Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sorry, no time to be humourous this week -- shoppers come first! I already got Minnesota to cover against Green Bay, although I missed it straight up.

Kansas City (-7) over Oakland
Tennessee (+4.5) over Buffalo
New Orleans (+3) over NY Giants
Atlanta (-6.5) over Carolina
St. Louis (-2) over Washington
Indianapolis (-9) over Houston
Baltimore (+3) over Pittsburgh
Tampa Bay (+3) over Cleveland
Chicago (-5.5) over Detroit
New England (+3) over Jacksonville
Arizona (+4) over San Francisco
Denver (-3) over Cincy
San Diego (-4) over Seattle
Philadelphia (+7) over Dallas
Miami (-2.5) over NY Jets

Lock of the Week: New England

Pick Three -- New England, Tennessee, New Orleans

Monday, December 18, 2006

Here's some news on the Mackenzie front -- she just had her nine-month doctor's visit this afternoon. Pertinent statistics include:

*29.5 inches
*19 pounds
*90th percentile height
*50th percentile weight
*60th percentile head circumference

I'm not sure what all that means, but I'm guessing Mackenzie is on the road to playing center for York University in 20 years.

And now, the cuteness:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Mac'd been struggling with a cold for more than a week before she finally whipped it. Still a trooper, though, and still has me wound around her little finger.

Cabot update! This young man is coming on strong, with four out of five days in the white in his SK class!

No, I don't really know what that means either -- I think it's some adaptation of the American terror alert colour chart. In any case, BRAVO!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Please do not adjust your monitors, but I'm going to tell you all to step off of Terrell Owens.

We all know his history. Owens knows his way around a Sharpie, and before Emmitt Smith was “Dancing With The Stars,” T.O. was dancing on them in Dallas. He’s not above insinuating his own quarterback might prefer dancing in a leather bar to visiting one of the strip variety.

Heck, Owens might even consider faking some sort of suicide attempt in an effort to gain more attention and sympathy from the media and fans.

Nah, I guess no one would go that far.

Still, Owens is considered one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, and for pretty good reason. T.O. has posted more than 11,000 yards and caught 112 touchdowns while bitching and moaning his way to enmity across the land.

Even when he was about as popular as Natalie Maines at a Young Republicans mixer, Bill Parcells and the Cowboys welcomed him to the fold. Performance over personality, baby.

So no matter how much you may despise the man, you have to give him at least a little credit.

That credit, however, might not extend to spitting in another man’s face, as Owens has admitted he did during the Atlanta-Dallas game this weekend. T.O. gave the face wash to Falcons’ defensive back DeAngelo Hall.

Of course, the press and the peanut gallery have been quick to hammer Owens. I myself am not excusing, admiring or advocating his “hock-a-loogie” method of gaining a little distance from Hall’s mug.

But I think we have to take a look at the spittee before we condemn the spitter.

Hall is admittedly a good-to-great defensive back. He also hasn’t had an interception in two months and has been smoked like a holiday ham of late by Hines Ward and Devery Henderson.

Still, Hall handles himself with the humility of P.T. Barnum and the grace of a yappy Chihuahua. He basks in the reflected glow of his idol, Deion Sanders – and I’m not sure I can paint a better picture of a man than that.

So to blast Owens for laying a wet one on Hall is unwarranted. It’s not the method I would have chosen, but then, I don’t know what Hall was saying, and Owens didn’t know he’d shut Hall up later by catching a pair of TDs and helping to sink the Falcons.

I’m just saying, it could have been worse.

Owens could have ripped the helmet from Hall’s head and stomped him. He could have kicked him in the goalpost.

Or if he really wanted to hurt Hall’s feelings, Owens could have said he’d rather listen to Joe Theismann.

So find it in your heart to give T.O. a holiday pass for his saliva faux pas. It’s what Jesus would have expectorated of you.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Welcome to Week Fifteen of The Hoser's NFL Picks, where our Christmas spirit has been tempered by passing around the stomach flu. Seriously, if we’re not very funny this week, you try humour while clenching at both ends.

The Hoser went 9-7 against the spread and 10-6 straight up, but watched our two-game Lock of the Week streak go down like Brett Favre in front of Michael Strahan. If any of you can still count the Colts as serious Super Bowl threats after that, we’ve got some genuine Sidd Finch autographs we’d like to sell you.

Remember -- these picks are just for fun. Using them to wager money is advisable as having Oliver Stone teach your sensitivity training class.

