Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Friday, May 12, 2006

PIC OF THE DAY


As fear is truly the Mindkiller...
When nothing is left...
Everything is gained...
You see I wish I was a poet
But I know as we go round and round
Though endings are never ever happy
It's the happy moments along the way
That in the end
Make it...ok... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

PIC OF THE DAY


If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower
You've got it, you've got it Posted by Picasa
NHL REALIGNMENT

From Seth...

"I'm in the mood for drastic reorganization of the NHL, starting with all new divisions. I was thinking I would e-mail this out to every NHL person I can think of at the end of this season. Maybe we'll see it happen. It seems like some feasible ideas, though.

Patrick-Adams Division (Northeast)
Buffalo Sabres
Ottawa Senators
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins

Dixie Division (Southeast)
Atlanta Thrashers
Carolina Hurricanes
Florida Panthers
Nashville Predators
Tampa Bay Lightning
Washington Capitals

Gretzky Division (Southwest)
Anaheim Mighty Ducks
Colorado Avalanche
Dallas Stars
Los Angeles Kings
Phoenix Coyotes
San Jose Sharks

Smythe Division (Northwest)
Calgary Flames
Columbus Blue Jackets
Edmonton Oilers
Minnesota Wild
St. Louis Blues
Vancouver Canucks

Norris Division (Original Six)
Boston Bruins
Chicago Blackhawks
Detroit Red Wings
Montreal Canadiens
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs

I like the geographical and historical symmetry of this. It keeps most major rivals together, and leaves open the extended division play that the NHL covets without trying to force rivalries that aren't there. I don't think any of the O6 teams will complain about being reunited. And I think going back to 6-team divisions decreases the possibility of a mediocre champion.

This gets rid of the conferences altogether, but you can create an O-6 trophy and still give the Prince of Wales and Campbell trophies to whichever team wins the East and West (rather than giving out trophies that players won't touch just for getting to the finals). The conference system isn't all that important in hockey, as many teams have historically been in either, and the league's geographical centerpoint is closer to Pittsburgh than St. Louis, as it is with other North American pro leagues. Plus, it's not like the MLB or NFL where the leagues were historically competitive.


Scheduling:
The schedule would continue the league's goal of more division play, and keep things local by having the two Eastern divisions play each other every year and switch off playing either Western divisions each season. So if you're in the NE, you play the SE teams every season, the NW teams this year and the SW teams next year.

The Original Six teams, however, get spread evenly in non-divisional play between the four other divisions, but each gets a non-O6 rival with which to have an annual 6-game series (so you don't miss out on the Rangers/Isles, Toronto/Ottawa, Detroit/Colorado rivalries).


Playoffs:
My proposal is for an 8-team playoff system that rewards teams who performed well in the regular season with a choice of 1st round opponent. I think the 3-month "second season" of the NHL playoffs is too long, and ruins interest in the sport. Having only the elites competing makes the regular season more important and the playoffs more worthwhile.

The eight playoff teams would be the five division champions plus the three teams across the entire league with the best overall record, determined by points (2 for win, 1 for OT loss), then number of wins, then opponents' record, then total goals scored, then, if necessary, by coin toss.

Once the eight teams are selected, they are given seed rankings determined by points, then number of wins, etc., regardless of division championship status or "conference." The No. 1 seed (President's Trophy winner) then gets to CHOOSE (televise this for sure) whom among the eight teams they would like to play in the first round. Then the next highest seed (probably always the 2nd seed) chooses whom they'd like to be matched with among the remaining 5-8 seeds. Then the next-best (3rd) seed chooses their opponent from among the remaining 5-8 seeds, and the last two teams remaining make up the final matchup. Seed 2 can't choose to play Seed 3.

The bracket will be set up with the 1st seed on one side and the 2nd and 3rd seeds on the other. In the (unlikely) event that the 1st seed chooses to play a 2 or 3 seed, just make sure the teams who got to select their opponents are in the same bracket.

