Sunday, September 28, 2014

i <heart> nfl: brett favre

Given that I've been doing my best earning points for Stevie Johnson's fantasy team by both working and moving over the weekend, this email is coming to you later than usual. And it's more abridged as usual, as well. And getting this email done will earn him some more points. BOOM!


TNF: Something about playing for the cellar spot in the NFC East caused Eli to cast off his interceptions and have Kirk Cousins throw them instead, in yet another Thursday night rout. The best thing about this game is the DC Peopleskins got "The Treatment" from South Park the previous day.

Sun (Ikea, Red Hook, Brooklyn and Cleaning My Old Apartment, Murray Hill, Manhattan): Only thing of note is that I hope you have your goggles on, because there are blood and guts everywhere as former Panther and now current Baltimore WR Steve Smith is putting up a big game against his former team.

4pm-ish (PJ Leahy's, LIC, Queens if I ever make it): C Kaep will be dropping N-bombs with opponent WR Riley Cooper, and everyone will hear them because of the noted quietness of the "new" Niners fans. Apparently 60-second elevator pitches don't do a great job of disrupting (ha!) offensive play calls. The Bridgewater era is upon us in Minnesota, where my Dirty Birds look to run up the score for the second week in a row.

SNF (Couch Time!): It's great seeing both NO and DAL fall apart this season, and best wishes to their continued demise.

MNF: As his star fades, Tom Brady is preparing for his next career as internet troll when he is hosted by the KC Reidskins and their stadium lair. Might be a pretty even matchup.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


I’m a low-temperature experimental physicist. You might wonder how us scientists attain the really cold temperatures at which we perform our fancy physics experiments, and I’m here to tell you (I’ll leave the question as to why for another entry!). The first step is often immersion in a very cold liquid, with those maintaining their liquid form waaaaay below the freezing point of water (ice cold!) known as cryogens. You’re probably familiar with these from the movie Terminator 2, in which a tanker of liquid nitrogen (LN2, for those in the know) splits open and freezes the liquid-y metallic T-1000 long enough for Arnold Schwarzenegger to shatter him with a shotgun blast. But of course there are others! The main engines of NASA’s recently defunct Space Shuttle program used a combination of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen to produce the explosive force that (along with the solid boosters) propelled Americans into space for the past three decades. But these cryogens have a drawback if you wanna go all the way… (to absolute zero! as we physicists do). They all will eventually freeze.

Frozen things don’t do a good job of low-temperature cooling for a number of reasons, but there is one element that never freezes (unless you put it under enormous pressure, technically!). And that element is helium! Noble helium, chemically inert and easily dismissed as that element that makes your voice squeaky, has many more uses than just filling the party balloons. Actually, the cooling of superconductors used in MRI medical imaging is the major commercial application of helium. Checking in at 4.2 degrees on the Kelvin temperature scale, where 0 means zero, liquid helium is slightly above the temperature where thermal energy ceases to exist. Terrestrial scales of temperature put that at -273.15C or -459.67F. Because of something called quantum zero-point motion, helium remains a liquid from 4.2K all the way down to absolute zero. Simple refrigeration techniques can take you from 4.2K down to around 1K. It takes refrigerators that use even fancier quantum properties of helium to attain temperatures of a hundredth of a degree above absolute zero. And that’s where I spend my time!

In future entries, I will expound upon how cryogens, mainly liquid helium, are used to cool our cool quantum devices, which include superconductors a lot of the time. And why do we care to bring things down to such a level? How do we get liquid helium? What kinds of things are we cooling with it and why? (Hint: they’re all crazy physics materials/devices with potential technological applications.) And perhaps most importantly, why is any of this important?

i <heart> nfl: russell wilson

I'm sorry to report that every player that wasn't injured in the first two weeks of the season is currently suspended for domestic/child abuse. No longer limited to teams that wear purple, suspended/suspect players now hail from the Niners, Zony Cards, and Panthers in addition to the Ravens and Vikings, the seeming ubiquity of which can create bewildering meta-headlines such as this. Just reported on Friday, ESPN has evidence that the NFL, Ravens owner and GM all knew about the Ray Rice elevator tapes and attempted to cover it up, including trying to bribe Rice himself to stay quiet. I definitely went just a bit short on the Ginger Hammer-firing wager. Luckily none of you took me up on it.

