Friday, September 29, 2006

NFL Week 4: Arresting Developments.

The NFL: The Notorious Felon League.

Just check out some of the headlines from this past week:

Bengals' Thurman suspended for season following arrest

DEA: Chargers' Kiel shipped Rx drugs

Broncos S Brandon turns self in after warrant issued

I guess that puts things in perspective when I stated my ability to pick NFL games should be a crime. Still below .500 but looking to get above this week.

As always, the following picks against the point spread are not to be taken seriously (like you already didn’t know that).

Colts (-9) at Jets: When Colts QB Peyton Manning scored a touchdown on a bootleg last week, he looked as though he was running through a wind tunnel.
Pick: Jets

Chargers (-2 ½) at Ravens: When facing the aggressive Ravens defense, look for Chargers QB Philip Rivers to play “hot potato” with the football.
Pick: Chargers

Vikings (+1) at Bills: The combined charisma of coaches Brad Childress and Dick Jauron barely equal that of Bill Belichick.
Pick: Vikings

Cowboys (-9 ½) at Titans: Kim Etheredge, publicist of Cowboys WR Terrell Owens, proved she’s a gal who can do it all. She held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon and then gave the team haircuts later that evening.
Pick: Titans

49ers (+7) at Chiefs: George Saunders’ last words: “Good-bye. I am leaving because I am bored.”
He must have been a 49ers fan.
Pick: 49ers

Saints (+7 ½) at Panthers: Last week, the Panthers defense caused Bucs QB Chris Simms to rupture his spleen. This week? They’re going for Saints QB Drew Brees’ gall bladder.
Pick: Saints

Cardinals (+7) at Falcons: Falcons QB Michael Vick having to rely on his passing arm is like Cards QB Kurt Warner having to rely on his speed.
Pick: Falcons

Dolphins (-4) at Texans: Houston DE Mario Williams, #1 overall draft pick in 2006, is tied with me for number of sacks this season.
Pick: Texans

Lions (+5 ½) at Rams: When Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz was with the Rams, he had an offense which was dubbed “The Greatest Show on turf.” As Lions assistant, he has the football equivalent to the circus side show, featuring the 500-pound bearded lady.
Pick: Rams

Patriots (+6) at Bengals: Question: Why was Bengals LB Odell Thurman driving a car with a .18 blood alcohol level and teammates Chris Henry and Reggie McNeal as passengers?
Answer: Thurman was the most sober of the three.
Pick: Bengals

Jaguars (-2 ½) at Redskins: How confident was Redskins QB Mark Brunell last week after completing a record 22 consecutive passes? He eschewed the playbook and started to draw plays in the dirt.
Pick: Jaguars

Browns (-2 ½) at Raiders: Considering the grim prospects for this season, Raiders fans will have an easy transition out of their normal silver-and-black attire. Just ditch the silver.
Pick: Browns

Seahawks (+3 ½) at Bears: Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander has a “non-displaced” fracture in his left foot. Huh? So would he be able to play with a “Displaced” fracture?
Pick: Seahawks

Packers (+11) at Eagles: Packers QB Brett Favre in another prime time football game. I can never tell if ESPN guy Joe Theismann is simply awed by Favre’s talent or wants to marry him.
Pick: Eagles

Last Week: 5-8-1

Overall 20-25-1

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Jesse's gems.

Former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura is back in the news. The former governor, who has been living in Mexico, has been campaigning on behalf of fellow renegade crackpot Independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman. Friedman is running for governor of the state of Texas.

Of course, the former governor of Minnesota….

Enough already! That’s the third time you’ve used the phrase “former governor.” Aren’t you getting a little redundant?

Yeah, probably. But you have to admit that “former governor” Ventura has a nice ring to it.

Anyhow, Ventura couldn’t help but monopolize the spotlight with a few thoughts of his own.

Regarding the proposed Mexican border fence being debated in Congress:
"It may be designed to keep people out, but what if it keeps you in 10 years from now? I, for one, don't want to live in East Berlin."

Yes, but we would be OK with you actually living in East Berlin!

On California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who starred in "Predator," one of Ventura's movies: "Ah, let him win a real election, like I did."

Oh, you mean that election in 1998 where 62% of the voters DID NOT want you as governor.

What he and Friedman represent: "We're the real moderates in politics. As the late, great Jerry Garcia once said: If you have to pick between the lesser of two evils, you still have to pick evil."

Having been in a 3-way contest in 1998, it was considered a “rat race.” Therefore, the winner of such a race was still a rat.

About petropolitics and the Bush administration: "So gas prices are going down and the election is coming? There's a connection? God, are they naïve. It's being taken away as an election issue. ... Everyone knows the Saudis are in bed with the Bushes. And they control the oil prices. Look at 9/11; [most] of the 19 hijackers are Saudis and we invade Iraq?"

Sounds similar to you “being in bed” with the Mass Transit people. You spend the state’s surplus and then the Light Rail project goes over budget and is delayed?

On Vice President Dick Cheney's shooting of a hunting partner: "Had he served in the military, he'd have known how to handle that weapon. The man was negligent."

Why, I’d think you would have been singing the VP’s praises. After all, you were the one who said “Until you hunted man, you haven't hunted yet."

