Not for the Novel I: Natalia’s suggestion and the road trip

It was the spring of my senior year, at the very dawn of my - write it! - writing fiction career in the back of Mr. Hamm’s last period Existenialism class when in black and in English our brilliant, brown-eyed, contemporary Natalia Emanuel lent to me the following advice:

Start with the Rules, she said.  Rather good, I think, for a short story and for a young life. To any and all wondering where in mine I am headed, I love you, and I am going on a road trip. Here are my rules of the road:

1.) No more than three buy-ins or $600 will be laid on any collection of table in a given day.

2.) If and when cash exceeds one thousand dollars, half will be deposited into my brokerage account.

3.) Away from the poker table, I will adopt a life of strict and self-competitive frugality. Drinking will be by far the biggest expense I delete. I will be creative in my accommodations, ingenious in others’.  Food will be bought healthy and in tremendous bulk, like I was feeding kids out of a trough in the trunk of my minivan.

I will also not buy weed on the road.  I will partake in these vices only when stopping by with friends in various states who are inclined.

Transportation will be provided by my mom. She has left me her Camry, as she heads on to Italy, India and I suppose elsewhere.

4.) I will not conflate my stack with the quality of my work. I will keep concern for each and a preference for the latter.

5.) Any day (24 hours) in which I lose more than one hundred dollars will be followed by a day (24 hours) of not losing more than one hundred dollars, nor $50, nor any more than the total dollar amount I spend on food that day, if I need to buy food that day. Gas will not be an expense on those days because I will not drive.


Do I like running with snow on the ground, my breath visible in front of me and the sun rising ahead? Heck yeah. #snow #chicago #chicagogram #morning #riseandgrind #running #beastmode #solo #traindirty

Manning Tells a Big, Fat MRI


ESPN (DIS) is a lot like Netflix (NFLX).  They’re the best stock you can buy in their industry, but when you think about it, their only real competitive advantage is a handful of licenses and the fact that they’re way, way better than anybody else

ESPN’s franchise player , Pardon the Interruption had an absolutely marvelous showing yesterday, putting up a 90+ QBR for the third time in as many Monday afternoons.  Not unlike them, the most compelling point of the show was something they never actually said - just hinted at.  

Wilbon said doesn’t want to hear the whining about quarterback’s like Peyton Manning taking shots to the legs.  He said that without saying who if anybody has been whining about it recently.  He called the story a “big fat huge deal ” - because that sounds like a “big, fat” something else and because the real story behind the Manning getting an MRI on Monday was not the extent of his injury, not at all.  The real story was the chess-game reasoning behind Manning getting the exam in the first place.  

Wilbon never said Manning is looking to get more personal fouls called against him.  But, really, he did.  Like he himself punned, “you can’t get to that point” - meaning both the point where Manning is out for the season, and the point that he is appealing to the refs with a brilliant and paper-thin PR move.  

By getting himself checked out, Manning is telling the viewing public as much as he’s telling the league officials: Hey, everybody, look out for my legs on Sundays - I’m old, I’m banged-up and by the way I’m kind of a big deal.

PTI is probably right after the Simpsons and James Joyce when it comes to my biggest influences.  And yesterday’s show helped me realize more than most just why.  Whenever I write, nearly, I’m actually re-writing something I’ve already written. Talking frankly to a recently deceased-past-self, as it were.  That’s why I love PTI - the quality of their conversation is paramount, as they correct and step over one another.  Self-described as a show of two guys yelling at each other - it’s actually really quite thoughtful.  It has a the type of broad and nuanced perspective that belies the fact that it is a daily show.  It’s not just yelling, nor is it just talking.  It’s writing.  Each new story falls into a broader category that the two hosts understand largely without words because they have been yelling at each other about it or something like it for years and years and years.  The two are always both addressing and narrowing-in on the salient points in the ever-moving kaleidoscope that is pro sports.

Tony and Mike have an uncanny ability to hide and flaunt their second conversation.  They can move on from a topic and still talk about - cheekily - for the rest of the show.  Friday the theme for the second half of the show was the future of RG3 and the Redskins.  They framed the story right - offense is looking stellar, team is looking lowly.  Tony said it best when he said of defensive coordinator Jim Haslett - “You can throw him out the window.  You can do that.”   I agree.

Monday Tony and Wilbon went on long pausing on the third topic - Saints/Cowboys - how bout ‘dem Cowboys?!? - because, they understood - without needing to say as much - that the Saints and the Cowboys move the needle and the Rams and the Colt’s don’t.  People like to hear about it when the Cowboys are good and when they’re terrible, like they were on Sunday Night.  All they had for the next block was a blip of Treyvon Austin running across the screen, so they wisely took their sweet time in the transition before going over the Rams freak scoreline over a solid Colts team.

