Sunday, December 23, 2012

Welcome back, Detroit Lions.

The Lions are about to retake their rightful place, and they've earned every bit of it. That would be as a punch line, of course. Writers for people like Leno and Letterman are no doubt coming up with such one-liners as this is written.

Even the most optimistic Lions fans, at least those that have a few functioning neurons left, would likely admit their team has once again become a joke. Anyone possessing an ounce of objectivity, that has watched them of late, certainly could see they've gone from vastly overrated (last year, and into the beginning of this year), to mediocre, to bad, and now they appear to be little more than slapstick comedy. Turn on the TV cameras and send in the clowns. Even the announcers are at a loss to explain some of the things the Lions do. You name it, and the Lions will find a way to screw it up. It's reminiscent of the 3 Stooges or the Keystone Kops, but at least they were SUPPOSED to be funny. The Lions have taken it to another level. They're hilarious, at times.

Here's an example: Late in the game against the Atlanta Falcons, while trailing them by 15 points, after turning the ball over on downs at the Falcons 1 yard line, the Lions managed to tackle an Atlanta running back in his own end zone for a safety. 2 points for the Honolulu blue. Pursuant to a safety, the Falcons punter booms a whopping 76 yard kick that comes down at the Lions own 4 yard line. Remember, this was not a normal punt, where the "gunners" for the punting team were already racing down field before the ball was kicked. They had to start at their own 20, AFTER the ball was kicked. The Lions' punt receiver catches the ball at his own 4 yard line and, without a Falcon within 30 yards of him -- takes a knee. Even the best comedy writers couldn't make stuff like this up. Only the Lions. That ranks right up there with Moe, Larry, Cheese. Great stuff for slapstick, but not so great when it's supposed to be a professional football team.

Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz appeared to agree on the sidelines. If I read his lips correctly, the man said that was stupidest play he had ever seen. Well, guess who's been running the show for the last few years? If his players have turned into the Marx Brothers, shouldn't the ultimate responsibility fall on him?

Sure, after the Lions went 0-16 in 2008, the only way to go was up. Schwartz got 2 wins the following season. Then 6. Then 10. Now he's back to 4. It appears he's slip-sliding away on the down side of his bell curve. His team is not only getting defeated every week, they've become embarrassing.

Yet, leave it to the infinite wisdom of the Ford family, which owns the Lions, to sign Schwartz to a 3 year contract extension not long ago. How's that working out?

What was even more hilarious is back in April of this year, a poll taken amongst Lions' fans said many thought their team would go 15-1 this year. I know there's a Ford hospital in Detroit that has a very good reputation for patient care. Perhaps they should revamp that institution and turn it into a massive rehab clinic for Lions' fans (and local reporters) that continue to think their team is just to being a contender. That's like a junkie saying tomorrow will be better, as they're shooting up again. As an analogy, one might say -- Hey, the dope dealers don't care, and will continue to make big money off such fools, until they're willing to admit they have a problem, and take the hard steps necessary on the road to recovery.

On a related note, congrats to Calvin Johnson on breaking Jerry Rice's all-time single season record for passing yards gained by an NFL receiver. CJ still has one game to go, and might likely even top the 2000 yard mark. Very impressive stuff.

But that's good news and bad news -- for Calvin. He'll rightfully have his place in the record books. That's the good news, along with the fact that CJ recently signed a multi-year extension worth roughly $132 million, with about $60 million guaranteed. He's financially set for life in a big way.

The bad news is -- he's owned by the Detroit Lions until the year 2019.  Right now, it appears as if Calvin is the only thing the Lions have going for them. Quarterback Matthew Stafford throws and throws and throws some more at Johnson, so of course he's going to rack up big time yardage. This is not to say Calvin isn't a premier receiver. He most certainly is. The Megatron was blessed with height, speed, and venus fly-trap type hands whenever a football is in his vicinity. He's tough too, having played through many games with a lingering leg injury, which doesn't allow him to even practice much.

But this can't continue. If the Lions don't develop other offensive options, like a running game, a tight end that can catch, and/or other reliable receivers to spread the ball around to, and continue to work Calvin Johnson like a dog -- there's no way he'll last until 2019. Hell, he might be lucky to make it through another year or two. Sure, Calvin has shown his brilliance by being able to cope with being double or triple teamed and still coming down with the ball, but those guys in the other uniforms keep hitting, and hitting, and hitting him some more. A team can't keep going to the same guy that much, especially when all the other teams know it's coming and will punish him for it. It will take its toll, maybe even next season, let alone 2019.

To boot, one is left to wonder whether the Lions and their supporters ever stopped to consider that all the other teams know Calvin Johnson is going to catch a lot of balls, and gain a bunch of yards, but they're OK with that --- because by the end of the game -- if that's all the Lions have to offer -- they know they will prevail. And at the end of the day, in the NFL, the only thing that matters is winning.

Look at what's happened this year. Calvin set a record, but the team around him, along with their coaching staff, have become a joke.

On the bright side, if the Lions finish out the string and get walloped yet again at home by Da Bears next week -- entirely possible, if not probable, given their current free fall, something good will become of it.

At least Leno, Letterman, Kimmel, Fallon, the Saturday Night Live folks, every other comedian on the planet, and maybe even the usual gang of idiots from MAD magazine will be happy. They just got new material to work with. Yes, it would be retro stuff, considering the Lions a few years ago, but I suspect they'll find a way to get a few laughs.

Like the Lions are doing now......

Friday, December 21, 2012

Suzy Favor Hamilton. Shameful

Olympic track and field buffs might remember Suzy Favor as the girl who collapsed about 200 meters short of the finish line, while leading the 1500 meter race at the Sydney Olympics back in 2000. She would eventually get up, finish last, and collapse again after crossing the finish line.

A sad story, right? Hardly. And it recently got much worse.

After being a standout runner in high school, and at the Univ of Wisconsin, where she had garnered many awards along the way, Suzy was not only an Olympian, but considered by many to be the best female middle distance runner in the world. The gold medals were there for the taking, and the sky was the limit.

Indeed, even though she crashed and burned at those Olympics, Suzy would become the beneficiary of much sympathy, and would go on to become a motivational speaker, cha-ching, not to mention receiving many endorsements, cha-ching part 2, along the way.

And it now appears it was all horribly wrong.

Suzy has since admitted that she "took a dive" in that race due to many reasons. Her body couldn't hold up for the 3 rounds (races) of competition required in that particular event to possibly win a medal. She had suffered from anxiety, depression, bouts of anorexia, and self-doubt. Well OK, but if she apparently knew all that at the time, then what was she doing out there on the biggest athletic stage in the world representing the US? Oh, right. The cha-ching factor.

Suzy married her college sweetheart, Mark Hamilton, about a week after she graduated from UW, and she was a pretty young lady with the blond haired midwestern wholesome looks that sponsors would drool over.

Fast forward. Suzy is now 44 years old and she and her husband Mark have a 7 year old daughter. They still reside in Madison, Wisc. and, by most accounts, continue to run a successful real estate brokerage firm. Further, they live in a $600,000 home. Not exactly Buckingham Palace, but not too shabby either, considering the current economy. Suzy has been quoted as saying financial concerns were never a problem.

So WHY, somebody tell me WHY, Suzy would do what she did starting in 2011?  She has recently fessed up to being a $600 an hour "call girl" that worked for a Las Vegas "escort service". That's the politically correct way of stating it. Others might call it being an overpriced "hooker".

Are we to believe that (presumably) gentlemen desirous of such service(s) would shell out $600 an hour to have a 43 year old woman as "arm candy" only? What's truly astonishing is it appears Suzy's husband Mark knew of her recent "secret life" all along. Evidently, he was OK with it, because had it not recently been brought to light by investigative journalists, who knows what might still be going on -- or coming off?

Now they're in counselling. Oh boo hoo hoo. So what's to counsel? Even though they didn't need the money, as if that should matter, she went to work as a call girl in Vegas and he was OK with it. They don't need counselling. That poor little girl of theirs will likely be the one that needs counselling when she starts trying to comprehend and sort all this out in a few years. Can you imagine the taunts she may be subjected to when she gets to, say, junior high school, where kids have a history of being cruel in such ways?

Experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, depression, etc etc during the course of an Olympic competition is one thing. Eleven years later to do the "favors" Suzy did, is quite another, and there is no excuse for it.

It's shameful.

An added note. One of Suzy's sponsors was Disney. Given that company's long standing reputation, somehow yours truly thinks they will not approve either.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Seven Signs of the Apocalypse

There are those that say the world will end tomorrow. If they're right, then I'm going to try and get this last rant in under the wire.

Rivers and seas will turn to blood. There will be massive cyclones, famine, drought, locusts, raging infernos, earthquakes, and colossal icebergs the size of Chris Christie breaking off from the Antarctic shelf. A scary scenario indeed.

