Saturday, December 31, 2005

NFL Week 17: Mailing it in

All I can say is I am glad I am not a professional handicapper. With the final week of the NFL regular season always comes speculation about who will play how long.

Normally, the Colts would be a 21-point favorite over the pitiful Cardinals. However, the Colts have already clinched home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Therefore, Peyton Manning may play one quarter, if that.

The Chargers a 10-point favorite against the Broncos? I’m sure Denver will rest a lot of defensive starters but the only way they’re a 10-point dog to San Diego is if the practice squad fills in.

On the bright side, NFL Week 17 is symbolic for another reason: NO MORE FANATASY FOOTBALL GEEKS! Since most NFL stars are rested the final week of the regular season, the Fantasy Footballers usually wrap up their playoffs by Week 15 or 16. It’s one of the most pathetic displays I see when I witness grown men sitting at a bar, clipboard in hand, screaming “DOES ANYONE KNOW WHO SCORED THAT TOUCHDOWN FOR THE COLTS???!!”

Please be advised that the following picks against the point spread are not to be referenced for placing bets.

Broncos (+10) at Chargers: Since the Broncos have already secured a playoff spot they will rest several defensive starters. In fact, they will be amongst the Navy soldiers in the stands.
Pick: Broncos

Giants (-9) at Raiders: How injury ravaged are the Giants at linebacker? They are considering calling Lawrence Taylor out of retirement, drug induced stupor or not.
Pick: Giants

Cardinals (+6 ½) at Colts: The lousy Cardinals have two outstanding young wide receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. I haven’t seen such a waste of talent since Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty starred in “Ishtar”.
Pick: Colts

Ravens (-3) at Browns: After successfully groveling to Ravens management to stay on as coach another year, Brian Billick can become an egomaniac again.
Pick: Ravens

Panthers (-4) at Falcons: If Falcons coach Jim Mora make a cell phone call from the sidelines this week, he will merely be checking on his tee time at Augusta.
Pick: Panthers

Bills (-1) at Jets: On the Bills’ official web site, the fan poll question is “Should the Bills activate rookie RB Lionel Gates vs. the NY Jets?” A better question: Are you even going to bother watching two terrible teams play a meaningless game where the only interest is whether or not some stiff named Lionel Gates will play?
But that’s just me.
Pick: Bills

Bears (+3 ½) at Vikings: When I think of the Bears defense going up against the Vikings’ mediocre offensive line, I think “hot knife through warm butter.”
Again, that’s just me
Pick: Bears

Bengals (+7) at Chiefs: How long has it been since the Bengals played in a meaningful game? It was the game where they ended the football career of Bo Jackson…… of the Los Angeles Raiders.
Pick: Bengals

Lions (+14) at Steelers: The Lions winning percentage is .266 in the five seasons Matt Miller has been President and GM. Not bad-------IF YOU’RE A MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL HITTER!
Pick: Lions

Dolphins (+6) at Patriots: Prior to the game, the Patriots and their fans will pay tribute to the 1985 AFC championship team. Yeah, there’s nothing more inspirational than a team who lost by 36 points in a Super Bowl.
Pick: Patriots

Saints (+14) at Buccaneers: In what may be his last game as Saints coach, Jim Haslett will view the game from the big pirate ship in “Buccaneers Cove”.
Pick: Saints

Texans (-2) at 49ers: How much does Texans coach Dom Capers want this season to end? He’s more excited about his post game meal at the Bubba Gump Shrimp in Fisherman’s Wharf.
Pick: 49ers

Titans (+3) at Jaguars: How much do these two teams dislike each other? Instead of coin toss to determine who gets the opening kickoff, the two clubs would prefer a “Battle Royal.”
Pick: Jaguars

Seahawks (+3) at Packers: If Brett Favre decides to retire at the end of this season he will start his own magazine entitled “Interceptions Aficionado”.
Pick: Seahawks

Redskins (-7) at Eagles: In this game for the Eagles there will be no Donovan McNabb, no Terrell Owens, and no Brian Westbrook. Kind of like going to see the Rolling Stones without Mick, Keith and Charlie.
Pick: Redskins

Rams (+12 ½) at Cowboys: Bill Parcells refuses to speculate on whether or not he will retire as Cowboys coach. However, he doesn’t mind telling you he recently had his teeth capped.
Pick: Rams

Last week: 11-4-1

Overall: 57-50-3

Monday, December 26, 2005

Give thanks in all circumstances

As an NFL fan, I have paid special attention to the recent tragedy experienced by Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy. His 18-year old son, James, was found dead in a Tampa-area apartment Thursday.

As a Christian, I have focused even more attention on the aftermath of Dungy's loss.

Dungy is respected for his coaching abilities. He is admired for his strong faith in his Lord.

I have known people who have had to deal with the unbearable pain of burying a child. The general consensus is that it is the most confusing time in a parents' life. They bring a child into this world. The natural inclination is that the child will still be here when the parents leave this world. When such confounding tragedies occur, there is often times a similar reaction emitted by believers, non-believers and agnostics alike:


If I were asked a question like that and an answer was demanded instantly, I don't know that I could offer a simple explanation. I can say there is a passage of scripture in the Bible which I fall on. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

There's a tremendous disparity between being thankful for all things and being thankful in all things.

Tony and Lauren Dungy certainly aren't thankful for their son's death. But in the tragedy of losing a child they can demonstrate the peace and serenity that come with serving our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. From those who know Tony Dungy, there has never been any question of the order of his priorities: faith, family and football.

From all I have been able to gather, the Dungy family will be seen through these circumstances, thanks to their faith. For that, they should be proud. I am confident that in these circumstances the Dungys have impacted many lives because they have truly been a shining light in this dark time.

Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
1 John 2:8

Saturday, December 24, 2005

NFL Week 16: Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all you football fans and ACLU members!

The Holidays are a busy time of the year so I am off to help my wife finish making her pear salad (Actually, she forgot to make it so I am off to the grocery store).

Remember, the following picks against the point spread are for recreational purposes only.

Bills (+14) at Bengals: Bengals rookie receiver Chris Henry was recently arrested on marijuana charges. I guess I should have checked the scouting report: Plays best on grass.
Pick: Bengals

Steelers (-7) at Browns: The only issues the Browns have this time of year is whether or not they want to wear those creamsicle looking jerseys.
Pick: Steelers

Chargers (pick ‘em) at Chiefs: 50. That’s the “over/under” line for points this game and the number of missed tackles last week by the Chiefs’ defense.
Pick: Chargers

Titans (+5 ½) at Dolphins: Titans RB Travis Henry needs only 778 yards rushing over the next two games to get to 1,000 for the season.
Pick: Dolphins

Jaguars (-6) at Texans: How much does Texans coach Dom Capers want this season to end? Instead of addressing the team at halftime he will run home for a quick turkey dinner.
Pick: Jaguars

Lions (+3) at Saints: I would prefer to light my remaining eight hairs on fire than sit through a QB matchup of Joey Harrington & Todd Bouman.
Pick: Lions

Cowboys (+5) at Panthers: After four straight weeks of porous run defense, Dallas’ “Doomsday Defense” takes on a whole new meaning.
Pick: Panthers

Giants (+3) at Redskins: If Skins RB Clinton Portis has a big game running the ball, I am making a special request for the Washington Post headline the next day:

Pick: Redskins

Falcons (+3) at Buccaneers: Watching Falcons RB Warrick Dunn run the ball is like watching the hobbits attempting to run through the forest of talking trees (My apologies to the three of you who have not seen “Lord of the Rings”).
Pick: Buccaneers

Eagles (+1) at Cardinals: With QB Kurt Warner out for the season, the Cards must choose between Josh McCown and John Navarre. That reminds me of my childhood when my Grandmother gave me the choice of either asparagus or brussel sprouts.
Pick: Cardinals

49ers (+9 ½) at Rams: The Rams have chosen on Jamie Martin to start at QB over Ryan Fitzpatrick. That’s the equivalent of choosing asparagus over brussel sprouts.
Pick: 49ers

Colts (+8) at Seahawks: Since the Colts have sewn up home field throughout the AFC playoffs, the offense has been somewhat lax in practice. While calling a play in the huddle, Peyton Manning would say things like “Ah, the heck with it. Everyone go deep.”
Pick: Colts

Raiders (+13) at Broncos: Think the Al Davis-Mike Shanahan feud is over? Shanahan has told Invesco Field groundskeepers to pile up shoveled snow and place it in visiting owners’ suite.
Pick: Broncos

Bears (-6 ½) at Packers: After 3 straight weeks of erroneously picking the Pack to cover the point spread, I am summoning Brett Favre, Donald Driver and coach Mike Sherman to my office (actually, it’s a corner booth at Snuffy’s malt shop in Roseville, MN). You’ve made a fool out of me for the last time!
Pick: Bears

Vikings (-3) at Ravens: Vikes coach Mike Tice was critical of the fans who scalped their tickets last week for the game at home against the Steelers. Next thing you know, Ravens coach Brian Billick will reprimand Baltimore fans for using foul language.
Pick: Ravens

Patriots (-4 ½) at Jets: Alcohol won't be sold during the game between the Jets and Patriots at the Meadowlands in an attempt to quell rowdy fan behavior. And here we all thought that the Jets fans were buying brown paper bags to put over their heads.
Pick: Patriots

Last week: 9-7

Season to date: 46-46-2

Friday, December 23, 2005

Bill Maher mars America

He’s been described as a comedian, a “humorist” if you will.

