Friday, September 28, 2007

Photographically Phrenetic Phootball Phorecast

In order to help all of you develop preternatural powers of football prognostication similar to mine, I will this week help you to delve deeper into the insider’s knowledge that allows people like me to so accurately forecast the supposed outcome of this weekend’s games.

This weekend, the key to every game can be found in the coach’s photograph, as found on the ESPN coach ranking page. By looking at the photographs, we can see exactly how the game will go down:

Houston vs. Atlanta
Look at Gary Kubiak. Notice anything strange? His hair looks weird. That’s because he’s really Firestorm, freed up to follow his passion for football when the Justice League didn’t bring him in for their new series. ESPN’s art department has had to artificially darken his flaming hair and make it look normal. In case you didn’t know, his power was that he could manipulate matter at will. So do you really think his team’s going to lose to a bunch of sad sacks like the Falcons? I didn’t think so. Texans 31, Falcons 7.

NY Jets vs. Buffalo
Either Dick Jauron is actually made of football leather, or he’s wearing somebody else’s face like in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And that can’t be good for team chemistry, knowing the head coach might saw you to pieces to make furniture. Jets 31, Bills 14.

Baltimore vs Cleveland
Why is Romeo Crennel smiling? He’s the coach of the Browns, for heaven’s sakes! He should be weeping! I’ve no doubt that he’s a nice guy, but the fact that he can smile so widely while wearing Browns regalia casts doubt upon his sanity. Of course, we have to factor in that the Ravens essentially play without an offense. Ravens 3, Browns 0

St. Louis vs Dallas
I know the press can be brutal, but does Rams coach Scott Linehan need to wear a mouthpiece even at publicity shoots? Geez, things are really bad out there if he does. Of course, with college coaches now having freak-outs at postgame press conferences, maybe in the future everybody will wear mouthpieces at publicity shoots. Oh, and Dallas is pretty good this year, so there’s no hope for the Rams. Rams 10, Dallas 35.

Chicago vs Detroit
Lovie Smith is the greatest coach in the NFL. He looks professional, he has a good demeanor, he goes by Lovie but his players still respect him, and he made the superbowl with Rex Grossman as his quarterback. Don’t think the coach has that much impact? Ask the Chargers how their post-Schottenheimer experience is going. However, no matter which jersey he wears, Bryan Griese is pretty much always the same guy, so I don’t see any light for them at the end of the tunnel. Bears 14, Lions 24.

Oakland vs Miami
Even though he uses his yearbook picture as a coach’s photo, Lance Kiffin must be one heck of a coach. Or at least, he’s one heck of a coach compared to their old coach, Thoth Amon Art Shell. Yes, that was a combination Conan/football joke. I need to get out more. Raiders 38, Miami 17.

Green Bay vs Minnesota
Before coaching the Vikins, Brad Childress had a bit part on Elmo's World as Mr. Noodle's Brother Mr. Noodle. But he left it all for the glamorous life of party boats and all-night film study. In Green Bay news, Brett Favre said in an interview that he has decided this year to take less chances and throw less interceptions. Who said you couldn’t teach an old, stubborn, stupid, mule-headed dog who pronounces his name wrong new tricks? Packers 40, Vikings 20.

Tampa Bay vs Carolina
It’s nice to see Jon Gruden get back into coaching after taking the last 4 years off. What? He was coaching all this time? I don’t think you could find any evidence of that in Tampa Bay. As a side note, is it me or does this photo have a sort of “dreaminess” quality to it the others lack?Buccaneers 21, Panthers 20.

Seattle vs San Francisco
If he tweaks those eyebrows a little more, he’s ready to go be a Batman villain as Sorehead, the giant flaming reddish face of doom. Also, it looks like he’s eating shit in this picture. Smile, for goodness sakes, you’re an NFL coach! Seahawks 45, Forty-niners 12.

Pittsburgh vs Arizona
I’m sure that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is older than 20. But he sure doesn’t look it from this photo. But given their performance so far this season, Arizona is royally screwed, since they’re still Arizona. Turns out Dennis Green was only one of many symptoms. Steelers 85, Cardinals 3.

Denver vs Indianapolis
Halfway through the game, Mike Shanahan will use his hypno-powers to make Peyton Manning think his name is “Jay Cutler”. Denver will then storm to a great rally, almost coming back, before Tony “I don’t worry about anything because I’m easily the best coach in the NFL” Dungy overcomes the evil Shanarays to bring Manning back to the Colts’ sideline and, ultimately, a victory. Broncos 28, Indianapolis 31.

Kansas City vs San Diego
If you didn’t know who this was, and this picture ran in your Sunday newspaper, what would you think the most likely caption would be?
A) School janitor honored for 30 years of service
B) Arrested installing camera in women’s room at train station
C) Drunken Shriner wrecks minicar, ruins parade
This game gets my “Lock of the Week” award, because if you watch if you must be locked in a room without any way to shut off the television. Chiefs 14, Chargers 10, and another raft of columns devoted to “solving LT’s problems.”

Philadelphia vs NY Giants
“In a scene reminiscent of Ghostbusters, a giant Andy Reid billboard today came to life and smashed most of downtown Philadelphia, causing over 155 dollars of damage to the historic center. Residents booed the statue and pelted it with dung, but were powerless to prevent it ruining the Phillies’ chances to make the playoffs. The monster then escaped into the countryside, where police are still searching for it.” Even through all that, they’ll beat the Giants. Eagles 24, Giants 10.

New England vs Cincinnati
Using my top-secret spy cameras, I managed to capture a photo of Bill Bellicheck preparing for this week’s Monday night game. He looks pretty focused, doesn’t he? Although I’m a little bit concerned about him selling his soul to darkness for a petty edge he hardy needs against the dysfunctional Bengals. I’m pretty impressed, though, that the Bengals have upgraded from “futility” to “break our fans’ hearts by playing below our talent.” That’s a big step up. Maybe someday they can work their way up to “so-so.” Patriots 92, Bengals 24.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blog is the new Smurf

You know, blogging is a lot like the smurfs.

First of all, the ratio of smurf men to women is 100:1. And I know that the oppressive patriarchy that is the blogosphere runs almost that high.

Secondly, remember how annoying it was that every other word was "smurf"? Sometimes it was a noun, sometimes a verb, sometimes an adjective, yet always annoying.

Well, the word 'Blog' has officially reached this point. In fact, you can take any piece of smurf dialogue, and replace "smurf" with "blog" and not lose the sense of the phrase:

From our little blue friends:
"Hey, smurfette is all smurfed out at me because I just smurfed her up on the smurf and she's been smurfing angry ever since."
"That's totally smurfsome!"
"Yeah, smurf me about it."

And now over to the internet:
"Hey, blogette is all blogged out at me because I just blogged her up on the blog and she's been blogging angry ever since.
"That's totally blogsome!"
"Yeah, blog me about it."

All we need is a Gargamel. Blog fever: smurf it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bush Helping Democrats

President Bush revealed backchannel communications with Democrats today, saying he’s helping them to understand the national security situation in case one of them wins the election next year.

In order to make things simple, he has started off with a brainteaser, his aides said. The puzzle, reprinted below, is a dot-to-dot:

“Connect the dots: The #1 sponsor of terror in the world and sworn enemy of the US for almost 30 years is this country:

Irar.

After completing the puzzle, John Edwards immediately promised a hasty surrender to “whoever is in charge of Tpbr” in accordance with the will of his defeatist masters. Elizabeth Edwards also said “Dick Cheney is a mother-@%*$&! son of a @%*$.”

Barack Obama looked forward to meeting with the leader of this mysterious country called 8888, which he said he’d never heard of, and “hopes that by dialogue we can reach an understanding where all our hopes can be hopefully obtained.” Obama also said he hoped that the leader of 8888 was a brutal dictator, since those are “the kind of leaders I like to cozy up to.”

Hillary Clinton threatened that if her comments were reprinted Bill would not be available for interview, nor would his impressive collection of stag party films be loaned out for private screenings to the offending parties.

Some other democrats were rumored to be running for president, but since they have a profile lower than a snail under a steamroller it really doesn’t seem necessary to quote them.

Space: Now 150% Deadlier!

Forget all of Gene Roddenberry’s hogwash about the final frontier: space is dangerous.

Send a microbe up into space and what happens? It comes back as a Rambobe, with thirty times the lethal killing power of its earth-bound brethren. Why? The scientists will give you some kind of claptrap about fluid shear, but we know what it is: deadly space radiation.

