2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 14

footballThe latest meeting of the minds in college football produced a Top 4 of Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, & Washington. This weekend’s schedule features all of the conference title games, and it will be fascinating to see how it all shakes out. Theoretically if all of the previously mentioned teams win everything stays the same. But wait…we already have a fly in the ointment with Ohio St. not even playing in the Big Ten championship game!! No big deal though, as the Buckeyes look like they are solidly in the playoff. It actually works out in their favor that their one loss occurred way back in October and they won’t have an opportunity to lose now. Alabama is in the playoff too. It doesn’t even matter if they lose the SEC championship (they won’t). So the drama lies with Washington & Clemson. If either of them lose then there are 3 or 4 teams in the mix to jump into the playoff debate, depending of course on the outcome of some other contests. Buckle up fans…it’s going to be a great weekend. Oh, speaking of great weekends, both Zach & I did well last time out. He was 4-3, while I was 6-1 because Ohio St. won but didn’t cover.

My Season:        40-38

Z’s Season:        30-48






Colorado            vs.    Washington (-7.5)

washington2The Pac 12 title game takes place in Santa Clara, CA and kicks off the weekend festivities on Friday night. This might turn out to be the best coloradobattle of them all. The Huskies are in a precarious position. They need to win, but it’d help their playoff cause if they would do so in impressive fashion. I’d love to pick the upset…but I just can’t go there. I wish I could. Conversely, Zach has no problem picking the upset, although he has ulterior motives.

My Pick:     Washington

Z’s Pick:     Colorado




Oklahoma State         at      Oklahoma (-11.5)

oklahoma2The Big 12 doesn’t officially begin having a conference championship game until next year, but since expansion isn’t happening and future title oklahoma_state_cowboys_iphone_wallpapergames will feature the top two teams in the conference this really is basically the same thing. The Sooners have the home field and have been playing well since some early season struggles. A win won’t get them in the playoff, but it’ll get them a warm bowl destination in January. Zach likes the Sooners chances of winning the game, but he doesn’t believe they’ll cover the points.

My Pick:     Oklahoma

Z’s Pick:     Oklahoma St.




Alabama (-24)    vs.    Florida

alabamatideThe only drama in the SEC title game is whether or not the Tide will roll enough to cover the substantial point spread. The game takes place in florida gators imageAtlanta so there is no home field advantage for either team. Typically I am rather uncomfortable with 3TD+ spreads, but I’m going to throw caution to the wind just this once. Zach is a bit more conservative. He thinks ‘Bama will win, but it’ll be a little closer than 24 points.

My Pick:     Alabama

Z’s Pick:     Florida




Clemson (-10)   vs.    Virginia Tech

Virginia_Tech_Hokies2The ACC championship game takes place in Orlando, FL, which again means no home field advantage for either team. The Hokies have been clemsoninconsistent and haven’t really beaten anybody significant. The Tigers have spent the season on the brink, with too close for comfort victories over Auburn, Troy, Louisville, NC St., Pitt, & Florida St. I’m rooting for a little chaos in this playoff situation, and it feels like this may be the only opportunity for that to occur. It’s probably not the wise choice, but what the hell…let’s have some fun. Zach is once again playing it smart, picking Clemson to win easily.

My Pick:     Virginia Tech

Z’s Pick:     Clemson




Wisconsin (-2)   vs.    Penn State

The winner of this game has the most to gain if another playoff contender slips up. The committee isn’t going to put both Ohio St. and Michigan in the playoff while WisconsinBadgersleaving out the Big Ten Champion. Or would they?? Both of these teams did lose to the Wolverines. I look forward to a fascinating argument wherein the inherent flaws of this playoff system are exposed and subsequent changes are made. Zach likes the Badgers’ defense to get the job done.

My Pick:     Wisconsin

Z’s Pick:     Wisconsin

Thoughts On Christmas Shopping

ArtificialPre-LitTreeAnd so it begins. Today is Black Friday. Yesterday most of us celebrated, in some form or fashion, our most underappreciated holiday…Thanksgiving. We got up early for the big parade, we watched a lot of football, and we chowed down on turkey, stuffing, sweet taters, & pumpkin pie. By now though we have moved on. A Christmas movie or two has been watched. Carols are being played. Trees & other decorations are already up or soon will be. We are in full throttle Christmas mode.


bf1It is commonly stated that today is the busiest shopping day of the year. I have my doubts about that, but I suppose it is a nifty marketing ploy. Some of you may have already been shopping last night/early this morning. Black Friday has become such a hyped event that the sales now begin the day before, but traditionally…and I use that word with some level of revulsion…it has been a midnight or later kind of thing. Apparently lots of folks are really into it. My old buddy Tony V. in Florida LOVES Black Friday. He plans an intricate strategy. Where he’s going. What he’s buying where. Maps out the route. Gets all the sales flyers & coupons as soon as they become available weeks before. His Black Friday battle plan is better than the U.S. exit strategy from The Middle East. The Pentagon should probably hire him as a consultant. Conversely, I couldn’t possibly care less if a $1000 television is available at WalMart for $35. Perhaps bf2that reflects badly on my grasp of economics, but I prefer to look at it as a prudent decision to be home in my warm bed at 3am snuggling with Rocco and having Wacky Dreams instead of traipsing around battling the elements & encountering humanity wallowing in avaricious excess. I have pondered the idea of participating merely as a sociological exercise, but I always talk myself out of it. If that ever changes citizens of The Manoverse will surely get a firsthand account of the occasion, but don’t hold your breath.


There was a time…long ago in the halcyon days of childhood…that I did enjoy the hustle & bustle of the mall at Christmastime. However, a) I didn’t have to drive on slick roads…that was my mother’s problem, b) I didn’t have to find a place to park, c) being in large crowds was fun & exciting, not like now when it is a reason to double the dosage of my blood pressure meds, d) my shopping list was very small & inexpensive, & e) I was a kid who didn’t know any better. Now?? I don’t even enjoy the mall on a boring macysTuesday afternoon in the middle of spring, so the idea of going there when it’s actually crowded & noisy makes me nauseous. There is ONE exception. The local United Way has a spot in the middle of the mall where volunteers from its organizations will wrap your presents for a small donation. They even use ribbons & bows, and I like ribbons & bows. They’re festive. Wrapping gifts isn’t really a talent I possess, so I happily fork over a few bucks to have someone else with such skills do the job for me. I choose a day when the weather isn’t horrible, park as close to the appropriate entrance as I can get, take my plunder to the aforementioned location, and wait patiently until they are done. Then I take my lovely wrapped bundles and get out of Dodge as quickly as possible. Doing this on a weekday does minimize the agony just a bit, and I am lucky to have had employment situations for much of the past two decades that have enabled me to go about things in this manner.


