Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This is the NFL

Its been said before, by myself and by many people who know a lot more about the NFL than me. But its a truth that bears repeating:

You are what your record says you are.


If you're record says you are 13-3 and not in the playoffs, then thats what it is. If your record says 4-12 and you make the playoffs, then bully for you. The beauty of a playoff is that we can have set rules and then decide things on the field.

The Chargers are 8-8. They are division champs, so they will host a playoff game.

The Colts are 12-4, a wild card winner, so they will have to travel.

The Pats are 11-5, out of the playoffs and watching from their couches with their supermodel or MILF of choice.

In the NFC, the Cardinals are 9-7 division champs, so they'll host the 11-5 Wild Card Falcons.

"Unfair. A Travesty. A Sham. The Best Team Isn't in the Playoffs. The Best team to Never Make the Playoffs. Blah Blah Blah...."

The one single truth I know about football is that (almost) nobody knows anything about football. Prediction who would beat who or which team is really more "deserving" is less of a science than phrenology. So cut it out people. If you want to whine about "deserving" teams and "undeserving" teams and all that jazz, go watch the BCS. Its a freaking religion in that sport.

This is the NFL, where things are decided on the field.

You are what your record says you are.

NFL overload

So much to blog, so little time.

The Bolts are in the Playoffs! Holy Shit, the Bolts made the Playoffs!

And the Pats didn't despite an 11-5 record! And the Cowboys, Bucs and Jets all went from being WorldBeaters a month ago to cleaning out their lockers on Sunday. Mangini is out. Shanny is out. Romeo is out. Several other coaches will soon be out. My head is spinning.

I'll try to get caught up soon, hopefully before the Bolts take on the Colts on Saturday. Get better L.T., its your time to shine.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Snoopy's Christmas

It just isn't Christmas without the gang from Peanuts. In honor of Christmas, here's one of my favorite lesser known Christmas songs, "Snoopy's Christmas", complete with video!

Its a fun song but one which is actually more real than you might think. The Christmas truce between Snoopy and the Red Baron has actually happened in several different wars, perhaps most famously on the Western Front of World War I between British and German Forces. The two sides climbed out of their trenches, met in no man's land, shared their meager rations, sang songs, exchanged small gifts and even played soccer. Nothing says more to me about the importance of Christmas and the longing deep in the human soul for peace than that story. Its also a good reminder that there are plenty of fine men and woman still serving us in uniform in the far flung reaches of the world during this holiday season, and we certainly wish them a happy one and a quick return home.

Merry Christmas everyone, and of course a Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Tet, Yule, Festivas and anything else you may be celebrating. Have a great holiday and a very Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Yes, You Can Sail the Seven Seas!!!!

Brings a new perspective to the whole "Navy Gay" joke. Though lets be honest, the Village People were hinting at this dynamic a long time ago.

In all seriousness, if this guy is half as qualified as the article makes him out to be then the Navy will be in good hands. Hopefully this can be a sign that DADT is on its way out and we can try to turn our focus what's really important in government and the military.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

RIP: My Productivity 1983-2008

Its officially dead. I'll never be productive again. I wasn't exactly a chinese sweatshop to begin with in terms of getting things done, but now what little glimmer of hope I have it gone. And its all thanks to

If you have any ambitions whatsoever, any goals you wish to achieve, do not click on that link. If not, then enjoy, and I hope you're good at spelling!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Badvertising: Optimum Triple Play

Its a little known fact that Cable Companies need to suck the sanity out of their customers in order to survive. They're like "sanity vampires", if you will. Each has their own method for sucking the life-force out of your brain so that they can feast on it like the sick twisted demons from hell that they are.

For example, Time Warner likes to feud with the NFL so we can't get NFL network. This means that we can't watch a bunch of games which were stupidly moved to Thursday nights for the very purpose of allowing us to watch them.

Comcast likes to... well maybe it would be faster to state the ways that Comcast doesn't try to drive the sanity from their customers. For example: as far as I know, Comcast has never egged a customer's house. And I'm not too sure about that. That's the only thing I can think of that they don't do in their quest to suck out people's sanity.

Here in New York there is a cable company called Cablevision, which packages its products as "Optimum", and calls its main service package "The Optimum Triple Play". Its your standard Phone, Internet and Cable package like you could get from any other company. But how does Optimum set itself apart? What method does it use to drive people insane in order to harvest their sanity?


Really annoying, crazy ass, shitty, catchy commercials.


"What's so bad about that?" you ask. "Commercials get repeated all the time". Shut up. You don't know.

First, lets enjoy a classic Optimum spot that ran every single day for about 6 months this year:

Those women's voices are like a drill in my brain. "8-7-7! 3-9-3! 4! 4! 4! Eiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii"

Its loud, its annoying, and what the hell is up with that rapping guy dressed in the sea serpent costume? Seriously, who thought that would make people want to buy cable?

After months of this torture, Optimum finally stopped playing this add. Apparently that well of insanity was tapped dry. Lucky for them, they found a new one:


Every single day. Always right during my episode of The Simpsons. Its become a reflex now that whenever I see the opening for this spot I rush to turn off the volume and then flee the room for a good 3 minutes, just to be sure. Its like a reverse Pavlovian experiment.

And another thing: WHY DOES THE PHONE NUMBER CHANGE? In the first its 393-4448. In the second its 333-4001. This is the same company advertising the same product. Did they deliberately change their phone number to one more suited to the melody of the new song?

One thing I love is the puppet in the second part of the add, the "adult" with long hair and goatee who still lives with his parents. Its really funny to have him as the one saying how great and fast the Internet downloads are, when you know he's using it to download Muppet snuff films at 100 MPS.

There's probably some really offensive racist aspect to both of these ads, what with the stereotyping of Latinos and all, but I'm a white guy and therefore wholly unqualified to bitch about that.

Ironically, I don't even think you can get Cablevision in my neighborhood, though the only reason I'd want to buy from them is if they promised to never show these ads on my TV again.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yummy Victory

A post game picture from yesterday's comeback. Not sure who that player is. Kinda looks like a guy we used to have... Vincent ... Something... But it can't be him because he doesn't play for us this season.

The Great Escape (From Kansas City)

Take that PETA! You can't keep us down, not in a BBQ hub like Kansas City!

We won, the Broncos lost, so for at least one more sweet week we have life. Its a hell of a long shot that we'll still be in contention a week from now, but whatever. You take what you can get in this league, especially with the season we've had so far.

I think gave myself a headache from replaying the final touchdown call from Josh Lewin about 50 times. Josh is typically pretty excitable to begin with, but he's literally screaming his head off when the Chargers take the lead. Great Stuff, though I think I need some Advil now.

One thing that really is baffling to me is this clip of Norv's post game press conference (Sorry but I can't embed from that site). Specifically, right around the 0:56 mark, when he says something to the effect of "We wanted to give ourselves a chance to go score. The way onside kicks are in this league you have a pretty good chance. Roughly 50-50".


First off, is Norv actually saying that the decision to onside kick was some bold master stroke? Christ man, there was one minute left and you're down 5 points. What other option is there? Even with all the timeouts the best you can hope for if you kick it away is for them to bleed a bit of time, force you to use your timeouts, and then maybe get a good punt return.

Maybe Norv didn't mean that, exactly. Its hard to tell with the context of this clip, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. But the second part is crazy.

50-50 for onside kicks?

