Top of the Charts

So . . . who are you writing this for?

 . . . the blog?

Oh . . . I thought you might be writing for like a magazine or something.

Nope . . . I try not to write reviews. I . . . well . . . I don't have very good taste.

It's not that you don't have good  taste. It's that . . . well . . . you don't have open taste. I mean, you're like not into hip hop or rap or country or . . . you know . . . stuff that people listen to.

Which is totally true.

I'm not into things that people are into.

For the most part.

I'm not elitist. I'm not set in my ways. I'll listen to a pop radio station much longer than my wife will, but I won't watch 3% of the television she watches. It's almost like you get my attention for three and a half minutes, so don't blow it.

I love a good catchy pop tune far better than the greatest symphonies ever written. Trashy novels (I've read the Twilight Series twice) I claim to know a lot about a lot of things, but I'm just not the person you would turn to to give a good review of something.

Like if you were to ask me who is the better songwriter, Miles Davis or Taylor Swift, I'd say 11 times out of 10, Taylor Swift. Just cause when was the last time you found yourself humming tracks from "Bitch's Brew" while you where doing the dishes?

In that sense, my wife is exactly right. I don't have an open sense of what is good and what is not. I have a very deliberate sense of what I like and what I think is worth my time. And it doesn't always translate.

See, I was thinking about this while skimming through the Top Charts this week. Movies, Albums, Songs, Television, Books, Video Games, and believe it or not, Graphic Novels.

As a person who writes about pop-culture nonsense, I feel it is rather my duty to check in with the Charts and make sure I'm not lost somewhere back in 1997. And I feel pretty good about the results, in that I recognized most of the names (Top Songs and Top Graphic Novels where the only two categories where I must have missed a lot of memos).

Gone Girl is the Top Movie.

My wife wants to see it, but I'm kinda negative about it. Not that it won't be great, it's just that I read the book, love it, highly recommend it, but don't want to share time with those people ever again.

The only movie on the chart that I'd seen was Guardians of The Galaxy (in at #9). But I had seen one, so I'm ready for my close up, Mr. Demille.

I knew five of the Top Albums (but don't own any of them) and there were more familiar names there than anywhere else; Kenny Chesney, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga.

What was interesting is that there was only one Top Ten Album Artist (#10-Meghan Trainor) that was featured on the Top Ten Songs (#1- All About That Bass - Meghan Trainor)

That's something I hadn't thought about. That the album buying demographic is different than the song buying demographic. It's almost become a different market.

I'll have to give that some thought.

(For the record, "All About That Bass" is a modern expose on celebrating the full-figured body-style using the musically inspired concepts of Bass and Treble as metaphorical counterparts to age old debate between heavy versus skinny girls . . .

. . . but it's not very good.)

If you're interested in purchasing songs about full figured women, might I suggest looking up Queen, (Fat Bottom Girls) Spinal Tap (Big Bottom), NOFX (Hot Dog Down A Hallway), and of course, Sir Mixalot (Big Butts). 

The Top Ten Songs, well, they weren't all that interesting. I only recognized three names in the entire list and two of them were Nicki Minaj. Also, aside from some vocals, there wasn't a single acoustically recorded instrument on any of the songs.

Don't think I'm a purist. I'm certainly not one of those, but I think it's safe to agree with an old partner of my dads who said thirty years ago: The day we learn to sample the human voice is the day keyboard players will rule the world.

I actually did see two of the Top Broadcast TV Shows, but they were Sunday Night Football and Thursday Night Football.

18 Million people tuned in for the premier of The Big Bang Theory.

I was not one of them.

Of the Top Ten video games, I have played earlier versions of six out of the ten. Not too shabby. I haven't played any of the new incarnations because video games are expensive when they're new,

Although, FIFA '15 is ranked #1.

A soccer video game.

I will freely admit that I was a golf junkie (Tiger Woods on the Wii) for several years, but soccer?

Like do you gather all your firends together online and do nothing for two and a half hours?

"Hey bro . . . kick the ball to me . . . then I'll kick it back to you . . . niiiiiiiiice."

I have read two of the authors on the Top Hardcover Fiction list.

Ken Follet, who is good if you like thick month long historical novels with lots of sex and brutal death but without all that character development you might get from Game of Thrones.

and Haruki Murakami, who is just fantastic, every read, as long as you're willing to follow the white rabbit down the hole, and you don't ask too many questions.

I can't really say about the rest.

And I can say nothing about the Top Indie Graphic Novels.

Graphic Novels fall under the catergory of "Things I'm Aware of . . . but . . . well . . . Have Yet to be Moved By."

Other things in that category include Modern Art, Fashion, Leather Interiors, Bollywood, Boys who sing in falsetto (though Glen Hansard got really really close), more than three minutes of Jazz, more than three minutes of Blues, Reality Television (all of it), Anime, EDM, everything on the Disney Channel, and Nicki Menaj.

That's not a conclusive list. Nor is it exclusive. Nor is it finite.

I don't want to go crankily into that goodnight. I'd like to know what is popular and alive in the moment.

You know, maybe this time I didn't find anything that really spoke to me, or anything that I thought was worth sharing, but the Top Charts aren't an essay on pop culture. They're just little snap shots, and in this case, a little snapshot of the last week of September 2014.

I wonder what it will be like when I get to the point where I'm no longer interested in what's going on in the pop culture around me. When I listen to the same five albums and have nothing but a "Meh" response to just about everything else.

It's gonna happen sometime. Someday I'm just gonna drop out of the zeitgeist. Someday I'm not gonna be worth your three and a half minutes, and that will be a sad day.

Unless I retire rich.

I may need to write a song about fat girls for that to happen. Not sure I'm ready to do that.

The Most Dangerous Five

Driving my son to school today, there was a story on the radio about a couple leading the police on a high speed car chase, and it turning out to be a woman in labor and not a bank robber.

Note: The baby is fine, the parents were not arrested, and the morning news has something other than mayhem to report.

But as I listened to the story my thought was, "Wow, that was really stupid, and really dangerous."

The stupid part is that if they had just pulled over, rolled down the window and yelled "My wife is in labor!" There's a 99% chance they could've gotten a police escort to the hospital and legally blown through some red lights, cause . . . I'll tell you a little secret . . . aside from what you've heard everyhwere else . . . for the most part . . . the police are chomping at the bit to do something cool like that. They spend all day with the dregs of humanity (which in my neighborhood is soccer moms and teenagers) and to have the chance to hero it up a bit is that kind of thing they dream about.

