The Occasional Tendown September 16-29 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dear Internet:

By "low income" that means, for a family of four, $26,400 a year.  Just so we're clear.

Tax Policy Center Graphic

And by "47%" what we're really discussing is 18.1% of Americans not getting a tax deducted from their bi-weekly paycheck, just so we're more clear.

There's also sales tax and a tax on gasoline.  Not demonstrated by either chart.  Because clarity is important.

My favorite part of the Romney 47% soliloquy, well, there were two - there was the suggestion that he'd have a better chance to be President if he were Mexican, because some nice, gentle racism among millionaires is always fun - but my favorite part was the characterization that the 47% of Americans who don't pay federal income tax lack personal responsibility.

It's less that he shined a light on his own worldview; Romney pretty clearly takes whatever position is likely to curry favor with the audience to whom he's speaking, but it does give the temperature of the room.  Romney, with a net worth of hundreds of millions of dollars, pays a lower rate of income tax than I do (my income approximates the amount those millionaires paid per plate to hear that Romney speech) and they all comfortably sat like the Congress of Vienna discussing how poor people (and I guess the elderly?) lack personal responsibility.

There's a disgusting show on the Food Network called Restaurant Stakeout, the premise of which is that the reason restaurants fail is busboys spend too much time on their smartphones.  The bellicose host constantly uses military language to discuss the way a restaurant staff should perform their duties, and when sub minimum wage workers don't view knowledge of some crappy strip mall menu as their most important responsibility, he'll snidely say "there's the American work force for you."

That's Romney in that room - except for that room, that busboy is half of the electorate.  What's the problem with the economy - all those lazy people just looking for a handout and wanting their handout giving President to dole it out.  That's the core belief.

And it doesn't matter that:

The average annual earnings of the top 1 percent of wage earners grew 156 percent from 1979 to 2007; for the top 0.1 percent they grew 362 percent (Mishel, Bivens, Gould, and Shierholz 2012). In contrast, earners in the 90th to 95th percentiles had wage growth of 34 percent, less than a tenth as much as those in the top 0.1 percent tier. Workers in the bottom 90 percent had the weakest wage growth, at 17 percent from 1979 to 2007.

And it doesn't matter that.

From 1978 to 2011, CEO compensation increased more than 725 percent, a rise substantially greater than stock market growth and the painfully slow 5.7 percent growth in worker compensation over the same period.

We work harder for less; it does not stop, it does not lessen, our lack of income growth hidden by access to credit - and by tax breaks - and like cartoon villains these evil sons of bitches sit and chuckle about our lack of personal responsibility over $50,000/plate dinners at the Boca Raton home of a private equity manager at whose Bridgehampton estate:

guests cavorted nude in the pool and performed sex acts, scantily dressed Russians danced on platforms and men twirled lit torches to a booming techno beat. 

Romney's not going to win, but the idea that enough of us buy that plutocratic rap that our economic lives are fundamentally dictated by handouts below and not that 725% growth in compensation above is gobsmackingly discouraging.

Tendown 140 is here. This is Tendown 141.

1. The Goddamn Plutocrats

One last thought on the Romney video - consider this piece.

If Romney and their ilk want to know why the rich bear such a large share of the nation's income tax burden to pay for "big government" these days, they should look at how they influenced big government precisely to serve their interests to concentrate wealth and income in ever fewer hands, to downgrade the middle and working classes, and to expand the ranks of the poor. As the rich never admit, they aren't really anti-government. They are for big government that serves elite interests and punishes the rest. When their so-called free market medicine – replete with giant doses of corporate welfare (the Pentagon System is a leading example) – impoverishes the rest of us (and enriches the few) so much that we rely on them like never before for the revenue to keep government running, they mock us for thinking (in accord with the quaintly idealistic Universal Declaration of Human Rights) that we are "entitled" to food, shelter, health care, clothing, and economic and social security We are instructed to stop our "dysfunctional" thinking about "Who Moved My Cheese,"[13] take a whiff of tough-love self-help smeller salts, and scurry on to sniff out new opportunities that don't actually exist under the rule of the nation's unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money and empire: "Take 'personal responsibility' for your fate in this world we made for you, or starve and die, you bothersome little mice-people![14] You have no right to government assistance – that is reserved for the rich and powerful, like everything else." It's a curious command from those who have become ever filthier rich thanks in great part to big government's role in serving and protecting the already well-off.

2. Meanwhile, in South Florida

When I can, I like to bring you some local stories that are almost certainly never going to get national attention, but are representative of a larger issue.

I personally know two people who were fired so that their employers could avoid contributing to their health insurance.  When you tie in health care to your work, not only does it give your employer the ability to treat you badly with the understanding that they control your access to doctors (this has happened to me) but if you use too much medical care, they can just let you go under another pretext.

