Month: January 2013
Buffa Bullet Round
You ever get the feeling that you don’t have a lot of time to get something done but it needs to get the fuck out of your head or you may explode and attack a person in the street? Well, that’s my dilemma. I’m catching fire right now so let’s scroll down the list of topics that are making noise in my head. If there was a pill to make this urge go away, I’d take half and keep moving. This will be fast, random and blunt. Starting now..
- Stan Musial passed away at the age of 92 years old last Saturday at 545pm. The true quintessential Cardinal was a staple on Opening Day and a man who truly was as great off the field as he was on it. Musial won 7 batting titles, won a few World Series’ and collected more than 3,000 hits. He also was a kind giant off the field. He signed until the ink ran out in the zip code he was in and shook hands and greeted strangers. Who else gets thousands of strangers to come to his memorial on Thursday night or to his mass today? A legend. He will get a highway, street and building named after him soon enough. I was thinking to myself today if there was an overload of coverage on him a week after his passing and I reminded myself, “This is STAN FUCKING MUSIAL, asshole”. Legends get this treatment. Every time I think of Musial’s accomplishments and ability, I think of Albert Pujols’ stupidity in leaving this great city. If he had stayed, Pujols would have accepted the key to the city from Musial last week when the elder statesman passed. Instead, Albert looks 50 years old in LA and will keep declining. That’s decisions for you. Musial may have left if he had the free agent rights that Albert did but he did something more courageous than changing uniforms in a baseball league. He took off the Cards jersey and put on a military one in 1945, fighting in World War II for the USA and returning to be the MVP in the World Series. That’s Stan. He defeated the enemies and came back and looked better than ever. Take 5 minutes, look at Musial’s life and you will realize that you can’t write a story this great. He will be missed, especially on opening day in 2 1/2 months. Stan won’t be there riding up in a car, getting old, demonstrating his legendary batting stance, playing a few wicks of his harmonica and raising that hand to the crowd because it was something he wanted and needed to do. Seeing Stan at Busch was a moment where for a little while the world seemed balanced and proud. That is what he inspired. Greatness, on and off the field. He was a fire Marshall with that bat and glove, but he knew where his supporters were when he stepped out of the locker room. He’d kill you with kindness, as one man said. He would go 4-5 against a pitcher and take the guy out for dinner that night. Stan was special and now he is gone. Let the memorial construction begin.
- Rob Ryan as Rams DC. This will be entertaining to say the least. He’s a Ryan so he is animated, loud and in your face. Jeff Fisher has a history with the Ryan’s so that’s the basis of the hire but it’s really a matter of shaking up the defensive presence. Ryan took a 31st ranked Cowboys defense and made them 19th last year so there’s credibility here. I can’t get over the fact there will be two Ryans in St. Louis(Tim is a lawyer in St. Louis city). Fisher and Snead are making Rams relevant franchise once again.
- Blues aren’t just entertaining and talented. They are serious playoff contenders. Look at their first four games. Two shutouts, one comeback and one near comeback. 2 Halak shutouts and an Elliot rescue. The two goalie platoon gives them options. Vlady “Frank” Tarasenko has 4 goals and draws all the attention once he hits the ice. The kid wants to learn and matches the hype that got extended four months. Oshie and McDonald also stand out and Ken Hitchcock has turned this team into a defensive juggernaut that suffocates teams in the neutral zone and strangles them before they can get set up in the offensive zone. This team has become tactical.
More Cardinals Corner Action…
- Jason Motte 2 year deal is smart and worth the investment. He proved his mettle in 2012 with a share of the NL lead in saves and is young and hungry. Motte is the type of guy who won’t settle down with cash and giving me a 2 year safety package is smart, Mozelaik style business.
- What’s the holdup on Freese? Why is 3.75 million dollars too much? Why not go smaller and stretch out the term of the deal? At this point, Freese wants security for those 60 year old ankles and has settled in as a clutch solid producing third basemen with platoon backup behind him. I tweeted Joe Strauss when he reported the Cards and Freese are far apart on money and he told me to try and understand the arbitration process. It’s simple. Forgo it and sign Freese to a long term deal. He’s been in the system for a long time, has proven to be a decent producing third basemen and wants 4 million dollars for his services two years after picking up this team in the World Series and a year after playing 25 percent more games and driving runners in and putting up good numbers. What’s the problem, Mo?
- What’s wrong with Lohse? Kyle is coming off the best year of his career, but can’t get a deal for his life. That’s the tricky business of baseball and free agents. Since the Cardinals offered Lohse a one year qualifying offer of 13 million, which he declined, the Cards were able to hold the rights to a draft pick from the team that signed him. A high draft pick. In 2013, teams are developing players more often and building up their farm systems so they don’t have to crash the market every winter. Lohse is without a deal because the team acquiring him not only has to pay him 3-5 years and 12-15 million a piece but give the Cardinals a decent draft pick. Hello reality for Mr. Lohse. It also doesn’t help that his agent is probably demanding Matt Cain money for Lohse, who is a decent pitcher but will suffer if he is put in the wrong league, ballpark or team. Just saying.
- The Reds will be our thorn once again. With Aramis Chapman moving to the rotation and Jonathon Broxton moving to the closer spot, the Reds are taking a risk but getting more deeper in their pitching arsenal. What if Chapman pans out as a starter and blazes a trail towards a Cy Young? We are in trouble. If he falters, the Cards could take the division in what is shaping up to be a two team battle. The Cubs, Brewers and Pirates will be spectators. The Reds and Cards will duke it out and in the end pitching will win this thing. The Cardinals have plenty of it, especially in their rotation, so I expect us to push the Reds down sooner or later. Health is the key as always.
- I think either Oscar Taveras or Kolten Wong will be playing every day with the Cards by July. Too much talent to hold in Memphis and Matt Carpenter will back up Freese, Allen Craig and Carlos Beltran before he plays second base. I don’t want to distract this guy from his wickedly strong bat with a ridiculous ploy for him to learn another position. Let Daniel Descalso and Wong get the playing time at second and Carpenter be our universal backup. Taveras will be on this team when Jon Jay slams into another wall or Beltran’s knees bark again. The kids need the every day MLB experience. They are profile future everyday players.
Film-Addict Quick Bits-
- I strongly recommend End of Watch on DVD. It was my favorite movie of 2012 and the best cop film in years. Need more details. Go here.
- Quartet works as a comedy and drama and harbors fine actors with witty accents and talent to spare. If Dustin Hoffman makes more movies like this, I implore him to cut into his acting hours.
- Kathryn Bigelow took some fire for the Osama Bin Laden film, Zero Dark Thirty, and her credibility and craft were attacked. Here is my problem with Academy voters and politicians barking at the intensity of the torture scenes in the film. Have they ever heard of a motto called “Whatever It Takes”. That was the mission when Bin Laden masterminded an attack that took more than 2980 lives in one day. Also, Bigelow doesn’t exactly support the tactics used in the film, such as waterboarding, starvation and beatings. She is simply telling a story, bluntly and without a shade to cover up the nasty stuff. Why should she be attacked for that? This is why America isn’t the greatest country in the world any longer? We scare so fucking easy. Yes we do. Aaron Sorkin had it right in Jeff Daniels’ thunderous speech in the pilot for the brilliant HBO show Newsroom. This country used to wave off the idea of the views other countries had of them or the whispers around the corner about our tactics. We did what we had to do and didn’t care about the fragility. Ask the people upset with Bigelow dishing it right this question. When “talking and asking” the people involved in 9/11 didn’t work, what was their idea for the next tactic? Tell me along with the families who lost someone that day. The day we all got it wrong. What else can you do without using force to get a fucking answer in the war against crime? Did Bigelow show the CIA turning into the enemy in their interrogations? You are god damn right she did and I applaud her for it. She didn’t shade the screen or play it safe. She was bold and practical. They pushed us and we pushed back. Story told. People got in trouble when they thought the film reflected her beliefs. She promised to tell the full and complete story. Mission accomplished. Thanks goodness for filmmakers like Bigelow, Christopher Nolan and Ben Affleck. They are a part of the “not fucking around crew” and we are better for it. Let’s put the voter and the politician in the room with the 9/11 suspect and see what he gets out of “talking”. If you ever get an inkling of why this country has gone soft, link it back to complaints like these. Weak people hurt our country every day. As you can tell, this subject gets me going so I’m jumping onto something else.
