Friday, September 30, 2005


Thank God for The Perry Bible Fellowship. Hilarious as always.

Which reminds me, this morning, during my hazy drive in to work, I thought of a great three panel comic strip. Unfortunately, I can't draw worth a damn, so I'll just describe it to you.

First panel: We're in the woods. There's a fierce gun battle between squirrels and deer. Heavy artillery, mortar shells, the works. Smokey the Bear observes from the corner with a horrified look on his face.

Second panel: Close up on Smokey's face as the war rages on behind him. He's pointing at the reader and a voice bubble states, "Only you can prevent forest wars."

Third panel: Smokey is sitting Indian style as flames engulf him and he's burned alive a la this happy little Buddhist Monk.

Smokey's totally dead, yo! I call it, "Fuckin' Smokey."


I call "bullshit" 

Sony has introduced a brand new line of television called "Bravia," which they're touting as, "The world's first television FOR MEN AND WOMEN."



What the fuck does that mean?!?!?! Were all televisions up to this point only suited for men? Were people not meant to enjoy television? What the hell?! Yet that slogan appears on all their ads both on TV and in print. It is, how you say, "Retarded." More over, it is "retarded FOR MEN AND WOMEN."

I'm so drowsy I can hardly fucking stand it. I came this close to passing out on the toilet here at work. Seriously. Something about those red tiles that I find soothing. At any rate, you may claim that you never wanted such an image in your head, but you're wrong. As MEN AND WOMEN, you're all wrong.

How sick am I? Last night I received a phone call (at least I'm pretty sure it was an actual phone call and not a fever dream) from a friend asking if I'd like to go see Dolly Parton in concert for free. Instead of laughing and hanging up the phone, I actually said, "You know what? That sounds awesome! If I'm not still sick by tomorrow, I'm there!" Well, that's not going to happen. I could only imagine what the crowds at a Dolly Parton concert must look like. That's why I was excited in the first place. I can't name a single Dolly song to save my life so, really, the appeal in going would be just to laugh at slack-jawed yokels.

I had a freaking smoothie to keep myself hydrated during lunch. Now it feels like my tongue was just run through a shredder. I want to go to bed. Tonight is Friday night and I am certain that my plans of dying at around 9pm are more exciting than anything else people might have planned. It's true. Soon: dead.

Tylenol Cold and Allergy can lick my balls. It takes forever to kick in, even though I took my second dose about an hour earlier than recommended. I only did that because the first dose was wearing off too quickly.

Hey, you know how there are some Radiohead songs that when you listen to them you can very easily see yourself driving in your car on the freeway all the way to a dead end, crashing through the barracaded dead end, and plummeting into the ocean? The water is so inviting. Anyway, that sounds good right about now.

Charlize Theron just got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Great, now all she has to do is sit on my face and we'll be set. What? Shut up. What?! You're vulgar.

Some idiots are singing Happy Birthday outside to another drone. I swear to God, every other day some moron here has a birthday. I'm over it.

Okay... okay, now I should really buckle down and pretend I give a shit about anorexic Paula who is about as crazy as a rat in a tin shithouse... whatever that means. I saw a picture on the internet of some fat guy wearing a shirt that read, "I BEAT ANOREXIA!" It's a funny picture. But looking at the guy, I couldn't help but laugh at how funny it would be if his wife was named Anorexia. I mean, this guy clearly beats women.

Hey, give me some money, would ya? No questions, just do it. I need it for, um, Katrina.


I'm sick, so I want to talk football. Week 4 picks. 

I'm kind of sick (health-wise, not mentally...), so here's a post to take my mind off the agony by talking about what I love to talk about. Also, to forget that my room was virtually an oven last night and there was no real fresh air to be had because of the smoke from the wildfires in Chatsworth. I actually found my car, after work, covered with a thin layer of ash along the windows. And I'll be damned if the acids in the gallons of orange juice I was guzzling last night didn't feel like sand paper on the back of my throat.

Before we get into it, a couple notes on my favorite teams.

1. With the A's finally (mercifully) being eliminated from playoff contention, baseball season is pretty much over for me. I don't really care who wins (though I'll likely watch just because it's the playoffs) and, just for kicks, I'll be rooting for the Padres who don't have a hope in hell of getting out of the division series.

2. LA Kings note. Hopefully Jeremy Roenick won't miss too much time after suffering his 11th concussion of his career in a preseason game last Sunday. He slated to play on NHL opening night on Wednesday the 5th, but concussions are tricky as everyone knows. Kings need Roenick if they're going to make the playoffs which, I think, is a very attainable goal even in the deep Western Conference and brutal Pacific division -- without a doubt the toughest division in hockey this year.

3. Liverpool got screwed big time in their Champions League match this past Wednesday against Chelsea. The result was 0-0, but the ref clearly botched two clear calls that would've ceded a penalty to Liverpool. William Gallas clearly buggered everything for Chelsea, yet the ref let him off the hook. It is clear that as good as Chelsea are, Liverpool have their number and, now, a mental edge every time the two square off. Everyone who saw the match and has followed the meetings between these two over the past two seasons recognizes that plain as day.

Okay, to the gridiron. Finally recovered from a dismal week one. After a strong week three showing, the record jumps above the .500 mark to 24-22 overall, 5-4 best bets. This week there are some gimmies and some traps that I would stay away from in Vegas.

Winners and best bets (BB) in bold

Buffalo "at" New Orleans (San Antonio, TX) - This is a very even matchup. Vegas even thinks so, listing it as a "pick 'em." Buffalo may be in better condition, but they also sport the worst run defense in the league after the first three weeks. Doesn't help that they'll have to contend with Deuce McAllister this week. Couple that with what could be an emotional and warm welcome for the Saints to their temporary and I think Buffalo comes up just short.

Denver at Jacksonville - I think this one is a cinch. The Jags are fearsome on defense and will shutdown Denver's running game. Additionally, Denver is primed for a letdown after two big home wins against division rivals. I don't like their fortunes on the road against what looks to be more and more like a playoff-bound Jacksonville team.

Detroit at Tampa Bay - This one appears to be a gimmie. The Lions are absolutely dreadful on the road, playing on grass. The bye week probably didn't help them that much for two reasons. 1) Tampa is on a hot streak, riding Cadillac Williams for all he's worth and 2) Joey Harrington is still their starting quarterback. Bucs win by at least a touchdown. (BB)

Houston at Cincinnati - I've joined up with a second suicide pool where the game is pick one team, survive and advance. This week's pick is Cincinnati. They're a lock at home. Only concerns are that Houston is coming off a bye and whether or not the Texans will be able to get Dominick Davis going on the ground. The Bears' Thomas Jones showed last week that you can run on Cincy. However, Houston looked hapless and hopeless in their first two games and the Bengals are hot hot hot. No doubts here. Ride Carson Palmer's hot hot arm to another win. (BB)

Indianapolis at Tennessee - Remember that vaunted, dangerous, explosive Colts offense? Yeah, me neither. Seriously, what's happening? True, Indy hasn't lost yet this season, but the struggles on O are cause for concern. This Sunday in Tennessee they'll have a great opportunity to right the ship as the Titans are pretty young on D.

San Diego at New England - The Patriots just don't lose at home. They don't. And you know who just doesn't win in New England? Yeah, San Diego. The Patriots, despite losing Rodney Harrison for the season, have regained their confidence after last week's huge win over Pittsburgh. Belichick outcoaches Schottenheimer.

Seattle at Washington - This game is dangerous. By all rights, Seattle is the better team. However, they're a shaky road team facing a Redskins squad that is fresh off a bye week and extremely tough against the pass. That means we can all expect a lousy-to-average day from Matt Hasselback. However, picking against the Redskins makes sense when you figure that their QB, Mark Brunell, probably won't produce as many points as Josh Brown -- the Seahawks kicker.

St. Louis at N.Y. Giants - This should be a close one. Initially, I was thinking I'd go with St. Louis, but I'm taking the Giants because Eli Manning is quietly playing very well and the Giants are bigger and more physical than the soft Rams on both the offensive and defensive lines. New York outmuscles the fast and flashy Rams, but not by much. St. Louis also may not be with Steven Jackson or Isaac Bruce on Sunday, so their options on offense may be limited, even though the Giants defense has been giving up a ton of points this year.

N.Y. Jets at Baltimore - This one could be the stinker of the year. You want a lock? Go to Vegas and bet the under on this one because there won't be many points scored. I'll take the rested Ravens and their nothing quarterback at home against the beat-up Jets and their super-nothing quarterback. The Jets look pooched for the rest of the year. Brooks Bollinger (poor Jets) will be starting this weekend at QB. After that, they have old man Vinny Testaverde to look forward to. Good night, New York. They're a beaten team without the leadership and confidence of Chad Pennington.

Dallas at Oakland - I've been screaming this one all week: Raiders finally win one! It's clear that the schedule makers hate us (our first three games @New England, home to KC, @ Philly), but this is a must-win. No really, week four and we have a must-win. Now, some may say that at 0-3, you're already screwed for the year, but this Raiders team has it in them to make a serious run provided they don't rack up penalties like they're going out of style. Should've beaten KC, were good enough to win last week against the Eagles, will win on Sunday. Dallas has shown serious weakness in blowing what should've been a win against Washington and barely eeking out San Francisco last week. The key for the Raiders, though, will be getting pressure on Drew Bledsoe. Any pressure at all. We're ranked 2nd worst against the pass thanks in part to our toothless defensive line and Bledsoe is cutting it up this year. But Bledsoe has almost no mobility, so with any luck, some sacks and hurries will throw him off his game.

