Sunday, November 28, 2010

free movie time

Thanks to the HBO/Cinemax free 10 day special plus the ATT U-Verse special over Thanksgiving weekend, I was able to catch up on movies that I have never seen and see some movies that I have not seen in a while: Here is a list and some comments. Note: There are spoilers.

Movies I had never seen before:

Army of Darkness: Heard about Bruce Campbell and the movie through songs. I could see the appeal though it was cheesy at times.

Coraline: Though the plot was typical I enjoyed how well the animation looked.

Up: As heard by others the beginning of the movie was as good as expected. Unfortunately, everything after could not live up to it in spite of them trying.

The Princess and the Frog: Another movie that was really enjoyed by my friends. I could see why. The music and story was well done even though I should have figured out the plot.

Kung Pau: I had seen parts of it but never all in one viewing. My daughter was watching it with me and after the fight in the meadow stated it was the dumbest thing she has ever seen and wants the 45 minutes of her life she spent watching up to that point back.

Muppets Take Manahttan: Never saw it before. Never want to see it again.

Frost/Nixon: I heard about those interviews and after watching the well done movie want to see if that is how things went.

Invictus: I am among the few people who knows the story of the 1995 Rugby World Cup and that event made me realize how big of an advantage the host country of world wide events have. I was very impressed by how accurate the events of those games and how well the action of rugby were portrayed.

Movies I have seen before:

Avatar: Saw it in 3D on New Years Day and after a long night before missed part of it. Very enjoyable in regular vision and I still don't understand why the love scene was so scrutinized. I would not mind my ten year old daughter watching it.

Apollo 13: I am still amazed by how things were done in the world of 1970.

Animal House: Since I had to pause the movie for about 15 minutes whuile watching it on Friday morning, I did skip by scenes I did not feel appropriate for my kid to see. She said she would love to scream food fight at school. I did not realize Donald Sutherland was in the movie and after seeing Apollo 13, tried to connect him to Kevin Bacon. Then I noticed a very young Kevin Bacon on the screen.

Spiderman 2: By far the best of the 3.

Blues Brothers: Watched it with a group of friends late Saturday night. 6 people in the room all grew up in 6 different states. Unlike other movies that depict other areas, the Blues Brothers seems to only be enjoyed by those who live in the Chicago area. For some reason, while watching the movie, I was trying to figure out how it could be shadow casted with me playing Jake when someone asked if that movie was ever shadow casted. One thing for sure, it would need a lot of people many playing multiple parts for it to have a chance.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Game number 64

Tonight is the one night in four years where I am the embodiment of the enemy. Yes, the Chicago Bears are playing the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on a Thursday night NFL Network special broadcast. Since the game starts shortly after 7PM, I was planning on not doing my Dementia Radio show since there is no way I can do my show and watch the game since my casting computer is in my basement and the tv is upstairs. (Decided to do show after all and just check on cast during comercial)

It has always been uncomfortable when these two teams met when I was a kid but things changed in 1985 when the Dolphins inspired by members of the perfect 1972 team, blew out the previously undefeated Bears.

Anyway, here is a synopsis of the Bears/Dolphins games over the last 25 years:

Dec 2, 1985 (Miami): Starting Bears QB Jim McMahon was on the sideline still recovering from injury. The Dolphins were 8-4 suffering the effects from losing the previous super bowl at the beginning of the season but playing much better at this time. Dolphins QB Dan Marino behind his strong offensive line and with his WR had the perfect system to counter the Bears agressive "46" defense and was able to complete passes before the Bears pass rush could get to him. Their defense sold out completely on stopping Walter Payton early and forced backup QB Steve Fuller to try to beat him and he could not. Though Jim McMahon played the second half and Walter Payton finished with over 100 yards rushing, it was not enough and Miami won 38-24. (the wireless internet code for my house is 3824DEC285)

Sep 4, 1988 (Chicago): Though Payton retired, Neal Anderson was leading the Bears rushing attack and they were still a decent team. The Dolphins by then were not. Though Marino was still there his offensive line and wide receivers were nowhere as good and their defense was bad. Behind 2 rushing touchdowns each by Anderson and McMahon, the Bears won 34-7 controlling the ball for almost 45 minutes, the second longest time of posession in their team history.