- Here is Bigelow’s article to the LA Times explaining her take.
- Jason Statham’s new film, Parker, was a disappointment. He is great and effective as usual and still is the quintessential action hero of our times but got stuck in a bad script, directing gig and casting round up here. While a few quality fight scenes help, Statham looks half asleep in other scenes and Jennifer Lopez reminds us how far she has fallen in Hollywood. All together, a disappointment for a Statham fan like myself and something to wait for DVD for moviegoers. Go watch Silver Linings Playbook or Lincoln instead.
- The Last Stand, Arnold’s comeback film, delivers the action goods promised in the trailer. It doesn’t let a dumb plot, B movie acting and cliched plot threads get in the way of glorious one liners, brutal red action and a play on Arnold’s age bringing down the house. Go see The Last Stand to get a whiff of that old loving feeling of the 1980s action hero.
- For more go to http://www.film-addict.com
- Here’s what I think about Lance Armstrong’s big confession. He’s a fucking fake and its more than just his biking abilities that are torched here. His efforts, image and promise to the millions fighting cancer that looks awfully lame right now. It wasn’t a bad thing that he cheated and doped during his career or it at least wasn’t the worst thing. He lied. He flat out lied. Save me the attempts to cover him with warm blankets by telling me he has cancer and an image to hold up. He didn’t have dignity people and that will create a nasty taste in people’s mouth for a long time. A few months ago, when his Tour De France titles were stripped, he refused to talk about it and stuck by his innocent stance. Tons of evidence against him yet he stood strong. Right then, I got a feeling he truly was dirty but didn’t speak on it. Why? We all want to think he is clean and a hero. We hate the reality. We hate what awaits behind the curtain of shame. Rafael Palmerio, Mark McGwire and Marion Jones all denied using before eventually coming out and silencing the demons by admitting to cheating. Armstrong is no different, cancer campaign or not. He supposedly was the ringleader of doping. He passed out enhancers and drugs to fellow riders and increased the cheating spectrum. How is it okay to overlook that in order to keep some feeble dream alive? We bought into the impossible and got burned again.
- Speaking of flashy decrepit cheaters, The Patriots choked up again last Sunday against the Ravens, bringing to an end the march of Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck to prove their innocence. The two biggest cheaters in pro sports faltered in their efforts to sweep away memories of Spygate and I couldn’t be happier. They deserve what they get. They cheated, stole calls, robbed the integrity of the game and deserve to never win another Super Bowl again. The Patriots are sore losers and always will be because they have to the cold conclusion that they can’t win a championship without cheating. The blueprint for stopping Tom Brady is still the same. Get pressure in his face and force him out of the pocket. Brady can’t throw on the run and can’t run for his life. When he is posting up in the backfield, he is deadly. Get him moving and his skills get sliced in half. He isn’t Ben Roethlisberger, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton or Colin Kaepernick. He can’t win a game with his feet and arm. He is vulnerable, just like Peyton Manning is vulnerable once he moves around. That is why we call them pocket passers. Kurt Warner and Brett Favre were the same species. The Ravens and Giants know how to beat Brady and have stopped him from advancing to a Super Bowl title four out of five times in the past 6 years. He is a sad, boring, bitchy and robotic loser. Same goes for Belicheck, the TV actor(helping his kids with their homework and not wearing a hoodie), who hates interviews because he can’t stand to explain how his team played like absolute shit. He doesn’t surprise me and neither do the Patriots. They are cheaters and big time losers. Which will fans remember more? The three Super Bowl titles with a stain on them or the years following where they couldn’t win another? I know my answer. Do you?
Safe(yet naughty) section-Random Bits that Fall Under A Smooth Blanket of Coolness
- Who else can say that Blues hockey will save this winter from absolute boredom? After four games, I concur and one can say solely based on the surprising entertaining play of Tarasenko. I imagine the excited kid sitting near his locker, slurping vodka, muttering to himself, “I’m going to score so many fuccccking goals on this lame phony douchebags(vodka glass emptied and slammed!”
- Cast Iron Oatmeal Brown Ale goes down smoother than you think. STL brewery Four Hands is a quality beer maker.
- Casinos/Gamblers still make me laugh. I celebrated my friend’s 30th birthday last week at Lumeire Casino and soaked up the atmosphere of losers. Losers all of them. When they win, they keep playing until they lose. Case in point my friend Josh. He wins big, and then loses it all. I don’t get it. It’s not just money. It’s money and every cent counts. I sat, smoked a cigar, drank Bud Select and enjoyed not having the urge. These establishments are the end of our existence.
- My faltering need for beer is hard to avoid. While I did down that Four Hands product listed above and drank at the casino, I rarely drink at home. Bottles and cans just don’t do it for me and I am cutting out all the extra calories in my everyday consumption. I have homemade beer from my good friend in Chicago and a case of Shocktop Winter Ale but I haven’t touched it. There are painful moments when I let a beer die, or let it get warm. Pouring a beer down the drain is like dropping dollars on the street. Disgraceful and liberating at the same time.
- NFL playoffs have been a blast if you ask me. No Rams but plenty of drama. Flacco taking out Manning and Brady. Kaepernick upsetting Wilson and Ryan. Ray Lewis getting one more shot. The Harbaugh bitches going head to head. Next Sunday, my birthday as well, will feature a killer Super Bowl of unexpected teams. Save me the Destiny’s Child performance. I am not a fan and have to say this is the worst Super Bowl band ever. Yes, they are worse than the Black Eyed Peas. Led Zeppelin(or Robert Plant in particular) must have said no because those fuckers can still play and play very well.
- Physical labor work isn’t a goal. That’s the idea. If you mess up or avoid college, you will work in physical labor like myself. I don’t look down on it or call it a horrible existence but there are days where I look down at my monkey suit uniform at Ronnoco and wonder if I could be doing better. The economy is shit but that doesn’t mean you have to aim low. Young people and aspiring minds, reach for the fucking stars.
- Archer is comic gold on FX. There are so many one liners, dirty jokes, funny sequences and inside jokes about James Bond that 24 minutes a week is hardly enough. Jon Benjamin’s voice work as the title character is legendary.
