NFL for me today: Start up three team open par with Vikings -2.5, Patriots -7, one open for the time being. If things go well here, more than likely I will be taking the Broncos to close out this par on Monday. I am risking two units on this par as I really like both chalk spreads here. Closing a two team 6 point teaser with the Pats at -1.5. I also have an ongoing 3 team 10 point teaser that I will probably use as a hedge against the above par play. That's it for me this NFL weekend, as I really don't like any other lined games. GLTA today.
I was talking to Awesome Kelly in Arizona on Saturday night. I asked her when the Olympics would finally be over, and she immediately responded, "F***ing never."
Intrigued that she might be the only female alive who despises the Olympics, I asked her what she hates most about it. She replied, "It's probably easier to list what I hate least."
What I hate the most about the Olympics - besides the fact that it seemingly has been on for decades - is figure skating.
I think we can all agree that figure skating is the worst thing of all time. Seriously. Instead of blowing up buildings, terrorists should make us watch figure skating. That would be horrible.
Just in case you like figure skating (not that there's anything wrong with that), and you're wondering why I loathe it so much, let me explain:
First, it's boring. They all do the same tricks. They whirl and twirl. They hop and plop. They fling and swing. It's the same damn thing every time. The only thing that changes is the music in the background, which usually sucks.
And second, the way the winner is decided is a joke. How can you have human beings choose a winner? All humans have some sort of bias. What if one of the judges doesn't like one of the figure skaters? What if one of the judges has a gripe with the country the skater is from? What if one of the skaters slept with a judge's wife, and the judge wants revenge? All of these things are possible.
There seems to be some sort of controversy every year. The judges are always being blamed for favoring/hating someone because of their nationality, yet nothing is done about it. Imagine if the Super Bowl were decided by the officials, who awarded the Lombardi Trophy to the team they liked the most. That's how stupid figure skating is.
So, you ask, "Walt, how would you fix figure skating? There doesn't seem to be any sort of solution."
Well, I'm glad you asked. My friend Larry and I came up with a way to fix this terrible sport. It involves three steps:
1. Each skater starts off with a set amount of points. Let's say 20.
Once the competition begins, five rings of fire are lit on the ice. The skater must twirl and whirl through the rings of fire, unscathed. If they do so, they keep their points. If part of their costume is burnt, they lose two points each time. If their entire body catches on fire and their entire face burns off, I'm sorry, that's a 10-point deduction.
After each skater makes it through all five rings of fire, we begin Step 2.
2. Before the skaters begin, someone must rig the skating rink with booby traps. You know, land mines and stuff like that. After the rings of fire are done with, the land mines must be activated.
The skater then has to move around the ice for two minutes. If they hit a land mine, they lose four points.
3. Once the land mine stage is complete, it's time to unleash the polar bears!
The objective of this final portion of the figure skating competition is to skate around the ice for five minutes without getting mauled by a pair of polar bears. Of course, the Olympic committee needs to make sure these polar bears haven't eaten in like five weeks, just to be on the safe side.
The scoring for this is simple. If a polar bear tears a hole in the skater's suit, it's minus five points. If a polar bear mauls the skater, it's a 10-point deduction. And if the polar bear actually manages to eat the skater, it's minus 15 points.
After all of this is over, the skater with the most points remaining is the winner!
See how easy it was to fix figure skating? Not only have I eliminated corrupt judges, I've also made figure skating infinitely more entertaining. In fact, I guarantee Awesome Kelly in Arizona and I would watch every minute of Olympic figure skating if it were like this.
JERK OF THE WEEK NO. 2: Two Fat Black Men
Facebook friend Eitan G. sent over this Jerk of the Week nomination. The culprit is Jason Whitlock, an enormous black man who looks a bit like the awesome Carl Winslow.
Whitlock writes/wrote for ESPN and the Kansas City Star. I never had any sort of gripe with him until Eitan's Facebook message. Eitan sent me an article Whitlock wrote about the Super Bowl and directed me toward four very questionable paragraphs. Here they are:
By Wednesday morning, I was so upset I grabbed my laptop and reached for The Card. I was going to make this column all about the elephant in the room:
In the biggest sporting event in the world, with a record number of people watching and on the game's most important play, a black defensive back outsmarted a beloved white quarterback.