On the lighter side, here are Philadelphia Eagles coaches on how to properly fondle the ball:

TNF: My beloved Dirty Birds stunned Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith into thinking his opponents were 11 dancing challenge flags, as evidenced by the 56-14 bloodbath, and that 14 doesn't really count since Atlanta removed all their starters in the 4th quarter. The star of the night was Devon Hester, who broke Dieon Sanders' punt return record and earned his first career rushing TD in front of his former coach formerly of da Bears.

Sun 1pm (Somewhere in Brooklyn? Don't make me go to a Ravens bar to watch this): San Diego charges into Buffalo as these two surprisingly decent teams square off. Not to be outdone by the lines for the iPhone 6 sale this week, my beloved Ravens hosted a Ray Rice jersey exchange, the melancholy of which helps prepare them for entry to the Factory of Sadness, with comedic interludes brought to you by the Browns' punter. Everyone, including the players, know that the Raiders suck, and since Tom Brady isn't making any friends anyway, he's taken to trolling his opponents about the Tuck Rule. Oakland "fans" could try this: the Pats are still in last place in the AFC East. The DC Redwing Pigskins' noted gang member/affiliate/wide receiver Desean Jackson will play with or without a strained AC joint against the team that clumsily cut him, reports Philadelphia Iggles RB Lesean McCoy. An AC joint sounds like a gang thing, anyway. Prop Bet: Does he get booed? The hapless NY Football Giants host the slightly-less hapless Houston Texans, whose defense looks set to produce a plethora of Manningface. The Jacksonville Baguars dust off the cabanas as they host fellow division-trailing Slobbering Amish.

4ish: In a much-coveted Super Bowl postview, the Seattle Seahawks host (previously noted) shrewd businessman Peyton Manning and his Broncos. Maybe this time it's personal. The Niners travel to the division-leading Zony Cards in what could be a watchable matchup if the previous one yet again gets out of hand.

SNF: I suppose watching the Panthers' defense pounce on the anemic offense of the Yinzburg Stillers will be entertaining enough for one half.
MNF: Da Bears are entertained by the NY J-E-T-S in a game that promises to feature no receivers.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

i <heart> nfl: matt ryan

If you had told me a former Raven was going to destroy professional football, I would've put my money on Bernard Pollard. In case you've been living under a rock or eating $4 toast  this week, you no doubt have seen the video footage from the AC casino elevator in which former beloved Bodymore Raven RB Ray Rice is seen punching and knocking out his then-fiancee (now wife, due to that whole testification thing). This incident was partially uncovered in March, and Rice was currently serving a two-game suspension for it, before being cut by the Ravens and indefinitely suspended by the NFL upon the release of the TMZ video. Now the original judgement of the NFL (and the Ravens front office) is being questioned, and calls for the firing of The Ginger Hammer are mounting. Expect your Sunday viewing to be peppered with updates and analysis. PROP FUCKING BETS! When will Roger Goodell get fired (closest date following the occurrence) and who will replace him!? My bets are Fri, Sept 19 andCondoleezza Rice, for the name parity and all. Hit me! (too soon?).

