Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

The Fantasy Baseball season is winding down. Here’s how things stand right now. I have one championship to show for the 4 Yahoo! Leagues I competed in. My one team was never in the race even though I had Albert Pujols on my team. As we enter the final week of competition, I’m leading in the run for the championship in the two ESPN Leagues I’m in, though both contests are tight and things could turn on a point here or there.

Meanwhile, Fantasy Football is in full swing. It's early but trends are developing, some good, some bad.

First, let’s look at the four Yahoo! Leagues, three private one public, I’m in. In Joe Willie Nation, a league I started a few years back, I’m 2-1 on the strength of strong performances by Peyton Manning and Maurice Jones-Drew. Jones-Drew, BTW, was listed as Probable before the game, but, luckily, I decided to stick with him. I screwed up in other similar situations, having benched Randy Moss and DeSean Jackson, because of fears related to reported injuries. Both played and played well, thereby costing me mucho points. I lost my first game in Yahoo! Public 123000, falling to 2-1. The loss of Frank Gore and another disappointing performance by the Steelers defense cost me dearly there. The 0-2 Mean Machine knocked me from the ranks of the unbeaten in the Field Of Honor private league. Again, here, I was hurt by the benching of DeSean Jackson. Also contributing to the loss were poor performances by Ted Ginn Jr., Matt Ryan, Isaac Bruce, Darren McFadden, kicker Rian Lindell and the Arizona defense. I ran my record to 2-1 on the strength of Peyton Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw and the New York Giant defense in private league Spies Like Us. I guess, looking back, I’m not doing that bad in the Yahoo leagues.

At, in the Central Florida Headbangers League, I was thumped from the ranks of the unbeaten by Eastern Division rival carterandi. Contributing factors were a poor output by Drew Brees who had carried me through the first two weeks, and lousy performances by Darren McFadden, Chansi Stuckey, Visanthe Shiancoe and the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Without Polamalu, the Steeler’s D sucks. If he doesn’t return on October 11th as prophesized, I’ll have to dump them.

My first venture into the ESPN Fantasy World has been thoroughly and undeniably unimpressive. I’m on the brink of falling 0-2-1 in the Tampa Bay Football League. Actually, before MNF, I’m ahead of the Riverview Weirdos by 7 points. But, I have no one playing tonight and my opponent has Felix Jones ready to go. Jones has looked impressive in the Cowboys games I’ve watched, besides, with Marion Barber’s status questionable, he may even get more carries. I’ve all but conceded this one.

The lackluster Crossville Jets knocked me to 0-3 in the ESPN Italian League. Here I was done in by poor performances by Larry Johnson, Santonio Holmes, Chris “Beanie” Wells, T.O. and Dustin Keller. The loss would have been averted if I hadn’t benched Moss, Greg Olsen or Steve Breaston but that’s how things go. The lesson about paying too much attention to minor injuries is one I’ve learned over and over again, apparently, to no avail. I’m about ready for the cement shoes.

Friday, September 25, 2009

It’s Criminal: The Season Premier of Criminal Minds

The team solves a case with their usual zeal, resolve, clear thinking and super-deductive reasoning. Ho hum. More importantly, however, is the fact that Hotch’s wife and son have to go into hiding because they are in danger of being killed by the brutal and diabolical attacker and arch-nemisis who carefully, so as not to kill him, stabbed Agent Hotchner nine times and then threw him out of the car at the hospital. I’m hoping against hope that this is not a subplot that’s going to continue all season. Kill the bastard, bring the family home, let’s get on with the next episode. I’m still adjusting to the fact that Garcia’s gay. I mean, what is the poor kid whispering under her breath every time Derek refers to her as “Baby girl?” I wonder. Anyway, I don’t mind a tryst or two that colors the cast, but recurring villains turn me off. Of course, it’s too late now. The scripts have been written. I just might have to change my Wednesday night viewing habits.

Monday, September 21, 2009

From Your Friends At Humana-Medicare

I usually manage to tune out or fast forward past TV commercials, but a promo for Humana-Medicare popped up during the Emmy Award broadcast the other night and, since I hadn’t noticed it before, I watched it with interest. I don’t recall the particular content, but suffice it to say they were trying to get people to sign up for their program. A blurb on their website makes this promise: “At age 65, you may qualify for Medicare. Enroll in a Humana Medicare plan with additional benefits and more coverage than Original Medicare.”

