Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reporting from the celebration

The noise in here would drown out jet engines. An estimated crowd of 40,000 is cheering, clapping, stomping, and dancing to the blaring tunes of John Cafferty’s “Hearts on Fire.” A door opens in the back of the arena, and the main attraction appears. His arms are raised.

“… Burnin’ with determination, to even up the score! Heart’s on fire, strong desire, rages deep within. Heart’s on fire, fever’s risin’…”

For a good 30 seconds, he soaks in the adulation. Breaking into a trot, he heads up the center aisle, slapping high fives along the way, letting security take care of the more crazed fans. If the taxman charged a million dollars for smiling, every single person in this room would owe big.

“… Rules and regulations have no meaning anymore! Heart’s on fire, strong desire, rages deep within. Heart’s on fire, fever’s risin’…”

The center of everybody’s attention has reached the stage, and he bounds up the steps with the grace of a tap dancer. Turning around, he finally faces the throng. A microphone rises from the floor, stopping just in front of his face. He takes it from the stand.

“Please!” he yells. “Please! Calm down!”

Almost impossibly, the noise level rises. His pinstriped suit glimmers.

“Absolutely! Absolutely! Give yourselves a hand! The best fans in the world!”

This continues for a good minute, until the speaker’s pleas soak through. He begins again once things simmer to a dull roar. The music dims.

“We’ve all been a part of history, there’s no doubt about that,” he says. “When we started, everybody doubted us. When we hit roadblocks, everybody doubted us. When we announced our intention for perfection, everybody doubted us. But you know what everybody else did? Lost to us!”

Fantasy football coach Josh Massey pumps his fist as the crowd explodes in approval.

“People said an undefeated season was impossible! That it couldn’t be done! Well, they won’t say that anymore! They can’t say that anymore! Because Rooster Illusion has done it!

“Let’s take a look at our accomplishments. Not all of them; that would take the next four or five days. But the highlights. We lost our starting quarterback and first round draft pick, Tom Brady, in the opening minutes of Week One. But our insurance policies – back-ups Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan – stepped in and proved how invaluable good insurance is! Buy insurance! From me!”

The walls shake. The tremors of excitement can be felt a mile away.

“They laughed at us when we drafted Michael Turner in the third round. They scoffed when we started the run on defensive players in the sixth. They said, ‘Why is he signing a rookie running back like Steve Slaton? That guy sucks!’ No! He doesn’t! He doesn’t suck!”

A chant of “He! Doesn’t! Suck!” envelops the room for a short time, until Massey raises his right arm above his head.

“Now we stand on the other side of the playoffs, on the far side of the regular season, and we look back at a perfect 17-0 record. Back-to-back fantasy football championships, and the first three-time champion of Doug Gillett’s Big Ass Football League!”

Windows shatter in the back of the room.

“Now we have work to do. Our record might have been perfect, but there are other improvements to be made. Mistakes have to be corrected. Drafting DeAngelo Williams was genius, but cutting him after a few weeks – not a good idea. Drafting Darren McFadden in the fourth round – not a good idea. And I still haven’t figured out who the fuck Leigh Bodden is, much less why we took him in the 12th round. Those are imperfections, and they will disappear in '09! Until next year's draft, however, bask in the glory of beating Tim Kelly three times in the same season!"

The roof begins crumbling, women convulse, locusts appear.

"Ladies and gentlemen, your 2008 Big Ass Football League champion Rooster Illusion fantasy football team! Let's celebrate!"

"One day, one night, one moment. My dreams could be, tomorrow. One step, one fall, one falter, east or west, over earth or by ocean. One way to be my journey, this way could be my Book of Days..."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Confessions of a dangerous mind

A South Philadelphia man enraged because a father and son were talking during a Christmas showing of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button took care of the situation when he pulled a .380-caliber gun and shot the father, police said.

I just have one thing to say about that gun-toting criminal:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Seventeen

Seven weeks have passed since the last NFL game. Or five days, according to the calendar. But I trust my own sense of timing over what some piece of paper says, and I know it's been seven weeks.

Incidentally, Christmas day lasted 223 hours. Weird.

The picks:

Oakland @ Tampa Bay (-13). The NFL really messed up this week. I'm sure there are networks and rights and contracts and stuff, but why didn't we have an NFL game on Thursday night? And Friday afternoon? And Friday night? And all day Saturday? The Christmas season is long enough as it is, and all football fans had to subsist on were subpar exhibition games featuring the likes of TCU, Central Michigan and - shudder - Notre Dame. The networks can "flex" good games to primetime, why not move crappy games to Fridays? Nobody will watch Kansas City @ Cincinnati on Sunday, but it could have gotten a few million disinterested-but-at-least-still-watching viewers a couple days before. Seattle @ Arizona will garner no interest two days from now, but gambling alone would have propped up the ratings last night. PICK: Tampa Bay

Detroit @ Green Bay (-9 1/2). At least Matthew Stafford will have plenty of cash to buy winter clothes. And fully-automatic weaponry. PICK: Green Bay

Carolina (-3) @ New Orleans. Alright, here's my perfect scenario for Sunday. The Falcons finish off the Rams 42-0 with Michael Turner rushing for six touchdowns (fantasy championship game this weekend), the coaches meet at midfield, and the team congratulates each other on the impressive victory and the 11-win season. Before the Falcons leave the field, however, all screens switch to this game, where the Saints are leading by two scores with a minute left. The seconds tick away, and everybody remaining in the Dome gets to celebrate "the NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons" together. Is that too much to ask for a guy who didn't get a 52-inch 1080P flatscreen TV for Christmas? PICK: New Orleans

St. Louis @ Atlanta (-14). When I bought my season tickets, I remember looking at this game in particular and thinking, "Man, I'm not going to get anybody to go with me." If popular reason had prevailed, this game would be matchup of 4-win teams, and home team fans would secretly hope for a loss so we'd move up in the draft. Nope, didn't work out that way. Instead, we'll have at least six folks at our tailgate, and even in a blowout will stay to the bitter end - because, as I said, the NFC South and a bye week is perhaps on the line. This one is gonna be fun. PICK: Atlanta (yes, I picked Atlanta all 16 games, but it worked VERY well)

Chicago (-4) @ Houston. I'm thrilled about the apparent success of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, because it will likely give director David Fincher more freedom in the future. However, part of me is even happier because of Valkyrie's surprisingly good numbers. Tom Cruise may be a fruitbat off-screen, I have no idea, but the guy makes consistently great movies. In 20 years, he has made just two truly bad ones: Mission: Impossible 2 and Lions for Lambs (and the latter wasn't his fault at all). That's an absolutely amazing run, and I can't help but root for him. PICK: Houston

Kansas City @ Cincinnati (-3). A website called Silicon Alley Insider has dug up Newsweek's Christmas 1997 wish list. It really is amazing how far technology has come in 11 years. (My favorite is the $1,200 Motorola "cellular phone," complete with built-in answering machine). PICK: Kansas City

Dallas @ Philadelphia (-1 1/2). The Cowboys win, and they're in. Philadelphia is pretty much out, as they'd need a loss by Tampa Bay (unlikely) and then a loss by either Minnesota or Chicago. And the NFL did Dallas a huge favor by moving this to 4:15, so the Eagles will likely already know they're out of the postseason running by kickoff. Far be it for me to call shenanigans, but, well, fuck it - SHENANIGANS. PICK: Dallas

Jacksonville @ Baltimore (-12 1/2). PICK: Jacksonville

Tennessee (-3) @ Indianapolis. What could have been the biggest game of the AFC year ends up being Vince Young @ Jim Sorgi. Everything is wrapped up for both teams, so expect to see a gaggle of backups getting some time - and because Young has something to prove, it should put the Titans over the top. PICK: Tennessee

Cleveland @ Pittsburgh (-10 1/2). "I drive trucks, break arms, and arm wrestle. It's what I love to do, it's what I do best." Oh man, I should know better than to unwittingly type the title of a Sylvester Stallone film. Over the Top rules. PICK: Cleveland

Miami @ NY Jets (-2 1/2). "In a lifetime there is only love/
Reaching for the lonely one/
We are stronger when we are giving love/
When we put emotions on the line/
Know that we are the timeless ones/
Meet me halfway across the sky/
Out where the world belongs to only you and i/
Meet me halfway across the sky/
Make this a new beginning of another life."

Ok, the Kenny Loggins song from Over the Top is sort of terrible. PICK: Miami

New England (-6 1/2) @ Buffalo. Of course my focus Sunday is the Falcons winning the NFC South, but this game could provide a little cherry on top. To make the playoffs, the Patriots need a win here and a loss by either Baltimore or Miami. Imagining Bill Belichick sitting on a couch watching the first round of the playoffs, realizing the Jets essentially knocked them out with that overtime win, is a wonderful vision. PICK: New England

Seattle @ Arizona (-6).
Upset alert. The Seahawks will send Mike Holmgren out with a road victory against the slumping Cardinals (who, incidentally, the Falcons will face should they not win the division. Sweet.). PICK: Seattle

4:30 p.m. update: I posted this a couple hours before Bill Simmons called this his "upset special." Just FYI.

