Saturday, October 25, 2008

NFL picks

Buff -1 @ Mia and Jax -7 hosting Cle.

Miami's been competitive but Buffalo is still a more complete team. Jacksonville has had a tough schedule so far so it'll be good to see whether they can run up the score on a weak team now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

NFL picks

Even as I continue to get destroyed by this market, I try my best to provide my NFL picks since they've been awesome. This week, Jets-3 at Oakland and SD-Buff over 44. I really like the Jets here, who have a good run defense and sneak in under the radar because they're not a dominant team. But they're good enough at beating bad teams to make this easy. Also, I really believe the media portrayal that the Raiders' players played really hard for Lane Kiffin. So that 3 game stretch where they were ultra competitive needs to now be erased from our views of this team.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

NFL picks

I like Saints -7 at home against Oakland, Philadelphia -4.5 at San Francisco.
I'm too busy throwing up from losing way too much money at work the last three days to give any reasons. Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Epic horse race

The false start at the Prix de L'Abbaye on the L'Arc de Triomphe card was especially tragic because we missed the opportunity to watch what might have been a fantastic duel between Overdose, who ran a 54.5 in the cancelled race, and Marchand D'or, clearly the top European sprinter of the current campaign.

There is some good news to look foward to though as there is the possibility of an all-world field at the upcoming Hong Kong International Sprint. With likely confirmations from Sleepless Night (Japanese Sprinters' Stakes winner) and Apache Cat (winner of 5 consecutive Group 1's in Australia), the possible addition of Marchand D'or and Overdose, and hopefully a fully recovered Sacred Kingdom (world champion sprinter last year), this might be the best and most well-represented (globally) field in horseracing history.

Sure, there are many world championship events every year, but how many of them actually feature top quality champions from so many different jurisdictions? While the Dubai World Cup meet probably does the best job, and the Breeders' Cup the worst, in attracting world-class talent from around the world, this might actually top them all if all of these possible entrants show up. The last race to my recollection that had this much quality from around the world was the 1999 Japan Cup, where Japanese champion Special Week took down Hong Kong's best in Indigenous, with High Rise (Epsom Derby winner) and Montjeu (L'Arc winner) in third and fourth.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Japanese noodle lunches

The other day I walked over to 10th St and 4th Ave to try Ippudo, which calls itself a Japanese Ramen-noodle Brasserie. It seems to get a lot of good reviews online so I decided it was worth a try during lunchtime. The space is nice and the seating consists of bar (in front of open kitchen), booths, or big communal tables. The music is a little louder than "just in the background" as I would like.

As for the food, the lunch set was $16 and consisted of a bowl of ramen (I chose the classic pork broth and sliced pork) which is $13 by itself and a salad and a bowl of rice (with cod roe, pork, or vegetables to choose from) for the extra $3. This probably is a personal opinion thing, but I was just not a fan of the noodles. They were very thin (think Cantonese noodles, the type with wonton noodles) and didn't have much bite. The broth was excellent but the sliced pork was ordinary. The best thing was in fact the extra pork belly topping, which at $3 for 2 pieces is probably the best deal on the menu as other toppings include extra sliced pork, flavored egg, or tandoori chicken (I don't get tandoori anything from a place without a tandoor oven on premises). Adding the belly pieces and pouring the sauce and fat to the broth and noodles definitely brought it up a notch for me. By the way, an order of extra noodles costs $2. Overall I liked it, but I wouldn't rate it as high as what I've seen online. I really miss Chikubu's Friday lunch ramen. Too bad the owner had to go back to Japan.

