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Thursday, January 29, 2015

I'm With Stupid

Forgive me if I'm enjoying the gradually-then-suddenly decline and fall of Meth Valley Barbie a little too much, but this broad's glass-breaking jabber has simply gone on so far past its sell-by date, so we're not just gonna let it go. It needs to be hammered into 'murka's seeping lizard brain just how corrosive her nonsense has been to what's left of a national political body, to allow this person to hang around as long as she has.

Especially when people pull out these ham-fisted "I'm not defending her, but...." pieces that are really just intended to highlight the lamestream media's manifold hypocrisies and inconsistencies.

I'll grant him one point, at least:

And as for all of the attention paid to Palin's supposed white trash brood, remember that Joe Biden's son Hunter was given a special waiver to join the Navy at age 43 only to be kicked out for doing cocaine at age 44. This is the same son who had rather questionable ties to a Ukrainian gas company.

Absolutely. Hunter Biden's appointment to the board (as legal advisor) of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma does and should raise eyebrows and questions, especially since it just came months after Putin's annexation of the Crimean peninsula, and our subsequent saber-rattling.

I mean, it's not quite as questionable as, say, Dick Cheney making a metric fuckton of money from a war that he pushed like Ron Jeremy for, but sure, at the very least, Hunter Biden's journey over the last twelve months should remove all doubt that there are at minimum two Americas.

But impressively, the author manages to undermine his own point in the very next sentences:

Despite being far more consequential problems than whether or not Palin's kids got in a scrape at a snowmobile kegger, these scandals barely registered and media sure as hell hasn't pointed many fingers at the Vice President for the decisions of his kids. With all the tabloid coverage of Palin and her family since 2008 her critics certainly act like they're vindicated, but it's telling they don't even try to make the argument that Joe Biden was a superior man for the job.

A few things here. One is the obvious, that Palin has spent the last few years repositioning herself in the eyes of the American public. No, I don't mean "she was asking for it", but she has become an entertainment figure at least as much as a political figure. She was smart enough to realize that there's far more money and less actual work being the former than the latter. But she forgot that the reward for being a celebrity is that journos rummage through your trash and hang on every stupid thing you say. And when your reputation is for saying stupid shit, well, don't be too surprised when they look at you like a dog looks at a T-bone.

Secondly, Palin has made a bad habit of padding her ascent to reality teevee queen with plenty of social conservative red meat, such as advocating abstinence -- for your kids anyway, not hers. This is not a reflection of Palin as a parent; teenage girls get knocked up, although that number is indeed declining, except of course in abstinence-only states. But even if you're an ordinary mom in the supermarket, if you have a teenage daughter who got knocked up, you kinda have a moral obligation to STFU about the choices of other females. If you hold or have held or are pretending to try to attain in the future some sort of political office where your words might have actual influence over those choices, you definitely have a moral obligation to stay out of it, or at least not insist on the opposite of what your own children did. It's worse than hypocritical, it just makes you look like a buffoon whose words mean nothing at all.

And finally, while Diamond Joe Biden has certainly had his share of WTF moments before and since becoming vice-president, the fact of the matter is that Biden has spoken eloquently and extemporaneously on a variety of subjects, especially foreign policy, has written about those subjects, and has never given a speech like these drunken word-salad moments that have long been routine with Palin. Even if you leave out last fall's drunken snowbillies crashing someone's party and starting a brawl, and just pit Palin against Biden, qual for qual, brain cell for brain cell, quote for quote, there's just no contest.

You know and I know and Mark Hemingway certainly knows that if we all got in a room with Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, and talked about serious issues of foreign and domestic policy -- not some bullshit formatted show-pony debate, but a deep-level detailed multi-point discussion on issues, causes, and possible solutions -- Biden would mop the floor with Palin. Hell, you or I or Hemingway could do that.

It's too bad, because there was a time when Palin could have been seen as someone who understood the travails of the working class, how the elites really have screwed them over, and used that as a basis for proposed policy changes. Instead she chose to turn that opportunity into random sequences of memorized catch-phrases, props, and insults.

In other words, just another blogger.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

We Agree On What You Are, We're Just Haggling Over the Price

The Duke Brothers are pretty upfront about their intent, their willingness to pony up $889 million to purchase what they consider democracy. Apparently rounding up to an even billion would have been, I dunno, unseemly or something.

