Friday, January 25, 2013


Allow the recent plight of Manti Te'o to serve as a reminder to us all: No controversy in this once-mighty nation is worth a damn if it doesn't have a " - gate" affixed to the end of it.
By doing so, credibility is achieved.
It's probably in the Constitution (if any of us had the time to read it) ...

Now that we've established the rules n' regs of Te'o-Gate, we can proceed with the attack of the talking points which the mainstream media has missed (or avoided) in this coast-to-coast controversy which has pushed Lance Armstrong to Page 2.
A comment board is one place for the Airing of Grievances, but such arenas are fraught with name-calling, specious reasoning, circular logic and a lack of concise, biting sarcasm.

Besides, the only purpose that a comment board serves is to raise more questions, usually more serious questions such as:
1) "Who's really telling the truth?"
2) "Was Te'o lonely and not in the mood to phone Lava Links?"
3) "Is he gay?" ("Am I?" ... "Are you?")
4) "Is this hoax a desperate tactic of misdirection aimed at diverting our attention from the fact that Te'o wore a strand of ivy to the Heisman Trophy ceremony?"
5) "Would not Marcus Mariota have been a better Hawaiian Heisman Hopeful, given the fact that he might actually be a better freshman QB than Johnny Football -- and given the fact that, if they switched teams, Marcus Mariota might've run the A&M offense better than Manziel would run the Quack Attack offense?" (just sayin' ... )
6) "Can we now finally conclude that, as a person, Manti Te'o is a wee bit dense ... and that, as a linebacker, he was mite overrated (and, therefore, we don't have to re-structure our coll.-FB linebacking pantheon and rank him with the greats we've seen during the past 40 yrs., which computes to the likes of Lawrence Taylor, Brian Bosworth, Derrick Brooks, Mike Singletary, Trev Alberts, Marvin Jones, Chris Spielman and who's missing?)
7) "What the hell ever happened to the Te'o that I remember from my childhood -- Sanmuh Te'o?"

The fallout from this perp-vs.-vic scenario is depressing, especially since it involved a Tuiasosopo-on-Te'o dynamic in a disturbing Tongan genre.
You'd never see a Tatupu-on-Tuipulotu crime in the Tongan/Samoan genre, but, apparently, this is what happens when a d*mbshit sits down at the computer and gets palsy-walsy on Facebook/Twitter/whichever with somebody he's never met instead of getting "spiritual" with actual flesh-and-blood in his own neighborhood.
It's probably a good thing that Manti didn't open an e-mail from somebody who claimed to be King Kamehameha or this controversy would be twice the shitst*rm it is now.

* [Sidebar, Your Honour: Everybody remembers the first time they met a Samoan/Tongan ... when he/she was confusing USC's Mosi Tatupu for UCLA's Manu Tuiasosopo right about the time that California Angels first baseman Tony Solaita was establishing himself as the first Samoan in the bigs ... which was a few years before any of us would see Cheyenne Tuufuli in the San Jose State dining commons and wonder if his sacking of QB Samoa Samoa of Washington State (the school which gave us "The Throwin' Samoan") would be well-received in the island nations which are only approx. 600 miles apart in the South Pacific, yet are divided by the International Date Line, meaning that when it's time for a 1 o'clock lunch on a Tuesday in Samoa, they're just finishing their lunch and it's back to the 1 o'clock shift at the factory on a Wednesday in Tonga -- which means that every Tongan can taunt a Samoan with, "You are soooooo yesterday's news!" ... which may not matter to everybody's all-time favourite Hawaiian QB (Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada) or to everybody's all-time favourite Samoan RB (Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala), I dunno ... ]

That was a mighty long sidebar ... almost as long as it takes for Manti Te'o to give non-answers about his non-existent girlfriend.
Where it all went wrong for the overrated LB for 2012's most-overrated team was that he wasn't tipped off by that totally-made-up name: "Lennay Kekua."
It''d be different if her name was "Kila Ka'aihue" -- except that Kila Ka'aihue is the Kansas City Royals washout who got some ABs w/ the A's last year.

Y'see, when it comes to fictitious names, it's a lot easier to be duped by a chick named "Leilani Kahlua-Kahlua."
That's a personal favourite because a former co-worker/friend of mine said that she always loved the name "Leilani" ... and "Kahlua" kinda sorta looks like somebody's last name when the bottle is in your hand and your thumb is covering the last two letters on the label.

I never banged my Leilani (who had a rockin' bod and a quasi-exotic-Polynesian-like look even though she was from Hackensack of all places, BTW), although I told all my friends that I did.
That is, if I had any friends.
Then or now ...

So, when nobody asks me about my relationship with any of the members of my wrecking crew -- be it Arch Stanton, Rolo Tomassi, Henry Krinkle, Randall Stevens, Larry Dickman, John Coctosetoy, Vince Clortho, Jerry Callo, Mitch Kumsteen and Joey JoJo Junior Shabadeaux, I can explain their existence a lot better than Te'o pieced together the non-existence of an admirer who was the product of some tag-team flim-flammery which, from what it sounds like, was so junior-varsity in its conception and execution.
Which doesn't say a lot about that top-notch cirriculum in ol' South Bend.
Because Manti definitely flunked Dumbshit Avoidance 101 ...

The problem w/ Te'o was that he dived headlong into the worst scenario possible: "Real-Life Moments With Fabricated Characters."
It NEEDS to be the other way around: "Make-Believe Moments With Actual People."
Doing it the first way leads to Google searches, Yahoo searches, Bing searches ... and then America comes to learn that Leilani Kahlua-Kahlua doesn't exist.
Game over ...

However, the second option is loads more fun -- and practically only-partially researchable.
Example: "I didn't take (_______) to Homecoming, but I asked her out a week later and did her in the back set of my car. Suuuuu-weet."
Who's gonna disprove it? Associates from that era can tell ya that (________) definitely existed, but they don't know details.
And, if they ever did re-construct part of the past, they'll never fill in the blanks.
'Cuz it falls under the heading of "plausible deniability."
Which is covered by he-said/she-said statutes ...

"I did a lot of heroin in college and I beat the crap out of a homeless dude when I was dopesick and Jonesing for a fix real bad."

"I have in my possession the Purple Heart and the Silver Star that my dad earned during the Korean War."
Where are they? Can we see them? the neighbors asked.
"They were lost during that bad flood six years ago ... "

"I attended Super Bowl XXX."