Minnesota at Atlanta - No, sir, I still don't like Minnesota. It'll take more than beating the worn-out Saints to convice me. Their one bright spot this week is that Atlanta has been awful against the run and Mewelde Moore seems to have stepped up as a solid play at running back. He could have a huge day. But Minnesota's problems on offensive line might be just what the Atlanta doctor ordered for their defense (very solid a year ago) to get back on track. On the other side of the ball, however, the Falcons are running as they please this year. Dunn and Duckett will be opening up the field for Michael Vick, who I expect to have a big game.

Philadelphia at Kansas City - The Eagles are underdogs for the simple fact that they're on the road. Make no mistake, though, they are still the better team. Kansas City looked downright bad against Denver on Monday and they'll get no reprieve this week as Brian Westbrook and Terrell Owens tear them up. Chiefs' QB Trent Green will continue to struggle mightily as the ground game continues to stall due to the absence of all-world tackle Willie Roaf. The presence of Roaf opens up everything for the Chiefs on offense. The Raiders had absolutely no luck running the ball against Philadelphia last week. I don't expect Kansas City -- Priest Holmes (dinged up) and Larry Johnson or not -- to be any better.

Sunday Night
San Francisco "at" Arizona (Mexico City) - Forget the awful matchup we have here, I just want to rail on the NFL for robbing Arizona of a home game and playing a regular season fixture in freaking Mexico City! For shame, NFL. Yeah, I get it, you're seeking the dollar, but save this international crap for the pre-season when nobody gives a damn. The NFL might be the least accessable American sports league, internationally, because, well, no other country plays American football! You want to set up shop in Mexico City or Tokyo or Germany or London or wherever the hell you think you can sell more mechandise, you save it for the meaningless pre-season! Argh! I hate it. Now, some of you might say, "Hey, Alan, the Cardinals are so bad anyway. What good would their lousy homefield do?" And you may be right. But it's the principle of the matter. Also, you think they'd strip a home game from Dallas who has, by far, a bigger Mexican fan base than any other team in the league? Yeah right. Dallas would riot if that happened. So here's what I'm doing as protest: Not watching the game. Screw you ESPN! I'm taking my ball and going elsewhere. Maybe I'll catch a movie. Anything but watch this ridiculous game. I encourage all of you to do the same. Seriously, don't watch. Oh, and the Cardinals are doomed with Josh McCown in the lineup. San Fran's only two wins last year both came against Arizona. 49ers look pumped and should've won last week. This is mostly a bet against the Cards.

Monday Night
Green Bay at Carolina - All signs point to Carolina here. However... it's Brett Favre on Monday night. This is when he shines and the Packers are a desperate club. This game will be the difference between a losing season and an embarrassing season. But Carolina's two losses this year both came on last second field goals, both of which could haunt them down the road. I don't see this one coming down to the last second. I like the Panthers to do as they please on offense and win by ten. (BB)

Okay, time to buckle down and write the first act for the new episode at work.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hand in hand, like two peas in a pod 

I'm not speaking of anything worthwhile, of course. What? You thought this was one of those "politico-blogs?" No, people. I'm referring to the two most recent pieces of spam I received. They shed a little sunlight on an otherwise drab day. This first spam mail is for more Cialis tablets (there must be some nasty rumor about me floating around the internet) by none other than one "Giz Gizem." Boy... they just aren't trying anymore, are they? Giz Gizem??? Faaaaaaaaaantastic. I'm pretty sure that the biggest perk (and problem -- shh!) of having an email address at SMRT-TV for reader response is that it regularly puts me in contact with worthwhiles like Giz Gizem. His message to me is great, too.
Cialis Softtabs - confidentially yours.

Simple, concise, and most importantly, discrete. Thanks, Giz!

But it gets better. The following piece of spam is from sender "Family Memories." I want someone to name their kid "Family Memories." Come on, it'd be great! Just picture it: Family Memories Johannson. I wouldn't name my son or daughter that because I am a compassionate and sensitive man, but surely one of you is up to the task? Surely! Family Memories' message to me was far less exciting, though, in as much as there wasn't one. Everything was in the subject line:
Make Memories Last with a Complimentary Canon EOS Camera!

But there was no body to the email. Disappointing, I say. No, I will not buy your crappy Canon EOS Camera, Family Memories. Advantage: Giz Gizem!

I only noted this because the juxtaposition of the names Giz Gizem and Family Memories tickled me ever so. Those might very well be the two single phrases that one is mandated to keep at opposite ends of their lexicon, never to have one be associated with the other. Ah, the internet... And hey! If they got married, you'd have "Family Gizem." How great (awful) is that?!


Monday, September 26, 2005

I'm the greatest fisherman in the world 

Just sayin' is all.

Some stuff:

- Mondays suck. They always have. This morning was particularly unbearable. Just a horrible reminder of where I am and what I've yet to accomplish.

- Last night's premieres of Curb Your Enthusiasm(season) and Extras (series) on HBO were both incredibly funny. I especially loved Winslet's guest starring performance on Extras. It's really the first time I've found myself in love with her. Hilarious. These two shows following Rome cements HBO as the only channel worth watching on Sunday nights after football. Sorry Family Guy et al.

- I don't give a single crap about the fashion industry, but even I can see the blatant hypocrisy of black-balling Kate Moss for allegedly using cocaine. Seriously.

- I liken Ariel Sharon's fight within the Likud Party to the human civil war about to take place in Battlestar Galactica. I think that's pretty accurate. Sharon was able to fend off Netanyahu's leadership challenge today, keeping the election primaries in April as scheduled instead of seeing them moved up to November.

- Does anyone else find themselves less interested in Hurricane Rita than in Hurricane Katrina? It sounds heartless to say, but both hurricanes were incredibly destructive. Rita actually wiped out the entire town of Cameron, Louisiana. Think about that. It's gone. And yet, because of the constant media attention on Katrina, there seems to be a sense of 'been there, seen it' with Rita. Maybe I'm completely wrong, but I've noticed that reaction from a few people. Could be because people actually evacuated before the storm hit this weekend.

- The NHL is back next week. This could be one of the greatest seasons of all time. I say that in complete earnest. Team rosters are radically changed and the new rules are very exciting. New faces in new places and everyone seems to be starting back from zero.

- The only way the Oakland A's are making the playoffs is if they sweep this four-game set with Anaheim. Even then, the A's still need some help. But this team rolled over about a month ago. They just happen to have been in contention this long because the Angels haven't taken care of business. Meanwhile, the White Sox are truthfully the 6th best team in the American League. Yeah, I said it. They'll flame out in the first round of the playoffs. The Red Sox, mind you, might not even make the playoffs. Why aren't people talking about that?! The Yankees are winning that division, I tells ya.

- Some highs and lows in the NFL yesterday. Stellar games played between Philly/Oakland, Pittsburgh/New England, Miami/Carolina, and Jacksonville/Jets. All terrific.

It was an unfortunate ending for Raiders fans. David Akers, the Eagles kicker, literally collapsed clutching his hamstring multiple times during the opening kickoff. He was playing on one leg and probably ruining his season by doing so. Akers made every single kick he attempted. By contrast, Sebastian Janikowski missed two field goals that would've given Oakland the win. That's tough. The Eagles ran all day on the Raiders and I'm kind of surprised they didn't do that more. Shocking stat of the year: through three games, Kerry Collins has thrown ZERO interceptions. And yet somehow the Raiders are 0-3. I'm calling it now, next week we're beating Dallas. If not for a botched call in week 2 and a couple missed field goals yesterday, the Raiders could be 2-1.

Patriots v. Steelers definitely lived up to the billing. What a game! It'll be defined, not by Vinatieri's game-winning kick (damn, he's good), but by Antwaan Randle-El's ridiculous lateral attempt. If he doesn't try that hair-brained trick, Pittsburgh probably has a double digit lead going into half time. Wow. That definitely bit them in the ass.

The Jets have some serious problems at quarterback now. Pennington says he's going to play on Sunday, but they finished yesterday's game with 3rd-stringer Brooks Bollinger behind center. Ugh. Trouble awaits.

Peyton Manning has thrown ZERO touchdowns in his last two games. The Colts are 3-0. Hello defense. Where are you offense?

The Packers are officially crap. Brett Favre is simultaneously the only thing keeping that team in games and causing it to lose games. Although kicking problems yesterday were mainly to blame. Anyway, the Lambeau mystique is gone and probably won't be back this season.

As bad as the Packers are, the Cardinals are probably worse. One touchdown all season long. It doesn't matter that Kurt Warner was knocked out of yesterday's contest and may miss next week's game. Hell, it didn't matter when he signed with the team this past summer. I simply did not understand the hype this team was getting before the season based on Warner's arrival. If anything, they only had a chance at the playoffs because the NFC is so crappy. Looks like business as usual in AZ.

If Denver beats KC tonight, picks record for the week is 10-4. 3-0 on BBs. Better.

- Don't forget, tonight is a new Arrested Development.


