Buffa’s Take

Starting this rant with excuses about my four week absence would only drain the following bullets unloaded from my overloaded chamber, so let’s just say I have been away on business.   If you know me well, you understand my time crunch situation.  If you don’t, think of it as a duty that found itself at the back of the line.   Let me go ahead and run straight into the gauntlet of hot topics.   First, my take on the Rogues in Red, the St. Louis Cardinals.  

Warning: This will be a long blog.  Epic length that shocks Poe, kicks Hemingway in his grave and hands the poets another cup of scotch.   It has been awhile and if you have ever seen a coffee addict tackle his or her first cup of coffee after lent(I have, its something to behold), you will understand the journey I am about to take you on.  

The Cards endurance test hit a massive speed bump in mid May.   This team personifies the lyrics from the Frank Sinatra classic, That’s Life.   They were riding high in April and got shot down in May.   They need to change the tune and get back on top in June before mid season finds them at a deadly crossroads.   There are reasons for a team falling apart and for this group, it’s easy.  I call it the tripod of doom.   Bad pitching, sloppy defense and a tougher schedule.   After facing their own NL Central crews for a solid month, the Cards ran into the East/West trap.   They struggled on the road, got no hit by Johan Santana, saw their rotation severely struggle and their bullpen has followed that up with burnt out arms and extended leads handed to the other team.   Take out the 3 game offensive cold streak last weekend, and the lineup has done their job.   The Cardinals lead the league in batting average, runs scored and home runs.   When your lineup scores 8 runs and loses two games in two weeks, the pitching isn’t holding up their end of the bargain.   The Cards troubles don’t end with a lack of performance.  They have gotten hammered early on with injuries again, which will be discussed in the next section.    The good thing for this team is it’s only June 8th.    Slumps, tough games and bad habits don’t land too hard in June.  Teams can pick themselves up.   Baseball is a game of attrition and endurance.   162 games are played for a reason.   A long season frustrates fans, puts managers on the hot plate, throws general managers into a monopoly frenzy and tests a players resolve.  It’s all part of the game.  The question is, can the Cardinals survive a little adversity and learn to thrive again without playing bad teams.  The answer lies in their 2011 season ending run that led to a title.  Doubting this team would be futile to a smart fan’s plans.  As Rocky Balboa told his kid, it’s about taking the punches and keep moving forward.  Taking the hits and keeping the legs moving.  Do what you can.  Seasons aren’t won in September. They are won in May and June when a team decides to give up or fight back against the natural flow of bad play and injuries.

More Notes on the team-

*Matt Adams has been impressive in his time here.   He started 12 consecutive games and hit decent yet did something very rare for a young slugger.  He adjusted to pitchers on the fly.  In at least 3 games, he struggled early on and later delivered a big hit.   Adams wasn’t supposed to play here this year, but he is giving the team a reason to keep him around or remember his impact.   Matt “Biff Webster Country Fried Steak”  Adams isn’t wasting his time and it’s good to see the depth on the farm producing solid talent.

*Jake Westbrook and Jaime Garcia experienced horrible months of May.   Westbrook couldn’t last more than 5 innings, gave up a ton of early runs and hit a wall.   Garcia started hot, collapsed with 3 bad starts, and now finds himself looking  for a second opinion on his shoulder.  The Cards rotation is being held up by Lance Lynn and Adam Wainwright.   Kyle Lohse has experienced setbacks in May but pitched decent as of late.   Without Chris Carpenter and soon to be missing Garcia, the rotation strength will only be further tested.   Brandon Dickson or Joe Kelly will make starts when interleague play starts at Busch against the Indians this weekend.   Questions will be answered but we know right now Westbrook is expendable and Garcia is damaged.   Rotation thinness is showing.

