Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Catching up on the Football (College and Pro) that I missed.


I had MEANT to do 5 posts on college and professional football a couple of weeks back but real life got in the way.  The road to Hell and good intentions and all of that.

But, so far, we have a reasonable version of football. Yes, there are some college games being postponed, to Dan Wolken's great delight, and their are no/limited fans in attendance, but we've got actual real, live football being played and that's wonderful.

This weekend, the vaunted S! E! C! comes back, with their big budgets and bigger disassociation with reality, so the National media will start paying some interest (Hi! CBS) although ESPN has been going through the motions with Game Day, and their coverage.

Saturday will be the first morning that I will get up and watch Game Day. So far, I've just been tuning in at the end for their picks. (Lee Corso is still the GOAT at pre-game shows FWIW) But what we're gaining in terms of volume is not exactly being matched by compelling games at the College level.

That said, there are a few lines that I grabbed (some early) so I think there is opportunity to be found as books still are getting a handle on how to place odds this season (early example: Houston v. N. Texas opened at 53. FIFTY THREE for two offensive minded teams. I hope you jumped on that)

I'm still high on South Alabama (+7.5 this week vs. UAB) and I cannot figure out how they got 77.5 as a total for UCF v. ECU. It's possible ECU doesn't score a point in this game. There are some juicy numbers (Iowa State -2.5) that you can still grab and some odd dogs (N. Texas at +22 to UH?? That seems large) and there are some prohibitive favorites that should not have any problem winning whatsoever. (A long list that I will not get into here)

On the NFL side things are a mess. I cannot remember a year with more star players going out for extended periods of time in week two due to torn ACLs.  And, contrary to everyone's belief, ligament tears are not a result of no training camp etc. The rash of hamstrings was certainly due to lack of conditioning, but high ankle sprains, ligament tears etc. are the results of bad hits, and there were a ton of them.

The team taking the worst of it was, unfortunately, my Niners. Not only is Garrapolo out for several weeks apparently, but they also lost Mostart (top RB) and Bosa (top DE). That's a brutal MASH list right there, and probably puts the playoffs in jeopardy considering that the Seahawks and Rams both look outstanding this year.

Not surprised: Cam looks good with the Patriots, the Ravens look like world beaters, Pittsburgh is going to be good again, the Jets are awful, Jacksonville is this year's Miami.

Surprised: The Vikings are....not good, The Texans are a train-wreck, the Titans and Colts will vie for that division. Trubisky is playing OK ball this year and what in the heck is up with the Lions? Green Bay looks much better than we all thought.

Football is back to playing on Thursday with one College and one NFL game. At least the College game is interesting. NFL Thursday games are an abomination that needs to be put out of their misery, despite the fact that last Thursday's game was entertaining at least.

As far as betting goes, I'm taking South Alabama at +7.5 but I'm having none to do with Miami v. Jacksonville. I'm not sure there are two teams that I trust least at any level of football than those two.

Good luck however you play.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

The 2020 Football Season (On this blog)

Well, we are here. The 2020 College football season began last weekend, and continues tonight, while the NFL is one week away from playing what is (hopefully) a full season with no or few fans.

But, it's football, and the United States of America LOVES itself some football. So, let's go.

Over the past few years I've been doing the College Football FIVE and the NFL 3 & Out, providing 5 sports betting picks for college football and 3 picks for the NFL (of varying success. If you faded, you're not doing bad).  I'm taking a pause from that this year because of COVID-19 and there just being too many unknowns. I should be posting about the weekend's games, and might provide some insight, but I'm not willing to put selections out there right now.

On other fronts, I plan to forecast the 49er's season, and because I live in Houston I'll project the Texans, but I'm not doing full Divisional projections this year and I'm not doing the college conferences. I do plan to discuss specific items in detail, and I might make some predictions on the playoffs when (if) they happen, but for now I've decided to dial it back and focus more on my actual sports betting and less on hypothetical "plays" for publication. (If you remember, I did not necessarily bet all of the FIVE, or the 3 & out, they were just games that interested me.)

The most important bit from all of this is that we're going to have football, real, actual football being played for our enjoyment. We can only hope that it's better than the NBA has been and closer to the brilliance that the NHL has been.

If the NFL and College football are anything close to the NHL bubble product, we're going to be in for a show.

For next week, leading up to the first game on Thursday, my planned posting schedule looks like this:

Monday: San Francisco Forty Niners schedule prediction

Tuesday: Houston Texans schedule prediction

Wednesday: College Football overview

Thursday: NFL opening lines discussion.

Friday: NFL opener recap

Saturday: NFL week 1 preview post.

OK, with that, let's play some football.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

You Cannot Block Every Horrid Person on Social Media (That doesn't mean you cannot try)

 I'm writing this Tuesday after logging off from work, looking at news stories featuring horrid fires in California and Hurricane Laura bearing down on the Texas/Louisiana State Line.

