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The Heretic

Member Since 24 Dec 2004
Offline Last Active Today, 05:17 AM

Topics I've Started

NFL 2014 Week 16 Picks

16 December 2014 - 03:48 PM

When you win 14 of 16 games, you're allowed to brag. But only for a moment -  we're ready for Week 16.

But first.... How 'Bout them Cowboys?

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Game of the Week

Colts @ Cowboys (-2.5)
Two great QBs, but only one of them is still fighting for a division. It'll be a high scoring shootout, regardless. The Colts have trouble playing solid teams on the road so far this season.
Cowboys by 4

Broncos @ Bengals (+3.5)
Mr. Peyton Manning, meet your perfect opposite in QB Dalton - a QB that shits himself when the lights get bright.
Broncos by 7

Same of the Week

Falcons @ Saints (-6.5)
Although the Superdome is no longer a serious homefield advantage, the Saints will find the Falcons' secondary friendly. Hey, somebody's gotta win the NFC South. :noidea:
Saints by 11

Chiefs @ Steelers (-3.5)
Both teams are still fighting tooth and nail for the playoffs. Will come down to pass protection - who can bother the quarterback the most? Steelers likely will control RB Charles and force QB Smith to beat them.
Steelers by 3

Ravens @ Texans (+4.5)
The Ravens, facing a third string QB? On the road? Not a problem. They'll stack 9 guys up front, shut down RB Foster. :rip:
Ravens by 14

Seahawks @ Cardinals (Sunday Night Football) (+7.5)
Fourth string QB Lindley vs the Legion of BOOM? Come back, Carson Palmer! :Cry:
Seahawks by 11

Lame of the Week

Eagles @ Foreskins (+8.5)
Zod bless the Skins. Their substandard defense will help restore confidence to the Eagles' sputtering offense. Yes, that means taking QB Sanchez on the road. OTOH, RGIII finally looks like himself. :cheers:
Eagles by 7

Chargers @ 40 Whiners (-2.5)
After getting kicked out of playoff contention, the 40 Whiners will no longer have anything to play for. Coach Harbaugh has already checked out. Luckily for the Chargers, they still have a shot, and QB Rivers won't let them down. :finger:
Chargers by 3

Packers @ Buccaneers (+10.5)
Wow, the Packers are completely mortal away from Lambeau Field, like the Saints of yore. But luckily, they're facing a team that can't win at home. :doh:
Packers by 21

Vikings @ Dolphins (-6.5)
The Vikings look legit, at least for a mediocre team, and they're facing a quickly collapsing team in the Dolphins. But QB Tannehill is slightly better than rookie QB Bridgewater.
Dolphins by 3

Lions @ Bears (+4.5)
The Bears have mailed it in, which means it'll be a walk in the park for the Lions. One hell of an underachieving team in Chicago. :whatever:
Lions by 17

Browns @ Panthers (-3.5)
Thank you. Merril Hodge, for calling a shitty spade a shitty spade. Johnny Football is just another Tim Tebow, and he's facing a team that's still fighting for a division title in the Panthers. Matters little whether QB Newton is healthy or not.
Panthers by 7

Patriots @ Jets (+10.5)
No matter how shitty the Jets are, or how great the Pats are, whenever they play a game, anything goes. Too bad the Jets played the Pats in a competitive game already, meaning the Patriots will not underestimate them. Take the points regardless. :brow:
Patriots by 6

Giants @ Rams (-4.5)
Neither team is in contention for the playoffs, but they both are finally playing well at the end of this season. Thanks to WR Beckham, the Giants' passing game is red hot, and will stay in the game, no thanks to their incompetent QB. :shakehead:
Rams by 3

Bills @ Raiders (+6.5)
The Bills just shocked everyone last week, but they can't afford to look past the Raiders towards Week 17 when they play the Patriots. Raiders will keep the game close, but the Bills will do enough to escape Oakland with a win.
Bills by 3

Shame of the Week

Titans @ Jaguars (Thursday Night Football) (-3)
Whosoever wins, loses in the upcoming 2015 draft. So, both teams must try to out-lose each other, but too bad for the Jaguars, they have a more  legitimate quarterback.
Jaguars by 1

Last Week: 14-2
Season to Date: 145-78

The Concept of Decline of the West

16 December 2014 - 03:46 AM

I'm interested in history as a narrative by philosophers of history, such as Hegel and Spengler. In this post I'll go over the observations of two twentieth century thinkers: Oswald Spengler and E.M. Cioran.

