Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Response to the Attacks against Rachel Skarsten

As a long time fan of TV shows, particularly Soap Operas and Wrestling and such shows where it's easy to have 'love 'em or hate 'em' characters, I understand the emotions involved in wanting your favorite characters to have the most TV time, for them to win the Title, or have the successful relationship, etc. I think pretty much all of us share that to some degree or other.  Sadly, some people in the 'Lost Girl' fandom have been, as of late, taking things to unfortunate levels of extremes.

If you're familiar with the TV show Lost Girl, you may know that there's a certain similarity between it and the Soap Opera The Bold and the Beautiful.  Both feature characters involved in a love triangle, that tends to make fans on either side of that triangle go a bit....well, nuts may not be a stretch.  In the case of B&B, it's the Liam character at the center of the triangle, with Steffy and Hope fans on either side, with the Couple names of 'Steam' and 'Lope' for easy reference.  Similarly, in the case of Lost Girl, Bo is the center of a love triangle, with Tamsin and Lauren fans on either side, with the Couple names of Valkubus and Doccubus, the Couple names related to the role each character plays instead of their names themselves (It's a Science Fiction show, and as such Tamsin is a Valkyrie, Bo a Succubus, and Lauren a Doctor) .

The problem arises that for the first two seasons of the Lost Girl show, Bo and Lauren were the clear favorite of the fans, as Tamsin wasn't a part of the show.  Her character was introduced in Season 3, and quickly became a huge fan favorite, and much the way Steffy unexpectedly became more popular than Hope (who, like Lauren, had only token competition for a very long time before Steffy entered the picture), Tamsin unexpectedly became more popular than Lauren.  In each case, the fan-base of the Couple that was once dominant and suddenly found themselves on the less popular side of things, said and did some fairly vicious things out of anger at the fans siding with the new and improved couples.  It wasn't pretty, but it was, to some degree at least, to be expected.  They attacked the newer, more popular couples, to no avail of course, but it's human nature.  

However as of late, certain 'Doccubus' fans haven't simply taken to attacking the new Valkubus couple, nor have they stopped at attacking the new character involved in the Triangle, Tamsin.  They've taken things to a new low, and have been launching vicious, hate-filled attacks against the actress who plays the character, one of the greatest Actresses in the world today, Rachel Skarsten.  I of course won't be repeating any of those attacks here, but suffice to say they go well beyond any sort of human decency.  Of course, just like Jacqueline and Kimberly (Steffy and Hope) are friends in real life, so too are Rachel and Zoie (Tamsin and Lauren), none of these actresses have done anything to encourage bad behavior among their various fan groups.  And Rachel's fans have always behaved the best of the four, by far the fewest negative, and most positive, comments of any of the groups.  But sadly, the Doccubus fans haven't simply been overwhelmingly negative as of late, they've taken things to such an extreme that the head writer of the show took it upon herself to issue a statement calling them out on their bad behavior, making it clear that their attacks were very wrong, and stating that Rachel is, in the words of the head writer herself, "an extraordinary actress/person/woman" , she made it clear that the personal attacks against Rachel were wrong and should stop.

However, sadly, they have not stopped, and so I have chosen to do the only thing anyone who wants to do the right thing could do, and that is to lend my voice to that of the head writer's, and encourage the attacks to stop.  Personal attacks against an actress simply because you don't like the character she plays, or because her character is more popular than another character, is very, very wrong.  We all have our favorites, and that's more than fine, that's as it should be.  And friendly discussions, even friendly disagreements, are all part of the fun of these types of shows.  But what isn't part of the fun of these, or any other shows for that matter, is personal attacks against real people, real people who don't deserve to be attacked for simply being good at what they do, which ultimately is the reason why these attacks were made.  These personal attacks tend to lead, in turn, to personal attacks on the people who made those personal attacks, which leads to personal attacks against the people attacking the people who made the original personal attacks, and so on.  It's a long and nasty road, filled with no fun, just anger, bad feelings, ill will, and that sort of thing, it's all nothing but negative.

What some people lose sight of is the fact that these are, not simply at the end of the day but in fact at the beginning of the day and all day long as well, simply TV shows, they're there for fun.  If you, as a fan, are taking away the fun of others by personally attacking the actresses who play the roles of their favorite characters, then to each and every one of you I say this, 'Shame on you'.  We all want to have fun, and we should all consider the feelings of our fellow fans before we say anything, especially anything negative.  If you aren't capable of considering the feelings of others, then that says something about you as a human being, and not something good.

I hope this terrible behavior by some will ultimately lead to an important lesson learned by all, and that is simply the Golden Rule.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Would you like to read vicious, nasty, hateful things being said about your favorite actor or actress?  Of course not.  So don't behave that way yourself.  And I have a special message for the Valkubus fans out there, and that is please do not sink to the level of others.  Just because some Doccubus fans have gone way WAY out of bounds in their inexcusable comments, that doesn't change the fact that they are still real people with real feelings, and while there's certainly nothing wrong with calling them out on their bad behavior, please try do so in a friendly and civilized way, what we all want is for everyone to be friends, and to be a friend, you have to show yourself to be friendly.  So please be as friendly as possible in response to their bad behavior.  And also extremely importantly, please do not sink to the level of others and launch any kind of personal attacks against their favorite actress, Zoie.  She's not the one responsible for their bad behavior, they are.  It's only human nature to respond to bad behavior with other, in kind bad behavior, but that would be extremely wrong.  Rachel wouldn't want you to attack her friend Zoie, just as Zoie doesn't want her fans attacking her friend Rachel.  Even far more importantly than all that, God wouldn't want you to do that, and certainly no good could possibly come from it.

So thank you for taking the time to read my comments today, I feel they are very important, and while they deal with a timely situation the principles behind the comments are timeless.  Please, let us all be good to one another, the importance of that truly cannot be overstated.      

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cubs continuing to build Dynasty

While at first blush it may seem the Cubs are poised for a poor 2013, particularly since they lost so many talented players at the trade deadline last year, as well as an All Star in the off-season, looking deeper will reveal that they are in fact poised for greatness.  When exactly that greatness comes, that remains to be seen.  It could be this year, it could be next year, who knows?  But there are a lot of signs pointing toward serious improvement, and I would like to mention some of them now.  We all know that they recently signed a pitcher, Edwin Jackson, who has tremendous talent but has never quite lived up to it.  That could be because he keeps getting bounced around from team to team.  That changes now, with the Cubs having given him a long term contract.  He finally has stability, for himself and his family, and can focus on finally being the best pitcher he can be, and that could mean very, very good things indeed for the Cubs.  Even more recently, they signed a man who hit 20 home runs last year for the New York Mets, and they signed him to a 2 year, 5 million dollar contract.  20 home runs for 2.5 million per year?  Yes please! 

But I could go on and on about players they've signed, perhaps what's most important of all is what we saw on MLB TV recently.  The Cubs now have THREE prospects in the Top 50, including one in the top 20!  That's not exactly super-duper awesome, to be sure, but its a LOT better than it used to be, the Cubs used to have one of the worst minor league systems in baseball, and now they have one of the better ones.  They also have the #2 pick in this year's draft, which could help propel them even closer to the coveted #1 spot, currently held by St Louis.  Theo Epstein and his team are really turning this team around, and it's a lot of fun to watch!  Here's hoping 2013 is finally the year the Cubs win that next World Series!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Here at the Gladiator Blog, we (meaning I, your friend and mine, Sir Gladiator) would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!  There is a lot to be thankful for, good health, cheerful (if cold) weather, family, friends, etc.  Of course not everyone has all those things, and sometimes, as we all know, around the Christmas Season some folks suffer from depression, because this is the time when things should be at their best, instead they seem bleak, and it just feels like they're never going to get better.  Believe me, I know how you feel, I think pretty much everybody has experienced a Holiday season of some kind of other like that, but it's important to remember that Christmas isn't about ourselves.  It isn't about what we're going to get, or even what we're going to get for others.  It isn't about singing, it isn't about snow, etc.  It's about Jesus, it's about celebrating His birth, His life, and of course ultimate His death and resurrection.  He died so that we can live.  Before He died, He was born, and that is what we are celebrating at Christmas.  When we make Christmas about us, its easy to feel sad or depressed when things don't go our way.  But its not about us, its about Him, and as long as we keep that in mind, it will be a truly Merry Christmas indeed!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Huge new Dragon Age 3 News!

Thanks to my sources, I can now reveal possible super-secret new details regarding the next game in the Dragon Age series, Dragon Age 3!  Now, I should begin by stating that everything is subject to change, and you never know for sure what's true and what isn't, but this very much appears to be true, so with that in mind, I'm giving you, my loyal readers, information that will most likely make you one of a VERY SELECT FEW who know the first major details of this highly anticipated game!  This is a quote, a description of the basic plot of the upcoming game, based on my sources.

 "A portal between the worlds unleashes hords of demons in the land, civil wars rip apart nations and the corruption is limitless. Someone is behind the shadows, drawing the threads which destroy the world. Time has come for the Inquisition.

Take the Inquisitor's cloak and lead the only force able of bringing light into the darkness. Choose the direct method and gather your armies, send spies into the shadows or engage in a political war, make friends and use your connections indirectly: it is up to you how you lead the inquisition. But you'll have to take lead of it from the beginning. Make your player a rogue, warrior or mage and set up your crew from up to ten (!) complex companions to lead them against those who attack you by systematically spying on, revealing and destroying them."

It appears that you will be, as the 'Inquisitor' have a wide range of choices both in regard to how you play, and who your companions will be.  It really sounds super fun!  Now, again, this is according to my sources, and everything is subject to change even if it all is 100% accurate right now, but I do believe that this is indeed the real deal info, and you are now one of a select few in the world who know it!  So stay tuned to the Gladiator Blog as we continue to bring you breaking, awesome, super duper cool info, on DA3 and so many other topics!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ron Paul the new GOP Front-Runner?

