Friday, December 29, 2006

It's not just a Dirty Harry movie

Wow, if you had James Brown, Gerald Ford and Saddam Hussein in your 2006 Dead Pool, the last few days has been "John-Elway-leading-'The-Drive'" kind of work. Solid stuff.

I think I'm going to start a Dead Pool this year, by the way. Let me know if you'd like to participate.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

He needs a drink

How not to rob a liquor store.


Betcha Bottom Dollar: NFL Week 17

Oh joy, Week 17.

Instead of making witty bonmots and loving tributes to James Brown, Gerald Ford and John Edwards, I get to spend this week's picks telling you the story behind the story.

What teams have something to play for? What has to happen for Team A to make it into the playoffs? Who will be starting their best players? How many teams have to tank for the Falcons to make it into the playoffs?

The answer to that last question is clear, by the way: A lot. OK, even clearer: four.

This NFL season, however, has been so putrid that Atlanta actually still has a shot - if Carolina, Green Bay and the New York Giants all lose, and the Falcons somehow go to Philadelphia and win, Michael Vick and Co. have a date with destiny. Or maybe the Bears.

NY Giants (-2 1/2) @ Washington. The 7-8 Giants can lose and still make it to the playoffs - that's unbelievable. Sure, it's a longshot - it would require losses by St. Louis, Atlanta, Green Bay and Carolina - but still, the thought of a 7-9 team in the playoffs is absurd. Meanwhile, in Washington, Ladell Betts will continue his very unheralded streak of 100+ yard games (five and counting) and help lead the 'Skins to a win. PICK: Washington

Buffalo @ Baltimore (-9). The Ravens clinch a first round bye and possibly home field advantage with a win - so expect them to make buffalo burgers out of the Bills. (See what I did there?). PICK: Baltimore

Green Bay @ Chicago (-2 1/2). Chicago ain't playin' for a thing, Green Bay is - but it don't matter a bit. Chicago's backup QB (Brian Griese) is probably better than the starter (Sexy Rexy). PICK: Chicago

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati (-6). Upset special: Pittsburgh is going to absolutely relish knocking the Bengals out of playoff contention. Bill Cowher wants to leave the Steelers for his new coaching job in Atlanta with a win. (Or did I dream that press conference?). PICK: Pittsburgh

Detroit @ Dallas (-12 1/2). The Cowboys are going to be huge Falcons fans on Sunday, as their win plus an Eagles loss clinches the division for them. The first part is going to be easier. (And thankfully I got through a pick without using parenthes ... dammit!). PICK: Dallas

Cleveland @ Houston (-4). This is one of the few games that means absolutely nothing. So let me take this moment to recommend Rocky Balboa to you. I saw it last week, and - oh, I've already talked about this? Incessantly? Obnoxiously? Rocky! Rocky! Rocky! PICK: Cleveland

Miami @ Indianapolis (-7 1/2). The Colts - or rather, The Team That's Destined To Make An Early Playoff Exit - can clinch a first round bye with a win and a Baltimore loss. And since we already covered Baltimore's win up there a bit, maybe that "early playoff exit" will be really freakin' early. PICK: Miami

Jacksonville @ Kansas City (-2 1/2).
Both of these teams need wins and a lot of help to make the playoffs. I mean, a lot of help. Basically, chalk this contest up to just as important as Cleveland/Houston - which sucks, because I would love to see what the Jags could do in the postseason. PICK: Jacksonville

St. Louis (-2) @ Minnesota.
St. Louis is another team that technically has something to play for, but is basically out. I mean, how can you be confidant when you have to rely on beating the Vikings, and the Giants, Panthers and Falcons all losing? Oh, and you suck? PICK: St. Louis

Carolina (-3) @ New Orleans. So far, it looks OK for the Falcons - a Giants loss, a Packers loss - but hold on there, kitten. The Panthers are pretty awful, but New Orleans is playing for absolutely nothing, so don't expect to see heavy doses of Drew Brees, Reggie Bush or Marques Colston. Who's the Saints backup QB, you ask? Jamie "Big Game" Martin. Sorry, Falcs. PICK: Carolina

