A Slice of My Mind

Hello again my friends,

With only 90 minutes to write here after a cold long epic draining 11 hour work shift at Senoret Chemical HQ leaves me with little time to mess around, allow me to throw a few spins on a random order of topics.   Pay attention, follow along and you may learn something or find a flavor that matches your own desire for fresh bold news.  Here we go.  The hands are loaded, the mind is engaged and the time is now to write.  Launched…

Super Bowl Recap-The Giants took down The Brady Machine again, 21-17.  I call it the Brady Machine and not the Patriots because he is the face, soul and main power source of the team.  He is a one man wrecking crew.  Stop him and you can easily beat the Patriots.   The Giants are more balanced and therefore a far more threatening team to face on a huge stage.   This wasn’t a shocking Super Bowl.  I told you it would happen because the first time in 2007 wasn’t a fluke.  The Giants beat the Patriots in the same fashion, with late heroics and gutsy plays.   A detective isn’t required to explain this, but here are a few reasons.

*Eli Manning simply outplayed Tom Brady.   Eli didn’t make mistakes and made the bigger clutch throws.   Brady threw a INT, tossed a pass into no man’s land for a safety, and overthrew Wes Welker late with the score close.   Manning didn’t throw a pick, saved his best throws for last and won the game with a steady diet of completions that included a memorable sideline toss to Mario Manningham that propelled the final drive.   Manning completed an exciting season that began with him declaring himself an elite quarterback like Brady and ended with him outplaying him and beating him for the second time in 4 years.  It’s a great story and something to admire.   Peyton is moving over now because Eli is carving a fine name for himself as a clutch quarterback that wins in the playoffs against anybody.   He has beaten Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady(twice) to win his 2 rings.  Fittingly, he won this won in Peyton’s current house.

*The Giants defense are Brady’s achilles heel.  His weakness that has flashed its nasty colors throughout his career.   There are two teams that wreck Brady and they are the Giants and Ravens.   How do they do this?   Mix up the blitz packages, play man to man coverage in the secondary and contain the quarterback.  Most of all, they have pass rushers who can break through on a four man rush.   Beasts like Jason Pierre Paul and Osi Umenyora.  The Giants only sacked Brady twice but for the better part of the game they kept him off balance and weary enough to hesitate before throwing.  Brady didn’t complete a pass over 20 yards because the G-Men rushers got to him fast enough to withhold him from unleashing a serious assault.   He pecked away for points but never did serious harm.  In the end, Brady was beaten and contained by the Giants.

*Good for Tom Coughlin, a coach who can’t escape the next firing rumor.   This offseason, he will get an extension and peace of mind.   He is cleared of the hot seat for once again outfoxing Bill Belechick.

*The Super Bowl was entertaining and well played.  Each team was in the contest for the haul and for the third year in a row, the game outplayed the commercials.   That’s all you can ask for when your team is out of the playoffs and you sit down for the big game.   Everybody loves a funny TV spot but a well played battle between the last two teams standing makes for a very healthy evening and experience.

Football is now over and the year that nearly saw a portion of the season get cancelled was completed like any other and efficient and compelling.

The Blues are Becoming Road Warriors

The key to any team’s long term success is being consistently impressive on the road.   Playing in other team’s houses and winning.   That is the key.   The Blues jumped on the road last Saturday, lost a close battle to Nashville but rebounded to win easily in Ottawa and outlast New Jersey in overtime last night.   The Blues are undefeated against the Eastern Conference in 2011-2012.  The Blues were down 3-2 last night in the third period, had their starting goalie(Jaro Halak) pulled early, and were looking at a sad end to a road trip.   Instead of falling, Patrik Berglund scored with 5 minutes left and TJ Oshie netted a shootout goal to seal the 4-3 victory against the talented and streaking Devils(winners of 5 in a row before Thursday).   I am very impressed with bounce back ability of the Blues.  They can take a rough punch and come back strong.   Losing to a division power in Nashville or Detroit stings our playoff standings and personal attitude, but every team has to move on and play the schedule.   These are big wins on the road.   The goaltending has been the structural core of the process.   Brian Elliot rescued Halak on Thursday and picked up the win with a few big saves that kept the Blues within striking distance.     Together, the Blues stoppers have 10 shutouts and rank in the top 10 in the NHL in many categories.   While the scoring is balanced and solid, the goaltending has been tremendous.   Halak and Elliot are performing at a high rate and that gives confidence to the skaters in front of them.   The Blues have to continue this road strong play if they are to get a decent playoff slot.   The Blues are a legit playoff team right now, so now the question only is where do they fall.  The main setback of this team is being unable to beat Detroit or Nashville who have beaten us a combined 4 times in a row.  If you are going to last in the playoffs or make it to the finish line in good shape, the Blues have to beat the teams in their division.