On what he sees as the stranglehold the Democratic and Republican parties exert on American politics: "It isn't democracy -- it's fascism. Who's in control of the government? Big business and organized religion."

If only that were the case. Big business aims to be profitable. Our government spends like drunken sailors. Organized religion? According to you that is a “sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers.” Yet the definition of a democracy is “Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.“ How are representatives elected? Through a majority (i.e. STRENGTH IN NUMBERS!!). Besides, if we had a fascist government you would be maggot fodder for spewing such rhetoric about said government.

Once again, Jesse proves that if he didn’t really exist there is no way we could ever invent him.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Take a T.O., Terrell.

I had the occasion this morning to listen to “The Power Trip” morning show on sports station AM 1130 KFAN. I happened to catch the PT guys, including WCCO-TV sports anchor Mark Rosen, discussing a Tuesday evening incident involving Dallas Cowboys WR Terrell Owens. The ESPN report I heard last evening stated Owens was rushed to a Dallas hospital as a result of an allergic reaction to pain medication he was taking for a broken finger. However, during the KFAN show I was listening to, PT co-host Chris Hawkey mentioned he had heard a report on Fox News that Owens had attempted suicide.

It was at that point when Rosen scoffed at the notion of a suicide attempt, claiming it was just another Fox News creation. Rosie then sarcastically inquired, “What, did they blame Bill Clinton?”

Whether it’s the local or national liberal spin machine mainstream media, members of said fraternities never pass up an opportunity to bash The Fox News channel.

But, I digress.

As it turns out, Fox may have had a scoop.

The Dallas police report said Owens was asked by rescue workers "if he was attempting to harm himself, at which time [he] stated, 'Yes.'"

Owens left the hospital late Wednesday morning, giving reporters a "thumbs up" but making no comment as he was driven away in an SUV.

ESPN's Michael Irvin said that Owens denied he attempted suicide and said he was rushed to the hospital as a result of an adverse reaction to medication.

Just another strange, bizarre saga in the life and NFL career of the guy called “T.O.”

UPDATE: Owens denies suicide attempt.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Twins culminate phenomenal turnaround with playoff berth.

Who woulda thunk it?

On June 7, the Minnesota Twins had lost to the Seattle Mariners 10-9. That was their seventh loss in nine games on what had been an absolutely listless West Coast road trip. What’s worse is their slugger of the future, first baseman Justin Morneau, had a paltry .236 average with only 11 home runs and 38 RBI.

The left side of the infield featured the virtually immobile Tony Batista at third base and Juan Castro at shortstop. Their all-star closer, Joe Nathan, had only seven save opportunities in two months.

A 7-3 victory over the Mariners the next day was a somewhat positive note on what was otherwise a pathetic 3-7 road trip. Who would have guessed that victory would have been one of 68 wins over the next ninety eight contests??!!

From a record of 25 wins and 33 losses to 93-63 and a spot in the AL playoffs!

It’s just one amazing stat for a team that has continually defied the odds the past 3 ½ months.

For me, the most telling aspect of the Twins’ resiliency took place after an August 7 loss to the Tigers in Detroit. Young ace Francisco Liriano left that game after four innings when he re-aggravated his elbow on his pitching arm. The Twins looked to be without their young stud indefinitely and found themselves 10 ½ games behind the Tigers.

Fast forward seven weeks. Liriano pitched exactly two innings in that span. Add to that the loss of reliable veteran starter Brad Radke in late August --- and inexplicably the Twins are only one game out of the AL Central division lead.

How did this happen?

Let us count the ways.

-On that fateful road swing in early June, manager Ron Gardenhire challenged Morneau to get focused on baseball instead of wasting his talent. The result? Morneau now has 34 home runs (the first Twin to hit 30+ since 1987), 129 RBI to go with a .324 batting average. He has gone from overrated prospect to complete hitter in less than 100 games.

-Catcher Joe Mauer has seemed to blossom into the pure hitter the Twins drafted #1 overall in 2001. He hasn’t been below .340 since late May and is in good position to be the first catcher in over 60 years to win a batting title.

-Nick Punto and Jason Bartlett. The Twins wisely jettisoned Batista and Castro, and their limited range, for the younger, rangier tandem of Punto and Bartlett. Punto was expected to platoon at third with Terry Tiffee. His spectacular play at the hot corner, combined with hitting nearly .300 in the second spot in the batting order, made it impossible for Gardenhire to keep him out of the lineup.

-Michael Cuddyer. The plan coming in to the ’06 season was to platoon Cuddyer in right field with Jason Kubel. “Cuddy” was later entrusted with the cleanup spot in the batting order where he now has over 100 RBI.

-The bullpen. The lefty-righty combination of Dennys Reyes and Pat Neshek in the seventh inning, Jesse Crain in the eighth and Nathan as closer, the Twins have one of the deepest, most effective bullpens in all of baseball. The only negative lately is Juan Rincon seemingly giving up a run every outing. It would be a major coup if he can regain his early season form when he was entrusted with the eighth inning. Throw in a guy like Matt Guerrier who effectively eats up innings when a starter has a subpar outing and the Twins are virtually unbeatable when leading after six innings.