Consider this story.

Told his kidneys were barely working, Martin Cupid had one thought: He wanted to keep his job.
Rather than spend his days tethered to a dialysis machine, the Boynton Beach man found a doctor who recommended a treatment that allows Cupid to cleanse his system himself. Committed to finding a more permanent solution, he applied to the Shands Transplant Center at the University of Florida, hoping to be put on a waiting list to receive a new kidney.
When Cupid told his bosses at the Sysco Corp. he had been approved for a transplant, they congratulated him. Three days later, however, they told him to clean out his desk — his job as night manager at the food distribution giant’s Riviera Beach plant was being eliminated.
“It was unbelievable,” the 32-year-old father of three said Monday. “After working there 10 years and giving so much. It was shocking.”

3. And now a few words from our Friends at Fox
Since last we spoke, something called "talk like a pirate day" occurred.

Yeah, I missed it too.  But the White House didn't, and they tweeted out a three year old picture of Obama with one of his speechwriters, dressed like a pirate.
Fox & Friends Falsely Accuses Obama of Snubbing Israeli Prime Minister to Meet with Man Dressed Like a Pirate

But, of course, here's what Fox "reported":

Fox & Friends, not known for being very thorough in their vetting of content, asserted that the photo was snapped yesterday, and, likely taking its cue from Drudge, claimed Obama preferred to meet with the pirate than with Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Thanks, Fox. You never disappoint.

4. Would You Like to Read an Oral History of Cheers?

Because you can.

5. The 67 Worst Sports Twitter Accounts

As accumulated by Deadspin.

14. Spencer Hawes (@spencerhawes00), Philadelphia 76ers center
Man who is rich because he won the genetic lottery is concerned about socialism ruining his country.

6. Sarah Silverman Fights Voter Suppression.
Which you can watch here.

7. Here's What Big Government Looks Like
A judge tells you to remove a Facebook comment - you refuse - you get locked up for contempt.

8. I Watch Graps
I've totally cleared my hard drive of the wrestling - here are the four star+ matches I've seen since last we spoke.

Punk v. Cena Sept WWE 4
Tanahashi v. Makabe July NJPW 4 1/4
Kotaro/Aoki v. Marvin/Crazy July NOAH 4 1/4
Generico v. Del Sol Sept Evolve 4

And the two best:
Morishima v. Go July NOAH 4 1/2
Ibushi v. Omega Aug DDT 5 - the current best match of 2012

9. Your 2012 NL West Champs

I guess this means a playoff preview will be coming up this week.

10. So, How Was Your Week?
Mine wasn't bad.

I turned 42 on Tuesday; I don't know how many 42 year old men you know who are both straight and never married.  But it's one fewer than you thought a half dozen words ago.

I got married on my birthday.

There have been worse years to be me; I got a job that allows me to stay home at a salary increase from my previous position - and, as anyone who has seen my bride (first time I've written that) would profess, I've significantly outkicked my coverage with this relationship.

I feel a level of fortunate that I can't express.

All that and playoff baseball.  Everything's comin' up Milhouse.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time...if there is a next time...

Your pal,


Athlete of the Month - September, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

August and each monthly winner from 2012 is here.

Andy Murray.  Runners-up: Serena Williams, Miguel Cabrera, Geno Smith

9 months down - 3 to go in the race for 2012 Athlete of the Year.

The 97 Best Matches in WWE/WWF History Part One

Friday, September 28, 2012

I've been watching WWF/E since Snuka came off the top of the cage; I've been watching since before I understood better wrestling existed, sort of like eating at McDonalds before you knew there better burgers.

I still eat the occasional quarter pounder and I've never stopped watching (and complaining) about WWF.  But occasionally, occasionally, an exceptional match makes it past quality control and I gobble it up.

These aren't necessary the most important matches, the most famous matches, or the matches the featured the biggest stars (although some are).  This is strictly a qualitative assessment from someone who has seen every significant WWF/E match of the PPV era.

The matches that just miss (every 4 1/4 star match in promotion history which isn't on the list proper) are first.

97. 2018 NXT Jan   Cole v. Black 4 1/4
96. 2017 UK Tournament Jan  Bate v. Dunne 4 1/4
95. 2006 Judgment Day  Benoit d. Fit 4 ¼
94. 2015 Feb NXT Owens v. Zayn 4 1/4
93. 2014 RAW August Rollins d. Ambrose 4 ¼
92. 2014 Payback Cena d. Wyatt 4 ¼ 
91. 2013 Feb RAW: Cena d. Punk 4 ¼

