Archive for November, 2008

Who Killed The Electric Car?

Posted in movies, politics, video on Tuesday, 2008 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

I can’t recommend this film highly enough. It’s called WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? and is available thru Netflix and probably any other source you might get DVD’s from. It’s a couple years old now, but it’s so very timely: we could help save the auto industry AND the economy AND the earth AND start to break free not just from foreign oil, but OIL. Please watch this film and tell others to do the same. Here’s the trailer:

Reclaiming the L Word

Posted in misc.blurbs, politics on Tuesday, 2008 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

Sorry folks, “liberal” is not a dirty word.

What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label “Liberal?” If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”

–John F. Kennedy, 1960

BTS: Bowl Tournament Series College Playoff System

Posted in sports on Monday, 2008 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

It looks like we’re heading for another clusterfuck at the top of the College Football polls, with several worthy 1-loss teams, one undefeated team at the top, plus a couple of other undefeated teams from smaller conferences hovering around the #6–9 slots (Utah and Boise State), plus another small (You’re Not Worthy of Playing In The Cool Big-Conference Clique) conference team in undefeated Ball State sitting back at around #15. So since most proposed college-football-playoff talk (from President Obama on down to Joe The Sportsfan) centers on an 8-team plan (that could still manage to leave off 1 or 2 undefeated teams in favor of “better” teams from The Big Popular Conferences, I proudly present The Bowl Tournament Series (BTS) Playoffs:

Take the 15 traditional (oldest) bowls. Go ahead a slap a sponsor name on each one if that’s what has to be done to keep The Powers That Be happy about The Money, but keep the old name as part of it. Those 15 are the BTS. The rest of the Johnny-Come-Lately.com bowls that no one cares about could still exist in a non-tournament setup, so the 6-5 and 7-4 schools can experience a bowl and get a little money. Those bowls can be played whenever, filling in the December calendar with a couple getting played before/after the Final Four double header on January 1. But the BTS would consist of the following traditional bowls; note that you get a few in Florida, California, AZ, Texas, Lousiana, even one in Memphis.

HOLIDAY BOWL AT SAN DIEGO CA
LIBERTY BOWL AT MEMPHIS TN
ALAMO BOWL AT SAN ANTONIO TX
COPPER BOWL AT TEMPE AZ
INDEPENDENCE BOWL AT SHREVEPORT LA
SUN BOWL AT EL PASO TX
TANGERINE (now Capital One) BOWL AT ORLANDO FL
COTTON BOWL AT DALLAS TX
GATOR BOWL AT JACKSONVILLE FL
PEACH (now Chick-Fila) BOWL AT ORLANDO FL
ROSE BOWL AT PASADENA CA
SUGAR BOWL AT NEW ORLEANS LA
FIESTA BOWL AT GLENDALE AZ
ORANGE BOWL AT MIAMI FL

BTS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AT SITE TBD (maybe just rotate it around nice weather cities with big stadiums like the Super Bowl or whatever)

Perhaps you’d alternate/rotate the 4 Big (currently BCS) Bowls so that one year Fiesta and Orange would be the final four, another year it could be Sugar and Rose.

Then you take the Top 16 teams, which would likely have to be determined by something similar to voter polls and computers like the BCS, but maybe tweaked yet again… but either way, 2007’s final standings would have produced these matchups last year:

1. Ohio State 11-1 vs. 16. Tennessee 9-4

3. Virginia Tech 11-2 vs. 14. Boston College 10-3

5. Georgia 10-2 vs. 12. Florida 9-3

7. USC 10-2 vs. 10. Hawaii 12-0

8. Kansas 11-1 vs. 9. West Virginia 10-2

6. Missouri 11-2 vs. 11. Arizona State 10-2

4. Oklahoma 11-2 vs. 13. Illinois 9-3

2. LSU 11-2 vs. 15. Clemson 9-3

Some matchups are better than others. Some are rematches. But that doesn’t matter, maybe put in rules for seeding to avoid first-round rematches, or not. Also, try to get the regular season more even: either have all conferences play a champ game, or none. Maybe have everyone play only 11-12 games, not 13. For instance, in 2007 Ohio State was done Nov 17, but WVU had 2 different bye weeks and played through 12/1. So make it all uniform: everyone plays only 11 or 12 games, including Conference Championship games for all conferences, or none in any conference. As long as it’s all the same.

Based on this year’s calendar:

Sat. Dec 13 first round
Sat. Dec 20 second round
Jan. 1 Final Four double-header
Mon. Jan. 5 Championship Game

(Another option could be Dec, 20, 27, Jan 1, then Jan.12. This might have to change depending on how the calendar looks each year.)

I mean, if they can have 30 or so bowls played throughout December (and weekly Wednesday and Thursday night games all season) and not “interfere with academics or exams,” I’m sure they can do this. Only 8 teams would play more than one playoff game anyway….

As far as the money/payouts attached to the bowls: for the non-playoff crappy bowls, they can stay the same. For the playoffs, perhaps all the interest and increased ad revenue as well as the original payout amounts could go into one large pool and each team gets awarded a certain amount for reaching the playoffs but losing first round, winning one, two, three games, and one final large payout for the winner. So the Big Conference BCS Bowl Big Boy Money could still stay relatively in tact. If a Hawaii or a Boise St isn’t worthy, then they’ll lose in the first round anyway, right?

Attendance is a major hurdle. Even if you reward the 1-8 seeds with a first-round home game, it would be hard to make that congruent with these being the “traditional bowls.” And it would be hard to sell first (or second) round tickets for neutral sites on short notice.

Of course, making this only 8 teams (which most people seem to suggest anyway) would help alleviate some of the scheduling and attendance issues.

I know, I’m a genius. Use the Comments feature below to let me know how much you agree.

Hot Off the Presses: "Enraged" video

Posted in music, video on Monday, 2008 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

Just got an email from our good friends and rockers extraordinaire Girl Loves Distortion. You may remember we reviewed the CD HERE. Now comes word of their new video:

Greetings Earth Beings,
We have just posted our first-ever video for the song Enraged. Our great friend Josh Bolton (Drawing Lines) was kind enough to fly up from Florida this past Halloween Weekend and film the band performing live at the Artery 717 in Alexandria, VA. Most of the footage is from that night. We will also have more videos coming very soon including one for the song Luminance. Enjoy.

Divisional Fantasy Football: My Awesome Idea

Posted in misc.blurbs, sports on Monday, 2008 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

So after winning my league Super Bowl following the 2006 season, I quit playing Fantasy Football these last two seasons. Honestly, I must say I have NOT missed it. It’s nice to enjoy football for what it is, and not end up screaming at the TV and ruining a Sunday over something stupid like “Damn, why did they throw it to Marvin Harrison? I started Reggie Wayne!!!” That said, I’m still an idea man… and i’ve got a great idea to breathe new life into Fantasy Football for anyone getting bored or looking for a new twist: Divisional Fantasy Football.

Each of the 8 players gets one NFL Division and can field his team from any players in that division. So the guy with the NFC East could start Eli Manning at QB, Clinton Portis and Brian Westbrook at RB’s, Santana Moss and T.O. at WR’s, Jason Whitten at TE and then choose an NFC East kicker and defense depending on matchups.

It would sort of take the fun out of the draft, since there’d only be one round, but the guy with the first pick still has to strategize… does he take the AFC West so he has L.T., or take the AFC South just to get Peyton Manning? And of course you’d still have week to week strategy of who to start/play.

Besides semi-killing the draft element, another stumbling block is the bye week. Usually the NFL schedule has most or all teams from one division on a bye at the same time. If one division does NOT have several teams on bye the same week, then that team would have an advantage. BUT, what if you had an active/inactive roster, so you could keep most of your top players active, but still leave plenty of “free agents” for other divisions to use one-time only when their division is on bye? Maybe you’d have to leave X number of QB’s available…. Maybe each week you could move players to/from inactive list.

So I have the NFC east, and they’re all on bye except Dallas. Maybe I start the best of the Dallas players and then fill in with the unprotected QB’s and other players from the other divisions. Maybe force everyone to leave 1-2 QB’s from their division on the inactive list so the talent pool was decent….

Not sure if this format would work in head-to-head style of play, or more suitable to a “rotisserie” format where you don’t play against anyone, just accumulate points each week. Maybe it could be done either way.

Not sure how this idea could make money. Unless you could have a website where people could play for $10 and just spread the word around until it’s really popular. Not sure if you could copyright the concept so you could cash in if ESPN and CBSsportsline wanted to start offering this. Probably not, who knows. But consider this date/time-stamped blog entry as my official claim on the idea; feel free to contact me with big-money offers.

RIP Mitch Mitchell

Posted in music on Thursday, 2008 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

Sad news yesterday… the passing of legendary drummer Mitch Mitchell, most famous for his work with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitchell was one of my favorite drummers of all time. He taught me that you can be jazzy and still rock out really hard, that you can respond/react to the other musicians you play with and push each other to new places, and that you can do anything and everything you want on a small drumkit. If Hendrix took electric blues and rock guitar to another level, perhaps it could be said that Mitchell proved that a drumset could be played like a lead guitar. Not sure if that makes sense as an accurate analogy, but it’s as if Mitchell took the influence of great jazz drummers like Elvin Jones and Max Roach and somehow fused it with the innovation of Jimi’s playing and stumbled upon something thunderous and other-worldly. RIP.

Sunset Sky

Posted in photos on Wednesday, 2008 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

Western Maryland, late summer 2008.
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