In 2004, that line pretty much summed up George W. Bush’s re-election slogan. He ran a presidential campaign based entirely on fear — and it worked. The slogan later became Bush’s swan song when he left office, since there wasn’t much else to brag about during eight years of crony capitalism, unless pushing the economy to the brink of depression deserves mention.
Indeed, at least President Bush could make one bold claim, which was — “he kept us safe.”
We won’t spend too much time here, citing the obvious white elephant taking a dump on simple logic. Recall, the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor happened on President Bush’s watch. Accordingly, for anyone to suggest the former president “kept the nation safe” brings to mind the absurd imposition hypothetically posed to Mary Todd Lincoln on the night of her husband’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre. “Other than the gunshot blast to your husband’s temple, Mrs. Lincoln — did you enjoy the play?”
A few days ago, a story appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal about a so-called “superstar DJ.”
I know. I had to do a doubletake on that one, too. “SUPERSTAR DJ.”
He reportedly earned $2 million last year.
Just in case you don’t get it — a “superstar DJ” is a personality (I cringe at the notion of celebrity) who is invited to a special event — usually a hot nightclub opening or swim party — to come in and (hold your breath) spin records.
That’s right — spin records. As in pop a few LPs on a turntable and pump up the volume.
Which begs the first question — wouldn’t it be a helluva’ lot easier to just load up a few CDs, hit the “play” button, and watch the dancing begin? In the ecstasy-laced fantasyland of velvet ropes, VIP lines, and $22 cocktails, you think anyone in these high-priced insane asylums would know the fucking difference?
So, like I said — the “superstar DJ” shows up on a busy Friday or Saturday night and plays club music. You know what I’m talking about — that inpenatrable thunder of batshit with the bass turned up so fucking loud your eardrums explode. You know, that techno-jizz created by pre-programmed software. You know, that mindless industrial gunk played so goddamned loud you can’t even hear the person next to you screaming in your ear. Then again, maybe that’s the appeal.
I’m told these clubs are little more than meat markets. How anyone actually picks up someone in one of these places is a complete mystery. I mean, what’s a the typical opening line, “What a nice girl like you doing in a shithole like this?”
The opening scene in “Beasts of the Southern Wild” begins with great promise. We’re introduced to an enchanting seven-year-old girl, played to perfection by newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis. She takes us by the hand on what will be a narrative adventure into her unseen world — the murky backwaters of the Louisiana Bayou. As starting credits rolled, I thought to myself that I was about to experience one of the best films of the year.
Instead, an hour later, I was standing out in the lobby following a walkout.
So — what happened?
Critics have fallen all over themselves in reviews of this film. It’s received almost universal praise – for cinematography, story, performances, and originality.
It’s easy to see why the reviews have been so positive. Indeed, the film is original. It’s emotional. It’s a tremendous cinematic achievement, especially given its low budget ($1.8 million, paltry by Hollywood standards). Filming in a swamp, which is the setting for the entire film, must have been a daunting challenge. Moreover, for a film with no known actors, the performances prove to be not only realistic, but perhaps too convincing for conventional tastes.
There was some encouraging news last week. A series of polls was conducted in several nations. The polls intended to measure religious faith and atheism. The findings were published last Friday.
The bottom line is — religion is on the decline. Or, as I prefer to think of it — enlightenment is on the rise.
That’s positive news to those of us fatigued by the insufferable influences of religion on politics and society. How refreshing to learn that increasing numbers of people everywhere are rebuffing the archaic superstition of some giant “sky daddy,” rejecting the whimsy of a paternal heavenly dictator who sees and knows all.
If the poll numbers are to be believed, the shifts in faith (and lack thereof) are stunning. Globally, belief in religion declined 9 percent since a similar poll was taken back in 2005. That’s just eight years ago. This number is based on 50,000 people who were polled in 57 different countries.
In the United States, the number of religious followers declined by 13 percent. But that number pales in comparison to Ireland, where religiosity declined by a whopping 22 percent. To be fair, the weakening of Irish faith may have a lot to do with recent scandals that have plagued the Catholic Church, which remains the dominant faith in Ireland.
In 2001, I spent the entire summer creating my halftime betting angles, which could be applied across the board to all NFL regular season and playoff games.
I released these betting angles at a major sports betting information website. The angles were later re-printed numerous times in several other betting forums and publications.
These seven betting angles hit in the 53-60 percent rate over two decades. They actually performed even better after their public release — hitting around 62 percent in both 2001 and 2002. There were about 4 to 5 plays per week, so not only were these angles extremely profitable, they also produced a fair amount of volume. Best of all, these was absolutely no handicapping involved.
The downside to releasing and popularizing these halftime betting angles is many football bettors gradually caught on to them. They began to lose value as heavy money poured in every time there was a play. Opening halftime lines began changing. Totals moved by a point, or move. For instance, we never used to see anything below a 17 as a second-half total. Now, 16s are commonplace.
Over the course of the next few seasons (2003 and beyond), the sportsbooks/oddsmakers caught on to these angles and began adjusting their numbers so much that betting these angles blindly was no longer profitable.
Moreover, two trends in recent years have severely hurt the angles. First, NFL rule changes tend to favor offenses which creates more scoring. Second, NFL quarterback play is now at its all-time historic pinnacle, which kills opportunities to bet second-half UNDERS.
Unlike what I first released ten years ago, I do not have confidence that all of these angles will produce a profit. However, I am posting them here for consideration if anyone wants to tinker with them, try and refine them, or run the W-L results since 2005. Some bettors have told me that some of these angles (mostly the OVERS) are still profitable. But I have not run the actual the data. So, tread with caution.
You will please forgive one disclaimer. I put in a massive number of hours doing research coming up with these angles. Over the years, many writers and fellow football handicappers have purged them without proper attribution. All I ask is to be credited with doing the research. I think that’s fair.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED — MAY BE REPRINTED ONLY IF AUTHOR IS CREDITED
PART 1: GENERAL THOUGHTS
Just as there are “key” numbers is side betting and game totals, there are also key numbers in second-half totals. The key numbers are as follows: 17, 20, and 24.