Saturday, December 31, 2011

NFL Week 17 and the Grand Triumphant Finish

Broke even last week. Imagine the agony as I drove south, listening to the dog-ass Ravens allow the Browns back into the game, even as bulletins from New Jersey indicated nothing good for the dog-ass Jets.

So we're entering the final week of the regular season three games down.

East Coast Bias games:

NYG -3 vs. Dal: This is win and in for both teams, with no wild card in the picture. So what has to happen is that some alert and nimble Giant will hurl Tony Romo to the ground with extreme prejudice.

NYJ +2.5 at Mia: I have no faith in this crew at all, but I think they can certainly win this contest and then enjoy sitting around waiting for the Oracle to read the bones and feathers and tell them if they're in the playoffs.

Buf +11 at NE: Pats can get something here, home field all the way through, or whatever, and they will win this game, just not by this much. As usual.

Phi - 8.5 vs. Was: I made it to my folks house in time to observe the last bit of the Redskins-Vikings tilt. My conclusion is the Redskins are pretty bad. Eagles playing for pride.

Bal -2 at Cin: Last week's gagitatious performance against the Browns make me wary of the Ravens, but it is New Year's Eve, after all, and there is an excellent chance that many Bengals will be in jail prior to kickoff.

Games of tremendous significance:

Have you tried to puzzle out those AFC playoff scenarios? "Insert one dime and two nickels or four nickels or one dime and one nickel and five pennies or..."

GB +3.5 vs. Det: "How can this be?" you ask. The line assumes that most of the good Packers will be relaxing on the bench. Not to take anything away from the Lions, but the backup Packers are certainly worth a home underdog bet.

SF -10.5 at StL: The Niners can get a bye with a win, and nobody just beats the Lambs by seven or whatever. It's impossible.

Hou +3 vs. Ten: Here's another line I don't quite get.
Pit - 7.5 at Cle
Oak -3 vs. SD
KC +3.5 at Den: The extra half point makes this pick. A Tebow miracle brings this in under the field goal.
Atl -12 vs. TB
Ind +3.5 at Jax: Hey, why not?
Car +8 at NO: Surely Saints will take it easy

Who cares dept.

Min -1 vs. Chi
Sea +3 at AZ

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cordial Christmas

Festive tie from Ellie and Andy's "The Cordial Churchman" shop. Y'all buy one.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

NFL 2011 week 16

Lord did I get creamed last week at 6-9-1.

Tonight I will stupidly take Houston minus 6 at Indianapolis. After last week I do not believe in anything.

Friday morning...

Well that worked out well. Indy 19-16. That takes me down to 87-90-4.

The slate:

Jets -3 vs. Giants: When this one was scheduled nobody thought it would be the two New York teams fighting for their lives. Whoever loses is probably out of the layoffs. Both clubs have looked bad lately but the Jets have won a few and the Giants haven't.

Mia + 9.5 at NE: Not for a moment do i think the Dolphins win this but Pats are not a great spread team.

Was -6.5 vs. Min: Redskins have shown signs of life. Not a lot of life, but a pulse, anyway. The Vikes have never really recovered form the Sex Boat days.

Bal -12.5 vs. Cle: Very uneasy opting for double digits with the Ravens, but the Browns make it more plausible.

Den -3 at Buf: Broncos kept the elite Pats off-balance for half the game last time. And the Bills are not the Pats.

Oak +2 at KC: Raiders last stand should add some urgency to this.

AZ +4 at Cin: I like the Cards and points, any time.

Pit -16.5 vs. StL: Way too many points for comfort, but a) the Rams are horrible and b) the Steelers are playing for pride after SF loss and playoff pecking order.

SF -2.5 at Sea: After the Steelers game I am a believer.

Ten - 7.5 vs. Jax
Car -7 vs. TB
Det -2.5 vs. SD
Phi + 1.5 at Dal
GB -13 vs. Chi
NO -6.5 vs. Atl

And away we go.

Oak +2 at KC

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lakeville, Conn.

Lakeville on a cold December evening. Waiting for snow.

Friday, December 16, 2011

NFL 2011 week 15

I forgot — again — about the Thursday night game but take the Falcons minus whatever you have to give against the wretched Jaguars.

Saturday night: Dallas -7 at Tampa Bay: Bucs have been awful, just awful. Feel comfortable with this number.

Sunday morning:

Best teams in the league in terms of points for/points against: SF 1.69 (10-3); GB 1.68 (13-0); Hou 1.59 (10-3); Bal 1.58 (10-3); NE 1.45 (10-3) and NO 1.45 (10-3); Pit 1.42 (10-3).

Best teams vs. point spread: NFC — SF (10-2-1); GB (9-4); NO (9-4); Sea (8-4-1); Was (8-5). AFC — Hou (10-3); Cin (7-5-1); Oak (7-5-1); Bal (7-5-1); Den (7-6) tied with KC and Mia.

Which tells you what, exactly? That the Ravens don't blow people out. That the Niners might eventually give Green Bay problems. And that if I paid more attention to this stuff instead of guessing I'd have a better record this season.

New York - New England:

Jets +3 at Phi: This seems like a real tossup. Pick Jets because they're still in it.

Giants -6.5 vs. Was: Redskins are bad but Giants aren't much better. The one thing NY has is a quarterback who can engineer things. Unhappy with the number but will take the chance.