For all the talk of 'Obama vs Romney' its worth noting that Ron Paul is continuing to notch victory after victory at the state level, gaining a ton of delegates in the process.  In Nevada, in Minnesota, in Maine, in Iowa, and many other states, Ron is winning both states and large numbers of delegates.  The Media has declared Romney the winner, but the actual voters, the ones that show up to state conventions and elect delegates, are declaring a different winner.  Its still way too early to know who will emerge victorious, but certainly for now it appears that Ron Paul has a much stronger chance of emerging victorious at the GOP Convention in Tampa later this year than anyone in the Lamestream Media would like you to believe.  Stay tuned!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Cubbies building a Dynasty one trade at a time

As you probably already heard, the Chicago Cubs finally got rid of their loose-cannon pitcher Carlos Zambrano, which of course is a victory in and of itself.  You may have also heard that we got a young, promising starter in his place, one that could be an important part of the Cubs rotation for many years to come.  However Theo and company didn't stop there.  They made another bigtime trade today, this time trading relliever Cashner for power hitting 1st baseman Rizzo of the Padres.  This is a shocking victory for the Cubs, as there had been rumors that they would have to give up Garza to obtain a package including Rizzo.  To only give up a reliever (the Cubs also gave up, and received, one lower level prospect in the deal) for a potential Superstar like Rizzo is nothing short of highway robbery, Theo Epstein and his group are proving themselves to be brilliant trade negotiators.  They managed to trade reliever Marshall for a left handed Starter and two promising minor leaguers (one of whom will likely make the team at the start of this season), and they traded for power hitting third baseman Stewart of Colorado, both trades done last year, before the most recent two awesome trades.  The Cubs are already so much better this year than last, you'd have to consider them one of the early favorites in the NL Central, and there's still well over two months before the season even begins! 

Clearly there is plenty of room for Theo to work out even more trades, involving Garza, Byrd, and of course Soriano, in addition to possibly signing a free agent or two, such as Cespedes.  The future is looking so bright for the Cubbies, that Cubs fans may indeed have to wear shades!

Sadly, as you all probably know, the future is looking less bright for Presidential Candidate Ron Paul.  A surprise third place finish in Iowa, despite being in first or second place in litearlly every poll, was without question disappointing, but he did score an impressive 22 percent of the vote, which is about where he's at right now in New Hampshire.  Rick Santorum, who came up from nowhere at the end to almost score the victory in Iowa, is only at about 10 percent in New Hampshire and doesn't figure to do much better than that by the time the voting takes place four days from now.  It truly is a 2 man race in New Hampshire between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.  The bad news is that Ron is currently down about 20 points, but the good news is that this is New Hampshire, and front runners rarely win, and when they do its usually not by all that much, so there's a good chance that Ron will at least get close by election day, and a victory is, despite how the polls look right now, definitely not out of the question.

Stay tuned to the Gladiator Blog for more news and information from the Presidential race, as well as more information on the Cubbies progress toward a Dynasty!     

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Iowa Poll shows Ron Paul almost in the lead!

The newest poll out of Iowa has some very, VERY good news for Congressman Ron Paul, as well as Constitutional Conservatives throughout America, and the world.  The latest results from the Bloomberg poll of likely Iowa Caucus voters show that Ron Paul has surged into a strong second place with 19 percent of the vote, just a point behind the leader, Herman 'thats what she said' Cain who still leads slightly, with 20 percent.  Romney placed third in the poll with 18 percent, just ahead of Gingrich who had 17 percent.  This is, of course, effectively a four way tie, but the biggest news has to be the huge surge by Congressman Ron Paul.  His message of economic liberty and freedom, a foreign policy that puts America's National Defense ahead of nation building and endless wars, and his overall strong Libertarian, Constitutional Conservatism that is unmatched among the candidates, is clearly starting to reach the masses in a powerful way.

Some months back, Ron Paul had all the momentum in Iowa, he had moved up to about 16 percent in the polling, and was just zooming up.  Then, just before the Iowa Straw Poll that he seemed poised to win, the Rick Perry fans Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck began savaging him on their nationwide radio programs.  This resulted in Ron no longer going up, and in fact he started going down, Rick Perry took his place as the man with all the momentum.  Happily for America, Perry was exposed for the incredibly flawed candidate that he is (albeit a highly entertaining one, particularly for those of us who enjoy watching the debates).  Since then multiple men have enjoyed significant momentum, including Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, but as we've already been seeing, these candidates too have very significant flaws.  Ultimately it is Ron Paul, his principled leadership, his proven record of standing up against big government and globalist nation building and endless wars, that is poised to win in Iowa, win the GOP nomination, and the Presidency in 2012.  When he does that, don't be surprised to see the headline the next day 'Obama finishes a strong second' with no mention of who defeated him.  It would be very consistent with the media coverage that Ron gets.   

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ron Paul gets two new Iowa endorsements ahead of big Debate

Just a day before the big Florida debate, the Ron Paul campaign announced they had received two more endorsements in the first in the nation Caucus state of Iowa.  Both are from Clay County, Kris Thiessen is the Clay County GOP Chairwoman as well as a small business owner (she runs the White Glove janitorial service), and Josh Davenport is the Clay County GOP co-chairman, as well as a former supporter of 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee.  Thiessen also founded a local Tea Party group.  Both endorsements are obviously quite important, as the Caucuses draw ever nearer, and the debates continue to help shape the field.  Ron Paul has continued to improve his standing in the polls, recently a national poll showed him at 13 percent, and even more recently a New Hampshire poll showed Ron in second place with 14 percent, trailing only Mitt Romney, as Perry has just eight percent support in the Granite State.  No doubt a win in the Florida debate would help him gain even more ground, as he continues to pass the supposed 'front runners' in the polls.  He's already zoomed past Michelle Bachmann nationally, and now he's passed Perry in New Hampshire.  He's been close to passing Romney in Iowa for some time, any day now we could hear that he's done that also.  We're definitely getting closer and closer to 'President Ron Paul'! 

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Ron Paul wins Debate and Gets 2 More NH Endorsements

Last night's Debate on MSNBC was all about Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, if you believe the liberal media.  However, if you watched the debate, or if you take a look at the post-debate poll on MSNBC's website, you'll know the truth was something quite different.  To be sure, there was plenty of Mitt and Rick attacking each other for the Title of 'King of the Fake-Conservatives', but the man who stood head and shoulders above the rest, the man who got 55 percent of the vote, in fact receiving over ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND total votes, was Ron Paul!  Of course it isn't a surprise to see Ron winning a post-debate poll, he normally does very well in debates, but I don't recall ever seeing him get anywhere NEAR a hundred thousand votes in a single poll before! 

If anyone were inclined to write off those poll results as a fluke or some such, or discount them in any way, they should probably think again, because fresh off of Ron's dominant debate performance, not one but TWO more State Representatives in the First in the Nation Primary State of New Hampshire, announced their Endorsement of the Texas Congressman!  Clearly this is very strong evidence that indeed Ron did dominate the debate every bit as much as the polling data suggested that he did.  Ron is definitely building an impressive lilst of high profile supporters in the critical states of Iowa and New Hampshire, he's got good, strong TV ads, he's a powerhouse in debates, and he's in a prime position to win once the campaign begins in earnest early next year.  Also, a new AP Poll was just released recently, showing that Ron Paul has the best Favorable-Unfavorable ratio of any of the three major GOP candidates, his numbers are 37/36, compared to Romney's 39/41 and Perry's 33/36.  So let Rick and Mitt battle each other for the Establishment vote all they want, this time its a REAL Conservative who is going to win the GOP Nomination, and the White House. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Huge Fundraising Success for Ron Paul

This weekend, Congressman Ron Paul celebrated his 76th Birthday, and his campaign held another 'Money Bomb' in association with that event.  The results have been phenominal for the campaign, as since the Money Bomb began at midnight on Saturday, the Ron Paul Presidential Campaign has raised over 1.7 Million dollars!  This is the power of the grass-roots, real Americans who support real change.  His campaign has had a number of money bombs this year, but this one has been by far the most successful.  No doubt the fact that his support is stronger than ever could have something to do with that (16 percent in Iowa, 14 percent in New Hampshire, and 14 percent nationally in 2 of the 3 most recent polls).  Despite the fact that the national news media refuses to cover him properly, he doesn't need the lamestream media, because he has the People.  Thanks to the awesome success of this money bomb, he will now be able to do a lot more to bring his message of Peace, Prosperity, and Constitutional Conservatism to the People of Iowa, New Hampshire, and throughout America.  Congratulations to Ron Paul on this major success, and Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ron Paul continues to gain in New Hampshire

Fresh off his victory in last week's debate, followed by his strong second place performance in the Iowa Straw Poll, Congressman Ron Paul's standing in the latest New Hampshrie poll has improved and he is now well into double digits.  Mitt Romney still leads by a healthy margin, at 36 percent, followed by the newest media sensation, Governor Gardasil....I mean Perry (Gardasil is the drug that Perry tried to force teenage girls across Texas to take, a dangerous drug that has killed many who have taken it, and the legislature refused to go along with the Governor, thus saving the lives of many innocent girls that would've been lost to Perry's shilling for Big Pharma) stands at 18 percent, followed by Paul at 14, and Bachmann at 10.  This is the highest I can recall ever seeing Ron in a New Hampshire poll, which is ironic considering you would think that he would be doing much better in a libertarian state like New Hampshire than a state like Iowa, but Ron is at 16 percent in Iowa right now, higher than his new and improved New Hampshire number.  Hopefully as the campaign progresses each number will continue to rise, as they have been doing. 

