The Weekly Dose of Buffa

As the night turns into the morning here in the southern section of St. Louis city, allow me to cast a small light on a few subjects.  The usual suspects, random bits of information and otherwise unheard of rounds of dialogue brought to the light here in this corner of cyber space.  The kids are in bed, the weary are departed into the dream world and all that are left are the mad men shouting in the night.  Loading the hands and unplugging the mind, here we go.

Things to Talk About

1.)Act of Valor is a highly intense and very well done film about the life of a Navy Seal and their dangerous jobs.   For 2 hours, we get to spend a mission with 7 Seals and an adrenaline rush is the result of this journey into the theater.  All I can offer you is fasten your seatbelts because this ride gets bumpy, messy and is ultimately filled with a blood soaked tribute few other action films can offer.  A thoroughly authentic movie.  The plot is your regular Seals hunt mad terrorist scheme, but the juice here lies in the details. A standard snatch and grab recovery mission goes red when a terrorist attack comes to the shores of our country.    That’s only the start of the chase and the rest is gravy.  I can’t go into further detail without ruining the gritty parts of the film.  This film examines the brotherhood behind the group.  7 real Seals were used in this film, and they controlled the play.  They performed the stunts, designed the story from real missions and the directors let them bring their own toys to the show.  Please don’t step into the theater looking for great acting or a complex story.   The reason to see this movie is to revel in the brutally honest action and life of a Seal.   An intense tribute to the patriots serving our country.  The decision to use real Seals is key to the action.   We’ve seen films with actors portraying bad ass heroes and playing Seals and soldiers.   We haven’t gotten a film showing us the real deal.   This is a fresh concept with the novelty and timeliness lacking in Hollywood lately in a sea of reboots, remakes, adaptations and sequels.   This is a shot in the arm to Hollywood and a worthy #1 hit at the box office.

2.)The Cardinals and Yadi Molina agree to a 5 year, 75 million dollar deal that keeps the coveted catcher in red until 2017.    Look, it’s a lot of money for a player like Molina, but you must look beyond the details to understand the need for this deal.   Molina’s value goes beyond paper stats and a Cardinal fan knows how much he means to the team.    With Dave Duncan out of the picture, Mike Matheny went to Cards GM John Mozelaik and told him he needs Molina to be his guide in his first season as manager of the team and more important, he has to have his #1 pitching database machine locked up for years to come.   Molina is vital to the pitching staff, the running game, the clutch hitting spots and overall fear among the opposing teams to allow him to test the market in October.   Give him one reason to walk away and this team is in serious trouble.  All you have to do is ask Adam Wainwright how much he is counting on Molina in coming back from Tommy John Surgery to fully get the extend of Molina’s worth.   He allows the fewest stolen base attempts in the league and has thrown out 41 percent in his career.   He also happens to be hit .300 and deliver the clutch hits.  He showed up to spring training slimmer and is looking to carry this pitching staff in a season that will rely heavily on solid starting pitching.   Without Albert Pujols, the offense will yield success to the arms of the pitching staff and this is where Molina is so important.  He is the Zen Master to the rotation and the rock behind the young bullpen.   He is the most important person on this team right now.  Pay him his money, no matter the dollar sign, and keep moving.  Close friends have expected this reaction from me and believe me, I don’t like throwing away money.   Giving Kyle McClellan 2.5 million is still ridiculous.   However, for a player of Molina’s worth, 15 million per season is worth it.  Keep in mind in the coming years, when his arm wears down or he needs rest, Molina can also play first.   Just an extra slice of gravy to this pressure yielding agreement.

3.)Devon Alexander scored the biggest win of his boxing career last Saturday in a stunning domination of Marcos Maidana at Scottrade Center.  The featherweight crown was up for grabs on Alexander’s home turf, and unlike previous decisions, this one wasn’t connected to a hometown result.  Alexander earned this victory with a great performance.   He outboxed, out punched and simply beat up on the power punching Maidana for 10 rounds.    Devon needed this win badly.   After losing to Timothy Bradley and barely escaping two fights against Andrei Kotelik and Lucas Matthasye,  Alexander was on the verge of being one of those mid-career casualties.   An exciting fighter who hits a wall, can’t win the big fight and gets stranded in no man’s land.  Alexander delivered a show and stamped it with conviction.  He moved up to 147 pounds for the fight and threw harder punches,  boxed relentlessly and showed the world he is a genuine threat.   Good for him and the city of St. Louis.  Our champ is still in the game.