- The Vinny Chronicles continue. He keeps doing more every day. He is saying things now, like “Uh Oh!” He likes to do something that he shouldn’t and look at you at the same time. He walks confidently and can take a punch. He is, as one gym daycare lady calls him, “a real Tazmanian Devil”. The kid likes to hug, pounce and throw his 31.5 pounds at you with as much force as a 16 month old can muster. He is bigger than other kids and more intuitive as well. He knows more than you think and also wouldn’t mind having some of your food dish. He has the sweetest and most heartbreaking build up to a cry and actual cry of any baby ever(thanks mommy). He can make a plaid shirt on khaki outfit go boom! He wears wife-beaters underneath his shirts like his daddy and Rocky. He can rock a buzz cut and not resemble a cornheaded kid aka he is like his daddy. He is patient at times and reckless at others. He flings his head back to the floor like its made out of rubber instead of wood. He doesn’t know what pain is. Yet. The fact that he knows who I am and feels a need to come give me a hug and ask for me gets me through the tough days. He waits at the door like you are leaving. Cries like you aren’t coming back. Kids are indeed dependents. They grow up too fast. Hopefully Vinny doesn’t get there too fast.
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day reminds us what can be accomplished when one is willing to give their life to a cause. The next time you ride a bus with a white or black person, share a work place, have a talk at Starbucks with or share a table with at a restaurant, think of Martin Luther King Jr.. He gave his life to see a belief go through. He could have given up and stayed quiet. The man had a dream and it came true. Listen to his speech and try not to get fired up about what can happen when you become fearless. When I think of him, I think of Abraham Lincoln. Another man who willingly gave his life for a cause. They don’t make these kind of men anymore or at least I haven’t seen one lately.
- Banshee is a cool, macho drama on Cinemax right now that goes down quite easy. It’s raunchy, bloody and carries a cast of unknown actors who fit perfectly into their roles. It’s about an ex-con who gets out of prison, runs through a small town called Banshee that he has ties to and through a series of crazy events, assumes the identity of their dead new sheriff. Antony Starr is the lead and he is a grizzled Australian version of Statham when it comes to looks, action and command of the screen. For the first time, here is a Cinemax series that might not suck.
- The Following is a seriously creepy and chilling new drama starring Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy as an Ex-FBI agent and killer. The pilot delivered the goods on the promise that FOX finally took a page from their sister programmer, FX, and created a deeper more provocative and dark series. Bacon is the agent brought back in to take down the serial killer he once put away. Trouble and death ensues. Bacon and Purefoy have instant good-bad guy chemistry and the first hour provides plenty of background and shocks to either hook you or see you off. Give it a shot while it’s young. As a hater of network series, I can tell you The Following is different in the best way.
- Justified returned to television two weeks ago and is my only MUST WATCH television right now. The modern western drama gets smarter and more enjoyable with each passing episode. Great acting, and the best line readings on the television front today. Timothy Olyphant continues to amaze. There’s a scene with a rattlesnake in the last episode that can classified under legitimately creepy and scarier than anything in theaters recently. Fantastic need to watch series on FX.
- Bob Costas tells it like it is and is a great speaker. His words at Stan Musial’s ceremony today were as gracious, powerful and quite emotional as they can get. Watch here. I may not agree with all Bob says through his days, but when he is right, he is dead on.
There isn’t much more to say without repeating myself. It’s time to go now. The hour is later than I thought. My kid is in a weirdly timed nap and the wife is coming home soon. There’s laundry to be done and food to be cooked. A night to be had. Still, an ambitious soul like my own, brimming with a need to inform, has time to come here and dish it for a couple hours. Thanks for reading and goodnight.
Take 10 With Buffa
Hello folks and readers,
Let’s tear into a few things lingering in my head. I’ll roll into a neat little number for you. 10 things with Buffa.
1.)Less hockey does suck when it comes to fierce NHL action, but look at the bright side because that’s all you can really do. The Blues will play 45 games instead of 82 and there are good things to be found. First, there is no lags in the schedule. Weeks where only 1 or 2 games are played. As fans, we can appreciate that. As players, well, I suggest more cardio, less booze and better food. Teams can’t relax at all and the urgency is heightened. Second, all the games will be played inside the the conference, so if you hope to make the playoffs, losing a game will seriously hurt your chances. A four point swing could push a team down. If the Blues lose two in a row to the Blackhawks and the Canucks, with the two teams above them in the standings, it’s a huge blow. There are no fanfare outside conference games against the Capitols or Penguins. It’s being kept in the family in 2013 and the Blues are going to duel with their neighbors more often. Third, the Blues are set up well in this situation. We have a very young team and several players didn’t lay down at home and do nothing during the lockout. Matt D’Agostini, T.J. Oshie, David Perron, newcomer Vladamir Tarasenko, and a few others played in different leagues and countries to remain fresh. This will help in the short run. Another huge factor and reason to be happy to be a Blues backer is the fact that we have two #1 type goaltenders. Most teams have to find a way to incorporate a backup goalie they really don’t want to use. With a short schedule and limited rest, teams can’t weigh too heavily on their starters. The depth of a roster is huge as well. The Blues got great production from Jaroslav Hakak and Brian Elliot last year. When Halak struggled, the journeyman Elliot pushed him and filled in. When Elliot was being exposed as a career backup, Halak stepped back in and cleaned up. It’s a great situation to be in. Most teams don’t have this. I don’t want to be too excited here, but this shortened season is the best chance for the Blues, a small market yet incredibly homegrown talent built team, to make a run at the Stanley Cup. Our defense was stout last season and will remain under coach Ken Hitchcock. Our offense was fantastic when most of the roster was intact, with several players contributing 20 goals or more. The Blues start play a week from tonight at Scottrade against the Red Wings before heading to Detroit on Sunday for a home/away series. This is the perfect way to start the season. With a stiff test and energetic doubleheader with a bloody rival. Two weeks ago, I didn’t think hockey was happening. Now, Blues fans can get ready to punch a Red Wing next Saturday and today if it makes you happy. Scottrade Center will be fired up because let’s be honest, downtown has been quiet most days at 14th and Clark. You can cart old rockers like Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen in there and try to replace the fury and adrenaline that comes with hockey, but in the end sticks, pucks, and attitudes are required. I am a devoted Blues fan, and have been all my life. The Die Hards will dismiss me and others for not knowing every line arrangement, meal and tweak and quirk of the game. I know plenty and can tell you quite simply at the moment that the St. Louis Blues are a feared hockey team in this 45 game bull rush. While the know it all’s break down this paragraph, I’ll hit up some other subjects.
2.)Zero Dark Thirty is a fascinating look into the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal spare nothing on our eyes with their brutally accurate and blunt depiction of the CIA’s efforts to bring this man down. Save your politics for the door and go see this movie. Rust and Bone is in theaters in the Midwest as well. A dark French romance that is a quiet powerhouse of drama, love and sacrifice. One film you know and the other you probably don’t. I recommend both.
3.)I will write a post on film-addict about the Oscars this weekend but I will say I was pleased, disappointed and surprised by the nominations. If you don’t care for the Oscars, that’s fine. Go read US weekly. This awards ceremony is the World Series for filmmakers and actors. Forget the other awards with a slight exception for the Screen Actors Guild and the Critics Choice awards. The Oscars are the ones that are remembered. Without diving too deep into it here, I will say I have a huge problem with Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow not getting director nominations. They each handled a fascinating true story that made the USA look good and produced a superb film loved by critics and fans alike, so why they were left out for Ang Lee and the director of Amour I will never know. Affleck is still living down his troubled past and Bigelow directed a movie that included the torture of very bad men. She got to enough government suits with her tale of a female CIA agent tracking down Bin Laden for 12 years, so maybe they pushed her out by whining about the film. I am happy for the Silver Linings Playbook, a devilishly charming romantic drama that scored a boatload of nominations. Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver scoring looks was as special as Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence getting nominated. This film was a genre film spiced up with crazy characters, a heartfelt ode to sports fanaticism and an improbable yet game cast. Lincoln scored the most with 12 nominations, and while the film is flawless and very well done(scoring a spot on my top 10 list), it was a predictable greatness. With Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field and writer Tony Kushner writing his screenplay from a novel called Team of Rivals, there was little doubt. I was moved by the film but not as much as others. It isn’t a smack on the film but it is my way of saying that other films(Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, Silver Linings, Rust and Bone) hit closer to home without banging a biography over our heads. Read more about the Oscars on my website tomorrow.