I'm also coming off a stint on Twitter, America's cess-pool, and I have some thoughts on all of this that you may, or may not (if you're one of those Twitter turds in the pool) want to read.

Firstly, it's become very easy for us to project our personal hatred on whatever Golems we have personally created as evil incarnate, onto the poor who are left with precious few life choices and no easily attainable options.

Many look at those displaced by the California fires and their first response is: "Well, they voted in these stupid liberal Democrats who refuse to clear the underbrush so....they deserve it."  

Or you may look at the people in the petrochemical industry in Lake Charles and think: "Big oil is going to super heat the Earth and kill mankind so.....they deserve it."

But, do they? Really?

I'm here to tell you that no. They do not.

Instead of your haughtiness and disdain they deserve your empathy and (most importantly) support, if you can provide it. In most cases the victims are of the innocent sort, poor, overwhelmingly minority and the exact same people that the Caucasian BLM supporters claim to be in support of while simultaneously tearing down.

Yes, the oil/gas/petrochemical industry is not an environmental saint, but they also provide meaningful, living wages for many in an area that offers few. In fact, in many areas of Southwest Louisiana the only employment options are petrochemical factories, casinos, or the service industry, none of which are valued by society's "elites", despite the fact that these same "elites" would break out in hives if they had to perform the duties of the serfs.

The are overwhelmingly poor FWIW.

"Well, they can go get green jobs" is something that you might say.

You can say this but that would be incorrect. Because, you see, even in the most pie-in-the-sky "green" plans the mentions of "good paying, green jobs" are always something that fit under the "to be created" category, something the Government promises will materialize but has no meaningful plan to produce. In short, there are no jobs. It's either the factories, casinos, hotels, restaurants or these retail shops that people are stuck with, or nothing at all.

"Well, they can MOVE" you counter.

Except they cannot.  For the most part these are very poor people, living paycheck to paycheck with few options for escape. They don't have the savings to up and move, and to ride out the time that it would take for them to obtain a new job. In many cases it's the safety nets in these states where they have no options, that keeps them where they are. It's also families and support systems that anchor them in place.

Secondly, these things that you hate, Republicans, Democrats, the ruling class, Evil Big Oil, is really anger directed at the ruling class.

The dark secret to all of this is that it's not the ruling class who is going to be feeling the pain. The Executives and politicians in areas that are burning in California are in no danger, they've traveled far away, in most cases to their 2nd or 3rd homes (Even Bernie Sanders, that great Socialist, owns 3) and while they will suffer some property damage they can either write the rules in their favor for help (politicians) or have plenty of insurance to make them whole (executives and...politicians).

The ruled, what's left of the middle class and the working poor, don't have that luxury. In many cases they lose their only residence, are forced to evacuate to a shelter, and have little ammunition to fight the insurance companies in the manner the ruling class has.

It's the same for the people in Lake Charles, who are looking at losing everything with nothing in their arsenal to combat it. Their communities are looking at the very real prospect that they are going to be destroyed, not partially, but utterly and completely blown away.

Today, on Twitter, I have blocked almost 100 people who used this tragedy to pile on, to make a political point against the opposite side. I will continue doing so. While I believe it is impossible to block them all I am going to continue to do so. Not because I don't want to hear opposing points of view, because I do, which is why I leave the comments on here, but because I do not consider their points of view to be valid. I don't believe that any point of view that cheers on human pain and suffering to be relevant or worth listening to. Do I believe they have a right to say it? Yes, but I also have a right to tune them out. You do as well.

Lastly, much of this rhetoric is force-fed to us by the media and the ruling class. They feed it to the masses to try and divide us, to keep us from realizing where the true power lies. The most 'vital' Democratic function you can do is to engage, it's not to vote (which is actually the laziest form of participation in a Democracy). A voting populace who then tunes out is an elected official's dream. It's the media's dream as well, because they NEVER HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.

But an engaged electorate, who holds the elected officials to the rules and laws that they themselves lay upon the ruled, is the most powerful function in a healthy Nation, and it's the one that takes the most work.

If a politician breaks the rules? Have them indicted.

If the media tells lies? Make them go broke by unsubscribing or not watching.

If a company deals unethically? Force them to fire the board and executives.

But stop punishing the ruled and working class, because they haven't done anything wrong. Much like you and I they're just trying to get by the best they can.

And help those in need.  Because now the need is worst than ever and the ruling class is less likely than they ever have been to do the job they were hired to do.  It's up to us.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

2020: Our Rulers have no Clothes (or Clues)

As we roll into month six of our never-ending partial lock downs it's becoming increasingly apparent that those we unfortunately elected to rule us have little clue as to what they are doing, or what they're going to do, going forward to get us out of this mess.

