Mr. Buffa’s Blog

As I watch the end of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez’s battle in Vegas from last week, let me fire off some rounds of ammo here.

*A quick recap of this fight.  Sergio worked hard, threw a ton, slipped and moved for 10 rounds before Chavez Jr. came alive in the 11th round, where he caught Martinez with a few good shots.  In the 12th, right around the halfway mark of the round, Chavez Jr. put a hurt on Martinez with a series of left and right hooks.  He knocked Martinez down and saw Martinez slip to the canvas again before time ran out on his chance to pull off a late upset.  Ask his trainer Freddie Roach or anyone in that building, including Chavez Jr. himself, and he started FIGHTING way too late.  I believe Julio can fight and possibly beat Sergio.  What he lacks in speed he makes up for plenty with power, and Martinez knows that now.  Coming into the fight, I didn’t expect Julio to win but he would leave with Martinez’s respect.  As I predicted, that happened.  It’s easy to not like or get pissed with Julio’s behavior.  A few days ago, he was found to have marijuana in his system during the fight.  It’s a stupid act by Julio and will warrant a suspension but it’s not as bad as performance enhancing drugs.  What we know is that Martinez’s speed and quick feet to go with his stiff left jab can control Julio for many rounds.  However, Sergio got too confident and when he tried to box Chavez Jr., he nearly got knocked out.   Julio didn’t throw enough for the first 8-9 rounds and lost the fight due to inaction.  Watching the end of the fight, we know Julio can hurt Sergio.  Watching nearly the entire fight, we know Martinez can control Chavez Jr with his speed.  It’s a great dynamic for which we only got a small sample of last Saturday.  Each fighter knows what they have to do to win.  For 11 rounds, we saw a school session.  For one round, we saw dramatic power and a near comeback.   Forget the positive test for marijuana, because it doesn’t make a difference in the result of the fight.  It’s just a kid being young and dumb.  Chavez Jr. needs time to watch the fight again, get his head right and train for the rematch.  There will be a rematch.  Martinez had surgery on his knee so he will be out for a few months.

*The Rams are in action as I type, and down 3-0 in the first quarter.  A big factor in this game is the Rams defense forcing the mentally retarded QB Jay Cutler to make a lot of mistakes and create turnovers and the Bears defensive line ability to get in Sam Bradford’s face.  While the offenses feature plenty of running and receiving power to go with two fine arms, the defenses will determine the outcome. The Rams nearly beat the Lions in the season opener on the road.   They can play on the road.  However, Soldier’s Field is grass and not turf, which Detroit carries, so that is a stiff test for this young Rams team.

*The Cardinals continue to frustrate the shit out of me, writers, fans and possibly animals in St. Louis.  Watching this team collapse late, give up leads, and falter in crucial times requires medication or whiskey.  Starting with the series in Los Angeles, The Cards could have put together a huge winning streak by now.  Let’s go game by game while listing a few factors.

Thursday in LA-Complete team win.

Friday in LA-Cards have a 3-1 late lead, when Edward Mujica gives up a 3 run homer to Luis Cruz.  Game gets out of hand and the Cards lose.  The home run comes with two outs.

Saturday-Cards get solid road start from Jaime Garcia, get two RBI from Allen Craig and have a 3-2 lead in ninth inning.  Jason Motte has two outs, but gives up 3 consecutive hits and blows the save and game.  TOUGH loss.  2 out RBI hits allowed.  Little offense and lots of runners left.

Sunday-Cards recover, come back, and win in extra innings on Jon Jay’s double in 11th inning.

A series where Cards could have swept or at least won 3 of 4 ends up a split but momentum stays with Cards.

Monday-off

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday-Sweep of the Astros.  Thursday involves a tight 5-4 win but nevertheless an easy series of a horribly inept team that unfortunately leaves for the AL after this week’s series in Houston.

Friday-Chris Carpenter fires 5 solid innings, and Cards have 4-2 lead heading into the 9th inning.  Fernando Salas tries to close it down with Jason Motte having pitched 5 days in a row.  I understand Motte getting a rest BUT I also go against it but will say this.  The Cards had more options down there.  Here is the reason Salas can’t pitch the 9th.

In September Salas’ arm gets worn down.  He is inconsistent.   On Thursday, he struck out two Astros and nailed down the 8th inning and stopped a rally against Houston.  On Friday, he went back out there and threw a flat straight fastball to light hitting Darwin Barney and blew the save.   Save me the Salas closed in 2011 talk.  He closed well for a two months in 2011 before tiring out in August and September.  He isn’t your man in the 9th in September.  His fastball is flat and got the Cardinals killed on Friday.  At that point, the game was all but lost.  The Cards just found out in the 11th inning.  5-4 Cubs.  Possibly life threatening loss.  The 35th of its kind this season.

On Saturday, the Cards do the same to the Cubs.  They blow a 3-1 lead in the 6th inning, but ride Carlos Beltran’s home run off Carlos Marmol(the Cubs real closer) in the 9th into the 11th, where Jon Jay wins it with a double, his second extra innings game winning hit of the week.  Amazing turnaround and typical Cards before today’s rubber game.

*Read over it again and you have a team that has no idea who they are, and a fanbase driven mad by inconsistency.   The Cards offense doesn’t hurt teams like they did in April and May.  They don’t take advantage of opportunities.  In close games with runners in scoring position, more often than not, the Cards bats don’t come through.   The pitching’s problem is giving up 2 out RBI hits.  Both are painful to watch.   Through all this, the Cardinals maintain a 2.5 game lead on the Brewers.  Milwaukee, L.A. and Philadelphia are giving the Cards ample space to falter.  There are 10 games left.  Please don’t hold your breath.

*As I finish that part, the Rams intercept Jay Cutler.   Cortland Finnegan, proving to be a huge pickup in the offseason with a big money contract under his belt, picks up his 3rd INT of the season.   The Rams, however, struggle on offense and waste the opportunity.  The first quarter shows exactly what I thought would happen today.  A defensive battle on a cool day on grass.   Get the beer ready because this will be a low scoring bloody battle.

*Also, I like the idea that the Rams are getting a reputation for being a tough group of bastards.  It’s better to be inglorious in football than to be sweet.   Robert Griffin III, fresh off his sixth commercial shot, wants to whine about the Rams being dirty.   Bullshit, Bobby.  You got beat and it was firm and fair, in a little tribute to recently retired boxing referee Joe Cortez.  The Rams, with new corners Janoris Jenkins and Finnegan, are going to get in the opposition’s face, hit them in the mouth, trash talk them a little and reach the inside of their heads.  It’s called sports, football, and its never clean.  I like this team.  They are old school, gridiron bad and a true Jeff Fisher team.  Let the Rams roam free on Sundays.