-Torii Hunter. Continued gold glove defense in center field, despite a bum ankle he’s dealt with all year. Throw in 30 home runs in the six spot of the batting order and you have the most formidable lineup the Twins have had under Gardenhire’s tenure.

-Last but not least, Johan Santana. He only leads the AL in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched (YAWN) and has had yet another stellar second half of the season (9-1). The question isn’t whether he’ll win his second AL Cy Young award in three years, rather will he win it unanimously?

Congratulations to the Minnesota Twins on making the playoffs.

I fully admit that I never saw this coming.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

NFL Week 3: No offense, the first two weeks have stunk.

How hideous has the first two weeks of NFL play been?

-Both the Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams have scored more field goals than touchdowns…yet they are both 1-1.

-The biggest star on offense for the Oakland Raiders? Not WR Randy Moss. Not RB Lamont Jordan. No, not even QB Aaron Brooks. It’s kicker Sebastian Janikowski. He has been the sole provider of the Raiders’ scoring. All six points.

-We’ve had three teams score nine points (Seahawks, Broncos and Jaguars) and win.

Man, if I wanted to witness such anemic point totals I would have tuned in to the World Cup over the summer.

Heck, earlier this week baseball’s Colorado Rockies scored more points in a two-game span than have fourteen NFL teams.

Will week three provide some actual offense or will it be merely offensive?

Speaking of offensive, I am below .500 in my picks against the point spread. Yes, if these picks weren’t mythical I’d be making another trip to the plasma center.

That said, the following picks against the spread are not to be used as a basis for a cash wager.

Jets (+5 ½) at Bills: After watching the Bills offense the past two weeks, I finally realized what the J.P. stands for in QB J.P. Losman’s name. JUST PUNT.
Pick: Bills

Bengals (+2) at Steelers: Last week, Bengals WR Chad Johnson made one of the most acrobatic plays I’ve ever seen. After being flattened by a Cleveland Browns defender he somehow kept the gold teeth in his mouth.
Pick: Steelers

Jaguars (+7) at Colts: With kicker Adam Vinatieri nursing a groin injury the Colts signed veteran free agent Martin Gramatica as “insurance.” How appropriate since Gramatica closely resembles the Geico gecko.
Pick: Colts

Titans (+11) at Dolphins: The most exciting aspect of QB Daunte Culpepper’s trade from Minnesota to Miami? The Dolphins have “Flamin' Hot Cheetos” in their clubhouse vending machine.
Pick: Titans

Redskins (-4) at Texans: Texans head coach Gary Kubiak keeps all of the teams’ offensive plays on a blackberry. So when he attempted to access running plays he received the error message “File not Found.”
Pick: Redskins

Bears (-3 ½) at Vikings: This week’s tongue twister: Mushin Muhammad makes mincemeat of Minnesota.
Pick: Bears

Panthers (-3) at Buccaneers: Given all of the passes he had batted down last week, Bucs QB Chris Simms looked like he was playing one-on-one hoops against Shaq.
Pick: Panthers

Packers (+6 ½) at Lions: This week, Lions WR Roy Williams comes up with his boldest guarantee to date: Detroit will actually score in double figures!
Packers injury report: QB Brett Favre (pain of regret) is probable.
Pick: Packers

Ravens (-6 ½) at Browns: After last weeks’ loss, Browns TE Kellen Winslow criticized the offensive coaches, implying the game plan was too conservative. That’s the equivalent of criticizing a Dodge Omni owner for not entering the Indy 500.
Pick: Ravens

Rams (+4 ½) at Cardinals: With the Cardinals having sold out all their regular season home games, owner Bill Bidwill can now invest in even more unsightly bow ties.
Pick: Cardinals

Giants (+3 ½) at Seahawks: After missing three game winning field goal attempts in last seasons’ match-up in Seattle, Giants kicker Jay Feely has been awarded Starbucks discounts for life.
Pick: Seahawks

Eagles (-6) at 49ers: Alexander Pope once said “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
He must have been a 49ers fan.
Pick: Eagles

Broncos (+7) at Patriots: Why is Broncos QB Jake Plummer paranoid about losing his starting job? He was handed an Office Max catalog and told to pick out a clipboard he liked.
Pick: Patriots

Falcons (-4) at Saints: I love to watch Falcons RB Warrick Dunn run the football. He looks like a Lilliputian running through a field of giants.
Pick: Falcons

Last Week: 7-9-0

Overall: 15-17-0

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mixed messages.

What we got here is... failure to communicate.
Quote from the movie Cool Hand Luke.

Upon breaking the ring finger on his right hand Sunday night, Dallas Cowboys WR Terrell Owens figured he’d miss a few games as a result. In fact, during a post game interview after the Cowboys 27-10 win over the Washington Redskins, Owens seemed certain he’d be out “2-4 weeks.”

However, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells had a rather different outlook. Parcells said he's optimistic that Owens will be back at work next week and catching passes a week from Sunday against Tennessee.

Meanwhile, in Major League baseball this past week:

Detroit Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco said Monday he hopes to play this weekend at Kansas City, contradicting his assessment a day earlier when he stated he was finished for the season because of a separated left shoulder.

"I was very confused yesterday," Polanco said. "I said it because I was really frustrated about a lot of things. We had just lost the game that we should have won, I'm not able to do anything and my arm is extremely hurting."

A contrite Polanco said a cortisone shot he got Saturday, the first of his career, had initially caused him pain that was similar to the discomfort he felt in the days following the injury. That's one factor he blamed in his premature season-ending declaration. He was also upset by the Tigers' 10-inning loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

To quote character Crash Davis in the 1988 baseball tale Bull Durham:

“Don’t think. It could only hurt the ball club.”

It would seem apropos to apply that philosophy to all professional athletes.

The Curse of Buckner: Year 2.

Hello again, Red Sox fans.

Well, year two of “The curse of Buckner” is officially in the books. Yes, this is the new self-loathing curse that is upon you now that you’ve successfully exorcised “The curse of the Bambino.”

Don’t tell me you forgot.

Allow me to remind you of how the “Buckner” hex originated.

Two seasons ago, after winning your first World Series in 86 years, many of you Red Sox faithful made the haughty statement of “Bill Buckner, we forgive you!”

Yes, you just couldn’t leave well enough alone. It wasn’t enough that you burned Buckner in effigy or celebrated his exile to Idaho. You had to offer a sanctimonious apology to a man who enraged you so much when he mentioned he didn’t contemplate suicide after his Game 6 blunder in the ’86 Fall Classic. How dare that Buckner be a voice of reason.

Just think of the atrocities your club suffered while suppressed by “Bambino.”

-In 1946, the Red Sox appeared in their first World Series since the sale of Babe Ruth. They were favored to beat the St. Louis Cardinals. The series went to a seventh game at Sportsman Park in St. Louis. In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the score tied at 3-3, the Cardinals had Enos Slaughter on first base and Harry Walker at the plate. On a hit and run, Walker hit a double to very short left center. Slaughter ran through the third base coach's stop sign and beat Boston shortstop Johnny Pesky's relay throw to home plate. In the top of the ninth, the Red Sox put the tying run on third and the go-ahead on first with one out, but Harry Breechen shut down the next two hitters to preserve the victory.

-In 1949, the Red Sox needed to win just one of the last two games of the season to win the pennant, but lost both games to the Yankees. The Red Sox were managed by Joe McCarthy, who had previously steered the Yankees to 7 World Series titles.

-In 1978, the Red Sox had a 14-game lead over the Yankees on July 18, but by season's end, the teams were tied. A one-game playoff took place at Fenway Park on October 2. In the 7th inning, Boston led 2-0, but Bucky Dent, a .240 hitter with only 4 home runs all season, hit a pop-fly home run over the Green Monster with two runners on base to secure the Yankee win.

-The most dramatic defeat for the Red Sox came in Game 6 of the
1986, when Boston was, literally, one strike from winning the Series. The New York Mets tied the game, then won it in the 10th on a fielding error by Bill Buckner. The Red Sox lost the 7th game, again blowing a 3-run lead.

-In 2003, the Red Sox were tied with the Yankees at three games apiece in the American League Championship Series, Boston had a 5-2 lead going into the 8th inning. Then-manager Grady Little opted to stay with a tiring Pedro Martinez rather than call to the bullpen. Two Yankee doubles and a single later, the game was tied. The series was decided in the 11th by a first-pitch, lead-off home run by light-hitting Aaron Boone. Little was out of a job less than two weeks later, though in 2006 he returned to the major-league managerial ranks as the skipper of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Now, let’s take a gander at what you’ve endured since the inception of “Buckner.”

-“Manny being Manny.”

-Second baseman Tony Graffanino performing a flawless imitation of Billy Buck in Game 2 of the 2005 ALDS.

-The bungling of GM Theo Epstein’s position with the Sox.

-The 5-game sweep you suffered at home to your hated rival the Yankees last month.

-Two years removed from a World Series title, Sox fail to reach postseason.

So go ahead. Re-live the memories by watching the 2004 Boston Red Sox DVD.

You'll always have that while you endure another genration or two of baseball heartache.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

This Rosie has many thorns.

I first saw Rosie O’Donnell in the late 1980s when she was a “V-J” for the music television station VH1. To be honest, I found her quite amusing.

O’Donnell would later parlay that stint on TV into a career in stand-up comedy. Her act usually contained self-deprecating stories of her attempts to do aerobics in-synch with a much tinier instructor.

Eventually she would find success in film. But it was daytime television where she was able to find a platform to espouse her staunch liberalism. There was even one shameful display where she berated actor Tom Selleck and his membership with the National Rifle Association.

However, in a March 2002 interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, I actually obtained a measure of respect for Rosie.

She talked about how she challenged the sanctimonious Hollywood types to put up a $1 million cover when asked to participate in a telethon for the victims of 9/11 and their families. O’Donnell felt that if these well-to-do entertainment folks are going to ask the common folk for money, they themselves should pave the way as O’Donnell would. Predictably, the Hollywood elites did not pony up and O’Donnell stuck to her convictions by declining to appear.