Editor’s Note: The Hoser already nailed the San Francisco-Seattle game.

Dallas @ ATLANTA (+3): We loved the expression on Bill Parcells’s face after he received a 15-yard penalty for throwing his challenge flag inside two minutes last week. It’s the same face Michael Irvin makes when you tell him there’s no more coke left. Dallas 21, Atlanta 20.

NY Jets @ MINNESOTA (-3.5): Minnesota Vikings defensive backs coach Joe Woods was charged with two counts of drunken driving this week after blowing a .12. Charges were dropped, however, after the D.A. said it could reasonably expected that anyone working with the Minnesota secondary would be drinking even more heavily than Woods. Minnesota 20, New York Jets 16.

Cleveland @ BALTIMORE (-11.5): Browns safety Brian Russell has his second staph infection in three months and is the fourth Cleveland player to suffer the same fate in the past two seasons. It doesn’t help, however, that all Browns players are treated at the nearby Ron Mexico Free Clinic. Baltimore 21, Cleveland 13.

Houston @ NEW ENGLAND (-11.5): After reading about Miami’s supposed successful in studying TV tapes of Patriot QB Tom Brady, Texans’ management ordered tapes of their own. Unfortunately, Brady’s hosting gig on SNL probably won’t help much. New England 31, Houston 14.

Miami @ BUFFALO (-1): A 17-year-old girl claiming she had a two-year sexual relationship with Dolphins rookie Marcus Vick has filed a lawsuit against him. The girl said Vick misled her, especially by using an alias – “Ron Mexico Jr.” Buffalo 22, Miami 20.

Pittsburgh @ CAROLINA (+3): Mouthy Steelers LB Joey Porter picked up a $10K fine after making some remarks about Cleveland TE Kellen Winslow. "That's what (blanks) do," Porter said. "He's soft. He wants to be tough, but he's really soft." This from a guy who we all know has taken a shot in the ass. Pittsburgh 28, Carolina 20.

Washington @ NEW ORLEANS (-9.5): The Redskins are on pace to set an NFL record for the fewest takeaways in a season. This does not count after Week 18, when Daniel Snyder will take away Joe Gibbs’s job. New Orleans 31, Washington 20.

Jacksonville @ TENNESSEE (+3.5): ESPN analyst and former Pittsburgh Steeler Merill Hoge comments about not being that impressed with Titans rookie QB Vince Young actually helped Google’s stock. Millions of people were forced to search the Internet to find out whom the hell Merril Hoge was and if there was a story behind his girlish first name. Tennessee 24, Jacksonville 23.

Tampa Bay @ CHICAGO (-13.5): Bears DT Terry “Tank” Johnson was charged with possession of a firearm without proper identification after police found six guns in his home. Johnson was released, however, after he explained he was planning to shoot anyone who continues to do that stupid “Da Bears!” thing on TV. Chicago 30, Tampa Bay 10.

Philadelphia @ NY GIANTS (-5.5): Plaxico Burress has called out the Philadelphia defense, saying there’s no way they can shut him down. I was going to try to say something funny about this, but given the state of New York’s offense and Plaxico’s penchant for shooting himself in the foot, I’ll let it stand on its own. New York Giants 24, Philadelphia 23.

Detroit @ GREEN BAY (-5): Matt Millen and Rod Marinelli are barrelling down the highway in the team bus when they come to an overpass. A sign says, "Clearance: 11’2”." So they get out, measure the bus and realize it's 11’6”.
Millen glances around furtively and says to Marinelli, “I don't see any cops around -- let's go for it!" Green Bay 26, Detroit 16.

Denver @ ARIZONA (+2.5): NFL Network analyst Cris Collinsworth said recently he thought Broncos signal caller Jay Cutler would turn out to be the best QB from the 2006 draft. His partner in the booth, Bryant Gumbel, said, “Mmm hmm … mmm hmmm… mm hmmm … mmm hmmm … mmm hmmm.” Arizona 26, Denver 24.

Kansas City @ SAN DIEGO (-8.5): Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson has 29 touchdowns this season. That’s the same number of offensive touchdowns the Chiefs have scored as a team. ‘Nuff said. San Diego 37, Kansas City 21.

