29 September 2008

Comparative Musicology, Progress/Stasis?

(Hat tip Lexington Green at Chicago Boyz)

If you didn't know better, and couldn't easily find out, say it was a mysterious recording of unknown origin and vintage of a local band that never made waves beyond their burg, would you be able to name the decade?

I posit that both the look, and the sound, of this band and song wouldn't be totally out of place had it been recorded in 1978, or 1988, or 1998, or 2008.

Is that progress, or stasis?

I suppose to prove my point I could come up with a Blondie vid from circa 1978, a No Doubt vid from circa 1998, and a Sounds vid from circa 2008 . . .

Not saying all of these songs are the same, but they all come from the same neighborhood of Musiclandia. The Sounds could have been around in 1978, but instead of being ironically post-new-wave, they would have been sincerely pre-new-wave, Blondie could have been around in 1998, even with their bouncy disco beat, No Doubt could have released Spiderwebs in 1988 as there was still a ska thing going around here in SoCal back then (which they were a part of as youngsters), and The Primitives could have a hit with Crash today. There isn't a song in the bunch that couldn't be released at any other period covered by the other songs. Even the modes of dress for the lead singers and bandmates wouldn't be entirely out of place in each others' time frames. Strange, that.

28 September 2008

On Wimping Out . . .

If you read the fine print of my post regarding What to Do About Tonight . . . , I never actually 100% committed to doing what I set out to do. Wiggle room is a wonderful thing, and as an aspiring politician (remember, XWL in 2016!), I need to practice my wiggling.

I just don't care at this point. That debate was a big nothing. Nothing unexpected happened. Not that that is a bad thing, necessarily, but from the standpoint of spinning a series of posts out of it, it's a boring thing, and I strive not to be too boring here.

So, I reserve the right to do what I set out to do with this debate for any future debates, with the caveat that the debate itself needs to be un-boring, and any insights I might be able to inject into the discussion be un-obvious.

Friday's debate was predictable, and my reactions would probably be predictable, as well. So just assume I wrote exactly what you expected me to write, cause whatever you thought I thought about what happened on Friday is close enough to what I think about what happened on Friday for government work, horseshoes, and hand grenades (all things where close enough is good enough).

One thing I will not wimp out on, though, is BLOGTOBER, I'm going to be posting a ridiculous amount of material for the entire month, expect a review of an album from 2008 every weekday in October (think of it as a best of the year so far list), other musings on miscellaneous crap, as well as at least one Proposal per week, for no less than four new Proposals in the month of BLOGTOBER. There will be no wimping out where BLOGTOBER is concerned.

27 September 2008

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation, Week 04, The Picks

Week 04, already, 6 teams have byes, most of the match-ups suck, and once again the Oakland Raiders on local air, at least the Rams aren't.

Green Bay (2-1) at Tampa Bay (2-1), my pick Green Bay +1.5
I don't trust Tampa to win this one at home. Green Bay's main weakness is a banged up secondary, and I don't think Griese is the QB to take advantage of that, so if you have a team with a glaring weakness being opposed by a team without strength in that same area, advantage to the team that otherwise doesn't have any big deficiencies.

San Diego (1-2) at Oakland (1-2), my pick San Diego -7.5
San Diego's defense has been pathetic, but their offense is fearsome. Oakland is Oakland, and they've played well the pst two weeks, but they just aren't that good while the Chargers still look like a serious playoff threat. San Diego ought to be able to run up the score on a young Raiders squad in Al Davis v Lane Kiffin induced turmoil.

Washington (2-1) at Dallas (3-0), my pick Washington +10.5
Dallas has been rolling, and while Washington is 2-1, they haven't been that impressive looking getting there. So why pick the Skins? 10 points is too much to give up, I think the Cowboys will win, but they won't run wild over Washington. I think this will be a more defense oriented game than expected and the Skins will keep the score low, I expect a 23-17 like game, nothing fancy, a W for Dallas in the standings and a W for Washington against the spread, everybody's happy (except for fantasy football freaks who were expecting Romo, Barber and Owens to put up huge numbers).

Philadelphia (2-1) at Chicago (1-2), my pick Chicago +3.0
I still think Philadelphia is the 2nd best team in the NFL at the moment, but being good doesn't always win games. The Bears defense matches up well with the Eagles offense, and even though Da Bears are toothless on offense, a few scores on defense will make up the difference. Also, Matt Forte is going to run wild in his first Sunday Night appearance (notice how I parsed that, I know Chicago played in the opener, but I still don't like the idea of the season starting on Thursdays, also, how is it that Chicago has already been on NBC's Primetime NFL schedule twice?)

Baltimore (2-0) at Pittsburgh (2-1), Baltimore +5.0
Baltimore got an unexpected early bye week due to Ike. If they beat Pittsburgh they'll already be 3-0 in the AFC North. I think after the beating they took in Philadelphia that the Steelers (and more importantly, Roethlisberger) haven't fully recovered and are going to take another big time beating from the big time Baltimore defense. It won't be pretty to watch, but Baltimore's defense will be effective, and their offense will keep from making any mistakes, that ought to be enough to swing this game the Ravens' way.

Other than Oakland, I'm betting on every underdog this week. We'll see how that goes for me. Might be a good Sunday to do something other than watch football all day, none of the four games on local TV Sunday look all that exciting, three probably be will be close, but I don't expect them to be entertaining. If you watch, enjoy, and if you don't watch, enjoy the first Sunday of Autumn, and for The Chosen amongst you, on Monday have a Happy New Year 5769!

A Spam EMail Exhorting Me to View Grotesque Sexual Practices? Or, The Most Succinct and Trenchant Summary of the Current Economic Situation Written...

Subject line found in my inbox:

Gangbanking a donkey

If it had said

Gangbanking by donkeys and elephants

then I think that'd be a perfect summary for the current situation.

We as a nation are getting gangbanked right in the figurative asshole.

26 September 2008

A Debate Complaint . . .

Foreign Affairs isn't only war-fighting, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Russia, though you'd get that impression from this debate. Issues that should have been addressed, but weren't:

Would have been nice to get Obama and McCain on record as agreeing or disagreeing about illegal immigration.

Overbearing visa restrictions.
It's too easy for the wrong people to sneak in, and too hard for the right people to visit and move here legally. This has to stop and damages us abroad. Would have been nice for this to be brought up.

Afghanistan would be going better if we would buy up the opium crops (and use it for the production of medical opiods) and support the growers, rather than letting that revenue stream fund Al Qaeda and Taliban efforts.

Free Trade.
Colombia's President is wandering around NYC and DC trying to get firm support for a trade agreement, and the Democratic leadership in Congress is giving him a cold shoulder. That's no way to treat a staunch ally, but for the Dems are on a protectionist kick, and the media refuses to call them on it. Should have come up in this debate.

George W. Bush has been the best friend in the White House Sub-Saharan Africa has ever seen. It would have been nice to see what Obama or McCain intended to do to continue to build on the remarkable progress enabled by Bush's leadership on the issues of water, malaria, and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.

With the dollar down against the Euro, Europe should be ripe for a flood of cheap American goods supporting tons of US jobs across many industries. EU countries will fight this tooth and nail given that they're socialist, protectionist, and hypocrites by nature (free trade is well and good, as long as it's the USA that's wide open for European goods, not the other way around). I'd like to know how each candidate would fight to open up European markets.

The axis of socialist stupidity within the Americas should have been a topic for debate. Does McCain or Obama support full autonomy for Santa Cruz in Bolivia? What will either of these men do to help the opposition in Venezuela challenge Chavez's dictatorship? With Raul Castro's ever so slightly kinder, gentler, autocracy in Cuba, is it time to normalize relationships there, or should we maintain the status quo?

Competitor? Friend? Rival? Threat? Enigma?

Should we do more to embrace India? What's America's role with India, how should we expand our cooperation with the largest democracy in the world? Should we encourage competition between China and India?

Instead of an endless back and forth about whether or not Iraq was a mistake and whether or not Afghanistan is in trouble, there are many more global challenges facing the next President, and it would have been nice to see a debate that focused on future challenges rather than rehashing the same tired talking points of the past 6 years.

What to Do About Tonight . . .

I think for a liveblog to be relevant, you need major traffic like Althouse, so she can do the liveblog thing.

And to do live drunkblogging, you need to have major traffic, and be a major alcoholic (or at least play one on the internet), so I'll leave that up to Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom. Stephen Green at Vodkapundit. (UPDATE: can't explain why, but I always get those two mixed up, I'm pretty sure drunk blogging originated at Vodkapundit, though he's abandoned the gimmick it would seem)

So I'm going to do something different, and ambitious. I'm going to record one of the feeds of the debate, chop it up to each Q&A, and then break out my trusty Mind-Reader-Omatic 5000™.

So, over the course of this weekend, I'll be dribbling out posts covering the entire debate that not only have YouTubed clips of each Q&A, but useful and helpful annotations of:

A) What they should have said (in my opinion)
B) What they really meant by what they said
C) More importantly, what they were thinking when they said it, and what they would have said had they not been too busy vote-grubbing (using my trusty device, so you know this will be accurate, or at least as accurate as the 5000™ can be from 1800 miles away)

It's a big project, one I may wimp-out on, but we'll see how it goes for the first couple of questions, and if I like the results, I'll keep it up, if I don't, I'll pretend I never suggested doing this in the first place.

The Results, Week 03, Weekly NFL Related Humiliation

I didn't quite make it to 5-0 last weekend, will have to settle with a lousy 4-1 against the spread, instead (Oakland let me down by not being utterly horrible in Buffalo). The seasonal picks were a respectable 9-7 this week.

D'oh!! Oakland 23 Buffalo 24, my pick Buffalo -9.5
So, Buffalo (3-0) rallied and beat Oakland (1-2), but they didn't come close to covering the huge spread. They might be a decent team, have an easy schedule, and have the inside track on winning the AFC East, but they aren't ready to play like a heavy favorite and put away bad teams when they get the chance. It'll be interesting to see how they do against the spread with all the other lousy teams they play this season (having the AFC West and NFC West on their schedule this season is a huge advantage).

Woohoo!!! New Orleans 32 Denver 34, my pick New Orleans +5.5
Denver (3-0) is the worst 3-0 team in the league. It's not even close, another game they should have lost, but somehow won. New Orleans (1-2) is a solid offense tied to a lousy defense, and will struggle on the road this entire season (I think they'll win at home, though). They still might win their division, but it won't be easy for them. Denver's luck is going to run out, and they'll start losing these type of games. Fun game to watch, anyway, and Grammatica was a little punk for avoiding the press after missing the winning attempt at the end of the game.