Washington @ San Francisco (-3). Getting Bill Cowher is the only reason for Washington to fire Jim Zorn. And the 49ers could be nasty next year - they're just a few pieces away. PICK: San Francisco

Denver @ San Diego (-9). The classic scenario: Win or go home. I like the Chargers to win the game, but this spread is absurd. PICK: Denver

Last week: 6-9-1
Overall: 55-63-4

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Thank you, mom and dad, for not being these people.

Seriously. Thank you.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Checking it twice

The Atlanta Falcons needed a lot of things to fall their way the past few days. Let's take a look at the list:

1) Baltimore beating Dallas. Check.
2) San Diego beating Tampa Bay. Check.
3) Washington beating Philadelphia. Check.
4) New York beating Carolina. Check.
5) Oh, and of course, Atlanta beating Minnesota.


That's absurd. Dominoes don't fall that straight.

The Falcons clinching a playoff spot this week wasn't terribly realistic, and yet it happened. Which is pretty much par for the course for this 2008 team.

Atlanta takes on the horrible St. Louis Rams at home on Sunday, but everybody's attention will be a bit divided. Carolina and New Orleans also play at 1 p.m., and assuming a win over the Rams, the NFC South belongs to the Falcons if the Panthers lose. The division would come gift-wrapped with a bye week and a guaranteed home playoff game.

If Carolina wins on Sunday, they take the division and the Falcons head to Arizona for a first-round date with the Cardinals. This is yet another piece of good news, as the Cardinals are easily the worst playoff-bound NFC team, and have been playing like hot garbage recently.

Of course I'm hoping for a home playoff game, but it wouldn't be so terrible to take yet another football related trip to Arizona this year. Anybody with me?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Aviator cap

See, that's the problem with a historic 9-3 season. You have to deal with all the bandwagon jumpers.

12/21 update: Scratch that. As Scott points out, it is likely a Grambling cap. I guess DiCaprio graduated from there.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Sixteen

'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the house/
Not a creature was stirring, except a big goddamn mouse...

Last week, I told a sappy, puke-inducingly sweet story about a little pug I saw in a pet store. A cutesy, wootsy puppy that would melt the heart of any Grinchy Winchy. If PETA read it, I'd probably headline their next made-of-recycled-hemp newsletter due to my unending dedication to our animal friendsee wendzees.

Animal love has its limits, though, and I'm not just talking legally.

To get this story, by the way, you have to understand my house is retarded. My brother's bedroom is in the basement, my room is a floor up, the den and kitchen are another floor up, and my brother's other bedroom is another floor up. So when I say "my brother was upstairs watching TV," he's actually in our den. Anyway.

So my brother was upstairs watching TV - probably one of his many TIVOed episodes of "Two and a Half Men" or a Pay-Per-View showing of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 - when there was a scratching sound from behind the flat-screen. We talk about the things that "go bump in the night," but what fell from behind the screen was more of a big-ass thump.

THUMP. Scurryscurryscurry.

A rat had found its way into our walls, and only found one way to escape - the hole we had drilled in our wall to hang our TV.

Well, from downstairs, I hear the THUMP and then the scream of a 4-year-old girl. Which was my 31-year-old brother. The pitter-patter of plumber feet scurryscurryscurried up the stairs, never managing to say an audible word or grab his dog out of harm's way.

My phone rings 10 seconds later. It's the guy two floors up.

"Hhh-hhh-hhh," he says (that's my way of spelling 'out-of-breath'). "Hhh-hhh-hhh. It's big. Big. Hhh-hhh-hhh. Definitely a rat. Fell down from hhh-hhh-hhh behind the TV. Hhh-hhh. What am I going - oh shit. I left the remote control downstairs. Oh God, and that Martin Lawrence movie Black Knight is on up here. I can't change the channel. Shit."

So now my brother has seen Black Knight.

The story only begins here, though. My brother has yet to sleep in our house since Monday. But I have gone to battle, waging a war that's increasingly costly and frustrating. I've tried bait. Small traps. Big traps. Huge they-should-have-used-these-in-Cloverfield traps. And nothing works. Worse, the fucker is taunting me.

I lace these things with peanut butter as instructed, but each morning I wake up to find the traps just as I left them - sans peanut butter. He's still in my house somewhere - a fat and happy son of a bitch - confined to the den and adjoining wall. But this is getting personal. At first, I wanted to kill him in a humane way, a quick trap that would take care of everything in a relatively painless way. Now, though, after the nights of silent listening and study, I'm researching torture devices that would catch the rat today and kill it sometime around March, Saw VI-style.

Any direction is appreciated.

The picks:

Baltimore @ Dallas (-4). The biggest non-Falcon game of the week. If the Ravens can pull the upset here (a manageable proposition) and the Falcons can win in Minnesota (a very manageable proposition), Atlanta is very likely headed to the playoffs. Come on, propositions! Be managed! PICK: Dallas (trying to double reverse whammy jinx the game)

Pittsburgh (-2) @ Tennessee. The AFC - who cares? PICK: Pittsburgh

Miami (-4) @ Kansas City. The AFC - who cares? PICK: Kansas City

Arizona @ New England (-7 1/2). The AFC and an already playoff-bound NFC team - who cares? PICK: New England

Cincinnati @ Cleveland (-3). I've been involved in this company contest for a couple of months - far too boring to go into detail about - but yesterday I left work early for a related luncheon. The luncheon, as luck would have it, was at a bowling alley. Now I'm not one to brag, but let's just say the lessons I learned in my University of Georgia bowling class have survived over the years. 134, bitch - suck on that. That's like almost perfect. My issue, though, is that today I am absurdly sore. From bowling. I really need to get into shape. PICK: Cincinnati

Philadelphia (-5) @ Washington. The worst playoff scenario involves Tampa Bay getting in ahead of Atlanta because of Philadelphia's tie against Cincinnati. Believe me - this stuff gets tricky once you hit the seventh or eighth tiebreakers. PICK: Philadelphia

San Francisco (-5) @ St. Louis. I get too enraged when I discuss this topic, so just read this article about possibly allowing Sunday alcohol sales in Georgia. Please note the guy who compares selling beer on Sunday to legalizing prostitution. I had no idea prostitution was already legal six days a week. (By the way, is the fact that this is my #1 political issue a surefire sign of alcoholism?) PICK: San Francisco

Atlanta @ Minnesota (-3). For those who didn't spend the last week poring over playoff scenarios for like 20 hours - like what the hell is wrong with you? - let me bring you up to speed. Most likely, Atlanta has to win its final two games to make the playoffs, coupled with one loss from either the Cowboys or Buccaneers, or two losses from Carolina. That's the easiest scenario to explain. Or, I guess, even easier: "Yay Atlanta! Boo Dallas! Boo Tampa Bay! Boo Carolina!" PICK: Atlanta

New Orleans (-7) @ Detroit. Something about this game screams "upset," but not enough to actually call it. (As you may have noticed, my upset calls have been spot on lately). PICK: Detroit

Carolina @ NY Giants (-3). Alright, New York failed me last week against the Cowboys, so let's see if they can repair our relationship on Sunday. They don't want to be on my bad side. Nobody wants to be on my bad side. PICK: NY Giants

NY Jets (-5) @ Seattle.
Being on my bad side, incidentally, involves being tied to a chair while I drink whole milk facing away from you. If my lactose intolerance had been used in the War on Terror, we would have sewn that shit up years ago. PICK: Seattle

Houston (-7) @ Oakland. PICK: Houston

Buffalo @ Denver (-7). PICK: Buffalo

The original Styles. Recognize.

San Diego @ Tampa Bay (-3). Let me be the latest to congratulate Bucs DE Greg White for changing his name to "Stylez" because of his love for Teen Wolf (and attention whoring). I thought Georgia's Bacarri Rambo was a runaway to be my favorite player of 2009, but I'm reconsidering. PICK: Tampa Bay

Green Bay @ Chicago (-4). The fantasy playoffs have started, and my undefeated regular season means zilch if I can't pull off the two-week postseason. My semi-final matchup against Mr. Gillett will likely hinge on this game, when Aaron Rodgers faces freezing Monday night weather. If you'd like to come over and watch the game while cheering on my team - not Green Bay, but my fantasy team - just let me know. Either the rat will be dead by then, or we'll have a new overlord in residence. PICK: Chicago

Last week: 7-9
Overall: 49-54-3

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm not gonna lie. I got goosebumps.

Thursday football:

Indianapolis (-6) @ Jacksonville. PICK: Indianapolis

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We have our answer!

My 20th anniversary Die Hard diary is the blog post that won't die.

A New Jersey television critic linked to it yesterday on his blog and newspaper's website. And yet again, attention turned to a simple question I had asked: "One thing I never understood, though: who is firing the machine gun out of the window?"

This refers to the scene in which John McClane is trying to get the attention of Sergeant Al Powell, about to drive away from Nakatomi. McClane drops a terrorist's corpse onto Powell's car, Powell slams his car in reverse, we get the famous "Welcome to the party, pal" line - and then a machine gun begins peppering Powell's car. Turning it into, of course, swiss cheese. The shooter is never revealed.

That question spurred debate in my comments section, as it has on other websites that linked to my post. Some are convinced - John McClane was definitely firing the gun. Some are convinced - a terrorist was definitely firing the gun. And some just think it's a logic flaw in an otherwise tightly edited film.

