Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Can Anyone Stop Phoenix?

"If there was five of me, I'd be able to," said James.

Here's The Plain Dealer article by Bill Livingston I was talking about. I'm still in awe that he would say this...

It's that damn easy....

LeBron said he wants Jason Kidd in a Cavaliers uniform...

Asked if getting Kidd would mean an NBA championship for the Cavs, James said emphatically: "Yeah. . . . It's that easy."

Well the ESPN Trade Machine tells me that a deal of Ira, Shannon Brown, and Larry will be good under the cap rules. Let's get it done!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Is it the shoes?




By now we’ve all heard about LeBron’s new shoes inspired by his love for the Yankees. If you don’t know about it here’s an excerpt from a recent article by ABJ’s Brian Windhorst:
-------
The shoe will be in Yankees colors complete with pinstripes and likely be sold only in the New York area.
''They're hot,'' James said. ''I like them a lot.'' (Editorial note from Cleveland Sports Torture: “Hot” is street lingo for “really good.”)

As with all of his signature shoes, James' consulted on the design, which includes his No. 23 on the tongue in the block lettering used for Yankee uniforms. On the underside of the tongue is James' name inserted into a popular Yankee Stadium cheer: ''Le-Bron Ja-mes, Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap!''

Before conspiracy theorists get going, this is usual business for Nike. The shoe giant has used special New York promotions for James for several years. They've highlighted other things that are special to James, including putting a map of Akron on the mass release Zoom LeBron V model currently being sold across the country.

Yet, there's no doubt Nike has put a special focus on the Big Apple. Two years ago, it opened a temporary museum devoted to James in the Soho section of Manhattan and regularly feature James on a four-story advertisement a block from Madison Square Garden.

Last year, Nike released a New York-themed version of James' shoe that featured graffiti and other representations of the city. Nike also has designs of his signature shoe that target the Chinese market.

-----



I’m no “conspiracy theorist,” i.e. one of the idiot paranoid Cleveland sports radio caller fans who thinks LeBron having a Yankee sneaker means OMG HE’S GOING TO THE KNICKS OR NETS FOR SURE NOW@#!! Nor do I think it means he’ll be playing for the Yankees come 2010. Did you see LeBron take those clumsy swings in the batting cage at The Jake a few years ago? He looked like me during my one summer of South Euclid/Lyndhurst softball.

LeBron’s a businessman…someone who wants to be a “global icon” and billionaire. From his perspective, having a Yankee shoe in the world’s biggest market is solid money making move.

All of this begs the question: Should it annoy Cleveland fans that our most prominent athlete is once again pandering to the pinstripers? Should it piss us off that only a few months after “Hat-gate” LeBron is actually slapping his name onto Yankee-related apparel? Or is the whole affair just another non-story given unnecessary coverage by the media and pumped up further by bored bloggers?

I’ll reluctantly admit I find it a bit bothersome: Have you ever heard of another athlete putting his likeness on the gear of a city’s hated “rival?” It just seems weird…what if Grady Sizemore came out with Steelers’ longjohns or something? As dumb as that reads I just find it strange that LeBron needs to have a Yankee shoe.

LeBron seems like a smart, worldly guy; yet I think he’s still clueless as to what he means to the region. However, he didn’t grow up caring about our teams, and thereby wasn’t affected by our sports’ disappointments. Now he’s living in an airy world of endless financial opportunity and global popularity. And he probably cares even less about our city’s sports’ history.

I don’t care if No. 23 is a front-running New York/Cowboys/Bulls fan. But don’t make a fool out the city by going on national TV and flashing a Yankee cap to the camera and then tell your loyal fanbase to “deal with it.” That same principle holds for the Chosen One’s new kicks. Find another way to fill your pockets, LeBron.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Give it to me Chris Berman....


The Geeeeeeeeeeeee-Men are going to the big dance!!! No Tiki, no Shockey, no problem. The national media can suck the big one for wanting Brett Fav-ruh to win for big time ratings. Eli has grown into a straight balla and all the NY media that bashed him his whole career so far can absolutely suck it. The one thing the G-Men have going for them this time around vs. the Pats is they have Bradshaw who didn't play that first game. Big Jake is gonna punish that secondary, and that 14 point line is too high (already down to 12 1/2 I saw). This would be one of the biggest moments in NY sports history if they can somehow pull off this upset. Stay tuned.

