Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Golden State Warriors: Rings On

The NBA championship ring ceremony couldn't have come on a sweeter night than this. The Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry accepted his championship ring, then proceeded to light up the visiting New Orleans Pelicans with a 40 point season opening night.  

The champions appeared to pick up right where they left off, though it was Curry providing 40% of the scoring.  They limited Pelicans star Anthony Davis to 18 points, proving that their championship defense is still intact.

Coach Steve Kerr, out with back pain issues, is not back yet, but assistant Luke Walton kept the gravy train rolling as the Warriors began their long road to a championship repeat.  We Believe! Again!

Final Score
Warriors 111
Pelicans 95

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Chocolatito Gonzalez; The Fly On The Wall

Family Man & Humble Champion

Flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez is the boxer known as Chocolatito.  He hails from Nicaragua and his punching precision and footwork have boxing experts putting him at the top of the pound for pound list, above Gennady Golovkin.  Yesterday I watched the replay of Chocolatito stopping former world champion Brian Viloria with a ninth round tko. The experts definitely got this one right.

Chocolatito might night have the power of triple-G, but his smooth, balanced, relentless attacking style is a must see for all boxing fans.  Expect to see him become the next big name in boxing sometime in the near future.  I've never seen a more relaxed boxer using the Art Of Movement, positioning and centeredness so effectively.  He sets up his opponent, forcing openings in the most cunning way with movement, timing and a barrage of fists to the body and head that appear to land more times than not.

What makes Chocolatito's boxing science so amazing to watch is the effortless and economical way in which he imposes his will on opponents. Its as if you're watching a mind game master use an opponent's body language and reaction to touch to determine the shortest and most effective path to land punches, without said opponent even realizing he's being manipulated in such a way.  Imagine forcing an aggressor to not only walk into a punch, but leave various parts of himself open to your attack/counter-attack whenever he reacts to almost any movement from you.  How sweet it is!

Not saying that Chocolatito can't bang with the best.  Throughout his fights his hands are continually pumping toward his opponent. When he's on the receiving end of a good exchange of punches, he regroups quickly and goes right back to scratch in front of his opponent.  I don't know if his style can withstand stronger punchers if and when he decides to move up in weight class.  But judging from the ring smarts he's already shown, I suspect that Chocolatito will have a strategy to disarm the strongest of challengers when the time comes.  Brain almost always finds a way to neutralize and eventually subdue brawn.  Ali taught us this with his rope-a-dope rumble in the jungle style.

Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez; a Nicaraguan nightmare, coming to world championship boxing rings on sporrts near you.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Raiders Roll In Oakland SOuth

#89 WR Amari Cooper celebrates 52 yard touchdown

"with a rollicking song he sweeps along, swaggering boisterously"

Sunny San Diego, home of the Chargers.  Oh well, so much for home field advantage.  The Oakland Raiders, along with a stadium size entourage of silver and black fans, came blustering in from Northern California to seize the day and lay havoc on the powder blue clad lightning bolts.

The Raiders attacked on offense, defense and special teams early and often, leaving their division rival wondering where were the early warning signs that this quaking storm was rolling in toward their home. They were only expecting sun showers.

The total dominance the Raiders inflicted on the home team Chargers was scary in that the destruction could have been much worse. The Raiders were ahead 37-6 before they decided to ease up on the gas.  Many of us fans wanted to see  no mercy granted, but I suppose the coaches knew better; we won the game.

This win has raised the eyebrows of many an NFL analyst and has talk of a Raiders playoff berth swirling around the league.  The various ways the offense scored points and the harassing defensive play has made believers of many a Raiders doubter.  

The Autumn Winds of change have filled the sails of the Oakland Raiders pirate ship once again.  The course has been set and win, lose or tie, expect to see silver hat villains storming onto NFL fields pillaging just for fun.

The Autumn Wind is once again a Raider!

Final Score
Raiders 37
Chargers 29

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mets Going To The World Series

Who woulda thunk it!  Sounds like something the late, great Yogi Berra, who passed away in September, might of said. Who would have thunk that the New York Metropolitans will represent the National League in this year's World Series of Baseball?