Um... Norv? The odds of recovering an onside kick aren't "good" at all. You're right, 50-50 would be pretty good. Except its not 50-50. It varies by year, but generally its about 2 in 10. As in 20%. As in less than half as much as 50%. And keep in mind, too, that stat includes "surprise" onside kicks which the defense isn't as ready for. Recovery rates for when the "Hands" team is out there tend to be lower.

This is disturbing to me. We all have our problems with Norv, but whatever his shortcomings he always struck me as a pretty football savvy guy in an academic sense. If he had any strength as a coach (and the jury's out on that) it was his deep knowledge of football in general. So the fact that he somehow thinks recovering an onside kick is a 50-50 proposition is scary. Maybe it doesn't really matter, since onside kicks are a desperation move and Norv's belief about their success don't really affect when to try or how often we recover. But what else is he misinformed about? What other vital information is missing?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Badvertising: Yes, Virginia

Too much Oklahoma-Texas on this blog recently. Time for a football break.

I was watching TV yesterday when this ad came up.

So it starts out all normal with Jessica Simpson and some dude reciting the famous "Yes Virginia" letter from the old New York sun. Its pleasant enough, though I have no idea what's being advertised yet. So I'm sitting there enjoying it and HOLY GOD IS THAT DONALD TRUMP?!?!

The Donald is there for some reason, reading his lines in almost comical fashion WHAT THE HELL? WHY IS SANTANA HERE WITH DONALD TRUMP?

It took a minute for the weirdness of this hodgepodge of B and C listers to sink in. As soon as it was revealed that the ad was for Macy's it all kind of made sense. Every celebrity here has some product line at Macy's. The two dudes I didn't recognize were Kenneth Cole and Tommy Hilfiger. I was really curious as to what Carlos Santana was hocking at Macys. Headbands? A cool clothing line? Electric Guitars? Nope, none of the above.

The answer is shoes.

Women's Shoes.

Apparently el Maestro de la Guitaraa Eletronica is also into Las Zapatas de las Chicas. Like pumps and high heels and fuck me boots. And Macy's apparently though he was the right person to sell them.

Overall this isn't a bad ad. In fact it probably gets points for shock value as you wonder just what's going on. I just hope those letters find their way to Santa Claus, I'd hate to think of that poor little girl at the end not finding a new pair of Carlos Santana's pumps waiting for her beneath the tree.

Boomer Bradford

Well, it looks like my half-assed Heisman prediction was wrong. Maybe next time I'll try using my whole ass to make a prediction.

Congratulations to Sam Bradford on his well earned award, and lots of luck. Heisman winners have... struggled in recent years following their win, both in the BCS title game and in the NFL, but for his sake hopefully he can shake the bad juju which seems to infect the statue.

Of course, this year the Heisman "jinx" is guaranteed to happen... and not happen. And that's a prediction using my whole butt. The reason is that Bradford's win sets up a Heisman versus Heisman National Championship game against last year's winner Tim Tebowandomygoditsonlybeen3hourssince thetrophywasawardedandI'malreadysickofthislineofpromotingthe nationaltitlegamedon'tyoupeoplerealizethatQBisincreadiblyoverhypedandwithouttheir speedyballcarrierslegbreakinglinesandpunishingD'splusalotofgoodluckneitherofthese QBswouldbeabletodoshit.ThewholeconceptoftheHeismanisabunchofstylizedoverhypedcrap!


The last time we had a Heisman versus Heisman National Title game it was Oklahoma's Jason White Versus Matt Leinart in the 2005 Orange Bowl, one of the biggest sporting disappointments ever. Oh it was fun to watch USC kick the Sooners up and down the field all night. And who can forget Ashlee Simpson's famous booing by the assembled multitudes at halftime? But the game itself was a major let down in terms of competitiveness. This game has a similar feel in terms of hype, so hopefully it will be more like the 2006 Rose Bowl instead.

My deepest, deepest condolences to Colt McCoy. This whole BCS screwjob keeps getting worse. Bradford's victory came in no small part because of his team's victory in the Big 12 Championship Game and invitation to the BCS Title Game. Which of course was made possible by the Big-12s 5th Tiebreaker rule, which for some stupid ass reason was the BCS standings, which were flipped because Oklahoma had the benefit of having a last minute high profile game against Oklahoma State.

I won't shed too many tears for McCoy. I'm sure his rumored girlfriend, pictured here (on the left) on what I assume is a deep sea fishing trip, will be able to cheer him up a bit and put a positive spin on the situation (she's apparently a very talented journalist in training). But lets take a minute to think about how screwed (in a bad way) he was by all this:

Because of a stupid tie breaking rule which I doubt anyone ever thought would actually have to be used, Colt McCoy, through no fault of his own, has missed out on:

The Big-12 South Title
The Big-12 Title
The BCS Title Game
and now (Probably) winning the Heisman Trophy.
McCoy finished in second this year, and seeing as he's already said that he'll be back next year at Texas its a no-brainer that he'll start the season at the top of everyone's Heisman list. Of course, you never can tell how things will play out, with injuries and juju and such. If this football thing doesn't work out, I suggest he try and become a reporter.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Boomer (Champion?) Sooner

I was puzzled at the fact that the BCS, a system which seems set up to screw a different team every year, managed to always give special treatment to the Oklahoma Sooners. Amazingly, this is Bob Stoops's 4th trip to the BCS title game, and even this year's controversy pales in comparison to that surrounding some of the other trips.

Oklahoma's first BCS trip was totally legit. They were undefeated and ranked #1.

Their 2004 trip was controversial in that there were 3 undefeated teams but, as always, there were only 2 spots in the title game.

Things were screwy this year in favor of Oklahoma, and they got a Big-12 Title, a BCSNCG trip, and possible a Heisman Trophy as a result of the Sooner Friendly BCS. But its not really right to blame the BCS entirely, as the Big-12 was dumb enough This years BCS inclusion of Oklahoma is more controversial than 2004 but it doesn't come close to being the most controversial selection for Stoops's Troops. That honor goes to their inclusion in the 2003 Sugar Bowl.

Oklahoma's 2003 title game appearance was perhaps the biggest BCS screwup of all time (or maybe not, there are so many its hard to keep track). Oklahoma lost the Big-12 title game that year. Didn't just lose, got hammered, 35-7, by a Kansas State team led by the original Pocket Hercules Darren Sproles. Despite not winning their conference and getting stomped badly on national TV, the BCS computers still ranked Oklahoma high enough that they were put in the Sugar Bowl against LSU. This led to the infamous split title of 2003, which stupid LSU fans are still bitching about to SC fans despite the fact that SC had nothing to do with it. Freaking hicks, go feed your stupid Tiger.

The Pac-10, the SEC, the ACC, the Big East, smaller schools, Texas, all have been on the short end of the BCS stick. Its truly impressive how many teams have been screwed in only a decade. But why does Oklahoma seem to always reap the benefits of the BCS computations?

Bob Stoops is married to Carol Stoops. Bob and Carol Stoops. BCS! They're behind the whole thing! Its all so simple people!


If Bob Stoops is so powerful, why has he lost so many BCS games?


Seriously though, I have something to say to the Oklahoma fan base. Let me preference this by saying that I am NOT a Texas fan. I don't have any reason to hate Oklahoma, either the team or the state. In fact, in the short time I spent in Texas and Oklahoma, I definitely preferred Oklahoma.