Woohoo!!! Pittsburgh 6 Philadelphia 15, my pick Philadelphia -3.5
Philadelphia (2-1) might be the 2nd best team in the NFL right now (2nd only to Dallas). Great balance on both sides of the ball, they can beat you with the pass, the run, or with their defense (the Dallas game was an outlier, their defense is much better than it appeared against Dallas). I did not see them being so good this season, but they ought to go undefeated outside of their division, so even if they struggle against NFC East teams, they'd still finish 11-5 or 12-4. Pittsburgh (2-1) might be the best team in the AFC, but they can't score, with their defense, scoring won't matter much. They'll win a lot of games where the point total for both teams is under 25 points, just not last Sunday's.

Woohoo!!! Dallas 27 Green Bay 16,my pick Dallas -3.0
Dallas (3-0) continues to roll. If they have another solid regular season and stumble in the playoffs again, they'll earn Michael Wilbon's "September's Team" insult that he's been throwing their way. They look unbeatable right now, a great offense, tied with a good enough defense. Green Bay (2-1) didn't look terrible in getting beat, but they got beat, and beat convincingly. They're probably a decent team, but they probably shouldn't be planning on a return trip to the NFC Championship just yet.

Woohoo!!! NY Jets 29 San Diego 48, my pick San Diego -8.5
San Diego (1-2) didn't have to worry about last moment heroics this week. They crushed the Jets, and made Favre look like an old QB prone to making bad decisions. The Chargers' offense was rolling, and Sprouls is a fantastic weapon. There's still some questions on defense for this team, but they have the best offense in the AFC, and could easily be 3-0 right now. NY Jets (1-2) didn't look so good. Actually, they looked bad, very bad. Not much else to say about the Jets, I don't think they're a particularly relevant team this season with Buffalo most likely being the team to challenge New England for the AFC East title.

Week 4 is going to be a lousy week of football with terrible match-up after terrible match-up. Good week to enjoy early fall weather (unless you are in the rainsoaked Carolinas). After 3 weeks it's enough time to be able to gauge somewhat the relative strength of these teams. Here's my top 5 right now, (1) Dallas, (2) Philadelphia, (3) Tennessee, (4) San Diego, (5) Pittsburgh [I know the NY Giants are 3-0, but I refuse to believe they are any good, really]

Totals so far . . .

Seasonal 26-21

Weekly 10-5

Now, That's a Funny Line . . .

Jack Thompson is so disbarred, he can't even file briefs in his underwear drawer.

21 September 2008

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation, Week 03, The Picks

Time for some week 3 picks, 5-0 this week, for sure.

Oakland (1-1) at Buffalo (2-0) My pick, Buffalo -9.5
Really, the Raiders again?!? And it's the only early game, guess it's a conspiracy to get the folks of Los Angeles out and about in the morning, cause only the really hardcore couch potato football fans would seriously consider watching this garbage. Wonder how long its been since Buffalo's been an almost double digit favorite in a game? They'll cover, The Raiders are very bad, and Buffalo's probably not so bad.

New Orleans (1-1) at Denver (2-0) My pick New Orleans +5.5
This ought to be watchable, though the game over on CBS looks pretty good, too. The Saints are still a bit of a puzzle. Flashes of brilliance, but other times kind of crappy. Denver's got two Ws under their belt, and they're at home, but I think New Orleans will show up big on the road, and embarrass Denver.

Pittsburgh (2-0) at Philadelphia (1-1) My pick Philadelphia -3.5
I don't see Pittsburgh going into Philadelphia and beating their in state rivals with a less than 100% Roethlisberger. If it wasn't for that sore shoulder, I'd go with the road team, but the Eagles looked good while losing last week, and Pittsburgh looked so-so while winning, so I think Philly will win, and by more than a TD.

Dallas (2-0) at Green Bay (2-0) My pick Dallas -3.0
Green Bay has played well, and so has Dallas. I think the Cowboys just can do too much offense for Green Bay to keep up. Dallas ought to put up more than 35 points again this week. Green Bay will find their way into the endzone, too, just not as many times as Dallas.

NY Jets (1-1) at San Diego (0-2) My pick San Diego -8.5
The best way to put last two weeks behind them, is for the Chargers to run up a big score and make sure that any last minute heroics will defeat them three weeks in a row. If they continue to give the opposing QB all day to pick them apart, they could be in trouble, but not this week. Their going to score too easily on the Jet's defense for their own defensive problems to matter.

Other than CBS still thinking that the Raiders have fans in Los Angeles, looks like a good week to watch some football. Four out of the five games ought to be entertaining, if not competitive. I can see why they scheduled that game, though, their other choices were KC at ATL, HOU at TEN, CIN at NYG, and MIA at NE. The one game out of those that might be interesting (HOU at TEN), while being the most meaningful and competitive game available, neither team has a fanbase in Los Angeles, so they went with the west coast team.

20 September 2008

The Results, Week 02, Weekly NFL Related Humiliation

I'm still distracted by other things, but I've nearly reached the Galactic Core, I've no hope of defeating the Grox, though, need to build a bigger empire on their fringe and then attack with lots of planet busters (that's Spore, talk, by the way, I haven't gone nuts).

Probably a good thing I didn't type up a results post right away, might have written some things that would have been mighty unpleasant. On the plus side, I was a surprisingly solid 9-6 with my Seasonal picks in Week 02, I've changed all the effected schedules due to Hurricane Ike postponing Baltimore at Houston, but I kept all the picks for the shuffled around games the same. My weekly total was a less than good 2-3, two of those I got wrong included getting Kiffin'd (who knew the Raiders would show up and play for their kid-coach?) and getting Hochuli'd (I predict, 'getting Hochuli'd will enter the vernacular presently).

D'oh!!! Oakland 23 Kansas City 8, my pick Kansas City -3.5

The Raiders (1-1) might win a few this season, Kansas City (0-2) is really bad, really really bad. Good thing I slept till noon last Sunday. Didn't see it, don't think I missed anything.

Woohoo!! NY Giants 41 St. Louis 13, my pick -8.5

The Giants (2-0) are going to have to be really terrible the rest of the season to finish 3-13 like I predicted. I still say they look like a 6-10 team, beating a listless Redskins and an awful Rams (0-2) team don't make them favorites to repeat as Superbowl Champs, yet. The less said about the Rams the better, hopefully they won't darken the airwaves in Los Angeles again in 2008.

D'oh!!! San Diego 38 Denver 39, my pick San Diego Even

This game I watched. It was the talk of all the sports chat shows. Lost in all the crap about the call was that San Diego (0-2) blew it before they got screwed. Denver (2-0) are off to a good start, surprisingly, San Diego would be 2-0 if games lasted 59 minutes instead of 60 minutes.

Woohoo!! Pittsburgh 10 Cleveland 6, my pick Cleveland +6.0

If defense wins championships, then Pittsburgh (2-0) might be in the mix this year. They play awfully well without the ball, and do just enough with the ball to hold on to a lead. Cleveland (0-2) weren't given any favors by the schedule makers starting the season in Dallas and then hosting Pittsburgh in week 2. If they don't put a couple of Ws on the board the next two weeks against the Ravens and the Bengals, then their season is about done.

D'oh!!! Philadelphia 37 Dallas 41, my pick Dallas -7.0

Now that was a game. 30-24 at the half with both teams trading big plays on Offense. Dallas (2-0) looks like the best team in the NFC, and Philadephia (1-1) might be number 2. Dallas should have covered the spread, but their turnovers cost them points. Fun to watch though, anad that's what really counts, screw the picks.

There are a bunch of teams with playoff aspirations that have started 0-2 (Minnesota, Seattle, Cleveland, Jacksonville, San Diego), they better win this week, or else they've got trouble. The only really surprising 2-0 team is Buffalo, and given that they host the Raiders, and travel to St. Louis in the next two weeks, they ought to be able to get to 4-0. The season really doesn't get going until about week 6, though, by then trends start to emerge, right now it's hard to know which victories were bad teams beating worse teams and which losses were good teams getting beaten by better teams.

Totals so far . . .

Seasonal 17-14

Weekly 6-4

14 September 2008

Anathemetical Impressions

Finished it (Anathem, that is). Didn't take long, despite the length, just a few nights reading till almost dawn. Here are my non-spoiling, completely non-specific to any plot related stuff, impressions regarding this book.

It's a solid bit of work. Clearly, Stephenson was in a bit of a mood when he wrote it (but that's not entirely a bad thing). It's enjoyable if you yourself are a bit of a geek, if you aren't, I think it might not be your cup of tea.

There are many moments of pure theory, just two or more characters hashing out nature of the universe type stuff without seemingly a whole lot of plot movement (but in the case of this novel, all that nature of the universe type stuff is pretty intrinsic to the plot).

I wouldn't mind at all if he revisited this world in another work, either exploring events afterwards, or beforehand.

You'll recognize many of the characters (or at least their 'type') from his other stuff, he's comfortable writing about certain kinds of people, and he writes for them well, but that could be said about most authors, so that's not a criticism of Stephenson, just know that if you haven't enjoyed his work before, you aren't going to find this engaging, but if you've liked his other works, I'm confident you'll finish this book with a smile in your brain.

I'm Sorry That the Idiot Photographer We Hired Didn't Have Sense Enough to Keep Her Mouth Shut . . .

The Atlantic is shocked, SHOCKED, that the photographer they hired to shoot the cover for their McCain non-hit piece may not have played fair.

Jeffrey Goldberg plays it mostly straight with his article, though there are plenty of quotes in there that could be misconstrued and made to push the notion that McCain is trying to refight the Vietnam War in Iraq, but if you read the article without bias, I think an objective take on McCain that comes from the article is that McCain understands the costs of lying to the American public, of withdrawing prematurely from our commitments, and that with his opponent's vociferous demands for precipitous withdrawal from Iraq before the surge even happened, Obama demonstrated either naivete, lack of judgement, or outright didn't care if Iraq had turned into a massive defeat for the United States and its interests around the world.

The article changes tone towards the end and injects much more of Goldberg's interpretation of McCain, rather than letting McCain speak for himself with regards to his support of America's right to preclude the possibility that a nation-state sympathetic to terrorists groups would develop and transfer WMD to be used against us or our allies.

But, Goldberg showed Obama level naivete if he really expected The Atlantic to play it completely fairly when they got around the cover shoot.

(and as far as the McCain camp being 'duped' into their candidate being portrayed unflatteringly, this little issue is going to do wonders for McCain's poll numbers, so this was nothing but a gift for the GOP, thank you Jill Greenberg!)

(and really, Atlantic Magazine, how can you plead innocence in this case when the photographer you hired titles her studio's webpage MANIPULATOR.COM?)