angelNow my mother…God bless her soul…always did Christmas shopping the smart way. She’d begin the task as early as the previous spring. I would be totally surprised by a gift on Christmas morning because it was something that I’d casually mentioned wanting back in March and had almost completely forgotten about by the time the holiday season rolled around, but Mom had taken note and bought the thing not long after I’d expressed interest all those months ago. She was the BEST gift giver. Mom would give us things we never knew we’d always wanted. Looking back I now realize that the only reason she endured the hellish retail scene in December was because my sister & I needed/wanted to go. She was already done!! She put up with the mall for US!! What a great mother.


driveI know a lot of people that refuse to be confined by the limitations of the local mall or other nearby stores. I live about equal distance…a couple of hours give or take…from both Pittsburgh, PA and West Virginia’s capitol city of Charleston. Both offer much more retail variety than our small town, and some enjoy spending a day or even an entire weekend making the trek to take advantage of that expanded assortment of choices. Not this guy. Because of an auto accident many years ago I have a rather debilitating driving phobia, so the thought of braving the highways & byways of Pittsburgh terrifies me. But even if that weren’t the case I just don’t believe those places have anything THAT great to justify the trip. They pretty much have the same stuff we have here…just more of it. Atleast that’s what I tell myself to justify not being adventurous.


shop1Of course shopping malls & retail outlets have largely been rendered pointless because of one thing…The Internet. Yes friends, online shopping is where it’s at!! I already began Christmas shopping earlier this week right here in the comfort of my humble Bachelor Palace. Obviously one can peruse the big sites…Amazon, Ebay, WalMart, etc., but really you can find just about anything in cyberspace if you are persistent in the search. You are only limited by your imagination & bank account. Not only does Christmas shopping online offer almost limitless possibilities, but there are other benefits. You aren’t restricted by the time constraints of when stores open or close. I’m a night owl, so much of my shopping will be done in the wee hours of late night/early morning. Depending on the rules & regulations of your job you may be able to knock out some of your list while at work, atleast on your break or lunch hour. Almost everyone has access to a computer or smartphone at all times these days, right?? You might even make a purchase or two while sitting in traffic!! How cool is that?? Being productive is a good thing. And these trinkets, knick-knacks, deliver1baubles, & doodads that you order are delivered…usually right to your front door!! That’s awesome, especially as the weather deteriorates in December. One just needs to be careful and allow enough time for delivery. Sure Amazon will usually have your stuff to you in just a few days, but a more obscure site won’t be quite so expeditious or will make such rapidity cost prohibitive. There really is no downside to this Internet thing other than identity theft.


I do suggest that, even if you’re shopping online, have some kind of strategery. Make a list of who you listwant to buy gifts for and how much you want to spend, both individually and in total. We still have to pay our rent or mortgage, put gas in the vehicle, feed the dog/cat/ferret/fish/amphibian, eat, & buy toiletries. Christmas doesn’t make that stuff go away. Be smart.


snoopI do not believe that there is anything wrong with asking someone what they want for Christmas. Ideally if it is someone you are close enough to want to buy a Christmas gift for you have some inclination of what their interests are or what they really need, but let’s be real…we all know those people that are just so darn difficult to shop for. They might lead really tedious lives, or perhaps they’re just really persnickety and won’t be all that captivated by anything you give them. I’ve bought my father more than one gift over the years that I know has ended up collecting dust in a closet in his house because Dad is just kind of stuck in his ways and doesn’t really have any hobbies. When he was young & spry he was a golfer so that was my go-to every Christmas, birthday, & Father’s Day…golf balls, golf tees, golf clothing. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. Sadly those days are gone which makes things a little more challenging, but I still manage. Anyway, if you’re not sure what to get someone ask them…they might surprise you with an idea. Or they might stonewall you with platitudes like “I just want your friendship” or “You don’t need to get me anything. I’ve already got everything”. That’s the kind of stuff I say because I hate being asked what I want for Christmas. It’s awkward. If you run up against someone like me you’ll just have to be a little more Machiavellian in your inquiry.


gift-cards-overhead-1-250What about gift cards?? Ehhhhhhh……I go back & forth on this discussion. I think in the right situation with the right person a gift card is acceptable. However, it can also be lazy, uninspired, & totally lacking in imagination. Proceed with caution.


VegasExperiences make really cool gifts. Concert tickets. Movie tickets. Game tickets. Plane tickets. Vacation getaways. Although it helps if you’re wealthy if you are giving a trip as a Christmas present. If you’re rich and like to give away vacations please leave a comment on this post. Let’s be friends.



Of course I want to be REALLY clear about something…Christmas is NOT about shopping or gifts. My nativityinclination is to assume that everyone knows that, but I have to remind myself that everyone doesn’t. A couple of millennia ago a Child was born in a stable. That Child was the Son of God, born with the express purpose of spreading His Word to the masses and then dying for OUR sins. I respect anyone’s right to disagree but I will not apologize for my beliefs or hide behind closed doors whispering to other believers.


Wow, that got heavy, didn’t it??


merry-christmas-bells-2Okay, so we’ve got about a month of this Christmas thing. There will be music. There will be movies. There will be horribly mawkish drivel on The Hallmark Channel. You will eat cookies & pies and gain weight (don’t go to the doctor for a check-up until spring). And yes, there will be shopping. Is Christmas too commercialized?? Clearly. Have we minimized Jesus in favor of Santa Claus?? Probably. We can play a part in correcting those problems on an individual basis. Having said that, the old maxim “’tis better to give than receive” has validity. Buying someone a Christmas gift is a way to show that we love, respect, & appreciate them. Be prudent. Be original. Show discernment. Enjoy. It’s Christmas…have fun. God bless.

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 13

turkeyfootballHappy Thanksgiving Manoverse!! Not only do we get to enjoy tasty vittles like turkey, stuffing, yams, & pumpkin pie today, but we get a heaping helping of football during this long holiday weekend. It’s Rivalry Week in college football, so that’s what we are focusing on. Sadly, because of conference realignment, several old rivalries have gone by the wayside…Nebraska vs. Oklahoma, The Backyard Brawl (WVU vs. Pitt), The Border War (Missouri vs. Kansas). However, many remain and this year some of them actually mean something beyond bragging rights. Speaking of which, neither Zach nor myself can brag about last week’s picks, which resulted in me going 3-2 and him trailing at 2-3. I’m still befuddled by what has happened to the Green Bay Packers. At any rate, enjoy food, family, & football, and may God bless each & every one of y’all.

My Season:        34-37

Z’s Season:        26-45






LSU (-5)              at      Texas A&M

Another rivalry that has disappeared from the schedule is Texas vs. Texas A&M, which not only was played annually from 1915-2011, but was a centerpiece of the plotlsugiving for the 1982 classic musical comedy film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. However, I suppose that LSU is an acceptable substitute opponent for the Aggies. The Bayou Bengals are 6-4 in the midst of a roller coaster season, while A&M has fallen to 8-3 after getting thru the first six weeks of the season unscathed. Losing quarterback Trevor Knight to a shoulder injury hasn’t helped. I’d love to pick the upset because A&M does have the home field advantage, but I just don’t have much faith in their backup QB. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     LSU

Z’s Pick:     LSU



Washington (-6)                   at      Washington St.

