Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Back


The holiday season’s crushing weight is now upon us. I can tell because people are getting crankier, more rude and – in some cases – down right hostile towards others.

Fa la la la la la la la la.

Apologies if I missed a ‘la’ in there.

Besides the obvious anxiety over what to buy whom, the stress of how much to spend, the trauma of actually seeing your own family there is the added fun of being guilted into donating to some work related charity.


I’ve already donated a bunch of canned goods for the Thanksgiving food drive and now our office manager has placed stars on the bulletin board in the common kitchen area. The idea is to help out some unfortunate family through the Salvation Army.

On each star is a person’s name with their wish list. Considering these are supposedly poor families there are quite a few iPods listed on the board. Damn, we ain’t made of money, either, you know.

The board had about 50 stars on it with varying requests. My eye caught one for Derek, age 10. On it was shirt and pants with listed sizes and I thought ‘What? You can’t give a 10 year old boy clothes for Christmas!’

So, I grabbed the star and am plotting a true Christmas surprise. I’ll get him some clothes, but it can’t just be that. I need to throw in something good. This is a young, impressionable boy and I have the opportunity to corrupt him in ways he and his parents couldn’t possibly imagine.

Here are some ideas with thoughts attached.

Year Subscription to Playboy: What better way to introduce a 10 year old to the wonders of the female form. Plus they really do have great interviews. Hopefully he can read.

Pros: Anatomy lessons = educational

Cons: May not understand the technique of air brushing thus setting him up for disappointment when he sees his first real woman.


Video Games: Thinking something like ‘Fallout 3’, ‘Saint Rows 2’ or my favorite ‘Blitz: The League’, which is a football game where ‘Steroid and drug use is encouraged and wins are celebrated with hookers in a hotel room’.

Pros: He can learn how the NFL really operates; other games will teach him targeting with guns and critical, quick crisis decision making. Like whether to shoot your own mother in the head or have her torn in half by a torture device in ‘Silent Hill: Homecoming’. Man, I love video games.

Cons: Potentially creating a homicidal sociopath who does 'roids and kills cats to celebrate a little league hit. Also, no clue which system he would be using so would have to buy it for Playstation, Xbox and Wii just to cover my bases.


Beer of the Month Club: No really.

Pros: Will develop his taste buds at an early age to differentiate between quality beers and anything put out by Anheuser – Busch.

Cons: Star of his very own ‘Intervention’ episode at ripe age of 13.


DVD/CD Duplicator: Who can’t use one of these?

Pros: Can earn extra money for struggling family by pirating the latest DVD releases and selling them to his friends.

Cons: Feds don’t look kindly on that kind of thing; most likely a federal juvenile record when all is said and done.


Netflix Subscription: Should probably go hand in hand with the gift above.

Pros: Entire family will benefit; DVDs he will duplicate and sell to strangers are delivered right to his door!

Cons: Can’t think of a single one.


The Martin Scorsese Box Set: Must include ‘Goodfellas’, ‘Casino’, ‘The Departed’, ‘Mean Streets’, and ‘After Hours’.

Pros: Teach the kid how to keep his DVD pirating empire running smoothly; lessons on keeping rats out of his criminal empire; body disposal techniques.

Cons: Could slip on the ‘F’ word which might result in grounding or missing a dinner.


Skydiving Lessons: Not sure if there is an age limit for this, but let’s assume the parents will sign a waiver.

Pros: Confidence building; kick ass story for recess.

Cons: Potential death.


Binoculars/Digital Camera: Boys like to see what’s going on. What?

Pros: Great for…um…bird watching. So he can take up that hobby. If he stumbles across the hot neighbor dressing by her window, then score!

Cons: Angry husband/boyfriend pounding on the door. Still the kid’s 10. Some guy going to beat up a 10 year old kid?

In reality I’ll probably just settle for one of those $20 built in video game systems. You know the ones that have 5 games built in and plug directly into you television set? One of those. You just can’t get a 10 year old boy clothes only. That’s blasphemous.

I’m off the rest of the week so everyone have a fantastic long weekend and enjoy the Thanksgiving NFL triple header. I know I will be. Or will be until I pass out on the couch.


Today’s distraction: A fun, yet increasingly difficult land mark game. It’s ‘Where on Earth?’ and it will take up much of your dead time for the next few days.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Week 12 Postmortem

It is a sad day at the beach. Today any chance I had at my league’s fantasy playoffs is going to end. Drew Brees is playing for me tonight, but unless he can single handedly score 130 fantasy points, I am done.

See, I was lucky enough to have not one, but two useless running backs start for my team. Mr. Brian Westbrook, who has been a shell of himself the last few weeks, and Mr. Willis McGahee, who seems to be healthy but had a grand total of 7 carries yesterday. I don’t blame McGahee as it seems to be his coaching staff that is holding him back. When he plays (which is a random event dictated by the stars and John Harbaugh’s menstrual cycle apparently) he is very good. If it sounds like I’m bitter, it’s because I AM! I don’t care if McGahee is hurt or will be limited due to game plans, but let me know that so I don’t start him. The past 5 weeks has been like playing the lottery when McGahee is on your fantasy team.

The Eagles, for their part, are a fucking mess. Donovan McNabb has been throwing to the opposing team more than his own receivers and was actually benched in favor of Kevin Kolb yesterday. Kevin Kolb??!! Westbrook has to be either really hurt or the offense is so confused it’s effecting everyone. Maybe it’s a combination of things. For them not to run Westbrook down the throat of an atrocious Bengals defense last week tells us that either Westbrook is injured or the coaching staff is smoking crack at halftime.

The only thing I know for sure is Donovan McNabb or Andy Reid will not be with this team next year. Keep in mind this is the same team that tore things up in the first 5 games of the season. What the hell happened?

As for the Patriots, last week's Cassel performance was not a fluke. If anything, yesterday’s dismantling of a very good Dolphins team was even more impressive. In fact, I may have completely fallen in man love with Cassel when, on a 4th and 1, he plowed his way ahead for a first down and kept going. And going. And going. Not only did he not fall down, he gained 6 yards on a quarterback sneak and most of that was spent carrying four defensive linemen with him.

But that wasn’t even the best part! When the play was over, he shouldered his way back to the huddle, making sure to bump as many Dolphin players as he could on the way past. He didn’t say a word, just walked through a crowd of players with a ‘Get the fuck out of my way’ attitude that just made him a New England favorite.

I never thought I’d say this, but if the defensive side of this Patriot’s team can heal in time for the playoffs AND if the Pats get in, they are going to be trouble. Cassel is fearless and confident now. Moss and Welker are happy and producing, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis are a formidable running back team, and Cassel brings a new facet to the QB position by showing he’s not only willing, but quite able to take off running when the opportunity presents itself.

Let’s just say things are looking up for this Patriot’s team.

Other notes:

- I’m officially protesting this weight loss contest. The scale being used is suffering from schizophrenia. Last week I missed by .3% with a 205.4 weight. This week I initially got on the scale and it read 200.8. I got off to wait for my witness (no taking people at their words on this one) and when I got back on I weighed 201.4. Um, what? I got off and got back on and it was another weight. We finally settled on the 201 reading because that one came up more than once after retrying 5 times.

I still made my quota, but now I’m wondering if I got screwed last week. There is no way I lost 4-5 pounds over the past week. Just not possible.

As an experiment I re-weighed myself with shoes back on and my witness having left. It came up as 206, which seems high for a simple pair of shoes. I then moved the scale to the other side of the room and it weighed in at 211!!!! Say it with me: What the fuck?

I should have known something was fishy when one of our contestants has claimed a 20 pound weight loss in less than 5 weeks. What’s truly bizarre is he doesn’t look much different. Sure, he looks a bit lighter, but 20 pounds?! Sorry, dude, but I’m not buying it.

Considering there is $2500 riding on this, I feel I need to say something. Apparently other people have known about the scale issues, but haven’t said anything or are benefiting from the fluctuations and just keep taking the lowest weight. Either way, I’m getting screwed and I don’t like that at all.

- I’ll say it again (even though it kills me): The Giants are the best team in football. Best defense, best running game, best ability to completely control the game from beginning to end. Hell, even Eli made some key third down throws.

That said, even in the loss, Arizona proved they can hang with any team.

- Denver and Philly sure look familiar. Both started off on fire only to have their flames flicker to nearly nothing. Oakland just put up 31 points on the Broncos which is the grand total the Raiders scored in their last four games combined.

