Saturday, August 13, 2016

2011 Ford Explorer Revealed

After a lot of teasing on Facebook and other social networks, the 2011 Ford Explorer SUV has finally been revealed by the Blue Oval.

The new model promises to pave the way for a new era of SUVs, boasting an all-new unibody construction, fresh design, improved and more efficient engines, as well as a lot of new technologies. This is one of the most important launches this year, at least for the American automaker.

“The all-new Explorer will deliver today’s SUV buyers the attributes they really want and value, and a few they might not even have dreamed of,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “We’re proud to introduce the new Explorer to customers and fans around the world today and pleased to begin a whole new era that blends strong SUV fuel economy and performance.”

So, let’s see just what’s so great about the 2011 Explorer.

First off, we see a new design for the SUV, taking cues from existing models like the Flex or Edge crossovers, as well as the Fusion sedan. The new three-bar grille is present, while the headlights make it part of the new, much more attractive Ford family of vehicles.

By far the most important changes the next generation SUV brings are the two new engines it can house under its bonnet.

We have a 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine, capable of outputting 290 HP with 255 lb-ft of torque. The unit can be coupled with a six-speed automatic gearbox, and is 20 percent more efficient than the outgoing V6 Explorer.

Secondly, and one of Ford’s biggest bets, is a 2.0-liter EcoBoost inline-four cylinder engine. It boasts not only a turbocharger but also direct injection, guaranteeing an output of 237 HP and 250 lb-ft of torque. Mated to the same six-speed gearbox, the EcoBoost is 30 percent more efficient than the outgoing V6, while delivering the same levels of power and torque.

Even though it has a new unibody structure, the 2011 Explorer can still be thrown off-road, at least according to Ford. A key role plays the new intelligent four-wheel drive system, together with the Terrain Management system. This allows the driver to select the terrain he faces (normal, snow, sand, mud), and the car will adjust all of its systems to provide the best response.

Safety also plays an important role for the 2011 Ford Explorer. The Blue Oval made sure to pack in some of its latest technologies, including inflatable rear seat-belts. These will lower the stress subjected to the rear seat inhabitants in the even of a crash, and protect them even more.

Besides that, Ford has equipped the new Explorer with systems like the Curve Control one, which automatically brakes certain wheels, if the driver has approached a corner at a high speed. You will also be able to order Adaptive Cruise Control or Blind Spot Information System.

The 2011 Explorer will have three trim series: base, XLT and Limited. While the base already packs an impressive array of features, including the SYNC infotainment system, other versions include the more upmarket MyFord Touch technology, as well as an array of other systems.

“We spent our time listening to customers and addressing their needs to launch an SUV that reinvigorates the Explorer nameplate and delivers on Ford’s promise of high-quality, fuel-efficient and technologically advanced vehicles with industry-leading safety,” said Holland. “The all-new Explorer will change market perceptions about SUV style, fuel efficiency, technology and user-friendliness.”

The 2011 Ford Explorer is set to start production later this year, at the company’s Chicago plant. Expect the next generation SUV to arrive in dealerships before the end of winter.

Tags:2011 Ford Explorer Revealed


As many of you already know, I am a bit believer in the Verducci Effect which is named after Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci who did a study on pitchers and concluded that those starters who go 30 innings above their previous total from the campaign before stand a very high chance of getting injured or having a poor season due to a tired arm. There are many instances of this occurring such as Francisco Liriano needing TJ surgery after such a jump a few years ago and Cole Hamels suffering through a dead arm season in 2009 after a 260 innings pitched 2008. And now it appears we have another victim in the St. Louis Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright who is likely to undergo Tommy John surgery as a result of a big innings jump at a young age.

Now I am sure you are wondering what I am talking about since Wainwright threw over 200 innings the last two seasons but go back to where this trend started. In 2008 Wainwright pitched 132 innings total. The next season he shot up to 233 innings. That was a giant jump of 101 innings from one season to the next. And that was the SECOND time Wainwright went way above his previous innings high as back in 2006 as a reliever he tossed only 75 innings and the next season he shot up to 202. That’s an even more ridiculous 127 inning leap. So really its no surprise his elbow gave out. With that in mind here are some other guys who went through a bigger than 30 innings jump from one season to the next. You have been warned.

Jamie Garcia: 125 inning jump-He got incredibly luck y in 2010 so a major regression is on its way in ERA and WHIP so this confirms why you should stay clear here.

Phil Hughes: 71 inning jump-Pitches in the AL East Beast and had a checkered injury history. No thanks.

Jon Niese: 61 inning jump-Not fantasy baseball relevant unless in a deep league for now.

Mat Latos: 61 inning jump-The biggest on on this list that can ruin your team as Kershaw’s jump wasn’t major enough to worry about. Latos has a very good chance of getting hurt since he is so young and those were stressful innings in a pennant race last season. I would stay away if you can.

Madison Bumgarner: 52 inning jump-The price will be cheap enough not to have to avoid.

David Price: 46 inning jump-Another guy who pitches in the Beast and he will see a regression as well. Not on my list.

Jhoulys Chacin: 45 inning jump-Cheap so don’t let this sleeper go by.

Mike Minor: 42 inning jump-Checkered injury history as well so this is a bad sign. Still he too will be real cheap.

Brett Cecil: 41 inning jump-A Beast pitcher and he really is not that good anyway.

Gio Gonzalez: 41 inning jump-Throws hard so we could see problems here.

Travis Wood: 35 inning jump-May not even break camp with the team. Don’t worry.

Clayton Kershaw: 33 inning jump-He went just over the limit so its not a concern.


2011 Fantasy Baseball: Second Base (2B) Rankings

Get ready for the 2011 Fantasy Baseball season by dominating your draft with my personalized fantasy baseball rankings, stat projections, and player info, all right here for free. Second Base (2B) Rankings are based on a 1-year standard scoring system in mixed AL/NL fantasy baseball leagues for the 2011 season.

Scoring system stats include: runs scored, homeruns, rbi, stolen bases, and batting average – (R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG). AB = at bats during the 2010 season.

