SN picks the best football rivalries

Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News has picked his Top 10 rivalries in the NFL. Take a wild guess which matchup took the top spot:

1. Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

In retirement, John Madden didn’t leave us with enough onomatopoeia to describe all the hard-hitting, head-snapping, clock-cleaning and slobber-knocking that happens when Baltimore and Pittsburgh trade blows. The NFL’s most visceral rivalry isn’t for the faint of heart, stomach, mind or body. This is physical football at its best.

The defenses fly around smacking everything, but the offenses also have enough tough personalities to stand up and fight for every extra yard. Two players who come to mind immediately are Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward.

The teams clearly are the class of the AFC North, and playing each other three times a season might become a habit.

I hate hate hate the Bawlmerr fucking Ravens, and nothing makes me happier than watching us beat the snot out of them. But I’ve gotta admit – these games bring out the best (or worst, depending on your view) of these teams. Any time the Steelers play the Ratbirds you know it’s gonna be a old-fashioned “street fight” kind of game. Last year, Mike Tomlin said even a scrimmage between these two teams would be a big deal, and you know what? He’s right. If you like your football to be like the 12th round of a heavyweight boxing match… then the Steelers\Ravens is for you.

I’m not sure about some of his other picks, though. “Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys”… when was the last time that was relevant at all? “Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers”… I hate to break it to you, Vinnie, but the Falcons main rival always has been (and always will be) the New Orleans ‘Aints.

via Yahoo! Sports.

Bittorrent Alternatives Revisited

Back in December, I posted this article about using “content blogs” instead of Bittorrent to download your favorite movies and TV shows.

To recap, “content blogs” use blogging software (like WordPress) to post links to movies and TV shows that are hosted on public file-sharing sites like RapidShare and Megaupload. This has several advantages over using Bittorrent.

For starters, it doesn’t require any specialized software, only a web browser.

Secondly, it’s safer, since you’re only making one connection to a public web site, as opposed to hundreds of connections to random strangers’ computers (and possibly computers owned by the Music Police).

Lastly, using content blogs saves you bandwidth because you only have to download the file in question, not share it out to everyone else. You see, Bittorrent chops a file into a bunch of pieces, and once you’ve downloaded a few pieces your computer starts sharing them out with other users. This is what makes Bittorrent so fast – you’ve not downloading a file from just one person, you’re downloading it from dozens of other people. Most private Bittorrent trackers require you to maintain an upload:download ratio of 1.0 or higher, which means that a 350MB TV episode actually costs you 700MB of bandwidth with Bittorrent.

It’s this last thing I wanted to talk about today. My router runs Tomato, an open-source firmware replacement for the Linksys WRT54G-L router. Part of Tomato’s feature set is the ability to track the amount of bandwidth used. After a few months of using content blogs as much as possible, I can report some rather stunning news: my weekly bandwidth consumption has dropped from 33-36GB/week to 10-12GB/week. That’s simply stunning. While it is true that I’m not downloading as much stuff as I used to, I’m still downloading around 17 shows a week. To go from running through Time Warner’s proposed 40GB cap in just over 8 days to making it last almost an entire month is simply amazing… and will hopefully keep TWC off my back.

I also wanted to give you some links to other content blogs. I’ve downloaded stuff from all of these places, and can vouch for them (keep in mind that any link posted in a “Commenst” section could come from anyone, and they occasioanlly have fakes or viruses there):

Releaselog (still my fave!)
SceneDDL (British site; has a lot of UK TV)
Scene Source
Scene Releases

Ashes to Ashes: Season 2, episode 5

I don’t know what to think about this episode of Ashes to Ashes. On the one hand, the “crime of the week” was pretty mundane; on the other, the people the crime happened to were interesting… plus, we finally meet Creepy Doctor! Read on, folks!