The dangerous part is this: Do you know what a police car does during a highspeed chase? It's actually pretty simple. They tail you, up until there is about a hundred feet of empty space in front of you (no pedestrians, few parked cars) and then they accelerate and lightly tap the rear corner of your bumper.

What this does is throw your vehicle into a complete spin out and you crash. And because they usually tap the driverside corner, you end up crashing passenger side first.

Can you imagine the phone call "Hi, mom, you were supposed to be a grandma this morning, but . . . "

A racecar driver can recover from it. But you're no racecar driver. Trust me. I've seen you on the road.

Then it occured to me that there's a good chance that you didn't watch the same Discovery Channel documentary I did years and years ago and you really have no idea how a high speed pursuit is handled.

Maybe you thought that the police just follow you until you run out of gas.

Maybe you thought that you get surrounded by four patrol officers and they all just slow down at the same pace.

Maybe you didn't even consider it until your wife was in labor and screaming at you to drive faster and you were just simply confused as to which higher authority you should be paying attention to at that particular moment.

Good thing you have me.

Which leads my thoughts this morning to dangerous things. Not just anything dangerous. Cause anything can be dangerous, but The Most Dangerous things.

Safety First.

Top Most Dangerous Thing: The Skateboard.
Now I don't have to tell a single mother this. They already know. But boys, well, boys are stupid and anything on wheels (even if its just a piece of plywood) is awesome. I also don't have to tell my buddy Jeremy this, seeing as how he's paid for the Hawaiian vacations of several Orthodontic Surgeons.

But skateboards are cool. And they're alluring. And they look like they're so much fun. And it looks so easy. Just get on and go baby, go.

But here's the thing: A bicycle is designed to get you places. A car is designed to get you places and to pick up girls. A parachute is designed to keep you from hitting the ground at terminal velocity.

Not a skateboard. A skateboard is specifically designed to move away from your center of gravity and force you to hit the ground. It's deepest hope is that you are moving a a good clip before it throws you off. It's chief allies are gravity and sidewalks with deep grooves.

It's a good thing that skateboards don't have to be registered with insurance companies because the premiums would be too high.

Now my first bit of advice is to never get on one ever. Just don't.

My second bit of advice is not to get on one ever. Just don't.

But because your son will someday reach the age of nine, and is going to want one, the only thing you can do is to instill a healthy paranoia when it comes to wearing helmuts, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards.

His friends might tease him.

Only sissies wear helmuts.

To which you need to teach him to respond:

Maybe . . . but only fuck-wits don't.

(The F-Bomb is important here. A kid who can dole out that kind of verbal abuse doesn't need sticks and stones.)

Example: I'm at the skatepark with my son and he is covered head-to-toe in protective gear. The first thing he says to me as he looks at all the other kids is "Dad . . . none of the other kids are even wearing helmuts." to which I resond "Because their mothers are ugly and their daddies don't love them . . . and they're stupid peepee heads."

Number Two Most Dangerous Thing: Chicken.
Now . . . I love me some chicken. The Actual White Meat meets all of my food-stuff criteria. It's lean, it's healthy, it's available everywhere, you can do all kinds of unseemly things to it, and it's cheap.

But it's playing with fire.

See, due to the nature of how chicken is processed, there's a 99.9% chance that every bit of chicken you've ever seen, touched, or heard of, has a small amount of killer bacteria in it, that at the very least could make you regret ever being born.

And don't get all huffy about that process. Yes it's terrible, but after hearing you talk about your day job, I'd rather be a chicken.

Now that small amount of bacteria is just fine. There are more dangerous things on your tongue, but, if given just a little bit of space to grow, chicken bacteria multiplies exponentially and becomes a personalized threat in very little time.

It does die when you cook it. So cook it well. But that's not all.

Nope. There is such a thing as cross-contamination. That means anything that touches raw chicken becomes effected as well. Hands, knives, cutting boards. And then anything that touches those things gets infected too.

So if you are going to cook chicken, here are a few simple rules to avoid premature death.

One, do all your cutting of other things ahead of time. Clean all the areas that the chicken is going to be in and or around before openeing the package. Do what you must in order to get the chicken cooking. Then immediately dissinfect every surface, utensil, and body part with anti-bacterial soap and a few spritzes of clorox bleach. Wash all the dishes.

If chicken needs to be defrosted, do it in the microwave for quick results, or a closed tupperwear container in the fridge if you can wait a day. Bad idea to just set it out on the counter (Though I have been super guilty of that one) the reason is that once the temperature of the chicken hops above 40 degrees fahrenheit, the bacteria starts to grow. Two hours later and you might as well try to clean the barrel of a loaded shot gun.

Cook it until it bleeds clear liquid when you poke it with a fork and then cook it for another twenty minutes, just cause.

Eat Safe.

Most Dangerous Thing Part Three: ISPs (Internet Service Providers)
I don't remember not having connectivity. I do remember dial-up, so I am old in some respects, but I don't remember what I used to do with my time before I had access to virtually all of the world's information.

So a life without the internet seems as impossible to me now as a car without cup holders.

And my ISP knows it.

In fact . . . they know eveything about me now.

If they wanted to, they could figure out the time and length at which I get up to go shower ever day, simply by looking at the fifteen to twenty minute gaps in my connectivity between 9:00am and Noon.

I hope the rest of you are like me in that if you haven't showered by noon, you're not gonna for the day.

Your ISP would know the answer to that question.

Anyway, information is one thing. Let's just say that they have all of it. But they can also control how you get to the web, and what you see when you're finally there. And if there is something that they don't like, they have the legal power to slow it down or shut it off.

Example: My ISP is being sued right now for slowing the rate at which Netflix can be streamed. Seriously. They actually made it so that Netflix streamed slower than their own competeing On-Demand content.

And they do that for two reasons: One they can, and two you ain't got no choice.

The ISP I pay for right now is 50 (somethingsomethings per second). The next fastest thing I could run to would be a similar price for 8 (somethingsomethings per second).

That's really not enough to upload football stats in real time. And on any given Sunday, I've got five to eight different perferals all begging for access to my wifi, depending on when the neighbor is home.

(Just so you know, I can see everyone who is accessing my Guest Network, and I'm not gonna be all high and mighty about him using my wifi from time to time considering that I'm stealing HBOGo from my mother.)