A lot of Sooner fans have recently accused Texas and its fans of being whiners and crybabies as a result of their BCS snub. Some even made banners and posters about the subject and took them to the Big-12 Championship game to display on TV. There seems to be a special delight among Sooners in rubbing this into Texas's collective face.

To any and all Oklahoma fans who are engaging this type of activity, I say this:


Essentially, you won a coin flip. It could just have easily been Texas which won the Big-12 South, Big 12 Title game, had their ticket punched for Miami and had their QB win the Heisman. You got lucky. Which is fine, luck is part of life, and I have no real argument against Oklahoma being selected. But seriously, try to show a little class. You were the beneficiary of a flawed system (again, I might add), so don't pretend like Texas fans don't have a legitimate beef with how things played out.

I know (I KNOW!) that if the tables were turned, and Texas had been selected, that the very same Sooner fans now delighting in taunting Texas fans for their anger would be up in fucking arms over the injustice of it all. And they'd have just as much a reason to be upset as Texas fans do now. So please, Sooner Fans, grow up and realize how lucky you are, enjoy it, and don't spoil it with poor sportsmanship. Florida already has Jesus taking the snaps, so it would be wise not to have too much bad Karma on your trip to Miami or you'll be up against not one but two different supernatural belief structures, and I don't even think Sam Bradford can deal with that.

I'll never understand how people can pull out the "don't be a whiner card" in situations like this. Jesus, these football teams are more important that anything else to some of these fans (not the greatest thing, but true nonetheless). You spend the whole year following, learning about, discussing, arguing, living and dying by every action your team makes. Now your team was screwed out of a lot of good shit for no real reason, essentially because you lost coin flip, and you're expected to not get pissed off about it? You shouldn't get mad and wonder who you have to screw to get a little justice?

By the way, the answer is Bob Stoops.

Heisman Thoughts

The Heisman Memorial Trophy, without a doubt the most hyped and over-analyzed individual award in all of sports, will be given out tonight. TV networks love the Heisman trophy because it gives them hours upon hours of material to babble about instead of doing something productive, which is why I've grown to dislike the Heisman Trophy over the years. The more they talk about it every single damn week, the less I seem to enjoy it.

The three finalists this year are all Quarterbacks for three of the most visible powerhouse teams in the country. Last year's winner, Tim Tebow, will try to become the second ever two time winner, and I think he's got a better chance than most people realize. The betting odds show Sam Bradford as the favorite, followed by Colt McCoy and then Tebow. McCoy and Bradford have had the advantage of ABC covering the Big-12 South every Saturday night for what seems like the last 2 months, and that's just the kind of national media exposure which would make either one a shoo-in. But you can have only one shoo-in, and adding a second makes both into shoo-outs.

The problem the other two contenders have is that they are basically the same candidate, ie the star QB of a Big-12 South power. Tebow, of course, is basically the same except that he's the star QB of an SEC power, and like many elections before it this one will have as much to do with geography as with worthiness.

In order to win the Heisman, typically you need full support from the voters in your geographic region plus a smattering of support from other pockets of the country. Tim Tebow's advantage is that he is basically the one and only shining star from the SEC. All the SEC voters will vote for him first, and anyone looking in at the SEC will vote for him before anyone else in the Conference. Colt and Bradford, however, will be fighting over the same base of voters and they're likely to split them. Adding to their disadvantage is the fact that the Big-12 has a number of other big name stars, including Graham Harrell, Mike Crabtree, Zac Robinson and Chase Daniel, who won't win but will pick away even more votes from Bradford and/or McCoy.

Maybe I'll be proven wrong, but it seems pretty obvious how the votes will split. If Bradford does win, it will basically be a result of his performance against over matched Missouri in the Big-12 Championship game, the last big game in the voters minds. If that's the case I'd be especially pissed if I were a Texas fan, since they had as much of a claim to be in that game as Oklahoma (more so in my opinion). So not only has the BCS screwed Texas out of a division title, Big-12 Title, and trip to the National Championship game, but it also screwed Colt McCoy out of a chance to win the Heisman which was instead afforded to Bradford.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blood for (Foot)Baal!

After a season of agony and disappointment, in which our playoff hopes stand at the very cusp of death, many Charger fans are wondering just what went wrong.

With the exception of Lo Neal, Turner and Merriman, this is essentially the same team as last year, a team which went 11-5, won 8 games in a row, and was three hobbled pro-bowlers from a trip to the Super Bowl. So what's changed? What have we done to anger the football gods?

The answer has made itself known. It has nothing to nothing to do with the pussification of the O-line, LT's injuries, a defense which can't tackle or pressure, a coach who can't manage a game, or a run of bad luck in a few close games. The answer is none of these things, and its been staring us in the pie hole this whole time: Veggie Hot Dogs.

PETA has declared Qualcomm Stadium as the NFL stadium most friendly to vegetarians.

Normally I wouldn't care about such a distinction, but anytime you're getting an award from PETA you're probably doing something that contributes to losing football games.

We, as Charger fans, need to do something to cancel out the bad football karma that PETA is sending our way. I think there is only one way to get things back on track. We need 3 wins and 3 Denver losses to get into the playoffs, and only some serious animal flesh based voodoo is gonna get the job done. I propose that every Charger fan do their part and for the next three weeks host or attend at many BBQs as possible. Carolina style, Texas style, Southwest style, whatever your local pitmaster's speciality is, dig in.

Don't skimp on the chicken either or the link sausage. Watching your figure? Throw some bacon on that salad! And I know the economy is tight, but surely a nice night out at Donovan's or Ruth Chris's can be justified if that Filet Mignon or T-Bone will help the Bolts sneak into the playoffs. Come on people, we all have to do our part.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

"Hey, we got one less Cy Young winner over here!"

The Baseball World has suffered another loss, as 4 Time Cy Young Winner and pitching savant Greg Maddux has announced that he will announce his retirement. That's how big a deal he is, he actually had to announce that he will be announcing, and damned if he doesn't deserve it. Maddux started with the Cubs, then spent the best years of his career with the Braves, then returned to Chicago for a few seasons before finishing his career bouncing back and forth between the Dodgers and Padres.

Maddux had a great career in the Major Leagues, winning 355 games despite a fastball which topped out at 90 MPH or so. He did it with pinpoint control, plenty of movement, and above all a level of baseball intelligence matched by few others. He bested Roger Clemens by a single win, which makes me wonder just how great Maddux could have been with some of Clemens's "health regime".

Even without any pharmaceutical help, Maddux managed 3371 Ks, a .610 winning percentage, and a career ERA of 3.16 which includes a few not so great years tacked onto the end. He walked only 999 of the over 20000 batters he faced, and actually had more wins, 355, than home runs allowed, 353.

As a kid I once wrote a school report about Greg Maddux (which I got 100% on!). Its amazing to think that even then, some dozen or more years ago, Maddux was already considered bound for the Hall of Fame. I remember reading an article as part of my research for that report, a piece which was filled with stories of how Maddux was very cerebral yet almost in a casual way. Baseball is just a game, its not rocket surgery or anything, but if there was ever was such thing as a pitching genius it was Greg Maddux.

But never mind all the wins, the strikeouts, Cy Youngs or the World Series title. Greg Maddux wasn't just some glasses wearing namby pamby pitcher, he could swing the lumber when he had too, as shown in this classic clip:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Toby Keith: War on Christmas

I have very mixed feelings about Country Music. Some is good, some is crap, which is true of most genres, but there's often a political and cultural slant which makes me uneasy. Toby Keith may be the best embodiment of this paradox. For ever boot metaphorically put into someone's ass, there's a threesome with Bobby Jo and Betty Lou. He'll feud with the Dixie Chicks in a way that makes him look like a moron and then turn out a CD full of music which I'm glad to have on my IPOD.

