NCAA Tournament Picks for 2015

Another year, another opportunity.  I haven’t done so well with my sheets of integrity the past several years more times than not.  I don’t feel so bad since I at least have the satisfaction of knowing I’m not feeling out five brackets like some of you people but here are my results (in terms of percentile) of the past six years: 2014 – 36.4, 2013 – 52.5, 2012 – 16.3, 2011 – 21.3, 2010 – 1.5, 2009 – 92.0.

Here are my picks for the 2015 NCAA Tournament…I only post the upsets out of my bracket until the Elite 8 round then I’ll let you know what the actual picks are. You can view my picks here once the Tournament starts Thursday.

Second Round

Midwest Region: Chalk.

West Region: 12 Wofford over 5 Arkansas, 11 BYU/Ole Miss over 6 Xavier

East Region: Chalk.

South Region: 9 St. John’s over 8 San Diego State, 13 Eastern Washington over 4 Georgetown

Third Round

Midwest Region: 5 West Virginia over 4 Maryland, 7 Wichita State over 2 Kansas

West Region: Chalk.

East Region: 8 NC State over 1 Villanova, 5 Northern Iowa over 4 Louisville

South Region: 9 St. John’s over 1 Duke

Sweet 16

Midwest Region: Chalk.

West Region: Chalk.

East Region: Chalk.

South Region: 9 St. John’s over 5 Utah, 3 Iowa State over 2 Gonzaga

Elite 8

3 Notre Dame over 1 Kentucky, 1 Wisconsin over 2 Arizona, 2 Virginia over 5 Northern Iowa, 3 Iowa State over 9 St. John’s

Final 4

1 Wisconsin over 3 Notre Dame, 2 Virginia over 3 Iowa State

National Championship

1 Wisconsin over 2 Virginia 70-62

National Champion: Wisconsin Badgers!

Update after 2nd Round: 230 points, 52.1 percentile

Update after 3rd Round: 450 points, 85.8 percentile

Update after Sweet 16: 610 points, 55.0 percentile

Update after Elite 8: 690 points, 32.9 percentile

Update after Final 4: 850 points, 57.3 percentile

Final Update: 850 points, 55.4 percentile

A Carolina Panthers Rant with Hope at the end of the Tunnel

What was Dave Gettleman thinking when he decided to give Byron Bell a two million dollar contract?  This is the same player that a lot of Panther fans didn’t want to see come back after LAST season!  Look, I’m not here to just take a shit on Byron Bell and single him out as the only problem on the offensive line because he’s not.  I’m not sold on Nate Chandler either nor do I much understand the tactic of drafting Division II offensive lineman in any round earlier than the 5th round considering you really don’t know how success on that level will translate to the FBS level and most definitely the NFL.  Not that I have an issue with Silatolu per se because I haven’t really watched him individually this season but one thing that is blatantly clear is that the offensive line unit as a whole needs to be upgraded next season (and maybe even this season!) if we want Cam Newton to remain as our franchise quarterback for years to come.

The man has already been sacked seven times in two games and hit more than twice as many times as the next closest quarterback since entering the League in 2011.  Yes, it’s true that Cam Newton does have a tendency to hold on to the ball too long.  I’m not going to dispute this and I have often complained about this in the past but then again, so does Ben Roethlisberger! They are identical style quarterbacks: big quarterbacks with big arms, mobile, like to roll out to by more time, and hard to bring down.  Yet, Roethlisberger hasn’t been hit as many times as Cam.  The problems stem from injuries and a lack of talent on the line as a whole.

So what needs to be done going forward?  From this point to season’s end, everyone on the offensive line has to be watched closely and held accountable for what they do and don’t do.  With that in mind, somehow I get the feeling it’s not going to be the interior of the offensive line where we’re going to find the bulk of the mistakes, it’s going to be those damn offensive tackles that we’ll have to watch going forward.  Our offensive tackles ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE and we let them start anyway.  And just as I mentioned at the top, I do not believe Bell or Chandler are the long term solutions for this team but now it’s getting to the point where I have to ask: are they even the short term solution to this team?  We have Garry Williams and we signed David Foucault to our 53 man roster for the sake of preventing other teams from poaching on our player but it’s about time that the message is sent to Bell and Chandler that if they don’t improve their play and play more consistent that they’re going to be benched.

Do I think Byron Bell and Nate Chandler are bad players?  Absolutely not.  I think for who they are and where they come from, they’re average, serviceable starters…MOST of the time.  Chandler’s problems stem from inexperience and in my opinion, a lack of a mean steak.  When I watched him in the preseason, he failed to engage blocks and really be physical with defenders but perhaps in time with more experience and more reps, he’ll get better with this. Bell however is a decent run blocker but his struggles with speed pass rushers is problematic and not something that I think will improve over time which is why I believe the Carolina coaches behind the scenes need to be watching film to see if there is somebody somewhere whether via trade or free agency that can come in and play left tackle for us…IF Bell doesn’t pick up his play in the immediate future.

