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The Heretic

Member Since 24 Dec 2004
Offline Last Active Today, 05:04 AM

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NFL 2014 Week 13 Picks

25 November 2014 - 05:47 PM

Another weekend in the books. But week 13 promises or be the best yet with 3 great match ups.

Game of the Week
Patriots @ Packers (-3.5)

The Patriots have been nearly unstoppable in the past couple of months, but they're now playing at the best homefield in the NFL at Lambeau Field, against a red-hot QB in Rodgers, who is invincible at home. Come to think of it, Rodgers and Brady have never played each other. Were this game hosted elsewhere, anywhere, I'd pick the Patriots.
Packers by 4

Thanksgiving Games of the Week
Bears @ Lions (-6.5)

Perhaps the Lions were the proverbial paper tigers after falling to two legit teams in a row. The Bears' high powered offense will pounce on the suddenly toothless Lions.
Bears by 6

Eagles @ Cowboys (-2.5)
QB Sanchez wasn't that bad last week, but it's only a matter of time before he shits himself. While the Cowboys aren't a juggernaut by any stretch of the imagination I suspect their high powered running game will control the clock and quick strike capability will edge the Eagles.
Cowboys by 3

Seahawks @ 40 Whiners (SF even)
Most likely a classic slobberknocker between two physical rivals, this game will help determine the NFC playoff slate. However the Swahawks haven't covered on the road this year. They have the ability to beat the 49ers but not at SF.
40 whiners by 1



Rest of the Week
Deadskins @ Colts (-8.5)

Colts often blow out weak sisters at home, and given the doomed relationship between QB RGIII and his coach, the Skins are falling fast.
Colts by 14

Titans @ Texans (-6.5)
The Texans are in disarray, with the injuries to QB Mallett & RB Foster. And QB Mettenberger gives the Titans a fighting chance.
Texans by 3

Browns @ Bills (even)
It's nearly impossible to predict the fortunes of either team, given the 2014 season. However, the Browns are a slightly more talented team thanks to WR Gordon, and the safer bet.
Browns by 1

Chargers @ Ravens (-4.5)
The Ravens are back at home and rolling, given last night's whooping of the Saints. The Chargers, OTOH, are fading fast.
Ravens by 10

Giants @ Jaguars (+1.5)
Yes the Giants are pretty bad, but coach Couglin won't allow them to quit.
Giants by 8

Bengals @ Buccaneers (+3.5)
The consistently inconsistent Bengals are nearly impossible to predict. Blowing a key division game vs the Browns, then winning two in a row in hostile ventures. Tampa Bay isn't exactly a hostile venture.
Bengals by 9

Raiders @ Rams (-6.5)
Yes, the Raiders finally got off the Schneid, but they're still the same old shitty Raiders. The Rams OTOH are just a decent QB away from being legitimate.
Rams by 10

Saints @ Steelers (-3.5)
The Saints have nothing on defense to slow down Rothlisberger off a bye. It'll be close but the Saints, back on the road, will choke again.
Steelers by 9

Panthers @ Vikings (-2.5)
Vikings are mediocre but on the upswing with QB Bridgewater. Otoh QB Newton is getting drilled by a leaky Offensive line and none of his WRs can get open. Bleh.
Vikings by 3

Cardinals @ Falcons (+1.5)
The Vegas spread seems disrespectful to the Cards. If Matt Ryan had trouble vs the Browns secondary, imagine how he will do against a vastly superior Cardinals defense.
Cardinals by 7

Broncos @ Chiefs (+1.5)
KC was caught looking past the Raiders indeed, to this AFC West showdown. The Broncos haven't been themselves in a month so expect KC to capitalize at home with a close victory.
Chiefs by 1

Dolphins @ Jets (+4.5)
Normally you take the underdog that hosts a division game, but the Dolphins are actually decent (coaching) and talented (must-win situation). Dolphins, but take the points.
Dolphins by 3

Last Week: 10-5
Season to date: 113-62

NFL 2014 Week 12 Picks

19 November 2014 - 06:43 PM

Holy. Fritjolies. :chainsaw:

That was one hell of a wild weekend – giant upsets, inexplicable blowouts, etc., etc – one that set me back to .500. Why? Cuz whenever it comes to the NFL, No one knows diddly-poo. Yes, we are all Billy Zima.
:lolwut:
You know my motto: NO EXCUSES.
Bring on Week 12!

