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

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Worst to first

My fantasy baseball team ended the regular season in first place*, and it was in no small part thanks to the Tampa Bay Rays. My final roster included Matt Garza, Evan Longoria and David Price - all of whom I got to see contribute mightily to the ALCS win, which happened about 15 minutes ago.

I say that to acknowledge I've followed the Rays in some capacity all year, and to cement how high I am over their win tonight. Not only because they defeated my Least Favorite Team In All Of Professional Sports (the Boston Red Sox), but - well, OK, it's mostly because they beat the Red Sox. But I will be rooting for an American League team in the World Series for the first time in forever, and it's because this team encapsulates what sports should be all about. They seem to be just a bunch of kids having fun, and they made me one of those kids tonight. My pug was terrified multiple times by my screams and jumps.

Oh, and somebody tell Bill Simmons to suck it. Hard.

*No, I didn't end the playoffs in first place. Because Tim's an asshole. And probably better at fantasy baseball than I am.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Warning: Political post. Move along

Pardon the political intrusion, but where the hell was this John McCain throughout the campaign? From today:

"Senator Obama says that he wanted to spread your wealth around. When politicians talk about taking your money and spreading it around, you'd better hold onto your wallet. Senator Obama claims that wants to give a tax break to the middle class, but not only did he vote for higher taxes on the middle class in the Senate, his plan gives away your tax dollars to those who don't pay taxes. That's not a tax cut, that's welfare. America didn't become the greatest nation on earth by redistributing wealth; we became the greatest nation by creating new wealth."

Finally. Instead of merely alluding to this while turning the big guns on more trivial issues, the Republicans have finally decided to aim at Obama's real flaws. (You'll notice that the Democrat response to "Joe the Plumber" is to ignore what he actually said, and instead attack him personally).

Obama's "spread the wealth" line is, to me, the most offensive line of the campaign. He believes Washington has a right to your money, and not just to use it for the basic functions of government, but to hand it over to somebody who didn't earn it. All in the name of "neighborliness."

Tell me: how is Obama's plan to "spread the wealth" any different from "From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs?"

I can't find the exact Neal Boortz quote I'm looking for, but this will do:

"What would life be like in an ObamaNation? There's the government sitting there watching you – watching you work – watching you go the extra mile. The government takes note of the fact that you pursued an advanced education. Then the government observes you working 50, 60 maybe 80 hours a week trying to start a business. The government watches your income as it rises. Finally at some point the government says 'Enough! You now have more than you need! There are people out there who did not pursue an education like you did. There are people out there who did not work as hard and as long as you did. There are people out there who did not make the careful choices and take the risks you did. Now you have to be a good neighbor. So we're going to take some of that money you don't need and 'spread the wealth', so to speak.'"

And yes, by this time a year from now, I plan to be a small business owner. Thankfully, my income won't likely be above the vaunted $250,000 until Obama is out of office.

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Seven

I'm a popular guy this week.

Things have been going well at work, with some public recognition coming my way. I've volunteered to stay at the tailgate Saturday and protect our pricey items, so a lot of "thank you" e-mails have found their way to my inbox. And, whatthefuckdoyouknow, all of a sudden people are interested in my Atlanta Falcons season tickets.

Five weeks ago in this space, I wrote about my bestest purchase ever. Nary a nibble. Not a comment. No questions. I was coming to the conclusion I'd be going to the games by myself. Well, what a difference a 4-2 record makes. Since one of the bestest wins ever, I've gotten no less than five calls that all sound eerily the same.

"Hey man, I've been meaning to call you. We should really hang out. So, like, what are you doing on November 9th, November 16th, November 23rd, December 14th and/or December 28th?"

It should be said that The Fiancee has not made any such queries. She's a much harder sell. I might get her to the Super Bowl. Might.

