A News Reel of Varied Opinions

The time has come once again to tell you who I am and what I do here.   Every hour of every day, I feel a need to inform people of my opinion.   Paid writers hate guys like me because I have a ying for every yang they publish.   I call stories exactly as I see them, with no filter required.  I carry no editors in my house, and nor do I ever want one to look in.   It’s my show here.  Ask me about anything and I will give you a point of view is that is unbias, direct and of the moment.   My words hurt people and yes I have made people cry from ther result of using brutal honesty in my blogs.   There is no need to sugar coat anything in life because it delays the inevitable.  The honest to the heart truth.  What you get here is 100 percent me.  Up to the minute thoughts and the mind drippings of a simple man who feels a journalistic hunger to tell people the news.

Let’s get into the Cardinals weekly rampage of exhausted hunting for meaning in a team

When it comes to the Rogues in red, you take so many twists and turns that there isn’t an end in sight.  There is only the next round of material to discuss about this team, which is what I am running into right now.

The Cards started the second half with a 4-5 road trip through Cincinnati, New York, and Pittsburgh, the last stop yielding a series victory but an unfortunate close.

The Mets are better than their record, sport decent pitching, and the return of Jose Reyes and emergence of Carlos Beltran as the trading deadline nears sparked the Mets to take the first two games of last week’s series.   The Mets won in convincing style on Tuesday and walked off on Wednesday, giving the Cards their 9th defeat in game winning fashion.   There isn’t much use to dive into the rougher cuts of that series because its a week old but I will say this.  A couple things became apparent in that series that fully explained the Cards needs at the trading deadline on July 31st.

-Kyle Mania is dipping to an all new low as the months pass by.  Lohse and McClellan aren’t the same pitchers from May and June.  The last 7 starts by these two don’t mirror the first 10, where K-Mac went 6-1 and Lohse was also 6-1.   Since then, Lohse has only won two games and lost 6, and McClellan hasn’t won in his past 7 starts.   Lohse and McClellan pitched average in New York and didn’t give their team a chance to win.   Each labored through 6 innings and allowed 4 earned runs.  There is zero quality in those starts.   This is why the Cards need starting pitching.  McClellan is hitting an innings wall and regressing, while Lohse is straigtening out into a 4th arm capable of giving up 4 or 5 runs per start.  Is this surprising?  NO.  McClellan is a first year starter better suited for bullpen work, where he spent all of his first 4 seasons doing well.  Lohse is a starter with one great year in an otherwise unnoteworthy career.  This guy isn’t surprised at all about the downfall of the Kyle’s.  We have approached the collison of ability and reality, otherwise known as late July.  McClellan needs to go back to the bullpen to better serve this team.  His two starts this week against the Astros and Cubs are his last chances.

-Tony La Russa carries zero faith in his lefthanders in the bullpen.   This explains why Fernando Salas was pitching against Angel Pagan in the 10th inning of a tied game on Wednesday.  Pagan hit a game winning home run off a Salas fastball that once again didn’t get inside enough.   Salas had already pitched the 9th inning, and La Russa sent him back out there.   For what reason?  With Pagan, Beltran and Reyes approaching, there was no need to stretch your closer 2 extra innings.  With Trevor Miller and Raul Valdes in the pen, La Russa had options that he didn’t to turn to.  This means only one thing.  La Russa has lost complete faith in his lefties.  Get him new arms.  Release Miller and send Valdes back to Memphis because they are worthless if La Russa can’t use them in pressurized situations.

Those are the two things that popped into the head during the lost series.   Two holes on this team.  Rotational wear and tear, lefthanded bullpen help and a closer who can shut down a team 1-2-3 in the ninth inning and not be stretched past a single frame.  The bullpen is pitching extra innings, getting beaten more because the starters aren’t pitching deep into games any longer.   Lohse and McClellan can rarely pitch past the 6th inning, and except for Thursday’s gem, Jake Westbrook doesn’t go more than 5.2 innings.  When the starters tire, the bullpen weakens.  Along with a very average defense that is committing errors twice a game, those are the needs on this club.

Other Things to Consider from New York-

Jason Motte is having a decent season, has been wrongly saddled with more than a few situations(bases loaded, 0 outs) and has good numbers.  However, Motte isn’t pitching well with runners on base.   His inherited runners allowed is bad this season, hanging a cloud on his impressive K-BB and ERA.

