Pancakes In the Age of Enlightenment- Can I Borrow a Feeling?

Leading Off-
LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE NEW WORLD CHAMP!

That’s one of the things I love about wrestling, 3 years ago seems like 30 years ago. As opposed to real life where 10 years ago seems like 10 days ago.

GHOULS INVADE ROME
Is it just me or is the macabre display that has taken place in the days surrounding the Pope’s death about the creepiest thing you have ever seen? All those people standing in line to see an old man in a big red and white suit, its almost like Christmas, except Santa is dead, and decomposing because he’s not embalmed.

Being sufficiently disturbed by all this, I turned to the only person I could to explain such a thing, my mother. My mother was born in Italy, so she has an inside perspective on those wacky daygos. So here is what she told me.

“That’s how they do things over there….I remember when I was little, they kept the bodies in the middle of the
living room in the person’s house…not embalmed or anything…they just used to hang a
big funeral wreath outside over the door of the deceased and a big black bow and the people used to come and
sit aroung the coffin (a cheap one at that) and cry and scream. They really don’t have any funeral homes there…
that would be a good business to start up there.”

When I die I want to be launched into outer space.

THE MICHAEL VICK EXPERIENCE
…Apparently gives you herpes.

VIEWER MAIL! VIEWER MAIL
Adam M. writes-
“Once again, I liked your article, but I have a complaint. What is
sports? It’s winning and losing and in the end you hope your team is
declared the best, but all in all it is entertainment. You call Red
Sox/Yankees rivalry the most overrated thing in sports because their
matchups don’t matter. However, give me one more consistently
entertaining rivalry in sports over the past three or four years.
Bears/Packers, Cubs/Cardinals, hell I can’t even name any other
rivalries because they are all that just by name. The Red Sox/Yankees
is a rivalry in a true sense and the most entertaining thing in
sports. Boston fans hate New York fans and New York fans hate Boston
fans, and the players talk shit about each other year round, and the
games are heated and exciting. Overrated? If you think this rivalry
is overrated then you suck!”

My rebuttal-
Adam-
I did not say the rivalry was overrated. I said it was overhyped. I am sick of hearing about it. The Red Sox are gay, and now that David Wells is on them they ain’t getting any straighter. I find it nauseating that a team with a payroll over 100 million dollars is able to position themselves as the “underdog” chasing the impossible dream every year and people are dumb enough to buy into it. The Yankees are everything that is wrong with baseball. As if it weren’t bad enough hearing about Red Sox/Yankees all year, now I’ve got to see commercials for some shitty Jimmy Fallon movie about it every five minutes. Somebody give me a glass of Drano.

Aaaaand now…..

NFL FREE AGENCY FLAMENCO- NFC North, AFC North
NFC NORTH
Minnesota Vikings
The Plan
The Vikings are flush with cap room after cleansing themselves of Randy Moss, and plan to use that kablingy to upgrade a defense that was nothing short of terrible last year.

The Results
Trading Moss was a coup for the Vikings. Not only did they get LB Napoleon Harris, but they also got a first round draft pick and freed up cap space to upgrade the defense. The Vikings landed possibly the top defensive prize available when they signed DT Pat Williams. The former Bill creates a lot of chaos on the line, and was a key component of one of the NFL’s top defenses in 2004. The secondary was also fortified with the signing of former Redskin CB Fred Smoot, who has the talent to develop into a shutdown guy. Safety Darren Sharper was also signed from Green Bay and will provide a veteran presence. The Vikings acquired quality guys on all 3 lines of defense and I am impressed.

On offense, QB Brad Johnson was signed to backup Daunte Culpepper, and for whatever problems he has had in recent years, he has won a Super Bowl. WR Travis Taylor was signed from Baltimore and if he can stay healthy he should enjoy more success with Culpepper throwing to him instead of Kyle Boller. A great offseason thus far for the Vikings, and they are looking like an early favorite to challenge the Eagles in the NFC.