At this point, I don't think most of us give half a shit whether it's the Kochs or George Soros or whoever -- the influence of money needs to be removed from the political process by any means necessary. The media now have the perpetual campaign industry, virtual smokestacks belching shit into our brains 24/7/365, so that before the results are even in from one election, the next one is already being gamed out, two or four years down the line.

Now, the media can keep their bookmaking operation if they must; I suppose a great many anchor careers and behind-the-scenes jobs depend on manufacturing this nonsense. But taking the money out of it would render it a process that, while it will never be truly 100% even, at least makes an honest attempt to curb somewhat the overwhelming influence that filthy pelf has.

Which, of course, is why it will never happen. Not enough peons care enough to do anything about it. And yet, that makes perfect sense -- when your political system and its products aren't even talking to you anymore, but only to each other and their ownersdonors, then maybe it is time to disengage from a corrupt process, with an informed perspective.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sarahnade

Looks like our favorite MILF (that's Moron I'd Like to Forget, smart guy) has outdone herself once again, to an extent that even tools like Byron York and Billy Kristol, who have never missed an opportunity to rub one out over her, are backing away slowly. Jon Stewart had probably the best line for whatever that stream of semi-drunken blather was burbling out of her cakehole:

“You know, that’s the kind of talk you hear before the pharmacist says, ‘Ma’am, you’ve gotta leave the Walgreens,’ Stewart said after one excerpt. “Now we know what it’s like to get cornered by Palin at an open-bar wedding.”

Perhaps more fascinating (to me, anyway) is the photo making the rounds, of Palin and veteran (and Medal of Honor recipient) Dakota Meyer, holding up an extremely homemade sign saying "Fuc_ You Michael Moore".

The sentiment itself is nothing, obviously, just usual useless woofing from the usual doofi. The interesting part is that Meyer (who presumably took the what appears to be roughly 12 seconds to scribble this thing) chose to self-censor by deleting the "k" from "fuck".

As you might imagine, I am rigorously anti-censorship in general, but really this sort of thing is literally -- and yes, I do mean literally -- incomprehensible to me. The censorship of a mainstream media outlet reporting a quote from someone who dared to say one of The Seven Dirty Words, okay -- I may disagree with it in principle, but I get why they did it. Conventionally a newspaper or magazine will typically print the dreaded f-word as "f***" or maybe "f--k", something like that, enough for you to get the gist without committing too heavily.

But I'll be damned if I understand self-censorship. Use the word you mean to use, by god, and either stand full behind that word, or pick a different one. Don't be fucking mealy-mouthed about it. Their inability to say what they mean to say is annoying as all hell, and again impossible to understand.

Then again, we live in a country where shitty fast food is hawked every ten minutes with a shitty cover of a shitty song about a violent home invasion. Any number of political campaigns have done that and worse, trying to cherry-pick a single phrase from an old hit song, even when the context of the song itself completely undermines the point the candidate is trying to make. Bush-Cheney using Won't Get Fooled Again, but not the "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" part. I have never understood that, and I don't understand this removing-the-last-letter thing, like we don't all know what you're talking about, douchebag.

I'm curious as to what sort of dopey asshole thinks they're classin' up the jernt by removing the k from the word fuck. The cognitive dissonance, the inability to see the disconnect between trying to make what you think is a fresh, bold point, while simultaneously diluting its intent and impact.

Then you have the crosshairs in the two o's in "Moore". This is a classic example of some people never learning because they really don't intend to learn anything. Suppose we ask Gabrielle Giffords what she thinks about what crosshairs mean. Their chickenshit denials that they don't want anyone to get hurt are every bit as chickenshit as their ricockulous "fuc_ you" nonsense.

Fortunately, Palin's time seems to be just about up, whether or not she knows it, whether or not she even cares. Nobody cares whether she might really run for office, any more than they care if Donald Trump might run for office, because as dumb as these motherfuckers are, they're at least smart enough to know that neither Palin nor Trump will ever really run, because that's work, that's a job you actually have to show up for, and work with other people.

But the goons that empowered her in the first place, who have moved on to assholes like Ted Cruz now that Palin is used up, reveals herself to be meaner and weirder and dumber with each new appearance, they're still around, still voting against themselves, their families, their communities. They've managed to damn near destroy the country in slightly more than a generation, with nothing more than piss and fear and spite, and an endless supply of bullshit.