For additional 2011 Fantasy Baseball Rankings and Info check out my blog at Hawk Fantasy Sports

RANKINGS UPDATED – March 26, 2011

Other Position Rankings:
Catcher © First Base (1B) Second Base (2B) Third Base (3B) Shortstop (SS) Outfield (OF) Left Field (LF) Center Field (CF) Right Field (RF) Starting Pitcher (SP) Relief Pitcher (RP)


Top 50 – Second Base (2B) Rankings 2011

1. Robinson Cano – NYY

2. Ian Kinsler – Tex
3. Dustin Pedroia – Bos
4. Dan Uggla – Atl

5. Brandon Phillips – Cin
6. Rickie Weeks – Mil
7. Chase Utley – Phi

8. Aaron Hill – Tor
9. Gordon Beckham – CWS
10. Ben Zobrist – TB

11. Brian Roberts – Bal
12. Kelly Johnson – Ari
13. Howie Kendrick – LAA
14. Martin Prado – Atl
15. Chone Figgins – Sea

16. Mike Aviles – KC
17. Ryan Raburn – Det
18. Neil Walker – Pit
19. Ryan Theriot – StL

20. Sean Rodriguez – TB
21. Tsuyoshi Niskioka – Min
22. Ty Wigginton – Col
23. Reid Brignac – TB
24. Danny Espinosa – Was
25. Omar Infante – Fla
26. Marco Scutaro – Bos
27. Juan Uribe – LAD

28. Dustin Ackley – Sea
29. Eric Young – Col
30. Jed Lowrie – Bos

31. Clint Barmes – Hou
32. Orlando Hudson – SD
33. Chris Getz – KC
34. Alexi Casilla – Min
35. Jayson Nix – Cle
36. Freddy Sanchez – SF
37. Carlos Guillen – Det
38. Jason Donald – Cle
39. Bill Hall – Hou
40. Mark Ellis – Oak
41. Blake DeWitt – ChC

42. Jason Kipnis – Cle
43. Scott Sizemore – Det
44. Eric Sogard – Oak
45. Daniel Descalso – StL

46. Skip Schumaker – StL
47. Brendan Ryan – Sea
48. Luis Castillo – Phi
49. Mike Fontenot – SF
50. Jeff Baker – ChC
51. Luis Valbuena – Cle
52. Jeff Keppinger – Hou
53. Ronny Cedeno – Pit
54. Adam Kennedy – Was
55. Mike McCoy – Tor
56. Chris Nelson – Col
57. Matt Antonelli – Was




2010 Fantasy Baseball – Second Base (2B) Rankings

To give you an idea of the potential accuracy of my rankings and projections, here is a look back at my Top 20 Second Base (2B) Rankings from last year to begin the 2010 season.

Second Base (2B) Rankings 2010

#1 – Chase Utley – 2B – Philadelphia Phillies (31)
Entrenched in the prime of his career, Utley is as proven and reliable of a 2B that any fantasy baseball team could want entering the 2010 season. Tallying stats across the board in every category; runs scored, homeruns, rbi, stolen bases, and batting average, Utley who returned to full health last season, should be looking at another 25 plus homerun, 90 plus rbi and 100 runs scored season in 2010.
2009 Stats: 571 AB, 112 R, 31 HR, 93 RBI, 23 SB, .282 AVG
2010 Stat Projections: 110 R, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 15 SB, .300 AVG

#2 – Ian Kinsler – 2B – Texas Rangers (28)
Coming off of his first career 30 homerun and 30 stolen base season in 2009, Kinsler at just age 28, offers one of the best homerun to stolen base combinations in all of baseball. A 20 homerun and 20 stolen base season is a near guarantee in 2010, while a 40 stolen base season is possible if Kinsler can raise his batting average up from the mere .253 he hit last season.
2009 Stats: 566 AB, 101 R, 31 HR, 86 RBI, 31 SB, .253 AVG
2010 Stat Projections: 110 R, 25 HR, 85 RBI, 40 SB, .285 AVG

#3 – Aaron Hill – 2B – Toronto Blue Jays (28)
With a huge breakout season last year, Hill will be facing major expectations from fantasy baseball teams entering the 2010 season. After posting 36 homeruns and 108 rbi during the 2009 season, there is little doubt that Hill will have a hard time coming close to those stats once again in 2010. However with Hill hitting second in the Blue Jays lineup, he will have solid protection with Adam Lind, Vernon Wells, Edwin Encarnacion and a potential breakout player in Travis Snider all following him in the batting order. Expect a slight dip in homeruns and rbi, but 100 plus runs scored is still a great bet for Hill during the 2010 season.
2009 Stats: 682 AB, 103 R, 36 HR, 108 RBI, 6 SB, .286 AVG
2010 Stat Projections: 100 R, 25 HR, 90 RBI, 5 SB, .290 AVG

#4 – Dustin Pedroia – 2B – Boston Red Sox (26)
A steady and reliable stat producer, Pedroia takes full advantage of his position in an always potent run scoring Red Sox lineup. And while Pedroia does not offer huge homerun, rbi or stolen base potential, he is a near lock to tally 100 plus runs scored while boasting a batting average around .300.
2009 Stats: 626 AB, 115 R, 15 HR, 72 RBI, 20 SB, .296 AVG
2010 Stat Projections: 115 R, 15 HR, 75 RBI, 20 SB, .305 AVG

#5 – Brandon Phillips – 2B – Cincinnati Reds (29)
After playing his way through an injury filled 2009 season, many fantasy teams considered Phillips a huge bust last season. However, when you consider 20 homeruns, 25 stolen bases, and 98 rbi a bust season for a fantasy 2B, then you know the bar is set extremely high. Phillips at age 29 for the 2010 season and entering the prime of his career, is a safe and reliable fantasy baseball 2B who you know will play through injury while still maintaining a very high level of play. As a fantasy baseball team owner, you have to love to hear those words about Phillips.
2009 Stats: 584 AB, 78 R, 20 HR, 98 RBI, 25 SB, .276 AVG
2010 Stat Projections: 85 R, 25 HR, 95 RBI, 20 SB, .280 AVG

