Wednesday, September 30, 2009

FDH Lounge Show #75: September 30, 2009

By Rick Morris

Tonight’s “diamond anniversary” 75th edition of THE FDH LOUNGE on (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT) will feature more of the variety that has become our trademark.

After The Opening Statements of The Dignitaries of The FDH Lounge and a look at This Week in The FDH Lounge, we welcome in one of our few in-studio guests in the show’s history: Cavs New Media Sales Director Mike Maleski. In addition to his work with the Cavs’ standard Internet apparatus, he is also involved with one of the only team-owned social media outlets in sports, Team owner Dan Gilbert has positioned the franchise as one of the cutting-edge organizations in all of pro sports when it comes to embracing technology and Mike will be here to break it all down for us. Then, we stay on the Cavs, but with a different slant: Kris Belman, director of the documentary about the early days of Lebron James, More Than a Game, will come on to discuss the debut of the movie, which is about 48 hours away.

Because of the circumstances of tonight’s show, we need to bump the traditional format of Hour Three up one hour: first with THE GOON SQUAD and our comprehensive 2009-2010 NHL season preview, which will partially involve drawing upon FANTASY HOCKEY DRAFTOLOGY 2009. We are joined by 100 Rangers Greats co-author Russ Cohen, also of Sportsology and Card Corner Club. Then, on THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER, we preview NFL Week 4, the first of the bye weeks, before comparing notes towards the end with KFFL Senior Editor Cory J. Bonini. Of course, our weekly football thoughts on this show only serve as a preview for each weekly Fantasy Drafthelp newsletter at the Fantasy Drafthelp blog.

Hour Three will be very special for the diamond anniversary show: an extended look at the MLB season that was, and more importantly, a look ahead to October. FDH baseball analysts Tim Foust and Ken Detwiler will be with us for all of the baseball hot topics.

It’s going to be a great program and we hope you can be a part of our audience. As always, we urge you to watch the show live (or listen if you’re on dial-up), but if you can’t catch this as it’s happening, you can always catch the FDH archives 24-7 right here or catch us now on iTunes!

NFL Week Four power rankings

By Rick Morris

NOTE: Preseason rankings in brackets.

1 NY Giants [2]
2 New Orleans [15]
3 Indianapolis [7]
4 Minnesota [12]
5 Baltimore [8]
6 NY Jets [13]
7 New England [1]
8 Philadelphia [4]
9 Atlanta [16]
10 San Diego [5]

11 Pittsburgh [3]
12 Dallas [10]
13 San Francisco [25]
14 Green Bay [11]
15 Chicago [19]
16 Cincinnati [27]
17 Denver [23]
18 Arizona [6]

19 Seattle [24]
20 Buffalo [21]
21 Miami [17]
22 Houston [14]
23 Tennessee [9]
24 Jacksonville [22]
25 Detroit [30]
26 Washington [20]
27 Carolina [18]

28 Tampa Bay [31]
29 Oakland [32]
30 St. Louis [26]
31 Kansas City [29]
32 Cleveland [28]

BIGGEST RISERS: New Orleans (13 spots), San Francisco (12 spots), Cincinnati (11 spots), Minnesota (8 spots)
BIGGEST FALLERS: Tennessee (14 spots), Arizona (12 spots), Carolina (9 spots), Houston (8 spots)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

NFL picks Week Three

By Rick Morris

In addition to posting my weekly picks, I will post those from other members of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries' Football Challenge Contest. Each week, we will single out our three strongest plays.

RICK MORRIS (2-1 last week, 1-0 with my best pick, 4-2 overall, 2-0 on best picks)
Houston -3 1/2 over Jacksonville (my 1,000-Star, Gold-Plated Lock of the Millenium for this week)
NY Giants -6 1/2 over Tampa Bay
Detroit +6 1/2 over Washington

RYAN ISLEY (1-2 last week, 4-2 overall)
NY Jets -2 1/2 over Tennessee
Atlanta +4 1/2 over New England
New Orleans -6 over Buffalo

SEAN TRENCH (2-1 last week, 4-2 overall)
San Francisco +7 over Minnesota
Cincinnati +3 1/2 over Pittsburgh
Atlanta +4 1/2 over New England

DAVE ADAMS (2-1 last week, 3-3 overall)
Detroit +6 1/2 over Washington
Houston -3 1/2 over Jacksonville
Green Bay -6 1/2 over St. Louis

STEVE CIRVELLO (1-2 last week, 2-4 overall)
Philadelphia -7 1/2 over Kansas City
Jacksonville +3 1/2 over Houston
New Orleans -6 over Buffalo

My remaining picks (9-7 last week including loss on Pittsburgh/Chicago game that I forgot to post, 16-16 overall):
Green Bay -6 1/2 over St. Louis
Cincinnati +3 1/2 over Pittsburgh
Minnesota -7 over San Francisco
New England -4 1/2 over Atlanta
Philadelphia -7 1/2 over Kansas City
Buffalo +6 over New Orleans
Tennessee +2 1/2 over NY Jets
Cleveland +13 1/2 over Baltimore
Seattle +2 1/2 over Chicago
Miami +5 1/2 over San Diego
Denver -1 1/2 over Oakland
Arizona -2 1/2 over Indianapolis
Carolina +8 1/2 over Dallas

Saturday, September 26, 2009

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XXXVIII

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

NCAA football picks Week Four

By Rick Morris

Last week 3-2, 7-13 on the season. Inching upwards!

This week:

Ohio State -14 over Illinois
Ohio +23 1/2 over Tennessee
Virginia Tech +3 over Miami
Purdue +6 1/2 over Notre Dame
Iowa +9 1/2 over Penn State

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Liberals' Pathetic Attack on Glenn Beck

By Tony Mazur

It has taken a number of years, but Glenn Beck is a media superstar. I have personally been a fan of Beck since his radio show went national, though my local news talk station WTAM dropped him in favor of Jerry Springer back in 2005 (Beck has since returned to WTAM). As a loyal Beck fan, I am apparently one of a few people that understand his humor.

On his September 23rd program on the Fox News Channel, Beck discussed his recent remarks about his disdain for Senator John McCain. He used an analogy about boiling a frog in a pot of water to explain the difference between a McCain and a Barack Obama presidency, and he used a scalding hot pot of water and live frogs. Sounds crazy, right? Where's PETA?

Here is one snippet of the segment.

You'll notice that the frog that he has in his hand jumps out as he takes his hand out of the cage. And I'm not sure if he even threw anything into the water. Funny, the video "mysteriously" cuts off just as Beck says the frog demonstration was fake.

Don't believe me? Here's is the full context of the segment.

The liberals and the mainstream media are out to get Beck, just as they have attacked Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin, and Ann Coulter over the years. With the Democrats in full possession of Congress, why are the liberals attacking right-wing commentators?

Because they are terrified.

They have attacked these people to the point where they will spread vicious rumors about them. There is a website that calls for an investigation into a rape and murder covered up by Beck from 1990. For those who are scratching your heads, this is a tasteless spin on a joke made by Gilbert Gottfried during The Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget, which had absolutely nothing to do with Beck. However, so imbeciles are actively trying to discredit Beck by indoctrinating ignorant and, frankly, stupid people on the internet.

Funny. I thought that the liberals are the nice folks, and those big, bad conservatives are hate-mongers. That doesn't seem like a nice thing to do.

If you've watched a minute or two of Beck's FNC show, you'll notice how Beck attempts to expose corruption in the government on both sides of the aisle. Gee, I thought Obama was the one person who was going to destroy racial and political divides?

Rather than focusing on the health care situation like other FNC hosts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, Beck has exposed Van Jones, Cass Sunstein, Mark Lloyd, and others who are attempting to bring down America through organizations such as ACORN, the Apollo Alliance, and the Tides Foundation. Beck is not trying to bring down America. He is trying to get people informed about what is really going on under this corrupt administration.

The liberals attack Beck because they are afraid of him. They are afraid because of his large audience. They are afraid because he speaks the truth. In their eyes, they have no choice but to take him down a few pegs by spreading lies.

