Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Unfair Card Sharks

This is really old considering it was on the sports blog Deadspin in October, but those of us who play online poker should be even more wary of shenanigans than usual. I know I've gotten some bad beats before that made me scream in frustration, "Is this faggot seeing the cards that I can't see or what?!?"

A Moment Alone

I never thought that getting a second in my house by myself would be something I'd have to treasure, but that is the case now that "Jacob" is about to start his 3rd week sleeping on my couch. The only update is that he is currently on a job interview that he set up last week, so he's been looking forward to this for a while, and he seems very confident that he will get the position. He's been keeping himself busy in the meantime dating and hanging out; in fact, I slept by myself in the house last night because a woman called him at about 6P asking to see him, and when he expressed concern about going out with bad weather in the evening forecast, she assured him that he didn't have to go home in the cold and snow. He is Romeo right now, for sure, and as jealous as I may be, I hope he's enjoying himself. I actually will miss him when he leaves because it's been one big slumber party, playing video games, laughing and joking and carrying on loudly. My girlfriend has suggested that this is good practice for a married life, having to share my space with someone. It's not really the same, however, because at no time can I take my fantasies about my girlfriend that I have in the course of a day and store them up and bring them home and release them on her. But one great thing about all this is that Jacob has decided to pay me back for my good deed by giving me a used computer from the internet cafe that he and his family own up in Wisconsin, instead of selling it to me as he originally intended. He knew that my computer was old and needed replacing, and now he's had two weeks of dealing with it personally to know just how shitty it is. But with the new computer added to my recent purchase of a DVD recorder with VCR component so I can transfer my porn--er, uh, I mean sports tapes--to disc, I am finally flying towards the 21st century. Maybe I should learn how to drive and really move towards becoming modern...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This Week On "The Odd Couple..."

"Jacob" is still here at my apartment, and it's Wednesday morning. Thank goodness we get along so great. Thank goodness he has good hygiene.

Jacob has had trouble finding work because after he got a rental car Monday, he found that many places that he drives to looking for work refer him back to a website and encourage him to apply online. That kinda defeats the purpose, no? He's amazed at how difficult it is to talk to someone face to face. Welcome to the 21st century. It appears that he's staying here at least until this weekend. What he wants to do is secure work, go back to Montana, pack up his shit, and come back to Chicago with employment, which will allow him to get an apartment, which is infinitely easier to find than work. He doesn't want to go back to Montana until he has a gig lined up here, but it's not easy finding work, as my thirteen months unemployed can tell you, and he's getting frustrated. What he's also getting is lucky. He's found time to line up a date with some woman he met online, so I'll actually have the place to myself this evening. See, anyone can hook up with a chick except me. I couldn't get dates when I was looking, and I had a place of my own! But before he does that, I'm putting that SUV he rented to use by going to get some furniture and groceries. And the adventure continues...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

NFL Conference Finals '08

Here are my playoff predictions for today, in much less detail since I'm here with "Jacob" playing video games:

San Diego @ New England (-14)

Basically, that line is large and disrespectful to what the Chargers have accomplished this postseason. Despite injuries to QB Philip Rivers and RB LaDanian Tomlinson, the Chargers seem to have the swagger to go into New England and give them a good game. Plus, the Patriots can only have pressure building as they get closer to a perfect season. We'll see if they can put together a good enough performance to move into the Super Bowl.

My Prediction: New England 31-20

New York Giants @ Green Bay (-7.5)

I can't see Green Bay losing this game the way they're playing. RB Ryan Grant is a beast, and QB Brett Favre is playing smart and focused football. This team is scary because no one expected them to gel like this when the season began. However, this point spread to me is also ignoring what the opponent has done. The Giants continue to steamroll over anyone in their path in road games this year, and I'll take them to stay close in a fun cold game.

My Prediction: Green Bay 34-29

Saturday, January 19, 2008

2008 Is Off To A Crazy Start

When I woke up yesterday morning, I didn't expect to have a roommate that day. Hey, unusual things happen at unusual times.

"Jacob" is sitting in my living room as I type this, and he just woke up. He had moved last year up to Montana with his girlfriend to open a restaurant, and things seemed like they were going well. Last month, he called to inform me that his girlfriend had stolen $2,000 in cash as well as one of their dogs and flown back to Chicago, where she grew up (and coincidentally where Jacob and I grew up, although we didn't know her at all--he met her online when they lived in Wisconsin four years ago). Why? Well, she left a note calling him all sorts of bad things, but she really didn't explain anything. However, a few days after she left, Jacob received e-mails and chat logs from...wait for it...the wife of the guy Jacob's girlfriend left him for! Apparently, she and this moron were writing love letters to each other and plotting this whole thing. They used to date before she met Jacob, and I guess it was a situation where she came from the gutter and got homesick. She also used to be a druggie, and Jacob found out later that she had recently started that shit again, courtesy of the boyfriend of a worker at the restaurant. So she just totally fell off the wagon and lost her fucking mind, and now Jacob's in deep doo-doo because he can't keep up his house payments and business payments thanks to the stolen money. He exercised some bad judgment. coming to Chicago to look for work and plan a move back here, and oh yeah, to screw the wife of the guy his girlfriend left him for. (They started talking on the phone about stuff and wound up forming some kind of connection, which I thought was a bad idea from the get-go.) Well, the wife announced after a few days that she's moving to Detroit with family, and he decided to get out now since there obviously was no immediate future for them. Did I mention that the girl just had this moron's baby??? Can you say Springer? Thankfully he had a friend whose house he could crash at for a while. He's my best friend since 1st grade, so I couldn't turn him down when he asked to stay with me until next week. Plus, there's some karma at work. Someone was a Good Samaritan to me on Thursday night, so it was my turn to pay it forward. Some guy gets off the train every night at 11:00, the same time as me, and Thursday night was under 10 degrees. So his wife was there waiting to pick him up. I've never spoken to the guy or anything, so I just watched him get into his wife's car, wished I had someone picking me up, and started my usual three-block walk home. Suddenly, the guy rolled down his window and yelled out to me, "Want a ride?" I guess he always noticed that we walked in the same direction every night, so he thought it would be a good idea to take me home since we were all going that way. Turns out they live like two blocks from me. I was very thankful for their good deed. And now I'm doing my own good deed for my buddy. I'm not even going to talk to him much about his fucked-up situation, because I think he needs to clear his head for a while. We'll just laugh and catch up on shit, and of course watch football on Sunday. Speaking of which, my horrible picks for Sunday's games will come up tomorrow morning, so if you want to know which teams to pick against, stay tuned.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

NFL Conference Semis '08

I'm so excited for some playoff football (and thrilled that I went 8-0 last week against the spread and over/under) that I'm going to open myself to ridicule and post my predictions for this weekend's games. They feature the four best teams in the NFL by far coming off byes last week, so that will give you some insight as to where my picks are leaning.

Seattle @ Green Bay (-9)

I like to check the road record of the visiting team versus the home record of the home team as a way to slant my pick one way or the other before I even dive into the stats. The Seahawks were 3-5 on the road this season, and the Packers were 7-1 at home. I don't care what the numbers say, I can't possibly take the Seahawks to win a playoff game on the road with that kind of record. As for the actual in-game analysis, I like the Seahawks to actually hang in and keep it close. Four years ago, in another Seattle-Green Bay playoff game at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin, QB Matt Hasselbeck excitedly yelled upon winning the coin toss to start overtime, "We're gonna take the ball, and we're gonna score!" He promptly threw a touchdown Green Bay defender Al Harris. The point is, they got to OT with the Pack at their home field. The running games should cancel each other out because Hasselbeck and Packers QB Brett Favre are so in love with their arms that they won't hand off very often. WR D.J. Hackett was used as a deep threat last week in Seattle's win over Washington, but he's questionable this week, and that will hurt. But with the Pack missing a defensive back, Will Blackmon, I expect a shootout between these two passing games, with coach Mike Holmgren's old squad coming out on top over his current one.

My Pick: Green Bay 27-20

Jacksonville @ New England (-13.5)

The war of words has been thick between these two teams. Earlier in the season, when Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his staff was caught videotaping signals, Paul Spicer and the Jaguars were one of a few teams publicly saying that the Patriots have a tarnish on their accomplishments because they were cheating. The Jags' web site even had an asterisk next to the Pats' record with the footnote "Cheated in one game," but that's been since removed. So this game should be emotionally charged unlike any other, especially when you throw in the undefeated record itself. How much pressure do you think the Pats will be under, knowing that if they lose in the playoffs that 16-0 record will be one of sports' biggest jokes? The Jags' 6-3 road record this year also scares me. But in the end, what scares me more than anything is the Pats' passing attack, with QB Tom Brady and the real MVP, WR Randy Moss, as well as those other receivers who seem to get open when needed. Oh, and the Jaguars' passing attack, which, like Santa Claus, doesn't exist. I expect Jacksonville to run the ball a little better because they're much more committed to the ground game than New England. But it won't matter when the Patriot missiles take the field and light up the sky with their aerial attack.

My Pick: New England 34-14

San Diego @ Indianapolis (-9.5)

My pick to repeat as Super Bowl champions, the Colts open their playoff push with the return of Future Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison at WR. He was missing the last two months of the season with an injury, and he was missing when the Chargers beat the Colts in Week 10, a game in which Peyton Manning threw an unprecedented (for him) six interceptions. The Chargers still have the DBs who caught those picks, including stud Antonio Cromartie, who had three of them, but the Colts now have the aforementioned Harrison, a clean field (they're playing in a dome in Indy, not in the muddy, rainy conditions that they played in Week 10 in San Diego), and the focus and determination that QB Peyton Manning summons when he needs to. Manning used to be one of the biggest choke artists in big games, dating back to college at Tennessee, but he seems to have turned it around and become a lot closer to clutch than choke. As for the Chargers, their win last week over the Titans cost them TE Antonio Gates, who won't play this game because of a sprained toe. Gates is the Chargers' most consistent receiver, and QB Philip Rivers should struggle even more than he did in last week's ugly victory. DT Raheem Brock is back for the Colts, and defensive MVP Bob Sanders is healthy, adding more help to the effort to stop RB LaDanian Tomlinson, who would appear to be San Diego's only hope. He won't be enough.

My Pick: Indianapolis 24-10

New York Giants @ Dallas (-9)

That stat I had last week about how QB Eli Manning and the Giants seem to have much more success on the road may not apply for this game, because the last time the Giants lost on the road, it was Week 1, at Dallas, and they gave up 45 points. Only one team had more yards per pass attempt than the Cowboys all season, and that was the record-setting Patriots, so it's not like Dallas fell off after the Giants game. No, they're still pretty damn good, despite a couple of bad games to end the regular season. I think the whole team should have spent their bye week in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to rest up for the playoffs. (BTW, there's one really simple reason why Cowboys QB Tony Romo has been catching hell for taking a trip to Cabo during his bye week, and that's jealousy. Every man and some women in the media wish they were fucking Jessica Simpson. They're not. Romo is. So they ignore what everyone else on all four teams who had byes last week did during their week off, and they focus on what Romo did, because they're totally jealous. It's a complete joke.) Manning and the Giants got off to a very slow start in beating the Buccaneers last week, but because the Bucs didn't have the offensive weaponry to take advantage, the Giants had plenty of opportunity to mount a comeback. They shouldn't have that chance against Dallas. Terrell Owens will see the spotlight shining and a national TV audience, and suddenly, the ankle pain that kept him out of the last game the Cowboys played will magically disappear, and he'll catch his usual two touchdowns and do his usual silly celebrations. The man legally patented the phrase, "I love me some me!" for Chrissakes. He won't resist the chance to perform. And Romo wants to throw every ball 99 yards for a TD just to prove that fucking Jessica Simpson is not a career detriment. He should have WR Terry Glenn, who hasn't played this season, as an extra weapon. The Giants have a couple of defensive backs missing who played in that 45-35 loss at Dallas. If they gave up 45, what will their backups do? I expect lots of blitzing from the athletic Dallas defense, forcing Manning to get rid of the football way quicker than he wants, resulting in mistakes and turnovers galore. And no more Yoko Romo references suggesting Jessica is destroying the Cowboys.

My Pick: Dallas 38-20

Friday, January 11, 2008

"Lynch Him In A Back Alley"

Boy, is there a lot of discussion surrounding golf analyst Kelly Tilghman's joke about what other golfers should do to Tiger Woods. Naturally, I couldn't resist adding my two cents.

I find something wrong with the actions of absolutely everyone involved, as well as most of the people commenting on sports talk shows the last few days. The analyst herself was wrong for saying something so stupid, but ESPN midday radio hosts Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt were wrong yesterday for saying that they knew Tilghman personally and can vouch that she didn't really mean anything by saying it. What? When did they become her PR reps? Mike Wilbon, a host on ESPN TV show Pardon The Interruption, is wrong for saying virtually the same thing, that he knew her and knew that she didn't mean anything by it. Dan Patrick on his radio show is wrong for adding this whopper--by saying that Tiger should be lynched in a back alley, where most lynchings historically have not taken place, Tilghman showed that she didn't realize the significance of what she was saying and therefore is only guilty of ignorance. Being retarded is not an excuse. Everyone in the KKK is retarded, and no one gives them a pass. However, Al Sharpton is wrong for demanding her job without knowing anything about the context of the comment. He didn't even know that Kelly was a woman. She certainly should have been censured and penalized by her employer, but I don't think she should have been canned. And speaking of her employer, Golf Channel, they're wrong for suspending her two weeks only after Sharpton got on CNN and started bitching and moaning. They were standing behind her, acknowledging her horrible judgment yet supporting her, before Rev. Al threatened boycotts of sponsors and the like.

But I reserve my harshest judgment for Tiger himself and everyone who took the angle that everything should be okay because Tiger said he didn't have a problem, and if the target said "no harm no foul," then it's all good, right? Hell no! See, this is why people like Sharpton and Jesse Jackson exist, because if left up to the individuals slapped by racism, so many of them would rather avoid conflict and back off than challenge the oppressor. Put it another way: How many Uncle Toms have said in the past, "Oh no, massa ain't mean no harm! He's a jus' whoopin' me and my old lady 'cause we deserve it! I ain't got no beef with massa! He treat me good most of the time! Even let me eat my suppa in the kitchen sometime instead a in the back yard!" Of course Tiger is going to say he has no problem with the comment, because he wants to be the mainstream superstar loved by white folks as much (or more) than blacks, and he can't be that if he starts having problems with innocent little "jokes." Hell, he says he's not black anyway, so maybe he thinks the joke isn't racial at all. I heard the point brought up that Tiger can show his disapproval when he is really upset with someone's words, like when he didn't comment immediately after Fuzzy Zoeller's moronic jokes years ago. To me, that proves that he doesn't have a problem with black jokes against him. Where I grew up, the words Fuzzy said would have been followed by an assault and battery, not by silence. Or at least a confrontation along the lines of, "Are you crazy?!?" But that's not Tiger's style. Might lose a few sales of some golf shirts or caps if he shows displeasure with the massa's harmless jokes. But imagine our world if King, Abernathy, et al., would have accepted put-downs and insults as just "misspeaks" in the 1960s and decided to let it go, like Gandhi Tiger. We'd still be drinking from dirty water fountains and pissing in filthy bathrooms.

Finally, with all these people making wrong assumptions and statements, I'd like to get off my soapbox and be wrong for a second as well. I heard three different black men yesterday alone defend Tilghman as a friend who didn't mean any harm--Tirico, Wilbon, and Charles Barkley, as a guest on Dan Patrick's show. That's not counting Tiger's defense of her as a friend when this first happened. When I saw pictures of her just now while I was searching for information, I assumed that her being thin, blonde, and white and having all these black guys being her "friends" meant that she was one of those chicks that couldn't get enough of the dark meat. It's Kim Kardashian without the ass! But actually, something else interesting kept coming up in my search engine--"lesbian." Apparently, she's been long rumored to be either bisexual or all-the-way gay. And that makes just as much sense, when you think about it. What would black men love and defend as much or more than a blonde white chick who plays golf? Why, a blonde white chick who plays golf and brings her girlfriends into bed with them, of course!

