Monthly archives: December 2007
Happy New Year
I want to thank all the readers of the Juice Blog for making 2007 a really fun year. Over the next few days, I will post a preview of the Iowa Caucus and the Top Music choices of 2007. Also, look for the highly anticipated return of PLEASE EXPLAIN.
The Loser Takes on Steroids at ProtradeTv.com
Check out the gambler's perspective on performance enhancing drugs. Hint: The key is that if perfomance is enhanced to help my team cover the spread...than that is a win-win. Also, hear how last week the Vikings choked worse than Ellen DeGeneres at a Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Bowl Game Selections (Part 2)
My bowl picks got off to a poor start, with Cincy losing by a half point not helping. Despite starting 0-3, I won my next 4 to get me over .500 going into the Independence Bowl.
Michigan (+10.5) Florida
Michigan/Florida (over 59)
Georgia (-7.5) Hawaii
Georgia/Hawaii (over 68.5)
Arkansas (+3.5) Missouri
Wisconsin (+3) Tennessee
Illinois (+14) USC
Virginia Tech (-3) Kansas 4-star Bowl Selection of the Year
Ball St. (+10) Rutgers
Bowling Green (+4.5) Tulsa
Ohio St. (+4) LSU
Ohio St./LSU (under 49)
Lloyd Carr has been abysmal in big games, but I think the Gators defense is weak enough to cover the large spread in a shootout. See the over.
Can't see where Hawaii can stop the Dawgs offense, but both teams will score over 30. Let's try 52-35.
I think the Big 12 North was overrated, so I will go against both Missouri and Kansas. Love the Hokies.
While the Vols are a more talented team, I will take the major coaching edge and go with the Badgers to pull another bowl game upset.
I have little doubt that the Trojans will win the game, but I think they will be a little flat and the run offense of the Illini will keep under the side.
The Scarlet Knights shouldn't be 10 point favorites over any team in the bowl picture.
It has been a healthy formula to bet on MAC in bowl games or March Madness, so I'm going with Dave Letterman U.
LSU has just not impressed me this year. Ohio State has a lot to prove after getting slammed by the Gators in the BCS Championship. The Buckeyes defense is the best in the nation. Buckeyes 22-19.
Bowl Game Selections (Pre January 1)
I have done well picking bowl games at the Juice blog, as the colleges have been my strength.
Cincinnati (-10.5) Southern Miss
Nevada (+3) New Mexico
Arizona St. (+2.5) Texas
Michigan St. (+3.5) Boston College
Oregon St. (-5) Maryland
You would have gotten rich betting on Cincy this year. They definitely have helped my record versus the spread. Nevada has lost more close, weird games than anyone in 2007. I will take the coaching of Erickson over Brown anytime. The Big 10 is the dog in 6 of the 8 bowl games they are in. The Spartans might be the best bet to win in outright in a game they are getting points in from the conference. I like Riley, and think the Pac-10 is far superior to the Big East.
Miss. State (+3) Central Florida
Wake Forest (-2.5) Connecticut
Alabama (-3.5) Colorado
California (-3.5) Air Force
Auburn (+2.5) Clemson
Oregon (+6.5) South Florida
I know the Knights have an all-timer at halfback, but the speed on D of State will help hold him down. Grobe at Wake is one of the Top 10 coaches in America. I've got to go with Saban and the SEC over the Buffs. Traditionally Air Force covers in their bowl game, but the underachieving Bears give good line value, so I will take Tedford to rekindle the magic. Who would have thought Tennessee would have been playing on Jan. 1, while Cal would be in the Armed Forces Bowl, after their game in September? Once again, I will go with coaching and the SEC over a Bowden-led Clemson squad that is hard to gauge. What a fall the Ducks took over their last 3 games, but I think they will get enough play out of their backup QB's to keep the game close.
Is This the Beginning of the Football Picks Turnaround?
