Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Best Snack Bars To Beat That 3pm Snack Attack

luna bar, thunderbird energetica, thinkthin bars, luna bars, luna bar protein
Click on any item to learn more about it.

I am one of those snack bar freaks, a connoisseur even.  If you find the right one, it can be a perfect midafternoon snack or a quality breakfast or lunch replacement in a pinch.

For a snack, look for something that is between 100-200 calories.  For a meal replacement, based on your personal caloric intake, try not to go above 350 calories.  Try to avoid bars that contain a ton of sugar or sugar alcohols, hydrogenated oils or saturated fats.  It's a good idea to find a bar that has a good mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Thunderbird Energetica - every flavor is delicious but I am particularly fond of the Cashew Fig variety.

thinkThin Lean Protein & Fiber - a great afternoon snack that delivers 10 grams of protein and only 150 calories and five grams of sugar. Also like their Divine bars.

Luna Bar Protein - a lower glycemic bar, with 12 grams of protein that's under 200 calories.  More of candy bar consistency.

Luna Bar  - in general, these provide around eight grams of protein, five grams of fiber with around 13 grams of sugar. They're a better alternative than a cookie that my former fat self would eat. I especially love the Blueberry BlissChocolate Peppermint Stick or Iced Oatmeal Raisin flavors. They also come in 100-calorie mini form, which I love.

LARABAR - sort of a girlie bar but is 100% natural and made with real food like nuts, dates, apples, carrots and other products you recognize. The Carrot Cake flavor is great. Be careful, though. I have almost broken a tooth from a rogue pecan shell in LARABARS. These also come in 100-calorie minis. I also love their Coconut Macaroon Sweet & Salty Über bars. YUM!

Fiber One Protein Caramel Nut Chewy Bars - don't judge. These aren't 100% all natural but if I am craving chocolate or a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, these hit the spot. They have 130 calories, seven grams of protein, seven grams of sugar and five grams of fiber. They're insanely good.

Make Your Own Snack Bar

You can also make your own bar. Nigella Lawson has a great snack bar recipe she calls a "breakfast bar" but you can adjust it to your own personal preference.  I alter it by using nonfat milk, almonds or walnuts instead of peanuts and nix the coconut. I always add flaxseeds for the omega 3 benefit.

I've made a goji berry walnut version and oatmeal raisin (tip: use liberal amounts of cinnamon)  These truly are "clean out the pantry" bars which are cheaper than anything you can buy in the store.

What am I missing? I'm always on the lookout for relatively good-for-you snack bars. Please share your favorites in the comments section.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

The List: Top 5 Football Movies

Tony D’Amato: “Willy watch that spiral.”
Willie Beamen: “Coach my spiral’s tighter than a frog’s asscheeks.”
--Any Given Sunday

Jerry Maguire in: "Show me the money!"
--"Jerry Maguire"

Phillip Elliott: "Hell coach, I love needles."
--"North Dallas Forty"

I could fill this entire blog with great football movie quotes.  There are a ton and any compilation will leave off one of your favorites.  Kind of like a list of great football movies. 
 Years ago, the great Chris Arnold theorized that movie watching is a sport and I think he's spot on.  While it's hard to pick a clear cut "winner" when it comes to watching movies, you can debate the merits of one movie versus another or a character's greatness against another's lameness with as much passion as you can argue the merits of the BCS vs a college playoff system.

For an appearance on TXA21's The Fan, I had Chris come up with his list of top five football movies while I offered mine.  This generated a huge response: good, bad and ugly.

Chris' List:
The Longest Yard" (Original starring Burt Reynolds) - A sadistic warden asks a former pro quarterback, now serving time in his prison, to put together a team of inmates to take on (and get pummeled by) the guards.*

"The Longest Yard" (Remake staring Adam Sandler) - Prison inmates form a football team to challenge the prison guards.*

5. "Any Given Sunday " - A behind the scenes look at the life and death struggles of modern day gladiators and those who lead them.

4. "
Jerry Maguire" - When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him.*

Remember the Titans - The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit. *

2. "Rudy"  - Rudy has always been told that he was too small to play college football. But he is determined to overcome the odds and fulfill his dream of playing for Notre Dame.*

1. North Dallas Forty - A semi-fictional account of life as a professional Football (American-style) player. Loosely based on the Dallas Cowboys team of the early 1970s.*

Gina's List:
5.  "Rudy" - This movie makes me sports cry.

4.  "Jerry Maguire" - It's just a fun, uplifting movie that gave us some great mid-90's moments.

3.  "Any Given Sunday " - Although it had its fair share of bon mots and drama, I didn't necessarily think this was a stellar movie.  I picked this movie for its backstory.  A portion of it was shot in the DFW area and at Texas Stadium.  The room in which Miami Sharks head coach Tony D'Amato gave his famous halftime speech was a locker room at Texas Stadium. The film crew painted it the fictional Dallas Knights colors.  When Texas Stadium still standing, the room was used for the visiting head coaches' postgame press conference.  The paint remained for a few years and surprised the heck out of visiting media whenever they covered a Cowboys game.  We constantly heard whispers of "This was where Al Pacino gave that speech!"  Yes, it was.

2.  Original "Longest Yard" - I prefer the grittiness of the 1970's original to the 2005 version. 

1.  "Friday Night Lights: The Story of the 1988 Permian Panthers" -  NOT the movie, the documentary.  Nothing captures the drama, heartbreak and reality of high school football like this does.  The book was still better but this doc is excellent.

No doubt, there are some omissions.  I am disappointed I didn't think of "North Dallas Forty".  It was a great movie for its time.  We got a ton feedback but none more colorful than this emailer who wouldn't even send me her feedback but passed it along to my colleague, Babe Laufenberg:

Love your show and enjoy all the sports. Do me a favor, Gina Miller and Chris Arnold gave
their top 5 sports movies of all time tonight. What a joke! Anyone who doesn't list
"Brian's Song "  as the top football movie of all time has no clue about football movies. I
have seen every sports movie ever made and this is the number 1 sports movie ever!!! What
is up with that? They never even mentioned it!!!



What do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  What did we forget?  What doesn't belong?   Let me know in the comments section.

Next up: Top Five Baseball Movies. 

* description

Monday, July 25, 2011

FINALLY: Cowboys Training Camp Details

After way to much speculation and way too many talking heads guess what will happen regarding Cowboys camp, here's what we know the Cowboys will be doing in the coming days.

This from the Cut and Paste department, courtesy of Cowboys PR:

Dallas Cowboys tentative training camp details (subject to change).

The Dallas Cowboys are tentatively scheduled to report to training camp in San Antonio on Wednesday, July 27th.

A camp opening press conference is scheduled to take place at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday in the Alamodome.