The picks:

Tennessee (-8) @ Kansas City. And my mighty Atlanta Falcons are off this week. I'm not handling it well. It would be one thing if I could hang my hat on a UGA-LSU matchup, or maybe a Florida. Hell, even a lowly, bottom-of-the-barrel, circling-the-drain Auburn. But my prime football viewing this weekend will involve the Vanderbilt Commodores, which just isn't sufficient. Oh right, I know, they always play us close, and they're pretty good this year, they're ranked, and they have a good quarterbSNOOOOOOOORRRREEE. Let's just say it's not all that heroic I'm staying at the tailgate. A comfy chair, remote in hand, my trusty cooler by my side, sorta-nature - plus, Die Hard or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants might be on TV. And face value is free. PICK: Tennessee

San Diego @ Buffalo (-1). I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but somehow Facebook got around the social stigma that attached itself to MySpace. Having a MySpace page was always something you admitted under your breath. Even if you had one, somebody in their late 20s or early 30s always felt a bit out of place. It was - and I guess still is - a ghetto for dumbass teenagers. Facebook, on the other hand, is more universally beloved by the day. The convert holdouts are few. I have new friend requests waiting for me every afternoon, and from increasingly random people. People I haven't seen since high school. People I haven't seen since elementary school. On Tuesday, I actually got a friend request from my kindergarten girlfriend, who I last saw in 1983. And that's where it gets weird. I last saw some of these people when they were seven, 10, 16, 18, 21. Now I click on their photos and see this odd, older person looking back at me, often with kids the same age as I picture them being. Now my friends have held up surprisingly well. Lots of good lookin' folks in there. However, if they look so much different to me, I must look just that different to them. And dammit, I don't want to look old. PICK: Buffalo

Pittsburgh (-9 1/2) @ Cincinnati. That said, just this week I injured by neck by drying my hair, continued taking my blood pressure and cholesterol medication, and have picked up a weird clicking in my left knee. Oh, and told some damned pesky neighborhood rugrats to get off'a my lawn. But my point is I don't want to look old. PICK: Pittsburgh

Dallas (-7) @ St. Louis. Can I go ahead and stand tall on the "Tony Romo Sucks" bandwagon? Ok, "sucks" is strong - he doesn't suck. But he's absolutely not one of the best 10 quarterbacks in the league right now, much less top five as the media would have us believe. He turns it over all the time, he makes dumb passes, and this false macho front he's put up this week has been embarrassing. The Cowboys are lucky as hell, however, to have the Rams on their schedule this week. With the way they've been reeling, just about any other NFL team would pick them apart Sunday. PICK: Dallas

Baltimore @ Miami (-3). Driving to work this morning, I saw unleaded for $2.76 a gallon - and my first thought was "How cheap!" So yes, we've gotten to the point where $2.76 sounds ilke a great deal. Those gas guys are freaking marketing geniuses, I tells ya. PICK: Baltimore

Minnesota @ Chicago (-3). My brother, in his unending quest to never see another commercial, records games as they are playing. Last week, he was actually sitting on the couch during the Atlanta-Chicago game, but spent most of his time watching old "That '70s Show" episodes he had previously DVRed. Every half hour or so, he'd click onto the game, skip past the commercials, and then go back to Topher Grace once he'd caught up with the live feed. It was monumentally infuriating, so I went downstairs. That said, I'm glad to have the recording, and have already laid down the law that we're never deleting it. I've watched the last five minutes of that game - no exaggeration - 30 times this week. Each time, of course, I'm fearful something different is going to happen, but I do get extreme enjoyment out of watching the Bears pat themselves on the back, practically calling in their dinner reservations, with 11 seconds still on the clock. PICK: Chicago

New Orleans @ Carolina (-3). Well, the Falcons will pick up a game on at least one of their NFC South opponents. PICK: New Orleans

San Francisco @ NY Giants (-10 1/2). It was nice to see the Eli Manning I know and love last week. Three interceptions, all of them completely his fault. I've missed that guy. PICK: San Francisco

Detroit @ Houston (-9 1/2). And Detroit's season hits its nadir here. They are almost double-digit dogs to a team that was winless six days ago. PICK: Houston

NY Jets (-3) @ Oakland. There is only one reason I'm a bit upset to be missing tomorrow's UGA/Vanderbilt game, and it's this. I'm a sucker for history of the "long lost" variety. PICK: NY Jets

Cleveland @ Washington (-7 1/2). PICK: Washington

Indianapolis (-1 1/2) @ Green Bay.
Calling this my "upset special" doesn't mean much when the spread is so small, but Aaron Rodgers is going to make Peyton Manning look like - well, Eli. My faith in him, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with the fact he's starting for my fantasy team. (Oh, and Reggie Wayne is going to have a great game here too. A great one.). PICK: Green Bay

Seattle @ Tampa Bay (-10 1/2). Tent City trivia code phrase: "I'm gay for Josh!" (Again, inside if you don't tailgate with me. Suck it up.). PICK: Seattle

Denver @ New England (-3). You know the reason al Qaida didn't attack Boston? Because nobody would have cared. (Yes, I'm bitter and tired after staying up until 12:30 last night to see my behated Red Sox win). PICK: Denver

Last week: 7-7
Overall: 41-44-3

Monday, October 13, 2008


That was the best Atlanta Falcons win since Morten Andersen kicked the 38-yarder in Minnesota.