Jason Isringhausen, a long time favorite of mine, collected a save and a win in last week’s series, causing me to get nostalgic about his Cardinal days and become a tad bit angry.  Izzy worked 3 scoreless innings for the Mets against the heart of the Cards order.  He struck out AP and Freese on high fastballs.  He got Holliday and Berkman to reach twice each.  In short, Izzy looked too good for his crisp old age of 37, causing me to complain, when was the last time Izzy pitched 3 scoreless innings in a row for the Cards?  You have to go back to 2007 to find it.  Here is the realization.  Izzy is pitching without pressure in NY, serving most of the season as a 1 inning bullpen hand and doing well.  In St. Louis, near the end, Izzy felt the weight of the world on his shoulders and pitched with boulders sitting on each arm.  His hip was rotting away and his shoulder wasn’t healthy.  He pitched bad in his 2 of his final 3 seasons in St. Louis, years after leading the league in saves(47) in 2005.   If he came back to St. Louis this season or next, he would immediately feel the pressure from his closing duties here.  Whether or not he closed, the “best fans in baseball” would let him have it and be relentless with their assaults.  It wouldn’t work out here because Izzy carries too much baggage.  If he faltered, he would be slaughtered.  That’s the life of a closer.  You are only as good as your last outing, and so far in 2011, Izzy is well liked in New York, the mother of pressure cookers.  Who could of written this script?   Last night against the Reds, Izzy struck out Brandon Phillips with the bases loaded to seal another win for the Mets and his 297th save.  Wonder how those bases got loaded in the first place?  Izzy put them there, as Bob Gibson would tell Tim McCarver back in the 1960s.  That’s the thing about being a fan of Izzy.  He has put plenty of gray hair on my face and head, but to this day, I pull for him to do well.   Its called loyalty.

Give credit to Jake Westbrook.  In a supreme time of desolate need, he pitched 8 innings in a 6-2 getaway win that salvaged a game and pushed the Cards into Pittsburgh in a healthy mood.   Westbrook has been up and down, pushed to the side all season, and roughed up and locked in all in a week.  He is a pitcher looking for solid ground and on Thursday, found it, used a Albert Pujols homer to stake himself and collected his 8th win.  His ERA is high but Westbrook is 6-2 since early June, thanks to run support and timely pitching.   He is a 5th starter through and through, but he is coming up big this season in big spots.   Its been one year since Westbrook came over in a trade for Ryan Ludwick, and Jake has answered the call and fulfilled expectations.   He will never be called an ace, like he was dubbed in Cleveland, but he gets the job done and gives you a gritty 5-6 innings.

On to  the Pittsburgh series, where the Cards took 2 of 3 in a huge series but dropped the finale in devastating and embarrassing fashion.

Quick Recap of Friday and Saturday-Carpenter dominates, gets stronger as the innings go by, goes 8 strong, yields 4, and rides three Cards homers to a 6-4 victory closed down by Salas for his 18th save.  On Saturday, the Cards romp, winning 9-1 and Jaime Garcia collects his 10th win, going 7.1 innings and giving a single run.   Carpenter is 5-0 in his last 6 starts, with a 2.95 ERA, and the Cards have won every game he has pitched.  Garcia deserves 13-14 wins but sits with 10 wins again, eliminating doubters with every start and trimming his ERA back to under 3.00 while pitching fine baseball.   The two Aces of the rotation did the heavy lifting on Friday and Saturday.

Sunday’s game was a disaster because once again, the Cards shot themselves in the foot, didn’t capitilize on key chances, and beat themselves.  The Cards blew 3 leads, left runners on and played horrible defense, falling 4-3 in 10 innings.   A good friend of mine argued that the Sunday loss eliminated the previous two wins and made the series a downer.  While I disagreed, his point has to be examined.  Every time the Cards have a chance to truly rise to the top of the NL, get into the upper ranks, step on their divisional competiton, they falter and lose.  They lost a chance to sweep the Reds two weeks ago at home.  They blew the first game after the All Star break in Cincy, allowing the Reds to stay in the NL hunt.  They allowed the Mets to walk off with a series win after blowing a 4-0 lead.  On Sunday, the Cards couldn’t finish off the Pirates, slow them down and take over the division.   Imagine what a sweep may of done to the Central power system.   The Cardinals walked into Pittsburgh and did the right thing.  They reminded the Pirates that the king of the division will not go down and told them who has dominated this division for 10 years.   Yesterday, they passed up a chance to be great, instead falling back down to good and credible.  Why?  A lot of reasons.  Lets dip into that pie.

