Let’s Crown ‘Em.

For A Moment, He Lived.

For A Moment, He Lived.

I was going to hold off on this for a day or so, seeing as it’s New Year’s Eve and all, but with the avalanche of coach firings today, I thought we could use some uplifting NFL News.  I suppose in some cities this is the happiest day of the year, being finally rid of Romeo or Norv, but the Andy Reid firing feels a bit underwhelming.  Listening to Jeff Lurie’s press conference you get the feeling that the problem is still around.  Guess we’ll find out when Jeff and his new accountant pick a new coach.  Perhaps they should enlist the help of JCK, our 2012 NFL Pick’Em Champion.  JCK left a little window on Sunday, but no one could charge through.  The lead held up.  

Final NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:  

  1. JCK, 49-35-1 (58.3%)
  2. Big Dub, 46-37-2
  3. Nichols, 46-38-1
  4. DC, 46-38-1
  5. Kraft, 43-41-1
  6. Grossy, 39-43-3

***

D.A. Fantasy Football Final:  Team Horse Face 80, The Shiva Cry 53.  

After a tight battle in week one of the final, Team Horse Face pulled away for a relatively easy win in week two.  Week 17 always brings some interesting starting QBs into the fold and  this year was no different.  For Shiva, it was Brian Hoyer who appeared in Arizona out of nowhere.  The only Hoyer I’ve ever heard of is Steny.  For Horse Face, he snagged the D.A. debut of Terrelle Pryor.  But the new guys didn’t make this difference in this final.  It was the Christian Ponder miracle (-15 points) that ultimately sealed Shiva’s fate and earned him the silver medal.  Ponder latched onto Adrian Peterson’s magic and had his best game of the season when the Vikings needed a win to make the playoffs.  Must have been some honeymoon vibes wearing off.  Congrats to Horse Face for their 1st title.  

***

3-PT D.A. of the Week:  Brady Quinn.  

The Chiefs lost 38-3.  That was about what I was expecting.  What I don’t understand is how you can lose by 5 touchdowns and only throw the ball 16 times.  Were they just trying to get this over with?  Of course, Brady Quinn isn’t exactly the gunslinger to bring you back from a big hole.  Hence, 7 of 16 for 49 yards.  Still confused about those numbers.  Can’t wait to see who K.C. turns to in 2013.  

***

Coming Later this week in the New Year:  Playoff QB Ratings, A Mail Bag, Playoff Picks and who knows what else.  

Want to wish everyone a Happy New Year’s Eve.  Best wishes for 2013 and all of that horsebleep.  Bit of a scaled down year at 3-PT, but appreciate everyone who still comes by on a regular basis to keep us up and running.  Until Wednesday…stay safe out there tonight.  Practice that backwards alphabet.  

The Pick ‘Em Finale.

I Dropped the Ball on this Pick 'Em Season Weeks Ago.

I Dropped the Ball on this Pick ‘Em Season Weeks Ago.

Here we are at the end of the line.  Seventeen weeks.  Countless hours of analysis, paralysis and old player references.  The picks and jokes have run the gamut, but I think it’s all been worthwhile, even if my record ruins what has been an otherwise respectable year for 3-PT Terrritory handicappers.  I’ll get my revenge in the playoffs betting against Russell Wilson.  Until then, your week 17 picks…

JCK, 47-32-1

  1. New York Giants (-7.5) over Philadelphia
  2. Chicago (-3) over Detroit
  3. Baltimore (+2.5) over Cincinnati
  4. Seattle (-10.5) over St. Louis
  5. Indianapolis (+7) over Houston

Nichols, 45-34-1

  1. Cincinnati (-2.5) over Baltimore
  2. New Orleans (-5) over Carolina
  3. Green Bay (-3.5) over Minnesota
  4. San Francisco (-16.5) over Arizona
  5. Seattle (-10.5) over St. Louis

***

Big Dub, 43-35-2

  1. Indianapolis (+7) over Houston
  2. Minnesota (+3.5) over Green Bay
  3. Dallas (+3) over Washington
  4. Philadelphia (+7.5) over New York Giants
  5. Detroit (+3) over Chicago

***

DC, 43-36-1

Green Bay (-3.5) over Minnesota.  Adrian Peterson may be playing out of his mind, but Minnesota still can’t generate enough offense to hang with a Packers team that is playing for a bye week and a home game.

