Monday, January 30, 2012

The Super Bowl Tickets II

Ok, I got the tickets. I stood on line for two hours with other mature gentlemen to spend $1,800 to watch grown men play a kids game.

There is something fundamentally wrong with my paying close to $4,000 to have two of us go see a football game. There is even something more fundamentally wrong with the fact that almost no one I know sees a problem with this.

While on line I learned that Lucas Oil Stadium’s location is more like Yankee Stadium than MetLife Stadium. It’s smack dab in the middle of an urban area with no parking. Waiting until I arrived at the stadium to find a place to put the car could have been a disaster.

Apparently you park in commercial garages and it’s a good idea to reserve a spot unless you want to walk a mile to the stadium.

I went on-line to check for parking and almost fell off my chair. The prices ranged from around $50 to $300 for a stinking parking space for the day.

I plunked down $99 for a reserved spot about a quarter of a mile from the stadium.

Why am I getting the feeling that, after this game, I’m going to really appreciate MetLife Stadium?

As for the tickets, they’re in section 520, row 1, seats 1 and 2. No, the 520 doesn’t mean I’ll need oxygen; they’re at the corner of the end zone in the Terrace Level just above the loge area. Row 1 may, or may not, be a good thing. It depends upon how much room there is between the seats and what appears to be a wall. Seat 1 may not be a good thing, with people exiting and walking up and down the stairs, but I'll survive. I'll probably put my daughter in seat 2 assuming there isn't some yahoo in seat 3.

So, I think I got everything I need including a car to and from Newark and printed driving directions from Louisville to Seymour to Indianapolis and back. Obviously I can’t control the weather or flight delays but I think I’ve done everything I can.

All that’s left is to pack and go.

Frog and Pig Fight Back

Last December Eric Bolling of Fox “News” (I put “News” in quotes because we all know that, whatever Fox does, it isn’t news) criticized “The Muppets” as an example of how the “liberal media” tries to “brainwash our kids” against big business and, in particular, big oil.

At a London news conference promoting the film Kermit and Miss Piggy took Fox to task. Kermit asked pointedly if they were so much against big oil, then why did they spend the movie riding around in a Rolls Royce which isn’t exactly known for its fuel economy.

Miss Piggy was even more blunt and said the brainwashing charges were “…almost as laughable as accusing Fox News of being ... news."

Even the pig understands.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Super Bowl Tickets

What a freaking nightmare.

You know the plot about something of value causing nothing but misery? Well, I have now experienced it.

Let’s start at the beginning.

I was one of the few Giants season ticket holders to be offered Super Bowl tickets. My immediate reaction was to refuse the tickets and remain safely at home to watch the game.

There were two problems with this reaction. The first is that it is difficult to have something of value without trying to get some advantage out of it. I suspect that’s simple human nature. The second problem was that everyone else was of the opinion I should go.

I looked around at Super Bowl travel packages. They ran around $5,000 per person not including the $900 ticket price. That means, for two, we’re talking about $12,000. That was not going to happen.

So if you don’t go, everyone says sell them. The problem with this is, unless you know someone to sell them to, putting them up for sale involves a bit of a process. A process that can’t begin until you have the tickets in hand and I wouldn’t have them in hand for almost a week. That leaves a fairly short window in which the tickets can sell. The reality is you risk $1,800 to make about $2,000 which is clearly just not worth the grief.

That leaves one with refuse the tickets or go.

Then there is the question of who goes with you? There is no good way to resolve that question. My resolution was actually the result of a misunderstanding on my part. But, once it was in place, I stuck with it. That disappointed someone else that I didn’t mean to disappoint, but it is what it is. No matter what I did, someone would have been disappointed.

So now I’m apparently on my way to Indianapolis. Or at least I have an $1,800 cashier’s check that I’m shortly going to take to MetLife stadium in an attempt to retrieve the two tickets. I also have something of a Rube Goldberg set of travel reservations that are going to run me around $1,700 dollars.