As for Panther fans that are discouraged from last night’s result, don’t be.  We’ll be fine. The Carolina Panthers are NOT as bad as what we showed last night but we do have flaws.  Run blocking continues to be an issue as a whole, injuries to our backfield have been a problem (which is just unlucky, not a cause for panic), our pass rush without the combo of Hardy and Johnson together has taken a step back, and our return game is below average but the thing is Panther fans is that we always have one of these stinker games that brings us back down to earth.

In 2003, after beating Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts on the road, we come back home and get smashed at home by the Titans and watch Stephen Davis get held to just 20 yards rushing on 11 carries.  In 2005, upon entering Chicago with a 7-2 record, we go on to get held to just 3 points and Jake Delhomme is sacked eight times.  In 2008, we had two wake-up calls. The first time was in Tampa Bay, we were crushed 27-3 and then again in the Georgia Dome against a rookie Matt Ryan, we had 45 points dropped on a pretty good Panther defense.  In 2013, we carried an eight game win streak into New Orleans just to watch our team settle for field goals in the 1st quarter and not get one ounce of pressure on Drew Brees in a 31-13 beatdown in primetime.  So please, Panther fans, believe me when I say this loss was a fluke and not the norm.

We’re not going to have fumbles on punts that lead to touchdowns every week.  We’re not going to give up 81 yard runs every week.  We’re not going to jump offsides on chip shot field goals that extend drives every week so I wouldn’t stress too much over this loss.  We got too bigheaded, underestimated our opponent and got the beating that we deserved.  Lesson learned.  But this will not happen again and you can take that to the bank. Keep Pounding, Panther fans.

Walmart vs Target Grocery Shopping Comparisons – 2014

The 2014 edition is here!  Walmart won the battle in 2012 and 2013, scroll through to see my conclusions for this edition!  Although, it should be noted that Target does have the Red Card which would save customers 5% so I think all consumers should consider that when looking at this list.

** = New item that wasn’t on the 2013 or 2012 comparisons list

Bold = Winner of that comparison

 Round One: Over the Counter Medicine 

**Icy Hot 3 oz Pain Relief Cream: $4.96 – Walmart

**Icy Hot 3 oz Pain Relief Cream: $4.99 – Target

**Pepto Bismol 8 oz Cherry Upset Stomach Reliever/Antidiarrheal: $3.48 – Walmart

**Pepto Bismol 8 oz Cherry Upset Stomach Reliever/Antidiarrheal: $3.34 – Target

**Zantac 75 Max Strength Heartburn Relief Tablets: $17.47 -Walmart

**Zantac 75 Max Strength Heartburn Relief Tablets: $17.49 – Target

**Clean & Clear 5 oz Face Scrub Oil Free Cleanser: $5.64 (Rollback) -Walmart (compared to $6.49 regular price)

**Clean & Clear 5 oz Face Scrub Oil Free Cleanser: $5.99 – Target

**Aleve 220 mg 24 count Pain Reliever/Fever reducer Caplets: $3.68 – Walmart

**Aleve 220 mg 24 count Pain Reliever/Fever reducer Caplets: $3.69 price cut – Target (compared to $3.89 regular price)

Round Two: Laundry 

Gain Powder Detergent (40 Loads): $5.97 – Walmart (compared to $5.97 in 2013 and $6.84 in 2012)

Gain Powder Detergent (80 Loads): $9.99 – Target (compared to $9.99 in 2013 and $10.99 in 2012 for 68 loads; $9.99 comes out to 12.5 cents per load)

Gain Dryer Sheets (80 Sheets): $3.97 – Walmart (compared to $3.97 in 2012; $3.97 comes out to 5 cents per sheet)

Gain Dryer Sheets (120 Sheets): $4.89 – Target (compared to $4.89 in 2013 and $4.89 in 2012; $4.89 comes out to 4 cents per sheet)

**Tide Clean Breeze 64 Load Detergent: $11.97 -Walmart

**Tide Clean Breeze 64 Load Detergent: $11.99 – Target

Round Three: Toiletries 

Scott Toilet Paper (4 Rolls): $3.98 – Walmart (compared to $3.98 in 2013 and $3.98 in 2012)

Scott Toilet Paper (4 Rolls): $3.99 – Target (compared to $3.99 in 2013 and $3.99 in 2012)

