Sunday, February 27, 2011

It is time to discuss Wide Receivers


Most sources say the Rams will select a wide receiver in the 2011 Draft. Most say that receiver will be Julio Jones, junior from Alabama.

Devaney willing, this shall be the case. Quite frankly, I consider the case for a WR a no-brainer. Devaney just invested the whole franchise in his golden child, Sam Bradford. So far Bradford has validated this decision. Devaney must now make decisions that support and validate that critical choice. He’s locked in.

Green Interview

Furthermore, you have the fact that Sam is currently operating with (what most experts rate as) the worst receiver corp in the entire league. Some qualify that statement with the tag “due to injuries in 2010”. There is no need for that qualification. It is misleading. Sam has the worst receiver corp in the entire league, put a period on it. It isn’t just due to injury. Only Danny Amendola has proven himself a true asset. We’ve seen enough of Denario Alexander to be interested in bringing him back.

Every other WR on the roster better row for his life. Your professional careers are on the line.

As you know, I’ve been bitching about our receiver corp since before the 2010 draft. The top two reasons I believed we could not draft a QB in 2010 were:

  1. 1. Our offensive line
  2. 2. Our receiver corp

As it happened, our line was far better than I thought they would be. Not quite as good as I hoped, but far better than expected. If that sounds like a contradiction, just understand there is a wide gap between the best case and the worst case scenarios. The Ram OL was somewhere in-between, but leaning towards the happy side of the spectrum.

Unfortunately, our receivers were even worse than expected. It is astounding that Sam finished well as he did throwing to this crew. His good performance, in spite of the receiver corp, is probably the biggest single reason we all have confidence in him now. Just imagine what this kid will be like if we get him a deadly receiver. We all know and understand that our receiver corp is currently placing confining limits on Sam’s growth. This bottle-neck has to be broken if our team is to improve.

As I said, it’s a no-brainer.

Right now, we’re all on the same sheet of music, and feels pretty good. Last year, there was absolutely no consensus about what we aught to do with the top pick. There was a hell of a lot of bickering in that setting. I am glad we’re all together on this one.

The Situation

As you know, the Rams will be selecting #14 overall in the 2011 draft. This is not a bad position to begin our quest for a deadly receiver. Indeed, most sources say that Julio Jones will be there for us. Only one man is rated higher than Julio Jones, and that fellow is A.J. Green, one of the super-luminaries of this draft. Based on what we saw at the combine, the rankings may change.

If we get Julio Jones, we aught to be plenty happy. To some extend I am. However, it’s tough to get excited when you are drafting #14. A lot of things can happen in those first 13 picks. It is very difficult to guess what might be on the board when our actual number comes up. Nevertheless, we are all going to play the guessing game for the next 60 days, trying to get ready.

Thinking about the two candidates

I have had my eyes on Julio for some three years now. Understand that when I watch college football, I am doing so as a scout. I try to figure out who the prospects are, and who might make my team better. I have been wondering whether Julio might become a Ram, and possibly even the next great Ram receiver. Frankly, throughout his entire college career at Alabama, I was hopeful that we would draft Julio.

It’s a very funny thing… even as the fantasy seems set to become a reality, I am having some second thoughts. A.J. has definitely caught my eye. I am also concerned about who might have the best teamwork and chemistry with Sam. For some reason I can’t shake, I seem to think that fellow is A.J.

Perhaps we should begin with a serious comparison of these two young men.

Julio Jones

Let’s go in reverse order, and start with Julio Jones, the candidate most likely to be our pick in 2011. According to his Wikipedia page, Julio is a 2/3/1989 Aquarius, who just turned 22 years of age. He stands 6-4 and weighs in at 220 pounds. More accurate numbers may be released from the NFL combine soon.

He was an immediate and three-year starter and standout at Alabama. The Tide won a national championship during his watch. He decided to leave school a year early to enter this 2011 draft. Julio was one of the top performers at the combine, out-performing his draft-rival from Georgia, A.J. Green. Julio ran the 40 in 4.43 and 4.39 seconds. He nailed a 11'03" broad jump, and also posted a 38.5 inch vertical leap. In short, you see all the size, speed and vertical leaping ability you want in a receiver.

Alabama was a running team during Julio’s time in college. He did not see the football nearly as much as he would have at a place like Oklahoma or Florida. In my mind, he made the most out of his limited number of touches by physically dominating the corner opposite him. He is an extremely physical receiver who blasts through press coverage, shakes off and runs over defenders.

Physically he reminds me of two NFL receivers. His body type is very much like that of Terrell Owens. The way he runs after the catch is very much like Anquan Bolden. If you can imagine Terrell Owens running after the catch with an attitude like Anquan Bolden, you can visualize what Julio Jones looks like in action. Incidentally, Julio has not had any ‘personality’ incidents during this time at Alabama. He has shown no signs of being a WR-Diva.

The big knock on Julio is that he doesn’t use his hands to catch the ball as consistently as he should. They call him a body-catcher, and they blame this ‘bad-technique’ for a series of key drops he made as a junior. I have to say that I did not see those drops. I would like to have a look at that game film. Personally, I have always felt that the knock on body-catchers is over-rated. Lynn Swann never caught a pass with his hands in his entire life. Swann is an HOF guy. Issac Bruce, our all-time leading receiver, caught alternately with his hands or body, which ever seemed favorable in the situation.

Critics also say Julio is a build-up speed guy. What does that mean? Translation: he doesn’t have fantastic acceleration off the line. This critique may be debunked and inoperative after these combine results.

What do I think? I never saw a single down in Julio’s career where the corners didn’t try to jam the hell out of him on the line of scrimmage. They rode him like a bronco every step of the way through that initial 5 yards. Given this sort of relentless press coverage, I am not sure how you can judge a man’s snap acceleration correctly.

A.J. Green

According to his Wikipedia page, A.J. Green is a 7/31/1988 Leo who is also 22 years old, albeit 5 months older than Julio Jones. He stand 6-3 5/8th, just a hair shorter than Julio Jones. He weighs in at 211 pounds, 9 pounds lighter than Julio Jones. Once again, more accurate numbers may be released from the combine.

Like Julio, A.J. was an immediate and three year starter for the Georgia Bulldogs. He has a few less games under his belt due to a 4 game NCAA suspension in 2010. Why he suspended? He sold his 2009 Independence Bowl jersey to former UNC defensive back Chris Hawkins. The NCAA designated Hawkins as an agent, or someone who markets amateur athletes. Despite playing in fewer games, Green has much larger game numbers than Jones. This is primarily a function of the offense Georgia runs.

A.J. Green did not have a fantastic day at the combine. I am not sure you can describe it as ‘poor’ the way some sources have, but it was not what he wanted. Green ran the 40 in 4.48 and 4.51, considerably slower than Julio Jones. He posted a vertical leap of 34.5 inches, four inches less than Julio. Most surprisingly, Green posted a broad jump of 10 feet and 2 inches. This is 13 inches less than Julio Jones. According to the rumor, did out-bench Julio 18-17.