- Please, please, PLEASE can we stop talking about a ‘subway’ Super Bowl? First of all the Jets and Giants play in the same friggin’ stadium. Second, they don’t even play in New York. Third, as everyone in Green Bay knows, while Favre can bring your team to the playoffs he can just as easily kill your chances once you get there. For further explanation refer to Favre’s final game with the Packers.

- Every time I see Michael Turner’s name in the box score I cringe remembering how I ragged on the guy that picked him in the first round in our fantasy league. In my defense, I wasn’t the only one.

And since we’re here, Atlanta is going to be one tough team if they make the playoffs.

- The St Louis Rams have been outscored 95-6 in the first half of their last 3 games.

- Culpepper’s celebration over his touchdown pass was a bit over the top, don’t you think? Dude, you didn’t just win the Super Bowl (or even the game) with that pass. Tone it down a bit until you win at least one game, ok? Just so you’re prepared, that might not be until next year.

- I just looked into the most productive running backs for fantasy purposes. Here is how most drafts went in the preseason:

Tomlinson or Peterson (first or second decided by a coin flip)
Joseph Addai
Larry Johnson
Stephen Jackson (both Jackson and Johnson went before I selected Westbrook, but this may be different depending on the league)
Brian Westbrook
Marion Barber
Frank Gore
Marshawn Lynch
Clinton Portis
Brandon Jacobs
Reggie Bush

Note: I think someone may have taken Ronnie Brown ahead of Reggie Bush, but can’t swear to that.

Here are the actual most productive running backs for the year:

Michael Turner
Matt Forte
Clinton Portis
Adrian Peterson
Thomas Jones
Marion Barber
Frank Gore
Brandon Jacobs
DaAngelo Williams
Maurice Jones-Drew

What does this tell us? Nothing. Except that none of us knows what we’re doing when we draft our players. It’s a complete crap shoot. For example, if I had to do it over again I still would have taken Westbrook over Barber or Gore. Jacobs was always out of the question as I can’t root for any Giants player. That goes a hundred fold for Eli.

- Did you know Houston beat Cleveland? Yeah, nobody else cared, either.

- Not that I closely follow it now, but I’m officially done with college football until they come up with a playoff system. For the umpteenth year in a row the system is littered with single loss teams with everyone depending on a ‘coaches poll’ to decide who are the top 5 teams in the country.

Done!! I will no longer watch for the same reason I don’t watch gymnastics, diving, or figure skating: Because competition does not rely on judgment calls. Ever. You can’t have championships decided on by votes. You see this in no other major sport, be it college or professional. Even the Canadian Football League has a clear cut champion. There is no doubt or controversy about who wins it.

So there you go, Division 1A football. You are currently less credible that the CFL. Get with the program and figure out a playoff system already.


Today’s distraction: After everything that happened yesterday, Donovan McNabb will start on Thanksgiving against the Cardinals. Is there any doubt Andy Reid has lost his fucking mind? Pay attention to the part where Reid didn’t even have the balls to tell McNabb he was being benched, but had the QB coach tell him instead. There’s leadership for you. No wonder the Eagles are shitting the bed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beantown

A few Boston/Massachusetts related items to pass along today.

- Diane Wilkerson, our fine state senator who was filmed by federal agents stuffing kick backs into her bra, finally resigned yesterday. Her resignation was hand written (she probably doesn’t know how to use Word or likes the personal touch) and was effective immediately.

The state legislature gave her little choice since they were going to vote her ass out of the building if she didn’t quit. Not coincidentally, she was indicted on eight charges of extortion yesterday and faces up to 20 years in prison. That should be a fun trial. Wonder if her ‘bodyguards’, who made a point of purposely bumping into reporters and cameramen on the way out of the State House yesterday, will be with her?

- In a related note, another state senator resigned on Friday. J. James Marzilli quit after being arrested for harassing four women in the Lowell area. Details are hazy about the incident, but I’m guessing some sort of rehab stint is in his future.

- Look, I’m a Dustin Pedroia fan like most of the people in the state, but he did not deserve to win the MVP. Christ, he wasn’t even the MVP of the Red Sox. That distinction goes to Kevin Youkilis who hit only 10 points lower that Pedroia, knocked in over 100 runs, picked up his run production after the Manny trade, and plays Gold Glove caliber defense at two critical positions. Youkilis, not Pedroia, is the one player the Sox would miss more than any other.

- The Coco Crisp era in Boston is officially over. With all the trade talk involving Crisp the past two seasons is a middle reliever the best the Sox could get for him? This Ramirez better be good. I should note that Crisp was a favorite of my eight year old and he uttered those famous words ‘That’s it! I’m never watching the Red Sox again!’ when he learned of the trade. Strong reaction from a kid who basically liked Crisp because of his name.

- Rumors are circulating that the Sox are pursuing AJ Burnett. If they manage to sign him and gaining Ramirez puts Justin Masterson back in the rotation, the Sox lineup will look like this: Beckett, Dice-K, Lester, Burnett, Masterson. Holy shit!

- For those unfamiliar with the Boston area, the Mass Pike is our main ‘toll road’ that runs east – west in our state. Anyone traveling from Boston to New York or any western states winds up driving on it. Those outside the state know it simply as Route 90.

Well, a battle has been brewing between the Mass Turnpike Authority and the Governor, Deval Patrick, for some time. Patrick wants to get rid of the Authority altogether and hand control of the Pike over to the same group that handles Logan Airport. At the very least merge them into the State Highway Department.

The Authority, in an effort to pay off the most expensive project in US history (The Big Dig) wants to raise tolls. By a lot! Like some would double. The Ted Williams tunnel that leaves the airport would go from $3.50 to $7!!! The standard tolls on the Mass Pike would go from $1.25 to $2.

This news is giving Patrick some new allies. Representative David Linsky is going to introduce a bill into the state legislature that would eliminate every single toll in Massachusetts. However, in order to make up the lost revenue gas tax would go up six cents a gallon.

Sure that seems steep, but even with the six cent increase, Massachusetts would still be below the national average. Besides, why are the people that drive the Pike on a daily basis more responsible than the rest of us for paying for road repairs and bridge maintenance? Shouldn't everyone pay their fair share?

I say yes. Besides getting rid of traffic clogging toll booths, revenue would probably increase. Imagine every single driver paying a tax rather than a select few who happen to drive a particular road. Sadly, this is Boston and change comes at a snail’s pace. You can be sure this will be the equivalent of a political steel cage match and will get very bloody before things are settled. Doesn’t matter how sensible the plan or idea is; if it’s new and attempts to change the status quo people will fight to the death over it.

- For a truly bizarre story, check out the nutjob that’s leaving high quality cuts of meat in a public park in Framingham. It’s been happening once a week for the last few weeks. Of course, since we’re living in the era of psychos and terrorists the people are concerned the meat may be poisoned or booby trapped or something. Maybe someone is just trying to feed a local werewolf and keep residents safe? Man alive, everyone keeps jumping to the worst case scenario.

- Boston.com just released it’s 25 Most Stylish Bostonians and have included my latest crush on the list: Sorboni Banerjee. Besides spending my morning workouts watching her on the news, I happened to see her in Boston one summer day preparing for an onsite report and she is one of the few people that looks better in person. She looks good on television, but it doesn’t do her justice.

- Saw this story on Fox last night and still can’t figure out why this is even on the news. A baby died of SIDS while in the care of a woman in Winchester. Now SIDS – from my understanding – is basically a baby dying of natural causes and there is no way to prevent it. You can take steps to reduce the risk, but there is still no certainty. As it turns out (and is mentioned at the tail end of the report) the day care worker did everything correctly and no charges are going to be filed. Just a horrible tragedy that this news channel is trying to make into something it isn’t.

- It’s been almost nine years since 9 Worcester firefighters were killed in a warehouse blaze. They mistakenly thought there were homeless people trapped inside and had rushed in to get them out.

Yesterday a new, state of the art, fire station was opened and dedicated to those nine firefighters. Why is this unusual? Well, the new station was built in the same spot the warehouse burned to the ground. The fire station itself is the memorial. Not uncovered yet are two statues outside the station that will be unveiled on the 9 year anniversary. I complain enough when politicians and people fuck things up, so here is kudos to the Worcester people for erecting a touching, classy and functional memorial.

- Finally, a sentimental loss for me. Atlantic Supermarket is going out of business. This is the town I grew up in and I used to stop at Atlantic on the way home from school most days and steal candy. Sadly, I'm not even kidding. Ah, such fond memories…


Today’s distraction: Play some tennis. Turn your volume down if at work because you might be playing this for a while.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Save Taz!




