Brann...it's good for you.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Favorite movie(s): 2014





My family doesn't see a lot of movies in the theaters; over the course of 2014, we only saw two:  "The Lego Movie" and "Big Hero 6."  Of those two, I liked "The Lego Movie" (which came out in February) a little bit better.  Chris Pratt is excellent in the lead voice/role, and the story's message is worth sharing.  

This fall, I checked out the critically-praised "Snowpiercer" on Netflix.  It has a little to none theater release, but has done very well online/streaming.  It's worth watching if you haven't checked it out yet.  It's view of a futuristic society where the survivors of a environmental disaster are Earth are confined to a train and separated by a class system...chilling.  It's one that stays with you after it ends. 

The movie I'm looking forward to seeing the most:  "Boyhood."  As you may recall, I've been following the future Oscar flick for a while now, and it's finally coming to DVD before this month ends.  The film never came to our local theater in Gainesville.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Best song of *2014



Okay, I'm cheating*.  The Head and the Heart's "Shake" came out officially in October 2013, BUT I didn't discover the song until February of this year.  That counts.  It's a song I listened to dozens of times in 2014, and I've yet to not want to hear it again.  Plus, I love discovering a band new to me, and 2014 was about these guys and gal.

Best in TV: 2014








I admit it:  I love good TV.  In 2014, we got plenty of it, and the ones above were my favorites.  Props to "Orphan Black," "blackish," "Fargo," "The Good Wife," "Orange is the New Black," "The Americans," and "True Detective" for keeping me entertained this year. 

Mason routs a D-II school; Copes is done at Mason

George Mason returned to action on Wednesday night after the exam break, and didn't miss a beat in doing what you should do to a lesser opponent from another NCAA division:  Whip 'em.  Mason beat Catawba last night 99-69 in the only game this season to be played at the RAC on campus.  

The Patriots were led by my new hero, Shevon Thompson.  He may be the only bright spot in this season.  Thompson dominated the N.C. school inside, finishing with a career-high 29 pts. and he added 10 rebounds.  Freshman Isaiah Jackson added a career-high 14 pts. and rarely-used until last night Marko Gujanicic added a season-best 12 pts.  In addition, Mason got 11 each from Moore and Porter, and 10 from Holloway.  Mason shot 66% from the field during the game by focusing on our strength inside.  

For the season, Mason improves to 3-6 with a home game vs. Iona on Saturday.  That game will also be televised nationally on NBCSN.  It's a 7 pm start.  Last year, the Gaels jumped out to a 34-5 lead on us in NY before we woke up.  Let's hope for better things on Saturday night.

In other news, flop Erik Copes - who was a top 50 player coming into Mason - has decided to leave the program for "personal reasons" (aren't they all?).  Copes has spent most of his Mason career in trouble, hurt, or not living up to expectations.  Remember, he came to Mason to play under his uncle, one of our assistant coaches.  It's no big loss for the Patriots, considering he was already off to another pathetic season. 

GO MASON.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Payback: Cowboys 38, Eagles 27



In a game with huge division and playoff implications, the Cowboys came up big on Sunday night, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 38-27.  This was a game of runs - Dallas had a 21-0 lead, blew it to fall behind 24-21, but retook the lead before the 3rd quarter ended and held on for their 10th win of the 2014 season.

Tony Romo, above, lead the way with 3 TDs to Dez Bryant, who promised a redemptive performance after Dallas was embarrassed on Thanksgiving.  DeMarco Murray added 3 TDs on the ground.

Dallas's win puts them in 1st place in the NFC East - for this week.  But, they can't afford to lose.  Based on the tiebreakers against other teams in the conference, there's no guarantee they'll get in as a Wild Card.  Dallas needs to beat Indy next Sunday (who's also 10-4...so, no easy task) and beat the Skins (Payback, Part II) on the last Sunday of the season.  