The speed result was particularly disappointing for A.J. Green. Prior to the combine, it was widely thought that Green had a sizable speed advantage over Julio Jones. Green’s 40 time just erased that advantage. The measurables say Jones is faster.

So riddle me this Batman: If A.J. is a little shorter, slower, lighter, less springy than Julio, why is he ranked higher? Because he can bench one more rep?

Nope, that’s not it at all. A.J.’s game film is what’s done it for him. The kid has a preposterous highlight reel. He’s made some insane catches. I’ve seen him make one-handers in the end-zone that dropped my jaw to the floor. He also uses his hands just about perfectly, which is something that the critics look for. He may be a tad smaller, less fast, and less springy, but he can flat-out play, and that’s enough.

My thoughts

If you wonder why I would have any second thoughts about Julio after seeing the combine results, I can summarize it all in just one word: Chemistry. I have very little doubt that Julio will be great receiver in the NFL. I just wonder what kind of chemistry he would have with Sam Bradford.

Sam is our guy. He’s been wearing the Ram uniform for a year now. We need to get the receiver who compliments him best. If we are going to spend a resource as precious as that 1st round choice, we better get the guy who compliments Sam best.

For some reason, I have a difficult time shaking the notion Sam might have better chemistry with A.J. than Julio. If this weren’t a fucking lock-out year, Devaney could arrange interviews with Julio and A.J. where Sam would throw to them. We could study how they perform together, and how they communicate. Regrettably, this is a fucking lock-out year, and Devaney can’t have any contact with Bradford once it’s on.

That officially sucks. Believe me, I’m pissed. The league is fucking around with one of the most important decisions the Rams will make in the next several years. We need to get this shit ironed-out fast so the draft can proceed naturally.


Many are saying the A.J. Green vs. Julio Jones just might be the most fascinating position battle in the 2011 draft. Before the combine, it seemed that Green had it salted away. After the combine, it’s game-on baby. These two are going to be jockeying for position all the way to the finish line. I am sure there will be plenty of controversy and debate over which of these two fine players is better.

With the 14th pick, we cannot dictate who we get. Indeed, if Julio rises on the board, and A.J. doesn’t drop much, we might not get either of them. This once again, this suggests to me that we need to be thinking about moving up the board in 2011, not moving down the board. We need to secure one of these two guys.

At this point in the game, I just trying to relax about the question. If we can get one of these two guys, that should be good enough for us. For the moment, let’s say heads we win, tails we win.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Freakanomics, a revolutionary approach?

So I was listening to the mighty 1090AM a few weeks ago when the evening drive guy was going off the reservation and doing a piece on Freakanomics. It was immediately after the Super Bowl. There was nothing in sports worth talking about. This is the infamous dead-zone of sports. Mid-February is the dreaded doldrums of the sports world.

The host was pretty insistent that books like Freakanomics and Scorecasting were fascinating and revolutionary works. I was mildly interested, but not that interested.

Fast forward to last night. I was having a rough time of it after the first dumping event of my post gastric bypass life. I was looking for something--with no food references in it--to take my mind off my guts. Incidentally, a dumping incident occurs when a gastric bypass patient consumes a food with too much sugar in it. The high sugar content causes a nearly immediate dump of the stomach contents into the lower intestines. This causes massive heart palpitations, making you feel like you are having a heart attack. Believe me, it's punishing.

I booted up the PS3, and took a look at the new contents of Netflix. Interestingly enough, there was the Freakanomics video documentary. It just arrived in the shop. I decided to take a look. What did I find?

The hype surrounding this book is utterly hilarious. The foolish hype promises an economist (Steven D. Levitt) taking a 'revolutionary' approach to understanding human behavior at both the individual and group levels. What is this revolutionary approach? Stevie-baby, genius that he is, somehow discovered that people respond to incentives according to their self-interests.

Stop me if I am wrong, but page #1 of The Wealth of Nations begins with Adam Smith saying "It's not to the goodwill or charity of the butcher the baker or the candlestick maker that we owe our sustenance, but to his own regard for his own self interest."

Economics has always been about people responding to incentives according to their own self-interests. It's been that way right since the very beginning. Nothing revolutionary there. This is what they teach you on day #2 of the high school course. What you have is a classic steal-play, with somebody posturing as a revolutionary. The hype is absolutely pure, 100% unadulterated bullshit.

Why, then, did this book gain such a response? It is good question. Well,,, the quality of education varies throughout the nation and the world. Not everyone has his or her antennas up during high school. Perhaps these benighted fools didn't understand what they were being taught in high school economics. Perhaps they were unfortunate enough to attend a lousy school were there was no training in economics. Perhaps these folks were simply ripe for the plucking by a dude who wanted to write a pop-treatise on economics.

I, myself, am laughing like hell at the so-called revolutionary approach. It's about as revolutionary as a common butter knife.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

So Devaney is open to the possibility of trading down, aye?

As you know, I am long-time (forever) Ram-fan. Even when I have tried to quit, I have remained a Ram-fan. As such, I have now witnessed Billy Devaney orchistrate three complete drafts. Close Observation of Devaney's speach & actions during these past drafts has taught me that there are seven great lies in life. They are, in order:

1. We haven't decided who we are going to take with our first round pick yet.
2. The team will perform an unbiased mathematical evaluation of the key candidates, and the one with the highest grade will be our selection.
3. I am certainly open to the possibility of trading down to accumulate more picks.
4. Coach Spagnuolo will have a lot of input in the process.
5. We'll hold a committee vote just before we fly to New York. Majority rule.
6. The check is in the mail.
7. I promise not to cum in your mouth.

None of these statements are true. All are false.

The line of bullshit currently flowing out of Ram headquarters are a scripted set of sports cliches designed to prevent anyone in the media (or the league) from concluding that they are sure of what Devaney is planning to do.

The funny thing is that we always wind up knowing, somehow someway, just what Devaney is going to do in the 1st round of the draft. Three years ago, we knew Chris Long was going to be the choice at the #2 pick overall. I was certain of this for more than 3 weeks before the draft. Two years ago, we pretty well knew that Jason Smith was going to be the selection at the #2 pick. I was certain of this event for nearly two months before it happened.

Last year, Adam Schefter announced early-on that he would stake his professional rep on the 'fact' that Devaney would select Sam Bradford #1. We all should remember how that prediction turned out. Many of us long-term Ram-fans had good reason to believe it wouldn't happen. How could Schefter be so certain? Because Devaney told him so.

In each of the past three draft-seasons, Devaney performed a Broadway show tune, the lyrical theme of which praises how good it is to trade down the board and accumulate picks. Never once has he done it... at least in the first or second rounds. I believe the 'trade down' talk is just smoke and mirrors used to try to bolster his claim that he hasn't made up his mind, or that he isn't attached to any particular player.

