Saturday, January 29, 2011

Escape from the waiting place

Dr. Suess said it best

The incomparable Dr. Seuss wrote a book once called the “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” As always it was a book designed to help teach children to read, but he wanted to take it one step further this time. He wanted to inspire kids with a sense that they would be successful, see amazing things, and do well in this life.

There is one heavy chapter in this book, out of line with the optimistic tone of the rest of work, called the Waiting Place. I’m sure he inserted this chapter because had to give a little realistic balance to the book. He couldn’t tell the kids it would all be sunshine and light. He would be accused of being a false prophet then. The waiting place goes like this.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

There’s a heavy scene in the 2007 movie titled Fractured in which Ryan Gosling reads this Dr. Seuss poem. He got cocky and screwed up his first prosecution of Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins beat him and made him look extremely stupid in the process. Now his career and life are stuck. He can’t move forward until he fixes this. He’s stuck in the waiting place, waiting for another chance. His reading of this passage really brought out the pathos found there.

2010 was the waiting place

In 2010, I was stuck in the waiting place. The whole year was spent in the waiting place. I began by waiting for a second knee surgery. Waiting for my knees to heal and stop hurting. Waiting for United Health Care to approve gastric bypass. Waiting to get underway with the arduous process of losing 100 pounds. Waiting for the knee replacement surgery that will follow. Waiting for the moment when it would be less painful to get up out of bed in the morning and go down the stairs. Waiting for the time when it would be less painful to stand over a stove and stir a pot of Risotto. Waiting for the time when it would be easier to stand up from my chair and walk to the bathroom after two hours of work. I was driven by physical pain all year long.

I’m out and running

Today is day number 8 of the liquid diet prior to my gastric bypass surgery. I’m in surgery on the 3rd. I have had to work within a 1,000 calorie hard-cap, and get all my essentials at the same time. It is an extreme form of CRON {Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition}.

It has been working. I am already 15 pounds down. Although it is far from gone, the pain in my knees is far more manageable. I am already getting up and going down the stairs in the morning with greater ease. Day 5 was extremely difficult, but I pushed through some form of metabolic barrier there, and now it is easy.

One week from today, I should be released from the hospital. This is the first major surgery of my life, and I have had a few sleepless nights about it. This is not a knee or a shoulder surgery. They are going to go inside my torso and fool with my vital organs for the first time. The surgeon is going to disconnect my stomach and bypass three feet of my upper intestine. Effectively, he will pipe my esophagus into my lower intestine.

Lying awake at night at 11:30pm, I have thought many times about whether any reasonably sane man would ever walk in the door at hospital and voluntarily submit to such a surgery. People can die during these surgeries. More than once, I’ve had the feeling that I am eyeball to eyeball with the risk of death.

Why would they do this? The purpose is to spoil the efficiency of my hyper-efficient endomorphic digestive tract. They wish to construct a wasteful digestive tract, such as the one an ectomorph would have. They are doing this purposefully to trigger 100 pounds of weight loss. The end objective is to remove stress from arthritic knees, and make it possible for other surgeons to perform knee replacement surgery successfully.

What places will I go…?

You have to wonder what other benefits this surgery will have. I assure you, I am not undertaking this surgery for cosmetic reasons. I would never have submitted to this if my orthopedic surgeon had not threatened me with a shortened life confined to a wheelchair. But there will be other benefits.

The biochemical studies show that people who successfully undergo Gastric Bypass take 15 years of age off their bodies. Stress hormones, steroids, cholesterols, triglycerides—you name it—all aspects of body chemistry improve drastically after gastric bypass. Conversely, they say that carrying 100 extra pounds around is like putting 15 to 20 years of age on your body. I certainly have been moving around like a 64 year old man over the past year.

The interesting thing is this: People don’t seem to think I look my age in the first place. I have been carded at my last two birthday parties at work. Nobody seemed to believe that I was turning 43 and 44. They thought I was pulling their collective leg. I had to show my driver’s license to prove it. Because I still have a relatively full head of brown hair, people think I am still my 30s. The lore says that we Virgos enjoy the gift of eternal youth. Once 100 pounds drop who knows…

My family and friends seem to be under the impression that I am pretty good looking guy. They seem to think that only my excess weight is holding me back from unlimited amounts of success. I laugh at these statements, but they defend their positions anyhow. I seem to hear these statements a lot, and in independent cases. I understand that friends and family members are trying to cheer me up and give me motives to get through this difficult time, so I discount many things I hear.

However, there will be the opportunity to put these claims to the test soon. We will find out if they are right or not.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I will not miss the "Never miss a Super Bowl Club"

I can't wait for the season to end this year. Let's finish this fucking 2 week stretch and get it over with. I never want to see the "Never Miss a Super Bowl Club" again.

I've commented on NFL sponsors many times before. My last adventure in this land of opportunity involved Pomplamoose, whom I grew fond of. Of course, I'm not fond this time. It would seem that Visa is intent upon driving us mad with a new form of Chinese water torture: They are going to keep hitting us with one goddamn commercial after another about four old geezers who have never missed a Super Bowl. The geezers have seen them all... from the stadium seats.

Don't get me wrong: This would have made a splendid 15 minutes piece on 60 minutes. Their story is quirky and interesting. Unfortunately, 60 Minutes declined to do a story on them. Instead, Visa decided to saturate our football time with commercial after commercial about them.

Of course, the objective is to convince you that you should go to the Super Bowl and finance it on Visa cards. Do you know how much a trip to the Super Bowl will tack on your Visa card? Don't be surprised if it ends up being $10,000, even if you are trying to be conservative. Ordinary working people don't go to the Super Bowl... ever... under any circumstances.

Many of the things they say about the event seem downright ludicrous to me. I think it is time to set aside mass-debt consumption and drink a little of the New York Yankee's famous reality potion again.

Do you know the origin and genesis point of the current labor strife between the NFL and the NFLPA? Neither do I, but there are many who claim they do. Rumor has it that the NFL commisioned a very expensive survey of 15,000 self-described rabid NFL fans. The study was economically stratified, racially representative, geographically dispersed, age-spaced, etc. Much to their shock and horror, the front office discovered that only approximately 2% of all NFL fans have ever seen an NFL football game live, in person, at the stadium. 98% of all NFL fans have never sat in the bleachers for an NFL game.

The top reason was total cost of the outing, and especially the cost of a ticket. Ordinary people cannot afford to see a game, period. Naturally, this does not seem like a healthy thing. The NFL bosses are said to be wonder how the overwhelming interest in the NFL can be maintained without fans experiencing that communion of the saints that takes place in the stands. Hence the fight over cost-capping and cost-controls.

I myself have seen one game. I watched my Rams play the Redskins in RFK stadium for the 1986/87 NFC Wildcard round. Sam Bradford had not been born yet. We lost that one. I only managed to see the game because someone had greased my dad with tickets. At the time he was working in diplomacy in Washington D.C. I have never seen a game--from the stands--since early 1987. Maybe he was crawling by then. One of the key reasons is total cost. Another is the fact that we just don't have any teams here in L.A.

