crazy colored glasses

Monday, October 30, 2006

Cowboys... Not Done Yet

So, even I muust admit I was ready to give up on the season after the dreadful Monday Night Football perfromance. A move I had been calling for for weeks, had blown up in Parcells face. Benching Bledsoe and going to Romo against the Giants was not the shot in the arm I thought it would be. The team looked for the most part... embarrassing. I was ready to pack up my jerseys and hats and let them rest until next September. The Boys had a rough game coming up against the Panthers... I did not have high hopes. Then they played the game.

Cowboys looked a little flat at first, but then something happened. Romo started moving around, working the ball to everyone, and the offense looked like the explosive unit I thought they would be. Owens and Glenn stretching things along the outside, Witten (finally involved in the offense, now that he doesnt have to stay in and block for the immobile Bledsoe) cleaning things up in the middle of the field, and a dominant Julius Jones running all over the Panthers. It really was the best case for a team that could have mailed it in, but didnt.

Now I have high hopes for the rest of the season. I think the offense will continue to play at this high level. They seem to respond and have a swagger with Romo that they simply didnt with Bledsoe. He gives them the best chance to win with the current offensive line. Plus he seems to have connected with Owens. If the defense can stay consistent, and stop their rollercoaster type play of the first 7 weeks then look out. They are only 1 back on the Giants and have a game against them late in the season. It should be an interesting second half for the Boys.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Finally, the Detective

So... I'm trying to make more of an effort to blog every day (or at least more regularly). My love thinks its a good idea. She's usually right about these things.

I should have been packing last night (we move into our bigger apartment next week... more space... nice), but instead I was watching the Mets lose (I hate them, so losing is a good thing) while reading the latest Detective Comics. I'm not a big Batman fan, i'm very hot and cold with him. When done right he's brilliant, but he's rarely done right. Except for right now. Both Detective Comics and Batman are enjoying great runs.

Getting back to that latest issue of Detective Comics, it was written by the genius that is Paul Dini. That name may seem familiar to some as the man behind the great run of DC animated series. He had his hands in everything. Batman The Animated Series, Superman, Batman Beyond, Justice League... everything. He seems to have really taken the title to heart and brings Batman back to his detective roots. All too often Batman swoops in, punches someone, crime solved... but not with Dini at the helm. With Dini writing you get to see the detective and crime solver you so rarely get to see in the comics page. All of his stories so far have been self contained with a larger backstory of the Riddler becoming Gotham's newest uber-detective. I really can't wait to see where Dini ultimately goes with his story, but I'm gonna enjoy every page of it.

The Super Bowl Shuffle?

As usual, I was late in posting my predictions for this football season. With the daughter starting first grade, work being crazy, and the love of my life moving in, September was a little hectic. I do remember telling my girlfriend though on opening week of the NFL season that i thought the Panthers and Colts would make the Super Bowl (its the same prediction I made last year).

After the first few weeks of the season and countless hours watching football on DirecTV (the NFL package is like a Sunday gift from God... it leaves me speechless) I've decided I have to change half of my prediction. Anyone who knows me can tell you how hard this is for me. I'm usually the person who picks his NCAA Final Four in February and sticks by them steadfastly, so the decision to do this was a hard one, but not really if you have been watching the games.

Has any team looked more impressive so far than the Chicago Bears (so my girlfriend is from outside Chicago... i'm not biased at all ;o). It looks like they finally have an offense to match their killer defense. Rex Grossman was the player of the month for the month of Sept. Mushin Muhamad and Berrian look like a great 1-2 punch, as well as Desmond Clark cleaning things up underneath. Once Thomas Jones who gained over 1,300 yards last year wakes up, this offense will be scary. The defense on the otherhand, is already the best and most dominant unit in the league. Brian Urlacher is an absolute beast. So they had a hiccup this past Monday night against Arizona. I think they took that team a little lightly and didn’t expect the Cardinals defense to be able to shut them down. They ended up with a scary game they should have lost, but isn’t that the mark of a team of destiny… being able to win a game you shouldn’t have. I think they’ll be fine and after the bye week, come back refreshed with the same killer instinct. That team has a serious shot at going 15-1.

As for the rest of the NFC, I think the Cowboys will win the East (did you expect me to pick anyone else). The Eagles are much improved and should pick up the wildcard and be a scary matchup for anyone. Carolina (which is also scary good) just got the most important piece of their offense back in Steve Smith, the rest of the league should be worried. Although the Saints have been a nice early season story, they don’t have the firepower on both sides of the ball to match up with the Panthers. The Saints should be good enough to make the second wildcard, and what a great story that would be for the city of New Orleans. Out West, Seattle is very strong and will only get stronger once Shaun Alexander comes back. Scott Linehan is doing a great job with the Rams, but they are a flawed team that will fall back to Earth.