By the way, Beck's show airs at 5 PM ET/2 PM PT on Fox News, and re-airs at 2 AM ET/11 PM PT. That is a tough timeslot, but has pulled in roughly 3 million viewers. plus, his radio show is the third most listened-to program in the country.

When will liberal bloggers grow up? I can't speak for all, but the majority of right-wingers do not stood to these low levels. The right brought down Van Jones because he is a radical communist and racist. The left wants to bring down Beck because he exposed a radical communist and racist.

Whether or not you agree with Beck, he is doing the right thing for the country. He is a whistle-blower. We need more people like this on both sides to expose corruption, no matter who is president.

I just thought I'd end this post with a video I found on YouTube. Back in the '80s, Beck co-hosted one of those zany morning zoo radio shows. I'm glad Glenn got out of wacky trash like this. His career sure benefited.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

FDH Lounge Show #74: September 23, 2009

By Rick Morris

Our next edition of THE FDH LOUNGE (now back at its traditional time of 7-10 PM EDT on Wednesday nights on features its trademark blend of variety – and, like last week’s program, it will be liveblogged throughout the show on Googling Atlee Hammaker.

By resuming the old format, the traditional “anything goes” portion of The Lounge from 7-9 now furnishes the first two hours of programming. We lead once again with The Opening Statements of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries and a look at This Week in The FDH Lounge before we bring in Dave Karger from Entertainment Weekly’s Oscar Watch. An expert on the Academy Awards, Dave will speak to us with some early insights into the 2010 voting as well as helping us recap the Emmy awards.

In the second half of the first hour, we bring to you our recurring FDH Lounge Pigskin Report, examining the September developments thus far from the pro and college gridirons.

At the top of Hour Two, our good friend and fellow member of the 21st Century Media Alliance New York lawyer Steve Kallas, proprietor of Sports Plus/Kallas Remarks, joins us for a look at the 20th anniversary of the Pete Rose banishment from baseball. Later, we start THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER a bit early with a visit from KFFL Senior Editor Cory J. Bonini to review early-season fantasy football developments. THE INSIDER then continues as we preview NFL Week 3, the first of the bye weeks this season and we take a look at the standings in The FDH Lounge Dignitaries NFL Pick Contest. We conclude with THE GOON SQUAD as we take a brief look at FANTASY HOCKEY DRAFTOLOGY 2009 and continue to get you ready for your hockey pools before completing the NHL Western Conference preview we started last week and moving onto the Eastern Conference. We’ll also remind you that next Monday, September 28, is the publication date for our good pal Russ Cohen’s 100 RANGER GREATS.

It’s going to be a great program and we hope you can be a part of our audience. As always, we urge you to watch the show live (or listen if you’re on dial-up), but if you can’t catch this as it’s happening, you can always catch the FDH archives 24-7 right here or catch us now on iTunes!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tremendous Week: Parks & Recreation Season 1 DVD review

By Rick Morris

We conclude Tremendous Week in The 21st Century Media Alliance with a look at the new Parks & Recreation Season 1 DVD release. Other elements of this week, of course, included the Fire Joe Morgan reunion on Deadspin, The Office Season 5 DVD review and The Office Season 6 Premiere liveblog right here on this site and the Parks & Recreation Season 2 Premiere liveblog on Googling Atlee Hammaker. All in all, it’s been a pretty fun week taking a whirl through elements of pop culture that we really enjoy.

So that brings us to Parks & Recreation, the highly-anticipated project that hit the airwaves last April. With obvious strong ties to The Office – both in terms of the creative team and the mockumentary format – intrigue was intense even while few knew exactly what to expect.

Well, that’s not entirely true, we knew the outlines going in. Leslie Knope (portrayed by the always-funny Amy Poehler), deputy director of Parks & Recreation in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana, takes on the challenge of converting an abandoned construction pit into a fully-functioning city park. Along the way, she befriends local nurse Ann Perkins (portrayed by the smokin’ Rashida Jones in another Office connection), whose ne’er-do-well boyfriend Andy fell into the pit and broke both his legs. Intern April, smarmy co-worker Tom Haverford, shallow city planner (and would-be love interest) Mark Brendanawicz and her militant libertarian boss Ron Swanson make up the rest of her professional inner circle. We knew that Pawnee was probably supposed to be about the same size as Scranton, PA, home of The Office. We also knew that Leslie’s character would have some of the same obliviousness as Office honcho Michael Scott.

But what would be the feel of the ensemble? How would this non-spinoff-with-obvious-Office-overtones fare?

Pretty well, as a rewatch of the episodes in Season 1 demonstrated yet again. When I first viewed the episodes last spring, I enjoyed the dry humor evident with most of the characters, but I admit to worrying at the time that there might not be many others who felt the same way. After all, I’m one of the statistically-insignificant people who loves Mad Men, which will have a long leash because it does great numbers for AMC – but expectations for a Thursday night show on NBC are far higher, and probably unrealistic in terms of the ratings that night used to tally in the days when cable was far less of a threat.

In light of that thought, I waited to post a review until I had seen the first episode of Season 2, just as a point of comparison. It was by far my favorite show yet in the series, proving that they are really going to hit their stride in Season 2. As I noted in the liveblog on GAH, any show that can have me laughing my nards off when my own point of view (opposition to gay marriage) is being satirized is really hitting all the right comedic notes.

So this DVD set is probably going to go down in a historical sense as being similar to, not surprisingly, The Office’s first mini-season of its own. The Office started out in the shadow of the BBC version and really took few if any steps to carve out its own identity in that time. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t great, because it was, and “The Alliance” and “Diversity Day” had some of the best scenes in the history of the show – but it wasn’t yet separate in the public’s mind from the overseas version. In Season 2, the program branched out and reached untold creative heights as they forged their own identity. With Parks and Recreation, we can see a bit of the same process, as Season 1 was devoted to the deliberate process of fleshing out the characters and creating the dynamic for the pit project to unwittingly become a magnet for controversy. If the show endures – and I believe that it will – the Season 1 DVD will probably be viewed as the steady first step for the rest of the series in the same way that the first offering from The Office is seen.

But that’s not to indicate that the DVD is merely for completist fans of the show like me. There are a lot of laughs here, plenty of entertainment and wit. The ensemble is superb, another point in common with The Office. The skewering of municipal government is dead-on and the mishaps that ensue – from a town hall meeting less friendly than one President Obama might see these days to Andy’s eventual failure to keep Ann under his thumb by dint of obligation – are outrageous in their execution.

And Leslie Knope, the main character, anchors the show in fine fashion. While there are obvious points of comparison to Michael Scott, her defining feature is not a wish to be worshipped as a great guy and world-class entertainer like The Office’s honcho; rather, she has a vision of being a trailblazing female politician with an eventual stop in the White House. She believes, humorously and touchingly, that every one of her small triumphs in life is a step in that ultimate destination. Like Michael, though, she causes much eye-rolling in her inner circle with her antics, so the comparison is one that works in the show’s favor.

All in all, I’m a big fan of what this show is trying to do. As The Office demonstrates so ably, some of the funniest moments in life are mined from the trivialities of day-to-day life and Parks and Recreation searches for those moments in the form of local government follies. I recommend this DVD strongly and if you buy it now, you’ll be able to lord it over your friends later on when everyone is posturing to act like they were a fan from the very beginning.

MLB power rankings for mid-September

By Rick Morris

NOTE: Previous rankings are listed in parentheses, preseason rankings in brackets.

