Topics For Discussion

Going with name Topics today.   Newsworthy items and the random bits of opinion.  Here we go.  60 minutes to type.  My house isn’t quiet but I’m going anyway.

Tim Tebow-You may have heard of this guy somewhere or everywhere.   He is beloved by ESPN reporters and people who believe in faith and good old fashioned mamma boys.  I  don’t worship the guy or his faith but I do like him because he has done nothing but win his entire football career, doesn’t let the harsh words of fellow players get to him and keeps doing his job while being imprisoned in New York.   I say imprisoned because after taking a 1-4 Denver team in 2011 to a winning season and a playoff victory over the Steelers, Tebow was traded to The Jets after Peyton Manning decided he wanted to play in Denver.   Tebow supposedly chose New York over Jacksonville but that could be strictly bullshit for all we know.  All I do know is that Tebow needs to be traded or inserted in for the dreadful Mark Sanchez.    Sanchez can look good for a game or two but he will never win in New York and everybody knows it.   He has been there for a long time and has put together a rough season.  Take away the St. Louis game and he is borderline horrible.   52 percent completion percentage and a red zone reputation that includes throwing costly interceptions.   Tebow deserves a game, any game, to show what he can do with a full game.  If not, trade him to someone who will give him the chance he deserves.   People have short term memories and forget what Tebow did last year.  He was aided by a solid Broncos defense but threw the team on his back en route to a solid unbelievable season.   He isn’t a natural quarterback and his completion percentage isn’t better than Sanchez but he can do what Mark can’t and that’s turn it on in the fourth quarter.  Tebow led 4 comebacks in 2011 that ended in game ending or overtime wins, one of which against the Jets.   Tebow is a clutch 4th quarter performer who has seen his talent strangled in New York.  The biggest Tebow hater has to agree he deserves a shot somewhere to see if he can be a starting quarterback.  I can’t tell you if he can because I haven’t seen a team give him a legit shot.  He turned Denver around and they cashed in on the Peyton sweepstakes.  Will Arizona enter the Tebow sweepstakes in 2013?   They have a rough situation there and could use a little extra juice behind Kevin Kolb.   Do the Jets keep him for another year and harness him to punt returns and wildcat schemes?   Did Rex Ryan and Jets management do this to put a lid on the Tebow sensation?  If so, it’s working because they are finding ways to not give him reps.   He suddenly had broken ribs this past week.  While Sanchez didn’t play bad, he didn’t help himself much on Thursday against the Patriots.   How long will this last?   I can agree that the coverage on a backup quarterback is overwhelming and not good for the game but will say this.  Do those people know something that I do?   Give Tebow a shot, see what he is all about in the shaky land of the big apple and if he can lead this team to a season changing victory?   Until the Jets unleash the beast, the coverage will continue.

Lance Berkman-The respected slugger agreed to coach at his alma mater Rice University this winter while he decides if he wants to play another season in the big leagues.  Personally, if his knee is anywhere near sound,  I would think he must come back, sign with the Astros, give a young scared uncultured baseball the required guidance and end his own run on a high note.  Taking a bow in the same place where he dominated for most of his career.   Baseball needs more guys like Lance Berkman.   When he does hang up the cleats, I hope he finds a spot coaching in the majors soon after.   His attitude is infectious.

Rafael Furcal-His elbow is healthy but it is still a ticking time bomb, just like the rest of his body.  He hasn’t played over 120 games in a season in four seasons.   Cards GM John Mozelaik needs to find a middle infield specialist to bridge the gap between the exit of Furcal and the entrance of Kolten Wong at second base.  Start looking for a shortstop.  A long term option.  Now.  Ask the Rangers about Elvis Androus.  Ask what Marco Scutaro’s price is.  See what the Indians really want for Cabrera.  Don’t rest on the medical report of Rafael Furcal.