The cool thing about this setup is you have teams picking their poison, so an upset in the 1st round of the 1 or 2 seed is all the more meaningful (Ha ha, shouldn't have picked us, fellas). The shorter playoffs will have a better chance of holding fan interest, especially because these would all be teams who competed on a high level all season to get there. The end of the season will matter more, too, as you'll have every playoff team battling for a higher seed against the entire league.


All-Star Game:
The North America v. World format is great, except that it splits up teammates. Another format worth exploring might be North/South, which is more in tune with the league's natural orientation than the seemingly arbitary East/West designation. The North/South would effectively be old franchises versus new or transplanted ones, billed as a generational battle between the young stars of the young teams, and the cool veterans of the North. Basically, it would be the NE and O6 divisions plus the three Western Canadian teams from the NW, versus the SE, SW, and the other NW teams. Can a Kovalchuk/Crosby/Ovechkin line score on Brodeur when he's protected by Lidstrom and Pronger? There's cross-pollination of styles between the two sides of course, but if there's any division to be made between franchises right now, this is the best I can see.


Conclusion:
Overall, I think this would make for a much more interesting and worthwhile NHL season. The lost revenue from an extra round of playoffs would be won back by increased fan support and interest in the league as a whole, plus the wider marketing possibilities of divisions made for rivalries to thrive (think of all the Original Six t-shirts), with more a regionalized season and more nationalized post-season."
FUNNY CUZ IT'S TRUE!

From Seth...

Q: Why did Ron Artest leave the game early?
A: 'Cause he wanted to beat the crowd.

It's funny 'cause it's true.


So where's the Reggie Evans joke?
IT'S 11:30. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR FRANK IS?

From the AP...

Homeless woman stomped to death in LA's Skid Row
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - A parolee has been arrested on suspicion of stomping to death a 49-year-old homeless woman as she slept on a sidewalk in downtown's Skid Row, police said Tuesday.

Kristi Morales died Monday from injuries sustained in the attack. Gregory Hampton, 52, was being held without bail in connection with the attack, police said. A court hearing was scheduled for May 17.

Witnesses said Morales' attacker repeatedly kicked her for several minutes last Wednesday. A passer-by attempted to intervene, but the attacker knocked the person down at least two times before being arrested by an officer, police said.


So let me get this straight. A homeless woman was attacked. She was repeatedly "Stomped Stomped." And it all went down in L.A.? I don't know what Frank has been up to, but if the suspect called the police "ho-bags," I'm pretty sure I know who is responsible for this one.
LeBRON RULES?

Monday Chris Mannix wrote this interesting piece that included a 4 step plan for defeating LeBron James. Of course in naming it Mannix relied upon the historical precedant of the Jordan Rules used by the Pistons back in 1989.

Now obviously the Pistons are doing a great job of shutting down LeBron and forcing Larry (Who) Hughes and Zydrunas Ilgauskas to beat us. My question though is there anybody actually connected to the Pistons that is using the term "LeBron Rules?" Just because they are playing great defense to shut down one person, doesn't mean that it actually relies upon the historical precedence. My understanding is that this is just a construct of the media to mischaracterize NBA history as it unfolds. But I don't know. What have y'all kids seen?
PIC OF THE DAY


James specializes in pictures where nobody looks good. But what is a pirate to expect with Seth in the sleigh bed. Giddy up! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

TASTE OF THAT A.T.L. STYLE

Another Atlanta shooting. Yes, right down on MLK Bvd. That's correct, near the Fulton County Courthouse, again. So what else is new?
PIC OF THE DAY


Yes, Neckface Eat Yo Babies :( Posted by Picasa
WHERE ARE THE SUCKY REFS THIS YEAR?

From Seth...

"Remember our Ron Garretson problems last year?

Ron's the one who tossed Kobe and Raja Bell the other night, too. And he reffed the game that Chicago won over Miami when Shaq got in early foul trouble and the Heat got only 5 free throws. He's been pretty rough on stars lately it seems -- that is, he calls them the same way he calls everyone else, which they're not used to.

