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.