But we’re already seeing its effects here on earth. Reports of a baboon crime spree in South Africa are the natural result of NASA’s intemperate policy of firing monkeys up into space. Of course they got juiced up and came back with ‘roids rage. It’s what space does. And it’s not just baboons: orangutans (probably from the old Gemini missions) are going berserko, too.

Lest you think humans are immune, I have one name for you: Lisa Nowak. You think it’s coincidence that Buzz Aldrin defended her, or has he driven across the US in a space-addled rage wearing zero-G diapers swilling down TANG packets plotting the destruction of his rival?

The only solution is for us to immediately halt all space exploration and exploitation. I know, it’ll be tough without 24-hour satellite porn channels, but the Internet has grown so much now that I think we can satisfy our baser urges with streaming videos and stop playing Russian roulette with death from space.

Because with over 6 billion potential zombies on this planet, can we really afford to continue important space-strength bacterium?

Football Forecast: 16-0 Week!!

Unlike those sleazy 900-number guys, I’ll tell nothing but the truth: not only did I get every pick right, I accurately predicted two final scores.

The Yahoo “experts” only went 11-5. Some experts; the morons can’t even pick a football game. Now, some of you nitpickers might point out that using traditional metrics, I actually went 7-9. But you’re limiting your minds. Let me explain:

I accurately predicted the Denver final score (14). Due to an error in the NFL’s defensive metrics page, my calculations didn’t account for the Jaguars high-octane offense being able to score 23. So you can pretty much count this as a victory for me, because it was the NFL’s fault, not mine. So I’m really 7-9.

In the Indianapolis game, I said Indy 30 and Houston 31; the final score was Indy 30 and Houston 24. If there hadn’t been a dropped TD pass, I’d have been correct. So you can pretty much count this as a victory for me, too. So I’m really 8-8.

Does anybody really believe that Kansas City beat Minnesota? I think it’s a conspiracy, personally, probably spearheaded by the Trilateral Commission for some nefarious purpose. So I’m really 9-7.

I said that the final score in the Miami game would be Miami 17, Jets 14. The actual final score was Miami 28, Jets 31. 14+17=31, and 14*2=28 (2 for the number of teams involved). So you can see where, since I accurately by summation predicted the score for the Jets and by multiplication predicted the score of Miami, I pretty much got this correct. So I’m really 10-6.

In the Philly game, nobody told me that Andy Reid was making the Eagles clean the stadium after every game. Why else would they have shown up wearing work-release clothes? So I would have predicted the Eagles to score a lot more points, thus winning, if I’d only known. So I’m really 11-5.

I didn’t realize that Arizona and Baltimore would play an extra quarter after their tie; if I’d known, of course I’d have said Arizona 23, Baltimore 26. So I’m really 12-4.

I can’t be bothered to come up with excuses for the Pittsburgh, Oakland, and Washington wins. Let’s just say that I didn’t factor in the wind, which would explain the slight disparity in my predictions.

So you can see where, for all your football information, my totally unbeatable system is the only guide you’ll ever need.

Monday, September 24, 2007

How to Descend into Madness

If, like many people, you find yourself sometimes pining away for a good bout of foam-at-the-mouth rage as a break from your workaday sanity, this handy guide is for you. Thanks to a genuine scientifically-based analysis I can now provide a handy guide for descending into madness.

Step 1: Pick an Obsession

If you’re going to descend into madness, you’ll need to go mad over something. It used to be that people went insane over lovers. With the rise in anti-stalking laws, though, this has been more and more off-limits. A safer alternative is to become a “political stalker”, where you pick your cause celebre and then incessantly discuss it ad nauseum until people roll their eyes and grit their teeth every time they see you.

Here are some examples: Republicans, Democrats, vegans, the environment, fantasy football, animal rights, etc.

Example: “I feel strongly that gerbils should be free, not kept in cages.”

Step 2: Allow this topic to suffuse your daily life

Remember that going mad is not like getting buns of steel: it requires commitment and not just 15 minutes a day crushing walnuts with your butt. From the time you get up, until the time you go to bed, you should be thinking about this subject that is so overridingly important to you. Posters, T-shirts, key fobs, Christmas tree ornaments, tattoos…whatever it takes to display your fetish to the world, display it.

And don’t forget bumper stickers, a weak argument’s best friend.

Example: The big stuffed gerbil hanging from your rearview mirror with the words “BORN FREE” on its side.

Step 3: Begin to make irrational criticism against those who don’t agree

Let’s face it: not everybody is into making the animals at the zoo wear pants to protect innocent children from monkey penis envy as much as you are. That’s their fault, not yours. You need to begin to bring this subject to the forefront and discuss it at every opportunity, no matter how seemingly irrelevant it is. Remember: your obsession is the pinnacle of importance in the world. Even if you were on fire, you should be thinking about whether the orangutan would prefer boxers or briefs (definitely avoid the thong, though, unless it’s a European zoo).

And please, remember the first rule if insane criticism: if you can’t compare the transgressor to Hitler, you’re not trying hard enough.

Example: your coworker says “My kids want to buy a gerbil, but I don’t know if I want the hassle of cleaning the cage.”
You reply “I suppose you don’t want the hassle of sticking electrodes up its anus to torture it either like Hitler did, do you, you bastard?”

Step 4: Develop Immunity to Contradictory Facts

This is absolutely critical for you to continue to develop your madness. I also regret to inform you that this is the step where most potential maniacs go wrong.

A lot of people, when confronted with evidence that contradicts their warped world view, begin to analyze it and see if maybe they’re the ones that are wrong, like when they’re told that drinking turpentine is, in fact, harmful.

This is the mentality of the loser. In order to inoculate yourself from the harmful effect of facts, realize that there’s a giant conspiracy out there (comprised of, among others, Freemasons, the John Birch society, the USPS, and the Food Advisory Council) whose sole goal is the destruction/opposition/liberation of whatever it is that you’re so fired-up about.

And remember that when majority opinion is overwhelmingly against you, rather than despair the truly insane realize that this is de facto proof that they are right.

Example: “You know, the average lifespan of a gerbil in the wild is about two weeks, because most of them get eaten by their mother.
Your response: “That’s what the sinister gerbil cage manufacturer consortium wants you to think.”

Step 5: Attach Insane Comments to End of Sentences

Now that you’re insane, it’s time to start manifesting your madness in strange and eloquent ways. Or at least strange. The best way to do this is to come up with a stock phrase (“Because of course they put mind-control chips in your flu shot”) and then stick it at the end of sentences at random.

Be sure to include it in every excuse: “Of course I was late to work this morning; my car had a flat tire because they put mind-control chips in your flu shot.”

Example: “I haven’t done as much comedy lately because nothing seems funny as long as millions of gerbils are held in tiny wire cages.”

Step 6: Threaten, Ridicule, Excuse, Repeat

Now it’s time to punish people less crazy than yourself. First, you make some ludicrous threat (along the lines of “I’ll hold my breath till I turn blue!”). Then, you won’t get what you want. Don’t let your feelings get hurt; nobody pays any attention to crazy people. But you didn’t start this to be listened to, did you? If you did, I regret to inform you that you’re in for a load of disappointment. Only CNN and the AP listen to ignorant cranks and; well, what’s the point of that?

Then, make up an excuse for why people didn’t listen to you. Feel free to go back to Step 4 and dig up the conspiracy if you want. Then repeat the cycle. Don’t worry about people realizing you’re a combination broken record/broken clock. Nobody has attention spans that long any more.

Example: “If all of the gerbils aren’t released into the wild in the next ten days, I’m going to move to Canada!”
Ten days later: “Well, of course nobody released their gerbils. It’s because people are sadistic humanists.”
Day after that: “I didn’t move away because if I left, who would make you realize the error of your ways?”
Five days after that: “If all of the gerbils aren’t released into the wild in the next ten days, I’m going to move to Russia!”

Step 7: Become a ‘Typhoid Mary’ for your Insanity

Now that you’re mad, it’s time to share the wealth. Nobody wants to be the only one pushing voting rights for convicted foreign baby seal clubbers, do they? But how do you go about doing that?

Simple: find a sniggering moron who happens to be famous and have a talk show, then go on and spout off your inanity for a little while. He’ll snigger right along and you’ll get a few laughs, and at home some impressionable moron in his underwear will see the light, set up a MySpace page all about how wonderful you are, and you’ll be off to the races.

Example: You appear on Bill Maher to promote “National Gerbil Freedom Awareness Day” and release a gerbil, which poops on his desk, prompting Maher to say “Aw, it looks like Dick Cheney!” Everybody laughs and you go home, secure in the knowledge that you’ve infected other people with your brain-rot.

