The Buffa Bullet Round

First comes the blast.  Then come the bullets.   I present to you the brief opinionated banter session.  The Buffa Bullet round starts now….1,000 words inside 30 minutes.

  • Drive Angry was exactly what I needed on a Monday night.  A blood drunk hard boiled action film that knew exactly what it had to give. Full throttled action packed excitement with an originality rarely seen in Hollywood these days. The plot doesn’t really matter, but it pertains to the grim reaper, revenge and a sinner getting his final wish. Cage and William Fichtner excel and Drive Angry exists purely as guilty pleasure fun.   This is what I wanted from Ghost Rider and instead I find my joy on a lonely Blockbuster wall.  Drive Angry is the kind of film critics pan because they can’t understand how to enjoy it without doing their job.   Cage is a ex-con who comes back from the dead to avenge the death of his daughter and save his granddaughter from a Satan nut job.   The grim reaper(Fichtner) gets in his way but Cage is assisted by Paige(the sweet fox Amber Heard) and the film is the quickest 105 minutes on a screen or television.   Everyone fits their roles here.   Cage as the boiling anti-hero.  Heard as the femme fatale.   Billy Burke as the baddie.  Fichtner as the Accountant.   David Morse as the old wise friend.  This film doesn’t require you to think, reason or wonder about what’s possible.   You sit there and enjoy it.  The gravy comes in the form of American muscle cars, including a 1969 Dodge Charger and Chevy Chevelle.  I really enjoyed this movie.  Give it a look on DVD.
  • The Blues have to beat a team in the Central Division to gain some confidence along with the idea of being able to conquer a team that will most likely follow you into the playoffs.  The last win against a divisional opponent came on December 3rd against Columbus.   Pathetic.  Lost inside a thrilling season is the missing ingredient required to beat the best who share a house with you in the Western Conference.  Until the Blues beat the Wings, Hawks, Preds or Blue Jackets, they won’t have a life.  Also, they need to win period so they can hold onto home ice advantage.   They are the most dominant home team in the NHL.  Locking down that advantage is at the top of the list.
  • Manny Rameriz is back in baseball.   Some guys simply can’t find a life outside of baseball.   Manny is the ultimate moron.  He cheated not once, not twice but three times.  He serves a 50 game suspension before joining the A’s.   Somebody must of slipped Billy Beane’s coffee a pill.
  • Act of Valor carries the unique chance to see real Navy Seals work inside a fictional plot.   The film deals with a make believe terrorist plot, but many parts of the film were assembled from real war stories.   The Seals in the film won’t be named for security reasons but they were given the script by the directors and had full rein to dictate the plot and story.   The result is a once in a lifetime chance to see a film starring the real deal heroes that help keep this part of the rock safe.  The film took three years to film in order to accommodate the men, and this weekend the film touches down in theaters.   The film sells itself.  There is no need to watch this film and wonder who is doing the stunts and how real it is.    The film contains scenes where live ammunition is used.   That’s real enough.
  • Justified rolls into my Tuesday evening tomorrow.   The highlight of my week on TV.   Folks, watch this show.  It’s worth every minute.
  • It’s wild to think what one man can get done in a day.  Sent off my blog right before the crack of midnight.   Slept for 4 hours.   Got up for work at 4am.  Went into work at 455am.   Clocked out at 330pm.   Got home, hung out with the kid, acquired new music, and fed the kid.   Made it to the gym.  Watched a flick.  Writing another blog and will clean up the head in a few minutes before calling it a night.   Put your mind to it and anything is possible.
  • I can’t tell you if I am ready for the 24/7 baseball madness with the Cardinals.   The offseason flew by thanks in part to Pujols mania and now spring training is on the doorstep.   Whether I like it or not, the obsession will begin.   Pain meds in the mail.
  • I have already explained it to you but I like our chances this season.
  • NBA action is hard to enjoy when so many players take games off with lazy play, stupid fouls and a ridiculous lack of intelligence.  You don’t see this in the NHL or the NFL, the other high contact/energy sports.    That’s why players like Kevin Durant are easy to appreciate.  He plays it the right way and does things the right way.   Blake Griffin is overrated.  Durant is not.
  • Watching your kid get sick and suffer at the hands of a cold can’t be cured by any medicine known to man.   Vinny can’t breathe clearly and the little guy only finds a bit of solace in sleep.   Poor guy sounds like Tony Soprano in a marathon right now.  A father can only sympathize and associate this with growing pain toughness.
  • A Taste of the Band of Skulls new album for your listening pleasure.   “Bruises”.  Hardcore blues rock doesn’t get any better than this.  There’s something about a pale yet hot female artist blaring the blues from her lips that goes down the tubes easy and smooth.
  • NBC’s new drama AWAKE with Jason Issacs looks promising.   A show about a cop being unable to associate which life is real after a horrible car wreck tears his family apart.  The one where he wakes up with his son alive or the other where his wife is still breathing.  Fascinating enough to follow.

I’m running out of words here so I am pulling this brief stream of consciousness to a close.  Thanks for reading and stay thirsty for news while I reload the hands for next time.

Goodnight and good luck,

Dan L. Buffa

1,043 words and counting so sue me….


The Buffa Blast

Hello again,

Let’s discuss the latest activity in the world of sports, film, general thought and opinion in addition to the random arena of topics.   There are certain men who preach, teach and  simply throw their opinion onto others backs.   I intend to unload my clotted mind onto this page in order for me to be able to keep moving and collect new material.   The head weighs 8 pounds and it can fill up quick and notify you that a clearing is in order.   The funny thing about writers is that we always have something to say or put down.  Time is all I need and for an hour, I can uncoil a little.   Let’s move…

The Blues rip apart the Islanders and Wild at home, 5-1 and 4-0 respectively, but are failing to beat their division rivals.  The Blues lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 on Sunday afternoon in excruciating fashion.  Carrying a 1-0 lead into the third period, the Blues collapsed offensively and gave up a couple heartbreak goals in route to their first loss of the season after leading going into the 3rd period.  A tough way to spend a day in the Windy City.   With the loss, the Blues are 0-6-1 against their own division.    They have lost twice to Detroit, and fell to Nashville and Columbus this year as well.   The Blues do have 36 wins and are 4th in the conference in points and only 5 behind the Red Wings, but you feel like they are getting knocked around by the divisional rivals.   This needs to change.  I could sit here and rant on and on about the recent prow of young studs like David Perron(6 goals in 9 games), Alex Pietrangelo(a point in 20 straight games) and the goaltenders(Halak and Elliot each have 6 shutouts, tied for the 1st spot in the league and most combined in the NHL).   The Blues have 26 wins at home this season, a strength that will be golden if we acquire the advantage in the playoffs.    David Backes continues to be a leader for the team, in the statistical columns and in persona as well.   Andy McDonald returned this week and has 2 goals and an assist.    Elliot notched his 6th shutout today and the Blues defense continues to keep teams off the scoreboard in the 3rd period.   That is the single biggest turnaround in the Blues this season.  Their defense doesn’t give the other team a lot of chances.   The past 2 seasons were plagued by late game breakdowns and 3rd period giveaways, but this season, the Blues are stout in the final frame and are controlling the middle of the ice, in what I like to call the exchange zone.  For now, the Blues are thriving.  When they lose, its by a goal or in a shootout and the margin for error is so small it doesn’t feel like a loss.   When they win, they are clobbering teams or outlasting the better ones with a tougher physical style of play.   A defenseman like Kent Huskins returned this week and the man isn’t as fast as others but he brings a physicality to his job few can match.   He hits guys, takes them down and moves them away from the play.   A special brand of player.  The skill players like Pietro, Perron, Oshie, Berglund and Backes are the soul of the team.   Huskins, Ryan Reaves, Barrett Jackman are the rough and tough heart.   One guy I am looking for something out of anytime soon is Chris Stewart.  The same player who slammed onto the scene last February to score 13 goals with the team has maintained a stiff cold streak all season and has been demoted to the third and fourth line.   Stewart is a free agent this offseason so his downfall carries an interesting twist.   Did he hit his ceiling and rolling down or does he not care enough?  Whatever the answer becomes, he needs to do more.  This team is rolling but they must be able to take down their division rivals or else come playoff time, the end will be too near.   The 2011-2012 Blues have provided fans with a whirlwind record and consistent style of play that leaves much to be desired and from here on out, a lot  of expectations.

The Rams Hired former Atlanta Falcons GM Les Snead to be their new general manager and team up with Jeff Fisher to pull this football team out of the gutter.  Les Snead will be Jeff Fisher’s “Doug” in Rams Land.   The Hangover reference is well placed here if you think about it.  Snead will be the answer to Fisher’s prayer because this team, this city and the future of Rams football needs REAL leadership and Stan Kroneke(heart in LA or not) is making as good of a play as he can.  How will the actions of Snead/Fisher affect the future of the Rams in St. Louis?  It’s hard to tell but the first thing that needs to happen is injecting life into this team.

The Cardinals are in Jupiter, Florida and prepping for a defense of their World Championship.   Their 11th title felt the best because of the manner of which they acquired it.   Going from a dead team on August 25th to a last second playoff team and surprising powerhouse teams like the Phillies, rival Brewers and the Rangers.    The only way they can top that is by doing it again and collecting their 12th championship.    The style can be less brutal and the deficit may stay away, but I expect this team to be back in the thick of the hunt for a few simple reasons.

1.)The division around them didn’t get better at all.   The Reds made some low key moves and upgraded the back end of their rotation.  The Pirates just acquired an overrated AJ Burnett and did little else.  The Brewers lost Prince Fielder to the Tigers in a mega deal and may lose Ryan Braun for 50 games due to steroid use.   The Astros are going to be horrible for at least 2 seasons.   The Cubs will always be a threat but their pitching staff/defense will never allow their light hitting to do any long term damage.   Theo Epstein has a lot of work to do there.   The Cardinals are easily the strongest team in the division.

2.)Adam Wainwright’s return to the rotation bolsters it and delivers instant credibility.   Kyle McClellan won’t make a start this season and Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook will anchor the end of the rotation instead of the middle.   Wainwright is a bulldog competitor and while his innings/pitch count load will be down early, I expect him to be in beast mode by June.   Chris Carpenter is back to his comfy #2 spot after carrying the rotation the last 3 months of the season and into the playoffs.   Everything is strong in the rotation, with or without Roy Oswalt.

3.)The lineup is solid.   Losing Albert Pujols will hurt, but the presence of Lance Berkman, a hungry Matt Holliday, David Freese, and newcomer Carlos Beltran cover the patch up just fine.   You can sit and cry about Pujols’ lacking presence and I see your point but refuse to linger on it.   He’s a 25 million dollar man now and his blood was too rich for the Cardinals’ dollar.   Move on and you have a well balanced machine made from on base percentage, power and speed.   Jon Jay and Allen Craig will plug holes in the outfield and bench.   Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene will give the defense a plus on the infield.   Yadi Molina’s bat is always a plus in the 6th or 7th hole because he gets his bat on the ball and doesn’t strike out.   The lineup will do damage if the majority can stay healthy.

4.)Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan are gone but Derek Lilloquist and Jose Oquendo are here and the foundation isn’t gone.   Lilloquist took over for Duncan for the final two months of the season and handled the staff well.   This isn’t a young staff so the experienced Yoda with the pitching binder isn’t required for success.   La Russa being out of the hot box will be a visually awkward thing to witness for the mere fact he has been here for 16 seasons but Matheny will do fine.   Duncan leaving the team hurt but having an experienced player who has the respect of the entire team in Matheny fills two voids with one body.   MM is a hands on teacher and won’t hide behind the vets in his first season.  I expect Matheny to take control of this team.

5.)The Rest of the NL doesn’t look overpowering.   The Phillies got weaker with the loss of Ryan Howard, Oswalt, and Raul Ilanez and advanced age of Chase Utley and the rest of their roster.   The Marlins acquired Jose Reyes(hamstring pull guaranteed by start of May) and Heath Bell, but Ozzie Guillen will do little to instantly turn that team into a serious threat.  The Nationals are a sleeper and the NL East will be a shootout but I don’t expect the Braves to blow another big lead and there are 2 Wild Card spots now which includes a playoff.   The Giants, Rockies and Dodgers are all middle of the pack contenders depending on their moves.   There isn’t a single team in the National League that stands as a legit threat.  The Phillies have pitching but can’t score runs.  The Marlins’ pitching staff is still average.   The Brewers lost two sluggers.   The Giants can’t score runs.   The Braves’ pitching staff is strong but injury prone and we saw how their stability looked in September.  Their closer caved after a couple blown saves.  The Cardinals main need will be health in 2012.   If they can stay healthy, their chances are as good as any of the other top NL contenders.

Spring training officially begins in two weeks and the obsessive fever pitch is about to begin.  Can you feel it, Cardinal Nation?  I sure can.

The Other Things In Sports-

The Jeremy Lin Story-Suck it up now because it’s all downhill from here.   When teams start defending Lin, stepping up, cutting down his shooting space and pressure him, the real test begins.   If it wasn’t happening in New York, this wouldn’t be a story.  I was riding the Tebow train since college, so I had a good reason to stand behind and believe in that fight.  That happened in the far end of the NFL world in Denver.  In New York, in Knickerbocker land, Lin is becoming a sensation.

Lebron James wants to go back to Cleveland someday, but first he better win in Miami or he will have two cities calling for his head.   The man is making enemies very fast after spending the first 7 years of his career sitting in a throne.   My respect for him is decreasing because he is no longer that special player you HAVE to watch.

Local boxing talent Devon Alexander fights at Scottrade Center next weekend against tough competitor power puncher Marcos Maidana.   The featherweight East St. Louis brawler lost to Timothy Bradley in a headbutt/clinch filled 12 round decision that thrilled few and left Alexander with a huge welt on his head and career.   This fight stands to determine what kind of “boxing threat” Devon can be.  If he loses, his career starts to seriously crumble.   If he takes the dangerous Maidana down, his career picks up.  Huge fight for the little boxing kid.

While the Super Bowl provided the result I wanted, the commercials rather sucked.    The only one I truly loved was the Chrysler spot featuring Clint Eastwood.    The gruff, powerful seasoned tough guy compared a team’s halftime thought process to the recession and struggle faced in America and particularly in Detroit’s motor plants.   Eastwood made the spot stick because he has been around for so long and served in multiple facets of the American struggle.  He is an actor, director, Oscar winner, former politician and historian.  He is also a no bullshit conversationalist and the words that come out of his mouth feel like his own and not some nerdy TV writer.  The final few lines, “America can’t be knocked down with one punch.  We get back up again and when we do, they will hear the roar of our engines….yeah.”   Eastwood defines old school toughness and that commercial worked.

Movie Reviews-

Safe House Review-Predictable entertainment.   A good thriller with outrageously enjoyable action sequences, compelling “all in” performances and a quick pace.   Daniel Espinosa isn’t changing the way movies are made or reinventing the wheel of film here.  He is making a credible worthy action thrill ride with a destination we are familiar with but are game to follow through with anyway.   Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds are the two headed star power monster of this story and they handle the cat and mouse plot points well, playing two men playing on opposite sides in the beginning but slowly meeting in the middle as twists and turns present themselves.  The result is a good movie and worth the ticket.  Anyone who calls this throwaway material isn’t getting the point.  This is an expectations film.  Walking in with the right mindset in what to expect is important here.  This isn’t a full feature silent film best picture nominee hopeful.  It’s a rock ‘em sock ‘em action picture.  Jump in or stay out.

The Vow is exactly what you expect from the poster and trailer.  A Valentines Day sappy love story served up well by its two leading stars, especially Channing Tatum as a man dealing with the obstacle of all obstacles.  Convincing your wife of 5 years to fall in love with you all over again after a horrific accident wipes out your memory.   That’s all there is here.  The result is effective if only for the execution from Tatum.   Rachel McAdams is the stunned reeling wife and she plays it straight and ordinary.  Tatum, in small gestures and dialogue deliveries and restraint, plays it better.   He makes this film better than it deserved to be.  A Nicholas Sparks contender that never steps out from its original gimmick.  Take your girlfriend to see it men but don’t be afraid to check the sports scores outside the theater during the slower movements of unqualified storytelling.

