EPISODE III DVD EVE

Tomorrow, Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith goes on sale. Hopefully Santa Claus will make a note of that in the event I was “nice” this year.

As if you need to get in the mood, I recommend going to The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster and reading it from the start. It is simply brilliant and really gets you in the mood for watching Episode III.

One sad note though, William Hootkins, who played Porkins, has died, cause of death — TIE fighter.

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4 NATS FILE FOR FREE AGENCY; MANN: SMULYAN WON’T MOVE TEAM

Four More Nationals Elect to Become Free AgentsThe Post
Four free agents filed yesterday: P Esteban Loaiza (sign him now!), P Tony Armas Jr. (do not return any of his calls), IF Carlos Baerga (send him a gold watch), OF Preston Wilson (send him a really large glove), P Joey Eischen (sign him too), and Deivi Cruz (uhhhhhhhh).


Potential Owner Vows to Never Move Nationals AP/WTOP
Jeff Smulyan explains that his local investors (to the tune of $100 million) could veto any move out of D.C. Charles “Hungry” Mann, one of several former Redskins in the Smulyan bid added:
Why are people getting on that tangent? I don’t understand that. People threaten to move if you don’t build them a new stadium. Well, guess what? The stadium’s being built. So let’s just stop with that. That’s a smoke screen by somebody that doesn’t make any sense.

Mann makes a good point, but how many people are worried about Smulyan moving the team? My worries are more along the line of “if Jeff Smulyan wants to do for Washington what he did for Seattle” or some other political cliche.

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WE’RE STUCK WITH BOWDEN FOR THE OFFSEASON; PROBABLY LONGER

Nationals Extend Bowden’s ContractThe Post
GM Jim Bowden signed a contract extension that will keep him in Washington through the offseason. He signed utility infielder Damian Jackson and 2B Bernie Castro (AP/WJLA).

Bowden’s signing probably means Frank Robinson’s tenure is the dugout is over. Bowden is shooting for Thanksgiving to make that decision, but ultimately, it probably will not be made until the team has an owner and there is no telling which Thanksgiving we will be celebrating when that happens.

More from The Wash. Times: Nats extend Bowden’s contract


THOMAS BOSWELLWhite Sox, Astros Give Nats HopeThe Post
Boz finds hope in the fact that the two pennant winners have similar revenue and attendance to the Nationals and provide a model of how the Nats can win, rather than just throwing money at players to build a roster.

Cropp vows ballpark on AnacostiaThe Wash. Times
At a citizen forum hosted by D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp said the 1/2 Street ballpark site is within budget and “there will be no motion — legitimate motion — to move it to another site.” We shall see.

Also, Franklin Haney, a bidder for the Nats again stated that the owner should pay for cost overruns which means there is no way that MLB will sell him the team.


PRESS RELEASEMASN Signs Third Carrier for Washington Nationals GamesPR Newswire
If you have Charter Cable you now have MASN. Does anybody have Charter though?

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WWN PENN STATE PREGAME #9

#10 PENN STATE vs. Purdue

Happy Homecoming! Get ready for fall foilage, hot apple cider, the Alumni Blue Band, and sorority girls in new windbreakers. Oh yeah, there is a football game too.

The Lions return from a two game, 1-1 roadtrip to face the Boilermarkers, who are a surprising 2-5, though 4-3 Indiana are probably a bigger surprise in the Hooiser state. Due to Big11Ten scheduling quirks, Purdue is playing in Happy Valley for the second consecutive year. Last year’s contest, a 20 – 13 loss for the Lions, was also played on Homecoming.

The Big11Ten is pretty top heavy with a handful of teams with one loss in conference play. Penn State pretty much controls it’s own destiny though — win out and win the conference (outright if Michigan stumbles) for the second time. But let us not get ahead of ourselves, because Purdue is going to be hungry for a win and beating Penn State would salvage their season for at least a week.

TAILGATE

We will be hosting the tailgate again after three long weeks. We will be in Lot 11 or 12. Look for the Yurasko flag. We will have the usual goodies as well as some hot apple cider and coccoa to help us with the seasonable weather.

LAST WEEK

After a skaky start on defense, the Lions offense took over and proved unstoppable, lead by Mike Robinson’s 4 TD passes and 2 TD runs. The defense buckled down and the Lions coasted to a 63 – 10 win. It got hard to watch.

THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT: PURDUE BOILERMAKERS

Going into the season many picked Purdue to win the Big11Ten because they had 11 starters coming back on defense and avoided Ohio State and Michigan. Thus far, they are 2 – 5, including a the current five games skid (Patriot-News), so that is not going to happen. They have not been blown out though and have lost twice in overtime. Is Joe Paterno concerned? You betcha and I am too. A team as well-coached as Purdue does not take to going 2 – 4 well, particularly when they are as senior laden as this one. This is probably “their Rose Bowl,” so expect them to play very hard.

PRESS CONFERENCE RECAP

Here is the transcript from the Post-Gazette. Audio is available at FightOnState.com. Paterno’s main point — we are only looking at Purdue and not ahead of them. Also, he acknowledges the similarities between the ’05 Boilermakers and the ’04 Nittany Lions but says that Purdue is the better of the two.

THINKING TOO FAR AHEAD

In Tuesday’s Patriot-News, Dave Jones was talking BCS possibilities and Bob Flounders was stumping for Michael Robinson to get invited to the Heisman Trophy presentation. Fellas, there are still three games (over four weeks) left to play for the Lions, and then the conference championship games in December. Nothing is going to be decided for almost two months. I hope the team is not looking that far ahead.

BEANO WATCH

For years, Carroll H. Cook’s (’54 Pitt) comments on Penn State football have a vital part of my pregame coverage. More than one person has said Beano Watch was their favorite part, so imagine my dissapointment when he blew off Penn State in this week’s chat. He only mentioned Penn State a few times and never answered a specific Penn State question, including my excellent one about Casablanca being written by a Penn Stater.

Will (PA): Beano,Do you see Charlie Weis ever returning to the NFL to coach? Will ND run the table and get a BCS bearth?

Beano Cook: I think Notre Dame will run the table but would have to fight to get a BCS berth, battling UCLA, Georgia and Alabama, as it stands right now. If Penn State wins the Big Ten, I feel ND vs. Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl…we will see. I think Weis will be at ND for at least five years but I don’t think he will be there 10 years. He will win a national championship very shortly. We are not hearing anything about the tough academics at Notre Dame any more, as we?

Dave Jones also suggested that as a possible scenario for the Lions. That would be something, playing Notre Dame twice in three games as the second game of the 2006 season is PSU at ND.

John (Boulder): Beano – Is there any chance Northwestern could win the Big 10?

Beano Cook: If the Wildcats didn’t lose a big lead vs. Penn State, they would be in the driver’s seat. Penn State completed a 4th and 15 pass and then scored with 52 seconds left in that game. Northwestern had a chance.

As much as we wonder “oh what might have been” over the last play two weeks ago, Northwestern is in the same boat as us with the 4th and 15 conversion.

That is all Beano had to say about the biggest program in the east, no prediction either. I wonder why he is ignoring the Lions and if that is good or bad.

WEATHER

As of Thursday morning, the forecast for Saturday has been upgraded to DRY. State College based Accuweather says the high will be 49F and the low will be 36F, so Nittany Kittens are going to need their mittens and blankets. It snowed earlier in the week in Central Pennsylvania and there may be a mix of it on Friday too.

TELEVISION

Alas, the ABC Regional telecast does not include Washington. WJLA is putting Maryland vs. Free Shoes University on instead. Here is the coverage map anyway, for those of you living in the Northeast and Midwest. You can always go to aMetro Washington Chapter of Penn State Alumni Association viewing site (other than Rhino Bar of course) to watch the game. Uncle Jed’s in Bethasda seems to be the least crowded and has excellent wings.

PREDICTIONS

Penn State gets more of a game than it would like, but in the end they Nittany Lions are too good for the Boilermakers. I think the final score will be 31 – 20.

MORE COVERAGE

  • Penn State Football Official Site – from the “Kremlin”
  • CDT coverage
  • Patriot-News coverage
  • Post-Gazette coverage
  • Tribune-Review coverage
  • 50 Yard Lion Blog – an Altoona dentist; daily
  • PA Sports Blog – mostly recruiting, if that is your thing
  • Nittany Lines Blog — sports ed. from The Morning Call
  • Dan Victor’s Front Row — student football columnist at the CDT
  • Ask Jeff Q & A
  • FightOnState.com — free
  • Blue White Illustrated — Phil Grosz, subscription required

    IN CLOSING

    Go STATE, beat BOILERMARKERS!

