Holiday Greetings From A Cigar Smoking Gorilla

Hello there,

Excuse me while I indulge my inner thought process here as I gulp red wine and take in an annual Christmas tradition of watching Love Actually and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  As I watch Hugh Grant shake his skinny British ass, let’s unload a round of ammo here.  Starting off with a message from Billy Mack(played by the wonderful British old man Bill Nighy): “Kids, don’t do drugs.  Become a rock star and they give them to you for free.”

List of Thoughts ranging from absurd to important to random.

  • A year ago today, in the early morning, my grandmother Meme passed away after a 13 day stay in a coma.   The wrong exit for such a kindred spirit.  If you know me well,  you can say I am social and have a personality taking up the space of a mall parking lot.   I talk to anyone and share little fear.  I got my bluntness from my father.  I got the social fever from Meme.  Before she took her final steps down that staircase and into her fall, she was talking, living, and drinking red wine.   She soaked up life by the hour.  She watched 60 minutes, sucked down vino like it was going out of style, and loved French cinema.  She was unique and special.   She is gone.  It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.   She deserved to go out surrounded by family, winking, talking and alert.   Having her plug pulled was just wrong.  That’s life.  It takes place in a fine world but is absolutely cruel at times.  Frank Sinatra once said, “You’re flying high in April and shot down in May”.  That was my family last year.   After the birth of my son, his health struggles and ensuing recovery, we thought we had won and were digging in for a wonderful close to a tough year.   Then, Meme fell down 9 steps at a Christmas party and smacked her head on the pavement at the bottom.  Concrete.  She left us at that moment.   The rest leaving only a line of goodbyes that got harder each time.  I remember randomly staring into my cell phone to see a facebook message from my uncle, saying “Meme took a fall, call your parents.”   Fuck, I thought it was nothing.   A year before, Meme fell down outside my parents house and broke her hip.  She spent some time in a hospital and recovered.   This time was different.  I got to Mercy Hospital and knew immediately it was doom.  Nancy Koplar, who was at the party, gave me that fake smile of relief as she left and I arrived. Meme made it out of surgery that night, my parents went home and I slept at the hospital on death watch.  My parents, especially my father, knew doom was awaiting.  That’s death.  It doesn’t just show up.  It drops down, wrecks the street, kicks open your door and screams in your hallways.  Death is a bitch and always will be.  We can be fortunate for the time spent with the deceased but what do you do if their time was wrongly cut short.  You get pissed, hot, full of rage and think about hurting something or someone.  Then, you realize this is your grandmother and real life and not your best friend inside of a guilty pleasure action movie.  Meme will be missed tomorrow.   This Christmas will be tough.   A year later means the wounds are still tender and open.  A few tears will be shed at some point because you either try to keep your mouth shut and not get my mother sad or you feel the need to say something and make her sad anyway.  It’s a tricky walk of life that we all have to play.  RIP Meme.  
  • Love Actually marked a fateful sad role for Liam Neeson.  In the film, he plays a grieving widow trying to get over the recent death of his wife while dealing with the springing emotions of his step son and his feelings for a classmate.  A few years later, Neeson lost his wife in real life, Natasha Richardson, to a skiing accident.  Afterwards, he proceeded to douse his career in a loving way with older action hero roles.  Taken and its sequel, A-Team, Batman Begins, The Grey and Unknown.   All quality to great films.   This holiday classic was the requiem to the horrible dream for Neeson personally but sprung his career in a new direction and pumped new life into it.  Talk about bittersweet.  I can only imagine if his wife didn’t die would he do so much action?  A question worth asking but I will add this.  Neeson is a kickass action star and it doesn’t get more convincing.  So when Taken 2 veers into familiar directions, we still watch because of Neeson’s raw ability to entertain with his thinking man’s action stardom.
  • Merril Hodge pisses me off.  The former Steelers fullback let it rip on Tim Tebow again on Sunday night football and I don’t know why.   Hodge has always hated Tebow and doubted his abilities.   He did this before Tebow started his remarkable run with Denver before going quiet while it was happening.   He started talking again when Tebow failed to take more than 2 snaps all year under center for the Jets.   He said the Jets didn’t know how bad Tebow before they traded for him.   Let me ask Merrill Hodge a question.  How the hell do you gauge a player’s worth in practice?  If we did that, Mark Sanchez would be a Super Bowl caliber player and not a replaced average quarterback bound to fight for his job for the rest of his career.   How did Tebow seem so bad last year when he took a 1-4 Broncos team and turned them into a playoff team and went on to upset Pittsburgh in the first round.   That’s why he is talking.   His former team was ousted by Tebow and his first play from scrimmage toss to Demaryous Thomas for the winning touchdown.   Maybe Hodge is just against it.  Let me make myself clear.  Merrill Hodge is a fucking idiot.   How does he know Tebow is so bad if he barely played all season?  What is he basing his view on?  All I can see is a man who wins when he is put in charge of the offense?   Tebow has barely said a word all season before telling Rex Ryan he wasn’t his bitch last week and opting out of meaningless Wildcat formation plays.    Is Ryan mad because Tebow came back and beat his Jets last season?  Along with millions of other people, not all Tebow fanatics, I wonder why Tebow hasn’t been given a shot this season with Sanchez’s futility and the Jets depressing state of play.   Why was he pushed to the side for a third string quarterback?   I will tell you why.  Rex Ryan doesn’t want to be proved wrong.  If he put Tebow in this week and the Florida kid took the team and city by storm and won a game, Ryan would look like a complete retard and be fired on the spot.   Instead, he will keep Tebow on the sidelines where he can do no damage to his ego or future.   Ryan was stubborn to the point of resembling a 5 year old this season and it will cost him his job.  I see Ryan’s angle.  I don’t get Hodge.  His words are completely meaningless.
  • It’s a no brainer to say Denver is fine without Tebow.  Peyton Manning is rejuvenated and powered that team to a 12-3 season and virtually looks unbeatable.   Tebow’s exit from Denver was appropriate.  The Jets were a rather perfect fit.  A ground and pound running attack, sturdy defense and a head coach ballsy enough to throw him into the fire.  Boy we were wrong.  I would wager money on the fact that Tim Tebow could have won more games with his unpredictable ability in the pocket than Mark Sanchez and his INT tendencies.   Any quarterback can look good in practice.  Tebow thrived in the moment of the action.  In the 4th quarter, there wasn’t a more dangerous force in the second half of 2011.  Tebow deserved better than this.  I will say he is a flawed quarterback with accuracy issues and a god craving that I simply don’t have.  He is a genuinely good guy and a talented player who deserved a chance.   When the Jets were reeling, there was zero reason to leave Tebow on the bench.   He could have changed their season.  We will never know.  If the Jets have a heart, they will release Tebow this week, let him be picked up by Jacksonville and allow him to begin his career with that franchise.   Do it right, New York.  You have already done enough wrong.
  • The Rams were very impressive on Sunday in beating Tampa Bay on the road, 28-13.  Down 3-0, the Rams got an interception return touchdown from white hot rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins to make it 7-3 and never looked back.  They used three more Josh Freeman interceptions to build a 28-6 lead in the third quarter and evened their record at 7-7-1 going into the final week against the hottest team in the NFC, The Seattle Seahawks.   If the Rams can pull off an upset, it will be their first winning season since 2005.  That doesn’t matter right now.  The Rams will at least finish 7-8-1 and that is an outstanding improvement from 2-14 in 2011.  Jeff Fisher and his coaches have stamped this team with a newfound toughness and soul that has been lacking since Mike Martz departed.   The kind of attack that screams, “fuck you, we are coming for your head, need recognition and will do anything for a win.”   If they had been sharper, the Rams could be 9-5 right now.  Hold onto that lead in Detroit and resist the urge to take a delay of game penalty in San Francisco and we may be in the playoffs.   Instead, we are even and looking good.  Our defense won that game in Tampa but the offense finished the job.   Given turnovers to work with, Bradford threw a pair of touchdown passes to Lance Kendricks.  Steven Jackson ran for 81 yards with a touchdown.  The Rams looked really good.  I’ll take that.
  • NFL notes.  What happened to Eli Manning and the Giants?  They have gotten their ass kicked two weeks in a row and are falling out of the NFC playoff picture?  Don’t blame Manning alone.  This entire team is stinking it up.   New York isn’t having a shiny season in the NFL.  The Steelers are out of playoff contention.   After last year’s first round bow out, this is the 2nd year in a row the Steelers will be a non factor.  Surprising only to a certain degree.   The Giants create more of a question mark and puzzle.  The Steelers didn’t have Big Ben behind center for three crucial weeks and had their momentum stripped.   The Giants just started to suck.   The Patriots almost lost to Chad Henne and the Jaguars.   Next year. that will be Tebow’s team.   Said it here first.  Its hard to bet against any team right now that doesn’t carry the name of Seattle or Denver.   Who picked those teams heading into the season?  Seattle is destroying teams and made a fool out of San Francisco on Sunday.  It wasn’t even close as Pete Carroll embarrassed Jim Harbaugh on prime time television.  Denver is playing so well with an average defense simply because of Peyton Manning’s ability to either stake his team to an early lead or bring them back.   This is something Peyton didn’t always do with Indy.   He couldn’t bring his team back and defy the odds.  With Denver, Peyton looks hard to beat.  I never doubted his ability.  Man has done it with two franchises and a long list of receivers.  Suck it Brady.  Green Bay looks beatable.  Houston is tough yet lacks the dynamite passing game and big stop defense.   Atlanta looks more legit every week but Matt Ryan can’t get it done in the playoffs.   Once again, the NFL playoffs will produce a different champion.
  • Watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.   My 2nd round of required holiday film pleasure.   Chevy Chase was at the top of his game in the best Griswald adventure.  Randy Quaid’s Cousin Eddie was priceless and nothing gets better than Chase’s rant at the end upon seeing his Christmas bonus.  20 years later, it is still hilarious.
  • The holidays are good for the simple reason that they make you stop to remember what you have lost but more importantly, what you have.   I have a great family.   A wife and a 15 month old ambitious little boy.  I have a good paying job with opportunities to rise through the company.  My wife is employed and makes good money.  I stay in touch with my family and have overcome some losses and hardships.  This year, a couple good friends of mine and I launched a movie website that continues to gather acclaim and is poised for a run in 2013.  It’s our little passion project that also labels us film critics.   I have a sea of friends and a solid group of trusted allies that I can depend on.  My wolfpack is intact.  My love for sports, film, and life in general is intact.   I also know that people know what I represent.   Originality and blunt opinion.  That’s all you can ask for.  In a year of change, maintaining your signature presence is important.

