Thursday, September 30, 2010

Obama Disses The Packers!


Get your sound bites ready, right-wing pundits and Tea Party/Grizzly Mamas dolts: Obama has now taken his efforts to destroy America to new lows, this time by turning kids against everything that's good and decent in America.

And by "good and decent" I mean "the Green Bay Packers," that blue-collar, community owned, small-town, historic, Vince Lombardi-related symbol of a more innocent, more hard-working, less universal-health-care-having America.

In his recent visit to Madison, Obama spoke about having great memories of the city, and urged people to vote Democrat. That was the public part of the speech. But privately, at a stop at LaFollete High School, Obama ripped into the Packers. Says Channel 3000:

President Barack Obama made time for unscheduled campaign-style stops in a day already packed with events in two states.Obama surprised the football, volleyball and girls' tennis teams at LaFollette High School in Madison by visiting their practice fields Tuesday.

Sound innocent? Wait until you read the chilling indoctrination Obama laid on those poor kids. Said student/brainwashed sycophant Ben Mogilevsky:

"We talked about the Packer game yesterday and how they had 18 penalties and how you can't mess up that many times in life."



Sure, the Packers under Coach Mike "Mike" McCarthy have been an undisciplined mess that can't win in big games, fail to stop even mediocre quarterbacks and generally underachieved while trying to execute mystifying game plans that seem to change midway through each quarter. But holding them up as an example of mistakes to avoid? You've gone too far this time, Obama. You've gone too far!

Sarah Palin would never make such a mistake. In fact, when asked to comment on whether she thinks the Packers serve as a warning to youngsters on how not to live a life, Palin responded, quote: "Grizzly Mamas! Government waste! What's a Packer?"

An Eyeglass Conspiracy!

ZenniOptical believes that eyewear is a right, not a style choice. They're the number one online eyeglasses store and take seriously their mission to keep glasses affordable for people; they believe (and I'm with them) that eyewear is a medical or health item, and they offer glasses are prices as low as eight bucks a pair.

Not everyone's okay with that, though. Opticians take offense at people horning in on their racket, and they're coming up with ways to make sure that you can't get affordable glasses.

Here's how they do it: ZenniOptical requires that you measure your "PD," or "pupillary distance." It's a pretty simple measurement that tells Zenni how big to make your glasses so that they're centered and sit right.

But opticians won't provide that simple service for you. There's a site (http://www.optiboard.com/forums/showthread.php/40851-Got-Asked-for-a-PD-Today-(First-Time)?highlight=zenni) where opticians talk about getting asked for the PD and what they'd do. One optician's response?

Charge 35.00 to 49.00 for it and give it to them in an encrypted format so that it is only decipherable to you but looks realistic to them. For instance, their pd is 62 ou . so you record it as a derivative of your unique base number . If you base is 100 then their pd is - 38 or give it as a monocular number. If your base is 60 then their pd is + 1 ou . If you used 120 as your base standard then pd becomes 58 binocularly. Your scope measures PD as a base of 0 .

In other words, charge you money and then provide you no service, by giving you a number that's useless to you. That's almost fraud, let alone a dereliction of duty by health "professionals."

If opticians truly cared about you, they'd sell glasses for less, or provide the numbers you need to let you buy Zenni's glasses. But posts like that one make it clear that they care about money, not eyesight.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Live deliberately, NFL coaches and GMs!

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them.
-- Henry David Thoreau.

NFL coaches and GMs are among those who make up the 'mass of men,' right? I'm pretty sure they are, or most of them are. Packers GM Ted Thompson I'm pretty sure is a cyborg. And Al Davis is a superhero.

But the rest are no better or worse than you and I when it comes to making panic moves to keep the bosses (or fans, or newspaper writers) happy. With Week 3 of the NFL's Second Preseason (see what that's about here) in the bag, it's time to take the speculation and over-reaction into high gear as coaches and GMs and even teammates try desperately to place the blame for losing on anyone but them. Here's three teams that haven't gotten their song out yet.

The Saints are auditioning kickers: Garrett Hartley missed a 29-yarder against the Saints, and the Saints lost 27-24 in overtime against the Falcons. Is it the defense's fault for giving up 27 to the Falcons? The offense's fault for turning the ball over 3 times? No! It's the kicker! Hartley hit 100% of his field goals -- that's every one of them -- in 2008. He hit 81% of them in 2009. So of course it makes sense to blame him, because if they didn't blame him, then people might start looking at Brees and Payton and Gregg Williams and wondering whether they needed a job. And the person they're bringing in? John Carney -- the kicker who lost his job to Hartley.

So, was Payton wrong when he fired Carney before? No time to think about that, we've got more panic buttons to hit!

The 49ers fired their offensive coordinator! Two weeks ago, Steve Young raved about a scoring drive that Alex Smith led, calling it "transformative." But the big word for today in SF is desperation, as Mike Singletary fired his offensive coordinator after watching game film of the Niners' loss to KC. (What, he wasn't watching the actual game?) The new offensive coordinator, Mike Johnson, was described as "a visionary" in a quote I'm absolutely not making up. Singletary said of Johnson:

"I think Mike will do a good job of bringing the staff together. I think Mike is a great communicator. I think Mike is a great teacher. I think he's a visionary. I think he understands what we're trying to accomplish and I think the players will embrace him."

Singletary did not say why this visionary communicator languished on his staff for two years under the presumably-visionary-impaired prior coordinator. As for the Visionary Johnson, he wasted no time in throwing his for-now-boss under the bus, blaming the loss on the players and Singletary:

"We're here to score points and win games. That's the offense's job, and we haven't been doing that. We got outplayed just as much as we might have got out-coached on Sunday."

The Bills Let Trent Edwards Go! Can a team that week after week meekly goes to its fate be described as "desperate?" Maybe -- in a meek, quiet sort of way. Buffalo's Coach-By-Default Chan Gailey replaced Edwards with Ryan Fitzpatrick this week, then loved it so much when Fitzy led the bills to 30 points against the New England Patriots* that he let Edwards go entirely. I'm not sure why they felt the need to do this -- unless it was to avoid paying Edwards the remainder of the $1.65 million he'll earn this season -- but I do know that it looks like nobody, not even the Coach-by-Default, understands the move. Said Gailey:

"I can see where people would look at that and wonder what's going on... I felt that as we looked and evaluated everything that we had seen up to this point that this was the direction for the future of our football team."

The Bills are 0-3 -- and that's being charitable. They should be 0-6 by now, despite there having been only 3 games played, because there's simply no chance the Bills are going to win any significant amount of games. As much as I love the Bills and will root for them, they're flat-out the worst team in the NFL right now.

But even with that, it was a little early for Gailey to pull the plug on the Edwardian era; he can't possibly be on the hot seat just 3 games into his tenure... and can't possibly be on the hot seat considering that nobody else wants the job. Gailey, though, looked uninterested as the Bills only briefly challenged the Packers two weeks ago, and although I didn't watch the Bills-Patriots sure-loss this week, I'm pretty sure Gailey phoned it in there, too -- so I'm sure he just wanted to reassure the owners that he's doing something to merit that office and parking space.




Monday, September 27, 2010

The Weekend Happened

My take on all the stuff I barely followed this weekend.

Bai Ling in Madison happened: Pictured at right -- me with a goofy grin standing next to Bai Ling, who was in Madison to film her part in a movie being made by one of my old friends, Ross Bigley. The film is called "Petty Cash" and it sounds incredible. I was at the shoot for about 5 hours, and got to say a line ("Hey, Baby") as well as be the stand-in for another person and say their line. ("Tong!") As you'd expect, I nailed it.

"Petty Cash"
premiers October 30 at the Milwaukee Art Museum as part of the Milwaukee Short Film Festival. I've been assured by Ross that my name will appear in the credits, so the line for autographs starts right over there. No, not there, there!

A new Texting Champion Happened: What's the season, exactly, on texting? Back in January, 16-year-old Kate Moore brought her total winnings to $60,000 (or 1/3 of her monthly cell bill) by texting "Zippity Dooo Dahh Zippity Ayy...My oh MY, what a wonderful day! Plenty of sunshine Comin' my way...ZippittyDooDahZippityAay! Wonderful feeling, Wonderful day!" in less than 60 seconds. But the new US National Champion is reported to be 13-year-old Brianna Hendrickson, who just won $50,000 along with that title.

That all has something to do with the "LG Mobile World Cup 2010" which kicked off in July and which culminates in a world championship to be held in January, 2011.

And, in case you're wondering, the World Record for Texting is supposed to be held by Melissa Thompson, who typed "The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human." in just 25.94 seconds.

I just tried to type that same thing, and in 30 seconds, I got as far as "THE RAZOR-TOOTHED PIRABSHA" before quitting.

Blowouts Happened: The average margin of victory for top-25 ranked teams over the weekend was 21.36 by my count -- with Wisconsin topping them all on a 70-3 blowout of Austin Peay. Even homer sportswriters for the comically tiny Wisconsin State Journal bemoaned the quality of that game. Fans, why do you like watching your team cream another team? What's the fun there?

Would Star Wars have been enjoyable for you if in the first ten minutes of the film, Vader had sent wave after wave of stormtroopers crashing down on Tatooine, burning everyone to a crisp and ending the tension even before Luke complained about going to Toshi Station?

