Monday, September 28, 2009

Bills show true colors

A dreadful performance on Sunday. Actually, the defense was pretty solid for most of the game, but the offense was as bad as I had expected pre-season. Who knows why they were successful the first couple games? I'm afeared that what we saw Sunday was closer to the real thing...

Anyhow, in case you missed it, here's a quote from Sports Guy Bill Simmons' column last Friday: "Meanwhile, if you're thinking about taking Buffalo in an upset, check out this e-mail from Nick in Rochester: 'Being a Bills fan is like sending your girlfriend off to be a roommate on "Real World." Before the season starts you have this foolish hope that she won't let you down. However, in the depths of your being, you know that a few weeks from now, you will be sitting on your couch, watching your beloved fumble away her clothes, getting touchdown after touchdown scored on her.'

At least the Yankees clinched the division on Sunday...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Great Lakes Film Fest-early review

Just wanted to say, I really like what they've done with the Great Lakes Film Festival this year. It's something I've wanted to check out for several years, but have either been out of town, or had family obligations - but now, they've set it up so it fits perfectly with my vision of IPTV. I don't know if I wrote about it yet, but a few months ago, I picked up a combination S-video/sound cable that I can plug into my PC on one end and flatscreen TV on the other. And my flatscreen is hooked into my stereo for better sound.

So, tonight, thanks to the film fest being moved to a streaming video format online, for $1 apiece I was able to watch a couple of solid indy flicks on my home theatre. Good stuff.. One problem though. The first movie I watched, The Twenty, only had about the first 20 minutes loaded and then it ended and reset to the beginning. It was supposed to be a 90-minute movie, so I was kind of left hanging. I sent the Festival an e-mail and hope they get it fixed, because it was pretty interesting and I wanted to see the end.

However, this abrupt conclusion (and if I don't see the end, I only lost a buck and 20 minutes of my life) did motivate me to find one more short flick to watch before turning in. My choice was a "narrative short" entitled, "The Big Fat Lazy Sun." Let me tell you, if you have 15 minutes, a dollar to spare, and a decent sound hook-up on your computer, check it out. Kind of reminded me of Pulp Fiction. Solid stuff.

There's at least one more, a documentary about blind baseball fans, that I want to check out tomorrow.

The on-line festival only runs until Sunday and there's like 30 or more flicks up there - all available to watch online for $1.



Dostoevsky on lying

From Crime and Punishment (a psychological thriller): "Because you know what irks me most about it? Not that they're lying; lying can always be forgiven; lying is a fine thing, because it always leads to the truth. No, what irks me is that they lie and then worship their own lies." - Razumikhin (the archetypal hero of the story) discussing the tactics of the Petersburg police.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MLB Update

If you haven't followed the 2009 Major League Baseball season to date, here's an informative and well-written article that will get you up to speed. No, it's not a playoff preview, because believe it or not, we are still a couple weeks away from the playoffs. It's pretty much a lament over the lack of exciting pennant races and the fact the the Twins and Tigers are the only two teams with meaningful regular season games left....

Speaking of which, I traveled to Pittsburgh to see the Buccos play Monday night, as I had some free tickets I had to use up, and was treated to a four-hour marathon of what the Pirates post-game analyst called "the worst game of the season." Now, I somewhat took exception to that, as the Pirates did rally from a four-run deficit in the final two innings, only to give up five in the top of the 11th and lose. I'll admit that there were some baserunning and fielding gaffes by both teams - the Pirates were playing the Padres - but I guess after watching little league ball all season, I thought the Pirates were quite impressive...

And yes, it was a beautiful night at PNC Park. We sat behind home plate and were looking out over the wall at the river and the city skyline. And, I got a Primanti's sandwich and a Penn Pilsner, so it wasn't all bad...

Also, if you're wondering what Jerome Bettis is up to, check out this wonderful column of his on the NFL. Go Bus!



Monday, September 21, 2009

Celebration of football

Yesterday, was a great day for football - well, maybe not for all Browns and Stillers fans, but it rocked for me. First off, my son's 5-6th grade team won its first game, and he finally got some playing time - as he's on second team, and he had a blast. So that was cool, and the weather was great, so we came home and watched the Bills game on the TV outdoors - with the over-the-air HD feed. Grilled some brawts, had the neighbors and friends over and celebrated T.O.' first TD as a Bill and the first Bills' win of the year. (Skip to about the last 15 seconds to see T.O.'scatch. He dropped a perfectly thrown bomb earlier in the game [you can see that on the link too if you like], but when he made the catch for the TD, you could see why we signed the guy. Yeah, it was a nice catch for the TD, but, even better, the place went nuts and he played it up beautifully. The guy is electric.) Two games into the season, it's definitely been a fun one. We got the Saints at home next week.



Friday, September 18, 2009

Leodis McKelvin Rocks

First off, I thought it was really cool that this second-year pro from the south actually owned a home in the Buffalo area - but then his reaction here to the kids who vandalized his lawn following his game-blowing fumble the other night is great. He actually seems to have thought it was kind of funny. Go Leodis.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baseball season continues...