Nov 24, 1991 (Chicago): On a cold, windy day near the lake where snow fell, neither offense could do much. The Bears were leading late when punter Maury Buford dropped a snap giving Miami field position and Marino threw his only touchdown pass of the day to bring the game into overtime. They got the kickoff and drove the field making a field goal to win 16-13.

Nov 13, 1994 (Miami): The 1994 Bears were probably one of the worst teams ever to make the NFL playoffs. Though 10th in points allowed with 307, they were 24th out of 28 in points scored with 271. Four times during the year and in the playoffs, they were down three touchdowns. The Dolphins were on their way to winning their division. The week before the game, I said the Bears were going to win. Why? The previous two weeks, the Dolphins running back and fullback got hurt and were missing the game along with their number 2 wide receiver. They averaged 10 receptions per game.

As expected, the Dolphins were able to move the ball but without their running backs, were unable to get into the end zone until late. The Bears did not do much either scoring their two touchdowns on a fake field goal attempt and after a fumble. They made a field goal to take the lead and blocked the Dolphins' game tying attempt to win 17-14.

Oct 27, 1997 (Miami): The Dolphins were a decent team but the Bears were not being 0-7. With the Bears coming off a bye week and the game being changed to Monday night on Saturday due to the World Series in Florida needing game 7, I was worried but still expected a Dolphins' win and the Dolphins came out flat. Except for a 71 yard reverse, they did nothing the first 28 minutes of the game and the Bears were up 15-7 after a TD, two field goals and a safety. When the Dolphins scored a touchdown at the end of the first half, Jimmy Johnson tried chasing the 2 point defecit and failed.

After the Bears got their third field goal, the Dolphins scored on a fumble return and again failed on the two point conversion being up 19-18. Two more Dolphins TDs put them up 15. However, Bears QB Erik Kramer threw two late TDs against a tiring Dolphins defense and after converting a 2 point try sent the game into ot.

The Bears got the ball first and after completing a 30 yard pass after the 40 second clock expired, kicked a game winning field goal 36-33. That night, I learned to not go for two until you absolutely have to.

Dec 9, 2002 (Miami): With the NFL restructure, it was 5 years between games. The Bears were still bad. The Dolphins were a different team with Dan Marino retired and Ricky Williams rushing the ball. I was waiting for 5 years to return the comments I heard. Ironically, that day at work we had a meeting about personal conduct towards others and along with talking about religious and personal values, sports were mentioned.

Anyway it was not much of a game played in a downpour. Williams had 212 rushing yards and 2 TDs. Henry Burris threw his first touchdown pass late to make the final score 27-9 Miami.

What was done at halftime did not sit well with me. The Dolphins retired Larry Csonka's number 39. At the end of his speech, he thanked the 1985 team for beating the Bears. Fortunately the city's disgust with the Bears did not create any feedback.

Nov 5, 2006 (Chicago) : Daunte Culpepper was going to make the difference for the Dolphins. He didn't. By then the Dolphins were 1-6 and had Joey Harrington at QB. The Bears were on their way to playing in the Super Bowl and were 7-0. For a month I was telling anyone who would listen that the 72 Dolphins will be able to do their annual champaigne toast after the Bears lost to Miami and every Bears game was cementing my belief more. Why? The Dolphins were coming off a bye and I knew Bears QB Rex Grossman is not the same player in bad weather and figured the timing was right.

People were wanting to make bets with me including having me eat dolphin meat when they lost with them eating bear met if the "impossible" (their words, not mine) happens. Them eating bear meat would not make the win better for me and me eating dolphin meat would make it worse so I realized making that bet would be stupid. I also turned down an offer from the VP of production to attend the game with him since I did not want to be the target of drunk and angry Bears fans when they lost. (those were my words to him)

Dolphins' DE/LB Jason Taylor won the defensive player of the year award in that game with 3 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception return for a touchdown. Fueled by 6 Bears turnovers, the Dolphins won 31-13.

The next day, not one person commented to me about the game. I was holding up one hand to my ear Hulk Hogan style to enjoy the silence while smiling.

I stated in August that the only way the 2010 Bears will look like the 1985 version is by being down by 21 points in Miami at halftime. Nothing I've seen this year had made me change that thought until November 14th when the Dolphins' top two QB and Jake Long, the best offensive lineman in the game, were injured. With their third string QB probably starting the game and Long questionable, I will be starting the Bears defense on my fantasy team. (Note: I make the best fantasy choices for my team and though I would want to see the Dolphins score 40 points, I do not see it happening.)

