Sunday, January 5, 2014

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: January 5th

First of all, Happy New Year!

I am writing this entry on a Sunday, after some very dramatic NFL football.  Coach invited two friends of his to the apartment to watch 49ers/Packers.  Thrilling game!   I wasn't sure if the 49ers would pull it out, but their defense held true when it counted.  It was a low scoring game and it went in SF's favor.  Got a juicy story coming up but first some NFL thoughts...

Boy!  That capped an all-around terrific NFL Wild Card Round.  Every game exciting... not every one was decided on the last play but 3 of the 4 were and it was a ton of fun to watch.

I suppose I could spend some time writing about the big winners and losers.  All right here we go.


Well, obviously the teams that won the games are big winners:  Colts, huge comeback.  49ers, won an emotional, tough road game at Lambeau.  Chargers, the magic ride continues!   Saints, finally shook off the demons and mixed it up with a running game at Philly.

But you know what else?  I think you have some other winners in effect, even for teams that lost.

The Eagles had a winning season and a good finish despite the loss in their playoff game.  They were finished, completely written off, when Chip Kelly turned it around with the help of Nick Foles.  I don't think Foles is that good but I think the Eagles found a good groove with improved defense, great offensive line protection, and continued greatness from RB LeSean McCoy.

The Packers went through quite a lot, losing Rodgers for a big part of the year, and winning some tough games.  Their defense showed some heart against the 49ers.  They also found, in a twist, a dependable running game.  Eddie Lacy has been remarkable this season, and much needed.  It's a long-needed option which now will open up the Packers' offense for real.  What a great find for the Pack.


...and OH are they big losers today!   First the Chiefs.  It was tough to really criticize them too hard but MY GOODNESS, how do you blow a 28 point lead in a PLAYOFF GAME when your QB throws four touchdowns.  Never did I see a team play more "not to lose" than to win like I did with KC on Saturday.  It was simply deplorable how little the Chiefs did to play aggressively in the 3rd and 4th quarters.  I have to peg that on Andy Reid.   Even with the injuries, most teams would close a game in which they had a 28 point lead.

Bengals.  I think Cincy has had enough.   Between Andy Dalton's turnover bugaboo and Marvin Lewis' awful job in playoff games, one or both have to go.  It's as simple as that.  The rest of the team has *way* too much talent to be underperforming in the playoffs.   It needs to happen immediately.  NOW.

That does it for NFL thoughts.  Now time to get into the good stuff...

I think Friday and Saturday combined to be a very good weekend, but Friday in particular.   A friend and I had the idea to go to Pasadena on Friday night, since we were about 3 days away from the BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.   When we went, we thought "I bet you we'll find some Auburn and Florida State Fans there", well we didn't just find fans there, we saw ESPN's Chris Fowler watching the end of the Cotton and Orange Bowl games at local Pasadena hotel bar!  Would you believe it?

I remember going to the bar to watch the end of the game and I saw him there at a tiny table just behind the bar itself with his wife and I caught him in the corner of my eye.  I started watching the game, and what a bunch of jokers that Orange Bowl game had... Clemson and Ohio State turning the ball over and over.  Anyway, I peeked juuust a little to my left and it clicked that "hey!  That looks like Chris Fowler!"   But I kept watching, and waited to hear him talk just to make sure.  Well surely enough, there's his familiar voice explaining to his wife about Florida State this and Auburn that and I think I even heard him go "Crazy game!" in response to the Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl in progress.

What a scene it was... a pretty crowded bar, the in-house Friday Jazz band was out near the balcony playing some smooth jazz standards, and many huddled around three miniscule flat panel TV screens all in a stack over the bartender's shoulder.   My friend didn't care about football so I had to go back from time to time to not leave the person behind.  

Finally I go back one last time and Braxton Miller bumbles the game with his final interception.  And we all have our various reactions.  Mine was a facepalm because I thought Ohio State was actually going to win it.  Meanwhile, our friend Chris goes to his phone... I bet you he was in the process of writing this tweet:

4 BCS bowls, 4 upsets. Doubt that's happened before. But I'm in a bar, so I'm not gonna look it up.

Boy can you believe that???  In the same bar as Chris Fowler!   I wanted to go over to him and thank him for his many years of great work on ESPN, but I thought better of it since he was chatting w/ his spouse anyway.  Why interrupt a great moment?

But, you know my impression of all this?   Chris Fowler has a TRUE enthusiasm for college football.  Some broadcasters are pros, do their job, but think of it as a job.  Fowler has forever taken his work as a privilege and it's obvious that he has so much enthusiasm for the NCAA.  It's really quite cool, and he has been quite cool with his fans as well.   Fowler will never have the same attention given to him as say a Britney Spears or a Kim Kardashian, but he's been tremendous for so long.    To me, he is a broadcasting icon to be compared with the likes of Dick Enberg or even Walter Cronkite.

Lastly on Fowler, he is in unbelievable shape!  The guy must work out constantly... I don't know how old he is but he seems to be the same age as my father, and he's in as good a shape as anyone who plays football, bball, tennis, or any sport.

This next adage is dedicated to my friend in the Pennsylvania region, who we call "inderebuilding."   He fell positively in love with a place in Pasadena called "Pie n' Burger."  When you see the burgers and pies they have there, you'd fall in love too:

This photo is nothing but inspiring to me.  I had a burger just like that on Friday night, before the Pasadena bar affair.  With the burger, toasted to perfection, grilled just right, with fresh fixings, the thousand island sauce, and a slice of American cheese.  Complimenting it was a slice of fresh Apple Pie, right out of the oven a-la-mode with Vanilla ice cream.  It was simply delicious!

If I was just a spirit with no physical body to worry about, I would eat a Pie n' Burger hamburger three times a day every day, so long as I "lived."   Sadly, I am human and have physical constraints lest I become a blimp.  I only go to the PNB once every 2-3 months if that.  When I go, it's like an event!

Now Saturday was eventful too... we went to Chili's to see the Chiefs/Colts game, then we switched venues to the apartment to watch the Saints beat the Eagles.   Saturday night, we went to Enterprise Fish Company for a late night happy hour.  Tremendous time I had... Coach was in effect consuming some beverages.  I had two beers, nothing serious, and added some complimentary sourdough bread.  We were just enjoying our time and even saw some babes in the room.  

I think if there was one disappointment from the weekend, and I wouldn't even call it this, because it's just a mismatch of intended tastes, but the "disappointment" of sorts was the breakfast burrito I had on Sunday morning.  It was from a place called "Marmalade Cafe" and it was a quality burrito... but it was not what I was looking for.  The breakfast burrito had eggs, a lot of fresh veggies, some black beans, and only a little cheese.  It was the healthiest breakfast burrito I *ever* had.   Tremendous, but not my style.  For breakfast burritos, I usually am after copious amounts of cheese, potatoes, bacon, eggs, and in some cases chorizo.  However, the healthy styled burrito worked in my favor as we had snacks later in the day.

That's all from here.  The busy part of the calendar year is now behind me and a new year begins.  I hope to keep writing new stories to share with you!  Thanks for reading.  'Til tomorrow!

oh and...



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