1 New York Yankees (1) [2]

2 Los Angeles Angels (2) [7]
3 Boston (6) [1]
4 Los Angeles Dodgers (4) [10]
5 Philadelphia (5) [5]
6 St Louis (3) [9]

7 Colorado (9) [24]
8 San Francisco (10) [23]
9 Detroit (11) [18]
10 Texas (7) [20]
11 Florida (12) [14]
12 Atlanta (13) [22]
13 Tampa Bay (8) [3]
14 Seattle (14) [28]
15 Minnesota (16) [11]

16 Chicago Cubs (15) [4]
17 Chicago White Sox (17) [15]
18 Milwaukee (18) [17]
19 Houston (19) [21]
20 Cincinnati (20) [19]
21 Oakland (22) [12]

22 Arizona (21) [8]
23 New York Mets (23) [6]
24 San Diego (26) [30]
25 Toronto (25) [26]

26 Cleveland (24) [13]
27 Baltimore (27) [25]
28 Kansas City (29) [16]

29 Pittsburgh (28) [27]

30 Washington (30) [29]

BIGGEST RISER: Boston (3 spots)
BIGGEST FALLERS: Tampa Bay (5 spots), St. Louis and Texas (3 spots)

NFL picks Week Two

By Rick Morris

In addition to posting my weekly picks, I will post those from other members of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries' Football Challenge Contest. Each week, we will single out our three strongest plays.

RYAN ISLEY (3-0 last week)
New England -3 1/2 over NY Jets
Atlanta -6 over Carolina
Pittsburgh -3 over Chicago

RICK MORRIS (2-1 last week, 1-0 with best pick)
Buffalo -4 over Tampa Bay (my 1,000-Star, Gold-Plated Lock of the Millenium for this week)
New Orleans -1 1/2 over Philadelphia
New England -3 1/2 over NY Jets

SEAN TRENCH (2-1 last week)
San Diego -3 over Baltimore
NY Jets +3 1/2 over New England
Houston +7 over Tennessee

DAVE ADAMS (1-2 last week)
New Orleans -1 1/2 over Philadelphia
Cleveland +3 over Denver
Baltimore +3 over San Diego

STEVE CIRVELLO (1-2 last week)
Minnesota -10 over Detroit
Green Bay -9 over Cincinnati
New England -3 1/2 over NY Jets

My remaining picks (7-9 on my total picks last week):
Kansas City -3 over Oakland
Houston +7 over Tennessee
Green Bay -9 over Cincinnati
Minnesota -10 over Detroit
Atlanta -6 over Carolina
Washington -9 1/2 over St. Louis
Arizona +3 over Jacksonville
Seattle +1 over San Francisco
Denver -3 over Cleveland
Baltimore +3 over San Diego
Dallas -3 over NY Giants
Indianapolis -3 over Miami

Saturday, September 19, 2009


By Rick Morris

The annual fantasy -- and non-fantasy -- hockey guide from your pals at FDH is now online! FANTASY HOCKEY DRAFTLOGY 2009 is chock full of all of the goodies you could possibly want. Here is the Table of Contents:

Page 1: Draft Philosophy Overview, Draft Board Decoder, Top 60 Overall
Page 2: Goalie Rankings, Lessons of Our Ultimate Quantitative Baseline Stat
Page 3: Center Rankings
Page 4: Left Wing Rankings, 2009 Overvalued and Undervalued Players
Page 5: Right Wing Rankings
Page 6: Defensemen Rankings, 2009 Fantasy Overview, 2009 Fantasy Sleepers
Page 7: Defensemen Rankings, Don’t Be That Guy, Suggested League Guidelines
Page 8: FDH Hockey Mock Draft and Analysis
Page 9: FDH NHL 2009-10 Season Predictions, 100 Ranger Greats
Pages 10-11: FDH Proposal to Restructure The NHL For The Better
Page 12: NHL2K10 Review
Page 13: NHL 10 Review, Multimedia Draft Podcast Link
Page 14: Nine Notes From the 2009 NHL Entry Draft
Page 15: Upper Deck’s Preparation For Hockey Card Collecting in 2009-10
Page 16: Prospects Highlight Winter Classic Jersey Unveiling

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XXXVII

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

NCAA football picks Week Three

By Rick Morris

Last week 1-4, 4-11 on the season. Egads!

This week:

Toledo +20 ½ over Ohio State
Tennessee +30 over Florida
Michigan State +10 over Notre Dame
Texas Tech +17 ½ over Texas
Utah +5 over Oregon

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tremendous Week: Parks & Rec Season Premiere Liveblog

By Rick Morris

Tremendous Week has had a number of different components of coverage right here on The FDH Lounge today: the Fire Joe Morgan reunion on Deadspin, The Office Season 5 DVD review and The Office Season 6 Premiere liveblog. But, with us being a part of The 21st Century Media Alliance, we also need to call your attention to the event that came immediately before tonight's Office liveblog: the Parks & Recreation Season 2 Premiere liveblog on Googling Atlee Hammaker. FDH was a part of it and it was a lot of fun. Go check it out!

Tremendous Week: The Office Season 6 Premiere

By Rick Morris

Tremendous Week: The Office Season 5 DVD review

By Rick Morris

As I've repeatedly mentioned here before, NBC's The Office has become my favorite show of all time. I enthusiastically recommended the Season 3 and Season 4 DVDs in previous reviews (Seasons 1 and 2 were also outstanding, but I did not receive the DVDs when they first came out and hence did not review them). I held my Season 5 review to post as a part of Tremendous Week with The 21st Century Media Alliance (which also included our coverage of the Fire Joe Morgan reunion on Deadspin yesterday). I realize that Ken Tremendous errrrrr Michael Schur has now moved on to Parks and Recreation (which, BTW, The Alliance will be liveblogging the season premiere of at 8:30 PM EDT on Googling Atlee Hammaker before we pick up the liveblogging right here on The FDH Lounge with The Office Season 6 premiere immediately afterwards), but he was a part of Season 5 and surely at the very least we haven't seen the last of him as Cousin Mose!

It must be noted that this DVD had high standards to meet given what had come before, but it clearly achieved at that level. True fans of the show know to look for the versions that include fun extras from the show and as such, I purchased the "Beet Box" being sold at Best Buy, which includes many pieces of Schrute Farms merchandise.

While it was in progress, Season 5 was often critiqued as being uneven on various message boards by the hardcore fans. Some episodes were held up as worthy of the vaunted Seasons 2 and 3 and others were considered more on the par of the less popular Season 4. As somebody who has loved all seasons more or less equally, I find some of the nitpicking to be silly, but it is impossible not to note in terms of creating a clear picture of public perception. The accounts of life at Dunder-Mifflin always contain humor, both broad and subtle, as well as accurate portrayals of human nature and the occational note of pathos.

Before we get started, one quick note: if you read the previous two DVD reviews, you will be familiar with most of the major plotlines in the history of the show leading into Season 5.

Season 5 was a tad different from years past in terms of having more mini-arcs than in past seasons. Generally, there were not as many important storyline progressions that only lasted part of a season as opposed to a full season. Here are some of the bigger ones:

^ Michael started the season answering directly to company CFO David Wallace before the rollercoaster of dealing with the idiot savant successes and infuriating childishness led the exec to hire a no-nonsense intermediary.

^ Pam spent the first part of the season at the Pratt Institute in New York as she pursued her art dreams. She and Jim had to manage a long-distance relationshp in the aftermath of Jim's failed proposal at the end of Season 4 (when Andy hilariously jumped in with his own proposal to Angela just as Jim was getting the words out of his mouth at Toby's farewell party).

^ Speaking of the Andy-Angela-Dwight triangle that materialized at the end of Season 4, it endured as a secret well into Season 5 before exploding dramatically.

To explain each of these elements further, in order:

^ At the end of Season 4, when Michael's "hated enemy," the hapless and mild-mannered Toby, relocated to Costa Rica, he was replaced by the goofy and attractive Holly. She proved to be Michael's perfect child-like match. Initial awkwardness faded away as each realized the extent of the other's interest (and as Michael lost interest once and for all in crazy ex Jan and her new sperm bank baby) and they were happy together -- until David discovered the relationship and, fearing potential trouble, had Holly transferred to New Hampshire. Unlike Jim and Pam, they couldn't even get a long-distance relationship off the ground and Michael's downward spiral ensued. Coincidentally, Holly was portrayed by Amy Ryan, who was previously on The Wire and Michael's late-season nemesis, Charles Miner, was also portrayed by a Wire alum (Idris Elba). He came into the picture after Michael got on David's last nerve (due to, among other things, failing to stop Dwight from repeatedly endangering the lives of fellow employees in the name of "safety" during The Office Super Bowl Special, Michael's outrageously inappropriate presentations that he delivered on the ill-fated "lecture tour" of other branches that David designed for him and Michael's harebrained "Willy Wonka" sales promotion that could have financially crippled the Scranton branch). Tough guy Charles unexpectedly induced Michael to quit and start up the Michael Scott Paper Company. The short-lived battle between the upstart and established firms was headlined by a struggle between Michael and former (and future) protege Dwight and it put Jim and Pam on separate sides after she quit the D-M reception desk to sell for MSPC. In the end, Jim was the unlikely hero as his actions preserved a merger on MSPC's terms. He was motivated not only by a desire to help Pam, but also to undermine Charles, who had developed an immediate and irrational dislike of him.