So that's why ISPs make my list. They have all the power and you have very little choice.

Which is dangerous.

The Fourth Most Dangerous Thing: Steam Wands
You may not actually know what that is, but every coffee maker in the land is nodding their heads right now. See . . . the steam wand is a small metal tube connected (through a valve) to a high pressure water tank. The barista places the milk for your latte directly below the nozzle of the steam wand, opens the valve and heats up your milk.

It sounds innocuous, but the metal tube is movable and constantly in the wrong place and is at a sitting temperature of 212 degrees.

One distracted move by the barista and they will end up with a nasty two inch burn on the inside of their forearms. We call this The Leche Tattoo. 

(Actually . . . I just made that up. We would just look at the mark and ask "Steam Wand burn." and the barista would nod yes. But The Leche Tattoo has a certain ring to it, so feel free to adopt it)

Every barista has had one. I've had like ten to twenty.

And think about it, you might not think it's dangerous, but when I say every barista has had one, it's like saying every carpenter is missing a finger. I've made more trips to the emergency room for burned baristas then I have for my skateboard riding son (so far, cross fingers, god bless)

And for all you Low Fat Decaf Pumpkin Spice Latte sipping soccer moms, I just wanna say this:

There is a good chance that your coffee beverage contains a trace amount of burnt human flesh.

My advice is to drink real coffee, and drink it black.

The Last Most Dangerous Thing on My List: Advice.
I will admit that my blogs have been sort of in the anti-Dear Abby vein. I offer a lot of perspective, I offer a lot of thoughts, I offer a lot of advice.

I would read your letters if anyone sent me any.

And I'm always willing to take your calls.

Unless I'm napping.

Or doing anything else.

But, I'm guilty when it comes to offering advice, and lots of it. And the reason advice is dangerous is because there are only four possible out comes:

First, my advice was good and you took it and everyone is happy.

Second, my advice was good and you didn't take it and now have erased me from the contacts on your phone because the last thing you need is some ass hat saying "I told you so."

Third, my advice was bad and you took it and now you think I owe you something, which I don't because you're an adult and you make your own decisions.

Fourth, my advice was bad and you didn't take it and now I have to erase you from the contacts on my phone because the last thing I need is some ass hat saying "I told you so."

This means advice, even in it's purest form, can only have a postive outcome 25% of the time.

Shutting the hell up has a positive outcome 100% of the time, provided that you continue to shut up when all you want to say is "I could've told you that."

Now teaching, is a whole different thing. Like . . . I can teach you how to make a Pumpkin Spice Latte, but I'm never going to suggest you drink it.

Advice destroys relationships.

That's all there is to it.

So take my advice . . . 

. . . and don't take my advice.

Except when it comes to skateboards, chicken, ISPs, and highspeed chases. Cause those things are stupid and dangerous.

TBT: The Mix Tape

Define a generation.

Any generation you want.

And let's just assume that you grew up in the American Education system and have no knowledge of events prior to 1938.

See if we're gonna go back to my grandparents time, the defining moments are easy: Depression, WW2 (the war to end all war), big metal cars, and tracked housing.

Pop over to the baby-boom and you get to take a trip through the freakshow of the summer of love to the three ring circus of Reaganomics to what will eventually be universal health care.

(Do you really think that's not gonna happen? Lets face it, old people like free shit, and old people vote. Oh . . . and they also smoke a lot of marijuana, so when Taco Bell starts a delivery service, be smart and buy a lot of PepsiCo shares.)

Skipping the X-ers for a moment, we go right into the Y-bothers and into the Social-Media-ites. Who knows what kind of amazing future lays ahead assuming we somehow avoid Planet Killer Comets and the Zombie Apocalypse.

But that takes us back to the Me-Generation.

The Generation X-ers.

We get Big Bird. We get Yo' MTV Raps. We get grunge and dot-com bubbles and crushing consumer debt and passenger-side airbags. We get super wide-screen TV's (although, you might wanna re-read Fahrenheit 451, cause that shit was called 60 years ago) Apple is now our Big Brother and none of us will ever know what it's like to stay at one job because of how good the pension is.

So anyway, I have this white dreser cabinet in my garage where I keep all of my extra electronic stuff (user manuals, batteries, DVDR's, 180 feet of coaxile cable accumulated from ten different apartments, RCA cables, canned air), and I was rummaging through it all looking for that little pokey thing that comes with your iPhone to pop the SIM card out.

I try to be meticulous with those things, making sure to put them in a place I'd remember to look if ever I needed one, but I must have been in a hurry back in 2009 and now it's no where to be found.

What I did find, however, was a thick stack of blank TDK (so real) cassette tapes, still in their original packaging, just sitting their reminding me that they were once the most relevant technology in existence.

See, if you really want to point to a single thing . . . a single thing that defines the Generation X that will never again be seen . . . it's the Mix Tape.

Sure some of you snot nosed youg-uns can point out that it's easy to create a play list now. Drag, drop, stream.

But you don't do that do you?

You could. It's easy.

But you don't.

It's because you're weak and lazy and with so much generalized nonsense, you feel no particular need to craft a moment.

See, that was the key. A mix tape is a single moment. Where you were, where you were going, who you wanted to impress, how you wanted to quantify all those feelings you had when nothing could say it better than Kate Bush followed by ZZ Top. 

How to tell a girl that you dream about her day and night without actually having to say anything or really even make eye contact.

How to tell a boy that maybe if he's maybe not too busy that you will probably be home on wednesday night and if he felt like it, he could give you a call around 5:36pm and if not then maybe you might wanna say hi to him in the hallway between 2nd and 3rd period if he was standing by his locker like he normally is, except on fridays when he has an open period likes to sneak cigarettes out in the parking lot.

That last one is a damn good mix tape.

There was the early morning mix tape. The lunch on the quad mix tape. The riding your bike home when the weather starts to turn, mix tape.

There was the happy. The sad. And . . . of course . . . the Road Trip.

In highschool, being the consumate designated driver (I had a van), we went on a lot of road trips.

I made a mix tape for single one.

My buddies made ones too.

The man in shot-gun got to call out the order of which they were played. If a single song was a swing and a miss, that tape got tossed to the back of the pile.

No greater moment in a Mix-Tape-Master's life than when when the first chords ring through and heads bob and someone says "Yeaaaah."

