Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The war for more

The finals match the second-best team in the second-best division of the East with the best team in the best division of the West. And I'll tread no deeper into that water, because although I did count the total match points scored by each conference, I got the confusing sum of 40 vs. 39.5, and I don't know how that happens unless somebody was penalized for cheating, or something. On the other hand, I would find such a thing preferable to what they do in the National Hockey League, where there are, on average, more than two points (note to anyone who has never followed the NHL: traditionally, a win has been worth two points in the standings, and a tie one point, possibly because in pre-computer days not every newspaper could print "1/2" without difficulty or ugliness. In fact, I seem to face the problem even today on this very blog) awarded per game, because, as of a few seasons ago, or maybe a lot of seasons by now (time flies, and it's been flying for a long time, and I've pretty much lost all track of it), teams that lose in overtime still get a point in the standings, while the other side gets two points. Does this encourage, say, two teams locked in a tie late in the game, to try to postpone the decision till overtime? Well, it might, if hockey players are anything like sumo wrestlers. I was just reading "Freakonomics" (a non-fiction bestseller from 2005 by Dubner [a writer] and Levitt [an economist. Or maybe vice-versa]), and it reports that in the Japanese sumo league, wrestlers who finish the season at less than 50% are relegated to a lower division, and not only will they make far less money then than in the top league, but they also have to help bathe the top wrestlers, especially in washing their difficult-to-reach parts (by the way [hereafter "btw"], no homosexual demimonde double meaning is implied by my use of the word "top" in the preceding, any more than a higher-than-average incidence of homosexuality among sumo wrestlers is), and that, in season-ending matches between 7-7 records and 8-6 records, the 7-7's, on the cusp of relegation, score an amazingly high percentage of victories (which ought to make even clearer the fact that homosexuality among sumo wrestlers is no higher than the norm, and may in fact be lower. Btw, I don't believe that references to a particular famous Seinfeld episode are now so stale that they're fresh, so I'm not going to make one).

Contrary to my prediction of a couple of weeks, ago, "selfie" beat out "twerk" for Word of the Year. At least, according to the Oxford dictionary, it did. I don't know if they are the Rose Bowl* of WotY deciders, or if they're just first, in which case, they're the Blockbuster Bowl, or something. One article reports that "the most likely theory about the origin of (twerk) is that it is an alteration of work". If that is the general perception, then I am less surprised by Oxford's choice than I'd be if the more pungent portmanteau theory were the favorite one.

On to the match. I'll let the jumble speak. As usual, clicking on it makes it bigger.

* asterisked because I think I've overdone parentheticals today. Anyway, in the days before there was only one game that mattered at all, the Rose Bowl was hyped each year as the "granddaddy of them all".

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Semi Stuff

So, all those bets as to whether chess or the rubber duckie would be sooner named to the toy hall of fame go down as a push. Still, the news did make for a bit of excitement this week that ought to mollify those who have complained that the current world championship match has been too dull and not apt to create the boom for chess many felt was promised by the matchup between an Indian and a Norwegian, or a twenty-something and a forty-something, or a guy who wears glasses and one who doesn't. Also the US Chess League made the NY Times, though that was not a first. But this particular column announced the season's MVP winner, which rather implies that the fact that the league itself is a big deal is a given.

By the way, I was perhaps a bit snide in titling last week's blog entry "the real regular season". Really, the league is to be congratulated for its down-to-earth terminology for the several rounds of the postseason (i.e., quarterfinals, semifinals, finals), rather than the hyperbolic (but tempting) alternative "division finals, conference finals, league finals".

Miami vs. San Francisco:

Maybe I should be kind, as I was last week, and list the jumbled entries again outside the cartoons. But that denotes failure as an artist. Anyway, if you click the area, they seem legible enough on blowing up. I do admit this one limps a little bit, but if someone has been playing in the USCL since these jumbles began and has not been a subject yet, that indicates a certain difficulty. There can be the too easy problem as well, but this is not that. Returning to my prognosticatory roots, San Francisco by one.

New England vs. New York:

New York, also by 2.5-1.5.