It's close games and even matches that make sports exciting. Foregone conclusions are not exciting and don't particularly help your team tune up, either. If you're really a sports fan, you want your team to play quality opponents and win. Beating up on Cub Scouts Troop 247 isn't sporting.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

For/Against/Don't Care: The Chicago Bears 2010 (P)review:


Team: The Chicago Bears.

For/Against/Don't Care? What, you thought just because the regular season started I would no longer do (p)reviews of NFL teams? Why should the start of games that count only to fans mean that I can't continue previewing what'll happen when teams actually start caring?

As I've said before, the NFL doesn't care about the first three or four weeks of the season, caring even less than the NCAA really cares about the first three or four weeks of its season. In college, the one-loss de facto rule makes the first couple of nonconference, Wisconsin -vs- Austin Peay games count a little, although most of those games are foregone conclusions.

In the NFL, it's worse. We're told by players and coaches that it takes 3-4 games to get up to speed, hence the 4-game preseason. But then we're told by players and coaches not to take the preseason seriously because the starters don't really play and teams don't really run their plays and defensive schemes...

... so what are they practicing, exactly?

And when, exactly, will they begin working on the actual stuff they want to use in the regular season?

The answer to the latter question is: With week one of the regular season. NFL teams begin really practicing the stuff they really want to run in week one -- and it'll take them 3 or 4 weeks to get it down. But NFL teams don't care because, unlike college, where one loss can wreck your season, in the NFL you can lose up to seven games and still make the playoffs, depending on your division. 2 or 3 losses doesn't mean anything in the NFL.

Teams do this, they say, because they don't want opponents to get film on them before the season starts. But that's a stupid reason. First of all, many teams don't watch all the films -- the Vikings didn't watch more than 8 games of the Saints before the NFC championship last year; that's how the Vikings missed that the Saints sometimes blitz the A-Gap.

Secondly, unless you're a new team, you're using the same stuff as last year. The Packers got all kinds of acclaim last year for a package they called "Psycho," one down lineman, five linebackers, five defensive backs. They used it periodically in 2009, and then hid it away for the preseason and then... unveiled it against the Bills again last week. Were the Bills fooled by the fact that the Packers hadn't used "Psycho" in the preseason? Well, probably, given that they're the Buffalo Bills, but other teams presumably had seen Psycho and expect to see it again.

Which brings up thirdly: Once you're in the regular season, using the regular packages, teams can get all the film they want of your schemes. So it's really just the first 3-4 weeks that other teams are caught by surprise (assuming they don't go look at last year's films). After that, opponents have plenty of film. Teams that the Bears will be playing in week 13 aren't going to worry that they don't have good preseason film; they have 12 weeks of this year's film.

A smart coach out there is one day going to use 1 or 2 of those preseason games to actually install all his packages and that coach is going to win his first couple of games and march to the Super Bowl. (That coach is not Chan Gailey.)

And if you look at the season so far, you know I'm right. Every NFL season starts with an inordinate amount of penalties and quarterback switches and injuries and major adjustments from week 1 to week 4. Already, entering week 3, about six teams have changed quarterbacks and there are the usual "surprise" teams that are anything but -- they're just teams taking advantage of the fact that their opponents haven't really come together yet. Is Miami any good? Are the Vikings bad? No, and no. They're just still practicing.

Which brings up, finally, the Bears, who are generating a lot of buzz for being 2-0, having beaten the Detroit (Polar Boy) Lions and the Dallas (Gorilla Grodd) Cowboys. This is deemed progress by pundits, who think this week's Monday Night Football matchup could "help determine who wins the NFC North."

Well, der. Any interdivision game helps determine who wins the division. Nice punditry, ESPN. Maybe you should just stick to plagiarizing me.

The Monday night game could be fun, because Bears-Packers games that matter and are close are fun games -- but it's not going to matter in the long run, because, first, the Vikings are going to win the division again (and then lose the Super Bowl to the Titans), and second, because the Bears aren't that good.

I know, Mike Martz. I know, beat the Cowboys. I know, Julius Peppers. But I also know: Chicago isn't very good. They're not very bad, either. They're just not very... anything. They're there. That's all.

It makes me miss Rex Grossman, to tell you the truth -- at least he was entertaining. Jay Cutler is predictably mediocre, the defense is predictably not as good as it's hyped to be, and Lovie Smith seems to be more spectator than coach these days. The Monsters of the Midway plus Mike Martz's mad genius plus Julius Peppers in the same defense as Brian Urlacher should have all added up to an awesome show of force, but it didn't. The Bears should have been exciting, but I just... can't... care. The Bears are a Don't Care, at least until they fire Lovie an promote Martz.

The Opposite View: They are 2-0. That's something that only 7 other teams can say at this point. Then again, how many of those teams nearly lost to both their opponents in the final minute of the game, being saved by deus ex machina each time?