^ As for Pam, she started the season in New York literally and in marital limbo figuratively after Andy's hijacked proposal. However, in characteristic fashion, she and Jim endured before reaching a breaking point (think back to Casino Night and Beach Games) and the proposal came in an unlikely but memorable way. Pam had a love-hate relationship with her new harried life and she had a smitten male friend try to convince her to stay in NYC for good. But faced with having to stay longer to retake a class, she chose to go home.

^ The very last scene of Season 4 came when Phyllis walked in on Angela and Dwight in a compromising position -- the very night the office phony got engaged to Andy! This allowed Phyllis to blackmail the moralist into permanently surrendering the Party Planning Committee leadership. More importantly, however, the ongoing affair continued even as Andy unwittingly drew Dwight into the wedding planning! Eventually, however, the truth came out and after a wild duel sequence, the two learned of the depths of Angela's treachery and BOTH dumped her! At the end of the season, however, there were subtle signs (further fleshed out on the DVD) of a potential Dwight-Angela reunion, which would be weird but certainly entirely fitting.

The multiple partial-season arcs helped to keep a disproportionate focus off of Jim and Pam. I correctly forecast at the end of Season 3 that once the obstacles were cleared out of their way that there would be no silly "Ross'n'Rachel" or "Sam'n'Diane" melodrama-for-the-sake-of-melodrama. The writers accomplished this by moving them from the forefront in Season 4. Viewers were still invested in the ongoing story and the occasional (small) bumps in the road have been addressed in realistic fashion. These included:

^ resolution of the engagement issue, which started in late Season 4 when Pam indicated that she would not repeat her mistake with Roy and move in without a ring

^ the occasional feelings of disconnection and dislocation between them during Pam's time away, which were subtly fueled by a gleeful Roy's planting of troubling thoughts in Jim's head

^ the wrapup of Pam's Scranton-or-NYC tug-of-war

^ Pam's favorable reaction to Jim's big gamble of buying his parents' house as a surprise gesture

^ the effects of the discord between Pam's parents -- and how it ultimately delivered a reinforcement about the value of Jim where she least expected it

^ Pam's post-Pratt thoughts about her professional future leading to the abrupt decision to leave D-M, only to return as not a receptionist, but a full-fledged saleswoman - with Jim to thank for instigating what amounted to a company bailout and her securing that position over Jim's old nemesis Ryan

^ the season-ending pregnancy revelation, prefaced by Jim once referring to Pam as "the future mother of my children," Pam's encounter with a pregnant (and forgiving) Karen and Pam's discovery about her parents and the lesson for her future

As is always the case, the surrounding characters proved to be part of the greatest ensemble on television:

^ Ryan returned from his ill-fated executive tenure at corporate and subsequent legal mess to begin again at the bottom of the ladder as a temp -- where he also ended the season. In between, he re-wooed and re-dumped Kelly, took a trip out of town (not to where he said it was!), returned to work at a bowling alley, sold for MSPC and then lost out to Pam for the sales position after the merger. The payback he received in Scranton was delicious in light of his Season 4 power trip.

^ Dwight had a typical Dwight year: tricking Angela into marrying him during their affair behind Andy's back, the duel with Andy, subsequently forming a weird friendship with Andy, bristling under Charles' dress code before transferring his allegiance to him and trying to destroy MSPC, putting down Pam's art aspirations ... this remains one of the most unique characters in TV history.

^ Almost in spite of himself, Kevin won the affections of a fairly attractive woman in a nearby office.

^ Phyllis and Bob Vance (Vance Refrigeration) took their piggy love to new and disturbing heights on Valentine's Day.

^ New receptionist Erin learned to navigate the insanity of Dunder-Mifflin Scranton.

^ Angela weathered the fallout from her exposure in characteristically defiant fashion.

^ Andy was morose for awhile after the breakup with Angela, but he became more upbeat late in the season and showed an interest in new girl Erin.

^ Kelly was, well, Kelly ... with relationship drama with Darryl and then Ryan again, getting revenge on Dwight and Jim for a perceived slight and taking a weight-loss challenge way too far.

^ As is the case every year, what can you really say about Creed?

^ Stanley's heart gave way to the stress of the office before he failed as Charles' "productivity czar" due to crossword puzzles not being a part of that equation.

^ Oscar bonded with Andy in a strange manner during their trip to Canada with Michael.

^ Crazy Jan finally pushed her luck with Michael too far.

^ Meredith had a near-miss with alcohol rehab -- not the first in her life, I'd wager!

The DVD extras also added much to the value of the product, as is always the case. A wealth of deleted scenes add so much depth for the completists in the fanbase -- as well as just delivering more fun. There's also so much else that adds value, such as a great blooper reel, episode commentaries, 100 moments from the first 100 episodes (check out #60, prompting the "Everyone poops" justification from Mose Schrute in a Season 4 deleted scene) and what is always one of the best parts of the annual DVD release: the look behind the curtain. This year, that comes in the form of a Q&A session that Andy Richter conducts with the writers and actors. The creative process for this show is incredible and it's always informative to learn more about how everything comes together with the show. There is also considerable entertainment in these features every year because of the wit of those involved and the off-camera camaraderie that is so appparent.

This truly is, in my opinion, the greatest show that television can boast. As this is being posted, the Season 6 premiere is mere hours away and I can't wait. Let us remind you again that The 21st Century Media Alliance will be liveblogging the season premiere of at 8:30 PM EDT on Googling Atlee Hammaker before we pick up the liveblogging right here on The FDH Lounge with The Office Season 6 premiere immediately afterwards. Soak in the love of a truly Tremendous Week!

Tremendous Week: FJM reunion on Deadspin

By Rick Morris

This week, The 21st Century Media Alliance celebrates Tremendous Week as dak, Junior and Ken Tremendous reunited Fire Joe Morgan for one day yesterday in the form of a takeover of Deadspin. This was done as a means of promoting the "Tremendous" season premiere of Parks and Recreation tonight at 8:30 EDT on NBC. It is worth noting that The Alliance will be covering that in the form of a liveblog on Googling Atlee Hammaker and we will follow that with a liveblog of another "Tremendous" show right here on The FDH Lounge, my favorite of all time, The Office -- which follows immediately afterward on NBC.

The beloved but relatively short-lived FJM blog was voted Blog of the Year by Busted Coverage readers in 2007 and the focus on gleefully and hilariously eviscerating idiotic content all across the sports landscape endeared them to fun-loving people everywhere. And that last sentence actually is a perfect example of something they would mock relentlessly for puffing up the nature of what they did -- and we wouldn't have it any other way! So pull on your Fremulon Insurance hoodie and relive with us the one day where the FJM crew put the band back together again.

