Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

I wanted to take the time to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and thank you all for making this either an occasional or a regular stop.

I want to thank my family, friends and readers for all that they have brought to my life.
It's hard to believe that this project is nearing 11 years in length and with few exceptions, one of the longest things that I have ever done.

I'm also thankful for all of you (you all know who you are) that bring so much happiness and friendship to me on different levels.

For all that 2017 has been bad (and in the news etc, there has been a lot of bad) 2017 has been very good for me and perhaps sometime in 2018, I can tell you more about it when things clear up.

Thanks again and have a great Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving PPM

It's a Thanksgiving version of the PPM and therefore has to come out on Thanksgiving!

Last Week:9-3
Overall: 97-42

Ohio State over Michigan 20-13
Eastern Michigan over Bowling Green 24-20 (already played)
Houston over Navy 24-21
Texas over Texas Tech 30-26
Middle Tennessee State over Old Dominion 34-21
Boise State over Fresno State 27-14
Washington over Washington State 34-30

Games of the Week
Alabama over Auburn 21-16
Clemson over South Carolina 31-17

Bengals over Browns 24-10
Saints over Rams 31-21

Games of the Week
Lions over Vikings 24-20
Chiefs over Bills 28-17

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Cleaning out the inbox-Non-Sports Edition

We continue to work on that inbox and we move now to an all non-sports inbox, which is pretty popular from what I have been told!

We start with 13th Dimension's article on the 1970's comic- Batman Family, which was a favorite of mine then as a child.
The post talks a little bit about Batman Family and then a brief interview with Bob Rozakis, who did some of the writing for the book.
The comic was generally double-sized, so you received a great day for your fifty cents in mid-70's currency and it had stories from the various members of the Batman Family even down to the gimmick characters-like Bat-Mite!
I even had as a kid, the issue to the left, although it isn't in my collection today.
I also have a fond memory of a Superman Family comic that was a favorite of mine, before going away in a story that I'll tell one day IF three people would ask me to (that'll tell you who's reading this!), but I was a much bigger Batman fan than Superman even to this day.

Marc Maron's WTF podcast had a recent guest from "The Office" days as Jenna Fischer (Pam) did his show.
Fischer has a new book out (The Actor's Life), so she is doing lots of media work promoting the book.
Fischer's Pam Beesley Halpert was named the greatest female character in television history by my Fightheads partner Ramon Malpica on a recent episode which is extremely high praise!

Two goodbyes from the inbox.

Goodbye to astronaut Dick Gordon at the age of 88.
Gordon was a Gemini and Apollo astronaut and was the module pilot on Apollo 10, which is most widely thought of as the fun mission among the crews.
Gordon would have walked on the moon on Apollo 18, had the final two missions not been canceled by budget cuts to NASA.
Gordon also was involved in one of the strangest stories in sports as after his resignation from NASA, Gordon was hired as the general manager of the New Orleans Saints despite never having worked in football at any level.
I know fans under 30 have a hard time realizing this, but for the 70's and mid 80's the Saints were looked at in a very similar manner as fans look at the Browns today as they never had a winning record for the first twenty years of their existence and much of it was for reasons like hiring an astronaut to run football personnel operations.
Almost like hiring a beancounter without experience to do the same today.
The Saints would never win more than five games when Gordon was running the franchise.

Goodbye to the "Fight Doctor" Ferdie Pacheco at the age of 89.
Pacheco was part of the well-known team around Muhammad Ali as his doctor, but might be even better known as the color commentator on NBC boxing telecasts.
Pacheco also was the person in charge of making fights and buying them for NBC, which at the time of weekend boxing was known for having the smallest budget of the three networks.

Editor's Note: I have plans for posts soon on two more passings that happened in the last two days-Former Ohio State wide receiver Terry Glenn and David Cassidy of Partridge Family fame.

CNN writes of what it is like to visit Lenin's Mausoleum in Moscow.
The former Soviet leader has been embalmed since his death in 1924 and it has been one of the tourist stops in Red Square ever since.
On occasion, it comes up to bury Lenin and it usually goes away after time.
I've always wondered just how much work that it takes to keep the corpse from deteriorating.

Esquire writes "You'll never love your E-Reader" and why records and books still have that advantage over the digital version.
The article is right about the loving the physical version and I still love having the physical copy, but I must admit to liking my Kindle and the ease of bringing so many books in one small container.
It's OK to like both.

