Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Most Obvious Hanukkah Present Ever

Two very obvious things happened on Hanukah:
1) I got a Robert Griffin III jersey
2) RG3 got hurt the next day

I can't say this enough times, and I probably mention every week in my brief rant about the Redskins, I love RGIII. He is a great player, and a great role model for my children.
Over the summer, Chase had to create an alphabet book using a picture of an item or two starting with each letter. Normally, Q is difficult one, but not for us. We printed a picture of RGIII from the internet and said "that's our quarterback."
With his superior play, his leadership, his grace, his smile and his panache this is a player Chase and Julian will grow up watching and loving.
And by the time RGIII retires (hopefully after 15 years with the Redskins), they may fit into this jersey.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Week With New York's College Team

Syracuse's efforts to brand itself as New York's College Team are going to take a big hit next year when it joins the Atlantic Coast Conference. One showcase it will lose is access to the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium, which has obligations to take teams from the Big East and Big XII.

This is the third season of the Pinstripe Bowl and SU's second appearance. I missed the debut game against Kansas State in 2010, which SU won thrillingly. But I wasn't going to miss their second and perhaps last appearance, so as soon as it was officially announced I ordered the tickets for Poppy and me through the Dome Box office. $60 each and only $7 total for shipping and handling, no other fees. Seats were in section 226, the third baseline, second deck 6th. Pretty good seats, along the goal line in the end zone reading Syracuse.

The game was great, SU dominated on the ground, rushing for almost 400 yards, 208 for Prince-Tyson Gulley and 157 for Jerome Smith. SU pulled away in the second half, for a 38-14 win.
The weather really stymied both teams, but I will readily admit that Syracuse is much better equipped to deal with a day such as this when it's hard to throw or catch a pass. The Orange got two safeties, and neither QB threw for 200 yards. At a certain point Syracuse stopped even trying to throw the ball.

The weather actually wasn't that bad from a fan's perspective. The first quarter it rained, which really sucked, but it makes your clothes cold and heavy. But into the second quarter it started to snow lightly which was actually cool. And by the end of the game you could look up and see the perfectly white snow trickling down, set against the pitch black sky.

The worst part of the game were the hooligans seated in front of us. A group of about 10 recent alumni, totally wasted. At first they refused to sit down. At some point they moved to an adjacent section, and remained standing, but out of our line of vision. One of them got so drunk he passed out in the bathroom and security came down to notify his next of kin. Eventually they carried that drunk dumbass back to his seat, literally carried him. But he last only about 5 more minutes before either going underneath or going home. One of his idiotic cohorts almost got into a fistfight with a West Virginia fan, but eventually they calmed down and Poppy and I were able to enjoy the game.

Which is more than I can say about the SU game I went to the previous week, basketball, at Madison Sqaure Garden in something called the Gotham Classic. Seems like a trumped up reason to get a home away from Dome game at MSG.

Billy, who is a baller now, got us some awesome tickets. We were on the sidecourt, opposite the SU bench, looking down the baseline, about 6 rows up in the first section of permanent seats (they have some risers they use for basketball games). Incidentally Scoop Jardine sat in those seats in front of us in the second half and his pants were sagging so low I saw his drawers.

The game was a total disappointment as SU went into an offensive funk early in the second half allowing Temple to take a big lead. SU closed it several times, and actually had the chance to take the lead late when on a fast break Brandon Triche pulled up for 3, inexplicably and missed, giving Temple control of the ball and the game.

The usual suspects hurt SU, shooting 56% from the line and allowing Temple to get 16 offensive rebounds on 36 missed shots.

3 things about Hall of Fame Coach, 900 game winner, Jim Boeheim. He has never figured out how to teach his guys to shoot free throws. And unlike times when he had big men missing free throws and skewing the average, in this game his point guards, Michael Carter Williams and Brandon Triche, shot 9 of 19. I have no idea why he played DaJuan Coleman so sparingly when SU needed rebounding, and boxing out. And I still don't know why he insists on playing such incredibly weak non-conference schedules.

But you win some you lose some and as a fan of SU in New York I will try to keep being there for all of it.

Weekly Picks

Thank God this year is almost over.

NEW YORK GIANTS -6 1/2 philadelphia
I don't think the Giants have quit even though they've played horribly two straight weeks when a lot was on the line.

NEW ORLEANS -4 1/2 carolina
The Saints seem to still be playing hard. This is a pretty small spread for a home team. But hard to figure when two teams are out of it.

DENVER -16 kansas city
Last time they played Kansas City kept it close. Not this time.

NEW ENGLAND -9 1/2 miami
Patriots were disappointing against Jacksonville last week. And disappointed against San Francisco the previous week. They will go into the playoffs playing better than that.

chicago -3 DETROIT

The Bears need this game (and a Vikings loss) to make the playoffs. Detroit is done, and probably have nothing left to care about after getting Calvin Johnson the receiving yards record last week.

Last Week: 2-3 (1 point)
Season: 33-47 (25 points)
Best Bets: 0-1 (4-12)
Home Favorites: 0-0 (9-21)
Home Underdogs: 0-0 (6-4)
Road Favorites: 1-2 (10-14)
Road Underdogs: 1-1 (8-8)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Washington's Real First Lady

The whole country is smitten with our First Lady Michelle Obama. And they love her even more in Washington DC. Her normal stay-at-home mom wardrobe, her perfectly toned arms and her wonderful caring anti-childhood-obesity program are enough to make you swoon. But there are some holdouts, probably racists and right-wing nuts.
But Washington does have a first lady we can all agree on, Rebecca Liddicoat, soon to be Mrs. Robert Griffin III.
By all accounts, Liddicoat and Griffin have a great relationship. They met and fell in love at Baylor and RG3 proposed to her last year with a love song he wrote himself. The fact that they are different races doesn't matter to them, or anyone who is not Rob Parker.
They certainly look happy.