Green Bay Packers
The Plan
Do nothing, Packers new GM no lika the free agents. Focus all energies on Serpentor-like Brett Favre cloning project. Sign one either G Marco Rivera, or G Mike Wahle, but not both.

The Results
The Packers lost both Wahle and Rivera, which means that the strongest area of their team, the offensive line, is going to be a big question mark heading into 05. They did sign former Buc guard Matt O’Dwyer, but he is not the caliber of either of the guys that they lost. As if that weren’t bad enough, they also let 2 of their DB’s bolt, safeties Darren Sharper and Bhawoh Jue, so a bad defense is now worse. The Pack is looking at bringing in former Dolphin S Arturo Freeman to take Sharper’s spot, but Freeman is average at best. As of right now, the Packers look like the 3rd best team in the division. Not a good way for Favre to go out.

Detroit Lions
The Plan
The Lions’ main concern was to avoid losing both C Dominic Raiola and RT Stockar McDougal. They also wanted to bring in a QB to push the previously anointed one, Joey Harrington. A safety and some depth at wideout would also be nice.

The Results
McDougal bolted for Miami, and Raiola remains a free agent as of this writing. They made a good sigining by inking former Bronco safety Kennoy Kennedy. Kennedy is a big hitter and the Broncos did not want to lose him. Bradley University’s very own, TE Marcus Pollard, was signed away from the Colts, as was G Rick DeMulling. Pollard is an exciting player and will give opposing defenses something to think about besides WR’s Roy Williams and Charles Rogers.

The signing that will have the most impact, though, is QB Jeff Garcia. Garcia was a bad fit in Cleveland, asked to be something he is not, a dropback quarterback. Reunited with coach Steve Mariucci, he is an intriguing option should Joey Harrington falter again. Harrington will be on a short leash this year, and he is is a prime candidate to wake one morning feeling like Akili Smith.

Chicago Bears
The Plan
The Bears are in desperate need of somebody, anybody that can play on the offensive side of the ball. The O line was terrible last year, the QB situation is iffy, the receivers are not so good. Anyone on the offensive side of the ball would help.

The Results
WR Muhsin Muhammad was signed a day after being released by the Carolina Panthers. On paper it looks like a good signing. In reality though, the Bears can sign all the receivers they want and it won’t matter if they don’t have a QB to get him the ball, a line to block for that QB, or a decent running game to get DB’s out of pass coverage. The Bears have none of those things, so blowing their salary cap wad on a 32 year old wide receiver coming off a career year may not have been the wisest move.

Chicago attempted to shore up their offensive line with a couple of bargain basement signings in G Roberto Garza, a former Falcon, and T Fred Miller of Tennessee. Whether either can be a difference maker is questionable. WR Eddie Berlin was also signed from Tennessee, and will provide some receiver depth.

The Bears opted not to sign QBs Kurt Warner or Brad Johnson to back up the Pillsbury Doughboy, Rex Grossman. This is can be interpreted as either a vote of confidence in Grossman and backups Chad Hutchinson and Craig Krenzel or as more Bear front office incompetence. I’m gonna go ahead and go with option B.

Pittsburgh Steelers-
The Plan
Not a lot of activity is expected from the Steelers in free agency. They are expected to lose WR Plaxico Burress and LB Kendrell Bell.

The Results
The Steelers did absorb some hits this offseason. Burress, as expected, left, signing with the Giants. WR Cedrick Wilson was signed from San Francisco to take Plaxico’s roster spot. Wilson is a different kind of receiver than Burress, relying more on speed than size. Bell also left, signing with the Chiefs, but he played in only 3 games last year, and things went pretty OK without him. One lower profile loss that could hurt is OL Oliver Ross, who signed with Arizona. Ross can play 3 positions, which would have made him a valuable piece of depth on the O line.

Baltimore Ravens
The Plan
The Ravens want to find a long tall sexy wideout who can stretch the field and put the fear of God into defenses. They also have conceded they are going to lose 40% of their starting O line too, so there’s that.