12 September 2008

Matt Damon . . . , Matt Damon . . ., Matt Damon . . .,

And now the improved version . . .

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation, Week 02, The Picks

It's week two, we've gotten to see each team play against real competition, and a few teams have come out well, others look a lot worse than expected. Once again, picking the five games scheduled to be shown in the Los Angeles TV market, so that way I can watch as my humiliation unfolds. This week, it really sucks to be in the Los Angeles Market. CBS is showing nothing but AFC West teams, and the lone FOX game isn't much better. At least Monday night's game ought to be good.

Oakland at Kansas City (-3.5), my pick Kansas City -3.5
What vile nonsense is this? Can someone please explain to CBS that the Raiders are no longer in Los Angeles, and other than a few pockets of criminally insane folks (or just plain criminals), nobody wants to see the truly awful 2008 vintage Raiders stink up their TV screens. The Chiefs aren't much better, but they're at least a TD at home better than the Raiders at the moment, so this should be an easy victory for a lousy Chiefs team.

NY Giants at St. Louis (+8.5), my pick NYG -8.5
What vile nonsense is this? Can someone please explain to FOX that the Rams are no longer in Los Angeles, and other than, wait, I can't copy the rest of the above rant, cause I doubt there are any Rams fans left in Los Angeles, the Raiders still have a few fans, if only cause they like to play dress up and wear black, but the Rams are hopeless, and can't imagine anyone outside of St. Louis caring about them this season. I suppose this game is being televised cause it's got the defending Superbowl champs in it, but they still look like chumps to me this season, but they're not as big of a bunch of chumps as the Rams, so they should be able to cover, even against a big 8.5 point spread on the road.

San Diego at Denver (Even), my pick San Diego Even
Denver looked great on the road, and San Diego stumbled at home in their openers, but that was then, this is now. Denver gets a short week, with travel, while San Diego missed a bunch of scoring opportunities and should play better against a division rival. San Diego ought to be able to win this prett easily, Denver's defense is vulnerable, they just didn't look like it since Oakland failed to take advantage. Denver's offense also isn't very good if you can pressure Cutler, and even with Merriman out, San Diego's defense ought to be able to cause him trouble. Not a complete rout, but I don't expect this to be too close, either.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland (+6.0), my pick Cleveland +6.0
Cleveland are nearly a TD underdog at home against a Pittsburgh team that looked very good opening week. The smart play is to expect Cleveland to lose big again at home two weeks in a row, but luckily I'm not smart (when it comes to football picks). I have a feeling that Pittsburgh will have a bit of a letdown, Cleveland will pick things up, and bounce back from being manhandled by Dallas. Pittsburgh is a good team, but not as good as Dallas, and Cleveland isn't a bad team, so I expect them to make this a contest. Not sure that they'll win, but I don't see them losing by more than a field goal, so I'm going with the home team in Sunday night's contest.

Philadelphia at Dallas (-7.0), my pick Dallas -7.0
It'd be easy to go with the Eagles given the lopsided spread. The Eagles are too good of a team to be TD underdogs, even on the road. But Dallas looks really good, and even though Philly does, too, I think Dallas will be in control of this game, and this won't end up being a particularly close game. Dallas will have something to prove in this game and want to send a message, so I expect them to keep up the pressure on both sides of the ball. The Eagles have plenty of talent on offense and defense as well, but I think they'll still get overpowered by Dallas.

So, if I were in charge of NFL programming for CBS and FOX in the Los Angeles market, I'd have picked three different games. For CBS I'd have gone with Buffalo at Jacksonville in the early game, and New England at NY Jets for the late game. Those look more compelling than the AFC West matchups they're scheduling instead, and should be more competitive, plus the Brady-less Pats versus the Favre-ful Jets will be the dominate story line on ESPN Sunday night, so it'd have been nice to have that game televised instead of a ho-hum division game between SD and Denver. As far as Fox goes, New Orleans at Washington looks like a much more watchable pairing than NYG at St. Louis, but instead of seeing if the Saints can keep things going, or if the Skins can get their offense going after sucking against the NYG, we get to watch the Giants pound a very weak Rams team. I'd rather watch a competitive game instead of a slaughter, even if it's the Superbowl champs doing the slaughtering. I don't care what you did last year, I want to see the closest, best played games each week, not the games that happen to have a team that was good last year, or used to play in Los Angeles, or happen to play their home game in Southern California.

Unfortunately, CBS and Fox don't see things my way, so we get the matchups we get, and can either watch or not watch (I'll be in the not-watching category during the day Sunday).

The Results, Week 01, Weekly NFL Related Humiliation

Meant to do this post Tuesday, got distracted by other things. As far as my Seasonal Humiliation, I'll update it also during these weekly results posts. My Seasonal Humiliation has started out at a perfectly mediocre 8-8, while my Weekly Humiliation has started out at a surprisingly unhumiliating 4-1. I screwed up on the lines I used, cause ESPN's website has added a confusing new feature of fan-created lines, but in the cases of the games I picked, the results wouldn't have changed one way or the other. In the future, I'll use the proper betting lines, rather than ESPN's new dumb gimmick. I expect my seasonal totals to get more and more humiliating, given that A) didn't account for injuries such as Tom Brady's B) Detroit is really terrible C) NY Giants may not be terrible D) Oakland might be historically awful (as in 0-16 bad) E) Pittsburgh may go 14-2 rather than 9-7 F) I don't think I've ever taken one of these lettered lists all the way down to "F" before G) It's a loooooong season. On with the weekly results . . . (you'll just have to trust me on the seasonal results, or consult the original posts, it's up to you, I've got a spreadsheet to make it easy to keep track of, but it's in excel, and I'm not going to bother to convert it to a google doc and post it on the web, I'm lazy, though not so lazy that I didn't create an excel spreadsheet to keep track of an entire season's worth of football picks)

Woohoo!! NYJ 20 at Miami 14, my pick NJY -4
Got it right, barely. The Jets tried to lose this at the end, but managed to hold on for the six point victory. I'm not so sure The Jets are that good, but they've just been helped out quite a bit with New England suddenly becoming very mediocre. There's still no hope for Miami this season, but give it a year or two and they might have something in South Florida.

Woohoo!! Tampa Bay 20 New Orleans 24, my pick New Orleans -3.5
It was a close game, and both teams looked good on both sides of the ball. Reggie Bush's spectacular 42 yard TD reception proved to be the difference, though. If New Orleans has that Reggie Bush playing for them this season, then that 12-4 and NFC Championship appearance looks ver possible. Also, Tampa Bay looks like a solid playoff contender, even with the usual Gruden-esque QB confusion that seems to be going on again this season.

Woohoo!! Dallas 28 Cleveland 10, my pick Dallas -5.5
Dallas controlled this contest the entire way, dominating both sides of the ball. Given their offensive performance, 'only' scoring 4 touchdowns might be a little worrisome for Dallas. They had a few fruitless drives, so if their defense doesn't dominate, they might find themselves in a tight game where they shouldn't be. It's hard to figure out what this means for Cleveland. They just got schooled by a superior team, doesn't mean they'll be bad this season, just means they aren't in Dallas' league at the moment.

Woohoo!! Chicago 29 Indianapolis 13, my pick Chicago +8.0
I was right despite being wrong. I thought Indy would win this one, but it'd be close. Instead Chicago looked great, and Indy looked mediocre. It's Matt Forte's world, we're just living in it. I still say Devin Hester should QB this team, though. He should be more involved in their offense, but for this one week, Kyle Orton didn't look terrible. I think Indy is as mediocre as they looked this week, and will struggle to be barely above .500 for the season.

D'oh!!! Minnesota 19 Green Bay 24, my pick Minnesota Even
Can't win them all (well, you can, but it's rare, and didn't happen this week). Minnesota struggled all game offensively, then woke up in the 4th quarter, but by then it was too late. Both these teams looke pretty good against each other, which could mean that they're both pretty good, or both equally mediocre. How they do against other teams will determine whether or not these are both decent teams, or not.

So, that was the first week of the NFL. Of course, the big story was injuries to Tom Brady and Vince Young. The Brady story is a season ender, while the Vince Young had the added twist of the whole calling the police to check up on their QB angle cause they were worried about his mental state, angle. I don't know what to expect in week two, hopefully some of the games televised hereabouts will be worth watching, week one's games were mostly forgettable (even the close ones). Beats watching baseball, though, even if both Los Angeles area teams appear headed to the playoffs (Angels are the first team to clinch, and the Dodgers seem in control, but they could still blow it, and nobody's dreaming of a freeway series, yet)

Totals so far . . .

Seasonal 8-8
Weekly 4-1

Geee, I Wonder Where He Got This Idea From . . .

From today's post by My Nemesis Bill Simmons™
This probably won't work and I don't care: For the first time in 12 years of writing this Friday column (and probably the last), I'm writing my weekly picks in semi-coherent, pseudo-Ramblings form. Don't try this at home. Anyway …

(Do I ramble in my picks?)

(and just cause you decided to copy my picking style, doesn't mean I'm going to go and compare our results, again, you just haven't earned it given past performance)

A Huge Week to Week Decline in the GGP!

I'm no financial expert, but I suspect that this week so one of the largest week to week declines in GGP in a long time.

What's GGP? You ask.

Gross Geek Product.

It's a measure of the total economic and bloggeriffic output by our nation's more geekish citizenry.

Two things hit this week that would have brought this number way down.

First is Spore being released on Sunday. Spore is Will Wright's new "Sim-Evolution" game. It's a big time sink, mostly fun, and the more detail oriented a person you are, the bigger time sink it turns out to be. Given that every stage of the game is customizable to an astonishing degree, ignoring just actually playing the game, if one were so inclined, one could spend hours just trying out different paint jobs on their creatures, or different roofs on their houses in the civ stage, or even different tonal moods for their world's national anthem in the space stage.

This game is huge, and huge in the geek community, so if you run a business and all of the sudden half your IT department missed a day or two, it's not an illness striking your business, it's this damn game.

As if that weren't enough to screw up the GGP, add to that the Tuesday release of Neal Stephenson's Anathem. Think of it as 935 hardbound, relatively small typed pages of pure, uncut, heroin (I'm including the 'calca', since true geeks don't mind 'doing the math'). SO, for the few non-god-game playing geeks out there who weren't struck unproductive by Spore, are more than likely Neal Stephenson-reading geeks who are in the midst of reading Stephenson's densely wrought (in a good way) alternate world satire of modern society (that may seem like a strange thing to say about a novel that focuses on tech avoiding math obsessed monks, but the kernel buried in this book is based on a 'what-if' extrapolated from our world grafted onto a not so alien culture).

