Is everybody in? Is everybody in? My fourth campaign as your premier handicapper is about to begin. While I've lasted thrice as long as My So Called Life, I'm still three seasons short of Sex and the City. Which may make Vox a super-cute and very vulnerable mix between Angela Chase and Carrie Bradshaw. In no time, I'll be looking longingly into my MacBook and muttering shit like: "I couldn't help but wonder...should I pick the Jets or Giants?" Or, to paraphrase my favorite TV redhead from the 90s: "It just seems like, you agree to have a certain personality or something. For no reason. Just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, I mean, how do you know it's even you? And, I mean, this whole thing with (blogging) - it's like, everybody's in this big hurry (to write a blog), to supposedly share what happens. Because if you made a (blog) of what really happened, it'd be really upsetting." Yes, my writing is nothing if not a cross between Carrie's cathartic delusions and Angela's teenage angst. And for the next twenty Sundays, you and the Vox will meet here for a little football, a little culture and a whole lotta narcisissm. On we go...
This is the part where I tell you how successful I've been. Paragraphs like this boost neither readership or credibility, but it's a prerequisite for a picks column. I've turned a profit for both of my stints as CST's resident 'capper in '08 and '10, and 2007 as well, when I released my picks on NEON's The Daily Dose. Granted, things got dicey last season when I was down nine dimes before the Super Bowl...but the Packers turned me profitable as I hit on the biggest release of my career. My plays are on a 1 to 10 dime scale. A dime to me is $50, ensuring my largest wager will never exceed $500. You'll have to determine your dime's worth. It might be $10 or $1000, Whatever the case, I'll rarely release anything more than 4 dimes unless it's a sharp lock. Gambling is more than picking winners; it's money management and knowing what you don't know. Together, we'll build our bankrolls and bust your bookmaker with disciplined decisions.
Around 9:00 AM on 9/11/2001 I was blurry-eyed and sitting at my desk, tired from the previous night and plowing through another boring Tuesday at AwfulMax. A fellow Copywriter told me a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. I thought little of it; just another affirmation of my fear of flying. Soon after the second tower fell, most of AwfulMax's advertising department gathered around a small television set in a big office and watched in horror. I'll never forget the looks of fear and uncertainty, or how easily tears flowed between my normally terse and unemotional co-workers. Three days later, I was instructed to write copy for an ad pledging a donation from our charitable foundation to the children of the fallen rescue workers. I remember having bad writer's block. Or maybe I was hurting too much to write. "Together, we can look toward the future with hope,"...read the first line. Standard corporate crap, and the complete opposite of everything I was feeling. Six months later, my confusion and pessimism would come pouring out in this poem.
I'll be in the muny lots this morning, fully engaged in the ultra-American tradition known as tailgating. My Browns fandom, truth be told, is one of the purest things in my life. In that stadium for three hours, I'll be far removed from the derision, guilt and hypocrisy that dominates my daily existence. However, hardly a minute will go by without remembering what we all lost ten years ago today: Our innocence. It's the understatement of the century, but we lost more than just 3,000 brothers and sisters on 9/11. The 'idea' of America was attacked that day, and that idea has been fighting for air ever since. The Patriot Act, a bullshit war, an economic collapse, a bloodthirsty public and divisive government have only exacerbated that loss, and perpetuated our suffering. The more remembrances and documentaries I watch, the more I struggle to wrap my head around it. For me, salvation comes through art: the very authentic and unbearably painful film United 93 (it should be required viewing for all seniors in their American Government class), and Bruce Springsteen's 9/11 concept album, The Rising (a misunderstood record with true healing power).
Left the house this morning
Bells ringing filled the air
Wearin' the cross of my calling
On wheels of fire I come rollin' down here
Come on up for the rising
Falcons (-2.5) over Bears, 3 dimes
Browns (-6.5) over Bengals, 2 dimes
Cowboys (+4.5) over Jets, 1 dime
Who is the Vox?
SamVox is not a professional handicapper, but a premier one. He has been gambling his entire adult life and has experienced every sickening turn and nasty twist of fate that occurs during a football season. What distinguishes the Vox is his amazing intuition, astoundingly long memory, attention to detail and preparation, aversion to propaganda and access to the industry's sharpest bettors. He is a two time Pick'Em champion and went 85-71-8 against the spread with his Vox Lox over three seasons. His critically-dismissed Vox in the Box column also appears here at Cleveland Sports Torture.