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NFL17 Pre-Play: Cannabis, Chronic Player Pain and a National Conundrum

6 Jul

Mention marijuana (cannabis) to most NFL players and you’re likely to get a positive response, no pun intended.

Classified a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, based largely on marijuana’s psychoactive cannabinoid, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) (One of over 100 canabinoids, including the non-mood-altering cannabidiol (CBD) (Got your fill of biology yet?)) and the Act’s belief in that property’s serious risk for abuse, pot’s possession, sale and / or use are still prosecuted as a criminal offense in twenty-three states, nineteen more (42) if it is possessed outside of prescribed, medicinal usage.

Even so, as an agent for pain-management and escapism, cannabis, whether obtained legally or otherwise, appears to be the drug of choice amongst enough of the NFLPA membership to have spurred Dallas Cowboys’ owner and sport celebrity Jerry Jones to advocate for its allowance while speaking at the owner’s meeting in Phoenix last March.

Currently only eight states have decriminalized ganja for market sale, one of those being Cali-for-ni-a (‘99), the most recent, Nevada, and another twenty-one by prescription only. And don’t expect the former number to grow much beyond the single-digit state (no pun) anytime soon.

Even so, gone forever are the days where tokers took their only solace-in-smoke (or weed-eating, i.e., brownies) by way of High Times and the NORMAL newsletter. Business is booming for Hemp, Incorporated.

Yet, here-to-stay is marijuana’s well-earned status as a gateway drug, not just leading to stronger, more addictive varieties like narcotics, opiods, peer poisons in alcohol and cigarettes, but when engaged in youth can quickly open the door to a whole new lifestyle and not necessarily a better one. It’s one that is non-conforming to a fault while draining enthusiasm or ambition to a low level found in your forlorn basset hound. Been there, done it, woof, woof.

That status was bolstered somewhat on recent release by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s broadest study as yet conducted on cannabis – cannabinoids and their health effects on humanoids.

In January (1.17) the NA released its 468 page report* compiled from human subject studies for findings on the “health effects of recreational and therapeutic cannabis use” and that of its elemental cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.).

With a focus in this write on health issues most pertinent to NFL players and their employers stemming (no pun) from the marijuana issue, there was both good news and bad news to be gleaned from the lengthy report.

The good news is that “there is substantial evidence (p.90)” cannibas can be a beneficial agent in treating chronic pain, a malady concomitant with those who engage athletics over an extended period of years.

The bad news: 1) Marijuana is still a gateway drug; 2) pot can be addictive (“problem cannabis use (333)”), especially as a teen and 3) regular use of cannabis is associated with risks of schizophrenia (“substantial (295)”), bipolar disorder (“moderate (307)”), suicide (“moderate (314)”), memory loss (“moderate evidence of…association between acute cannabis use and impairment in the cognitive domains of learning, memory and attention (275)”), anxiety (“moderate evidence daily cannabis use is associated with increased anxiety (119 / 318)”) and social phobia disorder (“heavy use (120)).”

It’s a mixed bag. The bottom-line: If in chemotherapy (nausea) or afflicted with multiple sclerosis (spasticity), the “conclusive” findings (94 / 103) tilt your risk-benefit balance in favor of marijuana’s use (“oral cannabinoids”) to alleviate suffering, assuming you’ve had your prof’l consult and sorted through the national hodge-podge of legalese. In those more serious, harder to treat medical conditions, cannabis is a proven therapy for relief, and that alone is reason for re-examination of its rather draconian federal categorizing.

But where paid athletes seeking a marijuana solution for chronic pain are subject, a state so common in their bruising professions, whether by smoke or extracts (oral), the risks posed appear too great in the benefit balance, risks arising from uneven permissibility (legality) and, more importantly, from the potential for memory decline, that very same malady central to the ongoing concussion debate that plagues hard-hitting sports like football, hockey and boxing. That’s an irony that hits like Bobby Wagner: Ouch!

And when there exists effective alternatives readily available to pain-sufferers in nutrition supplements (tart cherry & noni juice, magnesium, Co-Q10, curcumin, polyphenolic-antioxidents, Bs, D3, alpha lipoic), diet adjustments ((-) gluten, sugar, cured meats) and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen)), the so-called marijuana answer to pain management, not without its merits, proves too risky to fire-up or wash-down.

Even as the mental health and cognitive findings on pot’s use and “sustained abstinence (275)” were not based on “conclusive” or “substantial” evidentiary finding (Box S-3, “Weight-of-Evidence” standards (p.7)), it’s doubtful additional NA compilations on the polarizing weed, even with gold standard double-blind placebo controlled structures sought, will reveal the opposite to be true, that memory or bipolar – anxiety disorders are improved with its habitual use.

And keep in mind that whenever federal and state governments are at odds over a national issue of legislation, leading to a broad non-uniformity, that status will trigger Commerce and Supremacy clause inquiries and then eventually end up on the Supreme Court’s docket. So don’t vest too heavily yet.

Marijuana is here to stay, legal or illegal, medicinal or diversionary. And like it or not, Charles Barkley, pro athletes are role models to the nation’s youth. Fire up the bong and make it a public issue with lifestyle or league violations and that segment of the population least able to manage the drug properly will have their lives changed forever in health risks and bad habits.

In 2015 the League (Goodell) and NFLPA (Smith) went all namby-pamby in raising, under their collectively bargained drug policy, the level of marijuana required in test to trigger a violation, essentially telling players and the public that using what is still fairly characterized as an illicit drug is A-okay with them, because lots of the using players want it that way, even as its continued use is also fairly characterized as detrimental to their health. So there’s that.

— — —

This writer is not medically-trained (I was, as George Segal’s character “Mr. Kovacs” termed it in The Cable Guy (96), “on the pot” in my late teens, alcohol and smokes included, of course) and did not read the entire 468 page report, instead focusing on those sections most relevant to NFL player concerns. But I wrote with honesty and thoroughness befitting an 1100 word blog. For the lay-person the report is readable, somewhat unclear in spots but overall helpful by informing on a very broad and still yet under-researched subject.

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: marijuana-joint, wc.cca, T.Hansen, 2.23.08; marijuana-costume, SCCE, 10.16.16, wc, G.Skidmore; marijuana-plant, J.Martin, wc, 7.14.15; marijuana-neon, wc, SanFernando-Valley, LA-CA, L.Avocado; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 7.6.17 @ 1:03p EST, edit 7.7; Copyright © 2017
*References: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine: http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/reports/2017/health-effects-of-cannabis-and-cannabinoids.aspx

NFL16 Cherry Picks W10: Heavy Mettle Jams Make Super-Duper Slate

9 Nov

Mettle game: A sporting contest where both teams have priorly demonstrated a capacity for exceptional play but a showing that has either, 1) been lacking in its consistency (losses), or 2) not been sufficiently challenged in circumstance (road test, injuries, weather, etc.) or in high-caliber opponents.

wilson-2-5m-11-11-12-l-maurer-wcIn other words, a mettle game is a toughness-test between teams with playoff potential.

Last week’s slate was downright anemic (iron deficient).

The marquee match-ups that football fans come to expect at the midway were in short supply in W9, with majority of contenders paired against opponents that seem headed to a sub-par season.

Broncs @ Raiders, Eagles @ Giants, Colts @ Packers and Steelers @ Ravens were the handful that offered some hope for fireworks. In the end, while some lively play and exciting conclusions were a commonality, all the eventual winners were in control from the get-go with the losers never able to get it all in sync.

brees-wc-804k-11-2-9-e-kirk-cuomo-usmc-j-conwayannetteBut Week 10 is a horse of a different color.