*Looking forward to Taken 2 for one reason.  Bad Ass Liam Neeson.  There are few actors over the age of 50 who decide to throw their bodies around, get into fights, do their own stunts, and do aggressive action roles.  No one is as convincing at it than Neeson.  He returns as former CIA merc Bryan Mills, who kicked, killed, punched and destroyed everything in his path in Paris in the first installment in saving his daughter.  This time, the men that he killed have a father who wants revenge and goes after Mills and his family, consisting of Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace.  The setup is Istanbul, and the action will be just as thrilling as the first time, if not more so.   I expect bone crunching authentic revenge action and only have to hear Neeson tell one thug.  “If I kill you, will your other sons come after me?”  The bad guy says yes so Mills answers, “Then I will kill them too.”  Love a great action ride in October, when the shinier heavyweight productions begging for an Oscar come around.   Somehow, Neeson needs to be in the next Expendables movie.

*End of Watch, released on Friday, is one of the best, if not the best, movies of the year in my opinion.  A brutally authentic L.A. cops saga from David Ayer, who delivered Training Day.  Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are cops,  partners, best friends and amigos on the streets of L.A. in the highly dangerous South Central precinct.  When they bit the end of the snake that happens to be a powerful drug cartel working in the city with a few busts and seizures, they become targets.   This is a true blue dedication to police officers and their everyday battle.  Ayer wrote and directed this piece and its equally moving, intense and realistic.  A powerful tale of brotherhood that won’t leave your gut for a few hours.  I watched this movie with my dad Friday morning and it didn’t leave my head until….yeah it’s still there.  This year has produced a few 5/5 efforts in my regard.   French indie The Intouchables, Dark Knight Rises and Killer Joe.  End Of Watch can be added to that list.  It’s an excellent film and watching it, you forget that actors are the people you are watching.  Read my full review here right here on my website.  At the bottom you can also watch the trailer.

http://www.film-addict.com/news-and-reviews/a-dose-of-buffa/item/859-end-of-watch

Last week I watched The Master, Trouble With The Curve and an art house film named Chicken With Plums.  I paid to see End Of Watch.  I would not only pay to see it again, but join the advertising campaign for it.  Great work.

*The Replacement ref’s in the NFL are horrible.  They miss calls, fuck up, look lost but there are two things that drive me nuts.  They take so much time to come to a decision. They also talk to coaches before making their calls.   During the Redskins-Rams game last Sunday, the referees’ ran over to Redskins coach Mike Shanahan before throwing the flag at least twice.   That’s elementary ref work.   Unfortunate and unacceptable in big games.  There are 16 games for the teams to establish their marks.   The Ref’s are wasting many calls and needing help with others.   Imagine if Mike Matheny could talk to the home plate umpire about that play at the plate and actually twist the men in blue enough to get his call.  Pathetic.

*What am I listening to right now?  New Bob Dylan, old Johnny Cash and some Rodriguez.  What will I be listening to this week?  Mumford and Sons’ new album, Babel.  Their first effort was brilliant and still gets listened to in its entirety.  When you can listen to an entire album and not skip past tunes a full 2 years after its release, special things are happening.  Their folk rock harmonies are hard to deny and the work of frontman Marcus Mumford, writing the songs and playing the guitar and lead singer as well, is impressive.  I will be immersed in everything Mumford for a couple weeks.  DMB was my most recent crush but Britain is taking over fast.

What else?  A few random bullets.

-Love the weather.  Makes a lot of possibilities happen.  Taking the kid for a walk in the vast and beautiful Francis Park next to my house is a relaxing time.  He watches everything and I get fresh air.  Being a Mr. Mom and stay at home dad is all about helping the kid AND YOURSELF.  Neglect yourself and the kid comes next.  Write that down.

-Filling out applications everywhere, but asking for help is something I am not doing.  I hate asking for money, help or an easy route.  I will keep filling out apps but I won’t beg and plead for a job from any of my friends.  I don’t do that.  I survive on my own until all else fails.

-With money dwindling, I find myself clinging to my Starbucks addiction.   20 ounce coffees are becoming 12 ounce coffees and making it at home will be present in my future.  My little addiction will hit the slow lane soon enough.  Everyone has it their needs, and Starbucks is mine.  What can a man do?  Drink more red wine.

-Cabin in The Woods is a very inventive and highly enjoyable horror film.  Look, I am not a huge fan of the genre because it churns out the same old bullshit week after week. This movie is something totally different and wicked fun.   A group of 5 young friends go to a cabin secluded in the woods, and find out they are battling forces bigger than mere creatures or people.   If I said more I would spoil it completely.   During the first scene you find out what they are up against.  Watching the movie, you forget you are watching a horror film and it carries a dash of comedy to it.  The victims go through the proper motions and attempt to make the classic horror film mistakes and that in turn gets them killed.  When they fall for traps, they end up in trouble.  The worst thing they can do is think their every action doesn’t have consequence or that their fight is fair.  An original take on a dead genre.  The movie stars a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth and is up to the task of premium home entertainment.  One of those “I would have paid to see it but didn’t mind getting freaked out in my own home” experiences.

-My kid just woke up.  Laundry needs to be done.  Lunch needs to be made.  My time here is done.

Thanks for reading,

Dan L. Buffa

 

 

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Rant Posting #983

Here is the noise in my head at the moment….

When the Cardinals are done playing, I will be a calmer man.  I will breathe easier, roll through my nights smoother and keep a cooler head about the everyday lifestyle of a baseball maniac.   This team has a stranglehold on my heart and nerve and will never let go, no matter how many kids or incidents in life I have.   It’s a lifelong obsession.  This is why they get the biggest section of my blogs.  They are the lifeline to my sports soul and permanently corrupted it.  It’s not even fair to the Rams.  If I am a man on the edge of the ocean talking about the Rams and Blues, I am right next to the shark’s mouth when it comes to the Cardinals.  When they stop playing  the days are easier if not as much fun. There’s a thrill to gameday that can’t be put into words easily.  An anticipation that builds throughout the non playing hours up until the first pitch.  Will this day be a win, loss, or a season changing triumph or collapse?  The thrill of sports lies in it’s unpredictable natures and tendencies.  When I say the marriage with the Cards ends in October/November, I mean it.  The divorce is final and only rekindles in February.  We each off to our respective vacation homes recovering from the previous 7 months and setting up for another.  While lives end and many start, baseball always comes around on the calendar.   The reason I am rambling about this is my latest effort to explain the beast that is the St. Louis Cardinals.   My wife said they don’t have it this year.  She said this in the middle of Monday’s horrible defeat in San Diego.  I didn’t go as far as disagreeing with her, but I had to point out last year and the comeback.  This is a natural defense mechanism.  As a sports fan, it’s okay for you to call your team shitty.  If someone else, even a wife or close friend, says these things, it’s an attack on your internal submarine.  She had some sense in her corner, but I had to make a better point.  The point is this fucking team won’t go down so easy.  They will fight, struggle, plunge, rise again, surge and fall again until the end of September.  The Cardinals do this every year.  They keep your head up but aren’t afraid to slam it down.  Up until the Yankees decided to underestimate the Orioles, the Cards were one of the few teams in baseball that was guaranteed to be in the race for the division.  This year, they have gotten more than a shove out of the way by the Reds as the Brewers did in 2011.  If they chose to recover, get the wild card and surge into the playoffs is their own inner soul predicament and a lingering factor in our minds.   Will they do it again or just die off this time?  I can promise you this.  They won’t do it quickly.  They will cling to life, like the character in the movies who you figure would have bit the bullet by now but seems to annoyingly stay alive.  That is this team.  They are relentlessly infuriating, inconsistent and not bad enough to fit the doomed catalog.  Here are a few notes on them before I detonate the bomb in my head residing around their heart beat intact corpse.