90. 1997 Ground Zero HBK draw Undertaker 4 ¼ 
89. 2013 Money In the Bank: Sandow d. Barrett/Cody/Ambrose/Fandango/Swagger/Cesaro 4  1/4
88. 2011 Elimination Chamber: Edge d. Rey/Kane/Drew/Show/Barrett 4 1/4
87. 1995 IYH2  HBK d. Jeff Jarrett 4 ¼ 
86. Nov 1994   Harts v Steiners 4 ¼
85. July 1992 Bret v. Shawn 4 ¼
84. Summer Slam 2011 World Title No Holds Barred: Christian d. Randy Orton 4 ¼
83. 2004 No Way Out Eddie Guerrero v. Brock 4 ¼
82. 2013 Elimination Chamber: Swagger d. Orton/Bryan/Jericho/Henry/Kane 4 1/4
81. 2014 NXT December Zayn d. Neville 4 ¼ 

80. 2015 RAW July Cena d. Cesaro 4 1/4 
79. 2016 Royal Rumble Dean Ambrose v. Kevin Owens 4 1/4
78. 2016 Backlash Dean Ambrose v. AJ Styles 4 1/4
77. 2013 Summer Slam Daniel Bryan v. John Cena 4 1/4
76. Summer Slam  (8/’09) CM Punk d. Jeff Hardy (TLC) (21:30)4 ¼
75. 2016 CWC (8/'16) Kota Ibushi v. TJ Perkins 4 1/4
74. NXT (11/'16) Samoa Joe d. Shinsuke Nakamura (22 min) 4 1/4
73.Smackdown (9/’03) Brock Lesnar d. Kurt Angle (Iron Man)(60 min)4 ¼
72. Elimination Chamber (2/'17) Bray d. AJ/Cena/Miz/Ambrose/Corbin 34:30 4 1/4
71. NXT (4/'17) AoP d. Revival/DIY 23:30 4 1/4

70. IYH 22: Over the Edge (5/’98) Steve Austin d. Dude Love (Falls Count Anywhere)(22:30) 4 ¼
69.KOTR (6/’98): Undertaker d. Mankind (Hell in the Cell) (17 min)4 ¼
68.KOTR (6/’01) Kurt Angle d. Shane McMahon (Street Fight)(26 min)4 ¼ 
67. Payback (6/'14) John Cena d. Bray Wyatt (Falls Count Anywhere) (24 min) 4 1/4
66.   SSeries: (11/’92) Bret Hart d. Shawn Michaels (26 min) 4 ¼
65. RAW (6/’01) Kurt Angle d. Chris Benoit  (Cage) (14:30)4 ¼
64.    Smackdown (5/’01)Steve Austin d. Chris Benoit (19:30)4 ¼
63.    In Your House 13: Final Four (2/’97) Bret Hart d. Steve Austin/Undertaker/Vader (24 min)4 1/48
62.     No Mercy (10/’08)Chris Jericho d. Shawn Michaels (22 min) (Ladder)4 ¼
61.  WM VIII. (4/’92) Randy Savage d. Ric Flair (18min)4 ¼

60.     Summer Slam (8/’91): Bret Hart d. Mr. Perfect (18 min)4 ¼
59. SummerSlam (8/'17) Universal Title: Brock Lesnar d. Samoa Joe/Roman Reigns/Braun Strowman (21 min) 
58. MITB: (6/'17) Corbin v. Zayn v. Owens v. Styles v. Nakamura v. Ziggler (MITB) (30 min) 4 1/4
57. 205 Live: Strong v. Itami (17 min) 4 1/4
56. Tables, Ladders, Chairs (12/'15) New Day d. Usos/Lucha Dragons (TLC) (17:30) 4 1/4 
55. HIAC (10/'17) Usos d. New Day (HIAC) (22 min) 4 1/4 stars
54. War Games (11/'17) O'Reilly/Cole/Fish v. AoP/Strong v. Sanity (NXT) (36:30)
53.   Canadian Stampede: (7/’97) Owen Hart/Bret Hart/Brian Pillman/Davey Boy Smith/Jim Neidhart d.Steve Austin/Goldust/LOD/Ken Shamrock   (24:30)    4 ¼ 
52. Survivor Series (11/'17) Brock Lesnar v. AJ Styles (15:30) 4 1/4 stars
51. Cruiserweight Classic: (8/'16) Kota Ibushi d. Brian Kendrick (14 min) 4 1/4

The 50 best matches in WWF/E history are next #50-26

50. NXT R Evolution (12/'14) Sami Zayn d. Adrian Neville) (23:30) 4 1/4
The first of two NXT matches from 2014 to make the list of the greatest matches in the history of the promotion; Zayn and Neville bring just enough of their independent style to Triple H's developmental arm of WWE; here, Zayn wins the NXT belt and is then taken out by his longtime indie partner, Kevin Steen (now Owens, making his NXT debut).