"I sank the winning bucket twice in college games which led us to the championship." (Actually, one was a halfcourt shot -- baseball pass -- at the halftime whistle in a game which we were losing by 20 ... the other was a halfcourt shot -- 2-handed chest pass -- at the end of a game which we were probably losing by 25 ... for an intramural team which, I believe, went 0-8)

"After a hearty session of grinding with The Blonde from something like midnight 'til 2 a.m., she went home and then my brief zzzzzz session was halted when The Brunette who was tryin' semi-desperately to remain The Girlfriend stopped by at 7 a.m. on her way to work for "a quickie."
(Wait ... that one really did happen)

Those are the types of stories I usually share with my buddies, a 10-member posse which possesses an almost-as-interesting array of backstories which would impress the panties off of Lennay Kekua.
They're all well-known without being "too" renowned.
The thumbnails read as such:

Arch Stanton, as we all know, resides, as it were, next to Unknown and he was the key to Blondie and Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez locating and unearthing the $200,000 in Confederate gold coins.
"There are two kinds of people in the world ... those with loaded guns and those who dig.
"You dig ... "
Rolo Tomassi has lived in infamy as the purse snatcher who killed Preston Exley, the father of Lt. Edmund Exley -- and, in case it slipped your mind, Rolo Tomassi is "the one who gets away with it."
Henry Krinkle of 345 Hopper Avenue in Fair Lawn, New Jersey is the guy who asked the Secret Service agent if he actually was a Secret Service agent.
And he did so by asking, "You a Secret Service agent?"
"Just waiting for the Senator ... "
Henry Krinkle of 345 Hopper Avenue's response was: "That's a very good answer. Shitttttt ... I'm just waitin' for the sun to shine."
(We never did learn if there actually was a Hopper Avenue, did we?)
Randall Stevens is the silent silent partner. He's the guilty one, Your Honour -- and Warden Norton's dirty money is in several accounts in Randall Stevens' name in banks near Shawshank.
Larry Dickman ... y'gotta love that guy. He was strolling down the sidewalk wearing a SF Giants cap and eatin' a green apple as he approached the massage parlor in search of that girl named Wanda when he tossed the uneaten portion of the apple into the gutter (maybe ... we definitely know that he DIDN'T toss it into a nearby trash receptacle) and entered the building -- and that was before Wanda, a member of Bobby Maxwell's gang, put a gun to the head of the bridge operator during the kidnapping of the mayor moments he'd departed Candleshit Park in the limo and remarked to his asst. Jimmy, "I wish we could've stayed. Looks like the Giants are finally going to win one."
Jimmy: "Oh, I don't know, sir. It looks like it's going to be a no-hitter."
(Greatest moment EVER in a SF Giants scenario -- that is, until Gil Rennard was wearing his SF Giants cap as he was driving his son to Opening Day as the Stones' "Start Me Up" was blaring ... and the kid said to Dad, "Jason Pelligrini says Mick Jagger is gay" -- to which Gil growled: "Jason Pelligrini's dad takes it up the ass!"

Meanwhile, everybody's remembers when John Cock ... tose ... toy first approached Gail Stanwyck on the tennis court and introduced himself with that unusual name. "It's a beautiful name," Gail Stanwyck told him. "It's Scotch-Romanian," John said ... prompting Gail Stanwyck to remark, "That's an odd combination."
"So are my parents."
Everybody thinks his name is "Coctosen," but that ain't what he said to Gail ...
Oh, and Vince Clortho? He's classic ... especially when he was occupying Louis Tully's body as he searched  for Gozer The Gozarian ...
BTW, Jerry Callo is NOT Jerry Gallo as he initially told Judge Chamberlain Haller. Jerry Gallo is dead, so Jerry Callo might actually be Vincent Gambini, who is not Vince Clortho ...
For the record, Mitch Kumsteen was expelled for night-putting with the dean's daughter (status: winner!).
Joey JoJo Junior Shabadeaux is the friend of a friend.
Moe at Moe's Tavern shook his head: "That's the worst name I've ever heard ... "

It's important for me to remember their names and to rehearse their back stories ... just in case Jeremy Schaap or Katie Couric shows up and tosses softballs at me.
If only Manti Te'o had an Arch Stanton or a Rolo Tomassi or a Vince Clortho, maybe his story wouldn't sound my (imaginary) friends, he wouldn't've found it necessary to make-believe with a lover who didn't exist.
Maybe he should've told Leilani Kahlua-Kahlua that his real name was Tony Lerma.
Tony Lerma, in case you've forgotten, was the name on the list during the only 10 minutes I've ever watched of "Castle."
It's the episode "47 Seconds," as any ol' Arch Stanton will tell ya ... and the name of the prime bomber suspect (a character named Andrew Harrison, in case it matters) appeared on that computer printout list ... one line above the name of Tony Lerma.
The only reason that matters is because that 10 minutes which I wasted on "Castle" occurred on the Saturday night 24 hrs. before the close of the London Olympics. On another network less than an hour earlier, the lead character (Clyde Shelton) was a law-abiding citizen who forged a fake I.D. in order to pose as a janitor to plant a bomb.
The name on the I.D.?
Tony Lerma!!!

So many options -- yet, Manti played it all wrong ... from the two dozen white roses to the strand of ivy 'round his neck at the Heisman presentation.
If only he'd remembered that the hnadbook for how to handle such matters is The Three S's -- "Simpsons," "Scott/Schrute/Scranton," "Seinfeld."
All of life's answers are contained within.
It never fails ...

Like the time when Timmy O'Toole fell down the well and a shirtless Sting led the rescue effort.
Except there was no Timmy O'Toole ... and he wasn't prohibited by Principal Skinner from attending elementary school "because of my shabby clothes."

Then, there was the time when Michael tried to reconcile his grief re: the death of Ed Truck ... and in the conference room, Pam provided comfort with the story of her aunt who was a really great boxer, but then she was in a coma and there was some issue about taking her off life-support ... a particularly-poignant moment, much moreso than when Michael and Dwight visited the grave of the recently-departed chair-model gal who they didn't know ...

But, those anecdotes were was nuthin' compared to the time when Peggy thought that Elaine was Susie ("not Sooz ... it's Sooo-zeeee!"), so Elaine uncomplicated her life (so she thought) by informing Mr. Peterman that Susie had taken her own life last night ... but, holy crap, that was a packed house for the memorial service, wasn't it?
Mr. Peterman captured the spirit of the day by telling the crowd of mourners that, when working late on the catalog one night, he and Suzie surrendered to temptation ... "and it was pritttt-teee good."
Jerry (turning to Peggy): "Yeah, but he didn't sleep with both of them." (wink)
I'm catchin' yer drift, Jer ...

There was no Timmy O'Toole ... there was no 3-D chair-model gal ... there was no Susie.
Tony Lerma, though ... he's very real.
"Just remember, Jerry. It's not a lie ... if YOU believe it."