One week the slate o’ games looks peaked & pallid (W9), the next, the National offers up a smorgasbord of mettle matchups that should boost the hemoglobin of any fan’s lab values. Feast your eyes on these iron-clad clashes:

KC @ CAR: The Chiefs are QB-ready, the Cats starting to show some claw
MIN @ DC: Both teams are former streakers (Ws), one starts their way back
GB @ TEN: Inconsistency Bowl, luck for both they toil in weaker divisions
MIA @ SD: Clash of the Coasters, quarterbacks will set tone in TDs and INTs
CIN @ NYG: Seems the Giants haven’t had steady run-game since Joe Morris

And the heavy mettle jams:

DEN @ NO: Saints’ stock rising with three of four Ls by a total of ten points
ATL @ PHI: Falcons’ stock stays high with three Ls by total of twelve points
DAL @ PIT: Wily QB Ben leads Anti-Heroes v. rookie-led America’s Team
SEA @ NE: SB49 rematch sees Patriots still elite and Hawks missing Beastie

cherries-cloth-picdrome-6-2011-thmCherry Picks Week 10

Broncos (6-3) @ Saints (4-4): 11.13 CBS 1:00: Saints win
Falcons (6-3) @ Eagles (4-4): Fox 1:00: Philadelphia wins
Kansas City (6-2) @ Carolina (3-5): Fox 1:00: Panthers win
Minnesota Vikings (5-3) @ Washington Redskins (4-3-1): Fox 1:00: Vikes win
Green Bay Packers (4-4) @ Tennessee Titans (4-5): Fox 1:00: Green Bay wins
Miami Dolphins (4-4) @ San Diego Chargers (4-5): CBS 4:05: San Diego wins
Dallas Cowboys (7-1) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4): Fox 4:25: Pittsburgh wins
Seattle Seahawks (5-2-1) @ New England Pats (7-1): NBC 8:30: Patriots win
Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1) @ Giants (5-3): 11.14 Disney 8:30: Bengals win

Record: 44 – 43 – 2

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: heavymetalviking, wc.cca, Unleashed, Vassil, 2.12.7; R.Wilson, wc, L.Maurer, 11.11.12; D.Brees-J&A.Conway, USMC, wc, 11.2.9, E.Kirk-Cuomo; cherries-cloth, wc, June-2011, picdrome; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 11.9.16 @ 6:41, edit @ 8:51pm EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL16: Tom Brady’s Grounded, What About Your Quarterback?

6 Jul

“Brady, Brady, Brady!”

“To be or not to be, that is the question
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take (legal) arms against a sea of troubles.”
     Hamlet, Edward de Vere (Shake-a-Spear), 1590s

Barring an unexpected reversal in his pending court case (Deflategate), a turnaround that would be analogous in football to a Herm Edward’s game-winning scoop & score of a Csonka – Pisarcik fumble (11.19.78), Tom Brady’s 4 game suspension for NFL 2016-17 will be implemented.

.......Brady.wc.3.30.16.DeanAdams21.thmThe starry New England signal-caller will likely make his return in W5 to take the reins from 3rd-year backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo (EIU) in resumption of the starter’s role Tom’s carried out with expertise (172-51) since supplanting the capable Drew Beldsoe in 2001. That would mean Brady’s first foe would be the Browns in our nation’s newest city of champions (See; Cavs (Trump hopes it’s trending (RNC 7.18-21))), his on-field arrival marking the final command performance of NFL 2016’s opening act.

Until Tom takes to the turf it‘s just not the NFL, making one wonder why Roger Goodell and the disciplinary folk are so determined to see their punishment of Brady et al upheld? Answer: Standards, and already having so much loot ($) that giving your top star an extended off-season is a bearable cost if it bolsters appearance of the League‘s blind-justice policy.

With Peyton Manning having decided to hang up his cleats, with little objection from Denver brass whom I suspect showed the legendary QB that proverbial ‘thanks for the Super Bowl win but just retire already’ door, the sure-fire 1st ballot HOF’er foregoing one last shot at a full season and victory tour after one of the most memorable leadership displays on record, it leaves TB as the undisputed face of the League.

A fitting state of affairs given both well decorated AFC field generals are the two most recent to hoist the coveted Lombardi (SB 49 (SEA) & 50 (CAR)).

.......PatsHOF.wc.10.24.8.thm.LeoparmrFor the Pats the early schedule will be challenging (@ AZ, MIA, HOU & BUF) but with the W-L result being of only marginal consequence. Criminy, it’s the Patriots, the juggernaut that just keeps on juggering…or nauting.

The New England product that Bill Belichick, Brady, owner Bob Kraft and the rest of the Foxborough folk have built is so sound, self-sustaining and of such stature that even in an AFC East fast becoming one of the League’s best, a rough start (1-3?) can be diluted in the wealth of wins to follow.

And by all appearances Brady, though somewhat pressed by the legal wrangle, still looks to be fit as a fiddle and well grounded for the upcoming NFL season.

Not grounded like Dad & Mom might mete out penance for Junior in those days of youth when he may’ve strayed off the straight & narrow by engaging in a bit o’ tom-foolery and was daffy enough to get caught (Ding-dong ditch-it?).

Nor grounding by a spouse (Gisele Bündchen) with that emotional ball & chain when your much-in-demand hubby is, through sense of obligation, giving too much time to the celebrity gropers seeking to profit from his fame & fortune.

And no worries that Tom’s laidback head coach and matriculator mentor in Bill has decided to ground his QB’s proficient aerial show and revert to the Halas – Lombardi principle: Ground it out with the run attack. Not gonna’ happen.

......grounded.girl.repos.WA.Bouguereau.1865.Philbrook.wc.thmNo siree-Bob. Tom Brady is the good grounded.

Still in the dark? It’s a happening thing, right there with spirituality, awesomeness, pro-biotics, automotive gadgetry (See; Honda, etc.) and gluten-free munchables (Pretzels can be epic, but bread & pasta…Ughsville).

Making sure one of your jumper cables is grounded when giving a car-battery a boost o’ juice is sound, safe procedure, but it’s also becoming a common practice for more & more people seeking to put body & soul in electron harmony with the “spinning world” and its forever flowing invisible field of charged molecules.

Here’s a better description of grounding, a practice in wholeness and well-being that our pre-industrial age ancestors had been engaging in for thousands of years and many humanoids today are now re-discovering the benefits.

“When you are in direct contact with the ground (walking, sitting, or laying down on the earth’s surface) the earth’s electrons are conducted to your body, bringing it to the same electrical potential as the earth. Living in direct contact with the earth grounds your body, inducing favorable physiological and electro-physiological changes that promote optimum health (“The Ultimate Antioxidant” / Dr. Joseph Mercola / 11.4.12).”

.....Brady.8.28.09.K.Allison.wc.cca.thmbIs Tom Brady intentionally grounding, earth-hugging with the holistic crowd?

I’m no groupie nor groper so I couldn’t say for certain but even from afar it’s easy to see the ring-laden QB carries himself with such a confidence, dignity, discernable self-awareness on and off the playing field that if he’s not walking barefoot on his palatial estate to connect with earthy electrons he’s doing something akin to keep it all in balance.

Simply deciding to stay clear of any political convention is sign enough the man’s got both feet firmly planted on terra firma.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo Credit: grounded-girl, C.Giraud, 19c, wc.cca, Dorotheum; T.Brady, wc, 3.30.16, DeanAdams21; Pats-HOF, 10.24.8, Leoparmr, wc; grounded-girl, WA.Bouguereau, wc, 1865; Brady, 8.28.9, K.Allison, wc; NFL-wikiproject
Posted: 7.6.16 @ 1:17am EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL16: Is There Really a Clutch Gene in the Strands?

14 Jun

Clutch Cargo

‘NEWS FLASH!

Roxanne Vivid (anchor): This just in. Some curious news from the science bunch. Craig, what do you have that’s exciting?

Craig Wherewithall (field reporter): Yes, Roxanne. Exciting? Possibly. Just a bit un-nerving? Oh yeah.

Biochemist researchers are preparing to make announcement today on what they claim is the first identification and isolation of a unique human gene tagged officially as CLT1 but more commonly known as the clutch gene.

Who’s likely to have such favored DNA nucleotide has not yet been determined but water-cooler scuttlebutt amongst genies, that’s slang for genetic engineers, Roxy, says a good, healthy appetite for turnips or radishes are, inexplicably two preliminary indicators of a person who may bear this curious gene.