Keep it up, Boys.  GO COWBOYS.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Close, but no cigar...again. Mason falls to No. Iowa in OT

Once again, Mason took a better team to the cusp of victory only to lose in the end.  Mason's Marquise Moore sank two free throws with 2 seconds to go in regulation to force OT against Northern Iowa, but it wasn't enough as the Patriots fell in OT to the Panthers 71-66.  Moore was the best part of this 2-6 team for the 2nd game in a row, finishing with 20 pts., 9 rebounds, 10/14 from the FT line, and 3 steals.  

Once again, he didn't get enough help.  Vaughan Gray, a rare starter, added 10 pts.  Shevon Thompson, our rebounding machine, finished with 9 pts. and 11 rebounds.  Hewitt re-did the starting lineup for this game, leaving regular starters Gujanicic, Holloway, and Jenkins on the bench.  They didn't do enough when they got a chance to play.  As a team, shooting 35% from the field isn't going to do it. 

Mason has a couple weeks off before returning home to take on Div. II Catawba on Dec. 17 in the RAC.  There's no guarantee we'll even beat a Div. II team at this point, folks.  A miserable season continues, as expected, in Fairfax.

GO MASON.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Yankees finally make some off-season noise



On Friday, the New York Yankees finally made some noise on the roster front this off-season.  They acquired SS Didi Gregorius from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team deal (giving up P Shane Greene, who we saw pitch last August vs. the team that now owns him:  Detroit) and acquired relief pitcher Andrew Miller (a former O and Red Sox) in a four-year free agent deal.  The moves help them in a couple areas:  Gregorius will get a chance to succeed future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, and Miller will get a chance to be a key piece of the bullpen if David Robertson bolts (or even if he stays).

The Yanks still need some starting pitching help, and the biggest questions on the roster may be guys still there who underperformed last season due to injury, age, or a combination of factors.  This team is still behind a few others in the AL East going into the 2015, but there's still a couple months to go before the first balls are tossed in Florida in February.  

GO YANKEES.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Cowboys beat up on the Bears to break the 8 win curse



Even though they let a 35-7 lead slip to 41-28 at the end, the Cowboys held on behind an impressive offensive outing to improve to 9-4 on the 2014.  Win the 9th win, the Cowboys ensure they won't be 8-8 for a third season in a row.  This game was won with the offense, led by the stud above - RB DeMarco Murray - and QB Tony Romo.  Murray finished with 179 yds on 32 carries with 1 TD, and he also had 9 catches for 49 yards.  Incredible.  He is up to 1606 rushing yards on the season.

Tony Romo was spectacular as well.  Romo finished 21/26 for 205 yards and 3 TDs.  He did not look good vs. Philly, so this was a nice comeback game for the QB.  For the season, he now has over 2900 yards, 25 TDs, and 8 INTs.  Don't forget:  He had 5 of those INTs in games vs. SF and Philly.  That's only three in the other 11 games.

Dallas is a half-game behind Philly, who have a tough game this weekend vs. a revitalized Seattle team.  Dallas's season may come down its game in Philly in 10 days.  They'll be seeking redemption after falling horribly short at home on Thanksgiving.  This team is now 6-0 on the road this season, so that's a good sign.

Congrats on the 9th win and winning season, Cowboys.  But, don't be satisfied just yet.

GO COWBOYS.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Mason's one game winning streak ends at one



Even though Mason had a lead with about three minutes to go, it wasn't even as the Patriots feel to former CAA rival ODU on Wednesday night at formally home sweet home.  It was a breakout game for Sophomore PG Marquis Moore (above), who finished with 22 pts on 6/8 shooting.  He also made all 10 of his FTs.  But, he didn't get nearly enough help from fellow guard Patrick Holloway (4/14, 9 pts.) or big men inside (Jenkins:  3 pts., Copes:  8 pts., Thompson: 7 pts., Gujanicic:  0 pts.).  Former Hewitt doghouse resident Vaughan Gray did contribute 10 pts. off the bench.

Mason shot a decent 46% from the field, but they gave up way too many long-range baskets by ODU.  ODU made 11 three-pointers behind the arc, compared to only three for us.  That was the difference in the game.  