#6 – Ben Zobrist – 2B/SS/CF/RF – Tampa Bay Rays (29)
Mr. Versatile for the Rays last season, Zobrist saw most of his work at 2B and RF during the 2009 season. While the 2B position may not be his long term position, the only thing fantasy baseball teams care about entering the 2010 season is his stat production and his position versatility. After starting at least 5 games at four different positions during the 2009 season, including 2B, SS, CF, RF, Zobrist should be eligible at all four of those positions entering the 2010 season for fantasy baseball teams. However with little track record of producing solid and reliable stats, fantasy teams will want to take caution when drafting Zobrist, as he could easily be a major bust in 2010.
2009 Stats: 501 AB, 91 R, 27 HR, 91 RBI, 17 SB, .297 AVG
2010 Stat Projections: 90 R, 25 HR, 90 RBI, 15 SB, .290 AVG

#7 – Robinson Cano – 2B – New York Yankees (27)
Showcasing his power stroke last season to the tune of a career high 25 homeruns, Cano bounced back nicely in 2009 after a very disappointing 2008 season. Situated in a very potent run scoring Yankees lineup for the 2010 season, Cano should once again tally 100 runs scored, however a slight decline in homeruns could be expected.
2009 Stats: 637 AB, 103 R, 25 HR, 85 RBI, 5 SB, .320 AVG
2010 Stat Projections: 100 R, 20 HR, 95 RBI, 5 SB, .310 AVG

#8 – Brian Roberts – 2B – Baltimore Orioles (32)
Even amid trade rumors all season last year, Roberts still managed to tally 30 stolen bases and 16 homeruns, with a career high 79 rbi and 110 runs scored. If Roberts sticks in Baltimore for the entire 2010 season, he could once again come close to posting career highs, as Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Luke Scott and the newly signed Garrett Atkins should all provide amply run scoring opportunities for Roberts.
2009 Stats: 632 AB, 110 R, 16 HR, 79 RBI, 30 SB, .283 AVG
2010 Stat Projections: 110 R, 12 HR, 65 RBI, 40 SB, .290 AVG

#9 – Dan Uggla – 2B – Florida Marlins (30)
As one of the premiere power hitting 2B in all of baseball, Uggla has proven to be a reliable 30 homerun threat. Over his first four seasons in the majors, Uggla has tallied seasons of 27, 31, 32 and 31 homeruns, while also posting 90, 88, 92 and 90 rbi during those seasons as well. The only downfall for Uggla is his batting average, as he offers just a career .257 batting average for fantasy baseball teams heading into the 2010 season.
2009 Stats: 564 AB, 84 R, 31 HR, 90 RBI, 2 SB, .243 AVG
2010 Stat Projections: 95 R, 30 HR, 90 RBI, 3 SB, .255 AVG

#10 – Ian Stewart – 2B/3B – Colorado Rockies (25)
During his first full season in the majors last year, Stewart bounced around between playing 2B and 3B for the Rockies, so even though Stewart will enter the 2010 season as the Rockies full time starting 3B, he will still qualify as a 2B in fantasy baseball leagues during the 2010 season. Boasting 30 homerun and 100 rbi potential, Stewart should contribute outstanding power numbers to the 2B position for fantasy teams this season. However after posting a dreadful .228 batting average over 425 at bats during the 2009 season, Stewart offers much of the same type of stat potential as Dan Uggla, only Stewart is a less reliable and proven option. Yet with a career .293 batting average from over 2200 at bats during his time in the minor leagues, there is ample reason to believe an immense batting average improvement could be in store from Stewart during the 2010 season
2009 Stats: 425 AB, 74 R, 25 HR, 70 RBI, 7 SB, .228 AVG
2010 Stat Projections: 85 R, 30 HR, 95 RBI, 5 SB, .275 AVG

Second Base (2B) Rankings: #11-20

#11 – Jose Lopez – 2B/1B – Seattle Mariners (26)
#12 – Howie Kendrick – 2B – Los Angeles Angels (27)
#13 – Rickie Weeks – 2B – Milwaukee Brewers (27)
#14 – Asdrubal Cabrera – 2B/SS – Cleveland Indians (24)
#15 – Clint Barmes – 2B/SS – Colorado Rockies (31)

#16 – Casey McGehee – 2B/3B – Milwaukee Brewers (27)
#17 – Scott Sizemore – 2B – Detroit Tigers (25)
#18 – Alexi Casilla – 2B – Minnesota Twins (26)
#19 – Freddy Sanchez – 2B – San Francisco Giants (32)
#20 – Sean Rodriguez – 2B – Tampa Bay Rays (25)

For additional Fantasy Baseball Rankings and Info check out my blog at Hawk Fantasy Sports

Tags:2011 Fantasy Baseball: Second Base (2B) Rankings


We haven’t touched on the relief pitchers much lately and so today I thought would be a good point to bring them into the draft toss up debate. We go right to the top of the board with the two guys who I feel should be the top two closers selected in fantasy baseball drafts. Those of you out there agree as well as both Wilson and Soria are being picked right around the same time in early mock drafts. Right now lets compare the two in all four relevant ROTO categories for relievers along with intangibles to figure out which guy deserves to be picked over the other.
ERA: This one is as close as it gets as Wilson put up a 1.81 ERA last season to Soria’s 1.78. Both guys should be back at that area code again this season and so there is little point in arguing this.
Advantage: EVEN

Strikeouts: Wilson has come out on top here the last two season over Soria and he even approached 100 last season with 93 while Soria stayed at 71 which was the level he generally has settled into at this point. Both guys have a great fastball but Wilson’s secondary stuff is a bit better which helps in the K’s.
Advantage: Brian Wilson

WHIP: Wilson used to have a major issue with walks but he nipped that in the bud last season as he pushed his WHIP down to 1.18. Soria however doesn’t walk anybody and so his 1.05 WHIP last season stands out. Wilson still has a bout of wildness from time to time so that will impact the WHIP since these guys only throw a limited amount of innings. Soria takes this one here.
Advantage: Joakim Soria

SAVES: Despite playing for a horrible team, Soria has reached over 40 saves two of the last three seasons. Wilson hit that mark as well along with 38 in 2009. Soria only had 30 in 2009 however and its the threat of that type of year which could happen in KC as the team looks even worse this season that makes Wilson the more steady option.
Advantage: Brian Wilson

INTANGIBLES: The threat of trade always hangs over Soria and it is being talked about again this season. It will happen one of these days and if he goes to a team as a setup man than his value is finished. Wilson is not going anywhere so there is no threat to his status throughout the upcoming season here.
Advantage: Brian Wilson

WINNER: Brian Wilson

There you have it. Brian Wilson makes the better pick at the top of the relief pitcher class and deservedly so. Relievers are always unpredictable but Wilson is one of the most dependable in the game. Soria is as well and so there is no shame in landing him as a consolation prize. Just make sure you take Wilson first.



