28 November 2007

Somewhat Live Blogging the "YouTube" Debate

Hi all, I'm still around, just haven't been feeling "bloggy" lately.

I forgot to get the alcohol provision restocked before this event, so I'll have to sober blog this stuff.

Hopefully, I'll be able to do this without intoxicating libations.

5:11pm PST

First off, can CNN be more self-congratulatory? Why waste time with the line-up+intros? At least Mr. Cooper is his usual attractively impish self.

First real question is at Rudy re: sanctuary cities. His answer sounds OK, Romney is given a follow up by Cooper, he hits hard, but fairly, this is a problem for Mayor Giuliani, and he should find it in his heart to change his views on this, or he'll have trouble getting the nomination. Rudy hits back, slightly below the belt over the hiring practices in Romney's own household. Nasty is fun, though, I really don't mind nasty.

5:18 PST

Thompson says all the right things on the immigration issue. Takes a swipe at Romney and Giuliani, and makes a veiled reference to Bernard Kerik without bringing up his name (that sly ol' slow talkin' fox, I'll call him Matlock for the rest of this debate). McCain gets his shot, denies that amnesty was amnesty, he's saddened, he's often saddened, he always seems shocked, shocked that big huge government bipartisan problem solving bills tend to backfire (see McCain-Feingold). He's enforcement first, now, but who cares what he thinks, he's a Senator for life, and won't ever be President.

5:49 PST

D'oh! a brown out just ate my last 2 updates, I was really witty, though, you'll have to take my word for it, in summary, Go Matlock Go! (liked his answer on taxes and privatizing Social Security), Crazy Uncle (aka Ron Paul) sounded as crazy as usual. Huckabee talks the right talk on "Fair Tax" but I don't trust him to spend a dime of political capital to make it happen should he find himself President somehow.

Coop isn't having an easy time moderating, and "Sen. Thompson, what's up with that?" What's up with that? Seriously, dude, seriously, dude, seriously? The Thompson YouTube attack ad is kind of weak actually, what's up with that?

5:56 PST

Prof. Althouse is comment-blogging the debate this time instead of live blogging. Show-off. If I had a popular site with a big base of commenters, I'd do that, too, but instead I'll stick it out with this semi-live, live blog.

6:00 PST

2nd Amendment in focus, Hunter chastises the questioner on gun safety (proving that he knows his guns), Giuliani doesn't backtrack on his record on gun control, he's pro-Federalism on this (sort of), leave it up to the states. Sen. Thompson hits back on the issue, Giuliani sticks to his "guns" so to speak on his record on gun control in NYC. Someone wants to know about the candidates guns, can't imagine that question getting asked of the Dems.

6:06 PST

Black-on-Black crime question (a guy named "Printess" what's up with that?), Romney doesn't pander on the issue, pushes family, and Bill Cosby. Giuliani is given a chance to hit Romney on crime, doesn't make it a 'black-on-black' issue, just makes it a crime issue, pushes "broken windows", which by the way is doing good things here in Los Angeles under Chief Bratton currently.

6:11 PST

Abortion, abortion, abortion, whatever. Seems like CNN is going with the Guns, Gods and Gays stereotype of GOP voters, I'm guessing a big Gay section of the debate will follow at some point. Rudy goes with a pro-Federalism argument again.

6:13 PST

What's up with the "What Would Jesus Do" with regard to the death penalty. Well he said pretty clearly in the bible, "render unto Caesar", so I'm guessing he would be against it personally, but he'd also be against imposing a religious standard to civil and criminal penalties. Huckabee gives the right answer "Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office", I still Don't ♥ Huckabee, however.

6:16 PST

More cynically stated "God" crap. Trying to trap the GOP on biblical literalism. Clearly biased question choosing by CNN to make the GOP seem like nuts. May back fire on them, though, on the coasts they may seem like nuts, but in the vast middle where the majority of electoral votes lie, this stuff plays.

6:24 PST

Time for foreign policy, sort of. First question, 'how can we make them love us more?'. Screw that, and Giuliani answers, 'screw that' also. We fight those that want to kill us, we also don't hate all Muslims, but we will kill those that want to kill us, and we won't apologize to anyone for that will and exercise of our power. McCain goes on the attack against the Dems, and tries to puff himself up on the Iraq issue, he has strong credentials in this area, but the air is already out of his balloon, he's always been mostly popular within the beltway and unloved everywhere else, and nothing can change that.

6:31 PST

It's Helmet Hair (aka Romney) v. Blinky (aka McCain) over waterboarding. Whatever, McCain has the better position, but he doesn't present it well. Buzz Brockway of GA wants us in Iraq (or at least the region) just as we are in Europe and East Asia. Seems a reasonable position, Thompson, err I mean Matlock, doesn't answer the question, just mentions we need to stay as long as it takes. Invest in victory, not defeat is a good line. Crazy Uncle (Ron Paul) crazily crazes up some crazy talk about crazy going ons in crazy Iraq. Blinky (McCain) responds in his usual manner, as a Senator, he's a good Senator, he'd be a terrible President, he's right on many issues, but he just wouldn't be able to govern, or move support towards his cause. Crazy Uncle (Ron Paul) crazily ties in our "occupation" of the region to terror attacks on our soil. Tancredo (sorry, not important enough to come up with a nickname) attacks him on that issue, as he should.