49. Extreme Rules (5/'16) IC: Miz d. Cesaro/Owens/Zayn (18:30) 4 1/4
One of the places WWE managed to find itself in 2016 was with the storyline flexibility to incorporate an independent program (the breakingup of the great tag team Steen/Generico) into their own narrative. Here, despite new names and the loss of Generico's entire identity, they're still able to utilize their backstory and make it central to this match; one in which all of the multi-person spots came off without hitch.

48. Cruiserweight Classic (8/'16) Gran Metalik d. Akira Tozawa (16 min) 4 1/4
Take Mascara Dorada, one of the best luchadores in the 2010s - add him to one of the best Japanese workers of that same time period, and you get an all time great WWE match. 

47. Battleground (7//'16) Sami Zayn v. Kevin Owens (18:30) 4 1/4
The seeming blowoff to a decade plus long storyline spanning multiple promotions, Sami Zayn overcoming his partner turned heel rival Owens with some indie level work in a shiny WWE bottle.

46. NXT (12/'17) Pete Dunne v. Tyler Bate (22 min)
-It had no stakes witin the broader architecture of WWE programming - but these young UK wrestlers tore it down again on an end of the year NXT show.

45. Summerslam (8/'16) AJ Styles v. John Cena (23 min) 4 1/4
-AJ Styles couldn't get much interest in WWE despite years of great TNA work, but a couple of runs with the IWGP title belt bought him a contract in 2016; this was the blowoff to a good program with Cena, who appeared to be at the end of his full time commitment to the promotion.

44. Royal Rumble (1/'17) AJ Styles v. John Cena (24 min) 4 1/4
-Best comparison to the Styles/Cena Summer Slam match is the Styles/Cena Rumble match; this was Cena's 16th title win.

 43  Smackdown (5/’01) Chris Benoit/ Chris Jericho d. Edge/Christian/Dudleys/Hardys (TLC)(21 min)4 ¼
 Benoit got taken to the back but did the superhero  return to win the match.  If I'm in the WWE writing room when they decide to push Danielson as a legit serious babyface, that's how I pitch they do it. This was the best free TV match in WWF history to that date.  

42. SummerSlam (8'13) Brock Lesnar d. CM Punk (25 min) 4 1/4 
How much sense does this make in, say, 2007 - Lesnar and Punk, in a feud the central point of which was Paul Heyman, will be the best WWE match of 2013.   But it was true; the Paul Heyman Guys went out it in what was not just the best match of Brock's run, to date - it was the best match of his life.  That it was against Punk, who also got the best match of John Cena's life, is probably not a coincidence.  

41. Cruiserweight Classic (8/16) Kota Ibushi d. Cedric Alexander (15 min) 4 1/4
In 2016, Kota Ibushi was in a pure sports based juniors tournament in WWE in which Bryan Danielson was an announcer.  If that sounds totally normal to you, the future of WWE is a very different place than its past.

40. UK Championship (5/'17) Tyler Bate v. Mark Andrews (22:30) 4 1/4
Part of WWE's attempt to turn the rest of the world into a territory system involved gobbling up young European talent, that turned into a UK tournament which, in 2017, led to the winner of that tournament, Bate, defending against Andrews in a helluva match.  

39. 205 Live (5/'18) Cedric Alexander d. Buddy Murphy (20 min) 4 1/4 
WWF juniors rarely were able to utilize the full range of their talents, but when they did, this type of 4 1/4 match was a frequent result.

38.       WM 16(4/’00) Edge/Christian d. Hardy Boys d. Dudley Boys (Ladder) (22:30)4 ¼
They didn't call this a TLC match, but that's what it was - WWF went headfirst into an era of high octane collision matches at WM16.  I tend to cut the Hardys a ton more slack than do workrate minded wrestling fans, feeling as if they gave their bodies for a handful of all time classic matches.  If Matt's hooked on painkillers and Jeff's got an intent to distribute charge lingering, they should be able to play the tapes of a half dozen collision matches and skate at least for another decade or so.  

37.      Royal Rumble (1/’01): Chris Jericho d. Chris Benoit (Ladder (18:30)4 ¼  
I can still picture Benoit suplexing Jericho out of the ring.  I'm not any more amenable to the notion that one can't appreciate Benoit's work because of what he did outside the ring than I would be that Ty Cobb shouldn't be considered when talking about the greatest baseball players ever.  But - if say, you can't think about Junior Seau today without the degree to which concussions impacted his decision to kill himself, I'd understand seeing Jericho nail Benoit with the midair chairshot during his tope suicida and not being able to get past how much brain atrophy was revealed in the autopsy.  

36.       No Way Out (2/’00) HHH d. Cactus Jack (Hell in the Cell)(24 min) 4 ¼
You'd think Hunter would be a little more grateful to Foley as Mick gave the end of his full time career in order to give Triple H some credibility.  In a terrific angle, Foley was able to get you to believe that Cactus Jack was really a different guy than his other two gimmicks, and bringing him out of mothballs would mean a higher level of match.  And he was right.  This was the rematch, what was sold as Foley's retirement match, and the second best Cell match ever.