My personal GGP has been hit pretty hard, as I've been afflicted by both Spore-playing and Anathem-reading, so other than the usual NFL related humiliation don't expect much output here for about another week.

11 September 2008

Happy Birthday, Ludacris, Maria Bartiromo, Brian DePalma and Harry Connick, Jr. . . .

I suppose it must have been strange to have a December 7th birthday through most of the 40s and 50s. My grandmother's birthday is today (she's been buried awhile, so she missed 2001), my friend's mother's birthday is today, and they aren't the only ones (see this post's title for a few living famous folks' birthdays).

My friend said to me that when folks saw his mother's ID and noticed the birthdate, they would pause, and sort of just say, 'ohhh'. That probably happens less now, seven years on.

Seven years, Al Qaeda is in shambles, if Osama Bin Laden is still alive (unlikely at this point), he hasn't enjoyed an easy night's sleep since that date (not due to anything like remorse, but fear of capture or death from cruise missle, and like most 'leaders' of his ilk, I'm sure he prefers that other people do the glorious martyr thing for him).

Sunni Islam, in general, is more moderate than it was in 2001 (though, ironically, more radical in Europe), and despite still being able to run around in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan, the Taliban is never again going to ruin an entire country (just a few villages and provinces).

There are those here who would like to forget, and chalk up seven years without a spectacular attack in the United States to dumb luck, or that Al Qaeda was never any real threat. I think at some point in history, the Bush administration will be given some credit for what they accomplished, but not anytime soon.

Instead, you'll have stuff like this at Wonkette (both the post, and the comments).

But rather than dwell on that, I'd prefer to reflect upon what Donald Rumsfeld said at the dedication of the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial

08 September 2008

I'm Still Waiting . . .

In my inbox today . . .

The following items have been shipped to you by Amazon.com:

Amazon.com items (Sold by Amazon.com, LLC):
1 Anathem $19.55 1 $19.55 Shipped via UPS

Sept 10th will be coming soon (but not soon enough), don't bother me, I'll be reading . . .

07 September 2008

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation, Week 01, The Picks

Another NFL season descends. Another chance to humiliate myself with bad prognostications. I'm not bothering with the Bill Simmons comparisons, this week, let's see how badly he does in the first week before making a decision if it's worth my time.

I skipped Thursday, because football seasons aren't supposed to start on Thursdays, plus I'm limiting myself to five games a week to pick against the spread, so I'm concentrating on the four games being televised in Los Angeles on Sunday, and one of the Monday Night games.

New York Jets (4-12 in 2007) at Miami +4.0 (1-15 in 2007), My pick NYJ -4.0
Two teams that combined for 5 wins in 2007, and this is the best AFC match-up that CBS could muster? Oh, right, that fella who was in that Mary movie Bret something will be in this, and that guy who sells tuna fish when not coaching is now coachinggeneral managing again. The Bret somethings will beat the Mahi Mahis, but not cause of that Bret feller, he'll mostly suck, but the Jets defense will play well, and Chad Pennington will be Chad Pennington (and CBS, this is really going to be a better game to watch than JAX at TEN?)

Tampa Bay (9-7 in 2007) at New Orleans -3.5 (7-9 in 2007), My pick NO -3.5
I think everything should come together for the Saints this year, after slipping back into mediocrity in 2007 after a breakout year in 2006. Tampa Bay will be consistently good, but this week, they won't be good enough to contain the offensive firepower of the Saints, and the Saints defense will do enough to keep this from getting too close.

Dallas (13-3 in 2007) at Cleveland +5.5 (10-6 in 2007), My pick DAL -5.5
Dallas are pretty big favorites on the road against a solid Cleveland squad. After a few off season tweaks here and there, I don't know that Dallas will be at full strength in this opening game, but I think they can still manage to beat the Browns in Cleveland by at least a TD. Might end up being a yawner, or the Browns could keep it close for 3 quarters before fading in the 4th. Beats watching tennis (or it would if the tennis wasn't being postponed, oops, double checked, looks like there will be some tennis on with the completion of the Nadal-Murry semi and given that Murray has one the first two sets, it might be interesting to see if he can complete the upset, the score stands at Nadal 3, Murray 2 in the 3rd set, but then again, nahhh, men's tennis became pretty boring once they switched away from wooden rackets, no rallys, just big serves and big returns of serve, except in rare cases like that Wimbledon final between Nadal and Federer a few months ago, when did this become Tennis Chat?).

Chicago (7-9 in 2007) at Indianapolis -8.0 (13-3 in 2007), My pick Chicago +8.0
I still think Indy will win this game, but I don't think it will be by more than a TD. The Colts offense is very effecient, but the Bears defense is nearly equal in their capacity for being disruptive. I think this game is more evenly matched than it appears at first glance. Should be low scoring, but Indy will gut out a close win, which means I'm picking Chicago against the spread.

Minnesota (8-8 in 2007) at Green Bay Even (13-3 in 2007), My pick Minnesota Even
I'm a bit surprised this is a pick 'em game. Had Favre come back, I suspect that the home team would be at least a field goal favorite. I think the turmoil of the off season will catch up with The Packers in this game, and Minnesota ought to be able to sneak off the hostile field with a victory. Or the opposite could happen, and the team will rally around the new guy, and trounce the invading horde of Vikings. But, I'm thinking the former is more likely than the latter, so I'm sticking with going with the Vikes. I do think Green Bay will be shaky to start the season, and become a bit more consistent later.

06 September 2008

Season Preview, An Entire Season's Worth of NFL Related Humiliation, OVERVIEW

Here are the links to all eight parts of my picks of all 256 games for the entire season (compiled before the first game on Thursday Sept 4th, any edits have been for errors I missed on first post, no picks have been changed, or will be changed, you'll just have to take my word on it, though). I'll post weekly updates each Tuesday, and I'll also be doing the usual Humiliating NFL Pick posts of 4 Los Angeles market televised games each week (unless I get bored with it towards the tenth week like I do every season).

Part 1, NFC East
Part 2, NFC West
Part 3, NFC North
Part 4, NFC South
Part 5, AFC East
Part 6, AFC West
Part 7, AFC North
Part 8, AFC South

As far as the playoffs go here are your NFC division winners, Dallas, Arizona, Green Bay, and New Orleans with Washington and Tampa Bay snagging the two wildcard spots. In the AFC I have New England, San Diego, Pittsburgh, and Jacksonville winning their divisions with the NY Jets and Houston Texans as surprise wildcard teams. I have the NFC Championship game being New Orleans at Dallas with Dallas winning, the AFC Champsionship game being Jacksonville at New England with Jacksonville managing to upset New England in the miserable cold of Gillette Stadium in late January, with a season ending Jacksonville triumph in Tampa Bay at Superbowl XLIII.

For the most part I'm within 2 games plus or minus compared to the opening betting lines for season win totals (just scroll down, it's on that page towards the middle), with a few notable exceptions. NY Giants I expect to be terrible (though they managed to beat Washington, despite only one TD, and Eli Manning's propensity to overthrow his receivers, the line on them is 9, and I gave them 3 wins for the season (which I guess should be revised to 4 now that I screwed up on the Thursday night kick-off game, nothing in that game suggests to me that they won't be terrible, just Washington started out even worse, and I still think Washington will turn things around they just had rookie coach jitters the first week). The team that I deviate most on the high side are the NY Jets, whose betting line opened at 7, but I have them tabbed for 11 victories. The other team I'm much more strongly skeptical of compared to the line is Denver, who opened at 8 victories, but I expect them to win only 3 games. My second biggest 'upset' favorite would be New Orleans, whose line is at 8.5, but I see winning 12 games, and challenging Dallas for the home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

The AFC South will be the best division overall, and both the NFC and AFC West divisions will be craptastic, or maybe even craptacular, or possibly even crapulescent, though as I think about it some more, I'd have to go with a Don Kingian Craputilacious as the one word that encapsulates the crappiness of those eight teams collectively. However you slice it, and whatever word you use to describe those divisions, the word you use should begin with 'crap'.

That's the entire season as I see it. I'd be happy with better than 200 games picked correctly, I'd also be very surprised, but one can hope. And if you feel like betting heavily on my predictions, feel free, just know that I wouldn't put a dime on any of these picks (except maybe under 9 victories for the NY Giants, that's a lock as far as I'm concerned).

03 September 2008

If I Were Tina Fey's Business Manager . . .

Ever since Gov. Palin was announced as Sen. McCain's pick, speculation turned to whether or not Tina Fey would play her on SNL.

She's not on staff anymore, but given the resemblance, she'd be a natural for the part, and poking around the interwebs, it seems expected, and if there isn't a Fey as Palin sketch in their first week back, I think folks will feel cheated.

What does that smell like? Smells like leverage, and lots of it. Lorne Michaels is a cheap bastard, but he's a smart cheap bastard, and he knows that for the duration of the election season he'll need Tina Fey to come in and deliver a sketch a week as Palin.

Don't know if they've ever solved their Barack problem, their first attempts were terrible, and I have no idea how they'll handle McCain, he presents them with some problems as well.

I'd say it's worth watching to see what happens, but we are talking about Saturday Night Live, and 'worth watching' and SNL really don't go together that often. Plus, they won't play fair with the politics, so whatever they come up with for Fey as Palin will be so absurdly offensive that the backlash from the first attempt might prevent any future appearances.

They could get away with offensive absurdity when they were a hip young show back in 1976, but now they are a venerable institution, a cash cow for NBC/Universal, and habitually play things safely, so I don't expect much from them.

But in the mean time, if Fey's business manager is at all competent, Fey will hold out for an unseemly pile of loot before coming back to the show temporarily. Afterall, she's a working mom with a wee one at home, so if she's going to give up a few rehearsals and Saturday evenings while also shooting 30 Rock, she's going to need serious compensation.

Season Preview, An Entire Season's Worth of NFL Related Humiliation, Part 8 --- AFC South

I saved the best for last. Every team in the divison will be at least .500, but only two are going to make the playoffs, and neither of those playoff teams will be the Colts. Jacksonville should put together a fine season and even challenge New England for the best record in the AFC, and when they meet in the AFC Championship game, anything can happen.

