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Waxing Poetic

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Initially built by NASA to set lines for the Las Vegas casinos in the late 50’s (who do you think funded the Apollo missions? The government? It was the mob…), The Sin City Betbot 6000 calculated lines for over 30 years. The Betbot was given various upgrades through the years, not always with the best equipment, but he was very good at setting lines, and living the good life.

The Betbot was de-commissioned in 1990 after San Francisco destroyed Denver in the Super Bowl. The 45 point spread simply fried a number of the Betbot’s wires and he retired. The Betbot was discovered by and retooled to give fantasy advice. He lives now to give his own unique, well cultured take on the NFL.The Sin City Betbot 6000 Presents is transcribed by Joe Petrizzi and Tom Walls because “typing.. .BZZT… is a dame’s job”.

I was recently flipping through my well worn copy of De Rerum Natura by 1st Century BC philosopher Lucretius. De Rerum Natura translates from the Latin to On the Nature of Things. It’s a poem. A very long poem. In it, Lucretius describes the key elements of the universe. Lucretius was a follower of the philosopher, Epicurus (he’s where we get the term Epicurean, for a lover of good food). I live my life guided by two books, The Bible, and this poem.

In a time where people lived in constant fear of retribution by the gods, where everything was fated by the gods; Lucretius posited the following:

  • Evolution
  • Free will
  • The seemingly random nature of the Universe (he called it The Swerve)
  • The nature of space as a void
  • Atoms (yes, atoms)
  • Atheism
  • Lack of an afterlife
  • The pursuit of pleasure as a guiding principle in life

Now, one word on atheism, I’m a God-fearing Catholic, annd that doesn’t fly with me. Obviously, I also believe in an after life, and look forward to being the last sentient being stewarded into Heaven. But I live my life as a true Epicurean, life is meant to be enjoyed.

I was pondering this poem, and the long lasting effects of the poem itself. In the book The Swerve, How the World Became Modern author Stephen Greenblatt posits that the poem has greatly influenced the following (among many others):

  • The Declaraton of Independence (Thomas Jefferson was a fan, replace ‘The pursuit of pleasure’ with ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ and you get the idea)
  • Physics to this day
  • The Renaissance
  • Utopia by St. Thomas More
  • The Botticelli painting ‘The Birth of Venus’
  • Darwinism
  • Modern psychology (Freud was also a fan)

I thought to myself…BZZZT… How amazing is it that Epicurus and Lucretius influenced so much? There is absolutely no way they could know the effect they’d have on the world 2,000 years later. No way they could have guessed at the cascading events they set in motion. It was totally unforeseeable to them.

Then I thought, Roger Goodell had to know what was coming when he put untrained referees out in the field of play. He had to absolutely know it was a complete cluster…BZZZT…bomb. He absolutely could see this disaster coming. And yet, he let it happen. Don’t believe him when he tells you after an agreement is reached that he didn’t know it would be as bad as it was, because he knew it would be very ugly.

NFC NOTES – You know – one more note about the replacement refs. What I can’t stand, I mean besides the NFL allowing this to happen; is the attitude of the sports analysts and commentators who mock the replacement refs out there. Look, I don’t …BZZZT…like scabs (more on my relationship with Jimmy Hoffa next week), but the refs were put out onto a NFL field with no good training. They were basically fed to the wolves. The derision and contempt they are treated with feels slimy to me. Blast Goodell and the owners; or the ‘real’ refs; but the mocking of the people out there now is too easy and wrong-headed.

The problem with the poor officiating is that it can hide which teams are good, and which are bad to the untrained eye. Some things you can see clear as day - like which teams tackle and block well, and which don’t. The Cardinals, Seahawks , Falcons and Giants are all blocking and tackling well right now. I can’t say that for anyone else in the NFC.

If you are looking for me to eat crow over my preseason Cardinals prediction (that they would be horrible) you will get no such thing. Yes, they have already been significantly better than horrible, thanks to a very frisky defensive unit playing way above expectations - especially LB Daryl Washington. However, an offense with so few weapons cannot stand. It’s basically Larry Fitzgerald and (crickets) - I can’t see that lasting.

The Cowboys offense has been very pedestrian. And Dez Bryant has been horribly underwhelming. Bryant can’t seem to get open – at all. Unless Bryant can get open, the Cowboys will struggle, or Bryant will get benched. There is also a high probability that he will spend a significant amount of money this season on booze and strippers. Personally I find nothing wrong with that lifestyle, for the record. You only live once.

The Vikings are a pleasant surprise. Christian Ponder is managing the game well, and seems to be in rhythm with Percy Harvin. I wouldn’t be opposed to looking at Ponder as a low-end QB1 option if you are in a decent league.

AFC NOTES - A quick note to remind you that Indianapolis and Pittsburgh are on a bye this week. As long as you are not reading this Sunday at 1:15, this shouldn’t really impact you. And if you are reading this Sunday at 1:15, what is wrong with you? Tony gets this stuff posted on Friday so you can read it instead of working. Sundays are for drinking and gambling on football, right? Well, at least that’s the way I’m programmed.

The Steelers and the Patriots are both 1-2, and while it’s still too early to panic over win/loss records this is still an unexpected turn of events given their reputations. Pittsburgh looks to be in worse shape but keep in mind that their defense is much less effective without Troy Polamalu and James Harrison. I suspect both of these teams will be in the mix come December.

Kellen Winslow asked for his release from the Patriots already after chipping in one catch for 12 yards. Thanks for showing up, champ.

I recommend patience with all young franchise QBs, but honestly I don’t think Blaine Gabbert has what it takes to succeed at this level. Now, I have not watched a whole lot of the Jaguars this season, primarily because I watch NFL Red Zone and they are almost never actually in scoring position. However, this guy was the 10th overall pick in the draft last year, and I find it troubling that he still has not cut his damn hair. Look the part, Blaine. Also, regarding your 50% completion rate? Work on that, too.

The Browns have a player named Frostee Rucker. The AFC North is filled with great names.

What left is there to say about Jamaal Charles? This kid can play, and of course you know that. But surrounded by nothing in Kansas City, well ...BZT... color me very impressed. BetBot favorite Dwayne Bowe is lurking, but he’s really not a factor as long as Matt Cassel is at the helm. But Charles is making some serious noise, and this only a year or so after blowing out a knee. Cheers to you, good sir. Speaking of Cassel, how is Scott Pioli still employed? That Bill Belichick shine must have dulled by now, right? I’m glad the Chiefs aren’t my team.

San Diego Chargers...still a waste of time. Norv Turner looks like a vampire and perhaps that’s why he’s still coaching this team. He can’t be killed. Seriously, tweet @betbot6k if you’ve see Norv Turner during the day. I’m curious about this.

And since I started you with a poem, I will end with a poem. Till next time...

Showgirls and gin, friends...

Showgirls and gin. Makes a nice

pair... showgirls and gin.