This video clip from Steven Colbert's Christmas special is just fantastic. Keith hams it up playing the part of the typical reactionary country western singer, with his tongue firmly in cheek the whole time. Or maybe he's faking that, and he really does believe that there is a War on Christmas. Who knows with this guy. Either way its a fun video.

Tuber Farmers of the World, Unite!

USDA Official Takes Courageous Stand Against Interstate Countercyclical Potato Pricing

I couldn't help it. I watch lots of funny videos, and a lot are funnier than this. But something about this tickled my inner political junkie. In a good way, that is.

The irony of the whole thing is that I hate potatoes.

Netflix Prize

From the New York Times Magazine comes this very interesting article about the "Netflix Prize", an open competition put on by Netflix. Its a lot like the "X Prize", in that the company has declared an open competition and is prepared to richly reward whoever accomplishes a set task. Except instead of building something boring like a spaceship, Netflix wants to slightly improve a series of mathematical algorithms, which is way more sexy and likely to get you laid.

The goal is to improve the accuracy of the Netflix recommendation software by 10%, and whoever can accomplish this will win the grand prize of $1 million. At first glance it doesn't seem that 10% should be so hard, but you have to realize that this is a 10% improvement from the point at which the original Netflix programmers stopped trying to refine their model. The marginal difficulty of even this small improvement is very high and despite the large prize and competitive teams working around the globe the closest anyone has gotten is about 9.4% improvement. Even this seems pretty good considering the daunting task of creating new algorithms which improve upon all the old ones already in use.

The biggest hurdle in getting to the goal appears to be coming from hard to rate independent films, which are generally very polarizing and harder to predict based on other movie preferences. Singled out as the biggest confounding DVD is the indie flick "Napoleon Dynamite", which by some estimates accounts for up to 15% of the uncertainty left in the models. "Dynamite" is a movie which most viewers either love or hate, and the overabundance of 1 and 5 star reviews, which apparently have little apparent relation to a rater's other movie preferences, wreaks havoc on the prediction algorithms. It would be easy if the world was easily split into "Dynamite" lovers and haters, but there is no apparent relationship between a Vote for Pedro and a rater's taste in other films.

Several other indie films which received wide release are also a problem for the programmers, which is probably fitting if you think about it. All these films thrive of being odd, unpredictable and "quirky" for quirky's sake, so its no surprise that they have to go and screw with perfectly good logical algorithms. On the other side of the coin, its not too surprising that studio films fit so nicely into such algorithms, since I'm convinced that most of them are conceived, written and green-lit by a computer.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mack Brown really is Bob Stoops's Bitch

Sucks to be the Longhorns. You have a great season, you actually win the Red River Shootout, you're one miracle play from going undefeated, and in the end your reward is to sit at home and watch two teams you have beat play for the Big-12 title.

I have no particular love for the Sooners or the Horns, but I gotta feel bad for Mack Brown. He had won the Shootout before against Stoops but only in years where his team came in as a large favorite. This year he managed to get his underdog team to win in Dallas, and his big reward is to watch Stoops take his team to the Big-12 Championship game and probably the National Championship Game, while his team will be thrown a bone by the BCS with a Fiesta Bowl matchup against Utah.

I've already expressed my opinion that the tie was decided incorrectly. In my opinion deciding of a conference championship or division title must be done taking into account only what teams do in conference play. The truth of the matter is that this tie was broken as a result of Oklahoma's slightly better out of conference schedule. This may not seem like a big deal, but consider another scenario: all the Big-12 conference results were identical, but Texas and Oklahoma each lost an out of Conference game and finished 10-2 instead of 11-1. Under this tiebreaker Texas Tech, the team which was disemboweled by Oklahoma just last week, would have likely been declared the champion of the Big-12 South on account of their superior overall record.

Looking to the SEC, whose championship game this Saturday will decide one half of the National Title Game matchup, I was floored when I learned that Alabama is a 10 point underdog against the Gators. Think about that: the undefeated, consensus #1 team in every poll is a double digit underdog to on a neutral field. What's more amazing is that I can't really say its wrong. Alabama has had a great season, but they have benefited from a schedule which, in retrospect, is much weaker than it originally looked. Their big wins against Clemson and Auburn aren't particularly impressive given the massive struggles of those teams this year. They had several close calls against mediocre teams, including now-unranked LSU, Kentucky and Ole Miss. Even their biggest win, when they smashed Georgia on the road, is less impressive given Georgia's (lack of) performance against Florida, struggles against mediocre Auburn, Kentucky and South Carolina teams and most recent loss to Georgia Tech.

Of course, Bama has a chance to shut me and all other critics like me up this Saturday. I do think they matchup fairly well against the Gators, though it will take very good execution on their part if they want to pull the upset.

Assuming things go as predicted, we'll have a Florida vs. Oklahoma national title game next month. This should be a great game with a ton of offense. You'll have at least one Heisman trophy winner in Tim Tebow and another possible winner in Sam Bradford, plus tons of speed and talent at every position.

Speaking of the Heisman, I think the Big-12's embarrassment of offensive riches will be its undoing. Bradford, Colt McCoy, Harrell, Robinson, Daniel and Crabtree will likely all split the Big-12 voting block into little bitty pieces. Meanwhile, a guy like Tebow will face little opposition from his SEC peers. Its a perfect divide and conquer scenario.

Prediction Follies

Yesterdays quick pics were mostly a disaster. I was right about Oklahoma "winning" the Big-12 South, but my last minute NFL picks were perhaps my worst bunch of the season. I went 4-8 with the Monday night game still pending. To be fair I would have gone 2-1 with my probable but never made Thanksgiving Day picks, but you get no points for probable wins.

Let this be a lesson: be wary of making public predictions off the top of your head. You need at least 15-20 seconds of deep thought per prediction to really get things correct.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Beep... Beep... Beeeeepppppppp

November 30th, 2008. 8:14 PM, EST: I type the following words into my Google box:

NFL Draft Order 2009

It took me a minute to realize what I had done, but then it dawned on me: this is the first thing I do after the end of a Charger season.

Charger fans, its all but over for the 2008 season. Today's lackluster loss combined with the Broncos' takedown of the Jets puts the Bolts 3 games back with 4 to play. Technically there is the smallest glimpse of hope for the Bolts, but it will take only a little bit more for the life support keeping this season alive to fail and for 2008 to finally flatline.

Looking ahead, some things are promising and some things are not. We'll get a decent draft selection, anywhere from #8 to #20, though our second round pick is gone to the Patriots. Speaking of which, our slip back into second place was poorly timed in terms of future scheduling. The same slide occurred in New England and Indy this year, meaning that next year we'll get the Colts and Patriots yet again, while the Broncos will get the Jets and the Titans. We have to go to Indy, who shows no sign of slowing down, and we'll host the Patriots, who will have Tom Brady back along with the fruit of our 2nd round draft pick.

Next season is really the last rodeo for this group of Chargers players. Age is rapidly stalking LT and Jamal, while Merriman, Igor, Rivers, Jackson, McNeil, Cro and others all will be nearing the end of their contracts in the next year or two. And Norv will likely be on his last chance next year as well, though he might just stay long enough to squander our remaining talent.

