I’ve got nothing…

Tom CruiseHappy belated Super Fat Tuesday, folks! Here’s hoping everything turned out just the way you wanted …

The Super Bowl is over, the start of spring training is just one week away and there really isn’t much else to talk about. Well, there’s the weather… it’s early February and it’s 60 degrees, but the word on the street is that it will be just 10 degrees come Sunday night.

That Mother Nature… she’s just so fickle.

Capriciousness aside, there really isn’t much to say. The Flyers are in first place, which is cool. However, it seems a little too early in the season for the Stanley Cup chatter to heat up. The Sixers are… well, let’s just hope they get the right portion of ping-pong balls.

Since I don’t have anything new to write about (pertaining to Philadelphia and its sports teams), I’ll just do a little hit-and-run on a few items.

  • So trainer Brian McNamee reportedly has physical evidence that Roger Clemens used performance enhancing drugs. What, is this the blue dress of the sporting scene? Did McNamee really save the residue from giving the Rocket a shot in the derriere? Wow.
  • Though I’m no football expert, I suspect the Giants’ victory in the Super Bowl indicts the Eagles’ inability to win the big game in some way. I just don’t know what that is.
  • How come the Giants can win the Super Bowl and the Eagles can’t?
  • After Bill Belichick abandoned his team and left his defense on the field so he could go into the locker room and sulk after the loss in the Super Bowl, it’s fair to say, “Thank God Bill Belichick is a football coach.” After all, the delicate genius that is Bill Belichick could be using all his wisdom and grace to be doing unimportant things like solving poverty, designing programs for world peace or delve into cancer research. But instead – and lucky for us – he’s a football coach. We should all knee down and soak in the aura that such men emit.
  • As Tom Cruise said to Craig T. Nelson in the epic Western Pennsylvania football film, All the Right Moves, “You are just a football coach!” Then he ran away. Fast.

  • Aside from not having updated spy films, perhaps the Patriots lost to the Giants because it was the first time they played a good team twice. All of the other teams the Pats played twice were in the AFC East, who combined for a 12-36 record.
  • Is Kris Benson a low-risk, high-reward possibility or is he simply a potential annoyance for the Phillies? Oh, it’s not Benson who is annoying. By all accounts he’s nothing more than a typical baseball player, which means he’s just like everyone else only more entitled. The “problem” with Benson is the baggage he brings – that stuff is all fine and dandy when it happens somewhere else like Pittsburgh, New York or Baltimore. We have enough to deal with as it is already.
  • I really enjoy eating with chop sticks.
  • Now that Sen. Arlen Specter has decided to take on the Patriots’ alleged spying in his role as de facto commissioner of the NFL, it’s quite interesting how there is quite a bit of bad press. Suddenly, sports media types are indignant and calling upon Congressional leaders to “focus on more important issues.” Well, yeah, Congressional involvement is sports seems more than a bit silly. It’s silly that leagues have antitrust exemption just as it’s ridiculous that government funded agencies can suspend athletes without proper due process.

    But perhaps the biggest reason why sports media/fans don’t want Congress involved in the Patriots’ alleged spying or steroid use in baseball is because they don’t want to know the truth. No, Congress is hardly the beacon of trust or the arbiter of truth and justice, but the fact is they are smart enough to take on cases and issues they know they can’t lose. Congress likes sure things and because it looks like they have one with baseball and maybe even the Patriots, maybe some folks are worried that the curtain will be pulled back for everyone to take a good look.

Mother Nature 1, Everyone else 0

Brett FavreThe weather has a tendency to get a little chilly in the month of January as folks may have noticed from walking outdoors, watching football on television or from watching the little soft-shoe routine those suspenders-and-sports coat frocked slicksters pull off every night on the evening news. The weather is big business on local TV news. In fact, it is such big business that there are song lyrics that go:

“Murder and weather is our only news…”

If those lyrics don’t exist, they should.

Anyway, the middle part – the part about football, the outdoors and that nip, nip, nip at your nose – is the intriguing part. The truth is I tuned in to last Sunday’s Giants-Packers just to see how cold it was. Oh sure, I had a sneaking suspicion that Packers’ quarterback Brett Favre just might do something crazy enough to sabotage the game for his team, and in that regard I suppose no one was disappointed. But really, the outcome of the game was pretty meaningless. All I wanted to see what Favre’s breath turn from a plume of carbon dioxide and crystallize into a free-floating diamond-shaped ball of ice.