In the mature work, Cioran warned against the temptation of falling prey to the carousel of appearances. Given that, history is a territory of evil, a necessarily painful period that induces a fatal self-destruction, a remorseless force that subjects everything to the inexorable corrosion of time, speeding up the pace towards the end. The theme of destiny is prominent in Cioran's French work, which continues the thread of Spengler's World as History thesis.

In Cioran's first French work, A Short History of Decay, the section "faces of decadence" is heavily influenced by Spengler's descriptions of a culture that is on the verge of decline. Cioran starts with Spengler's observations: in contrast with the unconscious individual of his cultural periods, the declined individual institutes a "reign of lucidity." (pp. 115) The myths of the creative periods of Spengler are replaced by the concepts.

This degradation enforces the abdication of exhausted instincts and a tyranny of reason, which inhibits the natural spontaneity of emotions: "Decadence is merely instinct gone impure under the action of consciousness." (pp. 116) Religious fermentation is replaced by the inability of belief, leading to the decline of divinity. Man kills his gods in order to be free, but at the cost of his creativity. "...for man is free - and sterile - only in the interval when the gods die; slave - and creative - only in the interval when, as tyrants, they flourish."

Spengler on the other hand, interprets decline differently. He saw a formula in civilization the culture adopts once it reached its end, without the end questioning the survival of the entire species, and without intending a general twilight, denying the possibility for new cultures to emerge, a universal decline. Cioran chose an alternative vision that contradicted the cyclic perspective of Spengler's morphology of culture, one that saw in the symptomatology of decadence either preparing for an apocalyptic extinction of the entire human race, or proof of a permanent decline.

Instead of the circularity of the model of Spengler, Cioran has a reckless, dangerous path towards catastrophe that results in either the final annihilation of the species or a post-historical condition that is inevitably resigned to a regression towards a race of the sub-human.

Cioran appropriates Spengler's diagnosis of decline, but in a unitary vision of history that rejects discontinuity and abandons the structural homologies that were intended for studying major culture:

"we are the great invalids, overwhelmed by old dreams, forever incapable of utopia, technicians of lassitude, gravediggers of the future, horrified by the avatars of the Old Adam. The Tree of Life will no longer have spring as one of its seasons: so much dry wood; out of it will be made coffins for our bones, our dreams, and our griefs." (ASHoD, pp. 124)

NFL 2014 Week 15 Picks

09 December 2014 - 04:01 PM

10-6? Slouching towards respectability, indeed. No excuses for picking against the Seahawks for the third week in a row. No excuses for picking the Saints. Again. :doh:

Game of the Week

Cowboys @ Eagles (-3.5) (Sunday Night Football)
Why would you pick Mark Sanchez in a big game? Well, the Eagles are good enough to win their division, but can they repeat their Thanksgiving victory over the Cowboys? After Romo and RB Murray have 10 days rest? :hugo:
Dallas by 3

Same of the Week

Cardinals @ Rams (-3.5) (Thursday Night Football)
The Unknown vs the Unknowable? Giving hope to the hopeless? Bringing faith to the faithless? Doubt to the dogmatics? :preach:
Arizona by 3

Steelers @ Falcons (+1.5)
Steelers are equally unpredictable on the road as they are at home. Then again, the Falcons just cannot beat anyone else besides the NFC South.
Pittsburgh by 5

Dolphins @ Patriots (-7.5)
Week 1 was a hundred years ago, in NFL time. Coach Belichick will have his guys wired from the get go, and bury the Fish. :rip:
New England by 9

Texans @ Colts (-6.5)
What incredible Luck. The Colts are never out of a game, even when they're blown out, thanks to their QB. The Texans will pressure Luck, thanks to MVP Watt, but they don't have enough horses on offense to keep up.
Colts by 7

Bengals @ Browns (even)
Can anyone make sense of the AFC North? After the Browns blow out the Bengals by 21, the Bengals win 3 in a row before getting blown out by the Steelers at home. And here comes Johnny Football!
Bengals by 1

Packers @ Bills (+5.5)
Yes, the Packers are the frontrunning favorites in the NFC, but they're not quite as potent on the road. Then again, the Bills haven't played well for two months versus .500 teams.
Green Bay by 7