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Week 3 picks and a little TV 

Really quick, I just want to throw out there how happy I am about the return of Lost. The 2nd season premiere this past week was awesome. Walt's brief appearance practically scared the living piss out of me. Great stuff. Looking forward to Wednesdays again. With Battlestar Galactica's finale airing last night (sappy, sluggish start with a cracking finish!) there are only three shows on TV right now that I deem appointment-worthy: Arrested Development, Lost, and Rome.

Okay, on to football. Last week I went a mediocre 8-8, but was 2-1 in best bets, upping the season total to 14-18 (2-4). Still shocked that Washington overcame a two touchdown deficit with only four minutes to play on Monday night. But then, that might just be what Dallas is all about this year. Very interesting slate this week, where we (meaning "I") get over the .500 mark.

Home team in caps, (BB) = best bet

Atlanta over BUFFALO - One of many tricky matchups this week. Two things are working against Atlanta. 1) They're on the road against a cold weather team and, more importantly, 2) Michael Vick's health status is up in the air. Vick's presence transforms and elevates his offense like no other player in the NFL. The latest reports say that he'll be suiting up against the Bills. I think the Falcons' defense comes to play this Sunday and attacks young JP Losman like nobody's business, putting all the work on Willis McGahee. Falcons in a close one.

Carolina over MIAMI - This game could very well be an upset and take Miami if you're betting the spread. Carolina's confidence may be riding a little too high after their win over New England last week. But like last week, it's the Panthers' running attack that will get them past a revitalized Miami team that is sporting a very stingy defense.

Cincinnati over CHICAGO - Did you know that Chicago has the top-ranked defense in the league after the first two weeks? It's true! And after smashing Detroit last week, they showed they can put up some points. However, many of the Bears' scores last week came as a result of Joey Harrington interceptions, leaving the Bears with a short field to drive to the end zone. They won't have that kind of luck against the Bengals who are clicking on all cylinders on the offensive side of the ball. The key will be if Bears running back Thomas Jones can have any success against the Bengals unproven run defense. Shutting down the Cleveland and Minnesota rushing attacks does not make you prime time. Still, Cincy improves to 3-0 for the first time in a million years. (BB)

MINNESOTA over New Orleans - There is absolutely no reason I should be picking the Vikings this weekend. I have no business doing this. I'd be a fool to do so. But I'm counting on the fact that America's Team is getting a bit road-wary right now, playing their third straight away game (last week's home game in NY was anything but) and are on little rest having played on Monday night. Culpepper finally throws a touchdown this week.

INDIANAPOLIS over Cleveland - This is a no-brainer. Lock of the week, right here. This could be an outrageous blowout. Colts playing at home against a poor team after having been stifled on offense the week before? Yeah, that just means Peyton Manning is going to throw five touchdowns. Colts in a landslide. (BB)

NEW YORK JETS over Jacksonville - This is sure to be an excellent game and on paper it looks like the second best matchup of the week. Both teams have definite playoff aspirations and it'll probably come down to these two for the final wild card spot in the AFC. I tend to favor Jacksonville in the long run. However, for Sunday, the Jets have the advantage. Byron Leftwich is dinged up for the Jags and he's the key to the team. The man's a gamer, though, so expect a good effort from him despite his ailments. But the Jets defense at home spells bad news for Leftwich who hasn't shown that he can put up numbers on the road. Jets win a tough one.

PHILADELPHIA over Oakland - Here's the thing, this game will be spectacular to watch, but it won't be much of a contest. By that, I mean that the Eagles win by double digits. I love my Raiders, but they're overmatched on the road against perhaps the best team in the league. The Raider D won't be able to keep up. This game will be spectacular, however, because it features the two best wide receivers in the game: Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. Expect both of them to be on their top game, trying to out-perform the other. This will be one hell of a treat for fans. Sit back and enjoy.

ST. LOUIS over Tennessee - The Rams are finally at home where they are a force to be reckoned with. Expect the offense to open up in a big way and pick apart the young Titans on the turf. Speed kills. The Rams have it. I'm just not sold on their defense though. Will Tennessee's offense show us something?

GREEN BAY over Tampa Bay - Hard to thing of this as an upset, but hey, that's what it is. The sluggish, uninspired Packers are my upset pick of the week over rising Tampa Bay. This is it for the Pack. Much like Minnesota, I probably have no business picking them to win after losing at home to Cleveland thanks to costly errors by Favre and their wretched defense. The mystique of Lambeau Field is all but gone and Cadillac Williams looks like the real deal for Tampa. But the Bucs haven't won in Green Bay for something like eleven years. That's a trend worth taking note of if you're betting on Tampa in a suicide pool.

SEATTLE over Arizona - We're revisiting a painful memory, right here. It was Arizona beating Seattle last season that knocked me out of a suicide pool. Bitter, I was. However, the Seahawks, pretenders that they are, are worth revisiting. There's probably never been a team who has looked worse when in the lead, but there are two reasons to like Seattle this week. 1) They're at home. 2) The Cardinals are on the road. Arizona is absolutely terrible on the road. I think they've won away once in the last two seasons. Seahawks are a pretty tough host, to boot. Shaun Alexander runs through the many holes in the Arizona team and, in a week where there is only one clear best bet (Indy), Seattle is my reluctant third. (BB)

Dallas over San Francisco - Unless you're a Cowboy fan or a 49er fan, you're only watching this game if it involves players on your fantasy team. In other words, it's going to be a stinker, but expect San Fran to put up a game effort in defeat. Take Dallas to win, but the Niners to beat the spread.

PITTSBURGH over New England - Here it is, folks. The BEST GAME OF THE REGULAR SEASON. At least on paper, of course. Much like last year, this one will determine who is in the driver's seat for home field in the AFC playoffs. The Patriots haven't lost back to back games since 2002. They're the defending Superbowl champs. It is incredibly hard to pick against them. But the adjustments in personell on defense on Tom Brady's job getting tougher without Charlie Weiss calling plays offer two chinks in the armor. Add that they're playing at Pittsburgh against the best team in the first two weeks (granted, the Steelers have beaten on scrubs so far) and it looks grim for the Steelers. In this game, at this time, I believe that the home team will win. The Steelers are at home. They're going to win. Big Ben is looking sharp and "Fast" Willie Parker is taking full advantage of his opportunity as starting running back. But the Patriots know how to deal with Roethlisberger as they showed in the playoffs last year. Drop back in pass coverage and force him to make plays. It's Parker, though, that could be the difference. Thing is, the Pats have the best coach in the game and he knows how to motivate. You better believe the Patriots won't be blind-sided like last year's regular season contest and that they'll be playing with a chip on their shoulder as underdogs. But Corey Dillon's slow start and the changes on the offensive line may hinder the Patriots' spirit just a little too much to get out of Pittsburgh with a win.

Sunday Night
SAN DIEGO over New York Giants - Great matchup. Throw out the records in this one. The Chargers get their first win and hand the Giants their first loss by finally getting LaDanian Tomlinson involved in the short passing game. Tomlinson is the best running back in the game and excels in receiving. The Chargers are 0-2 because Tomlinson has 0 catches this season. Plain and simple. Get him involved and you stratch the Giants' defense to the point where it almost breaks. Wait a second... that's exactly why they made the playoffs last season!! Imagine that! Oh by the way, Eli Manning is at the helm for the New York. You don't think that's any incentive for the Chargers defense to bring their A-game? After his public bashing of the Chargers organization before last year's draft, Manning is a marked man.

Monday Night
DENVER over Kansas City - I still think Kansas City is going to win this division and that they're actually a better team than the iffy Broncos, but KC just can't seem to get the job done when they play in Denver. Jake Plummer won't win this game, the homefield will. Should be a battle. Ideally, I'd like to see some sort of scenarios where both teams not only lose, but are all injured for the season. Go Raiders!


I don't know if this point can be made any clearer 

Good for Israel for retaliating as heavily as they did against those who strive for their extermination. See if you can follow this progression:
- We pull out of Gaza -- the road to peace is being paved
- They launch rockets at us -- they were never interested in peace
- We defend ourselves -- because we have to or we'll die. It's never been about land, has it?

Yup... "they" sure want peace, don't they?


Friday, September 23, 2005

Post reminding myself to post later 

There's a lot of shit going down and I can't really focus on anything at the moment. I have some lighter things to spew onto this page, but it'll have to wait a little until my nerves go away. You all have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about. I'm just fine with that. In the meantime, look at this! I strongly suggest you make it your new desktop wallpaper. DO IT! DO IT OR I'LL KILL YOU! CAPS!!!!


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Arrested Development is so damn good 

I just wanted to say that. Last night's third season premiere was hilarious, as always. The statue in the park of the little boy grabbing hold of the detached hand? Priceless. "He came..."

Everything Tobias last night? Golden.

Then my boy, Brent, did some research and turned up this gem: I'm Oscar! Dot com.


A real super hero passes on 

Simon Wiesenthal, the Nazi Hunter, died today at the age of 96. This man embodied the constant perseverance and the undying faith of Jews the world over. Plus he got back at history's greatest villains with interest. Make a note of it. The world has lost a great man today.


Monday, September 19, 2005

SMRT Emmy Football 

Take that title and slap it on a novel. Do it!

A courtesy to everyone out there, the new SMRT-TV is up and charged for a second volume. I write about "fantasies." I'd also like to point out that I drafted Ahman Green in the second round and Brett Favre in the eighth, just in case the error within the article leads you to believe I'm no better than Suzy Kolber.