*Allen Craig is a hitting machine and providing evidence that 2011 was no fluke.   In 21 games, he has 7 home runs and 22 RBI.   He has missed 20 plus games to injuries but when he is in the lineup, he hits big and collects clutch hits.  The lineup gets better with his presence.   Holliday and Beltran get more protection and he pairs nicely with Yadi Molina and David Freese.   As long as Craig stays in and gets support from Adams, Lance Berkman won’t be missed.

*While the offense thrives and obvious players get attention, one man that is quietly exploding at the plate in 2012 is Molina.  He is hitting .328 with 8 HR and 32 RBI.  He had 10 HR in over 500 at bats in 2011.   Molina lost weight, changed his stance and has gotten even better at the plate.  His trademark eye is intact but his power numbers are up.   He is just another replacement bullet in losing Albert Pujols.

*As I write, David Freese has put the Cards on top huge in the Astros game tonight with a 7th inning grand slam.   The score is now 12-2 in favor of St. Louis.   This is an example of the Cards lineup picking up the pitching.   After Lance Lynn put them behind 2-0 early on, the Cards erased it with a 3 run 3rd inning.   They added on and added on and now Freese drills in the nail.   On a night where the pitching needed to go deep, the bats have silenced the Texas night and produced a seemingly positive end to a treacherous road trip.  Through bad pitching and bullpen meltdown, the bats have kept working.  Forgetting about a three day stretch in New York where the Cards scored 1 run in 29 innings against Santana, R.A. Dickey, and Jonathon Niese, the lineup has given its fair share of support.  Tonight is only an example.

*It’s easy to give the bullpen more blame than the rotation.   I beg to differ.  The Cards rotation’s main problems came down to a lack of innings produced.   When the starter gives up 4-6 runs in the first inning and pitches less than 5 innings, bad things will happen.  The bullpen is forced to pitch a lot of innings and crumbles.   This happens with any bullpen in baseball, trust me.   The domino effect came into play when the starter’s came up short on back to back games.   Bullpen arms are engineered to pitch a certain amount of innings.   Look at Fernando Salas last season.  He was a weapon in June and a casualty in September.  Too many innings wear down any arm.

-I like Matheny’s style because it mixes in the La Russa way and his own skill set.

-Shane Robinson, Tyler Greene and Adron Chambers aren’t legit major league players but they are feeling holes and providing.   Robinson plays a great defensive center field, takes a good at bat, gives you the occasional power stroke and gets on base.   Greene gives you the speed factor, power stroke and defense along with a ton of strikeouts.   Chambers is a .300 hitter with speed who also serves as a clubhouse leader.  The Memphis trio is doing its part until the professionals come back to work.

*Anything Daniel Descalso does at the plate is a big fat bonus.  The man’s glove in the field at second and third base is undeniably gold glove caliber effort.

*In a nutshell, what is hurting this team?  Injuries, tougher schedule, light innings from rotation, and bullpen eruption is dealing a blow to our division standing but once again, its early, chill out.

Main Idea With the Cards Moment of Distress-The Cards hospital waiting room is getting crowded.   Matt Carpenter, Jon Jay, Allen Craig, Lance Berkman and Chris Carpenter are on or have spent time on the disabled list.   While Craig returned last week, David Freese has missed time with a hand injury and Carlos Beltran is already gingerly playing the outfield on sore knees.  The result of many years in the grinding halt of 162 game seasons.   We have a lot of games left and a lot of dates with The Reds, so fear not Cards fans.  It’s early, and while the blood on the walls suggests a dark future, the fight in this team and the depth is holding them afloat.   Imagine a stretch where the Cards are completely healthy.    Yes, a lead of 3 runs or less handed to the bullpen right now is like handing a 5 year old a live grenade.   The starters are getting smashed early but arms like Lance Lynn and Adam Wainwright are only getting stronger.   Wainwright pitched his first complete game in over 200 games last week against the Padres and that brought him back from the dead land of self esteem deprived elite pitchers.   Lynn collected his 8th win on Monday.   There are four Cardinals with at least 10 home runs.   Matt Adams has adjusted to pitching in the majors and is holding the fort at first base until Craig returns to help stage a platoon.  Beltran has 44 RBI and 16 home runs, and is making his 12 million stand up in the same manner as Ex-Astro Berkman did in 2011.  Bats will slow down, arms will rise and fall, managers will stress and wonder, but the season will simply keep moving.   You learn these things following a baseball team passionately and obsessively.  It’s a long road and I’m on it.  The real question is…are you?

