Friday, August 25, 2006

Damn It Can't It Be September 2nd Already?

The Georgia Tech game is a little more than a week away and the 2 deep depth chart has been officially released. There were a few interesting things of note on the depth chart.
  • Evan Sharpley will be Brady Quinn's back-up. While it may surprise some Irish fans that neither Jones or Frazer were able to beat Sharpley out, I was not at all surprised. I think Sharpley is really underrated and I would not be surprised if he is the starter next season (Yes, you heard that right. It's my bold prediction for next season.)
  • As of right now, Ryan Burkhart will not be handling the place kicking duties. While Carl Goia probably doesn't have much range outside of 40 yards, I think to rely on freshman kicker in a season where you're expected to compete for a national championship is a much more iffy proposition.
  • Freshman man-child Sam Young will be your starting right tackle. This speaks volumes to how much of a talent Young is and if he develops each year, he could go down as one of the greatest Notre Dame offensive linemen ever.
  • Assuming Travis Thomas will not be playing 70-80 snaps a game, Munir Prince is the back-up running back. Everyone has been raving about his speed in camp and I can't wait to see it in person on September 2. He could be lethal as a third down back.
  • Speaking of Travis Thomas, the Travis Thomas experiment at linebacker seems to be working out as he will be starting at weak-side linebacker.
  • Chase Anastasio will the be the fourth wide receiver. This was a really big surprise to me because he's always struck me as being a special teams ace and nothing more. However, George West's stone hands in camp may have something to do with Anastasio's place on the depth chart.

Are you Kidding Me?

One of the my law school orientation activities this week was a lecture called, "Introduction to Lawyering Skills," and the professor's lecture started off by discussing "the myths of the legal profession," and one of the myths he sought to dispel was that there are too many lawsuits. I found myself seriously questioning his arguments when I saw this in the Chicago Tribune the very same day:
Two middle school students' spat over a missing iPod Nano has grown to involve a judge, a lawyer, two parents and a second filing Monday in DuPage County Court.

"I'm disappointed that it got this far," said Melanie McCarthy, mother of Shannon Derrik of Naperville, who claims that classmate Stephanie Eick's carelessness resulted in Shannon's iPod being stolen.

"I had hoped that the Eicks would have offered a settlement," she said. "I'm sure the cost of Mr. [Stephen] Eick's attorney is more than the cost of an iPod."

Stephen Eick of Aurora says he agrees that "disputes between 14-year-olds should not be adjudicated in a circuit court." But, he added, "This is absolutely not my daughter's fault. If it was, we would pay."

The dispute began June 6, the last day of classes at Aurora's Still Middle School. McCarthy claims Stephanie Eick asked to borrow Shannon's iPod to listen to a few songs. Shannon agreed to let her use it, then left the room for a few minutes.

When Stephanie finished listening, she reportedly placed the iPod on Shannon's desk, but Shannon says that when she returned, the iPod wasn't there.

"I put trust in her," Shannon said. "She should have taken care of it. She should have held it and handed it to me."

McCarthy is suing Stephanie for $335, which she said covers the cost of the two-week-old iPod, a black leather case, an unspecified number of downloaded tunes and court costs.
Ah, it's rather appropriate that the person filing the suit is from my hometown of Naperville, a town where residents always find something to complain about no matter how petty it might be. So let me get this straight, you're going to sue a 14-year old for being negligent, probably spend at least as much money as the cost of a new iPod on a lawyer, all so you can be reimbursed for the cost for a new iPod even though you could easily afford to buy your child at least 2 or 3 iPods if your heart desired. Yeah this definitely sounds like a lawsuit worth the court's time.


My apologies for the lack of posts over the past couple of weeks, I've been transitioning from working full-time in Washington, D.C. to being a full-time law student in Chicago. While law school will keep me more than busy, hopefully, I'll still be able to post at least a couple of times a week.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Maurice Clarett was bankrolled by an alleged member of an Israeli crime organization after leaving Ohio State.

I think the only way this story gets any stranger is if we find out that he was directing midget porn in order to pay off gambling debts.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Keys to a National Championship Season and my Bold Season Prediction

Well the season opener is just three weeks away and I think it's about time that I made some predictions about the upcoming season. There are some extremely high expectations for the Irish this year as they currently ranked #3 in the USA Today Coach's Poll and many Irish fans believe that anything less than a national championship will be a disappointment. So before I get to my game by game predictions, I'd like to take a look at the keys for the Irish if they want to be holding that crystal football in January.

