Words of The Day From Mr. Buffa

Good evening folks,

There are times when a real conversation is required in life.  Every day.  What is a real conversation?  A talk between two or more people that can have the ability to get heated yet stay grounded on a subject matter.   Certain people don’t like touchy subjects, rough topics, and stay away from the tough fights.   Look for a coward and ask them about something that they don’t want to talk about.   Those are the weak ones.  If you can’t handle a real conversation, that makes you a girl or boy, no matter what age you are.   I love real conversations.  I revel in them as they play out and after, when I am red hot and feel like I can take on the entire world in a debate.   Arguing is the basis that makes the foundation of this civilization.   One person says something, another calls bullshit and the two go at it for a matter of time.   That’s how things are decided, through pure unplugged conversation.  Real conversation.   That’s what I do here.  The people that come here to actually read some of the words and not breeze over the majority already know that.   The others are only trying to keep up.   Here we go, ladies and gentlemen.  Random topical conversation with the aide of bullets.  When I aim for a topic, I go for the jugular.  That’s the truest place to hit.  A few things to hit on as we approach another week in the life of the working class.    The latest Buffa blast begins now.

Let’s take a look at some popular, random and all together interesting topics.   First, a movie review.   
Barneys Version On DVD This is a great film.   A true acting showcase that proves hardcore acting talent still exists in Hollywood and original storytelling can take place.  An indie gem.   Paul Giamatti is Barney Pandrofsky, a man who has lived a full life, paid his dues and made a clear attempt to learn from his many mistakes.  Barney’s Version takes us on a joy ride through his life, and while he is harmfully blunt and fearlessly unapologetic, Giamatti manages to make him irresistable and a willing soul to observe.  If we don’t like or care to follow Giamatti, Barney’s story is worthless.  The power of a lead performance.  Giamatti’s gift is inserting a sense of invincible charm and goodwill into any character he plays and here it is on full display. A man who is in love with himself and at odds with his mortaility at the same time.   The film begins as Barney is in his 60s and reflecting on his life.  We see him in full grump mode, avoiding a real conversation with his kids and looking miserable at his work, where he produces crappy television.   As he drinks at a bar, Barney starts to take us through his life and its many events.   Three wives, one true love, a couple friends, a lost friend and regret painted all over it.   Barneys Version celebrates life lived to the fullest if not perfectly performed.  Barney’s first two wives are role players, women present to simply occupy space in his life.  His best friend, Bernie(a real scene stealing Scott Speedman) is a great writer with no need to publish any of his novels, something that irritates Barney to his core.   Barney is a guy who meets the love of his life, Miriam(The beautiful and talented Rosamund Pike) at his own wedding and she isn’t the pride.  Giamatti and Pike have a frisky sensibility during their scenes that splits the sex appeal clash in half.  Their chemistry leads to the unearthing of the most unlikeliest love stories that feels real and earned.  Barney is the guy who rushed out of his own wedding to chase down Pike’s Miriam in a train station to let her know how he felt and that they should run off to Italy before the feeling evaporates.   As we time travel through his life, which spans 30 years and carries the sweet and the bitter, Barney is always accompanied by his father, Izzy(Dustin Hoffman in top form), who doubles as his best friend and confidant.  If life had playcallers on the sidelines, Izzy is Barney’s coach in life.  This film is one of those stories that one can truly get lost inside.  During the time it played in my living room, I lost track of time and didn’t look at my phone once.  I was swept up in Barney’s life and moral lesson dispensing.   By the end of the film, when all Barney has in life are his choices and his current state of health lies in question, we feel like we are getting off a great ride that’s been worth the time.  The true quality of movies can be measured by the idea if the time spent watching it was worth it.  Barneys Version is worth the 134 minutes, which in a new dad’s timeline, are precious.   Giamatti is an actor many take for granted, because he also disappears into roles so well.  We expect him to be good, but here he is flawless and in charge.  This is Giamatti’s movie and he conquers the screen, holding it in his hands and only handing it to another actor when the scene calls for it.   He takes us inside Barney’s troubles and shows us a flawed man who needs fixing.  Hoffman does some of his best work in years, and his scenes with Giamatti are truly special.   Two acting titans trading punches inside a make believe world.  Pike and Speedman offer fine support and director Richard Jones lets the actors control the pace with their handling of the script, which was adapted from a pulitzer prize winning book.   Watch this movie if you crave acting and storytelling.  In the end, this is worth the time.  Barney’s Version is a silent great gem.
Manny Pacquiao’s Future Plans First, understand I still haven’t watched Saturday’s fight yet.  However, I will comment on the new notion of Pacquiao as “a villain”.   This is something I don’t understand.  Pacquiao fought a good fight, pressured Juan Manuel Marquez for 12 rounds, took some shots, and kept on coming.   Seeing how Marquez still gives him trouble, this fight may cast him as an underdog in a matchup with Floyd Mayweather Jr..   What did Pacquiao do to deserve the label of “villain”?  He took the decision in a close fight.  Two guys bashing each other, connecting with punches and leaving everything in the ring ended in a decision.   As I said, the oldest rule in boxing is if you want to take a champion’s belt, you better pound him and not allow him to pound you.   Marquez was as beat up as Pacquiao because he took the punches in order to deliver the counter shots.   Understand that these two fighters have now fought three aggressively close fights.   Pacquiao took the decision back in 2004 when he was nothing, so what makes you think he stole the decision last Saturday.   These two will fight again.  They have to.   The reason Pacquiao-Marquez IV will wait is that we know these two guys can put on a show and deliver a great fight no matter the gap in years.  Manny needs to fight Floyd in May while the iron is still hot.  I don’t put a ton of stock in what Floyd’s camp is saying right now, that they delivered an email to Top Rank and Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, and it was rejected.   Leonard Ellerbe said Arum didn’t want the fight and that is wrong.  Arum hasn’t said anything publicly yet, and when it comes to Floyd/Pac Man talks, everything is public.   Remember, when Arum and Pacquiao wanted to fight last year and 2 years ago, Mayweather found an excuse(blood testing, legal troubles) to not come to the table and get this fight done.  Each side needs to pick up a phone and realize that millions of dollars are on the table and the biggest fight in the world is hanging by a thread.  Right now, each fighter is so marketable and ready.   Take in consideration Manny escaping with a win and still he makes for a great underdog challenger to Floyd’s unbeatable throne.   Personally, I like Pacquiao and the way he lets his hands speak for themselves in a ring, unlike Floyd.   After the Marquez fight, Manny said “everyone wants the fight” and he means it.   Since Floyd wants to do everything on his own terms, he walked away from the fight last time.  Now that we have seen Manny’s weakness is counter punching and Floyd is the best counter puncher in the world, this fight gathered more energy.   I always thought Floyd was too afraid to fight Manny because he might lose and his unbreakable streak would vanish.  Now I wonder why both sides can’t come together, put personal feelings aside and give the fans what they want to see.  The clash of the titans.  I won’t take away my view of Floyd as a chicken until I see him formally issue an invitation to brawl and I won’t pull my skepticism from Manny until he makes a real effort to meet Floyd in the ring.   Enough of the he said/she said bullshit.  Get it on. 

Tomorrow night, I will watch the fight and then I will let you know who I thought won the fight, if anyone was robbed and what is the big deal about the ruling.   One thing I don’t need to tell you is what the next fight needs to be.  It’s Pac Man and Mayweather.    Get it going while Floyd wants to and Manny is on his hot streak.   Strike while the gloves are hot.   Marquez is disgusted with losing again, so he will need time and another fight to tune up.   Pacquiao and Marquez will add a fourth fight to their legendary battles for sure, but for now the fight with Floyd has to land.   The clock is ticking, as each man gets older, slower, more tired and least willing to put their honor, pride and reputation on the line against a top opponent. 

Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito II This is an interesting fight in my opinion.    Two guys, one with bad blood on their hands, getting into the ring for a rematch after a fight that left both fighters bruised and bloodied.   A decision left in the air over a cloud of cheating and controversy.   This fight has more juice than any fight but Manny and Floyd.   Cotto isn’t 2nd tier.   His only two losses came against Margs in dispute and against the best in Manny.   He is a very good fighter who wants to right a blemish on the record.   Margs is a brick faced hard punching villain out to prove to himself that he can fight within the laws.   His two fights since have been a pair of lopsided defeats to Mosley and Pac Man.   There’s a lot to like here, especially from a guy who watched that entire fight and was surprised Cotto had to take a knee in the 11th round.    His wife ringside looking at her husband all torn to shreds.  I guess that is what happens when you get a ton of plaster to the face.   Pacquiao fight or not, this is a big story today.   A rematch between the fighters makes this current because of what happened the first time.   It would be pathetic if this got news and there was no fight.  However, you have valid proof that is being denied and Margs needs to catch a beating.   Put yourself in Cotto’s shoes for a second.  In actuality, the Pacquiao fight/chance of a Floyd fight are dominating the web today and this is only an HBO thing.    These two guys hate each other and it always makes for a great fight.  Bring it on. The sitdown with Max Kellerman is legendary and clearly the best prefight hype vocal battle the HBO scene has ever seen. This is indeed a promotional program for the fight.   They do it for all their pay per view fights and not just this one.   Ortiz-Mayweather, a fight that carried ZERO juice, was a boring chat with Max because both guys went through the motions.   Here, Cotto and Margarito have a legit beef with each other.   I do not think it was scripted.  The previous Max chats seem scripted.  Margs and Cotto are two fighters who need to fight again to prove who is actually better.   Their first fight was a candidate for fight of the year in 2008 and this one should be no different.   Money has to be made, so there is a gain in financial and emotional stakes here.   You can’t script the response of Margs when Cotto starts to attack him with the ipad picture and the backup proof.   Margs goes on defense instantly from being a proud fighter into a scared bitch.    Cotto never loses his cool and its interesting.   Cotto never accused him of his fixed gloves, but he knows deep down that the wrap was illegal and he wants Margs to admit it.  That 3 minute exchange of mad spanish can’t be scripted dude.   Its simply too good and if it was, my hat is off to each fighter for not faking anything while reading from a teleprompter that had to repeatedly say, “FUCK YOU”.   I disagree that it was scripted, but we do see eye to eye on the obvious theory that this is promotional value for HBO.  Unlike recent Max talks, this one was entertaining and looked real. Boxing fans will like this fight.  It won’t generate anything near the Pac-Floyd potential fan base, but this is a good fight to watch if you are a fight fan.  I am a fan of Cotto but I have talked to non Cotto fans and they want to see it as well because its a classic case of good and bad, which always translates well in the ring.  Even casual fans will watch this fight in my opinion.  On December 3rd, Cotto steps into the ring to right a wrong in his career against a man few think holds any creditibility.  Each fighter has something to lose here.  Who falls this time?

Tim Tebow Power On Thursday night, with his team down 13-10, Tim Tebow took the ball at the 5 yard line with a couple minutes remaining.   The Jets were set to stop him one more time and celebrate and improve their record to 6-4.   Let me correct myself.  Everyone in the NFL was waiting for the Jets to put an end to Tebow mania and in Denver.   Tebow had rushed for only 48 yards and thrown for less but he had the chance to be a hero.  All he needed was 3 points to tie.  Tebow got 7 and won the game again in breathtaking fashion for the Broncos.   Where are all his naysayers now?  NO ONE said it would be pretty to watch.  Tebow completed 2 passes and won the game a week before.  With seconds remaining on Thursday night and standing 20 yards from the end zone, Tebow walked up to the line and noticed the defensive coverage.  A blitz was coming.  He spotted the linebacker set to chase him down, and took the snap and made a quick dash to his left, outrunning the pass rusher and linebacker and darted into the end zone.  17-13 Broncos and game over!  Cue the crowd roar, the twitter ejaculation for Tebow and all his faithful followers standing in attention and screaming “We Told You So”.   I have been saying it since his junior year at Florida.  The kid is special and will win football games at any level.  He is a pure legit winner and doesn’t win games with his arm or head but with his heart and fearless mentality.   He never accepts a loss and will only get better.   For all the people who constantly rip him and smack him for his religious kneel at the end of games(coming from a non believer, I don’t mind it), this is time to chew on your words.   After Kyle Orton led them to a 1-4 record, Tebow has them at 4-1 and sitting at 5-5 with games to play.  Tebow’s run took its place as the longest game ending touchdown score in NFL history.  One record down and several to go.  I still have little idea if Tebow will hang around as a starter in Denver.  It depends on John Fox and John Elway’s patience.  He will bring in fans and produce thrilling endings.  The man doesn’t accept failure.  I said it when he beat Sam Bradford and Oklahoma in the BCS Bowl game in his junior year and won the Heisman Trophy.   I said it when he threw for 522 yards in his final college game.   I said it during the draft he was selected 25th in.  I said it when he landed with Denver.  Tebow is an elite athlete and will excel in this game at some point or somewhere.  Thursday’s win was another nail in the choker coffin for Tim Tebow.  This guy made Chuck Norris read the bible. 

The Blues New Look The usual tale of the tape for the Blues is their ability to build up your hope and shatter it like a sword hitting a vase.   Inconsistency has marked their play since the NHL lockout years ago.   The team can’t properly set their feet down.   Under coaches Mike Kitchen, Andy Murray and Davis Payne, the team found some success yet a ton of failure.   It’s all their in the record.   Under Ken Hitchcock, the Blues look legit and play 60 minutes of hockey each night, roughing up the other team and producing an energy that I haven’t seen in years.   During his first 5 games as skipper, Hitchcock pulled 4-0-1 record, getting the Blues through regulation either with a tie or win.  The Blues haven’t allowed a goal in the 2nd and 3rd periods under Hitch.   T.J. Oshie, Jamie Langenbrunner, David Backes and Mike D’Agostini are all improved.   Patrik Berglund is finally using his size and speed.   The defense, led by Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk and supported by vets Roman Polak and Barrett Jackman, are defending with fury and pushing the other team away from the net.  There are no flurries of shots from the opposition.   The Blues defeated Chicago, Detroit, Tampa Bay and Florida.  Two of their rivals and two other serious contending teams.   Brian Elliot shut out Steven Stamkos and the scoring monsters in Tampa.   Jaroslav Halak restricted Jonathon Toews and Patrick Sharp of Chicago.   Right now, the Blues have two great goalies playing for their team.   Two nights after Brian Elliot defeated Detroit, Halak stopped 20 shots and beat Florida last night.  For the first time all season, I saw the real Halak stand up and make big saves.    The push of Elliot(7-1, 1.43 GAA, .947 save percentage) is getting to Halak and pushing his play up a notch.  The players are responding to Hitchcock’s vertical pedal style and the energy is up.  I’ve never seen Berglund reverse check a player into the boards like I did last night.  There are reactions to a quicker style of play.  Chris Stewart got suspended 3 games for boarding a Red Wings player on Tuesday.   Hitchcock changed things.   The Blues have gone from 13th place under Payne to 6th place and rising with Hitch.   This is no longer considered coincidence or players making an impression.  This is pure consistent performance.  This team is reloaded and the same players, with the exception of newly added defensive speed demon Kris Russell, are taking the ice for the team.   Hitch is taking the same ingredients Payne had and mixing them up just right to get a result.  The Blues are fun to watch and don’t break after an early deficit.   This team finishes better than the past two years.   We don’t see late one goal leads evaporate.  When the game is in hand, the Blues keep pressing.   David Backes put the Blues ahead last night and finished the scoring with an empty netter.   Vladamir Sobotka threaded a late pass to Russell for one of the prettiest goals all season.  In one game, the Blues convinced me they were back and the Hitchcock stamp is engrained.  Tomorrow night in Minnesota and the following week in Pittsburgh(with Sidney Crosby), the Blues take their new act on the road.  Can they play this style of hockey in front of a crowd screaming for them to fail?  That question is in the air as we speak and as the Blues step down in the north.   The Blues have their manhood back.  How long can they keep it?  Also, I’m taking fliers for a weight loss program for Keith Tkachuk, who looks like he ate a ref or two since he put down the stick. 