But sports fans, at least this one, look at things a little differently. How will we know when the end is truly near? When our own Seven Signs of the Apocalypse come about. In case you haven't brushed up on your sports scriptures lately -- here they are.....

1) Soccer fever overwhelms America, putting the NFL and college football out of business.
2) Kobe Bryant dishes out more assists over the course of a season than he takes shots.
3) Detroit Tigers' manager Jim Leyland chucks baseball, returns to his original true love, and becomes an internationally acclaimed operatic tenor.
4) Management and union representatives from all American professional sports enterprises come to agreements and sign binding contracts that last -- forever -- or at least until the end of the world.
5) The NFL holds it's own version of a beauty pageant and Ndamukong Suh is unanimously voted Mr. Congeniality by his fellow players.
6) Charles Barkley takes the PGA by storm and wins all 4 major tournaments.

And, of course.....

7) The Detroit Lions win the Super Bowl.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The NFL's all-time best running back. (Single season)

YO ADRIAN!!  Sorry, even though they were hokey and quite far-fetched, yours truly was always a sucker for Rocky movies. Besides, Talia Shire was a whole lot better looking than...

Adrian Peterson, currently the super-star running back for the Minnesota Vikings. #28 of the purple gang has an outside shot at breaking the all-time NFL single-season rushing record. He needs to run for an average of 157 yards per game, no small feat, over the last two regular season contests to claim the all-time single season championship. Will he do it? Probably not, because those last two games involve going to Houston, where the Texans can be brutal to visitors, and then coming back home to face the Green Bay Packers, never an easy task.

But he only needs 188 yards to break into the 2000 yard club. At 94 yards per game, that sounds much more doable.

So who was the greatest single-season running back in the history of the NFL? The answer may surpise, disappoint, and maybe even outrage you, but yours truly submits that stats don't lie, at least in this case.

Here's a list of the 2000 yard club, with the player, his team, how many total yards, what year, and how it averaged out in rushing yards per game............

1) Eric Dickerson. Los Angeles Rams. 2105 yards. 1984. Average per game -- 131.5.
2) Jamal Lewis. Baltimore Ravens. 2066 yards. 2003. APG --- 129.1.
3) Barry Sanders. Detroit Lions. 2053 yards. 1997. APG --- 128.3.
4) Terrell Davis. Denver Broncos. 2008 yards. 1998. APG --- 125.5.
5) Chris Johnson. Tennessee Titans. 2006 yards. 2009. APG --- 125.3.

Currently, Adrian Peterson has averaged 129.4 rushing yards per game over his first 14 games. Very impressive stuff indeed, especially considering he's coming off a knee injury last year that in days of yore likely would have been career-ending. What he'll accomplish against the Texans and Packers in the final two weeks is anybody's guess. Maybe he runs wild, or maybe he gets shut down. Either way, you can bet he'll be high on the attention list of those teams' defensive coordinators when they're coming up with a game plan.

Of course, there was a notable omission in the 2000 yard club listed above. That running back was not only the first to accomplish the feat, but yours truly would maintain he remains to this day far above all the rest.

He's now 65 years old and his name was/is Orenthal James (OJ) Simpson. Sure, over the last couple decades OJ hasn't exactly endeared himself to the public at large with how he is perceived for various reasons, but this is not the venue for such a debate. This is about what he once did as a football player. Here is his stat line....

OJ Simpson. Buffalo Bills. 2003 yards. 1973. APG --- 143.1.

I emphasize that last stat for it's significance. From #1 Dickerson, to #5 Johnson, there's about a 6 yard difference per game. OJ was a whopping 12 yards per game ahead of even Dickerson. Like Tiger Woods stood head and shoulders above the field during his heyday several years ago, so too did OJ in 1973 and, for that matter, to this day.

How can that be? Because OJ did it when the NFL still only had a 14 game regular season. The NFL didn't go to the 16 game format until 1978.

Averaging 143 yards per game through the first 14, OJ would have merely needed to average 52 yards per game over another two that he didn't get to play to be the all-time record holder. Few would doubt he would have easily accomplished that and likely much more.

So the next time you hear about the all-time NFL single-season rushing leader, whether Peterson eclipses Dickerson's record this year, or even becomes a member of the 2000 yard club, or not, remember one thing....

He may still be currently #6 on that list, and maybe even #1 on the hate list of some people, but once upon a time, OJ was simply the best for a year running the football -- by a wide margin.

It's really not even a close call.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dumb commercials

If you thought the Jets/Titans game was bad, you should have checked out the Lions/Cardinals -- or was it the other way around? Beats me, but the Titans already beat the Lions this year, the Cardinals scorched them by 4 touchdowns, and even though the Jets appear to be completely clueless, it's probably lucky for the Lions they don't have to play them this year. By the way, all 3 of those teams have better records than the Lions. While the Lions' local media recently referred to the Cardinals as "hapless" -- perhaps they fail to realize that is exactly the same word scribes in other NFL towns use to describe their beloved puddy- tats. The Lions local kool-aiders can diagnose and analyze it all they want with columns and sound bytes but, in the end, Jed Clampett of the Beverly Hillbillies could have summed up their team in just one word. Piiit-eee-ful.

And now a word from our sponsors. Geico has featured the always loveable Gallagher with his Sledge-o-matic doing his watermelon thing at a farmer's market. Also, a slinky on an escalator. Two pitchmen say it's almost as much fun saving money by switching to Geico as Gallagher and the slinky have in the commercials. Cute, but yours truly has a few questions about that. I've looked high and low for a Geico office and can't seem to find one. So if I sign on with those folks to save a few bucks on insurance premiums, then an accident happens and I wish to make a claim -- who do I call? Gallagher? A slinky?

Big time congrats to Syracuse mens' basketball coach Jim Boeheim on winning his 900th career game. That particular milestone was set against the Univ of Detroit, with Dave Bing, the former Syracuse and Detroit Piston great, and current mayor of Detroit on hand. Boeheim will easily surpass Bobby Knight's 902 career victories, but he remains about 36 behind Duke coach Mike Krzyewski who is still rolling along with a premier program himself and given no signs of retiring. Coach K of Duke is 2 years younger than Coach B of Syracuse. Boeheim could conceivably win 1000 games, but he might still wind up in second place. Then again, there was some irony in Dave Bing being on hand. While Boeheim is attempting to overhaul the record books and chasing Coach K, Bing is trying to overhaul his city, while trying to chase away the state from moving in and making him obsolete. I like Boeheim's chances better.

Another commercial break. Have you noticed who's been sponsoring nationally televised games and sports talk shows lately? It's mostly either Toyota, Nissan, or Hyundai. This costs big bucks. Could it be because our Japanese and South Korean friends wish to show their continued appreciation over the US still providing them with the protection of our armed forces at the cost of billions, even though those particular conflicts have been over for 67 and 59 years, respectively? Or could they possibly have another motive? Like preying on gullible Americans that are all too willing to sell out their fellow Americans to save a few bucks? Well, gee.That's a tough one.

Just a little while ago during the Jets/Titans game I found out something new. Santa Claus is now rolling Mercedes' off his North Pole assembly line. That's amazing. Near as I can tell, the people that will get these "presents" must have REALLY big chimneys. Silly me, I'd have a very merry Christmas indeed if I found the car keys to a 2-year old Chevy in my stocking.

Uh oh. Geico's back. There's a dude on a motorcycle riding down the rode covered in money. It's blowing off every which way. People don't know what to make of it. Tell ya what. Obviously, that commercial wasn't shot in certain neighborhoods of Detroit. Had it been, not only would the motorcycle have been gone, but that poor devil might have found himself skinned and slowly rotating over a barbecue pit to see if any more money fell out. Who's kidding who here? Good luck putting in a claim with THAT guy.

Ah, at long last, finally a GM commercial. They were advertising a heavy-duty truck while showing it slogging through mounds of snow. Up and down it went. From airborne to bottoming out. THUD, but it kept right on going. Their theme was the "nutcracker". And that is EXACTLY what might happen to a guy driving that thing when it went thud. No thanks. I've had my cajones busted enough during the course of my lifetime for various reasons, so why, pray tell, would I want to do that? But many might rush right out and buy it.

And somewhere in boardrooms spanning Japan and South Korea, billionaires likely chuckled when they saw it. Stupid Americans. One can only imagine the guffaws if they've been monitoring Lions' fans.

The Detroit Lions and Shakespeare

As the three witches chimed together during the first scene of Macbeth --
"Fair is foul and foul is fair
Hover through the fog and filthy air."

Things didn't turn out so hot for Macbeth in the end.