As I read about E-Readers, Esquire had another article on the up's and down's of Vans Shoes, their history and why they are currently thriving.
My favorite pair of shoes ever were Vans and I only had the model once.
We had a Vans at the local outlet for a while and when they went out of business they were blowing out the inventory.
Ryan was at this store with our friend Joe Plum and saw these shoes.
They decided to take a chance and buy them for me and I loved them!
I still even have them still battered at the house and even though the lack of support that Vans have for us older folks-The Duke Kahanamoku Surf Shoe isn't made anymore, but if I was ever able to find a pair in size 13, I would jump on them-price permitting of course
My favorite shoe of all time-Thanks to Ryan and Joe!
I think I'll go cry now...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Nature Boy

The Nature Boy.

One does not have to be a wrestling fan of close to 45 years to know just who that is.
Non or casual wrestling hear that nickname and know who that is- Ric Flair.

Arguably and most people's choice as the greatest pro wrestler of all time (Check my list out from 2011),
Ric Flair has almost become better known to a large chunk of the public for his refusal to give up the wrestling business and his occasional embarrassing outburst outside the ring.

When I heard of the ESPN 30 for 30 program deciding to film an episode on Flair, I was excited.
ESPN's commitment to making quality films about sports has been a strong one and many of these ranks with some of the best work that a filmmaker can do.
I was all prepared to love the film because I was a fan of Flair at his peak and was hoping he hadn't become too much like the washed up "Mountain Rivera" that was in wrestling because he had to or was there because that's all he knows.
And what I came away with after the film thinking Flair really was Mountain Rivera without the manager that he needed to bail out.

I found the film to be interesting yet uneven.
I didn't mind what I was surprised to see Flair criticized for in spots online-the taking of the Buddy Rogers "Nature Boy" gimmick.
In pro wrestling, there is almost nothing original, so I didn't have an issue with that and I thought Flair was more than respectful in giving Rogers plenty of credit.
I would liked to have seen more contemporaries of Flair given more spots to talk about his career and I thought the film would have been suited to more of those appearances and less from the "celebrity" fans such as Michelle Beadle.
I'm generally not a fan of appearances from those types and I think it takes time away from opinions from sources that have legitimate backgrounds.

I also thought that that the film showed Flair as wrestling's Peter Pan that never grew up despite being almost seventy years old.
There's only so long, no matter the subject or how much you like them, that you can be beaten over the head by the same topics- I got it, Flair had a lot of women, was a functioning alcoholic, was a philandering husband and an absent father, except to his youngest son Reid, who was more of a buddy than a son.
It belabored the point and almost dehumanized Flair a bit.

The wrestling part of the film was lighter than I expected and the personal half of the film made realize that as much as I was a fan of Ric Flair the wrestler, I didn't really like Ric Flair the man.
I knew the background of Flair, I had read his book, watched his shoot interviews and had heard all the stories, so I didn't really learn anything new, but the more I watched, the more I was torn- but either side wasn't good.
Did I feel bad for Flair or did I dislike him?
I felt bad for the loss of his son, Reid and no parent should have to deal with that type of pain, but he didn't make me feel empathy for much other than that.

I don't want to say that "Nature Boy" was a bad film, just a different one than I expected and I was
left a little empty by it.
What I wonder is this- was I half empty from the film or Ric Flair himself???

Back later with more and perhaps another inbox cleaning.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Fumbling away an opportunity-Jaguars beat Browns 19-7

The Cleveland Browns defense played very well against the Jacksonville Jaguars and helped to keep them in a game that they really had no business being in.
The offense on the other hand botched almost every chance that they had to score and two fumbles by DeShone Kizer with under two minutes left in the game ended any hope as the Jaguars finished off the Browns 19-7 in blustery Cleveland.
Kizer hit Duke Johnson in the second quarter on a 27-yard catch and run for the only Cleveland score.
The now 0-10 Browns travel to Cincinnati next Sunday for a rematch from a week four blasting at the hands of the Bengals 31-7.

Brownie Bits

1) DeShone Kizer didn't play very well.
Two interceptions and the two aforementioned fumbles on hits from Jacksonville pass rushers on the day and three of the four turnovers in the final nine minutes.
Kizer's throw to Corey Coleman was nowhere near him and it wasn't difficult for A.J. Bouye to make the interception.
This was a winnable game because.

