Thursday, July 30, 2009

Top 30 Video Games of the 1980's: Part 2

Behold the majesty of the Eggplant Wizards!

And now...Part 2:

20. Kid Icarus - I am still in shock that Nintendo hasn't released a sequel to this game. It was a ridiculously fun adventure game that had you alternating between climbing vertical levels and more common side scrolling adventures, along with some fun dungeons to crawl as well. It has some great looking enemies, you collected hearts which were used as money, and let us never forget one of my favorite video game characters of all time...The Eggplant Wizards. I still love this game.

19. Mario Bros (Arcade) - Before Super Mario Bros transformed the video game world forever, the plumbers Mario and Luigi had a pretty fun little game come out which wasn't quite as revolutionary, but which has shown remarkable staying power. This game was somewhat simplistic, you bumped various bad guys from underneath the platform they were standing on, and then had to kick them into oblivion before they stood up. The difficult ramps up, and the challenge is a ton of fun for experts and beginners alike. Plus, this can be one of the most fun games of all time to play with two players.

18. Mega Man 2 - Mega Man 2 had it all...Interesting bad guys with personalities, tons of customizable weapons, and the ability to play whichever level you wanted to play whenever you wanted to play it made this game unique. The graphics were otherworldly when it was released, I remember marveling at a photo of this robotic dragon in my Nintendo Power magazine for days. This game was also a ton of fun.

17. Ice Hockey (NES) - Brilliant in it's simplicity. Awesome because you could choose your lineup from a selection of regular sized, skinny, and fat guys. Uber-Awesome because there were codes which could turn the friction off and a fat guy could send the puck ricocheting all over the place with a well placed slap shot. This was a good two player game which actually required some video game skills to master, but which anyone could easily pick up and play.

16. Frogger (Arcade) - A true classic which inspired one of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld of all time. Dodging through traffic was usually pretty easy, but getting your frog home through the water portion of the course could be much more difficult. To this day I still hate those lousy diving turtles.

15. Mr. Do (Arcade) - I actually got really (otherworldly) good at this game on the Apple IIC computer, but the arcade game was much more difficult. In this game, you are a clown running around trying to either eat up all the cherries on the stage or kill all the monsters with either falling apples or your magical ball in order to advance to the next level. Yeah, I know that's not much of a story, but story lines were not a major concern for video games in the 80's. What mattered is whether or not the game was fun, and this game had fun in spades. The game Dig Dug garnered more attention than Mr. Do, but Mr. Do was the superior game.

14. Q*bert (Arcade) - Q*bert is one of my favorite video game characters of all time. You gotta like an orange ball with a cylinder for a nose who curses in gibberish when he gets hit by a ball. Not only is the character Q*bert cool, but the game play is rather simple and yet can be remarkably difficult and varied. This game had a ton going for it from the spring loaded snakes, the bad guys wearing shades, the weird pig characters, the psychedelic hovering platforms that floated you to safety. Q*bert rocks.

13. Contra - Another game that depended upon a classic code. In this case, the most classic of classic codes...the Konami code! Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Select, Start. That series of buttons led to unlimited lives, and you and a buddy were off to plow through the hoards of bad guys to save the world. There are few feelings so satisfying as the first time you complete Contra. What a great game!

12. Double Dribble - I got really good at this game. To the point that I was demolishing my brother by crazy scores like 58-4. This game was one of the first that led to severe bruising, as my brother would get so frustrated by my superior Double Dribble skills, that he would start blasting punches on me after awhile in a strategy I would dub, "If you can't beat em, beat em." I didn't care, I just kept launching 3's from the corner and stealing the ball immediately after his inbounds passes. This was a glorious game of basketball, and I wore my bruises proudly.

11. Tecmo Bowl - Bo Jackson lives on in this game. Despite the fact that his career was cut short due to the hip injury he suffered against the Bengals, Video Bo was a force of video game nature never seen before or since in Tecmo Bowl. This football game took football video games to the next level, and it was one of the most fun multi-player games I've ever had the privilege to play. If you liked football and you liked video games, but you didn't like Tecmo Bowl, there was obviously something wrong with you.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Top 30 Video Games of the 1980's: Part 1

How many millions of hours did this innocent little box claim in the 1980's?

Aaron from the No Name Show ( did a show this past week in which he featured the 80's. He did his Top 7 list on the best video games of the 80's, which got me thinking back to games I loved as a lad. I disagreed with his list rather strongly, so I started putting together a list of the games I liked to try and counter his list. Before I knew it, I had a list of thirty games, and I realized I'd have to make a series on Vertically Striped Socks, so here is the first in my three part series...Best Games of the 80's. I'm sure I missed some great games, as I didn't spend hours on this, but these are 30 games in which I found favor back in the day.