It’s going to be, on Saturday, fly from Newark to Chicago to Louisville. In Louisville, pick up Hertz car and drive to Seymour Indiana. Stay overnight in Seymour and then, on Sunday, drive about an hour to Indianapolis. Find stadium, find place to park, go to stadium, watch game, find way back to car and drive back to Seymour. Finally, on Monday, reverse the flights going from Louisville to Chicago to Newark.

With my luck the Giants will completely lay an egg and Monday’s paper will read something like “Worst Super Bowl in the History of the Game.” Watch Brady throw seven touchdown passes so I can be thoroughly miserable the whole trip back wishing I had my $3,500 dollars back.

I was miserable all week because I couldn’t decide what to do and I’m still miserable because I disappointed someone and now, once I get the tickets, assuming that doesn’t go wrong somehow, I have to worry about the safety of the damn things until the game.

I now know how Frodo and Bilbo felt about that stupid ring.

I should have had the courage to stick with my initial reaction. More to follow on this I’m sure.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fidel has it Right

Now I don’t agree with Fidel Castro on a lot of things but I have to give the devil his due. Castro was absolutely correct when he said about the Republican primary contest:

"The selection of a Republican candidate for the presidency of this globalized and expansive empire is — and I mean this seriously — the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been."

And that’s after two of the biggest lunatics, Bachmann and Cain, have been ousted.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

South Carolina

Newt Gingrich’s win in South Carolina throws things up in the air again doesn’t it?

It wasn’t just a win either. It was a big win. Gingrich finished with 40.4% of the vote, followed by Romney a distant second with 27.8%, then Santorum with 17% and, bringing up the rear, Paul with 13%.

The win almost instantly impacted Florida where, in the latest round of polls, Gingrich has taken a 7.4 point lead over Romney with Paul and Santorum way back.

Hey, fight it out guys. The longer this goes on the better things get for Obama.

A Gingrich nomination might be the best thing for the nation and the Republican Party. There’s nothing like a crushing defeat to help you straighten your act out and the Republicans seriously need to straighten their act out.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The NFL Championship Games

Sometimes football games are won, and sometimes they’re lost. Sunday we saw two games lost.

That’s not to take anything away from the winning teams. You have to be in the game to take advantage of the breaks when they come.

First it was the Ravens, trailing the Patriots by 23-20, driving in the final seconds of the AFC Championship game. Joe Flacco put the ball into the hands of wide receiver Lee Evans in the end zone for what could have been the winning touchdown only to see the ball stripped by Patriots defender Sterling Moore. Two plays later kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32 yard field that could have sent the game into overtime.

The missed field goal was actually on coach John Harbaugh. Rather than calling time out in order to give the field goal team time to set up, the whole play was rushed. It was obvious watching that Cundiff wasn’t ready to kick the ball and the result was he missed. End of game, the Ravens go home and the Patriots go to Indianapolis.

A rain drenched, old fashioned, smash mouth defensive battle in San Francisco followed. In a game that made it feel like the 1980s, the 49er’s and Giant renewed a rivalry from two decades ago. The 49er’s defense dominated the second half. Eli Manning spent more time on the ground than standing up as the Niners sacked him six times and seemed to knock him down on every play.

But Eli and the Giants soldiered on.

Finally, with the 49er’s leading 14-10, a punt bounced off of punt returner Kyle Williams knee and was picked up by Devin Thomas. The bounce was missed by the refs and Tom Coughlin had to challenge. Amazingly they got it right after review and a few plays later Manning hit Mario Manningham to give the Giants a 17-14 lead. The Niners tied it at 17-17 and then began the punting duel.

Neither team could score and the game went into overtime.

The punting duel continued until Jacquian Williams managed to strip the ball from punt returner Kyle Williams and Devin Thomas was Johnny on the spot again to set up the Giants at the 49er’s 29 yard line. A couple of snaps later Lawrence Tynes kicked the Giants into the Super Bowl for the second time in OT with a 31 yard field goal.

You have to feel sorry for Kyle Williams. He wasn’t even the 49er’s regular punt returner and to have to return punts in the cold, windy and rainy Candlestick Park was a tough assignment. I was really impressed with the 49er’s defense. They should come into next season with a chip on their shoulders about a mile wide. I’m betting on them now to be in Super Bowl XLVII.

