Thursday, January 18, 2007

Keeping the "CL" in "CLASS"

I’d like to share a very disturbing event that happened to me at work this week involving a co-worker. For the sake of protecting his anonymity, let’s just call this co-worker Jack Stearns of 14563 Fallow Lane, Sherman Pines, CA 91512.

At our weekly staff meeting, Jack received special recognition from the boss for his work on a project that I was also working on. After the meeting, a jubilant Jack went directly to the lobby of our building, stood right on top of our company’s logo, and proceeded to do the Zany Ostrich dance.

I was appalled. This was the most classless act I had ever witnessed and a clear slap in the face to me. Jack knows full well that the Zany Ostrich is my dance. I do it everyday as a celebration of accomplishment. I do the Zany Ostrich every time I successfully put a phone call on hold, copy and collate a multi-page document, or pick up supplies from the mailroom. That’s my thing. That’s what I do. People know me by this. I might have it registered with the US Patent office, but I have to speak to a lawyer friend first.

Jack knows all this and yet he still did my patented neck swivel while rapidly moving arms bent at a 55 degree in an up and down motion. He did this with malice and spite in his heart. I know he wanted to rub it in my face that he got all the glory for creating that Powerpoint presentation, a Powerpoint that he would NEVER have been able to do unless I showed him how to insert tables and pie charts. So that makes Jack classless and ungrateful. I think this is clearly a reflection on his upbringing. I aim to tell him so next week, even though his parents recently passed.

This was eerily similar to what happened to the San Diego Chargers this weekend. They were defeated by the Patriots in a game that New England never would have won without the Chargers’ considerable help. The Chargers fumbled, dropped passes, committed bone-headed penalties, and made some coaching decisions that can be called, without reservation, “idiotic”. They did not practically give the game away; they completely gave the game away. And how does New England repay this abundant generosity. By doing Shawne Merriman’s renowned sack dance all over the Chargers’ logo at midfield. How’s that for gratitude.

I bet Jack Stearns of 14563 Fallow Lane, Sherman Pines, CA 91512 is a big Patriots fan. Maybe Jack’s parents got child-rearing advice from Bill Belichick.

Of course, since I suffered a similar disgrace, I completely agree with the anger and disgust expressed after the game by superstar running back and “classy guy” LaDainian Tomlinson. He complained the New England showed “no class” by their actions, and, as a San Diego Charger, he should know about behaving in a professional and tasteful way.

Excluding that fact that Charger players this year have been:
arrested for trafficking in narcotics,
suspended for steroid use,
chased down by police, and
committed some of the dumbest unnecessary roughness penalties in the history of the league,
the Chargers are the shining examples of all that is right and decent in the game of professional football. Who better that they to pass judgment on what is proper behavior.

I just hope that someday we can live in a world where all athletes show each other respect in victory and defeat; and a world where a man can create an interpretative fowl dance without concern that it will be aped by some wormy, backstabbing, couldn’t create a five colored pie chart if his life depended on it, cubicle mate.

Now, let’s get to the big weekend. I went 2-2 in my picks last week but I predicted I would go 2-2 so that makes me 100% in predicting the success of the prediction. I defy you to find another handicapper that knows himself as well as I do.

So, once again, I predict I will go 2-2 and since there are only two games, I will give you the extra bonus of picking the over/under for each game.

New Orleans +3 at Chicago Over 43
New Orleans’ head coach Sean Payton was one of the replacement players for the Bears during the 1987 NFL players strike. By being able to continue to run the league with replacement players, the owners effectively broke the NFL Players Association, leaving it the shell that it is today. Don’t believe me. The median salary of the NHL’s Dallas Stars is almost twice that of the Dallas Cowboys. Enough said.
What does this have to do with the game? Nothing really. I am just a big fan of Paul Harvey and always wanted to say, “And now you know…the rest…of the story.”
On a more positive point, New Orleans getting to a Super Bowl would be such a morale boost to its citizens, it would make them forget the fact they still don’t have electricity to watch the Saints on TV.

New England at Indianapolis –3 Under 47.5
You could not write this script any better if you tried. For Peyton and the Colts to get over all the past failures, they must overcome the cause of said failures. The Red Sox had to beat the Yankees, Steve Young had to beat the Cowboys, and the Tri-Lams had to beat the Alpha Betas. If Peyton loses this one, his next round of commercial endorsements will be for Zoloft, Nytol, and Jack Daniels…all blended together.

Friday, January 12, 2007

"Ungrateful Person Award" and Playoffs, Part II

This week’s winner of the “most ungrateful person on earth” award goes to previous five- time winner Terrell Owens. This time he wins for his unceremonious dismissal of his PR person, Kim Etheredge. That’s a peculiar way of saying, “thank you very much.” This woman did two things none of us are capable of ever doing: she purposely prevented Terrell from committing suicide, and she actually made him look good.