30. Spelunker - This game had a frustratingly high level of difficulty, and it was notoriously unforgiving, but as you got good at it, you appreciated the skills you had developed and wanted to try and get farther and farther into the cave you were discovering. It could never work today, because it's just too hard and most would lose interest too quickly, but it was a rewarding gaming experience trying to avoid the pitfalls and gather the gold in the caves of Spelunker.

29. Pro Wrestling - This was one of the early games that was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, and although it's graphics were not over the top, it had a lot of character in it's characters. There were lots of different moves to learn and use on your opponents, and it was a pretty fun romp. All this coming from a guy who doesn't really like WWE style wresting, but this was a fun game to pick up and challenge a friend with.

28. RC Pro Am - Racing remote control cars was a blast on this game for the NES. There were powerups and weapons which you could use, and the action was fast paced and challenging. It's nothing much to look at nowadays, but in it's time it was rather revolutionary.

27. Super Sprint - This was one of the games that Tengen released without Nintendo's notoriously difficult to achieve approval. These games landed Tengen in court against an angry Nintendo bent on their destruction, but the results of what were released were better than many things that Nintendo DID authorize. This game and also a fantastic version of Tetris were eventually killed, but they were fantastic games, and worth checking out. (Plus they are collectors items today due to their rarity.) Super Sprint was a very smooth running racing game which didn't have a ton of graphical powers, but the controls were some of the best on Nintendo.

26. Karnov - The balding shirtless hero of Karnov could throw fireballs and fought in some amazing worlds replete with dinosaurs. This was a fun game that went over the top with style. It was fun to play and also fun to look at.

25. Rygar - One of the deepest adventure games released on the Nintendo, and a ton of fun to boot.

24. Qix - Over the top simplistic gameplay, but it was fun. The object was to draw boxes without letting the Qix (basically a wavy group of lines bent on destruction) hit your lines before you closed them out. It's hard to describe, but super easy to figure out. A great game with barebones presentation.

23. Donkey Kong Jr. (Arcade) - Many people put Donkey Kong in the top of lists like this, but I'll give a little spoiler. There will be no Donkey Kong on my list, I think it's overrated. However, it's little brother, Donkey Kong Jr. was a fantastic game. In it, you play as Junior who is trying to rescue his father from the evil Mario. Yup, Mario was the bad guy in this one. This was a difficult game, but dropping fruit on your enemies was utterly rewarding. I loved playing this game and could never get enough of it when I was a kid.

22. Ikari Warriors - Ah, the glory that is the code "A B B A" This game would have been terrible without that code, but with it, you could plow through fields of warfare and continually regenerate yourself when you ran out of lives. This was a fun game just because it was great to get a friend and keep moving up the battlefield. I haven't played it in 20 years, and I am positive it hasn't aged well, but man was it fun back in the day.

21. Marble Madness (Arcade) - This was an outside the box video game experience back in the 80's. It involved a trackball and learning how to maneuver your marble through a minefield of varied obstacles. It could be terribly difficult and infuriating, but it also kept me captivated a lot longer than it should have.

Ferret Sheen: You can see something new everyday if you only look!

One of the weird and yet interesting parts of my job is that you get to see little glimpses into the lives of others. I work for a company that helps sell off properties that have gone into foreclosure, and when we take over properties, one of the things that one of our vendors do is take pictures of the properties as they appear before cleaning, and then they clean and take photos of the property after cleaning to show what work they've done and why they deserve to be paid.

It's these before cleaning pictures that often yield the most interesting results. Some people live in absolute holes of filth and in some of the most deplorable conditions I have ever seen. Other times, I just get weird insights into the lives of others.

Today, I saw a picture that was one of those weird insights into a life I don't understand. The picture at the top of this post is of a product called "Ferret Sheen" which is apparently Ferret Shampoo. I had never considered that Ferrets would need baths, but apparently they do, and also apparently, some intrepid company is marketing a special brand of shampoo specially formulated for ferrets. I had no idea. Somehow, the idea of Ferret Shampoo never occurred to me, and yet, there it is in all it's glory. These are the interesting types of things that you can learn if you just keep your eyes open. Yup, Ferret Sheen. The world is now a slightly more interesting place than it was to me when I woke up this morning, due to the fact that I am now aware of this product.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Wedding is a Celebration! These guys get it!

Okay, so apparently some ridiculous uptight people are up in arms that a couple would choose to begin their wedding like this. Although from reading the comments on YouTube, I mostly read people saying that it was awesome. I fall firmly in the awesome camp on this one.

A Wedding is supposed to be a celebration of two people's love and the happiness that comes from two people dedicating their lives to each other. Sure, you can do it the stuffy traditional way like 99.99% of people do, but here's hoping that this awesome way of thinking catches on with the masses.