You saw it from the time they got into the playoffs that the Mets just had that extra thing; call it chemistry, swagger, spark, luck. Whatever it is that makes an average regular season team push into another gear and tear things up during the post-season, the Mets have it.

Tonight they finished off the shleprock Chicago Cubs in a series sweeping game that wasn't even close. You had to feel just a little sick for the Cubs fans as they groaned and grimaced into the lens of every Wrigley Field camera broadcasting the game. It was almost downright painful to watch. 

Meanwhile, the Mets played loose and confident as they hit, fielded and pitched like champions. They're a team on a roll having fun.

We Giants fans know the look of a team riding the train of destiny to a championship. Right now the Mets appear to be chugging along the rails of baseball determined to bring a MLB championship trophy home to New York's Grand Central Station.

It's looking like they'll face the Kansas City Royals, who carry a 3-2 ALCS lead over the Toronto Blue Jays, in the World Series. 

Let's Go Mets!    Lets Go Mets!    Lets Go Mets!
Win One For Yogi

Mets 8
Cubs 3

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Triple G Pound For Pound

Between the baseball postseason, College football, NBA and NHL preseasons and the Lamar Odom Watch, the sports world had a championship boxing match that featured a man from Kazakh SSR (Kazakhstan) that boxing fans just love to watch. 

Why?  Because, unlike the clinching dancer Floyd Mayweather, middle weight champion Gannady Golovkin is a boxing beast. His feet put him in position not to avoid punches so much as to angle his fists strategically toward their target. He's a loaded, double barreled weapon that just keeps launching forward until opponents either fall or forfeit. Now that's a "sweet" Champion!

The boxer who goes by the name GGG (triple-G) is ranked number four pound for pound boxer by ring magazine. Now I don't know if that ranking is current or all-time, but in my book he is currently the best, pound for pound, period.

GGG showed what a real boxer wearing the pound for pound moniker looks like in his destruction of David Lemieux.  The fight ended with an 8th round TKO at a sold-out Madison Square Garden last night. I've only seen the highlights, but there's no mistaking from the clips that GGG dominated the fight throughout. 

The man from Kazakhstan now sports a professional record of 34 wins 0 losses with 31 by knockout. Speculation says that GGG is in line to fight the winner of  the Nov. 21 Cotto-Alvarez fight.  After the disappointment that was Mayweather/Pacquiao, the future of professional boxing is once again looking bright as new talent and world class matches appear upon the horizon.

It Happened In The Big House

"Go tell the Spartans, passerby, that here by Spartan law, we lie"

It's a play that has already gone down into the annals of college football infamy.  It sits right up there with the Stanford Cardinal band on the field and other such zany and unbelievable endings to a hard fought day on the gridiron.

The #7 Michigan State Spartans and #12 Michigan Wolverines met on a battlefield that holds 107,601 yelling, screaming Wolverine army supporters. This haloed ground is simply called "The Big House." To say it's a field of Wolverine advantage is the truest of understatements.  The home field edge found the Wolverines ten seconds from sure victory when a low, fumbled snap to it's punter breathed one last gasp of hope into Spartan lungs.

It was Spartan, Jalen Watts-Jackson, who restored life to a beaten army and lit up the day when he inhaled the fumbled punt snap, scooping and scoring with zero seconds left on the clock.

Flanked by a platoon of green helmeted men with an enormous Spartan S stamped on their hearts, Watts-Jackson matriculated his way 38 yards to the end-zone and put a stamp on one of the most spectacular game endings this rivalry has produced.  

For the Michigan Wolverines, an annual battle against one of their toughest foes is in the books. They'll let their wounds heal and live for a visit to Spartan field in 2016.  For the Michigan State Spartans, they've lived up to their motto of "Never retreat, Never surrender." They've proven once again that on any given day, be it home turf or foreign soil, they'll fight until the last Spartan warrior breath has been exhausted.  For Spartan law mandates such a pledge.

"Go tell the Spartans, passerby, that here by Spartan law, we lie"

Final Score
Spartans 27
Wolverines 23

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New York Mets Silence Dodgers in Game 5

New York Mets are going to NLCS

A m a z i n g !

Its the MLB postseason, and my San Francisco Giants are home.  So I pull out an old Mets jersey and cheer on my hometown childhood team through a deciding game 5 of the National League Divisional Series. They're playing my most hated rival in all sports, Da Bums of L.A. The winner will go on to face the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. 

Tonight's game was tight with both teams gutting out two runs through five innings.  Then comes the top of the sixth with the Mets at bat.  With one out on a 3-2 count, second baseman Daniel Murphy crushes a 394ft. home run into the Los Angeles Night, silencing the stadium and giving the New York Mets a 3-2 lead that would hold up for the win.

A key blunder by the Da Bums was not covering third on a walk to a Mets batter earlier in the fourth. It allowed Murphy, who was going from first to second to take an extra base and steal third. I honestly had never seen a steal on a walk. It looked bizarre. The next Mets batter would hit a sacrifice fly, bringing Murphy home to tie the game at 2-2. You knew after that play that things were going right for the road warrior Mets and terribly wrong for Da Bums.

Sometime during the game there was a Dodger Blue blowup in the dugout by Andre Ethier as he disrespectfully jawed at manager Don Mattingly. The writing was on the wall. Da Bums were self-destructing under the pressure, in front of their home fans. The visiting Mets pitchers tasted blood and the chase was on.

With a 3-2 lead, the boys from Gotham simply shut the door on hitters down the stretch, bringing baseball season to a close in that crusty, dusty, fake metropolis of Southern California. Can't you tell I'm all broken up inside?

Final Score
Mets 3
Dodgers 2

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Chicago Cubs Battling History and Bartman

Last night the Chicago Cubs took down the dynastic St. Louis Cardinals to advance to the National League Championship Series. Today, October 14th, is the day the lord did not make for Cubs fans though. Because today marks the twelve year anniversary of the Steve Bartman robbery incident; a crime committed against the ever loyal Chicago Cubs fans by one of their own.  

For on this date in 2003, a bespectacled, headset wearing Cubs fan sitting along the outfield third base line interfered with a Cubs player chasing down a pop-up foul fly ball.  If but for the Cubs cursed history this seemingly innocent episode would've most likely passed as just another fan folly that could've happened to any desperate fan wanting a piece of postseason paraphernalia to take home and tell stories about for the rest of his life.  

But this wasn't just any team playing in a championship series. These were the Chicago Cubs, the biblical "Job" of baseball, who's been suffering one of the longest championship droughts in professional sports.

Here's the call that gave the Devil his due:
The Cubs were ahead, 3-0, in the eighth inning, five outs from their first World Series appearance in 58 years, when Bartman reached for and deflected a foul ball that left fielder Moises Alou had leapt for and appeared ready to catch. The Marlins went on to score eight runs in the inning, win the game and then win the series the next night.

So today in the year 2015 is the day the Lord hath made. Cubs fans once again are rejoicing in a morning that brings rays of hope and excitement as their team sits atop the National League awaiting it's next challenge.  It'll be the Dodgers or Mets who'll get a crack at toppling God's humble servant from the peak of greatness.  The robber that stole Christmas from the Cubs in 2003 is a distant yet still painful memory. With a return to the World Series the city of Chicago might just show forgiveness for the felon that is Steve Bartman and pardon his crime. 

Should the Cubs go on to win the whole caboodle, exorcising a curse that dates back to the horse and buggy days of 1908, it'll be "Thee Day" which the Lord hath made for some of the best fans in baseball. What true fan of sports wouldn't wanna witness such a glorious day as this?  I know of one who can only look upon such a day as a long awaited blessing and relief. 

Bartman, your penance may be lifted in the weeks to come. You may "go, and sin no more." Peace be with you!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Raiders Defense Comes To Life in Loss

Offense disappears and a game the Raiders are winning, due in large part to a stingy defense, is lost in final minutes again. There a many things that can be blamed for this one; turnovers, missed field goals, play calling, quarterback play.  But the one thing that gets caught in my craw is the lack of knowing how to finish a game. They're so close.

Sure the Denver Broncos came in with the number one ranked defense in the league. But the Raiders managed to come up early with ways to move the ball against them. The Broncos seemed to make adjustments defensively and the Raiders offense, after a few fantastic Marcel Reece plays, lost all creativity and came across as intimidated.  

Once quarterback Derek Carr was strip-sacked by a monster edge pass rushing play, the Raiders became content playing not to take risks and/or make mistakes.  Never thought I'd see the silver and black go into a shell offensively against any opponent, but there it was out on the home field.

Bottom line, this loss falls on the head of coach Jack Del Rio.  It's his job to not only motivate players but also put a foot in the butt of  all coaches under his umbrella as well.  He did it after last week's tough loss and got a huge game from the Ken Norton coached defense against the Broncos.  (Charles Woodson two interceptions)

If this Raiders offensive coaching staff cannot consistently put their players in position to make plays, then it's gonna be a long disappointing season with fewer and fewer highlights to hang our hats on. Again!

Come'on Man!  Try something, anything offensively that the opposing defense doesn't expect that'll get your offense pumped and restore their confidence. Nobody is unbeatable in this NFL season, not even Peyton Manning.  

Only when a coaching staff runs out of imaginative options does it seem a team is doomed to defeat.  Don't lose your creativity and imagination Raiders.  You've got some play makers.  Figure out some schemes to help them make plays. Sometimes the timing of a reverse flea flicker or wide receiver screen can be genius when the defense is expecting the same old Raiders.

Maybe I'm too harsh on the team.  After getting home and watching replay of the offensive drive before Derek Carr's interception in the 4th quarter, I saw the Raiders were moving the ball with a no-huddle shotgun formation. With 6:53 left in the game, the team was in position to take the lead and win the game. One costly mistake might've been the difference.

The Oakland Raiders are a much improved team from past recent teams.  I thank Jack and company for that. We can only get better.

  • 1st and 10 at OAK 11

    (10:54 - 4th) (Shotgun) D.Carr pass short left to A.Cooper to OAK 18 for 7 yards (D.Trevathan)
  • 2nd and 3 at OAK 18

    (10:30 - 4th) (Shotgun) A.Cooper right end to OAK 20 for 2 yards (T.Ward)
  • 3rd and 1 at OAK 20

    (10:15 - 4th) (Shotgun) D.Carr pass short middle to R.Helu to OAK 25 for 5 yards (B.Marshall)
  • 1st and 10 at OAK 25

    (9:32 - 4th) (Shotgun) D.Carr pass short left to D.Penn to OAK 28 for 3 yards (M.Jackson)
  • 2nd and 7 at OAK 28

    (8:53 - 4th) (Shotgun) D.Carr pass incomplete deep right to A.Holmes (K.Webster)
  • 3rd and 7 at OAK 28

    (8:39 - 4th) (Shotgun) D.Carr pass deep right to M.Crabtree to OAK 49 for 21 yards (D.Stewart) [V.Miller]. PENALTY on DEN-V.Miller, Roughing the Passer, 15 yards, enforced at OAK 49
  • 1st and 10 at DEN 36

    (8:06 - 4th) J.Olawale up the middle to DEN 37 for -1 yards (D.Stewart)
  • 2nd and 11 at DEN 37

    (7:22 - 4th) (Shotgun) M.Reece up the middle to DEN 31 for 6 yards (T.Ward)
  • 3rd and 5 at DEN 31

    (6:53 - 4th) (No Huddle, Shotgun) D.Carr pass short middle intended for S.Roberts INTERCEPTED by C.Harris at DEN 26. C.Harris for 74 yards, TOUCHDOWN.B.McManus extra point is GOOD, Center-A.Brewer, Holder-B.Colquitt

Final Score
Broncos 16
Raiders 10

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Punishing The Sick

One Man's Freedom Chapter XV
by Edward Bennett Williams
pgs 245-248

Jacques Ferron was charged with the felony of sodomy with a she-ass at Vanvres, France, in 1750.  He was haled into court and given a full trial in accordance with the criminal procedures of the times.  Witnesses called by the prosecution testified they saw him in the act of coition with the animal.  They were vigorously cross-examined by his defense counsel, but remained unshaken in their testimony.  Ferron took the stand and swore the accusation was false.  His counsel called defense witnesses who either lent support to Ferron's story or testified to Ferron's general good character.  After receiving all the testimony the court pronounced Ferron guilty, sentenced him to death by hanging and forfeited all his worldly goods to the state.

With the exception of the punishment meted out, nothing in the trial of Ferron was strange or substantially different from our own procedures.  What makes the prosecution noteworthy by our standards is the fact that the animal was tried along with Ferron as a co-conspirator in the crime.  This was in accord with the custom of the day.  If adjudicated guilty, the animal faced execution by hanging or burning in the public market place.  All of the requirements of due process were observed.  Defense counsel was appointed and he was permitted to cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses and offer evidence in defense.  The theory of defense for the animal was that she had not been a willing participant in the crime, that Ferron had exercised powers of coercion.  Witnesses were called to testify.  The prior of the convent and some of the leading citizens of Vanvres testified that they had known the she-ass for several years and that she had always shown herself to be virtuous and well behaved at home and abroad.  They jointly signed an affidavit that she had never given occasion of scandal to anyone, and that she was "in word and deed and in all her habits of life a most honest creature."  The document was executed at Vanres on September 19, 1750, and signed by Pinteul Prieur Cure and other community leaders.  As a piece of exculpatory evidence it must be regarded as unique in the history of modern criminal law.  The testimony and the affidavit were persuasive with the court, and after deliberation, a verdict of not guilty was pronounced on the animal.  The court found that she had not participated in the crime of her own free will and had been the victim of Ferron.

The trial of Ferron and his co-conspirator is one of the many recorded cases in which an animal was made a defendant in a criminal prosecution.  The history of the Middle Ages is replete with accounts of such trials.  Animals charged with killing human beings were tried for murder exactly as human beings were.  After a full trial in which all of the amenities of due process were observed, the court would make its finding.  If guilty, the animal was executed by hanging, burning or being buried alive.  E.P. Evans, in his remarkable treatise on The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals, tells of over 200 animal prosecutions from 824 through the early nineteenth century.  Horses, bulls, pigs, oxen, goats, dogs, cows, sheep were defendants in such cases.

We find the stories of these trials either shocking or incredible, or both.  The concept of putting a dumb animal on trial, adjudicating it guilty of felony and sentencing it to death makes us recoil.  We find execution of an animal after trial more macabre and revolting than the execution of a human.  It's not because our standard of values vis-a-vis humans and animals is distorted.  Rather it's because we reject the idea of punishment for the morally irresponsible.  We have recognized the necessity for differentiating in our treatment of the rational and irrational.  It is the application of this recognition to rational and irrational humans that has plagued the best minds in the law for the last hundred years.

The late Judge Jerome N. Frank summed up the great dilemma of criminal justice a few years before he died:  "Society must be protected against violence and, at the same time, avoid punishing sick men whose violence drives them, beyond their own controls, to brutal deeds.  A society that punishes the sick is not wholly civilized.  A society that does not restrain the dangerous madman lacks common sense."

But how should society distinguish between those who should be punished for the crimes they have committed and those who should be hospitalized because their crimes are the product of mental illness?  The superficial answer is that society should hospitalize those who are insane and punish those who are sane.  But that answer merely calls forth the real questions that beset the courts.  How does society decide which is which?  How does society distinguish, for the purpose of fixing criminal responsibility, between the rational and the irrational, the sane and the insane?  What does it do with a man whose mental illness makes him a useless citizen but not a raving maniac?