Detroit (+3) over Chicago.  The line is telling me that the Bears are actually going to lose outright to the Lions.  I’m going to go with Vegas on this one.

Washington (-3) over Dallas.  My prediction for this game is that Jason Garrett makes a late-game coaching decision that sends Bill Barnwell so far over the edge that it prompts him to invent a new scoring system for coaches called the KOTITE scale.

New York Giants (-7.5) over Philadelphia.   I’d like if the Eagles were able to keep this one respectable, but I think there are too many distractions in play for the Eagles, and  the Giants have it in them to do their part in securing a playoff spot.  See what I did there?

Seattle (-10.5) over St. Louis.  Why not?

***

Kraft, 42-37-1

Indianapolis (+7) over Houston.  Chuck Pagano’s 1st game back after leukemia.  How do you bet against that story?  I’ll take Chuckstrong.

Philadelphia (+7.5) over New York Giants.  Eagles play hard for Reid, Giants fold and show their true colors for 2012 season.

Miami (+10) over New England.  Pats do just enough for a win.

Jacksonville (+4) over Tennessee.  Last time picking Henne this season.

Chicago (-3) over Detroit.  Lions packed it in 8 weeks ago.  Chicago still alive.

***

Grossy, 36-41-3

Jacksonville (+4) over Tennessee.  I need a 5-0 to finish the season .500.  Where else to start but with Chad Henne.  Henne made me pay the price last week by skipping over his routine cover against New England.  I learned my lesson.  This could be the last game Henne starts in the NFL.  Probably not, because the Jags will bench Tebow in week 11 next year, but it could be.  Gotta play it safe.

Indianapolis (+7) over Houston.  Houston managed to cover a big spread against Indy a couple of weeks back, but I don’t see it happening again.  That’s tough to do against a division rival, playing on emotion.  I don’t like the Texans’ D as much as I did last year, and they won’t be able to keep Indy from some type of cover–backdoor or otherwise.

New England (-10) over Miami.  Just because everything thinks the Pats are going to win ugly again.  I think they might want to make sure everything is clicking before the playoffs.  Could mean a nice early cushion, and Miami can’t really throw the ball to take advantage of NE’s secondary issues.

Denver (-34.5) over Kansas City.  Broncos 45, KC 10.  Ish.

Dallas (+3) over Washington.  Gotta pick the biggest game of the year*, right?  Both these teams, franchises, and fan bases need this game badly.  There is a scenario where both teams make the playoffs, but it’s far easier to just win this one.  I feel like if you take out variables like jinxes, health, and Jason Garrett the Cowboys are clearly the better team.  RG3 is great, but he’s a rookie, we’re not sure if he’s 100%.  If he wins this game both political parties are going to start wooing him for 2016.  I like Romo (for 1 more week only) and a possessed Dez Bryant.

Guess I’ll Shoehorn in a Mail Bag.

Balancing Pride With Embarrassment.

Balancing Pride With Embarrassment.

I assisted in jump starting a car the other day, and by that I mean I popped one (1) hood and leafed through the car’s owner manual.  This came just a few minutes before my sister would say, “The manual’s always wrong,” and then throw caution to the wind by not grounding the cables at all.  Are you supposed to ground the cables?  Does jumping a car really require any caution at all?  I DON’T KNOW.  But, the point is, the car started up and that’s always a real source of pride.  I had a car in college that thought you were trying to steal it every time you had to jump the battery.  Keep in mind college is a ripe environment for things like, “left the dome light on for 11 days,” etc.  So, as soon as you hooked up the jumper cables the alarm would start wailing away.  It was enough to make me give up and just call AAA.  Can someone get this thing started?  I’m late for a game of beer pong.  For the last time in 2012…The Mail Bag.

Q: I have a friend who wears around his fantasy football championship shirt.  It’s in a pretty heavy rotation.  While I understand the pride, shouldn’t he realize he’s an adult and save that for “No-Shower Sundays” on the couch or something? Pitt Staynes, Exton, PA.   

A:  Odd timing for this question seeing as I just won my fantasy football league.  Thanks for asking!  We do not distribute any clothing to the winner, though maybe we should.  I was once part of an Intramural Flag Football Championship team in college.  I did not contribute much more than an occasional catch and a willingness to get tossed around on the line by ex-football players, but I still had no problems wearing that “Intramural Champion” shirt around.  In college you can get away with such things, chalk them up to a breezy carefree attitude, but I secretly loved that shirt.  Step aside!  ELITE ATHLETE coming through!  I was probably more proud of that shirt than any golf team shirt, which by rule, were hideous.  Anyway, I don’t think the importance of winning a fantasy league can be understated.  No one wants to be the guy in a long-standing league who’s never won.  Maybe this person needs constant reassurance.  YES, I did win that league.  It says it right there on this shirt.  I’d cut him some slack, because if no one sees the shirt, out there in public, did the championship really happen? 

