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The Heretic

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  1. The Heretic added a post in a topic NBA 2015-16 Season predictions   

    The way I see it, because Holiday is 25 years old, and Tyreke Evans/Ryan Anderson/Eric Gordon are all 27, and Asik is 29, there's little room left for growth from the supporting cast. In order to take the next step from playoffs to title contention, the Pelicans will have to be more than the sum of their parts. Now, if the top 5 guys (Asik, Evans, Gordon, Holiday and Unibrow) stay healthy, they will be a serious force. After all, that lineup outscored opponents by +12.4 points per 100 possessions last year.
    Next, Coach Gentry will have to force the pace while improving the defense. Usually those two are inconsistent goals, but the Warriors found the magic secret by playing at the fastest pace in the league while playing the best defense. They outscored opponents by going from defense to offense at an insane rate, and there's nobody faster in that situation than Anthony Davis.
    But in order to do that, the Pelicans will have to figure out who can stretch the floor and let Davis move to the center position. Asik is incapable of shooting or create his own offense in the post, and has crappy hands, preventing him from being of any use in pick and roll situations. Ryan Anderson is the logical answer, because he can space the floor and is the most talented option at the stretch 4 spot, but he doesn't play defense in the slightest. Cunningham is decent but he's a journeyman at best. I would recommend the Pelicans to move on from those guys and trade for Terrence Jones from Houston Rockets, who used to play with Davis at Kentucky. He's being squeezed out and could stand to find serious minutes with the Pelicans.
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  2. The Heretic added a post in a topic NBA 2015-16 Season predictions   

    The "modern era" commonly dates back to the ABA-NBA merger in 1976.  But recently, some commentators have pushed that up to 1979-80 to honor the golden age of Bird & Magic. 
    That's why you see the media qualify statistics with the "modern era" moniker. 
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  3. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    NBA 2015-16 Season predictions
    With another season right around the corner, It's high time to essay forth another college try at forecasting the NBA, but I will be limiting myself to playoff teams. After all, who can be arsed to write about the sad-sack teams, much less read about them?
    Eastern Conference

    1. Cleveland Cavaliers. The Big Three of LBJ, Irving, and Love did not find a comfort zone last season, but once Irivng and Love went down with injuries in the playoffs, Coach Blatt found the magic formula by going with an old school big lineup with Mozgov, Thompson and LBJ up front. This season, since Love and Irving will be healthy, exactly how Coach Blatt deploys the roster will be the major narrative of the season, after whether LBJ will be the first player to lead his team to six straight Finals berth in the modern era.

    2. Atlanta Hawks. Despite surprising last season, too many pundits remain unconvinced, dismissing the Hawks as a one-season wonder, a fluke. They will win due to a great coaching staff, a fantastic system, and a loaded roster, although there's no superstar who can bail them out when necessary. DeMarre Carroll is gone, but he's easily replaceable, as long the other players do it collectively.

    3. Toronto Raptors. The GM Ujiri has turned around the Raptors since he arrived from the Denver Nuggets, and they upgraded on defense with pitbulls in Carroll and Biyombo. With PG Lowry rededicated to a new regiment, the Raptors may surprise and muscle their way into the top.

    4. Miami Heat. With a formidable starting unit (Whiteside, Dragic, Deng, Bosh and Wade), and if the max guys stay healthy, the Heat can rise and challenge the incumbents in Cleveland. But the starters are far too fragile to survive 82 games.

    5. Chicago Bulls. The Bulls could reach as high as the second seed or fall low enough and struggle to make the playoffs. Hence, this middling spot is just right. Pau Gasol was happy to escape from LA, but he won't be featured much in newcomer coach Hoiberg's run and gun attack. But ultimately, it doesn't look like Derrick Rose will ever rediscover his old MVP form. Moreover, the offense will be better under Hoiberg, but their defense will suffer, and that spells a slow decline and a down cycle.

    6. Washington Wizards. A dynamic backcourt in Wall and Beal will not be enough to offset a shitty offseason. It looks like the management at Washington is just spinning wheels until the free agent class of 2016 looks their way.

    7. Milwaukee Bucks. They used to laugh at Coach Kidd, but after a few shrewd moves in the last two years, nobody is laughing now. Moreover, free agent Greg Monroe will offset the losses of Pachulia and Ilyasova, but there's not enough experience and chemistry to muscle into the top ranks just yet. The Bucks' loaded roster are cursed with potential, and will remain a team of the future.

