The Buffa Blast

Here’s a quick dose of meds from my head.  45 minutes to write and then set to launch.  

Peyton Manning gets released by the Indianapolis Colts.   After 14 seasons, Peyton is heading elsewhere.   This is NOT a surprising move at all.   When Bill and Chris Polian were fired a couple of months ago, the departure of Manning was inevitable.  Polian drafted Manning in 1998 and was his main confidant, so when he was let go, the process started for me.  I didn’t crack about it here too many times, but things happen.  My instant reaction is that I don’t approve of it.   I don’t like the move.  The Colts didn’t want to pay Manning 5 years and 90 million after 4 neck surgeries and I don’t blame them.  The 28 million dollar bonus for 2012 was also insane, but there were ways to keep the faith, lock in Manning for a 2-3 year contract and let Andrew Luck learn a few things.  Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady did the same thing, and turned out a lot better than Alex Smith and Mark Sanchez.   Small sample size, but you get my point.   Manning is throwing again, working aggressively and will be in line to start in the fall.  He hasn’t taken a hit yet or gotten into real play but he will be back.   I am a Manning fan, but I am looking at this from both sides.  The Colts were 1-15 without Manning last season.   Without one main player, The Colts went from a 10 win team to the top pick in the NFL draft.  Connect the dots.   Tom Brady went down for the season in 2008 and the Patriots finished 10-6 under Matt Cassell.  That’s the brilliance of Manning and the clue to how important he was to that team.  He was the instructor, navigator, leader and team captain.   He deserved another chance.  Jim Isray wants to start new so he cleaned the house.  The final piece was getting rid of Peyton Manning.  He wanted to get the engine restarted in Indy for a long time.  He just needed a good reason.   Manning was on his way out when he missed the entire season and required another small surgery in 2011.   From a distance, I don’t like the move.   That is from my position.  Inside the talks and the operational duties of the Colts, I have little clue.  I don’t know how much Manning wanted.  I don’t know what Isray’s position is.  I am handing out pure opinion here.   Manning wanted to retire a Colt and wanted to finish what he started.  Isray and the Colts are going in a different direction.  Come September, Manning will have a different team to lead.  My first contenders to land Manning are the Seahawks, Dolphins and Redskins.   Seattle won’t win a Super Bowl with Taveris Jackson and the Dolphins and Redskins don’t even have a quarterback they would let drive the team bus.  All three teams need a real deal quarterback.   Watching Manning attack the Rams twice a year is scary but very exciting at the same time.  Seeing him in a different uniform will be a shock at first, but soon enough Manning will win big with another team.  He wasn’t going to win a Super Bowl in Indy with that team during the remaining years of his NFL career.  He gets a new start in a different city in 2012. 

The safest bets in sports last year were Peyton Manning and Albert Pujols retiring with their first teams at the end of their career.   Both players won’t play in their respective birth cities this year.  This proves anything can happen in pro sports.

I’m a little late here but here’s my Oscar review.  Let’s be blunt.The Oscars sucked.  They were slow, involved movies unseen by half of its viewing audience and basically casted the viewer out on loser island for half the telecast.   It was also painfully long.    So long, I left the Oscar party early and went home to read about who won Best Picture.   The Artist won the top prize and its lead star, a French dude named Jean, won for conveying emotion and captivating the audience without saying one fucking word for the entire film.  That’s right.  The Artist was a silent film.   That isn’t a full on smack or support vessel of hate.  I didn’t see the movie.   I didn’t see Hugo or War Horse either.   I only saw 3 of the 9 Best Picture nominees.  For the better part of the ceremony, I was watching just to see how pissed off the stars could get at host Billy Crystal.   Too bad Crystal didn’t throw his nasty curveball all night and kept his heater in the back pocket.   Billy went soft, played it safe and didn’t zing anyone in the room.   He took a smash at a politician who was 3,000 miles away.   That’s all.   Martin Scorsese had a film nominated for best picture and I didn’t see it.  For the first time in years, I didn’t give too much of a hint of shit for the Oscars.   Why?  Did my film choices veer too far down the beaten path of critic hatred?  Yes and no.  I thought Margin Call deserved a Best Picture nod because it was brutally honest, didn’t tie a sweet knot around its ending and involved strong acting and a script that dripped sweat and tears.   Demain Bichir was nominated for A Better Life and that was a pleasant surprise.   Brad Pitt was noticed for one of the ballsiest performances of the year, playing the still living go for broke A’s general manager Billy Beane with a sheer confidence unseen in any young movie star right now.   George Clooney was nominated for the Descendants in a film that cut to the core of emotional detachment among a family but also stood as the last film I saw with my late grandmother, Meme.   The Oscars didn’t leave an impact.  They were plain jane shitty, a poor representation of the Super Bowl of movies.    The Kodiak Theater went dead last Sunday.   

