Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Case Closed

Football season is finally here. The college football season starts Thursday night, the NFL pre-season wraps up Thursday night, and then the NFL regular season opens the following Thursday night, the 10th. I am ready. I'm tired of the only sports news being about tennis, golf, soccer, etc. Blah. Let's just go ahead and have the first coin toss and get this party started. Shall we?

ESPN (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Over the last couple of years, many of us have written articles (including a few by me - here and here), had debates, and rendered our opinions about what we believe is a pro-SEC bias by ESPN. The network has even been dubbed "ESecPN". Most of the football fans who feel this way cheer for teams from conferences other than the SEC, including the PAC-12, the ACC, the Big 12, and others. Some disagree with us, which is their prerogative. Most of these dissenters are, of course, fans of SEC schools.

Recently, ESPN released it's "Football Power Index 2015". The contents provide additional evidence to backup the pro-SEC bias theory. For instance, 5 of the top 10 and 8 of the top 20 teams are SEC schools. The next most represented conference is the PAC-12 with only 2 in the top 10 and 4 in the top 20. You can view the index in it's entirety by clicking here.

The index ranks 128 teams using a number of factors to predict each one's performance for the upcoming college football season. However, I will focus on only 2 - Tennessee (UT) and Florida State (FSU). My reason for doing so is because I am a FSU fan living in Tennessee.

Let's start with UT. The index ranks them #14 predicting their won-loss record will be 8.8-3.4. I'll add a slight adjustment for rounding, for simplification, making their "predicted" record, based upon a 12-game schedule, either 8-4 or 9-3.

English: Logo of the Southeastern Conference (...
English: Logo of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I don't think so, ESPN. Try again. During the 3 previous seasons, 2012-2014, UT has finished:
  • 2012 - 5-7 overall, 1-7 SEC,
  • 2013 - 5-7 overall, 2-6 SEC, and
  • 2014 - 7-6 overall, 3-5 SEC.
Their cumulative record during that time is 17-20. Plus, last year they had 0, none, nada wins over ranked opponents, and if it hadn't been for wins over 2 SEC cellar dwellers in their last 3 games of the season, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, they would have missed being bowl eligible for the 4th straight year. Yet, this so-called "power index" predicts they'll go 8-4, at worst, this year even though:
  • they play Georgia and Oklahoma at home,
  • they travel to "The Swamp" to receive their annual beating from the Gators,
  • they travel to Alabama and Missouri after both played in the SEC Championship game last year, and
  • they play Arkansas at home, who very easily could have won 4 more games last year and finished 10-2. Arkansas lost to Alabama by 1, and Texas A&M, Missisippi State, and Georgia by a touchdown each. All 4 of those teams were ranked in the top 10 when the games were played. Mississippi State was ranked #1 at the time.
So, forget about 8-4 or 9-3. I predict they'll lose all 6 of these games to finish 6-6.

Now, let's look at FSU. The index ranks them #19 predicting their won-loss record will be 9.6-2.8. Once again, I'll add a slight adjustment for rounding making their "predicted" record, based upon a 12-game schedule, either 9-3 or 10-2.

As an FSU fan, I would love to see that prediction come true, but I don't think it will. They have a new quarterback and have sent 29 players to the NFL in the last 3 years, which by the way is a NCAA record. It's hard to replace that much talent in one year. I think if FSU finishes 8-4, they will have had a good year, because I see the potential for 4 losses against Miami, Clemson, Louisville, and Georgia Tech. If they can somehow win those 4 games, win the ACC Atlantic Division, and reach the ACC Title Game, it will have been a great year.

As with UT, let's look at their record for the last 3 years:
  • 2012 - 12-2 overall, 7-1 ACC, won ACC Championship and won the Orange Bowl
  • 2013 - 14-0 overall, 8-0 ACC, won ACC Championship and National Championship, and 
  • 2014 - 13-1 overall, 8-0 ACC, won ACC Championship and qualified for the playoffs.
During this 3-year period, FSU's cumulative record was 39-3, including a 29-game winning streak. They also won 4 games over ranked opponents in 2014 vs. UT's 0. They won 3 straight ACC Titles and a National Championship, yet the index has them ranked 5 spots behind UT. Even though I think FSU is likely to have a down year this year, they will still be better than UT, so a power index ranking putting them behind UT is ludicrous. It is, in my opinion, the strongest piece of evidence yet supporting the idea of a pro-SEC bias by ESPN.

I'm sure I'll catch some heat over this article from the SEC faithful. I realize that sometimes the truth is hard to accept but the case is now closed.

Related articles

Friday, August 28, 2015

Hillary's Hero

Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016. I thought she might challenge Obama in 2012, but she didn't. Unfortunately, I think she'll probably win, too, even though she has more baggage than a Boeing 747 flying to Europe. Americans love the Clintons. They always have, and I guess I'll never understand why.

Before you walk into the voting booth and push the button, pull the lever, etc. beside Hillary's name, allow me to show you what you will be voting for that you may not be aware of. It has nothing to do with taxes, healthcare, or guns, either. This is way more important.

Hillary's Hero - sent in by a friend via Facebook.
Ever heard of Margaret Sanger? Well, Hillary has said that she "admires" and is "really in awe" of her. So, who is Margaret Sanger?

She is the founder of Planned Parenthood (PP). You remember them, right? They've recently been in the news for a scandal involving selling tissue of aborted babies. However, there's more to know about Sanger than just that she's the founder of PP.

