Prepare to drop the 16 ton weight in 3… 2…

Highlight of my evening (and I’m just about to go to bed) is this wonderful news. The National Football Post is more prosaic, but gives you the essentials.  Joe Haden is my second favorite Brown (Joe Thomas being my favorite); the thought of him and our two new DBs makes me salivate at the defensive possibilities. Pettine’s speedy pass rushes might just have a field day. There’s no DVOA ratings for 2013 yet, and I don’t fully understand Approximate Value (Pro Football Reference’s metric) the way I do WAR. He was tied for fifth in the NFL in picks (with four), gets a goodly number of tackles, and 20 passes defenses. However, the most important number for me is 15: he played in 15 games last season. That makes me very, very happy.

Oh yeah, that offensive pick in the first round turns out to be pretty popular. Surprised but pleased Michael Sam has the #2 selling jersey; when’s the last time a seventh round pick could say that?

Teddy Bridgewater is now officially a jerk. Not an Enemy, but a jerk.

My favorite sci-fi TV series of all time, #15: Quantum Leap

My criteria are here.

Synopsis: When I was growing up in the late eighties, there were a handful of shows I watched regularly with my parents. Apart from the original Star TrekQuantum Leap was the only sci-fi show. The premise (if you haven’t seen it) is that Samuel Beckett (played by Scott Bakula) is a scientist of some sort, things go horribly wrong, and he’s forced to jump from person to person and timeline to timeline in an attempt to get home. Guiding him is Al (played by Dean Stockwell), who relies on a computer named “Ziggy” to help Sam through his adventures.

Favorite character: Sam. I have to think this show was challenging because he had to play so many different characters in so many different ways. He pulls it off quite well.

Favorite secondary character: Ziggy. Oh, sure, he never speaks, but he was still the thread that kept things together.

Favorite moment: Any time Sam jumped into a woman. He would always act horrified, but I’m pretty sure he secretly liked it.

Why it’s here: Nostalgia, mostly.

Why it’s not higher: It tackled some issues, but always superficially, and emotionally the show was a little weak. I have a sneaking suspicion it probably hasn’t held up well, but I’ve had no chance to watch it again.

Bill Livingston can be a jerk so I don’t have to be

A couple of weeks ago, I had a big blog post planned about Art Modell didn’t deserve to be in the HOF. I scrapped it because it felt like I was being unnecessarily vindictive and because I think he had a legitimate case with choosing the first African American GM in the NFL. Bill Livingston has no such moral qualms.

After reading his article, I actually feel sorry for Modell. Livingston’s case for exclusion is “he was an asshole and fired Paul Brown.” A lot of people in pro sports are assholes, maybe even most of them. I’m slowly inching closer to the “Art in the HOF”, not farther, as a result of the article.

Odysseus The Jerk

I just finished reading the Iliad and the Odyssey.  I’ve been reading them in small chunks during lunch at work.  The single most surprising thing, given my prior knowledge of the two works from high school, was just how much of a jerk Odysseus was.  This is all going from memory, so I’ve probably forgotten a couple Odysseus jerk moves.  The following list should be fairly solid argument, however.

First, let’s talk about the Iliad.  The first potential jerk move comes in chapter 10, the nighttime raid.  In this chapter, Odysseus and Diomedes go out to spy on the Trojan camp.  They find a Trojan spy attempting to do the same and after this guy surrenders, Odysseus and Diomedes kill the spy.  To our modern sensibilities, that’s a cruel act, but because taking captives was a choice rather than a moral or ethical imperative, I’m not going to consider that a jerk move.

There is, however, a major jerk move regarding Diomedes.  This isn’t actually part of the Iliad, but Diomedes and Odysseus have the task of going and grabbing a statue of Athena from Troy.  As long as the statue stands, Troy will not fall.  After the two Acheans grab the statue, Odysseus tries to kill Diomedes so that Odysseus could go back to the Greek camp the hero.  Diomedes, being decidedly not a jerk, forces Odysseus back to the camp at swordpoint rather than killing him.