From the Post:


“I am not sure we can play better basketball,” Patriots Coach Paul Hewitt said. “Just a couple of immature plays at the end.”

Well, coach:  Sometimes that's all it takes.  You're the one who picked the players and the one who's coaching them to a 2-5 start.  This guy can't be fired fast enough.

Mason travels to a tough Northern Iowa team on Saturday.  They're 7-0 and already beat A-10 rival and better team UR.  It's not going to be pretty, folks.  Expect a blowout.

Ugh. GO MASON. 


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Livin' on a Prayer: Indeed



Sometimes, you win because you're good.  Sometimes, it's because you're damn lucky.  On Saturday, Mason definitely had a little luck on its side.

Jalen Jenkins, who's been slumping most of this season, hit a 75-foot prayer with a couple seconds to go after rebounding a missed free throw by Manhattan.  The game-winning shot, which was highlighted on ESPN SportsCenter as the no. 1 play in its Top 10 plays, gave Mason the 64-63 much-needed win

Jenkins finished with 24 pts., 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks, but he wasn't alone in leading the comeback effort.  Patrick Holloway hit back-to-back three-pointers to reduce a six-point Jaspers lead to one with three seconds remaining.  Holloway finished with 18 pts.  Mason dominated on the glass again, out-rebounding Manhattan 41-24.  Shevon Thompson had a horrible night offensively, but he led the Patriots with 9 boards.

Win the win, Mason improves to 2-4 and has a big game coming up on Wednesday vs. former CAA rival ODU at home.  ODU is coming off an upset of nationally-ranked VCU on Saturday.  

Congrats on the huge win, Patriots.  

GO MASON.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cowboys get blasted by Eagles on Thanksgiving Day



Ugh.  Well, there's not much to say about Dallas's performance on Thanksgiving Day other than it wasn't worth watching for long.  Philly spanked Dallas 33-10, which gave them first place in the NFC East and pushed Dallas down to second place.  Dallas is still in a good spot for a playoff berth at 8-4, but it's no guarantee with tough games coming up vs. Chicago, Philly, Indy, and Washington.

From the Dallas paper:


The best offensive line in the NFL certainly didn’t play like it on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys couldn’t protect Tony Romo nor could they create much space for DeMarco Murray in a 33-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

With three young, first-round picks on the offensive line plus a rejuvenated Doug Free and a healthy Ronald Leary, the Cowboys believed they had constructed the league’s best offensive line in 2014.

The blocking of that front paved the way for a surprising 8-3 start by the Cowboys, thrust Murray into the NFL rushing lead, and put Dallas in a position to seize control of the NFC East on Thanksgiving.

Games like the first-place showdown with the Eagles are the reason you spend first-round picks on tackle Tyron Smith, guard Zack Martin and center Travis Frederick. You want to be the bully in the biggest games of your season.

Instead, that offensive line was bullied. Romo was sacked four times and Murray rushed for a season-low 73 yards.

Dallas's offensive line, exulted all season,  let the team down on Thursday afternoon.  They weren't alone, since this was an all-around crappy team effort.  Let's hope the entire roster is ready for the rematch in Philly in a couple weeks.  Next up:  Dallas vs. Chicago next Thursday night.

GO COWBOYS.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Chadwick Stokes



It's been a LONG time since I shared any music new to me on here.  The Post had an article today on the Dispatch lead singer and solo artist Chadwick Stokes, who's been touring the country by stopping in fans' living rooms.  He'll be in DC next week.  I looked up some of his new stuff online, and this catchy one is definitely worth a listen or two (or more). 

Monday, November 24, 2014

A tale of two teams




George Mason men's basketball and Dallas Cowboys football are definitely a couple teams heading in different directions right now. 

