Saturday, December 13, 2008

Back in Business

I got a new job.
While I won't discuss any particulars here I'll say a few things about it.
I started Friday to train and jump in with both feet on Monday. It seems to be a lot more like what I want to do and with a smaller staff I will have more chances to do the things that will advance my career.
I'm still working overnights, only this job doesn't provide free parking so I'm taking the train in. Until I get comfortable I'll be getting in at 10:30 pm, so I have to leave home at 9:30. When I get more accustomed to it I can go in an hour later. And I will probably get home at around 10:30 am most days so it's a lot less time with Chase than I had before but it's good enough for now.
The position I'm filling is freelance so I am getting paid a day rate and not eligible for benefits. But once my benefits expire with my old job we'll switch to Mrs. Poop's, even though it's pretty expensive since she only works part time.
I also have 12 more weeks of severance coming to me from my former employer which is pretty sweet.
I was told by my new boss that if it works out with me and they like me there's a good chance the freelance position could become a permanent one. But likely that is going to be for a LOT less money than I was making.
But I'm willing to take the temporary pay cut for future glory.
I'm very happy with my new opportunity, with the chance to get back to work and with the passing of the storm cloud that was floating over my head for the past four weeks.
Thanks to all of you who helped make this possible and offered your assistance during this difficult time.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Weekly Picks

So the Jets fucked me again. For the second time this season I picked them on the road against a bad team and they lost outright. The Jets suck and I am never picking them again this season. But I also screwed up a couple other games and set myself back with zero points. I'll rebound.

denver +7 1/2 CAROLINA
The Panthers are getting a little overrated right now. They are always a disappointing team and even though Denver has no run defense I can see them keeping this game close.

CINCINNATI +7 washington
I never pick games involving the Redskins but their offense is so bad right now I just don't see them scoring enough points to cover.

cleveland +14 PHILADELPHIA
I'm very worried about a push here but I can definitely see the Browns putting at least a couple scores on the board here to keep this one close.

pittsburgh +1 1/2 BALTIMORE
I think the Steelers are the better team with the equal defense and better offense. But I am worried about the big mistake by Ben Roethlisberger. I will enjoy Polamalu and Reed in this one.

new york giants +3 DALLAS

Might as well make it five underdogs (correction: only 4 on the road) this week. There's no way the Giants lose this game this week. T.O. has already planted the seeds of discord this week. I expect Romo to work a little too hard to get him the ball which means a diminished focus on the running game and on other receivers, especially Jason Witten. I think the Giants are pissed off coming off last week's loss and though the result of this game doesn't really matter when determining home-field, they don't want to go into the Carolina game off 2 straight division losses.

Last Week: 1-4 (0 points)
Season: 36-34 (42 points)
Best Bets: 0-1 (10-4)
Home Favorites: 0-2 (9-15)
Home Underdogs: 0-0 (2-1)
Road Favorites: 0-1 (16-7)
Road Underdogs: 1-1 (8-10)
Road Pickems: 0-0 (1-1)