Broncos @ Chargers (+4.5)
Remember the Golden Rule about picking the road favorite in a division game? If it's Peyton Manning, then by all means. The Broncos are still fighting for homefield advantage. QB Rivers and the Chargers will fight tooth and nail, but it won't be enough.
Denver by 3

Forty-Whiners @ Seahawks (-10.5)
What in the Sam Hill happened to the 40 Whiners? Team Meltdown is back to their old antics, and facing their hated rivals at the worst time. QB Kapernick has no confidence left, and the team has none in their coach. That spells another blowout loss. :deal:
Seattle by 11

Lame of the Week

Raiders @ Chiefs (-10.5)
Yes, the Raiders aren't that horrible. No, the Chiefs are not that overrated. And that spells another unpredictable game, but the Chiefs are nearly unbeatable at Arrowhead.
Kansas City by 7

Jaguars @ Ravens (-14.5)
The Ravens finally woke up in time last week, but is it too late? The Jaguars are decent, if not necessarily respectable, and that Vegas spread is way too high. But the Ravens will still take it.
Baltimore by 8

Buccaneers @ Panthers (+6.5)
QB Newton seems healthy again, but that won't be a guarantee victory. Remember, it's the NFC South. Anything goes! :noidea:
Carolina by 3

Vikings @ Lions (-7.5)
The Lions have had a creampuff schedule for 8 straight weeks. The Vikings are solid, but it's hard to take them over the Lions at Ford Field.
Detroit by 3

Saints @ Bears (+2.5) (Monday Night Football)
When a team collectively takes a massive dump at midfield, they're properly embarrassed enough to refocus the next week. And luckily for the Aints, the Bears are missing their top WR in Marshall. QB Culter inspires zero confidence anyway.
Saints by 1

Shame of the Week

Foreskins @ Giants (-6.5)
Thanks to WR Beckham, the Giants are fun to watch. Thanks to Daniel "Snidas" Snyder, the Skins aren't. :finger:
Giants by 7

Jets @ Titans (even)
Jets, favored on the road? LOL ROFL LMAO LMFAO
Titans by LOL

Last week: 10-6
Season to date: 131-76

Typology of cynics

07 December 2014 - 03:37 AM

The political theorist Alan Keenan categorized three ideal types of cynics:
  • Master cynic: wields power within the political system
  • Cynical insider: publicly upholds the political system
  • Outsider cynic: the passive and excluded public of the political system.

If cynicism is basically the belief that the true motives of human action are self-interest & the quest of power, then each type are defined by their relation to power. The Master cynic pursues power and self interest, while taking full advantage of the scruples of others. Tho the Master cynic predicts behavior in terms of assuming the worst about others, he does not operate in the open. He considers the public completely enslaved by its own blindness, but he will never inform them of his techniques.

The Master cynic is Machiavellian by coolly and rationally exploiting the irrationality of the public, and hypocritical in which he never takes the ideals or norms or codes or creeds he insists on others. He frequently pays lip service to the conventional values of the ruled, but leaves a gap between such pronouncements and his self-serving behavior. The Master cynic leaves enough visibility of his activities to reinforce the cynicism of the powerless.

But I find the second type more interesting: the Cynical Insider. They confer legitimacy upon the powerful Masters by mimicking their cynicism, due to the fear of losing position and security instead of desire of power. They are the classical alienated middlemen, the professional manipulators of public opinion and redescribers of reality who are responsible of creating and sustaining the illusions that allow the powerful to rule. However, the Insider is much more indiscrete by taking pride in his redescription in order to boast of their success. The Insider is close enough to the seat of power to allow the public a brief glimpse into the shocking abuses of true power. The Insider's cynicism is a shameless confession.

The last category is the Outsider, the cynical public, disempowered masses whose distrust of the motivations of others comes from the disappointment of the failure to realize the promises and ideals of politics and an absence of faith in the potential of positive change. Some Outsiders are actively hostile towards the government and politicians, others are alienated and apathetic enough to abstain from participation. The disenchanted and disillusioned cynicism of the alienated public are absorbed by the system, perpetually disappointed.

Given these explanations, who do you think best represents the Insider?

