Friday, September 29, 2006

everybody wang chung tonite

Dear Diary,

As I watch the Cardinals possibly choke away an 8 ½ game lead with 12 games to play, I wonder if this choke (if it happens) is worse than the Yankees choke against Boston in the 2004 LCS?

You know what’s really cool? Event Horizons. That’s the surface on the edge of a black hole.

I’ve spent a lot of time playing NCAA football 2007 this past week, I think I’m going to read two books this weekend, and see that Pirates movie. Well, one and a half books, I’m already half way through The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox: Mending the Gap Between Science and the Humanities by Stephen Jay Gould and I think I’m going to read In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat by John Gribbin.

You see, I’m quite a fool, and keeping my head in the clouds and deep space might distract me from my incompetent betting on football. You, you go party and have a good time, I’m gonna work on my personality.

My football picks for week 4 (Overall 21-25)

Indianapolis -9.5 At NY Jets

San Diego -2 At Baltimore
San Diego

At Buffalo -1.5 Minnesota

Dallas -9.5 At Tennessee

At Kansas City -7 San Francisco
Kansas City

At Carolina -7.5 New Orleans
New Orleans

At Atlanta -7.5 Arizona

Miami -4 At Houston

At St. Louis -6 Detroit
St. Louis

At Cincinnati -6 New England

Jacksonville -2.5 At Washington

Cleveland -3 At Oakland

At Chicago -3.5 Seattle

At Philadelphia -11 Green Bay
Philadelphia 28-21

Thursday, September 21, 2006

so far i'm even steven

Two weeks in, and my record is 16-16 at this, so lets go for round three, this time on a Thursday.

I was watching Two and a Half Men (the west coast broadcast that starts at midnight Eastern) on Monday before I switched to the Dodgers-Padres game. I don’t care much for the show, but gosh darn it; that intro song has some of the best lyrics to any television theme song, like, ever. So, today I’m going do my manly football predictions for NFL week 3.

@ Buffalo -6 NY Jets
Man, was I wrong about J.P. Losman. Man, was I wrong about Chad Pennington. Buffalo’s home opener should be a good one for the Bills faithful. Bills defense might be better than New England’s, and considering what the Jets could muster at home last week against the Patriots, this one could be a shutout for the Bills. Now that I’ve dropped all the Jets’ running backs on my fantasy team (Cedric Houston, who’s been inactive on the Jets even though he’s healthy this season) (my fantasy team really, really sucks) I’m thinking the Jets really, really suck. Eli Manning, you may have to battle Brady Quinn for King QB in New York Status pretty soon.
My pick: Buffalo.

@ Pittsburgh -2 Cincinnati
Man can that Jacksonville team play some defense. Pittsburgh, for some reason unbeknownst to me, decided to go with an air attack, thinking possibly, that Jacksonville would expect Pittsburgh to run. But as the game went on, a few things became evident;

  1. Pittsburgh was going to continue to pass thinking that Jacksonville was thinking that Pittsburgh would run, because heck, that’s what the Steelers have always done.
  2. Jacksonville was going to continue to play their fast defense focusing on the run and Hines Ward.
  3. Ben Rothlesberger may not have been 100% healthy.
  4. I was not going to win QB1 because Pittsburgh was choosing not to run.

Jacksonville only came up with 9 points at home. No touchdowns. Last time a team beat a good team without scoring a touchdown this season was St. Louis versus Denver in week one (thanks to Mike for pointing that one out). Week two, on the road in San Francisco, St. Louis lost. Basically, the only thing that can salvage not scoring a touchdown at home is shutting the other team out.

Here are some fun facts about the Pittsburgh Steelers and why they should run even though everyone knows they are going to run.


Rushing Attempts (NFL rank)

Passing Attempts (NFL Rank)



549 (1)

379 (32)

11-5 Super bowl win


618 (1)

358 (32)



446 (17)

532 (10)


Yes, Ben Rothlesberger has been their quarterback savior the last two seasons, but really, it’s their running game that has taken them to such great heights. On Monday, the Steelers ran 14 times, passed 32 times. In the first week against Miami they ran 38 times and passed 25. I’m not saying they should run the ball or anything. But they should really run the ball.
My pick: Pittsburgh.