In both, all the jumbled words have one and only one valid anagram as recognized by the anagram server at wordsmith.org. That is a guarantee, or I will give your time back.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A lesson in perspective

I lost a quarter the other day, falling out of my trouser leg. I had a vague sense that an unusually high number of coins tended to fall out of these pants pockets, but though I had looked, I had not noticed an actual hole in either front pocket, so I figured it was just bad luck. I have since discovered the design flaw: a hole at the top of the inner pocket, seemingly meant to be there, perhaps to enable one to straighten out one's underwear discreetly, but also forcing one to pocket ones coins a bit more deliberately. In any case, a group of tennish kids happened to be walking up the other way at that moment, and one girl among them told another "Jenny (or something), you dropped a coin". Jenny bent and picked it up, met my glance, and gave sort of a shrug that said "I know it's your quarter, but what can I do, my friend told me I dropped it". So what was I supposed to do, fight with a ten-year-old over a quarter? Anyway, the dime I found on the opposite sidewalk across that street bought more then than a quarter buys today.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The REAL regular season

I don't think "twerk" can be beaten at this point for Word of the Year, but "selfie" seems like a likely top ten, if it has not in fact already appeared on the list. Btw, I only recently learned that "twerk" was a portmanteau, but I'm now ready for the next "Jeoportmanteau" category on Jeopardy. Anyway, this is just to show that I am working in a new studio these days, which stays open later than the old one.

Connecticut vs. New England:

I knew I wasn't going to be able to commit to doing something every week for ten weeks, but I did almost do a preseason prediction, but I must have run out of time, or something. I seem to recall liking Connecticut in the East. I still do. Let's say by 2.5-1.5.

That's FEYLAD, FUELIT, ITLAGS, and NOTHYP. I entered one box sideways to try to beat the scanner's smart features, though I ended up borrowing a friend's scanner and had no such problems. I did have a different annoying problem when googling and yahooing for possible phrases. I don't mind the "did you mean ....?", because sometimes I do mean "....", but here, it didn't even ASK if I meant something else, it just TOOK FOR GRANTED that I did, and didn't even give me the OPTION of searching for the phrase that I ACTUALLY TYPED and MEANT to type.

Los Angeles vs. San Francisco:

I don't remember for sure who I was favoring in the West this year, or even if I got that far, but if I did, I think they are not around anymore. Anyway, San Francisco by 3-1.


Dallas vs. Miami:

INGAME*, THESEE, THEROX*, AMINES*. To explain the *s: In the case of INGAME, it is to acknowledge that there are at least two perfectly valid answers, but I figured since every single letter gets used in the final solution, it didn't matter that much. In the case of the other two, I think I had gotten confused about why I inserted the first asterisk, and did it because every letter was being used again. I do not mean to insult anybody's intelligence, but I figure the final answer is long enough that you deserved a break. Dallas by 2.5-1.5.

New York vs. Manhattan:

CALKJA, DUNLAP, USAENA, COOTLE. In the cold light of inebriation, this one is pretty strained. Also, I felt a bit of deja vu drawing this guy, but if I have in fact done him before, I am 99%+ confident the joke/pun/wordplay is different this time. New York by 3-1.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

I don't have time even to mail it in this week

(Original title: Something with "fucking", from 11/9, give or take a day. I'm combining all the NFL stuff into two posts, as an anti-clutter move. Two rather than one, because 26 people seem to have stumbled onto the Buffett vs. Gladwell entry, so I will let that stand as is, for the benefit of all who ponder the great questions.)

While browsing the used book racks at the Strand, I noticed a book called "The Shadow Knows", by a Diane Johnson, on the chance that it was about the pulp and radio hero Kent Allard/Lamont Cranston (before my time admittedly but I'm into that sort of thing) and on the inside cover was the signature "Daphne Merkin". The name rang a bell, and I wondered if I should pay the two bucks for it (even though the book, as it turned out, had nothing to do with that Shadow),just for the sake of the autograph. The foolishness or sagacity of the decision, though, depended on who Daphne Merkin actually was, and I had a feeling that if in fact it was not just my imagination and that I had in fact heard of her before, she was probably someone of the reviews-books-in-the-Times-or-some-such-no-apologies-necessary-impressive-in-its-own-right-but-let's-face-it-who-cares? type of fame, and in that case I would think about the cup of coffee I could have bought instead, especially since at this point in my life, one more book that takes up space and that I will probably have to junk anyway if I am forced to move out within three days, which seems increasingly likely, seems even more dispensable than usually. Anyway, having looked her up, I would say my hunch was correct, although she was the subject of a Susie Bright piece titled "Daphne Merkin Needs to Get Spanked Again" a few years ago, which would certainly have made good scrapbook material back in the offline days, especially if you don't bother to read the article, which is rather unflattering.

