striking dominance en route to a 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 unanimous decision. Diaz makes a very convincing case for a title shot but most likely will have another fight against a wrestler in order to become No. 1 contender. As for Cerrone, he has six victories out of his last seven fights and is still a major player in the Lightweight division. If he gets his wish to fight on the UFC Japan card, a victory could put him back in the title mix.
After a heartbreaking overtime loss to Santa Clara, the Lobos have been on a roll, winning nine straight before their New Year’s Eve battle with St. Louis. More than 15,000 witnessed UNM hold off the Billikens for the 64-60 victory. The Billikens kept within reach, but Drew Gordon’s 18 points and 9 rebounds carried the Lobos for their 10th straight win. While UNM may have been a little rocky to start the season, it has huge momentum headed into conference play. The Lobos have a good combination of athleticism, defense and confidence that may lead them to a Mountain West Conference title.
The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants had challenging seasons in 2011. But each team had had one last opportunity to erase the failures of the past and earn an NFC East title and a ticket to the playoffs with a win last night. Many would think with everything on the line during Sunday Night Football, this game would be competitive. Instead the Giants embarrassed the Cowboys and moved into an early 21-0 lead in the first half. The injured Tony Romo engineered a fourth quarter comeback with two touchdowns to close within seven points. But the underrated Eli Manning made the Dallas defense pay and threw a four-yard touchdown to Hakeem Nicks to seal the 34-13 victory and win the division. The Giants earned a wild card home game and will face the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday. Meanwhile, Dallas will search for answers to the many flaws they showed this season. Expect Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones to evaluate everyone’s job, from star players to the coaching staff.
V.20 No.52 | 12/29/2011
Kick Returns and Reruns
New Year’s Day around the dial
Are you ready for some football?
Crunch time in NCAA, NFL
NCAA games come to an end for many fans—especially in Albuquerque, especially these days—long before Christmas. The bowl season extends further than it has in the past, sure, but that's mainly due to the proliferation of the so-called bowl games. We start with the New Mexico Bowl, which Temple took over Wyoming on Dec. 17, and continue all the way to the BCS.
The title game occurs on Monday, Jan. 9, when No. 2 Alabama will face first-ranked LSU. Between now and then, plenty of pretenders to the bowl throne will battle, but few of them are worth the time it'll take to play, much less to watch. Of course, no disrespect is intended, as I'm sure Michigan State and Georgia, at No.’s 17 and 16, respectively, are great football teams, and their fans care very much who wins the game. But outside that constituency, its hard to muster feelings for the Outback Bowl, amongst others.
The day before the title game, in fact, is somehow, for some reason, occupied by Arkansas State versus Northern Illinois in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Just for fun, although I'm sure it's been done before, let's look at some of these corporate sponsorships: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, Little Caesar's Bowl, TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl! All of these games have been or will be televised nationally. Advertising really has changed the world.
The end of the college football bowl season dovetails nicely into the end of the NFL’s regular season, where things are really heating up. The titanic Green Bay Packers are obviously still a favorite, and the Philadelphia Eagles (preseason favorites who have been extensively covered) have now been officially dismissed from the playoffs. Perhaps another year to gel will help them live up to the lofty expectations.
While Green Bay has wrecked the regular season (save a blip two weeks ago), the New England Patriots have gone under the radar to resume their traditional position atop the AFC. Plenty of spoilers await a slip from either side, including the surprising stories of the San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans.
With only one more week in the regular season, plenty of teams are still itching to play spoiler. The biggest end-of-season matchup, however, seems guaranteed to be the Dallas Cowboys playing in New York against the Giants. The teams will play for the NFC East Championship in the last game of the regular season, on New Year's Day.
Football's finale is always the best, save the drama regarding the need for a true playoff system in college football. This year should be no different, whether you'll be watching the boys play in the BCS title game, or following the pros as they make the final cuts for the playoffs.
V.20 No.48 | 12/1/2011
The Daily Word in Kim Jong Il is dead, a woman burned in an elevator and the Red Roof Inn confession.
North Korea’s Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack.