There is another Japanese noodle lunch around that area that I do rave about and that is Sobaya on 9th St and 3rd Ave. There are a lot of choices for lunch but I usually go with the the rice and noodles set, which is a small bowl of rice (with many choices of toppings from grated yam to eel to tuna steak) and noodles of your choice (hot or cold soba or udon) with a couple small portions of appetizers. My favorite is the tuna steak don, with nicely seared tuna in a flavorful garlic soy sauce and the cold soba. This costs $18.50 but is well worth it. To kick it up another notch, I usually order a tempura appetizer which is not on the menu (in fact, I've had a waitress there give me attitude about it not being on the menu). In my opinion it's a great bargain, as for $6 you get three shrimp and two vegetable tempura (usually a leaf and a pepper, but I frequently ask for substitutes). Even at whatever local cheap Japanese joint near you it'll usually cost you more than that for much worse tempura.

To top it all off and make it even more outrageously decadent, you can go right across the street to Max Brenner for some chocolate. I prefer an iced chocolate. Not the smoothie or whatever crushed ice drink they serve, but you can get the employee (is a hot chocolate maker also a barista?) there to make you a hot chocolate and shake it up with just enough ice to cool it and it's a great sweet treat that doesn't feel as heavy.

Politically Incorrect

As most of my friends know, I'm not a politically correct person at all. So if this post in any way offends any of my 5 readers, I apologize.

So this morning my cousin called me just to check up and see how I was doing in the current market crisis. One of the things she asked was whether I was going to vote. When I replied no, she asked me why. After a couple seconds of thought, I replied that the best way to express my reason was that "I don't believe in the system". As I mentioned to a friend earlier this week, I think we will eventually see a black president or a female president long before we will ever see a Buddhist president or a Jewish president (well that one's just because the President doesn't make that much money).

The US is by and large a Christian nation. So instead of always talking about how the "A"rabs are attacking you because of your freedoms, maybe its because your god is mentioned on your currency, not theirs. Maybe it's because an opinion on whether or not women can have abortions is a presidential issue in this country. Not that I think stoning them is a better solution.

The bailout vote is a perfect example of why I don't believe in this government. There are almost 500 lawmakers between the Senate and the House of Representatives and many of them don't know enough about the economy to understand all the reasons for, against, and the consequences of this bill. Yet a couple of paragraphs about taxes on wooden arrows and rum will get them to change their vote? As my friend put it, "I don't understand the peculiarly american notion that your leaders should be like the common man."

Another problem I have with the process is that the United States seem less and less united. Not only do we have completely different legislative and fiscal problems between states, we have a VP candidate who mentioned many times in her debate that she wants more to be left to the discretion of the state. And because of the way the system is set up, most elections essentially come down to a few swing states and that's it.

So, after all that, anybody wanna buy my vote?

Taste of Korea 2008

It's time for Taste of Korea 2008

I was out there in Ktown early this afternoon and walked through the little street fair thing they have set up on 32nd street between 5th and Broadway. It was pretty crowded but looked interesting. Too bad I really don't know enough about Korean food or culture to truly appreciate it. Most signs and "menus" were written in Korean so that didn't help. It did seem that this was an event for Koreans, not the usual serving of bastardized versions of traditional food with lesser quality meats to Americans.

The one thing that caught my eye was this huge pot (cauldron? what's a word for a really big stone pot?) of Bibimbap, which I assume is the main attraction of the Bibimbap event. There's definitely a lot of food there. Maybe as much as three meals for me.

Friday, October 3, 2008

NFL picks

I will only say that I went 1-1 last week since I obviously would not suggest taking the over with Carson Palmer out of the Cleveland-Cincinatti game. This week I like NE -3 at San Francisco, SD-6.5 at Miami, and over 44.5 in the Buffalo-Arizona game.

This week I'm going to try to focus on matchups. I think New England's big, slow defense will work better against San Francisco than it did against Miami, and while J.T. O'Sullivan has been great for the 49ers this season, he's been sacked a lot and it'll catch up with him. San Diego, on the other hand, has a much faster defense and a much more explosive offense, and they should roll over Miami. As for the last game, even without Anquan Boldin, there are still a lot of offensive options in Arizona. While Buffalo has been praised for its defense, they've consistently put up points so far this season and Edwards really steps it up in the fourth quarter. I think Buffalo's offense will continue to be underestimated in the lines for a couple more weeks to come.