Because the headlines themselves were so good, we're not going to do the whole cooler-than-thou deal of embedding the links into text like we did above. You should see the headlines for yourselves in the links and that's how we'll list them below, along with notes about the different topics: -- We lead off with an introduction, recap about the site and FAQ in the same tone we've been missing since they signed off last November. -- Somebody wrote about "scrappy players" and "grinders." Oh my ... do you think they'd have dared resort to such hackery if they knew FJM was coming back even momentarily? Yeah, me neither. -- Apparently some writer got the idea that MLB players had some special insight about the passings of Jacko'n'Farrah earlier this summer. The line-by-line disembowelment of their tedious prose -- a style which will never, ever get old and which I miss greatly, have I mentioned that yet? -- proves differently. -- Another food metaphor? Really? And parsley? Child please. -- It figures that Derek Jeter would have one of his greatest seasons at a time when the fellas weren't around to cut through the deification crap -- oh wait, they just did! -- If the element of FJM that you missed the most was seeing out-of-touch scribes taken down with ruthless force for their vapid takes, you don't want to miss this one. -- I admit, I like me some Norman Chad, but the last thing you want to do is to take him too seriously on some of his wacky tirades. The FJM guys illustrate exactly why. -- Take some naive gibberish, mix in random hypothetical scenarios and add a dash of over-the-top sentimentality and you've got a target-rich environment for FJM. -- Apparently no team should ever give up in the standings, no matter how dire the circumstances. This one's going to leave a mark, Rick Morrissey. -- Adrian Peterson and Andre Johnson aren't superstars yet but will graduate to that level this season? Wow. Knowing how the FJMs tear apart folks for examples of far less stupidity, could there possibly be a better inducement to read this blog entry? -- Goofy, non-scientific reasons to award Jeter the MVP -- and the shredding of said silliness. -- They managed to get in a shameless plug for tonight's Parks and Recreation season premiere. A tad unseemly, don't you think? By the way, be sure to check out further 21st Century Media Alliance coverage of Tremendous Week with a liveblog covering Parks and Recreation on Googling Atlee Hammaker and we will follow that with a liveblog right here on The FDH Lounge of The Office -- which follows immediately afterward on NBC.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

FDH Lounge Show #73: September 16, 2009

By Rick Morris

The 73rd edition of THE FDH LOUNGE on (Wednesdays, 6-9 PM EDT) is coming in the form of our New Media Showcase Event.

Hour One, per the new format, is dedicated to THE GOON SQUAD and THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER, respectively, in the two halves. On GOON, we review our annual FDH fantasy hockey mock draft, preview this Friday's release of FANTASY HOCKEY DRAFTOLOGY 2009 and take a look ahead at the NHL Western Conference in 2009-10. Our fantasy show-within-a-show focuses on NFL Week 2 and takes a look at our FDH Lounge Dignitaries NFL Pick Contest.

Then, in Hour Two, the showcase begins with the various members of The 21st Century Media Alliance ...

First up is Lloyd Carroll, sports writer for Queens Chronicle and Good Times Magazine, the one solo member of the alliance. He will catch us up on various aspects of the New York sports scene and also another beat that he covers, the New York entertainment scene. Paul Belfi, President of, and Radio 5678, discusses important developments in internet broadcasting and these ventures in particular. Also in Hour One, we won't be hearing necessarily from all of these gentlemen, but we may talk to a few of them and we will at least be discussing briefly their organizations:

^ Bob Glassman, founding father of the LeBronmeter
^ Scott Pullins of The Pullins Report
^ Ken Becks of 1st Down Scouting
^ Steve Kallas, writer/editor of Sports Plus
^ Ben Chew, proprietor of Outside the Boxscore
^ Tim Dustin, creator/editor/writer of Great Sports Name Hall of Fame

We'll also take a few minutes, humbly, to discuss developments with and The FDH Lounge!

Then, in Hour Three, we unveil our two centerpiece guests for the night.

First up (in a bio that he wrote!), we step outside of The 21st Century Media Alliance to talk with somebody who created one of the world's most influential websites and who is taking an interest in New Media in a big way. Craig Newmark is the founder of, a site where people can help each other with everyday needs including housing and jobs. He's also working with a wide range of groups using the Net to help each other out, like, the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America, and (microfinance), and Consumer Reports. Craig is also actively engaged with government workers on multiple levels to use the Net for superior public service, and with Sunlight Foundation for government accountability and transparency. He's not as funny as he thinks he is, but sometimes can't help himself. Follow Craig on his blog at, or, and

What a rush that's going to be! But we don't slow down from there; we then go to the member of our alliance who has the big project on the way. On September 28, 100 RANGER GREATS hits the stores. We speak with our good buddy Russ Cohen, RANGER GREATS co-author and writer/editor for Sportsology and Card Corner Club, about this amazing book that is due to be released shortly and the other work going on through these websites.

Our wrapup for the night will be very interesting as we speak with Platinum Smalls, proprietor of Googling Atlee Hammaker and Culture Popped. He will be liveblogging our program tonight on GAH via the Cover it Live software, conveying to his readership the experience of tonight's program. He will be on to talk about tonight's experience, as well as everything with his sites and the alliance's coverage of Ken Tremendous Week in the form of the Fire Joe Morgan reunion analysis and our sites' liveblogging of tomorrow night's season premiers of PARKS AND RECREATION and THE OFFICE.

It’s going to be a great program and we hope you can be a part of our audience. As always, we urge you to watch the show live (or listen if you’re on dial-up), but if you can’t catch this as it’s happening, you can always catch the FDH archives 24-7 right here or catch us now on iTunes!

The Downfall of Awards Shows & Late-Night TV

By Tony Mazur

Remember the days when you sat through an awards show to see who was performing? Remember the days when you would turn on The Tonight Show to see what guests Johnny Carson will be interviewing?

I do (except in my case I watched Letterman). And it wasn't too long ago when those programs were still entertaining. But somewhere along the line they became bland and uninteresting. They have become elements of the past, along with variety shows and prime-time game shows from the 1970s. Where's Gene Rayburn when you need him?

Kanye West's outburst during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards shouldn't have been shocking. Yeah, I felt bad for Taylor, regardless if Kanye's inebriated appearance was staged or not. But after Beavis & Butt-head, Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up", and the hundreds of reality shows, nothing should be shocking to the MTV audience. I believe this incident was drummed up by the media to actually get people interested in the VMA's again (if they ever were in the first place). The last time I tuned into that rubbish was in 2002, when the censors bleeped out any use of the word "gun", including when Guns N' Roses hit the stage.

On Monday, I sat through The Jay Leno Show. I like Leno, but his show was like watching The Tonight Show, only at an earlier timeslot. There was nothing earth-shattering about it. I enjoyed "Headlines", but again, this was a Tonight Show bit. And I have not watched Conan O'Brien's version of The Tonight Show, mainly because I don't care.

Honestly, when was the last time your water cooler talk revolved around a cable TV awards show? When was the last time you guffawed about something David Letterman said on his stale CBS program?

The only reason why Leno, Letterman, O'Brien, Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel (he still has a show, right?), and Craig Ferguson still have jobs is because they are more cost-efficient than a scripted and produced TV drama or sitcom. If so many people were sick of reality shows, then why are they still on TV? Because they are cheap to produce.

The medium of appearing at awards shows and late-night talk shows is dying. Nobody cares anymore. If Kanye didn't open his cakehole, not one person would have muttered a word about it on Monday morning.

Maybe TMZ has had something to do with it. TV viewers once had a couple of opportunities to catch their favorite actor or musician; the Oscars/Emmys/Grammys, and if they were interviewed by Carson. Now that TMZ is ever so popular, we can get daily updates on how old Chevy Chase looks like, rather than wait for him to go on Letterman to promote yet another failed attempt at a show.

And by the way, it is sad that I get more accurate reporting of breaking news than legitimate news outlets. TMZ reported the death of Michael Jackson LONG before the rest of the mainstream media considered it safe to run.

While Leno's show can still be funny, I think we will be seeing the death of the late-night talk show in the coming years. Each host has gotten away with copying Carson's format for too long. It is time for TV executives to find original and creative programming to fill the gaping holes in their programming.

The same goes for the awards shows. Change the format and keep it interesting. As the years go by, each show is even more forgettable than the last.

But by all means keep your silly programs. I'll just watch infomercials of Vince Offer pitching ShamWows! and hooker repellent.