35.      Royal Rumble: (1/’00) HHH d. Cactus Jack (Street Fight) (27 min)4 ¼
And this was the first match; we near the halfway point of the countdown of the greatest WWF matches of all time - two pedigrees finished off Cactus in front of a superhot MSG crowd.  Foley made Hunter in this program the same way he'd make Orton four years later.  

34.      Armageddon (12/’06): Paul London/Brian Kendrick d. Hardys d. MNM d. Steve Regal/David Taylor (20 min)(Ladder)4 ½
-Everything came together in exactly the right way in this match (Joey Mercury's face may take issue with that characterization). It's the Hardys last ever great match as a team; it's London/Kendrick getting to show on PPV what had previously been limited to Velocity or Jakkkkkkked or whatever show WWE was throwing away at the time; and it was Steve Regal, one of the most skilled professional wrestlers who ever lived, bringing the mean.  It would be five years before there was a better WWE match.   

33. NXT (11/'16) DIY d. Revival (22 min, 2 of 3 falls) 4 1/2 
-At this point, NXT has established itself as having historically great big matches; most of them, however, have featured tremendous wrestlers who, in this time of WWE hegemony, made their way to NXT and wrestled in (generally somewhat lesser) versions of their previously great matches.  The Revival are WWE homegrown products, Dash and Dawson, doing an Anderson/Blanchard no frills gimmick; Gargano and Ciampa come from the independent ranks, but unlike, say Zayn or Cesaro or Nakamura, they have never been perceived as among the very most elite workers in the world. This match did a near perfect job incorporating more modern stuff with the Revival's well done old school approach.

32.      No Mercy (10/’99)Hardys d. Edge/Christian (Ladder) (16:30)4 ½
-If Armageddon was the last great WWF/E tag collision match; the Finals of Teri Runnels invitational was the first.  Spotfest is generally used as an epithet; not for me.  When I hear a worker or an analyst say something like "they need to learn to do less, to slow it down to make it mean more" what I hear is "stop working so hard, you're making the guys at the top of the card look bad." The trickle down theory that wrestling promotions follow offends my egalitarian sensibility.  And I like to see guys fall off ladders.  

31. NXT (5/'17) Pete Dunne d. Tyler Bate (15:30) 4 1/2
At the time of this writing the two best WWE matches of 2017 took place within the span of a week and both featured Pete Dunne, this was the second one, a real corker with both stiff work and terrific aerial spots.  I've got it as the third best NXT match to that date.  

30.      Over the Limit (5/’12) CM Punk d. Daniel Bryan (24 min)4 ½
The best WWE match in 2012 as of this writing wasn't at Wrestlemania; it was these two independent veterans going 24 minutes in May.  If you read part I of this list, you may have seen my appending my 80 best matches in Ring of Honor history.  All 80 are 4 1/2 and up; Bryan Danielson wrestled in 24 of those 80 matches, including three 5 star matches. He has put up a body of work as impressive as any American wrestler in history.  I hope he achieves the level of status in WWE that his abilities deserve, but it doesn't matter -anytime you have the opportunity to watch a 20 minute Daniel Bryan match, even if its booked from Full Sail University, you need to make it a point to take it.  

29.Backlash: (4/’04): Chris Benoit d. HHH/HBK (30min)4 1/2

-It's Shawn Michaels submitting to Chris Benoit in a title match in Edmonton.  That actually happened. The Earl Warren Supreme Court had a demonstratively progressive bent; for a couple of decades in the middle of the 20th century the Court was an apparatus of the federal government that worked on behalf of those Americans who were marginalized by the combination of governmental structural and private power.  But that's an aberration - if you look at the totality of Supreme Court history you are left with the clear conclusion that it has by and large been an instrument used to protect and expand that power.  The Warren snapshot is not reflective of the broader panorama.  I recognize comparing the Warren Court to early 2000s WWF is cliche, but if you watched this match and thought this was a company clearly based on workrate, you would have been in for a hella surprise when John Cena handed down the Citizens United decision.

28. No Mercy [10/’02] Chris Benoit/Kurt Angle d. Rey Mysterio/Edge (22min)4 ½

-This would have been the equivalent of say, Escobedo v. Illinois; not as well known by laypeople as Miranda but a critical piece of the period (that's probably as far as I'll extend the metaphor, but if you get to the top 10 of this list and I talk about the double turn from In Re Gault try not to hold it against me). This was the finals for a tag tournament; Angle gets Edge to tap in play off their hair v. hair finish for those of you who have forgotten that Kurt used to be non-bald.  