Everybody knows who William (the Bard of Avon) Shakespeare was. Including Macbeth, he wrote 37 entire plays, a bunch of sonnets and other stuff, and his works not only remain famous to this day, almost 400 years after he died in 1616, they're required reading in many courses of study.

For all his brilliance, yours truly would offer up the notion that William Shakespeare somehow had the Detroit Lions in mind when he was penning his works.

After all, he wrote both tragedies and comedies. There have been times when the Lions fit both categories.

In the tragedy department, Julius Caesar could easily be compared to Lions' owner William Clay Ford. They both had wealth and power beyond the imagination of most common people, but didn't have a clue what was really going on right under their uppity noses. King Lear? Try Matt Millen.

The comedies (farces) should be obvious when it comes to the Lions. Name a fan or a year they've been rooting for that team and I'll give you "Love's Labour's Lost" when the season is over.

Yet they will always be back the following year. How do they get the ridiculous notion that an historical  "A Comedy of Errors" will magically transform itself into a contender when the curtain goes up for the next performance? There can only be one explanation. It came to them in "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Personally, I think maybe they need a fan in their bedrooms to keep the air moving around during the dog days of summer, because this goes beyond night sweats -- these people are getting delirious. Next thing you know, they'll think Romeo and Juliet honeymooned in Vegas, hit the lotto, and are still living happily ever after in a mansion in the Hamptons on Long Island. Too much heat and hype can do that to people. But that's just my opinion.

Last year the Lions went 10-6 and, FINALLY, screamed the Honolulu blue and silver junkies, it will be glorious next year. A really good "fix" is on the way. As it turned out, look at the Lions this year. Who would dispute last season was "Much Ado About Nothing"?

Shakespeare only lived to be 52. The body of work he churned out over his liftime is incredible. Yet there's a certain cruel irony that comes into play. It's been right around 52 years since the Lions were competitive. Over the course of all that time they've written a lot of tragedies and, of course, comedies as well.

Their latest farce was just getting blown out to the tune of 4 touchdowns worth, by the Arizona Cardinals, who themselves were stampeded 58-0 last week. How bad is THAT?

What's truly hilarious is seeing others maintain that the Lions are "disappointing" this season. Though there are laws against such things nowadays, back in Shakespeare's time, one could have justifiably taken such a nincompoop by the shoulders, shook them until their eyes bugged out, and screamed in their faces -- "What strange kingdom dost thy come from that breeds such fools? The Lions have been disappointing EVERY season for over 50 years. Hast thee been blinder than Sophocles' Oedipus to the obvious? Hello? Anybody home between your ears? ". Then bitch-slap them a couple times for good measure just because they had it coming for continuing to spout stupidity --  but that's not allowed these days. Alas, we must suffer the fools. Tis a pity.

Which brings me back to the witches. "Fair is foul and foul is fair" somehow reminds yours truly of a guy named Ndamukong Suh, and "hover through the fog and filthy air" would seem to be appropriate for the Lions' entire Super-Bowl era team history.

Once upon a time, I took a course in college that required me to read all 37 Shakespeare plays. That was a whole lot of reading on top of the other courses I was taking. I didn't understand some of it then, and I've forgotten a great deal since, but Shakespeare's works live on, as well they should.

Perhaps someday, 400 years from now, the Lions' body of work will still be required reading.

It should be as well. "How NOT to run a professional sports franchise -- volumes one through ongoing".

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Patrick Peterson vs Calvin Johnson

Patrick Peterson, of the Arizona Cardinals, says he's he best cornerback in the NFL. Is he? Maybe, maybe not, but he's certainly amongst the top 3 or 4.

Calvin Johnson, a wide receiver of the Detroit Lions, doesn't mouth off much and/or claim to be the best at his position, but it's generally accepted CJ is also amongst the top 3 or 4 in the league.

No matter who may be rooting for who, it could fairly be said both these guys are REALLY good at what they do. And now they will get to go up against each other when the Lions play at Arizona on Sunday. Maybe.

PP has stated he's been looking forward to going up against CJ one-on-one since he saw the schedule come out. Of course the hypesters (media) have tried to fan the flames by insinuating Peterson called Johnson out. Actually, he did no such thing. Peterson merely stated he has looked forward to going up against one of the best. Well, good grief, what is the man supposed to say? He's been dreading this day and quivering with fear over the prospect of facing a vastly superior athlete? Gimme a break.

Peterson's doing exactly the right thing. If he's one of the best, then he should want to test himself against one of the best. It appears Peterson would like to be "out on an island" all alone against Johnson -- and let's see what happens. That goes back to the "maybe" mentioned above. The defensive coordinator of the Cardinals will make those calls. Every NFL defense features different "looks" and/or coverages at times trying to keep the opposing offense, especially the QB, off-balance. It's a never-ending guessing game, both ways, and whoever adapts the quickest, and executes the best, will normally come out on top.

Yet chances are pretty good PP will get his wish on at least several plays to go mano e mano with CJ. Can he handle him?

The advantages are always with the receiver. They know where their route will take them, as does their QB, and as the defensive back reacts, the ball is already in the air. Few would doubt the receivers are given much more latitude as to "incidental contact" than the DBs, without drawing a penalty flag. To boot, the Megatron always has a serious height, weight, and reach advantage over the opposing DB.

Premier cornerbacks, such as Peterson, have to rely on cat-quick reflexes and proper technique.

And being really fast doesn't hurt. Peterson ran a 4.34 forty yard dash in the NFL combine a year and a half ago, despite being the biggest cornerback there at about 6', 220 pounds, before the Cardinals made him the fifth overall selection in the 2011 draft. A cornerback being picked that high speaks for itself. If the Lions' brain trust, and I use those words lossly, oops loosely, thinks Calvin Johnson will just blow by Peterson on deep routes -- they would be mistaken. PP is every bit as fast as CJ, if not faster.

Sure. the Cardinals came out of the gate 4-0 this year, and have lost all 9 games since. Then again, while so many (suckah!) Lions' fans thought they would improve on last year's 10-6 record, they currently find themselves 4-9 as well, having not won a game since before the Presidential election.

The Detroit/Arizona game means little in the whole scheme of the NFL this year, but here's hoping two of the best, Patrick Peterson and Calvin Johnson, indeed get a chance to duel it out.

Maybe Calvin lights Patrick up for a couple hundred yards and 2-3 touchdowns. He's done it to others. Or maybe PP shuts down the Megatron singlehandedly. On 10/22/12, at Soldier Field in Chicago, a Bears' cornerback named Charles Tillman limited Calvin Johnson to 3 catches for a grand total of 34 yards, while largely playing him "head-up". It can also be done.

My prediction? The Lions should win the game, and of course Johnson's going to catch some balls. QB Matthew Stafford will keep throwing and throwing and throwing at him no matter what. That's been the Lions' modus operandi all year. But don't be surprised if Peterson, knowing that, comes up with a couple plays to make the highlight reels himself. A "pick 6" or punt return for a TD certainly aren't out of the realm of possibility. It's the Lions, remember? Anything's possible, except maybe the Lombardi trophy.

Regardless, PP vs CJ would be interesting to watch. Alas, yours truly won't be able to. Being the fan of all games I am, that pesky NFL schedule comes into play. At the same time the Lions and Cardinals are going at it, there's a few other games going on. Let's see. Seattle/Buffalo in Toronto. What the hell are they doing in Toronto? Forget that. Kansas City @ Oakland. Two bottom feeders. Blecch. But wait a minute, the Steelers are playing The Boys down in Big D. That's pretty much a win or kiss the playoffs good-bye game. Unlike Detroit/Arizona --  it matters.

Sorry Patrick and Calvin. Here's wishing you both well, but both your teams started swirling in the porcelain receptacle a few weeks back, so I'll have to catch your personal exploits on the 4-letter network's highlights later on.

A fan has to have his priorities.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Honoring the innocent children (and adults) in Newtown, Connnecticut


The Jews that run American sports

I have always been one to scoff at the very notion of "political correctness". That's just a repackaged term of what George Orwell called "newspeak" in his classic novel "1984" that was published way back in 1949. Basically, it entails not only attempting to delete words from our language, but to replace them with others that the intelligentsia deem more appropriate for their own agendas. Without getting into the various ethnic "nicknames" that seem to be taboo these days to everyone outside of those particular groups, while they still use the terms freely amongst themselves, such words as "cripple" and "retard" are no longer allowed to be used. Nowadays, it's "physically challenged" or perhaps someone with "special needs". Nobody's bald anymore. They're "follicly impaired". The list goes on and on.

To all of which I say, BS. It is what it is. If one is 5 foot 2 and weighs 300 pounds, you're a freaking fatass. If one is 30 years old and stands 3 feet tall, you're a midget. It ain't personal -- it's just the way it is -- and I'm not afraid to say so. Good grief, yours truly has a bald spot on the back of his head, a widow's peak up front, and craters under my eyes the Eagle could have probably landed in. It is what it is.