Den +6.5 vs. NE: I think this is where the last-minute stuff comes to a halt for the Broncos. They need to be close or ahead the entire game to win it. Plus Brady has been known to pull some last-moment stunts himself. The non-existent Pats secondary makes me take the home 'dog plus the points. but I think NE wins this game.

Buf -1 vs. Mia: Really belongs in the "Who Cares?' dept. but let's go with the woesome Bills at home against the leaderless Dolphins.

Of interest:

SF -2.5 vs. Pit (Monday night): As I crunch the numbers the 49ers are a better club. And I like that missing half point.

Bal -2.5 at SD (Sunday night): Ravens out score opponents by a 1.58-1 margin; Chargers by 1.08-1. This should be enough for Baltimore to put SD out of its misery.

Hou - 6.5 vs. Car: For a team with no QB the Texans seem to be doing pretty well.

Det -1 vs. Oak: Raiders = Faders. Cheatin' Lions prevail. Keep hope alive.

NO -6.5 at Min: A dome is a dome.

GB -13.5 at KC: Packers outscore opponents by 1.68: 1; Chiefs are scored on 1: .57 . This is called a "gap."


Sea +3.5 at Chi
Ten -6.5 at Ind
Cin -6.5 at StL
AZ -7 vs. Cle

Thursday, December 8, 2011

NFL 2011 week 14

Thursday night: Steelers minus 14 vs. Cleveland.

A feeble 8-7 last week, which got me one game over .500 (81-80-3)

More Sunday...

Back at .500 as stupid Steelers decided to waffle around.

Regional interest:

NYG +3.5 at Dal: Giants almost beat Green Bay and gave Saints a hard time.
KC -10.5 at NYJ: No way am I taking the Jets and giving double digits.
NE -8 at Was: This will be a classic Patriots game. They'll toy with the Redskins until late in the third, and then clobber them in the fourth.

Gambling interest:

Sea - 6.5 vs. StL (Monday night): Normally wouldn't touch with ten-foot or any other sort of pole, but Rams are going with a QB who's either the third stringer or off the practice team or something. Seems like easy pickings.

Ind + 16.5 at Bal: I suspect a similar situation to last week, when the Pats allowed Colts to cover an insane 20.5 spread.

AZ +4 vs. SF: As underdogs the Cardinals are a great betting team. They might even win it outright.

Football interest:

GB -12 vs. Oak: I like the Raiders but they are not the club that's going to upend the Packers.
No -3.5 at Ten: Titans have some playoff hope but hard to see them exploiting Saints suspect secondary, somehow. (Alliterate or die.)
Car +3 vs. Atl: I'll take Cam Newton and a field goal at home against the dog-ass Falcons. Sure I will. You betcha.
Den -3.5 vs. Chi: The key question is this: Does the last-moment Denver drive result in a touchdown or a field goal? Seems like an even money proposition to me.

Who Cares? Dept.

Hou +3 at Cin: I have no faith in Bengals
Det -8 at Min: Long past time for Lions to get back to form
Mia -3 vs. Phi: And the Eagles circle the drain
SD -7 vs. Buf: Make me watch this.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

"The Acid Eaters" Wins Top Honors

The quicksand scene, with breasts

Finally, a movie that makes even less sense than "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies."

Byron Mabe shoulders the blame for this 1968 epic, with Carlo Monson handling the screenplay.

I hope Byron didn't pay Carlo much, because this film has no screenplay. It barely has a story, and certainly no plot to get in the way of anything.

After some uniquely bad "I'm gonna tune out/ Ain't gonna work for the Man no more/Twang twang/Plink screech thud" music the guys and gals head out on their motorcycles to go take LSD, make out, paint each other, kill passing motorists and find the giant white temple of acid.

Got that?

Many strange and wonderful things happen during the trip. They hang around this little hut next to a pretty crummy-looking pond, the girls take their tops off, and they paint each other. Then they make out.

Later a couple are making out and one girl gets mad at another one and chases her into quicksand, thus presenting Carlo with an opportunity to write some dialogue. Alas, Carlo's characters can only say things like "I've never seen quicksand before." The girl dies, and everybody makes out.

The girl winds up in Hell, where an Indian chief and an old guy in galluses are playing checkers next to a ladder. Seriously.

Then the gang rides elsewhere. Artie, played with near-autistic exuberance by the immortal Buck Kartalian, has no girl now, so he jumps up and down on these big pipes for a while until he meets the Indian chief, who gets the quicksand girl back for him, while he takes a cold shower under a tree.

Meanwhile, a well-dressed couple are having a strange post-coital conversation under a pile of hay, and everybody makes out.

Then they all kill a passing motorist to get reefer money. This is the most exciting moment in the film.

And finally we arrive at the "acid pyramid," which is really a ziggurat, and a pretty cheap-looking one at that. Naturally, the girls immediately take off their tops and everybody climbs on the ziggurat to make out.

And inside Arnie, dressed like the Devil, urges people to take a bite of the LSD tablet, a big thing that looks like styrofoam. And checks are cancelled, bourbon and 7-Up is poured, and long, arbitrary street scenes with jump cuts are provided. Plus an outraged citizen's face and the couple on the field. And a girl in a rowboat. Wait, that was at the beginning. Anyway, they all make out.