Human jealousy being what it is, you can imagine that the "Never Miss a Super Bowl Club" is generally rubbing people the wrong way. Of course, Mr. Excitement is a perfect dick. He's missed babies being born, but he has no intention of ever missing a Super Bowl... ever... for any reason. He says this with a great degree of self-righteous indignation. Well, we can certainly see you have your priorities right Mr. Horses-ass. Congratulations on achieving the status of enlightened-being in this lifetime.

Does everyone want to go to the Super Bowl and be there? I think the answer is clear: Only if your team is playing and with a high degree of probability that they will win. I don't want to be there unless the Rams are playing. I wouldn't want to be there if the Rams were blown by 20 in the game. I am sure glad I wasn't there for SB36. I don't blame Adam Carrola for walking out of the Stadium and watching the game at the Hotel. I probably would have done the same thing. That was a devastating, spirit crushing loss that derailed us. Of course, one of the assholes in the "Never Miss a Super Bowl Club" claims that as one of his favorites. He's obviously from Boston.

My two cents about going to the games? I, personally, would rather see it at home. Traffic is a bitch. Parking is a bitch, and costs $35... or $990! Marching 2 miles from parking to the stadium is a bitch. Paying $250 per ticket is a bitch. Sitting in a stadium where everyone is smoking is a bitch. Paying $10-12 for a beer is a bitch. Not being able to see the replay is a bitch. Bitch, bitch, bitch. I think the experience is just better at home. I feel I would be missing on the premier analytical experience if I go to the stadium to see the game.

I understand the entire impetus towards luxury stadiums is to overcome some of these difficulties, but not others. Ticket prices and beer prices will go up as a result of all the stadium construction costs.

I will soon have much to say about the construction of a luxury stadium here in Los Angeles County. That subject has been heating up lately as if it were inside an industrial strength salamander grill.

In any event, I will be overjoyed when we no longer see the Visa commercials for the "Never Miss a Super Bowl" club.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Sophomore Jinx?

A lot is being written right now about whether or not Sam Bradford will experiance the sophmore jinx in 2011. I'll give you my short answer and I will give you a longer answer. The short answer is: It can't be avoided, but it won't be as bad you think, and it probably won't last long. Now I will give you a longer answer unpacking that conclusion.

There are a number of factors conspiring against Sam's 2nd tour of duty in the league:
  1. Pat Shurmur has moved on to Cleveland
  2. Josh McDaniels in the new Ram-OC.
  3. This means moving from the West Coast Offense to the NFL Spread.
  4. There will be new rookie receivers to play with.
  5. There will be new offensive guards to play with.
  6. We have this little labor strife over the collective bargaining agreement going on right now. As a result of this fact, here may not be any OTAs or Mini-Camp. If so, Josh McDaniels will have precious little time to install his new system.
  7. If worse comes to worse, and the lockout wears long, it could delete all of training camp and the first few games.

As far as the Rams' specific problems are concerned, I don't think things are nearly as bad as some portray them. When people say that there is a great deal of difference between the WCO and the NFL Spread, they are quite correct. Still, what is the value and importance of that fact? I think it is fairly low. I don't think this is particularly important point.

Sam was in the WCO for exactly one year. He was in the Spread for most of his high school and college years. The pertinent question is this: How different is Josh McDaniel's Spread from Bob Stoops's Spread? In truth, I do not know the answer to that question. I suppose assesments would vary. I can only tell you that they look somewhat similar to me. I can't tell you how much difference there is in language and terminology under the hood, in the playbook.

Until proven otherwise, I still believe that moving to Josh McDaniels's Spread will be more like a home-comming at Oklahoma than learning an entirely new system. In 2010, Sam was learning an entirely different system. In 2011, I don't think so. I think he'll be learning a slightly different variety of a system he already knows well.

However, all our vets will be learning a new system... That could spell some trouble. The brand new receivers and guards will create some initial problems in timing and cohesian, but if we chose our people well, this should pay big dividends a few games down the road in 2011... assuming there is a 2011.

There are adverse circumstances facing Sam, the whole roster, and everyone else in the league this year. We could throw in the media people also. Everyone is in danger of being compromised by the labor strife and lockout looming on the horizon. That's why both parties involved better compromise soon and sign that new CBA.

Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post seems to believe these problems are not so bad as I think they are. He claims that negotiations always saunter along at a lazy pace until the drop-dead date looms large. When the deal has to get done, it gets done. He says he was a party to a hundred different negotiations and the deal never got done until it had to be finished. That's just how the game is played. He seems to believe that we will have a new CBA in March.

Now on the other hand, you have the absolutely fabulous "in a state of war" rhetoric thrown around by DeMaurice Smith, the boss of the player's union. This sort of rhetoric only seems to strengthen rumors I heard early-on about DeMaurice Smith being a wrecklass adventurer on quest to prove himself stronger than Upshaw in fiery crucible of battle. Right now, DeMaurice Smith does resemble those remarks. He's also making Roger Goodell look pretty damn good. Trust me, you don't want to do that to your opponent.

Let us hope they will resolve all this bullshit so the millionairs can contine being paid by the billionaires.

Anyway... I hope I have made my point. Given the confligration of events coming together in 2011, a sophmore slump of some kind probably cannot be avoid. The worst factors in this function aren't even under Rams' control. These things have to be settled at the league level.

I also don't expect the sophmore slump to be that bad, or last that long. A move to the NFL spread may hurt offensive cohesian in the first couple of weeks, but it will help Sam and the whole offense perform a lot better down the road.

I'm getting a bad feeling about Super Bowl XLV

I'm getting a bad feeling about this Super Bowl. I have the feeling the Steelers are going to do it for the 7th time. Why? Two words: Ben Roethlisberger. The guy is a past-master of stealing games in the final two minutes of play. I have said this over and over again on this blog and in other venues.

Big Ben hasn't done this once, twice or three times. He does this relentlessly, game in and game out, for several years now. Elway's astounding record for two-minute victory drives is going to be in considerable jeopardy if Roethlisberger stays in the league for another 6-8 years.

He is a clutch guy. Roethlisburger is certainly more of killer-clutch guy than Peyton Manning. I believe he is more clutch than Tom Brady. Michigan men may want to dispute that, but I think it is true. I also believe he is more clutch than Joe Montana. The only guy I rank ahead of Roethlisburger is John Elway. I put Roethlisburger in a tie with Roger Staubach. Only Elway is more clutch than Roethlisberger. Incidentally, Montana was not more clutch than Elway. He wasn't more clutch that Staubach either. Allegations to the contrary are pure mythological bullshit. I saw the totality of both their careers. I know.

Roethlisberger is just too damn clutch. I was reminded of this fact (once again) when I got home last night. The NFL Network was showing a replay of the 2009 meeting between the Packers and Steelers in Pittsburgh. How did it end? With a last-second touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace in the end zone. The Steelers stole that one.