Q:  Why doesn’t the movie theater spring for more than one size of straw?  I know it’s all part of their scam to get you to buy the “medium” which checks in at 80 ounces, but I don’t really need an extra yard of straw sticking out of the top of the glass. Portia Control, Yuma, AZ. 

A:  Once you step inside a movie theater, you are powerless against them.  They can do with you whatever they’d like.  Oh, you’re ready for the movie to start?  Just as soon as you sit here and watch these seven previews.  Shouldn’t take more than a half hour.  I understand crazy markups, but I don’t like how they portion things out.  It’s like 32 oz for $6 and 54 oz for $7.  That’s just insulting.  It’d be like going to a baseball game and seeing a sign that said, “Hot Dogs, 1 for $20, 10 for $25.”  At least at the game you are getting consistently gouged.  I see people fighting these giant straws.  I feel their pain, because I don’t like to use a straw in any situation.  You’ll never see me daintily downing an iced tea through a straw.  I’ve achieved a level of motor skill where I can actually lift the glass all the way to my mouth.  But in the darkness of the movie theater, when you are doing the thighmaster squeeze on a 5-gallon barrel of popcorn, I assume the straw comes in handy.  I’m sure it’s all designed as an inconvenience to you.  I don’t really buy that it saves the theater money.  You’re saying that two million giant straws are cheaper than 1.5 million giant straws and 500,000 regular straws?  I can’t imagine that’s the breaking point for United Artists.  My solution?  Just have the person you are going with, the one who smuggles in the candy, throw a pair of scissors in their bag with the Junior Mints.  Then, make a big show of cutting the straw in half at the counter and maybe even rifle the excess at the employee of your choice.  Let off some of that steam. 

Q:  Do you think there will ever come a time when board games ceased to be played?  Eventually there will be a generation who doesn’t want to play Scattergories, correct?  Milton Bradlee, Atlantic City, NJ.

A:  Tough question.  I feel like chess will be around forever, because chess is a true game of skill and thus considered a legitimate form of measuring yourself against another person.  I’m awful at chess and don’t know how to play EXACTLY, so I don’t consider it a true measure, but there are people out there who do.  I think some of the old games are already starting to die out.  I can’t remember the last time I saw someone play Parcheesi. Haven’t seen a kid break out Chutes and Ladders for a while, but other board games are still going strong.  Scattergories, which you mention in such a cavalier manner is still quite popular.  There is also a new genre of “party” game or games that are designed for groups of people, that remain quite popular.  These games are often filled with innuendo and offer opportunities for people to prove how funny they are–another legitimate measure of a man.  Perhaps they don’t take the skill of Scrabble, or require the breadth of knowledge demanded by Trivial Pursuit (Original Genus Edition (Cold War Still Going Strong) only please), but they still serve a basic function.  They bring a room together.  So, as long as people want to interact with other people I think some forms of games are always going to be popular.  Will we say goodbye to the actual “boards?”  Perhaps, but that feels like a technicality. 

Q:  My friend was given a gift card for Christmas.  Store’s not important, thanks for asking.  But, when they checked the balance, the total was $47.89.  More likely scenario–the purchaser emptied a coin jar, or they are re-gifting a partially used gift card?  Jim Thoughthatcountz, Madison, WI.

A:  Oh, how I love that story.  That’s great.  What if the purchaser bought a $50 dollar gift card, but then decided he wanted a pack of gum.  He’s a little cash poor all of a sudden, so he just swiped away.  The re-gift is possible.  I’ve bought people stuff with gift cards I’ ve been given, and that’s the same idea, though my way shows a bit more class.  At least I think it does.  Might as well convert that $47.89 into a nice sweater instead of handing over a gift card that has CLEARLY been in your wallet for 11 months.  You know, sometimes you can get odd numbers for gift cards.  Maybe the employees pass the hat for the big boss.  Well, looks like Jim is getting a 44 dollar card to Outback this year!  I’ve seen that happen, but the change scenario makes this a bit different.  I’m going to say this was a Coinstar transaction.   100% value on gift cards.  Hard to pass that up.  Impossible you might say.  And, in these tough times, sometimes the piggy bank comes up a little short of that $50 threshold. 