Sanger was a big advocate for abortion. She saw it not just as a way to end inconvenient or unwanted pregnancies but as a means to control the population of African Americans, the disabled, immigrants, and others. They were deemed as "undesirables". Compassionate she was not, and remember - Hillary admires and is in awe of her. Oh yea, one other thing - Sanger was a member of the Socialist Party, too.

Do not take my word for any of this. Google Sanger and look over what you find. You will be shocked at some of the information. Some have said that Adolf Hitler was inspired by her.

So, now that you know a little more about Margaret Sanger and PP's history, here's my question - since Sanger wanted to use abortion as a means to remove "the undesirables" from society, and Hillary admires her, doesn't it stand to reason that Hillary holds the same views that Sanger did? If so, why is she even on the dadgum presidential ballot? And why are millions of Americans gonna vote for her?

The U.S. has made much progress in race relations since the 1960's, but we've still got a long way to go. If we really believe that "Black Lives Matter" and "All Lives Matter", then why would we want Hillary Clinton as President?

On this one issue alone, it makes no dadgum sense.

Related articles:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Do You Love Your Husband?

A group of women were at a seminar on how to live in a loving relationship with their husband. The women were asked, "How many of you love your husband?"

All of them raised their hands. Then, they were asked, "When was the last time you told your husband you loved him?" Some of the women answered today, a few yesterday, and some couldn't remember.

The women were then told to take out their cell phones and text their husband: "I love you, sweetheart." The women were then told to exchange phones with another person and to read aloud the text received in response.

Here are some of the replies:
  1. Who the h#$% is this?
  2. Eh, mother of my children, are you sick or what?
  3. Yeah, and I love you, too. What's up with you??
  4. What now? Did you crash the car again?
  5. I don't understand. What do you mean?
  6. What the h#$% did you do now?
  7. ?!?
  8. Don't beat around the bush, just tell me how much you need.
  9. Am I dreaming?
  10. If you don't tell me who this message is actually for, someone will die.
  11. I thought we agreed you wouldn't drink during the day.
  12. Your mother is coming to stay with us, isn't she?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Flag Day Music Monday

I'm not an NBA fan, but I am a Metallica fan. So, when I ran across today's video of Metallica playing "The Star Spangled Banner" prior to last night's NBA Finals Game 5, I knew it was perfect for today's Music Monday, which happens to be Flag Day.

I've embedded the video below or you can watch it by clicking here. Crank up the volume, because the National Anthem never sounded so good.

Occasionally, I'm asked, "Sheepdog, why a metal fan?" This is why. There's just something about the sound of a screaming 6-string. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Deaf Mafia Bookkeeper

A Mafia Godfather finds out that his bookkeeper, Guido, has cheated him out of $10,000,000.

His bookkeeper is deaf, which was the reason he got the job in the first place. It was assumed that Guido would hear nothing and would therefore never have to testify in court. 

When the Godfather goes to confront Guido about the missing $10 million, he takes along his lawyer, who knows sign language.
The Godfather tells the lawyer, "Ask him where the money is."

The lawyer, using sign language, asks Guido, "Where's the money?"

Guido signs back, "I don't know what you are talking about."

The lawyer tells the Godfather, "He says he doesn't know what you are talking about. 

The Godfather pulls out a pistol, puts it to Guido's head, and says, "Ask him again or I'll kill him!"
The lawyer signs to Guido, "He'll kill you if you don't tell him." 

Guido trembles and signs back, "OK! You win! The money is in a brown briefcase, buried behind the shed at my cousin Bruno's house." 

The Godfather asks the lawyer, "What did he say?" 

The lawyer replies, "He says you don't have the guts to pull the trigger."


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tennessee Lawmaker Thinks Deer Are A "Nuisance", But Poachers Not So Much

Did the title of this post get your attention? Did it have "shock value"? Did you think, "what the heck", or something similar? Well, good. Those are the exact reactions I wanted you to have. If you're a Tennessee hunter, I'll bet your reaction will be even more intense by the time you finish reading the article.

State Seal of Tennessee.
State Seal of Tennessee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hunting is one of my hobbies and one of my passions. My health situation doesn't allow me to hunt as much as I'd like, but I'm always thankful for the opportunities I do have. Every year, I look forward to spring and the start of turkey season. Every fall, I look forward to November and the start of muzzleloader deer season, just like thousands of other hunters in Tennessee and other states. Legal, ethical hunters, no matter what state they live in, have two things in common - a love for the outdoors and a disdain for poachers.

Our dislike for poachers is because they illegally kill game animals, oftentimes trophy animals, and deprive us of the legal, ethical opportunity to do so. While we purchase license(s) and put in hours and hours of homework in order to hunt and enjoy the outdoors the right way, poachers take the easy, illegal, unethical way out. These criminal poachers have no respect for the law, legal hunters, landowners, and the very animals they kill. They kill animals when they want, how they won't, and without regard for the safety and property rights of others. They are basically thieves stealing a resource they are not entitled to. The sad part is that in the state of Tennessee, if a poacher is caught and convicted of his or her crime, they get a mere slap on the wrist. However, Tennessee State Senator Jim Tracy is currently sponsoring legislation (SB 0904 / HB 1185) that will significantly increase the penalty a convicted poacher will pay, if it becomes law.

According to the bill's summary, under current Tennessee law, if a person illegally kills a deer, turkey, bear, elk, etc., TWRA can recover damages of at least $200 for each such animal. If the animal is an elk the amount jumps to at least $1000.

If Sen. Tracy's legislation becomes law, these amounts will increase substantially. For instance, restitution will be required in the amount of:
  1. at least $1500 for each illegally killed bear or elk,
  2. at least $1000 for each illegally killed deer or turkey,
  3. in addition to #1 or 2 above, there would be an additional $500 per point for an antlered deer or elk with 8-10 points or $750 per point if it has 11 or more points, 
  4. in addition to #1, another $3000 would be added if the bear is female, and
  5. the person(s) hunting / fishing / trapping license is revoked until the restitution is paid.
Now, let's compare current law to the proposed new one. According to the bill's summary, currently if a poacher kills an 8-point whitetail buck deer and is caught and convicted, they have to pay ONLY $200 in damages to TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency). If these new, stiffer restitution amounts become law, that same illegally killed 8-point will NOW cost the poacher $5000 {$1000 + (8 x $500 per antler point)}. I think legal, ethical hunters across this state will agree with me - this is good, needed legislation that needs to become law .... now. Non-hunters will likely agree, also. However, one Tennessee State Senator, Frank Niceley, a Republican, from East Tennessee thinks it's a bad idea.

English: Map of Tennessee counties. White border.
English: Map of Tennessee counties. White border. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Niceley represents the Tennessee counties of Union, Hawkins, Jefferson, Hancock, Grainger, and Claiborne. In the video from the March 11, 2015 meeting of the Tennessee State Senate Energy, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee, Niceley makes it very clear that he does not support the new legislation and makes himself look much less than statesmanlike in the process. On more than one occasion, he makes asinine comments, asks asinine questions, and is condescending towards witnesses, including a representative from TWRA. For instance :
  • He is the first member of the committee to speak, besides the chair, when he asks, "How much does it cost to shoot a deer off the road these days?" Do what? He follows that up with, "How do you arrive at what it's worth? I mean is a young deer worth more than an old one? Is a buck worth more than a doe? How do you arrive at how much it's gonna cost to pay for this?" He missed the whole point of the legislation. The cost of the animal is not the point. The point is to deter poaching and protect the natural resource. Duh.
  • Nicely follows those questions up with a real gem saying that poachers should be sent to, and likely would be welcomed, in parts of Tennessee where the deer population is high. Really? Tennesseans would welcome these criminals into their neighborhoods? I doubt that, Senator.
  • Nicely also states that he does not understand why the punishment for poaching should be increased since there are so many deer? To me it seems he thinks poachers are performing a community service by helping to remove a public "nuisance" a.k.a. the deer. Is he trying to make the case that breaking the state's game laws by illegally killing animals is justified when animal populations are high? If that's his logic, it's like saying robbing banks is o.k. because the big, bad banks have so much money. Sounds kinda like something a Democrat would say, doesn't it?
  • Lastly, Nicely wants to know if he can exempt the counties in his district from these new stiffer, poaching restitution guidelines, laughing as if it's a joke. Wonder what other state laws he would like to exempt his counties from? Drunk driving laws? Campaign contribution laws? Speed limit laws? Ethics laws? What else, senator? The only joke I see here is his behavior in the hearing. The reason he wants his district exempted is because, as he says, "we don't have a (poaching) problem." So, no poaching occurs in his district? Having grown up in East Tennessee near Niceley's district, I doubt that, too, but more on that in a bit.
The fun doesn't end with this hearing. The legislation was rolled one week to March 18 where Niceley, still opposing the legislation, gives us more gems, including :
  • When addressing the TWRA representative, he says, "You (the TWRA) rarely catch anybody." He then states, in regards to his local game warden not catching poachers, "We laugh about him trying to catch 'em. He's never caught one." Senator, perhaps instead of laughing at the game warden, you could be a responsible citizen and help them. Once again, he acts much less than statesmanlike.
  • A week earlier, Niceley said there is no poaching problem in his district, but then in the 3/18/15 hearing he states, "I've lived on my farm 44 years. I bet there's been 2000 deer poached down River Road." Uh ..... hang on a minute, Senator. I thought you said there was no poaching problem in your district, but yet you just admitted to knowing of one. Which is it? ... Spoken like a true politician - say one thing one time and something entirely different later. Gotcha dude.
  • He also states his opinion that the bill is overkill, because, "we've got more deer than we need."
Please don't take my word for it. Go and watch the video of these committee hearings for yourself by clicking here. After clicking on the link, click on the "Video" tab to watch the videos from both hearings.

English: Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville,...
English: Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville, Tennessee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am happy to be able to report that despite Niceley's shenanigans, the legislation passed out of the committee. It's members voted as follows :
  • Voting against - Frank Niceley (R) (1st Vice Chair) and Paul Bailey (R)(2nd Vice Chair)
  • Voting for - Steve Southerland (R)(Chair), Mike Bell (R), Mark Green (R), Dolores Gresham (R), Lee Harris (D), Kerry Roberts (R), and Ken Yager (R) 
On behalf of ethical, true hunters all across the state, I want to thank all the members who voted in favor of the legislation and Sen. Jim Tracy for sponsoring it. I'd also like to point out that the only two voting against it were Republicans.

The thing I'm trying to figure out is why Niceley is so dead set against the legislation. I've bullet-pointed several of his reasons in the statements he made above. The interesting thing is that if you look at his bio on the Tennessee Legislature's website, it says that he's involved with the Tennessee Hunter Alliance. It also states that he was given the 2009 SAOVA (Sportsman and Animal Owners Voting Alliance Legislative Leader) Award. Those 2 things make it appear as if Niceley supports hunters and sportsmans' causes, but his opposition to the new poaching bill says otherwise. I don't know any hunter that does not hate poachers. So, why would a guy that has won a sportsman legislative leader award and apparently belongs to a hunting organization not support a law that would help deter poaching?

It's not because poaching is not a problem in his district, as he said on 3/11/15, because he contradicted that statement on 3/18 by stating that he's aware of a couple thousand deer being poached "down on River Road" during the last 40 years. Could it be that the senator does not really care about wildlife laws, hunting, or outdoors interests but has just "appeared" to in order to earn votes from hunters? Or, is there something more to it than that? One might wonder if poaching is an acceptable activity is his district and that explains his lack of support for the bill, but being from East Tennessee myself, I would find that one hard to believe.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I guess the thing that really irks me about Niceley dismissing this legislation and treating it as a joke is his inference that the state does not need to crackdown on poaching, because there are just so many deer in Tennessee that they've become a nuisance. Well, based on that reasoning, can we assume that Niceley, a Republican, thinks illegal immigration is justified, also, since U.S. employers say they need the cheap, unskilled labor in order to compete in the marketplace? 

Or, let's take it a step further. Niceley also voices his objection to the new legislation because the current anti-poaching laws on the books haven't fixed the problem. Does this mean he would also oppose any new drunk driving legislation that increases the penalties for that offense because the current laws haven't fixed the problem? Would he be opposed to stiffer penalties for murder since despite our current laws people just keep killing each other?

None of Niceley's objections to the new poaching legislation make any sense nor are they valid. Hunters and non-hunters alike can agree that the penalties for the illegal killing of animals should be stiff enough to be a deterrent to such crimes. Why Niceley cannot is beyond me. It really makes me wonder what his game is and why he wants this bill killed.

On my "About" page, I tell about how I came to name this blog The 2nd Chance Sheepdog. I also briefly discuss the theory of sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. I give a few examples of who might make up each of these 3 groups. In regards to poaching, the illegally killed animals are the sheep. The poachers are the wolves, and the sheepdogs include wildlife officers, ethical hunters, and others. I think you could also place politicians, like Niceley, who choose to turn a blind eye to poaching into the wolf category.

The Sheepdog has no tolerance for poachers and wolves whether they be out in the woods and fields or in the state legislature. It is my opinion that since Niceley does not think it is a priority to protect the state's wildlife resources from poaching, it is time for him to retire to his 6 counties. Then, perhaps his constituents will send someone else to Nashville who will protect the states wildlife resources so that all Tennesseans can enjoy them in whatever legal fashion they choose.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

How Would The Sheepdog Deal with ISIS?

I’m not gonna sugarcoat it or pull punches – ISIS is straight up a scourge in the Middle East. It needs to be eliminated. They are barbaric and have no respect for human life, even the lives of their own people. They are like rabid dogs, and there is only one way to deal with such an animal – you put it down.

Source : - NearEast.png
Obama, Congress, and the rest of the civilized world are currently debating what the best course of action is. Is it bombing? Is it troops on the ground? Or, is it a combination of both? Considering that our military has been fighting non-stop in Afghanistan and Iraq for nearly 14 years, I think sending ground troops in should be off the table. 

Like many Americans, Mrs. Sheepdog and I went to see American Sniper a few weeks ago. During my 4 decades of existence, I’ve watched many “war films”. However, American Sniper was very different than all the others in one area - it portrayed how deployment affects a soldier’s family. The way Chris Kyle’s wife begged and pleaded with him not to go back for another tour really grabbed me. It was heart-wrenching. 

I could understand why she felt the way she did, but at the same time, I also understood why he kept going back. His buddies were still there, and he felt like he would be letting them down if he wasn't there watching their back. I think most of us could agree that neither of them were wrong for feeling the way they did. Each of them just had a different perspective. 

Navy Special Warfare Trident Insignia worn by ...
Navy Special Warfare Trident Insignia worn by qualified U.S. Navy SEALs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I also suspect similar conversations and feelings are occurring all across this nation right now in the lives of other military families. It is one of the reasons I am 100% against putting troops on the ground to fight ISIS. My other reasons include:  
  • Our warriors and their families are tired after 14 long years of non-stop fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. They've had enough. They've given more than their share already. They need a break.
  • As long as I've been old enough to understand what the military does, I’ve watched the numbnuts in DC send our forces into engagement after engagement and each time they hamstring our military with pansy rules of engagement and play politics with the resources they need. 
In my opinion, petty partisan politics may be responsible for more American soldiers being killed and wounded in combat than any enemy in the history of this country. If we, as a country, are gonna send our men and women into a fight, then we need to give them whatever equipment their commanders think they need to do the job completely, quickly, and safely. We also need to take the handcuffs off them in regards to the rules of engagement to allow our people to do what needs to be done to complete the mission and get everyone home alive and in one piece. If the country's so-called "leaders", Congress and the President, aren't gonna do these things, then keep our soldiers at home. 

Matthew G. Axelson, Daniel R. Healy, James Suh...
Matthew G. Axelson, Daniel R. Healy, James Suh, Marcus Luttrell, Shane E. Patton, and Michael P. Murphy prior to the battle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One example can be seen in the movie Lone Survivor, which I reviewed here last year. It's the true story of Marcus Luttrell and a team of Navy SEALs. At one point in the film, the SEAL team is taking heavy fire on a hillside in Afghanistan. They request air support, but are told none is available due to it all being committed elsewhere. In my review, I said that the lack of air support was DC's fault, because "... they always find millions to spend on their special pork projects ..." and other things but not on the necessities, such as the military. I'm sticking by that, too. 

So, how would I deal with the barbarians called ISIS? It's very simple. I would obliterate them from the air. I would fire up the bomb, cruise missile plants, etc. and run 'em 24/7. Then, I’d bomb ISIS into the dust of the sandhills they call home. Heck, nukes would even be an option as it would only take one well-placed strike to eliminate that pack of crazed dogs for good saving many of the innocent lives these wolves prey on. 

I know that some will disagree with my “no ground troops” position, but I think many others will see things my way. I'm just tired of turning on the news, or picking up a newspaper, and reading where more American soldiers have died or been seriously wounded in that hell hole called the Middle East. It’s been going on for far too long, and it’s time for it to stop, or else I fear it will just be more of the same ol’ same ol’ for years to come. 

If U.S. ground troops are sent in, the only difference will be in addition to seeing captured journalists and Christians beheaded, we'll be watching it happen to captured American soldiers. We need to just go ahead and bomb the place to hell now.

A little bada-bing-bada-boom and fuhggedabout ISIS sounds perfect.

Monday, March 2, 2015

8 Years .... and Counting

A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated the 8th anniversary of my heart transplant. It amazes me how fast the last 8 years have flown by. It seems more like only 8 days. However, I'm thankful for every one of the last 2900+ days. I haven't taken any of them for granted.

The last 8 years have given me an opportunity to spend additional time with my wife, friends and family, and more time doing the things I enjoy. It has now dawned on me that I am not alive today because of anything I have done. I'm still here because of the love of friends and family who supported and prayed for me during my long battle with heart disease. I'm alive because God is gracious and merciful, and because a man I never met chose to care enough to be an organ donor. In other words, I'm still alive because of what others did for me.

It's been awhile since there was a Music Monday on this blog, and I felt like today was as good a time as any to get them started back up. I've decided to feature a song that has been one of my favorites for many years, because it expresses how I feel about the blessing of the last 8 years, and it does it so much better than any words I can type on this page.

Today's feature is a live video of Avalon's "Testify to Love". I've embedded it below or it can be watched by clicking here. Enjoy, and if you're not yet registered as an organ and tissue donor, please do so today by clicking here.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Different Approach

It's been interesting the last few weeks listening to folks talk about this Fifty Shades of Grey movie. My fellow Christians and other groups are calling for boycotts for various reasons. From what I've heard the movie contains explicit sexual situations and promotes violence against women. Personally, I cannot speak to any of this as I have not seen the movie and have no intentions of doing so. I'm more of an action and sci-fi movie guy. For my $10-$11 movie admission I want to see shooting and stuff getting blown up.

I think the folks who are clamoring for boycotts of the movie are taking the wrong approach. During my lifetime, I've noticed that time and time again when Christians and others call out something in the entertainment industry as being bad, it peaks the public's curiosity. Next thing you know, everyone has the attitude of, "Let's see what all the fuss is about." So they go buy the controversial record or go see the movie, and the artist or producer makes millions because of it. Consider the following examples to make my point.

Moon over Miami
Moon over Miami (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
First, back in the '80s, there was a rap/hip-hop group from Miami called 2 Live Crew. Remember them and their record As Nasty As They Wanna Be?

They released their first record in 1986. At the time, their fan base mainly grew through word of mouth. Then, 1989 rolls around and they release As Nasty As They Wanna Be with the cover photo of the backs of women in thong bikinis. The lyrics to the so-called songs on the record are sexually explicit, so Christians, the American Family Association, and others went nuts. Curiosity was peaked and people wanted to know what all the fuss was about leading to the album selling over 2 million copies.

These rappers went on to release a total of 11 albums over their 12-year career with the last one being in 1998. Let that sink in for a moment - a raunchy rap group released 11 albums, selling millions of copies of them, and making millions of dollars. It is my opinion that if Christians and others had not raised so much cain about the filthy lyrics, this "band" would have not received the notoriety it did, flopped, and just went away after a couple of records. The free press they received made them rich and successful.

Second, back in the early '80s, the hair/glam metal craze swept the country. My favorite band, Motley Crue, was right in the middle of it. The band formed in 1981 and released its first record Too Fast for Love. Too Fast really did not see much success at first. It didn't break the Billboard 200 until 1983 after the band released album #2 - Shout at the Devil. Now, why was that?

Shout at the Devil (song)
Shout at the Devil (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's simple. Shortly after Devil's release, Christians, conservatives, and other groups jumped all over Motley Crue, because in their opinion, the band was promoting satanism with it's use of pentagrams. Once again, curiosity peaked, people had to see what all the fuss was about, and all the attention led to Devil selling 4 million copies (quadruple platinum status). The Crue's career took off. Additionally, Devil's success led to more people going back and purchasing Too Fast and it shot into the Billboard 200 album chart reaching #77 and going platinum (selling over a million copies).

Motley Crue's career has now spanned 3 decades, 30 years, 9 studio albums, and they've sold over 100 million records. As I've said, they're my favorite band. I never agreed with their wild lifestyle, but I've loved much of their music. However, if you listen to their early records, Too Fast and Devil, they were really not that good. I always felt like they really didn't hit their stride until 1985's Theatre of Pain was released.

If it had not been for all the attention and controversy surrounding Shout at the Devil, I'm not convinced The Crue would have lasted more than a few albums. 30 years? No way. In my opinion, it's likely they, too, would have flamed out after a couple of records, but thanks to all the negative PR they got over Devil, they hit it big. Were they satanic? I don't think so. I think all the pentagrams, etc. were a brilliant PR stunt that left Motley Crue laughing all the way to the bank.

So, what's my point with all this? I think that when controversial stuff comes out of the entertainment industry that Christians and other conservative groups find offensive, most of the time we deal with it the wrong way. Think about it this way - when a child is told not to do something or that they can't have such-and-such, what is the the first thing they do? Exactly. They go and do just what they were just told not to. It's natural. Adults do it to. When someone, or some group, starts clamoring about how immoral or wrong something is, our natural reaction is to be curious and want to see what all the fuss is about. Well ....... STOP IT!!!!!!!

Just like 2 Live Crew and Motley Crue ended up having long, successful, and profitable careers after controversies surrounding their music, continued wailing about Fifty Shades of Grey is gonna push people to want to see the movie. Hollywood will make millions, allow it to run for weeks and weeks, and then make similar movies in the future due to the success of this one.

So, try a different approach for once - just fuhgeddaboutit and shut up. Then, it might just go away when it stops making money due to a lack of interest. Right now, all the negative attention is making Hollywood money.

Christians and conservatives are currently doing exactly what Hollywood wants them to in regards to Fifty Shades of Grey. They're being played, and just like Motley Crue did, Hollywood's laughing all the way to the bank.

Friday, February 13, 2015

An Open Letter to Mr. Rooney, Coach Tomlin, and the Rest of the Steelers' Organization

Dear Steelers' Leadership,

I've been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan since I was old enough to know what a football was, so my support of the team is nearing the 40 year mark. Terry Bradshaw was, and still is, one of my heroes. I had the privilege of meeting him once many, many years ago. I'll never forget that day.
Terry Bradshaw (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The last few years have been, to say the least, frustrating to be a Steelers fan. We missed the playoffs in both 2012 and '13 and then were one and done this year after getting man-handled by the hated Ravens at HOME. One playoff game in three years is unacceptable. Furthermore, if we take a look back to 2011, we went to Denver and were one and done, too. So, we've played TWO playoff games in the last five seasons and lost both of them. Once again - unacceptable.

When Todd Haley was brought in as offensive coordinator starting with the 2012 season, my immediate initial reaction was, "What the ...... heck?!? His Kansas City teams were sorry with him as head coach, so why do the Steelers want him in charge of the offense? I felt sure it would be a disaster, and 2012 and '13 were pretty much just that as we struggled to finish .500 each year and lost to some of the worst teams in the NFL.

Haley's offensive prowess has been far less than stellar. Four of the Steelers' five losses this year were to teams with losing records. In two of those, embarrassing losses to the Browns and Jets, Haley showed exactly how inept he is as the offense was completely discombobulated scoring only 10 points against the Browns and only 13 against the lowly Jets. Pathetic and completely unacceptable. So, what do you guys do? You reward him with a contract extension. Yippee!! Seriously?

Now, I would agree that Big Ben had the best year of his career this year, but I would chalk that up to the young talent Ben has around him, including Leveon Bell and Antonio Brown. Those two guys are beasts and fun to watch. Heck, I could be a successful offensive coordinator if I had those guys to get the ball to. Haley did not deserve the extension.
English: Dick Lebeau with Mr. and Mrs. John Mi...
English: Dick Lebeau with Mr. and Mrs. John Mitchell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The thing I really don't get is why does Haley get an extension and yet the legend and Super Bowl winning defensive coordinator, Dick LeBeau, gets the ax? Seriously? Has the organization's leadership been smoking pot with Leveon Bell and the departed problem child LeGarrette Blount? LeBeau's defenses were the best in the league for years. The last two years have been down years, but Lebeau's been working with players that in NFL years are nearly old enough to draw Social Security. For instance:
  • Brett Keisel - 36 years old, just completed his 13th NFL season
  • Troy Polamalu - 33 years old, just completed his 12th NFL season
  • James Harrison - 36 season, just completed his 11th NFL season
  • Ike Taylor - 34 years old, just completed his 12th NFL season
Of the four players listed above, only one, James Harrison, was healthy and contributing at the end of the year. Why? Because they're old in terms of their NFL career and old players seem to get injured easier and then take longer to heal. Lebeau was expected to turn out a Top-5 defense every year and do it with antiques. For years, the Steelers have been needing to draft younger players for the secondary, in particular, and haven't done it. That's on Mr. Rooney and Coach Tomlin, not Dick Lebeau. Shame on you guys for making Lebeau the scapegoat.

So, Haley gets an extension, Lebeau gets the ax, and Keith Butler is promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator to take over for Lebeau. Bet that's really gonna help things a lot - promoting the longtime linebackers coach who will likely run the same schemes with the same antique players. Puh-lease. Yep, the Ravens are gonna kill us again next year, too.

I've been thinking. Since kicking Lebeau to the curb, promoting Butler, and giving Haley an extension seem to imply a youth movement is taking over the Steelers. Please allow me to make some suggestions about how to continue "the movement."

First, the four geezers playing defense I mentioned before, Keisel, Polamalu, Harrison, and Taylor, should be released. Then, the focus of the 2015 draft needs to be defense. Cornerbacks and safeties should be the first priority. Forget about high-priced free agents that will bust the salary cap. Go get new blood and go get it now. You guys have already waited too long. I know the fans will have a duck letting these guys go, but afterall, it's nothing personal - it's just business. Right? Isn't that the line you guys in the front office always give us?

Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsbrgh Steelers d...
Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsbrgh Steelers during an NFL game in 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Second, Big Ben Roethlisberger is currently in contract negotiations. Reports are that he's looking for a mega long term deal. Fugedabboutit. In 2008, you guys gave him an 8-year $102 Million deal. I say, "No mas!" He's already had his big deal. That ship has sailed. Ben has been an asset to the franchise winning two Super Bowls for us. However, he's gonna be 33 years old shortly, and he just completed his 11th season. Once again - geezer. And this geezer has lost more than a few steps. All the hits he's taken the last 11 years are piling up. His mobility is now more like immobility. It was obvious last year. It won't be long before he'll need a Lil' Rascal to get away from Terrell Suggs.

So give Ben a 3-year deal worth $10 Million a year or so, maybe even $15 Million to say thank you for the two additional Lombardi Trophies. Then, in the 2015 draft, get a quarterback. Heck, trade up and get a good one, and during the next three years Ben can teach and mentor him as his successor. If Ben doesn't like it, he's been there long enough to know where the door is. Just remind him he still has one year left on his contract, and we expect him to earn every dime.

Now the question is, "who do we draft"? I'm so glad you asked. It's simple. Go get Jameis Winston. The kid's got a rifle for an arm, is big, and can move. On more than one occasion, I've heard the pundits compare him to Big Ben. Yes, I know there's all those "issues" but didn't Ben have some of his own a few years ago? Ben then straightened his life out and has been a "good boy" since. Who better to mentor and guide Winston than a guy like Ben who's been there, done that, and come out of it smelling like a rose? Plus, Winston already knows what it takes to win a championship and has a ring to prove it. Jameis is your guy. Go get him.

Now, I know the things I mentioned above will be tough to do. Cutting Keisel, Polamalu, Harrison, and Taylor, as well as not giving Ben the contract he wants will not make the fans happy. Newsflash guys - WE AIN'T HAPPY NOW!!

And please, don't worry about how Brett, Troy, James, Ike, Ben, and other players feel about it. They're big boys - they'll get over it. Afterall, it's just business and the goal is the 7th Lombardi Trophy, right?

THE Pissed Off Steelers Fan

P.S. Mr. Rooney, while you're showing Brett, Troy, James, and Ike the door, please show it too Coach Tomlin, too. Two playoff games in 5 years ain't getting it. I mean, isn't that part of the reason Lebeau got shown the door? Fair is fair. See ya Tomlin. No hard feelings - it's just business. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

College Football's Epic Fail

After years of debate about the need for a college football playoff, 2014 saw it come to fruition. However, it was not without controversy involving the members of the playoff selection committee, the criteria used to select the teams, and which four teams should have have been selected. In my opinion, the inaugural playoff was at best a screw-up in regards to the teams selected and their rankings. At worst, it appeared to have had an agenda.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Florida State (FSU) fan, and I wrote this article based upon what I as an FSU fan perceived happened in college football this year. I'm sure many will disagree and write me off as a "nutjob conspiracy theorist." However, I'm sure some, such as TCU and Big 12 fans, will understand where I'm coming from. Heck, I'll betcha Detroit Lions fans can relate to where I'm coming from based upon what happened in the NFC WildCard Game with the Dallas Cowboys. I'm also sure that anyone who is a sports fan has at some time felt like their team got "railroaded". My whole point in writing this article is that nowadays appearance and perception is everything.


So, after all these years, why start the playoff now? What if the answer is because the SEC wanted it? After all, the SEC is college football's "cash cow". The playoff's predecessor, the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), was by all accounts "fathered" by former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer, because SEC teams kept knocking each other out of national championship contention each year. The BCS put a system in place that gave SEC teams an opportunity to play for the title even if they had 1 or 2 losses. In my opinion, the BCS gave the SEC a bailout.

Bowl Championship Series
Bowl Championship Series (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
During the BCS years, SEC teams won 9 out of 16 BCS title games, including 7 in a row. They were trying to make it 8 in a row last year, but SEC champion, Auburn, choked away a 21-3 first half lead en route to losing to Florida State (FSU) 34-31.

Could it be that FSU's victory, which ended the SEC's consecutive national title run, was the impetus for the new playoff system? Afterall, since the SEC is the so-called "best conference in the country", we just can't have some team from that "itty bitty conference" (as my uncle referred to the ACC) winning the crystal trophy, can we? Could it be that the NCAA felt a new system was needed which would help guarantee the SEC a shot at winning the title each year?

The Set-Up

Now, if the powers that be wanted to dethrone the defending champ and get the national title back in the SEC's hands, a new system would have to provide for the deck to be stacked against the defending champs and in favor of the SEC. Could it be that by having a 4-team playoff the goal was to have multiple SEC teams in the 4-team field to increase the SEC's odds of reclaiming the title? The only problem was that in 2014 one-by-one Auburn, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss crashed and burned leaving Alabama as the lone SEC entry into the 4-team field.
derived from
Map of states with Big 12 schools (and their division); (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did you know that the playoff committee was governed by a bunch of convoluted rules as to how teams were to be selected and ranked? You can read these rules by clicking here. If I didn't know better, I'd think they were devised by the Federal government. Heck, these "rules" would have made Nancy "we have to pass the bill so you'll know what's in it" Pelosi happy.

If you, like me, followed the committee updates each week during the college football season, you noticed that the criteria seemed to change each week. One week they would say they were looking at each team's complete season. Then, the next week some other criteria would be more important. Did the rules / criteria change on a weekly basis in order to get a desired result? Was it to cause confusion? Could the "changes" explain :
  • why TCU was booted from the playoff at the last minute even though their only loss was on the road to a team ranked #5 at the time,  but yet
  • Ohio State reached the playoff despite their only loss coming at home to a team, Virginia Tech, that finished the season 6-6 and unranked? 
Heck, I remember various media personalities saying on more than one occasion that even they didn't know what criteria the committee was judging the teams on. Was there an intended reason for the confusion?