They switched immediately into their fourth block, because they knew it was a real good one.  

Peyton Manning announced that he was going to have MRI on his legs, after feeling sore from some late hits in their win over the Chargers in San Diego.  

Even though it was the kind of story that most fantasy football owners (myself included) would regard as a pretty tiny orange asterisk, it carries hidden significance in our long term view of the league and the season.  The PTI crew got there and dwelled there perfectly.

Tony asked was the report a big deal, little deal or no deal at all:

Wilbon knew the injury wasn’t serious, and he also knew that it was A Big Fat Huge Deal.  Starting with “big fat” perfectly got across Wilbon’s cynicism about the news story.  But he wasn’t being facetious, he really does think it has big significance.  The South-sider got past talking about the actually injury and talked about the potential “whining” of the league marquee players getting hit.  

Wilbon knew Manning getting the MRI was as unnecessary a move as it was prudent, especially with the Broncos next three games against brewzing defensive teams.  The MRI was a media stunt to curry favor with league’s executives and get the yellow flag in the same situation next time.  It itself not whining - but it opens the door.  

Tony made that point even more clear when he ran through what is at stake: at 37 years old Manning is near the end of his career, he can’t move around at all and he can’t throw the ball down field.  He repeated: Manning is 37 years old, he can’t move around at all and he can’t throw the ball downfield.  With all that said - he is having the best season of his legendary career.   

The NFL cannot let him go down this year and everybody knows it. There is far too much money in the pot.  I mean for goodness sake, what if he tore his ACL this year?

Forgive me for saying that, I don’t mean to jynx him - after all, he’s carrying my fantasy football team - “Chicago Fired”.  Just saying - it could happen and if it did happen it probably would happen on a late, low hit like the one he took against the chargers.  

(BTW what the heck is up with ACL’s these days?  Has it really been coincidence that it seems like every other major sports star has gotten the itis recently?

Here’s a total list of every NFL player that has torn his acl - it’s 39:

LB Chris Clemens

QB Robert Grifin III

LB Victor Butler (NO)

OL Dan Koppen (DEN)

DE Melvin Ingram (SD)

DE Greg Scruggs (SEA)

CB Aaron Berry (NYJ)

LB Jonas Mouton (SD)

WR Jeremy Maclin (PHI)

WR Armon Binns (MIA)

LB Darius Fleming (SF)

LB Jason Phillips (PHI)

FB Mike Zordich (CAR)

OL Bryan Bulaga (GB)

CB Chris Culliver (SF)

WR Arrelious Benn (PHI)

WR Danario Alexander (SD)

WR Joseph Morgan (NO)

WR Vidal Hazleton (NYJ)

DE Phillip Hunt (PHI)

WR Keolah Pilares (CAR)

WR Kevin Elliott (BUF)

TE Dustin Keller (MIA)

CB Richard Crawford (WAS)

DE Will Smith (NO)

FS Stevie Brown (NYG)

OL Maurkice Pouncey (PIT)

RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (PIT)

OL Garry Williams (CAR)

DT Henry Melton (CHI)

RB Vick Ballard (IND)

DT Nate Collins (CHI)

OL Amini Silatolu (CAR)

QB Brian Hoyer (CLE)

LB Bryan Kehl (WAS)

WR Charles Johnson (CLE)

RB Mike Goodson (NYJ)

LB Desmond Bishop (MIN)

QB Sam Bradford (STL)

WR Reggie Wayne (IN

Sorry did I forget to mention that is the complete list of NFL players with ACL tears…so far in 2013!  There can be no doubt that this injury has gotten much more common.  Funny, I’ve heard that John Elway didn’t have an ACL at all.  It’s exactly thirty years since he was drafted…and now everybody is sitting out because of ACL problems.  What’s going on here? What the hell are they feeding us?!  Wipe my brow I’m worried about the future of sports.  But not really. Just in a campy, my generations sort of way.)

Anyway, I was talking about PTI, right?  11/11/13: it was a great episode.  Wilbon and Kornheiser collectively made the point of why it is stupid and not for obvious reasons to say - as Brandon Meriweather did after coming back from a suspension from a bad hit - that if you can’t hit a quarterback high anymore then you have to him low.  Uh - well, that’s not actually true.  “You can hit him the middle”, says Tony.  How big is the middle?  Wilbon smartly thinks it’s tiniest on the biggest and best Qbs.  He compared it to like a National League umpire calling strikes.  

That’s where Peyton’s big, fat smelly MRI comes in.  By getting this MRI on his legs, Peyton is loudly re-establishing his own strike zone.  Everybody already knew how important he is to the league this year.  Now everybody also knows that he’s hurting - and one bad hit could cost the league millions.   