Unfortunately, because the entire country views things through a partisan lens and scored via zero sum, whether or not you think your ruling class is doing a good job is directly related to which party you pledge fealty to.

Granted, few people rise to the rank partisanship of Paul Krugman (who is, without a doubt, one of the worst thinker/writers in the US) there are writers across the political spectrum who are using this ongoing public health disaster as nothing more than a chance to try and amass political power and shame their political opposites into the dustbin of history.

Ironically, Democratic thinkers are ignorantly starting to parrot Karl Rove, dreaming of "permanent majorities" due to the self-immolation of the Republicans. Of course, no majority is permanent and eventually a ruling party will begin to eat itself from within. Look no further than the Republican Party in Texas, or what's going on right now with the Democrats in California.

My feeling is that Texas will not "flip" in 2020, but it's going to be close.  I'm not even sure in 2022 or 24 that will happen, but many so-called pundits will continue gaining paychecks assuring us that it will.

The real issue is going to be a potential Biden Presidency, which could prove catastrophic for long-term Democratic plans. Biden is low-functioning at this point, and that's as big of a concern as is the ego of Donald Trump.

America could use a firm hand on the tiller right now, but there are no adults in the room that seem capable of guiding this listing ship.  The rocks are getting closer, and we seem intent on sailing directly toward them waiting for them to move out of our way.

This is not a Democrat/Republican issue, it's a Ruled/Ruler one. The Ruled are getting destroyed on every level, economically, health-wise, freedom-wise, and in public safety. The Rulers are continuing to find creative ways to do nothing while trying to look like they're doing something in desperate attempts to draw your eyes away from their utter incompetence in handling both the pandemic and the issue of systemic racism.

Years from now historians are going to look back at 2020 and wonder just how it was a country with so many advantages squandered them so quickly and elected such a low-functioning, vile, group of people to rule them.

I used to think that, at some point, the populace will wake up, take a good hard look at the situation and come to the realization that we've made a complete hash of this. Instead we've got a group of rulers who cater the the Twitter mobs, who have no idea what an average citizen looks like or feels, and is more comfortable mingling at a DC cocktail party dining on lightly braised swan than they are shopping for groceries in their old neighborhood.

Finally, your elected officials are habitual liars. For all of her fawning media coverage AOC's voting record is fairly in-line with Nancy Pelosi's diktats, except in issues where a bill's fate is certain and the parties allow representatives to "bet their conscious" (shouldn't they do that on every bill?) Ted Cruz talks a good game, but he rarely votes against what the party heads say. He just talks a lot to be perfectly honest.

There's no governor that understands what they have done or what they are doing, and don't throw Cuomo in my face, his order to nursing homes requiring them to admit elderly COVID-19 patients likely killed hundreds, if not thousands, and our Mayors are even worse. (fining the poor $250 for mask non-compliance is the most Sylvester Turner of all Sylvester Turner's moves to date)

The reality is the USA is currently a rudderless ship where the crew is drunkenly scrambling around the ship looking for the Captain.  Unfortunately, the captain has already abandoned ship.

Grab the braces, set the sails, and steer your own damn ship away from the rocks.  We can find calmer waters, but we're going to have to do it ourselves, the old fashioned way, relying on our communities to band together, give the ruling class a strong middle finger and dealing with this mess ourselves.

One last note:  Carolyn Goodman got her "Las Vegas experiment" and it has not gone well 

To be fair though, very little has gone well in regards to COVID-19 primarily because the ruling class has squandered every bit of their credibility and continue to do so.

Social distance, wear a mask, practice good personal hygiene and take care of your self. What we've learned during this mess is that the ruling class will not do so. They're to busy getting fitted for invisible clothes.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Winners (and losers) and the destruction of wealth 'in these times'

As we roll into the dog days of Summer there's still much concern about COVID-19 (rightly so) but we're starting to see our ruling class increasingly pivot to crocodile tears for the majority of folks that are going to be casting votes come November.

In-between made-for-TV accusations against one's political enemies of incompetence, corruption, stupidity and down-right evil is a sudden, manufactured concern for those who have lost their jobs due to forced closures, fear-mongering and general ham-handedness by the very same rulers.  Suddenly people being out of work, broke, and holding no hopes for the future is less a reality brought on by shuttering the economy, and more the result of......something the other tribe has done because they don't care sufficiently about the poor and suffering.

It's never about policy, it's about "feels".

The battle lines here have always been simple: It's the ruling class against the middle-class, and the rulers have all of the power over the ruled and there's little the latter can actually do about it.

Oh sure, you're told you can vote, but what is the difference between voting for a Corporatist party and voting for a Socialist party?  Both want to remove the largest amount of money from you that they can, to distribute to their political patrons, the only difference is where they want the money to go.

