Monday, April 30, 2012

Bengals feel the draft

The NFL Draft is over. It's now time to grade the 2012 Cincinnati Bengals Draft. Honestly, looking over the first five picks, one can easily grade the Bengals Draft. However, the last five picks were:

Round Four

TE Orson Charles (Georgia)

Round Five

CB Shaum Prater (Iowa)

WR Marvin Jones (Calfornia)

S George Iloka (Boise St.)

Round Six

RB Daniel Herron (Ohio St.)

What Have You Done With Owner Mike Brown?

First, the Bengals addressed every need in this draft. That's good. But meaningless if you don't draft quality. What that means is that you draft the best player available in areas of need. Say you need a running back but there was a safety that was a better player in an area of need but not as dire as running back. You draft the safety. The Bengals seemed to have drafted this way.

Second, the Bengals were brilliant in the first round. Yeah, I questioned them. Why not get guard David DeCastro in the first round? Here's why the Bengals did a great job in this round. Starting or shut down cornerbacks are usually obtained in the first round. There were only three worth taking in the first. Morris Claiborne. He was the best and the Bengals had no chance with him. The Dallas Cowboys got him as the sixth pick. The other two were Stephon Gilmore and Dre Kirkpatrick. Gilmore went 10th to the Buffalo Bills. That left Kirkpatrick. By the way, cornerback Janoris Jenkins had too many character red flags to take in the first.

Now the consensus says that DeCastro was the best guard in the draft. However, Gurard Kevin Zeitler was slotted as a late first round pick. Obviously, he's close in talent to DeCastro. The Bengals pick seventeen and twenty one. No way Kirkpatrick lasts until twenty one. The San Diego Chargers, Chicago Bears and the Tennessee Titans all need cornerbacks. The Chargers, Titans, and Baltimore Ravens all need guards. Bengals pick Kirkpatrick. Right move. It's a team sport. The New England Patriots called and wanted to trade up from 27. DeCastro won't be there but Zeitler was likely going to be there before the Ravens picked. Bengals take the deal and turn it into and extra third round pick. Bengals get two top first round players for their needs. Kirkpatrick was better than Jenkins and Zeitler maybe as good as DeCastro. Brilliant.

Along with the first two picks, the next three draft picks for the Bengals will make the team. DT Devon Still is first round talent that the Bengals got in the second. WR Mohamed Sanu may be the other option for QB Andy Dalton. DT Brandon Thompson will add depth. And he's big enough to play nose tackle if the Bengals switch to a 3-4.

Of the next five picks, I predict at least two will make the team. Put TE Orson Charles on the team. He can block. He's a second round talent and the Bengals got him in the fourth round. He'll add depth to the position and will give the Bengals the ability to run two tight end sets. Safety George Iloka will probably make the team also. Bengals have a need here since Chris Crocker is not coming back. Iloka is a fourth round talent and the Bengals got him in the fifth. That's seven players in the draft out of a seven round draft that will make the team. Wow.

But let's look at the last two drafts, 2010 and 2011. The Bengals have done pretty well. The 2010 draft yielded TE Jermaine Greshem, DE Carlos Dunap, DT Geno Atkins, and WR Jordan Shipley. Last year's draft nabbed WR A.J. Green and QB Andy Dalton. Hold on. Greshem, Atkins Green and Dalton made the Pro Bowl.

What happened to owner and de facto GM Mike Brown, the one that picked the disaster Akili Smith in 1999? Joe Reedy writes this "[B]ut according to some club observers it is also Mike Brown acquiescing more to the assistants and scouts when he has been outnumbered on decisions." Cincinnati Enquirer. 4-29-12, pg. C-8, col. 1. What the?

Anyway, the grade for this year's draft is A. Keep it up Bengals. It'll be hard to write comedy about you. And if you think I'm a homer, check out the national writers. Lance McAlister from 1530 AM Homer has collected them for you. They're all gushing.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bengals draft best players available

I previously wrote that the Cincinnati Bengals needed to draft a defensive tackle to line up with rising star Geno Atkins. In the second round, the Bengals drafted defensive tackle Devon Still. (Penn State) I also wrote that the Bengals needed help at wide receiver. The Bengals drafted in the third round Mohamed Sanu and then with the pick from the New England Patriots, they got defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (Rutgers) Maybe. the Bengals should hire me.

There's a maxim in drafting players for football that you draft the best player available in areas of need. It's clear the Bengals followed this rule in these rounds. The Bengals drafted a second defensive tackle in round three, Brandon Thompson even though they drafted one in the second round. The draft class at defensive tackle was deep as far as quality. Let's look at the new Bengals.

Devon Still

The good. First round talent. Explosive. CAN COLLAPSE THE POCKET. The bad. He can play with pads high.

Mohamed Sanu

Mohamed Sanu already has a Bengals legacy. Somebody played a prank on him by calling him yesterday and saying the Bengals picked him in the late first round. I'm guessing Sanu was relieved when he found out it was a prank. I keeed. I keeed. Well, the Bengals made up for that by picking him in the third round.

The good. Excellent hands. Outstanding balance. The bad. Speed. But that could be deceiving. We'll see.

Brandon Thompson

The good. Excellent size for a DT. If the Bengals switch to a 3-4, Thompson can play nose tackle. Can tackle. Was a possible first round talent. The bad. Lack of sacks.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sean Marshall is sparse in giving up home runs

Cincinnati Reds closer Sean Marshall gave up a three run jack yesterday which lost the game. I'll tell you over and over again that closers will blow games. You just can't do it often. And yes, I know Marshall was a set-up man last year with the Chicago Cubs and he doesn't overpower hitters. But he does have excellent stuff. Good fastball. Great change-up and curve. And he does have great numbers.

This is from 1530 AM's Lance McAlister. Marshall doesn't give up many home runs.

"Prior to yesterday's 3-run HR, Sean Marshall had allowed 1 HR in his previous 88.2 innings...spanning end of '10, all of '11 and start of '12.
He allowed just 1 HR in 75.2 innings during the 2011 season.
He allowed just 3 HR in 74.2 innings during the 2010 season."

So relax Reds Nation. It's a long season.

Did the Bengals bungle the draft?

Just like 2010, I got the Cincinnati Bengals draft right again. Okay, I didn't guess the right players but got the right positions the Bengals drafted. They drafted a cornerback in Dre Kirkpatrick (Ala.) and an offensive guard in Kevin Zeitler. (Wis.)