The Results
Randy Moss was rumored to be headed to the Ravens, but as we all know that didn’t happen. So the Ravens solution at wideout is now former Titan Derrick Mason. Mason is good, but not the gamebreaker the Ravens were looking for. The offensive line, as expected, did lose 2 starters in LG Bennie Anderson and C Casey Rabach. G Keydrick Vincent was signed from Pittsburgh to replace Anderson. Vincent was a backup with the Steelers so it remains to be seen if he is starter quality. Rabach will be difficult to replace.

CB Gary Baxter was somebody the Ravens didn’t want to lose, but they did. He is now with the division rival Browns, and 6-2 corners don’t grow on trees. To replace him, the Magpies signed former Titan Samari Rolle, who was a cap casualty. Rolle didn’t have a good 2004, registering a career low 1 INT. Still he is considered one of the best, so him replacing Baxter should be an even swap. LB Ed Hartwell also left, but the Ravens are deep at linebacker so his absence shouldn’t hurt that much.

Cincinnati Bengals
The Plan
The Bengals want to take care of their own, a new concept for them, with their priorities being to keep RB Rudi Johnson and WR T.J. Take It To The Houshmandzadeh happy, and in their little tiger costumes.

The Results
They did it! Houshmandzadeh re upped for 4 years, and Rudi got a 5 year deal. The Bengals also signed DT Bryan Robinson from Miami. Robinson is known for having a very small head, tripping over his dog, and beating up male prostitutes. LB Jamie Sharper, who was released by Texans may also be in the team’s plans.

Cleveland Browns
The Plan
New head coach and former New England defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel brings with him the Patriots’ 3-4 scheme. So that means the Browns need some liiiiiinebackas!!! Somebody to play quarterback would also probably be a good thing.

The Results
CB Gary Baxter was signed from Baltimore, and he was one of the top defensive prizes available. Baxter is a big, strong corner who can also play safety if need be. His signing provides an immediate upgrade to the Browns defense. OL Joe Andruzzi was also signed from New England. Andruzzi was part of the heart and soul of the Patriots, and he should bring a much needed winning attitude to the team. The Browns also have signed Vikings S Brian Russell to an offer sheet that the Vikings probably won’t match.

The Browns still have not addressed the QB situation though. Kelly Holcomb was thought to be a good fit for Crennel’s offense, but he was allowed to shuffle off to Buffalo. Trent Dilfer was signed, but in all actuality, Holcomb is better. Fantasy Football superstar RB Ruben Droughns was signed away from Denver, but Broncos running backs don’t have a very good track record with teams other than the Broncos. He will probably split carries with incumbent Lee Suggs, and naked driving enthusiast William Green.

MLB Musings-
The first 2 days of the 2005 baseball season have faded into memory, what stood out to my Adult ADD addled brain?

– Derek Jeter is coooooooooooooold blooooooooooooooooooooded!!! His walkoff homerun was a big, “There how do you like THAT, assholes.” to the Red Sox.

– David Wells just looks so freakin goofy in that #3 jersey.

– The A’s look not so good.

– Not even Lou Piniella can save the Devil Rays.

– The White Sox winning a 1-0 game? What am I smoking? Oh yeah..

– Oh yeah, the Royals are that bad.

– While the Red Sox and Yankees are giving each other shockers, the Angels are the best team in the AL

– What did I tell you about the Reds?

– The Cubs are still more concerned with complaining than winning.

– The Marlins look fearsome.

– The Brew Crew is kind of intriguing.

– Washington’s got some nice unis.

– Houston, you have a problem.

– Why are all the teams taking their names off the back of their jerseys?

– 40,000 San Franciscans are idiots

Ok that’s it for this week! NO basketball talk, living in Chicago I have reached the saturation point of talking or reading or hearing about the NCAA tournament, the Illini, and everything therein. The buyer on my house just backed out on me. Looks like it’s suicide again for me. See you next week.