Moving onto other less painful topics-

*The Russian is coming to town and his name is Vladamir Tarasenko.   The 20 year phenom is making his way to America from the KHL for lesser money in order to take the next step in professional sports.   He is trying to become a worldwide talent.   Tarasenko turned down a three year deal in the Russian hockey league in order to join the Blues and while hesitation sets in like any draft pick in any sport, this kid makes you anxious for winter ice wars.  Prospects provide the excitement and registered dread in fans because we don’t know what the transition talent provides.  The Tarasenko signing means things get interesting in 2012-2013, because who leaves and who stays?   Obviously, the quick moves are Matt D’Agostini, BJ Crombeen and one of the vets in Langenbrunner and Arnott not coming back next season.   T.J. Oshie will sign the 1-2 year deal unless the team feels they don’t need him.  He is a fan favorite who nets 18-19 goals per season and gives you the energy lacking in other players.   He is the expendable asset in the kid line, because Perron gives you the all around skill set and Patrik Berglund gives you the size and ability that Chris Stewart sometimes lacks.  The Blues have to decide if they want to get older or go all in with young players.   Berglund staying meaning Stewart can go?   If Oshie leaves, does Jaden Schwartz get a bigger role or does Tarasenko get a spot on one of the top two lines?   Your keepers are David Backes, Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jaro Halak, McDonald, Steen, Berglund, and Perron.   Tarasenko’s landing means a roster shakeup is in order.

*The Rams dome issues come down to this.   Does the city want to pay for the fixes or do they want to watch it go and resist a second chance at a football team?   If they don’t comply with The Rams demands and the dome falls out of the t0p 15 home stadiums ranking, the lease is broke in 2014 and the team leaves.   Remember people, the lease lasts until the end of 2014.    The Rams presented the city with the required work to turn the dead end Ed Dome into a place that people want to watch football.   I like the idea of a retractable roof because this city won’t pay for another stadium to be built.   If Ballpark Village hit a wall, a new place for the Rams won’t get past the early stages of planning.  The only way to keep the Rams here is to make the required constructive repairs and additions to the Dome.   I like it.   Put in a retractable roof so outdoor games are possibility.   Put in a new gallery outside the dome to pull people in.  Install creative fixtures inside around the field.    Look, Stan Kroneke will have to put his own investment in the new Dome repairs if he wants to see everything done properly.   My feeling is, the city will benefit from the Family Arena(which is connected to the Dome and shares revenue) and get revenue from the Rams games as well.  The city should pay for at least 2/3 of the repairs.   They will make plenty of money if the new Dome does well.   The Rams team is being rebuilt with new players and coaches, so there is hope here.  If the next three years yields a finer on field product and fans come out and fill the dome, I say make the repairs.  If not, the city will let the team walk away.   It’s up to them, because as much as Kroneke wants to keep the team here, he won’t bend his own finances over backwards to make it happen.   He has waited long enough for the Rams to be his and won’t risk losing them or putting them in the wrong situation.  The city council needs to figure out how bad they want the football team.  The ball is in there court.   I say come to an agreement on price and get the project done.   This is the city’s last chance at an NFL team.

