War of 1812 Football Prognostication
Canada and the music world lost a great communicator this week. Gord Downie, lead singer, visionary, artist, political activist and sometimes actor passed away at the age of 53 with inoperable brain cancer. The Tragically Hip front man was beloved, but even more, he was respected for his art and his courage.
Yesterday, the entire mood of the country seemed to shift. The Prime Minister issued a tearful statement that nobody could question as to its sincerity. Downie and his band, The Tragically Hip wrote, played & sang about Canada. There love for this country was not nebulous, to paraphrase Justin Trudeau. Downie sang about every nook, cranny, legend and point-of-interest along the way; coast to coast to coast.
On Thursday we did our regular rounds around town and heard Tragically Hip music at three or four different stops. The bank, two stores and a professional office lobby. Some faces were noticeably gaunt or displaced. You didn’t need to ask why.
Long before he died or got sick, Downie undertook a campaign to raise awareness about the plight of Aboriginal people in this country. He was pushing for national reconciliation for Canada’s indigenous peoples and helped through his music and writing to make people more aware of the historical injustices visited upon them in so many ways, including, specifically the tragic legacy of residential schools.
To me, the Tragically Hip were part of a magic trio of lasting, meaningful bands that came out of Canada in the mid 1980’s. Along with Blue Rodeo & The Cowboy Junkies they defined a certain adult variety of rock music that has stayed relevant to this day in a country that often struggles with the very concept of National Identity.
For those unfamiliar with their work, Blue Rodeo has had dozens of influential songs that have touched the people of Canada. Maybe the most famous ‘Lost Together’ is a melancholy tearjerker that is more than a few thousand couples’ personal song. There is an eternal sports connection too.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ fans embraced it as theirs along with thousands of others after an infamous ‘Two Many Men’ penalty cost them a Grey Cup several years ago. Ominously, Blue Rodeo played the song at the halftime show in Regina of that terrible game.
The Cowboy Junkies are kind of a brother & sister inspired band that has written dozens of memorable songs. The sultry, haunting vocals of singer Margo Timmins are often as chilling as they are contemplative, refreshing and mature in subject matter and delivery. Although they are a truly original band, one of their most infamous songs is a hypnotizing cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane.” A version that the author, the late Lou Reed called the best he had ever heard.
However, the Tragically Hip were bigger and more influential than both of them. They cultivated their following from their early days playing clubs and universities. They held on to most of them and took on thousands more like a downhill snowball over the decades. Their following and concerts became a uniquely Canadian version of Grateful Dead, Phish, REM & Dave Matthews Band dynamics. People who first saw them during their own university days kept following them, buying their records and attending more than a couple of their shows each year.
Their concerts became communal events for many. Going to Hip shows was a hobby, habit and addictive obsession for many. It is incredible how many friendships were formed, good times were had & couples ultimately came together in civil union or marriage because of this band.
Back when they were starting out in the early 1980’s I met Gord Downie and the Band when they were just starting out. We booked them into our large nightclub in a business complex that also included three other bars and 100 motel rooms. The Tragically Hip were not famous, didn’t have a record and like any young band, they were broke. We gave them free rooms after the show and they were eternally grateful because they didn’t have enough money to stay anywhere else and planned on sleeping in their trucks in the parking lot before leaving for the next gig.
They didn’t draw well that night in a show that was coordinated as a pub night for the local university. However, they didn’t allow that to deter them from putting on an inspired show. You could also see that they were different in many ways from your average band. Their style was different, the unique Canadian subject matter they sang about and even the connection they had with their listening audience.
Being night people, the band couldn’t sleep after the show and hung out on the balconies to their rooms, drinking beer, smoking dope and winding down. For whatever reason, I ended up sitting and talking with this interesting lead singer till dawn, something I seldom ever did with the dozens of bands who I booked there. We talked about politics, religion, philosophy, music and a million other things.
I would love to say that I knew then that they would become huge and famous, but I thought the opposite. Due to the normal mechanics of the Canadian music industry, I thought they would be doomed because they weren’t commercial or lower common denominator enough to be easily marketed in the United States, which is what the major American labels in Toronto wanted from domestic acts.