I only have one hope for the game and that is of the Dolphins' organization: Please do NOT honor the 1985 team at halftime since it has been 25 years. Though I appreciate what happened that night, it would be in bad taste and since they did not even make it to the Super Bowl, they don't deserve it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

a new demographic

Though ages ending in zero are the most celebrated, the ones in five are considered important by society since it changes how people are defined. The former retirment age, AARP membership and categories of people for advertising purposes are based on ages ending in five.

Last month, I had my yearly meeting with my insurance agent who examined a couple of my policies and made some changes. I was also reminded my life insurance policy will renew and I will be reevaluated as far as risk since things change with people.

Knowing weight can put a person in a higher risk category like tobacco, diabetes, blood pressure medication or history, I asked about that chart and saw this:

For weight, there are three levels of increased premiums. I just listed the ones where the additional cost would occur.

Though my weight at that time 284 barely put me out of the range, now being 45 puts me over. Since then, I have gotten to just under 280 but I still have over 10 lb to go. I just need to sometime within the next 365 days lose the weight necessary to keep my premiums from more than doubling rather than going up about 25%.

The discount rate? Would be nice but by getting to that point, the base rate would go down but I would be placed in a higher category by losing more than 25 pounds in a year.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The cause of and solution to all of life's problems.

Truer words were never spoken by Homer Simpson as those about alcohol. This weekend is a convention called Windycon located in Lombard, IL and since it is held on the second week of November, I generally treat that as the time to celebrate my birthday. Last year, we had my Rock Band setup and I hardly drank. This year, I will have no con committments expect for getting home safely and I know of people who would help me if I was unable to safely drive home.

I have had many different experiences involving alcohol and created a chart describing them and will explain them below:

A: Asshole. If I drink a little alcohol, I become one. This is the reason I generally avoid drinking at home, with my in-laws or at work parties. This happens when I have a responsibility towards someone else or something I own and I know I can't drink enough to where my judgement would be impared or when my mood is ruined. In situations where that can happen, it is best for me to not drink at all.

B: Too fast. This happened one time to me when I got to a con at 12:30 AM and quickly drank two awesome tasting green beverages. As I was finishing my second one, I found out Everclear was in it. I have never vomited the same night from drinking alcohol and this was the closest I ever got. Usually when I drive home from a con, I will stop drinking 90 minutes before I need to leave. I realized that it would take more than 90 minutes and for the only time had someone take me home.

C. Ill. I ate too much before that evening and when I added alcohol, my digestive system went into overdrive. Much of the evening was spent making mad dashes to the toilet.

D. Not there. Sometimes when drinking, I get to the point where the taste, concept, or responsibility of alcohol won't allow me to have any more. I am not an asshole but don't get to enjoy the feeling it can give.

E. Square root of 13. This is the stage I was in when the picture on my profile was taken. I start to rate my intoxication level not from 1-10 but based on a number times the square root of 13. This is what happens when someone who can work with numbers like I do starts to drink.

F. Wheeeeeee. The fun things happen. Six years ago this weekend, I got to that point on Friday and somehow my wife also got to that point on Saturday with me. Every time my wife without the kid joins me at a con, I try to get her and I to that point. Only one other time did that happen.

G. Free Bird. I start to show effects of the alcohol most memorably while playing Free Bird on Guitar Hero against a person dressed as a Trojan Warrior at 3 AM. While we were "singing" during the beginning on the song, I leaned back to play notes and since I was leaning against a corner of the bed, fell on my back and was still playing the notes as I staggered back up.

H. Charlie Brown. This happened one time when I was insulted by my in-laws at a wedding and told that I do not drink. Since all they had there was Bud Light, it took a while for me to feel the effects of the alcohol. Doing the Cha Cha Slide, I made sure no one was in front of me. When the line "Charlie Brown" came up, I took three quick steps, kicked my right leg, threw myself into the air and screamed "AAAUUUUGGGHHHH!" landing on my back. I got up to my stunned in-laws, finished the song and screamed at them, "That is why you don't see me drink!"

I. Passed out. Happened twice. Woke up and had no idea how I got there until remembering later.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Madman fixes the world of sports (part 4)

The Chicago Bears offense.

No, this is not a joke. Is spite of how they have looked, I know what they need to do to make the most of what they have.