Q: What’s a more annoying aspect of celebrity, baby names or being subjected to box-office stars thinking they are qualified to weigh in on any politcal or social issue?  Cause N. Affleck, Brentwood, CA.

A:  Baby names can be tough to swallow.  Oh, Rachel McAdams had twins!  Quebec and Quinoa!  Stunning choices.  Then this style of naming penetrates our regular culture, but the problem is, your kid does not run around in the same circles as Kate Hudson’s little ones.  So they’re going to stick out–in a bad way.  I remember seeing my sister’s copy of Little Girl Lost at a pretty young age and if you don’t know, this is Drew Barrymore’s account of her childhood struggles and addiction.  So, there is a section of photos in the center of the book.  The caption for one of them is like, “Here’s Drew with Dweezil Zappa in 1987 (probably high on coke).”  I added that aside, but the point is, I often stared at that caption and thought, Dweezil?  IS THAT A TYPO?  I had no idea Dweezil’s father was famous.  All I saw was that name and it bothered me to my core.  That said, I am a big fan of people staying in their proper lanes.  Most celebrities have too much time on their hands.  Thus, they can exercise 5 hours a day with their trainer and give you “health tips,” or they get tied up in some cause.  Not that people shouldn’t have causes, just that when celebrities have them it always feels a bit hollow.  If you want my honest answer, the one thing celebs do that drive me crazy is have roundtables where they talk about “their art.”  Five comedians discuss what’s funny.  SHUT UP.  Or a bunch of directors sit around talking about “film.”  AND CHOICES.  What choices did you make?  Were they difficult?  I bet they were difficult.  I’d rather watch QVC. 

Q: If the only way you could have a dog was to also have a ferret would you have a dog?  Karl Hungus, New Haven, CT.

A:  Mean spirited question.  I don’t think I’m stepping out of bounds when I say ferrets are–the worst.  You know the scene in Big Lebowski where a ferret gets dropped in the tub?  I would not survive that scenario.  I’d either be scared to death or would crash to my untimely demise trying to escape the tub.  Things like that are why I could never be an actor.  I saw a movie a few weeks ago and the characters were eating Raisin Bran.  I thought, well, I’d have to turn down that role.  Unless you can blue screen in some Raisin Bran, cause I’m not eating it.  No chance.  Keep in mind I know this isn’t the only thing holding me back from being an actor.  Getting back to the question, I’m not sure I could have a ferret, unless by “have” you mean bring one home one day in a hermetically sealed package and then have it  immediately “lost” never to be seen again. Or if I could have a separate ferret wing to my house and a special caretaker.  Plus, why would I make my dog live with a ferret?  What did the dog ever do to me?  I think my way around this caveat would be to become a professional dog sitter.  This way, I’m always around dogs, but technically none of them are mine.  This way I can stay ferret-free.  

Quick, Post-Christmas Checkup.

How Was Your Haul?

How Was Your Haul?

Hope everyone had a nice Christmas.  We’re running at a real casual pace around here for the holiday season.  It’s hard to put up a Tuesday Morning Self-Esteem check on Christmas morning.  Too much merriment for hammering out a blog post.  And, if your self esteem isn’t stable on Christmas morning, then I’m not sure even winning NFL Pick ‘Em can save you.  So, today, before I go float to the mall down here in rain-soaked Virginia, we’ll try to get everything up to date.  And, before the end of the week, I’ll try to squeeze in a mailbag and the final week of NFL Picks.

NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:

  1. JCK, 47-32-1
  2. Nichols, 45-34-1
  3. Big Dub, 43-35-2
  4. DC, 43-36-1
  5. Kraft, 42-37-1
  6. Grossy, 36-41-3

The “Brand New Hot Wheels,” Pick of the Week:  JCK (Green Bay -12.5)

JCK is on the verge of securing his 1st Pick ‘Em title.  When I left for work on Sunday, Green Bay was winning 14-0.  I think it was 55-0 by the time I pulled into the parking lot.  Or, 85-0.  The point is–nice, comfortable win when every “W” gets you closer to clinching this thing.