However, Bill Maher seems to be one of the most vitriolic and bitter people out there. The 21st century has not been all that kind to Maher. He supported Ralph Nader for President in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. In between, his talk show “Politically Incorrect” was cancelled. We certainly remember the ultimate demise of that show. In 2002, when talking about Al-Qaeda and the upcoming war in Iraq, Maher stated, "(America’s) been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly."

Advertisers decided to withdraw their business, thus sinking a show which had already been experiencing sagging ratings.

Fortunately for Maher, his pal Larry King always has a place on his show for the embittered comedian. Maher’s appearance on the December 15th edition of “Larry King Live” seemed to highlight a lot of what has him so angry. As if before he didn’t state clearly enough his disdain for the USA, he emphasized it by saying America needs to “get over itself. Really. I mean, this nonsense I hear constantly coming out of Americans about, it's the greatest country in the world. First of all, how would you know it was the greatest country in the world?”

How would I know?

-Last time I checked, there were more people fleeing other countries to come live here rather than vice versa.

-Blowhards like you, Bill, can make incredibly asinine and absurd statements about your government and not be thrown in jail. But I don’t need to remind you of that. You seem to enjoy lecturing on the merits of the first amendment.

-FREE ENTERPRISE!! I know those are dirty words to your people, Bill. The Hollywood folks and other liberals absolutely love to perpetuate the “Steal from the poor, give to the rich” myth.

Maher also had a suggestion on what to do with the land in New York City which was formerly occupied by the World Trade Center. He came up with a despicable notion that we ought to have a “Why They Hate Us” pavilion.

In his book entitled ”When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden”, Maher says about radical Islam: “They hate us because we don’t know why they hate us.”

In the October 2004 edition of “Christianity Today”, that issue is addressed.

America's increasing decadence is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. When we tolerate trash on television, permit pornography to invade our homes via the internet, and allow babies to be killed at the point of birth, we are inflaming radical Islam.

When radical Islamists see American women abusing Muslim men, as they did in the Abu Ghraib prison, and when they see news coverage of same-sex couples being "married" in U.S. towns, we make our kind of freedom abhorrent—the kind they see as a blot on Allah's creation.

How has Maher weighed in on such abhorrent freedoms?

-Allowing trash on TV: "The cable TV sex channels don't expand our horizons, don't make us better people, and don't come in clearly enough."

-Pornography: “I go to the Playboy Mansion four or five times a year.”

-Babies killed at the point of birth: “I do sort of understand what they're saying. If you've ever seen a sonogram, you know, you could see something that's emerging as a human being in there. And we are sort of reaching in and killing it. I'm just not against that.”

Go ahead and point the finger at America all you want, Bill. Just remember, you seem to be a willing participant in the licentious freedoms which contribute to the reasons “why they hate us.”

Saturday, December 17, 2005

NFL Week 15: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes
Too high or too low there ain’t no in-betweens
And if I stand or I fall
It’s all or nothing at all
Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes

Billy Joel
“I Go to Extremes”

Was I lucky or was I good in Week 13? After a 13-3 showing, it would seem there was quite a bit of luck involved considering I did an about face in Week 14, going a dismal 3-12-1.

Oh well, it certainly is not the first time I have had extreme results when it came to sports prognostication.

A history lesson, if you please.

Extremely good: I said at the time of the 1999 NFL draft that Donovan McNabb was a better draft pick for the Philadelphia Eagles than was Ricky Williams.

Extremely bad: I said at the time of the 1998 NFL draft that the Indianapolis Colts should have selected Ryan Leaf over Peyton Manning.

Extremely good: There was no doubt in my mind that Tony Dungy would again be a successful coach in the NFL after his firing by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Extremely bad: It made no sense to me that the New England Patriots would give up draft picks for Bill Belichick.

Extremely good: I picked the Denver Broncos to upset the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII. Broncos won, 31-24.

Extremely bad: I picked the Denver Broncos to upset the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIV. Broncos lost, 55-10.

Extremely good: I thought the Vikings got a steal in the 1998 NFL draft, when WR Randy Moss slid down to them at the 21st pick.

Extremely bad: I thought the Vikings got a steal in the 1998 NFL draft, when WR Randy Moss slid down to them at the 21st pick.

One quick political aside:

Extremely good: I predicted President George W. Bush would be re-elected in 2004.

Extremely bad: If I recall correctly, my exact quote on Election night 1984 was “Congratulations, President Mondale”!

Perhaps we can find a happy medium here in Week 15 (or at least a 9-7 showing to allow me to get back to even for this NFL season).

As always, the following picks against the point spread are not to be used as a basis for a cash wager.

Buccaneers (+4 ½) at Patriots: This game matches the two franchises responsible for the last four Super Bowl victories as well as boyish quarterbacks (Chris Simms and Tom Brady) who use the word “neat” in a given conversation.
Pick: Patriots

Chiefs (+3) at Giants: Last week, Chiefs kicker Lawrence Tynes missed a game-tying field goal at the end of regulation in Dallas. A few weeks earlier, Jay Feely missed three game-winning attempts for the Giants in Seattle. I tell ya, New York won’t see that many missed threes in a night at Madison Square Garden.
Pick: Chiefs

Broncos (-8 ½) at Bills: Mike Mularkey to be suspended for one game by Buffalo for “coaching detrimental to the team.”
Pick: Broncos

Steelers (-3) at Vikings: To settle verbal dispute, Vikings DT Pat Williams and Steelers RB Jerome Bettis to battle one another in Sumo wrestling match. My only request is for neither to wear those big thong cloths.
Pick: Steelers

Chargers (+7 ½) at Colts: To bring good luck in an effort to match the 1972 Dolphins’ 14-0 start, Colts QB Peyton Manning will fashion the Bob Griese face mask.
Pick: Colts

49ers (+16) at Jaguars: To add insult to injury, the 2-11 Niners have to play a very good opponent and go all the way from California to Florida without receiving frequent flyer miles.
Pick: 49ers

Seahawks (-7) at Titans: Much heralded Titans rookie CB Adam “Pacman” Jones has looked more like “Donkey Kong” against opposing receivers.
Pick: Seahawks

Cardinals (-1 ½) at Texans: How much does Texans coach Dom Capers want this season to end? Instead of his coaches being piped into his headphones, Capers now listens to a simulcast of The Weather Channel.
Pick: Cardinals

Jets (+9) at Dolphins: Brooks Bollinger and Gus Frerotte are the respective starting QBs in this game. Who would have ever thought I would be nostalgic for the days of Richard Todd and Don Strock?
Pick: Dolphins

Panthers (-8) at Saints: The Panthers look to avenge Week 1 loss at home to the Saints. Yep, Todd Bouman as Saints QB ought to do it.
Pick: Panthers

Cowboys (+2 ½) at Redskins: After getting burned for two touchdowns by Santana Moss earlier this season, Cowboys safety Roy Williams requests to have bell placed on Moss’ neck.
Pick: Redskins

Bengals (-8) at Lions: Cornerback R.W. McQuarters of the Lions is the only player I ever saw who attempted to make a tackle without actually making contact.
Pick: Bengals

Browns (+3) at Raiders: Hey, Raiders fans. What was your favorite moment of the Marques Tuiasosopo era?
Pick: Raiders

Eagles (+3 1/2) at Rams: A rematch of the 2001 NFC title game. Yeah, in the way that “Blues Brothers 2000” was a follow-up to “The Blues Brothers”.
Pick: Eagles

Falcons (-3 ½) at Bears: In an attempt to irritate the injured ribs of Falcons QB Michael Vick, Bears defenders will tell funny jokes at the line of scrimmage.
Pick: Bears

Packers (-3 ½) at Ravens: At his current pace, Ravens QB Kyle Boller will eclipse Brett Favre in pass yardage around the 2035 season.
Pick: Packers

Overall record: 37-39-2

Sunday, December 11, 2005

NFL Week 14: Look at me now!!