(And, of course, the bizarre impracticality of making every potential chief executive applying for the position to genuflect to a state which is statistically much different from the most populous and prosperous states, and contains just one percent of the nation's total population. As opposed to, say, California, where nearly 1 in 9 Americans reside, and which would be a top 10 world economy on its own. Nah, that would make too much sense. Let's let Meth County decide with a hawg-gelding competition.)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Endless Kabuki

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -- Frank Zappa
Hollywood is like high school, but with money. -- Martin Mull


Traditionally the "silly season" for "news" has been in the summer, since people (somebody, anyway) are on vacation and paying even less attention than usual. But it seems like this week -- heading straight into what is an unseasonably nice weekend here in the NorCal (I'm barbecuing steaks in about an hour, fool, so suck on it, snow country! Global warming, amirite?) -- has had more than its rightful share of sheer nonsense.

Starting with the State of the Union, a completely useless pseudo-political appendage, nothing more than an extended plug for the now-perpetual campaign that undergirds this nation's version of political engagement. Yes, Obama managed a few bons mots at the stone-faced dipshits on the other side of the proverbial aisle. He's always talked a good game, that's how he got in. Walking said talk has always been another matter, the tedious, mindless intransigence of the opposition notwithstanding.

Somewhere along the line, the SOTU has morphed from a routine of the president giving the speech, and an individual from the opposition party being appointed to giving a single rebuttal, to multiple responses in the same key, all of them stupid. It would be one thing if the respondents each had a fresh take or perspective on what, let's face it, is simply a barrage of self-serving hortatory rhetorical boilerplate. But they don't; instead of orchestrating their views, the teatards all play a triangle, and ting it at random intervals, or perhaps to some indiscernible inner rhythm.

I think we all had the most fun with soup-brained cornhole Senator Bread Bags, who apparently grew up in Dust Bowl Oklahoma in the mid 1930s. Listen close, you dingbat -- I grew up poor, with farmers and dairymen in my family (though we didn't get the gubmint subsidies Senator Hawg Ballz' kinfolk got, apparently not enough to buy her actual shoes). I know what it's like to wear the same clothes and shoes two years at a time, to stretch the same dinner three or four nights.

But I never wore bread bags over my shoes, not the least reason for which is that bread bags are not particularly known for their exceptional durability; they are, after all, made specifically to encase a food item which typically lasts less than a week. I mean, we all know these "stories" are 100% grade-A bullshit, but usually there's at least some believability to some of them. Hawg Ballz didn't even bother to brush the peanuts off this one when she pulled it directly out of her ass.

Hey, whatever. If you're the sort that takes some sort of weird "pride" in stuffing plastic bags and cardboard into shoes that really should be replaced, more power to you. Hell, you might be up for the one-two jib-jab of the King and Queen of Holy Derp pretending one more blessed time to throw their pointy hats in the ring. Will anyone fall for it this time?

Do we really need to ask? No matter what the question is, regardless of the ninth-circle example of sheer stupidity, whenever you read it and ask if anyone is really that fucking dumb, invariably someone shuffles forward, finger jammed into nostril up to the third knuckle, as if to say, "Uh, yup."

Trump and Palin are just two of the speakers -- and you know I use the term loosely -- gathered at something called the Iowa Freedom Summit (because "Fuckfest 2016" would have been too obvious). A larger collection of card-carrying shitbirds you will not find outside of a state penitentiary. These are people who literally cannot wait to destroy what's left of their country, spread the profits among themselves, and then find newer and better ways to export said destruction as far and wide as possible.

The icing on this shit sandwich of a news week is the manufactured outrage over Michael Moore and Seth Rogen tweeting smartass remarks of mild dissent regarding Duh Most Patriotic Movie Evar. You see, when it's some frog rag getting lit up over its disparaging remarks about Islam, every conservadouche is suddenly a fucking free-speech champeen, never mind that Charlie Hebdo had said nasty things about the Catholic Church as well. But it's all good because booga-booga-moooslim.