Stay thirsty my friends and happy holidays,

Your Trusted South St. Louis City cyber source,

Dan L. Buffa

The Daily Dose of Buffa

Greetings ladies and gents,

Let’s roll down a few topics as we get into the last few days before Christmas.   Always a good time of the year to reflect on what has went down in the past 12 months.   Excuse me if I load a round into the chamber and discuss a few things here.  This is the second day I have worked on this blog because when I finished typing on the first night, it felt flat, full of hot air and I was literally falling asleep as I typed it.  I’m not calling it shit, but I will say I needed another round of energy to come back, put a stamp on it and move on.  Enjoy and happy fucking holidays friendo’s.

Shootings Epilogue

In a way it’s hard to put a wrap on this subject.  The feelings that pour out every time I put my kid in that spot still sting and spar with my brain.  You can’t just forget about it.   20 kids died because they went to school.   The topical discussion is endless.   Gun Control?  Mental health?  What to do about the effects from the trauma of the event?  That’s for the suits to decide and me to fire out a few ideas.  Every great realization comes from a fierce discussion with my trusted ally and editor, Mr. PJ Nolan.   Today, in a few emails and confident debate, we put a few nails in the coffin.  First, the two biggest issues at play here.  Gun control(freedom to bear arms) and the idea of mental health coming into play with mass murder.  It’s impossible to outlaw guns.  Forget about it.  Attack the personal freedom of Americans and you will lose the world in a second.  Restrict, tighten and focus instead on monitoring gun owners.

Since you can’t outlaw guns, you have to fight fire with fire.  Taking away a man’s gun is dangerous territory. As I mentioned what seems like a week ago, the time has come to arm up the schools. If my coffee warehouse has more security than a school something is wrong. When are humans at their most fragile?  Teenage wasteland. All the shooters in these horrible massacres were as old as 26 and as young as 18. Put armed guards on schools. College, high school and especially elementary. Stopping these things from happening is like I said impossible. All you can do is defense it.

 Owners need to rethink their home casing. If these gun people want to own multiple guns then buy better cases to keep them in.  When I buy my gun for the house I will only do it if I can buy a hand sensor case. Like the hard target gun nut did point out, if you keep a gun in the case and by itself nobody gets hurt. Lets say I didn’t and Vinny went batshit crazy and grabbed my gun out of some unlocked case and decided to play with it, bad things would happen. That’s the risk we took when we were given the right to bear arms. If the mother had better cased her guns, she and 26 other people would be alive. If there was a single armed security guard on the school this may not have happened. You see, there’s two steps towards restricting a recurring incident.
Here’s more. When someone buys a gun, do an extensive background check. If this is already done, go fucking deeper and more extensive. See why they want it. Ask certain questions. Make sure they buy a proper case. If kids are in the house they must buy a sensor case. Yeah thats right. Squeeze them. Tax them like you said especially if you want to own more than one gun.  Make it harder. My brother in law Brian,myself, and others can handle it because our country produces crazy more than anybody else. This will happen again but it can’t happen to kids. Protect the young. Start there and work up. That’s what creates the talk. Gets people taking desperate measures. Hearing 20 kids died because they went to school. It’s still a scar in my head.
I’ve known for years what causes it. Having a gun and being crazy enough to use it on innocent people. Now it’s time to stop it. To do that you need to restrict, trim and rework the laws of this country without taking away people’s rights.  That’s our job to talk about it and other people to act on. I can help in a small way by buying the correct safe and preaching to others to do the same. Baby Steps.
That’s all we can do. Disregard the other forwards and stick to my words here. You can’t stop it but you can contain and restrict it. Unlike recycling, people could come together on safe gun control and limit a recurrence and actually do something meaningful.
The painful reality of all here is the human instinct.  Every time I think about those shootings, I get violent thoughts.   Violence breeds violence.  When we think of something happening to our babies, we don’t think about talking to that person afterwards.  The idea is hurt, kill or confront and do harm.  We can never change that.  They don’t make a drug to restrict the pure internal bond of protection over family.  Try to not feel bad for the parents of Daniel Barden.  Daniel wanted to be a firefighter when he grew up, like his uncle and cousin.  He idolized NYC firefighters.   At his funeral this week, several firefighters from NYC showed up to remember Daniel.   He was 7 years old.   Young Jack Pinto loved the Giants and Victor Cruz.  In a town of New England Patriots lovers, Jack loved Victor Cruz a lot. The Giants WR was his favorite player.   When Cruz found out about the six year old Pinto, he dedicated the day to him by writing Jack’s name on his cleats.   You might think, “Wow, that is it”.  Cruz drove to Newtown and visited Jack’s parents and other parents of victims.  He made an effort because he cared and the loss of one of his youngest fans struck him straight in the heart.   It’s something that we won’t soon forget.   Losing 26 people at a school isn’t as bad as losing 3,000 people in NYC.  However, the lingering shit cloud hanging over our heads comes from the fact 20 of those victims were 6 and 7 year kids.  If this is bothering you and the subject is closed and shut to you, then forget you read this part.  Read on.   This is my blog.  I can write about this all day and night.  I told you in the first blog on Saturday.  I’m done for now.
NRA ruling: Armed Guards on Schools
You know how I feel here.  I like NRA President Wayne Lapierre(weak name for a gun army leader) voting for putting armed guards on schools.    It carries risk to put an officer with a gun in a school but it also improves the chances of a horrible shooting being stopped from repeating.   Yes, Michael Moore can rant about armed security not stopping Columbine or the massacre at the army base two years ago, but you still improve your chances.   What happens when a bank is robbed with armed security present?  Do you pull the guards off and let it be wide open for a second shot?  NO.  You keep the guards there and hope for a positive result.   Kids and parents will feel uneasy with a gun outside the door, but isn’t it better if that gun in question is pointed the other way instead of at the heads of teachers and students.  Come on people, the time has come to toughen up.   Let me repeat what I said above.   You can’t outlaw guns.  The NRA won’t allow it and the US government doesn’t want to pick that fight and mess with people’s rights.  All you can do is defense the important foundations of education and the future by arming up schools.   Put the good guys outside the door.   If a young kid asks who that man is outside the door, tell him it’s Robocop.  Tell him or her that he or she is a good person meant to protect.  The time has come to get serious about protecting schools.  Sandy Hook pulled that trigger of defense.   The gloves are off and a process of reaction is in motion.  Just like 9/11 putting a stranglehold on what comes onto an airplane, we can’t let the death in Newtown fail to teach us anything.  We must remember the Sandy Hook 26 and prevent this from happening again.  This is a first step.
Steven Jackson Add On
Revisiting something from my frenzied rant on Tuesday, Steven Jackson deserves consideration for the Hall of Fame one day because of his consistency with very bad teams.  The best record of his teams during his 8 year career.  8-8 in 2006.   Jackson’s career rushing yards per game average of 71.8 ranks 19th all time and fares better than Hall of Fame member Franco Harris.  Jackson has been a marvel with the Rams, kept his head down and had a great career.  However, he would be smart to check the free agent market after the season. As much as I want this rampaging beast to finish his career in St. Louis and wouldn’t object against it, a decent part of me hopes he finds a contender and hooks his teeth into them.  Win some games, acquire more credibility and maybe, just maybe, grab a Super Bowl ring.  That’s his ticket into the hall.
Buffa Film-Addict Exclusive
Jack Reacher-The movie delivers.   This is the kind of action film that has a familiar plot, characters and dialogue and only survives on convincing returns.   Filmmakers and a cast following through on a punch.  Tom Cruise tackles the role of Reacher, and when it was announced he was taking Lee Child’s famous action hero from his novels and making it his next movie, Child’s fans were mad because Cruise was shorter than the 6 foot 5 inch 250 pound fictional man.   Unless those fans wanted the Rock to fill those shoes, they were best settling on Cruise, a man dedicated to the creation and sophistication of film.   He produces Reacher and didn’t take a salary up front.   Cruise only puts his time into films that he cares about.  He doesn’t show up for a job.   It surrounds him like a world of thought.   He kills it as Reacher and makes the role his own.   Like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas, Cruise comes in short yet leaves larger than life.  He is a military investigator who chooses to figure out a multiple homicide with the help of an attorney who knows he is digging for a deeper truth.   A drifted known only by his last bus stop, Reacher travels light and hits hard.   Cruise is the reason to see the film, along with the best car chase in years located at the midpoint of the movie, which sets the story in drive mode.  Judd Apatow’s new film This is 40, drags and has no idea how to end.   Reacher runs nearly the same length and entertains and is more confident about what it is doing with your time.  See it.  Believe it.  Head over to film-addict to find out more.
Rust and Bone is a powerful film that will rock you.   Ladies and gents, look this film up and see it when it arrives in expanded release in January.   Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts, a pair of wonderful French actors, are sensational as a wounded whale trainer and a fighter in this passionate romantic drama.   A slow building poignant look at the ability of a person to help another through a traumatic event and build a future.   This movie sneaked up and floored me yesterday at an afternoon screening with its unpredictability.  A scene near the end with Schoenaerts and his son, played by Armand Verduce, is as gritty and heartbreaking as it gets and won’t leave your head for hours.  End of Watch and Intouchables just got company for the best film of 2012.  It’s strength lies in the simplistic storytelling, acting, and sneaky design.   While Reacher is action fever delight, Rust and Bone cuts deep and kicks you in the gut.   Great soundtrack as well, featuring Bon Iver and Bruce Springsteen.  The one thing my grandmother’s passing has done to me is heighten my appreciation for French films.  A sexy language that always breeds passionate tales.
The Random Thoughts(Wind Up, running out of structured ideas so here comes nothing)
*It sucks when the wind chill tries to rip your face off.   Suddenly on Friday,  the temperature dropped in St. Louis 20 degrees in one hour and in came sleet and strong winds.  Walking into it is like walking towards Paul Bunyan with his arms outstretched and holding you back.  I love the cold and welcome it.  What I can’t tolerate is the ever changing temperatures causing my body and sinuses to go wacky batshit crazy on me.   You ever wake up one morning and you can’t breathe and your head feels like a bowling ball?  That’s me right now.  You would think the weather gods were punishing us for having a weak winter so far and I could only respond with, “Excuse me, weather gods, you kind of control this sort of thing.”  I don’t mind the cold, but the wind chill can die a slow death, like my cheek bones on a quick walk.
*Drug testing for a job is getting interesting if you happen to work in the warehouse field.   You don’t just come in, piss in a cup and leave.  Now, warehouse workers go through an HPE test, consisting of different lifting exercises and tests.   Laughable for a guy like me who is in great shape and loves to work out.  The experience lasted 45 minutes and ended with me passing and becoming a full time employee at Ronnoco.  Yay for me entering the official rundown of the working class.   I’m getting dirty.
*Getting up at 4am is rude and not something I can recommend unless a lot of money is paid.  In my case, a simple income that doesn’t include big money but gives me the benefit of providing for my family.  Unless you are a millionaire, you work for someone else in this life.   In my case, I get up early.  You wake up and suddenly realize that everybody you know is still asleep, suspended in a dream state.   You warm up the car with the cold wind blowing at your back and hope to get going as soon as you can.   The early wake up time insures that the arrival will be rough and bright lights won’t please you one bit.   All I can say is I like the hours but wish I had more time to rest.   Life doesn’t wait.
*Rent Killer Joe on Redbox this week.   That dirty dark thriller comedy is a true gem and holds a spot on my top ten movie list.   Director William Friedkin’s masterpiece left everything on the table and will get people talking.   It also features the best performance of Matthew McConaughey’s career and won’t be nominated for an Oscar because it was full bodied and devilish.
*The Rams can’t make the playoffs, but can do damage to others and finish the season with a .500 record if they win out.   They aren’t mathematically eliminated but logically  are out of playoff consideration.   I never thought this team would make the playoffs.  A 2-14 trainwreck doesn’t find the track that easily.  A 6-7-1 record is tolerable while the play on the field isn’t at times.  Sam Bradford’s numbers have improved, but he still makes horrible decisions that result in game changing throws.  Steven Jackson is producing but wasting away.   Brian Quick is a big time tall receiving target, but barely plays.   Chris Givens is a rookie receiver with skill to burn.  Danny Amendola changes the offense when he is on the field, but throws his small body around so hard that he spends plenty of time in street clothes on the sidelines.  The defense deserves better, but gives up the big play too often.  This is still a team in transition so be patient and await a big season ending matchup in Seattle, where the Rams could spoil Pete Carroll’s loud scoring bunch with a heartbreaking defeat.
*Peyton Manning and Adrian Petersen are MVP candidates.  No other player has a bigger effect on a team than these two men.   Please don’t say Tom Brady.  A drunken soldier could perform well in that offense, hence Matt Cassell when Brady went down with a knee injury.  Manning has turned a preseason full of doubt surrounding his fourth surgery on his neck into a mesmerizing display of skill and use of playmakers.  Tebow did it last year, but Manning isn’t backing the Broncos into the playoffs.  He is winning divisions and leading comebacks that he didn’t even do with Indy teams.   The Broncos offense doesn’t have a ton of big names, but just as Manning did in Indy with Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon, he is making great use of his assets and working extra hard to cover a flawed defense.  Petersen only chumps up 200 yards a game and makes Christian Ponder’s job rather easy.   He is a game changing player.  Without them, their teams would sink.   Low.   Robert Griffin III will have to settle for rookie of the year honors.
*The Cardinals bringing Bengie Molina on as their assistant hitting coach is good news to the real deal fans.   Having a seasoned professional like Yady’s big brother in the dugout and hanging around the players will only help this team.   John Mabry took over as Cards hitting coach and Molina comes in after his retirement to be his assistant.   For years, Bengie was a decent hitter with power and a very polished catcher.   He will play big brother to Yady and to the young hitters like Descalso, Carpenter, Craig, and Freese who are entering the established talent zone of their careers.   Just a cool hire.
*The NHL cancelled games through January 14th and if you ask me, the rest of the season is going to disappear soon after.   The biggest loser in this ordeal are the St. Louis Blues new owners, including Tom Stillman.   He is a new suit in control of a team that needs NHL action in order to be prosperous and carries no cards in the Owners greedy game.  Last season, while earning one of the top spots in the Western Conference, the Blues lost money as a team and franchise and need hockey badly to stay on track.   You have a hometown owner in Stillman, a young team on the verge of something special and yet no hockey.   The players aren’t guilt free, but if you read everything, the owners are the ones who won’t settle.   Ask yourselves who wants to get this thing done and out of the way and I will tell you the players do.   It’s a shame this has gotten this far.   The players are going to dissolve the union and that affects the details of any labor deal because player rights will change and you can’t judge them as one party any longer.  In the past, the players have voted to break the union and it is saved by a labor deal falling into place.   If the players dissolve the union, the chances of a deal decrease considerably.   The date of death has to come soon.   When there is less than 50 games played, a season looks a little lame and useless to cram in before the summer.  This is a fault on the players and owners for failing to drop their greedy desires and carve out a deal.   Each side has to give in the end.  In this case, neither did enough to find an answer.  More than likely, there is no NHL hockey in 2013 until the new season fires up in the fall.   For many fans, including myself, that is a crying shame.  2nd time in 7 years.   Smack the other sports but this would have ended a long time ago if we were talking about MLB, NFL or the NBA.   People wonder why hockey isn’t regularly on major networks or get a ton of US acclaim.  Well, look at the two extended lockouts in the last decade.
What else…..let me see before I decide to close the curtain and click send.
Final Thoughts
On Christmas eve at the Buffa’s, a little somberness will feel the house.   My grandmother Meme died last year on December 24th so this one will be tough.  She was old but died because she made a mistake and was only the rock of my family.   I am listening to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s rock n roll blues but also turning to Bon Iver this week. Good music carries any name if it grasps your emotions.  In less than 2 months, I turn 31.  Another year in the life that saw plenty of change and development.   I lost my job, launched a movie website, watched my baby turn into a kid, and got another job and still love my wife like I met her yesterday.  Things are looking up and soon, the Buffa house will include a healthier eating lifestyle.   My wife wants to lose weight so I am going down that road with her.  I have kept myself in good shape but can always carve up the body a little more, so this will be a joint exercise.  It helps if you want to lose weight to have an ally work that route with you.   What would we do without teamwork?
That is all for now.  3,700 words and I am done.  Have a good Christmas.  If you are Jewish, have a good day.  If you hate Christmas, then screw you.  It’s my favorite part of the year.   The cold digs in deep, the family comes together and a little reflection is in order.  We all need to be checked up on every once in a while.
Goodnight and good luck,
D. Buffa

