Six Nations Updates and Fantasy Team

If you read the post below you’ll see my predictions for the Six Nations Championship, which starts this Saturday. You’ll also notice that I pull for Wales and that Wales faces England this weekend in London. It’s a great rivalry between the two countries and one that Wales probably ought to win since England has been on a bit of a injury induced downslide recently.

However, Wales has been struck by the injury of Gethin Jenkins. Jenkins is among the best props (read really big guys that that can run pretty fast too) in the world. That loss is especially painful since Wales was already going to be without hooker Matthew Rees. So that’s two forwards down for the Welsh who are facing an England team that’s healthy for the first time in a long while.

The good news, fullback Lee Byrne won his appeal against a two week suspension so he’ll be in the starting lineup Saturday for Wales. Byrne was facing suspension because during a club match he went off the field with an injury and then came back onto the pitch without waiting for the ref to wave him back on. That’s not a usually a big deal, but Byrne had been replaced with a sub so when he rejoined the game without the ref’s permission his team had 16 players. This was sorted out fairly quickly but the team that lost to the briefly extra manned team lodged a complaint (and rightfully so). Thus, Byrne was in hot water for a while but got off with just a fine.

Now onto more important things, my fantasy team.

You can go to scrum.com and make a fantasy team. There are prizes you can win but really fantasy sports are a good way to force you to stay informed about teams that you usually don’t care about. As I said in my predictions post (see below) I think France and Ireland are the best bets to win Six Nations so I picked a bunch of their guys along with a healthy dose of my boys from Wales. I also tried to get at least one person from each of the six teams.

The only rule was that you can’t have more than 4 people from one country.  With that one restriction you had to pick 3 Front Row players, 2 Second Row players, 3 Back Row players, 1 Scrum Half, 1 Fly Half, 2 Center Backs, and 3 outside backs . So here is who I picked.

Front Row

Martin Castrogiovanni – Italy (prop)

Ross Ford – Scotland (hooker)

Adam Jones – Wales (prop)

Second Row

Simon Shaw – England (lock)

Paul O’Connell – Ireland (lock)

Back Row

Jamie Heaslip – Ireland (No. 8 )

Ryan Jones – Wales (No. 8 )

Thierry Dusautoir – France (flanker)

Scrum Half

Morgan Parra – France

Fly Half

Steven Jones – Wales

Center Backs

Mathieu Bastareaud – France

Brian O’Driscoll – Ireland

Outside Backs

Shane Williams – Wales (wing) * My favorite player

Tommy Bowe – Ireland (wing)

Julien Malzieu – France (wing)

2010 Six Nations Predictions

Sports have been pissing me off lately, so I’m posting this just to remind myself that at least the sport of rugby is legitimate and pure (although they are all on steroids, like baseball and football, at least the format makes sense and hasn’t been totally altered by people looking to make a quick buck, the fan bases are passionate and true, the players are loyal to their teams, the sense of history and magnitude is palpable, and the sport itself resembles what it was in its infancy).

Brief Intro

Six Nations is a tournament played every year between the six countries of: Wales, Scotland, England, Ireland, France, and Italy. Everybody plays each other once and the best record wins. (Note: home and away alternates every year, so Wales plays England in London this year but next year Wales will play England in Cardiff)

Why You Should Care

Althought 6 Nations isn’t as good as Tri-Nations, anytime nations compete against each other it is fun to watch. It gets better when the nations compete in a sport that is physical to the point of brutality. Now take a second to think about all the history between these nations (other than Italy who suck anyway). Wales hates England. Ireland hates England. Scotland hates England so much they sing “The Flower of Scotland” before the games, which is a song that references Scotland defeating King Edward’s army (that’s the last scene in Braveheart), France and England fought a 100 year war. Wales, Scotland, and Ireland all try to beat each other to prove that they are the best “home nation” and then pull for each other whenever they play against England. And all of them, England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland hate France and Italy because they are Europeans and rugby is a sport for men who don’t carry purses.

The result of all this history is that rugby produces the greatest fans on earth. If for no other reason tune in to hear the crowds sing their nation’s songs (Note to Wales: sing Calon Lan) and go bizurk when the boys score.

Last Year’s Results

  1. Ireland 5-0
  2. England 3-2
  3. France 3-2
  4. Wales 3-2
  5. Scotland 1-4
  6. Italy 0-5

2010 Predictions

If you’re still reading congrats. Now I’ll spoil it for you by predicting how everyone will finish.