4.)Reports that Rob Ryan is the new Rams defensive coordinator are false, at least for now. He is being considered but a few reports on Twitter and other sports outlets saying Ryan was hired aren’t true. I text a few friends about it and tweeted about it, but will rescind those words now. Ryan is an intriguing option for the defense and similar to Gregg Williams because he loves to blitz and prefers a 3-4 defensive arrangement. He didn’t fare too well in Dallas leading a 19th ranked defensive unit but suffered from several injuries. He is the brother of Rex Ryan so there are those bizarre connections. His coaching skills aren’t that great so I wonder why this hire would even be considered. Jeff Fisher can answer that.
5.)Kyle Lohse can’t find a job and that’s unfortunate. He fired off 3 injury free solid seasons in a row for the Cardinals, anchoring the rotation in 2012 with a marvelous performance. His agent Scott Boras more than likely spiked up his asking price, trying to score on the Cy Young caliber season last year but so far there are no takers. Lohse is too expensive for the Cardinals and other teams are backing off. Post Dispatch writer Joe Strauss suggests it is the draft pick compensation coming to the Cards from the team that does sign him because the Redbirds offered him a 1 year tender contract. My feelings are that they are weary of the Lohse that came before the last 3 years. The erratic, average record holding pitcher capable of being smashed. I think Lohse has turned the corner and learned something here, but my bet is other teams with millions in their pockets are taking their time. He will land in either Texas, Baltimore or Milwaukee, and get a 3 year deal and no more unless a team goes stupid. He will not be as good as he was in St. Louis in 2012. NO WAY.
6.)Baseball starts in one month. On February 12th, pitchers and catchers report to Florida or Arizona. When you are down and need something to perk you up, remember that baseball fans.
7.)My thoughts on the NFL round of action this weekend. Green Bay will get rid of San Francisco and Seattle will beat Atlanta. Seattle is playing too well, runs the ball like mad and will overwhelm Matt Ryan and reveal his playoff weaknesses yet again in Atlanta. Pete Carroll and his incessant cheerleader antics will continue and drive me insane but his quarterback and running back are too good right now to be stopped. Green Bay will play just enough defense to throw off Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers offense while shredding their defense. Aaron Rodgers got tossed by the Giants last year and wants revenge. The Denver Broncos will send Ray Lewis into retirement in Denver because they didn’t win 12 games in a row for no reason. Peyton Manning is playing better than ever, they can run the ball and get enough of a pass rush to disrupt the overrated Joe Flacco. Tom Brady and the Patriots won’t beat the Texans by four touchdowns tomorrow but they will win 28-21 and give us the Manning-Brady matchup again. In the end, Arian Foster won’t be able to carry this team any further. Like the Falcons, the Texans are a regular season giant made small in the playoffs by an inability to execute and dominate. There you have it.
8.)Raise your hand if you can’t believe we are nearly 2 weeks into 2013. Time flies when you work for a living and have a life at home. My days seem to be flying by so fast that the only time I feel it can slowed down is when I am sitting in a quiet room. Then, I fall asleep and the next day begins. Two jobs, a family, and a little passion leaves me worn out but ready to tackle the next day. I will say this. If you don’t like your job, get in line. Nobody REALLY likes their job unless they work for themselves and have their own money making company. That doesn’t guarantee happiness. Ask any owner of a startup company, restaurant, bar or business. It’s taxing and leaves you with shredded nerves but save me the bitching and moaning. You can change it if you want. Nobody is tied to a job so I hate when all I hear is whining. With millions out of work and struggling to make ends meet, be glad you have a clock in card or corporation that doesn’t mind paying you money to help their production.
9.)I turn 31 next month. Say hello to meaningless birthday #1 on the road to 40. Once you hit 30, the following years are just stepping stones to the next goal, which is 40 large loud bells. Individual birthdays are overrated. Milestone decade marks are important. Just keep breathing.
10.)Finally, some parting shots. I still prefer Peyton Manning’s career over Brady, because of his versatility and minus a Spygate scandal. The Cardinals shouldn’t let David Freese and Jason Motte go to arbitration. They have proven themselves enough to get 2-3 year deals. I don’t know why they insist on one year deals. Freese is injury prone yet productive and cheap. Motte solidified himself as the closer in 2012 and fixed a huge problem with this team for the past 6 years. He gave us a shutdown closer. John Mozelaik is smart but this I don’t get. Spread the money Mo. I do think Vladamir Tarasenko will be an exciting player to watch but his production relies on his health. I have seen plenty of young quick players come into this league and only a handful can avoid concussions and injury to put up great numbers. Look around at Perron and McDonald, Vlady, if you want to understand the collision of skill and human frailty in a physical sport. Junior Seau’s report coming back showing significant brain damage is expected when you play in the NFL for so long. When one man chooses a brutal sport to make his living, brain damage is on the docket. You just can’t take that away. All Roger Goodell will do is dumb down the game and make it weaker. Seau didn’t kill himself because he had brain damage. If that was true, a lot of ex-NFL players would be dropping daily. The evidence is skewed here. Sorry vulnerable people. I like nice weather or cold weather but only wish it would be more consistent. I am not afraid to drive a 24 foot truck on city roads. I like riding over everybody else. Our company truck needed an oil change so a colleague and I took it around the city trying to find a building tall enough for our rig. I took my dad to a screening on Thursday(Zero Dark Thirty) and for the first time, he started to understand that his son actually HAD a website and was a legit movie critic. Evidence is required for a parent to buy into an operation that doesn’t yield money slips yet.
I better stop here because I can’t give it all away in one blog. Thanks for reading.
Goodnight and good luck,
I’m Here And Ready
Never mind my emotional sounding title of this blog. It’s just me talking about the usual suspects that sneak into my head, lay down, order room service and feel like causing a stir until I write about them and dismiss them back into the rabbit hole trash bin located of my head. A woman once told me that when I sit down to write, get your hands set to do the unthinkable and imaginative work that many only keep in their heads until they explode with a hurtful physical act. By blogging, a guerrilla artform that has drawn more ridicule than praise, I keep the demons at bay and myself out of trouble. Spin the news, tell the tale and do the deed so I can just keep living. Let’s do it.