Buffa Quick Hits

A quick hit on a few topics.  Fast paced, short lasting potent data from my head.

Steven Jackson is a golden needle in a haysack

The 27th player to rush for 10,000 yards in the NFL does in a blowout loss on Sunday.  Typical Steven Jackson fate.  For 8 years, Jackson has kept his head down, pounded out 1,000 yard seasons, produced and been the ultimate team player.   After a contract dispute in 2008, Jackson went dead silent, kept his head down and became a legit running back.  Jackson hasn’t complained once or brought controversy.  He has played with at least 10 different offensive lines, 6 quarterbacks, 5 offensive coordinators, and four head coaches.  Jackson is a victim of circumstance.  It’s not his fault the team drafted worse than a little league baseball team at Mcdonalds.  It’s not his fault the owners haven’t invested any money in talent around him.  It’s not his fault that the Rams offensive line for years couldn’t figure out how to create a running lane for Jackson to rush through and bust 82 yard ramps like Adrian Petersen did on Sunday.   The offensive line couldn’t keep the quarterback on his feet for enough time to complete deep passes to stretch the defense.   It’s not Jackson’s fault the opposing defense knew the ball was going into his chest nearly every other snap for 4 years during the Rams futility period.  Take away the likes of Chris Johnson and Petersen, and no other running back in the NFL has produced at a more consistent rate than Jackson.  That’s what you want right.   Consistency.   Jackson has done his best in every way possible.  Faulting him for lacking a Super Bowl ring or MVP award is like stomping on Barry Sanders for dragging the Detroit Lions through a Hall of Fame career.  It’s stupid and pointless.  Take away the debilitating factors surrounding Jackson’s career and you get a great halfback who never had the chance to be a true legend.  If he gets 98 yards in the last two games, Jackson will have his 8th straight season of 1,000 yards rushing or more.  Name another running back who has played with wretched conditions and accomplished that.  Try to find a name that doesn’t end in Sanders, Dickerson or Jackson.  It’s moronic to say Jackson’s career is ruined or doesn’t carry much meaning because he didn’t win a Super Bowl.  Ask Dan Marino the same question.  Steven Jackson is an above average running back who played for a string of bad teams that scouted, drafted, signed, ran and transformed badly over his career.   In Jackson’s career, the Rams have drafted 56 players.   9 of them remain playing for the Rams while over 30 are out of the league.  On Sunday, Jackson rushed for 73 yards on 13 carries, caught 7 passes for 67 yards.  He produced, and the team got beat up.  Story of his career.   Horrible misfortune.  These may be the last 2 games for Jackson in a Rams uniform and if I were Brian Schottenheimer, I would hand him the ball 30 times each game no matter what.  Get him the 1,000 yards and send him off right.  If I were Jackson, I would hope the idea of signing with a true contender sparks his curiosity this offseason.  I would welcome him back to finish his career here but for some reason, I want him to get that Super Bowl ring or at least a serious playoff run.

THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS

Let’s put it this way.  You can attack mental health disease but that will take years.  Lots of research and doctors and scientists scratching their heads at the unpredictable nature of the brain and it’s activity.  You won’t be able to figure out much for a while.   Ask a teacher if the unhinged student in her class is the kind of crazy that makes her think murder is on the horizon or basically screams out for a hug.  You can’t stop these kinds of tragedies from happening.  The Sandy Hook massacre isn’t the end.  As they say in sports, all you can do is contain it.  Every offense can be limited by a great defense.  You need to defense this problem of shootings in public places and previously safe environments.  Put armed guards on schools.   Do the same for malls and theaters.  Hire more bodies.  A security officer with a gun will do as long as he can shoot to kill.  If someone wants to walk into a school and produce hell, make sure hell is waiting for him at the door.  That’s all you can do for now.  Don’t blame the President.  He has to fight both sides of the fence.  The gun people, the anti-gun people and the other middle dwellers.  He also has to answer the 26 victims families and create answers for 20 sets of parents of children lost in the tragedy.  20 emotionally distraught and impatient broken pairs of people.  If he thought terrorists were tough to deal with, just wait for the grieving mothers and fathers to unload their needs and rages.  You can’t outlaw weapons.  It just doesn’t work.   What happens when a man walks into a theater or mall and opens fire again?  Maybe a good guy or woman with a concealed weapon puts a few holes in him before he does too much harm.  That’s justice and defense.  My brother in law has the same kind of weapons Adam Lanza used to create his massacre and he wouldn’t dream of using them in that way.  Disarming my brother in law doesn’t solve the problem.  Work on the mental health, arm up the schools, and create jobs at the same time.  Do this and I approve.  I appreciate the President’s words on Sunday.  The man is speaking not only as the President in Chief but as a father.  He wants to stop this.  I believe that.  Putting higher and more formidable security on schools comes first.  Adam Lanza shot his way into the school, and probably only had to plug a teacher to do it.  That’s not good for business.  The 20 year old changed things and the way our world will be run from here out and next time, someone like him must be stopped.  This is a start.  Now the President of the free world must put his campaign words to serious use and change things himself and needs to act quick.

REACTION TO SANDY HOOK MURDERS

People got a little bitchy on Facebook and Twitter about the mass of people pouring their thoughts into the social outlets in the wake of these horrible murders.  I have two words for you.  Necessary reflex.  It didn’t matter if you resided in China, Russia, New Zealand, or the far corner of Alaska.  This event struck you in the heart and didn’t leave for awhile.  For the deepest cynic, this event was a blow to your stomach.  For 3 days, it was connected to everything I saw.   Classrooms, children, daycares, and the thought of instant doom.  Whether you had kids or not, Sandy kicked your ass emotionally.  It’s not short changing Virginia Tech or Aurora and their victims.  This was the worst mass shooting since Columbine because this happened to innocent 6 and 7 year old children.  Innocent gentle kind souls with ambition.  The hardest part to deal with was knowing 20 futures were cut very very short.  The children were no match for the gunman.  In Aurora, there was a sense of resistance and a chance to hide.  At Sandy Hook, they were fish in a pond and that cuts the deepest.

CARDINALS SITTING PRETTY

For the first time in years, the Cards have options.   Deep rotation threats and a lineup of young talent.   They nearly made it back to the World Series in 2012 with a ton of injuries to their core players and production from Memphis farm hands without much experience.   If the majority of the roster stays healthy, this Cardinals team is the team to beat in the Central, no matter the Reds recent moves.   Nobody has deeper pitching than the Cardinals and that wins championships.  Money doesn’t buy you a ring.  A systematic roster of executioners gets the job done.  If I had to pick, the trade bait would be Lance Lynn, coming off a 18 win season with troubling stains on the sleeves.  Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal look like better long term options.  Lynn has the most value right now.  Use that and get some help in the middle infield.   Also, don’t forget about Pete Kozma.  He isn’t a starting shortstop, but he can be middle infield security and a better bat off the bench than Shane Robinson or Adron Chambers.  Kozma, like the rest of the roster, had a bad three games in the NLCS.   He also had 19 RBI at the end of the season and drove in the winning runs in the NLDS Game 5 comeback.  Don’t forget about him.  He has played long and hard to get a shot and proved worthy at the end of 2012.

QUICK TAKES ON MOVIES

Jack Reacher-Fine Entertainment.  Tom Cruise kills it as the title character and gives hope to the little guy.  Features best car chase in years.

This is 40-Judd Apatow crap.  A misfiring disappointment that runs way way too long at 134 minutes.   Reacher is 130 minutes and feels half as long because it has purpose and is entertaining and doesn’t drain you.  Since the golden goose double dose of Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin, Apatow, the proposed king of comedy, has produced crap twice in a row by hating the idea of editing.

Watching Guilt Trip with Seth Rogen and Barbara Streisand tonight with the wife.   Light comedic drama with a road trip at the core and only 93 minutes long.   Rogen’s manic fratboy with Barbara’s old motherly grace.   Small positive hope for this one.

That’s it.  Get the full reviews this Friday on my website, http://www.film-addict.com.

Thanks for reading and goodnight,

D.L.B.

 

A Dose of Buffa

Let’s get right into this latest stream of consciousness…

The Connecticut shootings are downright sickening.   It’s been all over the news and broken down a million times and dissected by anchors, parents, experts and unfortunately, with child interviews.   On Friday morning, a gunman named Ryan Lanza fought his way into the elementary school and opened fire on a kindergarten classroom and also on 4th graders.  28 people were killed, including 20 children.   The monster strikes again, this time in horrible fashion because it takes the lives of young children.  The moment I heard of the incident, I couldn’t get the thought of Vinny playing in a classroom and suddenly seeing a gunman looking down on him.  As a parent, this event rocks you to your core and makes you question the security at schools.   It’s a sad truth that in today’s society, a shooter walking into malls, theaters, city hall or other public places is common.   However, when it happens at an elementary school and kids are involved, a table is turned over and a line is crossed.  Columbine shocked the world over 12 years ago.  It brought down students and teachers.   Yesterday, very young kids, still young and full of hope and dreams, saw their lives come to a shocking end.  I could write for hours about this and still have things to say.   A national tragedy for anyone with a heart.  I can’t help but wonder how the holidays will seem like a black sky to 28 families.  Thanksgiving will represent the calm before the storm with Christmas being an empty afterthought of lost emotions.  The shooter followed ritual and took his own life after he was done shooting.   What pushes a kid to open fire on innocent people is the question here as it always is?  Why not just take your own life?  Why take 28 people with you?  WHY?  Suicide is bad, but multiple homicide requires an investigation into the mental health of our young teenagers and adults.   If this action is a symptom of a disease, the time to seriously start tracking and stopping the disease from manifesting into murder is now.  Reform health care.  Put higher security in at schools.  I wouldn’t arm the teachers. That is a recipe for disaster.  Keep guns out of the classroom.   Please don’t try to enforce gun control.   That ONCE AGAIN isn’t the problem here.  A 20 year old kid got two hand guns(probably 9mm pistols) and an assault rifle and used them at a school.   My brother in law owns similar weapons and wouldn’t harm an innocent soul if his life depended on it.  The police who rushed the buildings had guns used to protect.  Millions of Americans are armed and for good reason.  Protection.  NOT FOR MURDER.  Drop that moral dilemma now.  Focus on security and mental health.   It was later found that Lanza suffered from personality disorder and may have been autistic, according to his brother.  Lanza shot and killed his mother at home before going to the school and his dad was a teacher at the school.   People have said making a big deal out of this only fuels future killers because it puts a nobody in the spotlight.  My response to those morons.  How are normal people, including parents, supposed to react?  With silence and amazement?  I reacted like any other mother or father would.  I put myself in those victims parents shoes and got full of rage.  I was sad, slightly depressed and distant.  Walking around the gym, trying to keep my focus on the weights and not the 5 television sets featuring minute by minute coverage.  It’s not easy to overlook this tragedy or talk about it.  If you have a heart, you think about it. Those kids and teachers had no chance. That’s sickening. It’s time for higher security at schools. You create jobs and keep our kids safe. If not parents will pull their kids.  Today will set a record for most conversions to home schooling and its right and wrong with no winning side. We are on our own.  I can’t imagine if something like this happened to Vinny. It’s not a pleasant thought but one that won’t leave my head. I can’t imagine the pain those families are in. Hugging my little guy tight tonight.  The events remind me of a quote from the movie Seven(as many national tragedies do).  Morgan Freeman’s veteran cop staring into space at the end of the film trying to make sense of a horrible crime and its resolution.  Here is what he said.    “Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “the world is a fine place, and worth fighting for.” I agree with the second part.”   That pretty much sums it up.

Moving onto lighter subjects-

*Skip Schumacher is no longer a Cardinal and it’s okay.   Skip played well here for four years, hitting .300 in two of them and making a team first conversion from outfielder to second basemen in 2009.   Skip was the ultimate utility guy and clubhouse leader.   He was a grinder who would do anything to help the team win, including getting out of a squirrel’s way in a playoff game.  He did a fine job and will be utilized well in Los Angeles under Mark McGwire as a Dodger.  Skip came up rusty in 2007 and was sent down to Memphis many times before sticking in 2008.  He hit leadoff and did a good job, getting on base and scoring a lot of runs.  Skip never did any particular thing extremely well.  He never solved lefties, didn’t have power, had limited range at second, ran hard but not fast, and had a strong arm and suspect range in the outfield.  He gave everything when he played and that is vital for a team.  Towards the end of 2011 and into 2012, Skip’s playing time decreased due to Mike Matheny’s love for Daniel Descalo’s glove.  He had nine at bats in the 2012 playoffs and got zero hits.  With minor league prospect Kolten Wong on the way, Skip’s playing time would have been sporadic at best in 2013.   The best thing to do was trade him.   We didn’t get much for him(AA starting shortstop), but that wasn’t a surprise because teams knew his value to the Cards had diminished greatly.  I expected his departure and appreciate his contribution and hope he does well in LA.

*The Cardinals signed Ty Wiggington to hold down the righthanded bench spot on the team.  A 2 year deal worth somewhere around 5 million for a guy who hits lefties very well, hits home runs, can’t hit for average and plays the corners and outfield spots.   This isn’t a wonderful signing.    The team missed out on Scott Hairston’s more advanced bat and settled on Ty, a player they have liked for years.   He will help but this isn’t something you lose your shit over.