6:38 PST

Unfair question aimed at Giuliani about him 'using 9/11' to get the nomination. Whatever, What's up with that? Giuliani dodges the issue, seems like many of the YouTube questions were designed to get the Dems to go even "Dem-mier" while the GOP questions picked are aimed at embarrassing the GOP over their "GOP-ness". Don't accuse CNN of being biased, though, no that can't be, they're impartial as can be.

6:43 PST

Woohoo! Last break, this trial is almost over, never let me Soberblog these debates again, it's not worth it. Soberblogging is a sobering experience. As soon as this is over, it's off to Costco and I'm picking up a vat of Vodka (last time I was there it was $14.99 for 1.75L of Smirnoff, can't beat that price) so this never happens again, I won't be caught without spirits while watching one of these debates again.

6:46 PST

Huckster's campaign ad emphasizes his godliness. Meh. On to the questions, I knew the gay questions would come up, they've done the Gods and Guns portion of the media stereotype against the GOP. Hunter (also no nickname, sorry Dunk) and Huckster cite unit cohesion, Romney dodges, supports, "don't ask, don't tell" and backtracks from past statements. Frankly, don't ask don't tell is stupid, and gays should be allowed to serve, but if they get harrassed they should deal with it, or if they act inappropriately, they should be chastised. In otherwords, they should be treated just like all the other troops.

More gay questions, Huckster wouldn't mind "log cabin" support, reiterates his opposition against same sex marriage, but offers to be their President, anyway. Good answer, still a huckster.

6:54 PST

A debt question to wrap things up, debt is overblown, the absolute number is astounding, but by GDP terms it's within historical norms. Matlock (Thompson) is right that youngsters need to be protected from oldsters from destroying the economy with entitlements. Helmet Hair (Romney) invokes Reagan (a fellow Helmet Hair Club for Men member), but to little effect.

A Mars question? Mars by 2020, screw NASA, NASA is a boondoggle, private industry can do better than that bloated, outdated, and outmoded piece of bureaucracy. Tancredo (still no nickname), hammers home the point that Mars shouldn't be a priority with deficits, whatever.

6:58 PST

A black man asks, "why don't we vote for you?". Meh. I don't remember a southern born white male getting to ask that question of Hillary, I wonder why? Giuliani mentions 'reaching out', economic opportunity, but this kind of question doesn't deserve a response. The only real response is that black voters have been swindled, and used, and screwed by the Democrats, but they've been listening to the crap from that side for so long that they are unwilling to realize that the liberal agenda is counter to the values that would help black people to prosper as much as everyone else.

7:01 PST

Leroy Brooks asks about the "Stars and Bars", that's another ridiculous flag. I can just see the CNN producers conspiring together as they choose their questions for maximum effect. It's obvious, it's stupid, and it's cynical, but that's CNN for you. Who cares about real issues, let's beat dead horses.

7:03 PST

Finally the Ron Paul video, I was mistaken, he's not Crazy Uncle, he's our saviour, Ron Paul forever!!!!!!!!!!! (just kidding)

7:05 PST

An infrastructure question. Infrastructure is a local matter, the Federal Government can set standards, but the best thing to do is to stop taking money from the states and let them decide on a local basis how it should be done. Rudy agrees with me, woohoo! Crazy Uncle crazily crazes about how the infrastructure fairies will fix the infrastructure with fairie dust as soon as he's President. McCain pushes for an unconstitutional Presidential line item veto, and Giuliani calls him on it, reminds him that the Supreme Court has already decided that (not Giuliani, even though he was the defendant in the case that decided this issue).

7:08 PST

Crazy questioner asks Crazy Uncle to run as an independent, or else. Crazy Uncle refuses, poor Crazy Uncle, instead he rants about how great a fundraiser he is, he's the vanguard of a mass movement, he's bigger than Elvis, dammit (I can't believe I voted for him in 1988).

7:09 PST

Final question about Giuliani rooting for the BoSox once the Yankees lost. Whatever, as mayor the Yanks won 4 championships, since he left, none, coincidence? Cute answer. Romney hates the Yankees always.

There's no way I'll watch CNN's post debate spin, that's way too much for me to handle while unintoxicated.

16 November 2007

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week ELEVEN)

Lucky week eleven, this time I'll be 5-0 for sure. Here's the link for the picks of My Nemesis Bill Simmons™ for comparison. As always, these picks are for entertainment purposes only. I don't usually pick nothing but favorites, but I don't see any upsets possible in these five games, so these are my picks and I'm sticking to them. Not going to bother with descriptions for each pick, you have 3 probable blowouts, plus two 17-10 games with San Diego v. Jacksonville and Tennessee v. Denver. I expect those games to be about as fun to watch as whatever colorful metaphor is your favorite to use in cases where you sarcastically mention something that's obviously not fun to watch at all to express an utter lack of enthusiasm for watching a particular game. It's a good week to go see a movie, Beowulf in 3D looks like it might be interesting, and the Coen Bros. movie is opening wider, so don't watch football this weekend, hit your favorite multiplex instead.