Her inept performance at his post-overdose press conference was a stroke of brilliance.
People came away from that saying, “Terrell might be crazy, but that girl is whacked!” And that is exactly what every good PR person should do. By whatever means necessary, they need to make the public forget how screwed up their client is, even if it means turning yourself into a national laughing stock.

Her remark that “Terrell has 25 million reasons why he should be alive” has got to go down in the “What the hell did they just say” Hall of Fame along with Jim Mora’s “Playoff?! ” and Dennis Green’s “Crown them if you want...we knew what they were” rant. Congratulations Kim. Just like them, you are forever famous…and unemployed.

Terrell, you had something special with Kim. You probably think all you need is Tony Romo’s Crisco fingers to keep the heat off of you. But, you’ll screw up again...and again…and again. But don’t worry, next season, you’ll probably have one million heavily incentive laden reasons not to kill yourself.

Now that Kim Etheredge has an opening in her client list, I have a few referrals for her. These are people who could really use a good flack to take the bad press bullet for them.

Barry Bonds- It would take all his “unreported” baseball card signing income, and then some, for it to be worth taking him on as a client. If Kim were his PR person, she could have scooped those amphetamines out of his mouth before he swallowed and did permanent harm to a body completely devoid of chemical supplements.

Nick Saban- Three years from now, Kim will be at the press conference to address rumors that Nick is leaving for the vacant Arizona Cardinals position, “Nick has 32 million reasons why he should be the head coach of Alabama.” Next day, Kim gets fired and Nick buys a house in Phoenix.

Al Davis- Reacting to media criticism of Mr. Davis, Kim blurts out “Al has 25 million reasons to he should pretend to be alive.”

The Cincinnati Bengals- They had more felony arrests than victories this season. What better client than them to use “The media are just blowing it out of proportion” defense. “Only 17% of the team got arrested. Are you telling me 17% of your co-workers haven’t been arrested this year? If this was any other team, you all would not be talking about it.” This will be followed by Bengals’ kicker Shayne Graham mugging her.

Now, on to my picks. One thing I have to say about my football-picking prowess, I am incredibly consistent. I was around .500 picking in the regular season. I am .500 during the postseason. No playoff let down with me. After going 2-2 last week, I predict I will go 2-2 this week. The key is to figure out which two I’ll get right.

Indianapolis at Baltimore –4
Indy coming back to Baltimore is like Benedict Arnold going back to West Point.
“Oh Benedict. When you deserted us, we were just a lowly fort on the edge of the wilderness. Now, we house the premiere academy for the strongest military in history.” The Baltimore Colts were the resident doormat of the old AFC East; the Baltimore Ravens have a Super Bowl. I think that’s a fair deal.

Philadelphia +5.5 at New Orleans
There are three things in Philly’s favor. First, the Eagles simply don’t lose in the playoffs…until the NFC Championship game. Second, Jeff Garcia is like that guy playing online poker with “virtual” money. He doesn’t care if he plays 3-6 off suit to a huge raise; he knows he can’t lose. Third, the crime rate in New Orleans has skyrocketed to the point that the Eagles may feel like this is a home game.

Seattle at Chicago –8.5
If at some point Chicago gets over a touchdown lead, Lovie Smith is going to chain Grossman’s right arm to an anvil, put that anvil in a block of cement, burry that into the Soldier field turf, and then paved the turf over with asphalt. Despite these measures, Rex will still find a way to throw 3 picks. Nothing can hold that kid down. He’s got moxey.

New England +4.5 at San Diego
Since Miami is out of the playoffs, I decided to root for the team that plays in the next warmest climate. Sorry San Diego, that means you. My pulling for you is the French kiss of death.
My biggest concern is Marty will go conservative in the 2nd half: shutting down his passing attack, playing a prevent defense, and lowering taxes while limiting the role of government in social issues.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Are you ready for some playoffs?

Now the real games begin. Post season football. It doesn’t get any better than this.

For the 12 teams that made it, this week they are strutting around and high on life…and prescription pain medication. The funny thing is, within the next 4 weeks, 11 of these teams will walk off the field, helmet in hand, biting their bottom lip until it bleeds so they don’t cry.

And eleven head coaches will have to go to the pressroom podium and give the following speech…

I just want to say how very proud I am of this team. They gave it all they had and there was no quit in them. No one gave us a chance and thought we would get this far. My players should be proud. (pause as he bows head to fight tears) They are a damn good team (another, longer pause)
Of course, I give credit to (insert winning team). They played well and did enough to win.
And I am not going to get into the officiating. Tapes will be sent to the league office and I’ll leave it at that.
Before I take any questions, I just want to say I have not made any decisions about my future and will ask you respect the fact I’ll need some time before I decide anything. Now, first question…”

Then 50 questions will follow alternating between asking about his future, about the officiating, and about Terrell Owens (irregardless of whether he was playing in the game)

See I just saved from having to watch ESPN News post game coverage. That’s a hours of your life you that some day you will appreciate you had.

Now, it’s on to my picks.