4.)The Rams will indeed think about trading their 2nd overall draft pick and are smart for doing so.  After Robert Griffith III’s performance at the Scouting Combine last weekend, the 2nd pick stock went way up.  Teams want the kid and will hand over plenty of lock down his rights.   Andrew Luck is going first to the Colts and RG3 will go 2nd now for sure.   The only question is who and how much they will hand the Rams to reserve the right to select him.  The Rams need a playmaker themselves so they will be thinking real hard about who they deal with.  You don’t want to drop too many spots so the Browns(#3) and Redskins(#6) are the prime matches for a trade.   At least 2 first round picks, 2 second round picks and money compensation will be handed to the Rams in this deal.   Their main obstacle is seeing where Peyton Manning ends up with.   If he stays in Indy and the Colts take Luck, the Rams will trade with the Redskins, who badly need a QB and if they can’t take Manning will go after RG3.   If Peyton departs to Washington or Miami, the Rams will look elsewhere, like the Browns(who could trade with Miami) and do their work there.  My only concern is the Rams dropping too far and losing out on a chance to draft Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon.   The Rams have improved their coaching staff, found a new GM but they must improve their roster and it starts with Blackmon.  Treat this like Christmas and get Sam Bradford a toy.   Trading the pick is fine.  As long as you allow yourself to find the player you want and need.   Blackmon is a possible freak and could give the offense the explosive playmaker they need.   Trade the pick or not, if the Rams have any sense in the world in April, they will select Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State and give Mr. Charter Communications a healthy new toy to play with.  Blackmon is everything the Rams need on offense.   Burst of speed, height and an ability to adapt and learn.  Unless a reliable dance partner comes forth with a trade that is sure to bring the Rams equal value, don’t pull the trigger and stay put and take this kid.  He is a freak.  Calvin Johnson meets Andre Johnson.  Get it done and save me the explanation for building new pillars.  Blackmon will put gold on the ceiling.  The Rams need to get an impact player no matter what they decide to do.   Maybe you draft RG3 and The Browns draft Blackmon and you do a trade.   Either way, get Blackmon or a running back.   SJ39 is on his way down so he needs help.

5.)Ryan Braun got away from the blame, but that doesn’t make him an honest fella.  The Braun party used the rule book and policy details against MLB to allow him to get away with cheating.    Get a grip, put down the kool aide and get real.   Was he cleared of the charge and moved aside from the 50 game suspension?  Yes.  Is he cleared of all doubt and suspicion?  Fuck NO.   Ryan Braun’s case is a wickedly peculiar one.   The urine sample was left on a desk for a few days unguarded and the arbitrator has ruled the specimen was tampered with or wasn’t enough to convict the Brewers 2011 MVP player.   The serial number and tags weren’t messed with, so where’s the real proof the sample was tampered with at all?   It’s a murky case and a darker shade of grey on a puzzling subject known as performance enhancing drugs in sports.   Braun is cleared but still under the watchful eye of the baseball republic.   His coming season will be monitored closely.  By the way, fuck Braun.   He is the showy bitch who cheated, used a technicality to get away with it and in any honest fan’s eyes, won’t escape conviction.  The fact it happened to a rival star player only sweetens the gravy pot here.  The only better outcome would be Brandon Phillips coming down with steroid juice in his throat.

Maybe the theory is true.  They all could be dirty.