Hendrix was always a winner (All Along the Watchtower or VooDoo-Chile). Followed closely by Dire Straights (Money For Nuthin). If you were cheeky, and I always was, you could try your hand at some Toni Basil, They Might Be Giants, The Knack (Yes . . . My Sherona . . . what else did they play?).

Bohemian Rhapsody was forbidden. Not because we were too cool, only because it was impossible not to do the entire scene from Wayne's World and that is the closest I ever came to killing us all.

It was also forbidden to play any song from a band whose concert we were heading to.

Faux Pas, my friend, Faux Pas.

It was weather dependent, so as the clouds rolled into town, you would get a flood of CCR (Have You Ever Seen the Rain?) Tori Amos (Winter), Rain (Beatles or Concrete Blonde), Hazy Shade of Winter (Always Bangles, never Simon and Garfunkel). Mine always ended with "Here Comes the Sun" (My teenage sense of irony was forever predictable)

Sean had a love of death metal. Justin had a love for the Grateful Dead. I was always, always a Beatlemaniac.

We didn't share our souls to the world for enternity. We shared them with our friends for one night and one night only, on the way to The City, or The Lake, or the Edge of Town where the cops don't come and one hit won't kill you.

When iTunes came out and CD's became copyable, I spent my last dime on a CD burner and every dime after that on blank discs and every forgotten album I could find in Rasputin Records.

It was the golden age of the mix tape.

But somewhere along the line, I got old, or I ran out of time, or I ran out of friends, or I discovered that my iPod could carry my entire library around, and the point of crafting a singular event drifted away.

The last mix tape I ever made was for my step-son a few years back. I remember he was sad for some reason (either he got a rejection letter from a college or like a B+ on an exam, something like that)

I burned the disc and slipped it under his doorway.

It was the only way I could think of to tell him that I loved him and that I understood . . . 

. . . and that I was young once too.

The 40ft POST: Strategy

So I get a text from my dad who has accidently traded away Eli Manning.

He didn't realize that his cash cow Tony Romo was playing the Seahawks this week and freaked because there wasn't a single waiver wire QB to replace him with.

Here was my response:

Tue, Oct 7th, 7:40pm
I promise you. Eli Manning is going to do nothing but break your heart. He's like a cute little redheaded girl.

Dad had to roll with Romo.

Final score: Romo 36, Eli (drum roll please) 6.

I'm not saying that my spidey sense was perfect. I did mention that Austin Davis was gonna throw a lot. (He did throw a lot, just didn't get any one to catch what he was putting out there . . . Final points 13), but I will say this, I've been nothing but ridiculously negative when it comes to Peyton's baby brother with these posts. Kinda mean really.

But for good cause.

I have rolled with Eli (a two time Super Bowl Champion) several times over my three and one third years of playing fantasy football. And there has not been one single time he has come through for me. Not once. Not ever. I made fun of him for his ability to grasp his new offense (as if he had anything else in his life that was going on) and I didn't even back track when it started picking up.

See, I just get the heebie jeebies when it comes to certain players and Eli is the top of my list. First, I get a little butt-hurt when any player derails my fantasy team (Gates, Steven Jackson, Everyone I picked last year) and I honestly don't care how good they're looking now, I hate them and I don't want to watch them play.

But it's more with Eli.

Cause I've watched him play.

And when things are all perfect. Like a strong defense and a womb-like-offensive pocket, and super open receivers, and/or a game against Jacksonville, he's such a good football player. His pedigree and statistical performance is top notch.

But if shit ain't perfect. If the pocket folds. If there's not six yards between his favorite WR and the covering CB, he looks like he just doesn't understand why Jesus isn't providing.

And when he gets behind, he . . . well . . . he's no Andrew Luck . . . he just panics in the same way my wife panics when the phone rings after 11:00pm. It's like he has no idea what's going on and he certainly doesn't have a plan to fix it.

The man's got no strategy.

Which will play later into this blog.

The other thing I want to point out about the Giants/Eagles . . . is that I really need every analyst to shut the hell up about downgrading Shady McCoy.

Seriously . . . shut your whore mouth.

Brady's back. Shady's back (though on Bye) Gronk is back, and Foster is kinda flipping you off for drafting him so late. Buffalo sucks (Who knew?) The Raiders suck, but maybe, just maybe not as bad as you thought. There are members of the Carolina Panthers that didn't even know it was possible to tie in the NFL, which . . . I get . . . because they are now teaching Common Core Math in schools and it's really effing up the next generation, and of course . . . 

The Cowboys beat The Seahawks . . .

. . . in Seattle.

Moment of silence.

My good friend asked me if there were any teams I hate.

Tough question.

No . . . easy question.

Hate the Giants (see above paragraph)

Hate Seattle.

And that's kind of a fallacy of Fantasy Football. I totally love Beast Mode, I love Percy Harvin, I love controlled excellence of Russel Wilson. I love good defense (that's a hold over from my brother's high-school football days)

I also love Seattle.

Second best city in the world. (Manhattan is number one)

But I hate the twelfth man.

I hate loud and I hate what it does to opposing teams.

I hate sitting in a stadium filled with screaming fans. Shut the hell up and let me enjoy my gourmet polish sausage and thimble full of micro-brew. Seriously, stop ruining the game.

So to see the underdog Cowboys come in and clean up shop. Yeah, sorry Dad, that was cool.

(Dad's hates, start and end with the Cowboys. How he ended up with Romo and Dez is a mystery to me)

No emotion.

Or as my best buddy Steve (a diehard Cowboys fan) says "My favorite team, is my fantasy team."

He too hates the Giants, yet was still pissed that I grabbed Donnel under his nose the week J. Thomas was on a Bye.

So it was nice to see Dallas show up and not care that the place was full of screaming nutjobs even though I had no stock in any of that.

OMG! Did I or did I not tell you that last week's Thursday night game was gonna be the one to watch? Man . . . I totally nailed that call. I should do this for a living.

At first . . . of course . . . it looked like the Colts were just going to go on the murder path, ala every other Thursday night game that has happened this year, but JJ Watt and the offensive coordinator that said "Give Foster the Ball for fuck's sake" had other plans.

Down to the wire. Down to the damn wire and the only thing that handed Texas the loss was the worst 2:00 miniute drill in the history of 2:00 minute drills.