@ Indianapolis -7 Jacksonville
Imagine you’re the Jaguars. You’ve just shutout the defending Super Bowl Champs on Monday night. Now you’re facing the Colts. As much prime time attentions as New England-Denver and Atlanta-New Orleans are getting this is the game of the week. Are the Jag’s for real? Last year, the Jags would have won their home match against the Colts except the Colts had the refs in their back pockets. 7 points is a lot, but if Indy wins, it will be by a touchdown. Jacksonville might be 3-0, but they play up to their opponents, and will lose to a sub-500 team somewhere down the line after beating up some of the big boys. It’s a push.
My pick: Indianapolis.

@ Miami -11 Tennessee
Tennessee. Tennessee
T-T-Tennessee Tennessee
Tennessee. Tennessee
T-T-Tennessee Tennessee
Lord I've really been real stressed
Down and out, losin ground
Although I am oh and two
Problems got me pessimistic
QB’s and defense keep messin up
Why does it have to be so damn tuff?
I don't know where I can go
To let these ghosts out of my skull
My McNair’s past, my Marino’s gone
I never at once felt so alone
I know you're supposed to be my steering wheel
Not just my spare tire (home)
But Nick I ask you (home)
To be my guiding force and truth (home)
For some strange reason it had to be (home)
He guided me to Tennessee (home)

Take me to another place
Take me to another land
Make me forget all that hurts me
Let me understand your plan
My pick: Miami.

Washington -4 @ Houston
This is what happens when teams like Indianapolis and Jacksonville square off, we’re left with the Redskins and the Texans. So, um….yeah. Is Portis healthy? I think so. Even though odds dictate that someone will be a winner, I can guarantee that the fans in Washington and Houston aren’t going to be the ones.
My pick: Washington.

Chicago -3.5 @ Minnesota
Holy smokes is Chicago getting no respect or what? I think I’m going to have to bet on this game on the side. Put me down for a 5-spot on the Norris Division champs.
My pick: Da Bears.

Carolina -3 @ Tampa Bay
Holy smokes. I just put another 5 spot on Carolina. Simply because Tampa has scored only 3 points so far this year and Carolina can’t go 0-3, can they? Seriously? Well, it’s not called gambling because it’s safe now is it?
My pick: Carolina.

@ Detroit -6.5 Green Bay
Speaking of men, did you know that they might also have a reason to have children at a younger age? Brett Favre has probably read this (because all sports figures read my insightful insights into life) and has now impregnated half of Wisconsin. Due to his exhaustion, he will be inactive this week, making the job a little easier for the Lions.
My pick: Detroit.

Baltimore -6.5 @ Cleveland
I hate this. Cleveland might totally win this game, although they have no reason to do so. Football does that, they present these totally unfair match ups, you bet your mortgage on them, and then Cleveland comes out and wins. In case you’re wondering, I think this game should be a cakewalk for Baltimore, which means Cleveland will win.
My pick: Baltimore.

@ Arizona -4.5 St. Louis
If Arizona is going to be an 8-8 team, they’re going to win home games against mediocre teams like St. Louis. If St. Louis is going to be an 8-8 team, they’re going to win games on the road against mediocre teams like Arizona. As you can see, this analysis creates quite a dilemma. Dilemma in football betting terms = take the points.
My pick: St. Louis.

@ Seattle -3.5 NY Giants
Giants should be 0-2. Seattle should play a full 60 minute game (unlike some other NFC team last week). Eli Manning should come back down to earth. In 5 years we should see Shaun Alexander on Dancing with the Stars.
My pick: Seattle.

Philadelphia -6 @ San Francisco
I saw this TV show last night on CBS called Jericho. It was about this town that sees a mushroom cloud off in the distance. In the show, this is explained by the fact that either a nuclear bomb went off or America was under attack (ten years ago it would have been aliens, now it’s terrorists). I watched because they started the show off with a song by the Killers called All these things that I’ve done. This tangent relates to this game in two ways.

First, I actually watched a one hour non-sports television show that wasn’t named back-to back episodes of South Park.

Secondly, I think we were witness to a unique events this past week (the fact that I was on the loosing betting end of both of them doesn’t matter; I’m pretty numb to emotions these days). On Sunday, the Eagles fans suffered a medium grade stomach punch (according to Bill Simmons levels of loosing). Not only did they blow a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter at home to a division rival, but they also lost their best defensive end in Jevon Kearse, a guy who was on pace to have one hell of a sack season (3 and a half in almost 2 games). On Monday, Padre fans also suffered a level two grade stomach punch game after loosing the division lead in the very improbable fashion of giving up four home runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and then loosing in the bottom of the tenth by giving up a home run. But the Padres will go on easier than the Eagles, because baseball is an everyday sport.