The Cardinals are weeks from spring training games and will defend their championship on April 4th in Miami against the powered up Marlins team led by Ozzie Guillen.   The Cardinals are different and bold yet ready.   The best thing about winning it all is you stay the champion for an entire year.   An ocean of new faces flood the dugout this season and no matter how it looks, I am excited about the new era.   Mike Matheny will have to find the fine line between leadership and control, the bats will have to live without the torrid hitting abilities of Mr. Pujols, and health will chase this team for the entire season.    Adam Wainwright’s ability hangs over the rotation.   Jason Motte’s effectiveness will shape the bullpen.   Matt Holliday is the highest paid player but not the face of the franchise.  This team became an ensemble the moment Albert went west and I like it that way.

Side Note.  Roy Oswalt would fit comfortably into the rotation but isn’t REQUIRED for this team to damage.  He is a seasoned pro and All Star arm but also a pitcher who nearly retired due to back pain in 2011, is chasing big money and getting few takers.   The Red Sox and Rangers balked and went elsewhere.  The Nationals signed Edwin Jackson for 10 million over Oswalt.   The Cardinals seem to hold interest but aren’t going to overextend themselves for an aging arm.   While I do want to see Kyle McClellan traded to make room in the bullpen, Oswalt will be tough to haul in if he wants 10 million plus.   He could be a steal like Berkman or a severe bust like Brad Penny.  Cards general manager John Mozelaik is playing this poker game perfectly.

The Rams Waiting on a General Manager

The hiring process is down to a list of 6 names and the pick has to come within the next 2 weeks.   How much longer can the Rams hold out and leave Jeff Fisher with no reach in the payroll and decision making on this team.  I won’t get into specifics but the idea of who this team wants in the drivers seat with Fisher has to become evident here soon.   The draft is less than 2 months away so time is ticking away right now, which isn’t good for a recovering franchise facing dismissal.

Movie Reviews-

Chronicle-This teenage superhero wasteland action thriller follows three high school types who acquire telekinetic powers after they climb down into a hole in a field made by devices they can’t explain.  This film is very good because it is the first film that deals with superhero activities by using realistic special and visual effects.    Everything is meant to look and feel analog and ordinary.    This isn’t a CGI heavy no brainer about bad deeds.  We get three well rounded characters who struggle with their new abilities.    Imagine being in the bathroom and getting a jolt of new energy and ability and get up in the middle of the night and feel different.   Chronicle was a highly original take on the superpowers genre. Three teens mysteriously acquire powers and it changes their lives for the good and bad. I liked this film because it asked the ultimate question. If you were given powers, would you use them for good or bad?  See this film for the unexpected thrills.   Halfway through the film, things get really bad but the story isn’t forced and the descent is convincing and shocking.   Powers don’t always bring pleasure.

Drive(On Blu Ray)-Here is one of the best films of the past year.   A crowning achievement that sneaks up and floors you.   Drive is a visceral rush of a cinematic entertainment. This one has it all. Action, drama, romance and a little dark comedy along with the originality of a renegade filmmaker and writer. This is what the movies should be like. Watching Ryan Gosling’s lone wolf of a hero deliver poetic justice, you know you’re watching something great. One of the best films I’ve seen all year. See it in order to believe it.  Gosling plays a mysterious “driver” who is a stunt driver by day and a driver for hire by night.  He has nobody and walks around LA like a ghost.  People see him and a couple care for him but he notices little until he falls head over heels for his neighbor Irene(Carey Mulligan) and her son Benicio.   With the new found affection comes problems, as Driver comes into contact with Irene’s husband Standard(fresh out of jail) and his criminal troubles.  Soon enough, Driver is on a collision course with bad men of all kinds and looking out for not only his own but his two new friends’ lives.   All of this serves up a fine twisting action thriller with equal parts drama and full born action gore.  Drive features the most gruesome kill scenes of any movie in recent memory and that’s a good thing.  This film oozes good vibrations and cool juice.   As the credits roll, you feel the need to ask for more.  That’s the mark of a great movie.  Leaving the lips thirsty.

