Friday, December 29, 2006

Bowl picks...

My thoughts on a few games...

LSU 9 Notre Dame

USC 1 Michigan

West Va 10 ½ Ga. Tech

Va. Tech 2 ½ Georgia

Ohio State 7 ½ Florida

Here's your happy thoughts for the New Year...

My new hero is Jibbs from St. Louis - check him out with a classic tune from childhood turned into a hip hop classic!

Also - can't bring in the New Year without some good vodka - get the best in Van Gogh! Check out the recipies for great martini's and so much more.

Earthshaking news from San Francisco and it's not the earth moving...

Let's start this post with a simple request from me to baseball owners: NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER AGAIN cry poverty.

Barry Zito signed a 7-year $126 million dollar deal with the San Francisco Giants.

STOP - go back and re-read the last sentence.

The former Oakland A's pitcher went 16-10 with a 3.83 ERA last season and has a 102-63 career record with a 3.55 ERA. He won the 2002 AL Cy Young Award after going 23-5. Not bad numbers. But are you kidding me with this contract?

First, a guy who plays every five or so days gets roughly $18 million a year? Throughout his career, he has pitched about 35 games a year. If he does that for the Giants, that will be $514,285.71 per start. That's a lot of sushi for Peter Magowan's team to sell at the ballpark to pay that deal off.

Then take into account a 7-year deal. There is precedence as to why you shouldn't give a pitcher a deal like this. Actually, there are two deals to look at - the largest contract for a pitcher was Mike Hampton's $121 million, eight-year deal with the Colorado Rockies before the 2001 season. Now pitching for the Atlanta Braves, he has averaged a 10-9 record with a 4.63 ERA since signing his deal.

Kevin Brown received a $105 million deal from 1999-2005 from the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also had access to a private plane to fly him back and forth to his home near Macon, GA. He did a little better than Hampton, he averaged an 11-6 record with a 3.55 ERA.

The New York Mets were the lead dog in the race for Zito, but even GM Omar Minaya wouldn't give Zito more than five-years. "I could not recommend to our ownership crossing the barrier of five years," Minaya said yesterday on a conference call. "Our final - first, really - offer was for five years. We were going to be aggressive on the AAV (average annual value), but we wouldn't go seven years."

Pitchers are not always like fine wine and age well. Roger Clemens is the exception to the rule. When and where he signs - Clemens may look like a steal compared to Zito's deal. Big money is on the Yankees to get him, but keep an eye on Boston. Be a great way to end his first ballot Hall of Fame career where he started.

The big winner on this deal, besides Zito, is his agent Scott Boras. Is there a big contract in baseball that gets done without this guy? Between Zito and his Boston deal with Daisuke Matsuzaka, we won't need to hold a benefit for him again this year.

The funniest part of this deal is that the ink isn't dry on the contract and people are already saying that the Giants still can't improve their spot in the NL West.'s Jacob Luft predicts that the Giants will still finish fourth in their division.

Bottom line of all of this is simple - if you have a kid who is left-handed, tape a baseball to his hand at a young age and make him a pitcher. Heck, anyone who doubts me can check out Bruce Hurst. Was the ying to Clemens yang with the Red Sox's in the 80's. He signed a nice contract with the San Diego Padres and finished his career with a 145-113 record with a 3.92 ERA.

Quick hits from elsewhere....

Kudos to Rutgers for winning their first bowl game ever and finishing the year with a 11-2 record. If you went to Vegas to start the year and told any sportsbook that this would happen, you would have made a lot of money. Of course, you would have had to wait for them to stop laughing at you.

Please Texas Tech, win a game for all of us. It's a nice story that Bobby Knight is going to win 880 games and break the record, but please don't tell me the warm fuzzy story about Knight. No one can sell that story to any of us.

Saddam Hussein is supposed to be hanged at some point soon. Think we can carry that live on Fox News or CNN? Would definitely get better rankings than that OJ "If I Did It" stuff.

Mike Tyson was arrested for DUI and cocaine possession. At least he's consistent - ya have to give him that. Sad, just sad.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Marching towards 2007

Want to take a second and say thanks for stopping by this year to keep up with me, the family and all kinds of wacky things along the way.

I know I get a little incensed over certain sports things from time to time and I appreciate your indulgence.

Over the next year, I will keep up with my posts about many different topics. One of the topics I will be speaking about is my new world at GCI Group. I am part of a global public relations company that is filled with tons of great people. I honestly haven't been surrounded by such good people since my days at USA Today and I am having a blast working on all different kinds of accounts.

Best part of my gig is that I get to work on our Digital Media practice and get to work with Paul Walker. He has his own blog about Digital Media and all the great things going on in the DM world called The Zone Read. Check it out when you get a chance.

So - if anyone out there needs any PR services - we are your folks. Offices around the world with wonderful people and great capabilities.

That's it for now. I am going to try and update the posts on a daily basis - so check me out and let your friends in on this crazy world. If you have topics for me - let me know what you want to talk about.

Until then - wishing you and yours a wonderful, safe, healthy and peaceful New Year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Passing of a hero

As a political junkie, there's no way I can go through the day without mentioning the passing of former President Gerald Ford.

He was, as Bo Schembechler would say, a "Michigan Man." But he was more than that. He was the man who lead our country out of scandal and out of war. He was as Tom Brokaw called him, "an uncomplicated man."

Think about this - he wasn't "chosen" by the American people to be the Vice-President nor was he "chosen" to be the President. He was thrust into both roles by scandal and he did his best to get us through Watergate and the end of Vietnam. He made the hard decision to pardon former President Richard Nixon and was highly criticized for his decision. The only shame of his life was that he lost his chance to earn his OWN presidency to Jimmy Carter. Many historians blame the pardon for the loss. They also look back on that decision and give Ford tons of credit for the pardon and how it helped heal the country from its wounds of Watergate. Who knows how things could have been different had Ford beaten Carter in 1976. I do know that a better, more respected man would have been in the Oval Office from my view of history.

They say that things happen in three's - so here's my question - who is the third "Michigan Man" to follow Bo and Ford to the Big House in the sky?

Not to worry boys, Michigan should beat up on USC in the Rose Bowl. Enjoy the view....

Just when you think it's safe to go back in the water...

For those of you who enjoy watching train wrecks, this is your lucky week!

The New York Football Giants are at it one last time under the leadership (or lack there of) of Tom Coughlin. With one week to go in the season, he takes away the play calling abilities of John Hufnagel, the offensive coordinator. Let's stop and think about this for a minute. The ship is sinking - it's been just a brutal month and a half, yet if you win the last game of the year vs. the lowly Washington Redskins on Saturday night, you still get in the playoffs.

"John Hufnagel is not a scapegoat here," Coughlin said after practice to the . "He is not. But we need a change, we need a spark, and that's the way it goes. How can you look at the production of Sunday and not think that, OK, there's some issue here?"

SO with that change - your last chance to save your job, who do you turn the play calling over to? Is there some genius on your staff that can all of a sudden right the ship? What is the name of this evil genius?? Tell me - please!!

Kevin Gilbride.

C'mon. Seriously. C'mon.

Water coming in on all sides of the boat and you hand the biggest bucket to a guy who is more famous for getting punched on the sidelines by Buddy Ryan than anything he has ever done in football.

The NY Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano calls the move a "desperate one." Bob Glauber of Newsday says that Coughlin should call the plays himself. Gary Myers of the NY Daily News calls it "panicking."

And by the way, for those of you who don't know, Gilbride has been Eli's quarterback coach for the last few years. Anyone besides me now see why Eli is having issues?

"If were going to turn this thing around, it's going to be a matter of the players doing it ourselves," Manning said. "We've got to step up and we've got to execute the game plan, no matter what it is."

"I think he's an excellent game-day coach and, as I said, I've been with him when we've been very successful and it was, to me, a natural progression," Coughlin said. "If I wasn't going to do it or if I was going to do it in some capacity, Kevin would have been very much involved in it anyway."

Well - here it is, the hail mary before the game thrown by Coughlin. For all of our sakes boys, just drop it and let's change the world for the better!

This ship has not only sunk, it has sailed....check out Paul Schwartz's column in the NY Post speaking about the changes that need to be made.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


I have been waiting a long, long time and in the NY Daily News on Tuesday, Gary Myers said what I have been thinking about my beloved Giants ... read his column .

If this wasn't enough, I went to the NY Post to read Steve Serby and he agrees with Myers and me. Read his column.

They need to do three simple things to change our franchise into a winner (in this order):

1 - Fire Tom Coughlin!!!!!!!

2 - Hire Scott Pioli from New England as their new GM.

3 - Hire Charlie Weis from Notre Dame as their new head coach.

With those three moves, we head back in the right direction. PLEASE Mr. Mara and Mr. Tisch - PLEASE just do it!! It will cost a couple of bucks - but a few titles will make it back for you!

Merry New Year!!!

Hi kids - just got back from a week in West Palm Beach with the family. What a great time. We stayed at the Breakers and I have to tell you - it is by far the most kid friendly place I have EVER been.