Well, thanks to this latest link - and specifically commenter "Matt" - we have our answer. Matt was smart enough to do what I never thought of: read the script. He quotes directly from it.

Suddenly a barrage of MACHINE GUN FIRE from Alexander on the third floor drowns out his call! Powell ducks and flattens against the seat as bullets blow out the front window, covering him in glass.

Alexander, played by Joey Plewa, who would go onto fame and fortune as "Bandstand Tough Guy" in Road House. Not McClane.

Rest easy tonight, my friends.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

No, I'm pretty sure he'd be the first player to do that...

ATLANTA -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Warrick Dunn became the sixth player in NFL history with 10,000 career yards rushing and 500 receptions in a game Sunday against his former Atlanta team.

Emphasis mine.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Welcome to the party, pal

As I enter the weekend with New York Giants love in my heart, a Giants website has coincidentally linked to the Die Hard 20th anniversary thing I wrote a few months back.

I call attention to this only to celebrate that I'm not an idiot. After much discussion on my blog and their site, apparently nobody has any idea who was shooting the gun after McClane dropped the corpse. For years, I thought I was dumb for not being able to figure it out.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Fifteen

I made a stupid mistake on Tuesday.

On my lunch break, I went to a local mall to get some holiday shopping accomplished. After getting you something nice, I was headed into Border's to buy yet another book I won't read, and I got distracted - by a puppy barking.

So who knew malls still had pet stores. I remember those things flourishing in the '80s, but haven't seen one since, and seem to remember disgusting stories about freezers full of kittens I'd rather not revisit. Of course, considering Conyers is about 20 years behind the rest of the world, maybe it made sense.

I walked in. A little plastic open-top cage full of rabbits. Cute. Some kittens in cages. Adorable. And then this:

A 4-month-old pug, my favoritest kind of dog in the world. I asked to see the little boy, was ushered to a "play area," and he was brought in. We spent about 15 minutes together - I began rehearsing the introduction of my new pug to the older lady pug I have at home, and I'd be lying if a few names hadn't popped in my head ("Puga" and "Rambo" were leading contenders). And then I thought to ask the price.

Seventeen-hundred-for-fuck's-sake-I'm-not-exaggerating dollars. $1,700 for a dog, and upon seeing my color drain, the saleslady coldly informed me that I shouldn't worry because if he died, they would replace him for free. Do these people not understand the relationship between human and dog? Wouldn't that be a qualification of their job?

I parted ways with Puga/Rambo, and apologized we wouldn't be going home together. I tried to take solace (a quantum, maybe more) in the fact that anybody who paid $1,700 would provide a nice home, but I heard his cries as he was put back into a cage. They were a punch in the dick.

Screw those puppy mills and their freezers and their cold, dead hearts, anyway. I'm headed over to where I'm wanted - Pug Rescue. And once the deed is done, I will be sure to post arm-gnawingly cute pictures of my new little guy/gal. (That website makes me cry. Seriously. I'm such a pussy.)

The picks:

Green Bay (-1 1/2) @ Jacksonville. I don't think there's any doubt, by the way, that I like dogs about a hundred times more than humans. If I ran into a burning house and had to save either a puppy or a baby, I really would try to grab both - but the little brat would be the first drop if things got too heavy. PICK: Green Bay

Washington (-7) @ Cincinnati. Ok, keeping with the theme - if you walked into a store and saw babies in cages, would you feel any worse than when you see a cute puppy in one? I'd feel worse for the puppy - because they have an understanding of what's going on, while babies are just dipshits. PICK: Cincinnati

Detroit @ Indianapolis (-16 1/2). Drew Brees's MVP candidacy took a serious hit last night, which is fine with me - because a team that doesn't go to the playoffs shouldn't have an MVP. Remember, the V stands for "valuable." The Saints would have gone to just as many playoff games this year if they had started ME as their quarterback. I bring this up now because I am firmly (and obviously) on the "Matt Ryan for MVP" bandwagon if the Falcons go to the postseason. How different would the season have been with Chris Redman as the starting QB? That's how you have to measure this. The only other candidate in my mind is Peyton Manning, for the same reason - with Jim Sorgi (or whoever is backing him up these days) as the starter, the Colts might have won two games by now. No teams would suffer more than the Falcons or Colts from the loss of one player. PICK: Indianapolis

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta (-3). If possible, I've actually gotten more excited about the Falcons' season this week. Because now, I guess, we really figure out where the team is headed. To get to the playoffs, Atlanta probably has to win the rest of its schedule - which is really doable. If we get past the Bucs here, we go to an average Vikings team, and a way-less-than-average Rams team comes to us (yes, I've earned the right to say "we" and "us," because I did it when WE were winning three games a year). And hell, you don't have to be a gambler or a fantasy football player to care about the other action this week. Falcons fans also have very vested interests in the fates of the Giants, Broncos and Cardinals (and those teams are conveniently spread out over the late afternoon and night games on Sunday). PICK: Atlanta

Seattle (-2 1/2) @ St. Louis. Last week, I was excited to watch the Falcons on the big screen - I mean, a really big screen, meaning digital projection at a local movie theater. A movie theater that serves beer. I mean, come on, how can that fail? Well, here's how.

Ok, the picture was OK. They were basically just projecting the TV feed onto the screen - not exactly HD, but big enough to work. The problem, though, is that we were in a movie theater. It felt weird to talk. It felt even weirder to stand up and cheer (the last person I saw do that at a movie was my dad, at the end of Glory when all the yankees died). Plus I think that theater is where all the Katrina refugees ended up. We were the only Falcons fans in the place, and I thought with one more yell, I was going to get shanked. At halftime, the move was made to a local sports bar, and viewed on a small TV from a large distance - and it was grand. PICK: St. Louis

San Francisco @ Miami (-6 1/2). Color me unimpressed with the Dolphins, who I heard described this week as "the surprise story of the NFL this year" (excuse the fuck out of me?). They had a nice win against a reeling Patriots team early on, but since they have only a single victory against a team with a winning record (Denver). Other than that, their win list is a veritable shit waft - San Diego, Buffalo twice, Seattle, Oakland and St. Louis. Plus, once the Patriots got their sealegs back, the Dolphins were slapped around 48-28. Take the 49ers if you'd like, by the way, but the safer bet is probably the "under." PICK: San Francisco

Buffalo @ NY Jets (-7 1/2). Let's review what I said about last week's Jets game, when they were favored by four over the 49ers: "Upset alert. ESPN's Monday programming will be full of 'What's happening to the Jets' stories." Take a look at ESPN's main NFL page yesterday:

Thanks to DAve for his fancy image-grabbing techniques.

Come on, I'm having a horrible year picking games. I need to highlight everything of the blind-squirrel-gets-a-nut variety. PICK: Buffalo

Tennessee (-3) @ Houston. My other upset alert - Alabama 27, Florida 24 - came tantalizingly close to happening, by the way. If the Tide had been able to take their last realistic drive to the end zone, that would have been the exact final score. And I'd be even more obnoxious than I already am. (Speaking of upsets, the Texans win this game.) PICK: Houston

Pittsburgh @ Baltimore (-2 1/2). I was shopping for some Christmas gifts yesterday when I came across a perfect item for the - uh, Washington Nationals fan in your life. This is at the Toys R Us in Conyers, GA:

Those are an absurdly large amount of action figures in the likeness of Nationals' closer Chad Cordero. Because that's what every kid is looking for under the tree, right? I started to think that maybe there's a Toys R Us in a Conyers, Virginia that these were intended for, but I don't even think you could sell them at Nationals games. PICK: Pittsburgh

Denver @ Carolina (-7 1/2). Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. Go Broncos. PICK: Denver

Minnesota @ Arizona (-3). Another big game for the Falcons. Chicago got the win on Thursday, so let's have 'em take the NFC North and have the Vikings retire to Valhalla. (I'm only educated enough to make that reference because my high school mascot was the Viking, and our yearbook was named Valhalla). Viking heaven. Word. PICK: Arizona

San Diego (-5 1/2) @ Kansas City.
There was a concert in Atlanta this past week. Based on this picture taken there, guess who was performing.

You didn't get it right. PICK: San Diego

NY Giants @ Dallas (-3). Oh God, I can't wait. CAN'T WAIT. Whether or not Atlanta wins Sunday - but especially if they do - this game is monumental to Atlanta's playoff chances. My buddy Lu - such a Giants fan he forked over cash he could have spent on a decent camera to get second row seats to the Super Bowl - has offered me a Giants jersey to wear Sunday night. Upon hearing it would say "Shockey" across the back, however, I had to decline. A brother's got some pride. PICK: NY Giants

Cleveland @ Philadelphia (-14). In news you absolutely won't hear on CNN, 650+ scientists have disputed Al Gore's case that "the science is settled." If ya think Mr. Gore will debate even a single one of them, though, you're mistakin', sister. He's too busy counting the money he's made of this "crisis." (See, I had you all the way to the last entry and had to screw it up.) PICK: Cleveland

Last week: 7-9
Overall: 49-54-3

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Like football without a playoff

I mean, really - what's the point?