*The Reds traded for outfielder Sun Shin Choo from the Indians, making him their leadoff hitter and strengthening their lineup.  Choo hits for average, gets on base and will be a required threat to get out if you don’t want Votto, Bruce and Ludwick hitting with a chance for damage.   The Reds also moved dynamic closer Aromas Chapman into the rotation and setup man former closer Jonathon Broxton into the closer role.  The hard throwing Chapman will find a hard time going from pitching one hard frame to being expected to throw 5-6 every five days.   I think he will get worn down and revisit his wild tendencies that hurt him in 2011.  Broxton is a solid closer but is far more hittable than Aromas.  He doesn’t have godly pitches.  The Reds will still need to match the Cardinals in pitching in order to win the Central again, something that may be harder if our Redbirds rotation stays mostly intact in 2013.  Only time will tell.

*The Angels made another big splash on Thursday, signing Josh Hamilton to a 5 year, 125 million dollar deal.   An outrageously risky contract for an injury prone aging and unstable talent.  No GM in their right mind was going to give Hamilton more than 3 or 4 years on a deal, but Angels owner Arte Moreno once again wanted to point out that his wallet is deeper than the rest.  He is quickly becoming the George Steinbrenner of the modern era of spending and the shock owner in MLB.  He isn’t looking up anymore.   With the Dodgers pulling 2/3 of Boston’s payroll into their bank account in July and giving Zach Greinke ridiculous years and money, the Dodgers-Angels rivalry is starting to mirror the Yankees-Red Sox billionaire program.  With the Yankees and Red Sox looking to rebuild soon, The LA teams are taking over.   If these teams don’t meet in the World Series in 2013 or 2014, this spending spree is a waste of time and a bust.  This is WIN NOW spending, not build for the future intelligence.  The Angels have a stacked lineup yet have barely any starting pitching.   Greinke is gone after the midseason trade in 2011.  Erwin Santana went to the Royals.  Dan Haren departed via free agency to the Nationals.  Their rotation is thin outside Jared Weaver and their bullpen is suspect.  You can buy wins but you can’t buy a World Series in this day and age, and not with offense only.  The Angels will not win the AL pennant.  Mark my words.

*Kobe Bryant scores 30 points a game and his Lakers can’t win yet he is relaxed as ever in interviews.  I see a man who isn’t afraid of his career ending soon.  He owns 5 rings and countless praise as the best.  Bryant is getting old, and so is teammate Steve Nash.   Dwight Howard is seeing the big lights of LA drown out his talent, along with criticism from Shaq.  The Lakers have had two coaches this season and may have a third in February.  Once again you can buy wins but you can’t buy a championship.  The Staples Center will remain quiet.  This is simply bad basketball.  Putting superstars together and hoping they gell.   It worked in Miami but not sure it will come to fruition in LA.

*Greed isn’t good when it halts an entire sport and withdraws the exciting sport of hockey from the dockets of fans, who pay the contracts of the players with their attendance and merchandise purchasing.  I’m talking to you Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr.

*The Rams are looking legit these days.  An improved team who is gunning for playoff entry.  Putting Rams and playoffs into the same sentence would require laughing gas a year ago.  I made a mistake in my blog on Sunday.  The Rams have been 6-6 this late in the season before this past weekend.  They were 6-6 late in Sam Bradford’s rookie season two years ago.  They lost to Seattle in a do or die game that would sent them to the playoffs.  I forgot about the preemptive comeback season because of the bad taste ringing from 2011’s bitter 2-14 finish.  This year, under a new coach and the same young QB, The Rams have three in a row and can make a real push towards the wildcard spot with a win over Minnesota at home tomorrow.  They have nearly beaten the 49ers twice, thrashed around the Cardinals twice, while stopping RGIII earlier in the season.  They came back on Sunday with 2 minutes left.  Their wins aren’t pretty and are full of true grit but they count all the same and for the former doormat of the NFL, I can take it.  The Rams aren’t dead anymore.  The victory in Buffalo proved they weren’t a fluke.

*Sam Bradford isn’t bad, but he isn’t particularly impressive by himself either.  He has a rough concoction of Mark Sanchez, Matt Ryan and Phillip Rivers in his ability.   A smart slightly mobile QB who can make terrible decisions at times but also can’t think too long because he has around 2.5 seconds to get rid of the ball before he is clobbered.   He plays behind a young suspect offensive line.   He has receivers who can’t get open.  The nice way to put it is telling you that Bradford is growing along with Jeff Fisher’s new regimen, working his 2nd head coach and 3rd offensive coordinator in three years.  He is neither a bust or a booming talent.  He is stuck in between signs of showing rise and decline.  He is a fickle friend of talent who can’t yet shake stupid decisions.  He holds onto the ball a long time and his shoulder is fragile.   Sam can made deadly accurate passes in the red zone and then throw a bad INT inside his own 30 yard line.  He is young, plain and simple.

*Ides of March packed more of a punch the second time I saw it than the first.  At initial glance, George Clooney’s dark look at the political shenanigans behind a campaign was bland, soft and crawled through the first 50 minutes towards a conclusion that received a head shake from me.  The dirty politics saga of Clooney’s Governor/President hopeful making a painful mistake and his young idealistic campaign manager, played by a brilliant Ryan Gosling, using it against him didn’t land flush on my jaw the first time.  Watching it again under the advisement of my dad, this seedy drama got me.  Gosling’s ambitious good kid thinking he is part of a campaign that would change the world only to find out it would simply shift his conscience around.   He found out the politicians he looks up to are mud covered liars with enough dirt to fill a wine cellar and that always makes for good drama if you have the right actors.   Clooney and Gosling were marvelous in a late film confrontation where the shit hits the van and these two men break down the entire movie in one scene.  Backroom poker between a pair of smart men who are just now recognizing the blood on their hands and the chalkboard telling them how the game is played.  It could be the change in times that allowed the content to enter more directly.  Clooney wrote, directed, produced and starred in the film and didn’t release it in 2008 because of the feel good campaign generated by Obama.  This film is a dark shot of whiskey from the talented filmmaker of Goodnight, Good Luck and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.  He gave us a peek into the world of liars and manipulators and didn’t close the curtain on the shame at the end.  He left it up.  The moral at the end of the film basically said this.  If you want to survive in this world, you have to get dirty and swim with the sharks.  Powerful little film.  I got it.

*Manny Pacquiao will come back.  Losing never changes from childhood to adulthood.  You either walk home bleeding or you go to the hospital shrouded in shame wondering if time travel would allow you a more favorable outcome.  Pac Man will not retire face down on the canvas after a viciously well timed Juan Manuel Marquez right hand that knocked out Manny cold.  He will come back and challenge the proud Mexican to a fifth fight.  Trust me.  The megafight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. may be out of reach right now but recovering dignity is within grasp.  Floyd will make his return in May and fight Robert Guerrero in May and then challenge Canelo Alvarez in September. Marquez will beat the shit out of Timothy Bradley to unify his belts.  Pacquiao may throw Amir Khan, his former sparring partner and also a man looking for redemption tonight against Carlos Molina, a bone in May and battle to recover his respect.  Boxing is only heating up at the end of the year.   2013 looks bright and full of red.

*I am tired of people blabbering about the importance of politics yet I see them do absolutely nothing. Words without action are boring and a problem with our generation. These are the same drumsticks who say sports are worthless and put it down. Last time I checked sports were more entertaining and brought more people together than corrupt politics. Sports help this country heal wounds. Boxing got people through the depression. Women’s baseball helped the wives in world war 2. Baseball eased people’s minds during Vietnam. Hockey triumphed during the Cold War. Yankees baseball brought a city together after 9/11. Sports are more real and emotional than anything politics has to offer. Ask anybody save for a cynic. Sports doesn’t require a filter.

*Lost in the tragedy of yesterday was the fact that I was given a full time job at Ronnoco. It didn’t seem too important yesterday. Today, it’s hitting me a little more that I am officially back in the working class.  The job isn’t glamorous or particularly wonderful but it pays the bills and gives me the 8 hour aroma of coffee and tea.  I will take it.  For now…

*I don’t post many trailers here anymore but I will post the new preview for The Man Of Steel, Zach Snyder and Christopher Nolan’s new Superman movie.   Yes, the thoughts of another attempt to match Christopher Reeves set was tiring at first, but if anyone gets the right to look into the famous hero’s past, it’s Nolan.  He is producing here and guiding 300 director Snyder towards his first masterpiece.   With a cast featuring newcomer Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Shannon and the lovely Amy Adams as Lois Lane, the movie’s first full trailer is powerful and intriguing.   The thing forgotten most about comic book fans and casual moviegoers is the element of Superman’s alien status making him seem like an outlaw to our world at first.   The whole movie goes off the notion of an alien superhero coming to earth and changing our world.  Batman and Iron Man are smart billionaires with issues, but Superman is an alien with superpowers.  You can find layers and depth in that story and bring it to the screen if the right people are involved.  Last time I checked Nolan turned Batman into a legendary three film trilogy that will be talked about for decades.   He has his hands wrapped tightly around this one.  The teaser mimicked Batman Begins too much but this second trailer sets things up perfectly.  An alien trying to fit into our world and protect it at the same time.  Would we allow it to happen or reject him?  See for yourself.

Also, I am becoming more of a fan of Cavill with this trailer.   He looks, acts and resembles the part of the legendary DC hero every time I see him in a preview.

As I prepare to make a mix featuring the great new band in my music world, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, I leave you with these words.

Don’t define, caution or make an attempt to truly figure out the tragedy in Connecticut.  Like many unfortunate events, it’s cause and effect will be lost forever in the dead cold mind of a killer.  All we can do is learn from it, prevent it from happening again and keep living free.   

Thanks for reading and goodnight,

Dan L. Buffa

Weekend Ramblings of a Working Class Greasy Italian Father/Husband

Checking here around 3pm on Saturday as the kid sleeps and the hands are let free for a little while.  Limitations abound with any parent looking to do some self medicating so stay tuned and be wise while I unload some steam from the cerebellum.

Cardinals Nerve Center Update

The team signed Randy Choate to a 3 year, 7.5 million dollar deal.  If you have no idea who he is, join the other million people and allow me to enlighten you.  Remember last season when the Cards had constant trouble with getting lefthanded batters out.   Say hello to Mr. Choate, who doesn’t choke.  He is 37 years old, will team with Marc Rzepcynzski and complete the lefty arsenal for the Birds.  Choate isn’t flashy and won’t steal headlines but he is a key acquisition for a team needing cleansing from the left side of the bullpen.  You can stock two bullpens with our right arms but the left needed a lift.  Choate held lefthanded hitters to a .173 batting average over the past 3 years and has a devastating slider that qualifies as Houdini’s vanishing ball to hitters stepping on the left side.   He is a specialist and one of the best on the market.  He will only face one or two hitters and worked in 80 games in 2012, a league high.   A good signing and another smart pickup from Mo.