One important ingredient in Ron's steady rise in the polls has been his fantastic ad campaign, for those of you who have seen the ads you know how incredibly well done they are, very professional and imperssive.  Of course it takes money to keep them on the air, and he just put a new TV ad up this week in Iowa and New Hampshire.  The campaign is having a 'Money Bomb' on Saturday, the 20th of August, which coincides with Ron Paul's Birthday!  This will be a very important day for the campaign, as it will help determine how long Ron will be able to keep his ads on the air, and of course the longer they're up, the stronger his campaign gets.  Ron is in a solid 3rd place in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and in each state he's only a few points back from second place (in fact only six points behind the Leader in Iowa).  A successful Money Bomb on Saturday could very well result in Ron moving into second in New Hampshire, and the lead in Iowa!  Let's all help make it a big success!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Iowa Straw Poll Results Huge Boost for Ron Paul

Yesterday in Ames, Iowa, the GOP candidates had the biggest Straw Poll of the campaign.  Normally in a Straw Poll, not that many people vote, but the Iowa Straw Poll is different.  Very, very different.  It works much more like an actual Primary and less like a Straw Poll.  There are busses, there are major financial investments, it's a tremendous test of a candidate's organization and appeal.  While there were many candidates making a huge push in Iowa, it ultimately came down to two major candidates, Michelle Bachmann, who is actually from Iowa, and Ron Paul.  In the final standings, Michelle Bachmann received 4823 votes, or 29 percent of the total votes cast (there were in fact well over 16 thousand votes cast, the second highest number EVER), slightly ahead of Dr Paul's 4671 votes, or 28 percent.  However it drops WAY off from there, as Tim Pawlenty scored a very disappointing 2293 votes (less than HALF Ron Paul's tally), 14 percent.  Fourth place was Rick Santorum, who got 1657 votes, or 10 percent, followed closely by Pizza Superstar Herman Cain with 1456 votes, 9 percent of the total votes cast.  Sixth was actually a write in campaign by Rick Perry's supporters, Rick got 718 votes, a poor showing to be sure, but less poor than Mitt Romney's 567 votes, which put him in an embarassing 7th place.  Gingrich (385 votes, 2 percent), Huntsman (69 votes, 0.4 percent), and McCotter (35 votes, 0.2 percent) rounded out the top ten. 

At first blush this might seem like a bit of a disappointment for Ron Paul, after all he didn't win, he tried to win, he wanted to win, but he didn't win, Michelle Bachmann did.  However, there are a number of reasons why that first blush isn't at all accurate, that this is in fact not just a win but a HUGE win for Ron Paul, and they are very much worth noting.  First, the simple fact that Michelle Bachmann is FROM Iowa, a fact she uses constantly in her campaign.  She is the 'favorite son' candidate, and anytime a favorite son doesn't win in a landslide, if an opponent just finishes within 10 points or so of them, that's a victory for the runner up.  Take the classic example of Bill Clinton in New Hampshire, in 1992.  He finished with 25 percent, behind 'favorite son' Senator Paul Tsongas of neighboring Massachusetts, who had 33 percent of the vote.  That 8 point loss was seen as a HUGE win for Bill, a 'win' that gave him huge momentum, the nomination, and the White House.  There are of course many other such examples, but the key point is, you don't have to beat a favorite son candidate, they're extremely tough to beat, but if you can simply finish close to them, its very much like a win.

Another reason why this was a huge win for Ron Paul is because in fact, aside from the Favorite Son Bachmann, Ron Paul DID in fact win huge, VERY huge!  Ron Paul defeated EVERY candidate who isn't from Iowa (Bachmann) by a GREATER THAN 2-1 MARGIN.  That's not just a win, that's a MAJOR landslide!  Tim Pawlenty, who practicly moved to Iowa, who spent a huge amount of money on radio and TV ads, he got less than half Ron's votes.  Rick Santorum, who likewise practically became a resident of Iowa in his attempt to do well at Ames, finished greater than 2 1/2 to 1 behind Ron.  Herman Cain, a fun and interesting candidate, the man who once headed up Godfather's Pizza, got less than 1/3 of Ron's votes.  Of course, the so-called 'front runner' candidates, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, got SPANKED, Rick beaten better than 6-1, Romney beaten better than 8-1 by Ron.  Clearly there is indeed a Front-Runner from Texas, but it ain't Perry, it's Congressman Ron Paul!

There is however some bad news to report, and it may actually be the reason why Ron didn't just win first place straight out at the Straw Poll.  It seems that since the debate on Thursday night, the big guns have been turned on Ron.  His comments at the Debate against going to war with Iran have sparked tremendous outcry from certain pro-war talk radio folks, most notably Rush Limbaugh, who basicly called Ron Paul and his supporters crazy.  Its ironic that he would so mean-spiritedly attack the only candidate in the race who wouldn't have put him in jail for his own past drug use.  Dick Morris called Ron a 'flake'.  Also, Glenn Beck has both attacked Ron and actually endorsed Bachmann (he said that as of right now, he would vote for her, of course he can't fully endorse anybody until Sarah Palin announces her intentions).  The long knives are out, and they just might sting a bit, but the good news is they're running scared, they're using up their firepower early, and Ron has got plenty of time to absorb their incoming fire, and come back stronger than ever.  The American People are on the side of Peace and Prosperity, Freedom and following the Constitution.  As such, these vicious attacks are merely one more obstacle to overcome on the road to the nomination, and the White House!

So for all those reasons, and more, Ron Paul is better positioned to become the Republican nominee, and the next President of the United States, than any other candidate in the race.  If you thought he 'couldn't win' before, yesterday proved that couldn't be further from the truth.  He most definitely 'can' win, and there's an excellent chance that he WILL win!  Stay tuned to the Gladiator Blog for continued Campaign 2012 updates, this campaign is really getting good! 

Monday, August 08, 2011

Shocking New Iowa Poll

Less than a week from the hugely important Iowa Straw Poll, comes news from Rasmussen that the race for First Place in Iowa is tighter than expected.  Michelle Bachmann remains in the lead ever so slightly, with 22 percent of the vote, while Mitt Romney is second with 21 percent, but the huge news is the third place result.  Congressman Ron Paul has ZOOMED into not just third, but a very strong third, with 16 percent of the vote, just six points behind the leader!  Governors Rick Perry and Tim Pawlenty round out the double-digit candidates with 12 and 11 respectively, with Gingrich at 5, Cain 4, and Huntsman 2.  For some reason Governor Palin was not mentioned in this poll but Perry was, despite the fact that both 'could' enter the race but neither have so far.  This poll strongly suggests that Ron Paul has not just a chance of winning on Saturday, but in fact a very strong chance.  Another aspect of the poll has even more good news for Congressman Paul, as 28 percent of all Likely Caucus Voters are 'Absolutely Certain' to vote for the candidate they are currently supporting, and among that sizable portion of the Iowa electorate, Ron Paul is actually in FIRST place, with 27 perent of the vote!

This is indeed a good news day for Congressman Ron Paul, this poll shows not only is he gaining strongly in Iowa, his radio and TV ad campaign is paying major dividends, and he is very well positioned to finish in the top two in the Straw Poll, in fact he may have the best chance of any candidate of winning!  Of course between now and the Straw Poll on Saturday, there is the GOP Presidential Debate in Iowa on Thursday, which I believe will be televised on the Fox News Channel, for those who would like to watch it live.  As we all know, Ron tends to do very well in debates, very often winning the post-debate polls by sizable margins.  Any kind of boost in his numbers from this debate could really go a long way toward assuring a Victory in the incredibly important Straw Poll vote Saturday.  Stay tuned to the Gladiator Blog for updates as we get closer to the big Saturday vote in Ames!  

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Debt Deal Winners and Losers

If you're like me, you heard a lot about the 'Debt Ceiling Deal', both before and after it was made.  The Democrats, led by President Obama, wanted over a trillion dollars in tax increases, the Republicans wanted no tax increases and more spending cuts, and there were all sorts of negotiations to determine how it would all go down.  At one point, the President had Boehner agreeing to 800 billion in tax hikes, but his insistence on an extra 400 billion, boosting the total tax tally to 1.2 trillion, cost him the entire agreement, and in the end, there were no tax hikes at all in what ultimately was agreed to. 

However, what many people likely dont realize is, there weren't any actual spending cuts either.  What they're calling spending cuts are actually just them agreeing to raise spending slightly less than they already planned to.  Imagine for a moment you spent 1000 dollars at your favorite restaurant last year, but this year you had some extra bills to pay and you needed to save some money to make sure you had enough money to cover them.  Therefore you decide spend less at your favorite restaurant, you'll only spend.....1800 this year, instead of the 2000 you planned to spend.  Normal folks call that a major spending increase, but in Washington they'd call that a big cut.  Thats what the Washington politicians did with this 'Debt Ceiling Deal', they all agreed to spend WAY more money, and incur WAY more debt, and call it a big spending cut! 

Certainly from a purely political standpoint, the Republicans and the Tea Party were really big winners, because they got their pretend spending cuts without any tax increases, and because it does at least slightly lower what Washington 'would' have spent over the next 10 years.  They totally outnegotiated Obama and the Washington Democrats, and for that they get to claim the big win.  However ultimately this deal gave the President the authority to defecit spend over 2 TRILLION more dollars on top of the trillions he had already defecit-spent, which will of course hurt the economy further.  Folks in Washington always look at things completely backward, they say 'If you cut spending, it'll hurt the economy', when in reality Washington over-spending is hurting the economy, and the more you cut the spending, the better the economy will be.  The less money there is in Washington, and the more money there is in the free market, the more the economy will grow. 

So ultimately from a political standpoint, the GOP won, the Tea Party won, and Obama and the Washington Democrats lost.  But the biggest losers are the American People, who will now have  to suffer from a weaker economy and over 2 trillion dollars in more debt.  There is now serious talk of a possible 'Double Dip' Recession coming, and of course the liberals will once again say that means we need more Washington spending to fix it.  In reality, you can't solve the problem of being drunk by drinking more, and you can't solve the problem of over-spending by spending more.  We need to cut spending and balance to budget, if we do that the economy will no doubt recover in a big way!  Here's hoping that Washington figures that out, and soon.      