**Quilted Northern 12 double rolls 190 2-ply Toilet Tissue: $6.97 – Walmart

**Quilted Northern 12 double rolls 190 2-ply Toilet Tissue: $6.99 – Target

**Kleenex 120 count Tissues: $1.57 – Walmart

**Kleenex 120 count Tissues: $1.29 sale – Target (compared to $1.69 regular price)

Round Four: Dogs 

**Purina Beggin’ Strips 6 oz Dog Treats: $2.63 – Walmart

**Purina Beggin’ Strips 6 oz Dog Treats: $2.50 price cut – Target (compared to $2.64 regular price)

**Kibbles ‘n Bits 3.5 lb. American Grill Dog Food: $4.88 – Walmart

**Kibbles ‘n Bits 3.5 lb. American Grill Dog Food: $4.94

**Pedigree 16.3 lb. Dry Food: $12.97 – Walmart

**Pedigree 16.3 lb. Dry Food: $12.99 – Target

**Iams 15.1 lb. Mini Chunks: $17.97 – Walmart

**Iams 15.1 lb. Mini Chunks: $17.99 – Target

**Milk-Bone 15 oz Mini’s: $2.98 – Walmart

**Milk-Bone 15 oz Mini’s: $2.99 – Target

Round Five: Pasta 

**Prego 24 oz Traditional Sauce: $1.88 – Walmart

**Prego 24 oz Traditional Sauce: $1.89 – Target

**Great Value 16 oz Noodles (any): $1.00 – Walmart

**Market Pantry 16 oz Noodles (any): $0.97 – Target (compared to $1.29 regular price)

**Stouffer’s 38 oz Lasagna & Meat Sauce: $6.98 – Walmart

**Stouffer’s 38 oz Lasagna & Meat Sauce: $6.99 – Target

Round Six: Vitamins 

**Fish Oil 360 mg 100 count Twin Pack Tablets: $9.98 – Walmart

**Fish Oil 360 mg 180 count Tablets: $13.74 – Target

**Magnesium 250 mg 100 count Twin Pack Tablets: $4.74 – Walmart

**Magnesium 250 mg 200 count Tablets: $6.79 – Target

**Calcium 600 mg 250 count Twin Pack Tablets: $9.80 – Walmart

**Calcium 600 mg 220 count Tablets: $14.74 – Target

Round Seven: Condiments 

**Texas Pete 6 oz Hot Sauce: $0.88 – Walmart ($0.88/6 oz of Hot Sauce comes out to be about 14.7 cents per ounce)

**Texas Pete 12 oz Hot Sauce: $1.49 – Target ($1.49/12 oz of Hot Sauce comes out to be about 12.4 cents per ounce)

**Heinz 64 oz Ketchup: $3.50 – Walmart

**Heinz 64 oz Ketchup: $3.54 – Target

**Hidden Valley 16 oz Ranch Dressing: $2.98 – Walmart

**Hidden Valley 16 oz Ranch Dressing: $2.99 – Target

Round Eight: Cleaning Supplies 

Clorox 35 Wipes: $2.48 – Walmart (compared to $2.48 in 2013 and $2.48 in 2012)

*Clorox 35 Wipes: $2.37 (price cut) – Target (compared to $2.24 in 2013 and $2.64 in 2012)

Dawn 38 oz Liquid: $4.47 – Walmart (compared to $3.97 and $3.97 in 2012)

Dawn 38 oz Liquid: $4.49 – Target (compared to $3.99 in 2013 and $2.55 in 2012 for a 24 oz bottle of Dawn)

Pledge Wipes (24 wipes): $3.97 – Walmart (compared to $3.37 in 2013 and $3.37 in 2012)

Pledge Wipes (24 wipes): $2.79 (price cut) – Target (compared to $3.39 regular price, $3.39 in 2013 and $3.39 in 2012)

Purex Crystals (32 loads): $3.97 – Walmart (compared $4.76 in 2013 for 28 loads and $4.76 in 2012 for 32 loads; $3.97/32 loads comes out to be about 12.4 cents per load)

Purex Crystals (52 loads): $8.99 – Target (compared to $4.79 in 2013 for 28 loads and $4.89 in 2012 for 32 loads; $8.99/52 loads comes out to be about 17.3 cents per load)

Windex: $2.87 – Walmart (compared to $2.87 in 2013 and $2.87 in 2012)

Windex: $2.79 (sale) – Target (compared to $2.99 regular price, $2.49 in 2013 and $2.49 in 2012)

**Liquid Plumr 16 oz Hair Clog Eliminator: $4.98 -Walmart

**Liquid Plumr 16 oz Hair Clog Eliminator: $4.49 – Target (compared to $4.99 regular price)

Round Nine: Cats 

Fancy Feast Cans: $0.58 – Walmart (compared to $0.53 in 2013 and $0.58 in 2012)

Fancy Feast Cans: $0.54 – Target (compared to $0.55 in 2013 and $0.77 in 2012)

Temptation Treats .98g: $1.50 – Walmart (compared to $1.50 in 2013 and $1.74 in 2012)

Temptation Treats .98g: $1.50 – Target (compared to $1.52 in 2013 and $1.54 in 2012)

**Sheba 3 oz Cat Cans: $0.50 – Walmart

**Sheba 3 oz Cat Cans: $0.52 – Target

Round Ten: Breakfast 

Eggo Waffles (10 waffles): $2.38 – Walmart (compared to $2.38 in 2013 and $2.38 in 2012)

Eggo Waffles (10 waffles): $2.25 (price cut) – Target (compared to $2.54 regular price, $2.54 in 2013 and $2.34 to in 2012)

Sunny Meadows Grade A Large Eggs (1 dozen): $2.78 – Walmart (compared to $1.68 in 2013 and $1.68 in 2012)

*Market Pantry Large (1 dozen): $1.69 – Target (compared to $1.69 in 2013 and $2.79 in 2012 for a dozen of Eggland’s Best Eggs).

