Take 5 With Buffa

Good afternoon and weekend my friends, 

Let’s do five things and get out quick.  In the future I am going to be more blunt and focused with my blogging.  Instead of wildly shooting down topics, I am going to focus on 1 topic or do a format like today.   This way, it is more to the point and urgent.  Guerrilla journalism!  I’m taking a cue from Bernie Miklasz here, who said that blogging is about getting an idea in your head and HAVING to get out immediately.  Why wait for a list to gather up?  Just launch into motion when the material calls for it.  Alright, enough talk and time to put the hands to the keys and get started.
1. Adam Wainwright and The Cards agree to a trade and I love it.  A few points on an outstanding long term relationship.
*The deal is 5 years for 97 million dollars.  This works for both sides.  Wainwright gets paid, security and peace of mind.  The Cardinals don’t overextend themselves and get to keep their ace intact for a long time.  
*Anyone who utters the most bland set of words, “If he stays healthy…” needs to be punched hard. Twice.  Every long term deal carries risk and reward.  The Tigers did it yesterday with Justin Verlander and The Giants did it with Matt Cain.  This is obvious and tedious to include in an argument.  Sports is all about taking risks and trying to be the smartest man in your room.  The Cards wanted Waino here and the pitcher felt the same.  Deal done.  How do you get anything done without risk?  Sign more Ronny Cedeno types???
*Wainwright is a good guy and didn’t force the Cards to hand him the bank.  Sometimes, the human being can rise up in a high stakes conversation and make things simple.  It’s hard to not think about Albert Pujols here.  The Cards offered him a similar deal with a higher annual value and Albert took it as an insult.  Different situations and players but similar in the scope of the extension.   Wainwright didn’t reject this deal and test the free agent market in November.  He knew where he wanted to be and stayed put.  Albert went elsewhere to try and prove a point to himself and will regret it soon.  This is why players like Wainwright are special. 
*The deal locks up a much needed anchor to this soon to be very young rotation.  After Jake Westbrook departs this winter, the Cards rotation will be full of men in their 20’s and that is good if you have a wise formidable anchor to hold the bunch in check.  That person is Waino.  The deal cements the long term effectiveness of the Cards pitching staff.  Without him, your ace in 2013 is Jaime Garcia.  Go ahead and puke in your mouth a little.  Now, the rest of the rotation can be filled out by the likes of Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly or Michael Wacha and we are still strong for the long haul.
*Sure, I would love to tell you Wainwright will bounce back from a labor filled 2012 campaign but the season wasn’t bad.  After June, he really locked in and started to look like the Wainwright of old.  Coming off TJ surgery, patience is required and 2013 is the season where we see him fully come back. 
2. The Blues are heartbreakers for a few reasons.  Clear reasons.
*In the truest sense of the word, this team breaks your heart into several pieces.  They win a couple games and lose a couple games.  Their goaltenders can’t supply anchors.  Their defensemen can’t clear the puck after a shot.  The forwards can’t forecheck.  The boys just can’t gather momentum and sit in 7th place in the conference.   What seemed like a fabulous season to finally bring Stanley Cup action to St. Louis is turning into a greatest hits version of the classic tragedy on ice.   After winning all three games on their last homestand, the Blues dropped two games in Canada and now have lost two straight at home.   Since their 6-1 start, they are 11-12-2.  Chew on that with your lunch.
*Jake Allen has been sent to Peoria this afternoon to make room for the newly acquired defenseman Jordan Leopold, whom we gave up 2 draft picks for.  In his last two seasons, he has averaged 30 points and around 11 goals.  This season, he has 8 points.  Offense isn’t everything but lets hope he is a defensive wizard.  If not, what happened here?
*The shuffling of the goalies must mean Brian Elliot will resurface and get another chance to earn his 2 million.  When Halak went down earlier this season, Elliot choked on the big stage and I can’t see another way he avoids that ending.  He plays with too much pressure and has the weight of the world on his shoulders.  Like it or not, the players in front of you thrive off your confidence and Elliot has none.  
*The reason I am annoyed by Halak’s work in net is his slow reaction to shot attempts and rebounds.  He just doesn’t move fast enough.  He made 35 saves on Thursday but still couldn’t seal a good ending.  Yes, the winning goal involved the net being moved but why can’t Halak smother a fucking rebound.  Is there some wicked science to this that I am missing.