The “3-Pack of Hanes Briefs” Awful Pick of the Week:  Grossy (SF +28)

Was that the line?  It wasn’t?  San Francisco was favored by a point?  Weird.  I thought I was in a real nail-biter down the stretch there and I could have gone to bed.  As it turns out, this was a really horrible pick.  I can’t express how much the Seahawks bother me.  The distaste originated with their 7-9 playoff year and has just settled into a nice valley with this whole Russell Wilson thing.  I’m terrified of how this might play out in the post-season.

***

D.A. Finals Update:  Team Horse Face 52, The Shiva Cry 48. 

After the 1st of two weeks we’ve got a real horse race for the 2012 D.A. title.  I’m on the edge of my seat.  The best performance in this game was Jake Locker’s 39 points, but Horse Face was steady (Lindley and McElroy 26 points each).  Be sure to check back in next week to see who takes this crown.

3-PT D.A. of the Week:  Matt Leinart

Whoa, a Matt Leinart sighting.  How exciting is this.  Can all the horrible USC QBs move into a house together and start a bad reality show?  Matt Barkley’s on-deck.  Leinart came in for Carson Palmer (Go Trojans!) and promptly went 16/32 with an INT.  Pretty Standard.

***

The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary Top-10. 

  1. Atlanta, 13-2.  13-2 is an OK record.
  2. Denver, 12-3.  A Broncos/Seahawks Super Bowl Terrifies Me.
  3. Green Bay, 11-4.  Care to play Green Bay?  Didn’t think so.
  4. Houston, 12-3.  Not how you want to look in week 16.
  5. Seattle, 10-5.  Can’t beat ’em at home.
  6. New England, 11-4.  Wining ugly in Jacksonville. Is there another way?
  7. Baltimore, 10-5.  Still think they stink.
  8. San Francisco, 10-4-1.  Goalie controversy!
  9. Indianapolis, 10-5.  Is Luck, INT Machine, the 3rd best rookie QB?
  10. Washington, 9-6.  RG3!  RG3!

Week 16 NFL Picks

Let's Retrieve Some Winners.

Let’s Retrieve Some Winners.

So, the world didn’t end today.  Always seemed unlikely.  One thing I think about when these people are predicting the pending doom of the entire planet is that they’ll never be validated.   If we get meteor’d, it’s not like they”ll be able to go on TV and gloat about it the next day.  But, when they’re wrong–and they’re always wrong–we get to laugh and point at how dumb they are.  Of course, the Mayan doomsday apocalypse also would have wiped my terrible NFL picks off the face of the earth and that wouldn’t have been all bad, but then we would have missed this shot of a dog walking around in a full Santa suit.  The Picks…

Kraft, 40-34-1

New Orleans (+3) over Dallas.  Brees shreds Dallas’s D, Kyle Orton can’t keep up after Romo is knocked out. Vilma collects the $25k bounty for knocking Romo out…oops, did I say Bounty?

Washington (-6.5) over Philadelphia.  With the 4th pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Eagles select Luke Joeckl, OT from Texas A&M

Tampa Bay (-3) over St. Louis.  TB shows a little more pride coming off the 41-0 drubbing.

Cleveland (+13) over Denver.  Cleveland’s new owner owns truck stops. I don’t bet against the American Dream.

New York Giants (-2.5) over Baltimore.  Big time bounce back.

***

Nichols, 42-33

  1. Carolina (-9) over Oakland
  2. New England (-14.5) over Jacksonville
  3. Indianapolis (-7) over Kansas City
  4. Denver (-13) over Cleveland
  5. Chicago (-6) over Arizona

JCK, 44-30-1

  1. Tampa Bay (-3) over St. Louis
  2. Chicago (-6) over Arizona
  3. New York Giants (-2.5) over Baltimore
  4. New Orleans (+3) over Dallas
  5. Green Bay (-12.5) over Tennessee

***

DC, 41-33-1

  1. New Orleans (+3) over Dallas
  2. New England (-14.5) over Jacksonville
  3. Houston (-7.5) over Minnesota
  4. Chicago (-6) over Arizona
  5. New York Giants (-2.5) over Baltimore

***

Grossy, 34-38-3

Dallas (-3) over New Orleans.  Are the Cowboys going to buckle in the regular season, or are they going to limp into the playoffs and then crush the hopes and dreams of their fans?  Because the Saints are so terrible on defense, and because I have a morbid curiosity to see Romo in the playoffs again I’ll take the Cowboys to win nice and breezy.  See what I did there?