The Tampa Bay Rays sent struggling outfield prospect Desmond Jennings to the minor leagues on Tuesday as they realized he was not yet ready to take over for the departed Carl Crawford. Jennings has trouble getting on base in spring training and figures to go down to on the farm with a possibly end of April call-up if he shows signs of being ready.

Analysis: A bit of a surprise as it was widely assumed Jennings would take over for Crawford at the top of the order and supply a solid average with runs and steals. He will be back up at some point in the season and will be worth an add.


2011 Fantasy Baseball Team Preview: Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians are up today as I continue previewing all of the fantasy baseball players from each team leading up to the start of the season. As far as the Indians are concerned, there are some useful players here like with most teams but there is also a lacking of top tier talent. As always I grade each player from 4 stars to 1.


Shin-Soo Choo: Choo is right on the border as far as the line between a 3 and a 4 star player but since Cleveland doesn’t have anyone else to fit here, I gave him the bump up. Choo is the classic consistency guy who you can pretty much write in what he is going to do this season. Think .300 with 90 R 20-25 HR 90 RBI and 20-25 SB. All very solid number and certainly top ten worthy in OF. He is smack dab in his prime so just don’t look for anything more than this here.


Carlos Santana: Santana is expected to be 100 percent for the start of the season after recovering from the gruesome knee injury he suffered last summer. That bit of misfortune ruined what was shaping up to be a very nice rookie season with the Indians but we didn’t get a chance to see what he could really do. That opportunity comes this season and he already possesses a great batting eye that will yield a high OBP and good power numbers. He showed some sneaky speed as far as steals were concerned last season but don’t look for that now off the knee injury. Still Santana should be drafted as a top 5 catcher as he has all the talent in the world.

Chris Perez: Perez is a closer on the rise who has the 100-mph fastball to succeed right away. He did a great job in place of Kerry Wood last season and he wasnt a first round draft pick for nothing. The walks were always a problem but he did a decent enough of job in improving on that this season. If he takes even another step forward in cutting down the walks, than we are looking at a big time closing talent.


Matt LaPorta: Like with Perez, LaPorta is a former first round pick who has a ton of talent. Unlike Perez however LaPorta hasn’t shown it much in the majors at this point. He did hit 12 home runs last season but with a horrid average. He has got to improve his plat approach in order to maximize his talent and he certainly can do that this season and make himself a decent late round target. He falls under the show it to me and than we’ll talk situation.

Grady Sizemore: Sizemore is flat out the biggest question mark in fantasy baseball this season as he was a first round pick only a few short years ago but has crapped out so drastically that its anyone’s guess what he will look like when he gets back in mid-April. His average has never been great due to struggles against lefties and a high strikeout rate. Also he likely wont be stealing any bases off the microfracture surgery and a Sizemore without steals is pretty much worthless. The name will generate a higher price than he should so I wont be bothering.

Michael Brantley: Brantley will get every opportunity to grab hold of the leadoff spot for the Indians and he can be a big time stolen base guy if he seizes it. His average tumbled last season but he got unlucky with the batted ball so look for a rise this season along with a bunch of steals. A 40 steal season could occur if all breaks right so if you need cheap speed late than this guy should get your attention.

Asdrubal Cabrera: Cabrera saw his follow up campaign to his nice rookie season fall flat in 2010 due to injuries that wiped out a major chunk of games. He is a professional hitter who can easily post a .300 average with 10 home runs and 15 steals which certainly has its value. A guy to look at if you wait on second baseman.


Justin Masterson: Masterson had a very difficult first full season starting as he posted a 4.70 ERA with a .150 WHIP. He showed a good strikeout rate but walks and untimely hits were his undoing. He did get a bit unlucky with his BABIP so an improvement is expected across the board but Masterson is nothing but a spot guy right now.

Travis Hafner: It wasn’t too long ago when Hafner was a high fantasy baseball draft pick as he was one of the best sluggers in the game. Shoulder injuries however have ruined his progress and he doesn’t even get a full allotment of starts each week now as the team tries to preserve his health. An injury fill-in when he is right.

Austin Kearns: Here is another guy who failed to live up to the hype and he has made the rounds in the majors as a result. Not much doing here.

Jayson Nix: Will hit some home runs but with a horrid batting average. No thanks.

Orlando Cabrera: The guy is still going and he used to be an annual great shortstop value but he is a shell of his former self.

Carlos Carrasco: Carrasco was once a big time prospect in the Phillies system but soon found himself moved to the Indians as the team soured on his work ethic. He has some electric stuff when he wants to put in the work and he opened some nice toward the end of 2010 so there is sleeper stuff here. Keep track of how he does in spring training.

Fausto Carmona: The guy cant strike anyone out and so he is depended on defense and luck to help you fantasy baseball team. I don’t trust guys like this and neither should you.

Josh Tomlin: He is severely lacking in strikeouts as well and gets hit too much to be worthy of a roster spot.

Tags:2011 Fantasy Baseball Team Preview: Cleveland Indians

2011 Forecasts and Predictions

1) The republicans will execute an unsuccessful shut down of the government. Through sheer incompetence they will risk the social security checks of seniors and funding for the military. Seniors will rise up and throw the rascals out in 2012.

2) The conservatives will find their seas legs when it comes to budget cutting and they will cut Obama’s communism out of the federal budget. They will pass military appropriations and social security separately so that Obama is forced to sign them. Then the conservatives will pass bills to defund NPR, the EPA, the Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Justice department. Unfortunately the die was cast when conservatives screwed up this strategy the first time around so they still lose in 2012.