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Obama worst Presidential negotiator ever?

It's ironic, that the man who became President because of his incredible speaking ability, who overcame a complete lack of experience or ability by the sheer power of his speeches, is quite possibly the worst negotiator in the history of the Presidency.  There was some evidence this could happen even before he was elected, let's remember back to the Primaries of 2008.  Obama won Iowa, Hillary won New Hampshire, and eventually John Edwards withdrew from the race leaving it just down to the two of them to decide the nominee.  It seemed that if Obama could get that Edwards endorsement, it could put the race away.  A grand meeting was scheduled, at the home of John and Elizabeth Edwards, and Obama made the trip to snag that major endorsement.  Only it didn't happen.  While they wanted to support Obama over Hillary, there was a minor problem in that Elizabeth favored the 'individual mandate' form of socialized medicine, while at the time Obama was campaigning against that idea.  Of course as we all know Obama eventually passed just such a law, but at the time he was adamantly opposed to it, so much so that he actually got into an argument with Elizabeth Edwards over the issue!  His inability to handle that disagreement ultimately cost him the Edwards endorsement, and as we all know the Primary eventually became one of the longest, most dragged out primaries of modern times.  In the end it didn't matter, Obama still won and Edwards ended up being a criminal, so it all worked out for the best for him, but the fact remains that he blew a huge, easy to get endorsement, because of his complete lack of negotiation skills.

Fast forward to these 'Debt Ceiling' negotiations.  John Boehner and the House Republicans pass 'Cut Cap and Balance', a bill that was overwhelmingly popular with roughly 2/3 of Americans supporting it according to the polling.  They had a winning hand, but instead of playing it they chose to enter negotiations with the White House.  In those negotiations, John Boehner agreed to 800 billion dollars in increased taxes, major tax increases in a time of economic distress.  However, for some strange reason Obama wasn't satisfied with that, and suddenly demanded 1.2 Trillion in tax hikes instead!  Demanding an extra 400 billion dollars in tax increases resulted in the seemingly spineless John Boehner suddenly (and temporarily) growing a set, and ending all negotations with the White House, and in the process walking out on the 800 billion dollar tax hike he had already agreed to.  Obama had won, he had obtained the huge tax hike he wanted, he could've made John Boehner look like a tax-and-spend Democrat, he had pretty much everything he wanted, and he somehow found a way to blow it bigtime.  Now all signs point to Boehner and Harry Reid eventually doing a deal involving NO tax increase whatsoever!  An incredible turn of events thanks to an even more incredible blunder, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and when it comes to negotiations that is something Obama has proven to be very good at.  So is it a good thing or a bad thing that our President is so horrible at negotiating?  I suppose it depends on your point of view.  Certainly in this most recent case I'd say its a VERY good thing.  But in any event, he defniitely seems to be the worst negotiator in Presidential history.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Best Storyline In Daytime

If you're like me, you enjoy a good storyline, and in the world of Daytime TV there simply aren't enough of them, it's why so many shows are losing their viewers and getting cancelled.  Of course there are multiple reasons why Soaps are getting cancelled, one of which is the natural migration of viewers from network TV to cable and the internet, but no doubt if more Soaps had awesome storylines like this one, the ratings would be higher.  Sadly, this storyline is on a Soap that recently did get cancelled, but thanks to this storyline, and the subsequent ratings increase that resulted from it, the show has been un-cancelled!  It still won't be on Network TV anymore, but it was bought by a company that wants to continue showing it on the Internet, so they will be breaking all new ground, thanks in large part to this outstanding storyline. 

I don't want to give too much away, but here are some of the basics.  The storyline began in Feburary on the Soap 'All My Children', and slowly built up to the awesomeness that we see today.  It features three main characters, two of which are long-time Superstar characters for the show, and one lesser character.  First, there is the Heroine, Bianca, she's basicly the #1 'good girl' on the show, she can always be counted on to do the good and right thing, but she's always been unlucky in love, and at the beginning of this storyline she's in the process of breaking up with someone.  The second main character in this storyline is JR, he's one of the main villains on the show, he cheated on his wife and she left him, but now he wants her back and he's willing to play the 'good guy' to get her.  She, Marissa, represents the third character in this storyline, JR's ex-wife, who is also the adopted mother of JR's son with her sister (she adopted him when they were married because her sister is currently dead, although at the time of this writing it can be revealed she won't be dead for much longer).  Marissa is wary of JR, but still isn't completely over him.  She's also Bianca's divorce attorney, helping her maintain custody of her two daughters. 



There are older clips that you may very well want to go back and watch, but this clip from the March 22nd episode seems to me to be an excellent starting point for new viewers, I'd like to reccomend you start here.  The helpful individual who posted this clip has well over 50 other clips for this storyline available for your viewing pleasure from that point forward alone, all the way to the most recent action from just days ago, so if you watch all their clips you will be 100% caught up, and you might just want to watch future episodes not just on Youtube, but on ABC as well, the network it airs on (1pm Eastern Monday through Friday)! 

At the moment of this writing the storyline is still ongoing, and the most recent clip is from Friday, July 22nd.  There is plenty of action, drama, love and romance to enjoy in this storyline, which can accurately be described as a Love Triangle, since both Bianca and JR ultimately want the same thing, the heart of the lovely and talented Marissa.  Will Marissa ultimately decide in favor of the Queen of the good girls, or the King of the bad boys?  Check out this clip, and all the other Youtube clips from 'Minxfan', which as a bonus are all of High Quality, and find out!  A big thank you to Minxfan for all their hard work, providing all of us with such High Quality clips and so many of them!  Hours and hours of Soap Opera Drama at its finest, a storyline so exceptional that it may have single handedly saved the entire show!          

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Steroid Outrage

As everyone knows, steroids in professional sports is a common and widespread problem, effecting the integrity of the sports they infest.  It is long past time that more be done to crack down, better and more effective testing, harsher penalties, etc. but I'd like to discuss an aspect of the steroid problem that doesn't get as much attention, and that is arguably bigger than any other single aspect.  I heard recently that in prosecuting Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the federal government has spent roughly sixty MILLION dollars.  Thats right, sixty million dollars to prosecute a couple of people who most likely did indeed use steroids to improve their baseball performance.  At a time in which our nation is going bankrupt from tremendous amounts of Washington spending, isn't it great to know that we've blown through 60 million dollars to possibly put 2 baseball players in jail for using steroids?  I would answer that in the negative.  For me, that is the single greatest outrage in the entire steroids scandal, that Washington has wasted some 60 million of our dollars on these two prosecutions.  If they are indeed as guilty as they seem, ban them from baseball, kick them out of the hall of fame, levy fines against them, whatever seems most appropriate to the folks in Major League Baseball, but why are Washington politicians wasting our tax dollars on something that is none of their business? 

I'm an International Chess Champion, I don't use steroids and even if I did it wouldn't effect my performance, because Chess is a game of the mind, not the muscles.  But what if it did improve your performance?  Would Congress get involved in chess too?  No doubt it would, if it gave the politicians a chance to get on TV and 'look tough' by going after cheaters.  Cheating is bad, and terrible, and anybody who does it should be punished appropriately, but people cheating in a game is a matter for the folks involved in the game, not Washington.  The politicians love to grandstand for the cameras, and waste our money trying to get themselves votes.  I say let Washington focus on things that they should actually be doing, like keeping us safe from the terrorists, and balancing the federal budget.  Leave steroids scandals to the sports authorities to take care of.  Its their job, not Washington's.   

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sad Day for US Soccer

As you probably already know, the US Women's Soccer Team managed to give away the Championship multiple times in the final game, it was a Phil Hellmuth style performance on a grand scale.  For those who might not know, Phil Hellmuth played extremely well in this year's World Series of Poker, repeatedly dominating tournaments and reaching final tables, and at least twice he had a HUGE chip lead when it was just down to him and one other person, and both times he somehow managed to lose.  Our American team did the same thing, we had a totally dominant position, a goal up with just minutes to go two different times, and each time managed to give it away.  As a fan of the UNC Tarheels, we saw this in the ACC Championship game.  We played Duke, our arch rivals who we had already dominated in two regular season games (although we gave one of those away also after having a big double digit lead at halftime) but in the ACC Championship we simply looked like we didn't belong out there, due entirely to nerves.  This is what our women's team looked like out there each time we took a lead, they started playing so badly it was as if they didn't even belong on a soccer field.  It was clearly nerves, knowing they had almost won the World Championship was simply more than they could take.  The UNC Tarheels were the best team in College Basketball, and it happened to them.  They were men, and it happened to them.  It can happen to anybody, men or women, no matter how good you are, it's just a human thing.  The good news is, if we can keep the team together, it's probably not something that will happen again.  Once you've been on that big stage, tasted the nerves and the bitter fruit of them, you tend to do much better in subsequent opportunities.  Look how horrible Kobe Bryant was in the playoffs in his early days, I still remember that time with the game on the line, he took the last shot at the buzzer, and it was an AIRBALL.  He was the laughing stock of the league, he was never going to be anybody, he couldn't win the big one, etc.  With experience comes the ability to overcome the nerves, and that's what our women are going to show in London next year, when we win that major tournament.

It isn't possible for a great team to play worse than my Tarheels played in last year's ACC Tournament Finals, and it isn't possible for the US Women's team to play worse than they did at the end of regulation, overtime, and in PKs.  My Tarheels recovered strong and almost won the NCAA Tournament, the US Women's Team will recover strong and win in London next year.  We've still got the best goalie on the planet, male or female, and she's already announced she's sticking with the team.  We've got a great striker in Abby Wambach, she may have had her worst tournament ever but she still scored what was almost the game winning goal, once she gets out of this rut of missing the vast majority of her shots for no reason at all she will be an unstoppable force.  Alex Morgan scored what should have been the Championship winning goal in regulation, she was almost the biggest female sports star in American history, and because she's also very attractive she would've also likely been a millionaire several times over from endorsement deals.  She will get another chance to attain that status next year.