I was literally shaking, having gone from up-to-down-to-really-down-to-really-really-really-up in a span of three minutes. When the text messages started rolling in just after Jason Elam's kick split the uprights, I tried to reply, but my fingers couldn't connect with the right keys for five minutes.

While I couldn't muster much enthusiasm for UGA beating Tennessee - Tennessee! - the day before, this Falcons win impaired me. Utterly bizarre.

That said, I'm certainly enjoying my season ticket investment all the more. I had actually sold my Bears tickets for a wildly inflated price in order to cover a lot of the entire cost. And when The Fiancee asked me if I wished I'd gone, I didn't even hesitate.

"Oh no. Hell no. If I had been there, I would have done something to shift wind currents, or yell something to make a player's muscle twitch differently, or just affect the freakin' aura somewhat." When a game comes down to a single second, a billion things could have happened ever-so-slightly differently to affect the outcome. Knowing my presence could have somehow been one of them, I'm glad I stayed home.

Oh, and on the radio this morning, I heard three different people ask the same question: "Is it time to start thinking about the 2008 Atlanta Falcons as a playoff team?" And you know my response.

What do you mean "start?"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Six

Since betting on football has recently become the nation's safest financial investment, I'm expecting a lot more hits today than usual. So let's get to the important stuff.

The picks:

Oakland @ New Orleans (-7). I could say something here like, "What a wretched team," and then just leave you to figure out which one I was talking about. So, yeah, that sounds like a plan. What a wretched team. PICK: New Orleans

Baltimore @ Indianapolis (-4). I took my dog to get, I don't know, "groomed" last weekend. Is that the right word? It sounds a little too swishy to really grasp my intent. I basically needed somebody to give her an all-around washin', because I'm not the type to clean out ears, file nails, and clean around the pooper. A bath from me means her back and head are clean, and that's about it. So I thought, she deserves it, I'll drop $40 to get her feeling better and less itchy. No problem, but I wasn't ready to be asked this question: "Do you want her anal glands expressed?" I mean, how do you respond to that? Other options included a massage, an "oatmeal shampoo," bottled water, and a "real foo foo bow" - whatever the fuck that is. I opted for the general bath/feet/ears/butt program, but asked if the "deluxe spa treatment" (seriously) was popular. Her affirmative answer made me feel a lot better about the current state of the economy, because apparently people have way too much fucking money on their hands. PICK: Indianapolis

Cincinnati @ NY Jets (-6). The Fiancee's Honda Fit will roll out of Atlanta early tomorrow morning for a day of tailgatin', footballin', and watchin' coonskin cap-wearin' toothless hillbilly mountain folk diddle each other whilst hopped up on moonshine and rabies. I'm not sure which part I'm looking forward to the most. Probably the watchin' coonskin cap-wearin' toothless hillbilly mountain folk diddle each other while hopped up on moonshine and rabies part. Or maybe the tailgatin'. PICK: Cincinnati

Carolina @ Tampa Bay (-1 1/2). If the Saints hadn't completely shat the bed against the Vikings, there would be a decent chance all four NFC South teams would be 4-2 after this weekend. This is definitely one of those "can both teams lose?" games, but I guess I'd have to pull slightly for the Bucs. I'd love to see Atlanta at the top of the division on Monday morning. Alphabetical order and all that. PICK: Carolina

Detroit @ Minnesota (-13). The headline: "'South Park' vs. Lucas and Spielberg: Too far?" The answer, predictably: They didn't go far enough. I briefly let my feelings known about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull back in June, but as usual, Trey Parker and Matt Stone did me better. I don't put as much blame at the feet of Steven Spielberg as they do, though - comparing his work with and without George Lucas's involvement reveals Lucas to be the one who truly needs to be locked up. I picture them working on the script, with Lucas acting like Jake Delhomme after a perceived late hit. "Aliens, Steven! We need aaaaaalieeeeens! C'mon Steven, aaaaaalieeeens!" And after about seventeen years of that, Spielberg finally snaps and is like, "Ok, George. Fuck! Aliens, fine! Fuck! Jesus!" Harrison Ford, of course, is walking around the room the entire time like the Chinese kid in Boogie Nights, in his underwear throwing firecrackers. PICK: Minnesota