After getting Kirkpatrick, then the Bengals traded out of round 21 to round 27. They get from the New England Patriots, their first round pick and a third rounder. This is important. Available at round 21, was offensive guard and stud, David DeCastro. (Stanford) He's the best guard in the draft. The Bengals need guards. The hated Pittsburgh Steelers get him in round 24. Doh! Did the Bengals bungle the draft?

Let's go over the first round picks.

Dre Kirkpatrick.

Dre's got great size for a cornerback. Excellent instincts. Played against the best receivers in the nation for Alabama in the SEC. Shutdown corner. The downside? Arrest for marijuana possession. Case got dismissed. Bengals like their guys to have arrests so that's bad. I keeed. I keeed.

Kevin Zeitler

Every report on this year's draft rated David DeCastro as the best guard in the draft. But the Bengals like to ignore good judgment. Obviously, the Bengals didn't see what all the fuss was about. But does anyone over at Paul Brown Stadium remember Akili Smith?

So what do we know about Kevin Zeitler? Excellent size. Mauler. Gets his hands on defenders and destroys them. The bad. Gets his hands on defenders. Folks, that's what we call holding. Anyway with DeCastro available at 21, the Bungles er... the Bengals better be right.


So, I'm listening to the Cincinnati Reds game. They take a 5-3 lead against the San Francisco Giants to the top of the ninth. The Reds bring out their closer, Sean Marshall. He puts two on. Bam. Gives up a three run homer. The Reds go down in the bottom of the inning. Game over.

Ouch. Deflating. Instead of sweeping the Giants, the Reds settle for two out of three. Look, there are 162 games. You will have games like this. You just don't want too many games like this. It's a new day, Reds fans. Today, we play the Houston Astros.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Stephen Colbert gets Julie Andrews to sing

Legendary actress Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins, The Sound of the Music) was a guest on The Colbert Report. Remember she had surgery on her throat a few years ago that affected her ability to sing. So, you're not going to get a lot of future vocal performances from her. Anyway, Stephen Colbert cracked her up and got her to sing with him, "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive." It's a song by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. It's a lovely moment to a funny interview.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stephen Colbert skewers Fox News' Steve Doocy

On Monday's Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert nails Fox News' Steve Doocy's addition of context to a common President Obama phrase where he says "I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth." Doocy during an interview with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, put in the phrase before Obama to say, "Unlike some people, I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth." Adding that made it sound like an attack on the super rich Romney. Yeah, Fox News you're fair and balanced.

There's one man who can clobber these right-wing hacks. Stephen Colbert. Using sharp satire and sarcasm, Colbert clobbers Doocy. Check out Colbert's hilarious piece below.

Stephen Colbert on Pheromone Parties and Arizona's Pre-Life Law

On Monday's Colbert Report segment "Tip of the Hat; Wag of the Finger", Stephen Colbert goes over Pheromone Parties and Arizona's anti-abortion law which would define life at two weeks before conception, which basically says life begins when a woman ovulates. I'm not making that Arizona stuff up. Anyway, Colbert calls this law "pre-life." Check out his very funny piece below.

Stephen Colbert on the great cookie controversy

On Monday, Stephen Colbert made fun of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's mistake of insulting some Pittsburgh bakery's cookies. Colbert then agrees with Republicans that President Obama should be held accountable for being given dog meat to eat as a ten year old child. Very funny stuff. Check it out.

Stephen Colbert skewers right-winger Don McLeroy

On Monday's Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert interviews Don McLeroy, former head of the Texas Board of Education. His importance? He wants high school textbooks to reflect his fundamentalist Creationist views. Texas because it's so big, influences textbooks all over the nation. Colbert has disdain for this guy and almost comes out of character. Colbert's sarcasm skewers this guy. Great interview. Video below. As a bonus, I've posted Red State Update's piece on the Creation Museum.

The brilliance of Stephen Colbert

Monday's Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert reminds us why he won the Peabody Award for excellence in television. The show covered eveything from that Republican hack Steve Doocy of Fox News to pheromone dating to defining pregnancy at two weeks before a woman's period to former right-wing Texas Board of Education Don McLeroy who believes that man and dinosaur lived together.

I'm going to post the pieces separately. But here's a link to the whole episode.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mass Effect 3: How to get the Hijacker Achievement

Having trouble getting the Hijacker Achievement for Mass Effect 3? Here's an easy way of getting it, though it will cost you some money.

To get the Hijacker Achievement, you must hijack an Atlas Mech. To hijack an Atlas, you must shoot out the glass canopy and kill the driver. Then you must enter the Atlas before another enemy decides to do so. It's not so easy since the Mech has guns and homing rockets. One or two shots from those weapons and you're dead. Plus, the thing moves onto your position even while you're under cover. So taking shots at it, could get you killed.

Here's the easiest way to get this achievement. Get the DLC mission "From Ashes." Yeah, I know some of you are mad that BioWare put this mission as DLC on the first day of the main game's release, thereby forcing you to pay extra money. Get over it. I have already recommended that you get this DLC for the story lines. I've also told you to suck it up.

Start the mission. First, before you go on land on Eden Prime, equip yourself with a sniper rifle. Okay, at the end of the mission you are about to revive the Prothean known as Javik. Save your game. And do so often. Anyway once you push the button, you will be attacked by two waves of Cerberus soldiers. Once you've defeated those two waves you will get a message from a squadmate for you to get ready by stocking up on supplies.

Right. Get ammo if you have to. Now run up to the ladder of the building that you came down from to get to the stasis tube. Climb up to the roof. At this moment you're going to hear the Atlas land with a thud. Additional infantry arrives. I go to the part of the roof that juts out. Stay under cover. Arm the sniper rifle. Pop out and shot at the canopy of the Atlas Mech until it breaks. Kill the Mech driver. Okay now run to the stairs and climb down. If there any stragglers, take them out or hop into the Mech if you're clear and really create havoc. You may have to fight the stragglers without the Mech because they may be firing on you. Additionally they can also hop into the Mech. You can hop into the Mech even if there are no enemies left. Either way, you get the Hijacker Achievement.

Any downside to this easy way of doing it? Yeah, sometimes the Mech is too close to the building and you can't jump into it. But there will be a time where it's far enough away for you to get in. What's the big advantage? Atlas Mech don't climb ladders. And Machete don't text.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Republicans are at war with common sense

Bill Maher on Real Time says that Republicans are at war with common sense. According to Maher, the party has become so obstinate that if liberals say one thing, the Republicans must oppose it, no matter how much sense the liberals may make. I agree with Maher, that the Republicans refuse to compromise or agree with liberals. Anyway, thanks to HBO and Mediaite, here Bill's New Rule on the topic.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Did Fringe just "Jump the Shark?"