But nobody's allowed to talk about Jewish people, right? Wrong. I will. They've controlled a lot of things for a long time, behind the scenes, but this is about sports.

Bud Selig, the Commissioner of major league baseball, is a Jew.
So is Gary Bettman, the Commissioner of the NHL.
So is Donald Fehr, formerly the head of the major league baseball players' union, currently the head of the NHL players' union. Bettman and Fehr now find themselves at odds with each other trying to divide up a multi-billion dollar pie in a sport that very few Jews even participate in.
So is David Stern, the Commissioner of the NBA. Stern has announced that he will retire soon, and has hand-picked his successor. That man's name is Adam Silver. Guess what? Yep. And since when does a Commissioner get to hand-pick his successor? Aren't the owners supposed to get together and deliberate such a matter, before coming up with a choice of their own?

The only guy in charge of a league that isn't a Jew is Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL. Recently, Goodell came under a lot of fire over his handling of the New Orleans Saints "bounty system", particularly with the suspensions he had handed down to certain players. It was alleged by some that Roger was too biased in his rulings. Demaurice Smith, currently the head of the NFL players' union was heading the charge to get appeals heard by a more "neutral" party.

That all sounds good, but few know that despite being black, Demaurice Smith is also Jewish. When Goodell recused himself to allow another to step in and have the final say over the entire "bountygate" matter, guess who was put in charge? Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, a Jew himself. He overruled Goodell. Imagine that.

It seems odd, but the facts are inescapable. While a very small percentage of the players themselves are of the same faith, in the vast majority of American professional sports, Jews are not only in charge of management, but in charge of the unions as well. How did this come to be and does/should it matter? Opinions likely vary, but like a lot of other things -- again -- it is what it is.

And here's a kicker for you..... Do an internet search of some top professional sports agents that wrangle all those insane contracts from the owners to see what they have in common. Guess what?

But maybe nobody's supposed to notice all that, much less talk about it.

Like it or not, I just did.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Jim Schwartz dare

Detroit Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz doesn't seem like the kind of guy to back down. Even though his team would have to post winning records every season until maybe the year 2020 to get his career record over .500 as the Lions' head coach (and it's getting worse by the week), Jimbo continues to remain defiant. Bring em on, he says.

Well, OK then, but perhaps Schwartz should put something on the line as well. No, this isn't about the oblivious Ford family having wasted a few more million dollars to once again fire a coach that can't produce a winner, and buy out the remaining years on his contract. That's chump change to billionaires and we've already seen enough of that anyway over the years.

This is about Schwartz manning up. If we wants his team to put it all on the line every week, then Schwartz should too.

Way back in Week 8 of the NFL season, around Halloween time, the Lions defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24. A couple days ago those same Seahawks steamrolled the Arizona Cardinals to the tune of 58-0. The Cardinals started out the season 4-0, but have been slip-sliding away ever since, losing the last 9 in a row. They finally appear to have bottomed out. 58-0 is about as bad as it gets in the NFL.

And now the Lions travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals. Yes, the Lions are on a (surprise!) losing streak of their own, but surely they should be able to beat the lowly free-falling Cardinals -- right? 

Betcha Jim Schwartz thinks they will. As the Lions' head coach, Schwartz has dealt with many things, including injuries and discipline problems, both on and off the field. But that's always been about the players. It's easy for him to talk the talk, because it's always been about somebody else.

Now it's time for him to walk the walk, because it should now be about him. So if he wants to truly man up, then here's what he should do....

Come out to the press and say, "If we don't beat Arizona, I'll not only have my budding mustache and goatee shaved off, but my head and the rest of my body as well. Further, I'll keep it all shaved until we win another game. Further yet, I'll make all my coaches do the same".

The upcoming game would normally be a yawner. It's just between two teams playing out the season with no hope of going to the playoffs.

But throw down THAT gauntlet, and methinks the ratings might spike a bit.

Even if the Lions were to lose the game, all that would all grow back in time. On the other hand, the Lions seem to have been stuck in the "peach fuzz" stage of adolescence for the last half century.

Somehow it would all seem fitting......

Monday, December 10, 2012

Manny Pacquiao. Time to quit

Idle thought: Most everybody has seen the pic of Mitt Romney with his jaw having dropped to the floor, while his lovely wife Ann sat beside him grimacing in horror. So where was that photo taken? Ringside at the Pacquiao--Marquez fight in Vegas, or watching the election results coming in a month ago? Either way, I'm thinking Mitt can sympathize with Manny. They both got knocked out by Latinos. Sorry, couldn't resist. Onward...

So there was Pacquiao, face down on the canvas at the end of the 6th round, after having taken a thundering right hand from Marquez. He was out colder than a cucumber in the Yukon. Once he became coherent again, he and Marquez were talking about having yet another fight. This is getting to be like Rocky movies. Granted, they're highly entertaining, but the sequels never seem to end. How many times are too much?

Pacquiao's been boxing professionally for 17 years. That's a mighty long time in that sport. He's won hundreds of millions of dollars and garnered several world championships along the way. Yes, there have been others that have hung around, sometimes until they're AARP eligible, looking for one more shot at glory (and another big payday), but they don't seem to have anything else to do. Manny does.

He's a congressman in his native Phillipines and a national hero. Some say even becoming President of the Phillipines could be in his future. You never know how those things might work out. Hey, he's probably got more C-notes laying around than Imelda Marcos had pairs of shoes, and look how far she went. For that matter, if Newt Gingrich had 6-pack abs, could float like a butterly and sting like a bee, and had played a little rope-a-dope with Mitt, he might have done better in the primaries. You never know, but I digress.

But that's the thing with Pacquiao. In his previous fight before Marquez, he was decisioned by Timothy Bradley. Manny lost. The enduring image of this recent fight with Marquez is Pacquiao getting cold-cocked and landing on his face. That's two in a row. How that affects his status as a national hero in the Phillipines is a question you'd have to ask the Filipino populace, but it certainly can't be helpful. So what happens if Manny gets yet another rematch with Marquez and winds up face down again while the whole world is watching? He'd make a few million more bucks, but his national hero status, much less any aspirations of ever becoming President, would take a serious hit, no pun intended.

(Another idle thought -- if during one of the debates, Mitt had bob and weaved his way over to Barack's podium and dropped Obama face down on the red carpet with a thundering right hand of his own, we might have a different guy in the White House for the next four years. You never know. Bet you'd have ponied up $59.95 to see the possibility of THAT on pay-per-view.)

Regardless, heroes become heroes because they were winners, not losers. Manny was indeed a great champion in the past, but he needs to get out of the ring before his image suffers any further, both as a boxer and whatever political future he may aspire to in his homeland. The ever-present younger fighters coming up from around the world don't care about what he used to be, nor will they be the slightest bit intimidated. He's just another notch on their belts waiting to happen. Look at what happened to Joe Louis, arguably the greatest heavyweight champion of all time. He held the undisputed title for 12 years, but he hung around too long. Though many still consider him to be a hero, and indeed he was, given the different times back then, he eventually turned into a bum in the boxing ring, getting turned into not much more than a punching bag for upcoming fighters. In 1951 Louis found himself with his face a mess, thoroughly beaten up, and flat on his back while a guy named Rocky Marciano stood over him in the 8th round. The Brown Bomber didn't know when to quit, and he paid the price -- in the ring and in real life.

The same could fairly be said of Muhammed Ali, who others consider to be the greatest heavyweight in history. He hung around too long. In 1980, after a 2 year "retirement", at the age of 38, he decided to come back and fight Larry Holmes, his former sparring partner, who at 30 was at his peak. Over the course of 10 rounds, Ali landed less than 10 punches, while Holmes landed hundreds. Ali was beaten and bruised, and couldn't answer the bell for the 11th round. Some have suggested the horrific beating he took in that fight might have contributed to the onset of Parkinson's disease which Ali suffers from terribly to this day. Sadly, he didn't know when to quit either.

The list is long of guys that hung around too long and paid a heavy price for it.

Here's hoping Manny doesn't become one of them. It's time for him to hang up the gloves and get back to being a national hero while he still can.

And who knows? President Pacquiao has a nice ring to it. Hope he doesn't get carried away with the shoes, though......

The Detroit Lions losing culture

Yours truly was saying it over and over last year to anybody that would listen. Few would. Most were too busy in their pursuit of unicorns, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and the fountain of youth to pay heed. And then there were the Detroit Lions' fans that thought their team was Super Bowl caliber. I kept trying to tell them all these things are only fantasies, but I was mocked and cast aside as their conversation turned to Atlantis, the Loch Ness monster, and Bigfoot.

So now I'll say it yet again. The Lions were vastly overrated last year. As they cruised along through a weak schedule to post a 10-6 record and qualify for the playoffs, they were finally exposed by the New Orleans Saints, which blew them out in that playoff game.

The Lions' fans saw a bright future. Their team would be even better this year. Yours truly saw a mirage, and another crash back to reality awaiting them this season.

Lions' fans whined earlier this season about if only a punt or kickoff return hadn't been returned for a touchdown here and there. If only head coach Jim Schwartz would haven't thrown that red flag when he already knew the rule, if only a pass hadn't been dropped, if only a fumble or interception didn't happen, if only their team hadn't committed a stupid penalty at a crucial moment in the game, if only the refs weren't all against them, if only this, and if only that. They could have been contenders. WRONG. They were never even close. More than anything, this year has exposed them even further for what they actually are. A mediocre at best team, that even when in a position to win -- will find a way to lose.

Earlier tonight, they played the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Lions hadn't won a road game against the Packers in 21 years. At that, the Packers likely played their worst half of football in recent memory during the first half against the Lions. The Lions had a 3-1 ratio in time of possession, had far more rushing and passing yards, and the Packers only had 16 offensive plays during the first half. The Cheesers were stinking it up -- bad. Yet at halftime, the Lions were ahead only 14-10.

Here's a guess at what was said by the head coach in the Packers' locker room at halftime. "Hey guys, that's the worst I've ever seen you play. The weather's terrible and we ought to be behind by a lot more than we are. But never forget, those are the Detroit Lions in the other locker room whooping it up right now. Just go out there and play hard for the second half, because those guys will find a way to lose. It's in their DNA. Trust me."

And that's pretty much how it went down. The Packers weren't spectacular in the second half, but the Lions only seem capable of playing one decent half of football per game this season. It's almost comical how some of their home town kool-aided reporters have said that in earlier games the Lions got off to a slow start and could never quite catch up. In other games, like this one, they've jumped out to a lead, but couldn't hold it. The Lions were oh-so-close, they continue to say.

What was typically Lionesque in tonight's game with the Packers was the last couple minutes. With no time-outs left, QB Matthew Stafford led his team down the field with crisp passes to put them in field goal position, with only a few seconds left in the game. Chalk up some more yardage for the modern version of the Georgia peach. Jason Hanson successfully kicked the field goal. The problem? They were behind by 10 points. It was sadly comical to watch it play out but, again, it's the Lions.

Hey, not all is lost for Lions' fans. Head coach Jim Schwartz is growing a mustache and goatee. If he got a few tats, piercings and some serious bling, the dude might even start to fit in with the team culture he seems to have created.

After so many expected the Lions to get even better after last season's 10-6 record, they are currently 4-9. The Arizona Cardinals, which just got absolutely trashed by the Seattle Seahawks to the tune of 58-0 are next on the Lions' schedule. If the Lions can't beat the Cardinals, then what would that say about them? But let's say they do. Then they come home to face the Atlanta Falcons. They'll be the underdogs in that game. In the finale, they get Da Bears at home. That's a toss-up.

But if the Lions continue their free-fall and somehow wind up 5-11, or even 4-12, than yours truly suspects Jim Schwartz might well find himself on the hot seat like a few other NFL coaches currently sit on. Last year he was a hero. This year he could turn out to be just another coach that's fired at the end of the season. Could happen.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Miracles. They can happen

Without getting into biblical passages, or trying to explain how Brandon Inge once hit 27 home runs in a season and made an All-Star team, other miracles have been known to happen.

A bunch of American college kids once defeated the mighty Soviet Red Army team in an olympic hockey game. That was over 30 years ago, and Americans still call it the "miracle on ice" to this day. I would imagine the good people that currently inhabit the various states the USSR once consisted of probably have somewhat of a different nostalgic take on it. Like..."dumb luck", or "one in a million". But it happened.

In the NHL negotiations, union prez Donald Fehr and commish Gary Bettman have a history of being bull-headed with outrageous demands. They've both been behind professional sports work stoppages in the past. Be they owners' lockouts or players' strikes --  fans have been deprived of their beloved games. This is what typically happens when two opposing war hawks are put in charge of reaching a truce. Like so many of our beloved partisan politicians, it appears Fehr and Bettman would rather let things go up in flames, than to lose face. Maybe it's just me, but I've never quite understood how "scorched earth" policies are ever beneficial to the masses/fans in the long run. These two guys can't even find a way to sit down and negotiate anymore. With them remaining in charge, will there be any sort of NHL season at all this year? It would take a miracle.

The Detroit Lions play at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night. The Lions have lost 21 years in a row on the road against the Packers. Could the Motown puddy-tats win that game? Sure, anything's possible. Ralph Nader might still get elected President of the United States someday. Yours truly could co-star in a blockbuster action movie with Angelena Jolie and woo her away from Brad during the process, while leaving him stuck with the kids. This blog could win a Pulitzer Prize for literature. The "Princess" might start wearing tennis shoes. But I wouldn't exactly count on any of that happening. It would indeed take miracles.

The Detroit Pistons could win the NBA championship this season. Detroit Tigers' manager Jim Leyland could host Saturday Night Live and finally show his comedic genius to the world. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa could stand atop the podium spraying champagne in Paris as the top 3 finishers in next year's Tour de France. Kobe Bryant could become humble and, OMG, even pass the basketball to a teammate for a better shot a few times a game. Tiger Woods could "tap-out", say "no mas" and become Rory McIlroy's caddie. My yorkies will start giving ME back scratchings and belly rubs instead of the other way around.

But probably not. Some things are beyond even miracles.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Jerry Sandusky claims unfair treatment

As we all know, Jerry Sandusky of Penn State notoriety was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse involving boys/young men as his victims. He was eventually sentenced to 30-60 years in prison. Currently 68, in effect, that amounts to a life sentence. He's never getting out of prison, at least alive.

Yet sometimes one is left to wonder about how our justice system, in it's infinite, ahem, wisdom, actually goes about their business in dealing with certain convicted criminals.

Sandusky is currently housed at the Greene State Prison, in southwestern Pennsylvania. This is the same place where the majority of Pennsylvania's death-row inmates reside, for their various crimes. Like most other jails and/or prisons, Greene State classifies their inmates based on what level of security risk (how dangerous) they deem them to be. At Greene State this ranges from Level 1 to Level 5, with Level 5 being the worst of the worst. Prisoners on death row are Level 5, as well they should be.

Amongst other things, like a restriction on phone calls, visitors, and the like, that entails spending 23 hours a day in their cells, including being fed, with only 1 hour a day to possibly see sunlight or get some exercise. Do those that have committed such heinous crimes to land them in this prison as Level 5s deserve this sort of treatment? In my opinion, damn right they do.

Nevermind that Pennsylvania's entire death-row scenario is a joke anyway. Other than 3 prisoners that waived their rights to appeals, they haven't actually executed anyone for 47 years. They die on death-row alright, from old age, while the state continues to spend countless millions to keep up the charade, but I digress.

Does Sandusky deserve the same Level 5 treatment? Again, in my opinion, hell yes. He wasn't given the death penalty, not that it would have ever happened, but the atrocities he committed deserve the harshest treatment possible.

That's where things get a little sticky. Greene State Prison classified Sandusky as a Level 2 inmate. Level 2 is probably just a shade worse than serial child-support neglecters or white collar embezzlers -- hardly a menace to society. That would seem to be outrageous. Hey, don't abuse the messenger. I didn't classify him. THEY did.

Sandusky and his lawyers are crying foul. Why should a Level 2 inmate get Level 5 treatment? It's a hard pill to swallow for those of us that are still outraged by what Sandusky did to those kids, but they might have a valid point. If a guy is classified by the authorities at one level, but given the same treatment as those classified at a far worse level, then something is obviously wrong.

How that will play out in the courts is anybody's guess, but Sandusky has nothing to lose by pursuing it. After all, what's the worst that could happen for us? Sandusky's still never getting out, so maybe he's allowed a few more phone calls or visitors a month. Big deal. Perhaps the powers that be could split the difference between Level 2 and 5, and rate Sandusky as a 3.5. That way he might have the pleasure of dining with armed robbers, rapists, carjackers, tattooed gang members, and maybe even a couple of those big-time white-collar crooks who are related to one of the boys Sandusky was convicted of abusing. Like those boys, they have numbers too -- and likely long memories as well.

For my part, I would fully support a certain motion Sandusky and his legal team say they may bring before a court. Evidently, Sandusky wants to be allowed to roam amongst the "general population" of the rest of the inmates.

If granted, I dare say Sandusky might quickly find himself experiencing a whole new "level" indeed. From most accounts, the good old boys in the general population seem to have their own way of giving child molesters a little love. A kind of in-house justice system, if you will.

So don't be against Sandusky's appeal. Let him have his way. He would have even begged the legal system to allow it to happen to him.

And THAT'S what I would call justice finally being served.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Peyton Manning. Overrated?

Just today the NFL stat monsters were all agog because Peyton Manning chalked up his 5000th career completed pass. It's unbelievable, they said, in hushed tones of reverence. Actually, that's not exactly right. The talking heads appeared to be nearly orgasmic as they breathlessly screamed this miraculous achievement into their microphones to all that would surely drop everything else they were doing to go out and plop down a couple C-notes to buy yet another #18 "original" jersey.

Yet when one looks at Manning's whole body of work in the NFL, is it really that impressive? On some levels yes, and on other levels maybe not.

Manning is in his 15th season in the NFL, actually 14th because he missed last year with a neck injury. That's impressive, because very few players last that long. These days, the money for QBs is so obscene and the risk of life-changing serious injury happening in any given game so real, that it is doubtful we'll ever see another NFL QB the likes of Manning, Favre, Brady, Brees, etc, ever again. Combine the two, and future QBs have no need to hang around that long.

But back to Manning. 5000 career completions sounds like a lot, and it is, until one crunches a few numbers. Then maybe it's not so impressive. Do the math on his 14 seasons with 16 games each (no playoff stats included). Those 5000 completions average out to about 22 per game. And let's not forget, during all Manning's years with the Indy Colts, for the most part they ran a pass-happy offense, and Manning had a bevy of first-class receivers to throw to. It wasn't unusual for him to throw the ball thirty-some times a game. Nevertheless, Manning has a career completion rate of about 65% and, as they say, two out of three ain't bad, unless one is playing Russian roulette. Then it's not so good. Anybody that can play 16 games of THAT every year and still be around 15 years later is not only impressive, but should be voted into a Hall of Fame SOMEWHERE, but I digress.

However, one is left to wonder just how good Peyton Manning is, and ever was. Yes, he's been a Super Bowl champion and the NFL MVP. Few would doubt he's become a very cerebral QB over the years. Nobody comes more mentally prepared to a game than Peyton. At a glance, he can dissect a defense and audible a different play at the line of scrimmage, if need be. Impressive.

Yet Peyton's never had a cannon arm such as John Elway, nor has he ever been much of a running threat, like perhaps Steve Young. Peyton throws wobbly passes and is slow and awkward. But somehow he gets it done.

There's only one reason all that has happened over the years. Through all his Indy years, and even this year with the Denver Broncos, Peyton has always been blessed with a terrific offensive line to protect him when he drops back to pass.

Dial up any replay you want during his Indy years, or better yet tune into a Broncos game this season, and you'll see the same thing. Peyton will fall back into the "pocket", have time to look at his first, second, third, fourth, and maybe back to the first option, all the while doing his little happy feet dance, before he finally throws the ball. Give most any other NFL QB that amount of time and he'll pick apart a defense too. In that respect, perhaps Manning has been overrated.

No, I don't know the names of those offensive linemen either, and typically they've never been given the credit they are due, but had Manning ever played on a team with a porous offensive line, it is highly unlikely he'd have lasted as long as he has. Those brutes on the opposing defense coming after him don't care about how famous he is or how many silly commercials he makes even more money from. They'd just as soon plow him under like last year's bean plants or the next hot-shot rookie coming out of college. Perhaps even more so. They have a job to do too.

So here's giving credit to Peyton Manning for his longevity, and all the other milestones he has reached as an NFL QB along the way. No doubt, he's a lock for the NFL Hall of Fame as soon as he becomes eligible.

Yet consider this --- when it became apparent the Indy Colts were going to take Andrew Luck with the overall #1 draft pick last year, which meant Manning was about to be phased out -- Peyton could have taken his still considerable talents to a lot of teams. He chose the Denver Broncos. There was a reason for that. No, forget about the Tebow thing -- that was never relevant, as has proven itself out with his tenure with the Jets. Sure, the Broncos had young talented receivers that would get better and better under Peyton's tutelage. But mostly it was about the offensive line. Like Indy, the Broncos have a good one that nobody's ever heard of, and most times Peyton can still dance in the pocket waiting for somebody to come open.

At that, on the rare occasion one of those defensive beasts gets loose and is about to actually make contact with #18, Peyton quickly assumes the fetal position. Well, let's see. He never could run, has a very iffy chicken neck, is chasing still more all-time NFL records, likely has countless more silly commercials awaiting him in the future, and the TV folks can't wait to hire him as an analyst once his playing days are done. Money, money, and more money.

But that only happens if Peyton is still coherent. Though many would deem it to be unmanly for a pro football player, maybe that fetal position isn't such a bad idea after all.

Did I say overrated? I take it back. This dude's been way ahead of the game all along.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Kobe Bryant. The latest episode

What are the differences between LA Laker player Kobe Bryant and Detroit Lion center Dominic Raiola? One's black and one's white. One plays basketball and the other plays football. One has tasted the thrill of victory, while the other has known only the agony of defeat.

What do they have in common? Well, speaking of da feet, they both seem to have a way of sticking them in their own mouths sometimes. In other words, they don't know when to shut up. For over a decade Dominic Raiola has been a team leader and spokesman for -- arguably the sorriest professional franchise in the history of sports. His team is currently in yet another death spiral, but yet Raiola yammers on, calling out teammates and even some of the Lions' home town fans when they dare to say something he doesn't like. He appears to be a member of a very special outfit. The few, the proud, the clueless. Here's a semper fi up Dom's -- now the loser should shut up, and go hold somebody else he can't block. Better yet, hit that Suh guy that he practices against with a few cheap shots, stomp him when he's on the ground, then point at him, trash talk, and laugh as he's writhing in pain. Not only would poetic justice be done, but instead of being known as a lifelong sore loser, Raiola would be instantly transformed into a national hero. Can you imagine the media coverage that would get? Just a thought.

But this is about Kobe. Bryant's a hybrid between a flopper and a flapper. He'll flop on the basketball floor over like he's just been shot if an opposing player even breathes on him, and his gums never seem to quit flapping. He remind yours truly of a character played by the late, great Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live from yesteryear. Roseanne Roseannadannah. Like RR used to say -- it's always something, then go off on another nonsensical incoherent rant -- much like this one, I suppose.

After yet another Lakers' loss to a team (Orlando Magic) they were supposed to be superior to, Kobe has called out teammate Pao Gasol and told him to "put his big boy pants on". During the latter stages of that game, when the Lakers were coming apart at the seams, Kobe thought Gasol could have played better. Problem is, while all that was happening, Gasol wasn't even in the game. Maybe I'm missing something here, but it would seem to be pretty tough for a player to make a difference in the game while he's sitting on the bench. Sure, Kobe would like to play every minute of every game, and he'd likely hoist up 20 shots for every assist he attempted to pass out, but big guys like Gasol need some rest once in a while. They get beat up near the basket by the other team's big guys, while Kobe stays out on the perimeter waiting for his next opportunity to throw up a long-distance off-balance shot, and hoping somebody dares to touch him, so he can pretend he just got clocked by a blitzing middle linebacker and go into another spasmodic flop of pseudo-agony -- only to miraculously hop up and go shoot free throws a few seconds later, as if nothing ever happened. And most times it didn't anyway.

My take? If Kobe wants Gasol to "put his big boy pants on", then Kobe should "shut his little boy mouth", especially when he doesn't know what he's talking about, which seems to be often.

Kobe seems to think the LA Lakers are "his" team. In that respect, he's delusional. They belong to a guy named Jerry Buss, and JB can throw KB under the bus in LA-LA land any time he feels like it. He needs only make one phone call and the flopper/flapper would have played his last game for the Lakers.

Don't think for a minute Jerry Buss doesn't have the cajones to do just that if he wearies of Kobe and his antics. He most certainly does. Kobe's costing him about $30 million a year, serious change even to a billionaire, and if Bryant gets to be more trouble than he's worth, Buss might just make that phone call.

Look at what happened just recently with the Laker head coaching position. After Mike Brown quickly showed himself incapable of leading the team, he was shown out of town. See ya. Former LA coach Phil Jackson, who had proven himself capable of not only managing the circus act and egos in LA, but guiding them to championships, was considering doing a Brett Favre style return act, to once again lead them to the promised land. Most everybody thought that was a given. Good grief, the Zen Master has even been shacking up with owner Jerry Buss's daughter Jeanie for several years. Buss could be considered almost like a father-in-law to him. But guess what? Phil wanted to think about it for a while. He got cocky, just like Kobe is now. We know what happened or, more properly, didn't happen to Phil. Snooze ya lose, and the job was given to Mark Dantonio. Whether MD turns out to be a successful coach with that team remains to be seen, but Phil's history.

