Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Fitz then Fred shows Chan, oh my!

I am a fan of Chan Gailey. I am not sure if it is because he is the best of a sad lot over the course of the last decade or if it is the man himself, but he has won me over… mostly. He comes across as more honest, open and knowledgeable than the last three Bills coaches who came before him combined.

I am also a fan of The Fitz. A big fan. Smart guy, personable guy, a great leader.  I also believe he is inconsistent in his performance.  He makes up for that with his even style.  I have yet to see him act like Jim Kelly would at times, chewing people out in the huddle.  It is Ryan’s sort of demeanor that holds teams together when the going gets tough. Is he the guy who can make the big play 9/10 times at crunch time?  I hope so, but I have concerns.

Chan Gailey has been a proponent of a more open/pass centric offense.  Of course the league has also become more pass oriented, but I believe Chan would still take a pass driven offense onto the field even if every other team was playing Tight I-form sets. If his choice to be so passing friendly were driven by a mediocre talent pool at running back I could understand the move, however nothing could be further from the truth.

The Bills have Fred Jackson at running back.  Yeah, the one from Coe College.  The guy who played his way from NFL Europe to the NFL. Freddy was on his way to All-Pro last season before he cracked a bone in his right leg.  He accounted for an obscene amount of the Bills offense.  He accomplished this despite getting less than 20 rushes in 6 of the 9 games he finished.

The Bills just shored up their defense this last off-season. If you look at how well the Bills defense performed without a pass rush these past 5 years (yes well is relative in this case) imagine how the defensive backs will look when they have someone pressuring the quarterback.  I have the privilege of attending four to five games every year at the stadium and watch the line play attentively- we have plain sucked for years.  The Redskins game from last season was so fun to watch on TV because the Bills looked like they were cashing in IOU’s from the last half decade.

We may see the likes of that for a full season, but in order to get the most out of your defense you have to give them an opportunity to rest and also take some time off the clock when you do have the ball.  Running the ball affords the best opportunity to accomplish this.  The Bills have one top level and one very good option at running back. I would go so far as to say Freddy Jackson is the best and most important player on the team.

For the Bills to succeed to the highest level Freddy Jackson needs to be a key member of the offense.  He should be touching the ball 25-30 times a game between rushes and pass receptions.  In Freddy I trust and so should Chan.

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Posted by on 07/31/2012 in Gamehenge


Brown and out in Madden ’12

In preparation of Madden 13 my brother, cousin and I have started a franchise in ’12.  Why?  Well, why not I guess.  We decided not to select the franchises we will guide in ’13 instead opting for checking out some teams we might normally never consider.

That took me to the former Mistake by the Lake, Cleveland and the beleaguered Dog Pound- I refuse to spell it Dawg when I am in charge of the franchise.

My team sucks.  My best athlete and perennial Pro Bowl favorite for special teams Josh Cribbs has fumbled away the ball twice on returns my first two games.  I have big headed Hillis as my featured back, though he has taken a back seat to a rotating cast of back ups.

The defense makes some stops, but it is the Browns so the miscues created by horrible AI is only further tested when I decide to jump offside or if I over commit on a play.  I have played games sparingly as I ever have in my life for the last 8 months and I can tell it has dulled some of my former reflexes.  So it goes.

It is fun though.  Both my cousin and my brother were on last night so we chatted it up as we played our respective games.  I was beaten in overtime by the Peyton Manning led Colts.  I tied the game on a field goal with :06 on the clock.  My team mobbed my kicker.  It was the portend I thought it was as Peyton ripped down the field to beat my coverage on a beautiful throw to thwart my comeback.

It is fun though.  I enjoy the challenge of playing with an inferior team over an established power house.  The only exception to this was years the Sabres (rest in fracking fluid) and the Bills were great.  For the latter it has not been a concern in well over a decade.

This year EA has stepped up their online capabilities.  I plan on making more time in my schedule for the games as it doubles as a family activity.  Distances of around 300 miles and 170 miles make this the best choice for regular contact.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will wear their 70’s uniforms for half their home games this season. Nothing says run in fear like a pirate in Creamsicle Orange.


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Posted by on 07/26/2012 in Gamehenge


Padre baseball baby, wait what is that shoe doing up there?

Jason Maquis registered his third straight win for the Padres. He has been money since the All Star break and today he was helped by six Padre runs.

It didn’t hurt that they were facing The Freak during his worst season. Tim Lincecum looks like some sort of Faustian deals upside has expired. Not only is he not performing but he seems to have developed a rift with starting catcher Buster Posey.

The All-Star catcher has not caught Lincecum in his last seven starts. The pitcher, catcher and skipper Bruce Bochy all claim there is no issue. Sure guys sure.

The Padres are eight and five since the break. I am hoping the new ownership sees a fire sale as a bad investment of the season. I would be happy if they make no moves at the deadline, though that seems unlikely.

Of course they are about to take a back seat to my top sports passion, the Buffalo Bills.

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Posted by on 07/25/2012 in Gamehenge


One in five, the mystery of asparagus pee

I purchased a steak for dinner tonight. It was damn good and proof positive to me that grilling steak adds so much flavor it is borderline criminal to do much else with it.  We purchased some asparagus at the market on Saturday.  Whether it was the moisture in the bag they packed them in or the asparagus was well on its way it was inedible today so I had to scrap that from the menu.  I figured at least this would mean my pee doesn’t smell tonight and into tomorrow.