This week’s episode kicks off with Alex sleeping on her sofa, with the TV blasting static in the background. The TV suddenly switches to a children’s show, and Orville the Duck (see “Other Stuff” section, below) says that he’s worried about Alex because he thinks she’s going to die. Keith tells Orville told that Alex isn’t going to die because she’s at the hospital, and when she arrived there were two bouquets of flowers waiting for her.  The screen suddenly goes back to static, and Alex hits the TV, trying to get the show back.

We next see an amusing throwaway scene: Gene and the gang are in the Quattro, chasing a panel truck with French markings. The driver of the truck finally pulls over, and the gang gets out. Gene tells Chris to go and hassle the driver. While Chris has the man looking for paperwork, Ray and Gene open the trunk of the Quattro and pull a man out. The man’s hands are tied and there’s tape over his mouth. Gene and Ray take him to the back of the truck, where they open the back door and toss him in. “Now go and be a pain in the derriere to the gendarmerie!”, Gene says.

Back in the car, Alex lectures the rest of the gang on what amounts to an illegal kidnapping, then proceeds to lecture Chris about smoking. Ray, who has been reading the newspaper, complains about the “anti-police” headlines that have been all over the place lately. Gene says that he wishes the reporters would find someone else to pick on. Chris thinks it should be mimes. Ray says that a kid spit in his face that morning because he was a cop. Viv then comes over the radio, taking about a burglary at 2 Stanley Road. Gene tells Viv to give it to some uniformed cops, but Alex suddenly becomes quite animated and demands that they go investigate. Gene asks why they should go, and Alex says that “it’s Pete’s dad!” When Gene asks who Pete is, Alex says he is Molly’s father, and that they’ve got to get to the Drakes. Gene wonders if they “have the misfortune” to be related to Alex. Alex says that “it’s going to be weird”, to which Gene quips “that’ll make a nice change”.

Continue reading “Ashes to Ashes: Season 2, episode 5”

More Good News!

Sorry for all the TV news today, but a lot of great stuff is coming across the Internets today!

Anyway, it seems that Comcast and the NFL Network are thhhhhiiisss close to coming to an agreement for the cable giant to carry the network on BASIC CABLE, and at a much reduced rate:

The deal would mean that instead of paying about $7 per month for the channel and other pay-TV sports channels, Comcast subscribers will get NFL Network with its regular digital package — and it will increase the number of TV homes the Network is seen in from about 35 million to close to 50 million. More importantly, it could well pave the way for the NFL to make deals with other cable companies similarly chapped at the league’s demand for huge rights fees for a sports channel with only 24 hours of NFL regular-season game programming per year.

It seems that two things came to light to make this happen: for starters, the NFL must have conceded that the amount they were asking for per month was far too much for what amounts to 8 games a year. Yes, I want NFL Network so badly that I can almost taste it. I also felt the same way about BBC America once upon a time, and I hardly watch that channel at all these days. My point is that while I want the NFL Network, chances are good that I’ll watch it for a month, then forget about it until football season starts. Secondly, word is that many NFL owners were ready to pull the plug on the network without the wider distribution this deal (and deals with second-tier providers like TWC) would provide.

And yes, NFL Net was also in talks with Time Warner, but these too fell apart. Not to worry, though: word is that NFL Net wants to seal the deal with Comcast first, then use that deal as a template for deals with other MSOs like TWC.

So one day, one day soon my precious, NFL Network will be mine!

Read more about it here.

Great news!

‘Morning, everyone! How about not one, but TWO great TV news items to start your day:

First of all, NBC has renewed Chuck for a third season! So not only will we get to see the awesomeness that is Chuck, we’ll still get our weekly dose of  Yvonne Strahovski as well! Speaking of, here’s an old commercial from her native Australia that’s pretty funny:

And here’s Yvonne being interviewed by Craig Ferguson. Not only is it pretty funny, you can hear Yvonne speaking in her sexy accent:

The second big news item is even better: Tony Kornheiser is gone from Monday Night Football! Yes, it’s true! He’s gone! He’s gone! He’s gone! I won’t want to punch my TV this football season! When I first read the linked article, a rousing version of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy filled my head… OH HAPPY DAY! Tony’s Kornhole is gone!