So the Giants leave behind another stadium full of broken dreams and head for a rematch with the Patriots in Eli’s brother Payton’s home field in Indianapolis. The Patriots can get revenge for Super Bowl XLII or the Giants can frustrate the Patriots again. I’m not even going to try and analyze this one since I clearly suck at it finishing a dismal 4-6 for the Play-offs. Besides, the NFL has clearly succeeded in making the games about as unpredictable as possible. You might as well flip a coin.

As a Giant’s season ticket holder, and by winning a lottery, I have the opportunity to buy two tickers to Super Bowl XLVI at $900 each. I almost choked when I saw the price. And that doesn’t include getting to and staying in Indianapolis.

With the understanding that this will mostly likely be my last chance to attend a Super Bowl, I’m thinking about it. Maybe if the game was in a warm venue I might be tempted. But Indianapolis?

Practicality will probably win and I’ll pass. I may try to sell the tickets but I’m wondering if it’s worth the effort. More to follow on this I’m sure.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Perry Quits

So after much initial fan fare, another of the GOP lunatic fringe throws in the towel.

Perry ended his presidential bid and endorsed Newt Gingrich. That leaves three little ducks left, Romney, Santorum and Newt and one space cadet, Paul.

In the meantime, the final count in Iowa actually has Santorum winning by 34 votes which makes an interesting historical footnote, but probably isn’t going to help him much now.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Huntsman Calls it Quits

Jon Huntsman has apparently decided to drop out of the GOP race and has thrown his support to Mitt Romney.

That leaves only Santorum, Gingrich, Paul and Perry in the lists opposing Romney. Perry is rapidly working his way toward buffoon of the decade everytime he opens his mouth and Gingrich appears to be pissing everyone off so that sort of means that, realistically, only Santorum stands between Mitt Romney and the GOP nomination. As for Paul, it's only a matter of time before even the dense U.S. electorate figures out that he's orbiting Alpha Centauri.

Having Santorum in your way is sort of like a paper curtain trying to slow down a runaway freight train.

I don't see this seriously going beyond Florida. There may be some die hardism but Romney, barring some catastrophe, appears to have it wrapped up.

Then we can move on to the main event.

Romney can beat Obama. He and Huntsman were the only Republicans that realistically could. I have two problems with Romney. First, has has Robert Bork as an advisor on judicial appointments and I don't want anything to do with anyone that Robert Bork thinks should be on any judicial bench in the country.

Bork is no friend of the First Amendment and would cheerfully scuttle not only the accepted meaning of the Establishment Clause but also Freedom of Speech. In December 2005, Bork wrote an article in the National Review calling for government censorship of popular culture, including television, film and music. In a wonderful application of the principle of “newspeak” Bork declared that "liberty in America can be enhanced by reinstating, legislatively, restraints upon the direction of our culture and morality.”

My second problem with Romney is his supposed embrace of Mormonism. To my mind Mormonism is demonstrably false. Archeology and Genetics both strongly indicate this with literally no compelling counter argument that I am aware of. To call it a cult is to give it more than its due. It was, and continues to be, a con job thought up by a third rate con man.

The 1st Amendment guarantees freedom of religion. Romney can believe anything he wants. But I'm also free to think what he believes indicates a lack of adequate skeptical thinking. We don't need another Bush who knows what's right regardless of what the evidence says.

The Championship Games

Ok, I only got one out of three of the Divisional Games right. I was right about defense but I should have figured the Giants rather than the Broncos.

The only game I got right was the Ravens over the Texans. The one that surprised me the most was the 49ers taking down the Saints. Drew Brees looked unstoppable in the previous two games. As for the Giants and Packers, clearly the Packers were rustier than I thought.

So now what? The only way I can make things worse is to go 0-2 which I figure I have a pretty good shot at.

Let’s make it short and sweet. I like the 49ers and the Patriots.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Hampshire

Romney wins handily amassing 39.3% of the vote and matching the combined total of Ron Paul, in second with 22.9%, and Jon Huntsman in third with 16.9%.