The mohawk may look ridiculous…




…but Damon Jones (I couldn’t find a picture of him with the new ‘do) is contributing to the Cavs’ current winning ways. He had eight points in the fourth quarter last night to help Cleveland beat Miami on a poor shooting night by LeBron. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Jones is contributing more these days than Hughes or Sasha, when a month ago he was refusing to come off the bench in mop-up time against the Heat and singing “trade me” songs in the locker room.

Now Jones is hitting clutch treys, driving to the hoop for layups, and not making a fool of himself handling the point guard duties. Obviously he’s not the ultimate answer for the team’s guard problems, but he’s doing well with the minutes he’s getting.

How about Miami? Shaq moves like he’s wearing concrete shoes. Who’s their second-best player? Ricky Davis? They also have a PG named Quinn who looks about 16 with his fuzzy little moustache. The current Heat are a bit reminiscent of the Cavs in the first year with LeBron…lots of one-on-one play and not much else…although that Cavs’ team was not as bad as this Miami team.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hellaciousness Ensues!!!!

This isn't the Swanton Bomb from hell from Monday night, but this one is as bad ass or more. This is from when Jeff (we're on first name basis now) was with TNA working a program with the monster Abyss (and James Mitchell his manager).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Smitation City



The marketing buzz around the monster-takes-Manhattan movie “Cloverfield” has been compared to that of “The Blair Witch Project.” The movies are similar in some aspects, both on-screen and off: In both flicks no-name actors run for their lives under the jittery eye of a hand-held camera. In each case the footage is supposed to be a tape “found” by authorities in the aftermath of some horrific event.

Off-screen both movies received tons of hype under the guise of a “media blackout.” I remember some dopey “Blair Witch documentary” where locals in the town of Scaryville or wherever the fake footage was "found" were filmed drawling, “Ayuh, I heard tell of the Blair Witch” while eerie music played in the background. For “Cloverfield,” the marketing blitz was of the viral variety, as film fans trying to find out about the movie ended up at a series of fake websites set up containing cryptic clues to other websites.

“Blair Witch” was an enormous box office smash. It was also a pile of dogshit in this blogger’s humble opinion. All the hype for something me and three of you guys (my fellow bloggers that is) could have filmed in and around Squire’s Castle. I don’t know if “Cloverfield” will find the same success as “Blair Witch.” But I can tell you now that it's the better movie by leaps and bounds.

Of course, “Cloverfield,” produced by “Lost” creator J.J. Abrams, is a much more ambitious (and expensive) undertaking, using all of Manhattan as a playground of destruction. It starts off in a posh loft where a going away party is being held for (I think his name is) Rob, who is leaving for Japan (the cinematic birthplace of the city-smashing giant monster) for a job. The party is being “documented” with a handheld video camera by Rob’s best friend, Hud. The shindig is disrupted by what partygoers think is an earthquake. (It ain’t) Then the real fun starts.

And “Cloverfield is a good time. It’s pretty intense, and at times quite comical. The film strives to be “a monster movie for the YouTube generation,” as its director states. In that account “Cloverfield” mostly succeeds, but it does help to suspend your disbelief a bit. For example, why does our amateur documentarian continue to lug around that camera while the city crumbles? “People are gonna want to see this,” he says by way of explanation. I can live with that. In this shrinking Web 2.0 world, where you can access public video sharing websites and watch Saddam Hussein get executed, it’s no surprise someone wants to record the end of all things.

(By the way, Cavs-90, Spurs-88. Nice.)

Smitation City

The marketing buzz around the monster-takes-Manhattan movie “Cloverfield” has been compared to that of “The Blair Witch Project.” The movies are similar in some ways, both on screen and off: In both flicks no-name actors run for their lives under the eye of a shaky hand-held camera. In each case the footage is supposed to be a tape “found” by authorities in the aftermath of some horrific event.

Off-screen both movies received tons of hype under the guise of a “media blackout.” I remember some dopey “Blair Witch documentary” where locals in the town of Scaryville or wherever the movie took place were filmed muttering, “Ayuh, I heard tell of the Blair Witch” with eerie music playing in the background. For “Cloverfield,” the marketing blitz was of the viral variety, as film fans trying to find out about the movie ended up at a series of fake websites set up containing cryptic clues to other websites.