    8. Final Playoff Spot. The final playoff seed will be clinched by a .500 team or worse. Indiana Pacers, if George is back to his old form, could make it. Orlando Magic with a loaded backcourt and a hard ass for coach, has a shot. The Pistons under Van Gundy do, too, but I think the Boston Celtics have the most realistic shot since they are rebuilding the right way - piece by piece, with patience, instead of waiting for a homerun in the draft. Moreover, their playoff experience last year will help immeasurably over the other also-rans.

    Western Conference

    1. San Antonio Spurs. Now that the Spurs have signed 3 time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, they will have the best and most consistent and versatile scoring option since Duncan was an MVP caliber player 10 years ago. As long the Spurs stay healthy and Coach Pop doesn't sacrifice too many games for sake of rest, the Spurs will be the best in the league.

    2. Golden State Warriors. Due to an improved western conference, it's unlikely that the Warriors will win 67 games again, but they will remain serious championship contenders. While most will monitor the Warriors' small ball lineup and three point attempts, the real secret is whether the Warriors will play defense as hard as ever, or succumb to the disease of more and rest on their laurels.

    3. Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Durant and Westbrook are by far the best one-two punch in the league. If KD returns to form and Westbrook stays healthy, the Thunder will embark on a season-long revenge tour. But I have little faith in Coach Donovan, because the NBA is far more sophisticated than college basketball, which means he has to lean heavily on his assistants (former head coach Maurice Cheeks and Monty Williams).

    4. Los Angeles Clippers. Chris Paul is a great player, but he is beginning to decline. His monopolizing of the ball forces everyone into dependents. Moreover, the undersized Paul wears down in the playoffs every year, because of this very fact - he holds onto the ball until he finds an opportunity to get rid of it, and opposing teams bully him for it. So, the Clippers must adjust by realizing that Blake Griffin is their best player, and make him control the game instead like Charles Barkley used to 20 years ago.

    5. Houston Rockets. The Rockets were lucky last year, because they finished 5th in point differential in the West and 7th overall, but clinched the second seed in the West and overcame a 3-1 hole vs the Clippers, only to get waxed by the Warriors. The Rockets will contend behind MVP caliber Harden, but it really depends on Howard and his health to vault them beyond the others.

    6. Memphis Grizzlies. Despite being extremely physical and built for the playoff grind, they still lack consistent outside shooting. That will allow opposing teams to clog the paint and slow down the Grizzlies' bigmen without worrying about getting burned from beyond the arc.

    7. New Orleans Pelicans. Although the Unibrow Anthony Davis has posted some historic numbers, he has to learn how to translate numbers into team success, and lift his team to new levels. If the Pelicans crack 55 wins, Davis will be an MVP finalist.

    8. Utah Jazz. The Jazz finished strong last year according to a sustainable formula: improved defense. Gobert and Favors are terrific talents in the frontcourt, and the swingman Gordon Hayward will continue to mature into an all-around talent.

    Dallas Mavericks? Despite making the playoffs 14 of the last 15 years, the loss of DeAndre Jordan will be too hard to overcome, since they lost Tyson Chandler to the Suns. And who really thinks that Deron Williams will ever get his game back?

    Sacramento Kings? No doubt, their roster is an interesting mix, and Coach Karl has a history of maxing out results from teams with strong personalities, but there's way too much volatility in the front office to expect a legitimate playoff bid.

    Los Angeles Lakers? If Kobe Bryant was 10 years younger, he could lead this mediocre team into the playoffs. At best, he will push them towards .500, but his body cannot hold up for 82 games.

    • 11 replies
  4. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    2015 NFL Week 7 Picks

    Despite a few gag jobs by a couple of favored teams, I finished last week with a solid if not spectacular 9-5. Let's hope this is not a regression to the means Unfortunately, this week promises a snoozefest with another bunch of crappy matchups  

    Game of the Week 
    New York Jets @ New England Patriots (-9)
    The Patriots are undefeated, but they're hurting at tackle. They're down to their fourth string right tackle, & their second string right tackle is now the left tackle. Although the Jets have a legitimate defense capable of slowing down the Patriots offense, their quarterback is Fitzpatrick. And that will be all she wrote. 
    New England by 3 

    Thursday Game of the Week 
    Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 40 whiners (+6)
    The good news for the Seahawks is that tho they're a dismal 2-4 they've finally figured out how to use Graham right. The bad news is that they no longer have a championship level defense, having proved vulnerable to tight ends over the middle. Although that won't be necessary in this game against an incompetent 40 whiners offense. 
    Seattle by 4
    Rest of the Week 

    Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers (-4.5)
    Since the Chargers are first in total offense and QB Carr is legitimate, expect an old fashioned wild AFC West shootout. Last team with the ball wins.  Also? The Chargers are entering a 5 game stretch against teams under .500, so if they want to get back into the playoffs, there's no time like the present.
    San Diego by 4

    Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants (-6)
    That was a classic face-plant last Monday night by the Giants, who blew a chance to seize control of the NFC Least. Moreover, they are still smarting over that bitter choke in week one vs these Cowboys, who've backslid for three straight games in a row. And here comes QB Cassel to save the day! 
    New York by 3

    Philadelphia Eagles @ Carolina Panthers (-3)
    The Eagles are finally looking legitimate, but the Panthers are better than we thought.  They have won nine in a row, dating back to last year, and proved their mettle last week facing a 13 point hole in the fourth quarter at Century Link.
    Carolina by 6

    Lame of the Week

    Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+4.5)
    Even though the Bills are wracked with injuries (QB Taylor, WR Watkins, DT Williams, etc) they're still favored over the hapless Jags. After all their defense is a cheap date, offering zero resistance against the pass. Then again, the Jaguars are experienced with playing in London. It's home away from home.
    Buffalo by 5
    Tennessee Titans @ Atlanta Falcons (NL)
    After stabbing their toe last week, the Falcons face a team that's lost four straight and may not have QB Mariota at full health. Moreover the Titans have no ability to catch up once they fall behind. 
    Atlanta by 11

    New Orleans Saints @ Indianapolis Colts (-5.5) 
    Despite reviving themselves for a hated division rival in the Falcons, the Saints are getting no respect in this game. More importantly, QB Luck seems recovered from that early season malaise and should shred the horrendous Saints defense. But honestly? The only thing I really care about in this match up is whether Coach Pagano will try that What the Chuck play. 
    Indianapolis by 4
    Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions (+3)
    The Lions got off the Schneid last week by moving their offensive coordinator to the press box, and ran for the most yards and scored the most points this year. But that won't matter versus a confident team in the Vikings.
    Minnesota by 3
    Pittsburgh Squealers @ Kansas City Chiefs (NL)
    All of sudden, the Squealers look legitimate, despite losing Big Ben for a month. Even if he isn't ready to go, they have a better option than QB Vick in Landry. As for the Chiefs? No RB Charles, no OL? No wonder they've mailed in the season.
    Pittsburgh by 6
    Cleveland Browns @ St. Louis Rams (-5)
    What happens when the unstoppable RB faces the worst run defense in the league? Run, Todd, run.  
    St. Louis by 6

    Houston Texans @ Miami Dolphins (-4.5) 
    New coach Campbell has jump-started the Dolphins, and they should steamroll the Texans into the turf - no matter if Coach O'Brien grows a pair and sticks with QB Hoyer. 
    Miami by 7

    Baltimore Ravens @ Arizona Cardinals (-7.5)
    The Ravens have embarrassed themselves and everyone else so far. QB Flacco has stunk it up, but he doesn't have reliable targets of the yesteryear (No Bouldin, no Torrey Smith, and Steve Smith is unavailable). Moreover, the Ravens' defense cannot stop anyone, and now they face an angry Cardinals team still licking their wounds from last week's face plant vs the Squealers.
    Arizona by 10 

    Shame of the Week 

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Washington Ethnic Slur (-4)
    Two turnover machines at QB face off against top 10 defenses? Holy. Frijolies. I strongly recommend both teams to play in the wildcat formation for the entire game. 
    Tampa Bay by 1

    Last Week: 9-5
    Season to Date: 62-29
    • 5 replies
  5. The Heretic added a post in a topic Philosopher of the Day   


    Ayn Rand


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  6. The Heretic added a topic in Create   

    Philosopher of the Day
    I am posting a drawing of a philosopher once a day for this month of October, one for each letter of the alphabet, backwards from Z to A, for the #inktober hashtag. Today's drawing is the immortal Plato.

    The older ones are found under the #philosopheroftheday hashtag here.
    • 2 replies
  7. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 6 Picks   

    Sign language has quite a number of regional dialect, and it comes up the strongest between the east and west coasts. Since ASL is not formally taught at schools to deaf children, the dialects manifest themselves in different signs for the same words. But the vlogger Branton is a CDI, certified deaf interpreter, who interprets for the deaf client what the hearing interpreter claims the hearing person is saying. That means he has scrubbed all regional dialect from his signs, at least when he is working professionally.
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  8. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 6 Picks   

    I was not able to watch the game last night, but I do know that the Falcons had three turnovers in the red zone. One was a fumble, but it was recovered on a 4th down attempt, and won't be officially recorded as a turnover.
    As mentioned, the Falcons' defense is composed of the same guys from last year. Credit goes to Coach Dan Quinn for getting guys who were horrible last year to play decent this year. FWIW, Roddy White has been on a steady decline for years. He no longer can get separation. Also, has Julio Jones done anything in three weeks?
    I'm relieved that the top experts like Don banks, Mike Florio, and MDS from PFT all picked the Falcons.
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  9. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 6 Picks   

    Hilarious vlog by this hardcore Atlanta Falcons fan I know IRL:
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  10. The Heretic added a post in a topic ETs found?   