They were too eclectic and would require a lot more time and effort, meaning money & bother, …… to break in the United States. A band like Rush was a rare exception in an industry that has produced tonnes of unoriginal light rock & pop drivel over the decades like Drake, The Weekend, Avril Lavigne, Nickelback, Carly Rae Jepsen, Loverboy, Justin Bieber, Bryan Adams, Michael Buble and dozens of others.
I was quite happy that I was wrong and they succeeded without really becoming famous in America or compromising their art. Buffalo, New York is one of the few places that they did have an impact and substantial following in the United States. I know more than a few Western New Yorkers who are in mourning today along with an entire nation to the north.
…… Sunday, October 22, 2017 ……
Bye: Detroit, Houston
……. 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time …….
Tampa Bay @ BUFFALO -3 44.5
….. In a recent on-line survey, Buffalo Bills’ fans were cited as the most inebriated in the NFL. The study has been cited as unreliable as it was based on an honour system involving breathalyzer readings taken on cell phones. It also involved a sample size far too small to be considered accurate by professional market researchers. Despite this, so far exactly zero Western New Yorkers have taken to the Twitterverse to refute the title.
….. We would hail the veracity of this research group’s methodology & sense of purpose if follow-up, more detailed polls demonstrated the following:
1.) Philadelphia Eagles’ fans are the thinnest skinned and hardest grudge carrying. They are most likely to harbour homicidal tendencies and have the lowest threshold of tolerance. Subsequently, they often take offense at even the most insubstantial imaginary personal slights.
2.) New England Patriots’ fans are the most delusional, arrogant & boring losers on the planet earth. Their only means of achieving positive self esteem in their pathetic, limited minds is by hermetically sealing their lips to the pock-marked posterior of their wastrel disgrace of a football team borne of fraud, pestilence & unhallowed animus.
3.) Oakland Raiders’ game day crowds fully constitute the highest ever recorded mass blood serum readings of dangerous to lethal levels of crystal methamphetamine.
The Bye week rest and the not too inebriated to intimidate Bills Mafia will help to lead Buffalo to an easy win over the Tampa Bay Pirates and Captain Highliner Jamies if he can play.
Brutal: BILLS -3
Bob: Bills -3
Carolina -3.5 @ CHICAGO 41
Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera often looks not just like the most joyless human being in the NFL, but a candidate for the most miserable man on earth. He appears as a man incapable of embracing the concept of even minimal genial contentment, let alone mild euphoria.
It would then seem impossible that he could ever benefit from the blissful exaltation resulting from an immersive cleansing brought on even after experiencing an Epiphany.
In a recent interview, Historian & Author Yuval Noah Harari, best selling writer of “Homo Deus” and “Sapiens” explained that Evolution does not favor the concept of happiness. The process of Natural Selection is only concerned with survival & reproduction. The professor is obsessed with the concept of people attaining greater fulfillment through peace of mind, but can find no scientific basis for its desire constituting a core human requirement or for it existing as an inherent genetic reality.
So the next time you see Ron Rivera storming up and down the sidelines, frowning at the moon, spitting nails, scowling at the officials about another non late-hit call on his quarterback Cam Newton and generally just looking like he is perpetually passing kidney stones, …… remember one thing.
His behavior, demeanour & general attitude is scientifically compatible with the latest research and he is only following his genetic disposition to survive, possibly reproduce and wander the planet like an angry, constipated water buffalo.
….. and he’ll probably outlive all of us, even after losing to the team he once played for and won a Super Bowl with.
Brutal: BEARS +3.5
Bob: Bears +3.5
Tennessee -7 @ CLEVELAND 45.5
Titans’ head coach Mike Mularkey says the Tennessee passing game is still lacking chemistry. It is also lacking good coaching. As everybody knows, ….. in Gaelic, “Mularkey” means bullcrap.