Every restaurant, every room, every thing is open to kids. Now, you may not want to take them to everything, but it's awfully nice to know that you can.

For those with kids, I don't have to explain how you need another week off after taking a 4-year-old and an 18 month-old away for a week. For those without kids, I cannot even explain how absolutely draining it is. Every second of every day there - it was non-stop craziness. First day we got there Abbie decided to wake up at 5:55 a.m. - because she wanted to go stick her piggies in the ocean. I tried to explain that the ocean is still sleeping and won't be up for a few hours ... she didn't go for it. Have to try though...

Both kids loved the beach. My little one was a terror. She sat on the shore waiting for the waves and she kept getting knocked over by them and she was laughing her butt off the whole time. Sand in her hair and mouth and she is sitting there cracking up. No doubt in my mind, she is the one to make my life crazy when she gets older.

Just like last year, we were there at the same time that Matt Lauer and his family were there. He seems nice enough, but his wife seems very cold and distant. They just had their third kid and they had a baby nurse and nanny with them. Funny, you would think on a big property like the Breakers you'd never see the same people over and over. Well, we kept running into Matt everywhere. They had the bungalow at the pool right next to us. They had the room right down the hall from my in-laws. Just funny stuff.

Anyway, back in Atlanta, rumor has it that it may snow this week here. Always funny to watch a snowstorm in a city so not prepared for it.

Hope all's well in your neck of the woods. Got some great holiday cards and we are going to be hanging here for Rookie's Night (New Year's Eve to those who go out). Peach Bowl on the 30th with Georgia playing Virginia Tech - the Nunnally's will be here for the game. He will be a tad outnumbered by the folks wearing Red and Black - but bless his heart, he will be Hokie Hokie Hi'ing until his hearts content!

My only wish for the New Year, besides health and happiness is simple: please, please, please - FIRE TOM COUGHLIN!!!

Be well and I hope to get to see y'all in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Where is Jim Croce when I need him???

When I was growing up, my mom got me into music. Whatever she had, I listened to. It was great breaking out the 8-track tapes (showing my age).

One of my favorite musicians still to this day is Jim Croce. He died in a plane crash in September of 1973. I was 5-years-old and I remember my mom being upset about his death.

Why do I mention this? I know some of you ask what the point is of me mentioning this. Well, I am sitting here overlooking the East River in Manhattan and I can't get one of his songs out of my head.

Well things were spinnin round me
And all my thoughts were cloudy
And I had begun to doubt all the things that were me
Been in so many places
You know Ive run so many races
And looked into the empty faces of the people of the night
And something is just not right, cause I know
That I gotta get out of here
Im so alone
Dont you know that I gotta get out of here
cause new yorks not my home
Though all the streets are crowded
Theres somethin strange about it
I lived there bout a year and I never once felt at home
I thought Id make the big time
I learned a lot of lessons awful quick
And now Im tellin you
That they were not the nice kind
And its been so long since I have felt fine, thats the reason
That I gotta get out of here
Im so alone
Dont you know that I gotta get out of here
cause new yorks not my home

I am from here, but it's just not my home. I look around and it's funny. I enjoy my time here, but I am thinking about getting on my FAVORITE airline, Delta, and heading back to Atlanta.

If we had laid odds on it when I was in high school - you would have lost a lot of money if you would have bet on me NOT living here.

I am sure my wife is laughing her ass off reading this - I am still known as the "Damn Yankee" to my father-in-law and that's fine with me. As long as I am allowed to live in Dixie - call me whatever you want.

Suffice to say, I have gone from Jim Croce to Neil Young ... Southern Man!

How bizarre...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Back in the saddle again

Flew in beautiful downtown Newark, N.J. yesterday and boy were my arms tired...

Actually, was on a flight from Orlando to Newark and the flight was jammed. I was in a window seat in the back of the bus. In front of me, a 5-year-old girl and her dad sat right in front of me and put his seat all the way back. Next to me was a woman from Greece that elbowed me for the whole flight. Behind me was a 4-year-old boy who kicked my seat the entire flight.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, one airline can make a difference - good ol' Continental.

We did get in 30 minutes early, which would have been great if you didn't have to wait an hour for our bags. What a joke.

Finally, I made my way through the Lincoln Tunnel to Manhattan. Funny, haven't been here in a while, but my juices get flowing when I get back here. I think I can do it for a week at a time, but I cannot imagine living here again. It's not a knock against my home part of the country, I have just seen the other side of the fence and I like it a lot more.

The guy driving me to the hotel was from Pakistan and he was screaming and cursing and flipping people off left, right and center. Made me laugh.

Staying at the Roger Smith Hotel - not a bad joint. Cheapest room I could find - $290 a night. Just nuts.

Weather is in the 50s and is nice out. Here till Thursday. I am sure I will have some things to spout off about while I am here.

Check back....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Time for some fun ....

You have to go try this out ... the winning score so far is 323.4.

Let me know if you can beat it....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sign the apocalypse is near

As most of you may know I am 38 years old.

As most of you may also know I am originally from Fort Lee, N.J.

I am very proud of both facts. I am very fortunate to be able to have grown up in a wonderful part of the world and although it’s been a while since I have lived there, there are days when I long for the George Washington Bridge.

While I feel that way, most people pick on my home state. Honestly, I do it as well. Start the laughter at Newark and work your way down. But it’s still where I am from.

One of the things that most people used to laugh at is the State University of New Jersey. I call it SUNJY but most call it Rutgers. When I was growing up, it was a nice little state school in East and New Brunswick. For those of you familiar with the N.J. Turnpike – exit 9. Most of my friends wanted out of N.J. and certainly we didn’t want to go to Rutgers. It was the laughing stock of college athletics and it was in a city where Johnson and Johnson dominate everything.

For all these years, Rutgers has been the athletic joke of our state. Now some of you wisenheimers would say that the Giants can also be part of that conversation, but trust me, it’s not even close.

Then, out of nowhere, comes Greg Schiano.

For those who have been under a rock, he is Rutgers football coach. He was an assistant at the University of Miami before coming to N.J.

He has brought Rutgers to back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time in school history and most of his team is underclassmen. He was one 52-yard field goal from going to a BCS game, but lost in triple overtime to West Virginia on the road.

What Schiano has done is unfathomable. The game versus Louisville was insane - ESPN national television coverage and a packed house where people were paying $500 for a ticket. No one ever would pay .05 for a ticket before and now it’s as hot as can be.

So, back to the apocalypse. Why is it here, you are asking?

The headline off of says it all, “Schiano tells Miami he's not leaving Rutgers
Are you serious?? Read it again. Maybe my eyes are messed up. He wants to STAY!!!???

"We just need to keep moving forward. There are people committed at Rutgers to taking it to the level we're talking about. That's what's important to me. We're just scratching the surface here at Rutgers," Schiano said. "The sky's the limit. We're going to do great things here. We haven't done it yet. The seniors have laid the foundation for really, really big things. We've recruited really great young guys in this program and this is home."

This is HOME??? Are you kidding me? Is this real? Is this a joke?? He wants to stay??

We are talking about the “U” as all the alumni call it and he wants to stay.

Good for him.

Better yet, good for Rutgers and all of us folks from Jersey. Now we can go back to picking on Newark!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bye bye Coughlin ... bye bye Coughlin, we hate to see you stay....

Sharing some thoughts….

After going to see the SEC championship game, I am convinced that Florida should get a shot at Ohio State. My reasoning? Nothing better than shutting up a bunch of obnoxious, little whiny fans than getting their asses handed to them on national television. Be careful what you wish for Gators.

I also think that Chris Leak is the better version of Reggie Ball. The difference – Leak has people that bail his butt out ever week. He is one of the worst quarterbacks to have a chance to win a national title. Sorta like David Woodley of the Dolphins in the Super Bowl. By the way, the year after that Super Bowl, the Dolphins drafted some guy named Marino. Leak won't be that lucky.

Hey Tim Tebow, I can’t wait to see you start next year. You’re going to be good, but someone is going to plant their helmet between your numbers on your back because of how you jump up and down like a little boy and wave your arms. Be better to watch you during your junior year after you mature a tad. But then again, you are acting like most Gator fans.

For those Michigan fans who disagree, you did have your chance and you did a great job. But to me, if you don’t win your conference championship, how can you be the second best team? Heck if Oklahoma did get jobbed by officials in the Oregon game, they would have a stronger argument than both you and Florida.

Why I love Bob Stoops? Have you heard him say thing one about being jobbed since the Oregon game? With that being the case Urban Meyer and Lloyd Carr – just shut up. If either one of you REALLY cared, you would be leading the charge of getting us a plus one game.

And I don’t want to hear a university president say ANYTHING until they figure out that if you take the top four teams and use the bowl system as is – you don’t need any more games or days! For example - the top team Ohio State would host the fourth ranked team, LSU, in the Rose Bowl. Then the second ranked team in Florida would play the third ranked team in the Orange Bowl. From there - the BCS title game is the winners the following Saturday. I would rather have the fight between four and five then two and three. Plus - we get to see it on the field instead of on a computer screen.