TNF: On a historic anniversary like this, it's important to take a moment to reflect on this tragic event. We will never forget... that time Mike Tomlin interfered with a Jacoby Jones kick return. The Ray Rice Show trumped the evening's scheduled entertainment, making it once more that Rihanna was maligned by domestic abuse. The Ravens definitely didn't suffer on the field, as Owen Daniels and Justin Tucker put up all the points in a 26-6 route of the Yinzburg Stillers, a rivalry that usually features razor-thin scoring margins.
Sun 1pm (Misconduct or Cavanaugh's probably, Center City, Philly): In the worst week of the NFL, the Buffalo Bills of course have their best week in 20 years in that their team is not definitely moving elsewhere soon. Those happy feelings will soon dissipate after hosting the Miami Fins, fresh off their drubbing of the hated Patriots. Speaking of, the existence of a just and merciful God will be confirmed if the NE Pats, currently in last place in the AFC East stay there, but this looks unlikely as another menace in purple wants to have his shot at ruining football as well. Although Roddy White is slated to lose his fantasy match this week, my beloved Dirty Birds look to penetrate the Cincy Bagels hole-y defense, although it's likely they'll do the same to us. And at the bottom of the stacked deck that is the NFC West, the Zony Cards travel to the Snoopy Stadium to likely embarrass the NYF Giants. Also expect a catfight as the Carolina Panthers host the D'town Lions. Dallas owner The Double J won't have to worry about seeing red this week, since it's just the Cowboys' week to commemorate the former Houston Oilers. Although many observers credit Niners fans for invading Jerryland, I stand by my assertion that about half of the notably fearweather Dallas fans just picked a new (winning) team to cheer for. 

4ish: The Texas Houstons dive into the black hole as they travel to Oakland, who were able to#StartTheCarr last week, but this being the Raiders, that Carr looks to end up on cinder blocks with the copper wiring stripped out. #AtLeastTheyLeftTheCreedence. The Rams and Bucs are competing to win a trip to Los Angeles. Permanently! And they also happen to be matched up this week. The NY J-E-T-S landing at the vengeful Packers and Broncos hosting of the KC Reidskins both promise late-afternoon scoring action.
SNF: Chicago looks to Bear Down on the Field of Jeans as the Santa Clara Niners host the Munsters of the Midway. That the Niners' home opener is a Sunday night gig means the rest of the league will have to patiently wait to make fun of them for complaining about the 80 degree weather. And then dying because of it. Update: Apparently da Bears have no receivers this week, so this could quickly become a snoozefest.
MNF (I'm back in NYC for this one, lemme now if you wanna watch!): The Colts weren't so Luck-y against Denver last week, although they made an incredible attempy. The Eagles were successful in their comeback, but it doesn't really count because it was against Jacksonville. This should be a good matchup for first solo MNF of the season.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

i <heart> nfl: season outlook

Cheers to me for threading the Needle of Procrastination and getting this out between the first game of the year and the rest of them. First of all, congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks on attaining their first World Championship in franchise history.


I was going to write a bunch of clever analysis contrasting what the NFL as an organization wants to be (whitewashed, drug-free, respectable) through public relations efforts versus the whole calamity of what actually happens in real life, on the field, on the side of the road when pulled over, that makes this game more human in a way. I think buying into the former version is one reason why it took me so long to become a fan. But anyway, no time for that shit cause I'm moving to Long Island City in 2 weeks, gotta write a speech for my brother's wedding, and there are experiments to be run. Onward! 

Your coveted season outlook, in alphabetical order by division/proper team name (Las Vegas game wins over/under in parentheses):

AFC East:

New England Pats (10.5): Everyone besides Tom Brady is a Tight End on this team anyway, so why spend big money in the off-season when you're just going to retrain them yourselves. Bill Belichick is a fahhhhhking genius! The Pats will once again coast into the playoffs due to the supreme mediocrity of the AFC, and especially their own divisions' ineptitude. This won't net Tom Brady any high fives, however. And now he's not even the Dreamboat of his own team.

NY J-E-S-T (7): Coach Rex Ryan is coachin' on borrowed time, since he should've been fired last season and all. But now he has Geno Smith, CJ2K, and Michael Vick as the in-flight entertainment on this squadron that is sure to draw more than a few comparisons to Malaysian Airlines' recent flight record. The J-E-T-S are jest the more entertaining of two NY football teams that will suck this year.