Brutal: BROWNS +7
Bob: Browns +7
New Orleans -5.5 @ GREEN BAY 47
Odds based on actual current actuarial insurance tables for different forms of death in the United States of America:
Chances of being killed by:
Firearms: 1 in 350
Ladders & Scaffolding: 1 in 9,500
Dog Bite: 1 in 114,000
Lightning: 1 in 174,000
Asteroid: 1 in 250,000 to 500,000 depending on a multitude of direct and indirect factors.
Terrorists: 1 in 9.5 to 20 million depending on definition ( Better build a border wall just to be sure ).
Chances of Bart Starr guaranteeing the Packers will win the Super Bowl this year without Aaron Rodgers and will then dropping dead from shock after it comes true: 1 in 20 billion.
In tribute to one of the Tragically Hips’ most infamous songs we take the Saints. “New Orleans may be Sinking,” but this game is in Wisconsin.
Brutal: Saints -5.5
Bob: Saints -5.5
Jacksonville -3 @ INDIANAPOLIS 43
Jags’ QB Blake Bortles of the Jaguars is regressing badly. His play has been deteriorating and he is being let down by his bad mechanics. Much like we were once let down by bad mechanics who failed to make an 1988 Jaguar XJS work properly for even half the damn time that we possessed it. Still, the Jags defence should be good enough to get ten points off turnovers and cover the three.
Brutal: Jaguars -3
Bob: Colts +3
Arizona @ LOS ANGELES RAMS -3.5 ( Twickenham Stadium, London, England ) 45.5
One decent game from running back Adrian Peterson does not a season make or really change anything. The Cardinals are still old, the defense is average and QB Carson Palmer is still as mobile as a stone monolith with the dexterous turning ratio of a large piece of farm machinery.
Warning to Adrian Peterson: British law prevents public displays of corporal punishment involving minors. Rams role in the rugby Union Stadium.
Brutal: RAMS -3.5
Bob: Cards +3.5
New York J-e-t-s, Jets! Jets! Jets! @ MIAMI -3.5 38
We are Shocked! ….. Shocked! like Captain Renault at Rick’s American Cafe in Casablanca, …. shocked that University of Miami basketball coach Jim Larrañaga has been named in the sweeping FBI indictments involving illegal recruiting & compensatory activities in College Basketball throughout the NCAA. We are shocked because that university has always historically been a paragon of virtue when it comes to college athletic ethics.
Speaking of which, in the same city, we are shocked that anybody could favor the Miami Dolphins & Jay Cutler by 3.5 points after just one win over the always bad second half Atlanta Falcons.
Brutal: Jets +3.5
Bob: Jets +3.5
Baltimore @ MINNESOTA -5.5 38.5
A recent survey in Europe found that one in ten recent babies on that continent were conceived in beds that came from IKEA.
On a similar note, one in ten Joe “The Human ATM” Flacco passes results in a key interception and a Ravens’ defeat. As a result, subsequent anger, heavy drinking & erectile dysfunction result in only a one in a thousand possibility of a baby being conceived the same evening in the marital bed of a diehard Raven fan.
Teddy Bridgewater vows that he’ll be back playing quarterback for the Vikings this year. With Sam Bradford & Case Keenum on the roster, things could get crowded. Due to contract particulars, it is unlikely that they’ll all be back next year in Minnesota. So the NFL will still have an excuse in at least one or two more cities why Colin Kaepernick wasn’t signed as a back-up in the off-season.
Brutal: VIKINGS -5.5
Bob: Vikins -5.5
4:05 – 4:25 pm Eastern Standard Time ……….
Dallas -6 @ SAN FRANCISCO 48.5
It was just tragic this week that the NFL owners did not invite the jingoistic Jerry Jones to their meetings to formulate policy regarding the National Anthem situation. Some say the Jones’ influence is waning with the big boys who see his influence on these types of League matters as counterproductive.
We couldn’t agree more.
Even with the Cowgirls coming off the Bye, we like the upbeat Forty Niners to cover after barely losing in the District of Columbia last week.
Brutal: FORTY NINERS +6
Bob: 49 ers +6
Seattle -4.5 @ NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS 39.5
Maybe New York is heading to the playoffs, …… maybe Elvis is still alive, …… and maybe Donald Trump is really going to drain the swamp eventually in Washington and get Wall Street in line by utilizing reverse psychology after promoting their biggest sinners to cabinet positions.