HOU O/U 7.5 wins, my total 10 UPDATE Week 2 PPd until Week 10, Week 10 Game against CIN Moved to Week 8
This is their break through year. They're making the playoffs for the first time, and they'll be one of the most solid teams on both side of the ball. (I know, crazy talk, but usually there's one or two team that makes a big leap from one year to the next, and they weren't half bad last year)

01 @PIT L (0-1)
02 BAL W (1-1) PPd until Week 10, BYE
03 @TEN L (0-2)
04 @JAX L (0-3)
05 IND W (1-3)
06 MIA L (1-4)
07 DET W (2-4)
08 BYE CIN W (3-4) Moved from Week 10
09 @MIN W (4-4)
10 CIN W (5-4) BAL W (5-4) Moved from Week 02
11 @IND L (5-5)
12 @CLE W (6-5)
13 JAX W (7-5)
14 @GB L (7-6)
15 TEN W (8-6)
16 @OAK W (9-6)
17 CHI W (10-6)

IND O/U 11.5 wins, my total 9
They're going to miss the playoffs for the first time in forever. Somethings got to give, and they seem poised to be hit by injuries. They'll still be competitive, and they'll still win more than they'll lose, but they'll be sitting at home when the real fun starts.

01 CHI W (1-0)
02 @MIN L (1-1)
03 JAX L (1-2)
04 BYE
05 @HOU L (1-3)
06 BAL W (2-3)
07 @GB L (2-4)
08 @TEN W (3-4)
09 NE W (4-4)
10 @PIT L (4-5)
11 HOU W (5-5)
12 @SD L (5-6)
13 @CLE W (6-6)
14 CIN L (6-7)
15 IND W (7-7)
16 @JAX W (8-7)
17 TEN W (9-7)

JAX O/U 10.5 wins, my total 12
This is their year to be one of the best teams in the league. I expect them to be the last undefeated in the league, making it through week ten with a 9-0 record. After that they'll be a little shaky, but then they should turn things around in the playoffs and upset New England in the championship game, make it to the Superbowl against Dallas, and then put an ass whopping on the 'Boys and become Superbowl XLIII champions in nearby Tampa (no luck on an all Florida bowl, though).

01 @TEN W (1-0)
02 BUF W (2-0)
03 @IND W (3-0)
04 HOU W (4-0)
05 PIT w (5-0)
06 @DEN W (6-0)
07 BYE
08 CLE W (7-0)
09 @CIN W (8-0)
10 @DET W (9-0)
11 TEN L (9-1)
12 MIN W (10-1)
13 @HOU L (10-2)
14 @CHI L (10-3)
15 GB W (11-3)
16 IND L (11-4)
17 @BAL W (12-4)

TEN O/U 8.5 wins, my total 8
They're almost good, but not really. Vince Young could almost be a great QB in the NFL, but not really. They're just kind of there. I expect them to start out strong, then fall apart.

01 JAX L (0-1)
02 @CIN W (1-1)
03 HOU W (2-1)
04 MIN W (3-1)
05 @BAL W (4-1)
06 BYE
07 @KC W (5-1)
08 IND L (5-2)
09 GB W (6-2)
10 @CHI L (6-3)
11 @JAX W (7-3)
12 NYJ L (7-4)
13 @DET L (7-5)
14 CLE W (8-5)
15 @HOU L (8-6)
16 PIT L (8-7)
17 @IND L (8-8)

Season Preview, An Entire Season's Worth of NFL Related Humiliation, Part 7 --- AFC North

The 'Black and Blue' division will be a little less black and blue and a bit more finesse in 2008. All the teams are going to under perform, but Pittsburgh should sneak off with the division crown by beating Cleveland in the last week of the season (it's a repeat of what's going to happen in the NFC North between Detroit and Green Bay, and Pittsburgh's field will be just as big of a mess as Green Bay's)

BAL O/U 7 wins, my total 4 UPDATE Week 2 PPd
They've lost their crappy QB for the season, and he'll be replaced by his even crappier back up. Despite their defense, this is a lost season for the Ravens.

01 CIN L (0-1)
02 @HOU L (0-1) PPd until Week 10
03 @CLE W (1-1)
04 PIT W (2-1)
05 TEN L (2-2)
06 @IND L (2-3)
07 @MIA L (2-4)
08 OAK W (3-4)
09 @CLE L (3-5)
10 BYE Make up Game, @HOU L (3-6)
11 @NYG L (3-7)
12 PHI L (3-8)
13 @CIN W (4-8)
14 WAS L (4-9)
15 PIT L (4-10)
16 @DAL L (4-11)
17 JAX L (4-12)

CIN O/U 7.5 wins, my total 6 UPDATE Schedule Change Due to Hurricane Ike
They just aren't a very good team, but they'll lose (and win from time to time) in exciting ways. There defense still sucks, so they'll win when they can light up the scoreboard, but there's no chance to be consistent in this league playing that way.

01 @BAL W (1-0)
02 TEN L (1-1)
03 @NYG W (2-1)
04 CLE W (3-1)
05 @DAL L (3-2)
06 @NYJ L (3-3)
07 PIT L (3-4)
08 BYE @HOU L (3-5) Moved from Week 10
09 JAX L (3-6)
10 @HOU L (3-6) Rescheduled for Week 08, BYE
11 PHI W (4-6)
12 @PIT L (4-7)
13 BAL L (4-8)
14 @IND W (5-8)
15 WAS L (5-9)
16 @CLE L (5-10)
17 KC W (6-10)

CLE O/U 8.5 wins, my total 7
They looked like an up and coming team last year, and just barely missed the playoffs, but I think they'll slip a bit this season (even though they'll still have a chance to win the division in the last game). They'll be good at times, horrible at others.

01 DAL L (0-1)
02 PIT W (1-1)
03 @BAL L (1-2)
04 @CIN L (1-3)
05 BYE
06 NYG W (2-3)
07 @WAS W (3-3)
08 @JAX L (3-4)
09 BAL W (4-4)
10 DEN W (5-4)
11 @BUF W (6-4)
12 HOU L (6-5)
13 IND L (6-6)
14 @TEN L (6-7)
15 @PHI L (6-8)
16 CIN W (7-8)
17 @PIT L (7-9)

PIT O/U 9.5 wins, my total 9
It's an up and down year for them, but they're still the best team in this division, and they should be able to squeak by and sneak into the playoffs. Once there, they'll get beat like a drum, but at least they'll make it to the post season.

01 HOU W (1-0)
02 @CLE L (1-1)
03 @PHI W (2-1)
04 BAL L (2-2)
05 @JAX L (2-3)
06 BYE
07 @CIN L (2-4)
08 NYG W (3-4)
09 @WAS L (3-5)
10 IND W (4-5)
11 SD W (5-5)
12 CIN W (6-5)
13 @NE L (6-6)
14 DAL L (6-7)
15 @BAL W (7-7)
16 @TEN W (8-7)
17 CLE W (9-7)

Season Preview, An Entire Season's Worth of NFL Related Humiliation, Part 6 --- AFC East

I believe the operative word to describe this division (with the exception of San Diego) is woeful.

DEN O/U 8 wins, my total 3
I just have a hunch they are going to be terrible team this year and the players are going to quit on their coach. Shanahan has been their too long, and they really don't have the talent to compete. It won't be pretty.

01 @OAK L (0-1)
02 SD L (0-2)
03 NO L (0-3)
04 @KC L (0-4)
05 TB W (1-4)
06 JAX L (1-5)
07 @NE L (1-6)
08 BYE
09 MIA W (2-6)
10 @CLE L (2-7)
11 @ATL L (2-8)
12 OAK W (3-8)
13 @NYJ L (3-9)
14 KC L (3-10)
15 @CAR L (3-11)
16 BUF L (3-12)
17 @SD L (3-13)

KC O/U 5.5 wins, my total 4
They are in full scale rebuilding mode, with mostly youngsters in a bunch of key positions. They'll be competitive in some games, but mostly they'll just suck.

01 @NE L (0-1)
02 OAK L (0-2)
03 @ATL L (0-3)
04 DEN W (1-3)
05 @CAR L (1-4)
06 BYE
07 TEN L (1-5)
08 @NYJ L (1-6)
09 TB L (1-7)
10 @SD L (1-8)
11 NO L (1-9)
12 BUF L (1-10)
13 @OAK W (2-10)
14 @DEN W (3-10)
15 SD L (3-11)
16 MIA W (4-11)
17 @CIN L (4-12)

OAK O/U 6 wins, my total 5
On the positive side, 2nd place in the division, on the negative side, it will only take five wins to get there. The least crappy of the crappier teams in this division. Russell ought to come along a bit, and their defense will continue to grow, but that won't equate to many victories. They will surprise a few playoff teams, though, so that's something.

01 DEN W (1-0)
02 @KC W (2-0)
03 @BUF L (2-1)
04 SD L (2-2)
05 BYE
06 @NO W (3-2)
07 NYJ W (4-2)
08 @BAL L (4-3)
09 ATL L (4-4)
10 CAR L (4-5)
11 @MIA L (4-6)
12 @DEN L (4-7)
13 KC L (4-8)
14 @SD W (5-8)
15 NE L (5-9)
16 HOU L (5-10)
17 @TB L (5-11)

SD O/U 11 wins, my total 11
Division champs, but not as good as last year's team, and a lot will depend on the health of their key backfield players. They're going to win plenty of games, but they'll also be inconsistent, and aren't going to do well in the post season. Norv Turner is still Norv Turner, afterall, last year was an abberation.

01 CAR W (1-0)
02 @DEN W (2-0)
03 NYJ L (2-1)
04 @OAK W (3-1)
05 @MIA W (4-1)
06 NE W (5-1)
07 @BUF L (5-2)
08 @NO W (6-2)
09 BYE
10 KC W (7-2)
11 @PIT L (7-3)
12 IND W (8-3)
13 ATL W (9-3)
14 OAK L (9-4)
15 @KC W (10-4)
16 @TB L (10-5)
17 DEN W (11-5)

Season Preview, An Entire Season's Worth of NFL Related Humiliation, Part 5 --- AFC East

This is going to be a tough division. New England should still stay on top, but the Jets will be improved, the Bills will play tough, and even Miami is going to be somewhat respectable this year with Parcells at the helm. This division should send both New England and the Jets to the playoffs this year.