I Hope Mike Vick Studies Asset Management in Prison

In case you were starting to feel badly for poor Michael Vick who is rotting in federal prison right now on dog-fighting charges, comes this incredible article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution which shows just how stupid and irresponsible Vick really is.
While none of what you are about to read is illegal it goes to show what kind of person Michael Vick is. Instead of trying to repay his debt and rebuild his life he spent his last few days of freedom on a spending spree of "if I can't have it nobody can" proportions.
The day he went to jail, Michael Vick bought a $99,000 Mercedes. On Nov. 19, 2007, Vick went to a car showroom in Hampton, Va. He picked out an andorite-gray 2008 Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan and, using his bank debit card, paid in full: $99,589.71.
Then he drove it to Richmond, surrendered to federal marshals and went to jail.
Altogether on Nov. 19, 2007, Vick spent $201,840.
He cashed four checks that totaled $24,900. He gave $28,000 to the mother of his oldest child. He paid a public relations firm $23,000 and gave a friend $16,000.
But that was just some of it, he spent $18.2 million from 2006 to 2008.
Vick is now seeking bankruptcy protection from his many creditors when he gets out of jail.
From Aug. 27, 2007, the day he pleaded guilty in a Richmond federal courthouse, until Nov. 19, the day he bought the new Mercedes before reporting to jail, Vick shelled out $3,627,291.
And now his creditors (including the Falcons who are seeking to recoup about $3.75 million of bonuses paid to Vick) are furious and accusing Vick of "sheltering assets" in his own decadent way.
In 2007, documents show, he used cashier’s checks to withdraw $908,500 from his bank accounts. During a two-year period, he wrote checks payable to “cash” totaling almost $1.1 million.
But Vick's spending was out of control long before he knew he was going to jail.
Not long after joining the Falcons, Vick bought his first house: a $918,000 mini-mansion behind the gates that guard the Sugarloaf Country Club in Duluth, Georgia. Two years later, in April 2005, he upgraded to a larger house in the same neighborhood, for almost $3.8 million. Among his improvements to that property: a movie screening room and a golf simulator.
But he had the money. In 2004, after two seasons with the Falcons, he signed a new contract that, with potential bonuses, could pay him $130 million by 2013. Endorsement deals — with Nike, AirTran Airways and others — added millions more. In 2006 and 2007 alone, Vick took in almost $22 million.
He bought four more houses, all in Virginia, and began building another.
He bought a condominium in Miami Beach.
He bought interests in two farms — one in Virginia, one in Rockdale County, east of Atlanta.
He bought six Paso Fino horses, worth about $450,000.
He bought two boats, one for $100,000, the other for $125,000.
He bought cars: a Bentley, two Land Rovers, Cadillacs, an Infiniti sport utility vehicle and an Infiniti sedan, two Ford pickup trucks, a Dodge, a Chevrolet, the $99,000 Mercedes.
And he bought as much as $450,000 in jewelry. The pieces included two Swiss watches, a bracelet, a pair of diamond stud earrings, and a charm inscribed, “World is mine.”
In 2006, he bought his sister, Christina, a GMC Yukon. The next year, he gave a Lincoln Navigator to Tameka Taylor, the mother of his first child. The mother of Vick’s other two children, Kijafa Frink, got a Land Rover; her mother, a Cadillac Escalade.
He paid Frink’s mortgage and gave her $1,000 a month for clothes, court records say, and $300 for “beauty-related expenses.” He supported Taylor and their son with $3,500 a month.
For his mother, Brenda Boddie, Vick covered a $4,700-a-month mortgage and $2,100 in payments for her two Cadillacs.
In all, routine monthly bills for the mothers of Vick’s children and for his own mother came to $31,293 — more than $375,000 a year.
To run his complicated financial life, Vick in 2005 created a management and marketing company, MV7 LLC. It provided income for at least two family members, according to public records: Vick’s mother, whose salary approached $100,000 a year, and his sister, who earned about $22,000. The firm even had a retirement fund.
He also set up several other businesses, all using his name or jersey number in their names.
Divine Seven operated a Payless Car Rental franchise at the Atlanta airport. Seven Charms Farm raised horses. Vicktory Corp. oversaw family investments. Siete (Spanish for “seven”) delivered a gift of $317,000 to his mother’s church a week before Vick pleaded guilty.
In 2006, Vick personally guaranteed a $2.1 million bank loan to Divine Seven in exchange for a 60 percent stake in the company. A little over a year later, the bank declared the loan in default. It obtained a civil judgment against Vick and is trying to collect through his bankruptcy case.
In 2007, Vick put up $200,000 for a 60 percent interest in Seven Charms Farm, a 5-acre spread near Conyers. In September of this year, Rockdale County sold the property at auction to satisfy an unpaid property tax bill. The buyer got the property for $40,000.
Vick’s philanthropic efforts didn’t fare especially well, either. In 2006, the Michael Vick Foundation provided 100 backpacks to poor children in Newport News and paid for an after-school program. But the foundation spent only 12 percent of its budget — $20,590 of $171,823 — on charitable programs, according to its 2006 federal tax return. The foundation paid its fund-raiser, Susan Bass Roberts, a former spokeswoman for Vick, $97,000, the tax return shows.
The foundation ceased operations in 2006.