Like most children, I spent my Saturday mornings watching Looney Tunes and learning invaluable life lessons such as:

- Guns don’t kill people, they just make your face black and your hair smoky. Unless you’re a duck in which case it will flip your bill around.

- Acme invests more in attorney fees than research and development.

- Fat, bald hunters with lisps are stupid.

- Coyotes never catch food and should be extinct out of sheer ineptness.

- Rocket roller skates look AWESOME!! Just don’t buy them from Acme as it will all go horribly wrong. Launching yourself out of a giant slingshot looks fun, too.

- Opera and children’s cartoons don’t mix.

- Keeping the cat that keeps trying to eat your bird takes a toll on your home owner’s insurance.

- Southern roosters are funny. And lazy. And big.

And, of course,

- Tasmanian Devils are whirling, swirling agents of mass destruction and will eat anything in it’s path. Like piranha on land. Fortunately, they’re also stupid as shit and will fall for every trick in the book.

Of course, I have since learned much of those things are not true (rocket roller skates, for example, really chafe your ankles). One of those being that the real life Tasmanian Devil is a cute, little rodent that is considered a national treasure in Tasmania. See? Tasmania? Tasmanian Devil? It’s from Tasmania but isn’t really a devil. I know. It’s confusing.


Look, no tornado for legs!

Anyway, back in 1996 a few devils were discovered with a new, rare and – more importantly – transmissible cancer. Since that first batch were found up to 90 percent of the devil population has been wiped out in certain areas. The cancer displays itself first as facial tumors that spread and enlarge, which then restricts the ability for them to breath and eat. Most die from starvation.

Facial wha????

If the trend continues, officials say, the Tasmanian Devil will be extinct in 10 - 20 years. And the trend will continue as it appears the cancer is spread between the devils whenever they fight or mate.

Great. A cancer that spreads like a virus. Fucking fantastic.

So what are the geniuses who know such things doing about this? Glad you asked!

First, the Tasmanian government are going to take 200 cancer free devils and place them in quarantine. Just in case, you know, none of the other so called ‘solutions’ work. Consider it an insurance policy.

Second, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory based in New York (real close to Tasmania) ‘in collaboration with 454 Lifesciences is committing resources to sequence parts of the devil’s genome in an effort to increase the odds of saving them from extinction’. So they have that going for them.

What this means is CSHL is trying to figure what exactly this thing is. As they say ‘The process by which the disease spreads among the devils has only been seen once before and represents a new field in cancer biology’, which is comforting. Adding to the problem is the simplistic nature of the devil’s immune system. Since there is a lot of inbreeding, the devil’s system may not even recognize that the cancer is a foreign body and doesn’t attack it or defend itself. Even their immune systems are stupid!

By sequencing both the devil’s and cancer genes, researchers hope to have a better idea on how to fight it.

They’ll have help, too. Australia has offered use of it’s $200 million dollar synchrotron to help the devils. What’s a synchrotron? Hell if I know. Go to this link to get a better idea and take a look at the size of the friggin’ thing. If they can’t map out the genome of the devil or cancer, just put the healthy ones in this room and let them run around.

Dr. Jeff Church (who doesn’t sound Australian at all when you read his quotes) ‘says he will use the synchrotron to see if the disease causes any biochemical changes in the devils which could be detected in their hair before the disease becomes apparent’. He also says ‘The infra-red spectrum tells us about protein and fat structure and whether it’s changing, but the technology to do such work using a synchrotron is comparatively new, and the Australian facility is one of relatively few around the world where it is available’.

He sums up this crappy pep talk with ‘It might work or it might not’. Thanks, Doc!

But wait! There’s more. University of Adelaide zoologist Dr. Jeremy Austin is spearheading a government initiative to try and save the critters. Thankfully, this is the actual Tasmanian government and not some random country halfway around the world (Hello, CSHL!). Dr Austin?
‘We have lost over half our devils in the past 10 years, with an estimated population of 20,000 to 50,000 mature devils left. Extinction within the next 20 years is a real possibility unless we find a vaccine, eradicate the disease and establish captive colonies’.

Here here!

So fear not, Taz fans. Mankind will use technology, ingenuity, and gobs of money in order to save the beloved Tasmanian Devil.

They’ll be wreaking havoc again in no time.


Today's distraction: A hilarious story about how Bill Clinton could pose problems for Hillary being appointed Secretary of State. What isn't mentioned, but is between the fine lines, is the fear he will be prowling the halls of the White House looking for the interns and anything else that has a vagina.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Week 11 Postmortem

I was torn watching last Thursday night’s Patriots – Jets game. I was thrilled to see Matt Cassel finally shed that dreaded ‘Tom Brady’s backup’ label and become his own man. That last second touchdown scramble/pass was a thing of beauty.

On the flip side I was annoyed because Cassel was going against me in fantasy and proceeded to put up more points than my two running backs combined. To say my ass is getting handed to me is an understatement.

To give you a glimpse into my fantasy nightmare, here is who my opponent played and their stats. Feel my pain!

Matt Cassel – 400 YDS/3 TDS/0 INTS
Hines Ward – 11 RECS/124 YDS
TJ Houshmandzadeh – 12 RECS/149 YDS /TD
Matt Forte – 64 YDS Rushing/40 YDS Receiving (Note that this is the only guy that had a below average day)
Kevin Smith (see?) – 112 YDS Rushing/23 YDS Receiving
Marion Barber (fuck me!) – 114 YDS Rushing/23 YDS Receiving/ TD

Even his fucking kicker scored 13 points for him! Still not sure what hit me.

It’s not like I had a bad day, either (although both Westbrook and Hightower crapped out on me for the second week in a row). I was smart enough to play Welker and sit McGahee who was going up against the Giants D this week and Brees, Roddy White, and others had decent days.

In fact, I just looked at the scores and I would have beaten half the teams playing. I just happen to be up against an unstoppable force known as Matt Cassel. Damn!

Onto some game thoughts. Due to the Patriots playing Thursday night, I got to watch four (or flip back and forth anyway) games plus part of the Sunday night game.

- Let’s get this out of the way now. That Eagles – Bengals game was a fucking travesty. It wasn’t even snowing or raining. Westbrook never got going for whatever reason. I thought he would run all over that crappy Cincinnati team. McNabb turned the ball over 4 times himself (fumble and 3 INTS) and basically killed any chance Philly had of pulling this off.

Did you know Philly has NEVER won in Cincinnati? Never! Yesterday makes things no different.

One other note on this game. Our office has a double elimination football pool. Everyone puts in money and you simply pick the winner for one game per week. No spread or points, just pick the winner (although you can’t pick the same team twice).

Lose twice and you’re out. Well, the comish of the league decided that the Bengals – Eagles game will count as a win for both sides. Needless to say this is causing quite an uproar! Although it’s basically not a loss, either. Poor bastard can’t win no matter which way he goes.

- I don’t care that Tennessee is undefeated, the team playing the best right now is the Giants. They took a very good Ravens team and ran all over them on both sides of the ball.

That said, the play of Eli Manning has to be a big, loudly flapping, red flag for this team. What happens when he needs to win a game for them? And, please, don’t point to the Super Bowl as an indicator as that catch was the luckiest friggin’ play in NFL history.

- On the same train of thought, I don’t care that the Dolphins are 6-4. They barely beat the Raiders yesterday and barely beat an equally crappy Seattle team last week. Not impressed.

- Did anyone think Kurt Warner would have four straight 300 yard passing games this season? How about four 300 yard passing games overall? Considering he wasn’t even the starter at the beginning of the season makes his number 1 fantasy status that much more incredible.

- How long do you think it will take Dallas coaches to realize that their best opportunity to win is to get the ball into Marion Barber’s hands as often as possible? Romo has little to do with it. Get it to Barber anyway you can and let him carry the team. We’re 11 weeks into the season and they haven’t figured it out, yet.

- Last week the Rams entered halftime to the Jets down 40 – 0. This week they ran into the locker room at the half down 35 – 3. So....they’re improving.

- The Carolina Panthers are the best team nobody is talking about. Currently 8-2, they ran up, over and around the Lions yesterday. Sure, it was the Lions, but check out what their two running backs did:

Jonathan Stewart – 15 rushes for 130 yards. 1 TD
DeAngelo Williams – 14 rushes for 120 yards. 2 TDS

Total: 29 rushes for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ouch! Surprised they passed the ball at all.