Miami (-4.5) over Buffalo.  These are the types of games I deserve to be picking.  Trying to figure out which team has given up MORE.  Buffalo got embarrassed at home last week, they’re not going to be able to run the ball in Miami and you know what that means.  A Fitzpatrick turnover festival.  Somehow this rivalry went from Thomas vs. Marino to Spiller vs. Tannehill.  Weird.

San Diego (+2.5) over New York Jets.  Greg McElroy is laying points now?  You know that old joke, “Alabama could beat the Jets,” or whichever team?  Well, that’s crap, but I’m fairly sure there are plenty of D-I football schools where McElroy would safely be on the bench.  If you were going to bring Nick Saban back to the NFL my biggest concern would be how he wins in college by recruiting and not by riding great QBs.  You can’t recruit in the NFL.  And Greg McElroy doesn’t win NFL games.

Philadelphia (+6.5) over Washington.  Mostly because RG3 is on my fantasy team.  Also, something just feels weird about this one.  Andy Reid’s last (?) home game?  The Eagles are honoring Brian Westbrook.  I just don’t see this being as easy for the Redskins this time around.  Andy denies the home fans the booing window they’re looking for.

San Francisco (-1) over Seattle.  Dear Seattle, the Sonics are going to win a title before Russell Wilson.

***

Big Dub, 41-32-2

  1. Detroit (+3.5) over Atlanta.  Falcons blow.
  2. Pittsburgh (-3.5) over Cincinnati.  Dalton blows.
  3. Chicago (-6) over Arizona.  Bears defense covers this on their own.
  4. Seattle (+1) over SF.  Someone please stop this Kaepernick madness.
  5. Philadelphia (+6.5) over Washington.  Who is Washington to lay this much on the road.

Mid-Week Mailbag.

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas.

It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas.

How do I know the holidays are upon us?   People start driving like maniacs.  It’s like we all moved to Connecticut.  Parking lots have become especially dicey.  The problem is, they usually feed several lanes into the same exit.  I was minding my own business the other day, in a modest line of cars when some moron with a ton of Grand Theft Auto experience goes flying around me and almost clips off my front bumper.  I was so shocked I didn’t even get to give the offender the hand gesture of my choice.  So, while he races to some other exit lane I continue to make progress.  Of course we meet again at the stoplight where everyone must go, and he’s now two cars ahead of me.  You know, it all was totally worth it.  

Q:  Do you think people will ever use land line phones ironically?  I mean, will hipster kids ever be begging their parents to get a sweet land line in their bedroom, because it’s just so…you know?  Alex Bell, Coatesville, PA.

A:  I think talking out loud, TO PEOPLE, would have to make a big comeback first, then maybe you could have something like this happen.  I see what you’re getting at.  Maybe we find out down the line that cell phones really are terrible for us and that causes a return to the beloved land line.  And, if that’s happening, the idiots among us will want to go the whole way.  Oh, you have a rotary phone?  NOT BAD, but check out my switchboard and full time, live-in operator!  Anyway, the way young people communicate is troubling.  Text messaging has become pretty archaic at this point.  Or, the way I text message.  Between Twitter and Snapchat and whatever else I think we might be closer to language becoming extinct.  In 100 years, people my just be iPhoning rudimentary drawings back and forth.  

Q:  Has anyone ever successfully used a full roll of wrapping paper?  Scott Taipe, Fresno, CA.

A:  I assume you mean no waste?  That has to be a pretty rare feat.  The perfect roll?  I’m sure Martha Stewart probably thinks she could do it–but, I wouldn’t trust her.  I bet your grandmother did this all time time.  She was like a Native American with a buffalo.  Oh, there’s a 2″x 4″ piece left?  Perfect for wrapping this marble!  People played with marbles back in the day–look it up.  I waste a lot of paper.  I admit it.  I don’t have enough small items to wrap and so I play it pretty fast and loose with the scraps.  I’m also terrified of the undercut.  Nothing says butcher job like the wrapping paper patch.  So, what I usually do is cut a giant piece of paper and then trim repeatedly.  I’m not one of these people who is all, “I cut once and use 1 piece of tape.”  Ok, showoff.  I use my tape and scissors liberally.  That’s what they’re for.  Most people will tell you bad they are at wrapping presents, or how difficult it is, but it’s really not hard at all.  You just need to take your time.  Think about what you’re saying?  Folding paper is too hard?  Really?  