Joke of the Day-From Boardwalk Empire and other voices A man is drowning in a body of water.  A lifeguard official comes out and tries to rescue him only to have the man tell him, “No Thanks, god will save me”.    Soon after, a sail boat comes up and offers help, and the man tells them, “God will save me.”  Soon enough, a ship comes along and pledges to save the man.   He tells them the same thing.  God has this one in the bag, right?  The man drowns and when he goes to heaven or wherever he lands first, he seeks out GOD.   When he finds a man claiming to be the righteous one, the man tells him angrily, “I called for you, and you never came…”   God responds by telling the man, “Sure I did.  I sent you a lifeguard and two boats.  What else could I do?”   The moral of the story is I believe in what I see.  You tell me a man is coming to save me and he never shows up, what does that leave us?  The difference between a reality and a myth.  How strong is your belief in GOD?  Would you strand yourself out in a dangerous body of water hoping for saviors to come upon you or would you call actual help?  You can take the joke either way.  As a believer or non believer.  I heard it and thought it was clever.   There’s reality and then there are fake theories and hopes. 

Tyler Dasher’s Unfortunate Death-The 13 month old who died too young Susan Dasher killed her son in Afton on Tuesday because he wouldn’t stop crying.  Welcome to the 21st century.  There’s nothing more horrifying than a mother killing her child.  How do you take something out of this world that you created?  Because he was crying too much???  No excuses in child murder.    Instead of killing her, put her in solitary confinement for the rest of her life.  Mental decay is more powerful than murder.  Let her demons eat away at her. Lock her up and throw away the key.    She took away everything Tyler had and everything he was ever going to have, as Clint Eastwood said in Unforgiven(the best Western ever by the way).   She destroyed him for something so premature.   This is why everybody wasn’t meant to be a parent.  Part of the mentality of being a parent is the amount of hard moments you have to stomach and deal with.  A kid crying or screaming, either in pain or misfortune.   At times Vincent appears helpless and unhappy.  The last thing I would do is harm the little fella.   I pick him up and hold him close to my chest and sway him to a quiet peace.  Parenthood 101.  Don’t freak out when your kid does.  It’s not healthy.  Remember, kids are the future.  Do whatever you have to in order for them to survive.  I’d die for my son.  Parents shouldn’t outlive their children. 

The Misery of Hospitals and Dealing With Doctors And Surgeons First, let me say nurses are angels.   They are the people who deal with your kid most of the time while the doctors make cameo appearances and only arrive for a few minutes.  Nurses have to deal with mad babies and kids.  It’s a rough living that my mom has made for nearly 30 years.   She taught me to appreciate nurses when I watched her work growing up.   She takes care of babies for a living at Children’s Hospital.  Since I have spent 11 days there with Vincent in his early life, I have grown to appreciate nurses more and more.   They care for your kid, check his vitals, change his diapers while he is hooked up to 69 cables and wires, and never stop smiling.   It’s not in their job description.  They can’t break down while everyone else is.  Their foundations of character are resolute and their moods are high.  I’ve warned other dads to not piss off the nurses because if they reach the breaking point, all the pain and hardship they have had to harness will be unleashed.  Rise of the Apes?  Try Attack of the Sweet Nurses.   It’s just a theory.  I love nurses.   Doctors and surgeons???  Not so much.  They play the game of telling us only so much for us to stay seated.   They carefully use words so we won’t strike.   They are like human GPS systems with erratic functionality.   Unsure, full of theories but no real direction.   They tell you to turn one way and then go the opposite direction.   They always make you take the longest route.   Lifesavers for sure but they aren’t always right and its painful.  As my sister in law said, they call it “practicing medicine” for a reason.  Every kid is a trial in skill testing.   Doctors and surgeons should have “happily ever after” percentages.   If there is a medicine for parents going through their own mental trauma, I’ll take a dose at any minute.   You can tell me it gets worse, but I might beg to differ.   Tell me if your child has spent a third of his life in Cardiology units under observation and we will talk. 

Henry Rollins Comes Back to St. Louis Going to see Henry vent is a real treat if you appreciate open ended conversation.   Some like to label Rollins a comic and one that tries to quietly pass off as a comic.  I disagree.   Rollins has pointed out in the past that he isn’t going for laughs.   He is simply telling you things on his mind and shedding light on topics through his experiences and travels.   I love what he brings to a stage.   Seeing him live is an experience unlike many others, and one every free speaking soul should take part in.   I’m in need of a Rollins fix.   His latest spoken word tour, “The Long March Tour” arrives in St. Louis next spring.   I’ll be waiting to hear what Henry has to say.   Rollins paid his dues and has earned his place on the stage.  At 51 years old he is still on stage and its because of hard work. Rollins backs up his words with hard work off the stage.  A small intimate gathering for a guy who needs to get stuff off his chest.  Henry and I have something common.

Gary Pinkel’s Grave Mistake Sure, everyone is entitled to a second chance in life and when Pinkel, MU’s proud and clean football coach, was arrested on suspicion of a DWI on Wednesday, the first idea from heads came out like, “Well, it happens to everybody.”   Let me clear things up.  Pinkel fucked up bad here.  He has been an advocate for safe driving and a renegade against drunk driving throughout his entire career at MU.   It’s been his longstanding ideal.   This week he broke it and I doubt it can ever be repaired.   It’s like a politician slamming gay marriage and going home to his gay lover.   Come on.   Hold up your end of the deal, Gary.   College coaches can’t do this for one simple reason.  What can you tell the kids who play for you now when they stumble under your guidance?  “Don’t ever ever drink and drive, unless you’re feeling good…”  Look, I am not trying to slam Pinkel here.  He’s a good guy and a quality leader, but he messed up big time and will pay the price with a suspension and huge credibility hit.   A huge hit for MU after its big time move to the SEC. 

Boardwalk Empire/Sons of Anarchy-A treat for Sopranos withdrawal I am not saying this show is better than Sopranos.   Anyone who thinks that is a fucking moron.  I am telling you there are clear trends shared by and mixed with the Sopranos.   The head writer of Sopranis, Terrence Winter, is the creator of Empire.   Steve Buscemi, a supporting actor on Sopranos, carries the lead in Empire.   Character actors like Buscemi and Dominic Chianese are used in Empire in the same manner they were used on Sopranos.  To create an unbreakable presence.  What I love the most about the shows connection is the basic drive of every character.  A fear of mortality.  The need to fight it off and run from it at times.  That’s the fight in life.   What am I doing here, what can I accomplish and when will I die?  When I am gone, will anyone remember me?  Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson loses his father in this week’s episode and while he hated the old man, there’s an indelible presence of power in the bloodline, a sense of connective tissue that can’t be broken between a father and son.   Thompson barring on this show is responsibility, stature, and the ability to appear good when he is all together bad playing with a warm heart.  Thompson is the classic anti-hero.  A character who needs to be feared for what he can do with his brain and not his hands yet can be redeemed by his rare gestures of goodwill.    Winter’s gem here is quietly taking shape.   Whether it meets the Sopranos in television series legend is up for question.  Give this series a chance if you feel a need for a cold blooded hard boiled gangster tale if you have the need to watch a strive for power amidst a desperate sprint from mortality.  Brilliant series that likens itself to Sons of Anarchy on FX.  SOA is in a revelatory season because one of its main characters, Clay, played by the one and only Ron Perlman, and his ability to set fire to everything personal in his life.  This 4th season has put on firm display the difference between criminal nature and evil deeds.   Clay, a criminal leader of a motorcycle gang who runs guns and now dabbles into drug trade activity, is crossing the line from bad to evil and its amazing to watch.   The quality of acting on these types of shows comes in one’s ability to make us care for his character still while he commits horrible acts.  I could tell you more but you need to watch some of it first. 

Smaller Notes of Interest-Cardinals Activity included

*The MLB Labor Talks will conclude with a Tuesday announcement of a new 5 year deal.   Bud Selig may have gotten things horribly wrong in 1994, but he has learned from his mistakes and turned this sport into a 7 billion dollar revenue sharing monster.   The NBA Lockout isn’t going well and the NFL lockout lasted 3 months.   The MLB talks didn’t need 2 weeks.  Smart minds work well when greed doesn’t exist. 

*The Official St. Louis Cardinals 2011 World Series DVD arrives on Tuesday and the narrator this time is my boy, St. Louis native Jon Hamm.   Hell YES!  Watching the DVD is like taking a trip back down memory lane and reliving your team’s flight from pretender to contender to champ.   Only one team gets the pleasure every November.   For the 2nd time in 6 seasons, that honor falls on my Cardinals.   That saying doesn’t get old.  

*24/7 on HBO is so freaking good.   The narration by Liev, choice of music and the depth of their coverage of two boxers facing the fight of a lifetime can’t be matched on cable.  HBO is still the all around champ in premium cable entertainment.   Doubt it??  Here are a couple examples.  Videos for your pleasure.  

 http://youtu.be/yEXlfRZtEIA

“History will preserve the pictures they leave behind, even if its the invisible that fuels their craft.”

http://youtu.be/wts-kxfdo4I

“Hockey won’t hold still to give you a better look.   You wouldn’t want it to anyway.  It’s the action that makes the possibilities endless.

http://youtu.be/96n-ESpeP2U

“They strife for lasting legacies, ultimately earned on impulse. They train for months on end, to prepare for battles that can be decided by a single blow. They enter the ring searching for victory, in times secret collection of vicious beats”

*You have to admire Bob Costas for going straight after Jerry Sandusky on 60 minutes this week.   Costas firing body shot after body shot at the accused sexual abuser on prime time TV and resisting the idea to give him a bit of space to breathe with.   Bob always brings the heat and doesn’t let up.   Great reporters don’t give up in an interview no matter what.   They fire tough questions, repeatedly like punches, and won’t stop until they hear the truth.  While Bob never heard the truth, he reached it.   Long live good reporting.  That interview had bold hair attached to its testicles. 

*Rafael Furcal is meeting with the Brewers and its all smoke and mirrors.  There’s no way Doug Melvin is going to lose Prince Fielder and sign an older shortstop like Furcal with Jose Reyes on the market.   Melvin isn’t giving Furcal a three year deal.  No team in their right mind will hand Rafy 3 years and 15-20 million with his age and health issues.   The Brewers already have a fine shortstop in Yunisky Betancourt, who hits better than Rafy and also plays great defense.   Furcal would be smart to return to St. Louis to play with a contender for a reasonable price again.  His agent is crazy right now.  

*Matt Sebek Tweet-The Blues had half of the Cardinals roster drop pucks this season.  Except, ironically enough, Matt Holliday….pause for the boom boom pow.

*Breaking news.  Cal Eldred and John Mabry headed to Mike Matheny’s bench.   A joke my friends.   FSN’s broadcast team is already weakened with the departure of Matheny, so they need all the ex soft Cards they can get.  

*True news  The Cards are talking to Octavio Dotel about returning, and that’s something I like and the team would prefer.   Dotel came up huge late in the season in extended relief.   He shut down Ryan Braun and many other top hitters.  He healed the wound left by Miguel Batista’s failed experiment.  

*Terry Francona wanted the Cardinals job, didn’t get it, and immediately dropped out of the Cubs manager running.  Excuse-He rethought his priorities.   Real reason being he didn’t want to contemplate suicide so late in his career.   The miserable Bears continue.   Fuck the Cubs.

*My Opinion on Pujols rumors.   Believe them or disregard them, but know this.  Whenever the Cards deny things, especially brainy Mo, something is in the works.   Hint hint, the Rasmus trade in July.   The right offer changes everything.  Just saying be ready.   

*The Matheny coaching staff doesn’t surprise.  Mark McGwire had a huge effect on Allen Craig’s power, David Freese’s versatility and Skip Schumacher’s improvement as a hitter.   The demotion of Dave McKay and Joe Pettini were required moves because they are hardcore Tony guys who might have problems excepting orders from Matheny.    Good to keep Oquendo in the fold and promote Chris Maloney from Memphis.  Matheny needs to load up his own staff with guys he can trust with his life. 

*Great tweet from a fake Mike Matheny account-“One Thing I will do that Tony never did?  Rip that toothpick from Dusty Baker’s mouth and beat his ass with it.   He just pisses me off.”  Priceless.  

Song of the Day-“After The Storm” by Mumford and Sons.   This British band headed by Marcus Mumford continues to amaze me.   Their debut album, Sigh No More, took the world by storm and for good reason.  These guys can play and get your attention with your “complete” album.   That’s right.  Every song, all 12 tunes, are gems on this release.   Find it and tell me wrong.  Its like the band tells you a story from 1 to 12.   This album always gets at least 2 plays in the car when it gets thrown in.   Makes every day of errand running that much better.  “I will die alone and be left there, I will just go home, God knows where, because death is just so fair, and mine so small, and Im scared of whats behind and what’s before.  There come a time you’ll see, when love wll not break your heart but dismiss your fears.” http://youtu.be/EMsTSdHIJds

Final Words-Something I tell my son every day is to strive to be better than his dad.   This is not a complete smack to my life and what I’ve accomplished.  I own a house and Im not 30 years old yet.  I have a good paying job and many friends and passions.   I am in good hands with my parents and in laws.   I know my way around and carry intelligience. I’ve done well and am capable of much more, but every father wants their kid to be better.  In some way or fashion.  My one hope I tell him is to reach higher.   Make your own time.  Find something that you are passionate about and get paid to do.   Make peoples lives a kinder place to visit.  Brighten the day.   Resist the need to be completely cynical but don’t abandon the practice entirely.  I lean into his ear and whisper to him to always be the better man.    Good men live long because they are smart and divide their time well.   And also, don’t forget about the cardio and no red meat.   Essentials of any life is to be breathing in the end while others fall from a failure to LISTEN and OBSERVE.  

I am done here.  Thanks for reading and please come back to read more in the future.  I won’t sit here and beg, but I do have a tendency of not going away.  Every writer is only as strong as their latest content. 

Goodnight and good luck,

Dan L. Buffa

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The Monday News Clips

Good afternoon folks,
 
Just a few things to sprinkle on your lips this morning.  Gauge your reaction to a few topics and see how they hold up in a court of non profit writing law.   Follow me here as I will make this as quick as a trip to Mom’s Deli.  In, out, and rewarded with the best sandwich in St. Louis.  Notice the plug there?  Alright, here we go.
 
Matheny Hire Additional Thoughts-As the boner of a hire finally eases up and comes down, let me allow another point of view to take the stage here.     Whether you like him or not, STL PD writer Bernie Miklasz can drill home a point and back it up with legitimate fact.   When you’ve already fired a healthy round of ammo on a subject, don’t be afraid to give the perspective of a paid set of hands.  
 
Bernie’s Take on the Matheny Hire-
http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-bytes-thoughts-on-matheny/article_ac8c3bd8-0e80-11e1-9677-001a4bcf6878.html
 
Here’s what I get out of his column and my additional thoughts on the hire.
 
1.)The question of experience.   No one is an expert on the useful quantity of experience in the world of sports.   Matheny is a brass balls hire by Mozelaik and if he fails, the cannon is pointed at Mo’s head for sure.   That’s the nature of the business and the cutthroat payoff in this world.   You make it a move and it doesn’t pay off and the emphasis falls on your head.   Mo will accept that and take full blame.  But here’s my point.   There’s also no legitimate claim for experience paying off for a manager in the rugged history of sports.   Look at Steve Spagnuolo in Rams park.  Spags worked for many years as a defensive coordinator with the Eagles and Giants before he got the head coaching spot with the Rams.  Spag is 10-33 as the Rams skipper.   Is that a direct connection to Spags’ individual skill as a motivator/leader?   Yes and no.   My point is there is no exact scientific method to hiring a manager/head coach.   Mo had plenty of time to think this through and made a decision.  From La Russa’s August 25th meeting to the beginning of November, there was time taken there.   I respect that more than anything.   Wild thoughts need time to grow.
 
