Friday, November 11, 2011

Volume 6, Number 14: I'm Not the One with My Face on Some Wack-Ass Cap'n Crunch

I haven't made a blog entry in a while so here are a bunch of quick updates:

The Penn State football child sexual abuse scandal: Truth be told, I didn't know a thing about it until Saturday when that sicko, Jerry Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator, got arrested and charged with 40 counts of molesting young boys.  From there, in just a few days, what looked like one sick man being arrested morphed into one exemplary and clean program (high graduation rate, no gifts or money like USC several years back or SMU in the early '80s, no "Pro Combat" uniforms or even helmet logos) has been reduced to a tarnished, corroded shell.  Head coach Joe Paterno was fired and president Graham Spanier were fired Wednesday night by the Penn State Board of Trustees.  Two other things that shocked me right off the bat: First, this isn't the first time that a charity was set up to help wayward boys, then used for the sexual abuse of those boys.  Father Bruce Ritter set up Covenant House in 1972 and at least four men later said that Fr. Ritter engaged in sexual activities with them.  Sandusky set up a charity called The Second Mile in 1999 and it was through that charity that he molested those boys (most of whom are now young men, and all of whom will have to deal with damaged, violated lives for the rest of their lives).  Scandals like these really hurt charities that do help young boys.  Second, the rioting in the wake of Paterno's firing (including turning over a TV news satellite van)--does it occur to these schmucks that there are more important things in life than college football?

The Tigers: I was amazed by them this past season.  Despite having to patch up a bunch of holes with players that would never have been drafted in my fantasy league in a million parallel universes (Andy Dirks? Al Albuquerque? Danny Worth?), they won their first division title since 1987.  Hats off to Tigers manager Jim Leyland and team president Dave Dombrowski.  A couple of days after they lost to the Texas Rangers in the AL Championship Series, some idiot posted on ""No team finds more ways to LOSE than the Leyland/Dumbrowski Tigers."  My response to this stupid comment: "We all need to be grateful for the work that Leyland and Dombrowski have put together in making the Tigers what they are today. Before Leyland took over as their manager, the Tigers had exactly TWO winning seasons between 1989 and 2005--a 17-season span that included four seasons of 100 losses or more and Randy Smith's near-destruction of the team. They have had five winning seasons since. Mitch Albom once said that Sparky Anderson was great at getting the best out of his team no matter what, "folding the rag for every drop," and Leyland has been great at that as well. The rag just came up dry in the ALCS against the Rangers, that's all. Dave Dombrowski has drafted or traded for many of the Tigers' key players since taking over as the team's GM in 2002. It's no surprise they have been so successful here; after all, they succeeded elsewhere (Leyland with the Pirates and Marlins; Dombrowski with the Expos and Marlins, and incidentally, the Pirates and Expos/Nationals haven't seen much success since they left)."

The Lions: After a 5-0 start (their first since 1956), they are now 6-2.  Again, I give serious props to Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew.  The Lions have done a much better job of drafting under Mayhew than I had expected (especially considering that Mayhew made very different decisions than I would have made at key points in the 2009 draft--he took TE Brandon Pettigrew with the 20th overall pick when I would have gone with OT Michael Oher, and FS Louis Delmas at #33 when I would have opted for a linebacker, either James Laurinaitis or Rey Maualuga).  Matthew Stafford is healthy--knock on wood--and when they can run the ball, they can win.  All in all, it's a 180-degree turnaround from the Hell of the Matt Millen years.

Funniest video in recent months: Epic Rap Battles of History #13: Mr. T vs. Mr. Rogers.  Mr. Rogers absolutely pwned Mr. T in this one in my opinion.  Epic Rap Battles of History is a series of short videos featuring rap battles between historical and/or fictitious figures (Darth Vader vs. Adolf Hitler, Dr. Seuss vs. Shakespeare, etc.)  

I don't know if I've ever said it before, but I still consider the greatest acting performance I've ever seen to be Martin Landau's Academy Award-winning portrayal of Bela Lugosi in the 1994 Tim Burton biopic, Ed Wood.  (Here's a clip from the film--warning for you little kids out there, there's some swearing in this one.)  Landau, for me, defined what it meant to disappear into a character to the point that you wouldn't recognize the actor, and keep in mind, Lugosi was both a real person and an actor himself.  His performance was so good that if anyone wanted to remake a film Lugosi had made during the final years of his life, I would hope that Landau would play whatever character Lugosi played.  It would be as if Lugosi had come back to life.

One more thing--I wish that Daylight Savings Time would go back to starting on the final Sunday in April and ending on the final Sunday in October.  (It changed in 2005 in the Energy Policy Act so that it now starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November; this, among other things, means kids trick-or-treating in broad daylight when it should be "dusk".)  Never mind that I really wish we were in the Central Time Zone (all TV shows start/end an hour earlier--yippee).

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