However, when Vick was sentenced he began setting aside money for family members. He put $625,000 into two businesses that would make monthly payments to Frink, who then was pregnant with their second child. He also gave Frink $48,000 and an SUV to keep in Leavenworth, Kan., where he would serve his sentence.
During his last weeks of freedom, though, Vick also spent $85,000 on a fish pond and $48,257 for landscaping. He bought a $31,000 Ford pickup and a $33,100 Chevrolet.
In the weeks before he went to jail, he made 48 cash withdrawals for a total of $325,945.

The Mercedes now is in the hands of a group of creditors; they recently told a bankruptcy judge they have found a buyer willing to pay $65,000. A luxury-car broker is trying to sell the rest of Vick’s vehicles.
Under bankruptcy laws, Vick will be allowed to retain ownership of one house; he chose his mother’s home in Suffolk, Va. He also is keeping $136,500 of home furnishings, $5,000 of clothes and a retirement account with a balance of $96.63.
Vick’s other houses are on the market. The proceeds of any sales would go toward paying off the mortgages.
In addition to his other debts, Vick owes more than $1.2 million in back taxes, the Internal Revenue Service told his bankruptcy judge last month. That figure may increase, the IRS said in court papers; Vick has not yet filed his 2007 return.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Concierge Was Just Looking Out For His Own Safety and the Safety of Others

For several years, the Concierge has engaged in a subtle war with the man who held the aisle seat in the row in front of him at Shea Stadium.
Every Sunday the man would leave his tote bag adjacent to his seat, partially in the aisle.
As a form of silent protest the Concierge would step on his bag every time he descended the aisle.
While I thought the Conch was just being petty it is too bad he isn't an Ottawa Senators fan. If he were, this incident may have been avoided.

"A 21-year-old man was taken to hospital after he fell about 25 feet from the upper deck of Scotiabank Place during the second intermission of the Ottawa Senators’ victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Wednesday night.

According to witnesses, the man sailed headfirst past and over a few stunned onlookers in the rows ahead of his seat before tumbling over the low railing at the bottom of the third level and falling onto a row of seats in the level below.

Senators president and CEO Roy Mlakar said the man was carrying two beers when he stumbled over a purse.

“He was not inebriated,” said Mlakar, who confirmed that the man had been treated on the scene for lacerations and that he was taken to a hospital as a precautionary measure.

“He seems fine, he’s totally cognizant. He recognizes that there’s nothing serious.”

He added that two other people the man landed on in the section below also were treated at the scene, and that a third person, a 33-year-old woman, sustained a non-critical neck injury and also was taken to a hospital for precautionary reasons.

Mlakar said it was the first such accident in the 13-year-old arena’s history."

How Could They Not Have Shown This?

Last night I watched UFC's Fight for the Troops ("they fight for us, now we fight for them") and I enjoyed a pretty good night of action. But then I saw that this happened on one of the fights on the undercard (those not shown on TV) and I'm shocked that they didn't fit this into the telecast.

Here's Corey Hill vs. Dale Hartt

"Stop the fight! Stop the fight!" Joe Rogan is so awesome.

Ridiculous! And I thought the guy who chose "snap" in a snap or tap situation got a bad injury, but that was nothing compared to this.

Corey Hill suffers a broken leg during a UFC fight

By the way, I started watching the show a little late and to catch up I scanned through all of the stories about the troops who got injured in Iraq and are now suffering traumatic brain injury. Is that wrong?

If This Were TON's Blog

If this were TON's blog, the title of the post about the hilarious "Jizz in My Pants" video would have been "JT Has the Same Effect on Me."
I watched the video several times and didn't notice that Gay-T was the convenience store janitor, until TON pointed it out.