NFL 2014 Week 14 Picks

02 December 2014 - 10:21 PM

My holidays went great – the food, the guests, the wine – except for my football picks. Another rough weekend (8-8) in the books. Back to the drawing board, but at least I'm picking better than Bill Simmons, who went 5-11. :grin2:

Game of the Week

Seahawks @ Eagles (even)
Strange Vegas line. A team that is in 2nd traveling cross country to play a division leader with 9 wins and they're the favorites? Anyway, the key matchup is between the Eagles' offense (5th in passing and 7th in rushing) and the Seahawks' defense (2nd in passing yards allowed and 5th in rushing yards allowed). The Eagles' WR Matthews has taken pressure off WR Maclin in recent weeks. The Seahawks must establish the run early to control the clock and keep the Eagles' offense on the sidelines. Since the Eagles are at home, they'll stop the Hawks early and get an early lead and cruise from there.
Eagles by 1

Same of the Week

Steelers @ Bengals (-3.5)
Team Inconsistent vs Team Paper Tigers? Nobody knows which Steelers team will show up, and nobody thinks the Bengals will choke at home after three road wins in a row. Then again, Steelers haven't lost twice in a row this year.
Steelers by 1

Ravens @ Dolphins (-2.5)
Ravens' epic choke job was one of the ages. Means they're not playoff-ready. If the Dolphins want to sneak into the playoffs, they can't lose at home.
Dolphins by 2

Colts @ Browns (+3.5)
Whether it's Hoyer or Johnny Football at quarterback, the Colts will keep on keepin' on. QB Luck will outlast the Browns' stout defense and whoever at QB will cough it up enough to seal the loss.
Colts by 5

Bills @ Broncos (-10.5)
The Broncos have no margin for error – they must win out from now on. QB Manning has no desire to play in Foxboro for the playoffs. :snow:
Broncos by 9

Chiefs @ Cardinals (even)
Zona ship be sinking? Well, they still have that incredible defense and the Coach of the Year. Plus the Chiefs are too plain vanilla to out-smart the Cardinals. :boring:
Cards by 1

Patriots @ Chargers (Sunday Night Football) (+3.5)
The Patriots will resume their winning ways, cuz they don't choke twice in a row. As for the Chargers, caveat emptor. They've beaten only 1 team with a winning record all year long. Last week's miracle vs the Ravens.
Patriots by 7

Lame of the Week

Cowboys @ Bears (Thursday Night Football) (+3.5)
The Bears had trouble with RB Bell last week. Whatcha they gonna do vs a superior RB in Murray? Cowboys have their backs against the proverbial wall – they must get this game to keep up with the Eagles before the rematch next week. If the weather is inhospitable, lay the points.
Cowboys by 7

Rams @ Foreskins (+2.5)
The Rams are among the most physical teams in the league. And the Foreskins? Among the least. :nono:
Rams by 6

Panthers @ Saints (-9.5)
Which is it? Saints are invincible at home, vulnerable on the road, or vice versa? Then again, whoever heard of a 5-7 team giving anyone 10 points? Anyone? Anyone?? :noidea:
Saints by 6

Buccaneers @ Lions (-10.5)
The Lions seem to have righted the ship with that resounding victory over the Bears, but it's probably too early to lay double digit points on them. Even if it's against the Buccaneers.
Lions by 8

Texans @ Jaguars (+4.5)
The Jaguars seem to have grown up lately. Also, there's a golden rule of gambling about picking against a home dog in a division game. The Texans aren't just good enough to go against that golden rule. :finger:
UPSET SPECIAL: Jaguars by 3

40 Whiners @ Raiders (+7.5)
The boys from Santa Clara will be stewing mad over that loss last Thursday. As for the Raiders, they've already packed it in after getting one win. See Exhibit A: last week's 0-52 loss to the mediocre Rams.
49ers by 7

Falcons @ Packers (Monday Night Football) (-11.5)
A red-hot QB Rodgers versus a heavily decimated Falcons secondary? That's. All. She. Wrote.
Packers by 14

Shame of the Week

Giants @ Titans (even)
The Titans are the worst in the league at pass defense, so expect QB Manning the Younger to look like a legitimate QB. Finally. :shakehead:
Giants by 1

Jets @ Vikings (-4.5)
The Vikings are the classic good bad team. They beat the crappy teams but lose to the decent ones. Heaven-sent for us handicappers. And the Jets? They're the classic bad bad team. :heh:
Vikings by 6

Last Week: 8-8
Season to Date: 121-70 :doh: