Monday, September 29, 2008

Guest blogger time.

Today's guest blogger: Shane from Marshalltown.

After last week's hangover induced, lackluster performance, I have made a concerted effort to step my game up...

Congratulations to Andy and Kahala!! It was obvious when I met her, that Andy has great taste in women...too bad Kahala's taste in men is apparently below average...

Iowa didn't lose the game because of Ken O'Keefe...unless he called for 5 turnovers...and if he did, he's a jerk and needs to be fired...

Hank Steinbrenner basically declared that the Yankees should be in the playoffs, even though they're not that good...which is funny, since most baseball fans would like to see them NOT make the playoffs, even when they're awesome...

Blazing Saddles would be the funniest movie ever, if they'd lop off the last 10 minutes...Seriously, it's like making out with Jessica Alba, then just as you're really starting to get into it, she unleashes a chili burp in your mouth...not cool Jessica...not cool at all...

America lost a legend this weekend when Paul Newman passed away...With the way Hollywood has wussified itself over the years, it seems we're down to just Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Harrison Ford, in the "man's man" catagory...

Matt Millen was fired by the Detroit Lions this week, leaving their fans with nothing to look forward to for the rest of the season...

After meeting KCCI's Andy Garman and John Meyer and WOI's Eric Murphy, during Andy's bachelor party, I'm left wondering "how can I possibly hate "the competition" now!?!?" So I'd like to take this time to apologize to both stations for the rash of "dog poop in a bag, on fire" pranks, that took place during a 3 year stretch, spanning from 2006 thru...the hours leading up to Andy's bachelor party...

I don't know what Jethro's is planning on serving up as "The Cot-Man's Sandwich" but it should be bland enough to bore your taste buds to sleep, while giving you diarrhea of the mouth...

Hey Keith, you know what they say about that Old Spice commercial that gives you nightmares, right!?!? Good looking guy...but a horse's ass...

Can someone please tell Carlos Zambrano that the season didn't end with his no-hitter!?!? Thanks...

The SoundOFF poll about booing left off the 3 choices I would consider voting for...The opposition...when the refs blow a call...and Notre Dame...

If Lou Holtz were to ever say, "Let me tell you shomething Shane from Marshalltown..." would I be correct in assuming he thinks my name is Sane from Marsalltown???

Why is our government putting together a 700 billion dollar bailout for a bunch of morons??? Let 'em suffer so the next group of idiots will think twice about how they do business!!! Screw it, I'd like to declare that I'm running for president and when elected, I will make stupidity illegal...well, except for mine of course...

Shane from Marshalltown

Shane's views are Shane's, and Shane's alone. Unless you agree, then they're yours and Shane's. Let Shane know what you think on feedback, and if you're interested in providing a guest blog, please send it to unless it really stinks, then send it to

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How Ferentz can win back fans' confidence.

-I think the next to biggest thing Kirk Ferentz can do to regain the confidence of many Hawkeye fans is to take down the wall of defensiveness and admit when his hunches are wrong. He doesn't have to apologize for following his "gut feeling", he just needs to be accountable for it. (I still think Ferentz was sending Stanzi a message for defying Ken O'Keefe late in the first half.)

What's that? Oh yeah, the biggest thing Ferentz can do to regain confidence is have Iowa win six of the next eight games. I think four is more likely.

-The Hawkeyes can beat anyone remaining on their schedule, and they can lose to anyone.

-Shonn Greene needed more touches in the fourth quarter at Pitt, but eventually Iowa has to come up with some offense from someone else or defenses will dare Iowa to pass---if they're not already.

-Is DJK overrated, or just in need of a better quarterback?

-Jake Christensen was a great high school quarterback, but he is below average in college. I root for the guy---I think he tries hard, and has been blamed for too much---but Jake and Iowa are a bad match. For whatever reason, he hasn't developed at all at Iowa.

-Rick Stanzi is no Chuck Long. He's no Drew Tate for that matter, but it's not hard to see Stanzi's teammates think he should be the guy, and at this point, Iowa needs to ride the roller coaster. He'll look great one game (see FIU) and shaky the next (see Iowa State), but he deserves a chance to play without looking over his shoulder. Jake's had his chance.

-Chigozie Ejiasi is a promising hire as Iowa's Director of Player Development. A guy who grew up in Cedar Rapids, and played for two Big Ten championship teams at Iowa should have an idea of what life is like for a Hawkeye football player.