2.)Why Matheny?  Let me respond with, “why not?”   Matheny played in this organization, was a true leader, and has worked with Mozelaik for the past 3 years as an adviser.  He also attends spring training and coaches the younger players.  There’s a reason David Freese referred to Matheny as “Captain America” in Twitter last night. Players like the guy a lot and the Cards coaches all admire him.   That is the start of a good friendship readers.   Matheny has worked with Mozelaik since his retirement and only stayed away from a managing or coaching job until his kids left for college.   Yesterday, both his kids signed letters of intent to play sports in college, so that gave Matheny the clarity to make a decision.   The retirement of La Russa allowed Mozelaik to call on one of his own to take over the job but he did the right thing and interviews 5 other candidates, including Francona, Sandberg, McEwing, Maloney and Oquendo.   This choice fits the organizations need for a different vibe in the dugout.
 
3.)Does this mean he will work out well as a manager?  NO.  As Bernie pointed out, theres no real history of gauge Matheny’s hire with.   We are all going in blind here.  He may be successful  or he may be bad.   Time will tell.   My biggest question is how dugout mentality and attitude.   How will Matheny look in the dugout?   Matheny was an intense competitor and wasn’t afraid to shout and scream.    Will that carry over into the managing days or is he more calm?   That’s what I want to see.  What will he compose his lineup cards with?   How much will he tinker?  Will he second guess himself and revolt against the media?  Matheny has always had a relaxed give and go with the local media,so I expect no problems there.   Will Matheny tell Molina and Albert to run harder to first?  Who cares? That fake Charlie Hustle bullshit never bothers me because Pujols is playing on bad wheels and how mad would Cardinal Nation be if he blew out a hamstring running out a routine grounder?  Ask yourselves that question Cardinal reader blowhards.   Will Matheny be a by the book instructor or an unconventional leader?  There’s so much to look for that I can’t put it all into one post.  Expect more on later.  
 
Let me copy and paste Bernie’s section on the affect of Matheny’s hiring on Pujols’ decision in free agency. It fits so well with my own words that I won’t bother adding to it. 
 
“Folks keep asking: will this hiring help or hurt the team’s chances of keeping Albert Pujols? My opinion: it does not matter. Pujols and Matheny were teammates. Pujols certainly seems to like and respect Matheny. But so what? This will be a money deal for Pujols, as it should be. He’s entitled to do that. He’s earned the right to cash in as a free agent. Pujols has to do what’s best for Pujols and family. And if the Cardinals low-ball Pujols, the manager’s identity is irrelevant. If the Cardinals pay Pujols what he wants, he’ll come back, and the decision won’t have a thing to do with the manager. ”
 
My easy addition-There is no connection.  It comes down to Albert and his choice.   No GOD involvement needed here.
 
Matheny has big shoes to step into here but my feeling is he can handle them.    Will it turn into success?  There’s no real clue but I’d like to think so.  I don’t think he will get nervous or crumble under the weight of expectations.   Matheny’s played and worked with La Russa.   He’s played with Pujols and Molina.  He’s been around the organization for years, lives here year round and is a maniac about taking new challenges.  Also, another key ingredient is Matheny welcoming back coaches Duncan, McKay and Oquendo.  A rookie manager has to surround himself with smart seasoned talent, like Kirk Gibson in Arizona and Ron Roeneke in Milwaukee.  Matheny is off to a good start.   For now, folks, let it be.
 
4th Down Attempts and Why I Don’t Agree with the Popular Method
 
On Sunday, Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith made a gutsy call on fourth down in overtime with the Falcons tied with the Saints.   Two teams fighting for a playoff spot and Smith went for the drive on 4th and inches.   Bad call?  That depends if it works out or not. As my good friend Rj told me, if the move works out, Smith is a genius.  It didn’t work, so he is a controversial goat today, but I am here to debunk the myth of fourth down strategy.   Let me start with a question.  Why does it always have to be a running play?  Fourth and a yard or fourth and a foot, it doesn’t matter to me but why does the play always come down to a running back getting the ball and running into a sea of defenders?  To me, it doesn’t make sense.   Let’s say its fourth and inches, like yesterday’s predicament.   You only need inches to keep the drive alive.   Matt Ryan, the quarterback, takes the handoff from center and since the play call was a run, needs to step back 3 yards in order to hand it off to the tailback, who lines up 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage.   WHY HAND IT OFF?   The entire defense is crowding the line of scrimmage, begging for a run play.   Why not have Ryan take the snap and dive to the left or right for the first down?  All he has to do is fall forward and he gets it.   How about this?  Take the snap, fake the handoff and roll out on a play action and possibly connect for a big gain.   Do a quick slant inside.  Something other than a run.   A week ago against Arizona, Spagnuolo and McDaniels went for it on 4th down and late in the game, and called a run straight up the gut.  Steven Jackson could be made of pure metal and he still wouldn’t get through that line of meat.   No way.  It’s just a suggestion from the couch/sidelines here.   I’m asking why the popular opinion is to run the ball when the entire defense is expecting it.   Try something different, NFL so called wizards.  It’s a game of inches, but those inches can be gained with a more creative brain power tactic.
 
The NBA Gets Nothing Done.  Ha ha.   That’s really all I can say at this point about a league that is so far apart on player compensation and overall revenue split that you hesitant to believe the sport is played by men.   The Owners don’t want to give more than 45 percent of their share away.   The Players want restricted status and a bigger piece of the pie.   I will say the owners giving the players an ultimatum to agree to a deal is right because of the fan’s impact on the game.   For the people who follow the NBA religiously and don’t just watch playoff action like me, this is a painful time.  However, I simply don’t care what happens and if all I watch this winter is hockey and football, so be it.   Greed gets a whole new name in pro sports.  The NBA lockout will go into December at the very least.
 
Rex Ryan is really chomping on his words this morning after going 0-2 against the Patriots this season.  I am usually a fan of Rex’s mouth magic but here he went on and on throughout the season about beating the Patriots and going to the Super Bowl.   Attention Mr. Ryan, until your defense can consistently stop Tom Brady and your guy Sanchez can take the ball and lead his team down the field on a game changing drive, nothing will work.   I will go down and say this.   Sanchez and Joe Flacco will never win Super Bowls because they don’t have that intangible in their game where fear doesn’t exist. 
 
Eagles news of the day.   Michael Vick broke 2 ribs and looks more brittle than an antique plate.   DeSean Jackson apologizes for missing a team meeting that helped his team lose to the Arizona Cardinals, which is like losing to the Bad News Bears.   The Philly bunch are overrated losers who will win nothing in 2011.  I love when predictions go wrong.
 
Craig Kimbrel is your Rookie of the Year as long as you don’t count September.  The Braves young closer blew up big time on the big stage, failing to close down a game on the last day of the season and force a playoff game with the Cardinals.   How did Motte do in high pressure situations overall in September? Better.  Just sayin.
 
The Big 10 removes Joe Paterno’s name from the trophy.  OUCH!   One major oversight cost Joe a lot of credibility now and for the rest of his life and the span of his legacy.   From now on, it’s “Joe was a great coach and owns 409 wins but he also disregarded a warning sign about a pedophile”.  
 
Looking forward to George Clooney’s new film, the Descendants.  Cloon plays a dad whose wife goes into a coma and only then does he find out she was having an affair.  He must cope with his two daughters and struggle to understand where it all went wrong.  Clooney is a master player in Hollywood because he chooses smart scripts, directs, produces and picks his parts.   The Ides of March-Descendants power punch will translate into some Oscar nominations in January.   I want to see this film because it’s about a guy who has been knocked down by the tragedy of life and needs to find his way out of a trap.   The film is directed by Alexander Payne, the king of pain, and comes out Wednesday.   This brand of film fits the wild nature of Rum Diary and assured greatness of Warrior as a required venture into the brutally realistic landscape of Hollywood stories. 
 
According to Buster Olney, several Cardinals went to the plate for Mike Matheny the past few weeks during the manager search.  
 
The Dodgers are smart to lock up Matt Kemp while they still can, which means doing it this offseason before the Red Sox and Yankees are hunting next year.   The Dodgers need new owners and players to build around.   Building around Kemp, Andre Ethier and Clayton Kershaw is the way to go. 
 
Vincent is doing better today yet won’t eat until tomorrow morning for the first time since Saturday morning.   The kid has went through the ringer this weekend, and only wants something to eat.   Cut open, worked on, faked with IV fluids and generally upset about his situation, my son is a mad man.   I can see him carrying a general disdain for hospitals when he is older and I tell him he spent the better part of his early life inside on one.  It’s all a painful process…but he’s healthier now.  Selling point.
 
With that final gesture of medical approval, my work here is done. 
 
Thanks for reading and goodnight,
 
DLB
 
 
 

The Usual Suspects

Hello folks,

A quick stream of consciousness as I tend to Vinny here in the hospital.    Saying its been a long couple days is like saying the Bay of Pigs went smoothly 40 years ago.  It’s been hard and tough.    Look, the biggest anxiety and stress test for a parent is to see their kid in a state of pain, shock, or general “go fuck yourself” work state of mind.   It’s just not good.  There’s no pain meds or drink for this.  All one can do is trust the doctors and nurses around to curb the attitude, restore the mood and present a better future.    Vinny had his surgery today to fix his case of plyoric stenosis, a condition that causes the hole in his stomach that collects food to be so tiny that he wasn’t getting any food down or digested and instead vomiting it up like a sick kid.   Imagine eating and having no way of transformation below to break it down.   The muscle in the stomach is so strong when he tightened it the food came flying out of his mouth.   This is a common problem with new borns, as it affects 3 in every 1000 kids born and surgeries are done here at Childrens 3 to 4 times a week.   Still, this being the second visit for Vinny to the hospital in his young 2 month old life is too much for him or us to handle.    Every time my kid knocks down an obstacle in the ring, another problem steps in and wants to fight.   Watching nurses trying to put an IV in the kid’s arm qualifies as the worst experience a parent can go through.   He’s sitting there, looking at you like you just destroyed every bottle of formula in the world and now two nurses are poking his arm and stealing his go go juice.  NOT FAIR, DAD!  He leaves this incident with a decent incision on his chest, 2 cm wide, that will only score him instant cred at daycares.   Picturing Vinny walking up to a couple girls and saying, “Hey, lookee here ladies, my diapers full and(raising shirt) I got this as well.   Thats right, give me your daycare hours.”   The only true meds in life that don’t come in pill or liquid form is a good sense of humor.   Keep that healthy and you can survive anything.

Let’s rip into some topics today as the day slowly winds down into the evening.

Manny Pacquiao and Juan Marquez try to kill each other in Vegas

Right after sending you the Frazier-Ali Manila article, here are two more guys looking to seriously hurt one another.   This was the third fight in this epic series of welterweight pros, and Manny got the decision on a close majority decision.  While I didn’t watch this fight, I received texts from a good friend and followed it on ESPN mobile.   The conscensus was that each fighter could have left with the decision, but since Pac Man is champ and it takes a one sided beating to dethrone a champ, he left with the nod.   Every fight has been close between these two.  The reasons for that are left to be determined, but I chalk it up as two fiercely competitive old school fighters standing toe to toe in a ring and dishing out punishment.  Unlike most current boxers, Pacquiao and Marquez like to actually FIGHT in a ring and not dance, hold onto each other or continously butt heads while imitating combat.   These two love to hit each other because each is confident they are the better boxer.   The first fight in 2004 ended in a draw.  Both men beaten and bruised like soldiers of fortune left in a box to play.   The second fight, in 2008, went to Pacquiao in a decision Marquez thought was tilted in his direction.   The third fight last night, surprised me and convinced me that these two simply know how to fight each other.   No one has given this monster from the Phillipines as much trouble as Marquez.   Manny has dished aside bigger and stronger opponents with ease, coming out of the fight with a few bruises and a sense of humor and ready to play his afterparty concert.   Last night, he looked a little beaten up, slurred speech and hesitant.   Once again, Marquez had pushed him to the depths of defeat and Manny barely escaped with a win and a clean record in his last 15 fights.   The idea of the fight was simple.  Pacquiao kept coming with shots and pushing the action, while Marquez stood his ground and fired counter punches at will that landed flush on Manny’s face.   Deciding a winner depends on what you see as most important in a fight.   Energy, punches landed and pace or accuracy of punches.    Manny landed more and pushed the action while Marquez decided to sit back, return fire but give off the notion of a man deciding to not attack excessively.  A decisive 12th round where Pac Man challenged and landed big shots while Marquez laid back and let it go to the cards may have led to the close decision.    One judge had it a draw while one gave it to Manny 115-113 and another scored it 116-112.   The unofficial judge, HBO’s Howard Lederman, scored it 116-112 in favor of Pacquaio.  My friend had it scored at a draw but said either earned the decision and that it took a lot of unseat a champion.   There’s a secret layer of politics here as well.   All promoters, judges and fans need to know that the next fight in this town with Manny has to be with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and that only works with Manny getting a decision.  This isn’t me saying Manny unrightfully stole the decision.  The fight was so close you may have blinked and missed a tide turning blow but the two hit each other so frequently all night a decision came down to personal perspective and appeal.   I can’t wait to dive in and watch it this weekend when it encores on HBO.   Did Manny deserve to win or was his victory a finacial step towards Floyd’s epic battle?  I side initially with the former because reading the descriptions and recaps, Manny pressed the action, landed plenty and closed better.  Floyd fight or not, Pacquiao and Marquez will fight again because all commercial appeal aside, boxing needs more fights like this.   Brutal, bloody, close quartered slugfests that remind old school fans that it is still possible for a pair of men to stand in a ring and deal punishment.   Boxing is being defeated by Mixed Martial Arts because of skill sets but more importantly because the sport gives back revenue to its practice and delivers exciting if fleeting matches.  Fights like Pac Man and Marquez remind us that good boxing matches still exist.   Fierce reminders that boxing is a land of warriors and not a land of wimpy clutching dancing muscle bound athletes.   There’s science and command, but a healthy dose of “I need to beat you bad so I survive this night” mentality in there.  That’s Manny’s MO these days.   Get into the ring and deal because we didn’t train for 3 months to dance around in a ring and tap each other.   The intent in boxing has to be punishment and pain.   That produces real fights and pure entertainment.   The Pacquiao-Marquez trilogy of wars is the medicine that boxing needs.