If that statement reeks of odd to you, you are an 80%er, that is, you are not part of the special club that can detect the odor that asparagus lends to urine.  Aren’t you jealous?

From any online sources I have looked at it seems everyone produces Methanethiol when they metabolize asparagus (this smell can start as soon as 15 minutes after consumption) however only one in five people can smell the byproduct.

What does it smell like? Well many people claim it smells like cabbage. To me it smells like asparagus.  I have never given a thought to exploring the minutia of smell differentials between fresh and canned or green and white, but I have always found it to just be like asparagus.

What I can definitively say about the smell is that it isn’t bad enough to get me to stop eating asparagus.  I love it.  It is especially good very simply prepared- a quick steam or 3 minute boil with a shock of cold water.  Delicious, though for me not odor free.
And that is one to grow on.


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Posted by on 07/24/2012 in Dirt


I salute the Henson family, Muppets and all

“The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors. Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD.”

Jim is smiling down. Good job Lisa.


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Posted by on 07/23/2012 in Weekapaug Groove


The Dark Knight Rises, with it my blood pressure

My wife and I went to go see The Dark Knight Rises today.  Having only been to the theater twice in the last 6 years for films other than Disney/Pixar/kid fare we jumped in.

I am glad we did.  It was at times a stunning film.  The sound was massive when it needed to be, the film was shot well and I found the script to be well written overall.  There was a clunky sequence or two where important information was shared and it came off as, well they really needed us to know about this.  It was awkward to me.

Other than that I found it on par with The Dark Knight and a shade below Batman Begins.  I enjoyed Tom Hardy as Bane, however it was Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman that shocked me.  Perhaps I didn’t expect much from the character but I was intrigued  and engaged by Hathaway and Christopher Nolan’s take.

We didn’t see it in 3D or at the IMAX.  For me that didn’t diminish the impact of the scenes that were supposed to have gravitas.  I believe 3D allows filmmakers to be lazy when it comes to important scenes.  Granted, I have not gone to too many 3D movies- it is too expensive for my tastes unless my daughter wants in.

I am almost to the point where that will be the only time I go an see films.  She is still in the kids category so any noise or talking I can give a pass to. If you are going to a Batman movie on Opening Day you should probably be engrossed in the experience.

Sadly the guy with the attention span of a fly decided to sit behind me.  I was hoping that my just audible to the rows around me after the serene voice soothingly requested “We ask you to please not talk” addendum of “And Jon demands it” would have done the trick. I forgot we were talking about a fly mentality and a two hour and forty minute feature though.

Of course being that he felt he was in his living room I had to inform him that he was incorrect, in fact this was not his house and he should be quiet.  The second time it was shut up.  By the denouement I had given up.

I used to go to incredible amounts of movies in the theater. My twin brother was an usher and as such,  four free tickets were at his disposal daily. I still remember vividly waiting to see Batman when it was released in 1989. I had on my beloved pair of Joker Converse high tops.  I wore those things until they ripped so completely from the sole of the shoe that I couldn’t put them on without tearing the last thread.

I didn’t have my first awful experience (regarding fellow patrons) until Spider-Man in 2002.  I was pulled out of that film from beginning to end. Every movie since has become progressively worse. I love the theater experience, but it may have passed me by, at least for now.  At least the last hurrah for now was taking in an extremely well done film.

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Posted by on 07/20/2012 in Weekapaug Groove


Padres baseball, focusing and fun with board games

I anticipated watching most of the Padres games during this free week of MLB TV brought to you via iJon.  That has worked about as well as many other prognostications and I have caught zero innings so far.  There is far too much going on to dedicate that sort of time to a sports team, save the coming Bills season.

Tonight though I plan to watch the game versus the Astros from the first pitch to the last… or at least as long as Edinson Volquez is on the mound.  He is one of the working pieces of Padre talent sell offs of the last few years and I have listened to a few of his starts this season.  I want to see what the guy has.  Hopefully the offense will produce too.

Trying to focus in a subject for a blog entry has been trying of late.  I have had plenty to gripe about and could probably continue on that streak but not only must it be boring to read but it is not very cathartic. There are enough no win situations in life without adding an unnecessary one via blog post.

I think many families have thrown the board game the way of the pager.  Not in my house.  Trouble, Sorry and a myriad of other lesser time tested games get a work out here.  It has been interesting teaching my daughter to lose gracefully. We have come a long way in the last week.  She doesn’t respond well to yelling (I am not sure most kids do, Boy will help form my opinion of that further) and I learned early on how she learned best.  She has finally made her way to not breaking down after a close loss. Baby steps.
I am working on a Windows movie of picture of my daughter to one of my favorite Brent Mydland songs and perhaps even one of my favorite Dead tunes… if the list is at least twenty deep.  I am not sure I will post the video here, but this is the song.  Beautiful. Rest in Peace Brent. For the non-free form jam people 1:05 starts the “actual” song.

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Posted by on 07/19/2012 in iJon, Weekapaug Groove