Ghost Rider 2-Please don’t judge me.  I saw this sequel drivel thinking I was going to get a guilty pleasure action packed ride and instead I got a stupid, empty hearted, rather boring rehash of the Johnny Blaze saga.  Nic Cage looks to riding on fumes in his acting and I don’t know why.   The man is immensely talented and has a resume to back it up. He is making horrible choices and needs to find a peach quickly.   He isn’t even going through the motions here as the Rider, a man who sold his soul to the devil and now is an eternal flaming badass who gets hot and bothered when evil steps up.   He is simply lost and smirking here.  The film is horrible.    Do not see it.

Star Wars, Episode 1 in 3D-The three dimensional value is tasteless and doesn’t make the film any better than years ago when the largely disappointing second chapter in George Lucas’ enterprise was released.   Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor star in this prequel to the original films, but the huge problem here is the dialogue.   It’s just plain bad.   There are annoying characters like Ja Ja Binks, a creature from a planet needing the Jedi’s help to survive.   Jake Lloyd does little to stand out as the kid version of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.  He is just a whiny kid with some powers.   My biggest issue here is the question of the re-release of the film.   Lucas is a greedy money whore who knew he ripped his Star Wars fanbase in half with the production and here he is reaching for more cash and it doesn’t look good.

Song of the Week-The Black Keys performing “Gold on the Ceiling”.  Pure Musical gold, and through this music video you get the entire Keys persona.  Their rise from low crooning blues rockers to lyrical giants of sold out stadiums.   The old beat up mini van makes an appearance and you see two regular gifted musicians thrust into a limelight that burns their eyes yet sets their careers on fire.

DVD of the Week-50/50

The cancer comedy starring Joseph Gordon Levitt as Adam, a young man dealing with the obstacle of all obstacles.   Cancer.   His performance is the special ingredient in this film, a production that wisely stays away from melodrama and instead deals a straight hand about the most deadly disease in the medical world.   Adam gets a rare form of cancer that attaches to his spine, and along with his friend(Seth Rogen) and a therapist(Anna Kendrick), he tries to keep a positive outlook amid his recovery.   The film is all about the little things in life when it seems to be ending.   Adam sitting all by himself at home listening to music.  A moment where he kicks Rogen out of the car and has a period of rage before calling his therapist to calm down.    His moments with Rogen, who created the idea with his real life friend, the director Will Asner.   Asner had cancer early in his life and Rogen convinced him to make it into a movie.  Levitt is a legit young talent and there’s a moment towards the end of the film that sets his acting skills apart from the rest.   50/50 is a good comedy drama about dealing with the beast of cancer and is worth a look.

Breaking Dawn in The Twilight Series isn’t worth a look unless you have already invested time in the franchise.  Just stay away from this teen melodrama that never ceases to unload average cinema upon our heads.   The battle of Jacob and Edward for Bella’s soul and the wolves/vamps quarrel continues here with the fourth chapter in a series thankfully nearing its end.   There really isn’t a script here.  Just a series of “you better not do that”, “Oh no you didn’t”, and “Don’t make me” challenges.   The film is one big anti-climactic subplot to the real story.  In other words, Bella gets pregnant and might die watch.   Help me.

In Time carried an ambitious theme but lacked the follow through required to make it stand up over 2 hours.   Andrew Niccol’s story about a futuristic society where time is actually money and the moment you hit the age of 25, your wrist includes a clock on your life.   Justin Timberlake is Will Salas, and he tries to take matters into his own hands once a mysterious loner named Henry(Matt Bomer) gives him a lottery load of years.   A Robin Hood theory that loses its weight in the end because the execution is lacking.   Let’s put it this way.  You are intrigued here but not enough to clearly call this a good film.  The result produced a shrug of the shoulders here and a quick withdrawal without any special features investigation.  I saw all I needed inside the running time and it wasn’t good.   Cillian Murphy and Amanda Seyfried also star here but the acting isn’t the problem.  The problem lies in the story and its finish.   Insufficient.

I need another great movie to cleanse myself of the crap harvesting in the theaters recently.

Oscar Watch Preview-5 things I am Thinking

1.)Billy Crystal is a prick and retired actor but he is a great host who knows how to blend energy and comedy into a broadcast.   He will do better than the sleep inducing combo of James Franco and Anne Hathaway from last year.

2.)I hope Brad Pitt wins Best Actor for a few reasons.   Pitt took the role of real life A’s general manager Billy Beane and put his own spin on it.   His virtuoso wise cracking and confident performance carried one of the best films of the year in Moneyball and he deserves to be rewarded for it.   Pitt is a superstar and disappearing into roles only gets harder so he must do more acting to get the job done.   He is also playing a still living person, a hard task taken lightly by few in Hollywood.   Pitt knocked the role out and deserves the Oscar over his buddy, Clooney, who was very good in Descendants but not as memorable as Pitt.

3.)Don’t worry about the running time folks.   People give so much of their time to stupid reality television all year and the Oscars happens once a year and they want to speed it up.   Let the speeches run wild and the event stay loose.   No one likes to be rushed when they just won an award.

4.)I have not seen the Artist yet and will probably not unless it does indeed win Best Picture.  I have never watched a silent film and find the task to be not so inviting.    When will the point come when you just scream at the TV….fucking SPEAK already???!!!

5.)I still hate the 9-10 Best Picture nominee idea.   Why double the list?  It takes away the credibility and pride of winning the award if more parties are allowed into the race.   There were 5 Best Picture nominees for decades and all of a sudden the Academy wants to expand the list just to appease the whines of Hollywood.   Ridiculous.  It makes the award weaker in my opinion.   I haven’t seen half the films nominated and that either makes me wish I found more gold, make better choices or plain not care as much.   It would be like adding an extra Cy Young award or an extra MVP in the MLB race in each league.   Players would love the opportunity to win but feel a little less inside knowing the path to winning was easier.  Keep it at 5 next year folks.

Bonus Ultimatum-If Whitney Houston gets an honoree moment, I will shoot someone.  She starred in 5 films and only one of them was any good.   This will be a sign of the downfall in America.   Houston had a great voice, was good in The Bodyguard but made a lot of mistakes and drowned her talent in drugs.   Stop holding court for Whitney Houston, people. She wrecked her own talent with drugs, booze and alcohol. Shovel was in her hand. I’m tired of hearing sympathy notes for her.

Moving on towards the finish line here…what else is there to talk about? Random fire time now.

Band of Skulls’ Sweet Sour and Heartless Bastards’ Arrow are the new purchases in my CD player right now.   Once in a while you have to get out there and buy an album and own the actual disc.   By the end of the weekend, I bought Mumford and Sons live and a few other songs on Itunes so I dipped my beak in both waters.   However, after giving a listen to the discs, I like my choices.   Band of Skulls is all punk rock soul, reaching for the heavens with its dirty and free rock spirit and cooling down with the smooth power punk slow tunes.   The Band of Skulls can speed things up with a hard moving song like Sweet Sour(Sour by the minute/sweeter by the hour) but cool things off with Bruises, an addictive track featuring a lovely female lead vocal.  There’s a lot to love here.  Heartless Bastards carry a very distinct hard to label folk rock pulse that’s easy to follow.  Their 10 song dish mixes up folk, rock, slow ballads and powerful finishes with a deadly strong female lead vocal and sweeping guitars and a light touch of the blues.   Both bands prove that the abstract brand and combination of music they use is legit and they do it very well.

The Cardinals and Yadi Molina calling off negotiations right before spring training carries deadly recall from the Pujols talks that led to his departure in December.  What are the Cards worried about with Yadi?   His relationship with Matheny was meant to be a deal sealer but apparently the two sides have distance.  It could be the Molina party.  How many years does he want?   My terms would be a 5 year deal worth 10 million.   His last contract was a bargain for the infinite talent Molina hands this team(4 years for 16 million).   He wants to get paid but for how much and how long?   He has to understand the team’s needs and goals.   I only wonder how far off the two sides are and why they can’t produce an extension.   After the loss of Duncan, Molina is too important to Matheny to depart.   A friend of mine has kidded for weeks that Molina will join Albert in LA but I don’t want to believe that.   Molina means a lot to the Cards but we all know no fates are sealed in professional sports.  Money comes into play sooner or later.   Will he stay or will he go?  He has stated the door isn’t closed until October.

Another powerful episode of Freddie Roach on HBO this weekend.   A look at the prep and drama surrounding the Pacquiao-Marquez fight in November is covered in the 5th episode.   The breakaway of this series is the inside access we get into Roach’s everyday life and dealings.  A meeting outside his gym with a former boxer/trainer and the missing payments and abuse of a female client.   The drama pertaining to Pacquaio and his personal trainer the night before the fight.   Roach’s medical needs for his Parkinson’s disease every day.   Injected into the massively alert proceedings are Roach’s insight into the history of his own life.   Talking about his early fighting days and personal losses comes close and brutally accurate to the emotional power of Peter Berg’s storytelling here.   He lets the subject and his tales dictate the camera and its path and that is the genius of this show.

Part of the skill of being a dad is knowing when to let your kid cry or choose to help him.   Fuck its hard!   For instance, during the middle of the night, when he all of a sudden lets out a powerful strings of cries that really deal a blow to your conscience.   Think of it as a poker player staring you down at a table after making a huge bet and begging you to match it.   Instead, a parent can call his bluff and let him cry it out, go back to sleep and continue on with their own few hours of freedom.   It’s an ongoing battle that never ends until they leave your house and even then, he will play on your emotions and see how far he can walk before you take away his crutches.   Its the game of life and its grand.   Vinny wakes up suddenly and wants to know if he can get attention and as my wife warns me, this is where the gritty get tough and the weak fall.   Its cute to sit outside his door and listen to the desperate screams and cries and its tough to let it go on.   A first time parent can think he or she is the coolest and cutest person in the world by rescuing the kid from temporary hell.  It’s not until the kid is older that you know the kid was playing you the entire time.   Parenting isn’t just about care, joy and happiness mixed with consistent torture.  It’s all just another game within a game.

Kevin Durant is the real deal.  Unlike Lebron, he can make the choice to stay in Oklahoma and bring a championship there.   Russell Westbrook will have to decide if he wants to be The Pippen to Durant’s Jordan, but KD can stick around and make it happen.   Durant dropped 51 points on the Nuggets in a comeback win for the Thunder and the kid constantly reminds you he is a special talent.   Durant sank a 3 pointer and drove the lane for another 2 to tie the game and finished off Denver in OT.   When he hit the 3 pointer, he sat next to his mom on the sideline and gave her a hug and kiss.   Durant has the skills to bring a city a championship and the partner in Westbrook to see it through IF he decides to stick around for a few years.   James stayed  in Cleveland until after his 7th season and he bolted and is running into a wall of hate so his falter will serve a lesson to players like Durant.   Stay in your rookie town and change the game by winning it all.   That’s legendary.

What if Lin is the real deal?  Adding a small dessert to my first section on the new found here comes after Lin drops 28 points and 14 rebounds on the champion Dallas Mavericks in a thrilling win in New York.   Teams are starting to know about Lin and his skill set, and the road only gets tougher for the guy.   He waited a long time for his opportunity and now he is doing everything he can to seize it.  It’s not like I don’t want him to succeed.  I love a comeback story out of nowhere as much as the next guy.  I also know how hard it is to overcome high expectations.   Lin has his work cut out for him.  Can he carve up the competition or not?

My personal prediction is that Albert Pujols will have another decent yet not a “Pujols type year” in 2012 in his first year with Angels before breaking out of the cage in 2013 and 2014.  There will be an adjustment period for the Machine once known as a Cardinal, but he will need time to get set in the AL.   The Angels will contend for a playoff spot and teams will be careful with Pujols and he will continue to hack away and reach at the outside breaking pitches many managers have labeled as his kryptonite.  However, by 2013, Albert will be locked in and ready to destroy the weaker AL pitching and do damage.  Prince Fielder will do well because he is 5 years younger than Albert but his challenge will be consistency as he approaches 30 years old, age, health and Comerica Park.   Albert Pujols will continue to do his thing.   I’m only stating the dominance won’t start until 2013.

Dereck Chisora and David Haye both have failed to beat either of the Klitschko brothers, but they must step into a ring to face each other.  The two Brits got seriously hot and heavy after Chisora’s loss to Vitali Klitschko on Saturday night, and the post fight conference brawl included punches, cuts and tempers that can only call for the two men to settle things inside a box.   Get it done.  Both have made headlines for their words and not their actions so far in their career.  Haye wanted to rip the heads off the Klitschko brothers before his loss to Wladamir.   Chisora spat in Vitali’s face and slapped him at the prefight weigh in this past week.   A lot of dirty play and words and far less punching going on.  The difference is Chisora gave the Russian champ a decent fight and Haye didn’t even make Wladamir break sweat.   After the public fight, there must be a real one.   Old school law calls for two boxers to settle their biggest quarrels in the ring of fire.

On Saturday, I took my wife out for an anniversary dinner.  We have been married for 7 years and on May 6th, together for 10 years.   It’s a promising milestone for any couple to cross those finish lines when they started young and still love each other years later.  We live in a cynical world and one where the divorce rate easily defeats the happily ever after rate.   It’s the world we live in and its something I still in believe in.    Everlasting love.  Strong tough love.  The kind that outlives fights, differences, rough patches and human emotion.   We’ve made it this far and I can tell you I am in for another 7 years.   The road is worth the occasional and sometimes everyday pain.   That’s marriage.  A choice to stay in the fight and see it to the very end because you love someone enough to make it work no matter what.

There are reasons I don’t believe in GOD.   It starts with logic and ends with personal opinion.   Mainly, I don’t believe in him because there is no real proof to his existence.   That helps the credibility factor.   I believe in things I have seen and know very well.    Cold air, the sun, bills, a baby’s smile, the smell of coffee, the taste of a woman’s lips and the aches and pains of the human body.   I believe in those things because they exist in real life and GOD does not.  Who wants to believe in a spooky, weird, flawed father figure who supposedly created this world and did a pretty poor job if you look around at the poverty, greed, death, and general animalistic look of our race?   I believe in people, actions, reactions and the next struggle.   I believe in what I can see and all I see in GOD is a crass, unfair and entirely fictional tale.

With that final take, here is an extra dose of belief talk from the legend himself, George Carlin.   Something to add on to the end of another furious rant.

That’s all for now.  My work here is done and it’s time to get some rest before another work week begins.

Thanks for reading,





A Slice of My Mind

Hello again my friends,

With only 90 minutes to write here after a cold long epic draining 11 hour work shift at Senoret Chemical HQ leaves me with little time to mess around, allow me to throw a few spins on a random order of topics.   Pay attention, follow along and you may learn something or find a flavor that matches your own desire for fresh bold news.  Here we go.  The hands are loaded, the mind is engaged and the time is now to write.  Launched…

Super Bowl Recap-The Giants took down The Brady Machine again, 21-17.  I call it the Brady Machine and not the Patriots because he is the face, soul and main power source of the team.  He is a one man wrecking crew.  Stop him and you can easily beat the Patriots.   The Giants are more balanced and therefore a far more threatening team to face on a huge stage.   This wasn’t a shocking Super Bowl.  I told you it would happen because the first time in 2007 wasn’t a fluke.  The Giants beat the Patriots in the same fashion, with late heroics and gutsy plays.   A detective isn’t required to explain this, but here are a few reasons.

*Eli Manning simply outplayed Tom Brady.   Eli didn’t make mistakes and made the bigger clutch throws.   Brady threw a INT, tossed a pass into no man’s land for a safety, and overthrew Wes Welker late with the score close.   Manning didn’t throw a pick, saved his best throws for last and won the game with a steady diet of completions that included a memorable sideline toss to Mario Manningham that propelled the final drive.   Manning completed an exciting season that began with him declaring himself an elite quarterback like Brady and ended with him outplaying him and beating him for the second time in 4 years.  It’s a great story and something to admire.   Peyton is moving over now because Eli is carving a fine name for himself as a clutch quarterback that wins in the playoffs against anybody.   He has beaten Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady(twice) to win his 2 rings.  Fittingly, he won this won in Peyton’s current house.