The AFC is pretty cut and dry. You have a few teams head and shoulders above the rest of the league. The Patriots, Colts, and Broncos should all run away with their divisions. San Diego is one of the scariest teams in the league if they can put it together. I think they will be one of the wildcards. With the other coming from the crazy competitive Central. Two out of the three following teams will make the playoffs. Ravens, Bengals, and Steelers. My money is on the Ravens and Steelers, as I think the Bengals are about to implode. Too many off the field problems.

The Bears should beat the Cowboys in the NFC title game. Even as a crazy Cowboys fan, I’m not psychotic enough to think they can make the big game. The Colts should be able to beat the Patriots in the AFC title game. Then the Bears should make everyone forget 1985 and win a title for a new generation of Bears fans. Should be a great season.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

The El Duque Effect—The JDawg

In 1998 the New York Yankees were on their way to a record breaking year. They were easily the best team in baseball and one of the most dominant teams of all time.

In the middle of the season, it was almost like they got a little lazy, a little complacent. Thats when they dug into their minors and brought up Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. Hernandez was probably the most decorated Cuban pitcher of all time. He had signed a huge off-season deal with the Yankees after defecting from Cuba. He was exactly the shot in the arm that this team needed. They ended up hacing a record breaking regular season, and went into the postseason as the favorites. In the post season, they were tied 1 game apiece with the Indians when he went to the mound and pitched the most important game of the series. The Yankees ended up winning game 3 and storming through the rest of the post season and easily winning the world series. The addition of this veteran and big game pitcher helped push this already great team to new and unheard of heights. His impact cannot be discounted.

Fast forward to 2006. After one of the magazines in my company folded, a huge burden was placed on my art staff. We had to execute some of the already sold ideas in the pages of our magazine. Obviously with our already huge workload we couldnt handle it inhouse. So we had to hire some freelance help. Now, let me state that I have a great team. I have two great young designers, and a traffic manager who keeps us on our toes. We know what we need to do and we do it damn well. So getting someone who fits in with our already great group is no easy chore.

As i kept on thinking who could fill this role, I kept ending up at the same solution. The JDawg. He had worked with me before, knew the magazine, and was freelancing fulltime. I could add an already established veteran to a great team. Needless to say it worked out better than i could have hoped. In the few months that he was here, it was like he was never away. Besides bringing a high level of work, it was like he really brought the team together. They all gelled with him. It was perfect.

So in the same way the 96 Yanks added El Duque, we added the JDawg. Both contributed greatly to the success of their teams.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

My Brother

So I know I'm almost a month late in posting this (a recurring theme for me) but here it is.

My oldest brother (usually referred to as my brother the cop) recently celebrated his birthday. His wife was throwing a huge party for him. I unfortunately was unable to attend. But seeing as how my brother has been such an important part of my life, I wanted to get him something special.

The pressure was definitely on. I went to the store and looked around and nothing seemed right. I went online and looked around, again, nothing seemed right. I then looked up from my desk at work and got the answer. On a shelf in my office sits "Years Best Comic Stories—1981". I instantaneously knew what the gift would be.

Now, this will take a little explaining (and i'm sure i still won't do it justice) but this is why this book is so special. My brother was a lot older than I was, so growing up I had a built in idol. I always wanted to be just like him. I wanted to like the same sports teams he did, I wanted to act like him, but most of all I wanted to love comics the way he did. Comic books seemed to be this great release for him, a way for him to escape the stress of the real world and live through the adventures of Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent and Steve Rogers. I always admired that. The best part was, whenever he went to the comic store, he always brought something back for me.

Until I showed that I could take care of real comic books, he would buy me small collected edition digest sized books. The very first of which was "Years Best Comic Stories—1981". I'm not overstating the facts when I say that this small book changed my life. It unlocked in me a passion for the arts and the medium of comic books as a whole. Its a passion that still burns in me to this very day. I've had an art job for the past 13 years, and I have no qualms in attributing that to him. He was always so passionate about his weekly stash of comics. Which in turn meant that I was as well. I loved Wednesdays (still do) because it meant new books.

Getting back to "Years Best Comic Stories—1981". The very first story is a reprint of Detective Comics #500. The title of the story is "To Kill A Legend". Now my brother might be the biggest Batman fan I know. He loves Batman and everything he embodies (so much so that he's a crimefighter himself as one of New York's Finest). I decided that I would recreate the splash page of that story for him as a gift. Not only would it be special for him, but it would be very meaningful to me. As i wrote his birthday card, I found myself getting very emotional. Both at the thought of not being there, and of the thought about how much my brother means to me. He's always been there for me. He's been a brother, a father figure, a coach, a confidant, but most of all my best friend.

I'm sure he has no idea what a profound effect this small piece of art had on me. I've kept this comic in my office for the past 10 years. It serves as a good luck charm, and a reminder of how my love affair with comics and art began.

Happy Birthday brother, I love you.

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