- Kudos to both Fox and NBC yesterday for switching out of blow out games to competitive ones. They need to do that more often. I’m sick of watching scores on the bottom of the screen while stuck viewing a 40-3 disaster. Glad they’re trying to change things up and keep us invested. More. Do that more!

- My only complaint was that NBC switched from the Giants – Ravens game to bring us the debacle known as the Eagles – Bengals game. Proof that just because the score is tied doesn’t mean we actually want to watch it.

- What has happened to Chicago’s defense? The Packers did whatever they wanted to them and Minnesota did the same a couple of weeks back. Wasn’t defense the reason they were supposed to be good?

- For the first time in NFL history, a game ended with the score 11-10. It was the Steelers – Chargers game and was probably uglier than the Eagles game. I thought the Steelers had returned a fumble for a touchdown in the last few seconds, but they disallowed it for some reason I’m not clear about. Maybe the refs just wanted to be part of history.

- Since I had Friday off, I stayed up for the entire Pats – Jets game and came away with that awful, hollow feeling inside. I thought the Pats should have gone for a two point conversion on the tying touchdown, by the way. The Jets were demoralized and shocked and it was a perfect opportunity to catch them off guard.

While we’re here, can we please just play an extra 10 minute quarter (I can be talked into 15) and get rid of this sudden death OT? At the very least, give the team that didn’t win the coin flip a chance to out score the opponent.

For example, one team wins the coin flip and kicks a field goal. The other team then has a chance to score a touchdown to win. But they can only score a touchdown; field goals are useless. This way the coin flip winner still has an advantage, but each team is given an opportunity to score.

However, if the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown the game is over.

How about it, NFL?

- One final note: I missed my goal weight for the first time in this competition. By .3%. Please note that dot in front of the 3. So, I need to get down to 202 by next week which is going to be tough. I basically need to lose 3 pounds. Goodbye all sweet stuff.

Oddly, I didn’t have any beer this past week which leads me to believe my body needs beer to function properly. I shall rectify that this week.


Today’s distraction: Welcome to The Filter. Enter in three movies or artists you like and it will recommend new bands or movies that you may also like. Sort of like Pandora only it covers more area.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Busy Work

Since I’m off for the rest of this week due to minor surgery (not me and not penile enlargement) I figured I would grant you all your life long wishes and post another random bunch of excess thoughts, links and rants to carry you through the long, dark days ahead.

Hey, I care. What can I say.

- I can’t figure out if this is good news or not. Was rest all Papi needed? If so, why didn’t they just tell him to take the rest of the season off and not fuck with things any more than they had to. Something tells me surgery is in his future and they’ll realize it right around spring training.

- This headline made me laugh: ‘Obama may reverse Bush policies’. Really? Not only should he reverse them, he should create legislation that wipes the last four years from every history book in the universe. As it turns out the story refers to stem cell research, oil drilling, and Planned Parenthood funding.

- Here’s some free advice for our President Elect: Look at what your predecessor did and do the exact opposite. Simple, yet effective.

- I keep seeing ads for the new Blackberry Bold or Storm or whichever has the iPhone look to it and get aggravated every time. See, I’ve used an iPhone for a bit and I FUCKING hate it. The screen keyboard keys are so small that I kept hitting two letters at the same time. It took me a solid three minutes to type a simple one sentence text to someone because I had to keep backspacing due to typos. Of course, the iPhone is huge so every other phone is going to copy the same interface and make my life a living hell. Why do companies ignore the big fingered, above average height people in this world? WHYYYYYYYYYY??????

- Remember that sidewalk chalk artist? Here are some more for you viewing pleasure. I notice a lot are of people falling into Hell or something. Hope he’s not degenerating into some homicidal, religious nut. Might explain why he's working in the street.

- We always make fun of stupid criminals (and point and laugh, usually) but here is one that thought ahead. He even used CraigsList to arrange things. Smart mofo!

- Here are 5 Human Wonders (which I assume means 5 wonders built by man. But if that’s the case than shouldn’t The Great Wall of China and others be a part of this list?). Instead we have an air conditioned bus stop for those spoiled brats in Dubai and the future of every parking garage in every American city. Hoo-fucking-ray!

- Kill some time trying to find places you know. I spent about 20 minutes trying to zoom in on my house.

- Feel good about your failures. At least they weren’t caught on film like these. Although, some look touched up.

- See if you can figure out what to do here.

- Like I need to tell my readers this, but here is photo evidence why friends are more dangerous than beer. Beer doesn’t help – obviously – but just remember this is what you’ll probably look like when they finally figure out you died of alcohol poisoning and weren’t just passed out. Still, imagine the looks on their faces. Priceless.

On a related note, a Patriots cheerleader was just fired for having her picture taken with someone in this condition. Literally. It was some passed out person with magic marker all over them. And she was fired for simply being in the picture. I'm not even sure Patriot cheerleaders get paid.

- There is a big hullabaloo (love that word and need to use it more often) about Malden, MA being named one of Business Week’s Best Places to Raise Your Children. Not because of pride, but outright shock. A woman who lived there reacted this way when interviewed about it: ‘REALLY??!!’ Ah, nothing like local pride.

I live on the Malden line and spent 7 years living there before buying a house and in Malden’s defense, they have done a ton of work there in recent years. Beautiful landscaping around any public area, the local schools have been renovated and updated, there is a perfect mix of local run businesses and franchises like McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts, and the public transit system is accessible from anywhere in the city.

On the other hand, I can say the same thing about my own city. So….whatever. Congrats, Malden.

- Here are seven signs you have a work spouse. I read through these and realized I have not one, but two work spouses. What the hell?? Does this mean I’m a work polygamist? Before you get, like, all up in my face about this, allow me to read you the definition of a work spouse: ‘a co-worker of the opposite sex with whom you have a close platonic relationship. In many ways, these relationships can mirror a real marriage.’

Please note the ‘platonic’ in that sentence. However, a real marriage usually involves fights over money and not having sex and shopping habits and doing chores around the house and who is more awesome. A work spouse only includes the fights about who’s more awesome, which means – in many ways – you’ll have a better relationship with your work spouse than your actual spouse.

Make sure you check out the pluses and minuses of having a work spouse. Things like:

‘You have a friend who provides emotional support at work during challenging times. During times of stress at home or at work, you have a built-in support system.’

Or most importantly

‘Having a trustworthy co-conspirator for those occasional workplace escapades (and juicy gossip) can be beneficial, and often acts as a way to release work-related stress.’

Oh yeah! Having someone you can totally trust with pranks around the office is key! As is having someone to keep you in the loop on office scandals.

Some negatives:

‘If your real spouse becomes aware of their counterpart, it can create issues in your real-life marriage.’

Not sure I buy this one as wifey is aware I pal around with these two at work. In fact, she’s met them both and they seem to like her more than me. Understandable, believe me.

- Some ‘funny ass’ pictures. Actually, they’re just ok, but love the baby’s shirt. May not be safe for work, so beware.

- If you’re in the mood for some truly inspired photography instead, try this link. Awesome images.

- If you love music, check out Jamsbio. It’s a new online magazine that will let you search new music or even give you suggestions for other bands you may like. Kind of like Pandora but with random lists and articles.

- A game that will send you into fits. You basically eyeball shapes and position midpoints to what you think is the proper form. Good luck!

- Another US geography test for you. Place the states in their proper places in our fine country.

- And lastly, had another weigh in on Monday and only lost a pound. I’ve lost 3.6% of my starting weight and need to get over 4% by next Monday. Major gym time is scheduled for this weekend. Oh, and I’m up to 1.75 miles a day. Hoping to get to 2 by Monday, so that will help shed a few percentage points.

Enjoy the weekend, y’all!


Today’s distraction: OK, one more. A highly addictive and mentally challenging game in which you design contraptions to get the pink ball into the pink square. Take the tutorial as it makes much more sense. Oh and turn your volume down if at work.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Week 10 Postmortem

During the Sunday’s games I received my weekly call that is barely a call at all from my buddy. No actual conversation takes place as he usually just launches into an unholy cascade of curses and expletives so drastic I’m afraid my boys can hear it from the other room. It was during one of these calls last year that he inadvertently created the perfect nickname for Patriots running back Lawrence Maroney: Suck Fuck Maroney.

That name has stuck.