I know. That's a truth many of you can't handle. It makes you uncomfortable. You don't even get what I'm really saying. All of us -- white, black and brown -- get so caught up in our stereotypes that we oftentimes miss what is right in front of us.
Tracy Porter outsmarted Peyton Manning and won the Super Bowl for New Orleans. End of story.
Apparently, it wasn't the end of the story. After all, Whitlock, a black man, outsmarted me, a white man, into reading this crap. I know. That's a truth many of you can't handle. Unfortunately, the only "elephant" in the room is Whitlock.
Seriously, who cares if a black defensive back intercepted a white quarterback? Do white sportswriters compile incoherent columns whenever a white defensive back like Jim Leonhard intercepts a black quarterback like Vince Young? No. And you know why? Because it doesn't matter.
Why should race play any sort of role in this? People who cry out that racism is so paramount in our country need to look at people like Whitlock, who still make it out to be a big deal.
Eitan G., who is not a U.S. citizen, sums it up very well:
Now I'm not American, but I can say that from the outside, the U.S. seems to be the most race-obsessed country in the world, and guys like Whitlock are a big reason. The guy will look for the racist angle when it's not even there, and people like him are a part of what keeps the racism demons alive - lighting a fire where there's none.
Does Fox Sports have any editors? How can this guy have a job after publishing such a column? I don't think there's "an elephant." I think Mr. Whitlock just sees what he wants to see. Nobody else seems to care about Manning or Porter's skin.
There is more than one elephant in the room. Along with Whitlock, I'd like to talk about NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes.
Jamie could never put a column together because he would eat his computer in the process. However, listening to him over the past couple of days during the NFL Network's Combine coverage has been a horribly brutal experience.
Consider three of Dukes' opinions that he's hammered down our throats over the past few days:
1. Jimmy Clausen should not be drafted at the top of the first round because he has character concerns.
2. LeGarrette punched a defenseless player, but he deserves a second chance.
3. Michael Vick would be a good starting quarterback in this league because he's learned from his mistakes.
You really can't make this stuff up. And I'm not the only one who has noticed this. A well-known Internet NFL Draft writer, who wanted to remain nameless, e-mailed me on Saturday evening, "Jamie Dukes sickens me. If Jimmy Clausen were black, I guarantee he'd be all over the guy's nuts, saying that he deserves a second chance."
And I think he's right. Let's review:
Clausen, a white quarterback, has "character concerns" because he showed up to an event in a limo when he was 18, and then was busted for underage drinking, a crime committed by millions of kids every day in this country.
LeGarrette Blount, a black running back, deserves a second chance after sucker punching a defenseless player and then being restrained from attacking fans in a Boise State crowd. (I believe Blount deserves a second chance, but this is worse than showing up in a limo and being caught for underage drinking. Blount could have killed someone if he wasn't held back.)
QB Dog Killer, a black pseudo-quarterback, has learned his lesson after killing and torturing hundreds of dogs, which included the process of holding some dogs under water and taking bets to see how long they'd last.
I've just realized two things. First, Dukes is an idiot. Yes, I already knew this, but it really hit me after typing this all out. How can a man be so hypocritical? It's almost as if Dukes ate his own common sense.
And second, I've become Jason Whitlock. I'm ashamed to admit it, but it just dawned on me that like Whitlock, I looked for the racist angle. I'm disgusted with myself.
But being Jason Whitlock might not be so bad, right? I mean, being like Jason Whitlock is... wait a second... I've never noticed how tasty this monitor looks. Mmm... I want to eat it... NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM!!!
JERK OF THE WEEK NO. 3: Jacob (Lost)
We're about a third of the way through the final season of Lost, so I feel it's time to talk about a major theory I've been developing. If you're behind in watching Lost, stop reading this now because it will contain spoilers.
I've been thinking about this theory for a while, and I'm finally ready to reveal it to you all (and I'm fully aware that about 5,000 people out there probably already came up with this.)
Jacob is Evil
From the moment we met Jacob and Man In Black, and heard the latter say he wanted to kill the former, we assumed that Jacob, wearing white, was good, and Man In Black, wearing black, was bad.