Since Manti Te'o will continue to look like the world's biggest sucker/doofus/simpleton with each interview he gives (that "spiritual" angle and the "impacting people's lives" mantra rings hollow when he's not visiting the cancer kids ward at the nearest hospital or when he's not providing us with autographed footballs which we can put up for sale on eBay 15 minutes later), he could play the Curse of Jersey Number 5 angle and ask us to leave him alone.
For those who cannot remember, #5 is the Irish jersey number which was jinxed by the football gods ever since Paul Hornung undeservedly won the Heisman for a 2-win team.
I'd say, "Ask #5 Rodney Culver ... " (backfield teammate of Mirer and Bettis), but he died in that JetBlue crash in the Florida Everglades back in '96 when he was only 26.
I'd say, "Ask #5 Blair Kiel ... " -- (uncle of Gunnar Kiel) but he died at age 50 a few months before Lennay Kekua's fake death.
There's no other choice -- except to ask #5 Terry Hanratty.

But, not now -- because the dying words of Bill Carson were "Arch Stanton" ... and the dying words of Det. Jack Vincennes were "Rolo Tomassi" and now I've gotta go check it out and see if there's a connection.
Or if Bill Carson and Jack Vincennes faked their own deaths.
Which is the popular thing to do nowadays ...

Monday, April 02, 2012

PHILLIES: The Luis Aguayo Sweepstakes!

This is gonna be fun ... although when the dust settles (and the ink dries) on this 2012 season, that 80-82 record might be another matter.
Oh well, it's like that song from 30 yrs. ago told us: " We had joy, we had fun, we lost popups in the sun ... " blah blah blah, the stars we could reach were just starfish on the beach, et cetera, et cetera, god, that song was frickin' lame ...
There was nuthin' lame, however, about five consecutive N.L. East titles, not to mention the '08 and '09 playoff punch-outs of the Dodjerks.
102 wins last year had us shaking our heads because, deep down, with the offense that struggled mightily at times, we knew that they weren't quite that good (which LaLoser and St. Loooo proved in the playoffs).
Even with the expanded wild-card playoff format, these twenty-twelve Phils ain't goin' nowhere, instead destined to slug it out w/ the Citi Field Mess for the N.L. East basement.
No biggie ... just makes the postseason less-aggravating.
That's why I've assembled my usual crew to play "Which Phillie Is Gonna Lead This Punchless Squad In Homers?"
ROLO TOMASSI sez it's gonna be Rollins with 16 ...
ARCH STANTON's pick to click is John Mayberry with 15 (same as last year, even w/ more ABs) ...
HENRY KRINKLE of 345 Hopper Ave. in Fair Lawn, New Jersey is convinced that the top gone-yard guy will be Hunter Pence w/ 22 ...
Screw all you guys! I'm goin' w/ the upset special -- Ryan Howard w/ 25 (all of 'em AFTER the All-Star Break) ...
Winner gets a new, fully-loaded Daihatsu ...

Jeez ... was it only yesterday when it was 2007/2008/2009 and everybody was talking about the offense? Reminder: In '07, the Phils were 4-41 when they scored three runs or fewer; last year, they were 31-48 when scoring less than 4 runs.
That's quite an eye-opener (and not a bad won-loss %, all things considered) ... but, it's an illustration of the contrasts in compositions of pennant-winners.
Remember back in '09 when the guys were goin' deep regularly -- Howard (45), Werth (36), Ibanez (34), Utley (31), Rollins (21) -- and all we heard was the constant chirping about how The Cit was a homer-friendly bandbox?
Isn't it funny how "THEY" won't be saying that say that about The Cit any more -- at least, they won't be in mid-Aug. when Ty Wigginton and Laynce Nix are each stuck on 9 HRs ... and leaving us breathless with which Phillie fella is gonna get to double-digits first.
Unless one (or both) is on the DL at the time and The Overrated Rube is looking to "make a move!" by signing Bubba Trammell outta retirement.
And, it's all good ... the Fightin's offense has ridden on the backs of Utley and Howard for six full seasons ('06 thru '11) w/ strong complimentary pieces acquired via farmhands from the late-'90s drafts (Rollins, Burrell) and players who were other team's rejects (Victorino, Werth).
It worked ... but, now it's over ... the glitter is gone. We saw a glimpse of that late last season when Domonic Brown -- THE "prospect" who was nuthin' more than some guy w/ Von Hayes' dimensions (lanky, good wheels), the Von Hayes uniform # (9) and the batting stance/mechanics/results of Bobby Tolan -- wasn't given a sniff of PT, yet something named "John Bowker" was signed as I was roadtrippin' to Illinois w/ the Mrs. and the SuperDawg.
Bowker's balance sheet: 13 ABs, zero (0) hits, 7 strikeouts ...
There are no blue-chippers down on the farm -- not a somewhat-reliable George Vukovich or a speedster Juan Samuel ... and that includes the young "talent" which was bartered for Halladay, Lee and Pence.
None of those guys excited me, Rolo Tomassi, Arch Stanton or Henry Krinkle of 345 Hopper Ave. in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.
Let's see how many of them "pan out."
It sez here: "none."
Now, it doesn't seem all that likely that the pitching can offset offensive woes. Halladay'll go 17-10, Lee 13-12, Hamels 12-11, Worley 9-11 ... and one of 'em is bound to see some DL time, so, hey! hey! Joey Blants ... time to show us that 6-8 / 4.78 form which we know you're capable of!
Nuthin' promising about this squad, folks -- unless you get off on watchin' Kyle Kendrick (6-6 / 4.32) starting the final game of the season w/ the 80-81 Phils lookin' to finish at exactly .500.
There's just too much bad ju-ju floatin' around this team, most-notably the COMPLETE disbanding of the 2-yr. experiment of The Gload, The Brad & The Utley.
And then there's this: With the addition of Chad Qualls to the pitching staff, the Phils have now achieved the rarest of hat tricks: Tom Qualters, Paul Quantrill, Chad Qualls ...
Fasten yer seatbelts 'cuz it probably won't spell "QUALL-ity" when all is said and done.
That's a lotta non-quality on the mound of Phillies team history.
Kinda makes ya yearn for the days of Paul Spoljaric ...

# # # #

Saturday, December 24, 2011

STEELERS: Bill Clay's alive?

Any time that Big Play, Willie Gay roams the Steeler secondary on the same Xmas Eve in which somebody named Have-A-Day, Johnny Clay puts on a blk-n'-ylw Steeler jersey and turns his first NFL carry into an 10-yd. TD, one can't help but think of the name which Hans Gruber used when he met John McClane face-to-face for the first time.

"Clay ... Bill Clay ..." -- the very name which he stole from the Nakatomi Bldg. directory!!!!