Oakland @ NY Jets (-11 1/2). The Jets win and they're in. They're in. PICK: NY Jets

Atlanta @ Philadelphia (-6 1/2). I really, really wish the Eagles had nothing to play for. Instead, they have to beat Atlanta to win the division (or hope for a Cowboy loss to the Lions, which ain't happening). I'm hoping Jeff Garcia will realize it's the new millennium and calm down a bit, but that would only help if the Falcons could actually score. PICK: Philadelphia

Seattle @ Tampa Bay (-3 1/2). Seattle has made the playoffs, and can achieve nothing further with a win. So get ready for that QB matchup we've been anticipating for decades: Seneca Wallace vs. Tim Rattay! I just hope Seattle third-stringer David Greene (UGA, what, what!) gets some snaps. PICK: Seattle

New England @ Tennessee (-3).
The worst Patriots team in years has still clinched their division, and are playing for nothing - while the Titans are still a longshot for a playoff spot. With only a win here and a Cincinnati loss and a Denver loss and a Kansas City win - Vince Young to the Super Bowl, baby! PICK: Tennessee

San Francisco @ Denver (-10 1/2).
Denver wins, and they're in. So they're - woah, hold on there, little doggy. Ten-plus point spread or no, I'm laying the gauntlet here. In my best (worst) Dick Vitale voice, "UPSET SPECIAL, BABY!" The 49ers not only cover, they go to Colorado and win out fuckin' right. And man, I hope it helps clear a path for the Titans. PICK: San Francisco

Arizona @ San Diego (-14). The Chargers clinch home field advantage with a win, which means the starters will play until they're up by three touchdowns or so. Expect the ball to be handed to backup QB Billy Volek, then, around 12:00 in the first quarter. PICK: San Diego

Last week: 8-8
Overall: 85-78-3
Fake wagering total ($50 on every game, 10% juice on losses): minus $40

Monday, December 25, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

We are unoriginal

We Are Marshall, the inspirational football movie starring Matthew McConaughey, opens in theaters this weekend.

I wonder if they're trying to leach off the good will of another popular sports film. Hmmm...

Loyal reader Scott has sent in this addition:

Bravo, Mr. Hartman.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Smell it, nerds

The surprising Georgia Bulldogs basketball team takes on Georgia Tech tonight - and no matter the outcome, the game has already produced a beautiful paragraph in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

When your team has lost six straight to Georgia in football, six of the past 10 in men's basketball, 27 of 29 in women's basketball and two years ago got gut-punched by the baseball Dogs to be knocked out of the NCAAs — at Tech! — then to heck with dropping a battle ax on Georgia's head, as school fight songs propose.

Read the rest here.

Rosie psalms

From today's Drudge Report. And I don't - for a second - think this layout was unintentional.

Yeah, Trump is acting childish and stupid. But, oh yeah, it's hilarious.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Georgia Tech was a 7-point underdog against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl.

Funny, just a few hours later, now they're a 21-point favorite. Weird.

Still the champ

It was actually better than I thought it would be. Seriously.

People were actually cheering - and I'm talking about the people in the movie theater, not those on the screen.

Oh, and Bill Simmons is a jackass. He finally makes it through an entire column without mentioning Boston, but then manages to misunderstand or misrepresent almost every aspect of the film. Wow, what keen insight - Stallone is using the "comeback" story as an allegory for his own life. You really dug deep to find that one, didn't you? Douchebag.

12/21 update: Simmons has backpedaled. Sort of.

Betcha Bottom Dollar: NFL Week 16

It's Wednesday, I'm sitting behind my desk at school, and so far today seems like any normal ol' regular midweek day. The kids are busy with their work, I am ignoring them to write on my blog, and I just cracked my seventh Coke Zero. Just like any other normal ol' regular midweek day.

