Friday, December 16, 2011

Green-Skinned Comic Book Women

It's probably no surprise you have to come to Big Dunc to settle this decades old question, who is the hottest green-skinned woman in comics? This question has plagued discerning men for many-a year. There are a lot of brightly colored women out there in comic books. The green-skinned ones are especially alluring. I don't really know what it is about the greenness that creates attraction, but it has become something of an epidemic. And how does one answer this baffling question? Why create a poll of course.

Who is the hottest green-skinned woman in comics?

Honorable mention:
Poison Ivy - She would definitely be a strong contender for the top spot, but I'm pretty sure her greenness is more of a recent thing and she can also control it for the most part.
Marrina - Former member of Alpha Flight - alien, maybe a mermaid too. Enticingly scary.
Tonaja - One of the new Inhumans followed in Paul Jenkins' Marvel Knights Inhumans mini-series. An awesome read. In a later series, Tonaja and her friends became exchange students at the University of Wisconsin. You cannot make this shit up.

Mantis - Not to be confused with the short lived Fox show M.A.N.T.I.S. starring Carl Lumbly, this Mantis again has not always been green. I think she came back green after one of her resurrections

Jarella - Don't know much about her, but I like her style.

Now on the the finalist.

She-Hulk - She-Hulk is probably the best know of these green-skinned comic babes. She's been a member of The Fantastic Four and The Avengers, so you know she can stand toe to toe with the best and baddest. She stands an intimidating 6'7" and weighs 650 pounds. Be careful not to get on her bad size. Despite the size she still remains alluring in her green skin. In fact John Byrne even devoted an entire issue of Fantastic Four (275) to a group of paparazzi trying to catch She-Hulk sunbathing in the nude.
Verdict: Yeah, she's big, but worth ever pound.

Jade - I'm not huge DC fan, so I don't know too much about Jade. She is a Green Lantern, and while most Green Lanterns have a green hue to them, she is legit green from head to toe. She's been affiliated with The Justice League, Justice Society, and Green Lantern Corps. And I did just learn that she is the daughter of Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott and that she was adopted by a couple in Suburban Milwaukee. Wow, gaining points fast.
Verdict: She looks pretty nice and imagine what she can do with that Power Ring!

Gamora - "The Deadliest Woman in the Whole Galaxy", Gamora was a ward of Thanos and through him came in contact with Adam Warlock after his other half The Magus destroyed Gamora's home planet. Yes complex stuff. But they important part - she kicks butt and wears a FULL BODY FISHNET STOCKING. Yes. And I love the 70's hair.
Verdict: She's got the whole package.

Lyja - Another complex Marvel story, Lyja is the Skrull that posed as Alicia Masters for about 10 years and married Johnny Storm. After she was found out as an impostor, there was a brief reconciliation and Lyja was a member of the FF for a while.
Verdict: Traitor, spy, alien, whatever you want to call her, I like her style and can even look past that weird Skrull gilly chin and the Elf-ears.

There is the emerald field folks. Vote for the hottest, or if you feel odd voting on the basis of the attractiveness of a comic book character, then just vote for who you think is "the coolest".

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Survivor South Pacific So Far

I'm glad to say that Survivor South Pacific is a good season. Not a great season, but maybe pretty good. This is much more than you can say about the previous two seasons. That is for sure. We'll see how it ends.

Big Moves - This has definitely been a season of big moves. First it was Jim, Cochran, and Dawn getting rid of Elyse to weaken Ozzy. Then it was Ozzy letting himself be voted off and sent to exile. Then Cochran flipping to join Coach's tribe. Then it was Albert and Sophie joining Cochran and Dawn to change the game. Oh wait, that one didn't happen.
The episode with Ozzy at Redemption and then the possible 6-6 tie was one of the best episodes in the show's history. The last one I can remember that compelling was the 5-5 tie on Heroes vs. Villains. Unfortunately, things haven't been as interesting since.

Redemption Island - I'm against the idea of Redemption Island. It makes getting voted off, and especially blind sides less important, less soul shattering. If you get voted off, you should be done! But both last season and this season, it has actually helped out entertainment wise. Last season would have been EXCRUCIATINGLY boring without Redemption Island. Even though it didn't really do too much, at least it held out the possibility of changing the game. This season it is similar, plus you have the Ozzy wild card. He is still in the game and can conceivably make it all the way to the end. Bring him back in the final 4 or 5 needing only to win one or two immunity challenges, wow. That definitely keeps things interesting.

Cochran - Cochran is definitely the star of this season. He made the big move. I'm usually one to root for the underdog, but I think Ozzy got this one right. You call a spade a spade. You call a wiener a wiener. Cochran is a wiener. I think Jim and Dawn have the biggest reason to be pissed at him. They saved his butt multiple times. Cochran has obviously never played team sports. Didn't 80's movies teach him anything? You get back at the bullies and popular kids by beating them at their own game (usually sports) not stabbing them in the back!

Little Hantz - I think the rest of the season will turn into the Brandon show. Most of the season has centered on Ozzy's tribe and they have been the obviously more compelling people. But remember how crazy Brandon is? He's taken a back seat with all this other stuff going on, but you know he's holding it all in. When things get shaky, it's all gonna come out. Things are gonna get weird!

Coach - Coach is playing a good game. He's put a nice little team together. It just goes to show you how important those first few days of team building are. Pretty quickly Coach changed from the guy who was on Survivor twice before to a valued, necessary member of a team and an alliance. Can he win it all? I don't see why not. If it's him and Brandon, Edna, Cochran, or Rick, he definitely should win.

Cowboy and Edna - Pretty lame, pretty boring. This is the problem with a very strong alliance. People stick around that really have no business being there, that have contributed nothing to the show. See Palau for the prime example of this.

Sophie and Albert - At least these two are playing the game. They see a road without Coach and have at least flirted with the possibility of sowing it. They actually make a good team. Albert is a bit gung-ho at times, but Sophie is there to reign him in. Did they miss their chance? I think so, but at least they'll go down guns blazing. I'll be rooting for Ozzy and these two, but I'm guessing Albert will be voted off next with the ultimate cop-out from Coach, saying they need someone that can beat Ozzy. Cop-out yes, but also the right strategy.
Hoping for more big moves!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Survivor 23

Just like the changing of the leaves, the beginning of the NFL season, and high school soccer, the beginning of fall brings us a new season of Survivor. From what I remember, none of the fall seasons were All-Stars, so fall is always a fresh beginning. I'm not gonna lie, the last two seasons of Survivor were pretty weak. They do need some freshening up. And how will they do that? By bringing back Ozzy and Coach of course. I am on board with this. As I said last season, having a couple new people allows you to jump into the season right away. There is less of a feeling out period, but there is still the cool newness of all the other contestants. Neither Coach or Ozzy are my favorite players and they don't have a history together, but I like the choices. Coach is very entertaining and Ozzy a good physical player trying to become a good strategist as well.
Let's take an initial look at the cast.