27.      Money in the Bank: (7/’11)CM Punk d. John Cena (33 min)4 ½
The doctrinal divide between wrestling as sport/wrestling as entertainment took a turn in the past few years as there developed body of opinion that bad is the new good. Meaning, it used to be that the lines were clearly drawn - sure, maybe you liked Hulk Hogan, but you didn't confuse his matches with workrate. McDonalds has billions served,  but no one suggests they deserve a boatload of Michelin stars.

John Cena has now won Meltzer's Wrestler of the Year award which is supposed to combine box office and work ability; and there has developed a body of opinion around his matches (and Hunter, and Undertaker, and most of the top WWF guys) that they aren't just the equivalent of Hogan (popular but kinda crappy) but instead worthy of critical acclaim.

This, I'd suggest, is error. 

It's a longer conversation as to how we got here. A combination of corporate cognitive capture (WWE has won the ideological war about what wrestling is) and Benoit blowback (don't work hard, work smart - Eddy Guerrero's dead and Kevin Nash still draws paychecks). 

Regardless, I hate me some John Cena. It's not that he's terrible (I find the character terrible, but I don't much care about things like that) but I hate him for the reason we had anyone in the culture; it's directly proportional to my sense of the distance between his acclaim and his merit.  If Cena were just pushed more than I wanted to see him pushed, I'd dislike that - but it's the degree to which he's overrated by workrate minded analysts that makes him wrestling's Tebow.  

This was a great angle and a super match.  

26. NXT Arrival (2/'14) Cesaro d. Sami Zayn (23 min) 4 1/2 
A match not on television or PPV - this served as the effective opening act of the streaming platform called the WWE Network and featured an independent star El Generico turned developmental prospect Sami Zayn facing another former independent star, Claudio Castagnoli turned Cesaro, in the best match of what had been a helluva 2013 series.  This slowed down ROH match in an NXT ring became the best WWE match since 2005.  

That's the second half of the best matches in WWF history. The top half is here.

College/NFL Picks Sept 29-30 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Last week was here.  I'm 27-25-1 overall.

Stan -6.5 Wash(loss)
Ball St. -1 Kent St(loss)
Baylor v WVA under 80(loss)
Penn St +1.5 Ill(win)
UCF -2.5 Missouri(loss)
Purdue v. Marshall under 64.5(loss)
LA Tech -2.5 UVA(win)
SAlabama +10 Troy(loss)
Cincinnati +7.5 VT(win)
Rice +5 Houston(loss)
Ariz St. +2.5 Cal(win)
WKY -2.5 Ark St.(win)
TTech -2.5 ISt(win)
TCU -16.5 SMU(loss)
Tex v Ok St under 66.5(loss)
Tex SA +3.5 NMexSt(win)
Louis -10.5 SoMiss(loss)

Seattle -3 StL(loss)
SD +1 KC(win)
NYJ +4 Niners(loss)
Mia +6 Ariz(win)
NO+8 GB(win)
Buff +4 NE(loss)
Jax +2.5 Cincy(loss)
Philly -1 NYG(win)


Magic Number - 3

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sandoval's hit three homers in the past two games.

We're 24 over .500.  Our best record in 9 years.

Posey's got a .467 OBP since the Break.

2012 Emmy Predictions

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Drama: Will Win - Mad Men, Should Win - Mad Men
Actor: Will Win - Cranston, Should Win - Cranston
Actress: Will Win - Danes, Should Win - Danes
Supporting Actor: Will Win - Dinklage, Should Win - Esposito
Supporting Actress: Will Win - Smith, Should Win - Hendricks

Comedy: Will Win - Modern Family, Should Win - 30 Rock
Actor: Will Win - Jim Parsons, Should Win - Alec Baldwin
Actress: Will Win - Poehler, Should Win - Poehler
Supporting: Will Win - Burrell, Should Win - Burrell
Supporting: Will Win-Bowen, Should Win-Wiig

Movie: Will Win - Game Change, Should Win - Game Change
Actor: Will Win - Owen, Should Win - Harrelson
Actress: Will Win - Moore, Should Win - Moore
Supporting Actor: Will Win- Harris, Should Win - Strathairn
Supporting Actress: Will Win-Lange, Should Win-Lange

Reality Comp: Will Win-Race, Should Win-Runway
Reality Host: Will Win-Seacrest, Should Win-Deeley

Variety: Will Win-TDS, Should Win-Colbert

Magic Number - 5

We win.  Dodgers lose.

College/NFL Picks September 22-23 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Last week's picks are here. I'm 19-22.