Chicago (-3) @ Atlanta. Yep, a homer pick again. The press has spent the last couple weeks making sure Kyle Orton's pubes stay drenched with their saliva, but I seem to be the only one realizing we're still talking about Kyle Orton. So why Chicago's status as road favorite? I can't really figure it out - the two teams' schedules are remarkably similar. Both have lost to Carolina and Tampa Bay. Both have beaten a disappointing preseason favorite on the road (Falcons @ Packers, Bears @ Colts). The only slight difference comes in each team's third win, the Bears winning a squeaker at home against the 2-3 Eagles, the Falcons demolishing the lesser Chiefs in the Georgia Dome. I just don't think the Bears are a field goal better than the Falcons, and Atlanta's first true loud, sellout crowd will send them into the bye week with a shocking (to you, not me) 4-2 record. PICK: Atlanta

Miami @ Houston (-3). Because I like to be a firm two years behind any pop culture movement, I have just started watching Showtime's "Dexter." I've actually flown through the first season and am a few episodes into the second at this point, and I'm beginning to get nervous. Not because the show is overly dramatic or its shock value gets to me - it's just that out of every character on television right now, I probably relate most closely to the serial killer on display here. Anyway, best to probably not overanalyze that right now - especially in a public place - but consider this a hearty recommendation. (And it takes place in Miami, so I'm staying on point here!). PICK: Miami

St. Louis @ Washington (-13 1/2). I strangled a cat last night just to see the life go out of its eyes. That's not weird, is it? PICK: Washington

Jacksonville @ Denver (-3 1/2). Fantasy football update, Because You Care: So for the second time this year, I lost my starting quarterback about two minutes into the game. Tom Brady first, Trent Edwards this time. And yet, I'm still 5-0, having just ran the F over ol' Mistakins. Michael Turner, Reggie Wayne, Jason Witten, Santana Moss, Steve Slaton, Patrick Willis, Lance Briggs - hell, I might start Matt Ryan this week against the Bears JUST BECAUSE I CAN. Can anybody point me to a league for next year that isn't headquartered at a Special Olympics safehouse? PICK: Denver

Philadelphia (-4 1/2) @ San Francisco. Opening today is a movie starring two of my favorite actors, Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. It's directed by Ridley Scott, a guy who misses more than you think, but when he hits, he hits (Alien, Black Hawk Down). And it's firmly entrenched in one of my favorite genres - the political thriller. So can anybody explain why I have zero interest in seeing Body of Lies? If I found myself standing in front of a box office on Sunday night, it would be my fifth choice, behind movies starring Michael Cera and Shia LeBeouf. I don't understand it. This is destined to be one of those Netflix discs that sits on top of my TV for three months. PICK: Philadelphia

Dallas (-5) @ Arizona.
Tent City Trivia Code Word: "Taint." (This is a bit inside if you're not a Tent City regular, sorry.). PICK: Dallas

Green Bay @ Seattle (-2). There are no true "locks" in the NFL - more often than not, perceived locks turn into losses because Vegas is smarter than we are. But damn, I mean, the Packers are a l-l-l-lo-lo-loc-loc ... ugh, I can't do it. No locks in the NFL. But this one is close. (And no, I'm not sure how I said "loc" without pronouncing "lock" - it's a mystery of the written word, I guess.). PICK: Green Bay

New England @ San Diego (-5). Well, whaddaya know, right here is a lesson in "Vegas is smarter than we are." You look at this line, and what do you think? You think of Matt Cassel's long bomb to Randy Moss last week. You think of New England' s 3-1 record. You think of Evil Genius Belichick on the sidelines. You think of the Chargers standing at 2-3, with those wins coming against the lowly Jets and Raiders. You think of all those reports of LaDainian Tomlinson having a disappointing season. You think, my God, the Chargers aren't going to come close to covering this. You keep thinking that. PICK: San Diego

NY Giants (-7 1/2) @ Cleveland. Pardon the sudden intrusion across intersports lines, but GO RAYS. PICK: NY Giants

Last week: 7-5-2
Overall: 34-37-3

Friday, October 03, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Five

Well, I've had some rough times since we last spoke. Things I've learned:

  • Alabama is pretty good this year.
  • Indian food is hella-good, but it lasts far longer than your stay at the restaurant.
  • Apparently it's the government's responsibility to define "fairness."
  • I ended my reign as Fantasy Baseball Champion despite knocking the bazoozoo out of the regular season.
  • A computer's hard drive isn't immortal, and you should back up all of your important documents.
  • Seriously, back that shit up. Fuck.