Alternate Jerseys For Cardinals-The Saturday home throwback jerseys are the perfect blend of class if you ask me.   For the first time since 1932, the words “St. Louis” will appear on a jersey  in Cardinal nation and carry the look of the old school ball club.   While some have called it a push for more money, I see it as a required touch.  Bill DeWitt III developed and executed the new design over the past few years and he doesn’t do things only for profit.   He is full of rich baseball history and loved the chance to sprinkle the old golden days on the modern era of baseball in St. Louis.   Being a friend of his for years, I remember when he designed the team logos for a long time.  He doesn’t rush on products or just put anything on the board.  He loves baseball, this team’s history and incorporated it into his thought process.   I can’t wait for April.

Rams-An improved team for sure at 3-6-1 but also a team that could very easily be 5-5 right now.  The Detroit and San Francisco games were there for us to win and lost by stupidity.  Jeff Fisher is a good coach but his staff got outcoached in too many games.   Rex Ryan and the Jets took The Rams to school by splitting up the attack 50/50 in the run and passing game.  Steven Jackson has been in beast mode for two weeks now and the Rams won’t give him the ball enough.  He gets 81 yards on 13 carries, basically runs over Bart Scott and other defenders for extra yards and he gets shut down in the second half.   The Rams are still a troubled bound for futility franchise, but you expect more out of them when they start 3-2.  What kind of team gets a delay of game penalty that negates a game winning field goal to secure an upset over a division rival?  What team has a player line up wrong and watch an 80 yard passing play in overtime get deleted?  What team stops running the ball when its producing behind a wild horse like SJ39 and only down by 7 points?  Fisher and his coaches have work to do.  The players need to resist retardation and remember they aren’t the doormat of the NFL anymore.  The Rams were picked in Vegas to win the game on Sunday.  That’s how much things have changed.  Facing the Cardinals on Sunday, this team can’t afford to lose.  The Arizona Cardinals are horrendous and only win by accident.  They don’t have a quarterback nor a reliable offensive line.   The Rams last win came in early October against the Cardinals at the Dome where the Rams vicious pass rush knocked Kevin Kolb from the game and off the field since then.  They must get back to their early season form.  Pass rush heavy attack, run the ball hard and often and get your corners and safeties moving.  The Rams are without a turnover since the Cardinals game.  No turnovers means your offense must win the game and that won’t be happening unless you set the big man, Jackson, free.  Speaking of which.

Steven Jackson-He is on fire this month.  For the first time in a couple years, I can tell you the man looks completely healthy, and is running over good football defenders.  He dragged Patrick Willis and Bart Scott down the field two weeks in a row.  After his helmet was ripped off, Jackson came plowing against the 49ers two weeks ago.  When he is good to go, he runs fearless and is hard to stop.  The offensive line is opening up more ground for this ram to run through but Jackson is also getting more yards after contact.  Going into a free agent offseason, Jackson is setting himself up perfectly.  For years, he has kept his mouth shut, played hard, fought through injuries and been the leader of this unbalanced team.  He has survived multiple head coaches, quarterbacks and offensive coordinators and really became the last man standing.  I have nothing but love for Steven and his perseverance with this football team.  If he departs and earns a championship elsewhere, it wouldn’t happen to a more deserving player.  Fans here often take out their frustration on that particular last man standing, and its unfair and not true.  With the constant change before Bradford arrived and the coaching changes after The Bradford Era took off on the bumpy strip, Jackson has done nothing but produced.  With horrible offensive lines and the playcalling centered around him with defenders stacked in the box, the Ram known as SJ39 has produced.  He was the byproduct of shitty team management, horrible drafting and a maligned existence and dwindling fan base.  Jackson’s only competitive season here was in 2004, when he was a backup to Marshall Faulk.  The Rams have to be smart and put the ball in Jackson’s hands at least 25-30 times a game.  Mix in backup Darryl Richardson but keep the focus on the beast.  If there is one thing I know, Sam Bradford isn’t a bust of a #1 draft pick but he isn’t winning many games on his own right now.