Carolina(4-5) at Green Bay(8-1) I pick Green Bay -9.5 BS Picks GB

San Diego(5-4) at Jacksonville(6-3) I pick Jacksonville -3.0 BS Picks Jax

Washington(5-4) at Dallas(8-1) I pick Dallas -10.5 BS Picks Dal

New England(9-0) at Buffalo(5-4) I pick New England -10.0 BS Picks NE

Tennessee(6-3) at Denver(4-5) I pick Tennessee -2.0 BS Picks Den

RESULTS Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week TEN)

That was a shockingly unhumiliating week of picking football. 4-1, woohoo!!! Better yet, since I picked exactly opposite My Nemesis Bill Simmons™ that means he was a miserable 1-4. Having a freshly hatched infant in the house must rattle the brains. Season totals so far, I sit at 23-24-3 while BS has slipped to a woeful 20-27-3.

As far as the games not covered in the five picks, 'where's the feet?' with regards to New Orleans? Just when I thought they were back on track they are handled easily by the previously winless St. Louis Rams. I still think the Saints will win their division, their schedule is pretty favorable the rest of the way out, and maybe this one bad game will help them sort things out the rest of the season. If they slip, and Tampa Bay slips, and Carolina continues to be mediocre (and how can you be better than mediocre when Vinny Testaverde is your QB?), then the Atlanta Falcons still have a chance to win that division?!? The NFC but for two teams, really, really sucks.

On to the semi-recaps:

Cleveland 28 Pittsburgh 31 (I picked Pitt -10.0) BS Picked Cle
D'oh! My only bad pick of the day, and it would have been a push if Pittsburgh hadn't given up that 4th quarter Kick Off return for a TD. Special teams defense has been a problem league wide this year. Makes the game more exciting, but I don't believe it's just that every team has decided to keep a Hester-like speedy small guy on their team that has accounted for the unprecedented success at KO and Punt returns this season, I think the defenses also kind of suck. As far as the rest of the game, Pittsburgh never seemed in doubt as to whether or not they would come back in this one. They looked sharp, and Cleveland is a pretty good team themselves. Seeing Big Ben rumble 30 yards for his TD was also pretty impressive, that was pretty unexpected. Pittsburgh actually dominated the game for the most part, just that they kept getting stalled in the red zone on offense. When your offense is playing well, you can't settle for field goals, I think it was more a matter of bad Steeler play calling in the first half rather than a really stiff Browns red zone defense. But even though they didn't cover the spread, they won, and that's all that matters (except where my pick was concerned, those bastards!)

Minnesota 0 Green Bay 34 (I picked GB -5.5) BS picked Minn
Woohoo! Not much to say on this one. Losing Peterson is a big blow to Minnesota, but they're hoping he's only out a short while. This loss effectively ends the Vikings playoff hopes, though, so they'd be foolish to rush back their franchise RB. Let him get healthy and don't jeopardize next season to struggle to 6-10 or 7-9 this one. Green Bay dominated this game on both sides of the ball. They have one of the best defenses in the league, and suddenly they have the semblance of a running attack to compliment Favre's passing. They'll keep the pressure on Dallas for the best record in the NFC the rest of the season, and you know Dallas doesn't want a possible NFC Championship game to be held on Lambeau Field in late January, that would bring back some bad memories from way back in the day. Hopefully that there Global Warming will kick in and game time temps will be above zero (assuming they meet in an NFC Championship game hosted in GB, which given my earlier predictions, I'm guessing won't happen).

Dallas 31 NYGiants 20 (I picked Dallas -1.5) BS picked NYG
Woohoo! The final score is closer than it should have been. Dallas dominated, but committed too many penalties in the first half, and would up tied 17-17 at halftime. They beat up their division rivals, and the NY Giants look on schedule to sputter in the final half of the season to either just grab the final wildcard spot, or to just miss the playoffs this year. Won't matter, though, as they'll be easy first round fodder for whichever team they face (assuming they make the playoffs, with given how bad the rest of the NFC is, should still be doable). Dallas is a very good team. I think Green Bay is slightly better, but they're both pretty close. Dallas has the more complete offense, but Green Bay has the better defense. Given their dismantling at the hands of New England earlier in the season, though, it's clear that Dallas would only be the 4th or 5th best team in the AFC.

Indianapolis 21 San Diego 23 (I picked SD +3.5) BS Picked Indy
Woohoo! After dominating the first half, causing turn over after turn over (Manning ended up throwing 6 picks in the game, that's unheard of for him), scoring off the opening kick-off, and a punt return within the first 7 minutes of the game, the Chargers still had to rely on two missed field goals by the normally automatic Adam Vinatieri to eek out this victory. There's something seriously wrong with that team. I still think they'll rise above the mess that is the AFC West and win their division, but they'll look as ugly as Norv Turner's face while doing it. Indy has suffered two tough losses in a row now, but they ought to get better fast with KC coming to town. Losing Freeney for the season is a crippling blow, though, and puts Pittsburgh on the inside track to be the 2 seed in the AFC and the team most likely to lose by at least 3 TDs in Foxboro come January in the AFC Championship game.