Oh, and if you're one of the people getting bent out of shape because these people are being "disrespectful," I say get over yourself, remove the steel rod from your spine, and chill out. This is some fun stuff. Jill and Kevin, I salute you and your creativity!

I'm not the president of Uniwatch, but I am a Member!

Paul Lukas, of UniWatch fame, has a regular column on He's also a real swell guy, as he helped me with some great links and photos for my blog when I was trying to get it up and running with some pictures of the Broncos and their 1960's era Vertically Striped Socks. He is a uniform aficionado to put it mildly, and he's forgotten more about uniforms than you or I will ever know. Plus his website is pretty darn awesome.

On his website over at, he has a membership program. It costs fifteen dollars to join, and you get a few perks besides just membership into his exclusive club. You also get extra entries into his drawings when he does his regular raffles, and best of get a membership card! The cards are based on sporting uniforms, and most of the time, they include your last name and a number of your choosing in whichever sports uniform you fancy.

Paul only has a few rules for his cards, Your name must match the name style of the team you are selecting. If you get a Yankees uniform, for instance, you can't have a name on the back, because the Yanks don't wear names on the backs of theirs. Also, Paul has an irrational hatred of the color purple, so don't even think about requesting anything with even the slightest hint of purple, as that's a no go. As he puts it on his website:

In keeping with longstanding Uni Watch chromatic policy, we will not execute any design that includes even a tiny bit of purple. Yes, this rule is very arbitrary. And no, it is not negotiable.

He is willing to consider weird requests, and my request is his first ever sock related request. Rather than having a uniform with a number on it, I requested the sock pattern for the Broncos Vertically Striped Socks, for obvious reasons. Paul loves stirrups and socks, and he gladly accepted my request, and so the end result was the card that is at the top of this post. I can't wait to get my laminated card in the mail. I'm as excited as Grizzly Bear in the tuna exhibit of the aquarium. Plus, I must say my card is quite handsome, I'm very ready to proudly carry it in my wallet.

As an added bonus, Paul made a quick mention of my blog, and as a result the hits on my website skyrocketed. I usually get between fifteen to forty hits a day, however, on the day his link went up, that flew up to over 800 hits. I know it's not a ton of hits for a major website, but for me it's amazing! So thank you, Paul. You're doing the Lord's work, sir!

Gimme back that Filet O Fish, Gimme that Fish!

Okay, I wish all McDonalds advertising were this much fun. I wouldn't even mind commercial breaks anymore.

Play this commercial five times, I dare you. You'll be singing the jingle for the rest of the week.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Vertically Striped Radio - Episode 10: NFC Over/Under Predictions and Naked Farming

We welcomed the newest member of Vertically Striped Radio to the fold, MJ Amory, who joined me in pulling out the crystal ball and making calls on NFC Over/Unders along with breaking down the movie "Network" and all sorts of other great stuff. MJ is pretty knowledgeable for a kid who wasn't born until the 90's, although he makes me feel very old, but I'll get over it. (Maybe) MJ is a very solid addition for the program, and thanks to his contributions, I feel like we rose the the middling levels of radio competence that Vertically Striped Radio is becoming known for. This was a very fun show, hope you enjoy.

Here are our predictions for the NFC Over-Unders. (All Over/Unders were taken on July 24th from We'll check back at the end of the season to see how we did! MJ probably will do better than me, because my prediction skill are not exactly Nostradamus level, but we'll check at the end of December and see...

NFC Over/Under Picks made July 25, 2009...
(Our three best bet picks are designated with a *)

49ers: 7
MJ Says: Over
Craig Says: Under

Cardinals: 8.5
MJ Says: Over
Craig Says: Over

Seahawks: 7.5
MJ Says: Under
Craig Says: Over

Rams: 5.5
MJ Says: Under
Craig Says: Under

Buccaneers: 6.5
MJ Says: Under
Craig Says: Over*

Saints: 8.5
MJ Says: Over
Craig Says: Over

Falcons: 8.5
MJ Says: Under
Craig Says: Under*

Giants: 10
MJ Says: Under*
Craig Says: Over

Redskins: 8
MJ Says: Over
Craig Says: Push

Eagles: 9.5
MJ Says: Under
Craig: Under

Cowboys: 9
MJ Says: Under*
Craig Says: Over*

Lions: 5
MJ Says: Push
Craig Says: Under

Vikings: 9
MJ Says: Over
Craig Says: Under

Packers: 9
MJ Says: Push
Craig Says: Over

Bears: 8.5
MJ Says: Over*
Craig Says: Under

Thursday, July 23, 2009

And the Oscar shouldn't have gone to...