Thing is, a friend of mine is in their program - specifically, their Medicare Advantage plan. Recently, he had a heart attack. The ambulance took him to the closest hospital in New Port Richey, Morgan Plant North Bay Hospital. I visited him several times there and, quite frankly, he wasn’t looking to good. That’s why I was surprised when he told me one day that a doctor, not his cardiologist, who had just been in his room had told him he was being sent to a rehab facility.

Well, though he participated in rehab at Orchard Ridge Rehab, also in NPR, his condition continued to decline. He felt miserable. Finally, I said to him, “Bobby, these people don’t give a shit about you. You’ve got to see your own doctor over at the VA. They don’t even know what’s been going on with you.” So, since he had a regular appointment at the VA coming up, I made arrangements to take him there.

Well, on the fateful day, the VA ran some blood work on my buddy and found, among other things, that his potassium was at a dangerously high level. This condition was no doubt exacerbated by the potassium supplements the folks at Orchard Ridge had been feeding him. The people at the VA encouraged him not to return to the rehab site and made arrangements for him to be admitted to the Cardiac Unit at Bayonet Point Hospital.

He was there a few days when the very same doctor who had released him from Morgan Plant to Orchard Ridge Rehab appeared in his room. Having become familiar with the doctors who were tending to him, he asked the doctor what he was doing there. That’s when the doctor informed him “I work for Humana.”

That explains a lot about my friend’s deteriorating condition and the basics of Humana-Medicare. This doctor had only one interest – keeping down charges to Humana. He wasn’t interested at all in my friend’s welfare.

I hope that the next time you see the ad for Humana Medicare, this story comes to mind. We know that insurance companies are sleazy outfits, but some are sleazier than others.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Blown Coverage by CBS: The NFL & The Emmies

CBS was celebrating 50 years of NFL coverage. Meanwhile, they played down the fact that their shoddy camera work cost the NY Jets a critical call early in the game because they couldn’t supply the review officials with a shot of a called fumble. To obscure this fact, they refused to refer to the play as “questionable” or “controversial,” they just carried on as though there had actually been a fumble even though it appeared to everyone that the runner was down before the ball was yanked out. That’s pretty much the status quo anymore, on the field, in the workplace – there’s an unwritten law that you must never acknowledge a mistake.

Similarly, I wonder if CBS will own up to producing one of the worst Emmy Awards shows in recorded history. Right out of the gate, they announced we were in store for some changes. Of course, the presumption was that the changes would be somehow beneficial. They weren't. Let's see how they react, now that the broadcast fell flat. Let the tap dancing begin. Thank God, there was NFL Football and MLB Baseball airing at the same time, giving me something to move on to during the most painful moments.

As usual, the awards went to a bunch of shows that few people watch. It’s the TV world’s way of informing us that we don’t know what good television is. If we did, we’d be religious viewers of 30 Rock, Madmen, and the canceled Pushing Up Daisies.

Of the award winning shows, I believe the BBC production of Dickens’ “Little Dorrit” was the only one that I had been a real fan of. I do watch a rerun of “Two and a Half Men” on occasion, but I never catch the original episodes. Regarding “Madmen,” for me, once was enough. I tried to watch “30 Rock” a few times, but couldn’t stay with it for more than 5 minutes.

Neil Patrick Harris is a likeable guy under most circumstances, like when he’s a talk show guest. But, his performance hosting the Emmys can only have given David Letterman renewed hope of hosting the Oscars again. It was that bad.

Anyway, despite all of that, both the Jets and the Giants won on Sunday. So, it turned out to be a pretty good day.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Joe Wilson: Another Hired Goon

I couldn’t help myself. After hearing about his “You Lie” outburst during President Obama’s speech last night, I had to find out a little more about Addison Graves Wilson, Sr., a/k/a Joe.

For one thing, he was born in 1947, about 5 weeks after yours truly. Had he grown up in northern New Jersey, we might have gone to the same schools, chased the same girls, bonded, been buddies for life… No, that’s not very likely. I probably would have beat him up and sent him home crying. I wasn’t a very nice little kid.

Probably, more to the current point, is the fact that the number one group on his list of campaign contributors, according to, is health professionals. His lack of enthusiasm for Obama Health Care could be an offshoot of this warm relationship.

As a former real estate attorney, it’s not surprising that number two among his contributors is the real estate industry. One can only imagine what lengths he’d go to in order to help out his old pals.

In summary, this guy’s bought and paid for – he’s a whore.