The hit itself I think was a bad one.  It came late in a game that was all but over.  It also came late in the play, a half-second after Manning had gotten rid of the football.  It’s a fine line for sure, but referees can make sure defensive players don’t get away with smacking the league’s best QBs in that brief beat before its a blatant late hit and after the pass is out of the player’s hands.  It’s completely subjective.   And football is not like novels - the subject matters.  In this case, the subject - Manning - matters an awful lot the league interest this year.

At the end of the show, Reali informed the guys that after looking into the play the NFL deemed the hit OKAY.  The NFL is so awesome at PR.  Yes, they say, this hit is okay: they let everybody know this is still the brutal collision sport we all love.  That said, I am sure that league has let every referee know that if Manning gets hit the same way next week - it’s not going to fly.

Bravo Peyton.  It’s really a delight to watch you work.  Like Tony and Michael, you are just way smarter than anybody else at your position (well, maybe Brady).  The MRI was just one more of the millions of tiny calculations that make you one of the best QBs of all-time.   And by the way I agree with your unsaid point, you probably should get that kind of hit called a penalty more times than not.

Don’t you think the league should protect him?  I do.  Anyway, the best part of this story is that, as Tony says, Peyton is adaptable.  “He’s better at making compensatory moves than anybody else”.  However the refs are calling the games, Peyton is going to be Peyton.  He’s going to be great.  Getting hit is not beneath him.  He’d just rather not do it. 

The Redskins are a Buy Right Now.

Tuesday August 20th, Analysts at the downgraded their rating of the Washington Redskins (NFCE: WAS), dropping them from 13th to the 23rd in their weekly power rankings.  Cover32-Redskins analysts haveattributed the drop to news that Kirk Cousins had sustained a sprained right foot in Monday Night’s preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Cover32 currently has a price target of miss the playoffs for the Redskins.

Okay, “WAS” is not actually a stock that you can buy shares of - at least not in the traditional sense.  The Redskins are, however, something in which you can invest.  Just like a stock, you can stake your claim right now during this time of elevated doubt, watch the team dominate like you expect, and then finally reap the financial rewards you deserve for holding onto your conviction.

How you ask?  Why through the magic of gambling, of course.

Those that lay the lines in Vegas are thinking on similar, if not identical lines to the cover32 senior editors - that is, they are wildly overstating the team’s injury worries.

The Redskins are better than the 23rd best team in the league with or without Robert Griffin III.  Moreover, they are better than the 23rd best team in the league without Griffin III or Kirk Cousins available.

Wait what if Griffin and Cousins can’t play - how will life go on?? - says the Redskins doomsdayer.

I’ll tell you what if.

In the unlikely scenario that Griffin and Cousins can’t play for a game or any stretch of time, Rex Grossman III, a 32 year-old NFL veteran who has won 25 of the 47 games he has started in his career, will walk into a team that boasts by far the best supporting cast Grossman has every played with. To put it simply, the pudgy Gator has never played with a wide receiver as good as Pierre Garcon, or a running back as good as Alfred Morris.  Really, he has never played behind a lineman as good as Trent Williams has become.

No, no, Grossman won’t become Johnny Unitas over night.  But I don’t expect all the fantastic things going on right now with the Redskins offense to poof into thin air either.

If we take a cue from the history of financial markets, we see that fear and uncertainty is actually a buyer best friends in the long-term.

Over the past five years, by far the best times to have bought into stocks has been at times of the greatest public uncertainty.  The summer 2011 debt-ceiling crisis, the weeks before the 2012 presidential election, the days before the sequester this past March - in hindsight we can see empirically that each of these occasions represented excellent opportunities to buy into vastly oversold equities.  Once each of these big bad events passed, reason replaced panic and the markets corrected - moving very quickly to the good.

That’s what we have here with the Redskins - an excellent buying opportunity.  Redskins’ futures are being kept unreasonably low simply by the fact that Robert Griffin III has not yet been cleared to play by doctor James Andrews.  Griffin will be cleared at some point in the next couple weeks.  Now is the time to take advantage.

Right now, according to Vegas Insider, the Redskins are getting 25 to 1 odds to win the Super Bowl.  Back in early May - when there was significantly more uncertainty about the health of Robert Griffin’s knee - the Redskins were getting 40 to 1 win it all, barely up from the 50 to 1 odds they were getting at the beginning of last season.

Working out the numbers, we see that Griffin’s much publicized run of getting healthier has corresponded to a 60% rise in the Redskins implied odds of winning the SB over the past three months.  Those same odds I believe still have lots of room to run.