6.)The Blues lost 2-0 to Vancouver tonight in their 3rd game in 4 nights, but they are still 4-1 on a tough 6 game road trip that concludes Saturday night in San Jose.   The Blues lost to the Western Conference leading champs, but they played a hard physical game and didn’t fall by much against a game Roberto Luongo and relentless Canucks attack.   The Blues have turned a scary road trip into a real success with shootout wins in Nashville and Winnipeg and easy victories in Calgary and Edmonton.   After losing to the Bruins at home, the Blues are thriving as road warriors and installing a brutal physical defensive style of play that teams are having a hard time contending.  Brian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak rank in the top 5 spots in the NHL in goal against average and the offense is spread out among 4 players with 15 goals.   This is happening as the team deals with injuries.  Alex Steen, Matt D’ Agostini and Kris Russell are all out with concussions and Jamie Langenbrunner is sidelined with a broken foot.   Doug Armstrong stood pat at the trading deadline and I support the move.  The Blues don’t badly need a new player and will only get stronger when they get healthier.  Their game is strong at the moment and its great to see them play like this.   They finish the trip out west in San Jose and come home to host the Blackhawks next.   The Blues are handling the feared road trip quite nicely and setting themselves up for a April playoff shootout.

The Blues are beating good teams and bad teams but losing the tough battles to Vancouver and Boston.   They finally did beat Pekka Rinne and Nashville and played their 3rd game in 4 nights last night so I’ll cut them slack.  They are doing very well on a tough 6 gm roadie so hopefully when they get back to Scottrade(palace of dominance) they get back easy street.
Their turnaround play under Hitch is remarkable.   He is a lock for coach of the year.

7.)Justified, the brilliant modern western on FX, gathers its greatness from a few things, namely Timothy Olyphant’s performance at the lead character, Raylan Givens.   The supporting cast is brilliant and the writing is strong, but its a show centered on one man.   Givens and his struggle with a lethal brand of justice that involves bullet holes from time to time.   The key to this show is Givens staying a love torn, beaten up soul and generally pissed off crime fighter.   If he gets too happy or settles down, the guard falls and the show becomes uninteresting.  Similar to David Duchovny’s Hank Moody on Californication, Olyphant’s U.S. Marshall has to be in a stressful revved up state of mind in order for the show to really work well.  Nobody is tuning in to see Givens happy with his on/off again flame Winona(The shedevil, Natalie Zea) and quitting the Marshall business.   We want him cold blooded, full of piss and vinegar and mad at the world.   Running around Harlan, Kentucky mad as hell.   That’s what makes this show great.  An unhappy justice seeking leading man.

8.)Things that bother me.   Drivers who weave into your lane without a blinker on no matter the distance they have to spare.   Drivers who fail to recognize the idea of a four way stop.  Old people who continue to think the mindset of a 60 year old is far greater than a 30 year old.   Old people who don’t listen, work slow and think that since they haven’t died yet, we move on their time.  Bad parents piss me off.   The kind of parents who fail to recognize the fact that their “troubled” teenager is harboring a need to kill.   A high school boy in Ohio walked into a cafeteria and opened fire on innocent people because he wasn’t loved enough, hated people or felt the need to impose his will on unmatched people.  Three teens died as a result.  Listening to the parents of a lost kid, you get enraged at the parents of the killer.  I hate it when they say they had no idea.  Sure you didn’t.  The kid seemed aces until last week, right?   Bullshit.  Parents who don’t act and get their kid in the right place aren’t doing their job.  I am not calling people mind readers but I will say somebody fucked up along the way.   High school shootings are too frequent.

9.)  Cardinals Note.   They enter spring training with championship expectations in camp but also with the silent 10 count from around the corridors of baseball.  Without Pujols, baseball pundits aren’t expecting much from the Cards and that’s fine by me.  On August 25th last season, we were counted out as well.   The rest is history.   Expect the unexpected in sports all the time my friends.  You never know….

10.)Music recommendation of the week comes with a special treat.  I present to you a song by Mumford and Sons that has made plenty of appearances before but this time I give it to you with the added benefit of the lyrics.   I love songs that tell stories.  The songwriter painting an entire world or situation with one song and pulling us into it with his lyrics.  Marcus Mumford wrote “Dust Bowl Dance” from the debut album, Sigh No More, and here are the lyrics and the link to the song.

