Friday, December 21, 2007

The MPAA...good times and hilarity.


ThinkFilm is prepping an appeal to the MPAA, but this one doesn't concern a film's rating. It's about a poster. The poster art for Taxi to the Dark Side -- a documentary about the pattern of torture practice that is on the short list for Academy Award consideration -- is causing a stir due to its depiction of a hooded man being led by American soldiers. The original news photo was taken by photographer Shaun Schwarz, and had been censored before -- when the military erased it from Schwarz' camera. (He later retrieved it from his hard drive.) Variety magazine is reporting that the MPAA has officially rejected the poster, and if ThinkFilm goes forward with the marketing, they could have their "R" rating revoked. Taxi to the Dark Side is due for release on January 11th. Here is the poster. For more hilarious information on the MPAA, check out the DVD This Film Is Not Yet Rated. It is awesome.


Eastern Promises. Best movie of the year.

I have seen the best movie made this year. And it comes out on DVD today. Here is a link to the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq_M8EOC4zA

David Cronenberg is quickly becoming one of the top five directors in movies today, along with Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorcese, Tarantino and the Coen Brothers. A couple more like this and he will be number one, easily. He was the auteur of last year's best movie as well, A History of Violence. Viggo Mortensen is in Eastern Promises as well, playing a driver and general thug-for-hire for the Russian mob in London. Naomi Watts plays a midwife who accidentally uncovers evidence against the Russian syndicate. She is one of the most underrated actresses in movies, and a new addition to my "top five actresses whom I would pay to see in a movie" list, now that Hilary Swank has become a motivational speaker. Not that that matters. Really. Go see that movie being advertised just to the right of this post. I'm sure it's delightful.

But first, rent Eastern Promises. Because the next "new release Tuesday" is actually Christmas day, the whole system gets screwed up for a couple of weeks, and movies are released on Friday of this week. Also Rush Hour 3, and The Heartbreak Kid. Rush Hour 3 might be decent, The Heartbreak Kid will likely be lousy, but Eastern Promises is so worth the trip to the video store. It is such an intense, powerful drama/thriller/crime story/gangster epic that it is, in my humble movie critic's opinion, the best movie of 2007. The others are Superbad, The Host, Knocked Up, Rescue Dawn, Sicko, Hot Fuzz, Ratatouille and The Bourne Ultimatum. This may be because I have not yet seen No Country For Old Men. But as it stands right now, Eastern Promises is the must-watch, get-it-now movie of the year.

I'm on the Sidney Crosby bandwagon.

OK, NOW Sidney Crosby is the greatest player in hockey today. Last night, his first ever fight, and he did pretty well. A Gordie Howe hat trick in the first 25 minutes of the game! In fact he had a goal, a fight, and TWO assists in the first 25 minutes of play as the Penguins rolled over Andrew Ference and the Bruins. He may never break any of Gretzky's records, but three more fights and he has surpassed the Great One in at least one category.

http://www.hockeyfights.com/fights/39333

Oh no! More punishment ------------------>

Now I see that the ads are rotating, and it is not just that one about the Cobalt. There is also one for the new movie P.S. I Love You. As host of Cynical Cinema, I would like to state that I heartily endorse the film P.S. I Love You. I am certain that it is a high-octane, adrenaline-filled powerhouse of a movie, full of heart-pumping car chases and shootouts. And please friends, don't let the fact that Hilary Swank has become a motivational speaker deter you from checking out what I'm sure is a towering masterpiece of cinematic art. P.S. I Love You. In theatres now.

Oh, one more. The Bucket List! OK, this one I really do want to see. Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, trying to make sure they do everything on their list before they kick the bucket? This one really does have tremendous written all over it. Morgan Freeman, over the last several years, has proven that he will appear in anything, as long as it pays him, so his judgement is not necessarily to be trusted. But Jack has always been bang-on. With the exception of Anger Management. You can trust Jack.

Oh, I Am Legend also. Well, this movie doesn't need more advertising. It had the biggest December opening of all time and is making ridiculous amounts of box-office money. I wouldn't go so far as to say you can trust Will Smith to make a movie that is great. But you can definitely trust him to be in a movie that will make a lot of box-office money. I will suspend my judgement on I Am Legend until I have seen it. When it comes out on DVD. I suppose I should do the same, as a reputable movie critic, but some things promise "suck" long before anyone sees them. Like the involvement of Orlando Bloom or Ben Stiller.