“Blair Witch” was an enormous box office smash. It was also an enormous pile of dogshit in this blogger’s humble opinion. All the hype for something me and three of you guys (my fellow bloggers that is) could have filmed in and around Squire’s Castle. I don’t know if “Cloverfield” will find the same success as “Blair Witch.” But I can tell you now that it’s the better movie by leaps and bounds.

Of course, “Cloverfield,” produced by “Lost” creator J.J. Abrams, is a much more ambitious undertaking, using all of Manhattan as a playground of destruction. It starts off in a posh Manhattan loft where a going away party is being held for (I think his name is) Rob, who is leaving for Japan (the cinematic birthplace of the city-smashing giant monster) for a job. The party is being “documented” with a handheld video camera by Rob’s best friend, Hud. The shindig is disrupted by what partygoers think is an earthquake. (It ain’t) Then the real fun starts.

And “Cloverfield is a good time. It’s pretty intense, and at times quite comical. The film strives to be “a monster movie for the YouTube generation,” as its director states. In that account “Cloverfield” mostly succeeds, but it does help to suspend your disbelief a bit. For example, why does our amateur documentarian continue to lug around that camera while the city crumbles? “People are gonna want to see this,” he says by way of explanation. I can live with that. In this shrinking Web 2.0 world, where you can access public video sharing websites and watch Saddam Hussein get executed, it’s no surprise someone wants to record the end of all things.

(By the way, Cavs-90, Spurs-88. Nice.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My Twist of Fate?

Forrest Gump once pondered, "I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happening at the same time."

Flashback to 9:15 a.m, Tuesday, January 15, 2008... Charlotte, NC Airport. To set the scenario, I'm on a business trip, transferring flights to go from Charlotte to Raleigh. I've been up since 3:45 a.m. (had to make it to the Cleveland airport by 5:00). I'm tired, hungry, and anxious from travel.

When I arrive at my gate, I happen to see an odd looking young man slouched over sipping a McDonalds drink. DOUBLE-TAKE... IT'S NONE OTHER THAN THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION JEFF HARDY!!! Mind you, I'm going on 3 1/2 hours of sleep so I thought my eyes and mind were deceiving me. After all, Jeff Hardy had just hours earlier delivered the most hellacious Swanton Bomb known to man... a 30 ft. dive... a monumental bump from the second tier of scaffolding, taking out both he and WWE World Champion Randy Orton.


Jeff Hardy waits to board a plane in Charlotte

I get a better look as he stands to throw away his trash and now I'm down right giddy! Jeff Hardy is on my plane! Makes sense... he's from Raleigh. The question is... could he?.... is it possible?... might he be sitting next to me? One can only pray!

I board and sit down in Row 12 as the Champ strolls in a few minutes behind me looking for his seat. He's approaching.... my heart's beating faster than when I'm on my elliptical... then BAM... he sits down about 5 rows in front of me. DAMN!

This would not deter me. After the flight I follow Mr. Hardy into a bathroom, for I was not going to let this opportunity pass as I have done several times before with other athletes and entertainers. And here's where the new Froms has come to life. No more of the shy, introverted Froms. I look the superstar, the master of the Swanton Bomb, right in the face as we both wash our hands and say...

"So Jeff, it's nice to see you get a main event push after all these years... and how do you feel about the Ric Flair 'Fight For Your Career' retirement kayfabe angle?" Just kidding... I really said...

"You're Jeff Hardy!"

"Yeah man, what's up", he responds. He looked like he had about 1 hour of sleep, like when you're up all night the last night in Vegas... not surprising considering the hellacious Swanton Bomb of the second level of scaffolding!!! He was probably at the hospital all night (they took him away on a stretcher after all).

I respond, "I saw what you did last night. That was crazy!" (Looking back I wonder if he thinks I think wrestling is real).

Anyway, he says (slurring, eyes bright red) "No sh!t. They have me do crazy things."

I, cool and calm, say "Yeah, I don't even like getting up on a ladder to go onto my roof... and you're doing all that stuff." (Just how cool am I?)

He counters with a half smile and chuckle "Yeah, it's crazy. Who knows if I'll even make it to the Rumble at this rate!" (Again, I wonder if he thought I thought it was real).

"Take it easy man," he says as he leaves the bathroom.

"Take care." I say as the smile grows on my face.

And just like that, Jeff Hardy was gone.. like a "Whisper in the Wind" (his signature set up move).

And just like Forrest Gump... "I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happening at the same time."

Or maybe it was... a "TWIST OF FATE" (another Hardy signature set up move).