Despite what it might seem, I didn't purposedly pick losers last week to fit my new video segment at Protradetv.com. Actually, I have an idea for a winning week, so hopefully that will happen soon.
Arizona (-10) Atlanta
Cincy (+3) Cleveland
Oakland (+13) J-ville
Baltimore (+11) Seattle
Chicago (+8.5) Green Bay
Check Out My Latest Web Video for ProTradeTV.com
My second effort for Protradetv.com has me showing steady growth in my character...THE LOSER. It is up to you to figure out how much of this sketch is based in the truth.
Check Out ProTradeTv.com to See My Newest Project
Starting this week, I have joined Protrade.com at their new multimedia project, ProTradeTv.com. My weekly effort is called Lovable Loser with Scott Long, which features my rants on the world of sports gambling (specifically the NFL the first couple of weeks) and how certain decisions can cost people some serious lettuce. I'm completely new to the medium, so I'm a little rough delivering my first segment, but the editing is really good, which helps save the piece. I suspect I will get better at this, as I get more comfortable with the format.
If you aren't interested in what I have to offer on football gambling, let me suggest you click on Will Carroll's video on the Mitchell Commission or the Winter Meetings. If you want to know who to bet on, ProTrade has come up with a computer model that is picking games at over a 60% clip. A lot better than I've done here in 2007. I did go 4-2 last week, though. These are the best set of games I've seen this year to put money on. Check out my NFL 2 Team Parlay of the Year! (Bills and Falcons)
NY Jets (+24) Pats
Buffalo (+5.5) Cleveland (4 star)
Indy (-10) Oakland
Arizona (+4) New Orleans
Atlanta (+12.5) Tampa Bay (4 star)
Is It Time to Throw Mickey Mantle Out of Cooperstown?
What a scandalous headline! Let me explain myself before the death threats. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Bill Crystal. In the current climate where if you ever used steroids you cannot make the Hall of Fame, let me offer up my contrarian view. My standards are to reward players who did everything they could to become a better player. Sure these players cut corners to possibly become more accomplished at their craft, but think about the sacrifice they made to be the best they could be.
And then there was Mickey Mantle. As physically talented of a player that has ever stepped on the diamond, Mantle seemed destined to be the greatest to ever put on a uniform. While it is obvious that injuries derailed some of his physical talents, who knows how much drinking played a part in him not reaching the levels that an Aaron or Mays reached. The legendary drinking stories reached mythic proportions, as Mickey was the ultimate leader of the boozing and carousing pinstripers of the 50’s and 60’s.
I realize that this is a major contrarian view, but ethically I believe it is a more moral stance to do everything it takes to be better, even if you are taking an illegal drug than to overuse a legal one that impacts on the field performance in a negative way. Sure Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are disagreeable men, with a spotty record in dealing with the public and the press. Well I can guarantee that Mantle would’ve stood no chance surviving the New York sports piranhas (writers) glare, if he would have played in current times. Deadspin would probably have to have its own satellite site just focused on the Mick. If you thought ARod having a fling in Toronto was news, do some research on Mantle's off the field exploits. It makes ARod look like A.C. Green.
One of the most difficult challenges one could ask for would be to debate Bob Costas on the subject of baseball. I would love to discuss this particular topic with him, though, as Costas has been such a severe critic of steroids, while joining in the hero-worship business of the Mick. Despite Mantle trying to sabotage his natural ability, he still ended up with first ballot Hall of Fame numbers. My bigger point is that the steroids era is lot more complicated than what the general public believes which is a few players obtained great benefits by using PED’s, while most of the players were clean.
On a similarly related topic, Don Hooton is all over the TV pushing the story about how steroid use by pro athletes will lead to death for many high schoolers who emulate them. I’ve never used steroids and wouldn’t recommend them to anyone, let alone someone who is under 18, but the incidents of steroids killing kids is really small. Now if you want to look at a set of troubling stats, look at alcohol related deaths for the under 18 set. Alcohol-related advertising is a key component of what you see at the game or on TV. I cannot imagine how devastating the loss of a child is and my hearts aches for Mr. Hooton, but let’s have some perspective here. While steroids use is a problem for young people, there are far more serious issues that we should be focusing our attention on.