Has anyone ever heard this presidents complain how much time basketball players miss during March Madness?

Speaking of madness, watching the Giants-Cowboys game is making me laugh. How many more dumb penalties can the Giants take? How many more stupid play calls can the offense make? How many times can the Giants defense play five yards off a receiver when they are in a third and three? I don’t want to read about Eli this week – he did everything he could and it’s not his fault. None of this has been his fault. He hasn’t played well – but if you watched the game you know whose fault it is.

How many more days until the Giants fire Tom Coughlin? If there is a man upstairs controlling the universe – I hope we lose every game till he’s gone. Matter of fact, I started a new blog called "Fire Tom Coughlin Now" check it out at

I am going to post it on the Giants web site and then email the Mara's and Tisch's until it's done! Mr. Mara and Mr. Tisch - you fathers are rolling in their graves with what has gone on this year. Stop the lunacy now!

Wonder where Mike Vanderjagt is? Wonder what he is doing right now? Peyton’s old idiot kicker deserves this as much as anyone. Would love to buy him a drink or two right now and then put him on television again.

Honestly, I am more upset about Rutgers losing to West Virginia than I am about the Giants loss. At least the Giants could get a better draft pick…..

Those kids at Rutgers deserve more than the Texas Bowl. Just would have been classic to see a Wake Forest-Rutgers Orange Bowl. What kind of odds do you think you could have gotten on that at the start of the season?

Thursday, November 30, 2006



No - you aren't drunk. No - I haven't totally lost my mind. I honestly think this is the most sane thing I have ever said.

Why, you may ask, do I think this way?

Simple - if the Giants get blown out, there's NO WAY they can keep Tom Coughlin. I mean this team is a total mess and yet they are still 6-5. Imagine if they had a coach that has a clue?

People are screaming at Eli - but do you know who his position coach is? Kevin Gilbride. The same guy Buddy Ryan threw a punch at year's ago on the sidelines during a game. Now I know that Buddy is a bit nutty - but maybe he should have connected for all our sakes.

Look - the Giants aren't a great team this year - but they are sure better than what we have seen from them. With that in mind, it's time to make the change that can affect the team the most and cut off the head of this snake.

There are going to be a lot of really, really good people available this season. There are two that I really want for us. One is Bill Cowher from Pittsburgh - he would bring a toughness and edge that this team has missed for a long, long time. He has one year left on his contract and I think he will be available to move to us. It's something we need to consider.

The most interesting coach available to me would be Bob Stoops from the University of Oklahoma. He is one of the best defensive coaches in the country year in and year out. He's smart enough to know that in the NFL, he would need to hire a CEO of the offense and let them work. He can work defensive wonders and be the no-nonsense guy that we need. He's young. He's hungry and he knows how to win.

When you look on the Big Blue sidelines, they aren't hungry and they look lost in a tough situation. No matter what, Stoops' teams are always prepared and he is the guy I would love to see on our sidelines.

With that in mind, I am a huge Tony Romo fans. Might even have some ribs in his honor on Sunday!

Sunday, November 26, 2006


For those of you who know me well, there's not much I miss about New York. It's a great place and I love going to visit, but I have to tell you that life in the South is pretty good. I got to play two rounds of golf this weekend and life is great.

The one thing that I cannot shake from my New York soul is that I am a diehard New York football Giants fan. The best and worst things for guys like me is the NFL package on the dish. Be easier if we just had local television and didn't have to worry about this - but of course for me it's like watching a train wreck. I know what's going to happen and I still have to watch it.

Sunday was my last straw - up 21-0 going into the fourth quarter, sloppy and lazy play by the whole football team cost them a win. Tennessee scored 24 in the fourth to win 24-21. Our coach Tom Coughlin was supposed to be a disciplinarian and he's not. He's supposed to be a good teacher and he's not. He's not the man to lead this team and he needs to go now. Of course, the Giants being cheap as they have been in the past won't make a change right now and I doubt that they will do at the end of the year, but it needs to happen.

When Jeremy Shockey shot his mouth off early in the year about being, "unprepared," we all laughed because it's Shockey. But when Tiki Barber said things this past week, and then you watch the fourth quarter, you know it's true.

Plaxico Burress quits on a play that turned the whole game around. The game would have ended on a 4th down play late in the game when Giants rookie Mathias Kiwanuka had Vince Young wrapped up for a sack, but let him go, only to see him scramble upfield 19 yards for a first down. Coughlin was in his face yelling at him, but he should have never been in that position if the coach hadn't called a crappy 2nd half of football on the offensive side of the ball.

Now I usually defend Eli Manning, but he made many mental mistakes Sunday. He didn't look like he had a clue as to what was going on in the 2nd half and part of it is his fault and part of it is coaching or a lack there of.

Please Tom, if you care about the tradition and the history of New York Giants football, step down with GM Ernie Accorsi, who is retiring at the end of the year. Let's start fresh on the sidelines. We have some good players - but no leadership at all. For your first and only act as a great leader - get lost!

Maybe John L. Smith can find you a tee time with him ...

For those of you who want to see how the dearly kind New York papers handled it - and make sure to see the great cover headlines - go to the
New York Post New York Daily News Newsday New York Times Bergen Record

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Happy Joy Joy ...

Sorry I have been a bit slow in updating the past week. Been a little busy, but all is well.

So what has been going on? Michael Richards is in a bit of hot water for his use of racist words at a comedy club. May not have been funny, but it’s the best thing he’s been on TV for since Seinfeld.

THE Ohio State University hung on to beat Michigan in this year’s version of the Game of the Century by three points. Funny part is that Bo got to his seat in time to join Woody Hayes in watching their old teams put up 81 points. Definitely not the kids of football they played. And I am convinced Bo was more upset about the two big runs for touchdowns than the loss. Bo’s memorial service is at the Big House and I am sure it’s going to be interesting. Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press has written some great stuff on Bo. If you like sports at all – you should read them.

The NY football Giants are just painful to watch these days. And as long as the best part of the team is on the sidelines with injuries, it will continue. Only thing I was mad about Monday night was Tony Kornheiser. Hey Tony, tell you what, before you rip Eli Manning, realize that Bob Whitfield is blocking his backside. Why don’t you try it out for a while and see what it’s like? I am going to say words that I CANNOT believe I would EVER say – I am sorry Luke Petitgout … I am sorry!!! You can take your three holdings and your two false starts and come back … I miss you and will never yell at you again. Well, I promise to at least TRY not to yell! One thing I was shocked by was that I woke up this morning to see Tiki Barber on Fox and Friends at 6 a.m. He just got back from Jacksonville at 2 or 3 in the morning – shouldn’t you be getting rest? You aren’t on a bye week, what gives with this? For those who don’t think Tiki will retire, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to see you.

There’s a great story about Michigan State’s basketball coach Tom Izzo wanting to be considered for the football coaching job. Huh? Did I just write that? Yep. Did I drop acid before writing it? Nope. Is it possible that this could happen? ABSOLUTELY!
It may seem nuts, but think about it in Izzo’s eyes he compares himself to a CEO of a company in one industry taking the same job in an unrelated business. I hate to say it, but I hope he gets the job. He is the kind of no-nonsense guy with ties to Nick Saban and Steve Marucci that would find a way to make it work. It would be one of the great stories in college sports if he could pull it off. Imagine this, Izzo would be the first to win National Championships in both sports. Can’t I dream for a second? OK – moments over. What stiff of an assistant coach will be our lead candidate? I’d rather have Izzo.

That’s it for now, let me know what’s up with you and yours. Family is all good here and life is good.

Happy Turkey to all you Turkeys!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Down the stretch they come....

What a crazy night. Actually, let me correct myself. What an absurd 24-hours.

I was at a party at a bar with a bunch of friends and we were surrounded by every station covering the night. And it was a roller-coaster ride for me. I did realize that I have a serious gambling issue and its called Election night. It is my Super Bowl and NCAA hoop tournament rolled into one night.

I don’t bet on the winners/losers. I support candidates that I believe are going to make a difference for Israel and for the United States and this is the night to see if my investments pay off.

With that in mind, let me walk you through my crazy night. Started at 8 p.m. when Pennsylvania closed their polls. Two minutes after, Bob Casey was announced as the winner of the Senate race vs. Rick Santorum, who was the incumbent. I stuck with Rick, or as a friend of mine in Atlanta calls him “Son of Sam”, to the end. I knew it was money going down the toilet, but sometimes you have to bet the long shot and play the future. What we did here.

That was my only loss for a long, long time … my dear friend Lincoln Davis of Tennessee easily won his house race and was waiting to see what happened with Harold Ford. That race was tough for me – like both candidates, but Bob Corker held off Ford by about 55,000 votes. My only thought when I saw that is that I hope and pray that the people of Tennessee chose Corker because they believe he was better for the state. But I know better and I know that some of those folks couldn’t bring themselves to vote for an African American man for Senate. Would have been the first one in Tennessee since reconstruction. Just a damn shame, but Harold will be back and back in a big way. He’s only 36 and he’s a sharp man. Sad, sad that in 2006 this can still is a thought never mind a fact.

