Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: Game of Thrones ("The Ghost of Harrenhal")

by richmin3000

*my reviews/recaps will not have any spoilers in the main section as they relate to future events but will have many explanations or clarifications of events currently happening on the screen so if you want to figure it out for yourself, read with caution.

**due to several recommendations, i will be discussing some spoilery stuff at the tail end of the review so please pay careful attention.

read my review of episode 1, "the north remembers " - here.
read my review of episode 2, "the night lands" - here.
read my review of episode 3, "what is dead may never die" - here.
read my review of episode 4, "garden of bones" - here.

we've reached the half way mark of season 2 so it's time to reevaluate where things stand with our cast of wannabe kings and queens... we're also going to switch up our routine a bit.

king's landing
no joffrey this week after a lot of him last week. the main storyline in king's landing revolved around tyrion and his attempts to prepare the city's defenses in preparation for an imminent attack from stannis baratheon. he discovers that cersei and joffrey have secretly employed the pyromancers (a formerly powerful guild during the reign of the targaryens) to produce and store a shit-ton of wildfire which they plan on using to defend the city. the problem is that it's quite unpredictable and destructive so it has to be handled with care. obviously tyrion doesn't trust his sister or nephew to handle anything with care so he immediately assumes control of the situation.

season update: this season in king's landing has been mostly about the power struggle between tyrion, cersei and joffrey. all three are on the same side but each of them are also power hungry and somewhat distrustful of the other. it will be interesting to see whether this disunity will be a recipe for disaster. also this year, i think they've made a point of creating a disconnect (at least in passing comments and one minor scene in this past episode) between the lannisters and the common people they rule over in the city. this could be another recipe for disaster.

iron island/pyke
theon is getting ready to sail off to fight fishermen as per his father's orders when he realizes (with some help) that no one will respect him until he takes what he wants. and what he wants is his father's love. and in order to do that he needs to prove he's a true ironborn. and to do that he plans an attack on torren's square, which is a close holdfast near winterfell. he knows that he doesn't have enough men to hold it for long, but perhaps he'll hold it just long enough...

season update: the prodigal son returns but it's also a story of unrequited love... and attempted incest. the iron islands are like the cornell university of westeros with the bleak weather and all the frowny faces. the greyjoys feel left out and rush to join the race to be king.


winterfell
meanwhile in winterfell, bran (and nut cracking rickon) are listening to the people's neverending complaints when sir rodrick (the house castellan) brings news that torren's square is under seige (see above). bran gives rodrick a couple hundred men to take back the holdfast. also, bran regales osha (his wildling nanny) with tales three-eyed raven and the drowning of winterfell. then osha tells him to lay off the late nite pizza and ice cream.

season update: bran and rickon have been partying non stop with no parental figures, unless you count hodor as a parental figure. really though, bran has just been having some crazy dreams of three-eyed birds and wolfs.

stormlands
stannis and renly finally met face-to-face last week with neither backing down from an impending fight. i'm sure everyone was looking forward to a big battle but instead lady melisandre gave birth to a shadow demon baby that killed renly. that was cool too.

renly's death has some far reaching effects. first, most of his bannermen now have gone over to stannis which means he now has the biggest army. second, it seems like catelyn and/or brienne will be blamed for renly's death unless people buy the whole "a shadow demon baby killed renly" story. third, margaery and loras tyrell need to figure out their next move after they pushed all their chips into the renly camp. i'm sure littlefinger will help them sort it out.

stannis now is planning on invading king's landing with his newly massive army and navy. davos seaworth convinces stannis to leave behind the red priestess during the attack on king's landing because he fears that she might be given the credit for any victory.

catelyn and brienne escape renly's camp after his murder and are on their way back to robb's camp. along the way, brienne swears allegiance to catelyn. she's 0-1 with renly so catelyn might want to think this over.

season update: stannis has shown a willingness to bend the rules in order to sit the iron throne though he still expects everyone else to be upstanding citizens. renly's story ends here but his legacy will forge ahead, at least in the tyrell and brienne storylines. 

harrenhall
tywin lannister is obsessed with robb stark. arya is obsessed with revenge. jaqen h'ghar (the night's watch prisoner who speaks in third-person) gets arya started on the right path with a promise of 3 deaths. she chooses first someone named the tickler. next comes bashful.

season update: we just got here so not much to report. they figured out a great new torturing technique that keeps their rats well fed.

beyond the wall
jon and the rest of the crew have finally left craster's keep and meet up with qhorin halfhand, a fellow night's watch ranger. their next destination seems to be mance rayder's camp (self proclaimed king beyond the wall and former night's watch ranger as well) which they plan to invade like seal team 6 in order to "eliminate" mance rayder before he marches south with his massive wildling army.