I had the opportunity to see the most recent game in person and I can say it was the most poorly played professional sporting event I have ever seen and I am talking about both teams.

First of all, coach Lovie Smith is a decent coach except from the time the game starts until it ends. Though he is a good coach in practice, his on field management is horrible and needs to be replaced. The Bears need to have someone assigned to him who understands concepts like clock management, fourth down decisions and what plays to challenge and has the authority to make those decisions for the team. (Note: I can help)

I was not happy when Mike Martz was assigned to run the offense but not because I don't like the concept of it. I saw it succeed in St Louis and Detroit but I knew it will fail with the current Chicago Bears.

First of all, that offense needs a versitle running back who can catch passes. They have that in Matt Forte and Chester Taylor who are suitable. Other than that it is a serious mismatch.

First of all, the Martz offense worked with Kurt Warner, a fairly immobile quarterback who can quickly read defenses and make correct decisions. Bears QB Jay Cutler is an athletic QB who can make instinctive plays but has problems making correct choices. The Martz offense takes advantage of Warner's strengths while exposing Cutler's weaknesses. The one touchdown pass Cutler had against Washington was on an instinctive play.

Since the QB needs to drop back and read defenses, he needs an offensive line to keep pressure from him. The Bears line is bad. St Louis had Orlando Pace at left tackle who will be in the hall of fame in four years. (He was done by the time he joined the Bears). The Bears line is overmatched and needs to fool the defense with counters, play action and roll out passes. The Martz offense is straight forward in blocking and the Bears get exposed badly. This Sunday, the Bears offense will have its best game of the year against Buffalo since they were off last week while the Bills played 5 quarters losing on the last play in overtime. Bad teams and players play better after the bye week and the Bears offense definitely qualifies as one.

The Martz Rams had two very good route running wide receivers and one good one and tight ends who are basically linemen that wear numbers in the 80s. The Bears have 2 speedy kick returners, 2 never-will-bes and one special teams player at wide receiver and 2 pass catching tight ends who don't block well. 'nuff said.

The Rams offense was known as the greatest show on turf. The playing surface at Soldier Field is known as the worst in the league. I saw people wiping out in warmups. On one pass play in the game, two wide receivers and one defensive back fell without being touched. Precision and timing is not possible for home games. The best pass patterns for Soldier Field are those that do not involve sharp cuts and take advantage of the Bears speedy wide receivers and athletic, strong armed QB. This weekend in Toronto (where Buffalo is hosting) the Bears wide receivers will have good footing and will be able to make plays without having to worry about their footing. If possible install field turf. Please.

After the Buffalo game it will get ugly.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

chaotic neutral

The title is how I refer to myself politically. I find serious faults with the ideals of both major political parties and not wanting to completely associate myself with one of the other ones, refer to myself that way.

I am registered as a Republican since living in DuPage County, Illinois, the Republican primary determines the winner in all countywide elections. I was very annoyed by all the phone calls and junk mail I got over the past month including a call at 5PM from a woman who I explained that I have never missed an election since I have been eligible to vote in 1984 and had already voted.

As I stated in a recent chart, people call me liberal in the regular world since I do not care for the Christian and corporate based politics of the Republican party. I also believe the Democrat party is over focused on people who they precieve to need help at the expense of people like me who don't have that much to begin with. I also grew up with a negative feeling to the Democratic party.

My parents who live in Chicago are registered Democrat (like I was when I lived in the city) but vote for who they want in general elections feeling the same way that I do. In Chicago the Democratic party was known as the machine and my mother's family was directly impacted by their policies before I was born:

The machine became known in 1960 when Mayor Richard M. Daley had the city vote returns arrive late with just enough votes to allow John F. Kennedy to defeat Richard Nixon. Had California gone for Kennedy, people could have said that Daley won the election for Kennedy.

Anyway, my uncle after turning 18 went to vote in 1964 and when stating his name, Martin J. Bobber Jr., was told his father, Martin J. Bobber Sr. voted earlier in the day. That really confused my uncle since his father died in October 1959. Records stated Martin J. Bobber Sr. voted both times in 1960 and 1962 as well as the 1964 primary. My uncle had to produce a death certificate to prove Martin J. Bobber Sr. can no longer vote and after 3 long hours finally got them to rip up his record.

So yes, I know the dead has voted in Chicago.