Such are the business decisions billionaires make sometimes. They may have a genuine personal fondness for a player, or perhaps it might even be a member of their family (sort of), but hey, it's business. One way or the other, just about everybody's expendable.

Including Kobe Bean Bryant. Obviously he hasn't figured that out yet. The "black mamba" still thinks he rules in LA. If he wakes up one day and finds himself traded to, say, Cleveland, Washington or Charlotte, then maybe whatever lightbulb he has between his ears will finally start to illuminate his brain, rather than power his mouth -- but it will be too late. Over is over.

In the meantime, for the sake of their fans, the sake of their teammates, the sake of their ownership, the sake of the sports world, and for the sake of all mankind in general, here's hoping Kobe Bryant, Dominic Raiola, and others like them can do just one little thing that seems simple enough.

They're making obscene amounts of money for playing a game. So go play, and play hard.

But shut up.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The awakening

I remember exactly when I finally jumped off the bandwagon. After rooting for and supporting the Detroit Lions through thin, thinner, and flat-out anorexic episodes for decades, I finally came to my senses.

That happened after the 1998 season. When Barry Sanders walked away from the Lions, yours truly walked away too. Good enough for Barry -- good enough for me. Enough is enough. Though it would take a few more years for Sanders to break his silence as to why he retired with so many millions and "good years" still left in his future, Barry would eventually go public and say that having been around the Lions for so long had robbed him of his competitive spirit; he didn't see them becoming a championship caliber team anytime soon and, unlike so many others that worship money and the prestige, mansions, and other toys it may bring -- there are other things far more important in life. Like being true unto one's self.

Yes, Barry Sanders is in the NFL Hall of Fame, as well he should be, but had he stuck around like so many others would have for a few more years -- he likely would have set the bar for the all-time NFL rushing record so high that it would never be broken. But such personal accolades didn't matter to Sanders. He just wanted a realistic chance for his team to be a champion, and it wasn't going to happen. So he walked away. Quietly.

Just as he had accomplished so many great things on the gridiron. You never saw Barry Sanders spike the ball, thump his chest, trash talk, or do a dance in the end zone after yet another dazzling touchdown run. As the ultimate professional, Sanders let his play do the talking on the field instead of his mouth or other clown antics that we fans see so much of these days. His private life was off-limits and not open to discussion. Certainly he was aware of the ever-present media circus casting their tantalizing bait in his direction, but he would never bite. Top to bottom, Barry Sanders was, and is, a class act.

This is not to compare myself to Barry Sanders, because there's a few notable differences. I never went to Oklahoma State and certainly was never a superstar running back in the NFL. Last time I looked, Barry and I were still different colors and I'm several inches taller than he is. However, he and I do share one very rare thing in common. The same birthday.

But I admire Sanders, not only for what he accomplished on the gridiron, but for how he carried himself as a man. Then -- and to this day, he remains a humble guy.

Though he was the face of the franchise, unlike many Lions' fans, he understood when it was time to get the hell out, because you're only going to get beat up and nothing good is going to become of it if you keep hanging around.

Fast forward another 14 years with the Lions, and I dare say Barry was prophetic. Nothing good HAS happened. Though Sanders would have been gone many years ago even had he stuck it out -- he rightly saw it as a waste of his time. Some things are more important. Why would one want to continue taking a beating every week during the football season when their team has no chance of winning in the end?

That is the very same question die-hard Lions' fans should have been asking themselves all along. Why do they continue to throw away hard earned money only to tie themselves to the whipping post year after year? How many lashes and welts will it take before them come to their senses and realize the errors of their ways? Isn't 50 years in a row enough? Hello? Or maybe they like the pain. That's a scary thought.

The only people more pitiful than they are Chicago Cubs fans, but there's a major difference. Cubs' fans have come to accept their team as lovable losers. Lions' fans still think think they have a shot at glory every year. FOOLS.

Their local "homer" sports reporters have been spouting propaganda for years and years to the Lions' faithful. There's always hope, they say. They're wrong. Always have been. There is no hope for the Lions any time soon.

But wait, they say. Calvin Johnson is on a pace to break Jerry Rice's record for the most receiving yards in one year. Well gee. Good for Calvin. He might well go on to break a lot of receiving records because he's a freak receiver, and the Lions would be in Nowhereville without him. Yet an argument could be made that, despite all the millions he'll have coming, CJ might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer either. He recently signed an 8-year contract extension with the Lions. They'll likely milk him until his udders shrivel up and go dry, and by then the very rich, but misguided Megatron won't be of much use to anybody else. Chances of him going to the Hall of Fame someday? Pretty good if he stays healthy. Chances of him winning a Super Bowl while playing out that contract for the Lions? Not so good. Maybe he should have consulted Barry Sanders before signing that deal. Now, he's stuck in Motown.

Hang on, of the Lions's eight losses this year, seven of them have been by 8 points or less. Given a few breaks here or there, they could easily be 8-4 instead of 4-8, the rose-tinted spin-meisters continue to spew forth for the Lions' lemmings to eagerly devour.

Yeah? Well, 8 losses are 8 losses and, not counting the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars, given a few breaks here and there, the Lions could also easily be 1-11.

Let's do a little inventory. Head coach Jim Schwartz is 22-38 with the Lions. He went berserk over a post-game handshake with 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh last year. Besides some of his other bone-headed strategies in games past, Schwartz cost the Lions another game over not knowing the proper procedure for throwing a red challenge flag in a game on Thanksgiving this year. He has presided over a team that has included a few players arrested on drug charges, one slugging another teammate in practice, a thug best known for a stomp, but has continued to wreak havoc in other ways -- both on the field and off --  and a wide receiver sent home for reasons that Jimbo won't talk about. After almost 4 years as a head coach, his team still shows a complete lack of discipline with all the stupid penalties they commit. Week after week after week. This is totally unprofessional. Good teams don't do that. Nor do they have defensive coordinators like Gunther Cunningham drop-kicking a clipboard on national TV when their own failures to plan better, or at least get it communicated to the players, wind up contributing to yet another loss.

There's a little typical Honolulu blue and silver story that goes along with Gunther Cunningham. He was born in Germany shortly after WWII ended in 1946. An American soldier dad and a German native mom. A lot of that stuff went on back then. Gunther arrived in the US at the age of 10 in 1956. Fast forward through a few decades and Cunningham had found success in the NFL as a defensive coaching specialist for other teams. Then he came to the Lions as one of Jim Schwartz's first hires. Guess what? Cunningham didn't become a naturalized US citizen until 2010, though he'd been in the country since 1956. That's 54 years, and the longest green card extension yours truly ever heard of.

The superb irony is he was a perfect fit for the Lions and added another appropriate niche in their sorry history. 54 years is just about the same amount of time that has transpired since the Lions have been contenders in professional football, well over a decade before the Super Bowl even came into existence. And now the former Herr Cunningham seems to think drop-kicking a clipboard is a punch line for a bad joke -- otherwise known as the Detroit Lions' defense -- which he is ultimately supposed to be held responsible for. The above mentioned spin-meisters will tell you the Lions defense is around #13 in the NFL. A little better than average. That's true, until it gets to any critical moment of their games. Then they fold like a house of cards in a hurricane. Stats can be deceiving, but would anyone dispute that the only thing that matters in the NFL are wins and losses?

At that, take a look at the only teams that have never even made it to the Super Bowl -- let alone winning it. The original Cleveland Browns never did. If one wants to get into all the expansion stuff and teams relocating to other cities with another name, they've all been there, one way or the other, save for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans, and the Texans look like they might be knocking on that door fairly soon. Maybe even this year.

The Lions may have moved from Briggs/Tiger Stadium, to the Silverdome in Pontiac, and back to Ford Field in Detroit over the years, but they've always been the Detroit Lions. Since 1934. No doubt that team is an original. Perhaps the NFL Hall of Fame folks should consider inducting the Lions' franchise for having achieved a benchmark heretofore never equalled and unlikely ever to be surpassed in the future.

Give them a plaque for finding a way, any way, in any year, with any coach, or any players, to always wind up being losers. In a perfect world, that plaque would be nailed to an outhouse door in the back yard nether regions of the NFL Hall of Fame. Lions' fans only would be directed there, and once arriving to do their "business", would discover that besides having a putrid smell that's accumulated over decades -- there's a vending machine inside that will sell them toilet paper -- one sheet at a time -- and each one costs 20 bucks.

Maybe that would finally wake them up to the reality that they've been duped over all these years. Nah, probably not. Some people are just destined to continue their pursuit of unicorns or magic pills that turn water into gasoline. FOOLS.