  1. France – sadly the French are really good. They are very attack minded and score a lot of points, but tend to give up a lot of points too. Ireland poses the biggest threat to France but that game takes place in Paris so you have to make the French the odds on favorites.
  2. Ireland – last year’s winners can match France in scoring but play far better defense so their biggest problem is an unfortunate schedule. In week 2 they play @ France and in week 3 they play @ England. If they come through those games unscathed they can repeat, if not they’ll need some help.
  3. Wales – this is the team I pull for as my mom’s side of the family is Welsh. Wales is sort of in a transition phase. They’ve dominate since 2004, winning Six Nations in 2005 and 2008 and having winger Shane Williams named player of the year in 2008. However, age is catching up to some of their top stars, like Williams, so they’ve fallen off a bit. They’re probably a middle of the table team, but as long as they beat England no one in Wales will care.
  4. England – they looked terrible in the fall of 2009. Sure they had injuries, but they were just awful. Like Wales they face the issue of aging stars. Nevertheless they are always a threat to win this thing.
  5. Scotland – oh, the Scots. They always have a great defense and try to win low scoring games. This used to be typical of almost all the Northern hemisphere teams but now everyone has adapted to a faster pace in order to compete with the likes of New Zealand, the Aussies and South Africa. So Scotland will likely keep things close for the first half but ultimately get scored upon and be unable to keep up.
  6. Italy – I actually saw them play in person last year and although Coach Nick Mallet has improved this team, they still basically suck.

Six Nations starts Saturday Feb 6 with Italy @ Ireland followed by Wales @ England. Then Sunday Feb 7 France @ Scotland. Use this to gear up for the Super Bowl.

God’s Favorite Failure

That’s a great title for something? I think I’m stealing that from the added verse in Bob Dylan’s song Visions of Johanna.

Anyway, I’ve decided that it might be fun to use this page to not only announce new posts on our content pages, but also to spread good music. Unfortunately the only way I know how to do this is to look up the song on YouTube. So if you feel like it you can watch the video for the song or just hit play and then open up a new internet explorer/Mozilla page so that you can go about your digital business while listening to quality music. In this case, I couldn’t find an actual video so there’s nothing to watch; so just listen to Bob Dylan sing Visions of Johanna off the Blonde on Blonde album, which is one of the greatest albums ever made, and open another tab to check your email. Not a bad way to start the mourning eh? Oh and just for fun, listen to the lyrics and tell me what you think they mean because for my money there is no greater lyrical expression of how love works (I’ll explain in the comment section).

New posts:

Society page – Batman or Superman; Who is the Better Super Hero? (seriously, this one better generate some debate)

Sports page – John Calipari represents what’s wrong with college basketball

Politics page – Supreme Court Justices and Your Public and Private Self

I Blame the Bourbon and Cokes

Screw it, we’ll try this. But like a LeBron James 3 point shot we’ll probably underwhelm you. Again, the goal is to do fewer posts but ones that can generate better comments. Also, guest authors should be a frequent thing (if interested email me or Jeff or Jim).

So at the Politics page and Society page there are two new posts. Both are about a C+, but come on I’m still knocking the rust off. Check em out, correct any grammatical errors, diss my writing ability, or whatever blows your hair back.

Enjoy, hope to hear from you.

(Just as a tease, here’s some shit I want to write about: Why Gavin Rosdale (aka the dude from Bush) is Living the Dream, Hockey is the Most Hemingway of Sports (not including Bull Fighting), something baseball related, Why Kurt Cobain Had to Die, whether TV comedies can only be funny for 3 years before they become dramas that are sometimes funny (I’m looking at you How I Met Your Mother), something about the American work ethic, and something about Dave Matthews Band’s legacy.)

You Could Say it’s My Instinct

Yes I still have one.

I sort of don’t feel like continuing this site … or maybe I do because I instinctually want to express my trivial thoughts … but it’s just soothing my ego and has no real purpose … but maybe it doesn’t need a purpose and just the occasional good online conversation is enough.

What follows is a shitily (I just made that word up) written back and forth about whether or not this website should continue. Read it and decide for yourself if The Stormy Present is worth it:

This blog has been on hiatus since St Patrick’s Day. That’s because the day after St Patty’s my computer crashed beyond recovery and I, frustrated and impoverished, decided to fully embrace my long standing neo-luddite inclinations. In other words, I refused to buy a computer until the other week. And you know what; I enjoyed not having a computer. Without a computer I stopped reading blogs, checking the news sites I used to frequent, didn’t receive email alerts from organizations or any of that stuff. It was weird at first but I started to like not caring. I was as close to being disconnected from the world as I’ve ever been without having to leave the country or go camping; and I loved it.