Willie Gay ... Johnny Clay ... just stay out of their way or you'll pay, listen to what I say. "How about I just go eat some hay? I could make things out of clay and lay by the bay. I just may, whaddya say?"

That's too much movie overlap too early in this transmission, but that's what happens when the Rams appear on the schedule. The only truly memorable moment of today's 27-0 win (other than the simply breathtaking [!] John Clay TD run) occurred during the opening drive when #96 for St.L (I'm too uninterested to look up his name; let's just say that it WASN'T Deacon Jones, okay?) zeroed in on the creaky-armed Charlie Batch and as #96 was about to gobble up the creaky-armed QB, creaky-armed Charlie Batch executed a nifty duck-for-cover/slide-to-his-left scramble before making the slightly-downfield flip (by using his creaky arm) to Rashard Mendenhall, which the RB turned into a 35-yard gain.

That HAD to please the 17-28 fans at Heinz who were wearing their #5 MENDENHALL jerseys.

As well as the 3 fans wearing their #16 BATCH jerseys.

But, since today might very well have been the final game at Heinz this season, we'll have to wait for the 2012 season opener to see if more than 6 fans are bold enough to wear their #38 CLAY jerseys.

It's too early (in his career) to tell if John Clay can achieve the #38 status which was carved out by previous #38 greats such as Sidney Thornton, Tim Worley, Jon Wittman and Carey Davis (the only ones which come to mind off the top of my head ... the last non-RB to wear that #38, as we recall, was LB Ed Bradley, the white guy who had the same name as the black guy on 60 Minutes, just as Mike Wallace is the black WR w/ the same name as the white 60 Minutes guy -- which fascinates me because, when we were kids in the '70s, the Colts had that white center named Mendenhall and the Giants had that black D-lineman named Mendenhall and it just sorta seemed like a cool name which blacks and whites could share equally, much the way that Rashard and BYU coach Bronco do nowadays and ... ) ...

... jeez, is it already time to get ready for the Browns?

Tough times for that ballclub which once had a black guy at THE QUARTERBACK POSITION named Spergon Wynn ... from the same '00 Draft as Tom Brady.

Watching three minutes of that Browns-Ravens game today (played in the stadium outside which the Johnny U. statue w/ the HUGE bulge in his football overshadows the textbook throwing mechanics he demonstrated back in the days before it was called THE QUARTERBACK POSITION) ... oh, r-r-r-right, we were talkin' 'bout why the NFL is usually a big, fat NFW (No Fucking Way).

Today's epicenter of irritation was when Michael Adams was flagged for interfering w/ WR Torrey Smith on the Ravens' first play from scrimmage (by the quarterback position making a deeeep throw to a speedster playing the wide receiver position the offensive side of the ball) ... the result: a 60-yard P.I. for a FD at the Browns' 9-yd. line.

It was a VERY iffy call by a guy playing the DB position vs. someone at the WR position ... and, if it is THAT borderline w/o the aid of a review, well ... let's face it: there's "no fucking wayyyyyy" that's a 60-yard P.I.

A 60-yd. freebie? The Brownies woulda been better off allowing a shitty backup DL hit Flacco after the whistle and then pick up three personal-foul penalties for 1) facemask 2) felony facemask 3) piledriving and/or sodomy.

Why not?
Put that motherflacco outta the game, outta the playoffs.

After the Brownies backup scrub is ejected, the refs can march off four 15-yd. penalties.

But, let's say that the motherflacco QB survives the violation, it might be worth it to have four Browns jump offsides before the next snap and beat Motherflacco within an inch of his life.

Hey ... it's only "half the distance to the goal" (laugh track).

First down at the 4-and-a-half yard line (laugh track).

Goodell's really earnin' his $10 mil-per, ain't he?

Just kidding ...

# # # # #

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Timpossible? ... or Tebowgus?

Uh oh, Spaghetti-O's ... the Dec. 19 edition of S.I. has arrived on this Dec. 15 -- and the coverboy is (drumroll please for The S.I. Cover Jinx) the name of the Denver Broncos QB in big, block letters [exclamation point!] ...
No, the Bronco QB which Dec. 19's S.I. cover has dubbed as Amazing, Incredible, Phenomenal, Incomprehensible, Mind-Blowing, Unbelievable ... is none other than (wait a second ... if we're gonna use those terms, it's GOTTA be jazzed up w/ more exclamation points, i.e.:
Amazing!!! - Incredible!!! - Award-Winning Smile!!! - Phenomenal!!! - John 3:16!!! - Incomprehensible!!! - ORGASMIC!!! - Mind-Blowing!!! - Finger-Lickin' Good!!! - Unfuckingbelievable!!! ... all of this we must do in the name of (and adhering completely in direct compliance to) the T.E.P.E. -- the Total Exclamation Point Experience, not unlike that time at Pendant Publishing when Mr. Lippman called Elaine into his office to discuss the final edit of the Jake Jarmel book and to share his gripe with the so-called inordinate number of exclamation points, i.e. "It was a damp and chilly afternoon, so I decided to put on MY SWEATSHIRT!" ***Obviously, Lippman simply didn't subscribe to a T.E.P.E., although Elaine could have side-stepped the T.E.P.E. matter entirely by using BOLD, ALL-CAPS W/ LARGER PT. SIZE ..and now I can't remember how many parentheses and brackets I've used and ... ]

OKAY!!! ... Back to the topic of S.I. cover art, this Dec. 19 issue has a cover which folds out (making it a -- sorry, Lippman -- TWO-PAGE COVER!!!) -- and, on this fold-out pg., we have what they call "a drop-quote" ... a remark from Champ Bailey, of all people, who remarks: "I don't know what to compare it to. I've never seen anything like it."

Does he mean he's never seen anything like the fold-out -- or the necktie in my closet w/ a monogrammed W.J.T.O.T.T.T.M.H? on it (which I may or may not wear to church if I ever decide to attend Sunday services again and wear something other than MY SWEATSHIRT!!!)???

In case it's unclear: W.W.J.T.O.T.T.T.M.H? = an acronym for "What Would Jesus Think Of This Tim Tebow Mega-Hype?"

Whereas I can't speak for Jesus, I can speculate w/ some reliability that He believes that the S.I. cover editors/artists need to cut down a little on the meth smoked before doin' the S.I. cover editing/artistry.

As per that comment from one Roland Bailey, well ... that's fairly typical.

Typical, that is, if y'never watched the NFL, pre-2005.

For those of us who did -- and for anybody who isn't a total frickin' gambling degenerate/douchebag or fantasy-league knob (and for those of us who are enjoying a 40th season as one of the bureau chiefs for the Steelers) -- we can easily access the NFL Rewind Button in our brains and recollect the "it" factor of which Roland Bailey speaks.