Buffalo Wills (6.5): It's a good thing their cheerleaders are instructed on proper vagina hygiene, cause Buffalo couldn't afford anything else stinking up their franchise. Their owner died, prompting Bon Jovi and others to try to buy them up and move the team elsewhere. They still have EJ Manuel under center and CJ Spiller should be able to put up some yards. But none of this matters because all the fans are blackout drunk.

Miami Dolphins (7.5): Miami was more of a bullying PSA than a pro football squadron last season. With a new coach and improved o-line, this team might actually do a bit better this season. But then again, no one cares because the city is soon to be swallowed by the ocean. But hey, maybe that'll be an advantage when the NFL hosts the Super Bowl on a lake.

AFC North:

Bodymore Ravens (8.5): My beloved Ravens won the off-season with most mugshots (five!). The acquisition of WR Steve "Ice up, son" Smith should result in more punches thrown than a Ray Rice date night. Rice, of course, was doled a suspension of 2 weeks for knocking out his fiancee (now wife for legal concerns), which is: 2 weeks less than Welker for MDMA, 2 weeks less than Prater for pot, 14 weeks less than Gordon for pot, and possibly 4 weeks less than Greg Hardy for domestic abuse. This season has blistering, elite mediocrity written all over it.

Cincinnati Bagels (9): While winning this division last year, the Bagels were immediately eliminated upon entering the playoffs. Let's see if we can make that 25 years without a playoff win! Apparently causing no injury to any parties in the playoffs means Cincinnati is no longer retaining the services of 'The Law Firm,' BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Prop Bet: Now that former Bagels WR Chad Johnson, née Ochocinco, is playing for the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, will he change his name to Chad Huitcinq?

Cleveland Browns (6.5): With star WR and choice fantasy keeper Josh Gordon suspended the entireseason for <looks up two teams, shudders, continues writing> smoking the ganja, the Browns season has taken a very Brownsian turn. Along with the excitement of drafting QB Johnnie Rookie Bitch and his Drinking Swan, the Browns have a new dog mascot name "Swagger," although the last thing with any swagger in Cleveland was the Cuyahoga River Fire. Those with children can do no better than purchase the coloring book, "Why Is Daddy Sad on Sunday?" to explain your pain.

Yinzburgh Steelers (8.5): The pre-season lesson of 2014 is that driving while stoned can get you a DUI, a fact at which at some point this season (or next), will result in the decimation of the Steelers running game for a few weeks. Snoop Dogg (Lion) hates your offensive coordinator and we're all just waiting for Big Ben to be the most sacked QB in history. This team is on the way to making it.

AFC South:

Texas Houstons (7.5): What a total and complete collapse last season was! Being the fairweather fans they are, they actually had to go BUY Matt Shaub jerseys before lighting them aflame. The star WR doesn't even want to be there with everyone's favorite Harvard grad throwing to him. This season's goal is another first draft pick. But hey, at least the defense is good.

Indy (9.5): Hahaha... your team own was arrested for Driving While Irsay! This season, the Slobbering Amish look to easily clinch their division again with arguably the best WR core in the league.

Jacksonville Baguars (5): Shrewd businessman and my commencement speaker Shad Khan knows you don't wanna watch the steaming mess on the field during a Jags game. That's why he's hanging out in the stadium cabana. And they built the world's largest Jumbotron, presumably to show highlights of more competitive matchups. And of course, rookie QB draftee Blake Bortles has a notably hot girlfriend.

Tennessee Titans (6.5): In the foothills of the Appalachian mountains lay a mysterious football team only spoken of in legend, located in a fabled city unreachable though the wastelands of southern Kentucky. Some say this team is just the hungover hallucinations of SEC football fans. Others use it as an explanation for the mysterious disappearance of once-viable football players. Wait, Chris 'Cop Speed' Johnson is back in the NFL!? Grab a seat 'round the campfire and I'll tell you the legend of the Tennessee Titans.