It's a holiday, though. It's a glorious holiday, in fact, one that which the angels sing on high, the crowds line up to catch a glimpse of the holy spirit, and the prophets herald the return of the savior.

Today is Rocky Balboa Day.

Rocky Balboa, the long-awaited (by me, at least) return of Sylvester Stallone's classic boxing series, hits movie screens today. And the most amazing thing about it? It is getting some really good reviews.

Wednesday is usually trivia night, but not on this holiday evening. Myself and a merry band of wise men (and one woman) are heading down to Atlantic Station to catch the 8 p.m. unveiling. To get to the theater, just follow the bright star in the sky.

I'm bringing the myrrh.

Minnesota @ Green Bay (-3 1/2). The NFL season is just a shade over four months long - but doesn't it seem at least eight months ago that Minnesota was considered a serious playoff contender? The Pack is at 6-8 and clawing their way to a .500 season - too bad they end up at Chicago. PICK: Green Bay

Kansas City (-6 1/2) @ Oakland. Two teams headed nowhere. So I'll use this space to pimp a website I'm usually heavily opposed to: Ain't It Cool News. God, I mean this usually is an awful site - but they've done an amazing 20-part Q&A session with Sylvester Stallone over the past couple of weeks. Readers have sent in questions, Stallone has posted answers - and it has been an immensely entertaining read. Check it out here (links for the first 15 "rounds" are at the bottom, the most recent four are on the main page - I have to do all of this explanation because, like I said, the site is wretched). PICK: Oakland

Tennessee @ Buffalo (-4 1/2). There is absolutely no way I'm betting against Vince Young and Jeff Fisher. You know, Jeff Fisher, future Atlanta Falcons coach. Jeff Fisher, future Atlanta Falcons coach. Jeff Fisher, future Atlanta Falcons coach. (I'm hoping Mr. Fisher is like Candyman - say his name three times, and he appears). PICK: Tennessee

New Orleans @ NY Giants (-3). Wow, I'm rooting for the Saints this week. With the Giants and Falcons tied at 7-7 - and New York holding the all-important head-to-head tiebreaker - I find myself siding with the enemy. Because, the way I think I see it, if New York and Philly both win, it's over for my beloved birds. Well, let's hope Philly comes through, because I don't see the in-the-playoffs-already Saints making a move here. PICK: NY Giants

Carolina @ Atlanta (-6). Last weekend's game just destroyed me - I really thought the Falcons had Dallas where they wanted them. Oh well, such is life. Anyway, like I said above, Atlanta doesn't completely control their own destiny - but there's no excuse for losing here. Let's go for a little reverse mojo here, though. PICK: Carolina

Washington @ St. Louis (-2). Wait, is it reverse mojo if I announce it is reverse mojo? Ah, who cares - ROCKY! ROCKY! ROCKY! PICK: Washington

Indianapolis (-9) @ Houston. Two years ago, I was substitute teaching at a school here in Atlanta. It was the last day before the winter holidays - much like today - and the Christmas spirit was everywhere. The teachers were all wearing their obnoxious jingly sweaters, the kids were hyper because of the impending break, and nice things like the canned food drive for the homeless was in full effect. In fact, one of my kids had brought in three cans and given them to me for donation. Including one really tasty looking Chunky soup with chicken and rice. I mean, it really looked good. And I had forgotten my lunch. And it had one of those really easy pull-off tops. And it was for the homeless. And it was, in fact, really tasty. PICK: Indianapolis

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (-3). The Ravens shut out the Steelers four weeks ago, so there's no reason a 3-point spread should be troublesome. PICK: Baltimore

Tampa Bay @ Cleveland (-3). I caught myself watching the entire overtime of Chicago/Tampa Bay last weekend. Whenever I find myself staring at a game like that - a game that means Nothing-with-a-capital-N, it means I have something important to do that I really don't want to do. But it's like, "Yeah, but they're in overtime. My (insert important job suffering from procrastination here) can wait." When I was up at midnight still working on it - yeah, it apparently couldn't wait. PICK: Cleveland