But I'd bet Lions owner William Clay Ford would be collecting a rather handsome profit from that toilet paper machine in the outhouse, and laughing all the way back to his ivory tower.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Meeting Shows At Silver Bird Ikeja This Friday

Fans and stars alike are supporting the new movie THE MEETING. Rita Dominic, actress and co-producer of the film has been out and about with Nse Ikpe Etim, Femi Jacobs and Linda Ejiofor promoting and convincing audiences to take a chance and support a good Nigerian movie.  Speaking to Mildred Okwo, Producer and Director of the film, she says it has been tough convincing some fans who are used to watching certain kinds of Nollywood films at home and even at the cinema.

"However, whenever they have been convinced, they have thoroughly enjoyed watching the film and come out hugging the actors."

The Meeting has been getting rave reviews on twitter from people who have watched the film.  SilverBird cinemas opens in Ikeja this weekend and THE MEETING will also be showing in the new all digital cinemas.

I Went Through Hell in My First Marriage- Mercy Aigbe

Mercy Aigbe narrates to us how she suffered a lot in the hands of mother-in-law in her first marriage. She shared some of the sad memories in this chat with Showtime Celebrity. Excerpt:

So what were those mistakes you made in the last one that you wouldn’t want to repeat in this one?
It’s not like I’m trying to sound holy but, I didn’t make any mistake. I just feel it was meant to be like that. I had a mother-in-law who didn’t like where I come from. She didn’t like the fact that her son didn’t marry a lady from their village. She made me go through hell. At a point when I couldn’t take it any more, I left the marriage.

So you wouldn’t blame those ladies who wish their mother-in-laws were dead before they got married?
I swear I wouldn’t blame them. If I think back to what I went through, I wouldn’t pray for anyone to go through such because I went through hell in the hands of that woman. And for me to have woken up one day and decided to leave, it wasn’t easy because I was young and tried my best to please her. But she wasn’t pleased. I went out of my way to learn their language, learn how to cook different dishes just to please her but she didn’t budge.

So what did your ex-husband do about it?
At first, he actually fought it but some women have a strong hold on their sons. In the end, he obeyed her. He didn’t like it that I was leaving but he couldn’t hold me back at the same time because he wanted to please his mum. We had fought the battle for a long time and it wasn’t as if it would come to an end, I had to leave.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The couch tater's guide to panic

So OK, near as yours truly can tell, the college football season is over until the bowl games start in a few weeks. As stated in my previous rant, other than the NFL, that's leaves quite a void for your average sports maniac couch tater.

One should be prepared for such catastrophic events, so here's what I did....

Top off the gas tank on the generator and fire that sucker up, just to make sure it will work if needed. Check. An extra 5 gallon can of gas, just in case? Got it. Don't forget having plenty of AA batteries in case one of the remotes or wall clocks fail. Those things are worth their weight in gold.

Take a cruise down the road to make sure the places vital to survival are still open. In my neighborhood there's a Mickey D's, Taco Bell, KFC (great cole slaw), A&W, a donut shop, Arby's, and a couple Chinese joints. Check.

Also a Wendy's. They've got great chili too. Even a few pizza places that are a phone call away from having a double cheese meat-eaters gourmet dinner delivered right to one's door. They all seem to be alive and well. Check.

One must never neglect their children. A fresh bag of Purina puppy chow, a couple boxes of milk-bones, and a few rawhides should tide the little 4-legged monsters over quite nicely.

Lots of tuna fish for protein and stuff in boxes that one adds a little water, milk, and butter to for one's carbohydrates. Plus an armload of one pound packages of hamburger and a few bags of Downey's BBQ chips. Throw in a few 12 packs of Coke and a couple cases of brewskis, and things started shoring up around here.

Almost forgot. Thank you CVS, for that buy one/get one sale of Stroh's ice cream. That stuff's delicious. The cashier thought I might have set a record there for a one-time sale, but even if not, let's just say dessert is covered for a while.

"Hungry man" TV dinners are great, but in this economy, one has to save where they can. Those suckers are about $2.50 a pop. Why not load up on the $.99 ones and just nuke two? Makes sense to me.

This is a terrible diet, you say? Not to worry. I take a Flintstones vitamin every day, so that should cover any dietary deficiencies I missed. Some say it's a good idea to take an aspirin a day too. I'm not sure why that is, but I do it anyway. Perhaps it might have something to do with preventing the migraine you'll get if someone comes to visit or calls you during the NFL's Sunday lineup of games. Good grief. They were likely at church just a couple hours before. You'd think they'd  know something about sacrilege and blasphemy. For that matter, even angels fear to tread on Monday Night Football. But keep an extra-strength Tylenol handy just in case.

Nevertheless, there's your couch tater's handy-dandy guide to getting by when a void in sports rears it's satanic head. With what I've got stocked up around here, I'm thinking I could survive a nuclear winter, let alone waiting for the bowl games to start.

But if there's such a void in sports worth watching, then what difference does it make, you say?

Hmm. Good question. Maybe a couple more cases of brewskis are in order. Chug enough of that stuff, and one won't care what the hell's going on or not anyway. Let's call that Plan B, for beer, to be used only as a last resort.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

But no matter what -- never drive after you've consumed a big bag of BBQ chips, a few slices of pizza, a couple drumsticks from the Colonel, a big mac, a burrito supreme, half an order of gai kow, a "triple" from Wendy's, a foot-long from A&W, a few jelly donuts, and a half gallon of ice cream. Getting pulled over by the cops would be the least of your worries.

Sports teams go up and sports teams go down, but what's going to happen in your pants, pantyhose or lap in a few minutes might indeed be reasons to panic.

And I believe that's pretty much where I came in.

NFL Player Jovan Belcher Kills Girlfriend and Self

Kansas City Chiefs American football player Jovan Belcher has killed himself outside the team's main stadium. Police said the 25-year-old first-team linebacker shot his girlfriend dead a few miles away, before driving to a training facility at Arrowhead Stadium.

He then shot himself in the car park in front of team officials.

The club confirmed the incident in a statement, adding: "We are co-operating with authorities in their investigation."

Kansas City police spokesman Darin Snapp told AP news agency that authorities were told early on Saturday that a woman had been shot five miles away from the Arrowhead complex.

The victim was later identified as Belcher's girlfriend.

Police were then called to the training facility, where they saw the player in a car holding a handgun to his head. He thanked the Chiefs' general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel for all they had done for him before shooting himself.

Bukky Wright & Helen Paul @ A Movie Location

                                            Bukky Wright keeps looking younger. Nice!

Pregnant Woman Left To Die Over Lack of Money

Late Ijeoma Umumadumere, nee Ahamefule
Do you think it is right for any doctor to leave a pregnant woman to die due to financial reasons? We know it is a private hospital, but should anyone be left to die? Aren't doctors meant to save lives? Read the story below.

A pregnant Nigerian lady has died because doctors in Port Harcourt insisted hre husband must pay N20,000, less than $150, before she was treated. Her family members are still in shock about her death, such that they are not even thinking of burying her for now.

The 34 year old woman, Ijeoma Umumadumere, nee Ahamefule, was rushed in the morning of 25th November to Garrison Clinic in Port Harcourt, when she complained of a sudden stomach pain and headache, while cooking. Her husband rushed her to the clinic on Udom street in the oil rich city. It was between 9-10 a.m. And she was five-months pregnant.

But doctors and nurses would not attend to the pregnant woman because the husband only had N5,000 on him, instead of the N20,000 being demanded, as a precondition for treatment. Even the N5,000 the man had on him had been used to offset registration and other costs.

Her brother, based in Austria could not understand why a doctor in a Nigerian hospital could have been so callous to have treated a woman pregnant with her first child in that manner. Here is what her brother said:

“Her husband begged the doctor and the nurses to attend to her since they had collected about N5, 000 he had in his pocket in the name of registration and other little things while he would go home and bring money. He had also told them that because of the nature of the emergency and the way his wife had been shouting while on the ground that his mind had only been pre-occupied with the thoughts of rushing her to any nearby hospital and had not thought of money or any other thing as he had even forgotten to put on shoes, but all his pleading and explanations to the doctor and the nurses had fallen onto deaf ears. With her pains increasing and death knocking and the doctor and the nurses refusing to understand, there was no way he could have left her there unattended, to go home and bring money. He took her and headed to another hospital, but unfortunately my sister did not make it as the damage had already been done before the doctors in that second hospital could do something reasonable to save her life.”

“What a country, what a failure and what a loss! This is a sad story of the sorry state of the Nigerian health policy, how Nigerians are heartlessly and carelessly neglected because of money by doctors and nurses to die in hospitals, and how I lost my sister to a failed system,”wrote Uzoma Ahamefule, based in Austria.

Many hospitals in Nigeria, both private and public, are in the habit of asking for pre-payment from patients, even when the case is an emergency.

Source: Pm News