Sound good?

If you’re nodding, RE-READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! While it’s true that Maher is a sniggering moron with a talk show, I said “famous.” It’s really unlikely the thirty people who watch him aren’t already nursing a grudge against society that takes up 100% of their mental illness time.

Remember what we discovered in Step 2: this requires constant commitment.

Good luck with your madness!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hate: It does a body bad

Ay, caramba! I just saw a recent photo of Jeanine Garofalo over on Newsbusters (H/T Ed Driscoll), and it shocked me to see just how far she’s slipped. All that hate she spews out of her mouth is apparently having a deleterious effect on her body, too.

Witness Jeanine, circa 1995 in the eminently forgettable The Truth About Cats and Dogs:

This, of course, was before the 2000 elections. After that, she goes horribly insane. Witness the horror of Jeanine, circa 2003. Having decided that Blondes do have more fun (it was Uma the guy chased, remember), she’s gone Chlorox casual in an attempt to score points with the gentlemen. :

Here she is in 2005, channeling Whoopi Goldberg’s homeless drug addict Fontaine as she does something (I guess denounce the religious right that controls CNN):

And finally, here she is a few days ago on Bill Maher. YIKES!
If things keep going like this, the next step is probably something like this (artist's rendition of her attacking Anne Coulter and Sean Hannity) :

And then finally game, set, and match into something like this, having burned off all her hate and ending up incarcerated in some mental hospital:
Bonus Picture: Garofalo as Mao Zedong:

(UPDATE: Hello, Ed Driscoll fans, and thanks for stopping by! Thanks to Ed for the link. If you're new, and in all likelihood you are, check out some other great Dollops good for a laugh, like The Raccoon Funeral or the recent spate of Chinese Toys plaguing our country. And of course, 'Classic Dollop' over there on the side. Enjoy!)

(Welcome, Pajamas Media readers. I can't tell you how much I'm geeking out about having a link from Pajamas. You'll probably enjoy the Unified Conspiracy Theory, the Life Cycle of Junk Science or, for more verbalized insanity, try out How BDS is like Alzheimer's. Look around, enjoy Daily Dollop, and come back again and again and again!)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fabulously Flatulent Friday Football Forecast

It’s time to make another spate of inaccurate predictions about what’s going to happen this weekend. Remember, gambling morons, that this is the weekend to go put all your money down. It’s early enough in the season that the “experts” still have no idea what the hell is going to happen, and the lines are still screwy.

As an added twist, I’m going to compare my incompetent predictions with Yahoo! experts, and we’ll see how they do on Monday. The number in parenthesis after each team is the number of Yahoo experts who picked them.

Remember that I haven’t seen a single play of a single football game this year, so I have a built-in excuse for anything I get wrong.

San Diego(5) at Green Bay(0): What advantages does Green Bay bring? A 2-0 record, an almost 2:1 ratio of points scored versus points against, and a big Peter King woody up in the press box for his main squeeze Brett Favre. What does San Diego bring? Lots of preseason hype, an anemic offense, and Norv “Lazarus” Turner. Why does everybody favor San Diego again? My pick: Green Bay 45, San Diego 3 (bonus pick: LT gets only 25 yards rushing and pundits declare that “he’s due to break out any game now” like they have the last two games).

Minnesota(2) at Kansas City(3): Kansas City, a poor team with an awful coach, goes up against Minnesota, a so-so team with a bald coach. For some reason I’m supposed to believe their AFC affiliation makes this a walkover for the Chiefs? Don’t count on it. They’d have trouble competing against a KFC, never mind the NFC. Minnesota 20, Kansas City 10.

Indianapolis(5) at Houston (0): Never bet on the bull in a bullfight. Never take the under in a Globetrotters game. And never, ever, bet that a Texan can’t handle an unruly horse. After the game, the wailing and gnashing of teeth in Atlanta will be heard from coast to coast. Houston 31, Indianapolis 30.

Buffalo(0) at New England(5): A mysterious stealth aircraft circles the stadium for the duration of the game, a distraction for everyone but Bill Bellicheck, who afterwards says he was “so focused on the game I didn’t notice it.” Buffalo cries foul, but the NFL says they’ve “heard enough bitching from coaches this week.” New England 66.6, Buffalo 4.

Miami(1) at NY Jets(4): Eric Mangini cries his little eyes out because media pundits are calling him a rat and a cheat, but feels better after seeing how little people respect the Dolphins. Then he cries his little eyes out after the game because the Dolphins beat the Jets, who it turns out suck. Despite the win, angry Miami fans still drive ten hours to pelt Alabama coach Nick Saban with rotten eggs on Monday morning. Miami 17, Jets 14.

Detroit(1) at Philadelphia(4): Before the game Matt Millen shocks the world by retiring while the Lions are undefeated, saying that he’s “accomplished everything I ever wanted to do as a GM, so it's time to go out on a high note." Philadelphia players insist that Donovan McNabb’s foray into race-baiting isn’t a distraction, despite the fact that 90% of the questions this week were “Do you agree about Donovan McNabb’s statements about black quarterbacks?” Detroit 23, Philadelphia 14.

San Francisco(0) at Pittsburgh(5): Pittsburgh changes their name to the “Mirages” just before the game to capitalize on the fact that playing two nobody teams has made them look far, far better than they really are. If you can name 5 San Francisco players without looking at their web site, then you can probably do better than their coach, whose name I can’t seem to remember. San Francisco 20, Pittsburgh 17.

St. Louis(3) at Tampa Bay(2): Tampa Bay, suffering from a condition that will soon be known as “Saints Hangover”, struggles to find its rhythm in the first quarter of the game as they adjust to playing against a team whose players actually move after the ball is snapped. St. Louis capitalizes, rushing out to their largest lead all season, only to fall apart in the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay 6, St. Louis 3.

Arizona(0) at Baltimore(5): On paper, these two teams are exactly the same, except the team captain for Arizona was never on trial for murder and the Baltimore quarterback’s not on his way to being washed up. He’s already washed up. Arizona 20, Baltimore 20.

Cleveland(2) at Oakland(3): A classic “trap” game, in that if you have to watch it you feel trapped and want to gnaw your foot off. Cleveland 81, Oakland 20.

Cincinnati(1) at Seattle(4): After a 2-yard catch at midfield Chad Johnson goes into histrionics and pulls down the goal post, forcing a two-hour game delay and bringing a $1,647,328 fine from the NFL. Dan Wetzel calls him a “childish doody face.” The Cincinnati defense uses last week’s collapse as inspiration to hold Seattle to only four touchdowns and two field goals, thus claiming a “moral victory.” Unfortunately, Cincinnati will have to get used to moral victories. Cincinnati 28, Seattle 34.

Jacksonville(0) at Denver(5): Two faceless mediocre teams face off in a mediocre game in a faceless venue played in a mediocre state. One team’s faces will glow with victory. Which one? The one that’s less mediocre. Jacksonville 10, Denver 14.

Carolina(5) at Atlanta(0): Did you know that an anagram of Carolina is Clanoria? Doesn’t that sound like some horrible STD? “Jake Delhomme just hasn’t been the same since he came down with Clanoria last year.” In other news, if you watch this game you have my sympathies. Clanoriads 24, Atlanta 10.

NY Giants(0) at Washington(5): This game features the management half of my “dream team” for the worst NFL franchise: Tom Coughlin, coach, and Darth Snyder, owner. You throw in Chicago’s offense and Cincinnati’s defense and you’ve got a team that eventually descends into fistfights mid-game while losing 100-0. Now that I think about it, that might describe the 2007 NY Giants. Giants 21, Washington 27.

Dallas(4) at Chicago(1): Did anybody else love how Nick Saban defended Bill Bellicheck’s honor this week during the whole “SpyGate” thing? That’s like having your lesbian ex-girlfriend testify about what a demon you were in the sack. If I were Bill Bellicheck, I’d try to get other famous former football players and coaches to testify about my integrity also, like Jerry Tarkanian and OJ Simpson. Couldn’t hurt, right? Oh, and as far as Dallas goes: call me when they play a real team. Dallas 14, Chicago 7.

Tennessee(2) at New Orleans(3): It’s fitting that the picks are bookended by San Diego and New Orleans, the two teams that are still getting way too much respect for last season’s performance and preseason opinions. This isn’t college football, people: judge by results on the field, not the preseason polls. We all know it's possible to go from 3-13 to 13-3; shouldn't we realize the reverse is just as possible? Tennessee 35, New Orleans 12.