What really bugs me about looking forward is that nothing really will change as far as the main pieces are concerned. A few additions, a few subtractions, but nothing major. So what is supposed to transform this year's failure into next year's success? What will smooth out the offense, or light a fire under the defense? Will the playcalling change, or the lack of urgency? Time can only tell, but its time we are running out of.

A quick prediction

A quick mid-afternoon College football mini-post. Regarding the Big-12 South drama, to be decided by today's BCS standings: Oklahoma.

They Sooners have jumped the Longhorns in the Coaches poll. They were already ahead in the Harris poll, and the computers are pretty much a wash.

The Sooners will be your Big 12 Champs. They should make short work of Missouri in a game where the over under should be around 168.

The National title game will be the Sooners and the SEC Championship game winner, who I predict will be Florida.

Your 30 seconds of thinking about it probable bowl lineup:

Rose: PSU vs. USC
Fiesta: Texas vs. Utah
Sugar: Alabama vs. Cincinnati
Orange: ACC Champ vs. Boise State
BCS NCG: Florida vs. Oklahoma

I think Oklahoma is definitely a worthy BCS title game team. They can play with, and beat, anyone in the country. But I don't think they should go, since I don't think they should win the Big-12 South. Texas beat them on a neutral field. If the choice is between Texas and Oklahoma then I don't see how Texas cannot be the chioce. However, the choice is (at least nominally) between UT, OK and TTU, and that's what sinks Texas.

My only decision now is to decide my title game rooting interest. Which team do I dislike more: the team I don't think should be there, or the SEC champ. Pretty easy, actually. Though this method has successfully picked the loser the last 2 years. Lots of luck, Stoops.

NFL Picks: Week 13

I've been sleeping on the job in recent weeks, and the holiday this week didn't help much. I've already missed 3 games this week, which I probably would have gone 2-1 on. Here's an abbreviated pick post for the rest of this weeks games:

Ravens -7 Bengals
Colts -5 Browns
Rams +7.5 Fish
Packers -3 Carolina
Saints +5 Bucs
Skins +3.5 Giants
Bills -6 49ers
Steelers +1.5 Patriots
Raiders +3 Chefs
Jets -8 Broncos
Chargers -5.5 Falcons
Bears +2.5 Vikings
Jags +3 Texans

Enjoy the games, we'll try to get this train rolling again real soon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Yiddish Word of the Day: Bupkis

Hello, all you menchs and mohels. Time for your Yiddish word of the day: Bupkis.

Bupkis; noun, slang, meaning: nothing, nada, zip, zilch, squat, worthless

Example: "Go ahead and sue me. Know what you'll get? Bupkis!"

Bupkis comes to us from the Slavic languages by way of Yiddish and literally means "beans", but not in an appetizing way. The beans referred to are actually small pellets of animal droppings, which is perhaps appropriate given the common usage of the word and its generally negative connotation. Gradually the literal meaning has left it and bupkis has evolved into slang meaning "nothing".

UPDATE:  This has always been a very popular post, and I was never sure why, but recently I might have figured it out by accident.  If anyone is here because of the show "Dexter", could you please leave a comment to that effect?  Thanks.

Where were the Powder Blues?

God am I sick of this shit.

Sick of getting jobbed by refs in these close games. That PI call was bullshit, as was that premature whistle on a clear fumble which was ours. And the free timeout you gave the Colts as they drove for the winning points was oh so nice of you. Fuck.

I'm sick of having games be close enough where we can get jobbed by refs.

That's 4 games lost in the final 30 seconds. 5 losses by a touchdown or less. 4 by a field goal or less. Its especially sickening to think that LT is fading fast and may never get the ring he so much deserves.

This afternoon, the Raiders- yes, the fucking RAIDERS- gave us an early birthday, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa gift by going to Denver and beating the cracked leather right off of Shanny's face. And what do we do with this awesome gift? Spit on it by blowing another close game. So now instead of controlling our destiny, once again we need help and plenty off it.


Things aren't getting much easier. We are now in must-win territory, and the first must-win is in one week against Atlanta. When the schedule came out the Falcons at home looked like easy pickings, a sure win. If you had said back in April that one team would be 7-3 and the other 4-7 going into that game, 100% of people would probably think the Chargers would have the winning record. Alas, its not to be, but this is still a winnable, must win game.

We must beat Atlanta, and then we must beat Oakland, and then we must go to Kansas City and beat the Chiefs. There is no negotiation about this, no gray area.

In the meantime, we have to hope that the currently world-beating JETS JETS JETS don't celebrate their new found success by laying an egg against the Donks next week. Doesn't seem like too much to hope for that the surging Jets can beat the reeling Broncos, but then again I've hoped for a lot this year and gotten bupkis. Besides the Jets, the Broncos host Kansas City again, a game I'm not putting a lot of hope on, and then they travel to Carolina. A few weeks ago I would have felt good about that game, but with the way the Panthers are collapsing lately I can't be sure of anything.

Lets just take this one game at a time. Please Norv, Ron, and everyone else: get your shit together before Atlanta comes to town. And whoever keeps sleeping with the referees' wives, cut that crap out.

And seriously, where were the Powder Blues? Big game, Sunday Night Football, Against the Colts, and we come out in the regular jerseys? You wanna tell me that those jerseys aren't worth at least 5 points?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More BCS madness, brought to you by Bob Stoops

No NFL picks this week, cause who can think about the pros when there is so much buzz around college football right now?!?!? (Also, I'm lazy).

Tonight, Oklahoma won against Texas Tech. By a lot. "Won" isn't a strong enough word. It was a butt whipping wrapped in beatdown and topped off with a double helping of ass-stomping. The Sooners prevailed 65-21, and it could have been worse.

Oh boy.

As a result of this rather convincing victory, their will be thousands of hours of mental masturbation from coast to coast as fans, pundits and voters try to figure out just who should win the Big-12 South. The implications are huge, since the winner of the Big-12 South need only win the Big-12 championship game to be wisked away to the BCS championship game in Miami. And since the NCAA has yet to hear my pleadings and abolish the national championship altogether, this is a big deal.

The problem is that, assuming Oklahoma wins next week against Oklahoma State, their will be a 3 way tie for first place in the division. Each team be 1-1 against the other two and have an identical record otherwise, so the tiebreaker is whatever team has the highest BCS rating. We can pretty much assume that Tech is out, as they will likely be punished badly for tonight's suckitude, so the question is simple: Texas or Oklahoma?

Keep in mind that Texas beat Oklahoma by 10 points on a neutral field. So it seems pretty obvious to me who should go. But this is the BCS, meaning nothing is obvious, especially that which should be obvious. Oklahoma is going to get major points in the minds of the voters, who are fickle and short of attention span, because of tonight's dominating performance. They'll probably get some more love if they get a big win next week against State. So it could very well be the case that even when Mac Brown manages to beat Bob Stoops he still is his bitch.

Of course, if State manages to beat Oklahoma next week, then Texas Tech, who just got rocked 65 ways from Sunday, is your Big-12 South Champion. If I were a Texas fan I'm not sure what would piss me off more: beating Oklahoma but getting screwed out of a Big-12 championship by voters, or going 11-1 with a single, last second road loss but being screwed out of a Big-12 championship because your hated arch rival lost. This next week is going to suck for them, because they have to root for Oklahoma to win, but at the same time they need Oklahoma to suck badly while doing it or else risk getting edged out because of "style points". Its a real no win-situation for the Horns faithful.