Q: Do you think Judd Apatow puts his own kids in his movies because he thinks a) they’re good little actors, b) he’s an egomaniac, c) they’re way cheaper than a Fanning?  Stephen Spielberg Jr, Yonkers, NY.

A:  I wonder what those little Apatow children make?  There’s no way it’s Fanning money, but I bet it’s a decent chunk of change.  Especially now that Apatow is THE comedy writer and probably gets nice, bloated budgets for his films.  I’d like to thank the studio for employing my ENTIRE FAMILY.  Is he an egomaniac?  Not in the way that Will Smith is with his children.  He’s dying for his kids to be famous.  I feel like Apatow probably finds the whole thing amusing on some level of comedy you don’t understand, because you simply aren’t funny enough.  I think the girls are going to have much bigger roles in the upcoming This is 40, so maybe we’ll get a look at their chops.  I think they’ll probably do a decent job in the sense that all children actors do when given funny lines.  But, I really get that this is kind of an inside joke among the Apatow family.  He casts his wife.  He puts his kids in there.  It’s no different than Adam Sandler continuing to give Rob Schneider work.  The problem is, what if little Apatow gets the acting bug and starts wanting to branch out from Daddy’s hand-written roles.  In five years, Maude Apatow might be like, “So, there’s this audition.  The movie is called, Teenage Meth Hookers: The Musical.  Can I do it?”  That’s when old Judd will be wishing he’d just buckled to the Fanning’s outrageous salary demands.  

Q:  Did you know vegans can’t eat honey?  Isn’t that ridiculous?  Anne Byproduct, Charleston, SC

A:  I only have a rudimentary knowledge of vegans, but from my understanding there is a quite a bit they cannot eat.  Honey seems awfully strict, though.  Yeah, it comes from bees, but do the bees really need it?  Does it hurt them to make our honey?  DOES IT?  Do vegans look down at bears because they eat honey?  The discipline required to be a vegan must be off the charts.  You can’t eat cheese, you are a nightmare dinner invitation, and you constantly have to deal with people’s reactions.  “I’m a vegan.”  (power sigh from everyone in the world).  That has to wear you down a little bit, constantly explaining what vegan means and deflecting the constant barrage of, “would you eat a cheeseburger for a million dollars?”  Honey is not something I’d particularly miss, but did you know that the following are also off-limits for vegans:

  1. White sugar
  2. Most Beers
  3. Gummy Candy

Now you’re just hitting close to home.  Here’s a question.  Are vegans allowed to use leather?  Wool?  Can they play an old piano?  I DON’T KNOW.  

Q: Did you know that certain fast food restaurants use off-site call centers to handle drive-thru orders?  And, is that the most boring job in America?  Mick Nugget, Tupelo, MS

A:  I had no idea.  I’ve got to admit, I don’t utilize the drive-thru as much as you might think.  I like to seek out empty calories in other ways.  But, this really blows my mind a little bit.  So the person at the window isn’t who I talked to on the intercom device?  There’s no way this happens at Chick-Fil-A.  I refuse to believe that.  I guess this is an effort to get less orders wrong?  Part of the gamble of going drive-thru used to be that there was a 65% chance you weren’t going to get what you ordered.  The technology in drive-thru speakers had to be pre-World War 1.  I remember when the big advancement was your order would display on a screen so you could see exactly HOW WRONG it was.  That just made things more frustrating.  My sister doesn’t eat condiments, so she’d say I want such and such ‘plain’ and then she’d be hollering from the back seat, does it say plain?  DOES IT?  Now I find out I’m on the phone with someone in a call center?  That’s crazy, and it has to be a terrible job.  At least if you work in the actual restaurant, maybe you get to play with the soda machine for a while, dunk a basket of fries, have some actual human interaction?  Eight hours of orders only?  I’d last 1/12 of a day.  

We're Going to Need Bigger Carrots.

We’re Going to Need Bigger Carrots.

Q:  What would you do if this thing was hopping around your backyard?  Pretty sure you can’t make a good luck charm out of one of those feet.  Mongo Rabbit, Detroit, MI.