Thursday night football:

New Orleans @ Chicago (-3). As far as I can tell, Falcons fans, we're sorta rooting for Chicago here. Based on an absurdly long, unhealthy study of the remaining NFL schedule this week, we don't really have to worry about the NFC North. Between Chicago and Minnesota, one will win the division, one will miss the playoffs - so pulling for the Bears here seems to make sense, if only to push the Saints back and to diminish the Vikings (who we play next week). If that made any sense, you have studied this far too much as well. PICK: Chicago

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Wax off

I don't know why I found this so wonderful, but hell, here it is.

The alternate ending to The Karate Kid:

Friday, December 05, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Fourteen

In 10th grade, I got home from a weekend camping trip to find my grandfather waiting for me. I had expected to find one of my parents in that cold parking lot, but there Granddad was, his breath coiling up.

My parents hated me riding with my grandfather, damn near forbidding it after he was in a series of wrecks in the mid-'80s - one with me in the passenger seat. So yeah, something was wrong.

It turns out dad wouldn't have been able to object this time, as he was at Emory, having suffered a heart attack earlier that afternoon.

Sixteen years later, dad hasn't experienced any more major heart problems. He's dropped about 70 pounds, and he's kept it off. The nightly dinner of two cheeseburgers and a bag of Doritos - an entire bag - has been replaced by fruit, veggies, stuff with "organic" on the label, and pungent blender concoctions that convince you, if the man is willing to drink that crap, he really wants to live. The guy is healthy.

Still, on Thanksgiving morning, when my phone showed him calling but revealed a woman's voice on the other end, I saw my late grandfather standing in the parking lot all over again.

"Josh, your dad has had a heart attack. You need to come home."

I was in Florida, and the holiday meal was just hitting the table at my mom's house. Fifteen minutes later, though, my brother and I were headed north, figuring out how to eat mashed potatoes out of Tupperware on I-75.

I won't prolong the drama nearly as long as it was on that six-hour drive - dad is fine. It turns out, after being initially diagnosed with a heart attack, he turned out to be suffering from a much less serious problem with his esophagus. He was prescribed medication, told to see his regular physician for a follow-up, and released within 24 hours.

I had already changed my original Saturday plan, though, and I wasn't about to change it back. Instead of going to the Georgia/Georgia Tech, I wanted to spend the day with my dad. He was still in a weak state, so I gave my tickets away and we watched it together at his house. Late Saturday afternoon, I looked at my dad and decided to tell him what was weighing on my heart at that moment. I cleared my throat, wiped a tear from my eye, and we locked stares.

"Dad, I'm glad you're alive and all, but thank God you went to the hospital. If I had gone to that game, I would fucking kill myself."

The picks:

Jacksonville @ Chicago (-6 1/2). My back is bruised after I patted it so much for calling the Jaguars' sucktastic season a few months ago. PICK: Chicago

Minnesota (-7 1/2) @ Detroit. Let's see if this makes sense - Minnesota's pair of Pro Bowl defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams were suspended four games for having an illegal substance in their system. Yet they go to court this week and get the suspension temporarily overturned - meaning it can easily (and probably will) be reinstated next week. The Vikings have four games left. If the guys play in this game - against the capital-S Shitty Lions - but still end up getting four games off, they would miss any potential first round playoff game. Take a look at your opponent, Williamses. This is one of the weeks you want to take a seat. (Of course, as long as they're out in two weeks against the Falcons, I truly don't care what they do). PICK: Minnesota

Houston @ Green Bay (-5 1/2). Oh, Houston, Houston, Houston. The team of my new favorite non-Falcon player, Mr. Steve Slaton. See, last week ol' Josh was down in his fantasy football matchup with only four minutes to go. Seemingly insurmountable odds, especially for a late Monday night game. Alas, Slaton took our Rooster Illusion team onto his back, rushing for two touchdowns in the final four minutes, including a 40-yard scamper to seal the win. Yes, another win. Take a look at the schedule so far:

What is missing from that? Here's a hint: it starts with an "L." Yes, two weeks from the end of the regular season, I am living the impossible dream. What every little boy from coast to coast sees when he closes his eyes at night - the prospect of an undefeated fantasy football season. Are you getting chills yet? PICK: Green Bay (sorry, Steve)

Cleveland @ Tennessee (-14). I've said a couple times that it's nice to feel, for once, the Atlanta Falcons are better off without me as their General Manager. For over a decade, I've honestly felt I would have done a better job drafting and signing players than Atlanta management (and the history has mostly proven this). But the current Falcons front office is finally smarter than I am, and I'm thankful. Now it's on to the Braves. With John Schuerholz as general manager, the Braves were in good hands. New GM Frank Wren, though, has been consistently unimpressive, and the recent signing of Javier Vasquez doesn't change my opinion. I don't mind giving up prospect catcher Tyler Flowers - the guy was never going to play in Atlanta. I do mind, however, giving him up for a pitcher whose best years are behind him, and whose best years weren't even all that great to begin with. PICK: Tennessee

Cincinnati @ Indianapolis (-13 1/2) @ . My primary complaint about Vasquez so far, by the way, has been his age. Just too old to invest that kind of money in, too many years already on that arm. And then it hit me like a ton of Depends. I am five months older than him. PICK: Indianapolis

Atlanta @ New Orleans (-3). Oh ma' goodness. I found out this week that a local movie theater - one of those fancy ones that serves beer and food - shows the Falcons games on the big screen. Every week. For free. And maybe afterward, I can sneak into Twili - I mean The Punisher: War Zone. Because it's manly. PICK: Atlanta

Philadelphia @ NY Giants (-6 1/2). Go Giants. Not because I care, it's just "Go anybody playing the Eagles, Cowboys, Redskins, Vikings, Bears, Packers, Buccaneers and Panthers." PICK: NY Giants

Kansas City @ Denver (-9). In my Netflix recap this week, let me direct your attention to two slabs of delight: Wall*E and "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia." Of course, I'm anywhere from six months to two years late on these, so there's a chance you're already awares. But having watched the entirety of the former and the first disc of the latter, I implore you to begin digesting each one immediately. Wall*E is the biggest reason yet I've seen to get a Blu-Ray player, actually. I didn't love it quite as much as The Incredibles (my personal Pixar fave), but that might change when I see it in HD. PICK: Denver

Miami @ Buffalo (PICK). And by "@ Buffalo," the NFL actually means "@ Toronto, in a Dome stadium at room temperature." Dolphins roll. PICK: Miami

NY Jets (-4) @ San Francisco.
Upset alert. ESPN's Monday programming will be full of "What's happening to the Jets" stories. And the NFL will instantly start rigging Jets games so they can get the NYG-NYJ Super Bowl it so covets. PICK: San Francisco

New England (-4 1/2) @ Seattle. And how about another one? As I type up these picks, I'm noticing the SEC Championship point spread has Florida by 10. Against undefeated Alabama. I'm in the minority here, I get it - and I'm also viewing this through a pair of Gator-loathing eyes - but I'm sensing an upset here. This has all the makings of USC/Texas 2006, when the Longhorns were more-than-a-touchdown underdogs and given almost zero chance of an upset. So I'm calling it. Alabama 27, Florida 24. PICK: New England

St. Louis @ Arizona (-14). PICK: St. Louis

Dallas @ Pittsburgh (-3). PICK: Pittsburgh

Washington @ Baltimore (-5).
Yeah, I wanted the Falcons to take Jake Long over Matt Ryan. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. A thousand times wrong. But my desired QB - Joe Flacco - ain't exactly lookin' like a smelly pile either. PICK: Washington

Tampa Bay @ Carolina (-3).
Well, at least one of these teams will lose. As a Falcons fan, I really can't tell you who I'm rooting for here. It is a monumentally important game in the NFC South, but I won't know who to pull for until next week, when Atlanta finishes their game with the Bucs. Maybe a tie? PICK: Tampa Bay

Last week: 8-8
Overall: 42-45-3

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Betcha Bottom $180 Dollars

Ok, how absurd is this?

Oh, of course:

ab⋅surd [ab-surd, -zurd]
1. totally fucking awesome; cooler than your butt:
ex. Michael J. Fox is absurd in "Teen Wolf"

I'm not sure if you can tell by the picture, but that thing is full-sized, man. Three feet tall, professionally framed. And all for the low, low Sam's Club price of $177.99.

I'm not kidding - the Conyers, GA Sam's Club is selling a framed, mounted art print of Rocky III for $180. Who did they think was going to buy that? Hell, I'm not even going to pay $180 for that. And by "I'm not," I mean I probably will. By the end of business Friday.

Please talk me out of this, if you possibly can.

Thursday night NFL:
Oakland @ San Diego (-9). PICK: San Diego

Facebook Status Updates: The Rule Book

The iPhone has many features, but one of the most addictive/maddening ones is the Facebook application.

With the easy tap of a little blue box, you can see a friend's "status update" as soon as it's posted. Very user friendly. That said, my whenever-I'm-bored-which-is-a-lot update checking habit leads me to believe ground rules are required.

Far be it from me to proclaim myself the King of Facebook, but what follows are a few helpful tips that will lead to a more productive, happier, safer experience online. More productive, because you won't waste your time writing frivolous crap. Happier, because you won't be reading other people's frivolous crap. And safer, because if you don't break these rules, I won't want to kill you.