Coach - 3rd time playing, definitely will give us lots of great sayings and stories and talks about honor and dignity. I like him.

Brandon - Russell's nephew. Coach really hit it on the head - "He's got demons". This guy is weird. He's only 19. I get the whole redeem the family name thing, but the whole not lusting after women is crazy. Did he not expect women in bikinis on Survivor? Is he going to rape someone? I don't get it. I cannot read this guy at all.

Mikayla - The object of Brandon's desire or anti-desire. I don't get it man. I mean she has a nice body, but isn't anything too ridiculous. Cover of Playboy? Lingerie football? Big ears.

Albert - The (token) black guy. He seems smart and looks strong, but might talk too much at tribal. I see him making the merge then going out as a threat, but redemption island may change that.

Christine - Hope she goes home soon. She really brings nothing positive to the table.

Edna - Coach's only friend for a while. She was quickly replaced when Coach settled in with some stronger players. Even with Coach's backing, I don't see her staying around too long.

Rick - The Cowboy. He played it really close to the vest by not saying a single word last episode. Nice one. I hope he sticks around for a while.

Sophie - Could play an interesting roll as the lone female in Upolu alliance. I see her being a strong player. She seems to have already read Brandon correctly, seems smart. We'll see how she fairs in challenges. Not attractive enough to create lust in Brandon.

Stacey - "Boom." She already has a catch phrase, so she has that going for her, but she is on the outside of her tribe and won't people around for long.
Ozzy - Dude is a beast out there in the challenges and actual surviving in the wild, but can his social game match?

Keith - I think I saw this guy last season when he was called Grant. Really, he will be Ozzy's best bud and then get back-stabbed. Bet.

Dawn - A bit emotional. I don't think she'll be around long.

Eylse - Hottest contestant this year? Maybe. I'm hoping to see more of her. I could see her playing the flirt card pretty good. I see a devious look in her eye too. I'm intrigued.

Jim - It's a shame players get the stigma of "playing too hard". See Jonathan Penner and Marty from two seasons ago. That shouldn't be a bad thing, but is. Looking at his team, I feel he'll be on the right side of the numbers and should stick around til the jury.

John (Cochrane) - Aah, a self given nickname, that is never a good start. He's funny, but will soon be seen as a liability and won't bond with Ozzy, Keith, and Jim.

Mark - See above about self imposed nicknames. Papa bear? C'mon man!

Semhar - Big tits. Horrible at basketball. And I never really liked spoken word. I think Christine will beat her tomorrow.

Whitney - The hot, silent type. I'm not sure if I've heard her utter a word. I wouldn't be surprised if she's actually a mermaid who made a deal with an evil sorceress octopus to gain legs. I will have to wait until a water challenge to confirm this. She's hot, and I could really see her coattail riding with the alpha male Savaii alliance.

There you go, I like to judge people. Mostly I'll be wrong, but with Coach, Ozzy, the weird Hantz kid, two self-given nicknames, and Boom, I see this being a good season.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Live at the US Open

So the title is a bit of a misnomer. I'm not currently Live at the US Open, but I was..........a week ago.
Anyways, I'd like to review my experience at one of the biggest sporting events in America.

Now, this was my first time at the Open. I spent 3 days at Wimbledon (days 2,3, and 10) in 2005, so I do have something to compare it to. Oh, and one of my life goals is to make it to all four Grand Slams. Half way there! And this is saying something, because I really only have 3 life goals. Big day!
I headed out to Flushing Meadows on Thursday, day 4, with 4 friends of mine. We had a the grounds pass - allowing us access to all courts but Ashe Stadium. After getting my bearings, we headed to the side courts. The side courts are truly the beauty of first week Grand Slam tennis. Many times you can sit in the first row. You instantly know these are professionals. The best is getting between two courts so you can move back and forth between the two. Let's take a quick look at the matches I saw.

Match 1 - Michael Llodra vs. Kevin Anderson - Court 6 - I wanted to see this match because Llodra is a serve and volleyer, but he was overmatched by Anderson, so we quickly turned around and walked about 5 feet to court 7.

Match 2 - Kaia Kanepi (23) vs. Silvia Soler-Espinosa - Court 7 - Kanepi made the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the US Open last year. She is a large Estonia with some power, but inconsistency. I had never heard of Soler-Espinosa before, which is not surprising. It was a good match. There were probably only about 20 people watching when we got there and we took u seats in the 2nd row. It's one of those "Yes I am here" moments. You can isolate the player's coaches. You can hear the players and even better, they can here you. You see the power, the pace, the spin, the sweat, the difference between the 1st and 2nd serve. You can't get this stuff on TV. SS-E, as we'll call her from now on, is pretty fit, a nice looking young Spaniard and her guest was sitting next to us and she wears Joma, so we were in her corner. The first set was close, lots of good points. SS-E broke late in the set and was able to hold her final two service games. She won the match and made her furthest progression in a Grand Slam.

Match 3 - Carla Suarez Navarro (32) vs. Simona Halep - Court 4 - The best part of early round tennis at a Grand Slam is the court hopping. I thought I'd check out another match and walked to the next court over. This match probably had the best points we saw all day. Both players were fast, good recoverers, and had real clean groundstrokes. Lots of nice long, back and forth points. Halep was a grunter, pretty loud and long in fact. Navarro was stone cold silent. Halep, a nice looking young Romanian, beat 6-seed Na Li the previous match, took the 1st set, lost the 2nd in a very close set, and kind of lost it in the 3rd. Court 4 was kind of odd. It had a large section of bleachers on one side which were pretty empty. We could talk loudly, walk around, drink gin and also see the practice courts from our high vantage point. We saw Serena, Sharapova, Hantuchova, and Radwanska warming up.
Oh, one last note, apparently Halep is best known for getting breast reduction surgery. It kid you not. This comes straight from wikipedia - "In a bid to boost her game, Halep underwent breast reduction surgery in the summer of 2009, which reduced her cup size from 34DD to 34C". You can't make this stuff up! Google "Simona Halep before and after" if you don't believe me!

Match 4 - Tommy Haas vs. Alejandro Falla - Court 13 - By this time of the day it was getting busier and we had to wait a bit to get onto court 13. We were rewarded with Legend Tommy Haas. He was looking strong and fit, impressing the ladies with a few shirt changes. We got to see the second and third set and sit in the first row and it was pretty cool. First serves from these guys are huge. Tommy was on his game and won easily as the clear crowd favorite.

Match 5 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (17) vs. Petra Martic - Court 17 - We were able to catch the last half of the third set in this match. I was hoping for a 3rd set tiebreaker, but Martic could not break back. Pavly looked good from what I saw.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, this is actually the first year of court 17. It is a nice lowered court with a bowl of stands around it, seating 2,500 and eventually 3,000.