*The Giants defense are Brady’s achilles heel.  His weakness that has flashed its nasty colors throughout his career.   There are two teams that wreck Brady and they are the Giants and Ravens.   How do they do this?   Mix up the blitz packages, play man to man coverage in the secondary and contain the quarterback.  Most of all, they have pass rushers who can break through on a four man rush.   Beasts like Jason Pierre Paul and Osi Umenyora.  The Giants only sacked Brady twice but for the better part of the game they kept him off balance and weary enough to hesitate before throwing.  Brady didn’t complete a pass over 20 yards because the G-Men rushers got to him fast enough to withhold him from unleashing a serious assault.   He pecked away for points but never did serious harm.  In the end, Brady was beaten and contained by the Giants.

*Good for Tom Coughlin, a coach who can’t escape the next firing rumor.   This offseason, he will get an extension and peace of mind.   He is cleared of the hot seat for once again outfoxing Bill Belechick.

*The Super Bowl was entertaining and well played.  Each team was in the contest for the haul and for the third year in a row, the game outplayed the commercials.   That’s all you can ask for when your team is out of the playoffs and you sit down for the big game.   Everybody loves a funny TV spot but a well played battle between the last two teams standing makes for a very healthy evening and experience.

Football is now over and the year that nearly saw a portion of the season get cancelled was completed like any other and efficient and compelling.

The Blues are Becoming Road Warriors

The key to any team’s long term success is being consistently impressive on the road.   Playing in other team’s houses and winning.   That is the key.   The Blues jumped on the road last Saturday, lost a close battle to Nashville but rebounded to win easily in Ottawa and outlast New Jersey in overtime last night.   The Blues are undefeated against the Eastern Conference in 2011-2012.  The Blues were down 3-2 last night in the third period, had their starting goalie(Jaro Halak) pulled early, and were looking at a sad end to a road trip.   Instead of falling, Patrik Berglund scored with 5 minutes left and TJ Oshie netted a shootout goal to seal the 4-3 victory against the talented and streaking Devils(winners of 5 in a row before Thursday).   I am very impressed with bounce back ability of the Blues.  They can take a rough punch and come back strong.   Losing to a division power in Nashville or Detroit stings our playoff standings and personal attitude, but every team has to move on and play the schedule.   These are big wins on the road.   The goaltending has been the structural core of the process.   Brian Elliot rescued Halak on Thursday and picked up the win with a few big saves that kept the Blues within striking distance.     Together, the Blues stoppers have 10 shutouts and rank in the top 10 in the NHL in many categories.   While the scoring is balanced and solid, the goaltending has been tremendous.   Halak and Elliot are performing at a high rate and that gives confidence to the skaters in front of them.   The Blues have to continue this road strong play if they are to get a decent playoff slot.   The Blues are a legit playoff team right now, so now the question only is where do they fall.  The main setback of this team is being unable to beat Detroit or Nashville who have beaten us a combined 4 times in a row.  If you are going to last in the playoffs or make it to the finish line in good shape, the Blues have to beat the teams in their division.

The Cardinals are weeks from spring training games and will defend their championship on April 4th in Miami against the powered up Marlins team led by Ozzie Guillen.   The Cardinals are different and bold yet ready.   The best thing about winning it all is you stay the champion for an entire year.   An ocean of new faces flood the dugout this season and no matter how it looks, I am excited about the new era.   Mike Matheny will have to find the fine line between leadership and control, the bats will have to live without the torrid hitting abilities of Mr. Pujols, and health will chase this team for the entire season.    Adam Wainwright’s ability hangs over the rotation.   Jason Motte’s effectiveness will shape the bullpen.   Matt Holliday is the highest paid player but not the face of the franchise.  This team became an ensemble the moment Albert went west and I like it that way.

Side Note.  Roy Oswalt would fit comfortably into the rotation but isn’t REQUIRED for this team to damage.  He is a seasoned pro and All Star arm but also a pitcher who nearly retired due to back pain in 2011, is chasing big money and getting few takers.   The Red Sox and Rangers balked and went elsewhere.  The Nationals signed Edwin Jackson for 10 million over Oswalt.   The Cardinals seem to hold interest but aren’t going to overextend themselves for an aging arm.   While I do want to see Kyle McClellan traded to make room in the bullpen, Oswalt will be tough to haul in if he wants 10 million plus.   He could be a steal like Berkman or a severe bust like Brad Penny.  Cards general manager John Mozelaik is playing this poker game perfectly.

The Rams Waiting on a General Manager

The hiring process is down to a list of 6 names and the pick has to come within the next 2 weeks.   How much longer can the Rams hold out and leave Jeff Fisher with no reach in the payroll and decision making on this team.  I won’t get into specifics but the idea of who this team wants in the drivers seat with Fisher has to become evident here soon.   The draft is less than 2 months away so time is ticking away right now, which isn’t good for a recovering franchise facing dismissal.

Movie Reviews-

Chronicle-This teenage superhero wasteland action thriller follows three high school types who acquire telekinetic powers after they climb down into a hole in a field made by devices they can’t explain.  This film is very good because it is the first film that deals with superhero activities by using realistic special and visual effects.    Everything is meant to look and feel analog and ordinary.    This isn’t a CGI heavy no brainer about bad deeds.  We get three well rounded characters who struggle with their new abilities.    Imagine being in the bathroom and getting a jolt of new energy and ability and get up in the middle of the night and feel different.   Chronicle was a highly original take on the superpowers genre. Three teens mysteriously acquire powers and it changes their lives for the good and bad. I liked this film because it asked the ultimate question. If you were given powers, would you use them for good or bad?  See this film for the unexpected thrills.   Halfway through the film, things get really bad but the story isn’t forced and the descent is convincing and shocking.   Powers don’t always bring pleasure.

Drive(On Blu Ray)-Here is one of the best films of the past year.   A crowning achievement that sneaks up and floors you.   Drive is a visceral rush of a cinematic entertainment. This one has it all. Action, drama, romance and a little dark comedy along with the originality of a renegade filmmaker and writer. This is what the movies should be like. Watching Ryan Gosling’s lone wolf of a hero deliver poetic justice, you know you’re watching something great. One of the best films I’ve seen all year. See it in order to believe it.  Gosling plays a mysterious “driver” who is a stunt driver by day and a driver for hire by night.  He has nobody and walks around LA like a ghost.  People see him and a couple care for him but he notices little until he falls head over heels for his neighbor Irene(Carey Mulligan) and her son Benicio.   With the new found affection comes problems, as Driver comes into contact with Irene’s husband Standard(fresh out of jail) and his criminal troubles.  Soon enough, Driver is on a collision course with bad men of all kinds and looking out for not only his own but his two new friends’ lives.   All of this serves up a fine twisting action thriller with equal parts drama and full born action gore.  Drive features the most gruesome kill scenes of any movie in recent memory and that’s a good thing.  This film oozes good vibrations and cool juice.   As the credits roll, you feel the need to ask for more.  That’s the mark of a great movie.  Leaving the lips thirsty.

Birthday Wish for a 30 year old man.   Keep breathing.   Trust me, the ability to stick around for another round of tortured joy is all I need to keep the body moving.   The only way age effects you is when gray hairs pop out of your goatee and your body alerts you that it is shutting down soon.   30 years felt weird for 48 hours but now feels all the same.  Just keep living.

Vinny Note of the Week.   The little man never ceases to be a captivating monster of true pride.   Working the 10-12 hour shifts ends with the reward of locking eyes with the little man before the bed calls for a visit.   Life’s pleasures are dealt out in small doses but the measures of a kid keeping his dad’s head up is limitless.  Right when the pressures of work stresses the mind over, Vincent comes in and clears out the noise.   Kids have that ability.  Chaos for sure but joy wrapping around the turns.

Boxing Bits-

*Manny Pacquiao taking a fight with Timothy Bradley is a sad sign for this era of boxing promotion.   Bradley is undefeated and talented, but he is a headbutting technical foul loser who will be crushed by the punching power of Pac Man.    The reason for him resisting a 4th fight with Marquez or taking on fresh power puncher Canelo Alvarex boggles the mind.   What happened to two men ending their troubles by climbing into a ring?   What happened to making a fight with the best happen and settling things inside the box and not via Twitter snipes?  Muhammed Ali needs to call Pacquaio and tell him to fire his promoter and get in the ring with Floyd Mayweather Jr..  Floyd will beat Miguel Cotto(a boxer I love but know well can’t keep up with Floyd’s speed) and Pac Man will pound Bradley.   The world will move on and the boxing republic will sigh.   This is a black eye for boxing.  Promoters aren’t giving boxing fans what they want to see.   One guy in particular.  Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions who handles Pacquiao’s fights.  The fault is on him this time and not Money Mayweather.

Song of the Week-“Someday Baby” by RJ Burnside

An old school blues cool rocker that feels right after a long week.  Unwind with this slow building jam that knows exactly how cool it sounds.

Meme’s legacy has me thinking tattoo.   For the first time in my life, I am thinking about putting ink on my body in memory of my late grandmother.   She is worth it and may be featured across the top of my back if I find myself into a shop this spring.   I have never thought of tattoos as a requirement to express yourself but every once in a while the thought comes into my mind.

HBO’s Luck has me connected to watching a few more episodes.    Slow building like Treme and The Wire(early on), Luck is taking its time with showing its chips and revealing the players but for good reason.   The show is laying powerful roots of revenge and greed on our minds in small doses.  Horse track racing betting sagas leave few noble souls dry.  The addiction of gambling and doing something you are good at(no matter the law bending) is an interesting blend from Michael Mann and David Milch.

The NBA leaves little interest but Lebron James continues to fuel me with stories and thoughts.   What happened to the king?  His fallibility is akin to a boxer misjudging a punch.   A man forgetting the additional pressure of changing teams.   Unlike MJ and Kobe, James lost not only his crown when he left Cleveland but his bulldog desire to be the best and win a championship in his hometown.   Playing in the comfortable Miami heat, he looks laid back and bland.  Less hungry to kill his way to a championship.   If he leaves without a ring and splits his career in two cities, his legacy will go limp.   Yes there is no equal to Jordan but Kobe is far closer than Lebron.   Love or hate Bryant, you must respect his five rings.  He did something Lebron couldn’t do.   Win on his own.

That’s all I got tonight.   Time is up and the night must begin.  I am taking my wife out tonight for dinner and a movie.  Dinner on the Hill and a movie afterwards.   After a 52 hour workweek, it’s time to unwind and have some fun.  Sleep will be included later but for now, I must keep moving.   That’s always the goal in life.  Keep the chains moving and put one foot in front of the other.  I will be back with more later but for now the Buffa Blast Train is pulling into the station for a good long rest stop.

Thanks for reading and goodnight,

Dan L. Buffa


A Win-Win Situation

Good morning friends,

I begin this latest compulsive explosion with a little rant.   Lighting the fire…

I love good guy/bad guy standoffs in film and television.   The first scene between two men who know they are on a collision course that involves possible gunplay, violence, and death.   It’s an old school love.  Good and bad in the same room contemplating a move and a future of dead ends.  Everything starts fresh when we are born.   Everyone gets a clean slate at birth.  We are born good and decide to stay that way or go bad.   A scene in Justified between Raylan Givens(Timothy Olyphant) and a mobster from Detroit(Neal McDouragh) signifies this standoff perfectly.   Raylan is the proud noble yet deadly badge looking at a bad man threatening his way of life and town.   Both actors nail the scene and add in all the possible pathos, grit and realism.   Nothing is saved or shortened.  It reminded me of the classic scene in Heat between Al Pacino’s detective and Robert DeNiro’s thief.   Two men who know their paths in life have led them to this intersection of choice, purpose and a need to impose their will.   I love this shit.   It symbolizes everything we are and strive to be in this world.   Are we good or bad?  When do we make that decision?  Villains of the world exist in the small decisions as well.   Do we blast other people to hide our own imperfections or are we clearly diabolical with our intent?   Questions and answers surround us every day and no year other than the highly eventful 2011 taught me that lesson more.  All we have in life is what we are going after, and at this moment I am going directly towards finishing a rant before I get a few hours of sleep.   I turn 30 years old in a little over an hour.   Let’s get to work.

Super Bowl Preview/Hype/Semi-Prediction

The Giants have beat the Patriots two times in a row for many reasons, all involving a little luck, skilled play and fair weather odds.  A couple of those reasons are concrete.   Here they are.

1.)The Giants pass rush finds a way to break through and put legit pressure on Tom Brady.   During the Week 9 defeat of the Pats, the Giants generated such a fearful pass rush that at times, Brady was getting afraid of nothing.   With no players swarming him in the 3rd quarter, Brady ducked in the pocket and threw a ball into the ground.   Look, Tom Brady is a machine, and rarely makes a mistake or looks shaken in the passing zone.   He connects on throws that Tim Tebow works for weeks on to perfect.  So its very noticeable when a team shakes him up.  If you get to Brady, you can beat the beast.  Its as simple as that.  Forget the little things and look at the big picture here.  If the Giants put more pressure on Brady, their chances of winning go through the roof.   The Ravens and Giants are the two teams that manage to knock Mr. Perfect off his game.   This is a reason I think the Giants can win for the third time in a row.

2.)Eli Manning takes advantage of the turnovers that his defense gives him.  When the Giants intercepted Brady twice in Week 9, Manning turned those breaks into 10 points in a game that was decided by 4 points.   Manning doesn’t waste mistakes made by his counterpart.  His deer in the headlights expression withstanding,  Manning is a clutch playoff performer and an underrated quarterback.  During the NFL lockout last year, Manning called himself an elite QB and caused a shock wave throughout the sport.   A label usually reserved for guys like Brady, Peyton, Rodgers, Brees and Big Ben.   When I heard it, all I cautioned was for the younger brother to live up to it and earn the status.   Here we are, with Eli staring down Brady in the Super Bowl.  Win or lose here, he has lived up to it.   When you talk about Eli, its hard to not discuss Peyton.   The older brother took many seasons and playoff chances to take down Brady.   Peyton suffered so many Foxboro meltdowns before beating the Patriots in 2006 before defeating the Bears in the Super Bowl.   Other times, Peyton has come up short, most recently against Brees two years ago.   Eli Manning went up against the undefeated Patriots in 2007 and beat Brady and company straight up with a performance many nailed down as a fluke.  Until now.   What if Eli takes down Brady again?  He will become the better Manning, at least for the time being.   This isn’t taking anything away from Peyton, who I admire a lot.   Peyton Manning is coming off his third neck surgery and ran into a unbeatable machine himself in Brees and the Saints.   Peyton will go down as one of the greats no matter what and that is whether he finishes his career in a Colts jersey or different uniform(more on that later).   This weekend, though, Eli Manning gets a chance to make a name for himself.

3.)The Patriots have zero running game outside of a small Danny Woodhead attack.  Brady is great but if he can’t throw and get the necessary time to get set up, where do they go?  The Giants are ready to stuff their paltry running game and right there is when this game will be won.  When Bill Belicheck can’t adjust to a great defense, what will he do to save the game?  A great riddle that awaits this game.  Its very possible the Patriots come out and throw up some points but it won’t be easy.  The Giants have the better defense and the more efficient offense at the time.  They match up well with the Patriots and play them tough.   Brady fans, start to worry.