We're talking a near-constant parade of the same four sets of breasts: one large and starting to droop a bit; one large and defying gravity for the moment; one medium firm; one small and droopy, an unfortunate combination. Rear end assessment is more speculative — the production is quite profoundly mammarial.

Breast set number one

And then the girls take their shirts off and everybody makes out.

At 62 minutes, just bearable. Two coils, for the amount of nudity and sheer incomprehensibility.

Friday, December 2, 2011

NFL 2011 week 13

I did pick Seattle over Philly last night, plus I think an even 3, but I forgot to post it.

Since nobody reads this it doesn't matter.

Sunday morning...

New York-New England regional:

GB -7 at NYG: The dog-ass Giants might make the playoffs but they are not going to derail the Packers. Not now, not ever.

NYJ-3 at Was: Have to take the dog-ass Jets in this spot, as it is do-or-die for them. In fact, every game is that way now for Fat Rex and the gang.

Ind +20 at NE: No I don't think the Colts will win. I don't think they will be competitive. But I know the Pats have an inconsistent defense which could allow a touchdown or two. And I don't think the league nor the coaches would be happy if New England won by 49 points, which is possible.

Ten +1.5 at Buf: The Bills folded faster than Superman on laundry day.

Around the league, in descending order of interest:

Oak+3 at Mia
Cin +6.5 at Pit: Bengals are 5-0 vs. spread on the road
Den +1.5 at Min: For all the criticism of Tebow, he's got the Broncos on the winning side of things.
Bal -6.5 at Cle
StL +13 at SF: Unlikely Rams win this but price is too high to take favorite
AZ +4.5 vs. Dal: Cowboys tend to win by a nose, and this spread is a nose and a nose hair.
NO -9 vs. Det: Lions are the Bills of the NFC. Pfui.
Atl -3 at Hou: Texans adopt single wing for today's contest.
TB -3 vs. Car
Jax +3 vs. SD (Monday night)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NFL 2011 week twelve

Tuesday morning QB: We have achieved .500. 9-6 for Week 12, 73-73-3 overall.

Thursday morning in haste:

7-6-1 last week, picked up a game in the win column (64-67-3).

Thursday games:

Green Bay -6 at Detroit: I don't mind taking the Packers at this price, it's those double-digit doozies I have trouble with. Last score probably wins this one anyway.

Dallas -7 vs. Miami: Let's not get excited, Dolphins fans. They don't stink as bad as you thought, but they're still pretty aromatic.

SF + 3.5 at Baltimore: Ravens are streaky, Niners have been very consistent.

Sunday morning...

Well that went well.

NYJ -8 vs. Buf: The wind certainly seems to have gone out of the Bills' sails. I'd be happier about this at -6.5, but will give Gang Green one more chance.

NE -4 at Phi: Another dangerous spread, as Pats love to fuss around until the last second and then kick a field goal to win. Which won't help at -4. Oh well. Can't take the Eagles.

NO -7 vs. NYG: I think the Saints will kick it up a notch or two here and start playing with an eye on the NFC title game vs. Green Bay. Giants are very iffy lately.


Den + 6.5 at SD: Hey, why not? Chargers are floundering and Broncos' star is on the rise. So what if the kid can't pass? He's getting it done somehow, which is more than San Diego can say.

Oak -4.5 vs. Chi: I like the new-look Raiders more than I like the Cutler-less bears.

KC +10 vs. Pit: Chiefs showed enough life to take them as home underdog with big spread. And don't forget El Creepo's busted thumb.

Who Cares Dept.

StL -3 vs. Az
Cin - 7.5 vs. Cle
Hou -3 at jax
Car -3.5 at Ind
TB +3 at Ten
Atl - 9.5 vs. Min
Sea -4 vs. Was

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NFL 2011 week eleven

I just realized there's a Thursday night game.

Went 8-8 last week, so treading water.

Tonight, the dog-ass Jets are in Denver to face the dog-ass Broncos, who are a six-point home underdog-ass.

This is an impossible game to handicap, so I will take the Broncos and the six.

Sunday morning: And I was right about the above-mentioned dog-asses.

Last week a mediocre 8-8 kept me treading water but still four games off the pace at 57-61-2. Good thing I only bet kitchen matches. (Three games out with Denver win, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.)

NY Giants - 4 vs. Philadelphia: When the Giants win they do so by 3 or 4 points. I am gambling they will be just a little bit better, and the Eagles will be just a little bit worse.

Atl -6 vs. Ten
Buf +2 at MIA: Dallas game was a rough one for Bills. I think they bounce back big against hapless Dolphins.
Cin +7 at Bal: Bengals have best record vs. spread in AFC (7-2)
Jax +1 at Cle: Browns have worst record vs. spread in entire league (1-7-1)
Oak -1 at Min: I do not believe. At all.
Det -7 vs. Car: Lions need to turn it back on, starting now.
GB -14 vs. TB: I hate double-digit NFL spreads but Packers are in a different galaxy than most of the rest of the league, including the Bucs.
Dal -7.5 at Was: Cowboys made a pretty good Bills team look stupid. Skins are stupid.
StL -2 vs. Sea
SF -9.5 vs. Az
Chi - 3.5 vs. SD: I've had it with the Chargers (2-7 vs. spread).