The Huskies are still technically on the outside looking in at the playoff, but for reasons that we’ll get to soon they have to feel pretty confident about their chances of washington2ultimately sneaking in. Winning this game in impressive fashion would certainly help. The 8-3 Cougars aren’t going to be an easy out on their home field, but given what’s at stake I’d be shocked to see Washington stumble. Zach isn’t sold on Washington’s playoff resume, but agrees they should win this game.

My Pick:     Washington

Z’s Pick:     Washington



Auburn               at      Alabama (-17)

tideturkeyI wish I could get excited about The Iron Bowl. It has produced some lasting memories over the years. However, ‘Bama has been so dominant auburnturkeythis season that I just can’t fathom them losing this game on their home field. Not only that, but I’d be surprised if it is even close. Zach is an optimist, and though he doesn’t believe there will be an outright upset, he thinks it’ll actually be a watchable & competitive game. To be honest I hope he’s right.

My Pick:     Alabama

Z’s Pick:     Auburn



Michigan St.      at      Penn St. (-13)

Penn_State_logo111111The Nittany Lions have clawed their way back to relevance after…issues…that we shall not revisit. Due to upsetting Ohio St. about a month michstago Penn St. would actually sneak into the Big Ten title game with a victory. Meanwhile, the Spartans have had a terrible year. There’s really nothing else one can say. I’d be very surprised if Penn St. blows this opportunity, especially in the cozy confines of Happy Valley. Once again Zach isn’t predicting an upset but he’s a bit uncomfortable with the points.

My Pick:     Penn St.

Z’s Pick:     Michigan St.



Utah                    at      Colorado (-10.5)

Many people may have missed the fact that Colorado moved to the Pac 12 back in 2011. Now they have an opportunity to play in the conference title game (against theutah2 winner of Washington/Washington St.), but they must win this game or else they lose a tiebreaker against USC, who defeated the Buffaloes back in early October. Meanwhile, the Utes come into this game with nothing to gain or lose except pride & bowl position after a stunning loss to 4-7 Oregon last week. A few things are in play here. First of all, I’m not comfortable with the spread. Secondly, I think it is entirely possible that one team in this game is overrated while the other is underrated. I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide which is which. Also, though I’m NOT a conspiracy theorist let’s face it…who would the powers-that-be rather have in the Pac 12 title game…Colorado or USC?? I think that answer is obvious. And finally, Utah’s loss last week isn’t a good think…for Colorado. Do they want to end their season with two losses?? I don’t think so. We’re on the same wavelength here, as Zach IS predicting the upset in this one.

My Pick:     Utah

Z’s Pick:     Utah



Florida                at      Florida St. (-6.5)

Florida_State_SeminolesThe Gators have already secured their spot in the SEC title game, where they will be beaten handily by Alabama. Conversely, the Seminoles florida gators imagearen’t getting anywhere near the ACC title game unless they buy tickets. However, of all these rivalry games this one is near the top of the list as far as records or even the home field being almost meaningless. I feel a disturbance in The Force here. One team has already achieved their goal, the other has nothing to lose. Zach likes the Gators’ defense to get the job done.

My Pick:     Florida St.

Z’s Pick:     Florida



Michigan            at      Ohio St. (-6.5)

Ohio_State_BuckeyesIt’s nice to have this game matter once again. Really cool. Now stick with me here…this might get confusing. If the Wolverines win they will play michigan-wolverines-fan-gearin the conference title game against either Nebraska or Wisconsin (Wisconsin holds that tiebreaker). If Ohio St. wins and Penn St. wins then neither the Wolverines nor the Buckeyes make it to the title game…it’ll be Penn St. vs. Nebraska or Wisconsin. If Ohio St. wins this game but Penn St. loses it’ll be the Buckeyes facing off against Nebraska or Wisconsin. And oh…by the way…all of these teams are still in the conversation for the playoff regardless of what happens here, although one would have to believe that the loser will be out of luck. I’ve said all along that Harbaugh was ahead of schedule, that I didn’t expect him to have Michigan in the national championship picture quite yet. This game is being played in Columbus, which is huge. I love the fact that they are sticking to the traditional noon kickoff despite it being undeniably the biggest game of the week and an obvious choice for the prime time spotlight. It’s the little things, right?? Predictably Zach is picking his favorite team. Heck, even Stevie Wonder could’ve seen that coming.

My Pick:     Ohio State

Z’s Pick:     Michigan

Superfluous 7 Best Thanksgiving Pop Culture Traditions

20071121-first-thanksgivingChristmas gets all the really cool stuff…carols, movies, animated specials, Santa Claus. But there are a few pop culture contributions to Thanksgiving, and I’m not even talking about food. Thanksgiving’s origins were actually just as faith-based as Christmas & Easter, but not directly tied to any particular event like the birth or resurrection of Christ. Multiple days of Thanksgiving were occasionally proclaimed by whatever authority figure might be ostensibly in charge of an area to thank God for His favor & bountiful harvest. That’s neither here nor there though, because our purpose today is not to dive into the debatable history of the holiday. Maybe some other time. Over the years much of the spiritual gravitas has been eroded, replaced by the simple yet universal desire to appreciate the blessings of family & food. Along with that other modest rockwell-thanksgivingtraditions have blossomed, mostly frivolous fun but not completely without meaning. We take comfort in tradition, in events that happen each year like clockwork no matter what kind of madness might surround us. I’d be thrilled to see folks get back to the more pious roots of Thanksgiving, and we can each do that on an individual basis. However I do admittedly enjoy some of the more lighthearted peripherals associated with the holiday. It is in that spirit that I present…..




from the home office in Pilgrim, MI…..




The Superfluous 7 Best Thanksgiving Pop Culture Traditions:






7       Home for the Holidays

Why are families in holiday movies always so unhappy & dysfunctional?? I’m not sure it is always what I would consider funny, but it’s usually entertaining in a hhhprofessional wrestling kind of way. This 1995 offering serves us an all-star cast including Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, & Clare Danes. Hunter stars as a recently downsized art restoration specialist going home to spend Thanksgiving with her peculiar family, including a stodgy sister & brother-in-law, a gay brother, & crazy parents. Did you know that the actress who portrays the weird aunt is the daughter of Charlie Chaplin?? To be honest more kudos should be given to the casting director than anyone else involved with the film, and cocaine probably deserves a tip of the cap for Downey’s frenzied performance. I’m not sure Home for the Holidays is particularly remarkable in the grand cinematic universe or even amongst holiday fare, but it’s entertaining enough.



6       Miracle on 34th St.

I struggled a bit with this choice because it’s a Christmas movie and our present mission is all about Thanksgiving. I’ve said for years that Thanksgiving is almost 34treated dismissively, like a pit stop on the way to something bigger & better. However, the link between the two holidays and the fact that they bookend a month long celebratory season cannot be denied. This 1947 classic in which Santa Claus is “put on trial” opens with a unique look at a certain annual parade that just so happens to take place on Thanksgiving Day. For that reason it is often the first Christmas movie I watch. A couple of things should be noted. First of all there are two versions of the original movie…the black & white edition and a hideously colorized copy. Y’all can do whatever makes you happy, but when I see the colorized film on TV I just keep channel surfing. What can I say…I’m a traditionalist. Also, a remake was made in 1994 starring the lovely Elizabeth Perkins and I have nothing bad to say about it except that it’s a remake. Watch them both if you like, but definitely do not overlook the original in lieu of its modernized rehash. One is a perfectly tasty hamburger, while the other is flawless filet mignon.