-I'm not surprised Iowa State is 2-2, but I'm shocked why the Clones are 2-2: a complete lack of on-field discipline. Iowa State is young, very young, but there's no excusing 14 personal foul penalties. That's embarrassing, and partly on the coaches.

-Also on the coaches, Iowa State not being ready to play at UNLV. Much like Iowa needing to win at Pitt, a win at UNLV has the potential to be a swing game for ISU...perhaps the difference between no bowl and a bowl, so how could the Cyclones come out so flat and unprepared? There is absolutely no excuse. It's on the players too.

-Time to stop pretending there's a quarterback competition at Iowa State. Austen Arnaud earned the job, and if he's not hurt, he should be out there. He is a better quarterback than Phillip Bates. As noted before, Gene Chizik needs to find another way for Bates to play (receiver, punt returns, kick returns---something) and get him on board. If Arnaud gets hurt, Bates can go back to QB.

-Leonard Johnson is young and talented, but he should start the Kansas game on the bench after that cheap shot at UNLV. He was deservedly ejected, but Johnson needs to play under control. When he does, he'll be a good one.

-I watched the Hawkeye game at home in glorious HD, while I saw the Cyclone game at Jethro's. Also on hand, Andy Fales, Willie Farrell, Shane in Marshalltown, Eddie Berlin, Joe Woodley, JT the Nutt, Andy Garman and Jon Miller wearing his Drake basketball shirt. The place was packed in the first half, but nearly everyone cleared out at halftime. We stayed for the thrilling finish---and by that, I mean Andy's exit. (It was his bachelor party.) The last second Arnaud TD pass was good too.

-Jon Miller does cheer the Cyclones. I saw it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears.

-Does anyone run the football harder than Marion Barber?

-Laura Linney did win the Emmy for John Adams. Since I was right, I don't have to watch an HGTV marathon.

-My four year old, Colin, just discovered Michael Jackson's music, which is all he needs to know for now. Hearing some of those old songs, I was reminded what a great talent Jackson was before he went all weird, white, and reclusive. Just try not to tap your feet along with Dirty Diana, Beat It, or Billie Jean.

-I loved that the Yankees left Roger Clemens out of the Yankee Stadium celebration, but there's no excuse for not including Joe Torre.

-The Ryder Cup was riveting television, like watching a great night of the Olympics. I love feeling patriotic, especially during a rough year like this one. Bonus props to Boo Weekley for watching Happy Gilmore as many times as the rest of us.

-I like the Chiefs, but they should not be shown on local television again unless there's no other option.

-How fun was it watching the Dolphins run all over the Patriots with the Single Wing? That was awesome. (Apologies to Patriots fans. You've had a great run. We have to gloat over your misery because we're jealous.)

-Are any of these new TV shows any good?

-Tina Fey's brilliant, spot-on impression of Sarah Palin did a great job of disguising what has been an otherwise lackluster start to SNL.

-Chris Hassel's "gut feeling" about what to wear during his sportscast hit the nail on the head for Hawk fans. Funny too.

-Baby Mama was less funny and more sweet than expected. One laugh out loud scene (wheeling Amy Poehler into the hospital). B-

-Congrats to Andy and Kahala! (and Lisa and Jeff)


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Can Iowa win a title? What's wrong with ISU? What's wrong with Righteous Kill?

-It's good to be back home. But I do miss the Doctor Salami sandwiches in Oskaloosa. Good stuff.

-True story: I gained seven pounds during RVTV.

-The best way to watch the Iowa-Iowa State football game had to be in HD. The rain looks the same, but you don't get wet.

I thought it was, for the most part, a rather dull game saved by the fourth quarter fireworks. Iowa was the better team and deserved to win. Iowa, especially Kirk Ferentz, wanted to win in the worst way, and I think the Hawks showed more fire and chemistry than we saw last year. Iowa's defense looks like the real deal up front, Shonn Greene is a man, and Andy Brodell only needs more touches to make more plays.

But... let's not get carried away. Did I really read in several places that Iowa could compete for the Big Ten title? Not the Iowa team I saw. Not even with Iowa's soft schedule. I don't doubt seven wins, but Iowa has trouble at quarterback. Rick Stanzi looked great in two controlled scrimmages, but he was lost against Iowa State's disguised defenses and blitz packages. Jake Christensen has experience and doesn't turn the ball over, but he has an erratic arm and appears to have lost the confidence of many in Iowa City.

Iowa's a better team than last year, and let's not forget they still won six games a season ago, but the Hawkeyes looked better than they are because the competition hasn't been good. If they beat a slightly above average Pitt team, January is possible.