Quick Take on the Mitchell Report
The time has come where the media can really sensationalize the whole steroids issue. None of the names surprise me that are on the list. The biggest surprise is that there aren't more, but it just came down to who they could get some dirt on. Considering that there was no testing going on and that a large group of players were using, I seriously doubt I wouldn't have used myself.
The one place where the issue has been addressed without hysteria has been Baseball Prospectus. I'm proud that my buddy (and founder of this blog) Will Carroll has been the sanest analyst on the subject. His live chat at the site today blows away what you will hear on ESPN, CNN, and other media sources. To be informed and rationale is such an alien concept when it comes to the boogeyman, steroids.
Did you notice that never was the words amphetamines brought up today at any of the sites? I haven't read the Mitchell Report (hell, I'm just finishing up the Meese Report), but I doubt you will read anything about other PED's besides steroids and HGH. This gives cover to all the past generations who took whatever they could get their hands on, which might have given them an advantage.
The big name is Roger Clemens. Anyone who had any contacts in the baseball world had heard the rumors over the years that he was a user. He is the only name I'm glad to have seen on the list. Why?
New idea for Singular Cellphone Ad. Senator Mitchell gives Roger Clemens a jingle and proceeds to ask him about his usage of PED's. Clemens tells him he is ready to come clean and then...the line goes blank on Clemens' end, as his service is crappy. It works for me.
Check Out Scott Long Standup Clip
I'm currently working on a TV set, so click on the link below if you want a taste of what I do.
The clip is located at a great new standup comedy site called Rooftop Comedy. It is the most standup comedy-friendly site around, as you get a lot more honest look of what standup in a club is really like. When I get a chance, I will clue you in on some specific comics you should check out there, but I suggest just exploring the site on your own, if you have the time.
Reviewing the Juice Blog Since the World Series Ended
A great thing I have at this site is the freedom to write on pretty much whatever I want to. These are the subjects discussed here since the Red Sox waxed the Rockies.
Oct. 30- Please Explain: Some Candy Bars- A discussion of how items like the 5th Avenue Bar, the Mallo Cup, and the Mr. Goodbar shouldn't still be on the shelves. The Charleston Chew is compared in visual dimensions to the appendage of Lexington Steele.
Nov. 3- Jerry Seinfeld discusses A-Rod and the Mets
Nov. 7- The Complete History of Candy- Candy Heaven which mentions how Cola Bottle Caps are 1 of the 10 best flavors on the planet. Grape Bubble Yum is the best gum. Candy Purgatory featuring Zotz and its bizarre filling that hits your tongue like battery acid. Candy Hell puts out the idea that Runts have a good name, but don't taste good. They also should not be confused with a product conceived by Ann Coulter.
Nov. 12- Diamond Views on A-Rod- Better understanding the feelings of Alex through the lyrics of Neil Diamond, which was linked at Deadspin.com. What was his reason for choosing the Yankees?
Nov. 23- Supporting Most of the Troops- A story about a recent battle with a heckler who was so self-absorbed that he didn't care he was wrecking the show for all the other paying customers. After ripping him, he comebacks with "I'm going to Afghanistan", which was supposed to get him back in favor with me and the audience. My response:
Dec. 3- When Movies Can Be a Magnifying Glass to Our Soul- An illuminating moment happens to me while watching a porn scene done in the classic MILF genre. I realize that the even the older chicks in porn are often younger than me. What a wakeup call from my Peter Pan existence, as it made me consider my own mortality for the first time. I'm actually older than many of the Mothers I'd Like to F***. Pornography helps us understand ourselves better. Sure many of us think it, but we fail to publicly acknowledge it. Thank you PORN for making the world a better place.