Despite the trickeration, there are no surprises in the 1st round when Devaney is drafting high. Devaney turns out to be totally predictable, or he intentionally leaks his choice to key members of the media.

There is another fair conclusion that'ss ripe for the plucking: Devaney makes up his mind early, and then insists that he hasn't. If you are a fairly decisive guy who makes up his mind early, and doesn't change like the wind, why would you deny this fact? That's a good question. The draft is always full of misdirection, negative influence plays, subterfuge and deception. Most GMs don't want their competitors to know their draft plans. This means they can't tell you, the loyal fan, their draft plans either.

The funny thing is that Devaney turns right around and tells what he's going to do... indirectly. He usually does so through a chosen media member. There is something odd about a fellow who tells Adam Schefter he's going to take Sam Bradford, and then spends the rest of the draft cycle denying the very notion that he's made up his mind. It's not as if anyone could have snatched Bradford ahead of him in 2010 either.

In short, Devaney is a Pisces. He is a man of very interesting contradictions. He's like two fish lashed together at their tails, swimming in opposite directions against each other. There is the guy who says he wan't to trade down and never does it. There's the guy who makes up his mind early, and says he hasn't. There's the guy who doesn't want to tell you anything about his draft plan, and then there is also the guy who leaks his pick to Schefter. There is the GM who denies every report about his chosen player, and there is the GM who takes that very player on draft day.

Contradiction is the key word with Pisces. Contradiction is the key word with Billy Devaney.

So what are the actual facts about Devaney's draft behavior? A realistic summary of Devaney's draft patterns might look like this:

1. Devaney perpetually talks about trading down, and he never does it.

2. Devaney makes up his mind early, and he doesn't wavier, but he will deny it all the way.

3. He does not perform and unbiased mathematical evaluation of the key candidates to arrive at his choice... As if there were such a mythical beast in the first place.

4. Devaney makes a gut-level, instinctive choice based on what his eye-balls tell him about the key candidates.

5. The rest of the draft cycle consists of Devaney looking for key information that confirms his gut-level call.

6. The vote before the flight to New York is a strawpoll. It's only used to indicate how well Devaney has sold the rest of the organization on his choice.

7. Somewhere between 8 and 6 weeks prior to the draft, Devaney will leak his pick to some key member of the media.

8. He will continue to deny he's made up his mind, even after he puts out the leak.

I have just one caveat to add. All of these patters will be harder for Devaney to follow in 2011, given the Rams' draft position at slot #14. A lot of things can happen in those first 13 picks. Devaney can't be sure of what he is going to do this year, because it is impossible to know those first 13 picks ahead of us on draft day. In 2011, there will have to be a contingency plan. There can and will be surprises in those first 13 picks. It's unavoidable.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy birthday to my Pisces girls

So, for those who don't know this, Saturday marked the beginning of Pisces season. I happen to a Virgo. I am very Virgo, as in Virgo rising with a total of four symbols in that first house. Of course, this means Pisces is on my 7th house. According to the folklore, this indicates that I will someday marry a Pisces woman. It almost happened once or twice...

My scores are truly exceptional versus Pisces women. Remember, any score over 150 is considered extremely strong. Never was this more evident than today. The top three females listed on the birthday list are indicative of this theory. If the Sirus 1.1 synastry engine is to believed, here are my scores.

  1. Ellen Page 2/21/1987 Halifax, Nova Scotia
  2. Ashley Greene 2/21/1987 Jacksonville, Florida
  3. Jennifer Love Hewitt, 2/21/1979, Waco Texas

Ellen Page and Ashley Greene are exactly the same age, give or take a few hours, and there scores are quite similar, with Asheley tipping the scale.

David A. Leon and Ellen Page
Category Totals
1. Romantic and Sexual Attraction: 241
2. Similarity of Interests and Temperament: 29
3. Mutual Success and High Achievement: 30
4. Problem Solving, Communication, and Mutual Understanding: 161
5. Mutual Kindness, Friendliness, Pleasantness, and Peace: 70
6. Aggressiveness, Competition, Power, Success, or Violence: 2
7. Adventurousness, Surprises, Disturbances: 161
8. Shared Creativity, Imagination, and Inspiration: 73

Ashley Greene and David A. Leon
Category Totals
1. Romantic and Sexual Attraction: 242
2. Similarity of Interests and Temperament: 29
3. Mutual Success and High Achievement: 30
4. Problem Solving, Communication, and Mutual Understanding: 165
5. Mutual Kindness, Friendliness, Pleasantness, and Peace: 68
6. Aggressiveness, Competition, Power, Success, or Violence: 2
7. Adventurousness, Surprises, Disturbances: 164
8. Shared Creativity, Imagination, and Inspiration: 73

Jennifer Love Hewitt and David A. Leon
Category Totals
1. Romantic and Sexual Attraction: 302
2. Similarity of Interests and Temperament: 57
3. Mutual Success and High Achievement: 61
4. Problem Solving, Communication, and Mutual Understanding: 14
5. Mutual Kindness, Friendliness, Pleasantness, and Peace: 128
6. Aggressiveness, Competition, Power, Success, or Violence: 0
7. Adventurousness, Surprises, Disturbances: 117
8. Shared Creativity, Imagination, and Inspiration: 203

So do I concur with these scores? Yeah, largely I do.

I have always thought Ellen Page was a charming girl. I would need to put her on a high-calorie diet. Like so many actresses in Hollywood, they have her on a starvation diet. I would consider it a pleasure to cook her some high-calorie meals. Did I mention she was great in both the X-Men and Juno?

Ashley Green is just a stunning knock-out with plenty of charm of her own. She's an amazing, ravishing girl. Believe me, I would loose my cool around her. She's a heart attack thriller.

Then comes Jennifer Love Hewitt. I've always thought she was devastating, smashing, ravishing, amazing woman. I've never changed my mind about that. Some complain she's put on weight. Believe me, I don't care about that in the slightest. This is a drop-dead gorgeous woman.

You know... I am starting to get that Capricorn kinda feeling again. We went through the entire season of Aquarius, I saw lots of knock-out women. I had great scores against more than a handful of them. Neverthless, looking back at, the Aquarians lacked the knock-out punch that both the Capricorn and the Pisces women seem to have.

As I have written before, Pisces men and women are known for having a few serious characteristic problems. I have witnessed these things first hand. For this reason, I am wary of becoming in involved again with a Pisces woman. Still, with bait like this... It would be extremely difficult to resist.

The synastry table predict it's going to happen sooner or later.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

We better get Nnamdi Asomugha

So, whilst in recovery from surgery, I have been trying to avoid hot subjects that will get my blood boiling. Such a subject is O.J. Atogwe. As you might imagine, I am not particularly happy about my Rams' recently release of Atogwe.