Wake -7 Army(win)
Marshall v. Rice Under 70(loss)
SFlorida v. Ball St under 63(win)
Louisville -13.5 FIU(loss)
Rutgers +7 Ark(win)
NDame -5.5 Mich(win)
Oregon v. Arizona under 78(win)

Dallas -7 TB(loss)
Minnesota +7.5 Niners(win)
Miami +3 NYJ(push)
NE +3 Balt (win)
Arizona +4 Eagles(win)

Overall 27-25-1

Magic Number - 7

Lincecum's second half ERA is 3.  Cain goes tonight.

Magic Number - 8

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A win last night makes the Giants magic number 8.

Magic Number - 9

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ten game homestand coming.  See you in October.

The Occasional Tendown September 2-15 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dear Internet:

Is this something we do now?

'Cause I'm down; I don't much care for the imperial Presidency.  If now we yell "you lie" during the State of the Union or bring guns and "time to water the tree of liberty" signs to a President's town hall or say that someone should...

"pat him on the head and say, son, son, son, Mr. President, you were never ready to be president, now go home and work for somebody and find out how the real world works"

Then, you know, that's fine.  

Just send me the picture of the black pizza owner lifting the white President in the air and I'll be happy to post it.  Granted, the earliest it has any possibility of happening is 2017, but I'm not going anywhere.  

Tendown 139 is here.  This is Tendown 140.

1. Should This Be Life In Prison?
Here's a confession.  I've never smoked pot.

I mention that not only to show how I've never been cool (that's just a side benefit) but because I've argued in favor of drug legalization (and will continue to do so) and there will be a percentage of you (you know who you are) who will assume I have a personal stake in any political discussion on which I take a side.

With that out of the way....

Posted: 6:48 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012

Port St. Lucie teacher gets life sentence for enticing minor, possession of child porn

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A Port St. Lucie middle school teacher was sentenced to life in prison today for charges of online enticement of a minor and possession of child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Alexander Michael Roy, 31, of Port St. Lucie was sentenced during a hearing in Fort Pierce before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore. Roy was convicted during a five-day jury trial on one count of online enticement of a minor and five counts of possession of child pornography.
Roy taught math at Manatee Academy, which houses students in kindergarten through eighth grade, in Port St. Lucie.
According to evidence presented at the trial, Roy responded to an online advertisement posted by undercover detectives from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. An officer then posed as the mother of a 13-year-old girl. Roy agreed to travel from his home in Port St. Lucie to meet the purported mother and have sex with her and her daughter, prosecutors said.
He was arrested soon after arriving a meeting location, a Waffle House parking lot in Kissimmee. Investigators obtained a search warrant for his home and found numerous images of child pornography on his computer, including several videos of Roy, at age 26, having sex with a then-16 year-old girl.
Twitter: @JuliusWhigham

Take a look at what this dude got life in prison for.

1. Possession of child porn.  Not a thousand counts.  5 counts.  
2. Not having sex with a pretend girl he didn't really meet online.

The government created a crime, then used that crime to search this guy's computer - found five images they could hang on him (which may have all been of his having sex with a 16 year old, and while I'll accept there's a societal interest in deterring 26 year olds from having sex with 16 year olds, given that Courtney Stodden was able to get famous for being the younger half of an equation twice as creepy as that, I'm unsure how strong is that interest) and now he's got a life sentence.  Not 10-20.  Not 20-40.  This is a 31 year old man who is not convicted of ever actually causing a single other person harm in prison for the rest of his life.

Big government isn't top marginal tax rates over 30%.  This is big government.

2. The Best Law Review Article You'll Ever Read.

Big government's also present in every traffic stop.  Who can teach you about it?  Jay-Z

This is a line-by-line analysis of the second verse of 99 Problems by Jay-Z, from the perspective of a criminal procedure professor. It’s intended as a resource for law students and teachers, and for anyone who’s interested in what pop culture gets right about criminal justice, and what it gets wrong.

3. You Should Always Read Taibbi
Here he is on Romney.

Mitt Romney is no tissue-paper man. He's closer to being a revolutionary, a backward-world version of Che or Trotsky, with tweezed nostrils instead of a beard, a half-Windsor instead of a leather jerkin. His legendary flip-flops aren't the lies of a bumbling opportunist – they're the confident prevarications of a man untroubled by misleading the nonbeliever in pursuit of a single, all-consuming goal. Romney has a vision, and he's trying for something big: We've just been too slow to sort out what it is, just as we've been slow to grasp the roots of the radical economic changes that have swept the country in the last generation.

The incredible untold story of the 2012 election so far is that Romney's run has been a shimmering pearl of perfect political hypocrisy, which he's somehow managed to keep hidden, even with thousands of cameras following his every move. And the drama of this rhetorical high-wire act was ratcheted up even further when Romney chose his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – like himself, a self-righteously anal, thin-lipped, Whitest Kids U Know penny pincher who'd be honored to tell Oliver Twist there's no more soup left. By selecting Ryan, Romney, the hard-charging, chameleonic champion of a disgraced-yet-defiant Wall Street, officially succeeded in moving the battle lines in the 2012 presidential race.