So I'm watching last night's Fringe episode "Letters of Transit." And at the end, I almost threw my popcorn at the TV. Did Fringe just "jump the shark?" Now "jump the shark" means a moment in a TV series which marks the decline of quality in the series and the show never recovers. The answer to this question is "no", but it could be the end for the series as viewers may give up if they don't resolve this episode.

"Letters of Transit" is a wild episode. As Fringe goes, it's so crazy that the show starts with a narrative crawl like Star Wars as exposition. In 2015, the Observers come back from the future. They decide to take over the planet and rule it in a totalitarian way. Walter Bishop (John Noble) and Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) "freeze" themselves in amber so they can be revived in the future to help mankind defeat the Observers. It has something to do with building a machine. What? Another MacGuffin?

So what's the problem? First, let me say this episode was smart. And it was emotional. But it ends abruptly without any conclusion. There's no "To be continued..." for next week. In fact, next week's episode seems to have nothing to do with this one. I've read a couple of reviews to make sure that I've got this show right regarding the ending. Here's Laurel Brown's review with spoilers. So, Fringe leaves this strong show without an ending. Part of bigger plot arc? Maybe. But very risky. Fringe is already in ratings trouble and something like this could send it to cancellation. Of course, if this episode never resolves itself, expect angry fans. At least this fan will finally have something to complain about in this excellent series.

Cincinnati Reds win 10,000

Yesterday, the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Chicago Cubs, 9-4 at Chicago's Wrigley Field. It sounds like a run of the mill victory in April. But for one thing. It was the Reds' franchise ten thousandth victory. Congratulations to baseball's first professional team. Only the Giants, Cubs, Dodgers, Cardinals and Braves have won that many. Even the New York Yankees have not won that many. Historic day for the Cincinnati Reds. By the way, Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs went 3-5. He made contact rather than strike out. He didn't today. Here's the story with video.

Some conservatives are racist

I have previously written that modern conservative Republicans have become racist. I cited the continuing birther nonsense brought up by Donald Trump about a year ago, his demand for Obama's academic collegiate records, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's comments that Obama has a Kenyan and anti-colonist worldview, Republicans putting his head on a chimp, and comparing Michele Obama to a gorilla. And remember in the sixties the Republicans ran a plan called the "Southern strategy" which was to appeal to Southern white male voters by appealing to their fear of African Americans. Recently, former Republican presidential candidate and Tea Party leader, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, (R-Minn) demonstrated she's not above throwing out racist terms. In criticizing President Obama's desire to regulate oil speculators. said this,
"is just about waving a tar baby in the air and saying that something else is a problem."

Video below. Check it out at 1:50.

"Tar baby" is a derogatory expression for African Americans. I know that Bachmann's spokeswoman says it also means "getting one in a sticky situation." But folks, since I've been alive, I've always know it to mean a derogatory name for black people. See BET story. You've got to note that you never hear anyone use the term "tar baby" to indicate a "sticky situation." It's always used as a racist insult.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chris Matthews takes on the crazy Right

You've got Cong. Allen West (R-Fla.) saying that liberal Democrats are Communists. Then you got rocker Ted Nugent threatening liberals with comments that they should be shot like coyotes and beheaded. Folks, this is Joe McCarthy stuff. Yesterday, Chris Matthews did a piece for Hardball on this. Check it out. And he also has the older video of Cong. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) saying that certain members of Congress have anti-American views. This is another reason why I quit the Republicans years ago. It's been taken over by the insane Right. God help us.

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Stephen Colbert takes on Starbucks' fancy "dye"

Stephen Colbert takes on Starbucks for using a dye made of ground-up bugs. He also takes on stuffed pizza and doped up chicken. Funny stuff. Check it out.

Stephen Colbert links GSA scandal to Obama

By now you've heard of the GSA scandal where the agency wasted 800 thousand dollars at a Las Vegas conference. Well, you know the conservatives want to link Obama to this. Stephen Colbert did for them. Check out his funny piece.

Jon Stewart hammers Geraldo and Fox News

Let me get this out of the way. The Taliban are despicable. They're evil. So the other day Geraldo Rivera of Fox News got an interview with a Taliban spokesman. Look even if you're interviewing these evil guys, if you're a journalist; you ask tough questions but try to be neutral. That's "fair and balanced" according to Fox News. But Geraldo started throwing insults at the interviewee. At least Jon Stewart made a funny piece out of this. Check his piece from the Daily Show.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The face of the conservatives?

Rocker Ted Nugent has been a darling of the conservatives for years. He was a guest on Mike Huckabee's Fox TV show and jammed with him. (Video below.) And Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sought his endorsement Romney even spoke with Nugent. Nugent then endorsed Romney. So, folks that is what we call a surrogate for the candidate.

Well at the NRA convention, Ted Nugent earned himself scrutiny from the Secret Service. First, he compared liberals and Democrats to coyotes who should be shot. Then he wanted voters to chop the heads off Democrats in November. He finished by saying that if Obama gets re-elected he would either be dead or in jail. Here's the story. By the way, I've drank with conservatives. And while many of them don't have this much bile, they are an angry bunch. So, Ted Nugent isn't that far off in terms of how conservatives feel. This has led to a Democratic attack ad. Video below.

By the way, some of you conservatives want to say look at what Hilary Rosen said. Sigh. First, she has nothing to do with President Obama's campaign. She's a pundit. Second, her words were taken out of context. Third, she did not call for violence. Maybe we need a laugh somewhere here. Below is Jon Stewart's commentary on the Huckabee-Nugent show where Huckabee calls Nugent a "patriot and a friend."

The Romneys put their feet in their mouths

Okay by now you've heard Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen's comments criticizing Ann Romney, wife of GOP presidential candidate, MItt Romney. The comments basically were that Ann Romney didn't work outside the home and didn't have the burden that middle class women do.

But the Romneys have now exposed how arrogant and cynical they are. Ann Romney called the comments a birthday present. Yeah, it was good for the campaign. Then in an ABC, interview, Mitt Romney says to Barack Obama, "Start packing." Really Mitt? You're that confident? Thank God for the "lamestream" media. They found a video where Mitt Romney says single mothers on public assistance need the "dignity of work." So, Ann Romney works as a mother but a single poor woman who is struggling to raise a child, doesn't work.

