Fantasy Football Draft Recap
Politics! Fantasy football! I'm that guy you hate! Anyway, this happening. Worse, there's going to be another next week for the Game of Thrones-inspired The Cal Drogo.
(Note: I said that solely because I keep getting search hits from people looking for "Game of Thrones Fantasy Football Team Name." I'm currently #4 behind things that aren't even about fantasy football. I want to be #1. So I'm going to keep saying Game of Thrones and fantasy football until it happens. You've been warned).
This week's team, however, is:
Look, it's a league with other writers, what do you want from me? Although, yes, it's true, I probably didn't need to spend all that time photoshopping a bowler onto the 3rd string quarterback from Philadelphia's head.
Round 1 - Arian Foster, RB
It's not so much that I love Foster as I love his odd first name. What did the nurses think when his mom said it for the first time? How many times until he became famous was it spelled "Aryan"? How uncomfortable would it make everyone if I renamed my team "The Arian Brotherhood." Still, as the guy with the 2nd pick in the draft, I feel good about Foster. I could have had Peterson, too, and while I would love a guy with my own last name, I just hate his offensive line, his fumbles, and the fact that nothing about "Adrian" name makes me laugh. Well, okay, that's not true.
(Update: Within hours after I wrote this it came out that Foster's hamstring "tweak" might actually be a tear that could cause him to miss a few weeks. Damnit).
Round 2 - Shonn Greene, RB
Shut up. Just shut up. He ruined my team last year, his team might throw more this year, his name is equally misspelled but not nearly as funny, and he plays for a team I hate. Otherwise, this was a great pick. Seriously though, I panicked. Was a tough spot since the guy I wanted (Larry Fitzgerald) was picked one spot ahead an it was a weird nether region of 3rd tier running backs and 2nd tier wide receivers. Despite all this, I actually do think Greene can have a good--even great--season. LT is fading into the background, the Jets are still going to run a lot because Mark Sanchez sucks, and Greene showed he was ready at the end of last season.
I still hate this pick.
Round 3 - Tom Brady, RB
I wanted to make sure I had two guys on my team that I really hated. Still, I actually feel really good about this pick as he was the last marquee QB. And by marquee QB, I literally mean he would rather be on a marquee than play football. When he quits midway through the season to take over the role of Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones, my fantasy football team is going to be totally Game of Thrones fantasy football GoT fantasy football team names winter is coming.
Round 4 - Dez Bryant, WR
You know how you haven't heard anything about Dez Bryant this offseason? No fighting teammates, no oddly large jewelry debts, no getting kicked out of bars? Yeah, I like that. I believe. Still, as my #1 receiver in a 10-team league, I think we can safely say my receivers are the weak point which is why...
Round 5 - Antonio Gates, TE
I had Antonio Gates on my team once and it was like having Wesley Clark in your war. Things got done, nobody got hurt, we all thought--hey, that went really well, shouldn't it always go that well? It better. I love Antonio Gates.
Round 6 - Marques Colston, WR
Just a solid performer who I think is in for a good season. I really wanted Brandon Marshall here, but unfortunately he went like 26 picks before. I wasn't really paying attention. Colston is probably in the "other guys on this team need the ball now" stage of his career, but he's still a good bet for yards, touchdowns, and consistency.
Round 7 - Matt Schaub, QB
I actually don't remember if I took him or the next pick here, but I did like grabbing Schaub. I have no idea why nobody else grabbed him (Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger [who when I misspelled his name autocorrect suggested I switch to 'Brotherhood' which is both sort of right and completely wrong], and Josh Freeman are other starting QBs in this league). I'm pretty sure I can trade Schaub at some point or, at worst, he's a strong backup.
Round 8 - Beanie Wells, RB
They have no one else to run the ball, and they have to run, right? Right? Please? I always pick guys like this and they always end up sucking. O well. Both him and Greene could be awesome or terrible. There really doesn't seem to be an inbetween.
Rounds 9 - the end in some order:
Kenny Britt, WR - He's had the opposite of Dez Bryant's offseason and yet for some reason I love the idea of Hassleback throwing him the ball. He's good.
Steve Smith, WR (Panthers) - As long as the playoffs are played using stats from 2005, he should be a good pick.
Jonathan Stewart, RB - I don't know. I remember wanting someone who wasn't him, but, well, here we are with two players from the worst team in football back-to-back. Best case scenario is DeAngelo Williams gets injured. Which seems likely. O, and Stewart himself is not injured. This seems less likely.
Michael Crabtree, WR - You'll notice none of my backups come from teams with good QBs. That might be an issue. O well. I love Crabtree and think if he's healthy he could have a good year no matter who is throwing him the ball. Except he's not healthy and no one is going to be throwing the ball.
Ben Tate, RB - Arian insurance. Which, incidentally, is something you can buy in Mississippi.
Alex Henery, K - What can I say, a homer pick. Nebraska!
Miami Dolphins, D - Same. I'm probably going to just go ahead and drop them week one when they play New England. Still, I think Miami's defense is going to be pretty damn impressive this season. I mean, they were last season and have only gotten better. Still, I don't want to mess with Tom Brady star of the hit HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones. Not when my good fantasy football team name is on the line.