5       A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

It’s probably third on the list of beloved Peanuts animated specials, but that’s okay. Originally aired back in 1973, the story follows Charlie Brown & Snoopy as they charlie-brown-thanksgiving-2015_0prepare a Thanksgiving “feast” that they’ve been roped into hosting by Peppermint Patty and her “friend” Marcy. The dinner hilariously consists of popcorn, toast, pretzels, jelly beans, & ice cream sundaes, which sounds like a meal I might have consumed after a few late nights back in college. All’s well that ends well though, as all the kids end up hopping in the ol’ Brown family station wagon and heading to Grandma’s house for an actual meal. I am always intrigued by the complete lack of adults in the Peanuts world. They are there, but we never see them.



4       Turkeys Away!!

Practically every television program ever produced has aired Thanksgiving themed episodes, but very few are memorable beyond its initial airing or stand out in the wkrpcanon of the show itself. This is an exception. I have opined previously that WKRP in Cincinnati is an underrated show, but among its four seasons one episode has stood the test of time. Originally aired on October 30th, 1978, Turkeys Away was only the 7th episode of Season 1. That’s like hitting your life’s peak in grade school!! The story follows station manager Mr. Carlson’s idea for the greatest Thanksgiving radio promotion of all time. The entire cast is fantastic, but special recognition must go to Richard Sanders as austere yet clueless news anchor Les Nessman. To my knowledge Sanders was never even nominated for an Emmy, which is criminal. If you are so inclined the show is easily found online, or if you have a streaming device on your TV it is available there as well.



3       Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

There are very few Thanksgiving films out there, but even if there were alot more I have to believe this would still be the best. John Candy & Steve Martin are a match made in 101117-planes-trains-automobiles-1p.grid-4x2cinematic heaven, carrying what is essentially the kind of buddy/road trip flick that has been done many times over (The Blues Brothers, Rain Man, Dumb & Dumber, Tommy Boy, Sideways, The Hangover) to a higher level. It doesn’t hurt that the film was written, produced, & directed by the incomparable John Hughes. Planes, Trains, & Automobiles subtly & hilariously makes the point that, unlike other holidays when we may get caught up in…stuff…like presents, chocolate, roses, fireworks, or parties, the primary goal for most of us on Thanksgiving is to be somewhere we consider home, amongst family & friends.



2       NFL Football

Pro football has been played on Thanksgiving since the sport’s earliest days in the late 19th century. The first Thanksgiving football game took place in Philadelphia on lionsThanksgiving Day of 1869, only a couple of weeks after Rutgers beat Princeton in what most still say was the first American football game and only six years after President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a federal holiday in 1863. The Detroit Lions have hosted a game each season since 1934, and the Dallas Cowboys began their own tradition in 1966. In the past decade a third game has been added to the mix since Thursday night football became a regular part of the NFL schedule. College football is part of the Thanksgiving recipe, but since conference realignment has eliminated some of the best rivalries the impact has been reduced, and regardless of that fact the really big games are usually saved for Saturday. Sure it’s still Thanksgiving Weekend…but it’s NOT Thanksgiving.



1       Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy’s Department Store was founded in 1843 by a Massachusetts Quaker. A couple of decades later he relocated the store to New York City. A century & a half later, macys3thru mergers, bankruptcies, buyouts, & all the other maneuverings that occur in corporate America Macy’s has nearly 800 stores, but the New York City location has stood tall as the largest department store in the world, taking up over 1 million square feet of space and an entire NY City block. Macy’s acquired a Newark, NJ store called Bamberger’s in 1924 and decided to move its Thanksgiving parade to The Big Apple. The parade’s origins are said to have come from store employees, many of whom were immigrants that wanted to celebrate their new home country, and what’s more uniquely American than Thanksgiving?? Of course it doesn’t take a genius to see the connection between a retail establishment and the kickoff of the big Christmas shopping season as well, which is why this Thanksgiving tradition always ends with the appearance of Santa Claus. The parade was first broadcast on national television by CBS in 1948, although it had been on local TV a few times before that. NBC has shown the parade annually since 1952. From the huge cartoon character balloons (Mickey Mouse, Popeye, Superman, Woody Woodpecker) to the marching bands to the badly lipsynched songs by whatever pop artists are in vogue that year it’s all very old-fashioned & kind of peculiar, but in a good way. Parades are a unique slice of Americana, and this is the biggest parade on perhaps our most singular holiday.

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 12

football2Well…I said I liked chaos in college football, and we got it…kind of. For the first time since The Breakfast Club had to spend a whole Saturday in detention 3 of the Top 4 teams in the country lost last weekend. One would assume that’d mean a major shakeup in the playoff picture, but…not so much. Two of the teams that lost…Michigan & Clemson…remain in the Top 4, while Washington didn’t fall all that far. I used to be VERY critical of the old BCS system. However, while I am glad that we have a four team playoff, the current system really isn’t that much better. It’s a bunch of suits with preconceived notions & undeniable biases sitting behind closed doors and protecting the traditionally elite programs, then spending the next few days absurdly rationalizing their prejudice. Let’s be honest…out of the 128 FBS football programs only about three dozen have a realistic opportunity in any given season to win the national title (and that’s probably being generous). Not even all of the teams in the “power” conferences receive serious consideration. Personally I’d like to see an expanded six team playoff, with the top two teams getting a first round bye. At any rate, y’all came here for some picks. To say last week was rough would be an understatement. It’s not the first time I’ve went 0-5, and it probably won’t be the last, but it’s never fun. Zach did a little better at 1-4. Hey, atleast we can’t get worse, right??

My Season:        31-35

Z’s Season:        24-42





Louisville (-14)  at      Houston

houstonNot long ago this was a highly anticipated matchup with possible playoff implications. But then the Cougars unexpectedly lost two games in Louisville-CardinalsOctober and are now seemingly an afterthought. I wonder if head coach Tom Herman is still at the top of the list for all those bigtime jobs?? The Cardinals look like a surefire playoff team as one would assume that the loser of Ohio St./Michigan later on this month will get bounced with two losses. The suits have no reason to overlook or outright screw Louisville since quarterback and Heisman Trophy frontrunner Lamar Jackson would be a big ratings draw, but that is assuming they win this game. I’m not sure who will ultimately end up on top, however I do think it’ll be much closer than a two TD difference. Zach, on the other hand, is a big believer in Jackson and thinks he’ll have another big game.