During pre-game warm-ups on Opening Day of the NFL season, Vikings Safety Darren Sharper made the following declaration:

"I know one thing," Sharper said, looking down at the TV camera. "Anyone who said I wouldn't look good in purple, look at me now. Look at me now."

In the motif of Sharper’s comments, I would like to offer this:

For those who thought I couldn’t correctly pick NFL games against the point spread, look at me now. Look at me now!

After a blistering 13-3 record last week, I am finally above .500 (34-27-1) in the four scant weeks I’ve been picking games.

Now, an on-the-field observation:

Do you remember how former Vikes coach (and current Cardinals head guy) Denny Green liked to point he had a “quarterback friendly” system in place where any QB could flourish? I’m now waiting to hear that he has a similar fool-proof system for kickers. Gary Anderson was perfect (35-35 FG, 59-59 XP) for the Vikings in 1998. Green’s current placekicker, Neil Rackers, has missed only one kick this entire season (32-33 FG, 14-14 XP). You didn’t by chance collaborate with Al Gore in inventing the internet too, did you Denny?

As always, the following picks against the point spread are not meant to use as insight for placing bets (Although, it is tempting given last week’s success).

Patriots (-4) at Bills: After winning the Super Bowl three of the last four seasons, the Patriots visited the White House each time for a Presidential congrats. This year the best they can hope for is a visit to the set of ABCs “Commander in Chief”.
Pick: Patriots

Rams (+7) at Vikings: The Rams offense in the past couple of seasons has gone from “The Greatest Show on Turf” to carnival freak show.
Pick: Vikings

Bears (+6 ½) at Steelers: Has an NFL game ever ended 2-0? This may be the one!
Pick: Bears

Raiders (-3) at Jets: Unlike the infamous “Heidi” game, there will be no complaints to the TV network for pulling the plug on this contest.
Pick: Raiders

Colts (-8 ½) at Jaguars: When your club is 12-0, it’s OK for QB Peyton Manning to be overconfident maybe even a little cocky. But not wearing his helmet the first snap of the game?
Pick: Colts

Texans (+6 ½) at Titans: How much does Texans coach Dom Capers want this season to end? Instead of the holding a play card on the sidelines he now thumbs through the latest edition of “Field and Stream.”
Pick: Titans

Giants (-9) at Eagles: Due to all the injuries suffered by the Eagles, their home stadium will be renamed Limping Financial Field.
Pick: Giants

49ers (+16) at Seahawks: As punishment for revealing officiating errors, the Seahawks were threatened with revocation of their instant replay challenges for this week against the Niners. That’s the equivalent of revoking Bill Gates’ coupon privileges.
Pick: Seahawks

Dolphins (+13 ½) at Chargers: Since 1999 the Dolphins have used at quarterback Jay Fiedler, A.J. Feely, Brian Griese, Gus Frerotte and Sage Rosenfels. Man, replacing Dan Marino has proven more difficult than finding a replacement for “Friends” on NBC Thursdays.
Pick: Chargers

Ravens (+14 ½) at Broncos: Did I see Deion Sanders in the Ravens defensive huddle last week? Huh. I didn’t know he still played football. Does this mean he will try to catch on with the Baltimore Orioles next baseball season?
Pick: Broncos

Chiefs (+3) at Cowboys: We have a great matchup of old school coaches here, featuring Dick Vermeil and Bill Parcells. I haven’t seen this kind of legendary talent reunite in a profession since Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas got together in the movie “Tough Guys”!
Pick: Chiefs

Lions (+6) at Packers: To avoid further confusion with young players, Brett Favre will draw up plays in the dirt.
Pick: Packers

Buccaneers (+5 ½) at Panthers: Last week against the Falcons, Panthers WR Steve Smith emulated changing a baby’s diaper as part of his TD celebration. This week? He’ll emulate dirtying the diaper.
Pick: Panthers

Redskins (-4) at Cardinals: When Cards players were asked if they were excited for the return of rookie CB Antrel Rolle from injury, the typical response was “Who’s Antrel Rolle?”
Pick: Redskins

Browns (+12 ½) at Bengals: How true-to-life is the Madden 06 NFL video game? Any game featuring the Bengals’ Chad Johnson includes his gold teeth.
Pick: Bengals

Saints (+10 ½) at Falcons: Call it a hunch but I believe Falcons TE Alge Crumpler is the only player to be named after chiefly aquatic, eukaryotic, photosynthetic organisms, ranging in size from single-celled forms to the giant kelp.
Pick: Saints

Monday, December 05, 2005

Kerry's consistent in one area: Defaming military

Failed Presidential candidate John Kerry (D-MA) appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday to discuss, primarily, the Iraq war.

Host Bob Schieffer asked one question of failed Presidential candidate Kerry (I know I’m being redundant but I just like the sound of that!) which caught my attention. When asked why he thought he lost in 2004, Kerry replied, “…I’m not going backwards, Bob. I’m going forwards. I’m going to take the lessons I learned, take the mistakes I made.”

One of the many mistakes Kerry made he couldn’t overcome. In fact, it haunted him for over 30 years.

Following is the statement John Kerry made before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 23, 1971.

I would like to talk on behalf of all those veterans and say that several months ago in Detroit we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia. These were not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit - the emotions in the room and the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.

They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ensured that the American people would not forget Kerry’s denigration of American serviceman.

So Kerry learned from that mistake, right? Certainly he couldn’t commit another resounding blunder as despicable as undermining our troops in a time of war.

I take you once again to Senator Kerry’s appearance on Face the Nation this past Sunday. When Schieffer pointed out Senator Joe Lieberman’s (D-CT) comments about the “…remarkable political transformation going on in Iraq”, Kerry replied, “…There is no reason that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the-of-the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not, Iraqis should be doing that.”

I grew quite weary of the nonsensical rhetoric "I support the troops, not the war." Well, Kerry takes it ones step further by saying the American soldiers are "terrorizing" homes of Iraqis.

There you have it.

Those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

NFL Week 13: It's getting hot in the North

In what has been consistently labeled the worst division in the NFL, the NFC North has two intriguing intra-divisional match-ups this weekend.

And the visiting teams will appear to be right at home.

Let’s start off with the Minnesota Vikings visiting the Detroit Lions. Vikes head coach Mike Tice has a career coaching record of 29-31. Of those 29 victories, SEVEN have come against the Lions. In fact, since Ford Field opened in 2002, Tice and the Vikings are 3-0 there. The Lions are in a desperate state, having just fired coach Steve Mariucci and also being saddled with choosing between Jeff Garcia and Joey Harrington at quarterback. You either go with the savvy veteran (Garcia) who’s slow and inaccurate or the up-and-comer (Harrington) who’s slow and inaccurate.

One of the oldest rivalries in the NFL is the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. The Pack will be traveling to Soldier Field in Chicago where they are 11-1 in the Brett Favre era (not including the Packers victory in Champaign, IL in 2002). Since 1992, the Packers have employed one quarterback in this rivalry. On the other hand, the Bears have plodded out the likes of Jim Harbaugh, Erik Kramer, Steve Stenstrom, Cade McNown, Jim Miller, Chris Chandler, Kordell Stewart and now Kyle Orton. However, for the first time since 2001 it is the Bears who have the better record at the time of this contest. Nonetheless, the Packers prevailed in that game like they have 12 of the last 13 match-ups in the state of Illinois.

Recent history shows the Lions and Bears having been gracious hosts to this weeks’ opponents. Look for the visitors in both games to cover.

I rebounded last week with a 10-5-1 record against the point spread, bringing my running total to 21-24-1.

While I’m feeling confident about getting to the .500 mark this week, please be advised that the following picks against the point spread are strictly satirical.

Bills (+4) at Dolphins: I heard that LB Zach Thomas of the Dolphins wants to play in this game with a torn labrum. Here I thought I was tough drafting this column with a blister on one of my fingers.
Pick: Dolphins

Bengals (+3) at Steelers: In preparation to defend Bengals WR Chad Johnson, the Steelers are viewing the movie scene where James Bond shocks Jaws via his metal teeth.
Pick: Bengals

Texans (+8 ½) at Ravens: Bold prediction of the week: Neither team will score in double digits.
Pick: Texans

Titans (+15) at Colts: Bold prediction of the week, II: Colts will cover the point spread---WITHIN THE FIRST QUARTER!
Pick: Colts

Jaguars (-3) at Browns: Jags QB Byron Leftwich requested to play this week with his broken ankle by invoking the Casey Martin ruling.
Pick: Jaguars

Cowboys (+3) at Giants: Last Sunday, Giants punter Jeff Feagles set a new NFL record by appearing in his 283rd consecutive game, breaking the previous record set by Defensive lineman Jim Marshall. That’s the equivalent of a NASCAR pit crew worker breaking a “consecutive races” record set by a driver.
Pick: Giants

Packers (+7) at Bears: Aside to Brett Favre (19 TDs, 19 INTs): your team is wearing WHITE this week!
Pick: Packers

Vikings (-2) at Lions: If Jeff Garcia is the answer for the Lions, I don’t want to know the question.
Pick: Vikings

Falcons (+3) at Panthers: After a third consecutive week of throwing 2 touchdown passes, Falcons QB Michael Vick now wants his game uniform placed in the Smithsonian museum.
Pick: Panthers

Buccaneers (-3) at Saints: To heighten interest in this match-up, there will be a “sneer contest” after the game between coaches Jon Gruden and Jim Haslett.
Pick: Buccaneers

Cardinals (-3) at 49ers: Ladies and Gentlemen, The Reggie Bush bowl!
Pick: Cardinals

Redskins (-3) at Rams: To perpetuate the pretentiousness of Ivy League grads, the Rams PA announcer will introduce their QB (and Harvard alum) as “Mr. Ryan J. Fitzpatrick”.
Pick: Redskins

Jets (+10) at Patriots: The Patriots can become the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing record. I’m behind you all the way, guys!!
Pick: Patriots

Broncos (-1) at Chiefs: This game features an intriguing match-up at quarterback. Jake Plummer and Trent Green are two of the few QBs who have not been rumored to have dated Tara Reid.
Pick: Broncos

Raiders (+11) at Chargers: Injury listing of the week: Questionable – WR Randy Moss (pelvic/groin/ribs/effort).
Pick: Chargers

Seahawks (-4) at Eagles: Hey, look at it this way Eagles fans. Nine straight wins and you’re Super Bowl champs!!
Pick: Seahawks

Thursday, November 24, 2005

NFL Week 12: "THANKS" for the memories.

Yes, Thanksgiving truly is a wonderful day when the three ‘F’s are in effect:

Feasts, Family and FOOTBALL!

You’ve heard the cliché of the three guarantees in life: Death, taxes and the Lions and Cowboys hosting games on Thanksgiving Day.

Allow me to flash back to the 1998 match-ups:

Lions hosting Pittsburgh, game headed to overtime. You remember? The Steelers’ Jerome Bettis called the OT coin flip “tails” which referee Phil Luckett thought sounded like “heads”. It came up tails, allowing the Lions to accept the kick off, much to the vigorous protests of Bettis. Invariably, the Lions took the kickoff and marched down the field for a game winning field goal. I still wonder to this day: What if the coin flip had come up “heads”? Would Bettis have gone with Luckett’s assertion that “heads” was called.

I guess we’ll never know.

The second game featured a team which would go on to set a single season record in points scored (the Minnesota Vikings) taking on the Cowboys. Randy Moss was a Vikings rookie then, causing more havoc on the field than off it in those days. Although, we caught a glimpse of what Moss would later offer after this contest featured him catching three passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns. After the Vikings’ 46-36 win, the local media attempted to get some quotes regarding such an outstanding performance. Moss declined, saying “Y’all aren’t TV.” Ah yes, the chip on young Randy’s shoulder was merely a boulder then. It has since blossomed into the Rock of Gibraltar.

Now for the disclaimer:

The following picks against the point spread……Ah, who am I kidding? In the two weeks I have been doing this lame bit I am a combined 11-19. Do I really need to emphasize that these picks are merely recreational and not a basis for actual betting?

Well, here goes:

Falcons (-3) at Lions: After a third consecutive week of throwing for over 200 yards, Falcons QB Michael Vick now wants every NFL team to retire jersey number 7.
Pick: Falcons

Broncos (-2) at Cowboys: Is it me or does Drew Bledsoe look like he’s participating in the shot put whenever he throws a pass?
Pick: Broncos

Ravens (+9) at Bengals: One week after facing the Colts’ offense, the Bengals take on the Ravens dreaded O. That’s like racing a Ferrari one week, a Pinto the next.
Pick: Bengals

Rams (-3) at Texans: The first 10,000 fans entering Reliant Stadium will receive a David Carr bobble head doll complete with “Crash Test Dummy” gear.
Pick: Rams

Panthers (-4) at Bills: Aside to Willis McGahee: Is Drew Rosenhaus still your agent? If so, I thought I would issue a friendly reminder. If you rush for 105 yards Sunday against the Panthers (which would put you at 1,000 for the year), it is Buffalo Bills policy to not recognize such milestones.
Take that for what you will.
Pick: Panthers

49ers (+8) at Titans: So the 49ers are in Nashville this weekend. My boldest prediction of Week 12: Niners QB Cody Pickett will throw a touchdown pass in the afternoon then successfully rope a calf in the evening.
Pick: 49ers

Patriots (+3) at Chiefs: QB Tom Brady of the Patriots no longer wears a laminated sheet of plays on his wrist band. Due to all the injuries, that sheet has been replaced by a list of players on offense.
Pick: Chiefs

Bears (+3) at Buccaneers: The Bears defense will ensure Bucs QB Chris Simms will see more of the Raymond James stadium turf than has the fertilizer.
Pick: Buccaneers

Chargers (-3) at Redskins: The Chargers are attempting to recapture their 60s glory days. Last week they invited Hall of Famer Lance Allworth to the game and wore the powder blue uniforms. This week head coach Marty Schottenheimer will exhibit the Sid Gillman scowl.
Pick: Chargers

Browns (+4) at Vikings: Whenever Vikings kicker Paul Edinger lines up for a field goal, coach Mike Tice will tell him there’s 3 seconds left in the game, scored tied.
Pick: Vikings

Dolphins (+7) at Raiders: When asked about his lack of enthusiasm over QB Kerry Collins, Raiders’ wide receiver Randy Moss replied, “I endorse when I want to endorse.”
Pick: Raiders

Jaguars (-3 ½) at Cardinals: Rumor has it that Cards’ head coach Dennis Green is looking to leave by agreeing to a settlement on the last three years of his contract. Man, I haven’t seen this rotten a rebounding career since Jason Alexander went from “Seinfeld” to “Bob Patterson”.
Pick: Jaguars

Giants (+4 ½) at Seahawks: Watching Giants QB Eli Manning throw passes to WR Plaxico Burress reminds me of my childhood when I tossed peanuts to a giraffe at the zoo.
Pick: Giants

Packers (+4 ½) at Eagles: Samkon Gado, running back, Green Bay Packers. In listening to my Wisconsin relatives, one would have thought Gado was the second coming of Walter Payton. During last Monday night's game he looked more like Walter Brennan.
Pick: Packers

Saints (-1 ½) at Jets: Jets owner Woody Johnson vowed coach Herman Edwards would return to the team next season, saying Wednesday "Herm's not leaving." Aren’t there laws in place against false imprisonment?
Pick: Saints

Steelers (+8) at Colts: To the relief of Steelers fans, Ben Roethlisberger is probable to start at QB Monday night. Man, there’s never been this much fuss over a faulty “Big Ben” in London.
Pick: Steelers

Saturday, November 19, 2005

NFL Week 11: Hernia not for kids anymore

There’s an epidemic raging through the National Football League this season. The dreaded “sports hernia” has reared its ugly head.

Some of its victims include Minnesota Vikings center Matt Birk, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Cato June, and now, most notably, Eagles QB Donovan McNabb.

Poor McNabb can’t catch a break. Just a week earlier he had gotten rid of that pain in his rear called a “T.O.”. Now this.

When I hear the term “hernia”, I think of the lower-stomach ailment for which I had surgery as a six-year old.

But what is a sports hernia?

In a recent Associated Press story, Dr. William Meyers of Drexel University explained it this way:

Think of the pubic bone as a joint and certain muscles are attached to it and what happens is you rip one of those attachments.


And what’s worse, I can almost guarantee that any of these NFL players who had surgery for the sports hernia didn’t get a ride on a toy fire engine or receive a plastic fire hat like yours truly!

Well, chalk up another injury term hijacked by sports. Do you remember when “Tennis elbow” was merely called “lateral humeral epicondylitis”?

With my picks against the point spread last week, I guess I can be deemed “Prognosticationally challenged” after a pathetic 5-9 showing.

As always, the following picks against the point spread are not to be taken seriously.

