Jon Jones: new UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, seen here with the weight of the world on his shoulders. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

UFC 128 was last night, and the theme of the event – from Dana White’s statements throughout the week right down  to Jon Jones‘s entrance music – was “boy, what a shame this is in Newark instead of Madison Square Garden.”

Unfortunately, the event paled in comparison to recent cards and even the forthcoming free Ultimate Fight Night card on Spike next week both on paper and in terms of entertainment value. Nothing was particularly bad, mind you, but nothing was particularly memorable either.

Save, of course, for the fulfillment of the Jon Jones prophecy.

Jones dominated defending champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua the entire fight, including what could generously be described as two 10-8 rounds followed by a merciful stoppage in the third. Rua came into the cage already looking tired and old, carrying with him the war-weary look that belies the fact that he’s still only 29-years-old himself.  A soft mid-section and early exhaustion indicated that conditioning has once again become an issue for Rua, making a Jones victory an inevitability.

This is not to take anything away from the new champion. At 23-years-old and with only three years of fight experience, Jon Jones has ascended the Light Heavyweight ranks in dominant and impressive fashion.

However, to coin a phrase, “I was not eempressed with his performahnce.”

This will surely put me in opposition with most MMA fans, but I could hardly qualify Jones’s win as a sign that we finally have a dominant Light Heavyweight champion. Rua went into this fight looking even worse than he did against Forrest Griffin, and Jones himself has some conditioning issues that nobody else wants to acknowledge. Did anybody else see him in the last minute of the first round, pawing at Rua with an arm he was barely able to lift up, huffing and puffing in the face of a fighter who was out on his feet and practically begging to be struck with a halfway decent tap to the chin that would have finished the fight?

Granted, these issues can and will be addressed by Greg Jackson and his camp. Jackson is no fool: he, unlike many fans, knows that Jones is going to have a lot more trouble against Rashad Evans than he did against Mauricio Rua. Evans has a better wrestling pedigree and isn’t likely to be wrestled into exhaustion like Rua was. He’ll come in motivated and with knowledge of Jones’s fight game due to training with him at Team Jackson. If Jones can get past Evans and do so in easy fashion, then I’ll buy that we finally have a Light Heavyweight champion who can defend his title successfully.

Until then, I’m just going to keep watching the hype train from a distance as the distant echo of a cry from years past echoes in my brain: “the Machida era has begun!”

OTHER NOTABLE ITEMS: After his devastating loss to Brendan Schaub, Dana White announced at the post-fight press conference that Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic was done with the UFC. It would be more accurate, though, to say the UFC is done with Cro Cop. … Urijah Faber didn’t put in the dominant performance against Eddie Wineland that so many expected, but that’s due to the fans’ lack of familiarity with Wineland. I was impressed, though, with how Faber didn’t panic in the first round and turned a negative into a positive, using his losing round to figure Wineland out and adapt his game plan accordingly. A bout with Cruz is next, and rumor has it they could be the coaches for the 14th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series. … After his win, Nate Marquardt told reporters he’s mulling a move down to Welterweight. I did observe that he looked smaller last night than he has in a long time, but a cut to 170 still seems like madness and isn’t something I would advise. … Jim Miller is now on a seven fight win streak, but his C.V. is less than impressive. It’ll be interesting to see what he does against the upper echelon in the division.

Full results:

    Jon Jones def. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua – R3 2:37 via TKO (strikes)
  • BANTAMWEIGHT (135 lbs.):
    Urijah Faber def. Eddie Wineland via Unanimous Decision
  • LIGHTWEIGHT (155 lbs.):
    Jim Miller def. Kamal Shalorus – R3 2:15 via TKO (punches)
  • MIDDLEWEIGHT (185 lbs.):
    Nate Marquardt def. Dan Miller via Unanimous Decision
  • HEAVYWEIGHT (265 lbs.):
    Brendan Schaub def. Mirko Cro Cop – R3 3:44 via KO (punch)


  • LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT (205 lbs.):
    Eliot Marshall def. Luiz Cane - R1 2:15 via TKO (punches)
  • LIGHTWEIGHT (155 lbs.):
    Edson Barboza def. Anthony Njokuani via Unanimous Decision
  • WELTERWEIGHT (170 lbs.)
    Mike Pyle def. Ricardo Almeida via Unanimous Decision
  • LIGHTWEIGHT (155 lbs.):
    Gleison Tibau def. Kurt Pellegrino via Split Decision
  • BANTAMWEIGHT (135 lbs.):
    Joseph Benavidez def. Ian Loveland via Unanimous Decision
  • CATCHWEIGHT (195 lbs.):
    Nick Catone def. Constantinos Philippou via Unanimous Decision
  • FEATHERWEIGHT (145 lbs):
    Eric Koch def. Raphael Assuncao – R1 2:32 via KO (punch)

Firstly, a reminder that Japan still needs your help. Give here:

Congratulations to the RPI men’s hockey team, which has been given a berth in the NCAA play-offs.