This is a bitter, painful loss, but it's one we're going to learn from, we're going to grow from, and we're going to come back stronger than ever.  I would say 'I hope Japan makes the finals again next year' but honestly I don't care, they're so far beneath us that the very idea of looking for 'revenge' is almost absurd.  We owned them, and we would own them again, this time without the late-game choking, that's just a given.  The matchup I'd like to see again is Marta vs Solo, the greatest vs the greatest.  Of course we own Brazil also, but its not about wondering whether we can beat Brazil yet again, its just the idea of seeing those two greats going toe to toe again, that would be a Finals I'd like to see.  But regardless of who we beat along the way, the bottom line is that Championship belongs to us.  All other teams beware, the US Women have something to prove, and next year they're going to prove it, erasing any doubts along the way!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Leader in Iowa

As you may have heard recently, Michelle Bachmann is the new leader in Iowa, having overtaken Mitt Romney, but what you may not have heard are the numbers, that are really quite surprising.  While Michelle does have real momentum, she currently has just 21 percent of the vote, certainly not an overwhelming lead.  The good news truly begins with Mitt Romney's numbers, which are now down to 18 percent.  Not only is he sinking like a stone, but he's close to being passed by Ron Paul, who has zoomed up himself, to 14 percent, scoring a very strong 3rd place, his best showing ever in any Iowa poll.  Sarah Palin, having not even announced a candidacy, is beating everybody else, with 11 percent.  Some other notable names have seemingly had their campaigns fall apart in Iowa, with Herman Cain and Tim Pawlenty each now garnering just 2 percent support, behind even Newt Gingrich's 8 percent and Rick Santorum's 5 percent, and Jon Huntsman's 3 percent, and tied with Rick Perry's 2 percent. 

These numbers are shocking, and are really quite awesome for America when you think about them.  The front-runner stands at just 21 percent, and only 7 points ahead of Ron Paul.  Sarah Palin leads all the other candidates except for Bachmann, Romney, and Paul, without even running a campaign.  If she ran, and she got the Bachmann vote, which one would assume that she would, she would in fact have a very commanding lead.  If she doesn't, then Ron Paul is VERY well positioned to beat Mitt Romney and possibly even win the whole thing!  I was surprised when I read today that Ron Paul wasn't seeking re-election to the House, but having seen these new numbers I now understand why.  He has a far better chance to win the Iowa Caucuses, and the GOP nomination (and thus the Presidency, since the GOP nominee will obviously be a heavy favorite against the failed Presidency of Obama) than most people realize right now.  These numbers are fascinating, we have a new leader in Iowa, Mitt's numbers are tanking, Ron Paul is zooming up, Sarah Palin is still in a strong position, these numbers are great news for Ron, Sarah, and most of all America!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Epic Win for US Soccer

By now you've probably already heard about the incredible victory by the US Womens Soccer Team, tying 2-2 and winning 5-3 on Penalty Kicks.  It was an incredible game for an incredible team, playing not only down a man but down 3 referees, we came back and tied the game in regulation, and Hope Solo won it for us in the Penalty Kick phase by scoring a bigtime save on kick #3 by Brazil.  This was an incredible win, and ironicly, it was BECAUSE of the horrible anti-American refereeing.  Were it not for the referees awarding a red card for no reason, a penalty kick for no reason, then giving Brazil a SECOND penalty kick after Hope stopped the first one, we'd have had a pretty boring 1-0 win. 

Imagine it for a second, USA beat Brazil 1-0, of course we did, our women are good, its the men who suck, naturally the women won.  What's the score in the baseball game?  That would've been the most common reaction by American fans, were it not for the anti-American referees, and of course the Brazil team's incredibly terrible and unsportsmanlike antics as well.  It was because the referees literally gave Brazil that goal to force Overtime, then gave them ANOTHER goal in overtime, by refusing to call them offsides, that set up Abby Wambach for her incredible header at the end of Overtime, a goal that never would've happened if we had won the game 1-0 in regulation.  Then of course Hope Solo making the big save in PKs, and the strikers making all 5 of their PKs, giving us an INCREDIBLY dramatic victory.  And it's all thanks to the America haters!  This is something that is actually pretty common, as a Christian, we know about God's power to take something meant for evil, and turn it into good.  The anti-American refereeing seemed to be intent to cost us the game, and eliminate us from the tournament.  Instead, it served to make the victory about a MILLION times sweeter than it otherwise would have been!  They could hardly have helped us more if they had actually tried to!  Isn't that some REALLY sweet irony? 

So today we celebrate the greatest team in American Soccer history scoring perhaps the greatest win in American soccer history, even though this wasn't the finals, the dramatic and historic nature of the win is still very huge.  It was the greatest goalkeeper on the planet against one of the best strikers, certainly the best striker in womens soccer.  Hope vs Marta.  Today, Hope won, even though Marta scored two impressive goals, neither of which should've counted but still struck very impressively.  Hope came up with big save after big save, and got the final huge save in PKs, she proved once again why she should not only be starting at goalkeeper for the US Womens Team, but the Men's team as well.  After the game, Abby, Hope, and the Coach Pia all were awesome in their interviews, Pia suggesting that God is indeed writing the story of this great American team, and she's enjoying watching it unfold. 

Of course all the fans are enjoying it tremendously also.  Abby was especially effusive in her praise of Solo's incredible saves, and actually said what I've been saying, that Hope is indeed the best goalkeeper on the planet.  Of course our men's team would no doubt benefit from Wambach's abilities as well, her offensive leadership has been key, and while its true that up until that dramatic goal at the end of OT she had previously been the Queen of the Near-Misses in this tournament, having simply an unbelievable number of shots ALMOST go in, but somehow not quite scoring, today she came through when it counted far more than all those other shots put together!  And how fitting is it that Abby bears a striking resemblence (at least she did in her post-game interview on ESPN tonight) to a young, in-her-prime, Martina Navratilova, the greatest female player of all time in her sport of Tennis.

An incredible win for an incredible team, a history making win for a team that will hopefully make a lot more before this tournament is complete!  What a sweet win, an awesome win for America, and truly an Epic Win for US Soccer!
          

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Solution to end the NBA Lockout

I've read a lot of opinions lately on the NBA Lockout.  Whether you're pro-union, pro-owner, or anything else, one thing we can all agree on is we want to see the Lockout come to an end.  I believe that I have a solution that not only will benefit the NBA owners, and players, but most of all the fans across America.  Here is my solution.

The current crop of NBA players are extremely well paid, all sides agree that they should make less as a percentage of overall revenue, and they're only arguing over how much less.  I can't make one side or the other agree to compromise and reach a fair and logical deal, but I can help end this lockout.  Until both sides come to a reasonable agreement (probably at the 50/50 split level) why not give the fans what they want?  REAL Basketball, with players who play because they love the game.  There are currently a group of people who are playing at the Professional level, right here in the USA.  They aren't locked out, they aren't on strike, they aren't greedy so-and-sos, they love the game, they love the fans, and the fans love to watch them play.  I'm of course referring to the players in the WNBA.  Most fans don't know much about the WNBA, it doesn't get the bigtime ESPN and network exposure that the regular NBA gets, and understandably so, since the regular NBA teams are the ones that have been around forever, and they're the ones we all want to see.  However, just because people aren't watching them in great numbers doesn't change the fact that they're great players, and this is the NBA's chance to show them off to a national audience. 

Its no secret that the WNBA has always been a 'work in progress' so to speak, in that so few people watch them, compared to the regular NBA, that they end up losing money for the NBA.  Putting WNBA players on every NBA team during the lockout would go a LONG way toward changing that.  People dont watch them because they either don't know about them, or they feel that the WNBA games aren't played at a high enough level to be entertaining, both those things can be solved simply by putting these women in front of a national audience and letting the fans see the truth for themselves. 

Of course I'm not suggesting that the NBA essentially turn the regular NBA into the WNBA until the lockout is over, that would be insane, and there wouldn't even be enough women from the WNBA to actually fill all 30 teams even if somebody was crazy enough to want to do that.  My suggestion would be to put 3 or 4 WNBA players on each team's 12 man roster, and then fill the rest through an old-fashioned tryouts process.  Open up the tryouts to everybody, most likely it will be college players who get the spots, but who knows?  Let each team just hold open tryouts and sign whoever they like, just the way things used to be done in the good old days, back when people played sports for the love of the game.  Of course the people who get these spots wouldn't 'just' be playing for the love of the game, they would probably all be paid more money than they've ever seen in their lives, even if that were a 'mere' quarter or half a million dollars or so. 

So imagine that each team had 8 or 9 of the top players they could find, along with 3 or 4 WNBA players to provide that veteran NBA Leadership for the team.  It would be a very unique, and highly entertaining system indeed.  Fans would gain a great deal of appreciation for WNBA players, which would help make the WNBA itself much more popular, and thus more profitable, and it would be a great way for other super-talented but perhaps little known players to make an NBA team and show the world their true abilities.  It would be a league filled with 'feel good' stories, whether its WNBA players finally getting the opportunity to shine on the big stage, or other folks who have never played professional ball, and maybe would've never had the chance but for this opportunity, trying out, making the team, and showing that they truly do belong on the Professional level.  Who knows, maybe from this crop of players could come the next MJ, Kobe, or Dirk.