But there's one thing that nags at me about this, she isn't that hot. Yes, she is pretty, and she'd be attractive enough to date just about any other man. But not the star quarterback, one of the best players in the league. Doesn't RG3 need a smokin' hottie like Lauren Tannehill? Or an international supermodel like Giselle?
But then again, do I really want my star QB involved with some shrew? Don't I want him to have a loving supportive wife who always stands by him and never causes trouble? I think the Mannings have done this right, Peyton Manning's wife Ashley and Eli Manning's wife Abigail are both low-key, but they're also gorgeous, more attractive than the future Mrs. Griffin III.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Poppy Didn't React Like This for His Pinstripe Bowl Ticket

A very touching video is making the rounds on the internet since Christmas. An Alabama fan gets a ticket to the BCS National Title Game, Alabama vs. Notre Dame.

Strange that Poppy didn't react that way when he got a ticket to the Pinstripe Bowl for Christmas.
I love the way the guy tried to seem happy about the hat, and they had to say "what size is it?" in order for him to notice the ticket.

Song of the Week

"Die Young" - Ke$ha
Congratulations on surviving the end of the world prediction from the normally infallible Mayans. But don't rest on your laurels and think you are going to live forever. Take Ke$ha's advice and make a New Year's resolution to live like you're going to die young. But do so in a fiscally prudent matter, just in case you do make it into your golden years.

He Was Asked to Leave His Place of Residence

Jack Klugman died on Christmas Eve at age 90. Klugman, no relation to Razor or FatScat, had been a smoker and had throat cancer and even lost a vocal cord because of it.
He was in one of my favorite old movies, the simple but elegant "12 Angry Men." He was the last surviving actor from the movie.
But he is most famous for his role as the slovenly sports reporter Oscar Madison on the sitcom adaptation of the play/movie, "The Odd Couple", which had one of the best opening themes in TV history.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Poop's Christmas Message

A lot has been lost this year, a massive hurricane destroying the East Coast, a horrific mass shooting devastating the entire country, and a presidential election saddening about 50 percent of Americans.
It's been a crazy year, but when so much has been lost the best thing to do is to be thankful for that which we do have.
So whether you're spending this time with family celebrating Christmas, or spending it with the proprietors of your local Chinese food restaurant, take a minute to reflect on all that you have gained this year, while others have lost so much.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The NFL is Poop - Week 16

For Real
Four weeks ago I watched the Seattle Seahawks play the Chicago Bears. The Seahawks were 6-5, with one of those wins being the screwjob against the Packers. The Bears had a 14-10 lead late in the game and seemed likely to make the Seahawks 6-6, but really should have been 5-7. Then the Seahawks struck. They scored a late TD in regulation to take a 17-14 lead, then another one in overtime to win the game.
If there were such a thing as momentum, that game started it all. In the three games since the Seahawks have outscored opponents 150-30. Granted, two of the opponents were weak, but they pounded a pretty good San Francisco team.
Seattle has a great defense, with big, strong fast players up front, and in the secondary. They have a great running game which opens things up for Russell Wilson who is putting up numbers just as good or better than his more highly regarded rookie counterparts.

Choke Job
For the second week in a row the Steelers chances of winning the game and making the playoffs were erased by a bad decision by Ben Roethlisberger leading to an interception. This time the Steelers got the ball back with 44 seconds to go deep in their own territory. It probably would have been prudent to play for overtime, but Mike Tomlin trusted his veteran quarterback and Roethlisberger let him down again. Big Ben got intercepted and after one long pass by Andy Dalton the Bengals kicked the winning field goal knocking Pittsburgh out of the playoffs.
Once you win two Super Bowls you pretty much get a free pass for the rest of you career, at least in regards to choking under pressure. But clearly Ben knows the team he is on now is not nearly as good as the ones he used to play for. And tries to do too much, to win games by himself, and sometimes he ends up losing them.

Welcome to the NFL
So you want to be an NFL quarterback? Greg McElroy finally got his big chance and probably wishes Mark Sanchez had started and taken that ass-whipping. McElroy was sacked 11 times, and hit 16 times in total (sacks are included in that). But it's not just the offensive line that's decimated. McElroy was throwing to such luminaries as Clyde Gates, Hayden Smith and Konrad Reuland. The Jets are a terrible team right now and though I agree with giving McElroy the start, the players around him are so bad, it doesn't even seem fair to judge him based on this performance.

Game of the Week
New Orleans Saints 34 Dallas Cowboys 31

In a game the Cowboys absolutely needed to have, they dug themselves a hole, and had Tony Romo dig them out of it. Trailing 31-17 with 4 minutes to go, Romo led a furious comeback with some great passes to Dez Bryant for a big gainer, to Dwayne Harris for the first touchdown, and Miles Austin for the second.
Both quarterbacks threw for over 400 yards, Marques Colston had 153 yards, pretty good, but not compared to the 224 by Dez Bryant.
The good thing for the Cowboys was that this game was basically meaningless for them. Win or lose they still need to beat the Redskins in Week 17 to make the playoffs.

Game of Next Week
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins

Two bitter rivals, winner take all, most likely the loser misses the playoffs. Sunday night, last game of the season.