Do I need to remind anybody of what Roethlisberger did to the Ravens in this playoff tournament?

The moral of this story is clear: If the game is close in the final moments, Roethlisberger will win the game for the Steelers. We don't expect most QBs in the league to complete the two-minute drive at the end of the game. Most can't. In Ben's case, we do expect him to complete the drive. At this point in NFL history, there is no worse feeling than having a 4 point lead on the Steelers with 1:34 left go, and Steelers in possession of the ball on their own 30. You are sitting on sharp nails if that is your present situation.

I was actually shocked in 2010 when the Jets prevented Roethlisberger from completing a two-minute comeback drive at the end of their regular season game. I thought Ben was going to do it. My instant reaction was "Damn! Rex is an amazing defensive mind! How did he pull that off?" In most cases, I would be shocked if the QB did pull it off. I would be pissed at the DC if his unit gave up the game-winning drive.

I would much rather see the Packers win the game. If the Steelers win their 7th, it would add greatly to my dismay in life. Still, if you let these guys hang around, they will beat you.

How can the Packers win? I'll tell you how. You must deal with Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers in precisely the way teams dealt with the young John Elway and the Broncos in the Super Bowl. You have to put them down hard and fast. You slam them right down on the turf and blow their brains out by three scores. You need to blow them out. You can't just beat them. You cannot allow the game to be close. You have to turn on the afterburner full-blast and never shut it down. You must maintain a 3 score lead at all times in the second half. In this situation, the two-minute drill only shortens the margin of victory.

The Patriots certainly blew out the Steelers in precisely this fashion. This is the blue-print for a Packer victory. You can't expect to beat them by four. You have to beat them by 17 or more.

Can this happen in SB XLV? I doubt it. If anyone has the firepower to blow the Steelers it is the Packers, but let's remember, that stellar Packer offense will be facing the #1 ranked scoring defense in the league. I doubt the Steelers will yield that many points. This one is for all the marbles. I doubt the Steelers will lay an egg as they did against the Patriots.

Memo to McCarthy: Open up the playbook. Hit them with the kitchen sink. Make every drive furious. Be aggressive as hell in your play-calling. Score throughout the entire game. Turn on the afterburners full-blast, and keep them on all-game long. Don't shut down the offense. No goose-egg quarters. Try to score on every drive and every play. Don't ever shut it down. You're guys need to chop wood all game long.

Monday, January 24, 2011

In praise of Ben Roethlisberger

Suddenly all of the media pundits have discovered that Ben Roethlisberger is a great QB. Suddenly, Ben is better than Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Suddenly, he is most clutch guy in the NFL, and the dude you want in that life & death moment at the end of the game. Suddenly, there is a great out-pouring of praise for Ben Roethlisberger.

Where the fuck were you two years ago when Ben Roethlisberger out-dueled Kurt Warner in the Super Bowl? I though Kurt slew him. Ben popped right back up and led his team on the game winning drive. That hurt me like hell by the way.

This wasn't the first time Ben had done such a thing either. Far from it. He stole a bunch of games en route to the Super Bowl. He's been stealing games right and left in the final moments for quite some time now. They should call them the Stealers.

In case you don't remember, Ben was in deep shit a year ago. The Steelers were trying to trade him to my Rams. I wrote about this subject two or three times on Bleacher Report. You can find these pieces, written more than year ago, where I said that Ben was a clutch guy, and very under-rated. I also said he was greazie-basterd.

I am very ambivalent about Ben Roethlisberger. He embodies the best and the worst of the Pisces guy, which is what he is. I am a Virgo with Virgo rising. Pisces is on my 7th house. I am fundimentally biased to partner-up with a dude like Roethlisberger in just about any enterprise, especially football.

At the same time I say this, Roethlisberger manifests all those negative qualities of Pisces I have written about. He drinks like a champion, and this is why the comish sent him to rehab. He manifests impared jugement in situations away from the field. He's a morally grungy dude, and you know exactly what I am talking about. He does not analyze or assess risk correctly. This is both his strength and his weakness. On the field he is not afraid to gunsling. Off the field he is not afraid to continue gunslinging by other means.

There are two Ben Roethlisbergers: the guy you love and the guy you hate. He is like two fish lashed together at their tails, swimming in opposite directions, against each other. Incidentally, this is symbolic image of Pisces, which is what Ben is.

You might ask the following question: how can a conservative, analytical, hermit, Virgo partner-up with and risk-assessment impaired Pisces gun-slinger? It beats the hell out of me, par, but I've done it more than once in my life. I know it happens. It just happens naturally. We wind up in the same room somehow, and they have a tendency to seek me out. We gravitate together, and we strike up a partnership. We are opposites, but we form a complentary tao.

There is a saying in Spanish that goes "God makes them and they get together on their own." This is said whenever you see any strange partnership that seems to work. Pisces & Virgo are kind of like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

Just to give you one example: My current employers hired me because the most senior programmer in the shop just happened to be a Pisces from New Delhi, India. For some strange reason or another, he had a strong feeling that I was the candidate he wanted for the job. The bosses were not too keen on the idea. He advocated my case, and told the bosses I was the guy they had to hire. I found out a year later he was a 3/6/1970 Pisces dude. It turns out his brother is a Virgo. It turns out my brother is a Pisces. Go figure.

Incidentally, Terry Bradshaw is a Virgo and rolled with a bunch of Pisces partners including Franco Harris, Rockie Blier, Lynn Swann, and Mike Webster. No bullshit. Check it out, prove me wrong, then go figure. For whatever reason, we partner up.

Speaking of Calib Hanie...

How about that Virgo kid? A star was almost born, but not quite. Before B.J. Raji's interception return for a touchdown, I had visions of NFL GMs contacting the Bears inquiring about Caleb's availability. There may still be some of that waiting in the wings. The Seahawks have done stranger things.

He gave them quite a spark, and it was damn unlikely too. Of course, the Packer defense gave him short-shrift, but he made them pay for it. As it happens, Hanie finished 2-2: 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Still, he was far more effective than Cutler in this Championship game. He stepped up and answered the bell on a big stage. He wasn't overwhelmed and he didn't fold. That means something.

Would you deal Hanie if a fellow GM comes calling for him? My answer would be "hell no!" Knowing that Todd Collins could not get it done, I would release him immediately, and I would declare Hanie the 2nd stringer in the same breath. Knowing that Cutler is going in for... perhaps... a difficult surgery and intense rehab, I would give Hanie all the snaps in OTAs and mini-camp... presuming there is any such thing in 2011. Until Cutler returns, Hanie is the presumptive #1. Keep him around. Give him a promotion. Let him know he played his way to a reward.

Of course, if Dr. Andrews says no, and if this only a 4 week injury...