Monday night: I hate this, but New England -15 vs. KC. Chiefs have new QB and when they lose they lose big. Pats can solidify hold on division here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stoned Cold Tedious

A lot of this.

And this.

And this, which was marginally more interesting.

"Stoned," Stephen Woolley's bio-pic of Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones, was worth the buck I paid for it at the Douglas Library in North Canaan, Conn. I'm not sure it is worth the space to keep it on the shelf, though, and I'm not going to watch it again to find out.

Maybe to avoid lawsuits, the film treats the other Stones as bit players, which leaves Jones, flunky and villain Frank Thorogood, some other guy as the manager and a bunch of girls, in various states of undress.

Despite the abundant nekkidity, the film is curiously sterile. It's tedious. It's boring.

Maybe that's because addicts are, ultimately, boring.

One coil, for the 18 breasts.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NFL 2011 week ten

Oakland visits San Diego tonight, and it's on the NFL Network. The one I don't get for the same reason I don't get HBO and a lot of other stuff — I can't afford it.

Every so often somebody raises the idea of a la carte pricing for cable television, and it always dies a quick death.

The NFL Network is a particularly egregious bit of marketing — six weeks of Thursday night games, maybe a playoff game or two? And the remainder of the year's programming is what, exactly?


Anyway I think the Raiders can keep this closer than one touchdown, so I like the underdog to get Week Ten started.

Sunday morning...

And I was right. Oakland defeated San Diego 24-17 Thursday night, which means the overall record going into this afternoon is 57-59-2.

The Jets are giving 1.5 to New England tonight and so am I.

And after last week's performance I can't pass up the Giants plus 3.5 at San Francisco.


Pit -3 at Cin
KC -3 vs. den
Jax -3 at Indy. I'm fed up taking the Colts on the "they've gotta win sometime" theory.
Buf + 5.5 at Dal: This spread is a mystery to me, but I'll gladly take it.
Hou -3 at TB
Car - 3.5 vs. Ten
Was +4 at Mia
NO even at Atl
Det + 2.5 at Chi
StL + 2.5 at Cle
AZ + 14 at Phi: When does this Dream Team crap end?
Sea + 6.5 vs. Bal
Min +13.5 at GB

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


For my money you can't do any better in the bow tie department than The Cordial Churchman. Andy, the actual cordial churchman, posted a bow tie his wife Ellie made for him. A bunch of us immediately responded "Gimme," and a business was born.

I call these outfits "cottage artisans" — including Kent Wang and Sam Hober. Good stuff, and reasonably priced.

I'm sure I am forgetting someone. Feel free to add your faves.

Nothing against Beau Ties, Maine Bows, et. al. I have plenty of ties from them too.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jack Palance — Did He Really Need a Paycheck This Bad?

I'm a sucker for these cheapo DVD compilations, especially the ones I pick up at the DouglasLibrary in North Canaan, Conn., for a couple of bucks.

But Allegro's "Mafia Kingpin Collection," at least the first disc, is major fermented curd.

In "Mister Scarface," Jack Palance plays Mister Scarface, so-called because he has a — yep, you guessed it — scar on his personal face.

He gets ripped off by a young punk from a rival gang. Another punk from Mister Scarface's gang helps, as does the local fat middle-aged gay gangster.

This wacky trio takes us on a wild ride in an orange dune buggy around little narrow Italian streets and to an abandoned slaughterhouse and so on.

It is all very exciting and makes a certain amount of sense, which detracts from the overall experience.

There might have been a breast but I don't think so. Some decent badly-dubbed kung fu, though, and the usual overdone sound effects — especially that curious insistence bad filmmakers have on making sure the sound of leather shoes on polished floors is in every scene — even if someone in ballet slippers is tip-toeing across a velvet field that's just been sprayed with silicone.

The cop in blue jeans is greasy and excitingly underexposed

The shoe sound is also a prevalent part of "The Cop in Blue Jeans," in which Jack Palance plays Richard Russo, who is not a semi-famous novelist and does not have a scar on his face. He is chiefly distinguishable from Mister Scarface by the fact he does not use a holder for his cigarettes.

A greasy unwashed detective wants to catch fences, so he goes to a soccer game and shoves a guy's head in the toilet. Then he dons a greasy, multi-colored knit cap and rides a motorcycle around in circles.

There is a sex scene, mercifully truncated and displaying nothing more alarming than the greasy man in his red briefs — which makes this a horror film (although not as horrible as it would have been if the shorts came down).

To make some sort of point, the greasy man is shown in front of a giant poster for "Serpico." He also has a small white rodent named "Serpico."

This film has two excruciating disco scenes, the last featuring the worst exhibition of White Man Dancing since I last took the floor, at Denison University, 1984, doing my thang to Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson and The Magic Rockers.

It also has recurring soft-core porno music with someone pretending to be Ornette Coleman squonking over it.

And "The Cop in Blue Jeans" makes no sense. I mean none at all. Zero. No plot to get in the way of the story, and no story, either.

It's times like these that make me regret giving up drugs.

Unless you are either intoxicated, bored beyond belief or insane, there is no reason to watch either one of these films — especially not now, since I have done so for you.

One coil, and that's a gift.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NFL 2011 week nine

Now coming to you with a 49-53-2 record.