The Cardinals begin spring training in 31 days. A reason for excitement that draws more passion and fury for the simple fact that there is no hockey or football in St. Louis any longer. The town has gone sports silent and needs a reason to get moving again downtown. Maybe you haven’t noticed but downtown in St. Louis looks pretty dull without sports going on. Concerts, food parades, runs and whatever don’t carry the weight of a sporting event. While the NHL decides this week if they can get a deal hammered out(something I won’t acknowledge until it sits closer to reality), the hope now is baseball and the beautiful pain of 162 games driving me insane and throwing against the wall. The Cardinals are predictable in that very singular way. They promise torture, joy, and endless nights of frustration. There isn’t much to talk about with this team other than their time is coming. They are content to run their chips behind a middle infield that may include 5 different players. Can Rafy Furcal’s elbow avoid explosion? He makes 7 million dollars and is a career ending injury waiting to happen. The Cards made little play to find him insurance, so the unlikely playoff hero Pete Kozma steps in as his backup. I like Pete and praise his improbable work in the playoffs but wish the Cards had gotten a more versatile shortstop to back up Furcal’s fragile body. Second base will be split between defensive minded Daniel Descalso and the transitioning big bat Matt Carpenter, who is being taught by his professional baseball coach father in the winter and will get schooled by Jose Oquendo in the spring. I don’t mind this lefthanded platoon combo until Kolten Wong gets his shot. Allen Craig will play first base primarily and I can only hope the Cards keep big husky Matt Adams on the bench as a power bat and lefthanded backup to Craig in the predictable event that Allen suffers a lower body injury. The Cards need pop off the bench and Adams can provide it. David Freese is at third, inching closer to a multi-year deal with the team and will get Carpenter and Descalso to back him up. The infield is a moving parts committee. You could see a player make a stop at three positions inside a month if an injury happens. The outfield is Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Carlos Beltran with rookie Oscar Taveras on the horizon. If he hits well in spring training and looks ready, the Cards need to bring up Oscar and get him on the MLB wagon. Yadi Molina is the catcher with Tony Cruz backing him up. Yadi’s brother Bengie is the assistant hitting coach so the Cards may want to up the chips/salsa count in the clubhouse. The sure rotation spots right now are Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter(fully equipped with a upper half of bionic body appendages), Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook and a player to be named later. Unless he is traded soon, Lance Lynn is that 5th guy based on his 2012 record(team’s proposed words, not my own). Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal will fight Lynn for that 5th spot. Garcia is a wild card as well with his shoulder barking throughout 2012 and his choice to pitch for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. Garcia, like Furcal, avoided surgery and went for the rest route. Risky. The Cardinals would be smart to monitor Garcia’s innings in the tournament. We don’t need him missing half the season again. The bullpen consists of Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Sam Freeman, Randy Choate, Marc Rzepcynzski, Rosenthal/Kelly/Miller. The Cardinals don’t need any big pieces but can use a couple spares if they chose to keep Adams at Memphis. Your bench right now is Cruz, Kozma, Carpenter, Taveras(?), Adams(?) and a few other warm bodies. Mike Matheny has a lot to work with and a few decisions to make. The spring’s big debate and competition will sit with the rotation’s final two spots. Is Garcia healthy? Can Lynn handle the pressure and be a solid 5th starter? If not, the team has plenty of options available and none of them involve the free agent market. This is the most set I have seen this team coming into spring in a long time.
T.J. Oshie and other Blues players went on social networks and told fans that the NHL lockout may be over by Monday. The players made another proposal and the league will decide by this coming week. If rejected, the season is more or less OVER. If the owners accept, the games could be on by January 18th. That will be a much needed boost to the local sports scene but also a test of the will of Blues fans and hockey fans across the country. This team isn’t to blame for the lockout. Let’s make that clear. The Blues are a small market team that lost money in 2011-2012. They didn’t overextend themselves with stupid long term contracts or play their hand too long. They are victims here. David Backes is a part of the players union and may have played a small part in delaying hockey, but its my belief that most of the Blues were waiting on a resolution between the mom and dad of hockey operations here. Local new owner Tom Stillman is chomping at the bit to get rolling and if a deal is struck soon, hockey gets set in motion in two weeks. Stadiums, arenas and games will feature lots of empty seats and rightly so. However, if the entire season is cancelled, the 2013-2014 season is in serious jeopardy of being abandoned by fans before the players and owners get a chance to fight over money. I like Oshie’s optimism but I will wait for an official word before I get excited about the return of NHL action.
The Rams performed a lot better that my forecast for their 2012 season. There were too many penalties, stalls on offense, and questions still abound about the overall future of Sam Bradford. There were a few late minute collapses(Lions on the road) and embarrassing losses(Jets at home). However, this team is tough, resilient and made a comeback. They beat playoff teams Washington, Seattle and San Francisco at home. They nearly toppled Seattle and San Francisco on the road. They dominated their own division. The Rams showed an ability to come back in the fourth quarter and win a game, as shown in Buffalo and San Francisco. They were one of the few teams to stop Robert Griffin III in the fourth quarter. They sacked Russell Wilson more than any team could all season last week. The Rams finished with 7 wins as they did in 2010 but looked legit this season. They didn’t have the league’s softest schedule that the 2010 team had. They took down some pretty good teams and lost to a few very bad teams. All the common elements of a football season. 2013 will be an exciting and explosive season for the Rams. Their needs are easy to point out. A solid return specialist so Danny Amendola can play more than 10 games. An explosive vertical threat wide receiver who can get away from defenders. Chris Givens and Brian Quick showed that ability but a veteran presence would be welcome. A safety to pair with Quentin Mekkel on defense would help, as would an outside linebacker to pair with James Laurinaitis. The Rams’ schedule is tough in 2013 but I expect this team to challenge San Francisco and Seattle for the division and make an easy play at a wildcard spot. The doom and gloom of a Rams preseason doesn’t exist here anymore.
Steven Jackson’s critics still call him a non team player and overall worthless talent. Too bad they are all wrong when logic and stats hit their faces. Yesterday I shot down a Jackson critic by reminding him that he has played with shitty offensive lines and mediocre and average to only decent quarterbacks throughout the majority of his career. He is one of 6 running backs in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in 8 straight seasons. Sure, the seasons are 16 games, longer than the old days of football. If that is their only case, why haven’t more running backs in the past 15-20 years shown the level of consistency that Jackson has? Emmitt Smith played for monstrous Dallas teams in accomplishing the feat. Put Jackson on that Dallas squad and his stats and touchdown totals are akin to Smith’s. Every Jackson critic doesn’t get logic and has a short term memory. He is the ultimate team player. Did he walk off the sidelines of a close game like Randy Moss or attack his team in the press like Terrell Owens? He has constantly supported every this team, been a team leader and done his job. Anybody who speaks against that is a fucking idiot or better show me some numbers. Please don’t tell me you wish he would run straight. Hard to run straight when your constantly beat up offensive line isn’t opening any holes. Jackson runs whenever he can and had an explosive finish to the 2012 season.
Manny Pacquiao was told by doctors that he has early signs of Parkinson’s disease. My response is simple. At this point in their career, a lot of boxers show signs that could be connected to Parkinson’s. Ever since Muhammed Ali was diagnosed, every doctor looks at a fighter differently. Pacquiao is fine and will fight a few more rounds. If he was told a ticking bomb was inside his chest, his pride would refuse to allow him to retire. The man was last seen sucking the canvas after a huge Juan Manual Marquez right hand that sprung out of a perfectly timed booby trapped connected with his jaw. Pacquiao will come back, doctors orders or not, and avenge his loss. I expect a fight in April to warm up(pulverize Timothy Bradley once and for all) before a September showdown with Marquez. People still question why they may fight again. The answer is simple. Their fights are thrilling and consistently toe to toe action. They don’t hug, buy time or throw punches with their head. They stand in the middle and fire or chase each other around the ring. It’s old school boxing like it should be. If their brains and legs are able, they should fight another three times. Pacquaio gave Marquez a fourth fight to recover some dignity and this time Juan needs to do the same. Money will be made, minds will be blown and blood will be drawn. Let it ride.