San Francisco 0 Seattle 24 (I picked Seattle -9.5) BS Picked SF
Woohoo! Meh, I said this would be unwatchable, and judging from the recap, it was. I don't care about either of these teams, and don't think either of them are going anywhere, other than SF has a chance of handing the already loaded Pats the #1 pick in next year's draft. Way to go 49ers!

15 November 2007

Where's The Feet?!?

While digging around the message boards during today's Woot! OFF (wiki has an extensive page describing the arcana of the Woot! community), I see the phrase, "Where's The Feet" come up from time to time. The clever, clever (childish) community of Woot! users have taken to creating phrases to represent certain popular internet acronyms. I'll give you a few guesses as to what "Where's The Feet" means.

It's been a long wait all day for the "Bandolier of Carrots" to show up (aka Bag of Crap).

One day, I will get in and order 3 bags of crap, but so far no luck.

But, that has nothing to do with this post, that's just prologue, the "Where's The Feet" moment for me today comes from watching the Democratic Debate.

Too much sound and fury signifying nothing. What's scarier, is that their sound and fury might actually signify something. If they mean what they say, and do what they claim they want to do when elected, then we're all FUBAR'd.

It's not just partisanship, I swear, it's that so much of their rhetoric is about bad mouthing the United States, bad mouthing individual freedoms, and bad mouthing free trade. I know they'll claim that their highlighting the excesses of the Bush Administration alone, but they use the same language and tactics as all the other America haters, and much of what they complain about isn't specific to the past 6+ years.

Mr. Blitzer is a horrid moderator, also. He's not making any serious attempt to get these folks to answer a damn question, instead he's allowing the talking points to flow like so much white noise.

There's got to be a better way for candidates to highlight the differences between themselves and communicate that to voters. Cause this crap isn't helpful.


I hit publish too soon. I'm thinking "where's the feet" with relation to a mother parading around her marine son to ask her stilted 'the conservatives are beating the drums of war on Iran' question. What's the deal with Dems always portraying troops as children? He's a grown assed man, clearly, he doesn't need his mother to speak for him. And no conditions attached dialog with crazed dictators has ever worked in the past (unless there's a threat of a big stick backing it up), why should it work with regards to the mullahs and their mad President in Iran? If the Democratic party succeeds in taking away the stick, no amount of carrots will move Iran away from the brink of destablizing the region and continuing their ongoing pursuit of WMD. This issue is way too important for this mealy-mouthed crap. Kudos to Sen. Clinton as being the only Dem in this group to vote with the resolution declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group, and shame on her for pandering to the peaceniks by suggesting that all it will take is 'dialog' to solve this problem. We need to do everything we can to undermine the mullahocracy, the people of Iran are sick of the corruption, sick of being the enemy of the rest of the world, and sick of the religious police, but they aren't sick enough yet to risk their lives in large numbers. We have to do whatever we can to push the people of Iran towards a "counter-revolution" and topple their current leaders. Chatting with those leaders won't help that cause.

12 November 2007

Let's Talk Playoffs (NFL Edition)

Week 10 has passed, and the playoffs are starting to come into focus in the NFL. Every team has played 9 games, there are no more bye weeks, and some of the division races are already over.

In the AFC, it's pretty easy to figure out who 5 of the 6 playoff teams will be, with the remaining playoff spot to go to whichever AFC West team manages to blow the fewest games the rest of the season.

New England and Pittsburgh are locks to win their divisions, while the AFC South is a three way battle between Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and Tennessee. All three of those teams should make the playoffs, and I think San Diego should still emerge from the pile of mediocre teams in the AFC West and win their division, or Norv Turner could do what Norv Turner does best and through horrendous play calling manage to get this talented team to miss the playoffs all together. In that scenario, then Denver is more likely to emerge as the winner of that crappy division over Kansas City. What remains is the battle for playoff seeding, with New England a sure thing as the 1 seed, and Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and maybe even Jacksonville fighting it out for the other team to get a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

None if it matters, though, it will come down to New England hosting whichever AFC team survives to the end to meet them in the AFC Championship game, and barring injuries will crush them.

The NFC is largely irrelevant, but more intriguing as more teams have a real shot at making the playoffs. The NFC is irrelevant, cause unless the Superbowl ends up being a fluky game, New England will crush any opposition in front of it, and more intriguing cause any one of 9 teams has a real shot at representing the NFC in the Superbowl (though, Dallas and Green Bay have to be considered strong favorites).

Dallas and Green Bay are in, and will win their divisions easily, but each will press the other to go for best record to host a potential NFC Championship game match up between the two. The other two divisions are up in the air, with Tampa Bay looking like the best of a bad bunch of NFC South teams, and either Seattle or Arizona emerging from the craptacular NFC West. Detroit and NY Giants have the inside track on the wildcard, but both teams are capable of collapsing the rest of the season, and the likes of Carolina, New Orleans, Chicago, Philadelphia, could all finish in a 5 way tie at 9-7 or 8-8 for the two wild card spots. Should make the last two weeks of the season a headache with regards to tie breaking scenarios.

It's possible with Dallas and Green Bay coasting at the end of the regualr season, and the other teams all struggling to make the playoffs, that the struggle will help focus those teams come the 2nd week of the playoffs, whereas a rusty Dallas and Green Bay could get upset at home when they host the survivors. It's not entirely inconceivable to imagine that Arizona could end up being the first team to play in a Superbowl in their home stadium (that scenario remains highly unlikely, but if Warner stays healthy somehow, and their defense continues to play well, they are as good as any other team in the NFC).