The Eagles, well, they are on some really thin ice right now. If they lose this game to a crappy San Francisco team, they’re done for the season. Done like dinner. However, San Francisco’s only chance of making the playoffs this year is if San Francisco turns into Jericho and every other city in America is blown up by a mushroom cloud (was it Aliens, was it Terrorists? Will we ever find out? No we won’t. Just like the television show Lost, we’ll never know, but people will keep watching because they are starved for drama). So far the Eagles schedule has looked mighty light this season.
My pick: Philadelphia.

@ New England -6.5 Denver
Let us just go ahead and say that both of these teams won’t make the playoffs this year. Wait... I read a book this summer about Bill Belichik, and sorry people, I’m convinced. Bill Belichick is a genius. He is really, really smart. He’s not infallible or anything, but he is really, really smart. Denver could only score 9 points last week. Things do not look good for Stan, Eric, Kenny and Kyle's favourite team, even two games hath not a season make.
My pick: New England.

Atlanta -4 @ New Orleans
It’s nice to see the NFL back in New Orleans. The winners, no matter the outcome, are the New Orleans Saints fans. Hey, I got an idea! How about the Saints run off a magical season and make the playoffs on the backs of some emotional fan support? Sound good? Then they have to win this week.
My heartwarming pick: New Orleans 24-21.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

do not go gentle into that good night

Last night I was at a drinking establishment with my friend Kenny, playing QB1 while watching the Monday Night Football game between the Jaguars and the Steelers. As conversations go, we came upon the topic of what we would be doing with our lives if we didn’t follow sport?

His conclusion was that he would have gone down one of two paths; he would either be some sort of great social worker/philanthropist making the world a better place, or he would be a completely lost soul who spent most of his time questioning ‘why?’ and wallowing in the futility of existence on his sofa. I figured I’d probably have a greater social life, and perhaps, instead of going out to watch football with the buddies, I’d be a regular Don Juan. Alas, in my case the female race got off to a slow start versus sport, and now I use words like “love” and “marriage” to best describe my emotional attachment to my pool teams and the Maple Leafs. And yes, I do realize that I’ve just come across as a character in a Nick Hornby novel. But I also like to read, and I find that there is a parallel beauty that exists in the written word and the physical playing field, as was evident last night at Chavez Ravine.

The fact does remain that I do have time at night, especially at late night. And instead of making sweet, sweet love, I use that time to watch the west-coast games (although the word “instead” implies options exist, so I should use an antonym for it instead) (I just used instead again, perhaps I should have stated rather than) (this is a slippery slope, this instead, perhaps, rather than use of, I could do this for hours).

So that brings me to last night. I do live in Toronto, Ontario Canada. And I have never been to Dodger Stadium (although I have gone to see live the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California of U.S.A. of North America, Earth, Milky Way, the Universe). And in 1989, I was 11 years old and not yet old enough to have stayed up to see Kirk Gibson hit the homerun off Dennis Eckersley.

So now, as a young man, I embraced my liberty from the parental oppression of curfew by staying up last night to watch the Padres – Dodgers game ending. I started watching in the seventh inning, when the game was tied at 4. I figured it would be over by 1 am at the latest but it ended up being closer to 2 am Eastern.

It was being broadcast by the Dodgers, who have one of the greatest baseball announcers of all time in Vin Scully doing the play-by-play. Vin Scully is so good that he does the games by himself, with no colour commentator. Last night, the majesty of the one-man crew (popularized by soccer) blossomed under the spectacle of one of the greatest baseball (if not greatest regular season) games of all time. If you want to hear how sport should be portrayed in audio, listen no further than Vin Scully.

I did have a financial interest in the game. Not directly, but indirectly. I made a small bet for the Padres to win the National League West. So I was following the Padres to see if they could perhaps win the National League. Considering that the Dodgers were their main opponent in that quest, I had considerable interest in the outcome of the game.

If I could have been someone else, someplace else last night, it would have been a Dodger fan at Dodger Stadium. If you asked one those fans what they would do without sports and they would answer, I would not have had this. Eric Neel would not have had this.

If you don’t know what happened, I’ll sum up briefly. Trailing 9-5 in the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers hit 4 straight homeruns (a feat that had only been done 3 times before in the history of baseball, never been done before in the 9th inning) to tie the game. The bottom of the next inning, again trailing by a run, Nomar Garciaparra hit a two run home run to win the game.

