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.