As if that weren’t enough, Odysseus was enough of a jerk that he got Telemonian Ajax to kill himself in shame.  Odysseus shows remorse during the Odyssey, but save your underhanded behavior for your enemies, Odysseus.

After those two events, we go into the Odyssey, which should be subtitled, “The journey of Odysseus the jerk.”  There were a number of jerk moves, but I want to limit myself to a couple of the biggest.

One of these was when the Phaecians take Odysseus back to Ithica, after handing him loads of goodies.  After taking such good care of him, his first reaction is to doubt that they actually took him to the right place.  I understand Odysseus is cunning and not going to be tricked (and that Athena had removed all of the important landmarks), but outright accusing them of treachery without any proof is a jerk move.

The single most egregious jerk move Odysseus made, however, was in the “trial” of his father.  This was totally unnecessary.  I get the trials of the swineherd and cowherd—Odysseus wasn’t sure he could trust any of his men, and if he revealed his true self to them, they might blab on accident or somebody might reveal his presence to the suitors.  I follow why he didn’t reveal himself to Telemachus immediately—he wanted to test his son’s integrity and sense of honor.  I get why he didn’t reveal himself to Penelope earlier—same reason, but this time regarding the maids.  I even get why he didn’t want to reveal himself to his nursemaid, although his response (akin to “I’m going to kill you if you blab!”) was a jerk move too.  But by the time he visits his father, all of the suitors are dead.  He’s not in costume and has no reason to lie.  So why does he do just that?  Other than him being a jerk, I don’t know what possible gain he has from it.

As such, more than any other single character in these two works, Odysseus is a jerk.

My latest enemy: Pepsi Max

People that know me well know of my love for Pepsi-products. By mistake, I grabbed a bottle of Pepsi Max today instead of standard Pepsi.

I’ve already tried it as it turns out, when it was called Diet Pepsi. It’s absolutely disgusting, as are all beverages sweetened with aspartame.

The most disappointing thing, however, is that the drink is called Pepsi Max. “Maximum” Pepsi should have MORE caffeine and sugar than regular, not less. In fact:

Pepsi Max should require a prescription.

A single sip should make me able to kill a bear with my bare hands (or, even better, the bear’s own hands, after I rip them off).

Two sips should make me faster than the Flash, and make the Flash disintegrate because he accelerated to the speed of light.

Three sips should make me able to freeze time, ala Fry in “Three Hundred Big Boys”.

Four sips should cause cardiac arrest, and the fifth should make my heart explode.

THAT’S what Pepsi Max should be, not an even wussier version of Diet Pepsi.

Therefore, Pepsi Max, you are my latest enemy.

The newest enemy of the Penguatroll — Julian Assange

Look, I’m a big fan of accountability and transparency in government. This jackass goes too far. He even pissed off Stephen Colbert, which you can see in this interview:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Exclusive – Julian Assange Extended Interview
www.colbertnation.com
http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:260785
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election March to Keep Fear Alive

Then I read this story from the BBC. Apparently, not only is he wanted on alleged rape charges, but he’s trying to leak US military plans. Do I think we’ll ever go to war with Russia? Probably not. Anything is possible, but I would seriously doubt that war with Russia is imminent or even likely. The important thing is, what if he leaks some other more important information? A current war plan against North Korea, Iran, or something similar?

Here’s the honest truth — it is perfectly acceptable for the United States — or any other — government to keep secrets. Foreign policy and military strategy are particularly important to keep secret because a) they are extremely complex issues, especially for amateurs and b) they can give other nations unfair advantages over the United States.

Even if Mr. Assange does not accept money for his work — and I’m pretty sure he asks for donations, but I can’t access the site so I can’t verify that — he’s still, essentially, guilty of espionage. And that’s totally unacceptable. I hope he, or his source (ideally both) end up in prison where they belong.