The team is tentatively scheduled to start practice on Thursday, July 28th. The daily practice schedule in San Antonio is as follows: Walkthrough (10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.) and practice (2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.). There are no morning walk through sessions scheduled for Sunday (July 31st) and Sunday (August 7th).

The team will break camp on Wednesday, August 10th and return to Dallas for the preseason opener vs. the Denver Broncos at Cowboys Stadium on Thursday, August 11th (7:30 p.m.).

Practices will resume on Saturday, August 13th at Cowboys Stadium with details to follow.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

NBA Set to Lockout Its Players Tonight, Player Reaction Via Twitter

Here we go again.  All that feel-good Mavs mojo from the championship will come to a crashing thud later today when the NBA heads into its first work stoppage since the 1998-99 season.  On the bright side the Mavs could be the champs a little longer and those vet guys (I see you, J Kidd) will get some rest.

The NBA will lock out its players Thursday night when the current collective bargaining agreement expires at 11pm Dallas time.  Both sides have failed to reach any common ground on a new CBA.

NBA team owners, coaches, team executives and staff members are basically following a gag order and not commenting.  The Dallas Mavericks have made it clear they will not speak about the lockout.  Nothing from owner Mark Cuban, GM Donnie Nelson or head coach Rick Carlisle on the subject.

Cuban and Shawn Marion did seem to be focused on more positive issues like lunch and championship hardware.  Here are their tweets with the accompanying pictures from Thursday:

@matrix31 Fresh in my kitchen

@mcuban Who is under there Yoda, ET or Larry O ? My kitchen never looked so good

Cuban's counter & Yoda? I like the Tiffany blue
Here are a few more NBA player tweets for your lockout pleasure, with a triple latte bonus from Shane Battier (best NBA tweeter out there, imo):

@ShaneBattier Dear @NBA, lockout hasn't even started and I already miss your loving touch. Come back, baby. Cocktails and talk this out?

@ShaneBattier I think I have just decided to balance the national budget while I wait for the CBA to be signed. Wish me luck. Goodnight good people.

@ShaneBattier Barring a last minute miracle, looks like the lockout is on like kong. Anyone hiring/needing tall dark and handsome? Negotiable. Make offer

@andrewMbogut NBA Friends: Its July 1 in Australia, Lockout has started for me!! #unemployed #needwork #workingonresume #HOLYSHIT

@agentzeroshow So too all my NBA mates don't go overboard that's what they want us too stay out of trouble and good luck

@dwilkins3000 Guess it's official...we are LOCKED-OUT!! Sad day for the NBA and it's fans. Hopefully we will resolve this sooner than later about 1 hour ago

@JJ Redick47 Last day of camp for me. Probably won't be able to go tomorrow #lockout. For everyone who has asked me to plank- WON'T HAPPEN! #stupidity about 7 hours ago



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Details on the Sports Illustrated Commemorative Issue Celebrating Mavs Championship

FINALLY!  The "Big One for Big D" is here.

The Mavericks are getting that Sports Illustrated championship issue that's a rite of passage for all title-winning teams.  These are great opportunities for fans to relive some of the memorable and magical moments of a championship season.

Some of the magazine's highlights include:
  • A profile on Mark Cuban titled a "A Maverick Kind of Town". 
  • A pictorial of the championship season.
  • A feature on the unique makeup of this team: from superstars in Dirk Nowitzki to role players and unsung heroes. 
  • It also has a great story that looks back at the 12 players who had a lasting impact on the franchise.  Of course, this is where my bias emerges as Derek Harper is unquestionably one of those men.  It includes other Mavs greats I grew up loving like Rolando Blackman, Brad Davis and James Donaldson (I had the "grow tall with James Donaldson poster as a kid).
The issue is already on newsstands and tons of area retailers (think 7-11, Kroger, Costco, etc.).  It will cost you $7.99.

D Harp!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Your NBA WORLD CHAMPION Dallas Mavericks to Present Letterman Top 10!

How fun is this!!!!!!  (and look who is on the show with Carlisle)

The celebrations continue for the Mavs. This from the cut and paste department:


NEW YORK, June 14 – Members of the Dallas Mavericks, the 2011 NBA Champions, will present the Top Ten List on the LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN, Wednesday, June 15 (11:35 PM-12:37 AM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Eight players from the team, including MVP Dirk Nowitzki, plus head coach Rick Carlisle and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, will present the Top Ten List via satellite from the American Airlines Center in Dallas. This will be the team’s first talk show appearance since their victory. The Mavericks clinched their first NBA Championship Sunday, June 12, beating the Miami Heat 105-95 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

Also visiting the LATE SHOW Wednesday, June 15 are actor Jim Carrey, who stars in the new film “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”; Rosie Huntington-Whiteley from “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”; and musician Todd Rundgren, who will sit in with Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra.

The LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN is a production of Worldwide Pants Incorporated. Barbara Gaines, Matt Roberts, Jude Brennan, Maria Pope, Eric Stangel, Justin Stangel and Rob Burnett are the executive producers.

Mark Cuban, Dirk and Mavs sing "We are the Champions"

The best thing about winning an NBA championship is all the ridiculous, crazy, fabulous crap you get to do that you never thought you would EVER experience. From riding in parades, to popping an $80,000 bottle of champagne, to sharing moments with teammates, family and friends that are truly priceless; it's the best feeling in the world. Honestly. The absolute best.

Singing off key in one of Dallas' best watering holes is another one of them. Some Mavs players including Dirk Nowitzki, along with staff members, friends and owner Mark Cuban indulged at the Loon earlier this week. Moments like this are truly once-in-a-lifetime and the Mavs are taking every opportunity to take advantage of them.

*Tip of the hat for the heads up on the video to Brian Dameris.

O/T: If I shared with you some of the things I did after the Rockets won the title in 1995, you might never look at me the same. I was a 21 year old PR intern who rode in the Rockets victory parade.  I took a celebratory offseason trip to La Jolla with the team, all paid for by owner Les Alexander.  And I had many all-nighters at the Volcano and Los Andes (our watering holes that season) with Rudy T and the gang.  It was the best experience of my life.  I like to joke that it was all downhill from there. ;)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Any Different Pre-Game Rituals for the Mavs Prior to Game 6?

In a word: no!

Mavericks players are doing the same thing they've done all postseason which for most includes a good pregame meal and an hour long nap.

"Today you just relax, do your normal routine," Mavs guard Jason Terry said Sunday morning at shootaround.

Having said that, he admittedly is the one superstitious exception.  His pregame routine is quite different from his teammates. 
"I'm very superstitious so all those superstitions will be intact and ready to roll," he added.

His biggest one: how he ties his shoes.  For him, getting the perfect tie is paramount.

What is the Mavericks Mindset Going Into Game 6?

