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 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?