A Brief Rant About the Redskins
For many years in this space I bitched about the Redskins inability to create turnovers. This year's defense is much better at doing that. 27 turnovers (18 INTs, 9 fumble recoveries) for a +13 turnover margin. It's a good thing they can do that, because they can't stop anyone. The Eagles dominated this game early but the Redskins made the big plays to thwart their scoring opportunities. And eventually they tightened up, though the bend but don't break philosophy almost cost them, but luckily they put enough pressure on Foles to force him into a game-ending mistake.

Picture of the Week
Carolina Panthers cheerleaders dressed for the Christmas season.

If the Super Bowl Were Played Today
Seattle Seahawks 31 Denver Broncos 24

I would not want to play the Seahawks right now, but please remember the Broncos have won 10 games in a row and face the Chiefs with a chance to earn home field throughout the playoffs.

All the Wright Moves

I have been calling for a total dismantling of the New York Mets since around 2009. I have blamed the Mets fans and their desire to keep up with their obnoxious neighbors for preventing the Mets from doing what they need to do to win a World Series.
Here is how you compete in baseball today: draft well, develop those draftees, sign the ones that show the most promise early in their major league careers to long-term deals to lock them up until at least their age 30 seasons. Something the Mets can afford to do, given their market size and revenues. And once you've done all that, and you have 5-6 really good players locked up to cost-effective contracts, then you sign a couple veterans to short deals, 1 or 2 years, 3 at the most.
The Mets are finally embracing that philosophy and it's promising to pay dividends, probably not in 2013, maybe not in 2014, but by 2015 the Mets should be on the road to contention. And trading R.A. Dickey was a huge part of it. I love R.A. Dickey. What a nice man, a class act and a great pitcher, but he had to go.
Even if the Mets were in position to be competitive this season, I still would favor this trade. Dickey is old (entering his age 38 season). He throws a knuckleball, which may mitigate some of the expected decline of aging, but can also be a fickle mistress, meaning his magic could fade quickly. Speaking of magic, let's take a brief interlude to appreciate just how awesome, Dickey's knuckleball is.

Plus, he's coming off a Cy Young season, even if the Mets were on the verge of contention, selling high on Dickey would be the right thing to do.
But the Mets aren't good. And Dickey was seeking a 2-year extension for $25 million, through his age 40 season. And the Mets got two very good prospects for him, Travis D'Arnaud who could be a solid hitting catcher for a long time for the Mets. And a hard-throwing righty Noah Syndergaard who will fit in the nicely with the young arms the Mets are already developing. Add that to Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey and Jon Niese and the Mets have a promising young rotation.

The lineup is another matter which is why I like resigning Daving Wright. The Mets lineup is very weak, and doesn't have the youthful reinforcements the way the pitching staff does. Wright is an excellent player at a very important position. His presence will likely help the development of younger players like Davis and Duda (who I think still has potential and should be given fielding lessons and the everyday left field job).

I'm also a pragmatist. I understand this is a business. Wright has marquee value and even though the fans are idiots, the Mets need those idiots to buy tickets and jerseys and to watch SNY so keeping Wright was a very important gesture to keep those fans. Sure, I would have liked the slew of prospects a trade for Wright could have brought in return, but I understand his value to the team goes beyond his contributions on the field.

And Wright is entering his age 28 season which means, when the team Sandy Alderson has expertly crafted is ready to compete, Wright should still be performing at a high level, hopefully high enough to return the Mets to the World Series.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Weekly Picks

Thanks to the Jets I finally got off my long schneid of losing best bets. Even more surprising considering I put my stamp of confidence on it.

atlanta -3 1/2 DETROIT
I normally hate this, team that dominated last week against a team that got abused, but the Lions are dead and the Falcons want to clinch home field.

indianapolis -7 KANSAS CITY
The Colts haven't clinched anything yet, and they are not going to lose this game to the Chiefs with so much on the line. Not sure they will win by 8, but I'm pretty sure they'll win.

san francisco +1 SEATTLE
There has to be a letdown coming from Seattle. And I know they are great at home, but...

new orleans +2 1/2 DALLAS
Maybe this is wishful thinking but there always seems to be a team that needs the game that loses to a team that doesn't.

new england -14 1/2 JACKSONVILLE

After last week's loss to San Francisco I expect the Patriots to take no prisoners.

Last Week: 3-2 (4 points)
Season: 31-44 (24 points)
Best Bets: 1-0 (4-11)
Home Favorites: 3-1 (9-21)
Home Underdogs: 0-0 (6-4)
Road Favorites: 0-1 (9-12)
Road Underdogs: 0-0 (7-7)

We Are Not Doing Enough To Keep Our Children Safe

Shortly after the September 11th attacks I was talking to The Concierge's uncle and he shared with me his plan to prevent future airplane hijackings. If every passenger were shackled to his or her seat during the flight, with one passenger at a time allowed to be set free to use the bathroom, those horrible attacks never would have happened. Obviously we all want to be safer, but we have to make sure not to go too far in abridging freedoms in the hope for increased safety.

Benjamin Franklin said "People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both."
While I believe Benjamin Franklin had the right idea, some things have changed in the past 200, 220, 230 years. That's the same way I feel about the Constitution. I believe in the Constitution as the foundation for our land, but I also recognize its limits. In those days they needed the right to have guns to form a militia to protect themselves from an oppressive government.
I think the Constitution is great and we should uphold it as the framework for what we want our country to be. But it has been changed, amended and interpreted many times. And I don't some small curbs on gun possession will take away the right to bear arms as granted in the Second Amendment.
However, if this world were perfect, I would wipe away all the guns, no one can have one for any reason, like the U.K. Property crimes might go up, but murders would go way down, especially mass murders.