Except New York stars. The Knicks lost every game he reffed this year. However, you could say that about a lot of NBA refs this year.

Dick Bavetta was on-hand for Dwayne Wade's comeback-from-injury performance last night when the Heat shot 41 free throws, but Shaq got in foul trouble early again. Miami fans are crying, but even Pat Riley said the fouls were fouls. Shaq's just not used to having to play by the rules I think.

My boss said Ron Garretson and Larry Brown had a history dating back to Philadelphia, when the 76ers lost to the Jazz by 2 points on a crazy 4th quarter comeback that Brown blamed on bad officiating. This was during the Iverson/Brown days.

Garretson was also reffing during the brawl game, when Brown actually yelled at Ron to get involved and Ron said "It's not my job." Brown criticized him for that after the game. Brown also made the "we're 1-7 with those guys" comment to begin with.

He reffed Game 2 of this series in Detroit, and I didn't see anything untoward in that one. Maybe he just had it in for Larry Brown.

Danny Crawford was on hand for the game we lost, however. But we know Danny boy likes to help stars succeed, and lo and behold, Michael Redd scored 40. Rip got a Technical in that one, and the two teams combined for 59 free throws.

But it could be one of our bane refs is out of the picture now that Larry Brown is."

Monday, May 08, 2006

YA CAN'T DO IT TO LOOK PRETTY

A recent UM survey has given us much to ponder on womens' dedication and motivation for working out.

The study, reported in the journal Sex Roles, found that women who exercise for a body shape motive, such as wanting to lose weight or to become toned, spend about 40 percent less time exercising than women who exercise for motives not related to achieving a certain body shape or weight.

"Everyone knows that exercise is good for them. Most don't do it consistently," said Michelle Segar, a U-M psychology researcher who collaborated with Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, former U-M psychology professor, and Donna Spruijt-Metz of the Institute of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Los Angeles.


What I find most interesting is that women that work out to look pretty don't stick with it. They achieve their goal and fall off the bandwagon as quickly as possible. For myself, I enjoy the opportunity to read on the bike, and find it quite rewarding when I can eat bigger meals, and work them off on the weights.

So the question then becomes, how do you get your woman to work out? Well I have a variety of methods. My favorite is dropping my baby off a few miles from my apartment. She's a smart girl, now with a college degree so she knows the way there, and can get a little workout. Sometimes I also slip speed into her food. This is doubly beneficial because it allows her to keep up with me, and lose weight in the process.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE BRAVES

It's been a rough start here in Atlanta. With the Braves off to a sluggish 13-18 start the AJC takes a look at where the wheels have fallen off, and what needs to happen.

WHAT'S GONE WRONG

1. The Braves are 5-11 in one-run games, compared to the Mets' 9-2, and are 7-13 on the road.

2. Marcus Giles, forced into the leadoff spot, is hitting .211 and has 25 strikeouts to go with his 15 walks.

3. Eight players have had to go on the disabled list, with reliever Blaine Boyer lost for the season and John Foster's year in doubt.

4. Jorge Sosa, who won 13 games last season, is 0-5 with a 6.17 ERA and Horacio Ramirez, an 11-game winner in 2005, has been sidelined by a strained hamstring since getting hurt in his first start.

5. Adam LaRoche, counted on to play first base almost every day this season with Julio Franco gone, is hitting .200 and has struck out 32 times in 95 at-bats.



WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN


1. General manager John Schuerholz usually makes some key midseason moves and he will have to this season if the Braves are to win another division title. The bullpen and bench need upgrades.

2. Chris Reitsma has two blown saves and a loss. He has to be better or the Braves need to find another closer.

3. John Smoltz and Tim Hudson are a combined 4-5, while the Mets' Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine are 9-2. That's too big a disparity at the top of the rotations.

4. To come close to matching the Mets' lineup, the Braves must have super seasons from Andruw and Chipper Jones, plus no continued sophomore slump by Jeff Francoeur.

5. With 32 of their first 50 games on the road, a slow start by the Braves wasn't a big surprise. But they have to keep the Mets in sight to take advantage of having 25 of their final 38 games in Atlanta.
METROHOME ADVANTAGE

From Seth...

"Home court advantage works differently in different sports. While every sport seems to give some advantage to the home team, it's less in hockey and baseball than football, and that's much less than basketball, and even that pales in comparison to an enormous home advantage in college basketball.

But then there's the Twins. In a sport for which the only home cookin' is the eerie number of umpires who grew up liking Chicago teams (you can look this up -- it's Cubs, then Yanks, then White Sox, then Red Sox according to the umpires' website), the Minnesota Twins, since moving Harmon Killebrew's Senators to the Twin Cities, have the best home record in baseball, even though the team has stunk off an on.

In recent years, their home winning has been on par or better with most NCAA basketball teams. That means the Twins are winning as much at home as the MSU Spartans, who are leagues better than most of their opponents, and boast the Izzone, a mass section of fans who actually practice their cheers the week before games (I guess they don't have classes up in the EL).

Why is this?

Twins fans say it's the noise. True, in the World Series, or during Vikings games, or immediately following the comment "I don't see what's the big deal with Mary Tyler Moore," the place can get awfully loud. But most Twins games are relatively quiet affairs. Even though the team dominated its division until last year, the crowds haven't been up there with, say, St. Louis, or L.A., or Boston,. or San Francisco, or either New York teams.

Well, the prevailing theory is there's a bit of cheating going on at the Metrodome. That is, the air conditioning system is supposedly timed to click on during the opposing team's at-bats. There is both evidence that the system automatically kicks in when it senses a certain temperature (irregardless of who's at the plate), and a boatload of anecdotal evidence saying the air is only on when the away team is up.

But I think it's the turf, not the air that's the real reason. It's not just that the Twins are more used to turf bounces and such. Their fielding percentage at home is only slightly better than the away teams'. Rather, it changes the lineups of the teams they're playing. This was most evident in game last night versus the Tigers, as Jim Leyland held Placido Polanco, Carlos Guillen, Curtis Granderson and Dmitri Young out of the lineup, and had Pudge DH. This was agains Johan Santana, a left-hander and two-time Cy Young winner. This is the guy you usually send your best hitters against. Why did Leyland hold out? Because the turf causes injuries, and these are guys he couldn't afford to lose. So at no time in the series were the Tigers using their entire starting lineup. According to the Twins fan with whom I discussed this, the "2nd lineup" strategy was something a lot of teams used in Minnesota. Afraid of the injuries that turf promises, teams routinely use a Minnesota series to rest the starters. Thus, the Twins generally play against more backups when at home, and thus, over time, win many more games.

It's a strange home-field advantage to have when your home is unquestionably the worse venue in professional sports."

Sunday, May 07, 2006

AFTERSCHOOL SPECIAL

Gather around kids and tune in as we learn a very important lesson about drinking. Behold the molestation of Frank.

Have a few drinks. Do a little dance. Frank loves to party! Posted by Picasa

Poor li'l guy he's all tuckered out Posted by Picasa

Sleep Big Frank...Sleep! Posted by Picasa

Look what Tondar found Posted by Picasa

Now, you are mine Posted by Picasa

fiddle about...fiddle about Posted by Picasa

Whatchya gonna do!? Posted by Picasa

Yes you is my sleepy li'l ho-bag Frank Posted by Picasa

Even Tres wants a piece of that Frank Action Posted by Picasa

beatdown! Posted by Picasa

the beatdown continues Posted by Picasa

you never get used to the pain Posted by Picasa

Say hello to my little friend, OVEN MITT! Posted by Picasa

Only Lady Sassafrass could save poor Frank. But by then it was too late Posted by Picasa
KATHERINE WATCH

This was sent Thursday. I refused to post it then because I'm still not supporting her decisions...

Salamo!

Hello everyone! I hope this email finds you all doing well and enjoying yourselves. I can't believe it is time for me to leave Egypt already. In fact, I am already gone.... Currently I am sitting in an internet cafe in Amsterdam writing you for the last time until I take off again. Thanks for reading and writing back too. I love all of you, and it means so much to me that you keep in touch!

This week was a rough one with goodbyes, but I am also happy to return home. I finished up teaching last week which went very well, and then I headed off to travel for the last week before leaving this morning. The six of us in the program all got our certification and finished our program after a bundle of work and stress the last week, but it is great now. I am so glad that I decided to do this program, and specifically the one in Egypt. If you are considering working/teaching abroad, then I suggest you get your TESOL certificate (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). This way you can teach almost anywhere! The Alexandria site was perfect, and the staff made it so great. If you need anymore info, please feel free to ask!

Despite the bombings last week in Egypt, I decided not to cancel my weekend plans of going to the Sinai peninsula. I know that a lot of you probably don't agree with my decision, but I felt very safe and it turned out to be a wonderful experience. It was also great because the attacks scared off a lot of the tourists, so it was less busy which was great for us. Our program included a trip to Sharm El-Sheik which is on the tip of the peninsula on the Red Sea. We took a 10 hour busride there and arrived in paradise. Our hotel was amazing, and the view from our window was the mountains with the sea only meters away from us!

The first day there was spent relaxing on the beach and swimming while soaking up a few too many rays which are now hurting. The cafes were fabulous, and I went to an Indian Resturaunt at night with friends and it was out of this world. I had never had Indian food before, and I was so impressed! WOW! You have to get some! I've been missing out on some of the world's best food for years!

The second day we took a trip through the mountains to St. Catherine's Monastery, which is the oldest monastery in the world. It is right below Mt. Sinai where Moses received the 10 commandments from God. I felt like I went back in time going there.... I was on Mt. Sinai! How cool is that?!? Afterwards we went to Dahab....yes.... I know what you are all thinking. Is she crazy? Maybe so. (Dahab is the site where the bombings took place only days before) This was on our itinerary, and our private guide assured us it was fine... so we went. I saw Saudi Arabia! The town was pretty much a ghost town, but they were doing some TV interviews and taping the reconstruction of the sites that were attacked. So, maybe you will see me on CNN walking in front of the bombing site. We were only there for about a half hour, but I did get a chance to look around and get some great pictures. There was a lot of graffiti in town about stopping terrorism and such, so that was interesting to see.

The following day Jill and I took a boat out into the Red Sea where we went snorkeling. I found Nemo! Yes, that is right.... I got a picture too! Snorkeling was quite scary at first since we were just swimming around in the middle of the sea, but I had a really great time. The fish were so colorful and swam right next to me. The coral reefs were gorgeous, and I am excited that I had an underwater camera with me! If you ever get a chance to go to Egypt, diving/snorkeling in the Red Sea is a must!

We finally left the Sinai peninsula and headed back to Cairo for a few days before leaving on our flight this morning. Our friends that are still in Alex came to hang out with us for a few days, so that was awesome. Jill and I took a trip out to Sakara... which is another set of pyramids, but it is a step pyramid. It was fascinating just sitting out in the middle of the desert staring at such an ancient wonder! At night we went back to the pyramids of Giza... the famous ones... with the sphnix and saw the light show. Ever since 7th grade when I did a project on the 7 ancient wonders of the world, I had wanted to come to see the pyramids at night! Here I was.... sitting under the stars watching the pyramids come to life. It was one of my favorite moments in Egypt! My dreams really are coming true!!!!

