Monday, August 31, 2015

Raiders Man Down

Oct 19, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders tackle Menelik Watson (71) reacts before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders lost starting right tackle Menalik Watson to a ruptured achilles tendon in yesterday's 30-23 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.  It's a huge loss.  

The third year lineman was out to prove that he could stay healthy and play a full productive season; he couldn't. His season ending loss leaves the Raiders plugging in backup linemen in hopes of getting an already missing-in-action running game going. Not good Raider Nation, not good at all.

The not so bad news is they released running back Trent Richardson. Trent just couldn't find his way to or through the hole throughout preseason. His lone decent run for 15 yds in yesterday's game against a third string defense was much too little way too late. So long Trent.

Special teams looked excellent with the old soldier Sabastian Janikowski putting it down again and again (5/5).

We got Defense!  Yesterday the defense stole the show, stopping and dropping Carson Palmer early. Interceptions, sacks and slamming running backs behind the line of scrimmage had them reflecting coordinator Ken Norton's personality; toughness. Breakdowns at games end allowed the Cardinals to pull off a road win, but the defense overall looked dominantly impressive.

It's the redzone offense that needs work. We all saw that rookie WR Amari Cooper is the real deal.  #89 (Coop) is gonna be something special to watch. You can see him setting up defenders to miss right before he catches the ball, giving himself a chance to take it to the house on just about every play.

While starting QB Derek Carr survived an off day throwing and backup QB Christian Ponder was just okay, it was my boy Matt McGloin who looked like a polished veteran quarterback, throwing the only Raiders touchdown of the day to receiver Kris Durham.  I like receivers Durham and Seth Roberts, but its definitely time we give THE BUTLER, that be third year wide receiver #12 Brice Butler, a chance to show he belongs on the field making plays.  

The Butler always shines in preseason, especially when McGloin is targeting him, but this season he just looks a bit quicker and more seasoned.(Polished).

We need The Butler to be great this regular season and beyond. The last thing I wanna see is Brice making highlight plays for another team.  Please Raiders, don't lose the services of The Butler; he's part of that bright silver & black future we've been talking about. He polishes the silver and more.

Win, Lose or Tie

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Oakland A's Take Down Dodgers

Oakland A's rookie outfielder Mark Canha had what some might call a career night in the Green & Gold win over the visiting Dodgers last night.  What made the night so special? 

Canha went 4-5 on hitting, he crossed the plate for three runs, one of those runs being the winning walk-off run of the 10th inning, and he did it in a come from behind win over starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, the annointed.

The Oakland A's might be at the bottom of their AL Division, they may have traded their best players to contenders, but somehow, someway they pull out games like this against a division leading opponent.  

The winning walk-off hit in the 10th was a double by Billy Butler. And it all took place on a Mark McGwire Bobblehead give-away night.  The reported sold-out crowd of 35,067 fans were treated to a real baseball game.  The loss couldn't have happened to a nicer team, da bums.  

I'd have paid to see those dodger blue fans at the coliseum walking out of there losers.  Hey, they play another one today, maybe I'll just make my way over their and enjoy rooting against da bums.

Go A's

Monday, August 17, 2015

World Series MVP Goes Yard

With former Giants pitching great Juan Marichal on hand, World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner pitched a gem of a complete game and showed off his batting prowess with a Home Run smash, his fourth of the season.

The Giants went on to win the game 5-0, sweeping the visiting Washington Nationals in four games.  The San Francisco Giants remain 2.5 games back of the NL West leading dodgers.

NBC Sports HardBallTalk

Madison Bumgarner homers, tosses 14-strikeout shutout against the Nationals

Aug 16, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT
Madison BumgarnerMadison Bumgarner
Madison Bumgarner was the star of Sunday’s win against the Nationals, going 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI double and a solo home run while tossing a 14-strikeout, three-hit shutout. It’s a performance reminiscent of Rick Wise’s two-homer day while tossing a no-hitter against the Reds on June 23, 1971.
Bumgarner now has four home runs on the season. He’s the first pitcher with at least four home runs in a season since… Madison Bumgarner in 2014. Yovani Gallardo also accomplished the feat in 2010 when he hit four for the Brewers. Bumgarner still has 10 starts remaining, so he could tack on. The last pitcher to hit more than four homers in a year was Carlos Zambrano in 2006 when he hit six over the fence.
Bumgarner has 10 career home runs. He’s the 57th pitcher since 1901 to hit at least 10 home runs in a career. He has some work left to do if he wants to catch up to Zambrano’s 34, however.
On the mound, Bumgarner is 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP, and a 174/27 K/BB ratio in 163 1/3 innings.

Training Camp Napa - Heatwave

Assist. Defensive coach Rod Woodson drilling #52 LB Khalil Mack
(picture courtesy of Raiderlegend)

My Oakland Raiders training camp visit can be summed up in one word; HOT!