Game of the Week
Cardinals @ Seahawks (-6.5)
Wow, the Seahawks have lost more games already than they've lost the entire season in 2013. They're 3 games behind the Cardinals, so it's a must-win. The Cardinals must ride RB Ellington to control the game & run on the Hawks' defense, but they are 30th ranked in rushing offense for a reason.
Seattle by 3


Same of the Week
Lions @ Patriots (-7.5)
Yes, they stumbled last week in Arizona, but the Lions are still one of the top teams in the league. Unfortunately they'll be prohibitive underdogs this Sunday at Foxboro, against a red-hot Patriots team that won 6 in a row after getting blown out in Kansas City. If the Lions can stop the run and pressure Brady, they'll slow down that offense, and give Megatron a chance in the endzone.
New England by 10

Bengals @ Texans (-1.5)
Happy Happy, Joy Joy. Two consistently inconsistent teams. Which version of QB Dalton is gonna show up this week? He's had trouble in Houston in two straight playoff games, so that might be enough, but he will get WR AJ Green back. The Texans won't have any trouble running on the suddenly porous Bengals defense.
Houston by 6

Dolphins @ Broncos (-7.5)
Wow, was that a mulligan last week? At least the Broncos are back home. The Dolphins have a great defense and a decent offense, meaning they won't be pushovers. But Manning will be twice as focused, which is his wont after losing. :jason:
Denver by 11

Cowboys @ Giants (+2.5)
Is QB Manning on his way out? After a decent if not great season, he immediately shit the bed last week with 5 picks. The bye week was a timely reprieve for the 'Boys, but they must return to form and send the Giants back to the stone age. :tantrum:
Dallas by 6

Ravens @ Saints (-3.5) (Monday Night Football)
The Saints are lucky that they're in the worst division of the NFL, meaning they're still in the race for the playoffs even at 4-6. And the Ravens? Who the Hell knows. :noidea:
New Orleans by 4

Lame of the Week

Chiefs @ Raiders (+7.5) (Thursday Game of the Week)
Raiders aren't as horrible as their record, cuz they have lost by one score 5 times. Does that mean they're due? And since this is a division game? After all the Chiefs have beaten the defending Super Bowl champs and are feeling real good themselves... Then again, it's the friggin' Raiders. :lol:
Kansas City by 5

Browns @ Falcons (+3.5)
The inconsistent Browns are at it again, but they got one of the top 5 WR back in Josh Gordon. He'll be way too much for the inferior Falcons defense. But the Browns are banged up on the front seven, making them susceptible to the Falcons' dangerous passing attack.
Atlanta by 3

Titans @ Eagles (-10.5)
The Eagles fell back to Earth as QB Sanchez turned out to be who we all thought he was. But they'll right the ship against a completely inferior team in the Titans. All the Eagles have to do is get the ball to Shady McCoy and control the game. :rant:
Eagles by 11

Packers @ Vikings (+9.5)
Yes, the Packers won't score 50 points again because they're not playing at Lambeau Field. But the Vikings don't have enough on offense to stay at arm's length with the red-hot QB Rodgers.
Green Bay by 13

Jaguars @ Colts (-13.5)
The Colts didn't just get beated like a red-headed stepson last week. They also lost key guys in TE Allen and RB Bradshaw. But the talentless Jaguars won't be able to take advantage. :finger:
Indianapolis by 14

Jets @ Bills (-4.5)
Even though QB Orton has stunk up the joint lately, the Bills still have a stout front 7 that will control the Jets' offense.
Buffalo by 7

Rams @ Chargers (-4.5)
The Rams can beat anyone (Seahawks, 49ers, Broncos) and lose to anyone. Last week, the Chargers barely edged the inferior Raiders. If the Rams can apply the same pressure on a hobbled QB Rivers, they'll walk out of San Diego winners.
St. Louis by 3