Match 6 - Marin Cilic (27) vs. Bernard Tomic - Court 17 - I was excited for this one, hearing good things for Tomic and Cilic, but it turned into a snoozer. Multiple people fell asleep. Tomic looked horrible, ill-prepared, even scared. Stayed for the first set which lasted 21 minutes. Boo.

Match 7 - Marty Fish (8) vs. Malek Jiziri - Louis Armstrong Stadium - Yes, we stepped are game up in the evening. I did not realize how much of Louis Armstrong is open for general admission, at least 4/5 of the stadium. So we got to see the American #1. It was cool being in the big stadium. There is a buzz about getting in there after queuing up for a while. Again, you feel like you are at a big event. Unfortunately, the match did not match the buzz. Easy 3 set win for Fish. Some nice cheers and some nice points. He was looking good.

Match 8 - Victoria Azarenka (4) vs. Gisela Dulko - Grandstand - Another unfortunate was that this match was moved from Armstrong to the Grandstand due to match times. By the time we got to the Grandstand it was already the 2nd set. This was the last match of the night, so lots of people were trying to get in. It's a cool atmosphere, especially at night. Azarenka won the first set and the crowd was totally behind Dulko, hoping to extend the tennis. She was up 0-40 midway through the set on serve until now, but could not get the break. You kind of knew it was over then, one of those tennis things, and on cue, Dulko was broken the next game. A few notes, Dulko is very hot. Vika isn't a bad drink of water either, but she has got to cool it with those screams.

Alright, there you go, a nice full day of tennis. A great time. I recommend it for everyone. I wish we would have been able to see a great match, but we saw a lot of very good tennis. The only player still alive that I saw is Pavlyuchenkova, so I got root for her now. But you don't get a ground pass to see the best of the best. You go to get close up views of great athletes. Best bang for your buck in sports. You see a few ranked players and some young potential. At Wimbledon I saw a young Ana Ivanovic and an unranked Gael Monfils. Who knows, maybe in 5 years we'll be talking about the time we saw Simona Halep and Silvia Soler-Espinosa?

Monday, August 15, 2011

English Premier League Fantasy Recap Part II

Check the post below for part I.

Now is the time where I get to praise and rib people for their picks. I'm pretty good at the ribbing part.

Good picks:
Martin Skrtel - 6th Round - A nice pick up here in the 6th. He is one of the most consistent defenders in the league and always gets the start for Liverpool.
Gabbi Agbonlahor - 8th Round - Not a top level striker, but this guy was a probably a 3rd round striker just a couple years ago, should continue to work well with Bent.
Dimitar Berbatov - 7th Round - Last years joint leading scorer in the 7th round. I don't expect another 20 goal season, but good value this late.
Seamus Coleman - 7th - Coleman would be a top class defender if not for his injury, still good value in the 7th round for an Everton that will start slow anyways.
Carlos Tevez - 8th - Similar to Berbatov, but much more uncertainty about his future. Still high reward pick for the 8th round even if he only stays until January
Mark Schwarzer - 10th - Last quality 'keeper on the board. A steal considering Given went in the 7th and Howard in the 4th.
Roman Pavlyuchenko - 10th - Tottenham's best striker right now, strong end to last season, finally in good graces at Spurs.
Stephane Sessegnon - 12th - Strong attacking midfield option at Sunderland
Ramires - 12th - Seems to be settling in the starting XI at Chelsea, especially with Essien injured.
Leon Osman - 13th - Great run at the end of last season, should get lots of starts as Everton are lacking wingers.
Alan Hutton - 13th - Should be the starter at right back for Spurs
Romelu Lukaku - 16th - Not sure how much PT he'll get, but a good shot with your final pick

Not so Clever Picks:
Malouda 1st Round, Kalou 4th Round - Good players, but drafted too high especially on a Chelsea team with loads of attacking options.
Bobby Zamora - 4th - He'll get lots of games, but too high at the 4th round
Scott Sinclair - 5th - This pick got a number of laughs, but no, it wasn't a joke. Maybe he thought it was the 15th round.
Alex - 5th Round - Didn't you learn from taking Alex too high before Junkie? He is not first choice at Chelsea and has been heavily linked to a move to Italy.
Gareth Barry - 9th - Gareth Barry used to be good. Then he moved to Man City.
Phil Neville - 15th - Listed as a midfielder, not a defender. Ouch.
Morten Gamst Pedersen - 8th - A bit high at the 8th round.
Grant Holt - 9th - Obviously early for a Norwich striker. Mort, did you know he is fat? Here are some of his facebook groups - "Grant Holt is a Fat Prick", "Get off the ground you fat cunt! Nan please, that's Grant Holt", "Grant Holt is a diving scum". Despite what it appears, I have nothing against Grant Holt. I hope he does well.

Carlo - 1. Rooney 2. Vidic 3. Cech
A strong start for Carlo. His first half of the draft was great, but then he started picking a slew of defensive midfielders - Gareth Barry, Lucas, Alex Song, Whitehead - spelling fantasy disaster.
Prediction - Strong foundation and good picks with Coleman and Taarabt in the 7th and 8th, but the second half of the draft will see Carlo languish in the mid table.

Andy - "TheWengerBoysAreComing" - 1. Van Persie 2. Baines 3. Yaya
Took Samba (4th) and Henderson (6th) too early. With defenders from Everton, Wigan, Newcastle, and Fulham, I'm not sure if his defense will be strong enough. Lots will depend on Van Persie's health.
Prediction - Should be a marked improvement from last year, but won't challenge for the top spots.

BJ - "There's something about Gabi's smelly cunt" - 1. Bent 2. Walcott 3. Dempsey
BJ sticks to his morals and does not select players from Chelsea, Man U, Man City, Liverpool, or Tottenham. Despite this hindrance, he finished second in the league last year. He got Dempsey and T. Cahill 3rd and 4th and Gibbs and Koscielny 6th and 7th.
Prediction - Despite his limitations, BJ should again challenge for the league. A lot will depend on Arsenal's defense, and how well Villa and Fulham perform this season.

Serg - 1. Malouda 2. A. Cole 3. Gyan
Serg left after round 10 of the draft. His team got better once he left.
Prediction - Relegation

Rory - "My dad wasn't really elected" - 1. Lampard 2. Chichirito 3. Gervinho
Rory had our first ever proxy drafting for him. He had a pretty detailed list, but I think his absence from the draft will hurt him early on.
Prediction - Overall his team is good, but not flashy - mid table

Junkie - " The fantasy team formerly Jobless for Life, formerly Down for Brown" 1. Drogba 2. Nasri 3. Evra
Good start to the draft for Junkie, then a quick decline - Alex, Chamakh, Riise, Gallas, David Dunn. He has a solid midfield, with the potential for more depending how Nasri settles in.
Prediction: Relegation battle

Jerry - 1. Suarez 2. Bale 3. Reina
Good draft for Jerry, but a lot will depend on who gets playing time. Jerry pick a lot of players who are not guaranteed starters - Lescott, Adam Johnson, Phil Jones, Tevez, K. Toure, Fabio, SWP
Prediction - Should challenge for a European spot, but not the title

Bryan - "Pippa Middleton XI" - 1. Van der Vaart, Kuyt, N'Zogbia
I don't see any of Pippa's first three picks performing as well as last season. Bryan does have a strong but not flashy squad, though, with stalwarts like Kenwyne Jones, Kevin Davies, Shay Given, Jamie Carragher and a couple nice later picks like Osman, Moses, and Enrique
Prediction - I see Bryan putting together a side that will see him achieve his best position ever. But that isn't really saying much.