Birthday Wish for a 30 year old man.   Keep breathing.   Trust me, the ability to stick around for another round of tortured joy is all I need to keep the body moving.   The only way age effects you is when gray hairs pop out of your goatee and your body alerts you that it is shutting down soon.   30 years felt weird for 48 hours but now feels all the same.  Just keep living.

Vinny Note of the Week.   The little man never ceases to be a captivating monster of true pride.   Working the 10-12 hour shifts ends with the reward of locking eyes with the little man before the bed calls for a visit.   Life’s pleasures are dealt out in small doses but the measures of a kid keeping his dad’s head up is limitless.  Right when the pressures of work stresses the mind over, Vincent comes in and clears out the noise.   Kids have that ability.  Chaos for sure but joy wrapping around the turns.

Boxing Bits-

*Manny Pacquiao taking a fight with Timothy Bradley is a sad sign for this era of boxing promotion.   Bradley is undefeated and talented, but he is a headbutting technical foul loser who will be crushed by the punching power of Pac Man.    The reason for him resisting a 4th fight with Marquez or taking on fresh power puncher Canelo Alvarex boggles the mind.   What happened to two men ending their troubles by climbing into a ring?   What happened to making a fight with the best happen and settling things inside the box and not via Twitter snipes?  Muhammed Ali needs to call Pacquaio and tell him to fire his promoter and get in the ring with Floyd Mayweather Jr..  Floyd will beat Miguel Cotto(a boxer I love but know well can’t keep up with Floyd’s speed) and Pac Man will pound Bradley.   The world will move on and the boxing republic will sigh.   This is a black eye for boxing.  Promoters aren’t giving boxing fans what they want to see.   One guy in particular.  Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions who handles Pacquiao’s fights.  The fault is on him this time and not Money Mayweather.

Song of the Week-“Someday Baby” by RJ Burnside

An old school blues cool rocker that feels right after a long week.  Unwind with this slow building jam that knows exactly how cool it sounds.

Meme’s legacy has me thinking tattoo.   For the first time in my life, I am thinking about putting ink on my body in memory of my late grandmother.   She is worth it and may be featured across the top of my back if I find myself into a shop this spring.   I have never thought of tattoos as a requirement to express yourself but every once in a while the thought comes into my mind.

HBO’s Luck has me connected to watching a few more episodes.    Slow building like Treme and The Wire(early on), Luck is taking its time with showing its chips and revealing the players but for good reason.   The show is laying powerful roots of revenge and greed on our minds in small doses.  Horse track racing betting sagas leave few noble souls dry.  The addiction of gambling and doing something you are good at(no matter the law bending) is an interesting blend from Michael Mann and David Milch.

The NBA leaves little interest but Lebron James continues to fuel me with stories and thoughts.   What happened to the king?  His fallibility is akin to a boxer misjudging a punch.   A man forgetting the additional pressure of changing teams.   Unlike MJ and Kobe, James lost not only his crown when he left Cleveland but his bulldog desire to be the best and win a championship in his hometown.   Playing in the comfortable Miami heat, he looks laid back and bland.  Less hungry to kill his way to a championship.   If he leaves without a ring and splits his career in two cities, his legacy will go limp.   Yes there is no equal to Jordan but Kobe is far closer than Lebron.   Love or hate Bryant, you must respect his five rings.  He did something Lebron couldn’t do.   Win on his own.

That’s all I got tonight.   Time is up and the night must begin.  I am taking my wife out tonight for dinner and a movie.  Dinner on the Hill and a movie afterwards.   After a 52 hour workweek, it’s time to unwind and have some fun.  Sleep will be included later but for now, I must keep moving.   That’s always the goal in life.  Keep the chains moving and put one foot in front of the other.  I will be back with more later but for now the Buffa Blast Train is pulling into the station for a good long rest stop.

Thanks for reading and goodnight,

Dan L. Buffa


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