season update: not much has happened really. at the end of last season they were marching north to find benjen stark and to figure out mance rayder's plans. mission half-accomplished! oh, and also, sam fell in love.  


qarth
daenerys is chilling and wearing nice clothes once again. she finally realizes that jorah mormont, her "adviser" might want to be more than just friends. she meets some interesting people like the warlock and gets proposed to again! i guess being the mother of dragons comes with benefits.

season update: dany was wandering the desert like moses trying to bring her people to the promised land. her dragons are still at the "i want one" age but now that they have some real food to eat perhaps they will start being a little more self reliant.


no hyperbole allowed ratingB+
i loved 90% of this episode but was not a fan of the first scene. i was very excited to see them execute the renly death scene (which was incredibly mysterious in the book) but i thought it was directed very poorly. it lacked the requisite amount of tension and intensity. and when they cut to brienne it looked like she was looking past renly's body as he was getting stabbed to death. the set up could have been paced better and catelyn/brienne's escape could have been a little more harrowing. in fact, a lot of the episode seemed rushed (even more so than other episodes) and it's probably because this was the first episode in which they visited every major location.

i'm excited to guide us through season 2 of game of thrones so would appreciate any comments or feedback to help structure these posts as we move forward. you can write to me at nohyperboleallowed@gmail.com, or via twitter @hyperboleNOT, or on our wall on facebook at facebook.com/nohyperboleallowed, or just write something in the comments section below.


****SPOILER SECTION**** (DO NOT READ AHEAD UNLESS YOU'VE READ THROUGH BOOK 2)

- i like how the show is setting up the eventual mini-riots on the streets of king's landing. it's obvious that cersei and joffrey have no idea how to be loved and assume fear will keep everyone in line.
- i assume that this season will end with the battle on blackwater bay which i can't imagine they will shortcut especially since wildfire has been introduced to us.
- i also can't wait to see people's reaction to the events in winterfell in next week's episode. i'm upset that the show is seemingly leaving out bran's friends (the reeds i believe) that end up traveling with him and teaching him about greenseers. though i am really excited to see theon do his thing and have at least one impactful scene with bran.
- i also can't wait to see the eventual return of jamie and his scenes with brienne. his witty remarks should prove to be quite entertaining.
- also, some more of robb's new girlfriend would be most welcome.

Friday, April 27, 2012

To Recuse Oneself or Not? That is the Question...

by richmin3000

28 United States Code Section 455 is a federal law concerning the disqualification of justices and judges (supreme court judges are called justices while other federal judges are called judges). the law states, in part, the following:

(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States
shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his
impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
(b) He shall also disqualify himself in the following
circumstances:
(1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a
party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts
concerning the proceeding;
...
(3) Where he has served in governmental employment and in such
capacity participated as counsel, adviser or material witness
concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the
merits of the particular case in controversy;
(4) He knows that he, individually or as a fiduciary, or his
spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a financial
interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to
the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially
affected by the outcome of the proceeding;
(5) He or his spouse, or a person within the third degree of
relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such a person:
(i) Is a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or
trustee of a party;
(ii) Is acting as a lawyer in the proceeding;
(iii) Is known by the judge to have an interest that could be
substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;
...
 
on wednesday, the supreme court of these united states heard oral argument in the case of 'arizona v. united 
states' which concerns the constitutionality of the arizona immigration law (which i will try to review at a 
later date). in hearing this matter, only 8 justices will be on the bench as justice elena kagan has recused 
herself. (recusal means that she will not participate nor rule in this matter).
 
justice kagan was the united states solicitor general when the obama administration first brought a 
constitutional challenge to the arizona immigration law. (solicitor general means she was the legal 
representative or attorney prosecuting the matter for the obama administration). her recusal was honest, 
necessary and at the end of the day, her decision. it was also a big blow to the liberal attack on the 
immigration law.
 
earlier this year, clarence thomas was asked to recuse himself from the health care reform case, 'florida v. 
us dept of health and human services' due to his perceived partiality. you see, his wife is an outspoken 
fundraiser against the health care reform. justice thomas was chided last year for failing to include
in mandatory financial disclosures, his wife's income from tea party organizations and has made public 
appearances for conservative groups that oppose president obama's health care reform efforts. his wife 
clearly derives financial benefits from her work promoting the unconstitutionality of the health care 
legislation.
 
what's funny to me is not that justice thomas did not recuse himself. that was to be  expected and in fact, 
there were calls for justice kagan to recuse herself as well from the case, which she did not (though in 
fairness, the calls for justice kagan to recuse herself were not as warranted or loud). what's funny to me 
is that conservatives love attacking liberal judges as being "activist" which, for many reasons, is ridiculous. 
what is clear and obvious is that justice thomas, by not recusing himself, and making no attempt to hide his 
biases, is arguably the most activist judge in america and the most conservative. 