Quick Takes on Cardinal Offseason Questions

*Mike Matheny will be named the new manager tonight or tomorrow.  I’m a big fan of this hiring because it makes sense for this franchise.  Matheny is a perfect choice for the new era and brings a true grit to the dugout.  Experience isn’t everything folks.  Respect counts. As Al Pacino said in Any Given Sunday, when those guys look into your eyes, they have to believe.  Matheny is a risk and a good choice for this team.  Now is the time to be risky.   Matheny represents a bold and risky choice for general manager John Mozelaik and owner Bill DeWitt III.   This is their first official hire and instead of going the safe and assured route with Francona, they may be looking towards putting their own stamp on the bench with a 41 year old ex catcher in Matheny.  This is Mo’s way of putting his own foot on franchise. The hiring of Matheny means brass balls on Mozelaik’s part, bringing a rookie manager to handle the baseball cathedral in St. Louis.   This team needed some new blood.   Risky blood.  Matheny doesn’t have 3 World Series but he played with Molina, Pujols and Carp and really connects with Duncan and Mozelaik.  Mozelaik didn’t make a crazy wild move here.  He made a measured one. Since La Russa called it in late August, Mo has been talking to Matheny for 3 months.   Matheny played for the Cards from 2000-2004, providing the Cards with a general behind the plate and the man who personally trained Yadi Molina to be a great young catcher.   Matheny was a leader of men on the field and is imminently respected inside the Cards clubhouse.   He has worked as an adviser to Mozelaik for a few years and waited for his chance to climb into the dugout.   He has zero experience as a coach or manager but I invite the unpredictable outlook as the suits here.  Matheny is a good, risky, cheaper yet easy choice.   You have to choose where you want to go after La Russa stepped down.   Stay with the assured vet or go with the risky rookie?  If sources hold up, the Cards are getting dirty and digging their feet into the future in hiring a veteran player to handle his first coaching job as manager of the Cardinals.   I like the choice because it’s bold and it also makes sense.  This team has won 2 championships in the past 10 years and will compete.  This is a team that doesn’t depend on its manager to win games each night.   Expect fireworks tomorrow.

*Thoughts on Albert and his choices.  My biggest case for Albert is I think he’s earned a long term deal to finish in STL. As my good friend Pj points out, every long term deal presents risk to a team.   The Cards or any other team will be overpaying Albert in the future to keep him here now.   It’s part of the deal and current frame work of MLB contracts.   With Albert, the idea of consistency should tromp plenty of the doubt.   It’s not hard to believe in a few years he will still be cranking 30 HR, 100 RBI and hitting .300.    If not, the Cards jump on the sword like any other team in signing Albert.  If any player has earned the right to name his price and home, it’s Albert.   I’ve always said it’s his choice but the Cards must present him with an offer that is respectable.   They can’t give him the bank but they can pay him handsomely for his service.  Anybody who whines I will sing the Bruce Hornsby classic to your ears.  “That’s just the way it is/some things just never change/that’s just the way it is.”   He’s played for 11 yrs at 16 or less and earned the security blanket. As far as where he lands, its his choice.  Does he want to become part of rebuilding mode in Florida?  He knows The Cards contend every year for a championship.  Which does he want?   Wins, cash or a challenge.  He gets all three here. I rest my case.

*If The Florida Marlins are smart, they will give their new cash to Jose Reyes and a starting pitcher.   It’s impossible to think expanding a budget by 23 million nets you 3 great players.   Instead of handing 23-28 million to Albert, the Marlins take a leap of faith with Reyes and sign a starting pitcher.  They need to correct several areas and first base isn’t one of them.   While Albert is a great marketing tool and fits in well in the Latin America packed Florida area, the Marlins can be smart here.   If only Reyes could stay healthy, he would be an unbeatable free agent.   Reyes gives you five tools in a big time star.   A starting shortstop with gold gloves to back up his reputation, a leadoff hitter with pop and the ability to hit .340 and a base stealing threat to get into scoring position.  He covers 2 vital positions on a team.   Shortstop and leadoff hitter.   All bias put aside, Florida would be smarter to lock down Reyes and sign a starting pitcher like C.J. Wilson to a long term deal.   Don’t throw big bucks at Mark Buerele, who is getting older and can’t win 15 games anymore.  Bring in C.J. Wilson and rework your rotation.  If the Marlins have 25-30 million to spare, use it on those two players.  They give you two strong players who are both younger than Pujols and suited for the rebuilding project down south.

*John Mozelaik told Joe Strauss that he likes a middle infield of Tyler Greene and Daniel Descalso.   While DD is dependable and gives you a small pop at the plate, Greene isn’t a major league shortstop.   Tyler Greene isn’t sharp enough defensively and can’t hit major league pitchers.   He is a career minor leaguer.  Greene gives you a late inning baserunning sub and nothing more in the majors.   Descalso is a more useable commodity as a utility player who can play third base, shortstop and second.   If Furcal can be brought back for 4-6 million, I’d think about bringing back Skip Schumacher for 1 to 2 million.  Why?  Skip is a hard working versatile player who has hit .280 or higher 3 out of the last 4 seasons.   A cheap weapon.   Keep Greene in the Memphis truck keeping the engine warm.

Blues Talk-The Hitchcock Era Unfolding??

Three games into the Blues run under new coach Ken Hitchcock, I am seeing the imprints of his style of play being injected into the Blues play.   The energy is higher and the player seem to be playing without a watchful fatherly eye.   Hitch is allowing his players to let it go and roll into their own rhythm.   T.J. Oshie is on fire in his past 5 games.  Barrett Jackman played one of his best games on Saturday.   David Backes is bringing it every night.   You don’t see Hitch shouting at players or looking stressed out like a 2008 placed accoutant looking at a ticker tape.   Hitch seems to be relaxed, laid back and enjoying himself.  He said he invited the return to coaching because he had found a calmer way of life in his time in the Columbus Blue Jackets office.  It shows behind the Blues bench.  Beating the Tampa Bay Lightning was a huge step towards showing consistency.   A very impressive win by Blues.   60 mins, 200 ft of play.   Shut down a very good offensive team in TB.  Team is full of energy.  Three strong games in front of Hitchcock represents a change.  See viable imprints of hard nosed high energy hockey.  2 shutouts and a shootout loss are signs of improvement for this team is zig zagging rogues.  Brian Elliot notched his second shutout and third for the team last night in the 3-0 win over the Lightning.  The Blues shut down a high scoring team last night, a favorably sign for their defense.  The penalty killing and power play unit, with exception of the first period on Thursday against the Maple Leafs, are looking very good.   Is this a coincidence or evident improvement under Hitchcock?   I’m withholding judgement until a few more games but I’ll say the new skipper is showing signs of turning this ship around.

The Rams Score An Ugly Win In Cleveland

Once again, this team makes an attempt to hand the game back to the opposing team.   The Rams led the Browns 10-9 for 20 minutes today before holding on for a 13-12 win that won’t be something to write home about.   Wins are wins in the NFL, but the Rams barely won and only escaped with a win because their defense played very well.  It would have been downright wrong for a team with a defense holding the opposing offense to a touchdown in 2 games to lose both contests.   Bradford looked rough all afternoon, showing an inefficiency to make passes in the red zone.   Steven Jackson went over 130 yards rushing and had his 3rd quality game in a row.   The Rams can’t play 4 quarters without losing a couple players.   Tight end Michael Houmaniiwaui hurt his knee and left in the 3rd quarter and the defense also lost a cornerback.   Injuries affect this team more than any other recent season and is a small clue to the reason we are 2-7 on the season.   Overall, this team isn’t a good team and doesn’t score enough.   We scored 1 touchdown against a defense which has been shredded by every other team.   Hard to win with this style of play but we managed to do it today.

Small NFL Tidbits-

*The Eagles and Ravens can’t be serious playoff threats.   The Eagles are 3-6 today after losing to the Arizona Cardinals, who are 3-6 as well.  The preseason Eagles, picked to win the Super Bowl before games were played, produced another downer of a game.   In part to DeSean Jackson missing the game due to missing a team meeting and being benched.  No discipline leads to losses.   The Ravens lost to the Taveras Jackson led Seahawks today, which has to end the talk of them being the AFC threats.   Joe Flacco will have a hard time leading this team anywhere if he can’t beat the Seahawks a week after beating Pittsburgh for the second time.   Which Ravens team shows up next week?

*The Patriots and Jets face off tonight and one has to like the Jets based on past history.   While Sanchez continues to think the other team is wearing a Jets jersey when he passes, the Jets play strong defense and finish well and always seem to surprise the Pats.  Tom Brady’s suddenly crumbling kingdom needs a win with a 5-3 record, so look for smashmouth football in Foxboro tonight.   Can Shawn Greene run over the Pats?  Can the Pats stop the running game?  Will Brady see another consistent pass rush?  All clues.  Having said this, the Pats will go on a tear and win by 36 points.

*The Saints beat the Falcons again by 7 points or less in game ending fashion.  Every season, Drew Brees figures out a way to beat Matt Ryan in the closing minutes.   One day, The Boston College product breaks through for a win.   Love the way these two teams battle each other.  I have always thought these two could play a helluva NFC title game.

*My dream match for the Super Bowl is The Patriots and Packers.   Tons of points put up on the board with two weak secondaries and two great QB’s firing on every cylinder.   I want an entertaining Super Bowl and it would inviting to see Brady, king of the old, face off against the new kid on the block in Rodgers.   I am not a fan of Brady but love to see him on high stakes matchups.   This would be a good game.

*The Steelers will go as far as their defense takes them.   Ben Roethlisberger is a great fourth quarter player and the running game is strong with Rasheed, but the defense carries this team.   I’d like to see a Patriots-Steelers AFC title game, which could also set up a Packers-Steelers rematch in a juicy Super Bowl.  This is the story of a Rams fan.   Predicting championship games without your home team.

*The Rams have the core pieces in place but need a new coach, a big receiver and more discipline play.   Red zone efficiency.   Bradford is the type of Super Bowl arm that is capable of playing at that level, but right now he can’t make the big throws that separate regular season QB’s from playoff heroes.   Steven Jackson is a quality running back and gaining great yards without a good passing game to back him up.   The receivers are anchored in B-types, which doesn’t produce big plays.  The Defense lacks a true secondary warrior but James Lauranitas and Chris Long anchor the front staff of the unit and have played well against big teams like Philly and Baltimore.  The Running game still gashes the Rams and their overall offensive attack doesn’t lack creativity(McDaniels calling good plays), but receivers aren’t catching and Bradford isn’t throwing great.   There are too many problems with this team for them to be playoff bound and that’s the exact opposite from earlier this season.   Expect a big offseason coming up for this team as Owner Stan Kroneke decides who stays and who goes.

The Random Bits

*If I could save the world, I would.   I would give my son Vincent a bottle right now that he isn’t supposed to have.   I would solve world peace.  I would provide water to all the deprived regions.  I would cancel interest rates on credit cards and hire henchmen to collect payments.   I would put a laundry mat inside bars so people could be productive and have fun.  “Hold that shot of Jack while I change over a load” is a phrase that would be fired at will.  I’d create more jobs by breaking more things.   I’d have people do more cardio and get in better shape.   I’d open a gym with their own isolated cardio rooms for people to concentrate and not get nervous around a packed room of machines.   I’d open more diners with healthier food.   Mix a courtesy diner with bread company?   I’d buy more albums and DVD’s for collections.    In a nutshell, I’d produce more original scripts in Hollywood instead of remakes.  I’d make the world a better place by having drivers retest every 20 years.   I’d create different energy sources so we could stop depending on oil loaded countries and electric car nonsense.   With time and money, I’d fix things. (Sorry, I had to include the political hunk ending)

*I respect Jeremy Renner because he has earned his status as a desired actor in Hollywood.  10 years ago, he was eating on 5 dollars a week in a tiny apartment with no electricity because he wanted to be an actor.  I appreciate actors who work hard for a craft and don’t give up on a dream.  Renner ate ramon noodles, doughnut holes and Mcdonalds cheeseburgers while living in LA with his bulldog.   There are harsher circumstances but Renner’s perserverance is impressive.   Now he is starring Mission Impossible 4, Hurt Locker, Avengers and more.

*One more thing on Matheny.  This moves was in the wings for a while and only slowed down when Francona and Sandberg entered the picture in late September.  La Russa informed Mo of his decision in late August, meaning there were talks between Mo and Matheny for 3 months.   Experience counts, but there are tons of managers out there with experience that are doing badly.   Sometimes, a dose of fresh blood is good for a franchise.   I like the Matheny deal for several reasons but mainly I like the boldness of the pick.   Proves Mo’s got balls of steel.

*Now that Robert Irvine has been eliminated off the Next Iron Chef, I am losing interest.   With cooking competitions(tougher than you think, how well can you cook under pressure and with judges and timers?), I have one favorite and when he dies off, I kind of stop watching.   Irvine is a British cook with real skill, but made a hummus too thick and lost a close 1 on 1 battle in Kitchen Stadium.   That’s how tough those competitions are.   Make the tiny error and lose it all.   That’s the challenge of skill on display on the Food Network.   Check it out before you knock it.

*While things are in dire straits with Vin this weekend, I do get to find comfort in my lullaby being a combo of HBO shows so potent that anyone can get a mood boost out of them.   Starting with Boardwalk Empire, continuing with Hung and ending with How to Make it in America.  2 hours of television that’s better than most movies.

Ending Thought-Vinny’s predicament should inspire all of us to redefine our thoughts of bad times.  In essence, don’t sweat the small stuff.   When you are done about something, remember what my kid has gone through before he was 2 months old.   Vinny was born a small baby, coming into this world undersized and ranking in the 2 percent range of newborns.   He was diagnosed with WPW, Wolf Parkinson White, an ailment causing SVT, and causing his heart rate to skyrocket.  Vinny’s been poked, prodded and given 2 throat tubes.   He was dealt a hand this week of plyoric stenosis, a condition that doesn’t allow food to be digested and has restricted him from gaining weight and getting a bottle for 48 hours.  My kid has had it rough very early so the next time you feel like life is closing in on you, remember Vinny.

That’s it.  Thanks for reading and goodnight.   My work here is done.

Sincerely,

D. Buffa

Late Night With Buffa

Greetings folks,

Allow me to roll a few topics over you as we pass over into another 24 hour set, what starts out as another weekend but may develop into something A LOT more interesting.   As My Morning Jacket’s latest gem of an album, Circuital, plays in the background, I start the domino chain.   One thing leads to another in this life, at least that’s the way it works in the mind.

Vinny Buffa Madness

For the last two weeks, the little guy has been throwing up, projectile style after every bottle and at any given time.  Bad news for parents here who only want to find dry land with their new kid.  Vincent battled SVT, got heart meds and is on the mend, but now runs into a potential GI tract problem that could result in surgery.   A muscle isn’t allowing food to digest through his throat into his stomach completely and forcing a reappearance instead of a deposit below.    It seems like every time my son knocks out a problem in the ring, some other thing steps into the ring to fight.   He keeps throwing punches.   Later this morning, we are taking him to Childrens for X rays and explanations.   Whether or not we come home is entirely up to someone else and its a scary thought to have to see my kid in a hospital bed again so soon.    The first 8 weeks have been grueling and all I can do is deal with the cards, take care of the wife and kid, and keep on breathing.   Start out the madness here with a little sadness.  Moving on.

Albert Pujols to Florida???

No way kids.  That’s my thought.  There are selling points for sure, but beyond a few more million, a new stadium, and a new start mid career what reasons are there for Albert to leave St. Louis for Florida.   Any spot other than Chicago can be sold to Albert because of payroll, chance to win or a icon status waiting in the wings.   Every one of those things can be found in St. Louis if Albert chooses to stay.   When presented with a case for Albert in Florida, I listened, read the info and thought it through only to come back to the same conclusion.   There’s no real reason for Albert Pujols to leave St. Louis if he keeps his word that has been spoken his entire career.   That it’s not ALL about money.   I’ll be straight with you.  Since they waited until 2011 to present a viable offer, the Cards can’t match another team’s offer and will get outbid by at least 2 teams here.  That’s why I said it comes down to Albert in the end making a decision.   Get past the visits, offers, agent dealings and money, and it comes down to Albert asking himself does he want to be the iconic player who spends his entire career in one city, wins 2-4 World Series titles and retiring a king.   Lets look at the prospects in Miami.   Florida makes sense.  They open a new stadium in 2012(home opener against Cards), need a face of the franchise and can restock their team around Albert.  No pressure to win for a few yrs and more money. However, does Albert want to lose for a few yrs for more cash.  Does he want to sacrifice what he loves most, winning, for a new start?  Soon enough he may be the person of blame if they don’t win.  As Jayson Stark said, if Albert goes somewhere and declines, the media pressure will be overwhelming.  If he stays in his kingdom in St louis with a challenge to add rings, he can decline peacefully.  Unless the Marlins add Pujols, Jose Reyes and a pitcher, its going to be hard to think of them challenging for the NL pennant in 2012.   Does Albert want to take a backseat to mad man title chasing to be the older mentor to young guns and sit beside Ozzie Guillen, who makes the Don Tony ways seem like Mary Poppins routines?   This extends beyond money folks.   Pujols is the one athlete I believe because he is consistent with his words.  He hates contract talks but loves St Louis and want to compete for a championship.  His status in St. Louis(one man, one team, one career) and the fact the Cards will compete next year for a world series makes this possible situation in Florida not work.   Look, I am not saying it can’t happen or won’t happen.  I am telling you I doubt it.   Call it denial or bias sitting and I will take your bet and double down.   Albert Pujols will be a Cardinal in 2012.   You heard it here first.  I don’t need to think twice about it, but I will field opinions on it all night.   I love hearing two sides battle in public about it.   Tonight, searching for a movie at Blockbuster, I overheard two sides discussing it.  Classic fight going on.  One for a golden deal and one against it.