-Iowa State was a big disappointment. I was stunned how undisciplined the Cyclones looked at times. ISU has all kinds of exciting young talent, but it doesn't matter if the team is killing itself with stupid penalties, horrible clock management, and head-scratching play-calls inside the red zone. I did not think I would see a Gene Chizik team look this self-destructive. It gave many a Cyclone fan flashbacks, and not good ones.

We'll know a lot more about Iowa State and Iowa after Saturday.

-Lolo Jones is the best. She gets off a plane in Des Moines, comes to the studio for SoundOff, and takes the time to make every employee at WHO-TV feel like a friend. We put Lolo in our Hall of Fame for three reasons: 1) She's a world champion. 2) She always has time for Iowa. 3) Lolo is a great interview. Insightful, charming, and funny. She could be a motivational speaker.

-How creepy is that body wash commercial where the man in the shower is half horse. Who thought that would help sell product? It makes me want to avoid it.

-Bernard Goldberg's story on HBO's Real Sports showing underage children in India stitching soccer balls for pennies a day was heartbreaking. It was also journalism at its best.

-On the other end of the spectrum, I can't believe I'm still watching America's Got Talent. Especially after the middle weeks when the judges constantly went with the cruel deception of, "I'm very sorry to have inform you that...YOU'RE GOING TO THE NEXT ROUND!" I only fell for it 11 or 12 times.

-The Vikings finally figured out you can't go to the Super Bowl without passing the football. It's too late.

-How bad are the Chiefs? I like the Chiefs, and I can't watch.

-How good was that Eagles-Cowboys game Monday night?! My wife even watched it with me because she feels like she knows the Cowboys after Hard Knocks.

-Erin Kiernan just blogged me out of seeing Righteous Kill. I'll take her advice and watch Heat again.

-As noted in the RVTV blog, we all watched Wedding Crashers the night before the Big Game. If football had a Hoosiers, we might have watched that. Anyway, Vince Vaughn is really funny in Crashers.

-I still can't believe how exciting and scary it is to go 150 miles an hour in a car. If you have the chance to take a few laps at the Iowa Speedway, it's worth the $40, but I guarantee it's much more intense than you expect. You'll walk away with a new respect and appreciation for race car drivers.

-I'll watch the Ryder Cup even without Tiger. Unless something else is on.

-Good to have House back.

-And Entourage.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Cupcake Hype, Shawn's Homecoming, and RVTV.

It's great to have college football back. I love nearly everything about it, even the fans who get far too carried away after their team looks good against an over-matched cupcake. Hype makes it more fun, though it does often lead to disappointment.

What did we learn about Iowa State? We know the Cyclones are bigger, faster, and stronger than they were last year. We know they've progressed to the point where they can look sloppy and still blow out a team they should blow out. That's good.

What did we learn about Iowa? We know the Hawkeyes looked like a team again. The focus, intensity, and discipline missing from last year's flop finale against Western Michigan were back against Maine. That's good too. But it was Maine.

Now to things I don't know, but think. I think Jake Christensen will be Iowa's starting quarterback. He moved the team better than Ricky Stanzi, and though Jake made a couple of terrible throws, he made mostly good decisions.

Anytime a team's struggling, the most popular quarterback is the back-up, and over the years, there is no place in America where that's more true than Iowa City. Fans know what they're getting with Christensen, and they're underwhelmed. They like Stanzi's upside, but the coaches fear his downside. Look for Jake under center when it counts.

In Ames, it's Arnaud. Experience counts, and there's no reason to rotate guys with similar assets. However, I think Gene Chizik has to find a way to put Phillip Bates on the field. When you're Iowa State, you can't afford to have a play-maker watching from the sideline. Bates is a play-maker. Ask a Hawkeye fan.

Jack Trice Stadium is finally starting to look like it belongs in the Big 12. They're just getting started on the renovations, but it's already an upgrade.

Speaking of upgrades, the uniforms are better looking, but the color change is so drastic, it's almost like watching a different team. It's going to take time getting used to the change from McDonald's red and yellow, to USC's maroon and gold.

The I-State change is good for Iowa State's bottom line because I see the new merchandise everywhere. It's selling.

Of all the carried away sentiment going around---and that's part of being a fan---none is more over the top than the runaway praise for Jewel Hampton. Yes, he looked great in the fourth quarter against Maine. But it was Maine. The second team Iowa defense tests Hampton more in practice. Give him some time.

Shonn Greene looked great. Wait until he gets in shape.