The marquee game is tonight, Baltimore (plus 3) at Pittsburgh. Much as I dislike the latter and their creep of a quarterback, I think they will win this thing — quite possibly by the above-mentioned field goal.

If the New York Jets are for real, they will find a way to beat the resurgent Buffalo Bills in Buffalo today. That's a big "if." I will take the Jets plus two.

New England giving nine to the New York Giants seems like a wide spread. I don't trust the Patriots when it comes to covering. Take the Giants and the nine.


Ind + 7 vs. Atl
NO -8 vs. TB
Cle +11 at Hou
Mia +4 at KC
SF - 3.5 at Was
Sea + 11.5 at Dal
Oak -8 vs. Den
Cin +3 at Ten
AZ - 2.5 vs. StL
GB -5.5 at SD
Pit -3 vs. Bal
Phi - 7.5 vs. Chi

The marquee game

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NFL 2011 week eight — Leap of Faith edition

My power went out Saturday evening and didn't come back on until a couple hours ago.

Same story at work, and when we hastily put together our newspaper at another office in New York state today, there were a bunch of us vying for computers and no time for fooling around.

So you will just have to believe me when I state that I went 8-5 on week seven (that you can check) and 11-2 for week eight.

I picked Miami plus 10 because the Giants have a gift for floundering in what should be easy games.

I picked the Rams plus 13.5 because I just don't trust college spreads in the pros. In week seven with the Rams that wasn't the case (Dallas beat them 34-7), but in week eight it was and then some (they beat New Orleans 31-21).

And so on.

With two winning weeks in a row the record is nearing .500 (49-53-2). Believe it or not.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spot the Ivyist

At state senator Andrew Roraback's announcement that he is running for Congress. Get thee to an alterations tailor, sir.

Photo by John Murray for the Waterbury Observer. (Link)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

NFL 2011 week seven

(Last week — a dismal 4-9 performance dumps the record back to 30-46-2, which means that I need to run the table three times to get into the black. Not good.)


Why are the Chicago bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing their game in London? (As in England.)

According to a hard-hitting report from hard-hitting NFL Network reporter Albert Breer (posted on the NFL's website, a well-known hotbed of hard-hitting reporting):

"Football ranks somewhere around seventh or eighth in popularity, with [NFL Vice-president of International Chris] Parsons sizing up the top five sports in the U.K. as soccer, golf, tennis, cricket and rugby. To put that in perspective, it's roughly in the area where soccer ranks as a spectator sport in the U.S."

Oh, so British stadiums are filled with expatriate Americans, the way soccer games are attended by expatriate Latinos here?

Sorry to sound skeptical, but there was the World League, NFL Europe...and now, the Bears and the Bucs.

If the Brits want to spend good money watching large men mangle each other, they have rugby, where they do it without pads, and the House of Commons, where they do it with pinstripe suits and snappy repartee.

Somehow the Bucs are 4-2 despite being outscored in the aggregate, so I will take Chicago and spot the generous one point.

The Jets take on the Chargers at the Meadowlands. Will Philip Rivers play? Can the Jets run? I don't know, but the Jets need this game rather badly if they wish to keep pace with New England and Buffalo, so NY minus another generous one point.


Car - 2.5 vs. Was
Hou +3 at Ten
Mia even vs. Den. The Dolphins have to win sometime, and this seems like the best opportunity.
Det - 3.5 vs. Atl
KC + 3.5 at Oak: I know, but the Raiders are without their place kicker and have an incipient QB controversy brewing.
Pit -4 at AZ
Sea +3 at Cle
Dal - 13.5 vs. StL: I hate these double-digit spreads, but the Rams are truly bad.
GB - 9.5 at Min : I heard some happy horseshit abot the Vikes keeping this close but I'm not buying it, tempting though the home underdog status is.
NO - 13.5 vs. Ind: Now you want bad, see "Colts." (Also "rudderless.")
Bal -8 at Jax: Ravens are the most solid team in the league.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


A couple weeks ago the only fishable stream in my neck of the Catskills was the Little Beaverkill, running along Route 212 between Mt. Tremper and Willow.

It was chalky but not the color of Yoo Hoo, which describes the entire Esopus watershed post-Irene.

So I went over yesterday to get one last whack at the LB, a stream I cannot recall ever fishing. The NY state general regs trout season ended Oct. 15; the Esopus season runs through the end of November, and maybe it will have cleared up some by then.

Alas, the couple of reasonably productive spots I had found on the LB were the same coffee with cream color as everything else. I wiggled a bucktail through some of the bigger pools just for the hell of it, and got one strike.

Then it started to rain some more.

I drove upstream to see what I could see, and voila — there was a giant exposed chunk of hillside, and the source of the muddy, clay-ey water.

So I dropped some wet flies in the swollen but at least semi-visible pools and was rewarded, as I was two weeks ago, with some skinny and bewildered-looking browns.

Next season I shall fish the Little Beaverkill more. There is pretty good access via state easements and several places where the stream is far below or far away from the road, and I bet the pressure in there is minimal.

Note: After six or seven weeks the Boiceville IGA is back in business. The bad news — they didn't have Gifford's "Moose Tracks" ice cream. But it's very good news for residents — Kingston or West Hurley are a long schlep for groceries — and for the folks who work there.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

NFL 2011 week six

Wednesday morning QB: Bad day for NY football, eh? Which team stinks more? Record on the week a mediocre 6-7, barely treading water, and an overall 26-37-2. Two good weeks and I'm in the black.