Last May, in a much-touted speech in Iowa, Romney used language that was literally inflammatory to describe America's federal borrowing. "A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation," he declared. "Every day we fail to act, that fire gets closer to the homes and children we love." Our collective debt is no ordinary problem: According to Mitt, it's going to burn our children alive.

And this is where we get to the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a "turnaround specialist," a shrewd financial operator who revived moribund companies as a high-priced consultant for a storied Wall Street private equity firm. But what most voters don't know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America's top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.

By making debt the centerpiece of his campaign, Romney was making a calculated bluff of historic dimensions – placing a massive all-in bet on the rank incompetence of the American press corps. 

4. Speaking of Mitt...
Are you "middle class"?

Do you make a quarter million a year?

You may, according to the Republican nominee (who also said this week that Obama is trying to take the word God off coins and that he was apologizing for those who murdered the ambassador in Libya) want to reconsider.

"No one can say my plan is going to raise taxes on middle-income people, because principle number one is (to) keep the burden down on middle-income taxpayers," Romney told host George Stephanopoulos.
"Is $100,000 middle income?" Stephanopoulos asked.
"No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less," Romney responded.

5. I Watch Graps.

I got in two 4+ matches this week, both 4 1/2 so in play for MOTY.

Tanahashi v. Okada from NJPW in June.
CIMA/Fox v. Swann/Ricochet from DGUSA in July.
(oh yeah, that tag match from the TNA PPVwas four stars - Daniels/Kazarian v. AJ/Angle)

I'm working on two lists, both of which will wind up here and probably in that other place for which I write; the top 80 ROH matches ever and the top 50 WWF/E matches ever.  I'll also need to redo my all time US Big Brother players list; Dan has played such an audacious game this season that there isn't a reasonable argument for him not be at least number two on the all time list, and my current inclination is to consider him the best player ever.  I don't think there's been, in any US reality competition show, a game that was as swashbuckling as this year's version of Dan's.   If they give him the check on Wednesday he should declare himself the greatest BB player ever and call out Dr. Will to try to disprove it.  I don't like Dan; I particularly don't like the space that BB creates for the devoutly Christian by allowing the Bible as the only piece of reading in the house, giving someone who is willing to "swear on it" as Dan was willing to do this season, an inherent advantage.  But he'd get my vote on Wednesday regardless of who sits next to him; it's as impressive a reality competition performance as I can recall.

6. The Democratic Platform 
There wasn't a reference to God in the Democratic platform.  Nor Thor, curiously enough.  Conservatives complained and so it was changed.

There were some other omissions in the 2012 platform.  Liberals complained and absolutely nothing happened.

Indefinite Detention
2008: "To build a freer and safer world, we will lead in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people. We will not ship away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, or detain without trial or charge prisoners who can and should be brought to justice for their crimes, or maintain a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law. We will respect the time-honored principle of habeas corpus, the seven century-old right of individuals to challenge the terms of their own detention that was recently reaffirmed by our Supreme Court."
2012: Nothing. The Obama administration has maintained the practice of indefinitely detaining certain suspected terrorists. It has also made use of "proxy detention," by which foreign countries detain US citizens under questionable conditions, although the administration did do away with the Bush-era "black sites."
Warrantless Surveillance/PATRIOT Act
2008: "We support constitutional protections and judicial oversight on any surveillance program involving Americans. We will review the current Administration's warrantless wiretapping program. We reject illegal wiretapping of American citizens, wherever they live. We reject the use of national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. We reject the tracking of citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war…We will revisit the Patriot Act and overturn unconstitutional executive decisions issued during the past eight years."
2012: The platform is silent on this issue. This isn't surprising since, at the urging of the Obama administration, congressional Democrats passed up the opportunity to reform the PATRIOT Act when they had a majority in both houses of Congress

7. Would You Like to Eat Lunch With Joe Niekro?

According to the Astros, you can, next weekend.

This is sort of a big deal.  Joe Niekro died in 2006.

8. How Many Errors have Been Committed in MLB History?
Half a million.

9. Pick a Side

I know, they were my favorite celebrity couple too.

If they were your real friends, you'd have to pick.  So - pick.

The one you don't pick - you're totally out on; you can't consume any future projects.  

Sure, maybe you want to say Amy.  'Cause you love Parks and who doesn't love Amy and she's got the two young kids and how could you not stay friends with Amy?

But Arrested Development is coming back.  And that means you have to pick Will.  If Will were divorcing you, you have to pick Will.  

10. Magic Number

A combination of 10 Giants wins/Dodgers losses gives us the West.  Two weeks from today is Tendown 141, and we'll be there.

Another postseason.  Here we go.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time...if there is a next time...

Your pal,


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