Panthers (-3) at Bears: If it is as windy this Sunday in Chicago as it was last week, Bears kicker Robbie Gould may want to attempt Field Goals from sidelines.
Pick: Panthers

Jaguars (-4) at Titans: Travis Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans: 32 carries, 99 yards. “Not a bad game” you say? That is his FIVE game total.
Pick: Jaguars

Colts (-5) at Bengals: WR Chad Johnson of the Bengals says his end zone celebration against the Colts will be “Martha Stewart-like”. Is he going to change his jersey number to 55170-054?
Pick: Colts

Saints (+9) at Patriots: In last weeks’ game against the Dolphins, the Patriots lost another defensive starter to injury. At this rate, they’ll be ready to call Raymond Clayborn out of retirement.
Pick: Saints

Cardinals (+9) at Rams: The Rams have had significant injuries and scuffles on their team this year – amongst the COACHES.
Pick: Rams

Buccaneers (+6) at Falcons: After throwing for over 200 yards last week, Falcons’ QB Michael Vick now wants his bronze bust placed in Canton, OH.
Pick: Falcons

Raiders (+6) at Redskins: Randy Moss’ lack of endorsement for Raiders coach Norv Turner took the media by surprise. I’m shocked myself. It’s been almost 12 months since Randy publicly dissed a head coach.
Pick: Redskins

Lions (+7½) at Cowboys: Lions QB Joey Harrington has a built-in excuse for throwing interceptions this week. “Hey, coach, don’t yell at me. You told me to throw it to Roy Williams.”
Pick: Cowboys

Eagles (+7) at Giants: This week’s Eagles injury report: Out: Donovan McNabb (groin); Terrell Owens (inflated ego).
Pick: Giants

Dolphins (+2½) at Browns: The Scouting report on Dolphins RB Ricky Williams: Performs best on grass.
Pick: Dolphins

Seahawks (-12½) at 49ers: All you need to know about 49ers offense: Joe Nedney, the KICKER, has been responsible for all the 49ers points the last three games. QB Tim Rattay is their leading passer in terms of yardage – AND HE DOESN’T PLAY FOR THE TEAM!!!
Pick: Seahawks

Bills (+10½) at Chargers: At the rate he’s going Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson is projected to lead the Chargers in rushing TDs, receiving TDs AND passing TDs.
Pick: Bills

Jets (+13½) at Broncos: Jets QB Brooks Bollinger has not had a pass intercepted in his last one attempt(s). That’s exactly 170 shy of Broncos QB Jake Plummer’s current streak.
Pick: Broncos

Steelers (-3½) at Ravens: Tommy Maddox will start at quarterback for the Steelers this week with WR Antwaan Randle El being the emergency QB. Ah, there will be an emergency during the game – TOMMY MADDOX WILL START AT QUARTERBACK.
Pick: Steelers

Chiefs (-7) at Texans: In Houston they are renaming the quarterback sack a “Carr crash”.
Pick: Chiefs

Vikings (+4½) at Packers: Free to the first 10,000 fans entering Lambeau field on Monday night: Green and Gold knee brace!
Pick: Packers

Sunday, November 13, 2005

NFL Week 10: Owens saga makes one want to "ralph"

Don’t you love it when the politicians get involved in professional sports?

You’ve got Congress trying to impose sanctions on Major league Baseball regarding use of steroids by players. Hey, it’s not like we have an illegal immigration problem or a screwed up tax system. The guys and gals on Capitol Hill need something on which to focus their attention.

Now, according to an story, former Presidential candidate Ralph Nader has written a letter pining for the return of suspended Philadelphia Eagles WR Terrell Owens.

In the November 10 letter written to NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Eagles CEO Jeffrey Lurie, Nader wrote:

"If the Eagles management declines to remedy its mistake, commissioner Tagliabue, you should intervene to overturn the team's decision, which dishonors this country's traditional respect for free speech and cheats fans of an opportunity to see arguably the best receiver in football. Let him play."

The team’s decision dishonors this country’s respect for traditional free speech? What, you mean Owens has been jailed for his comments?

The whole spirit of the First amendment to our Constitution is for a citizen to be able to speak out against our government without fear of incarceration. The last time I checked, the Eagles are not a body of government and Owens banishment is not to a jail cell.

Although, how much worse could jail be compared to Drew Rosenhaus having his hand up your back, mouthing your words?

Be advised that the following picks against the point spread are for parody purposes only.

Kansas City (+2½) at Buffalo: Chief’s coach Dick Vermeil cried after an emotional win last week versus the Oakland Raiders. Like when women cry to get out of speeding tickets, maybe Vermeil could conjure up tears to get his team out of a holding penalty.
Pick: Chiefs

Washington (Pick ‘em) at Tampa Bay: After a stellar start to his rookie season, Bucs’ RB Carnell “Cadillac” Williams lately has looked more like a Ford Fiesta.
Pick: Redskins

New England (-3) at Miami: With all the injuries suffered by the Patriots this season, the new team logo will feature a Paul Revere-like figure wearing a sling and on crutches.
Pick: Patriots

San Francisco (+13) at Chicago: The only way the Bears, and their woeful Offense, cover the point spread here is if they shut out the 49ers. That said….
Pick: Bears

Minnesota (+9) at NY Giants: Since the Vikings are so woeful on the road this season, they will attempt to make something productive out of this trip by picking up litter on the Jersey turnpike.
Pick: Giants

Arizona (+3½) at Detroit: A new scientific experience to take place at Ford Field: The stoppable force (Lions’ offense) against the moveable object (Cardinals’ defense).
Pick: Lions

Baltimore (+6) at Jacksonville: The over/under line on this game is 33. That indicates the number of expletives used by Brian Billick in halftime speech.
Pick: Ravens

Houston (+17) at Indianapolis: Texans’ officials ask for some sort of extra advantage to make game competitive; Colts’ QB Peyton Manning to throw left-handed.
Pick: Colts

NY Jets (+8 ½) at Carolina: Jets’ QB Vinny Testaverde is now at the age where, if released by the team, he’ll have to sign a waiver not to sue for age discrimination.
Pick: Panthers

Denver (-3) at Oakland: This weekend’s Broncos-Raiders game will be broadcast in Navajo. I always wondered how you’d say “Moss took that play off” in Indian.
Pick: Broncos

St Louis (+6½) at Seattle: What’s the difference between Rams’ players Richie Incognito and Marshall Faulk? One’s named Incognito; the other is incognito.
Pick: Seahawks

Green Bay (+9) at Atlanta: Listed on this week’s Packer injury report: QB Brett Favre (bruised ego) is probable.
Pick: Falcons

Cleveland (+7 1/2) at Pittsburgh: Steelers’ QB Charlie Batch, in his first start last week since 2001, initially took the field in a stocking cap.
Pick: Browns

Dallas (+3) at Philadelphia: The Eagles are out to prove that they can win without Terrell Owens and his big mouth. Not exactly “Win one for the Gipper”.
Pick: Eagles

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Randy Kelly: Man of conviction

My first foray into politics took place in the Fall of 1986. To say I was disinterested in anything political is the equivalent of saying the Elephant Man merely had a little puffiness around his eye. Nonetheless, I felt it was my civic duty ….OK, it was a requirement I was to fulfill for my High School government class….to perform volunteer duties for a local candidate running for office. We had several candidates visit our classroom who were running for State Senate as well as the Minnesota House. Since my Dad and his entire family were such passionate Democrats the battle lines, in my mind, were clearly drawn. Although I had no idea what differentiated a Democrat from a Republican, I had decided on a local DFLer to assist in his campaign.

What’s more, that candidate was also somewhat of a sentimental pick since he was an alum of my High School, St Paul Harding.

That candidate was running as an incumbent legislator in his district.

That candidate was none other than Randy Kelly.

There were approximately five of us from local St Paul high schools whose first task one Fall evening was to go door-to-door registering people to vote. Needless to say, I was scared to death at the prospects of talking to strangers. But there was something which inspired me to climb out of my comfort zone and knock on those doors. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what that was. I can tell you that I went forward with a determination which I had never felt before. I realize now I must have been inspired by Randy Kelly himself. There was an incident where we were attempting to enter a secure apartment building to knock on doors. There couldn’t have been more than 20 units in this particular building. However, we were denied access by the building manager on the grounds of “No Solicitors”. This infuriated Mr. Kelly, as he justifiably felt people were being denied the opportunity to register to vote. I learned that evening that if you push Randy Kelly into a corner, he will come out fighting. He was determined to get in to that apartment building, even if it meant going so far as to obtaining a court injunction. For all he knew, the entire building would have voted for his opponent. No matter. It was the principle of exercising one’s right to vote.