Wrong of me? Yep, very wrong. True? Absolutely.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


From my blog post "End Of The CEDA Era," at the end of 2005: "...I am not going to ever forget my time at CEDA. What a perfect impetus to push me through school and urge me to keep going and make education a priority. Cause if I don't, I face a future of jobs in which my diligence and perfectionist nature cause me to be fired perpetually because I didn't produce enough mistake-filled, hurried work to satisfy the assholes in charge."

From my blog post "32 Years Of Anonymity," a few weeks ago: "My supervisor Lucy...has been on my ass virtually every day for the past two months because my items per hour was below 90. But when she thrust the November numbers in my face showing me how many other people in my workgroup have better IPH rates than me, I noticed something in the total items column: Only one person in my workgroup nailed more than 10,000 items total last month, and that was yours truly. Then I remembered that I was on vacation for a week in November because I spent several days in Memphis after Thanksgiving! You'd think Lucy would be thrilled to see that bit of information when I pointed it out to her. Her response: 'It doesn't matter how much work you do.' I never thought there existed a job where someone could be told that it didn't matter that they produced more work than anyone else."

Yeah, guess I haven't figured it out yet. Quality work, bad. Fast, crappy work, good. Note to self--make that my new mantra...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Wild Card Weekend '08

I'm so excited for some playoff football that I'm going to open myself to ridicule and post my predictions. (For the record, I'm sticking by my preseason prediction of Colts over Cowboys in the Super Bowl.)

Washington @ Seattle (-3.5)

The Sean Taylor Tribute Train should stop here. The Seahawks have a passing game led by Matt Hasselbeck that spreads the ball around to whomever happens to be open, and the go-for-broke Redskins secondary will get frustrated trying to cover everyone. Shaun Alexander and Maurice Morris should provide enough running to keep the Skins off-balance. Plus, I can't possibly go with Todd Collins. That's like taking the hot pitcher in baseball who won his last four starts despite not having pitched in the majors in eight years. That would be crazy.

My Pick: Seattle 24-17

Jacksonville (-2.5) @ Pittsburgh

This smells like a trap. The Steelers suffered some huge injuries recently, such as their leading rusher, Willie Parker, breaking his leg, and their left tackle and return man ruled out for this game. Add to that the Jaguars walking into snowy Pittsburgh a few weeks ago and stuffing their nuts down the Steelers' throats, and that places the Steelers, 7-1 at home this year, as underdogs. David Garrard's playoff inexperience may lead to him making mistakes at QB for the Jags that he hasn't made all year. I actually will pick Jacksonville to play their style and win the game, but Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers' underrated passing game can stay in the game and put them in position to steal it late.

My Pick: Jacksonville 30-28

New York Giants @ Tampa Bay (-3)

My friend "Jacob" can swear that I've been preaching one simple observation about QB Eli Manning and the Giants for two years now: They play much better on the road because he's so fragile that he doesn't do well in front of his home crowd. And the numbers bear it out--3-5 at home this season, as opposed to 7-1 on the road. This ain't the same Tampa Bay defense; they're older and not nearly as dominant. Yes, they're #1 in pass defense, but they used to back that up with hard run defense as well. Not anymore. Brandon Jacobs and the Giants running game will handle the line of scrimmage just enough to allow Manning to hit Plaxico Burress for a few long bombs, and that will be enough to scoot past Jeff Garcia and the predictable Bucs offense.

My Pick: Giants 17-16

Tennessee @ San Diego (-10)

The bettors are in love with the Chargers, and I can see why. One of the preseason favorites, the Bolts are finally playing like it, especially on the defensive side, where it took three-fourths of the season to figure out that maybe Shawne Merriman blitzing and wreaking havoc instead of being passive and playing back on his heels is the way to go. Meanwhile, the Titans are hurting. QB Vince Young had a sore quad, their only deep threat, Roydell Williams, is out for the playoffs, and their stud RB and defensive tackle, LenDale White and Albert Haynesworth, are both dinged up. And this may be the most fiery and personal matchup. Merriman was injured during a game between these two teams earlier in the season on what he thought was a dirty play in retaliation for Young being hurt. The Chargers will be geared up, and I don't think the Titans are healthy enough to do anything about it.

My Pick: San Diego 27-6