This week on the LCS Hockey radio show, the guys did their top 11 list on the worst movies to have ever won Best Picture. (And if you aren't already listening to the LCS Hockey show, I do recommend checking it out at This sort of topic was so up my alley that I ended up writing a gigantic message on the message board about my personal Top 11 movies in this category. I don't have too much of an issue on their choices, and Mike Dell and I emphatically agreed about the absolute worst movie to win of all time, which I enjoyed. My only real issue with anything on the lists from the show was Brandon Dameshek tearing apart Gladiator, which I really like, but oh well, I'm used to Brandon hating on things I like, it's part of his charm. Here, since I already wrote it, and it's custom made for a blog post, are my Top 11 Worst Movies of all time:

11. Forrest Gump (1994) - I'm okay with Forrest Gump as a run of the mill film, it's pretty entertaining, but as Best Picture? Who Cancelled? Oh yeah, Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption and Quiz Show, which were all also nominated and were all vastly superior, and yet somehow didn't win. The thing about Forrest Gump is that if a movie is going to win Best Picture, shouldn't it at least have a plot? (Oh, and as an aside, can you believe that Four Weddings and a Funeral was also nominated as Best Picture that year?? I had to do a double take. Andie MacDowell and Hugh Grant as headliners for a Best Picture nominee?? At least Forrest Gump wasn't the worst picture nominated that year.)

10. Shakespeare in Love (1998) - Again, not a terrible movie, but a bit too hokey to be Best Picture. That year it really should have gone to Either Life is Beautiful or Saving Private Ryan...either of which were remarkably better films.

9. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - This is an okay movie and I even enjoyed it. Anthony Hopkins is scary good in it, but he's only onscreen for slightly over sixteen minutes, and the rest of the movie is not nearly as good as you might think.

8. Dances with Wolves (1990) - I saw this movie once, and never wanted to see it again. Although it did teach America how to say the word "Buffalo" in Navajo, which is a plus, I guess.

7. Gone with the Wind (1939) - Long and boring. Frankly Scarlett, I don't give a damn. This movie is overrated in my mind. I's a classic, but that doesn't change the fact that it sucks.

6. Casablanca (1943) - Just seeing if you're paying attention. This movie is amazing, and I'm just kidding about it being on the list. Casablanca deserves ALL it's accolades. One of the best movies ever. (I'd probably put it right near #1 ever)

5. Chicago (2002) - Ugh, a musical? Really? It was maybe a smidge above okay, but was it really the best picture of 2002? 2002 must have sucked.

4. The English Patient (1996) - Zzzzzzzzzzz..... I'd critique it more, but watching this movie induced a really good nap, so at least it has that going for it, but being effective Theatrical Sominex should not equate to Best Picture.

3. Titanic (1997) - I'm embarrassed that I liked this movie the first time I saw it. So bad for so many reasons. Leo has gone on to much better things, but this movie is honestly embarrassing. 100 years from now, when we tell people what won best picture in 1997 they will wonder what we were collectively smoking.

2. Crash (2005) - People are racist, we get it. Not everyone is Los Angeles is as over the top cartoon-character type racist as this movie portrays. I was offended at how stupid this movie was when I left the theater, and then it wins Best Picture, Ugh. I hated this movie.

1. Million Dollar Baby (2004) - This is easily the worst movie ever to win Best Picture. I won't even debate it. This movie is garbage. Actually, To call this movie garbage is an insult to garbage. Never in a million years should this have come anywhere CLOSE to winning. In fact, if Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, Garfield: The Movie, Mr. 3000 or National Treasure (all of which also were released in 2004) had won best picture over Million Dollar Baby, I would have preferred that decision to Million Dollar Baby winning the award. My level of hatred for this movie cannot be calculated on a hatred scale. I'm still mad this one won it all...I can't think rationally about it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another reason that the Buffalo Sabres should ditch their newest logo.

The guys on the LCS Hockey show call the Sabres the Donald Trumps, I assume because the logo strongly resembles Mr. Trumps ridiculous hair, but I think this one is even better. The Buffalo Barney Rubbles! Who do we need to talk to in order to get the Sabres to go back to this...

This logo is glorious, and is the ONLY thing that hockey players in Buffalo should wear. As you can tell, There isn't a lot of substance to the post today, but when you stumble across a picture of a hockey team's logo as Barney Rubble's hair piece, it would be irresponsible for me NOT to share. That is all, you may return to your regularly scheduled program at this time.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Vertically Striped Radio - Episode 9: NFL Rankings and Michael Jackson in butter.

Craig gave his top 10 and bottom 6 of his NFL power rankings from, he also had a story about Michael Jackson and butter, mercifully The Whale called in at the 40 minute mark to help Craig with the Magnificent 7 - Weird Things about Sports.
Craig told a little bit about the Evil Mustang statue out at Denver International Airport while being harrassed by his drama queen daughter (he loves her, but REALLY!) because she wanted to paint. VSR signed off with the Vertically Striped Music Recommendation of the week: "Boxer" by The National.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

NFL Powerlines: Pre-Preseason Edition

I wonder what this guy has in his little plastic bag??