There’s an old saying: “You live by the sword, you die by the sword.”

St Paul mayor Randy Kelly’s 2004 endorsement of President George W. Bush was a source of contention between Kelly, DFLers and apparently 70% of St Paul voters. In Kelly’s bid for mayoral re-election, he was soundly defeated by Chris Coleman.

As I learned one evening in 1986, Randy Kelly will take a stand for what he believes is right. In his concession speech last evening, Kelly again stated he stands by his decision to endorse President Bush and accepts the consequences of that decision.

Even in defeat, Randy Kelly has demonstrated one incontrovertible truth: Stand by your convictions. In victory and defeat, your convictions are things you can truly call your own.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Open letter to Red Sox fans.

Dear Red Sox fans,

Let me first express my condolences for your loss. I know it's been painful over the last 48 hours after being unceremoniously dumped from the playoffs by the Chicago White Sox and thus dethroned as baseball's world champs.

But hey, there's always next year (Remember how you said that for 86 years in a row?). Besides, you finally received what you have been asking for all these years:


When the Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series in 2001, the prevailing cry amongst Red Sox Nation was "We've waited 83 years while Arizona has been around only four seasons. All we're asking for is JUST ONE World Series title."

How about the 2003 Florida Marlins? Again, you all whined. "They've won TWO World Series in eleven years of existence. We've gone 85 years without winning. All we want is JUST ONE."

Well, you got JUST ONE last season. What else do you want?

While you effectively exorcised "The Curse of the Bambino" in 2004, I believe you are now under the grips of a new, and possibly longer lasting, torment.


I believe it began within a matter of days after you clinched the 2004 World Series. You couldn't leave well enough alone, but you meant well when the following sentiments were uttered by you euphoric fans:

"Bill Buckner, we forgive you!"

That's one problem that plagues you Red Sox faithful: Your woeful lack of perspective. Buckner didn't want your forgiveness. He didn't NEED your forgiveness. He didn't commit a crime. He made an error in a baseball game in 1986 which didn't allow your club to clinch it's first World Series in (at the time) 68 years. But I need not remind you of your history. However, I would just like to prepare you for your future. "The Curse of Buckner" will know no mercy. All you did to the Bambino was trade him away to the hated New York Yankees where he had a legendary career. Yet his curse endured EIGHTY SIX YEARS.

Can you fathom what misery "The Curse of Buckner" will bring after 18 years of burning "Billy Buck" in effigy? You received your first glance of "Buckner" in the fifth inning of Game 2 against the White Sox. With your club leading 4-2, Chicago's Juan Uribe hits an inning ending, double play grounder toward second baseman Tony Graffanino when..... well, let's not re-live the horror.

I have a feeling you'll soon long to watch native son Ben Affleck in "Gigli" than have to endure "Buckner".

Oh, well. In the motif of Humphrey Bogart's famous reference to Paris in "Casablanca", you'll always have '04!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Those who forget history....

...are doomed to repeat it!

Have the Democrats learned nothing? It's a veritable feeding frenzy amongst the left after the recent indictment of House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) on campaign finance violations.

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on the DeLay indictment:

DeLay's indictment "is the latest example that Republicans in Congress are plagued by a culture of corruption at the expense of the American people."

Howard Dean, Chairman of the DNC:

Today, the state of Texas is doing what the Republican-controlled federal government has failed repeatedly to do, which is hold Republicans in Washington accountable for their culture of corruption. This alleged illegal activity reaches to the highest levels of the Republican Party.

These statements were issued within hours of the DeLay indictment.

Let's go back to 2004, approximately one week before the Presidential election.

John Kerry was so quick to blast President Bush upon the revelation of the Democrat's "October surprise". When it was revealed that 380 tons of explosives disappeared from the Al-Qaqaa munitions plant in Iraq after our troops arrived in Baghdad in early 2003, Kerry seized the moment. Since it was only a week before the general election, the Kerry camp came out with a TV ad where Kerry himself said the following:

The obligation of a Commander in Chief is to keep our country safe. In Iraq, George Bush has overextended our troops and now failed to secure 380 tons of deadly explosives. The kind used for attacks in Iraq, and for terrorist bombings. His Iraq misjudgments put our soldiers at risk, and make our country less secure. And all he offers is more of the same. As President, I'll bring a fresh start to protect our troops and our nation. I'm John Kerry and I approved this message.

This hastily run ad was put out in spite of the cautions issued by Richard Holbrooke, one of Kerry's top advisors.

You don't know the truth and I don't know the truth. I don't know the truth.

It turns out that Mr. Kerry jumped to conclusions. The day after the Al-Qaqaa story broke, Major Austin Pearson, US Army, talked about his team removing explosives from the site.

The story was never brought up again...

....and Kerry lost the election

.....and Democrats lost seats in the House and Senate.

Are there any suggestions as to how the Democrats will recover this time if DeLay is cleared?

Friday, September 30, 2005

Liberals on Abortion: Eyes Wide Shut

The American Friends Services Committee has recently put together a visual exhibit entitled "Eyes Wide Open." This exhibition features a pair of boots honoring each U.S. military casualty in the Iraq war, a field of shoes and a Wall of Remembrance to memorialize the Iraqis killed in the conflict. It has become of particular interest to me since it will be on display in my hometown of St Paul, MN this weekend. I feel as though any memorial to soldiers who lose their life in combat is worth it's weight in gold. I cherish the freedoms we have in this great country called the United States of America. But is this what "Eyes Wide Open" is all about?

Nick Coleman's column in the Friday edition of the Star Tribune was dedicated to the exhibit. I couldn't help but be struck by the inferences made in Coleman's story:

When the sun came up Thursday and volunteers began setting out the boots in orderly rows, the American death toll in Iraq stood at 1,928. By the time the task was finished, five hours later, five more Americans had died.

This boot hill keeps growing day to day and month to month, while support for the war shrinks in an inverse proportion: The more empty boots, the more unfulfilled lives, the more unanswered questions about a mission that we were told had been accomplished 1,793 pairs ago.

As I began to think about memorials dedicated to soldiers who gave their lives in the name of freedom, the memorial which stands out is the Vietnam War memorial, located in Washington, DC. On "The Wall" is the names of the more than 58,000 soldiers who lost their lives in that dreadful war. "The Wall" stands 10 feet high and is approximately 500 feet long.

Now imagine if we were to dedicate a wall to the approximately 40,000,000 infants who have been victims of abortion since 1973. If each baby were given a name, any wall dedicated to their memory would be SIXTY NINE MILES long. To put that in perspective, an "Abortion memorial" would go beyond the city limits of Washington, DC and stretch all the way to the city of Aberdeen, Maryland!

You want to talk about the five Americans who died in Iraq during the five hours it took to set up the "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit, Mr. Coleman? The issue of whether or not their cause was noble is open for debate. At the rate abortion has been going the last 32 years, however, 715 innocent babies were killed in that same five hours. There is absolutely NO debate on the nobility of their deaths.

You want to talk about casualties growing while support for the war shrinks in inverse proportion? Do any of you liberals have the guts to take a poll on the popularity of abortion? Support for that awful procedure is dramatically shrinking....

...while innocent deaths are growing.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Franken, other Liberals silent about Midler? You "Bette"!

When Vice-President Dick Cheney told Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT.) to go "F--- yourself" last year in a private conversation, what was the prevailing outcry amongst Liberals?




Al Franken, comedian, radio commentator and looter-of-funds-from-seniors-and-children, consistently ridiculed Cheney's outburst towards Leahy.

When referring to a letter she received from the Republican Party, washed-up singer Bette Midler also exclaims "Go F--- yourself"!

The response?

Wild cheering amongst the crowd gathered for a Hurricane Katrina fund raiser.

I'll have to keep you updated on any rebuke or satire from Mr. Franken.

Yes, I know. Dick Cheney is Vice-President of the United States and thus should maintain some sort of decorum, given his role in society. But I think the exact opposite is also true. Shouldn't there be a standard of decency to live up to regardless of one's stature? Especially in a venue which is supposed to provide relief to victims of a terrible catastrophe like a hurricane?

But alas, these are liberals we're talking about. As Ann Coulter once opined, "Hypocrisy is the only sin that really inflames (liberals). Inasmuch as liberals have no morals, they can sit back and criticize other people for failing to meet the standards that liberals simply renounce. It's an intriguing strategy. By openly admitting to being philanderers, draft dodgers, liars, weasels and cowards, liberals avoid ever being hypocrites."