Bradford-That isn’t a shot at Sam.  He, like Jackson, has been the victim of constant change, which is self destructive for a young quarterback who happens to be highly touted and expected to move earth and walk on water in North St. Louis.   Bradford wowed us with his rookie season and when he took a huge step back last season, we all shook our heads and slunk into sad oblivion.  Could Sam lead us out of the dogged dreary lands of failure or would he sink under the expectations?   This season, he has sprinkled in moments of optimism and dread.   He can lead the team towards a near upset against San Francisco and then be outplayed by the predictably soft Mark Sanchez last weekend.  Bradford holds onto the ball too long, can’t throw deep, has problems producing touchdowns in the red zone and isn’t taking off just yet.   Everybody in Rams blue will tell you he is the One but watching the games, I can tell you the kid looks strong minded yet gun shy and disgruntled.  Like any athlete, he expects to turn things around here all by himself and lets his emotions show.   This is a quarterbacks league and Bradford must learn to pull victories out from under sure defeats.  Can he do it?  Jeff Fisher supports him and took the job because of Bradford, so this is his team.  This is year three of the Bradford era.   A big turning point in the 2012 season comes tomorrow in the desert.  Bradford can’t afford to be outplayed by John Skelton.  Time for him to take control.

Thanksgiving-This year’s trip to KC was a shortened ride because the wife worked this morning at 8am.   That meant waiting for Vinny to hit the sack last night around 7 p.m. and getting into the car for a near 5 hour drive home to St. Louis.  It is nice to get out of the city and away from normal but the bitter clashes with the sweet when you drive 9.5 hours in less than 48 hours for such a brief time away.  It felt like we showed up Wednesday night around midnight on the eve of Thanksgiving, did a few things and quickly got things together and left without doing much.   What we did was hang out with Rae’s family.   She spends time with the sisters and I go off on gun trips with the men, Ed and Brian.  We went driving around yesterday looking for a gun holster and after 5 stores the lookout was called.   I haven’t spent that much time around metal and lead since the last time I watched a John Woo film.  We drove in around 1230 a.m. this morning and I can tell you I am good for long distance driving for some time.  It’s a change of pace that kicks your ass.

Planners-In other words, self help books for directional value.  For the time ever, I own a planner.  Something to throw some key dates into, hold onto and use as a reference.  A 2013 black covered planner.   You know you are getting old and flexible when you write a week in your planner.   Parenting effect #203.

My New Job-The new gig is Ronnoco coffee in St. Louis city and it’s a basic warehouse gig yet sweetened with the delight of working around and with the great thing we call coffee.   They get it fresh from Columbia and Guatemala and grind and roast it right there in the plant.   I’ve been a utility worker so far, spending time in distribution and production as well as packing.  I can tell you there are worse things to go home smelling like but I will also inform you that coffee gets into the cracks in your skin and makes your skin super dry.  All in all, it pays and doesn’t kill the rest of my life.

Film-Addict-The site is looking more fresh and reliable for movie fans every day it runs.  We fill the daily dose section with free screening alerts and giveaways every other day and write new material nearly as much.  Christopher Walken is on a role in his career, and you can head over to film-addict.com to check out my piece on him.   He’s been in 129 films and won an Oscar and could be nominated again this year.  He is a method actor and a man who loves to take work because he doesn’t do anything else.  Read more on the site.  There is a cinema spotlight on the new luxury suites at West Olive 16 in Creve Coeur.  There are reviews for the independent films as well as the mainstream features.  I am watching Edward Burns tonight in his new film, The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, which he wrote/directed/produced/stars in about a big Irish holiday get together that involves reconciling with his estranged father.   Burns does talky dysfunctional Irish films the best and is a true creator in Hollywood.  Here’s a piece I did on him this summer.

http://www.film-addict.com/news-reviews/daily-dose/item/571-edward-burns-renegade-filmmaker

http://www.film-addict.com/news-reviews/daily-dose/item/804-ed-burnss-new-film-tyler-perry-connection