Witness my punishment ------------->

To your right on this page, you will see my just desserts for screwing up such a simple thing as the entering of a bonus code. Feast your eyes upon the advertising that has been (temporarily, I hope) added to my page. Please, visit our sponsor and win a Cobalt. Whatever that is. Some kind of flashlight, I wager. The only way to find out for sure is...to click on the ad! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bonus code bitterness? Mea culpa.

I am pretty new to the whole CHEZ bonus code thing. I was given access on Tuesday to actually create them myself, and then a brief tutorial by a colleague in another department as to how to actually use the system. It turns out that his system is slightly different than the CHEZ system, and as such I have screwed up the bonus codes for two days in a row. My fault, apologies all around. I think I have it fixed now, and today's should work just fine. Fingers crossed. I have received many emails and phone calls and a few messages on my blog about the bonus codes, so I figured I would use this space to respond to them all. I am told that all those who attempted unsuccessfully to enter the codes have been credited with the points in their accounts. I am also told that as punishment for my idiocy, ads might soon be going up on my blog. So...look for some ads soon. I feel one week's worth is punishment enough for me.

Most of the messages I received have been friendly in tone, just gentle reminders and mildly phrased questions about the bonus codes. However, some have been amazingly malicious and angry! These are the ones that make me laugh. I tried to copy and paste the bodies of these emails into my blog for the amusement of all, but my email won't allow me to do so, so I have copied down some of my favourite phrases. I felt like I was Randall, and this was my rant-back! Here are a few:

"Get your head out of your ass, you piece of s*t intern."
"You're clearly the dumbest person at CHEZ."

A personal favourite of mine:
"I spent two hours trying to put this code in. You cost me two hours of my work day."

"I didn't get a thousand points today. What are you going to do about it?"
"How do you expect people to keep listening when your bonus codes are always so f*ed up?"

That's just a sample, and I have paraphrased where appropriate. This really does make me smile though. I mean, it's a bonus code, right? For points in the Platinum Nation? It isn't your mortgage payment or your child's University tuition, no? Ummm...it's called a "bonus" code, because getting it is a "bonus". I do not owe you points simply by virtue of the fact that I am here. When Doc creates a bonus code, he doesn't create it because he owes everyone 1,000 points a day, he does it because he wants to give people 1,000 points a day. Which is why I am doing it. I could quite easily have taken over the show for these two weeks, and given away no bonus codes at all. It would have made my life much easier, and I wouldn't have had to learn the time consuming process of creating a code. But I wanted to give away points. So I made the effort. I was ready to pack it in yesterday, after two days filled with venomous emails. But then my error in creating the codes was pointed out to me, and I felt so stupid at missing such a small detail that I have decided to continue with the practice.

Enjoy your points everyone, and the ads that are sure to show up here in the next few days.

Chris Simon

Chris Simon stomps on Jarko Ruutu's leg:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hKeVb_G-PI

Chris Simon's two-handed stick smash to the face of Ryan Hollweg:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esETGHljQi4&feature=related

The fact of the matter is, the cheapshot on Hollweg was even worse than the skate to the leg of Ruutu, although both are fairly tough to watch. But I'm a little confused here. The slash to the face of Hollweg was worth a league-record 25 game suspension. Then, the stomp on Ruutu's leg, while not as bad, was worth an even-longer 30 games. That's not what confuses me. I get it. This is Simon's EIGHTH suspension, two of which have been of record length. And so the suspension he gets this time is based more on his previous record than it is on the incident itself. OK, fine so far. But here's what I don't get. Simon was suspended for TWENTY-FIVE games last time. The idea being, I suppose, to teach him his lesson. Did he learn it? Obviously not. The stomp on Ruutu was not in the heat of a game, a momentary loss of discipline in the thick of battle. It was after the play was long over, while Ruutu was surrounded by linesmen! 25 games obviously had absolutely no effect here, because here we are nine months later and he's acting the same way.

So why 30 games? Isn't that kind of like saying "well, you didn't stop mugging old ladies when we gave you two years in jail. So let's see if two and a HALF can convince you not to mug old ladies!" Umm...right. The criminal justice system doesn't work this way, and neither should the NHL justice system. Now, I like what both Simon and the Islanders did here, pre-emptively dealing with the situation, making sure the team was still behind Simon, who clearly has some serious issues that go beyond hockey, and making sure he had time away from the team to deal with whatever those issues may be. That is a good step, the team policing its players before the NHL even has a chance to do so. I think Ted Nolan must be behind that in some way. But the actions of the NHL are strange to me. If you really want to have an effect, perhaps here you REALLY have to step it up. Suspend him for a full season. Or, just get the thing over and done with and boot him out of the game for good.