4.)The Head Coach battle.   The great Belicheck against the much maligned Tom Coughlin.   Different men, similiar pressure and a very deciding game.   You see, the Patriots win over the Ravens in the AFC championship game was their first over a team with a winning record in 2011.   It was the Patriots first playoff win since 2007.   That streak doesn’t fall on Brady alone.  His head coach has some demons to clear out of the box.  Shortly after the Patriots last Super Bowl win, claims and reports flooded the league of the Patriots stealing play calls and signals during playoff games.   The Patriots didn’t deny one charge and ended up losing draft picks and suffering big fines for their cheating ways.   Many stupid people claimed every team cheated, like the idiotic classmates telling the teacher its okay to steal answers on a test because the whole class was doing it.   It clouded all the Super Bowl wins and raised unbreakable doubt in the true ability of Belicheck’s team.   Winning Sunday means the demons would leave the box and peace could enter.  The Giants are playing for a chance to prove their 2007 win wasn’t a fluke and they really do know how to beat Brady.   The Patriots are trying to reclaim a sense of glory they lost after their 2007 defeat and the allegations and uncomfortably truths raised afterwards.   Every team plays for something other than to simply win.   Every Super Bowl carries juice.   This one carries plenty.  Coughlin plays in a city carrying the highest expectations and a fanbase that has wanted his head for years.   What else can Coughlin do if the Giants win their 2nd Super Bowl in 5 years?   Coughlin has never made an excuse or reached out for special interviews to explain his side.  He has gone about his business and done the right thing in coaching the way he was born to coach.  He didn’t change for the Giants front office or fanbase.  He stuck to his guns and landed in the biggest game on earth again.

5.)Semi-Prediction.   The Giants take down the Brady Machine again, winning in the final minutes based off the exact same reasons I stated above.   The Giants pass rush ability, Manning’s clutch play and ability to capitalize, Brady’s gun shy fear of the Giants and the 4-0 record and style of play shown by the Giants the past month make this game a matchup that falls in New York’s favor.   I won’t give numbers but I am betting on the Giants.  I picked them when few around did over the Packers and still think they will be champions once again.

“Once more into the frey, I live and die on this day…”

The Grey/ Movie Review

The Grey won’t leave my head.  Its a good thing.  As I drove to Kentucky last weekend,  I’m staring at rivers, trees with a survival instinct.  Look at myself.  What’s on my person?  Movies make you think differently.   The Grey is about a group of oil drillers on a plane who crash in the middle of Alaska.   Their security detail, Ottway(Liam Neeson) is in charge of protecting them from wolves, but their circumstances bring several other troubles once seven survivors start out on foot trying to make their way to help, water, fire and food.  Their main nemesis are a pack of wolves who see them as intruders and only want to protect their home.  Wolves have learned to evolve along with their conditions.   They survive naked, without weapons and hunt their own food and find their homes.  They aren’t evil.  Seeing the group of men hunted by wolves in this movie is riveting because of the realistic nature of the rival mindsets.  The humans want to live and the wolves want to protect and live as usual.   The Grey is great and highly entertaining because its more than just an action film.  There is real drama here and a genuine story.   Neeson’s Ottway is a torn man who longs for his wife and a sense of peace.  He is thrown into a leadership role once the plane goes down.   Neeson handles the part with his usual convincing tough guy skill.    He is the heart and soul of a film floating in a sea of fine supporting performances.   The torn soul of bravado and courage forming the glue.  The poetic subplot, realistic standards and execution were so great.  Haywire was a great movie for action and style with minimal plot.  The Grey was a solid journey into the isolated wilderness of the soul and the things and people we fill it with and lose when we die.  A thought provoking action film.  Neeson has been on fire since the passing of his wife and this is the first role where we see his pain, given the role of Ottway who is living in mourning the entire film.  The scene where he talks about his inability to believe in GOD and where he rips him for failing to help are true gravy moments.  Sometimes action films can become something more.    What a movie.  2 weeks in a row.

Californication Blunt Force Drama

David Duchovny’s show is a direct blunt shot to the most ugly areas of human affection.   There’s a scene in this week’s where sex is the main discussion at a dinner table with three different couples.  Duchovny plays renegade fuckup artist/freelance writer Hank Moody, and he is the center of attention at this table of dirty tales.  Every kind of erotic encounter is thrown on the table.  Anal sex, porn, circle jerks, toys, fantasies and torn past relationships.   Moody is jaded soul who has messed up a ton of lives with his imperfections and inability to be a good husband and father.  He can only be one at a time.  He never gets it all right.   DD plays the role like a seasoned pro and this scene, full of R rated banter and invigorating acting, puts the rugged heart of this show on full display.  Flawed men and women who can’t decide if they want to spend the rest of their lives together but they want to hang around and try to be good people while they make a run for it.   All the songs are well known tunes covered by new artists.  The acting is blunt.  This is a great show.

*I haven’t dipped into the new HBO horse racing gambling drama LUCK yet.   Michael Mann is a producer and directs the first episode and the cast, lined with Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, is first rate, but I haven’t been pulled in yet.   Something about the plot hasn’t yanked on my interest yet.

The Blues Resume The Hunt

After an All Star break that seemed to take a month, the Blues are back in action in their dogfight in the Central Division.   They lost in Detroit and scored a tie against the Penguins before the break 11 days ago and went in a single point behind conference leader Detroit.   They begin the second half against the Kings at home before starting a string of road action that will define the season.   Do the Blues need to make a trade?  I say no unless a willing suitor comes forth with a player who won’t shake the chemistry of the team and help their chances.   We can always use a legit goal scorer or front 4 defenseman.  However, with Andy Mcdonald and Alex Steen on the mend from concussion induced hell, the Blues are looking at getting 2 great players back in the lineup soon.  Why trade for a player when your injury list features a couple jewels?   This team needs to get sharper on the road and stay as stout as possible with a majority of the games in February and March coming away from Scottrade Center, where the Blues are a decent(no, awesome) 19-3-4.  The Red Wings, Blackhawks and Predators aren’t going away.   The Blues season turn around has been great to watch for any real fan, but it only means something if the winning ways can be sustained.  Looking forward to seeing David “Freight Train” Backes and the boys get back at it and go for the gold.  I don’t see this team going away.

*Sam Gagner scored 8 points against the Blackhawks on Thursday night, tying an Edmonton Oilers record with 4 goals and 4 assists.   In a day and age where individual accomplishment is becoming a rare feat, and Gagner scored himself a pretty successful night on the third night back from the break.   Worth mentioning.

Cardinals Make a Plea for Roy Oswalt and I say…

Why not?  Health issues pending or not, Oswalt is a plus pitcher with big time experience, success and an arm that instantly makes the Cardinals rotation that much better.   If the Cards were able to obtain him, either Jake Westbrook or Kyle Lohse would be traded and I have no problem with that.   Westbrook makes 9 million and Lohse makes 11.   Oswalt is commanding a one year deal worth 10 million.    Due to his record and status, he is worth that low liability cash.   There are legit reasons to be worried here.   Oswalt nearly retired in the middle of the 2011 season after the Cardinals roughed him up at Busch Stadium.   In the playoffs, Oswalt pitched very well against the Cards and only allowed 2 runs in 15 innings.  Oswalt has chronic back issues and that scares any team making an investment.   However, I like his upside and what he can do for this team.  He wants to pitch in St. Louis and if John Mozelaik can make it happen, the rotation becomes one of the best in baseball.

The 2012 Cardinals will rely heavily on healthy old players.  Players like Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Rafael Furcal and David Freese have missed significant time due to injury in their careers and their availability will write up the 2012 seasons.   The loss of vital parts like Pujols, La Russa, and Duncan can only be fixed if the returning parts can stay in the lineup.   The secured closer spot means more than anything to the pitching staff.

Other Things
*Whether Rams stay beyond 2014 or not, let’s enjoy the next 3 yrs of football.  We can’t change the past and in this case the future won’t show its cards so let’s sit back and enjoy the Bradford/Fisher era as long as we can.   Don’t hate Kroneke either.  He invested a ton of time, effort and money in this city and fortunes and business ethics may force his hand in an unpopular direction.
*Listening to Adele is good times.   The British goddess with hips that could shake battleships can really sing and she sings from a reservoir of pain fit for music making therapy.
*Act of Valor, the new film that features real active duty Navy Seals, looks to be legit dramatic action adventure fun that can’t be faked.   The plot is fiction and there are actors involved, but the stars of the show are real bad ass soldiers of fortune.   This stems from the Seals effort to bring down Osama Bin Laden and will be a movie to go after when its released later this month.   The trailer features a great song by Snowpatrol called “When the Storm Ends”.
*The time has come for me to finally point out that I am sick of Tim Tebow.  The kid enjoyed a great rookie season where he put to rest doubts on his ability to find a measure of success at the quarterback position.  He threw 12 touchdown passes and only 6 interceptions while running for 6 touchdowns on the ground but right now I will point out that having him on Super Bowl coverage and sucking up coverage is nearly as bad as Peyton stealing thunder from his little brother with the big game taking place in Indy this weekend.   Memo to Peyton and Tebow.    Shut it down and resume the madness this summer when we all give a shit.
However, a few words on the Peyton Manning/Colts situation.   I understand every intention to rebuild around your team and do the necessary things to turn a fallen franchise around.  I disagree with the Colts notion of dismissing Peyton Manning and letting him sign with another team while they draft Andrew Luck.  I am not a fan of Luck and think Peyton has greatness left in him.   The Colts simply have to renegotiate his salary and contract, delete the 28 million dollar bonus and give him a new deal that allows them to filter new talent throughout the roster of a team that went from playoff contender in 2010 to a top draft pick seeking team a year later.   Draft Luck if you want but the last thing you do is send Peyton away.  He rebuilt your franchise in 1998 when there were no fans.  He has produced a Super Bowl and many great seasons.   There is no reason for this team to throw him away.  They can draft Luck and keep Peyton around for another 2-3 years while not paying Luck crazy money with the new rookie salary cap.  This is just an opinion but the Colts would be disrespecting Peyton by letting him go and if they did, I hope he comes back to lay down some vengeance.  It’s hard to picture him in another uniform.
*Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton suffers an alcohol relapse in Dallas this weekend.   Ooops!   This isn’t a big surprise.  Alcohol addiction is no easy beast to beat and Hamilton also deals with a drug addiction.   This isn’t a defense.  All I am saying is….fuckups will always be fuckups, only covered in noble clothing and acting from time to time.   Hamilton is a liability but as long as he hits like a machine and doesn’t completely lose his way off the field, I expect zero to come of this.
*Blake Griffin dunked over Kendrick Perkins this week and the sports world shakes.   I really wish Michael Jordan would come out of retirement and take these kids to school.   Griffin is a beast and highly talented physical energy bolt who never holds back in attacking the net, but this was just a great play and not the best dunk of all time.   Perkins is a very good defender but Griffin dropped a bomb over his shoulder and beat him on one play.    This isn’t that big of a deal.   Griffin’s jimmy curl hairdo is a big problem.   THursday night, Griffin was thrown on his ass in a game against Denver.
*Babies are unpredictable consistently entertaining little people.    It’s amazing what parents consider to be amazing when their kids are so young.  For example, my son Vincent finally took a shit after a painful 24 hour struggle last weekend as he deals with new food and when it happened, it was big news around the Buffa House.  It was worthy of rolling on the CNN scroll at the bottom or the ESPN byline on the side of the television during Sportscenter.   It’s a big deal!   Vinny pinching one off after a long time is akin to Kobe hitting a game winning 3 pointer after being shut down all night.   Highlight reel baby activity does involve a dump.   Welcome to my life.
*My best friend Chris “Irish” McHugh lives with my wife, son and I now.   He joined my work this past month and has become  a guy I can call a close friend and confidant.   He is the yin to my yang.  The jelly to my peanut butter.  The white chocolate to my pretzel.   You get it.  He is the dude.   My partner in crime.   Its easy to get up and go to work each day when you do it with your best friend and rock to the Black Keys.  My workplace carries an uncertain future.  My friendship with McHugh carries little drama outside of the next endeavor we choose to tackle.  I’ve known him through good times and bad times.  He has stayed a great friend. A brother. That’s the difference between a friend and a best friend.  One who doesn’t change when his or her circumstances do.  That’s Irish.  Love you man.
*Whenever I hear the song “Holocene” by Bon Iver, I think of Meme.   Before the holidays last year, Rachel and I were making a DVD of Vinny pictures for Christmas gifts to my family.  Of course, I arranged the soundtrack and Justin Vernon’s heartfelt falsetto filled slow burner was the centerpiece of the feature.  Now, when it comes on, I nearly stop everything that I am doing, stop moving, and reflect on what isn’t around any longer.   Music and movies do that to you every day.  Remind you of what is lost and what can be found but also take you back to scenes down memory lane.   A bittersweet experience that won’t soon go away.
*Floyd Mayweather signing up to fight Miguel Cotto on May 5th instead of Manny Pacquiao is a direct failure on Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum’s part.   Mayweather made it known that he wanted to fight Pac-Man and instead of nailing the biggest fight in 20 years down right away, Arum stalled, Manny let him get away with it, and now we are left with a second rate fight.  Cotto is one of my favorite boxers and is a proud Puerto Rican fighter, but he can’t slow down the incredibly fast and supremely skilled defensive master in Mayweather Jr..   Pacquiao will take a fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, something that is required after 3 close battles.   I don’t completely hate these fights.  I am just disappointed we didn’t see a megafight between Floyd and Manny before the undefeated Mayweather Jr. goes to jail in June.   Arum fucked this up because he was afraid of Manny losing and seeing his cash cow take a big blow.   Arum was completely hypocritical here.   During the first 2 rounds of talks between the two camps, Arum ripped Floyd for being afraid to step into the ring against Manny out of fear of losing.   Now he is afraid of seeing Pac-Man take a loss.   This makes little sense and has Arum coming off as being scared and Manny taking a hit for letting him get away with it.   Now the fight is put off until November.   I don’t think  a loss to Floyd or Manny would hurt their chances of a rematch or future matchups.   Instead, we get the second best fights.  I hope Miguel makes Floyd earn a win and I look forward to the 24/7 series.   I also hope Manny closes out Marquez and beats him assuredly before the talks with Floyd resume.
*Turning 30 years old feels different than most birthdays.  I feel like I am reaching the first old man milestone.
*The Song of The Day, Weekend and Morning.
“Draw The Line”(live) by David Gray
A bare bone yet potent ode about the limitations of the individual soul and the ambitious bridge to attaining a sense of purpose and happiness.   Gray sings about the real struggles in life and doesn’t hold any punches.   That’s what makes him great.  What you see is what you get.   A singer-songwriter who creates music with purpose.  A storyteller.
That’s all I have for now.   Thanks for reading and taking this in if you gave it the time of day.   It’s time for me to draw the line and pull the curtain.  I didn’t wish to change your thinking but only relieve the pressure on my own mind.   Hopefully this was a win/win situation.  If not, better luck next time.
Goodnight and good luck,
Dan L. Buffa
I treat every birthday the same.  It’s a finish line passing.  A checkpoint along the walk of life.   I have many left to pass and check, so this 30th stop shall pass in the same manner as the previous 29.   I’m still breathing…

Fresh Spins

Hello again,

The time has come to dish the news and watch it spin.  Here’s something fresh.  Completely random mode turned on here.

NFL Super Bowl Matchup Is Set-A rematch of the 2007 Super Bowl where Eli Manning and the pesky Giants took down the Tom Brady Machine.   I like this matchup a lot because it pits a great offensive juggernaut against a well balanced NYG attack.   How did they get here?  The Patriots arrived via a soft Baltimore offensive attack, late game mismanagement, and a horribly missed 32 yard field goal yanked right by former Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff.   On the same day The Ravens defense shuts down Tom Brady(in other words, doesn’t allow a passing touchdown), the Ravens falter late and miss a gimme kick.   The Giants outlasted the 49ers in overtime on a fumble by San Francisco returner Kyle Williams, booted a 30 yard field goal and completed a miraculous run to the Super Bowl that was impressively reminiscent of their Super Bowl run a few years ago.   Eli Manning owns a new record for the most road wins in the playoffs(5) and comes up huge at the biggest stage.   Eli is the anti-Lebron.  He takes low expectations and explodes through the roof on center stage.   My money will be in my pocket but once again I like the Giants to take down the Brady train again.   If Joe Flacco and the Ravens can nearly push Brady to the brink of elimination, the flaming Giants can do it.