However, I'd like to present the following facts that may indicate otherwise:
1. Jacob brings people to the island against their will. It appears as though his intentions are good - we figure that he has faith in people that they can peacefully co-exist - but still, the fact remains that Jacob meddles with people's lives, uses his lighthouse dial to spy on them and then eventually calls them to the island. I don't care what you're intentions are; no good person (or entity) does this.
2. Jacob is responsible for Nadia's death. If Jacob knew enough that he would be killed (the note he put inside Hurley's guitar case is proof enough), then he definitely had enough foresight to realize that asking Sayid for directions would cause Nadia to die.
Why kill an innocent woman like that? And for what? Sayid is allegedly infected, so he's probably not going to win Jacob's candidacy. Couldn't Jacob have spared Nadia's life and refrained Sayid from coming back to the island? Sure, Jacob needed Sayid to shoot Young Ben, but I'm sure Roger Linus would have done that eventually.
3. Jacob's people are the Others, right? Well, the Others aren't exactly gracious hosts. Instead of helping the Oceanic survivors by giving them food and shelter, the Others kidnapped some of the survivors. They hanged Charlie. They blew up Michael's raft. They were more than willing to kill Hurley, Jack, Kate and Miles right outside the temple this season before Hurley showed Dogan what was in his guitar case.
I understand the Others are probably protecting the island, but it's not like Oceanic 815 was an airplane full of serial killers, rapists and ice skating judges. They were (mostly) nice people who simply wanted to get off the island. Had the Others been hospitable to the Oceanic survivors, no one would have died (except for Boone, who probably would have fallen into a pit of lava under Locke's instructions.)
4. I believe the "flash-sideways" are an indication of how the Oceanic 815 survivors would have lived had Jacob never meddled with them. And from everything we've seen thus far, everyone is better off. Consider:
Jack is not an alcoholic and has a son, presumably with a hot baby's momma (everyone is assuming Ana Lucia or Juliet; I'll guess the most reasonable - Sarah).
Kate apparently did not kill her abusive father (she tells Claire this, though we don't know if she was lying or not.)
Nothing bad happens to Hurley.
Locke still has a relationship with Helen and his father.
Claire will be able to keep Aaron. She'll also be financially secure because of the money Christian left her in his will.
Desmond has not been in a hatch pushing the doomsday button for three years.
Sayid gets to go to L.A. to be with Nadia.
Boone, Charlie, Frogurt and Dr. Arzt are alive.
Shannon didn't have to leave her boyfriend.
I'm willing to bet Sawyer didn't shoot anyone in Sydney. He doesn't have the same super-depressed/angry aura that he had on the show before killing Anthony Cooper in Season 3.
Every single character is better off. By meddling, Jacob seemingly ruined things for everyone. And for what? So he can pick a candidate? And if Jacob never brought Oceanic 815 to the island, then Man In Black wouldn't have killed him using Locke's body, thus nullifying the need for a candidate.
It's hard to distrust Jacob. He's so calm and serene. Meanwhile, Man In Black has been terrorizing the poor characters on the show ever since he killed Matt Parkman Captain Norris in the series premiere. Everyone fears Man In Black - even a cool samurai like Dogan.
But here's the thing - maybe Man In Black's sole purpose is to stop Jacob from meddling with innocent people, and he has to kill for the greater good. Maybe Jacob brings people to the island so he can watch everyone kill each other, and Man In Black simply wants Jacob to stop.
In fact, we've seen Man In Black show mercy before. He saw Locke in Season 1, but didn't kill him. He gave Mr. Eko the chance to repent in Season 3. He didn't appear too concerned with Illana's team until they started shooting at him. If he's super evil, then why not just kill everyone?
Sure, Man In Black is obviously no saint, but I'm not convinced that he's any more evil and conniving than Jacob. Maybe Man In Black realizes that it's OK to spare a few lives if it leads to Jacob's destruction.
With Jacob gone, it appears as though the only goal Man In Black has left is to stop all of the candidates from becoming the next Jacob; if that happens, all of his work (finding a loophole) will be for nothing. Once there are no more candidates, Man In Black can finally leave the island in peace, knowing that no one will ever be brought there against their will ever again.