1) Two updates a day, max.
I don't care if you're having the most exciting day ever, it's not worth clogging everybody's screen with each little step of it. A girl I knew in college updates her status like Georgia Tech runs a toss sweep. "Jennifer is going to the store." "Jennifer is at the store." "Jennifer is home from the store. LOL." Lemme just tell you: If I saw that bitch right now, I'd knock her big buck teeth out, and if she didn't have big buck teeth anymore, I'd get pliers, make her have buck teeth, and then knock them out. I think she's a youth minister now.

2) "John Smith is."
Stop. Don't do that. You're not deep, you either didn't take or failed the fuck out of philosophy in college, and most importantly, it makes you sound like a dickbag. Just like it did for the 5,000 other people who've done it this week.

3) Play by the rules.
You do notice the format, right? "John Smith is _______." So "John Smith is Pancake Breakfast!!!" doesn't work. "John Smith is eating a pancake breakfast." Much better. Now you can avoid the "is" by deleting it altogether, like when some folks put quotes after their name. Like so:

John Smith "Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs."

Martians Attacking Indianapolis is can live with that.

4) No politics.
Dude, nobody fucking cares. The most irritating day in Facebook's short history was November 4, 2008. Every update was professing an unwanted, unneeded and mostly unsmart (yeah) opinion on the election, and I found myself wanting to dip my leather-bound, glue-soaked knuckles in glass and punch people in the neck. And then there were the people I disagreed with...

5) Be clear.
"John Smith is mourning." Well, what the fuck man? Who died? Be prepared for 50 messages within 10 minutes from concerned friends, who'll all be seriously pissed when they learn you're upset "Two and a Half Men" moved from Mondays to Wednesdays.

6) Nobody cares about your goddamn kids.
Yes, this is coming from a childless 32-year-old who's seen a lot of friends fall victim to the disease of parenthood. I understand you love your children. You're proud of them, and want to share that pride with the world - even though you partially understand the world couldn't give two shits. I get it. Let's put some rules on it, though. Only twenty percent of your status updates may contain your child's name. Half of those status updates may contain a description of an allegedly cute thing they did. Only a tenth of those status updates may contain the word "playdate," as that word bugs the fuck out of me. Addendum: Any update that contains a hilariously gross description of some fucked up thing your baby did - eating poop, pissing straight in the air onto your face, etc. - do not count toward those percentages. Bring that shit on.

7) Stick with the point of view.
"John Smith is a little bit gay for Neil Patrick Harris. I would probably make out with him." Do you see what just happened? No, not the homo shit. The third-person-to-first-person switch that came out of nowhere. Don't use the word "I" in status updates. He. She. It's not hard. And neither is writing about Neil Patrick Harris without using "came" and "hard" in the same paragraph. Or at least it shouldn't be. Dammit.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I mean. Damn.

Anybody doubting my playoff predictions now?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Thirteen

A number of issues - some foreseen, some not so much - have prevented me from getting some face-to-blog time this week. Sadly, that means the picks column has taken a bullet this week.

I know you're just crushed.

Back soon...

The picks:

San Francisco @ Buffalo (-7). PICK: Buffalo

Baltimore (-7) @ Cincinnati. PICK: Baltimore

Indianapolis (-4 1/2) @ Cleveland.
PICK: Indianapolis

Carolina @ Green Bay (-3).
PICK: Carolina

Miami (-8) @ St. Louis.
PICK: St. Louis

New Orleans @ Tampa Bay (-3 1/2).
PICK: New Orleans

NY Giants (-3 1/2) @ Washington
. PICK: Washington

Atlanta @ San Diego (-5 1/2).
PICK: Atlanta

Pittsburgh @ New England (-1).
PICK: New England

Denver @ NY Jets (-7 1/2).
PICK: Denver

Kansas City @ Oakland (-3).
PICK: Kansas City

Chicago @ Minnesota (-3).
PICK: Chicago

Jacksonville @ Houston (-3 1/2).
PICK: Jacksonville

Last week: 9-7
Overall: 84-87-5

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Thirteen (Thanksgiving Games)

I think it's officially time to kick Detroit out of their annual Turkey Day spot. Watching them is enough to make me wretch up my ham and mashed potatoes.

Yeah, ham and mashed potatoes. With honey mustard. Over it all. Including the potatoes. Yum.

Turkey is just too dry. And doesn't taste as good with honey mustard as mashed potatoes do.

The picks:

Tennessee (-11) @ Detroit. The Titans' loss last week kept this from being the first 11-0 vs. 0-11 game in NFL history. So there's that. PICK: Tennessee

Seattle @ Dallas (-12 1/2).Another highly anticipated matchuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. PICK: Seattle

Arizona @ Philadelphia (-3). I swear, Cardinals @ Eagles looks like the Rams-Titans Super Bowl compared to those first two games. Unfortunately, half the country will be comatose with tryptophan and bourbon by kick-off. Or, in some rare cases, honey mustard-soaked mashed potatoes and Sweetwater. PICK: Arizona

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Diet hard

I'll give you a dollar* if you know who this is.

Click on the picture to find out.

*No I won't.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Twelve

April, 2008

Translating this price into dollars and cents at the gas pump, one of our forecasters, the chairman of Houston-based Dune Energy, Alan Gaines, sees gas rising to $7-$8 a gallon. The other, a commodities tracker at Weiss Research in Jupiter, Fla., Sean Brodrick, projects a range of $8 to $10 a gallon.

November 2008

Just don't ask why I was at Ingles.

The lesson, of course, is that the most vocal alarmists are the last people you should trust. We're gonna be OK, folks. Relax.

The picks:

NY Jets @ Tennessee (-5 1/2). Unless we're talking beer pong, Kerry Collins doesn't equal undefeated. PICK: NY Jets

Houston @ Cleveland (-3). When my mom asks me next week what I'm thankful for, and I say "Steve Slaton," I don't think she's going to know who I'm talking about. PICK: Houston

Chicago (-8 1/2) @ St. Louis. Netflix recap: I didn't watch a damn thing, to tell the truth. Been catching up on this season of "The Shield" via pirated perfectly legal, oh look a puppy!, downloads in anticipation of next week's series finale. And damn, am I happy I chose to watch them all in a few sittings instead of week-to-week. I'm jittery enough as it is. (I love that my favorite character, Shane, was recently revealed to be a Georgia Bulldogs fan. It's an even better show now). PICK: Chicago

Buffalo (-3) @ Kansas City. "Michael was having brunch with Sally Sitwell at a restaurant called Skip Church's Bistro. In addition to brunch, the restaurant was known for an item on the menu called the 'Skip's Scramble,' an omelet that contained everything on the menu. Do not order the Skip's Scramble." PICK: Buffalo

New England @ Miami (-2). PICK: New England

San Francisco @ Dallas (-11). I've had to do a lot of writing this week. Not short stories, not screenplays, not even blog posts (obviously) - just the same damn correspondence over and over. "(Name) - Give me a call when you get a chance! I think we can save you money on this!" "(Name) - Give me a call when you get a chance! I think we can save you money on this!" "(Name) - Give me a call when you get a chance! I think we can save you money on this!" "(Name) - Give me a call when you get a chance! I think we can save you money on this!" I've written those words about 200 times in the past five days. It works as a sales tactic, though it's not terribly inspiring. So what do I do during these trying times? I play a game. While I'm writing, I set my brain to think one word over and over: "boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs." The point, of course, is to try to pen the entire letter without accidentally writing "I think we can save you boobs on this" or something similar. So far I think I've been successful, but I'm waiting to hear from a thoroughly confused and/or disgusted customer. PICK: San Francisco

Tampa Bay (-8 1/2) @ Detroit. If the Lions lose and the Titans win, their matchup on Thursday will be the first 0-11 vs. 11-0 matchup in NFL history. Just some trivia for ya'. PICK: Detroit

Philadelphia @ Baltimore (-1 1/2). When you fall in love, you soon realize there's little you won't do for your significant other. Go places you'd never go, spend money you'd never spend, skip things you'd never skip - did I mention go places you'd never go? I love you, baby. I really do. PICK: Philadelphia

Minnesota @ Jacksonville (-2 1/2). PICK: Jacksonville

Carolina @ Atlanta (-1). Tent City - my University of Georgia tailgating crew - will be movin' on up to the NFL this weekend for the first time. We're taking advantage of the new 4:15 kickoff, and setting up in the Georgia Dome parking lot (it isn't our first trip to the Dome, however, as we've celebrated SEC championships, a Chick Fil A bowl and even a Sugar Bowl there.). To say I'm more invested in the Falcons than the Bulldogs at this point is a Grady Jackson-sized understatement, and I assume my friends will all see a similar light by the end of the weekend. At the very least, the stadium's new red and black color scheme will have everybody feeling at home. PICK: Atlanta

Oakland @ Denver (-9 1/2).
The worst part about going to the game, of course, is missing the wonderful TV announcing. During last week's Atlanta-Denver game, I heard both of these things, no poetic license on my part: 1) "Jay Cutler really likes to squeeze it in tight holes." 2) "Jay Cutler loves to take his team from behind." Seriously. Word-for-word. PICK: Denver