Pacquiao-Marquez IV-Why do both men need this fourth and final fight?  You ever seen a book sitting on the shelf that won’t close.  That’s the battle between these two men.  Juan Manuel Marquez is a seasoned boxer who feels like he has beat Manny Pacquiao at least 2 times and feels slighted and disgraced by the decisions.  Pacquiao is the world wide sensation, the politician and superb power puncher who owns victories in 8 different weight classes.   The first three fights have created a highly contested draw and two paper thin decisions for Manny.  In December, the two men meet again, nearly a year later, to decide the fate of their legacies.  The fights hold cards for each men.   Pacquiao is coming off the ridiculous decision loss to Timothy Bradley, a fight everyone knew he won but the record books will always say otherwise.   He needs to beat Marquez without controversy in order to maintain a pace to meet Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the ring and silence the doubters who think he has lost a step.   Marquez needs this to legitimize his career and stamp in stone that he beat Manny Pacquiao, a fighter who has left a shade of darkness on his otherwise respectable run.   Each man wants to close this ugly chapter in their life.  The thrilling HBO series 24/7 captures their preparations these next couple of weeks before the fight.  I crave the behind the scenes drama of boxing and this show delivers 100 percent.  Give it a look or wait for the blood to spill on December 8th.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.-When is he going to make a comeback and will his aging body agree to it?  He’s wasting time gambling and trying to be 50 Cent, his former business partner and best friend and the recipient of nine gun shot wounds.  Pacquaio and Mayweather Jr. are perplexing sports figures who are becoming doubled sided and a bit jaded.  Pacquiao can’t decide if he wants to be a politician(for good reason, his home country needs a leader) or a fighter.  His last few fights have shown a small dose of disinterest and an even smaller level of killer instinct.  You don’t see me a man hunting another fighter in a square.  You see one trying to keep an image.  Ask him where his heart is and when he needs to stop.  Mayweather Jr. can’t decide if he wants to be a celebrity/criminal or a fighter?  He is brilliant in the ring but horrible out of it for the most part.  He gets into trouble like most people walk into grocery stores.  Common and on a schedule.  Both these men can’t decide what they have in store for their bodies and minds.  I still believe in seeing them clash, but will it be too late when it finally happens?  There’s nothing more depressing than a boxer who has overstayed his welcome in the ring.

Silver Linings Playbook-While my full review sits on film-addict, I will divulge a taste of it here because this eccentric sports obsession related romantic drama is a must see for all movie fans.  If Argo is too political and Lincoln is too historical and slow, give this spicy entry a try.  It’s in limited release at the moment but expands next week.   What you will get is the best performance from Bradley Cooper to date and a powerfully raw and unforced performance from Jennifer Lawrence as two “crazies”, a bipolar former mental patient released early by his mother who meets a damaged yet dirty and free spirited lady in Lawrence.   Cooper digs deeper than before to play a guy haunted by the effect that the illness lays on his life and Lawrence has never been better than stepping into Tiffany’s angry femme fatale here.  Director David O. Russell is an old fashioned romantic but he also knows things don’t come easy in life and people say fuck a lot and do bad things.   Uncontrollable forces are at play here as well because in the background lies a realistic look at sports obsession.  Cooper’s Pat is a Philadelphia Eagles diehard and his father(played by DeNiro and featuring the finest work by the elder thespian in years) carries the tortured day to day work of an OCD patient set loose.   A man desperate to connect with his son, who desperately wants to reconnect with his ex-wife, even though Tiffany sits right in front of him.  Everybody is desperate and dangerous in Silver Linings Playbook and that makes for good drama.  Russell isn’t afraid to show the sad but true anger management eruptions of a bi polar patient diagnosed at 30 after he beats the shit out of a man fucking his wife.  He also shows the painful OCD traits of DeNiro’s dad lining up the remotes a certain way, clutching a napkin for the entire game and lending his life to a game.  The advice he gives to Pat before dropping him off at an Eagles-Giants game is universal for fathers and sons everywhere.  “Don’t drink too much.  Don’t hit anybody.  You’ll be fine.”   While Pat doesn’t follow the rules, neither do we and that’s the point in this wonderfully raucous and quietly powerful film that I will stand behind as a film that needs to be celebrated.  Love hurts, but not as much as a condition that you have to live with the rest of your life.  Better find an ally to help you along the way and hope she looks like Jennifer Lawrence.