Monday, September 14, 2009

OSU/USC Game of the Year Recap

By Rick Morris

I covered the OSU/USC game from the stands this weekend as part of a media project providing live, real-time analysis. My texts paint a picture of the game as it transpired, quarter-by-quarter. Due to a malfunction on that site, only the texts from the first half were posted then. Here's the complete list from that night:

^ Band coming out, place is electric.
^ Place is electric before kickoff, incomparable atmosphere.
^ Horrible int, no in-stadium replay to see.
^ Trojans off-balance with run and pass established. Most critical drive in 3 years.
^ Bad throws, but USC trusts Barkley.
^ Crowd had the wall of noise going on 3rd and long.
^ Weather is so perfect.
^ Barkley is gonna get the nose at the closed end next drive.

^ Carroll trusted Barkley too much!
^ Crowd would be louder with the college kids.
^ Barkley's completions hurt. You have to load up against the run.
^ Trojans are loose, dancing as crowd sings 7 Nation Army instrumentals.
^ Kicker missed with wind at his back.
^ Big run changed everything, allowing Trojans to go into 2-minute offense at midfield.
^ If Trojans win, big late run was turning point.

^ USC should stay with hurry-up.
^ So weird the extent to which this is a field position battle.
^ I wouldn't want to be the long snapper on the flight home!
^ Settling for FG big blow to OSU. Where's the freaking screens?
^ USC's run game has been so much better.

^ The noise really disrupted the SC offense.
^ Tressel's been running out the clock all quarter.
^ Joe McKnight is the truth. This drive is unfolding as if in slow motion.
^ Pryor ends the night on a fitting note. Completely outshined.

To amplify the observations I was making at the time:

^ Barkley is the real deal at QB. He was unrattled the whole night and was put in position to make plays the whole time. If anything, Carroll seemed to trust him more than Tressel trusted Pryor. While McKnight was the MVP, a true freshman impervious to the pressure was a necessary component for the victory. Meanwhile, it's amazing that Ohio State came as close as they did with such a dud of a performance by Pryor. Granted, the play-calling didn't help, with RB Saine being used only begrudgingly and screen passes still AWOL from the playbook.

^ Jim Tressel looked to be content with trying for a 15-10 win in the fourth quarter and it came back to bite him. Granted, it is a transition year offensively for the Buckeyes with the turnover that they have had, but they still don't go into attack mode often enough. Conversely, while Carroll did the better job on the Xs and Os, he too was off a bit on the play-calling coming out of halftime. After marching straight down the field at the end of the first half, USC should have stayed in the hurry-up until OSU proved they could stop it. Had Southern Cal come up short, it would have been interesting to see how many pundits grasped this missed opportunity.

^ All in all, the low score was reflective of the fact that both starting QBs combined for less than a full year of college experience, very unusual for a game between teams that are national powers year in and year out. Both had their moments (Pryor's being fairly few and far between), but the inexperience contributed to at least a tinge of overall sloppiness.

^ Ohio State will have their hands full in Cleveland this weekend with a high-powered Toledo squad. Just ask Rich Rodriguez how tough they can be! Meanwhile, USC probably has to continue to improve just to win out, which might have been surprising a week or two ago -- and if they enter the BCS voting with the same record as the Big 12 and SEC champions, they'll be on the outside looking in just like last year.

A year ago today the world imploded

By Rick Morris

This crappy decade got the only bookend that it seemingly could have one year ago today. With 9/11 having defined "the oughts" at the outset, the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the ensuing completion of the global financial crisis that was in progress came seven years and three days to that horrible moment in September.

Who caused the crisis? You name it ... greedy aholes in the mortgage business pushing "Ninja loans" on unsuspecting marks, the marks themselves, financial "wizards" who invented off-the-books forms of derivatives that lit a time bomb, politicians who had no clue about what was going on ... the list is endless.

To this day, we believe that our financial crisis FAQ provides the best, most easily understood guide to how we came to be in this mess.

We continue to believe that the TARP bailout was a necessary evil given the abyss that faced us all last fall. But that is a position that we never should have been in in the first place. Our politicians and financial regulators should take this occasion to vow that, no matter what, we will never again be in a position where the government will have to step in and assume so many unconstitutional duties. That way lies fascism.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

OSU/USC Game of the Year Preview

By Rick Morris

I will preface this column by directing everyone to the site of tonight’s most unique and all-around coverage of the big game: no, not the “ESPN family of networks.” I speak instead of a fellow member of The 21st Century Media Alliance, Googling Atlee Hammaker. This is truly a cooperative effort among Alliance members as The Scout Ken Becks of 1st Down Scouting will be the man coordinating all of the reports while delivering the best Xs and Os breakdowns you will find anywhere. With GAH proprietor Platinum Smalls reporting from an OSU street party in CBus, another correspondent at a USC street party in LA, perspectives from the press box, sidelines – and from yours truly in the South Stands of the Horseshoe – among other vantage points, this collective liveblog helps augment big-game viewing like nothing else that has ever been produced. If you’ve got your laptop with Net connection in front of the tube or your smart phone with you, you owe it to yourself to check in with our surround coverage.

This is easily the intersectional game of the year, a must-win for two teams hoping to remain in the national championship chase. While much has been made, deservedly so, of how the Buckeyes must prevail here to salvage their big-game reputation after the crushing losses to Sun Belt powers in recent years, it’s also worth mentioning that USC isn’t likely to rack up enough big wins the rest of the way to put themselves back into the national championship picture with a loss in Columbus tonight. Frankly, playing in the Big 10 and the Pac 10 leaves little room for error when you consider the meat-grinder schedules that the SEC and Big 12 champions must necessarily navigate (including title games, which neither the Big 10 nor Pac 10 plays).

Both teams suffered some offseason turnover, but return with areas of strength as well – hence their national rankings, although those probably also have something to do with the fact that the NCAA has seen a lot of parity down past the “super tier” over the last several seasons. USC has one of the greatest depth charts in the history of college football at running back, although few on that list are ever likely to earn much acclaim individually at this level because they are all used interchangeably. This takes some pressure off of true freshman QB Matt Barkley, who will face the greatest challenge yet to his unflappable nature when he faces 100,000 crazies on the banks of the Olentangy after dark. He is also blessed with an offensive line that has a rare blend of size and athleticism.

OSU QB Terrelle Pryor cannot say the same. The most disturbing element of Ohio State’s near-miss against Navy last week was the fact that the retooled offensive line failed all day to establish any kind of push despite outweighing the Midshipmen front line by an average of 45 pounds per man. If you extrapolate that against facing the Trojans … well, good night now!

Frankly, Pryor has to be the best player on the field, maybe by a decent amount, for the Buckeyes to win. USC has the advantage at several positions, not least of which because of their athleticism across the board. What keeps this game from being a foregone conclusion is that Pryor does have that capability. He’ll have to freeze the Southern Cal front seven by pulling down the ball and running, something that Troy Smith made work for the Bucks in the past and something that USC has had some trouble with in recent years from mobile QBs. He can’t expect a lot of help from his backfield mates; Dan Herron looked like Maurice Wells sans dreadlocks last week and for whatever reason, the coaching staff never wants to unleash the explosive Brandon Saine. Whether or not this ties in to Jim Tressel's general tightness in the aforementioned recent huge games is not generally known.

Seeing a game of this magnitude quarterbacked by two players with less than a full season of experience between them is quite unusual indeed. What will be required from the two of them is quite different. Barkley must merely survive, counting on his O line to hold off the strength of the Ohio State team, their defensive line. He just has to avoid mistakes. Pryor, the prototypical multidimensional quarterback, must call upon all of his capabilities to gel with a young receiving corps and make several big, career-defining plays.

The question we always pose at FDH is: what is the likeliest outcome? Read back the previous paragraph and you will see that it answers itself. While the big clash is likely to come down to the last few minutes, the winner has to be assumed from the aforementioned matchups and the trajectory of both programs in such monster games in recent years. The lack of success everyone points to with Ohio State in recent years came in the '06 and '07 national championship games, the '09 Fiesta Bowl and the '08 USC game -- none of which were at home. So the Buckeyes can cling to the notion that they are playing one of these games in Columbus for the first time in this era. For that reason alone, it is likely to be relatively close. USC 24, OSU 16.

NCAA football picks Week Two

By Rick Morris

Last week: 3-7 (gasp!)