Washington (-3 1/2) @ Seattle. About 9 p.m. last Sunday, my phone starts blowing up halfway through the Transsiberian Orchestra concert. A few texts, all to the tune of "DeAngelo!" I'm getting these messages, I guess, because he is a former Falcon, is a current Redskin (I have a sickening number of Washington fans as friends), and he's on my fantasy team. I'm sitting there in Philips Arena, thinking, "Great, defensive touchdown! I'm a genius for starting him!" No, he just intercepted the ball, and only added a couple measly tackles after that. I hate Redskins fans. PICK: Washington

NY Giants (-3) @ Arizona. PICK: NY Giants

Indianapolis @ San Diego (-3). As if ESPN.com couldn't get more annoying with its automatically starting videos, now it adds bandwidth-killing embedded "episodes" starring the one-trick-pony-and-that-pony-died-in-1996 Kenny Mayne. SI.com really has leapfrogged The Worldwide Leader in terms of overall web quality, no? PICK: Indianapolis

Green Bay @ New Orleans (-2 1/2). The game of the year! At least for my fantasy football team. I've continued my winning ways, marching to an 11-0 mark, unblemished as an airbrushed Playboy centerfold. However, longtime rival Doug Gillett fancies himself Joe Namath and has guaranteed he would defeat me this weekend. And if he has a chance, it will likely come down to this game - my quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) vs. his quarterback (Drew Brees). I like my chances. PICK: Green Bay (duh)

This week: 1-0
Last week: 9-7
Overall: 75-80-5

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Twelve, Part One

I think that although intelligent life will turn out to be present on many worlds, the odds will be against multiple intelligent societies evolving near each other at the same time. Contact with an alien civilization is more likely to come in the form of messages sent from a very great distance than as weapons sent from nearby. But if acceleration to a good percentage of light speed is possible, then relatively nearby worlds could attack each other, and it's a concern.

If you read that and immediately thought, "That sounds like something I'd read on ESPN.com," I'd love to take you to Vegas next week - my treat. But ESPN it was, as Gregg Easterbrook interrupted his NFL column with a fascinating science lesson involving one of NASA's latest discoveries.

Skip down to the part referencing Dick Cheney if you don't care about the football stuff (despite that header, it is 0% political).

The pick:

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh (-10 1/2). I had Cincinnati in line for the upset cover until Chad Johnson was mysteriously deactivated for tonight's game. Steelers roll. PICK: Pittsburgh

Oh ok, I'll pimp ESPN twice in one post - despite their unholy allegiance with the BCS. But ya write about Matt Ryan, you earn a little love.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Eleven

This is just so Carrie and I can have the same picture on the same day.

Annnnnnd we're done. All easy gambling on the Atlanta Falcons effectively ceased just after their beatdown of the Saints. The oddsmakers are aware.

After flying under the radar this season - going 6-3 against the spread to mirror their record - Atlanta enters this weekend as a 5 1/2-point favorite over the Denver Broncos.

That bears repeating: the Atlanta Falcons are 5 1/2-point favorites over the Denver Broncos. Even I, Falcons Superfan #1, couldn't have believed that a couple months ago.

After last week's demolishing of New Orleans, I'm convinced Matt Ryan's middle name is Katrina. The plucky kid from Philly came out against the supposedly bigger, badder opponent, and went the distance. The whole team did. And now standing stronger than ever, they revisit the victor in the franchise's biggest defeat, ready to put things right where they once went wrong.

Of course, if you know anything about me, it's obvious where my mind went when I realized Ryan was a "plucky kid from Philly." And that he was an underdog. And that he's blowing past even his supporter's strongest expectations. And that he's facing his franchise's biggest opponent again. No, we're never going to get a Rocky VII, but the 2008 Atlanta Falcons will make a fine substitute.

Just as Rocky came back to beat Apollo, the Falcons will take down the Broncos. Just as Rocky and Apollo danced and hugged on the beach, former Bronco Jason Elam will celebrate with the good guys this time. And just as Paulie threw the liquor bottle at the pinball machine, ... ok, not sure where I'm going with that one. But now I'm in a Rocky frame of mind.

This week's picks are a little different. Instead of my typically brilliant commentary, I've let the Rocky soundtracks do the talking for me. You'll hear (read) a little from the original, a classic you all know from Rocky III, a lot from Rocky IV, and even a silly Elton John track from Rocky V. (The Three Six Mafia selection from Rocky Balboa should be obvious).

The links will provide a little evidence that, yes, I did put a little thought into what song went with which game. I mean, this is mostly a slacker move to avoid writing, but only mostly.

The picks:

Denver @ Atlanta (-5 1/2). Risin' up, back on the street. Did my time, took my chances. Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet, just a man and his will to survive. So many times, it happens too fast - you change your passion for glory. Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past. You must fight just to keep them alive. PICK: Atlanta

Oakland @ Miami (-10 1/2). Two worlds collide, rival nations. It's a primitive clash - venting years of frustration. Bravely we hope against all hope. There is so much at stake. Seems our freedom's up against the ropes. Does the crowd understand? Is a east versus west, or man against man? Can any nation stand alone? In the burning heart, just about to burst, there's a quest for answers, an unquenchable thirst. In the darkest night, rising like a spire, in the burning heart - the unmistakable fire. PICK: Miami

Baltimore @ NY Giants (-6 1/2). PICK: NY Giants

Houston @ Indianapolis (-8). PICK: Indianapolis

Tennessee (-3) @ Jacksonville.
We're not indestructible. Baby, better get that straight. I think it's unbelievable, how you give into the hands of fate. Some things are worth fighting for. Some feelings never die. I'm not askin' for another chance - I just wanna know why. There's no easy way out. There's no shortcut home. There's no easy way out, givin' in can't be wrong. PICK: Tennessee

Philadelphia (-9) @ Cincinnati. See I'm the king of the ring ring. Ring the bell and I'm comin' out swing swing. Swingin' left, swingin' right, 'til they ding ding. He hit da ground, bounce up like a spring spring. Hit 'em again now, like a birdie start to sing sing. Bright lights, cameras flashing like bling bling. He started seeing things, now I got 'em heads and knees on the floor crawl up to the corner crying. I'm the man there's no defeating. The ground you will be eating. I'm ready sharp nonstop, this is easy. Put em out da game like his name is Milli Vanilli. PICK: Cincinnati

New Orleans (-5 1/2) @ Kansas City. You might not be looking for the promised land, but you might find it anyway. Under one of those old familiar names. Like New Orleans, Detroit City, Dallas, Pittsburgh P.A., New York City, Kansas City, Atlanta, Chicago and L.A. Living in America - hit me. Living in America - yeah, I walk in and out. PICK: Kansas City

Detroit @ Carolina (-14). PICK: Detroit

Minnesota @ Tampa Bay (-4).
PICK: Minnesota

Arizona (-3) @ Seattle. Trying hard now. It's so hard now. Trying hard now. Getting strong now. Won't be long now. Getting strong now. Gonna fly now - flying high now, gonna fly, fly, fly... PICK: Arizona

St. Louis @ San Francisco (-6 1/2). Take it back, doo-doo-doo-doo-doo, take it back. PICK: San Francisco

San Diego @ Pittsburgh (-4 1/2). PICK: Pittsburgh

Cleveland @ Buffalo (-5). This coat that fits you like a glove. These dirty streets you learned to love. So welcome back, my long lost friend. You've been to hell and back again. And God alone knows how you crossed that span. Back on the beat, back to the start, trust in your heart - that's the measure of a man. It's the fire in the eyes, the lines on the hand. It's the things you understand, permanent ties from which you once ran - that's the measure of a man. PICK: Cleveland

Dallas @ Washington (-1 1/2). Silent darkness creeps into your soul and removes the light of self-control. The cave that holds you captive has no doors. Burnin' with determination to even up the score. Heart's on fire, strong desire rages deep within. Heart's on fire, fever's rising high. The moment of truth draws near. Time will not allow you to stand still. No silence breaks the heart and bends the will. And things that give deep passions are your sword. Rules and regulations have no meaning anymore. PICK: Dallas

Last week: 7-7
Overall: 66-73-5

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Could she also be an Alabama porch?

There's nothing else to say but H to the OLY, S to the HIT.

From a Time Magazine article about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama:

And when his presidency hits its inevitable bumps — whether those come from disappointing his liberal allies or enraging his conservative opponents — it would be handy to have a formidable spear catcher nearby.

So Hillary's a "spear catcher," you say? That makes Obama what then?

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Thursday Edition - Episode One, The Quickening: Volume I. Part 2.

A pick for tonight's NFL game, because you wouldn't know how to breathe without it.

NY Jets @ New England (-3). This NFL season has so far been full of bright moments, but one of the best is when I realized Patriots fans were looking at the Falcons and thinking, "Man, I wish we had their quarterback." PICK: New England

And a fun picture of Falcons tight end Justin Peelle, just because:

Blatantly stolen from AJC.com

Monday, November 10, 2008

View from the top - Falcons 34, Saints 20

Ok, so my season ticket seats aren't exactly the best in the house. Especially considering ALL FOUR Falcons touchdowns were scored in the opposite end zone.