Of course the best part of all this for the NBA itself, as a league, is that they would make far more money next year than they've ever made before.  Sure, attendence would be down, as the bigtime Superstars would still be sitting at home counting their money, or their drugs, or whatever.  But the salaries would be back to real world, sane levels, so that would mean that for those of us who do go to the games, we could get tickets at a greatly discounted price and still get to see a high quality basketball game, while the owners rake in unprecedented profits, because anyone with basic math skills can figure out that if you're paying 1/10th or less what you used to in salaries, you can cut ticket prices in half and still make a FORTUNE.  The owners would win, the players would win (the players who were actually playing that is, not the greedy ones who weren't playing), and most of all the fans would win.  The NBA would be back to the way it should be, where the players earn their spots, and they play for the love of the game.  The fans would get a chance not only to see great players playing high level basketball, they'd get to witness history in the making, women playing in the NBA for the first time ever.  And of course, with all these new and unique details would come one more benefit for the fans, parity.  Just like in the NFL, any team could win in a given year.  How would one team have an inherent advantage?  It wouldn't be about the money, it would be all about choosing the best group of players for your team from the huge number of players who attend the tryouts.

With this backdrop of awesomeness, there would be every incentive for the players to end the lockout, and get back to regular NBA action.  And until they did, we the fans would actually be enjoying a superior product anyway, at much lower prices.  The game of basketball itself would be the biggest winner of all, as whether you're an owner, a player, or a fan, everyone will ultimately win if the NBA acts on this Solution.  I hope to see it happen later this year.              

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

What a great day for America, and Americans all around the world.  The day we celebrate our Independence!  A great day to celebrate the Freedoms that we all share, thanks to the brave men and women of our United States Armed Services.  These heroes have not only brought freedom to America, but to countless nations around the world.  It is a bit ironic that the same Country that claimed its freedom from England would, less than 200 years later, save England from becoming yet another victim to the forces of evil, hitler and company.  So even though England's territories are far less today thanks to our war of Independence, if we hadn't done what we did back then, we couldn't have basicly single handedly saved the world in World War 2.  We've won victory after victory for freedom over the decades and centuries, we are truly the greatest nation on earth, and today is a great day to say thank you to all those who have fought for that freedom.  So to all who serve, and to all who served, the Gladiator Blog, and yours truly SirGladiator, says a big Thank You, and a Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Hope Solo Best Goalkeeper Ever

There is a phrase that is becoming common in the sports word, a word that is also an abbreviation, and that word/abbreviation is GOAT.  In the past, calling someone a goat meant they cost their team the game, but now it stands for 'Greatest Of All Time'.  I'm not comfortable using that, especially in this case, but there is no doubt that Hope Solo is indeed the Greatest Goalkeeper of All Time.  Today she scored her eighth, yes thats right her EIGHTH straight shutout!  She broke the all time record of longest game-time without a goal, which was over 700 minutes long, and her streak currently stands at well over 750 minutes.  Incredibly, the person who set the previous record was.....also Hope Solo!  This woman isn't simply the greatest goalkeeper of our generation, she is truly the greatest of all time.  All you have to do is look at her and see that she looks every bit as impressive as she plays.  She's tall, she's fit, she's constantly either smiling and happy or focused and fierce.  She's a winner, she's a Champion, she's someone you'd never want to see on the other side of the ball. 

I'm not familiar with the exact rules of FIFA World Cup Soccer, I don't know if the rules are backward enough to outright ban women from playing on a Country's team.  If they are, we should work as hard as possible to change them, because it would be a shame, and completely insane, to not do everything in our power to have this extraordinary talent on our 2014 World Cup team.  Hope Solo is, appropriate to her name, America's only hope for World Cup success in 2014.  Even with this incredible Champion at goalie, we'd still have a tough task as our defense is one of the worst in the world, and will inevitably put Hope in a very difficult position time and again, but at least we'd actually have a fighting chance, as if Hope Solo can't stop a ball, it truly is unstoppable.  Repeatedly in today's game she was diving for, and getting to, balls that were CLEARLY going to be wide of the goal.  She is so agile she can not only guard the entire area of the goal, but OUTSIDE it as well.  There's simply nobody else who can do what she does, and she's proven that time and again by TWICE setting the all time record for longest time without a goal scored against, a feat that would be truly extraordinary to set ONCE.   

It's time for American Soccer to think outside the box, inside the box.  It's time to put America's best goalkeeper in the box on America's Team, not just America's Womens Team, but the Main team as well.  Although it would be correct to call her the GOAT, I'm going to simply call her the best Goalkeeper ever.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Women in Gaming: Myth vs Reality

I recently read an article, a long article, about Women in Gaming.  It covered all the major areas, from female gamers to female characters in games.  Most of what I read was just more of the usual stuff that you read, we need more female characters that are XYZ, and if only there were more of this or that then more women would play games.  It was pretty much just another case of the writer not seeing the forest for the trees, so common in topics like this one.  One of the major knowledge advantages that Conservatives have always had over liberals, is that we realize that there is a difference between men and women.  While liberals bend over backwards to deny reality, to pretend that men and women are exactly alike, we simply acknowledge and embrace reality.  As such, we realize that most of these comments, so typical in the lamestream media, are just so much hogwash.  The idea that if only female gaming characters dressed a certain way, that would make more women play games, it's so incredibly absurd.  Women like different kinds of games than men, that's just the way it is.  You can dress the female characters in the game up any way you like.  Dress them conservatively, dress them seductively, dress them any way you can think of, and if women don't like the game, they aren't going to play it.

What is the most popular game of all time among women?  The Sims.  It's a fun little game, of course lots of men like it too, but it especially appeals to women.  It allows for superior creativity, it allows for plenty of thinking time, it allows you as much or as little freedom as you want, its heavy on the family-oriented themes, its got a lot to like for anybody, especially for women who especially like such things in a game.  The game doesnt have a 'male lead' or a 'female lead', it has whatever you want it to have.  That's something that naturally appeals to everybody, a fact that shouldn't be lost on people, and yet all too often it clearly is.

Let's look at a type of game enjoyed more by men than women, and that would be your typical Bioware RPG.  I love RPGs, and Bioware tends to make a lot of fun ones.  They've done a lot to attract female gamers, from giving you the option to have a female (or male of course) main character,  to giving you the ability to dress your character up any way you like, to even having the option of having your female main character have one (or more) of your female team-mates as a possible love interest.  These are all things that bring women into the game in droves, Bioware's games tend to have many more female players than the average RPG, but ultimately it is an RPG and for that reason there will always be more male players of any Bioware RPG, because men simply like RPGs more than women. 

One way that Bioware is often criticized, is for their advertising campaigns, which almost always feature the male versions of the main characters, and never the female versions (since you can generally play as either a male or female in a Bioware game, you would naturally assume they would advertise both).  It is stated that this is done because most Bioware players are male, a fact that is of course true.  But their logic is completely backwards.  While yes, advertising the female version of the main character of a given Bioware game would likely lead to more women buying the game, it would also lead more MEN to buy the game also!  It would likely increase the overall number of women playing the game, but probably not the overall percentage of women playing, as what's more pleasant for a man (or woman for that matter) to look at for 40-60 hours, a dude, or an attractive woman?  It's no contest.  So Bioware's 'logic' in only promoting their male main characters is completely backwards, not because they 'should be marketing more to women' but because female leads DO market to men, as well as women.  But they haven't figured that part out yet, once they do they will be a lot more successful than they already are.

So the bottom line for me, is yes we should bring more women into gaming, as many as possible, because gaming is fun, cool, and better with more women :) .  But to do that we need to make more games that women like, and to make the games that they aren't predisposed to like more female-friendly, never by doing something men don't like, instead by doing things that BOTH men and women like.  Men and women like having the ability to create their main character (or characters, in the case of the Sims) from scratch, we like having the ability to dress them up any way we like, we like having attractive female characters as the main Love Interest for our character, and of course we all like defeating the forces of evil, saving the day, and having a happy ending.  Obviously some of those things are liked more by women than men, and some are liked more by men than women, but all of those things are enjoyed by large numbers of both men and women.  Those are the attributes that all games should have, if at all possible.  That is how you bring women, AND men, into gaming in greater numbers.  Give us ALL what we want, don't give us something that just women like, or that just men like.  When you give us what we all want, we all win.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Major Iowa Campaign News

There has been a lot of news out of the state of Iowa in the last week or so, some better publicized than others.  You may have heard, for example, that Mitt Romney and Michelle Bachmann are now statistically tied, with Romney at 23 and Bachmann at 22.  You may not have heard that Ron Paul is now tied for 4th there, up from an earlier poll showing him further back.  There is other very important news out of Iowa that you may not have heard also.  Most importantly, the head of the Winning Iowa Campaign in 2000, Mr. Doug Wead, has joined the Ron Paul Campaign!  This is the man who won Iowa for George W Bush in 2000, back when Bush was running as a Conservative, someone who believed in less government, no nation building, etc. basicly back when Bush was running a Ron Paul style campaign.  It's no surprise that someone who helped Bush win back when he was campaigning as a genuine Conservative would now be supporting a man who is, without question, a genuine Constitutional Conservative.  This is a HUGE gain for the Ron Paul campaign, as not only is this guy a proven winner in Iowa, he also happens to be an EXTREMELY high profile Christian leader.  As a Christian myself, I'm happy to see folks like this fellow in a prominent leadership position.  Certainly the Christian vote is VERY huge in Iowa, so the support of this bigtime fellow could very easily be a game-changer in the weeks and months to come.

Another major piece of news out of Iowa that you may not have heard, is that they 'sold land' at the Iowa Straw Poll, and Ron Paul got the Prime Real Estate!  You may not know what that means, and having never actually been there myself I can only imagine it myself, but if you can imagine thousands and thousands, maybe even tens of thousands, of Iowans in one place, and Ron Paul now has the biggest and most central booth of all!  From everything I've heard, this is a HUGE deal, as last time around Ron had a little booth way out of the way, where you might never have even seen it if you weren't already a Ron Paul fan, whereas now he has a big, central booth that you pretty much have to walk right by so you can't miss it.  One Paul supporter noted that he may have actually spent more time at the Romney booth than the Paul booth in 2008, even though he was a bigtime Paul guy even back then, just because the booth was so much better.  This is the SAME booth that Romney used in 2008, the same booth that George Bush used in 2000, the Ron Paul campaign spent 31 thousand dollars to gain this prime position, and it was well worth it.  No other campaign was able to spend nearly as much, and this is because Ron has been doing so extremely well fund-raising, although again, you never hear that in the lamestream media, all you hear about is Romney. 