AFC West:

Denver Broncos (11.5): The Broncos are the World Champions of Losing Super Bowls, at five total! I also appreciate the symmetry of the first scoring play being a safety, while the last one was in the previous Super Bowl. This team will dominate the AFC yet again in the regular season, only to lose horribly at some point in the playoffs. Prop bet: is dropping clutch passes a side effect of the MDMA?

KC Chiefs (7.5): After rebounding from a pitiful 2-14 season, complete with coach/GM firing and player suicide, the KC Chiefs put together a dominant season only to be decimated in the playoffs by a classic showing of Andy Reid game management. The 28-point lead the Chiefs blew to the Colts Luck-ily outshines the 17-point one my Dirty Birds blew against the Niners the season before.

Oakland Raiders (4.5): The only team ballsy enough to start a rookie QB in Week 1, Oakland has surrounded him entirely with free-agent thirty-somethings, I suppose for the ability to recount days of former Raiders glory. Currently in a spat with the Oakland Athletics baseball team over the future of the stadium they share, the NFL could force the Niners to allow the Raiders to crash at their new place for awhile. Or more likely, hello San Antonio! Or Portland! Or one of 3 new LA stadium sites!

San Diego Superchargers (8.5): Will the FCC's proposed rule to end sports blackouts have any effect on attendance at the Q. The Q, derived from Qualcomm, a vaguely 90's-ish sounding cell phone company, that has the Chargers held hostage until the year 2020, with release earlier if they move to LA. I think this depends on how you define media market. Prop Bet: Will Philip Rivers be able to bring home a win for each of his, now seven, children?

NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys (7.5): The team that everyone finds great schadenfreude in each season looks poised to perform. Tony Romo has all the offensive weapons he could ask for, yet no defense, meaning those soul-crushing last-minute interceptions are already in the mail. And this happened.

NY Football Giants (7.5): Feeling that the offensive play-calling had gotten too conservative, noted old man and NYF Giants coach Tom Coughin hired a new OC to make it too confusing instead. This team is already a steaming pile of disappointment and Tom Coughlin is tired of talking about it. Having lived in NYC for a year now, it's apparent that there are two kinds of teams in this city: those that aresupposed to do well (Yankees/Giants), and those that fans hope just don't embarrass themselves too much (Mets/Jets).

Philadelphia Eagles (9): Wide Receiver and noted N-bomber Riley Cooper will soon be learning the meaning of coverage now that pseudo-gang member/affiliate Deshawn Jackson has been cut by the Iggles. QB Nick Foles might have a tough time maintaining his dominance from last season throwing to Cooper and the oft-injured Maclin, but at least he has 2 shitty former USC quarterbacks as backup. Actually I would rate this team as most likely to emerge from the tire fire that is the NFC East.

DC Fightin' Snyders (7.5): After signing contractual agreements with the US government, these once proud people had their rights revoked and can no longer enforce the trademark on their racist team name. This franchise will continue to ruin RGIII, but at least Deshawn Jackson should be an entertaining addition.

NFC North:

Da Bears (8.5): While technically not as good as last season's backup McCown, Jay Catler is getting paid the big bucks with a contract extension. Haunting the dreams of both children and NFL North rivals, coach Marc Trestman has shown how to run a dynamic offense, while the defense has somewhat languished (but hey, Jared Allen!). Strap in and take this team for a ride!

D'town lions (8.5): The Lions are expected to perform more as a fantasy football team than an actual one that needs to win games, rather than putting up big numbers. Trust me, I've got Stafford as my QB. And when he derps, it is Manning-esque in it's complete lack of grace. But at least you just hired the most boring head coach in the NFL.