Side 1-“The best player in baseball deserves the best contract in baseball.  That’s it.”

Side 2-“Come on.  He is a great player but why do we have to pay him more money.   Why do players need more than 5 million to play baseball?”

Side 2 was clearly lost and found there.   I came to the register and set the record straight.   I told them if the Cards were smart, they would have handed Pujols and Holliday 8 year contracts in 2010 but now have to pay more money.   They chose the hard way and Albert didn’t make it easy.  I easily shut the crowd down there.  Too bad I walked out with the absolutely horrible Pirates of the Caribbean 4 blu ray disc.   Cover tells all.  We made it halfway through and started skipping scenes.  Always a bad sign.

As is the case with anything in life, Albert’s destination comes down to choice.   Pure and simple.  Choice by team and player.

Cards Manager Search

The more I think about it, I really do see Terry Francona not landing in St. Louis and instead one of the other 5 candidates with zero managerial experience in the major leagues taking over the skipper role.  I have no problem with this as long as Joe McEwing doesn’t make it into the dugout.   While the popular vote is Jose Oquendo, I think it may come down to Ryne Sandberg or Mike Matheny.   Matheny has the edge there.   He played here with some of the current Cardinals from 2000-2004, was instrumental in leading the clubhouse, mentored Yadi Molina, gets along great with Dave Duncan and has worked as a special assistant to John Mozelaik for the past couple years.    He has waited to get into coaching until the right time and this could be the time.   It’s just the way I think this team is leaning.   I like Francona and Oquendo, but the popular idea right now is going in a new direction.   For me, this search boils down to one choice by Mo and DeWitt Jr..   Do they want to hire a replica of La Russa or go for the far riskier choice of a zero experience yet highly respected and tenured newcomer?   Sign the older skipper with experience, wins under his belt and a reputation or leap for the rookie manager with balls of steel like Matheny, who is a so called “leader of men”?   For me, thats the question.   This is a defining moment for the franchise.   The chance for Mozelaik and DeWitt Jr. to make their own splash and hire “their guy”.   They have both worked with a manager who was here before them in La Russa for 16 seasons.   Now is their chance to set the future in motion.   The more I dissect the interview comments and search, the more I come to a realization that Mo will want to take a risk here, hire a rookie and set him in motion.  Will Sandberg, Matheny or Oquendo be able to handle the everyday stress of a 162 season of ups and downs?  If the team loses, the new guy gets blamed, as Bernie Miklasz wrote in his Thursday column.   I’m up for the challenge if the Cards are.  This team is built to win and won’t live or die on the experience of their manager.

Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez Final Thoughts

For me, it’s an easy choice here.  Manny will clobber Marquez and finish off this trilogy the right way.  Manny is a much better fighter than he was 3 years ago, has made a career of fighting bigger men and pounding them(Margarito, Cotto, Mosley) and will dispose of his old rival.   Manny has proven to be able to take a punch and deliver 3 right back.   A ferocious counter punching machine who doesn’t tire as the rounds roll by.   You don’t win titles in 8 different weight classes by taking easy fights.   Pacquiao is more determined to beat Marquez so he can shut the slower fighter up once and for all for 3 years of telling people he really beat Manny Pacquiao.   Tonight, the record gets set straight.   Consider this another warmup before Pac Man finally gets Floyd Mayweather Jr. into the ring.   The brutal calm before the storm.   Tonight, Manny Pacquaio doesn’t need to make history.  He’ll just take care of business.  Remember this as well.  When Manny fought Juan in the past, all he had was a powerful left hook.  Now, Manny has a well rounded arsenal of left and right bombs.  More weapons to use.

“Prayer is how the mind communicates with the soul.   Fighting is how their souls communicate with the world.”-HBO 24/7 Narrator Liev Schrieber

DVD Review-13

That’s right, folks.  The name of the movie is 13, adapted from a European smash hit called 13 Tzameti, a story about underground russian roulette.    The cast here is bare knuckle gritty, including Jason Statham, Ray Winestone, Alexander Saarsgard, Michael Shannon, Mickey Rourke, 50 Cent, and Sam Riley.   All are either players in the game, gamblers or spectators.   The heart of the story revolves around Vincent(Riley), a young man trying to make money for his dad, recovering from cancer in the hospital.    When a client of his dies unexpectedly, he takes the man’s mysterious envelope of cash and directions and ends up in an underground kill to the death tournament in New York City.    The players form a circle and point the barrel at each others heads and pull the trigger.   Things start with one bullet in a 6 chamber gun and are increased up to 4 by the end.   What happens to Riley’s well intentioned young man’s plot?  The thrill is in the hunt here, and all the actors get a chance to shine, including Statham, playing second fiddle here to Riley and Winestone.  The pace is decent, the direction is solid, and the end isn’t predictable.   Watch and enjoy.  A quiet good indie.   Nobody flexes their acting chops here but the job gets done.

Jonathon Papelbon Goes to Philly

I saw this move coming 2 months ago when I watched Paps pitching in a game late for a save.   Rumors were spreading about the Sox being unable to give him the money he desired and that the door was opening for their closer of 6 years.   I really like Paps.  He’s a very good closer and carries all the elements of a closer.   He’s intense, focused, carries the blame if things go sour and always come back with a vengeance.  Take out a subpar 2010 season and Paps put together 5 very good seasons in Boston.   Is he worth 4 years and 50 million dollars?   No.   The annual value of 12.5 million is a little high for a 30 year old who has seen his best days and will have trouble in the homer friendly confines of Citizens Park.   Paps is great and will do fine but any reliever 30 or over getting a 4 year deal with a vesting option for a 5th season is a reach.    It’s going to be cool to see him against the Cards and have the chance to go against him in key spots, but the contract is high, especially for a team looking for an early replacement at first for the injured Ryan Howard and having to resign Jimmy Rollins.   He has 219 saves in 6 seasons and pitched well in the fiery AL East firing line, but he will struggle at first in Philly.   Personally, while I saw it coming, I found it to be surprising to not see Paps finish in Boston.   He moves from one hot contending team with something to prove to another.   Cue the K-Rod to Boston rumors right now.

The Most Retarded Riot Of All Time

Ladies and gentlemen, here is our generation.   Wednesday night, after Joe Paterno was fired, Penn State football fans roamed the streets, jumped on top of cars, held signs and cheered for their Joe.    Human beings with blood running through their veins were screaming at Penn State officials to reinstate Paterno and give him his job back.   The only thing they forgot was Paterno was rightfully fired for overlooking, bypassing or failing to recognize  a sexual offender on his coaching staff.   Paterno probably didn’t take it serious and hoped it owuld end.  Instead, the worst happened.   Assistant coach Jerry Sandusky molested 15 young boys during the past 10 years and Paterno did nothing.   So his faithful fans chose to take their fight to the streets, all the while forgetting about those 15 kids.   This is where sports fans overlook human horrors for the love of their game.  Its sickening and horribly out of place.   What if one of the parents of the 15 children walked up this crowd and asked them what the fuck they were thinking?   What happens next?  That parent gets a bottle to the head or a Paterno standee up his or her ass?  Look at what this world we live in has come to.   Angry fans whining about their head coach getting canned for overlooking sexual molestation.   Absolutely absurd and painful to watch.

That’s all for tonight.   Sleep tight, dream something nice, and wake up ready to attack reality.   My day starts early tomorrow so I am finally calling it a night as my second wind comes to an end here.

Thanks for reading,

D.L.B.

 

 

 

Topics of Persuasion

Topics of Persuasion

November 10th, 2011

Everybody here?  Fuck it, I’m going anyway.   Read up, follow along, stay with me and while you may not learn something, you may at least be entertained by the sight of thought process.

Blues Revival??

  • A sense of a new form of hockey on the ice.  The birth of the Hitchcock system, which consists of letting the boys be boys and let their own individual talents evolve on the ice.
  • On Tuesday, the Blues played the most complete hockey game all season.  A strong 60 minutes.
  • Power Play revamped.  Better passing, execution and capped off with a fabulously placed Oshie pass to the tip of Stewie’s blade.
  • An emotional tribute set the stage for a comeback night.  Keith Tkachuk and Brett Hull delivering beautiful memorial speeches about the fallen 38’s, Igor Koralev and Pavol Demitra.  The Blues alumni have always come out and supported one another during times of celebration(retiring Hull’s number) or times of tragedy.  Talking about a young fallen comrade is never a good reason for coming into town, but Hull and Tkachuk are class acts and delivered.
  • Jaroslav Halak had a complete game, stopping 28 shots and collecting his 17th career shutout.  The play of Halak will mirror this entire season and determine where this team goes.  During the first 13 games, Halak’s save percentage was 85 percent.  Horrible.  Win/loss record and play in front of him withstanding, the Slovakian stopper needed to improve and against the Blues rival and main enemy in the Central Division, Halak came up big.
  • Huge win over the rival always helps a situation.  The Blues are a 7-7 team with 4 big games at home ahead.
  • Blues Revival Continued- 
    • The only way Tuesday’s win sticks is if the Blues can win at least 3 of the next 4 games at home against Toronto, Detroit and Florida.   Every team wants to play hard for a new coach during their first game.  The next few games tells the story.
    • Ryan Reaves also delivered on Tuesday.  Nothing like a good old fashioned ass kicking to fire up his team and help the Blues pull away.   Reaves pounded Dario Carcillo.   4 right hands to the head and a take down to stamp it.  Reaves is the new Blues enforcer.
    • This was a game that had something for everyone in the audience.   Good, quick paced hockey action and an all around team game.   Players working together, creating plays, getting results.   Pretty.
    • The Blues scored 3 well executed goals.  There were no gimme or weak goals.  They scored the first on an excellent crash of the net by Vladamir Sobotka.   The second came on the Oshie/Stewart tip.  Oshie finished off the scoring with a wrist shot in the third period to put the game away with a few minutes left.
    • If Davis Payne left a stamp, it lies on Oshie’s head.   In the last 3 games, Oshie has 3 goals and 2 assists and is back to playing his old brand of smash mouth hockey.   He happens to be trade bait, so his good play works on both ends for the Blues.
    • All in all, the Blues looked in control on the ice.   Authoriative.  That has been missing along with horrible special teams play, inconsistent offense and bad goaltending from #41.  Tuesday was a good night.
    • Can it continue tonight against Toronto?  Will we notice the Hitchcock stamp 2 days later?

    Cardinals Manager Search Thoughts-

    • Nearly 2 weeks after Tony stepped down, the interviews are done.   Chris Mahoney, Joe McEwing, Mike Matheny, Ryne Sandberg, Jose Oquendo and Terry Francona were given a look an interview.   While the safe and smart pick is Francona, I have a feeling in my stomach that tells me he won’t be among the finalists.  Here’s why.  Reading reports from STL Cards beat writer Joe Strauss, the order of the top 3 aren’t the popular picks from last week.
    • The top 2 last week were Francona and Oquendo in my opinion. Before the interviews started rolling in.  However, my wild cards right now are Sandberg and Matheny.   It would be the ultimate smack in the face to the Cubs to have Sandberg come here and win a World Series title.   He has managed in the Phillies minor league system and is a great baseball mind.  Look at him as a surprise pick.   This is a success ready team, so any of the top 3 work.  Sandberg or Oquendo would be cheaper than Tito.  By about 2 million.  Matheny has stayed in the Cardinals organization as a consultant and assistant to the GM.   There are connections there.
    • It all comes down to what direction the Cards front office wants to go with this new era of managerial action in the dugout.  Terry Francona is a solid choice and carries the pedigree, experience and success required, but he isn’t a done deal.   There are other factors.   Factors that give Mike Matheny and Oquendo an edge.   Dave Duncan has worked with Matheny and Oquendo in the past and likes them.   There’s a history there and comfortable alliance.  Oquendo is respected by the entire franchise and team, but Sandberg was the first person the Cards inquired about.  He is a wild card choice for the job and while his past speaks against a chance at managing here, I wouldn’t be surprised if he got the job because he is the type of manager Mozelaik may surprise us with.    Playing it safe is Francona.  Taking a shot is Oquendo.   Breaking open the creativity bank is going with Sandberg or Matheny.

    The Fall of Joe Paterno at Penn State Rant

    There are several factors here, so let me just start firing in a familiar area.   Family ties.   Every university is a like a family, as are companies, households and teams.  Every part of the family play a role in keeping things honest, honorable and straight.   If one person steps out of line, no matter their stature or position, they have to be cut away.   Those are the rules.  All families involve degrees of power, emotion, deception and corruption.   Unequal doses hurt families and break them up.   When Joe Paterno and fellow Penn State officials overlooked Jerry Sandusky’s 2002 warning of eventual sexual molestation of young boys, they made a fatal error.   An error that broke the university in half this week.   This blow extended outside the football program and into the university’s DNA.   The aftermath has left Paterno fired, the President fired and a potential BCS Bowl team in disarray. Assistant coach Sandusky was charged with 15 counts of sexual molestation this week and the aftershocks are plenty.  Here are some smaller details and thoughts. Penn State board did the right thing in firing Paterno.   Whether you are a football fan or not, you know the name of Joe Paterno.   61 years in college football, 46 as Penn State Head Coach, 2 national championships in 1982 and 1986 and 409 all time wins.  The model of consistency.   Now, he is gone and it was the right move.   Paterno isn’t evil. Let me be straight here.  He made a critical error in judgment.  Sandusky’s behavior had warning signs written all over them and Paterno and his staff missed them or overlooked them.   This is a classic coverup.   Think of Paterno as a failed humanitarian auditor of ethics.   This was a oversight that led to the turmoil and added a shade of gray to a hall of fame career.   Whenever his name is mentioned now, it will come with a dirty asterisk.  This was the only way Penn State could act.   They had to fire Paterno because that is the fastest way to get past a scandal.   Erase the negative parties quick and save face.  Letting Paterno call his own exit would have looked weak and cued the media wolves.   This was the right move.

    Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The Greatest injustice is no justice at all.”   Joe Paterno and fellow guilty parties had to be brought to justice because they committed the worst error in life.   Overlook a horrible crime.