Chicago (-4 1/2) @ Detroit. Bears fans really can't think they are going anywhere in the playoffs with Rex Grossman at QB. It's not happening. I haven't laid a football bet all year, but I might have to when a Grossman-led Chicago team goes up against a Dallas or, heck, even a New Orleans in the postseason. (Or an Atlanta! Yeah!). PICK: Chicago

New England @ Jacksonville (-2 1/2). The Jags stumbled against the Titans last week, and if this season is any indication, it's time for 420 rushing yards from Maurice Velvet-Jones-John-Drew-Carey and David Garrard to look like Joe fucking Montana - but better. PICK: Jacksonville

Arizona @ San Francisco (-4). Upset special, baby!!!! Um, hello? PICK: Arizona

Cincinnati @ Denver (-3). The year's first playoff game, perhaps. And it's going to be a great game - if you're a Cincinnati fan looking for your team to run a monkey-stomp. PICK: Cincinnati

San Diego (-4 1/2) @ Seattle.
So Marcus Giles, the one remaining Brave Who Has Been In My House, has now pretty much signed with the San Diego Padres. He will play there with his older brother, Brian. Trouble is, I remember hearing trade rumors regarding the elder Giles as recently as last week. Could Marcus have put a no-trade clause for his brother into his own contract? PICK: San Diego

Philadelphia @ Dallas (-7).
If Dallas wins here, Atlanta @ Philadelphia next week essentially becomes a playoff game (assuming the Falcons don't tank it against Carolina on Sunday). It's the nature of sports, I guess, how I can go from wanting Dallas dead last weekend to them being my second favorite team a few days later. Say it with me, now: Go T.O. I don't know what's worse: that or saying "Go New Orleans." ROCKY! ROCKY! ROCKY! PICK: Philadelphia

NY Jets @ Miami (-2 1/2). Jeff Fisher. Jeff Fisher. Jeff Fisher. PICK: NY Jets

Last week: 7-9
Overall: 77-70-3
Fake wagering total ($50 on every game, 10% juice on losses): DEAD FREAKING EVEN. ZERO. UNBELIEVABLE.

The college picks will be up soon over at P&S.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Road warriors

I remember once calling Atlanta's Peachtree/Piedmont intersection "dangerous."

I had no idea what the hell I was talking about.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Betcha Bottom Dollar: NFL Week 15

Yeah, yeah.

The minute you start paying for this is the minute you can start complaining about its timeliness.

Dallas (-3) @ Atlanta. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, I'm a big ol' stinky idiot. Well, here's your opportunity, Falcons, because I believe Atlanta wins this game. I can't justify it. I can't successfully dissect my belief with logic. Hell, logic actually dictates a Cowboys win: coming off an embarrassing loss, they're bound to be pumped up for a national audience on Saturday night, Georgia Dome be damned. Hell, it's not even that big a home field advantage for the Falcons - the last time I was in the house for a Falcons/Cowboys game, the surroundings felt more like Dallas than Atlanta. Oh right, and Atlanta might be missing their two leading running backs. And its coach is an idiot. I just feel something weird about this one, though - that Atlanta will feed off of those vocal supporters and pull off something big, something that start the playoff fire burning. And then, of course, they'll lose to Carolina next weekend. PICK: Atlanta

NY Jets @ Minnesota (-3 1/2).
Yes, I just casually used the phrase "in the house." And yes, I'm upset about it. PICK: NY Jets

Cleveland @ Baltimore (-11). Now Brian Billick - there's a coach. I scoffed when he fired OC Jim Fassel earlier this season, but all his team has done since is go 6-1. (C'mon, Mr. Blank: Billick is only under contract through next season. Buy that puppy out!). PICK: Cleveland

Houston @ New England (-11 1/2). Jacksonville is fighting for their playoff lives right now. If they could have beat Houston once - once - they'd be near locks for a postseason berth. PICK: Houston