Mason lost its third and final tourney game in Puerto Rico yesterday morning/afternoon to fall to 1-4 on the young season.  Mason had a chance to beat the CAA's College of Charleston with seconds to go, but Vaughan Gray decided to take a three-point shot instead of someone inside taking a two (you know...the place where we had a decisive rebounding advantage).  For the game, Mason was led again by newcomer Shevon Thompson, who finished with 12 pts. and 14 rebounds.  Holloway and newbie Porter each chipped in 11, and starting PG Moore added 10.  Mason's 17 turnovers didn't help their efforts.  


Hey, at least Mason got a free trip the islands.  The next team to beat us:  Manhattan, next Saturday at home (not so sweet anymore).

As for the Cowboys, they fought off the pesky Giants to pull out the win in comeback fashion in the NYC suburbs.  Stud WR Dez Bryant (above) pulled in the game-winning TD with about a minute to go.  For the game, Tony Romo led the way with 4 TDs, including another to Bryant.  DeMarco Murrary did what he's been doing all season long, with another 100+ effort.  

With the win, Dallas improves to an impressive 8-3 and sets the stage for a HUGE match-up with Philly on Thanksgiving.  Both teams stand 8-3 going into the first of their two key division match-ups in the next few weeks.  Since there's still a ton of other teams still in the playoff hunt (Arizona, Seattle, San Francisco, Green Bay, Detroit, etc.), winning the division is momumental this season.  Dallas needs to get this key victory at home sweet home.

From the Dallas paper:

That left the heroics to Bryant, to Beasley and the gimpy 34-year-old quarterback who can still maneuver his way around a field and a clock that’s winding down.

Philadelphia won rather easily Sunday against Tennessee, and for much of this New Jersey night, it appeared the Eagles would bring a one-game division lead to town for the Thanksgiving showdown at AT&T Stadium.

Keeping their unbeaten road record intact was no easy feat for these Cowboys. But their winning drive actually came rather easily given the stakes. Romo left the jaw-dropping highlights to the Giants rookie receiver, simply pocketed the win for his club and moved on about his business.

“Tony’s playing at a top level,” Jerry Jones said. “The way he’s working with his coordinator — that may be one of the top two or three things that make us different this year.”

 GO MASON.  GO COWBOYS.  Two teams...two directions:  At least right now.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Close...but, no cigar: Mason falls to the Lobos in P.R.

Well, at least it wasn't an embarrassment.  I think I'll be saying that mantra a lot this season...or maybe I hope so.

George Mason defeated by New Mexico 69-58 on Friday night in Puerto Rico in a game that was as close as five points in the 2nd half.  But, our attempt at a comeback wasn't enough as the Lobos eventually took over and earned their first win in the Tip-Off tourney.  Mason is 0-2 in P.R. with a match-up vs. the CAA's College of Charleston on Sunday morning at 11:30 am on ESPN3.  We need to get off the island with at least one win, especially against a "lesser" league team in C of C - especially the league we bolted for the A-10.

There was one bright spot in the game.  One of Hewitt's last signees was a JUCO transfer named Shevon Thompon, who has looked incredibly sharp since the season started.  He had his best game as a Patriot and Div. I player last night.  Thompson finished with 21 pts. and 19 rebounds (a tourney record).  He was the only Patriot to do anything; in fact, if he had a little help from guys like Holloway and Jenkins, this may have been a Mason win.  Thompson has his 2nd double-double as a Patriot.  I love seeing his lefty stroke, too.

I'll give credit to Senior Guard Corey Edwards, too, who chipped in 7 pts. off the bench.  He's no longer starting, but he's clearly a nice option to have behind Sophomore starter Marquis Moore.  Patrick Holloway, normally our leading scorer, was pathetic this game - he finished 3/17 from the floor.  Julian Royal, who followed Hewitt from Georgia Tech:  2 pts. on 1/5 shooting in 15 minutes. 

I'll give credit, too, to Freshman big man Trey Porter from nearby Potomac High School.  I love Porter's height (nearly 7'0), but he does eventually need to put on some muscle/weight.  He was 7/8 from the free throw line last night, which is a shock for big men at Mason.  Porter and Thompson make a nice duo down low; we just need Porter to start converting some baskets along with those free throws.  If Copes EVER comes back from ANOTHER injury, we could have an imposing front line of those three guys.