What do ya’ think of that, Rox, turnips?

Roxanne Vivid: That’s why they pay you the big bucks, Craig.’

— — —

*........ClutchCargo.team.smIt’s not so far-fetched.

There’s a smoker’s gene, a breast cancer gene (BRCA1), a fat gene, a thin gene, a hair (loss (ugh)) gene, there’s gotta’ be an insatiable-gene that keeps us grabbin’ for more pop & chips and a longevity gene that may invite one to fully embrace that smoker’s gene. There’s even a Gene Simmons, a Gene Shalit, a Gina Lollobrigida (89 on 7.4) and a clutch of black-billed magpies.

So why couldn’t there be a clutch gene in amongst all of those co-mingled and cooperating chromosomes?

If epigenetists ever do pinpoint one’s clutchness you can expect corporate / government recruiters, with Constitutional case-law in hand, to dive head first into job applicant gene pools. NFL draft boards too would get into the act with cooperative agents and NFLPA Suits approval, drawing blood samples pre-draft in search of my mythical CLT1. Future Shock (‘70)? Future freaky, for sure.

Until that disturbing day arrives we’ll have to satisfy ourselves with assessing clutch capability the old-fashioned way: Game film, practice (yes, Allen) & play.

Why all this biochemistry blue-sky? To get kicking about the quarterbacks, of course. It’s summertime and you’ve gotta’ find NFL topics where you can, unless you like to vest heavily in the OTA stuff: Sweat City.

........DNA.11.21.11.wc.Spiffistan.thmThere are coaches, defensive stalwarts, even some of those who practice the oldest profession in football…on the field, the kickers, that should on occasion have their genes tested for stress and durability (What have they done to my Levi’s®?!).

But it’s the field generals who’ll have their moxie under a microscope and clutch credentials scoured from start to finish in NFL16, some of them well-est’d starters, others just getting their first taste of battle with no ribbons yet on their chests.

Veterans of the gridiron like Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Russ Wilson, NaVorro Bowman, D’Qwell Jackson, Lavonte David, Paul Posluszny, J.J. Watt, Adam Vinatieri, who is 43 when NFL16 kicks off (12/28/72), and coaches Belichick & Carroll will have no queries made on their clutchness. They all got it.

Those signal-callers still a bit green, early in their NFL journey or who labor on teams that are regular cellar-dwellers will not be subject of clutch speculation here either, even as ‘bad team’ is relative to quarterback play, of course.

But those quarterbacks who, even holding of impressive résumés that may include a Super Bowl ring, well established skill-sets but fair-to-middling post-season marks, will necessarily open themselves up to the clutch query: Do such players possess the clutch chromosome or merely performed a fortuitous catch of the proverbial lightning-in-a-bottle?’

........Rodgers.McCarthy.9.9.12.wc.Morbeck.thmThe list of names could include Andy Dalton (CIN), Joe Flacco (BAL), Andy Luck (IND), Phil Rivers (SD), Carson Palmer (AZ), Cam Newton (CAR), Matt Ryan (ATL), Matt Stafford (DAL), Jay Cutler (CHI) and Tony Romo (DAL). Every one an All-Pro with an impressive playoff victory or two under his belt, some having even drunk from the goblet of champions but waving a red-flag by recent and regular failures in finishing the job, making observers wonder whether they still have clutch capability or ever really had it in the first place.

And there’s one more top QB sporting a small flag as well that stands out from even that select group of starry signal-callers: Packers’ Aaron Rodgers.

Quarterback spot holds a special significance on every football squad, multiplied ten-fold in NFL circuit, bestowing a special cachet and no small amount of stress for its holder in locales like New York City (Giants / Jets), Dallas (America’s Team) and now on return to USA’s largest metropolis in Los Angeles (Rams).

But no command post is as pressure-packed (no pun) as that of NFL’s most successful franchise in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley, City of Green Bay (13 titles).

One of the League’s oldest members (1921), it’s been a std-bearer for most of its near 100 year existence and showcased some of the best at the QB spot with the likes of Arnie Herber and single-wing tailback Cecil Isbell in 1930s and 40s and then modern pocket passers in Bart Starr, Brett Favre and now Rodgers.

.......McCarthy.wc.cca.8.11.7.TJ.Grant.thmThe grinning guy in green & yellow and State Farm spokesman hoisted the Lombardi in just his 3rd season out of UCB (SB45 PIT) and has garnered two AP – MVP trophies since taking reins from the legendary Brett Favre in 2008. The passing numbers and weighty win-% keep piling up for Mr. Matriculator while a playoff appearance is practically a given with AR at the helm.

But Rodgers career playoff mark is a middling 7-6 with the infamous (not to Seattle fans) Cheese-Melt of 2015 still weighing on minds of Wisconsinites as the one that got away, leaving a lingering, bad taste in their mouths only to be rinsed clean by guzzling nectar from the cup of a champion (SB). Burp.

The drop-off in Aaron’s production in 2015-16 was short of glaring (60.7 C%, 3821py & 6.7 ypa, the latter #s career lows on 15g+) but noteworthy nonetheless. It’s common knowledge that the injury exit of GTG receiver Jordy Nelson was a factor in the drop but it’s also a known maxim that great QBs are possessing of the ability to raise the level of play of their teammates, when that surrounding cast is generally capable (See; Brady, Peyton, Big Ben, Brees, etc.).

With an earlier than expected exit from 2016 playoffs and the Purple taking the Black & Blue title, Packer-backers have been looking to scapegoat, someone other than a well decorated player with field citations: Hello, Mike McCarthy. It would have to be a coach, go figure.

.......Packers.Cheer.8.26.10.M.Morbeck.thmMike has coached Green Bay to eight winning seasons in his ten at the helm at Lambeau, seven double-digits, posts a .653 regular W%, has but one losing run, has managed the Pack to three NFCCs and won an NFL title in 2011 (SB45). But like his star QB in Rodgers, his post-season W% is an unremarkable 8-7.

That just passable PS mark, plus memory of Seattle still festering, has some Packers’ fans, most too young to recognize the name Chuck Mercein, comparing MM to the demigod Lombardi. That would be like judging The Searchers (’56) by today’s PC code. “Scar” would have to lose the snarl and drink tea with the Duke:

Scar: ‘More sugar, Broad Shoulders?
Ethan: Why yes, thank you. Nice teepee.’

Were Vince alive today (102) he’d understand the days of dynasty are over, the true form, anyway (’61, 62, 66, 67, 68) and that putting your team in position to play for the Conference title, something Mike has done his part to achieve consistently (’08, 11 & 15), is credentialing aplenty to be spared what’s become a yearly issue over his coaching caliber. Pack needs to energize in 2016? Sure. Mike needing to make his case? Nyet. Vince wouldn’t play that game. Wise man.

There’s little doubt these two GB gents possess a gene at least akin to the clutch variety. At worst, they’re certainly not clearly lacking in the nerve nucleotide.

Maybe everyone has a clutch gene, differentiated simply by the quantity or quality of histone protein that encircles our DNA strand (I did a smidgen of research), empowering one to seize the moment and perform in crunch.

Hooray for histone!

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credits: A.Rodgers, wc, M.Morbeck, 12.7.8; Clutch-Cargo; DNA, 11.21.11, Spiffistan, wc; Rodgers-McCarthy, 9.9.12, M.Morbeck, wc; McCarthy, wc, 8.11.7, TJ.Grant; Packers-cheer, wc, M.Morbeck, 8.26.10; NFL-wikiproject.
Posted: 6.14.16 @ 5:32pm; Copyright © 2016

McDonald’s: Sorry French Fries, Love’s Not Enough

21 May

Caesarian appetite

All roads lead to our gut, esophageal and metaphysical both.

Our stomach is the coliseum of calories, the place where sugar, fat, carbs and protein all do battle but ultimately succumb to those rippling, duty-bound digestive enzymes to give our body & mind all it needs and more, much more.

El Gastro Gestalt is capital city of our conscious and unconscious minds both.