3) Employees of the targeted leftist groups, agencies, departments, programs and organizations begin leaving for other jobs. 10% leave by Feb 2011 and 40% leave by Jan 2012. They are not replaced. There is no money to do so.

4) Several of the more controversial congressmen in the new group of republicans and Tea Baggers get into trouble by insisting that the National Debt is the fault of lazy, stupid and incompetent bureaucrats.

5) Radical right wing congressmen get into even more trouble when they warn bureaucrats of the Department of Education to put their resumes out on the street because their jobs are not safe.

6) Chairman Barack Hussein Obama “repurposes” federal funds and is promptly sued for doing so. Some say that misallocation of federal dollars; even by a president, is a felony and a high crime.

7) Obama furloughs EPA, TSA, Homeland Security, and Justice and Department of Education Employees when their funding runs out.

8) Life is discovered on Mars.

9) The 11:11 cult craze makes a few internet entrepreneurs very rich.

10) A few jokesters make hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling clocks, watches, and timers that permanently flash 11:11.

11) Angels and ascended beings fail to materialize on 11/11/11 at 11:11. Riots occur in several 3rd world countries wherein impoverished people were conned into giving what little they had to 11:11 charlatans who promised salvation for a price. Penniless and without a ticket to heaven, the rioters find the homes of the charlatans and rip the conmen and their homes into tiny pieces.

12) A break through in clean, green energy occurs but only Middle Eastern Arabic sheiks buy it and use it. It turned out that the Green Weenies of the west were only interested in grabbing all the cash, power and control that they could. Once they got everyone’s money they did not give a rat’s behind about the “green economy.”

13) Alien life is found in asteroid dust.

14) A real cure for the common cold appears on drug store shelves.

15) About the 5th time life is discovered in an alien, off earth environment, it is brought back whereupon it infects and kills one million people before an antidote is found.

16) 40% of all skinny, boyish looking runway models come out of the closet and admit they are actually men.

17) It shall be discovered that several officials of local, county, state and even the federal government have been taking bribes from foreign countries for years to look the other ways and let foreign criminals swarm in and take the jobs and even the lives of Americans.

Year of the Tiger

Betting on the Economic Collapse

Tags:2011 Forecasts and Predictions

2011 Grammy Winner - Esperanza Spalding Wins and Takes Home Best New Artist Grammy

Esperanza Spalding is the 2011 Grammy Award winner for Best New Artist. Her win was an upset for Justin Bieber fans and for the other nominees: Florence & The Machine, Drake and Mumford & Sons. Her win at the 2011 Grammys was a refreshing surprise in a category often going to the pop or rock genre.

The 26-year-old is a native of Portland, Oregon and specializes in jazz/classical music.

Spalding’s speech at the Grammys was one of gratefulness. She appreciated the acknowledgment in not only her nomination, but the win.

Friends in Portland, teachers, and colleagues. She takes the honor “to heart so sincerely.”

When Esperanza Spalding was nominated for a Grammy at the 2011 Awards, she said in

“I am new in that I haven’t been around that long, and I’m an artist, so it fits. I like that I am acknowledged on a broader basis. It’s a category that is free from genre and I like the idea of not being specifically attached to one idiom and limiting where my listeners can come from.”

Esperanza plays a variety of string instruments as well as vocals. She’s in the jazz genre, but mixes classical music in her work. The Grammy Award winning artist became the concertmaster of Portland’s Chamber Music Society of Oregon when she was only 16-years-old. She learned to play the violin when she was only four years old after watching Yo-Yo Ma on “Mister Rogers Neighborhood.”

“I like to work, and I like music,” she said. “I have much more experience playing bass for other bandleaders than leading my own gigs, and I love being a sideman just as much as a leader. That’s why I got into music. It wasn’t to become my own phenomenon, it was to play music with other people.”

Esperanza Spalding’s 2011 Grammy win is as the result of her passion for music.

“I like to work, and I like music,” Esperanza said. “I have much more experience playing bass for other bandleaders than leading my own gigs, and I love being a sideman just as much as a leader. That’s why I got into music. It wasn’t to become my own phenomenon, it was to play music with other people.”

Esperanza Spalding performed at President Obama’s Nobel Prize Ceremony. Interest in booking her talent reaches high levels and now that she’s a Grammy winner for Best New Artist, her bookings will fill up quickly.

Esperanza Spalding wasn’t anticipating to win a Grammy against the likes of her competition, but she managed to make the Academy stand up and take notice of her amazing art and talent.

Sources: 2011 Grammy Awards,

Tags:2011 Grammy Winner - Esperanza Spalding Wins and Takes Home Best New Artist Grammy

2011 Ford Explorer Unveiled in Nine-City Blitz

There have been a lot of new renovations in the automobile market, with a trend going toward more eco-friendly vehicles. One of the latest automobiles to get a makeover is the 2011 Ford Explorer, and it seems likely it will boost Ford sales. For someone planning on a new car purchase this year, it would be a good idea to look at this new model.

According to Free Press Business, Ford has unveiled its latest Sport Utility Vehicle, the 2011 Ford Explorer. The 2011 Ford Explorer is going to have 30 percent better fuel efficiency with the turbocharged EcoBoost engine model, and more off-road capabilities. The standard V6 engine model will get 25 percent better fuel efficiency and off-road capabilities, if you do not want to spend the money for the EcoBoost engine. The 2011 Ford Explorer was unveiled in a nine-city media blitz, and the use of social networking was also used to get the word out about the new model.

I plan to buy the 2011 Ford Explorer for a few different reasons, with the priority being fuel economy. I live in a rural area where it takes at least 20 miles to get to the center of everything, so good gas mileage is important. There are also more jobs around Cincinnati, Ohio, than in rural areas, so you have to be willing to drive for your job. I feel that the 2011 Ford Explorer provides me with an option for better fuel efficiency than a lot of other SUVs on the market. I also am looking forward to buying the 2011 Ford Explorer because I do a lot of off-road activities with my family, and need something bigger with more weight.

