Saturday, October 05, 2013

Weekly Picks


philadelphia +1 NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants are absolutely brutal right now. I still think they could win a few games if they would just stop turning the ball over, but their offensive line is so bad that they can't run the ball, or give Eli the time to pass effectively.

kansas city -2 1/2 TENNESSEE
I hate picking against teams using their backup quarterbacks because so often those guys play better than we expect, remember Brian Hoyer? But I think Kansas City's success is based on not turning the ball over. So long as Alex Smith can keep the ball the Chiefs should win this game.

CINCINNATI -1/2 new England
This pick makes no sense except that the Bengals played poorly last week, and the Patriots played great in prime time. And teams don't always play the same way every week.

ATLANTA -10 new york jets
I was listening to the baseball playoffs on ESPN Radio NY. They were promoting the Jets game "Geno and the Jets will try to limit the turnovers..." If that's the best your hometown radio station can expect, you don't have much chance.

denver -7 1/2 DALLAS

Maybe I am a little late to jump on the Broncos bandwagon but they are so good, and the Cowboys are so bad, especially on defense. I have no idea how the hell they are going to stop Peyton. And I don't seem Denver just throwing up a random stinker.

Last Week: 1-4 (0 point)
Season: 7-13 (7 points)
Best Bets: 0-1 (2-2)
Home Favorites: 1-1 (3-3)
Home Underdogs: 0-1 (0-1)
Road Favorites: 0-1 (2-3)
Road Underdogs: 0-1 (2-6)

Friday, October 04, 2013

Money Well Spent

A group of Breaking Bad fans in New Mexico paid to post this obituary in the Albuquerque Journal. The paper knew it was a joke and published the faux-bit on page A4.

3000 Words

Clay Aiken and the Coat of Many Colors

Would you trust this shop?

My Chipotle order

Idiots Send Stock Soaring

The hottest stock on the markets today is Tweeter Home Entertainment, a bankrupt chain of consumer electronics stores that trades on the pink sheets under the ticker TWTRQ.
The stock closed yesterday at less than a penny a share, and hit a high around 13 cents this morning.
The pop in the stock is happening because of confusion with Twitter which will trade under the ticker TWTR.
I don't know how anyone could think that a stock could take preliminary steps to file for an IPO on Thursday and be trading on Friday, but at least a few people made that mistake, it seems, and once they did, the stock got attention, maybe from computers, which triggered more buying, which triggered even more buying.
But once the mistake was revealed the stock didn't crater to its previous level, instead it kept trading all day at at least 500% than yesterday's close.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The NFL is Poop - Week 4

Peyton Manning is Unbelievable
Peyton Manning continued his ridiculous season against he Philadelphia Eagles, leading the Broncos to a 52-20 win. Through 4 games he has some ridiculous stats including a 138 passer rating (122.5 is best all-time), 75% completion percentage (the record is 71.2%), while still throwing deep often enough to average 9.4 yards per attempt (which would be top 10 all time). And of course for the simple yet important stars, he has 16 touchdown passes (on pace for 64, the record is 50) and 0 interceptions (that too, would be a new record).
It's hard to imagine, based on how great he was, how injured he was, and how old he is, that Manning could possibly be better than ever, but he is. With games against Dallas and Jacksonville coming up, we should see his record-setting pace continue, though the Broncos may be winning by so much that he will have hand the ball off, or just yield to Brock Osweiler.

Even Eli Can't Save You Now
Eli Manning has been known for his ability to break out of cold spells with incredibly hot, and incredibly well-timed, streaks, two of which resulted in Super Bowl victories for the Giants. But I don't see any way he can turn this season around. The Giants are 0-4 and have been pounded 69-7 in the last two weeks against Carolina and Kansas City. Manning has been sacked 14 times this season, and hurried countless more. If they can't protect him better even Eli can't salvage this season.