What a weird week, huh? Between kegs and eggs and the situation in Fukushima, it was a banner week for legitimate media outlets embarrassing themselves and getting out-scooped by those dirty bloggers they look down on.

There’s a few lessons to be learned here:

  • Any talk of “this is what the people are talking about” is worthless if you don’t have your finger on the pulse of the community.
  • It also needs to be balanced out with ethics. Speaking of which…
  • Misrepresenting facts and igniting fear in the general populace through misleading or outright incorrect information is FAR less ethical than a blogger who presents accurate facts with an attitude. Telling a lie with a straight face isn’t better, more professional, or more ethical than the truth told with an eyeroll.
  • Speculative fiction is not news.
  • Kids these days hate cars.
  • Media outlets are not only surviving but in many cases thriving in our climate. If you’re struggling despite your parent company increasing its ad revenue on the whole, then maybe -gasp- you’re doing things wrong.

Alright, enough ranting, let’s get down to business.

This week – kegs and eggs and death and cats and spies and the Constitution. This…is Blogorama.


This week on the Times Union Blogs…

On Kegs and Eggs overload (Daniel Nester)

You’re blaming ME for Kegs and Eggs? (Information Without the Bun)

Golden death penalty (David Kacyznski)

Kats on Cats 2 (High School / Michelle Kats)

Kansas ignores the US Supreme Court (Libby Post)

Dog refuses to abandon fellow canine injured by tsunami (Dog Owned Life)

Immigrant chef caught in legal system; FBI reads Table Hopping (Table Hopping)





Got links? Share ‘em.


Time to get out of work and start partyin’ partyin’.

We’re gonna be rollin’ three deep all weekend long.

Happy weekend, everybody. Look for stuff this weekend (as well as Blogorama on Sunday).



Speaking of mug shots

Trapped in an air shaft and screaming for help, a grease-covered burglar was rescued early Friday morning after Rotterdam police said he got caught in the duct as he tried to break into a pizza parlor.

read more over at Crime Confidential.

Nothing I can add to that, except to re-post the fantastic picture snapped at the scene:

Also hilarious: the unbridled “aw shucks” shame displayed in the photo taken by the Times Union after cops “rescued” him from the vent shaft. All that’s missing is him dragging his right foot back and forth across the floor.

Funny, right?

What’s funnier, though, is Monty Pyton and the Holy Grail, which you can watch FOR FREE (while tickets last) at the Palace Theater next Monday night (March 21st) as well as have a chance to win great prizes, meet your favorite TU bloggers in the lobby before the event and afterwards at Taste, and get some free appetizers!

CLICK HERE for more info on the event, how to register, and how to claim free tickets for the movie itself.

Tagged with:
Bernard Dickey

Image by angus mcdiarmid via Flickr

It takes about eight hours on I-90 West to get to New Castle, Pennsylvania. I’ve never been.

Still, I consider it a sister city to my hometown of Troy in spirit and circumstance. Like Troy at the turn of the century, New Castle was a bustling city littered with mills, factories, and opportunities for the blue collar class. As the Industrial Revolution came to a grinding halt and the Great Depression dramatically altered the economic landscape of the entire country, New Castle saw its resources dry up and its population move elsewhere. It, too, is a city that fighting to find and  establish a new identity. It is a part of America that has been forgotten by political rhetoric in the 21st Century. Cities like Troy and New Castle are not Middle America or “the Real America,” yet despite their invisibility to folks running for any office at the state level or higher, their socio-economic vulnerabilty make them an accurate barometer of the nation.

Though really none of that matters, because the most interesting aspects of these cities are the stories of the individuals who live, breathe, and die on its streets with no greater concern than what’s going to get them through the next week.

Small Town Noir  is a blog project launched by Diarmid Mogg in July of 2009. After the New Castle police discarded mug shots taken from the turn of the century up to the tail end of the 1950s, Mogg retrieved them from the trash and began researching each and every individual through various stories, tidbits and blurbs from the archives of the town’s newspaper, The New Castle News.

The result  is a series of remarkable and astounding journies of residents convicted of everything from public drunkenness to armed robbery. What makes it so remarkable, though, are the extra details gleaned from unrelated stories on the same persons, which in many cases tell us where life took them after the unfortunate circumstances and misdeeds that culminated in the discarded photographs.

To focus merely on its unique concept would be a disservice to its execution. Mogg is also a fantastic writer who lends heart and depth to the stories of these individuals through his prose.  Seeing them  at their most fragile, hitting their own personal bottoms, brings a familiarity that carries even when information is scant and makes it seem as if they walked out of camera shot and continued straight through until they hit the edge of the planet Earth and walked off.