Can you feel the power? We are only a month away from preseason football, and two months away from the real thing! My NFL Jones is at such an all time high, that I thought I'd break out one of the staples of the football season on this blog...The NFL Powerlines! Yes, for your perusal are my power rankings of the NFL teams as we sit here in mid July. If you're anything like me, and if you are I'm sorry, you are ready for some football. Sadly, my power rankings are all I can offer right now, but we are inching closer to FOOTBALL, my friends!

Last season, I posted a photo of a zoo animal above all my Powerline articles, but that was only on my fantasy football news service, so very few of you were able to see those. I have decided to bring back the gimmick of having an entirely unrelated photo accompanying the Powerlines, but I'm going in another direction this year. I got a Nintendo DS a few months back, and one of the mostly useless features on it is digital camera with not a rather low resolution. However, I have found that it is good for capturing photographs of random people I don't know on the light rail train. I am proud to announce that I will be using random pictures of people I don't know who didn't realize I was taking their picture as the title photos for the power lines this year! It feels a little bit mischievous to do this, and potentially a little bit illicit, but that's what makes it so much fun. Anyway...on to the power rankings!! (Feel the Power)

1. Steelers – Although I have a hard time seeing them repeating, I’m going to give my #1 preseason spot to the team holding the trophy.

2. Giants – Losing Plaxico was apparently a bigger deal that we thought at the end of last year, but for the majority of the season last year, this was the best team going. I think they can get it up and running again.

3. Eagles – Sometimes it seems like Andy Reid is keeping the Eagles afloat with smoke and mirrors, other times they look like a serious force. Either way, they seem to keep winning. Getting McNabb more weapons with Jeremy Maclin and Shady McCoy added to the offense is bound to help.

4. Patriots – The most unlikable team in the NFL has once again reloaded. The biggest question of this offseason in the league is how is Tom Brady going to bounce back from missing all of last season. Is he the unstoppable force of the almost undefeated team of two years ago, or has being married to a super model and being praised as the second coming of Joe Montana made him soft. Here’s hoping he struggles, but I expect the Patriots to once again contend for the Lombardi Trophy.

5. Chargers – Aided by the fact that they share a division with the collective sisters of the poor, the Chargers should cruise to a division title, per usual. This team has the talent to win it all, but you have to remember that they are still coached by the legendary Norv, and then you remember why they haven’t won it all. This team is hampered mightily by the fact that their coach is a humungous liability.

6. Titans – Losing Albert Haynesworth is a big hit for the Titans to take, and I remain hesitant to trust Kerry Collins in the role of starting QB, but this team was so good last year, I can’t drop them any lower than this right now.

7. Ravens – How much longer can Ray Lewis continue to inspire this defense to greatness? The clock is definitely ticking on that, and I think he is due for a massive slide this year. I also don’t trust Joe Flacco to carry the offense, but every year I underestimate the Ravens, and every year they prove me wrong. I’m going to go in the opposite direction to see if I effusively praise them this season if they might finally lapse and underachieve. A guy can hope, as the Ravens are far from my favorite team in the league.

8. Cardinals – The Cards were a lot of fun in the postseason last year, but I have a hard time believing in them as a great team, and believe that they are just an okay team that got hot at the perfect time and rode that wave all the way to being minutes away from winning it all. I think they suffer the year after hangover big time. Still, their run last year is good enough to get them the eighth spot in the pre-preseason poll.

9. Vikings – This is potential great team that is in need of a good quarterback. I know the Vikes are waiting for the end of the fifth annual “Will He or Won’t He Brett Favre Commemorative Media Whore Tour” to end, but am I the only one that thinks even once Brett Favre suits up for them that the Vikings will still be a good quarterback away from being great? Did you see him at the end of last year for the Jets? Ryan Leaf was embarrassed of his performances in December. At some point, you just get old. Vikings also have points deducted because Brad Childress is calling the shots. I cannot see a Brad Childress team doing the smart little things that win ballgames (a la the very good and yet very evil Bill Belichick) The best thing that the Vikes have going for them is that stud running back in their backfield. Adrian Peterson is the man.

10. Colts – I’m not used to seeing the Colts this low, but I just think that age is starting to catch up with these guys. As long as they have Manning, they’ve got a punchers chance, but I think the Colts are due for a subpar year by Indianapolis standards.

11. Cowboys – I have an infatuation with Tony Romo, he’s my favorite player in the NFL, and I really wish he had a real coach in place to lead him. The Cowboys are the NFC version of the Chargers in that they are way too talented to underachieve as often as they do. Wade Phillips will have that effect on you, though. Jerry Jones really needs to get himself a real head coach.