They've managed to stumble into hypocrisy this time.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

New Orleans, Part Deux

The Rev. Jesse Jackson "cautions" us that it is not "useful" to "call names" - to refer to the rioters, looters and murderers as thugs and hoodlums.

I apologize, folks. I didn't have time to research Rev. Jackson's quotes about the incidents taking place in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I merely pulled out portions of statements he made during the Los Angeles riots in the aftermath of the Rodney King trial.

Same old talking points I see.

OK, now on to The Reverend Jackson and Hurricane Katrina.

Rev. Jackson was asked about snipers interfering with people transporting to Houston from New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina:

Well, I think that has really been exaggerated. You have the combination here of misery and panic and desperation. Some people have not eaten in five days, are without water, without food and have no form of communications.

Meaning what? If people haven't eaten in days, go ahead and shoot folks who want to get out of the city? So you'll have hungry people AND those who are wounded by gun fire? Misery does indeed love company!

So, there may have been some sniper fire here and there but you know we didn't let that stop us on our mission in Iraq because there is some sniper fire. We just put on flack jackets and kept on the mission.

Huh???!!! So are you saying the transporters were as well armed as our military in Iraq? Flack jackets are great but they can't fire off ammo in self defense.

So which is it Rev. Jackson? Are the looters panic-stricken and desperate or as dangerous as the terrorists in Iraq?

New Orleans comments: The Big Sleazy

You know her feelings about President George W. Bush, the Iraq war, Israel-Palestine, etc.

But what does newly proclaimed political pundit Cindy Sheehan have to say about New Orleans?

Posted recently on the Drudge Report, Mrs. Sheehan uttered the following:

"I don't care if a human being is black, brown, white, yellow or pink. I don't care if a human being is Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or pagan. I don't care what flag a person salutes: if a human being is hungry, then it is up to another human being to feed him/her. George Bush needs to stop talking, admit the mistakes of his all around failed administration, pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq, and excuse his self from power. The only way America will become more secure is if we have a new administration that cares about Americans even if they don't fall into the top two percent of the wealthiest."

Poor Michael Moore. He hasn't an ounce of credibility remaining. So what does he do? He uses a grieving mother as his mouth piece to speak out against the evil Bush administration. I'm sure Mr. Moore has convinced Sheehan that spewing mindless prattle and baseless charges (i.e. films "Bowling for Columbine" and "Fahrenheit 9/11") is somewhat cathartic.

Oh, and that bilge about this administration not caring about anyone out side the top two percent of the wealthiest Americans? Which region of the country has the lowest income per capita in the Nation? It's the South.

How many Southern states did John Kerry win in 2004?


I guess a lot of folks who didn't "fall into the top two percent of the wealthiest" didn't get the message last year that President Bush doesn't care about them.

Friday, September 16, 2005

We'll miss ya!

Gwyneth Paltrow no longer wants to live in America. OK, stop me if you've heard this one before: "Bush's anti-environment, pro-war policies are a disgrace", says Gwyneth.

I guess Ms. Paltrow is setting the right example for other self-absorbed Hollywood types who feel the need to impart their "wisdom": Gwyneth actually left the country.

(Hint, Hint: Alec Baldwin? Robert Redford?).


Monday, August 01, 2005

Leave Life Alone!

by Jennifer Carlson
Elementary teacher, writer and a great wife!!

Sunday morning I was drinking my coffee as I sat down to watch some of the morning political talk shows. This week the hot topic was the decision of Senator Bill Frist to depart from President Bush’s position of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Senator Frist was applauded by all for his bravery and wisdom, and all agreed that since he is a physician he must be correct. After all, according to an ABC poll every two out of three people agree the federal government should fund embryonic stem cell research. How smart of the Senator to take this position. Everyone on the panel seemed confident in their conclusion and the discussion was ended. Meanwhile I was left sputtering in my coffee. Why does the federal government need to fund the research?

After reading Senator Frist’s proposals I found it hard to argue against them. If embryos are left over from an invitro procedure and are destined to be discarded, why not use them for research? If we have laws in place to ensure that no embryos are created strictly for the purpose of research, what is the danger? There are people suffering from a multitude of afflictions that could possibly be cured through embryonic stem cell research. How can we deny them a chance at a cure when the embryos in question are going to be destroyed anyway? It seemed so simple. I however had one more question. Are the leftover embryos actually people? This is the question no one likes to talk about.

How did we get to this discussion? Infertility is a problem haunting many people these days. Through the wonders of modern medicine we have developed a variety of ways to stop that pesky biological clock. Invitro fertilization is just one way for women and their families to satisfy that innate need to reproduce. This brings us to the current debate. What do we do with the embryos not implanted? Some are given away for other infertile couples to try and implant, some are discarded, some are frozen and saved, and some are destroyed for research. How handy.

When is it acceptable to destroy life? As a country we have some odd notions. Currently if the child is wanted then it is not acceptable to destroy it. Note how outraged the public becomes when a pregnant woman is hurt or killed, or the sympathy and grief at a miscarriage. If a child is not wanted then it is acceptable to destroy it. Note how many babies are aborted each day, or created in a dish and thrown away before they have a chance at life. Why is the death penalty acceptable when abortion is not? Or vise versa, why is the death penalty unacceptable and abortion ok? Or for that matter, why is the deliberate euthanization of the incapacitated allowed? So many conflicting views on the value of a life. So here is my proposal

Let’s leave life alone. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Following this rule (for human life) we could come to a national consensus on a variety of current issues. In the case of the death penalty, abolish it. Even is someone deserves death, we don’t have to administer it.
In the case of abortion, abolish it. Why not carry the babies to term and put the unwanted up for adoption? There are more than enough infertile couples willing to take children. In the case of the incapacitated without a living will, allow them to live even if we can’t understand their purpose. Who are we to judge the value of a life? And for those troublesome leftover embryos, why not find them a uterus? Many of the embryos will not attach and become a full grown human being, but at least they will have a chance.

The promises made by embryonic stem cell research are certainly compelling. I have a serious problem with using human beings for research, no matter how small. I also have a had time believing that with all of the brilliant people in our country and the world, that there is no way to find cures for diseases without destroying other human beings. I hold no judgment for people in favor of the research. I can’t imagine the pain and suffering of those with the hope that such research brings. I hold no judgment for those who have undergone invitro fertilization or are considering it. My husband and I are without children and are exploring the causes of our own infertility. I do however question those out to simplify the debate. It reaches to the core of our beliefs as a country and cannot be summed up in a ten minute segment on a Sunday morning discussion panel.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Which came first?

We all remember that perpetual mystery bandied about:

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Hmm. I don't know. That's s good question! I mean, a chicken comes from an egg. Yet an egg is produced by a chicken.

Well if you know the truth, it's not really a mystery at all. God created a chicken, and then the chicken produced the egg.

Simple enough.

Another query: Are you happy because you are in love or are you in love because you're happy?

My wife Jennifer and I recently crossed paths with a young lady from our past. I have known this woman, who is my age, for 20 years. She is still unmarried. I know for a fact she has a burning desire to be wed but has yet to find that special someone. Anyhow, when Jen and I first became engaged to be married in February of 1999, we happened to be sitting at the same table in a restaurant with this certain young lady. When a male friend of hers asked me "How are ya, Brad?", I replied, as always, "I'm great!!". Upon hearing this, the young lady almost exasperatingly stated "Of course he's doing great. He's getting married soon."

So the insinuation seemed to be that the key to true happiness is finding that love of your life. While I concur that my wife has added much to my life, I reject the notion that one is doomed to a life of unhappiness until the arrival of a betrothed.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and ALL these things will be given to you as well" -Matthew 6:33

Because I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior, He was made Lord of my life. I sought His righteousness. I had peace that I would meet my maker in Heaven someday because I accepted Salvation.

"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall." - Psalms 55:22

Wouldn't this also make one happy? Knowing that any trials and tribulations you suffer can all be cast away? You don't have to bear your burdens alone. That itself makes me ecstatic!

The ultimate sacrifice the Lord made was giving His only Son so we could spend eternity in Heaven. That's a debt we can never repay. How can one not pledge eternal love to someone who makes such a sacrifice for our well being?

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." -Romans 8:28

"He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." -Proverbs 18:22

I love God, who is the heart of my contentment! As a result, I was blessed with Jennifer (a/k/a my "good thing!").

In short, I'm was (and still am) in love because I'm happy!

Friday, June 24, 2005

My dream opportunity

I don't know the statistics, but I would say very few people in life ever get an opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream.