There were positives, but not a win.  At 1-3, we're about what I expected.  We have a chance to beat C of C, but the upcoming schedule isn't forgiving.  We have possible losses vs. Manhattan, ODU, No. Iowa, and even Iona coming before the holiday break.  This team will be a work-in-progress all season long.  It's not going to save Hewitt's job, so let's just hope the potential transfers aren't too painful.

GO MASON.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mason is embarrassed and destroyed by WVU in Puerto Rico

Ugh.

Well, so much for Mason pulling an upset over West Virginia in the first game in a tourney down in Puerto Rico.

George Mason was destroyed by WVU 91-65 in a game that I turned off at halftime.  Based on the final score that I looked at later, my prediction of a non-comeback was accurate.

For the pathetic game, Mason turned the ball over 24 times, including 16 in the first half.  We were dominated in the rebounding department and 2nd-chance points.  The game was incredibly difficult to watch - we had no idea how to break their full-court press without turning it over.  This game looked like Kentucky playing my high school team.  

Mason was led by Patrick Holloway with 17 pts. and newcomer Shevon Thompson with 14 pts. and 6 rebounds.  The gimp, Erik Copes, was still hurt and could have been a factor in last night's bloodbath with his girth.  Or not.

Mason takes on New Mexico at 7 pm tonight on ESPN3.  I may be watching.  Or not.

GO MASON.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mason hangs on and beats Princeton for win no. 1




It was a tale of two halves, and Mason definitely was better in the 1st.  But, the Patriots held on on Sunday afternoon to defeat Princeton 63-60 and get the year's first win.  Tyler & I went solo to a basketball game for the first time together, and had a great time.  He even got to meet Mason legend Lamar Butler from the 2006 Final Four team on our way into the Patriot Center (I stopped Butler and told him Tyler and me had just watched the Final Four video this week, and Tyler commented how good Butler was on the team). 

For Mason, the team was led by guard Patrick Holloway with 19 pts.  Expect him to be the leading scorer nearly every game this season.  He was followed by PG Marquis Moore with 11 pts.  I was impressed by big man and Mason newcomer Shevon Thompson down low, who finished with 8 pts. (all in the 1st half) and 9 rebounds.  Hewitt played a ton of new guys:  Thompson, Lockett, Porter, and Jackson from this year's recruiting class all got a lot of minutes.  This is a very young team with plenty of potential. 

We have a lot of quality height that can be an advantage if used correctly.  Jalen Jenkins had an off game offensively (7 pts.), but still finished with 7 rebounds.  Erik Copes evidently hurt his shoulder in the first game vs. Cornell, so he was sitting out this game.  Shocker...Copes is hurt.  (Sarcasm intended.)  Marko Gujanicic, a feast or famine guy, barely played in this game after a lot of minutes as a freshman and sophomore.

With the win, Mason improves to 1-1 and takes on West Virginia this Thursday night in a tournament in Puerto Rico.  The game will be televised on ESPNU at 7:30 pm.  

GO MASON.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Another long winter looms for Mason hoops fans

Last night, Mason opened its 2014-15 season against a team who went 2-26 last season and only beat one Division 1 team.

We lost.

Mason was defeated by Cornell 68-60 in a game that wasn't that close.  Even though Mason had a decisive advantage down low, the Patriots resorted to launching outside shots that they missed.  Then, they missed some more.  

This was the first opening night game that I missed in a few years, and I'm glad I wasn't there.  Tyler and I are attending tomorrow's match-up vs. Princeton - who, unlike Cornell, is picked finish in the top part of the Ivy - and it could be worse than Friday night's travesty.  

For the game, Mason was led by Patrick Holloway with 22 points.  He will be the leading scorer in many losses this season.  In the paint, Mason was led by Jalen Jenkins with 10 pts. and newcomer Shevon Thompson with 10 rebounds.