    I saw that article yesterday. It will take some time before we get more information about those alien superstructure. 
    We can work them into the saga but remember the events in the first three volumes occur in the year of 100.000 AD, a few great years away from now.  Perhaps in the prequel? 
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  11. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    2015 NFL Week 6 Picks
    Holy. Frijolies.
    This week's slate of games isn't very promising, at least from an entertainment standpoint. Far too many crappy teams are playing one another, which will result in a craptacular crapfest.  
    Game of the Week
    Carolina Panthers @ Seattle Seahawks (-6.5)
    Since they've beaten nobody worth their salt, the Panthers have to prove themselves this Sunday. But the Seahawks have their backs against the wall. If they drop this, they'll fall 3 games behind the Cardinals for the NFC West division. The fact is, the Seahawks are no longer the same team they used to be. But luckily they're back home, and Carolina isn't an offensive powerhouse.
    Seattle by 4
    Thursday Game of the Week
    Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints (+4)
    Indeed, the Falcons are 5-0, but last week proved that their defense is still peopled by the same guys from last year. After all, it is ranked 21st in total defense, despite facing weak sisters. While the Falcons will continue to exploit their schedule, this weakness will come back in the end. But not against a truly horrible Saints team – crippled by poor draft choices, hobbled by bad contracts, and a Hall of Fame QB at the end of his career.
    Atlanta by 7
    Rest of the Week
    Arizona Cardinals @ Pittsburgh Squealers (+5.5)
    The Cardinals' huge edge in every category will guarantee a win, and mete some karmic retribution for that photofinish Super Bowl match 6 years ago.
    Arizona by 9
    Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills (+2.5)
    The Bengals are flying sky-high after that amazing comeback victory over the Seahawks last week. Unfortunately for the Bills, their QB Taylor is hobbled by a bad knee, and might not be able to go. Here comes QB Manuel and his potential for major suckage!  
    Cincinnati by 7
    Denver Broncos @ Cleveland Browns (+5)
    Indeed, while the Broncos are 5-0, their offense has been dogshit, spearheaded by a mortal Peyton Manning. But the secret to their offensive problems is the running game. If the OL finds rhythm in run blocking, the running backs will gain consistent yardage, and that will slow down the ferocious pass rush that 79 year old Manning sees every week. And here comes the Browns and their league-worst run defense, allowing 150 yards a game.
    Denver by 6
    San Diego Chargers @ Green Bay Packers (-10)
    Yes, although QB Rodgers wasn't invincible last week vs the Rams, throwing two picks at Lambeau Field, it's entirely possible that he is having a better year than his MVP season of 2014. Missing top WR in Nelson, and top deep target in Adams, stuck with less than 100% Cobb, rookie and a walk-on, Rodgers has been relentless. If the Chargers couldn't beat a washed-up Michael Vick at home... what can they do to Rodgers on the road?
    Green Bay by 11
    New England Patriots @ Indianapolis Colts (+9)
    While the Pats steamrolled the Colts 45-7 in the AFC title game, this game might be even more lopsided. After all, Coach Belichick has been preparing for this game for over eight months. The Patriots are rested, coming off a bye week, while the Colts' QB Luck might need another week to get his shoulder right.
    New England by 13
    Monday Night Game of the Week
    Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants (-3.5)
    Although the NFC Least has seriously regressed this year, this game remains important. Either team can seize control of the division by winning this game. Yes, the Eagles looked great last week, but that was against the worst defensive team in the league in the Saints. And the Giants are primed for a run in the next four weeks against cupcake opponents.
    New York by 6
    Lame of the Week
    Washington Ethnic Insult @ New York Jets (-5.5)
    QB Cousins has been nothing but an interception machine for 4 years, and proved that last week with a pick-six in overtime. Now he will be facing the best secondary in the league? Start your countdown to Colt McCoy, ladies and gentlemen.
    New York by 6
    Kansas City Chiefs @ Minnesota Vikings (-3.5)
    The Chiefs have crumbled after a nice start by choking away double digit leads: shitty pass defense, horrible offensive line, and now their top offensive talent RB Charles is out of the season with a torn ACL. Plus the Vikings are relatively healthy, and coming off a bye.
    Minnesota by 7
    Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions (-3)
    Two hapless teams, but the Lions desperately need to get off the schneid. Here's a feeling that QB Stafford bounces back from his ignominious benching last week.
    Detroit by 1
    Miami Dolphins @ Tennessee Titans (-2.5)
    The Dolphins cleaned house, got rid of the head coach Philbin and defensive coordinator Coyle. This usually eventuates in an emotional bump for the team, because players want to prove themselves to a new coach. And who better pasty to demonstrate that than the hapless Titans?
    Miami by 3
    Baltimore Ravens @ San Francisco 40 Whiners (+2.5)
    From the Super Bowl XLVII to the bottom of their respective divisions in three short years. QB Kaepernick has lost his game, confidence, and etcetera, while the Ravens have lost most of their leaders and talent on defense, giving up 27 plus points a game. Both teams are equally horrible, so I'm tempted to settle for a PICK.
    Baltimore by 1
    Shame of the Week
    Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+1.5)
    Both team suck and deserve to be contracted immediately.
    Houston by 1
    Last Week: 11-3
    Season to Date: 53-24
    • 10 replies
  12. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 5 Picks   