The 2011 Ford Explorer looks great, which is always a positive thing, but it really has all of the design features you could want, including automatic windows and a beautiful interior. The dashboard is stunning, with the built-in navigation system, which is something I really need because I get lost very easily in places I am not familiar with. The new Explorer also uses the three-bar grille that Ford is known for, and it has a rear liftgate spoiler on the back.

Overall, the 2011 Ford Explorer provides a new spin on a lot of the old designs from Ford with top technological features, and that is something I am looking for. I really like Ford because they always know when to integrate the old with the new, and the 2011 Explorer really does well at this concept. I enjoy the navigation system and the overall look of the dashboard because it is trendy yet elegant. I am looking forward to having something I can use for both formal and informal travel, such as vacations and off-road time with the family.

Living in rural areas also makes me need something that can tow if needed and big enough to pick up lawn furniture or other outside items. I have been waiting for the 2011 Ford Explorer to come out because I know the fuel efficiency will be at the top of the class in performance, and it will exceed my expectations. I have had few reservations about the 2011 Explorer because I know they make quality products, and are willing to take that extra step in the industry. The only thing I was concerned about was the gas mileage, and whether or not it lives up to the hype, which I will only know when I start driving it. Until I drive it, there is nothing negative I can say about the 2011 Ford Explorer because everything about it leads me to believe it will be the best vehicle I have ever owned.

Brent Snavely, “2011 Explorer to drive momentum, Ford says”, Free Press

Tags:2011 Ford Explorer Unveiled in Nine-City Blitz

2011 GRAMMY Awards Air on February 13, 2011

The 53rd GRAMMY Awards will air on Sunday, February 13, 2011, at 8:00 p.m. (EST) on CBS so be sure to tune in or record the music event of the year. With performances by Christiana Aguilera (even after her embarrassing Super Bowl performance – hey, give the girl a break; she’s a true talent and everyone makes mistakes), Barbara Streisand (yes, the one and only), Eminem, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cee Lo Green, Justin Bieber, and for the first time ever: Mick Jagger.

Listed below are just some of the nominees. To see the full list visit


Record of the Year

“Nothin’ On You” — B.o.B Featuring Bruno Mars
“Love The Way You Lie” Eminem Featuring Rihanna
“F*** You” Cee Lo Green
“Empire State Of Mind” Jay-Z & Alicia Keys
“Need You Now” Lady Antebellum

My pick: Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now.”

Album of the Year

The Suburbs — Arcade Fire
The Fame Monster —Lady GaGa
Need You Now– Lady Antebellum
Teenage Dream — Katy Perry

My pick: While Lady GaGa and Katy Perry have had an abundance of hits in 2010, I’m going to go with Lady Antebellum once again.

Song of the Year

“Beg Steal Or Borrow” Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs
“Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
“F*** You” — Cee Lo Green
“The House That Built Me” — Miranda Lambert
“Love The Way You Lie Eminem” – Featuring Rihanna

My Pick: Probably Need You Now, but I have to say I really like “F*** You” and from a songwriting standpoint, I like “Love The Way You Lie.”

Best New Artist

Justin Bieber
Florence & The Machine
Mumford & Sonds
Esperanza Spalding

My pick: Justin Bieber of course. He’s the only one I’ve actually heard of. And like his music or not, he’s an amazing talent and appears to be a good kid.

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance

Michael BublĂ© – “Havent’ Met You Yet”
Michael Jackson – “This is It”
Adam Lambert – “Whataya Want from Me”
Bruno Mars – “Just the Way You Are”
John Mayer – “Half of My Heart”

My pick: Michael Buble — “Haven’t Met You Yet”

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

Sara Bareilles — “King of Anything”
Beyonce — “Halo”
Norah Jones — “Chasing Pirates”
Katy Perry — “Teenager Dream”
Lady Gaga — “Bad Romance”

My pick: Lady GaGa — “Bad Romance”

The list of nominee categories goes on and on, but let’s face it, the best part is when the celebrities walk down the red carpet. Catch E! News before the 2011 GRAMMY Awards to see who wore a hit and who missed the mark.

Tags:2011 GRAMMY Awards Air on February 13, 2011

2011 First Round Draft Notes

I can’t say that I’m happy, but I’ll have to give Cam Newton a chance. I didn’t want the Panthers to take him at number one, but I don’t want him to bust now that he’s “the guy” for my favorite team. I wish the Panthers took a Marcell Dareus or A.J. Green and give Clausen and Moore another shot. After all, it is rare that a QB does well after just one year. It takes time. Smart teams like the Bucs wait three years for their QB, and the Bucs were rewarded when Josh Freeman had the year he had last season.

Newton is one of my least favorite players already, but I can’t deny his athleticism. I just wish he had better footwork and was a better person. Jake Locker deserved to be picked at number eight by the Titans. He was high on their board, fits their system well, and he wasn’t a reach. There are plenty of unintelligent people that dropped Locker from the first choice over Sam Bradford the year before, to somebody values in the late teens. And why? Well, that’s because suddenly mystifying accuracy problems arose. This happens when those said unintelligent “experts” read stats- meaningless in college football- like completion percentage and don’t watch what actually happened. Locker’s receivers were terrible, and he was almost always under pressure due to an incompetent line.

Christian Ponder was a reach at 12, but the Vikings couldn’t risk waiting too long. They made a smart choice because if you think that QB can be the guy, then by all means take him. Bill Musgrave wants to instill a WCO, and Ponder is the most accurate QB in the draft and best suited for the West Coast Offense. Ponder is an early second round talent and would have been most likely off the board by the time the Vikings would pick again.

I don’t like the Saints’ idea to trade up to the first round to select Mark Ingram. You should never do that for a running back. The Patriots accepted the basically free second round choice, and they own the top pick in the second round thanks to another horrible draft-day trade by Carolina the year before. That pick is a highly coveted one, but the Pats should keep the first of their three second round choices to select Da’Quan Bowers. He’s far too talented to pass up on, and he is a first-round talent. The Pats could use a pass rusher like Bowers.

The Falcons did a nice job in trading up to get Julio Jones at number six. They knew that they desperately needed a playmaking receiver, and the choices after Jones were all developmental projects. It wasn’t a reach because a lot of teams near that pick also looked like they really wanted one of only two top receiving prospects. The other guys are all boom-or-bust players or sleepers. The Falcons got their man.