Granted, the Redskins winning the whole thing is what we call a speculative bet.  Even if the true odds of the Redskins winning the SB in NYC were actually 50/50 - there would still be a very good chance that you’re going lose any and all the money you place in that bet.

So what do we do to decrease risk?  We diversify.  Thankfully, the implied odds of the Redskins regular season aspirations have not nearly kept up with developments as fast as their SB odds have done.

Here are the consensus early odds for the first 16 weeks of the Redskins 2013 season (according to Vegas Insider)

1.      WAS (-4.5) vs. PHI

2.      WAS (+4.5) @GB

3.      WAS (-2.5) vs. DET

4.      WAS (-4) vs. OAK

5.      WAS (+1.5) vs. DAL

6.      WAS (-1.5) vs. CHI

7.      WAS (+6) @ DEN

8.      WAS (-3.5) vs. SD

9.      WAS (1.5) @ MIN

10.  WAS (PK) @ PHI

11.  WAS (+1.5) vs. SFO

12.  WAS (-1.5) vs. NYG

13.  WAS (-4.5) vs. KC

14.  WAS (+3) @ATL

15.  WAS (-2.5) vs. DAL

(The pluses represent games Vegas expects the Redskins to lose.  The minuses are games they are expected to win.  And Vegas thinks the Redskins are an even-money shot to beat the Eagles in Philadelphia.)

Even though I feel stronger about some of these lines than others, I’m going to refrain from highlighting which ones I think are the best bets here.

Just like it’s close to impossible to time the short-term ups and downs of the stock market, it’s nearly impossible to know when a good team is going to play a bad game - or vice a versa.  So instead of picking out hot spots for your money, I advise any serious investor to buy the whole slate here, spreading their bets outs evenly over each of these 15 games.

According to these odds, Vegas expects the Redskins to go 8-6-1 in their first 15 games, a rather mediocre record.

Think about it: Do you think the Redskins - a team that averaged over 7 yards per passing play and nearly 5 yards per running play; a team that had a league low 14 turnovers with a rookie QB - do you think they are middle of the pack?

What I think the odd makers are not taking into nearly enough consideration is that all of the Redskins stand out 22-year-olds from last season are 23 now - and still getting smarter, stronger, better every day. The uncertainty of Griffin’s - and now Cousin’s - health is a problem for the Redskins PR department.  For the savvy sports fan, it’s just a beautiful opportunity for profit.

***Bonus: Here are my best bets on early odds for the rest of the leagues in 2013:

Week 1

@TAM (-1.5) over NYJ

Reasoning: Josh Freeman is not a bad NFL quarterback.  [Insert Jets QB] is.

Week 3

GNB (pk) over @CIN

Reasoning: Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL.  Andy Dalton is top 20.

Week 4

NYG (-1) over @CAR

Reasoning: The last time the Giants travelled to Carolina (on Thursday Night Football) they shut the Panthers out and scored 35 points.


@STL (+4) over SFO

Reasoning: Saint Louis played the 49ers as well as anybody during the regular season last year, tying them on the road and beating them in overtime at home.

Week 5

NWE (-1.5) over @CIN

Reasoning: Over the past 15 seasons no franchise has enjoyed more consistent success than New England. Over the past 15 seasons no franchise has enjoyed less consistent success than Cincinnati.

Week 6

GNB (+1) over @BAL

Reasoning: -Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL.  An up and down team throughout the 2012 regular season, the Ravens are not bringing enough of their core back for us to assume their SB winning quality of play will carry over into 2013.

Week 8

@NWE (-7) over MIA

Reasoning: The last time the Dolphins played they were blown out by the Patriots in Foxboro.

Week 15

NWE (-2) over @MIA

Reasoning: See Week 8.

Week 16

NWE (pk) over BAL

Reasoning: See Week 6

(Mackenzie Rivers does not hold any outstanding bets on any team, game or player mentioned in this article.)

via precisemuzic:”

What does creativity mean to you?

To me creativity is a direct conversation with the creator and we have the ability to express that.”
via precisemuzic:”

What does creativity mean to you?

To me creativity is a direct conversation with the creator and we have the ability to express that.”
via precisemuzic:”

What does creativity mean to you?

To me creativity is a direct conversation with the creator and we have the ability to express that.”
via precisemuzic:”

What does creativity mean to you?

To me creativity is a direct conversation with the creator and we have the ability to express that.”
via precisemuzic:”

What does creativity mean to you?

To me creativity is a direct conversation with the creator and we have the ability to express that.”
via precisemuzic:”

What does creativity mean to you?

To me creativity is a direct conversation with the creator and we have the ability to express that.”

via precisemuzic:”

What does creativity mean to you?

To me creativity is a direct conversation with the creator and we have the ability to express that.”