I write this post because Vin Scully did two things. One, after the game was over he stated that “at a time like this, words are not necessary and the images speak for themselves” which is not only completely true, but also very modest of him to be quiet and let the fans and the scene speak for itself. And two, his final words were along the lines of saying that “there was a poem about not going quietly into the night, and on this night that is exactly what the Dodgers did, not go quietly into the night.”

As it is one of my most famous poems, for Vin Scully, for all the fans in Dodger Blue I present to you, the words of the great Dylan Thomas.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Monday, September 18, 2006

on the first part of the journey

Points to ponder

  1. I have less time than I think.
  2. Women have an innate ability to move with extreme stealth. They know how to be seen and heard, and they also understand how not to be seen. Seriously, put a woman in socks and on a carpet, close your eyes, and you’ll never know where she is.
  3. I walk with heavy feet (i.e. loudly)
  4. I don’t know what this says about me as a person (probably not good) but I’ve noticed that there is a particular phrase that I mutter to myself with more frequently. That phrase is “I’m going to hell.”
  5. If you’re a professional football team and you blow a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter and at home then no one will ever bet on you again.
  6. If everyone could come up with just one good idea, we’d have a lot of good ideas.
  7. I’ve just read that Jevon Kearse is out for the season. I have a lot invested in the Philadelphia Eagles, and their loss combined with this piece of news, to put the situation bluntly, does not help my mental stability. Argh, this is going to cost me dollars. Lots and lots of dollars.
  8. I hate grey Mondays. When I woke up a black cat was outside my window, one that I’ve never seen before. I’m thinking of getting home from work and just going to bed so I can end this day quickly.
  9. If the band America is right, and the ocean is a desert with its life underground, then perhaps there is life on Mars.

Friday, September 15, 2006

tick tick tick

So last week I went 8-8, but I was a perfect 4-0 for the primetime games (Pittsburgh, Indy, Minnesota and San Diego). What does that mean? What does any of it mean? We’re just cosmic dust in a vast and unforgiving universe. Life has moments, some which last, some which enflame our senses. We all have our moments, and those things are tangible, actual things to each and every one of us. But just contemplating the finite moments that we are given, the cruel way in which they can be taken from us by people who we don’t even know, it’s enough to make a grown man cry. Instead of talking about the games, I’m going to talk about something else.

@ Baltimore -11.5 Oakland

This is probably why I follow sports so earnestly. I need to spend time thinking that I am a part of something bigger than myself, something that I can explain. I am a part of the millions of Toronto Maple Leaf fans who have never seen the Stanley Cup raised by a Leaf. There is a chance that I might never see it. But I accept that cost, for the anticipation is part of the journey. I might never see it happen, but I will have traveled along the same path other Leaf fans, and fans of other teams who have also not lived to see a championship.

My pick Oakland.

@ Indianapolis -13.5 Houston

I was watching PBS last night, some universe explaining show about how life can be formed and how random our existence is (that is, for those who perhaps don’t subscribe to a weekly religious news letter). Stars always make me contemplative, and my attention drifted from the show to events of this past week.

My pick Indianapolis

@ Cincinnati -10.5 Cleveland

Which is worse; violence in the name of a Supreme Being or religious cause, or violence in the name of the random cruelty that is exhibited by humans to each other? Holy wars or school shootings?

My pick Cincinnati.

@ Miami -6.5 Buffalo

Killer whales eating baby sea lions, we call that nature, we call that the circle of life. When a young man, disturbed by what has happened to him, lashes out on us and takes an arbitrary life, is that not the cruel random circle of life? Random because although there were signs as to what could take place, we could not predict what was taking place Wednesday afternoon in Montreal. Circle of life because a life was taken, and just like the baby sea lion who was randomly killed for food by the whale, a young girl was randomly killed for….? I don’t know. What possessed that man to do what he did? He didn’t wake up and decide he was going to do that, it was the result certain events. Why did he own a machine gun? How did he buy it? There are so many layers, it is impossible to lay it out in simple cause-effect terms (unlike the whale-sea lion scenario which could be built upon the foundation of the whale’s hunger).

My pick Buffalo.

@ Chicago -8.5 Detroit

It was not because the incident had never occurred; in fact many such instances have occurred. It is because somewhere along the line, for that young man, he seized to be a part of what was going on around him. Things added up for him (in some perverse math) the product of which was a machine gun in one of our schools.

My pick Detroit.