Gingrich and Santorum ended up basically tied for 4th with 9.4% of the vote. Perry didn’t even show up, preferring to concentrate on South Carolina, and had only 0.7% of the votes.

If he wasn’t there before, Romney is now in position to end this fiasco early. The latest poll showed Romney with a 10 point lead over Santorum and Gingrich and 20 points over Paul. I doubt Romney’s win yesterday is going to cause an erosion in those numbers.

I expect Romney to win South Carolina with Santorum second. I also expect Perry’s campaign to end after another dismal showing. As for Gingrich, who knows?

Monday, January 09, 2012

On to the Division Games

Ok, so my pet goat Frankie is as good as I am at picking NFL games. Shows that the NFL marketing strategy is working.

My 2-2 in the Wild Card games is about what you’d expect picking the winners randomly such as letting a pet goat (enter Frankie, stage left) select them with his hooves.

Bengals-Texans was a bit of a toss-up but I thought the QB inexperience would doom the Texans. Oh well, wrong again. As for the Giants, where the hell has that team been all year? I just hope they, and not the guys that played the Redskins, go to Green Bay.

As for Tim Terrific, I’m going to resist saying “I TOLD YOU SO,” although I really shouldn’t. I saw the Steelers 4th quarter comeback and Tim’s one play OT bomb shell at home after watching a good part of the 3rd Quarter at Appleby’s. It was watch Giants mangle Falcons, leave Giants game, go home, get wife, go to Appleby’s, go home, watch Tim confuse all the so-called experts again. In other words, a pretty good Sunday.

As for the Saints, that was a no brainer. An interesting side note, is that all the Wild Card Teams lost. I don’t remember that ever happening previously.

So, on to the Divisional Games where the big boys take on the Wild Card weekend survivors.

Let’s start with the Giants at Green Bay. This could be interesting but I find it hard to believe the Packers are going to stumble against the Giants. They’re rested, but not rusty, and they scored almost at will against the Giants in the Meadowlands. The Giants defense is healthier, but not that much healthier. I’m going with Green Bay.

I also think Drew Brees and company will send the 49ers home for the winter. The Saints offense is scary and don’t see how San Francisco is going to slow them down.

As for the Texans and Ravens, the QB situation catches up to the Texans and the Ravens defense ends the first post season entry for Houston.

Now you knew I was going to leave New England and the Broncos for last right? Again we have the plot elements for a continuation of Tim Tebow’s march to the Super Bowl. The Patriot’s defense has been awful. So we have a offense that thinks it can do miracles versus a defense that could use some miracles and a great offense against a tough, stingy defense. Call me old fashioned, but defense wins championships. I’m going with Denver to upset New England.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Bachmann Quits

Apparently Michelle Bachmann has "suspended" her presidential campaign.

I saw something to this effect yesterday and was expecting some sort of headline somewhere but, at least for the moment, none of the major news outlets I check appears to care much about it.

So much for the vaunted Iowa straw poll winner.

I suppose it's too much to hope that she's never heard from again?

The NFL Play-offs

Ah yes, the early winter when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of the NFL Play-offs. I’m already sick of all the analysis and predictions by people who should know by now that the entire marketing strategy of the NFL is to make the games as unpredictable as possible.

I’m sort of upset because I’ll be at the Falcons-Giants game at 1 PM on Sunday and the only other game I’m really interested in is the Steelers-Broncos game and that’s also Sunday at 4:30 so it’s not likely I’ll get to see much of that.

I should however make it home in time to watch Tim pull off another late game miracle. So there’s my first prediction, screw logic, Tebow and the Broncos upset a banged up Steelers team.

As for the game I’ll be at, I don’t see the suspect Giants defense holding the Falcons in check and I can’t rely on Victor Cruz to break another 80 or 90 yard touchdown run after catch so I’m afraid the Falcons win that one.

As for the Saturday games, I’m thinking the Bengals over the Texans and the Saints over the Lions.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Iowa Results

Well, the results are in and Mitt Romney appears to have a “victory” by a stunning 8 votes. Yes, you heard me, 8 votes over Rick Santorum 30,015 to 30,007. That comes out to 25% each and 11 delegates each.