Okay, just like I told the Niners - that they need to start going run, run, throw - here's my advice for a Texan's two minute drill:

Don't let Fitzgerald throw.

That's all kinds of dumb.

Run to the outside.

Run to the outside.

Run to the inside.

Call time out. (you have two of them)

Run to the outside.

Run to the outside.

Run to the inside.

Call time out. (okay now they're done)

Run to the outside.

Run to the outside.

Hand the ball to JJ Watt or Arian Foster, don't care.



And that's all I have to say about that.

Okay, now for this week . . .

Sunday Night, 49ers versus the Denver Broncos (Yes, Steve, you are invited for beer and nachos)

A defense the looks impenetrable (okay . . . after the first quarter) versus the greatest offense that has ever been seen. Kaepernick versus Peyton. Gore versus Hillman. Boldin versus an entire defense on 3rd and long. Julius Thomas versus the Ghost of Patrick Willis. Thats gonna be a game that's gonna be four quarters filled with surprises.

Don't miss it.

This week makes me sad. Moreno, done for the season. Cruz, the most painful done for the season. Although Dad can breath freely without that question mark. Stevan Ridley, gone. A lot of offensive and defensive line out (Though I will mention that I was eye balling Trevethan and feel vindicted for my patience). Megatron is gonna be out for a while, Sproles may or not make the week after the Bye. AJ Green might turf toe it for a bit. But again . . . Palmer is back . . . so that's nice.

Let's also put a shout out to QB ankle twister, Vontaize Burfect. You may feel that unnecesary roughness is part of the game, and I'm real sorry Cam was beating you so bad you felt like you had to something to show the fans you weren't afraid of him, what with him being all Cam-like, but I hope the tape gets reviewed and you get banned.

And . . . in my favorite note I will ever write . . . it turns out that Joseph Randle has more in common with Winona Ryder than we actually thought.

If you don't get that reference then God have mercy on your soul.

The Raiders buried the ball and put up a fight.

Put up a fight, god damn it!


And in surprising turn of events, the Niners, well, I know they were playing the Rams on Monday Night Football and had that whole extra day of preperation, but I did not see that coming. They got tossed around a bit in the first quarter. They got several official calls that were in their favor. Kaepernick made some of the most ridiculous throws in all of that which relies on physics, but I gotta say, I was expecting them to continue rolling with the run, run, throw strategy and they totally didn't and it totally worked.

I love 'em, but I don't have them pegged. Which I guess is how you're supposed to do real football. Keep 'em guessing.

It's only kinda irritaing in the fake game.

ForFuns Team (3-3) 4th place
ForReals Team (4-2) 2nd place

Now I promised a full length breakdown of draft strategies this week. And I will not dissapoint. Unless you're my mother, in which case I will always dissapoint.

But I want to take a victory lap this week, because not only did I win both games and beat both projections, but in both leagues I scored the "Highest Margin Win Trophy"

In 52 fantasy football head-to-head games, I have only done that once (thanks to Aaron Rodgers) and this week I did it twice (Thanks to Arian Foster, Jordy Nelson, McCoy, Forte, Bernard, Cutler, Kaepernick, and not rolling with Trevathan)

The Detroit Defense was quite a boost too.

(Note that when I mention streaming defenses again)

So let's dive into a little bit of history:

See . . . in my life time . . . I've only watched maybe thirty entire football games.

The yearly Super Bowls (Which have alway been more like Thanksgiving to me; Food, beer and catching up with the family) The few high school football games my brother played in (only a few because I was an actor at the time and a Friday night off didn't happen very much) and that one time I went to a Raiders game.

Up until the summer of 2011 I didn't know nuthin about anything NFL.

And then one day . . . I remember because it was my birthday (July 24th in case you forgot and have some old scotch laying around) and my brother, my father and I were eating hambugers at The Squeeze (I remember cause it took forever to get our food) My brother mentioned that he needed bodies for his Fantasy Football league and I volunteered based on his insistence that it wasn't that hard and would be fun.

And boy was it.

I now count alcohol, cigarettes, and fantasy football the greatest addictions known to man.

But I've sucked at it and this year I wanted to at least suck for good reason.

I wanted to know everything about everything and now my brain is so bursting with NFL knowledge that I have to write about it on a weekly basis.

So there's the history. Feel better? Good.

So now we come to strategy.

Oh . . . strategy.

Now, I have mentioned before that your fantasy year has a lot to do with your draft. My buddy Steve says that your year is based on your first three picks. That's a lot of pressure. Lot of guys out there can make or break a season.

I also wrote that there are a lot of strategies going into your draft that will determine how the rest of your season goes.

I wrote that the first year I played (2011) it was all about going RB, RB, RB.

I came in dead last.

The next year (2012), if you were paying attention to the analysts, it was all (QB, RB, RB)

I came in third to dead last.

The next year (2013), if your were paying attention to the analysts, it was all HYPE machine.

I came in super/ultra/can'tbelieveit/whydon'tyoushootyourselfintheface? dead last.

(Spiller, Miller, David Wilson, Tavon Austin, for the first four picks, if you want to know)

This year, well this year was all about, and I can't believe I am saying this, but this year, the analyst strategy going into the draft was: Don't go RB . . . RBs go down . . . why not go WR, WR, ?

But to tell you the truth, I got a bit tired of the analyst strategy this year.

I thought, as most of you can probably figure out, why not just go with the best guy available in the round?

You just have to have an idea of who that is.

We call that homework.

Know what you're doing. Know who you want. Know who you don't want. Cross fingers.

Now draft postion has a whole lot to do with your decisions, like you're not gonna grab Peyton while Shady, Charles, Peterson, and Forte are still on the board, but do you go Peyton or Megatron? That's where preference starts to roll in.

I . . . and I can talk about this now . . . since I won't be drafting again till next year . . . I wanted to start with HOMEWORK, next a calculus strategy (If QB then RB or WR, if RB then QB or WR, if RB, RB, WR, then TE or QB or FLEX), and then chase down my dreamboats (based on home work I had a major erection for Forte, Foster, Gronk, Antonio Brown, Crabtree, Sproles, Harvin, Golden Tate, Pitta, Kaepernick, Cutler, Devonte Freeman, Michael Floyd, Matt Ryan, Roddy White, and god help me, Lamar Miller)

Most of those guys I got. Some I didn't. Whatever.