Despite her openly gay lifestyle, O’Donnell eschewed the “in your face” gayness displayed by the likes of Ellen DeGeneres. In the same O’Reilly interview, Rosie spoke of the stance she took when DeGeneres asked her to march in honor of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man who was brutally murdered in October 1998.

Matthew Shepard was killed, it was horrifying to everyone. Ellen called me, crying, and said, would I march on Washington? And I said no. And she said, "Why?" And I said, "Because you didn't march for James Byrd."

Byrd was the man who, in June 1998 in Texas, was tied to a pickup truck by three men and subsequently dragged three miles.

Again, I admired Rosie’s stance by saying hate crimes are not merely restricted to homosexuals.

However, what little respect I had for Rosie O’Donnell vanished with her appalling commentary this past week.

Rosie O'Donnell says "radical" Christians in America are just as much of a threat as the followers of radical Islam who piloted hijacked jetliners into New York's Twin Towers and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

O'Donnell, the newest face on ABC's "The View," yesterday let her feelings fly after co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck noted militant Islam provides a threat to free people.

"Just a minute," she interrupted. "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state."

I would have been very interested on what basis O’Donnell makes this claim. I know the liberals were having the dry heaves after the 2004 Presidential election when an additional 2-3 million evangelical Christians turned out to vote. That proved to be the margin of victory for President George W. Bush. Is she perpetuating the liberal mantra of “Bush is the biggest terrorist”? Therefore, Christians who voted for Bush are radicals because they put a terrorist in office and thus are just as threatening as kooks who slam planes into buildings, killing 3,000 people.

An inconvenient truth for liberals is that the religion of radical Islam is predicated on death. In the minds of their believers there is an obligation to bring death to anyone who dare criticizes such an ideology. Hence, the brutal slaying of Dutch film director Theo van Gogh.

On the other had, Christianity is based on making sacrifices. The entire Christian faith is surrounded by the fact the God gave his only son, Jesus Christ, to die so that we may not perish but have eternal life. That notion alone seems radical to many people.

Oh, and another thing. If radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam, why is it the entertainment industry regularly skewers Christianity but not Islam?

I digress.

O’Donnell’s absurdity continued.

She had been saying America was attacked "not by a nation."

Yet, she said, "And as a result of the attack and the killing of nearly 3,000 innocent people we invaded two countries and killed innocent people."

So you’re telling me that the Al-Qaida supporting Taliban government in Afghanistan was innocent? And the beheading loons found in Iraq, like al-Zarqawi, are harmless?

Welcome back to daytime TV, Rosie. We were starting to have a shortage of self-loathing until you came back around.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

NFL Week 2: For openers, not bad.

One of the interesting aspects of NFL opening day is how new coaches fare in their regular season debut.

Of the ten teams who have a different head coach from last season, seven clubs were headed up by rookies, two by “recycled coaches” and one by an escapee-from-coaching purgatory-only-to-return-twelve-years-after-being-fired coach.

Yes, one has to wonder what Art Shell was thinking in his decision to resume the helm as Raiders head guy. As if six years as coach of the Raiders franchise under the direction of the decrepit Al Davis didn’t finish off Shell, the re-emergence has the potential to be lethal.

When the Raiders visited Minnesota to take on the Vikings in a preseason game on August 14, Shell looked as strong and healthy as ever despite his 59-years. Just four weeks later after a pathetic showing in a 27-0 season opening at home loss to the San Diego Chargers? Shell looked as though he’s aged ten years!!

I guess it’s true what they say. A week coaching a team with Randy Moss will age you 2 ½ years.

Former Viking update: Jacksonville Jaguars CB Brian Williams has pleaded no contest to drunken-driving charges, opening himself up to possible sanctions from the NFL.

More evidence that you can take the player away from the Vikings…

…but you can’t take the Viking out of the player.

As always, these picks against the point spread are satirical in nature and should not be used as a basis to place bets.

Raiders (+11 ½) at Ravens: Last week, Raiders WR Jerry Porter was seen cheering on the sidelines when his team was losing. This week he’ll join Ravens LB Ray Lewis in his ritualistic pre-game dance.
Pick: Ravens

Texans (+13) at Colts: With all of the TV commercials done by Colts QB Peyton Manning he has now requested to wear product decals on his uniform.
Pick: Colts

Browns (+10) at Bengals: After the opening kickoff, the game will be stopped and Browns TE Kellen Winslow, Jr. will be presented with the game ball. It will be the second consecutive game he’s played in, tying his career best! Congrats, K2!!
Pick: Browns

Bills (+6 ½) at Dolphins: With ten days off between games, Dolphins QB Daunte Culpepper wanted to prove his knee was sound by appearing on the reality show “Dancing with the Stars .” He later declined when learning his partner would be Rosie O’Donnell.
Pick: Bills

Lions (+9) at Bears: After his team lost to Seattle last week 9-6, Lions WR Roy Williams felt his club was very close to scoring 40 points. I just hope that kind of logic works for me if I ever receive a tax audit.
Pick: Lions

Panthers (-1) at Vikings: In last year’s match-up, Panthers WR Steve Smith abused Vikes CB Fred Smoot for 201 yards receiving. This Sunday, Smith is questionable with a bad hamstring. It’s no coincidence that Smoot has been seen carrying around rosary beads this week.
Pick: Vikings

