Monday, November 30, 2009

What's so bad about Cleveland, anyway?

As I've been listening to sports talk radio over the past few days, mainly the old place of unpaid employment (ESPN Cleveland), I've been hearing a common theme, mainly from Aaron Goldhammer: There's no way that anyone with any kind of established reputation would want to come be the so-called "Fooball Czar" of the Browns.

And I ask this question: "Why?"

Honestly, I know the Browns' track record has not exactly been stellar since returning to the NFL, in fact, that's being nice about it, but what exactly is it about the Browns that scares away coaches? In fact, the Browns are a perfect landing spot for anyone who wants to rebuild a roster from scratch...

1) Ownership will spend money like that overly generous drunk guy who buys rounds upon rounds of shots for his friends and women he just met, and said owner does not like to interfere or make executive decisions like Jerry Jones (Dallas) or Dan Snyderbrenner (Washington).

2) Whoever comes in will have generous amounts of cap space to work with since the dead weight has been either cut or traded.

3) 11 draft picks in the draft means the Czar/GM will not only have many opportunities to improve the roster, but will also have increased maneuverability to move up and down the draft order.

4) Rabid fanbase just wants a winner. You can't tell me that fanbase doesn't matter. The guy who brings a championship to this city will have a statue built of himself outside of Cleveland Browns Stadium.

I refuse to believe the "It's Cleveland" mentality that seems to permeate through this city. For crying out loud we need to quit having this mentality. Cleveland weather stinks? Well it also does in Green Bay, Chicago, Denver, New York, Seattle, New England, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, etc. Hell, for those of you who ask why Bill Parcells would want to leave Miami: I happen to be of the mind that the weather in Miami stinks: ever been to northern Florida in the summer time, let alone south Florida? Too hot and humid for me.

I was down on West 6th on Friday Night, you can't tell me that Cleveland night life is dead, especially when there's a Cavs game and a massive Bellagio-style casino set to be built downtown. Hell, it's becoming a trend where recent college graduates are moving downtown. I'd love to if I wasn't more preoccupied with stashing away money for a down payment on a house, a new car and eventually retirement (all my fellow recent graduates: start now, you'll be happy when you can golf every weekend in your 50's). But my main point is Cleveland is not the pits, despite what many want to believe.

Honestly, besides differing recent success at NFL football, what does Pittsburgh have that Cleveland doesn't? Answer: Nothing. So what would scare away "established NFL men" from Cleveland? I would understand if ownership was overbearing (Washington), cheap (Arizona, Cincinnati) or in flux (St. Louis), but it's not! Say what you want about Lerner, he's been a bad owner so far, but he's willing to do whatever it takes to turn this around.

So, I ask you, Browns fan, why should we have this mentality of "Established NFL men won't come here?" Hammer's had some BAD opinions before, mainly about the Buckeyes, but this one really grinds my gears.

EDIT: And for God sakes, can we please stop praying we lose so we get the #1 overall pick in the draft? Don't you realize that the #1 overall pick is NOT a blessing? Last year Matthew Stafford was paid a 6-year $72 million contract. Don't you people realize just how much of a percentage of the salary cap that is?!?!?!? The ABSOLUTE HIGHEST you ever want to pick is 8th because that's when the salaries become reasonable! Come on people, this is NFL Draft 101!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Off Topic: Joebees Bee Pollen Supplement Review

Before I begin I want to explain some things: Yes, I was an intern at ESPN 850 WKNR over summer. Yes, Joebees is a major partner (their term for advertising client because they literally try to integrate the product into their programming, so it is a "partnership") of ESPN Cleveland. Yes, I received a free sample while I was at ESPN Cleveland. But in no way have I been compensated for writing this review nor have I been asked to write it, and I am no longer affiliated with ESPN Cleveland in any form despite knowing people there and considering myself a "friend of the station."

Ok, got that legalese out of the way? Good. (FYI: Blogs are going to begin to require stating whether or not they've been compensated or given free samples for trying a product. I might as well get used to it now.)

Joebees is a Bee Pollen supplement. For those of you who don't know, bee pollen is considered one of nature's most "complete" foods. It contains the essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids that every body needs to function optimally. Most of all, these nutrients are all natural, from nature: they're not created in a lab. Everyone knows nature-based products are better than products created in a lab.