TV News

Wow! Big news over the past couple of days! Not only is Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse apparently renewed (despite getting terrible numbers and having the handicap of Eliza Dushku’s “acting”), it seems that Better Off Ted was renewed, too!

If you’ve never seen Ted, you should really give it a try. Set in the offices of an evil, but bumbling, corporation, Ted reminds me a lot of Arrested Development – and not just because Portia DeRossi is in both shows. It’s quirky, irreverent, and (best of all) pretty damn funny. In fact, I think it’s the funnest show on TV right now after 30 Rock (yes, I still love The Office, but it’s such a “dramedy” these days).

Perhaps the best part of Ted is the fake commercials for Veridian Dynamics, Ted’s company. Check out this goofy ad they made when the show was bumped due to a speech by President Obama:

So… now that Ted has a new lease on life… WATCH IT! 🙂

The “War” is Over?

Could this be a sign that the “War on Drugs” in finally over?

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s new drug czar says he wants to banish the idea that the U.S. is fighting “a war on drugs,” a move that would underscore a shift favoring treatment over incarceration in trying to reduce illicit drug use.

In his first interview since being confirmed to head the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske said Wednesday the bellicose analogy was a barrier to dealing with the nation’s drug issues.

“Regardless of how you try to explain to people it’s a ‘war on drugs’ or a ‘war on a product,’ people see a war as a war on them,” he said. “We’re not at war with people in this country.”

Of course, I’m not naive enough to think that this will mean that drugs will be decriminalized in the next 90 days or anything… but it’s still refreshing to hear someone from the government finally admit that the “War on Drugs” was actually a “War on the American People”. It’s about damn time.

Read more here.

XP Mode and You

Windows 7 will sport a nifty new feature called “XP Mode”. Basically, this is a virtual machine embedded in the OS that boots a VHD containing an image of a XP SP3 computer. It’s not revolutionary, but it is much more convenient than downloading and installing Virtual PC and installing XP SP3 on a virtual drive by yourself.

The only issue with this feature is that it will require hardware virtualization. How can you tell if your computer is up to the task? By downloading a small, free app from Steve Gibson’s website (yes, that Steve Gibson, of the “Windows Security sky is falling!” fame). It’s called SecurAble, and it will tell you in an instant whether your processor is up to snuff:


The first column tells you if you have a 32 or 64 bit processor. The second column tells you if your computer supports D.E.P. (which protects against certain types of malicious software). The third column, the one marked “Hardware Virtualization”, is the one we’re interested in. If it says “Yes”, then you can run XP Mode in Windows 7. If it says “No”… you’re out of luck.

What’s in a name?

Back in the Middle Ages, people had a practical way of naming streets. If the street was home to a group of businesses that sold the same thing, then the street was often named for them. Even today, centuries later, you can look at a map of the City of London and see streets with names like Ironmonger Lane, Poultry Street, Fish Street, Bread Street, Goldsmith Street or Oat Lane. As you might guess, each street was once the home to a group of merchants involved in a certain trade.

Now… would you care to guess what type of business went down on Gropecunt Lane?

It sounds like a joke, but it’s not: during medieval times, many of the streets where prostitutes gathered to peddle their “wares” were known as Gropecunt Lane.

Since spelling had yet to be standardized, there were many variations, such as Gropecunte, Gropecounte, Gropeconte, Groppecounte, or Gropekunte. But they all had one thing in common – ladies of the night plied their trade there. Such streets were almost always located near the town’s market and\or docks, and almost all were centrally located. London had multiple streets with the name, and even though it was mostly the larger cities that had such streets, smaller towns weren’t unfamiliar with the name. Small market towns like Wells, Banbury and Shrewsbury also had their own Gropecunt Lanes.

Continue reading “What’s in a name?”