-Any time you leave 11 baserunners stranded, commit three errors and blow 3 different leads in a one run game, you are going to lose.  Period.

-Ryan Theriot’s bat is eroding and his defense is still bad.   He committed two errors and allowed two late throws from the catcher on base stealing attempts to get past him and into center field.  The second pass was crucial, setting up the game winning run for the Pirates in the 10th inning.  Theriot is an average talent and always has been.  He hit his peak in 2008 and 2009, had a bad 2010 season and started hot this year only to slowly fizzle out.  Theriot went 1-6 in yesterday’s game lowering his average to .271.  He is hitting .209 in July and has lost 25 points on his batting average in 12 days.  His defense is horrible.  He makes routine plays close and can’t make a good play.   Theriot isn’t a leadoff hitter and has stopped getting on base, meaning he will be dropped to the bottom of the order.   Here is the problem.  Skip Schumacher isn’t a better leadoff hitter.  The Cards don’t have a good leadoff hitter.   The idea of hitting Jon Jay leadoff has to spring into La Russa’s mind.  If not, Theriot will continue to rot.  He is like a flower who gets pulled out of water and laid on the ground to die.  As the season goes on, he gets worse.

-Gerald Laird can’t throw his mother out at second base.  3 stolen bases allowed in a game isn’t a good sign for a catcher.

-Kyle Lohse only pitches 5 innings and throws 64 pitches.   Asking your bullpen to get you 12 outs with a starter doing well is stupid.  Lohse blew two one run leads but was looking sharp when he left.   I don’t care if his finger wasn’t 100 percent ready.  If he makes the start, he has to throw at least 85 pitches.  A bad move by La Russa to remove Lohse in a close game, no matter the situation.   Tony Cruz came up to pinch hit and struck out.

-If I were Tony, which I play 10 times per game because of my success rate, I would of pinch hit Yady for Laird and stopped two more stolen bases from happening.   Molina getting rest is nice and all, but the best catcher has to play in big games.   Sitting Yady on Sunday was bad news.  If you are playing Houston and Chicago this week, there is plenty of time to rest Molina.  A potential sweep contest was a bad choice.

-Hitting Skip in the sixth spot doesn’t scare any pitcher or manager in the major leagues.   Another La Russa fuckup.

-In the end, the Cards lost a heartbreaker.   The last two runs the Pirates scored came on a double play grounder and a sacrifice fly.   That’s how close and painful the game was.   Rotten display of play does put a slight damper on the previous two wins.

However, the Cards walked into Pittsy and took the series.  A recovery from a rough road trip and a chance to come home and do damage.  With the Astros and Cubs coming into town sporting bad records and dismal futures, the Cardinals need to get out the big sticks and put a beating on these teams.  No retreat, no surrender.  If the Cards can’t beat these team, they don’t deserve to contend for a playoff spot and should recede towards the bottom of the division.  This week is huge because bad teams need to be taken care of, and this is brightest flaw from last season’s collapse.  If we lose to Houston, the Pirates series victory does mean nothing.

Two ways you beat the Astros lineup-Keep Michael Bourn off the bases and throw Hunter Pence outside breaking pitches.  Their rotation, bullpen and depth aren’t pretty and there is a reason they are the worst team in baseball.   They do few things well.  The Cards will face Bud Norris but have hit him better recently.

When you lose, lessons come out of the fire.   Losing to the Reds, Mets and Pirates reminded the Cards of their needs at the deadline.

-Starting pitching

-Lefthanded bullpen help

-A closer fill in

Fernando Salas has saved 18 games in 21 chances but is getting more hittable with each appearance.   The Cards can’t afford to blow any more games this season and they lead the league in blown saves.   Salas is decent yet getting hit hard lately.  He is resembling Ryan Franklin with each appearance.  The hitters are collecting more contact against him and Salas hasn’t recorded a 1-2-3 9th inning in over a month.  Out of his 18 saves, 15 of them have included baserunners.   He isn’t a shutdown closer, was never groomed to be one, and is overused by La Russa.  A replacement is going to be needed unless La Russa treats Salas like a true closer.