No time for this nonsense today, going fishing and won't be back until well after kickoff tomorrow. So:

Buf + 3.5 at NYG
StL + 15 at GB
Pit -12 vs. Jax
Was +1 vs. Phi
Det - 4.5 vs. SF
Car +4 at Atl
Ind +7 at Cin
Bal - 7.5 vs. Hou
Oak - 6.5 vs, Cle
NE -7 vs. Dal
NO - 4.5 vs. TB
Min +3 at Chi
NYJ -7 vs. Mia

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Good God! Truffles!

Or make up your own caption.

The Double-Soled Moccasin

On the clothing sites there is a certain amount of interest in handsewn moccasins - camp mocs, canoe mocs, boat shoes, and actual moccasins with soft leather soles, as worn by Natty Bummpo (Mohicans) and Langdon Towne (Congregationalists).

The message boards discovered the Quoddy mocs, which was good for the company and not so good for everybody else. I bought mine direct from Quoddy when they were about $85. Then the hipsters discovered them. My local sport shop has them now, for $220. Unless they are lined with hundred dollar bills, they are not worth $220.

Town View Leather, another Maine outfit, has a line of mocs and slippers. more realistically priced. They also have an eBay shop where the double-sole, unlined version is on sale for a little less than the website. This is where I got mine.

I've had them two weeks. My impressions:

Pros: Immnesely comfortable and they look good. Fine for padding around the house or yard.

Cons: If you are used to boat shoes or mocs with a rubber sole be forewarned — these are slippery by comparison. On wood floors it's not hugely different than walking around in socks.

I think of these shoes as slippers, really, and since it's getting cold, I wear them with socks. If I had it to do again I'd probably get the lined version.

Here's the official photo:

Here are mine after two weeks:

NFL 2011 week five

Wednesday morning QB: Bad day for NY football, eh? Which team stinks more? Record on the week a mediocre 6-7, barely treading water, and an overall 26-37-2. Two good weeks and I'm in the black.

Winging it last week was a modest success, and with a 10-5-1 showing (20-32-2 overall) a step closer to respectability.

With a quarter of the season in the books, it is now possible to take a very basic measurement of the teams scoring potential by dividing points for by points against (see your expanded standings in our newspaper, if you still read one).

Therefore, in the Giants -10 vs. Seattle game, New York is 3-1 with a scoring differential (what I call the Z Factor) of 1.24 and the Seahawks are 1-3 with a .60.

So the Giants have outscored their four opponents slightly (a cumulative 15 points) and Seattle hardly at all (cumulative -39). Add in home field advantage and the fact that the Seahawks have dorky uniforms and the choice is clear: Giants minus 10 over Seattle.

(First team is the pick)

NYJ + 7.5 at NE: Thinking here is that Pats will probably win, but not by more than a TD.
Indy -2.5 vs. KC: Colts have to win some time, and KC's a likely fall guy.
AZ + 3 at Min: Another battle of titans. No faith in Vikes here.
Buf +3 vs. Phi: Vick, Schmick. How about some facts — Bills, 3-1 (1.39); Eagles 1-3 (1.00). Oddsmakers are stubborn people, and the prevailing sentiment is that Michael Vick is a somewhat flawed but nonetheless powerful god. This one's got "push" written all over it.
Hou -5.5 vs. Oak: Raiders are more or less for real, in a middle of the pack way, but Texans are outscoring opponents and playing a nice brand of football. Plus anything associated with Texas inflames northeastern liberals and therefore pleases me.
NO -6.5 at Car: We keep hearing that whatsisname's going to have the big breakout game; in the meantime the Saints are 3-1 (1.30) and the Panthers are 1-3 (.87). The missing half point makes the bet even more plausible.
Cin +2 at Jax: This game is blacked out everywhere except Iran and North Korea.
Ten +3 at Pit: This is more wishful thinking on my part than anything else. I am enjoying the Steelers' demise — specifically, the demise of the creep who shoves girls around and worse.
I'm also tired of the guy with the hair.
SF -3 vs. TB: In which the 49ers fight to uphold the honor of their division, which as a group is 5-11.
SD - 3.5 at Den: The Incredible Shrinking Point Spread, as oddsmakers get hip to the fact that the Chargers do not blow anybody out.
GB -6 at Atl: They keep saying the Falcons are tough and I keep waiting to see it. Right now they look pretty ordinary, and the Packers look like 5-0.
Det - 5.5 vs. Chi: Why not the Lions? Their Z Factor is second in the league at 1.78. Chicago is 2-2-2 (.96) and looking very blah.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Separated at Birth: Chris Carpenter and The Crusher

St. Louis pitcher Chris Carpenter, who made the Phillies look stupid last night, reminds me of The Crusher, who destroyed Ravishing Ronald but was no match for Bugs Bunny.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

NFL 2011 week four

Tuesday morning QB: Winging it was better. 10-5-1 (20-32-2, .385), getting closer to the .500 mark.