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  • THE ONION IS BACK

    After phoning it in for a number of years The Onion is returning to its former glory and then some. For a while there, the only amusing part of satirical newspaper was the skyboxes with quick headlines like “Heston: We must arm ourselves to defeat the apes” and “Eddie Vedder just goes away.”

    The Web site is now expanded and updated throughout the week, with important breaking news like Bush To Nominate Next Person Who Walks Through Door.

    The writing is getting wittier too, after pretty much using a slightly different variation on the same stories over and over again. Some recent highlights:

    Notre Dame Football Announces Improvements To Its Storied History
    “I fully intend to be the primary architect of Notre Dame history’s return to prominence and relevance,” Weis said. “I inherited a program that had only won 11 national championships between 1924 and 2005. I promise you that, by this time next year, the Fighting Irish will have won at least 10 more in that same time period…”

    Some of the highlights of Notre Dame’s new history:

    1869: The first college football game is played this year, on Nov. 6, between Princeton and Rutgers, with the understanding that the winner will go on to play Notre Dame later in the afternoon for the national championship

    1887: University board approves the Athletic Department’s request for a new sports team, and Notre Dame football is officially born on the playing fields of South Bend, IN, the same year as future Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz is born in West Virginia

    1943: With the boys fighting World War II overseas, the women of Notre Dame take the reins of the football team and pummel the notorious draft-dodging Michigan Wolverines to bring home another national title to South Bend

    1944: In December, the Notre Dame defense successfully holds off a German advance to win the Battle of the Bulge; meanwhile, in the Pacific theater, the Irish offense invades and retakes the Philippines; the team finishes the season ranked #2 in all polls.

    1975: Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, an undersized fourth-string transfer student, is allowed to dress for and play in the last and only game of his college career; in the final moments of the game, “Rudy” tackles the Georgia Tech quarterback, forcing a fumble which rolls into the end zone and is recovered for an Irish victory; Notre Dame jumps up 23 spots in the polls for a share of the national championship; Ruettiger is awarded the Butkus and Nagurski trophies

    2005: The Oct. 15 victory of the Fighting Irish over #1 ranked USC, 27-31, is marred somewhat when Trojan Matt Leinart, who attempts to run the ball into the end zone in a last-second quarterback sneak, gets hit by the entire Notre Dame defense and is killed instantly as time runs out

    Quarterback Has Normal, Healthy Son
    “You see, unlike most sons of quarterbacks, Cole is completely free of multiple sclerosis, autism, leukemia, epilepsy, cancer, or cystic fibrosis. The doctors tell us it’s a miracle.”


    Bob Marley Rises From Grave To Free Frat Boys From Bonds Of Oppression
    “Seriously, I’m such a huge fan that I’ve practically worn out my CD copy of Legend. It’s the best expletive deleted music,” Bonham added.

    In the midst of all of this, The Onion has attracted the attention of the White House. According to a recent article in The Times, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is not happy that the site featured the presidential Seal:

    “It has come to my attention that The Onion is using the presidential seal on its Web site,” Grant M. Dixton, associate counsel to the president, wrote to The Onion on Sept. 28. (At the time, Mr. Dixton’s office was also helping Mr. Bush find a Supreme Court nominee; days later his boss, Harriet E. Miers, was nominated.)

    Citing the United States Code, Mr. Dixton wrote that the seal “is not to be used in connection with commercial ventures or products in any way that suggests presidential support or endorsement.” Exceptions may be made, he noted, but The Onion had never applied for such an exception.

    The Onion was amused. “I’m surprised the president deems it wise to spend taxpayer money for his lawyer to write letters to The Onion,” Scott Dikkers, editor in chief, wrote to Mr. Dixton. He suggested the money be used instead for tax breaks for satirists…

    “It is inconceivable that anyone would think that, by using the seal, The Onion intends to ‘convey… sponsorship or approval’ by the president,” wrote Rochelle H. Klaskin, the paper’s lawyer, who went on to note that a headline in the current issue made the point: “Bush to Appoint Someone to Be in Charge of Country.”

    You have to wonder if the White House does not have better things to do, but then again the way things are going these days maybe going after trivial stuff like this is better than the alternative.

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