I have mixed feelings about Atogwe. It's mostly good, but not all sweetness and light. If asked to summarize my thoughts, that summary would go a little like this:
  1. He was one of the few picks in the 2000s that actually worked out for us.
  2. He's a heck of a ball-hawking thief. As many have stated, he has created 44 turnovers in the past 5 seasons. Many of those were clutch plays, when the team needed it most.
  3. He's a bit of a gambler, and can miss big.
  4. He was clearly the leader of our secondary
  5. He was one of only 3 of our defenders who would earn a starting position on most teams in this league (the other two are Chris Long and James Laurinaitis)
  6. He's been injured quite a bit.
  7. Strangely, he's a bit over-rated by our guys and under-valued by the rest of the league.
  8. He has commanded remarkably high contract figures considering his actual value.
With all this weighed in the balances, I can tell you I know why the organization did this, and I am not happy about it. Devaney and Co. clearly felt they were over-paying for Atogwe. They had qualms about writing that 8 million dollar roster bonus check. They are betting they can resign him for less.

For those who don't remember it well, O.J. was a true free agent last season, and saw little or no interest from the rest of the league. After making many claims about interest and feelers from other teams, he accepted the offer tendered by the Rams. There were concerns about the health of his shoulder at that time. There may or may not be such concerns now. We will have to wait and see.

At this point, it does appear that Atogwe has cleared waivers, and no one else is negotiating. We also have reports that he wants to resign with the Rams. If he is willing to resign at a moderately lower price, we would be stupid to pass on the offer.

As many have sited, the organization is not treating our top ball-hawk very well. I don't really like the fact that we're jerking around one of better players over a few million here and a few there.

Yes, I understand the Rams are in a very small market... for the moment. I understand that we have had to kick out major bucks to top 2 draft picks for the past three seasons. We have some cash flow problems. Kroenke can remedy this with his ample resources, but the team needs a balanced balance sheet, just like any going concern.

All I can say is this: Our secondary is going to be substantially weaker without Atogwe than with him. If we do not resign him, we better be planning to use some of that money to go get Nnamdi Asomugha.

Yes, I am aware of the fact that Asomugha is a corner, and Atogwe is a safety. I hope you are aware of the fact that the more dominant your corners are, the less you need safety help over the top. Of course, it would be best to resign Atogwe and use some of the savings to get Asomugha. Now that would be a sizable improvement in the shape of things to come.

At the moment, the Rams are not thought to be in the running for Asomugha. Some believe he is headed to either the Cowboys or the Eagles, with the Eagles as the leading candidate. I hope we can get in there and disrupt that flow.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The latest Throwdown with Bobby Flay

I don't know if you had an opportunity to catch the latest episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. It's absolutely priceless, and for an assortment of reasons. The chief reason is the real insight it provides into the character of this chef.

For the record, Feb 17th was the first airing of Throwdown Moussaka. Bobby was tasked to challenge the Greek Goddess of Moussaka, chef Diane Kochilas. This represented a problem because Bobby didn't even know what Moussaka was, much less how to make it.

Worse still, Bobby is on a loosing streak lately. His meatballs got squashed recently, and his Jambalaya throwdown was a defeat the dimensions of which he has never experienced: A rout from which no honor could be salvaged. Jambalaya king Emile Stieffel even warned Bobby that he was making mistakes in the prep of his Jambalaya. Iron Chef Flay just wouldn't listen.

Evidentially, these recent defeats caused Bobby to swallow his pride and actually admit that he didn't know what he was doing this time around. What do you do when you are an Iron Chef and you don't know how to make Moussaka? The answer is extremely straight-forward. Bobby called Michael Symon in for for a cooking lesson.

For those who don't know, Iron Chef Michael Symon is the winning-est Iron Chef (by percentage) in the history of the show. He happens to be one of the few dudes who enjoys my unqualified endorsement. Last time I checked Symon's record was 22-3. He's the John Madden of this sport. He is also happens to be the most impressive chef on either the Cooking Channel or the Food Network, especially now that Tyler is off the net. The culinary king of Cleveland also happens to be half-Greek.

As might be expected, Michael knew Moussaka very well... as in decades of experience with this subject. Michael gave Bobby one hell of a lesson on how-to. Bobby even offered to defer this Throwdown to Michael, but Michael didn't accept.

What happened next? The next thing you know, Bobby is executing a couple of trial runs with his two assistants. He mildly modified the recipe just a tad, adding black currants and some goat cheese. The next thing you know, Bobby is talking shit about already having defeated Michael Symon in this Throwdown. Now he just needed to take out Diane Kochilas.

I nearly rolled off the couch laughing. For those who don't know, Bobby is a Sagittarius. That kinda shit-talk is so Sagittarius, it's hilariously characteristic of the breed. I happen to have an uncle and a father who are both Archers, and they both like to cook. Now, while they have both shown me a thing or two about cooking, I have saved their skins several times, as they love to leave what they are cooking and go join the social event in progress. Nevertheless, they are full of braggadocio when the cooking is done.

The reality is his Virgo buddy saved his ass, but Bobby is happy to take all the credit. Incidentally, Michael Symon happens to be an excellent example of what it is to be a Virgo. I relate to the dude completely.

But I digress...

The next thing you know, Bobby is striding tall into Diana's domain and challenging her to a Throwndown... with great confidence. Now ain't that Sagittarius? 10 minutes ago he didn't know what Moussaka was, and now that he has had one lesson, he strides in to challenge the queen with confidence. So Sagittarius...

Dianna seemed properly surprised that this Irish Texmex expert knew something about Moussaka. He warned her that he has consulted with Michael Symon. She boasted that Michael Symon calls her for advice and information about Greek food.

Is that so, eh? We'll see who wins this throwdown.

In any case, the cooking process was very interesting. Diana deviated in several places from the key points Michael Symon made about the prep of a classic Moussaka. For instance, she chose beef instead of lamb. Symon says it's alright to use beef, but lamb is the classic approach. There were other wrinkles as well. Bobby smartly keyed his approach on Symon's advice.

Then came the judgement. One of the judges was a true Greek, and an older gentleman, with a lifetime of eatting Moussaka under his belt. When he bit into Bobby's... errrr... Michael Symon's Moussaka, he had a Ratatouille Anton Ego moment. He immediately said this brought back memories of his childhood. This Moussaka was exactly the way he liked it.

The die was cast. Bobby... err... Michael won the throwdown. So much for Michael Symon calling Diana for advice.

Folks, you can only give Bobby half a victory for this one. You have to give half-credit to Michael Symon. Symon set Bobby up for a victory when he probably would have taken his worst defeat ever otherwise.

The lesson I took from this episode is pretty cut-and-dried. If you have a tough culinary battle coming up, and you want to win, you better call Michael Symon.