Carolina -2 @ Minnesota

I think it is important to take ownership of the situation. To borrow a phrase from Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin and Hobbes) “we only think these kinds of things happen to other people but we don’t realize that we are all other people to someone else.”

My pick Carolina.

@ Philadelphia -3 NY Giants

Everything we do, and I emphasize everything, has some reaction somewhere, somehow. Little things add up (the origin of the term ‘going postal’ comes to mind). Even for those who do not subscribe to a religious affiliation, there is no denying that the smallest action of taking a breath has the affect of sustaining life.

My pick Philly.

@ Atlanta -5.5 Tampa Bay

Things tend to balance out, in sports and in life. The difference is this; if a pitcher throws a ball, and then throws another ball, odds are he’s going to try to throw a strike with his next pitch. The hitter knows this, the pitcher knows this, and the catcher knows this. The hitter, if he makes good contact with that 2-0 fastball, which is the product of the two balls thrown previously in that at-bat, could hit a homerun. The price for those two balls to the pitcher could be a homerun. But he can live with that, his teammates can live with that, and his fans can live with that. Sure there might be some anger, but it is small and isolated to the incident on the field.

My pick Tampa Bay

New Orleans -2 @ Green Bay

The game ends. There will be another game another day, another chance at that batter, another chance at redemption.

My pick Green Bay

St. Louis -3 @ San Francisco

So we follow our teams, our athletes, every finite season, in the quest to be the best. We feel connected. My friend Matt pointed out to me this past week that beyond the stats and the inculcation of sports at a very young age, perhaps I follow sports for the story. Buster Olney at, said this very thing yesterday. That his following of sports was not the same day-to-day.

My pick St. Louis

@ Seattle -7 Arizona

Yesterday, Buster wrote in his blog;

Yesterday morning, I went back to my old high school to talk to English students about writing and baseball, and one of the students asked a question about how it was to write about the same general subject, day after day.

It really isn't the same on a daily basis, I responded, because the context changes constantly and there are always fascinating story lines developing and evolving day after day. That's what you root for as a reporter -- not a team, but interesting stories. For instance, I said, the Minnesota Twins, who have a budget equivalent to that of three or four Yankee stars, are getting back a young star pitcher from injury this afternoon, and if he is OK, then the Twins could turn out to be an extremely dangerous team in the playoffs. And that would be fascinating to watch.

My pick Seattle.

New England -6 @ NY Jets

And that’s what we do. We follow the story. That is what humans have always done, follow the story. Hieroglyphics, myths, Survivor. They are all stories for us to follow, something that we do. Perhaps we follow stories because it makes it easier for us to comprehend our own life story. Perhaps it allows us to put our own stories in perspective, give some semblance to our too short existence in the vast, unforgiving universe.

My pick New England

@ San Diego -11.5 Tennessee

This could explain why I spend some time chronicling the random flashes of thought which pass through my head on this website. Why blog? Well, because I write anyways, my hand writing is slightly intelligible, and because I am so immodest as to feel free to share my opinions with the randomness that is the internet. I use this as a vehicle to say something, to try to put words in a combination that may not have been before tried. I could be anywhere writing this, but it would not change what is actually read by others. By that I mean I could be writing this in a cubicle in an office, I could be in a basement, I could be in a library, I could be in a computer lab, I could be at a strangers house, one which I’ve randomly walked into and decided to use their internet. The latter may not be the smartest of decisions, but it does not change the fact that I have written something, I have tried to do something, I have done more than just cite a problem, and I have opened myself up for criticism.

My pick San Diego.

@ Denver -10.5 Kansas City

But most importantly, I do this because I know that my mind is capable of only a finite amount of mind stuff. That is, if I do not put this down now, I may not properly remember it. That is important, I have a limited amount of memory storage space, and I will go back to this and I will read what I have written, and it will be almost new to me. In that sense, I’m almost like the character in Memento. This will to me be as if someone else had written it.

My pick Kansas City.

@ Dallas -6 Washington

It is the great human tragedy, the capacity to forget. I was extremely riled up recently in a conversation with my roommate. She was questioning the validity of “history repeating itself.” She did not believe that it happened. Being a history student, I was quietly enraged. I could not believe that someone had the audacity to think that history will not repeat itself. But I had to give up; I couldn’t get through to her. The fact that she was ignorant of history and then justified her own ignorance by basically stating that what she doesn’t know isn’t important anyways; was completely and totally frustrating.

My pick Dallas.