Foreskins @ Forty-Whiners (-7.5)
QB RGIII throwing his guys under the bus? Skins Coach Gruden burying his QB? WR Jackson going on Instagram? It's a full-on meltdown mode for the Skins. To think that was the Forty-Whiners a couple of weeks ago. They do have both the physical and the intellectual edge over the Skins, though. :grin2:
San Francisco by 13


Shame of the Week
Buccaneers @ Bears (-5.5)
Both teams broke out of a season-long slump last week. All the Bears have to do to seal a win is keep throwing bombs to their two terrific WRS in Jeffery & Marshall against the Bucs' cover 2 defense.
Chicago by 7


Last week: 7-7 :whatever:
Season to Date: 103-57

NFL 2014 Week 11 Picks

12 November 2014 - 04:55 PM

Another NFL weekend in the books. Then again... What does a 9-4 weekend spell?
A return to normalcy :cheers:

Game of the Week
Patriots @ Colts (+2.5)

Classic showdown between the Hall of Famer and the Young Gun. Normally you go with the veteran, but betting against QB Luck is not a good idea. The Colts have covered 7 of 9 times this year. Yes, the Patriots are the best team the Colts face since the Broncos in week 1, but the Patriots aren't the same team on the road. :deal:
Indianapolis by 5

Thursday Game of the Week
Bills @ Dolphins (-4.5)

The Dolphins' defense will be key to this game - a low scoring barn burning type. The Bills' defensive front will feast on the Dolphins' shoddy OL, indeed, but the Dolphins will protect their homefield.
Miami by 2

Same of the Week
Texans @ Browns (-3.5)

The pleasantly surprising Browns are actually inconsistent - they're 28th against the run, giving up 134 yards a game. If RB Foster is ready to go, that might be enough for the Texans. But they're led by a rookie QB, on the road, against the Dawg Pound. The Browns are in first place of a heavily competitive division, after all.
Cleveland by 3

Bengals @ Saints (-7.5)
The NFC South race to 8 wins will no doubt prove entertaining, if embarrassing to said fans of that division. Absolutely nobody has any confidence left in the Bengals, given the generous line spread. If QB Brees and the Saints draw QB Dalton into a shootout, they'll control the game. Key matchup is RB Ingram vs the Bengals' 31st ranked run defense. Lay the points.
New Orleans by 10

Broncos @ Rams (+9.5)
Coach Fisher will have the Rams playing hard and competitive, and they'll mix pressure and coverage to slow down Manning. Playing at St. Louis has been a problem for heavy favorites, but nobody thinks QB Manning will buy what the Rams are selling. The Rams don't have enough on offense to keep up with the Broncos.
Denver by 10

Seahawks @ Chiefs (even)
Something smells definitely rotten in Seattle. Nobody should take last week's victory over a shitty team in the Giants seriously. OTOH the Chiefs are solid with Coach Reid and QB Smith - hell, they have covered 7 of the last 8 weeks! Houston and Hali are ferocious off the edge, combine for 16 sacks. If the Seahawks dedicate to the ground game, take advantage of the Chiefs' weak run defense, the pass rushers will be neutralized. :nc:
Kansas City by 4

Lions @ Cardinals (+1.5)
Had QB Palmer stayed healthy, this matchup would qualify for the Game of Week honors. Yes, QB Stanton is solid, and can thrive in Coach Arians' offense. But the Cards will struggle against the Lions' number one ranked defense, led by the ferocious Suh and Slay. Plus with WR Megatron back, that makes them the favorites, even against the best team in the NFC. :freakout:
Lions by 3

Eagles @ Packers (-4.5)
Another potential Game of the Week derailed by injury to QB. Yes, Sanchez looked good last week, and the Eagles may not need QB Foles. But that isn't enough to pick the Eagles in Lambeau, against snowy weather, temperatures in the low 20s, and a revived & explosive Packer team.
Packers by 6

Lame of the Week
Vikings @ Bears (+3.5)

Absolutely nobody should take the Bears, after they rolled over and gave up two 50-plus points in a row. Yes, they're desperate, backs against the wall, at the end of their ropes. Talent means diddly poo when you don't have the work ethic or character to survive adversity. QB Bridgewater and WR Patterson will take full advantage of the Bears' discombobulation.
Minnesota by 2

