Wednesday, August 31, 2016

2016 Georgia Bulldogs Preview

Tailback Nick Chubb
After a 10-3 season and a win over Penn State in the Taxslayer bowl, coach Mark Richt was let go even though he won 74% of his games as the Georgia Bulldogs coach (15 seasons).  He was very good but it wasn't good enough.  He missed being ranked in the top 25 three out of the last six seasons though he did take them to a bowl game each year he coached the team.  That is the pressure on an Georgia Bulldogs coach.  Enter Kirby Smart who is tasked with getting the passing offense back on track and getting them past very good.  Smart hasn't named a starting QB yet so it is hard to guess where that aspect of the offense goes.  The running game will have star back Nick Chubb returning after being injured last season and will also have Sony Michel who led the team in rushing last year with over 1,100 yards.  I think if they can get the quarterback going, combined with their good running attack, the offense will be in good shape.
New head coach Kirby Smart
The defense returns only four starters but they are all from the defensive backfield.  That is a good thing in college ball where there are pass happy teams left and right.  Georgia's passing offense was #1 in the country last year.  Still they'll see plenty of rushing offenses in the SEC and that could be an issue.  Supposedly the front seven has plenty of talent that could show itself this year.  That seems like a tall order but if they do play well watch out. 

With a decent quarterback there is no reason the Bulldogs can't win 11 games.  That is still to be seen and with new coaches combined with a new signal caller it is hard to tell what you are going to get.  Their September 3 opener at home versus North Carolina should be a decent test or at least show us where they are at to begin the season.  I think their rush game could be excellent with Chubb and Michel so I've got hopes for another 10, maybe even 11 win season   

Monday, August 29, 2016

Michigan Wolverines 2016 Preview

All-American Jabrill Peppers
The Michigan Wolverines are coming off a very good 10-3 season which saw them win the Citrus Bowl 41-7 over Florida.  With quarterback Jake Rudock gone that seems to leave Wilton Speight and John O'Koren, who have been battling for the job during camp, as the favorites.  Jim Harbaugh says he knows who his starter is but not when he'll tell everyone.  Even with that up in the air the offense returns eight starters which should help whoever wins the job. The running game could use a pep finishing 84th in the country.  Again with all the starters back I'm hoping for the offense to improve but that is never a given when you have an unknown at quarterback.  Jake Butt returns at tight end and he will give the QB winner a steady option along with the rest of the talented receiving corps. 

All-American Tight End Jake Butt
The defense isn't quite as lucky but does have five returning starters to include all-around stud Jabrill Peppers.  Michigan also hired top defensive coordinator Don Brown away from Boston College.  He'll have his work cut out for him but I don't think it is stretch to say the defense could be almost as good as last year's.  I'm not sure this team can win more than the ten they got last year but they should be able to match it.  If it wasn't for the questions at quarterback and the turnover on defense it'd be a different story.  They've helped themselves by scheduling the first five games, and eight of 12 overall, at home.  With some luck they can pick up 11 wins and maybe, just maybe beat Ohio State.  That may be wishful thinking but beating the Buckeyes is what all Michigan fans wish for. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

2016 Rio Olympics

The 2016 Olympics are over and Rio de Janeiro and the athletes made this a great event.  We watch quite a bit of the Olympics and enjoy the little known sports as well as some of the big name events.  I enjoy what this means to the athletes as well as to the countries.  And for the most part politics aren’t a big part of the story.  Just athletes who’ve gone all out for the last four years to get to this one point.  Rio for its part did a great job and all the dire predictions turned out to be for not.  The city did a great job overall.

 The opening and closing ceremonies did well as bookends to the Olympics.  I like watching the athletes after the Olympics are over because they are so much looser.  No more events to stress about and they can be themselves.  Some are even fans themselves who get selfies with the other stars of the games. 
Listening to interviews of the athletes, to include those on the local radio, showed they enjoyed themselves and also squashed the rumors about how bad conditions were.  There is way too many great moments in the Olympics not to enjoy.  You don’t have to be a fan of all the sports but there is definitely something for everyone.  For me, I just enjoy.    
Great Sportsmanship

And she backed it up the finger wag...

Trampoline competition - fun to watch for the first time

These guys were amazing to watch.  China Gold Medalists
Domination From Beginning to End

I was kind of digging rugby

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Last week I was in Dayton, Ohio for work and was able to take in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.  It was great, it was free and it was huge.  Anyone with any thought of going. should.  With it being free you can't beat the price and make sure you have plenty of time.  Three hours or so.  There are four large hangers filled with airplanes, many of which I've never seen before.  They don't skimp.  No matter how large or how small it seems like you'll find it here either in a ground display or hanging from the rafters.  There are also other displays as well as a nice gift shop.  This isn't something they just threw together. The facilities are very nice and I found it nothing short of fun.  The pictures below are just a small sample of what I took and much smaller sample of the total displays.    
Me in front of the P-38 - my favorite plane - rocking "The Warriors" shirt. 


Space Shuttle Mock Up You Could Walk Through






Part of the Bob Hope Display

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Atlanta Hawks Team Set - 2015-16 Panini Basketball

The final set I'll look at is the current Atlanta Hawks 2015-16 Hoops team set.  Eleven cards in this set which is nice compared to the others and I love that there are two cards with Hawks players in their throwback uniforms (Schroder and Milsap). 
The design is pretty nice but I'd like to have seen some smaller borders.  There are no player positions as is normal for Hoops.  I think having the corner colored around the team logo as is seen on the rookie card would have been nice to see on all cards.  Otherwise the photos are as good as always.  The backs are black and white and a tad different as the team logo is gone.  I'm not sure if Hoops is trying to take everything interesting out of the designs of the back or what.  If they had enlarged the font or done it for some other purpose I'd understand but as is it is just a big negative for me.  Overall these are ok for me but nothing to write home about. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Atlanta Hawks Team Set - 2014-15 Panini Basketball

This is the Atlanta Hawks 2014-15 Hoops team set.  This set had nine cards.  Average cards with a decent design.  Still no player position but the photos are good.  Maybe it is just the nature of basketball but the photos from year to year provide little excitement/difference.  The backs are black and white with a very similar design as past years.  Again not bad but not thrilling. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Atlanta Hawks Team Set - 2013-14 Panini Basketball

Time to look at another of the Atlanta Hawks team sets.  This one is the 2013-14 Hoops.  I was excited because the package stated "Find 1 Bonus All-Star Card Inside!".  There was no all-star card.  Bummer.  There were a total of eight cards in this pack.  The cards are pretty nice with most photos taken at the hoop.  The team logo set against a hardwood pattern is nice.  The Kyle Korver card is my favorite with him just prior to a game.  The fronts are ok but again they are missing the player's position.  The backs start the "no color on the backs" era for Hoops cards.  Bad. Look it doesn't have to look like a rainbow but it would be nice to have some color...ANY color.  Otherwise the backs are fine sticking closely to past designs.  Overall I like the cards but that is mostly due to the fronts 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Atlanta Hawks Team Set - 2012-13 Panini Basketball

Back to the Atlanta Hawks Panini Hoops team sets I purchased and wanted to review.  Since I did the 2010-11 set last time I would normally do the 2011-12 set today.  But I can't seem to find the package or cards.  You wouldn't think it would be something I'd lose but I have.  I'm sure it will turn up and will just move on to the 2012-13 set.  The set contains 10 cards ( I only scanned nine leaving out the Jannero Pargo card).  I received seven base cards though I am missing number 150, Joe Johnson.  What the heck?  I also received three cards numbered AH1-AH2 which I can't seem to find on the checklist.  Still I'm really bummed Joe Johnson wasn't included. 

Not bad looking cards.  Plenty of room for the photo though the "NBA HOOPS" logo at the bottom could have been much smaller.  The lack of the player's position is also a negative.  Otherwise I'm ok with the fronts.  The backs are pretty colorful as far as recent Hoops cards go.  Nice big logo, player info and write-up and all the player's stats.  Wow.  I love that.  My eyes aren't good enough to read them without my reading glasses but definitely a plus.  Nice cards.  Maybe not great but I like them. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

I Went to a Concert: Journey, The Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason

Me and the youngest daughter, she is 16, saw Journey, The Doobie Brothers, and Dave Mason a week ago.  The three are on tour dubbed as San Francisco Fest 2016.  This was my second concert in two weeks.  I reviewed the Heart/Joan Jett/Cheat Trick concert then.    This concert had a different vibe to it.  Journey and The Doobie Brothers are bigger bands in the scheme of things and it showed.  Journey puts on an awesome show to include better lighting and video.  These guys are used to playing before huge crowds and have a ton of hits to back them up.  The majority of the band are in their sixties but lead singer Arnel Pineda is the exception.  He is 48 but he runs and jumps around stage like he is in his twenties.  Bottom line is Journey put on a great show.  We absolutely loved it.  High energy and these guys are still great at what they do. 