As a kid, I rebuffed all suggestions that kids want to grow up to be an athlete, policeman, fireman, etc. Since I was roughly 9-years old, all I ever wanted to do is.....TALK. As in broadcasting! I was the kid who did mock baseball and football broadcasts on a cassette tape recorder (revolutionary in 1978). I would turn down the sound on the TV and do my own interpretation of an athletic event. As time marched on, I broadened my horizons to the political and social issues of our time. I always thought I was a Democrat until 1992 when I heard Conservative icon Rush Limbaugh for the first time. I realized what was inside me, and finally someone helped me find the words to convey it! Since my Dad and paternal Grandmother were (and still are) staunch liberal Democrats, I had to constantly go over in my mind the vital facts that make the Conservative ideals superior to Liberalism. Hence, I began to verbalize those thoughts. Until I became more adept at articulating my arguments to others, I basically talked to myself. That is precisely why I felt talk radio was the venue for me.

Then how come I wound up with an Accounting career? A little apprehensive about taking chances, I guess. Why not get an Accounting degree? Everyone could use a good Accountant, right? I mean, how does one normally break into the broadcasting business? Through broadcasting school? Knowing someone in the business? Yes, I rationalized every conceivable way as to why I wasn't more aggressive in pursuing broadcasting.

My dream shot came through a venue entitled "The Next Big Thing". Beginning in March 2005, Twin Cities' station AM 1500 KSTP offered complete amateurs an opportunity to host a two-hour talk radio show. KSTP requires one to send in an audition of a mock talk show. If it shows promise, you get the 2-4 PM Sunday slot one time. My good friend, Greg Bittner, and I sent in a audition tape which did indeed show promise.

We got our opportunity on June 19 to "show our stuff". While our respective families thought we were great (no bias there), I am still awaiting an independent critique from local blogger Speed Gibson. Regardless of the feedback, I received an opportunity to do something I have always wanted to do. Even had it been an abysmal failure, I gave it a try.

To quote legendary NBA player Michael Jordan, "I can't accept not trying."


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Say Uncle, Milty!

In the first meeting between the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox franchises since the classic 1975 World Series, I saw a rather curious sight on Monday. The Reds were starting a left-handed pitcher by the name of Eric Milton. That caught my interest since my favorite Major League Baseball club, the Minnesota Twins, once had a southpaw by the name of Eric Milton. "Milty", as he was affectionately called, was a member of the Twins from 1998 through 2003. He even gave us Twins fans a rare thrill in the late 90s with his no-hitter against the Anaheim Angels (now referred to as "The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim". An aside: Since the Spanish phrase "Los Angeles" translates to "The Angels" in English, I guess that makes the club "The Angels Angels of Anaheim.").

When witnessing the Monday evening debacle that was the Reds' 10-3 loss to the Sox, I figured that couldn't be the Eric Milton that played for our Twins. The same Eric Milton who won 41 games from 2000-2002? The same Eric Milton who was traded by the Twins to the Philadelphia Phillies for key players such as Carlos Silva and Nick Punto? The same Eric Milton who, when traded, prompted All-Star CF Torii Hunter to question the teams' commitment to winning?

Much to my surprise, it was indeed that Eric Milton. The same Eric Milton who is now 3-8 with a 7.97 ERA. The same Eric Milton who has allowed seven or more earned runs in three of his last four starts. The same Eric Milton who thus far this season has allowed a whopping 22 home runs in just over 75 innings pitched (roughly 2.5 per nine innings).

With those kind of beatings suffered lately? Say "Uncle", Milty.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Liberal spin on DeLay inevitable

I don't know if you've heard, but House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) has "ethical problems". These charges involve some alleged illegal campaign contributions to a committee started by DeLay.

The charges levied against DeLay are under investigation, but that's not good enough I guess. Apparently those who are a part of the Mainstream Media and other Liberal establishments believe Mr. DeLay should cease and desist with his duties as Majority Leader and member of Congress. Better yet, Mr. DeLay, go ahead and also allow slurring and slandering of your name.

-It all started with the Terri Schiavo fiasco. DeLay, along with Seante majority leader Bill Frist (R-TN), put forth a valiant effort to uphold the Republican platform for the sanctity of life and allow Mrs Schiavo to live. Ah, but it was all just a front. According to Maureen Dowd, NY Times liberal columnist (the equivalent of saying "Catholic Pope"), DeLay was merely trying to "distract from his ethical problems."

-On the season finale of the NBC drama "Law & Order: Criminal Intent", an unflattering reference was made using DeLay's name. In the episode, police are frustrated by a lack of clues in the fictional murders of two judges. The allegation is right-wing extremists were responsible leading one officer to quip "Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay t-shirt. " I guess because Tom DeLay vowed to hold judges accountable for their perverted interpretation of the law, someone might take his statement too seriously and resort to extreme measures. Nonetheless, Mr DeLay was more than a little incensed. Why he even had the audacity to write a letter to Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal Television Group President. "Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf chimed in by saying DeLay succeeded in "switching the spotlight from his own problems to an episode of a TV show."

-But the ultimate absurdity has to go to resident lunatic (and new DNC chairman) Howard Dean. In a May 14 speech, Dean exclaimed that " ....Tom DeLay ought to go back to Houston, where he can serve his jail sentence down there courtesy of the Texas taxpayers. " Since ol' Howie is a Doctor and not an Attorney, maybe we ought to cut him some slack. He must not realize that one does not go to jail if one hasn't been convicted of a crime. Remember, it was Dean back in December 2003 saying we shouldn't pre-judge Osama bin Laden. Yet DeLay seems to be held to a different standard than an International terrorist. When this fact was presented to Dr. Dean on his May 22 appearance on "NBC News' Meet the Press", the good doctor defended himself by saying "I don't think I'm pre-judging (DeLay)." So let me get this straight: Tom DeLay hasn't been convicted of a crime but Howard Dean believes he should go to jail. Yet, that's not pre-judging? No wonder the Liberals want to maintain control of the judiciary.

I sure hope Tom DeLay is never in the precarious position of having to save a child from being hit by a runaway truck. It would just be another venue for him to distract from his ethical problems.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Freedom isn't free.

William Wallace: I AM William Wallace! And I see a whole army of my country men, here, in defiance of tyranny. You've come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What will you do with that freedom? Will you fight?

Soldier: Against that? No, we'll run, and we'll live.

William Wallace: Aye, fight and you may die, run, and you'll live... at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take away our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!

From the movie "Braveheart"

On Saturday, March 19, the Anti-War kooks decided to gather in recognition of the 2-year anniversary of the Iraq war.

As the leader of the MN chapter of Protest Warrior, a conservative counter-protest organization, I was on the "front lines" in defending the notion of Freedom and Democracy in the Middle East. Naturally, I was met with strong resistance. Oh, the kooks' knee-jerk arguments were perpetuated:

-"Where are the weapons?"

-"Bush lied!"

-"No blood for oil!"

-"The war was paid for by taxing the poor!"

-Finally, the ever timeless "Give peace a chance!"

We all certainly remember the purple fingers displayed by the Iraqis upon voting in their first free election. This will be the enduring symbol of what we all hope is a successful Democracy. Naturally, we at PW had to remind the anti-war crowd of this monumental event. We took purple, foam "We're #1" hands and painted them all white, with the exception of the finger tip. We at least expected some retort like, "Well, I'm glad they were able to vote and are rid of Saddam Hussein, BUT...." Leave it to us to believe that a leftist kook is capable of having even a scintilla of rational thought. Instead, the prevailing rationale was the mere chance of Freedom and Democracy is not worth the 1000+ American soldiers perishing or the loss of several thousand Iraqi citizens. "Oh, I get it," I remarked to the crowd. "You Liberals love to spew your twisted ideology because you're free to do so. But if any other country desires Freedom........"

It was then I was struck, literally and figuratively.

Literally, when I was pushed, spat on and verbally accosted by a leftist kook.

Figuratively, when I realized that the aforementioned anti-war kooks have no concept of the sacrifice required to both establish and preserve Liberty.

Think about it! We lost upwards of 400,000 American soldiers during World War II. It's that enormous sacrifice which allows us all to enjoy the Freedoms and Liberties we have today. Because many of our great WWII veterans are passing on, we take for granted the tremendous price they paid to preserve Freedom and Liberty. The concept the leftist kooks need to grasp is under the Hussein regime, Iraqis signed their own death sentence if they dare oppose their leaders. Even with Saddam out of power there was still tremendous risk when Iraqis went to the polls in late January. Yet oppressed people who yearn for freedom are willing to put their lives on the line. The Iraqis have seen a first hand account of the carnage in the effort to instill a democracy.

As a result, there weren't a lot of voting Iraqis with their hands in their pockets on Iraq election day.