Down through the years the law has been brushing these questions aside.  Men who are mentally ill have been sent to prison, have served their terms and have come back into society, still mentally ill and ready to commit crime again.  This has happened because the law has seen fit to send to hospitals only those who are totally deranged, to acquit by reason of insanity only those in whom mental illness has reached its ultimate, destructive form.  This is like sending to a hospital only those who have serious cases of typhoid while leaving those with mild cases at home to care for themselves.  The mild case, unless properly treated, is a constant threat to society.  The milder forms of mental disease, while not making raving maniacs of their victims, can lead them to commit crime time after time.  Too often, when a man has committed one crime after another, society has not paused to ask why.  Instead, it has sent him to prison again.  If it had asked why, it might have found a man who was mentally ill.  It's easier not to ask why.  It's easier to send to prisons men who should be in hospital wards than it is to face all the problems inherent in squarely confronting mental illness.

Note: People with mental illness aren't actually prone to violence

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Fata Frankenstein: A Burn-in-Hell Scammer

July 11, 2015

DETROIT — He pumped poisonous chemotherapy drugs into patients for years, telling them they had cancer. They didn't.
He over-treated terminal cancer patients rather than letting them die peacefully. When he could profit from it, he also under-treated actual cancer patients.
And on Friday, nearly two years after his arrest, Dr. Farid Fata was sentenced to 45 years in federal prison for violating more than 550 patients' trust and raking in more than $17 million from fraudulent billings.
For many people tortured by the Oakland County oncologist's treatments, it was a weak punishment.
 By Robert Allen, Detroit Free Press7:02 p.m. EDT July 10, 2015


I can't imagine what the patients of this doctor must've felt when told that the suffering they were experiencing both physically and mentally was do to being falsely diagnosed and treated for cancer.  It's one of the worse scams anybody can play on innocent peoples.  The mental stress of being told you have cancer can kill you alone, not to mention receiving the poison that is radiation.
There is no punishment too severe for Farid Fata, who in my book no longer merits the title doctor.  He not only broke the Hippocratic Oath that physicians have been known to take since the time of the ancient Greeks, but in doing so he brought much pain, suffering and likely death, to innocent patients who entrusted their lives to him.  A friggin physician of the worse kind; money hungry.
So when we unsuspecting patients visit our doctors  and question whether the new prescription, flu shot, hormone injection or other treatment plan is right or necessary for our condition, we do so because physicians have been known to be wrong in their diagnosis. Some, like Farid Fata here, are wrong for the sickly reason of craving financial profit by lying.  
As much as I'd like to believe that Farid Fata is one isolated incident of Doctors Behaving Badly, I suspect the $17 million dollars Fata scooped in from his scam is a drop in the bucket to what's being fraudulently diagnosed, treated and billed in the medical field as a whole.  But the bad doctor put a face on the horror of healthcare provider and medical insurance fraud; a face as cold and deathly ugly as that of Frankenstein's monster. 
And for what its worth, I've always feared the evil Dr. Frankenstein more than I ever did his monstrous creation.
So who created the monster Farid Fata?  The answer to that question might just be too horrific to face.

I post this story on a day when my niece was given a cancer free bill of health after initial tests prompted her doctor to diagnose her with a high stage form of cancer. 

Friday, October 02, 2015

San Francisco Baseball Takes A Play Off

The San Francisco Giants aren't going to the postseason in 2015. Again, following a World Series championship season they found themselves unable to stay healthy and produce back to back postseasons. 

But you gotta give it to Bruce Bochy and staff for giving it the old college try.  As quick as starters were going down with injuries, they were bringing up unknowns to fill spots and make a gallant push down the stretch.

Having a shot at making the playoffs in the final week of the regular season, even if it were a long shot, ain't bad. An 83-76 record with three games left guarantees them a winning record. Giants had the sixth best record in the National League.  The five teams above them are in the playoffs. Go figgah.

It was a disappointing season mostly because of injuries and suspect pitching at times, but the Giants are by no means a team in rebuilding mode.  They've got all the parts to continue their run to the championship come next season.  There will be changes, but there won't be an overhaul of the team.  

Thanks for a competitive season San Francisco Giants.  Let's do it again next year.  Psssst! it's an even year boys.

So who do I root for in the MLB postseason?  Why the amazing New York Mets of course.  They meet the dah bums (Dodgers) in the NL Divisional round. 

Let's Go Mets!