BUF O/U 7.5 wins, my total 8
They are a solid team, that plays well, but they'll struggle on the road and find ways to lose to teams they should be able to beat (and beat a few of the better teams along the way, too). They get to play a game 'home' game in Toronto, these regular season games in foreign lands are kind of silly if you ask me.
01 SEA W (0-1)
02 @JAX L (1-1)
03 OAK W (2-1)
04 @STL L (2-2)
05 @ARI L (2-3)
06 BYE
07 SD W (3-3)
08 @MIA L (3-4)
09 NYJ L (3-5)
10 @NE L (3-6)
11 CLE L (3-7)
12 @KC W (4-7)
13 SF W (5-7)
14 MIA W (6-7)
15 @NYJ W (7-7)
16 @DEN W (8-7)
17 NE L (8-8)

MIA O/U 5 wins, my total 6
They'll be much improved compared to last year's disaster, but they'll start slowly. By week 11 they'll claw their way back to .500, but then fall back down to earth after that. Parcells is building something here, but they aren't there yet, so improved, but not even a sniff of the playoffs for Miami.
01 NYJ L (0-1)
02 @ARI L (0-2)
03 @NE L (0-3)
04 BYE
05 SD L (0-4)
06 @HOU W (1-4)
07 BAL W (2-4)
08 BUF W (3-4)
09 @DEN L (3-5)
10 SEA W (4-5)
11 OAK W (5-5)
12 NE L (5-6)
13 @STL L (5-7)
14 @BUF L (5-8)
15 SF L (5-9)
16 @KC L (5-10)
17 @NYJ W (6-10)

NE O/U 12.5 wins, my total 13
Ho hum, best team in the Conference, again. They should start out winning their first four, extending their regular season win streak to a gazillion, but they'll get stopped by the Chargers in San Diego. It will come as a relief in some ways to not have a streak to worry about, they'll settle down and go about winning their division, getting home field, and marching through the playoffs (all assuming Brady's foot isn't too bad).
01 KC W (1-0)
02 @NYJ W (2-0)
03 MIA W (3-0)
04 BYE
05 @SF W (4-0)
06 @SD L (4-1)
07 DEN W (5-1)
08 STL W (6-1)
09 @IND L (6-2)
10 BUF W (7-2)
11 NYJ L (7-3)
12 @MIA W (8-3)
13 PIT W (9-3)
14 @SEA W (10-3)
15 @OAK W (11-3)
16 ARI W (12-3)
17 @BUF W (13-3)

NYJ O/U 7 wins, my total 11
This isn't Favre worship, honest. He's not the difference maker here, it's an improved defense, and better execution on offense (even with an old new QB) that will lead to a playoff year for these Jets. They'll even have a division lead over New England late in the season, before coming back down a bit with a season ending skid.
01 @MIA W (1-0)
02 NE L (1-1)
03 @SD W (2-1)
04 ARI W (3-1)
05 BYE
06 CIN W (4-1)
07 @OAK L (4-2)
08 KC W (5-2)
09 @BUF W (6-2)
10 STL W (7-2)
11 @NE W (8-2)
12 @TEN W (9-2)
13 DEN W (10-2)
14 @SF W (11-2)
15 BUF L (11-3)
16 @SEA L (11-4)
17 MIA L (11-5)

Season Preview, An Entire Season's Worth of NFL Related Humiliation, Part 4 --- NFC South

Other than Atlanta, every team in this division is going to be tough to beat and be in the hunt for the playoffs. I think New Orleans should barely edge out Tampa for the division title, but Tampa should sneak into the playoffs and knock out Philly as the other wildcard with Washington.

Atlanta O/U 5 wins, my total 4
They'll suck as expected, but they'll also play well in spurts, just won't translate into a lot of victories. They're a few years off from being good again.

01 DET L (0-1)
02 @TB L (0-2)
03 KC W (1-2)
04 @CAR L (1-3)
05 @GB L (1-4)
06 CHI L (1-5)
07 BYE
08 @PHI L (1-6)
09 @OAK W (2-6)
10 NO L (2-7)
11 DEN W (3-7)
12 CAR W (4-7)
13 @SD L (4-8)
14 @NO L (4-9)
15 TB L (4-10)
16 @MIN L (4-11)
17 STL L (4-12)

Carolina O/U 8 wins, my total 8
I expect them to be up and down all season, beating some good teams, losing to some crappy teams, and end up with an unsatisfying 8-8 record when it's all over with.

01 @SD L (0-1)
02 CHI W (1-1)
03 @MIN L (1-2)
04 ATL W (2-2)
05 KC W (3-2)
06 @TB L (3-3)
07 NO W (4-3)
08 ARI W (5-3)
09 BYE
10 @OAK L (5-4)
11 DET W (6-4)
12 @ATL L (6-5)
13 @GB L (6-6)
14 TB L (6-7)
15 DEN W (7-7)
16 @NYG W (8-7)
17 @NO L (8-8)

New Orleans O/U 8.5 wins, my total 12
They're going to start of smoking hot this season, running off 5 straight wins, followed by a 3 game losing streak, but then they'll settle into a groove after they get back from London (yes, they play in London against San Diego, and it's designated as a 'home' game) they'll run off a nice 7 of 8 wins and snag the 2 seed in the playoffs (and get beat by Dallas in the NFC Championship game)

01 TB W (1-0)
02 @WAS W (2-0)
03 @DEN W (3-0)
04 SF W (4-0)
05 MIN W (5-0)
06 OAK L (5-1)
07 @CAR L (5-2)
08 SD L (5-3)
09 BYE
10 @ATL W (6-3)
11 @KC W (7-3)
12 GB W (8-3)
13 @TB W (9-3)
14 ATL W (10-3)
15 @CHI L (10-4)
16 @DET W (11-4)
17 CAR W (12-4)

Tampa Bay O/U 8.5 wins, my total 11
I expect them to be playoff bound again. They'll start out a bit slow, but then finish strong, just missing catching New Orleans after losing to them late in the season. They'll probably make it out of the wildcard round, but they aren't going to beat Dallas or New Orleans in the 2nd week of the playoffs.

01 @NO L (0-1)
02 ATL W (1-1)
03 @CHI L (1-2)
04 GB W (2-2)
05 @DEN L (2-3)
06 CAR W (3-3)
07 SEA W (4-3)
08 @DAL L (4-4)
09 @KC W (5-4)
10 BYE
11 MIN W (6-4)
12 @DET W (7-4)
13 NO L (7-5)
14 @CAR W (8-5)
15 @ATL W (9-5)
16 SD W (10-5)
17 OAK W (11-5)

Season Preview, An Entire Season's Worth of NFL Related Humiliation, Part 3 --- NFC North

This will be the "parity" division in 2008. Three teams at 7-9, and one at 9-7. The division championship will come down to the Detroit at Green Bay match up in week 17. Otherwise, it's a perfectly middle of the road division with no teams to get excited about.

Chicago O/U 8 wins, my total 7
I see them having an up and down year, dropping to 2-6 by week 9, but picking things up after that and winning the next 5 of 6 games. Won't be enough to make them playoff bound, though.

01 @IND L (0-1)
02 @CAR L (0-2)
03 TB W (1-2)
04 PHI L (1-3)
05 @DET L (1-4)
06 @ATL L (1-5)
07 MIN W (2-5)
08 BYE
09 DET L (2-6)
10 TEN W (3-6)
11 @GB L (3-7)
12 @STL W (4-7)
13 @MIN W (5-7)
14 JAX W (6-7)
15 NO W (7-7)
16 GB L (7-8)
17 @HOU L (7-9)

Detroit O/U 6.5 wins, my total 7
Another streaky team, I see them being a decent team, but they'll eventually under acheive. Lions fans will have another non playoff year to not cheer for.

01 @ATL W (1-0)
02 GB L (1-1)
03 @SF W (2-1)
04 BYE
05 CHI W (3-1)
06 @MIN L (3-2)
07 @HOU L (3-3)
08 WAS W (4-3)
09 @CHI W (5-3)
10 JAX L (5-4)
11 @CAR L (5-5)
12 TB L (5-6)
13 TEN W (6-6)
14 MIN W (7-6)
15 @IND L (7-7)
16 NO L (7-8)
17 @GB L (7-9)

Green Bay O/U 9 wins, my total 9
The Favre-less Packers will hover around .500 all season, not getting more than a game above that number until their final win at home on the 'frozen tundra' (can't not make a 'frozen tundra' remark regarding a game in late December at Lambeau Field, that will have playoff implications for both teams).

01 MIN L (0-1)
02 @DET W (1-1)
03 DAL L (1-2)
04 @TB L (1-3)
05 ATL W (2-3)
06 @SEA W (3-3)
07 IND W (4-3)
08 BYE
09 @TEN L (4-4)
10 @MIN W (5-4)
11 CHI L (5-5)
12 @NO L (5-6)
13 CAR W (6-6)
14 HOU W (7-6)
15 @JAX L (7-7)
16 @CHI W (8-7)
17 DET W (9-7)

Minnesota O/U 8 wins, my total 7
Close, but no cigar, they'll start off hot, beating some good teams, then they'll have a big losing streak in the middle of the season, only to win their last few games after already being eliminated from the playoffs. Sucks to be a Viking fan.

01 @GB W (1-0)
02 IND W (2-0)
03 CAR W (3-0)
04 @TEN L (3-1)
05 @NO L (3-2)
06 DET W (4-2)
07 @CHI L (4-3)
08 BYE
09 HOU L (4-4)
10 GB L (4-5)
11 @TB L (4-6)
12 @JAX L (4-7)
13 CHI L (4-8)
14 @DET L (4-9)
15 @ARI W (5-9)
16 ATL W (6-9)
17 NYG W (7-9)

(I switched to abbreviations, it's harder to read, but it was much faster to type, all the info is still there).

Season Preview, An Entire Season's Worth of NFL Related Humiliation, Part 2 --- NFC West

Can I just skip this division? I think every team here sucks, but Arizona will suck less than everyone else.

Arizona Cardinals O/U 8 wins, my total 9
A so-so 9-7 year, should be enough to win the division, though. I don't know what to say, every year I think they'll finally break through, and every year they disappoint, but not this year . . .

Week 01 @San Francisco W (1-0)
Week 02 Miami W (2-0)
Week 03 @Washington L (2-1)
Week 04 @NY Jets L (2-2)
Week 05 Buffalo W (3-2)
Week 06 Dallas W (4-2)
Week 07 BYE
Week 08 @Carolina L (4-3)
Week 09 @St.Louis W (5-3)
Week 10 San Francisco L (5-4)
Week 11 @Seattle W (6-4)
Week 12 NY Giants W (7-4)
Week 13 @Philadelphia L (7-5)
Week 14 St.Louis W (8-5)
Week 15 Minnesota L (8-6)
Week 16 @New England L (8-7)
Week 17 Seattle W (9-7)

San Francisco O/U 5.5, my total 3
Meh, lousy team (3-13 lousy), lousy division, I could write more, but what's the point?
Week 01 Arizona L (0-1)
Week 02 @Seattle L (0-2)
Week 03 Detroit L (0-3)
Week 04 @New Orleans L (0-4)
Week 05 New England L (0-5)
Week 06 Philadelphia L (0-6)
Week 07 @NY Giants L (0-7)
Week 08 Seattle W (1-7)
Week 09 BYE
Week 10 @Arizona L (1-8)
Week 11 St.Louis W (2-8)
Week 12 @Dallas L (2-9)
Week 13 @Buffalo L (2-10)
Week 14 NY Jets L (2-11)
Week 15 @Miami W (3-11)
Week 16 @St.Louis L (3-12)
Week 17 Washington L (3-13)

Seattle O/U 9 wins, my total 6
Meh 6-10, they're finally slipping out of being a playoff team, it was a mediocre run of mediocrity while it lasted (even their Superbowl appearance was mediocre).