It’s been that way ever since the Allies crushed the Axis and victors re-directed all that industrious, inventive spirit in armament assembly into the peacetime production of food stuffs on a mass scale the world had never before seen.

While opposite economic ideologies (capitalism v communism) became basis for continued conflict in bullets, A-bomb building & bivouacs (Korea, Indochina, Cuba), the war on hunger became the 2d theater of battle, fighting for the freedom to eat, eat more and then eat again.

.......McDonalds.Arch.thm.3.22.6.R.Sinn.wc.TorontoAfter 70 years of bridge building, base construction and salvos of savory & sweet treats fired off by McDonald’s, Nestlé, ADM, Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo and Yum!, those who write the history of the Hunger War will record that hearts & minds were won over, completely, like the slurp sound found at the bottom of a small shake.

Mission accomplished: The world is addicted to eating.

(Regarding that Axis thing, a small cell was brought back to life in some demonic deed at, of all places, Disney (ESPN), in some joker’s idea to work a motif on, of all things, camera angle. Even the colors have a Third Reichian feel. Gadgetry goofs. Ugh. Walt’s gotta’ be spinning in his grave: ‘I just wanted to make a place for fun (and a little loot to boot)!’ We know, Walt, we know.)

From sun-up to sundown the gobble & guzzle direct much of our day.

A line in a Roger Corman flick, of all mediums, summed up well the power of the emerging super salivary state (X: The Man with the X-ray Eyes (‘63)):

Dr. Xavier (Ray Milland): “Is that what you think (that I’m a fraud)?”
Carnie Mom: “I don’t think, I just eat!”

Or these nuggets from the gold-mine that was The King of Queens:

Carrie: “Doug, you once told me you only play poker because it adds excitement to your eating!” Doug: “Well excuse me for embracing life!”

Carrie: “Look, there’s a special on mahi-mahi, you’d like it, tastes just like steak.” Doug (“Sir-Eats-Alot”): I’ll get excited when there’s fish that tastes like Doritos.”

.......McDonalds.QP.wc.9.19.6.F.Saalfeld.thmSometimes it’s the salty urge that draws us in (moi). Others it’s sweet. Nearly always it’s pre-packaged by something or someone else hundreds of miles away who add in only god or a chemist knows what.

Eating is of course a basic need for life, going back to Adam & Eve, the Leakey sloth or Ancient Aliens experiment #1, depending in which school-of-thought you matriculate.

After out-foxing toothier beasts, then fashioning shelter from the elements, eating has been our #1 worry for 99.99999% of our time on this “spinning world.” But while that effort consumed much of the day’s time, the haul was generally compatible and nurturing to our physical and emotional well-being.

Fibrous fruits & vegetables, nuts & seeds, formerly diet mainstays, grown or gathered near home or bought locally for soon-day consumption are still favorites but for only a comparative handful: 1000 to 1.

Seek and you shall find

‘We are what we eat (Brillat-Savarin).’ In 2016 we’re just a bunch of trans-fatties, filled-to-the-gills with triglycerides, traces of barnyard hormones & antibiotics, quarts of high fructose corn syrup, shakers of salt and enough genetically-modified organisms (GMO (corn)), hot (aldehydes) & hydrogenated oils and gluten (wheat) in a year’s consumption to fill a Honda Civic, sans a CD-player.

.......McDonalds.Tokyo.JPN.wc.9.21.4.thm.A.FucitoUnless a maker clearly states on their product it’s organic or gluten-free (See; USDA labeling standards), you can assume you’re getting the whole toxic treatment.

I’ve singled-out McDonald’s but could just as easily have listed Burger King, Kellogg’s, Olive Garden, Taco Bell, Appleby’s, Frito Lay, Cracker Barrel, Hillshire Brands, General Mills, Smithfield, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Mars or any other major player in production or delivery of processed / prepared food stuffs, confectionaries or beverages. Mickey D’s just happens to be the first, the biggest and most recognized of the drive-in joints, a cultural icon in eatery consumerism. The Oak Brook, Illinois-based restaurant also happens to be my favorite when indulging the desire for a fast fill-up.

Ray Kroc’s burger baby was my first family fast-food experience.

Choices were limited in the 60s but we didn’t complain. Returning from a trip or to give Mom a break, we’d pack the Ford station wagon, all eight of us, Dad took the orders, walked inside (no seating then) and returned with cardboard holders in drinks and eats. No Big Macs, Quarter-Pounders, salads, chicken things, McMuffins, just the basics: Single-patty burger, chocolate or vanilla shakes, Coke and fries in one size so small you could’ve fit it in your shirt pocket.

.....McDonalds.Bangkok.5.9.6.E.Molina.thm.wcAnd in that last fun fact (fries) lay Big Issue #2, after the uh-oh ingredients (See; Above), serving size. We eat too much in 2016 by portioning too big.

Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary Super Size Me put the quantity issue right under our noses, tabbing McDonald’s as the fast-food format-doormat.

It’s not easy guarding the gate to our mouth. Our needs must do battle daily, and nightly, with desires that are shaped by marvelous marketing, tantalizing, permanently impressionable tastes and professional placement of product line in grocery aisle and on highway signage.

Insatiable appetite

Our bodies and brains have no natural inclination towards sugar and carbohydrates. But the palate-pleasers developed by food chemists post-World War 2, indoctrinating us from the time we exit the womb, make our mouths sing for “♫ more, more, mooooore (ATC (‘76)) ♫.” One taste and you’re hooked, or, in the nomenclature, it’s love at first bite.

......McDonalds.brd.wc.thm.Kici.2.4.7.JapanKey players in the fixation: Hydrogenated trans-fats that came onto market in the 1950s, followed by high fructose corn syrup (Clinton Corn Processing and Japan‘s AIST (Takasaki)), first in drinks (70s), now in pretty much in anything that’s processed & packaged.

If you don’t think food is addictive like cigarettes or alcohol, try going off the sweet, savory and wheat-based staples for a week and see how you fare. You’ll be climbing the walls and kicking the family pet if you’re not careful.

We’re not helpless creatures. Will power, lack thereof, plays a role in our oral fixations and face-stuffing routines. But science & psychology play their part.

Food stuffs are packaged with artful, eye-catching flair, labeled in accordance w/USDA but free to finesse (One of the FDA’s sorry-standards: If a food item has trans-fat < 0.4 gram it need not be listed on said label. “Tanks fur nuttin (“Maggie (Caddyshack (‘80)”)!’”). Once the goods hit the grocery or restaurant chain, the strategy-in-placement, whether on shelf & aisle or street location will take command and push a Pavlovian response if you’re hungry or just think so.

......McDonalds.Israel.wc.2.7.7.Ingsoc.thm.AshqelonWriting as one of those dutiful dogs in dining I can say it’s been alot of fun. Many a tasty, convenient and filling meals have passed these lips. I wouldn’t say inexpensive fun but then convenience does exact a price.

But now some of us are making discoveries about the food and beverages we consume, deciding to break the cycle of addiction. It’s not easy. Making a life change never is.

Spurlock & Co. did a public service, for profit, with their documentary, focusing on the most conspicuous health harm associated with a steady diet in processed – prepared food (weight gain), and a subject most easily solicitous of chuckles.

But there are many potential serious health risks associated with a daily diet in prepared-food that are not directly associated with the scale, i.e., obesity.

Ingesting a mere 1 gram of trans fat, easy to do with federal labeling loophole (< 0.4 gram), found in most pre-packaged, processed food items, can take days to process out of the body. That hidden harm can then potentially be the build-up and tipping point for the bad event: Myocardial infarction, i.e., heart attack.

......McDonalds.kiosk.10.28.5.Shizhao.Shanghai.thmAnd don’t expect government to push the food court to find healthier means to feed the world. Understanding that legislators and agency folk work on a quid pro quo basis and are generally captured in 2016 by those they’re entrusted to regulate, the task of getting lots o’ food to the masses, as laden with undesirables as it would seem, has become the only political mandate on the eat-issue.