My regular season ended on a slightly winning note last week as I went 9-7 and 3-2 with my star picks. That means I ended the year 123-118-6 and 36-36-1. At least I went over .500, at the very least.

But, they say you throw the stats out when the playoff begin. It’s a new season, the slate is clean and, just like the Kansas City Chiefs, I get a new lease on life that I probably don’t deserve.

Indianapolis -7

All week long, people had been talking about how Kansas City will run all over the Colts. And they will. My friends two year old can run all over the Colts. But something tells me Peyton, by his shear will, goes off for 400 yards and 4 TDs and makes everyone think they have a chance to go all the way. Until next week, when they lose at Baltimore.

Seattle –3

Usually in the playoffs, there is a game where one team doesn’t look like they deserve to be there. This game, we get the pleasure to have two teams that don’t deserve to be there. The game comes down to this equation:

[A (essentially) Rookie QB] + [Playing in his first playoff game] + [on the road] x [the toughest crowd in football] = a blowout loss.

Five to one says that when the game is almost over and out of reach, Parcells looks over to TO and just cold cocks him.

NY Jets +9

This is going to be like one of those heavyweight battles where the two pugilists clutch and grab for 10 rounds in the awkward “Dance of the Neanderthal”. But those last two rounds will make it all the worthwhile.

And just like Apollo Creed at the end of “Rocky,” a bloodied and wobbly Bill Belichick is going to mumble to Mangini “aint gonna be no rematch.”

New York +7

You see, it’s a conspiracy my brother. The Giants looked good and effective last week. Looked like a real playoff team. They want me to pick them. They are begging me to pick them.
They are like that ex-girlfriend who cleaned herself up, stopped drinking on weekdays, and got a solid paying job at a Hooters knock off. You think, “hey maybe this time it’ll be different. Maybe this time she won’t wreck my car, sleep with my best friend, and drink all my beer.”

This time, it won’t work! Oh, hell I can't stay made at you when you wear that half shirt. Okay, I'll pick you Giants

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Open Letter to Nick

“Sometimes you're crazy and you wonder why I'm such a baby cause the Dolphins make me cry…”
Hootie and the Blowfish

Dear Nick,

I got your message this morning. Wayne told me over my morning grapefruit and green tea. Yeah, that’s right, I’m going on that diet just like I promised you. So I can be a fitter fan. For us!

Promises. Ha. You promised me that we would always be together…forever.. or for at least the three years remaining on your contract. I would ask time and again if you were leaving me. At first, my queries were a tease, just a little game we played. But when that guy in Alabama became “available”, I got a little nervous. “I am not going to Alabama,” you testily told me. Each time, with increasing annoyance, you would tell me how much you wanted me…to stop asking you if you were leaving.

I believed you Nick. I believed IN you too. I ignored all your shortcomings because that’s what makes a true fan/coach relationship strong…unconditional loyalty. I overlooked the combined 4-10 Sept and October record. I forgave the 1-3 record against those stinking New York Jets. While I did cry when I saw Drew Brees have an All-Pro season and Dante Culpepper unable to hit the broad side of a barn, I was considerate enough to weep in my pillow so you wouldn’t hear me. I even defended you masculinity after that lame challenge flag throw you had in Pittsburgh this year. So what if you throw like a right handed girl throwing lefty.

Oh, but there were some the good times too. The times I thought, this could be the real thing. Like “Shula” real. The six wins in a row at the end of last season. Shutting out the Patriots. Covering the spread against the Colts.

Times that gave me hope that someday, you and I, would bask in the glow of a Vince Lombardi Trophy while sipping banana daiquiris on a Cancun beach and listening to David Hasselhoff sing Mexican folk songs. That fantasy always did freak you out.

But now, there is no Super Bowl trophy, it’s raining on the beach and Hasselhoff is starring in the Vegas run of “The Producers.” (true item)

What do I do now? Where do I go? Who will give me my inspirational Sunday post game comments about how we are turning the corner? When will this pain go away?

You’ve left me a broken Dolph-fan. Where my heart once beat is left an empty jock strap. Will I ever be able to fall for another coach again? Carroll? Petrino? Capers? They all look great but I’ll be forever worried that during the next three game road trip, he’ll fine another team, a prettier, sexier team, and he’ll leave me. Like you did.

Maybe it was my fault. When you looked in my eyes, you saw deep down inside the fire that still burns for Marino. I told you it was over between us. That he was so 1980s. But you saw through that lie, butI could not see through yours.

Well, Nick, I hope Alabama makes you happy. I truly do. I hope in them you find whatever it was we Dolphins couldn’t give you. Frat parties. Big haired women. Under the table perks. Closet segregation.

And maybe some day in the distant future, we’ll see each other across a crowded subway platform. We’ll lock eyes. We’ll smile at each other. A smile that suggests time has healed all wounds. We’ll take a few hesitant steps toward each other, fumbling for the right words to say. And as our train approaches, I will leap toward you and shove you into its oncoming path.

That should really heal my wounds.

Broken heartedly yours,