Rick Carlisle's Sunday morning shootaround media session lasted an almost record-short one minute and 53 seconds.  Individual players' interviews weren't that much longer.  That's because eight hours prior to tip off of Game 6 of the NBA Finals, there's not much more these players and the Mavericks head coach can say about their Sunday night matchup with the Heat.

"This is Game 7," Jason Terry proclaimed on the American Airlines Arena floor.  "This is our approach tonight.  We're trying to get this thing done tonight."

If what the Mavericks have done previously this postseason is any indication, the odds are in their favor.  Dallas is 3-0 in closeout games this year.  Plainly put, they've ended playoff series when they've had the chance.   Whether it was the Blazers, Lakers or Thunder, Dallas got it done.

"It's been a killer instinct," center Tyson Chandler said when I asked him about the team's approach going into series-clinching games.  "Understand that you don't want it (the series) to go on, that you don't want to give the other team any hope, any chance.  You finish them while you can."

So what is the Mavericks mindset as they are just one win away from reaching that goal, winning the franchise's first-ever NBA title?  From what I've been able to glean, they're focused and relaxed while trying to maintain a bit of an edge.

"Same thing we been doing throughout the playoffs: we keep a certain amount of focus," Chandler said. "You don't change anything.  You don't try to get overhyped or animated, anything like that.  You just focus on the game, focus on execution, what you can do to succeed.

"This has been a very intense two week period," Rick Carlisle said during his 100-yard dash-like interview.  "It's an extended period yet it seems to go by quickly.  You just kinda roll with it.  I embrace the intensity of it and I know our guys do."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Some Leftover Mavs/Heat Game 2 Post-Game Fun & a Joey Crawford Run-In

The heart attack comeback kids did it again.

The Mavericks posted another double digit come-from-behind win this postseason.  This time, Dallas overcame a 15-point deficit, closing the game on a 22-5 run to beat Miami 95-93 and tie the NBA Finals at 1-1.

From the Stat Geek department (actually Elias sports bureau): The last time a team overcame a 15+ point 4th-quarter deficit in the NBA Finals was June 14, 1992, when the Bulls came back to beat the Trail Blazers.

*Something I didn't hit in my late-night/early-morning ramble: On the Dirk Nowitzki go-ahead basket, he said he drove earlier than he would have. He was hoping to draw the foul, which of course didn't come.

*Btw, I ran into referee Joey Crawford at breakfast Friday morning.  He couldn't have been lovelier.

Headline Fun

This was the headline on the front page of the Miami Herald Friday morning.  The sports page also featured a headline that read "MELTDOWN" with a wonderful accompanying photo of Dirk Nowitzki hitting the go-ahead shot to put Dallas up 95-93.

My question to you is, couldn't the game be characterized as a great COMEBACK by Dallas?   Every Mavericks fan will say yes.  But remember when Dallas lost to Portland in Game 4 during the first round?  Brandon Roy had a brilliant fourth quarter, scoring 18 points, and helping the Blazers overcome a 23 point deficit to beat Dallas 84-82.  Was it a Blazers comeback?  Or a Mavericks collapse?  Mavs fans said collapse.  Guess what Blazers fans said?

I think it's a matter of perspective depending on which team you root for but ultimately it's probably somewhere in between.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Evolution of Your Quiet Mavericks Leader, Dirk Nowitzki

Mavs break huddle at AAA in Miami
Dirk Nowitzki will never be mistaken for that in-your-face, rally the troops guy.  Yet, he has grown and embraced the role as the Dallas Mavericks leader this past season.

Case in point:
When the Mavericks took a 2-nothing lead over the Lakers, he warned his teammates not to get too excited.

"Dirk got on us when we won two games in LA," Deshawn Stevenson brought up after the Mavericks beat Oklahoma City to advance to the Finals.  "We got our leader and franchise player saying that and he doesn't have a smile on his face; it just makes you sit back and realize there's more work to do."  

JJ Barea added to the story during Monday's practice at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. 

"He said, 'It's only 2-nothing we gotta go home and still take this' I never seen him talk like that.  He didn't look right."

Barea added the last part jokingly but his point is well-taken.  Nowitzi hasn't been a player who is a "win one for the Gipper" guy.  But he has developed into a player who will speak to his teammates when he feels it is necessary

"He's been doing it this year a little bit more.  He's even talking this year," Barea said.  "His work ethic, the look in his eyes, his body language, everybody just wants to follow him." 

I still think the Mavericks are still more of leader-by-committee team with Jason Kidd and even Tyson Chandler stepping up to the plate.  But when your best player, in this case Dirk Nowitzki, is sending a message, it's important that his teammates listen.  And in the Mavericks case, they are.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why You Still Won't Be Hearing From Mavs Owner Mark Cuban Anytime Soon

You've heard all postseason long about Mark Cuban's silence.  You haven't heard him talk any trash about this postseason.  He hasn't made any postgame show appearances, given any lengthy interviews or made reference to dirty Riverwalk water.  Sure, he may have vented about a call or said a thing or two about the Dodgers but that's about it.

While he's been incredibly cordial and polite to all of us, even delivering a live postgame fist-pump to me on TXA21 outside the Mavs locker room in Portland after a Game 6 six win, he's politely declined ust about every substantial on the record interview request.

Don't expect that to change.

After the Mavs amazing comeback win in Game 4 Monday night in Oklahoma City he came out of the locker room following the game while the media throng was gathered in the hallway.  He had a relieved, half-smile on his face.  A number of media peeps asked him if he wanted to talk.  He broke into a bigger smile and shook his head no.

We joked with him, asking him if he's ever going to talk again, considering how well his team is playing with his lips somewhat sealed.  It was another broad smile with a head shake as he walked away.  He said something to the effect of "I'm not messing with what's working."

Much has been made about the genesis and inspiration of this silence.  I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't a more coordinated effort.  Perhaps head coach Rick Carlisle has seen what a potential distraction Cuban's chatter has been in the past and maybe suggested that the owner stay quiet.

Just a thought.

Mavs Come From Behind to Beat Thunder in Game 4 of the Western Conf...


Yes, that happened.

In my Michael Johnson-like pace to churn out a video blog before we hit the road to Dallas, I forgot to mention something.  Brendan Haywood told me that Rick Carlisle told his guys this was a character win.

Watching the Mavericks come from 15 points down with less than five minutes to go to beat OKC can understand why.  But what was so interesting was what Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd said after the game.

Both said that the Mavericks could have easily given up.  Think about it.  Down 15.  They had already gotten a win in Game 3.  A split in Oklahoma City (a tough place to play) would have been just fine by anyone's standards.  You would have taken that, wouldn't you?  But Dallas wasn't willing to settle for "just a split".  Both players admitted as much.  Obviously, if the Mavs don't win, we're having a different discussion.