What I could see, though, is that my honest 10-6 prediction might have actually been low in the wins column. Oh, and I could also see my brother in his yellow shirt, which he had unwittingly worn to the Saints game. I too should have noticed that before we left the house.

No, I didn't take this one.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Ten (Point Two)

F'ing priceless:


I didn't vote for Barack Obama; I don't think that's a huge secret. However, I don't have blinders on as to why he's so inspiring. Now I don't give two shits how some upper-middle-class college girl feels like this huuuuge weight has been, like, lifted!!!1!. However, as a former teacher in a predominately minority neighborhood, I do see the massive value in black children getting a role model who's not a rapper or NBA player. Every kid is told they can grow up to be president someday, but now many will take those aspirations a lot more seriously.

My fear, however, is that an Obama presidency will not foster that independent, yes-I-can attitude, but instead instill more allegiance to the group-think, yes-we-can mentality. People need to believe in and trust in themselves, and this huge step is for nothing if it only serves to make Americans more reliant on government to solve their problems.

I can honestly say I'll be rooting for Obama to do a helluva job once he takes a seat behind that Oval Office desk. But hey, if not, President Jindal is only four short years away.

The picks (brief, because I'm still a Sickasaurus):

Jacksonville (-6 1/2) @ Detroit. Yeah, Jindal. Which would mean we could be in for a whole new round of "look how far we've come" back-patting when both parties have a minority as a candidate. We racist Libertarians will probably put up another white guy, though. PICK: Detroit

Tennessee (-3) @ Chicago. The 1972 Dolphins will be popping the champagne around 4:30 on Sunday, as the Titans will suffer their first defeat. And I'm for realz this time, after thinking it would happen the past two weeks. PICK: Chicago

Buffalo @ New England (-4). My Bills Super Bowl pick is looking shakier by the week. Thank God I'm still on point for my Falcons one. PICK: New England

New Orleans @ Atlanta (PICK). This will be the first game I attend at an official Atlanta Falcons season ticket holder. The excitement level is hovering somewhere between "11-year-old girl meeting the Jonas Brothers" and "Lance Bass in a tickle fight with a dude who has penises for fingers." The Brother and I are headed down to the new, improved Georgia Dome to root Atlanta - and my Matt Ryan-led fantasy team - to victory. PICK: Atlanta

St. Louis @ NY Jets (-8 1/2). PICK: St. Louis

Seattle @ Miami (-9).
PICK: Miami

Green Bay @ Minnesota (-2). PICK: Green Bay

Carolina (-9 1/2) @ Oakland.
Netflix recap: Despite discs of "Mad Men" and "Spaced" sitting at home, I only got around to watching one rental this week: Tron. Seriously, Tron. I'm still not sure how it ended up in my queue, or especially how it got to the top - but opening my mail a few days ago, I found the 1982 Jeff Bridges film I somehow avoided seeing during my childhood. The only thing I can figure is that I must have added it a few months ago when the sequel was announced. Dunno. Well, it was interesting - which, of course, is codeword for "it sucked, but was creative." I have to imagine it received a different reaction in 1982 than it does in 2008, where it comes across as monumentally silly. PICK: Carolina

Kansas City @ San Diego (-15). PICK: Kansas City

NY Giants @ Philadelphia (-2 1/2).
PICK: NY Giants

Indianapolis @ Pittsburgh (-3 1/2). PICK: Indianapolis

Baltimore @ Houston (PICK). Bill Simmons jumped on the anti-"Saved By Zero" bandwagon today. Just sayin' - I'm not the only one. PICK: Houston

San Francisco @ Arizona (-9 1/2).
PICK: Arizona

Last week: 6-8
Overall: 59-66-5 (nope, never said I was good)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Ten (Point One)

So about 4 a.m. today, I woke up coughing, sneezing, sniffling, farting and moaning at the same time. Needless to say, the pug sleeping between my legs didn't enjoy the moment. About five minutes later, I e-mailed my co-worker to tell her, no, I wouldn't be in today.

This led me to believe I'd have plenty of time to write my weekly picks column, in time for tonight's Thursday kickoff. However, the sick day filled itself up rather quickly:
  • coughing some more
  • sneezing some more
  • sniffling some more
  • farting some more
  • moaning some more
  • Home Depot
  • seeing my dad's billboard for the first time (next to the Home Depot on Lawrenceville Highway - he looks pimp, yo)
  • taking the pug to the vet, because she's been scooting her nasty ass across my white carpet a lot lately, and I thought she might have worms, and the vet stuck his finger up her ass and didn't find any worms, just some enflamed anal glands, which he "expressed" - another moment the pug didn't enjoy
  • repeatedly apologizing to the pug
  • watching Rambo again, which actually made me tear up at the end - seriously
  • preparing to defend my undefeated fantasy football season against a sworn enemy (that photo came up under a Google image search for "Tim Kelly," but I don't think it's the same guy)
So nope, no full column tonight. Just the one game.

The pick:

Denver @ Cleveland (-3). There doesn't seem to be a reason I should care about this game, but that's why fantasy football is so wonderful. I am starting Denver RB Ryan Torain - he of only one yard this season. The enemy is starting Cleveland QB Brady Quinn - he of only zero yards this season. I am thinking the Browns run away with this one, but I'm hoping for a 42-35 score - with all Bronco points coming on five rushing TDs and Brown points coming on field goals. Fourteen field goals. PICK: Cleveland

Friday, October 31, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Nine

I took the day off work, which should mean you'd be getting a heapin' helpin' of NFL picks right about now. Sadly, my day has been spent in preparation for the Georgia-Florida roadtrip, which embarks in T-minus 90 minutes. Liquor store, Kinko's, Kroger, laundry, liquor store, packing, liquor store - there's only so much I can handle right now.

So as crushed as I know you are right now, I apologize as I present you with a sorely lacking piece of fluff. I promise to do you better next time.

That said, there is one bonus here. With the help of Earl (aka Puga), I present you with the new-and-hopefully-improved Cocktail Party sign:

The picks:

Houston @ Minnesota (-4 1/2). PICK: Houston

Jacksonville (-7 1/2) @ Cincinnati. Ah, Jacksonville. Nestled in burgeoning Duval County, home to fine dining and fine crackwhoring alike, destination of today's said roadtrip. Let's just say that I've gotten lost in Jacksonville - and that I never again want to get lost in Jacksonville. PICK: Jacksonville

Tampa Bay (-8 1/2) @ Kansas City. Jacksonville. There, I just wanted to squeeze it in one more time after the last paragraph. PICK: Kansas City

Baltimore @ Cleveland (-1 1/2). Speaking of the road trip, I'm happy to report gas prices in the $2.20s. Even in The Fiancee's Honda Fit, we'll still save upwards of $50-plus doing this trip now as opposed to three weeks ago. I'm just wondering where those "experts" are that told us recently we'd soon be seeing $10 a gallon, and never again see anything below $3. They've gone back to forecasting global warming, I guess. PICK: Cleveland

NY Jets @ Buffalo (-5 1/2). Happy Halloween, by the way. Be sure to dress up as something scary, like Bills RB Marshawn Lynch. (God, I love that guy). PICK: Buffalo

Arizona (-3) @ St. Louis. PICK: Arizona

Detroit @ Chicago (-13).
PICK: Chicago

Green Bay @ Tennessee (-5 1/2). Take Green Bay and the money line. The Titans are not going 16-0 this year, and this is a huge slip-up possibility. Plus, Aaron Rodgers had a week off to rest up and heal (of course, that doesn't mean I'm starting him on my fantasy team against the Tennessee defense. Hells no.) PICK: Green Bay

Miami @ Denver (-3).
Netflix Recap: I have been watching a lot of movies lately, but this week I veered back to renting TV shows. Right now, I'm holding discs of "Spaced" and "Mad Men," neither of which I'd ever seen. So far, I've made it through seven episodes of "Spaced" - a Britcom from the Shaun of the Dead guys - and I'm beginning to think it was a bit overhyped. I mean, it's funny. I've laughed out loud many times. But I've been hearing for five years about how it blows away the UK "Office" and rivals Monty Python, and so far I ain't seein' it. As I'm not even halfway through, though, I'll reserve judgment. The creators are surely relieved. PICK: Denver

Atlanta (-2 1/2) @ Oakland. The Falcons got a game stolen from them by incompetent referees last week. If you were within two miles of my house last Sunday, you surely heard my reaction to the blown call. So here's the test for Atlanta - fly across country, and pick yourselves up in one of the hardest places to play - thankfully against a pretty crappy team. As a side note, Matt Ryan will be making his debut for my 8-0 fantasy team against the league's second place squad, so my faith in him obviously knows no bounds. PICK: Atlanta

Dallas @ NY Giants (-9).
PICK: Dallas

Philadelphia (-6 1/2) @ Seattle. The sucker's spread. "Oh, the Eagles are definitely going to beat lowly Seattle by more than a touchdown! Definitely!" Vegas - a place I increasingly believe is the site of the world's only time machine - is smarter than you. Always remember that, my friends. PICK: Seattle

New England @ Indianapolis (-6).
Actually, this sort of reeks as "sucker's spread" as well. What have the Colts shown to make you believe they could beat the Patriots by two field goals? So in this scenario, Vegas would appear to be begging us to take the Patriots. But I want to take the Patriots. And this is why Vegas is smarter than me too. PICK: New England

Pittsburgh @ Washington (-2). PICK: Pittsburgh

Last week: 5-7-2
Overall: 53-58-5

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cock it to me

I'm not yet ready to discuss yesterday's Atlanta Falcons loss without launching into a bile-laced diatribe that would not only ruin your day, but the day of anybody within 50 feet of you. So let's talk about a good thing - specifically, this week's Georgia-Florida matchup in Jacksonville.

