Subtlety is not one of my strengths

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Sunday, January 25 2015

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Ferguson, Wilson, Brown, and Grand Juries

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Oh, but I've got some reading to do.

Unlike many of you, I wasn't certain I knew what happened when Officer Wilson shot Brown, what happened prior, what the motives were.  Honestly, I wasn't.  It seems like people were confident of Wilson's guilt or innocence.

That is the first reason I figured he'd be indicted...to give the appearance of a full, unsealed investigation, and the arguments made on either side.

I don't really understand the role of a grand jury (as opposed to, say, a government attorney's office) in determining whether to bring charges.

And I don't understand how Officer Wilson's sworn testimony can be so obviously tinged with racism (seriously, read how he describes Brown, all of the connotations in his language in describing the neighborhood...read how he refers to Brown as "it", rather than "he"), and so consistent with the b.s. story the Chief of Police first told and later recanted because it chronologically didn't hold up.

I don't know if this was convictible, but I can't imagine how it's not incredibly indictable.

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NFL Predictions 2014: Championship Games

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The picks went well for me last week. Really well in fact, until the final game of the weekend. I had the Patriots by 4 and while the score was higher (35-31 compared to 24-20) that margin was on the mark. I had Seattle 30-13, and they won 31-17. I had Green Bay 27-23 and they won 26-21. It does not get much better than that. I suppose I was half right in the last game because Indianapolis did in fact score 24, but Denver was not up to the task offensively as they scored just 13 compared to my pick of 28. Either way, I swept Las Vegas in that game.

In all I was 3-1 straight up (6-2 for the playoffs, 172-91-1 overall). I reeled off a 4-0 mark against the spread (5-3 for the playoffs, 136-128 overall) and went 3-1 on the over under (6-2 for the playoffs, 150-111-3 overall). For the year I am now +47 against the desert. Now if I can just figure out how a couple of three-touchdown blowouts from earlier in the season will play out in the rematches.

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NFL Predictions 2014: Divisional Round

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I got off to a rocky start in the playoffs. I was 3-1 straight up (169-90-1 overall) but went just 1-3 against the spread (132-128 overall). I thought Ryan Lindley could do just enough to help Arizona cover and it did not work out that way. They were within range plenty of times, even with a pathetic yardage total but he played as if his family was kidnapped by the mob. Pittsburgh flat out choked against Baltimore and it was more than just being without Le'Veon Bell. I had a pretty good handle on Dallas over Detroit, picking a 24-17 outcome with a 24-20 actual score but lost against the spread because of the first fumble recovery being turned back over. Instead of the Cowboys churning out three clock-killing plays and knocking through a field goal to cover they got the ball back to run the remaining time out. Anyway, I was 3-1 on the over/under (147-110-3 overall) so I can smile about that. Not much though. 

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NFL Predictions 2014: Wild Card

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All in all the predictions went well for me on the season. Naturally I took some lumps in the final week, as I always do, because no one really knows who will play or what teams will show up. I went 10-6 picking winners (166-89-1 overall) which was a handful short of where I typically want to be (north of 170). I definitely regret taking some dumb chances, probably about five or so, when I knew as soon as I typed the pick it would probably not go the way I was going. Being conservative is boring and on those occasions I blew it. Last week I was frustrated with Buffalo beating New England because I thought the Patriots would have more interest in maintaining some winning streaks on their home turf. Conversely, what was Dallas doing going all out against Washington? I did not see that coming. Had I picked the opposite on those two results I would have gone 12-4. San Diego's inability to beat a Kansas City team led by Chase Daniel at quarterback is something I do not regret one bit, and Miami at home over the Jets I would do again.

At any rate, the bigger bummer was against the spread. I struggled at 6-10 (131-125 overall) to give away some of my cushion in that area. I had the points with the Bills, but lost on all of the other games. I lost some close ones with the Lions failing to cover and the Jaguars covering, plus a total blindside with Carolina creaming Atlanta. On the plus side I finished strong on the over/under with a 9-5-2 (144-109-3 overall) that obviously could have gone better with a little luck. Putting it all together I now stand +41 against Las Vegas heading into the playoffs, which for me is when the real work begins. 

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NFL Predictions 2014: Week 17

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The best I can say is that at least I am not limping towards the finish line. I would not say I am sprinting either. The final two weeks can be brutal to predict, and last week I went 10-6 picking winners (156-83-1 overall) and while this will not be one of my better seasons in that area I can live with the results. I went 10-6 against the spread (125-115 overall) and that makes me nervous heading into a pile of games where I have no idea which teams will care. I was 9-7 on the/over under (135-104-1) and all told now stand +41 against the guys in the desert. This week is in a way my favorite to predict because I generally throw out all the data, stats and logic. There is little reason to use it given the fact that some teams either really care (trying to make playoffs) really do not care (out of the playoffs) could care less (resting starters for playoffs) or are pretending to care when they do not (playing for draft position). I care, of this I am sure.