Another benefit of bee pollen is that it gives you added energy. Let me be clear on this: This is not an energy supplement like Red Bull or 5-hour energy. Your heart rate doesn't elevate and you don't experience a "high" like you do with energy supplements. I'll give you an example: One of my friends became a KNR listener over summer and wanted to try Joebees, so he ordered a supply of them. After a few months I asked him if they worked and how he liked them, he told me he liked them a lot. They did in fact give him a boost of energy, but it's not what people consider a "boost of energy" like the 5-hour Energy supplement. Basically, he would always take an afternoon nap before taking Joebees, now he doesn't need that afternoon nap and can make it through the day. It's a subtle, but noticeable difference, and now his entire family takes them. If you can feel that kind of difference on the outside, just imagine how much better you're feeling inside. Afterall, you need to feel results internally before the results manifest themselves externally.

I, too, have experienced that kind of energy boost. Like clockwork, my body is always begging for a nap come 3 PM. After using Joebees for a few weeks, I noticed I'm not as tired as often. Of course, this is not a substitute for sleep: on days where I get fewer hours of sleep than desired I still want a nap, but on days where I get a normal amount of sleep I'm not seeking a mid-afternoon siesta.

Another point I want to be clear on: the benefits happen over time. You don't immediately take two capsules and feel it. Think of it like a workout program: over time, you see the results. There's also medical information that supports what I say about Joebees, just Google "bee pollen benefits."

In terms of customer service, Joe B. is top notch. You can talk to him personally about the product, he talks to you on Twitter, he reads your feedback and he communicates with you personally. I know from personal experience that Joe's customer relations are second to none. Like I said, I have not been asked to write this. I wrote this because of my positive experience with not only the product, but the person selling the product.

This is NOT a miracle product, but remember: there is NO SUCH THING as a miracle product! It's an all-natural vitamin supplement that will give you an added boost of energy that will have you feeling better over time.

Unless you're allergic to bees, I highly suggest you dial 877-300-5632 or go to Joebees.com.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Off Topic: Fall 2009 Macbook Review




I'm going to move off the sports path for a bit because it's my blog and I can do what I want.

For years I've talked about switching to a Mac, and in all honesty I should have two years ago when my loud, hot, monstrosity of an HP desktop decided to generally go haywire. Instead I went the HP laptop route because I was lured in by the extra power for the price, not realizing the absolute disaster that was Windows Vista.

Not anymore, my friends. After the HP decided to call it quits, I decided this would be the last time I'd deal with the frustration of a Windows PC. So, using Microcenter's $200 mail-in rebate on the Macbook, I decided I could not wait any longer and I went out and bought myself a shiny new Macbook. I'll sum up my review in three short words: I love it.

I was originally torn on the newly redesigned white Macbook or spend the same amount on a refurbished 13" Macbook Pro. As much as I love the aluminum design of the Pro, the $200 rebate pushed the white Macbook over the top since there was no rebate for a refurbished Pro. This Macbook has been completely redesigned to use the same unibody construction as its aluminum Pro siblings, but in white polycarbonate plastic form. I had played with both the old-design Macbook and the new Unibody Macbook, and I found the new Macbook to be light years ahead of the old design in terms of sturdiness and build quality. The old Macbook felt "cheap" and flimsy when I held it compared to this new design.

There are some gripes about this machine from other reviews I've read: The plastic is so glossy it's supposedly "sticky" on the palm rests, the lack of Firewire port, lack of SD slot and lack of removable battery. My only gripe out of those complaints is the lack of an SD slot because that was my preferred way to upload photos onto my old laptop. However, SD to USB converters come cheap so that is not much of an issue. The palm rests are not sticky to me and I don't use Firewire for anything. The battery is rated at 7-hours and according to other reviews it gets a "real-world" time of 5-hours. That is PLENTY of battery and it lasts up to 1000 charges, or an average of 5 years. Basically: When the battery is dead, you'll want a shiny new Mac by then anyway.

Here's what I love about the machine: The multitouch trackpad is very intuitive and fun to use. The LED screen is so bright and vibrant that my LCD HDTV looks dim in comparison. Yes, the screen is glossy but unlike the Macbook Pro, there is no glass in front of the screen so it does not reflect nearly as much as the Pro. The Macbook has the same processor as its 13" Pro sibling and has a 250 GB hard drive, which is larger than the Pro. The computer is FAST, and much of that goes to the reason why people use Macs in the first place: Mac OS X. Mac OS X Snow Leopard is FAST. Having used both Windows 7 and Snow Leopard, Snow Leopard smokes Windows 7...I won't even get into how it leaves Vista in its dust. I had limited experience with Macs (as in I only used them at Alden Library for web surfing) before using this machine. I have had zero complications in learning how to use a Mac. When they say it...just...works, they mean it. It's more stable and virus free, to top it all off.