A year ago today, Albert Pujols decided to head out West and leave the Cardinals and an icon status behind.  His choice and still in my opinion, a wrong one.   Albert was wooed and cuddled by Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto and given a 10 year 240 million dollar deal.  Albert and Dee Dee all of sudden drew heavy fire on a baseball town that treated them like King and Queen for a decade as they departed last winter.   Dee Dee(stupid fucking name) set fires on the radio and Albert whined about not being personally handled by the Cardinals at his LA press conference.   Fast forward a year later and this is what happened.  The Cards grew up with new players and overcame new obstacles while coming within one win of a return to the World Series while Albert’s stats trended downward and his Angels couldn’t fill seats and the team finished third in the division.   For the guy that pledged for years like it was stamped on his forehead that WINNING was most important, his new team didn’t win shit and actually drew jeers instead.    You reap what you sow Mr. Pujols.  I still stand here and appreciate all that he did in Cardinal Red.  2 World Series, electrifying consistency and 3 MVP’s.  Tons of local charity work that continues today.    It’s those same reasons that strangle my logic when I try to determine why he indeed left.  It wasn’t just money.  California taxes will make that 240 million contract shed a decent amount to where the deal mirrors the Cardinals final offer of 10 years at 210 million.   If he stays, he is the best Cardinal of all time when he retires.  He overtakes Stan, gets a statue, breaks every record known to St. Louis historians and retires a king.  Instead, he is just another pretty good player on a different team and no longer ensured a legacy made of steel.    Albert’s legacy is now confined by bricks, which are slowly cracking.   Feel like having a laugh?  The Angels will pay Pujols near 30 million for the last three years of his contract.   When he is 38, 39 and 40 years old.    Say hello to the A-Rod-Yankees deal, part two.  The dread of MLB contracts being guaranteed.  Albert Pujols made a mistake and he knows it.   Money doesn’t buy happiness within the mind and winning doesn’t come with it either.  He will slowly fry under the harsh LA sun if that team keeps losing.  Amazing what expectations can do to a man’s career.  If he started to decline in St. Louis, we would frown yet stay loyal because of what he had accomplished before.   Those Angels fans will not show a sliver of their heavenly graces if Jose Alberto Pujols continues to decline.    The Cardinals refusal to go crazy with Albert a year ago provides them with ample revenue to fix leaking spots on the roster for years to come.  It allowed us to snag Carlos Beltran, who returned with a bang.   It allowed the Cardinals to give the position to Allen Craig, and decent portions of playing time to super sub Matt Carpenter and future slugger Matt Adams.  The production of the Cardinals three headed monster and Pujols was closer than some in Hollywood would like to admit or clarify.  That’s baseball folks.  One man doesn’t make a team and a team can survive without their biggest star if the right decisions are made.   Years from now, John Mozelaik may get a statue for himself with a smile on his face, one that carries the weight of a 240 million plank walk not taken.  Scarf and blackberry included.

Once again, sign Jason Motte to a modest 3 year deal.  He wants security over yearly dollar.  Put the kid at ease.

While I would like to see him stay in the bullpen, I can’t deny the thrill of thinking of Trevor Rosenthal in the rotation firing heaters and changeups in the 5th spot.  Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn, you’ve been warned.   Shelby Miller makes the team as a long reliever with starter capability.   The prospects are crowded right now and Shelby can use a full year to grow into the majors.

Marco Scutaro getting 3 years and 21 million is a career utility infielder cashing in on being a clutch hero in a playoff run.  The moment The Rockies traded him to San Francisco, Scutaro was a hitting machine and after getting taken out by Matt Holliday in Game 2, the legend continued to grow.  I don’t think he is worth that kind of money, but good for him.  He worked the system and won the deal of a lifetime.  Guaranteed.  Who wants to take bets on Matt Holliday finishing the job on opening day in 2013 and crushing Scutaro’s hip for good this time??  I’ll buy that for a dollar.

Chris Duncan’s story is incredible.   Since his departure from baseball, Duncan grew in statue around the St. Louis area as a quality color analyst on 101.1 the Fast lane’s sports radio show.   Duncan’s takes on the Cards and other topics were solid and came from days of research and knowledge of the game.  His presence countered the lunacy of D’ Marco Farr’s retardation and Randy Karraker’s talky tendencies.  Duncan spoke on point.  In October, his life took a sudden turn for the worse.   After a sudden seizure and weeks of a metallic taste in his mouth, Duncan was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer.    This was especially haunting since Duncan’s mother, Janice was stricken with a similar disease a year before.   His father Dave must have carried the grief of a wounded soul throughout the process.    However, Duncan underwent a 6 hour surgery and the tumor was removed.  After a week of therapy and rest, Chris’ personality was intact and he was speaking again.  He does work at home and calls in his daily Cardinals take on the radio show with a return to follow early next year.   A great story and a great guy.   I always appreciated Chris’ ability to make jokes about himself and his troubling days in the outfield.  He was a slugger for a couple years and saw his career end early because of a degenerative hip and nerve problems in his neck.   He found his real niche on the radio and I hope he returns soon.

Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez, Part IV

The two boxers meet in the ring tonight with one goal.  Abolish the past and silence the critics.  Pacquiao wants to prove to boxing fans that he’s still got it.   A series of fights that haven’t featured the vintage Pac Man we had come to respect and be entertained by gave roots to the fact that his better days were behind him.   Pacquiao is coming off a controversial win over Marquez last November(I thought he lost upon watching the fight again) and another controversial fight this past May where he lost to Timothy Bradley(my son Vinny even knew Pac Man won).   Manny needs to destroy Marquez tonight once and for all.   The only way to silence critics thinking the judges may have made your career is to take the scoring out of their hands and knock Juan out.  One of the unspoken great things about Pacquiao is the difficulty opponents have in knocking him down.  Manny hasn’t been knocked down since Erik Morales put him there in 2008.  Pacquiao needs a knockout tonight or a clear decision victory.   Unanimous.   Marquez is a 39 year old boxing vet who wants to put the signature stamp on his career by proving to fans that Manny hasn’t gotten the better of him in their three fights.   After years of being other fighter’s stepping stones, Marquez wants to step into the spotlight and take a bow by beating one of boxing’s golden boys.   Pacquiao is the thorn in the side of his career, one that features few failures outside of 2 losses to Manny and one to Floyd Mayweather Jr..   While I will say all three fights were hair thin close, people forget that the first fight should have been given to Manny on clear scoring rules.   Pacquiao nearly knocked Marquez out in the first round of their first fight when he dropped him three times.    In the rule book, that’s a 10-6 round.   One of the judges scored it 10-7 and that one point was the difference between a draw(the result) and a win.  The second fight in my opinion was a clear draw.   Lots of action, equal round owners and bloody great carnage.  The third fight was close but Marquez got my vote after a second viewing because he dominated the majority of the fight.  In my eyes, its even.  A win apiece and a draw.  Tonight’s fourth meeting brings the answers home, the losers to the floor and the reality front and center.   That’s boxing for you.  As ringside analyst and long time spokesperson Jim Lampley put so brilliantly in last weekend’s Trout-Cotto fight, “you don’t play boxing.  You do it.  It is your life.”  Touche!  Let the games begin tonight around 10 pm.  I will be finding the fight online because no way in hell am I paying 70 dollars for it unless I am in attendance in Las Vegas.

Movies to Recommend(A Quick Dose)

Killing Them Softly-Brad Pitt’s new film about the harsher side of 2008’s criminal underworld amidst the economic crisis is well written, acted and features electrifying moments of great cinema.   Pitt is a mob enforcer brought in to clean up a mess after two low life wannabe’s knock over a mob connected poker game.  Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini and Richard Jenkins fill out a versatile cast but Pitt anchors the film with a juicy performance covered in brutal violence and signature monologues.  See it.

Fitzgerald’s Family Christmas-Edward Burns’ latest Irish family drama hits all the right notes that you want a holiday comedy themed drama to in this heartfelt ode to family loyalty and salvation.  Burns writes, directs, produces and stars in the film as the elder brother of 7 siblings who must convince their mom to allow their father, who ran out on them 20 years ago, to come back for Christmas dinner to make amends.   Small powerful moments, funny bits and statements abound in a film shot so realistically that you expect to go visit these people down the street.  Burns writes and directs effortlessly and you appreciate it because he makes his films guerrilla style without Hollywood assistance.  It’s not easy to sneak in references about terminal diseases, family dysfunction and 9/11 into a sweet little story like this, but Burns achieves it and delivers a feel good movie that doesn’t try too hard.

Those are my recommendations.  Do with them as you shall, and go to my website, film-addict.com for more.   We are an official business now, having acquired our L.L.C. which makes us a legit company.   Get the best from the film-addicts.

The Quick Bits

*The Boardwalk Empire and Sons of Anarchy season finales proved that brutal violence works if the story and dialogue matches the carnage.   Lives were destroyed, alliances made, and heavy morals of redemption, revenge and inner demons brought forth the character growth a fan hopes for in their favorite television series.  It’s hard to deny the brilliance of these shows.

*Speaking of shows, Showtime is debuting a new drama featuring Liev Schreiber, the talented versatile character actor and voice of HBO’s 24/7, and I am game for it.  I will watch that man in anything.  Been a fan for years.  An actor like Burns in a way, who does what he wants and when he wants it.  He chooses his roles instead of roles choosing him.