The guys that gave me some serious whiskey dick: Eli (of course), Calvin Johnson (just felt he was gonna get eaten up), in the first rounds Monte Ball gave me the shivers (he lost out to Knowshon "NO SHOW" Moreno last year, how good could he really be?") in the second rounds Marshall is gonna fight with Jefferies is gonna fight with Forte for catches (but at least Forte's gonna get carries) AJ is based on an up and down Dalton, Morris can't catch (PPR leagues), Martin didn't look so good pre-injury, and Corderell Patterson? Really? I mean . . . you guys know that it takes more than three end of season stats to make a player, and I don't care how good a receiver he might become, you kinda need a serious QB to get him the ball. Right? Like . . . am I stupid?

And, it's only because I've been burned by the rookie hype (See Ingram 2011, Tavon 2013) I raised my nose at Sankey, Cook, and Quick.

Might have missed the ball on the middle one there.

The point is, is that I did my homework, ignored the hype, went with the guys I liked, and tossed in a few dreamboats just in case.

However; Now is the time to reap that which we've sown. To take a look at all the choices that have been made by the top 5 competitors of both of my leagues and see what strategy has worked.

ForFuns League:
1. Sheldons: RB, RB, QB, WR (Shady, Stacy, A-Rod, Roddy)
2. Swag: RB, WR, WR, RB (Ball, Dez, V-Jax, Martin)
3. Killer: QB, RB, RB, WR, (Peyton, Morris, R. Bush, Cruz)
4. WaitDad: RB, RB, LB*, RB (Forte, Gio, Lavonte*, Jennings)
5. Ruble: RB, QB, WR, WR (Peterson, Brees, Cobb, Fitzgerald)

Now, not for crazy bragging rights, but I will point out * that my third pick went to LB Lavonte David only because I was filling my queue with defensive players and my wifi went out just before my third pick and ended up autodrafting him instead of Antonio Brown who was my real pick. That one hiccup is why I'm not #1 in this league. (Though I've still outscored the top guys by 100 points, so I'm feeling  like my chances are good.)

But, note this, only two of the top five went RB, RB (Myself included.) And none of them went WR, WR.

Two guys in this league that went WR, WR. 

They are #9 and #12 respectively.

But, it's important to note, that none of these lineups are destined winners. In fact . . . aside from Peyton Manning, not a single pick out of all of these have been barnstormers week-to-week.


 But what about your ForReals league?

Surely thats were the real competitors are . . . right?

Of Course!

Let's break down the drafts of the Top 5:

1. Beers: QB, RB, TE, RB (Peyton, Murray, J.Thomas, Sankey)
2. WaitDad: RB, WR, RB, WR (Shady, Nelson, Foster, Crabtree)
3. Suck it: RB, QB, WR, WR (Forte, Brees, Antonio, Corderell)
4. Woof: RB, RB, QB, WR (Charles, Stacy, Ryan, Welker)
5. Crash: RB, RB, WR, RB (Peterson, Gerhart, Roddy, Gore)

Same essential breakdown, except in this version the 2-5 guys had the 1-4 picks, and the team on top picked 10th. But now we see the HOMEWORK at play. Only two teams went RB, RB, and no one went RB, RB, RB.

In fact not a single team tried that.

But here's the funny:

The two teams that went WR, WR?

I shit you not: 9th and 12th.

That's creepy.

In a bad way.

Now the number one team (Beers) played the pure "get the best guy in the round" game and the results show (if you ignore Sankey in the fourth round) but the rest of their picks were pretty solid and they played the waiver wire were it wasn't.

I got lucky, and it shows (Shady had some bad games, Foster was out, Nelson had a bad game "okay, one catch for 66yrds and a TD isn't exactly a bad game, but still . . . and Crabtree hasn't been a real factor) However, I got some help from my later round picks and I've played the waiver wire.

Suck It has a good team, although Corderelle, cause what I said earlier.

Woof rolled with good later round picks.

And the anamoly goes right to my brother "Crash" who got creamed with a devistating line of bad luck, but he rallied hard with a monster defense (Defense Wins Chamionships) and probably the quickest waiver wire grabs possible.

But thats the thing. Not only is this a PPR league but ther are 4 defensive postions to fill. If you know your football, and you know your league, not only are you gonna make better draft decisions, but your gonna make better decisions along the way.

Crash went from last place to 3rd to 5th in three weeks. Because he had an amazing LB group and he was unapologetically unafraid to drop those guys who weren't performing and go with the next big things.

See, after we draft, we have a tendency to form some emotional bonds with "Our Guys"

But that's just as much a fallacy as going with any particular strategy, or hype.

The way to win, as far as I can tell you, is to do your homework first. Adopt no strategy but the best guy in the round. Play the waiver wire with every breaking bit of news that you can get your hands on. And most importantly, don't form an emtional attactchment to your players . . . 

. . . those guys you targeted all summer and are so glad to have loaded up.

Case in point: If Crash had traded me Kuechley for Kaepernick, well . . . he'd be in second now.

I'd be third.

But Crash went with Eli this week.

And Kaep sat on my bench.

naw . . . I'm just being a dick now . . . don't forget, defenses win championships (especially in this league)

But the break down is true and goes like this:

Know your guys. Know your League. Draft the best in the round (regardless of team affiliates) Avoid the guys that give your the heebie jeebies. Ignore the Hype at all costs unless you have real time information (Not CBS Sports or Hard Knocks on HBO), play the waiver wire hard, get lucky.

Which takes us to predictions:


Oakland Buries the ball and Rivers throws 300yrds (Check and Mate)

Michael Vick rushes for 82 yrds (Nope. Rex Ryan needs to make it to the end of October before he can roll over his 401K)

Cutler and Ryan combine for 650 yrds (Hell yeah . . . 652 yards exactly)

Sproles goes off (Off the field, get well soon)

Austin Davis makes Kenny Britt relevant (Nope. And did you see how old he looked?)


Dallas hands the Giants their second straight Doughnut.

Vick runs for 82 yrds (It's gonna happen, I just don't know when)

Big Ben gets sacked 7 times (8 if Clowney plays)

Carson Palmer throws for 350 and the entire city of Oakland apologizes for blaming him.

Seattle puts out their second string team in the middle of the 3rd Quarter against St. Luis.

That's it for this week.

Special Note: If you see Vontaize Burfect working at a FootLocker at the SuperMall in Peoria, don't let him touch your feet.

How To Beginner

Starting stuff is easy.