*Messing with the Mayweathers makes my day.   Let me explain myself.   Before I was blocked by Roger Mayweather, Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s uncle and trainer, last Saturday, I engaged in a back and forth twitter battle.   It was fun and lit a fire under Mayweather’s ass.   Roger Mayweather is a former fighter with a 59-13 record and a big loud annoying mouth.    His tweets end with “muthafucka” and usually involve a bet or slam on Manny Pacquiao, the only fighter who poses a real threat to his nephew.  This gave me the idea of messing with him with a flurry of Buffa bullets aimed at getting a rise out of Roger.   I messed with his lost bets(which ranged from 350,000 to 900,000 dollars on playoff basketball), his 13 losses, his big mouth and his willingness to expose himself with his massive hating.   Before long, I was known in the Mayweather family and friend clan as “the bald pedophile who looks like Dana White”.   I wore the label proud.   The name calling continued and understand the entire time I am reaping the benefits of getting on Roger’s nerves from so far away.   He could launch a tirade on my family and call me anything.   That was my job being done for me.   When he finally blocked me after I tossed him my 6th handful of shit on his nephew spending 50-87 days in a 7 by 12 foot jail cell with no millions, he blocked me.   I also follow Floyd Mayweather Sr. but chose to leave him alone.  One Mayweather per month is enough.    Go ahead and ask the question.

Why did I mess with Roger Mayweather so much?  First, I don’t like loud trash talking old average fighters who make no difference as a trainer.   Second and more importantly, I don’t put a lot of stock into trainers, coaches or side shows in a big league sport.   I believe that Floyd Jr. would be the same kind of brilliant fighter without Roger in his corner.   With the rare exception being Freddie Roach or Dave Duncan(who connect with their pupils), trainers/coaches don’t make a bit of difference.   Watching Roger train with Floyd is like watching an old man cling to boxing life.   He doesn’t teach him anything.  He doesn’t help him too much.  All he does is cash a check.   Floyd would argue with me until I threw a stack of cash into the corner for him to play with.   Ask Floyd if Roger wanted a bigger cut from the fights and see how important he is.   I don’t think so.

*The Los Angeles Kings are on the brink of disposing of the New Jersey Devils and bringing home the first Stanley Cup to their town in a long time.   Something poor Wayne Gretzky could never do in uniform could happen this weekend.   The same team that easily kicked out the Canucks, schooled the young Blues, and sawed the Pekka Rinne led Predators down to size is up on the Devils, three games to one.  If the Kings win, it’s a triumph for Darryl Sutter and the 8th seeded team.   They are a signature impression of the team playing the best hockey wins the Cup and not the league’s best team.   The league’s most complete team could be the Flyers or Rangers, and they both perished.  The Kings played hot in April and haven’t stopped winning.   The acquisition of Jeff Carter, the play of Dustin Brown and the goaltending of Jonathan Quick.  Martin Brodeur can’t stop the mighty Kings train and when they win(and they will), the NHL will only get stronger.  A different champion each year displays the power throughout the league. Dynasties are boring.    The Kings are the underdog winners of the year.   Look for them on HBO.

*The Cardinals win 14-2 on two Freese homers(Grand slam, two run blast) and another strong Lance Lynn performance.   Lynn is now 9-2 and has held up through the middle of June.   Many picked him to fall down last month and he has maintained his sturdy rotation presence.   Wainwright and Lynn saved the Cards road trip with back to back “bend without breaking” performances.  The offense delivered tonight as well, giving 4 home runs and forcing the Astros to use a position player on the mound in the 9th.  Now we come home for the Indians, without Harry Doyle, Rick Vaughn and Jake Taylor.