Justin Timberlake played the janitor in the Jizz in My Pants video

Million Dollar Interception

I've recently been dabbling in an game called streak for the cash. The premise, you pick a side in some pre-selected propositions (not just winners and losers) and the first one to put together a streak of 25 wins a million dollars.
Two players had 24-game streaks snapped before BigSam1122 won his 24th. BigSam sat on a potential million dollars for a week before selecting the Pittsburgh Steelers to beat the Dallas Cowboys straight up for a million bucks.
Can you imagine how BigSam (now revealed as Samuel Louis-Charles) must have been shitting his pants when the Steelers went down 13-3. And imagine his celebration when Tony Romo threw that horrible interception that won him a million bucks. He said he screamed like a girl.
He was in Bristol to collect his check and talk to Mike and Mike about it.

I don't know about you, but if I were in this situation I would have put about $100,000 or as much as I could scrounge up on the Cowboys in this one. Seems like the perfect chance to hedge your bets.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Meadow Has the Same Effect on Me

Jamie-Lynn Sigler stars in a Saturday Night Live Digital Short.

"Jizz in My Pants!" Hilarious. By the way, the other hot chick was Molly Sims.

Story Suggested by TON

Why Nails Didn't Go To Work Today

Nails has been well known to use some unusual excuses for not going to work. There was the time he called in "crazy" when he thought he hallucinated people knocking on his door several times throughout the night (it was actually a neighborhood-wide search for a missing girl). One time he called in "madness" to watch the NCAA tournament with me.
Today, he called in "gay."
A gay couple from Hollywood organized "A Day Without a Gay." The protest asked people to call in "gay" from work in support of gay marriage.
Nails was happy to do his part and spent the day staring at the Visanthe Shiancoe post. Look at the comments section.

The Dangers of Locker Room Cameras

The locker room is last bastion of privacy for professional athletes. Women, children and television cameras that enter the locker room do so at their own risk. Which is why FOX cameras were caught in an uncomfortable situation. The situation being -- they showed Visanthe Shiancoe's cock. The cameras were capturing a speech from owner Zygi Wilf, while a naked Shiancoe stood behind him.

Why don't networks ever broadcast the postgame speeches from the cheerleaders' locker room?

And if you absolutely have the see the NSFW picture of Visanthe Shiancoe's penis, enjoy yourself. And no, I won't list the names of everyone who clicks on the link in a future post.

Story suggested by SCZA in an e-mail entitled "I jerked off 3 times to this"

And Mets Fans Finally Have Something to Cheer About

The Mets addressed their biggest weakness by signing closer Francisco Rodriguez aka K-Rod for 3 years and 37 million dollars.
It's a great move, but a pretty obvious one. With the Mets bullpen in complete shambles (even with a healthy Billy Wagner), they needed a closer desperately now that Wagner will likely miss the entire year.
The Mets filled their biggest need, with the best available option and did so relatively cheaply. For instance, three years ago the Mets spent $6 million more (albeit for one more year) on Billy Wagner. So they gave an extra year to a closer who was 8 years older then than K-Rod is now. Obviously the market for top closers isn't as big as K-Rod thought.
But there are some worries that come along with this signing.
While his stats are incredible, some of his underlying numbers are cause for concern.
His hits are on the rise, while his strikeouts are falling. He also blew 7 saves last year, which means he failed about 10% of the time.
Will Mets fans tolerate that rate?
Some are also concerned about his durability because his velocity was down last year and he is getting older (he'll be 27 on Opening Day) leading to worries he could be exiting an early prime.
Also he has never been a 2-inning pitcher and likely won't be with the Mets.
Despite those worries this was a great move for the Mets, a crucial first step toward building a team that won't implode (from the bullpen out) next September.

K-Rod's postgame celebrations will be welcomed by Mets fans

Song of the Week

"Obstacle 1" - Interpol
My favorite song from Guitar Hero: World Tour. The song supposedly describes a man reflecting on a recent break-up.
"Her stories are boring and stuff."