A Prince and A King

Two of the biggest players in baseball, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, go on the market this offseason and the only thing that can be promised is they will be filthy rich when it’s all said and done.  That’s the point where I can’t get too worked up on these two players.  When spring training hits, they will have a deal somewhere, making 25 million a year and comfortable for the next few years.   They could buy a Mercedes once a week and be fine.   It’s hard to worry too much about it.  However, here are things I think will happen.   Prince is definitely leaving Milwaukee and I think the top spots are the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs.  Fielder will command 23-25 million per year and grab at least 5 years and maybe 7.   He is young, productive, and the only major leaguer to play all 162 games last season.   Albert is the king here, though.   He will receiver offers of 28 to 30 million for up to 10 years.   The takers will be the same.  Basically, anyone who needs a lifeline or first basemen.   The Florida Marlins will look at him, as will the Rangers, Dodgers and Cubs.   If I had money to wager, serious green, I’d still say he takes less to play in St. Louis because as Jayson Stark pointed out today in his column, there’s the thing that money can’t buy.   Comfortable positioning.   Rather or not he declines, Albert will remain king in St. Louis.   While it is interesting why Bill DeWitt Jr. and John Mozelaik haven’t made a serious run at Albert and opted to sign Matt Holliday 2 years ago(however, Matt was a free agent as well and a hot commodity), Albert owns this town and I can’t see him leaving it for a couple more years or a few more million dollars.   Albert deserves a raise and a comfy future landing.   Give him a piece of the team or profit.   Give him 8 years because the man earned it the right to have a chance to live long here and eventually come down to earth in productivity.   Scott Boras can sell Prince all he wants, but we all know what Cecil Fielder did after his 27th birthday.  He never hit 40 home runs again and declined rapidly.   Prince can’t play defense or bring the marketing to a town like Albert can in St. Louis.   Albert is a more complete and productive player.   Let’s see if Prince can perform like Albert for 5 more seasons.  I mean the complete statistical areas.   On base percentage, batting average, game winning hits, hitting with runners in scoring position and extra base hits.    If people think Albert is 35 and not 31, his 11 years of productive is even more astonishing and impressive.   The point is Prince is a great player, but Albert is the best player in baseball.  The marketing dream and complete player.  He is king.  King’s deserve a decent ransom to hand over their talent.  The Cards will hand it over to Albert or face the scorn of a city.   Pujols gets to choose where he lands, but if the Cards lowball him or look away as he leans to come back, I will place full blame on the ownership.   Once again, I will repeat, you don’t let gold walk away.  This is a two sided deal.   If Albert and the Cards know what money smells like years from now and how it looks from the comfort of their own home, they will work it out. Albert knows it.   DeWitt knows it.  Dan Lozano knows it.   Good luck to Prince.  I look forward to seeing him in white and blue stripes.

Middle Men Review

Jack Harris(narrating)-“If I learned one thing, it’s that business is a lot like sex.   Getting in is easy.  Pulling out is hard.”

This is a great movie.   Highly entertaining and fast paced with a relatively potent story.   This is the story of Jack Harris(played with ease, cool and authority by the better of the Wilson half, Luke Wilson), who helps two morons(Gabriel Macht and Gio Ribisi) bring porn to the internet and make a profit out of it.    Harris is a born problem solver, and when he hears about two guys with a way to do things but zero idea how to manage things are making waves in LA and pulling in millions, he goes out to the land of opportunity and becomes their middle man.   This is an easy story to digest and a cool film to enjoy because it talks about desperate truth in this life.   Porn pulls in 57 billion dollars a year, and the fact is when NASA launches satellites into the air, the only idea in their mind is to plant those things in the right spot for Billy Bob to be able to access his porn site whenever he feels the need to jerk off.   That’s right.   Harris and his cronies help people jerk off.   They made a living out of it and they nearly all died as a result of it.    You may of missed this movie in theaters because it couldn’t turn its own profit and got the indie dumping in NY and LA.   Since Adam Sandler isn’t playing a woman in it, the movie couldn’t reach 1500 screens and instead got 650, a DVD release and a happy shelf to land on.   Wilson is the star of the show and gives a great performance in a film one has to seek out.   Great stories still need great big stars to exploit them.  If Wilson was playing J. Edgar Hoover and George Gallo(director of Middle Men) was doing it, the movie wouldn’t be released in November on 3,000 screens.   The idea is, Middle Men is a proud indie gem and I am here to tell you, it’s worth picking up.   Gallo keeps things moving here and the characters seem to spin around in place.  The events are loosely based on real events, but the story adds a decent amount of “holy shit high stakes action” to the mix.   Toss in a dangerous Russian mobster(Rade Shebergia) into the porn profit pot and things get dicey.   Throw in a shady lawyer Jerry(James Caan) capable of getting greedy and stealing the show and things get worse.   This is a story equally covered in power, profit and denial.   Harris is a good man but he is caught up in a bad situation.   A man with a wife and kids at home in Houston is playing deadly games in Vegas with 2 wired druggies, a Russian killer and a corrupt businessman.  How do things end up?  The film wraps things up quite nice and brutal, and it doesn’t ask for your forgiveness.   The entertaining aspect comes in the loose cannon performance of Wilson, the assured direction of Gallo, and a hip soundtrack including the Rolling Stones.   This film moves at the pace of a bullet and also scores the unusual point of carrying good narration.  Wilson is a calm relaxed actor and it helps as Jack recounts the story of his Vegas/LA plunge to us.   The supporting cast is aces, including Terry Crews, Kevin Pollak, Robert Forster, Jacinda Barrett and Kelsey Grammar.   A film about the universal rule of business.   Making money isn’t easy, and even when it’s going well, a shotgun blast is waiting around the corner.

Finishing Touches-

  • Katey Segal can act.   If there is one actor on Sons of Anarchy capable of taking over the show, it’s Segal.   She is the best on the talented cast.   She is the woman deserving of an Emmy or two for her work.  The gift of Segal is combining stress, emotion, power, vulnerability, and action into one scene.  Playing Gemma, the biker wife of the leader of the Sons club, the role carries a “Lady Macbeth” feeling to it.   This is classic shakespearian drama and tragedy.   This week’s episode had her sitting at a table, beaten and bruised but defiantly pledging revenge by season’s end.  Segal, a TV vet most known for Married With Children, powers the scene and adds juice to the performance.   You believer her worn down, beaten, yet still beautiful face when she says the words.   That’s what actings all about.  Believing these real people inside these characters.  She gives a golden performance, one that starts from the outside and fights its way out.   Sons of Anarchy is so good because the entire appeal of the show centers around caring for these criminals even as they do bad things like run guns and sell drugs and kill mercifully.   Likeable monsters work here.   Monsters Inc. for the Criminally Insane.  Segal is the golden queen here.   She can act.
  • Correction From My Blog on Tuesday-The screenwriter of J. Edgar is Dustin Lance Black, not Eric Roth.   Black wrote the award winning MILK, about Harvey Milk, the first gay man to be elected to political office in San Francisco.  A raw gritty subject area that Black once again immerses himself inside in Clint Eastwood’s bio epic.
  • David Freese is everywhere.   Starting on Jay Leno, moving on to the View and Ellen, rolling in last night at the Country Music Awards, and will soon arrive on a ABC sitcom in a guest spot.   Freese, the NLCS and WS MVP, is all over the place and it’s weird and cool.    When did Freese turn into Peyton Manning?  Exactly when he delivered the most clutch hit in World Series history.   Down to his last strike in the World Series, Freese delivered and become a superstar on the circuit since then.  Expectations are enormous next season but for now, Freese can enjoy it.  It’s not even been 3 weeks since the Cards won the series.
  • Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz dueling inside a ring for the second time is an intriguing fight, as long as Ortiz keeps his gloves up and protects himself.    Ortiz won the first fight, surviving 2 knockdowns and a grueling 12 round fight to hand Berto his first loss and earn him the right to face Floyd Mayweather Jr., who then knocked Ortiz out when the kid let his hands come down in Round 4.   Berto wants revenge and Ortiz once again fights for respect.   Book it.
  • The Changeup, in my opinion the funniest movie of the year, comes out on DVD this week.   The key to this film’s greatness.   Turning an old formula(body switching to improve souls routine) into a raunchy, well written, fast moving rocket fuel comedy starring the dream team, Jason Batemen and Ryan Reynolds.  The two play best friends who live opposite lives of family man and slacker.   One night, it changes.   Hilarity ensues.   Rent this film.    Very funny.
  • Conray Murray knew what he was doing when Michael Jackson demanded the lethal dose of drugs.   His client begged for his “milk” and Murray gave it to him, killing him.   When the king of pop was training for his ridiculous 50 show set in London, his body took a beating and the only way to help a 50 year old recover from brtual workouts are illegal drugs.   Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter because he bypassed judgement and gave Jackson the killshot.   Is he evil?  No way.  Stupid? A little.   Doomed for life?  Yes sir.
  • Do the Rams suck?  Yes.  Very much.  They are outscored in point differential by 111 points.   Their QB wonder only has 4 touchdowns and is getting killed behind a bad offensive line.  The Rams allow one defensive score per game.   Their special teams play is bad.  Their run defense is horrible.  They committ too many penalties.  They can’t score touchdowns.   Their secondary is weak and they have no legit #1 receiver.   Also, injuries have taken a toll, but that’s the same of every NFL team.   The Rams are 1-7 and have a decent chance of finishing 3-13.   Yes, they suck.
  • Tim Tebow excelling at the option play is no surprise.  He became a college legend at Florida using the same powerful offensive tactic.   The option play involves three choices.   Throw downfield, toss it to a running back or run the ball yourself.  Tebow tore up the Oakland Raiders last weekend by springing the option attack on them and beating them in three ways.   Eventually, this was going to be used in the NFL.  Thank you Tebow for introducing it with a rush.   It can be stopped, but if defense guess wrong, 7 points are put up.   How many Tebow haters are hiding right now?  Tons of them.   Like rats when the lights come on.
  • Pro Soccer player David Testo has come out of the box and announced he is gay.   This is no big deal if you carry humility.  Being gay is a normal way of living, a choice one makes early on and good for him to have the boulder off his shoulders.    Several people will criticize him for coming out and potentially ruining his career.   I applaud him for it.   Be gay and proud.   I’ll say this again.  The people who can’t get along with or understand gay people are the most unfortunate souls on this earth because they let a mythical retarded religion get in the way of meeting great people.   They are cowards for calling this a problem.   Testo’s teammates either act like grownups and support him or run like chickens.   This changes nothing.   I don’t watch much soccer but I respect the supreme athleticism of the sport and respect human choice even more.   Good for David.
  • The Immortals will be the dumbest most useless movie of 2011 when it comes out tomorrow.   Another film about the gods and titans of old. The effects are overly dramatic, the actors look lost and the dialogue sounds like 2 6th graders drooled it during art class.   Henry Cavill worked this film to get the role of Superman in Zach Snyder’s new reboot.   It’s akin to sucking blowing someone to get a job at Vanity Fair.  Unfortunate.   Poor Henry.  Yawnnn….
  • Billy Crystal is hosting the Oscars after the moronic Brett Ratner spit out a gay slur at a press junket for Tower Heist, resigned from the producing job and a day later his scared little boy comedy star, Eddie Murphy, quit the hosting job.   Crystal will kill in this role.   The last time he hosted the Oscars, the right blend of comedy and levity took place and the show was a blast.   The idea of a host is to make things fun whether or not the show is interesting or not and the movies are interesting or not.   Crystal will get it done.  Sure, Conan or Hanks would have worked.   Instead, Billy gets another run.  I’m happy.
  • Ashton Kutcher is a fucking moron.   End of story.
  • Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped by 4 gunmen in Venezuela, a crazy place known for wild west actions and low life activity.   Spend your offseason there and bad things will happen.   Are we not surprised?   Be cool and spend your vacation in your hometown wild country or stay in Washington where it’s more safe.   Hard choice look easy now.   Ramos is missing and no contact has been made by the kidnappers.  This is the first time a major league baseball player has been taken.  Unfortunate circumstance easily explained by the region it happened in.
  • One wonders if Tom Brady will ever get over the Super Bowl loss to the Giants and make his way back to the promise land again?  I think not.  The team around him has gotten old and is working slower.   He hasn’t won a playoff game in 4 years and looks vulnerable in the pocket at last.  I respect his ability but I do like to see him lose.   Underdog love I guess.
  • Is Eli Manning playing better because his big brother isn’t casting a huge shadow over his head?   Yes.
  • Am I surprised the Eagles aren’t doing well and might not make the playoffs?   No.  Michael Vick had to repeat his miraculous 2010 season and the defense had to hold up.  So far, the defense is getting burned and Vick can’t stay healthy enough to play at that elite level.     You don’t call a team Super Bowl champs based on paper my friends.  It’s bad business.  Who reps the team?  Lebron James and Chris Bosh?
  • Do I care if the NBA lockout goes on and on and the 2011-2012 season is cancelled?  I don’t care at all.   Regular season NBA action is boring and sleep inducing and since St. Louis has no team, I am as far out of this emotionally as I can be.   Greed grows on every tree people.
  • Vinny Update-The kid is battling consistent vomiting, going through outfits like a model, hogging attention, eating at an enormous rate and is as cute as a kid can possibly be at 8 weeks.   He’s a tough kid and he is mine.   The end.

That’s all folks.  Smoke, fire and grit to follow.  One last thing.  I’m working out in the mornings now with a good friend and that’s the way to go.   Find a partner and get at it until your body bleeds and burns.  We all know how to get healthy and lose weight.  Doing it is the hard part.  Here’s how I roll in gym land.   I went to the gym on Wednesday and walked in like I owned the joint.  I leaned in and warned the desk worker that there might be an explosion this morning.  After a chest workout, I got up and screamed like Carp as my arm pits were on fire.   When I got done with cardio, I jumped off, glared at an old man, and shaked off my sweat towards him like I was handing him a fresh cup of youth greatness.   Young people own this town.  As I left, I signed autographs, packed the guns away, lit a candle in the parking lot and walked off like Clint in the Unforgiven.  My work was done.   Working out just got a lot more interesting in the A.M..

That’s really all I have tonight.  Listen to some Black Keys if you know what’s good for you.  Their new album arrives in December.  Do your homework.  Start with Attack and Release and Rubber Factory and end with Brothers, their greatest piece of work.

Thanks for reading and goodnight.

-D.L.B.