It would be a good story, Kurt Warner leading an Arizona team to an improbable victory against a previously unbeaten New England team that ran up 20+ point victories in its 2 previous playoff games. Cut to reaction shots of '72 Dolphin players when they realize they remain the only undefeated champions in the Superbowl era, and cut to a dour looking Belichick wondering how the hell their perfect season could be snatched away in the last game.

Either that, or New England will have a rematch against Dallas and pound them again, winning by 40 points and setting all sorts of scoring records in a lopsided game.

But anyway, here's my full prediction for the playoff seedings:

1) New England
2) Pittsburgh
3) Indianapolis
4) San Diego
5) Tennessee
6) Jacksonville

First round, Jacksonville upsets Indianapolis, San Diego beats Tennessee. 2nd Round, New England trounces Jacksonville, Pittsburgh manhandles San Diego. AFC Championship New England beats Pittsburgh by better than 3 TDs.

2)Green Bay
3)New Orleans
5)Tampa Bay
6)NY Giants

First Round, New Orleans beats NY Giants, Arizona beats Tampa Bay. 2nd Round, Dallas is upset by Arizona, Green Bay beats New Orleans. NFC Championship Arizona upsets Green Bay on the "Frozen Tundra"

Superbowl XLII in Arizona
New England 61 Arizona 20

LOL Ahmed Angerpuss?!?

Meet Shakeel Ahmad Bhat as profiled in the Daily Mail (hat tip LGF). How did Callimachus at Done With Mirrors know that guy's middle name was "Ahmed" back when he first called him "Ahmed Anger"? (Dude is an even better reporter/editor than he realized).

I've been calling him "Ahmed Angerpuss" ever since. Even after the puff piece on him, the name still fits, "Islamic Rage" sells well within and without the Islamic community, the well of anger seems deep and endless. Seems the slightest provocation (and even a perception of provocation without any actual facts) is capable of enflaming passions and setting off a round of pointless street theatre. Our media eats it up, then tut-tuts and tsk-tsks when people in the advanced, civilized and tech-savvy parts of the globe (yes, I'm making a value judgement and saying that we in the "west" are better off and just plain better than the angry Islamic "street") see the pictures they transmit as being indicative of the sentiment within a too large portion of many Islamic communities.

Many in the press want it both ways, they want to grossly exaggerate the level and widespread nature of anti-western feeling in Islamic communities while blaming the root cause on our western insensitivity and cultural imperialism, while at the same time castigate us for believing that this rage might constitute a problem and a danger to our way of life.

I think the problem is greatly exaggerated, and it's a real problem (I guess I want it both ways, too). Most people who follow the Last Prophet are peaceful, but they are too tolerant of the nasty fringe within their faith, and they will pay the consequences along with their radical brethren if things get out of hand. The great thing about technology is that each generation of new tech makes using the old tech that much easier and accessible to greater and greater numbers of people, and that's technology's great danger, too. What's true for computers, is also to a degree, true of WMD. It's getting more and more accessible for smaller and smaller groups of committed nuts to get a hold of something big and nasty that can effect tens of thousands, if not millions of people in a single attack. With that reality, waiting for something to happen is not an option, allowing states to tolerate terrorists within their midst is not an option, and failing to do every diplomatic, intelligence, and when all else fails, military trick in the book to diminish, isolate, and eventually destroy extremist groups of any kind, is not an option.

It's an odd irony that the MAD strategy during the Cold War years helped keep an uneasy peace between the two main spheres of influence while also taking WMD out of the mix of acceptable tactics, that the apparent collapse (I say apparent, cause I still don't entirely trust that Russians won't embrace some crazed autocrat at some point in the next 25 years and restart the Cold War) of the threat of total annihilation has actually increased the likelihood of a major city being attacked in this manner.

10 November 2007

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week TEN)

Week Ten already, last week with byes, it gets serious from here on out. I only have 8 more chances to improve my winning percentage, so it's 5-0 or bust this week. My Nemesis Bill Simmons™ after ranting endlessly about the officiating in the Pats-Colts contest, also makes his picks on the games, they can be found in a little sidebar box. I made my picks before looking at his, but given his performance of late, I feel pretty good about picking exactly opposite every one of his picks.

On to my perfect picks for the week:

Cleveland(5-3) at Pittsburgh(6-2) Pittsburgh -10.0 BS Picks Cleveland
Cleveland have been pretty impressive this season. The Browns are for real, but the Steelers have been looking pretty good lately, and when they played in Cleveland opening week, the Steelers beat the Browns 34-7. I don't expect Cleveland to do any better on Heinz Field. Expect a Steelers victory, and expect a blowout.

Minnesota (3-5) at Green Bay (7-1) Green Bay -5.5 BS Picks Minnesota
Green Bay won't make the same mistake San Diego did last week. They'll do everything they can to stop Peterson, and dare the Vikings to win the game passing. This is a rematch, Green Bay won a close contest in Minnesota back in September, it won't be close this time. The Packers will roll, and continue piling up victories. If the Vikings do lose, their season is done, they'd have to go 6-1 the rest of the way to sneak into the playoffs, and that's not going to happen.