Great Value Naturally Smoked Bacon: $3.67 – Walmart (compared to $3.48 in 2013)

Oscar Meyer Fully Cooked Bacon: $3.59 – Target (compared to $3.59 in 2013 for Market Pantry Fully Cooked Bacon and $2.54 in 2012 for what I believe to be the store brand as well)

**General Mills 18 oz Cereal: $3.48 – Walmart ($3.48/18 oz of cereal comes out to be 19.3 cents per ounce)

**General Mills 17 oz Cereal (price cut): $2.99 – Target ($2.99/17 oz of cereal comes out to be 17.6 cents per ounce)

**Post Great Grains 16 oz Cereal: $3.24 – Walmart

**Post 16 oz Cereal (any): $2.99 – Target

**Kellogg’s 15.5 oz Cereal: $2.98 – Walmart ($2.98/15.5 oz of cereal comes out to be 19.2 cents per ounce)

**Kellogg’s 15 oz Cereal: $2.75 – Target (compared to $2.99 regular price; $2.75/15 oz of cereal comes out to be 18.3 cents per ounce)

**Quaker Oats 42 oz Quick 1 minute Oatmeal: $3.98 -Walmart

*Quaker Oats 42 oz Quick 1 minute Oatmeal: $3.99 – Target

Round Eleven: Beverages 

Coca Cola Drinks (2 Liter): $1.44 – Walmart (compared to $1.38 in 2013 and $1.28 in 2012)

Coca Cola Drinks (2 Liter): $1.89 – Target (compared to $1.00 price cut in 2013 and $1.89 in 2012)

Pepsi Drinks (2 Liter): $1.48 – Walmart (compared to $1.48 in 2013 and $1.48 in 2012)

Pepsi Drinks (2 Liter): $1.19 – Target (compared to $1.79 regular price, $1.25 price cut in 2013 and $1.79 in 2012)

Powerade (32 oz): $0.80 – Walmart (compared to $0.80 in 2013 and $0.88 in 2012)

Powerade (32 oz): $1.02 – Target (compared to $1.02 in 2013 and $1.02 in 2012)

**Gatorade (32 oz): $1.00 – Walmart (compared to $1.00 in 2013 and $1.00 in 2012)

**Gatorade (32 oz): $1.00 – Target (compared to $1.29 in 2013)

Gold Peak Sweet Tea (59 oz): $2.48 – Walmart (compared to $2.00 in 2013 and $2.00 in 2012)

Gold Peak Sweet Tea (59 oz): $2.04 – Target (compared to $2.59 in 2013 and $3.14 in 2012)

Canada Dry Ginger Ale (2 Liter): $1.00 – Walmart (compared to $1.00 in 2013 for Seagram’s Ginger Ale and $1.00 in 2012 for Seagram’s Ginger Ale)

Seagram’s Ginger Ale (2 Liter): $1.89 – Target (compared to $1.00 in 2013 and $1.99 in 2012)

**Coca Cola 12 pack 12 oz Cans: $3.00 Rollback – Walmart (compared to $4.28 regular price)

**Coca Cola 12 pack 12 oz Cans: $5.49 – Target

**Pepsi 12 pack 12 oz Cans: $4.28 – Walmart

**Pepsi 12 pack 12 oz Cans: $3.69 – Target (compared to $5.19 regular price)

**Bud Light 24 pack 12 oz Cans: $14.97 – Walmart

**Bud Light 24 pack 12 oz Cans: $17.49 – Target

**Mike’s Hard Lemonade 6 pack 11.2 oz Bottles: $7.47 -Walmart

**Mike’s Hard Lemonade 6 pack 11.2 oz Bottles: $8.99 – Target

**Swiss Miss 0.73 oz 10 pack Hot Chocolate: $1.28 – Walmart

**Swiss Miss 0.73 oz 10 pack Hot Chocolate: $1.27 – Target

**Folger’s 33.9 oz Classic Roast Coffee: $7.98 – Walmart

**Folger’s 33.9 oz Classic Roast Coffee: $8.99 – Target

Round Twelve: Meats 

Hamburger 1lb. (80/20): $3.68 – Walmart (compared to the lowest price for hamburger that I could find that was also $3.68 in 2012)

Hamburger 1lb. (80/20): $3.39 – Target (compared to $4.48 regular price, $3.69 in 2013 and $3.59 in 2012)

Hamburger 1 lb. (85/15): $4.88 – Walmart

Hamburger 1 lb. (85/15): $4.49 – Target

Hamburger 1 lb. (93/7): $4.98 – Walmart

Hamburger 1 lb. (93/7): $4.99 – Target

Cube Steak: $5.38 per pound – Walmart (compared to $4.49 for cheapest pack in 2013 and $3.74 for the cheapest pack in 2012)

Chuck Tender Steak: $5.99 – Target (compared to $5.27 in 2013 for Beef for Sandwich Steak and $5.98 for some kind of Steak item in 2012)