In this case, The "IT" Factor hit home for a lot of Americans two years ago when we saw Timmy's teardrops soaking his Florida Gators jersey as he stood on the sideline during the waning moments of the loss to Alabama in the SEC title game.
That Kodak moment caused some of us (well, "me," anyway) to quip: "Lookee there! It's the Tears Of An NFL H-Back."

So, in the context of "we haven't seen this before," okay ... maybe not, once we consider the collections of traits which Tim possesses, those being: 1) Moderate talent ... 2) His incredible love for God ... 3) Huge handsomeness ... 4) Lotsa smiles and an "aw, shucks" disposition (when he's not good-naturedly firing up his teammates with his amazing, incredible, phenomenal, incomprehensible, mind-blowing INTENSITY and WILL TO WIN [exclamation point!].

Other than that, we HAVE seen left QBs who can scramble (Steve Young, Mike Vick, even Snake Stabler) ...

We HAVE seen religious QBs (Kurt Warner, Roger Staubach) ...

We HAVE seen handsome QBs who are competitive (too many to list here ... "that's you, Bert Jones and/or Steve Bartkowski") ...

What we HAVEN'T seen is a QB who, every time he winds up to throw, appears as though he's throwing a halfback-option pass w/ the same body mechanics which you or I might use while attempting to wing a sofa cushion from the front porch to the mailbox.

What we HAVEN'T seen is Timmy Teebs making very many QB-looking plays from what the Disneyland Football Channel calls "the quarterback position."

In reference to that 7-1 record (or whatever it was) when subpar opponents were melting down, maybe Roland Bailey should watch some highlights of the '04 season when a Rookie Named Roethlisberger was goin' 14-0 while actually QBing the way a QB does (while playing what the EspyNetwork calls "the quarterback position") and making Roethlisbelievers outta many of us.

FYI: A 14-0 record trumps a 7-1 record.

Roland Bailey? A lot of us will remember him as the guy who got toasted in his home stadium in the Jan. '06 AFC Championship game when BennyRoth gave that mini-shoulder-fake and then fired the ball to the corner of the end zone to an open Cedrick Wilson ... open because Roland had bitten on the inside fake, oopsie daisy ...

From a SteelerFan standpoint (which trumps Roland's cloudy recollections), we remember that Tebow never served two tours in 'Nam and then won four Super Bowl rings (as Rocky Bleier did) ...

And, we remember that Tebow never threw a Hail Mary pass which traveled 71 yds. on the fly (from his own 28-yd. line to the opposing 1-yd. line) to beat Michigan in The Big House (as Kordell Stewart did) ...

We remember that Timmy Teebs never left football for a few years to sell real estate only to return to the sport, become the MVP of the XFL's lone season and then win the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award (as Tommy Maddox did) ...

We remember that during Teebs' "hot streak" (hot streak = 3 qtrs. of sub-standard performance), he never beat the 6-0 Patriots (snapping a 21-game win streak) and the 7-0 Eagles in back-to-back weeks in addition to providing more than one highlight for the highlights package (as Roethlisberger did) ....

From what we know about the forgetful Roland Bailey, it's a mighty safe bet that he doesn't remember his freshman season at Georgia in 1995 when his sophomore teammate -- a flanker/running back named Hines Ward -- was the QB in the Peach Bowl, completing 31 of 59 for 413 yds. and bringing the Bulldogs back from a 24-6 deficit vs. Viginia to a 27-27 tie in the 34-27 defeat.

And maybe Roland simply can't remember the Outback Bowl two years later when Hines Ward had 12 catches for 154 yards in the victory over Wisconsin and Ron Dayne.

[Come to think of it, Roland probably doesn't remember how loaded '95 Ugga was -- what with future N.E. Patriots Robert Edwards, Patrick Pass, Jermaine Wiggins and Richard Seymour and a guy in Roland's own Junkyard Dawg secondary named Kirby Smart, who is currently the D-coordinator for Saban at 'Bama.]

Now, before anyone goes off half-cocked calling Roland a fucking moron, let's not rule out that with Teebs, nothing is impossible.

It's "Tim-possible" ...

Just like how Big Ben made Roethlisbelievers out of us all.

While it appears as though Teebs will need A LOT!!!!! (exclamation points x 5) of sessions at The Steve Clarkson Quarterback Position Academy & Taco Stand, it does seem somewhat likely that the completely-likable kid named Tim-possible can one day lift his game to the point where he'll defeat the Viet Cong, throw the 71-yard Hail Mary, sell some insurance and win his first 15 NFL starts ALL IN THE SAME WEEKEND.

If anything, though, some of us would like to see/hear the kid quoting more scripture from Ecclesiates and less from Leviticus.

Everybody knows that the meat of the Bible is Ecclesiates ...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Friday, November 11, 2011

B/Ball Fiesta Aboard The USS Karl Vincent

No matter how many of Jerry Sandusky's alleged indiscretions that they try to shove down our throats today (which isn't a pretty thought when taken in a literal context), we, the citizens of what's left of Proud America, can still get in the faces of our enemies around the world (either Hamas or Hezbollah ... or the Shiites or the Sunnis, I don't remember which) with spirited chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" as we watch a college basketball game played on the deck of an aircraft carrier which is parked in San Diego Harbor.

Like so many Americans, I don't know who the hell Karl Vincent is, but, like so many other Americans, I'm happy as heck that the Afghaneeze, the Pakeeze and the Irockeeze will sleep soundly tonight under the blanket of a stars-n'-stripes "presence" ... with dreams of sugar plums dancing inside the heads of those protected Afghaneeze, Pakeeze and Irockeeze.

That is ... until tomorrow when that marketplace bomb detonates at 1 p.m., local time, and a mother weeps because the heads of her son and daughter which, only hours earlier, were filled w/ dreams of dancing sugar plums were blown clean off their bodies by the blast.

And, she might also be weeping because she didn't watch SportsCenter to find out how many pts./rebs Harrison Barnes finished with.

C'mon, Irockee Mom ... use your iPhone app and git that score!
Find out if Tyler Zeller had a double-double (before he went to the nearest In-N-Out and ordered a Double Double which he cannot get back home in Carolina ...).

B/BALL on a BATTLESHIP (or on an aircraft carrier, whatever ...) ... what a star-spangled thrill (!!!) -- notwithstanding the fact that the only thing missing was the ref tossing the ball in the air for the opening tipoff at exactly 11.11 seconds past 11:11 a.m. local time so that we'd've had a UNC/MSU bloodbath tipping off at 11:11.11 on 11/11/11.

That would've been sooooo symbolic ...