Some thoughts on the forever drab Emmys...

- This show is pretty uneventful. However, I did enjoy the tributes to Johnny Carson and Peter Jennings, as well as the "edgy" sketch from Jon Stewart.

- S. Epatha Merkeson's thank you speech was easily the highlight of the show. She lost her speech down her dress, couldn't get it out, and kept bringing it up during her giddy rambling. Nice.

- Conan O'Brien's brief two minute presentation before handing out an award was funnier than anything Ellen had to offer in the evening. Conan was a great host a couple years back. Why ever stray? Conan for president.

- If Deadwood wasn't going to win the Emmy, I'm perfectly happy with Lost taking the honor. Conversely, Everybody Loves Raymond was never deserving, and took full advantage of this being it's final season. Of the five comedies nominated, I'd rank only ahead of Will and Grace. You just can't convince me that there is a funnier show on air than Arrested Development. New season premieres tonight at 8pm on FOX. Watch it!

- As far as performances, I was actually kind of mad that Brad Garrett won again. I wasn't surprised, mind you, and I think he's good on the show. But c'mon! Jeffrey Tambor or Jeremy Piven. That's all I'm saying. And Jessica Walter deserves her due, too. Maybe now that Raymond and Doris Roberts are off the air, she'll finally win. Swing and a miss for Ian McShane. Pretty happy for Felicity Huffman. She's terrific and came off as incredibly genuine in her acceptance. Good for her.

- "Emmy Idol" is total bullshit. Regardless, Shatner was robbed.

- Someone at CBS 2 News in Los Angeles is going to get fired for spoiling the Best Actress in a Drama Series award, showing footage of Patricia Arquette backstage with her statue. I had no idea that Medium was even still on the air.

On to part III of this... this - this "post." It figures that two of my best bets cruise (with Dallas yet to come) the week after I have no money riding on them. 0-2 is the kiss of death. No 0-2 teams made the playoffs last year and only three have done so in the last three seasons. It's hard, you see? Teams like Arizona should be accustomed to being in this position. New to the 0-2 club, say hello to Minnesota, Green Bay, Baltimore, and San Diego (Chargers weren't expected to be here).

- Two weeks in a row that San Diego blew a 4th quarter lead. That's a very bad sign. And what the hell are they doing not involving Tomlinson in the passing game?! That is the entire key to their success! LT catching balls out of the backfield spreads out the opposing defense, creating chaos. It's what made the Chargers offense effective last season at all! 0 catches in two games for LT. Shocking.

- Tough break for the Raiders last night. I really think the Randy Moss touchdown that was called back in the first half should've stood. The ref took forever to make that call and it was dubious at best. Let 'em play! Oakland hung tough, though, and I think their defense showed a few signs of light. Still, losing to the Chiefs sucks.

- I really wish I'd put a $1,000 bet on the Bengals this weekend. Not at all surprising that they trashed the Vikings. Read carefully: Minnesota sucks! Culpepper threw 5 INTs. Yo! Not to be outdone, the Lions' Joey Harrington did the same against the Bears. I said Detroit would roll barring a Harrington meltdown. I'd say that five interceptions qualifies as a nuclear castastrophe.

- Same ol' Cardinals. The last 30 seconds of yesterday's game is a perfect microcosm of what this franchise embodies. Completely inept, wasteful of talent, and disoriented. Kurt Warner goes 0-2 against his former teams, further validating the braintrust in New York and St. Louis.

- Seattle really really really wanted to lose yesterday. But unfortunately, Atlanta ran out of time. Despite the win, the Seahawks just reminded everyone that no matter how big their lead, they should never feel comfortable. Even when they jumped out to that big 21-0 lead, you knew the Seahawks didn't really want to win. It just sort of happened.

- Pack it in, Green Bay (sorry about the pun). Favre set a couple milestones yesterday, but the Packers lost because of his mistakes. If the Browns are able to hold you at bay in Lambeau Field, you got problems, homey. I'll be interested to see if they can respond at home next week against a steadily improving Tampa team.

- Steelers look hot against inferior opponents. Patriots coming off a loss against Carolina in what was a great game. Steelers could knock the Pats to 1-2 next week. That game will be awesome.

- Peyton Manning had 0 TDs, 1 INT and the Colts still won. Maybe this team is on to something... Meanwhile, Jacksonville has to be thinking "wild card spot" as long as Byron Leftwich is healthy. I like what they're doing.

- Baltimore is like the Vikings in as much as they have disappointed to start the season. However, unlike the Vikings, Baltimore is playing exactly as people thought they would: defense and the running game. Problem is, they've been unable to establish the running game because they keep falling behind on the scoreboard early on. That's a problem when you have no QB.

- New York conspiracy! NFL wants the Giants to make the playoffs so they gave them an extra home game! I said it! NFL offices are based in NY. NY=ratings. The rest of the Saints home games are being divied up between San Antonio and Baton Rouge. Conspiracy theory ahoy, Batman. I'm just saying...

Oh, and my fantasy team killed this week. Lowest point output in week one to the highest by a sight in week two. Cheers.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Week 2: The rebound 

Exciting times abound. Well, not really. But things are going okay. Can't complain with it being Friday.

- New Battlestar Galactica tonight, that's awesome.

- A brilliant series being cooked up by my Team Lower Gatsby cohorts and myself. I won't mention it any further for irrational fear of a hex, but hopefully there'll be a screening to announce for next weekend. With that in mind, I'll have to remember, later, to share the legend of a man named, "Fudge."

- Keeping busy at the workplace this week. That's new. I like it the change of pace.

- Saw Green Street Hooligans last Friday. I have to say, I enjoyed it quite a bit, though I'll be the first to admit that some parts of the script are very weak and poorly executed. For example, just about every scene between Elijah Wood and Claire Forlani (who, by the way, looks every bit ten years removed from doing Mallrats... still hot, though) flat-lined horribly. It's the film's quieter moments which are it's downfall. With that in mind, GSH can be easily forgiven because it's intent is not to be soft at all. It excels greatly at depicting that football hooligan lifestyle in every aspect. The fighting, the drinking, the camaraderie, the lawlessness, the rush, the rivalry and tactics amongst firms -- everything is spot on. Fortunately, this fills about 85% of the movie. A big thank you to Dougie Brimson for making that happen as I can only assume he was the one primarily responsible for giving GSH it's authenticity. Good performance from Wood in spite of sometimes dodgy dialogue. I didn't care at all for the throughline of the Bover character and the voice over is completely unnecessary, but I dig this movie regardless. Perhaps it's because I brought so much into it beforehand, but worth seeing in my opinion. Some surprisingly accurate and graphic violence, too. I don't think the weight of the fights would've come through as clearly if not for their extreme, yet accurate nature.

- One college football item for the weekend. Lots of big games happening, but keep an eye on Purdue visiting my Arizona Wildcats. I'm not saying it'll definitely happen, but this is underachieving, perhaps overrated Purdue heading to Tucson to face an improved, young, hungry squad lead by an ambitious coach in Mike Stoops. UofA could come away with the surprise win. If it happens, you heard it here first. Also, I like Clemson upsetting Miami, UCLA overcoming Oklahoma in Pasadena, and Florida beating Tennessee.

- Okay, now for the meat of it. This Sunday I get healthy after a dreadful opening weekend. It's shocking how many teams in the NFC that were thought to have aspirations of going far in the playoffs and perhaps to the Superbowl are in danger of getting off to an 0-2 start. Let's list them: Philadelphia, Carolina, Minnesota, St. Louis, Seattle. Yipes! 0-2 should be considered a kiss of death. It's not impossible to overcome, but only three teams in history have ever reached the Superbowl after losing their first two games of the year. The percentage of 0-2 teams that make the playoffs is by no means favorable, either. But the NFC is virtually a free-for-all this season. Who knows what'll happen.

Winners in bold, (BB)= three best bets

Baltimore at Tennessee - Anthony Wright is starting at QB for the Ravens. I like them anyway.

Buffalo at Tampa Bay - Two teams on the rise. Tampa looked good after last week and I like their hot, muggy homefield advantage to slow the Bills down. J.P. Losman isn't ready for Tampa's defense.

Detroit at Chicago - At this point, you should just be picking against Chicago every week. Barring a Joey Harrington meltdown, the Lions walk comfortably in this one.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis - Danger! Danger! Don't sleep on Jacksonville! The Jags came away from Indy with a victory last season. This could be the game of the week. Still, it's tough to pick against Peyton at home. Colts in a close one.

Minnesota at Cincinnati - The Vikings showed me last week that they are nowhere close to pre-season expectations. Their backfield is a mess and they lack a go-to playmaker. If the Bengals get an early lead, this one could get ugly in a hurry. (BB)

New England at Carolina - Two weeks ago, this could've been a preview of the Superbowl. Unfortunately for Carolina, defensive tackle Kris Jenkins is injured for the season. There goes their run defense. Patriots knock a tough, but rattled Panthers team down to 0-2.

Pittsburgh at Houston - Ben Roethlisberger is listed as questionable. Doesn't matter. If third string-turned-starter running back Willie Parker puts up even half the numbers he did against Tennessee last week, the Steelers should win comfortably once again. (BB)

San Francisco at Philadelphia - The 49ers have never lost in Philadelphia ever. Donovan McNabb is playing hurt. Recipe for an upset? Only if you're betting against the spread. Eagles are just better.

Atlanta at Seattle - Vegas has this one listed as a "pick 'em." I tend to think the Falcons should be favored. All they have to do is key in on Shaun Alexander and they're set.

St. Louis at Arizona - A tough game to call, but I'll take the upset. Not because I have faith in the Cardinals, but because this is St. Louis on the road, playing on grass. We'll see if Kurt Warner can show up at least one of his former teams. Expect a shootout in this one.

Cleveland at Green Bay - The Packers are in for a loooooong season now that Javon Walker has been lost for the year. However, they still have enough to beat Cleveland. The Browns are just that bad and Brett Favre just does not have consecutive bad games.

Miami at N.Y. Jets - Both teams surprised last week for different reasons. I expect NY to rebound from last week's whooping they took at Kansas City and win a tight one against a game Miami squad who is feeling very confident after dismantling Denver last Sunday. Speaking of the Broncos...

San Diego at Denver - San Diego hasn't won in Denver in forever, but the Broncos are a team on a serious decline. Chargers look to assert dominance in the running game and monopolize the clock, keeping mistake-prone Jake Plummer and the offense off the field. SD gets Antonio Gates back this week, too.

Kansas City at Oakland - This is actually a really tough game to pick and I feel kind of bad that I'm siding with the enemy on this one. After all, it is a bitter bitter bitter rivarly game and Oakland is home. However, I'm just assuming right now that the Raider defense can't stop anyone until they prove otherwise.

Monday, Sep. 19
N.Y. Giants at New Orleans - Don't forget, the Saints are playing this home game in New York! Yeah! That's fair! I know it's wrong to pick against America's team, but I feel like all the time away from any sort of comfortable environment may catch up to them finally. Seriously, though, neither of these teams are particularly good. Who do you go with? The winner gets a big lift by starting 2-0.

Washington at Dallas - The Cowboys are winning this one by at least two touchdowns. The Redskins have no direction on offense and the defense will only be able to hold out so long. Plus I think Dallas has won the last ten or so in this series. (BB)


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

"Beware of a sexual beast!" 

That's a warning from "Dan Preda" as he does his damnedest to spam Cialis pills on me.

I can't say enough about how wretched spam mail is, but every once in a while they offer a twinkle of light; a glimmer of sunshine. Then I delete them like so many forwards I don't care to read.

Anyway, I just felt like touching on the "big bad blackout" that Los Angeles has a couple days ago. If you actually live in LA and didn't know about it, don't worry. It really wasn't anything dire at all. If you lived outside the city, you probably heard a different story. One that was created out of, um, pretty much nothing. Some of you have probably already read this on Begum, but whatever. I find it really irritating.

At work, suddenly the power goes down at about 12:30pm. You just here everything generator and editing suite powering down in unison, followed immediately by a loud mass groaning from all the people who didn't save their work. We were down for an hour. It was boring. My department actually just kept on working, reading transcripts and the like. We were told within 20 minutes that apparently a power line being cut in the valley was responsible for the lapse. That cut line forced power sources from other parts of the city to try compensate for the loss in Sherman Oaks, causing them to go down one after the other (downtown, Culver City, Glendale, Hollywood, etc, etc). Let me say, again, that we found this out in 20 minutes. TWENTY. Now, how long do you think Fox News held out before divulging that info, letting everyone outside of LA dangle in fear to literally scare up ratings? It was barely an event, but you wouldn't know that from the news coverage it got while it was happening. My parents called me from out of state much later in the day to see if I was alright. Naturally, I was. But what they were seeing and hearing on Fox News told a different story, one that worked them into a panic with news' alarmist interviews and conjecture. Hell, did they even look into the situation at all before blurting out the word "terrorist" like it was going out of style? I say, "Fuck Fox News." In fact, "Fuck all the news." No newscast in this country is happy unless they're frightening the viewership into abandoning reason.


Hey, football. Screw you! 

I know it's already stupid Wednesday, but (shocker) I've had things to do at work. So, you'll pardon the Monday Morning QB arriving two days late.

I've got a bone to pick with you, Football. I thought we had a deal? I show enthusiasm for your return and you bless me with good fortune. But you wanted more, didn't you? You cruel, heartless bitch! It would have pained you far too much to see my lowly self happy with the weekend's results. Listen here, you sadistic bastard, you owe. A lot. It's time to pay the piper. All pigskins will now have hand grenades planted in them. We'll see who is laughing then, won't we? You shit. What? You don't like that? You think I should give you a mulligan because who the hell can predict week one? I hate you.

Seriously, week one can kiss my pretty ass (and it is pretty). That garbage should be stricken from memory! Ahem... sorry, just happens that this week didn't treat me too well. Given, no one knows how the season opener will unfold, but I managed to somehow go a pitiful 6-10 with my picks and, worst of all, my three suicide pool picks all lost... in the first week. Believe me, after that I really did consider suicide. Plus, my fantasy team woefully underperformed and failed to crack 70 points. I attribute this largely to the decomposing Brett Favre. The guy who beat me - sigh... - scored the second fewest points this week. Ugh... milk was a bad choice. Some quick observations, disappointments and otherwise:

Cardinals - Yeah, nothing has changed. Still bad. It's scary how miserable JJ Arrington was (also on my fantasy team). PS - Giants winning in NY on 9/11...

Vikings - Yeah, nothing has changed. Still forever a pretender. I still don't understand how people think this offense will keep rolling without Randy Moss. Let me tell you, Nate Burleson is NOT a #1 receiver. Culpepper looked horrible. I was an idiot for putting money on this team. I should've taken the team that is going to beat them this coming weekend: Cincinnati.

Seahawks - Yeah, nothing has changed. Still entirely dependant on Shaun Alexander (also on my fantasy team - 0 touchdowns). Won't ever believe in this team unless there is a massive change in player personell. They look to be in danger of an 0-2 start with Atlanta coming to town.

Packers - Totally screwed. Donald Driver has to deal with double teams in pass coverage = more interceptions for Favre. After this weekend against Cleveland, it could be a loooooong season for Cheeseheads.

Saints - I learned the hard way: Never pick against America's team.

Colts - I missed the game, but something should be said for Anthony Wright having to play QB for Baltimore. Kyle Boller isn't great, but Anthony Wright is no Kyle Boller. That said, I can only give so much credit to slowing Jamal Lewis to 48 yards rushing. Not hard when your opponent can't pass and are forced to the entire game because they were always trailing. Still, credit where credit is due.

Cowboys - Didn't expect Drew Bledsoe to shine like he did. That was really a surprise to me. Dallas may still be overrated, but Bledsoe's play is encouraging.

49ers - It's week one. No one knows what the hell is going on! Particularly Rams' coach Mike Martz (anyone notice a trend there?). Can the Niners shock the Eagles next week and turn the league on it's ear????

Eagles - I only caught the last three minutes of Monday night's game and remained undeterred about making this team my Superbowl pick until I heard later that McNabb has a chest contusion. He's finished out the game and will probably play this weekend, but make no mistake, he is the team. No McNabb = No hope. But let's assume he makes it this season, consider the circumstances of the Falcons game: open the season away on Monday Night Football in front of hostile crowd versus a team with something to prove (Atlanta still remembers last year's NFC title game). Plus McNabb and T.O. still aren't on the same page -- 112 yards receiving or not.

Chiefs - Though I didn't expect the Jets to get handled like they did, I've been saying this for most of the summer: Chiefs are winning the division... And I HATE the Chiefs!

Suck it, NFL.


Friday, September 09, 2005

Couple notes 

1. There's a "best of" issue of SMRT-TV up ahead of the season 2 release.

2. I'm participating once again in AIDS Walk Los Angeles. Feel the love and make a donation. God won't think any less of you. Really, though, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

3. Mayday 3 is totally announced! November 5th-6th, yo.


Let's throw a bunch of stuff into one post 

Try to stay with me here. We could be all over the map.

Last night I went to Hooters (yeah... I know, but at least it was the one in Hollywood) to watch the Raiders game with fellow Raider fan, Adam. We would've gone to Big Wangs (yeah... I know), but it was packed. Anyway, I only mention Hooters at all for two reasons. 1) The hostess was the girl from Whale Rider, but she was all growns up and growns up and growns up. The inner monologue sounded something like this, "Oh man, 'Whale Rider' is hot -- wait, no! Bad! She's Whale Rider! She's, like, 12! Oh, but not anymore. And look how perky she is." And so forth. Anyway, reason 2) We were served our pitcher of beer not with glass mugs, but with red plastic cups. What is this? High school? Let me get this straight, Hooters: You're freaking Hooters. You serve beer to degenerate hootin'-an'-a-hollerin' football fans and you're out of mugs? What, did the season sneak up on you too fast? Were you caught unaware like Louisiana -- err -- the Federal Government? C'mon.

At any rate, the Raiders hung tough in the first half against the Pats in what was a very entertaining game. Then the second half started and the wheels came off. Adam said it best, "Why can't we stopped cheating?!" I think the Raiders had something like 3,400 penalties last night. All due to carelessness. But this is nothing new for this team. If the winner of a game were determined by penalties accumulated, the Raiders would be working on a 12-year unbeaten streak. Maybe longer. Still, they only lost by ten in the end at New England. To me, that signals there is a beat of hope ahead this season. Particularly if Norv "I looked like I needed to take a huge dump all night" Turner can instill any semblance of discipline.

The slunt next to me at work has been voraciously typing an email of what I can only assume has reached 490,000 words by now for the last hour. It sounds something like this: puaergpdfnp dpfoijoia iepja nojpngp eg uihrwtiughnop 8guirpvnsuidfpgeqn udfajkdfkjhsalsdjflksjhlhkjdlagnkfnvlavadjfvldanvlavniu.
Yes? You understand? I'm actually beginning to think that rather re-telling some grandiose, melodramatic epic about watching TV with her dog, that she isn't typing anything at all. It's all just "aeuirhdfn pogege[kpomeg83905ut945tegdfgvdpnzd oijp" forever and ever. I was literally entranced by the sound of clik-clak-clik-clak-clik for a good while before someone called me and snapped me out of it. This is dangerous. Especially when it is so overcast outside and I could've slept a thousand sleeps. Which was especially true after I woke up in the middle of the night after dreaming that my stomach was inflating while I was talking to this really hot girl. I was befuddled, but it turns out that my dream was just telling me to wake up so that I could take a wazz. Thanks a lot, dream. Now, I don't even remember what that girl looks like. Pfft. Ass.

George Bush don't care about charity! While I probably won't be watching, I am mildly interested to see if Kanye West uses the Katrina benefit concert tonight to blast the President one more time. Mildly. Only because, sadly, the public seems to give a lot of credence to what the Kanye West's of the world say. That isn't a knock on Kanye, per se, but he is a celebrity and the media tells us to listen to him. Hell, perhaps the main reason that Bush is catching flack at all is because "TV images keep heat on Bush." This, really, is a ludicrous notion! The horrors we see on TV shouldn't be the sole thought-provoker, Public. Get it together. Pay attention. Give a damn about how out of touch this man is. The top three leaders of FEMA are all unqualified? Oh well. That's our Georgey.
No sooner do I post this than the FEMA Chief is removed. Rightfully so.***

Alright, I think I'm done. Green Street Hooligans opens in theaters today. I'm psyched. This movie is for me and -just maybe - no one else. I'd really like to see it tonight, if possible. Hopefully it provides something below the testosterone-injected surface, but I'm resisting projecting too much onto it. For now, I'd like to go in fresh.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hey, football. Be nice! 

I mean, really. Football, in it's many incarnations, has hurt my feelings lately. Particularly South African football where the soccer team is an embarrassment, right now; eliminated from World Cup contention. The rugby team was snake-bitten over the weekend when New Zealand beat the Aussies to steal the Tri-Nations title (2nd biggest honor in rugby union) on a tie-breaker. Big thanks to the Australia for rolling over. Pfft.

And then, of course, in the States college football still doesn't make any sense.

All of this hurts my feelings. So be nice, football!

Thankfully, the NFL kicks off tonight with Oakland vs. New England. You might have noticed that I'm excited about the new season, yes? Indeed, I am. And I'm pretty pleased with the way my fantasy team looks, thank you. See for yourself. I ended up randomly being drawn to the 2nd pick and actually debated whether to take Peyton Manning over Shaun Alexander. I deferred to the super running back as RBs are at a priority. Would rather not have taken Ahman Green in the second round, but he was the best available top back. Getting Terrell Owens in the third made me very happy. In fact, I think the only selection I wasn't thrilled to make was TJ Duckett. It was a panic play. But everyone else that I targeted magically fell to me -- which is unreal and surely can be appreciated by any sports crazies who've done a fantasy draft. Almost always, the guy you want gets nabbed one pick ahead of you. Randomly, it looks like I'm going to be rooting for the Packers a lot this season and week 6 is going to be a real bitch when half my time has a bye week.

Aaaaand, I'm in the suicide pool for the fourth year running, this time with three entries. I felt like I had to. Sue me. Tempted as I was to make New England one of those three selections for week one (Jerry Porter is a game time decision for Oakland tonight, which could throw their whole offense -- their only hope of winning -- off-balance) I didn't want to immediately begin rooting against the Raiders. I figure I need at least one week of being honest. So in lieu of that, my three best bets for the week are:

(drumroll) Home team in CAPS

MINNESOTA over Tampa Bay
CAROLINA over New Orleans
St. Louis over SAN FRANCISCO

While we're at it, the rest of week one:

*Thursday night - NEW ENGLAND over Oakland
PITTSBURGH over Tennessee
Houston over BUFFALO
Cincinnati over CLEVELAND
Denver over MIAMI
WASHINGTON over Chicago
Arizona over NY GIANTS
Green Bay over DETROIT
SAN DIEGO over Dallas
*Sunday night - BALTIMORE over Indianapolis
*Monday night - Philadelphia over ATLANTA


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Time to eat some NFL 

Here's what I have to say about all 32 teams. The order is a little scatter-brained, but it works.

The pick:
I made my prediction for this year the day after the last Superbowl: Eagles over Patriots. Back then I was absolutely sure of it. Now, both teams have exhibited cause for concern -- Pats lose some Tedy Bruschi (their D's heartbeat), Ted Johnson, and Ty Law on defense, not to mention both offensive and defensive coordinators; Philly has T.O. problems and no insurance behind Brian Westbrook -- but I don't believe that any other teams have improved to the point where they're better than these two. So, I'm sticking with it. Eagles over Patriots.

The playoff race, however, is wide open in both conferences. The AFC is more top-heavy, but there will be heated competition for the wild card spots. And in the NFC, the only team without playoff aspirations (you can already pencil them in for the #1 next year) is SF, while Philly is the only lock.

Philadelphia - Really, the only thing the Eagles need to be concerned with is the on-field relationship between Donovan and T.O. If the Eagles don't get off to a flying start (they should, but you never know) then watch out for some meltdowns and fireworks on the sidelines. Owens, however, recently came out publicly and said he aims to mend the fractured relationship he has with his QB. We shall see. Hopefully, it isn't too much of a sideshow. Also, depth at running back is an issue.

New England - We know what New England lost during the off-season, but we also know that it's still New England. Their offense is as good as ever and, last I checked, Bill Belichek is the best coach in the league (that actually makes a difference in the NFL). They still have big play capability on the defensive side of the ball no matter what the situation. Until proven otherwise, all roads in the AFC run through Foxboro. These guys just know how to win, plain and simple.

Right there:
Indianapolis - The Colts are everyone's favorite team to watch and for some reason people think that translates automatically into Superbowl. The defense has been the knock on this team ever since Peyton Manning & Co. came to power. They've added some personell, now, (like Corey Simon) and appear ready to make a serious push at the crown. However, the road to the promised land still runs through New England. I'll believe the Colts can win at Foxboro (or any open air, cold-weather stadium in December and January) when I see it. It's not even just the Patriots that should concern the Colts. There's also...

Pittsburgh - The Steelers bring back pretty much everyone except for Plaxico Burress and he was a headache anyway. The concern for this team is injuries. The preseason has been unkind to their running backs as both Duce Staley and Jerome Bettis are already sidelined. Does unheralded Willie Parker step right in and relieve pressure off of Ben Roethlisberger? Steeler fans better hope so. As last year's AFC title game showed, Big Ben is best when he is trying to minimize mistakes rather than force big plays.

Baltimore - Staying in the AFC (where most of the contenders lie), the Ravens have one issue to address this year: Kyle Boller. If the QB can put up roughly 200 yards a game and minimize his mistakes, the Ravens will be a scary team to contend with. We know about the defense and we know about Jamal Lewis who's prison time is now behind him. If Boller can open up the passing game, who is to say that Baltimore couldn't shock everybody?

Carolina - The greatest threat to the Eagles is the team that knocked them off in the NFC Championship game two seasons ago. That year, Carolina went to lose perhaps the best played Superbowl ever on a last second field goal to New England. No team was hotter in the second half of last season than Carolina. If not for injuries at the start of the year and an Adam Vinatieri Superbowl field goal, who knows? Maybe we would be talking about the Panthers going for their third straight Superbowl instead of the Patriots. Hard to fathom, but true. Their defense is still terrific. The running game (their strong suit with Davis and Foster) is healthy and QB Jake Delhomme may be the best in the league behind Brady and Favre at rallying his troops. The loss of Muhsin Muhammad (the NFL's leading receiver last year) should, surprisingly, be minimal. Steve Smith will be healthy and fill in at the top spot and Keary Colbert is ready to emerge as a weapon. Watch out for Carolina!

Potential overachievers:
Jacksonville - They could just as easily flop, but this team showed last year that they can win ugly and in this league that counts for a lot.

St. Louis - Playing in the weakest division in football, facing the softest schedule in the league, and possessing one stellar offense. The Rams could win ten games this season.

Kansas City - The Chiefs addressed their defense... finally. We know they can score points. Now, with the additions of Patrick Surtain and rookie linebacker Derrick Brooks, to name a couple, on defense, perhaps KC will be able to win games without having to get into a shootout. The special teams is still strong. Let's not forget Dante Hall's big play ability returning kicks. Larry Johnson has also shown that he is a ready, able, and studly back up who can easily fill in for Priest Holmes if the super RB has more problems with his hip... or knee... or ankle...etc...

San Diego - I think the Chargers will finish with fewer wins than last year's division-winning team. So how could they potentially overachieve? Well, last year's Chargers were supposed to be one of the worst teams in football. The personell hasn't changed at all. Drew Brees has to prove that last year wasn't a fluke against a tougher schedule and what has suddenly become the toughest division in football. The Chargers may not win the war in the AFC West, but they could still nab a wild card spot. Even though that would be a slight regression from last season, I think San Diego would be very happy with it. Particularly given that their top picks expected to help the defense -- LB Shawn Merriman among them -- still are unsigned.

New York Jets - Another playoff team from last year. I put the Jets here for one reason: no one is talking about them. Weird! Still a killer defense which just added Ty Law (!), still have workhorse Curtis Martin. Chad Pennington is healthy and his favorite target, Lavernious Coles, returns after a year in Washington. The Jets could be a spoiler this year. I love what coach Herm Edwards brings to that team.

Potential underachievers:
Atlanta - I think we've all seen this Atlanta Falcons movie before. Never in franchise history has the club had back-to-back winning seasons. Their schedule is no walk in the park, either. It's conceivable that they could lose their first five games of the season making 7-9 or 8-8 not out of the question. #1 rushing attack in the league or not, their offense is still one-dimensional. People may just have it in their subconscious that this team is set up for failure.

Seattle - If not for back-dooring their way into last year's playoffs, Seattle could be perrenial underachivers. They still don't have balance on offense and their defense is suspect. I'm actually befuddled as to why "experts" tout the Seahawks as contenders every year since Mike Holmgren became coach. This has to be the make or break for him. The Seahawks fate rests on the shoulders of one man. Again. Shaun Alexander. Not having to worry about a franchise tag is huge for his open market prospects. Seattle is going to be in deep deep deep trouble when they're unable to resign him next off-season. Without Shaun Alexander, the Seahawks offense is a joke.

Minnesota - Speaking of perrenial underachievers, the Vikings own it. Every year a hot start followed by a horrible finish. Do things change this year with the departure of Randy Moss? Perhaps a little. There will be less strife in the locker room and the defense is supposedly better, but who knows? You can't count on this team. Their running back situation is anything but secure for the moment, though I love Mewelde Moore's big play ability in the face of Michael Bennett's suspect health. The NFC North isn't too strong, again, so Minny may yet claim the division. Just don't expect them to make a run in the playoffs.

Cincinnati - I'm hesitant to place the Bengals in this category because despite showing improvement during the last two seasons (both 8-8 finishes) they haven't made the playoffs. Yet people across the board are high on Cincy's prospects this season. Looking at the offense, who could blame them? Chad, Rudi, Carson, and the boys look good. It's the defense that should have everyone worried. The Bengals still haven't proven they can stop the run and, uh, they play in the same division as Pittsburgh and Baltimore. That's bad news.

Denver - The Broncos are a mystery to me. Solid regular seasons, wasted in the playoffs. Granted, the last two seasons, it was the Colts who ran them off the field, but you start to wonder if Denver's window has finally closed. The division battle may hurt them too much and I could very easily see them finishing 9-7 but losing out on a playoff spot due to a tie-break. Simple fact is this: Jake Plummer will not take you to the next round of the playoffs, let alone the promised land.

Lost in the mix:
Green Bay - There are plenty of reasons to like and dislike this year's Packer incarnation. The good is that their offense looks pretty strong -- great pair of receivers in Javon Walker and Donald Driver, Green and Davenport in the backfield. They're a potent group and, oh by the way, they have the ultimate gamer in Brett Favre. The bad side is that this team and Favre in particular are old and the defense is weak. Yet, in spite of those two negatives, the Packers could very well claim yet another division title if only because of Minnesota's shortcomings. It's strange to think that a division winner can get lost in the mix, but then no one rightly knows what Green Bay will do from week to week.

Detroit - The weapons they have on offense are scary, but Joey Harrington still has to step up to the plate. If he can't deliver with this kind of insanely good talent at his disposal, the Lions are doomed. Backup QB Jeff Garcia broke his leg last week, so it's all on Harrington to finally have a breakout season.

Houston - Any and all injury concerns to the slight Dominick Davis are stopping hearts in Houston. The season hasn't even started yet. That's not good. And is this finally the year the David Carr breaks out? Andre Johnson is an excellent receiver and the Texans offense might be able to generate some excitement if they're healthy and get solid play from the offensive line. On defense, their secondary leaves something to be desired.

Miami - they figure to be awful, but could steal a couple extra games behind their renewed running game. Remember, it was Ricky Williams' unexpected departure that sunk this club a year ago. The entire offense was based around him. Now, he's back and the Dolphins drafted Ronnie Brown. Problem is, they still don't have a quarterback and Nick Saban is untested in the NFL. Their defense is still good. They just need to not spend so much time on the field.

Dallas - Probably the most overhyped team heading into the year. I like Bill Parcells and he seems to have a star running back in Julius Jones, but that's all the Cowboys have. Bledsoe at least provides some stability at quarterback, but his age is showing and the defense probably hasn't improved as much as Parcells wanted it to.

Tennessee - Who knows what to make of this club? Consensus is that they'll be pretty bad this season. I used to be of the opinion that as long as Steve McNair is healthy, the Titans can play with anyone. Now, I'm not so sure. Everyone will be watching to see if this offense takes off under mastermind offensive coordinator Norm Chow. I expect they'll be competitive, but come up too short too often. On the other hand, maybe they're this year's San Diego and shock the world! Could be...

Tampa Bay - I actually don't really have anything good to say about the Bucs other than their defense will keep them in games. They're relying on Brian Griese to return to the form he had in 2000. In Gruden's offense, that may well be possible. Especially with analysts' new favorite receiver, Michael Clayton, and a fresh running back, Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, in the fold.

New York Giants - Eli Manning gets a full season at the helm. Let the games begin. Giant wide receivers had something, like, 0 touchdowns last year. We'll see if new arrival Plaxico Burress and his big mouth can change that. New York gains an extra home game due to Hurricane Katrina, as the Saints are forced to change venue for their "home opener." Other than that, I don't imagine a lot breaking in the G-Men's favor. Tiki Barber is a game-breaker, though.

Arizona - Live by the sword, die by the sword. That will be the tale of this year's Cardinals. They turn to Kurt Warner who is so far removed from his glory days that it seems unlikely he'll ever return to form. never mind the unfriendly offense he had to operate with the Giants last season, if he held the ball too long and turned the ball over too readily and frequently in St. Louis (with all the amazing talent they had on the o-line, receivers, and backs) how the hell is he going to fair better in Arizona? I hope J.J. Arrington can deliver in the backfield, but the offensive line is shaky at best. A healthy Boldin and Fitzgerald represent one of the most lethal WR combos in the league. But it won't matter if Warner keeps throwing interceptions. AZ's saving grace is that they play in the NFC W(orst)est, where 8-8 and a possible playoff spot are definitely attainable.

Buffalo - JP Losman is effectively a rookie quarterback and yet to establish himself. That's not good when you already have a weak passing game (even if your receivers are good). Willis McGahee is a stud running back, but until Losman shows that he knows what he's doing, expect opposing defenses to key in on McGahee all the time. And I mean all the time. But the Bills defense keeps them in with a shout. If last year's strong finish is an indicator, the Bills could play the role of spoiler all the way to a wild card spot in the playoffs. Though I doubt that'll happen. The AFC appears too deep.

Washington - No one expects the Redskins to do much this year. After all, Patrick Ramsey is still the QB. But if Clinton Portis isn't overworked like he was last season and used correctly, things could improve. The defense, despite key losses, is competitive. The Skins won't light the world on fire, but they should be able to at least beat the bad teams.

The dregs:
San Francisco - Worst team for the 2nd straight year

Cleveland - Will be interesting to see if Romeo Crennell can make this a smash-mouth team as planned.

Chicago - Even if Rex Grossman was healthy and Cedric Benson wasn't playing catch up, the Bears are in trouble. Teams will pull away from them in the second half when the defense begins to tire from being on the field all the time.

The sentimental favorite:
New Orleans - It'll be hard times this year for the Saints. Whether they play the rest of their "home games" after New York in Baton Rouge or San Antonio won't really matter. People will be cheering for them, regardless. Already a shaky team heading into the new season, their psyche has to be completely blitzed. I wonder if they'll be able to ever get on track this year.

My boys:
Oakland - Raider Nation, stand up and cheer, our boys could be as good as 10-6! Oh, but wait, they could just as easily go 6-10. It's likely that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The offense made significant upgrades with the acquisitions of Randy Moss (best WR in the game) and LaMont Jordan (I love this guy running the ball). Those two will allow the Raiders to spread the ball and balance their attack. Jerry Porter is set to put up career numbers, lining up opposite Moss. Inconsistent QB, Kerry Collins, has never had weapons like these at his disposal before. He may still chuck 18-22 interceptions, but he'll be launching 28-33 touchdowns in the process. The downside? Our defense is terrible. Thank the lord they're reverting back to a 4-3 scheme after the 3-4 failed so miserably. The secondary is ghastly. This team didn't tackle last year and they didn't bring anyone in who can do that this year. The Raiders will be winning with shootouts, if at all. Bias aside, they're potentially the second best offense in the league behind Indianapolis. It's their defense and the brutal AFC West that will keep them from making the playoffs. But I have faith. Committment to excellence. Just win, baby!


Huh? and Wha? 


The Iranians -- yeah those Iranians -- have made an interesting proposal to the USA. Basically, they'll give us 20 million barrells of oil for Katrina relief if we lift sanctions on Tehran. It's really some food for thought. This strikes me, however, as something akin to a deal with the devil. Lift those sanctions and you've helped a monster become fully-formed and capable of atrocity. If I'm in power, I don't know. Tough call. I probably say, "No thanks." We have allies who will help us ride out this crisis without asking for compensation.


An excerpt from one of the castmembers on the new season of the show. What can I say about it? New house, different assholes. Anyone, this guy actually happens to be a nice, bright kid. Here's his response to whether he expects to find any romance during the upcoming season. Enjoy!

Going down to Key West, I really don't care what happens, and if I meet a great girl I meet a great girl, but I did remember to put condoms in my bag. I was hugging my sister goodbye, and I don't know why I think of condoms with my sister. I think it's because she sent me a box of them. When I lost my virginity, she sent me a box of condoms for Valentine's Day, and so whenever I, I c - - for some reason I always look at her, and I'm like, wait a minute. What do I, what am I missing? I'm, oh, condoms. So then my mom wanted to go get them. I was like, no, Mom, I'll get them. Don't, yeah, yeah. So it was kind of embarrassing, but I, I did bring them. Uh, it doesn't mean anything more than, uh, uh, just in case, and uh, uh, yeah I'm excited about meeting new people and, and if there happens to be a great girl, who knows what could happen?


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Wait, speaking of bad movies 

Happened upon The Family Guy Movie over the weekend.


Honestly, it's not very funny and the story is pretty lame. It centers around Stewie meeting his 35-year-old future self. And it's dumb. Granted, there are a couple jokes here and there, but this show as a whole, to me, has really been sliding lately. Whatever punch it had seems to be gone.

Just to put this in persective, the Family Guy movie is about ten times worse than the season two finale of Entourage. And that was one hell of a letdown.


Feeling a draft, a fantasy draft. 

First off, can someone please explain to me why Highlander is considered a respected and popular movie? There is some out-and-out nonsense in that movie. Don't get me wrong, I think the premise is pretty cool. It just happens to be barely explained and poorly slapped together. Some great highlights, but a real clunker. Don't you love talking about cult favorites from twenty years ago?

Actually, if you want to see a good movie playing at select theaters near you, check out Me, You, and Everyone We Know. After the first 15-20 minutes of the film, I was deeply worried that I was in for yet another droning, boring, pointless exercise in soapbox preachiness about how life is precious yet utterly dark, lonely, and depressing. But there is an innocence about this film that escorts it's tragic characters through it's slender narrative and does so very well. Worth a look.

As for the title of this word vomit, it's only a couple hours until I put on my sports-nerd glasses and bow tie and settle in for my fantasy football draft. This is year four of a league with the guys at work. This year, the prize (screw you, Highlander) will be mine. We'll see if I finally catch a few injury breaks. Ah, the NFL. So good to see you again. Kickoff is this Thursday when my improved, yet overmatched Raiders visit defending monolith New England. I'll get myself motivated and throw up some football preview analysis tomorrow for no one in particular to pay attention to.

Also, it's worth mentioning that the greatest wide receiver and perhaps one of the five best football players of all time, finally retired. I can't imagine another receiver ever being as prolific as Jerry Rice. The day may very well come when his phenomenal records are eclipsed -- receivers are getting bigger, faster, and stronger every day -- but it's hard to imagine at this point in time. Cheers, Jerry.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times?! 

Indeed, the blurst of times totally happened. The best of times, my friends, was when Team USA beat Mexico yesterday 2-0 to qualify for the World Cup Final next year in Germany. Quite a happy time, I tell you. Soooooo good. I love 2-0. And I love when the US beats Mexico. It's so satisfying. But of course, this post can not be completely happy. In fact, it is required that I suffer at least a little. And South Africa provided that suffering. They got blown out by fucking Burkina Faso. Let me say that again. 3-1 losers to fucking Burkina Faso. How do you spell "embarrasing?" B-U-R-K-I-N-A F-A-S-O. Seriously, the defense was cut up and left for dead. Let me clarify that South Africa was behind the 8-ball heading into this match. Ghana winning meant that South Africa absolutely needed a victory to keep pace for WC qualification. But what did they do? They rolled over and died. And judging by this 2005 calendar year, that's all they're good at doing. I swear, Bafana Bafana has suffered a massive setback since their unfortunate expulsion from the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan where they failed to qualify for the 2nd round based on goal differential (fuck you, Paraguay!) even though they played powerful Spain to the end. Such a narrow 3-2 defeat and, mind you, probably the worst I've felt as a sports fan. But what happened to this team? There's no discipline. No coordination. No nothing! I'll be on the level with you, South Africa doesn't deserve a spot in the 2006 World Cup. In fact, they're not officially eliminated, but Ghana has such a leg up on them, they may as well be. Those fucktards. Coach Stuart Baxter blasted the team for their performance on Saturday and deserverdly so. They exhibted pure pathetic patheticness. So pathetic. I mean... pathetic. USA: YEAH! South Africa: FUCKING BOO! FUCK THAT SHIT!

Ugh... maybe I'm drunk right now. Fuck.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

This college football season holds little interest. 

For me, that is. The season starts today and I have to admit that I'm nowhere near excited. Then again, I'm not USC fan. I still can't get back into a sport with no outright champion. Every game counts, right? Without rehashing too much, which games counted for Auburn last season? Or Utah? Both unbeaten and neither even got to compete for the title. Just saying. But hey, whatever. That's college football. We couldn't possibly implement a playoff system because that would disrupt these "student-athletes" (puh-lease) from their studies. However, we have no problem extending the number of games on a regular season schedule, beginning earlier, finishing later, and making sure there is time for conference championship games. After all, there's no money to be made there. Oh wait...

Anyway, the game itself. I'm of the opinion (as is everyone with a functioning brain) that USC can do it again this year. Every analyst has them at least competing in the Rose Bowl, this year's national title game. They lost Shaun Cody and Mike Patterson -- probably their two best defensive playmakers -- to the NFL this year, possibly exposing their run defense a little, but this team is set. The offense, Norm Chow or not, will roll this year and the Pac 10 still isn't very deep. Arizona State and Cal (like last year) look to be the biggest threats to the Trojans. So, you know, they'll be fine. I'm just hoping for a respectable year from Arizona and a win in one of the exhibition-it-doesn't-matter-who-plays-here-since-there's-nothing-at-stake bowls. I think a top five conference finish would be huge for the Wildcats.

But as I said, USC is the only game in town. Pat Forde has a good write-up of why no one else matches up this season. There's a slew of #2 teams out there. I'd say about five of them end up with one loss on the year and of those five, only one can be voted in to the title game. It's a sham and, damn it, it's not the best college football can do. Who is the Rose Bowl loser this year? I don't know. Pick anybody. Michigan? Sure, them. Whatever.


Are you bored? 

Here! Enjoy this colorful list of euphemisms!


When the Saints come marching in 

It's really a sad state of affairs in the Big Easy, as well as most of the Southern states smashed by Katrina. Two of my co-workers are either from or have family living there, so you can imagine was the topic of discussion has been the last few days. Fortunately, their loved ones seem to be mostly okay, save for some abandoned cats and one family friend who lost a child. Tragic. Doubtless, everyone is well aware now that New Orleans is the new Atlantis. 80% of a city that rests below sea level already is under water and the pumps and levees previously keeping N.O. above water are obliterated. Families lives have been destroyed. The city is flooded with death and disease. With dead bodies and gasoline floating in roads-turned-rivers, dysentery is a very real thing. There's no clean water. Hospitals are over-crowed. Cripes, Louisiana now has refugees! N.O. could face up to a month (!!!) without electricity. All the panic and despair has erupted, now, into chaos of the worst kind.

An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered up by a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.
"I don't treat my dog like that," 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the woman in the wheelchair. "I buried my dog." He added: "You can do everything for other countries but you can't do nothing for your own people. You can go overseas with the military but you can't get them down here."

And the saddest part? Much of this was avoidable.

The level of hysteria that has gripped New Orleans is the kind of stuff we had only seen in movies. Mob mentality choked the life out of rational thought and that'll happen when your whole life was totally fucked in a matter of hours and you find that the city government - the mayor, the governor, etc - never even considered the consequences of a natural disaster. Not after 1969, not after last year. So the looters who have snapped and declared every man for himself you might blame on the incompetence of the city officials. I believe Gov. Kathleen Blanco's advice and words of comfort to the city the morning after was, "Pray." Pray?! Fuck that! How do we survive?? How are we going to fucking live?! Oh yeah, she's a regular Rudy Guiliani. There are no backup plans in case the levees broke. There was no worst-case scenario plot. There was nothing. Zero. Zilch. Every newscast aired panicked alerts of how this awful, massive storm was coming and the city never mobilized. Nothing was done about it. There are now over a million homeless people in the city now who lived their lives paycheck to paycheck. New Orleans was already a depressed city to begin with. Now, the bottom has fallen out. "Pray." You know what that means? Well, according to the governor, it means there's nothing to be done. Shit happens and your interests were never in mind.

Oh, and a quick heads up to any football fans. Not that you ever should've been thinking this before, but do not bet on the Saints. A finnicky team that always burns out down the stretch and now has no home? No thanks. This team's psyche is shot for the year. I don't imagine they'll ever be comfortable this season.


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