Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Give me football or give me death!

Our political heroes in the Texas Legislature have finally come through! Witness Concurrent Resolution 2, "urging the cable television providers of this state and the NFL Network to work out their differences regarding the televising of certain collegiate and professional football games."

The NFL wants cable providers to pay big money to carry NFLN on their cable TV packages. Maybe Senator Lucio can get the two parties together at Camp David to sign an NFL broadcasting peace accord. That would be his crowning achievement.

Here's some choice cuts from the legislation.

"WHEREAS, A dispute between cable television providers and the NFL Network has interfered with the ability of fans to enjoy and support their favorite football teams in the 2006 season, resulting in a Texas collegiate team playing in a major bowl game televised by the NFL Network but not carried by the major cable providers of this state and further resulting in one of the state's storied professional football teams playing in a Saturday night football game not scheduled to be made available for viewing in the majority of the cable television households in this state . . ."

"RESOLVED, That, if the private corporations are not able to put the interests of the citizens of Texas first, the legislature urgently request that the appropriate state and federal regulatory agencies intervene to settle this matter . . ."

I'll admit I was a bit miffed when I found out the Cowboys vs. Falcons game was a Saturday night game on the NFL Network. But I didn't dust off the Smith Corona and fire off an angry letter to my state representative. I took matters into my own hands and went to a bar that has Dish Network to watch the game.

The legislation, if passed by both houses of the TX Legislature, would not have the effect of law. But I don't think lawmakers should do anything to intervene at this point. Let market forces do their thing. I'll venture a guess and say that most football fans don't have Dish or any other TV provider that carries NFLN. As far as I can tell, there has only been one decent contest broadcast on NFLN this season [the afore-mentioned Cowboys/Falcons game]. According to the Tuesday Morning Quarterback, 15 of the 16 quarters played on the NFLN Thursday night games have been crappy. In other words, we the non-NFLN subscribers haven't been missing much, and we're probably not calling our cable providers to complain about the absence of NFLN. A few more crappy games this season, and maybe the league will be forced to lower its price before next season.

Of course, a concession by the NFL will do me no good since I don't have cable. I'll still have to go somewhere to watch that important Jets vs. Raiders Thursday night matchup [yeah, right].

Should I bother heading back to the bar to watch my alma mater play in the Insight Bowl?

WTF is a college game doing on the NFL Network?! I guess there are not enough ESPN's and FSN's to broadcast all 32(!) bowl games. That's right. 64 teams out of 119 get to play in a bowl game.

Did you know there is a Papa John's Bowl? South Florida vs. East Carolina = no pepperoni.

Who am I kidding? If I had cable, I'd probably be watching that shit. I'm willing to admit I have a problem.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Rollback Austin

The "No Wal-Mart" protest of the "Responsible Growth for Northcross" movement here in Austin has been amusing. Wal-Mart wants to build a 220,000 sq.ft. ,24-hour "supercenter" on the site of the old, dilapidated Northcross Mall, which has resulted in quite a yuprising from the affluent residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. Over the last decade, these older neighborhoods have experienced a steady increase in their Volvo index, and they aren't about to let Wal-Mart throw down a roadblock. Now they are trying to turn up the heat on our city council.

The most legitimate beef of the "RG4N" group is the dramatic increase in traffic that would result at the already congested intersection of Burnet Road and Anderson Lane. However, I don't think the bitching would have reached its current fever pitch if it was Whole Foods planning to build a 220K sq.ft. supermarket at the site.

Anyway... some funny "discussions" on Austin360's "Talk of Austin" are here and here. Some of the comments are obviously sarcastic, but there are a few where it's hard to tell if the commenters are serious.

This one made me chukle, re: What would you like to see at Northcross Mall?

"I would like to see a drive-through beer store with a barbecue annex."

Many other posts are in favor of either Whole Foods, Central Market, Sun Harvest, or a mall full of local shops [no doubt, pining for the good old days when "mom and pop" shops paid a living wage and offered full health benefits].

I agree that Wal-Mart is probably not the best thing for the Northcross site. But if the local residents think it's a good place for more "upscale" businesses, I wonder why none of those types of business set up shop there?

Meanwhile in my neighborhood, an old run down building that previously housed a "beauty college" has been remodeled, revitalized, and turned into . . . a big, green pawn shop. Craptacular. I would have preferred a drive-through beer store with a BBQ annex.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Romo arrigato, indeed. 22/29; 278 yards; 2 TDs to T.O., including a 51 yarder!

We decided to head out to a local watering hole with Dish Network to check out the Cowboys game on the NFL Network [wife's suggestion!]. The game turned out to be a barn burner as both defenses decided to take it easy in the 2nd Quarter [the Falcons scored three TDs]. What the hell was going on with the Cowboys D? Vick had four touchdown passes--two where there wasn't even a Cowboy defender in the same zip code. But they finally got their act together in the 3rd. Now the 'boys just have to beat Los Eagles de Garcia on Christmas Day and the Peugots on New Year's Eve, and it's on to the playoffs.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Romo arrigato!

I've been reminded that it's been over a month since my last post. Work has been really busy over the last couple of months. During that time, I've almost missed Dallas Cowboys Episode IV: A New Hope. The last time I wrote in about the Cowboys, I announced my month-long boycott after the 'boys blew a huge opportunity against the Eagles. I'll fess up now and say that I broke the boycott as soon as Parcells benched Bledsoe and started Tony Romo in the Sunday Night Football game versus the Carolina Panthers. While that victory was sweet, I wasn't quite convinced that Romo was the panacea. The Panthers receivers developed an awful case of the dropsies, which helped the Cowboys out a lot. Still, the young Romo showed some poise coming from back from a two touchdown deficit for the blowout victory.

I tried to watch the Redskins game on the following week, but I was at work, so it was hard to follow the game. What I did see was T.O. dropping some crucial passes and the dreadful final seconds of that game that I'd rather not relive. I missed the Arizona game [you're supposed to beat the Cardinals] and most of the Indy game [I totally called the Cowboys' victory on that one]. Then there was the Thanksgiving Day massacre of the Buccaneers. Sure, Romo had a breakout game that afternoon. But the Bucs suck.

So, last Sunday's game was the true test--a road game against the N.Y. Giants who would be really hungry for a win after a huge meltdown against the Titans [go Vince!] and a three-game losing streak. What can I say? Romo did what needed to be done [in an overall ugly game] to put his team in position for the win.

I have the cup of Romo Kool-Aid in hand. I'm about to take a drink.

But maybe not until after they beat the Saints.

How 'bout that Gramatica?