Check out Ed Schultz's piece on this. Mitt, you won't get women's, independent, liberal, Hispanic and moderate votes. And you've said you were a "severely conservative" governor. So, Mitt we'll hold you to that when you try to tack to the center.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Time to thank Canada

Yesterday, it looked like the Cincinnati Reds were going to get swept in a four game series with the Washington Nationals. I mean they had just blew a five run lead and the game was in extra innings.

Let me tell you why Reds fans should thank Canada. Reds first basement Joey Votto (pictured) is from Canada. And in the eleventh inning with two men on, Joey Votto took an away fastball and slapped over the left fielder's head. It was an opposite field double that scored two runs. Votto later scored. Reds went ahead 8-5. In the bottom half of the inning the Nationals were able to put two runners on second and third. With two outs, Votto was able to snab a hot smash and throw the runner out. Reds win.

There are reasons why Joey Votto won the MVP in 2010. He hits for power. He hits for average. He drives in runs. He hits with runners in scoring position. Throughout his carer Votto has done all of these things. Now we add to his resume, defense. Oh, I forgot, he won the 2011 Gold Glove Award. Joey Votto is the Reds MVP.

Here's the story with video.

The Real Terminator

DARPA (Dept. of Defense's Advanced Research Project Agency) has released video of a humanoid robot that can climb stairs. It's kind of frightening. Why? The thing looks like a marching soldier. Hey watch Terminator. All this thing needs is a muscle bound Austrian accent. Here's the story. Video below.

The Three Stooges Review

I'll admit that I didn't like the original Three Stooges. I'm not into that type of slapstick. Frankly, I like to laugh at witty jokes from a Woody Allen movie. Yes, I know Allen on occasion dabbled in slapstick. So when the Farrelly Brothers' (There's Something About Mary) reboot of the slapstick trio came out, I really wasn't looking forward to it.

The Three Stooges starts out with their origin. The Three Stooges are literally thrown at the doorstep of a Catholic orphanage where they are discovered by Sister Mary Mengele. (Larry David?!) The Stooges grow up in the orphanage and because they're such bad boys and are a disaster, no one adopts them. Twenty five years later, The Three Stooges, Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos), Curly (Will Sasso) and Larry (Sean Hayes) are still there and are handy men.

Bad news comes when the diocese tells the nuns that the orphanage must close due to a eight hundred thousand debt. The Three Stooges tell Mother Superior (Jane Lynch?!) and the other nuns (Kate Upton, Jennifer Hudson?!) that they will go to the city to raise the funds to save the orphanage. In the city, they run into Lydia (Sofia Vergara) who says she'll pay them the money if they kill her husband. Okay, this movie has the plot to The Blues Brothers combined with the plot to Body Heat!

Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso, and Sean Hayes all do a great job channeling the original Stooges. The Farrelly Brothers and the cast are excellent in staging multiple slapstick set pieces. The sound is dead on, with effects that do the original justice. The movie slows down when Moe gets a job on the reality show Jersey Shore. But picks up for some very funny gags at a party.

When the Stooges engage in cinematic insanity, the movie is light fun. And everybody will be talking about the maternity ward scene. It's absolutely hilarious. Look, it ain't Shakespeare. The grade is B minus.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lockout Review

The Europeans have learned how to make movies the modern American way. If you watch the European (French, Serbian, Irish) produced science fiction movie Lockout, you'll know what I mean. It's full of fast cutting and jump cuts. Action scenes in the movie lack continuity as the action leaps from one scene for a few seconds to another. I'm guessing they have as many ADHD teenager moviegoers in Europe as we have.

I could write the plot summary to Lockout in one sentence. Oh, why not.
It's Die Hard and Escape From New York in outer space. It's also based on an idea by filmmaker Luc Besson. (The 5th Element) Well, he at least helped write the script with Stephen St. Leger and James Mather. Leger and Mather also directed. Coming in at 95 minutes, it took two guys to direct this movie?

Anyway, I'll do my job and write the plot summary. And don't laugh. I did not write this movie. It's the future, circa 2079. CIA agent Snow (Guy Pearce) is on a secret mission to recover a brief case. Something goes wrong and he's framed for murdering another agent. By the way, anytime a character is trying to recover a briefcase, think MacGuffin, a plot device which is not defined since it doesn't matter. (See Kiss Me Deadly, Pulp Fiction) And yes in this movie the briefcase is a MacGuffin.

So does the briefcase have anything to do with this Die Hard in outer space? No. It just gets Snow a ticket to a space prison. But luck would work in Snow's favor or should I say the writers of this movie worked in his favor. After being tortured by NSA or Secret Service's Langral (Peter Stormare) , I can't remember which agency, Snow is informed that the President's daughter (Maggie Grace) is trapped on the space prison. You're wondering how did she get there? She's on some type of goody two-shoes investigating the health of the prisoners. Oy. OF course, a riot happens and the prisoners take over. Snow is given the opportunity for freedom if he can rescue the daughter. Oops, I forgot. Snow's informed by a CIA or NSA agent Shaw (Lennie James), I forget which agency, that Snow's associate who knows where the brief case can be found, is also on said space prison.

So with a plot like that, how can this movie not be fun? Well, like I said, directors Leger and Mather use fast cuts, jump cuts and hand-held camera shots. There are so many that you might get motion sickness. For example, there's a scene where Snow is trying to elude government bad guys. He's running in one scene. then one jump cut later, he's on a motorcycle. Come on, I'm not ADHD. Then there is the plot. The president's daughter is visiting a space prison to check up on their health. Really? It's a little dangerous, don't you think? How about some ludicrous action? Two characters jump out of the space prison and drop to earth. They don't get burned up. Oh, and there's a gravity machine when it's on, levitates objects. A lot of the science is drained from this science fiction movie.

I can say that the film is well produced by EuropaCorp. Spcial effects are outstanding. But one begs the directors to hold the camera still.

The film's saving grace and it's not Maggie is Guy Pearce. Um, sorry for that. Pearce knows he's in a goofy movie. And either he was allowed to ad lib and make jokes or the writers actually wrote something worthwhile in the script. Some of Pearce's wisecracks are very funny. And Lennie James is totally believable as a senior CIA official. But what the heck are two Scottish prisoners (Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun) doing in this movie? Did they get lost from Braveheart? And what rocket scientist cast Peter Stormare who played the crazy Russian in Armageddon as an American NSA chief? He can barely conceal his Swedish accent.