But a couple people say that the movie felt a little propagandistic (gee, ya think?) and even Dean Fucking Cain (hey, I kinda remember him, I think) comes unglued. You would think that Moore had directly referred to Chris Kyle (PBUH) as a "coward," rather than mentioning that because Moore's uncle was killed by a sniper in WW2, Moore's family had routinely referred to that mode of killing as cowardly in general. (For the record, I happen to disagree; for the most part, killing is killing. I'd say a drone bombing of a wedding party is pretty fucking cowardly, though.)

And you'd think that Rogen had called Kyle a Nazi or something, instead of merely alluding to the reputedly (I haven't seen it yet, not in any rush, will probably Netflix it eventually) propagandistic nature of the film. And so now Dean Cain and, um, Kid Rock want to kick Rogen's ass or something.

There's a thread in the tenor of these hirsute defenders of Chris Kyle's sacred honor, as if they themselves had a vested interest. More to the point, the "he did this in order to give you your rights" tack is just nuts. I don't have an issue with Kyle's feelings about the people he shot, or Iraqis and Muslims in general. No doubt most of the individuals Kyle encountered or dispatched were, in fact, what most of us would regard as "savages"; I sure as hell can't think of many better words to describe the sort of motherless fucks who torture people with power drills.

But that is orthogonal to whether Iraq or any of its demonic hordes presented anything resembling an actual threat to the Homeland, or that we even had a clue as to what sort of people we were supporting or aligning ourselves with. "Destabilizing unfriendly regimes" has a nice ring to it, for the ear of the hegemon; the reality of it is much different, now more than ever. But it's not like any of the people Chris Kyle killed from afar were on the verge of hopping a plane the next day so they could strap themselves with Semtex and ball bearing and hit the nearest mall food court. Yet that seems to be the thrust of the arguments, the japing at Moore and Rogen (who, if you haven't heard, are fat).

Maybe when Martin Mull famously opined that showbiz (and that's all any of this is, folks; you might as well have TMZ doing political coverage anymore) was like high school with money, he was being too generous. Because these days it seems more like preschool.

Tons of Anarchy

In following the case against Silk Road, and a quick skim of the purported log of the alleged Keyser Soze Dread Pirate Roberts, my initial kneejerk is to condemn the gubmint for its usual intrusions, this is all about The Man getting his piece of the action and wetting his beak, that they won't be happy until they've corralled all the Kim Dotcom and Dread Pirate Roberts types out there in the cyberworld, lurking in the .onion layer, etc.

But then there's this little gem from way down deep in the log:


Alrighty then. Not sure what's worse, some numbnuts kid trying to push shrooms for cyber-currency and bringing the Hell's Angels in for his wetwork, or him being stupid enough to write it down.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

And Jingo Was His Name. Ohhh.

The idea of "freedom of speech" is one of those things that resonates across the political spectrum, even if different people have radically different ideas about what exactly it means. What I think it means ultimately is that everyone has a right to be wrong, and even to be an obnoxious asshole about it. (See:  Party, Tea.) As long it doesn't pick anyone's pocket or break their arm, it can't -- and shouldn't -- be squelched.

So Bradley Cooper bought the film rights to deceased SEAL sniper (and serial fabulist) Chris Kyle's life, and got The Chair Haranguer to direct it. Oscars for everyone! And a perfect opportunity for Joe Average to refuse to flex his brain muscle one more blessed time. Who knew that people only want to see war movies where your side is clearly the good guys?

That's not to say that Michael Moore didn't know what he was instigating with his tweet about snipers being cowards. Moore has certainly made some wonderful movies and excellent points in the past, but he fails to understand what pretty much every liberal save Bill Clinton (who is a "liberal" only in the most technical sense, and only in comparison with the full-blood psychopaths on the other side) fails to understand -- the average 'murkin does not want the facts or discussion. He wants affirmation. He does not want to be challenged in his thoughts about The Troops, although he has yet to write his duly elected representatives to, you know, pay them better.

Even though the US military is obviously the largest in terms of firepower, one of the largest in terms of manpower, and by far the largest in area of deployment, there is actually only a very small percentage of Americans who serve or have served in the military, or even have a family member or friend in the military. Consequently, they are treated with a weird mix of misplaced reverence and outright ignorance. I'm not sure what you do, or why you do it, but I worship you for it, but not enough to keep you off food stamps, or to only send you to die for worthwhile causes. That's what all the ceremonial mumbo-jumbo boils down to, when the rubber meets the proverbial road.