Dustin - "I hate Eric Ellsworth for ruining our fantasy draft by running his restaurant into the ground and forcing us into Raubert's super sweaty living room Wanderers" (FC) - 1. Silva 2. Terry 3. Gerrard
Dustin is strong at all positions, with the exception of striker. Good value picks with Smalling and Brunt 8 and 9.
Prediction: Dustin is a proven EPL fantasy manager and should challenge for the title

Worth - "It takes a Man to Raise a Man" FC - 1. Carroll 2. A. Young 3. Modric
A very solid start for Worth, getting Dzeko in the 4th and Valencia in the 5th. He has a good squad. Some questions with Zabaleta, Richards, and Anelka and basically threw away his last 2 picks.
Prediction - Worth's best ever finish was 2nd two seasons ago. Can he best that? I don't think so, but he should finish near the top

Mort - 1. Aguero 2. Sniejder 3. Vermaelen
Some questionable picks by Mort as I mentioned earlier, but some nice ones too - Dawson, Adam, and Distin 6th-8th rounds. I see a very inconsistent season for the newcomer.
Prediction - It will be a rough first time out. Look for some good weeks and bad weeks. I see a low midtable finish - but not last place.

Raubert - "Cos's Cavernous Condoms" - 1. Nani 2. Hart 3. Ivanovic
Very strong D for Raubert. his mid is a bit lacking other than Nani. His strikers should be just good enough to allow him to challenge for a finish in the money.
Prediction - Near the top of the table

Tony - "Gia's Afterbirth Sack-lunch" - 1. Torres 2. Arshavin 3. Kompany
Prediction - I'm not as confident as last year. A repeat will be tough, but I should still finish in the top 3. I know fantasy soccer.

There you go kids. Feel to add to the fodder in the comments section below.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

English Premiership Fantasy Draft Review 2011

Time for another English Premier League fantasy draft. As you EPL fans know, there are no good fantasy English leagues out there. They are all salary cap based as opposed draft based which we like here in America. Also, they have stupid scoring systems where you get points for starts, substitutions, shots and a different number of points for goals depending on what position you play. It doesn't take an expert to know that in soccer, all goals count for the same number of points.
To rectify this situation, my friends and I created our own draft league. We keep it simple - points for goals, assists, team of the week, negative points for own goals, goals against, and red cards. Each team drafts 16 players and starts a 4-4-2 every week with a captain having their points doubled. The draft totally changes strategy. Only one team gets Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and the like. There are a finite number of strong defenders and scoring midfielders. Do you go with offense or defense first? You also have all the transfer uncertainty before the season. Big decisions.

Let's take a look at this years EPL Fantasy Draft.

Round 1
1. Wayne Rooney - Striker - Manchester United - This was the right pick. I took Rooney first last year. He is the most reliable, most consistent player. He may not lead the league in goals, but he will get his points. There is no such certainty with any other player.
2. Robin Van Persie - Striker - Arsenal - Van Persie tore it up at the end of last season. He is a top striker, but can he stay healthy?
3. Fernando Torres - Striker - Chelsea - A bit of a risk here. Torres has not had a good year. He has shown the pedigree in the EPL and seemingly should turn things around at Chelsea.
4. Darren Bent - Striker - Aston Villa - This pick might be a bit of a surprise this soon, but if you look at the stats over the past few years, Bent is a top 3 Premier League striker. Also, due to moral reasons, the manager picking here does not take players from Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Man United, or Man City.
5. Florent Malouda - Midfielder - Chelsea - The first midfielder taken. I would not have expected Malouda to be the first taken. Malouda does get his points, but really tailed off during the second half of last season. I question this pick.
6. Frank Lampard - M - Chelsea - Lampard has been one of the best fantasy players over the course of the league. He didn't do as well last year. There is a lot of clamoring about him getting old, but if you look at the games he played, he put up high points.
7. Didiger Drogba - S - Chelsea - Drogba is another player who used to be a certain top 3 pick, but has a few question marks due to injuries and age.
8. Luiz Suarez - S - Liverpool - Interesting choice between Carroll and Suarez. Either could have a break out year or a disappointing year.
9. Rafael Van der Vaart - M - Tottenham - Van der Vaart was a revelation last year, full of goals and assists. He fell off a bit at the end of the year. Can he repeat?
10. David Silva - M - Man City - I like this pick. Silva came on strong last season and is the play maker on a talented city side. He'll have loads of assists and a few goals to match.
11. Andy Carroll - S - Liverpool - See pick #8
12. Sergio Aguero - S - Man City - New players to the EPL are always a risk, but I like this pick. Plug in Aguero for Tevez do you have 20 goals again? We shall see.
13. Nani - M - Man U - Nani I think was the second leading midfield scorer last season. He gets assists and goals. His benching by Sir Alex in the Champions League final does raise some questions.

Round 2
14. Joe Hart - Goalkeeper - Man City - With no Van der Sar and the lack of a true number 1 at Arsenal, 'keepers are at a premium. I think this is a bit early, but you can't really question it.
15. Wesley Sneijder - M - Inter - Wow. Earliest pick for a non-premier league player ever. Lots of rumors, but a HUGE risk this early in the draft. Wow.
16. Ashley Young - M - Man U - A perennial early round pick with Aston Villa. Now at Man U. That raises his value in my book. Nice pick.
17. John Terry - Defender - Chelsea - Terry is the only player to make the fantasy league team of the year all 4 years of the league. First defender taken and rightfully so.
18. Dirk Kuyt - M - Liverpool - Always under rated at midfielder. Kuyt will play as an attacking midfielder every game. Good pick.
19. Gareth Bale - M - Tottenham - Bale is a good player, but maybe not a top 20 fantasy player. He needs some consistency to become that. Maybe this will be another break-out season, with the stats to match the hype.
20. Samir Nasri - M - Arsenal - Time will tell on this one. If he stays and Fabregas goes, great value at 20, but if he goes to City, where does he fit in?
21. Chicirito - S - Man U - A bit early at 21. I'm not sure if he can match his success of the previous year.
22. Ashley Cole - D - Chelsea - Good pick - a certain starting defender for a top team and he gets forward.
23. Theo Walcott - M - Arsenal - With Walcott you can count on a few great games, frequent poor crosses, loads of speed, and a couple injuries each year.
24. Andrei Arshavin - M - Arsenal - See 23 but with less speed and less injuries
25. Leighton Baines - D - Everton - Baines gets forward, takes great free kicks, will get loads of assists and a few goals. But how many clean sheets can he get with Everton?
26. Nemanja Vidic - D - Man United - A rock in the Man U defense. He is a sure starter and throws in some set piece headers as well. Strong pick as the final one of the second round.