A woman was burned in an elevator.
The Packers lost.
Learn the hand signals of Occupy.
The year’s 10 biggest science stories.
A live pterosaur was spotted in Pennsylvania.
Something’s going to happen. Soon.
Look at stuff through an electron microscope.
We’re experiencing a big winter storm.
A man charged with burglary has been arrested over 30 times.
The Red Roof Inn murder suspect has confessed.
Happy birthday, Criss Angel.
V.20 No.50 | 12/15/2011
A look at the inexplicable, divisive phenomenon
Almost everyone in the world has weighed in on Tim Tebow. His general manager—former Denver Bronco great John Elway—said a few weeks ago that he wasn't quite sold on the young gun as a franchise quarterback. Then there was Charles Barkley, coming out of the woodwork and publicly pleading the Chicago Bears to beat the Broncos. (By the way, they didn't.) The discourse even turns up in seemingly tangential corners, such as young-adult author John Green's Tumblr and the pages of Rolling Stone. So what has Tebow done to deserve, in either sense of the word, all the chatter? Let's review.
Tebow, as we see him now, is a two-time national champion from the University of Florida. He is a Heisman Trophy winner, and one of the rare college athletes who succeeded so spectacularly and still played all four years— instead of making the jump to the pros early. He is enthusiastic in his love for the game, and most of his former associates, whether they be coaches or teammates, are nothing but effusive in their praise for him.
He also just so happens to be over-the-top religious. This, for a lot of people, is a deal breaker. Tebow's parents were missionaries, and he was raised with those beliefs. He has given numerous interviews stating that his ultimate goal in the NFL is to make enough money so that he can live the same kind of lifestyle as his parents did. The religious viewpoint is not unique to the NFL, nor to the Denver Broncos, but Tebow seems to raise a fervent attitude to people on both sides of the issue.
The real crux of The Tebow Dilemma, though, comes when examining the Broncos' record since Tebow was moved into the starting position at quarterback. In the words of DJ Khaled, all the Broncos have been doing since is winning. Often in ridiculously convoluted, dramatic fashion.
The Broncos were an anemic 1-4 before Tebow was slotted in to start, and have gone 7-1 since. The schedule, derided by critics at the beginning of the win streak, has gotten more difficult. The wins, counted as lucky by those same critics, have only gotten more and more tension-filled and climactic.
By most measures, Tebow is not, and should not be counted as a good quarterback in the NFL. Objectively, most scouts looked at him two years ago, before the draft, and said that he would not amount to much. (There were, of course, notable exceptions, such as Jon Gruden.) Subjectively, though, those critics, along with those who doubted his starting position or his worth to the Broncos at all, have had quite a few words to chew on in the last eight weeks. The wins keep piling up and, as of now, Denver sits alone in the top spot of the AFC West.
Steering away from the personal reasons people may or may not like Tebow, it seems now is a good time to remind everyone that we truly do live in the Moneyball age. Will Tebow continue to defy the numbers, or do statistical averages rule all? Will he break the numbers, or eventually conform to them? A third path exists: Perhaps Tim Tebow is making his own numbers, improving as he goes along. For now, the most entertaining words that any football fan can hear on any given Sunday go something like this: "It's the fourth quarter. The Broncos are down. But Tebow's got the ball." Tune in. Something amazing is going to happen.
V.20 No.49 |
The Daily Word in rabid skunks, hidden treasure, missing moon rocks
Southern New Mexico counties on warning for rabid skunks.
Janitor in German library finds hidden treasure.
Has the God particle been found?
Lobos men's basketball team achieves a low-scoring, but encouraging 44-41 road victory over USC.
Dan "Bee" Spears, bassist for Willie Nelson, slipped on ice and died over the weekend.
Ex-occupier now holds Wall Street job.
Photos of Saturday's lunar eclipse taken from around the world.
Tebow leads Broncos to another "miracle win."
Also, some dude got a centaur/Tim Tebow tattoo.
Russian billionaire and Nets owner to challenge Putin for presidency.
The Oatmeal on why 3D movies need to die.