Ron Paul finished 3rd with 21% and the final 3 delegates. After that it was Newt Gingrich with 13%, Rick Perry with 10%, Michelle Bachmann with 5% and Jon Huntsman with 1%.

So what does it mean? Not much yet. Let’s remember that Mike Huckabee won Iowa in 2008 with 34% of the vote. Romney was second with 25% and, the eventual nominee, John McCain was 4th with 13%. If you believe in numerology that would put Gingrich in good shape but he doesn’t have the kind of New Hampshire support that McCain had.

New Hampshire is a week away followed by South Carolina 11 days later and then Florida on the 31st. In 2008 McCain won all three and established himself as the GOP heir apparent.

Evangelical Christians (also known as the Village Idiots) fueled Huckabee in 2008 and appear to have fueled Santorum in 2012. They’re not a big factor in New Hampshire but might be in South Carolina. Huckabee managed a paltry 11% in New Hampshire in 2008 but surged back to almost 30% in South Carolina so I suspect that Santorum, unfortunately, will be around for a while.

As for those finishing near the bottom of the pack, both Bachmann and Gingrich say they’re staying in the race; Perry is “reassessing” and I haven’t heard anything about Huntsman. Personally, with the possible exception of Gingrich, they’re all kidding themselves. Huntsman’s potential constituency has apparently picked Romney and Bachmann’s Santorum. Perry has just made a mess of things and, since integrity means something even to Republicans, I don’t see Gingrich staging that much of a comeback.

I expect Romney to win in New Hampshire with Paul second and Santorum a distant 3rd if he’s lucky. He could easily be eclipsed by Gingrich. That would set the stage for South Carolina where people still long for the antebellum days so who the hell knows what’s going to happen there.

The latest poll had Gingrich ahead by 12 points but that was in mid December and a lot has happened since then so we shall see.

So what’s the best case scenario? Well, that depends upon what you mean by “best case scenario?”

If you think Obama needs to be gotten out of office, then Mitt Romney has the best chance of accomplishing that and the sooner he becomes the obvious winner the better his chance will be. So you would be looking for Romney to steamroll New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.

If you think Romney is the inevitable candidate in any event but believe an Obama re-election would be best, then you want to see the GOP primary, as scary as the thought of a Santorum or Paul presidency might be, drag on and get increasingly bloody.

If you’re a really greedy Liberal, you’ll hope that somehow Santorum, Paul or Gingrich manage to win which could well lead to the greatest national electoral disaster in GOP history. To my mind even the small chance of a Santorum, Paul or Gingrich victory in the general election makes this far too terrifying a scenario.

I would like to see a Romney candidacy following by a frank and honest discussion of the issues facing the country. I figure I have two chances, slim and none.

Then there’s Vice President. A victorious Romney could still well choose a Santorum or Bachmann type as his running mate to shore up conservative support which would be almost as scary, and maybe even more scary, than a Santorum or Paul candidacy.

I guess I’m hoping for a long bloody Republican process that would leave most of the country fed up with Republican nonsense. I’m willing to give Obama four more years.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Iowa Ready

With the Iowa caucuses tomorrow I thought I’d put down a few thoughts.

Now that Herman Cain is history, I have to say that the only two GOP candidates that don’t scare the hell out of me are Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney. And, to be honest, I’m not that sure about Romney.

It’s hard to decide which of the other four lunatics, Paul, Bachmann, Santorum or Gingrich, would make the worst candidate and, heaven forbid, even worse president.

I’m going to go with Rick Santorum at the bottom of the list followed by Michelle Bachmann. I find it almost unbelievable that I think someone would make a worse president than Bachmann but I do. Then I’ll go with Paul and, at the best of the worst position, I’ll put Newt Gingrich.

Don’t ask me again next week because I could easily reverse Santorum and Bachmann or Paul and Gingrich.

I just realized I forgot all about Rick Perry. Perhaps that's because he proved so effective at pulling defeat from the jaws of victory. I don't know what to do with Perry. Perhaps I'll add him to the top of the lunatic pile because I suspect he's more of a crook than a lunatic.