But that's not possible here so let's deal with the reality of the situation. I hate hunting, but I realize some people enjoy it as a hobby. I don't know why killing animals is so much fun for some people, but I was angry when the government took away my hobby (online poker) so I would be the last one to suggest hunters lose their rights.
I have read the stories, and even written about them, when someone has used a firearm to successfully and lawfully defend their home and property and protect their loved ones from someone wishing to do them harm. I'm sure you could find just as many stories, maybe more, of gun accidents, where little kids got killed playing with their fathers' shotguns.

I keep a kosher home. We have two sets of dishes, don't eat meat and milk together, etc. Outside the home I go nuts. I like the chicken parm at Carmine's. I have been known to devour shrimp at weddings. I like lobster and I love bacon. People often ask me (mostly non-kosher jews), "isn't that hypocrital?" The answer might be yes. But the better answer is, if I am unwilling and unable to do everything, should I do nothing, or should I do something?

We will never ever be totally safe. We will never be able to completely take guns away from people. We will never diagnose every mental illness. We will never have an armed guard, trained gunman in every place a gunman enters, and even if we could I still wouldn't feel safe sending my child to a school where a teacher/principal/security guard is strapped.

But that doesn't mean we should do nothing. Maybe we should place limits on certain "assault weapons." Maybe we shouldn't allow civilians to have magazines that can fire so many rounds per minute, like the one the Connecticut shooter used. You want to make those changes, I'm fine with it. Maybe the next deranged killer will murder 20 people, instead of 26. That would be a great way to save 6 lives, but still a horrible way to lose 20.

You want to loosen privacy laws. You want shrinks to be able to alert law enforcement about potentially violent patients. Fine. You want to ban the mentally ill from possessing guns, that's fine with me.

But let's be realistic about what your gun laws will accomplish: very little. The perpetrators of these crimes don't care that murder is illegal, they certainly aren't going to abide by your gun laws. If someone wants to do harm to someone else, they will do it.

You want to ban violent video games, and violent movies and violent song lyrics, go ahead. But again, remember what Benjamin Franklin said.

You may have read this entire post, looking for answers and not found any. Because I don't have any. I have only a thought, that I have harped on many times on this blog: personal responsibility.

When it comes down to it, it is up to the individual. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. It's an oversimplified cliche, but it is true. A gun without a bad person firing it is fairly benign. A bad person, a crazed, psychotic individual without a gun is just going to look for another way to do harm.

By putting the fault for these crimes in the gun, the mental illness, the violent video game or the bully who picked on the killer in 4th grade, we obscure the responsibility of the individual. We allow sick, scared, hopeless people to separate themselves from their actions.

We need to restore personal responsibility in America. What happens to me is because of what I do and what I choose. What I do and the consequences of my actions are mine and mine alone. We need to do that today. And it starts with you. And me.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

God Bless America

With all the problems in our country right now, I think it's nice to also notice the good things we have going for us. Like the smoking hot Olivia Culpo, she became the first Miss USA to win the Miss Universe pageant in 15 years.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

When Can We Expect a Kendall Jenner Sex Tape?

The shameless Kardashian-Jenner family is at it again, showing no compunction about sexualizing their daughters if that's what it takes to keep their entertainment empire rolling.
Next up on the slut list is Kendall Jenner, 17 years old and 3 to 4 years away from making her own sex tape. Look at how she is dressed in the Kardashians' 2012 Christmas Card. She's in a sleeveless dress, exposing a lot of leg.
Everyone else is fairly well covered up, including Kim, the harlot who started it all. As everything in pop culture does, the Kardashians will eventually fade, and that's when they'll pull out the old sex tape card.

Note: In a little box by Kim's feet is Mercy, a cat given to her by Kanye. She had the cat for a couple months, pawned it off on an assistant then euthanized it. She says the cat had cancer, I'm not so sure.

Song of the Week

"A Christmas Song For you" - Kem
One of my favorite R&B singers, Kem is out with a Christmas album this year. I wasn't sure whether to post one of his original Christmas songs or his take on an old classic. I tried to post "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" but the youtube Nazis got me. Enjoy this original instead.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jim Boeheim's 900th Victory Postgame Speech

Jim Boeheim gets his 900th career victory in Syracuse's win over Detroit. And he uses the postgame press conference as a chance to share his views on gun control.

"If we in this country as Americans cannot get the people that represent us to do something about firearms, we are a sad, sad society," the Hall of Fame coach said as applause can be heard in the background.

"If one person in this world; the NRA president, anybody, can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots in the thing. This is our fault. This is my fault and your fault. All of your faults if we don't get out and do something about this."

"If we can't get this thing done, I'm with (Mayor Bloomberg), if we can't get this thing done, I don't know what kind of country we have. This is about us. This isn't about the President or those other people down there. We have to make them understand somehow that this needs to get figured out. Real quick. Not six months from now."

I am not saying I disagree with Boeheim, and I hope to have my own thoughts on this issue written up shortly, but I don't think this was the appropriate place for these comments. This was supposed to be a celebration of his career, not a downer about 20 murdered children. But it was his night and he can do with his forum as he pleases.

The NFL is Poop - Week 15

And He’s Doing It All Without Rec Specs and Jheri Curl
Adrian Peterson is having one of the most remarkable seasons in NFL history. His latest great game (212 yards, including runs of 82 and 52) leaves him with 1,812 yards for the season. The most amazing part of this is that Peterson tore his ACL last December 26th against the Redskins. He made a full recovery in only about 8 months. To be having a season like this is crazy, too being doing it so soon after such a serious injury is really something special.