12. Panthers – Jake Delhomme is not very good, but he’s better than he looked against the Arizona Cardinals. He looked like a guy who had been paid off by the mafia to throw the game, he was that bad. He was worse than that bad, I daresay he had the worst game that I can remember in playoff history. The Panthers may have had a better shot of winning if they punted on first down every drive. Not good.

13. Saints – Drew Brees is like the Dan Fouts of 2009. He plays on a ridiculously good offense, he’s a ton of fun to watch, his defense isn’t very good, and even though everyone pretty much likes him, no one expects him to do anything in the postseason. I think Drew just needs to grow a huge beard and complete the effect.

14. Bears – We are going to see how good Jay Cutler actually is very quickly this season. It’s easier to look good behind Denver’s solid offensive line when you’re throwing to Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal than it will be with the swinging door that is the Bears O-Line and the Pu Pu platter that is the Bears receiving corps. Here are the illustrious gentlemen Jay is scheduled to be tossing the ball to: Devin Hester, Rashied Davis, Desmond Clark, Earl Bennett, Brandon Rideau, Devin Aromashodu, John Broussard, and Greg Olsen. (Not exactly Swann and Stallworth, here.)

15. Redskins – On paper, the acquisition of Albert Haynesworth should propel the Skins to new heights, however, Washington’s history with free agents is spottier than the cast of 101 Dalmatians. That uncertainty combined with the awkward season for the incumbent quarterback makes me learly of the Washington. Jason Campbell had the 50% off sticker liberally applied to him before he was whisked off the trading table when the trades the Redskins hoped to make never materialized. How well he responds to the lip service that he is Jim Zorn’s guy will go a long way to determining if the Skins can be competitive this year or not.

16. Falcons – Matty Ice seems like the real deal at quarterback, but I am not going to be surprised if he suffers from a sophomore slump. Is Michael Turner going to be able to keep up his production at such a high level? I’m curious to see this team, as they were the uglier Cinderella that got knocked off in the playoffs by the cuter, more sexy Cinderella last January.

17. Packers – This may be too high for a Packers team that finished 6-10 this year, but I really believe that the Pack were a good team this year that just had all the breaks go against them. I think they return to around .500 or better this season, as they are only two years removed from hosting the NFC Championship Game. I really believe that Aaron Rodgers is a good quarterback, and he may begin to make the leap this season. Packers fans will probably more easily embrace him if they see their beloved #4 don a purple uniform. I’m dying to see this play out in the NFC North.

18. Dolphins – This team went 1-15 two years ago, benefited from a last place schedule and a Tom Brady knee demolition and snuck into the playoffs as the AFC East Champion. I think they fall back to earth this year.

19. Jets – How long before Mark Sanchez is taking his lumps as a rookie, Week 4? Week 3? This is an okay team, but they are probably a year or two away from making some real noise. The best luck they had all year was having Sanchez fall to them at #5 in the Draft, I don’t think they get that lucky again all season, but that was a pretty big one. I think he may be a very solid NFL QB.

20. Seahawks – The Seahawks are too good of a franchise to fall prey to becoming one of the dregs of NFL society. I don’t know that they make the playoffs this year, but I think they rebound from the dreadful season they endured last year.

21. Jaguars – This may be the least interesting team in the NFL. Maurice Jones-Drew, Torry Holt, and David Garrard? No thanks. Those new uniforms sure are spiffy, though. Oh wait, no, they are actually pretty ugly and boring, perfect for the Jags!

22. Texans – Oops, we have another contender for least interesting NFL team. Gary Kubiak needs to start showing something if he wants to keep his post as head man of the Texan Empire.

23. Buccaneers – No more Gruden, does this mean they aren’t going to stockpile mediocre quarterbacks anymore? I’m depressed, although I still am amused that they hold the rights to Jake Plummer. Good trade there, guys. “Let’s send over a draft pick for a guy who has announced his retirement.” Oops!

24. Bills – The Bills are ten times more interesting now that they employ the services of one Terrell Owens, too bad I don’t think they are going to be much better of a team as a result. You still have to block the defense in order for Trent Edwards to actually be able to throw it to T.O.

25. Bengals – People have been talking up the Bengals this offseason saying they are finally going to make the leap. Maybe they do, but I need to see it first.

26. Chiefs – I’m intrigued by the move for Matt Cassell. It’s a strong and bold move for Scott Pioli in his inaugural year in charge of the Chiefs. It may turn out great, and Cassell may be the answer, of course, he has only one season under his belt at starting QB at any level higher than High School. I’m going to go out on a limb and say he may not be as good as everyone thought he was last year. He may, and it’s a great chance to take for a team that has been mediocre for awhile in KC, but I’m not positive it will work and I’m not positive it won’t. (Bold prognosticating there, eh?) Losing Herm Edwards is addition by subtraction, and I think things are finally starting to move in the right direction for the Chiefs.