Pittsburgh -1.5 @ Jacksonville

So I feel that I’ve vented/preached/rambled on long enough. I was deeply disturbed by the actions in Montreal, and am more and more disturbed by the words used by some people to spew out hatred towards others. We only have a finite time, and we’re not getting any more of it.

My pick Pittsburgh, 20-10.

Friday, September 08, 2006

my weekly football pool picks

I'm in a football pool where we have to pick teams against the spread. I won last year, and what comes with winning is an inflated ego and sense of self. To that extent I am making my picks publicly with some thoughts thrown in. Our tie-breaker is total number of points scored on Monday night, and not only am I going to list the points, I'm going to list the score.

I know this means that I'm most likely going to finish out of the money, but the odds of repeating were slim anyways.



@ St. Louis

Quite frankly, when Mike Martz threw the coach’s challenge flag last year on the opening kickoff of the opening game, I busted a gut. I’m going to miss his avant-garde coaching. Maybe Detroit will let him throw one for old time’s sake. St. Louis probably won’t be better off without him, even with the coach’s challenges. St. Louis, welcome to 5-11 country. My pick: Denver



NY Jets

The must see match up of the week. To paraphrase Sir Elton, T-t-t-tenny and the Jets. Seriously though, if you have any players from any of these teams in your fantasy pool, you probably still should have this game as the last on your Sunday Ticket rotation. Also, if any of those players are starting on your fantasy team and your league is not 20 teams deep, you should consider following the NFL before entering a league and throwing your money away. That being said, I drafted both Curtis Martin and Cedric Houston on my fantasy team, without the knowledge that Kevan Barlow was signed by the Jets. I hate my fantasy team; it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Tennessee might win a couple of games this year, but by this time next year Brady Quinn should be starting for the Jets. My pick: Tennessee.

New England



Did I say the Jets were getting Quinn? Buffalo might, but they’ll pull a Detroit/Houston on him and take a defensive player. You see, they have this weird infatuation with J.P. Losman in Buffalo. They find this scrambling quarterback, give him the number 7, and watch their team defense improve and offense regress. Quick name game to prove my point; of Peyton Manning, Kelly Holcomb, Mark Bulger, Matt Hasselbeck, Tom Brady, Ben Rothlisberger, who had the best completion rating last year?

That’s right, second in the league (behind Carson Palmer) was Kelly Holcomb. And J.P. Losman is the starter this year.

That being said, I’m tired of picking favourites, and 9.5 points is quite a lot to give a team with a great quarterback and no wide receivers. My pick: Buffalo.

@ Tampa Bay



McNair-Mason, it’s the early 21st century Tennessee Titans. This remake sounds more along the lines of an Indiana Jones sequel than a Wild Things sequel (I think they’re up to Wild Things 3 now, really pushing the creative limits of a murder-plot-twist-with-a-token-lesbian-scene movie, which coincidently, always seems to have water involved. They should just name the whole series Attack of the Wet Lesbian Killers). Anyways, back to Mason and McNair, these guys have something cerebral going on. Just like Andrew Cassels and Geoff Sanderson did in Columbus, Mason and McNair they’re going to get together for one last good stats season. FYI, Geoff Sanderson without Andrew Cassels, goals per game (career) 0.25. With Cassels, Sanderson scored at a 0.40 clip (translated into a season, he was a 20 goal scorer without Cassels and a 35 goal scorer with). What does that mean for this game? AFC is better than NFC. No connection to what I’ve said at all whatsoever. My pick: Baltimore.

@ Kansas City



Did you know Trent Green is 36? Did you know that Carson Palmer is 26? The question I have, is can Cincinnati stop Larry Johnson? Their secondary is great, but if Johnson is being tackled by Cincinnati’s secondary, it’s going to be a long day for the Bengals. I’m going to go with the home team here, and say that Larry Johnson has the kind of fantasy day that a first overall selection would. My pick: Kansas City.



@ Detroit

Curse bowl 2006. I hate Matt Millen. As my friend Whiting has stated on numerous occasions, and a thought echoed by lots of people, perhaps the Lions, who probably aren’t going to contend for the playoffs this year, could have used their first round selection on something they haven’t had in ages, and something that sorta helps a playoff cause, like a franchise quarterback. No, they decided that a linebacker was due. All due respect to Mr. Sims, but Matt Leinart could be the next Carson Palmer. The curse of Millen will overcome the curse of Madden/Super Bowl losers/official blamers. Someone has to do some investigative research and find out what pictures Millen has, specifically the kind that would grant him a 5 year extension. I hate Millen so much that I’ve now re-written history in my mind and decided the reason Barry Sanders quit was Matt Millen. My pick: Seattle.

@ Carolina


Oh Carolina, ba baa, ba ba baaa. Oh Carolina ba baa, ba ba baa. Oh Carolina something something, you make me lose my something, ba ba baa. Wouldn’t it be something, if Michael Vick finally got comfortable with the west coast offense, if Ashlie Lelie came in and added some quality presence in the locker room and a viable 2nd target, if Atlanta, in their first series, saw nothing but three-step drops from Vick and then him using his blessed arm to fire rockets to Crumpler? It would spread out the Carolina secondary, allowing Dunn to run free past the Carolina linebackers? Alas, Carolina will probably have a linebacker spying on Vick and waiting to meet him 2 yards from the line of scrimmage. Although 5.5 is a lot of points. I’m thinking this game is coming down to a field goal. My pick: Atlanta.



@ Houston

Philadelphia is going to kill Houston. Absolutely destroy them. As my football prospectus says “Imagine you were a Texans fan and were thinking you could get Reggie Bush as your starting running back and you ended up with Wali Lundy. That would be like dreaming of getting an Xbox 360 for Christmas and waking up with a broken Atari in your stocking.” That being said, defensive ends have a longer career lifespan than running backs, even if Reggie Bush might not only have been Houston’s best running back, but possibly challenged Andre Johnson for top receiver status. Does anyone else see Houston’s move of putting Dominick Davis on the IR as simply a way of preventing him from getting seriously injured because they’ve already thrown in the towel for 2006? My pick: Philadelphia.

@ Cleveland


New Orleans

Torture-Bowl 2006. Even if they lose at least Cleveland fans can say they’ve seen Reggie Bush before anyone else. Again, going with the fact that AFC is better than the NFC and taking the Browns, but not betting on this game. I hate first week games, I should point that out. Because anybody can win, and it doesn’t dictate what is going to happen at all. Did I say Cleveland was going to win? Because I think New Orleans could surprise people this year, just like they could last year, pulling together as a team for the City of New Orleans and playing over their heads (they should have been 2-14 last year and gotten Reggie Bush fair and square). My pick: New Cleveland.

@ Jacksonville



TO always has one good season (usually his first) with a team. Dallas should win, Jacksonville is home. I hate the first week. Speaking of Texas, Chris Bosh (who is from Texas I believe) was in the latest issue of ESPN the magazine, and I was afraid. I thought the article was about how Chris Bosh is the best unknown player from that 2003 draft, and how he’s about to get known by moving to another team. But then the facts kicked in, he was just signed to an extension, even thought the Raptors didn’t pick up Aldridge, they did grab his buddy T.J. Ford, and Nesterovic allows Bosh to stop playing the 5, and go to the 4. Things look good for the Raptors. Maybe not playoffs good, but maybe. My pick: Dallas.



@ Green Bay

Seriously? Only 3.5 points? Screw it; I’m going to use this space to officially state that the Toronto Maple Leafs training camp starts in less than a week (September 14th) and that I’m officially excited about the upcoming hockey season. Leafs are going to win their division. Everyone who isn’t a Leaf fan is going to hate the Leaf fans (and I won’t be proud of the parades after winning one playoff round). The Leafs fans are like the Yankees fans. There are tons of us everywhere, and that means there are more stupid ones. We’re back baby, and more obnoxious than ever. Suck it. I’m going to Constanza this pick, and go against my instinct. My pick: Green Bay.

@ Arizona


San Francisco

Doing analysis for all the games is a lot more work than I previously thought. I’m probably going to keep the commentary to a minimum. Quick fact, Kurt Warner only started 10 games last year (missing all of October), and lead NFL qb’s in 300 yard games with 5 (he had a 6th with 285) and averaged 271 yards thrown per start. He also averaged 37.5 pass attempts a game. I think the addition of a running back might bring those numbers back down to earth a bit. My pick: Arizona.



@ NY Giants

Manning Bowl. Blah blah blah. Did you know that the Manning bowl is on this Sunday night on NBC? Who will Mrs. Manning cheer for? Who cares? If the Giants win, Peyton won’t speak to Eli until next year, at the earliest. That being said, Indy might win their first 13 games again this year, and this will be the smallest spread they get. My pick: Indianapolis.

Monday Night



If this was the Nationals versus the Twins, who would you take? If this was the Timberwolves versus the Wizards, who would you take? If this was the Capitals versus the Wild, who would you take? Twins and Wild make it 2-1 for Minnesota for me. My pick: Minnesota, 24-17.