Everyone is swinging on Jay Cutler's nuts like Tarzan

As the NFL Network reported in the immediate aftermath of the NFC Championship game, players around the league were swinging on Jay Cutler's nuts like Tarzan during the contest. This continued on ESPN with my #1 pick of 1994, my homeboy Trent Dilfer. Dilfer also swung on Cutler's nuts. The Chicago fans took a page out of Cleveland's book by burning his jersey. {!!!!!}

I felt it was very strange that the Bears brought Cutler back to the sidelines in battle-dress, but I wasn't ready to question Jay or the doctors at that point. The immediate word was "some sort of injury to Cutler's knee..." That is nothing to fool around with. I know the devastation of knee injuries. I've had two knee surgeries in the past 14 months. A knee injury fucks up everything in life.

I find it curious that there was no such talk about Maurkice Pouncey over on the AFC Championship side of the fence. He had a sprained ankle and he missed most of the game. This once again proves that the QB gets entirely too much attention; too much credit when the team wins and too much discredit when they lose. If you are nameless and faceless OL guy, you can leave the game with an ankle problem. Well wishers will pray for your return. If the QB goes down with a knee, we're going to burn his jersey. Naturally this is pure bullshit.

We have confirmation that Jay Cutler has a grade II MCL tear. I think he will be seeing a top-notch surgeon soon. I'll bet that the famed Dr. James R. Andrews will get the call. We'll have to wait and see if Andrews will perform surgery on Cutler, but I wouldn't rule it out. This injury is serious, and nothing to sneeze at. I hope all you guys can taste that stinky foot in your mouth.

If there is a lesson in this, the Bears need to be a little more careful in handling these situations in the future. We have to understanding that there are some very strange politics surrounding the QB position. If Cutler had come out in civilian cloths, on crutches, in an air cast, none of these things would have happened. Seeing him in full dress sent a strange message. When the 3rd string emergency guy came into the game, you should have sent Jay to the locker room. He couldn't come back in anyway.

The Steelers win, the Jets lost it

The Steelers did precisely the thing I believed they would not do in this game: They ran their way to a massive 24-0 lead in the first half. They were able to parachute to victory from that high vantage point.

Everything went wrong for the Jets in the first half... except for a single field goal. The Jets roared back in the second half, making the final 24-19, but they fell short. They could not overcome their bad start.

The Steelers go for the 8th time

I wish I could be happy about the Steelers making it to an 8th Super Bowl. They do have some likable characters, and great relationship with their people. I just feel that it is a touch too much. I've seen enough of these guys for the rest of eternity.

I should be glad if they win. All the Bellichick sycophants will have trouble defending the notion that they are the team of the decade. The Steeler fans will argue with them. This could be the decade with two teams of the decade. That would fuck up things royally.

Fortunately, I think the Packers will spare us of this fate.

Still, the notion of the Steelers getting a 7th trophy really pisses me off. This seems like too much for anyone team at this point.

In truth, the Steelers just can't help it. The Steelers play in the inferior AFC, where many rooty-poots dwell. Naturally, the Steeler organization is the best of the best in this Busch-league. In this setting, a great organization like the Steelers will go more often than anyone else. No other organization has the Steeler's commitment to excellence on the AFC side.

This means you, Al. Stick that in your silvery sash and smoke it with your black mustache.

Think about this folks, the Marque franchises from the early days of the AFL/AFC such as the Chiefs, Raiders and Dolphins have basically rolled over and died. {The Chiefs are coming back now} Latter-day AFC powerhouses, such as the Broncos, are in a state of shambles. Bellichick is trying to rebuild his Patriots. Rex is trying to reform Jet culture completely.

There are many Busch-league organizations in the AFC. We know that this is a very lopsided conference with a few greats franchises committed to winning decade-in and decade-out. Just remember: The Steelers are the old NFL, not the AFL. The Packers were playing the Steelers in the old NFL long before the AFL was ever founded.

The Packers make good on the preseason predictions

A guy who makes pre-season predictions about the Super Bowl is on a fools errand. It is a rare thing indeed when we get these predictions right... or even half-right. Whenever it happens, it's amazing thing. The Packers were preseason darlings, and rightfully so, as it happens. We thought they were loaded. We had no idea just how loaded. They were loaded and some.

Do you know that there are 15 Packers on injured reserve? Some of these men are starters and some are backups. Some of the most notable include starting RB Ryan Grant and starting TE JerMichael Finley How this team made it to the Super Bowl with 15 men on injured reserve... Let's just say it beats the hell out of me. McCarthy has to be on the short-short list for NFL Coach of the year.

Many will spin this as the power of the franchise QB, and Rodgers does deserve some credit, but I say this is the power of team work. As coach George Allen said, 40 men together can't loose. You lose 15 to injured reserve and the other 25 must step up. They did. Look where it got them.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

So I am actually going to make a Super Bowl XLV Prediction

As you know, I have had little or no confidence in predictions since the start of this tournament. This is a fluke year. It may even be the ultimate fluke year. Initially, I was not going to attempt a prediction in this season where predictability in the system has fallen to ZERO.

I thought better of it on Friday at work. I drew an NFC/AFC championship bracket on the big white board in our programmer's section of the office. I made my predictions. I was going to chose the Bears and the Jets, both underdogs on Las Vegas betting lines. I felt this was the righteous conclusion to the ultimate fluke year.

The Jets went on the board with ease, despite the fact that I was wearing a Kevin Greene Steeler jersey. [Kevin was initially my favorite player on the Rams, and he is now coaching the Blood Line for the Packers. He should be in the hall of fame.]

As I went to the board to write the Bears into the NFC bracket for Super Bowl XLV, a still small voice warned me not to do it. An invisible hand seemed to hold me back. I tried to write the Bears in again. Once again, my hand was stayed. I decided it was foolish to mess with the feelings of trepidation I had about picking the Bears. I figured I had been warned. I wrote in the Packers.

So there you have folks, my prediction: Packers vs. Jets in Super Bowl XLV. Is this a fitting end to the ultimate fluke year? I think so. You will have a pair of #6 seeds climbing to the summit, winning all their games on the road. The odds against that are pretty astronomical. This is a pretty damn good fluke, even though one of the two favorites will win (if this prediction is correct).

I would really rather chose the Bears. Lovie Smith and Mike Martz are are old Ram coaches. I would very much like to see them win the Super Bowl. It will make up for the horror of Super Bowl XXXVI... in some small measure. I will rejoice if you guys win it. Still, I just can't seem to make that pick.

Let's hope for some great games.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Reverberations after the latest Al Davis Presser

There have been some pretty massive reverberations after the last Al Davis press conference. I am sure that is because we have never seen a major sports figure look so terrible in public before. No joke. It is safe to say that the whole league is horrified. That's no joke either.

I myself was astonished by his appearance, and I don't usually react so strongly to these things, but I did this time. My first thought was "How can a man look so close to death and still be alive?" My second thought was "Why would you even want to show your face in public if your health were failing so badly?" I myself would chose to go into seclusion at that point in my life. I wouldn't want any photos take of me in such a state. I wouldn't want anyone to remember me like that.