*to read more about the thomases and health care reform, click here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: Game of Thrones ("Garden of Bones")

by richmin3000

*my reviews/recaps will not have any spoilers as they relate to future events but will have many explanations or clarifications of events currently happening on the screen so if you want to figure it out for yourself, read with caution.

read my review of episode 1, "the north remembers " - here.
read my review of episode 2, "the night lands" - here.
read my review of episode 3, "what is dead may never die" - here.


it's been a fairly slow moving 2nd season thus far although i mostly feel as though they are flying through storylines as efficiently as possible. i think it mostly has to do with the large number of plot arcs that they need to continuously check in on each week.  a couple of new destinations were added in this episode (and in the opening sequence) so let's check in on our cast of characters this week...

the lannistersno jamie again this week which means that he hasn't appeared since the premiere. no cersei either for maybe the first episode ever. but we did get the triumphant return of lord tywin as we're introduced finally to the haunted castle of harrenhal. tywin mentioned at the end of last season that they would regroup there after jamie's defeat at the hands of robb stark. harrenhal is officially my favorite new opening sequence location overtaking the recently added pyke. anyway, tywin's arrival at harrenhal was fortunate for gendry who was about to get eaten alive by a rat. also, it seems arya will be his new cup bearer, whatever that means.

we also got a lot of joffrey and tyrion this week and the show's depiction of their power dynamic is incredible. first tyrion shows up joffrey by coming to sansa's rescue in the throne room. then tyrion makes a small gesture of good will (and an attempt to temper joffrey's hostile nature) by sending him, not one, but two ladies of the night. joffrey does what any hormonal teenage boy would do - he forces one of them to beat the other into a bloody pulp. i think we've sorted of figured out that this kid's got problems. still though, his message is loud and clear to tyrion - a king can do what he pleases (at least while he's the king).

the starks
no jon snow this week. no bran this week. arya experienced life as a captive of the lannisters - it wasn't pleasant. catelyn had a couple of great scenes. one with the baratheon brothers. and another with petyr baelish where she was brought back the bones of ned stark as a show of good faith by tyrion in the attempt to negotiate a trade of jamie for sansa/arya.

robb won another battle (though we did not see it happen as is the game of thrones way) against the lannisters which was meaningless really except to show off his dire wolf, introduce us to a pretty little nurse and give us a glimpse into the poor lives of common folk who are the real victims of this war.

the baratheons
stannis and renly finally meet on the field, but not in battle. they each expect the other to yield as renly has the bigger army but stannis has the better claim. neither does however which makes catelyn sad. stannis asks the onion knight, sir davos seaworth to bring his red priestess, melisandre to shore so she can give birth to a shadow demon. she names it stannis jr.

the targaryens
daenerys finally finds hope in the form of the greatest city that ever was and will be - namely qarth. the city is guarded by the 'thirteen' who are very protective over who they let into the city walls but are almost equally interested in dragons. i'm not sure why dany refuses to let them see the dragons in order to gain entrance since i assume they'll get a peak eventually but it did lead to a lot of talk of her dragons 'burning cities to the ground" so that was cool. one of the thirteen finally invokes a filibuster or something and dany is allowed into the city. i guess she won't have to burn them to the ground anymore. damn it!
 

the greyjoys
nada.
 

MISC.
they opening sequence is starting to annoy me. last week they had dragonstone but no stannis. this week, no dragonstone but they had stannis (though he was no longer at dragonstone). they finally got rid of vaes dothrak and introduced qarth, but kept winterfell and the wall even though there was no bran or jon snow. i feel like they need to make this more consistent.

the title of this episode refers to the potential dangers lurking in the city of qarth. dany has dragaons but they are young and hungry... and priceless so i'd be worried.

i know everyone is wondering what the fuck to make out of that shadow demon, i mean stannis jr, but i fully expect it to be explained at the beginning of episode 5. i can't believe we're almost half way done. so much to get through!

i'm excited to guide us through season 2 of game of thrones so would appreciate any comments or feedback to help structure these posts as we move forward. you can write to me at nohyperboleallowed@gmail.com, or via twitter @hyperboleNOT, or on our wall on facebook at facebook.com/nohyperboleallowed, or just write something in the comments section below.

no hyperbole allowed rating:  B+
the joffrey/tyrion scenes were amazing as they really aided in their respective character developments. robb too had a nice moment coming to the realization that he might not have it all figured out. i guess being a 18 year old king doesn't come with a handbook. my favorite storylines this season are 1) theon greyjoy, 2) jon snow, 3) brienne of tarth, 4) tyrion and 5) davos seaworth so it's sad to see 3 of those 5 not appear or have major roles.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Podcast: No Hyperbole Allowed (Episode 15)

Your humble podcast hosts welcome to the studio (several personal computers hooked up via Skype) James Norton, an Englishman's Englishman, hailing from England. He regales us with stories of traveling in this strange land where people pronounce their r's. How the British perceive American politics. The differences between New York and Miami. What it's like to finally visit the dentist. Etc.   

We also discuss Ozzie Guillen (pronounced Gee-Shen if you're a silly Argentine) and his comments professing his man-love for the Beard (no, not Brian Wilson, the other one). Colin is 1/256th Cuban so be forewarned that he is permitted to poke fun at latin accents - it's in the racists' handbook, 5th edition, Chapter 8 entitled "How to Make Fun of Accents and Get Away With It Too!!"

1:00 - James Norton, the 2,938,485th Most Interesting Man in the World
9:30 - The Differences between New York and Miami
12:45 - Trayvon Martin
15:00 - James talks American
31:00 - We love Ozzie Guillen (Please don't boycott us! We just meant we love his tender eyes!)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/nohyperbole/No_Hyperbole_Allowed_Episode_15.mp3 

This is the "Afghan polo" that Colin was talking about. It's called buzkashi. Or kok-boru. Or oglak tartis. Or ulak tartysh. Seriously. Those are all names for this crazy sport - 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Game of Thrones ("What is Dead May Never Die")

by richmin3000

*my reviews/recaps will not have any spoilers as they relate to future events but will have many explanations or clarifications of events currently happening on the screen so if you want to figure it out for yourself, read with caution.

read my review of Episode 1, "the north remembers " - here.
read my review of episode 2, "the night lands" - here.

though it took longer than expected, hbo has finally renewed game of thrones for a third season. it's not surprising as the show's ratings have skyrocketed this year. rumor has it that the 3rd book will be separated into 2 seasons, which means that this could end up being the longest show in hbo history when all is said and done.

this episode was still a lot more set up (still getting introduced to new characters), but things are starting to change in some corners. first janos slynt and now maester pycelle have becomes victims of tyrion's rampage. arya's journey back to winterfell has hit a detour and we lost one of the "good guys" in yoren. just because not much else has changed, it doesn't mean everyone's stopped playing the game. let's check in on our cast of characters this week...

the lannisters
no jamie or joffrey in this episode again, which is fine with me because tyrion and cersei are doing a great job as competing power brokers in the capitol, king's landing. tyrion, after last week sending city watch commander, lord janos slynt, to the wall, this week sent grand maester pycelle to the dungeons, after discovering that he is cersei's informant and overall turncoat. in the aftermath of the great scene where tyrion plants different rumors with pycelle, varys and petyr baelish, we can see hints that petyr isn't so happy not being able to trust tyrion. varys, on the other hand, just helped shae get a job as a handmaiden to sansa (more on that later) and is becoming chummy with tyrion. last week, they threw veil threats at each other and this week, varys gives tyrion a little lesson in power - hint, the one with the sword lives (this is my take and i think other reviews have failed to point this out - in the riddle varys tells tyrion, no matter whether the king, priest or rich man lives, so does the sell sword). in tyrion's 2nd talk with petyr baelish, we hear about harrenhall. if you recall, at the end of last season, tywin lannister says they are heading to harrenhall. this week, we hear it's a haunted castle and also learn that that's where arya and gendry are heading as captives. also mentioned, is the land of dorne, which is where all the fine dornish wine comes from. it's on the southern end of the continent and can't wait to see it in the opening sequence.

cersei has been the best character this season in my opinion. she's struggling to find real power and almost throws tantrums when power is taken from her, especially since it's always men (usually incapable) taking it from her - king robert, her father, tyrion and her son joffrey. when she hears that her daughter myrcella will be wed to a dornish prince, she loses it. no matter what else, she's a loving mother. in a great scene (they were all great really) at the dinner table, you almost caught a glimpse of empathy from cersei when looking upon sansa. cersei has played her role as a subservient woman her entire life and now sansa must play that same role with her son. the scene was also a nice one for myrcella and tommen, who both seem quite nice unlike their older brother joffrey.

the starks
no robb this week. just to wrap up on sansa, she had a good character development week ending with her scene with shae as her new handmaiden. a little of the old sansa, barking orders and being ladylike, came out for a few minutes until she realized that she needed some non-lannister human interaction.

arya's camping out on the king's road on the way north to the wall when a host of lannister men come looking for gendry. yoren still isn't having any of it and puts up a decent fight until the mountain (gregor clegane, the hound's older brother who chopped off a horse's head in season 1) sticks a broad sword down into his neck. before arya, gendry and the rest are captured, at least arya let the 3 men out of their mobile prison. that was nice of her. maybe that will play a role later on. who knows. anything's possible.

jon snow is young and full of potential which has to be the only reason lord commander mormont puts up with his shenanigans. after craster puts a beating on snow for spying on him, he kicks out the night's watch. snow apologizes to commander mormont and tells him about the white walker he saw. mormont says he'll probably see more. i hope so. snow's storyline was the weakest of the night. sam and gilly were cute though.

i'm going to start saying that we got no rickon either each week. not a surprise. anyway, we got some more wolf dreaming with bran this week. maester luwin had a very warm moment with bran - luwin might be the nicest and most earnest person in westeros. no wonder the starks all turned out like good people unlike the lannisters who had maester pycelle in their employ.

the baratheons
we finally got renly but no stannis this week. davos, i missed you buddy. renly is currently camped out somewhere with his 100,000 men enjoying himself as the rest of the country is at war. renly plays the kingly role very well and the people do seem to hold him in high esteem. especially brienne of tarth, the very tall woman who defeated sir loras tyrell, knight of flowers, king lover, in a tournament. as her reward, she is accepted as one of renly's kingsguard, 7 knights sworn to protect the king (jamie lannister is a kingsguard knight as well and is known as the kingslayer for killing the mad king aerys after swearing to protect him). brienne is a fan favorite and i definitely agree with that sentiment. i can't wait to see her more this season.

we also got introduced to margaery tyrell, king renly's new wife and sir loras' sister. i'm not a fan of natalie dormer, who plays margaery and played anne boleyn on showtime's 'the tudors' - so i really didn't like her portrayal of the queen this week, but i liked how up front her character is with renly's sexual orientation. she's another strong female character and what's great is how effective and strong each woman can be using different styles.

the targaryens
no dragons this week. :(

the greyjoys
the greyjoy storyline really emphasizes the theme of loyalty. i know most of the reviews focus on the themes of power and that's surely a strong theme, but i'm more drawn to the idea of loyalty and family. each family interprets the moral codes differently, but they all share common traits, loyalty to one's family being one of them. the lannister children want to please their father as much as the stark children want to avenge theirs. theon greyjoy resents his father, yet the more his father shuns him, the more theon craves his approval. theon has really turned into one of the most watchable characters as his character's background in season 1 has really set up his conflicting emotional loyalties. i think the scene where he burns the letter to robb warning him of a sneak attack, was cheesy but it worked because the writers have really done a great job with theon. as he was getting baptised (sort of) by the priest of the drowned god, you could tell that there was never really a choice to be made between the starks and greyjoys (not that it was an easy choice, but just that, in the end, this was the only one he could have made). in general, the writers have also done a great job communicating the harsh, unrelenting ways of the iron islands (greyjoys) in such a short window - their family motto is "we do not sow"

MISC.

now that i'm thinking of it, why did they show dragonstone in the opening sequence if there was no stannis? renly baratheon is in the storm lands which is different. not a big deal.

i'm excited to guide us through season 2 of game of thrones so would appreciate any comments or feedback to help structure these posts as we move forward. you can write to me at nohyperboleallowed@gmail.com, or via twitter @hyperboleNOT, or on our wall on facebook at facebook.com/nohyperboleallowed, or just write something in the comments section below.

no hyperbole allowed rating: A
almost every scene was incredible to watch. you can feel the tensions rising and although we had a little fight sequence, nothing that ridiculous has happened yet. yet is the operable word though.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Review: Game of Thrones ("The Night Lands")


by richmin3000

*my reviews/recaps will not have any spoilers as they relate to future events but will have many explanations or clarifications of events currently happening on the screen so if you want to figure it out for yourself, read with caution.

read my review of Episode 1, "the north remembers " - here.

i've often compared game of thrones to 'the wire' which is arguably the greatest show of all time. though both shows explored complicated social structures, the wire often focused on largely powerless characters who were affected by the real decision-makers. game of thrones, on the other hand, almost exclusively focuses on the power brokers, the kings and lords who determine the order of things. so when tyrion lannister tells his sister, queen regent cersei, that the people don't like her, the audience is left wondering, who are these people he's referring to? however, as season 2 progresses, we are being exposed to a more diverse world and although we may never see the world through the eyes of townsfolk, we are starting to the see that the westeros is more than just lannisters and starks.

all-in-all, it was another set-up episode, which is not surprising considering that the wire almost always took a few episodes each season to get into the swing of things. consider that we haven't even met up with renly baratheon yet.

the lannisters
no jamie or joffrey in this episode. tyrion inserted his man, bronn, as head of the city watch, after banishing lord janos slynt to the wall. and though he did banish janos to the wall in the book, bronn's character was never head of the city watch. like i said last week, they will be eliminating several minor characters and that was one of them. tyrion and cersei also engaged in some fine dialogue that displayed tyrion's usual smugness and cersei's obvious spitefulness for not being born a man.

the starks
no robb or catelyn. arya told gendry that she was a lady of house stark and had a nice chat with 3 not-so-nice prisoners on a wagon. well, 1 was nice.

jon snow is still at craster's keep and is not happy with what happens to the sons born of craster. at the end of the episode we see craster leave a baby boy out for the white walkers to take and presumably eat i would guess. we don't find out because jon gets knocked the fuck out by craster for spying on him. none of this was in the book and it seems like jon's journey will be slightly different than it was in the book which will be quite exciting for me to watch.

just to be clear, white walkers are the tall, blue-eyed creatures from the very first episode of season 1. the zombies or "wights" that attacked jon snow and lord mormont late in season 1 are not white walkers since they were once human. however, one can reasonably assume that wights and white walkers are related in some fashion.

the baratheons
no renly again. stannis has dutiful sex with his priestess melisandre with the hopes of having a son. he doesn't seem to really buy into this 'lord of light' business, which makes me question his integrity of sorts. that and getting into business with a pirate. i'm not sure how this is a higher road than cutting deal with 'thiefs' and 'traitors' as he calls robb stark, renley and joffrey. davos seaworth continues to be the most interesting character on the show this season. his eyebrow acting clearly expresses his doubt over stannis' chances but still his never-ending loyalty. i'd like to know the story behind him losing his fingers though. oh wait, i do know but can't wait till they go through it on the show.

the targaryens
no dragons. daenerys is in the middle of the dessert just like last week but with one less bloodrider. she's got a high level of confidence, that one. i'm rooting for her even if her father burned ned stark's father and older brother alive.

the greyjoys
i can finally start to add the greyjoys to the list of the families i will be recapping each week. it's not that big of a spoiler, if you saw the episode, to say that they will play a big part this season. theon's interactions with his father, balon, and sister, yara, were great. the iron islands, were pyke is located, is a very distinct culture in westeros. they are a hard people that are almost glorified pirates. if you recall, they rebelled against king robert some years ago and ned stark defeated them killing all of balon's sons except theon who ned took on as a ward. this was mentioned in season 1 and obviously balon still holds a grudge.

MISC.
lord petyr baelish and lord varys both had scenes in which we're led to believe that they still have an active role to play in who comes out on top in the game of thrones.

i'm still excited to see renly which i have to imagine will certainly come next week. it was awesome to see jon's direwolf, ghost, this episode. just to recap, there are still 5 direwolves alive. sansa's is dead. arya's was run off so we can't say for sure if she's alive or dead. jon, robb, bran and rickon (yes, the little stark boy that is never shown) all have their direwolves.

i loved loved loved loved seeing pyke in the opening credit sequence. it was possibly my favorite yet. and the castle in the show was sick as well. as i heard someone say last week, they should stop showing dothrak in the sequence because daenerys is in the red waste which is further out east.

as the season and show progresses i imagine that the showrunners, weiss and benioff, will try and explore some of the themes that are not as explicit in the books. gender roles and loyalty are two big ones that seem to be explored in this episode.

i'm excited to guide us through season 2 of game of thrones so would appreciate any comments or feedback to help structure these posts as we move forward. you can write to me at nohyperboleallowed@gmail.com, or via twitter @hyperboleNOT, or on our wall on facebook at facebook.com/nohyperboleallowed, or just write something in the comments section below.

no hyperbole allowed rating: A-
the greyjoy scene and the incredible subtext in all the various conversations between characters really made up for the fact that we didn't have any action for the second episode in a row. i know it's coming so i have no problem being patient.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Preview: MLB Season Awards

by richmin3000 and Curtis Warrington

today, curt and i preview the national league east division.
check out our preview of the american league east, here.
check out our preview of the american league central, here.
check out our preview of the american league west, here.
check out our preview of the national league east, here.
check out our preview of the national league central, here.
check out our preview of the national league west, here.
check out our playoff preview, here.

AWARDS


Curt

Rich

AL MVP

Albert Pujols

Miguel Cabrera

AL ROY

Matt Moore

Matt Moore

AL Cy Young

David Price

David Price




NL MVP

Justin Upton

Troy Tulowitzki

NL ROY

Devin Mesoraco

Bryce Harper

NL Cy Young

Roy Halladay

Zack Greinke


Curt Says
:
MVP: Pujols, Pujols, Pujols. I don't think this will be even close. He's got 3 more years of dominance in him. Enjoy it.
In the NL, I like a lot of up and coming players. I do think this is the year Justin Upton breaks out. I did say the same thing last year. I did say the same thing the year before. Why stop now?

ROY: In the NL, I'm going to go against the grain with this one and say the Nationals hold back Bryce Harper to prevent him from being a super 2, just like they did with Stephen Strasburg. The missed time in the bigs will hurt the team badly too, because as you see above, I think they've got a shot to suprise some people this year. I actually like Devin Mesoraco as a dark horse for the ROY. I think he easily beats out Ryan Hanigan and end up with more counting stats than Harper. And since he looks like Sloth from The Goonies he'll also get the sympathy votes.
In the AL, theres a whole slew of candidates. Jesus Montero could suprise, but I dont think he'll hit enough homers in Safeco to get enough attention on a bad Seattle team. Yoenis Cespedes is going to struggle in the bigs, despite leading the league in HRs as this article went to press.....with 1...he's going to strike out too much to put up more than a .260/.330/.460 type line. In the end I dont see either Matt Moore or Yu Darvish struggling and its going to be an interesting race to see who wins. The quality of play in Japan is like a good AAA league and while Darvish pretty much owned the Nippon Baseball Leauge over the past few seasons, Moore did the same in the high minors. Moore will have a higher strikeout rate that will convince voters. So I'll go with Matt Moore.

CY YOUNG: Its been too long. David Price wins the AL Cy Young Award. It may be his last chance too, as pretty soon (read: next year) he wont even be the best pitcher on his team anymore.
In the NL there's just too many good pitchers to pick one. I'm going to have to pass on picking anyone besides Roy Halladay, because he is absolutely the best pitcher we've seen since Pedro and to bet against him would be stupid.

Rich Says:
MVP: i was choosing between pujols and miguel cabrera but i think miggy is a safer bet. he's 3 years younger and puts up similar offensive numbers to pujols. though i think pujols will settle in around 300/400/575 this year, miggy should be just a tick better in the triple slash numbers winning his first ever mvp trophy.
in the nl, i love both votto and tulowitzki, but since votto has one already, i give the edge to tulo who is the best shortstop in the majors. if he could play 150+ games, he could easily put up 30 hrs, 100 runs, 120 rbis, 10 sb and a triple slash of 300/375/550 playing gold glove defense.

ROY: curt is right that there are a lot of good rookies in the al this year, but i have eyes for only one of them, rays pitcher matt moore. the rays have not put an innings limit on him which only solidifies his frontrunner status this year. with one of the smoothest deliveries i've ever seen, it wouldn't shock me to see him win the cy young this year. 180 innings with 200 k's, 15 wins and a sub 3.5 era, he'll run away with the roy award.
in the nl, the rookie crop doesn't have as much talent nor the solidified roles relative to their al peers. i like curt's pick of mesoraco and i thought about going with trevor bauer for shits n giggles, but i couldn't resist going with bryce harper especially since i picked the nationals to win the nl pennant. i think he gets called up sooner rather than later because i think he's on a major league contract which might make his super 2 status irrelevant (i'm not gonna check on this because i want to believe it's true!).

CY YOUNG: none of the al pitchers stand out above the rest. verlander should regress. i love felix but he's won already. so i thought about curt's pick and did some research. even though his numbers got worse last year, anyone who follows sabermetrics knew that his 2011 season was actually better than the 19-win, 2.72 era season in 2010. his xfip has declined 3 years in a row, as his k rate and gb rate have increased and his bb rate has decreased. he's now 26 years old and having increased his work rate to 224 innings last year, his counting stats should all be there.
there were 4 pitchers last year to have sub 3.00 xfips and they were all in the nl. all four are former cy young winner and would be great picks for cy young this year, but i'll pass on roy halladay, cliff lee and clayton kershaw to go with the one who had the lowest xfip of them all, zack greinke. greinke started 2011 injured and was limited to just 171 innings. with a full workload, he could easily reach 250 k's and 20 wins.

*Curt was a guest on Episode 11 of the No Hyperbole Allowed podcast with Rich and Colin, which you can listen to here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Preview: MLB Playoffs


by richmin3000 and Curtis Warrington

today, curt and i preview the national league east division.
check out our preview of the american league east, here.
check out our preview of the american league central, here.
check out our preview of the american league west, here.
check out our preview of the national league east, here.
check out our preview of the national league central, here.
check out our preview of the national league west, here.

PLAYOFFS


Curt

Rich

AL East

New York Yankees

New York Yankees

AL Central

Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers

AL West

Los Angeles Angels

Texas Rangers

AL WC 1

Boston Red Sox

Los Angeles Angels

AL WC 2

Texas Rangers

Tampa Bay Rays




NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

Washington Nationals

NL Central

Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers

NL West

San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants

NL WC 1

Washington Nationals

Philadelphia Phillies

NL WC 2

Cincinnati Reds

Miami Marlins




AL Pennant

Los Angeles Angels

Tampa Bay Rays

NL Pennant

Philadelphia Phillies

Washington Nationals




World Champions

Los Angeles Angels

Tampa Bay Rays


Curt Says
:
American League: Red Sox too worn out fighting for the last playoff spot, rotation in shamble and end up starting Aaron Cook vs. Yu Darvish in a one game playoff. Tigers undone by their defense. Yankees limp to the finish and get zero'ed by Weaver/Wilson/Haren. In the 2nd round the Angels edge the Rangers in a 7 game series. Nolan Ryan spills a beer on GW.

National League: The Nats win the 1 game playoff as Stephen Strasburg goes 8 1/3 and strikes out 14. The rest of their rotation is too worn down to carry them against the Giants. The Phillies sweep the Brewers and in the championship game, the Phillies top 3 pitchers are just too damn good. The Giants match them pitch for pitch for the pennant but cant squeak enough runs to get by.

World Series: Pujols takes over. Optimistic anti-steroid freaks start making the Pujols/Bonds comparisons. Lost amid the shuffle is that Weaver/Wilson/Haren is every bit as good as Halladay/Lee/Hamels.


Rich Says:
American League: curt says strasburg goes 8 1/3 with 14 k's. well, i'll go one better... matt moore goes a complete game with 15 k's against cj wilson who proves he was overpaid. in a short series, the rays outpitch the rangers with alex cobb now the shut down reliever price and moore have been late in seasons past. the yankees beat the tigers because they are better. the rays again outpitch the yankees with 2 dominant lefties in price and moore.

National League: the phillies and marlins are fighting to win the division late in the season in order to avoid the 1-game playoff but fail to overcome the nationals. the phillies go with cole hamels while the marlins go with josh johnson, who is sporting a 2.20 era for the season. with no utley and a underperforming ryan howard, the phillies are sent packing. the brewers defeat the marlins especially with johnson not going until game 4. the nationals have too much firepower with harper, zimmerman, morse and even anthony rendon to go along with 4 good pitchers and defeat the giants in 6. the brewers put up a better fight, going 7 in the nlcs before strasburg pushes through a game 7, going way beyond his 160 innings limit for 2012 - he's up to 185 at this point.

World Series: the two best pitching prospects in the last several years, stephen strasburg and matt moore are scheduled to pitch against each other in game 3. the nationals pitching is good but can't match up to the rotation of james shields, david price, matt moore and jeremy hellickson, all sporting sub 3.5 eras. the rays win in 6, forcing rays gm (and former wall street executive) andrew friedman to demand that matt damon play him in a movie version of jonah keri's book, "the extra 2%".


*Curt was a guest on Episode 11 of the No Hyperbole Allowed podcast with Rich and Colin, which you can listen to here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Preview: MLB (NL West)


by richmin3000 and Curtis Warrington

today, curt and i preview the national league east division.
check out our preview of the american league east, here.
check out our preview of the american league central, here.
check out our preview of the american league west, here.
check out our preview of the national league east, here.
check out our preview of the national league central, here.

NL WEST


Curt

Rich

1

San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants

2

Arizona Diamondbacks

Colorado Rockies

3

Los Angeles Dodgers

Arizona Diamondbacks

4

Colorado Rockies

Los Angeles Dodgers

5

San Diego Padres

San Diego Padres


Curt Says:
This is a tough division to figure. The D-Backs won 94 games last year but vastly outperformed their pythagorean expectation. I actually think they could get better this year but win less games, if that makes any sense at all. The Giants are still good, buoyed by pitching they wont need much on the offensive side to get in to the playoffs. Madison Bumgarner is for real. A big return of Buster Posey, and some playing time for Brandon Belt could let the Giants cruise into the playoffs. The Rockies are a real unknown but could suprise. They've got a lot of talent but would need things to break perfectly. The Dodgers have the best pitcher in the NL and a superstar in Matt Kemp, and are good enough to stay competitive. Plus they are worth $2.15 billion, so they got that going for them. Lets just call it $26M/win and move on.

Rich Says:
Bumgarner is definitely for real. After suffering through a horrendous 2010 minor league season in which he lost his velocity and was no longer considered to be an upper echelon prospect, he regained his status as an elite pitcher last year with a great 2011 campaign. matt cain is in a contract year and tim lincecum is still a top 5 pitcher in the nl. a middle of the order of sandoval, posey and belt would go a long way to a division title, if belt is given the green light.

i'm not sure why curt has the rockies in 4th place unless he just thinks the top 4 teams are that close. the pitching staff is not great, but has good upside with chacin, nicasio and possibly pomeranz. the additions of scutaro and cuddyer should help bolster the offense around studs, car-go and tulowitzki.

the diamondbacks, as curt implied, overperformed last year with luck on their side. and that's relying on purely their run differential. but if you look deeper, their run differential was every more luck-aided which says to me that they got double lucky (1st getting to that run differential and 2nd getting to that win total). i see regressions from hudson, kennedy and cahill as well as from chris young, montero and kubel. i love justin upton but i don't see the eventual mvp type that everyone else does.


*Curt was a guest on Episode 11 of the No Hyperbole Allowed podcast with Rich and Colin, which you can listen to here.