The young man stands on the edge of his porch
The days were short and the father was gone
There was no one in the town and no one in the field
This dusty barren land had given all it could yieldI’ve been kicked off my land at the age of sixteen
And I have no idea where else my heart could have been
I placed all my trust at the foot of this hill
And now I am sure my heart can never be still
So collect your courage and collect your horse
And pray you never feel this same kind of remorseSeal my heart and brake my pride
I’ve nowhere to stand and now nowhere to hide
Align my heart, my body, my mind
To face what I’ve done and do my time

Well you are my accuser, now look in my face
Your opression reeks of your greed and disgrace
So one man has and another has not
How can you love what it is you have got
When you took it all from the weak hands of the poor?
Liars and thieves you know not what is in store

There will come a time I will look in your eye
You will pray to the God that you always denied
The I’ll go out back and I’ll get my gun
I’ll say, “You haven’t met me, I am the only son”

Seal my heart and brake my pride
I’ve nowhere to stand and now nowhere to hide
Align my heart, my body, my mind
To face what I’ve done and do my time

Well yes sir, yes sir, yes it was me
I know what I’ve done, cause I know what I’ve seen
I went out back and I got my gun
I said, “You haven’t met me, I am the only son”

11.)  Kobe Bryant is better than Lebron James.   Clear and simple.  He has 5 more championship rings than James, but when it comes down to it, I want the ball in Bryant’s hand with seconds left on the clock and the game up for grabs.  He will break his back or neck taking that shot to send it to overtime or win the game for his team.  He stayed in LA after Shaq left and won 2 more rings.   He is a killer in the playoffs and is carrying an old depleted Lakers team this season, averaging a league high 29 points per game and playing no matter what injury he is dealing with.   Understand that basketball is one of the most physically crippling sports in the world(I’ve played it, trust me) and you have a true warrior in Bryant.   Love or hate the man.  He continues to amaze.  He suffered a broken nose and concussion in the all star game on Sunday.   It didn’t stop him from dropping 28 points in a win on Wednesday night.   It’s what he does every night, during every game and has become a constant in Laker land.    Kobe Bryant is a dominant player. Kobe is the clutch superstar who has gotten to a point in his career where he doesn’t need the off court nonsense to mess with his game.  Lebron is stuck in it and he did it to himself by going to Miami.   Pressure cookers only suit certain players.
12.)What makes a topic news worthy?   In a land of constant updates and fake stories, we search for real news.   Justin Bieber getting a haircut isn’t news.   American Idol trimming its contestants to 13 isn’t news.  A magazine cover isn’t news unless its a 6 page Rolling Stones article on a war hero.   Bryant nursing a knee injury isn’t news worthy.  The Rams deciding to trade their 2nd pick is worthy because it opens up a realm of possibilities in my mind.  If it gets people talking, it’s news worthy.
13.)Website hype.  In a couple months, a couple good friends of mine and I will open up a new website for movie lovers craving a fix.   It will have reviews, stories, random bits and the original take on film missing in popular sites like IMDB and Coming Soon.   Those sites aren’t user friendly and don’t connect.   Our website will and proof will come in a real website in May.   Details will follow and soon enough, movie fans will have a new site to check up on.   Construction is up and moving and a web designer is in place.    I am crafting a Jason Statham story for late April and a piece on Marvel films in addition to other stories.  I am doing this because its my dream to get my writing out there and run down some credibility.   My grandmother Meme always wanted me to chase my dreams and I am going to finally chase one for real.  After spending years here crafting my skills, its almost time to break loose.   I can only hope you will be along for the ride.
14.)Father bliss comes in the small moments.   Tonight, I fed my 5 month old kid a bottle before he went to bed and as I put the bottle down and rocked him to sleep, he stared directly into my eyes and didn’t break it for a couple minutes.   I’d look away and look down at him and he was trying to hold that stare as long as his little eyes possibly could.   It was awesome.    A father and son sharing a quiet moment in a loud world.  Kid continues to blow my mind and keep me on my toes as any 5 month old would.