Headlines you won’t see

Here are some headlines you can expect not to see in the coming days:

Dan Rather Withdraws Lawsuit, Apologizes for Being an Ass

Tehran University Announces Birth of Hitler Clone

Lack of Scientific Data To Prove Preconceived Conclusion Worries Climate Scientists

In a Bid to Boost Sagging Ratings, Nancy Grace and Bill O’Reilly Petition USAG to Suspend Double Jeopardy Laws and Retry OJ

Democrats Hail Venezuelan Pogroms as “Model Prisons”

Anonymous Typewritten Letter Proves Fidel Castro Still Alive

Rosie O'Donnell Endorses Fellow Truther and Moron Ron Paul for President

Columbia Invites Hitler Clone to Address Law School

Anonymous Source Confirms Bin Laden Still Alive, Dangerous

World Ending Faster than Previously Thought

George Bush Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dr. Evil Stripped of Tour Title



Dr. Evil was stripped of his Tour de France title today. Asked how he felt about it, Dr. Evil replied "Just frickin great! Can't I fill myself with shark hormones any more??"

Global Warming Strikes Neptune

Stockholm, Sweden: Alarmed scientists today issued the sternest warning yet on Anthropomorphic Global Warming, saying that it’s responsible for climactic impact even on the furthest planet from the sun, Neptune.

Susan Robbins, head of the Astronomical Scientific Society to Halt Anthropomorphic Terraforming (ASS-HAT), said today that “Recent data shows us massive heating and methane releases at the southern pole of Neptune, whereas before there was nothing. Since it’s currently in the part of its orbit that brings it closer to Earth, it’s clear that this methane is anthropomorphically caused by people on Earth driving big cars and eating too much reindeer meat.”

Tim Sarandon, vice-president of ASS-HAT, said that “In the 19th scientist found that Venus was a pleasant, cloud-covered plant; then in the 20th fossil fuel burning turned it into a volcanic inferno. Scientists discovered that Mars had canals in the early 20th century, but they’ve all dried up since NASA started driving their intergalactic Hummer around up there. Is it any surprise that we’ve turned Neptune into a hellhole as well?”

Frunk StrĂĽpenbeydenhöfflern, head of the Nobel Prize Decision Committee and the European coordinator for ASS-HAT, issued a statement saying “AGW is the greatest threat to the world today. That’s why we’re currently debating whether to give Al Gore two or three Nobel Prizes for his work in increasing public knowledge about the coming crisis. Also, the committee understands that he needs help paying for his utilities and covering the parking fees for his private plane.”

Sally Stropthers, a whiny linguaphile holding a “Bush No Good!” sign outside of the meetings, said she was concerned about AGW impacts on linguistic decline. “We’re running out of languages to use to call George Bush an Earth murderer. Just think of the culture that is draining out of the planet every two weeks. Impeach Bush, the real terrorist!”

Not always football math

If you're wondering if I'm ever not going to publish a book-length statistical analysis of football nonsense, I apologize. The very next post will be back to the regular nonsense you've come to expect from the Dollop.

I thought Donovan McNabb was correct

Donovan McNabb stirred up a tempest in a teapot for his comments about black QBs being criticized more. Here’s an excerpt of his HBO interview:
Brown then asks if the media is tougher on him than on white quarterbacks such as Carson Palmer and Peyton Manning.
"Let me start by saying I love those guys," McNabb tells HBO. "But they don't get criticized as much as we do. They don't."

McNabb’s theory, as I understand it, is that since there aren’t that many black QBs (his words), they have to do extra because black QBs are subject to more criticism than white QBs.

Let’s see if we can figure out if his assertions are plausible. That's right, it's time for "Fun with Numbers: Racist Sportswriter Edition."

First Assertion: Not enough black QBs?

This is true in gross numbers: there are only 6 black starting QBs right now, and 26 white starting QBs. But, as I’ve pointed out before, only 12% of the population is black. So I would expect there to be about 4 black QBs. So by the numbers, the representation of black QBs seems okay to me.

[Note: there’s no reason why the number of blacks playing QB should not reflect society as a whole. If you feel differently, prove it with numbers and I’ll listen. And don’t quote Michael Irvin or Jimmy the Greek in your argument.]

Second Assertion: Black QBs are more highly criticized

Empirically, this seems correct to me: a black QB will be subject to the exact same set of criticisms as his white counterparts (performance, wins, injuries, etc). But he’ll also be subjected to some criticisms that his white peers aren’t, based on general expectations of black QBs being better scramblers.

[The most famous example of this in McNabb’s case came from J. Whyatt Mondesire, who is black and a part of the Philadelphia NAACP. So this isn’t necessarily racist, nor is it some sign of bigotry by white sportswriters against blacks; it simply is.]

However, we can use numbers to help us find the truth of McNabb’s assertion. Here’s how I tested his hypothesis that black QBs are subject to more criticism:

I googled the name of 33 current NFL quarterbacks (I got them from Yahoo's qualified QB leaders statistics page) with the word “quarterback”, then recorded the number of hits I got. Then I googled the name and “quarterback poor”. Then I repeated two more times, looking for the name and “overrated quarterback” and the name with “underrated quarterback.”

Number of Items

The average number of hits for just the name plus “quarterback” was 480,182. For white QBs, it was only 468,000; for black QBs it was 535,000. So black QBs have about 11% more stuff about them than average, and white QBs about 3% less than average.

So there’s more being written about the average black QB. If the percentage of criticism is the same for all QBs, then in total McNabb’s assertion is correct: there are more total negative articles per black QB than there are for white QBs.

Let’s see if we can figure out how much of those items are negative.

Search for Negative Items

When searching for “quarterback poor”, you find that 34% of the items have this word combination. Black QBs average 27% of their items, white QBs 35% of their items fitting this description. That certainly makes McNabb’s assertion seem invalid.

Overrated quarterback search

When searching for “overrated quarterback” you find that on average, 10% of the items have this phrase. For black QBs it is only 8.3%, though, and for white QBs it is 10.2%. So it looks like black QBs are not as often viewed as overrated as their white counterparts.

Underrated quarterback search

When searching for “underrated quarterback”, you find that 7.7% of the items have this phrase, with black QBs having about 6.5% of their items as “underrated quarterback” and white QBs running about 8%. So more items about white QBs are about how they’re underrated than black QBs.

Perception Gap

If you take the number of “overrated” items and subtract the number of “underrated” items, you can make a Perception Gap score. When it’s positive, more items about this QB say he’s overrated, when it’s negative it means more items exist saying that the QB is underrated.

For black QBs, only 1 in 6 had a negative Perception Gap (Tarvaris Jackson), or a rate of 16.7%. For white QBs, 4 in 27 had a negative Perception Gap, or 15%. So this occurrence rate is the same.

However, the average perception gap for the other black QBs was 3.2%, and for the other white QBs it was 2.8%. So the black QBs, on average, have a much larger ratio of overrated items to underrated items than white QBs. But this difference is minor, and likely just an artifact of the data.

General Negativity

If you take the number of “poor” and number of “overrated” items, you could model it as General Negativity. The general negativity of black QBs is 35.3%, and of white QBs it is 45.4% (average is 43.5%).

So although black QBs have more written about them, a lower percentage of that material appears to be negative.

Conclusion

In light of this data, we have to reject McNabb’s hypothesis; in fact, we must consider that his hypothesis is not just invalid but perhaps the reverse is true: that black quarterbacks are, in general, criticized less than their white counterparts, not more.

That’s exactly the opposite of what I expected to find.

So while I'm inclined to agree with McNabb qualitatively, I’m afraid I’ll have to reject his statement quantitatively until I have some contradictory data.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Martina Navratilova?

I just glanced at this picture on Yahoo:
On the left we have Elizabeth Hasselbeck, the anti-Rosie. But I couldn't figure out what had happened to Martina Navritilova over on the right. I knew she was old, but jeez! She looks terrible, like she has some kind of disease or something.

Turns out it's not Martina. It's...Barry Manilow. Why did he get his head replaced by a tennis ball?

Penal Reform

Ed Driscoll's recent post about Hollywood's dearth of good ideas got me thinking, and I believe I’ve had a brilliant idea to save television, perpetuate the cult of celebrity, and totally reform the penal process all at the same time. I call it the Narcissus Memorial Celebrity Prison and TV Complex.

What I envision is this: a maximum-security complex full of the latest high-tech recording devices to incarcerate celebrity felons. We can mix both the dastardly (Phil Spector) with the demented (OJ Simpson) and the dumb (Paris Hilton).