Von Miller will be a good pass rusher in this league, but he is awfully similar to a great pass rusher the Broncos already have; Elvis Dumervil. I would have taken Marcell Dareus in that spot, because the Broncos start the poor Kevin Vickerson at defensive tackle. The Bills gladly picked up Dareus, and he will form a great defensive line duo with Kyle Williams.

I thought Aldon Smith was taken too high. Smith has a lot of upside, but the 49ers would have been better off drafting Robert Quinn and then re-signing Manny Lawson. Quinn and Fairley took big drops, and the teams that took them pounced on both top prospects on the D-Line. While the Rams and Lions are set on the line and have needs elsewhere, they took the best guys available and acquired two elite prospects outside of the top ten.

Prince Amukamara also took a huge plunge, and the Giants finally have a coverage corner. Terrell Thomas is solid, but he’s a physical corner that mainly stops the run. Thomas isn’t really a coverage player. Aaron Ross and Corey Webster are poor corners, so Amukamara will greatly boost a secondary that just couldn’t cover. I love his instincts.

Tags:2011 First Round Draft Notes

2011 Glee Tour Dates Announced

Beginning in late May the cast from the popular television show Glee will hit the road for a 16 city North American tour. Also included on this year’s tour are two stops in England and one in Ireland. Cast members include Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Amber Riley, Jenna Ushkowitz, Kevin McHale, Heather Morris, Naya Rivera and Harry Shum Jr. New additions Darren Criss and Chord Overstreet will also be joining the crew. Sadly there will be no Jane Lynch or Matthew Morrison on this year’s tour.

The Glee Live tour dates are:

May 21, 2011
Mandelay Bay Events Center
Las Vegas, Nevada

May 22, 2011
Arco Arena
Sacramento, California

May 24, 2011
HP Pavilion
San Jose, California

May 27, 2011
Honda Center
Anaheim, California

May 28, 2011
Staples Center
Los Angeles, California

May 29, 2011
Valley View Casino Center
San Diego, California

June 1, 2011
Target Center
Minneapolis, Minnesota

June 2, 2011
Conseco Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, Indiana

June 3, 2011
Allstate Arena
Chicago, Illinois

June 6, 2011
TD Garden
Boston, Massachusetts

June 8, 2011
Wells Fargo Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

June 11, 2011
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, Canada

June 13, 2011
Palace of Auburn Hills
Detroit, Michigan

June 14, 2011
Quicken Loans Arena
Cleveland, Ohio

June 16, 2011
Izod Center
East Rutherford, New Jersey

June 18, 2011
Naussau Coliseum
Uniondale, New York

June 22-23, 2011
MEN Arena
Manchester, England

June 25-29, 2011
O2 Arena
London, England

July 2-3, 2011
O2 Arena
Dublin, Ireland

Tags:2011 Glee Tour Dates Announced


Roy Williams has had one of the more disappointing fantasy football careers as far as wide receivers in recent memory. Drafted by the Detroit Lions as the 7th overall choice of his draft class, Williams looked to be on his way to stardom with 23 touchdown catches in his first three seasons. Soon however Williams fell out of favor in Detroit due to injuries and a prima donna attitude and was shipped off to the Dallas Cowboys for a boatload of draft picks. Needless to say Williams was a colossal bust in Dallas as Miles Austin and Dez Bryant rendered him a third receiver and so the Cowboys didnt even bat an eye in cutting ties with Williams once the lockout was completed. So why do I think Williams makes a good fantasy football sleeper for 2011? Allow me to explain.

As far as what a prototypical receiver should look like, Williams would be a good model due to his 6-3 frame and solid speed for his size. Williams was quite possibly the best recever in college football while at Texas and it seemed the sky was the limit. Unfortunately starting off with the miserable Lions stunted his growth despite some early success and soured his attitude. Than when he went to Dallas, he walked into a loaded offense that had many various weapons which cut into his numbers and hid what he could offer with a better chance for more targets. Williams has now ended up in Chicago with a pure gun slinging QB in Jay Cutler who has been in dire need of a go-to-receiver since coming to town. In Williams, Cutler now has his best wideout since Brandon Marshall in Denver and no doubt with Mike Martz running the show, the Bears will take to the air all season. Williams will be the prime beneficiary of this attack and so just for the fact he is the number 1 receiver with an accomplished QB who likes to throw, he stands a very good chance to put up numbers close to what he first arrived in the league.

Regarding what numbers we could expect from Williams, there is no doubt that he can reach the 80 catch plateau in the Martz offense with Cutler throwing to him all season. A run at 1,000 yards would go with it, along with 6-8 TD’s. Thats wide receiver 2 numbers folks and this from a guy who is being drafted toward the end of fantasy football drafts this summer. So do yourself a favor and take advantage at the upside and value Williams could provide for your roster. Its these kind of guys who win you titles and Williams could prove to be one of the best bargains this season.

2011 PROJECTION: 81 catches 1,094 yards 7 TD


2011 Green Bay Packers Roster: Re-sign, Release, or Replace James Jones for the 2011 Season?

Wide receiver James Jones is a valuable contributor to the Green Bay Packers’ offense. Because the team frequently uses formations with 3 and 4 wide receivers, Jones is often on the field despite not being a starter. Should the Green Bay Packers re-sign, release, or replace James Jones for the 2011 season?

Here are some of the reasons to re-sign and replace James Jones. All stats are courtesy of and

#1. 2nd on Receiving Totals

For the 2010 season, Jones caught 50 passes for 679 yards. He averaged 13.6 yards per reception. Jones also brought in 5 touchdowns.

Jones’ touchdowns and yardage totals were both 2nd on the team behind only Greg Jennings. His 50 receptions were 3rd on the team. Donald Driver was only 1 catch ahead of Jones for 2nd place.

Despite Driver starting ahead of Jones on the depth chart, Jones did outperform Driver slightly during the 2010 season. Jones could handle a larger role in the offense if Driver begins to decline.

#2. Schematic Fit
Jones is 6’1″ and 208 pounds. He runs fairly well after the catch, making him a great fit for how the Green Bay Packers utilize their wide receivers. Jones had 301 yards after the catch. Only Jennings had more among the tight ends and wide receivers.