 

The Weekly Blues

The Buffa Bullet Points, November 8th, 2011-

 Blues Fire Davis Payne-House of Payne closes for business

  • Expected move after mixed start.  The oldest rule in the book calls for the coach to be shoved off the boat first before players.
  • Ken Hitchcock moves in, brings veteran mindset, relationship with Armstrong and Arnott/Langerbrunner.   Suggesting a move that was set up before season started.  Payne’s seat was set to explode if zero progress occured before mid November.  Armstrong had chance to make move with Hitch moving around in Columbus, took the bold step and pulled trigger.  Tough yet not a shocker after Andy Murray was thrown out in 2009.
  • The firing of Payne mirrors the play in front of Halak.   The players don’t play to the level in front of Halak that they do in front of backup Brian Elliot.  The entire team quit playing for Payne.  Accountability my friends is key here.  If the Blues had put forth the effort promised to a hard working head coach like Payne, he is still here today.
  • Payne took the firing like a dose of medicine.  Down the hatch, silent, honorable and with a healthy wager of respect for the team that gave him his first NHL job.   There were no excuses or extended pleas.  Payne handed over the whistle and dry erase board and left the building with his pride intact.  I’ve always like Payne.  He spoke directly to the media on any matter, demanded the best from his team and coached the right way.  When his kids let him down, he didn’t call them out in public.  He benched Oshie in the 3rd game of the year and sat him out last year when he missed a practice.  Payne was a silent warrior and did things the right way.  I hope he gets a job with another NHL team and comes back.
  • Players need to be held accountable next.  In the day after Payne’s firing, they were all reading from the redemption teleprompter, saying all th right things.  I want to see some reaction play.  The biggest irony in sports has coaches going before players.  Easier on payroll.  Switch spots behind bench.   4th coach in six seasons for Blues.  Ugly trend.  Moving chairs continue.  The greatest reminder, unfortunately, for a player is to see the head coach get fired.  They know it happened based directly from the lack of performance they failed to generate.
  • Payne was old school, direct with media and did things his way.   Players didn’t respond and his game ends.  If team makes zero progress in time coach takes the desk, the seat gets hot.   New ownership sped the move up.
  • I agree with Bernie Miklasz’s article where he labels the Blues young talent “little darlings”.  Players like Perron, Oshie, Berglund and ex Blue Erik Johnson, who were set up to be superstars by President John Davidson but have so far disappointed.    The youth talent hasn’t delivered, and the one blessing in Payne firing/Hitchcock’s hiring is that he won’t see them as the golden group anymore.  The kids are just a few players on a team.
  • If this doesn’t rally the team, NOTHING will.   Expect trades and moves. The Blues main problem is inconsistency from game to game in overall performance.   Can Hitchcock change that with a couple hard practices?  We will see.  Mike Keenan was the last coach to not be hired during the season.   Joel Quennville, Mike Kitchen, Andy Murray, Davis Payne and now Hitchcock are in season hires.  Unhealthy trend.  The Blues change head coaches like I change t-shirts.  When things get wet and messy.   It will be interesting to see if the respected veteran Hitchcock(who won a Stanley Cup in 1999 with Brett Hull) can turn things around and straighten out the derailed train here.
  • The things I will look for the next 5 games at home here will be the consistency.   The Blues will come roaring out of the gate to show their new coach they mean business tonight.  However, the main thing to watch are the next 4 games.  Can they keep it up and maintain the tempo?  Will Hitchcock get through to these players?  Payne was optimistic about the team’s chances because after a rough 13 game start, the Blues are now playing 5 at home and enjoying an easy schedule for a couple weeks.  Hitchcock comes in at an opportune time.  In front of the home crowd against the team rival Blackhawks.
  • One good thing about Hitchcock is his new lieutenants will be Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner, who played for him in Dallas.   They will serve as his on ice assistants, notifying Hitch of the loose ends and fatty parts of the team.  If Oshie and Bergie don’t step up their play, look for Hitch and Armstrong to ship them out.   Hitch doesn’t see individual players as gold mines.  He was the coach who forced Brett Hull to play defense and become a more complete player in 1999’s championship run.   Every player will get a healthy look and dose of reality.  That is the one good thing about the move.   All the players are on notice.  After the coach, they come next.
  • I agree with Halak getting the start in net tonight.   He hasn’t played well and his save percentage is horrible, but he needs to have the chance to grasp the starting job.  We all know Elliot can play well, but Halak is the guy with 3 years left on his deal.   The Blues need to press Halak and see what he can bring while the season is still young.
  • Tonight’s game will be played with a heavy heart.   The Blues honor Pavol Demitra and Igor Korolev tonight before the game, honoring the two former Blues who died in the plane crash near Moscow, Russia.   Pavol and Igor played for the KHL hockey team Lokomotiv and perished in the crash.   A letter from Demitra’s wife will be read before the game and I don’t expect a dry eye in Scottrade.  Demitra’s wife and kids won’t be there because after their dad’s death, the kids don’t want to get on a plane.  Now that is truly heart wrenching.
  • Where does this team go from here?  Hopefully up and into the race.  Hitchcock will take no prisoners and demand a high level of play or ticket out of town for the players who fail to measure up.  The trade deadline is a little over 3 months away.

Goodnight Rams and Spags.

  • The Rams played a horrible game on Sunday, losing to the Cardinals 19-13 on an overtime punt return from Arizona returner Patrick Petersen.  The Rams led the game 9-6, 11-6 and 13-6 yet couldn’t score the points to put the Cards away.  This team finds ways to lose and are truly pathetic.  They are 1-7 now and dead men walking.
  • If Payne gets fired after a season and a half of failing to reach expectaions, Steve Spagnuolo has to be next.  In St. Louis, Rams coaches are given the benefit of the doubt for some reason.  Spags must be next to go.  1-7 record in 2011 needs some scrutiny and inspection.  9-33 record in 3 seasons is a ticket out of town.  Why are Rams coaches given the benefit of the doubt while the Blues usher in head coaches like golf caddies?  Mismanagement from above their pay grade.
  • Rams play is plain ugly.  Give away more games than a cheating gambler.  A friend of mine put it best.  The offense is downright offensive.  How many times will a team win a football game without scoring a single touchdown on either side of the ball.  The answer is not very often.  This team has plummeted since the comeback 2010 season and every head is on the chopping block.   Owner Stan Kroneke didn’t buy the team to see it fail miserable.  He will make changes, cut heads and turn this team around.  What owner wants to buy into a franchise where home games will soon be blocked out locally?
  • It’s absolutely hysterical that The Rams could walk into Arizona, a team with a 1-6 record and playing without their starting QB and lose the game and fail to score any touchdowns.  How do you do that and have your head coach not get the ax the following morning?  The fact that Spags has survived 48 hours is amazing.
  • The Rams are beating themselves.  There’s no other excuse for producing such a lackluster performance against a bad team like Arizona, especially after the big win over New Orleans the week before.
  • What is the answer for this team?  Reinforcements and healthy bodies.  Will Mark Clayton ever make it onto the playing field?  Is Danario Alexander done for the year with chronic knee soreness?  Is Sam Bradford 100 percent?  How long before Steven Jackson pulls a muscle?  Losing Danny Amendola hurt the offense.  On Sunday, WR Greg Salas was lost for the season and Lance Kendricks went down.  This team was good enough to compete at the beginning of the season yet looks like a shell of itself now.
  • Sam Bradford needs to unleash hell on the practice field this week.  The kid demands plenty of himself yet doesn’t let it be known to his teammates.  This is his team.  Its great to see Steven Jackson shouting at Roger Saffold but Bradford needs to get loud.  His performance is dictated by how well his offensive line performs and if his receivers catch.  He needs to step it up.  Look at Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady for example.  They don’t accept lackluster efforts.  When Bradford becomes that guy, takes ordinary talent and mixes it with cutthroat leadership, great things will happen.
  • Steven Jackson can’t be faulted.  He has produced back to back big running days and is doing everything he can do to bring this team up to winning ready.   SJ39 is running wild, being consistent, staying healthy and leading his teammates.  You won’t see a louder voice in the locker room.
  • The thing that killed me on Sunday.  With 1 minute and 20 seconds left in the game, the Rams had a chance to kick a 50 yard field goal.   Josh Brown was brought to this team for his big leg, a leg we know well from his Seahawks days.  He should have kicked the ball through the uprights for the winning score.  Spags instead opted for the run on 4th down and Jackson was stopped cold for  a loss.  Why do you always have to run on 4th down?  The defense is stacked to stop the run yet they still do.  Makes zero sense.  Do the play action and dump it to the full back or hit a quick slant.  All a receiver has to do is dart inside the defender and catch a 2 yard pass.   Brown got the opportunity to kick later and had his 42 yard attempt blocked.  Poetic justice for Spags, who should have lost his job for the decision.

Will a St. Louis Sports team other than the Cardinals ever win a championship?  I’m just asking an ordinary question.   Will the closest the Rams or Blues get to a championship party is seeing Tony La Russa bring his title into the dome before a game or into Scottrade for the drop of the puck?  Is that the closest either team will get for the next few years?  As my co-worker Chris Carrara pleaded, “Win one before I die!”   The Blues are winless in over forty years of play in St. Louis.   The Rams won a Super Bowl in 1999 but have sunk far below in the 12 years since.  A legit question is being placed here.  Are the Cardinals all we got? When will the Blues or Rams give something back to us other than supreme disappointment?  The clock is ticking.   It has been for over a decade.

Moving onto other topics-

  • Joe Frazier passed away last night after a long bout with liver cancer.  He was 67 years old and went down like his fighting days.  Resistance and power included.  Frazier was one of the greatest boxers to ever step into a ring.  He was the first guy to officially shut Muhammed Ali up, breaking his jaw and beating him once at the Garden and nearly again in “The Thrilla in Manila”.  Frazier fought in an era when fighters stood in the middle of the ring and traded heavy power punches.  There wasn’t as much hugging and dancing.  Frazier attacked opponents, knocking them to the canvas or landing there himself(as seen in 2 bad fights with George Foreman).   He will forever be connected with Ali because of their three fights.   The Thrilla in Manila included both fighters beating each other raw and bloody, up until the point where Frazier’s eyes were swollen shut and his trainer wouldn’t let him go out for the 15th round.  These guys were tougher than Greek warriors.   They were true boxers and hitters.  Getting hit by Frazier would be like sticking your head between subway cars.  Counter clockwise tilt.  In his later years, he signed many boxing memorabilia, met with fans, put his face out there and stayed in the public eye.  HBO Films did a great piece on the Manila fight.   Frazier left everything in the ring and in the end, he treated life the same way.   You go after life, and not the other way around.
  • Looking forward to Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito getting back into the ring again for the rematch.   The last time Cotto faced him in the ring, his face was bloodied and he was looking at his first loss.   Weeks later, Margarito’s gloves were found to be packed with cement, thus raising the need for a rematch.  Cotto is a proud Puerto Rican boxer and deserved a chance to right a wrong.   Margarito got his face pounded last year by Manny Pacquaio, spoiling his comeback and setting him out of boxing for an entire year.   Now the two men clash again.  Cotto looking for revenge and Margarito searching for his reputation as a brick faced puncher.  They come together on December 3rd and there will be fireworks, plenty of action and a clean decision.   Antonio cheated the first time(denies it with stupidity to this day) and now he has to come back to a close bloody fight with an opponent in Cotto looking to even the score.   This will be interesting.  Pure Good/Bad clashing.
  • Boardwalk Empire continues to amaze on Sundays on HBO.  From Steve Buscemi’s slow boil performance as the center of corruption in Atlantic City, Nucky Thompson, to Terrence Winter’s gritty writing and the outlandish sets, this roaring twenties Gangster epic series simply delivers.    Riding through its second season with ease, Nucky’s old right hand, Jimmy Daherty is coming into his own power and trying to steal back the city from the treasurer/father figure.  Along the way, he is joining forces with Lucky Luciano and Al Capone.   FBI agent Nelson Van Alden(Michael Shannon, all nerves and edge) is struggling to remain professional as he takes care of a child out of wedlock.  There’s sinners, thieves, killers, wounded warriors and women who stick by their men for no rhyme or reason.   Margaret(Kelly McDonald) is the heart of the show, an Irish immigrant who fell for Nucky but finds his sins causing her to question everything she is all about.   Boardwalk Empire entertains zero clear cut heroes or villains.  Don’t forget about Chalky White(Michael Kenneth Williams aka Omar from the Wire), the black pride of the city, fighting off racism in the Ku Klux Clan and rival liqueor dealers in the city.  A show that started as a parable on prohibition has evolved into a story of anti-heroes into watching regular men and women make choices that put their life at risk and cause bloodshed.  This is the Gold Rush where everybody is on their own team.
  • Mizzou is moving to the SEC conference and here is my take.  This is a short term problem but a long term reward.   Moving into the SEC allows better recruiting, more money flow into the program and a better fleet of opponents.  MU doesn’t get to face Kansas anymore but they can build a better team and get better prime time programming.  This is a chance at the big time.  MU loyalists will hate this move at first and so they should.  It is taking away everything they know and love.  Close to the chest is officially gone and the cold comfort of competition lurks around the corner.  For the near future, MU will take a beating.  They will embarrass several fans.  Until QB James Franklin can learn to throw or the MU defense can learn how to tackle(with the body and not just the arms), the scoreboard will be rough.  Gary Pinkel may lose his job or survive to see the light in 3-5 seasons.  Call it what you want but the MU Tigers are playing with the big boys starting next year.  Watch now.  Accept later.  This is worth the risk and emotional leverage of the fan base.
  • Terry Francona interviewed for the Cards managing job today in Cincy and if both sides are seeing eye to eye on the future, the Cards need to lock down Tito as the skipper.  Look no further and make this guy the leader.  Its safe, smart and savvy for the media to play with.  There’s rich history in Francona’s success in Boston.  There’s potential dirt in his September collapse this past season.   It’s all there, so make the deal.  Francona is the perfect fit for this team.  Let’s hope for a deal to get done before I break out of work on Friday.
  • Disturbing fact about the Rams.   They have scored 100 points and allowed 211 points to their opponents.  It equals a 1-7 record.  Painful stats.   For some bad teams, the answers are all in the statistics.
  • J.Edgar Hype builds for this weekend.   The story of the man who redefined justice at any cost and wrapped his powerful hands around the FBI and launched it comes out Friday and it bleeds Oscar potential.   Clint Eastwood directing Leonardo DiCaprio(one of the smartest actors in Hollywood) as J. Edgar Hoover in a movie written by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black(wrote Oscar nominated MILK) and produced by Warner Bros..   What else do you need?  A juicy story.   Hoover’s rise from lawman to the head of the FBI to the typical anti-hero.   This is what award winners are made from.   Everything about this film shines from a distance. Eastwood doesn’t cast a bright light on his subjects.  He makes movies about torn men, bloody history and scarred decision making.  This film will delve into what made Hoover tick, and stick around in the psychologically department.   Rumors about Hoover’s sexual preference will get hints here, as will his wielding stroke of power across the Federal Bureau for 30 years.    November and December mean Oscar bait my friends.  DiCap is the perfect choice because the kid is fearless and has been ever since Martin Scorsese rescued him from career wreckage.  He threw him into Gangs of New York and he has been aces since.  Leo is a master at characters dealing with paranoia, as shown in The Aviator and Shutter Island.  Few actors can capture an audience with nervous tics, mental energy and an exhaustingly great ability to resist overplaying a role.  Eastwood doesn’t waste a dollar or take.   Expect greatness on the screen.
  • If I were Rams Owner Stan Kroenke, I would beg Bill Cowher to come coach here.  Throw a ton of money at him.  Give him control and free rein to get in anybody’s face and send a message.   The Rams have a core built here.  Bradford, Jackson, Long, Quinn, and Amendola when he returns.   I don’t want Josh McDaniels moving into the head coaching spot because we all know how he did in Denver.  Cowher needs to be persuaded.  Pure and simple.  Give this team a pulse.  They need something or else the season goes sour quick.
  • Herman Cain is suspected of sexual harassment.   A politician is charged with doing sexual acts with the wrong parties.  No way….???!!  Why is this news for ears and eyes?  Political suits have been doing bad things for decades and will never change.  People forget because the person is on a television screen that he can do no wrong.  Everyone is fallable.  Of course he denied it.  Cain actually said he hasn’t had sexual interaction with anyone.   Whoa!  Let’s not go there.  I want my leader getting some sexy time before he goes nuts and makes a bad decision based on no bedroom action.
  • DVD Review-Jenna Fisher is the reason to watch Little Help, an ordinary run of the mill recovery story about a widowed mother trying to piece her life back together.   Rob Benedict and Ron Leibman co-star here but the show belongs to Fisher, the St. Louis talent who made a career on NBC’s The Office, but makes a fine showcase here in carrying this indie film.   When her husband dies suddenly, Fisher’s loner is forced to realign her life and reconnect with her son, who wants to call his dad a fireman who died in 9/11 when all his father did was sell real estate.  She also likes to drink and smoke her problems away and only when a malpractice suit comes forward, do she realize things need to be turned around.  There are a few surprises in this film and some small delight, but we have seen it before and the only reason to take a dip her is Fisher.  Great work.
  • The Call of Duty:Modern Warfare 3 game trailer on FOX is awesome.  Big time cool working here.   Watching the clip with Sam Worthington and Jonah Hill killing bad guys and looking cool doing it, you’re waiting for a movie release date only to realize the trailer is for a new video game.   The special effects, action and pace are great but its the match of Worthington and Hill that make this 90 second clip roll smoothly.   Wisecracking macho cool action slick work.
  • The Penn State college football crisis is highly unfortunate.   Legendary head coach Joe Paterno’s career is in jeapardy after his one time defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky is charged with 15 counts of child molestation.  Wow, no one saw this coming.    Paterno’s program looked clean and shiny from a regular point of view, but Sandusky’s arrest this weekend paints a cloudy picture of Penn State and Paterno may lose his job shortly after getting his record setting 409th win.   The main problem is the length at which Sandusky worked for Penn State while committing the acts.   For these acts to go undetected while he was on their payroll is bad business and will shake up the university.  Sometimes, you just don’t know people or you don’t care to look too far within a person.   Sad news for Joe, a coach I carry a lot of respect for.
  • Song of the Day-AC/DC performing “Shoot to Thrill”, a wild classic rocker that can be heard all over the net on trailers and shows.   This band is known for old school hardcore rock, no metal or additional noise required.   This is a song to get the blood and juices flowing in the morning.   Try it out and resist the urge to run a few miles.
  • Second Song of the Day-Florence + The Machine performing “Never Let Me Go”.  A passionate slow moving ballad from her new disc, Ceremonials.   Like her or not, you have to respect Florence Welch’s powerfully deep voice and her songs all boil around the pursuit and relialble hurt of love.   She is a romantic redhead who likes to shout her issues through a microphone so the entire world can hear.   A musician who expresses her own fight through her music and doesn’t hide a bit of her soul.    This is her second album, the last being “Lungs’, a collection of fiery ballad rockers that sting several trips through later.   Listen to this new song and you’ll walk away muttering the lingering anthem of the tune, “Never let me go, never let me go, and it’s over, I’m giving in, never let me go.”
  • If there is one thing I can promise you about parenthood is that worrying becomes a tool in your life.  You worry to resist the most scary set of outcomes for your child.   It’s a real deal.   You worry, worry, and keep worrying over everything.   If we don’t worry, the pain and stress of parenthood’s darkest hour will consume you.   In the first 8 weeks of my kid’s life, he has spent 6 days in intensive care, the rest medicated for SVT(heart rate elevation), suffering from severe reflux and changing formulas and sleeping periods like a time traveller.  All I can tell you is.  It will be the most original and entertainingly stressful ride you will take in life.  Is it worth it?  Yes.  More than worth it IF you are up to the task.