Dec. 5- How SHOWTIME is Eating HBO's Lunch- HBO had reached an historic peak for one network, but it is currently in a rebuilding phase, while SHOWTIME has 2 of the best programs around. (Dexter and Californication)
Dec. 5- Time to Admit I Have a Mancrush- I discuss the weird feelings I get watching Mike Rowe, the host of Dirty Jobs. In the comments I explain that a mancrush for me is feelings hit me when I watch the guy (Rowe) that I don't feel for other men. Let me stress, though that these feelings DO NOT include any romantic thoughts and definitely not lubricants! A very uncomfortable discussion to be having, especially considering I'm married and have a 4 year old daughter. An added part of this piece mentions the 4 coolest dudes on TV today. Anthony Bourdain and Bobby Flay make the list, even though I doubt either one of them care for each other, much. Do I see a Throwdown?
I realize that not all these subjects will connect with the readers here, but considering the wide range of weird discussions over the past month or so, something has to have peaked your interest. If you know of other blogs that cover so many diverse type subjects, please mention them in the comments section, as I would like to see their methodology. I'm still on the fence if The Juice Blog has a long-term future, since there is really no unifying theme. The internet sites that have had the most success seem to be narrowcasted, but maybe I've missed some places that don't.
Had another .500 week. Next week I will announce the site where you can find a video podcast I will be doing on the NFL. It should be interesting.
Buffalo (-7) Miami
New England (-10.5) Pittsburgh
Detroit (+11) Dallas
Kansas City (+6) Denver
Arizona (+7) Seattle
Houston (+3) Tampa Bay
The weather isn't going to help the Dolphins chances. The number going down is big, as the Patriots will be more focused over an overrated Steelers team. Detroit is going the wrong direction, but being at home will keep it close. Shanahan is a mediocre coach. I've been losing on the Seahawks all year, but I think the Cardinals will keep within a field goal. Have you noticed that the AFC is way better than the NFC. Houston would have a good chance of winning the NFC South.
Time to Admit I Have a Mancrush
When the subject of mancrushes comes up, most heterosexual males will generally make a few proclamations of why admitting this don't make me gay. I will be the first to admit that I don't know the first thing about how to fix a car or work a circular saw. I do like to shop for clothes and I'm a big fan of ABBA. If I didn't like poontang and football so much, I'm not sure I would be able to convince even myself I'm straight. So let me be clear when I say, I dig me the ladies.
I'm so comfortable in my own sexuality that I believe gay men should be able to marry, be part of the military, run a Cub Scout troop and even have the right to vote....wait a minute...I'm being told that they can vote...AWESOME! I say it's about time.
I have always been able to say, hey that guy is decent looking. (In italics is the exact way I would always say it.) What I have never had before is a full-fledged MANCRUSH. That is until last year when I caught a show called Dirty Jobs.
If you haven't seen it, Dirty Jobs is hosted by a guy named Mike Rowe, who travels the U.S. looking for the worst jobs around. While it's interesting to see the horrible professions some people have to endure on a daily basis, what makes Dirty Jobs so infinitely watchable is Rowe. This is the man I wish I could be. Mike Rowe is a strongly built, square jawed, masculine dude, with a great dry sense of humor. I've been a touring standup comedian for 15 years and I have never seen anyone as adept at dishing out scatological lines as Rowe. This does come in handy, since many of the Dirty Jobs he features have a strong whiff of excrement in their duties/dooties.
In my research on the Mancrush, I found a great video that Rowe has done in response from a man named FATBOY Rider who feels similarly to myself about the Dirty Jobs host. Let me just offer up as a defense, Mr. Rowe, that my Mancrush is totally harmless, as I think it is kind of like a grown up version of hero worship. Much like how a young Bob Costas used to feel watching Mickey Mantle come to the plate. It is definitely not a Spartacus kind of hero worship, as I am no man's man servant.