Peterson needs to rush for 294 yards (147 each) in the next two games to beat the record of 2,105 set by Eric Dickerson in 1984. He actually has more yards than Dickerson did through 14 games, on fewer carries, for a much higher yards per carry average. Right now the Vikings are one of five NFC teams tied with 8-6 records. One of those teams will win the NFC East, leaving 4 to battle it out for one spot, assuming Seattle holds on to the first wild card. The next two games are very tough (if the teams are motivated) against Houston and Green Bay. Maybe Minnesota gets down early and has to pass. But if the games are close, or Minnesota has a lead I definitely think Peterson can break this record. But I know he won’t look as good doing it as Dickerson did.

The NFL Has Its Own Cabrera-Trout Debate
With everything I just said about Adrian Peterson I think it is still very unlikely that he wins the MVP Award, or even the Comeback Player of the Year. That is because Peyton Manning is having an equally remarkable season. Manning missed the entire year with neck problems that required 3 surgeries. All he has done since then is lead the Broncos on a 9-game winning streak. He’s thrown for more than 4,000 yards (with 2 games left) and has 31 TDs and a 103 QB rating. So how does that compare to what Peterson has done? I think Peyton probably deserves the nod as far as value, if only because quarterback is the most important position on the field. But it’s not like he transformed his team the way Luck or RG3 has. With a horrible quarterback last season the Broncos won the division and even won a playoff game. Now they’re 11-3 and quite possibly the best team in football. Peterson hasn’t improved the Vikings record much, but you can tell he is single-handedly winning games for them. Now if we are to agree that both players are having great seasons and both had serious injuries, how the hell do you decide who deserves to be the Comeback Player of the Year. I think I would go with Peterson here, because his season is more historic, and his injury may have been more serious and devastating and his return was so quick and so sudden, his comeback is slightly more impressive.

Half a Hundy
For the second straight weeks the Seattle Seahawks dominated and embarrassed an inferior opponent. A week after winning 58-0, Seattle took it easy on Buffalo win 50-17. The Seahawks are the first team since 1950 to score 50 points in consecutive weeks. 108 points in two games is tied for 3rd most all-time, with the Patriots who scored 59 (vs. Colts) and 49 (vs. Jets) in consecutive games earlier this year. Peter Carroll took it easy this time, taking Russell Wilson out for good with 9 minutes left (which only amounted to one more possession) and giving Marshawn Lynch only 10 carries.
This was the Bills annual game in Toronto. They did not put on a good show for the Canadian fans. But thanks to halftime entertainment from Psy, I'm sure no one left disappointed.

Picture of the Week
The New York Giants wrote the letters S.H.E.S. on their helmets in honor of the people killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Idiot of the Week
Ok, fans wear paper bags over their heads to games all the time. It's not funny anymore, but I get it. What I don't understand is why this person needed someone to pour the beer into his mouth. Why couldn't he have done that himself?

A Brief Rant About the Redskins
It sure is nice to control one's own destiny. If the Redskins beat Philadelphia on the road and Dallas at home, at 10-6, the Redskins will be NFC East Champions. That's far from a sure thing considering RGIII may not be back, but if Kirk Cousins can repeat his performance against the Browns he will justify the Redskins selection of him, which like the trade for RGIII itself was roundly criticized.
When the game started Kyle Shanahan babied Cousins with a simple game plan, running on first down every time. Through four drives the Redskins had 3 runs for 7 yards on first down plays. And Cousins was 1 for 6 passing for 4 yards. Those drives ended punt, interception, punt, punt.
On the 5th drive, Cousins threw on first down and hit Leonard Hankerson for a 54-yard touchdown. After that Cousins got comfortable, Shanahan opened up the playbook and they carved up the Browns defense with the same play-action passes and crossing routes the Redskins have successfully used with RGIII.

Game of the Week
San Francisco 49ers 41 New England Patriots 34

Even in defeat the Patriots are amazing. They got down 31-3, thanks to 4 punts and 4 turnovers. Their next 4 drives were all touchdowns. But the 49ers held them off thanks to 4 touchdown passes by Colin Kaepernick, all 24 yards or longer.
A couple impressive streaks of December wins (13) and December home wins (20) were broken in this game, but one streak does persevere. Tom Brady has thrown touchdown passes in 46 straight games. He could pass Johnny Unitas in Week 17 and pass Drew Brees early next year.

Game of Next Week
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

The 49ers clinch the division with a win. The Seahawks are undefeated at home and absolutely on fire. NBC did a good job flexing Jets-Chargers out of this spot to get this game instead.

If the Super Bowl Were Played Today
Denver Broncos 31 Seattle Seahawks 27

The Texans and Falcons can no longer live off their early season successes. Even after their big wins over decent teams, I think nearly everyone would pick the Broncos and Seahawks to go on the road and beat those teams. The Seahawks dominated weak opponents, but have the chance to earn this spot next week.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Weekly Picks

Let's just get on with it. I am tired of reliving my misery each week. Don't understand how I am 22-22 in all other games, and 6-20 when picking home favorites.

ATLANTA -2 new york giants
I have pretty much gotten wrong every Giants game I have picked this season but I will try one more time because Atlanta lost last week and the Giants scored 52. Should regress to the mean this week.

detroit -6 1/2 ARIZONA
Rarely do you get a chance to give up this many points on the road with a team as bad as the Lions. But the Cardinals are so miserable right now it seems like a good deal.

OAKLAND -3 kansas city
I still believe the Chiefs are putrid and both their wins occurred under usual circumstances (Saints collapse, Belcher's death). This week should be normal and by normal I mean KC getting blown out again.