San Diego


@ Oakland

This game starts past 10 pm eastern standard time. It might not end until past 1:30. And yet, I’ll be in bed, dozing off until San Diego puts up a two touchdown lead with under 2 minutes to play. And then, and only when they start taking knees because Art Shell used all his timeouts in the third quarter, will I fall asleep. Because a few years ago I missed the Colts comeback against the Buccaneers, and will sacrifice Tuesday morning productivity in order to never again miss a great late comeback. My pick: San Diego, 35-21.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

what i did on my summer vacation

In school today, teacher asked us to write about what we did this past summer. She ignored the fact that a man was a student in her grade 2 class. As would any good teacher.

Dear extremely attractive Grade two Teacher in this odd fantasy of a gentleman,

§ I spent most of this summer with my head in the clouds.

§ I listened to a lot of CBC radio one, trying to figure out the must music song of the day. I was usually wrong.

§ I read a couple of books; David Halberstams Education of a Coach and Mark Harris’ Southpaw. The former I got with my Baseball Prospectus, the latter was recommended by Rob Neyer, a baseball writer. I also read Baseball Prospectus and Football Prospectus. Those are long text like books. Did I read any non-sport books? The Art of War by Sun Tzu and Best a Man Can Get by John O’Farrell. I probably read some more books, I just can’t remember right now.

§ I spent the long-weekends sleeping. I needed the rest.

§ I realized that I the last few years in school had made me fat. I realized this after spending the summer playing on multiple sporting teams and losing some weight and then looking at pictures of myself from this past spring. Man was I tubby. And I thought people were being affectionate by calling me fatty. Only now do I realize that they were being observational.

§ I spent a lot of time working on stuff. That is the best way I can describe how I spend most of my days. I do a lot of stuff. Perhaps the best way to put it is that I am a business man. I do business. Apparently my teenage identity crisis has carried on into my adult stage. This is going to keep me up nights, what do I do? Good thing I found this question now, rather than say, on a date where a female would ask me what I do and I would proceed to freeze up. Screw it, if she asks, I’m a talent scout for a dance show.

§ I realized that with the absence of liquids or gels on planes we’re probably safer, if not more dehydrated, on planes. Also, why aren’t laptops banned? You know, the ones with the batteries that have a habit of overheating and exploding? Aren’t those, you know, a slight safety hazard? Anyways, I’ve figured out a way to increase security, shorten security lines, and increase the number of people that fly (or at least the number of teenage boys). Implement a nudity policy on aircraft. Security checks would be faster, as there are a limited number of hiding spots on the naked body. Line the seats with plastic wrapping, at the end of each flight just rip it off like they do tablecloth at Chinese restaurants.

§ If you tell people you are lying, they won’t believe you. Because that would mean you are lying about lying, or telling the truth about lying, which wouldn’t be lying. Human brains are not built to comprehend the sentence “I am lying about everything.”

§ If you have to tell people you are joking, you are not very funny. If you tell a joke and your audience doesn’t laugh, and you have to tell them “I am joking” you should consider telling better jokes. If you say something sarcastically, and the person you are telling it to does not get it, and you have to say “I am joking”, perhaps you should say “I was being sarcastic.” Either case might be an indication that you need to stop joking/ being sarcastic.

§ The Illusionist was the best movie I saw all summer. Considering my movie list consists of “Just My luck”, “The Break-up”, “Broken Flowers”, and not “Miami Vice”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Talladega Nights” it might not be saying much. But I still had a lot of fun watching the Illusionist. Magic + Movie + good actors in Ed Norton and the son of a former baseball commissioner = good times.

§ There needs to be more verbal math. My life can be described in verbal math.

§ Old car + value village clothes – shaving = zero chicks.

§ New car + new clothes + haircut = same old you.

§ Late night + hungry = Chinese food.

§ Water + coffee = multiple bathroom breaks.

§ Old mattress + bumpy pillow = stiff neck in morning.

§ Bunch of guys + football – knowledge of body limitations + thinking they are still 18 = random football injury or pulled muscle in morning.

§ Bar + girls making out (does not) = trying to get your attention.

§ Bar + girls making out = gay night.

§ Car + funny noise = not good = -$

§ Computers + internet = porn

§ Blog post + one good idea = worth it.

Shameless self promotion right here. In Urdu, Shabash means “congratulations” or “well done.”