There will always be winners and losers, even in a so-called "fair and just" Socialist system. The ruling class in Soviet Russia had dachas while the ruled waited in long-lines for bread. At least straight-out strong men were honest about what they were doing. The only difference between a Bolivarian "revolutionist" and an African strong-man was one of marketing.

As such, the only difference between a Republican and a Democrat is one of messaging. Republicans have not, in recent times, done a very good job of conveying their message. Democrats have done a very good job convincing the ruled that removing their money and freedom from their control is in their best interests. The ruled have lapped up their message because of the unending drum-beat of government competence, this despite the fact that we see constant reminders of just how incompetent our government truly is.

Yet, time after time, we see the government cause a problem and we're told, in the media and by the ruling class, that the solution to the problem is MORE government.  Look as schools for example, America's education system is a cesspool of poor administration and corrupt unions. It has as little to do with education children as "climate-justice" has to do with stopping climate change. Yet we're told over and over that the "solution" to the problem is more money, more putting children into failing schools, and more funding.  Funding, by the way, that will not, in most cases, go to the actual education of children, but into the coffers of political connected organizations whose goal is increasing the bottom line.

As COVID-19 continues to work its way through the population, and a communicable virus continues to do what a communicable virus is going to do, we're now being force-fed a happy myth of bailouts and stimulus checks and the horrific lie of universal basic income, the idea that the government should provide everyone with just enough money to scrape by, the central premise of this being that the only thing worse than being poor is having the temerity to believe that one can make a living income without the benevolence of the ruling class.

How to pay for all of this?  The scourge of the moment is the "ultra-rich". They seemingly have an endless bag of money that could be distributed to the masses if only the government had the will to tax them until their eyes bleed.  Just don't pay attention and realize that the entire combined wealth of the hated ultra-rich couldn't fund Medicaid for a year, much less in perpetuity. 

What we're left with is an angry populace that's wondering when they're going to get theirs, when the rich are going to be placed in the public square and be forced to answer for their crimes of success while being pelted by organically sourced, non GMO tomatoes.

Ah well, at least we still have our freedoms......oh...wait.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The on-going scourge of Social Media

The wife and I made an escape last weekend. After three months of work from home, of only making one trip per week. to the grocery store, wearing my mask. we decided that we needed to get out of the house, more specifically, I needed to get out of the house.

So we decided to pack our bags, our masks and around 2 gallons of hand sanitizer to make the trip to our "local" casino in Lake Charles.  We spent a fun weekend gambling, losing, eating good food, drinking good wine and cocktails, sitting in a pool cabana on Sunday, and generally just having a grand time.

Yes, we wore our masks, we had sani-wipes and used them to disinfect every machine that we sat down to, and we wore our masks for the most part, except if we were sitting at the bar drinking and playing video poker, at which point it seemed a little silly to keep them on when we'd have to touch them repeatedly to pull them down and keep drinking.

Was there a risk of contracting COVID-19?  Yes, probably so. But at some point we have to return to living life in the safest way possible, but we do need to get back into the swing of things and start being productive again. Virus gonna virus, we just have to adapt to our new realities.

We need human interaction, we are social animals after all.

What I did notice is that, after 3 months of lock down, my human interaction compass was mightily skewed by the cesspool that is social media.  If you believe Twitter, every conversation surrounding race etc. is fraught with anger, name-calling, one-upmanship and online "owns".  Drop the mic moments seem to be the goal, and there's no room for nuance. no room for those little moments in Houston interaction that allow for understanding.  Twitter. especially is a cold, brutal place full of awful people whose only reason for existing is to injure others. Not physically, they don't have the guts to do that, but there are different ways to ruin people's lives. You know about "SWATting" and you've certainly heard of "cancel culture" by now, these are just some of the ways bad actors on Twitter go about stifling debate.

Twitter is where the "Karen" meme revealed itself, and it's where the worst of humanity is placed on a pedestal to be mocked, knocked down and humiliated, where mob-rule is the rule and the powers that be seem little inclined to police their huge bot problem.  The government's "solution" to this is to cudgel them into submission, or extinction, by removing their "platform" privileges and making them responsible for what's posted by their users.

Like any government response, this is not going to work, it's only going to push cancel culture underground where, in my opinion, it becomes more dangerous.

The good news is that regular, decent society still does not operate like social media society but the gap is getting smaller., mainstream media reporters, too lazy to work their beat, scour social media for unvetted memes and broadcast them nationally, without question, and without applying journalistic principles such as verification and corroboration. This is leading to social media creep into polite society and, unless we do something to stop this, we're going to live in a society where mob mentality rules, and rule of law goes the way of the Dodo.

It's a big problem.  We're still, just, in a place where decent humans can have a polite conversation on difficult issues without resorting to cancel culture and mob anger.

Humanity needs to keep that, or we're going to regret that it's gone.

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