And it is that same mentality that drove the message behind Soylent Green (Stan Greenberg & Harry Harrison (‘73)): When the sea is farmed-out, the people keep multiplying fruitfully, terra firma loses that precious top soil and pollutants take their toll, you find protein wherever you can. Eek.

♫ Breaking Up Is Hard to Do ♫

Here then are the interlopers in processed food stuffs, those unseemly sorts who were given a key to the place and drove a wedge between health-wise consumers and their former steady (McDonald‘s, etc.), leading the jilted to bid adieu.

......Coke.bubbles.Spiff.wc.thmSugar-based beverages (high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sucrose (table sugar) – dextrose mixture)

Flavoring soda pop and other heavily sweetened drinks, sugars regular consumption can lead to insulin resistence, glucose intolerance and metabolic syndrome (diabetes). The neuro-degenerative disorder Alzheimer’s disease is now sometimes being referred to as diabetes of the brain.

Gluten-based bread and emulsifiers

Wheat-protein containing a difficult to digest amino acid is in the bread that houses those hamburgers, hot dogs and sandwiches. Like trans-fat, it will turn to add-on weight, i.e., love handles, and celiac disease in more serious cases.

Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs)

The research is ongoing about these engineered foods and the human health risks, short and long-term, are largely unknown which means the safety picture on such altered foods remains blurred. No labeling required in the USA.

Cured or adulterated meats

Taking the form of bacon, sausage, jerky and the like, they are believed to have a possible casual connection to heart disease and some cancers.

......McDonalds.fries.Kici.Japan.10.14.06.thmReheated cooking oils

Burgers are boss at McDonald’s but the fries are its calling card. Best in the biz. The cooking oil can be harmful beyond the unhealthy fats. If reheated enough it will create toxic chemicals called aldehydes that collect in the brain and are being linked to neurodegenerative disorders (dementia / Alzheimer’s) and advanced glycation end-products (free radicals) associated with diabetes. Crazy love.

Chemically treated salad greens, vegetables and wheat – corn products

Unless plant parts are identified as organically grown it’s a strong chance they’ve been prepared with any number of chemicals that rinsing will not entirely wash clean. These man-made molecules kill the pests but do no good inside the body.

Antibiotics and hormones in livestock and feed

The livestock that account for most of the processed meals will often receive growth-hormone and drug treatments to fight illness, some that can add considerable bulk to the beast. Humans don’t need animal pharmacology.

Trans-fats and hydrogenated oils

Safflower and cottonseed oil (omega-6) are some of the bad boys that find their way into most processed foods because they emulsify and make it taste good. But these bad fats (good fats include omega-3 (fish oil) and omega-9s (olive oils) are key contributors to heart disease.

We wouldn’t let “Joe Camel” sell cigarettes to kids, why would we let Kellogg’s, KFC, PepsiCo and Kraft sell them on a possible pathway to increased risk for diabetes, heart disease (inflammation & oxidation) and maybe even some cancers as well (immunity deficiency)? Ask your friendly neighborhood legislator, soon.

......McDonalds.Sydney.Sardaka.11.5.12.wc.thmWhen Russ Westbrook (Mt-Dew), LeBron James, Bryce Harper and Cam Newton (Gatorade) pitch for PepsiCo and their sugar-based drinks, whether HFCS or the sucrose – dextrose mix, is selling the sweet drinks much different than when John Wayne, Joe DiMaggio and dozens of other stars shilled for the tobacco companies throughout a good part of the prior century? Government’s “strange inconsistency” in regulation may be explained in that there is no 2d-hand heart disease and diabetes can sometimes be manageable (ugh). But cancer is cancer, folks, in all of its deadly forms.

The food conglomerates’ have a good defense: ‘We feed the world,’ a planet with its ever-growing population, no longer checked by world war or global plagues. And with a world-wide energy crisis looming as oil reserves continue to dwindle and alternatives not yet a reality, healthiest foods may become a moot point.

Truth be told, because organic and gluten-free choices are not always available in stores & restaurants, because old habits die hard and one must treat themselves to the emulsified flavors that please the palate so well, my wife and I do continue to purchase some processed foods & beverages for home consumption and travel especially, with digestive supplement (Tolerase®) and handy.

Ultimately, responsibility will rest on the shoulders of every person, parent – guardian where children and dependents are concerned (It‘s never too late to start a healthier lifestyle) and their medical professional to better educate themselves on choices in diet and related habits like exercise, cessations (big portions / excess drink / smoking), stress reduction and supplementation.

Go to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed and read for yourself what experts are publishing about their findings on the food we eat and who we really are.

.....macroecono.lamcasinoroyal.2011.wcSteven Keys
MacroSport
Photo credits: BigMac, 2.4.7, Kici, Japan, wc.cca; McDonalds-Arch, 3.22.6, wc.cca, Toronto, R.Sinn; QuarterPounder, wc.cca, Saalfeld, 8.19.6; McDonald’s-Tokyo, wc.cca, JPN, 9.21.4, A.Fucito; McDonalds-Bangkok, wc.cca, 5.9.6, E.Molina; McDonalds-burger, Kici, 2.4.7, wc.cca, Japan; McDonald’s-Israel, wc.cca, Ingsoc, 2.7.7, Ashqelon; McDonalds-Kiosk, 10.28.5, Shanghai, Shizhao; Coke, bubbles, Spiff, wc; McDonalds-fries, Kici, 10.14.6, Japan; McDonalds-Sydney, Sardaka, wc.cca, 11.5.12; macroecono-lamcasinoroyal, 2011, wc.cca.
Posted: 5.21.16 @ 2:43pm, edit 11:59 EST; Copyright © 2016
The King of Queen quotes: Springfield!-Springfield!

MLB16 Chin Music: Barry Bonds, Elections & Lies-by-Right

4 Mar

‘You knew but what’d ya’ll do?’

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!” Marmion, by Walter Scott (1808)

Webmaster Barry Bonds rejoined his “fraternity” last month to serve as hitting coach for the Miami Marlins as baseball‘s spring training got underway in the Cactus (AZ) and Grapefruit (FL) Leagues. As expected the official home run king was queried by reporters on the Cooperstown topic and his failure to win election. Bonds’ response: “God knows I’m a Hall of Famer.”

......Bonds.J.Accordino.wc.1993.thmbNearly everyone, excepting, if I recall right, Tom Boswell at Washington Post who speculated on steroid use in the late 80s, looked away, cheered wildly while Bonds and his brothers in bash appeared to be juicing with reckless abandon, some afraid of player backlash, some in hero-worship and others defending memorabilia cachets.

That fact poses a cultural conundrum: What do you, the BBWAA, do with a Cooperstown candidate whom you, and the majority, believe tainted himself, his marks and MLB by engaging in a PED-plan during his career while you sat on your pens? Leave Bonds, McGwire, Sosa and their ilk, some proven, some admitted, others strongly suspected PED‘ers, off of your ballots, even as you gave tacit approval, seems the answer.

Barry is the official, if not, publicly sanctioned holder of the two most cherished marks in the annals of baseball: Single-season (73) and career home run totals (762), yet, he pays a price for what appears to’ve been a career fueled by performance enhancers. His arrogant persona doesn’t help his case, though, younger voters seem to find it fascinating.

And what price do we the fans pay for letting the players, their union, formerly an agent for equity, embed steroids, HGH and the other cheat-drugs into our sports, at all levels, causing a cancer we have still not engaged with aggressive treatment (In pro ball “115 failed drug tests…since January 2015 (“Jenrry Mejia’s Free-fall” / 2.12 / SI / Verducci)”)?

......McGwire.wc.6.29.11.6m.K.Allison.thmAs Big Mac and Sammy were barreling over Maris’ mark (61) in ‘98, some of us were neither fooled nor pleased. One apologist at the time engaged me on the topic and made this sorry claim in their defense: ‘Even if they are using, steriods don’t improve performance.’ Yeah, that’s why they juiced, ‘cause they didn’t help. Like sticky-gloves (NFL), they wear ‘em ‘cause they look good, right? Oy vey.