I had actually planned to put a bit of thought into these picks but I'm tired now and it's very late, so I won't. Once again, this idea of picking all the times was inspired by Larry Merchant's book about the betting side of the game, written in 1973. I thought that to persist with it all season long would be a real demonstration of maturity, but I have decided now that it takes even more maturity to abort a project that your heart and brain were never really in. So I'll take the raiders, TITANS, eagles, bills, COLTS, seahawks bengal, BEARS, 49ers, CARDINALS, broncos, cowboys and dolphins +7, -12.5, +1 (major, major line shift from the PACK to the eagles. I wonder what that's about?)+3, -9.5, -5, -1.5, pick, 6, 2.5, 7, 6.5, and 2.5.

Best bet--Don't commit to things you're not into. Also, this is the end, at least until the post season, which I really should be seeded into. Really tired, time for bed. Also, I will condense, I think, all the NFL posts into one. I'd delete them all but I don't want to seem to be trying to change the past. Also, when I combine, I will not leave this obscene title up, but for now it just expresses my mood so well.

...so I am picking all teams whose nicknames ("Giants", "Vikings") precede those of their opponents alphabetically, as long as the alphabetically-firsts are not favored by more than 2.5, in which case I pick the other side. Even the time it cost me to post this is hard to justify, but I am just that diligent about this blog. Just for the record, I am passing on any games that may already have happened, even though I have no idea of the outcome.

I'll sleep on the title (10/20/13)

Just some random crap to fill space till I get down to business....

All the free rice I have earned for the world on "freerice", and I still have to pay for rice at the supermarket.

I wasn't feeling it with this week's New Yorker cartoon caption contest. Also, I expect to be nominated for last week's, so why waste any brain cells?

On a strictly local note, if Marble Hill is in Manhattan, then the World Trade Center is in the Hudson River. But after all, we're all Pangaeans.

Relatedly, I resent having to scroll down to "New York" on web registration pages. Why isn't New York at the top, the way USA is often atop the nations list? Also, scroll down to 1965? Sorry, I'm not as young as I used to be.

I used to exult in my maleness because I could do both the patrilineal and the matrilineal test on the Genographic project. But now that I can do the 2.0 test for 2.0 x the $, I am exulting 2.0 x as much.

I had a cold last week. It went like this: Day 1-- Sore throat. Day 2-- Sorer throat, nose running like a faucet by end day. Day 3-- Nose still running hard, sneezing some. Day 4--Throat not sore at all, not sneezing, but occasional cough. Days 5, 6, 7 (I think; losing track now)-- Just mucus, phlegm to expel from time to time. No feeling of sickness otherwise. I worked throughout. Had to. Might as well earn money while feeling miserable. To treat the cold, I drank tea with lemon instead of coffee. Coffee tastes bad when I am sick. Tea with lemon (and milk), great. Speaking of coffee, I make buy/don't buy decisions based on this consideration--would I rather have this book (say), or half a cup (say) of coffee? So I bought more books than usual last week.

In case you don't know (and why would you?), I work on top of one of those tour buses. So I am in touch with the streets. So here is the word on the street today: hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare.

The greatest invention of my life has been the autosave feature, such as the one on blogger.com .

When I cared about sports, my favorite sports columnist was Red Smith. Now that I don't, it's Phil Mushnick. Ok, on with business:

Seattle*, ne, sd (it takes more to impress me than beating a 28 point spread, Jags), DETROIT, buffalo, chicago, dallas, st. l, tb, tenn, KC (why only -6?), cleveland, baltimore, denver, minnesota (I could see pick 'em, maybe, but Giants favored?), -6.5, -3.5, -7.5, -2.5, +8, pick, +3, +6, +7, +4, -6, +10, +1.5, -6.5, +3.5.

Best bet: If you want to go out shoplifting, make sure you leave your dead baby at home.

* Ok, I see before posting that it has been played already, and Seattle won/covered, so I won't count it. But I would have been right.

P.S. I am right now fixing up the Sunday NY Times "KenKen", which I have screwed up, because I hate to leave it half-done, but this will be the last one I do in my life (solve, that is, not create. I have not and will not ever create one).