That being said, I think "character win" is an appropriate description because Dallas showed a hell of a lot of it in Game 4.  It definitely wasn't anywhere close to a perfect game.  FAR from it.  I know most of you Mavs fans were cussing at the tv (and at me on twitter and facebook!).  But it's one they'll learn from, take and hope to build upon in Wednesday's Game 5.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Are the Mavericks the Most Battle-Scarred Playoff Team in the NBA?

You could almost make the case for that.  And it might just be a reason why the Mavericks could be primed for one of their most successful seasons in franchise history. 

We've focused all offseason on just how playoff-tested the Mavericks are.  Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki and Peja Stojakovich each have at least 10 years of postseason experience.  The rest of the squad, save for Corey Brewer, Dominique Jones, Brian Cardinal, Rodrigue Beaubois and Ian Mahinmi, all have at least five years of playoff experience.  All this postseason experience and, let's be honest, disappointment each individual player and Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle have been through with other teams have shaped this 2011 Mavericks squad.

It's made the Mavericks a hungry, smart team that understands not to take a ride on that emotional roller coaster than can be an NBA postseason.

But no one put it better than Jason Terry on Sunday before the Mavs watched film of Game 3.

"You look at each individual, almost to a man, Peja Stojakovich: Sacramento vs LA, he didn't get it done. Myself and Dirk: in the Finals up 2-0, didn't get it done.  Coach Carlisle: two Eastern Conference Finals, never made it to the championship.  Jason Kidd: two Finals appearances, didn't hoist up trophy.  Someone told me the other day Shawn Marion's been to Western Conference Finals twice, hadn't got the Finals.  Those unique stories in itself (is) what drives us and motivates us to get it done this year."

We know getting it, a championship, is the goal this season.  Can this be the team that finally does it?  I think it's in better shape, both mentally and physically, than the team that made the Finals run in 2006. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's One Silly Little Loss, But Are the Mavs Taking the Thunder Too Lightly? Yes, Says 1 Mavs Player

I'm not a girl who likes to say I told you so, but......

The Western Conference Finals are tied at one after Dallas lost to the Thunder 106-100 on Thursday. It's only one loss to but I definitely feel the Mavericks Game 1 win masked a few areas of concern that enabled the Thunder to win Game 2, particularly on defense.  Remember the Thunder were within six with under three minutes to play in Game 1.  We pointed this out on Mavericks Game Night prior to Game 2 Thursday night. 

This series is still right on pace for what I predicted to be a win for the Mavericks in six (I had OKC winning Game 1).  But have the Mavericks lost their edge defensively?  OKC is averaging 109 points a game through the first two.  Dallas didn't given up more than 100 in the entire postseason prior to the Conference Finals.  At least one Mavericks player admitted that they're concentration is off, perhaps they're taking OKC too lightly and that, yes, they have lost some edge.

Dallas allowed OKC to shoot 58% percent in Game 2 and, for the first time in a while, was outplayed by an opposing team's reserve players.  The Thunder bench outscored the Mavs second unit 50-29, led by James Harden's 23 points.

Much more in the video blog.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Some Mavs/Thunder Pre-Game 2 Fun...NERD ALERT!

Life has gotten in the way and blog posts from me have been tougher to come by than a botox-free celebrity (no judgement).  Excuses be damned!  While doing some homework for Thursday's Game 2 between the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder, I thought I would share some stat geeky fun.

Look at how different these trends are from the past four Mavs postseasons:

-Dallas has won the first game of each of last three playoff series.

-The Mavericks have won seven (7!) straight playoff games.  Their longest previous win streak in the postseason was four which they have done on two separate occasions.  They're also 6-0 at home.  They've also won three straight playoff games on the road, the first time in franchise history.

-The Mavs are looking to go up 2-0 against the Thunder tonight.  Dallas is 4-1 all-time in a best of 7 series when it has a 2-0 lead.  The only loss after leading 2-0 (do I really need to remind you): the 2006 NBA Finals

-Dirk Nowitzki went 24/24 from the free throw line.  Dallas is unstoppable when he gets to the charity stripe.  The Mavs are 5-0 this postseason when Nowitkzi attempts at least 10 free throws, 12-0 during regular season with at least 10 attempts.

-The Mavericks bench (my key to this series for Dallas) is averaging 41.6 points a game this postseason.  Dallas is 8-1 when its bench outscores the opposing team's reserves.   That loss was in Game 3 vs the Blazers when the Mavs bench outscored Portland's 48-23.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Victoria's Secret & Rangers Intro PINK Line: Even the Grumpy MLB Reporters Might Like This One

The Rangers and Victoria's Secret are doing a little to-do to introduce their Rangers PINK line at Dallas' Northpark Mall on Thursday.  I blogged about the offerings here.  I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that even the grumpiest of the grumpy baseball reporters might crack a tiny smile covering this event.  Let's at least hope!

Here are the detes from the cut and paste department:


WHO: CJ Wilson – Pitcher, Texas Rangers

Chanel Iman- VS PINK Supermodel

WHAT: Victoria’s Secret PINK is coming to Dallas! VS PINK Supermodel Chanel Iman will be joined by CJ Wilson of the Texas Rangers at the Victoria’s Secret store in Northpark Mall to meet and greet fans and celebrate the new line of PINK Rangers gear. The first 100 people in line will be able to pose for photos with CJ and Chanel and all fans can shop the new collection.

Launched in 2004, Victoria’s Secret PINK is a fully articulated lifestyle collection for young women. The VS PINK Major League Baseball Collection, launched in March 2010, is an exclusive assortment of co-branded merchandise with select teams. This unique program features VS PINK’s highly recognizable brand iconography and the names and logos of some of the biggest teams in baseball including the Texas Rangers, who were added in March 2011. Items in the collection include tees, shorts, hats, hoodies, and sweats. To learn more information about the exclusive VS PINK MLB or Collegiate Collection, visit

CJ Wilson is a stellar force on the mound and finished among the American League’s Top ten wins. He is passionate about traveling, photography, his new company "CJ Wilson Racing," going to South Africa for his charity, music, tatoos, surfing and his “STRAIGHT EDGE” way of life. C.J. is constantly engaging his fans and letting them know what’s behind the #36 Texas Rangers jersey and his signature blue glove.

WHERE: Victoria’s Secret
Northpark Mall
1010 Northpark Center

WHEN: Thursday, May 12th
Press Check in at 12:30PM

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What We Learned in the Mavs Win Over the Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

You can look at the box scores and stats anywhere on-line. These are my impressions of how the Mavs are handling this success.

I think it's fair to say the Dallas Mavericks have shown us something we haven't seen in a while. They are a more mature, veteran team that seems poised to deal with the roller coaster the NBA postseason throws at them. I was impressed with the Mavs victory but even more impressed with the player's reaction afterwards.