Every week producers will put together a highlight show, called “Celebrity Prison Break”, and throughout the series voters will regularly be able to vote for “Parole” for those celebrity inmates who are eligible. All proceeds from the show will be used to fund our nation’s prisons.

A special internet version will also be available to watch “live updates” of the day’s action, not unlike Big Brother.

Why will people tune in? The real question is, how could they not?

Can you imagine the high comedy of OJ Simpson sharing a cell with Pacman Jones, both of them lamenting how the NFL has discriminated against them?

What about the weekly prison AA meeting, where Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton both try to out-vamp each other to the camera in order to get paroled early? It’ll be the most panty-less rehab program you’ve ever seen!

Imagine Arlen Specter trying to fabricate a shiv so he can get revenge against some perceived slight by a female inmate, only to discover that she can kick his ass?

What about the rapper posse (Li’l Wayne, Sug Knight, Snoop Dog, et al) roaming the prison and pushing everybody else around because they’re the only ones with “street cred”?

And guest-starring as our official Prison Lawyer: disgraced former DA Mike Nifong!

It’s reality TV at its best: unscripted, desperate people struggling for both freedom and a return to fame. It’d be like watching Kathy Griffin mud-wrestle Rosie O’Donnell for 10 minutes of air time, only with more attractive women who aren’t nearly as insane.

You could even have special celebrity wardens! Who wouldn’t like to see R. Lee Ermey berating David Faustino (Married with Children) and Jason Wahler (Laguna Beach) until they both were reduced to blubbering morons? What about a special counseling session by Dr. Phil?

And imagine the rock groups that could do prison reunions, where one or two members come visit the rest serving drug, weapon, or tax evasion charges.

This show would have it all: Survivor meets Oz meets Prison Break meets Real Life meets Big Brother.

What $750,000 bought the Patriots

How much impact does the Patriots’ spying have on the outcome of the games? Let’s see if we can quantify it.


(Note: this is a *long* post that mixes statistics and football. Be warned!)

The actual question (is Patriots offensive capability increased because of spying) cannot be directly answered, because their offensive ability is always skewed from the impact of the spying itself. But we can investigate these two things to see if spying may play a part in the outcome of Patriots games:

1) Opponents’ defensive capability is decreased (on average, they perform more poorly against the Patriots than their average)
2) Individual player capability is increased because it is clear what holes in the defense can be exploited

Case 1: Opponent’s Defense is Decreased
We’ll use 2006 defensive statistics to see what, if any, impact this spying might have had. We’ll have to assume that all data is equally tainted, since we can’t conclusively say which games had spying and which don’t.

First I pulled out all the data from 2006 for the season averages per team, then I dug up the statistics for the games themselves between the Patriots and their opponents.

I omitted their last game, when playoff seedings were determined, to keep it from skewing statistics one way or the other. So for these purposes, there were 15 “contested” games.

In these 15 games the Patriots played 12 different opponents, 8 from the AFC and 4 from the NFC. The played 3 opponents twice (Miami, Buffalo, NY Jets).

Overall, if you compare the Patriot’s scoring against each team versus the team’s season average, you find that the Patriots scored 114% of each team’s average (for example, if the opponent’s defense averaged giving up 20 PPG, the Pats scored on average 22.8 PPG). Against AFC teams it was only 108%, and against NFC teams it was 131% of their season defensive average.

[For comparison, consider Indianapolis. They averaged 114% more yards per game against their opponents, with 88% of the rushing average but a massive 127% of the passing yards (so if the defense typically gave up 300 yards passing, against Indy it would give up 381). They typically scored 131% of the defense’s average.]

For 10 of the 15 games, the Patriots represented greater than 6.3% of the total points scored against them the entire season (6.3 is 1/16, or the portion of the season each team played against the Patriots). For 2 of the teams, the Patriots were 10% of the total points scored against them in 2006 (Cincinnati and Houston).

This could simply mean that the Patriots had a better-than-average offense.

What about sacks? Well, in 6 games the Patriots gave up an above-average amount of sacks, and in 9 games they gave up a below-average number of sacks. That could only mean the Patriots have a good offensive line.

Against the AFC, they typically gained 97% of average yardage against their opponent’s defense: 93% of the average passing yardage, and 106% of the average rushing yardage. This could reflect that the Patriots had the lead a lot, which meant they rushed more than usual. As far as yardage gained, the Patriots look pretty average.

However, they scored 108% more than average. So despite not gaining more yardage than was common against their opponent’s defenses, they tended to score almost 10% more than the opposite defense normally yielded.

Against the NFC, the Patriots gained 120% more than the average opponent, 130% more passing yards and 98% of the average rushing yardage. They scored 130% more than the average.

So against the NFC, the Patriots dominated. That’s not news; every AFC team dominated their NFC opponent. But once again, the Patriots have a gap between their excess yardage (120%) and their excess scoring (130%); this is again 8% higher than we might expect.

[Indy’s splits are even pretty much the same AFC and NFC; they dominated everybody.]

Nothing in there makes the opponents defenses *look* like they were significantly decreased. The only quirk is that the Patriots scored a little more than I’d have expected, given how many yards they typically gained.

Lest you think that 8% isn’t much, remember that the average score was 20 points, and an 8% increase means that the Patriots averaged 1.6 PPG higher than that; with an average NFL margin of victory of 3 points, that means the Patriots have gained about half the typical margin of victory. That should translate into some wins each season; how many, I can’t say.

I repeat, though; this may simply mean the Patriots had a better-than-average offense, and nothing more.


Case 2: Player Ability is Maximized
What I suppose is this: all other factors being equal, an offensive player will demonstrate superior performance under a system where coaches intercept signals than he does under a system where coaches do not.

The best way to see this is to compare some position by position performance of players before and after they played for Bill Bellicheck. Now, the problem is that there’s a massive amount of cross-player impact; for example, a wide receiver will perform differently if he plays with Peyton Manning than with Eli Manning. So we need to keep that in mind as we look at the numbers.

Anecdotally, this is where I’d expect to see the difference. How many times have you heard that the Patriots are a team without stars, who can take role players from other teams and turn them into superstars?


Running Backs
I looked at two running backs: Corey Dillon and Antowain Smith. Dillon has two periods: one with the Bengals from 1997 to 2003, then another with the Patriots from 2003 until now. For Smith, we have 1997 to 2000 with Buffalo, then 2001 to 2003 with the Patriots, and then 2004 with Tennessee and 2005 with New Orleans, for a total of three periods (pre, with, and post-Bellicheck).


The numbers are in this post.

Summary: The running backs don’t appear to be all that different.

Receivers

Statistics are stuck here for the 7 receivers I looked at: Reche Caldwell, Doug Gabriel, Deion Branch, Tim Dwight, David Patten, Terry Glenn, and Christian Fauria. Again, they're divided into either pre-Bellicheck, Bellicheck, and post-Bellicheck periods as their careers dictate.


Yards/catch doesn’t change, so they’re all physically the same (we’d expect this). Catches/game is typically higher (3-4 cases) or the same (2 cases), with only one drop (Tim Dwight).

Two players saw their first downs significantly higher with new England (Caldwell and Patten), while four had a higher rate of touchdowns (Caldwell, Gabriel, Patten, and Fauria). Two have no difference in these figures (Branch and Glenn), and only one showed a drop (Dwight again).

How much of this is because they played with a superior QB and how much from the system? It’s hard to say. But it’s worth noting that these guys are first down/touchdown machines in New England, but not anywhere else. It’s unlikely that they forgot where the markers are. But other factors (line play, QB) heavily impact this as well.

Verdict: Unclear, but most appear to play better in New England than elsewhere.


Quarterbacks

We can look at the numbers for 3 QBs: Vinny Testaverde and Bernie Kosar in Cleveland, and Drew Bledsoe in New England. We can’t look at Tom Brady; he’s always played under Bellicheck, so his numbers are all suspect.

I put their numbers here.

What do those numbers tell us?

QB rating is slightly improved under Bellicheck for 2 out of 3.

Accuracy is slightly improved from before, and stays the same after Bellicheck.

Yards/attempt seems pretty much the same (one up, one equal, one down).

TD% is improved for Testaverde and Kosar, decreased for Bledsoe.

INT% is down for Testaverde and Bledsoe; the same for Kosar; it rises again for Bledsoe after he leaves Bellicheck.

Sack % is down for Testaverde, up for Bledsoe, and up for Kosar.