Friday, October 25, 2013

Warren Buffett vs. Malcolm Gladwell

I read Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink" recently. It was ok. Nothing earth-shaking, but an easy read, at least (though there is one embarrassing section where Gladwell reports that among a certain niche group there is a niche word called "giss", meaning "essence", and it's extremely obvious that the word is "gist" and Gladwell simply misheard. It is quite sad that his editor failed to pick that up). I realize Gladwell has written other best-sellers, and has a new book out as well, but I'm not someone who needs to be reading the latest. Anyway, the reason I mention it is because I am also reading a book called "The Oracle Speaks (Warren Buffett in His Words)" and Gladwell and Buffett disagree about something quite starkly. Here is Buffett talking in 2011:

One thing that people don't understand that makes (colas) worth tens of billions of dollars is one simple fact....Cola has no taste memory. You can drink one of these at nine o'clock, eleven o'clock, three o'clock, five o'clock--the one at five o'clock will taste just as good to you as the one you drank earlier in the morning. You can't do that with cream soda, root beer, orange, grape--you name it. All of those things accumulate on you. You get sick of them after a while....And that means that you get people around the world that are heavy users, that will drink five a day or with Diet Coke maybe seven or eight a day".

I don't have the Gladwell in front of me, but one section dealt with the 1980's conflict between Coke and Pepsi. Pepsi had some tv ads featuring purportedly blind taste tests, where the tester was always a lifelong Coke drinker who finds he prefers Pepsi. Then in 1985, Coca-Cola introduces "New Coke", which was sweeter and flatter and really quite disgusting, but apparently Coke execs had conducted their own taste tests, and found that people really did prefer Pepsi. Anyway, Pepsi tried to make hay from it with their president/CEO/whatever authoring a book called "The Other Guy Blinked (How Pepsi Won the Cola Wars)". They had not, in fact, won, but it was nonetheless a pretty memorable self-humiliation on Coca-Cola's part. No one wanted New Coke, so they first brought back the old thing that they branded "Classic Coke", selling both side by side, and eventually simply gave up on New Coke, and Classic Coke became plain old Coke again. The lesson from all this, per Gladwell's book, was that Pepsi DID in fact taste better to people, because sweeter, on one sip or one can BUT that people were LESS likely to want to drink can after can of it, because one gets sick of it faster.

So who is right?

I am not going to whine about my entry in the New Yorker cartoon caption contest a couple of weeks back not being a finalist. There is this dilemma: if you're too subtle, you're less likely to be nominated, since the guy has to wade through about 1200, as I understand the number is, submissions each week. But if you're too blunt, that may cost you in the public vote among the final three. Or maybe not. I offer this as evidence (this link will become dated, but if you are coming along later and you are that interested, it is contest #397, September 30, 2013).

The first prize winner is barely a joke at all. The public did properly place the other two, relative to each other, but how was third place even nominated? The cartoon clearly shows the LEFTY speaking, and he is obviously the one who will be sent to bat, because the Grim Reaper is depicted as a righty. So it makes no sense for the guy who is going to bat to be telling the guy who isn't going to bat what to watch out for.

Opening the sports section of the NY Daily News, preparatory to mailing in this week's picks, I see a young-looking writer called Stefan Bondy. I'm guessing he's Filip Bondy's son. Filip is the most famous sports writer I've ever met, because he was sent to cover the Kasparov-Karpov match at the Hudson Theatre/Hotel Macklowe in 1990, and because the Joel Sherman who writes for the NY Post is not the same Joel Sherman as the Scrabble champ who used to play chess. I'm not going anywhere with this, but I wanted to work in at least a mention of chess, it being what brought me here. Anyway:

Panthers-BUCS: not going to pick, because not only has the game been played already, but I even heard who won, and though it has slipped from my conscious memory, it may yet linger in my unconscious. jets +6.5 over BENGALS. Because Nugent is due to miss an extra point. NINERS -16.5 over jags. The Jags look like one of the worst teams of my lifetime. LIONS -3 over Dallas. Because the Cowboys are Christians, for the most part. EAGLES -6 over giants. CHIEFS -7 over Browns. I wouldn't lay 7.5, though. Bills and 12 over the SAINTS. PATS -6.5 over Miami, because a legit fave at home ought to be able to manage a touchdown victory. RAIDERS and 3 over pittsburgh. The steel curtain is rusting. DENVER -12.5 over the skins. Wow, they're averaging about 42 ppg. falcs +2.5 over the CARDS, packers -9 over MINNESOTA. Last week's Vikings-Giants is the only game I have seen ten minutes of this year, and the Vikes really did not impress. RAMS and 11 over the SEAHAWKS.

Best Bet: Don't consult Warren Buffett for football betting advice. He seems to be all about the long term, and that doesn't really apply to a football game.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Do I really have to do this?