My Pick:     Houston

Z’s Pick:     Louisville



Florida                at      LSU (-13.5)

florida gators imageThis game was originally scheduled a few weeks ago but a hurricane forced postponement. Both teams paid off two lesser opponents to go away lsu_logoto fit this one in. The Bayou Bengals have rebounded from their early season struggles and won 4 out of the last 5, playing Alabama tough in a loss. The Gators are leading their division and would love to get a crack at The Tide in the SEC title game. I don’t mean to sound repetitive, but this is another contest where I don’t have a good feel for who might win, but I do believe that the spread is a bit high. Zach is looking at RB Leonard Fournette, who has unfortunately fallen out of the Heisman debate, to have a big game and lead LSU to an easy victory.

My Pick:     Florida

Z’s Pick:     LSU



USC (-13)            at      UCLA

ucla_bruins2After starting the season 1-3 the Trojans are on a roll and have an outside shot to make it to the Pac 12 title game. Conversely, the 4-6 Bruins are USC_Trojans2having an awful year. QB sensation Josh Rosen has missed half the season with a shoulder injury and won’t be back this year. Looking at these two teams one can see that UCLA has been competitive in every game they’ve lost, while USC has won games by an average of almost 20 points during the current winning streak. Something’s gotta give Saturday night. I don’t think home field will make much of a difference since the two schools are less than 15 miles apart, so this is all about The Vibes which are telling me the Trojans will win…but it’ll be close. Once again Zach is going in the other direction and thinks USC will continue their streak.

My Pick:     UCLA

Z’s Pick:     USC



New Orleans     at      Carolina (-3.5)

Not only will Houston & Louisville be teeing it up on Thursday night, but the NFL is offering this little gem. I’m looking forward to a fun evening of channel flipping. graphics-football-new-orleans-saintsNeither team is doing well, but the difference is that expectations were low for the Saints, while the Panthers are the defending NFC Champions. Before the season I said that New Orleans would make the playoffs as a wildcard. Of course I also opined that Carolina wouldn’t regress like so many Super Bowl runners-up tend to do. I’d really like to see atleast one of my predictions come true. Zach is predicting a high scoring game with little defensive presence. He likes QB Drew Brees to lead his team to a big win.

My Pick:     New Orleans

Z’s Pick:     New Orleans



Green Bay                   at      Washington (-2.5)

The Packers are having quite the rocky season and have lost three straight games. I’ve even seen some articles saying that head coach Mike McCarthy might be lookingpackersminihelmet_large for a new job this offseason. The good news is that they are only a game back in the NFC North. The Vikings have self-destructed after a hot start and the Bears are…well…the Bears, so maybe The Cheeseheads need to r-e-l-a-x (seems like I’ve heard that somewhere before). Meanwhile, in the nation’s capital, the Redskins are just trying to remain in the wildcard conversation since catching up to the red hot Dallas Cowboys looks rather improbable. This feels like a turning point. The winner of this game can move forward with renewed optimism, while the season is probably all but done for the loser. I still believe that Green Bay is the better team and Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Green Bay

Z’s Pick:     Green Bay

Playing the Trump Card

trump3In the waning days of the 2016 Presidential Election I had a revelation. The news media was dutifully covering both campaigns, albeit with their less-subtle-than-ever-before left wing slant. There was Hillary Clinton on TV with Jay-Z. Hillary with Beyonce. Hillary with Miley Virus…uhhh…Cyrus. Hillary with Springsteen. Hillary with Katy Perry. And then there was Donald Trump…in front of massive crowds…just he & his peeps. That’s when it suddenly dawned on me…the point that most were completely missing. Trump didn’t need to be accompanied by a rock star. Trump IS the rock star.


I still had my concerns heading into election night. God has a sense of humor so He had arranged for me american-flag-1to be at work instead of home, a safe distance away from social media, an arena that has occasionally gotten me into hot water. Fortunately I was able watch the numbers slowly roll in on television. It was a fascinating exercise to channel surf and see just how incongruent the coverage was amongst the various outlets. They all seemed to have differing numbers. Some were VERY reluctant to call states in favor of Trump. But at the end of the day the result could no longer be denied. Donald Trump is going to be the 45th President of the United States.


reliefI found myself feeling…not excited, but more relieved about Trump’s victory. It’s no secret that I never thought he’d receive the Republican nomination. I was a Cruz supporter. As a professing Christian I cannot condone Mr. Trump’s general egotism, his alleged attitude toward & treatment of women, or some of the specific off-the-wall things that he has said. More importantly, I have not been completely convinced that he is on the same page with myself & fellow conservatives in regard to many of our deeply held core beliefs. Having said all that, the alternative was even less appealing. The Clinton family has been a cancer for America. Their level of dishonesty, thirst for political power, & alleged criminal behavior is much more bothersome to me than Trump trying to convince Billy Bush that he’s some kind of studly ladies’ man who can have any woman he wants at the snap of a finger like Fonzie. Trump is my Dad’s age. Sure all three of his wives have been significantly younger and extremely beautiful, but at some point that magic runs out no matter how rich & famous the old man is. Just ask Hugh Hefner. There came a time when it was no longer cool to worship at Hef’s feet in the grotto at the Playboy mansion…it evolved into being kind of sad & gross. Donald Trump is many things but stupid isn’t one of them. He is perfectly aware that Melania is better than anything he has a right to expect at this point. Everything else is meaningless talk. Classless?? Immature?? Offensive?? Okay, I’ll give you that. But don’t feed me a line of bull equating what he refers to as “locker room talk” with sexual assault or rape. It’s a false equivalency, more of the histrionic hyperbole thatbible11350 has become a defining liberal characteristic. And don’t believe any man who says that he has never engaged in such conversation because that is a flat out lie. Some may do it more, some less…but at one time or another every red-blooded American straight male has made lewd & lascivious comments about the fairer sex. You might not like it but that’s the truth. When pondering Donald Trump I can’t help but think of Israel’s King David, an adulterer & murderer that nevertheless was a man after God’s heart. I won’t pretend to know what is in Mr. Trump’s heart, but I do know that The Bible is full of far worse people who God found a way to use for His purposes.


map-crimeThe aftermath of the election has been concurrently fascinating & disheartening. If you look at the electoral map it immediately becomes obvious that the only reason the results were even remotely close is because Mrs. Clinton predictably won in large cities like New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia, & Chicago, as well as the biggest part of California. Funnily enough if you look at a map of high crime areas in America it almost overlaps exactly with the electoral map, meaning the Democrats have the amoral thug demographic all sewn up. Of course most of us already understood that, and it has been proven by pathetic attempts at “protesting” by whiny assclowns upset at the result. Yet I’M deplorable?? Social media isn’t any better, with all kinds of negative reaction ranging from sadness, heartbreak, & disbelief to righteous indignation, anger, & calls for assassination (and by the way…those idiots need to be prosecuted). I have been particularly perplexed by those exhibiting some level of fear. Really?? What exactly are people afraid of?? If you’ve done nothing wrong there is no cause for concern. So you’re a Muslim. Okay…as long as you aren’t involved with ISIS or any other terror activity (a 50/50 proposition at best) you’ll be fine. Women?? Don’t worry…you’re still going to be allowed to murder babies at will for the foreseeable future. Roe v. Wade has endured Presidents & Congresses of both parties for over four decades. No matter how one may personally feel about the issue the fact is that the law isn’t going away anytime soon. Immigrants?? Well, as long as you are here legally there is no listencause for concern. If you are here illegally I’m not sure what to tell you…maybe you should worry, but don’t look for much sympathy. The “LGBT community”?? This one is especially perplexing. Donald Trump expressed tremendous respect for such individuals during the campaign. He even said that he thought everyone should be able to use whichever bathroom they want. He has conveyed no ambition to reverse laws legalizing same sex marriage. At one point I even thought his opinions on these issues might cost him the nomination. So what exactly are gay folks afraid of?? I suspect you’ll have no better friend in Washington DC than Donald Trump.