Besides providing an unfair, unnatural aid in play, i.e., cheating, and, if used outside the supervision of a medical pro who administers in open practice, causing a slew of serious, long-term side effects, PEDs do add muscle mass which increases swing velocity and power. It‘s pretty simple.

That public complacency, along with the window of opportunity remaining open for PED cheats by an absence of mandated in-season blood draws for every MLB rosteree, are the 10,000 lbs elephants in the room everyone ignores.

And it is that complacency which is Barry’s best argument to persuade voters to back his enshrinement. Even in a mental state of deceit, how can one be said to be cheating if near everyone, though suspecting skullduggery, does not make serious statement to prevent the behavior until years later? Arguably, it‘s not.

.....Coperstown.Sign.7.26.8.O.Yamamoto.thm“To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of men (Ella Wheeler Wilcox (JFK (‘91))).” If a tree falls in the forest to send campers dodging for cover who claim they did not see it crash, did it actually topple, did it make a sound and can we still use it for firewood? Hmmm.

Additionally, while steroids were banned by baseball in 1991, testing didn’t begin until 2003, then a ramped-up Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in 2006, one year before Mr. Bonds’ final year and spring blood draws finally instituted in 2014. That fact that it’s taken so long to even get to this point in the fight (and window of opportunity still ajar) must go to the issue of wrongfulness on Bonds’ part.

Barry & Co. would add that he never tested positive for steroids. But that’s not the hand he really wants to play. When you and your union (MLBPA) stave off for decades the best method to detect illicit drug use, i.e., timely blood draws, a player crowing that he never tested positive is a poor defense, indeed.

Martha Knows

But employing the complacency defense would of course require Barry come clean, admit to a knowing, intentional use of PEDs. Words toxic to his psyche.

Everyone already believes he juiced. The grotesque ballooning of his head alone is pretty persuasive sign. Now, he’s just seen by most as a stubborn, somewhat frightened man. Life can be scary, oh, boy, can it, but choosing the truth can help.

“One brave thing.”

That’s what Joseph Cotton (“Holly”) opted for as events came to a head in the great film, The Third Man (’49) set in post-war Vienna.

It might invite the feds back into his life stemming from the BALCO matter (2003-15) if not precluded by double jeopardy. His lawyers would give him the skinny on how the feds might proceed.

.....Stewart.wc.thm.D.Shankbone.9.21.9I’m not one but I can’t imagine such a show of courage would be met with anything less than a forward-thinking response by prosecutors (those that bungled the case), something to maintain perjury precedent and negotiate agreements on fines and maybe even a brief jail stay. Barry could do that standing on his head, even today’s smaller version.

Consider billionairess Martha Stewart. Today the Super Chef is groovin.’ She’s in a better place now than before she landed in the clink.

Coming clean would sway the court of public opinion, cloak Barry in garb of leadership and grant him bully-pulpit to argue for more stringent PED-prevention. Big dog Bonds could become a bridge between former users and guardians of the game in discussing a solution to how exactly baseball’s Elias record book might be revised.

What I fear is that younger voters who will soon be majority block of BBWAA, an age that watched in awe as Barry piled-up MVPs and they filled-up boxes of memorabilia, elect him before a progressive catharsis could ever take place.

In 2016 Bonds received roughly 44% of votes (75%), up considerably from the 35% he’d been receiving his first 3-years of eligibility. Barry and Roger Clemens both (45%) are now well positioned for future gains though they could just as easily get mired in the 40s.

Winning election to the Hall of Fame, however, will change little for Barry.

....Bonds.8.25.06.thm.K.Rushforth.wcWithout a doubt, taking up residence in Cooperstown validates one’s career and all appurtenant to it, i.e., titles, awards and records, like a wave from the magic wand of wonderful. Ting! Barry, however, he’s a special case.

The distrust that his name inspires among most fans, sustained by his aloofness which includes his failure to admit an apparent PED protocol, will keep that dark cloud stationary over head and probably Cooperstown as well if elected. And though he has his supporters, their children aren’t likely to carry Dad’s passion forward: Do the different is how it usually works in generational ways.

Coming clean presents a great opportunity for Bonds.

Yes, it’s an outrageous act that comes with risks, some dread. Great acts don’t come easy nor their results cheap. But when you admit to something most already believe to be true the effect can be cleansing, open up avenues to progress & pride that living the lie will never do, even with a bronze plaque.

Public ridicule, even hatred would intensify for a time, giving fodder to trogs who think through their digestive tracts. You prepare for that. In time, truth and the courage it took to express it become a bastion for baseball fans and the brave.

“A rose is rose is a rose”

And Barry best beware of those who’d dissuade by comparison to Rose’s mea culpas that won him no new fans nor a lift of his lifetime ban.

Firstly, most of us aren’t really sure Pete’s come completely clean anyway, and then don’t really care to know anymore.

....Rose.K.Junstorm.1.11.08.thm.LV.wcSecond, while druggies cheat the game like gamblers and both make themselves subject to blackmail by associates, the motives can be quite different. Roid-heads at least seek to enhance their play, win the game. Gamblers on the other hand, they use the game, sometimes in loss, to fuel their real motive, the chance habit.

Besides that, Rose violated a code well known since Black Sox (1920), entered a contract (‘89), waited too long to make public admission and even then left doubt as to veracity when he finally did, i.e., maybe playing to lose.

A concern for Barry comes from the same supporters who may soon elect him to the Hall. They might advise against any revelation of wrong-doing. Barry’s likely lie is their lie, too. Overnight they’d turn his harshest critics. Officially establish PED use through admission and Bonds’ collectible stock drops like a rock.

Giambi and McGwire came clean though Mark passed on his initial opportunity, coining one of the queerest quips ever uttered in testimony before Congress: “I’m not here to talk about the past (‘05).” ¡Ay, caramba! But in 2010, likely at urging of Cardinals’ brass, Big Mac confessed to using steriods in his MLB career though he took shelter in the now all too common recovery-from-injury excuse rather than performance boost.

Then there’s Canseco, Mark’s brother-in-bash during their salad days as A’s.

....Canseco.wc.5.14.11.B.Horowitz.thm.WorJose’s opted for cartoon figure, afraid to embrace his iconic status as a game-changing whistleblower. Some in his profession call him a rat. Like Count Dracula, cheats hate the light of day. The revelations (claims) made in his book “Juiced (‘05)” slapped us wise on the rampant use of PEDs in MLB and gave impetus to the on-going reclamation project with no end in sight.

But Barry’s the big dog. He holds, by hook, crook or natural talent, records and MVPs. His admission, full and heart-felt, would carry weight in the war on drugs.

That shouldn’t, however, punch his ticket to immortality (HoF).

MLB banned steroids in 1991. The honor-system (test-free), but a rule is a rule and PEDs do enhance production, substantially. That makes his marks unlikely the stuff of Ruth, Mays, Mathewson and Roberto.

A solution might be a separate wing for PED’ers, proven and suspected. A stigma would attach, a neo-segregation, of sorts, this one integrity-based. But it would offer a much needed compromise to a festering problem we all helped forge that works a black mark on our era that we must accept, must embrace: Recognize achievements but chances forgone and a cowardly greed that tarnished our time.

Bonds & Clemens side would say they never failed / tested positive for PEDs nor can be tied to reliable evidence of having engaged in doping behavior. And that statement could be compromised with credible information.

While both did as federal defendants essentially prevail in their trials, evidence did come to light that could lead a neutral-minded person to form the reasonable belief that both men did engage in the use of PEDs during their careers.

....Clemens.wc.thm.K.Allison.6.27.07Brian McNamee had been a personal trainer to Roger and did give what could be deemed compelling testimony and provided physical exhibits (syringe) he claimed to’ve used on Clemens, while federal prosecutors obtained BALCO files that included a set of linking documents on Bonds from November 2000. On one, Bonds’ name with a number that corresponded to the other containing the name “Barry B.” and positive test results for two anabolic steriods.

Bonds claims to have not knowingly taken PEDs.