While I can accept all this hemming and hawing over the Texas vs. Oklahoma question, I just about lose it when people ask stupid questions like "will Oklahoma jump Texas AND Florida"? Earth to poll obsessed idiots: IT DOESN'T MATTER! This is the easiest thing in the world to figure out, because Florida is in a different freaking conference and its not going to be a question of Texas/Oklahoma OR Florida in the National Title game. Florida controls its own destiny. In a rational world we could drop them from the rankings and it wouldn't matter as long as they win out. But again, this is College Football, and there has never been an ABC promo that said "Rationality Lives Here".

The Pac-10 would be in a prime position to crash the party with an entrant of its own in the person of the USC Trojans. That is, if OSU would be so kind as to lose their final game to Oregon. OSU almost lost to Arizona tonight because of a missed extra point but managed to pull out a miracle with less than a minute remaining and stole a 19-17 victory over Mike Stoops. I can only imagine what Thanksgiving is gonna be like at the Stoops' this year, with Mike blowing yet another close game at home while his brother has perhaps the hottest team in the country.

Now, assuming USC wins out and wins out big (an easy assumption), and OSU loses next week (a not so easy assumption), I believe USC path to the title game is narrow but possible. Several scenarios come to mind:

1) Oklahoma State beats the Sooners next week

Could happen. Maybe. Alright, probably not, but if it did you would have Texas Tech as your Big-12 South Champion, and then frankly it wouldn't matter if they or Mizzou won in Kansas City. I think the stink of failure from tonight's nightmare would be too strong for Tech to overcome, and SC would probably be voted in over them to play the winner of the SECCG.

2) OK or Texas goes to Kansas City and Mizzou pulls the upset.

All but guarantees an SC title game bid. The only way it doesn't happen is if PSU jumps USC (unlikely) or if whoever doesn't make it from the Big 12 South gets in despite finishing 2nd in their division. This has happened before in the BCS and frankly it pissed a lot of people off, which I why I don't think it will happen again.

3) Florida loses to State and then beats Bama

1 Loss USC > 2 loss SEC Champion

4) Bama loses the Iron Bowl but squeaks out an unconvincing SECCG win.

Now we're really getting weird here. Basically the argument is that Bama tarnishes itself so badly that SC could jump them, but I really don't see it happening.

By the way, all of these USC situations also could apply to Penn State, assuming either an SC loss or an Oregon State victory, though Penn State has the problem that it is the Champion of the Big-10 and therefore has to deal with the unfortunate BCS baggage which Ohio State has accumulated over the past 2 years.

It will be interesting to see if an at-large Pac-10 Co-champ USC would be voted in over Penn State. And by "interesting", I mean lots of people would be really, really mad no matter what happened. You know what would be really interesting? A playoff.

The funny thing is that there could be at least two undefeated non-BCS schools who aren't even in this conversation. Utah is 12-0 and poised to crash the BCS party, and Boise State is a win away from a 12-0 record of its own (not to mention *ahem* the Ball State Cardinals, but we aren't going there). Depending how things play out, you could very likely have two undefeated top 10 teams who won't even be considered for the BCS NCG while two one-loss teams get in. All the more reason we either need a playoff or to create a new division between BCS and non-BCS schools, because frankly its bullshit that over half of division 1-A schools have zero chance of winning their supposed National Championship.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Badvertising: Sir Charles and Emperor Ming

I kinda wish these weren't commercials. Not because they are bad, but because the medium is so limiting. I'm envisioning a sitcom or a sketch comedy series featuring Sir Charles and Pookie.

Props to Yao for his excellent guest appearance in this ad, but the best acting goes to Wade with his reaction to the scary killer shrimp.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Book Review: Hot, Flat and Crowded

I just finished Thomas Friedman's newest tome about the wonderful world of the future and how it will crush us all unless we change our ways. It was a fun read, though I admit I skimmed some parts because Friedman tends to repeat himself over and over when driving home a point. Still, I definitely recommend this book to everyone.

The thesis of the book is that the world is rapidly getting heated up due to global warming ("hot"), integrated due to globalization and the technological revolution ("flat"), and full of lots of people ("crowded"). Friedman presents the evidence through a wide variety of anecdotes and historical data. It actually gets a little annoying after a while as Friedman recounts his endless jetsetting and meetings with super smart scientific minds and heads of state, but maybe I'm just jealous because I've yet to get to China or Dubai.

Friedman advocates that the whole world needs to heed the dangers of increasing carbon emissions from development and work to stop them before they contribute to catastrophic global warming. He tries to explain that global warming is more than just the earth getting warmer, that the real danger is droughts, storms, and other terrible climate shifts which result from even a small increase in the Earth's temperatures. I think he could have done more to drive this point home, as its really the point of thinking about global warming as a serious issue. Even many climate change skeptics will conceed that the earth seems to be getting warmer, but that its not really a big deal if the mercury ticks up a degree or two, and so Friedman and others would do well to really drive the point home about the potential consequences of those few degrees.

Where the book really hits home is its description of how businesses, governments, NGOs and even the US military have adapted "green" energy saving and generating techniques, not as part of a fad or a PR campaign, but in order to gain a competitive advantage. Friedman aggressively advocates that the entire US needs to get on board with this movement, and soon, or see its place in the world continue to slip due to inefficiency, wastefulness, competitive disadvantage in costs and technology, and the continued dependence on often hostile "petrodictators" on whom we rely for oil.

This is the most important idea advanced by the this book, the idea that "going green" needs to be more than a fad. It's not about coolness, hippies, tree-hugging, granola, Birkenstocks or any of those "fringe" straw-symbols which often get associated with the environmentalist movement. Its actually about business and innovation and progress. Its about America leading the way into a new technological and economic revolution and keeping our place as the world's premier ass kicking nation. Every dollar sent overseas to a petrodictator is a dollar not spent in America. Every barrel of oil we import hurts our leverage with OPEC nations. Every wasted kilowatt makes America poorer in numerous ways and chips away at our status as the world's lone Superpower.

The brass tacks in this book are... a little lacking. Its a big picture work, a book designed to motivate large scale action. Friedman is advocating that the creative energy of the American people be engaged in this project through business and government incentives, and really that's about as specific as the solution can be at this point. The good news is that the changes advocated by Friedman are likely to find a much more receptive audience under President Obama and his new Congressional allies, though given the slow rate of progress on this front and the lots of other, more visible challenges facing the new administration I'm not entirely optimistic. Still, if its ever going to happen, now is the time. Here's hoping.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NFL Picks: Week 11

Another successful week of fake betting for me, as I went 8-5 to push my record to 64-40-5. If I keep this fake success up I'll be swimming in fake money, which I could use to buy fake blow snort it off of fake strippers' fake (or would they be real?) breasts.

"Old and Slow" D -3 "Old and Hick" QB

I never thought a pairing of 6-3 teams playing for first place could seem so dull.

PANTHERS -14 Lions

How bad are the Lions? They are getting 2 tds at home from a team which threw 4 picks and had only 7 completions last week.

Matty Ice and the Burner -6.5 Broncos

The Birds run over the Donks and open the door.

Moo Cows +8 COLTS

A bit of redemption for that early season screwup against the Colts.

FISH -10 Raiders

The Raiders should abandon the whole concept of a traditional offense and go straight to a wildcat snap on every play.

Bucs -4 Vikes

The Vikes were lucky to win last week, as one of those safeties was bogus and the Pack still almost beat them on a field goal. This week against a competent run defense they won't be so lucky.

Chefs +5 Goddamn I hate that Drew Brees got 27 fantasy points for playing like shit last week!!!

Of course, right when everyone is thinking that the Chefs might not suck so bad they'll no doubt crap all over themselves and get blown out by the struggling Saints.

Bears +3.5 PACK

The Neck Beard is back with a scruffy vengence.

Iggles -9 KITTIES

A desperate Iggles team versus a team no longer desperate to avoid going winless.

Ravens +7 BIG BLUE

Haloti Ngata is gonna take the Giants down a notch.

Rams +6.5 49ers

Answer me this: how can an entire NFL coaching staff, including an O-coordinator who once took a team to the Super Bowl, not know what damn yard line the ball is on at the most crucial time of the game? And even if they did know, why the hell would they hand off into 20 guys with a backup running back?


Hasselbeck won't be enough to fix the hawks.

Chargers +5.5 STILLERS

First place, here we come! I'll be there, freezing my ass off and surrounded by 60000 terrible towels. And I have to drive dangerously close to West Fucking Virginia to get there. So you better damn well believe we're gonna win.

JAGS +3 Titans

This is the week. Get your bubbly ready, remaining 72 Dolphins.

SKINS +1 Cowboys

Wait a minute: My Boy Romo returns and suddenly the Cowboys are gonna play defense? Does no one remember that the Skins beat the Boys in Dallas? Like, this season?

Browns +5 BILLS

Couple of really disappointing teams make for another disappointing MNF matchup.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Knowledge Brings Fear

Yesterday I hosted a talk by a Very Smart Professor Who Knows Many Things, especially about American Health Care and Health Care reform.

Basically, the former is overpriced and mediocre and the latter may be kinda possible under President Obama, but not really.

Its been less than a week and I'm already depressed about the failures of a President who won't take office for 70 more days.

Then again, the Professor was a Red Sox Fan, so maybe he was just full of shit.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

People who suck

Welcome to People Who Suck, November 7th edition. Today, we look at the Cleveland Browns, a whole group of people who suck.

The Browns Defense sucks. They got shredded by Jay Culter in the second half last night. They dropped multiple interceptions. They gave up a critical 4th and 1 despite tackling the ball-carrier in the backfield. They surrendered a 13 point 3rd quarter lead. They gave up the second most passing yards in team history to Cutler. At home. Against a team which had been held without a pass play over 20 yards for 4 straight games. Basically, they suck.

Oh, but the suckage isn't limited to the Browns Defense. The offense has its share of suckitude, specifically in the person of one Kellen Winslow Jr., graduate of Scripps Ranch High School and The University of Miami. Now, looking at the box score, it may seem like Mr. Winslow, who had 100 yards and 2 tds receiving, does not, in fact, suck. But oh, you would be mistaken. Look further down in that boxscore, where it shows penalties, and you'll see a critical Offensive PI penalty which took away a 3rd down conversion and a scoring chance from his team. Mr. Winslow wasn't even the intended receiver. After this penalty the Broncos scored on a 93 yard play against the aforementioned sucky Browns Defense.

So how does Mr. Winslow make up for his gaffe? On the very next series, he caught a pass which would have been a big first down, but Mr. Winslow got greedy. He just had to have one single stinking extra yard, to prove how tough he was. And while he was busy NOT getting down, the Broncos were busy making sure he did NOT have the football any more. The resulting turnover gave the Donks the ball with great field position, which they quickly turned into a go ahead touchdown. Basically, Mr. Winslow sucks so much that even with 100 yards and 2 TDS, he lost his team the game. That takes talent.

So congratulations, Cleveland. For the second straight game you blow a 2 TD second half lead at home. And for your efforts, you get to be today's "People Who Suck"

NFL Picks: Week 10

No NFL picks last week. The Chargers had a bye and so I took one too, plus all my idle time and energy which usually goes into my awesome NFL picks was focused on the election. Back to business this week, as I add to my 56-35-5 record.

BROWNS -3 Donks

Douchebag 3rd year QB versus flaming (not) gay 2nd year QB making his first start. Oh, NFL, how can you survive if you insist on putting such great matchups out of view of so many fans on NFL Network?

Bills +3.5 PATS

This game could decide the AFC east, and I think the Bills will bounce back and steal it.

TITANS -3 Da Bears

Is this a joke? Sexy Rexy is playing against the NFLs best defense, and its only 3 points?

Saints +1 Dirty Birds

Saints keep it rolling, and the Dirty Birds run at the playoffs ends.

Seachickens +8.5 FISH

Last week the Seahawks punted 11 straight times. The Fish went to Denver and won by 9. So it just seems right that this will be a squeaker.

Pack +2.5 VIKINGS

Dammit the Pack was sooooo close to knocking off the Titans last week.

Rams +9 JETS

Come on, 9 points? I know the Rams kinda suck but they damn near beat the Pats last week, and they have beaten the Skins and crushed the Cowboys. 9 points?

Ravens -1 MOO COWS

Replay of the Hurricaned-out game. Ravens D will smother just enough to get a win.

Jags -6.5 LIONS

Del Rio's boys have had a rough couple weeks. The Lions will get to play the role of slumpbuster. Metaphorically, that is. I hope.

Panthers -9.5 Raiders

Last week, at home against the mediocre Falcons, the Raiders offense was held under 80 total yards.

BOLTS -15 Chefs

With all due respect to my man Barack, Ron Rivera is the real change we can believe in. YES WE CAN... blitz the qb! YES WE CAN... get some turnovers! YES WE CAN... play some fucking defense for once!

Big Blue +3 IGGLES

Probably the game of the week, should be a bruiser. Not really feeling great about this pick.

49ers +9.5 BUZZSAW

Oh dear god. Imagine, back in March, some NFL execs were looking at the schedule and decided that THIS game should be on MNF. As for the game, the Buzzsaw is looking good, and the 49ers fired their coach and got destroyed two weeks ago by the shitty Seahawks. All this adds up to a Monday night crapfest decided by a field goal in the last minute.

Enjoy the games. Remember: YES WE CAN... drink beer and eat nachos till we pass out! God Bless America!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Kiwi vs Wallaby

People complain that there is a lot of showboating in American Sports. One of the classic "traditions" in College Football is the pre-game whoop fest, where both teams wander out on the field to stare each other down and talk trash while the refs and their pissed off coaches separate them. Its a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Typically the most you'll get out of it is a few offsetting penalties. Pretty lame. At least the Jets and the Sharks had knives.

Now, down under, they know how to do pre-game dick measuring right. Check out this video of the warmup for a recent New Zealand versus Australia rugby match:

Very impressive. You know what would make this awesome display of "my cock is bigger than yours and I'll prove it by dancing around like a weirdo" even better? If there were some actual fans in the stands for this supposedly big game. Maybe they were scared away by the hard core dancing.

Slightly Bittersweet

Yesterday's Democratic ass-kicking was a special moment for many, including myself. Its been a long 8 years, and its been an especially long 4 years since W defeated Kerry in 2004. I truly believe in Barack Obama and I believe he will be a great President for our nation. Here's hoping that the Democratic party realizes that the time for action is now, and that petty legislation and partisan infighting will only waste what little time we have.