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Utter Depression

LSU 38, Ohio State 24. Wow.

The worst fears of Buckeyes fans came to be. All the trash talking by SEC backers--well deserved. An embarassing performance--one that didn't have to be.

I can't even begin to consider what should be done.

But columnists are openly calling for the BCS to not invite Ohio State after next season--and I am finding it hard to make myself outraged.

Just wish we had a playoff. I have to think that 6 weeks off never helps Ohio State. Just our opponents.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Out with the old, in with the new...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...

--Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Now I don't know what that quote means for sure, maybe one of you more literary types can expand, but to me, it seems to sum up 2007 pretty well.

Just short of 14 months ago, I wrote a post called "It is Time", trying to capture the excitement and anticipation I (as well as Buckeye Nation) had leading up to the #1 vs. #2 OSU-Michigan showdown. Although I had been excited, I wrote at the time that I wasn't nearly as excited as I should be, or expected to be, and didn't know why. At the time I surmised that maybe it was just being spoiled in the time of OSU excess. But wow have times changed on this board.

2007 brought us some of the close-to-highest-highs, and some of the most crushing lows possible for a sports town.

The feeling of "not being scared" evaporated soon into the BCS Championship game against the University of Florida in 2007, as the near riotious celebration after Ginn's opening touchdown turned quickly into "okay, this possession they're going to turn it on," and "no way Chris Leek can convert another third down." Fortunately for me, I think a
combination of Arizona heat and St. Louis brew helped numb the pain for me a bit. So much so that I wasn't that bummed during or after the game--and didn't realize until I got home that Ohio State had gained less than 90 yards on offense. Uggh. Singlehandedly, this game would provide ammunition for an entire year how Ohio State sucks and the SEC is God's gift to football. Ugggh.

The Ohio State men's basketball season, on the other hand, finally started getting some real attention after the football season ended, and we could watch Oden and Conley et.al. mature so fast into a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately 80% of the games were on some channel that only grandma's with roof antennas could pull in. Regardless, they finish with a fantastic run (punctuated by Ron Lewis and that thriller on St. Patty's day vs. Xavier--in which I was drinking green beer during--do you sense a theme?) and end up getting beat down by...guess who...the Florida Gators. Gee thanks, first the 2000 election, and now this. Just fall into the ocean or something. (Just kidding everybody!) Ugggh.

The Cavs slogged through most of a season, with the national press openly ripping LeBron James for phoning it in. Then, inexplicably, he throws some kind of switch, puts the entire team (and, it turns out, the entire city) on his back, buries the Pistons in one of the all-time greatest performances in team sports history, and, in turn, sends the entire city into some kind of hysteria. The night the Cavaliers clinched the East crown, everybody was hugging, jumping around, toasting, high fiving, and grinning bigger than Hines Ward after a first down. But that was only in Mayfield Heights, where I watched the game. From what I hear, downtown was a similar scene. And wow!, no burning cars, looting, etc. A great night.



Unfortunately, the Cavaliers were exposed--big time--for their deficiencies against the San Antonio Spurs, getting swept out of the playoffs in four games. I'll still contest that those games were closer than people remember, and the Cavs could have easily won a couple. Ah, the fond memories of paying through the nose for upper deck seats to the first home finals game in Cavaliers history, and then watch Anderson (if I dribble or shoot a jumper, bad things are happening) Varajao attempt what I think was supposed to be at turnaround jumper. Not even 10 feet away, LeBron
was calling his agent. Ball game. Ugggh.

The Indians actually live up to their expectations. Even exceed them, in some ways. Somehow underrated after the 2006 disaster of a season, they storm out to cinch the Central Division. CC Sabathia and Fausto Carmona are absolute studs*. Victor Martinez and Grady and Travis** are awesome. Kick ass bullpen, a closer who makes us nervous (again), young talent, and the ability to win a ton of games with barely any corner outfield or third base offensive production. An amazing season, and a tragic end when they fail to close out the game. Highlights include a great series against the Yankees. Seemly aided by the Almighty when midges storm the field, drive Joba Chamberlin crazy, and don't affect Fausto a bit.*** Against the Red Sox, the Tribe storms ahead 3-1, only to choke like few teams have choked before, aided by an unexplicable "stop" sign thrown up by Joel Skinner. Ugggh.