    And yes, the Atlanta Falcons do resemble the 2009 Saints. That certainly was an ugly win over the Skins, but that means a big year is on the way. It's human nature to suffer a letdown after a great start, and it happened tonight. But the Falcons figured out how to stay in the game, never let the Racial Taunts gain momentum, until something broke their way.
    This experience will help the Falcons down the road when they're in a tough game. Now the next 3 weeks promise cupcake opponents (New Orleans, Tennessee, and Tampa Bay) meaning they'll be a cool 8-0
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  13. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    2015 NFL Week 5 Picks
    11-3 means another solid week is in the books, but remember, the Football Gods are always cruel.
    Game of the Week
    Seattle Seahawks @ Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5)
    This is the perfect game for the Bengals to showcase their complete balance on offense, and excellent pass rush that should exploit the Seahawks' inferior OL. QB Wilson will keep plays alive with his Tarkenton scrambling, but in the end, it'll be too much for one guy.  
    Cincinnati by 4
    Thursday Game of the Week
    Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans (no line)
    It is quite tempting to take the Texans here, because QB Luck has a bum shoulder, and they beat the Colts 3 of their last 5 games. It's too bad that the Texans' current QB Mallett is so bad (51.8% completion rate) that he beats his own team. 
    Indianapolis by 4
    Rest of the Week
    Chicago Bears @ Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5)
    Yes, the Bears were clutch last week in their upset victory over the Raiders. But they're still a craptastic team, and Bad Cutler is overdue for an appearance. As for the Chiefs? They should just forcefeed RB Charles the ball and spare QB Smith another 3 hours of piss-poor pass protection.  
    Kansas City by 6
    Washington Ethnic Slurs @ Atlanta Falcons (-8.5)
    Instead of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, Atlanta rolled to 42-0 over the Texans last week. Right now, at the quarter mark of the season, the Falcons are looking fantastic in all phases: the best WR in Jones, most TDs in RB Freeman, top red-zone offense (80%) and an opportunistic defense. Best of all? Their schedule is one of the weakest in the league. The Slurs may keep the score close by forcefeeding Morris and company the ball, but eventually reality sinks in. 
    Falcons by 9
    New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5)
    In the contest of horrible disappointment, it looks like the Eagles are worse off than the decaying Saints. After all, they're DEAD LAST in the NFC Least! Then again, it took the Saints OT and a blown coverage to beat the Romo-less, Bryant-less, etc.-less Cowboys.  
    Philadelphia by 3
    St. Louis Rams @ Green Bay Packers (-9.5)
    There's nothing as mysterious and frustrating for the prognosticator as the consistently inconsistent team that gets up for tough opponents but roll over for weak sisters. And the Rams are a classic example. However, they are facing the best team in the NFC in the Packers, who have fixed their shortcomings on defense and special teams. While the Rams do have a fierce pass rush, they don't have the horses to keep up with the Packers' indomitable offensive machine. And certainly not at Green Bay.  
    Green Bay by 7
    Buffalo Bills @ Tennessee Titans (+2.5)
    The Bills shit the bed last week vs the Giants, and they haven't gotten over it. Luckily they're facing a hopeless team in the Titans, who won't be able to take advantage of the Bills' distractions.  
    Buffalo by 4
    Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions (+2.5)
    After seeming invincible in the first three weeks, the Rams exposed the Cardinals last week. They were able to run on the Cards' defense with an average OL, and pass block well enough. That is because the Cards looked good against who? Luckily for them, they're facing a team with leaky OL and a declawed defense. 
    Arizona by 6
    New England Patriots @ Dallas Cowboys (+7.5)
    After losing their QB and star WR, the Cowboys lost RB Dunbar to ACL tear and top LB Lee to concussions. Now they're facing the top team in the AFC, the Patriots, rested off a bye week? At least the Cowboys remain tied for first place, and will get Dez Bryant after the bye week.
    New England by 10
    Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders (+6.5)
    The Broncos have flipped the script from their record breaking 2013 season by winning on defense: Unholy Terrors Von Miller and Ware lead the league in QB pressure, 11 players sacked the QB, the defense allows a league low 4.3 yards per play, and third down conversion allowed is a league low 25%. While the Raiders are better than they've been, they don't have a chance against that forsaken defense.  
    Broncos by 5
    San Francisco 40 Whiners @ New York Giants (-7.5)
    Nothing has gone right for the 40 Whiners after a nice opening victory over the Vikings. QB Kapernick has seriously regressed, and the once-proud franchise has lost its identity and direction. That is what happens when new owners think they can arrogantly step in and change the sport. Expect a few highlight-reel worthy performances by ODB. 
    Giants by 6
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Diego Chargers (-3.5)
    Both teams are a mediocre 2-2. While the Steelers are still waiting for QB Rothlisberger to recover from a knee sprain, the Chargers are getting their veteran TE Gates back. QB Rivers' life will be made easier by a few magnitudes.
    San Diego by 6
    Lame of the Week
    Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens (-6.5)
    Don't look, but that win last thursday means the Ravens could be back in business in a few weeks. Starting with the hapless Browns – as long if they run the ball. RB Forsett has to be fed, because the Ravens have no alternatives in the passing game (injuries). Better yet – the Browns have been dead last against the run for two years. 
    Baltimore by 6
    Shame of the Week
    Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5)
    None of the professional teams in Florida are worthy wasting your time about.  
    Tampa Bay by 3
    Last week: 12-3
    Season to Date: 42-21
    • 8 replies
  14. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 5 Picks   