A Brief Rant About the Redskins
Amazingly one win can turn around a season. Yes the Redskins still played poorly and had to squeak out a win against the lowly Raiders, but that one victory has completely changed their outlook. The Redskins are out this week but when they return they play Dallas, which could be for the division lead.
The defense has scored 3 touchdowns in the first halves of games this year. The offense has scored only one.
RGIII cannot escape pressure the way he did last year. He is not throwing accurately, and as Ron Jaworski pointed out, he doesn't seem to be stepping into this throws, instead throwing off his back foot, costing him accuracy and velocity.
But Alfred Morris is running well again, and it just might be good enough in a division where the three other teams are just as weak.

Game of the Week
Seattle Seahawks 23 Houston Texans 20

The Texans had this game won, they led 20-6, and then had the ball up 7 with 3 minutes left. On 3rd and 4 Matt Schaub chose to throw a horrible pass, telegraphed, which Richard Sherman not only intercepted but returned all the way for a touchdown. Just a horrible pass, and a horrible play call unless you know for sure your quarterback won't do something that stupid. The Texans still had chances to win this game in overtime but blew those too. A horrible loss and another sign that the Seahawks might be special this year.

Game of Next Week
New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears

There are actually some strong games on the slate this week but I like this one because it seems like the old Drew Brees has returned. He might have a tougher time doing that to the Bears secondary than he did with Miami's. And though it seems strange to say it after so many years of being untrue, the Saints actually have a good defensive line, and the Bears O-line, though not great is improving and probably better than the Dolphins line.

Picture of the Week
A bloody and beaten JJ Watt.

If the Super Bowl Were Played Today
Denver Broncos 100 New Orleans Saints 99

Both these teams are playing above the rim offensively right now, so much so that a basketball score (maybe a college one) is not out of the question if these two teams meet.

Song of the Week

"Dirty Laundry" - Kelly Rowland
The rebirth of Kelly Rowland continues with this very personal jam in which she vents about being jealous of Beyonce's success. She also talks about being beaten by an ex and everyone assumes it is former Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams. But the internet seems to have dispelled that notion and pointed the finger at a different boyfriend. Either way, in an age when so much music, especially hip-hop, isn't about anything, I enjoy hearing a real, true, painful personal story. It's what soul music is supposed to be.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Angry Biker Gangs Terrorize New York

There's a wild story whipping all of New York into a frenzy, but it's a little complicated so let me explain it as best as I can.

A huge biker gang tried to take over the West Side Highway, slowing down and blocking on ramps, so they could have the entire road to themselves. One car, driven by Alexian Lien got caught in the middle.

One biker, Christopher Cruz, purposely cut off Lien, who bumped into his rear tire. The bikers then surrounded the car, slashed his tires and one biker even opened the driver's side door. When that happened, Lien hit the gas and sped away, running over one of the bikers on the way out of Dodge.

CORRECTION: the first confrontation occurs 30 seconds into this video, when he bumps Cruz, and then runs over Edwin Mieses. You can see the right side tires go up in the air. The second confrontation occurs at about 4 minutes and 30 seconds into it:

The guy who got run over is Edwin Mieses. Both his legs are broken, he's in a medically-induced coma and could be permanently paralyzed.

Instead of helping their friend (maybe a couple did), the majority of the bikers took off after Lien. The finally caught up with him when he had to stop due to the slashed tires, attacked his car, eventually pulled him out and beat the shit out of him in front of his wife and 2-year-old daughter.

They beat the shit out of him pretty good, and slashed his face.

But he doesn't have any serious injuries. He will not be charged with a crime. The biker who started it all, Cruz, has been charged with menacing, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child.

Remember, his 2-year-old daughter was in the backseat. The same seat where one of these assholes was breaking the window.

This driver, Alexian Lin, did the right thing. He tried to protect his family from an attack. The only thing he should have done differently was run over more of them.