Around 9ish, Joe Leiberman of Connecticut won re-election. I was so happy for him. Here’s a man that has given a ton to his country and his party and they kick him to the curb. Only for him to run harder and smarter and kick Ned Lamont’s butt.

Other races came and went and I found myself screaming at the TV’s from time-to-time when I would see one of my guys doing well with 70 percent reporting but no winner chosen. “Go to the whip, hit ‘em baby,” as if these guys were Steve Cauthen riding Seattle Slew down the backstretch at Belmont.

About 11 p.m. I got a call from Heath Shuler’s finance director, Alexis, screaming into the phone, “Taylor conceded. WE WON! WE WON!” Watch my friend from North Carolina over the next two years – he is the moderate Democrat with family values that the party is going to try and model candidates in the future. Don’t be surprised if he is a keynote speaker at the 2008 Democratic convention.

Funny part with him is that he is a former Washington Redskins top pick. He struggled big time with the Redskins. The media and fans were awful to him. I know this first hand because I lived there at the time. When I asked him why he wanted to go back, Heath said, “Jon, this time I know I can make a difference.” I am considering going to DC for his swearing in wearing a Redskins Number 5 jersey just to piss off Skins fans!!!

I was rolling along well until another friend, Sen. Jim Talent from Missouri, conceded to Claire McCaskill around 3 a.m. ET. He is a very good man who did everything he can but he got caught up in Bush’s war garbage and stem cell research. He was against it and she was for it. While I will take nothing away from McCaskill, Jim should have held his seat and didn’t. Bush was there last week and maybe he blew it for Jim as well.

Consider that if he had fired Donald Rumsfeld a year ago instead of the day after the election, good Republicans like Jim could have held their seats. Funny part is that in Bush’s press conference Wednesday, he said, “I didn’t want to change right before the election. It would have looked too political and that would have been a wrong message to send to our troops.” Hey GWB, don’t you think the country just sent you a message? You might want to listen… funny part is now you have to listen to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Better you than me!

I had to wait for this morning to find out that two congressmen in Georgia held on for a win – John Barrow and Jim Marshall. Barrow won by about 1,100 votes and Marshall by about 1,500. Montana got called for the Dems and Virginia is leaning that way as well. Looks like a clean sweep for the Dems.

So – the big question is what does all this mean? If you know that answer, you are beyond a genius. With Rumsfeld gone, maybe we can straighten out the Iraq situation. With the Dems in power, maybe GWB (and Karl Rove) will stop and think before they blindly spout off. GWB is meeting with Nancy Pelosi on Thursday for lunch. I would love to be a fly on the wall for that one. It’s the first of many first for GWB. And it’s a whole new ballgame in DC.

We can all bet on that for sure….

Friday, November 03, 2006

W. or L. - either way it's a mess....

As we approach Election Day, everyone talks about wins and losses. Everyone claims they are leading and that they are ready to roll.

But this election is more about W. Do people trust him? Is he doing the right things? Does he have a way out of Iraq and what the heck will he do with Iran?

It's a bottom line mid-term election. You either decide to give him one more shot for his last two years or you decide to tie his hands around his back and tell him to chill out for two years.

Either way - not a great situation. Funnier part is that I am sure some Republicans are hoping the Democrats win the House. This way when nothing gets done, they can start the 2008 Presidential cycle by saying, "This is what you want? Democrats who get nothing done?"

On the bigger L. side of the issue is John L. Smith. The FORMER head coach of Michigan State will coach the rest of the year and probably win them all and win a bowl game. Big deal.

The question is who in their right mind wants that job? The school has had four coaches in eight years, is totally a political mess and is more of a stepping stone than a place to stay and build a program.

Steve Mariucci's name comes up and while he has name brand recognition, I would say pass him by. Butch Davis' name comes up, he could be very interesting. He's cleaned up a program before in Miami and we need that. But is he too strong a mind to hire for our administration?

I will say that if I were a gambling man, they will hire former Spartan Pat Shurmer. While I like Shurmer, he is not the answer. That way of thinking doesn't work all the time. We need the best man for the job. Go find him and hire him.

And make sure his middle initial is either W or V for victory. Enough L's.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Morning – hope all’s well in your world.

In two weeks, we have the opportunity to go to the polls and elect our officials. While most Americans start to be cynical about even wasting their time going to elect a bunch of so-called crooks and people out of touch with their communities, I stay optimistic.

Look at what’s going on all over the world. People would kill to have the opportunity to choose their own leaders without someone holding a gun to their heads. And here, most people can care less.

This election is going to be one of the tightest in recent history. Odds are that the House will flip to the Democrats and that the Republicans will hang onto a slight edge in the Senate. But what does that mean for us? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Honestly, I don’t know. All I know is that everyone should wake up and get off the couch and go be a part of the process. Some people say that it is your right to vote as an American. I look at this as a privilege. People are dying for this opportunity that we have and yet, millions of Americans are apathetic and just lazy.

Here’s a crazy idea for you to ponder; if someone of voting age hasn’t voted in the last five years I think they should go serve with our military in Iraq for a while. Maybe after seeing what they are going through, they can turn the television off and put down their drinks and go vote.

There are a few races I will be watching involving people I have become friendly with. The first is Senator Jim Talent from Missouri. He’s a Republican that the Democrats are going after because he is a state where races are always close and they label him as a person that always votes with the President, which is not true. He votes for Missouri and his conscience. He is a very good man and someone we want in the Senate fighting for us.

In Georgia, Congressman John Barrow is a Democrat being targeted by the Republicans. He is running against the man he beat two years ago, Max Burns. Barrow is a very good man and is leading slightly.

Why do I pick these two races to share with you besides the fact I know and respect both men? They are being targeted by the opposition party and tons of money is being dumped into races for the chance to gain a seat. There are millions and millions of dollars being wasted by both sides that could be put to use for a ton of things to help people and our country, but hey, no big deal.

I write checks to politicians and I do my part to help, but it drive me nuts to see how much money is spent on elections. While it’s great to have a wonderful democracy and the opportunity to get involved in the process, there are still many issues with the process that we need to fix.

I don’t have the answers, just questions. But I promise you this, if you don’t vote, in my mind, you don’t get the opportunity to ask these questions or complain about ANYTHING. In my mind, you are wasting your opportunity that people are dying for and need to go be reminded of the people who came before us and gave us these opportunities.

It’s a privilege to vote and be part of this great country of ours. I don’t care what side you are on – pick a side and vote. Me, I vote for people, not party. Will never vote party again – the party’s are the reason we have such a mess to begin with.

Speaking of messes, Bill Parcells just created one in Dallas with his quarterbacks. Giants are on a roll – anyone wanna get on board the bandwagon??? Space available…

Monday, October 16, 2006

Giant weekend in Atlanta ...

Great weekend here. Had Scott Ranzman in town for the weekend and we went to see the Giants play yesterday. Even got to write a flavor piece for Check it out - pretty funny stuff.

Anyway - hope all's well. I will write more tomorrow. Big politcal week - saw Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana last night - he's going to be a very serious candidate for President in 2008. Going to a fundraiser for Sen. Joe Leiberman of Connecticut on Thursday. Should be fun.

Happy Monday!

P.S. - AIPAC Political Director Rob Bassin is coming to town and I am having dinner with him on Tuesday. Are you happy now Jeremy???

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy, happy .... joy, joy...!!!

Good morning campers! Hope all's well in your neck of the woods.

I'd like to start by saying that we had a great weekend in Atlanta. First off, we had dinner Friday at a friends house. They have five kids and are just wonderful people. Everyone played well but the noise level was just classic. We have met these friends through a Jewish Studies course called the Wexner Heritage Foundation and was started by Leslie Wexner.

Les started this program to educate Jewish leaders and it is a phenomenal opportunity to learn with the best of the best teachers and leaders. Take a second and read about it ... it's worth your time.

Saturday, my wife and I dropped the kids off and went on a day trip to Athens to see the University of Georgia play the Tennessee Volunteers. We had a party bus pick us and 15 others up at 3 pm for a 745 pm kickoff.

Suffice to say that we felt pretty good by the time we got to Athens. We then tailgated and watched the sites and sounds of a college atmosphere. And everything was going perfectly ... until Georgia actually had to play the game.

But even then, for 26 minutes they were rocking. They were up 24-7 with four minutes to go in the half. Tennessee drove the ball and scored with 40 seconds to go to make it a 10 point game. My wife and brother-in-law look at each other and go, "uh-oh." They knew what was to come.

Georgia came out and got the ball in the second half, but held it for a few plays before Joe T III turned it over and Tennessee scored a touchdown. From there it got worse with other turnovers and a blocked punt in the endzone for a touchdown. Final 51-33.

So Georgia was outscored 37-9 in the second half at home for the most points allowed ever in Athens. Glad I could be there for that great night.