So to anyone who wants to switch to a Mac, I say do it! Now until December 6th is the right time to use that rebate (or if you can use your student ID for a student discount plus a free iPod over summer...or if you're a former student use your old student ID, not that I recommend fraud or anything). I literally can not say enough good things about this machine. My only gripe is that I didn't switch sooner.

P.S. Still not a Mac fan? Then enter for your chance to win a new HP PC laptop and help out a fellow blogger in the process by entering this contest... I may have switched to a Mac but I'm still trying to win one for my mom since she needs a new laptop too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Channel 19 Needs Their FCC License Revoked

For those of you who have seen the previews on Channel 19, you know exactly which segment I'm referring to here. The segment on Action News called "LeBron: More Than a Mess."

Now, I didn't watch this segment because I wasn't about to give Channel 19 the satisfaction of my viewership for higher ratings. But, I did read about it from Brian Windhorst (tied with Terry Pluto as the BEST columnist in Cleveland) and heard about it on KNR. I can sum up the segment in one word: ridiculous.

But I'm not surprised. After all, this is the same station that gave us the 911 phone call audio of the death of Randy Lerner's niece. They also gave us the over the top Sharon Reid segment (not that I'm complaining about that one though). Their entire Action News format is a disgrace to true journalists everywhere, although one may argue that most stations are sensationalist these days for ratings.

But c'mon, 19, this is LEBRON we're talking about. LeBron is the ONE good thing about Cleveland sports right now. Are you trying to run him out of town? Are you trying to make him angry? I'm gonna use my new favorite sentence when describing this situation: THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!!! Goodness, we have something good and we try to find some way to screw it up.

Surely LeBron and his people know 19 is a disgrace to local news. I hope to believe that most people know 19 is sensationalist garbage as well. The day Raycom sells Channel 19, the day Cleveland television and news will be better off for it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Owning Up to My Mistake

It's been awhile, so I'll make this post about the most obvious subject that you'd think I'd cover.

Before the Browns began their 2009 season, I held a firm belief that our team would be much improved over last season. I wasn't expecting playoffs, but I was expecting a team to play inspired, competent football that just so happened to be hampered by a lack of talent. We would be in every game but fall short more often than not because we were still learning how to win.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I was wr-wr-wr-wr...I think you know what I'm trying to say.

I could have never fathomed this fumbling, stumbling, absolute MESS of an organization that has been created. Who's to blame? The guy I regrettably gave my full endorsement before the beginning of the season: Eric Mangini. I never thought in my wildest dreams I'd be calling for his head after just one season. But man...this is a trainwreck, a trainwreck that needs to end before it can get any worse.

Mangini apologists will argue that the team has no talent, or its talent is extremely young and raw, that we are rebuilding, etc. My argument is that when you rebuild, you can not, I repeat, NOT, take an already bad situation and somehow make it even worse. The only way that is allowed is if the team is full of over the hill veterans (see: 2007 Chiefs).

The most damning aspect of the Mangini reign is the fact that the team is not competitive and you can read it in the body language of the players. As a fan, you can literally feel the wheels fall off when something goes wrong. You can literally SEE the players give up. That is absolutely, positively, unacceptable. It's absolutely embarrassing to see the Browns defense give up 400 yards passing a 5 touchdowns to a ROOKIE QB. A ROOKIE QB on a BAD TEAM nonetheless! That's a new low in the history of the Browns, and some want to give Mangini a pass? Give me a break!

I can't completely fault Mangini for the bad situation he was handed, but he made it that much worse. What's worse, I honestly believe he gets a bad rap in the media because he comes from the Parcells School of Media Lockout. When I hear him speak, and when I hear his philosophies, I WANT him to succeed. When he talks about the importance of the charity work, and giving back to soldiers who defend our country, you want that kind of person representing you. That makes it that much more frustrating that he faces player mutiny and has the team uncompetitive.

Unfortunately, the blame falls squarely on Mangini's shoulders. He has to go. He had to go yesterday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Look out, the blog will be back soon!

I know some people (all two of you) may have been wondering why I mysteriously stopped posting updates to the blog.

To be short, this past quarter of college has been my most demanding quarter since I was a sophomore. I couldn't keep updating as much as I wanted to, so I stopped altogether.

BUT, starting next week I'll be back. And I have a ton of egg on my face based on the stuff I wrote over summer. Especially the "mancrush on Mangini" post.

There has been 9 weeks of horrendous Browns football that I'm ready to unleash my fury about. Be ready.

Also, I need ideas on how to re-design the site. I know it looks plain and I probably should drop the "Am I right or what?" tagline cuz, quite frankly, I haven't been right. This whole "learning humility" thing is tough.

Anyway, I didn't forget about the blog. It's not dead, in fact, it may be bigger and better than ever before.