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The NFL is Poop - Week 14

You Wanna Crown Em, Then Crown Their Ass
A funny thing happened on the way to a second straight Super Bowl. The Giants played like crap against the Eagles (zero points generated by their offense in the first 58 minutes) and now they will have to fight the Panthers for home field advantage in the playoffs. If the Panthers win this week (at home against Denver) or the Giants lose (in Dallas), when the two teams meet in Week 16 (a game that was flexed by NBC to the Sunday night slot) it will be for that number one seed in the NFC.

And Meanwhile Across Town
The New York Jets went from Subway Super Bowl talk to possibly missing the playoffs. How does a team beat the Patriots and Titans then lose to the Broncos and 49ers? And Brett Favre wasn't even really to blame in this one. Sure he threw an interception but a bigger culprit was the defense which got pushed around by the 49ers and allowed them to hold the ball for nearly 40 minutes. Third downs were also key (as indicated by time of possession). San Francisco converted on 8 of 16 while the Jets were only 1 of 10 on third down. The Jets play Buffalo and Seattle but their fate could still be decided in Week 17 against the Dolphins.

A Team That Will Go Down in Infamy
The Detroit Lions may have let their last best chance for a victory slip through their fingers. With games remaining against the Colts, Saints and Packers, beating the Vikings seemed to be their shot to avoid the first 0-16 season in NFL history. Note: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went winless, but during a 14-game schedule. The Lions had a 13-10 lead entering the 4th quarter and the normally inept Tarvaris Jackson was in at QB for the Vikings. But Jackson led the Vikings on two scoring drives and the Vikings won 20-16, sinking the Lions even deeper.

Game of the Week
Pittsburgh Steelers 20 Dallas Cowboys 13

A gutty win for the Steelers but a game the Cowboys never should have lost. Dallas did just about everything wrong yet they were still winning 13-3 with 9 minutes left in the game. To that point they had overcome 2 interceptions, a fumble and 2 short failed attempts on fourth down. But it was Romo's last interception that stuck the dagger in their hearts. After the Steelers first touchdown of the game with 2 minutes to go, the Cowboys took over at their own 15 yard line on their second play, a miscommunication between Tony Romo and Jason Witten led to an interception returned for a touchdown by Deshea Townsend. Just another on the growing list of heartbreaking losses for the Cowboys in the Tony Romo era.

Game of Next Week
Pittsburgh Steelers are Baltimore Ravens

There's going to be some hitting in this one. Two great defensive teams will be on display meaning it could be the offenses that decide this one. Ben Roethlisberger seems to have a clear advantage over Joe Flacco but I could see Big Ben making a key mistake and getting picked by Ed Reed. Plus this one is in Baltimore. A lot is at stake here. The winner could very well earn the second seed and a bye in the AFC playoffs. While the loser would be the 5th seed even though it could quite possibly have a better record than the division winners from the West and the East.

A Brief Rant About the Redskins
They are absolutely horrible right now. They can't do a thing on offense. They have now scored 53 points in the their last 5 games, combined. I know they've played some good defenses (Pittsburgh, Giants, Baltimore) but this is ridiculous. Jason Campbell went to an MVP candidate to a question mark for the future. I know the offense line hasn't been protecting him (and now Samuels is out for the season) but Zorn's playcalling has become so vanilla he's putting the team in difficult 2nd and long situations too often.
Oh, and Shaun Suisham has to be cut.

Cheerleader of the Week
Lisa of the Carolina TopCats

If the Super Bowl Were Played Today
Tennessee Titans 20 New York Giants 14

The Giants loss was disheartening but probably just a blip on their radar screen. If they don't play well against the Cowboys and Panthers, it could reveal a serious problem, namely missing Plaxico Burress a little more than expected. The power conference for years has been the AFC. When Tom Brady went down it seemed like the NFC was taking over. But right now Tennesse, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Baltimore are all on fire while the NFC doesn't seem so strong anymore.