I originally broke out my poisoned pen to craft leathal weapon. I wrote a no-holds bared, cry havok, kill-shot piece, but then I thought better of it. Obviously, the man's health is failing him completely. He suffering from horrendous skin cancer and liver problems. The Alzheimers continues to manifest itself. It's a horrible situation. He must be in terrible pain. I think I will end my life before I reach that point. No joke. I'm serious. A nice large dose of fentanyl would be preferable to such pain. Anyway, I decided to spare Al Davis my venom... which is hyper-abundant.

Instead, it is interesting to observe the conversation and debate that this press conference has triggered. We've been having this debate for 6 years now folks. It's obvious to everyone that Al Davis is decrepit and mentally incompetent, and yet he maintains absolute autocratic control over the Raiders. It stands to reason that no organization can succeed with its CEO in such a state, and still at the helm. Does Al Davis have to die before the Raiders will win again? Most believe the answer is yes.

It is very difficult to argue the contrary. How can you? I am at a loss to think of any other way out. You can go deep into denial, and say that Al's mind is fine, it's just his body that is failing him. This argument depends on a form of Cartesian mind/body dualism that is utterly false. The mind is part of the body. If some other part of the body fails, the mind will be seriously impacted. Furthermore, it is clear that his mind isn't there anymore. He makes big errors and small errors of every type when he is out in public. His management of the Raiders over the past 5 or 6 years has been preposterous. This points to the dimentia and Alzheimer's that have frequently been rumored.

Now we have both former and current employees of the Raider organization declaring that it is a nightmare to work for the Raiders. Al Davis's waking hours at Raider HQ are filled with bittness, angry tirades, and venom produced by the team's inability to win, and the loss of his personal health.

In the natural world of ordinary people, this is the moment in the cycle of life when we go into seclusion. We spend our last days with a few close family members and friends. We don't work. We don't concern ourselves with public obligations. We shed our public and private duties as we get ready to shuffle off this mortal coil. We make peace with ourself, our family and our friends. I saw my grandmother do this. I think she died well. I hope I can die that well when my time comes.

It is pathetic that Al cannot take his hands off the captain's wheel at this stage of life. I mean that in the dictionary sense of the term pathetic. It is a tragedy that this guy is so fixated that he's going to die (probably unexpectedly for him) slumped over the desk at Raider HQ. I wouldn't want to go that way. Maybe he does. In the meanwhile, there is something that is being tragically squandered, and that is his last days of watching his football team. If he would cash out and hand this team over to the right, young, ambitious, industrious man, he could watch the team blossom again in his last days. You know Al Davis will never do that.

56 underclassmen have declared for the 2011 NFL Draft

So by now you know that 56 underclassmen have declared their intent to enter the NFL Draft. This is up 3 from last year, when 53 entered the draft. Of course, this does not mean they will be drafted. You always find a few kids who declare and aren't drafted. 'Tis a tragedy every time.

I find this quite surprising, if not stunning. Perhaps they are not doing so well in school, like Jevan Sneed. Perhaps some are leaving town ahead of the possy, like Cam Newton. Perhaps the kids just don't understand the legal and financial ramifications of the current CBA problems. Perhaps they can't define the word "Lockout", or even spell it. Perhaps they don't understand what is meant by the terms "rookie cap" and "rookie scale". Perhaps they will win their life-gamble. Perhaps not. We shall see.

In the best case scenario, the new CBA will be signed and countersigned by all parties shortly before March 8th. End of problems. Now all you youngins can take the wage scale the new CBA will define for you. You won't make out like bandits, but you will make more than you did in school... maybe. We've all heard the Eric Dickerson stories.

In the worst case scenario, you will get locked out for a year, you will get paid nothing, and you will show up for work in 2012. At that point, you will be getting paid the rookie wage scale the new CBA will define for you. Let's hope that won't happen. You'll be hating life if this happens to you. You won't be getting any hundred dollar handshakes either. Let's hope the rookie scale specifies more cash than the hundred dollar handshakes once provided.

In any case, it seems that the 2011 draft has been rescued by the bad judgement of youth. As you know the 2010 Draft was a PH-PHAT draft because it looted the 2011 draft. If we had not had a phat crop of underclassmen this year, it would have been a poor draft indeed. Game on. It looks like we are going to have a decent crop to chose from this 2011 draft.

I'm happy for my team. We have a couple of good looking receivers in the first round that we may want to claim. There will be some in the second round as well.

My Thursday night at the movies


As you know, my buddy Colin is one of the middle managers at a sizable theater chain. Periodically, he is required to venture around the southland doing pricing surveys on all of his firm’s competitors. It’s essential that his team keep their pricing of concessions in-line with their competitors. He’s usually only given a few days to do the surveys. SoCal is a big place. Driving all over SoCal in a few days is no small task. Hitting 80 to 100 theaters in 4 or 5 days is daunting. Consequently, I am frequently called upon to help him out. I get free movies. He gets to be in two places at the same time, doubling his efficiency.

Thursday night at the Muvico

My mission last night was to hit the Muvico in Thousand Oaks. For those who don’t know it, the Muvico is probably the greatest single theater in Southern California. Everything is state of the art. It’s a larger-than-life, Las Vegas style Resort Theater.

Just don’t eat the junk food. More in a moment.

The Survey

The mission kicked off with a length phone call to Colin, detailing their selection of candies, drinks, frozen treats, popcorn, sodas, and junk food combos. As per usual, I was astounded by the prices. Can you believe that a 32oz paper cup of soda will now set you back $5.75? Preposterous! Can you believe a so-called large sack popcorn will now set you back $6.75? This is nothing shy of highway robbery. We are obviously dealing with evil, criminal minds here. This form of banditry ought to be against the law.

The dinner

Since it was well past 6:00pm, I had driven to Thousand Oaks straight from work, I forgot to pack a diner with me, and I had a $10 complimentary budget for goodies, I made the deadly mistake deciding to eat dinner at the concession stand. I should have gone upstairs to the Bogart Grill, but this would certainly have exceeded the $10 budget, and it would have made expense collection difficult for Colin. I should have just bought my own damn dinner. After all, my health is worth something.

After surveying the collection of junk food on the menu, I decided that the chicken tenders & curly fries looked like the least treacherous combo. This may indeed be true, but it is damning with faint praise. I couldn’t believe how terrible it was. I literally felt sick afterward. I had an upset stomach with heart burn. I didn’t finish, and I really should have ate less of it. In truth, I should have taken it back and demanded a refund. However, something inside me said “This is par for the course given this style of crap-food”.

Fried food doesn’t have to be absolutely terrible, but it does if you intend to make an obscene profit on it. Given the quality of the crud stuck on the chicken, I would guess their batter was at least 5 or 6 hours old. I would guess it had not been properly refrigerated either. Further, there is no telling how rancid the frying oil was. It must have been pretty far gone. Fresh peanut oil rarely produces a fry that tastes this bad. Based on how dry and overcooked the stuff was [it was hard and plastic-ish] I would guess the oil temperature was over 400 degrees during the cooking process. 350 to 375 define the sweet-spot for oil frying. You have to keep your oil inside those boundaries, or the product won’t be any good.