Did the Food Network cancel my main man Tyler?

Over the last month or two, my favorite Chef Tyler Florence has become extremely scarce on the Food Network. You can no longer find him in his customary 8:00 AM slot week days, nor can you really find him anywhere else. This is very disturbing.

Of course, Tyler may just be on hiatus at the moment, recharging his batteries. Rumor has it that he has been opening a new restaurant in Mill Valley California, one of my several former addresses, and things have not been going well with the staff. These things may be pre-occupying him. We hear further rumors that he will be appearing as a judge on new season of "The Next Iron Chef".

On the other hand, there are rumors that his last mini-series (The Great Food Truck Race) belly-whop-flopped in the ratings, and the Food Network handed him the responsibility for the loss. I will admit that I thought it was a whacky way to introduce us to an interesting development in the food industry these days. The introduction to the Food Truck movement was actually a lot more interesting than the rest of the series.

Incidentally, I should mention that the Kogi truck was parked right out in front of a new Condominum complex in my neighborhood this morning and afternoon. I have been mulling over the options of buying into this over-priced joint for several months now. The appearance of the Kogi truck at this location was like an appearance of the albatross at sea. It was a sighting of the bird of good fortune.

I was quite pissed-off that it just too damn early after surgery for me to try out their unique Korean/Mexican fusion cuisine. Oh well... Some other time.

For those who don't know about the Kogi truck, it is probably the most celebrated food truck in all of Southern California. This team has been the subject of numerous pieces by NPR, PRI, the Food Network, and the Cooking Channel.

Roy Choi, the owner and executive chef, is absolutely hysterically funny in most interviews. I will never forget the time he described himself as a "Culinary gangsta; a straight-up street thug slangin' tacos out of the back of a truck in the hood!"

No shit, eh? But I digress...

Let's hope Tyler hasn't broken his dick introducing us to an assortment of culinary gangstas slangin' food out of the back of a truck. Let's hope Tyler gets back on the tube quickly with a new show and a new format.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

So my body forced an early transition today

So as regards my liquid diet, I hit the wall today. Tomorrow would have marked the 28th and last day of the liquid diet under normal circumstances. Had things gone according to plan, I would have begun transitioning to semi-soft foods such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and soft fruits tomorrow.

Instead, I broke the liquid diet about 15-16 hours early, around 4:00pm in the afternoon. That was when I had my first yogurt and soft 8 grain crackers. Why? Well I'll tell you about that.

This was a weak day, not a week day mind you. I got out of bed feeling a bit weak. There was no significant weight loss this morning. Yesterday I weighed in at 299.2. This morning it was 299. Sound good? It's not really.

My breakfast protein drink went down hard this morning. You might even say it even caused a bit of an upset, when they normally never do. About an hour later, I found myself fighting an epic battle with constipation. I felt like I was breaking down concrete blocks with my bowls. I assure you, that was no fun. So great was the battle that there was even a trace of blood in my stool... Once the concrete blocks came out. Then it was diarrhea.

My lunch time walking workout was very weak. I even had to stop early, something I never do. I just couldn't finish. I was really hungry, but I couldn't look at another protein drink. I felt it was responsible for concrete in my bowls. I wanted fiber and I wanted yogurt, but I did not give in.

At work, I was hyper fatigued. So much so, that I was little good to anyone. I fired off a couple of automated services I am responsible for and I snuck out the door. I headed for Whole Foods where I acquired some very nice Greek yogurt, in honor of the Iron Chef Michael Symon, as well as some pineapple and blue berries.

Naturally, I ate the moment I got home. Six ounces of blue berry yogurt and about 14 small crackers (no larger than a Cheeze It). Having flavors and textures pass down my throat for the first time in 27 days was a trip. It felt and tasted weird.

Fortunately, everything went down just fine, and I feel fine. I am a little tired, but it was a difficult day, and it is 10:33pm. It is good to know that the reconstituted plumbing is working. It's another sign that my recovery is ahead of schedule.

I doubt my doctors would freak over the early transition. After all, it is only 15-16 hours. Further, the difficulties with the protein drink may well be signalling that my body has had enough and is well-ready to go in a new direction.

One interesting aside: When I began this journey 27 days ago, my body weight was just about 330 pounds. As I mentioned, I weighed in at 299 this morning. I have already shed 31 pounds, and I expect the loss figure to be greater tomorrow; perhaps 297 if I am lucky and on target.

If so, I will have already shed 10% of my total body mass, in just 28 days. Also, my total weight loss competition percentage will stand at 33.33%. I needed to drop 99-100 pounds to make my ideal target weight. I will be one third of the way to the goal line.

It is difficult to believe I have come this far in so short a period of time. In many respects, it has been a brutal process, but the time has flown by. It feels like I just started. Before you know it, I'm going to be there.

Has this made any difference to my knee pain? You bet. It's almost gone. Of course, you might want to credit the Lortab (liquid Norco) that Dr. Qullici prescribed for me, but I am using that sparingly. I can already walk on thread mill for 1.4 miles at 3.4 mph without significant pain, before, during or after the exercise. That's a huge win.

An interesting footnote: My order of Spanish Bomba rice just arrived today from I got 5 Kilos at a nice discount; 5 kilos is 11 pounds. Carrying the box up the stairs was enough to put a little extra strain on my right knee. This caused a wince or two of pain.

27 days ago, I used to haul 3 boxes worth worth of extra fat weight up and down those stairs. No wonder I was in pain.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

FAQ about Gastric Bypass


So, my family members began bombarding me with questions about gastric bypass a few days ago. I guess they had a million questions, but wanted to wait until I had recovered a bit before asking them. Like my buddy Colin, they are still in a state of shock that I actually went through with it. Since most friends, relatives and significant others will have questions like this, I thought it might be interesting to compile these questions into a FAQ document, just like the kind you see with software websites.

1. I took a look at the animated explanation of the surgery. How could you allow them to do that to you?

The first time I saw the animated presentation explaining the surgery I was flat-cold horrified. I said things like:
  1. You actually did that to someone?
  2. And it was legal?
  3. They gave you a license to do that to people?
  4. And you want to do that to me?

2. Weren’t you afraid of dying on the table?

Gastric Bypass is a bit risky. The surgeon makes serious alterations to your internal organs. 1 out of every 1,000 patients dies as a result of the surgery. Since something like 220,000 people has gastric bypass last year, this stat would indicate that something like 220 people died last year after having the surgery. The stat may seem minor, but for those who died, mortality was 100%. You don’t want to become a statistic like that.

I researched the question quite a bit. Some of these folks died as a result of malpractice. I minimized that risk by getting one of the best surgeons in the business, and staying in a first-rate hospital. Most died because their medical conditions were far worse than mine. Most who died were not only 100 pounds overweight, they had advanced diabetes with advancing heart disease. I had none of these conditions. I was about 100 pounds overweight, and that is all.