*Can Lebron take down the Celtics?   The question posed last week and throughout the playoffs is the big mountain that Lebron can’t seem to climb over.   Tonight, he pushed another Game 7 in the East finals.   Lebron isn’t going down without a fight and the Celtics, my personal favorite team, won’t catch up to father time and quit.   A great battle that will provide an answer to the earlier question.  Can Lebron step up and take control like the greats before him or will he shrink, hand off the ball and let the game play him?   Since he left Cleveland for South Beach, Lebron has rightfully faced a ton of scrutiny and pressure from the fans.   He made a huge decision and jumped a title-less ship in order to join a star studded roster and win as many as six rings.   Instead of winning last year, he choked in the Finals against Dallas.   This season, he is having problems with Paul Pierce and the Celtics.   James won’t take the big shot and instead passes it off.  Instead of standing up and taking a three pointer, he passes.  Instead of driving the lane and drawing a foul, he charges and passes.   He has always been a selfless player and expert defender and passer, but I am talking about a lack of confidence and hesitation here.  Tonight, he delivered with 45 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists to keep the Heat alive.  The bigger question is…. can he deliver again to seal another trip to the NBA finals?   We all know Lebron can take over a game and win it by himself, like he did tonight.   He needs to do it Saturday night or else all will be forgotten.  You have to win titles in this league and not just MVP trophies.

*Can Kevin Durant get past the Spurs?  Yes he can, because Russell Westbrook is his classic wingman and helped Durant overcome a 2-0 series deficit and storm back to win 4-2.   Durant is the big time young talent in basketball at the moment and all he needs is a title win to clamp his feet in the ground.    His tale mirrors the fight of the Celtics and Lebron.    An old trio fighting to stay alive, a former superstar turned polarizing figure, and a bright young warrior trying to put his name on the game’s mantle.   The NBA doesn’t get interesting until the playoffs begin.  Everything comes to a head this weekend.

*Film Addict Plug- Here’s a clue to my time issues the past month.  A small passion project called Film Addict.   A movie website that looks great, had new juicy material and needs members and marketing plugs.   Allow me to dish on new things going on with the site.   My piece on Robert Downey Jr. is up on the site under “On A Role”.  I go back over the long brutal career of RDJ and provide his comeback story.   Eric Moore provided a cinema spotlight on Granite City theater, highlighting their unique qualities.  Chris McHugh, Moore and I plug the site with new reviews every week.    I am injecting my daily dose of Buffa into our news feed page.   The small perks of this side job is getting to watch movies for free at screenings.  Being on the list of screenings means less money spent and more movies seen.   I have 3 films lined up next week, and they are Rock of Ages, That’s my Boy and Brave.  Reviews go up on Fridays unless by special mention and insight is given in a format that is only sharpening my movie reviewing ways.   The Addicts Corner, where we introduce topics and invite fan reaction is our key spot of the website.   Hearing your feedback is our main goal and can only feed the site.  The problem is marketing and advertising.  The boys and I have bought shirts and are handing out business cards and fliers, but we need the word spread.   Go to http://www.film-addict.com, and see for yourself.   If you like the site, recommend it to anyone.  The target is every single person on this earth.     Give it life and we’ll give right back.

 *The Job Hunt Begins in a month.  Life changing events always sneak up on you.  My company, Senoret Chemical, is folding up the chairs, closing shop and dropping the curtain in three weeks.   At the end of June, I will be out of a job.   My owner, Tom Kraatz, sold the company and a lot of people who worked hard for the company are out of work.   It is a business matter, doesn’t involve much hate on my end, but the sting is all the same.   I am out of work in less than a month and in a job I have grown to feel comfortable in.   However, opportunities only knock when change strikes, so I am in for a new ride.   There is a lot of shit and shine to this situation, but one that comes out of the other end is my need to find new life in a new career.    All can wish Film Addict could produce faster than expected, but baby websites take years to return any profit.  If you hear of any work, send it my way.  I have a resume ready to send out, thanks to my beautifully adaptable wife Rachel.