Good call by our Hawkeye insider, Jon Miller of Hawkeye On his weekly channel 13 segment, Jon predicted Iowa would win 44 to 3. He overlooked the safety. Maybe next time he'll get it right.

Who do you think would win if South Dakota State played Maine? That actually sounds like a competitive game. I say Maine wins.

As I'm writing this, UCLA just upset Tennessee in overtime. Awesome. How can you not love college football.

We're cranking up two RVs Monday morning, thanks to Born Free in Humboldt. This year we're taking RVTV on a road trip. Andy, Shawn, Chris and I will start in Ames on Monday, go to Marshalltown Tuesday, the Iowa Speedway in Newton Wednesday, Oskaloosa Thursday, and arrive in Iowa City for Friday & Saturday. If you have any Cy-Hawk story ideas, please send them to, and if you get the chance, please come see us (but not too early in the morning. The ISU band did that once last year. We're still recovering.).

How 'bout Lolo Jones calling in to SoundOff from Switzerland at 5:45 a.m. local time. Lolo is the best. Lolo is always an interesting interview, even when half asleep. She says the thing she keeps playing over and over in mind was that she could have won the gold medal on cruise control, but decided to "try and amaze people". The burst caused her to clip a hurdle. She amazed us anyway. (By the way, as promised, I forwarded your notes from here to Lolo.)

Many of you asked why Lolo didn't get a "Welcome Back Celebration" like Shawn. Simple. Lolo hasn't returned yet. She's running track meets in Switzerland this week, and beat the Olympic champion easily. That's the way to get back on the horse.

When Lolo does finally return to Des Moines, I have no doubt many people will show her how proud we are. She deserves it. It won't be the nearly 10,000 who showed up for Shawn, but Shawn Johnson is a worldwide star right now. 15 hours of prime time exposure in the most watched sport in the Olympics coupled with charm, grace and a million watt smile = Leno, Letterman, and the Democratic Convention. (By the way, Shawn is 16. She was not making a political statement. Her agent, Sheryl Shade, told me a week ago, Shawn would be equally honored to lead the Pledge at the Republican Convention, if asked. She wasn't asked.)

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention what an honor it was to host Shawn's homecoming. I was stunned by the size of the crowd, though not as surprised as Shawn ("I don't understand why all these people would come to see me?"). My favorite part of the day was sitting back in the green room with Shawn and her parents and hearing the wide-eyed stories of all that they'd seen and experienced in Beijing. I'm also happy to report that anytime Shawn had to meet someone, especially a kid, she couldn't have been more gracious, or tried harder to make it a memorable experience.

The Nadas came by and asked Shawn if they could have a picture with her, to which she immediately replied, "Can I have a picture with you?". I can't imagine being that talented and famous at 16, but I think she handles it very well. Certainly better than I would have. Her parents have done a great job. Chow too.

I really appreciate all the people who helped organize and put on an event with next to no budget. It gives me more pride in the community and faith in people.

I thought about asking Andy to take the stage as Bela Karolyi that night. I decided it would take the spotlight off Shawn, which is where it belonged, but gosh it would have been funny. I still laugh when I watch that. I have no idea how Andy keeps a straight face. Liang Chow says he laughed so hard he couldn't breathe. (Good place to thank Shawn Terrell and Chris Hassel for editing the videos of Shawn Johnson that fired the crowd up beyond anything Andy and I could have done.)

Speaking of Hassel, he practically pushed Jenny and me into Tropic Thunder. I couldn't wait. I did laugh really hard several times, but overall I was disappointed. It's 30 minutes of over the top, crude foolishness stretched to 100 minutes, but it was worth it for the belly laughs, Robert Downey Junior and Tom Cruise. I saw it with my mom & dad too. The movie earns the R rating and then some. That could have had an effect on my enjoyment too. Even at 44, they're still my parents, and I still get embarrassed when one of the actors promotes the energy drink, Booty Sweat.

Tropic Thunder is the greatest movie of all time compared to The Clone Wars. Will someone please make George Lucas stop before we all forget how great he once was. At least the kids thought it was okay. I was counting seats in the theater to pass the time.

This is the best Cubs team I've ever seen. Cubs fans should worry anyway. The best team doesn't always win the World Series. Not these days. Not with all the rounds in the playoffs.

The NFL on NBC cranks up this week, so it's hard to know when SoundOff will start. We'll have an abbreviated newscast, 10 minutes, and then we'll get it going. Most of you who read this watch the show, and I want to thank you. Overall, more people have watched this year than ever before. We sincerely appreciate it.