So yeah, my computer's hard drive died this week. Finito, mahn. And truthfully, I'm not sure of the total damage. I did some minor backing up a couple years ago, I think my business plan is on a disc somewhere, and my music is safely stored on my iPod. So I might be good.

But I'm too scared to check. And if my years of "artistic" self-portraits end up on the Internet, I'm gonna go jihad on the Pakistani dude who put the new drive in. Nice guy, though. Did good work.

So instead of facing life's real problems, let's get to the picks! Ignorance is catatonic bliss.

Indianapolis (-3) @ Houston. Peyton Manning and the Colts have looked god-awful this year, sitting now at 1-2. However, they should be rested and ready after a bye week, right? Especially against a winless Texas squad? Not so fast, my fiend. I just don't think Indy has it this year. On top of that, Houston is getting better - especially with the emergence of Steve Slaton (both on Houston and my fantasy team, Rooster Illusion). PICK: Houston

Tennessee (-3) @ Baltimore. Yeah, I probably picked Houston just because I need Slaton to have a big game this week. And that, my friends, is probably why I have a losing record so far this season. PICK: Baltimore

San Diego (-6 1/2) @ Miami. So of course I don't bet in real life - that would be wrong and illegal. But if I did, I definitely would have taken the under for San Diego last week. If the Chargers scored less than 27 1/2 points, I would win some money. Well, through three quarters, they had notched only a field goal. I mean, at that hypothetical point, I would have been counting the dollars. Just loving life. And then quarter number four rolls around. Take a look at the box score. That killed me. I mean, it would have killed me. If I gambled. In real life. PICK: San Diego

Kansas City @ Carolina (-9 1/2). Ask 100 guys who their least favorite NFL player is, and you'll hear the same names pretty frequently: Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Pacman Jones, Leonard Little (M.A.D.D. members only). Me? It's easy, and I don't pick a black guy like you would, you racist. It's Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme. God, what a whiny bitch. A little spoiled child, who acts on the field just like he probably did playing tag when he was six. "No! Nooooo! Noooooooooooo!" "That's a penalty! A penalllllllllty!" "15 yards! 15 yaaaaaards!" I want to punch him in the face. With a grenade. PICK: Kansas City

Atlanta @ Green Bay (-7 1/2). Each week, I pretty much get into the same rhythm when it comes to this column. Once the spreads are out on Tuesday, I type them up and make the picks. Then I do absolutely nothing on Wednesday and Thursday. And then, on Friday around noon, I say to myself, "Dammit, son of a bitch, hell. I better write the column." My point is that on Tuesday, I typed "PICK: Green Bay" and was relieved I finally picked against the Falcons this season. I mean, the last thing I want to be known as is a homer. But then something funny happened - with each passing day, it became clearer and clearer Aaron Rodgers probably wouldn't play in the game, and he has two untested rookies as backups. So now things have changed. The Falcons don't just cover, they win. And they don't just win, they win by double digits. Hear it now, hear it loud ... PICK: Atlanta

Washington @ Philadelphia (-5 1/2). Seeing the Iron Man DVD in Target yesterday, I finally realized how far we are into 2008. I mean, this year's summer releases are already available to take home, so it's safe to say I'm not seeing any more 2007 releases for awhile. So with that in mind, here is The World's Final 2007 Top 10 List, sans commentary, because that would take too much time and you care even less than I do:

1) The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford
2) There Will Be Blood
3) Once
4) Michael Clayton
5) Eastern Promises
6) Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
7) The Host
8) The Kingdom
9) Zodiac
10) Superbad

Apologies to Sean Penn's superb Into the Wild - a close miss, but I had to honestly admit I'd watch Superbad 30 times before I ever got around to thinking about Wild again. I also hated to leave out the underappreciated We Own the Night. No Country For Old Men was very good, but I just didn't feel it as much as everybody else. PICK: Washington

Chicago (-3 1/2) @ Detroit. Oh yeah, I have a 10 Worst list as well. It's embarassing, though, because I honestly can't explain why I saw half of these in the first place. I think Fantastic Four and Ghost Rider were a sick-day double feature, so I probably had a serious fever. And I might have dreamed Norbit, come to think of it.