    MSP, it is true that the Saints won. But it's also true that I posted a conditional pick:  

    Usually I don't post conditional picks, but since I couldn't wait until Friday to post my pick, and Brees' status was not certain as of last Tuesday night, early Wednesday morning.  
    As a result I beat Don Banks (10-5) and Florio (10-5) for week 4.  
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  15. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 4 Picks   

    Riddle me this : Why does the NFL keep sending crappy teams to London? Is it a confession that Londoners prefer low scoring games?  
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  16. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    2015 NFL Week 4 Picks
    After falling down to Billy Zima levels, Week 3 was a return to normalcy. Why, 15-2 is what passes for normal around here. The football gods were merciful, but I've a feeling they'll return to their capricious ways soon. Onto Week 4!
    Game of the Week
    Kansas City Chiefs @ Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5)
    The Chiefs are coming off a smarting loss vs the Packers on national TV, and will be angry. Luckily for QB Dalton, the Bengals are still playing in the daytime, and will remain undefeated. They'll have trouble containing RB Chareles on defense, keeping the score close.
    Cincinnati by 3
    Thursday Game of the Week
    Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers (+3)
    Before the season began, this promised to be a slobberknocker between two playoff contenders that hated each other. Too bad one is 0-3 and the other just lost its starting QB for 4 plus weeks, knocking down the stakes a few pegs. RB Le'Veon Bell is dangerous because he can carry the Steelers. Since QB Michael Vick is less a viable option and more of a warm body at this point in his career, go with the desperate team.
    Baltimore by 6
    Rest of the Week
    New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins (+1.5)
    Despite a solid offseason of upgrading key spots, the early optimism has shattered against the iceberg of reality as the Dolphins have looked shittier and shittier with each game.
    New York by 3
    Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts (-8.5)
    Another team has been slouching towards Gomorrah, and should've been 0-3 if the Titans nailed that two point conversion last week. QB Luck has been a shadow of his former self, and the team has looked completely outcoached, outplayed for four straight games. Luckily for the Colts, they are still in the shitttiest division in the NFL, and the incompetent Jaguars will confirm that.
    Indianapolis by 3
    New York Giants @ Buffalo Bills (-6.5)
    Although the Giants woke up and smelled the coffee in time last week, they're facing a solid team with a ferocious pass rush in the Bills. They are facing a soft spot in their schedule with weak sisters in the next few weeks, so in order to finally clinch a playoff spot, they'll have to get every cupcake before they face legitimate contenders.
    Buffalo by 6
    Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5)
    Despite injuries ravaging the Panthers, having lost WR Benjamin and LB Kuechly, they're undefeated, and just traded for a good pass rushing end in Jared Allen. He will shred the vastly inferior Buccaneers OL and rough up rookie QB Winston.
    Carolina by 5
    Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Racial Taunt (+2.5)
    Yes, the NFC East is now officially the NFC Least. No team looks legitimate: the Cowboys are a shell of their healthy selves, and the Giants can't help but blow their wad prematurely. And neither the Eagles nor the Foreskins have a right to brag about anything except incompetence. QB Bradford hasn't been a good fit for Coach Kelly's system so far. As for the Deadskins, at least they have a solid OL and a couple of decent RBs that can chew up the ground and control the clock.