Not really.

In fact, starting stuff is hard. Especially if, like me, you've made it kind of a habit of running face first into  brick walls. After a while, the greener grass kinda loses it's luster and you continually have to wait for your nose to stop bleeding before you get back on the horse.

That was a lot of metaphors.

See . . . starting stuff is hard. But it doesn't necessarily have to be impossible. There are no shortage of pools just wating for you to dive headfirst into and the only thing you really need for that first push is a little bit of day-dreams and a big, hairy, dangly pair of arogance.

But there's a point - keeping with the pool reference - where, okay, your body has adjusted to the temperature and you head is just above the surface enough and you can breathe.

Now what?

Now you are officially a beginner.

And if you thought starting was hard . . . well now you're in for a real treat.

Being a beginner at something is quite conceivably the worst situation you can ever find yourself in. Like . . . worse than sharks . . . like . . . worse than your wifi going out . . . like  . . . worse than farting loudly in an elevator.

You're just sitting there, treading water, and you have no idea what's going to happen next. Will a boat come by? Will there be nice people on the boat? How deep is this water? Can I drink it? Can I pee in it? What does success look like? Shouldn't there be a synergistic point where the paradygm shifts? Oh look . . . it really does shrink.

Now if nothing happens for a long time . . . which could be weeks, months, years, or half-life times . . . you're gonna get to that point where it's time to start swimming.

And swimming is hard.

But again . . . it doesn't have to be.

As the ipso-facto expert on all things Beginning, there are a few techniques that I've learned throughout my tenure that can help you ride those waves to a bigger better brighter you and though I can't gauruntee that you'll get to where you're going, or even if you'll ever reach dry land, at least I can give you some sense that the end is not exactly nigh.

First: Recognize your Beginner-ness
When we dream, we don't dream of minutiae, we dream of finish lines. Of course you've heard all the feel good one liners like "The journey of a thousand steps . . . something something." and countless others that I can't think of right now, but those all start with your eye on the prize.

As a beginner, you're nowhere near the prize. In fact . . . the prize is so damn far away that you're not even completley sure of what it is yet. The prize isn't even a thing. And the worst part is that no matter how successful you are, the prize is never gonna be the thing you thought it was. And now you're tired and ready to give up.

Don't give up. You're only just a beginner. You feel stupid, because you are stupid. You feel sluggish and slow, because you are sluggish and slow. You don't have the muscle yet, cause you gotta work off a lot of that baby fat. I've always said that the only way to be good at something is to really suck at it first. You suck and you know it.

But you won't suck forever.

It may feel like a really long time. It may feel like you've been sucking so much for such a long time that you'll never not suck. And, unfortunately, a good majority of those people that don't suck, forgot what it was like to suck, and you can feel their frustration with you as you continue to suck, which is only making you feel suckier. 

Shush them.

The only way . . . the only way you're gonna suck forever . . .  is if you give up.

Next: Make a plan
You don't need a power point presentation, or an excel spreadsheet (though those can be fun). No, a little map on a yellow pad (written in pencil . . . trust me . . . no pens) will give you more focus. It will give you little prizes along the way, a mini bucket list of things you get to cross off or erase entirely. All you need is the teeniest sense of progress. That's it. Just a teeny weeny itsy bitsy move in the right direction and having a plan will help a lot with that.

Thirdly: Recognize that your original plan was terrible
Nothing in your first plan will work. Like . . . at all. It was a terrible plan. It was made up of dreams and suppositions and now that you're in the water and starting to get cold, you're not sure exactly what you were thinking.

Wow . . . your plan really sucked. (Hence the pencil)

Of course it sucked.

Cause you suck.

Sucking . . . we've agreed . . . is the only way to begin.

But if you were smart (like listening to me in the first place), you have made adjustments along the way and can see plainly that you're first plan sucked and are now in a much better position to make - maybe not a good plan - but at least a plan that sucks less.

Me Example: As I began the artist journey a year ago, I started with a clearly defined map of my artistic progression. I made up a list of a variation of income probabilities based on past experience, experiences of others, and my own perceived value in the marketplace. I had a list of about 150 clubs, albums to sell, both in hand and online, I had numberous social media accounts through which to gather and maintain a fan base, and I set levels of where I should be (financial and fan growth) on a month to month basis. The picture of where I should be right now looked like around 2,000 fans, ten shows a month, 2,500 album sales, and a good reputation throughout the club scene.

A year later . . . none of that.

I got so discouraged that I took two months off and wrote a book instead. I quit the club scene all together and am now focusing my energy on special events. The writing, which was supposed to augment the music, has taken the lead.

My first plan sucked, and it took me a long time to figure that out, but once I did, I found a much better success than I originally intended.


Okay . . . so now you've recognized your suckiness, and the suckiness of your original plan . . . now what?

Now you're in the zone.

Or the void.

Or the arc of your leap of faith.


Step Four: Don't forget that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Eat something. Take your vitamins. Shower, shave, put on the least smelly pair of underware you own, and continue to show up.

Get ready for a long day.

Two cups of coffee should do it.

Tea if you're english.

Big breaths.

Get your mojo mojo-ing.

Enter that ring knowing that you're not Tyson. It's not gonna be a few quick upper-cuts to payday. Nope . . . you are Foreman . . . and you're gonna have to take about eight rounds of punishment before you even get to swing, so carb up.

Unless you're not doing carbs.

Black beans are a good source of protein and go well with eggs and tabasco sauce.


Point is . . . do this everyday.

A 'can-do' attitude, a broad smile, and fragrant arm pits won't exactly replace solid ground underneathe your feet, but when you do hit the ground, you'll hit the ground running.

And when is that gonna happen?

I honestly have no idea.

But when I get there, you'll be the first to read about it.

Teri Garr is NOT Dead.

"No . . . dude . . . she's dead."

"Wait . . . what?"

"Yeah she totally is."

"No  . . ."

"Yeah she totally died."

"When did this happen?"

"Like . . . a while ago. At least a few years."


"Yeah. And it was some sort of long term disease she'd had forever . . . like since the mid eighties."


"Yeah, really sad."

"That is sad."

Now for the record:

Teri Garr is not dead.

Don't you dare start that rumor.

And it was only brought up because I mentioned after a big lunch - and a beer or two - how nice it would be if someone were to make espresso, which turned into a conversation about "Young Frankenstein", and how it's time to take that movie off the shelves and put it into the DVD player since Halloween is so close.