Week 01 @Buffalo L (0-1)
Week 02 San Francisco W (1-1)
Week 03 St.Louis W (2-1)
Week 04 BYE
Week 05 @NY Giants W (3-1)
Week 06 Green Bay L (3-2)
Week 07 @Tampa Bay L (3-3)
Week 08 @San Francisco L (3-4)
Week 09 Philadelphia W (4-4)
Week 10 @Miami L (4-5)
Week 11 Arizona L (4-6)
Week 12 Washington L (4-7)
Week 13 @Dallas L (4-8)
Week 14 Newe England L (4-9)
Week 15 @St.Louis W (5-9)
Week 16 NY Jets W (6-9)
Week 17 @Arizona L (6-10)

St.Louis O/U 6.5 wins, my total 3
Another crappy team, another crappy record, another team not worth paying attention to if you live outside of the St.Louis area.

Week 01 @Philadelphia L (0-1)
Week 02 NY Giants L (0-2)
Week 03 @Seattle L (0-3)
Week 04 Buffalo W (1-3)
Week 05 BYE
Week 06 @Washington L (1-4)
Week 07 Dallas L (1-5)
Week 08 @New Engalnd L (1-6)
Week 09 Arizona L (1-7)
Week 10 @NY Jets L (1-8)
Week 11 @San Francisco L (1-9)
Week 12 Chicago L (1-10)
Week 13 Miami L (1-11)
Week 14 @Arizona L (1-12)
Week 15 Seattle L (1-13)
Week 16 San Francisco W (2-13)
Week 17 @Atlanta W (3-13)

That's the crappy NFC West division, predicted record against non-NFC West teams, (09-31), I'll crank these out before Thursday's kick-off, the more divisions I do, the easier it'll get, since I'll have already made picks on most of the non-division books.

Season Preview, An Entire Season's Worth of NFL Related Humiliation, Part 1 --- NFC East

(Teams listed alphabetically)

Dallas Cowboys O/U 11 wins, my total 13
They should be pretty good this year, how good? Howabout 13-3 good (8-0 at home 5-3 on the road), that's how good, home field throughout the NFC playoffs, and a Superbowl appearance.

Week 01 @Cleveland W (1-0)
Week 02 Philadephia W (2-0)
Week 03 @Green Bay W (3-0)
Week 04 Washington W (4-0)
Week 05 Cincinnati W (5-0)
Week 06 @Arizona L (5-1)
Week 07 @St.Louis W(6-1)
Week 08 Tampa Bay W (7-1)
Week 09 @NY Giants W (8-1)
Week 10 BYE
Week 11 @Washington L (8-2)
Week 12 San Francisco W (9-2)
Week 13 Seattle W (10-2)
Week 14 @Pittsburgh W (11-2)
Week 15 NY Giants W (12-2)
Week 16 Baltimore W (13-2)
Week 17 @Philadelphia L (13-3)

NY Giants O/U 9 wins, my total 3
They sucked last year, most of the time, their entire season should have fallen apart in that game in DC, but they turned things around in that game, and the entire rest of the season, they won't be so lucky in 08. It's going to be an abyssmal year, from Superbowl Champs to 3-13 and last place in the NFC East, with a perfect 0-6 record against division opponents. All those Eli & Peyton ads that are running this season will be Peyton only ads again next year.

Week 01 Washington L (0-1)
Week 02 @St.Louis W (1-1)
Week 03 Cincinnati L (1-2)
Week 04 BYE
Week 05 Seattle L (1-3)
Week 06 Cleveland L (1-4)
Week 07 San Francisco W (2-4)
Week 08 @Pittsburgh L (2-5)
Week 09 Dallas L (2-6)
Week 10 @Philadelphia L (2-7)
Week 11 Baltimore W (3-7)
Week 12 @Arizona L (3-8)
Week 13 @Washington L (3-9)
Week 14 Philadephia L (3-10)
Week 15 @Dallas L (3-11)
Week 16 Carolina L (3-12)
Week 17 @Minnesota L (3-13)

Philadephia Eagles O/U 8.5 wins, my total 10
It's gonna be a good season for the Iggles. McNabb will be solid, and their defense is always stellar. Too bad Dallas and Washington will be just a bit better, solid year, and at 10-6 they ought to be the other wildcard (along with Washington) in the NFC. UPDATE: Scratch the playoff talk, Tampa's going to edge them out for the last wildcard, hadn't completed the entire division before this write-up, didn't think another non-division winner would be better than 10-6, but I think the NFC South will be pretty strong this year.

Week 01 St.Louis W (1-0)
Week 02 @Dallas L (1-1)
Week 03 Pittsburgh L (1-2)
Week 04 @Chicago W (2-2)
Week 05 Washington W (3-2)
Week 06 @San Francisco W (4-2)
Week 07 BYE
Week 08 Atlanta W (5-2)
Week 09 @Seattle L (5-3)
Week 10 NY Giants W (6-3)
Week 11 @Cincinnati L (6-4)
Week 12 @Baltimore W (7-4)
Week 13 Arizona L (7-5)
Week 14 @NY Giants W (8-5)
Week 15 Cleveland W (9-5)
Week 16 @Washington L (9-6)
Week 17 Dallas W (10-6)

Washington O/U 8 wins, my total 11
They should make the playoffs again this year, again as a wildcard, though. Jason Campbell should make the leap to one of the top six QBs in the league, and their defense will be stingy. 11-5 and one of the wildcard spots while rolling into the playoffs on an 8 game win streak.

Week 01 @NY Giants W (1-0)
Week 02 New Orleans L (1-1)
Week 03 Arizona W (2-1)
Week 04 @Dallas L (2-2)
Week 05 @Philadelphia L (2-3)
Week 06 St.Louis W (3-3)
Week 07 Cleveland L (3-4)
Week 08 @Detroit L (3-5)
Week 09 Pittsburgh W (4-5)
Week 10 BYE
Week 11 Dallas W (5-5)
Week 12 @Seattle W (6-5)
Week 13 NY Giants W (7-5)
Week 14 @Baltimore W (8-5)
Week 15 @Cincinnati W (9-5)
Week 16 Philadelphia W (10-5)
Week 17 @San Francisco W (11-5)

So that's the NFC East, they'll account for 3 2 of the 6 NFC Playoff teams, along with the top seed, the only crap team in the division, those Superbowl Champion NY Giants.

UPDATE: Just realized I could give this a betting spin, I'm going to compare my win total for each team with the current over and under line on season win totals as listed at VegasInsider.com in their FutureBook Odds. That number isn't meant to be an exact prediction of each team's performance, just a number they put up where they can expect about an even amount of money to be bet on either side of the line. It's as close as you'll get to anyone else making a pre-season prediction on each team's win totals though, so for my purposes it's a good number to reference.

If I Ever Write a Post Like the One Below, I Invite You ALL to Come Over to My House, and Slap Some Sense in to ME . . .

Below is the entirety of Andrew Sullivan's liveblog of Palin's speech, annotated by me (in red, and alternate font), for your convenience and elucidation (I suggest reading it from the bottom up):

11.10 pm. Reality television has become our politics.
Yeah, whatever, cry into your beer (I almost typed bear, I think either would be correct) tonight Sully, you just saw The One get schooled.

11.06 pm. Both Huckabee and Palin have used the t-word. Of course, they are not criminally liable, as Bush is.
More moral equivalency crap, at Gitmo the inmates get proper medical attention, food, water, even counsel, some rough interrogation techniques have been used (and some of those techniques are questionable, and should be stopped, but that doesn't mean all interrogation is torture, or the experiences are anywhere close to being comparable), but there is no equivalence to what McCain experienced over his five years in captivity, and to suggest so may make a person popular in the DC-NYC cocktail party crowd, but it sounds on awful lot like the usual lefty America-hating tripe, from someone who is supposed to have a 'conservative soul'.

11.05 pm. Every time the camera pans to McCain's mother, she seems mortified. I don't really blame her. Can you imagine what she was thinking as a tiny special needs baby is passed from person to person for the cable news.
OK, now you're just projecting you jerk. I'm gobsmacked. I can not even begin to describe how full of contempt Sully sounds with that little blurb, and how contemptible I find his attitude.

11.03 pm. However admirable it is to be a mayor, is it really necessary to drip contempt for people who work as community organizers? It seems to me that Palin doesn't quite have the stature to be putting down someone who has won millions of people's votes. This is a much more partisan speech than I was expecting.
Winning primary votes now equals executive experience, that's good to know for future reference. And again with the worshipful attitude towards community organizing, very 'Conservative Soul' of you Sully.

11.00 pm Styrofoam pillars; and self-designed seals. And her lip curls.
And your point, Sully?

10.58 pm. Now it's about big government - which Republicans have exploded in size. But no one can notice the actual record of the GOP in growing government and increasing debt. That would be too much accountability.
Yeah, how dare they not offer an extensive mea culpa at their own convention about all the bad things the GOP has done, I don't recall any of the Democrats owning up to their part in various government debacles . . .

10.56 pm. Obama wants to reduce American power and prevent energy production. The mockery of Obama from Palin is striking. I don't recall anyone mocking McCain at the DNC.
Sully doesn' recall anyone mocking McCain, in a sense he's right, instead the Democrats were too busy running against 'Bush's 3rd term', besides, if Obama had actually done anything before they could mock his policies more, but in the absence of policy, they have no choice but to mock the celebrity and lack of credentials, which is what they mocked, not him personally.

10.53 pm. Drill, baby, drill! I may be just revealing that I'm out of touch, but I don't see why laying pipelines is now a core rallying cry of American conservatism.
There's a 'laying pipe' joke in there somewhere, but I'm not touching it.

10.50 pm. I have to say that the affect is of someone running for high school president.
Yeah, you already implied that with the Tracy Flick comment, jerk.

10.49 pm. Piper is poking Trig in the eye!
He forgot to mention the moment she used a wad of saliva to slick down Trig's hair.

10.48 pm. Ethics reform is her first policy proposal.
Policy, schmolicy, she's an unkown quantity, if she just got up there and was wonky the whole time, she'd have lost the audience, she needed to introduce herself to America, and she did.

