The Blame Game

One of my pep-peeves as a sports fan has always been that players play, and coaches coach. So this one goes out to all the Buffalo Bills fans calling for Dick Jauron's head; it's not Dick Jauron, its your players, I'm sorry but they're just not that good! Ask your owner...

"We haven't got the talent," Wilson said to ESPN's AFC East consultant Tim
. "We didn't play well. The coaches, they can't go out and kick the
ball. They can't go out and tackle. What else is there to be involved?"

So when the day comes that Dick Jauron runs the ball 13 times for 31 yards in a do-or-die game for your team then you can blame him. Until then blame your saviour-Marshawn Lynch, anybody you have put at quarterback, and a defense that just can't ever seem to get off the field. The truth is the Bills were tremendously hyped when they beat poor teams, and when they began to face some respectable competition, they folded over just like... well the Bills. After a 5-1 start, the lowly Bills are on-pace to be right in the position they are every year, below .500 and out of the playoffs.

The Bills were everybody's flavor of the month back in September, but lesson-learned everyone, including ESPN who poured gasoline on the lit match when they predicted a AFC championship for this team. Teams are forced to prove themselves in divisional games; divisional opponents know the ins and outs of each others teams very well and force each other to show their true colors. The Bills have shown their true colors, they are 0-4 in the divisional and if there was a color that signified that, I would have to guess it would be a putrid puke brown.

All the premature excitement about second-year players Trent Edwards and Marshawn Lynch has been enough to make me sick. And after the 5-1 start I will admit, I was starting to think I was going to have to come around for Edwards, but boy am I glad I stuck to my guns on this one. Edwards groin injury was the best thing that could have happened for him, if you ask me. Edwards may be able to keep a flicker of confidence going into next year now, that is unless he meets any more defenses who expose him for the overmatched new J.P. Losman on the Bills roster. For the amount of dissent, and don't get me wrong, well deserve dissent, that Bills fans give Losman, I don't understand why they continue to give Edwards the benefit of the doubt.

Edwards has been terrible in big games this year and has looked increasingly terrible as the elements have become more of a factor in western New York. Edwards entire career has been consistently inconsistent. He has 17 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in his career, and those stats are patented by great days against last years 1-15 Miami Dolphins and this years 3-10 Kansas City Chiefs. So Bills fans, does Edwards performance in this year's Browns game remind you at all of his struggles in last years Giants game? It should, big-game, at home, 3 interceptions and a loss, sounds remarkably similar. So Bills fans, when you guys continue to follow Edwards wherever he takes you, hopefully for your sake your organization is scouting this years array of quarterbacks entering the draft.

And now on to Marshawn Lynch. Disregarding the fact that he looks like the predator, he certainly doesn't run like one. Marshawn Lynch very well may be the most overrated runningback in the NFL. And the fact that this fan base refers to him as beast mode is a joke. If flopping around on the ground like a dead fish after you are down makes you beastly, well I guess I'm a beast too. How many times have the Buffalo Bills training staff thought he was having seizures on routine two-yard dive plays?

Anyways Marshawn Lynch is averaging a pedestrian, I mean very pedestrian 3.9 yards per carry and similar to this team has struggled against good competition. If it weren't for 100-yard performances against the juggernaut defenses found in Cleveland and San Francisco, ironically both losing efforts, his numbers would be a lot worse. Lynch has compiled a total of 154 yards rushing in four divisional games, all losses, and has been far from consistent on the ground. Last Sunday, Lynch on several occasions dropped passes and was stuffed early and often on first down forcing the Bills to pass the ball a lot. But hey, he will gain 1,000 yards this year (well maybe, he only accounted for a total of 62 yards against the Jets and the Patriots the first time) so regardless of what he averages per carry, he'll get the credit he certainly does not deserve.

Alright I digressed a little. Moral of the story Bills fans, blame your players that you love so much, not your coach. Since Marv Levy who have you liked? You don't have a Super Bowl team, an AFC championship team or even a wild-card team, so stop expecting one.

End rant


New York Ranks Poorly in Health Stats

Apparently New York is not the most healthy, happy or safe place to live.

While Louisiana has replaced Mississippi and been dubbed the unhealthiest state in the U.S., my concern is about the state I live in. New York is ranked right in the middle at an embarrassing number 25. Obesity is running rampant in our society and people are becoming more and more lazy. Binge drinking, cancer, disease, pollution and crime are constantly increasing. Everyone always tell us we are the future, so maybe it's time to step up and make a change!
Further, New York is ranked number 19 in regards to depression. I'm not sure why we are such a depressed state when we are ranked 3rd in dairy production (milk is natures most nearly perfect food), have delicious apples, NYC and the Adirondacks. Perhaps it's because of poor snow removal, bad inner city school systems and ridiculously high criminal rates.

Which brings me to my next point. New York also happens to place 21st in criminal rates. That's pretty high if you ask me!

