Topics of Persuasion
November 10th, 2011
Everybody here? Fuck it, I’m going anyway. Read up, follow along, stay with me and while you may not learn something, you may at least be entertained by the sight of thought process.
- A sense of a new form of hockey on the ice. The birth of the Hitchcock system, which consists of letting the boys be boys and let their own individual talents evolve on the ice.
- On Tuesday, the Blues played the most complete hockey game all season. A strong 60 minutes.
- Power Play revamped. Better passing, execution and capped off with a fabulously placed Oshie pass to the tip of Stewie’s blade.
- An emotional tribute set the stage for a comeback night. Keith Tkachuk and Brett Hull delivering beautiful memorial speeches about the fallen 38’s, Igor Koralev and Pavol Demitra. The Blues alumni have always come out and supported one another during times of celebration(retiring Hull’s number) or times of tragedy. Talking about a young fallen comrade is never a good reason for coming into town, but Hull and Tkachuk are class acts and delivered.
- Jaroslav Halak had a complete game, stopping 28 shots and collecting his 17th career shutout. The play of Halak will mirror this entire season and determine where this team goes. During the first 13 games, Halak’s save percentage was 85 percent. Horrible. Win/loss record and play in front of him withstanding, the Slovakian stopper needed to improve and against the Blues rival and main enemy in the Central Division, Halak came up big.
- Huge win over the rival always helps a situation. The Blues are a 7-7 team with 4 big games at home ahead.
- Blues Revival Continued-
- The only way Tuesday’s win sticks is if the Blues can win at least 3 of the next 4 games at home against Toronto, Detroit and Florida. Every team wants to play hard for a new coach during their first game. The next few games tells the story.
- Ryan Reaves also delivered on Tuesday. Nothing like a good old fashioned ass kicking to fire up his team and help the Blues pull away. Reaves pounded Dario Carcillo. 4 right hands to the head and a take down to stamp it. Reaves is the new Blues enforcer.
- This was a game that had something for everyone in the audience. Good, quick paced hockey action and an all around team game. Players working together, creating plays, getting results. Pretty.
- The Blues scored 3 well executed goals. There were no gimme or weak goals. They scored the first on an excellent crash of the net by Vladamir Sobotka. The second came on the Oshie/Stewart tip. Oshie finished off the scoring with a wrist shot in the third period to put the game away with a few minutes left.
- If Davis Payne left a stamp, it lies on Oshie’s head. In the last 3 games, Oshie has 3 goals and 2 assists and is back to playing his old brand of smash mouth hockey. He happens to be trade bait, so his good play works on both ends for the Blues.
- All in all, the Blues looked in control on the ice. Authoriative. That has been missing along with horrible special teams play, inconsistent offense and bad goaltending from #41. Tuesday was a good night.
- Can it continue tonight against Toronto? Will we notice the Hitchcock stamp 2 days later?
Cardinals Manager Search Thoughts-
- Nearly 2 weeks after Tony stepped down, the interviews are done. Chris Mahoney, Joe McEwing, Mike Matheny, Ryne Sandberg, Jose Oquendo and Terry Francona were given a look an interview. While the safe and smart pick is Francona, I have a feeling in my stomach that tells me he won’t be among the finalists. Here’s why. Reading reports from STL Cards beat writer Joe Strauss, the order of the top 3 aren’t the popular picks from last week.
- The top 2 last week were Francona and Oquendo in my opinion. Before the interviews started rolling in. However, my wild cards right now are Sandberg and Matheny. It would be the ultimate smack in the face to the Cubs to have Sandberg come here and win a World Series title. He has managed in the Phillies minor league system and is a great baseball mind. Look at him as a surprise pick. This is a success ready team, so any of the top 3 work. Sandberg or Oquendo would be cheaper than Tito. By about 2 million. Matheny has stayed in the Cardinals organization as a consultant and assistant to the GM. There are connections there.