St. Louis @ OAKLAND (-2.5): Swear to God, I received this news bulletin from my mother this morning:
St. Louis (MO)--Rams football practice was delayed nearly two hours Friday after a player reported finding a white, powdery substance on the practice field. Head coach Scott Linehan immediately suspended practice and called the police and federal investigators.
After a complete analysis, FBI forensic experts determined the white substance unknown to players was the GOAL LINE. Practice resumed after special agents decided the team was unlikely to encounter the substance again this season. St. Louis 27, Oakland 20.

Lock of the Week: Pittsburgh
Trifecta: Pittsburgh, New Orleans, San Diego
Week Fourteen:
9-7 ATS
10-6 SU
0-1 LOTW
0-1 Trifecta
97-107-3 ATS
131-76 SU
4-10 Lock
1-13 Trifecta

Saturday, December 09, 2006

There have been a couple responses to something I wrote on the Louise Ogborn case from last week. Here's my response to those responses.

Louise Ogborn was horribly mistreated and wrongfully imprisoned, and the people who did what they did to her deserve all the prison time they get.

But to file a $200M lawsuit against McDonald's for failing to train its managers properly is ridiculous. Again, I ask -- if it's necessary to tell your management staff not to listen to unknown voices on the phone who tell them to imprison, strip search and sexually assault other employees, then what else do you have include in the training? Don't light one another's hair on fire? Defecating in the shake machine is a no-no? If a customer asks for no pickles, you shouldn't beat him to death with a bag of frozen fries?

By the way, here's the exact language from the McDonald's training manual (at least according to McDonald's):

"Under no circumstances should any member of McDonald's management or staff conduct a search of any employee or customer's person. No legitimate law enforcement agency would ever ask you to conduct such a search. If someone claiming to be a law enforcement official requests that a manager or employee conduct a strip search, or any search of another employee or customer, try to obtain the name and phone number of the caller and immediately call your local police department to report the incident. Contact your owner/operator or security manager about the incident as soon as possible. If you believe you have reason to search an employee's personal possessions (for example, a backpack, purse, etc.), contact your owner/operator or security manager for guidance beforehand. You should never detain any employee or other individual from leaving the premises against his or her will."

Sounds pretty clear to me, and McDonald's has also been sending updates to its franchises on the hoax calls. However, if you read this Courier-Journal story, you'll find that a McDonald's executive admitted it didn't appear word filtered down to the employees. I'm not sure what that means.

There's more confusion. According to the original 20/20 story, the assistant manager closes the door and locks it, then gives Ogborn a choice -- submit to a search or go to the local police station. But according to the Courier-Journal story from above, Ogborn begged to be taken the police station. So, which is it?

I know the argument NSLC is making, and it's a valid one -- you don't know what you would do in a given situation until you're actually in it yourself. And yes, I'm aware the managers were larger than her. But at what point do you fight back? There was no threat to her life, no weapon.

From my personal viewpoint, I know I would have been screaming and attempting to go out at the point the assistant manager locked the door. There's absolutely no reason an employee (or anyone, for that matter) should be locked into an office, least of all in a McDonald's. An employee who doesn't grasp that fact, well, I don't know if I can get a grip on where they're coming from.

People point to the Milgram experiments as proof of many people's willingness to accept meekly what they are told by authority figures. Fine -- but if you aren't going to protect yourself in a situation that appears to have no life-threatening overtones, how much sympathy can you then expect after the fact?

It comes down to a question of how much blame you're willing to assign someone for a situation in which they never should have been. While I'm gladly willing to throw the assistant manager and her (now former) fiance under the prison bus, I also don't think it's unreasonable to expect someone to defend themselves under the circumstances Ogborn was in.

Welcome to Week Fourteen of The Hoser's NFL Picks, where if you round up, we were average.

The Hoser went 7-8-1 against the spread and 10-6 straight up, although we did hit our second consecutive Lock of the Week. We tried to get Danny Sheridan to give us the odds on that happening, but he just wired back two words – “No Line.”

It’s Handicapping Haiku Week here at The Hoser, where we’re nothing if not literate and urbane. We would have done this earlier, but most of our staffers thought “haiku” was a children’s beverage.

Remember -- these picks are just for fun. Using them to wager money is advisable as having Wesley Snipes do your taxes.

Editor’s Note: I already blew the Pittsburgh-Cleveland game on Thursday.

Baltimore @ KANSAS CITY (-3):

The Chiefs were handled

by the lowly Clevelanders.

Somewhere, Vermeil cries.

Ravens 19, Chiefs 16.