Mark Richt, to me, is now the most overrated coach in college football. It used to be Mack Brown, but he won a title finally. Problem with Richt is that he is a nice man and a good recruiter, but he is a horrible game coach. For a guy who was supposed to be an "offensive genius" at Florida State, the only thing offensive is his play-calling. Which of course we can blame the offensive coordinator ... oh wait, that is Richt's job too.

Think it's time for Richt to pick someone who can be his offensive genius - because he isn't it.

I know Michigan State lost, but what else is new. But the big news of the day is the Yankees are gone!!! GOOD FOR YOU TIGERS! Thanks for killing the Evil Empire! It's a beautiful day when all those damn New Yorkers are quieted down. Someone in town last week had a great line, "rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for the sun to rise." Well Pinstripers, ya ain't gonna be rising to the top of the pile this year. Figured for a 200 million dollar lineup, you could find a better Game 4 pitcher than Jared Wright. Hey Mr. Cashman, how's that ARod deal workin' out for ya??

Then comes Sunday and of course in the Barkan house ... it's time for the New York Football Giants. We hosted the Washington Redskins... and played good. Eli lead us to a 19-3 win and a 2-2 record heading into their game in front of the city of Atlanta. On top of which I won a bet with a dear friend of mine, Julie, who is a die-hard Redskins fan. Loser had to post a nice note about the other team on their blog ... I WIN!!! Check out Julie's World to read her Ode to the Giants!

I am very excited to have them coming here this Sunday and I cannot wait to go to the Georgia Dome to watch them. First time in my tenure in Atlanta that they are coming to town and I can't wait to watch them up close so I can BOO when we have three false starts!

Did something yesterday that I have never done before, I rooted for the Filth-A-Delphia Eagles. Can't root for a clown like TO. Great fans of Philly welcomed him to town with a chant of "OD OD OD." Those people are funny as hell!

Been a great weekend... got a crazy week before my friend Scott comes to town to see the kids and go to the Giants game with me. Three kids from Fort Lee, N.J. will be together for the first time in a long time in Atlanta to watch the G-Men - with two of us now living here. Who in the heck would have thunk it?

Next thing you know, I'm going to break into the Redneck National Anthem and sing Sweet Home Alabama.

Maybe, but not on Sunday. You can take the boy outta Jersey - but can't take the Jersey out of the boy...

Go Big Blue!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Neil Diamond's favorite holiday song...

Hello out there in TV Land! What's new and exciting in your world?

Here in Atlanta, I prepare for the two holiest days on the Jewish calendar; Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur. They are the days to atone for your sins of the previous year and as most of you know, I am still repenting for since from the 1990s.

Thanks to my wonderful faith, you can be a mass-murderer or a simple sinner like me and if you fast for 26 hours once a year, you are clean for the next year. Just like everything else Jews do, it's all wholesale man!!!

Funny part is also - I can guarantee you that every food commercial every made will be on Sunday night and Monday when we cannot eat!!!! Just a fact. Watch and see.

I have always wondered why the Rabbi doesn't do confession and then after listening to everything you did, he gives you an amount of days during the year you need to fast. Most people would be once a month people, but some may be more or less. Be more appropriate than lumping us altogether.

Oh well. Such is life in the big city.

Before I go for the weekend, I have to give a shout out and a HUGE thumbs-up to Mike Valenti of WXYT-1270 in Detroit. He is a Spartan alum and just funny as hell. He had a rant this week after the loss to Notre Dame that is going down as an all-time classic.

Take a listen - laugh a bit and have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Good morning America, how are ya?

"Don't you know me I'm your native son, I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans, I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done."

What an incredible night in New Orleans. Friend of mine went to the game and he said it was the wildest scene ever. And he would know wild scenes as well as anyone I know!

As I sat and watched the game, I kept laughing thinking about how a stadium was fixed before tons of homes. How the levees are still not up to category 5 capacity and that if another hurricane came through the Gulf Coast they are no more ready today that yesterday. But hey, they have their Saints back. And for one night, every one was happy.

Every one?

Are they sure? Did they ask every one?

Spike Lee was in the booth for the game and he pretty much stopped short of saying that the government is still blowing it. He had the chance to make his usual statement and blow it all up, but he said, “I am not going to pull a Kanye West tonight.”

Funny, but it was the right time for something to be said and no one said it. How hard can it be to fight a war half way around the world when you can’t win the war in your own home? Just an embarrassment.

I only hope it doesn’t happen again. But we all know something like this will happen again, just a matter of where and when.

And speaking of where and when… where and when will the American’s win the Ryder Cup again?

Not like any American golfers care because hey, we win Majors and are the top two players in the world. Great individual golfers but horrible team golfers.

We have no passion and no fire when it comes to the Ryder Cup. I don’t care if the team are all rookies; they have to have some pride in them? Some swagger and some arrogance to become the great golfers that they are.

On the European side, we can flip the question, when and where will one of them win a Major again? No one on the Ryder Cup team has won a Major since 1999 when Jose-Maria Olazabal won at Augusta.

It’s amazing to me to see Colin Montgomerie and Sergio Garcia become dominant players for three days every two years when they can’t close out a Major to save their lives. Heck, they struggle to get to the fourth round in contention and when they do it, choke city is coming.

Just wild to watch how match play changes players.

And speaking of changes, how about the New York Football Giants this week? Just horrific – I don’t agree with how he said it, but nonetheless I totally agree with Jeremy Shockey that Tom Coughlin has got to go.

He is supposed to be a disciplinarian and that team takes more stupid penalties than I have hair on my head! How is it that you let the exact same thing happen to you two weeks in a row! They didn’t show up until the 3rd quarter, by then the damage was done.

Even if the Giants make the playoffs, Coughlin needs to go. The only coach in America that needs to be fired faster is John L. Smith of Michigan State University.

Three minutes to go in the game with a lead at home and he is throwing the ball???? For those of you who don’t know, the L in his name stands for LOSER!

To all my friends of the Jewish persuasion I would like to wish you and yours L’Shana Tova. A sweet, healthy, happy and safe new year for all of us and our family in Israel.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


"Another Pleasant Valley Sunday...."

For those of you who don't know why I reference the Monkees classic, you didn't see what I saw on Sunday afternoon. The New York Football Giants won a football game that they had absolutely NO right even being close in. (Bonus if you know who sang the song I reference in the title!)

I was in the basement watching on Sunday Ticket - which along with Tivo are the two greatest things in a man's life.

I sat there incredulous for most of the game. We looked horrific. Eli was sacked eight times and we took a ton of dumb penalties. But they never quit. Even after Eli got sacked for the eighth time, he didn't yell or scream ... he just did his job.

Thanks to the prevent offense of Andy Reid and the Filth-a-delphia Eagles, Jay Feely made a short field goal with time running out in the game to send it to overtime. And there, the legend of Eli Manning grew some more.

He went 8-for-8 in the OT, including the "walk-off" game winning touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress. As the ball hung in the air, I jumped out of my chair. I watched as Plaxico grabbed the ball and the win... couldn't believe it. Just wrong.

But then again - it was in Filth-a-delphia. Couldn't happen to nicer people!

Seattle - Eli and company are on their way ... could this be a magical year?

"The ink is black, the page is white ... together we learn to read and write...." The Giants did more than read or write. They won a game they used to lose and in thus started a new chapter in Giants history.

Monday, September 11, 2006

What have we learned in five years?

Wow. Has it really been that long since that horrific day? I could live to be 1,001 years old and remember everything about that day.

From my dad calling me yelling at me to turn on the news. To the Atlanta Thrashers players, coaches and staff piling into my office to see what the heck is going on. To my dear my friend, Sherry Skalko, calling me up crying hysterically saying that Mark was on the second plane. To my mom walking in New York City the next day crying as soldiers walked with machine guns.

It was and will always be Sept. 11th in my mind. The problem I have is how many people here don't feel the same way.

This is how the people of Israel have lived for a long, long time. Imagine - we are the lucky ones we aren't that close to the real action of the Middle East and have only had one day of attacks.

The world goes round and round and many think we are safe. They think that we need to defend our civil liberties more than anything else. Well kids, if a nuclear bomb goes off on our soil, how do you defend our civil liberties then? Proactive is the only way to go after terrorists.

We are not in the 50s. Happy Days was a great TV show, but it's not the reality we live in now. We need to defend our nation and be on the offensive to stop these radical people before they stop our way of life.

I am sick of Democrats and Republicans fighting over the political garbage. Just shutup and get us safe. Until that day - this propaganda that one can defend us better than the other is a joke. Neither can do the job as of right now - and then need to get on it quickly before we are hit again.

Many people died on Sept. 11 in the U.S. and many more people have died defending justice around the world since then. It's not an issue for politicians to throw around glibly. If they do - I hope you challenge them on it.

If we don't - Mark and all the others have died for no greater good. When I see him on the other side, I don't want to tell him that. Do you?

SOAPBOX - hug and kiss your kids and spouses more today than yesterday!!!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Customer service is an oxymoron...

Hi kids – sorry it’s been a while, but life has been very busy.