In other boxing news, Floyd Mayweather Jr. will fight Robert Guerrero in May and will face a steeper challenge than many expect. Guerrero beat the shit out of Andre Berto and is a tall young lefthanded power punching undefeated champion. Floyd jumps off the couch after a year away(which included 54 days in jail) and will still show speed, agility and the fine tools of the sweet science but also brandish an older body that can be hurt, as seen in his last fight against Miguel Cotto. Floyd can tell me all he wants that he did that to put on a show, and I will say those are the words of an older fighter denying logic and the father time blues. Floyd is getting older. He fights Guerrero, and win or lose, he takes on Canelo Alvarez in September. Cotto’s options are few and sparse. He can give Amir Khan a bone and fight him, but little else exists out there. Canelo will fight Austin Trout in May and probably beat him unless he underestimates Trout’s chin and gets caught. Alvarez HASN”T been tested yet. That needs to happen before Floyd. Juan Manuel Marquez may fight Bradley to get a belt or just rest until Pacman is ready. Some areas of boxing are harder to tell than others but its best if these self proclaimed promoters let me handle the fight arrangements. I know what fans, like myself, want to see. Bloody spectacular action.
Listening to my anytime mix, a list of tunes I put together that can be listened to at all times because of the amount of favorites located on the list. Johnny Cash, Dave Matthews, Bon Iver, Mumford and Sons, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Bob Dylan, Dead Weather, Coldplay, Adele(live), Greg Holden, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, B.B. King, John Mayer(acoustic blues), Jimi Hendrix, David Gray, Florence and The Machine, The Black Keys and Frank Sinatra. A fine list of versatile musicians promising a calming mood for a tired overworked man at any time. Here’s one of the songs on the list.
Matt Damon isn’t going to run for political office and we are all the better for it. This isn’t a shot at Damon, because he is one of the best entertainers and consistent performers in Hollywood. He loves his job too much to lose a portion of his soul to politics. In an interview, he was asked about politics and politely denied any interest. He said he knew he met a guy while doing research for The Adjustment Bureau who was getting out of politics, saying you work for idealistic people in the beginning but eventually lose yourself in the process. Who wants to slice up their own life in a global arena of liars? Damon doesn’t and he is smart to avoid it. His new film, Promised Land, which he co-wrote and stars in, deals with fracking(big corporations extracting natural resources from small towns) and is sure to be interesting, provocative and well acted. I see it tomorrow. My film-addict colleague, Landon Burris, saw it and gave it a 3/5 rating, citing it as a good if not great movie.
I could listen to Bob Dylan, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash sing “Girl From North Country” all day long. Such a sweet old fashioned ballad that recovers a decent amount of charm after it’s 20th listen.
I would like to add Skyfall to my top 2012 films list. I would throw that in there right with Dark Knight Rises as a part expected part surprise expertly crafted film. The latest James Bond film is the best Bond adventure I have ever seen and yes I did watch the Connery films. Daniel Craig cuts deeper than any other actor to play the role. His team up with Javier Bardem(go to guy for sincerely demented villains), Judi Dench, and director Sam Mendes created a classic spy film. See it on DVD/Blu Ray next month.
Lance Berkman is close to signing with The Texas Rangers. This is a surprising move because I would have bet money on Berkman closing his career in Houston with the Astros, his former team. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow was talking with Berkman this past month. How that team couldn’t find financial terms to allow Berkman to retire where he was a star is beyond me, but its good for him that he is going to a contender. The deal is a one year deal with a vesting option for a 2nd, but we will see how long Berkman’s knees hold up. He is a veteran presence, a switch hitter who can DH and play first base and is candid with the media in a way few athletes are. He is good for the game of baseball. I am glad he has a chance to end his career with his head pointed up. His time in St. Louis was short and sweet but I’ve always admired and feared Berkman’s ability.
The use of Scala and Kolacny Brothers choir version of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” in the latest trailer for Zero Dark Thirty is genius. I finally get a chance to see that film on Thursday. The tale of the greatest manhunt in the world is special because of who is handling the material. Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal did The Hurt Locker and love or hate the film, you can agree it was authentic. They get the insider access to so called classified documents because a good amount of the US government wants this tale to be told. Why would you not want a capture and kill mission that spanned 10 years not told? The idea of backlash is expected because of the sensitive content. The methods of madness used by our ladies and gents in this fight to find Bin Laden isn’t for everyone but you tell the 2995 families who lost a soul to 9/11 that this story needs to stay top secret. I do believe it happened and can’t wait to see the tale. The cast looks killer as well, full of character actors and anchored by Jessica Chastain, whose character is based on a real CIA field agent who chased Osama for 10 years.
Playoff football just started with the kickoff between Houston and Cincinnati. Tonight, the Vikings and Packers do battle and the key part of that battle is the home field advantage that Aaron Rodgers and company hold. The other factor is the fact that Adrian Petersen has ripped them for an average of 200 yards rushing in their two meetings this season. Since my team is finished and not participating in playoff activity(the Rams, who have always remained my team during their dreadful period), I root for my favorite players and not necessarily teams. My boy is Peyton Manning and his Broncos don’t play for another week but when they do, I like their chances. Manning enjoyed a superb season in his comeback from neck surgery and looks to capture Super Bowl #2 and having home field advantage will help. The Super Bowl returns to New Orleans this February so explosive offensive teams are in luck. My prediction is Denver and Seattle gunning for the trophy with a slight worry about New England and Green Bay. I would love to see Denver and Green Bay play but I am not sure The Packers can make it with their defense struggling so much.
Jose Canseco and Charlie Sheen need to do a reality show together. Two completely crazy yet talented people thrown into one house for a month. I’d watch that and I hate reality television. Canseco is crazy, posts retarded new year resolutions on twitter, once drank jet fuel, dated Madonna and publicly confessed to doing steroids before anyone else did. Credit Jose with coming out first. He is nuts and once put an ad out on the internet while on house arrest for fans to pay him to hang out. Sheen is a national media sensation, doing and saying everything and looking smarter than people give him credit for. He carried Two and A Half Men to a long rein of profit and viewership before dumping it for a large chunk of money. He had a solid film career with some seriously funny comedies and a few decent dramas. He suckered FX to give hi a deal that will keep his stupid show, Anger Management, on the air for 90 more episodes. He will be rich and crazy while Jose needs money. These two guys are perfect. Don’t discredit Canseco. His stats are tainted yet can’t be dismissed. He was the first player to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases. He was a great power hitter. Steroids doesn’t give you the ability to hit home runs. He was a great player for a decent portion of time. These guys are entertaining and this is my pitch for a reality show in 2013. This isn’t one of my resolutions but just a solid idea that I came up with driving to the gym after work. That’s where I get my best material. I need to put a microphone in my car. Great stuff. Completely unfiltered, dirty and blunt.
Justified on FX comes back this Tuesday and thank goodness for it. Californication follows a week from Sunday. Great television can’t be ignored.
I made no resolutions at New Year’s. I never do. They are pointless, unless you are like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wrote his down with specific target dates when he was younger. People crowd gyms with their hollow promises and generally piss people off who exercise year round and don’t have to make it a big deal. I hate going to the gym to find zero lockers because fat Sal and smelly six roll stomach Lou wanted to prove their family and co-workers wrong. Get serious or fuck off. New Year Resolutions are for lame people. Just do it and forget the list. My goals are the same every January. Eat better, exercise even more, keep writing and be a good husband, father and man in general. I want to take Film-Addict to the next level, do a few crazy things, and provide for my family. That’s it. Stay in shape or be a shape bitches!
That’s it. Thanks for reading, spending time here and digesting this latest dose of Buffa.