Ceremony ends up mattering more than the people themselves; we would rather fold giant flags in football stadiums and participate in the obligatory 7th-inning stretch ritual than, I dunno, make the VA functional, get them jobs and counseling when they need it after returning. It's much easier to endlessly deal the more-patriotic-than-thou card off the bottom of the deck, than to think or do or say anything remotely useful to anyone besides themselves. Wrap it in a flag with plenty of empty benedictions, and you got yourself any random battle of twits virtually anywhere in this here fine country. It's not that difficult.

Here's what I suspect Joe 'murka's real take on snipers is:  their snipers are cowards, ours are heroes. That's all it ever is.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hypin' and Wipin'

Doop de doop....let's find some easy fish in a barrel we can perforate, just because. Sometimes, the idiots that have been built up into quasi-celebs are interesting in the sense that their hype machines are useful to watch in action.

After Jessa Duggar, 22, participated in March for Life, a peaceful protest against abortion in Little Rock, fans are flipping over what they see as the 19 Kids and Counting star’s “hypocritical” beliefs.

Yes, I'm sure the doofi that actually watch this shit are shocked -- shocked! -- to find that the members of a family whose lone skill is reproducing might be anti-abortion. Why, the hell you say! Not only that, but the "examples" given in the "article" are logically incoherent, and probably don't even come from viewers of the show.

No doubt we've all done these little "walkabouts" of the internets every so often, just surfing randomly for a period of time, seeing what crops up. "Entertainment" writing, never exactly a bastion of even lowbrow prose, seems now to be at a point that makes the old National Enquirer look like the Utne Reader.

Not there's anything wrong per se with a sensationalistic headline designed to draw eyeballs and clicks, but this thing should have come in two-ply, its "points" so loosely (or un-) corroborated as to be non-existent. Anyone who watched these shows and is seriously surprised at their positions on hot-button issues should not be allowed to drive or reproduce.

"So," you sigh, rubbing your throbbing temples, "is there more to this highly entertaining saga of these overbreeding hillfolk?" Reader, you know there is.

Oldest BreederDuggar sister Jana is, according to this breathless celebrojourno nonsense, upset that at the ripe old age of 25, she's practically a spinster, and duty-bound to help her moron parents raise their ricockulously sized brood. Wouldn't want her to, say, go to college, live her own life, learn that the world is so much bigger of a place than her goofball parents have led her to believe.

[Jana] Duggar has seen sisters Jill Duggar Dillard and Jessa Duggar Seewald head forward into courtships and marriage in 2014, and the reality star is reportedly worried she might never find someone to free her from her all-encompassing family duties.
The eldest daughter in the extended Duggar family was groomed by parents Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar to helping raise her 16 younger siblings.

....

This unique system of teaching children responsibility, respect and devotion to God puts an added strain on female children, because they are raised to help "mother" their younger siblings. Michelle Duggar detailed this family responsibility in her 2008 book "The Duggars, 20 and Counting."
"The children are given jurisdictions, or routine chores. After the younger ones are done, they are to report to their 'buddy' or older sibling for instructions. The oldest children also help with homeschooling the younger children. Obedience is a way to respect both your parents and God," revealed Michelle Duggar.

As the family's eldest daughter, Jessa Duggar has been playing a mother role since she was a toddler.

Nice, huh? These kids have literally been bred and groomed to be breeders first, self-actualized human beings second. It's easy to poke the usual snark at them, but it's just sad, is what it is. It's a big, interesting world out there and all they know is raising their siblings because their parents refuse to stop fucking.

Not that we want these kids to start snorting coke and doing porn, but even Amish kids get their rumspringa.

Because They're Dicks

Without even looking, I knew which states prefer to celebrate an insurrectionist traitor instead of a civil rights icon. Because these are states (let's just call them 48, 49, and 50, since they take turns licking the bottom of the barrel in just about every quality-of-life category) that have nothing better to do but stomp their wittle feet in the supermarket, thinking they're showing Mommy a thing or two, unaware that the rest of the store is looking at them, quietly thinking, "If that was my kid, I'd grab a box of his favorite cereal, beat the shit out of him with it, and then box up all his toys for a couple weeks the second we get back home."