From the Post:

The true measure of Paul Hewitt’s George Mason squad will not come until the Atlantic 10 schedule kicks into gear, but if the season opener Friday night was any indication, the Patriots and their impatient fans are in for a very long winter.

One year after a bruising debut season in the A-10, the Patriots began the 2014-15 campaign with a dreary performance. They lost. They lost at home. They lost to Cornell, which beat one Division I opponent last season. 

The Patriots led for only a few minutes during the 68-60 defeat before 6,007. They shot 31 percent from the field and 52 percent from the free throw line. Instead of taking advantage of superior height and strength, they launched 27 three-pointers (making seven) and scored just 18 points in the lane.
Favored to win by double digits, Mason trailed by 15 points before a futile late surge by junior guard Patrick Holloway, who had a game-high 22 points. 

The Big Red made 6 of 8 three-pointers in the first half and 9 of 18 overall to win the first meeting between the programs. Shonn Miller, who missed last season with a shoulder injury, had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Robert Hatter added 21 points. The duo combined to hit 7 of 11 three-pointers.
“I guess we just lost sight of what works for us, and that is throwing the ball inside,” Holloway said. “We got caught up in trying to match their threes, which is nearly impossible because they made nearly everything. That is when the lead kept going up and up and we started taking bad shots.”

Holloway and sophomore Jalen Jenkins (10 points) were Mason’s only effective players. The rest of the team shot 9 of 41. 

Ugh.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Copes piece in the Times


Mason Senior Erik Copes has never been one of my favorite Patriots.  Between injuries, lackadaisical play, and dumb suspensions, he's been a big disappointment considering his top 50 in the country status prior to entering Mason.

Copes was featured in Wednesday's Washington Times as a player seeking redemption in his final season in Fairfax.  Let's hope the article is true.  Mason needs him to be a leader and dominate inside.  He has the talent to average 15 ppg and 10 rebounds, but the numbers have never been close.  Paired with Mason Sophomore Jalen Jenkins, the two big men could be a godsend for a team that lost its two leading scorers from last season.

From the Times:

“I don’t think people are expecting much out of [Copes], but he’s had a great offseason,” Hewitt said. “I think he has a chance to fulfill a lot of the promise that he showed when he walked in the door here three years ago. … If he stays healthy, I think he can be as good as anybody in this league.”

ESPN ranked Copes the 56th-best high school prospect in the 2011 recruiting class. His senior year in Philadelphia, he led Imhotep Charter to a state title and earned first-team all-state honors. This resume created high expectations for Copes, which he has since failed to realize for a variety of reasons.

and...

He’s gotten in great shape,” Hewitt said. “He’s in much better physical condition than I think he ever has been. And because of his conditioning, I think he’ll be able to stay on the court longer, stay out of foul trouble and, overall, he’ll be a much more effective player.”
Copes not only showed off quicker feet, but also an improved jump shot this August as George Mason went unbeaten in four exhibition games in Spain.

“What we’re trying to do is get him to play the way that he played in Spain for the whole year because if he plays that,” junior forward Jalen Jenkins said, “I don’t see a big man in the A-10 that can stop him.”

But the pounds of sweat that Copes shed this summer won’t be able to reap rewards until the season starts. And when it does, no matter what the polls predict, Copes plans to compete for a championship, again.

“I don’t care what anybody says,” Copes said. “I don’t care if they got us picked 13th to win the league. … None of that stuff really matters. At the end of day, what matters is when the lights come on and the ball goes in the air, who’s going to bring their game and not their name.”

I like the confidence.  Let's see if it translates on the court, starting on Friday night vs. Cornell.

GO MASON.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mason preview in the Post

It's hard to believe we're only days away from the start of Mason's 2014-15 college basketball season.  This is probably the least excited I've been since the early 90s, so I'm hoping things change with a good start or a better run in our 2nd year in the A-10 than expected.  

From the Post, a preview on Mason:

George Mason
season story lines
Improvement in Year 2?