Green Bay Packers (10.5): The cheeseheads fans of this team will once again cheer for the offensive production of QB Aaron Rodgers, assuming his collarbone isn't broken, while gorging themselves on all sorts of dairy products and/or beer. Now that the Vikes have been Gulag'd to playing outside for two seasons, will the Packers still claim that they love that cold weather football?

Minnesota Vikings (6.5): While it's easy to compare the implosion of the Metrodome with the Vikes' previous season, it takes some work to get the good people of Minnesota to build you a new stadium. Especially one that looks like the the Sandcrawler from Star Wars, is a death sentence for migratory birds, all while the team owner has actually been convicted of racketeering. Have fun playing in the cold the next two years!

NFC South:

ATL Dirty Birds (8.5): My beloved Dirty Birds went from four yards from the Super Bowl to four total wins ALL season. They fell out of the injury tree and hit every branch on the way down. And now HBO's'Hard Knocks' is here to watch them and Samuel L Jackson #RiseUp.

Carolina Panthers (7.5): Panthers' coach Ron Rivera became Riverboat Ron and then Analytical Ron last season in that he noticed that statistics actually often support going for it on 4th and short, and it might not be so crazy after all. As opposed to losing it in the most conservative way imaginable. Reminds me of Andy Reid's last exit from the playoffs. Anyway, it has been known in the modern era of football that wide receivers as essential elements to the game, so Ron is apparently transmuting to Balls-out Ron given the Panthers' dearth at the position.

NO Aints (10.5): QB Drew Brees could be forgiven for dressing up as Noah from the Old Testament, since he was drafted the year after New Orleans was underwater (and the team nearly moved to San Antonio). Defensive coordinator and sometime parade leader Rob Ryan has promised the NO defensewill get weird. He's probably just confusing ménage à trois with three-safety sets. Yet I have no reason to disbelieve him.

Tampa Bay Bucs (7): While showing no MRSA in their four total wins last season, the Bucs were busily conducting the business of dysfunction: trading your starting QB midseason, firing your coach/GM,firing cannons off randomly, and of course hosting antibiotic-resistant bacteria. On the plus side, theysuper-sized the helmet logo so the old people of Florida might have an easier time rooting for them.

NFC West:

Santa Clara 49ers (10.5): The Niners' new park, the Field of Jeans, opens for the 2014 season in somewhat nearby Silicon Valley. Oakland hasn't even moved in yet and they're already tearing up theturf. With so many fans getting stabbed outside the old stadium, the new security protocols prohibit playing catch and playing loud music at tailgates. No wonder the Seattle trolls these guys so hard. Like that time they convinced BART to paint the trains Seahawks colors.

Seattle Seahawks (11): The World Champion (of Football) Seahawks had a productive offseason, with Richard Sherman getting into a twitter fight with every player in the NFL to Russell Wilson attempting to save us from the impending Entourage movie.
StL Rams (6.5): The pressure is on StL's starting QB to win the job in the final season of his contract... and Sam Bradford is out for the season with a torn ACL! Guess maybe the Rams should've considered that possibility. Oh well, no worries. The StL Cards are division leaders and the Rams are moving back to LA anyway, where they can be neglected by physically more attractive people.

Zony Cards (7.5): After their statistically best season since moving to Arizona, clinching the much-coveted 3rd spot of the NFC East, the Cardinals look to improve by leaving Larry Fitzgerald out there in the metaphorical and physical desert. With Carson Palmer behind the wheel of this offense and everyone else injured or suspended already, the Zony Cards should have no trouble parking in that 3rd spot.

Your first game of the season is a repeat of the Fail Mary game as the Seahawks host, and then proceed to dominate, the GB Packers. Rodgers not once tried throwing to Sherman's side, thinking that might be the only way to shut him up. And the rest... we shall see! As for watching, Hilal and I will be somewhere in the Carroll Garden neighborhood of Brooklyn.