2) Jacksonville for a team that is now 7-3 did next to nothing on offense to impress me.
The Jaguars have a defense that is very impressive, but the offense led by Blake Bortles, who is more like a veteran DeShone Kizer than a playoff level quarterback was generally shut down and their receivers are far from playoff level.
The defense may take this bunch to the playoffs and it might have to win it for them once they get there.

3) Leonard Fournette did rush for 111 yards for Jacksonville, but it took 28 carries to get that total.
Other than a 29 yard run, the Browns run defense controlled the Jaguar rookie back, who is the only top-notch weapon Jacksonville has.

4) The Browns defense is somewhat overrated by fans, mainly because compared to the offense it looks great, but credit is due as for the improved run defense.
It's tough to run the ball against the Browns, at least compared to the pass defense anyway/

5) And there's Jabrill Peppers, who dropped a punt in Browns territory and failed to fall on a fumble that could have kept the game within three points (Jacksonville kicked a field goal to move the lead to six points).
Jacksonville turned the ball over after Peppers fumbled, but the Browns pick of him late in round one looks worse and worse by the week.
The question is will the next staff be able to rebuild him to get any type of use out of him.

6)  Contrast Peppers to that of Budda Baker, who the Cardinals picked as their safety early in round two.
Baker made his first start yesterday against Houston and notched these numbers: Eleven SOLO tackles,1 sack, a forced fumble and a batted down pass.
Cleveland has those "electric" ball skills of Jabrill Peppers....

7) Corey Coleman returned from his broken hand and caught six passes (a career high) for 80 yards.
Coleman didn't drop any passes either, which in Cleveland makes him a number one receiver.

8) Emmanuel Ogbah was having a big game, having knocked down two passes and was involved in some pressures on Blake Bortles before leaving the game with an injured foot.
The foot turned out to be broken and Ogbah will miss the rest of the season.

9) Two Jaguars dominated in this game on defense but the one that hurt the most was defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.
Ngakoue finished with two and a half sacks on the day with several other pressures on DeShone Kizer and forced two Browns fumbles including the game-winner that Telvin Smith (interception and a fumble recovery) fell on in the end zone to end the game at 19-7.
Ngakoue was a third-round pick in 2016 out of Maryland that could have been a Brown, but four picks before the Browns took another player at the same position-Carl Nassib.

10) Cleveland's leading rusher? DeShone Kizer with 20 yards.
In a bad weather game, the Browns top rusher was their quarterback with twenty yards.
Talk about not giving yourself a chance to win..

11) Always when these two teams hook up with two of ugliest uniforms in the games.
I hate that two tone helmet that the Jaguars use and both teams with the jersey styles that are so busy that bees stay away from them.

Remaining games in the race to a victory with opponents record
At Cincinnati 4-6
At L.A. Chargers 4-6
Green Bay 5-5
Baltimore 5-5
At Chicago 3-7
At Pittsburgh 8-2

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Boxing Challenge-Frampton survives again!

For a small week in the boxing challenge, I was pleasantly surprised with some closer than expected bouts...

Former junior featherweight and featherweight champion Carl Frampton returned to the ring after a ten month layoff and his first career loss (to Leo Santa Cruz) and was surprisingly tested by Horatio Garcia before winning a unanimous decision.
Frampton started fast, but lost some rounds down the stretch and was even ruled to have been knocked down in the seventh even though I didn't see it that way.
I scored Frampton a very narrow 95-94 winner (6-4 in rounds with a point lost for the knockdown) and I'm not sure that Garcia wouldn't have pulled the decision out had the fight been scheduled for twelve rounds.

On the undercard, IBF junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas was very impressive in knocking out Jamie Conlan in the sixth round.
Ancajas scored four knockdowns in the fight and seemed to have too much strength and power for the tough Conlan, who crumpled every time that Ancajas reached him to the body.
Conlan, the brother of highly touted prospect Michael Conlan, was thought to have a chance to defeat Ancajas by some (including me), but Ancajas looks to be a coming star in the suddenly talent packed junior bantamweight division.

In Las Vegas on a PBC card, Julian Williams won a unanimous decision that was far wider on the scorecards than I had it (96-94 for Williams) over former champion Ishe Smith.
The fight was much more exciting than I thought it would be entering the matchup and the veteran Smith, who has made a career out of boring distance fights, suddenly at 39 has become a fighter that is fun to watch.
The downside for this change in attitude is Smith is taking more punches and with slowed skills might wind up getting hurt if he continues to fight and this might be a good way to go out for the veteran.
As for J-Rock Williams, he doesn't look to have completely recovered from his brutal knockout loss to Jermall Charlo.
Williams looks a bit tentative when he gets hit and to fight a really close bout with the fading Smith doesn't bode well if he returns to championship contention.