I have seen Chris Simon interviewed. He is a likeable, soft-spoken guy, who seems like a very friendly individual. But when he gets out onto the ice, he is dangerous. And not in a Scott Stevens, keep-your-head-down sort of way, and not even in a Claude Lemieux, Ulf Samuelsson, Brian Marchment I'll-spear-you-behind-the-play-while-no-one's-looking sort of way, but rather in an uncontrollable, intent-to-injure kind of way that seems impossible for him to reign in. If kids do this in school, they are suspended. They keep doing it, they are expelled. If people do this in society, they are arrested. Eventually, they are imprisoned for a long time. The same, it seems to me, should go in hockey. A full-season suspension would not be out of order here. Not too many people seem to think the same way I do about this. All the pundits I've seen and read have suggested that 30 games is fair. I hope they are right, and I hope Chris Simon gets the help he needs while he is away from the Islanders. But I'm worried that a thirty-FIVE game suspension is just around the corner.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More football picks...don't worry, only two weeks left.

OK, Greg and Kayla, and the rest of you all who have managed to pass me in the work pool. This week, I re-assert my dominance. And I have to, because on that last week, who knows who'll win and who'll tank? These next two are, in fact, the toughest by far to actually predict. Most of the playoff picture is clear, but with a few races still up for grabs, here we go:

Pittsburgh - St. Louis: The Steelers, once 7-2 and considered the third-best team in football, have fallen fairly hard of late. The Rams are not a good team, but they have nothing to lose, and could well surprise the Steelers. Pittsburgh will win this game, but it will be closer than the 7.5 point spread in the CHEZ pool.

Dallas - Carolina: The Panthers' win against the Seahawks last wek was...what? A sign that Carolina has finally figured it out near the end of the season? Or an aberration where Seattle played horribly and lost a game they should have run away with. And the Cowboys' loss to Philadelphia was...what? A sign the Cowboys are finally human and are starting to slide toward the season's end? Or an aberration where Philly played unusually well? Well, here's my take. The Eagles-Boys game was divisional, between two teams where their records have no bearing on the outcome of the game. The Panthers win was similar, but bigger than the Dallas loss. So I think the Cowboys will win, but Carolina has figured out enough football to keep it closer than 13 points.

New York Giants - Buffalo: This is a much tougher game to call than it appears. The Giants are proving, week in and week out, that they are NOT as good as their record would suggest. They are falling off in a big way, and there is actually a chance they might not make the playoffs at all, which would have seemed ridiculous a month ago. The Bills, on the other hand, have performed above all expectations most of the season, and are at home for this one. The thing is, the Giants are in danger of missing the playoffs because of the way they have played at home, not on the road. Add to that the fact that their last game is going to be a loss to New England, and the Giants need this one badly. They should win, but look for Buffalo to make it interesting.

Washington - Minnesota: Another one of those "zero spread" games in the CHEZ pool. But this is by no means an easy one to pick. It's really nice to see Sean Taylor being posthumously elected to the Pro Bowl, and based on the season he was having, he certainly deserved it. And this Skins team has proven to be very resilient and mentally tough, and they are good enough to win out and make the playoffs. My slight inclination here, however, is to go with the Vikings at home. They are looking absolutely fantastic as they make their playoff push, and I find it tough to bet against Adrian Peterson at the moment.

Houston - Indianapolis: Poor Houston is in a division where, try as they might, they will not make the playoffs this year. They have improved an enormous amount, thanks in large part to Mario Williams, who is more than justifying his first-overall selection this year. However, the Jaguars, Titans and Colts are all very good teams that Houston had to play twice each this year. The Texans are 0-4 in divisional games so far (meaning they are 7-3 in their other games). The Colts should make it 0-5 this weekend, but they have nothing left to play for. They are second in the conference, guaranteed first-round bye, no chance at homefield throughout. But the Colts don't want another late-season letdown, like the one that led to their second-round loss a couple of years ago. Look for the Colts to keep their starters in long enough to win, but to take them out in time for Houston to cover the 8-point spread.

Oakland - Jacksonville: The Raiders put in a pretty good effort against the Colts last week, but many experts are now saying that Jacksonville may actually be BETTER than the Colts right now, with the way Fred Taylor is running. Taylor has to be a little bitter, having once again not made the Pro Bowl. He will look to make a statement in this game, and Jacksonville has not yet officially made the playoffs. Jaguars to win HUGE.