*The Rams knocked off the 49ers on Sunday and I didn’t get to blog about it afterwards so why waste a whole section on an old event?    Here is what I will say.  This team is 5-6-1 and could be better with sharper play in the final moments of games but can you believe we have 5 wins already?   The effect of Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff on a young group of players is astonishing.   On Sunday at home, the Rams finished the job they started in San Francisco.   The game was brutal, physical, featured bad officiating, close moments, and came down to a pair of legs deciding the fate.   49ers’ kicker David Akers missing a 50 plus yard shot in overtime and The Rams’ rookie wonder Greg “Legatron” Zuerline booting a 53 yard bomb to bring home the win.   That’s football.   The work of 53 men coming down to one man’s right leg.  This week, The Rams play in the cold, scary confines of Buffalo, who is 5-7 and face INT machine and former Ram Ryan Fitzpatrick.  The keys to this game are establishing the running game against a 30th ranked run defense, taking the ball away from Buffalo and Sam Bradford making timely smart passes.   This week, the Rams could reach .500, win their third in a row and gain legit status.  Can they handle the pressure?  Last year, a win was a Christmas present.  This Sunday, a win could mean a new found consistency.

*The NHL nearly came to an agreement this past week before talks broke down.    The players were in the room for 12 hour days and seem to be pushing for a resolution but the NHL is now digging its feet in.   A 50/50 split was agreed on by both sides, but now the agreement term and little details are linchpin ideals holding back an alliance and keeping a sport from hitting the ice.  When the Rams stop playing in December, St. Louis sports may fall dead for a full 45 days before spring training starts.  That’s a shame.  I am beginning to think the NHL owners and GM’s are holding back a deal.  In 2005, the player conceded and gave more of their share to owners in an effort to bring closure to a lockout.  This time, the owners want it to happen again, but why should the player’s give in a second time?   Here is David Backes’ honest first hand account.

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/david-backes-nhl-lockout-talks-breaking-off-kick-155727016–nhl.html

*Good music to listen to right now.  “Will There Be Enough Water” by The Dead Weather.  “Holland Road” by Mumford and Sons.  “Your Touch” by the Black Keys.  “Money That’s What I Want” by Barrett Strong.  “The Toll” by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.  “Reckoner” by Radiohead.   That’s good for now.

*I like and respect Bob Costas and even admire his willingness to fire off about gun control on the Sunday Night Football telecast this past week.   However, I disagree with his thoughts on it.  There is no such thing as gun control.  It is as comical as the gay marriage debate.   It is a simple ideal.   The threat of guns depends on whose hands the firearm fall into.   It can be in a good man’s hands or a bad person’s control.   Taking them away helps nothing.  Prohibition didn’t cause anything but chaos.  Gun control doesn’t make any sense because every hater of guns is a hypocrite.  If someone points one at your head in your home, you will sure wish a gun was near to extinguish the situation.   Guns don’t kill people.  Fingers pull the trigger.  Every gun has a safety and every human makes a decision to fire that weapon.   Sorry Bob but you are wrong.

*The daily grind of a working class man has its good and bad areas.   It’s good to be back in the workforce making a few dollars but it is a tiring process when coupled with the website, fitness work, and the little man.   Throw in being a good thoughtful husband and the slot is full for this Greasy Italian.   I get up at 5am, work until 230pm, work out for an hour, pick up the kid, feed him, bath him and then put him to bed.   Laundry, dishes and a Guinness Black Lager to follow.  Ronnoco is a job and one that includes getting up close and personal with one of the most exotic and provocative items on the planet and that is coffee.   It is 2nd only to oil in the most traded and popular commodity in the world.  When you see the production this close, the appreciation for the sensation that is coffee only grows.  Sleeping with the mistress isn’t the proper term.  It’s just a job with a few perks.

*One of the great things about Pacquiao and Marquez fighting for a fourth time is that the two men always deliver a closely contested and entertaining bout.   If these guys’ bodies could withstand a couple more fights, I’d take it.   Few pairs create such a spark in the ring.   It’s like they were made to fight each other.

*Listening to Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds tear into a DMB rarity in “When The World Ends”, a 2001 song that had a video made which featured planes crashing into buildings.  After 9/11 occurred, DMB and company decided to rightly put the video on the shelf.  Hearing it live and stripped down to the bone with two men and two guitars digging at its soul, the song is better than ever and will stand tall in another 30 years.  Here it is.

*How many directors direct three brilliant pulse pounding and complete dramas in a row?   Ben Affleck.   He’s only been doing this 5 years.  He may own an Oscar in January and there won’t be a single thing wrong with it.  That’s special for a man once left for dead in Hollywood.   Few actors stitch their wounds right and heal in a way Boston Ben has.  Good for him.  His next film will be about notorious Boston gangster Whitey Bulger, with Affleck directing Matt Damon as Whitey.   Greatness underway.

*Bradley Cooper is a good guy.  Sincerely and honestly a pretty humbled gentleman.  Reading his Esquire magazine article, you get the sense the man isn’t one bit pretentious and is just enjoying fame.   I remember when he played a bully in Wedding Crashers and have watched every one of his movies since that little breakthrough.    His deep talent is being recognized in one of my favorite films of the year, Silver Linings Playbook.   Off the screen, he loves answering questions, working with the media and still loves his mom and dad.   It’s refreshing to see a good hard working actor become a movie star and stay the same throughout success.   Asked what he does with the 15 million paid to him for Hangover 2, Cooper says it allowed him to make 5 smaller films in between and also do good deeds for people.   “It’s great to tell someone, I am going to buy your house for you.  You don’t have to worry about paying the mortgage anymore.”   Good guys don’t always finish last.  Cooper will be nominated for a best actor Oscar next month.  He won’t beat Day Lewis or Denzel, but he will be a member of that prestigious group of nominees.   Good for him.  He’s earned the recognition.

*The harshest part of being back in the St. Louis working class is missing out on the daytime press screenings.   Twice the past two weeks, I have missed out on the 11am screenings at the Tivoli.  The quiet, free food and drink included and old fashioned press only movies.  Those are the perks of being a critic.  Going to a silent screening with only critical minds in the room.  I don’t mind the thrill of an audience but when you watch it with other judges, there are no distractions, extra talking or sudden launches of stupidity such as “Kick his ass Denzel, my brotha!”   I miss those.   One day, when I do this film addict gig for a living, I will go to every single press screening.  One day.

*My kid is a maverick at 15 months.  He knows when to obtain leverage with a good cry and how to face plant a hardwood floor without needing to cry.  He walks, stumbles, and eats like a football fan.  He will cry for food and has the most famous sad face of all time.  Having kids doesn’t add years to your life.  They shave them off because they keep you on your toes and sharpen your attention to detail.  If you care to lose a few pounds, have a kid.  Their effect is long lasting and worth every minute.  They also allow you to yell at them at a young age without much effect since they can’t understand a word from your mouth until 16-18 months.   Unload your grief on them.  Share a drink.  They are worth more than you can imagine.   And…they are complete pricks 70 percent of the time.

Meme, A Year Later

In three days, the anniversary of my late grandmother’s fall will hit.   On December 11th of 2011, Meme took a fall down a flight of steps.   She hit her head and went into a coma and never made it out, passing away on December 24th, the anniversary of her wedding date decades earlier.  Her absence is felt today as much as it was last Christmas.  A void where sweetness and loving care used to exist.   Without her, I don’t get the random calls asking me what I am doing with my life or why haven’t I called Bill DeWitt III for a job.   I no longer get the tug on my arm for attention from a short old lady just wanting to know how I was doing.   I miss those calls.  A lot.  They were my reminder that something isn’t as sweet and bitter as the devotion of a grandmother.  She cared about people more than herself and if you had the pleasure of receiving a dose of Meme, your life was a whole lot better.   On December 11th of last year, Meme left us.  Her body stuck around for 13 extra days in order for family and friends to come pay their respects but to me she was gone.  Her spirit flew out of those eyes the minute her head hit the hardwood floor at a party where she was more than likely transporting herself from one party to the next.   She was never satisfied until she spoke to everybody in the building.   I used to imagine her walking around Busch Stadium talking to devoted Cardinals fans about French and red wine while they desperately tried to watch baseball.  It’s a cute fun memory that never fades.   The last time Meme called me was on the late afternoon of December 11th, and I missed the call while Rachel and I were trying to find a friend’s house for a birthday party.   You never think catastrophe could strike at any given moment so I assumed I would get one more call from her.   I listened to the voicemail in the car and Meme told me that she loved me, missed me and that the Cardinals would be okay without Albert Pujols.   That’s my grandmother in one statement.   She knew nothing about baseball, didn’t know how it was played or ever watched it for passion, but she knew I loved that team more than life itself so she wanted to soothe me.  She was right.  The Cardinals nearly went back to the World Series and more importantly, my son Vinny didn’t go back to the hospital after she passed.   I don’t believe in GOD having an effect on earth but I have a hint of belief or hope in the afterlife.  I can imagine her up there, being the little voice in people’s heads as she walks around with a glass of merlot and asking someone if 60 minutes is on yet.   She will find a place that shows French independent movies as well.  If there is an afterlife or a thing called heaven, Meme is there.  Trust me.  When my grandfather died of a heart attack in 1990, I couldn’t imagine Meme without him.   Now, in some way, they could be together again.   Maybe.  I don’t believe in GOD but I would like to believe in that.  RIP Henrietta Bulus.

If you care to know a little more about my Meme, here is the obituary for her posted in the Post Dispatch.   My mom wrote it and it’s quite beautiful.

I’ll end it there.   Know this.   Please live life to the fullest.  Before you know it, it will be over.  Gone just like a random thought.  Keep in touch with your family and stay attached to the friends that deserve it.   The key in this life, through my 30 years, is knowing how to be a little wild but safe at the same time.  My grandmother was the healthiest 80 year old you will ever see, but she made a mistake and paid for it.   She died having too much fun.  Whenever I think life is beating me down, I think about her perspective.   Live life slowly, suck it all in and enjoy it.  Living is a privilege.   Always will be.  Our time here is numbered.   Please don’t waste a minute.

I didn’t mean for things to get heavy but this time of year in 2011 a lot of tragedy struck my life.   A year later, the wounds aren’t fully sealed.  Thanks for listening if you made it this far.

Goodnight and good luck,

Dan L. Buffa

The Daily Dose of Buffa

Once again, I find myself back at the keyboard looking to inform and reveal.  Here’s a few items resting near the cerebellum.