10.47 pm. She has this weird tick of scrunching up her face to make a forceful point. Kinda Tracy Flicky.
If looking like a young Reese Witherspoon is a bad thing, then I don't want to be right (and for the record, I look nothing like Reese Witherspoon)

10.44 pm. Palin echoes Giuliani's attack on "cosmopolitan" elites. All the buzzwords are there. Elite. Elite. Elite. This is a culture war speech - and she is becoming a symbol of red America. This is what they have to do top win: divide and polarize again. We are half way through, by the way, and we have not heard a single policy proposal. But we have heard contempt for someone who works as a community organizer in the South Side of Chicago.
There is no higher office than 'community organizer', yeah, right.

10.40 pm. We've just seen a picture of a seven year old cradling and stroking the hair of a Down Syndrome infant. This, apparently, is relevant to deciding who should be the next vice-president of the United States.
A no win situation, had Trig not been there, Sully would have been all, 'See, she's ashamed of her special needs child, what a disgusting parent'

10.39 pm. I'm just slack-jawed that, so far, the entire speech has been basically about her family. She seems as if she just won a reality show and is introducing her folks. And they have passed the baby now to four different people - including another child. Slack-jawed.
How dare she flaunt her damnably fertile uterus, it's an insult to LGBTTTIQQ folks everywhere!

(and if it's not clear already, the portions of this post that are slap worthy are Sully's, my annotations, on the other hand, deserve hugs, kisses, and pats on the back)

I Believe This Might Be Our Introduction to the GOP's 2040 Vice Presidential Candidate . . .

(found at gizmodo, where they found it at wired's danger room)

I Suppose It's a Good Thing That Journalist Are So Responsive to Criticism (Chris Ayres Edition). . .

"I can't prove this is made up"? Well, you could always Google 'Bentley' and 'Hyundai' (as I did, because I couldn't believe my own eyes) and this would be the result: http://www.autoblog.com/2007/07/05/cruel-sick-joke-bentley-continental-badged-as-a-hyundai/ Likewise, with the bunny story, you could buy Palin's biography and turn to page 17. Patina is surely among the most expensive restaurants in LA, and if Obama isn't a good orator, McCain is a Yupik Inuit. My bad on New Mexico and Polaris.

A response in reply to my Chris Ayres post, from a "Chris", I will assume this Chris is that Chris, though as with everything on the internet, this may or not be the case (and what's the deal with award-winning journalists responding to my thoughts on media?).

First, the Bentley thing, one sick joker who probably lost a bet, doesn't a trend make. You can get a single fact right, and still completely miscontrue the truth. In some ways it's anti-truthiness. Rather than making up a fact and then spinning a larger truth from a lie, this is an example of finding a fact, and then making up a larger lie based on one small fact.

2nd, the first chapter of the Palin bio is a PDF available on the net, so let's read what Kaylene Johnson wrote on page 17 (reprinted without permission, but seems like pretty fair use to me):

When the family wasn’t running or hiking, it was hunting or fishing.

“We could literally go hunting out our back door,” Chuck Jr. said. Sarah shot her first rabbit at age ten not far from the back porch. In her teens, she hunted caribou with her father. The family’s freezer was always full of fish and game. Chuck
Jr. said he didn’t eat a beef steak until he was a senior in high school. Gardening helped fill the family larder.

Here again is what Chris Ayres spun from this:

At the age of 10, Sarah Palin got her very own bunny rabbit. Which means to say that she crouched down in the grass outside her family home, aimed her shotgun and blew its furry little head off. That's how things work in Alaska. You kill stuff. You freeze it. You turn it into stew.

Notice a difference? First, no mention of the weapon used, so the shotgun part is made up. Second, calling a wild hare a "bunny rabbit" suggests a fuzzy little domesticated animal, and not some lop-eared feral beast/pest that would threaten the family's vegetable garden (in good breeding years, wild rabbits are rapacious garden destroying pests). So what we have here is one made up fact not supported by the source (the shotgun), and a characterization that paints the anecdote far more luridly than originally given. It's a choice, and in my opinion a dishonest choice.

As far as Sen. Obama possessing "faultless oratory skills", I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. But, in my opinion (and as stated in my other post), to count as a 'faultless orator' one would need to be great both speaking from prepared text, and without a script. Sen. Obama has not met that standard, I commend his ability to speak from a script, but he's a bit of a mess without a teleprompter, for example:

That's just one moment, but to me 'faultless' suggests without fault regardless of the situation, and above is just one example of Sen. Obama struggling while answering a question off teleprompter.

And as far as Patina goes, again, it's not untrue that a couple could spend $400 feasting at Patina, and it is indeed one of the more expensive restaurants in L.A. (but by no means close to being the most expensive, the upscale Japanese restaurants in town usually earn that honor), you could run up huge tabs at any good restaurant if you include the cost of drinks (I used to check expense reports at an entertainment company, so I've seen +$500 receipts for appetizers and drinks for 4 people before, and that was ten years ago). The point seemed to be that Mayor Villaraigosa isn't plebeian enough, but it's a silly point to try and make, and it could be made without exaggeration (and besides, this is L.A., a little glamour never hurts, so long as it's not on the public dime, though I have no idea what non-government jobs Villaraigosa has had where he can afford to go to Patina too often (his girlfriend probably pays), but that's a completely different story, and tangential to this discussion).

And thank you Mr. Ayres for admitting small factual screw-ups regarding New Mexico and Piper Indy Palin's name.

You aren't a bad writer, your LA Notebook is entertaining after a fashion, but the place you describe is basically a fantasy that has little connection to the real thing. I recommend that you get out a bit more, visit a suburb or city within 60 miles of downtown that you've previously haven't visited, once a week. Chat up a local a two, and maybe you'll learn something about this vast and confused land and be able to communicate a fairer and more interesting snapshot of this megalopolis to the readers back in England. If I may make a suggestion, the L.A. County Fair begins in a few days, and that place would be chock-full-a stuff you can poke fun at, and show you a side of this town that I'm guessing you haven't experienced.

It's just a suggestion, I'm sure the editors at Times of London will continue to support your column one way or the other (you're not the first columnist over there I've noticed stretching the truth to fit their own narrative), but if you want readers here to respect your writing, tighten it up a bit. This is an interesting place, it's an exaggerated fantasy land in a lot of ways just as it is, no truth stretching necessary to sell it that way.

Besides, Mr. Ayres, it's not a bad thing I have my eye on you, think of me as one of your most loyal readers, and come by any time to comment on any of my posts, whether they're about you or not (and if I see you in a pub, I'll buy you Guinness, no hard feelings, and if you don't drink Guinness, well, screw you, then, what kind of Englishman are you?)

02 September 2008

The Debates I'd Like to See, Part II

OK, for the primaries, I already advised both parties on a better way to get the candidates together to discuss the issues, now it's time to fix the debate structure for the general election (in a manner that neither party will ever agree to, unfortunately).

Here's what we need for the general election (it even has a catchy title)


Here's the set-up, after the RNC convention wraps up, and both candidates are set, they'll have a week to announce a team of advisers that will represent them on specific policy areas. Basically, I'd expect both candidates to all but announce their major cabinet picks, plus their top administrator. The furious five would be the presumptives of both parties for the position of Secretary of State, Defense, Treasury, Attorney General, as well as Chief of Staff. "Why those five?" you ask. Good question, here's the answer, State and Defense give the broader framework of international relations, and when it comes to the Executive branch, that's the one area that they have the most reach and power when compared to the other two branches, so it's crucial to know as much as possible about the kind of person a candidate is considering for those positions before voters are forced to make their choice. As far as domestic policy, Treasury and Attorney General are the two main surrogates, Treasury because economic policy is set by the President, and his choice there is a big signal as to what he thinks would be successful in helping America prosper, and the other big side of domestic policy is lawmaking, law interpretation, and criminal prosecution, and the AG is in charge of all that. The many other cabinet positions, and cabinet level offices have their roles (though many of them could be eliminated and folded into other offices), but to keep this from getting out of hand just a few big picture type folks are all that is necessary to make this more informative than the system we have now. That's why a Chief of Staff, as far as sub-Secretary level appointments, is someone I want to hear from as well. The kind of person a President chooses for Chief of Staff says a lot about a President, and it is one of the most purely political offices in the cabinet. Know who that pick will be, and you'll know what the real nuts and bolts of an administration will be like. It would be fascinating to hear prospective Chiefs hash out politics with each other.

Here's how the WONK-OFF would work. The two presumptive Secretaries of State would go at each other directly for two hours on matters of state. They'd alternate asking and answering questions. No moderator, no audience, just two policy wonks wonking off at each other. Whether they choose to really ask and answer questions, or just use their time to rattle off talking points would be up to each individual, but at least the information would be out there, and the personalities, politics, and positions of these people would be out there for everyone to observe. Repeat the above process for the other four official wonks, and you have yourself 10 hours of official head to head policy discussions a week.

We elect one person (well two people, but given that you can't split the Prez and VP votes, really you are only choosing the top of the ticket, the VP is just a bonus), but an entire team is who governs. I want to know who that team is before I vote, I want to hear the official surrogates battle each other directly on specific subject areas in an official capacity. I want the candidates to have to react to what their surrogates say and be forced to confirm or deny the direction they hope to take the country on a variety of issues.

A few tepid debates hosted by some media figure hardly scratches the surface of the real issues. Mostly they're just a chance for a candidate to not screw up and show how he reacts when off script. It's not enough anymore. A WONK-OFF would bring curious and engaged voters much more information than they now get, in a much more official way, and in a way that would be hard for media to spin (OK, harder). YouTube would fill up with clips from each Wonk-Off, and what our country might have in store depending on which choice voters make would just be a little bit clearer.

All five official wonks would have to WONK-OFF against each other once a week from the 3rd week of Sept to the last week of OCT. Spread out the WONK-OFFs by days of week, so State would be MON, Defense, would be TUE, and so on, with the Chiefs of Staff wonking off each other each Friday. That'd be six weeks of wonking off, six weeks of real policy discussions, or at least real screaming matches between equally matched surrogates from both sides. The Presidential Debates could be scheduled on Sundays so as not to overshadow the WONK-OFFs, but by having these on a regular schedule, and on a weekly basis, the campaign for ideas between each party would be forced into the forefront and would be battled in a face to face way without any media interference. I know the networks won't carry this, but CSPAN could, and the Internet can, and the soundbites would drive the cable news coverage after each debate. Instead of talking about pregnant daughters, the cable newsers and internet freaks would be forced to talk about actual policy discussions. I think that might be nice for a change.

Seems like this isn't such a radical suggestion, but I'm nearly certain nothing even close to approximating such a sane and informative approach would ever be attempted.

(and checking my old posts, I did sort of mention this idea before, but it's more fleshed out here)