In the boxing challenge, Ramon Malpica scored five points to my four and closed the overall gap to 179-163.
We both received two points each for the wins by Frampton and Williams, but Ramon added one for the Jerwin Ancajas win where I picked Conlan to pull the upset.

More talk on boxing on Monday night on FightHeads!

Squeezing the Orange-Ohio State beats Illinois 52-14

Photo Credit;Cleveland Plain Dealer 
Ohio State was expected to name their score in their final home game of the season against the Illinois Fighting Illini and did just that in a 52-14 squashing.
Illinois didn't score until the second half and due to a fumble returned for a touchdown, only scored one touchdown and that against the Buckeye backups.
Mike Weber rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the romp with J.T. Barrett throwing for two and rushing for one.
With the win and Michigan's loss to Wisconsin, Ohio State improved to 9-2 (6-1 Big 10) clinches the Big 10 East and will play Wisconsin in Indianapolis for the Big Ten title regardless of the results of next weeks game against you know who.

Olentangy Offerings

1) Going to be honest-I didn't watch a lot of this game live.
Being that Illinois was winless in conference and on an eight game losing streak coming into Columbus, one didn't have to be the Emerald Seer to see that this shouldn't be close.
So I rolled the disc in another room with the game so I could flip back and forth between the Buckeyes and the Houston-Tulane game on ESPN News.
I would never do that in a game that was even remotely close, but this one turned out the way I expected.

2) Mike Weber looks to be back to form and the Kevin Wilson coordinated offense is starting to realize as other OC's did before him that the Ohio State offense runs best through the backs and not through the quarterback.
When the running game is pushing defenders downfield, the Buckeyes offense works best.

3) The biggest story from this games was after Illinois scored their first touchdown off a Dwayne Haskins fumble, Urban Meyer quickly returned the starters to the lineup with a 38-7 lead.
The Buckeyes scored a touchdown with the starters before Meyer felt comfortable enough to sit them for good.

4) I understood the reasoning for the decision, but I didn't think that it was very smart.
In a game that really was decided already and in poor weather, the Buckeyes were lucky to resist the injury bug and avoid a key injury.

5) I have really liked the play of Chris Worley in the last two games since being moved to the outside from the middle.
Worley had been a bit of a disappointment in the middle but has looked more comfortable in his familiar spot outside.

6) I know Dwayne Haskins fumbled, but his touchdown pass to Binjimin Victor was the type of throw that gifted throwers make and not the spread quarterbacks.
There will be a learning curve next season with Haskins at the controls for Urban Meyer and Kevin Wilson, but it's going to be an interesting, if not improved Buckeye team next season with Dwayne Haskins.

7) Illinois threw for just 16 yards and completed just four passes.
Illinois is a program that I've always thought had potential, but other than an occasional shot in the dark usually struggles.
All the ingredients are there to be at least a perennial middle of the pack like a Minnesota that goes fairly regularly to small bowl games, but they cannot even reach that low bar.

8) That leads me to Lovie Smith, who Illinois is paying 21 million for six years to preside over this trainwreck.
Smith looks almost uninterested on the sideline and even though some of the fault for this disaster has to go to former head coach Tim Beckman for the lack of veteran talent, Smith's young players don't show a lot of promise to think better times are ahead.
The question to me isn't this- does Lovie Smith survive to the end of his contract, the question is does Smith survive to see 2019?

9) J.T. Barrett threw his 100th touchdown pass and became the first Big Ten player to hit that number.
I suppose that is doable since it seems like Barrett has been here since the Bush administration!

10) That leads us to next Saturday and a desperate Mr.Jim Harbaugh.
Harbaugh's teams would finish 8-4 with a loss and that loss would leave him with a 1-5 record against rivals Ohio State and Michigan State.
The bluster and wind that Harbaugh created is already beginning to make their fans wonder about Harbaugh despite great recruiting classes and if that occurs next Saturday in Ann Arbor, it is going to a long off season for Michigan and the pressure that is present will increase a great deal.
Michigan has nothing to play for other than pride, but a victory for them would relieve the pressure and show their fans that things are headed up.
For a game that is strictly for pride (Ohio State is in the Big 10 title game win or lose), there is plenty on the line...