*Manny Pacquiao faces a huge test this weekend against Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas, and the fact that Bradley is an undefeated bulldog hard working competitor runs second to Pac-Man needing a good showing after his controversial win over Juan Marquez in November.   Pacquiao looked out of sync, slower, more hittable and not as sharp against his long time adversary and nearly lost if it weren’t for a little hometown bias.   He faces a fresh young talent in Bradley, who has never faced a large scale mega opponent like Manny.   Each fighter needs each other and this fight to prove to themselves what they are worth right now.   Pacquiao needs a tuneup before Floyd gets out of jail and Bradley needs to find out if he has what it takes to stand with the top fighters.   Who wins is anyone’s bet, but my hard earned cash would be on Pacquiao, who has too much to lose at this point.  He has gone two knees and a long throat deep on GOD, re-motivated himself, and looks ready to return to killer Manny pound mode.   Can Manny remind us who he used to be or will he continue to be distracted by his political title in the Philippines and lose sight of what he is truly good at?   He can do good for his country long after his fighting days are over.   Right now, he needs to focus on boxing and becoming the best.

*I love music that moves me someplace else.   Tunes that crawl inside the veins and swim around for a few hours before departing to my playlist mixes.   That’s the beauty of music.  Everything about it seems right when it is done…wait for it…right.   You know right away if it works or not.   Here are six songs that are working for me right now.

Andrew James O’ Brien-Through the Days

The Lumineers-Ho Hey

David Gray-Shine

Band of Skulls-Wanderluster

Nina Simone-Feeling Good

James Brown-The Payback

*The power of Mad Men’s fifth season is leaving imprints on my soul.   In other words, the latest season is fucking good.   After a two year wait that was spent working out the details between creator Matthew Weiner and AMC coming to an agreement, the episodes this season have been so well done, one can’t decide if the layoff did any good or if you wish the crew never stopped working.  What’s going on this year?  Let me throw you a few bones you may or may not understand.  The young advertising firm, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce,  is struggling to land big accounts after the loss of Lucky Strike, with its main figure, Don Draper(the coiled rage master Jon Hamm), also struggling to maintain his edge and brilliance amid changes in the home and workplace.   Everything spins off Draper’s centerpiece.  A sea of lost souls rotating around one man living off a fake identity.   Season 5 is where my lovely crush Christina Hendricks saw her character Joan’s story fleshed out and taken to the forefront of the show.   Roger Sterling(the wonderful John Slattery) trying to keep his dying trade noticeable.    The scenes between Slattery and Hamm are old school bravado at its finest.   Two worn souls talking like old lions chasing a young man’s game is money.  In the last episode, the second to last of the season, Hamm nailed a Draper pitch to Dow Chemical, telling them bluntly, ” Success is only good because its temporary. You already ate a meal and you’re hungry again. I’m not happy with 50 percent of anything. I want 100 percent and I won’t stop until I get it”.   Ad men with blood on their mouth chasing down the pitch of a lifetime is Emmy award winning television.   The work by Jared Harris as the tragically doomed character, Lane Pryce, has been stunning this season as well.   Mad Men keeps you interest levels high at all times.   It makes for good and addictive television.  The season finale is this weekend and it won’t leave without taking a piece of me and pouring me a couple drinks.