Falcons @ Panthers (-1.5)
Yes, the Falcons are back in the NFC South race to bottom. Both teams have shitty offensive lines, but QB Ryan & his WR corps will take advantage of the crappy Panthers' secondary. :puke:
Falcons by 6

49ers @ Giants (+4.5)
The 49ers may have recovered their old smashmouth identity. The Giants are just dogshit in every position and aspect. :doh:
San Francisco by 9

Raiders @ Chargers (-10.5)
For the slumping Chargers this is a must-win game, whereas the Raiders are in contention for the first pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. Off a bye week, the Chargers should cover the spread.
San Diego by 11

Monday Game of the Week
Steelers @ Titans (+5.5)

Another lame game for MNF. If the consistently inconsistent Steelers were Dr. Jekyll last week's flop, then they will be Mr. Hyde come Monday.
Steelers by 6

Shame of the Week
Buccaneers @ Deadskins (-7.5)

RGIII being back doesn't mean the Skins are worse off. They certainly can easily handle the 29th ranked Buccaneers' defense, but since they haven't covered more than once in their last 6 games, nobody should lay the Skins more than a touchdown to anyone. Anywhere. :finger:
Skins by 6

Last week: 9-4
Year to date: 96-50

Scifi films in dialogue with 2001: A Space Odyssey

07 November 2014 - 07:10 PM

Yesterday, I came across an article on Grantland that pushed forth the thesis that all science fiction films after 1969 are in dialogue with 2001: A Space Odyssey, and shared it with Hugo. He asked the following:

Quote


No, I was thinking more of the way Solaris is about people rather than about scifi - the line the Lem famously used about people not seeking others world, just looking for a reflection of themselves. I just wonder if that’s what we used fantasy literature for. I suppose a scifi fan might argue that it’s about what the universe might look like or ultimately mean but I interpreted Lem as making an indirect point about the function of the literature as well as about man’s exploration of the universe.


In 2001's defense, I argue that it is not a standard scifi film, thanks to Stanley Kubrick's creative reading of the original script by Arthur C. Clarke.

A little biography before I sink my teeth into the meat of the question.

After I told my old buddy that I hadn't seen 2001, back in the summer of 2000, he bet me that I would not be able to watch the film without fastforwarding the slow parts. Claimed that 2010 was the superior film. I watched it at late night, in hushed silence, letting the imagery work on me.

After I won the bet, naturally, I realized that 2001 was not a typical scifi film, one with typical scifi pretensions – like 2010.

It took me a while to figure that out, though. :mrgreen:

The ultimate difference between 2001 and the original screenplay by Arthur Clarke is what the director Kubrick prioritized over the story: cinematic art.

It all comes down to this simple formula: Symbolic imagery, pregnant with meaning over dry, objective scientific explanation.

In 2001, Kubrick poses the philosophical questions: why are we here? What is the meaning of existence? Is there a God?
In 2010, Clarke poses more modest questions, and ends on a humanistic note with an optimistic flourish. It's just too bad that only 2010 feels dated today with its Cold War logic, compared with 2001.

Science fiction often relies on the following conceits: good story with solid characterization and an interesting plot. On the other hand, 2001 explored greater themes as a cinematic experience, working visually in the place of dramatic conventions.

Therefore, 2001 was not a genre piece – but a masterpiece.

The only successful scifi films after 2001 are those that transcend the conventions of scifi itself. :cheers:

NFL 2014 Week 10 Picks

05 November 2014 - 06:00 PM

After flying high for 5 straight weeks, batting .750, I fell flat on my face with 7-6 in week 9. Regression to the mean is always a threat no matter how good of a handicapper you think you are.
:whatever:

Game of the Week

40 Whiners @ Saints (-4.5)
On top of winning 19 in a row at home with Coach Payton, the Saints also have beaten the Whiners 4 of the last 6 games at the Superdome. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the 40 Whiners are experiencing a classic Season from Hell where everything that could possibly go wrong, is. :freakout:
New Orleans by 5