- It all comes down to what direction the Cards front office wants to go with this new era of managerial action in the dugout. Terry Francona is a solid choice and carries the pedigree, experience and success required, but he isn’t a done deal. There are other factors. Factors that give Mike Matheny and Oquendo an edge. Dave Duncan has worked with Matheny and Oquendo in the past and likes them. There’s a history there and comfortable alliance. Oquendo is respected by the entire franchise and team, but Sandberg was the first person the Cards inquired about. He is a wild card choice for the job and while his past speaks against a chance at managing here, I wouldn’t be surprised if he got the job because he is the type of manager Mozelaik may surprise us with. Playing it safe is Francona. Taking a shot is Oquendo. Breaking open the creativity bank is going with Sandberg or Matheny.
The Fall of Joe Paterno at Penn State Rant
There are several factors here, so let me just start firing in a familiar area. Family ties. Every university is a like a family, as are companies, households and teams. Every part of the family play a role in keeping things honest, honorable and straight. If one person steps out of line, no matter their stature or position, they have to be cut away. Those are the rules. All families involve degrees of power, emotion, deception and corruption. Unequal doses hurt families and break them up. When Joe Paterno and fellow Penn State officials overlooked Jerry Sandusky’s 2002 warning of eventual sexual molestation of young boys, they made a fatal error. An error that broke the university in half this week. This blow extended outside the football program and into the university’s DNA. The aftermath has left Paterno fired, the President fired and a potential BCS Bowl team in disarray. Assistant coach Sandusky was charged with 15 counts of sexual molestation this week and the aftershocks are plenty. Here are some smaller details and thoughts. Penn State board did the right thing in firing Paterno. Whether you are a football fan or not, you know the name of Joe Paterno. 61 years in college football, 46 as Penn State Head Coach, 2 national championships in 1982 and 1986 and 409 all time wins. The model of consistency. Now, he is gone and it was the right move. Paterno isn’t evil. Let me be straight here. He made a critical error in judgment. Sandusky’s behavior had warning signs written all over them and Paterno and his staff missed them or overlooked them. This is a classic coverup. Think of Paterno as a failed humanitarian auditor of ethics. This was a oversight that led to the turmoil and added a shade of gray to a hall of fame career. Whenever his name is mentioned now, it will come with a dirty asterisk. This was the only way Penn State could act. They had to fire Paterno because that is the fastest way to get past a scandal. Erase the negative parties quick and save face. Letting Paterno call his own exit would have looked weak and cued the media wolves. This was the right move.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The Greatest injustice is no justice at all.” Joe Paterno and fellow guilty parties had to be brought to justice because they committed the worst error in life. Overlook a horrible crime.
A Prince and A King
Two of the biggest players in baseball, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, go on the market this offseason and the only thing that can be promised is they will be filthy rich when it’s all said and done. That’s the point where I can’t get too worked up on these two players. When spring training hits, they will have a deal somewhere, making 25 million a year and comfortable for the next few years. They could buy a Mercedes once a week and be fine. It’s hard to worry too much about it. However, here are things I think will happen. Prince is definitely leaving Milwaukee and I think the top spots are the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs. Fielder will command 23-25 million per year and grab at least 5 years and maybe 7. He is young, productive, and the only major leaguer to play all 162 games last season. Albert is the king here, though. He will receiver offers of 28 to 30 million for up to 10 years. The takers will be the same. Basically, anyone who needs a lifeline or first basemen. The Florida Marlins will look at him, as will the Rangers, Dodgers and Cubs. If I had money to wager, serious green, I’d still say he takes less to play in St. Louis because as Jayson Stark pointed out today in his column, there’s the thing that money can’t buy. Comfortable positioning. Rather or not he declines, Albert will remain king in St. Louis. While it is interesting why Bill DeWitt Jr. and John Mozelaik haven’t made a serious run at Albert and opted to sign Matt Holliday 2 years ago(however, Matt was a free agent as well and a hot commodity), Albert owns this town and I can’t see him leaving it for a couple more years or a few more million dollars. Albert deserves a raise and a comfy future landing. Give him a piece of the team or profit. Give him 8 years because the man earned it the right to have a chance to live long here and eventually come down to earth in productivity. Scott Boras can sell Prince all he wants, but we all know what Cecil Fielder did after his 27th birthday. He never hit 40 home runs again and declined rapidly. Prince can’t play defense or bring the marketing to a town like Albert can in St. Louis. Albert is a more complete and productive player. Let’s see if Prince can perform like Albert for 5 more seasons. I mean the complete statistical areas. On base percentage, batting average, game winning hits, hitting with runners in scoring position and extra base hits. If people think Albert is 35 and not 31, his 11 years of productive is even more astonishing and impressive. The point is Prince is a great player, but Albert is the best player in baseball. The marketing dream and complete player. He is king. King’s deserve a decent ransom to hand over their talent. The Cards will hand it over to Albert or face the scorn of a city. Pujols gets to choose where he lands, but if the Cards lowball him or look away as he leans to come back, I will place full blame on the ownership. Once again, I will repeat, you don’t let gold walk away. This is a two sided deal. If Albert and the Cards know what money smells like years from now and how it looks from the comfort of their own home, they will work it out. Albert knows it. DeWitt knows it. Dan Lozano knows it. Good luck to Prince. I look forward to seeing him in white and blue stripes.
Middle Men Review
Jack Harris(narrating)-“If I learned one thing, it’s that business is a lot like sex. Getting in is easy. Pulling out is hard.”
This is a great movie. Highly entertaining and fast paced with a relatively potent story. This is the story of Jack Harris(played with ease, cool and authority by the better of the Wilson half, Luke Wilson), who helps two morons(Gabriel Macht and Gio Ribisi) bring porn to the internet and make a profit out of it. Harris is a born problem solver, and when he hears about two guys with a way to do things but zero idea how to manage things are making waves in LA and pulling in millions, he goes out to the land of opportunity and becomes their middle man. This is an easy story to digest and a cool film to enjoy because it talks about desperate truth in this life. Porn pulls in 57 billion dollars a year, and the fact is when NASA launches satellites into the air, the only idea in their mind is to plant those things in the right spot for Billy Bob to be able to access his porn site whenever he feels the need to jerk off. That’s right. Harris and his cronies help people jerk off. They made a living out of it and they nearly all died as a result of it. You may of missed this movie in theaters because it couldn’t turn its own profit and got the indie dumping in NY and LA. Since Adam Sandler isn’t playing a woman in it, the movie couldn’t reach 1500 screens and instead got 650, a DVD release and a happy shelf to land on. Wilson is the star of the show and gives a great performance in a film one has to seek out. Great stories still need great big stars to exploit them. If Wilson was playing J. Edgar Hoover and George Gallo(director of Middle Men) was doing it, the movie wouldn’t be released in November on 3,000 screens. The idea is, Middle Men is a proud indie gem and I am here to tell you, it’s worth picking up. Gallo keeps things moving here and the characters seem to spin around in place. The events are loosely based on real events, but the story adds a decent amount of “holy shit high stakes action” to the mix. Toss in a dangerous Russian mobster(Rade Shebergia) into the porn profit pot and things get dicey. Throw in a shady lawyer Jerry(James Caan) capable of getting greedy and stealing the show and things get worse. This is a story equally covered in power, profit and denial. Harris is a good man but he is caught up in a bad situation. A man with a wife and kids at home in Houston is playing deadly games in Vegas with 2 wired druggies, a Russian killer and a corrupt businessman. How do things end up? The film wraps things up quite nice and brutal, and it doesn’t ask for your forgiveness. The entertaining aspect comes in the loose cannon performance of Wilson, the assured direction of Gallo, and a hip soundtrack including the Rolling Stones. This film moves at the pace of a bullet and also scores the unusual point of carrying good narration. Wilson is a calm relaxed actor and it helps as Jack recounts the story of his Vegas/LA plunge to us. The supporting cast is aces, including Terry Crews, Kevin Pollak, Robert Forster, Jacinda Barrett and Kelsey Grammar. A film about the universal rule of business. Making money isn’t easy, and even when it’s going well, a shotgun blast is waiting around the corner.
- Katey Segal can act. If there is one actor on Sons of Anarchy capable of taking over the show, it’s Segal. She is the best on the talented cast. She is the woman deserving of an Emmy or two for her work. The gift of Segal is combining stress, emotion, power, vulnerability, and action into one scene. Playing Gemma, the biker wife of the leader of the Sons club, the role carries a “Lady Macbeth” feeling to it. This is classic shakespearian drama and tragedy. This week’s episode had her sitting at a table, beaten and bruised but defiantly pledging revenge by season’s end. Segal, a TV vet most known for Married With Children, powers the scene and adds juice to the performance. You believer her worn down, beaten, yet still beautiful face when she says the words. That’s what actings all about. Believing these real people inside these characters. She gives a golden performance, one that starts from the outside and fights its way out. Sons of Anarchy is so good because the entire appeal of the show centers around caring for these criminals even as they do bad things like run guns and sell drugs and kill mercifully. Likeable monsters work here. Monsters Inc. for the Criminally Insane. Segal is the golden queen here. She can act.
- Correction From My Blog on Tuesday-The screenwriter of J. Edgar is Dustin Lance Black, not Eric Roth. Black wrote the award winning MILK, about Harvey Milk, the first gay man to be elected to political office in San Francisco. A raw gritty subject area that Black once again immerses himself inside in Clint Eastwood’s bio epic.
- David Freese is everywhere. Starting on Jay Leno, moving on to the View and Ellen, rolling in last night at the Country Music Awards, and will soon arrive on a ABC sitcom in a guest spot. Freese, the NLCS and WS MVP, is all over the place and it’s weird and cool. When did Freese turn into Peyton Manning? Exactly when he delivered the most clutch hit in World Series history. Down to his last strike in the World Series, Freese delivered and become a superstar on the circuit since then. Expectations are enormous next season but for now, Freese can enjoy it. It’s not even been 3 weeks since the Cards won the series.
- Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz dueling inside a ring for the second time is an intriguing fight, as long as Ortiz keeps his gloves up and protects himself. Ortiz won the first fight, surviving 2 knockdowns and a grueling 12 round fight to hand Berto his first loss and earn him the right to face Floyd Mayweather Jr., who then knocked Ortiz out when the kid let his hands come down in Round 4. Berto wants revenge and Ortiz once again fights for respect. Book it.
- The Changeup, in my opinion the funniest movie of the year, comes out on DVD this week. The key to this film’s greatness. Turning an old formula(body switching to improve souls routine) into a raunchy, well written, fast moving rocket fuel comedy starring the dream team, Jason Batemen and Ryan Reynolds. The two play best friends who live opposite lives of family man and slacker. One night, it changes. Hilarity ensues. Rent this film. Very funny.
- Conray Murray knew what he was doing when Michael Jackson demanded the lethal dose of drugs. His client begged for his “milk” and Murray gave it to him, killing him. When the king of pop was training for his ridiculous 50 show set in London, his body took a beating and the only way to help a 50 year old recover from brtual workouts are illegal drugs. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter because he bypassed judgement and gave Jackson the killshot. Is he evil? No way. Stupid? A little. Doomed for life? Yes sir.
- Do the Rams suck? Yes. Very much. They are outscored in point differential by 111 points. Their QB wonder only has 4 touchdowns and is getting killed behind a bad offensive line. The Rams allow one defensive score per game. Their special teams play is bad. Their run defense is horrible. They committ too many penalties. They can’t score touchdowns. Their secondary is weak and they have no legit #1 receiver. Also, injuries have taken a toll, but that’s the same of every NFL team. The Rams are 1-7 and have a decent chance of finishing 3-13. Yes, they suck.
- Tim Tebow excelling at the option play is no surprise. He became a college legend at Florida using the same powerful offensive tactic. The option play involves three choices. Throw downfield, toss it to a running back or run the ball yourself. Tebow tore up the Oakland Raiders last weekend by springing the option attack on them and beating them in three ways. Eventually, this was going to be used in the NFL. Thank you Tebow for introducing it with a rush. It can be stopped, but if defense guess wrong, 7 points are put up. How many Tebow haters are hiding right now? Tons of them. Like rats when the lights come on.
- Pro Soccer player David Testo has come out of the box and announced he is gay. This is no big deal if you carry humility. Being gay is a normal way of living, a choice one makes early on and good for him to have the boulder off his shoulders. Several people will criticize him for coming out and potentially ruining his career. I applaud him for it. Be gay and proud. I’ll say this again. The people who can’t get along with or understand gay people are the most unfortunate souls on this earth because they let a mythical retarded religion get in the way of meeting great people. They are cowards for calling this a problem. Testo’s teammates either act like grownups and support him or run like chickens. This changes nothing. I don’t watch much soccer but I respect the supreme athleticism of the sport and respect human choice even more. Good for David.
- The Immortals will be the dumbest most useless movie of 2011 when it comes out tomorrow. Another film about the gods and titans of old. The effects are overly dramatic, the actors look lost and the dialogue sounds like 2 6th graders drooled it during art class. Henry Cavill worked this film to get the role of Superman in Zach Snyder’s new reboot. It’s akin to sucking blowing someone to get a job at Vanity Fair. Unfortunate. Poor Henry. Yawnnn….
- Billy Crystal is hosting the Oscars after the moronic Brett Ratner spit out a gay slur at a press junket for Tower Heist, resigned from the producing job and a day later his scared little boy comedy star, Eddie Murphy, quit the hosting job. Crystal will kill in this role. The last time he hosted the Oscars, the right blend of comedy and levity took place and the show was a blast. The idea of a host is to make things fun whether or not the show is interesting or not and the movies are interesting or not. Crystal will get it done. Sure, Conan or Hanks would have worked. Instead, Billy gets another run. I’m happy.
- Ashton Kutcher is a fucking moron. End of story.
- Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped by 4 gunmen in Venezuela, a crazy place known for wild west actions and low life activity. Spend your offseason there and bad things will happen. Are we not surprised? Be cool and spend your vacation in your hometown wild country or stay in Washington where it’s more safe. Hard choice look easy now. Ramos is missing and no contact has been made by the kidnappers. This is the first time a major league baseball player has been taken. Unfortunate circumstance easily explained by the region it happened in.
- One wonders if Tom Brady will ever get over the Super Bowl loss to the Giants and make his way back to the promise land again? I think not. The team around him has gotten old and is working slower. He hasn’t won a playoff game in 4 years and looks vulnerable in the pocket at last. I respect his ability but I do like to see him lose. Underdog love I guess.
- Is Eli Manning playing better because his big brother isn’t casting a huge shadow over his head? Yes.
- Am I surprised the Eagles aren’t doing well and might not make the playoffs? No. Michael Vick had to repeat his miraculous 2010 season and the defense had to hold up. So far, the defense is getting burned and Vick can’t stay healthy enough to play at that elite level. You don’t call a team Super Bowl champs based on paper my friends. It’s bad business. Who reps the team? Lebron James and Chris Bosh?
- Do I care if the NBA lockout goes on and on and the 2011-2012 season is cancelled? I don’t care at all. Regular season NBA action is boring and sleep inducing and since St. Louis has no team, I am as far out of this emotionally as I can be. Greed grows on every tree people.
- Vinny Update-The kid is battling consistent vomiting, going through outfits like a model, hogging attention, eating at an enormous rate and is as cute as a kid can possibly be at 8 weeks. He’s a tough kid and he is mine. The end.
That’s all folks. Smoke, fire and grit to follow. One last thing. I’m working out in the mornings now with a good friend and that’s the way to go. Find a partner and get at it until your body bleeds and burns. We all know how to get healthy and lose weight. Doing it is the hard part. Here’s how I roll in gym land. I went to the gym on Wednesday and walked in like I owned the joint. I leaned in and warned the desk worker that there might be an explosion this morning. After a chest workout, I got up and screamed like Carp as my arm pits were on fire. When I got done with cardio, I jumped off, glared at an old man, and shaked off my sweat towards him like I was handing him a fresh cup of youth greatness. Young people own this town. As I left, I signed autographs, packed the guns away, lit a candle in the parking lot and walked off like Clint in the Unforgiven. My work was done. Working out just got a lot more interesting in the A.M..
That’s really all I have tonight. Listen to some Black Keys if you know what’s good for you. Their new album arrives in December. Do your homework. Start with Attack and Release and Rubber Factory and end with Brothers, their greatest piece of work.
Thanks for reading and goodnight.