*Until the postseason
**Awesome once, hopefully awesome again
***Until a week later

The Browns (predicted by this humble fan to finish 3-13), kick off the season with one of the most embarassing losses ever, at home, to the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Immediately after which I revised my prediction to 2-14.) Virtually immediately after the game, they decide to shit-can their starting quarterback, who had just won an open competition in training camp. Now, normally, I am of the camp of "dance with who brung ya", and don't like messing around with the roster too much, but in this case it was glaringly apparent to anyone not dressed as a McDonald's side item that Charlie Frye sucked. What wasn't glaringly apparent is that Derek Anderson was going to come in and take the team by storm, even so much as to invite conversation on whether the Browns would trade their apprent savior-in-waiting, Brady Quinn. Despite an embarassingly obese coach, the Browns go on to win 10 games in a season filled with crazy bounces that for once, went our way. Unfortunately, three of the six losses were to the inept Raiders, the battered Cardinals, and the Cincinnati team which we thought had no defense. Due to that, the Browns spent January wondering what could have been, instead of taking their rightful place of the leaders in this new year of miracles, 2008. Ugggh.

On the other hand, the Buckeyes also were playing with an unknown at quarterback. Todd Boeckmann had to step into the shoes of an all time Buckeye Legend, Troy Smith. And step in to the shoes he did. Despite being different in every single way than Smith, and playing without the two first round NFL draft pick WRs who left early, Todd managed to make the OSU offense better in 2008. Despite losing to a team they should have killed, Ohio State saw the bounces go their way again, and find themselves playing tonight for the National Championship.

Yes, tonight. The calendar says 2008, and we're no longer lamenting the year that could've been, 2007, but looking forward to 2008. Ohio State has the position of leader now in this new mission, and must set the tone for the entire year. Losing two collegiate national championship games? One NBA finals? One ALCS? Your NFL team failing to make the playoffs due to Indianapolis benching their stars? That is so last year. It's on. So while last year, I was underenthused due to the spoils of excess, now I am slightly underenthused due to the repeated heartbreak. Crushing, even on the Cleveland-level.

After 2007, I'd almost lost that lovin' feeling. But maybe, just maybe, it can come back.
Oh come let's sing Ohio's praise
And songs to Alma Mater raise
While our hearts resounding thrill
With joy which death alone can still
Summer's heat or winter's cold
The seasons pass the years will roll
Time and change will surely show
How firm thy friendship ... OHIO!

Branson Wright bets against the Cavs

"For what it is worth, I felt like the Cavs could win the game after three quarters. When I said this on press row, the Plain Dealer’s Branson Wright offered to bet me $40 CAD. I didn’t accept."

-Brian Windhorst, 1/6/08, who also says that Mike Bibby is still a possibility for the Cavaliers.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

So satisfying...

Wow. Last night I was in a CLEVELAND Heights bar and it was 70% full with Pittsburgh Steelers fans who were making 99% of the noise. As they fell further and further behind a few tables started openly rooting for the Jaguars, including ours. I didn't go out looking to root against the Steelers last night--but the obnoxious sell-out Clevelanders pushed me to that point and beyond. Down 18 points to start the fourth quarter, I thought...how sweet. Some fans appeared to be considering going home.

Then Pittsburgh scored a touchdown, and I thought to myself (a) uh-oh, there could be a whole lot of shit-talking going on soon, and (b) in a perfect world, the Steelers will come back all the way and lose in a heartbreaking way. Like, for instance, Big Ben having only to take a knee with 20 seconds left and fumbling the snap away. The comeback was unreal. (Not that I know how Hines Ward grabbing the CB's facemask and pulling it down constitutes defensive pass interference on fourth down.) But this was even sweeter. David Garrard's scramble was like a gut punch to 70% of the bar, and got the other 30% louder than ever.

So for today, I'm a Jags fan. And we can all enjoy Maurice Jones-Drew giving up 65 pounds a few weeks ago and blowing up Shawn Merriman, right?



And when it was all over, I just wanted to sit back and smoke a cigar in celebration, that's how satisfying it was. 2007 brought us that sick-to-your-stomach feeling about a dozen times. Let 2008 bring it to someone else.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Vox in the Box (18)



Friends, Bloggers, Fellow Browns Fans:

I come neither to bury Brady or to praise him.