Ok, I'm only giving you the first two rounds. I can't have this blog be too epic. Now I'll take a look at my picks, followed by selected good and bad picks and a brief rating of each team.

My picks:

Round 1: Torres
Round 2: Arshavin
Round 3: Vincent Kompany - D - Man City - Like I mentioned earlier, there are only a handful of defenders you can pencil in every week for the Big 5 (Man City joins as well). I would put this list as Cech, Ivanovic, Cole, Terry, Luiz, De Gea, Evra, Vidic, Reina, Skrtel, Johnson, Hart, and Kompany. This is a short list. These players should be at a premium. Last year, Man City and Chelsea were tied with the lowest goals against. And Kompany is the only sure starter on D for Man City. That's why I took him so early.
4. David Luiz - D - Chelsea - Very happy to get Luiz here. He was number 16 0n my big board and I got him with pick 50. Nice.
5. Mario Balotelli - S - Man City - Head case. High Risk, hopefully high reward.
6. Brad Friedel - GK - Tottenham - Maybe a bit early, but I needed a goalie, and it was him or Given.
7. Mikel Arteta - M - Everton - Good value at round 7 barring any more injury issues.
8. Rafael - D - Man U - If Rafael gets the majority of starts at right back, I'm feeling very good about my team.
9. Marouane Fellaini - M - Everton - Ready for a bounce-back year. Good value in round 9.
10. David "Junior" Hoilett - M - Blackburn - This was my sleeper pick. I probably took him a round or two early, but I did not want to lose him. He is listed as a mid and should start a lot of games as a striker. Break-out year baby.
11. Louis Saha - S - Everton - Getting a starting striker for a top 7 team in the 11th round is great. Injury issues, though.
12. Ryan Shawcross - D - Stoke
13. Youssouf Mulumbu - M - West Bromwich Albion- Good back-up midfielder, another break-out candidate.
14. Ryan Giggs - M - Man U - The old man still has it. But how do you know when he will start?
15. John O'Shea - D - Sunderland
16. Steven Taylor - D - Newcastle - If you can't get a top defender, differentiation in the back is key. This way, goals against are usually balanced out by clean sheets.

There we go, a strong team. A championship team? I am not as confident as last season, but I feel pretty good looking after looking at other teams. Things that will tell the tale are Rafael's starts and if Torres or Balotelli can find consistent form.
Stay tuned for more to come!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Everton in DC

As I said for the US/Jamaica game, there are some perks due to living in DC. Ok, this perk -Everton vs. DC United - might not be too big of a perk for some people, but it does the job for me. I was pretty psyched when I found Everton was coming to my city. Here is a quick little review of their time here.

Practice - Everton had an open practice Friday morning, and of course, I went. It was 100 degrees and sunny, a bit different than Liverpool. There were only about 100 fans and it was kinda weird. Probably the weather, but most people were pretty subdued. I give a nice "Alright Timmy" as Tim Cahill came out and he sent over a brief salute, maybe more of a wave, or at least some sort of acknowledgment.
The practice was nothing too crazy. Warm-ups, one offense drill with a couple variations and a small sided game. Beckford was probably most impressive, but a small sided scrimmage is where he would thrive. Distin and a few others had trouble with the heat. Props go to Leighton Baines. If you didn't know any better you'd think he was a young kid trying to make an impression on the coaches. He went through every drill at full speed while a lot of the more veteran players took water and stretch breaks and did other stuff. He did not slow down despite the heat.
Oh, and Arteta came out in a walking boot and crutches, not looking good.
The best part about the practice was that all the players and Moyes came over to the fans and signed autographs and took pictures. It was definitely a great way to show thanks for all fans that braved the heat. I know the last thing you want to do after a hot practice is go talk to people you don't know. Much appreciated. Now I'm too mature for that fanboy autograph shit, but I did get some nice pictures. Check them out below with a few player observations.

Game - The game was fun. The upper bowl at RFK was not open. I'd say about 12,000 fans, but that might be generous. Both teams mixed their squads with reserves and starters. Everton scoring twice in the first 15 minutes really made things easy for Everton, but also lacking drama. Everton weren't great, but totally moved the ball better than DC. They had a lot of chances, but DC had some good outside shots too, but it's really hard to glean the big picture from this game. Instead, let's look at a few individual players performances.

Ross Barkley - I didn't know who this guy was at the practice. He is big, like Rodwell, not as strong yet, but tall, more like a defender than midfielder. He got the start on Saturday and looked good - not great, but good. Like most young guys, he worked hard and was trying to do all he could. Best part, only 17 years old. We got to keep this young Liverpool born talent.

Apostolos Vellios - This 19 year old Greek striker might be my new favorite player, mostly because the great picture above, but also due to his strong potential. He was the first player I got a picture with and seemed a nice humble guy, happy to be there. He too got the start Saturday and looked good. He seems to be the strong target man the Everton are lacking. He showed for the ball a lot, showed good control and touches and game IQ. I'd love to see him up top with Saha or Beckford. But will Moyes do that?

Victor Anichebe - Man, this guy is a BEAST in person. Ridiculously strong, maybe too strong for soccer. He scored a nice goal, but still has a few injuries. Pre-season will be big for him. Oh, and he much better at looking at the camera than me.

Conor McAleny - This was another guy I did not know before the weekend. He was probably the most eye-catching at the practice. He worked his ass off and was very crisp. Some are comparing him to Michael Owen. We'll see. Again, though very young and full of promise.

Tim Cahill - Timmy likes the heat. Oh yeah, Timmy's ready! Timmy's got some new moves. He's an Aussie. Tim played much deeper than he usually does, but he said the summer is all about fitness.

Magaye Gueye - Magaye was my new favorite player coming into the weekend, but that spot might be usurped by Vellios due to the pic. Magaye will soon be a stud, though. He has pace and skill. He can play as a second striker, on the left wing or the right wing, all spots we will need people this year. The heat looked a bit much for him, but he did get his 3rd goal in 3 games this summer, which is a huge positive. On the goal in the game, what was most impressive was his great pass to set up Beckford. Excited for more!

Sylvain Distin - A mountain of a man. He was not a fan of the heat, but a beast on the field against DC. Distin!

Jermaine Beckford - Strong in practice, but only got about 20 minutes in the game. I am not sold on this guy. At least twice he took a shot from outside the box when he had open players on his flanks. A nice setup for Magaye, though He is going to have to show better decision making if he is going to become a starter under Moyes.