So while Romney is the guy they all want to talk about, and Bachmann is the flavor of the month, the fact is that Ron Paul is laying some MAJOR groundwork to not simply compete strongly, but to WIN the GOP nomination, and the Presidency.  Stay tuned to the Gladiator Blog for more campaign 2012 updates!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

American Soccer Plan For Greatness

Perhaps like many of you, I sat back tonight and hoped to enjoy watching my Countrymen score a Championship Victory in their bigtime Soccer game tonight, against Mexico.  What I saw didn't sicken me because we lost, it sickened me because of HOW we lost, and that was by having what has to be the single worst Defense that I have ever seen.  On offense we were great, we missed some scoring chances to be sure, but we didn't really have that many because of our offense's horrible supporting cast.  When they weren't scoring they were almost scoring, it was a good night for our offense.  Not a great night, to be sure, if we had taken advantage of those open goal opportunities we still could've won, but our offense got us a 2-0 lead that never should've been relenquished, you can only expect so much from any offense.  We lost the lead, and the game, because our team's defenders are worse than any team I've ever seen, and I've seen plenty of both men and women's soccer.  If our men can't defend, and certainly our current group of men can't, then perhaps its time to do something we probably should've done a long time ago, and that is start taking the best of our womens team, a team that is consistently either the best in the world or one of the best in the world, and putting them into select positions on our men's team.  Our goalie Howard is about to retire and will need replacing soon, and our women's team has an incredible goalie, she almost never gives up goals, especially in the big games, and would be a great addition to the team.

However the reality of the current situation is that no goalie is good enough to save a team with defense as horrible as we played tonight, so the very first change I would make, and I would make it immediately, is I would replace our worst defender (that's if I could resist the temptation to fire the lot of them) with the best defender on our women's team.  That would instantly make us a MUCH better team, if anybody reading this has never seen our men's team defenders you might not believe it, but if you have then you know I'm right.  The reality of tonight's game is that if we had played with our regular men's team attackers, and our women's team defenders, we would have won the Championship.

However of course it isn't likely that bringing in women to play on the men's team will work as anything more than a short term solution, to be the best in the world, and to be the best on a long term basis, we are going to need a plan.  Happily for American Soccer and American Soccer fans, I have one.  I present to you an American Soccer Plan For Greatness:

We begin by noting the rules do not allow us to hire European Superstars for our American Team, unless said European Superstar has at least one American parent.  That means we can't just go overseas, pick up a few more Landon Donovans, and score 5 goals a game.  However, just because we can't hire European Superstars to play for our American Team, that doesn't mean that Europeans can't be used in an extremely key role as we seek to build Soccer Greatness.  The key is to build up Major League Soccer (MLS) to the same kind of dominance that our other leagues like the NBA, MLB, and the NFL already have, and the way to do that is very simple.  We should go over to Europe and find the best in the world, and pay them huge amounts of money to come to the MLS.  No, I'm not talking about European Superstar players, I'm talking about COACHES!  The secret ingredient that no-one is considering, the KEY ingredient that can bring us to a level of greatness America has never seen before in the world of soccer.  We can't use Europeans players to make the American team great, but we can use European Coaches to make our American players great!  Imagine if each MLS team were coached by one of the VERY best coaches in the entire soccer world.  And by coaches I don't just mean the Head Coach, I mean the Assistant Coaches, the Trainers, you name it, anybody that has anything at all to do with Soccer, we bring in the best in the world that we can lure away from Europe with huge financial offers, and we turn our mediocre players with potential into Champions! 

Of course this will not be a 'quick fix', no solution to a problem this long and this extreme is quick.  For the quick fix, we bring in the best of the Women's Team to improve our horrible defense, that will help assure us of qualifying for the World Cup, and other such basic things, but for the long term dominance, the key is to bring in the best and brightest minds of the soccer world to turn all our players into the kind of great Superstars that our NBA and NFL leagues are filled with.  That will take money, we'll have to be prepared to spend like drunken sailors for a while, but the payoff will be at the World Cup, perhaps not this coming World Cup, but by the end of the Decade we could definitely be drinking from the World Cup after we win it for the first time!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NBA Draft Results Full of Surprises

In what what a truly exciting, even thrilling, 2011 NBA Draft, what began as routine and expected quickly became anything but.  It started out quietly enough, with Cleveland choosing Kyrie Irving, enabling Minnesota to draft Derrick Williams, again as expected.  Things began to get a bit surprising when Enes Kanter was picked at #3, although it wasn't really a surprise to those who were following the leadup to the draft very closely.  If you were following very closely, you knew that Kanter was a real possibility at 3, but until recently it was widely assumed that Brandon Knight would be picked 3rd.  But since this was indeed in line with the most recent predictions, all signs still poitned to a predictable draft.  So now Cleveland will use their second pick on Jonas Valanciunas and we can move on....only they didn't.  Cleveland landed the first true surprise of the night, passing on Jonas and instead going with Tristan Thompson!  Props to the SI Mock Draft for getting that one right, they actually did see that coming.  However even they didn't see what happened next coming.  With everyone now expecting the Raptors to pick Knight at #5, Toronto instead picks.... Valanciunas! 

Chaos and Pandamoneum!  As a Bobcats fan, I am TOTALLY loving this here!  After the Bobcats made their EPIC trade a couple hours or so before the draft began, in which they gave up Jackson, Livingston, and the #19 pick for Corey Magette and the #7 pick, there was talk they had moved up to get Thompson, a player I did NOT want us to draft, not because he isn't a good player, but because I wanted us to draft the superior big man Bismack Biyombo.  Now here we are, five picks in, and not only are there TONS of bigtime players still left, including Knight, Vesley, Walker, Leonard, and Biyombo, but Thompson isn't a possibility anymore!  I'm super excited at this point, but since I don't know what's going through management's mind, I know that I can still be super let down :) . 

The surprises weren't done, as Washington at #6, who you would assume here would automaticly take Knight, instead takes Jan Veseley!  This guy is a fantastic player, no doubt about it, but it was certainly a surprise they took him instead of Knight, even though I actually agree with the pick, he may very well be the better player of the two.  So here we go, the Bobcats are at last on the clock, and the moment of truth was about to arrive.  Biyombo, Knight, Walker, Leonard, all still on the board, and with only one team picking in between our two picks, we're GUARANTEED to be able to get two of them, should we choose to do so.  But would we?  Certainly the Bobcats have had some awful drafts in the past, terrible decisions have been made.  Would this be another?  Or would this be the year it all turns around, and we start building toward that Championship Dynasty that Michael Jordan wants again, a Dynasty like the one he brought to Chicago?  David Stern stepped to the podium, and began the announcement.  The announcement of the #7 pick in the draft.....Bismack Biyombo!!!!  I admit I yelled out in celebration, this was the moment!  We had done it at last!  The Superstar, the man who may one day become the greatest big man in NBA history, and lead the Bobcats to multiple NBA Championships, Bismack Biyombo!  What an incredible draft, a draft that I would be happy with no matter who we picked at #9, just because we got Bismack!  Was it too much to hope for, that Detroit would pick somebody, ANYBODY, other than Brandon Knight?  Sadly yes it was :) .  I was hoping that Knight would keep dropping and we could pick him, but they picked him with their #8 selection.  However, upon further review and comparison, there is indeed very good reason to believe that Mr. Kemba Walker, who was still on the board at #9, would actually be a superior player anyway!  So would we get him at #9?  Would that be too much to hope for?  No it would not be!  We GOT Kemba!!!  Yes!  The DREAM Draft, quite possibly the GREATEST Draft of All Time, and certainly the Bobcats greatest draft of all time!  Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker! 

Will they become the next Shaq and Kobe?  Or is that thinking too small?  These two are future All Stars, and very much potential Hall of Famers.  And they're both Bobcats now!  They both are clearly quite happy to be playing for Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats, and we the Bobcats fans are happy to have them!  This is indeed a big, big start toward that Dynasty that MJ wants to bring to Charlotte.  He couldn't bring a Dynasty, or even a Championship, to Chicago without some help, but once he got some help in the form of Scottie Pippen, that's when the Dynasty began to take shape.  Earlier this month, Michael found his new Scottie, in the form of new General Manager Rich Cho.  This is a man who turned around the Oklahoma City Thunder, turning them from one big joke into one round from the NBA Finals.  A team that helped Portland to the Playoffs earlier this year, before Portland unexpectedly let him go.  Their loss was Charlotte's gain, in a big BIG way.  It has been said that Cho was high on Bismack, perhaps it was his suggestion to bring him in for that workout the day before the draft, where he got to work out in front of, and impress, Coach Paul Silas as well as the Owner himself, MJ.  It was said that MJ was impressed by Biyombo, and rightly so.  The man is just phenominally talented, he's got Future Superstar written all over him.  Charlotte bringing him in the day before the draft helped make his pick a reality, but obviously the trade that brought Charlotte the #7 pick did as well.  Cho engineered a true Masterpiece of a trade, giving up Livingston and Jackson for Magette, and swapping the #19 pick for the #7 pick, which was ultimately used on Bismack.  Because he used the #19 pick instead of the #9 pick, we were then able to grab Kemba Walker at #9, enabling us to definitively claim the title of 'Best Draft of any team'.  You might even say that Rich CHOwned the draft!  This draft was definitely a case of Rich Cho setting MJ up with nice passes, and MJ scoring two bigtime Slam Dunks!  Today, Charlotte can say with certainty that MJ the Superstar is back, he's got his new Scottie, his new bigtime General Manager, and now a Dynasty is well on its way!  Congratulations to Michael Jordan, Rich Cho, and the Charlotte Bobcats, on one of the greateast drafts of all time, maybe THE greatest! 