That’s all I have tonight folks.  Thanks for reading, come again and return hungry for more brutally honest news because that’s the only way I know how to bring it.

Goodnight and good luck,

D.L.B.

The Rum Diary Review and More

Here is the news.  Quick and to the point.  I don’t waste any time here telling you what’s good or bad for your eyes.  All I can do is write what I think and send it towards your brain.  Let you decide what stays.  Prepare for a fresh blast of new material.  I call this…the Daily Dose of Buffa.
 
The Rum Diary Review
 

Walking into The Rum Diary, I didn’t know what to expect.  Hunter S. Thompson’s short story adaptation about a writer’s mental manifestation in Puerto Rico with the help of corruption, friendship, rum and bad choices.  Sounded like something that came across better on the page.  However, the Rum Diary is a wild untamed comedic adventure with its soul based in hardcore old school journalism.  The Pursuit of truth and all its friends.   Chasing a story and stopping at nothing to wrap your head around it.   In a modern age featuring the death of newspapers, this 1960s chaotic tale rings a few bells.   Thompson’s genius was set in his ability to take a period of his regular life and turn it into an adventure.    Johnny Depp helped Thompson unearth the Rum Diary in 1998 and immediately became his co-pilot in bringing it to life.  The tale centers around Depp’s NY writer Paul Kemp and his arrival in San Juan, Puerto Rico for a job at a newspaper.   The paper is being buried into the ground by EJ Lotterman(the brilliant Richard Jenkins), a burnt out editor looking for a safe inspiring writer and instead gets Kemp, an alcoholic misfit who has no problem finding trouble and aims to write the next true no bullshit cover story.   Kemp befriends newspaper photographer Bob(Michael Rispoli, reliable as usual) and they start to investigate a local businessman Sanderson(Aaron Eckhart) after he confronts Kemp about writing positive stories about his land deal.   All is fine until Kemp grows a conscience and falls for Sanderson’s fiance’, Channel(Amber Heard, old school sexy).   Soon enough, Kemp is way in over his head, playing with fire, chasing a story no one wants to hear and getting himself and anyone in the same zip code into a lot of trouble. This is a perfect foil for Depp’s understated crazy madness.  Here is an actor who can let go of his comfortable reputation with one scene yet never have to overplay a gig for extended laughs.  Depp makes playing a mad writer in a bad spot look easy and thus the movie is easy on the eyes.  At the heart of it all here is the pursuit of renegade journalism.  All Kemp wants to do is right real honest economy biting columns and hits brick walls of safety until he gets his hands on a corruption case he simply let go of.   The Rum Diary isn’t perfect.  It slows way down at the mid point, goes in 6 different directions and the plot is sometimes hairline.   However, the intent is right there to see.   Thompson wrote these stories by inserting himself into an adventure.  Kemp is an alternate personality of Thompson, who wrote for a paper in San Juan in 1960.  He does what every creative writer with intention strives to do.   Create a fantasy to prove a point.  There’s ton’s of great one liners here that sting.  Staying with Kemp and Bob is Moburg, played with a go for broke rage by Giovanni Ribisi.  Moburg is the writer who says all the things many are afraid to.  Moburg on the existence of GOD.  “This entire way of life started with slavery and the depression and then they handed out GOD like soap.  If the bible is God’s good book, why did he hand a copy to everyone?”   Ribisi, Rispoli and Depp make a hell of a dark comedic team and the entire movie is played off as an extended psychedelic acid trip.   Depp is amazing in keeping things loose and low key and the plot moves just enough to bring us to an end of days climax for journalism and the papers that carries a timely hit for the fall of newspapers.  The Rum Diary sweats hardcore method reporting, dirty notepads, broke down cars, alcohol induced adventures, outlandish behavior disguised as a search for the truth.    Outstanding.  See The Rum Diary if you want something original with a message attached to it.   Write until death finds you.
 
Bob Forsch Dies
A week after throwing out the first pitch at Game 7, Cards pitching great Bob Forsch has died of mysterious causes at his home at the age of 61.   A real sudden shock for a franchise in disarray right after winning the World Series.   Reports have Forsch collapsing, which would lead one to believe from an apparent heart attack.    Whether or not the cause sticks, the loss of Forsch is brutal.   Forsch is the only Cardinal in history to pitch 2 no hitters and finished with 163 wins all time, second on the team’s list.   He threw his second no hitter in 1983, a year after I was born and retired in 1989 so I never got to see him pitch live but I have been told stories about his understated brilliance.   Forsch shut teams down with his mix of offspeed pitches and decent fastball.   A true Hall of Famer who circled the wagon when he threw the first pitch out last Friday before the Cards clinched.   A tough break for the Cards and a sad one for Forsch’s family.  RIP #40.
Update-Forsch died of an anneurism in his upper chest.  
 
Floyd Starts His Games
A week before Manny Pacquiao fights Juan Marquez, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is doing his usual publicity stunt aimed right at Pac Man.   When he fought Antonio Margarito, Floyd made a racist video making fun of Manny’s nationality.  Now, he comes out and says his team is locking down the MGM Grand on May 5th, 2012 for the biggest fight in history.   This comes after 2 years of ducking Manny and his pleas to get into the ring.     Floyd is a trash talking troublemaker, but is this the way to do business.   This is unprofessional, something that has marred my respect for Mayweather Jr.’s skill and unbeaten record.   Floyd has fought old men and unworthy opponents lately, including Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, and Juan Marquez.   The first two guys Manny pounded into submission and ended their careers.   Why is Floyd doing this?  He is masking his fear of fighting Manny straight up.    He must put together this mental game, which won’t have any barring on Pacquiao.   I don’t think Floyd got into Manny’s head before the Margarito fight, when he beat the much bigger Margarito so bad he sent him to the hospital for a broken orbital bone.  Margarito hasn’t fought since.   Manny is destroying his opponents.  You see what I am saying here.   Instead of doing things right, Floyd is going the bully route and pegging Manny as a guy who doesn’t want to fight.  All this time, Manny has wanted to fight Floyd and made it clear.   First, Floyd made this big deal about olympic testing before the fight, to which Manny balked towards at first but eventually agreed to. Floyd walked away and stayed away.   Why?  He is afraid. What other reason is there? Manny is in the best shape of his career and after he pummels Marquez once and for all, Floyd has to be next.   There is too much money on the table for these two to resist each other much longer.  Watching Manny train on HBO’s 24/7, one gets the feeling he is taking this one personally.   Facing the one man who ever gave him a real challenge and finishing him.   I look at this picture and I see a scared man using the media and fans as a shield covering his fear.   When the fight is over on November 12th, Floyd can do the proper thing and have his people at Golden Boy get in touch with Manny’s promoter, Bob Arum.  Will Floyd be willing to put his unbeaten record on the line?  We will see. 
 
Cards Managerial Search Heats up
Names flying across the board all over the past couple of days.   Former Cardinal Joe McEwing, Memphis coach Chris Maloney, and former Cub Ryne Sandberg all got interviews this week.   Today, Terry Francona flies into St. Louis for a meeting with John Mozelaik and Bill DeWitt Jr. to see if he is a fit for this club.   I like the wide range in candidates but I know it will come down to Jose Oquendo and Francona.    Internal or external hopefuls will be cut down.   Sandberg and McEwing are nice thoughts, but hardly real manager material.   What happens?  I still like Francona, and if he expresses real interest today in the job, the Cards need to hire him and keep Theo Epstein from bringing him to Chicago.  You can’t pass up on a veteran winner like Tito unless you are 100 percent sure Oquendo(who I like for it but not my favorite choice after further analysis) is fit for the job.   The Cards don’t need to stretch here.
 
Theo’s Work in Cubs land
The kid is trying to spit shine the misery dwell in Wrigley, but I am still not afraid of this team.   Theo can reformat this team and add players and trade bodies and the Cubs will still continue to lose.   He turned around one curse but turning the Cubs from 71-91 losers into winners is no easy task.    Epstein has been busy lately.  He fired manager Mike Quade, told Sandberg he wasn’t getting the job, flew in Francona,told Aramis Rameriz his services weren’t needed and is looking at Pujols and Prince Fielder as first base candidates.   Good for him.  The Cubs still suck.  The turnaround in Wrigley won’t be as fast as Boston.  Curse me for saying this but I just don’t see it happening.   If he is deeming all these coaches and players unfit for the little bears costume, why is Carlos Zambrano still on the team?
 
The Blues Face a Big Test
Exactly one year after David Perron went down with a concussion that’s kept him from game play since then, the Blues are still a riddle unsolved.   Tons of questions, inconsistent play and trade rumors starting in early November.  The preseason anthem is clear.  Don’t stop believing indeed.   Who knows when this team will be dominant again?   Please don’t cry to me about Andy McDonald being hurt.   The additions of Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner were supposed to shore up the lack of veteran depth on this team.    The Cards were dealt a stiff blow in spring training when Adam Wainwright went down.   Jaroslav Halak, luck withstanding, hasn’t played good enough.  He is slow and struggles to defend rebounds.   Backup Brian Elliot already has a fan page and better results in nearly the same amount of playing time.   Trouble exists on every corner and while the Blues are 5-6 overall, there seems to be a shadow of doubt around this team.  No one is safe.   Head coach Davis Payne is on the hot seat in his second full season.   T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund are having disappointing years after signing new contracts.   Ben Bishop and Ian Cole are expendable.  The next 10 games before the year starts its closing cermonies are huge for the Blues.   If the inconsistent play continues and they only win 4-5 games, change is coming.  Any logical fan can see this.   See something not working and try to fix it.  The same process is happening at the Edward Jones Dome with the Rams.   The Rebuilding phase isn’t pretty, especially when the team struggles past the point where the phase was complete.  The Blues need to win and do it quick.   It’s early in hockey town and the Blues have a pulse, but what else do they have in store before the New Year?  Either they are gelling or look different come 2012.   On January 2nd, 2010, Andy Murray was fired in the middle of a disappointing season.  Does the House Payne await the same fate?
 
Smaller Things-
*The Lokomotiv hockey team crash in Russia comes at the hands of a pilot error.   Moments before takeoff, the pilot accidentally pressed on the brakes, keeping the plane from gaining enough and speed for takeoff.   The plane derailed and crashed.  Horrible news for the hockey world.  It wasn’t a twist of fate yet only a mistake on one man’s part.  He not only put himself in danger but took 41 other souls with him to the ground.   Bad moment or lingering issue?  Answers will come soon.   The Blues honor the fallen former Blues players Pavol Demitra and Igor Koralev on November 8th. 
 
*At this stage in fatherhood, Vinny is basically a little drunk.   He shits in his pants, throws up over his family, pisses at random, always has the munchies and cries a lot afterwards.  Little drunk stage here at 7 weeks.   He is so adorable that you can’t manage to get mad at him.   It’s impossible.  He is throwing up due to reflux and it comes in heavy amounts all over us, the couch, floor and moving objects.  He is a reckless little man and the hardest deal here is trying to keep him calm after an incident.  The kid has stronger lungs than Mariah Carey.   Parenthood works over you one day at a time.
 
*It’s a good sign to let Rafael Furcal wait while the Cards find a manager, deal with Albert and breathe slightly, but GM John Mozelaik needs to wrap the SS spot up.  Find out what he wants and see where his agent stands.   Furcal isn’t a guy we can’t win without, but he brought something to this team(high caliber defense, occasional pop) and if he is in the right price range, you strike.  Shortstop is too important of a position.  At this point, the Cards have to be keeping a portion of the payroll put aside for potential Albert money. 
 
*Chris Carpenter practiced with the Blues yesterday.   Carp was an all state defenseman in high school, stands tall and mean at 6 foot 5 inches, and has to be a mighty presence on the ice.   It’s cool to see the STL teams having some fun together.   We all know Carp got to move around on the ice and at any given moment a Blues player could take him off his feet, but can you imagine the big Ace throwing down in a brawl.   I’d pay to see it.  Can he sign a waiver and play defense for a few games? Come on.
 
*What’s next at the movies?  For now, nothing.   Paranormal Activity 3 and Ides of March have to wait as I don’t like to spend too much time away from the kid.   Picking movies is a cracked apart science I am still working on, but I hit the theaters once every 2 weeks.  That’s where Blockbuster comes into play.  Staying home is the number 1 option when it comes to being in control of a human. 
 
*If the Rams lose on Sunday, they may not be worth watching for a while.   Losing to a 1-6 team without their starting quarterback and a dismal offensive line to begin with paints a sad picture here.   While it won’t mean much in catching San Francisco, this weekend’s game is huge.   If Bradford starts, we HAVE to win.  No excuses now that the schedule has gone soft.
 
*Song of the Day-Bon Iver performing “Blood Bank”.  Copy and paste it into youtube and enjoy. A somber Friday ride home tune that’s just right for a soul in need of rest. 
 
*Last Thought.  Brothers and sisters are important.   Parents are the makers and the keepers until a certain age, but siblings are the connective tissue as we get older and more distant.   I don’t get to see my brother a lot and it hurts more than one can imagine.   No detail needed.   All I am saying is if you have a brother or sister, don’t ever stop trying to keep the bond alive.   They are your blood and the last line of defense.  
 
It’s time to follow my own rules here.  Shut it down.  Get away.   Go outside and do something useful or at least try.   Thanks for reading.  Eyes are always appreciated.
 
Goodnight,
 
D.L.B.