27. Broncos – I am going to trust in Josh McDaniels and believe that he knows what he is doing, because otherwise my only choice would be to rank the Broncos in the bottom six of the league and I’m not sure I’m ready to do that…Oh wait. Yes I am. Sigh. Hopefully the Broncos can get it together and have a solid season, but lets just say my hopes are not high. I’m halfway covering my eyes in anticipation of the Kyle Orton era beginning in Denver. For the record, I really hope I’m wrong.

28. 49ers – Do you believe in Shaun Hill? Yeah, me either. The 49ers do have the coach most likely to drop his pants to make his point, but I’m not sure how much that translates into wins. I don’t care either, the NFL is a better place when Mike Singletary a.k.a. Coach Crazy is in the league.

29. Browns – Shouldn’t Brady Quinn have grabbed the reins of this team by now? I can’t believe that we are still debating Derek Anderson vs. Brady Quinn. Losing Romeo Crennel can’t possibly be a bad thing, but is Eric Mangini the right coach to lead you to the promised land? The dearth of good NFL coaches is staggering.

30. Rams – This team is now very young, very inexperienced, and probably still not very good. Marc Bulger is not 86 years old, it only feels like he’s that old. (Actually, it was rather depressing to look up his age and realize that he is only 32 years old and is actually several months younger than I am.) The Rams are in full on rebuilding mode, I don’t expect much. (Which means that they’ll probably win the NFC West.)

31. Raiders – There is a chance that the Raiders are not the worst team in the AFC West. That doesn’t mean they’ve gotten better, it’s just that the rest of the division…Not so good.

32. Lions – There aren’t a lot of rules when cobbling together a NFL rankings list, however one of them is this: When a team finishes 0-16 the prior year and chances are good that they will be starting a rookie at quarterback in the upcoming season, that team has to be rated last. I feel for Lions fans who haven’t celebrated a victory since two days before the Christmas of 2007. Bold Prediction for this season: The Lions will win at least one game!

Monday, July 13, 2009

What Does Scooby-Doo Have To Do With The Sport of Cricket Anyway?

The Ashes is a Test cricket series played between England and Australia. I really don’t understand what that means, as I am as clueless about cricket as one can possibly be. I know that the sport vaguely resembles baseball and the guy who plays the position roughly equivalent to pitcher is called “the bowler” which is awesome. I’m aware that games can go on for days, and I also know, thanks to Jerry Seinfeld, that if there is a good pitch thrown they call it a wicked googly. That’s about the extent of my cricket knowledge, other than the fact that some people are worried that a contentious match between India and Pakistan could potentially start World War III.

I’m not going to make fun of cricket, because I don’t even know enough to know if I like it or hate it. I just know that it exists and that it is a very big deal in places like England, India, Australia, New Zealand, and Pakistan. In fact the only reason I’m even writing this post is because I thought this picture was just too good, and I couldn’t just NOT write about it.

That’s right, these two guys are cricket fans, they are waiting out a rain delay in “The Ashes”, they both look like they are about to fall asleep, and they are both wearing Scooby-Doo costumes. I don’t even have a joke here, I’m flabbergasted. This picture is just so good, just take a moment and look at it, that’s all I ask.

By the way, the story of the cricket series known as “The Ashes” actually has a pretty good back story. It goes back to 1882 and is played every two years alternating between being played in Australia and the UK. It began out of trash talk, as many good rivalries do, but this is a particularly good and a particularly old version of trash talk. Apparently after a match in which Australia thoroughly whipped up on England, a notice was put in the paper called “The Sporting Times” which read:

In Affectionate Remembrance



which died at the Oval


29th AUGUST, 1882,

Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing

friends and acquaintances




N.B.—The body will be cremated and the

ashes taken to Australia.

Evidently, this notice placed in jest by what would nowadays be known as an obnoxious sports writer (think Woody Paige) would begin a hotly contested biannual cricket series in which the two nations would visit each other, play cricket, and the winner would then take a mock urn with “the ashes” as the trophy for the series. Apparently this is a pretty big deal in the world of cricket, and it is going on currently, or so I have been led to believe by Wikipedia. So that’s pretty cool. If you want to read more about it you can do so here:

See, you can learn a thing or two on this here Vertically Striped Socks website! I am here to serve and to educate, now run along, and be a dear, if you’re the last one to leave, please turn the light off. The electric bill has been unsightly of late around here!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The winners of the inaugural "Sockie" awards.