There you go, just the mostly meaningless preseason, I hope Everton had as good a time in DC as I did. Let's hope it actually contributes to a strong start this season! C'mon you Boys!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Favorite Literary Characters

A post about my favorite literary characters? Why not? A bit pretentious perhaps, but I'm by no means saying I'm a literature expert. I have though gotten myself through a good number of books.

A few notes:
- I have not included comic book characters, though I do consider comic books literature. They would dominate the list. Look for a favorite comic book character list in the upcoming weeks. Epic.
- Obviously, characters are only from books I read. I will try not to be influenced by movie versions of books, but sometimes it is hard to separate the two.
- This a truly a list of my favorites, not necessary the "best" literature characters. You will see that I tend to move away from the lead protagonist and move more toward upper supporting characters.
- There will be a large honorable mention. I don't think it is a good idea to have too many favorites of anything.

Honorable Mention:
Dr. Larch - The Cider House Rules - Hard to put an abortionist on the list, but he is a quality character, a quality contrast of character, Very close to making the real list.
Germanicus - I, Claudius
Adah - The Poisonwood Bible - By far the best narrator of the bunch
Nick Carraway - The Great Gatsby - I kind of feel like this everyman quality draws in the reader. You could see yourself as him being introduced to this opulent culture and wanting to be part of it.
D-503 - We - The first dystopian novel. Check it out.
Grand Admiral Thrawn - Star Wars Novels (Thrawn Trilogy) - makes you almost root for the Empire. Super dorky to read, but super enjoyable.
Talon Karrade - Star Wars Novels (Thrawn Trilogy) - another Star Wars character created by Timothy Zahn. Complex character.
Sam Spade - The Maltese Falcon
Jack Burden - All the King's Men - similar to Nick Carraway
Chief - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Randle Patrick McMurphy - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Very Close to making the real list.
Luna Lovegood - Harry Potter


Regulus Black -Harry Potter Books- Ok, so I won't be ranking this list, but it is a top 5, and RAB is 5th, and could easily drop down into honorable mention if someone better catches my fancy. The other 4 will always be on my list, no doubt.
That being said, awesome character. Super unique in depiction. He never appeared in the entire Harry Potter series, not even in flashbacks. He was only talked about my other characters. It is wild how intriguing this made him, how this made you focus on all the small mentions of him. This is a great story too, a story of redemption, a story of realizing you are on the wrong side and trying to change that. Nicely done RAB and JKR.

Atticus Finch - To Kill a Mockingbird

You can already see my two favorite character types by these picks. The first, RAB and even moreso the third person on the list, is about the journey - a change in outlook, person, relationships, and well, character. The second seen by Atticus Finch is the person who does not change, the person who sticks to their beliefs, their morals, their core no matter what. In fact they stay true even when it would be easier and sometimes beneficial to change or bend or falter a little. But these men will not break, will not back down, will not change for anybody. Their core is true and unchanging.
Atticus Finch is a perfect example of this, pretty much everything that is good about America, humanity, and literature. I do not hesitate to use the picture of of Gregory Peck as Atticus. Gregory Peck is Atticus Finch. Perfect casting, perfect depiction.

Larry Underwood - The Stand -
Yes, the perfect example of the inward journey. King matches it for Underwood with a real physical trek as well, with bridges and tunnels and wrong turns and roadblocks, but in the end, the destination is reached.
I love every step of Larry's journey - from California to the time with his mother to Central Park to the Lincoln Tunnel to his time with Nadine to his time in Boulder to Vegas leading the way. He just seems so real even in the face of the incredible crisis. He reacts like a human. The circumstances change him. He sometimes fights those changes. He sometimes thinks those changes are fictional. He questions his growth, his choices, his place in this whole, epic mess.
In the end, I'm glad to have shared the journey with Larry.

Major Scobie - The Heart of the MatterThis is the same cover to the book that I read, except mine didn't have that stupid quote.
Scobie is somewhere in-between the character types that I mentioned. He is definitely true to his ways, no matter how wrong they might be. There is definitely a journey, an inward journey.
Scobie is the best example I can think of of the flesh vs spirit conflict. That is in a sense the same battle that Larry and Regulus faced, but it is oh so exemplified here. Which one wins? Both? Neither? Selfless to a fault, but still everyone loses. Interesting.

Fingolfin - The Silmarillion

If I ever get a pet it will undoubtedly be named Fingolfin.
Honor. Valor. Bravery. Courage. These words and their ilk perfectly describe Fingolfin, the only Tolkein character on the list surprisingly. The Silmarillion is much different than LOTR. I like it better in fact. You get a lot of characters, a lot of history, and a lot of mythology. The story is complex, but to summarize, Fingolfin stands by his brother after he does something pretty, pretty horrible. His brother then turns his back on Fingolfin, leaves him for dead, but Fingolfin leads his people through some super harsh Middle Earth conditions. Things continue to be pretty shitty for them because of Morgoth, who is like Sauron times 10. Morgoth = Batman. Sauron = Robin. There are attempted battles, but nothing good happens. Fingolfin finally has enough and goes to take on Morgoth single handedly! It's David and Goliath, but Fingolfin is no David. The is one of the most powerful Elves ever. He was so angry and ferocious, onlookers thought him a god. Epic battle ensues. Epic. In the end, Fingolfin falls valiantly. Middle Earth goes to shit for some time, but eventually the valor of Fingolfin was remember and Morgoth was defeated.
Worthy of my pet's name? Yes.

There you go. Awesome literary characters. Complex, transforming, true, a pleasure to read over and over again.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Tantalizing Frustration of the Summer Football Season

As a football (soccer) fan, the summer always holds a certain level of promise, but usually provides a much higher level of frustration. The European football off season is a unique experience. It is fueled by rumors and gossip pages and the board media. At times, it is almost as exciting as the real sport. In today's day and age, with blogs and twitter and a desire for instant information, it is probably too much. Pretty much every player out there is linked with someone else at some point in the summer. Lots of times the endless rumors of players and clubs are referred to as "transfer sagas". That is pretty apt as these things sometimes go on for months and months with endless speculation and nothing really happening.
Things are even worse being an Everton fan. You hear these rumors of players you know you are not going to get. You hear rumors linking your team to players you don't want. You most often hear rumors of your players leaving for bigger clubs. Yet you still check everyday to see who you are linked with. It's addicting. So far this summer Everton have sold 2 average players and bought no one. That is pretty normal actually.

Let's take a look at Everton's 2011 summer transfer rumors:
Mirislav Klose: The most unrealistic of the bunch, but fun to pretend
Demba Ba: Strong striker, also free - went with the higher wages offered by Newcastle
Sergio Canales (loan): Would've been interesting, but never realistic
As you can see by the three above, Everton have no money. All these players were free and we still cannot afford them. We must sell to buy, but can what we buy from our sales be better than what we have? Always the question of transfers I guess.