This week:
Iowa -6 over Iowa State
Georgia -7 over South Carolina
Notre Dame -3 over Michigan
USC -7 over Ohio State
Ohio -2 ½ over North Texas

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XXXVI

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11 amnesia

By Rick Morris

NOTE: We post September 11 coverage every year to properly remember the horror visited on our country on that day. From 2007, here is a reprise of my 2007 column on the subject.

While there are other subjects certainly worthy of comment on The FDH Lounge right now, it would be unseemly not to save them for another day. It is September 11, the day which so many of us vowed we would not forget in the awful autumn of 2001, but which too many of us certainly have. And while there are legitimate doubts as to whether this country has consistently acted in its own best interests since then (and I have said that I firmly believe we have not), nobody thinking with a clear head can pretend that we are not engaged in a brutal struggle worldwide with the jihadists who want to replicate 9/11 on a grander scale on our soil -- and nobody thinking with a clear head can pretend that a humiliating end in Iraq will be George Bush's failure alone and not something that all of us will be haunted for for generations. It's one matter to want to hold people accountable for our mistakes -- it's another altogether to pretend like so many pinko blogs that our successes and our failures as a people are not something that we ALL own.

So today, it 0nly seems fitting to post the lyrics from Daryl Worley's song "Have You Forgotten?" -- because the majority of us are back trying to live in a September 10 world.

I hear people saying we don't need this war
I say there's some things worth fighting for
What about our freedom and this piece of ground?
We didn't get to keep 'em by backing down
They say we don't realize the mess we're getting in
Before you start preaching
Let me ask you this my friend

Have you forgotten how it felt that day
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away?
Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still inside
Going through a living hell
And you say we shouldn't worry 'bout Bin Laden
Have you forgotten?

They took all the footage off my T.V.
Said it's too disturbing for you and me
It'll just breed anger that's what the experts say
If it was up to me I'd show it every day
Some say this country's just out looking for a fight
After 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right

Have you forgotten how it felt that day
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away?
Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still insideGoing through a living hell
And you say we shouldn't worry 'bout Bin Laden
Have you forgotten?

I've been there with the soldiers
Who've gone away to war
And you can bet they remember
Just what they're fighting for

Have you forgotten all the people killed?
Some went down like heroes in that Pennsylvania field
Have you forgotten about our Pentagon?
All the loved ones that we lost
And those left to carry on
Don't you tell me not to worry about Bin Laden
Have you forgotten?
Have you forgotten?
Have you forgotten?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2009 NFL predictions

By Rick Morris

X-New England 12-4
Y-New York Jets 9-7
Miami 8-8
Buffalo 7-9

X-Pittsburgh 10-6
Baltimore 9-7
Cincinnati 6-10
Cleveland 6-10

X-Indianapolis 11-5
Y-Houston 9-7
Tennessee 9-7
Jacksonville 7-9

X-San Diego 10-6
Denver 6-10
Kansas City 5-11
Oakland 4-12

X-New York Giants 12-4
Y-Philadelphia 11-5
Dallas 9-7
Washington 7-9

X-Green Bay 10-6
Y-Minnesota 9-7
Chicago 8-8
Detroit 5-11

X-New Orleans 9-7
Atlanta 8-8
Carolina 8-8
Tampa Bay 4-12

X-Arizona 10-6
San Francisco 6-10
Seattle 6-10
St. Louis 6-10

Wild Card Round
Pittsburgh over Houston
Philadelphia over Green Bay
New Orleans over Minnesota
San Diego over New York Jets

Divisional Round
New England over San Diego
Pittsburgh over Indianapolis
New York Giants over Philadelphia
New Orleans over Arizona

Championship Sunday
New England over Pittsburgh
New York Giants over New Orleans

Super Bowl
New England over New York Giants

Super Bowl MVP
Tom Brady

Aaron Rodgers

Coach of the Year
Rex Ryan

NFL Power Rankings as of Week One

1 New England
2 New York Giants
3 Pittsburgh
4 Philadelphia
5 San Diego
6 Arizona
7 Indianapolis
8 Baltimore
9 Tennessee
10 Dallas

11 Green Bay
12 Minnesota
13 New York Jets
14 Houston
15 New Orleans
16 Atlanta
17 Miami
18 Carolina
19 Chicago
20 Washington

21 Buffalo
22 Jacksonville
23 Denver

24 Seattle
25 San Francisco
26 St. Louis
27 Cincinnati
28 Cleveland

29 Kansas City
30 Detroit
31 Tampa Bay
32 Oakland

NFL picks Week One

By Rick Morris

In addition to posting my weekly picks, I will post those from other members of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries' Football Challenge Contest. Each week, we will single out our three strongest plays. EDIT: We now add Steve Cirvello's picks as well. SECOND EDIT: We now add Ryan Isley's picks.

Atlanta -4 over Miami
Philadelphia -2 1/2 over Carolina
Green Bay -3 1/2 over Chicago

New England -10 1/2 over Buffalo
San Diego -9 over Oakland
Minnesota -4 over Cleveland

Baltimore -13 over Kansas City
New England -10 1/2 over Buffalo
San Diego -9 over Oakland

Tennessee +6 over Pittsburgh
Washington +6 1/2 over NY Giants
Chicago +3 1/2 over Green Bay

San Diego -9 over Oakland
Minnesota -4 over Cleveland
Dallas -6 over Tampa Bay (my 1,000-Star, Gold-Plated Lock of the Millenium for this week)

My other picks:
Miami +4 over Atlanta
Carolina +2 1/2 over Philadelphia
Denver +4 over Cincinnati
Houston -4 1/2 over NY Jets
Jacksonville +7 over Indianapolis
New Orleans -13 over Detroit
Arizona -6 1/2 over San Francisco
Washington +6 1/2 over NY Giants
St. Louis +8 1/2 over Seattle
Green Bay -3 1/2 over Chicago
New England -10 1/2 over Buffalo
San Diego -9 over Oakland

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

FDH Lounge Show #72: September 9, 2009

By Rick Morris

The second week of the new 6-9 PM Wednesday timeslot edition of THE FDH LOUNGE on will have more of the variety that has come to define us over time. Oh, and we're the one place where Bob Barker will be debriefed on his Monday Night Raw guest hosting job -- that too.

As we unveiled last week, our two "show-within-a-shows" now occupy Hour One of the proceedings. THE GOON SQUAD takes a deep look at the landscape for hockey pools in 2009-2010 as we get ready to preview our forthcoming FDH mock draft and our FANTASY HOCKEY DRAFTOLOGY 2009 guide, which will be out next week. Speaking of fantasy, NFL Week 1 occupies the entirety of THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER. These segments, and the show as a whole, now have the addition of the newest FDH Lounge Dignitary, Cleveland radio veteran Ryan Isley.

Hours Two and Three will feature an extended FDH Lounge Pigskin Report. All of Hour Two is given over to our 2009 college football preview panel with The Dignitaries of The FDH Lounge. Much of Hour Three will be devoted to our NFL roundtable with a unique FDH Lounge twist on the proceedings: we are joined by both WFAN sports talk show host Joe Benigno from New York and someone who has grown to be a friend of his over the years. If you're one of the most prominent talk show callers in New York, then you pretty much are for the entire country also. "Ira from Staten Island," Ira Lieberfarb will bring his chemistry with Joe to The Lounge as we collectively hash out the 2009 pro football season. After that, and we know it's out of order, we move on belatedly to The Opening Statements of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries.

And then ... a very special bit of overtime!

To accommodate two very special guests, we are extending the program tomorrow night. At 9 PM EDT, we welcome back the one and only Bob Barker to discuss his guest hosting slot this week on Monday Night Raw. It was awesome. Sample the first ten minutes or so here (or at least until YouTube yanks the video):

As we did when Bob first came on with us on May 20 of this year, we'll also talk about his incredible memoirs PRICELESS MEMORIES. It's a fun, classy read that has so many enjoyable stories in it and it benefits the animal charities for whom he has worked tirelessly.