Miami @ Buffalo (-1). Miami decision to go with Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees is looking great right about now. PICK: Miami

Pittsburgh (-3) @ Carolina. The Panthers started the season as a widespread Super Bowl pick. They're beginning to wrap it up by being 3-point home underdogs to a 6-7 team. That's demoralizing, sure, but not as demoralizing as when the 6-7 favorite covers. PICK: Pittsburgh

Washington @ New Orleans (-9 1/2). Wow, that big Ashley Lelie/TJ Duckett deal really blew the doors off the 2007 NFL season, huh? Lelie has caught a whopping zero touchdowns, while Duckett has amassed 97 total yards through 14 weeks. Yowza. PICK: Washington

Jacksonville (-3 1/2) @ Tennessee. (Psst, Mr. Blank: If Billick isn't your cup of tea, Jeff Fisher's contract is up at the end of this season. Don't let those rumors about a contract extension with the Titans get you down!). PICK: Tennessee

Tampa Bay @ Chicago (-13 1/2). So did I become the ruler of Hollywood and not find out about it? Give me the job a year ago, and I would have automatically decreed these events to take place: Sylvester Stallone has to make new entries in the Rocky and Rambo series, Peter Jackson will not be allowed to give us a six-hour Hobbit film with fourteen endings, Eddie Murphy will get long overdue Oscar attention, Bruce Willis will suit up for another Die Hard, Reese Witherspoon will dump that no-talent Ryan Phillippe, and his piece-of-shit film Crash will never win Best Picture. Every one of those things has happened. (No, I'm still not ready to accept Crash - "the 'yeah, no shit' movie of all time" - winning anything). PICK: Chicago

Philadelphia @ NY Giants (-5 1/2). The game of the week. So says the New York media, at least. PICK: NY Giants

Detroit @ Green Bay (-5). The game of the week. So says Jon Kitna's mom, at least. PICK: Detroit

Denver (-2 1/2) @ Arizona. I feel a bit vindicated, I gotta admit. For over a month now, I've been telling you Denver wasn't as good as general consensus claimed. Way back on November 15th, in fact, I told you "something smells ripe about this Denver team." Well, four straight losses later, I've just pulled a muscle patting myself on the back. PICK: Arizona

Kansas City @ San Diego (-8 1/2). I know I'm not the first one to ask, but I'll do it anyway: Why are we letting NFL players like Shawne Merriman and Matt Lehr slide on steroid allegations, yet Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire are practically crucified? Would it be different if the NFL's names were "Michael Vick" and "LaDainian Tomlinson?" PICK: Kansas City

St. Louis @ Oakland (-2 1/2). The first 10,000 fans get a sharp blow to the head with a 2x4. Ba-dum-bum! Thank you, I'll be here all week. PICK: St. Louis

Cincinnati @ Indianapolis (-3). If you own Rudi Johnson in your fantasy league, prepare to be very happy on Monday night. PICK: Cincinnati

Last week: 7-9
Overall: 70-61-3
Fake wagering total ($50 on every game, 10% juice on losses): up $145.

The college picks will be up soon over at P&S.

Friday, December 15, 2006

"Why are you so calm?!"

The trailer for July's Live Free or Die Hard has been released.

Enjoy. And don't say I never did anything for you.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Betcha the picks column will be late

So I took the day off. A long list of things to do and such.

1) Dentist appointment - check. No cavities. I'm awesome.
2) Pet grooming. Three dogs, all nasty, all stinkin' up the various rugs and couches. Check - dogs clean.
3) Clean the den. Christmas party in nine days (if you haven't received the Evite, send me your e-mail address). Sorta check - it's a nine-day job, apparently.
4) Call somebody about something which can't be talked about yet. More news soon. Check - mysterious person communicated with.
3) Write the NFL picks column. Chec ... not so fast.