Yards/sack are down for all 3; they increase for Testaverde and Bledsoe again when they leave Bellicheck, while they reduce again for Kosar.

Verdict: Quarterbacks do slightly better under Bellicheck, becoming more accurate, with higher QB ratings. They are also closer to the line of scrimmage, since they lose less yards per sack.


Overall Impression

The passing game under Bellicheck appears to be more efficient (higher percentage, more first downs, more touchdowns), but the running game doesn’t appear to be all that different.

How much of this we can attribute to picking up defensive signals, I can’t say. But I would leave you with this question: if you were a coach in a 3rd-and-4 situation, and you knew whether or not the defense was blitzing, wouldn’t this help you to both increase your odds of a first down on a short pass and to keep the loss because of a sack decreased, because you can move your quarterback into a quicker throw?

I’m just saying.


So what did $750,000 buy the Patriots?

I would guess that at most it bought them about 1.3 first downs a game and about 3-5 yards per game of field position on saved yardage during sacks. I can see that; at a critical time, late in the game, they dodge a blitz and pick up an extra 1st down.

Perhaps that translates to somewhere between one and 1.5 PPG, or about 15 to 20 points over the course of a season. The Patriots scored 24.1 PPG and gave up 14.8; if you shaved off 1.5 PPG from their offense they still win a lot of games. But that puts them somewhere between Pittsburgh at 8-8 (22.1 PPG earned and 19.7 PPG given up) and the Ravens at 13-3 (22.1 PPG earned but only 12.6 PPG given up). In fact, that’s where the Patriots were, at 12-4.

But who’s to say that the Bills game (19-17) or the Bears game (17-13) couldn’t have tipped the other way, leaving them 8-8, if they hadn’t had a little edge? So I can believe maybe one game per season turns on this edge, if at all.

If they did this for 6 seasons, that’s about 6 games they won that they might have lost (not definitely), or an average of 125,000 dollars per game.

How much do you suppose Al Davis or the Ford family would pay for a few victories? Probably much more than this, I’d suppose.

(By the way, I've opened comments for anybody who has any other ideas, or wants to dispute anything above. And kudos for getting to the end!)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bill Bellicheck is the NFL's Howard Hughes

Consider the clear evidence linking these two megalomaniacal recluses:

Bellicheck: Dresses as a slob despite the "genius" moniker


Hughes: Also dissheveled despite being rich

Hughes: Had a will of dubious providence
Bellicheck: Has an assistant of dubious providence

Hughes: Secluded himself from society
Bellicheck: Secludes himself from the media

Hughes: Lived in hotels
Bellicheck: Lives in his office

Hughes: Portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in a movie
Bellicheck: Will likely be portrayed by Rip Torn in a movie
(Shown here with former mentor Bill Parcells)


My big break?

I'm torn. For the very first time, I've been invited to write stuff somewhere other than my blog. But I'm reticent to just leap into this. No, it's not that I'm hesitant over the salary involved; it doesn't pay anything. I'm torn because I'm not sure whether or not it's the right thing for the blog.

On the one hand, I'd get more exposure. Always good. Well, always good as long as my pants are on.

On the other hand, I'd be putting my work into somebody else's baby. Potential problem. What if I mistakenly posted the next "Life Cycle of Junk Science" there? That thing was worth like 600 hits to me, or about 20%. Do I really want to put that somewhere else?

Anybody out there got any ideas? Suggestions?

(Side note: if you happen to be the nice man who asked me, let this be a notice that I'm thinking about it. I'll get back to you ASAP. It would probably help if you proved that you didn't just send me a form letter by sending me a pre-rejection letter at this point.)

RIP Robert Jordan

I was sorry to see that Robert Jordan passed away. Even though his last 5 books DESPERATELY needed an editor, I was always hoping that he'd get one and end the Wheel of Time series as magnificently as he started it.

RIP.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Totally Ridiculous NFL Forecast

I haven’t yet seen even one play of one NFL game. But I’m going to predict this weekend’s games. Before you pooh-pooh my Delphi-like precision, remember: I got one game completely correct last week.

So this weekend we can expect to see:

Houston vs Carolina: Carolina, 27-20. Though they might be undefeated, who has Houston really played? So they’ll probably fold up under the Jake “The Delhominator”, just like the vaunted St. Louis defense did last week. On second thought, maybe I have that score reversed…
Cincinnati vs Cleveland: Cincinnati, 66-3. Browns coach Romeo Krennel makes league history when he not only benches current QB Derek Anderson but has his legs broken at halftime. Hot rookie Brady Quinn is severely overmatched in the pros, just like he was when he played real teams at Notre Dame. In a related development, Charlie Weis calls the Browns front office and says he’s available for the right offer and has “lots of experience getting Brady to play like the mediocre quarterback he is.”

Atlanta vs Jacksonville: Atlanta, 10-7. PETA writes two ringing letters of complaint: one against the continued existence of the Falcons as an organization, and the second saying that pitting two endangered species against each other makes the NFL “worse than a hundred Hitlers.” The fans respond by leaving the stadium in droves, or just not showing up at all.

Green Bay vs NY Giants: Green Bay, 45-31. At halftime, the jumbotron displays the message “Brett: will you marry me? Peter” Eli Manning doesn’t play due to injury, but coach Tom Coughlin blames him for the loss. NBC commentator Tiki Barber disagrees, saying it is Coughlin’s fault. Manning, in an interview, sticks up for Coughlin by blaming Barber.

Buffalo vs Pittsburgh: Buffalo, 20-17. Faced with an actual defense and having to move up the field shows the full potency of the Pittsburgh offense. Facing an offense that doesn’t hand away the ball, the Steelers defense shows its full potency as well. Unfortunately, neither is potent enough to beat the woeful Bills.

San Francisco vs St. Louis: St. Louis, 30-10. Fresh off their signature victory against Arizona, San Francisco falls to the mediocre Rams. Trash-talking the Rams QB about the size of his Bulger backfire, as he passes for 400 yards and 3 touchdowns.

New Orleans vs Tampa Bay: New Orleans, 632-0. Infuriated by their thrashing at the hands of the Colts, the Saints take out their aggression on the all-quarterback team assembled by John Gruden. Gruden’s reputation as a genius begins to wane.

Indianapolis vs Tennessee: Indianapolis, 45-10. Tennessee rushes for 125 yards in the 1st quarter but still trails by 14, so they switch to the pass. That’s when things get really ugly. Peyton Manning reveals team goal to average 45 points per game.

Seattle vs Arizona: Arizona, 20-17. People will hail this as a surprise upset, until they realize Seattle sucks. Arizona will strut around like they’re a big deal until giving up 100 points next week. Who’s their opponent? I dunno, but it’s probably somebody better than the Seahawks.

Minnesota vs Detroit: ??? Neither of these two teams played last week, so far as I can tell. So how should I know who will win? I’ll guess Minnesota, with a score of 21-14.

Dallas vs Miami: Dallas, 35-14. The postgame celebration is marred by a collapse of the press room when the combined egos of Jerry Jones, Tony Romo, and Terrell Owens exceed the weight limit of the structure. Miami continues to struggle because they are not a very good football team.

NY Jets vs Baltimore: Baltimore, 14-13. Rechristening themselves the “Baltimore Kodaks” for one game and wearing cameras on their helmets, the continual playing of Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” appears to disrupt the Jets staff, who whine about “dirty tricks” in the postgame conference. Meanwhile, neither team is very good and will be out of the playoff hunt by Halloween.

Kansas City vs Chicago: Chicago, 2-0. Now that Nick Saban is gone, the league’s most corrupt coach (Herm ‘Screw Your Contract’ Edwards) meets the league’s most incompetent quarterback (Rex Grossman). Can you imagine the joy if Edwards coached Grossman? I bet that team could score negative points.

Oakland vs Denver: Denver, 55-7. Denver coach Mike Shanahan complains bitterly about his teams’ failure to hold Oakland scoreless. He is also seen prowling the sidelines with a clove of garlic, a wooden stake, and a hammer “just in case I see that vampire bastard Al Davis.” Also worth noting is that Oakland’s continued futility.

San Diego vs New England: San Diego refuses to take the field after several of their players are run down outside Gillette Stadium by a car driven by a mysterious figure in a hooded sweatshirt known only as MegaloMan. Bill Bellicheck denies any involvement, although the car’s license plate read “SCRWPYTN”. Norv Turner is grateful that, two weeks into the season, he still hasn’t had to coach against an actual NFL team.