cyrusMuch of this melodrama has been promoted & perpetrated by actors, singers, & athletes who are under the mistaken impression that we give a damn what they think. Let’s be clear about one thing in case anyone hasn’t figured it out yet…just because a person is exceptionally talented at singing, acting, or playing with balls does NOT make them an intelligent person whose sociopolitical opinions actually matter, and a huge takeaway from this election is that the views of such people are NOT representative of the vast majority of America. Do celebrity types have a right to an opinion?? Of course. But I think it’s really ironic that conservatives & Christians are constantly accused of shoving our beliefs down others’ throats while the rich & famous get a free pass on using the bully pulpit of fame to propagate a false notion that their dogma of deviance is normal. This election was not only a rejection of President Obama’s “hope & change” and “fundamental transformation” of America, it was a huge flip of the bird to Rosie O’Donnell, Michael Moore, Cher, Amy Schumer, Stephen Colbert, Chelsea Handler, Barbara Streisand, Madonna, George Lopez, et al. Before the election my friend Slack, the rare raging liberal that I can actually deniro2tolerate, posted a thoughtful Facebook status about the lifelong friendship between actors Jimmy Stewart, a diehard Republican, and Henry Fonda, a staunch Democrat. The problem with that comparison is that Hollywood lacks the elegance today that it had back when those gentlemen graced the silver screen. Perhaps that perception of old Hollywood was all smoke & mirrors, and it is undeniable that 24/7/365 television coverage as well as The Internet exposes & magnifies people beyond the boundaries of their profession, but when one sees actors preach the virtue of gun control then star in movies full of violence, or singers criticize Mr. Trump for demeaning women then get up on a concert stage half naked and demean themselves…well, it’s really difficult to take anything they say seriously. Voters tend to frown on hypocrisy.


If Democrats want someone to blame for this crushing defeat they need to look no further than the nearest mirror. To be fair the cult of mirrorpersonality worked out well for them the last two elections. Barack Obama was elected twice mostly because of the color of his skin. Liberals decided that it was time for America to elect our first black President and luckily Obama is charismatic and can deliver a hell of a speech (as long as his teleprompter is functioning properly), which was a marked improvement over Jesse Jackson back in the 80’s, and so the young Senator from Illinois was anointed. They believed that same thought process would allow Hillary Clinton to shatter the vaunted glass ceiling and become America’s first female President, but a funny thing happened on the way to the White House. First of all, Clinton lacks the magnetism possessed by both her husband Slick Willie and Obama. She is about as appealing as Kathy Bates in Misery. Secondly, while Obama’s negligible track record concerned some people eight years ago it also meant that he had few skeletons in his closet and the ones he did have weren’t pounced on by anyone lest they be labeled as racist. Conversely, Mrs. Clinton has been in the public eye for decades…First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State. She tried to hide her history of lies & deceit, and Lord knows the media did its best to give her cover, but the pungent stench of corruption made her an undesirable candidate. Plus, it turns out that she received millions less votes from black folks than Obama, which proves that race is more meaningful than ideology to a big chunk of the electorate…just not the ones you’d assume if you buy into the media’s false portrayal of Republicans as racists.


cnnAhhhhh yes…the media. Mrs. Clinton probably needs to assign part of the blame for her demise to her friends at many of the major newspapers as well as most of the talking heads on broadcast & cable news. They’ve always exhibited left wing bias, but it used to be so subtle that one really had to pay attention to catch it. Now?? Heck, Helen Keller could’ve felt the prejudice shown in this election cycle. These people pulled off the impossible…they made Donald Trump an underdog for whom people were feeling sympathy!! That’s quite the parlor trick. Their once understated leftist slant has evolved into outright lying & subterfuge, but since the rise of “new media” like conservative talk radio & The Internet they no longer have free rein. The truth…if I may borrow a phrase…is out there for anyone willing to seek it, and the result is a significant paradigm shift. Oh sure there will always be willful ignorance…people whose sole focus is their kids’ soccer game, where they can score their next fix of booze & nicotine, or who received roses on The Bachelor last night. But when elections are decided by razor thin margins the role of the media definitely has an impact, and in 2016 many folks had enough of the dishonesty exhibited on TV & in the papers.


So now we look forward to the next four years of the Trump Administration. I scoff at those who act like this is The End. Personally I have constrather modest expectations. I suspect he will surround himself with tremendously smart & capable people. He has already backpedaled on getting rid of ObamaCare, which I find intriguing. How has a law that has only been in effect a couple of years become so indispensable that many believe it’d be nearly impossible to repeal?? Abortion & gay marriage aren’t going away, but then again neither is the right to keep & bear arms. We know that the new President already has a Supreme Court appointment to make, and with a Republican majority in both the House & Senate one can be hopeful that the nominee will be a right-leaning jurist who respects The Constitution. Trump may even get an opportunity to make a few more Court appointments in the next 4-8 years. He is undeniably unproven in the area of foreign policy, so who he chooses for his cabinet and as advisors will be very important. Obviously he doesn’t come across as a particularly spiritual man, but I do hope that the issue of religious freedom is addressed. Where Trump will either earn his keep or insure a one term presidency is economics & job growth. It is likely that he will approach things in a completely different manner than your typical bureaucrat. Will that be a good thing?? We’ll see.


relaxLook, all I am saying is calm down…it’s going to be alright. I am cautiously optimistic. You can be upset that your candidate didn’t win. You can ridicule a President-elect whose politically incorrect pomposity has caused eyebrows to raise. But if you are shaking in fear or rioting in the streets you really need to grow up & seek professional help. Or better yet, how about paying attention and seeking the truth rather than giving any credence to what a bunch of vile, out-of-touch celebrities think. It’s a new dawn…a new day…and we should all be feeling…okay.

A Year in the Life

A cool thing about having a forum like The Manofesto is that it provides an opportunity for reflection and a place to mark occasions that are meaningful, if only to me.


encouragementOne year ago today I posted this meme about encouragement on my Facebook page. It would be the last thing I’d post until a week later, when I wrote a brief update on my condition from a hospital bed. I very clearly remember waking up on Veteran’s Day, but the following 48 hours are forever lost to me. My family became worried enough that they came to my place and had to get law enforcement to gain entrance. I’m told I was conscious but have no memory of the encounter. I was rushed to a local hospital and then taken to another bigger hospital about an hour up the road. I was born with a condition called spina bifida, and something that usually goes hand in hand with that is an abnormality called hydrocephalus, which means that fluid collects around my brain and builds up pressure. This pressure is relieved by a shunt that is inserted into one’s head, with a tube draining harmlessly into an abdominal cavity. I’ve been very blessed to have very few issues with this process. The shunt that was initially put in my head as a baby had been replaced only once, in high school, and even then the symptoms that I exhibited weren’t too terrible. What happened a year ago was much worse, and I understand that I am blessed to be alive. I underwent two surgeries and spent a couple of months in the hospital. Complications arose which prolonged the agony or my stay would have been much shorter.


Upon my arrival back home I wrote about my experience in the hospital and continue to be thankful for the talented doctors, nurses, & medical staff that saved my life. I haven’t totally forgotten about those that didn’t necessarily appeal to me, but we’ll let bygones be bygones. Eventually I regained most of my strength. Wounds healed. Life was resumed. I got a new job back in the spring and returned to normal activities like church and…well…whatever else I do in this humble & oftentimes prosaic little life of mine.


I am forever grateful to everyone who nudged me along in the path to recovery. My father visited often at the hospital and ran errands for thanksme. I’ve desperately missed my mother every bit of the past 17 years, but Dad fills that void in his own unique & indispensable way. I have a sister & two nephews who, despite busy lives of their own, were there when I needed them most and continue to do just that. Sweet little Rocco lived with them for nearly three months. I know in my heart & soul that many people don’t have that kind of support. My brother from another mother, The Owl, drove five hours from Columbus, OH for a visit. He didn’t have to do that, but it made a dreary Saturday confined to a hospital bed just a little more enjoyable. My minister visited often and my church family stayed in touch. I believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer. In the hymnal at church #77 is How Great Thou Art. When it was decided to move me to a different hospital room in the very late hours of the night (because they do those kinds of weird things at odd hours) my new abode was room 77, and I just smiled and assured God I understood the message. I could go on, but I’ll refrain. I just wanted to say “Thank You” one more time to all who visited, called, stayed in contact on social media, and said a little prayer or two along that bumpy road.


I worked last night, as I do every Friday from 10:30pm to 7am. But this morning I came home. I am conscious (for now…gotta get some zzzz’s soon). I know who I am and on what planet I reside. I’m snuggling with Rocco and later on I’ll watch some football on my own TV while eating my own food. Exciting?? Not really, but in comparison to where I was a year ago I’ll happily embrace it. There is a little part of me that will always wonder if what happened might happen again, but I can’t let that drive me nuts. None of us know what the future holds…that’s just part of this deal called life. There is a little part of me that will always be sad about the things I missed. I didn’t get to attend my youngest nephew’s playoff games on his way to a third straight state championship in football. I was in the hospital for Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year’s, and y’all know how much I love my holidays. Though I have condemned Christmas Creep in years past I will admit that I’ve already been listening to carols and may have watched Elf on television. I am REALLY excited about the holidays this year and might even put up a Christmas tree for the first time in over a decade.


jumpGod blessed me with people who offered encouragement. They offered hope in the midst of hurt and love that minimized my pain. The suffering that I endured doesn’t amount to a hill o’ beans compared to the issues that many face on a daily basis, but one doesn’t always understand that while surrounded by the storm. When faced with having my second surgery in less than a month last December I must admit that there was a train of thought running thru my head wondering if I’d make it off the operating table alive. I am not usually such a fatalist, but it was a feeling I couldn’t shake. After the surgery was over and I did indeed wake up I knew there had to be a reason. God wasn’t done with me yet. I’m still not sure why I’m here…that is indeed the great existential question we all ponder occasionally, right?? All I know, as I sit here in my humble little Bachelor Palace preparing to take a much needed nap, is that to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven. I’m not much of a country music fan, but a few years ago Travis Tritt did a great song in which he opined that it’s a great day to be alive…I know the sun’s still shining when I close my eyes…there’s some hard times in the neighborhood but why can’t every day be just this good…it’s a goofy thing but I just gotta say, hey, I’m doing alright.

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 11

football-introducing-the-science_1Well, we’ve made it to Week 11, which is more than could be said about last season. I’m just happy to be alive and picking football games even if I’m not particularly skillful at the task. Last week I was 3-2, and Zach bested me at 4-1. The playoff picture is beginning to take shape in the NCAA, although an upset or two could alter the landscape. It’s far too early to predict how things will ultimately shake out in the NFL, although I think we have a pretty good feel at this point which teams are contenders and which are pretenders. The sun is shining, our Constitution has been saved from certain doom, & the holidays are just around the corner. Smile…everything’s gonna be okay.

My Season:        31-29

Z’s Season:        23-38






Baylor       `        at      Oklahoma (-15.5)

The Bears are in the midst of a two game skid after looking like a surefire conference champion. The Sooners have overcome two early season losses and now they look baylorlike the favorites to win the Big 12 (which has ten teams). Baylor’s demise is no shock to me…I was surprised they started the season so strong. Having said that, I am not sure that Oklahoma is two TDs better, not even at home. They’ll probably win, but I think it’ll be a shootout. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Baylor

Z’s Pick:     Baylor



Auburn (-10)      at      Georgia

All the sudden the upcoming Iron Bowl has become relevant and Auburn is in the playoff conversation. When did that happen?? Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are having it auburna bit rough in Kirby Smart’s inaugural season as head coach. I’m sure he’ll straighten things out in due time, but I don’t think it’ll be this week. Zach foresees a blowout.

My Pick:     Auburn

Z’s Pick:     Auburn



USC                     at      Washington (-8.5)

The playoff committee finally put the undefeated Huskies in the Top 4, but now the pressure is on for validation. The Trojans won’t be an easy out. They’re riding a five washington2game winning streak and interim coach Clay Helton may actually have a chance to get the permanent job. The outcome of this game will have a huge impact on both teams. Normally I tend to root for the underdog, and when it comes to the playoff I love chaos. However, in this case I just can’t go against Washington. They are legit. Zach isn’t quite as sold on Washington but he believes they’ll win this one pretty easily.

My Pick:     Washington

Z’s Pick:     Washington



Atlanta                at      Philadelphia (-1)

It looks like the Falcons will easily win the NFC South and cruise into the playoffs. Conversely, the wheels have come off in Philly after an impressive 3-0 start falconsbehind the leadership of rookie QB Carson Wentz. The Eagles have lost 4 out of their last 5 games and Wentz no longer looks like a Rookie of the Year candidate. Atlanta is battling the injury bug and that can’t be discounted completely. Philadelphia has the home field, but I’m just not buying what the folks in Vegas are selling. Zach believes WR Julio Jones will have a big game and he likes their defense.

My Pick:     Atlanta

Z’s Pick:     Atlanta



Seattle                at      New England (-7.5)

New_England_Patriots_HelmetThis is NBC’s Sunday night game. In a perfect world both teams would lose, but obviously that won’t happen. The Pats have looked virtually seattle-seahawks1invincible since the re-inflation of Cheatin’ Tommy, while the Seahawks have shown some chinks in their armor. I would love nothing more than to see New England implode, but that’s not the smart choice. Zach is going for a mid-season Hail Mary by picking Seattle. I wouldn’t be upset if he’s right.

My Pick:     New England

Z’s Pick:     Seattle

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 10

football-introducing-the-science_1Sorry folks…running behind so this is going to be quick & dirty. Lots going on in my world. I’m not used to so much activity. Last week I was 6-3, while Zach was 3-6. More than most weeks in recent memory we had several games decided by the point spread…teams winning but not covering. That’s exactly why we have that added layer of strategery. It makes things that much more interesting. The college football schedule is kind of prosaic this week, so we’re leaning a little more on the NFL. I try my best not to be repetitive by choosing games involving the same teams every week, although it is undeniable that some teams are just more interesting and play better opponents than others.

 My Season:     28-27

Z’s Season:     19-37





Alabama (-7.5)             at      LSU

Zach & I both agree that the Tide are on another level. Actually they have almost become boring since they tend to bulldoze opposing teams with the outcome never alabamatidereally in doubt. I don’t anticipate anything different even with this game being in Baton Rouge. I wouldn’t mind being wrong.

My Pick:     Alabama

Z’s Pick:     Alabama



Nebraska            at      Ohio St. (-17.5)

This is another point spread situation. I don’t think the Buckeyes lose at The Horseshoe. However, as Penn St. proved, Ohio St. isn’t infallible. Nebraska is coming off of nebraska-cornhuskersa tough overtime loss, but they still have a lot to fight for, including a spot in the Big Ten (which has 14 teams) title game. At the very least I expect a spirited effort from the Cornhuskers and a fairly close game. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Nebraska

Z’s Pick:     Nebraska



NY Jets               at      Miami (-3.5)

Jets-Pin-ProNeither team has any chance whatsoever to overtake New England in the AFC East, and the playoffs are a pipe dream. Both teams would be MiamiDolphinslucky to finish with a winning record. But somehow Jets/Dolphins games always seem to be exciting & fun to watch, going all the way back to my childhood. I’m going to roll the dice on an upset just for the hell of it. Conversely, Zach likes the Dolphins’ rushing attack, which is actually better without recently retired Arian Foster.

My Pick:     NY Jets

Z’s Pick:     Miami



New Orleans (-3.5)     at      San Francisco

Neither of these teams are going to the playoffs either. The Saints have a chance to finish around the .500 mark, but with Atlanta running away with their division that’s new_orleans_saints-3737just not good enough. The Niners are probably in the conversation for the #1 overall pick in next year’s draft, a choice one would assume they’d use on a quarterback. ‘Frisco doesn’t even get the respect of the obligatory home field bump from the oddsmakers…probably because they don’t deserve it. Zach has concerns about N’awleans’ inconsistency, but even less faith that ‘Frisco can field a competent professional football team.

My Pick:     New Orleans

Z’s Pick:     New Orleans



Denver                at      Oakland (-1)

QB Derek Carr has the Raiders riding high, topping their division deep into the season for the first time in several years. But the Broncos are right there with them. This raidersis the Sunday night game on NBC, and it’s a big one for both teams, with the winner sitting in the post-season driver’s seat and the loser in a wildcard spot and facing a possible playoff game at New England. I like the Broncos’ defense, but I think Carr figures out a way to keep it close to set up a Sebastian Janikowski game winning field goal. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Oakland

Z’s Pick:     Oakland

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 12.16

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..






nightmareI never know whether to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas on Halloween or during the Christmas season…so I just don’t watch it. Stop confusing me Tim Burton!!




You can’t spell Louis L’Amour without Islam.



Prepare to be amazed. Yours truly is about to recommend yet ANOTHER new television show. In the last edition of PoP I gave props to ABC’s thisisusDesignated Survivor starring Kiefer Sutherland. Today I want to endorse NBC’s innovative dramedy This Is Us. It’s one of those big ensemble family deals, which on the surface isn’t really breaking new ground, but the creators of this one have come up with a unique angle that almost kinda sorta involves time travel. Let’s just say that Mandy Moore portrays a 30 year old and a 66 year old…in the same show. Mind blown, right?? It is really well-written and the cast is superb. I kept missing it and finally decided to seek it out online, and when I did I was so hooked that I caught up on five episodes in one evening. I’m not sure if This Is Us is a show that can be sustained for the long haul, but even if we only get one or two seasons it will be greatly enjoyed.




I wonder if anyone has ever had four daughters and named them Autumn, Winter, Spring, & Summer.




I have remained relatively quiet during this election cycle, atleast for me. However, with the big day right around the corner allow me to briefly opine. I just don’t understand how any thinking person can cast their vote for Hillary Clinton. I’m tired of Hollywood celebrities…especially females (no offense ladies)…pulling out all their “glass ceiling”, “historic election” poppycock. I do NOT care that she is a woman. I have nothing against the idea of a female President. I‘m sure that there are several qualified contenders out there that’d vote-touch550make a fine chief executive. But I do not believe that gender alone is a good enough reason to vote for anyone. I happen to like my Constitutional rights and have valid concerns about how freedom of speech, freedom of religion, & the right to keep & bear arms would be negatively impacted under an HRC administration and perhaps for generations to come…certainly for the remainder of my life…if she is allowed to pack the Supreme Court with “progressive” justices (she has even floated the idea of nominating President Obama!!). I can’t honestly say that I am excited about casting my vote for Donald Trump. I had hoped that the GOP would nominate a dyed-in-the-wool conservative with atleast some high level government experience. Having said that, I understand the movement that has propelled Trump this far and am more comfortable gambling on his outsider shtick to find out if his business acumen really can translate into political leadership than I am giving Hillary Clinton any legitimate power. I am not one of those doomsdayers that think Trump will somehow lead us into World War III or otherwise do irreparable damage to the country. Worst case scenario?? He ticks off some people who take their ball home and refuse to play with us anymore. If the United States can withstand Vietnam, Watergate, the extreme lows of the Carter Administration, the overstated yet undeniable foibles of George W. Bush, and the what I believe to be intentionally destructive actions of the past eight years, then I hardly think Donald Trump will do any permanent damage. I believe Mrs. Clinton would do far more harm to the cause of freedom.



The world would be a much better place if people would just stop & think how their actions might negatively affect others.




Dear Dairy Queen (or any other purveyor of tasty ice cream treats):

milkshakeYou do realize that there is a slight difference between ice cream & a milkshake, right?? When buying a milkshake it does not impress me that it is super duper thick. I don’t care if you can flip it upside down and not spill the contents. What I do care about is being able to drink the darn thing thru a straw. I feel weird sitting in my vehicle sucking so hard (on the straw) that the eyes of children under 18 should be shielded. Obviously I wouldn’t like a watery consistency either. I am merely suggesting that there should be an acceptable middle ground. Surely someone somewhere gets paid a fair salary to deal with such issues.