NEW ENGLAND -4 san francisco
I don't like to do this because the Pats played so well last week, it will be hard to replicate that against an even better defense, but the Patriots have a history of pounding people for weeks at a time.

TENNESSEE -2 new york jets

I hate to get carried away seeing as how bad I have been, but this is the most confidence I've had in a best bet all season. The Jets are terrible. They have only won 2 in a row because their competition has been so weak. I can't believe people are seriously talking playoffs about this horrible team. Maybe this will be the week Mark Sanchez has a good game. But I wouldn't bet on it. Would rather bet against it.

Last Week: 1-4 (0 point)
Season: 28-42 (20 points)
Best Bets: 0-1 (3-11)
Home Favorites: 1-2 (6-20)
Home Underdogs: 0-0 (6-4)
Road Favorites: 0-1 (9-11)
Road Underdogs: 0-1 (7-7)

Let's Hope His Suspension Ends Before Conference Play Starts

Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams was detained at the mall, Destiny USA (I guess that's what used to be the Carousel Center) for shoplifting for Lord & Taylor. He put a bathrobe and gloves into his backpack in a fitting room.
Carter-Williams says the whole thing was a misunderstanding and evidently paid a $500 fine on his credit card and walked out of the store without police involvement.
The whole thing was caught on the security camera. Which shows he's so dumb he doesn't realize that every shoplifter tries to steal stuff while in the changing room, and thusly stores have cameras there.
He was stupid to try to steal the stuff in the first place, especially because with the way he has been playing he was a very big contract waiting for him next year.
Kids do stupid stuff, and in the grand scheme of things this is very minor.
But I hope people don't turn this into an argument in favor of paying college athletes. There is no way to ever pay them enough to satisfy them (even the pros complain and often go broke). I hope we don't hear that poor Michael Carter-Williams couldn't even buy his family Christmas gifts, so he had to steal them.
Big-time college athletes live the life. Everything they want, food, tutoring, respect, attention, girls, is available to them. And they do get a stipend, albeit small, but it is something.
This incident may remind some of you of Peter Warrick and Laverneus Coles getting busted for shop-lifting from Dillard's. Bobby Bowden more harshly punished Coles because Warrick was the better player. And maybe not coincidentally, Coles went on to become a much better pro.
Hopefully Carter-Williams will learn a serious lesson, sit out a game or two, and fly straight until such time as he gets drafted and signs a contract that will preclude him from ever stealing anything even again.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Best 5 Minutes of a 6-Hour Concert

The best part of the 12/12/12 concert other than the name (I love that date) and the money it raised for victims of Superstorm Sandy was this bit by Adam Sandler:

"The Mets have sucked since 86 Isiah tried to ruin the Knicks..."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The NFL is Poop - Week 14

An Old-Fashioned Ass-Kicking
The Arizona Cardinals received the opening kickoff in their game against the Seattle Seahawks, gained 41 yards on 4 plays and were facing a 3rd and 2 from the Seahawks 37. John Skelton threw an interception and it was all downhill from there. The Seahawks eventually won 58-0. What would have happened if Skelton hadn't thrown an interception and the Cardinals scored a touchdown? The final score would have been 58-7.
That is an adaption of a line from Sammy Baugh after the 1940 NFL Championship Game, the Bears beat the Redskins 73-0. That is still the worst shutout in history. There were 2 59-0 games, including the Patriots over the Titans a couple years ago.
Pete Carroll pulled starting QB Russell Wilson with 25 minutes left, but he let backup Matt Flynn throw the ball, to get him some reps supposedly. Now people are angry at the Seahawks for running up the score. I'm sick of this. This is the NFL, players get paid. This is not Pop Warner with kids' fragile psyches at stake. You don't like them running up the score, "stop them."

Where Did They Come From?
All of the sudden the Cleveland Browns are a hot team. After an 0-5 start they have won 5 of 8, the last 3 in a row. The befuddlement that marred the beginning of Brandon Weeden's rookie season seems to have cleared. He's had 4 straight games with a 78+ passer rating (average or better) and thrown 4 TDs and 3 INTs over that time. His fellow rookie Trent Richardson has also been effective, despite a low yards per carry average, he's run for 199 yards and 4 TDs during this short winning streak. The Browns are getting hot just in time to host the Redskins.

A Brief Rant About the Redskins It's nice to have a kicker who can actually make kicks, unlike Billy Cundiff. It's nice to have a backup quarterback who can come in and make plays, unlike Rex Grossman. It's nice to have a kick returner who can break one every once in a while, unlike Brandon Banks.
And it is great to have a quarterback like Robert Griffin III. Hopefully his knee injury is mild enough that he can play this weekend.
The Redskins got very lucky on a review, after Niles Paul fumbled, the Ravens recovered it cleanly, then lost it, and in the process of regaining it, touched out of bounds. On review it was overturned, the Redskins got the ball and on that drive scored the 8 game-tying points.

Game of the Week
Dallas Cowboys 20 Cincinnati Bengals 19

Amazing comeback by the Cowboys scoring 10 points in the 4th quarter and kicking the game-winning field goal with no time remaining. But amazingly for the second straight week a team won a day after an active player died in horrible circumstances. I don't know if it was emotion or coincidence, but it is pretty impressive how both teams pulled off these victories when it might have been easier to be emotionally detached from the game. I normally don't buy into the importance of emotion or other external motivators, but if this happens a third time, I will start to believe. And I will take that team as my best bet.

Picture of the Week
David Wilson does a backflip after each of his 3 touchdowns.