Colby Rasmus is trade bait, but can’t be moved for a low end return.   The rumors of a trade sending Rasmus to The Chicago White Sox for starter Edwin Jackson wouldn’t make for an even deal.   Rasmus carries too much value to be traded for a downhill treading arm like Jackson.   Here is the question.  Is Jackson a lot better than McClellan or Westbrook?  No way.   He is an innings eater and sports a 4.00 ERA and 6 wins, but isn’t a fair deal for Rasmus.   Rasmus leads the team in walks and is 2nd in runs scored, and is only 24 years old.  He is also cheap and still carries potential.   This is stated because fans need to remember you don’t trade a player for a lesser product.  Unless the White Sox throw in lefty reliever Scott Thornton or Chris Sale, the deal doesn’t work to me.

Albert Pujols is accumulating strong power stats but failing to put 2-3 games together where he destroys pitching.  After going 4-5 on Friday and reaching .280 again, AP finished off the series 1-9 with an RBI single.   He has 22 home runs and 60 RBI, second on the team to Lance Berkman.   Albert is getting closer, crushing the baseball but hasn’t reached solid land yet.  According to Pujols standards, AP 2011 is still behind.

Here is what irritates me about Tony’s way.  Why do you sit Matt Holliday, David Freese and Yady Molina on a Sunday where you have a chance to sweep your division upstart Pirates?   It is plain stupid.   Save the rest dates for this week when you face teams that are 10-20 games out of first place and worthless.   In make or break games, the lineup has to feature the core talent.  Big miss by La Russa.   His managing will be called impressive this season because of the reliable resilient performance by the Cards in the face of deadly injury, but he is irritating me every game with his subpar choices.

Idea of the week.   Bat Jon Jay leadoff.   He hits .300, gets on base in a variety of ways, and is CONSISTENT.  He is a more reliable hitter than Ryan Theriot right now.  Make the move.   Follow Jay with David Freese or Nick Punto, who has to start cutting into Theriot’s playing time.   Winning teams go with the hotter hand, and right now its Jon Jay.

This week I am going to three games at Busch Stadium, so I will get a close look at this team before they hit the trading deadline on Sunday.  Expect action this week to heat up in the league as teams make improvements for the stretch run.   John Mozelaik is known for his post deadline waiver moves, but he will make a trade this year of some variety.   I will get the chance to see McClellan’s next two starts against two division foes.  I will see Garcia on Thursday.   After this week, I will be able to tell you what is right and wrong with this team, which will lead to make or break moves.  The Cards are 1-2 moves from being a very good baseball team.  The question is…will those moves be made or not?

Moving onto other topics while the Cards prepare to battle the Astros in 2 hours.   Updates on the team to follow as we roll along here.

Update-Cards beat the Astros 10-5 on Monday night, a successful night for many, including these players.

-Kyle McClellan pitches 7 strong innings, striking out 5 and allowing only a 1 run on 6 hits.   A solid performance that keeps K-Mac in the rotation.  Pitching against a poor lineup, Kyle had to be sharp and rose to the occasion.

-Colby Rasmus goes 1-3 with a walk, smashing a 2 run 420 foot bomb in the 5th inning, continuing his trend of hitting home runs inside several bad at bats.  Rasmus can hit homers, we know that, but can he hit consistently and get on base game to game.

-Pujols goes 1-5 with a single.  Pujols is close yet not there with his timing.  With him, its all timing.

-Pj Walters comes into a 8-1 game and allows a grand slam to Carlos Lee.   Why is Walters on this team again? Walters hadn’t pitched in three weeks, came into a blow out game, and allowed the Astros to get back into the contest with a 4 run 8th inning.   Walters is a career Memphis arm who only makes appearances here when the team is in need.  Right now, the roster includes 14 pitchers, more than enough help for a July finish.