I am sitting in Austin, Texas about to get into a day of meetings. But before I do, let me share a few things.

First, American Airlines was great. Flew through Dallas and had no issues – both flights were early. The night before I left, there was a little incident with them. I called to try and get seats on my flights home on Friday and they told me that they have released the amount of seats that they can over the phone and I need to get my seats at the airport on the day of departure. I asked if I was going to get stuck in a middle seat and they told me that there’s a possibility, but that they have seats on the aisle, I need to get there early. I asked if I gave them a percentage of my money when I booked the flight or did I give them all my money? The gentleman on the other end of the phone told me I was being rude and hung up on me. Nice – that’s what customer service is about! I wrote a letter to American letting them know about it … we will see what they say.

Went to the UT campus yesterday to buy a few things for the family. The place is huge - tons of stuff to choose from and my cousin Alan probably owns most of it ... I was talking to him from the bookstore and he was telling me where I was in the store. Scary man ...

And for those of you in the Northeast that have children, take them here to look at the school. It's one of the best college towns I have been to. To me, it's up there with Madison, Wisconsin, East Lansing, Michigan and Boston. Young people are everywhere to be seen and it's a great music town.

For those of you without kids, come check the city out anyway... it just rocks.

Until next time ...

That’s it for now … more later… JB

Monday, August 28, 2006

Tiger prowl is getting stronger

It’s just absurd.

I cannot think of the words to describe how incredible it is to watch Tiger Woods play a game that I have attempted to play for years.

It’s even more absurd to think that he played average at best on Saturday and Sunday in Akron at the Firestone Country Club and NO ONE could beat him.

I have had the good fortune to play at Firestone a few years ago when Elizabeth’s cousin got married in Cleveland. We played it about two weeks before the same event. The one thing I remember was my brother-in-law’s opening drive on the first hole.

It’s a straight hole – wide open with nothing but a great look at the hole right in front of your eyes. He stood up, and nailed a great drive down the left center of the fairway. It started to leak a little and took one bounce into the rough. One bounce – can’t be that bad right? We walked for five minutes and couldn’t find the ball. Great drive – one bounce and gone.

Why do I make this point? Well, for most of the weekend, Tiger was not only finding his ball in the rough (he had a little more help than we did) but he then was able to hit the ball out of that trash onto and towards the green. He kept plugging away and fighting himself but he kept surviving.

Many of the other players had better looks at the hole, but no one could beat him when he was scrambling.

It’s insane.

Aren’t any of these guys good enough to close? Aren’t any of these guys looking at the board and seeing Tiger hit four bogeys in a row on Saturday and saying, “this could be my week.”

Doesn’t matter.

He is Tiger Woods and they ain’t.

In ten years, he has won 52 times and 12 majors. The other four members of the top five in the world have won 52 times as well and nine majors.

Watching Tiger is like watching Picasso paint. Like watching Jordan hit a jumper. Like watching Gretzky on a breakaway. Like watching Bernstein conduct the Boston Pops. It’s just magic.

He ties Byron Nelson for tour wins and is behind Arnold Palmer by 10 tournaments four fourth all-time. All of this in 10 years.

He’s only 30. Don’t most golfers hit their prime in their 30s?

How much scarier can the man get?

I can’t wait to find out.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

People Not Party Leads to Success

I grew up in Fort Lee, New Jersey. It’s a suburb of New York City and it was a wonderful place to grow up.

You could go outside and play with your friends and not have to be worried that a predator was going to grab you. Or that the sky was falling or that you needed to go into a bomb shelter to take cover.

Ah, the good ol’ days.

Time was when you could be blind and just vote down the party line come election day and the world was an OK place no matter how it shook out.

Ah, the good ol’ days.

Is there anyone out there that doesn’t understand that every time Israel is being challenged that OUR democratic way of life is being challenged as well? Does anyone actually remember September 11, 2001 or is it just a footnote on your busy lives?

I was born and raised a Democrat. Hey, if you were Jewish from up North, it’s the way it was. In the rare exception were you a Republican. But as I get older, I find myself joining a new party, Independents for Israel. Mind you, I made this party up, but it is more realistic than being either a Democrat or a Republican.

The Democratic party has NO clue what they are doing. They have no message and horrible leadership. President Bush handed John Kerry the last election and he still couldn’t win. By the way, if anyone knows of “The Plan” that Senator Kerry had, let me and the rest of the world in on that secret.

The final straw for me was when former Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman gets dumped by his party and his friends less than six years after being on the ballot. By the way, I wonder how much money Joe raised for Hillary and all those “great friends” that dumped him. Funny part is when Joe wins re-election, what will all those ship-jumping rats say then when they need his vote or help with a bill?

On the other side of the fence are the Republicans. Boy, there’s a group that I don’t want to be associated with. How does one group of American’s say that the other group won’t protect this country? How does one group basically say if you want values we have them and they have no heart or soul? The Republicans do it every day. On top of which, they have dumped on some of their own that haven’t agreed with President Bush on “The War.” Just sad.

So with that being said, I like being an Independent for Israel. I vote for people and also support numerous others that are fighting for Israel rights, which in my mind is our democratic right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (Wouldn’t it be great if the world was that easy?)

We are at a major crossroads in our lives and I am terrified to say most people don’t even realize how serious it is. If it were up to the Radical Islamic folks, our way of live WOULDN’T EXSIST.

Read that sentence again. Think about it. It’s a fact of life. Don’t believe me? Go see the top stories on the news every night. Well, unless some guy gets in trouble in Singapore and confesses to a 10-year-old murder he didn’t commit so he could get his ass home.

Now explain to me what is more important – women’s rights or the fact that they want to wipe us off the face of the earth? If they succeed, we won’t need to worry about women’s rights, because there won’t be any rights to protect.

I have two young daughters and trust me, I struggle with the women’s rights issues. But I would love to see them grow up to be women so that they can fight for their rights. Odds are if that happens, then somewhere, somehow the Independents for Israel have grown and succeeded.

And just maybe when that happens, the two parties will stop acting like a bunch of children and deal with what really matters; the opportunity to keep debating and fighting issues for the people in a democracy. That is how and why our forefathers came here in the first place isn’t it?

Monday, August 14, 2006


Sorry been a bit ... wife and I went away for a week to one of the most beautiful places on the planet - Aspen, Colorado.

We had a conference there and stayed at the St. Regis Hotel. Not a shabby joint to stay at, by the way.

The city is pretty and clean as can be. People are nice and friendly and you can walk most places. The bus system is free to ride - how cool is that?

I know this will come as a shock to most, but I went hiking. Went to a beautiful place called Maroon Bells. It's not a bad walk if you aren't at 9,000 feet.

Only problem I found with Aspen is that you have to take a little plane there and connect either in Salt Lake City or in Denver. We chose Denver and United Airlines. Figured it couldn't be any worse than Delta. Well, in a matter of minutes in Denver's airport we found out that they are worse.

No one would help us when we got to Denver. Finally we got settled and were waiting for our flight when at the counter next to us a wild scene was happening. The flight was going to Rapid City or some small town when the woman at the counter grabbed the microphone and started screaming at the customers, "Back off! There's only one of me and 20 of you!! So just step back and we will deal with this as we can!"

I have seen a lot of things on Delta - have never seen that move. Just wild stuff.

Then on the way back to Denver from Aspen we are about to get to the gate when the captain stops the plane about 100 yards from the gate. We sat there for 30 minutes because we have to wait for someone to tow us in. Planes are moving all around us and we are just sitting there. People are missing connections and getting upset. What a mess.

Years ago I was stuck in Denver while still a student and I wrote a column for the Northeastern News talking about airline travel. I was also on United and found out what it stood for - U Never Intended To Ever Depart. Also came up with others - TWA - Try Walking Asshole. Delta - Don't Ever Leave the Airport ... etc.

All these year's later - nothing has changed. Airline travel stinks and so do all the carriers. Just a joke. Now we can't bring liquids on the plane - and it's no big deal to me, but at some point we are all going to have to just fly naked. This way they can do an easy search as we go through security.

But even then, someone will find a way to get around that too..... scary to think of.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Heat wave in the Midwest

Happy Monday folks - I am sitting in the Crowne Plaza in Minneapolis and it has been hotter here than Atlanta.

Was here for the Holiday Inn Ultimate Road Trip and it was just so freakin' hot outside the Metrodome. Stood there for two days and had a ton of people come by and check us out. Was great to meet all kinds of people. The coolest part is the Big Green Bus. This is the way to travel the country and see baseball.

Actually got to see the Tigers-Twins game on Saturday - we sat in the last row of the upper deck on the 3rd base side. Not great for baseball - but for sure it's good for football. Reminded a few friends of how the Falcons loved the Dome. Didn't go over well here - all responded that Atlanta may like it for football, but not for baseball. Fair enough.

Thankfully - heading home after a promotion at the Holiday Inn Select in Bloomington, which is right next to the Mall of America.