Lockout is not a bad movie. It's not good either. It's too goofy to be anything else but a time waster. The grade is C Plus.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Conservative accuses Democrats of being Communists

You knew it would happen with today's conservatives. They're so far right, they see liberals as the enemy and sooner or later they would start calling the opposition, "Communists."

At a town hall, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) was asked whether there were any Communists in the Congress. He said this,

"It's a good question. I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It's called the Congressional Progressive Caucus."

From the Huffington Post.

Now I've been a Democrat for over thirty years. Not once did any Democrat I know ever espouse Marxist philosophies. There was never any talk of the government taking over peoples property. But see for yourself. Here's the link to the Congressional Prgoressive Caucus. See any devotion to Karl Marx?

This is more of the outright falsehoods that Conservatives spit out. Remember former presidential candidate Rick Santorum? He told the whopper about the Netherlands killing the elderly. West now moves into Joe McCarthy territory.

Rachel Maddow also made the call on this. She said in 2008, that sooner or later, the right-wing would start calling liberals, "Communists."

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Reds win a big one

Yep, it's way too early to forecast anything about this baseball season. I mean who would have thought at the beginning of August last year, that the St. Louis Cardinals would make the playoffs, let alone win the World Series. So when the Cincinnati Reds faced their Central Division rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, it looked like the Cardinals would sweep the Reds in the three game series. Armageddon? Hardly. Remember in 2010, the Cardinals beat up on the Reds all season but it was the Reds that ran away with the Division.

But the Reds won, 4-3. And it's big. I'll let Reds outfielder Chris Heisey say it. He drove in the game winning run with a single and the Reds walked off with a victory. "Getaway days are huge," Heisey said. "To not get swept and salvage at least a game in this series was huge. Yes it's early, but being 2-4 is a lot different than being 3-3. Hopefully, we'll get hot and get the offense going on the road trip, and pick up seven or eight wins."

Oh, Aroldis Chapman was dominant again. Five strikeouts in two innings. He throws three pitches now. Fastball that can reach over a hundred miles an hour. Ninety mile an hour slider. And he now has a split finger fastball. Mercy.

Here's the story with video.

My night at the Reds game

Last night I went to the Cincinnati Reds game with the St. Louis Cardinals. It was cold. That wind coming from the Ohio River made it feel like it was in the twenties.

To make matters worse, the Reds lost to the hated Cardinals, 3-1. Here's what I've learned. Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse has a good change-up. So does the Reds' Mike Leake. Why couldn't Lohse be this good when he was with the Reds? Cardinals closer Jason Motte has one pitch. It's a fastball. So remember that Reds. Whereas Reds closer Sean Marshall has three pitches. A good fastball. A good slurve. And a great change-up.

The great thing about baseball is that after a loss there's a game the next day. Today, the Reds avoided a sweep and won 4-3 against the Cardinals. It's a long season folks. There's a lot of baseball to be played before the Reds win the World Series.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Funny Easter video commentary from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert

It's a little late but Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart of the Daily Show did some very funny pieces on Easter. I especially like Jon's disappointment with Passover when it goes up against Easter. Funny stuff. By the way, Jon, I would prefer a bowl of Matzah ball soup over chocolate.

Low effort thinking promotes conservatism

The Huffington Post is reporting that a study shows that low effort thought promotes conservatism.

"People endorse conservative ideology more when they have to give a first or fast response," the study's lead author, University of Arkansas psychologist Dr. Scott Eidelman, said in a written statement released by the university.

Not really news. Think about Rush Limbaugh. Does the guy think beyond what's in his most primal area of his brain? And what about Sarah Palin? Can this woman analyze a complex problem that isn't shaded by a preconceived narrative? Think about it, all you independents.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Review

Mass Effect 3 is the final chapter of a trilogy of science fiction video games by BioWare. In this game, you finish the saga of Shepard and the invading Reapers, sentient machines whose goal is to destroy organic life. Again, you take the role of Shepard where you can play as male or female. The action takes place six months after Shepard had returned from his successful mission in stopping the Collectors who were abducting humans.


The Mass Effect series are action-RPG video games. The action is similar to a third person shooter. Any targeting problems from Mass Effect 1 have been resolved. It's much like Mass Effect 2 where shooting guns are fun. Even better, all classes can use any weapon. The only down side is that the weight of the weapons affects the speed of regenerating your ability to use biotic powers which resemble the Force but are cooler. You can not only throw enemies around but the wide variety of powers range from enveloping an enemy in an energy field to using mini-combat drones.

The game is harder than Mass Effect 2. That's because some of the enemies like the Brute dish out big time damage. You also are not allowed to take a heavy weapon. So if there is a particular boss bad guy, look around and you may find a specific heavy weapon to use once. Now harder does not mean less fun. The challenge to the difficulty makes it fun. I just don't know I'm going to play this game on insanity.

New to Mass Effect is the Galaxy at War concept and Multiplayer. They are intertwined and can affect the single player game. The Galaxy at War concept requires you to find War Assets such as alien fleets by scanning planets. The amount of War Assets is multiplied by military readiness of five sections of the galaxy. Readiness is increased by completing muliplayer missions. The final number is called Effective Military Strength. (EMS) The higher number affects the ending of the story and game. All this keeps you interested in finding the assets and even trying some multiplayer. Though you can get all three endings without playing multiplayer. It just makes it harder to ger the twist at the end of one of the endings. But when you see your allies ride into the big battle, you will feel goose bumps. It's a true federation of planets.

As for the boring mining of Mass Effect 2, BioWare listened and changed it completely. Now you scan a solar system. Orbit a planet, scan it. Launch a probe. That's it. The rub is that if you use too many scans, you may alert the Reapers who will chase you all over the system until you escape or get caught and are destroyed. This mini-game is a welcome improvement over the dull mining of Mass Effect 2.

Other improvements include simplified weapons upgrade. And there is one stop shopping at the Citadel or on your ship. But if you still want to agonize over improvements to your weapons, you can mess around with weapons mods.

Not all of the game works. The dialogue choices don't necessarily reflect what you want. During one part of the game, I wanted the Quarian fleet to back down from attacking the Geth. The closest was the "Charm" response which said, "Rally the fleet." Doesn't sound like cease fire does it? Still, it's minor if you fellow the branches and what they usually mean. Left upper are usually the good guy responses. Lower left or especially lower right are the ruthless responses. And sometimes climbing ladders is hard since you must hit the right spot. But these quirks are few.