*Charlie Sheen is making another comeback to television this month with Anger Management on FX.    I will be watching.  Why?   It’s fun to watch the Sheen madness, and its only juicier if we know he is basically playing himself on camera.   People get so annoyed with this guy but I love his attitude, whatever comes out of his mouth rapid fire tommy gun fucked up confidence game and overall appeal.   He has been this way for quite some time.   The top just popped off last year in a contract dispute with Two and a Half Men, a shitty show Sheen held up for many years before departing.     Think of it in the same manner as Mel Gibson finally losing his cool.   These are people my friends and not mere actors.   They are as dramatic as your next door neighbor or best friend.  Part of the problem with people and celebs like Sheen is they take them too seriously.  We all want to think he is simply acting out a role.  90 percent of artists are addicted to something and as crazy as the next psych ward patient inside while displaying happiness on the outside.   Sheen’s raging crazy streaks have marked his entire career.  The kid spent most of his first 10 years on the road with his actor father, Martin.   He spent many hours on the Apocalypse Now set with Marlon Brando and Dennis Hopper spinning tales with his dad.   You think Charlie is acting?   Wrong.   Charlie Sheen is fucking crazy and it’s highly enjoyable to watch.  His madness is the sell.   You don’t get this anywhere else.  It would only get better if Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez would join him for a family reality show on HBO.  The best part about Sheen’s madness is he hasn’t apologized for his behavior in order to save his career.   He has never made excuses for his behavior early in his career where he challenged James Spader to who could arrive to the Wall Street set more hungover.  According to Martin, Charlie is the most honest person he knows and has never resisted the hits that come with his turbulent life.    He has made Hollywood dance to his tune.   He got a show because they came to him with an idea and pitch.   Please don’t doubt Sheen’s television rock star status.   He took over Spin City for Michael J. Fox and turned it into an even bigger hit than it was before he arrived.   Then he made Two and A Half a global hit.   A stupid comedy about a pair of dudes living with a kid trolling through life on a sitcom set.   Sheen played himself, a bowling shirt, boozing, womanizing wild man who never gave up.  When show creator Chuck Lorre refused to write episodes for Sheen and the cast when he got out of rehab early, Sheen went off.   Lost in the media spin was Sheen making a plea for his cast and crew to get paid.   People love to prop wild things like Sheen as a poster child for “Please Avoid This When Older”.   Rightfully so in a way, but still, they get carried away when they embrace other crazies in Hollywood.  Rolling Stone put him on the cover this week because they wanted a wild story.   Charlie Sheen has been mad for years.  He is now being paid to be mad as hell.  I would spend a night on the town with this man, lose my mind and come home to return to sanity.   However, I bet I wouldn’t forget that night.  That’s Charlie Sheen.  Unforgettable.

*In other boxing news, Sugar Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito finally hung up their gloves and retired.    Quite simply, it’s about damn time.   How many more fights did Mosley need to take a pounding and how blind would Antonio need to get in order to recover his logic.   It’s time to seek other work, possibly in a line of duty where you don’t get punched for a living.

*Glen Hansard, formerly of the Swell Season and the Frames, is coming to the Pageant in September.   This singer-songwriter is immensely talented and tells sweetly proud stories in between songs and his live work is genuine.   Musicians get the final stamp of approval from me when they can sound great on stage.   Come watch this man play and you won’t be disappointed.   You may well be enlightened.

*In July, my favorite band, The Dave Matthews Band, returns to St. Louis after a two year layoff that included a vacation in 2011 for the band.    For the first time in 16 years, the band took a summer off for the most part, except for a four show caravan tour.   This only wet the lips of fans seeking their DMB fix, so on July 12th it will be time once again to get lost under the lights and dark of night with Mr. Matthews and his crew of jam specialists.

*True Blood is a good if not great show.  Save me the speech or joiner plea.   It has a rapidly attentive fan base and I am not one of those diehards.  I like it enough as a guilty pleasure soap opera with real sex and hardcore violence.   The acting is decent, the blood is frequently spilled and the lady love is strong.    I don’t NEED to watch it.  It’s not that good.

*Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises opens in July and the expectations on this end are greater than usual.   This is my pick for the film of the year.   Nolan’s last two Batman sagas have set up the grand finale that he is calling his “biggest film yet”.   This coming from a famously secretive and quiet genius filmmaker.   Why am I so excited?  Nolan creates “big” films with realistic settings.   He used 11,000 extras to film a climactic battle scene in downtown Pittsburgh.   He travels to actors homes to have them read the scripts and he waits while they read it.   This happened with Michael Caine, one of the most famous British actors of all time.  Nolan makes films for a creative reason and not just a financial gain or job title filling.  His final chapter to the Batman series is promising because he threw all his weight into the design and execution.   Nolan is the kid who makes good on a bet.   He took the challenge of reviving a dead franchise and did so with flying colors so bright the series is a critical and box office sensation.  It’s hard to doubt Nolan’s vision because his aim is so sharp.