Now, besides the convolutedness of the playoff criteria, it seemed there was a propaganda campaign against FSU by the sports media. The media would incessantly bash the defending champs. Nearly everyday, the airwaves were filled with negative press about the university and/or its football team and usually it was the same story over and over again. Was this an effort to taint public opinion against FSU in hopes that the pollsters and playoff committee members would drop them lower and lower and maybe even out of the top 4 in the rankings?

Am I off base? Well, consider this - why did FSU get hammered over off-the-field incidents and yet if an SEC player was arrested we would only hear one little snippet about it and it would be dropped? Why didn't the media pound Oregon when their star wide receiver failed a drug test and was declared ineligible for the national championship game? Think about the media uproar that would have ensued if an FSU player had failed a drug test. Was FSU treated fairly, or did it get raked over the coals due to a hidden agenda?

Furthermore, can you name me one, just one, other year when the undefeated, defending national champion was not ranked #1? Can you name me one other year where the undefeated, defending national champion won every week during the regular season but yet consistently dropped in the rankings? I've been a college football fan over 35 years, and I've never seen anything like this year. I've never seen the defending national champ disrespected like FSU was. I'm confident it would have been different if FSU had been say ..... Alabama.  As an acquaintance of mine, who's an Alabama fan, said to me one day, "They're (FSU) #1 until they lose." Boom. Exactly.

The Final Pre-Playoff Rankings

Did the convoluted rules for ranking the teams and the propaganda have the desired affect? It appeared to me that they did. The company line was that FSU fell in the rankings because they struggled in winning close games. Or, was there more to it than that? Once again, it appeared to me there was. The final rankings released after the conference championships were completed on December 6th were:
  1. Alabama
  2. Oregon
  3. Florida State
  4. Ohio State
When these were released, controversy ensued because the rankings had changed from the previous week's in which #1 and #2 were the same but #3 was TCU and FSU was #4. The question was why did TCU drop out of the top 4 even though it had won in a blowout that weekend? Some said the Big 12 and TCU were punished due to there being no Big 12 Conference Title Game. Now, why would they be punished for that? Could it have been because the NCAA likes money and conference title games bring in a lot of it? What about if there's even more to it than that?

Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans at sunset f...
Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans at sunset from the south, taken before the Sugar Bowl on January 3, 2005 by J. Glover (AUTiger). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For instance, did you know that the #1 seed got the benefit of playing its semi-final game close to home as a "reward" for being the #1 seed? It's like the NFL playoffs where the #1 seed in each conference gets to play all their playoff games at home. With one semi-final game being the Sugar Bowl, Alabama as the #1 seed gets to stay close to home and have what amounts to home-field advantage, which likely increases their chances to reach the championship game and reclaim the title for the SEC.

Furthermore, with Alabama going to the Sugar Bowl, #2 seed Oregon also gets a home game by playing in the Rose Bowl. By ranking hated, undefeated, defending national champion FSU at #3, they must travel 3000 miles away from home to play. The hated 'Noles road to repeating as national champ is now a steep uphill climb. So then, who's #4 and plays Alabama?

Well, TCU's tough. So, would the powers that be want them playing beloved Alabama? I seriously doubt it. Therefore, TCU got dumped in favor of Ohio State. It seems that if there's one thing more disrespected and hated than FSU in college football, it's the Big 10. Could it be that the Ohio State / Alabama matchup was viewed as an easy win for The Crimson Tide?

The Epic Fail

Alabama's easy win turned into college football and the media's worst nightmare. I wonder if ESPN, who has the rights to all the CFP games through 2025, thought their prized cash cow would be playing for, if not winning, the championship every year? But as Bart Simpson would say, "au contraire, mon frere." Ohio State had other plans.

College football and the rest of the country rejoiced when hated FSU lost to Oregon. All was suddenly well in the world again .... briefly, until College Football Armegeddon happened, and ..... Alabama lost to last minute CFP qualifier Ohio State. The plan to get the SEC back on top became an epic, epic failure.

Hilarious does not come close to describing it.


Some will say this article is baloney. They will say that there's no way any such a thing happened or could happen. Remember - I said at the beginning that this is how I perceived what happened in college football this year as an FSU fan. It's an OPINION!

Myself with FSU's 2013 National Championship Trophy.
But what if this is what happened? What if you have a similar reaction to what happens to your team next year? It won't be "baloney" then, will it?

Another group of people will say I'm just cryin' because FSU lost. I can already hear them. The truth is that no cryin' is involved. FSU had a great run. No other team in college football has a recent winning streak of 29 games, and the only other team with a national championship more recent than FSU's is Ohio State.

Besides, it's tough to stay focused and keep winning week after week when the entire country is rooting against you and just waiting for you to fail. Remember, we're talking about 18-22 year-old kids here, Couple all that with committing multiple turnovers against a good team in the Rose Bowl and you have the perfect storm. Stuff happens.

The truth is I'm a bigger FSU fan now than I was before the season. Why? It's because the entire country hated my football team for weeks, and FSU's players and coaches heard over and over about how sorry they were as a team and as human beings. Yet those guys kept fighting week after week and stuck together as a team. Only running into a perfect storm in the Rose Bowl beat them. So, I'm proud of all those guys, the FSU players and coaches, for standing tall and sticking together against overwhelming odds all year.

And to much of the country's dismay, my guys will be back. It's only a matter of time.

Go 'Noles.