*Carlos Beltran is still useless at the plate but a weapon in the field.

*If the Cardinals care about winning, they won’t let Jaime Garcia start a game on the road, much less the most important start of the year for the team, this Saturday in LA.

*The answer to the previous riddle.  Let Shelby Miller get a shot.  After Lance Lynn blows a huge fiery hole in the road trip this week, Miller can hopefully clean up his mess.

*Lynn shouldn’t be allowed to start a game.  His shoulder can’ t last more than an inning or two.  It’s burnt out.

*Chris Carpenter’s return, with Jake Westbrook’s injury and Jaime’s troubles, is ultra important at the moment. Get him on the mound because his right arm could save the season.

*The Cardinals are a bizarre exercise in self mutilation. Given an opportunity to escape an inning, the Cards starters give up 2 out RBI hits to the opposition.   On the cusp of an escape, they give up back breaking hits.  In tonight’s game, Kyle Lohse(who pitched a decent if not great game) gave up a two out base hit that allowed the winning run to score.  That can’t happen.  Lost in the shuffle of a horribly weak hitting lineup is a starting rotation that is going off the hinges.  The Cards ERA as a rotation is right around 8 runs per nine innings in September.  The entire machine in Cardinal nation is coming off the hinges.

*As I write this, the Cards just got swept by the San Diego Padres, one of the hottest teams in baseball since June 1st who happen to be 5 games under .500.    Going into the series with the West Coast secrets, I knew it was a tough matchup but failing to get one win while the Pirates waste away and the Dodgers fidget is bad business.  Now, the Phillies and Brewers are within 3-4 games of the second wild card spot while the Braves run off with the first spot.   If the Dodgers lose, the Cards miraculously could still cling to the second wild card spot.  In mid June, the Cards were eight games over .500.  Now, they are only seven games over .500.   What does that mean?  They have gone nowhere.  In three months, this team has stalled.  Blame it on a lack of situational hitting, an inconsistent rotation, worn down bullpen or a number of direct injuries, but remember this.  The Cardinals haven’t been able to produce big plays, hits and wins on a regular basis in 2012.  Their depth has been questioned and I think our offensive future is in question with the inbound disappointments of Pete Kozma, Shane Robinson, Steven Hill, Bryan Anderson and so on.   Neither of those players are future big players.  Garcia can’t pitch well on the road.  Is that young nerves or permanent mental sclerosis?  Berkman, Beltran and Furcal all wore down and came to a halt by August.  All these things make a fan wonder.   What does this team have to offer not only the next three weeks but the next few years?   Next year’s team won’t look that different.  Kyle Lohse may be gone from the rotation.   Berkman will be replaced by Allen Craig/Matt Carpenter.   Second base will feature a full time free agent or a platoon of utility guys.  The bullpen will look similar.   Why question a team with a wild card lead with just under three weeks to play?  We just got swept by the Padres in shutdown style.

The biggest problem with being a passionate Redbirds fan is a double edged sword.  You are happy to see they constantly contend but you are also confined to a success required franchise.   The Cards aren’t just expected to win divisions but win pennants and titles.   As opposed to the Blues and Rams, whose success is greeted with a fair measure of surprise.  Expectations change a team and their fans.   The Cards, with a 100 million dollar payroll and a decade of consistency, are expected to do great things.  A fanbase follows that notion to the tee.  Myself, seeing the Cards win the series a year ago, can give them a small hiatus but when the painful losses fall down it still stings.   In a way, sports is a “what have you done for me lately” business.  At least that is the way of the St. Louis Cardinals.

In other news-

*In NHL labor talks.  The players don’t want to take a drastic cut in salary and I see their reasons beyond the natural charge of greed.   The owners allowed all these ridiculously long contracts of 12-14 years and over 100 million to several players and now they want the players to take a paycut.  The owners started the madness and can’t all of a sudden cut their losses and ask the players to take a huge cut.  Lessen the percentage suits, because this crazy spending started by you.  The owners have buildings, employees and many costs, but why do they put themselves in this position.  The owners need to give.

*Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. takes on Sergio Martinez in a super middleweight match this weekend and I am pumped to see how this fight unfolds.   As I have mentioned before, Martinez is the cagey craftier veteran southpaw who has a belt that he won legitimately with impressive knockouts.   Chavez Jr. is the son of the a legend who was halfway handed a belt by beating a bunch of bums.  Now the kid has to face a legitimate champion and great fighter.   Chavez Jr. is in his early 20s.   Martinez is 37 years old.   The stakes are set and high enough to get a rise out of a boxing fan like me.  Martinez thinks Chavez Jr. is entitled and he is right.  Chavez Jr. wants to hand Martinez a cane and knock him out into retirement.  Both are wildly comically in disdain of each other and its for real.   The reasons are legit.  It’s easy for a fan to hate Chavez Jr.’s immature reckless style of training that disrespects his trainer, Hall of Famer Freddie Roach.   However, Roach sees something in him, a potential that could break out on Saturday and that is why he is training the kid.  Unlike his father, Junior has to work hard at his craft and brings a fiercer power to the ring than his father.  He is determined to convince people he not only deserves a title but he deserves respect.  That is impressive to hear and makes you hungry to see the kid pull off the impossible or fall on his face.  Forget the bookies and the odds in the betting race.  The Mexicans will flood the box and make the odds more even than they should be.   Look at the matchup instead.   Young gun versus smart veteran.  A belt holder against a legit champ.  Hunger versus Assurance.   JCCJ wants to prove he is a champion.  Martinez, a man who didn’t fight until he was 20(unheard of in boxing circles), still trying to completely win the respect of fans and experts.  Saturday night in Vegas will be explosive.   My appetite is wet.