Alas, that was so many yesteryears ago when Al McGuire would characterize an undersized point guard as "a PT boat" takin' it down the lane on the dribble drive, goin' up against those big aircraft carriers in the paint -- but, our Sporting World and our World Wars (we're up to WW5 right now, I believe) have changed so much since Al McGuire died at the outset of the new milennium.

Less than 10 yrs. earlier (at the outset of the '90s), Dean Smith ushered peace into a war zone known as the Persian Gulf when he canceled his Tar Heels game ...

Everybody remembers how the USS Karl Vincent returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown during the showdown known as DESERT STORM, but nobody seems to remember who won Desert Storm (answer: We're all winners, "yuu-ess-ayy! yuu-ess-ayy!") ...

NEWSFLASH: Somebody somewhere just said that the name on the ship is "Carl Vinson," not Karl Vincent, the ficticious name which I've been applying.

According to the Googlepedia search which was recently executed, Carl Vinson deserves his name on the side of an aircraft carrier about as much as Tony La Russa does.

If the data is correct in that completely-one-sided, pro-Vinson bio on Googlepedia, it seems as though we should be calling that warship the USS Augustus Bacon.

Think about it: If Augustus Bacon hadn't died, well ...

That's why it doesn't make a whole lotta sense to name warships in honour of those who've never tasted war. I mean, that's like naming a library or an all-girls high school "the USS Clarence Birdseye" or "the USS Julius Erving."

In other words, a politician who spent somewhere between 42 to 115 yrs. sittin' in the Georgia State legislature wunderin' which bribes to accept/decline and/or which special interests/personal agendas to pursue/ignore is the guy who gets a ship named after him.

If it wasn't for soldiers such as 19-year-old Kevin Rohring, for example, dying unceremoniously in a Vietnamese jungle (or in a Vietnamese rice field), Carl Vinson would've been speaking Vietnamese while he was taking $$$ from lobbyists in the morning before tossing out the ceremonial first pitch before a Braves game in the afternoon

Chants of "Yuu-ess-ayy! Yuu-ess-ayy!" would yield to "Ho! Chi! Minh! ... Ho! Chi! Minh!"

Naming battleships after people only makes sense if ya do it on the behalf of the upper-tier Americans, like, say, ohhhh ... Geronimo, considering how it was Opertation: Geronimo (executed by Seal Team 6! Seal Team 6!) which allowed Obama to defeat Osama and put an end to al-Qaeda and the Taliban forever and ever -- and it would've been so much more meaningful to some of us proud Americans if this aircraft carrier which eventually dumped bin-Laden's body into the ocean had been called the USS Crazy Horse (so named for the iconoclastic Native American who never sat on his ass inside a federal office building).

Bottom line: WE could compare their top times in the 40-yard dash and how much weight they can bench-press or clean n' jerk, but Geronimo and Crazy Horse probably did more for America than did Carl Vinson, the possible bribe-takin', special-interest monger.

At least, we honoured their memory with warships named on behalf of U.S. states with Native American names, such as the USS Missouri (God bless you, Steven Segal in "Under Siege"!).

For future American soldiers, however, we still need to consider more strongly aircraft carriers w/ names of "concepts" (i.e. the USS Enterprise or the USS Intrepid) ... or warships w/ names of words which are fun to say (i.e. the USS Caliente ... or the USS Triceratops ... or the USS Fibromyalgia) rather than names of politicos or celebs.

Speaking of which: Did my eyes deceive me or was that a Proud American named Pamela Anderson (she and "proud American" have the same initials, BTW) who was mingling w/ the glitterati and G.I.s at tonight's historic event?

That makes perfect sense! P.A. The P.A. "gets it." Sure ... her dumb blonde act is just that -- "an act." She's pro-Team USA! ... inspiring us to fight the good fight in lands far and wide so that a crusader from Kazakhstan who is interested (or obssessed) with establishing cultural learnings of America for make benefit glorious nation which is "Number 1 ... exporter of potassium ... " so that he can make love explosion on Pamela Anderson's stomach.

Make love explosion on her tummy ... if that sounds capricious and arbitrarily unappealing, maybe America should consider the alternative:

Making love explosion in "the hull" of the USS Carmen Electra.

Oh, look, Mommy! Pres. SportsFan was at the ballgame tonight ... and he was sittin' courtside w/ Mrs. Pres. SportsFan, the sister of the guy who'll lead his Oregon State Beavers b/ballers into a new frontier in '11/'12.

And, that "frontier" is this: The opportunity to be as much of a non-factor in The New Pac-12 North as the Beavers were in the Pac-10 Regular.

Oughta be fun ...

'Cuz that's what war n' sports oughta be -- a consolidation of "funner" and "funnest" -- especially now, 3 days after Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has hit the streets ... and 2 days after the USS Paterno was torpedoed by the USS Sandusky.

So, some of us proud Americans will honour the memory of a man that was maybe less than we'd hoped for (Carl Vinson) and call the big boat named in his honour "the USS Karl Vincent" ... the name of a non-existent man who we hoped Carl Vinson could become.

Still, there'll be those days when I'll let down my guard and allow the following to unfold (in red, white & blue):

"Y'wanna know the only way this football game/hockey game/chess match/soccer tilt could be any better? If they were playing it on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson ... and we were watching it at Buffalo Wild Wings."

only way this BLT and icy mug of root beer would taste better would be if I was enjoying it on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson ... "

"This board meeting sucks. Instead of using the conference room, can we schedule the next meeting for the deck of the USS Carl Vinson?"

"Remember three weeks ago when everybody with a rifle and/or a shotgun in/near Zanesville, Ohio was allowed to take target practice on the 46-50 exotic animals which had escaped from that redneck's compound? Wouldn't it have been more cool if we'd sent in the USS Carl Vinson to rescue those 18 Bengal tigers before the USS Carl Vinson evaporated Zanesville, Ohio from the planet?"

"The Twin Towers would be standing tall and filled with activity today if only the USS Carl Vinson had been parked in New York Harbor to assist Lady Liberty in warding off Atta and evil-doers ..."

"The sexual intercourse which we just shared was plenty righteous and gratifying, but wouldn't it have been more-patriotic if, just once, you'd let me bang you on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson?"

God bless you, Karl Vincent.
Whoever the fuck you are (because of the freedom which was wrought in oceans near and far by Aircraft Carrier X, I'm allowed to say "fuck" in a weblog).

Before I make love explosion on the stars n' stripes ...

= = = = = = = =

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Zanesville Tiger Massacre

Sometimes, we Americans overlook how our beloved U-S-A! U-S-A! assumes the lead in world affairs by demonstrating peace through strength via peacemaking missions in countries ending in "-stan" (i.e. Goodneighborstan, Dearfriendistan, Hiyabuddystan), yet it can't always get its own house in order.