Boneless Pork Chops: $4.68 per pound – Walmart (compared to $3.68 in 2013 and $4.16 in 2012)

Boneless Center Cut Pork Chops: $4.24 – Target (compared to $4.99 regular price, $4.99 in 2013 and $4.22 in 2012)

Beef Chuck Tender Steak (about 8 pieces): $5.09 per pound (sale) – Walmart (compared to $10.41 for Eye of Round Steak, $6.89 in 2012 for the lowest priced steak)

Chuck Tender Steak (4 pieces): $5.99 – Target (compared to $5.99 in 2013 and $5.39 for price cut steak in 2012)

**Tyson 24 oz Chicken Breast: $6.98 – Walmart (compared to $6.98 in 2013)

**Gold’n Plump 20 oz Chicken: $6.99 – Target (compared to $6.99 in 2013)

**Johnsonville 14 oz 6 pack Beef Brats: $2.98 – Walmart

**Johnsonville 14 oz 6 pack Beef Brats: $2.99 – Target

Round Thirteen: Hygiene 

Suave 22.5 oz Shampoo: $1.50 – Walmart (compared to $1.50 in 2013 and $1.46 in 2012)

Suave 22.5 oz Shampoo: $1.52 – Target (compared to $1.52 in 2013 and $1.49 in 2012)

Head and Shoulders 14.2 oz Shampoo: $4.68 – Walmart (compared to $4.97 in 2013 and $4.97 in 2012)

Head and Shoulders 14.2 oz Shampoo: $4.49 – Target (compared to $4.68 in 2013 and $4.49 in 2012)

Crest Cavity Protection 6.4 oz Toothpaste: $1.96 – Walmart (compared to $1.96 for an 6.4 oz in 2013 and compared to $1.96 in 2012 for an 8.2 oz tube; $1.96/6.4 oz of toothpaste comes out to be about 30.6 cents per ounce)

Crest Cavity Protection 8.2 oz Toothpaste: $2.79 – Target (compared to $2.49 in 2013 and $2.49 in 2012; $2.79/8.2 oz of toothpaste comes out to be about 34 cents per ounce)

Oral B Floss (50 M): $2.27 – Walmart (compared to $2.27 in 2013)

Oral B Satin Floss (50 M): $2.27 – Target (compared to $1.99 for Oral B 50 meter Floss and $3.39 in 2012 for Oral B 40 meter floss)

**Scope 33.8 oz Classic Mouth Wash: $3.97 – Walmart

**Scope 33.8 oz Classic Mouth Wash: $3.94 – Target

**Herbal Essences 10.1 oz Anti-Frizz Shampoo: $2.97 -Walmart

**Herbal Essences 10.1 oz Anti-Frizz Shampoo: $3.03 – Target

**Garnier Fructis 25.4 oz Damage Eraser Shampoo: $4.97 -Walmart

**Garnier Fructis 25.4 oz Damage Eraser Shampoo: $4.99 – Target

Round Fourteen: Bread 

**Nature’s Own 20 Bread: $2.88 – Walmart

**Nature’s Own 20 Bread: $2.99 – Target

Round Fifteen: Bags 

**Ziploc 100 count Sandwich Bags: $2.98 – Walmart

**Ziploc 100 count Sandwich Bags: $2.79 price cut – Target (compared to $2.94 regular price)

Round Sixteen: Snacks 

**Snack Pack 3.25 oz 4 cups Pudding: $1.00 – Walmart

**Snack Pack 3.25 oz 4 cups Pudding: $1.02 – Target

**Lunchables 8.9 oz -10.8 oz Lunch Combinations: $2.74 -Walmart

**Lunchables 8.9 oz -10.8 oz Lunch Combinations: $2.50 price cut – Target (compared to $2.79 regular price)

**Wheat Thins 9.1 oz Original Crackers: $2.50 – Walmart

**Wheat Thins 9.1 oz Original Crackers: $2.54 – Target

**Cheez It 13.7 oz Crackers: $2.88 – Walmart

**Cheez It 13.7 oz Crackers: $2.89 – Target

**Rold Gold Pretzel Sticks: $2.98 – Walmart

**Rold Gold Pretzel Sticks: $2.99 – Target

**Lays 9.5 oz Chips: $2.68 – Walmart

**Lays 9.5 oz Chips: $3.00 – Target (compared to $3.79 regular price)

**Oreos 14 oz Milk’s Favorite Cookie: $2.98 – Walmart

**Oreos 14 oz Milk’s Favorite Cookie: $2.99 – Target

**Lay’s Potato Chips (8.0 oz) (regular): $2.68 – Walmart (compared to $2.68 in 2013)

Lay’s Potato Chips (10 oz): $2.50 – Target (compared to $3.00 for price cut Lay’s in 2012)

Lay’s Potato Chips (9.5 oz) (kettle cooked): $3.48 – Walmart

Lay’s Potato Chips (9.5 oz) (kettle cooked): $3.00 – Target

Lays Potato Chips Variety Pack (20 count): $6.48 – Walmart (compared to $5.98 in 2013 and $6.48 in 2012)