Before putting me under, the Anesthesiologist asked me his standard list of 21 questions: Asthma, diabetes, heart condition, medicinal allergies, cancer, blood pressure, seizures, epilepsy, narcolepsy, etc. In all cases, the answer was no. He turned to me and said, “Well, except for your weight, you seem to be in excellent health. You should ride through this pretty easily.”

After the fact, I almost agree with that statement. I wouldn’t exactly call it easy…

3. Do you feel weak and woosey?

Occasionally I feel weak and woosey. Interestingly enough, going to the gym and walking a mile on the treadmill fixes the situation by kicking my system up a notch. I do feel a little bit deprived at this point, but there is nothing that can be done about it. The system needs time to mend itself.

4. Do you feel deprived of food?

Sometimes. Ultimately, I know this too shall pass. My system just needs some time to heal from the change that just happened. I need to take this vacation from food. Everything is going to be alright.
5. Do you dream about food?

Nope. However, my culinary imagination has been running hot lately. I am scheming a Spanish sofrito Mac and Cheese with Chorizo and a Kashmire Saffron released by lemon juice... just for instance. I have some other big ideas as well... regarding Gumbo and Chili.

I really, really, really want to make a batch of Chili Con Carne in my pressure cooker.

6. What about the big weight regain we see people experience after surgery?

When considering weight re-gain after surgery, you have to know what type of surgery was done in the first place. There have been at least four different types of bariatric surgery approved by the FDA at different times. They are not equal in effect. The four types are:
  1. Duodenal Switch
  2. Rouex en Y
  3. Lap-Band
  4. Sleeve Gastrectomy
Duodenal Switch was incredibly effective, but it was considered too aggressive and created nutritional problems later on in life. It is no longer approved by the FDA. However, this did bring the famous radio D.J. Big Boy down from 505 pounds to 225 pounds pretty well permanently. I said 'pretty' because it was only about 11 years ago that he had the surgery. He has not gained his weight back.

Lap-Band doesn't work. 50% of all cases fail to make their ideal target weights. Most people gain the weight back. Many have the band removed, which puts them in precisely the predicament they were in before. It was a bad idea that is ineffective. It is still FDA approved, however, I think they are going to be taken off the approved list soon. This is the so-called 'safe' out-patient bariatric surgery. The problem is that it doesn't do much of anything. That's why I discarded this option.

Sleeve Gastrectomy cuts the stomach down quite a bit, but not as much as Rouex en Y, and there is no change to the intestines. People lose weight on this one, but it may or may not be permanent. They've only been doing this for about 4 years now so it is hard to tell if it is lasting. I would suspect the results will be mediocre in the long term. That's why I discarded this option.

Rouex en Y is the gold-standard for bariatric surgery. They've been doing it for about 15 years now. 98% of patients hit their ideal target weight. 15 years later, 85% of that excess weight is still gone. Only about 15% has come back. This is attributed to normal weight gain due to aging and a slowing metabolism.

7. So why does the Rouex en Y work?

It's drastic and draconian. A morbidly obese individual typically has a stomach 4 liters in size, or just over 1 gallon. They cut that back to 2 ounces. That is a reduction from 135.2 down to 2. It will expand, and mine has already expanded to something like 5 or 6 ounces, but it will never reach it's original size. They say it tops out close to 1 quart to 1 liter or about 32-33.8 ounces. This is still only 25% of the original size.

Beyond that, they bypassed the first three feet of your upper intestines. This is the region of the system most responsible for processing and absorbing heavy fats. This means you no longer absorb fat well. Only about 20% of all consumed fat calories can be absorbed by your system, for the rest of your life.

Any nutritionist will tell you that it is difficult to gain weight when 80% of all of your fat calories are always and automatically removed from your diet, whether you consume large quantities of fat or not. Fat calories are usually the prime mover in weight gain. Fat contains 11 calories per gram Protein and Carbohydrates are just about 4 calories per gram.

It sounds crazy, it sounds dangerous, but the truth is that it works. The insurance firms are approving this surgery at an amazing rate because the medical facts show that this conquers the problem permanently and has amazing side effects.

8. Have you had any complications?


9. What was the worst part of the surgery experience for you.

Having the fucking drainage grenade hanging out of my left side during the 3 days in the hospital. The thing probably saved my life, as it does for all pateints, but it bothered the fuck out of me. This despite the Dilaudid. The drainage grenate is a little rubber-plastic grenade looking thing attached to a plastic tube that weaves it's way through your gut. The tube has small holes in it. They squeeze the grenade till it collapses so that it applies a mild suction on the tube. This drains loose blood and fluid in your gut.

The removal moment was shocking, and laid me on my ass for a good 15 minutes. The nurse simply jerked the 12 inches out of my gut like a rooster pulling up a worm. The cut where the tube was inserted is still the angriest looking wound on my belly.

10. Have you had any bad food experiances yet?

Yep. I ordered a 24 ounce 800 Pound Gorilla (perfect contradiction) from Robek's Juices, and it did not sit well. The 800 Pound Gorilla is a high protein drink composed primarily of soy milk, yogurt, and peanut butter. It is blended super-smooth, so I thought it would be fine.

I consumed only a 4 or 5 ounces before I had to stop. I felt like I had a 14 pound bowling ball stuck in my gut, jamming its way down. That was some true discomfort. The mass was not the problem. I had cosumed 8-10 ounce servings of protein drinks before. I thought the trigger was the peanut butter. Peanut butter does contain some rather complex proteins fibers and fats.

The funny thing is that stored the rest of the drink in my refrigerator. Last night, more than 24 hours later, I drank some more. This time it went down fine. This is hard to understand. Would 24 hours of healing be sufficient to make this difference? Maybe, maybe not...

10. When do you transition to solid food?

I'm scheduled to make my first jump to semi-solid food either Friday (2/18) or Saturday (2/19), give or take. At that time, I will be able to try yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, and over-cooked chicken soup. I have a pressure cooker. Believe me, I can over-cook if I want too.

From there, it will be another two weeks before they will allow me to try anything more substantial, like a sandwich, or an Italian dinner. This means I will be celebrating Lock-Out Day, March 4th 2011, but returning to solid food.

11. What do you plan to eat on 3/4/2011?

I really want to make a Chili Con Carne right now. I may do a Bolognese just because I love it so much, and it doesn't contain any capsaicin, which the active 'hot' chemical in spicy foods.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I had my first drink of milk tonight

One week ago today, I had Roux-en-Y Gastric Biapass surgery. Just 7 days ago, I was in an out of consciousness every couple of hours. The nurses would enter my room each 3 hours with a syringe loaded with 1 mg of Dilaudid. Dilaudid is a narcotic one order of magnitude more powerful than morphine. It is literally 10 times more powerful than morphine unit for unit, mg for mg. This was necessary because of the fairly extreme discomfort associated with this surgery. Their is a lot of trauma with this surgery.