Key One: Adequate play from the defense
I figure I'll start with the most obvious key. There is no question that the offense should have little trouble scoring points. I mean I think it's reasonable to expect at least 35 points out of the offense every game. That being said, it doesn't matter how great your offense is, it's nearly impossible to go undefeated if you can't stop anybody. At the same time, one of the great benefits of having a great offense is that you don't need a world-beater defense to win game after game. But in order for Notre Dame to have an adequate defense, they're going to need some significant improvement in their pass defense. In order for that to happen, they'll need better communication and better execution from their secondary and most importantly, a consistent pass rush. The return of Travis Leiko and Chris Frome and the addition of Rasheon McNeil and Darrin Walls and having 9 returning starters in the second year of Rick Minter's defensive scheme should help bolster the pass defensive, but it remains to be seen if that will be enough to avoid Ohio State-esque disasterous defensive games.

Key Two: Having a Consistent Kicking Game
If you're going to win a National Championship, you're going to need to win a couple of close games and in many of those close games, the kicking game is the difference between a win and a loss. With the loss of D.J. Fitzpatrick to graduation, Notre Dame will have to rely on two unknowns in the kicking game with Geoff Price punting and true freshman Ryan Burkhart place kicking. Geoff Price had a pretty solid spring season, so I think Notre Dame should be fine with the punting game, but I am really concerned about Burkhart. I know he's coming in with a number of accolades, but I think its tough to win a national championship with a true freshman kicker who has not had much experience in making tough pressure kicks in front of 80,000 people. I'll be anxious to see how he kicks in a hostile atmosphere on September 2.

Key Three: Avoiding Injuries
Charlie Weis did a masterful job in his first full year as head coach in recruiting and adding some much needed depth at positions like offensive line and defensive backs. That being said, it's going to take more than one good recruiting class to undue the damage of the Willingham era. While the Irish have some significant talent on both sides of the ball, they're still thin at virtually every position and they could be relying on a lot of freshman to be the primary back-ups at various positions. You are not going to win a national championship if you have to rely on a significant number of freshman to contribute. The Irish were for the most part able to avoid the injury bug last year and they'll need more of the same this year.

Now that I've touched on my three keys for the season, it's on to my predictions.

September 2 @GA Tech-Win
Expect Brady Quinn to have a huge day against the inexperienced Yellow Jacket secondary.

September 9 Penn State-Loss
The lack of experience in the kicking game hurts the Irish in this close game.

September 16 Michigan-Win
Come on, like Man Boobs could ever win in South Bend.

September 23 @ Michigan State-Win
The defense makes a couple big stops in what will be a high scoring affair.

September 30 Purdue-Win
A return to the good old days when Purdue was just a patsy on our schedule.

October 7 Stanford-Win
This game scares me a little bit, but the Irish should be able to pull away in the fourth quarter of this one.

October 21 UCLA-Win
Brady Quinn throws for at least five touchdown passes.

October 28 @Navy-Win
Yep, same old story.

November 4 North Carolina-Win
Notre Dame should win this easily too, but may be closer than expected.

November 11 @Air Force-Win
Time to fatten up on some service academies.

November 18 Army-Win
Umm, is there any question as to what the result of this game will be?

November 25 @USC-Win
Notre Dame gets revenge for the Bush Push in an hard-fought game that probably won't be decided until the final two minutes.

So Notre Dame will finish the season 11-1, which will probably put them just outside of the national title game. I think what will do in the national title hopes of the Irish this year is the kicking game, which will be a shame because Burkhart will probably be a stud in a year or two. But hopefully I'm wrong about the kicking game and I'll be screaming myself horse in Phoenix, Arizona in early January.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Is There Anything Worse Than Being the Catcher for the New York Mets

Back when Mike Piazza was the catcher for the Mets, he became fodder for the New York City tabloids when there were whispers about his sexuality. Now his replacement, Paul Lo Duca, has become fodder for the tabloids when it was discovered that his wife, a (Warning: Link NSFW) former Playboy Playmate and star of Lusty Latin Ladies is filing for divorce after she found out that Lo Duca was cheating on her. The NY Post who has been tracking this vital story since Day One revealed yesterday and discussed further today who Lo Duca was having an affair with and it's a 19 year-old former college student named Krista Guterman. The Post's story today on this new development is priceless:
Paul Lo Duca's sexy Playboy-model wife ran right to her lawyer yesterday morning after reading The Post and learning about her hubby's luscious teenage para mour - whom acquaintances described as a serial man stealer....