Instead, I celebrate this photo; the joy of teenage immaturity and the homo-erotic overtones cultivated by this city's newest sports sensation in a state branded for its homosexual bigotry. I celebrate polo shirts and dockers and grabbing your buddy where it counts when the bulbs flash and the press preens. At this very (fleeting) moment, I celebrate all that is brown and orange in my life tonight; they once took the Browns out of Cleveland, but they can't ever take Cleveland out of the Browns. They are losers, just like us. Dumbest, poorest, fattest, jobless, most foreclosed. And we can't beat the fucking 5-9 Bengals when it's all right there in front of us.

But a column indicting DA and Romeo just contributes to wasted blog space. Today, I bury that deep inside me. It wants out...but will live to rant another day. Today, I embrace our young QB from Dublin and South Bend. Not for his ability, but for his cult-like status and what he represents: The hope that he is generation Y's Bernie Kosar; that his already wide shoulders have room for 2 million Clevelanders; that he can beat a shitty team when the playoffs are on the line with his much-anticipated poise and moxy.

Today, I am still hurting from missing the dance. Seventeen years, and only three NFL postseason games. This season, I felt like an NFL virgin; hot and horny for the playoffs. Fucking tease, those ten wins. They mean nothing to me now. Our mild '07 success will probably end up biting us in the ass, since it's going to result in a Crennel contract extension. Wait, I promised I wouldn't complain about Romeo. Fine, but Berea...hear this: don't try to sell me on the progress of beating teams like the Jets, Dolphins, Rams, and Niners. Because next year, it's the Cowboys, Jaguars, Colts, and Giants. We're going 6-10 with that '08 schedule. Our loss to the Bengals two weeks ago is the reason this blog exists; the kind of thing I don't tolerate, can't stomach, and won't recover from until I wake up some January morning and the Brownies are on the ticket. Until then, thanks for nothing, don't gimme no lines and keep your plans to yourself.

South Euclid's Premier Handicapper Releases Wild Card Games FREE!:

Chargers (-9) over Titans
There are no locks in the NFL playoffs, but this is as good a mismatch as you'll come across in a wildcard contest. Tennessee should've been flushed three weeks ago, but the incompetent Coach Herm Edwards and his Chiefs were unable to figure out a way to just get one first down and cement their fourth quarter lead. (This is no surprise to those of us that watched Chiefs training camp on HBO; the unintentional comedy factor, as SportsGuy noted, was incredibly high anytime Herman walked into the room. Kind of like Charlie Manuel strolling to the mound to make a pitching change in his short sleeve Tribe pullover, head rolling and twitching; you knew he was completely bewitched but he always tried to exhibit some semblance of confidence and control when on camera. This was Herm in August, and, according to my friend at work who is a die-hard Mizzou Tigers/Royals/Chiefs fan, things didn't change much throughout the season.) Then, the Titans eeked another win out vs. the Jets when a throw by Pennington poorly masked as the winning touchdown became an endzone INT. And the Colts game? Well, I think the Titans were beaten until they got incredibly lucky when Vince Young got injured. Apparently Kerry Collins not only dresses poorly and makes racial slurs, but he also wins football games. Anyway, with the Chargers hitting stride...not even Norv Turner can blow this one. Chargers 31 Titans 6.

Buccaneers (-3) over NY Giants
For whatever reason, the national media is desperate to make Eli Manning and the Giants a winner. Well actually, there are a million reasons why, but Vox won't laundry list you. Instead, I want to talk about my favorite player in the NFL and my favorite mexican-american, Jeffrey Jason Garcia (recently married and expecting his first child in April). After the Bucs win, Garcia will have won a playoff game with three different teams, a feat rarely accomplished by a starting QB. Actually, Garcia won't win it. He'll manufacture it (like many illegal immigrants in US American sweat shops). Some sport fans want to see Tiger dominate the back nine; some prefer Michael Schumacher driving recklessly on a wet Formula One track; Some enjoy those National league double-switch pitching duels. I like watching Jeff Garcia play quarterback. (I also like Jason Street competing in wheelchair football, but that's another column about a show that jumped the shark when Landry killed a guy outside 7-11.) So, everybody likes the Giants in this game. This has push written all over it, but how can you predict a fucking push? Tampa Bay 17 Giants 13.

Jaguars (-2) over Pittspuke
I am so, so disturbed by the rebirth of fantasy Fred Taylor. He's too good for me to leave unprotected next season, but not good enough to do the Vox of Las Vegas anything better than 5-8. So Fred...we've been together since 2002...if you do one thing during our miserable association together, please just beat the Stillers tomorrow and then retire. Jags 30 Pitt 26.