Sunday’s call had to do with his complete inability to get any sort of production out of his two prime wide receivers. Namely Plaxico Burress and Terrell Owens. Yup, he’s got both of them on his team. This is the same guy that drafted Tom Brady with the third pick, I should remind everyone. If I don’t, he’ll be sure to. Trust me on that.

While ‘discussing’ these two receivers he uttered another soon to be famous line: ‘Owens and Burress, they both display the true sense of suckassness’. Not sure if suckassness should be one word or two or even three, but I’m very fond of it. It gets across the impression of wasted roster spaces on your fantasy teams, but leaves a hint of hope. That they just might get it together. You can be sure he would think a long time before trading them.

Therefore, Suck Fuck is much worse than suckassness. Suck Fuck means there is no hope. You just suck. Plain and simple. My bet is Maroney goes undrafted next year. Why take a chance on him when you can pick Kevin Faulk in later rounds and get the same amount of production from a third down or specialty back. Maroney is the true essence for Suck Fuckiness.

It also got me thinking about what other players we can add to these categories. Since we’re halfway through, let’s do the old rundown. The old rundown has been lacking from this space for far too long.

Off we go.

SUCK FUCK DIVISION

RBS:

Joseph Addai: He was my MVP last year and would have selected him with my first pick had I the chance. So what happened? Injuries to him and the Colts offensive line haven’t helped, but this entire Colt offense looks creaky and ancient.

Preseason Rank: 5

Actual Rank through week 10: 143

Larry Johnson: What a disaster. He plays poorly when he does play, then gets himself into trouble, hurt, then suspended. I think I speak for many fantasy owners, Mr. Johnson, when I say ‘bite me!’

Preseason rank: 10

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 126

Darren McFadden: Yeah, he’s a rookie, but he was considered the cream of the crop. One of my colleagues actually took him in the third round but, like everything Raider related, it all turned to shit.

Preseason rank: 29

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 181


QBS:

Carson Palmer: Forget the injury and look what he did the first quarter of this season. Oh, that’s right! You can’t, because he did jack shit. I was lucky enough to draft him in my other, largely irrelevant league that had the added bonus of listing certain ‘franchise’ players. If you owned one of them you could not simply drop them off your roster. They had to be traded or benched. Palmer was one of them which meant I was stuck with him on my roster until the Bengals officially announced he was out for the season.

Couldn’t happen soon enough.

Preseason Rank: 42

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 1830

Derek Anderson: Played just well enough that many owners still played him, hoping for that breakout game and just shitty enough to cripple your entire team.

Preseason Rank: 51

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 88 with a seat on the bench

Vince Young: Look, nobody was expecting him to be Tom Brady but we expected SOME sort of improvement. Anything. Instead we get a minor leg injury, a police chase, a suicide attempt and 18 new reasons to stay the hell away from him next year.

Preseason Rank: 123

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 2058

Jon Kitna: If anything, this guy’s even more of a disaster. Everyone expected decent numbers for a crappy team (and got some of that the first few games), but then a mysterious back injury that Kitna says isn’t that serious, a Lions team in complete disarray, and misery approaching historic proportions ended any hope of that.

Preseason Rank: 124 (just below Young. Hmmmmmm)

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 1738

Matt Leinart: Not even an injury to blame here. He just sucks.

Preseason Rank: 150

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 2077


WRS:

Marvin Harrison: We all expected him to be a step slower this year, but to nose dive into irrelevancy so drastically is startling. And, yes, I selected him in the seventh round or something and still feel like it’s a wasted pick.

Preseason Rank: 56

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 156

Torry Holt: Maybe it’s the quarterbacks for that team, but we may as well stick a fork in Holt. He is done.

Preseason Rank: 28

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 179

Jerry Porter: Forget your fantasy team, look what this signing has done to Jacksonville’s real team.

Preseason Rank: 105

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 1842

Braylon Edwards: I debated adding him to this division as a lot of people would probably hold onto him and hope he turns it around, but he just doesn’t seem to be trying very hard at times. Case in point – Sunday. 1 reception for 15 yards.

Preseason Rank: 17

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 89


SUCKASSNESS DIVISION

For clarity’s sake, this refers to players that have been under producing but you would still hesitate dropping or trading.

RBS:

LaDainian Tomlinson: I believe it was around week 5 owners started thinking ‘I might sit him this week’ only to talk themselves out of it and endure another 55 yards rushing and zero touchdowns. Amazingly, he’s still on track for 1000 yards if he can stop acting like a big baby the last part of the season. Big if.

Preseason Rank: 1

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 23

Willis McGahee: I speak from personal experience here. He plays one week and nets me 20 points. He suits up the very next week and never touches the ball. Suits up the next week and scores 2 touchdowns. When he plays he’s extremely valuable, but he’s so up and down there is no way to predict if he’ll even play.

Preseason Rank: 20

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 68

Willie Parker: After a scorching first couple of weeks, everyone figured Parker would be the man this season. But, like every other year, he gets banged up and enters the McGahee schedule. Could play, may not, says he’s ready, suits up, watches Moore run for 120 yards from the sidelines.

Preseason Rank: 27

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 133

Maurice Jones-Drew/Fred Taylor: This could technically apply to the entire Jaguars team, but for fantasy purposes it’s this not-so-dynamic duo. You take away MJD’s 3 TD game and his season has been subpar at best. Taylor barely sees action in the red zone any longer so unless he breaks off a 50 yard run into the end zone, he’s not getting many scores.

Preseason Rank: MJD – 16, FT – 60

Actual Rank Through Week 10: MJD – 21 (helped enormously by last week), FT – 228


QBS:

Ben Roethlisberger: A guy in my league was so fed up with him that he dropped him from his roster yesterday. If I needed a QB I would have scooped him up in a heartbeat. I should point out that I just checked and he still hasn’t been claimed. Maybe he should go in the Suck Fuck Division?

Preseason Rank: 52

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 75

Matt Hasselbeck: He wasn’t doing much before the back injury, but is always a threat to break out with a 330/4 TD game any given week. He’s expected back this week, by the way, and the guy that owns him in my league still has him on the roster.

Preseason Rank: 70

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 1911

Marc Bulger: What is left to say about the Rams. Just when the put together a string of well played games (not all wins, but they were competitive) they pull out the single worst half in franchise history. They were down 40-0 at HALFTIME!!!! Bulger still looks to be the starter, but only in real life and only on the most desperate fantasy teams.

Preseason Rank: 73

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 181

WRS:

Terrell Owens: Hard to tell if it’s Romo being out or Owens' prima donna, piss poor attitude that’s the problem. For every solid game he submits two suck ass ones. He's the poster boy for SuckAssNess.

Preseason Rank: 12

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 60

Plaxico Burress: On paper, my buddy had the kick ass team of the year. Owens, Burress and Brady. You could win 6 or 7 games just on the production of those three. We all saw what happened to Owens and Brady, but Burress has to be the biggest disappointment as it’s his behavior keeping him off the field and out of the end zone. Could still turn it around (had a decent game against the Eagles), so you’ll hang onto him if you own him.

Preseason Rank: 33

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 102

Chad Johnson/TJ Houshmandzadeh: A testament to the futility of the Bengals in that they have wasted not one, but two A-List wide receivers. Hard to place the blame on these two, but they’re under performing along with the rest of the team.

Preseason Rank: CJ – 32, TJH – 25

Actual Rank Through Week 10: CJ – 129, TJH – 71

Randy Moss: Brady’s injury effected his production more than anyone. Cassel has been getting it to him more often, but it will still be up and down for the rest of the year. Good luck figuring out which weeks to play him if you’re an owner.

Preseason Rank: 31

Actual Rank Through Week 10: 64

I’m sure there are plenty of other players to add here, but these are the major ones.

I didn’t include tight ends since they’re basically interchangeable. I would like to point out that one week after I dropped Dustin Keller he finally had his breakout game with the Jets. So he can rot in fantasy hell for all I care.


Today’s distraction: A baseball deal in the works that has me grinding my teeth. I can’t think of a more perfect hitter to play in Fenway and now may have to watch him hit towering shots over the Green Monster playing for another team. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Witnessing History

How do you like them apples, rest of the world?

In one decisive, historic (historical? Can we clear up which of these is the appropriate form at some point? Thanks) night America put the rest of the world on notice. We are no longer aligning ourselves with the cowboy ex-junkie that has tried to single handedly flush our country down the toilet.

By electing our first black President we are showing allies and enemies that we can be progressive; that the status quo and old regime is no longer in our (or anyone’s) best interests. Consider this an olive branch extended towards every country the Bush Administration has pissed off the past 8 years – and there are a LOT of them.

Make no mistake, naysayers, this is one of the most important elections of our life time. Think about it! The first black President this country has ever had. We’ve never even had a black Vice President. The closest we’ve come is our current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Every other President during the past 232 years of this country has had two things in common: They’ve been male and they’ve been white. That streak ends in January.

Sure there is a lot of work to do. This country is a fucking mess! There are rumors that Bush called to congratulate Obama last night and I couldn’t help but imagine Bush’s cackle while he told Obama ‘Good luck, sucker!’ before hanging up the phone.

McCain exited graciously and gracefully; finally reverting to the McCain I respected and may have voted for if he didn’t crumble under the pressure of the campaign. If he can’t handle running for President, how could he ever handle BEING President? Still, I can’t help but wonder if McCain’s disintegration was calculated. You don’t think McCain realized at some point that he either didn’t want to be President or that Obama really was what the country needed at this point in time and threw the election? Do you? Is that possible? Would he sacrifice himself for the good of the country?

Or maybe he was just sick of being around Palin.

Whatever the reason, he certainly looked relieved and relaxed giving his concession speech. Good to have you back, Senator McCain. Get back to work!

As for me, my campaign never really got on track due to lack of funding, lack of effort, lack of intelligence and lack of concentration. Still, I’m young, thoroughly inexperienced and say stupid things all the time. I should be a perfect candidate in 2012.

In the meantime, allow me to offer my services to Obama. There is surely a place in his cabinet for me, no?

Let’s take a look.

SECRETARY OF STATE

Current Occupant: Condoleezza Rice

What Would I Have To Do?: Presidential Lackey, apparently. While my main functions would be dealing with foreign leaders, I basically would do whatever the President asked of me. I also would be fourth in line to the President and help form his foreign policy.

Good Fit?: Since I can barely name three countries in Africa (and one of those is SOUTH Africa), I’d say no. Plus there would be the entire reverse slavery aspect I may not feel comfortable with.


SECRETARY OF TREASURY

Current Occupant: Henry Paulson

What Would I Have To Do?: Deal with money stuff and head up the Treasury Department.

Good Fit?: While I could do a better job than Paulson (as could a monkey), I’m sure there is someone else more qualified. Plus, I’m terrible at math.


SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

Current Occupant: Robert Gates (I know! Who?)

What Would I Have To Do?: Deal with the armed forces and military matters.

Good Fit?: I’m not bragging, but I can defend myself well in a fight. It usually involves turning and out running someone, but still. I like watching the Military Channel and enjoy watching things explode. Count me in!


ATTORNEY GENERAL

Current Occupant: Mike Mukasey

What Would I Have To Do?: Deal with legal malarkey and pretend to be chief law enforcement officer. Think I would be considered the top lawyer in the country which is like being considered the smelliest shit in the toilet.

Good Fit?: My initial reaction was a hearty ‘Hell NO!’, but being a lawyer is basically being a bullshit artist and I can bullshit with the best of them.


SECRETARY OF INTERIOR

Current Occupant: Dirk Kempthorne (how cool is that name?)

What Would I Have To Do?: I’d get to oversee agencies like Bureau of Land Management, US Geological Society, and the National Park Service.

Good Fit?: Now this I could do. How hard can it be if Dirk Kempthorne has been doing it and not screwing up? Plus, I’ll bet heading up the Park Service gets me free passes into Yellowstone and other parks that are national and I can’t think of at the moment. I better brush up on those for my interview.


SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE

Current Occupant: Edward Schaffer

What Would I Have To Do?: Why head up the Department of Agriculture, of course.

Good Fit?: Since I’m operating under the assumption this would heavily involve plowing techniques and irrigation and sowing, I think not. I have a black thumb, not green. That means everything I touch dies.


SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION

Current Occupant: Mary Peters

What Would I Have To Do?: Um….heads up the Department of Transportation.

Good Fit?: Abso-fucking-lutely! This would allow me to implement my plan for having roving packs of independent traffic enforcement officers. They would just drive around in unmarked cars and would have the ability to pull over idiotic and dangerous drivers and revoke licenses on the spot. Driving like a lunatic because you’re late for a budget meeting? License is gone for a week. Texting while driving? License is gone for a month. Asian? No license EVER!


SECRETARY OF ENERGY

Current Occupant: Sam Bodman

What Would I Have To Do?: Run the Department of Energy. Most of these titles are self explanatory, actually.

Good Fit?: Surprisingly, yes. I’ve become an expert at making sure lights in the house we don’t need are off and researching alternative energy. I also have great ideas to instigate and reward innovation. I’m thinking Starbucks cards and maybe a ‘Make Your Own Sundae’ day.


SECRETARY OF EDUCATION

Current Occupant: Margaret Spellings

What Would I Have To Do?: Besides getting rid of the ‘No Child Left Behind’ idiocy? Head up the (say it with me) Department of Education.

Good Fit?: Only if I’m allowed to bring back corporal punishment. We need our kids to grow up with a healthy dose of fear. And nothing invokes fear like a solid paddling.


OTHER OPTIONS ALREADY DISMISSED

Secretary of Commerce: I can’t save my own money and can’t possibly see hanging onto everyone else’s. Besides, I would get fired after being caught in some treasury vault rolling around in cash or straddling piles of gold.

Secretary of Labor: Yeeeaah….me and labor don’t go so well together. If you have a Secretary of Channel Surfing or Secretary of Procrastination then give me a call.

Secretary of Health and Human Services: The last thing I want is to be the person in charge of containing an Ebola outbreak or some biological terrorist act. I will consider on condition all Victoria Secret models must come to me for any OB/GYN exams.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: How much more housing can we fit into urban areas, anyway?

Secretary of Veteran Affairs: I have no interest in Veterans or their affairs. If they want to get their freak on with someone other then their spouse, who am I to interfere.

Secretary of Homeland Security: Do I want to be the one taking the fall for the next terrorist attack that nobody could have envisioned or predicted? Do you? Exactly.

So congratulation, President Obama. If you need me, just give me a call.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to snag a forty of Colt 45 to celebrate the United States electing our first black President.

Rock on!


Today’s distraction: Results on the individual state ballot issues. You’ll notice Arizona (McCain’s state), California (surprisingly), and Florida (not so surprisingly) shot down gay marriage. Also note that Massachusetts voted to keep the state income tax. By a whopping 70%. We also voted to minimize the marijuana penalty. Sometimes I’m so proud to be an American.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Week 9 Postmortem

A few quick notes before we get to football.

1: Second weigh in was yesterday and I’m down to 206. I told myself that if I got to 205 I was treating myself to an Al’s chicken salad sub (simply awesome if you aren’t from Boston). Alas. If I can get to 202 next week, same deal applies.

2: Today I went to the gym, voted, found a new bus route that takes me to the train (although there are a LOT of stops along the way and I’m wondering if it’s any quicker than walking) and wrote this blog entry. Army’s got nothing on me!

3: I wanted to address Hammen’s post from yesterday about not caring or investing himself in politics. I think a lot of the younger generation feel the same way and I think I know why. Because all objectivity regarding politics has gone out the window. All the talking heads on television and in newspapers have some slant or agenda regarding one candidate or issue and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to figure out what’s fact and what’s political ‘truthisms’. It’s becoming near impossible to figure out what one candidate actually stands for any more.

Add to this that a majority of Americans are strongly (often fervently) associated with one party or another. This leads to biased opinions. It doesn’t matter what qualifications or opinions one candidate has, if they are Republican or Democrat then most party people will defend them to the death. People I consider intelligent and level headed become adamant that Sarah Palin would make a great President one day? Seriously? Are they watching the same woman I am?

We have a die hard conservative in our office and when I asked him what he thought of Palin after she had been named McCain’s running mate, he replied ‘I had my doubts, but she knocked it out of the park at the RNC.’ If she was on the Democratic ticket, he would be trashing her for the same things she is now saying under the Republican ticket.

Anyway, Hammen, I agree with you. When a political discussion pops up, I head to the other side of the room. Nobody cares what I think, anyway, so I just head over to the beer supply and tell dirty jokes.

That said, everyone in the younger generation should really be taking notice of who is getting elected and what is going on. Even if you don’t vote. Because it will be you guys, who in 10 or 15 years will be paying off this ten trillion dollar debt we’re ringing up. When you guys are in your 40s and you’re paying taxes out the nose because the government has no money left, you’ll care.

You’ll care a lot.