Random Bits-

*Ricky Hatton returns to the boxing ring tonight  3 years after a Manny Pacquiao left hook, depression, suicidal attempts, drugs and family discord nearly knocked him out for good.  I’ve always liked the British fighter with a huge planet hopping following and his own two losses come against Pac-Man and Floyd.  Here’s to him scoring a win.

*My son, Vincent is walking, smiling and getting in trouble yet getting away with it because of how damn cute he is.   He is also the strongest 14 month old ever.  Yes, I checked.  It’s amazing how much kids test you daily.   That separates the boys from men in fatherhood and has a huge impact on the kid’s life because these are the times you need to invest important simple ideas of right and wrong in your kids.  I am up to the challenge and always will be.  I am not running from anything.

*Working 40 hours a week kicked my ass after four months spent at home.  Your schedule, sleep, energy levels and availability are thrown into disarray.  That’s called working class blues.  I’ll deal with it.

*Finally, the wind chill and cold temps of winter showed up.   After weeks of teasing, the cold winter is landing on my runway.  I can deal with it.  Cold November-December days are easier to manage than scolding hot August days.

*It’s okay to drink every night.  Just use your math and understand beers and bottles add up and can’t be cancelled out by food intake or wise old age.  Alcoholic training schools aren’t an ambitious project.

*Before you do serious drugs(heroin, cocaine, meth), check google for before and after pictures of previous users.  If that doesn’t stop you, you are already dead.

*People are still trying to walk into schools and movie theaters and kill civilians.   If they are caught, a gunshot won’t due.  Prison time isn’t good either.  Just tie them up, keep them alive on a blood transfusion, and let the family members of each victim walk, pick up a club or corkball bat and slam them in the head at least twice.  Drop the picture and go to work.  That’s payback.  Blood for blood.  What gets into people walking into theaters and trying to kill innocent people?  This is the reason I think guns aren’t the enemy.  The X Factor is always the user.  The carrier.  If the gun fell into the right hands in Aurora, Colorado in July, the gunman may have bit the dust first.  I have shot many guns before in recreation for one reason.  Be ready to fire when called upon.  It could happen any night.  When I put my finger on the trigger I intend to shoot.  Shoot to kill.

*Since the NHL owners and players can’t agree on a deal to end a lockout stretching to 3 months here, NHL commissioner and historically retarded peace talker Gary Bettman wants to propose a two week break from talks.   Two more weeks without hockey, work for thousands of people and a game kept in the dark.  Let’s try this Gary.   Lock both parties into one room, feed them nothing but white castle, peanuts and Stag beer, close all the windows, open only one bathroom and turn off the heat and air conditioning and see how long it takes for a compromise to occur on one side or the other.   I will say it again.  It’s both parties’ fault.   Stand on one side and you miss the picture.  The players took a cut in 2005 when the lockout wiped out an entire season.   This time, the owners want more money but the players refuse to move.  Blame both sides.  Greed over money.  It’s embarrassing and can be fixed with a little give and thought to the millions of hockey fans and arena workers who power the sport.   Since each side depends on the other, look at the party who makes the sport possible.  The fans.  Get it done with the bad food smoke out task.   Or grab the club or bat and get dirty.

*The NBA is on.  I don’t care.

*College Football is also on.  I don’t care.

Life happens every day.  I do care.  We take the punches every day and either keep moving forward or fall flat.  For now, I am moving on from this blog post.  I hope you took something away from it.  If not, my job remains to be completed next time.

Thanks for reading and goodnight,

Dan L. Buffa

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Author: D. Buffa

A regular guy who feels a journalistic hunger to tell the news. I blog because its wired into my brain to write what I think in print. I offer an opinion. A solo tour here. Take regular stories and offer my spin on them. Sports, film, television, music, fatherhood, culture, food, and so on. Commentary on everything. A St. Louis native and Little Rock resident who wants to write just to keep the hands fresh and ready.

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