On one of the hottest days of this bay area summer, I went up to Napa, Ca. for a look-see of our beloved Raiders.  What I saw was a team with respect to all the drills, an eagerness to pay attention and learn and just an all around no-nonsense approach to buying into head coach Jack Del Rio's system.

I saw young players trying desperately to make an impact and veterans showing the hustle that is needed in Live game action.  Sebastian Janikowski, believed to be the oldest Raiders veteran, kicked a field goal through the uprights and into the camera-man cage high up above the end zone.  Punter Marquette King was looking loose as he boomed punts high and far. He was followed by punter Steven Clark who held his own against King, but later seemed to wilt in the heat and shank one or two punts. A fan reminded Clark he needed to lose the #2 jersey (J. Russell reference).

Didn't see lil' 5'5 speedster Trindon Holliday return any kicks or punts. Up close Holliday really looks small around the other players. But I suppose he must be the fastest man on the field.

As with past camp visits, you don't see much from the defense other than their hustle and camaraderie. Just being out in that heat doing drills without complaint seemed to be an accomplishment.  The whole training camp setup was run with speed and discipline. 

Though I felt much of what I saw on the practice field was designed to impress the visiting fans, the fact that everything was being executed to such perfection convinced me that this is definitely an improved team.

It's true, defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. is the loudest, smack talking voice booming out on the field. Quarterback Derek Carr was pinpoint accurate.  Many wide receivers had chances to shine; Amarie Cooper, M. Crabtree. I was impressed with Seth Roberts and Brice Butler catching balls.  TE Lee Smith has good hands. WR Rod Streater was on hand and got a good workout.  I still like my guy from Penn QB Matt McGloin.  

Running Back Latavius Murray is the real deal.  Up close he's as big, fast and elusive as on film. Michael Dyer showed much hustle at RB and George Atkinson III was out there doing his thing, finding the endzone.

My visit compared to last season was much hotter weather, but the price of what I saw on the field was worth every sweaty moment.  The Oakland Raiders look like a professional NFL team ready to play competitive football at the drop of a hat.  They look as if they've been practicing together for more than just an off season.  Credit the coaching staff for having the attention and respect of the players.  

It's gonna be one heck of a Silver & Black season!

Friday Pre-Season Opener
Rams 3
Raiders 18

Saturday, August 15, 2015



Courtroom artist Jane Rosenberg's sketch of a deflated Tom Brady at a civil suit hearing might appeal to some artistic tastes, but fans of the Pacheatots are seemingly repulsed.  

Not unlike the story "The Picture of Dorian Gray," where a deal with the devil leaves a man unscathed by his dubious actions while his self portrait takes on the ugliness of his sinful deeds in life, the Rosenberg sketch reveals a hidden truth lying underneath the charm and glamour of a once media darling. That truth being that its not the man who has become deflated from the scandalous findings in Deflategate, but the image and perception consumers have of the man "Tom Terrific."

In today's hype-oriented sports news, where we sports fans pig out and gobble down on every serving, what is said about our sports heroes is perceived as the gospel truth. We attach our likes and dislikes of an individual based primarily on the inflated or deflated character fed us by the media. Seldom do we meet these individuals in person in their daily lives, being themselves and showing their true character. 

Unfortunately, we're stuck with whatever character image is on the media plate for that day's serving of an individual to the sports public. Today's serving up of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady comes without the past dressings and trimmings, giving us diners an unattractive view of a cold plate a la carte dish that had always been served steaming hot with the promise of a honestly healthy meal.  

It's like finding out that one of your favorite restaurants has been serving up cat in its szechuan chicken dishes. And yet many customers will go back for more once the penalties are imposed and the ban/desist order lifted.  Such is the power of inflated advertising on addictive consumer taste buds.

For Brady, tomorrow promises that some loyal diners are already waiting in line to eat heartily of the dish that once was "Tom Terrific." But many more not so trusting diners will get so full of the ugly truths behind Brady that however his future image is served they'll never get that taste of cheating cat out of their palate.  These patrons will not be buying anything off the New England Patriots menu anytime soon.

Lesson for Tom; If you're gonna dance with the Devil, rest assured that the Devil always gets his due.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Raiders Bolero

If you've never listened to the classical piece "Bolero" by Ravel, then you've missed one of the most intelligently unfolding pieces of musical sound that an orchestra has ever produced. It was originally composed for ballet.

It starts with a snare drum battlefield beat accompanied by the sound of a single flute playing one movement ("rhythm"). It ends with the composition of what seems like a billion instruments that have joined in to bring the one repeated movement to a thundering, ear-shattering climax.

Such is the gift of musical genius; putting a single idea into action and having it sprout wings and ascend to the rafters of greatness. This is where the Oakland Raiders find themselves at the start of this season. The team is preaching Unity; one heartbeat, one vision.  Just Win Baby! is the battle cry that fuels this teams' momentum.

New head coach Jack Del Rio is the conductor. He is the one man leading this orchestra of finely-tuned athletes from that single idea off the field, to a climaxing crescendo of United success on the field.  Jack will have his ear tuned to every sound and pitch, looking and listening for anything that's off rhythm and causing disharmony.  If midway through the season Jack is smiling and enjoying conducting the team, chances are they're hitting their goals and winning games. 

If they're winning games expect the orchestra to pump up the volume down the stretch, continuing in harmony with soldiers marching to the same triumphant drumbeat. Nobody expects the Raiders to go marching into the Super Bowl, but we as Raidernation fans expect to see the potential of a championship march arise this season.  

So keep your eyes on the head coach folks, and let's see if we've finally got a conductor who can put his finger on the pulse of an orchestra and provide the magical touch that produces miraculous results on the field.

Just Win Baby!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

740 Park Avenue Manhattan

PBS Aired the show Park Avenue: Money Power & the American Dream. It touches on how the wealthy have influenced our tax laws and entire political system to they're advantage and the middle and lower class disadvantage. 

I didn't know that Ayn Rand's book on capitalism "Atlas Shrugged" has been a blueprint for the extreme right republican ideology today. Greed is good, government regulation is bad.

Wanna know what it means to be financially wealthy and morally bankrupt in America?  Find this show and Watch it!

About the Film

Facade of a posh Manhattan apartment building with awning and address reading 740 Park Avenue.
Man standing in front of a South Bronx building with a smashed window and address reading 3050 Park Avenue.
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark SideEnron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) presents his take on the gap between rich and poor Americans in Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream. Gibney contends that America’s richest citizens have “rigged the game in their favor,” and created unprecedented inequality in the United States.
Nowhere, Gibney asserts, is this more evident than on Park Avenue in New York. 740 Park in Manhattan is currently home to the highest concentration of billionaires in the country. Across the river, less than five miles away, Park Avenue runs through the South Bronx, home to the poorest congressional district in the United States.
In Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream,Gibney states that while income disparity has always existed in the U.S., it has accelerated sharply over the last 40 years. As of 2010, the 400 richest Americans controlled more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the populace — 150 million people. In the film, Gibney explains why he believes upward mobility is increasingly out of reach for the poor.

It's Football Season

It's hibernation time football fans.  Time to return to your Sunday football cave  and leave civilization behind for a few hours.  Today's preseason Hall of Fame game between the Steelers and Vikings marks the return of the sport that turns fans into grizzly bears, hibernating in caves stocked with HD televisions, beer and snacks.

And you don't wanna rouse a hibernating bear out of his bear cave for any reason whatsoever once he or she has settled in.  

The best season of the year has begun.  Don't get caught out in the cold.  Throw on your bear colors, crack open a brew and throw your big, grizzly butt down in front of the television for NFL Football.  And let no one disturb your joy!

Friday, August 07, 2015

Be The Change

I came across this quote while looking at sayings printed on silk scrolls at a mini-flea market in civic center plaza today.  The quote is so profound and challenges each of us to not only look within ourselves for answers, but also to act by changing the things within ourselves that are not part of our harmonious outlook for society.

That means we must address our own prejudices before criticizing the prejudice of others, we must be open to being a friend to strangers before expecting strangers to befriend us, we must (as in the Gandhi sugar story) stop our own unhealthy habit of something before we can instruct others to give up that same habit.

While looking up the quote on-line I found that researchers have been unable to find proof in attributing the quote to Gandhi. He may have never actually said it verbatim, but reading some of what he did say shows that he was on the same page regarding self change.

Gandhi is quoted as saying something related to the idea of personal change as follows: 
"If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do." 

Monday, August 03, 2015

Satellites and National Security

When our smart devices are no longer the brightest things in the room because of signal loss, that is when the revolution does not get televised.

Who knew that there's a constant struggle in space to maintain data security and access?  Many will say "I told you so" when it comes to a doomsday scenario like that of space warfare. So much of our daily lives and means of living are directly and indirectly connected to data technology provided by satellites. 

Not if, but When the day the satellites stand still arrives, the backup plan will be to pray; because without that signal our banking, healthcare, utilities, communications, travel and virtual sex are all impacted. No signal, no service; No money, no honey.

But we've heard this warning before, what's so new that we should start heeding its call?  Well, to begin with, we've never been as dependent on that satellite signal as we are today. We also now have other countries like China with the same satellite technology. And the top answer to the million dollar question of 'why now' is that space has become relevant enough to justify countries going to war over it. War Games!

"It's a competition that I wish wasn't occurring, but it is. And if we're threatened in space, we have the right of self-defense, and we'll make sure we can execute that right."

U.S. General John Hyten

And when you look at it all from a hacking or virus standpoint, its a scene straight out of "The Terminator" movie series:

The machines rose from the ashes of the nuclear fire. Their war to exterminate mankind had raged for decades, but the final battle would not be fought in the future. It would be fought here, in our present. Tonight...

If you thought oil fields were top commodities worth countries fighting over, welcome to the battlefield of tomorrow, the final frontier, today.

CBS News 60 Minutes: The Battle Above