Dallas (7-1) at NY Giants (6-2) Dallas -1.5 BS Picks NY Giants
Dallas seems to be on track again after two bad weeks against Buffalo and New England. The Giants haven't faced a team with a winning record since week 3 when they had their furious 2nd half comeback against Washington. Manning has been awful, even though they've been winning. Their defensive line has been great, but Dallas has a very good Offensive line, and Romo should have enough time to exploit the Giants secondary. This is a rematch of the season opener, and both teams look better than they did back then, but I expect a similar result this time around. Dallas should be able to dispatch this Giants team without too much trouble.

Indianapolis (7-1) at San Diego (4-4) San Diego +3.5 BS Picks Indianapolis
After last week's crappy showing by the Chargers, I'm crazy to pick them to beat the 2nd best team in the NFL. But crazier things have happened, and the Chargers have been very good at home. The Colts will rebound from their tough loss against New England, but not in this game, they'll get upset by a Chargers team that will remember they still have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball themselves.

San Francisco (2-6) at Seattle (4-4) Seattle -9.5 BS Picks San Francisco
Neither of these teams are any good, and I'm concerned about giving up so many points, even against a poor 49ers team, but Seattle's at home, so they should be able to win by 2 TDs or more. If you watch this game Monday night, you seriously need to rethink your priorities, however. This ought to be thoroughly unwatchable.

RESULTS Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week NINE)

Week Nine was interesting. I think My Nemesis Bill Simmons™ has gone slightly off his rocker with his complaining over the officiating in the Pats-Colts contest. Yes, some questionable calls were made, yes almost all of them were against the Pats, but seriously, dude, dude, seriously, I mean, dude, seriously, VICTORY?!?, Really?!? Dude, seriously, dude, not a good movie, and as a point of reference for your entire rant just makes you sound kind of crazy.

As far as my picks go, I was an lousy 1-4 for the week, only getting it right on the GB-KC game, otherwise. BS went 1-4 also, he missed on GB-KC, but got it right on DAL-PHI, we both suck, but I'm not getting paid for my sports knowledge, so he sucks harder. We remain tied, now at a pretty awful 19-23-3, if you use my picks or BS's picks to try and make some money, you get what you deserve.

Now on to the recaps:

San Diego 17 Minnesota 35 I Picked SD -7.0, BS SD
D'oh! Adrian Peterson broke the single game rushing record, and was unstoppable. I thought San Diego had a defense, I guess I was wrong. They are a Jekyl and Hyde team, one week they look pretty awesome, on others they look terrible. Can they put together a good game and beat the Colts next week? The Vikings are a bit enigmatic, the have talent, and a great running back, but they have no passing game, so teams should be able to load up in the box and stop Peterson, yet San Diego managed to not do that last week, and given how week the NFC is, they are still a threat to get a wildcard, even at 3-5.

Green Bay 33 Kansas City 22 I Picked GB +2.0, BS KC
Woohoo! Green Bay is 7-1, yet they really don't seem like one of the better teams in the NFC. I'd still rank NYG, DAL, and even NO ahead of them. But they've been playing well enough to win, and Favre has been excellent, plus they have a really solid defense. KC is still in a good position to win the AFC West and earn themselves an early exit from the playoffs, like usual.

New England 24 Indianapolis 20 I Picked NE -5.5, BS NE
D'oh! This was the big one, the most anticipated regular season game in just about ever, and it was surprisingly sloppy. NE set a team record for penalty yardage, yet managed to win anyway. They didn't cover the spread, though, so even if they go 19-0, they aren't going 19-0 against the spread. Indy still appears to be the 2nd best team in football, but with this loss, it seems likely that their eventual rematch will be played outdoors in Foxboro, that's going to make repeating their AFC Championship triumph against the Pats much more difficult.

Dallas 38 Philadelphia 17 I Picked Phi +3.0, BS Dal
D'oh! Here I wrote about the revenge factor for TO in my pick post, yet I still went with Philly, should have known better. Dallas has a decent defense, and a potent offense, it will be fun to watch their big showdown with the NYGiants this week. The Eagles are done, their season is over, and McNabb probably won't be playing for them next year. Getting Westbrook back didn't make as big of a difference as a I expected, oh well.

Baltimore 7 Pittsburgh 38 I picked Bal +9.0, BS Bal
D'oh! The Ravens aren't very good, turns out, and the Steelers are nearly unbeatable in night games. Pittsburgh may be the best of the rest in the AFC, and if they put together a good game in the playoffs might upset either the Pats or the Colts, but only if they keep on playing well into late December.

07 November 2007

Screw The Writers!!!

That's right, I'm on the side of management in the current work outage (big surprise?).

First of all, residuals are dumb, and probably should be dumped all together. Get paid more up front, the studios assume a lot of risk in funding projects, they should reap the majority of the rewards.