*Looks like Manny Pacquiao is taking on Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time. In one case it is good because they always produce closely contested fights that are entertaining and good for boxing. The deal is being finalized right now.  When you fight in Vegas, you tend to get the odds thrown in your favor and in your face. If Pacquiao were to lose it could kill a fight between him and Floyd. Yes I know some have cooled on it but not me. In a sea of pretty good fights and duller bouts that is still the fight I want to see. Each man is to blame but the anticipation of that fight is too good to pass up. His loss to Bradley was meaningless because every boxing analyst and their dead aunt knew PAC won the fight. That’s also why he didn’t want a rematch. A fight with Marquez is good for boxing but possibly detrimental to Manny’s chances of reaching the ring with Floyd.

*Check out my website daily for movie news and every Friday for the freshest reviews and material about everything having to do with cinema.  If you have been under a rock since May, here is the website.   http://www.film-addict.com.  Call this my shameless plug of the week.

*Watching the Klitschko 2 hour special on HBO on the heavyweight champion Russian boxing brothers.  Riveting story, as it takes you back to their childhood in Kiev, where their father was military and dealt with the Chernobyl radiation while raising his sons to be fighters.   The knock against them is that no one in the heavyweight division is fit to take them down, but that can’t be a fault on their part.  They are a two man wrecking machine that many boxing insiders want to see take on each other.  They have sworn against fighting each other, telling me at their advanced age the possibility is dwindling.  My thoughts?   It’s their own option to fight each other and if they are happy destroying the competition and building their legend one knockout at a time, good for them.  They are tall, hard punching iron jawed Russian killers.   Vitali and Wladamir Klitschko will retire as legends one way or another whether had a Frazier, Foreman or Hagler to rival themselves against.  David Haye talked a fine game but got dominated by Wladamir in 2011.  No one since has challenged either one as Vitali destroyed Manny Chara on Saturday.   Their story is great television and it’s hard to not respect their careers.  Going from living with their uncle, mom, dad and aunt in one room of a broken down home in Kiev during a time of war to well known champions is good TV..

*9/11 came and went on the calendar again.  Every year, I feel a little down on the anniversary.  It’s something that climbs up into my soul and dares me to a fight.  Remembering a horrible day where so many people died for one man’s infinite plan of domination is hard to swallow.  Harder to swallow is the millions of souls who claimed conspiracy that day.  It’s a waste of time and a supreme act of denial.  One man defeated us that day and it was Osama Bin Laden.  He orchestrated an attack on our country that will never heal completely.  Get over it.  What we did was climb back off the ground, come together and help each other.  I advise people to treat that day as a lesson in life’s virtues.  Appreciate sacrifice.   I can’t stop thinking about the first responder’s who ran back into the buildings when they knew doom awaited them.  They were trying to save lives.  That is something you either have or don’t at birth.  Courage to give your life up and become truly selfless.  That sticks with me.  The video where the firemen run into the building and minutes later the whole thing hits the ground in a matter of seconds.   Chilling clings to 9/11 as much as courage.  Whatever you do, remember this and this only.  No bullshit included. Eleven years ago our country was attacked suddenly. Nearly 3,000 people died. Firemen and police ran into burning buildings. Strangers came together in the midst of torment, murder, discord and tragedy. It doesn’t matter what caused the massacre. Outside of a terrorist cell, i have no answers for you. It doesn’t matter. Those people aren’t coming back. Ever. What we can do is honor those who died in 9/11 by living a little today. Fight less with your spouse. Call your parents. Talk to your siblings. Hug your kids. Talk to a stranger because one day in the future you may lean on him or her for instant support.

*Covering a press junket for a TV Guide Network star tomorrow at the Four Seasons hotel downtown, which marks my first plunge into the true life of being a film critic and website creator.  While I am not a fan or viewer of Katie Cazorla’s Hollywood Nail Files show, I will cover it for a local publicist who may help me out in the future.   In this business, you have to reach out and help others if you want to survive.

*Movie Theaters tease for the Weekend?  Go see Arbitrage with Richard Gere about a hedge fund billionaire in deep trouble.  It may be his best work.

*Listening to The Black Keys latest album, El Camino.  The Track listing punch of Gold on The Ceiling and Little Black Submarines back to back is dynamite listening pleasure. Two of the best songs released in 2011 still leave a dent.

*Awaiting my deluxe album from the Dave Matthews Band in the mail.  The producer of their early work took over the reins on this one, Steve Lillywhite.  The result, through 2 songs I have heard over the past month, is a different sounding DMB while retaining a smooth hint of their instrumental brilliance.  Dave sounds more weary than ever and I can see the band is aging gracefully.   Their sound hasn’t diminished.  Just a fan comment.  Also, it’s good to see Dave keeping his monstrous fan base active.  For the video for their first single, Mercy, he used 14,000 inbound videos from around the world of his fans singing the song to comprise the video.  Pretty cool stuff, fan or not.

*Quick, very quick, political comment.  Obama had good intentions.  He tried to deliver on his promises.  With the shit pile he was handed coming into office, he simply didn’t get the job done.  He took a hefty swing at the issues debilitating our country and for the most part, missed.  His health care bill left millions without coverage, he didn’t want to acknowledge an horrible oil spill in the gulf and didn’t help unemployment.  He didn’t create jobs, which is what our country needs.  Fuck, it’s what I need.  Right now.  He did initiate the plan to kill Bin Laden, but that was set in motion before he stepped foot in office.  All in all, the office needs fresh blood.  Who?  I can’t tell you that.  May I nominate Henry Rollins for President without him running?  No, alright then.

That’s all for me.  If you want to reach me, send me a reply at dbuff36@hotmail.com or leave one here.  I love to tango with fellow writers or people who have an opinion and can withstand an argument defending it.

Thanks for reading and look for me to come back to dish here soon,

Dan L. Buffa

“The L is for Larry”

P.S.-The Rant posting #983 is a random selection.  I have no idea if that is my actual number of postings but it can’t be far off.

A Stream of Consciousness

Thinking out loud here and putting the hands to work, with a glass of Cabernet and hot chai tea awaiting my hands as the rest of the head goes to work.  This has to be done.  The wife and kid are asleep.  The house is quiet except for the faint soundtrack of souls under hypnosis, laundry running below and a television in my left ear.  My kind of time to vent.  Here we go.  You know how this game plays.  I write, you read, and in the end I go to reload and you decide whether to digest or simply click delete.

*The Cardinals are atrocious.  It’s not visible in their record or their current standing in the wild card.   Just look at their disgustingly inconsistent offense, leaking oil veteran players or the pitching that can’t buy a 1-2-3 inning.  After coughing up a weekend series to the Nationals and taking a series at home from the Mets(who were hot coming in), the Cards were primed to push the Milwaukee Brewers back out of the race.  I can stomach losing to R.A. Dickey, who has beaten us twice this year and is on his way to a Cy Young award with Steven Strasburg bowing out early.  Flash forward to tonight and we have lost the series, let the pesky Brewers, once left for dead on the side of the road next to a dusty can of Milwaukee’s Best, back into the wild card race.  If you happen to watch this team closely over the past month, you will be shocked that they are 9 games over .500 and currently hold a wild card entry spot.  They played bad baseball in August and haven’t started September off too hot.  What is wrong with this team?  Everything.  Almost.  The lineup is horribly inconsistent, collecting a few runs and shutting down for games at a time.  The starting pitching is getting shell shocked more often than not.  The bullpen, equipped with more arms(in good ways and bad ways) is pulling its weight but starting to buckle.  At the most important time of the season, the Cardinals are playing bad baseball and trending downward.  The opposite of their play in 2011.  I’m not saying this team can’t flip a switch and start killing teams again.  I am saying it will only last 2-3 games before shutting down again.  The Cardinals are doing everything possible to hand the second wild card spot away. The LA Dodgers aren’t going away and we head there for a more than crucial 4 game set in a week.  Let’s go over some details.

*I won’t rant on and on about the 13 inning 4.5 hour loss to the Brewers on Friday, but I will say we squandered several scoring opportunities.  After getting a 2-0 lead and Kyle Lohse going 6.2 inning, the offense didn’t score anything until the 8th inning and that was it.  4 runs in 13 innings and a 5-4 loss.  I will say this.   With runners at first and third and one out in the 11th inning of a tie game, Mike Matheny called for Bryan Anderson to pinch hit instead of Lance Berkman or Carlos Beltran.  I wanted Berkman(I will explain later), but Matheny sent Anderson to the plate.  The surfer dude who has 3 at bats all season, little MLB experience and zero chance of solving a crafty pitcher.   Anderson watched strike three go by and the Brewers escaped, scored in the 13th and won.  That was that.  Bad move by Matheny.  Very bad move.

*I would have liked to see Lance Berkman take his cuts there.  While he is  halfway useless in the field and lacks any true power, Berkman is still a smart hitter, can draw a walk or at least lift a fly ball to medium range in the outfield for a game winning sacrifice fly.  He may strike out or pop up, but his chances of succeeding are far greater than Anderson’s.   I don’t want to hear the La Russa 2007 All Star game excuse and have someone tell me Mike was saving Berk for later.  No way.  You have a chance to win a game and you go for it right there, when the clock is past 1am.  Bad move and it costed us the game.

*Carlos Beltran is absolutely useless.  The comeback player of the year candidate is playing on bum knees and has a bad wrist, which means he won’t be hitting for power until he gets rest.  A lot of it.  On Friday night he went 0-5 and didn’t hit a ball out of the infield.  Either he watches too much Pedro Cerrano tape or he can’t get his legs under his swing.  He will end the year hitting .250, cranking 28 homers and driving in close to 90 runs.  That is it.  He hasn’t had an extra base hit in 49 at bats.  He hasn’t hit a home run since early August.  Beltran can’t hit any better in the #2 hole than in the #3 or #4 hole.  He is useless.  A pinch hitter with a cannon in right for an arm but slow legs.   He cuts off a base hit in the corner like Pedro Guerrero.  It’s tough to watch a veteran fight it this late, but Beltran, barring a miraculous change of health, will be a third wheel for the remainder of the season.

*The unfortunate truth about Beltran brings a completion to the old man circle of Cardinal vets in 2012.  A warranted risk at the beginning of the season, the truth has been laid out carefully.   Bet on old bodies and you lose.  Berkman has missed nearly 3 months, hit 2 home runs, driven in 7 runs and been a non factor.   Beltran was productive until late August.  Rafael Furcal was white hot until the all star break and then tailed off before ripping up his elbow in mid August.  Chris Carpenter, to this point, hasn’t thrown a pitch in a regular season game yet in 2012.  Add up all that cash and 39 million dollars won’t pull a full season of work from either investment.  In 2013, only two bodies will remain.  Cards general manager John Mozelaik took a risk when he signed Furcal, Beltran, Berkman and Carpenter to fresh contracts but you can’t blame him for throwing the deep pass on proven talent.

*The biggest problem with the Cards is their inability to get a huge hit in a clutch spot during a close game.  Their record in one run baseball games and extra inning is truly horrendous and doesn’t signify a playoff team.   Why are the Baltimore Orioles knocking on the Yankees door in 2012?  They finish well, have a great closer and have the best record in baseball in 1 run games.  Every team enjoys a blowout, but the true winners are the groups that finish first in a close battle.  The 2012 Cards don’t do that at all.  It maybe their undoing.

*Chris Carpenter returning is pivotal to the last 10 days of the season.  If the Cards are still hanging onto the last Wildcard spot or in it, all hands are needed on deck.  Please don’t forget what Carpenter did at the end of 2011.  He was the difference making ace that catapulted the Cards into the World Series.  He can come back and earn some of that 10 million dollar salary.  Seeing him throw pain free for 2 weeks straight is a big deal.  It means he is ready, once again, to compete in 2013.  It also means he could return for a cameo appearance in 2012.  I will take it.  This is Chris Carpenter we are talking about.  The tall righthander with the sweeping curve, deadly cut fastball and the intensity this team has lacked all year.  Let the lion out of the cage if he has all four feet working.

*Matt Holliday is having a solid season and does more than most fans give him credit for.  For all the fans who hated the way Albert Pujols lagged down the line on grounders or on lasers off the outfield wall, look at the way Holliday plays the game.  Hard nosed and gritty.  He runs out every grounder and runs the bases like a fullback.  He has even improved his outfield work, which will never be remarkable but fits decently enough.    He guts out injuries and constantly produces.   Every bat in the lineup has endured an injury or slump but with the exception of a few games here or there Holliday has pushed through.   His numbers back up his contract and suggest consistency.   Who would you rather have, experts?  Holliday or Carl Crawford?  Let me hear your answers.  How about Jayson Werth?  Mo made the right choice and Holliday is worth the cash.  His numbers aren’t as gigantic as Albert, but one player is trending down and the other is heading up.   It’s a business.

*Allen Craig continues to produce and has to be the cleanup hitter the rest of the way.

*Yadi Molina is the true MVP.  He does everything on a baseball field and I can only laugh at the people who scuffed at his 5 year, 75 million dollar contract.   In addition to hitting .327 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI, Molina is the best catcher in baseball, throwing out 45 percent of would be base thieves.  On Saturday, Ryan Braun tried to steal second base and Yadi gunned him down by a mile.  He threw it so accurately that Skip Schumacher didn’t move his glove.  Braun is having another MVP season but the suspicion around him will never leave now that the doubt has been let in the door.  His attempt at second base completes the thought process that the substance he may have taken enhances the recovery but not the intelligence.  Fuck him eternally.   Yes, that was a Ryan Braun rant after a Molina praise.

*Tomorrow, we salvage a game against Milwaukee and go on the road against San Diego, a team playing great baseball since the All Star break.   Beware of the losers standing in your path in September.

*Vladamir Tarasenko arrived in St. Louis this week.  The new St. Louis Blue player is a Russian phenom and comes to the Midwest hoping to be the Blues equalizer on the ice. While their scoring improved last season, the Blues are in still need of a true goal scorer.  Can Tarasenko become that threat?  We will see.  The guy off the bench that everybody fears will change the course of the game.  His name carries weight coming into the NHL.  What will his game bring?  If you are lifelong Blues fan like me, watching the team since the early barn days on Oakland Avenue, you want to think Tarasenko is the answer to every sore knee prayer.  That’s what October stands for.  Blood soaked ice bravery.  However, unless the rich fucks decide on how they want to split their millions, there may be another lockout in the NHL(the second in the last 10 years).

*The Rams open action later this morning against the fiercely talented Detroit Lions.   The Lions are that team on the verge of deep playoff football action.   Loaded up offensively and defensively with young talent, they can’t be fooled around with.   This season opener won’t be easy to survive, much less win or barely compete in.   The Rams have to get to Matthew Stafford, shut down Calvin Johnson, and stop a man named Suh from destroying both of Bradford’s shoulders.   Game one will be a huge test of the Jeff Fisher era of Rams football.  He better stock up on pain meds, pepto bismo and other stomach helpers.  His post game press conference may feature a burning mustache.

*Andre Ward decimated Chad Dawson last night in a light middleweight  boxing event on HBO.  Ward is an undefeated fearless boxing specialist.  He won an Olympic medal.  He won a Super 6 Middleweight tournament that matched him with the best talent in boxing.  Ward faced Dawson, one of the best light middleweight fighters in the world and destroyed him, beating him to every corner for 10 rounds before a stoppage.  Ward is what boxing is all about.  The sweet science personified in one man.  He is easily in the top 3 boxers conversation, behind Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.   Ward is a great methodical boxer who reminds me of Joe Calzage, who retired undefeated.   You just can’t hurt him or barely touch him no matter how hard you try in a ring.  Dawson represented the best and Ward dominated him.  He is a genuine threat to Floyd and Manny’s reputation and doesn’t back down from anyone.  That can’t be completely said of Mayweather or Pacquiao.

*Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. takes on Sergio Martinez in a middleweight bout next Saturday.  Chavez Jr. is trying to carve a place for himself among the greats in boxing.  He is 41-0 but hasn’t fought a fierce opponent yet.  Martinez is the middleweight champ and is at the top of his game.   While it’s easy to respect Martinez(a fighter who picked up the sport at age 20, rarely done), I find myself rooting for the young buck in the Mexican champ Chavez Jr..   He is a good kid and the son of a legend.   What people don’t know is the young Julio took his dad, drug riddled and alcohol driven, into rehab and got him cleaned up.   He was told at an early age he would never be as good as his father and he busts his ass trying to prove them wrong.  He isn’t careless.  He is relentless.  His training is similar to Floyd.  Anytime and anywhere.  His work ethic is unmatched.  Why else would hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach work with him?  He may not leave that fight on Saturday with a win but he will leave with Martinez’s respect.  I have stepped into these fighters lives before they stepped into the ring by watching the truly mesmerizing show, 24/7 on HBO, narrated by Liev Schreiber.

*No Last Day hit bookshelves this past week and it is one Ex-Navy Seal’s account of taking down Osama Bin Laden.  Mark Bowen(not his real name but close enough) is writing the book, taking into full gritty bloody detail the stakeout, planning and takedown of Bin Laden in May of 2011, almost 10 years after the horrible tragedy.   I will be reading this book and do so proudly.  I don’t need to hear the military or government try to make a fake stand about the content revealed in the book.   The same crowd is also bitching and moaning about Kathryn Bigelow’s movie about the mission, Zero Dark Thirty.  Here is my take.  It’s bullshit.  No lives or identities are being put at risk here with a movie or book.   In real life, Navy Seals are ghosts and protected.   If there was a serious scare, Bowen’s book would have been squashed after page one.   This is fake “face saving” being done by the United States government.  Save it.  Let the world hear about one of the greatest missions in the history of our country.  The takedown of the ultimate boogeyman who rocked our livelihood and orchestrated an event that took nearly 3,000 lives in one morning.  If there was a huge risk, why would 7 real Navy Seals be authorized to put their tactics and skills on the big screen in last January’s potent film, Act of Valor?  In Act of Valor, 7 Seals were used in the film, without name of course, and their methods were on full display in a fictional tracking and capture of a terrorist cell.   You see, this noise about the book is all smoke and mirrors.  Enjoy the real life entertainment.

*What music am I listening to right now?  The Tallest Man On The Earth.  A folky Swedish singer-songwriter with the whiskey soaked voice of Dylan and the ability to conjure a mood with his hands on a guitar and his mouth in front of a microphone.   Kristian Mattsson is his name and he is only 29 years old, putting together 3 albums and is a voice that can simply sweep you off your feet on a late night drive and whisper stories into your ear.   Tales of love, loss, changes and soul searching.  As is the case with David Gray, all you see is a man and his guitar telling stories.  Stripped down musicians luckily aren’t a dying breed.

*September means the return of cable network giants like Boardwalk Empire, Dexter and Sons of Anarchy.   All three are gems but Boardwalk is one I am looking forward to the most.  Why?  The stakes got higher after the conclusion of Season two, where Nucky Thompson(Steve Buscemi, the anchor of a top notch cast) finally became a gangster by killing someone close to him.   This season, it’s 1923, the boom of opportunity and a new bad guy is in town.   Gyp Rossetti, played by the stellar character actor Bobby Cannavale.  Rossetti is a Sicilian from Italy who wants to take a piece of Nucky’s action, which only starts a war.    Plenty of blood will be spilled and Gyp will be at the center of it.  Watching the trailers, you get the feeling a memorable performance is taking shape.  The show is full of Emmy worthy acting, but Cannavale is the true villain this series has lacked up to this point.  The bad man amongst criminals.   It’s going to be great.   True villains are fun to watch and as worthwhile as good heroes.  Cannavale, walking around in the three piece suit, the long barreled handgun, the top hat, and olive oil stained skin of a killer, was born to play this role.

*The life of Mr. Mom is an endless cycle of duties centered around the house.  Being a worker for the majority of my last 10 years, I know this life on a part time basis but right now its full time and the change is visible.  You get woken up at 5am for a diaper change and a bottle.  Vincent rarely goes back to sleep.  You can risk letting him toy around your room while you nap, but he may drag a cable box off the dresser and have it land on his head.  That happened this morning.  He gets breakfast, which involves pancakes, fruit or cereal.  There is a reason my kid is a beast and that is he eats three good meals a day.  You take him to the gym where you get that hour of dirty noise free time to blast weights, sweat a little and get a workout in.  You scoop up the little brat and head to get coffee and home for a snack/bottle of milk and throw him down for a nap.  Being up since 5am, when you leave the gym at noon, he will be down for the count before you receive your cup of joe.  Look for the head slag to the left as you pull away from Starbucks.   He sleep for an hour or two, and gets up hungry.   He gets an assortment of meat, cheeses and veggies before a yogurt or pudding.  The next two hours he moves around the house like a drunk midget spy, going for anything and everything in his reach.  Dinner is fed, a bath is in order, some wrestling in the living room before a retirement to the bedroom for bedtime baby einstein.  Don’t ask me why he watches this or other retarded annoying kids shows.  They drain adult brain power but ignite the eyes of an infant.  Get over it.  He goes down around 730-8pm.  He may get up around 11pm for a whine, cuddle or bottle, but you don’t go in that damn door unless he is crying out loud in an insane manner.  A parent’s toughest test is resisting the urge to cave and let the true boss of the house, the little man himself, hold you in the palm of your hand.   Vinny loves bath time, except getting his hair washed out of shampoo.  Somehow getting water running down his face and halfway dunked for a rinse near the water doesn’t settle his needs.  What makes this a good day?  An insanely cute kid.  Vincent gets away with a lot because he is adorable and tough.  He’s endured a tough first year and it’s hard to come down on him.  Sure, I scream back at him, beat him up a little, try to be hard on him but the kid is resilient.  He turns one on Friday.

*Also, what is this notion that the American dad can’t or doesn’t want to change diapers.  I am diaper changing fucking ninja.  I don’t hesitate to handle the worse brownie mix overflow gaslight anthem barking turd that arrives out of my son’s anal region.  Every day I see a public men’s bathroom that doesn’t have a diaper changing table.  What the holy incessant fuck is going on?  What is so harmful about your own child’s shit or piss packed diaper?  Get over it.  Train.  Get your wipe patterns down.  Get confident.  Work your forearms out at the gym not to help you jerk off but to be able to hold both the child’s legs while you clean up a rash infused asshole.  It’s a skill and something lacking in this country.   Mom’s don’t own the home anymore.  Dads are right there or need to be.  If I have to start a revolution I will.  Tomorrow maybe?

Right now I am starting the end of this message.  Film-Addict is growing little by little.  The Google Analytic’s are looking up and advertising is next.  The mobile version is setting up to launch, where we will reach millions of movie lovers.  Our goal is to lure you in with original takes on movies, offer fan connection, engagement and build our site up to be a global giant.  I want the world’s attention.   A little advice.  See The Words but skip Cosmopolis but if you want a sure thing, go watch Killer Joe.  If that isn’t available, seek out The Bourne Legacy.

That’s all for now.  Thanks for reading and goodnight.

Your South St. Louis City cyber correspondent,

Dan L. Buffa

“The L is for Larry”

The Simple Dose

A stream of consciousness on an early Sunday morning starts now…

The Cardinals finally earned a run, delivered and took a win in Washington.  Following a baseball team includes plenty of gut punches and heartache, but the moment your team is able to put together a worthy needed comeback effort, it’s a fair time to smile, do a small fist pump and have a drink.   The win goes down in the books as a single victory, but in the hearts of many Cards fans across the country, the win meant much more.  After playing 40 innings without scoring an earned run, the Cardinals stormed back in Saturday’s contest with the feared and highly skilled Nationals, scored 10 runs and won in dramatic late inning style.  This is the kind of win that gets you out of a rut.  The problem is the Cards have done this many times this season.  Pulled off a huge comeback and then sank right back to the bottom of the good pile.  Can this team pick their shit off the ground and finally walk?  We shall see.  First, lets take a look back at Saturday’s slug fest.

*It wasn’t like pitching wasn’t allowed in the game or defense wasn’t required, but this was a game of the bats.  Head to head.  Bat to bat.  Power to power.  There were 4 home runs in this game, and two from each side.  The Nationals led 4-0 and 6-2 and then 8-7, but saw all three leads vanish.  The Cards, dead and cold for 4 games that need to be erased immediately, didn’t stay down after the initial punch.  We jumped on one of the best pitchers in the game.  Jordan Zimmerman, one of the cogs of the Nationals brilliantly diverse rotation whose name sounds like a fashion designer.  He allowed 8 earned runs for the first time in his young career.  Given two four run leads, he blew both and gave the Cards life.  Kyle Lohse received tough luck shitty defense behind him, but gave 4 earned runs on 9 hits in under 6 innings.  Each bullpen had rough patches.  This was an offensive game.

*The Cards didn’t look great today.  Matt Holliday contributed a 2 run bomb to centerfield but he also made a horrible drop on a deep fly ball to left in the first inning that led to two runs.  Daniel Descalso fumbled a ball at second base that led to a run.  Allen Craig threw the laziest throw to home plate, allowing the Nationals to engineer an extra run in the 6th inning to take the lead 9-8.   The defense was suspect and the pitching sucked until the 8th inning.

*I don’t like Bryce Harper.  By that I mean he is a very good young ballplayer.  It isn’t fun facing him because he forces the issue and takes chances.   Sure, he is hitting .258 and strikes out a ton and carries a mouth of a 10 year vet, but the kid is a game changer.  He sits in the #2 hole, cranks home runs, hustles out of the box on everything, forces infielders and outfielders to respect his speed and can play a fine center field.  He doesn’t like to suck and doesn’t mind being a villain to other teams.   Today, he forced the issue by going from first to third on a base hit in the 6th inning and then coming home when the Cards tried to catch another runner trying to take second base.  Harper did what few players do in this modern game.   Force the player to throw him out.  There are few things Harper can’t do and if you are a Nationals fan, that’s fantastic.  If you are on any other team’s side, it’s a burden that will never go away.  The kid backs it up.

*Jason Motte doesn’t mind Harper.  In two faceoffs, Motte has struck out Harper swinging each time on a fastball riding high and away.  The first time, Harper glared back at Motte, wondering how he missed the pitch.  The second time, on Saturday, the kid just sat down and accepted his fate.  Being a rookie closer, getting saves on the road in tough environments is destructive territory.  Motte blew through the heart of the Nationals order for his 32nd save.

*Today, we face Steven Strasburg, the young legend.   As he tip toes down towards his innings limit coming off Tommy John Surgery, Strasburg is going to bring the heat and intensity in a way few young pitchers can.  Gio Gonzalez may be as good of a pitcher as Strasburg, but the persona and reputation brought by the right hander is unmatched in the National League.  I don’t think the ace of a rotation should be shut down for arm strength concerns, especially when that team is in first place, ready to make a deep playoff run and playing great baseball.   If they were so worried about his innings, why not start him up in mid May so he doesn’t miss playoff starts.  Washington didn’t play this situation right at all.   Nonetheless, the Cardinals go against Strasburg for a series split and I can tell you it won’t be easy.   Expecting Jake Westbrook to match him is like asking Damian Marley to produce a clean urine sample.  However, after Waino and Lohse got smoked, it would be nice to see Jake deliver the grit and give us a chance.  If the hapless Marlins can get to Straz, the Cards have a shot.

*It’s good to see Yadi Molina jump right back into the lineup and deliver big hits mere days after suffering the collision at home plate.  The man has brass balls.

*Let me make something clear.   Rafael Furcal going down is a blow because of his presence at shortstop, his defense and the way his bat can change the bottom of the lineup. Losing him isn’t a good thing, but knowing he could avoid surgery and be ready for 2013 sounds better than thinking about the empty area that could have arrived at a pivotal position in spring training.   I will tell you right now that Pete Kozma and Ryan Jackson aren’t the answers now or next year.  They are the same player.  Light hitting defensive minded shortstops.   If the Cards had any sense, seeing Furcal’s frailty, take the salary that arrives after the departure of Berk and Lohse and start thinking about a long term option at short.   With Furcal’s injury and the lack of depth in the organization, the Cards need to fill this area.  Daniel Descalso isn’t at his best defensively at shortstop and can’t hit enough to play every day.  He is a great bench bat/defensive substitute.  Mozelaik can’t continue to solve this internally.  This season he is out of choices, but next year he needs to find a true long term option even if Furcal does come back.

The Other News and Notes

*Here’s some artists on my latest mix of tunes.  XX, Sarah Jaffe, The Tallest Man on Earth, Melody Gardot, The Lumineers, Eric McCarley, The Black Keys, Rodriguez, The Gaslight Anthem, Ryan Bingham, The Who and a man named Johnny Cash.

*Mitch Romney’s campaign slogan is called “recover” in the same design used for Obama’s change.  Really, Mitt, copying off others instead of reinventing a new brand.  You aren’t changing anything yet.  Fucking Republicans.

*I like being in the middle of the political parties and races.   That way I am not bias towards one party’s candidate.  I don’t have to vote for the left or right.  I vote for the person.  This is the reason people can’t watch The Newsroom.  They are so hellbent on one side that a show covering past news events pisses them off.   Tying yourself to one boat limits your opportunities to learn more about the world of politics, the laws and way the world can turn.

*I am one of the people who believe an elite team of Navy Seals gained access to Osama Bin Laden’s home and murdered him on May 1st, 2011.  I just know it.  I don’t give all the credit to the President or the previous President.  I give direct praise to the brave men and women who went onto enemy turf, sniffed out a bad man and took him down.  I will be reading the eye witness account of  the Ex-Navy Seal’s book chronicling the mission,No Easy Day, when it arrives on September 11.  Call me a sucker, but I love true crime.  You either believe what happened that night or you go with an unsubstantial opinion that Bin Laden was killed several years ago.  I go where the evidence points me.  If that makes me a sucker, then so be it.  At least I will have good reading.  You think something else happened.  Write a book about it.

*I have been watching a lot of crap on DVD lately.   Get The Gringo with Mel Gibson, the pale shade of a talented crazy movie star gone straight to DVD.   Bernie with Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey could have been an enjoyable black comedy but instead it was porous and slow.  The Raid: Redemption was a straight up bone crunching action overkill Japanese martial arts showdown and while it was cool to watch, the lingering effect was the DVD rental was a correct viewing format.   Last night I watched a full blown chick flick called L!fe Happens.  Yes, that’s an exclamation point in the title.  I am a good husband.   If I rent a guy film one night, I try to get something for the wife and I the next night.  This movie turned out to be a little gem.  Krysten Ritter starred and co-wrote the screenplay, playing a single mom living with her two best friends while raising a kid that was an accident yet forced her to change.  The plot and script are by the books, but the performances of Ritter and Kate Bosworth raised the film to a slightly higher level.  They didn’t turn the brutally tough life of a single parent into a fake world of opportunity.  They kept it grounded in reality and Ritter was convincing as a young woman who lost a little of herself with one bad decision.  The movie charmed me a bit and it would have made a fair date night in theaters.

*There’s a lot of greed and disconnection in sports.  Dishonesty as well.   The NHL may have their second strike in ten years.  The NFL referees are on strike.  The NFL lost part of training camp to a strike last year.  Major League Baseball is finding cheaters every month.  Boxing is finding cheaters every other month.   A legendary cyclist was stripped of his titles for supposed doping.  When will it all stop?   Just pointing out what I see.

*Keep this name in mind when you think of new power punching boxers.  Middleweight Gennady Golivkin, a tank at 158 who fought his first fight in the USA on Friday night fights on HBO and beat a fighter in Grzegorz Proksa, who had beaten several good fighters, to a pulp in 4 rounds.  Golivkin is a dynamic puncher with a solid jab, a fierce hook to the body and a straight right that buckles necks.  Keep this guy’s name in your mind.

*Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez have a reason to hate each other and each side is justified in their thinking.  Martinez is a veteran middleweight southpaw who has crafted a career of beating big names in big ways.  Chavez Jr. is a famous boxer’s son who is unbeaten with a belt but hasn’t fought a big name.   The older fighter wants to see the young power puncher earn his spot by beating him, while the younger fighter wants to convince the older fighter and many around him that he is a true champion.   Great pre fight buildup that is legit.  Watch this on two episodes of HBO’s fascinating series, 24/7.

*I have watched the Newsroom finale 6 times.  That’s a confession.  Also a reminder of how great and meaningful Aaron Sorkin’s show is.  It’s a series that challenges the viewer to seek out their own take on a real news story.   Can people over the age of 95 acquire a photo ID to vote in all 50 states?  What are the roots of the Republican party and have they gone wrong?  Is America the greatest country in the world and if not, where did it go wrong?   Sorkin says all the little things we want to say but don’t have the platform to shout from.  Watch this show my friends.  It will get your mind working and your mouth moving.  A moving show.

*My next show to watch.  AMC’s Hell on Wheels.  After several false starts, I may give this series a couple hours to woo me.  Something about the building of a railroad, avenging gunslingers, the potential of Anson Mount and feedback I am getting makes this one a show to seek out.  It’s this series or HBO’s Game of Thrones or AMC’s Walking Dead.   Hell on Wheels gets my first look.

That’s all.  I mean it.  Over and done.

Oh, one more thing.  Is it normal for a nearly 1 year old kid to have the leg strength of a sumo wrestler?  Just wondering if my kid is a mutant or just damn strong.

Thanks for reading and goodnight,

Dan L. Buffa

“The L is For Larry”