Lays Potato Chips Variety Pack (20 count): $6.49 (price cut) – Target (compared to $6.99 regular price, $6.99 in 2013 and $5.99 price cut in 2012)

Round Seventeen: Dairy 

Yoplait Yogurt (6 oz): $0.60 – Walmart (compared to $0.60 in 2013 and $0.58 in 2012)

Yoplait Yorgurt (6 oz): $0.59 – Target (compared to $0.59 in 2013 and $0.50 in 2012)

Sargento 8 oz (any) Cheese: $2.88 – Walmart (compared to $2.58 in 2013)

Market Pantry 8 oz Medium Cheddar Shredded Cheese: $2.59 – Target (compared to $2.59 in 2013)

Great Value Milk (1/2 Gallon, any kind): $2.64 – Walmart (compared to $2.36 in 2013 and $2.46 in 2012)

Market Pantry Milk (1/2 Gallon, any kind): $2.69 – Target (compared to $2.59 in 2013 and $2.39 in 2012)

Great Value Milk (1 Gallon, any kind): $4.08 – Walmart (compared to $3.85 in 2013 and $3.46 in 2012)

Market Pantry Milk (1 Gallon, any kind): $3.99 – Target (compared to $3.89 in 2013 and $3.49 in 2012)

Final Results:

Final Overall Individual Record for Walmart against Target: 47-35-3 as compared to 25-13-1 in 2013 and 22-14-1 record in 2012.

Final Overall Individual Record for Target against Walmart: 35-47-3 as compared to 13-25-1 in 2013 and 14-22-1 record in 2012.

Rounds won by Walmart: 11 compared to 5 in 2013 and 7 in 2012

Rounds won by Target: 5 compared to 3 in 2013 and 0 in 2012

Analysis & Conclusion

  • Walmart dominates when it comes to prices for Vitamins and alcohol.
  • Target was dominant when it came to many of the breakfast items.
  • Nearly all of Walmart’s wins came from Walmart undercutting Target by a penny or two.
  • Target’s prices are more inconsistent but they do have more sales than Walmart.
  • Walmart’s price of eggs and Gold’s Peak Sweet Tea went up rather dramatically.
  • Walmart still holds a significant advantage in variety in their inventory.

What can I say?  Another year, another victory for Walmart…BUT Target is closing in more and more every year it seems like and as I noted above, most of the comparisons that went Walmart’s way was just by a minimal amount.  I added quite a few items to my original 2012 and 2013 list…hopefully I didn’t make any huge blunders anywhere up above but I feel confident that the information that I’m providing is accurate and especially if you live in the Triad area of North Carolina as I do but I imagine prices nationwide are similar.  Anyway, thanks for taking a look at the 2014 edition of Walmart vs Target.  Til next year!

2001 TV Show Has Plot Eerily Similar To 9/11

The Lone Gunmen.  Have you heard of it?  Chances are, probably not.  This is a show that debuted in March of 2001 and only lasted thirteen episodes on FOX before being canceled for some inexplicable reason. To my knowledge, the show was doing well in the ratings, and if you do a search on the show on IMDb’s site, you’ll see that the show is rated a 7.5 out of 10 — not a bad rating for that website.

But that’s not what this is about.  This article has to do with the eye opening scenario from which this show’s pilot episode plot was centered around and how it was eerily similar to the now infamous 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Basically the plot is about three guys who are out to prove that a micro chip developed by the E-com-con Company was made with the purpose of invading a customer’s privacy by collecting all of a customer’s personal data — much the same way that the NSA currently collects metadata on every citizen in this country — regardless of whether 99% of the general population is not a terrorist threat.  And these guys were out to find this micro chip, steal it, and then expose E-com-con to the American public.

In the meantime, the guys were caught, someone else stole the chip, and the guys were strip searched.  In planning their next move, they learn that Bertram Byer, the father of John Byer who is apart of the Lone Gunman trio was evidently killed for knowing classified information about Scenario 12-D, a war games scenario involving domestic airline terrorism.  Now you see where this is going, right?

Fast forward a bit and the Lone Gunman guys were able to put together that Bertram could actually be alive and may have in fact faked his death in order to get his assassin’s off his back so John heads back to his father’s house to see what else he can find on this Scenario 12-D war games scenario.  In the meantime, while John was searching, Bertram reveals himself to be alive and well and that’s when Scenario 12-D is explained.  It’s probably I would argue the most important scene in the pilot episode because that’s when it starts getting eerily similar to 9/11.

Scenario 12-D Bertram explains is not a war game or some kind of military exercise but is in fact a real terrorist threat.  It involves a small faction in the federal government who commit a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and use that as justification for going to war.  As Bertram explains, “Since the Cold War, the arms market has gone flat, but send a fully loaded 727 into the middle of New York City and you’ll find a dozen tinpot dictators all over the world clamoring to take responsibility.”  In other words, there’s currently not much justification for going to war but have a notable terrorist attack occur, and you can either blame a dictator for committing terrorism or if you’re lucky you won’t have to as there will be someone to come forward to take credit for the attack. Boom.  Just like that, the arms market is back in business and profits are being made. A brilliant plan.