-Ryan Theriot goes 0-5 and drops below .270.   Theriot is becoming a worthless leadoff bat and doesn’t help with his defense.   His playing time needs to be cut short.  The Cards knew what they were getting in RT, so the time has come to shove him to the side, play Punto or Descalso and make a run for it with Theriot on the bench as a pinch hitter/part time starter.  La Russa needs to realize this like he realized Miguel Batista and Ryan Franklin were only hurting the bullpen every time they pitched.  Tough but required step for all managers.  Recognize a player going through a career sealing rough streak.

Captain America Review

The latest Marvel summer action film arrival is exactly what you want and a little more.  Unlike decent if forgettable guilty pleasures like Transformers 3 or Green Lantern, Captain America has a full blooded story and a iconic hero in Steve Rogers, the little skinny guy who only wanted to help his country fight the Germans in World War II.   The film is peppered with pure action exhilaration while retaining a thoughtful soul carried out here by Chris Evans, giving an energetic if understated performance as Rogers.   Director Joe Johnston borrows here from early America comics by mixing the plot up with the WWII struggle between The USA and the Nazis, here led by the evil Red Skull(Hugo Weaving), a man who simply wants to take over the world and kill off the competition.   Right as he sets aim on the USA, Rogers joins the army and gets selected by a military scientist for a secret experiment.   What the military soon finds out about Rogers is that while he only weigh 100 pounds, his heart and hunger to do good outweighs half the men in the army.   He is selected to be the first human to be transformed into “a super soldier”, a heroic super strength and fast moving evil fighting machine.  Red Skull was given a similiar procedure, but the effects didn’t completely take and he is left only disfigured and full of hate.  Rogers comes out a living breathing superhero, and the fight between Captain America and Red Skull begins.  Throw in an old fashioned love story between Rogers and a british officer(Hayley Atwell) assisting the US, and the film is classic good vs. bad delight.  Its a simple pleasure being crafted here, a film that will please both the longtime comic fans and the summer crowd looking for an action film with true American bite.  Evans is perfect in the lead role, resisting the urge to overplay the heroic drama and simply let his look and movements cast the biggest growth in his performance.   Weaving makes for a  perfect adversary, cold and evil to the core.  Another reason this film is so strong is because it speaks to the many people in our country who aren’t genetically gifted yet carry a willpower and hunger to do the right thing.  All they need is a chance.  Rogers gets that chance in this movie, as his character is a symbol for every undersized man in the world.  Marvel fans get their fill here, with expected cameos from Nick Fury and a supporting role from Howard Stark as the chief builder of Captain America’s suit and shield.  After the credits, there is a very well put together trailer for next year’s Avengers.  Look, Captain America is for comic book hounds but also appeals to filmgoers looking for a summer action film that gives more than guns blazing and bad guys falling.  A superhero story with a bit of old school romance thrown into a World War II plot makes for a good time at the movies.

Other things to Like here-

-The Attention to detail.   Die hard fans will recognize small links to the old comics in the dialogue and in the costumes.  Well done here by the designers.

-Hayley Atwell makes for a fine female counterpoint to Evans in the lead role.  A young british beauty, Atwell takes a second rate role and makes her own.

-The patience in the storytelling is appreciated.   Moviegoers get to see Rogers make the slow transformation from nobody to hero.   Its a 30 minute transformation that defies the usual superhero tale, where filmmakers feel like the running time is a race and skip past all the juicy parts of the hero going from man to supernatural.   While some get impatient, I appreciated the slow boil of the plot here.  In a story of simple good against evil, the script needs to be strong.

THE NFL LOCKOUT IS OVER

After 132 days of deal making, pausing, and torment in the circles of the rich, the NFLPA and The Owners agreed on a new 10 year labor agreement. The NFL is alive again and open for business.  Anybody surprised by this needs a reality check and be reminded this is all about money and not about football.  Its chess, not checkers my friends. The wait is over, and the fans will get their football fix this fall and winter.   First thing, fans have nothing to whine about.   Except for the useless HOF game in Canton, the fans aren’t missing out on anything.   The four preseason games will go on, and the 16 game regular season trek is planned as well. When people call fans the victims, they are out of line and sound quite stupid.  The coaches are paid top dollar to get athletes into game shape, so 40 days is more than enough time to get ready to play football.   All in all, the game didn’t lose much muster and only found itself with a couple mini camps.  The smart players will stay in shape and the dumb ones will get injured.  The two sides weren’t dumb enough to waste the millions made in the preseason and came to an agreement that makes each side content, if not happy.  In the beginning, it was going to be a real act of stupidity to miss any preseason or regular season games.  Money rules here.  Its hard to side with either group here because each contributed to the greedy pack.   The players didn’t want to hand over part of their share for the owners to sort out their revenue sharing system, so the owners locked them out.  The players laid down their terms, filed suit, and the owners remained adamant about splitting the pie and adding a billion on top of the sharing.  The players and owners went to court and battled.  Each side remained stubborn enough for one STL radio voice to claim football would be cut short in 2011.  In the end, the players accepted the owners revised CBA, and we are back in business.