5 Ways to Fix the Oscars-Quick Remedies
1.)Cut the running time folks because you are losing viewers.  I don’t like winners being cut off during their speech but lets cut some of the categories.   Best Sound Effects and Sound Editing can be the same category and you can also condense Documentary shorts which have two separate awards.     The attention span of people today is short and sharp so lets make the big night entertaining.   Do that by cutting categories that only exist to pad a time.   
2.)Stop showing the scientific awards break.  The slot where we see a prior award show for all the technical shit that people don’t care for and only the nuttiest film nerd can appreciate.   Put it on a different channel at 2am in the morning.   
3.)Add a category for Stunt work.   Why is this side of film being overlooked?  Everybody appreciates and loves a great action scene and that only happens with excellent stunt workers and coordinators.   Cut out all the silent film and shorts and add this category.    Stunts aren’t easy, involve skill and need to be recognized on a big night.  
4.)Go unscripted.    Tell the presenters and producers to go blind and see what fireworks come out.   Great performers can get the job done without a script.   I don’t like the scripted reality skits that carry zero appeal and garner zero laughs.   This starts by getting a new host who hasn’t done the show before.   We don’t need two hosts.   Only an overly long show needs two hosts to bring the proceedings home.   Get one funny host.   Let Will Ferrell do it.   Conan.  Jim Carrey.   Eddie Murphy was a great choice until he bowed out with Brett Ratner.  Let Robert Downey Jr. go at it without a script or line reading.    Bob Hope made hosting so fun because he did it so smooth nobody thought a script existed.  Why the structure?
5.)Once again, cut the Best Picture nominees back to 5 films.  Why are all the other categories 5 picks or less and the top prize involves 9 movies?  A soft move in a reach to get more viewers.  Guess what?  The idea failed.   Cut it back to 5 films.  

The Blues beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 and finished the toughest road trip of the season at a 5-1 clip.   Impressive work by the note, especially when you think of the injuries this team still faces.   Jamie Langenbrunner, Matt D’Agostini, Kris Russell and Alex Steen are out with injuries.   The greatest attribute of Ken Hitchcock’s work is the ability he is to conjure performances from a team hurting in depth.  His reliance and confidence in Jaroslav Halak is the best.   Since Hitch Hockey took over, Jaro is 20-4 and reestablished himself as the top goaltender on the team.  Brian Elliot is having a near flawless season but this is Jaro’s team again and that’s the way it should be.   Hitch hockey is infecting the whole team and the Blues are beating opponents with authority.   With Detroit’s loss today, we are in 2nd place in the Western Conference, a point behind the Canucks, who edged us out 2-0 last week in a closer battle than the score card suggested.   The Blues come home to their dome of dominance on tonight against Chicago and continue against Anaheim on Thursday.  The hard part of the stretch run is gone.   Now the endurance test begins.  I think this team has more in store for us.   Keep the Blues fever going.  This team deserves to be the talk of the town right now.   They are that good.  One more thing.  Put Bj Crombeen on the bench and let Chris Porter play more often.   Porter and Ryan Reaves are very good 4th line grinders who know how to perform when they hit the ice.  Crombeen is a worthless player who can’t even fight that well.   Every facet of this team needs to be firing on all cylinders if they are to survive in the hot pressure cooker months of March and April.    They need to beat Chicago in order to build confidence against the strong teams in their division.   With Detroit, Nashville and the Hawks all playing well and riding into the playoffs, the Blues must be able to beat one of these teams in a 7 game series.   Beating the Blackhawks tonight makes that fierce task a clearer reality.   With 1 win in their 8 games against their division, the Blues are making this divisional battle an uphill battle.

Adam Wainwright is excited about returning to the mound and I can’t blame the kid.  You spend 12 months away from real competition and are deprived of the heat of battle, and the thirst will get to you.   Cardinal baseball opened up spring training games today and while the exhibition style doesn’t energize the blood levels, the thrill of baseball returning is inspirational fanfare.   Spring is around the corner, warm weather is defeating the colder air and players are gearing up.  The obsessive order will soon take over.  Wainwright creates a superiority in the rotation and turns the Cards into a pitching centered attack.  When you have Carp and Waino firing at the top of the hill, things will be easier than asking Kyle Lohse to step into a higher rotation spot.   The divisional scrums will shed blood from our systems, Cards faithful, but I guarantee you any shade of Wainwright will make 2012 a better season.   After winning “the whole fucking thing” without him in 2011, the expectations for this season are at least fair to moderate. 