Game of Next Week
San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots

This may very well be a matchup of the league's best defense and it's best offense.

If the Super Bowl Were Played Today
New England Patriots 31 San Francisco 49ers 23

No one believes in the Falcons or Texans right now. Even though they both have the best records in their conferences, New England completely dismantled Houston and Atlanta lost to Carolina. The Falcons at least had lack of motivation on their side, but they better pick it up if they want to avoid a trip to San Francisco in the conference title game.

Song of the Week

"Little Saint Nick" - The Beach Boys

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bad Rappers for $100 Alex

We know that the quality of rap music has gone downhill recently. So I hate pretty much everything that comes out nowadays (and gets major radio airplay). But of all the bad things I've heard, nothing bothers me more when rappers describe the colors of their cars with a description no one would ever use.

For instance, the horrible Nikki Minaj defiled the remix of one of my favorite songs (Hold You by Gyptian, Song of the Week, 5/19/10) with "Got a new Benz the color of bacon bits." What color are bacon bits? Would anyone ever get a car in that color?

I hate mayonnaise. Why would anyone want a car that color? Is it white, off-white. Makes me sick just thinking about it. So why would 2 Chainz say "coupe the color of mayonnaise" in "Mercy" by Kanye West.

I expect those things from people like Nikki Minaj and 2 Chainz. But I expected better from Jadakiss. He's a rapper from my generation. And he's actually quite good. Except for that "Made You Look" remix with Nas, when he said "comin through the hood in the Aston Vanquish the color of dandruff." At least I know that's white.

90% of Success is Showing Up

I am against the wussification of America. I disagree with the notion that the only way to raise happy, well-adjusted children is to shield them from every possible negative occurrence until they are 18 years old. I am against the abolition of dodgeball. I am against games where everyone wins and no one loses. And I am against participation trophies. Until Chase played youth soccer.

Soccer, as it's played by the top professional in the English Premier League or Spain's La Liga is called "The Beautiful Game." It is the ultimate team game with 11 men working in unison, passing it to one another with such precision until one man has the tiniest opening to attempt to kick the ball past a goaltender who has cat-like reflexes.

When 5-year-olds play soccer, it bears no resemblance to that at all. The ball is kicked and all 10 (or 12 or 14) plays swarm around it. They kick at it until it squirts free or someone gets hurt (it's not an accident that they say shin guards are a requirement). There is no passing, just a lot of scrums and the occasional run where one player dribbles with everyone else, including his own teammates, trying to get the ball from him.

The first four weeks of the 8-week program were for training. The last four weeks they played games, if you can call them games. Chase was terrible. His skills were about average, again, only one or two kids per team actually know how to play. He was terrible because he was hardly paying attention. He was talking to someone, kicking the dirt, staring at a friend on another field. And when he did get in the game he acted as a personal bodyguard for the kid with the ball, running behind him, doing nothing.

One day when Mrs. Poop was at the game and I was home, she messaged me to tell me Chase was not even paying attention and that soccer for him at this age was a waste of time and money. Seconds later she said "never mind, he scored a goal."

As best as I can reconstruct it, Elliott "passed" him the ball and he booted it right past the goalie. He was thrilled. He told everyone. He was so proud.

And at the end of the season he got this trophy.

I understand everything you are thinking. There are no participation trophies in life. When everybody wins, nobody wins. Participation trophies breed and even celebrate mediocrity. I've said it all myself, and I still believe it.

But maybe we should put an age limit on tough love. At age 5 kids need encouragement. It's too early to separate the winners from the losers because of all the valuable things children can learn from participating in sports. Not just the development (work ethic, teamwork, socialization) but also in this age of obesity kids need exercise.

The trophy has provided Chase with pride. It made him feel like he accomplished something. And most importantly it's part of the reason he is so excited to start soccer again next fall. Plus the soccer ball on it actually spins.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Brotherly Love

Mrs. Poop did a pre-picture day photo shoot. The results are cute, and fairly typical. They wouldn't look or smile at the camera, and it ended with someone in tears.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Weekly Picks

I don't even know what to do anymore, except try to pick the Giants as my best bet. I've picked them three times, they are 0-3 ATS and 1-2 overall (ECPs, Bengals and Redskins).

atlanta -3 CAROLINA
I know the Falcons haven't been super-impressive lately but the Panthers stink. They just lost to the Chiefs. 3 points doesn't seem big enough here.

houston +3 1/2 NEW ENGLAND
That extra half-point makes Houston very attractive to me.

TAMPA BAY -7 philadelphia
The ExpensiveCornPrices are coming off a loss and can't afford another one. The Eagles are in total meltdown mode. I think the Eagles season is like a snowball rolling downhill. The worse it gets the more they quit.

SEATTLE -9 1/2 arizona
If the Cardinals struggle on offense against bad defenses what is going to happen when they play a good defense? And the Seahawks are undefeated at home.

INDIANAPOLIS -5 tennessee
The Colts have something special going. But they don't win big. They play a lot of close games which is probably why they aren't a bigger favorite here.