Best Holiday -Thanksgiving
Best Color - Brown
Sports team of the Year -Pittsburgh Penguins
Best Picture (That Craig has seen) - Up
Website of the Year -
Sports Idiot of the Year - Plaxico Burress
Dameshek Amalgamated Messageboard Network Best Radio Show - The Ed Show
Lifetime Achievement Award - presented to Joe Sakic

Congratulations to all the winners, if you'd like to hear the stirring awards ceremony, you can listen to it on

Vertically Striped Radio - Episode 8: The Sockie Awards Presentation plus The Ed and The Whale.

Craig presented the "Sockie" awards. The Ed was on hand to make his acceptance speech on behalf of "The Ed Show." We also honored the great Joe Sakic, and The Whale called in and offered his always welcome insights as Ed, the Whale and Craig broke down the Magnificent 7 reasons why the 80's are vastly overrated.

The Vertically Striped Music recommendation of the week was "Evil Urges" by the band My Morning Jacket.

This was probably one of our best shows, which may be damning with faint praise, but I enjoyed doing it. You can check it out by listening on the widget below, or you can download it over at

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'm sorry, I just don't get the Michael Jackson overkill.

Can you tell me if he's black or white?? Michael Jackson easily had the most stunning transformation of any famous person I can remember. This isn't even a contest.

Tuesday at my office, you would have thought that the world had ended. EVERYONE was sitting in their cubicles streaming the Michael Jackson memorial ceremony and muttering phrases like, “It’s so sad.” and “He was so great. What a loss.”

I was beside myself. I just kept thinking, “Really?” Here was a weird dude with obvious talent who had not released anything of significance since 1991, however since that time he has had multiple incidents and suits alleging all sorts of sinister behavior with children. He was never convicted of anything, but the allegations are troubling enough. He lived like a recluse for the better part of twenty years like a latter day Howard Hughes, and then of course there was the bizarre physical transformation and obvious self image problems. Then there are stories coming out that he died as a result of abusing prescription medications.

I’m not hating on Jacko, and the power of his music from the 70's and 80's has really stood the test of time. However, the fact cannot be denied that for the past ten to fifteen years he has pretty much been a late night punch line and regarded as a weirdo more than an entertainer. It’s not like he was Kurt Cobain and struck down while at the height of his career and his death prevented us from enjoying more of his genius. His loss was certainly sad, but I’d say it was far from tragic in the sense that musically I don’t think he was going to bring a whole lot more to the table than he already had.

All that said, to see people so emotional and distraught at his loss seems disingenuous when you consider that many of these people were probably laughing at him a month ago and calling him a freak. To see him lying in state as if he were a national hero seems beyond surreal. I don’t want to speak ill of the dead, but at the same time, I hate when people retroactively change someone’s legacy in light of how they die. Jackson was a very talented entertainer, but he was also a weird dude. I wish the masses celebrating the former would at least recognize the latter and not pretend like everything after 1986 never happened.

I feel like of course Jackson's contribution to the pop culture scene was definitely large, and there probably wasn't a bigger star in the 1980's than "The King of Pop." I just find it weird that people are this emotionally invested in a guy who was so troubled, so maligned, and was basically an outcast since the early 90's. I feel like a little bit of a deal should have been made of his passing, but the nation is mourning like we have lost a sitting president, it just feels like overkill to a crazy degree, and I don't entirely get it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

You Gotta Love Four Year Olds!

My daughter cracks me up. She is only four, and she has a four year old’s sensibilities. This is another way to say that the stuff that makes sense in her mind doesn’t always quite make 100% natural sense to me. All that said, I love her a ton, and appreciate her little eccentricities. Here are some of my favorites, and I thought I’d share them with the readers of

This teddy bear is beige. It’s very cute, very fuzzy, and very loved by my daughter. (Even though it was actually a token that I gave to my wife a few years ago, my daughter has usurped ownership of the bear. My wife is not disputing ownership.) The thing that cracks me up about this toy and my daughter is that she has named the bear “Colorful Bear” despite the obvious lack of color. I’ve given up trying to figure it out, and am just enjoying the fact that a colorless bear can be referred to with the moniker of “Colorful Bear.” Four year olds are great!

This household item is not a Refrigerator to my daughter. It is a “Fwigewfwatew.”

My daughter is 100% girl, and she likes all things pink. This includes her milk, which she usually prefers to be strawberry milk. She doesn’t call it Strawberry Milk, though. It is Pink Milk, and when we run out of more syrup, we need to go to the store to get more pink.

One of my daughter’s favorite things to do is go to the grocery store. The grocery store that we usually shop at is called King Soopers, and any time she sees this logo on anything she immediately yells out, “Grocery Store!” in a very excited voice. Kids this age are a little easy, because all it takes to make them happy is a ride on the grocery store penny horse and a free cookie from the bakery. She would just as soon go to the grocery store as she would Disneyland. Life is very exciting when you’re 4.