If there was a silver lining on this black cloud it is this: My gastric bypass surgery is coming up soon, and I will never, never be able to eat fried food like this again. Given this last experience with fried food, I am never going to miss it.

The mistake

I purchased a ticket for the Black Swan, and I was there way ahead of schedule to allow plenty of time for the price survey and dinner. As you know, I wasn’t feeling well after dinner. I actually wandered into the wrong theater at first.

Usually they kill you with 15 or 20 minutes of previews. The previews were already underway as I walked in. I was surprised at how quickly the movie began. It was actually 5 minutes before show time. This was my first tip-off that I was in the wrong place. When medieval priests began hanging witches, I was pretty sure that I was not viewing the Black Swan.

This was Season of the Witch, a movie utterly annihilated by the critics. Since I was well ahead of schedule, I figured I should watch the first 15 minutes. They didn’t do anything overtly terrible in opening sequence, so I am a little surprise this movie got destroyed by the critics as savagely as it did. Don’t read too much into my statement. Given another 15 minutes of footage, I might well have been annoyed and perturbed.

The Black Swan

For those who don’t know about the Black Swan, it is the movie currently garnering the greatest Oscar buzz. Come the Golden Globes and the Academy Award ceremonies, we should see this team walk off the stage with a lot of golden statues. [Editors note: This was written before the Golden Globes went down. Not much gold for the Black Swan.]

Folks, I don’t want to play coy with you or beat around the bush: I walked out of this movie after one hour of play. I was bored out of my skull. I kept waiting for the director to do something interesting. It never happened. I ran out of patients. He ran out of time. I never connected with this movie on any level. I never bought in. There was no place for me to get involved. After one hour of play, he was headed for parts unknown, and I didn’t care where. He was going somewhere, and I wasn’t going to go with him.

Sorry bitches, I give this one an F, for failure. Some would object, saying I didn’t finish the movie so I can’t issue a grade. Nope, you’re absolutely wrong there. You have to give me an incentive to finish. If you can’t hold my attention long enough to reach the finish line, you failed miserably. Black Swan now joins the ranks of ignominy that includes such films as Transformers #2 Revenge of the Fallen, Twilight New Moon, The Expendables, The A-Team, Season of the Witch, and most recently: The Green Hornet. I walked out of all of these.

So why didn’t this movie work for me? It’s way too New York. It’s way too high society. It’s way too artsy-fartsy. It’s way too chick-flicky. It’s way too shee-shee. It’s way too posh-posh. You do realize that this is a fucking movie about Ballet Dancers doing Swan Lake? The only dramatic question he presented in the first hour is how long it would take the half-fag dance-director to bang the Prima Donna. If you bought that, I have a bridge on the moon I would like to sell you. Did you really think I would enjoy this movie?

I knew there would be problems the moment I reviewed the audience. The place was filled with post-menopausal women wearing lots of diamonds and pearls. They looked like they were dressed for a social function. I was the only dude there, and I was wearing a Chris Long #72 Jersey. I was quite out of place, I assure you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Farewell to Capricorn, hello Aquarius

Sidereal zodiac controversies not withstanding, 1/19 is the last day of Capricorn. 1/20 will be the first day of Aquarius. I am sad to see you go. However, Aquarius time should be interesting. The specific synastry engines say this is a good season for me. The generalists would say no.

One thing is for sure: It will be a season of change for me. The final word has come through from my health insurance. I am approved for Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. My surgery date is 2/3. Tomorrow is my last day of eating normally... perhaps forever. There will be a new normal established within 12 months. That will not be like the old normal. Hopefully this will include 100+ pounds of weight loss.

I should go from the build of a short fat nose tackle to that of a short safety. The road is going to be very difficult and painful, I am sure, but the relief of osteo-arthritic pain alone should make the journey worthwhile.

I hope I will have sufficient energy in the weeks ahead to continue blogging at a regular rate. I don't know if this will be possible. I have been sternly warned to expect little or nothing during the first 10 days of my recovery. I have been told that you are extremely fatigued during this time.

It sounds bad folks. We are at risk for blood clots and pneumonia for 30 days after surgery. We must walk a mile per day, or perform an equivalent exercise, beginning immediately after the surgery. The day of the surgery, they are going to walk us around the hospital. Sounds stupid, but it is necessary because of gas bubble formation in the gut. Believe it or not, they are actually going to walk us to make us fart it out. I mean that literally.

If you can imagine the horror of 20 or 30 gastric bypass patients walking around a hospital floor farting after having their innards cut...

I am presuming that by Taurus time--the middle of spring--I aught to be well on my way. It will be 100+ days since my surgery. I should have lost some 60 to 70 pounds by then. The pain in my knees and ankle should subside quite a bit as the result of the lighter load.

In this past year, I have attempted to develop skill in cooking an assortment of casserole-style dishes. These are the preferred types of meals after recovery from surgery. The dishes are nutritionally complete, containing grains, vegetables, proteins, and water. Moisture, tenderness, and small particle sizes are all important. Casseroles fit the bill.

During the liquid diet before and after the surgery, I am going to become an expert in soups and smoothies. That's all I can do in the first 2 weeks and a full month after the surgery. Many have told me to expect 2 to 3 months of a liquid regime. It depends on how fast your guts heal.

One stupid question that worries my mind: Virgo is said to rule the intestines and digestive tract. If you cut the stomach and intestines of a Virgo, what is left of the man? This is one of the stupid questions that bother me late at night.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

So Josh McDaniels is the new Ram-OC?!?!

Well... no sooner are Jason LaCanfora and Adam Schefter reporting that Josh McDaniels is interviewing with the Seattle Seahawks then USA Today and CBS Sports turn right around and announce that Josh McDaniels has been hired.

Wow... count one for the old media. I fact-checked this story and the Rams' own website is reporting that they have, in fact, named Josh McDaniels the new OC.