Giants (+3) at Eagles: Two seasons ago, Eagles stout coach Andy Reid promised to where stretch pants if his then WR Terrell Owens caught 15 touchdowns. So this year if QB Donovan McNabb throws for 30 TDs? Corn Rows, my man!
Pick: Eagles

Buccaneers (+5 ½) at Falcons: After his Week 1 performance of 140 yards passing, Falcons QB Michael Vick needs to average only 330 yards per game to break Dan Marino’s single season yardage record.
Pick: Falcons

Saints (-2 ½) at Packers: After Saints rookie phenom Reggie Bush has a great game Sunday, I would request that Monday’s Times-Picayune go with the following headline: BUSH GREAT FOR NEW ORLEANS.
Pick: Saints

Rams (-3) at 49ers: Jose Marti once said “Man has to suffer. When he has no real afflictions, he invents some.”
He must have been a 49ers fan.
Pick: Rams

Cardinals (+7) at Seahawks: Since Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen owns the Seahawks, QB Matt Hasselbeck has eschewed the use of a wrist band with the offensive plays listed. He now uses a palm pilot.
Pick: Cardinals

Jets (+6) at Patriots: Pats LB Tedy Bruschi is listed as questionable with a broken wrist. Questionable? Wow, I feel like a complete wuss when I think of how many times I’ve stayed home with the flu.
Pick: Jets

Titans (+11) at Chargers: Titans QB Kerry Collins has completed the NFL quarterback cycle. From young phenom to playboy alcoholic to outcast to comeback player to solid veteran to wash-up with a non-descript team.
Pick: Titans

Chiefs (+10 ½) at Broncos: Watching the footage of Chiefs QB Trent Green on the receiving end of a vicious hit last week, It reminds me of all the times Wile E. Coyote was crushed by an anvil.
Pick: Chiefs

Redskins (+6) at Cowboys: I won’t say Cowboys QB Drew Bledsoe is totally immobile but he does appear to move around like he’s wearing concrete shoes.
Pick: Redskins

Steelers (+1) at Jaguars: Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is listed as questionable after having an appendectomy. I wonder if an NFL player has ever been listed on the injury report due to a tonsillectomy.
Pick: Steelers

Last Week: 8-8-0

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

In the land of cheese there's plenty of whine.

After being humiliated in their home opener by the Chicago Bears 26-0, the Green Bay Packers are not looking for a quick fix.

Rather, it seems they are issuing a cry for help.

Koren Robinson wasted his second chance with the Minnesota Vikings. The Green Bay Packers are giving him a third, however.

The Packers on Monday agreed to terms with the wide receiver, who was released by the Vikings during training camp after he was arrested following a high-speed chase and charged with drunken driving.

It’s painfully obvious that Robinson is battling the demons of alcoholism. But going to Wisconsin in hopes of resurrecting his NFL career? Isn’t that the equivalent of an obese person relocating to Hershey, PA to find work?

It’s funny how I was ribbed by my Wisconsin relatives when the Vikings acquired, via free agency, former Packers safety Darren Sharper in 2005 and kicker Ryan Longwell this year.

According to my rellies, the Vikings just take players off the Green Bay scrap heap when they sign former Packers. However, the Pack has no problem taking on a former Viking who is a two-time offender of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

The irony is as thick as the foam cheeseheads donned by Packer backers.

Remembering 9/11/01.

While there have been many touching tributes on this fifth anniversary of the World Trade Center bombings, I feel compelled to share a remarkable story of survival.

Sujo John was launched into proclamation evangelism ministry right after the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Media from all over the world took interest to this powerful story of his and his pregnant wife's miraculous deliverance that day of September 11,2001. That resulted in speaking interests pouring in from all over North America. It was in those early days following the September 11, 2001 attacks that God started putting a burden on the heart of Sujo for the lost people of the world. A passion to see the kingdom of God was ignited that this has taken this ministry to over 350 cities in North America, Asia and Europe and has resulted in the salvations of thousands.

Read his remarkable story here.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A look back at the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers soiree.

I think it is safe to say that a good time was had by all at the summer MOB party Saturday evening.

The festivities took place at Keegan's Irish Pub in NE Minneapolis. As usual, it was a wonderful opportunity to fellowship with many of my favorite bloggers.

Here I am pictured with Captain Ed Morrissey of Captains Quarters blog. How often do you get to chat with a guy who has played golf with William F. Buckley and also was instrumental in bringing down the Canadian Liberal Party?

Mitch Berg of Shot in the Dark. Mitch's blog is one of my personal favorites because of his great political insights combined with a rapier wit. His site is a daily read for me.
You want to read one of the funniest blogs out there? Check out the humorous writings of Katie (right, with my wife) on her site Yucky Salad with Bones. Her insights on family, pop culture and politics have provided me with the most laugh-out-loud moments of any blog I've read.

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Rex Newman (a/k/a Speed Gibson). Speed will always have a special place in my heart for his kind review of the radio show I did in June 2005 with my good friend Greg Bittner.

I also had the opportunity to chat (albeit briefly) with the likes of King Banaian, Learned Foot, Derek Brigham, Gary Miller, Marty Andrade and David Strom.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Winter MOB gathering!


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Taking their ball and going home.

Ever since the Minnesota Twins ended their 46-year relationship with WCCO-AM, senior ’CCO radio shill Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman and ‘CCO radio hosts have displayed a petulance that would make a 10-year old blush.

From Hartman saying he was visited by the ghost of Eloise Pohlad (Twins owner Carl Pohlad’s late wife) to WCCO mid-day host Jack Rice giving out Twins President Dave St. Peter’s personal office phone number, it has been a pathetic display by the “Good Neighbor.”

With the Twins in the midst of a pennant race, playing division rival Detroit this weekend, you would think ‘CCO would want to send the Twins out with a bang.

But as we learned in the Star Tribune yesterday, the Tigers-Twins game Saturday will be pre-empted in favor of Gopher football. That’s right. A mediocre college program apparently has precedence over the Twins, who are currently a scant ½ game ahead for the AL wildcard spot.

Could this be because the Twins already have a radio deal with KSTP (1500 AM) for 2007?

"It is a very curious programming decision," Twins President Dave St. Peter said. "I'll leave it at that. There is no question in my mind if the Twins had a long-term renewal deal with WCCO where the game would be [broadcast] Saturday night."

I just hope an October World Series game isn’t bumped in favor of a Minnesota Wild exhibition contest.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Remember the way you were?

Do you recall the outrage in late 2003 over CBS refusing to show the mini-series “The Reagans?” Apparently, many took exception to the fact that Ronald Reagan would be played by actor James Brolin, married to the ultra-liberal Barbra Streisand. In the October 30th, 2003 installment of her “Truth Alerts”, Babs accosted Conservatives for their objections to the film.

This is what the Right Wing does when they are faced with a truth that is not 100% positive for their side - they spread vicious lies and attacks and scream and yell until they get their way. Instead of boycotting and trying to have the movie changed, why don't they all just wait to see the film when it airs like the rest of us?

Never mind that it was actually CBS who released a statement saying “Although the miniseries features impressive production values and acting performances, and the producers have sources to verify each scene in the script, we believe it does not present a balanced portrayal of the Reagans for CBS and its audience."

Nevertheless, Babs believed back then that a TV-movie about her pal Bill Clinton would be passed through unfiltered.

Can you imagine what a biopic of Clinton would include? Of course, Clinton fans understand and accept the truth about the former president. They know that although he was a great president in many ways, overseeing economic prosperity and making great strides in creating a more peaceful world, he was also flawed. They don't try to prevent depictions of the truth from getting out there.

Really? Well, a Reuters story published yesterday seems to refute that claim.

Amid an election-year debate over who can best defend America, U.S. congressional Democrats urged ABC on Thursday to cancel a TV miniseries about the September 11 attacks that is critical of former Democratic President Bill Clinton and his top aides.

Chronicling events leading to the September 11 attacks, the movie suggests the Clinton administration was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to deal properly with the gathering threat posed by Islamic militants.

C’mon, Babs! You seemed to be such an advocate for “artistic freedom”, as you referred to it, back in 2003 when “The Reagans” was under fire.

Your concert tour doesn’t start for another month. Certainly you could find time to remind people of your firmly held belief that you libs “don't try to prevent depictions of the truth from getting out there.”

Thursday, September 07, 2006

NFL Week 1: A wild ride.

The National Football League begins its 87th season this Thursday, September 7!

There’s nothing like the NFL, where a season can begin in 90 degree weather and end with snow flying accompanied by sub-zero temperatures.

With every new NFL season comes the somewhat tedious efforts to figure out what players have gone where. Inevitably, each year starts with the quarterback carousel.

Here’s how the ride goes.

Daunte Culpepper replaced Gus Frerotte who now backs up Marc Bulger who, a few years ago, replaced Kurt Warner who now has competition from Matt Leinart who took over QB at USC upon the graduation of Carson Palmer who replaced Jon Kitna who mercifully knocked out Joey Harrington who now backs up Culpepper.


That mind-dizzying ride is enough to make one queasy.

You could also come up with a plethora of QBs who have backed up Brett Favre or dated actress Tara Reid.

But, that’s another game for another day.

Welcome to the 2006 NFL season, Week 1!!

In 2005, I didn’t start this little charade until Week 10. Including the NFL postseason, I finished with a record of 69-62-6 against the point spread.

The goal for this year is to maintain an above .500 record in ’06 for the entire 17 weeks, plus postseason.

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

Dolphins (+1) at Steelers: Part of Dolphins QB Daunte Culpepper’s rehab regimen from three torn knee ligaments was running in a Wal-Mart parking lot. In an attempt to get healthy from a hamstring injury, Steelers WR Hines Ward will do sprints at the local Piggly Wiggly.
Pick: Dolphins

Broncos (-4) at Rams: Tatum Bell, John Bell and Mike Bell. Two of those guys are Broncos running backs and one is my mailman.
Pick: Broncos

Jets (+2 ½) at Titans: When I think head coaches, I think of the old crotchety guys like Bud Grant, Weeb Ewbank or Vince Lombardi. If I didn’t feel old before I certainly do now upon learning Jets head man Eric Mangini is two years my junior.
Pick: Titans

Bills (+9) at Patriots: The over/under for this game is 41. That indicates the total number of points scored by both teams for the game and the combined words uttered by bland coaches Dick Jauron and Bill Belichick.
Pick: Bills

Ravens (+3) at Buccaneers: The over/under for this game is 34. That indicates the total number of points scored by both teams for the game and combined curse words uttered by fiery coaches Brian Billick and Jon Gruden---in the first quarter!
Pick: Ravens

Bengals (+2 ½) at Chiefs: Bengals WR Chris Henry has had several run-ins with the law over the past nine months. Given the fact he’s spent a fair amount of time in a prison jump suit his wardrobe transition to Cincy’s awful orange uniforms won’t be difficult.
Pick: Chiefs

Seahawks (-6) at Lions: The Seahawks franchise was sued by Texas A&M University last year for using the “12th Man” moniker to describe their fans. After incessant bellyaching over their Super Bowl XL loss (ironically at Ford Field, where they’ll be this weekend), Seattle is now being sued by Napa Valley for becoming the new “whine country.”
Pick: Seahawks

Falcons (+6) at Panthers: The Panthers have wide receivers Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson on their roster this season. There is isn’t as much trash near the Jersey turnpike as what those two guys can talk.
Pick: Panthers

Eagles (-4) at Texans: Eagles QB Donovan McNabb proclaims his team a Super Bowl contender. Man, a guy goes on a hot streak on Madden 2007 and look what happens.
Pick: Texans

Saints (+3) at Browns: With an appearance this Sunday, Browns TE Kellen Winslow will be halfway to his personal best of consecutive games played----TWO!
Pick: Saints

Cowboys (+2 ½) at Jaguars: This week, Cowboys kicker Mike Vanderjagt was cited for a parking violation. You guessed it: He was “wide right”.
Pick: Jaguars

Bears (-3 ½) at Packers: Packers QB Brett Favre recently said he is “99.9% sure” he will retire a Packer. You all can be 100% sure he’ll throw more interceptions than touchdowns this season.
Pick: Bears

49ers (+7 ½) at Cardinals: William Shakespeare once said “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.” He must have been a 49ers fan.
Pick: Cardinals

Colts (-3 ½) at Giants: Here it is: The Sibling Rivalry. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning will face the Giants lead by his brother, QB Eli Manning. Hopefully this game will garner more intrigue than a matchup of the kicking Gramaticas.
Pick: Colts

Vikings (+5) at Redskins: To ensure injured RB Clinton Portis will not get hurt making another tackle, the Redskins equipment guy will outfit Portis’ helmet with a single-bar face mask. That is a cue to run directly to the sidelines, away from the action.
Pick: Vikings

Chargers (-3) at Raiders: After hearing the sad account of Chargers LB Steve Foley being shot, I couldn’t help but think of former Viking (and current Raiders assistant coach) Keith Millard. In the 80s, Millard (in a drunken stupor) once told arresting officers “My arms are stronger than your guns!”
Pick: Chargers

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tiger "Tigg Daddy" Woods

Bill Simmons (a/k/a The Sports Guy) of recently called out the best pro golfer of our time.

Since Tiger Woods continues to collect PGA tourney wins like windshields collect bugs on a two-hour drive through the country, The Sports Guy apparently has lost interest. Not only in Tiger’s cold-blooded precision in winning tournaments but in Tiger himself.

He's a relatively blank slate. He keeps winning and winning and gives us nothing to say. In fact, I once wrote an column titled, "Tiger Woods: What Else Can You Say?" That was five years ago.

Look, Tiger -- you've won. In every respect. Even your smoking-hot wife is the envy of every guy between the ages of 13 and 120. I repeat: You've won. So for the rest of your prime, couldn't you at least try to keep us on our toes?

TSG then proceeds to list ten ways in which Tiger could at least bring some intrigue into future matches.

It was the very first suggestion which really caught my attention.

Back in 1997 you were covered in Nike gear, flashed that infamous toothy smile and talked with the same voice Dave Chappelle uses to make fun of white people. Nine years later? Nothing has changed. Maybe you're a little thicker and have a little less hair, but basically you're the same. Time to mix it up. Wear Kangol caps and fedoras. Show up for Sawgrass looking like Jules from "Pulp Fiction," right down to the Jheri curls and muttonchops.

I think Tiger could make that look work!* I just hope he doesn’t morph into the Jules personality. Can you imagine the foul-mouthed diatribes when Tiger slices a tee shot?

*My thanks to our good friend Nancy for submitting the photo!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Thank You, President Bush!

There is no issue which the Demagoguery Democratic party and its constituents won’t blame President Bush. Whether it’s the slow Federal response to Hurricane Katrina or high gas prices or global warming, the President is made culpable for all in the eyes of the kook fringe liberals.

Well since the libs won’t say it, Jonathan Berget of Woodbury, MN will:

Gas prices are falling locally and nationwide. The heat wave has finally loosened its grip here in the Midwest. Hurricanes seem to be less frequent and less severe, at least so far this season. We all owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the person who logically must be responsible for this fortunate turn of events. Thank you President Bush.

The letter of the year!!