Jay Bothroyd: I'm not interested in him. He's not interested in us
Charles N'Zogbia: This would be a great signing, but I don't see us getting him for less than 8 million pounds
Shane Long: The Ginger has never impressed me. I don't think he's Premiership quality. No way I would pay more than 4 for him
Shaun Wright-Philips: This would be nice and make sense for player and club, but I see his wages being too high
Craig Bellamy: A quality striker, but I don't see him as an Everton man.
Nedam Onuoha: Of this list, Onuoha is the one I would most want - young, athletic, powerful, room to grow under Moyes.
Wes Brown - No thanks. We already got Phil Neville. Going to Sunderland now, though.
Danny Welbeck: I'd take him on loan or sale.

Yeah, nothing too exciting. We just don't have the money.
Out rumors:
I've heard rumors for most of our big guns - Baines, Rodwell, Fellaini, Jagielka. I would sell Rodwell and Fellaini. They just don't add anything that exceptional to the team. I would also love to see Bilyletdinov go. He just does not fit into the Everton system.

No money, our best players leaving, but don't fret Everton fans. Moyes actually does his best work with the mid-level transfers. That is what our team is based on pretty much.
Tim Cahill: £1.5 million
Mikel Arteta: £2 million
Tim Howard: £3 million
Phil Jagielka: £4m
Leighton Baines: £6 million
Jolean Lescott: £4m
Sylvain Distin: £5 million

From the data, we have to trust in Moyes' mid-level buys. He'll find a way to do something.
Unfortunately, every summer is the same. We say we will get players early, but wait until the last days of August. This contributes to our continual poor starts each season. Man.

Either way, I will continue to check the rumor mill each day. It is summer football season after all.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Gold Cup Report

I was able to attend the Gold Cup Quarterfinal matches yesterday in our nation's capital. It was a nice full day of soccer and a huge perk of living in a large metropolitan area. The games were good, not great, but the atmosphere was high quality.

RFK - This was my first time at RFK. It was, um, unimpressive. I see why the Redskins have a new stadium. It wasn't bad for soccer, though, with lots of new seats brought in closer to the field. The game was a sellout and we had some great seats, around the 40 yard line I'd say, about 30-40 rows back. The first thing I noticed was the huge amounts of El Salvador fans, and this is at 2:30, 3.5 hours before their game starts. The Salvadorians took over that stadium.

USA/Jamaica - This was my first USA soccer game. No US jerseys for any of our group and only a couple make-shift flags, but plenty of Wisconsin gear! I once saw Mexico play Ireland at Soldier Field about 10 years ago, and that was just a friendly. This time you could tell it was a big match. I mean it is only the Gold Cup - huge for Jamaica, Panama, and El Salvador and if the US loses, see you later Bob Bradley.
The US fans were pretty hype, not as numerous or as loud as the Salvadorians, but more consistent. We were right behind Sam's Army and got to stand for the entire game, which I liked. Aside from one great chance for Jamaica in the first 5 minutes, it was clear that the US was the superior team. The first goal, and the second goal for that matter, was more relief than anything. Lots of good chances in the first half and lots of great saves by the Jamaican 'keeper.
I was saying before the game that this was going to be Jozy's re-coming out party, but he only is able to last 10 minutes before coming out injured. Lots of good possession by the US, and an eventual 2-0 victory. The red card helped, and in person, it seemed like an obvious sending off, but I guess on the replay, not so much. It was also the only time I jumped onto the back of the seat in front of me.

All and all, this is the most optimistic I can remember being for the future of US soccer. It was not just Dempsey, Donovan, and Howard. This was by far the best performances in a US jersey I have seen from Jones, Lichaj, Bedoya, and Kljestan. Some of those do not really have a large testing sample, but they showed the can be counted on when needed. And Juan Agudelo, only 18 and soon to be ready for the big time. The US will continue to find players. Great support from the fans.

El Salvador/Panama - One might think that the best part of the day was over, but that would be incorrect. Most US fans must have thought this, as they left immediately after the game. Those that stayed steadily trickled out as the second game went on. I already mentioned the El Salvador fans. The upper deck was a sea of blue. Pretty much all of their fans have some sort of El Salvador jersey. For the first game, the stadium was probably about 40% USA fans 60% El Salvador fans. Even during the US game, their fans were loud and pro-USA. This is America you know! For the second game, it was probably 90% El Salvador and 10% other. I guess the El Salvador fans were just waiting at the entrances for other fans to leave. Good stuff. I really can't impart to you how loud the fans were. The national anthem and players coming onto the field were really something cool to be a part of. They people were into the game too, even if the product on the field wasn't so great. They loved every half trick, every tackle, and every shot. ES was awarded a penalty about half through the first half. The place was ready to explode, but the shot was saved.

Things got more and more testy on the field and in the stands as the game went on. The crowd was affecting the ref so El Salvador was getting some favorable calls. Fans were getting more and more agitated. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Panama was the better team - stronger, bigger, faster, and more organized. Then with about 10 minutes left, El Salvador got another PK. This time it was converted. The crowd went bonkers. The stadium shook. Beer and water flying through the air. I'm pretty sure this is the loudest I have ever heard a soccer stadium. People were rejoicing. A fan in front of us literally broke his seat off whilst celebrating. Our small group was pulled into the euphoria. But alas, as often happens in football, it did not last. Panama scored a controversial goal in the 90th minute. We were not sure in the stand what happened, but I guess it went in. The crowd did not like this. It really turned into Central America - lots of bottles and other things thrown on the field, a fan running on the pitch, more bottles thrown at the refs, two players sent off. Good stuff all and all. Probably for the best that they stopped serving beer right after kickoff. I don't know if I've ever seen such disappointment at a sporting event. It's like they just knew it was over. The fans either got more sad or more angry as overtime went on. Lots of them kept looking at us as US fans for approval I guess. It was interesting.
El Salvador had one good chance in the final minute of overtime, but to no avail. It was on to PKs. The Panama goalie saved the first one and Panama did not miss. Game over. Lots of angry/sad Salvadorians. This was a BIG game for both teams and obviously meant a lot more to their fans than the average US fan.
Oh, and I can't be from Wisconsin without mentioning the efficient public transit system that we were able to use after the game. Crowded, but easy.
A very fine day for us!

Next Up - USA/Panama Wednesday 7pm Eastern, Mexico/Honduras 10pm Eastern, both in Houston. As long as the US plays like the did on Sunday, they should get revenge on Panama. I'm very interested in seeing what the crowd is like as both Mexico and the US are there. That should make things interesting. Until then - America! Fuck Yeah!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

English Premier League Fantasy Wrap-Up

For the forth straight year, my friends and I ran a EPL English Premier League Fantasy Draft-based League. A fantasy draft in an EPL fantasy league is hard to come by, so my friends and I just do the league on our own. It provides for good fun. See the draft review here. Actually, I'm the one running the league, I do all the stats and collect weekly line-ups. This provides me with a huge advantage as I see every play who scores, every player who has a clean sheet, and every player that gets an assist. This come up big in the early parts of the season and in the middle part of the season when players get benched or injured.
Bottom line, I won the league again. Let's take a look at the league.