I hope to not be so unenthusiastic next week, but today I am sick (a cold) and have yet to watch an NFL game this season. I am actually excited about the baseball season about to start. I will make it quicker than usual: KC, TB, BALTIMORE, CLEVELAND, MINNESOTA, St. Louis, JETS, BUFFALO, Tennessee, DENVER, Arizona, Saints, DALLAS, and INDIANAPOLIS -8.5, +2.5, +3, +2.5, -2, +7.5, -1, +6.5, +13.5, -27 (how much is that in chess terms?), +10.5, -2, -5.5, -1.5. I saw a bit of the "Broadway Bomb" skateboard thing today as my bus was going through Soho. Seemed like a fun event. If NYC Marathoners would simply shout "yeaaaaaah! NYC Marathon!" at the spectators as they race through the boroughs, I might warm up to that, too. I do wonder whether the backpacks most of them today wore really helped their aerodynamism, though. Anyway, maybe I'll say more next time, though it probably depends on how much of this cold lingers.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Turn off, tune out, matriculate

First of all, I am a bit reluctant to do this today. When I'm no longer smart, people may just throw me out like yesterday's bald Irish pop star (I'd have said "pop tart", but that may be an anachronism). Also, I have just been indulging in performance-diminishing drugs. Leaving the bar, a girl told me "have a nice night". It seemed like a funny thing to wish someone at 4:30 am but I've been doing my best ever since to make her wish come true. By the way, I was riding a crowded bus last night when I sensed that the guy next to me was sort of shrinking from me. I had been reading a book by Gay Talese, but the way I was holding it, I guess it might have looked like "Gay Tales" (although the cover was a manly shade of blue. Almost excessively, in fact). By the way, a friendly acquaintance at the bar had (until recently) not been at the bar for a year or so. He is the cheerful sort who always sees the glass as half full. Unfortunately, he got a bad rep by finishing all the half-full glasses around the bar, because sometimes the orderers of those drinks were simply away from their places for a moment. I have once or twice made some apologetic comment for the lack of formatting (mostly paragraphing) in some of my blog posts. I have not yet apologized (so let me do so now) for not keeping an up-to-date record of my record. I think, though, it's time just to accept that I will never get around to fixing the majority of such loose ends. Open letter to God: My papers aren't in order. Sorry. Sure hope you can sort of everything out when I'm dead. Gonna do the rest fast: BROWNS, Eagles, TITANS, DOLPHINS, Jaguars (worst bet), Patriots, Seahawks, Lions, Saints, Panthers, RAIDERS, Broncos, NINERS, Jets, at -4, +2, +3, -3, +11.5, + 1.5, -2.5, +7, pick, -2, +4.5, -7, -7, (I decided a while ago I liked the Oxford comma) and +9.5.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Has this ever happened to you?