    Washington by 2
    Oakland Raiders @ Chicago Bears (+2.5)
    Yes, Virginia, the Raiders are road favorites for the first time in memory. They're finally blessed with talent in QB Carr and others.
    And the Bears? Without a legitimate QB and already trading away good players, they are ready to give up on 2015.
    Oakland by 3
    Houston Texans @ Atlanta Falcons (-6.5)
    For three weeks in a row, the Falcons have been behind in the fourth quarter, but they've come back to steal each game, all against NFC Least teams. They've figured out how to sustain drives either by quick strikes or control the clock with running. That allows the defense to rest on the sidelines and regain their vigor. And they're now facing an underwhelming team in the Texans cursed with a crappy QB.
    Atlanta by 6
    Cleveland Browns @ San Diego Chargers (-7.5)
    Something's rotten in Denmark, and it sure ain't TMZ exploiting the Browns' dysfunctional locker room. They're missing tackles, and the OL has missed blocking assignments. The entire team is underachieving as usual. As for the Chargers? They're consummate professionals, if not champions, and they'll demonstrate how deep the chasm is between them and the laughably bad Browns.
    San Diego by 7
    Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 40 Whiners (+9.5)
    QB Kaepernick used to own the Packers in a different era. Now he just cannot beat anyone in man coverage. Obviously the former coach Harbaugh is laughing somewhere in Michigan. And the Packers are rolling on all cylinders with a league MVP frontrunner in Rodgers. 'Nuff said.
    Green Bay by 11
    St. Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals
    The Cardinals have rounded themselves into a classic juggernaut, and they'll roll over the Rams like nothing.
    Arizona by 13
    Minnesota Vikings @ Denver Broncos (-6.5)
    After shitting the bed in Week 1, the Vikings have turned it around with great defense and solid QB play, and best of all: RB Peterson has shaken off the rust. The Broncos' defense will be a great test for QB Bridgewater. Since the Broncos are no longer the explosive team of yore, they'll have to control the Vikings by limiting Peterson and slowing down their pass attack.
    Minnesota Denver by 3
    Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
    Without QB Romo, WR Bryant, and QB Brees, this is no longer a marquee game. Now, if QB Brees suit up, they'll survive the Cowboys. Otherwise...
    Dallas by 3
    Shame of the Week
    Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks (-9.5)
    The Lions doomed themselves with an 0-2 start, because their next opponents were top class teams in the Broncos, Seahawks, and Cardinals. Now they're at the most unforgiving stadium in the league? With internal dissent that other teams know what they're running before they know?
    Seattle by 10
    Last week: 15-2
    Season to Date: 31-18
    • 7 replies
  17. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 4 Picks   

    Egads. I must have been asleep at the wheel when typing out the Minnesota pick over Denver. It's supposed to say Denver, since I was leaning towards them in the explanation. If the game was hosted in Minnesota, then the Vikings will beat the Broncos. 
    Too bad I cannot edit my picks at this late juncture.  
    I know I blew two games in Week 3, which means I actually finished with 14-2.  
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  18. The Heretic added a topic in Learn   