Without the world, there was only me and my physically perceived existence. I didn’t give fuck all about politics or social ills because they absolutely didn’t affect my day to day life, and even if they did what am I going to do about it? Now maybe that’s a myopic way to stroll through life, but frankly I feel like there is something to it. I’ve had my computer back for over two weeks now and one would think that after 3 months without a computer I’d be full of thoughts and ideas for blog posts and that this website would be overflowing with stuff to read. Yet, until now, 2 weeks after plugging back into the modern world, this is the first thing I’m writing. And the subject of this return to writing is whether or not there is any point to continue writing.

What’s the point of this website? Honestly, I have no idea.

Back in ’05 I started The Stormy Present on blogspot because I was in grad school and felt (having watched the movie Finding Forester) that the best way to ensure that my writing abilities were sharp was to write every day. So I’d come home and knock out a quick post about Hegelian philosophy or something and nobody would read it except maybe Jeff. Then, after a week of learning about philosophers that I hated I guess I started writing about sports, politics, and society in general. All of a sudden Jeff actually enjoyed reading the blog and other people started coming around to read it. Suddenly the blog was more than just a practice court for my grad school writing duties. I felt like I had all these good or crazy ideas that I just needed to get out for the sake of intellectual catharsis. I stopped writing on the blogspot site so I could focus on my master’s dissertation and once I finished that pain in the ass and decompressed I restarted the damn think here at wordpress with an even larger scope. It was a lot of fun for a long time. Jim, Jeff, Brad, Todd, Dayrock, and Mao (the Chairman) all contributed with comments and articles and it was like an online conversation just as we’d intended; a group of friends talking like they were sitting around a fire drinking beer.

However, just as with campfire conversations, you eventually go to sleep. That’s what I did with the whole no computer thing. The problem is that when I woke up I realized that those brief highlights are just the frantic gasps of a drowning man. Yes, those posts that generated conversations were incredibly fun, but did they matter or did they just serve as a sort of opiate for people who are good willed enough to want to change things for the better and smart enough to know that they can’t? I mean isn’t that really the point of a blog; to assuage the egotistical idea that YOU have something all important to foist upon the world? I for one am certainly egotistical enough to think that the things I wrote should be heard by the world, otherwise I wouldn’t have posted them, but I’m also realistic enough to know that absolutely no one gives a shit what I have to say no matter how sure I am that my ideas are important. Ultimately I think the blogosphere is just a bunch of people yelling, desperate to be heard while nobody listens to them because they’re all too busy shouting their own ideas.

Before I start rambling too much let me just pose this question; why on Earth should this blog exist? Frankly it takes a lot of work on my part (article submissions from others would help, but even then I still have to come up with an idea and write it and then rewrite it so that it makes sense) and if it doesn’t really matter in the larger sense (ie we aren’t going to change anything with what we write and it isn’t as if this is going to somehow launch a writing career or something) then why do it?

The future is in your hands. Comment and tell me why this fucking matters and why I should come home after a long day working at Servepro, pulling up wet carpet, drywall, plywood, particle board, etc all while breathing in mold and then sit down at my computer to write something that’ll be read by 7 people and won’t serve any greater purpose?

(The title and first line are from a song on Neko Case’s latest cd Middle Cyclone, which is good but not as good as Fox Confessor Brings the Flood)

Praying to St Patrick

If you’re like me you can’t wait to drink a few pints of Guinness tomorrow. So to get in the spirit here are three clips of The Dubliners. My favorite song is Irish Rover. And if you can’t understand what they’re saying you just aren’t drunk enough. Also, there is new stuff at the Sports and Society page.

Basketball and Boneheads

You can warm up for the NCAA Tournament brackets by playing the ACC Tournament bracket at SP Sports. There’s no money on the line and I of course picked Duke to win it all so even if you barely put any thought into it, you’ve done more than I have. By the way, both the College of Charleston’s men’s and women’s teams made it to the conference championship only to lose. Tough breaks all around.

Also at the Politics page I’ve got the three video clips in which Jon Stewart derides CNBC and the whole financial ‘reporting’ racket, then responds to Jim Cramer’s response to his criticism, then responds again after Cramer went on that asinine show Mourning Joe to continue defending NBC against Stewart and rational thought.

By the way, Cramer is supposed to be a guest on The Daily Show on Thursday. Be sure to check that out.

As soon as MSNBC hired Rachel Maddow I gave up on them. So check out those videos because they are both funny and pertinent.



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