For the second straight week, we'll be delayed a bit. But here's the Thursday night game for your viewing enjoyment:

San Francisco @ Seattle (-9 1/2). Boring. Who cares? Not me. PICK: San Francisco

That was worth waiting for, huh?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Nom de doom

Holy crap, Barack Obama's middle name really is Hussein.

I mean, I've heard that many times - but I've always thought it was a joke.

(And yes, it's frightening there are people who will let this sway their vote).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Betcha Bottom Dollar: NFL Week 14

I started noticing the bodies about half a mile from my house.

There was the first one - bruised and battered, crumpled on the ground. I noticed him because as near-death as he appeared, his left fist was repeatedly hitting the side of his own face. Odd, to say the least.

Fifty yards later, I had to swerve to miss a young woman who had clearly seen better days. She was part of a group of zombie-like folks who were staring off, mumbling incoherently. I came three feet from hitting her with my car, yet she didn't even flinch.

Turning onto my street, I became seriously worried. Bodies were piled up on the sidewalks, homes were on fire, and I had to maneuver my cars around the fallen trees. A small prop plane - probably from the nearby DeKalb airport - had taken out power lines and finally come to rest in the middle of some poor sap's living room.

I finally got to my house and cautiously stepped out of the car. My sister sprinted out of the front door, with a wild and worried look. A bit crazed, which only made me even more nervous.

"The picks, Josh!" she screamed. "You forgot to post your NFL picks column!"

Yeah, sorry about that.

Baltimore @ Kansas City (-3). Big playoff implications in this one. The Ravens find themselves in the midst of a race again thanks to the resurgent Bengals, and the Chiefs are one of many 7-5 wild card hopefuls. The Ravens looked horrible last week, and I'm pretty sure an away game in Kansas City won't exactly help. PICK: Kansas City

Atlanta (-3) @ Tampa Bay.
The NFC - it's FAN-tastic. It's a bit absurd Atlanta is still heavily in playoff contention after their rotten November. Going 3-1 over the last four games would cement Atlanta's playoff viability, and 2-2 might even do the job. And it shapes up like this: @Tampa Bay, Dallas, Carolina, @Philadelphia. Chalk up the Bucs as a win (and I know that's even dicey this season). And then, ... whoo, boy. Um, yeah, uh, go Falcons. Or something. PICK: Atlanta

Minnesota @ Detroit (-1 1/2). How the holy hell did Atlanta lose to Detroit? And how the holier hell does Matt Millen still have a job? PICK: Detroit

Tennessee @ Houston (-1). There's no reason for you to believe this, but I was thisclose to picking the Titans to upset the Colts outright last week. I had even typed it. And then I turned into a big sloppy puss. So I owe 'em one. PICK: Tennessee

NY Giants @ Carolina (-2 1/2). It's like, I knew that Chris Weinke was still the backup in Carolina, but I don't think I really realized it. Oh man, and I was just about to make a smartass "he's so old" joke - but realized he's only four years older than me. Now I'm depressed. Anyway, Tinky Weinke might be starting for the Panthers this weekend, which fills me with emotions of the mixed variety. If I read this one correctly, I - a Falcons fan - will be rooting for my division rival, one in fact that we're currently tied with. See, the Giants are also tied for the NFC wild card spot, but they beat us. So when it comes down to tiebreakers, I'd rather be facing off against the Panthers, who we're 1-0 against so far (with one to go). Of course, if I still think the division title is within reach ... nah, let's focus on the wild card. Go Panthers. (Oh, and did you know Jared Lorenzen is the second string QB for the Giants? Man, I'd love to see that epic Weinke/Lorenzen faceoff). PICK: NY Giants

New Orleans @ Dallas (-7). As good and strong and omniscient and sexy and adroit and proficient and wicked and salubrious and f'in kick-ass the Dallas Cowboys are, they won't win the Super Bowl. In a year that Crash won Best Picture, the Florida Gators get to the national championship game, and, uh - oh yeah - some troops died or something, God just wouldn't let the Cowboys win the Super Bowl. Um, or the Saints, actually. I mean, God already did New Orleans a favor by giving it a bath. Which it sorely needed. PICK: New Orleans