After this week a quarter of the season will be in the can and a meaningful statistical sample thus available. The single best number is the simplest: divide points for by points against and you get a number. If it's 1.00 or above, the team scores as many or more than their opponents. Under 1.00, the reverse. So if a team's number is 2.5 and they are playing a club with a .85, for example, that should tell you something about winning, losing, and by how much.

But this week we continue with the wildly unsuccessful "winging it" method...

Picks, with a heavy emphasis on home underdogs

NYG - 1.5 at AZ
NYJ + 3.5 at Bal
Det + 2.5 at Dal
Jax + 7 vs. NO
SF + 9.5 at Phi
Was - 2.5 at StL
Cle even vs. Ten
Buf -3 at Cin
KC + 2.5 vs. Min; Chiefs have to win some time, Vikes a good candidate.
Car + 6.5 at Chi
Hou -4 vs. Pit
Sea +5 vs. Atl
SD -7 vs. Mia
GB -12.5 vs. Den
Oak +5 vs. NE
TB -10 vs. Ind

Sunday, September 25, 2011

NFL 2011 week three

Tuesday morning QB: So much for that approach. I got crushed at 5-11 (10-27-1). My friend Kurt says "Other people's football picks bore the crap out of me" and I am coming around to his view.

Managed to stay on the plus side of the ledger last week with a 8-7-1 performance (14-16-1 overall). I was spectacularly wrong about the two New York teams.

The NYC tabloids, the Post and the Daily News, both have extensive football betting analysis and squads of alleged experts who pick the games against the spread. It is heartening to note that most of these professional prognosticators suck at it too.

Someone named Ebenezer Samuel, of the Daily News, has the best record so far, at 17-12-3. I am bravely hitching my wagon to Eb's this week, mostly out of laziness. Boredom is a factor as well; the pro game seems more static than ever, and I am truly fed up with the hype. I don't think the hoo-hah is any worse this year, I'm just less tolerant.

Anyway, I am sick to death of watching somebody make a routine tackle and commence to prance. When I am elected Dictator prancing will be a capital crime.

Eb and I believe the Eagles will prevail by 7 1/2 over the Giants in Philly.

We also like:

The Jets to cover the 3 1/2 in Oakland — actually, Eb likes the Raiders, so we diverge, but we contain multitudes.

Bengals - 2.5 vs. SF
Pats -8 at Buffalo
Houston +4 at NO
Miami + 2.5 at Cleveland
Ten - 6.5 vs. Denver
Detroit - 3.5 at Vikings
Carolina - 3.5 vs. Jax
SD - 14.5 vs. KC
Bal - 3.5 at StL
Atl +2 at TB
Arizona - 3.5 at Seattle
GB - 3.5 at Chicago
Pitt - 10 at Indy
Wash + 5.5 at Dallas

Saturday, September 17, 2011

NFL 2011 week two

It was 6-9 vs. the spread last week (didn't pick the Saints-Packers game). That's a nice mediocre start.

NY Post line from Saturday, Sept. 17:

Picks in bold

NYJ -9 vs. Jax: Jax can run, keep this closer than 9

NO -7 vs. Chi

Det -8 vs. KC

Buf -3 vs. Oak

Was -4 vs. Az

Bal -6 at Ten

Pit -14 vs. Sea: Steelers bounce back against weak opponent

GB -10 at Car

Min -3 vs. TB

Cle -2 at Ind: Colts really are a one-man band

Dal -3 at SF: Take home dog for laughs and atavistic Cowboy hatred

Hou -3 at Mia

NE -7 vs. SD

Den -4 vs. Cin

Phi -2 at Atl

NYG -6 vs. StL: I think this is a long year for Giants fans

Sunday, September 11, 2011

NFL 2011 week one

Oh, what the hell, let's take a stab at it again. Skipped the Green Bay -New Orleans opener; these picks have zero analysis behind them.

Picks in bold

At Baltimore -1 Pittsburgh

At Tampa Bay -1.5 Detroit

Atlanta -1 At Chicago

At Kansas City -3.5 Buffalo

At Houston -9 Indianapolis

Philadelphia -4 At St. Louis

At Cleveland -6.5 Cincinnati

Tennessee -1 At Jacksonville

NY Giants -2 At Washington

At Arizona -6.5 Carolina

At San Francisco -6 Seattle

At San Diego -9 Minnesota

At NY Jets -6 Dallas

New England -7 At Miami

At Denver -3 Oakland

Score: 6-9 vs. spread

Friday, September 2, 2011

McBain on the Silver Screen

Carelli and Teddy signing, sort of.

Vincent Gardenia, somewhat wilted

It was hot in the city, and air conditioning hadn't been invented yet. Or something.

Yes, that's Jerry Orbach

I've been on my semi-annual Ed McBain tear, especially the 87th Precinct novels, without which there would be no "Law and order."

Speaking of "Law and Order," the 1958 version of "Cop Hater" features an impossibly young Jerry Orbach as a street punk, head of a gang — er, social club called "The Grovers." You can tell the members from the general population by their tight tees that say "Grovers" on them. Also the pomade.

Vincent Gardenia, who used to pop up in 70s situation comedies like "All in the Family," is also on tap as alcoholic informer Danny the Gimp.

The film dispenses with the fictional "Isola" but doesn't exactly name the city, either. And for some reason they thought it wise to make Detective Steve Carella into a Carelli.

It's a fast flick, and a little sneaky in that the opening sequence makes it unclear if we're looking at a cop or a cop hater.

It's also pretty raunchy for the time — lots of semi-clad female pulchritude, in towels and underwear.

Surprisingly straightforward treatment of the Teddy Franklin character, Carelli's deaf/mute girlfriend.

Very bang bang. Anticipates the "CSI" shows by, oh, 50 years. Excellent noir direction. No wasted razzmatazz. A thoroughly solid B movie, often overlooked and not all that easy to find (got my DVD from a third party Amazon seller).

Four coils.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dragnet '67 — The Triumph of the Square

It was 3:15 p.m. and I'd stopped in at the library. On a table were DVDs and a sign — "All DVDs and CDs $1."

I grabbed some spaghetti westerns, some Italian mob flicks — and a box set of "Dragnet 1967."

The first episode, about LSD, was a real historical artifact. Sgt. Friday and Officer Gannon couldn't arrest this kid "Blue Boy" because LSD wasn't illegal — yet.

So when they found him with his face painted half blue, half yellow, with his head in an anthill, all they could do was take him home to his unappreciative parents.

Some months later they get some action from the legislature, and they go after Blue Boy. Alas, he's gone on The Last Trip.

That's just the beginning...

SEE! Jack Webb's curious gait, in which he walks without moving his UPPER BODY!

THRILL! To Harry Morgan's high roll three-button sack suit — with TWIN VENTS!

GASP! At the tripster with his head stuck — in an ACTUAL ANTHILL!

WONDER! At Sgt. Friday wearing the same grey jacket for weeks on end — even to a NEO-NAZI'S SECRET LAIR!

This is tremendous stuff. Robbers who only hold up candy stores, a rich lady who tries to defraud the insurance company when her "imperial jade" is stolen, criminals in sports jackets.

Four unabashed coils.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cigars Must Go. Keep Saying That.

I like cigars.

Scratch that.

I love cigars — the way they smell and taste. I like the way they line up in a humidor. I appreciate their value in deterring the insect world.

I'm not a cigar nut, but I don't buy them at the Rite-Aid either.

But over the last decade or so I have developed a 5-10 per day habit, and it's got to stop. It's expensive, unhealthy and disgusting.

Expensive? I spend about $200/month on cigars. That's more than I spend on food.

Unhealthy? My cholesterol's a tad high. The doc put me on a statin, "seeing as how you smoke all those cigars." And I hate this medicine. It makes me very logy.

Disgusting? Exhibit A: My teeth.

Exhibit B: Guy told me he was somewhere and smelled cigar, but didn't see anyone. Then he spotted my car, locked with the windows up.

"Your car smells like cigars," he said.

So here's the plan. No cold turkey like last time. I almost went insane.

Phase One — Get 5-10 per day down to 5-10 per week. Which is still a lot. Clean the car out, and stop smoking in it. This will make cutting down even easier as summer winds down. Who wants to stand outside in the snow for 45 minutes smoking a cigar?

Phase Two — Get it down further, to 5-10 per month. In effect, relaxing once a week with a smoke.

Very ambitious, but realistic. Now excuse me — I'm going to smoke a cigar and think about when to implement this fine plan.

Monday, August 22, 2011

She-Bop a Lulu

The problem with The She Creature (1956) is the creature, frankly.

Look at the dark-haired girl who is being regressed by the evil Dr. Lombardi, back to the primeval ooze.

Now look at the She Creature, which is the eighty bazillion year old version of the same girl.

And now look at them together, and tell me something good about evolution.

So there's this tycoon and he has a daughter who has dumped her drunk fiance and is making a play for the serious Dr. Erickson, played in earnest Eraserhead style by Lance Fuller. Meanwhile Dr. Lombardi (Chester Morris) is regressing the crap out of the beautiful Andrea (Marla English) and causing the She Creature to come out of the ocean and kill people who have nothing to do with anything.

Most of this movie has nothing to do with anything, but it doesn't matter, because once the She Creature gets moving and the body count mounts the flick moves right along.

One too many hypnosis scenes. Galloping pocket squares. Eraserhead hairstyle on Lance. Bulging bodices. Monster breasts, modestly covered with what appear to be scales. Eight bodies. Sinister smoke. Past life regression, with bizarre Cockney commentary.

Idiotic. Mildly amusing. On a two-fer DVD with The Day the World Ended. Two coils.

Friday, August 19, 2011

When the Weather's Hot and Sticky...

There's more to this doggerel but it's kinda dirty.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

We're Broke — Can You Dig It?

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Usually when people talk about "moderates" or a "third way" they are taking a political stance similar to the Democratic party ca. 1976 — which was not all that different from that of the Republican Party ca. 1976.

And when libertarians get going, they often start out strong — the government that governs best governs least — and then flounder on the reefs of legalizing all illegal drugs, or adopting a McGovernish foreign policy. (See Ron Paul.)

These guys, from Reason magazine, are charting a third way that is based not as much on doctrine as on youth and technology.

The gist is that younger voters today approach politics like consumers. And they are jamming the servers with complaints about the slothful, wasteful and dopey government.

What, they ask several times, is so difficult about the concept that we are broke?

What indeed.

With bonus insight into the importance of the Velvet Underground, which should be a clue that this is not the ordinary political book.