So, while U-S-A! U-S-A! tucks in the Sunnis and the Shiites and the Sikhs at night (bedtime story re: American imperialism optional), there's approximately 46-51 carcasses of slain animals which are goin' sleepytime forever and ever tonight.

That's the fallout from the ZANESVILLE TIGER MASSACRE in Ohio which'll be forgotten 15 minutes from now.

Among the dead: 18 Bengal tigers, arguably God's most-beautiful creature (if ya believe in God, which, after what happened in Zanesville, makes it mighty damn difficult to do ...).

By this time next week, this story'll be deader than those murdered tigers -- 'cuz here in our U-S-A! U-S-A!, we save our headlines for more-headline-grabbing tigers.

For instance, down near the Gulf coast, the headline which echoes throughout the Auburn plains is:

Closer to the Bayou, headlines about LSU blare proudly:

And, this weekend, when LSU and Auburn meet, it'll be double-the-imaginary-headline fun:

Let's not forget how concerned everybody is on the Clemson campus when they pick up the school paper:

Near the heart of America, the folks who refer to their campus as "Mizzou" are buzzing:

'Round the Great Lakes, the MLB team in the Motor City will crack open the Detroit Free Press to the tune of:

When we consider Maximus Decimus Meridius glorious career inside the Colosseum, we remember the headlines in the local paper:

And, what about March Madness?

At least there's hope for South Williamsport in late-August:

On the PGA Tour, when the whispers turn to headlines re: Eldrick, it'll be:

Great headlines -- but, it doesn't answer the question: "What do tigers dream of / When they take a little tiger snooze? / Do they dream of mauling zebras / Or Hale Berry in her Catwoman suit?"

Apparently, some people believe that a tiger would just as readily maul Hale Berry in her Catwoman suit as it would a zebra -- which is probably what led to the paranoia which allowed those big cats (along with other big cats, some bears, wolves, others ... ) to be slaughtered.

"If you don't cut down a tiger or a cheetah or a coyote with an Uzi, that tiger or cheetah or coyote will eat you, your family, everybody you love and the Constitution of the United States of America ... "

They say that our Kenyamerican President once killed a tiger with a spear when he was a little boy with a white mom in Kenya.

Myth? Doesn't seem like it (especially when you consider his form when he tosses out one of those ceremonial first pitches at a ballgame) ...

Yet, the loss of those tigers is very disheartening. Few of us alive understand how the state of Ohio could turn a blind eye to this unspeakable act of bengalcide, coupled with the fact that the local NFL team with the tiger stripes on the players' helmets refuses to acknowledge the tiger slaughter with any type of tribute/observance before this Sunday's game.

Seems as though the Cinshitnati Bengals have a bye -- which is a typical NFL shortcoming, of course.

How convenient.
For humans.
Not so much for those magnificent creatures which were slain.

Now, U-S-A! U-S-A! looks for leadership from its Honey Tiger (LSU safety Tyrann Mathieu) and all we're gettin' is a headline which describes a recent setback:

"Oh, what a crazy fuck, look! Ewww, it's eating larvae, that's disgusting ..." ^^^ "Get away from me, says the snake, get away from me! Honey badger don't care. Honey badger smacks the shit out of it ..."

The Pakeeze and the Afghaneeze are sleepin' all snuggly in their star-spangled blankets, but the Ohio Dept. of Fish & Game has gotta go out to that shithole ranch and scoop up those dead animals.

Let's say we do the math and totally crunch the numbers, the equation looks something like this: If it's true that there are approx. 1,500 tigers remaining on This Wonderful Planet of Wonderfulness, then 17 dead tigers equals 1.2 percent (.012) of the planet's tiger population, right?

Now, if we were allowed to play God for a day and balance out the universe, we could (or somebody could) gun down 1.2 percent of the 300 million inhabitants of U-S-A! U-S-A!

(Well, have ya multiplied .012 time 300,000,000 yet? ^^^ That's 3.6 million people ... )

When 32 people were slain at Virginia Tech back in '07, we were required to spend the next three weeks examining ourselves.

We had moments of silence, special ribbons and VT logos for our sports teams.
Because human life is precious ...
And, because animals are fun to shoot ...

Remember when Rick Reilly went on that sports-helping-humanity crusade a few years ago w/ that "Nothing But Nets" campaign which was designed to provide nets to prevent mosquitos-carrying-malaria from biting (and killing) African children?

It seems noble on its face -- until those kids grow up and then butcher an elephant for the ivory-rich tusks.

What we needed, Rick, was nets to trap those tigers and capture 'em w/o killin' 'em ... so that trained personnel could rehab those special creatures.

What a fucking disgrace one month to the day that the U.S. Postal Service issued the special stamp designed to increase awareness of the tiger.

Lamentably, the "war at home" will rage on.
And, the tigers -- the real tigers, not the sports mascots -- will lose ...
Which is bad news for those of us who love tigers.
And hate the Ohio Dept. of Fish & Game ...

# # # # # # # # # #

Sunday, September 11, 2011

STEELER Season #40: Cataclysm At Canteloupe Crotch

... but, at least, matters got outta hand early, so it was okay to wander away from the contest and hop in the car to take a drive, turning on the radio along the way just in time to hear Christian Adolph Jurgensen and Robert Lee Huff -- born 42 days apart in 1934 -- providing some powerful commentary from the broadcast booth which they share with Larry Michael.

True ... Larry Michael is the radio play-by-play voice of the Redskins ... and Chris Jurgensen actually goes by "Sonny" and Bob Huff is better known as "Sam" -- and, sure, they were great players 78 or 83 yrs. ago (whichever it was), but neither of 'em has any bidniss bein' in the broadcast booth.

America realizes that.

It's not because they were born in 1934.

It's because they fucking suck.

With that in mind, 9/11 seems like the perfect day to pink-slip each of 'em and to earmark the salaries they don't deserve for the next disaster which befalls these United States.

Simple as that: I have once again waved my magic wand and raised $2.7 mil for U.S. Disaster Relief.

Just like my recent proposal in which I informally outlined a program wherein each of the 30 MLB teams dump its bench coach and then re-route that $15-18 mil to tornado-ravaged Missouri or Alabama (and, after that, we'll chop Selig's $14 mil/yr. in half and "presto!" ... we've just raised a total of $25 mil w/o lifting a finger).

Damn right, I'm damn proud of me -- raisin' $27.2 mil for disaster relief ...

Now, even though bad broadcasting is more of a petty crime than an outright disaster, some Terrible Towelistas might argue that the performance by the defending AFC Champion Steelers in their season opener at Canteloupe Crotch was a bonafide catastrophe/cataclysm in its own right, but, let's not be so hasty.