Buffalo @ NY Jets (-3 1/2). Buffalo already lost to the Jets once this season - by eight points at home. So it's a weird spread, methinks. PICK: NY Jets

Indianapolis (-1 1/2) @ Jacksonville. The Jags are the most predictable unpredictable team in the NFL. It's not easy to know how they're going to excel, or how they're going to fuck up - but it's pretty easy to tell which one is going to happen each week. They drop one to Houston, then monkey-stomp the Giants. They are on the losing end against Buffalo, then take down the resurgent Miami by two TDs. Now it's time for the no-show. PICK: Indianapolis

Philadelphia (-1 1/2) @ Washington. Alright, it's Sunday morning, I'm hungover (thanks to Pasqua and his Christmas party) - so I'm officially on auto-pilot. I'll do better next week, I promise. PICK: Philadelphia

Oakland @ Cincinnati (-11). So Cincinnati Deltha O'Neal got a DUI yesterday, making him the eighth Bengal player to be arrested this year. A caveat, though: he had a blood alcohol level of 0.10 (the limit is 0.08), and 0.10 ain't drunk. Of course, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is lobbying for a blood alcohol limit of 0.00, which makes me hope each one of them lost a child to a drunk driver, or will in the near future. Extremists piss me off. PICK: Oakland

New England (-3 1/2) @ Miami. Some people go to church on Sunday morning, I write crap like this in my underwear. PICK: Miami

Green Bay @ San Francisco (-4 1/2). I have DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket, which means I can check in on all of the games. I won't be checking in on this one. PICK: Green Bay

Seattle (-3 1/2) @ Arizona. Or this one. PICK: Seattle

Denver @ San Diego (-7 1/2). As an SEC fan and apologist, I hope Jay Cutler does very well in the pros. I just failed to see what all the hype was about, though. PICK: Denver

Chicago (-6 1/2) @ St. Louis. As an SEC fan and apologist, I hope Rex Grossman dies in a fire. PICK: St. Louis

Last week: 10-6
Overall: 63-52-3
Fake wagering total ($50 on every game, 10% juice on losses): up $290.

The college picks will be up soon over at P&S.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Religion of peace

The feds have arrested a man plotting a terrorist attack in Chicago. It seems he intended to detonate four grenades in a shopping mall during the Christmas rush.

I'll give you three chances to guess his religion. And the first two don't count.

(Tiny, small, tricky hint: his name is Talib Abu Salam Ibn Shareef).

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Betcha Bottom Dollar: NFL Week 14 - Episode One

Busy day, and the picks column isn't done. However, the first game kicks off in 45, so here's the early edition:

Cleveland @ Pittsburgh (-7). The Steelers nipped Cleveland in their first meeting about a month ago, but the Browns have become one of the most impressive 4-8 teams I've seen. Aside from an aberrant 30-point loss to Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago, the Browns have made the most of a tough schedule - hanging close to New Orleans, Baltimore, Carolina, Denver, San Diego and Pittsburgh, and actually beating the Jets, Atlanta and Kansas City. And even better, they've been a monster against the spread for me. PICK: Cleveland

The rest will be finished and posted some time tomorrow - you know, when I'm supposed to be teaching or something.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The benefits of a classical education

So Stanicek fancies himself a film critic now.

Don't get me wrong, the ol' law dawg knows his stuff about the world of celluloid. His copy of Maltin shows significant wear, and the guy has a movie quote for damn near every occasion - it's simultaneously impressive, eerie and a bit creepy, which is a positive mark in my book.

I just had no idea he had the same taste in movies as an 85-year-old woman. The next time I see him, I intend to debate him in the merits of Tab Hunter, Douglas Sirk and Cocoon: The Return.