Washington vs Philadelphia: Philadelphia, 28-17. After a week of celebrating their masterful victory over Miami, Washington faces bitter defeat when they have to play professionals instead of amateurs. After the game, Darth Snyder says he is “disappointed in their lack of vision.”

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Six-Month Reflections

I’m coming up on the six-month anniversary of my blog. I’m approaching my 300th post. And, even more important, I’m averaging almost 20 hits a day. Clearly, blog success and the 4-hour work week that go with it are just around the corner for me.

I thought it’d be fun to reminisce about what I’ve learned as a blogger. Okay, I actually thought this was a way to squeeze out a post when I didn’t have any inspiration. Are you happy now?

You can take more time off than you think: A lot of bloggers feel chained to their keyboards, slamming out posts in a desperate attempt to keep people “interested.” I took a whole month off, and almost immediately climbed back up to 20 hits a day.

Of course, if you’re aiming for more than 20 hits a day, maybe you should ignore this advice. Come to think of it, post every day. Every hour, even. Maybe every 30 minutes. In fact, GO POST NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!!

You’ve won the Irish e-mail lottery: Did you know that in Ireland they randomly pick out e-mails and then award 250,000 euros to the winner? All you have to do is send your name, address, and bank account number to them so they can deposit the check. I wonder how economically sustainable a lottery with no entrance fee is, but I suppose they know what they’re doing.

The other bloggers are nicer than you’d expect: In general, everybody’s been really nice to me since I started blogging. I’ve even swapped e-mails with some people that I reamed out for one thing or another, and they were always polite. Some important bloggers have even told me I’m funny. But the bastards didn’t link me, so they can go to hell.

Mary Buckheit is a Hit Magnet: A surprisingly large number of people find my blog by Googling “Mary Buckheit naked” and coming to this post. I would say that Mary Buckheit is worth about 10 hits a week, based on my site meter (please note that Mary Buckhet is not actually naked in the post).

So I’d like to say it again: Mary Buckheit naked thong bikini oil wrestling cougar fiasco. And for those teenage sports perverts who are scrolling down this post with their hands in their pants while on the school library computer: shame on you. In my day, we had to rummage through our older brother’s closet for porn, and we were thankful to get it!

Here’s a picture of Mary, who (to my knowledge) is full enough of grace that she’s not yet been splayed across the Internet in her altogethers.


Don’t go near Burkina Faso
: Apparently this place is a plane-crash magnet and full of dirty bankers who want to launder the money left behind through your account. It takes some time, though, because I’ve sent these guys like twenty thousand dollars in wire fees and not yet gotten any money yet.

Other Cavemen I Hate

I was thinking this morning about how much I hate the Geico caveman, and it occurred to me that in all my life I’ve only seen one caveman that was funny: Phil Hartman’s unfrozen caveman lawyer.

Every other caveman sucks:

Captain Caveman: The whole stupid cartoon was built around one premise: a ball of pubic hair yelling “CAPTAIN CAAAAVEMAAAAANNN!” and then smashing the dinosaur to pieces. This had to take fifteen minutes to develop? Just hit the damned thing already and get back to the better cartoons.


Fred Flintstone: If you ever laughed at any joke in any Flintstones, you’re a misogynist. That’s what my “Introduction to Women’s Issues” teacher taught me in College, and that’s what I believe. Also, the show was really anti-Christian, since they never ever went to church.


Caveman: This is an awful, awful movie. The only prehistoric movie that might be worse than this is “When Women Had Tails”, but at least that one has copious nudity. This one just has Ringo Starr grunting. And he can’t even do that well. Just goes to show the Beatles knew what they were doing when they stuck him in the background.

Neanderthals: You can tell the degree to which an anthropologist is pretentious by asking them to pronounce this word. “Nee-and-er-thall” means that they’re normal. “Nee-and-er-tahl” means that they’re a preening ass. Go on, try it. It’s fun!

Laff A-Lympics: Poisonous concoction of Commie-Doo and Captain Caveman, I’m surprised this didn’t destroy the minds of a generation. Oh, wait, it did. The argument for censorship pretty much begins and ends with this piece of tripe.

Bellicheck: ‘Spying was legal’

Bill Bellicheck surprised NFL observers today when his new legal team, headed by Donald Rumsfeld, issued a strongly-worded statement to the NFL insisting that “the videotaping and surveillance carried out against the so-called New York Jets and other teams attempting to attack New England was legal and proscribed under the Patriot Act, signed into law in 2001 and renewed by congress in 2006.”

“The Patriot Act gives the New England Patriots the right; no, the duty to take surveillance against any hostiles that they might encounter,” Rumsfeld told reporters. “It would be negligent if Mr. Bellicheck and his staff didn’t take every step to protect New England from further damage at the hands of these fiends.”

Citing the vicious attack earlier this year by a splinter group in Indianapolis, Bellicheck said he felt the additional security precautions were justified. “We had probable cause for this surveillance. The head of this group is a known turncoat, and they have falsified their residency papers to say they’re in New York, when they actually reside in New Jersey.”

Although some damage was reported on Sunday, overall the incident was defused. “We came out of this okay, although losing the video surveillance hit us hard. We had to rely on the audio transmissions we intercepted to break up their offensive attacks, but we made it through.”

Rumsfeld said he expected no action from the league. “It doesn’t matter if this team is in New York or New Jersey: either one is still inside New England, so they have no legal standing to challenge our authority under the Patriot Act. Any curtailment of our surveillance would have dire implications for defending New England.

“And nobody wants that, unless Roger Goodell is secretly a member of MoveOn.org or something.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ruh-Roh, Raggy's a Commie!

When you watch Scooby-Doo, do you enjoy a simple cartoon about a band of mystery-solving teenagers and their dog? If so, then you’re an idiot. Scooby-Doo is one of the vilest poisons ever to seep into the cultural fabric of this country, worse than the Teletubbies and Howdy Doody combined.

And I’m not even talking about the drug references. I’m talking about something far more serious: communism. Scooby-Doo looks like it was written straight out of a KGB handbook on insidious propaganda. And now that Vladimir Putin has dissolved his government and gone dictator like his BFF Hugo Chavez, we need to get serious about defending this country from communism again.

Which means we need to get rid of Scooby-Doo. For those of you who doubt, I present the following evidence:

Exhibit A: The Characters

Freddy and Velma are the ‘workers’ of the show who are continually glorified for their intelligence and poise under fire. Idealized versions of what the true human potential, working for the greater good of the group, can really achieve. And who are they named after? Fredrich Engels, who co-wrote Marx’ book Das Kapital, and Velma Marx, Karl Marx’ grandmother and a formative influence in his life. The commies that wrote this show knew they couldn’t get away with dressing them in red, so they put them in orange (Velma’s shirt, Freddy’s ascot).

Daphne represents the ‘unallied nations’ with her on-again off-again relationship with Fred, her vacillations, and her preoccupation with material goods. Whenever she falls too far under the sway of capitalists she becomes Danger-Prone Daphne and has some sort of terrible incident befall her. But in the end she must realize the error of her ways and return to serving her red masters. Daphne wears purple because it’s a natural transition between blue (individual liberty) and red (communism).

Shaggy and Scooby of course represent the USA (their names being alliterative of Stars and Stripes, and Shaggy’s real surname Rogers being the same surname as Captain America). Gluttonous, cowardly, and gangly, these two are the worst kind of stereotypes about the US.


Exhibit B: Every episode is a de-facto indictment of US policies

The basic setup is always the same: gang finds mystery; Shaggy and Scooby panic, run around, eat a lot, and cause all kinds of trouble; Velma solves the mystery; and finally Freddy comes up with a trap that is ruined by Shaggy and Scooby’s incompetence. In the end, the bad guy is caught through sheer chance alone, usually in spite of (not because of) Shaggy and Scooby’s bungling.

The moral of the story is this: if only the rest of the world would stop allowing the United States to blunder around wrecking everything, the communists could solve all their problems.

Exhibit C: Heavily prominent communist imagery

Is it an accident that Shaggy went from wearing the color of money (green) to the color of the proletariat (red) as the show went on? I don’t think so. This is intended to show that, no matter how wretched a capitalist you are today, you too can embrace communism.

The mystery machine is plastered with hippy symbolism, intended to convince youth that war is wrong under any circumstances and that the giant red military monster should be allowed to swallow entire nations with nary a hint of protest from the US. “If the country’s a-rocking, don’t come a-knocking.”