For a program accustomed to success in the Colonial Athletic Association, George Mason’s ambitious move to the Atlantic 10 last season was a jarring experience. The Patriots finished next to last with a 4-12 conference record (1-7 at home) and lost to bottom-dwelling Fordham in the first round of the league tournament. Those transition problems, combined with the graduation of the top two scorers, have tempered expectations this winter. George Mason was picked 13th out of 14 teams in the A-10’s preseason poll. The Patriots have reason for optimism after being competitive in conference play last season: seven defeats were by six or fewer points, three of which came in overtime.

Ready for something new

It’s an important season for Coach Paul Hewitt. He is in the fourth season of a five-year contract worth about $700,000 annually and still is seeking an NCAA tournament berth with the Patriots. Hewitt will be hard-pressed to do it this season, but with seven newcomers, including Georgia Tech transfer Julian Royal, new Athletic Director Brad Edwards will want to see signs of improvement. Royal, a 6-foot-7 6-foot-8 junior, appeared in 54 games for the Yellow Jackets and averaged 3.2 points. An intriguing addition is Shevon Thompson, a 6-foot-11 center who averaged 11.2 rebounds for Harcum (Pa.), a junior college final four team. The freshman class includes 6-10 Trey Porter, an honorable mention All-Met from Potomac (Va.).
 
Look who’s back

Hewitt will need to compensate for the departure of Gs Sherrod Wright and Bryon Allen , who combined to average 31 points last season . Wright finished his career as the sixth-highest scorer in program history . As freshmen, PG Marquise Moore started 19 games and Jalen Jenkins led the team in rebounding with 6.0 per outing while averaging 7.2 points . Junior G Patrick Holloway is the leading returning scorer at 8.7 ppg with a team-high 51 three-pointers, despite starting just three times. Hewitt will also need senior F Erik Copes to finally fulfill his potential after a promising freshman season.

Cowboys return to their winning ways



Broken curfew or not, Dallas did quite well across the pond in London on Sunday.  Granted, I hoped they could beat a 1-win team and not falter, and they took care of business 31-17.  It helped to have Tony Romo back (3 TDs) and Dez Bryant playing like he's capable of playing (2 TDs).  Even Mr. Reliable, Jason Witten, helped by scoring the first TD of the game for Dallas.  

From the Dallas paper:

5.) Where do they go from here? If Romo is on the field for the next six games the Cowboys should be the favorites to win the division. It’s a two-team race with Philadelphia. The Cowboys finish with Chicago, Indianapolis, the New York Giants, Washington and two games against the Eagles. Philadelphia has Carolina on Monday, Green Bay, Tennessee, Seattle, Washington and the New York Giants to go along with the two Dallas games. I’ll take the Romo-led Cowboys over the Mark Sanchez/Nick Foles-led Eagles down the stretch.

The Cowboys are clearly in a position to right the wrongs of the last few seasons, but it comes down to them.  After a much-needed rest, the Giants and Eagles loom.  Both are capable, any given Sunday (or Thursday, or Monday...).  I'm hoping Dallas isn't satisfied with 7 wins.  We need more.

GO COWBOYS.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

GOP dominates in mid-year elections

It was a very, very good night for the GOP, who took back control of the U.S. Senate, dominated the House, and even took back a statehouse in a left-dominant state (Maryland).  The final Senate numbers are yet to be determined based on some recounts (including Virginia) and run-off elections in the next month (Louisiana).  Nonetheless, it is guaranteed that the resident on Pennsylvania Ave - B.O., if you've forgotten him...and many have lately - is a lame duck for the last two years of his office.  

From the Post:

Democratic candidates did all they could to distance themselves from Obama this fall. On Tuesday, 55 percent of those who voted said they disapproved of his handling of the presidency. But the 44 percent approval was on the top edge of where he has hovered all year. Meanwhile, 8 in 10 voters said they disapproved of Congress, and both political parties were judged negatively.