Went there yesterday with the Myers clan and it's cool. I had been there before - but it's just funny as heck that a kid from the mall capital of the world (NJ) is impressed with a mall. It's got a roller coaster, log flume, all kinds of great stuff for kids and shopping as well. But it's just huge. And if you think it's packed when it's cold in the winter, yesterday was jammed so people could cool down.

Anyway - that's it for now. Off to Aspen next week for our Wexner program ... should be a very interest program considering what's going on in the world.

One last thought... I think I know a way to pay off the national debt and the war(s) - let's kick that piece of trash Kofi Annan and his moron friends in the UN out of our country and sell the land on the East River to a developer. Sure it will fetch a great price. Can someone remind Mr. Annan that if they had actually followed up on res 1559 for Hezbollah - this would not be happening. Nevermind the fact that the two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped right next to a UN watching station. WHAT pray tell, are you watching if you let this happen? The UN is useless and antisemetic for sure. If they ever did what they were supposed to do - the world would be a lot better. Instead the only thing better is Kofi's pockets...

Have a great week.

Monday, July 24, 2006

But for the grace of God go I...

Not sure about y'all (Southern term of endearment I still don't get) - but I can't stop myself from watching the news.

By the way - I hope and pray that all of you are watching ANYTHING other than CNN. The only thing more left of them and the New York Times is a car on the NASCAR circuit in turn three. And we have canceled our subscription to the Times as well. I am sick and tired of seeing dead Arabs on the front page and dead Israelis on page 6 and beyond. Bunch of freakin' clowns. I wrote a letter to the editor ripping them and telling them they should move their offices to Beirut!)

Sorry - where was I? Oh yeah, I wake up and go to sleep watching the Middle East crisis. I don't even know what to call it anymore because it's not a crisis - it's now or never for Israel.

Never before have they had a chance to go do what they are doing with many countries in the world that "dislike them immensely" saying they aren't happy with them - but then quietly cheering their moves.

Israel is doing the world's dirty work. Plain and simple. Why else is the Bush administration being as supportive as they are? They are going after a group of people that are part of the "Axis of Evil."

Evil. There is no better word to describe people that hide behind civilians. There is no word to describe how they hide their rockets and weapons in villages and then when Israelis target that village - they say, "Innocent civilians were killed." Gee - when that's where you put the bad stuff - what did you think was going to happen? But has anyone said that? Has anyone condemned the Hezbollah for killing their brothers and sisters?

You see the pictures of Israelis running for their bomb shelters on a nightly occasion and it's hard not to think back to the 50's and 60's when people here in the U.S. had bomb shelters. Maybe someday soon, we will need them again to protect us from the Islamic fundamentalist walking around right now on U.S. soil.

I remember my first day at Northeastern University - President Kenneth Ryder in his yearly speech to freshman said, "Look to your left. Look to your right. One of those people won't be here in three years." We can change that to say, "Look to your left. Look to your right. One of those people could well be an Islamic Fundamentalist." It's possible, isn't it? You don't actually think our borders are safe, do you? Heck we have more Mexicans living amongst us than live most of Mexico does. If they got in, you don't think others could too?

When will this end? When will these people understand reality? From the looks of things - not for a long, long time. Scary, scary thought for all.

My Aunt Michele is in Israel right now and I think about her and her USYers she is with. I hope and pray for their safe return as well as the safety of all Israelis. The soldiers are fighting for not only their peace - but for our as well. Let's hope they succeed. I am afraid for the free world if they don't.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Survivor Long Island

Somewhere in the afterlife, an old friend of mine is laughing his ass off.

Somewhere former University of Maine head coach Shawn Walsh is playing golf, smoking a cigar and telling stories about his former goaltender Garth Snow.

I can hear him now, "Unfreakin' believable. Just wild, kid, just wild."

Yesterday, Snow woke up, retired and was hired as the General Manager of the New York Islanders. Just 40 days after owner Charles Wang hired Neil Smith to do the job, he was gone and replaced by a player.

It's happened twice before, Bobby Clarke with the Flyers and Serge Savard with the Canadiens. Savard did well and Clarke has and is still struggling. Time will tell on Snow, but it may not be fair to judge him from this situation.

After all, it is Wang who has destroyed a once proud franchise. It starts with Mike Milbury and how in the heck he kept his job as long as he did. He went through coaches like Steinbrenner went through managers.

If you look back on the last decade of Islander drafts, they could have had a team to beat all-teams. Some of the names that could be Islanders right now are Heatley, Luongo, Chara, Berard and Jokinen. Not a bad start right? Well, instead of that, they have the mess that Wang has created now.

CNN/SI's Michael Farber has a great column on the Islanders with an opening paragraph to end all paragraphs on the subject:

"From the franchise that brought you scam artist/owner John Spano, those fishsticks uniforms and enough egregious hockey and bumbling management to all but destroy the legacy of one of the National Hockey League's dynastic powers of the 1980s, we now have the curious one-month reign of general manager Neil Smith."

Somewhere, Shawn Walsh is turning to his golfing partner and saying, "With two former Black Bears as GM's (Dave Nonis - Vancouver), I would have been coaching in the show by now. I wonder if Mike Dunham is going to back up Snow as his assistant GM. Just wild, kid."

Not wild, Shawn, predictable on the Island. The only question is how do Islander faithful vote off Mr. Wang?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Motel, hotel, Holiday Inn.....

OK, admit it. You loved Rapper's Delight from the Sugarhill Gang.

I know I did and still do.. everytime I hear it, I reminisce back to the Rink in Bergenfield, N.J. It was a cheesy a place there was - but I used to have a blast going roller skating.

It's always funny how little things throw you back to your past.

But speaking of the Holiday Inn, I am working on a project right now for a friend for the Holiday Inn. I am working on the Ultimate Baseball Roadtrip - helping blog, PR, etc.

They are out with a contest that the winner gets two tickets to every ball park in the country and hotel in each city as well. How cool would that be to win? Make sure to click on the link and try it out. Also tell your friends and throw a link on your page to it for me as well.

Check out the blog and contest ... it's great stuff. Have a great week.

Monday, July 10, 2006

ZZ flips his top

Happy Monday. Hope everyone had a great weekend.

I was going take today off in honor of turning 38, but something stupid happened along the way this weekend that I can't get past.

I watched the World Cup final yesterday. I know many of you out there in TV land think that soccer is one of the most boring sports ever played. But if you watched any of the last two weeks of soccer and thought that, you need not read further.

You have not, will not and just plain don't get the beauty of international athletics. This is the biggest thing in EVERY country other than ours. Billions of people around the globe gathered to watch this sporting event. BILLIONS!

Think about that? People without TV sets in every room of their homes found a set somewhere to watch this. Americans, for the most part, wouldn't cross a street to watch soccer.

Growing up in the New York City area in the 70's, I was fortunate enough to have the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League to watch. Pele, Chinaglia, Beckenbauer, and Messing. Some of the greatest players ever - but most of this country still doesn't get the sport.

Just insane.

And speaking of insane, let's talk about one of the greatest footballers of my life time, Zinedine Zidane. He was the most dominant player in the 2006 World Cup. France had only been to one World Cup final before Sunday and it was in 1998 because of Zidane.

On Sunday, the 34-year-old was about to take a team that no one thought would be in the final, back to the top of the mountain. He scored the first goal of the match seven minutes in on a penalty kick. Just calmly walked up and knocked it in. He then dominated play - including an incredible header that was brilliantly saved by Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon.

Zidane got hurt in the 80th minute of the game and almost came out of the match after he fell on his shoulder, but he wouldn't quit. It brought back memories of Franz Beckenbauer playing with his arm in a sling for Germany many years ago. He was about to ride out into the sunset in legendary status in his last match.

But then IT happened.

In the 110th minute, Zidane went postal for a split second. He was walking away from Italian defender Marco Materazzi when he turned around and slammed his head into Materazzi's chest.

Read that last paragraph again. I can't believe I typed it, still.

Here he is, 10 minutes away from penalty kicks to win the World Cup, and Zidane lost it. We could find out what the heck Materazzi said to him, but does it really matter? Things get said in the heat of battle all the time and this rarely happens.

In my mind, I try to think of Mark Messier in 1994 with 10 minutes to go in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, turning and slashing someone and getting tossed from the game. Even so, it wasn't Messier's last game nor was it for his country's honor. Joe Montana? Michael Jordan? Pick a star and a game. Doesn't matter. I can't see it.

With Zidane and Thierry Henry out, Italy dominated the penalty kicks and won 5-3.

It's almost impossible to come up with a scenario like this, because the great athletes almost never lose it like this on the grandest stage of all. Think of your favorite athlete of all-time in his biggest game ever. They may have not played well and lost, but they never snapped like Zidane did on Sunday.

After the match, Zidane wasn't even allowed to come out and receive his second place medal.

The picture of Zidane walking off the pitch with his head down as he walked past the golden trophy he and his teammates worked so hard for, summed up his shame and frustration of losing it for a split second.

One second.

All of the great things Zidane did for the game of soccer, gone in a blink of an eye. Or in his case, a butt of his head.

One second.