My guess is that it was something that other folks wanted to see, too. Actually, it appeared as if the only story of the game wasn’t Favre trying to get back to the Super Bowl one last time or Eli Manning attempting to copy his big brother and make it to the big game, but instead it was the coffee-sicle that formed in Terry Bradshaw’s mug during the pre-game show. Because, as it is, if it’s negative-three degrees without the wind chill in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the smart thing to do is hold the pre-game show out of doors. That way the frostbite that forms on Howie Long’s exposed extremities can be used as a tax write-off because technically it was a live experiment kind of like the stuff they do on Nova.

What, do you really think people cared if Howie broke down the Cover-2? Hell, the viewers at home wanted permanent scarring. It makes the frozen coffee go down smoother.

Now I don’t know where the idea that meteorology is a pseudo-science came from. It didn’t come from me, I can tell you that much. But what they don’t tell you during football games and TV weather reports is that cold weather hurts. It actually causes pain to a person more than a muggy scorcher in August ever could. No, cold temperatures don’t make one wake up screaming in the middle of the night and running off to find a doorway with your sleeping cap slouched to the side. That’s the move for an earthquake. But cold weather can freeze pipes and cause them to burst making floods or fires or both. Certainly that’s no picnic.

Interestingly though, the pain of cold temperatures in this part of the world only lasts a little while. At least that’s the way it worked out for me on Sunday and Monday when I decided to go out for a run. Hey, if they’re playing football all the way out there in Wisconsin, which is close to Canada and very near outer space where it gets as nippy as your Aunt Tilly’s gazpacho, I figured I ought to get out there and get my work in.

So out I went during the coldest part of the day, which, according to the Accuweather web site, was a raw negative-1 degree on the ol’ real feel index. Apparently such numbers are deduced when one accounts for the temperature, wind speed and direction, the time of day and on-base percentage. In other words it’s the Moneyball of weather. But the thing I learned about running around in ultra-cold weather was that it’s all about the wind. When the wind blows at one’s face it’s bad. When it blows at your back, it ain’t all that.

But you get used to it. At least that’s the way it went down on Sunday thanks to some effort and creative rambling. During a 60-minute effort the first few moments are the key. That’s when one decides whether to keep at it, thus proving oneself as an evolved life being that continuously takes strides at improvement. Or, it’s when one says out loud to no one, “This is stupid. I’m going back home so I can strip down, flop on the couch, order up a mushroom ‘boli and watch Rachel Ray… or whatever.”

beerClearly I’m evolved, but during the first couple of minutes as I negotiated through the neighborhood, I thought, “Wow! It’s cold! It’s really, really cold! Oh well, I guess it will be OK when I warm up.”

The notion of personal evolvement disappeared approximately five minutes into the run when I passed by a friend’s house, turned to look to spy someone moving around inside and realized that I couldn’t feel my face. Oh, I could touch it, but I couldn’t feel it.

“Is this dangerous?” I thought. “This feels like it could be dangerous. This isn’t dangerous is it?”

I realized I made a mistake when I put a gloved hand to my face and it felt like a bee sting. That sensation soon went away when my toes felt as though I had just dropped a canned ham on them. But oddly enough – after just 15 minutes of running – everything was back to normal. The wind had shifted, the swarm of bees that peppered my face had rubbed it with aloe and everything was back in order. The strut around the ‘hood was no longer dangerous. Instead, it was fun… as long as the wind remained where it was.

It looked as if the football players were out there having fun in Green Bay, too. Better yet, it didn’t look as if the cold temperatures changed much about the performances at all. Plaxico Burress made Al Harris look like his personal hand puppet, Tom Coughlin was typical full bore jackassery, and Brett Favre caught a late case of the crazies when his passes suddenly began to behave as if they were punts.

More than the Giants, the Super Bowl, or the Fox network, the weather was the winner last weekend. It showed that it will always be the topic of discussion in ways beyond the banality of, “Some weather we’re having, huh?” Yep, it got cold and none of that silliness about “Global Warming” reared its un-ironic head as the great misnomer of the past decade.

You know, global warming… kind of like jumbo shrimp.