What do I think about the hiring?
  1. I think Steve Spagnuolo must have been impressed by Josh McDaniels when he had to play against him in a one-on-one chess match during Super Bowl 42. As we all know, Coach Spags won that match handily, and he has the fat-ass ring to prove it. Still, he must have been very impressed by his opponent to go out and get him like this.
  2. Maybe it was about money after all. The thought of McDaniels going to a divisional rival might have loosened those purse strings.
  3. I think McDaniels played his bluff incredibly well. I am sure he did not want to go to Seattle given their incredibly tenuous quarterback situation. The opportunity to coach a real stud QB coupled with the opportunity to build an offense {almost} from scratch has to appeal to him. Still, the Rams called him back. He won the bluff.
  4. I welcome the arrival of the Spread offense. I have been calling for it for 18-20 months now. If we are ever to see anything like The Greatest Show on Turf again, we need to adopt the Spread. I am sure Sam will feel right at home with this scheme.
  5. I am little concerned about the low Synastry readings I mentioned in the last piece. We'll see how it works out. High achievement doesn't look like its in the tea leaves. Let's hope these guys find a way to make it work.
  6. I like the attitude of our franchise. We needed a coordinator. We went out and got the very best one on the market. That may not be saying so much in this market, but we nailed the very best man on the market. That attitude in itself is exciting. It say we don't want to play second fiddle to anyone, and we aren't going to let a candidate go to our divisional rival. This is good.
  7. I'm going to have to find a way to forgive this little boner for what he did to Denver. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the Broncos, and I'm still pissed to see them in shambles like this.
  8. On the other hand, we are grabbing a dude at the moment when he is most fervently trying to recover from a failure. Coaches in this comeback-mode are usually excellent sub-commanders.
One thing is sure: We are going to be a heck of a lot closer to 30 points per game next season than 18. If we can even tally 25 per game, we should be 10-6, which should be enough to win the division in 2011...

if there is a 2011...

Norm Chow now?

So I just read a few blurbs about the Rams'Josh McDaniels negotiations breaking down. Reports are sketchy, so we don't know the precise nature of the difficulties. Some believe it is money.

I suspect it is chemistry. I am not sure McDaniels will work well with Coach Spags or Sam Bradford. The synastry looks low.

McDaniels is a Taurus should match with a Scorpio like Bradford extremely well. This is the unity of opposites. Guess what? Not in this particular case. The numbers look... Uhmmm... bad. .

1. Similarity of Interests and Temperament: 114
2. Mutual Success and High Achievement: 94
3. Problem Solving, Communication, and Mutual Understanding: 11
4. Mutual Kindness, Friendliness, Pleasantness, and Peace: 34
5. Aggressiveness, Competition, Power, Success, or Violence: 10
6. Adventurousness, Surprises, Disturbances: 91
7. Shared Creativity, Imagination, and Inspiration: 161

Above 150 is very high. This trait is VERY strong!
125 to 150 is above average. The trait is strong.
115 to 125 is slightly above average. The trait is slightly strong.
85 to 115 is average.
75 to 85 is slightly below average. The trait is slightly weak.
50 to 75 is weak.
50 or lower is VERY weak!

A Taurus like McDaniels has no particular compatibility with Sagittarius like Coach Spags, and the specific numbers look... uhmmmm... bad.

1. Similarity of Interests and Temperament: 86
2. Mutual Success and High Achievement: 56
3. Problem Solving, Communication, and Mutual Understanding: 89
4. Mutual Kindness, Friendliness, Pleasantness, and Peace: 75
5. Aggressiveness, Competition, Power, Success, or Violence: 58
6. Adventurousness, Surprises, Disturbances: 16
7. Shared Creativity, Imagination, and Inspiration: 164

Taurus goes well with a Pisces like Billy Devaney, and the numbers are more interesting in his case, but still not good. So it looks like a programmatic non-fit.

1. Similarity of Interests and Temperament: 143
2. Mutual Success and High Achievement: 114
3. Problem Solving, Communication, and Mutual Understanding: 14
4. Mutual Kindness, Friendliness, Pleasantness, and Peace: 47
5. Aggressiveness, Competition, Power, Success, or Violence: 139
6. Adventurousness, Surprises, Disturbances: 96
7. Shared Creativity, Imagination, and Inspiration: 43

Norm Chow?

Chow is recognized as a great QB developer and a legit offensive genius, but he has had a bad run since he left USC. He didn't get the QB he wanted in Tennessee, and neither did Coach Fisher. He goes to UCLA, which is the most dysfunctional sports organization in the world, and basically nothing happens for him. USC wants him back, but he wants to be reliable and steadfast, so he stays at UCLA. Rick Neuheisel then fires Chow for ass-coverage just a few weeks ago.

Chow should be a head coach somewhere today, but the consensus is that he doesn't interview well. I hope we can look past that and hire the guy. He has great Synastry with Sam Bradford. Check out the numbers.

Bradford vs Chow
1. Similarity of Interests and Temperament: 229
2. Mutual Success and High Achievement: 211
3. Problem Solving, Communication, and Mutual Understanding: 151
4. Mutual Kindness, Friendliness, Pleasantness, and Peace: 105
5. Aggressiveness, Competition, Power, Success, or Violence: 64
6. Adventurousness, Surprises, Disturbances: 111
7. Shared Creativity, Imagination, and Inspiration: 125

The success and the communications scores are the way you would like them to be. Incidentally, Chow is a Taurus dude. Here we see the unity of opposites. The problem is that he doesn't have particularly thrilling scores with Devaney and Spagnuolo.

I checked my own favorite, Mike Leach, but he also happens to have bad specific Synastry with everybody. Strange, I would think he'd be a good 66% fit. Not so.

Incidentally, I checked Brad Childress and he also has bad chemistry with Sam Bradford. Gemini and Scorpio don't go together well. Leonardo DiCaprio and his girl are on the rocks. Katy Perry and Russell Brand ain't going to last. These signs go together like peanut butter and motor oil.

It is tough finding a good coach.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The correct ending to this fuke year

As you know, predictability in the NFL Playoff system has reached a point fairly close to ZERO. If every game were an upset, we would simply pick the team least likely to win under normal conditions. However, a few teams have won at home. A few higher seeds have taken down lower seeds. This greatly increases the noise in the system. The signal to noise ratio has almost bottomed out.

I am sure Las Vegas is awash in money. 2011 is already one hell of a good year for Vegas. Some poor benighted souls think Vegas only makes money if they pick the winners correctly. Not true. Perish the thought! Vegas makes money when more than 50% of the dollars wagered ride on a loosing proposition. This is a very different formula.

Speaking of putting money on a losing formula... Only a few stupid suckers put money down on the Jets yesterday. All the smart money was on the Patriots. This is why all the bookies in Vegas awoke this morning with happy Christmas smiles on their faces. They feel it is a great day to be alive and be an American. I'll tell you one thing: This is a great day to be alive and be an American if you are a heretic/apostate unbeliever in Jesus Bellichick.

But I digress... We're in trouble folks. Picking favorites in these conference championship games is going be a trecherous affair.

If we say that the best approach is to select by record, seed, and homefield advantage, the Bears play the Steelers in SB45. That is a dangerous pick in this year of the fluke. If we say that the worst possible approach is to chose by record and seed, the Packers play the Jets. Of course, this may yet happen in the year of the fluke. If we crosswire for the most powerful looking teams, we will probably chose the Packers and Steelers, in a battle of used-to-was dynasties in rather small markets.

Now if we chose for the most unlikely combo of teams possible, we will honor the year of the fluke, and pick the Bears vs Jets. Surely, this is a matchup that elitists like Colin Cowherd will utterly detest. These two teams have a total of two Lombardi trophies between them. They have done it, but they are two least storied franchises we have left. What mythological storylines of NFL Royalty and Nobility will the elitist tell in the two weeks leading up to the Bears v Jets?