Draft grade: B. I feel like I've got limited upside, especially with some of my backups, but that overall this team is likely to be a consistently strong performer. Need to get another WR and hope that one of Wells and Greene shows up, but if those things happen, it's a good team.
Politics. Why not.
So, as a current Texan--god, I hate that--I've got some thoughts on Rick Perry. They're not particularly revolutionary, but I sense a lot of my non-Texan, liberal friends are suddenly scared of Mr. Perry which, frankly, they probably should be. He's terrifying.
At first. And that's sort of the genius of him, really. He cuts a swaggering and invulnerable figure in Texas and as a national candidate, he really seems uniquely suited to take on the president--religious, Tea Party-approved, perceived to be anomalously successful economically over the last few years, and, perhaps most importantly, folksy and headstrong in a way that contrasts wildly with the president. So why did major Republicans make a renewed push to lure a Chris Christie or a Paul Ryan into the race immediately after Perry entered? O, right, there's the little matter of him being exactly like George W. Bush only, somehow, worse.
That might seem unfair. Perry is, after all, his own man, yet one can't listen to him speak without immediately thinking of our 43rd president. It's almost bizarre how identical Perry-the-candidate is to Bush-the-candidate. All the policies are the same—and, again, sometimes worse—only this time Perry doesn't have to bother with wrapping himself in some moderating blanket like "Compassionate conservative." That's good because he probably wouldn't be able to pull it off half as well and bad because, well, Perry's still got to convince the rest of the non-Tea Party world to vote for him.
And this is where anyone concerned with Rick Perry should calm down. George W. Bush remains wildly unpopular and, as much as anything else, this should put a damper on his general election hopes. You might think it's superficial, but it's a real issue for Republicans and they know it. All the conservatives who now claim never to have liked the second Bush are obviously ready to move on in the cause of anyone-but-Obama, but for the rest of us, a serious Perry campaign would mean asking hard questions about the last administration and whether or not we're willing to risk a return to it. And then there's this: George W. could come off as a common man, Rick Perry--far more common in background and education--comes off as an arrogant bully and a substantially less intelligent one than our former president.
This is not to say a Perry campaign is hopeless (anything but). The president has done more than enough to make himself vulnerable, and his best hope seems to be to convince the country that the Republicans had it out for him and were willing to sacrifice the country to take down his presidency (pretty much true). Will he be able to do it? Probably. Or maybe I just don't think this country is yet willing to risk another dick swinging Texas Republican. O, sure, we might say we want it now, but once the general election rolls around, it's hard to see how hardline positions about never raising taxes and social security being a Ponzi scheme are going to get one to 50% of the vote.
In this sense, Romney is still the Republicans' best choice (though I'm starting to think his nomination over Perry might risk a Tea Party-backed 3rd party candidacy from someone like Bachman), but it seems increasingly unlikely that he'll be the nominee when no Republican seems to actually want to vote for him. Establishment Republicans seem all too aware that Perry is going to be the candidate non-insiders rally around--and that's why he's different from late entries of bygone days like Fred Thompson and Wesley Clark--and they want another option. It's not that Perry doesn't have the best chance of winning out of the current field, it's that they're afraid the current field might top out at 46% of the electorate.
Looking at polls, a couple of things seem clear. No one likes Republicans and no one likes the economy. Weirdly, people still like Obama, at least personally (although they may be beginning to separate his performance from his personality), and it seems like the only candidate who could beat him would somehow have to make the case he or she can fix the economy and not be an ideologue. This, obviously, is where Perry fails, at least at the moment. Smart Republicans know that his gender is not going to make him immune from the Sarah Palin treatment and dumb ones think he can win with the Tea Party alone.
And who knows, maybe he can. Obama has to find a better reason to bring out his voters again than 'I'm not an idiot and the other guys might be.' But Perry might actually tip the scales too far. God knows there are plenty of liberals who are going to hear him talk and think of G.W. At the point, it becomes anyone but him, and then you might see a left as invigorated as the right.
This is why Ryan and Christie are such attractive candidates to Beltway Republicans. They have all Perry's positives (perceived economic credentials, Tea Party-approved, vaguely presidential) and none of his negatives (neither seems like a Multiplicity-esque 5th generation George W. Bush clone). Ryan is obviously the lesser of the two but even still, he'd give mainstream Republicans cover to avoid a Bachman or Perry candidacy. Tim Pawlenty badly miscalculated when he decided to veer hard right (or maybe he just didn't see Bachman coming from his own backyard) and Huntsman, God bless him, seems close to agreeing with everyone else that he should really be a Democrat (points to him, however, for being the only non-major contender to realize that courting the Tea Party is a fool's errand with Bachman [and now Perry] around). So it's only Perry that seems like a legit option, and a legit option he is.