A note to begin: this post isn't done yet but I am putting it up now for reasons explained below. Last night, somebody said something I thought was pretty clever. So I said, "I wish I'd said that". Then, I either woke up, or shifted into a slightly more conscious phase of sleep, and realized it was only a dream, and so I could, therefore, take credit for the bon mot myself, and no one would ever be wise to my plagiary. Then, I woke up some more, or shifted into a still more conscious phase of sleep, and realized the comment wasn't clever at all, and in fact barely even made sense. There may be more "poor girl with a dog"s on the sidewalks of Manhattan these days than there are Elmos in Times Square. Anyway, one of them today asked me to watch her dog while she went into the Strand to buy some books, and I said ok. She had a cart full of plastic bags, as if she were carrying all her belongings in it, and her face was dirty, but not in a real-seeming way. It looked as though she had applied dirt to her face while holding her makeup mirror this morning. And I don't think she smelled bad, though I do try not to take in any more NYC aroma than is necessary to keep the lungs going. Anyway, she was nice enough, and even offered to buy me a coffee afterward. Another girl came out while I was watching, and said that dogs are allowed inside. But I suspect that she really wanted to use the bathroom or something, because it never takes more than five minutes to get on line* and pay. Maybe I should have accepted, but I would have felt worse then about blogging about it afterward. Anyway, I'm not noticing a point to this story, so to try to make one I'll suggest that maybe the dressed-only-in-body-paint girls in Times Square may prefer other angles as the weather becomes cooler. I entered the New Yorker cartoon caption contest this week for the first time in a while. I have a feeling that it's very hard to get nominated a finalist more than once, so I hope they don't nominate mine unless it's clearly better than the other two. "The Mysterious J" was an occasional anonymous contributor to longtime New York Post basketball writer Peter Vecsey's column. I have not seen the name, though, in Vecsey's column in years now, and perhaps decades, though "column castigator Frank Drucker" is still going strong. In any case, that pseud is most apposite for my own purposes, so I am going to appropriate it. My own Mysterious J makes it difficult for me to keep up closely with the NFL season (English and Euro soccer, different story), though I have other things keeping me from it as well, I confess. In any case, I am phoning it in this week. I will continue my policy of picking all the games I don't know the outcome of, even if they've been played already, just to give myself more practice for when I start laying the big money. This bar is about to close, so I will post my pick for last Thursday's game lest I get spoiled when I look at Friday's paper to pick Sunday's games. When I post those picks, at home, I will edit this paragraph so it isn't so weird. Though to anyone who reads this, you won't see the paragraphs anyway because I still don't know how to paragraph without any fuss, or maybe I just don't remember. Anyway, ST. LOUIS getting three from the Niners, because the Niners really don't seem like road fave material anymore. Also, the division they are in doesn't remotely resemble what it looked like the last time I paid attention. CHIEFS giving four to the Giants. I guess the Giants are thought to be "due". I say if you're due today, chances are you'll be dour tomorrow. Let's put a sawbuck on that one (again, to be settled later, on the honor system). TENNESSEE giving 3.5 to the Jets. Tennessee's passing stats are unimpressive, yet no interceptions. I'm guessing the ball has just been slippery so far. Vikings getting three from Pittsburgh, in London. Because their latitudinal difference is smaller. BILLS getting three from the Ravens, without enthusiasm. BROWNS getting four from the Bengals, Colts giving eight to the JAGS, Seattle giving 2.5 to the TEXANS, Cards and 2.5 from the BUCS, DETROIT giving three to the Bears, CHARGERS getting two from the Cowboys, Redskins giving three to OAKLAND, BRONCOS giving 10.5 to the Eagles, Pats getting two from the FALCONS, Miami getting 6.5 from the SAINTS on MOnday. Why bother to think about anything else? Just put all your betting money against the Giants. But ok, just to conform *"Get on line" vs. "get in line" is supposedly one of those giveaways as to what part of the country you are or aren't from. "On line" is supposed to be the New York way, but I made my own choice consciously, though I do realize its problems. "On line" is more grammatical with a "the" inserted, and these days of course, "online" has a meaning it didn't in the old days. On the other hand, "get in line", to me, makes sense as a command to a group, but not to an individual. The line, as a formation, requires the participation of others; one can not get "in line" on his own. "Get in the line" might work, but then it sounds like you are cutting someone, while "get on the line" implies you are joining at the end. I think I will say "get on the line" from now on. Dollar-slice pizza emporia: Famous Two Bros on 40th and Ninth (they have numerous locations, but I don't assume the quality is the same at all. Maybe the oven is different, maybe the workers vary in skill. SIxth Avenue just above 14th Street. Not very good. I appreciate hard (will add to and edit this part later but just gonna leave it hanging for now. Got to go finish the NFL stuff), ok picks are done but I still am going to edit later, but not, probably, till after everyone is done.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Jack Kerouac wrote "On the Road" on the back of a CVS receipt

Ok, it seems there are thirty-two teams in the NFL. Isn't that an awful lot? That's two more than the number of companies that constitute the Dow Jones index. Maybe I'll pick that instead next year. Anyway, I picked only fifteen games the first two weeks, and my record is now 17-12-1; 1-0 on Best Bets. Thursday (yesterday, as I write this): Chiefs getting three from the EAGLES. Not a confident pick, as I like the Eagles (in a bettor's way), and KC did not overwhelm the Cowboys last week. They may in fact have won due only to Dallas's losing two fumbles. But maybe those fumbles weren't accidental, and three points isn't nothing. Ok, it's Saturday night now, and I am 1-0 already. I don't have many stats in front of me, and I'm pretty stat-reliant since I never watch any games, so I will keep it pretty spare. PANTHERS giving one to the Giants, unless the Giants are better than their record, and I don't think they are. JETS giving two to the Bills, because I just learned that Met Life Stadium is where the Jets play. Rams getting four from the COWBOYS, because I'm just not that patriotic. RAVENS getting 2.5 from the Texans, because a road fave needs respect from the refs, and I don't think Houston is there yet. Cards getting 7.5 from the SAINTS, because a TD is only seven, as a rule. Lions getting 1.5 from the SKINS, because why should an 0-2 be the favorite? SEAHAWKS giving 19 to the Jags, because how often can you give 19 in a pro game? Raiders getting 15 from the BRONCOS. 15? Come on, this is the NFL. Also, Chargers getting three from the TITANS, VIKINGS giving six to the Browns, Bucs getting seven from the PATS, BENGALS getting 2.5 from the Pack, DOLPHINS giving two to the Falcons, Colts getting 10.5 from the NINERS, Bears giving 2.5 to the STEELERS. BEST BET: Put not your trust in prognosticators.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Are there any jobs out there in the paragraphing field?