Ides of March is a disappointment.   Plain and simple.   George Clooney’s devil’s dance about the cost of politics on the human soul takes a powerfully simplistic subject matter(political swordplay on the mind) and delivers a PLAIN return.   Nothing that happens in this movie is great or surprising.  Nothing blows the mind.   Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Marisa Tomei all deliver decent performances but for me the script is weak here.  Clooney’s direction is assured and fine, but there is nothing Oscar worthy(as the bells are ringing around Hollywood right now) going on here.  When I finished the film, I got on with my night instead of taking a drive, smoking a cigar and dicing up my thoughts and emotions over a series or movie like I did when I finished Showtime’s Homeland.   The plot here is simple.   Gosling’s idealistic campaign manager is driving Clooney’s Governor train towards the Presidency when emotions, revelations and a change of heart derail everything.  Clooney is telling us that politicians say one thing and do another and to me that is very old news.   This is the opposite of Margin Call, one of the best films of the year and a candidate in Buffa’s mind here for Best Picture.   Call took a simple concept(the story leading up to the economic collapse) and blew my mind with the execution.   A cast of all star acting talent, a juicy script and potent direction powered that film.   Ides doesn’t execute anything but a general decades old truth.   Politics claims a piece of your soul if you choose to get involved.

The Blues Get a Chance to Be Somebody in Detroit and they failed.  An early 1-0 lead turned into a quick 2-1 2nd period deficit and the Blues drop their 3rd consecutive defeat to the Wings.  Save me the “punch a Red Wings fan” routine and calculate that its quite frustrating to lose three times in a row to the team you are chasing when you have had the lead in two of those games.   The Blues have 64 points and are lingering around the top spot in the NHL.  This team is capable of greatness and needs to take the next step of beating a great team on the road.   Tonight they could have done what the MU Tigers did on Saturday.  Go on the road, beat a great favored team and climb a ladder.  With a win, the Blues would have had 66 points and a point more than the Wings.   With the loss they received a 3 point deficit in the Central and a 4th place seating after midnight’s viewing of The NHL network daily action.

Mike Matheny will be a quality manager in MLB.   You heard it here third but mark my words  I like his approach.   Matheny has a hands on approach when teaching, and that’s a HANDS ON as in distributing knowledge and not HANDS ON as in Jerry Sandusky.   Matheny has something every manager and coach in the pros wishes to attain and that’s respect.

GOP Candidates falling off the board like flies and there’s one reason.  Rick Perry is the latest and here is why.   Politics is a deadly game that makes ambitious souls pay a toll and give a piece of themselves most aren’t willing to sacrifice.

Haywire is a great movie because it is blazing and alert.   Steven Soderbergh’s action thrill ride has one idea on the mind and that’s authentic in your face action scenes mixed with spy espionage and drama.   MMA figher and model Gina Carino makes a fine debut here as Mallory Kane, a CIA ghost forced to kill her way to freedom when her agency betrays her and goes for her head.   Kane goes on the run and the beauty is in the eye of the action scenes here.   Haywire is crafted from the same brain that put Jason Bourne’s journey together, but here the authenticity pays off big.   Matt Damon had to learn a martial art and work for months to attain a certain speed.   Carino already has the speed and instant credibility during the action scenes and can act as well.   The supporting cast here is surprisingly game.   Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas and Ewan McGregor just to name a few.   Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender are two of the assassins who take a run at Kane and the result are two of the greatest cinematic action creations in recent years.   The key is both fights start quiet.  The films opens as  Tatum meets Kane in a diner, attempts to make nice before coffee is tossed into the face and the two engage in a brutal beat down that ignites a story that runs through Barcelona, Dublin and New York.  The second fight, between Kane and Fassbender’s Paul, is a slow devil dance between two killers.   Paul, masquerading as Kane’s partner, walks her back to a hotel room before they sand their fists with human flesh.  Haywire is an energetic spark plug of a film.   Please don’t come looking for a vast story with underlying morals.  This is a shoot em up thriller with genuine talent and small moments of emotion.  Mallory Kane was wronged and she will seek her freedom with a side order of vengeance.   Haywire is the first great film of 2012 because it’s quiet and patient with its action and easy going with the storytelling. The hook is Carino and her brutally honest portrayal of a betrayed soul looking for revenge.   She is the real deal and a big reason Haywire works.   Kudos to Len Dobbs no nonsense script and Soderbergh’s “go ahead and make my day” direction as well as the 93 minute running time.

The Rams hiring of Gregg Williams and Brian Schottenheimer as defensive and offensive coordinator, respectively, continues the buzz around Rams Park.   These are solid inspiring moves that signal a change in the direction.   The hiring of Williams and Schotty Jr. mean one thing.  The Rams are hiring people who come from an environment where a Super Bowl championship is the preseason goal.   There will be no cuddling and pre school sessions this season.  Class is in session and the firing line is set.  Williams won a Super Bowl in New Orleans and Schottenheimer chased one in New York with the Jets.  Stan Kroneke is making his move and I don’t think it is to London.   The Rams signing up to play 3 games in Europe doesn’t mean Stan is moving the team.   Here’s one small assurance.   Fisher went through the turmoil in Houston when the Oilers were moved to Tennessee and he wouldn’t go through that again.  He signed a 6 year deal that runs through 2017.  While we ponder the chances, 2012 is looking better and better.  Now the goal is find these seasoned minds some players to insert into the game plans and schemes and win games with.  First matter of business. Find Sam Bradford a toy to play with in the wide receiver game.

Understand my coffee fascination.   Nearly every night, my home turns into the Buffa Brew house.  I take out my weapons of caffeine aided destruction.   I set up the french press, which distills the least amount of water into and from your coffee for a strong blend.   I brew 2 shots of espresso to go with it, and steam a little milk to put on top of the  gunpowder blended coffee treat. In other words, I don’t fuck around.   I need coffee.  Its my juice.  Every morning before work and every night after I leave work.   Its my gas station.   A cheap addiction.

Give Joe Paterno’s legacy a break people.   Everybody makes mistakes and live to regret them.   Paterno made one oversight and lost his job due to it and saw his school clouded in embarrassment and shame. He didn’t join in the evil doings of Jerry Sandusky.   He basically transferred responsibility.   That is no reason to forget what he did at Penn State.  He won over 400 games, coaches for 60 years there and won a few National Championships.   After 2004 and 2005 when Penn State had bad seasons and he was urged to retire, he stayed and went to the Orange Bowl and won another BCS title.  Paterno endured every kind of obstacle in life and achieved every goal.   He fell victim to inaction but his legacy can’t be tarnished.   Before you jump his grave, ask yourself this.  What would you have done?  Joe’s a legend in my book.

Ryan Braun, on the other hand, can suck it real hard.   Until proven innocent, he cheated, laid an asterisk next to his 2011 MVP and with the departure of Prince Fielder, ruins the Brewers reputation.   He used illegal steroids, got caught and will sit out 50 games.   Mr. Showman gets to take a seat.  Lets not ease up on him because…wait for it…he didn’t know.  He knew exactly what he was doing.

I love Liam Neeson and the way he is reinventing his career.  The man knows how to pick roles and serve a purpose in film.  After many years of misses, he came back in 2005 with Batman Begins, playing a teacher turned villain  and then exploded with Taken, an international action thriller gut shot that gave him his first leading star hit of his career.  Then…he lost his wife to a terrible skiing accident.   Afterwards, all he has done is continue to kick ass in action films and thrillers like A-Team, Unknown and starting this weekend, The Grey.   Neeson plays a security detail attached to a crew of oil drillers whose plane gets stranded in Alaska.   The group think the conditions are dire until they encounter the real enemy, loud angry wolves.  Neeson is a statue of action hero authenticity.  There isn’t one shred of you that doubts the man’s abilities in a role.   All he has done in his career is taken every kind of role.   Drama lead in Schneider’s List.  Romantic supporting part in Love Actually.   Action lead in Rob Roy, Taken, and Unknown.   He is the most convincing aging action star out there that you beg for him to do more films.  He is in demand.

Long Live Justified on Tuesdays.   The FX drama keeps on shooting straight with an episode that raises more issues for Raylan Givens(Timothy Olyphant).   An old flame comes back into his life in the form of a CIA agent(the lovely Carla Gugino).  She compounds Givens’ problems.  He already has a pregnant woman in Fiona, an old nemesis in Boyd Crowder mixing things up, and a new bad guy in town in a mobster from Detroit(Neal McDouraugh).   He is also recovering from a bullet wound that has hindered his aim.   Season 3 promises many new challenges for our favorite lawman.  Olyphant is so good in the lead role that you nearly forget you’re watching the same guy who wavered in cinema for 15 years.

Song of the Day-The Antlers performing “Kettering”

This atmospheric instrumental slow boiling rocker will quietly move down your spine and rush into your heart by midway.   Good stuff for A Tuesday.

The tune comes from the new HBO special, On Freddie Roach, a documentary series from director Peter Berg on the legendary boxing trainer who keeps on training some of the top fighters in boxing while suffering from Parkinson’s.   His punchers include Manny Pacpuiao, Amir Khan, and Julio Caesar Chavez Jr..   Roach is a former fighter who has lived with the disease most of his life and isn’t missing a beat.   He triumphantly maintains every duty of a trainer, including putting the mitts on and going toe to toe with his younger fighters.   Berg’s series on him is an open dedication to a man who inspires the bleakest of conditions to rise up and live their lives as if nothing is wrong at all.   Roach is the classic fighter that will NEVER go down and his words on how he will die leave a mark.  The man is a potent combination of will and determination.

“If I die using the mitts in the ring, so be it.  I don’t want the fighter to be fucking mad.  I will tell him I had it coming.”-Roach

Smaller Things-

*Once again, pull back the 1.7 arbitration offer to Jason Motte and offer him 2 years at 2 million apiece.   Low liability there.  With his performance in last years run, he earned the dough.

*I expect Skip to get challenged by Tyler Greene but the question is can Greene hit MLB pitching.  My answer is no.

*Albert Pujols won’t be the kind of legend in LA that he was in St. Louis.   Plain and simple.  He gave up more than he knew when he left this city.  Icon status.  I respect his work here in 11 yrs but I am severely disappointed in his decision to chase more cash and then cry about it like he was disrespected.   A real shame.

*Why can the Giants win the Super Bowl?  Tell me why not.

*Working out is as much a mental battle as it is physical.   Being at peace with your body is vital in this life.  If not, strive to change things.  We are what we are in this world.  Stop crying about the weight and lose it.

*Watching Wings and Blues brawl at end of a downer and let me tell you. If I was out there, I would be accused of murder. No retreat, no letup, no stopping the aggression. They would escort me from the building for damage done.

*Bruno Mars sucks big time. NO NO, he does people. Every time I hear his song on the radio, I feel like breaking his neck, snapping my radio in half or sending a Black Key over to his house to teach what real music is like.

*Dying happy should have little to do with regret or envy and everything to do with satisfaction.   Be glad where you end up and not where you didn’t go.

I have run out of things to discuss.  There’s a reason behind these words and I hope you got the message.  If not, better luck next time.   All I know is I work in 6 hours and I need some sleep.

Thanks for reading and goodnight,

Dan L. Buffa





The Buffa Machine Is On

Hello all,

After a week away dealing with elevated work hours and quick nights, I am back and ready to bring the noise once again.  The Buffa Machine has been turned on.   A few things to talk about before the night dies and the new morning begins.    A stream of consciousness begins now.

The Jeff Fisher hiring in Rams Land

I like this hire for a number of reasons.  Fisher was the best candidate on the market and brings instant credibility to the franchise.   His name will have an effect on free agents decisions, opposition game plan and the overall urge from the fanbase.   Its something to be excited about because for the first time since Dick Vermeil walked into St. Louis in 1997, the Rams have a head coach with legitimate head coaching experience.  Fisher has been around for awhile and coached for 16 seasons before taking a breather in 2011 after dealing with the childish Vince Young in Tennessee.  Fisher’s Titans came within 1 yard of sending the Super Bowl in 1999 to overtime, something Rams fans will never forget.  Steve McNair eluding Kevin Carter and D’Marco Farr as he threw the fateful pass to Kevin Dyson who ran into a brick wall in Mike Jones in front of the promise land.  One word associated with Fisher is grit.   The man is a hard nosed enforcer who doesn’t take no for an answer and will transform this team into a physically threatening team.   He is a demanding coach and not a young mind learning on the job like previous coordinators turned coaches in St. Louis.  If anybody wants to gripe about Rams job, tell me how much reason there was to hire another coordinator?  The franchise had been through Mike Martz, Scott Linehan, Jim Haslett and Steve Spagnuolo before finally deciding to throw their hat into the big boy’s ring and nab a real deal leader like Jeff Fisher.   I know this doesn’t translate into instant on field performance, but I am more excited about the draft, the new season and the future.  I will talk later about the future of the Rams in St. Louis, but for the next 3 seasons, Rams football will be different.  Fisher will bring in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from New Orleans, a man known for his hard blitzing style and “go get the quarterback” history of schemes.  The offensive coordinator spot looks to go to former Oakland coach Hue Jackson or former Jets OC Brian Schottenheimer, both of which I would be excited to see land in St. Louis.  Schotty Jr. likes a ground and pound style with subjective QB play and Jackson is a split pass/rush kind of playcaller.   The idea here is new and fresh.  When Stan Kroneke pulled the trigger and went hard after Fisher, he was telling the Rams fanbase he was serious about turning this team around and pulling them out of the NFL gutter.  With the hiring, there is instant buzz around the league.   Take in consideration that the 2012 schedule can’t be as tough as last season’s schedule and I like the Rams chances of winning 5-7 games the coming year.  If the right moves are made and the Rams draft smart and focus on players and not positions(key words here are Justin Blackmon at wide receiver), the Rams can turn it around.  Recovery time is quick in football.  A new coach, couple new players, new system and pow, you have liftoff.  I am being optimistic.  Its my decision to be optimistic.  The hiring of Fisher has me invested deeper in this team.  They are in it for the long haul.   Any doubt left in the street after the Spags firing and immediate cloud of negativity of the 2-14 season is gone now.  There is work to be done but the right men are moving in to get it done.  A quick to do list.

-HAVE A GOOD DRAFT.  A sour spot for the team in the past 5 years is having shitty drafts overall.   Make some smarter player evaluations and take a chance on a kid.   4 of the 8 draft picks in 2011 are gone and that’s a bad sign for a rebuilding team.   The Rams were too old in 2011 and need to get younger.  That starts with a healthy draft.  Look at Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State long and hard because the kid has freakish skills and could change the outlook of the offense right away.  Blackmon is a big tall receiver with catching ability few prospects have so I want him to slide into the team’s plans with the # 2 pick.  If trading the pick means getting Blackmon and other high picks, do it.  Just don’t let the big pick go for a variety of lesser players.

(One four shot latte, homemade, brought my desk by my lovely wife Rachel.   This is a gunpowder midday treat).

-Look at the free agent market.   The linebacker crew and secondary can use some work as well as FA wide receivers like DeSean Jackson and Dwayne Bowe.   Stan will put forth the money and invest in this new look Rams team, so the new GM(whenever he shows up) needs to be creative and proactive with the cash and power this team up quick.  Stick in a tough outside linebacker and beef up the secondary.  The return of Ron Bartell will help.   Williams will utilize Chris Long, Robert Quinn and James Hall on the line but the secondary needs support.  The Wide receiver is thin outside of the return of Danny Amendola, a third down specialist.  Look for an impact move there if they go elsewhere in the draft.  Fisher will formulate a plan here and get his team together.

-Fisher’s  6 year deal worth 6.5 million per year is the going rate for veteran proven head coaches in 2012.   It sounds high but it is actually not.

-Steven Jackson won’t pound and grind out 1,000 yard seasons forever.  The Rams must think about drafting a running back or trading for one.  The failure to secure Darren Sproles when he was available last offseason really came back to haunt the Rams and they have to pull the trigger this time on someone not named Cadillac Williams and Jerius Norwood, who brought in plenty of hype and either weren’t used or didn’t perform well up to their needs.  Jackson is going to wear down and holds trade value.   This is the creative divisions deal but if the right deal came forth, trading Jackson while his value is high would be a steal for this team if the receiving package was juicy enough.  Think of it as a reward for each side.  Jackson going to a winning team and the Rams getting a brighter future.