Hundreds of NASA's moon rocks have gone missing.
Universities purchase rights to triple-x domain names.
This Shweppes commercial features sophisticated cannibals.
Thanks to Tom, Geoff, Aryan and Constance for the helpful links!
V.20 No.48 |
The Daily Word in Xbox TV, replicator technology, baby-weilding shoplifters
Happy Snow Day!
Here's the damage so far of this wintry weather.
Iranians say they have shot down a US spy drone.
An outing for sports car enthusiasts in Japan leads to one extremely expensive pile-up.
Do you really need to power off all electronic devices during take-off and landing?
Microsoft rolls out new Xbox TV platform that responds to voice and motion commands.
2012 may not be the end of the world after all.
Sheriff from New Mexico's Lea County found dead after apparent suicide.
Bollywood star Dev Anand dies at 88.
Dude yells "mashed potatoes" at Tiger Woods at 18th hole tee shot.
New website allows you to find your husband, boyfriend or kids' internet porn for a mere $19.95.
Thanks, Tom Nayder and C-Moss, for the helpful links.
V.20 No.47 | 11/24/2011
Bear With Me
Servants of the Pair of Cleats
An institution that only fawning eyes gaze upon makes a great hideout for predators. It's a place where the status quo must be maintained, even if it means covering up horrible things.
V.20 No.45 |
The Daily Word in Lobo sports, European debt crises, and an ADHD galaxy cluster.
It was an excellent weekend for UNM sports. The Lobo football team gets 21-14 conference win over UNLV, Steve Alford's men's basketball team opens the season with 92-40 triumph over New Orleans, and the men's soccer team takes the conference championship over Cal State Bakersfield.
Oh, also, Monster Jam was at Tingley this weekend all vintage-style.
Sexual abuse charges against Jerry Sandusky suggest his youth mentoring charity might have been a pipeline for potential victims.
Hawaiian recording artist busts out “Occupy” song during fancy dinner hosted by President Obama.
Cracked.com's take on the 6 Most Horrifying Lies The [Processed] Food Industry is Feeding You.
Bernalillo County officials working on new “realistic” ad campaigns against drunk driving.
Europe risks EU split in wake of major debt crises.
The Oatmeal illustrates what it would be like if his brain were an imaginary friend.
You know those cool high-powered magnetic ball desk-top toy things? Yeah, they're dangerous.
Strange hyperactive galaxy cluster spotted by Hubble about 9 billion light-years away .
Thanks to CM and CP for the help.
V.20 No.44 | 11/3/2011
Hangover Sports Roundup
Diaz retires Penn, Ravens escape Cardinals, Steelers hold off Patriots
Despite the UFC 137 main event changes, BJ Penn and Nick Diaz delivered an exciting bout featuring a back and forth, crowd-pleasing battle. In the first round, Penn was very aggressive by getting the better of the striking and momentarily taking Diaz' back. But in the second and third rounds Diaz' conditioning enabled him to give Penn the worst beating of his career. Diaz demonstrated pinpoint accuracy by nailing Penn with lethal combinations to the head and body. Despite Penn bleeding for the first time in his career, he still showed fighting spirit by not allowing the former Strikeforce champion to finish him. But getting beat up by Diaz forced BJ Penn to unexpectedly retire from the sport. No one knows for certain if Penn has truly retired, but if he has, Penn doesn't have anything to be ashamed about. Meanwhile Diaz’ performance was enough to convince UFC President Dana White to grant him a title shot against George St. Pierre. While GSP vs. Diaz will be a money maker for the UFC, Albuquerque fighter Carlos Condit lost his title shot and will be forced to climb the ladder again to regain his spot.
It wasn't all bad news for Albuquerque fighters as Lightweight contender Donald Cerrone destroyed Dennis Siver on the Spike TV prelims. Cerrone has gone 4-0 this year and can make a case to fight for the title. But his main goal is to stay active and now is rumored to face Nate Diaz at UFC 141.