First of all, I have learned how to paragraph. I am leaving the title from Week One alone for the sake of historical truth, but have inserted paragraphs for the sake of readability. My W-L-T record after one week is 8-6-1.

Thursday's game: The Jets getting 11.5 over the PATS. Do I need to justify? Well, ok. The Patriots won last week, but barely. The Jets barely last week, but won. Shane Vereen is out. I don't see this as DD spreadworthy.

EAGLES giving 7.5 to San Diego. The Eagles have some weapons. The Chargers offensive stats from last week fail to impress, aside from the touchdowns. The end zone just happened to be in a lucky place.

RAVENS giving 6.5 to the Browns, who did not impress last week. One could argue that neither did the Ravens, but one can always argue.

Tennessee getting nine from the TEXANS. They only surrendered nine last week, so why should they lose by nine.

COLTS giving 2.5 to Miami.

Carolina giving three to the BILLS. Neither impressed in Week One, but Carolina faced a tough defensive team, from what I read. And it seems as if they could have gained more yards if only they'd gotten more plays.

ATLANTA giving 6.5 to St. Louis. Because it's less than a touchdown.

GREEN BAY giving 7.5 to the Skins, because GB got screwed by the refs (I read), but you can't blame the refs for four interceptions.

CHIEFS giving three to Dallas. Defense really does win football games, because unlike in baseball, you can score on defense.

Vikings getting six from the BEARS, because I think interceptions will be down from last week. More contrast between the teams' uniforms.

ARIZONA getting one from Detroit, because a slight home dog ought to win sometimes, and if Detroit still plays in that weird dome they used to, they probably have a larger-than-average home field edge.

Saints giving three to the BUCS. Tampa looks anemic, and three isn't much.

OAKLAND giving six to the Jags, because all I have are box scores and stats.

Denver giving 4.5 to the GIANTS. The Giants lost a big runner, and it looks like they need him.

San Francisco getting three from SEATTLE. Kaepernick is just a genius.

If I need to give a source for the spread, it is thespread.com and another site which I accidentally closed halfway through and don't remember any longer. Also, I will venture one best bet this week: Oakland. On them, I wager the sum of five dollars. This is not an imaginary bet, but it is with a bookie to be named later, on the honor system. Also, just in case "five dollars" happens to mean something special in gambler code, I will specify that I am talking about the green US currency note with Abe Lincoln's face on it.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Why is it so fucking hard to paragraph

Let me start with the postscript: I had almost all of this typed last (Saturday) night when my brand-new, less-than-two-hours old Acer chromebook quit working entirely--ctrl-alt-del did nothing, turning it off did nothing, closing the screen, pulling the plug, ditto, ditto. I suspect I should have spent the extra fifty to get the same thing by Samsung, especially as I previously owned an Acer that stopped working forever when the cat walked across the keyboard. I wanted to try removing and replacing the battery, but I was at a bar and somehow there was not a paper clip to be found in the whole establishment. Today, after the battery ran down and out, it did open ok and, saints (as below) be praised, my work was even saved.

Alright*, a new USCL season has arrived and here I am not having written anything two weeks in. I will try to make the best of it and write about football instead, partly in order to force myself back into the groove. I think in fact that I am completely off the vinyl disc. Here is what I (more or less) know about the National Football League (hereafter "NFL") today:

Eli Manning plays quarterback for the NY Giants.

Aaron Thompson plays quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, who won a Super Bowl in recent memory.

Drew Brees plays quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, who get paid for injuring opposing players, and who also won the Super Bowl in fairly recent memory.

Peyton Manning, Eli's older brother, plays quarterback for the Denver Broncos.

Aaron Hernandez has recently played tight end for the New England Patriots, but appears now to be a serial murderer, so his NFL future is iffy. Also, Tom Brady is the team's quarterback, and his wife makes more money than he does, and Bill Belichick, who cheats, is the head coach, and there is some media term relating to the team that is even more sick-making than "Red Sox Nation", but, saints (small i) be praised, it escapes me right now.

Mr. Flacco plays quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, who I believe to be the current NFL champs.