Obviously in the show, the terrorist plot was foiled but there was one other interesting aspect to note about this pilot episode and that is the fact the plane that was hijacked was not done so but a group of terrorists onboard but by someone who took control of the plane from the ground.  Make of that what you will.  I’m not insinuating that that is what happened on 9/11 but considering all of the parallels and “coincidences” that can be drawn between the Lone Gunmen pilot and the actual events of September 11, I think all possibilities should still be on the table as I do not believe that 9/11 was properly investigated as there are simply too many questions left unanswered by the 9/11 Commission or conclusions made that are very questionable to say the least.  And no, I do not want to get into all of the specifics on this particular article.

In conclusion, is it possible that the creators knew or have heard rumor that a possible terrorist attack was coming and wanted to warn the public about it?  It seems unlikely because the terrorist attack happened anyway and I don’t recall anyone at that time ever even mentioning the correlations between The Lone Gunmen and the September 11 attacks so if that was their goal then it failed miserably.  What’s more likely, according to Dean Haglund, one of the star actors of the show, is that the creators of the show simply wrote in a plot that was similar to one of the Tom Clancy novels or could have picked up on one of the reports about Bin Laden wanting to hijack a US aircraft from years earlier and maybe used things like that as inspiration for writing the show.

Regardless of the reason the show was written the way that it was, the similarities between the plot of the show and the real thing are spooky and too disturbing for me to just write off as a coincidence. Hell, even Dean Haglund said he believed that 9/11 was staged and that this was “America’s Reichstag”. For those of you who don’t know what the term Reichstag is referring to, Reichstag was a German Parliament Building that was set on fire and later accused on the Communist Party which hastened the pace in which Hitler was able to rise to power.  Now as to whether the fire was started by one individual unemployed communist or whether it was a false flag event in which Hitler and the National Socialist Party committed themselves in order to frame the Communists is a debated topic but the main point is that it caused a domino effect which led to Hitler becoming Dictator of Germany.

It just makes me wonder if maybe the show was cancelled due to not wanting the show to become too popular because then, if it becomes popular, people are going to want to watch the very beginning of the series to get caught up on what they missed and if enough people see that pilot episode then that might cause more outrage as to how a fictional tv show could predict an event like 9/11 but our Defense Department could not.  Why not kill off the show while it hasn’t picked up much steam and trust that the American people have a short term memory and wouldn’t recall a tv show that came on back in March of that same year…but that’s just my opinion.

I would highly recommend anyone who found this article interesting, if you have not seen the pilot episode of The Lone Gunmen then go ahead and watch it.  First of all, it’s a good episode and surprisingly funny considering the circumstances of the plot but if you don’t want to watch the full episode, the important parts of the episode that I would recommend watching would be at the 22:35 to 23:02, 29:24 to 31:40, 35:25 to 38:05 and the 39:35 to 41:30 marks. Anyway, thanks for reading and tell me what you think of the episode and the parallels between fiction and reality.

 

NCAA Tournament Picks for 2014

Outside of the beginning of High School and NFL Preseason Football starting up in August, this is probably my favorite time of year as far as sports are concerned.  Every year is always unpredictable but I’m still very much looking forward to competing against everyone else with my ONE sheet of integrity.  I know some of you like to fill out one bracket for what you think will happen and one for what you want to happen — not the case for me.  It kind of ruins the fun when you start bringing in a 2nd, 3rd, or even 5th bracket into the equation.

As far as how I’ve done in the past, let’s take a look:

Once the tournament starts at noon on Thursday, you can click here to see how my bracket is doing. I am in the SportsNation Group this year.

2013: 52.5 percentile

2012: 16.3 percentile

2011: 21.3 percentile

2010: 1.5 percentile

2009: 92.0 percentile

This year I’ll be aiming for 65.0 percentile or higher…we’ll see how I do.

2nd Round

South Region: 9 Pittsburgh over 8 Colorado, 15 Eastern Kentucky over 2 Kansas

West Region: 13 New Mexico State over 4 San Diego State, 11 Nebraska over 6 Baylor

Midwest Region: 9 Kansas State over 8 Kentucky, 12 NC State/Xavier over 5 Saint Louis, 11 Iowa/Tennessee over 6 Massachusetts

East Region: All chalk.

3rd Round

South Region: No upsets; 7 New Mexico over 15 Eastern Kentucky

West Region: No upsets; 5 Oklahoma over 13 New Mexico State

Midwest Region: All chalk.

East Region: 8 Memphis over 1 Virginia; 5 Cincinnati over 4 Michigan State; 6 North Carolina over 3 Iowa State

Sweet 16

South Region: No upsets; 3 Syracuse over 7 New Mexico

West Region: No upsets; 1 Arizona over 5 Oklahoma

Midwest Region: All chalk.