15.)Jon Hamm was on Letterman last night and he was quite good.   As we all know, I am a big Hamm fan and its easy for me to lay out the love for a hometown talent like Jon but he is a good interview on late night television.   You can tell when the actor/actress is sitting on the couch at the behest of his agent/publicist and when he or she actually wants to be there, entertain, promote their film and tell a few stories.  That’s why I tune in.  The stories that are told.   Hamm is a huge Cardinals fan and talked about his playing days in high school and college.  He is a catcher and still plays in a “40 year old don’t get hurt” league and played at the University of Texas with a man named the Rocket.   He talked about getting hurt on Mad Men(a office show) four times.   All in all, he is a class act who doesn’t forget an ounce of his rough past and loves where he is at.   He lost his parents before he was 20 and worked for 15 years in Hollywood before he earned Mad Man status.  Respect is deserved and seeing him dish the scoop on Letterman is a good time.  Check it out if you want here.
16.)The End of the Road.  Random topics. The Clint Eastwood spot from the Super Bowl doesn’t get old at all.  I converted the youtube video to a MP3 and threw it on 3 workout mixes.  If that spot about the recovery in Detroit and the ongoing fight in the recession doesn’t get your mood turned up, nothing will.   The man is old school brick tough and was the right pick to lead that commercial.  “Its halftime, America…”The Yadi deal was 5 years because a 30 year catcher can’t get more than that unless you are unfortunate like the Twins and hand the keys to the next 8 years of your life to Joe Mauer, who is already tuning down after he cashed in.  Hopefully Yadi lays off the guacamole and keeps himself in shape and only gets better.  I ran into the Carlin gauntlet yesterday(expected) and dealt with his complete opposition to the deal.   He hated the annual dollar of course but as we both stated, the risk is worth the potential reward because of what Molina means to Matheny and the pitching staff.  Check out Freddie Roach and HBO’s six episodes now that they are all on demand.    The behind the scenes look at The Pacquaio and Khan fights is great but the true juice here are the stories that Roach tells you about his boxing career, his Parkinsons Disease fight and dealing with superstars like Manny.   There are six 26 minute episodes and they are worth your time on a lazy Sunday afternoon where the weather and body mileage remind you couches and fine entertainment are your friend.  
End of Rant Thoughts, Part two.  My thoughts on the MLB playoff alteration and the addition of a two team wild card slot playoff game.  I like it.  I have no problem with making playoff entry tougher so bring on the extra wild card team and sudden death game.   Let’s add a dusting of Carlin and add gasoline fires to the infield and landmines to the outfield grass.
A drunk is a drunk for life but Josh Hamilton is handling the fallout from his relapse quite well.   He fucked up but he is coming straight out and calling himself on it in the media and not standing behind the team while they take the shot.  That gets some respect in my book.   Floyd Mayweather Jr. failing to give Manny Pacquiao a 50/50 split of the pay per view money may have made them drift apart in talks but I still blame Top Rank promoter Bob Arum for sinking the ship.   If Floyd is the top earner, he calls the shots.   Money does talk and walk.  I expect the Brewers and Reds to make a decent run at the Cards this season but it comes down to pitching and the Redbirds have those teams beat.   The testing process in MLB might need a revamp but it seemed to work fine with Manny Rameriz on two occasions.  The Blues are realistic contenders in the Stanley Cup race at this point.  They play a very consistent game and give every team a decent fight.   They lost to Boston and Vancouver(Stanley Cup teams last year) these past 2 weeks but each game was an even battle that was separated by a couple plays.   Coffee is still great and iced coffee is my preferred blend right now.  Iced coffee is brewed double strength so it can combat the ice that is combined with the coffee which makes it as bold as ever and perfect for my afternoon wake up call.   The world we live in is a loud chaotic place but it is worth fighting for every day because of the future it could hold, one that involves my son Vincent.   That’s a reason to get up every day ladies and gentlemen.
That is all.  Enjoy the content here and come back for more when the mind needs to run free again.   Until that time, take care of yourselves and be safe.
Thanks for reading and goodnight,
-Big Guy Productions(a nickname given to me by Chris “Irish” McHugh)
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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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