Defense wins championships. I put together an amazing defense, drafting Edwin Van der Sar, Joe Hart, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jagielka, Silvain Distin, and Robert Huth. Bomb.
I would like to dedicate my championship to my midfield midseason pick-ups. I drafted Theo Walcott, and then a whole lot of nothing - Niko Kranjcar, Stephen Ireland, Shaun Wright-Philips, Steven N'Zonzi, and Mesut Ozil. Wow, pretty horrible. Throughout the course of the season, I picked up Ramires, Stuart Holden, Jordan Henderson, and lastly Thomas Hitzlesperger. Yes! Those midfielders along with my defense won me the championship.

GK: Joe Hart 38 points (Jerry/Tony)
D: John Terry 62 points (Serg)
D: Ashley Cole 61 points (Tony)
D: Branislav Ivanovic 55 points (Carlo)
D: Vidic 51 points (Junkie)
M: Rafael van der Vaart 119 points (Raubert)
M: Ashley Young 74 points (Serg)
M: Nani 64 points (Dustin/Jerry)
M: Arshavin 58 points (Rory)
S: Carlos Tevez 166 points (Jerry/Dustin) PLAYER OF THE YEAR
S: Didier Drogba 127 points (Dustin/Jerry)
Manager: Carlo Ancelotti 15 points (Bryan)

Bench: Cech (Bryan), Zabaleta (Serg), Baines (Jerry/Worth), Fabregas (BJ), Kuyt (Dustin), Rooney (Tony), Robin Van Persie (Carlo/BJ)


BJ - Again, not picking players from Man U, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, and now Man City, yet somehow still challenging for the top spot until the last week, an impressive managerial display. Van Persie's hot streak helped him move up the table, along with Charles N'Zogbia and Asamoah Gyan pick-ups. Led the league in transfers - having everyone from Joey Barton to Landon Donovan to Steed Malbranque at one point.

Dustin - Last year's champ ended up third. Did his mid-season trade of Carlos Tevez for Didier Drogba cost him the league? I don't think so, but it would've put him much closer. Strong attacking lineup with Bent and Kuyt as well, but lack of a true scoring defender hurt him.

Raubert - Raubert, the league's inaugural winner 2008, came on very strong in the middle and end of the season, winning the Cup Competition. His early pick-ups of Peter Odemwingie and Rafael Van der Vaart turned out to be the best ones of the year.

Jerry - Started strong with Drogba killing at the start of the season and then picked up Tevez to keep momentum going. In the end, reliance on Man City players and failure to change his lineup sent him down the standings.

Rory - Rory was another early leader, in first place until about March. His team went the way of his players Berbatov and Kevin Nolan - great starts, but no points after January pretty much.

Serg - Shows if you stick with the same lineup every week, you will get players with a lot of points - Terry, Zabaleta, Ashley Young - but that will not get you enough points to challenge for the title, especially when you count Victor Obinna, Eidur Gudjohsen, and Yuri Zhirkov among those starters.

Bryan - Lack of a premier striker hurt Bryan. Strong midfield with Osman, Cahill, Bale, and Lee, but nothing great up-top.

Worth - Torres, lots of Liverpool defenders, lots of transfers, and too many Birmingham defenders makes for a poor season to go with poor career endeavors for our favorite former restaurant owner.

Andy - Questionable managerial moves not starting Charlie Adam and dropping Charles N'Zogbia. He actually drafted a strong team, but when Jermaine Defoe is your best player, things aren't going to be too strong.

Carlo - Yeah, when Chamakh is your best player, it is a sign you aren't really doing too hot, or playing too hard.

Junkie - Worst team in the history of the league. I actually liked the start of his draft with Gerrard, Vidic, and Vermaelen, but injuries and lack of depth killed him. Started John Pantsil, Paul Scholes, and James Milner all year, ouch.

Ah, I'm sorry that just turned into me making fun of everyone else. But that is what you get Dustin for starting Bolton's Paul Robinson.

Worst Players - Pienaar (Rory), Carrick (Carlo), Barera (Carlo), Zhirkov (Serg) - all started for much of the season but did not score a single point.
Kaboul (Junkie) -2, Warnock (Andy) -3, Kyriakos (Worth) -2, Phil Bardsley (Worth) -2, Aurelio (Worth) -4, Roger Johnson (Worth) -6
And worst player of the season - Wayne Bridge (Jerry) -8. Nice.

There you go folks, another great you. If anyone new is interested in joining, or creating their own league, let me know. Historical stats after the jump.

527 Dustin
492 Tony
464 Worth
455 Serg
435 BJ
436 Carlo
406 Raubert
398 Nik
363 Junkie
359 Bryan
270 Jesse


Tony 511
Worth 471
Junkie 469
Serg 446
BJ 437
Bryan 432
Tyler 364
Joe 328
Jesse 308
Raubert 299
Dustin 299

Raubert: 524
Tony : 490
Jesse: 488
Junkie: 459
Dustin: 415
Nik: 409
Loeser: 381
Worth: 367
Joe: 361
James: 348
Serg: 280

Team of the Year
GK: Cech 43 Points (Raubert)
D- John Terry 100 points (Serg)
D - Thomas Vermaelen 60 points (BJ)
D - Ashley Cole 58 points (Serg)
D - Patrice Evra 57 Points (Dustin)
M - Frank Lampard 198 points (Dustin) PLAYER OF THE YEAR
M - Cesc Fabregas 140 points (Tony)
M - Andrei Arshavin 66 points (Bryan)
M - Steven Gerrard 65 points (Carlo)
S - Wayne Rooney 184 points (Raubert)
S - Carlos Tevez 134 points (Carlo)

Bench: Reina 39, Dunne 53, Malouda 54, Torres 129, Drogba 123

GK -Reina 61 points (Raubert)
D - Vidic 84 points (Junkie)
D - Bosingwa 75 points (Tony)
D - Alex 63 points (Bryan)
D - Terry 53 points (Serg)
M - Gerrard 168 points (Worth) PLAYER OF THE YEAR
M - Lampard 130 points (Serg)
M - Ronaldo 129 points (Tyler)
M - Ireland 49 points (Bryan)
S - Anelka 104 points (Junkie)
S - Robinho 95 points (Tony)

GK- Reina 51 pts (Worth)
D - Rio Ferdinand 129 points (Joe)
D - Jolean Lescott 73 points (Jesse)
D- John Terry 71 pts (Tony)
D - William Gallas 68 pts (Loeser)
M- C. Ronaldo 242 pts (Raubert) PLAYER OF THE YEAR
M - Steven Gerrard 117 pts (Worth)
M - Fabregas 116 pts (Junkie)
M- Frank Lampard 86 pts (James)
S - Torres 185 pts (Jesse)
S - Adeboyor 132 pts (Nik)