Last Monday night, the Baltimore Ravens went through a nightmare when they got embarrassed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. So when the Ravens welcomed the Arizona Cardinals, many thought Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis would take out their anger on one of the worst teams in the league. Instead, the Cardinals humbled the Ravens defense by taking a 24-6 lead into halftime. But Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin’s seven receptions for 145 yards and running back Ray Rice’s three touchdowns helped fuel a 21-point comeback. The Cardinals tied up the game in the fourth quarter but Flacco’s pass to rookie Torrey Smith set up a Ravens game winning field goal.
Steelers vs. Pats
It's rare to see the New England Patriots get bullied by any team in the NFL. Often Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick push around and frustrate their rivals. But when New England traveled to Pittsburgh, the Steelers turned the tables and dominated the Patriots defense. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made Belichick’s defense look amateur by going 36-50 in the air with two touchdowns. Despite having long offensive drives, New England was unable to finish off their longtime AFC foe. Brady threw a red zone touchdown late in the fourth quarter to cut the lad to six. But a botched onside kick and a safety sealed Pittsburgh's 25-17 victory. With Roethlisberger finally finding his rhythm, the Steelers have recovered from their opening day disaster against the Ravens and look primed for a deep playoff run.
V.20 No.35 |
The Daily Word in Labor Day history, Canada's crazy week, and more vintage sexism.
Family trio jailed in Alamogordo murder case.
Lobos lose opening game to CSU Rams 14-10.
Be sure to check your cheap laptops before you take them home just to, ya know, make sure they aren't really stacks of paper wrapped in duct tape.
Man sues his coworkers for his share of their $99 million lotto winnings.
California PhD student swears off mirrors for a year.
Jose Maldonado caught a fairy (yeah, thanks, Nick Brown).
New "demon" bat species found in Taiwan.
"So you admit it! Your coffee really is murder!" Men being rude to their wives about bad coffee in vintage commercials.
V.20 No.29 |
NFL lockout is officially over
Despite grumbles, agreement is reached
On Monday morning, the good news started pouring in for fans of American football. The lockout which had threatened the country's (true, modern) pastime finally ended. The focus now turns to the actual start of the season, currently slated for September 8.
When the new NFL season begins, there will be a couple important differences, but most of them will be invisible. When it comes to the changes that both sides were pushing for, there was compromise instead of hard manifestation—at least to this point. The schedule will remain a 16-game affair —for now. Owners will be getting more money than they were previously. Practices will change, and there is already grumbling from those who are attached to the old schedule.
These differences, however, are inevitable when two sides are fighting for every inch. All told, in the process of negotiation, the NFL was officially locked out for more than 4 months, the longest lockout in NFL history. However, the good news is that no official games were lost to the labor dispute, save an exhibition game which had been scheduled for August 7.
A great summary of the winners and losers of the draft has been written up at espn.com. In regards to that article, though, I'd defy anyone to go out and talk to a football fan. There is a reason that this was the top story on ESPN for the last three days, and why it continues to get mentioned on CNN. In times like these, when people are looking toward August 2 as a potential for the United States government defaulting on its debt, Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, took the time to point out that if football can get a deal done, certainly the bureaucrats in Washington should be able to follow suit; especially when the matter is of such increased gravity. For those who prefer their sports without politics, there's a handy comparison, too: The NFL lockout being resolved in a timely fashion gives hope to the fans of the NBA, which is still engaged in a lockout of its own.
At the end of the day, though, despite lists of winners and losers and total amount of time lost to this lockout, the easiest proof is in the pudding. Next time you're out and about, ask a sports fan—whether it's at a bar, at work, or even just at a stoplight—"Hey, how do you feel that the NFL lockout is over?" Chances are, they'll gripe a bit. They'll mention how it was millionaires fighting with billionaires. And they'll say how ridiculous it was to have to slog through the news. But, at the end of that conversation, most people, as Americans who love football above all others, will smile and say, "Hey, I'm just glad it's back."
Pawn Drive • folk, Americana at Corrales Bistro Brewery
Christmas at the Yucca Vista at Aux Dog Theatre
Annual Winter Solstice Seed Mandala at Open Space Visitor CenterMore Recommented Events ››