Playoff Predictions

National League:
Wild card: Reds over Pirates
Division Series: Dodgers over Braves (4), Reds over Cardinals (5)
Championship Series: Dodgers over Reds (6)

American League:
Wild card: Indians over Rays
Division Series: Tigers over A's (3), Indians over Red Sox (5)
Championship Series: Tigers over Indians (5)

World Series: Tigers over Dodgers (6)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Breaking Bad: "Felina"

This was not the ending I was hoping for.
Don't get wrong, I thought the ending was beautiful. Walt figured out an ingenious way to get at least some of his money to his family, a brilliant scheme, that made sense, and had a reasonable chance of working.
And that brings me to my problem with the episode, after 5 seasons of cleverness, of mental agility getting Walt out of every situation, they counted on ridiculous implausibilities too many times in the series finale.
1) The keys in the visor of the Volvo, oldest trick in the TV/movie book. Never happens in real life.
2) The ricin in the Stevia. Did she pour an open package into her tea, or did he somehow slip it in and reseal packet?
3) The button-operated machine gun. No way would that work, and no way those guys wouldn't check his trunk
4) Walt slipping into his own house and into Skyler's new one completely undetected by the cops who were stationed outside
5) No one anywhere recognizing him despite a nationwide manhunt.

But I don't want to dwell on the negative when so much great happened.

I love that Walt finally admitted he did it for him. I had always felt that his initial motivation was to provide for his family, but once he started he liked the power. He liked beating up the kid who made fun of Flynn, blowing up the obnoxious guy's car, "I am the danger," and "I'm in the empire business."

It was a very nice moment for him to admit what he did was for himself to feel powerful, not for the family, the family that he lost because of it. And he took one last look at Holly and Walt Jr.

"I liked it. I was good at it." That's what it was beautiful that he ended in the lab.

I guess it's open to interpretation whether he died that night on the floor in the lab from his injury, or whether the cops got him and he died shortly after from his cancer, but the implication is surely that his story ended.

As for Jesse, if we're in the speculating business, it was beautiful that he killed Todd and then drove off wild-eyed and crazed.

Why was he a carpenter in his dream? Is that a Jesus reference? Is he a Christ figure? Is Mrs. Iervese writing this show?

Note: Mrs. Iervese was our high school English teacher who thought every character in every book was a Christ figure, much to the chagrin of the Concierge who believed her overzealous interpretation of the literature made her an anti-Semite.

I guess my big takeaway is that Walt didn't regret it. He did the wrong thing for the right reasons, it went horribly wrong but it ended with him dying anyway (from the cancer, the gunshot wound, didn't matter) but providing for his family.

"Chemistry is the science of transformation," and some things when they change, can never change back.

10.3 million people watched the finale.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekly Picks

At least I'm consistent. 2-3 for the third straight week. But at least I got my best bet, so I am still somewhat respectable.

TENNESSEE -3 1/2 new york jets
I will keep picking against the Jets because I think they stink and have gotten lucky to even be in this position at 2-1.

HOUSTON +2 seattle
I don't know why I keep picking against Seattle seeing as how they are the second best team in the NFL right now. I just have my doubts. And Houston got blown out last week and I sense a strong bounceback performance.

ATLANTA -2 patriots
New England has played poorly and won so far this season. This seems like a game they could play well, and still lose. Atlanta does not want to fall to 1-3.

Miami +6 1/2 NEW ORLEANS
I'm a little uncomfortable about this one because I think the Saints will win, but this seems like too many points to be giving to a pretty good teams.

cincinnati -3 1/2 CLEVELAND

I have this theory about rookie quarterbacks/new starters. They tend to surprise people in their first game, but often times in the second game they fall back to Earth. The Bengals are an excellent team with an excellent defense, and I expect a huge victory here.

Last Week: 2-3 (3 point)
Season: 6-9 (7 points)
Best Bets: 1-0 (2-1)
Home Favorites: 1-0 (2-2)
Home Underdogs: 0-0 (0-0)
Road Favorites: 1-1 (2-2)
Road Underdogs: 0-2 (2-5)