It's also worthwhile to note that Mavs owner Mark Cuban is keeping a lower profile in these 2011 playoffs. He seems to be letting his players and coaches do the playing and talking. He came out of the locker room Wednesday night, with an expression of relief, elation and restrained calm that was refreshing.

"We got two games. We got two games. Gotta get two more," he said emphatically but with a calm, almost library-appropriate voice.

I think everyone involved with this entire team is showing us something and, eight postseason games in, it looks good.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mavs/Blazers Pre-Game 4 Musings...From the Obvious Dept

The Mavs plan today is simple: protect the ball, hit some free throws and play better defense than in Game 3 vs Blazers today if they want to go back to Dallas with a 3-1 lead.  

The Mavericks said Friday at practice they would like to get more of their guys involved offensively.  Tyson Chandler admitted he wants to make more of an impact.  When I asked Shawn Marion about producing more on the offensive end after Game 3, he gave me the "I take what comes to me" answer.  But I wouldn't be surprised if the Mavs do try to get him going.  He was so good down the stretch for Dallas, scoring 16 a game over the final month or so of the season.  In three games against Portland he's only putting up 7 & 5.

Some interesting numbers: 
-Portland is shooting a playoff-best 47.5% from the field; while Dallas is third hitting shots at a 47.1% clip.
-The Mavs are dominating the Blazers from the 3-point line, shooting a second-best 45% in comparison to Portland's 38.6%.
-The Blazers are outscoring Dallas in paint, 118-86, and on the break, 37-21, through three games.

Monday, April 18, 2011

How Do the Mavs Do Following a Playoff Win? Here's the Ugly Info.

The Mavericks are focused on not having a let down in Game 2 vs Portland on Tuesday night.  It's good that is a point of emphasis because in the recent past, they have struggled in the immediate game following a playoff victory.

Check this out from the Negative Nellie Department:
Since Game 2 of the NBA Finals in 2006, the Mavs are 2-8 in the postseason in the game following a win.  The ONLY games immediately following a playoff win in which the Mavericks did NOT lose were Games 3 & 4 of their first round series against San Antonio in 2009.  They beat the Spurs in Game 3 and followed that with a win in Games 4 & 5 before ultimately winning the series. 

Here's the history:
2005-06 Postseason
June 11, 2006   Mavs beat the Heat 99-85 in Game 2 of the Finals
June 13, 2006   Mavs lose to the Heat 98-96 in Game 3
♦ Mavs lose the series 4-2

2006-07 Postseason
April 25, 2007   Mavs beat the Warriors 112-99 in Game 2 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 27, 2007   Mavs lose to the Warriors 109-91 in Game 3
May 1, 2007      Mavs beat the Warriors 118-112 in Game 5
May 3, 2007      Mavs lose to the Warriors 111-86 in Game 6
♦ Mavs lose series 4-2

2007-08 Postseason
April 25, 2008   Mavs beat the Hornets 97-87 in Game 3 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 27, 2008   Mavs lose to the Hornets 97-84 in Game 4
♦ Mavs lose series 4-1

2008-09 Postseason
April 18, 2009   Mavs beat the Spurs 105-97 in Game 1 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 20, 2009   Mavs lose to the Spurs 105-84 in Game 2
April 23, 2009   Mavs beat the Spurs 88-67 in Game 3
April 25, 2009   Mavs beat the Spurs 90-80 in Game 4
April 28, 2009   Mavs beat Spurs 106-93 in Game 5
♦ Mavs win series 4-1

May 11, 2009   Mavs beat the Nuggets 119-117 in Game 4 of the 2nd round of the playoffs
May 13, 2009   Mavs lose to the Nuggest 124-110 in Game 5
♦ Mavs lose series 4-1

2009-10 Postseason
April 18, 2010   Mavs beat the Spurs 100-94 in Game 1 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 21, 2010   Mavs lose to the Spurs 102-88 in Game 2
April 27, 2010   Mavs beat the Spurs 103-81 in Game 5
April 29, 2010   Mavs lose to the Spurs 97-87 in Game 6
♦ Mavs lose series 4-2

2010-11 Postseason
April 16, 2011   Mavs beat the Blazers 89-81 in Game 1 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 19, 2011   ???????????


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nuggets/Mavs Preview: We're Getting Physical....Again

Could Wednesday's game against the Nuggets result in a win the Mavericks need to end their three-game losing streak?  Just at first glance, you could make the case for Dallas.  

The Nuggets are playing on the second night of a back to back, after losing to Oklahoma City in Denver on Tuesday.  It was actually Denver's first loss at home since February 7th.  They were 10-0 at the Pepsi Center since the Carmelo Anthony trade.  They had won six straight prior to the Thunder loss and are 15-5 since the trade. 

What's impressive is the way they've been playing. 

"Since trade they're best defensive team in the league, allowing 10 less points per game, which is staggering," Rick Carlisle claimed Tuesday at practice.  "They're doing it with great balance and are doing it with 10-11 man rotation."

In fact, prior to the Thunder game, Denver was allowing only 94.8 points per game in their previous 19 games, down from the 105.2 they were giving up before the trade.
Then Carlisle mentioned the "P" word which describes the Nuggets perfectly.  I'm channeling Olivia Newton-John. 

"They're physical and it's going to be a big test for us."

Oh Lord.  Another physical team (I still remember how the Mavs were pushed around in their 2009 playoff series against the Nuggets).  Another test.  How did Dallas do in its last test?   Need I remind you of last Thursday's game against the Lakers which has lit up the DFW airwaves and interwebs with "soft" talk? 

What's the focus for the trying-to-toughen-up Mavs tonight? 

"Transition defense is going to be big," Carlisle said.  "We have to compete for shots on offense because they stay into you." 

Denver has had a lot of success against the Mavericks lately, winning eight of the last 11 regular season meetings with Dallas and four of the last six at the AAC. 

I am personally stoked about this game, the first post-trade meeting between the two teams.  The Mavs said they worked on a number of things on Tuesday at practice: communication, defense and focusing on their flow game.  I'm anxious to see how they respond after playing poorly in those three straight losses and see how they react to Denver's aggressive, physical style of play which puts up a league best 107.2 points per game.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Mavericks Failure to Communicate

With apologies to any Cool Hand Luke fan and the late actor, Strother Martin, who portrayed Luke's prison warden so wonderfully, the Mavericks have a failure to communicate.

"It depends if you're talking on or off court," Mavericks center Tyson Chandler said with a big smile across his face.  "They gotta open their mouths on the court."

No doubt Jason Terry's recent "Charminator" comments come to mind as an excellent example of off the court chatter.  On the court, though, is a different story. 

Shawn Marion alluded to the issue last month and Chandler brought it up at Tuesday's practice.  I asked Chandler and head coach Rick Carlisle why a communication breakdown exists on a veteran team this late in the season and, frankly, their answers weren't so surprising.

"We got guys that just aren't big talkers," Chandler admitted.  "It's something we got to get used to. A lot of good teams talk, a lot of good teams communicate, whether it's something you do, whether it's something you're comfortable at, you got to make yourself comfortable at it."

The Mavericks are full of a bunch of nice, respectful, fabulous guys.  Most fathers would love it if their daughters brought any of these guys home.  In your face, inspiring leaders?  Perhaps not so much.

Chandler says he's trying.

"I feel like as a big guy, you see everything coming.  You're the last line of defense so, you know, I try to communicate to my guys when I'm out there," he said. 

Carlisle likes the fact they're talking about it.

"We spent time working on that today," he said.  We're a team of guys that have high basketball IQ but our personality isn't to be outgoing and talkative all the time.  That's a habit that we've worked on all year to develop and we've gotten better with it.  We can't allow there to be lapses."

This is where I paraphrase former Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells who would say "you are what you are."  Is it too late for the Mavericks to try to become this communicative team when it's something they've struggled with this season?  The cynic in me says yes.

"Communication is so key, not only in keeping all the guys on the floor on the same page, but taking energy away from other guys on the floor, too," Carlisle added.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Handing Out the NBA Postseason Hardware Plus a Finals Prediction

For Sunday night's Mavericks/Blazers pregame show, our young producer Cody Winstead assigned Bill Jones and I a task: pick our NBA MVP, Mavs MVP, 6th Man of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and our Finals prediction.

Bill and I didn't discuss our picks at all but they were almost identical, except for one.  So without further ado, here you go:

Bill: Derrick Rose
Gina: Derrick Rose

Mavs MVP
Bill: Dirk Nowitzki
Gina: Dirk Nowitzki

6th Man of the Year
Bill: Lamar Odom
Gina: Lamar Odom

Rookie of the Year
Bill: Blake Griffin
Gina: Blake Griffin
(this vote should be unanimous, league-wide, IMO)

Coach of the Year
Bill: Doug Collins
Gina: Tom Thibodeau

Bill liked the turnaround Collins has done with a 27-win team (currently 40 wins) that doesn't have real superstar players.  I liked what Thibodeau has done with a young 41-win team (currently 56 wins) that dealt with injuries well and is playing good defense.

Finals Prediction
Bill: Lakers over Bulls in 6
Gina: Lakers over Bulls in 5

Bill just couldn't pick the Heat.  I kind of agree with him.

What do you think?  Agree/disagree?  Who's getting your postseason hardware?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rangers & MLB Opening Day Lagniappe and the Presidential Connection

During Rangers Manager Ron Washington's meeting with the media throng on Thursday, he made a statement that just about anyone who has any sort of passing interest in baseball can agree with.

"Opening day is one of the best days in baseball," he said following the statement with a patented, mile-wide Wash grin.

I've joked all week long that it should be a national holiday.  So many people play hookie from work to attend or just watch games.  A couple of my friends' companies shut down their offices and take their staff to the ballpark to take in the game.  I know two such companies that will be in Arlington, tailgating well before the Rangers 3:05 scheduled first pitch against the Red Sox on Friday.

New Rangers video board
The Rangers record on opening day is 22-28, dating back to 1961 when they were originally the Washington Senators.  President John F. Kennedy threw out the first pitch as the Senators lost to the White Sox in the franchise's first game.  Texas has won their last two opening day games, doing so in dramatic come-from-behind fashion in 2010 against the Blue Jays.

Sure, opening day is fun.  It celebrates all the pomp and circumstance of America's pastime.  In reality, it's more for the fringe fans.  I liken it to New Year's Eve, which I call "amateur night".  It seems like THE game that people who rarely (or never) attend any baseball games make the effort to get to opening day.  I'm not hatin' on it, I'm just sayin'....

I was looking up some information for a story and stumbled across an article in the Atlanic about presidential connections with opening day.  It's an interesting read.  Who knew that William Howard Taft was the first president to throw out the first pitch at a game in Washington in 1910?

And did you know that every president since Taft  has thrown out at least one ceremonial first pitch while in office, except for one?  Can you guess who it is?  That would be....Jimmy Carter.

For the record, President Obama did not throw out a first pitch prior to Thursday's Nationals/Braves game.  A group of three generals and two admirals, each representing a branch of the U.S. military, threw out the first pitch instead.

Who's on Your Rangers 2011 Opening Day 25-Man Roster? Here You Go!

It's finally official:

Arlington, Texas – The Texas Rangers announced several roster moves today in finalizing the club’s 2011 Opening Day 25-man roster.  The Rangers have made the following moves:

  • Purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Dave Bush from Round Rock (AAA).
  • Placed right-handed pitchers Omar Beltre, Scott Feldman, and Brandon Webb on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 22.  The first date any of those players are eligible to be activated is April 6.
  • Placed right-handed pitcher Tommy Hunter on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 25.  The first date Hunter is eligible to be activated is April 9.
  • Optioned infielder Chris Davis, outfielder Craig Gentry, and catcher Taylor Teagarden to Round Rock (AAA).
  • Reassigned right-handed pitcher Brett Tomko to Round Rock (AAA).

Below is a listing of the 2011 Opening Day roster:

RH Pitchers (8)
Dave Bush
Neftali Feliz
Colby Lewis
Mark Lowe
Darren O'Day
Alexi Ogando
Pedro Strop
Mason Tobin

LH Pitchers (5)
Matt Harrison
Darren Oliver
C.J. Wilson
Arthur Rhodes
Derek Holland

Catchers (2)
Mike Napoli
Yorvit Torrealba

Infielders (6)
Elvis Andrus
Adrian Beltre
Andres Blanco
Ian Kinsler
Mitch Moreland
Michael Young

Outfielders (4)
Julio Borbon
Nelson Cruz
Josh Hamilton
David Murphy

15-Day Disabled List (4)
RHP Omar Beltre (spine surgery)
RHP Scott Feldman (right knee surgery)
RHP Tommy Hunter (right groin strain)
RHP Brandon Webb (right rotator cuff surgery)

The Rangers have 5 players on an Opening Day roster for the first time: Derek Holland, Mitch Moreland, Alexi Ogando, Pedro Strop, and Mason Tobin.  Tobin is the only member of that group seeking to make his major league debut.  There are also 6 players looking to make their Texas debuts: Adrian Beltre, Dave Bush, Mike Napoli, Arthur Rhodes, Mason Tobin, and Yorvit Torrealba.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Don't Get Your Rangers Panties in a Wad....Unless You Really Want To

That's because you can actually buy Rangers panties and more from Victoria's Secret.

The undie outlet is offering a line of Rangers skivvies and loungewear from their Major League Baseball Collection.  You can purchase hats, hoodies boyfriend pants and tee-shirts all ranging from $24.95 for a PINK bedazzled Rangers hat to $68.00 for a Rangers hoodie.

Of course, VS is offering a hipster panty, one for $10.50 or three for $25.50. 

The line is actually very cute.  If you have a female friend (or male, no judgement, Steve Dennis) who's a huge Rangers fan, something from this line is a perfect little gift to add to their collection.


Rangers Will __________ in 2011...Time to Go on Record

A dinner table discussion Tuesday night turned into a heated debate about just what your Texas Rangers will do this season.  Win the AL West?  Win the American League?  Make a second straight World Series appearance?  Crack the 90 win plateau?  Crack the 80 win plateau?

I won't dive too far into the conversation but the consensus was, because of a variety of reasons, the Rangers will have a hard time repeating the success they had last year.  Or even coming anywhere close to it.  According to, the over/under on Rangers wins this year is 86.5.  Everyone at the table took the under.  Way under actually.  Last year the over/under was 83.5.  In comparison, look at some other teams of interest: the Giants 88.5, Yankees 91.5, Phillies 96.5 and Texas opening day opponent, the Red Sox 95.5.

What do you think Texas will do this year?

How many games do they win?

Do they win the AL West?

Do the crack 90 wins?

Share your Rangers 2011 predictions in the comments section.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

University of Houston Basketball: Longing for the Days of Phi Slama Jama

Any time my alma mater, the University of Houston, actually gets some press outside the Houston area, I'm interested.  With this weekend's Final Four being held in the Bayou City's Reliant Stadium and with U of H hosting the festivities, it brings back memories of Phi Slama Jama.

The New York Times asks what the heck has happened to the once storied basketball program.  Quality players like Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and Michael Young avoid U of H like the plague.  Partly because the school abandoned recruiting Houston area athletes.

Author Brett McMurphy notes that "some of the city’s top players who went elsewhere included T. J. Ford and Daniel Gibson (to Texas) and Emeka Okafor and Hasheem Thabeet (to Connecticut)."  He goes on to note that "although Hakeem Olajuwon, of Nigeria, was a key part of Houston’s Final Four runs, 14 of the 25 players from those three seasons were from Houston high schools, including Drexler, Michael Young and Larry Micheaux."

It's been slim pickings for the basketball program since the great Guy V. Lewis strolled the Hofheinz Pavillion rotunda.  "In the 25 seasons since Lewis, the Cougars have had six coaches and no N.C.A.A. tournament victories. Pat Foster reached three N.C.A.A. tournaments before resigning in 1993. Next, Alvin Brooks, Drexler and Ray McCallum combined for nine losing seasons in 11 years."

I can personally attest that U of H isn't attractive to top young recruits, at least when I was there.  It is primarily a commuter school.  As a true freshman, I was in the minority.  I remember reading a statistic that only 22% of students at the school were "traditional students".  Most students, quite frankly, were going back to school for a second time, had flunked out of their previous university or had some life situation that affected them and then required them to postpone a secondary education.

U of H is in Houston's ghetto Third Ward.  It's hard for the school to compete with schools in phenomenal college towns like Austin, Knoxville, even College Station.  There's no "college atmosphere" on campus.  In turn, the alumni community and that sense of giving back that many strong alumni associations have is absent.  I haven't met one U of H alum who has the passion of Texas Ex, A&M graduate or Tennessee Rocky Top freak.

Who knows if this will ever change.  Unfortunately for those few Cougar High alums who would love to see as much, I think they and the athletic department are the only ones who really care.

*Side note: Guy V. Lewis' wife had a tradition of giving Hakeem Olajuwon peppermint candies after games.  Any time they would visit Rockets games, she would gingerly stroll over and hand Olajuwon a piece of candy.  He would graciously accept with a smile on his face that seemed as if he was receiving a valuable gemstone.  It was a rare, sweet moment that few people saw.

Monday, March 28, 2011

NFL Lockout vs NBA Lockout: Who's Your Commish? Plus Some Perspective

With the NFL lockout in full swing, the upcoming possible NBA lockout this summer has almost been forgotten.  Sure it's in the back of some fans' minds but for the most part, they're focused on their teams' playoff seeding and how they're closing out the regular season.

NBA players are preparing for the worst.  Just like many of their Dallas Cowboys counterparts admitted during the NFL season, many Dallas Mavericks players are anticipating it.  Mavs guard Jason Terry joked one day during practice this fall that they are all trying to save their money.  I'm sure NBA players version of saving is much different from ours.  It's all relative.

The New York Times Sunday magazine examines which league and, subsequently, which commissioner is better suited to handle a lockout.  What made me giggle was that the only NBA and NFL owners author Tommy Craggs cited were our very own Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones.

Ponder for a moment that both commissioners are peddling what is essentially an upward redistribution of wealth into the hands of guys like Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban. It’s going to take some real salesmanship to get the public to go for that. So who’s better equipped to do it?


Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Reebok RunTones Review

The market for "toning shoes" is as hot as black asphalt in the Texas summer heat.  On a recent trip to Designer Shoe Warehouse, I found an entire half-aisle devoted to all types of toners: Skechers, Reebok, New Balance, etc.

Toning shoes at DSW
Do these shoes really do that much?  I blogged about my first experience with Reebok EasyTones last March.  In short, I like them but I don't think they're going to give you that hot, Kim Kardsashian or Cameron Diaz booty overnight.  I don't believe you'll get cut calves and quads simply by wearing them.

Reebok RunTone
I'm on my second pair of Reebok "toning" shoes, this time the RunTone vs the EasyTone.  I love them but not for the reasons you might think.

Plainly put, I like the cushion that the balance ball pods provide.  I use these shoes for running errands, cardio on machines, lifting weights and taking classes at the gym. The balance pods just feel good on my feet and for the average daily workout I do, they are my new favorite shoe.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Want to Take Weight Off & Keep it Off? Start Logging.

You know you should do it but, let's be honest, it's a little tedious and sometimes time-consuming.  IT is logging your daily food intake.  Study after study shows that individuals who log their daily caloric intake are more successful at losing weight and subsequently maintaining it.  A study by the National Weight Control Registry indicated that people who are successful at keeping weight off for an extended period of time, an average of 66 pounds for five years, monitored their weight and food intake by keeping track of it.

I can personally attest to its effectiveness.  After a tour of small-market tv duty in Guam, followed by working ridiculous hours in Knoxville, I added more than 50 pounds to my once-slender frame.  Logging my daily caloric intake helped me drop 55 pounds in the late 90's and early Naughties and I've kept it off ever since.  (Any of you remember some of my early Cowboys TV days?)