*The defense has to learn how to clear the zone after a shot attempt.  If you give the team enough chances to shot on net, the damn thing will go in eventually.  Our defense is either stellar or horrible.
*The euphoria of last season is dying off quick.  The second round of playoffs reached, the momentum, thrills and style of Hitchcock hockey is starting to look very familiar to Andy Murray and Davis Payne hockey.   Inconsistent, exhausting and maddening.  
*The Blues Play The Wild on Monday with Halak in net.  What happens is something I couldn’t even bet on without a slight eye drag.
3.  Film-Addict Updates and General Recommendations
*His new film, GI JOE: Retaliation, may be a pile of garbage but Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a legit Hollywood star and has accomplished a lot in his young 42 years.  And he is a beast.  Read my piece on him.
*New Trailer spots for White House Down and The Wolverine on the Daily Dose.  Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx go against Jason Clarke in Roland Emmerich’s White House thriller which looks a lot like Olympus Has Fallen but will be better.  The Wolverine takes another hack at making a decent Logan origin tale.  Origins truly sucked and Hugh Jackman and the character deserve better.
*DVD recommendations.  There is a lot.  There is more worth seeing at home than in theaters right now.  Rust and Bone, The Intouchables, Searching for Sugar Man and Skyfall all can be found at the neighborhood Redbox or on our website via Over The Counter and Amazon.  Truly fine cinema.
*Killing Them Softly is my white hot pick on OTC.  Brad Pitt is at his best playing dark violent characters and he plays an enforcer brought in to fix a poker game robbery in a dirty broken New Orleans setting.  James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins and Ben Mendelsohn costar but its Pitts show.  The guy is a marvel at playing characters who own a shade of mystery and danger.  Ignore the political overtones as it takes place in 2008 on the eve of the election.  Come for the juicy dialogue and phenomenal acting.   Here is a duel review from November between a staff critic and myself on Film-Addict.
4.  Paying it Forward Lives on.   
Today at Starbucks, after my first gym visit in two weeks(new job, laziness, lack of time, usual excuses), my son and I drove through for my daily dose of bold flavored caffeine and he snoozed in the backseat.  I ordered a 20 ounce cup of black coffee.  When I pulled up to the window to pay, the employee informed me that my drink was already paid for.  This is the second time this has happened to me this past month.   A stranger paying for my drink.  Trust me, if I knew the person we would have spoken after the stop.  This is one of those things that sneaks up and floors you in life.  A little reminder that good deeds aren’t dead.  I asked the Starbucks employee if this happens a lot and he said yes it does quite often.   I am going to pay for someone’s drink at a random time.  I didn’t do it then because I want it to be random but I will pay it forward.  It is also a blind reward and probably better that way.  The person who paid for mine didn’t have to worry about the eye locking or looks afterwards because by the time I found out he or she paid for my cup, they were gone.  The awkwardness is missing and this way it is a masked form of goodness.  I can’t get this out of my head.  Truly special moment.  
5.  Random Shit.  Yes, the random material lives on, but its now in one tight paragraph and not in a list that goes on a very long ending to a movie.  Here we go.  
I don’t drink much beer at home anymore.   Unless it’s off draft and out, I just don’t care for it.   Bottles don’t cut it anymore and cans suck.  I am downing about 3 cups of coffee a day but with very little sugar and it can only help the body.  My other drinks are aspartame/sugar free energy drinks and water.  This way, I don’t get any unwanted sugar and my kidneys don’t get attacked by artificial sweeteners.  My son is saying whole words now and at 18 months knows what he wants and when he wants it.  It takes teenages years to figure this out.  Suck it teenage wasteland!  My wife is killing it at the Tile Shop in Sunset Hills.  Think little of this and I will fight you.  Sales based totally off commission is MAD MEN territory and deserves respect.  She is doing this without smoking 100 cigarettes and drinking scotch at 9am in the morning.  If you don’t sell, you hit the curb and don’t get a pad for your landing either.  My wife has designed over 100 bathrooms and kitchens in homes across the city.   People call the place asking for her services and this is not even her true calling in life, which is computer networking.  You have made it in life when strangers call for your services.   Spring is arriving and that is great because this hunk of 230 pounds of Italian muscle gets out on the open road for more running.  Cardio separates the men from the boys.  That’s all.  
Thanks for reading and have a good weekend.  
Dan L. Buffa

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