The moon is made of green cheese, the President may be a genius, but his hometown team will lose once more to the rounding into form Seahawks
Brutal: Seahawks -4.5
Bob: Seahawks -4.5
Cincinnati @ PITTSBURGH -6 41
One of the best rivalries in recent years. The over/under for Bengals’ linebacker Vontaze Burfict to be ejected for a late hit, targeting or using nunchaku against Steelers’ players coming over the middle is the 3:32 second mark of the third quarter.
Brutal: Bengals +6
Bob: STEELERS -6
Denver @ LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (NL)
…… In Indonesia, the Justice Minister has recently proposed dealing with the rising prison population by building prisons on remote islands surrounded by thousands of saltwater crocodiles.
…… The only fences at the facilities will be constructed to prevent the reptiles from escaping to the ocean. The crocodiles would be employed as guards and paid in just enough raw chicken so that they would not starve but stay hungry enough to devour any ambitious escapees. This would eliminate the need for human guards who are notoriously corrupt; involved in graft/extortion/smuggling scams and although predictably poorly paid, still cost money in wages and paltry benefits.
……. Of course, the prison guards are only taking a cue from their government leaders.
……. According to the dictatorship that rules the land, this idea for permanent reptile sentries has wide public support.
……. Indonesia is the fourth largest country by population on earth and the largest Muslim country in the world spread out over thousands of islands. It is a massive, overpopulated archipelago besought with poverty, income inequality, corruption and shoddy healthcare.
……. Even totalitarian governments have to strive to meet tight budgets, so solutions like this don’t really surprise us. The hypocritical leaders of Indonesia promote a high incarceration rate, ostensibly to extort money from family members, especially rich foreigners. With Jakarta’s draconian drug laws, history of frame-ups, shakedowns and kangaroo court justice, it is just another reason Western and especially Aussie tourists should scratch Bali off their list of bucket-list must sees.
….. Of course this type of modern Devil’s Island would violate all sorts of United Nations protocols and International Treaties and is unlikely to evolve to the reality stage. At least if it does, it probably won’t be for public knowledge and consumption.
Many Charger fans wish it existed and would be interested in imprisoning owner Alex Spanos on just such an island. They then could start the process of reclaiming their team and moving it back to San Diego where it belongs.
8:30 pm pm Eastern Standard Time ……..
Atlanta @ NEW ENGLAND -3.5 56.5
The Falcons blew a 17-0 halftime lead last week before falling to the Dolphins. This wasn’t quite as bad as blowing that 83 point lead in the Super Bowl to these same stinking Patriots, but it was close. Obviously head coach Dan Quinn is not Knute Rockne with the halftime speeches.
The biggest problem for these Falcons week to week is getting a big lead, but that is unlikely this week. So, the stars are aligned, revenge for the Falcons against a New England squad that is too dependent on the dietary & colonic regimen of a 40 something year old quarterback and chronic ball deflater.
Brutal: Falcons +3.5
Bob: New England -3.5
Monday, October 23, 2017 …….
8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time …….
Washington @ PHILADELPHIA -4.5 49
Which of these things are true or untrue?
1.) Bob Dylan won a Nobel Prize for literature but nobody could find him for two weeks to let him know.
2.) Washington Coach Jay Gruden was signed to a five year, 30 million dollar contract extension by owner Little Danny Snyder last year after some very average results.
3.) Ex NFL Defensive End & abusive maniac Greg Hardy is becoming an MMA fighter to prove that he cannot only beat up women.
4.) Donald Trump, the Gotham Gasbag, once mused ( we think he was musing ), that the “Statue of Liberty” should be returned to France because she is an illegal alien, ….. she has also gotten too old, fat, unattractive & isn’t particularly ‘hot’ in his eyes any more.
They are all true, but obviously the one that is hardest to believe and the one that defies common logic the most is the winner. That would be number 2.
Brutal: EAGLES -4.5
Bob: EAGLES -4.5