Caught bits and pieces of the Back to the Future trilogy recently and, besides reaffirming that II and III are redeemed only by Michael J Fox's incredible versatility, I realized that Biff Tannen is a truly tragic character of Shakespearean proportions. The not-so-bright-Biff bullies his way through life, torments George McFly and sexually harrases Lorraine Baines. He's rarely happy, always frustrated and often ends up, literally, eating shit. But here's what fascinates me: when Grandpa Biff steals the DeLorean, goes back in time, and sets up 1955 Biff with the 50-year Gray's Sports Almanac...the continuum has been altered so young Biff Tannen can conquer the world. And that he does, winning every wager he places and eventually building Biff's Pleasure Paradise Casino and Hotel. He is "America's Greatest Living Folk Hero" and spares himself no indulgence. And guess what? He's still not happy. His disposition is even worse than jerkoff-Biff from the first film. Despite his vast fortune and marriage to his high school dream girl, alternate-reality-Biff was reduced to a miserable fuck who fights with his alcoholic wife and beats on his step-kids.
The lesson? One that I've always suspected- it's not the allure of easy money and untold riches that attracts us to gambling, it is the process of selecting winners. Area handicapper Vegas Vic's motto is "The Thrill isn't Winning, the Thrill is Collecting," but he couldn't be more wrong. Biff collected over and over, but never found peace or fulfillment. I like the long grind of manufacturing a profit for my readers by season's end, and the humbling losses along the way are a necessary part of our journey together. Each week, when I am setting my own point spreads with Bill Simmons and Cousin Sal, I find supreme contentment in the challenge. So Doc, win or lose, we'll live to handicap another day. Precisely, Marty.
Chargers (-7) over Miami, 2 dimes
Saints (-7) over Jags, 2 dimes
Ravens (-3.5) over Jets, 1 dime
Redskins (-1.5) over Rams, 1 dime
Last Week: 2-1 (even)
Season: 5-4 (-3 dimes)
Buffalo (-3) over Cincinnati (1 dime)
Dallas (-1) over Detroit (1 dime)
New England (-4.5) over Oakland (3 dimes)
Baltimore (-3.5) over Jets (2 dimes)
Last Week: 1-3 (-3 dimes)
Season: 5-6-1 (-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.