Further in my research I ran across a website devoted to the mancrush. Since I'm Agnostic, I can't go with the Number 1 on their list, Jesus Christ, though I did think Willem Dafoe's portrayal of the Lord was pretty cool in the Last Temptation of Christ. Actually, I would love to hear Kasey Kasem do a radio Top 40 devoted to the topic.
Since FATBOY Rider and I have been brave enough to share our MANCRUSH target, I would like to hear yours. Remember that the Juice Blog is a safe place where admitting a Mancrush says nothing more than you like another man in an unexplained and maybe in a little bit of an uncomfortable way.
The Juice Blog's List of the 4 Coolest Dudes on TV
How SHOWTIME is Eating HBO's Lunch
A few years back, when HBO had Deadwood, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, and Curb Your Enthusiasm all going at the same time, it was a magical time for the pay network. These shows were all among the Top 20 best in the history of television. Adding to this wealth of quality, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Real Time with Bill Maher, and other great documentary programming were at their peak at HBO. It was the finest collection of programming any network has ever had during one time period. This is no longer the case.
While many of you have missed it, SHOWTIME has become the best network for original programming. It really began in 2006, with the Mary Louise Parker comedy Weeds. Weeds is a quirky comedy, but it does a remarkable thing in that it gives as fair and balanced a view of the marijuana culture as a drama could accomplish. The show explores the silliness of US Pot laws, while at the same time showing how even Weed can cause your life to spiral out of control. Weeds features a great ensemble cast, but it is the talents of Parker that really make the show special. Parker has always had this smart, sexy, seductive quality that she brings to her work, but in Weeds she really gets her full opportunity to shine. The show did have Jump the Shark moments this season, but the overall quality of the show still is far above most on television.
Paired with Weeds during this fall was Californication. Starring David Duchovny, Californication was the best new show I watched this year. (It should be noted that I never saw Mad Men.) I’ve always liked Duchovny, but since I’m not a big science fiction guy, I never went nuts for his work on X-Files. I first noticed him on Zalman King’s Skinemax series, Red Shoe Diaries and around the same time in a supporting part in the Mimi Roger’s film vehicle, The Rapture. He was good in both of them. Where he really first shined for me, though, was his hilarious turn on the Larry Sanders Show, playing himself as a guy with a crush on Sanders. His scene in the robe with Larry is one of my favorite comic scenes. Duchovny finally found the perfect role for himself in the new series, Californication, as he plays possibly the coolest part ever in TV history. His character, Hank Moody is a novelist who is self-aware of how his best work is in the rear-view mirror. Hank is an East Coast guy, who lives in LA, despite seemingly hating everything about the vacuous nature of the place. The key to the character is that Hank is filled with self-loathing, but at the same time still believes he is better than every one else he comes into contact with. A truer self-absorbed artist portrait has not been seen. Oh and one great major bonus is that the guy beds women like he is in a porn film. Amazingly, I never have a problem believing it could happen, though, because his character is so damn witty and charming. No show since Dream On has had so much random boning, but unlike the gratuitous nature of much of its skin, Californication’s sex always seems perfectly natural. A major bonus on this front was the full-on scene with Duchovny and Paula Marshall which happened in one of the first few episodes. It was erotic, clumsy, and pathetic all at the same time. Much like how real sex is.