On to football.

Reason number 35 why fantasy football is more aggravating than playing golf:

I was up against the only undefeated team in my league. Drew Brees is on bye, so I’m forced to play Jay Cutler. Fine. Cutler has a decent game, but only because Denver is desperate and behind, which forces Cutler to throw about 98 passes. He does a respectable job for me.

My receivers are Roddy White and DeShaun Jackson. Both have been spectacular for me. (note: Chris Chambers was on bye, other wise I would have started him over Jackson). Running backs are Brian Westbrook (a no brainer) and Willis McGahee. McGahee is listed as questionable, but all reports are that he’s going to play. Dude’s been hampered by one injury or another for the entire season, but he’s been putting up solid numbers the last few weeks.

And he’s playing Cleveland. How can I not play him?

Dallas Clark, Arizona’s defense, Atlanta’s kicker round out the rest of my roster. Except for my flex spot.

In this ‘The Only League That Matters’ (meaning major cash on the line), we have our choice of starting a third running back or a third wide receiver. This makes for much gnashing of the teeth when it comes time to set lineups.

I – being boy genius that I am – use that spot for Tim Hightower. I’ve had the guy on my roster since the beginning of the year, but have never used him. After watching him for the first time a few weeks ago I thought ‘Damn, Arizona would be crazy to keep him on the bench’ and placed him in my flex spot. He was going against St Louis so even if he split time with Edgerrin James (also on my team) he should get plenty of touches.

Sure enough, he kicked ass for me. Arizona’s even named him their starter! Score one for me! You’ll see why this is highly important in a minute.

My undefeated opponent had Tony Romo, but we all know a broken pinky and Jessica Simpson sucking the life out of him (quite literally, I’d bet) has him on the shelf. So he’s been starting Matt Schaub for the last few weeks and been doing fantastic with him. He has Brandon Marshall and Andre Johnson for receivers, Mewelde Moore and Justin Fargas at running back, Kellen Winslow and his staph infection at tight end, the Rams kicker and Vikings defense.

For his flex option he puts in Anquan Boldin. Yeah, I know. Boldin catches two touchdowns and Johnson catches one. Fortunately (VERY!) for me, Schaub leaves his game with a leg injury and Justin Fargas shit the bed. I’m looking very good for a few moments until the check on the Ravens – Browns game.

I use the ESPN box scores to see how players are doing and Sunday was no different. Oh, look Ray Rice is having a killer game.....

Wait…..

Where’s McGahee’s name?

It’s nowhere to be found!! ANYWHERE!!! Nothing under Rushing, nothing under Receiving. I do a quick search and find nothing. Go to my fantasy team page and find no news.

It becomes apparent that I’ve been hosed. McGahee isn’t playing at all and the friggin’ ‘questionable’ status was either a ruse to confuse the Browns (which is redundant) or a legitimate last minute decision. I didn’t find out until well after the game was over that he had dressed and was active but was only being used in case of emergency. Well, fuck me! I get a big fat zero under one of my running backs, thank you very much Baltimore Ravens.

Oddly, this same exact thing happened to me last year when I played this same guy. I had Addai on my team and he was listed as probable. It turned out that my best buddy’s wedding was on a Sunday and I was nowhere near a computer to check any last minute news. The guy I was playing walks up to me halfway through the wedding and says ‘Addai isn’t playing’, then smiles and walks away as I let loose a steady stream of stunningly creative expletives.

Perhaps I take this too seriously. It turns out I won and handed this dude his first loss of the season, but it wasn’t easy. I like easy.

Other football thoughts.

- Despite their loss, I really like the Green Bay offense. A lot of weapons to open up the field.

- Was Chris Berman really the best guy to interview Obama and McCain one last time on national television? This is the best we could do?

- Al Davis thought Lane Kiffin was the problem with the Oakland Raiders? They had negative yards in the first half. Man alive! Just terrible.

- For the first time all season, Detroit didn’t start out a game down 20 points. Amazing! They still lost, but baby steps. Step one: don’t get blown out and have the game over in the first half.

- I know, I know, he’s a Super Bowl winning quarterback and he’s definitely better this year, but signs of the old Eli still pop up from time to time. Like when he threw right to the Dallas safety for an easy TD return. Or when he went to pass the ball and it just fell to the ground. Sorry, but I can’t take Eli seriously until he stops pulling shit like this. How many elite quarterbacks can you name that simply lose the ball as they’re bringing their arms back to pass? Obviously if he or the ball was hit it would be one thing, but this was a contact free play.

- What is going on with Jacksonville? Last year in the playoffs they scared the living hell out of me. This past weekend they lose to the Bengals. Right, the previously winless and atrocious Bengals. Those Bengals.

- My buddy – who last week had the crap duo of Terrell Owens and Antonio Bryant – decided to sit both of them for….wait for it…..

Devin Hester and Plaxico Burress. Burress I can understand (although he's becoming a major attitude problem), but Bryant was going against Kansas City. You play anyone on your team if they’re playing Kansas City.

So, total score for his two starting wide receivers: 10 points

Total score for Owens and Bryant sitting on the bench: 31 points.

Total of loss: 20 points.

Ouch! Explains why he’s 2-7 at this point.

- Is there any fan base more anxious for MRI results than Bear fans? Either Orton comes back fairly quickly or they’ll have to resign themselves to another stint of Rex Grossman games.

- Speaking of quarterback changes, Brady Quinn will be starting for the Browns this weekend. Only 8 games too late.

- Dallas looks abysmal. How long do they stay with Wade Phillips? The team has regressed every year under him. I say they fire Phillips and hire Lane Kiffin. At least the Raiders played hard for him.

- The three best defenses in the league right now: Giants, Steelers, Titans. The Ravens are a close fourth, but giving up 27 points to Cleveland and 31 to the Colts makes it tough to put them in the top three.

- Denver’s offense has gone straight into the crapper after a great start. What gives? Can we stop putting Mike Shanahan’s name on the list of ‘genius’ coaches now? The Broncos’ defense sucks, now their offense sucks and they’re sitting at a nice even 4-4. On the bright side they’re still in first place.

- Lastly, I know Belichick and the Patriots keep saying that they have complete faith in Matt Cassell, but it was odd they didn’t draw up a game plan that had Cassell picking on the young Colt safeties throughout the game. The first half was run heavy with the passing plays focused on short or swing passes. That’s not a plan of a team that trusts it’s own QB very much.

That said, Cassell did make two fantastic long passes that were both dropped. Sure touchdowns to Gaffney and Moss were muffed. Moss’ in particular was right on the money and would have been a game changer if he didn’t fumble it and kick the ball into the stands.

That’s all for today. Get out and vote as long as you’re informed and not just filling in random circles.


Today’s distraction: Some entertaining pictures ‘taken at just the right angle’. The girl reading a book on the bus is bizarre.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Voting Day (Tomorrow)

I’ll get to football tomorrow. Today I want to run down some electoral issues going on in the fine state of Massachusetts.

If you haven’t figured out who you want as our 44th President, try reading dueling articles it today’s Wall Street Journal. Both wrote for the newspaper summing up why we should cast our vote for them.

Here’s McCain’s

Here’s Obama’s

Something’s gone very wrong with McCain. I used to like the guy when he was the rational and reasonable voice of his Christian catering party. There was a moment during the 2000 Republican Primaries in New Hampshire when a reporter asked him what he would do if his daughter wanted to get an abortion. McCain simply stated that it would be a matter between him and his family and they would deal with it in private. In a polite manner, he told the reporter ‘That would be none of your goddamn business!’

Well, born again coke head, George Bush pounced all over that; claiming McCain to be pro-abortion and not a well bred Christian man and all sorts of other bad things. Bush got the backing of the right wing, religious nut bags and rode that wave all the way to the White House. Fuckin’ A!

I wonder what the last eight years would have been like had McCain and not Bush been elected President. Couldn’t have been any worse, that’s for sure.

Now, however, McCain is coming off like the grumpy old man in the neighborhood who never gives back baseballs that land in his yard. He’s angry. Did he really want to be President that badly? Was he convinced this was his time? Is he upset because he’s losing to a black man? Is running with Palin sexually frustrating him? Whatever the reason, he’s seemingly becoming unhinged and a bit volatile. Just the personality we need in the White House.

Anyway, vote for whom you please. Either one should be quite excited to take over the mess President #43 has left behind. Good luck!

Here in Massachusetts we have other things to vote on. Allow me some local flavor with a minimal three question ballot.

Question 1: Talk about diving right in. This question is polarizing the entire state. Why? Because it’s a ballot on eliminating the state income tax. A ‘Yes’ vote means it will decline to 2.65% for 2009, then disappear altogether in 2010. For the record, the State House of Reps shot this down already, but here we are.

Advocates Say: ‘Your "Yes" vote will create hundreds of thousands of new Massachusetts jobs. Your "Yes" vote will NOT raise your property taxes NOR any other taxes. Your "Yes" vote will NOT cut, NOR require cuts, of any essential government services.Your "Yes" vote rolls back state government spending 27% - $47.3 billion to $34.7 billion - more than state government spending in 1999.’

Opponents Say: ‘This legally binding initiative would slash state revenues by more than $12 billion a year - nearly 40 percent of the state budget.It would force dramatic cuts in state aid to cities and towns, driving up property taxes and reducing funding for vital local services.It would mean a drastic reduction in state funding for local public schools - leading to teacher layoffs, school closings and other cutbacks that would harm our children's education.It would threaten public safety by cutting funds for police, fire protection and emergency medical services.It would prevent us from making badly needed repairs to the state's aging roads and bridges, or making other investments needed to attract businesses and create jobs.’

BeachBum Says: No fucking way. Look, there is a reason we have income tax. It’s used for frills in our society like clean schools, qualified teachers, a State Police force. You know all that shit we take for granted? That stuff wouldn’t be taken for granted when you first call 911 and reach an automated phone system telling you ‘Your expected wait time is….35 minutes. Please stay on the line….’

Besides, the advocate argument that ‘Your "Yes" vote will NOT cut, NOR require cuts, of any essential government services’ is dubious at best and most likely an out and out lie. You’re really trying to convince me that cutting off a major source of state revenue will not have any effect on essential government services? What is your definition of ‘essential’? Because I’m betting it’s different than mine.

There is another aspect both sides are also over looking – if you get rid of the income tax the state will make up for this cash flow one way or another. The most familiar method is to start adding ‘fees’ to every single thing we ask them to do for us. You want your license renewed? Sure, that will be $200, please. You want your kid to go to school? Tuition payments can now be made to Department of Education. Police calls will be billed directly to your checking account. Going to fill up your tank? Well, start saving, because the local tax on that is now a dollar a gallon.

In the long run we will be paying more than if we just leave the income tax in place.

The city right next to my own just implemented a new trash collection policy. Since the voters there approved a limit on property taxes, every resident must go and buy a blue trash bag from the town. They place their trash in the blue bag and it’s collected. If there is no blue bag, the trash stays where it is. These bags are about the size of a hefty, contractor bag. Only lightweight and biodegradable. I’ve seen them and there is no way you can fit as much in these as you can in a trash barrel.

Care to guess the cost of these bags? Would you say $5? That would seem reasonable. $10?? Steep, but I can still see that as covering the cost. Ok, now double it. Each one of those flimsy, transparent bags is costing renters, home owners and business owners $20 a pop. Add to that the pain in the ass of having to get down to the DPW to buy the fucking things and wouldn’t have been easier for everyone to just keep the property taxes in place?

Thought so.

People never see it that way, though. They see the ‘hey, I’ll have more money in my paycheck’ bottom line and never filter it through the long term lens of life. You take money away from a city, town or state and they will find a way to not only make up that difference, but use the opportunity to take more.

Let’s not give them that opportunity.

If you still aren't convinced, then just take a peak just north of us. Remember New Hampshire and their current fiscal quagmire? Remember how they couldn't pay police officers for a while or how their schools are an absolute travesty? You really want Massachusetts to take one step closer to being like New Hampshire?


Question 2: There is a misunderstanding that voting Yes on this would legalize marijuana, but that is not the case. This law (if it wins) would minimize the penalty on someone carrying a small amount of weed. They would have the sweet, lovely, drug confiscated and they would be fined $100 and sent on their way. No court time, no conviction on record, no fuss, no muss.

Advocates Say: ‘A YES vote removes the threat of arrest, jail, loss of student loans, loss of driver's licenses, and other sanctions for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. Instead, a $100 fine, similar to a speeding ticket, would be imposed. Question 2 would end the creation of a permanent record (CORI) and barriers to housing and employment. Police would be freed up to focus on serious crimes, rather than arresting 7,500 people annually for marijuana possession. Taxpayers would save $30 million a year in arrest costs.’

Opponents Say: ‘Marijuana decriminalization is an endorsement of substance abuse and dangerous criminal activity, and sends the wrong message to young people. Massachusetts law already requires our judges to dismiss charges and seal records of first-time offenders. Decriminalization emboldens and enables drug dealers and poses a threat to public health and safety. One ounce of marijuana - street value $600 - equates to approximately 56 individual sales. Marijuana contains nine times the mind-altering THC as 30 years ago, is twice as carcinogenic as tobacco, is a primary factor in juvenile hospital admissions, and its users are 10 times more likely to be involved in automobile crashes. It is more strongly associated with juvenile crime than alcohol.’

BeachBum Says: The opponents have it wrong. This bill isn’t trying to decriminalize marijuana (it would still be illegal to have it on you and attempts to sell and distribute still carry the same penalty of jail time). It’s simply trying to minimize the damage having an ounce or less of the stuff on you would do to your future. It’s not like the cops are going to find it then pat you on your back and send you on your way. You’ll have it taken away, you’ll be fined, then the cops will pat you on the back and send you on your way.

By the way, opponents, arguing about the effects of weed isn’t exactly helping your cause. And noting the marijuana is ‘more strongly associated with juvenile crime than alcohol’ doesn’t make sense because alcohol is LEGAL!

Honestly, are you guys high?


Question 3: This one would prohibit dog racing in Massachusetts and is probably the most straightforward question on the ballot. You want dog racing in our state or not? Simple enough.

Advocates Say: ‘Dog racing is cruel and inhumane. Would you treat your dog this way?

Thousands of Massachusetts greyhounds endure lives of confinement, kept for 20 or more hours each day in cages barely large enough to stand up or turn around in.

According to state records more than 800 Massachusetts racing greyhounds have been injured since 2002, including dogs who suffered broken legs, paralysis and even death from cardiac arrest.

According to the Massachusetts State Racing Commission greyhounds have recently died from a mysterious illness and tested positive for cocaine, an illegal stimulant.’


Opponents Say: ‘Parimutuel dog racing has taken place in Massachusetts for over 70 years, now only at Wonderland dog track in Revere, and Raynham/Taunton in Raynham. The greyhounds are owned by caring dog owners, not tracks. There is no mistreatment of the dogs as claimed by animal activists. The State Racing Commission fully regulates the industry, has veterinarians on duty at each track, and maintains numerous programs for the welfare of the dogs during their racing careers, and for adoption when their careers are over. About 1,000 people will lose badly needed jobs if the proposal is enacted. The Commonwealth, Revere and Raynham will lose badly needed revenue. From 2000 to 2007, these tracks paid over $40 million to the Commonwealth in commissions and fees, as well as other taxes related to their racing activities. Finally enactment will likely subject the Commonwealth to suits by the tracks for taking their property.’

BeachBum Says: To be honest I could care less. Questions like this tend to evoke some sort of emotional reaction from people. If you love dogs and think racing them is cruel, the vote Yes. If not, vote No.

For the record, I’ve been to the local dog track exactly twice. I’ve seen the dogs behind the scenes and they don’t look malnourished or abused. In fact, they look like they’re treated better than most dogs. I can’t swear that is always the case, but that the advocates have been airing commercials about this and can only show a dog wiping out during a race as evidence of abuse should be a red flag. Don’t think for a minute these animal right nuts would be airing real abuse video footage 24 hours a day if they could have found any. A dog wiping out during a race is not abuse. It’s a clumsy dog.

Want some predictions? What the hell. I’ve been wrong 100% of the time during the MLB playoffs, maybe I can turn things around in politics.

1: Obama wins Massachusetts by 70% or more. This is the one state that McGovern and Mondale won, for crying out loud.

2: Question One wins, gets defeated again in the House and our Governor vetoes it with extreme prejudice, gasoline and a big, fat match.

3: Question Two wins handily.

4: Question Three loses badly. We’re a cynical, cold hearted population that loves gambling. Sorry, doggies, you’ll be running for another 70 years.


Today’s distraction: How many Presidents can you name in ten minutes? All you need is their last name. I only got 23 out of 43, but had 3:23 left when I had to give it up. Will try again when I have more time.