Atlanta @ TAMPA BAY (+3):

With mobility

and grace, Tampa fans, Vick will

stick it up your Bucs.

Falcons 29, Buccaneers 17.

Minnesota @ DETROIT (-1):

The Lions showed some life,

making the Patriots work.

Millen’s still an ass.

Lions 24, Vikings 21.

Tennessee @ HOUSTON (PK):

Who hits from 60?

Cue up The Knack parody --

it’s “My Bironas!”

Titans 23, Texans 14.

N.Y. Giants @ CAROLINA (-2.5):

Which gap is bigger --

the one between Strahan’s teeth,

or in his judgement?

Giants 23, Panthers 19.

New Orleans @ DALLAS (-7):

If Dallas decides

to roof its field, would it be

The RomoDomo?

Cowboys 27, Saints 21.

Buffalo @ NY JETS (-3.5):

To be honest, I’d

prefer old “Buffalo Bill”

with Dabney Coleman.

Jets 23, Bills 19.

Indianapolis @ JACKSONVILLE (-1):

With Garrard’s fine play,

in the Jaguars’ future, could

Leftwich be Leftout?

Colts 30, Jaguars 21.

Philadelphia @ WASHINGTON (-1):

With D-backs healthy,

Philly’s defense could be a

fly in Campbell’s soup.

Eagles 22, Redskins 20.

Oakland @ CINCINNATI (-11):

The Raiders will fold

faster than Tim Krumrie’s leg

in the Super Bowl.

Bengals 31, Raiders 13.

New England @ MIAMI (+3.5):

FG’s shower scene

shows Tom digs Peter’s manboobs

over Tara’s rack.

Patriots 27, Dolphins 23.

Green Bay @ SAN FRANCISCO (-4.5):

He’s hurt – no, he’s fine.

The streak will roll – no, it won’t.

Retire already!

49ers 26, Packers 21.

Seattle @ ARIZONA (+3):

Denny Green’s outbursts

make me think it’s like having

Joan Crawford on staff.

Cardinals 26, Seahawks 24.

Denver @ SAN DIEGO (-7.5):

By the time I write

this little poem on the game,

LT will have scored.

Chargers 33, Broncos 17.

Chicago @ ST. LOUIS (+6):

On the backs of milk

cartons throughout St. Louis:

Have you seen Torry?

Bears 17, Rams 16.

Lock of the Week: Indianapolis

Trifecta: Indianapolis, San Francisco, Tennessee

Week Thirteen:

7-8-1 ATS

10-6 SU

1-0 LOTW

0-1 Trifecta



88-100-3 ATS

121-70 SU

4-9 Lock

1-12 Trifecta


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Your quickie pick for tonight -- Cleveland (+7) to cover over Pittsburgh.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I watched a 20/20 special last night on calls to fast-food restaurants in the United States by someone pretending to be a police officer.

According to the report, on numerous occasions managers of restaurants listened to the apparently authoritative voice on the other end of the line and then told employees to strip naked. Several times, cavity searches were done.

I watched this, wondering a couple of things:

* How big of an idiot do you have to be to follow the instructions of a caller on a phone, even if you think it's a police officer? If someone called your house and said, "I'm a cop, and you need to strip, slather yourself in Miracle Whip and run outside singing "Only The Lonely", wouldn't you think twice about it?
* How much more of an idiot do you have to be to submit to the strip and cavity search? You're going to take the word of a McDonald's manager, get butt-naked and do a little digging? Seriously, at what point would you say, "You know what? For $6.15 an hour, I'm pretty sure Wendy's won't cram things up my ass. See ya."

One of the experts 20/20 interviewed made a point about people being trained to blindly follow authority in the States, which is pretty much true. If you look moderately official and can yell loud enough, I'm betting you could get 10% of the patrons of any given mall to throw one another down the escalators.

A victim in Kentucky, Louise Ogborn, has filed a $200M lawsuit against McDonald's, saying managers should be trained not to strip search employees. Surprisingly, the company does have a small section in its training manuals addressing the topic. Not surprisingly, it says perhaps you shouldn't.

But is it really necessary for corporations to have to tell employees not to do things you wouldn't normally expect them to do? Should a McDonald's info packet have a chapter called, "It's Not Necessary To Set Your Fry Cook On Fire If He/She Burns A Batch Of Fries"?

As for Ogborn, she says she's in therapy and is just trying to put the incident behind her. Err, well, all of it except the $200M she wants.

That she'll keep.