Draft News Update

With less than 24 hours until the historic 2011 NBA Draft, there is an interesting and exciting update.  It seems more and more likely, though of course not certain (nothing is certain in this oh-so-fluid draft), that Connecticut Guard Kemba Walker, the man who led his team to the National Championship, may end up falling all the way to the Charlotte Bobcats at #9!  Of course he had previously been expected to go higher, and depending on who you listen to he still is, but there is increasing talk that things are changing, and he could easily fall to the #9 spot now.  Thats good news for the Bobcats, who have recently received the bad news that it seems more likely now that International Superstar Bismack Biyombo will be picked higher than 9th, keeping the Bobcats from landing this super-impact player.  I certainly hope that Biyombo is still available at #9 and we pick him there, but if he isn't, Kemba Walker still being around at #9 would be a pretty sweet consolation prize indeed!  Of course there are others to consider also, including Vesely and Jonas, but certainly Kemba Walker being available at #9 would be a really sweet deal for the Bobcats if their best option, Bismack Biyombo, is already picked. 

Stay tuned to the Gladiator Blog for more information on the 2011 NBA Draft, and if you have any information, or opinions, that you'd like to share, please do so!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Birthday!

A special Birthday shoutout to International Chess Champion Frankie 'The Gladiator' Newton, his historic Championship victories, both in America and Internationally, have led to his becoming one of the most popular and famous Chess Champions in the world today.  His notable wins include games against IM Sevillano, IM Tapia, GM Becerra, and GM Nakamura, plus his win against SM Klaus Pohl in the Final Round of the North Carolina Championship which earned him the Title of North Carolina Champion.  He won the most Wendy's Charlotte Chess Championships of all time, he also won a major South Carolina Championship as well.  I could go on and on, but I think my....I mean his....accomplishments speak for themselves :) .  Could this be the year that The Gladiator returns to the Over The Board Chess world?  Never say never!  Either way, I look forward to hearing how my friends in Charlotte, as well as Chicago, Atlanta, and throughout America and the world, are performing!  Maybe you'll see me again on the other side of the board sooner than you think :) .

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NBA Draft is almost here!

The long wait is almost over, the fascinating combination of names and numbers, stats and videos, workouts, rumors, trade talks, all of it comes down to Thursday night, beginning at 7pm Eastern, the NBA Draft!  I'd like to focus on my personal favorite team, the Charlotte Bobcats.  We have the #9 and #19 picks in the first round, plus some really good players who could be used in a trade.  We're a rebuilding team, it's expected that this coming year will probably not be that good, that it won't be until next year, when we sign Chris Paul, that things really turn around for us.  With that in mind, we're going to need to free up some money to sign CP3, and the best way to do that is to trade our best player, who is a Veteran Superstar, Mr. Stephen Jackson.  He is one of the better players in the entire NBA, he could make a huge difference for any team that wants to compete this year.  We, on the other hand, need young talent to build around CP3, so trading Jackson for a draft pick or two seems like the way to go.  Similarly, we also have a young star Point Guard, DJ Augustin, someone who will be a star for many years, but who we obviously won't need after this season, as he would just be a high priced backup to Paul.  If we could trade Augustin for a high pick we should totally do that deal.  We need a lot of help at a lot of positions, most notably Small Forward and Center, and there are some high quality players in this draft who could help us out.

For me, the top player in this year's draft certanily isn't Irving, it isn't even Williams, its Bismack Biyombo.  The guy has Superstar written all over him.  It might take a couple years before he gets really good in an overall sense, but the guy is a Defensive Superstar right now, he's got all the tools to be one of the best in the NBA, a true Franchise player, just like Chris Paul, who we will be signing once his contract expires at the end of the coming season.  Another player that Bobcat management and fans should be keeping their eye on is Jan Vesely. He's a future All Star, just loaded with talent.  Offense, defense, the guy's got everything you want, and he will bring instant improvement, give him a few years and he will be a real Superstar. 

A much riskier pick would be Jonas Valanciunas, who is a legitimate top 5 pick under normal conditions, as recent as just days ago ESPN expected him to be picked #4 overall.  However since then, it was revealed that through some bizarre thing that I honestly dont understand regarding an overseas basketball league contract, he isn't going to be allowed to play in the NBA this coming season.  So it would sort of be like drafting an injured player who you know can't play the first year.  He's super talented, he's a bigtime Center who could be totally dominant in a few years time, but in the here and now he can't even play at all.  So I wouldn't be nearly as comfortable drafing him with the #9 as I would the #19, but he's expected to get picked at #14 if he isn't picked before then, leaving myself, and the Bobcats, in a bit of a conundrum.  Normally I would say pass, since he can't play all year, but this is going to be a rebuilding year, we are one of the teams that could legitimately afford to draft a player like Jonas and not worry nearly as much about the downside.  It's going to be a tough call on draft night, one I trust Mr. Cho to make intelligently, after due dilligence and careful consideration.  Cho is the newest, and best, member of Michael Jordan's leadership team, he knows how to run a team better than pretty much anybody else in the NBA, having taken Oklahoma City from being a total joke, all the way to the Conference Finals (and who knows, maybe the Championship if they hadn't run into Dirk and company), if anybody can make the right call on Jonas I trust that Cho will.

So Biyombo, Vesely, and possibly Jonas are my top 3 favorites among those who have a legitmate shot at still being there when the Bobcats pick at #9.  But what about later picks?  I admit I'm less certain.  There's a lot of high quality dudes out there to choose from, and we really have to wait and see who gets picked and who is still around.  It would make things much easier if we could trade one of our players for a pick somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 or better, as any pick in the top 20 has the potential to yield a really quality player for our team, and of course the higher the pick the higher the quality.  I'd be willing to trade Jackson and Augustin for the #2 pick, it's well known that Minnesota has been shopping it.  Pick up Williams at #2, then pick one of my top 3 at #9, and then whoever we get at #19 will likely be a quality player also, and the icing on the draft cake.  We will have freed up a lot of sweet cap room to sign CP3 after this coming season, picked up a legitimate future Superstar in Williams to work with CP3, and probably added two other really quality players as well.  Should we do that deal, and follow this strategy, I strongly believe that we will have the best draft of any team in the NBA, even better than Cleveland, and we will be in a position to contend for an NBA Championship in as soon as two to three years. 


        

Monday, June 20, 2011

History Made Tonight on RAW

Tonight history was made on the special 3 hour Monday Night RAW, and it was made early!  It was announced that Brie Bella would defend the WWE Women's Championship against one of three possible opponents, and we the fans would be voting to determine which one it would be!  The choices were Eve, Kelly Kelly, and Beth Phoenix.  The vote came down, if I remember correctly, 51 percent for Kelly Kelly, 37 percent for Beth Phoenix, and about 12 percent for Eve.  A surprisingly close vote, but nonetheless your winner is Kelly Kelly!  And she made the most of her opportunity, in a great match she managed to coutner Brie's impressive counter of Kelly's Victory Roll attempt, esssentially ending up the way she intended all along from the Victory Roll itself, and scoring the 3 count, winning the Women's Championship for the very first time!  After the match an emotional Kelly Kelly thanked the fans in an in-ring interview segment with Jerry the King Lawler, it was indeed a very special moment for Kelly Kelly and her fans around the world!

Of course there was plenty of other action in this bigtime 3 hour RAW, perhaps the 'best of the rest' was that incredible in-ring segment that began with R Truth, he was hilarious as usual, then Christian came out and was funny too, and after that the Miz came out also!  They were all complaining about their losses last night (R Truth saying he 'got got by Little Jimmy' was especially hilarious), culminating in 'Riley!  Randy!  Riley!  Randy!  Little Jimmy!' it was off the charts hilarious, and ultimately led to a 6 man Tag Team match between the three of them and Riley, Orton, and Cena, for the Main Event!

Speaking of Main Events, it was determined that CM Punk would be the one to face John Cena at the next PPV, which is in CM Punk's home town, and on a sad note, CM Punk announced after he won the #1 Contendership that this Main Event match with Cena would be his last match in the WWE, he said his contract was up after July 17th, which is the date of the PPV, and that he was leaving, and he plans on leavnig as the World Champion.  Of course he won't be leaving as Champion, but he will definitely be leaving on a very high note, he's still one of the very best in the world as well as one of the most popular, and if he isn't going to come back to the WWE I certainly hope he comes back to TNA, where he did very well years ago before coming to the WWE.

Another entertaining segment was the 'dance off' featuring Vicki Guerrero!  Vicki danced first, then the fans got to decide which of the three RAW announcers would challenge her.  Incredibly, the fans actually voted for Michael Cole, narrowly over Jerry Lawler, with Booker T a distant third (something like 47 to 39 to 14), and Cole, after telling the crowd to 'sit back and watch perfection' proceeded to do a VERY hilarious dance routine, and then win the contest 'by getting the loudest boos', which earned him a slap from Vicki!  She yelled 'You cheated!  I'm the winner!' and walked off, the whole thing was just super hilarious.

Finally the Main Event, and the fans voted for the 'Elimination Match' stipulation.  As a result, Alex Riley was eliminated after a Skull Crushing Finale, Miz was eliminated by the FU, R Truth was eliminated by the RKO, Orton was eliminated by a Spear from Christian, then Cena eliminated Christian after Orton (who had already been eliminated) hit an RKO and Cena locked in the STFU and made Christian tap out.  The winner of the match, John Cena, and his team! 

So an incredible night of action, Kelly Kelly wins her first ever Women's Championship, R Truth was incredibly hilarious as usual, Christian actually scored a pinfall over Orton, and once again Cena emerges victorious in the Main Event!  A huge and super duper night of RAW action, can Impact Wrestling possibly hope to match or top this night of awesomeness?  We'll have to wait and see Thursday!  For now, two thumbs up for an awesome Monday Night RAW!