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nFL Predictions 2014: Week 16

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I finally had a week I can be happy about. It certainly did not start that way when I had too much confidence in the St. Louis defense against an opponent with something to play for in Arizona. There is no shame in missing Buffalo's upset of Green Bay although the pass rush is how to beat Aaron Rodgers so I could have gotten that one. My only other miss was Johnny Manziel falling flat on his face in Cleveland's loss to Cincinnati. In all I finished 13-3 straight up (146-77-1 overall) and I will take that and run heading into two of the hardest weeks of the season to pick winners. Against the spread I had one tough beat because Washington was robbed of what looked like a touchdown based on a rule that took forever to explain, which means it's a joke. Even with that I finished 10-6 (115-109 overall). I went flat against the spread at 8-8 (126-97-1 overall) with a frustrating loss when Oakland put up a garbage TD in the final seconds. I am now +35 against Las Vegas.

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NFL Predictions 2014: Week 15

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I continue to make myself crazy hoping for that one big week to turn my season into a winner. Last week was almost what I needed. Straight up I went 12-4 (133-74-1 overall) and that was okay except it can always be better. I made the mistake of switching my Baltimore/Miami pick because Haloti Ngata was out, and the Dolphins did pretty much everything they could to lose that game. Everyone was on New Orleans over Carolina, so I have no regrets about that. Had Oakland not been so dreadful against St. Louis the previous week I might have considered going on a limb with them, but virtually everyone was on the 49ers. I definitely wish I had the Tennessee pick back because the Giants are the type of team that has pride and wins garbage games, plus the wide receiver situation coupled with their dreadful rushing attack should have been a tell for me. 

Against the spread I held my own at 8-8 (105-103 overall) with the aforementioned losses, plus some tough beats. Indianapolis gave Cleveland 14 points and failed to cover. Denver decided to treat their game with Buffalo like a practice and as a result let them pull a back door cover. San Diego I should have known would let me down against New England, and the same goes for hoping Tampa Bay getting a bunch of points in Detroit mattered. Anyway, I was 11-5 on the over/under (118-89-1) so I now stand +31 versus Vegas. At least I have that going for me heading into the very difficult weeks to read games. 

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NFL Predictions 2014: Week 14

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Well that was a disappointment. I kind of figured how my week would go when I only got one winner out of three Thanksgiving Day games. The 49ers, I figured, were in a good spot to make a stand at home against the Seahawks. The Cowboys, as it turned out, had more of a quarterback edge in reputation compared to reality, but beyond that I believed their offensive line was so much better as well. Those were two awful misses. However, I had some frustrating results go the opposite way, to say the least.

The Ravens were up 33-27 in a game I called for them to win 27-20 only to choke away the game on a drive where the Chargers went right down the field, costing me straight up and against the spread. The Giants choked away a 21-3 lead against the Jaguars, then kicked a field goal to go ahead 24-22 in a game I called 24-17. They gave up a field goal in the final minute to lose, again costing me twice. The Bengals won 14-13 in a game I called 20-14, and I guess I should have known to just take the points with the Bucs as a home underdog so that was a bummer. When is the last time Drew Brees threw 5 touchdown passes outdoors in a cold weather city? At least I took the points in that one. I have only myself to blame going on a limb with the Chiefs over the Broncos. As soon as I submitted that one I felt a lump in my stomach. The week ended with a tough loss against the spread when Mike Wallace dropped a sure TD pass, costing the Dolphins four points in a game they won 16-13 and failed to cover as I said they would by a margin of 23-17. 

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NFL Predictions 2014: Week 13

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The picks last week were a bit frustrating because I felt as if I had an opportunity to really make up for being so off in week 12, only to watch it slip away at the end. Of course I was pleased to go 12-3 straight up (112-63-1 overall) but it still hurt to lose the Cleveland-Atlanta game that I called for the Falcons 28-27 when they were a stupid coaching decision (clock management) away from winning 24-23. New Orleans not losing a third in a row at home is one of those picks I felt as if I had to make, and they choked. Even if in my gut I felt an 0-10 Oakland team had a chance against Kansas City, it was senseless to put my neck on the line for it. 

Against the spread I won the week at 8-7 (91-85 overall) with some frustrating misses. Denver tried to cover, then let Miami score at the death. Tampa Bay was up 10 in Chicago, yet failed to cover 6, losing 21-13. Anyway, I managed to go 9-6 on the over/under (96-79-1 overall) making my mark versus Vegas +23. Now as teams fight for the playoffs it is time to get serious about the picks. Wacky results happen late in the season as teams with nothing to lose stun teams with everything to play for.

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NFL Predictions 2014: Week 12

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I guess I should know better than to complain about mediocrity, because last week I was rewarded with an abysmal record. It is hard to recall a spot this late in the season when I had a straight up week as bad as the 7-7 (100-60-1 overall) I just turned in and that was not the worst of it. I gave back massive gains against the spread with a 3-11 showing (83-78 overall) and even struggled on the over/under at 6-8 (87-73-1 overall). The disaster left me +19 against Vegas. Believe me when I tell you weeks like this do not happen often. Experts from across the web were 97% in agreement on three teams winning (Saints, Redskins, Broncos) and quite frankly all of them were defeated handily. How often does this happen? Two other teams (Chargers, Steelers) barely escaped and were picked by that high a percentage as well. Odd, I would say. The wise guys never lose. I move on.

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