*The growth of Vinny.   The kid is the light of my life.   You understand that saying when you have a kid.   They take over your life, kidnap your soul and never let go….even when they call you horrible things, see you as the entitlement of embarrassment and go away to college.  This is the way things go down with parenthood.   I love it even when I hate it.   At his worst, Vinny is an adorable drunk.   At his best, his laugh can lift your day up faster than a pair of hands could lift up a chair that fell down in the middle of a party.   He is a gem.   He is officially crawling, flirting with older women, and negotiating words.   In other words, he is spitting out random sounds, a few relatively normal sounding words and seeing how they all add up and stick together.   He is coming along so fast.  25 pounds and over 2 feet of madness.

*Softball istaking its toll on a 30 year old man.   While I am in good shape and a decent player, the lazy sport taxes the shit out of me.  Allow me to explain my situation.  I took the field this week for the first time in 8 months.   I sub on teams from time to time and my good friend R.J. Morrison’s team is a frequent service.   It’s a thrill, even when you left the sport due to a lack of time, to get on the field and mix it up.  I play the game of softball as hard as you can.  I dive on rock hard dirt for grounders, slide into home plate to lose the skin on my calf(scars on both legs to prove it), and always go from 1st to 3rd on a single.  I don’t always crush the ball but I get on base and I wreck the other team’s plans.   I play a solid first base and just like being one of the guys on a team and not the leader lately in the Forest Park field of play.   I spent 5 years leading a team so these days I am happy to be a supporting leg on a much better team.   However, being older means your body can’t recover as quick as it used to.   That’s the real painful part of sports.  Recovery.  We can all get out there and shake a leg.   My 58 year old dad could get back out there, pitch, hit and run the bases.   When he gets home, his knees will need ice and a 8 hour bed rest with moans and groans.   Its the after party that pain catches up to you.   That’s the kicker when you get old….er!  A sport as lazy and fat man happy as softball can take its toll on a 30 year old body who goes after it on a field of play.

Closing Thoughts(yes this has been the longest damn rant in 3 months, but it’s still got legs)

*Prometheus is worth your hard earned money this weekend at the theaters.  There’s your one Rant Members List tidbit from my Film Addict review page, located right here


*Will The Saints ever cut out the monkey business and give Drew Brees his money?  If the Colts gave Peyton his monstrous contract before he went under the knife and the Patriots amped up Tom Brady’s bank account right after knee surgery, the Saints need to give Drew his cash.  He has turned that franchise around and brought a Super Bowl to a tragically ripped apart city.  He produces every year and is an elite quarterback.   If they think the bounty hunting scandal and the loss of Sean Payton  is bad, think about being without Brees when the first game goes under the clock in September.  Nightmares follows.

*The Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox will be no pushovers when they hit Busch this week.  The Cardinals need to jump off their Texas boner 2 game winning streak and dig in deep and get a surprise series win this homestand.

*Fatherhood only gets to you if you let it.   Seriously, take a minute when your kid lets loose and just remind yourself that the person screaming bloody murder in front of you is your production and in some crazy way, is communicating with you.

*Remember the beer, Tank 7, a Boulevard product out of Kansas City.   A Smokestack series brew that stings the nostrils and buries the hatchet of a rough week better than any cup of coffee.   It’s hoppy, bitter, and a direct effect beer.   You take a sip and immediately know what you’ve gotten yourself into.  It’s delicious and my recommendation of the week.

With that beer crush, I am done.   My work is finished and I need to get on with the evening.   Somewhere, I am needed elsewhere.  I may not know it yet, but I can make a fair bet my name is being called right now.   It’s not fatherhood.  It’s not work.  It’s not the website.  It’s a life that needs to be lived.

Thanks for reading and come back next time for more madness.

Goodnight and good luck,

Dan L. Buffa

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