Dan L. Buffa
“The L isn’t silent. It stands for Larry”
Closing song-“All You Do Is Talk” by The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
The Buffa End of The Year Rant
Blog started at 11 p.m. on December 31, 2012-
I’ll won’t keep you long here as I am sure you are partying it up like it’s the end of the world and the Mayans were only 10 days off. I am at home, with a kid in the bed and a wife on the couch and the lovely sound of Newsroom reruns flowing behind me on HBO. Aaron Sorkin has a pair of brass balls and uses a political platform better than Quentin Tarantino bends history. Many political animals showed their teeth when Sorkin dug his own into the past few years of huge world events and threw his own spin on things. They thought, “oh fuck no, who is he to do this and say these things?” Well, let me tell you. When you have an hour of premium cable to put your thoughts on a screen with an all star cast, you have your way with it. No holds barred and full steam ahead. Come on, this is why politics are lame and the United States of America is considered weak. We hate it when the mirror gets turned on us and the ugly reflection kicks us in the stomach. Newsroom did that, showing the way the news should have handled critical events such as the oil spill, an assassination attempt on a Senator and the hateful nature of a Presidential candidate turning away one of his staff because he was gay. It also threw back the cover on the talent of its cast members. Jeff Daniels never looked better as Will McAvoy, the anchor with a wolf instinct and a deep down love for his country but disdain for what it’s become. Daniels was amazing and better than Matthew Fox ever was on Lost. Suck it mystery island flock of shit lovers. Sam Waterson, Law and Order vet and a man who once played Lincoln, killed it as old hound news runner Charlie Skinner, who drank, spoke and kicked out wise tales like a journalism Buddha. Emily Mortimer, a long time British talent in film, climbed aboard and reminded the women in news that their voice can be sharp as a flesh eating male. The show sings as I digest it a second time. It is the best new show on television and June of 2013 can’t come soon enough. Please tell me why you don’t like this show and make it sound better than what I just wrote.
While you think about that, enjoy this best of Charlie Skinner(Waterson) clip put together by some dude on Youtube. You will forget this is the same guy who starred on the duller than chalk dust Law and Order show. Nobody says the word, “fuck”, better than Sam Waterson.
Let’s keep going here without a structure. People that need bullets and bold colored statements every time they write a memo or blog need to be walked out to an alley and have their face kicked in. Back to the point.
Hey gun haters, let me tell you a story that you may have unearthed in the news reel the past two weeks under the rock of Sandy Hook and its many manipulators. A couple days after Sandy Hook, December 17th, a man walked into a San Antonio restaurant with the intent of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend. He walked, shot her, and the people in the restaurant freaked out and ran over to the movie theater next door. The man fired at police cars on his way over. The man followed the fleeing crowd into the theater with the intent to kill more people. Before he could, an off duty deputy put four holes in him and saved many lives. The victims weren’t 6 and 7 years old but this was the work of a hero. This week, that woman is being given a medal for having imaginary steel testicles. Why didn’t we hear about this? The media hounds buried it under the rest of the truth pile because it didn’t fall in line with the politically correct safe people who dictate the mainstream news. This wasn’t reported and there were few interviews. CNN and NBC think its okay to interview a traumatized 7 year old about what it sounded and felt like to hear bullets fired in their ear, stay quiet while their classmates were gunned down or quickly leave the school so their lives were spared. However, it wasn’t a priority to send a news team to Texas to report this amazing story. In case you think I am lying, here is the story.
It’s not flashy or soaked in blood but without a person acting on instinct and using a weapon, more lives could have been lost. It puts cement around my original point. When a bad person with a gun walks into a room, the best defense is a good person with a gun. Moving on.
As I down a shot of devil’s cut Kentucky Bourbon whiskey with 2013 firing up as I write this sentence, let me move into smoother topics. I like to start things with a bang, especially now that I am four hours into my Newsroom revisit. This show is so good because it hooks you with the content and holds onto you with the material used by Sorkin, real events. The second season starts this summer. I suggest you get on this.
The Rams didn’t win on Sunday against the Seahawks but it sure felt like a victory when they succumbed 20-13 after a late touchdown drive by Seattle rookie Russell Wilson. For nearly three quarters, the Rams were outplaying and beating up the Seahawks. They sacked Wilson 6 times, the most allowed against him all season long. Chris Long had 2 sacks and finished with 10 on the season, and Robert Quinn also had 10 sacks as well. The Rams finished with 52 sacks, tying Cincinnati for the most in the NFL. Sam Bradford threw a late game sealing interception but looked solid on the road and wasn’t bothered by the extremely loud conditions. Seattle had been pummeling opponents recently, accumulating 142 points in three games. The Rams were picked by many to be slapped around brutally. Local radio minds like Randy Karraker picked the Rams to lose 31-6 right before kickoff. Like they have done all season, the Rams proved a lot of people wrong and nearly upset the Seahawks. The loss was their first inside their division, the NFC West. They defeated Seattle at the dome earlier in the season and nearly beat the 49ers twice. Two teams in the NFC going to the playoffs and the Rams didn’t just hang with them but outplayed them in all four games. Steven Jackson ran for only 52 yards on 11 carries(4.7 per carry) but reached 1,000 yards for the 8th straight season. This has been done by only 5 other running backs in NFL history. It’s a testament to Jackson’s durability, skill and loud leadership for him to reach this milestone with a lot of average or bad teams. The Rams haven’t had a winning season with Jackson behind the quarterback and lots of feeble minds will place blame on the running back. They think he can call plays, play defense, draft players and work free agency and trades as well as run the ball. They are stupid. Steven Jackson has played his ass off for the Rams and deserves recognition. He doesn’t get the ball enough and may play elsewhere in 2013. I implore him to look around the market because he deserves the right to play for a serious contender. While they will pose a healthy threat in 2013, the Rams may not be able to overtake Green Bay just yet. However, their efforts in 2012 make you reconsider. They finished 7-8-1, a vast improvement over their 2-14 record in 2011. Jeff Fisher is the MVP of this team. Without many free agent moves or high profile draft picks, the Rams won 5 more games than 2011 and looked legit. Two years ago, they nearly made the playoffs and finished 7-9 but didn’t look as sure as this team. The 2012 Rams could have collected two more wins if they had starved off Detroit in Week 1 and avoided a drastic penalty on a field goal attempt in overtime against San Francisco. They would have finished 9-7 and still missed the playoffs but looked better doing so. This isn’t excuse making yet a clear way to evaluate a season. Point out what could have been and move on. The Rams won’t send any player to the joke that is called the Pro Bowl and that’s fine. They will recover dignity and head into the offseason looking for wide receiver, offensive line and help on special teams. They have two first round picks in 2013. The offense needs to run smoother and finish with more touchdowns but that’s obvious. The Rams need a legit returner who can get the team better field position. They desperately need to stop taking stupid penalties, including false starts. The Rams led the league in penalties and a few crucial mistakes cost them games. As is the case with any team, there are areas to fix and address but lots to feel good about. The Rams improved in 2012 and looked poised to make a run in 2013 and 2014. Their team will look different next year but retain the same fighter spirit implanted by Fisher and his coaches. They have one of the best cornerback tandems in Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins and one of the toughest defensive line tandems in Long and Quinn. Sam Bradford’s stats improved this season while his decision making and gutsy play took steps forward and backward. This team is alive and interesting again.