That’s enough Rams talk.  The hiring of Fisher changes things and along with guys like Gregg Williams, he will cut his own squad of killers.  Rams football after 2014 in St. Louis carries more hope now than it did a week ago.  That is for sure.

What is going to happen to this team after 2014?  The hell if I know my friends.  I will tell you this.  Don’t doubt Stan Kroneke too much.  The guy has invested more money than you think in the Rams and this city.   Back in 1993, after the Rams failed to get an expansion bid, Stan bought 40 percent of the team and that fired up the move to St. Louis in 1994.  Without Stan’s investment, The Rams aren’t playing football here today and there was no Super Bowl won in this town.   Stan made a risky bold bid to finally buy the team outright two years ago and I don’t think he is going to move it out of town so quickly.   The city council and committee is going to present a bid and plan to Kroneke and the Rams by February 1st to fix the Dome and put it back in the top 25 percentile of stadiums in the NFL.  That is where it has to be in order to renew its lease here past 2014.  That is the end game.  Will Stan keep the team here or take it back to LA or in a crazy turn of events, across the ocean to London.  Stan is a smart businessman and that comes from knowing how to approach the future waves coming into the present setup.  Part of being a crafty moneymaker is taking the hits and learning from the incoming signs.   Kroneke isn’t going to set out to move this team out of town, and will only do it if the positive dollar forces his hand.  Love or hate the guy but its all business and not personal.  Fans start hating owners for the wrong reasons and this is a center point example of the rage.   Fans calling into radio stations complaining about Stan not giving them anything as far as a clue about the future.  Let me ask that person this.  What does he have to gain by presenting a false euphoria?  He would shoot himself in the foot by saying the wrong thing right now.  He is playing it close to the chest and that can be taken as a sign that he is taking this very seriously and doing what is best for the city and himself.  He gave up a franchise in Colorado to be able to buy the Rams, and he isn’t going to move out of a town he has worked in for nearly 20 years.  Stay calm and wait for real news.

How about those Blues?  You know, the hockey team that plays on 14th and Clark?

Part of the Blues recovery in the past 4 seasons has been off the ice as well as on it.  Gaining back the trust and approval of their wickedly passionate fanbase.   The transition from the Old Barn Arena to Kiel/Scottrade had its bumps and bruises, and then the team and league went dark in 2005.   Since the return, the Blues have struggled to maintain a sense of real belonging and fallen second to the Cardinals and at times third behind the Rams.  When a franchise hasn’t won a Stanley Cup and teeters on the edge of oblivion for a few years, this is the product.  However, this season the Blues are doing things they haven’t done in years.  Winning with command and consistency in December and January.   Under Ken Hitchcock, the Blues are 20-5-6 and are a point out of the top spot in the NHL.   That’s right, the Blues are 1 point behind the New York Rangers for the top spot and involved in a four team dogfight in the Central Division with Detroit, Chicago and Nashville.   The results aren’t simply in the record and conference standings.  Watching this team play is an invigorating experience.   They play 60 minutes and go north to south on the ice in a way I haven’t seen in a long time.  Every player is making something happen and going after it.   4th line grinders are scoring goals and delivering at each end of the ice.  The Blues have a captain in David Backes that completely fits the role.    The young gun line(Perron, Oshie, Berglund, Petrangelo) are finally coming into their own as hockey players.  The defense is holding the opposition to few shots on goal.  The two goalie tandem of Brian Elliot and Jaro Halak is stronger than ever.   Hitchcock’s methods are still working and producing results. Everything is falling into place for this team and at the right time.   For weeks, I have questioned their ability to keep the tempo and for good reason.  The Blues routinely fall apart in the new year.  Last January, the season was sealed with a 2-8 record.   This month, the team is 6-0-1 and surging to the top of the division.  This Blues team isn’t letting the Red Wings and Hawks run away with it.  They are sticking their skate into their backs and applying pressure and I like it.   I don’t think this team is going to die off.  Wait until Alex Steen and Andy Mcdonald return from concussion related injuries.   The firepower and skill level of this team can only get higher.   The amazing thing is, with the exception of Elliot, this is the same team from last season doing these incredible things.   The Blues are still averaging only around 2.5 goals per game, but they aren’t allowing any goals in the 3rd period.  When they lead after 2 periods, they seem to lock down the game right there instead of give it away.  Here are some other Blues clues.

-They have shut out the opposing team 3 out of the past 5 games.    Halak has two shutouts in his last 3 starts.   The entire team is pitching into the shutout efforts.  The defense is controlling the middle of the ice and making players take shots from outside the box.   Halak and Elliot aren’t being screened or covered up.  They are seeing shots and making key saves.

-The Blues finally won a shootout this past week against the Minnesota Wild on a goal from Shattenkirk.   This was the only sour point of the Hitch Era and was their first shootout win of the season.

-Halak’s play has powered the recent surge of the Blues winning 5 of their past 6 games, the only loss being a close hard fought overtime loss to top Western conference seed Vancouver.    Jaro Halak has turned his season around and responded well to the change behind bench.   He got pressure from Elliot and confidence from Hitchcock and has resurrected his career here in St. Louis.  The Slovakian stopper struggled last season in his first full season of duty but is taking 2011-2012 in stride and only getting better with each start.  He returned to Montreal last week and shut out the Habs in front of his old fanbase and garnered a very classy standing ovation after the game in which he skated around twice after the game because the cheers wouldn’t stop.  Since then, he has been lights out in the net.   Halak’s main problem was reaction speed in net and he is doing so well on rebounds lately.   He is stopping tough shots and giving his team confidence and a fighting chance.   I said it in September.   The Blues long term success rate depended on Halak’s play.  Early on, it was tough because Elliot was outplaying Halak and that isn’t the right order of things.  Every Stanley Cup Champion has that one solid leader in net and Halak is turning into that guy here with strong support from Elliot.

-David “Freight Train” Backes is a force to be reckoned with.   The man has 14 goals and plays every minute harder than anyone and delivers the most excruciating hits in each zone.  He is underrated on defense and powers to the net better than most on the offensive end.   After a down year, it is great to see the new captain take a hold of the leader role and deliver on the ice as well.

-T.J. Oshie’s game has taken the most effect from the Hitchcock Trails.   When he is working well, Oshie’s game is outside the box and takes over the entire ice space.   A north to south missile attack that doesn’t let up.  Did you see blues winner on Monday night? Phenomenal. I’ll spin it for you quick. Petro feeds Oshie an outlet pass, Oshie takes cross blue line, drops it for Perron, heads to the net while DP heads down right wing and Perron feeds him a floater right on net. Oshie takes the pass on backhand, switches to forehand, dekes Lehtonen, slams it home while getting clobbered. Oshie being Oshie. Beautiiiifuuullll! That’s a one goal shutout closer to remember.  The score was highlight reel good and reminds everyone just how special and talented Oshie can be.  He is a man on a mission in 2012 because he is playing for a new contract after a one year deal from the Blues served as a needed push to his skill set.   Oshie is a plus 14 since Hitch’s arrival and has been on fire for weeks.   I only expect it to get better.

Moving on to the NFL playoff action from last weekend.  After a rousing first weekend of football that saw comebacks and unexpected developments hit, the harsh reality of NFL playoff action hit during the second round and brought its own surprise.

Baltimore beat Houston straight up with defense.   After scoring 20 points in the first quarter, the Ravens defense shut down Tyler Yates, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson for the next 3 quarters and held on 20-17 to advance.  In the “boring” game of the weekend, the Balty crew stonewalled any opportunity given to Houston.   Joe Flacco didn’t beat the Texans.   Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, and Terrell Suggs beat the Texans.   Shutdown defense helped Baltimore win a trophy in 2002 so I wasn’t surprised.

New England clobbered Tim Tebow and the Broncos by 4 touchdowns.  Look, I never said the kid was going to walk into Foxboro and take down the Brady Machine.  It was right next to impossible.  Tebow never got loose, played with a rib and lung injury and was shut down by a surprisingly effective Pats defense.    They played with a 2 touchdown lead for nearly the entire game, so stopping Tebow was rather easy.   He didn’t throw well,  saw his running lanes shut down and only had one decent drive the entire game.  However, remember folks,  Tebow doesn’t play defense my friends.  SO MANY PEOPLE jumped on Tebow after the game, mocking his kneel and throwing him into the grinder.  The Broncos defense gave up 45 points.  Not Tim Tebow.  He didn’t play well but when Tom Brady is carving your defense up like turkey dinner, its easy to look rattled.   Tom Brady and company rolled easily through the Broncos and will look for revenge from 2009 when they face the Ravens this week.

Tim Tebow side section-I don’t understand the hatred towards this young man.    I am a fan, but I don’t get the hate part of the equation here.  I am the farthest thing from religious and don’t love his GOD outpouring of love, but respect him for being a great guy and a man who gives back plenty to his community.   The man builds hospitals, helps out under privileged kids and does a lot of good off the field but he is hated for a reason that stems deeper than religion.  His future in the NFL is debatable and he still needs to prove he can be a legitimate NFL quarterback in 2012.  His talent level is negotiable but his drive, effort and good nature isn’t up for discussion.   He is good for football.  He is something different.  You can’t deny the effect he had in Denver.  He took a 1-4 team and took them to the playoffs and won a game, knocking out the reigning AFC champs in Pittsburgh.   He has a lot to improve but the job is his in 2012 to lose.  I just don’t like the straight up hatred towards him.  Its a telling trait of our society to rise against Tebow.   Hate his football all you want.  Just stop hating the man.   More than anything, I think people are afraid of his potential in the NFL.  What if he becomes a better passer?  Oh shit…

The 49ers shocked the world first and beat the Saints in an outcome I wasn’t too surprised with even though I loved Drew Brees’ dominance the past month of the season.  Everything changes in the playoffs and anything can happen.  The 49ers got home field advantage and defeated the Saints by limiting their weapons.  There is NO way to shut down the New Orleans 6 WR/3 RB attack but you can limit it with good linebacker work and a decent pass rush.   The grass field slowed down the Brees passing attack and the emergence of Alex Smith from the land of “dumb and plain bad first round draft picks” continued as he threw the game winning touchdown with under a minute left.   Smith had been the Trent Dilfer of QB’s all season.   Complete passing plays of 15 yards or less, don’t make mistakes and give way to the Frank Gore running machine.  On Saturday, Smith stepped up and made believers of everyone.  He is a dangerous man and along with Vernon Davis, took down the New Orleans Saints.

My pick of the week was the New York Giants taking down the Packers.  NO ONE BOUGHT MY PREDICTION.    Truck drivers, gym rats, random folks, and not even the Pope himself.   Mother Teresa gave me points but that doesn’t count.   The supposedly unbeatable Packers(except for that Chiefs debacle) had a big weakness in bringing the worst defense in the NFL into a game with the hottest team in football.  The Giants are doing exactly what they did in 2007.   Get hot late and sustain it through the playoffs.   Eli Manning played a near flawless game and outplayed the beloved Aaron Rodgers.    Manning took down the redemption seeking Brett Favre in Lambeau in 2007 in an overtime shootout that I remember well.   Manning walked back into Cheesehead Nation and took down their new king.  The Packers will not repeat as champs and the Giants look more dangerous than ever.   That just happened, Green Bay.   The beast is gone.  What lies in return is a potential rematch of the 2007 upset game between New York and the Patriots.   The day Spagnuolo broke the vault and got to the Brady Machine. The Day Eli made his name and put Tom on hold.  The Day something new happened.  The day the dynasty died in Bean town.    The Giants took down the Packers and set the stage for a big time matchup this weekend with the 49ers and possibly, a return to the field against New England.

My heart to heart picks right now are the Patriots piling enough offense on Baltimore to earn a trip to the Super Bowl and the Giants barely getting by the 49ers in overtime on a field goal to reach the final match and set up the rematch of 2007’s back and forth battle.

Quick Notes

-Congress wants to limit our internet reach and continue to invade our privacy.   There’s something not right there.    What is so wrong with people researching things on the internet?  Its not our fault the random kid tries to find out how to make a bomb, buy a gun or do harm to others through internet exposure and pressure.   We shouldn’t lose our rights of freedom on the net for that.

-The weather needs to make up its mind quick.   Low 20s and chilly or upper 50s and cool?  The human body can only take so many weather changes.

-Modot failing to clear the streets in time for the morning rush last week wasn’t a huge surprise.   Weather crews in St. Louis are known for being slow to act.   Snow and cold weather are a beast to defeat and Modot fucking up in their first dry run of the season is no surprise.   The more threatening thing is watching people react by driving like absolute morons.  The necessary reaction isn’t suspending all knowledge of road rules.    Driving very slow and taking turns at 2 mph won’t increase your chances of making it to your destination.  This is where people should have their license suspended during bad weather.   Have an officer make their way to doors and collect their driving IDs for the day.  Everything would be better.  Remember, people cause accidents and not bad weather.

-I carry zero desire to get into the Presidential race this year as of this moment.  I got into with Obama/McCain and looking at the result, I can tell you I only will dip my interest in when a candidate shows himself.   Ron Paul is intriguing but…all politicians are full of wicked hot shit.  It’s their job to play a joker and show a poker face but it doesn’t mean I like it.   I’m doing the nod and whatever thing when politics come into my conversational grasp these days.

Back to Topics Breaking into My Brain

Justified Returns with a Vengeance on Tuesday

The FX Modern western gem with Timothy Olyphant’s renegade Marshall Raylan Givens returned to the airwaves with its third season this week and the first episode, titled “Gunfighter” centered our wounded hero in the middle of another storm.   Starting the season at a deficit with a healing gunshot wound taken in at the end of Season 2, Raylan is struggling to sit at a desk when he is dragged into the appearance of a Detroit mobster(the always evil Neal McDourough) and old hounds in Boyd Crowder(the simply amazing Walter Goggins) and local mischief master Duffy.    Raylan surrounds himself with every kind of scum on this earth and spends the next 12 hours whirling and twirling his way out of a mess.   He finds his aim is off on his shooting and makes contact with a deadly man in an elevator that leads to a showdown at hour’s end that reminds me of how good this show is.  The greatness comes in the patience it takes in potential explosive gun battles.  Raylan, wounded, sitting at a motel table with his woman Fiona(Natalie Zea) at his side and facing down a killer set on taking Givens down is pure juice.   The payoff comes as expected but the table is set for another great season.  Justified has become the reliable hour of entertainment one searches for their whole life.  Expected greatness.   Throughout the whole series, the baddies have been memorable but Olyphant’s steady presence and cool headed appeal sets the tone here always.  He is the rock.

Puncture Movie Review

The true story of two Houston lawyers going up against pharmaceutical companies in the use of dangerous contaminated needles in hospitals is center stage in this indie drama.   Chris Evans is a standout as Mike Weiss, a drug addict/brilliant lawyer who takes the case of a nurse who stuck by a contaminated needle on the job who develops AIDS and wants hospitals to use a new safety needle that ejects the blade after every use.  A one shot needle basically.  Weiss and his partner, Paul Danzinger(co-director Mark Kassen) take the case and run head on with a company who wants to squash the safety needle product and keep their investors and primary profitable operation moving along without pause.   This is a low flying powerful entertainment that rests entirely on Evans’ broad shoulders.  After taking the country by storm portraying Captain America this summer, Evans blows me away here as Weiss, a tragic figure who is trying to keep his demons at bay and fight the good fight.   Evans has put together a long career consisting mostly of action, comedy and thrillers.   This is his first foray into lead power role.   Weiss is the perfect match.  A guy who was addicted to every horrible drug but was great at what he did.  The two lawyers run into walls along their way but the tale here is spun with a few twists and ends on a solid note.  Puncture is a successful true story telling vehicle in that it doesn’t strip any parts of the real tale away and only enhances it with great actors and a game plan that packs a punch in its understated approach.