The Doobie Brothers really surprised me.  I knew they were a big band in their day and was not surprised to recognize many of their songs once they started.  Still I was not ready for the enthusiasm and energy they brought.  From the time they launched into Takin' It to the Streets the crowd didn't sit down.  They played very well and knew how to work the crowd.  Not knowing what to expect going in I was pleasantly surprised.  So glad they were on this ticket as I doubt I'd ever see them otherwise.

Dave Mason was good but as he is more of a writer as opposed to a singer he was not someone I had heard of.  He was good and I can say I recognized a couple of songs. 

1. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
2. Be Good to Yourself
3. Only the Young
4. Guitar Solo (with "The Star-Spangled Banner") 
5. Stone in Love
6. Any Way You Want It
7. Lights
8. Piano Solo
9. Open Arms
10. Who's Crying Now
11. Escape
12. La Do Da w/drum solo
13. Wheel in the Sky
14. Faithfully
15. Don't Stop Believin'
16. Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'
Doobie Brothers
1. Jesus Is Just Alright (The Art Reynolds Singers cover) 
2. Rockin' Down the Highway
3. Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While) (Kim Weston cover) 
4. Another Park, Another Sunday
5. Sweet Maxine
6. Eyes of Silver
7. Spirit
8. Clear as the Driven Snow
9. Keyboard Solo
10. Takin' It to the Streets
11. The Doctor
12. Black Water
13. Long Train Runnin'
14. China Grove
15. Without You
16. Listen to the Music
Dave Mason
1. Only You Know and I Know
2. Rock and Roll Stew (Traffic song) 
3. We Just Disagree
4. Look at You Look at Me
5. Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic song) 
6. Feelin' Alright (Traffic song) 
7. All Along the Watchtower

Friday, August 5, 2016

Suicide Squad Movie Review [SPOILER ALERT]

[SPOILER ALERT]  The 24 year-old daughter and I saw Suicide Squad Thursday night.  We both enjoyed the movie but we also left the movie knowing DC didn’t knock it out of the park.  I thought the characters were done very well.  DC introduced many new characters (Harley Quinn, Deadshot, etc.) to their movie universe while also showing established heroes and villains (Batman, Joker).  Again, I liked each character but the movie as a whole was missing something.  A team comic book movie is tough with so many characters to integrate into the film while also trying to have a good plot, pacing and story.   

The team consists of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, El Diablo, Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc, Enchantress and Slipknot.  The good guys include Amanda Waller, Col Flag (and his secret ops team) and Katana.  Batman has small appearances in the film while The Joker plays a bigger role in the film.  Amanda Waller is the government head who forms the team to counter the threat of super powered bad guys.  In return the team is made promises and are controlled with the threat of an explosive implanted into each team member.  Enchantress (witch-goddess) goes bad and resurrects her brother to help her build a weapon to take over the world. 

The first mission of the team is to rescue Waller who is trapped in Midway City which is under siege by monsters conjured up by Enchantress.  Once freed  Waller is captured by Enchantress’ brother leading the team on a second rescue mission.  In the middle of all this is the Joker who wants to reunite with his love, Harley Quinn.  This actually occurs but during their escape the Joker goes down in a helicopter crash and Harley believes he has died.  The team does a great job against the monster army they encounter but struggle once they directly fight Enchantress and her brother.  They finally are able to defeat both though Diablo dies in the process.

So during all of this you are introduced to the characters and as is expected you start liking these bad guys who are all locked up for good reason.  At the end when they are all locked back I’m not sure how to feel.  There characters don’t’ ever show remorse for what they have done (sans Diablo to some extent) so how much should I really like them?  Apart from that the choice of bad guys and a movie that just doesn’t seem as strong as it should be lends me to be a little disappointed.  All that aside I do really like the characters as well as the actors who portrayed them.  Will Smith does a great job as does Margot Robbie whose sexy fun Harley Quinn really is the star of the movie.  Anyone who enjoys the comics genre should see this movie.  It doesn’t hit a homerun but I do think it is entertaining.   Oh and guess who is broken out of prison by her baddie boyfriend at the end of the movie…