I would say all of these are interrelated. If we could work to change one, I would be willing to bet the rest would soon follow...for the better hopefully!


'Tis the season

Last Friday marked the official start to the holiday shopping season. Because of the country's recent economic turbulance, this year people are trying to save money anyway they can. I'm sure there were probably more people than usual waiting in long lines on Black Friday, trying to get the best deals they could.
But if you're like me, and you missed out on Black Friday and you have a very limited budget, you can still make the most of Christmas this year. Just because you are on a limited budget, doesn't mean that you can't get your loved ones the items on the top of their wish lists.
There are many easy ways to find the best deals on those most-wanted gifts. There are some really great Web sites out there that list some of the best deals this holiday season. Here are some of the best I've found:
  • Slickdeals -- This is a great Web site to find deals that are not as widely advertised. Right on the home page of the site are lists of top items and where you can find them for relatively cheap online. Some things that caught my eye: Guitar Hero World Tour bundle for Wii, screw driver sets, book sets and even great deals on clothing. There is bound to be something for everyone on your list on this site.
  • Pricespider -- Have you ever been at a store and found a really great sale, and wondered to yourself if the deal was really that good? PriceSpider is your answer. The site is updated constantly with the best deals on the web and comparing prices at differend online stores. All you have to do is type what item you are looking for, and the site will compare prices at sites all over the internet. I feature I really like about this site is that it has a list of top items (iPods, digital camera's, GPS, plasma TV's) right at the top of the homepage for easy navigation.
  • Buzzillions -- Know what is at the top of your loved ones' wish list, but overwhelmed by all the different brands and options available for you to purchase? This site has tons of product reviews from average people on top items. Products are broken down into categories, such as electronics, toys, sporting goods, home and garden, and Green products.
  • Shipgooder -- Are you shipping your gifts to family and friends accross the country this holiday season? This Web site will show you the prices from all your different shipping options (UPS, DHL, FedEx etc.) All you have to do is type in your zip code (where the package will be mailed from) and the zip code of where you are sending the package, and then the weight of the package and number of total packages. The site lists the prices for one, two and three day delivery as well as ground shipping, and show you which company will ship it for the least amount of money.
  • Sundaysaver -- Not one for online shopping? Missed out on those coupons and sale advertisements in your Sunday paper this week? Never fear, this Web site does all the work for you. It lists hundreds of stores in categories such as department and clothing stores, electronics and computers and supermarket and grocery stores. Click on the store you'd like to see the sunday ad from and then input your zip code and voila, the ad from the most recent Sunday paper appears and you can see what each store has on sale.

Also, check out this video I found on The Today Show Web site on the best gifts under $25:

I hope you all find some spectacular deals this holiday season, and save tons of money staying within your budget. Happy shopping!

How about them... Portland Trailblazers?

I like to pride myself on being one of those people who gives credit, where credit is due. I give the Boston Red Sox organization a tremendous amount of credit for the team and culture they have built in their city, even though I would love to see Fenway Park and that obnoxious green wall burn to the ground. However, as painful as it is for a Yankee fan like myself to admit, the Sox built there team the right way. Great evaluation of talent and even better drafting has allowed them to create a young, talented and affordable (by today's standards) lineup. And don't look now, but the Portland Trailblazers are doing the same thing in the National Basketball Association (NBA), so I think it's about time somebody starts giving them credit too.

Everyone knows that the Trailblazers drafted Greg Oden with the first overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. Everyone knows the 7'0'', 280 lb, 20-year-old big man, regardless of his Kimbo Slice or Rick Ross'esque beard, has more hype and potential than any big man coming into the league since Shaq. Kind of off topic, but here is Shaq's new commercial, I saw it the other day and laughed for an hour, tell me what you think. Back to what I was saying though, it's the other draft picks besides Oden, that everyone doesn't know about which makes this team built to win:
  • Brandon Roy: The second year point guard who excelled at the University of Washington was the steal of the 2006 NBA draft. Roy is making a mere $3.1 million per year, and producing like a $10 million player. Roy is not only the general on the court for this team, but he is their emotional spark as well, he leads the team in points (20.9/game) and assists (5.3/game) and has become one of the most feared point guards in the NBA. At 6'6'', Roy's size presents match-up problems for almost any point guard in the league. He is electric with the ball in his hands, is a tremendous shooter from range, and can finish around the basket as well as anyone in the league. The Trailblazers go, as Brandon Roy goes.
  • LeMarcus Aldridge: The second year forward out of the University of Texas has really evolved into the consistent everyday starter they expected him to. Aldridge is a great compliment to the beast that is Greg Oden. Aldridge's ability to hit mid range jump-shots opens up the paint for offensive rebounds and easy baskets for the sometimes offensively-challenged Oden. Aldridge is averaging 15.7 points per game, and is being paid very moderately for his efforts. By moderately, I of course mean that LeMarcus is banking over $4.5 million per year, but in the NBA that's a very average salary.