Albert Pujols Declines the White House

This may be a feeble issue to some, but to me it is a big slap in the face of an organization.   The St. Louis Cardinals visited the White House this week in the annual tour of Champions visiting the White House, and Pujols declined to visit.   Why not?  He isn’t doing anything extremely important in STL or LA right now and owed it to his teammates to show up and join them in their celebration of the 2011 miracle season.   Pujols participated in the run to the World Series and should have showed up.  This only deepens the new found awkward resentment towards the Pujols camp in St. Louis.  A guy who once pledged to stay, decided to leave, stopped to make excuses and whine afterwards and now must find it too weird to share a room with a club he spent 11 seasons with.   What happened to Albert Pujols?  The man who I thought was honorable and worth defending and engaging upon has turned into a different person in the span of 3 months.   I take it as an insult.

Haywire Appeal

There’s something about Steven Soderbergh’s new action thriller, Haywire, that has me hooked.  Say hello to the female version of Jason Bourne.  The tagline of the poster says it all.  “They left her no choice.”  Asskicking included here.   It gives off the vibe of a carefree asskicking action thrill ride with little regret or worry for the safe appeal.   Haywire centers on special ops soldier Mallory Kane,(real life MMA fighter Gina Carino) who is casted out by every known killer in the world and must fight/shoot/stab/kick her way to freedom.   The film gathers all of Soderbergh’s film cronies, such as Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas along with newcomers Channing Tatum and one of the most promising breakout actors from 2011, Michael Fassbender.  Carino and Fassbender’s hotel room fight in the trailer sells me right away.  A calm meeting turns into a smashmouth realistic blood spurting display of physicality spun around a fight to the death.   It hooks you right there.  Carino is the perfect female action star.  She is dark haired sexy, tough, built but not disgusting or overpoweringly imposing.  She has a sweet smile and composure, but can turn on a dime and beat you to a pulp.   Soderbergh has proclaimed he loves to kill off movie stars and right here, he won’t disappoint.   Here is the trailer.

The Random Takes-

*The Texas Rangers made a bad sign today when they handed 60 guaranteed million to Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, a guy who hasn’t recorded one single out in the majors. It is absolutely absurd to hand this kind of money to a player with zero experience.  The 6 year contract could net Darvish 111 million dollars.  The Rangers will invest 100 plus in this kid but won’t hand 120 million plus to Prince Fielder.  That’s crazy.   Fielder is the perfect fit for Texas and can transition to a DH in 5-6 years.  That won’t happen now.

*The Cardinals Winter Warmup is a great way to raise money for charity but I rarely take it in downtown.  I have nothing against it but its one of those things that I just haven’t gotten into.   The question and answer sessions are the best and yield surprisingly honest answers.

*The Blues giving Brian Elliot a 2 year extension is a rewarding sign for the player and organization.  For the first time in years(familiar saying with Blues these days), the Blues have a solid starter and backup in place for the next 2-3 seasons.   Elliot has been quietly dominating all season long when he gets the chance.  With Halak playing better, he will only have to fight harder for a start.  Allow me to roll down Elliot’s accomplishments in 2011-2012.   He is 15-5-1 with a .938 save percentage and 1.68 goal against average.  He owns 5 shutouts in 20 starts, which is a ridiculous statistic.   A comparison.  In 2009-2010 with the Ottawa Senators, Elliot had 5 shutouts as well….in 55 games, more than double his amount this season.   Elliot’s season is a good story and reality that goalies can hit their stride at anytime in their career.  The Blues investment is under 4 million for 2 seasons, an amount good for the player and team.

*I commend Bill DeWitt III and John Mozelaik’s straight forward questions to fans questions about Albert Pujols and the situation.   Mo and DeWitt didn’t pull any punches or make any excuses.  They basically said they stretched themselves for Albert and he declined to accept their invitation to ride off into the sunset together.   A month after the decision, the Mozelaik/DeWitt III side is still the warmer end of the spectrum.

*Situations at my workplace may change but my commitment and effort won’t go down during the busiest time of the year.   The passion and strive to do anything for the job will start to go down though.  Immediate effect of a future with a possible unfortunate end.

*Song of the Day-The Lengths by The Black Keys.   Laidback, groovy, easy listening blues rock delight from the masters of modern day tough rock.   Today I received my tickets to the Keys concert at Chaifetz Arena on April 27th, so coupled with their everyday dominance in my music world, this was good enough reason to lay down this track.   It is part of the 22 song mix I made that could sub as a playlist for this two man wrecking crew that has taken over the musical world long after it made its first great blues album.    Similiar to the Kings of Leon, the Black Keys bloomed late but have risen quite high.

*Cardinals Rant.  With spring training a month away, here is a few things about the team developing in the past couple weeks.   One long winded rant.   The signing of Kyle McClellan isn’t one I felt was necessary to grow as a bullpen but its expected.   An arm ruined by constant change from pen hand to starter comes back for 2.5 million to a group already stocked with righthanders like Jason Motte, Lance Lynn, Fernando Salas, and Eduardo Sanchez.   McClellan looks like damaged goods and had a horrible end to his 2011 season and was left off the postseason roster.   Daniel Descalso can easily fill Nick Punto’s infield versatility role for less than half the price.  DD is as solid in the field and carries a quality bench bat as well.   Skip Schumacher will have to fight off light hitting Tyler Greene at second base even though Rafael Furcal’s inability to stay healthy will provide playing time.   David Freese staying humble is no surprise.  The hometown kid knows where fortune has taken him.   Lance Berkman needs to grow the March-April beard and get rid of the smooth faced criminal visual.  Seeing Carpenter and Wainwright dance inside the same rotation will provide fireworks early and often.  Matt Holliday is doing his part in coming on radio stations and getting into the public eye more.  Today, he offered to find Freese a girlfriend on the radio.   Holliday was uniquely hurt in 2011 but still provided when he played.  People forget that when they see his stats even though it includes 38 missed starts.  His season ended coldly in October but his small ball plays in the World Series were difference makers.  Jon Jay is approaching a big season to solidify himself in the lineup and will battle Allen Craig for playing time in right field and back up the fragile Carlos Beltran in center field.   If Beltran stays healthy, the Cards have 4 good outfielders.   The Cards are ready for the injury bug to bite and most of the backup is Memphis based.  Breakout player of the year in 2012 is Jason Motte.  A full season in the closer role and picking up right where he left off in October, blowing away Phillies, Brewers and Rangers bats with a new found ease.

*Who has a better year?  Albert Pujols in Los Angeles or Prince Fielder in Washington or Texas?  I expect Pujols to have first year jitters and finish strong again to have a decent AP season.  Watch out for a torrid 2013 season, where AP hits 50 homers and drives 120 plus runs.  Once Pujols gets adjusted, he will still thrive.    Fielder will put up great numbers wherever he goes but the smart and necessary play is lesser years and more money.

*God Rant.  Today I engaged in another god/reality showdown with a co-worker and got the best of him as usual.  It’s easy when logic rides with your words.  My co-worker, an ex addict turned born again fellow who supposedly “walks with GOD” tried to convince me the lord was real and I quickly pounded him into submission with facts, jokes, one liners, six liners and all kinds of shut the fuck up juice.  Listen, here is my take.   For all the religion buffs out there, let me ask you a question.  Where is your reference point?  How do we know your guy is real?  Why is he a guy in the first place?  How do we know?  That is my main beef.  I believe in what I see and I can’t see GOD, therefore I don’t believe in him.  If there is no proof, there is no existence my friends.   Where is the reference point?  The only way we know of GOD is by being told about him and/or reading about him in the best selling novel called the bible.  Therefore, he isn’t real.  There is ZERO PROOF.  If so, tell me.  If you walk with the lord, why can’t I see him?  Its the religious buffs who pound it down our throats everyday(worse than Tebow) that cause me to fire back logical explanations here.  I don’t have to say sorry for saying this either.  Its my fucking blog!!   Please don’t answer the question with “I just know”.  That isn’t a good enough answer to base your argument off of with me in the heat of battle.

*I still think about Meme on occasion.  At least once a week and for extended periods consisting of minutes.   From time to time, I get hit with a wave of memory and think to myself, “is she really gone?”   The uncomfortable realization that she is never coming back and will never ask me another question is still fresh and painful nearly a month later.  When does it go away?  Never.   Meme will continue to pop up in my mind from time to time and that is a good thing.  Some wounds never get stitched close.  They lie open and fester on your brain.  I am thinking of getting Meme’s name and date of birth and death tattooed on my upper arm because it is something worth looking at everyday and will never become a waste of space on my body.   I will never forget that lady and everything in my life has a different feel and vibe without her in it.

This rant is finished.   The unfolding seminar of material has ran its course and this freight train of information is coming to a halt.   My hope is that this information stimulated you in a way few things do and that it will give you a slight and/or small lift on a regular Wednesday evening.  My needs have been met and soon enough, I will come back again with more to spill and carry the desire to inform.  For now, I am done.

Thanks for reading and goodnight,

Dan L. Buffa

PS.-Here’s another trailer.  Don’t ask me why, but please watch it.   Its got Robert DeNiro in a juicy well needed role as a famous writer who reconnects with his son in a shelter after 19 years apart.  Paul Dano plays his son who is also a writer but is pushing his way through lies, deceit and massive deception.   I love these kind of tales about father and son reluctantly being thrown together to see if there is a beating heart in their bloodline.

“Life is gathering material.   Writers, typically poets, are particularly prone to madness.  I don’t care how good of a writer you are, you can’t kill someone with words.”-Flynn(Robert DeNiro)




The Name of the Game

As I roll into one of the best films of the year, Moneyball, I will unload the latest firing squad of material.    Cut the shit, avoid the glaze and get to the material.   That’s what people come here for.  The goods.  Let’s get to it.

Spags Is Fired

Seen coming from a mile away, The Rams Head Coach was fired mere hours after I wrote about it in a blog early Monday morning.   This wasn’t a surprise.  He compiled a record of 10-38 in his three seasons, taking a huge step back this season in a 2-14 season marred by bad penalties, injury, underachieving quarterback play and a downright ugly brand of football.  The Rams were horrible, and sports rules call for a coach to fall on the sword.   The real reason Spags lost his job was he lost the guts and determination to try new things and go outside the box.  The Rams had zero energy and looked flat every Sunday.  Spags was gun shy and shell shocked from extreme failure, and like a scarred quarterback in the slot with fear of throwing an interception, Spagnuolo was eaten away by his own demons.   Change was needed and he was executed.  GM Billy Devaney was sent packing along with him, a required move for the simple reason that he put the failing squad together.

Jeff Fisher Enters the Picture

The main reason I like Fisher is because he has head coaching experience, and unlike the Cardinals, the Rams need a coach with legit experience and a history of winning with small payrolls.  Fisher took the Titans to the Super Bowl in 1999 with an underrated team and nearly(by a yard) beat the Rams.   12 years later, he will chose between the Rams and Miami this week.   Fisher is a hard nosed tough attitude producing football mind who has taken the time off to reset his engines and prepare for another battle on the sidelines.  Fisher is hungry and dealt with a childish quarterback in Tennessee near his end in Vince Young.   He forced Fisher out and since then, Fisher’s been a free agent.  Pull the record away and the STL Rams are set up with fine pieces to rebuild with.  The main problem with the Rams is they were rebuilding still in 2011 and they had the third oldest team in football.   Rebuilding and old age don’t go together.  The Rams need to get younger and build from their youth.   Scrap the old shitty parts and look at the young.  If I am Fisher, that is my main goal.   Look at Sam Bradford and the potential.   Steven Jackson is old, so think about drafting a young RB in the later rounds.   Look at the defense with Chris Long, Robert Quinn, Quentin Mikkel and James Lauranitis.   There are pieces here.   In my opinion, the Rams carry more futuristic flair than the Dolphins even though Miami had a more successful 2011 season.   Fisher makes a choice this week and if the Rams can snag him, the first step taken in rebuilding a dead franchise is a solid one.  You have to start with the head coach, get a general manager who can evaluate talent,  then the draft, and move into free agency and assemble a good team.

Tim Tebow Defies the Odds…..Again

On Sunday, Tebow went into Mile High Stadium with few experts expecting him to take down the #1 ranked defense in the Steelers in the wild card playoff round.   After losing the last 3 games of the season and turning the ball over 7 times, Tebow was once again left for dead.   It’s been a trend in his NFL career.   The college hero with a knack for fourth quarter comebacks who has trouble throwing is now going to New England to play Tom Brady and the Patriots next Sunday in the second round of the playoffs.  How did this happen?  Tebow threw for 316 yards, including touchdown passes of 30 and 80 yards and also a 51 yard completion.   He also ran for a touchdown.   Tebow completed an 80 yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime, which qualifies as the longest passing play in overtime in playoff history.   The Tebow critics will come out and shoot this down, calling it a 2012 Mayan apocalypse fluke or a lucky shot.   I am here to tell you the kid has real talent and isn’t going anywhere.  He carries little chance of beating Brady next week, but he will make the Super Champ earn the right to play for the conference.   Tebow is a winner.  He is committed to winning and will do ANYTHING to win.   He is all you want in an athlete coming out of college.  Tebow is Michael Vick without the shitty brain and criminal desire.  A quarterback who can run and throw.  Tebow did it all and then some on Sunday.  Seeing what he does next weekend is something EVERYBODY, critics and supporters, will be dying to see.  For the first time in his career, Tebow won a game with his arm and not just his legs.  It helped that Ben Roethlisberger played the game on one leg and the Steelers didn’t have safety Ryan Clark or running back Rasheed Mendenhall.  It helped that Pittsburgh was playing on the road with a hurt quarterback.  It helped that Denver had a 10 point lead most of the game.   Tebow takes the surrounding factors and correctly plugs them into his own agenda.  No matter how ugly it is, win the game.  He won on Sunday without the ugliness.  One thing is for sure.  Tebow has shocked the world.   If I told you Tebow would be playing Tom Brady in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game back in September, you would have laughed me out of the room.  Expect the unexpected with Tebow.

Dave Duncan Steps Down

Dave Duncan will not be the pitching coach for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012, marking the first time The Cardinals will employ a new manager and pitching coach since 1995.   Duncan is stepping down to be with his wife, Jeannine, who is recovering from brain cancer.   In November, Duncan thought he could stack the duties of a pitching coach on top of looking after his wife.  Last week, Duncan decided he couldn’t do it.   The news began as a leave of absence but developed into a permanent move.   Derek Lilloquist, who stepped into Dunc’s role near the end of 2011, will become the new pitching coach.   The loss of Duncan is a big one for a team suddenly rebuilding the identity of their team after winning a World Series.   Tony La Russa retired, Matheny came aboard, got rid of La Russa’s coaches, Pujols signed elsewhere and now Duncan isn’t coming back.  Say hello to a new friend.   The Cardinals will get by without them in 2012.   In 2011, they defied the ultimate odds and won the championship.   2012 seems like a piece of cake.  Look, you can sit here and cry over Duncan’s exit or take comfort in the fact he is doing it for the right reason and the Cards get his longtime protege in return.

The Blues Rebound, Put Together A Strong Streak

On Monday, I told you the Blues had 3 winnable games this past week.   Phoenix, Edmonton and Colorado.   They won all three games and sit atop the Central Division with 53 points and are 2nd in the Western Conference.   The Blues are playing 60 minutes of hockey, are 5-13 on their power play during the home stand, and seeing renewed production from Chris Stewart.   This team relies on all hands being on deck instead of a single scoring line or one man goaltending show.   Brian Elliot grabbed another shutout on Saturday when the Blues dominated and destroyed the streaking Avs but goals from Berglund, Shatty, Arnott and Backes sealed the win and Elliot saw less than 20 shots.   A team game is developing and that is why the Blues are atop the division.  In October, we had a good team and a chance to win.  Davis Payne was a respected man and coach.   However, he wasn’t pulling results from this team and he was replaced.  Ken Hitchcock came in here with 540 plus wins, sitting at a desk in Columbus, and hungry to coach again.  He has reinvented this team with the same players.   Amazing feat.   What else is there to say?  I am no expert and can only enjoy watching this team that I have waited to see contend seriously again suddenly become a legit force in the NHL.  It would be fool hardy to not recognize a night/day difference with the team under Payne/Hitchcock.  How long can it last?