You've seen this before:

Yes, ha-ha, a sign I made two years ago. Funny the first time you saw it, stale the 37th. So it needs an updatin'.

My question: Who should replace Michael Adams on this year's version of the poster? I don't hate Adams as much since his pro-playoff argument, and then there's the small issue of a fellow tailgater who now works for him (job politics are a nasty bitch). So I'm ready to transfer the title of Sir Cockness to another deserving person.

Please leave your nominations in the comments section.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

By "McCain volunteer," is that what she meant?

Ok, now the I-was-mugged-and-mutilated-by-a-nasty-black-Barack-supporting-man-whoops-just-kidding story makes all the sense in the world.

Feast thine orbs:

Explains it all, doesn't it?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Eight

The calm before the storm is rarely this exciting.

A week from now, I'll be packing my bags into The Fiancee's car, about to head down to Jacksonville for the 86th meeting of the Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators. I've made this trip every year since 1997, and while my overall record ain't hot, at least we're on a one-game winning streak. (By the way, any leads on tickets are much appreciated).

Let's not look ahead, though. Not only do I get to root against the Phillies in the World Series this weekend, but two of my teams' best games are upon us. Georgia @ LSU, 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Atlanta @ Philadelphia, 1 p.m. Sunday. And best of all, I'm not traveling to either one of them. I'm sleeping in, wearing pajama pants until noon, drinking cold beer without having to buy ice first, and not worrying about driving anywhere afterward. It's going to be relaxing, except for those six or so hours I referenced earlier.

And only on Monday will I begin to focus on the storm, ie. redneck Gator ass that needs a'beatin'.

The picks:

Tampa Bay @ Dallas (-2 1/2). I'm not making the trip to LSU this year, but I did have the pleasure of attending UGA's 1998 visit to Baton Rouge. My dad and I flew down to see the Dawgs upset the then 4th-ranked Tigers, leading everybody wearing red to anoint Quincy Carter as the next Heisman winner. Walking out of the stadium, as we were all doing the "It's great - to be - a Georgia Bulldog" thing, my dad and I were approached by an LSU coed. And she proceeded to verbally assault us with a stream of words that are unprintable here. And by "unprintable" - I mean, you know I'll print anything. Fuck, shit, bitch, cocksucker, Pelosi, asshole, whatever. But these words, man, I'm just not going to sully your eyes with. Well, as soon as she had finished making Richard Pryor blush, two guys appeared behind her, Lou Ferrigno-style hulking gentlemen dressed head-to-toe in purple. My dad and I were about to die, and probably wouldn't have been seen again until Katrina floated our corpses to the surface. They laid a hand on her shoulders, gave us frowns that actually seemed to flex, and one dropped his jaw. "Nah leeetle ladee, Tigurs win with prahde, an' we luuse with prahde. Good game, Booldaghs." Our hearts began pumping again about 10 minutes later. The lesson learned, of course, is LSU has a total of two decent fans. PICK: Tampa Bay

Washington (-7 1/2) @ Detroit. So I'm writing this on Thursday evening, as a story is breaking about a girl being mugged in Pittsburgh. Apparently, a black man took her money and then, after noticing a John McCain sticker on her car, scratched a "B" (for Barack) into her cheek. Well, I'll tell ya - when I was in college, a homosexual student was the victim of two hate crimes, specifically the burning of his dorm room door. The campus couldn't stop talking about it, and he became a symbol of the local gay community. A few days later, it was revealed that he had done it all himself, a disturbing move of the highest attention-whoring order. And that's the vibe I'm getting from this chick. The backward "B," the idea a knife-wielding assailant didn't even break skin - I'll bet you $100 it comes out that she made it all up. PICK: Detroit

Buffalo (-1) @ Miami. By the way, speaking of the UGA incident, a silly young idealistic columnist managed to react with outrage before the truth came out. What a hoser. Of course, I'd never mention his name here. That would be mean. PICK: Buffalo

San Diego (-3) @ New Orleans. Coming straight to you from jolly ol' London is a major American sports league's latest misguided attempt to foster international interest. Speaking as an actual NFL season ticket holder now, I would be pissed to lose a home game just so the Brits can mess our players' heads up with their fish and chips, Hugh Grants, long queues, quaint flats, outdated imperialist dogmas which perpetuate the economic and social differences in our society, shrimps on barbies, anime, apartheid, whatever the hell else, and - good Christ - soccer. Or whatever stupid word they have for it over there. There's gotta be a successful economic model at work here, but I'm not sure how it's worth irritating not only the players and coaches, but an entire fanbase as well (this is supposedly a "home game" for the Saints; do you really think they'd be a three-point dog in N.O.?). Hell, the focus of this game should be Drew Brees against his former team, not - look kids, Big Ben! Parliament! PICK: San Diego

St. Louis @ New England (-7). Speaking of London, this is pretty neat. And a bit creepy, considering every person seen there is long-gone. PICK: New England

Kansas City @ NY Jets (-14). "Saaaaaved by zeeeeero!" I'm not sure I've ever hated an ad more than Toyota's unavoidable new one. I get actively angry every time it comes on, which is just about twice per commercial break for any recent sporting event. During last night's World Series game, I clinched my fists and yelled "Are you FUCKING serious?" at about it's 15th airing. At one point, I actually blamed my TV for showing it. If it comes on and you're within 10 feet of me, do yourself a favor and make it about 20. How do you take an audibly offensive song by The Fixx and make it even worse? PICK: Kansas City

Arizona @ Carolina (-4). Oh, that's awesome. After I wrote that, I found this Facebook group. It's nice to know I'm not alone. PICK: Arizona

Atlanta @ Philadelphia (-9 1/2).
Mama like. So alright, Atlanta has played six games - and I've picked them six times. But considering they are 4-2 in real life, and 4-2 against the spread, who is looking like the smarty pants now? Wonders never cease, of course, and I am picking my Falcons again. I'm not necessarily saying Atlanta is a better team than Philly, but the Falcons' strength is the Eagle's weakness - the running game. Consider this knowledge officially dropped: With 163 rushing yards per game, Atlanta trails only the Giants. And compared to the team's gaudy rushing numbers of the recent past, these are without a mobile quarterback. Philadelphia, on the other hand, has given up 336 rushing yards in their last two games, allowing both Clinton Portis and Frank Gore to get above the 100-yard mark. Sunday's matchup, ever so obviously, hinges on Michael Turner, who has picked apart shaky run defenses so far this year. I can smell the 5-2 from here. PICK: Atlanta

Oakland @ Baltimore (-7).
I can't believe Pugfest is this weekend. Dammit! I can't give up the LSU or Philly games, but I've always wanted to go. Oh well Earl, maybe next year. PICK: Baltimore

Cleveland @ Jacksonville (-7). Congratulations, Lewis Diuguid - you are this week's Dumbest! Prick! Alive! Seriously, four years of this is just gonna be fantastic. PICK: Cleveland

NY Giants @ Pittsburgh (-3).
Oh crap, I almost forgot. You've read through this entire long thing, just waiting for me to update you on my fantasy football team. Shoulda done it earlier, sorry. Anyway, instead of me wasting anymore of these glorious words, just let me show you the current league standings:

Here's a hint: My team's name rhymes with "Mooster Billusion." I'll be continuing my quest for Undefeatednessization this week against the 1-6 Denver Omelettes. So if you don't hear a gunshot and a thump around Sunday at 9 p.m., you can assume I won. PICK: NY Giants

Cincinnati @ Houston (-9). And here, for the first time in history, I will string the following words together: "Pat Buchanan has a point." A few of 'em, actually. PICK: Houston

Seattle @ San Francisco (-5).
And now, Netflix Recap (otherwise known as, "A New Weekly Betcha Bottom Dollar Feature To Help Me Fill Up Space"): This week, I watched two DVDs - M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening and Tarsem's The Fall. It was a week for Indian filmmakers, I guess. As for The Happening, it was supremely silly, but not quite the train wreck I'd been led to believe. That said, the fall of Shyamalan is near tragic. I loved The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, and I actually think Signs is an unabashed, Spielberg-level classic. But ugh, Lady in the Water and, especially, The Village? I keep waiting for him to pick his game back up, but am losing hope after seeing him turn to "KILLER PLANTS!!!" The Fall, on the other hand, is a - well, I'm not sure exactly how to describe it. And since it took me about 10 sittings to get to the end credits, I can't say I adored it, but - well, I think I agree with Roger Ebert's statement: "You might want to see for no other reason than because it exists. There will never be another like it." Watch it on an HDTV if you have the means. PICK: San Francisco

Indianapolis @ Tennessee (-4). Seriously, though. Georgia-Florida tickets. Call me if you're holdin'. PICK: Indianapolis

Last week: 7-7
Overall: 48-51-3