It's a second that will haunt and follow Zidane for the rest of his life. It will baffle the soccer world for a lot longer than that.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

38 or 6 to 4

One may wonder why I love Chicago.

The city, not the band.

Even though I love the original band, there's nothing like an afternoon on the North side of town when the Cubs are home.

I went up there with a few friends last week for 40 hours to see the Chicago Cubs play two games. One night game, one day game. For those who haven't been, you have to make this trip if you enjoy baseball in the slightest bit.

I am a Cubs fan - win, lose or draw. This is what baseball is supposed to be. There is no stadium like Wrigley. Fenway is close - but the atmosphere of an afternoon game on a Wednesday when the Cubs are playing poorly is incredible.

There were 40,000 people at the game. Plus there must have been another 15,000 people at Murphy's and the Cubby Bear just to watch the game there. Doesn't anyone work in Chicago?

Actually the hardest workers are the vendors at Wrigley. My one friend, Seth, commented that he hadn't seen that many people working that hard in Atlanta's stadium in 30 years never mind one game. You could have a new beer every 10 seconds - not a bad thought.

The Cubs even happened to split two games for me ... even though Ryan Dumpster shouldn't have blown the first game, but it's what he does.

But it doesn't matter. Cubs fans love Wrigley, the atmosphere and their team. I will keep going back as long as I am alive and I can't wait to take the kids to Wrigley.

I was sitting there, looking at the ivy and I was reflecting about life. Monday will be the start of my 38th year on this planet ... I can't believe it. I don't know what's scarier - the fact that I am 38 or have two kids? Both are mind boggling to many of you as well. But let's not stop there - Saturday will be my sixth anniversary. How is this possible? How does time fly like this?

It seems as if one day I was in high school and the next day I am sitting on the 4th of July holding my kids and watching the fireworks in Atlanta from my parents apartment. I am the same person, only with more white in my hair and beard, right?


I have added pieces to the puzzle as life has gone by. I have made great friends, have made a wonderful family, have changed careers and have kept the core of me the same. Not bad for a kid from Jersey?

Billy Crystal talks about the "One" thing that matters in City Slickers after he found out what it was - but he wouldn't share it with anyone. You had to figure it out for yourself.

It took a while - but I think I got it. Family, friends and even the Cubs makes me smile. Even listening to Chicago the band can, "Make Me Smile."

What does it for you? Stop for a minute this week and ponder how lucky we are. I know I am soapboxing ... but why not? Enough people bitch and moan. If you are one of them - give it up for a day. Find your happy thought and go do someting to make yourself smile.

Consider it a birthday present to me. It's cheaper than the postage of sending a card....

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Barks and bites from the weekend...

"Well hello out there in TV land..."

Ed Norton made those words famous in the Honeymooners episode where Ralph and Ed sell the Handy Dandy kitchen utensil on television. If there was ever a day where y'all (Southern term of endearment I still don't get) should have seen our day in the Barkan Household, it was Sunday.

Had the kids birthday party at the house. We invited a bunch of people over to swim, play in the backyard and jump on a Dora the Explorer moonwalk. Everything was set except one minor detail: weather.

It hadn't rained down here in about 45 days. We are in a drought situation, again, as it seems we are every summer. So, Elizabeth and I go out for dinner with friends last night and as we are about to get to the car, the skies opened up. It was just a torrential downpour.

So, I am thinking, no issues. Rains now, it'll pass by and that's it.

Well, I was way off on this one. People started coming over at 11 a.m. - weather was cloudy, but hot. Got about 30 minutes into the pool when we heard thunder ... so out of the pool and into the basement we go. After about 20 minutes, cleared up and everyone back in the pool. Cool - we've dodged the bullet again. Nope.

About 20 minutes later the skies opened up and it pretty much rained cats and dogs from noon until about 6 p.m. It was the kind of rain where if Noah pulled up in the Ark, I wouldn't have been shocked.

All things being equal we had a great time. Abbie is only worried that next year, it will rain on her party day and that she won't be able to swim or jump. It's only 355 days until her next birthday, I am sure she will talk about it every day until then.

Some observations from around the world over the weekend:

It seems like a lifetime ago when the National Team Development Program was started by USA Hockey in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Many people scoffed and many people tried to tear the program apart. Thanks to the work of men like Jeff Jackson, Bob Mancini, Scott Monaghan, and Ron Rolston it lives and breaths today as one of the most successful programs in the world. 10 Americans were selected in the first round of the NHL Draft. Erik Johnson became the fifth American player to ever go first in the draft. Keep up the good work in Ann Arbor boys, after this past Olympic showing we need some new blood.

Speaking of hockey, the last original Atlanta Thrasher was traded to the Dallas Stars, Patrik Stefan. He was the first player ever taken in the entry draft by the Thrashers and he never lived up the hype/responsibility of being that first player ever taken label. Looking back on that draft, it's easy to say the Thrashers should have traded the pick to add more pieces. Problem was, not many pieces were available and not many players from that first round have turned into the players they were projected to be. I hope he can go to Dallas and be successful, but I am not willing to bet on it.

No matter what sport you may like, there's no more horribly officiated games that the World Cup soccer matches. Sunday's match between Portugal and the Netherlands was one of the worst officiated events of all-time. The Russian official handed out 16 cards (13 yellow, 3 red). For those who don't follow the sport, that's a TON of cards for a match that was between two very good teams if the official would let them play. You know how bad it is when I think Mick McGeough should be doing these matches.

And by the way, if you haven't watched the World Cup yet, watch the quarterfinals. These are the best of the best and if you ever wanted to learn the game, these are the games to watch. It's like poetry in motion to watch the Brazilians, Italians and Argentinean play.

Maybe Bruce Arena should watch as well, he may learn a little about the sport.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Three firings, two mistakes and good advice gone awry

In life, there are many lessons to be learned every day. Those lessons start at a young age with sage advice from your family. One of the pieces of advice that I still carry with me is to never forget where you came from.

You think Larry Brown wished he hadn't remembered he was from New York today? It's where he was born and bred. The New York Knicks were his "dream job." Mind you, when speaking of Brown, I use "dream job" loosely because he has had many of those in the past and still kept on moving on.

He burnt the bridge in Detroit in order to return home, so I don't feel for the man. He had coached in two straight NBA finals and had a chance for more, but he wasn't happy. The situation wasn't good enough. He wanted more.

He was paid 10 million or so for the one year and will have to fight to get the other 40 million he is owed, because the Knicks are refusing to pay him. He never should have left Detroit.

That being said, let's get to the root of the problem, the Knicks general manager and new head coach Isiah Thomas must have some kind of pictures or something on the owner of the Knicks James Dolan. If you want to fire them both - you sure as heck would have had no argument from anyone. However, if you are going to fire one person, Dolan chose poorly.

Who built this 125 million dollar mess? Isiah.

Who hired Larry Brown? Isiah.

Who has never won a title in a management/coaching position? Isiah.

In Brown's two previous worst seasons, his next year he took his team to the playoffs. Have you done that once Isiah, nevermind twice?

In the movie Forget Paris, Billy Crystal's father-in-law is visiting him and is repeating all the billboards he sees as they drive. The line all of us should share this year with Dolan and Isiah is from there, "You asked for it, you got it ... "

A long time ago, when the New York Football Giants were horrendous in the 70s there was a Monday night game at the Meadowlands. I forget who they were playing, but they were getting killed at the half. All of a sudden, a banner drops from the upper deck. It said (former owner Wellington) Mara, (former GM George) Young, (former coach Ray) Perkins - How do you sleep at night? Mr. Dolan, we can ask you the exact same question. But I guarantee you, Larry Brown will sleep well at night for a little bit, until he takes another job.

Another piece of advice I remember was no matter how well you do, be good to the people on the way up, because you will see them again on the way down.

Got a call from a friend today to let me know that two other friends of mine who worked with the University of Wisconsin hockey team were "reassigned" within the University.

The two of them have spent over 20 years each involved with the team and they had just come off winning their first National Championship since 1989-90. So things should be peachy, right?

A former Badger player, Mike Eaves, took over the job from Jeff Sauer in 2002-03. In short order, he has turned the program back around and is king of the world in Madison. He has worked very hard to distance himself from the Sauer Era.

There are many in the Badger family who are upset with him for that as well as the fact that there are many who think Mark Johnson should have been the head coach instead of him.

Love him or hate him - the man can recruit and coach. Period.

The problem is that these people posed no threat to you, Mike. They were hired by someone else, but stayed loyal to you throughout all of their time there. They LOVE Wisconsin hockey and the University and this was just downright disgusting. It was tasteless and classless and they deserved a lot better from someone who knows what it's like to bleed Wisconsin red.

Odds are Eaves will win another National title soon enough and pick up and take his ego and game to the pro level. Odds are he will probably do well there. The difference is that everyone in the NHL knows that they are hired to be fired.

I know that's a long way away for you to think, Mike. But be careful of the bridges you burn now ... before there are no bridges left for you to get across.

Just another lesson I learned a long, long time ago.... (or was it, what comes around, goes around....)