I don't think anyone around here notices, what with the Pirates suffering their 15th losing season in a row or something, the Indians season in the dumps, and the Seawolves long since done...but they are still playing baseball in other parts of the country. Being a Yankees fan and a proponent of the Giardi hiring last year, this has been a great year for me. I thought we might be one year off from making a big run, but Sabathia, Teixeira, and even Swisher have integrated themselves into the team faster than I would have thought - and with big comeback years from some of the old guys - Posada, Jeter, and Matsui, we've got the best record in baseball. Go Yanks!

Anyhow, last night the Yanks pull off another stirring comeback win. For some reason, I have just started being able to get WCBS - AM 880 on my radio (I know, an archaic way to catch a game, but baseball is kind of archaic anyhow) and tuned back in in the bottom of the eighth just in time to hear John Sterling's great call - "There's a drive to deep right center, it is high, it is long, it is thrilla' for Godzilla!" as Mastsui hits a two-run homer to tie the game in the eighth. The 39-year old Rivera comes on and does his job in the top of the ninth and then Brett Gardner, this kid the Yanks have been using part-time in center field the last two years, singles, steals second, goes to third on a grounder by Jeter and scores on a single by our rookie catcher. Great win.

Even better, the Red Sox pulled off a topsy turvy back-and-forth win over the Angels. For some reason it looks like were headed for another Yankees-Red Sox showdown in the ACLS. I know that will make a lot of people sick, but I'm definitely looking forward to it.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

WSJ Article on GE Transportation

I guess anyone who read this article a few weeks back wasn't too surprised by yesterday's news. The locomotive market is apparently pretty weak right now, but similar to what was said in the Erie paper today, there is some hope for a few years out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Art of Losing

If losing is an art form, the Bills can certainly make their claim to being Michaelangelo. (Perhaps the Bengals are De Vinci after their horrific last second debacle on Sunday, but Bills' loss tonight was equally bad. I think in Bill Simmons' meter, it's called a stomach punch game.) I mean we were winning all night- a game nobody thought we could win - and we blew it with an incredibly bonehead play at the end. When the announcer tisks as the kick-off returner decides to bring the ball out of the end zone late in the fourth quarter while you're protecting a lead - and then the return man promptly fumbles and sets up one of the NFL's all-time clutch quarterbacks 30 yards from the winning score - I mean, the pain! Would it have been better to have been blown out?

So, let's rank this one in the pantheon of heartbreaking Bills losses:
1. Loss to the Giants in the 1991 Super Bowl - that kind of set the tone for all the misery that has followed.
2. The Music City Miracle - That was the last time the Bills were in the playoffs
3. That Cowboys loss on Monday night two years ago - I was at the Mannechor watching the Yankees get eliminated by the Indians in the playoffs on the other screen.
4. Tonight's fiasco.
5. The Browns loss at home last year - especially significant to me because of where I live.

Alright, the fifth one might not be included as one of the toughest losses of all-time for any team, but the other four certainly are. In each instance, twice on Monday Night and twice in the playoffs, the Bills managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in front of a national audience. What have we done to deserve this? (and this gets me back to my question about why am I a fan - I like that explanation about the rituals of fall). I feel like we are cursed by some sort of Greek god, like perhaps we harmed or insulted one of Zeus' children at some point and he has damned our team to public failure. Right now, I feel like Raskolnikov in the beginning of Crime and Punishment when he is wondering around St. Petersburg in a half-coherent, feverish state. I keep telling myself I don't care about this stuff, but then the season starts, and I realize my hopes get irrationally up for some glory for the Blue and Red. Then, they even tease me by taking the hated Patriots to the brink, only to blow it and practically hand the Patriots the game on a sliver platter. Woe is me! Woe is the city of Buffalo, Western New York, and all the sorry-ass Pollack Bills fans all over the world. Say it ain't so Joe Ferguson, Cribbs, or whoever you are....


Hope Springs Eternal - NFL Kick-Off

Despite the fact that I've told everyone who's asked to take the Patriots and give the points (like 11 1/2) against the Bills tonight, I still find myself getting excited about watching the red-and-blue take on New England. There's at least some chance - maybe 1 in-a-thousand that we can win and probably a 1-in-100 chance of the Bills being competitive - but I'll take it. Why? I have no fuckin' idea. Why should I feel loyal to a bunch of football playing mercenaries carrying the banner of a team I have rooted for for 35 years. What's the attraction? Any ideas? (I need help.)



Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Iliad as spoken art

Don't know where this guy is, but he'd be fun to hire for a party.

Great Headline

Remember the late 1990s? This is an article from Inc. Magazine in 1998 that features one of my favorite business-related headlines. (What made it extra humorous at the time is that the company I was with actually worked with the guys featured in the lead paragraphs. [I don't mean the heart attack was funny, but just the coincidence...]).