  • Rudy Fernandez: Fernandez has been one of the great surprises of the NBA this season, the rookie who earned so much respect during the Olympic Games playing for Spain, has become a consistent outside shooter for the Blazers. He is averaging 11.1 points per game and is shooting an astounding 42.6 percent from beyond the arch. His presence as an outside shooting threat has really opened up a lot of opportunities for other players like Roy to get to the basket and score. Fernandez has been a very positive investment for this organization as well since he is only making a little over $1 million per year.

Now, the Trailblazers are by no means the favorite to win it all this year, but I can assure you, they won't be flying under any one's radar for too long. Portland after a somewhat shaky start has been on a tear; they are off to a 12-6 start, and have yet to lose at home this season. It would be nice to see a new powerhouse grow in the Western Conference that can compete with the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs. It's a shame to say, but in this era of free agency, the Blazers only have a few years to do it with this team, before all these growing stars are going to be paid like the superstars they are.

The Blazers have two games against the lowly and dysfunctional New York Knicks and Washington Wizards but face a big test on Friday when they face the defending champion, Boston Celtics at home. So it won't be long before we can see just how good this team is.


Drink away Alzheimer's Disease with some Red Wine!

Alzheimer's Disease is becoming more and more prevalent in today's society. It is the most common form of dementia and I never paid much attention to it until about a year and a half ago when my grandmother was diagnosed with it. She and my grandfather moved here from Holland as their honeymoon. One of the first indications that she had it was when she started mixing up her children with relatives in Holland. Then she started speaking in dutch and couldn't understand why we couldn't understand her.

It is estimated that in 2006, around 26.6 million people in the world had Alzheimer's...and the number keeps rising. It is a mysterious disease which scientists have not found a cure for, nor what it's cause is.

However, a new study seems to prove that red wine may actually help to prevent Alzheimer's! (Previous studies have proven that red wine helps cardiovascular health)
It appears to be the polyphenols in red wine, which block proteins that build the toxic plaques in your brain, from forming. Red wine can even reduce the toxicity of any existing plaques. This means even if Alzheimer's has set in, the cognitive deterioration might be slowed.
Apparently, it is the amyloid beta-protein which causes Alzheimer's and the polyphenol compound, which is extracted from grapes to make red wine, is the component which attacks the bad protein. Crazy!

So, I'd say because there is no definite link to what triggers Alzheimer's, better safe than sorry! Now, I'm not recommending excessive drinking by any means, but a cup of red wine at dinner apparently can't hurt! Quite the contrary, it seems to do a world of good!

sweN cisuM

Don't worry, Music News is Here! Let's Get Right To It:

Remember all that talk way back about Dr. Pepper giving one free soda to every American on the day Guns N' Roses' new album came out? Well they lied, and now Axl is PISSED. You see, Dr.Pepper's website crashed from all the traffic it got when people stampeded there for free drink tickets, and barely anyone got their soda. Axl and his lawyers are accusing Dr. Pepper of using the band's popularity to increase brand awareness and demanding the company not only make good on its offer, but take out full page apologies in a number of national papers. I tried to get a free Dr. Pepper and couldn't access the website, so hopefully they comply with Mr. Rose's requests.

Those of you waiting to buy Beatles records on iTunes, rejoice, for the wait is over....NOT!
According to Paul McCartney, Beatles music still won't be available legally in digital form for quite some time. Apparently, EMI wants something McCartney is unwilling to give them, and negotiations have stalled. I hope it's never released online. Long live vinyl!

Weezer is releasing an album of old, unused tracks. I'm not going to get excited about that just yet. Sometimes songs are left off an album for good reasons. System of a Down released a similar album, called Steal this Album, and I thought it was great. So maybe this one will be too.

No Doubt is getting back together
for a tour and will be writing and recording new material by the end of 2009, according to the band's official website. Finally! I love No Doubt and couldn't stand Gwen Stefani's solo stuff. This is exciting news, people.

Travis Barker and DJAM will be performing together again on New Year's Eve for the first time since a plane crash injured them both and killed four others. The performance will be streamed online live that night and will be broadcast at parties all over the country.

A Norweigian escort is accusing Boy George of locking him to a bedroom wall and beating him with chains for hacking into his computer. This story, whether true or not, is hilarious. If only I had something like this to write about every week.

Finally, Kanye West is claiming to be better than Elvis. Remember when John Lennon said he was bigger than Jesus? Well this is worse. Kanye is so ridiculously into himself, he'll probably cry when an album of his fails. Of course, that would require the music-buying public to have good musical taste, which will never happen.
But I can dream.

Speaking of dream, let's end with something great. Here's a video of people from all over the world playing and singing Stand By Me. Thanks for reading.