The Way, written and directed by Emilio Estevez, is a powerful and poignant reminder of the unbreakable bond between father and son.  Estevez directs his real life father Martin Sheen in the performance of his career as a father who travels to France to deal with the death of his son(Estevez).   This isn’t spoiling a thing.  This happens in the first 10 minutes.   The son, Daniel, was a free spirit who was attempting to  make the famous trek through France and Spain along the “El Camino Santiago”, a pilgrimage that lasts weeks or months to complete but purifies the soul and gives a man time to think.   Once he gets to France, Tom decides to take the pilgrimage himself and finish what his son started.   Along the way, he meets several people who help him reconnect the dots between his estranged son’s passion and his reluctant confidence.   This is a passionate film made for a reason by Estevez, who wisely employed his father Sheen here in a juicy role.  For the majority of the film, Sheen carries the story and is the center of the action.   What we see is a father dealing with the loss of his by throwing himself into his son’s life right at the end.  Estevez and Sheen are good role players here and you feel the connection.  There are few surprises here but tons of enjoyment.    The story material is sad but the execution here doesn’t reek of depression.  It’s uplifting.  The Way teaches you to celebrate a person’s life over letting regret and sadness surround you for too long.  

Awake’s pilot was intriguing and hooked me.   The premise is complex but connective and emotional.   Jason Issacs is a cop who was involved in a horrible accident with his wife and son.   He is stuck in a dual reality perplexed state.  In one reality, his wife lived and in the other, his son survived.  He deals with this by wearing different color bracelets in each world.  How does this happen?  He spends a day in one reality, sees a shrink, comes home to his wife and goes to bed.  When he wakes up, he sees a different shrink, watches his son play tennis and goes back to bed where he wakes up in the other reality.  The viewer has to pay attention in the first hour but the payoff is there. Issacs is such a good actor that this framework works.   He isn’t depressing and he is charming and stoic enough to keep us connected to his character.  He is skilled character actor being given a lead role here and it is pretty good.   The show will only continue to get more interesting as we hang in the balance with him and his arrangement.  The show is good enough to convince me to take that trek.   

I have no interest right now in the political race.  The last time I got involved in this game was with Obama and while he has made some good  changes, he hasn’t done enough to make me approve of my involvement and kept up with the proposal he gave us.  He was a good talker and a weak performer.   Take away the health care bill(average at best) and finally getting the US soldiers home(still not done yet) and I don’t see a ton of action.   To me, every politician who gets into the White House will be a dud.   Until you fix the broken machine, Washington DC will be joke.  Everybody is involved for the wrong reasons.   There aren’t a lot of things being fixed.  When the game changes, the players will follow.  Barack Obama wasn’t as dreadful as Bush, but he didn’t perform much better.  The only reason Bush graduated from college with a C average was his dad.  The only reason Bush was a governor was his dad’s pull.  The only reason Bush was a President was his dad and the Bush dominance in Florida.  He was reelected because he didn’t have a good opponent.  Obama had money and made it in.  The difference is noticeable but minimal.  Politics is a gladiator sport because its exhausting without any real gain.  It’s like going to the gym and seeing no results for your work.    This is an opinion so settle down political nut jobs.

Curt Schilling is eligible for the Hall of Fame this year and I think he is a strong candidate.  He doesn’t come to mind instantly when it comes to all time greats but he is worthy because he was pretty good for a long period of time and dominant for a short period of time.  His work with Arizona and Boston is noteworthy and his postseason work is hall of fame caliber on its own.  I remember what he did to the Cards in 2001 when he outdueled Matt Morris twice in a playoff series.   We all remember the bloody sock in 2004 against Boston.   Schilling, fake blood or not, shut down the Cards in the World Series.  He led the league in complete games 4 different times.  His overall postseason record was 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA.   Dominance in the middle of a long very solid career gets him into the Hall of Fame on the first or second attempt.  

Heartless Bastards is a fine rock band who create a unique brand of music.   Their fourth album, Arrow, is a solid collection of mid tempo rockers.   Erika Wennerstrom(lead singer, writer, guitarist) has a voice that wavers between sadness and cool despair, but the style of the tunes are eclectic and carry a low hanging energy.   It’s softer rock ballad work going on here and the essence of it is mildly addicting.  You keep listening to it because you know something great is there but you can’t pinpoint it.  Their music isn’t heartless but they sing like they don’t give a shit about critics or limits.   They mix in many different types of music genres here and the result works.   Here is a preview track, “Parted Ways” in the studio. 

I made coffee today that would have made good bath water for gorillas.   Bold, black, strong as an ox and smoky.    Fair trade to say the least.   That’s how I like it.  I have to drink it black.   I need to be waked up and pleased in the morning.   At night, I drink it darker and stronger.  I’m a major league coffee drinker.  I drink it because I need it and because I really fucking like it.  

That’s all.  Thanks for reading.  Goodnight.


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