Redskins (+4) over Seahawks
The Bill Simmons playoff manifesto says never bet a crappy QB on the road. Fair enough, but how do you classify Todd Collins? I'm guessing he plays big, and Mike Holmgren agonizes and then goofs on an important clock-management decision that keeps Washington in the game. I just can't pick Seattle to cover after seeing them lose to the Browns. And the 'Hawks used up all of their luck when Romo bobbled the hold last year. Toughest game to call; try this: Seattle 21 Washington 20.

Let's just play football on monday. We're tired of the angles, the contrived drama, and the never-ending stream of stories about which team is feeling disrespected, etc. Maybe it's not sports I hate. In fact, I think I like the games just fine. It's all of the bullshit surrounding the event. Tell me how the Buckeyes "backed into" the national championship game if they have one loss and their opponent has two? And even if they did, I like the backdoor. In fact I prefer it, because it feels that much better after the victory. My favorite way to win at the blackjack table is when I double down on eleven and get a "2." My 13 against the dealer's face card. But then the dealer busts, and it didn't matter what the fuck I had. I posted a number, and the dealer couldn't beat it. If that's backing into something, sign me up.

Instead of the controversial and always diluted Random Top 10, we're going to change it up a bit in Vox 18. I present to you my first poem ever to be published on the web: New Orleans, The Complete Diaries. I penned the first piece during my visit there about 6 years ago. After Katrina hit in 2005, I did a follow-up. (Many of you have already read the first two chapters.) I recently wrote the final installment, figuring that OSU playing the BCS in Big Easy was a fitting time to finish it off.

----

Part 1, April 2002

gutter plants turned to barbed wire,
street magicians turned magistrates,
tarot readers turned palm-cheaters,
glad handers turned pan handlers,
the freaks turn up with the sun...
so turn down their attention---
this evening, they'll be back with friends;
oh, and did I mention?
role problems here are an easy fix...
men turn into women,
and the tourists turn the tricks.....

The New Orleans Diaries

enough to make the heavens cry,
the graves were built to touch the sky.
Sundays, locals call it home;
spirits meet at SuperDome.
the undead, just a block away,
alive in a Tennessee Williams play,
this town with a heart of glass
and not much more than tits and ass.

In Norleans there's a place called France,
a hole where naked creatures prance,
and the drunk go hunting for romance,
while the bass violinist is in a trance.
i am exercising my youthful right
to lose tomorrow in the night.
the countess emerges from the fog
"Don't you eat them Lucky Dogs!"

Bourbon street was but a dream;
Places are never what they seem.
Faces hide under the hood of a card;
memories of Las Vegas Boulevard.
takes more than tricks to impress me,
takes more than sex to undress me,
takes more than binions, banjos, boobs
but, holy shit, that statue moves!

Lou--Z-ana, say it like that!
so hard to remember where I'm at...
went looking for Louie
and got lost with Lestaat.
haunted streets but I didn't fret;
never did see that city sweat...
so that's my relief
and my trip's regret.


Part 2
October 2005


40 some months later, more than sweat;
my old perceptions soaking wet.
Mother Nature in all her rapture,
a tragedy she manufactured;
A city more than sad and fractured...

So here's 2 mil for your broken will--
some folks will surely help rebuild,
let's get every city pothole filled,
restore the dreams the weather killed;
up north, we just can't stand the guilt.

But I didn't give a fucking penny--
these days i think my thoughts are plenty.
And stick these prayers up your ass,
our God's asleep at midnight mass;
this fucking moment will not pass.

The war outside ain't New Orleans--
we stay the course by any means,
the dead soldiers just in their teens,
the privates cleaning the latrines...
my wife fights to fit in Lucky jeans.

And the media can't ever lose...
they have machines to make the news--
just flip the switch you'd like to use;
our channel likes to shape your views
then check our website for the clues.

Force feeding ain't a passion play.
It's way of life in S of A...
no, our government wasn't late
Louisiana is their favorite state
and black folks sure aren't second rate
and Bush is never on vacation
and kids need to learn about creation...
How could man evolve from ape?
That's just liberal sour grapes!
Didn't you hear the Ken Star tapes?
Clinton led us straight to hell
because he kissed and wouldn't tell.
King George came in and made things right,
Told us it was day at night,
Guaranteed we'd win the fight
Against our hidden enemies...
So find those WMDs!
And Photo-Op evacuees!-
muttering those c'est la vies.
And those Supreme Court nominees
handpicked to steal our liberties.