Philadelphia - New Orleans: The Saints are an enigma. One week they are terrific, the next they are awful. Reggie Bush goes out and they still win last week's big game. They are better on the road than at home. Then again, so are the Eagles. Philadelphia is riding high after knocking off the Cowboys, and they might catch New Orleans on a down week. Take Philly in the upset and hope for the best.

Miami - New England: This is a game that could go one of two ways. Either the Patriots win by thirty, or they win by fifty. If New England decides to rest their starters for the playoffs, they will win by 30. If they decide to go all out against the team whose destiny they are chasing, they will win by fifty. Either way, they cover the spread.

Kansas City - Detroit: Two teams that are both bombing in a big way late in the year. KC has lost 7 straight. The Lions have lost 6 straight. Both are just playing out the string, and there is no telling who will care less than the other team and lose this game. The Lions are favoured by 4.5, and I will take them to win, but KC to cover the spread. Hedging my bets again.

Cleveland - Cincinnatti: The Browns not only have a great chance to make the playoffs, they also have a terrific chance to win their division and finish ahead of Pittsburgh. Last week's game in Buffalo just proved that Cleveland has what it takes to beat teams in adverse conditions, and they should run it up big on Cincy, who are completely lost this year.

Green Bay - Chicago: The Packers actually have a chance to win the NFC, now that the Eagles took out the Cowboys last week. Also, this game could exact some revenge on Chicago for that early-season loss. The Packers, with home field in the playoffs, would be Super-Bowl bound. The Bears will not be back to a Super Bowl for many years. Take Green Bay. A free 15-16 points in the CHEZ pool.

Atlanta - Arizona: Arizona is now out of the playoff hunt, thanks to their defeat at the hands of New Orleans last week. But they are still immeasurably better than the Falcons. Cards to win this one simply for pride.

New York Jets - Tennessee: The Titans are in tough if they want to be the final wild-card team in the AFC. They need a lot of help, but first they need to win their next two games. And the Jets are not a team that is going to offer much resistance. Titans will take this one, but there is a chance (I'd say a reasonably good chance) that they will tighten up enough to make it close. Jets to cover the 9 points, Titans to win.

Baltimore - Seattle: Baltimore has absolutely nothing left in the tank after their gignatic effort against the Patriots. Giving the Dolphins their first win of the season? Come on. The Seahawks have problems of their own, having lost a game they should have dominated against Carolina last week, but they are more than good enough to defeat a Ravens team that has lost eight in a row after starting 4-2.

Tampa Bay - San Francisco: Who would have thought San Fran's third-string QB could be so effective? Not me, that's for sure. Tampa Bay is still by far the superior team, and they should win this one easily, but if the Niners play like they did last week, they will make it close. I think they will, and I think they will cover the one-TD spread. But they will not win.

Denver - San Diego: The Broncos have been incredible underachievers this season, losing many games they should have won, and squeaking out wins in many games they should have lost. The Chargers, on the other hand, have figured out how to win, and win convincingly. They will do so again against the lackluster Broncos, as San Diego looks to get better and better as they hit the playoffs.

OK. That's it. One more week to go, and I imagine I won't be doing so well in the last couple of weeks. If you want to make that huge score with really long odds on Pro Line, the next couple of weeks are the ones to do it. The weeks where good teams looking to make the playoffs tighten up and lay eggs, the teams with nothing to lose come through with massive efforts, and the teams who already have everything wrapped up sit their starters. Good luck!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A couple of things.

Two administrative items I feel I should clear up, while I have the chance. First, a caller this morning asked if Bruce Willis had ever said "merry f*ing Christmas" in either one of the Christmas-themed Die Hard movies. I do not believe he did, but it's been bugging me ever since. Anyone remember?

Secondly, a gentleman left me a message on my answering machine asking about Rolling Stones films. He left me a phone number to call him back, but I accidentally erased the message, and now I can't remember it. So I will respond here, and hopefully this man reads the blog. Here is your answer: You mentioned Gimme Shelter, which is (I think) by far the best Rolling Stones document out there. The story of the Stones and Altamont and the fallout afterward, Gimme Shelter is absolutely essential for any Stones fan. There is also a movie called Sympathy For the Devil, which is a film done by Jean-Luc Godard, a French director who is famed for his disjointed art films, where narrative is almost irrelevant. Sympathy For the Devil is no exception, it is almost too weird to be enjoyed. There are some bizarre scenes involving the Black Panthers movement, and it's just plain weird. Also too weird and badly-filmed to be enjoyed is the cult-classic bootleg video entitled "C*kS*ker Blues", which is basically just backstage footage from one of their tours. It's grainy, badly done, and does indeed involve some Stones-style debauchery. But (although it is tough to tell for sure because of the film quality) none of that debauchery involves the Stones themselves, just their entourage, and outside of that stuff, it is very boring.