The Rams Outlook

The Rams are opening camp on Friday, and GM Billy Devaney, Steve Spagnuolo and Stan Kroneke need to get to work and attack the free agent market.   The Rams are 2-3 players from making the playoffs.  An outside linebacker,  a backup running back, a cornerback/safety and a big play wide receiver to mix in with the B pack bunch on the roster.  Sidney Rice, Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards are expensive options at WR.   Plaxico Burress is a cheaper look for the Rams.   Its easy to sit here and say what the team needs but these are the facts.  Last year, when the Rams suffered injuries, the passing game took a hit and the team struggled to put points on the board in the red zone.  Struggles in the red zone come back to wide receiving playmakers.   Since I can’t have Larry Fitzgerald, one must look to the open market.  Look, there are good things to say about Danny Amendola, Brendan Gibson, Danario Alexander, Donnie Avery and Mark Clayton, but they are all supporting players and not playmaking #1 threats.  You keep 3-4 from the bunch and add a real stat monster who can run and catch.   Sam Bradford is a great leader but he needs a toy.   A big toy to play with on offense.  The Rams need to find him one.   On defense, an outside linebacker to accompany James Laurenitas and a cornerback/safety to replace Oshimingo Atogwe would be preferrable.  The Rams have an intriguing team yet carry holes.

Also on the list is a backup running back.   A smaller speedy type who can complement Steven Jackson’s bash and slash style of power running.   Darren Sproles would work very well here.  Brian Westbrook is perfect, with his running and catching abilities.   Marion Barber was released by the Cowboys.  He could fill in behind SJ39 but they are built from the same cloth.   Jackson needs help because he is gaining years along with the yardage and takes a beating in his style of play.  A backup with real juice heightens the abilities of the running game.  Cut them with a speedy second man, and allow SJ to finish them off.

The story of the Rams is simple.   Spags handles the defense, creating a pass rush heavy attack that helped the Rams lead the NFC in sacks last year yet left them vulnerable to the running game and a big passing play.  On offense, Josh McDaniels takes over the book and will reinvent this attack.  One reason I am content with the group in a small way is that McDaniels will suck every bit of talent from the roster and is built from the Mike Martz school of 4 down territory.  Run and gun, and slam the ball down the defenses throat.  The success rate hinges on the amount of  holes Devaney can fill with Stan’s cash.  Get it done. The Rams fans are back in the seats, so now the idea is to keep them there.  Let’s not be like the Blues and make zero moves on the roster for 3 years(what happened to the note before the past season).   Lets find flaws and fix them.

Amy Winehouse Died this past weekend.   The brutally talented jazzy pop artist passed to unknown causes, yet I am can guess with a clear mind that drugs were involved.  This death is no big surprise to anybody who pays attention to pop culture and the music industry.  Before Saturday, mention Winehouse and you see people briefly smile and nod before taking a dark swing into a mixed up expression.  Amy was gifted yet addicted.  Her biggest album was named Back to Black and her biggest hit was called Rehab, which carried an addictive spell of its own on a listener.  Listening to her, you knew there was talent there, but the fight here is the same as it was with Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.  Would the talent outrun the drug addiction?  In the end, for Amy, the addiction won.   She was a cold blooded musician, a prodigy who couldn’t stay out of the press for drug/boyfriend/disturbance issues.   While drug addiction and alcoholism isn’t a real disease, the issue is a definite reality in several people’s lives.  A problem that is created within a person’s space and company.  Winehouse could of been guarded with an army of sober people but would find a way to use.  Whether she was off or on, accidentally drugged or purposefully high, Winehouse was 100 percent authentic.  That’s what I’ll remember about her.  Her talent and her real world.  She didn’t fake a thing and gave it all in person.   You can’t fix death, but you can remember someone despite their problems.  I’ll remember Winehouse real cut attitude.  Since her death, her album sales have rose.  This is also no surprise, as we have understood from Hendrix, Cobain, Tupac and Marley’s modern day effect.   When an artist dies early, their music reaches another level.  Rehab was great, but my favorite Winehouse song was bittersweet and perfectly explained her demise.  The song is called, “You know I’m No Good”.  Here it is. Take one look at Winehouse and she had a “guess what I’m going to do next” expression on her face.

http://youtu.be/b-I2s5zRbHg

The Tragedy in Norway is simply horrible and something that I struggle to explain to people or to myself.   Terrorists are led by religious duties, but we always forget to throw gunmen into that group.   What led a single man to kill 92 people on vacation in Norway?  What went through the man’s head?  He posed as a police officer, set a building on fire, gathered innocent people around him, and begin to pick them off, one by one with an automactic weapon.  ONE MAN nearly killed 100 people inside a single day.  How do you react to that?  You make sure he is dead, find out his origin, and what led him to the act, but what happens after?  Its inexplainable.   There is nothing one can do but appreciate the ground you walk on isn’t joined by a gunmen looking to end life for no real reason.   According to Henry Rollins, Norway is a peaceful loving place full of good people.   In one day’s time, a man changed that.  Who the fuck cares what his name is?  I don’t need it here.

Leave Daniel Craig alone.  Reading two interviews and each time Craig blasts the writer for stepping into uncharted territory.  While I appreciate a movie star’s requirement to give insight and a writer’s job to probe, I can understand if Craig doesn’t want to release the details of his wedding and marriage to the lovely Rachel Weisz.   Movie stars are the commodity but there are borders and limits to an interview.  Talk about the movie. That is what they are selling.   Their work in film, not at home.  I may give more if I were in Craig’s shoes, but that’s me and not him.   I happen to like Craig’s rebel attitude to say “that’s off limits”.  In a land of robots, Craig can stand up and say that’s enough.  Ask him what makes his James Bond tick, what leads him to parts, what he likes about movies, but stop asking about his personal life.  Every time a writer steps over a boundary set by a human being, its annoying.

Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde and Sam Rockwell star in Cowboys and Aliens, released this weekend.   This is a movie you hear about and instantly know your reaction to it.  My opinion is that this makes for the perfect summer movie.   What did we dream about or play with when we were kids?  Cowboys and indians battles.   Mix in aliens and the game is set.   Take the two most iconic things in our history. The coolest and the unknown, throw them together with a good cast and I am in.   Ask Craig or Ford why they took the film and they will tell you, “for fun”.   Jon Faverau turned down Iron Man 3 and took this job instead, and Favs makes fun movies.  That’s what summer is all about.  Make entertaining movies that stimulates our senses and teases the mind.   Craig is a mysterious cowboy, dropped into a town by unknown sources with a powerful bracelot that shoots bolts of lightning generated power out of it.   Ford is the lawman who wants to put Craig in jail.  Wilde is the mystery woman, Rockwell is the bartender, and all is set to collide before aliens invade.  Cue the questions, mystery reveals and action and romance.   Cowboys and Aliens won’t win an award but it will get two hours of my time.   I like movies that take a worn out topic and spin a fresh look on it.

Speaking of fresh spins, here is a reloaded version of Jay Z’s famous “99 Problems” by folky artist Hugo.   If you like artists taking a popular song into their studio, tossing it at their playbook like a misdirected son and coming back with something completely different, Hugo’s bluesy twist is for you.  Set aside your opinion of Jay Z and listen to this song.

Hugo-“99 Problems”

http://youtu.be/LloIp0HMJjc

Daddy Blog Post-Diapers are like runs in a softball game.  You can’t have enough.  This weekend, I am getting friends together for a Cards-Cubs game at Busch and a night of drinking and fun at Sports Zone in Kenrick.   Each person brings a pack of diapers as a gift.  Its a testosterone filled baby shower.   A chance to have good times and collect “baby shit briefs”.    Ask any parent and they will tell you.  Load up on diapers because babies shit themselves hourly.   Since there is no possible way to prepare for a bad load, I am going to accumulate as many as I can so I can practice.   The phrases “runny”, “ass rash” and “nonstop” will carry new meanings  this fall.

Random Bits as I roll past the 6,100 words typed mark here in an epic blast of Buffa Explosion.

-Tiger Woods drops to 21st in the golf rankings.  How the mighty have fallen?  That’s how the truth feels, Tiger.  Along with a career full of denial in injuries.

-Where will Kevin Kolb land in free agency?  Arizona or San Francisco.   Donovan McNabb will drop in Minnesota or Cincinnati.  Brett Favre, hopefully, will watch it from his home.   Unless your offensive line is made out of a steel wall, there is no need for Favre to risk serious life threatening injury.  Ask him who he wants to be.   Troy Aikman or Kurt Warner.  Do you want to walk off the field or be carried off?  I understand a hunger to play, but enough is enough cowboy.

-Cam Janssen going back to New Jersey sets up February 9th as the first round of Ryan Reaves VS. Janssen battle in the enforcer’s post Blues career.  Eureka native Janssen played 4 years of solid 4th line fighting duty for his hometown team, and that’s all an aging bruiser or fan can ask for.   Janssen was everything you wanted in a cheap tough guy.  A protector of his teammates, an entertaining fighter and a man with a compulsion to throw his weight around on the ice.   So long, Cam.  My money is on Reaves taking the fight after Cam lands a couple right hands.

-Blues News.  For the crowd wondering where the Blues news is, tell me what there is to talk about and I will answer.   Unless you are Jeremy Rutherford or Andy Strickland covering this team for a job, there is no real news.   Here is what I have heard.   Dave Checketts HAD three promising buyers lined up.  That was 3 weeks ago, so who knows what strings are being pulled there.  David Perron has all of a sudden been cleared to practice in August and Davis Payne said he will be ready for October.  I will believe that when I see it.   Reaves will have to fight for a roster spot with Jamie Langerbrunner and Jason Arnott filling the 3rd and 4th line on this team.  My feelings are every team needs at least one solid enforcer.  Sit Bj Crombeen and get Reaves in there.  Other than that, the needs for this team have been halfway met.   A mixture of young and old talent will hopefully be turned into a successful season but any real Blues fan knows that the result will be determined by Jaroslav Halak’s play in goal.   If he falters, gets hurt, starts hot and goes cold again, the Blues will suffer.  This team depends highly on their goaltender’s play.  Its been the same way for the past 5 years.  Chris Mason carried this team to the playoffs.  Halak will have to do the same if this team suffers injuries on it’s front end again.  Until there is fresh blood, that is all in Blues News.

-A good loyal cologne is hard to come by these days my friends.   The only kind I care to use is Hugo Boss, because it’s elegant, smells good but doesn’t overpower and is consistent.  It smells good 12 hours after you put it on, which is key for an expensive cologne.   Good cologne is also hard to fall in love with, because of the changing weather, but Hugo Boss is my preferred smell and one of the best.  My defense against the stinky nature of the heat.

Once again, I’ll take the winter over the summer because the human body can deal with the cold in a way far better than it deals with the heat.  When it’s cold, you put another layer on to stay warm.  When its deadly hot and humid, you take layers off but still feel sick, empty and worn out.   In my eyes, the heat is the most deadliest form of natural weather.  And it makes a working man smell quite bad at the end of the day, which is why I need a good shower and cologne like Hugo Boss to protect against it.

Speaking of pure stink, its about time I put an end to this near 7,000 word count batch of Buffa madness and exit the stage.   There is a time to stop and I passed it two days ago, so I will quit while I am still struggling to make up time.

Until next time, do something with your life, find new great music, see a good movie, speak your mind and stand by it, and stay cool in this deadly heat wave.   Thanks for reading.

Goodnight and good luck,

Dan L. Buffa

 

Go Cards!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: D. Buffa

A regular guy who feels a journalistic hunger to tell the news. I blog because its wired into my brain to write what I think in print. I offer an opinion. A solo tour here. Take regular stories and offer my spin on them. Sports, film, television, music, fatherhood, culture, food, and so on. Commentary on everything. A St. Louis native and Little Rock resident who wants to write just to keep the hands fresh and ready.

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