I discovered that my narcotic resistance is even stronger than I thought. After about 1 day or 8 shots of Dilaudid, I understood that this injection caused a great wave of nausea through my body. I literally felt sick like, I needed to throw up. That's a tough moment when your guts have just been cut out. There was no rush of euphoria upon injection. Within 60 seconds I would be nauseated.

Make no mistake about it, it was worth the nausea. After about 10 or 12 minutes, the nausea would subside and I would have 3 peaceful hours that were relatively comfortable and pain-free. I considered that a fair trade. It also allowed me to sleep in a relatively uncomfortable bed. Still, I failed to see the pleasure in this drug that would make it an addictive illicit vice. The same thing can be said for Lortab, which the doc also prescribed for me.

Now on the other hand...

As I sat down to watch Full Color Football, I decided to test my luck. At this point, my doctors have authorized me to drink milk in small quantities. For some reason, I had my doubts. Still, I went to the cupboard, grabbed a small glass, and poured and 4 or 5 ounces.

When I took my first drink, my eyes rolled up in the back of my head, my brain released massive quantities of dopamine and serotonin, and I let out a huge "aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh..." In short, I had the sort of reaction that narcotics users usually have when they shoot up.

Now, this could be because I am a starving man on a 1,000 kcal per day liquid diet, and milk is a super food. Still, that milk was amazing. It just might have been the best thing I ever tasted. Milk instantly became my favorite food again for the first time since childhood. I am looking forward to more. I mean I am really hooked.

It's funny, Dilaudid and Lortab do little or nothing for me. Milk does.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Wonderlic test, revisited

As you know, the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test is a standardized intelligence test developed by an industrial psychologist named Eldon F. Wonderlic. It has been in use since the 1930s. An assortment of industries have used this test to gauge the potential of employees for positions and advancement. It is most famous today as the sole gauge of intelligence potential for NFL prospects invited to the annual combine.

You get 12 minutes to answer 50 questions. For each question you answer correctly, you score a single point. For each question you miss or fail to answer, you get zero points. The maximum score possible is 50, if you get them all right. The minimum score is zero (0), if you bolo every question. The objective is to place time pressure on a candidate and see how fast the individual in question can process data and a question and arrive at the correct conclusion. The faster you can process the data, understand the question, and arrive at the correct solution, the better your score should be. The higher your score, the more intelligent we presume you are.

Does this test matter to a football player? Many say the answer is yes. Many say that the significance of this test varies by position. Most focus on the quarterback position, declaring that the QB is the nerve center of the offense. This is the man who must process information lightning quick, understand the problem being posed to him by the defense, and make the right decision about where to put the football. Most agree that this is the one position where the Wonderlic score matters most.

A whole bunch of research has been done on the ultimate career outcomes of NFL Quarterbacks, given their Wonderlic scores. A lot of very interesting results have sprung out of that research. Let me give you a few examples:
  1. The average score for a starting Quarterback in in the NFL 25.
  2. It is difficult to reach the Super Bowl with a QB who scored less than 28.
  3. Given two teams in the Super Bowl, the team whose quarterback has the highest Wonderlic almost always wins. This happens even in extremely unlikely circumstances such as Super Bowl 42. Eli Manning scored a 39, and Tom Brady scored a 33, respectively.
All of this brings me to the point I wanted to make in this blog. Aaron Rodgers scored 35 on his Wonderlic test. Ben Roethlisberger scored 25 on his Wonderlic test. Of course, the Packers won and the Steelers lost. It should be noted that Rodgers did outperform his counterpart by a considerable margin. Do you think he's smarter than Ben Roethlisberger? Do you think he outperformed Ben Roethlisberger because he is the smarter guy?

I think the answer is pretty cut and dried, Yes.

Many would also look at the issue of accuracy. As so many have observed, a passer's accuracy is of primary importance. If he can't put the football where he wants it to go, all the size, strength, speed, toughness and smartness in the world won't matter. A quarterback must be accurate.

It should be noted that Aaron Rodgers is a far more accurate passer than Ben Roethlisberger. Rodgers just might be the most accurate passer in the league right now. He can put a bullet through a momentary fracture in space-time before you have noticed it exists.

All of this brings me the second big point I want to make in this in this blog entry. You know, my Rams just happen to have a young quarterback who scored a 36 on his Wonderlic test last year. he also happens to be an extremely accurate passer. Most authorities say Sam is one of the most accurate passer in NCAA history. In a year or so, he just might be challenging Aaron Rodgers for the accuracy crown.

As many have correctly observed, the Packers are loaded. This may only be the first of a series of championships for them. They are set up for 3 or 4 great seasons in a row. They may well become the dynasty of this new decade.

I want to give a word of encouragement to my fellow Ram-fans. If we do what we have to do in this draft, and if we don't fuck it up, we just might be contending with these Packers sooner rather than later. In a few years, the NFC may come down to the Packers vs. Rams, and that could happen several times in a row.

What do we have to do to get there? Well, I'll tell you about that.
  • We need an absolutely deadly receiver like A.J. Green
  • We need an ultra-behemoth Guard, like Carl Nicks of the Saints
  • We need an elephant linebacker of the tweener variety. We need a guy who is too runty to be a defensive end, and too big to be a linebacker. There have been scores of these dudes in NFL history, and they are always the most destructive defenders on the field, despite the fact that you can have them for bargain prices. Our last great elephant linebacker was Kevin Greene, now seen coaching Clay Matthews. Kevin was our 5th round selection in 1985. He was also my favorite player in the world for a long time. We need another guy like him.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I’m looking forward to Cinco De Mayo this year


For those who don’t know, the 5th of May is most famous in SoCal as the day the Chicano community, in our American south-west, celebrates Mexico’s defeat of the French Army on 5/5/1862. This is known as Mexican Independence Day. The interesting thing is that the celebration is for American Ex-Pats of Mexico only. The actual nation of Mexico does little or no celebration or commemoration of the event on this day. It just isn’t a big deal in Mexico.

It should mean even less to half-Ecuadorian, half-blueblood guy who doesn’t think often in ethnic and racial terms. So why the hell would I be interested in Cinco De Mayo 2011? Well, I’ll tell you about it.

Cinco De Mayo is exactly 90 days post-surgery

As you know, I just survived Gastric Bypass surgery. My surgery was delayed exactly 1 day due to insurance pay-authorization errors. I should have been in surgery on 2/3/2011. As it happened, the day was 2/4/2011. You can use the common VB.NET and C# DateTime functions to discover that 5/5/2011 is exactly 90 days later. You can also count manually with a paper calendar if you prefer.

So what the hell is the big deal about 90 days post-surgery? Well, I’ll tell you about it.