People who knew Guterman before she dropped out of the state school described her as the kind of person who would have loved to boast of her new catch. She also gained a reputation - and a lot of enemies - for allegedly stealing other girls' boyfriends before meeting Lo Duca.

"She went and tried to be with my boyfriend," said Tara Feuerstein, 20, who was the president of a sorority where Guterman had sought membership. "I don't know if she was interested in him seriously, or just wanted everything I had. She was also with three other guys at the time."

Feuerstein said she even witnessed Guterman's wild exhibitionism at a party earlier this year. "She was having sex with this guy and the door was open," Feuerstein said.

She and others greeted Guterman's involvement in the Lo Duca divorce scandal with undisguised glee as they told of her past alleged dalliances.

"We're doing this because she needs to be stopped in her tracks," said Emily Williams, 19, a former friend who claims she witnessed Guterman dating the beau of one of her friends. "She can't just keep trying to take other people's boyfriends."

Affairs, man-stealing and back-stabbing female friends. Man, I think the only way this story gets better is if Maurice Clarett and his four guns, hatchet, bulletproof vest and half drank bottle vodka are somehow involved. I have to say this though, if you're going to cheat on your wife or significant other (let me point out that I'm not condoning infidelity in any way), you better be having an affair with someone more attractive than your current significant other. Sadly, Mr. Lo Duca failed miserably in that respect. Here's a pic of Lo Duca and Guterman:

It appears Mr. Lo Duca traded his Porsche 911 in for a Ford Tempo. For shame. For shame.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Football Season is Almost Here

Notre Dame had their first practice today which means only one thing, the season opener is just a few weeks away! I can't wait. This is probably the most excited I've been about a Notre Dame season since Lou Holtz was roaming the sidelines. There's two big stories so far out of camp. The first being that back-up running back Travis Thomas will be seeing time at linebacker. According to Weis:
First thing we did, when you have a kid who it's his fourth year in the program and he's a great athlete and a backup, you look at your linebacker position and you see that you're not real happy with the speed that you have at the position. Well, then you have to figure out where the answers are. Now are the answers are the freshman coming in, Smith and Richardson, or do you have the answers currently here already on your team.

And coming from the Patriot mentality, you always try to build from within; that's what I did. I evaluated our team to try to feel who I had the best opportunity to go over there and not just to go over there but go over there and play. So I went back and researched. He went to high school in Pennsylvania, he was a great defensive player when he was in high school. I went, he was also one of our best tacklers on special teams. So we started talking then and started meeting with Rick then. It's been an ongoing process. It's not like we're going to go out there and wing it. He knows if I need him on the second play of the game to carry the ball, he'll be ready to go and do that, too.
I think this move says two things. One, our linebacker depth is god awful. I mean why else would you take a guy who's been playing running back for the past four years and convert him to linebacker. I mean I think there's no question that Thomas has the athletic ability and tackling ability to play linebacker, but I really wonder if he'll have the instincts to be an above average linebacker. Two, Weis must have an awful lot of confidence that one of the freshman, James Aldridge, Munir Prince or Luke Schmidt will be a sufficient back-up to Darius Walker. I would not be surprised if Prince is the one to emerge as that back-up. Weis is already raving about his speed and as long as he doesn't have Marcus Wilson disease and fall down when any defender breathes on him, he could be quite a force on 3rd down.

The other big story in camp is the return of Travis Leiko, who left the team last year to be with his ailing parents. Leiko has put on an additional 10-15 pounds since leaving the team and Weis is already raving about his play in camp. If Leiko can be a force on the defensive line, that could go a long way to suring up a suspect defense.