A decent bootleg is called "Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones", which chronicles their 1972 tour, and another solid purchase is the Four Flicks DVD set, which is four performances from different-sized venues during one of their recent tours. Also worthwhile are the Voodoo Lounge DVD and the Bridges to Babylon tour DVD. The gentleman who left the message was, I believe, interested in something from a tour in the early 80s, but I have never seen a DVD with any footage from that era. The ones I mentioned here are all the ones I have seen. If anyone knows of a DVD featuring a tour from 1981, please let me (and the man whose phone call I accidentally erased) know!

Let it snow...no, let it stop.

The dream is dead! My dream of shovelling no snow this winter, of waiting until it melted, is over. As I dug myself out of the snow yesterday, for the third time in two days, I took several breaks to savour a coffee and stave off the inevitable heart attack I felt coming on. On Sunday, my mother-in-law was over for our Christmas celebration. When it came time to take her home, which is only two blocks away, we had to completely shovel out the driveway, since it was too deep to drive the car out. A hurried effort by my girlfriend and myself resulted in a temporarily clear driveway, just long enough to get her home and come back into the garage. By the time I had pulled in, the evidence of shoveling had pretty much been cleared away by the snow and the wind, which insisted upon pushing the newly-shoveled snow back onto the driveway from whence it came.

Then yesterday morning, I was frantically trying to remove the giant ice chunk from the bottom of the driveway so I could pull the car out and get to work. I didn't have enough time to clear off the whole driveway, which meant that I got stuck in the middle of my own driveway for a brief spell, but with a massive effort and the liberal application of the gas pedal, my house was covered in spraying snow, but I was on my way to work. While I was at work, the plow came by again. This time, our 13-year-old was commissioned, in my absence, to at least clear off the entrance to the driveway so I could get in when I got home. Although he put in a commendable effort, the resulting gap in the front of the driveway was not quite wide enough to get a car through. But with more liberal application of the accelerator, I was able to gun it up my driveway and into the garage.

I was tapped to go pick up my mother-in-law from work. Normally she takes the bus, but with the massive snowfall and the big snow banks, she would have had to climb over a snow bank to get onto the bus, or she would have had to wait for the bus on the road itself. Neither one was a solid option, so I picked her up. That meant clearing the rest of the driveway. (I also attempt to have the driveway clear every day for the time the letter carrier comes by. I would feel bad if he had to slog through waist-deep snow in order to deliver the pizza place flyers and Homesense catalogues that make up my mail.) This is the part that took me over an hour, since I was watching my heart and taking several breaks, and because I had to widen the mouth of the driveway, which by this time had frozen into a solid ice lump. Once I picked up the mother-in-law, I had to shovel out her walkway at her house. She rents, and the company she rents from does have their own snow-removal crew, but they seem to wait three days after each snow fall to actually get around to it. So in order to make sure she could get to the sidewalk, I was scooping out a small but walkable path as quickly as I could.

Another thought about my mailman - I suspect he does not read my blog, but if you are reading this, sir, I apologize for the minefield you have had to navigate these past few days. You see, although I attempt to keep the driveway and path clean for the mailman, that also means it is the only place outside the house that is not waist-deep in snow. For a while now, we have been unable to open our back door at all, which is where the dog normally goes to do her business. Now, we have no choice but to let her out the front door to do so, which means that there is a lot of yellow snow in the area frequented by the mailman. And, occasionally, a depth charge we missed somewhere along the way. (They are easy to miss at times. Our dog is very small, and by extension, so is her poo.) So I hope this hasn't made your job more difficult, sir.

More snow later today and for the next three days, apparently. I am glad to see that the few poor individuals who left their cars in the station parking lot over the weekend have been able to dig their vehicles free of the mountain, but there is more to come. I am hoping I can hold off until this Saturday, when the +6 temperatures will melt it all. I don't, however, hold out much hope.

Christmas is over!