Seriously, how many? I don't watch all the games.

Superhero The 2010 Bears Most Resemble: In case you don't recall, or in case I never clearly explained, the point of the superhero comparison is to give you an idea of how exciting (or not) the team is likely to be -- and whether you should root for them (hero) or against 'em (villain.) That makes it tough to pick out someone for the Bears, a team I like personally -- I root for them to beat the Packers, and will for so long as Mike "Mike" McCarthy and Ted Thompson run the team -- but which I can't get excited about. Since I root for them, I guess they're good guys, but I have to then pick out a hero who, while technically a good guy, is also not a very exciting good guy, the kind of hero who, when he turns up in a comic, you shrug and say "Oh, well, I suppose."

A hero like Hawkman, who is probably a perfect metaphor for the 2010 Bears. Hawkman's peaceful alter ego is an archaeologist named Carter Hall who, while not a cool archaeologist like Indiana Jones, at least had the comfort of being the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian prince; later versions of Hawkman would instead try to up the voltage by claiming Hawkman was actually a cop from another planet. Then, ultimately, DC just decided to let all the origins be Hawkman's, so he's a reincarnated Egyptian prince/cop from another planet (which also, coincidentally, is the first storyline on Law & Order: LA this year).

Hawkman uses gadgets and ancient weapons to fly and attack people. And at the sound of "gadgets and ancient weapons," Mike Martz and Lovie Smith demanded to know who stole their playbook, while Julius Peppers said "Who are you calling ancient?" (I was actually referring to Urlacher, Julius.)

Your 2010 Chicago Bears:




Other previews:

Explanation & my Super Bowl prediction for this year.


Arizona Cardinals


Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens.

Brett Favre's Minnesota Vikings

Buffalo Bills.

Carolina Panthers.

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns.

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions.

Pittsburgh Steelers.


______________________________________________________________

Vote for Me For Judge:

Briane Pagel
for
Dane County
Branch 9 Circuit C
ourt Judge,
Spring, 2011.


Protection.
Equality.
Fairness.




Click here for more information about me and my views.

Paid for by Pagel For Judge, Lisa Stewart-Boettcher, Treasurer.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bills: A little less rapping, a little more "actually playing quality football." (So They Made A Song About Sports)

I've only just gotten through about half of my Sports Illustrated NFL preview -- because I don't care about previews when nobody really knows what's going to happen and because, in the NFL, the first four games don't really count or matter -- so I didn't find out until yesterday that there was a song about someone who, apparently, is a Buffalo Bill.

Times have changed from when I knew most of the Bills' roster and should have been named their number one fan in Wisconsin -- nowadays, I didn't even know enough to know that Trent3 was called "Captain Checkdown" by the fans -- and I don't know who Jairus Byrd is on the Bills. Sports Illustrated said he's part of a Buffalo team "unit that boasts something approaching star quality," but, more importantly, Jairus Byrd is the subject of a song produced by another apparent Bill, Steve Johnson. Johnson is a WR on the Bills when not making songs like this:



Rap's not really my thing -- unless it's cool old-school Ice T, or cool new school stuff like the Gilbert & Sullivan version of Baby Got Back,



So I'm not judging the song. I am judging Jairus Byrd, who helped hold the Packers to just 34 points last week. Talk about near star quality. Without Byrd, that game might've been a blowout.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hooray For Colin Cowherd! (And BOO! for Michael Vick.)


It's not often that I say nice things about Colin Cowherd -- at least since the ESPN host made it his full time job to suck up to Bill Belicheat -- but after listening to him yesterday, I have to give him kudos because he's the only person at ESPN, so far as I can tell, who cares enough to continue mentioning that Michael Vick killed a bunch of dogs and isn't worthy of respect or admiration.

I know that people can change. I know that some people, at least, deserve a second chance. And I know that Tony Dungy for some reason backs Michael Vick, which makes me think there's some reason to not despise Vick. But I can't get past that he killed a bunch of dogs. (And I can't get past this.) It's the kind of image that's hard to shake.

So when I see him out there running around, and see Philly fans cheering for him, it makes me mad. And then when I see ESPN repeatedly play up his so-called heroics, it makes me madder. Michael Vick, to me, is beyond the pale. He shouldn't have been allowed back in the NFL, and he shouldn't be making millions and he shouldn't be getting talked up on national TV and radio in a positive way. It's a disgrace that the NFL lets him do that and that ESPN plays into it.

And yesterday, Colin Cowherd mentioned the dog killing about four or five times in a span of maybe 10 minutes, repeatedly throwing it out there. So good for you, Colin. You won me back with that. And the rest of you, get some souls, for Pete's sake. He's a dog killer. Don't cheer for him.




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