Only 25 more days to kick off.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Go Build Some Houses Jimmy

Every dictators favorite coddler, former president Jimmy Carter, had an Op-Ed in today's Washington Post about the current situation in the Middle East and he made a couple very perplexing points that I'd like to address. Here's the first passage:
It is inarguable that Israel has a right to defend itself against attacks on its citizens, but it is inhumane and counterproductive to punish civilian populations in the illogical hope that somehow they will blame Hamas and Hezbollah for provoking the devastating response. The result instead has been that broad Arab and worldwide support has been rallied for these groups, while condemnation of both Israel and the United States has intensified.
I have to say that this passage has a major contradiction. One of the consequences of Israel defending itself is that civilians are accidentally killed from time to time. This might come as a shock to Jimmy, but it is impossible to avoid civilian deaths in this situation when Hezbollah fighters are dressed in civilian clothing and firing from civilian population areas. Carter almost seems to suggest that Israel is deliberately punishing the civilian population in Lebanon in order win support from the people of Lebanon. Unless the leaders in the Israel are drunk and high (which I doubt they are), I seriously doubt this is why they are bombing Lebanon so heavily. No, one of reasons why they are bombing Lebanon so heavily is that they are trying to take out staging areas where Hezbollah are firing rockets into Israel that are deliberately aimed at civilians. Fortunately, the rockets they've been firing so far have been fairly inaccurate for the most part.

This leads me to my next point which is related more to the general situation in the Middle East than to Carter's Op-Ed. In reading the media coverage of this situation and seeing comments from world leaders like Kofi Annan, I seriously wonder if I'm living in some bizarro alternate universe. All I hear about is how heavy handed the Israeli response is and how Israel must immediately agree to a cease-fire. I have to say what about Hezbollah? Aren't they, unlike Israel, intentionally targeting civilians. Why is this not being talked about by world leaders and the MSM? While the civilians deaths have been fewer on the Israeli side, I would say they would be much higher and probably higher than the civilian death count in Lebanon if Hezbollah had similar military technology to the Israelis. Here's another questions I'd like the MSM and world leaders who are condemning Israel to answer. Would not an immediate cease fire be a victory for Hezbollah and would not an immediate cease fire encourage future aggression by Hezbollah?

Ok, back to the Carter Op-Ed. After condemning Israel for its aggression in the current Middle East conflict, Carter then gets to the heart of the matter:
These are ambitious hopes, but even if the U.N. Security Council adopts and implements a resolution that would lead to such an eventual solution, it will provide just another band-aid and temporary relief. Tragically, the current conflict is part of the inevitably repetitive cycle of violence that results from the absence of a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East, exacerbated by the almost unprecedented six-year absence of any real effort to achieve such a goal.

Leaders on both sides ignore strong majorities that crave peace, allowing extremist-led violence to preempt all opportunities for building a political consensus. Traumatized Israelis cling to the false hope that their lives will be made safer by incremental unilateral withdrawals from occupied areas, while Palestinians see their remnant territories reduced to little more than human dumping grounds surrounded by a provocative "security barrier" that embarrasses Israel's friends and that fails to bring safety or stability.

The general parameters of a long-term, two-state agreement are well known. There will be no substantive and permanent peace for any peoples in this troubled region as long as Israel is violating key U.N. resolutions, official American policy and the international "road map" for peace by occupying Arab lands and oppressing the Palestinians. Except for mutually agreeable negotiated modifications, Israel's official pre-1967 borders must be honored. As were all previous administrations since the founding of Israel, U.S. government leaders must be in the forefront of achieving this long-delayed goal.

A major impediment to progress is Washington's strange policy that dialogue on controversial issues will be extended only as a reward for subservient behavior and will be withheld from those who reject U.S. assertions. Direct engagement with the Palestine Liberation Organization or the Palestinian Authority and the government in Damascus will be necessary if secure negotiated settlements are to be achieved. Failure to address the issues and leaders involved risks the creation of an arc of even greater instability running from Jerusalem through Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran.

While I would agree that the hard-liners at times in Israel have had too much of a say in Israel's policy towards Palestine and have hurt peace talks, to say that Israel deserves most of the blame in the breakdown of peace talks is a down right ludicrous argument. The Israeli government could be run by the most peace loving individuals, a government filled with Jimmy Carters if you will, but would that mean peace in the Middle East any time soon. Hardly. Why? Because the Palestinians are controlled by fanaticals (mainly Hamas) who believe that Israel should be wiped off the map. It's kind of hard to have peace when one side believes the other side should not exist. Until the hard-liners no longer dominate the conversation on either side, there will be no lasting peace.