San Francisco has a young quarterback named Kaepernick, or some such, who got some good ink late last season.

A. Peterson (Petersen? After this column, I get to check spelling) is a running back with Minnesota, is the current league MVP, I think, as well as a former Heismanist, I think.

Mr. Jones is another good running back, although there may be more than one of him.

RGIII is a young star whose fame threatens to eclipse that of RGII and RGI.

Tim Tebow doesn't play for anybody, and in fact no longer even doesn't play for anybody.

Rex Ryan is the head coach of the Jets, and has a kinky personal life. Tom Coughlin is the head coach of the Giants. And that's it, or very nearly it, excluding such things as the names of the teams, a touchdown is worth six points, etc.

Alright again. I'm not going to predict the order of finish for all the teams, because that's tedious and stupid, but will simply get on with picking week 1.

The first game on the schedule was Baltimore at Denver, and that was played two nights ago. However, I avoided learning the outcome long enough to make my official pick (you may discount it, but I am counting it), and that was to take Denver and lay the 7.5. I am normally averse to making such a pick, because 7.5 is basically a TD plus PAT, except that I lose if that's the margin. But since the over/under on the game is pretty high, I figure that weighs less than usual. Also, I imagine that with P Man at QB, Denver must be a pretty big passing team, and with weather still warm the receivers ought to be catching the ball better than in December.

Now, the rest, based on Wednesday's betting line, and without reading anything else in the paper that taint the purity of my ignorance. I do plan to learn more and more as the season progresses, though. Also (the rest now is written after last night's crash and this morning's recovery), I realize many games are underway**, but this is not a sports bar except one day every four years during the World Cup final, so I am as in the dark about them as about the games of the second Olympiad back in 772 BC (do you think Leonidas of Rhodes might have done it again?). Ok (again, it's later and things have changed), I am using Saturday's line because I can't find Wednesday's anymore.

JETS getting 3.5 over Tampa. It's week one, and I am sort of a Jet fan, or at least was 'til they left down. Call it kismet, since Joe Namath was the bottom (therefore, the one I saw first) card in the first pack of Topps football cards I ever bought, back in 1972.

COWBOYS giving three to the Giants. Giant fandom doesn't, IMO, go hand-in-hand with Yankee fandom*** the way Met and Jet do. My father liked the Yankees and the football Yankees, who evolved, if memory serves, into the KC Chiefs, though he didn't root for the Chiefs particularly.

BILLS getting 9.5 from the Patriots. The spread has actually grown by three from the opening line, and I don't think the betting public is actually that smart.

STEELERS giving seven to the Titans. I was asked by the enquiring photographer of a small local paper a few years ago who I was rooting for in the Super Bowl, and I said the Steelers (though I was actually rooting for the Cards), because I thought my pretended reason was more interesting: that the Steelers were a rare out-of-town team one could root for without being a front runner, because Pittsburgh is such an underdog sort of town.

SAINTS giving three to the Falcons. Didn't they win the Super Bowl not long ago? I don't remember big penalties being handed down after the bounty program came to light. I suspect bettors are getting carried away by their lingering feelings of outrage in backing Atlanta to the point of their being just the average three-point road dog.

Chiefs getting four from the JAGS. I still haven't forgotten the football Yankees.

BEARS giving three to the Bengals. How are Gale's knees doing?

BROWNS giving one to Miami. More underdog (in a municipal sense) sentiment. Again, it's week one, and I know nothing so far. I promise to use my head more in future weeks.

PANTHERS getting 3.5 from Seattle. No reason.

VIKINGS getting five from the Lions and Raiders getting ten from the COLTS, simply because the lines have moved a fair bit in both and again, I don't think the bettors are that smart.

RAMS giving 4.5 to Arizona. Football is not a desert sport.

Packers getting 4.5 from the NINERS. Sophomore jinx for Kaepernick.

Let me now just luxuriate in the leisure of picking Monday night on Sunday. Ok. Eagles getting 3.5 from the SKINS, because I may be part Penobscot Indian, and I'm offended. CHARGERS getting four from the Texans, because they have more experience as a franchise.

BEST BET: Study hard in school.

*I know "alright" is officially "incorrect" and I'm not so insecure that I'd normally bother even with explaining that but since it is the very first word I have blogged this year, it seems like too obvious an invite for a cheap putdown by some hater out there.

** "under weigh" is actually correct. Bet you didn't know that.

*** If I can't be a Yankee fan, what the hell am I doing in the Bronx?