In an open election, he might even justify some of the fear he's been producing, but, then again, in an open election, he'd definitely have to beat Chris Christie and a slew of other more mainstream challengers. Without those more electable options, he's running for the title of "least obviously retrograde" which, in this climate, might have a shot. After all, 30% of the people would probably rather die than vote for Obama which might mean a lot except that 40% will probably feel the same way about Perry once they get to know him.
Of course, Perry--like Bush before him--might find a way to moderate himself in time for the general election, but it’s important to note that Bush never had to swing nearly this hard to the right. More than that, of course, is that Perry doesn’t want to moderate himself (you’ve got to think his advisors hate the fact that Perry published a book full of radically hard right positions [flat tax!] back when he didn’t think he’d be a candidate and now has to carry those ideas into this election).
So maybe Obama does end up facing something like a Perry-Huntsman ticket (which, though I highly doubt it would happen, would be the smartest pick Perry could make. He’ll probably find some elder Republican with economic and foreign policy credentials). Is that the worst case scenario? Not really. Even a moderate VP pick isn’t going to soften Perry up enough for the general populace, and his economic ideas are a tough sell, no matter what he claims to have done in Texas. And this remains the most important point: even with this economy, George W. Bush wouldn’t be able to beat Obama in ’12. Why would a dumber, more radical imitation?
You Know, For Kids
I love everything about this Craigslist post.
What terrible things is a child reared in that bed going to do? Or maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. That child is going to be really good at a lot of things. Like headlocks. Headlocks are important.
My favorite part are the keywords hidden in the ad which I've arranged below in order of relevance from "Well, I Guess" to "What the Hell?"
custom (so you said)
mma (it's not an octagon, but it'll do)
new (so no blood stains...yet)
baby (and he always will be if he can't take a punch better than that)
solid (does seem to be made of durable fencing materials)
real (unfortunately it appears so)
coarse (I think you mean crude)
sofas/couch (I do need one...)
four/six (years until the first murder)
silver (seems black as the devil's eyes)
kid a (like, the Radiohead album?)
french (let's not tell them about this)
By Anne Marie Rooney
1 tape-bound volume
Book Design by William Todd Seabrook
Cover Design by Betsy Seymour
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*ABOUT THE VOLUME*
Silicone trenches. Gold amphitheaters. Whole red rivers. The clouds, the clouds, the clouds. Through the gutpunch sentences of these twenty-eight pieces you'll get taken to stark, secret places. It's not so much the beauty you'll find there as it is the horror, the cold sweat. This is The Buff. This is surrealism's new texture. "It was a strange world," this narrator insists, "and I was in it."
Read more excerpts here.
*ABOUT THE AUTHOR*
Anne Marie Rooney's first book, Spitshine, is forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon University Press. She is the recipient of the Iowa Review Award, the Gulf Coast Poetry Prize, and the Amy Award, and her writing has appeared in the Best New Poets and Best American Poetry anthologies. Born and raised in New York City, she recently earned her M.F.A. from Cornell University, and currently lives in New Orleans with her partner. Anne Marie hopes to live in a lighthouse when she grows up.
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The Cupboard is pleased to announce the results of its first-ever contest.
David Hawkins, Lorraine Nelson: A Biography in Post-It Notes
JoAnna Novak, Drape Your Wrist with an Expensive Wristwatch
Josh Cook, The Mysterious City
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John Stadler, dear comrade
We would like to thank everyone who entered and again congratulate our finalists.
*OUR NEXT VOLUME*
Our contest winner, Lorraine Nelson: A Biography in Post-It Notes by David Hawkins, will be the next volume of The Cupboard. Look for it this fall.
The Authentic Animal
Dave Madden's The Authentic Animal is available today, and you should pick it up even if he did refuse to name the chapter about pet taxidermy "Stay" (or did I want "Play Dead"? I can't even remember). In any case, it's one of many delightful ruminations on animals, death, and our relationship with both to be found underneath that beautiful cover. I've been lucky enough to watch this manuscript grow up and the time, effort, and viscera-witnessing that went into it makes it well worth the wait. You want this book. Buy it today and make Dave's book the number one rated Zoology book on Amazon. Together, we can do this.
(The current number one is a book about animals being friends with each other. Come on, America.)
It's not, of course, a Zoology book, not really. The chapters here are smart and often personal explorations of why we choose to preserve dead animals (but not--or at least not typically--dead humans) and how, beyond that, we've turned it into an art. The best thing about the book is how it isn't for the taxidermy enthusiast or even taxidermy-inclined but for the curious, the sort of reader who wants to understand. Dave's book seems to begin there, with a question over who we are and why we do what we do, and over the next 90,000 words moves toward explaining what compels us. It's not a book stupid enough to turn taxidermy into a metaphor for everything, but it is a book smart enough to acknowledge that even the tiniest subcultures, even taxidermists, are simply one more attempt to know and control our world.
And, on a more personal note, Dave's been my writing best friend, Cupboard co-editor, and title decliner for almost as long as he's been working on this book. He's a brilliant writer, and I'm thrilled to see this book get the publication and attention it deserves. I would consider you helping him out by purchasing it, reading it, loving it, and spreading the word a favor.