Moneyball’s Genius

Billy Beane’s idea was simple.  Take a 41 million dollar team and turn them into a playoff team after losing three key players in Damon, Izzy and Giambi in 2002.  Billy Beane made one decision early in his life based on money and swore he would never do it again.   Beane wanted to change the game.  He didn’t want the money, fame or glamour.   He wanted to do something no team had done before.  Take a small market team and beat the big market team.   It was more than that.  His method of changing the game meant relying on stats, computer analysis and on base percentage instead of old school scouting, big salaries and home runs.  His change of thought threatened the livelihood of several GMs, scouts,ballplayers and represented what people fear most in life.  CHANGE IN METHODS OF SUCCESS SEEKING.   The A’s won more games in 2002 than they did in 2001, won 20 games in a row, yet lost in the playoffs to the Twins.   His season was enough to make teams change the way they evaluate talent.   Moneyball is a great film that relies heavily on Brad Pitt’s brilliant portrayal of Beane.  Instead of mimicking Beane directly, Pitt created his own wisecracking version of Beane and delivered one of the better performances of his career.   Bennett Miller unleashed Pitt and in the end created a new sports film classic.  See this film on Tuesday when it arrives on DVD/Blu Ray.

Edwin Jackson isn’t worth 17 million dollar a season.  

The 60-60 pitcher doesn’t deserve that money.   His agent, Scott Boras, is demanding that much and comparing him to past chokers like John Lackey and Aj Burnett, both whose employers are dying to shred now that they are scrubs.   Recalculate Scotty.   Jackson isn’t worth the dough and barely deserves Kyle Lohse money in 11 million per season.  Jackson hasn’t proven he could win consistently at this level and he isn’t a good bet even to a team needing starting pitching.  He will be picked up for a 1 or 2 year deal in February at 12 million per season by an American League team looking to dump money on a landfill.  Jackson is a MLB whore and has slept around the league.

Attention Packers and Saints. 

You score a lot of points but you shall face a New York Giants team that has won 3 in a row and made Matt Ryan and The Falcons look like immature oversized pee wee opponents on Sunday.   The Giants beat the Falcons 24-2 and the only reason Atlanta saw points came via a penalty on Eli Manning in the end zone.  For the second week in a row, Manning threw for 300 plus yards, 65 percent completion rate and 3 touchdowns without any interceptions.   I’m not a fan of the Giants.  I’m simply warning the favored teams.

Albert Pujols still isn’t sure he made the right decision.  

His 10 year 250 million dollar deal was completed this week and it comes with many perks.  Pujols gets a hotel suite on the road, a chance to buy season tickets at an Angels suite, and gets tons of incentives when he breaks records.   It proves that every small detail must be punched out before a player contract is finalized.  The deal includes a 10 year personal services clause that according to my inside sources, the Cards came up with first and the Angels adapted.  That’s right.  The Cards team that Team Pujols said didn’t treat them with respect and comfort first offered him a personal services contract.   There was comfort and 210 million from St. Louis, but Pujols fled.   This exit still doesn’t sit completely easy with me mainly in part to Pujols’ stupidity.  In my eyes, he had no reason to leave and the ones he pointed out don’t make a bit of sense.  Im glad the big guy gets his own suite on the road, Mike Piazza style, and that he is happy out west.  The real proof starts in less than 90 days.

Roy Oswalt to the Cardinals only works if the dollars, years and role perimeters are set up right.   If the Cards could trade Westbrook or Lohse, Oswalt could fit in perfectly in St. Louis, a place where he really wants to pitch.   Oswalt could come here for 5 million and have his salary rise with wins, innings pitched and strikeouts.   If it is possible, I am for it.

Prince Fielder needs to make a decision. 

Shut off the cell phone and tell Boras to leave you alone.   Nearly a month after Pujols signed, Fielder sits without a contract and its peculiar yet not surprising.   Fielder wants 10 years and Pujols money, and teams don’t want to give him the comfort.  They want to give him 5 years and high dollar.   If I were Fielder, I would take the 5 year deal and keep on hitting.    What if a better offer doesn’t come in?  What if the phantom bidder in Boras talks never arrives?   The best fit for Prince is Washington.  They seem primed to give him 5-7 years and 23-25 million per season and the two sides fit each other.   Washington is one piece away from seriously contending.  They have Steven Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez and John Lannan in the rotation.  They have Drew Storen in the bullpen.  They have Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond and Michael Morse in the lineup and only need a big piece to get in line with  the Braves and Phillies.  Fielder will know the team is set up to win for a long time, especially if Bryce Harper makes an appearance in 2012.   If I am Fielder, I tell Boras to make the Washington deal work.  Soon.

For years, I swore Floyd Mayweather Jr. was the person to blame for the mega fight between Floyd and Manny Pacquiao not happening.  

At first, Floyd played the mind games and demanded olympic drug testing.    Manny balked and said no.   The second time, Manny agreed to the testing yet Floyd didn’t come to the table.  The two have fought 3 opponents since the chance for a fight arose.   Floyd seemed to be afraid to harm his unbeaten record, avoid a real challenge for the first time in his career and seemed to run from this fight or make up bullshit to delay it.  Now, the tables have turned.   Floyd got 90 days in jail for domestic abuse this month, but on Friday a judge delayed the sentence until June so Floyd could keep a commitment to fight in Las Vegas on May 5th.  Floyd is available and when asked who he wants to fight, a name wasn’t needed.  He wants Manny for a mega fight.   The only problem now is Manny’s promoter, Bob Arum seems to NOT want to make the fight happen.  Floyd’s promoter, Richard Schfareth is placing the blame on Arum and I am starting to believe him.  Arum took a 4 opponent portfolio to Manny this weekend and it didn’t include Floyd.  When news came around that Floyd had a chance to fight, Arum still dismissed a fight.   WHY?  Nobody wants to see any other fight right now.   Boxing fans and casual boxing fans want to see Floyd and Manny brawl.   Why is Arum holding this up?   Is he afraid a Pac Man loss will kill his cash cow’s future chances?  That doesn’t make sense.  Manny has lost 4 times and if he puts up a decent fight at the very least against Mayweather Jr.,  a rematch will be in order and redemption will be set up.   Arum has zero reason to deny this fight.  His unwillingness to work with Golden Boy Promotions makes me sick and may stop the biggest fight in 30 years from happening.

We Bought A Zoo Review

Cameron Crowe’s first full fledged family film is a true story centering on Benjamin Mee, a writer who decides to take over a zoo in California after his wife dies in order to rehabilitate his grieving family .  Matt Damon stars as Mee, and he makes another leading role seem effortless. The role represents another layer of Damon few film fans have gotten a chance to see.   Damon’s gift is being one of the most versatile actors on the planet.   His skills serve him well in this holiday delight.  Crowe’s gift in filmmaking is injecting an emotional experience into a recycled story that seems familiar.  This film is an emotionally engaging experience that will get the tearducks working by the final frame.   A simple concept taken and rolled into a family film worth seeing.  Mee takes over a closed Zoo and along with his two kids and a staff including every cliched stereotype in film, resurrects not only the zoo but his own life.  The supporting cast features Scarlett Johannson as the zoo keeper and woman who enters Ben’s life at the right time yet finds a cement cover on the soul.   The key to this film is the grace that Crowe delivers it.   Every Crowe film is a version of his own life and every lead character is an alternate personality.   He is a director you immediately get a feel for when watching a film.  The easy going pace, the rich soundtrack and relaxed acting.   Thomas Haden Church co-stars as Ben’s brother and brings a healthy dose of humor to the proceedings.

The Black Keys Come to St. Louis

If you spend any time here lately, you have come to find out that this band has grown to be one of my favorites.  Their music is pure and old school rock n’ roll electricity.  It’s perk up, get in a good mood, wake the fuck up music.   Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney put together the greatest 2 man band in history and keep things simple.  From their first album, The Big Come Up, to their latest batch of tunes, El Camino, the boys haven’t changed a bit. They will grace the Chaifetz Arena on April 27th, finally getting the required space to surround their monstrously cool music.   It’s easy to like the Black Keys if you like old school blues rock.  Here’s yet another sample of their work, a cover of Richard Berry’s “Have Love, Will Travel”.    You wouldn’t know the song didn’t belong to them by the way they invest the song with soul and original wit.   These guys are freakishly good and only get better on repeated listens.  One of the most inventive bands out there at the moment.  To me, while DMB take a break, Black Keys share the musical earth with Mumford and Sons and Florence + The Machine.

Memorial for Meme

On Sunday, there was a memorial downtown in St. Louis for my late grandmother, Henrieta aka “Meme”.   A somber day that was put together to celebrate her life.   There was a mass at St. Raymonds and a lunch at her condo.    Meme is the one and only reason I ever entered a church in my life and for her, I reentered my Catholic upbringing this weekend to honor her memory.   As you know, I believe in GOD on earth as much as Santa Claus or clean honest politicians, so I did this for her.  She loved going there and was a Saint there.   It was a nice ceremony and the place was packed.   I sat between my mom and dad and served as the tough bunker dividing tears and strength.   Afterwards, friends and family flooded the condo for a lunch and memorial.  My good friend, Bill DeWitt III made an appearance and paid his respects.  My grandmother lived next door to DeWitt and his family when they moved here in 1996 and immediately treated them like family.   It was a nice event and a fine sendoff to Meme.   It’s still a fresh wound to think of Meme as deceased but seeing the vast array of people who she collided with in her life made me feel better about letting her go sooner rather than later.   She lived a full and vibrantly aware 81 years and served as a fine example of “living”  for a living.

2011 Look Back Preview

In the next week or so, I will be putting together a look back at the year that was 2011, a period that marked my life with happiness and sadness.  A bittersweet campaign that won’t be forgotten.   Here is a preview at the opening and things that happened and will be delved into.

Life is a give and take process with a fair measure of get.   You give, they take and you get something in return.  In 2011, things happened that will I will never forget.   A year of pain and joy that only strengthens the fact that life can’t be taken for granted.

Meme Passes-The loss of my grandmother on Christmas eve was the equivalent to a bullet ripping into my back at the end of a parade.  She died on the eve of Christmas and on the eve of her wedding anniversary.  Meme would tell me every time I saw her that she would be dead soon and I better come see her more often.   She knew she wasn’t going to be around forever, and that is something my family and I never wanted to buy into or believe.   Now, we are figuring out how to live without Meme’s presence and grace.  It’s a tough walk.

Life is full of  promises, so here is a quick rundown of 2011 just in case I don’t come back to write an official end of year mission statement.  What happened in 2011?  A quick plunge.  My Wife Rachel Quits smoking.  We get pregnant(yes, there is a “we” being used here).    The following9 months are an adventurous blend of excitement, tiredness and new found joy.   Vinny goes into the hospital due to a heart condition named WPW.   He leaves the hospital.  The Cards win 22 games in September and rip into the playoffs on the final day as Atlanta falters like an injured horse.   They outlast the Phillies, smoke the Brewers in six and outrun the Rangers in the World Series to produce the most improbable run in 20 years and win their 11th championship title.  David Freese becomes a national sports hero in 48 hrs with a pair of huge hits to propel the Cards to the title.  The team quickly encounters change with La Russa retiring 2 days after Game 7 and The Pujols Talks encure a week of drama.   Albert Pujols signs with the Angels and immediately regrets his decision, calling the Cardinals to blame for not cuddling him during negotiations.  The Blues crash in the House of Payne yet reinvent themselves under a new veteran coach in Hitchcock.   The Rams completely collapse, igniting a bomb that blows up the front office and sideline.  They finish 2-14, and Spags and Devaney are fired.   The NBA and NFL build a greedy wall around their egos and go through a lockout, the NBA losing a portion of the season.   Vinny goes back into the hospital for a stomach ailment that keeps him for 4 more days in ICU.   He exits and starts to gain weight and grow chubby cheeks.   John Mozelaik carves himself into the Cardinals leadership role by hiring Mike Matheny, who carried no previous coaching experience.  Rescue Me departs FX on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, ending the series with a powerful bang.  The Black Keys, Mumford and Sons and Adele blow the music world away with real rhythm and blues.  A film directly attacks the financial crisis in2008 in Margin Call, my contender for Best Picture. Entourage ends its 8 year run 2 years too late.  Hung closes down after 3 underrated seasons at HBO.  House on Fox grows tired very quick without the House-Cuddy story arc.    Justified, Sons Of Anarchy, and Boardwalk Empire take bold steps in their season.   The Changeup and Horrible Blues produce some of the biggest laughs of the year.  The Killer Elite is smart action entertainment and Moneyball is a quiet contender for a sports classic and Best Picture candidate.  Osama Bin Laden is finally killed, supposedly in the heat of a US ambush in his own home.  A double tap is the final killshot.    The country remembers and salutes the heroes and victims of 9/11 on the 10 year anniversary.   The Cardinals prove that no deficit is impossible to overcome.   Right as my year seems to wrap up quite nicely, my grandmother, Meme, falls, suffers a brain injury and dies at the wise old age of 81.   2012 begins with a memorial.

The Random Bits-

*The secret ingredient of Tebow power is his size.  Unlike the brittle Michael Vick, when Tebow shoots the gap for a red zone rushing score, defensive players have to take down a 245 pound beast instead of a skinny aching athlete.   Tebow punishes tacklers and doesn’t make it easy.  If he improves his throwing, the sky is the limit.

*Ken Hitchcock has a 18-5-5 record since taking over the Blues.

*Spring training begins in less than 40 days.  The tinkling has begun.

*The NBA action is a moot point and that includes the Miami Heat’s fast 9-1 start.

*I can’t stop thinking about Drive so much that I am diving into youtube clips and soundtrack picking.   I am a sucker for stylish brutally violent noir thrillers.   The movie looks very good.  Report to come at the end of the month.

*My son Vincent is cute beyond words.  Literally, I could talk about him all day here and might soon.   A Vinny action blog special.

*Someone forgot to tell Falcons QB Matt Ryan the playoffs started.   The Boston College talent is 0-3 in playoff action in his young career.   Talented guy who can’t do it on the big stage.  Another Tebow comparison here.

*Sam Bradford’s 2012 season is crucial for one reason.  THERE ARE NO EXCUSES THIS TIME KID.  A new coach, GM, and players will enter this team’s picture.   Bradford will have his 3rd offensive coordinator and must make plays and learn to get rid of the ball in the pocket and become mobile.

*Solid move by the Blues to extend Ryan Reaves 2 years.   He is a hard working 4th line grinder who can fight and skate and make plays.   The Blues have done things right and built their core from the ground up with young players.  The Rams must follow suit.

*Barry Larkin rightfully entered the Hall of Fame today on his third try.  Larkin, a long time Reds shortstop, was a slick fielding versatile hitting player for many seasons.   This was a no brainer, as he received 86 percent of the vote.   75 percent is required to enter and you are eligible 5 years after you retire.  If Jeff Bagwell improves upon the 56 percent he received this year and enters soon, how many other steroid users will follow him in?  Bonds, Mac, Clemens?  Things could get very interesting next season if Bagwell gets in.   Where is the threshold set at once one abuser gets in?

*IF Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State is available and the Rams have a decent setup to select him, they can’t hesitate.  The tall muscular playmaking wide receiver could save Bradford’s career the way Calvin Johnson rescued Matthew Stafford’s life and the Rams can’t pass him up.

*Stupid Internet Blogger gripe here real quick.  Jeff Fisher came and went from Rams Park on Sunday.   That’s all there is.   Stop making up rumors Twitter and sports forum nibblers.


*When it is all said and done, religion taken aside, Tim Tebow will leave his mark on this game.   BUT…he has to consistently throw the ball well.  This is a passing dominated league.  If he can’t, he won’t last at QB.  You can’t be afraid to throw the ball.

That’s it, folks.   All there is to tell for now.  I’ll put the guns down, get some rest and load the chamber again later this week.

Thanks for reading,

Dan L. Buffa