See, he decided to list his five favorite Christmas movies of all time. It's a great idea, so good I'm about to steal it. It was his results I was a bit surprised at:

1) It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
2) Holiday Inn (1942)
3) A Christmas Carol (1951)
4) Scrooged (1989)
5) White Christmas (1954)

Look, I'm almost appreciative of the fact he didn't include A Christmas Story. I mean, it's obvious, and almost anybody would include it. The only problem? A Christmas Story deserves to be on that list, dammit. And don't give me that "it's his opinion" crap. It's a FACT A Christmas Story is one of the five best Christmas movies of all time. If you don't agree, you're wrong.

That doesn't mean it's the best one, though. Oh no, it's not even number two. Here are the real five best Christmas movies of all time, coming from a person who doesn't demand a senior citizen discount at theaters or complain about "those kids today and their disco dancing."

1) Die Hard - He got invited to the Christmas party by mistake. Who knew? And don't argue this isn't a Christmas movie. It takes place on Christmas Eve, opens with Run DMC's "Christmas In Hollis," and ends with "Let It Snow" (Stanicek's elderly intellect should at least appreciate that). As Hans Gruber says, "It's Christmas, Theo. It's the time of miracles." Well, Die Hard is the movie of miracles: kick-ass miracles.

2) A Midnight Clear - Criminally unknown. This 1992 World War II drama wasn't a hit in theaters or on video, but deserves to be seen. A superb cast including Ethan Hawke, Gary Sinise, Frank Whaley and Kevin Dillon helps deliver this story about an American platoon in 1944 France. German troops are discovered nearby - and their first contact, I remember distinctly, is one of the finest "Christmas moments" in movie history.

3) The Ref - Denis Leary, Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis star in this absurdly underrated dark comedy about a burglar who takes a family hostage on Christmas Eve. Until this point, Leary had just been an MTV loudmouth, but here he shows true chops and a wicked sense of humor (which has become even more finely tuned in his "Rescue Me," the best show on TV today). Spacey probably would turn this part down today, but his deft comic timing has never been more properly showcased.

4) A Christmas Story - Hey, did you notice Peter Billingsley - Ralphie in A Christmas Story - as Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston's bowling buddy in The Break-Up? Twenty-three years certainly does wonders to a guy's appearance.

5) Die Hard - No, not Die Hard 2. I'm talking about the first Die Hard again. It's that good.

On the bright side: only 15 days until "Rocky Balboa"

I put shaving cream on my toothbrush this morning.

It's going to be a long day.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Polls and computer rankings only make football more exciting, right?!?

So it's either Michigan or Florida in the college football "championship" game against Ohio State. My thoughts, which I know you were dying for:

1) Michigan is a better football team.
2) A rematch is pretty stupid, but the argument Michigan "had their chance" doesn't hold water. The first game wasn't on a neutral field, as the championship game will be.
3) A Michigan appearance makes the BCS look bad.
4) Florida coach Urban Meyer has turned into a very vocal playoff proponent, which we need. If Florida doesn't get a chance, Meyer continues to be vocal.
5) I hate Florida.

Verdict: I really want an Ohio State/Michigan rematch. Mostly for reason #3, but 4 and 5 are important as well.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Separated at virgin birth?

One of the US posters for last year's The 40-Year-Old Virgin:

One of the German posters for this year's The Nativity Story, aka The 14-Year-Old Virgin:

Spooky, no?

Shouldn't he have to apologize for "Trial and Error" too?

Michael Richards has agreed to meet with the four men targeted in his recent verbal assault. Fine and good.

My question: Will they apologize for calling him a "cracker" in retaliation?

Oh right, I forgot - that's allowed.

(I'm not saying I hold each trangression equal, by the way. To be honest, I think the black guys were perfectly justified in using the dreaded "c-word." However, I would've liked for someone, anyone to have pointed out that a racial slur was hurled the other way as well).

In three weeks, the Holy Redeemer returns...

No silly, I don't mean Jesus.

What I'm talking about is really exciting.