    Interrogating Pantheon
    As Pantheon infects the public consciousness, there will be questions that needs fielding. Here are a few early attempts, originally posted on instagram:
    Q. entaimaddness@thanatologist your story is very complicated! Do yo have a simplish explanation?
    A. thanatologist@entaimaddnesssimplistic explanations come in many flavors.
    Homeric explanation: Whom the Fates would destroy, they first make mad. 
    Blurb explanation: an epic tale with philosophical characters from mythology set in a post human future. 
    Literary explanation: Pantheon is theory-fiction masquerading as a graphic novel, in which the vapors of Golden Age oozes out and clot into a heretical cynicism that savages itself. As a perverse slave of its own existential nihilism, Pantheon gnaws at the root of the Yggdrasil of its own fatuous abortion, with an amputated Mythos that goose-step around petrified totems of exhausted pop art, either out of mockery or perversion. 
    Pantheonic explanation: in mythology the gods punish hubris by imposing frustration -- allow a mortal to almost achieve her desires only to be denied in the end. In Pantheon the Fates punish naïveté by imposing existential failure -- allow a goddess to achieve her goals only to be disappointed in the end.
    Q. entaimaddness@thanatologist what is Yggdrasil? I love myth and fiction and your art! So there are gods in your story? Or are they behind the scene characters? Are the fates more powerful than the gods! ? Are they more than just knowing? They interfere with mortal/ non mortal lives? I'm so interested, have you already done your story line and characters then?
    A. 1. Yggdrasil is a universal tree that serves as a cosmic axis holding the 9 worlds of Norse mythology in its branches and roots. 
    2. Most of the characters in Pantheon are gods and goddesses, including one mortal immortal, Cartaphilus. 
    3. The Three Sisters of Fate in Pantheon reside in the Underverse, a clockwork universe that undergrid the physical universe and determines its laws, etc., etc.  So the Sisters are gigantic self-aware living artifacts. In Greek mythology the Fates, Moirai are more powerful than the gods, because the ancient Greeks believed in a meaningless universe without reason or order. The Olympians gods, tho powerful and immortal, to obey the Moirai. I incorporated them to serve as a foil for Pantheon. 
    4. The gods are more than knowing, or passive figureheads, because they compete for prestige in numbers of worlds of worshippers & luxurious realms, all bedecked with artifacts. And they do interfere with mortal existence in order to improve their power over other gods, other pantheons. 
    5. The characters and the storyline for the first three volumes are completed. I am now drawing the final chapter of the third volume. 
    • 1 reply
  19. The Heretic added a blog entry in Pantheon Dialogues   

    Sociology as Fatalism
    Lakshmi explaining Sociology of Divinity to Kaeli
    Lakshmi:  Your dogged bleating about the rightful freedom of these pathetic mortals betray a willful naivete on your part.
    Kaeli:  Perhaps, but it is not up to us to determine their nature, even if we have the advantage of wisdom on our side. Mortals need space to develop their own society, on their terms, whatever that may be. 
    Lakshmi:  After a few thousands of years, you'll agree that society is an incompetent idea. Such valorization of the individual as a romantic hero will lead you to the realization that society submerges the individual into the social. Moreover, there are other experiences that the idea of society does not account for: the mystic, the aesthetic, the psychological, the moral, so on and so forth. An intelligible theory of society? of brief blips, easily forgotten? No such thing. 
    Kaeli:  You settle for conclusions rotted after centuries of failure and resignation.
    Lakshmi:  Wisdom is wasted on the young. The forms as experiences are reflections of mortal experience. Perhaps these forms are causal in dictating and guiding culture. Then again, forms reflect through contents the idealization of an individual life. Therein lies the contradiction between cause and effect, and the impossibility of a sociology of mortals. Life is fluid, whereas forms are provisionally frozen logical concepts. And the history of mortals you are proud of must be about change between the contesting forms, contesting experiences that reflect mortal existence. That is why all mortal culture consists of remainders, vestiges of brief identifiable moments of order. 
    Kaeli:  A lot of talk that parades your exhaustion with mortals as justification for exploitation. That all forms of mortal culture leave behind remainders or vestiges betrays your weakness for fatalism. I on the other hand, see that same exhaustion of form as the triumph of existence over form. Mortals are free to express themselves in all cultural manifestations.  Yes, they are also free to worship you, just not on your terms. 
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  20. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 3 Picks   

    Indeed, the Patriots are formidable again. Brady looks 10 years younger. 
    As for the Saints, it looks like Brees might not play again. Word has it that his shoulder injury is worse than reported.   
    Anyway, I believe I went 15-2
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  21. The Heretic added a post in a topic What Are Your Top Five Favorite Paintings?   

    A post human future of Pantheonic proportions.  Will post at length after the games, but first, does the second part of the blog, regarding the generational decline of aesthetics, complement your recent post on the final exhaustion of art as a visual medium? 
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  22. The Heretic added a post in a topic Introduce yourself here...   

    Welcome, IchBinDormin. This is a sleepy corner of the internet where deep thinkers come out of slumber every now and then when there's a disturbance in the force, naturally brought along by drive by posters or the occasional profound thought or the dirty joke. 
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  23. The Heretic added a post in a topic What Are Your Top Five Favorite Paintings?   

    No reason, since your last substantial post actually confirms my thesis of cynical reason in America culture.
    That's the difference between drunk debating in chat and posting in the thread soberly.
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  24. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 3 Picks   

    Don Banks from SI likes the following teams:
    Titans over Colts, Ravens over Bengals, Browns over Raiders, Squealers over Rams, Dolphins over Bills.
    Mike Florio from PFT likes:
    Ravens over Bengals, and Browns over Raiders.
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  25. The Heretic added a post in a topic What Are Your Top Five Favorite Paintings?   

    Great essay. Couldn't agree more   
    Will this serve as an epilogue to your series on modern art? 
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