Graphics and Sound.

The graphics are detailed and beautiful. Colors are rich. Now be warned. The Reapers are wrecking havoc so you will see a lot of rubble. But when you look across the valley at Thessia, you see a lovely skyline. There are even Star Trek like lens flares.

Unfortunately, if you have a SDTV, you will have the same trouble that you did when you played Mass Effect 2. Much of text is illegible because it's too small. You can still get through the game.

The sound effects are thrilling. The Reapers make the sound that the alien invaders did in War of the Worlds. When Banshees hit the field, their screams will send chills up your spine.

The Final Chapter.

By now you've heard that some gamers were protesting the ending. While the end of the game needs more exposition, I hope BioWare stands by the excellent writing of Mac Walters and not make major changes to the end. Video games are art. Respect the artistic integrity.

That being said this last chapter is serious business. The Reapers are romping all over the galaxy. There will be losses. You will feel sadness when a cherished character dies. You will feel the pain when civilizations fall. The game does try to inject some humor, but the dread of the Reapers will hang over everything. That makes the game similar to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. It's a fight for survival. One that you will find compelling.

Mass Effect 3 is a fine conclusion to one of the most epic science fiction stories of our time. It is exciting, emotional and thought provoking. The grade is A.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Colbert Super PAC does a GOP Hispanic ad

After winning the Peabody Award for his Super PAC shows, Stephen Colbert's Super PAC did an ad for the Republicans on how to capture the Hispanic or Latino vote. Check out his very funny piece below.

Stephen Colbert wins the Peabody Award!

Stephen Colbert and the Colbert Report won a Peabody Award for television excellence. The episodes that got him the Peabody were the Super PAC shows. I've always said this. Those shows were brilliant in the way taught us about the dangers of super PACs. Anyway, he did a piece on the award and ends with the donors who used funny names to give to Colbert's super PAC.

Things that we learned from Opening Day

The Cincinnati Reds won yesterday's Opening Day, 4-0. Here in Cincinnati, Opening Day is a holiday. There's a big parade, people take the day off and the bars are busy.

Is there something that we can learn from Opening Day about the Reds? Well, it's only one game. There are 161 more to go. Remember last year when the Reds opened the season with three straight wins over the Milwaukee Brewers? Guess who won the Central Division? Yep, the Brewers. But there is something that we did learn yesterday.

If Reds outfielder Jay Bruce can hit outside pitches, he's going to have a good year. In the eighth inning, Jay Bruce took an outside slider and hit over the centerfield fence. Look, Jay Bruce's weakness is the outside breaking ball away. He must either stay away from it or if he can hit it, he must not try to pull the ball. And that's what happened. Bruce took the pitch away and went with it. His bat speed hit the ball solidly and Brce blasted it the opposite way.

The New Nasty Boys. Aroldis Chapman has a sick slider. Aroldis Chapman threw a ninety mile an hour slider that struck out Miami Marilins Jose Reyes. So not only can he throw a hundred miles an hour, he can also threw a slider ninety miles an hour. If he has a changeup, he could be a great starting pitcher. The Reds should move Homer Bailey and put Chapman in the rotation. We'll see what happens. But Chapman's stuff is too good to send him , to the minors.

Reds reliever Sean Marshall who has inherited the closer's role has a good curve. Marshall was used by the Chicago Cubs last year as as set-up man. His ERA was 2.26 and he had five saves. Due to an injury to Ryan Madson,the Reds were forced to put him in the closer's role. Yesterday, I saw him throw a nasty curve for a strike. You do that with a good fastball that Marshall has, and he will get a lot of people out. That folks will add up to many saves.

Baseball has started. Spring is here. I'm hopeful for the Reds. And I'm still alive.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Cincinnati Reds re-sign Joey Votto to a big contract

The Cincinnati Reds put their money where their mouth is. Previously, owner Bob Castellini said he would bring championship baseball back to Cincinnati. Today, the Reds took a big step in that direction. They re-signed their first baseman, Joey Votto to a long term contract. The contract is for ten years and 225 million dollars. That kind of money paid to Votto is something that the New York Yankees would pay a player.

Is it worth it? If you're goal is to win every year, yes it is. Joey Votto is one of the premiere players in major league baseball. He hits for average. He hits for power. Power to all fields. He hits with runners in scoring position. In 2010, he was MVP. Here's his page. You build tams around a guy like Votto. And get this. He's only 28. The Reds will have him for the prime of his career.

By spending that much money, the Reds sent a signal to their fans. They will do everything possible to keep their star players. These players are the ones that can lead the team to a World Championship.

Titanic 3D Review

The tragic sinking of the ship, Titanic, occurred on April 15, 1912. In time for the one hundredth anniversary, Twentieth Century Fox has re-released the 1997 film Titanic, directed and written by James Cameron. This rich film won eleven Academy awards including Best Picture and Best Director. What makes this re-release different is that the movie was converted from 2d to 3D for this year's showing. So, the question becomes, "Is Titanic 3D worth the extra bucks to see it?"

Titanic is an epic love story between the impoverished Jack (Leonard DiCaprio) and the high society Rose. (Kate Winslet) The movie starts out in 1996 when old Rose (Gloria Stuart) is taken aboard a ship trying to find a valuable diamond necklace which was given to her on the Titanic. She tells the story of her love affair with Jack to the crew in a flashback.

Watching Titanic again, one is reminded what makes this film great. There are the performances. Leonard Dicaprio is excellent as the smitten and romantic Jack. Kate Winslet portrays her Rose as a woman trapped in a loveless engagement only to be rescued by Jack. Gloria Stuart deserved her nomination for Best Supporting Actress. There's great scene where the crew discusses the missing diamond necklace and how it was supposed to be still on the sunken Titanic. Stuart subtly moves her eyes and makes a small facial gesture indicating she knows where the necklace is and it is her secret. It's easier to pick up the subtleties of the performances on the big screen.

Then there is the skill used to bring the story to life. Director Cameron expertly guides his actors and his visual style is beautiful. There needs to be more compliments about Cameron's writing. From the metaphor of a tight corset that Rose must wear to the emotional dialogue, Cameron's screenplay does a wonderful job of telling the story. James Horner's score is also majestic and warm.

But is this new version, one which is re-released in 3D as a result of converting the 2D film, worth the extra dollars that a moviegoer will have to fork over? There's an irony here. Cameron was a critic of converting 2D movies to 3D. In a speech, he said, " “It doesn’t make any sense to shoot in 2D and convert to 3D.” Yet, Cameron does this.

James Cameron's style of directing is conducive to converting Titanic to 3D. The broad but steady camera movements emulate 3D shots. However, the conversion technology is not as good as filming a movie in native 3D. Converting a 2D movie is akin to taking the images of a movie and cutting them out to form a pop up book. You can take a picture of Jack from the movie, pop him up in a scene. But since Jack was not filmed in 3D, he's still in 2D.

For example, there's a segment of the movie where the weakness of the 3D conversion process is clear. Take the scene in the ship's cargo hold where Jack and Rose consummate their love in a car. There are crates with ropes securing them surrounding the car. If this was shot in 3D, the ropes and the crates' edges would pop out. In this conversion, they don't. Only, the picture of the 2D crates stand out, giving the scene a pop up book look. Light, shadow and depth are not present in a 3D conversion.

Darkness also plagues 3D conversions. Look, you're watching a movie with polarized glasses. Those dark lenses give any 3D conversion a feel that you're watching the movie through a filter. Titanic in 3D doesn't suffer as much since the original 2D version was well lit. Still, it's a little dark.

Another problem is with Titanic's conversion is that Cameron probably wasn't thinking 3D conversion in 1996. Obviously, today's 3D technology did not exist back then. That means shots were not set up to take advantage of the 3D format. If you get a chance to see Hugo or Pina (2011) in 3D, you'll know what I mean. Martin Scorsese and Wim Wenders respectively put together scenes to take advantage the 3D medium. The result for those movies is that the 3D stood out by giving scenes depth, and space. Titanic has few scenes which call out for a 3D effect.

While I applaud Cameron's expensive effort to convert Titanic to 3D, there's not enough in the movie where the conversion process makes anything look special. An occasional scene may work primarily because the object being shown was simple without the nooks and crannies. But many scenes have the pop up book effect. Most of the movie lacks any sense of pushing out from the screen or depth.

If you're a fan of Titanic or want to see the movie again on the big screen, the grade for the movie in 2D is A. There's nothing special about Titanic 3D to warrant spending extra bucks to see it. The grade for the conversion of Titanic 3D is C Plus.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How far right are today's conservatives?

President Obama made this comment to newspaper editors.

"Think about that. Ronald Reagan, who, as I recall, is not accused of being a tax-and-spend socialist, understood repeatedly that when the deficit started to get out of control, that for him to make a deal he would have to propose both spending cuts and tax increases. Did it multiple times. He could not get through a Republican primary today."

Today's conservatives as exemplified by today's Republicans are so far right that they would favor raising taxes on poor and middle class rather than the rich. And trust me, that's what they mean by "broadening the tax base." It means the poor and middle class must pay more. This all comes from the Congressman Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget plan. The plan would cut taxes for the rich from 35 % to 25 %. Now to balance the budget the plan calls for massive spending cuts. It has to. You can't reduce revenue and expect to cure the federal budge deficit by simple tax cuts. And the conservatives have to find a way to get working Americans to pay more to get the Ryan budget to work. Now, you may hear from conservatives that middle class people don't pay income taxes. Okay. But they pay social security taxes. That's something conservatives leave out of the conversation. And yet under Ryan's budget plan, the big rich get the breaks. That's mutual sacrifice?

Today, Ed Schultz did a couple pieces on this for his show. Videos below. Feel free to call him a loud liberal. But the conservatives don't argue against the facts. The rich have gotten richer and the rest, the so called 99 per cent have stayed the same. Another thing you hear in the piece is that Ryan and Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate, don't fight the facts that Obama uses to point out that it's so far right, it makes "The Contract with America" look like the New Deal Heck, Obama even points out that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich once called the Ryan plan "right-wing social engineering."

So could Ronald Reagan win in a Republican primary? I think President Obama is right. Because Reagan would be blasted by the Tea Party nuts for raising taxes to reduce the deficits. I know one conservative who would not win a Republican primary in today's climate. The father of conservatism, Senator Barry Goldwater. (R-Arizona) Goldwater supported a woman's right to choose and gay rights. Any Republican who supports those ideas would be dead in the water.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Why you shouldn't trust conservatives

The real conservative in the Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum did it again. Told another falsehood. He said that no California university teaches American history. False. Absolutely false. And last month, he told told a whooper about the Netherlands, that the government involuntarily euthanizes the elderly. Pants on fire false. The problem is that if conservatives get facts incorrect, they will lead us down the wrong path. See the Iraq War. Anyway, last night Rachel Maddow did a story on Santorum. Video below. And for some fun, here's a piece by Stephen Colbert on the Netherlands falsehood.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, April 2, 2012

Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog visits a pet hotel

In 2009, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog visited a Pet Hotel. Holy cow, what's it like being so rich you can pay two hundred bucks a night for a pet hotel for your dog. Here's the funny video.

Stephen Colbert on how to win the lottery

Stephen Colbert discusses how to win the lottery. Check out his funny piece below.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bill Maher on the crazy conservative legislation on guns

Conservatives have said that Bill Maher gets a free pass on his comments since the "liberal" media protect him. I've always said this. Maher is not a leader of a movement. He's a comedian who makes social commentary. On Friday, he blasted the liberals for being cowards when it comes to gun control. In his "New Rule" he makes fun of Texas legislation to allow hunting deer with silencers!

Here's his funny video courtesy of Mediaite and HBO.

Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog at the Westminster Dog Show, the Sequel

Well, after Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog got thrown out at the Westminster Dog Show, he went back a year later. This time he went incognito. Enjoy the funny video below.

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog at Westminster Dog Show from Robert Lynch on Vimeo.

The Cincinnati Bengals 2012 Draft Guide

An interesting thing happened as we head to the NFL Draft for the Cincinnati Bengals. They started to sign free agents in areas of need. Recently, the Bengals signed guard Travelle Wharton, cornerback Jason Allen and running back for the New England Patriots BenJarvus Green-Ellis. By doing this, the Bengals have given themselves options when it comes to the draft. They won't have to get desperate and pick players in the first round who must be pressured to start. That being said, the Bengals still have needs in those areas. Remember the Bengals have two number one picks. They are the seventeenth and twenty first. Let's take a look at the top five needs and predict who the Bengals will pick.


1. Offensive Guard. There was way too much pressure on QB Andy Dalton coming from the middle. The Bengals are deficient here as guard Bobbie Williams is getting long in the tooth.

Top three guards in the draft. David DeCastro (Stanford); Gordy Glenn (Georgia); Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin)

2. Cornerback. Corner Leon Hall went down last year with an Achilles injury. That exposed the lack of talent the Bengals had in the position regardless of all the number one picks playing the position. It's unknown how many years that Nate Clements has left. So the Bengals would be wise to pick a cornerback with one of their first round picks.

Top cornerbacks in the draft. Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama); Morris Claiborne (LSU); Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama)

3. Wide Receiver. Even with A.J. Green, the Bengals are deficient here. They need another outside threat to take the pressure off Green. So far, the Bengals have not tested the free agent market in this area.

Top wide receivers in the draft. Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State); Rueben Randle (LSU); Michael Floyd (Notre Dame).

4. Running Back. Green-Ellis knows how to get in the endzone, but the Bengals need a running back who can hit a homerun. It's likely the Bengals will go running back by committee in their West Coast offense.

Top three running backs in the draft. Trent Richardson (Alabama); Edwin Baker (Michigan State); Lamar Miller (Miami)

5. Defensive Tackle. Yes, Geno Atkins is a rising star. But the Bengals could always use a stud here to pressure the front of the pocket.

Top defensive tackles. Michael Brockers (LSU); Fletcher Cox (Mississippi State); Devon Still (Penn State)


The Benals have two first round draft picks, the seventeenth and the twenty first. A lot teams will skip the guard position. This will allow one guard whom the Bengals cannot resist. The Bengals with the seventeenth pick will select David DeCastro. Look the man is a stud. You can't avoid him at this number. He will be the first guard in team history picked in the first round.

The Bengals have a long history of taking players with questionable character traits. They love athleticism over everything else. Morris Claiborne will not be there at twenty one. The Bengals will do what they usually do and take a chance on Janoris Jenkins. Bengals fans get ready for a guy who is probably going to be an off field issue.

The Cincinnati Reds 2012 Preview

The 2012 Cincinnati Reds are all in. They gave up vaunted prospects, Yonder Alonzo and Yasmani Grandal for starting pitcher Mat Latos of the San Diego Padres. (Pictured.) They traded young starting left hander pitcher Travis Wood for Chicago Cubs middle reliever Sean Marshall. Trading all those top prospects are a sign the Reds want to win this year and next year. No coincidence, this all matches the two years that the Reds will have 2010 MVP Joey Votto. So how will the Reds do this year? It's time for the Reds preview.

1. PITCHING. You can['t win championships without pitching. And the Reds have improved themselves in this area.

a. Starting Pitching

The Reds have three solid starters in Johnny Cueto (9-5; 2.31 ERA), Mike Leake (12-9; 3.86) and Mat Latos (9-14; 3.47). Latos is a solid power arm. If Johnny Cueto pittches all year, he will make the All Star team. Leake is a ground ball pitcher and keeps you in games all season long. Three solid starting pitchers can win games. Ask the Oakland A's of the early part of this century.

The last two spots are problematic. Bronson Arroyo (9-12; 5.07) was dreadful last year. Mononucleosis drained him. But because of his contract, he makes the rotation. The last spot is up for grabs. Homer Bailey (9-7; 4.43) must have better command of his pitches. So far this spring, he's not showing it. But Bailey's out of options. Also vying for that spot, is flame throwing left hander Aroldis Chapman aka "The Cuban Missile." He has two great pitches but needs a third one to be a starter. If the Reds don't trade Bailey look for him to make the rotation and send Chapman to the minors.

b. The Bullpen. The Reds signed former Phillies closer Ryan Madson. That turned out bad when Madson went on the season ending DL and will get Tommy John surgery.

The Reds will likely move excellent setup man Sean Marshall (2.26 ERA; 5 SV) in the closer's role. Nick Masset has filthy stuff but will start the season on the DL. Bill Bray is solid as the bullpen's best left hander. Look for tall Logan Ondrusek to put up great numbers. Sam LeCure will keep the team in games.


a. First Base. Joey Votto. Hits for power, average and with runners in scoring in position. Fields his position. Enough said.

b. Second Base. Brandon Phillips. Hits for average. Has pop in his bat. can steal a base. Spectacular fielder. Enough said.

c. Shortstop. Zack Cozart. Okay, he only played eleven games before needing Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing arm. But from what I saw, he wants the position. Great heart. Makes contact at the plate. You hope that he's no fluke.

d. Third Base. Scot Rolen will be 37 this year. But it's not the age that's affecting him, it's the injuries. If he can play 100 games well, the Reds will be in it. Savvy hitter and can field his position. Knock on wood that he stays healthy.

e. Catcher. Devin Mesoraco is an upcoming prospect who will get his chance this year. He's an excellent defensive catcher and has some pop in his bat. Future All-Star. Ryan Hanigan will back him up and get plenty of playing time. Another good defensive catcher and can ocasionally hit.


a. Left field.
It looks like Ryan Ludwick. Will the Res get the 2008 Ludwick (.299; 33 HR) or last year's model. (.237; 13 HR) Ludwick had been playing a lot of the last couple years in San Diego's Grand Canyon of a ballpark. At the Reds home of Great American Ballpark, expect him to thrive. If he falters, there's the power hitting Chirs Heisey.

b. Center field. Drew Stubbs. I'm pretty tired of the excessive strikeouts. Sorry you saberheads. (Sabermetrics fanatics) Can't get on base with an error or hit if you don't make contact. Can't drive in runs with a strikeout.

c. Right Field. Jay Bruce. Cannon for an arm. Can hit for power and average. But he must avoid breaking balls low and away.

4. THE BENCH. Solid utilityman Miguel Cairo comes back. Todd Frazier will make the team since he plays all infield positions and has had a great spring. He can also play the outfield. Wilson Valdez will back up Cozrt at shortstop. Valdez's claim to fame? Pitched on the mound for the Phillies when they beat the Reds in nineteen innings. He got the win.

CONCLUSION. The St. Louis Cardinals have lost their superstar Albert Pujols. The Milwaukee Brewers have lost their big thumper in Prince Fielder. So the NL Central is up for grabs. And all this stuff about the division being weak is meaningless since the Cardinals won the World Series last year coming from the weak Central.

For the Reds to succeed, they need good starting pitching. They need Drew Stubbs to put the ball in play. And the Reds as a team must hit with runners in scoring position.

Here's my prediction. The Reds have talent. Look for them to win the Central. And perhaps they win the World Series.