A:  Damn.  How about the forearm strength on the guy holding it up?  That’s just pure farm boy strength right there.  The thing looks pretty docile, but I think I’d be terrified.  At least momentarily.  My initial thought here is: MUTANT.  So, if the rabbit has grown to abnormal size, has it also turned carnivorous?  Probably don’t want to run that risk.  Plus, it may be able to beat you senseless with those thumpers.  Yet, it’s still kind of cute.  I honestly cannot stop looking at that picture.  You know that rabbits actually make terrible pets?  They’re too cute for their own good and little idiot kids think they’re great and will talk like Bugs Bunny, but a rabbit is one of the last pets I’d get my kid.  We had  a rabbit once, Roscoe, and I really liked Roscoe, but Roscoe wasn’t THAT friendly.  You can’t play with a rabbit like you can a dog, or even a cat.  So, Roscoe just chilled in the hutch 99.9% of the time.  But, man did I want that rabbit.  So, if your kid ever wants a rabbit, I’d suggest renting this guy’s “pet,” and giving it to your kid.  One look and little Timmy probably sh*ts himself, leaves the room screaming and you’ve quickly navigated the “bunny” phase.  

 

Tuesday Morning Self-Esteem Check.

Confident Enough For the Risky Six Pack Buy?

Confident Enough For the Risky Six Pack Buy?

Usually this time of year I’m trying to drink as many Sierra Nevada Celebration Ales as possible.  And why not, with it being the season and all.  But, sometimes you wander into a six pack shop and see something unexpected.  Such was the case as I eye-balled a neat little container of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.  AKA, my favorite new beer of the past couple years.  I’d never seen it in six pack form.  So there it was and the price tag was pretty hefty.  No surprise there, but when making a six pack investment you’d like to know you’re getting your money’s worth.  Is this going to be skunked?  Has it been sitting in the back since last winter?  You’ve got to establish a track record with craft brews before you can start dropping that heavy coin, but you’ve also got to take that first plunge sometime and this time around I was rewarded with a great beer to babysit during dinner.  Made up for another Pick ‘Em embarrassment…

NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:  

  1. JCK, 44-30-1
  2. Big Dub, 41-32-2
  3. Nichols, 42-33
  4. DC, 41-33-1
  5. Kraft, 40-34-1
  6. Grossy, 34-38-3

The “Fresh Christmas Cookies,” Pick of the Week:  Kraft (ATL -1.5)

Big Week for Kraft.  He kept himself on the fringes of contention with a 4-1 effort and showed some unique insight picking Atlanta.  For the last few weeks we’ve had a bunch of overlap, and it was even there this week with our affinity for Denver.  But, I always like to reward a pick that goes a bit against the grain.  There were a few folks touting NY this week and why not?  They’d always answered the bell in big games this year and Atlanta had their doubters.  The Giants have been one of the toughest teams to figure out all year, but with 3 games left, this is where they excel?  Nope, just an easy 4-TD cover for Kraft.  

The “Last Year’s Anchor Steam Christmas Ale,” Awful Pick of the Week:  Dub (Buffalo +5.5)

Thanks to the Chad Henne exoneration/exemption we’re left with a team in almost as bad shape as the Jaguars.  The Bills took their show to Toronto on Sunday and what a treat it was for the Canadian faithful.  What more do you need to see to start the campaign to bring the NFL to Canada?  This was just another Big 10 game for Russell Wilson who continues to get people’s hopes up before his inevitable demise.  I think what we’ve learned this week is that you can’t pick bad teams that have totally given up on the season.  Go ahead and put Buffalo on that list.  Along with KC, Jacksonville and Philadelphia.  

The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary Top-10

1.  Atlanta, 12-2.  Back to focusing on body of work, the Falcons got their biggest win since Vick in Lambeau?  

2.  Houston, 12-2.  Ditto regarding body of work, dismissed Indy when they needed a win.  

3.  San Francisco, 10-3-1.  Great win, but NE gift-wrapped that 1st half and the Niners blew a 4-TD lead.

4.  Denver, 11-3.  The Broncos have won nine in a row.  I’m troubled.  

5.  New England, 10-4.  Showed that firepower.  Have to limit turnovers to spare the defense.  

6.  Green Bay, 10-4.  Plodding along, don’t want to see them in the playoffs.  

7.  Seattle, 9-5.  Beating up on the league’s worst.  They won’t go any higher.  

8.  Baltimore, 9-5.  Falling out of love with Flacco?

9.  Indianapolis, 9-5.  Hung in against Houston, but probably not their time yet. 

10. Washington, 8-6.  QB Controversy?  Lulz.

3-PT D.A. of the Week:  Matt Stafford.  

Check out the D.A. Tab at the top of the page to read about Stafford 60+ points, check out Semi-Final results and get a look at what’s to come in the final two weeks of the D.A. Season.