Thursday Game of the Week
Browns @ Bengals (-6.5)
Who the hell knows what's going on with the Bengals? Or the Browns, for that matter? Beating Steelers, then gagging vs the Jaguars. Key matchup is the Bengals' 9th ranked running offense versus the Browns' 31st ranked run defense. Then again, the Bengals won't have their best corner, Leon Hall. Don't be surprised seeing the Browns pressure QB Dalton into mistakes and steal the win.
Cincinnati by 7

Same of the Week
Chiefs @ Bills (+1.5)
Two surprisingly 5-3 teams with veteran Qbs, solid running and stout defenses. Yes, the Chiefs look great lately, but against who? Two craptacularly crappy teams? Hold your horses. Bills OTOH are coming off a bye and 2 wins in a row. Then again, the Chiefs have covered 5 of the last 6 games. QB Smith is playing Reidball perfectly.
Kansas City by 4

Dolphins @ Lions (-2.5)
The Dolphins are surprising everyone, myself included. But who did they beat, besides New England in week 1? Moreover, they won't be able to run on the Lions. But the Lions aren't committed to the run, and that might play into the Dolphins' athletic pass rush and excellent secondary. With both RB Bush and WR Megatron back, the Lions steal this in the end. :whew:
Detroit by 2

Cowboys @ Jaguars (+7.5)
How fast things swung after 2 weeks. :doh: It doesn't appear that QB Romo will be healthy in time, but will that make any difference? The Jags are utter crap against the run. Run, Murray, Run the Cowboys into Bye week with a win. :hugo:
Cowboys by 6

Titans @ Ravens (-9.5)
After two tough games, the Ravens are back in Baltimore and foaming at the mouth at the prospects of playing a rookie QB. The Titans are completely overmatched in ever position, and should just forfeit to protect their 2015 pick, physique and psyche. :nono:
Baltimore by 11

Steelers @ Jets (+4.5)
Weird game, weird line. QB Rothlisberger vs QB Vick appears one-sided on paper. But remember, the Steelers play up to the level of the competition. Yes, they did lose to the Buccaneers. On the road, and where are they playing? At Giants Stadium. Take the points.
Steelers by 3

Broncos @ Raiders (+11.5)
Yes, the Broncos are angry after getting snowballed last week in Foxboro. But they're facing a team with decent pass defense (10th in league), with talented guys like DJ Hayden and Ellis. Moreover, the Broncos have covered on the road only once this year (Jets in week 6).
Denver by 9

Rams @ Cardinals (-7.5)
Yes, the Rams did beat both the Seahawks and the 49ers on the road, but they have trouble with consistency. The key is RB Ellington vs the Rams' 29th ranked rush defense. And Coach Arians is the prohibitive favorite for Coach of the Year.
Arizona by 6

Giants @ Seahawks (-9.5)
The Giants are still playing like it's the preseason, and yet here we are in Week 10. Coach Coughlin has trouble challenging plays. Nobody knows what they're doing. No running game. No consistency in the passing game. The Seahawks, on the other hand has completely lost their aura of invincibility, and has not covered the Vegas line in a month. But then again, the Giants are complete dogshit.
Seattle by 10

Bears @ Packers (-7.5)
It's Green Bay football weather again – clear skies and freezing cold. It'll be a high scoring game, since both teams are fresh off bye week. But the Bears will get blown out regardless cuz they're what, 27th in defense? Facing a hot QB Rodgers? Plus QB Cutler lost his mojo a month ago and is facing Dom Capers defense.
Green Bay by 12

Panthers @ Eagles (-6.5)
Backup QB Sanchez replacing Foles isn't the end of the world – Foles hasn't been his 2013 self so far this year. If the Panthers can control RB McCoy and force the Eagles to pass, then LB Kuechly will eat Sanchez alive. But the Panthers are a collective mess, whereas the Eagles have the talent edge at every position except QB.
Philadelphia by 3

Lame of the Week
Bye

Shame of the Week

Falcons @ Buccaneers (even)
Wow, how far have the mighty Falcons fallen from week 2 where they led the Bucs 49-0. Sure, the Buccaneers are shitty, but they've played hard in 4 of the last 5 games. The only question is whether Coach Mike Smith will even have a job after the game.
Tampa Bay by 3

Last Week: 7-6
Season to Date: 87-46