We had our family Christmas this past weekend. It was the only time we could see my youngest step-son during the holiday season, so we got to celebrate early. Of course, this does not mean we can take down the Christmas decorations that irritate me, because we are still hosting all my in-laws for dinner on Christmas proper, and as such we need to continue being festive until that time. Maybe the Christmas music will ease up a bit, but I am not crossing my fingers. But in the end, it was a fantastic Christmas weekend. We were going to keep the kids home from school on Monday anyway, but since it was a snow day, there really was no school to go to anyway. And what a snow day! Truly a white Christmas for us, which is terrific when you are bundled up by the fireplace with hot chocolate, but not so terrific when you have to get ready for work early on a Monday morning.

But of course, we were cooped up in the house all day Sunday and Monday. Playing all the new games. Of course, the kids had to open every single gift they got at Christmas time, and play with every one of them. So on Sunday I built and then played a game of darts, built and then played Spongebob Operation, opened and played Disney's Scene It...(by the way, anyone played that game? I know it's all Disney movies, but they really hammer that home. EVERY movie title in the game, every answer to every question is things like Disney's The Aristocats, or Disney's Miracle. We get it. The box says Disney. Now it's just obnoxious.) I also played some game with cubes where two guys in the cubes run into each other's cube and bake cookies and sometimes fight each other. I can't really describe it, but it's kind of fun. I hooked up two DS games together. I played with something called a Pokedex. Which is Pokemon related, it seems. Then I set up some Magnetix and played with those. Then the kids got up.

Of course, our oldest step-son was already fully aware that we had purchased Guitar Hero III (having caught us in the act of playing it a few short weeks ago). But he has only played it once before, when I borrowed it from Ted almost a year ago. Jen and I had been able to get through an entire career on Easy mode in one day, but when you get to the end, the songs are way tougher and you have to battle the devil himself to win the game. (The devil for some reason is named Lou. Short for Lucifer, I suppose.) We had tried, but it had proved impossible to beat him. Our 13-year old decides to pick up where we left off, and plays two songs to warm up. then, having played this game once before in a year, goes ahead and beats the devil. Just like that. I hate being impressed by someone's ability to play video games, but I felt that was extremely impressive. I gave him a cookie.

Altogether a very successful Christmas, with several more to come. The in-laws and our older step-son again on the coming weekend, and my mom and sister are going to be around sometime in the Christmas-related holiday season. Then there's my father-in law, brother-in-law and his kids, and my actual Christmas day, which I plan to spend with the girlfriend, completely by ourselves, where we will watch horrible Christmas movies, like Santa Clause 3 and Santa With Muscles (both movies and their reviews on Cynical Cinema this week), and drink some beer. Go Christmas!

Football recap.

I'd like to take a moment to toot my own horn here...who predicted the Dolphins win over the Ravens? That's right, me. And no, I was NOT just trying to throw off the other pool players in my office, like Greg...OK, I was. I really did not see that one coming. I was also lying when I picked the Jets to beat the Patriots, but man, that was close! Could've easily happened, in the end, and the Jets certainly covered that 24-point spread, which was an easy 14 points for me in the CHEZ pool. In fact, I had a pretty poor week, and I hope no one in the pool around me actually took my advice, because my fake picks were better than my real ones.

Ones I got wrong: Who would have seen Seattle losing to the woeful Panthers? I am guessing no one. Very few people would have picked the Eagles over the Cowboys, but I almost did. And I chose wrong. The Eagles DID cover the big spread easily, however, I was right there. Very few people, also, would have chosen the Niners to beat the Bengals, and I am among their number. The Giants should have beaten the Skins, but it turns out none of the Giants receivers are able to catch the ball. Go figure. I chose Arizona by a slim margin over New Orleans without Reggie Bush, but the Saints came through and took the game by a touchdown. I picked the Chargers to win, but the Lions to cover the spread. I was WAY off on that spread thing.

Ones I got right: Vikings covered the spread against the Bears on Monday night. Titans did beat the Chiefs easily. Indy beat Oakland, although it was closer than I thought it would be. Tampa Bay - Atlanta WAS the biggest gift in the CHEZ pool, the Bucs hammering the Falcons. Jacksonville IS a better team than Pittsburgh, and after that win this week, I am hearing many NFL experts saying that the Jaguars might be the second-best team in football, better even than the Colts! Packers DID beat the Rams by ten or more, and Cleveland did cover the spread against the Bills. Although I would hardly call an 8-0 score "winning big". And Houston was able to comfortably beat the Broncos.

My strategy of throwing off the others (Greg especially) in my pool has sort of backfired. I will have to come up with a better system this week. To be continued!