Yesterday was our last day in Egypt, so we spent it walking around and hanging out in Islamic Cairo. We went into a famous mosque and got a tour, and they gave me a free book called "Women in Islam." It is really interesting to read because it compares the Koran to the Bible and describes it so I can understand the Islamic faith. Fascinating! Last night we took a Nile Cruise where we were on a big boat for dinner and dancing. I got called up on stage where I wore a fez (hat) and was playing a drum with a belly dancer. It was embarassing, but quite funny!

This morning we left, but I won't actually be back in Michigan until midnight on Friday evening. It takes so long to get home! I will be in New York for a day too. My phone will be back up and running by Friday as well. I can't wait to see all of you!

Egypt was another amazing adventure. It is a place that I recommend all of you see sometime in your life. The history is really unbelieveable and when you see it first hand it really comes alive! Did you know the oldest recorded human life was in Egypt 250,000 years BC!!!! Can you believe that? How amazing! Language was evolved from Egypt.... and so was life! If you ever go, I would love to give you helpful tips for your trip. I hope you all make it to see this wonderful country!

Well, now it is time to get some food and head back home. I am very happy to be on my way back, but I will really miss my life here too. I look forward to seeing all of you and hearing about what has been going on in your lives!

Thanks again for reading and writing back. Take care, and I will see you soon! Tomorrow I will post a few more pictures of things you have to see! Any my next adventure will be........ AUSTRALIA! Wanderlust is my middle name!

Ma salamo

Kat
DEATH RACE 2000

I heard about this early Sylvester Stallone gem on the radio. I was just wondering if anybody has seen it. Any thoughts?
THOUGHTS ON GAME 1

Cleveland 86 Detroit 113

So do you think the Pistons missed playing basketball? Today was one of the best games I have ever seen these Pistons play. They got it done on both ends of the floor. Plus they shot a very solid 51.9% from the floor. I was especially impressed with the play of Tayshaun Prince and his 8-16 for 24 pts. On the other side, LeBron got his. However, Ilgauskas was held to 14 pts on 5-14 shooting. Otherwise only Anderson Varejao was the only other Cav in double digits, and most of his points were scored in junk time.

The Pistons looked good today. But as Hubie Brown said all through the 4th quarter, this is only game one. Cleveland has plenty of opportunities to climb back in and make this a series. Plus, with LeBron, I expect him to go off the handle one night and solely propel the Cavs to at least one win. But the good thing about this Pistons team is that nobody has to remind them to stay focused. They are like Tondar at what they do.
QUOTE OF THE GAME

Hubie Brown - If you fall asleep, they're gonna back door ya.
TONDAR AT THE HALF

CLE 48 DET 69

Considering that there have been Pistons playoff games in the past where they don't score 69 points in the entire game and still manage to win, they are playing almost perfectly. On the defensive they have let LeBron get his. However, none of the rest of the Cavs seem to be stepping up to help...

LeBron: 9-14 for 22 pts and 1 assist
Rest of the Cavs: 11-26 for 26 pts and 4 assists


On offense the Pistons have been shooting an amazing 64.9% from the field including 90.9% for 3's. On top of that they already have 4 players in double digits. This has the Cavs pretty confused since they are being whooped by a nice balanced attack for which they haven't discovered an answer. Unfortunately, look for the Pistons to grow a little cold in the second half. This pace is too amazing to assume they will keep it up for the full 48 minutes. But on the other hand look for the fatigue start to set in for Cleveland considering they are coming off of 2 overtime games with the up and down Wizards.

Ilgauskas Watch: 16 minutes, 3-8 for 10 pts, 3 reb (2 oreb), 1 TO

Tondar stat of the game: Larry Hughes 15 minutes, 1-7 for 2 pts, 1 ast
ILGAUSKAS IS OUR BITCH

3:15 to go in the 1st
Cle 14 - Det 14

From the early going it looks like Detroit is forcing the Cavs to beat them inside. While the Pistons need to do a better job of blocking out. Notice how they have taken their aggression towards Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Being a European, he is soft. But if the Pistons can get to him early, they will frustrate him and dampen his 15.6 ppg avg.