1) Spider-Man 3
2) I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
3) Norbit
4) Shoot 'Em Up
5) Planet Terror (yeah, half of Grindhouse - I split 'em up because I saw 'em separately)
6) Lions for Lambs
7) The Ex
8) Ghost Rider
9) Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
10) Smokin' Aces

No, shockingly, Transformers did not make the list. That and In the Valley of Elah are barely in the shadows. PICK: Chicago

Seattle @ NY Giants (-7). Oh, and do you know what 2009 film is already on the Worst list, not likely to be removed? Speed Racer. Just saw it this week. I mean, a steaming turd that would only be more tolerable if you were tripping your balls off. What. The. Hell. PICK: NY Giants

Tampa Bay @ Denver (-3). I mentioned Indian food above. If you're in the Atlanta area, check out Cafe Bombay. The Fiancee and I discovered it on Thursday. Get the ultra-spicy lamb vindaloo. And a lot of water. PICK: Denver

New England (-3) @ San Francisco. An early nominee for "Weirdest Looking Spread Of the Year." PICK: New England

Buffalo @ Arizona (PICK).
The fantasy stakes are high this week - they're always a little bit higher when you're playing a friend. On Sunday, I match up with compadre-of-21-years Dave Akins, who had his 15 minutes of fame this week with an actual fatwa declaration. I'm jealous, but you knew that. While I'm not willing to actually murder him - yet - I'll do my best to demolish his fantasy hopes, and this is the game that could decide it. My quarterback: Buffalo's Trent Edwards. His quarterback: Arizona's Kurt Warner. Head-to-head, face-to-face, peen-to-peen. And since the Cardinals gave up six passing touchdowns to Brett Favre last week, I'm liking my chances. PICK: Buffalo

Cincinnati @ Dallas (-17). Sorry, 17 points is too much to give a team that just lost to Washington. PICK: Cincinnati

Pittsburgh @ Jacksonville (-4). A 3-hour feast of overrated suck. PICK: Pittsburgh (but only because neither team will get to 4)

Minnesota @ New Orleans (-3). Monday night football! It's Peter(son) vs. Bush! ... Ugh, I tried too hard for that one, didn't I? Yeah, yeah I did. I get bored by the time I get to the end of these things. PICK: New Orleans

Last week: 5-8
Overall: 27-32-1 (never said I was any good at this)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

One thing I've never lacking is gas

The best line about the Atlanta gas shortage, courtesy of the usually moron magnet message boards:

"Put an immigration agent at every gas station and the lines will disappear."

So, so, so true - at least in my neighborhood.

However, I have to quibble with the folks crying out for governor Sonny Perdue to take governmental action. First, we're all aware what happens when Sonny intervenes. But second, this would all be avoided if he hadn't stuck his seven chins in the mix in the first place.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has signed an executive order activating the state's price gouging statute to protect consumers from unreasonable price increases for gasoline because of Hurricane Ike. In a statement Friday night, the governor said the hurricane "has disrupted the production of distribution of gasoline, which will have an effect on prices." But, he added, "We expect the prices that Georgians pay at the pump to be in line with the prices retailers are paying. We will not tolerate retailers taking advantage of Georgians during a time of emergency." The statute prevents retailers from selling goods or services at an unreasonable price. It does not prevent price increases that accurately reflect an increase in the cost of the goods or services to the retailer.

Try to ignore the fact statutes like this are a grotesque attack on our supposedly free market (how is it the government's responsibility to decide what a company charges is "unreasonable?"). Let's just envision a city where gas is $5.99 a gallon this week. Do you think people would be topping their tanks off as much as they are? Filling up gas cans? Causing 45 minute lines? So insistent on grabbing every last drop they can?

The problem, if prices had been allowed to meet demand, would likely be history by now. Prices would already be falling back into line because there wouldn't be this panic. However, the intrusion of government has prolonged the misery.

Shocking, I know. That never happens.