#3. 1st Downs
33 of Jones’ 50 catches went for 1st downs. His number of 1st down catches were better than both Jordy Nelson and Driver.

#1. Drops

Jones struggles with drops at times. He’s been with the team for 4 years and hasn’t been able to completely solve the problem. It’s difficult to be optimistic about Jones’ drops when he hasn’t shown significant improvement in 4 years. At this point in his career, Jones’ drops are holding him back from becoming a reliable receiving option.

#2. Fumbles
Jones had 3 fumbles during the 2010 regular season, including a critical lost fumble in the Week 3 20-17 loss to the Chicago Bears. He had more fumbles than any other tight end or wide receiver on the team. Jennings had only 2 fumbles, despite making 26 more catches than Jones.

The lack of ball security is a significant problem for a wide receiver on the Green Bay Packers. The team’s offensive scheme expects its receivers to gain yardage after the catch. Defenders will have the chance to force a fumble.

Jones is talented, but ultimately inconsistent. Drops have been a recurring problem for him. But Jones did set career highs for some of his numbers during the 2010 season.

Jones should be an unrestricted free agent with the conclusion of the 2010 season. This may or may not be affected by a new collective bargaining agreement.

I think the Green Bay Packers should give Jones a modest contract offer if he goes into unrestricted free agency. With their offensive system, the team definitely needs at least 3 quality receiving options. Donald Driver is expected to retire within the next 2 to 5 years, leaving a starting spot open. Jones or Jordy Nelson would be the likely replacements for Driver at this point.

However, the size of Jones’ contract offer should be tied to his problem with drops. He clearly has recurring issues with reliability on the field and doesn’t deserve a starter’s contract. A contract offer with incentives about his number of receptions per drops or something similar could be a creative way for the team to protect itself.

Sources James Jones’ Player Page. February 7th, 2011. James Jones’ Career Stats. February 7th, 2011.

Tags:2011 Green Bay Packers Roster: Re-sign, Release, or Replace James Jones for the 2011 Season?

2011 Home and Garden Show, Stillwater, Oklahoma

Stillwater, Oklahoma, is hosting its Annual Home and Garden Show, April 1st and 2nd, 2011 at the Payne County Expo Center. Several hundred local businesses will exhibit their products and services at the invitation of the Stillwater Home Builders Association.

Visitors be able to experience a wide range of innovative products and services relating to new home construction, home remodeling, interior redesign, and landscaping.

The 22nd Home and Garden Show, Stillwater, Oklahoma, is an important outlet for area manufacturers, designers, construction companies, remodeling companies, landscaping companies, and others. Increasingly, customers want to support their area economy. And the 2011 Home and Garden Show is an excellent venue for such support.

The Stillwater Home Builders Association website has a link to the layout plan of exhibitors. The document opens in an Excel worksheet. One can type in the name of a local business and the cursor will point to the booth that the exhibitor was assigned to. Really cool feature.

One local area manufacturer is exhibitor The Shutter Mill, Inc. (dba Kirtz Shutters).

Kirtz Shutters produces wood shutters of any shape imaginable in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The wood plantation shutters and specialty shutters are sold under the brand name Kirtz Shutters ( Members of Kirtz Shutters will exhibit their wood shutters at booth 116 and 117at the 22nd Home and Garden Show.

Visitors at the Kirtz Shutters booth are encouraged to touch the hardwood shutters made and feel their smoothness due to high-quality craftsmanship. Kirtz Shutter representatives will be available to answer questions and to book appointments for free in-home estimates. Kirtz shutters can be made of sustainably harvested wood or reclaimed wood

to fit any window imaginable.

Kirtz Shutters owner Chris Tietz, warmly welcomes visitors at the manufacturing facility on South Perkins Road, Stillwater, Oklahoma. At the plant, visitors can see for themselves how raw lumber turns into beautiful shutters.

What: 22nd Home and Garden Show, Stillwater, Oklahoma (

Where: Stillwater, Oklahoma, Payne County Expo Center, near intersection Fairgrounds Rd. and HWY 51; Stillwater, OK 74075

When: April 1 and 2, 2011, Friday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Why: To meet area companies to assist you in home construction, home remodeling, interior design, and landscaping. Get a free tree or win a door prize!

Tags:2011 Home and Garden Show, Stillwater, Oklahoma

2011: A Look at the Technological Trends that Shaped the Year

As the end of 2011 rapidly approaches, a look back at the technological advances and trends of the year is in order. Overshadowing the year is of course the death of Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs. His vision will be missed in the technology world.

This past year saw rapid advancement in not only the use of smart phones but smart phones that were more powerful. No longer content to haul around even a tablet computer, phone users can now surf the internet with ease. One technological advance that found its place in the limelight was the hot spot technology that allowed smart phones to become wireless hot spots for computer use. This exploded as protesters around the globe found it necessary to post constant updates to their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

2011 has also been the year when 3D technology became more widely accepted. From televisions to computers, the ability to render graphics in 3D has started to become commonplace. While the price of 3D is still high it’s far more reasonable than it was just a year ago.

Tablet computing technology came into its own in 2011. Many companies put tablet computers into production in 2010 in an attempt to compete with the Apple iPad. It wasn’t until 2011 that the tablet computer market exploded. Even companies such as Amazon got into the tablet computing business with the creation of their tablet/eReader Kindle Fire. While the goal of creating a tablet computer for less than the sticker price of an iPad was met by every company, the iPad was still the most popular tablet.

In 2011 internet giant Google found itself rising and falling depending on the fiscal quarter. Deciding to overhaul their dynamic, Google discontinued more than 20 of their services, choosing to focus on apps. Their Panda release which reconfigured the search algorithms was a hit to many content providing services across the web. Companies like Demand Media were among the hardest hit.

If 2011 is going to be known for one technology trend alone it would have to be the widespread use of apps. From phones to tablet computers, the app has risen to the top of the technological heap. One of the primary reasons mentioned for the discontinuing of several Google services was so that the company could focus on apps.

Tags:2011: A Look at the Technological Trends that Shaped the Year

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