Small Town Noir is one of those rare, refreshing realizations of the true potential of the internet and blogs as a medium. If there could ever be such a thing as “required reading” amongst a sea of RSS feeds, this should be included.

Chapman as King Arthur in Holy Grail

Image via Wikipedia

Hey, what’re you doing next Monday?

Shut up. You’re coming to The Palace instead.

This Monday, March 21st, The Palace continues its Classic Movie Series with “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

The movie starts at 7:00pm.

HOWEVER, before that you have a great chance to meet Times Union staff and bloggers, eat free appetizers, win great prizes in a costume contest, and join us at the Taste after-party. And it’s all free!

To register for the pre-event and post-event gatherings (which includes the chance to meet bloggers, free appetizers, and an after-party at Taste) CLICK HERE.

Did I mention it’s free?

For tickets to the movie itself, you can buy them at the box office the night of the event, or you can take advantage of a great offer by Troy-based Enable Labs for free tickets to get into the movie. Click here for free tickets. As of this writing there’s only about 200 tickets left, so act fast!

So again:

6:00pm pre-party with free appetizers, after-party at TASTE – CLICK HERE Free!

7:00pm – “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”
Free tickets here (while they last!)
Otherwise: $5; $3 for children under 14


One of the ways you can celebrate St. Patrick's Day is through ecological terrorism.

It’s almost 5:00pm, that time when you’ll be leaving work and heading out looking for ways to celebrate the holiday. “What can I do,” you ask yourself “to participate in this holiday in a truly Irish manner?”


No, but seriously, there are a lot of great traditions rooted in the Irish culture that you can partake in. What follows is a small sampling with some background info on each.

Flirting with Someone at the Bar So Awkwardly They Don’t Realize You’re Actually Flirting with Them
Not many people know this, but the initial reason for St. Patrick’s Day was to create a competition with St. Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, the holiday is accompanied by heavy drinking, and the Irish when drunk are not known for their romantic prowess. Unless of course they’re writers, but still, it is only their pens that can eloquently express emotion (and stay upright). Soo the great tradition began of being so drunk that your flirting comes across as belligerent ranting. Ladies, be ready for when he randomly puts his arm around you and goes in for a kiss mid-sentence! It’s all part of “the dance.”

Jets and Packers Appreciation
These are the preferred sports teams of Irish-Americans, which is why you see so many of them out at pubs and in Youtube videos. Also, fun fact, before it was made of pig skin, a football was actually made of dried-out corned beef.

There’s a story behind this, but it’s long and very, very, very painful.

Green Plastic Derbies
First adopted during the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the green plastic derby was a direct response to the British habit of wearing hats that lasted more than a day and were both comfortable and tasteful, two things which the Irish abhor. In modern times the Irish have encouraged other ethnic groups to wear them instead in order to show that we are not only all Irish, but all free spirits who hate the English.

Reenactment of the Banishment of Snakes
Though historical revisionists such as the TU’s own Rev. Alan Rudnick would like you to believe otherwise, St. Patrick DID drive all of the serpents out of Ireland. And one of my favorite traditions has always been the reenactments that occur on streets and sidewalks across our great nation of that time St. Patrick drove the snakes from the land of our fathers by vomiting all over them.

Terrible Music
Another tradition that grew out of a desire to mock the English is Irish music. Irish music is easily identifiable for its frantic strumming with all members of the band playing the same notes at the same time, excessive shouting, lazy puns, obsession over things that happened in the past and cannot be undone, and the occasional obscenity. It is thought that Irish music was first used during the Nine Years’ War. Those Irish that were too passive-aggressive to take up arms with the British would instead play their obnoxious music near them, unleashing an audio assault that would force the British to drink and thus be more susceptible to a physical attack from the Irish resistance.

Soggy Meat & Veggies

So get out there and start celebrating! But please, do so safely and responsibly, and do not even think of putting your key in the ignition if you intend to drink.

Evan Sapio, the 18-year-old native of Queens who turned himself in to Albany Police after they released still images captured from the various YouTube videos posted online, is the son of a media bigwig.

His father, Bob Sapio, is a senior executive news editor for The New York Daily News.

It brings about an added dimension to the story not touched upon: the embarrassment and shame these individuals bring to their parents.

I can already see the comments calling Sapio a “bad father” and that something he did must have somehow contributed to his son’s behavior. But that’s bollocks. Everybody knows that kids make mistakes or sometimes do terrible things despite having good or even great parents and upbringings. Anybody who’d even suggest otherwise is either living in a deluded fantasy world of their own construction or transposing their own guilt over poor parenting onto the parents of Sapio and other students.

It gets particularly embarrassing in light of an editorial that appeared in the New York Daily News that partially blamed parents for the incident.

Bob Sapio’s comment to the paper pretty much sums it up.

“I’m gonna kill him,” the elder Sapio told the Times Union.

Read more:

Tagged with:
Cover of "The Quiet Man (Collector's Edit...

Cover of The Quiet Man (Collector's Edition)

It’s St. Patrick’s Day.

Honestly, despite all the hoopla over the riots last weekend in advance of the Albany St. Patrick’s Day parade, the holiday still snuck up on me.

What used to be anticipated as a day of revelry and celebration for me has instead become a reminder of past embarrassments, shortfailings, and anxiety over what I’m bound to encounter staggering around in my neighborhood. In other words, a truly Irish holiday.

These days, without the need to call in to work so I can start drinking at 7:00am and stop sometime around 6:00am the next day, the holiday doesn’t hold much appeal to me. My mother always had a strong cultural attachment to the holiday and that would extend to her children, but she’s down in Virginia living it up in the Sun. Plus, my sisters are busy and/or have work that prevents them from even having a sit-down dinner.

So, no corned beef and cabbage for me, no drunken revelry, no parade, no awkward social encounters, and no music that you have to be drunk to be able to tolerate (because seriously people it’s awful).

Instead I’ll take the day to reflect on how much of my culture I’ve retained, watch “The Quiet Man,” and try to forget all those other things that have tarnished what in earlier years was always an anticipated family event.

Erin go bragh, or something.


BJJ legend Renzo Gracie (sitting up) puts on an exhibition with UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar (on the ground) at the Washington Ave. Armory on Tuesday. Both were in town for the Senate Committee's vote on a bill to legalize MMA in New York State.

Disclaimer: yours truly is a fan of MMA and occasional contributor to

From staff reporter Rick Karlin:

The UFC is perhaps the largest franchise for mixed martial arts — a sport that was banned in New York under the Pataki administration, which criticized its violence.

Since, then, however, more regulations and safety precautions have been added, White said. And the sport, which can be seen on cable TV and pay-per-view has continued to grow.

Mostly though, supporters spoke of the revenue it would bring in not only to sports venues in cities from New York to Buffalo but to surrounding restaurants and hotels.

“Our New York fans are sick of traveling to Newark or Canada for sold-out shows when they could be watching their hometown favorites right here at home,” White said.

David Weinraub, one of several lobbyists working for MMA promoters, said legalizing mixed martial arts in the state could generate $50 million in economic activity, including $5 million in tax revenues. He said promoters would agree to an 8 percent “gate tax” on event tickets, a full 5 points more than boxing events currently charge.

Read more here

I found out about the existence of this article by someone at the TU linking me to it directly. I poked around for the site for several minutes while on my first break earlier today and could not find mention of it anywhere.

I’m on my second and still can’t find it, which is a shame. It’s an issue that warrants coverage, particularly in the Sports section, although this instead fell under the jurisdiction of the TU’s political coverage. Edit 11:11am – after me making a stink all morning through Twitter, Facebook and everywhere in-between, it’s finally on the home page.

The Albany Times Union, like so many other print outlets, are looking for ways to engage and acquire new readership. They’re willing to do it through various means, such as multi-media presentations and SEEN photos of everything from Northern Lights concerts to pre and post-riot drinking & debauchery on Hudson Street. But apparently not through MMA coverage.

Which is and isn’t surprising. It is surprising because any visit to Buffalo Wild Wings, Jillian’s, or any other place that becomes packed for even the lowest rung of pay-per-view shows would tell you that there’s a market for it. On the other hand, it’s not surprising given that despite its growth in popularity in the mainstream and dramatic rules changes since the New Jersey Athletic Commission drafted the universally adopted Unified Rules of MMA in 1997, the sport still has a very negative stigma attached to it, particularly by those at the editorial level whose feet don’t hit the pavement very often.

It’s just frustrating to see when an outlet like the Times Union makes the right moves (for example finally terminating the leases on bureaus whose necessity was effectively nullified by the existence of cellphones and laptops over a decade ago) in some areas and move so slowly in others.

If the Albany Times Union was smart, they’d have someone covering MMA as a beat, and they would have made mention of Dana White’s visit (along with UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and Matt Hamill) on the site’s front page.

Instead, I have to rely on a desperate game of phone tag and shouts on Facebook to get one of its staffers to let me know if there’s going to be coverage for the visit of a household name and huge media figure (not to mention biggest sports figure since the Giants left town), let alone where that coverage is.

It’s 2011. New York, time to join the over forty states with Athletic Commissions in legalizing MMA. And Times Union, it’s time to start covering that sport that has more fans than you have readers.