I don't really have anything against Lee in particular; in fact, he is supposedly a distant relative. Lee was a product of his time, fighting more or less honorably for a thoroughly dishonorable cause. This is really about the knuckle-dragging mossbacks that cling to this stupid shit, because they have nothing else to offer, because their states have nothing else to offer. People come from around the world to California, to see Yosemite or Hollywood or the Golden Gate Bridge, or hell to start a new career in the tech industry, write an app and gentrify what's left of the poorz outta there. They're not flocking to Pigfucker's Holler to see the Twine Museum.

Matthew 16:26 / Mark 8:36

If 85 individuals holding more wealth than 3.5 billion wasn't enough last year, then why would the top 1% having half of everything be any different?

What's pathetic is when your ordinary average maroon steps in to concern troll the numbers, something along the lines of "it's not a zero-sum game, someone else's success doesn't affect my ability to succeed." The thing is, that simple statement should be true, but it no longer is.

The mantra some of us have been preaching -- and it continues apace, and in fact is accelerating -- is that we have more people than we have things for them to do at which they can earn a decent living, much less get ahead. How much of the current economy is predicated on the app lottery system, waiting for some zit-faced, wet-behind-the-ears kid to crank out some bullshit app to help you find the nearest local rub-and-tug or whatever, and then someone else way overpaying for it?

One of the things to consider in this vaunted "post-scarcity society" of ours is the sorts of skills which have been devalued, or are in the process of being automated, and what skills are going to be needed moving forward. Vocational trades such as contracting (including construction, plumbing, electrical, etc.), automotive engine repair, farming, and cooking cannot be automated as simply as so many of the other occupations that have been replaced by robots over the past few decades. Used to be that creative pursuits couldn't be automated, but a trip to your local cineplex should set you straight on how much longer that's going to be true.

Not yet, anyway, but Flying Spaghetti Monster knows they're trying their damndest to automate every possible thing. I don't know who they expect to buy their products, or how, once half the people are out of work and the other half are slaving for peanuts, but in an extreme skew, they can hoard what they have or just trade with each other I guess. Like Jay Gould said a hundred years ago, they're just paying half the working class to kill the other half.

I've given up on the notion of the average 'murkin deciding to do anything about it; as noted above the usual rubes are always too willing to cut their own throats. And there's never going to come a time when these awful people who inherited more money than they could hope to spend in ten lifetimes willingly pay even a cent more in tax. They'd much rather live in their gated communities and mega-yachts than spend one goddamned dime on improving their communities at all.

What are the options, if you're not lucky enough to be hatched into the Wal-Mart Billionaire Club? Well, if we're not going to break out the tumbrels and guillotines, then maybe a strategy of disengaging (from their system) and diversifying (your skill set and income portfolio) is the way to do it. I don't know what the next generations should expect, though -- knowing these greedy assholes, probably ensuring compliance as a condition of being allowed access to resources.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tout Le Monde N'est Pas Charlie

If you run a blog, one geared primarily toward current events, it makes sense that when events occur, you jump on it with a quickness and register some sort of observational analysis, one that pinpoints your approval or disdain, ultimately. Counter-intuitively, I find myself more and more inclined to wait, to bide time, to consider as many elements, if not all "sides" of the event or argument. This is less a matter of some high-minded mission to craft the ineffable pronunciamento, and more of a recognition that, no matter how obvious something might appear at first, there is almost always more than initially meets the eye.

The initial base reaction to the mass murder of the Parisian satirists at Charlie Hebdo magazine is (and should be) revulsion. Brave stand, I know. Seems like an easy thing to condemn, like human trafficking, or animal cruelty. Setting aside the official iniquities of Balfour and Sykes-Picot and their policy heirs, ordinarily people have the right to be angry and disgusted not just at this massacre, but at other such horrors perpetrated, if by isolated cells of radicals, still radicals of a generally like-minded bent -- to kill, to destroy, to hurt and maim, not necessarily against "westerners," but against any and all people who are inconvenient to their murderous ends.

NFL Championship Game Predictions

I know, I've talked some trash -- and will continue to do so in the future -- about the nature and culture of the NFL, about its propensity for brushing over the off-field incidents, the catastrophic injuries, the slave system of the NCAA that feeds the machine by making unholy sums of money literally off the bodies of broke college kids, etc.