(*Editor's Note: "Canteloupe Crotch" is the affectionate nickname for the stadium of Baltimore's Cartoon Football Birds, whereupon the statue of Johnny Unitas has a bulge in his pants the size of a canteloupe ^^^^ "Google it!" and don't be afraid to either squeal like a 12-year-old girl or shake yer head while muttering, "That's fucking pathetic.")

Yeah, okay ... so it's a major problem to commit 7 turnovers (also known as "giveaways") against an opponent/rival which many people have probably already penciled in as the AFC representative to line up against Green Bay or New Orleans in SB46.

On the other hand, it's important to reference the scripture which reads: "The Ravens' Super Bowl is the Pittsburgh game; the Steelers' Super Bowl is the actual Super Bowl."

That concept was never more apparent than eight mos. ago when everybody from Linthicum to Timonium was convinced that THERE WAS NO WAY! that the Purple Pigeons were gonna blow that 21-7 halftime lead in Heinz -- and, yes, the Linthicumese and the Timoniumians were just itichin' to talk trash for days on end ... until Antonio Brown cradled that 3rd-and-19 / 58-yards-to-the-Baltimore-4 reception against the side of his helmet to set up the game-winner before Ziggy Hood and Lawrence Timmons rattled Flacco's ribcage w/ that awesome sack moments before Houshmanzilli dropped the fourth-down pass at the first-down marker.

The Ravens can have what transpired today at Canteloupe Crotch -- it'll never diminish last Jan.'s outcome ... never negate the thrill for the Blk-N-Ylw or lessen the anguish for the Purple Pigeons.

Now, nobody's sayin' that the Ravens completely shot their wad with today's effort in THEIR Super Bowl (which was a wider margin than those two routs in '06 which we refuse to talk about) -- it's just that since they don't play these games "on paper" (except in the NFL Dungeons & Dragons realm known as "fantasy leagues"), the Ravens are likely to fuck it up somehow some way.

However, the one looming bad omen in a Steelers historical Week One perspective is this sad truth: None of the Steelers' eight Super Bowl teams ever lost its season opener.


So, it's with some concern and caution that we weigh the end of the 8-game, season-opener win streak which began w/ the '03 opener ... the 34-15 win over B'More in Heinz to kick off Year 2 of The Great Tommy Maddox Comeback as well as mark the dawn of a hotshot rookie outta USC named Troy Polamalu.

Alas, the Maddoxian, 5-game slide ruined a bright 2-1 start ... which got us all to thinkin' that maybe it would be a good idea to spend a first-round pick in the next Draft on a QB.

Actually, that thought didn't cross my mind ('cuz maybe I believed in Tommy Gun too much ... for too long) until slowly-but-surely it seemed apparent that the Arena League-slash-XFL-slash-insurance-world refugee might not be a long-term solution (and that rookie QB/5th-round pick on the sideline -- Brian St. Pierre -- probably wasn't the answer, either).

Our thought process BACK THEN was, "Okay, but which QB should we draft? J.P. Losman who has 'all the tools'? Craig Krenzel who has the national championship? Peyton's little brother? Josh Harris from Bowling Green? Who the hell is Josh Harris? What about Rivers from N.C. State? His mechanics are weird. What the hell is a ... Roth-Rothless-Rothlesswho? He plays for the OTHER Miami? Let's think about Losman again. Didja say that he's a disciple of the Steve Clarkson Academy of Mediocre QBing?"

Good memories ... although it feels like a million years ago (doesn't it, though?) when these teams squared off in Game 1 of the '98 season opener in B'More ... the first regular-season game at Ravens Stadium (which might've been before the statue of JohnnyU.HasAVolleyballForGenitalia was, ha ha ha, "erected" -- I mean, I was there for that game w/ my free tix for me n' the Mrs. and all I remember was Jimmy Harbaugh bein' really really so-so ... and then Eric Zeier got into the game ... but that was long after Harper LeBel made that horrendous long snap on a punt for a loss of 31 yds. to inside the Raven 5 ... and, of course, we'll never forgive Richard Huntley for breakin' off that long, 40+ jaunt down the sideline before his TD bid was thwarted by Duane Starks tracking him down and then punching the ball loose, la pelota bouncing free and through the end zone for a touchback ... ).

For sure, we'll hear plenty in the upcoming days (unless we boycott the Disneyland Sports Channel known as ... wait a sec, did Berman spend the lockout chain-smoking and eating spoonfuls of sawdust? 'cuz his voice sounds raspier and more-gravelly than Nina Blackwood's) about how the Steelers' D is too old, blah blah blah ... the offensive line is a mess, blah blah blah ...

Addressing the first concern, the Curtain probably needs some new, younger blood. The only starters under the age of 30 are Woodley, Timmons and Willie Gay (Hampton 34, Keisel 33, Smith 35, von Oelhoffen 40, Farrior 36, Harrison 32, Taylor 31, Polamalu 30, Clark 32 ... okay, so I snuck Kimo's name in there just for kicks).

Oh, and it looks like Crezdon Butler didn't pan out at CB, shucks ...

So, as I begin my 40th season of believing in the Steelers (the first 25 as the head of Blk-N-Ylw ops for the California Bureau; the past 14 as one of the chief deputies of the Mid-Atlantic Corridor's checkpoints), I BELIEVE THAT THEY'LL BE OKAY -- someplace in the W-L potential of 9-7 or even 10-6, injuries permitting.

If they eat their Wheaties and suck down some Geritol ... 11-5, here we come.

The OL will probably be another messy situation, but, it's always that way, isn't it?

Guess they'll figure it out.

Or not ...

More likely, yes.

Yet, this is a roster with five future Hall of Famers (Polamalu, Ward, Roethlisberger, Woodley, Pouncey), so, it'll be necessary to tap into some of that "leadership" which people talk so much about.

That's the way to make sure that an opening-day setback remains marooned in Week 1.

And, that'll eliminate the need for spending as much as five minutes of a future Sunday hearing a potentially-inebriated Sonny quip, "A first down here would be nice" -- to which a more-than-likely-drunken Sam Huff would add, "Ain't that right."

That's awesome broadcasting -- although, if I'd been born n' raised in Squirrel Hill and had spent my childhood and adolescence listening to the amateurish yoinks and rants of Myron Cope, I'd probably, right now, be in my 13th year of rooting for the Carolina Panthers following 16 years of faithfulness to the Browns, interrupted by a 3-yr. stint bein' a Birmingham Stallions diehard.

It's all about distancing yourself from what you can distance yourself from.

Y'know ... steering clear of lousy broadcasters.

And statues with freakishly exaggerated genitalia ...

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