Secondly, the idea of a union or guild for writers is antiquated and doesn't benefit writers to begin with. The guild functions to service the needs of the guild, not rank and file writers. Past work actions have resulted in concessions that benefitted the big earners more than the little guys, and to top it off, because they are unionized it artificially inhibits the entry of many talented people into the industry. If hiring and firing was free of union interference, writers could be judged on their individual talent, and not on the strength of a union contract. All writers should be independent contractors and negotiate the best individual deal they can, screw solidarity, this ain't a shipyard in Poland, this is the Westside, people.

Thirdly, this crap about the internet being this huge future cash cow for studios may be true, but so what? What's preventing writers and talent from getting together and putting up stuff on their own, free of the studios. Seems like that's the model that has propelled Funny or Die, and if they wanted to sell a DVD compilation of their best bits, or offer HD downloads of their better produced clips, the infrastructure is relatively cheap, and the bar for entry very low. If you really feel the studios are screwing you, then circumvent them completely, if you have the chops. Also, if you are making smaller character driven pieces, then a studio (and the various unions that represent "talent") is a hindrance rather than a help. At some point, folks will realize this. When it comes to the internet, there's no such thing as an economy of scale, if anything, scale=inertia which equals an inability to react nimbly, and in the terms of the internet, a lack of nimbleness=death.

Fourthly, I can buy stock in the big evil media corporations, but I can't buy stock directly in JJ Abrams, or Joss Whedon, or any of the writers going on strike. So as a consumer, my vested interest (or at least my potential interest) is more with the studios rather than the talent. This strike could be a huge boon for smart traders. Most likely, it will drag on between 10-20 weeks (the last major writers strike lasted 22 weeks), with the WGA folding like a cheap tent, and SAG and the Directors following suit in short order. The conglomerates are diversified and can survive this much better than individual union members. Nevertheless, their shares will get beaten down artificially, the longer this strike lasts. Companies like Disney and News Corp could see their stocks drop by as much as 10-15% just based on irrational speculation regarding an exaggerated sense of the effect of this strike (fueled by a media sympathetic to the strikers). Buy on the dip, and watch that stock rebound like crazy once the unions cave in to the studios demands. Smart traders will probably be able to get themselves a 20-25% return over a six month period if they time the dip and the bounce correctly. Plus even if they are buying to hold the stock, the artificial dip created by the negative press surrounding this strike will create a great bargain.

Fifthly, freakin' red shirts, stupid slogans, and chants, these assholes are living their hippie-dippy Woodie Guthrie-lite, Eugene V. Debs, populist fantasies all the while sipping on their Starbucks lattes. It's enough to make me puke, and I don't vomit easily.

05 November 2007

Three Things . . .

. . . to note about this incident as reported by Defamer.

First, the local TV news, and the local newsrag with its heavily declining readership, are decidedly pro-union and anti-producers, which is unsurprising, given that media is a heavily unionized industry in of itself (plus they hate their corporate paymasters, sort of like rebellious teenagers, sulking around spending their parent's money).

Second, don't mess with Element drivers, we don't take crap from nobody.

Third, it's funny because it's true:
I drove past that lot this morning and what's sad is there were only eight writers picketing at that gate at 9:30.
I assume the writers for Heroes are still in hiding.

(Heroes has been awful, yet I haven't given up on it yet, hope springs eternal...)

I hope the person hit wasn't seriously injured, and I hope the person doing the hitting didn't do it on purpose as one of the eyewitnesses is proclaiming loudly to anybody with a camera and a microphone. Picketers who block access to workplaces are assuming a risk, and should act accordingly, doesn't mean they have a right to be assaulted, but they also don't have the right to prevent people from exercising their right to ignore their work action.

03 November 2007

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week NINE)

Now it gets interesting. The season is nearly mid-way done, and there are two teams clearly better than all the others, a few other solid contenders, a bunch of teams in the middle, and a few stinkers. That's how it usually is, but the two elite teams don't normally face each other while both are still undefeated in week nine. I'll stick to the televised games this week, most of them look pretty watchable, anyway. And congratulations to My Nemesis Bill Simmons™, not only did his Red Sox win their 2nd World Series in the past 4 years, but he's a new daddy, that's a good week (plus the new look Celtics looked pretty impressive). There's no post for his week 9 picks, just a quick listing of them on the front page of his blog with this note as to why he's not posting:

FYI: I'm off until next Friday, when I'll return with the Week 10 picks column. In fact, I'm not supposed to be typing anything right now because Manny Beckett Brady Pierce Garnett Ellsbury Simmons arrived this week (he's healthy and happy, thanks for asking) and the Sports Gal explicitly warned me, "You're taking a few days off to help me. It's not negotiable, and if you write anything about the Pats-Colts game this week, I'm going to do what Bridget did to Brady and ban you from the hospital."

Enough about him though, here are my picks, I have no excuses for not posting about making picks like my Nemesis (other than wanting to get back to playing Guitar Hero III)

San Diego at Minnesota (San Diego -7.0) BS Picks San Diego
I'd give two TDs in this one. I doubt the Vikings will keep it close. Still don't know if San Diego is for real, more will be known if their current win streak means anything when they get to go up against Indianapolis next week. LT and Rivers seem to be rolling again, and their defense has played well, too.