But week to week, my life's the same.
The daily grind, the nightly game.
I'll still watch my football sundays,
curse my 9 to 5 on mondays
Tuesdays, I watch CNN...
must they show it again and again?
Wednesday, it won't ever end....
Hey isn't that Sean fucking Penn?
Where are all his superfriends?
Thursday, the whole country's gawking--
that bitch Katrina won't stop talking...
So Friday night I fucked her sister;
first name Rita, last name Twister.
What's the point, I can't resist her?
She'll drop in and I'll 2-fist her.
It's Saturday already, mister....

That's how paranoia gets created...
small time stories so inflated
you can't escape the overstated;
it's relevant until it's dated .
I get so goddamn irritated...
but I remember 2002...
New Orleans and the color blue;
my memory is me and you
alive and well in our hotel room.
French Quarter and all, in bloom
Before the city met it's doom.


Part 3
December 2007


Hey now Louise, it's 2008
The Year of the Tiger v The Buckeye State
I'd rather hate what I love than love what I hate
I'd rather sneak in the stadium than cry at the gate
But Ana said "Sam, there's too much on your plate"
The world got some new wheels, but you better wait
And football games always come down to fate
So I blew my money on a stripper named Kate
I liked the way her body leans
Reminds me of New Orleans

Billy Joel, sorry, I've done it again
Stole a lyric from you about innocent men
Well I've hated the message since I was just ten
You sound like a softie with your piano and pen
But you're more to the point and I'm everything zen
And I need a nice melody now and then
For roasting a town that never knew when
To remove its big head from the lion's den
Jazz and madmen, clowns, marines
Reminds me of New Orleans

So what did we do when the lion bit?
And nobody wanted to own up to the hit?
Sent down a republican first aid kit
But she walks like a widow 'coz the storm pierced her clit
And I love to label, who cares if they fit?
My imagination is a piece of shit
Now you might call me a hypocrite
'Coz I'm more used to Bush than I'd like to admit
We're hitting a wall while he's hitting the greens
Reminds me of New Orleans

So who the fuck should I vote for?
Well raise your hand now if you'll end this war
Forget about Dean, Kucinich and Gore
And Hillary C, she flopped once more
I need a savior who don't act like a whore
I need a favor, fuck the sick and the poor
Midlife's a crisis, being 30's a bore
So please shake me down to my fucking core
Like Fergie in those movie scenes
Reminds me of New Orleans

In my car, every road leads to addiction
Fantasy life in a world of non-fiction
Louise, she suffers from every affliction
Ana, she buffers the bullshit depiction
The Big Easy, now just a giant eviction
You leave when it's over and don't feel the friction
It's really the ultimate contradiction
Before you take off, we need a prediction
The Bucks in the twenties, the Tigs in the teens
Reminds me of New Orleans

---

I know I can come off a little too absurd and abrasive, but I want to thank ClevelandSportsTorture for its continued support of Vox. Happy New Year to everyone! We all have our private wishes for 2008 and I sincerely hope that they come true for you and yours, but here are a few things for the next twelve months that I think everybody can agree on: In 72 hours, our 2nd national championship in six years. Another Final Four followed by a deep SVAC payoff run. The Tribe in the World Series. A fifth straight win over The School Up North. An AFC North title for the Browns, and two wins against Pittspuke. An NCAA birth for CSU. Gladiators sign Belisari or Germaine. A president-elect named Obama or Clinton. The end of the war. A trip to the Downer. A new U2 album with original riffs and 90s-Bono lyrics. U2-3D, a successful motion picture. A Sopranos movie. Bon Jovi headlining the 2009 Rock Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies, in C-town for the first time. Tim Riggins and Scarlet Johansen, topless. More Ralph Macchio on HBO. A hot pretzel machine at UDF. World domination for Stuey. Finally, more, shorter Vox in the Boxes. And more Box in the Vox (As my friend Snatch so eloquently reasoned, this occurs if we go to lunch with a hot chick and I drive).

"Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect."

I am Wayne Woodrow Hayes in the box

Sloopy let your hair down, girl...Parting is inevitable

Friday, January 4, 2008

What is being drilled into Ohio State's Head

This is the first 3 minutes of a ten minute DVD given to all the players over break: