Oh, This Is Going To Be Easy!

No Jose-Enrique. No Obafemi Martins. No Geremi (and he's probably being sold anyway). No Barton. No Cacapa. No Ameobi. And no Beye. That's seven missing players. And that's never good. But it is a very good reason to make new friends and drink some ale at a worshiped downtown soccer bar.

Blackburn Rovers v. Newcastle United, Saturday 17 January, 15:00 GMT / 10AM EST, to be shown live at Nevada Smiths in the East Village. Be there!

Zima Ends Its 15-Year Run

The early 1990s are a period that profoundly changed the world and my young adult life. The Soviet Union collapsed. Americans fell in love with premium coffee and beer. Rock music got better. Singer-songwriters had a renaissance. Organic and vegan food became acceptable. And the internet made it possible to buy almost anything from anywhere.

And in any modern decade, certain relics of the era are remembered fondly for their ridiculousness or novel qualities. Some items, like Zubaz pants rose and fell quickly. (What? They're back? Good lord.) Some things were so good, that they just had to come back (see Stone Temple Pilots). And some things took a very long time to die. Case in point, Zima.

My girl was reading the current issue of New York Magazine. In their weekly "Approval Matrix" pop culture page, they mentioned the death of the clear malt beverage that should have gone away 10 years ago.

But it took a merger to get it done. Miller-Coors finally discontinued Zima on October 20th. It will be remembered, but not missed.

Home Opener In Newcastle

Photo by Flickr user TooMuchTyne, used here under a Creative Commons license

Photo by Flickr user Cul 9, used here under a Creative Commons license

Ah, the lads are back in town. The traditional pre-game pie and pint have been consumed and the final minutes are ticking down. I will get my chance to watch the game at 5pm at Nevada Smiths. But for the Toon faithful, it is 5pm now, and the post-game celebrations have begun.

Newcastle 1 - Bolton 0

Andy Dick: Crash, Burn, Repeat

The Hollywood press has seen his downward spiral, which has increased speed over the last few months. From crashing his car into a telephone pole while coked-up in 1999, to getting beaten-up by Jon Lovitz in 2007, to getting tossed out of a house party last month, to this latest episode at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant. We know how this story will probably end. Everyone in Hollywood thinks he either a disgusting asshole, a 'walking rehab patient', or both. This will not end well.

Yankees Extending The Torre Story

Call me cynical, but it looks like this Times Square rally was staged by Georgi vodka. You know, that Sunnyside Queens importer that thinks they can sell mediocre vodka in New York City if juxtaposed with a female model's butt? I admit, my vodka of choice is Svedka, which is advertised with a curvy female android.

UPDATE: The Times Square rally was indeed staged by the importer of Georgi vodka. That's an old public relations tactic. Put young women in branded tanktops in Times Square to hold signs or distribute printed advertising. The tactic is similar to the way tobacco companies hired girls to smoke cigarettes in parades and on city streets in the 1920s, to make smoking more acceptable among women. This time, there was a less sinister motive. This was a way for a local businessman to show his support for Joe Torre...and sell more mediocre vodka.

Meetings end, no decision on Torre

Still no decision on Joe Torre.

The New York Yankees manager remained in limbo Wednesday after a second day of meetings by team hierarchy failed to reach a conclusion.

"All we're worried about is the process of making sure that we come to the right decision. When we do, we'll get everybody involved," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said before leaving Legends Field and heading to the airport.

Owner George Steinbrenner arrived just before 1 p.m. but did not comment as he entered the spring-training ballpark. He told The Record of Hackensack, N.J., on Oct. 6 that he didn't think he'd bring back Torre if the Yankees failed to advance to the AL championship series. Cleveland then eliminated New York in four games, sending New York to its third straight first-round exit.

Cashman said the Yankees are maintaining their position that they will not negotiate with Alex Rodriguez if he terminates his $252 million, 10-year contract. Rodriguez, who has three seasons left on the deal, must decide by the 10th day following the World Series.

"I can reaffirm that if Alex Rodriguez opts out of his contract, then we will not participate in free agency," Cashman said.

Torre has managed the Yankees to the playoffs in all 12 of his seasons and helped the team win the World Series in four of his first five years. But the Yankees haven't won the World Series since 2000 and haven't won the AL pennant since 2003.

If Torre doesn't return, bench coach Don Mattingly is the leading contender to take over. Yankees broadcaster Joe Girardi, the NL Manager of the Year with the Florida Marlins in 2006, is another possibility.

The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., reported Tuesday that Mattingly told a member of the Steinbrenner family he does not feel ready for the manager's job and is uncomfortable with replacing Torre.

Ray Schulte, a spokesman for Mattingly, said the report was "completely false, totally fabricated and took Don completely by surprise."

"If and when a decision is made concerning Joe's future, Don will respond, at that time," Schulte said in a statement. "In the meantime, he wants what is best for Joe and the Yankee organization!"

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press.