You can choose to believe Barry but it’s not unreasonable to disbelieve, given his corresponding super surge in power numbers with the time feds claimed he was using enhancements, together with his BALCO association, known to’ve provided and administered the regimen. If it walks, quacks like a duck.

Even if you think neither baseball star can be tied to unethical supplementation when contemplating your imaginary ballot, strong suspicion can be sufficient to form a reasonable belief that both Bonds and Clemens cheated the game with PEDs based on their physical appearance and on-field performance patterns.

Your own standard of review need not conform to those required in a court venue where civil (C&C / PoE) or criminal (BRD) matters are adjudicated. Always Shepardize, so to speak, but no one’s liberty nor property are at issue when voting on a Cooperstown plaque.

Captain’s Courageous?

What is the best voting standard?

Informed, free of bias and prejudice, of course, and if a claim of wrong-doing may attach to a candidate, a standard analogous to that by which a magistrate would base issuance of a search warrant seems apropos: Reasonable suspicion.

As noted, MLBPA forestalled blood draws for years, the preferred method, only agreeing to a spring test in 2014. To argue on one hand ‘I never tested positive’ while on the other having collectively prevented yourself from being tested or only in the most cursory fashion (urine) during your career is a faulty premise.

...blood-test.wc.Vegasjon.9.11.14.thmHad a player been outspoken about instituting high-level or any testing in early days of PED signing (90s), that man should receive a consideration. But I don’t recall any such man having taken that stand (some White Sox in spring 2005 took a position, briefly (union)), certainly not Misters Bonds nor Clemens.

As it stands, Bonds the batter and Clemens the pitcher are symbols, PED sign-posts to two destinations: 1) Big boost in production, longevity & moolah ($), and 2) the state of disgrace if pulled over for violation or waving red flags.

A likely third destination for riders on the PED junket: Related health concerns in the immediate or future states such as a compromised immunity, candida and as serious as heart disease and stroke. The younger one begins, the greater the risk.

Enshrine Barry and Roger and the symbolism is destroyed.

Message to kids or anyone balancing risk vs gain on the PED call would tilt gain, given the financial rewards, MLB’s on-going promotion of power (HRD), pretty fair chance you won’t get busted with the window that remains open and that the ultimate accolade in Cooperstown can stay on the table.

Why then should Bonds come clean? Because it’s the right thing to do.

That reads kinda’ corny today. Bravery as cultural norm stopped being cool long ago. The lie is almost hip today. Fibs & fraud are hardly new, it’s been going on since we were fishes? How does a fish lie? Flat in the pan but that’s not the issue (♫ da-boom chh! ♫). Difference today is lies are done with impunity, obviousness, almost a taunt.

...Gandhi.wc.thm.pre1942In coming clean Barry would find tremendous satisfaction he’d never regret. It could also aid his health, everyone’s, as truth-telling is a stress reducing and a major contributor to maladies of the heart (See; “The Sinatra Solution: Metabolic Cardiology,” Basic Health Pub., 2007). Over time his favorability rating would rise.

Remember what Gandhi said: “Even if minority of one, the truth is the truth.” Substance does not need quantity. “The truth cannot be destroyed (O’Dea, Johnny Belinda (‘48)).” It can be hidden, Barryied from public eyes but it will always exist in some state, known by someone, somewhere.

Barry would keep his money and seasonal accolades (MVP) but forgo the Hall of Good ‘n Plenty and concede to a record book re-do. Sacred stuff, and numbers were never so big if somewhat suffocating (See; sabrmetrics (WAR, etc.)).

I don’t see either star finding the luminosity to shine bright. Self-denial is seen as ‘Un-American Activity’ in Consumer 2016. These guys grab with both hands.

“Greed is good.” America’s motto today. Trump is its face. Don has what McCain, even as hero, could never carry off: Maverickness. That can turn loose cannon. Clinton is sharp as a tack, doesn’t ruffle easy and will take at least 2 debates by her experience. She, however, is the face of appeasement. Strength’s a question. Both flag negatives like snow-belt springs pot-holes in March. We’re not doing well with Chiefs in DC these past 40 years. We are what we eat.

Roger and Barry will win election in the not too distant future. They’ll jump for joy and their rookie cards will rise in value. But over time they’ll fare worse in the court of public opinion, if that’s possible, drawing more resentment for arguably ‘getting away with it’ and helping tarnish the game’s sacrosanct Elias record book.

They’ve a great opportunity, a responsibility, in fact, as did Rose, being key cog in the Big Red Machine, arguably the best all-time. It’s in their hands.

Oh, where o’ where are the “Captain’s Courageous?”

...canned cornSteven Keys
Can o’ Corn
Photo credit: B.Bonds, 7.21.07, guano, wc.cca; Bonds, wc, J.Accordino, 1993; M.McGwire, wc, 6.29.11, K.Allison; Cooperston.Signs, wc, 7.26.08, O.Yamamoto; M.Stewart, wc, D.Shankbone, 9.21.9; Bonds, wc, 8.25.06, K.Rushforth; P.Rose, wc, 1.11.08, K.Junstorm, LV; J.Canseco, wc, 5.14.11, B.Horowitz, Worcester; R.Clemens, wc, 6.27.07, K.Allison; blood-test, wc, 9.11.14, Vegasjon; M.Gandhi, wc, pre1942; canned-corn.
Posted: 3.4.16 @ 12:27p, edit (title) 10.22.16 @ 2:28p ET; Copyright © 2016

NFL15 Cherry Picks W9: Wide-Open NFC

6 Nov

Arizona Rising

Wild & woolly, topsy & turvy: Adjectives to describe the National Football Conference this 2015 campaign. The American Conference has been a bit woolly itself (BAL, SD (2-6, ypg #1)), though, not quite as wild as it’s senior partner.

...NFC.wc.NFL.Enterprises.thmIt’s been a strange ride in the NFC these first eight weeks of play, taking fans on turns and down exits on nobody’s road-maps in last summer’s training camps. As things stand at Week 9, most playoff slots are wide open and Halas trophy up for grabs.

I count seven teams that’ve seriously underperformed: NYG, PHI, DAL, DET, CHI, NO & SEA. And of the five teams that’ve carved out what could be called decent records, only two, maybe, three inspire much confidence to get very far in the post-season, if past performance is any indicator.

Arizona Cardinals (6-2)

.....Arians.9.8.14.wc.thmb.FF.SwamiGets the top nod, winning W8 in Forest City against a sometimes spirited Browns team, 34-20, working a killer quarter (3Q 14-0) to break it open. Of their two losses, one was a nail-biter versus intra-rival Rams (22-24) who save their best for the best, the other a roadie in Steel City. Tough schedule ahead but best coach in the biz (Arians) who sweats bullets every time his savvy but knee-banged QB (Palmer) takes to field.

Green Bay Packers (6-1)

Best title for Green Bay Press-Gazette morning edition 11.2.15, that didn’t make press: ‘Clock Cleaned: Pack Falls Back in MT Time.’

Aaron Rodgers having a bad day (11-24, 77y, 0) is kinda’ like a bad Beatles song. Even so, it’s still The Beatles. And it’s still Rodgers, who may be the Best in Show.

The NFC front-runner got spanked by Broncos (29-10) who, even at 6-0, hadn’t made many converts. Sunday GB faces 7-0 Cats who did not want to face a chagrined Green Bay squad. If Pack don’t return from Carolina with a W, Mike best be careful when he “let(s) the dog out (See; Devine).” Serious about their football in Fox Valley, those murderous thugs in ‘74 were an ugly, extreme case of cruelty and stupidity. But let it run free, Mike (if you got a dog): Cam showcase, but Pack wins at Carolina.

Atlanta Falcons (6-2)

Lost in OT to divisional Bucs in W8 (20-23) and arch-rival Saints in the Big Easy (21-31). New guru Quinn has instilled a verve (#11 ypg / 13 ppg D) and Matt Ryan matriculates with the best, including favorite targets Jones and new run guy in 2y Freeman. Remaining slate so-so with next 3 critical stretch (SF-(b)-IND-MIN).

Carolina Panthers (7-0)

Last unbeaten in NFC, their South division is most competitive. No team they’ve beaten currently has winning record, but victims Seattle (27-23) brims with talent and Saints (4-4) gelling (27-22). Late slate a challenge with 4 of 6 on road. Camster-the-Hamster’s key on offense but posts 1-2 PS mark. Gulp.

.....Newton.9.28.14.wc.K.Allison.thmOn the one hand, watching Cam’s presser persona and a return to rabbit under pressure, does not show the emotional fortitude to put him in top class. On the other hand, can’t say he’s had sufficient weapons on offense or a dynamic coaching set, either, both which weigh on the first hand.

The stage is set. It’s all there for Carolina franchise this Sunday. Cats have had bigger games (SB38) but this one could set tone for next 10y. Too bad it’s against a ticked-off GB squad rolling into Charlotte, though, that’s the big test they need. Pack have had trouble in past versus run-QB (See; Kaep (x2)), would be mistake for RR to play on that past. Pack will win but if it’s close, a poised Newton can start step-up in class.

Minnesota Vikings (5-2)

Surprise riser in NFC, the D took a turn upward as expected with Zimmer’s arrival (papg #2 / yapg 7), a DC in Cincy (‘08-13), ATL (‘07) and Big D (‘00-06). It’s offense that’s been [?] in Land of 10,000, ever since departure of Favre (‘10) who made his MIN mark in short order. Soph QB Bridgewater is pocket poised (64.5) but drives too cautiously on the learning curve (6t-5i) while ‘All Day’ keeps churning out yards.

Hit the Ground Running

The SAS’y one on Disney sport network (ESPN) is driving hard to the hoop for Cam Newton to take the coveted MVP prize.

Andy Dalton, who led nifty comeback in Pittsburgh (11.1) and played a blinder against division rival Cleveland on TNF (31-10, 21-27, 3td) is gaining votes, while the almost always terrific Aaron Rodgers took a step back at Mile High.

And still Tom ‘Terrific’ Brady (7-0) looks the MVP favorite at midway.

.....Gurley.wc.11.30.13.Thomson200.thmBut a new, unexpected name has emerged in the race for accolade: 2014 1st-Rd (#10) rookie running back Todd Gurley of the St. Louis (stb, LA) Rams.

The numbers on TG? Suffice to write, they’re big (See; PFR.com).

Even though Gurley’s success has come largely against defenses in the lower tier (yapg: CVD (30), SF (28), GB (23), PIT (20)..AZ (4 (146y))), it’s crystal clear this man can motor in the pros. So impressive it’s hard to keep him out of early MVP muse, even with the opening injury bye in missing games 1 & 2. But maybe that strengthens his case: Impactful.

Barring the unexpected, it’s Brady’s trophy to win, with Dalton, Rodgers & Newton ready to grab it if Tom loses his grip, but if Todd keeps this up, that ROY trophy just won’t seem big enough

Good Spot

Kansas City Chiefs (3-5)

On brink of pseudo-elimination, KC played a blinder at London’s Wembley in W8 action, crushing the toothless Lions, 45-10, inching closer to respectability in a Conference with still plenty of opportunity for post-season slotting.

Oakland Raiders (4-3)

“Just Win (Enough to build on), Baby!”

....Carr.D.9.27.15.wc.E.Drost.thmPollyanna take: Draft calls finally pay dividends, Derek Carr is maturing (15t-3i) in a pocket that’s coalescing (8sk) and defense is holding most leads.

Pragmatic view: If there was a season to blossom, 2015 is it. When NFL std-bearer New England does well, the “whole world smiles.” Add in perennials like Denver, GB, Cincy (regular) and regional reps in AZ and Carolina and things A-okay. But quick glance at the standings and it’s easy to see, quality of competition in the pro circuit is way down, which opens the door for that franchise on the cusp of turning the corner, who possess a sound game-plan and can avoid the injury bug. That could be the Raiders, and Rams & Vikes, too. Time tells.

Brady Quinn

The former Notre Dame – NFL (‘07-13) quarterback chimed in on the injury bug this season, some feeling it higher rate than normal (not my sense). Quinn believes the illicit use of “HGH (PEDs),” banned under the CBA and subject of rather ineffectual, random blood testing, may be the cause.

Not qualified to address injury-PED relationship myself, what is widely known fact is that the use of performance enhancing drugs is detrimental to human health, that the NFL/PA drug test policy is insufficient, affording ample opportunity for players to skirt rules to cheat the game and that union Executive Director DeMaurice Smith is not best man for the job.

Bad Spot

Jim Caldwell: Pink-slip processing

The house-cleaning in Detroit began in earnest at mid-mark. No surprise there.

With the Lions record standing at 1-7 after going 11-5 in 2014, both GM Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand were dismissed on Thursday.

....Caldwell.wc.9.19.10.Sgt.JL.Small.thmBut half-measures, i.e., ousting Mayhew – Lewand, retaining Caldwell, often fail to turn the tide (See; Breaking Bad). Having written that, with Lions playoff chances nearly nil, even in wide-open NFC15, the remainder is now a rebuilding – salvage project, not so much in player personnel but strategy & psyche, making Caldwell’s retention somewhat prudent, if not very bold. For while Jim compiled a nifty 11-5 in ’14 and a couple dbl-digit runs with Colts (SB44), the fall in Detroit has been so pronounced, it may be too steep a climb back up with him in the lead.

Caldwell will get a couple, maybe three games to get the ship back on course.

Chuck Pagano & Company

Pooh-pooh those who decided to bench Matt Hasselbeck (2-0) when Luck got A-OK from MDs to return from injury. Don’t mess with mojo. It’s a sport thing.

Seattle Seahawks (4-4): Boom to Bump

Hawks escaped Dallas with a razor-thin victory Sunday evening (13-12) but most apparent to this viewer was that Seattle’s defense is…different. Not exactly boom to bust but no longer the formidable force it was the past three seasons.

Had Cowboys not shot themselves in the foot in their opening 2H drive, one that was matriculating with surprising ease and looked set to take the lead (10-6) but stymied by a motion penalty, two batted balls at line of scrimmage and settled for a field-goal, Seattle’s season might be on the brink and Dallas’ salvaged.

Curious Quote

Packers‘ coach, Mike McCarthy: “That’s a humbling loss (@ DEN, 29-10). I haven’t had my ass kicked like that in a long time (NFL Network / 11.2).”

..cherries.Hispalois.Spain.wc.cc.thmb

Cherry Picks Week 9

Pack (6-1) @ CAR (7-0): 11.8 Fox 1:00 (GTW): GB wins
Redskins (3-4) @ New England (7-0): Fox 1:00: Pats win
Dolphins (3-4) @ Buffalo (3-4): CBS 1:00: Miami wins
Rams (4-3) @ MIN (5-2): Fox 1:00 (GTW2): STL wins
Jaguars (2-5) @ New York (4-3): CBS 1:00: Jets win
OAK (4-3) @ Steelers (4-3): CBS 1:00: Pittsburgh wins
Giants (4-3) @ Tampa (3-4): Fox 4:05: Buccaneers win
Falcons (6-2) @ San Francisco (2-6): Fox 4:05: ATL wins
Broncos (7-0) @ Indianapolis (3-5): CBS 4:25: Colts win
Eagles (3-4) @ Dallas (2-5): NBC 8:30: Cowboys win
Chicago (2-5) @ Chargers (2-6): 11.9 ESPN 8:30: SD wins

Record: 37 – 38

...NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: NFC, wc.cca, NFL-Enterprises.LLC; B.Arians, wc, 9.8.14, FF-Swami; C.Newton, wc, 9.28.14, K.Allison; T.Gurley, wc, 11.30.13, Thomson200; D.Carr, wc, 9.27.13, E.Drost; J.Caldwell, 9.19.10, wc, Sgt-JL.Small; cherries, Hispalois, Spain, wc, 7.2.12; NFL-symbol, wikiproject.
Posted: 11.6.15 @ 2:38pm; 2.7.16 edit (pic); Copyright © 2015