East Region: No upsets; 5 Cincinnati over 8 Memphis, 2 Villanova over 6 North Carolina

Elite 8

South Region: 1 Florida over 3 Syracuse

West Region: 1 Arizona over 2 Wisconsin

Midwest Region: 1 Wichita State over 2 Michigan

East Region: 2 Villanova over 5 Cincinnati

Final Four 

1 Florida over 2 Villanova, 1 Arizona over 1 Wichita State

National Championship 

1 Florida 85 over 1 Arizona 69

National Champion: Florida Gators

Update after Round of 64: 210 points, 22.1 percentile

Update after Round of 32: 330 points, 7.9 percentile

Update after Sweet 16: 490 points, 28.3 percentile

Update after Elite 8: 570 points, 36.8 percentile

Update after Final 4: 570 points, 36.8 percentile

Final Update: 570 points, 36.4 percentile

Different Local News Stations, Same Teleprompter Script

I was on twitter the other day when I happened to see a tweet about US news affiliates all getting their scripts from the same source. The person who posts these tweets normally has very interesting and informative stories so naturally I like to click on some of these stories to find out what’s really going on in the world instead of paying attention to the garbage that’s being distributed in the mainstream news. In this particular link, it takes me to a Team Coco video and right away I’m beginning to wonder about the credibility of the video but figured that the video is short so I’ll give it a chance.

The video starts out with a news reporter saying, “Who are you really shopping for this holiday season?  It’s okay, you can admit it, if you’ve bought an item or two or ten for yourself” and then it transitioned to a different station and that reporter says the same thing and then the the third, the fourth, and so on.  It was something I found to be humorous because well…repetition can be funny sometimes.  But I also found it to be kind of scary and I’ll tell you why.  These are all different stations on different networks from different parts of the country and yet they are all using the exact same story and script with no variation in wording — except for a few small ad libs here and there by the reporters themselves.

Now, it’s possible this is just a filler story to waste time on  a slow news day but if that is the case then why use that particular story?  Of all the things the news can talk about, matters such as: churches helping the poor, the fact that the Salvation Army could use more canned donations, a man who makes doll houses from his bare hands…anything.  But instead it had to be about greed, materialism, and spending more money of all things?  And for what reason was this topic chosen? That’s the part that concerns me is that I don’t know what the motive is for this story and why it’s being repeated on so many local news stations across the country.

Am I looking too much into this?  Perhaps, but at worst case scenario, I can’t help but think there’s some type of propaganda at work here to get people distracted and wasting more of their money. Best case scenario from my perspective is that this was just a lazy filler story to kill time during a long drawn out morning broadcast that just happened to lack substance.  In either case however, it’s just another reason why I tend to steer clear of all mainstream media — whether it be on the national level and now local.

Credit goes to @ohboywhatashot on twitter for finding this story.

My Condolences go out to the Sylvia Browne Family

My deepest sympathies go out to the Sylvia Browne family.  I just learned last night on twitter that Sylvia Browne has passed away yesterday morning at the age of 77.  I do not yet know the cause of death but I’ve read early speculation of a stroke.

Upon hearing of the news, I immediately wanted to read some of the reactions to her death.  As to be expected, there were some comments that I thought were in bad taste.  A lot of different people making the same remark about, “I wonder if she saw it coming” which I didn’t think was very classy but it just goes to show the magnitude of people who do not believe in psychics and just how many people that judged Sylvia harshly for some of her well publicized missed predictions.

I understand their perspective, the fact that she was wrong at times, but she does have family, friends, and supporters out there who are going to see those disrespectful messages and I don’t know…I just don’t think that’s the best way the situation could be handled.  But it is what it is.  I’m not here to try to convince folks of her authenticity.  You either believe or you don’t, I just know the positive impact that she had on my life.

I first read Sylvia Browne’s Book of Angels right around 2005 because I knew that my mom loved Sylvia and I just wanted to find out for myself what it was that made her such a loyal fan of this woman.  I read the book and thought it was alright but didn’t think too much about her work until a year later when I decided to give her Journey of the Soul series a shot.  I just found that series to be life changing for me personally.

The information about the battle of good vs evil, searching for your own Truth, synergy, and tools for protection from negativity was not only an intriguing read but it rang true with me as well.  The concept that life is just a test for us to learn lessons from, that there is evil in this world that we must do battle with, and that we all have a chart (destiny) to fulfill but choices as to how we want to get to our destiny all seemed like very plausible explanations for life as far as I was concerned.  And it was because of the fascinating information found in her books, the compassion and sense of humor she displayed during her appearances on The Montel Williams Show, and the closeness I felt to the like-minded souls in the Sylvia Browne forum and on facebook that I am thankful to Sylvia Browne.

If it weren’t for her, I don’t know where I would be spiritually and mentally. I just know that I was a lot unhappier and self-loathing about my life than I am now after having been exposed to Sylvia Browne and for that…I appreciate you and I thank you for the impact that you had on my life but didn’t even know it.

If there were any final thoughts I had to add about Sylvia Browne, it would be that I hope that she is remembered as someone who made mistakes but had the right intentions and that her church as well as the philosophy of searching for truth and praising Mother and Father God will continue to grow for many years to come.