Slightly more voters said the country is seriously off track than in 2010. And more voters said they wanted to send a message opposing Obama than said they wanted to send a message of support. Those anti-Obama voters spoke with a roar.

It's time to start really thinking about 2016.   Could governors like Wisconsin's Scott Walker or Ohio's John Kasich - reelected on Tuesday night - be frontrunners?  We'll find out.  Bring it on.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Fall soccer comes to a close



Tyler's fall soccer season came to a close on a frigid and windy morning at Valley View Park in Nokesville.  His team scored two late goals to get a 4-4 draw, and Tyler scored his 7th goal on the season.  He had a hat trick last weekend.  Tyler showed a ton of improvement over the course of the season; I was impressed by his ability to take advantage of a goal-scoring opportunity when it came his way, and his tenacity going after the ball on offense.  He did a great job positioning himself on defense as well.  I look forward to seeing what he can do in the spring season.  

Next up:  His first ever season of basketball.  We're trying the nearby Upward league at the Baptist church in Warrenton,which will be less intense than the nearby Gainesville basketball league.  It is a little too preachy with the Christian spin, but I don't think our son will mind.  The season starts in January and runs through March. 

Happy Halloween, 2014






Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween Safari



An annual tradition took place on Saturday night when we took part in the local Halloween Safari at Bull Run Mountain.  The conservancy has volunteers/employees dress up as animals and plants native to the mountain, and talk about their impact/contributions to the local area and the state of Virginia.  In addition, there's some folk singing and marshmallow roasting.  Julie's Girl Scouts troop always has a great time when they go. 

Enough said.

On Monday night, the Cowboys lost to the Redskins 20-17 in OT.  Their offensive line, still excellent at opening holes for DeMarco Murray (who had another 100+ yard game and now has over 1000 for the season), did not contain the Skins' pass rush successfully.  Losing Tony Romo for a period of time hurt, but I give credit to back-up Brandon Weeden (a former Yankees baseball prospect) for stepping in and doing a very good job of getting his team 10 points on the board.  

Enough said.

Next up:  The Cowboys (6-2, still in 1st place ahead of the Eagles) take on the tough Cardinals this weekend.  It's a big game for Dallas.  We'll see how they respond after their 2nd loss of the season.

GO COWBOYS.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Our visit to the North Star State






























Back in May, we took advantage of a special deal Frontier Airlines was offering when they started new service out of nearby Dulles Airport.  My family of four could travel to many cities in the U.S. for $120 - for the four of us.  We purchased tickets from Dulles to Minneapolis based on the Twin Cities being a very family-friendly city, and also having an opportunity to visit Julie's birth city of Duluth, MN (about 2.5 hours north).  

We left VA for MN last Wed. and returned on Sunday afternoon, and I'd recommend the state and cities we visited to all.  In Duluth, we visited the hospital where Julie was born and the street where she lived when her dad was stationed there for the U.S. Army in the early 70s.  We enjoyed the Canal Park area of the city and seeing massive Lake Superior.  In terms of eats, the Duluth Grill was excellent.  Looking back, we would have liked more time there.

Minneapolis/St. Paul has tons to offer families.  We spent one whole day at the Mall of America, which was a ton of fun.  Where else can you visit an amusement park in the middle of a gigantic and excellently-stocked mall?  The Science Museum of Minnesota was very impressive, as was the breathtaking Cathedral of St. Paul.  In terms of eats, I'd recommend Brit's Pub in downtown Minneapolis (very close to Target HQ).  We were lucky to eat outside on a beautiful mid-70s day.  I'd love to be there during lawn bowling season (which runs May - Sept.). 

I would go back to both areas; there's tons of outside activities up north on Lake Superior that we could do in the spring and summer.  We definitely needed more than a day (or less) in Duluth.  In the Twin Cities, I'd love to see a Wild game (there were traveling west while we were there) and see the Twins at Target Field in the summer.  There are also a lot more museums and restaurants that we didn't get to try this time.

Thanks for the hospitality, North Star State.  We'll be back, one day.

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