There are a hundred ways to log your food intake.  I've done it off and on for years.  During my size 2 college years, I would write down my food and corresponding calorie intake in my DayRunner.   Currently, I log my daily workouts on my laptop and log my caloric intake online or via an app on my Ipad.

The Wall Street Journal tackles the monotonous task of doing just that and examines four calorie counting websites, 3 paid, 1 free.  It does a good job of looking into the variables of portion sizes and the thoroughness of each site's database.

My Fit Foods Atlantic Salmon: 430 cals
I haven't used any of the sites they recommend but I do have a personal favorite.  I use, which has been swallowed up by the network.  I prefer the Daily Plate because it has an excellent database of foods, ranging from prepared food and fast foods to simple, homemade recipes.  I eat a lot of meals from My Fit Foods and it has a ton of those meals in there.  The cool thing is that if a recipe is not in its database, you can add it by building the ingredients list.

The Daily Plate also offers values for individual food products from apples and kale to Clif Bars and smoothies.  It has a "frequently used" meal function that allows you to add meals or foods that you eat a lot without searching for them.  Sometimes you simply have to estimate what you're eating, say the spice cake a colleague brings to work, but there are generally equivalents of anything you might eat.

Monday, March 14, 2011

My New Fave Breakfast Drink....And It's Not Green Juice!

Those of you (and there were many) who cringed at my green juice drinking self will love this purple recipe  It's the best smoothie I've made.  EVER.  And, candidly, I like to think of myself as a smoothie connoisseur.

It's a berry banana smoothie with a twist and the key to its fabulocity is something that Stars center Brad Richards turned me onto drinking:  almond milk.  He told me about almond milk while we were shooting a story on his near-perfect nutrition habits.  I had always seen it in the aisle, as I had been a soy milk girl for a while.  I picked up a carton of it and have been hooked ever since.

I have always made smoothies using orange juice as my liquid base, enjoying the citrus flavor and bit of bite it provides.  The vanilla flavored almond milk by Almond Breeze that I use adds a wonderful, light creaminess and vanilla-y flavor without being too milky or shake-like, something I personally don't enjoy.

Ingredients for my latest smoothie obsession
This smoothie is also the easiest thing in the world to make.  Simply pour eight ounces of Almond Breeze (the brand I personally use) vanilla into a blender.  Add a big handful of frozen mixed berries (I buy a big ole bag from Costco) and 1 medium banana chopped up.  You can frozen bananas or fresh berries, it really doesn't matter.  I typically use a mix of frozen and fresh because I like the consistency of the smoothie when it's frozen.  Some mornings, I get frisky and add chia seeds or some whey protein.
Costco berries
This smoothie has a huge nutritional bang for the buck with all the wonderful antioxidants from the berries and potassium from the banana.  The almost cooler thing is that it doesn't have a ton of calories while being wonderfully satiating.  The almond milk has only 40 calories (w/ no sugar!), the berries contains 70 calories per cup and a medium banana about 100-120.  That's between 210-230 calories!  The chia seeds add 70, the whey protein about 110.  Still a bargain!
Almond Breeze nutrition info

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rangers Reaction on Chuck Greenberg's Resignation & Why We Saw This Coming

Think about it: it wouldn't be Rangers spring training if there wasn't some drama.  While the news of Chuck Greenberg's abrupt resignation is surprising, the fact that there was a rift between Greenberg and other members of the organization, quite frankly, isn't.

Greenberg officially resigned as CEO Friday and has sold back his interest in the team saying he has "somewhat different styles" from team president Nolan Ryan and Rangers co-chairmen of the board Ray Davis and Bob Simpson.

"I don’t think there was an event that created the separation we had," Ryan said.  "I think it was a combination of philosophies."

We discussed this at length within the our sports department and on TXA21 last year that there seemed to be a growing disconnect between Greenberg and at least Ryan.  Davis, who along with Simpson prefers to stay out of the spotlight, added during Friday's press conference that this was a "joint effort" not just an issue between Ryan and Greenberg.

Perhaps it compounded when Greenberg became involved in the Cliff Lee chase, trying to make one last ditch effort to keep Lee in Texas, after the Rangers had pretty much shut the door on the negotiations.  Or maybe when he had a verbal war of words with Yankees team president Randy Levine over Cliff Lee.  Greenberg also reportedly became in the Michael Young trade talks.  Who knows what exactly was the straw the broke the Rangers' backs. 

Greenberg definitely added an energy and ethusiasm to this ballclub.  He was omnipresent and always willing to talk to the media or meet with groups across North Texas.  He was the good PR this team at times needed.

Ryan admitted that these issues did not arise during the club's purchase and auction process last year.  "During the effort to purchase the ballclub, the auction and bankruptcy, the focus was on that," he said.  "Our group of owners was united in trying to get this done."

Ryan will now add the title of CEO to his resume.

"It’s like a marriage," Ryan added.  "You never know.  You think things are going to work.  In a business you never know how things work until you get in there."

Simpson, the founder and former chairman of XTO Energy, added some additional insight that's relevant to any business practice.

"You’re about 50-50 in judging people off the cuff and if you do that, you’re good."

There is no doubt in my mind that this will not affect the team from an on-field standpoint.  They've been through hell and back with Ron Washington's admission of using cocaine, bankruptcy, the auction,  Michael Young's trade request and more.   This team is a distraction-battle-tested squad that has proven it can withstand just about anything.

I am curious when Greenberg, the man who was always so open, will talk.  I, along with countless others, left him messages on Friday.  He has the right to do as he pleases but given his presence and past willingness to be so transparent, it would shock me if he remains silent regarding this.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

NFL Player? Don't Buy Bling For Your Ho's, Bro's or the Wife Right Now

This is one of the most amusing stories I've seen in a long time.  While it certainly falls under the "prudent" category, it's just plain funny that the NFL Players Association has to tell its players to "leave the club with your wallet and budget intact."

Here's the skinny:

The story came out a few days ago, but it's worth repeating.  USA Today profiles how the NFLPA has given players a 64-page lockout handbook providing them players with suggestions on how to handle their finances in the event of a lockout.  Many of the tips are ones that some of us recession-affected plebians have already adopted.
  • Cook instead of eat out
  • Save 25% of your annual pay
  • Turn down the heat in your house
Easy stuff.  Simple, common sense advice that all of us can practice.

Then there's the "these guys seriously need to be told to do this?????" tips:
  • Hold off on buying motorized toys and jewelry
  • Reduce the size of your entourage (I once knew a non-NFL player who had a guy named Peanut who was his errand boy but his primary job was to turn on his car, adjust the vehicle to the appropriate temperature and get ho's for hm at the clubs)
  • Say "no" or "not now" to money requests from friends and family
I'm sorry, this is all just makes me giggle.  You have to ask if Dez Bryant will be hosting many more $55,000 dinners during the potential lockout?
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