The Kansas City Chiefs tragedy is sinister sadness.   A 25 year old player, Jovan Belcher, with no previous history of violence or criminal nature, suddenly sinks multiple rounds of ammo into his girlfriend right in front of her mother and the couple’s 3 month old daughter.  He then drives to the Chiefs training facility next to Arrowhead, contemplates his whole life in front of head coach Romeo Crennell and general manager Scott Pioli, thanks them, and blows his head off.   What flicks the switch in a seemingly normal guy?  Friends can tell me the couple fought a lot and I will shrug.  My wife and I spit fire at each other but we don’t want to shoot each other.  She gets home late from a concert and he flips out.  I’m not buying.  The mother of the woman lives there and helps out.  What went on here?  Did medicine play a part or is this an old fashioned “he just snapped and got homicidal” blame?  We do all have the ability inside of us and that is the lesson here.   Belcher was a normal guy accordingly to his neighbors and teammates but had demons lurking inside.   What happened?  Bad things.  He took his life outside the home field and tomorrow a game will be played there with 60,000 fans going nuts.   Maybe they will feel a hint of regret for watching football.  Instead of honoring the dead and giving 48 hours for a small city to digest a large wound, the NFL and Chiefs are moving forward in order to stop their own bleeding.   I am not crying for Belcher or his demons here.  He took a 22 year old woman out of this world and left an infant all alone.  That’s punishable by death and would have come from chemicals if it didn’t by his own hand.   While Crennell and league officials decided to play as scheduled in order to keep everything normal, it will be hard to keep my focus off that poor mother and three month old.  Inside of 2 hours, the mother lost her daughter and watched her granddaughter become an orphan.  The little girl lost both her parents on one morning before her first Christmas.  That’s life.  At one moment, it’s all fun and games, but the next it goes down in flames.  Tragic.  Fuck…

A night of boxing concluded just a few moments ago.  Middleweight champ Austin Trout took down one of my favorites Miguel Cotto in a closely contested fight that judges had Trout running away with.   That’s boxing judges for you.  We have no idea what they are doing down there.  Cotto and Trout fought a healthy 12 rounds that Miguel just didn’t have the stamina and ability to finish strong enough to win.  If he would have won, a highly lucrative payday awaited him in a fight with red haired power fist gunner Canelo Alvarez, who was ringside to watch another payday for him go up in flames.  Cotto split the first two rounds but surged from rounds 3-6 and seemed to take control.  However, in the 7th and 8th rounds, he stopped connecting, got pushed back and just couldn’t figure out a way to bust down the brick wall of defense Trout put up.  Cotto didn’t lose to a chump.   Trout is a middleweight undefeated champ who brought his A game.  He was the expert counter puncher to Cotto’s power attack.  Miguel is a proud man and will climb back into the ring in 2013.  Trout may get a shot at Canelo and get destroyed.  I do have a feeling Trout will give Alvarez a small run for his money with his counter punching ability.  This isn’t Josesito Lopez we are dealing with here.  Trout walked onto the big stage, beat Cotto on his Puerto Rican powered turf in Madison Square Garden and deserves a shot at the next stage.  Canelo will take him down but the future remains uncertain for Mr. Cotto.  His options aren’t desolate.  If Amir Khan beats Carlos Molina this month, Cotto could take on Khan, beat him and get back into the favor for a big fight.  However, Cotto could retire.  I’ve always respected his true grit, hard work, soft spoken attitude and solid career.  You can always count on an entertaining fight with Cotto on the card.  He at least delivered that to his hometown glory crowd of native Puerto Rican’s on Saturday night.

Side Note.  Showtime announcers suck.  They can’t carry a tune next to HBO’s expert team of Lampley, Kellerman and Roy Jones/Larry Merchant.  Pauli Malignaggi is also the worst color analyst of all time.  An overrated boxer and an even worse boxing commentator.  He should have been used as a between round sparring partner for the tiring fighters.   Nothing gets more praise than Max Kellerman strumming the post fight ring in his black and white suit asking painfully honest questions.   HBO kicks Showtime’s ass in the presentation department.

Upon watching the Andre Berto-Robert Guerrero fight, I can say it was a good bloody battle but it wasn’t knock me on my ass entertainment.  Most of the fight saw the two fighters clutching and holding while firing short uppercuts.  Guerrero rocked Berto early, Andre survived, won a few rounds, lost with dignity and Robert Guerrero was impressive but it was overhyped in my opinion.  I will not forget Jim Lampley’s famous words during the final round, a rally cry for ringside boxing announcers in close fights.  “You don’t play boxing.  You just do it.  It’s more than a sport.  It’s a way of life.”  Strong words.

My biggest problem with GOD is figuring out his relation to real life events.  Where is he?  What is he doing?  How can he get involved?  The answer always is, “there’s no fucking way he exists.”  Seriously, the only reason people believe in GOD is because they want to think there is a higher meaning or cause to their lives.  They don’t want to believe that the malicious acts of a Chiefs player can come from his life experience but instead be the will of God.  I am sure the GOD suckers will tell you there was a good reason a mother and father were taken from a 3 month old girl.   NO!  If GOD was ever around, he isn’t anymore.  I picture GOD sitting at a poker game with other people a long long time ago and they were talking about the next phase of the world and the future of mankind and what could happen.   When faced with the true vicious ability at the base of a person’s life, GOD was horrified.  He threw in his cards, got up, found a horse and never came back.   One man can’t be the owner of this unpredictable rock called Earth.  We are on our own.  Politics is a fine example of showing the control we have in our lives.  We have as much control as we allow ourselves.  Nobody is helping or waiting.  It’s just us.  Please stop leaning on this weakening crutch.  It’s embarrassing.  Believe in life instead.   Leave the complicated ideals of religion to phony politicians and people who need to make a living giving self help classes.

Cardinals Notes.  Free Jon Jay.  I want to see Jay get the respect he deserves.  I don’t view him as a must keep player but I also don’t consider him expendable.  He doesn’t get enough credit for his gold glove caliber defense and his .300 tuned leadoff bat.  He needs to improve in certain areas but is a damn good cheap ballplayer.   I think the most intriguing battle in spring training will be for the fifth spot in the rotation.   Lance Lynn won 18 games but weakened down the stretch and showed a vulnerability atoned to his young age and lost his cool on the big stage.  Joe Kelly got robbed of several quality starts, improved down the stretch and was a valuable asset in the playoffs.   Trevor Rosenthal is being told to train in the offseason to be a starter.   He wowed people with his high velocity, calm nerves and quality off speed pitches.  These three men fight for the last spot, unless Jaime Garcia’s shoulder blows up and two of the above mentioned righties are needed.  Let me say it again.  The Cards need insurance behind Rafael Furcal.  His elbow could blow at any time.  Daniel Descalso can’t start more than 100 games.  His bat simply isn’t good enough.  Kolten Wong can’t be rushed too soon to Busch.  Get somebody there on a 1-2 year deal to cover shortstop and second base.   Thank me in July.

The Rams can hang with the 49ers and possibly beat them.  We learned that lesson three weeks ago in San Francisco.  Cory Kaepernick  will start for the 49ers and prove to be a mobile double threat against the Rams defensive attack.   The Rams will have their hands full with a defense in San Francisco that ranks 2nd against the run and 4th against the pass and is 2nd in their own in rushing yards.   I didn’t predict the Rams giving a chance against this team in November much less having to shoot themselves in the foot to earn a tie, but this rematch won’t be easy.   The 49ers are out to prove they are the far better team, but the Rams will hope to use the homefield edge in their favor and upset the division leader.  I expect a close and hotly contested battle and one that will be decided by the coaches ability to adjust quickly to tactics from the other sideline.   Can Jeff Fisher outthink Jim Harbaugh?  That’s the real game.  The other is the dependability of the Rams offensive attack?   Give Steven Jackson the ball 30 times and let him wear down this tough defense because the last time I checked, he dragged 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis down the field the first they met.   Pound the ball, work the smart passes and play bloody nosed defense.   I expect to be entertained.

I have never been a crazy NCAA basketball fan but it’s hard to deny the vast intelligence and animalistic integrity of SLU coach Rick Majerus, who succumbed Saturday night to complications due to heart failure.  A well known basketball tactician, Rick also loved to eat, tell stories and win basketball games.  He had the Billikens headed in the right direction.  A big loss for the college basketball world and sports universe in general.   Personalities and legacies never die.

Tomorrow, I will watch Killing Them Softly, starring the underrated actor Brad Pitt as a mob “fixer” brought in to clean up the robbery of a mob funded poker game.   Andrew Dominik writes and directs, and he drove Pitt to one of his best roles as Jesse James in The Assassination of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford, a dark tale that truly captured the James we all knew from the books.   The dialogue and acting looks dynamite in the trailer and tomorrow morning at an early bird show, I will find out if my suspicions are true.  You can read the review of Film-Addict critic Landon Burris on this film right here.

http://www.film-addict.com/news-and-reviews/a-dose-of-buffa/item/1084-killing-them-softly

Things I Want To See-

*Rams wide receiver Brian Quick play a pivotal role in a Rams upset on Sunday.   He needs more looks.   Bad practice to waste big size and talent.

*The NHL and NHLPA come to an agreement on the lockout, one way or another, by the end of the year.   Get to it boys or call it on account of stupidity.

*Jason Motte get a lucrative 3 year deal from the Cardinals.    3.5-5 million will be the annual fee and Motte earned it with an extraordinary year.

*David Freese, Allen Craig, Jay and Rosenthal to remain Cardinals for years to come, while getting spring looks at Oscar Taveras and Wong in 2013.

*Zero Dark Thirty, the film about the killing of Osama Bin Laden, directed by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow.

*Employment to be a vibrant and sticking department of the Buffa Household.  Ronnoco isn’t the greatest gig in the world but I make it work like I have to.  They wouldn’t pay  you if it was a fun job.

*Pacquiao-Mayweather Jr. in 2013.

*Working all week, working out, running, being a good husband and father and cleaning the house takes its toll.  I collapse around 930 pm during the week.   Early for me.

With that small note about the working man timeline, I leave you.  Boardwalk Empire presents its season three finale tomorrow and I am telling you it will be a bloodbath, one body after another.  As bad guy thorn in side villain Gyp Rossetti told a woman after she asked what happened to Nucky Thompson, “He got what we have coming our whole life.  Just sooner.”  Cannavale is so good that he has risen the game of actors like Steve Buscemi, Charlie Cox, Shea Whigham, and Micheael Kenneth Williams.  Fantastic show.

Thanks for reading and goodnight,

Dan L. Buffa