Google Idol

Now this is pretty funny. Google Idol is running head to head competitions of people’s videos that are submitted to Google Video. Somehow, two girls singing Aretha Franklin are crushing The Back Dormitory Boys widely publicized and very funny “As Long As You Love Me” lipsync by a margin of 3 to 1.

Go Patriots! (George Mason I mean)

George Mason University Patriots
George Mason University Patriots

I’ve been watching college hoops…geez, sports even…for a long time, and I have seen some amazing games, amazing performances, and witnessed some amazing runs in the NCAA Tournament. But what the George Mason University basketball team has pulled off this month to advance to the 2006 Final Four is just a story that transcends sports and will last for a long, long time. This goes well beyond college basketball. Its a nod to the underdog, to the right to dream, and to the will to win.

When the tournament started, the line in Vegas was 400-to-1 that they would win the National Championship. Well, guess what? They are still alive. To truely illustrate the imact and odds of GMU’s run to the Final Four, try this on for size: Of the 3+ million brackets that ESPN.com received for its Tournament challenge, only 4, or 0.00013%, correctly had all four Final Four teams.

To all the fans of GMU, I wish you all the luck in the world in the Final Four. I’m not going to predict anything, but at this point, nothing would surprise me.

Netfix

In late February, my wife and I enrolled with Netflix. Its something we have talked about for quite a while and we finally took the plunge. One of the major motivators was that we wanted to catch up with all the Oscar nominated movies prior to the Academy Awards Ceremony. We were able to see all the Best Picture nominated films, either in the theater or via Netflix.

But I digress. I can’t believe we had waited this long to take advantage of Netflix. What an amazing serivce they offer! Its so neat. I’ve already watched Crash, Napoleon Dynamite, Enron, Super Size Me, The Constant Gardener, Hustle & Flow, Cinderella Man, Ocean’s 12, Finding Neverland, and Batman Returns. I may have to start a movie review section a la Jason Kottke has!

One thing I have heard about Netflix, which I have no solid facts to back up, is how their service suddenly starts to slow down after your 2nd month of subscribing. According to rumors I have heard, when you first sign up for Netflix, they make you a “priority” account, ensuring that you get the movies you want ASAP and that the turnaround of the movies on your queue is super quick. However, when you get to around your 2nd month and after, all of a sudden the movies you want have a super long wait, and the turn around time of your movies is that much longer. Now this is nothing more that rumor, but I’ll be keeping tabs on this for the next few months to see if there are any impacts to our Netflix service.

In our queue now is Capote and Pride & Prejudice, and wouldn’t you know their availability is “Long Wait” and “Very Long Wait” respectively. I guess I’ll have to settle for Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle instead.

Orange Jubilation

I don’t usually post about my alma mater’s basketball team, but their performance this week at the Big East tournament was just too spectacular to let go without some recognition. Maybe its the Garden and its amazing ability to bring the best out of certain players and teams. Maybe its cheezy coaches polls that are critical of the team’s star player. No matter what the motivator, the run that my Syracuse Orange(men) just pulled off was one of the best I’ve seen for this program, and (at risk of dating myself) I’ve been actively following them for close to 20 years now.

While its not as good as the 2003 National Championship, the 1996 run to the National Finals, and the 1987 run to the National Finals, its in the same ball park. The reason is that when this week started, the Syracuse basketball team was on life support. They had a 19-11 record with some really ugly losses (by 39 points to DePaul…yikes!), and few strong wins. Without a doubt, they were a team on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament fence as they entered this week’s Big East tournament. For Gerry McNamara, Syracuse’s senior shooting guard, the week started with a couple of polls stating that he was the most overrated player in the Big East. But by the end of this week, he is the king of NYC and the Big East.

So as I sit here after just witnessing the amazing 4 game run that my Orange(men) just pulled off to claim their 5th Big East Tournament Championship, and 2nd title in a row, it just leaves this SU alum speechless. They essentially took themselves from being an NIT team to somewhere between a #6-8 seed in the NCAA tournament. Its not as much the fact that they won the Big East Tournament, but its the manner in which they won, and the teams they beat along the way. They beat two of their biggest rivals in UConn and Georgetown (Beating UConn, especially when they are #1 in the country, is sweet, but beating Georgetown in the Big East tournament always makes the basketball season that much sweeter), and, arguably, their 3rd biggest rival in the University of Pittsburgh. For Gerry McNamara, he essentially put the team on his shoulders, making clutch shot after clutch shot, and single handedly beating Cincinnati in the first round and UConn (#1 in the country) in the 2nd round. Now let’s hope that they do not have a let down after this amazing run and replicate their unceremonious 1st round loss in last year’s NCAA’s.

Oh Well: The jubilation was short lived as the Orange were efficiently dispatched from the NCAA Tournament by Texas A&M. It was a classic #5 vs. #12 seed upset special. The Orange did not deserve such a high seeding. They were not that good a team.

Random thoughts….Did anyone notice that for all the frivolous expansion that the Big East did this year, and all the changes, that the league went through, that the final four teams were all original members of the league – SU, Georgetown, Villanova and U of Pittsburgh….Loved the fact that Derrick Coleman and “Pearl” Washington was on hand at MSG rooting on the Orange….While Boeheim has at least a 10 year pass now for winning the National Championship in 2003, his game coaching did not make these wins any easier…I love the way that ESPN dregs up fossils like Bucky Waters to analyze the WAC tournament, like he is going to know anything about the teams in that league…