Maybe they will declare that the meek have inherited the earth? You know the news guys are always praying for the big story. They are cheering for a good hype line.

On the other hand, New York will be battling Chicago, and that should generate plenty of ratings. The big city press machines are going to love that. In the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, you should tell the story of the rivalry between New York and Chicago... not just in sports, but all things Americana. You can start with Pizza and work up to Steakhouses.

Of course, Los Angeles cannot participate because we just don't have any football teams here. Tough shit.

Do we dare to pick the Bears v Jets...?

The Green Hornet

So I am sitting in front of the computer at this moment, reading and I am flabberghasted. It would appear that 166 critics have filed reviews of "The Green Hornet". By a vote of 72 to 94, the movie is rotten. The T-Meter reads 43%. The strength score is 5.1 stars out of 10.

Folks, I walked out of this movie something like 35-40 minutes into it. I couldn't stand to finish this crap. It was horrid to the uttermost farthing. I cannot believe that 72 critics, who are indexed by, could possibily give this movie a thumbs up. How can 43% of the critics in these United States of America possibly give this POS a thumbs up? Why? Why? WHY?

It is far worse than Hally Berry's Catwoman, and that stinker once swept the Razzie Awards. The Green Hornet is destined to win it all at the Razzie Awards this season. There will be nothing left over for any other stinker this year.

Catwoman was bad because of a poorly developed core idea, and an inconsistent director's tone. The problems found in The Green Hornet are far worse than that. Without having checked it out, I am very sure that this script went through the hands of 6 to 10 different writers. These writers did not agree upon a story line before primary photography began. This is always how the most calamitous shipwrecks occur. OH THE HUMANITY!

In all seriousness, I am sure the writers settled on the following methodology in writing this script. (1) They took 6 or 7 submission scripts, ran them through a document shredder, (2) they stuffed the shards into a canon, (3) they fired the canon, and (4) when the shards finally drifted down to earth, the natural pattern they formed became the script for the Green Hornet. No lie, that's how they wrote the script.

The result is clear: you will find fragments of several different stories scattered in the first 30-40 minutes of this film. This leads to major incoherancy problems. You litterally cannot follow this movie. You will ask yourself the following questions again and again in this movie: Why are we hear now? What are we doing? How does this scene follow from the last? Why are we moving to point B now? What are we doing here?

There are some major non-sequiturs packed inside the first 30 minutes of this film. I had a discusion with a dude at work who took his kids to see the Green Hornet. He agreed with me and said it got a lot worse in the second half. I congradulated myself for walking out early.

There are still more problems. Seth Rogan was a horrible choice for Green Hornet. I know you wanted to do an action comedy like Iron Man, and that constitutes a horrible explanation for a bad choice. You picked the wrong guy, period. You have the blood of a 1st round draft bust on your hands.

We should go to the center of the bullseye. The worst aspect of this movie is the initial choice of a marginal property. The Green Hornet is anything but the best Super Hero property on the market. I have always regarded it as being one of the worst examples of Super Hero comics.

Most of the distinct flavors of The Green Hornet are illconcieved. This is why the incomparable Bruce Lee could not save the TV series from a quick cancellation. It wasn't the way they dealt with the material. The core idea is just plain bad. To make this work, you would need a major reformation like the sort Nolan did with Batman Begins.

The upset of all upsets in this fluke year

Jets ruin the Patriots 28-21

So we have the final and ultimate confirmation that we are living in a fluke year. The odds-on favorite to win the whole schmahola has gone down in flames. The Patriots go 14-2 and then one and done. It’s all over.

This constitutes the 3rd straight playoff loss for the Patriots going back to Super Bowl 42. I told you the dynasty ended when the Comish handed the precious to the Giants. You didn’t believe me, did you? That’s your fault, not mine.

You do remember that I protested the early crowning of Patriots don't you? You do remember that I spelled out in detail why the Patriots were very over-rated. I also picked the Ravens to do them, but that might have been more honorable than the Jet's doing them.

For the Jets, this only proves that he who laughs last, laughs best. I'm laughing like hell right now, right along with you.

Moreover, Tom Brady did not play well. He shot 29 for 45 for 299 yards 2 TDs and 1 Int. His efficiency rating was sub 90. Sure, that’s good if you are playing with a formerly 1-15 team that has no receivers, but this is not the canonized saint of quarterbacks we were so recently hearing about. The NFL Network started a new hype line suggesting we were going to have to openly declare Brady the #1 QB in the history of the sport just as soon as he completed his SB45 championship run. Smarts like hell doesn’t it pal? You took a hard shot to the shitter there.

In all seriousness, there is one guy at ESPN who is not crying in the depths of catastrophic depression right now. Just one, mind you. That man is Chris Berman. As you know, I recently chastised him for being a party to this pre-playoff crowning of the Patriots. He was, but in sooth, Chris is a big Jet fan. He always has been. He says he is a sports caster today because he was sitting in the bleachers of Shea Stadium New York when the Jets upset the Oakland Raiders in the AFL championship game. This was the one that set the Broadway Joe Jets on course to win Super Bowl III.

You know Chris is partying like its 1999 right now. I’m happy for you and I am happy for the league. Moreover, I will be very happy to hear Colin Cowherd try to beg his way out of this one. Cowherd is a bootlicking, servile, ass-kissing, obsequious, fawning, brown-nosing Bellichick sycophant, and I’m pretty tired of it.

You know there is going to be hell to pay for this, don’t you Cowherd?

In all seriousness, all of the Bellichick sycophants… errrr… sports reporters at the four-letter network should be subjected to four hundred hours of Chinese water torcher for this loss of objectivity.

The Bears smack-down the Seahawks

But I get ahead of myself…

There was an earlier game this morning, and in it, a couple of old Ram coaches drove the Bears one step closer to the Super Bowl. This was the only non-upset of the weekend, in my estimation. Lovie Smith and Mike Martz got the Bears to do what they were supposed to do, and they smacked the Seahawks.

I must say that Jay Cutler looked awfully good in this game. I guess this shows what a triangle of Taurus dudes can accomplish together. You got three bulls yoked together here (Smith, Martz and Cutler) and they have some real torque.

How good is the job Mike Martz is doing with young Cutler? If you compare the footage of this playoff game vs. Seattle to that of the Thursday Night game against the 49ers last season, there is simply no comparison. In that 49er game, Cutler was throwing the ball into crowds of red shirts for no apparent reason. In this one he looked like a damn fine QB. This is the Martz effect folks.

Mike Lombardi is fond of saying that few men are qualified to evaluate the QB position, and fewer still are qualified to coach that position. I think it time we say that Mike Martz is the best coach (still coaching) with this very rare talent. If Mike Holmgren were still actively working Colt McCoy every day, we would probably have to give him priority.