The best show of 2006 has almost been as good in 2007. I’m speaking of Showtime’s Dexter. I’m not going to give much depth on the show, as I would hate to wreck the show for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Just the basics. The story is about a Miami Police blood splatter expert named Dexter Morgan, who just happens to be a serial killer during his free-time. Played beautifully by Micheal C. Hall (David from Six Feet Under), Morgan has a code he follows in his kills, which is that his victims need to have been despicable human beings who have killed others themselves. Dexter is not easy to root for, as his anti-hero is no Chuck Bronson vigilante, but instead a cold-blooded, psychopath. Despite this very dark theme, the show has a great dry sense of humor which is aided greatly by Dexter’s narration. His voice-over give an inner thought process that is so cold, yet humorous that it reminds me of Malcom McDowell in A Clockwork Orange. The only bright spot that I’ve heard come out of the writer’s strike is that CBS (part of the same Viacom family that Showtime is part of) might show Dexter on its network in 2008. If you don’t want to wait or have to watch a watered down version of the show, go out and buy the first season on DVD. Unlike most HBO releases, the price is very reasonable to catch the best drama on television. Quit watching the formula that is CSI and check-out a forensic show with real edge and spark.
I have in the past praised Showtime’s Penn and Teller’s Bullshit, which puts a magnifying glass to lots of New Age malarkey. Showtime’s new drama, Brotherhood is pretty good in its own right. The L Word is too often a lesbian soap opera, but any show that features women making out has artistic credibility to me.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the piece, HBO is going through a transition period.
The Soprano’s wrapped up this year, but I had felt the show was a shell of itself the past few years, anyway.
John from Cincinnati sadly didn’t work. I guess even David Milch is capable of a dud.
Rome is too Masterpiece Theatre for me and it would seem for most of its subscribers.
Entourage lost steam quickly, as Jeremy Piven carried the show as far as he could.
Big Love is solid, but the topic seemed much more promising than it has delivered.
Tell Me You Love Me is a hard watch, but I do appreciate the documentary style it brings to relationships. While it is far from perfect, it is the best drama that HBO can point to for the future, as The Wire’s last season is coming upon us.
Extras is another show with some great moments, but it is nowhere in the league of Gervais’ brilliant British original of The Office.
Fortunately for HBO, Curb Your Enthusiasm made a return to greatness in many of its Season 7 episodes. The impending divorce of Larry David from his wife in real-life has bled over to Curb and it has seemed to reinvigorate the show bringing more nastiness and hate to the program. These are 2 qualities that give Curb much of its energy, so it has been a major benefit. It regained the Juice Blog’s crown of best comedy on TV.
I have kept HBO on my satellite package because of its excellent documentaries, great sports programming headlined by Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and Inside the NFL, plus the best talk show around, Real Time with Bill Maher. Even with these quality shows, Showtime has eaten HBO’s lunch in 2007. It will be interesting to see what happens with HBO in 2008, as they clearly seem to be in a rebuilding phase. Considering the creative freedom that pay cable offers original dramas, I hope HBO does a better job selecting the next batch of new programming.
When Movies Can Be a Magnifying Glass to Our Soul
You might say I'm a bit of a film buff. One recent phenomenom in cinema has been brother directing teams creating movie magic together. For example, some love the Coen brothers, others are fanatical about the Wachowski brothers, while there are countless others who prefer the slapstick comedy of the Farrelly brothers. I don't dispute their talents, but the siblings who have had the greatest impact on my life are the Bang Brothers. (NSFW) These auteurs of the ass are true innovators in their use of the lens.
Recently I was watching their work in the classic MILF genre. In it there was the revolutionary idea of a college boy back for the summer mowing the lawn of the sexy older woman down the street. I will admit I was initially moved by the genius displayed in this scene, but then the actor mentioned that he was excited to be with a woman so much more experienced, a mature woman who was 35 YEARS OLD! This statement changed everything for me, as it put a mirror up to myself. I realized that I was part watching/part fantasizing that I was the boy, when in real truth, I was at a more advanced age than the older woman being defiled. What a wakeup call from my Peter Pan existence, as it made me consider my own mortality for the first time. I'm actually older than many of the Mothers I'd Like to F***.
Once again, Pornography helps us understand ourselves better. Sure many of us think it, but we fail to publicly acknowledge it. Thank you PORN for making the world a better place.
Societal Critic at Large: Scott Long
About the Toaster
Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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