Typical results of Gastric Bypass

On 1/31/2011, I had my pre-op meeting with my surgeon, Dr. Philippe Jean Quilici. He is a real expert in this field, having performed thousands of these procedures. This has been his business for a long time. Of course, I was scared shitless, but this was the moment when I wanted to confirm one key point about the surgery.

“I have heard it said, and read repeatedly, that most of the weight loss happens up-front, in the first 90 to 100 days after the surgery. Afterward, the weight loss slows down. I have been told that people typically lose 70 pounds, post-surgery, during this time frame. Is this correct, Dr. Quilici?”

Dr. Quilici looked me dead in the eye, nodded his head in the affirmative and said, “For Roux-en-Y, those are the typical results that I have seen in my practice.”

There you have it from the expert. If I am on pace for a normal case, I should be 70 pounds below my surgery day weigh-in about 90 days after my surgery. So what does that spell out?

Just before they laid me down on the surgical prep bed, the surgical prep nurse asked me to stand on their well-kept and very profession scales. The scale said 309.4 pounds. Simple math will tell you that I should weigh in at 239.4 pounds on 5/5/2011… Presuming that I am on pace for a normal case.

How close does that put me to my final goal?

The next interesting question is this: How close does this 70 pound drop put me to my ultimate goal? Just what is the ultimate goal? Well, I’ll tell you about that.

Nearly one year ago, when I got onboard the very long assembly line that culminated in last Friday’s surgery, my General Practitioner was required to do a full-blown body composition test on me. She ordered a full submersion, buoyancy, and displacement test. She used her own Tanita BF-350 Body Composition Analyzer for comparison purposes. She also did several pinch tests, which all sources regard as the least accurate and least reliable approach to judging body fat.

Dr. Saedi juggled all these numbers in an Excel spreadsheet on her laptop and came up with the following conclusions:

  • My total weight was just about 330 pounds. There was some wobble in the figure on different scales.

  • I had approximately 188-190 pounds of lean body mass.

  • I had approximately 140-142 pounds of body fat.

  • A man of 43-44 years of age should ideally have no more than 18% body fat.

  • Ergo sum, my ideal body weight is 230-232, presuming no loss of lean mass.

Incidentally, Dr. Quilici accepted this analysis, and put his stamp of approval on it. So there you have it folks. My Doctors are prepared to declare victory the moment I reach 232 pounds. We really should do a full-scale re-testing to make sure all the numbers line up, but still, they are prepared to declare victory at 232.

The significance of Cinco De Mayo 2011

If all goes according to the script, meaning no complications and typical results, I should weigh in at 239.4 pounds on 5/5/2011. This is a scant 7.4 pounds higher than my first ideal target weight of 232. Clearly, I will be extremely close to the ideal target weight, prescribed by my doctors.

I meditated on all of these figures as I lay in my recovery bed in at Providence Saint Joseph’s Hospital just a few days ago. To be perfectly frank with you, this analysis/realization boggled my mind.

It is astounding to think how quickly everything just may come together for me, and at level I have never been able to achieve given tough diet and exercise practices. Just 90 days after surgery, I will be within spitting-distance of my ideal body weight. 100 days after surgery, I just might be there. The key is to guard my lean mass. I must try to ensure that I lose the least possible muscle and bone density.

By Cinco De Mayo, my body may resemble London Fletcher more than it does Terrance "Mt." Cody. This will be an astounding transformation. Let's hope it happens.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I survived

I survived Gastric Bypass surgery. If you saw the massive modifications the doctors made to my system on Friday, I am sure you would be shocked that I am home already, and writing this blog entry. All in all I feel pretty good. Now it is just a matter of learning how to live again, beginning with learning how to drink enough water given a 2 ounce stomach.

I actually returned to my apartment home in time for the 1st quarter of the Super Bowl. Congratulations to the Packers. I am very happy that you won. I got my preference.

It should be noted that the NFC has now defeated the AFC in three of the past four Super Bowls. The NFC also destroyed AFC in the Pro Bowl this year. I think this should cinch the my case that the NFC must now be acknowledged as superior to the AFC.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Farmer's Field, Downtown Los Angeles

We're less than 48 hours away from my surgery, so I don't have much time to pen a lengthy analysis of what just happened today. However, I did want to acknowledge what took place.

An assortment of dignitaries were on hand today in Downtown Los Angeles for a formal announcement that Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) was officially planning a billion dollar facility to be located adjacent to the Staples Center and L.A. Live! The explicit objective is to acquire one or two NFL franchises. The stadium will be titled Farmers' Field. Farmers insurance will pay $700 million plus for the naming rights if there is one NFL team in residence. They will pay close to $950 million if there are two NFL teams in residence.

Two teams are considered a serious possibility at this point, and there is a consensus that neither will be the Vikings or the Jaguars. The odds-on money favorites are the Chargers and the Rams.

Both Tim Leiweke and Casey Wasserman were available for extensive radio interviews after the fact. Both claim that the NFL is completely in favor of putting one or two teams in the city of Los Angeles, and would like to do so before Super Bowl 50 so that 50th anniversary Super Bowl can be played where it all got started.

The most important thing was the galvanic reaction that happened on 570 AM 710 AM and 1090 AM. The first two stations the Fox Sports and ESPN affiliates here in Los Angeles. 1090 is an independent sports station, and the voice of San Diego.

As you know, I have been bullish on the return of the Rams ever since Georgia died. I have smelt a return for multiple reasons, the most important reason being Stan Kroenke's eternal participation in the L.A. stadium committee and the rapid response by local entrepreneurs to Georgia's death.

However, I was just about the only one back in 2008-2009. At that time, no serious sports caster on TV or Radio in our local market believed that the NFL was returning to the Southland in the foreseeable future. This attitude began to change gradually as evidence accumulated. Still, I would say the official position of the Los Angeles jock-o-ratti was one of skepticism.

Now the situation has officially changed. The sports casters in this region are now officially fired up, and they are rallying the people. I think there is now a great sense of expectancy and excitement about what is happening.

On the other hand, the attitude of the San Diego media is grim, serious, and sober. They are now officially worried that the Chargers will split town unless something is done very, very, very soon to break ground on a new state-of-the-art facility.

Probably the most amazing thing I heard said during the entire day was this: Super Bowl XXXII was played in Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego on January 25, 1998. Since then, there has not been a Super Bowl in California. There won't be either.

All of the facilities in California are now officially 3rd rate out-dated and out-moded scrap heaps. Candlestick has long been considered the worst facility in the league. Right behind it is the decrepit Oakland County Coliseum. Both the Rose Bowl and the Coliseum in Los Angeles are great historical landmarks, but they are far from the first rate facilities in this era of Cowboy Stadium.

If AEG goes through with this construction project, Los Angeles will have the greatest sports facility west of Dallas. That is exciting as all get out.