We should all have holiday movie rituals, here are a few of my suggestions:

Christmas: It's a Wonderful Life

Valentine's Day: Better Off Dead

Mother's Day: Terms of Endearment

Father's Day: Empire Strikes Back

4th of July: Independence Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Enemy Mine

Memorial Day: All 8 discs of Band of Brothers (Non Negotiable)

Labor Day: She's Having a Baby

Halloween: Young Frankenstein, or The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown special, or both.

Thanksgiving: Last of the Mohicans

New Years Eve: Great Expectations

New Years Day: Dude . . . Where's My Car?

Boxing Day: The Champ (If you're a Ricky Schroder Fan) or Raging Bull (if you're a Scorsese nut) or if you got your degree in late eighteenth century english history and know where Boxing Day comes from, you can just watch Season Two of Downton Abbey. (This is especially important if you skipped She's Having a Baby, cause it's unlawful to go through a whole year without a little Elizabeth McGovern.)

Anyway, once we had gone through the ritual of sharing our favorite quotes from Young Frankenstein - a ritual that can last for a least twenty minutes, and have after shocks for the rest of the day - someone mentioned how many of the cast members of that movie are dead.

Actually we weren't that morbid.

We started trying to name those that are still alive.

Gotta think positive.

Gene Wilder, of course, though who knows where he is or what he's doing.

Gene Hackman, of course, wherever there's a need for a convincible bad guy.

Mel Brooks, still doing Mel Brook things.

and then I brought up Teri Garr.

Which lead to the above conversation.

Now my first instinct was to check IMDB right there and then, but I didn't want to be that guy that pulls out his iPhone the second the conversation drops, so I waited until I got home.

And again . . . for the record . . . Teri Garr is not dead.

Now in all fairness, she has been suffering from multiple sclerosis for several decades, publicly announcing the disease in 2002, and in 2005 she had a brain aneurism - unrelated - that lead her through years of physical therapy, and she hasn't made a public appearance since 2007 on the David Letterman show. But that's not the same as being dead.

I don't know why I was transfixed on the status of Teri Garr's heartbeat, I guess it was because - as a pop culture geek - a little bit of my own life experience dies when I hear that a celebrity has passed on and it usually sticks in my mind. So when someone tells me that someone else is dead, and that they died a while ago, I get a little confused that I didn't know that already.

My first memory of Teri Garr - as a child of the eighties - was her role in Mr. Mom. (A favorite of mine, and a good source of the realities of parenting, so feeding the baby chili was one of the few mistakes I never had to make first hand)

I remember my dad telling me the she was his celebrity crush. Which I remember as sounding odd to me at the time, cause I didn't know what that meant. It wasn't until years later that I watched Young Frankenstein and all the puzzle pieces fit together. By that time, I too had developed celebrity crushes, though mine had a tendency to lean towards the whip-smart curly haired brunettes.

Who knows what my life would be like now if "Better Off Dead" hadn't been my favorite movie of all time.

If Diane Franklin (Now Diane De Laurentis) hadn't played Monique (the most awesome chick character ever written) I might still be single.

Well . . . actually . . . to be perfectly honest . . . there's a lot of good historical evidence that the metaphysical concept of "Soul Mates" is an actual thing. And if it is . . . then I would've found mine either way. My wife and I . . . being perfectly made for one another . . . couldn't be just a coin toss.

In fact, there is something to be said that our first 'date' happened to include a party where David Ogden Stiers was present.

And . . . because I know you're gonna look it up . . . he too is still very much alive.

So here's to soul mates, and celebrity crushes, and the hope that we all get to create something immortal somewhere along our timelines and are blessed with quiet obscurity after we've done so.

And let us raise our espresso cups to an actress who is a long way away from an Academy Award Montage. May she continue her roll in the hay.

Dad versus the Internet Five

Wait . . . Dad?


Is it really only gonna take you two days to read 'Divergent'


So you could read it this weekend?

Maybe. I mean I do have other things to do.

Like what?

Like feed you and watch football.


And then there's a video that I want to finish, and another book that I want to finish and well . . . your mom.

So how long before you finish 'Divergent' ?

Two days.

Actually, I have no idea how long it's gonna take me to finish it. It looks like a thick book, but the pages are small and the lettering is big, so maybe not even that. I remember how agog I was when I saw my mom read one of my chidlhood chapter books in less than a day. It must be a gentetic thing.

But the reason it weighs heavily on my mind is that with all this new fangled conceptual homework he has to do now, I find that if I'm not concentrating, I'm starting to lose my status as the bastion of higher learning. I've already lost the video game wars, but he still gleams with pride when he tells his friends that his dad is a writer, the same way I felt telling kids that my mom built buildings and my dad played music.

Cool jobs must also be genetic.

I also see that as far as learning new things go, I am still the go-to encyclopedia for all things esoteric, but I'm losing the war to practical things that can be found on YouTube.

Yet . . . 

I have no intention of letting Google dominate me, I am a better 'friend' than Facebook, I'm cooler than instagram, and my garage has more insteresting stuff than Craiglist.

So here are the top five reasons why I - Dad - am better than the internet:

1. I know the lyrics to all the songs.
They're not always the right lyrics, but I know them.

2. I can answer any question.
Never will you find me without an answer. That answer might be a lie, but you can totally guess that by the way I squint my eyes and smile at you sideways. There is no such transperancy with The Huffington Post.

3. I can actually build stuff.
Sure you can go ahead and YouTube beginner instructions, hell they'll even provide links to places you can get tools. But I already have tools, and the internet is never gonna remind you to cut away from your body, or say something as uplifting as "Good enough. And don't worry, you're mother will never notice."

Did I mention my mom used to build buildings?

What did the internet's mother used to do?


4. I know nothing about California Missions, but I can drive you to one.
I'll even buy you a hamburger along the way.

5. The internet can't even snack plate.
Late in the evening, when the moms have gone to bed, and the house is quiet except for the gentle turning of the pages of 'Divergent' Who else is going to get up from the couch and cut you some crispy apple slices with cheese and salami?

No one that's who.

The internet may be a vast wonderful Disneyland, and yes, maybe it can tell you how babies are made, but it's never going to tell you why we are here in the first place, and it's never going to satiate that mild  hunger you have after you've heard the answer.

 Oh . . . and hugs . . . lots and lots of hugs.