But the competition is the thing; I've been a football fan since I was like seven or eight years old, and so as always, despite my many misgivings about this (or indeed any professional) sport, here are the usual predictions. I would have hit last week's divisional games (and correctly, except for the upstart Colts surprising the Broncos at home, and weirdly sending that latter team into a full tailspin), but real-life circumstances have gotten amazingly busy lately (mostly very good, but still very busy).

Anyway, here are my semi-educated guessesinfallible predictions:

Green Bay (+7.5) at Seattle:  Both of these teams began the 2014 regular season with high expectations -- indeed, this matchup was highly anticipated back in September (the teams were matched up as the very first regular season game of 2014, with the Seahawks winning 36-16). However, both teams got off to very rough (for them) starts, identically going 5-3 in the first half of the season, then each getting hot at the right time and going 7-1 in the second half of the season.

So:  identical regular-season records at 12-4, both teams have elite quarterbacks and excellent defenses, indicating a close game. However, Seattle is very strong at home, losing only twice in the last three seasons (25-2 including playoffs), their defense is fantastic where Green Bay's is merely very good, Marshawn Lynch is a more punishing runner than Eddie Lacy (who again is still very good), and so on.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers refused to challenge trash-talking Seahawks CB Richard Sherman in their regular-season meeting, and as Rodgers appeared to be pretty banged-up last week against their lucky-break win against the Dallas Cowboys, Sherman may have yet another easy afternoon, freeing him up to blitz and harass Rodgers even more. Packers rookie WR Davante Adams is a budding star, and should have at least one or two big plays, but it won't be quite enough.

Also, too:  Did you see what Seahawk safety Kam Chancellor did last week, not once but twice on two consecutive plays? First half should stay close, but Seattle should pull away later in the game.

Final Score:  Seahawks 31, Packers 17.

Indianapolis (+6.5) at New England:  As a lifelong fan of the hapless Oakland Raiders, my disdain of Tom Brady is duly chronicled, primarily due to the refereeing travesty commonly known as The Tuck Rule Game. (As folks are fond of saying about anything and everything, Never Forget.) Ray Lewis had a valid point when he noted that Brady owes a good chunk of his Hall of Fame career to that particular game; it was in the media leading up to that game that coach Bill Belichick had questions about Brady and the Patriots' spotty defense, and it's more than likely that Brady would have been relegated or even traded, losing a home playoff game on a 4th-quarter fumble.

Anyhoo, despite all that, Brady has certainly performed as a top-tier QB for his career, and in the last couple seasons especially, without a true #1 wide receiver, has pushed the Patsies into the playoffs again and again, almost by force of sheer will. Non-murderous tight end Rob Gronkowski has returned to form after significant injury surgeries the last couple seasons, and is Brady's go-to guy.

Andrew Luck and the Colts are making a strong case already to be the AFC dynasty of the future, as Brady and Peyton Manning near retirement. The Colts still need a reliable #1 running back, having wasted a #1 pick in the trade for Cleveland's Trent Richardson last year. T.Y. Hilton has emerged as a #1 wide receiver, but they still need a complementary receiver opposite Hilton. Defensively, Indy is in the middle of the league, slightly better than New England against the pass, slightly worse against the run.

It's tempting to call for an upset on this one -- and it wouldn't be that surprising, but the Pats have the experience and the home-field advantage, and whatever deal with Beelzebub (and the refs) that took place over a decade ago.

Final Score:  Patriots 34, Colts 31.

[Updates and SB predictions immediately following the AFC game tonight.]

[Update:  Even when I'm right, I manage to get it a little wrong -- while I picked both winning teams, I had picked Seattle and Indy to beat the spread. Instead, the increasingly insufferable Seahawks played one of their worst, most inept games in several years, only to stage an epic 4th-quarter comeback, while the hapless Colts were hopelessly overmatched from the outset. Anyway, we get the expected Super Bowl matchup of Seahawks-Patriots, to which half the football-watching nation wonders, can't they both lose? We can at least be consoled by the fact that Tom Brady is getting closer and closer to retirement, while the Seahawks are about to have to make some tough and expensive decisions in free agency. Tune in on game day for our amazing Super Bowl prediction, and Katy Perry's cans.]