Then, right after that, we move into Part Two of the OT when we are joined by a man who, coincidentally, had a long and storied career in the industry that Bob visited on Monday night: the one and only Luscious Johnny Valiant! He was one of the great wrestlers of the 1970s in the New York territory and one of the great managers of the 1980s in the same area when New York took over the world. We like multi-talented people with interesting lives and Johnny V fits the bill like few we've ever had on. Now an actor and comedian, his one-man show "An Evening with Johnny Valiant" has garnered much critical praise. Here's a clip with Johnny V and Brutus Beefcake and a subsequent one with Captain Lou Albano and George "The Animal" Steele -- would we be putting ourselves over too much if we noted that The Captain is the only one of the four not to appear in The FDH Lounge yet?

It’s going to be a great program and we hope you can be a part of our audience. As always, we urge you to watch the show live (or listen if you’re on dial-up), but if you can’t catch this as it’s happening, you can always catch the FDH archives 24-7 right here or catch us now on iTunes!

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XXXV

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Transcript: Cleveland Indians sell their moves

By Rick Morris

INDIANS PUBLIC RELATIONS FLACK TAD DISINGENUOUS: Thanks for another season of great ink, Will, hoping to see a little more as we move down the stretch.

ESPN BASEBALL WRITER WILL FULLY-OBTUSE: Oh, anything for you, Tad, you know I think that your front office is revolutionizing the very process of building a baseball franchise from the ground up.

TAD: Why, yes, that’s exactly what we’re doing, how bold, perceptive and refreshing that you recognize it so clearly!

WILL: And as always, I appreciate your kind personal comments, Tad.

TAD: Well, we’d appreciate any help you could give in knocking down these vicious rumors that we have been anything short of an absolute organizational juggernaut this year. We know you and other like-minded people in the national media have that kind of stroke; after all, we were actually at the same Vegas odds for winning the World Series as the Phillies on Opening Day!

WILL: I’d love to, I really would, because I fully believe that … but I may have to be a bit careful in how I do that. I’m still taking a bit of heat about the last column I wrote about you: “Forget wins and losses, Shapiro and Company dominated the decade.”

TAD: Careful? Careful’s not going to get these uppity, think-for-themselves peon fans back on our side, pal. We need something at least as strong as your previous effort: “Why wait? Enshrine Mark Shapiro and his whole crew in Cooperstown right now!”

WILL: Well, no offense Tad, but it might take something stronger than another fools-gold surge back to the vicinity of .500 to get permission for that from my editor.

TAD: What? You know what, never mind, I’ll just take this request to Diatribe. Paul Cousineau once gave a favorable writeup to a Chris Antonetti bowel movement – which, in retrospect, probably prepared him well for his praise of the David Dellucci signing.

WILL: No! Don’t do that! I’ll write anything you want! The sell-by date for Carlos Carrasco wasn’t last Thanksgiving! David Huff is the next Tom Glavine! You got [GULP] the best prospects from the Red Sox in the Victor Martinez deal!

TAD: Now, see, was that really so hard?

WILL: After everything I’ve bought so far, no, not really.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

MLB power rankings for start of September

By Rick Morris

NOTE: Previous rankings are listed in parentheses, preseason rankings in brackets.

1 New York Yankees (1) [2]
2 Los Angeles Angels (2) [7]
3 St Louis (5) [9]
4 Los Angeles Dodgers (3) [10]
5 Philadelphia (4) [5]
6 Boston (6) [1]
7 Texas (7) [20]
8 Tampa Bay (8) [3]
9 Colorado (9) [24]
10 San Francisco (10) [23]
11 Detroit (12) [18]
12 Florida (11) [14]
13 Atlanta (14) [22]
14 Seattle (15) [28]
15 Chicago Cubs (16) [4]
16 Minnesota (18) [11]
17 Chicago White Sox (13) [15]
18 Milwaukee (17) [17]
19 Houston (20) [21]
20 Cincinnati (24) [19]
21 Arizona (22) [8]
22 Oakland (23) [12]
23 New York Mets (19) [6]
24 Cleveland (25) [13]
25 Toronto (21) [26]
26 San Diego (26) [30]
27 Baltimore (28) [25]
28 Pittsburgh (27) [27]
29 Kansas City (29) [16]
30 Washington (30) [29]

BIGGEST RISER: Cincinnati (4 spots)
BIGGEST FALLERS: Chicago White Sox, New York Mets and Toronto (4 spots)

NCAA football picks Week One

By Rick Morris

Boise State -3 over Oregon
Ohio State -22 over Navy
Western Michigan +13 over Michigan
UConn -3 1/2 over Ohio
Nevada +14 1/2 over Notre Dame
Oklahoma State -4 1/2 over Georgia
Virginia Tech +6 1/2 over Alabama
Florida State -6 1/2 over Miami
Rutgers -5 over Cincinnati
Illinois -6 1/2 over Missouri

FDH Preseason NCAA Top 25 Poll

By Rick Morris

1 Florida
2 Texas
3 Oklahoma
5 Alabama
6 Virginia Tech
7 Ohio State
9 Georgia Tech
10 Boise State
11 Penn State
12 Mississippi
13 Oklahoma State
14 Oregon
15 Utah
16 Georgia
17 TCU
18 California
19 Iowa
20 Florida State
21 Kansas
22 Notre Dame
23 Brigham Young
24 Oregon State
25 Texas Tech

Honorable Mention: North Carolina, East Carolina, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Miami, South Florida

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

FDH Lounge Show #71: September 2, 2009

By Rick Morris

Fun a-plenty greets our audience as THE FDH LOUNGE moves to its new, starting one-hour-earlier timeslot on (Wednesdays, 6-9 PM EDT).

The last hour of the show now becomes the first, as THE GOON SQUAD and THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER now occupy the first third of the proceedings. On GOON, we examine the shocking change at the top of the NHL Players’ Association and the increased likelihood of more severe labor strife in the summer of 2011. Plus, in more wonderful news for the league, the low-clearance channel Versus just alienated DirecTV. Oh joy. Also, the Canadian hockey team, the favorites to win the Olympic gold medal on home ice in a few months, staged a very interesting scrimmage last week and we have our thoughts. And we also preview our fantasy hockey coverage in the most logical place: with a look at our Ultimate Quantitative Baseline statistic for how players performed in 2008-09. That provides a logical segue to our fantasy show-within-a-show as we review recent mock drafts, including our own official one. We’ll also review some last-minute draft advice courtesy of our free FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2009 guide and look over some last-minute injury situations.

Then, in Hour Two, we move into the “classic nothing is off-topic” Lounge format.

What a start it will be with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Gregg Rolie! How many musicians get to play with one legendary act? And he’s played with two: Santana and Journey – to say nothing of his work with other bands, including the current Gregg Rolie Band. 40 years after performing at Woodstock, he’s still got new and exciting developments going on all the time.

Then, after falling prey to technical issues when we planned to do this last week, we bring in one of the greatest pro wrestling writers of all time, Mike Mooneyham. His three decades in the business, combined with his great love of the game, makes him a very special guest. He just attended the biggest NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest yet and we'll get his thoughts on that event, SummerSlam, Kurt Angle's issues, Rey-Rey’s positive test, AmDrag fleeing ROH for Titan and anything else that is relevant.

In Hour Three, we are happy to talk to writer Robert Siegel, whose BIG FAN movie with Patton Oswalt just opened to great acclaim. Of course, this former Onion editor-in-chief also penned the awesome screenplay THE WRESTLER, so he’s on quite the creative hot streak over the past year. We’ll talk about his experiences with these great movies.

Our final guest rejoins us after a great first appearance on Episode #55. Colin Delany from comes on to discuss the passing from the scene of Ted Kennedy and the implications. We also take a look at his outstanding new E-book LEARNING FROM OBAMA: LESSONS FOR ONLINE COMMUNICATORS IN 2009 AND BEYOND. Last year’s presidential campaign saw the very process revolutionized like never before thanks to technological advances. Colin has some tremendous observations on how that happened.

It’s going to be a great program and we hope you can be a part of our audience. As always, we urge you to watch the show live (or listen if you’re on dial-up), but if you can’t catch this as it’s happening, you can always catch the FDH archives 24-7 right here or catch us now on iTunes!