Sadly, yesterday's victory was dimmed a bit by the passing of Proposition 8 in my home state of California, a constitutional amendment which eliminates the rights of same sex couples to marry in the state. Those who are already married are grandfathered in, but no new marriages will be performed. (UPDATE: apparently that isn't quite correct. All those thousands of marriages which already exist may or may not be valid in the wake of Prop 8 passing. So congrats, California: you just might have instantly divorced thousands of loving committed couples. Real bang up fucking job there, people).

Props to the Mormon Church, who flooded the state with $25 million dollars in order to push this affront to basic civil rights. Lots of smarter and funnier people than me have pointed out how I-fucking-ronic it is that the Mormons would be pushing for the "traditional" definition of marriage. I guess they figured if they can't have theirs no one else can either.

I am straight, as are most of my friends, but I am in favor of allowing same sex marriages. There are lots of legal, political and scientific reasons I could bring up in support of this position, but it really comes down to one thing: life is short. Life is too fucking short.

If two consenting adults love each other and want to commit to spending their lives together, then "A Salut, God Bless" to them.

Several other states passed similar amendments or have done so in the past, but California was one state where passage was a sure thing going in. It would take either another amendment repealing the repeal or an overruling of these bans by the Supreme Court of the United States in order for Prop 8 to be voided, and neither of these looks likely to happen in the short term. In the long term I believe that gay marriage will someday be legalized in our country, most likely as a result of a Supreme Court decision on the subject and probably within my lifetime.

That setback aside, yesterday was a proud day for America, and hopefully the start of many more proud days in the next four (or eight) years.

Meet the New Boss....

Same as the Old Boss?

New York was crazy tonight. People out on the streets at 2 AM, marching and chanting. Horns honking, songs singing.

As part of the after-celebration at my department I enjoyed a smoke with some SIPA students, all foreigners, who were kinda happy that Obama won but couldn't help but fault him for being an American, a capitalist, or something something something. Whatever, fuck them, bunch of commies. We voted today and we voted for a pair of rival candidates who are smart, patriotic and inspiring.

McCain's concession speech was gracious and enlightened. Obama's victory speech had me choked up at a few points. Both men are deserving of our respect and gratitude.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Eternal Sufferage

Election Day is tomorrow, and its important that we all do our part to keep our Democracy healthy. Yesterday the Miami Dolphins did their part for America by beating the Denver Broncos 26-17. Follow their example and do your civic duty if you haven't already. It would be a lot less of a freaking headache every 4 years if we had a dictatorship and didn't have to work at this Democracy crap, but we're stuck with it for the time being so we might as well make the best of it.

And for those of you who think voting is uncool (assholes!) remember the timeless words of P. Diddy: VOTE OR DIE!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Strange Bedfellows

They say that politics makes strange bedfellows (or at least they used to say that when people still used the term "bedfellows"). I've come to accept this as a basic fact of political life. But still, this is some really weird shit.

Esquire Magazine interviewed a number of avowed race supremacists about who they are supporting in the election. Incredibly, 3 of the 4 white supremacists are Pro-Obama! The reasons vary, but basically they think that Obama's election will cause white people to rise up and join them in their hatred of other races and there can finally be the Great Race War. I have to hand it to them, they don't judge a man sole on the color of his skin, but one how they can exploit the color of his skin to get everyone to hate others based on the color of their skin.

The fourth white supremacist is pretty boring, he's pro-McCain because Obama is a black.

But what's even more amazing than all these nutters is the final person interviewed, a Black Supremacist who is actually anti-Obama and Pro-McCain! He thinks Obama is a big Uncle Tom sellout who isn't really black, even going so far as to say that the day of Obama's nomination was "one of the saddest days in black history". I guess the hundreds of years of slavery and oppression were actually not so bad.

Of course, this could all be a big ruse. Yet again, South Park proves to be the best source of wisdom in our troubled times.

Vote or Treat?

People often complain that Americans don't give enough attention to politics. Whether this is true or not is a matter of some debate in the academic literature. Whatever the answer, we can all rest easy knowing that there are some fine Americans who make it their business to educate the rest of us about the importance of politics.

Like this lady, who has the courage to stand by her convictions. A real patriot.

If I hadn't stupidly voted already I would change my mind, depending on what kind of candy she was giving out.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Crystal (Pigskin) Ball

Its been too long since I talked about College Football. November will be soon upon upon us, meaning a month of great football action which will separate the manly, sexed up wheat from the limp, non-bowl bound chaff. I have a few thoughts about the all important National Title Game contenders:

First, I think Penn State is leading the pack and (pretty much) controls its own destiny. The Fighting Paternos are undefeated and have only three games left to run the table. Only the Michigan State game looks particularly challenging, but baring a big injury or some weird voodoo I think they will finish undefeated with the Big Ten title. This should lock up a trip to the BCS title game... unless both Alabama and an Big 12 South Team (most likely Texas) also finished undefeated. But I don't see that happening. Any slip up by Penn State, however, and they are done.

Texas and Alabama also hold their own destinies in their hands. Texas has to go to Lubbock to face the also undefeated Red Raiders. If Texas can run its table, including the Big 12 title game, they are in like (Matt) Flynn.

Theoretically Texas Tech, if the can beat the Longhorns, will consume their life-force and become them, meaning they will only have to win out in order to be in like the aforementioned Flynn. But frankly I don't see this happening, as even if they beat Texas they still have OK and OK State, and then the big 12 title game to deal with.

Alabama is in the same metaphorical boat as Texas, but I think it will fall overboard sooner rather than later. Bama is a good team but I think that either LSU or the winner of the SEC East will get them at least once. They can still win the SEC and go to the BCSTG even with a loss, but they won't leapfrog an undefeated Penn State to get there.

Georgia and Florida need to win out, win the SEC, and hope for either a Penn State loss or a Big 12 South Fall from grace. Its possible but less likely.

No one from the ACC or Big East deserves consideration this year.

And finally... way out on the West Coast.... are the Trojans. If USC wants to go to the big game, they need to win out and get a lot of help. Their problem is that they really have no chance for any more signature wins against highly ranked teams. However, an 11-1 Pac-10 Champ USC team could (maybe) get in, provided two of the following things happen:

1)Penn State Loses
2)Missouri pulls an upset in the Big 12 Championship game
3)The winner of the Cocktail party loses another game but then goes to the SEC title game and beats Bama.
4) Bama loses twice, LSU wins the SEC west and wins SEC CG (not likely but possible).
5)The Big 12 South winner loses a game but then wins the Big-12 CG.

Basically USC is now 4th in line for 2 spots, so they'll need at least two of the three hypothetical conference champions to slip up in order for them to slide past and into the title game.

But there's another consideration which few people have brought up: technically USC is tied for first place in the Pac-10, with the OSU Beavers, and technically OSU has the tiebreaker as a result of their head to head win over USC. The Pac-10 does give out "co-champs" to teams which finish the season with identical records, but the team who won the head to head match up gets the nod for the Conference's automatic BCS bid (typically the Rose Bowl). What this all means is that(technically mind you) USC could go 11-1 but not really be first place in their own conference. All this is predicated on OSU winning the rest of their games, which could happen but is hardly a lock. And if it did happen, USC would be "co-champs" and not out of National Title Game contention, but the whole thing feels a bit hollow.

Of course, we all know that nothing is ever a sure thing in College Football, so any and all of these predictions are to taken with a Dinty-Moore sized helping of salt. Whatever happens, we have a great month of College Football to look forward to, culminating in every team taking the Month of December off right as they are playing at their best.