Last Week: 1-4 (0 point)
Season: 27-38 (20 points)
Best Bets: 0-1 (3-10)
Home Favorites: 0-2 (5-18)
Home Underdogs: 0-1 (6-4)
Road Favorites: 0-1 (9-10)
Road Underdogs: 1-0 (7-6)

How to Explain Hanukkah To Your Kids

Happy Hanukkah to all!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Song of the Week

"This Must Be Heaven" - Brainstorm
A beautiful 1970s soul classic. Smooth beat, great male/female duet, just absolutely awesome.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The NFL is Poop - Week 13

Let Them Play
At first I was against the NFL’s decision not to delay of cancel the Chiefs game in light of the murder/suicide committed by linebacker Jovan Belcher. Undeniably it’s an horrific situation, and I think asking the team and the fans to play a game just a day after it happened was insensitive at best and unfeeling at worst. I know it would have been a major inconvenience for the fans and it would have cost the team and the networks money. I doubt anyone would have complained too loudly about being disrupted by a tragedy such as this. But in the end the game went on as planned and the NFL said it was because of Romeo Crennel and the Chiefs. And as hokey as it may sound playing the game, the normal routine, may have helped the Chiefs get over it. The team hadn’t played with a lead all season (their only win came in sudden death) and finally won another game.

"As far as playing the game, I thought that was the best for us to do, because that's what we do," Crennel said, tears forming in the corners of his eyes. "We're football players and football coaches and that's what we do, we play on Sunday."
One of the most shocking parts of this is that when Belcher shot his girlfriend he fled to Arrowhead Stadium and Crennel and GM Scott Pioli were there trying to calm him down. Belcher shot himself in the head as Crennel and Pioli watched. If those are the circumstances, and Crennel still wants the game to proceed, then I’ll trust his judgement.

Better To Be Luck-y Than Good
In his first season Andrew Luck has had more incredible comebacks than most quarterbacks get in their lifetimes. When Luck threw an interception with under 7 minutes to go giving the Lions the ball and a 12 point lead, I thought the game was over.
But Luck immediately brought them back, scoring quickly on a 42-yard pass. 85 yard drive in a minute and 23 seconds. That was key because it forced Detroit to have to make a couple of first downs. They only made one, setting up Luck with 75 yards to go and 1:07 to get there.
And as time expired Luck hit Donnie Avery for the game-winning TD adding to his growing legend.

A Brief Rant About the Redskins
Another extraordinary game from Robert Griffin III. He ran at all the right times, threw some great passes, made plays when they needed to be made and got a little lucky. His fumble/swat that bounced right to Josh Morgan for a TD was admittedly a very fortuitous bounce.

There's a common expression in football, "the best offense is a good defense," because a good defense will set your offense up to score, or even score itself. But at the end of games the best defense is a good offense because the best way to keep a team from scoring to is to prevent them from getting the ball. When the Redskins got the ball back with 4 minutes to go I thought for sure I'd be biting my nails through a last-minute drive by Eli Manning. But Griffin ran for 8 yards on first down. Then he Pierre Garcon with what was pretty much the clincher. No points resulted from it, but that drive was crucial to winning the game.
The Redskins defense is horrible. The Giants cut through it with no problems at all. 60% on 3rd down, 5 plays of more than 20 yards, but in the second half they toughened up and made a couple key stops to secure the win.

Jumping Over a Low Bar
Greg McElroy is now the considered a savior in New York, not based on one drive, 29 yards passing and a touchdown, which was enough to win him the game and Player of the Game honors, but because he is not Mark Sanchez and not Tim Tebow.

Mark Sanchez threw up another stinker, 3 INTs in his first 9 pass attempts, and Tim Tebow was sidelined with a rib injury.

Note: not sure how serious the injury is but either he was just a decoy against the Patriots or he was benched this week so fans wouldn't start screaming his name the first time Sanchez fucked up.

Now the Jets have no choice but to start McElroy and see what happens. Sanchez has no future with them, nor does Tebow. Roll the dice with the new guy. The schedule is very favorable (@JAC, @TEN, SD, @BUF), and if they can somehow go 4-0 they have an outside shot at the playoffs.

Game of the Week
Seattle Seahawks 23 Chicago Bears 17

In any other year Russell Wilson would be a rookie sensation, the talk of the league, but in 2012, he's third-best. He led two great, late touchdown drives, one in regulation (another incredible TD by Golden Tate) and one in overtime. But had the Bears won the coin toss we might very well be talking about Jay Cutler and his 56-yard strike to Brandon Marshall setting up the game-tying field goal as time expired. A very frantic and exciting conclusion to this game.

Game of Next Week
Houston Texans and New England Patriots

This should be a shootout, and maybe an AFC title game preview.

Picture of the Week
All the football stuff pales in comparison this week to the Jovan Belcher suicide, the murder of Kasandra Perkins and the orphaning of their daughter, Zoey, 3-months.

If the Super Bowl Were Played Today
Houston Texans 31 Atlanta Falcons 24
Nothing ever changes, and no one else is even close.

Staten Island Suicide

Felicia Garcia was a 15-year-old high school student in Staten Island. She went to Tottenville. She had a hard life, was living in foster care because both her parents died when she was younger. She was depressed and had been on medication to treat it. As many young girls do, even ones from loving homes, she sought to increase her self-esteem and popularity through promiscuity.

After a football game she went to a party. She had sex with four football players at the party.
And it had the opposite effect on her popularity. She was made fun of in school, bullied on Facebook and Twitter, and pushed to the edge literally.
She was going home from school, waiting on the platform for the train to arrive. When the train finally arrived, a friend said "finally." Felicia said "yeah, finally" and then leaned back in front of the oncoming train which could not stop in time.
A couple disturbing trends in our society came together to spell doom for Felicia Garcia. Young girls feeling the need to have sex to gain acceptance and the bullying culture that's allowed to fester and grow on the internet.

Note: This happened about a week before Sandy and I never had time to write about it until now.

3000 Words

The airhorn door-stopper, best prank ever.

I looked up cuckold in the dictionary.

Sofia Vergara eating a banana. And this is part of the reason why I don't eat bananas. Though I think she is using too much teeth here.