Green Bay at Kansas City (Green Bay +2.0) BS Picks Kansas City
Kansas City has been winning lately, but so has Green Bay. You have a passing team that can't run, versus a running team that can't pass. Also, both teams have solid young defenses that throw a lot of good schemes at their opponent. I expect Green Bay to be better at making the in game adjustments, and at some point Huard will have to throw the ball, which doesn't bode well for the Chiefs.

New England at Indianapolis (New England -5.5) BS Picks New England
The Colts are undefeated, and the defending Superbowl champions, yet they are 5.5 point underdogs at home. Probably won't be that close. The Pats are scary. The Pats have a chip on their collective shoulder. The Pats will paste the home team and avenge their late game collapse in the AFC Championship game in January. Expect a rematch in New England this upcoming January. The '72 Dolphins will be rooting hard for Indy, this is the best shot anyone is going to have at preventing them from going 19-0 all season (barring injuries, of course).

Dallas at Philadelphia (Philadelphia +3.0) BS Picks Dallas
I'm probably going to regret this, but I just can't pick nothing but the betting favorites. With Westbrook back, the Eagles are a different team. Also with the turmoil in their coaches life at the moment, either the team will rally, or get really distracted. I'm guessing they'll go the inspired route, but I wouldn't be surprised if they get trounced, also. Dallas have been a touch shaky the past 3 games, but they only lost one of those games. Also, T.O. will want to play well in Philadelphia, if only to say a big "screw you" to the fans that will be booing and heckling him like crazy during the game.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh (Baltimore +9.0) BS Picks Baltimore
Turns out despite being 4-3 the Ravens are a really bad 1-6 against the spread. That's an impressively bad record against the spread, they've been beaten by a few bad teams, and struggled against others struggling to close victories. Pittsburgh has been up and down the past 4 games alternating wins and losses. Even if Baltimore loses, I think they'll keep it close, even though they barely have an offense this year. Probably a Monday Night game worth skipping.

The Pats-Colts game is getting the full hype treatment, deservedly so, but seeing how the other teams begin either solidifying their playoff chances, or sliding into a better draft pick should be interesting, too.

RESULTS Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week EIGHT)

Another week, another week of humiliation. This week it was 3-2 style humiliation, with My Nemesis Bill Simmons™ also going 3-2. After eight weeks of this stuff, we are both sitting at 18-19-3. Here's hoping next week will get me over .500.

Indianapolis 31 Carolina 7 (I picked Carolina +7.0)
D'oh! It's not their offense that's been impressive this year, rather their defense. The Colts defense is much better than last years. Whether or not that will be enough to get them back to the Superbowl remains to be seen (all signs are pointing to NO). Carolina had a bad game, but playing one of the two top teams in the NFL didn't help matters. Seems like the only team that gives Indy trouble consistently is Tennessee, otherwise they're solid. Carolina might cause some problems in the NFC playoffs, or they might drop to 6-10, there's a lot of games left.

Houston 10 San Diego 35 (I picked San Diego -9.0)
Woohoo! It wasn't as close as the score indicates (if that could be said for a 25 point victory). San Diego seems to have righted themselves, or they've just fattened up on three crappy teams. They travel to 2-5 Minnesota this week, but face a Sunday night showdown with Indianapolis the week after that. If they play well in that, they might be for real, even with Norv Turner calling the plays.

Jacksonville 24 Tampa Bay 23 (I picked Tampa Bay -3.5)
D'oh! You can't stop Quinn Gray, you can only hope to contain him. OK, maybe not, but he still got the job done (even if he overthrew his receivers on many plays), so while the Jaguars are waiting for Garrard to get better, their season might not fall apart. They have little hope of catching Indy, though, so all they can hope for is a wildcard berth. Tampa Bay are a hard team to figure out. They sit at 4-4, and are another team that could finish anywhere from 6-10 to 10-6. With New Orleans playing well again, they are in a muddled division with any of the three teams other than Atlanta capable of winning the NFC South.

Washington 7 New England 52 (I picked New England -16.0)
Woohoo! They're scary. The Pats aren't from this planet. Washington seemed like a decent team before this game, not so much, anymore. Tom Brady, 30TDs in 8 games. For the month of October 20 TDs and 1 INT. Couple that with a solid defense, and you have a team that has dominated their competition like no other in recent memory. If only they had a running game . . .

Green Bay 19 Denver 13 (I picked Green Bay +3.0)
Woohoo! Green Bay is probably pretty good. Denver on the other hand kind of sucks. Bad weekend for Colorado sports fans. The Packers didn't really get their offense together, but they managed to connect for two 75+ yard pass plays for their only TDs in the game (one in OT). Denver has a good enough defense to be in every game they play, but their lack of offense most likely means this is a year where they miss the playoffs.

So that was the week that was. I hear there's a pretty big game next week, I guess people can't wait to see how the 2-5 49ers handle heading to the 1-6 Falcons Georgia Dome, shame that won't be on TV here (oh, and there's that afternoon game between the Pats and Colts, I guess some people are looking forward to that one, too).

01 November 2007

It's On Like Donkey Kong . . .

. . . the Writer's Guild of America strike, that is.

Seems like a stupid thing to do, both sides are being greedy, but the entire local economy is going to feel it if this drags on.

The local coffeehouses are going to be unusually packed during the daylight hours next week, I bet . . .