Finally, the belligerent, tough-talking, dunder-headed sack of crap called Scrappy was created as a stand-in for the US congress and made his debut on the anniversary of Joe McCarthy’s first House Subcommittee on Unamerican Activities hearing, and was always intended to make children despise the government and trust in ‘Big Brother’, aka Scooby Doo, aka communism.

Exhibit D: Look at the bad guys
Every bad guy in Scooby Doo is an indictment of capitalism, decrying the vileness of personal initiave and individual freedom. They're poor charicatures of the "Capitalist Robber-Barons" of the 19th century:

The Creeper? Bank executive turned crook, just like all the rest of them. And who finally caught him? The blue-collar security guard, who bravely risked life and limb to expose the villainous plutocrat.

Dr. Jekyll’s Ghost? An indictment of the American health care system, which spawns quack doctors who eventually go on jewelry heists and frame their proletariat maids.

Werewolf? Sheep rustler who was trying to subvert the good of the many for his own personal gain, thus proving that collective agriculture is vastly superior to individual enterprise.

The Carnival of Terror robot? Technology run amok; remember that soviet scientists were always lagging behind, so they had to convince us that technology was worthless or likely to backfire and murder our children at the amusement parks.

Black Knight? Blatant anti-royalist screed that also gets its digs in against the intelligentsia with its image of the rogue university professor running amok.

The Phantom Shadows? Two incompetent lawyers, the moral of this story was that US laws are worthless and administered by incompetents for the gain of corrupted money from a bygone era.

Exhibit E: Scooby Snacks

While rampant shortages were common in the soviet system, they wanted us to believe that someday things would be so bad under capitalism that people would not only be forced to eat dog treats, they would have one they preferred above the rest! Why didn’t the other gang members ever eat Scooby snacks?

Because they were well taken-care-of in their communist paradise, that’s why.

So don’t fool yourself. These new Scooby-Doos may have Smash Mouth and be well-drawn, but you have to ask yourself: has the commie Great Dane really changed his spots?

I don’t think so.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Signs your Team Sucks

Well, we’re near the end of baseball season, we’re fully 5% of the way through football season, and basketball has reached the halfway point of a referee corruption scandal that will shake public confidence for the next 50 years. And hockey’s either disbanded or in a lockout or moved to Canada (I don’t know, and quite frankly, I can’t be bothered to keep up with minor-league sports).

With either Michigan or Notre Dame now assured of going 0-3, I thought it might be helpful to you fans out there to give you some sure-fire signs that your team sucks. That way, you can be sure to figure out whether you should be merely discontent ("we’ll get ‘em next year") or despondent (i.e. call the movers).

Here are some signs that your team really, truly sucks:

1) Coach’s sideline phones connect directly to suicide hotline

2) Top apparel choice for fans is the sweatshirt with full-face hood to keep wearer anonymous

3) The only time your team appears on Sportscenter is as the losing team for somebody else’s “Play of the Day”

4) Older fans often say to you “Oh, they still have a team?”

5) Whenever sportswriters pine for relegation like they have in the English Premier League, your team is cited as the prime example

6) Talented college teams are said to be able to beat your pro team

7) The last Hall-of-Famer you had inducted also fought in World War 2

8) Your team plays in Arizona

9) When your team signs a 20-year veteran who’s been out of the game for 3 years to a starting role, you think it’s a good addition

10) They’re in the tenth year of a three-year rebuilding phase, which was preceded by 20 years of futility while they waited for a new owner/stadium/city

11) Players who have spent their careers with your team leave in their twilight to play for the Yankees so they can “finally get into the postseason”

12) One of Bill Bellicheck’s former assistants is your coach

13) You’re the sexy “dark horse” candidate to win it all, because you were such a good “spoiler” late last season

14) The coach’s office has a revolving door

15) Nary a hint of a steroids scandal for the past 15 years

16) “Lather, rinse, repeat” describes how your coach breaks in rookie pitchers

17) Even the cheerleaders are ugly

18) Your team has a bear as a mascot

19) Your girlfriend asks you if that's a pro team or not

20) The only victories they score are moral

Homer the Physicist

While this story about burning salt water is really exciting and everything, I’m going to go with Homer Simpson on this one: “In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!”

Quick science lesson for those of you not skilled in the art (as they say in patent literature): for some time mankind has known that you can split apart the molecular bonds of salt water to release hydrogen. This is most commonly done via electrocells to make caustic soda (NaOH), which has a variety of uses in the chemical industry. Literally millions of tons of NaOH are fabricated every year this way.

Don’t just believe me; it’s well-explained on wikipedia.

The problem here is that hydrogen and oxygen are bound pretty well in the H2O molecule, so in order to force them apart you have to apply some kind of energy. Thermodynamics being what it is (a harsh taskmaster), you can’t get more energy out than you put in. And typically, you get less.

Probably the best you could hope to do would be to use a radio-wave generator to evolve hydrogen that you could burn to make enough energy to power a radio-wave generator that would be able to evolve hydrogen…

More likely, you’d get enough power to run about 40% of the radio-wave emitter, and then you’d have to supply the rest by plugging it into the wall and using power from a fossil-burning plant.

This is maybe interesting on the level of being able to replace electrodes in electrocells. I’m not skilled in that, so I can’t comment on it. But it’s probably not got much use as power generation or as desalination (I would expect to get 1 chlorine ion per hydrogen and thus contaminate the water).

It would really help if, before breathlessly putting this front-page on Yahoo, they’d maybe pass it by a scientist or something.

PS: In Cleveland, they mastered burning fresh water back in the 60's. Top that, science geeks!

9/11 Remembrance

Well, I'm not so good at remembrance. I'm not so good at humor, either, but that is the point of the site. But let's say that the day hasn't gone by without a bit of reflection on my part, and it really ought to prompt some on your part, too, whichever part of the political aisle you sit on. Lots of innocents lost their lives, and not a few brave service people who tried to save them. God bless every one of 'em, except the bastard hijackers.

I'm still gonna try to post funny stuff, because that's what I do here.

Schadenfreude: It Does a Body Good

If coffee is the fuel of business, then schadenfreude must be the fuel that drives Hollywood. Case in point: Britney Spears. How else can we explain the inexplicably joyous tone to so many of the rundowns of her disastrous comeback at the VMA? What else could explain the jubilant tone of critics who are waiting for the next Britney disaster? Are their lives so hollow they have to kick her when she’s down?

One need look no farther than the charming host of the MTV music awards, Sarah Silverman, to find this more perfectly illuminated. When we last saw Ms. Silverman at the MTV Movie Awards, she was telling Paris Hilton about “special arrangements” that the prison had made for her. Everybody got a big laugh, except for Paris herself (who was in the audience).

Last night, after Spears’ performance at the VMA, Silverman got big yuks with:
“Wasn’t that incredible? Britney Spears, everyone. Wow. She is amazing. She is 25-years-old and she’s already accomplished everything she’s going to accomplish in her life. It’s mind blowing.”
Can you feel the love tonight? But it gets better! Not content to have her go at Spears, Silverman took a jab at Spears’ children:
“Have you seen Britney’s kids? Oh my god, they are the most adorable mistakes you will ever see! They are as cute as the hairless vagina they came out of.”
Was Silverman hoping to coax Spears into hanging herself in her dressing room? I know this is MTV, but that’s a little much even for them.

(Side note: Silverman’s career in Hollywood isn’t much to brag about so far: fired from SNL, several bit parts in various comedies, her own show that’ll get cancelled next year, and of course her current role as Jimmy Kimmel’s mattress. Who knows from whence her venom drips, except to chalk it up to jealousy or a personal failing on her part.)

I don’t understand the daggers-out mentality that seems to pervade show-business performers. It’s one thing for night-show hosts to be cracking wise about Hollywood disaster cases; that’s what they’re paid for, after all. It’s quite another to be ridiculing them to their face and have an auditorium full of their peers chortling right along with you. Have these people no sense of decency?

I’ve never spectacularly failed in front of millions before, but I’d hope that if I did one of my co-workers (or at least one of my so-called friends) might try to help me out instead of taking the opportunity to get a few digs in. I guess as long as Britney was making out with Madonna and stripping with snakes, she was cool. Once that’s over, it’s time to throw tomatoes. Are these clods so un-self-aware that they don’t see their own fate writ large in Britney Spears?

Can they be so dense?

So for those of you out there who lust after fame and fortune in Hollywood, I would caution you that despite their claims at being somehow better than the rest of us, it seems that “outsiders” aren’t exactly welcome there and your first stumble may be your last. Just keep that in mind.

And if you run into Sarah Silverman, spit on her once for me.