The Blues are dead in the water. The NHLPA and Owners will meet this week but don’t expect much. The deadline to start a season comes in less than 10 days and I have a feeling the second full season of hockey in the last 7 years will be lost. Greed is a dangerous part of life. 2013-2014 doesn’t look too bright either. Will the hockey fans come back? Sure. Will all the fans come back? NO way. These things will take time to heal and recover trust. Such a sad thing when an enterprise that makes lots of money and produces such a thrilling game is shut down by greed and stupidity.
Here are my favorite movies of the year. The best according to Buffa. It’s hard to call them The Best of 2012 when it is just your opinion being spread here. These movies didn’t leave my mind for awhile and found a place in my heart and soul. In the my first year as a film critic, my gaze was sharpened and my passion was heightened.
In no fixed order, here they are.
1. The Intouchables
2. The Dark Knight Rises
3. Rust and Bone
4. Killer Joe
5. End of Watch
6. Searching for Sugar Man
7. Silver Linings Playbook
-A word of advice from a film-addict. Avoid Django Unchained. It is a disappointment and this comes from a Quentin Tarantino fan. The spaghetti western tribute is a 3 hour meandering uneven enterprise of style over substance. Leo DiCaprio is a great bad guy but the rest are just fine. After I left, I regretted my time spent during it. Here is a duel review between myself and FA staff writer Landon Burris. He loved it while I didn’t enough to like.
-I wrote a piece on Matthew McConaughey, bringing to light his underrated acting ability. I think I did the Texan a solid with this piece.
-One more thing from my site while I have you here. This is my revisiting of The Dark Knight Rises, where I quarrel with the notion of whether it’s Oscar worthy or not. While it made my favorite films list, I don’t think it deserves awards like The Dark Knight did. Read it and get a clue. The Dark Knight Rises isn’t Oscar bound in my opinion, but still really fucking good. An excellent Blu Ray purchase especially if you love special features like this guy. Nolan takes you through his entire thought process and shoot. Nolan’s trilogy is hard to beat for being complete and direct with its ideals. Tom Hardy’s work as Bane is underrated but Christian Bale’s acting in the final chapter was home run material and is harder than it looks. Read more in my piece.
That’s all my website marketing I will do. It’s mandatory at this point when I am basically my own agent and publicist.
More NFL bits as the playoffs begin. The Giants and Steelers are out and that is sad yet true and understandable. The Denver Broncos are dangerous and Peyton Manning is the reason. While Adrian Petersen nearly broke the single season yards record and is great, Manning’s work is amazing. The defense is average, the receivers are young and the team barely made it into the playoffs last year and only did so after a QB change. Manning looks sharper than ever. After being left for dead by the Colts and the better portion of the NFL, Peyton has risen from the ashes and making a claim for Super Bowl win #2. He led the team to 12 straight wins and a 13-3 record. Watch out New England. The only way Tom Brady beats Peyton Manning is by attacking that weak Denver secondary. People gave so much crap to Peyton in the past for his teams losing without thinking about the Colts soft secondary. Sure, Manning made mistakes but the man can only throw the football. When the Patriots went up 28-7 early this season against the Broncos, Peyton nearly led them back, cutting the deficit to 28-21 before Brady iced it with a long field goal drive. One of the best attributes of the Patriots defense is Brady himself. He scores so many points on the other team that the opposing offense abandons the run and goes out slinging the football 35-45 times per game, resulting in New England turnovers. Peyton is a clear MVP candidate, but whether I like it or not, Brady’s effect on a game is hard to ignore. If the Broncos can muster a pass rush, the only kind of kryptonite in Brady’s lair, Manning is a threat to win the Super Bowl. Manning haters are waiting to come out and blast him but forget the team around him and also forget the man is putting the same kind of numbers on grass as he did in a comfortable dome setting. Tony Romo acted like Tony Romo on Sunday. End of story. Good quarterback on average teams but one that can’t get it done in clutch moments. The Packers, Seahawks, 49ers, Falcons and Vikings are all solid if beatable teams. I expect the AFC to capture the Super Bowl this season. The Seahawks would have been my NFC pick if they got home field advantage and didn’t get outplayed by the Rams in their own house. Cris Collinsworth is my trusted source of NFL information. His research and knowledge is second only to Jon Gruden. Speaking of Gruden, I expect Gruden and Bill Cowher to make a return to head coaching in 2013. The firings didn’t take long to commence on Monday. Andy Reid, Pat Shurmur Norv Turner, Lovie Smith, Romeo Crenel, and Ken Whisenhunt were all fired. It’s hard to argue with any of them. Smith put together good records but couldn’t find playoff success. Rex Ryan deserved to be fired but Jets owner Woody Johnson fired the GM instead. Jason Garrett may be out of Dallas but Jerry Jones might replace Romo instead. We will see.
Other things that I won’t forget from 2012-
*My kid walking around the house. It’s a little thing but falls in the big plateau for a young man category. Vin isn’t a baby anymore. He is a boy.
*Manny Pacquiao getting knocked out with one punch by Juan Manuel Marquez, laying a new twist in their legendary battle. They will meet again, but it’s hard to get the image of Pacquiao sucking the mat for 2 minutes out of my head. He was winning the fight but got careless. That one punch may have helped bring back boxing.
*The year Canelo Alvarez was denied a big payday twice. Victor Ortiz got his jaw broken and lost a chance to fight the redhead Mexican sensation. Miguel Cotto lost to Austin Trout and won’t get a chance. Canelo lost big fight money. Something he may find in 2013 when he potentially takes on Floyd Mayweather Jr..
*Seeing The Black Keys live and wanting more. A tease never sounded so good.
*Fully capturing the rock n’ roll grace of the underrated Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s music.
*Twitter became a new tool for me.
*Film-Addict became a reality, movies became a job and our website officially became a business. Sweet and the bitter.
*No hitters, head coach firings, shootings, bad drivers, unpredictable weather, death, sickness and triumph. Oh, that’s every year.
*20 young souls lost in an instant at Sandy Hook.
*The media turning the idea of a good man or woman holding a gun into a bad idea while disregarding moments of heroism.
*Athletes taking their own life. KC Chiefs coaches watching up close. Ask Crenel what he will remember most. The bad record of the Chiefs or his young linebacker blowing his head off in front of him?
*I still love my wife as much as the day I married her. Good happy marriage is possible if you put in the work.
*Improvements to my house. I like coming home to my little South St. Louis City Buffa shack.
*Friends gained, lost and stuck in the middle.
Something I never lose in life is hope. The hope that people can be better and do good things. It’s a quality that comes at birth and is left up to the person to put to good use. So many people are down every day of their life and it’s fucking pathetic and sad. If you aren’t happy, do all you can do to fix it. Maintain hope that life can be better even when its not. When Vin got sick, Meme died and I lost my job, a lot of people could have wallowed up and hid from the world. I didn’t. I maintained my stance and kept my head up. I remembered Meme, spent time with my son and watched him get bigger and healthier, and helped install confidence in my wife and myself that we would find jobs. I can’t say it enough and I will borrow from Rocky again. Life is all about taking the hits and keeping the body moving forward. You don’t have to score a knockout. You just have to keep your head up and moving forward. Keep up the hope. It’s all we got in the end.
I’m making an anytime mix of music. Tunes that can be enjoyed any time and any place. Good to go for the soul.
Happy New Year. Good luck. Be safe. Now go live another round. Fuck the resolutions. Just be better in 2013 than you were in 2012 and if you are good already, just maintain it. We make our own luck.
Thanks for reading,
Dan L. Buffa
*Players report for spring training in 45 days. The St. Louis Sports scene is dead for that entire period. The sweet and the bitter, folks.