Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fantasy Draft Party Tips

Hi Everybody. This post has been provided by my friends at Enjoy!

We are just weeks away from the start of yet another NFL season, and fans around the world are excited to say the least. Not only are they ready to root on their favorite teams, but a majority of fans are also preparing for fantasy football. More and more die-hard fantasy players are hosting actual parties for owners to officially kick off the season. What makes a fantasy draft party great? Here are a few tips.

The main thing any host should do is make this seem like an official kickoff party for the regular season. Maybe plan hosting the party during a key preseason game. Yes, it is preseason, but it gives a nice backdrop to the event. People can look over the 2015 fantasy football rankings while preparing for the season ahead. No one will really care if a bunch of third stringers are playing on the screen.

Obviously, this party is going to differ from a Super Bowl party, but they will share a lot of the same qualities as well. For starters, the fantasy owners are probably all close friends, so it is the same group. The food planning and layout will be similar as well. Remember, the more comfort food and seating, the better.

Finally, most fantasy owners aren’t afraid to be labeled a bit nerdy, so fully embrace the event to have the most fun. The host should have plenty of extension cords and outlets for people to charge their laptops, tablets and smart phones. After all, doing a couple of mock drafts right before the actual thing with strangers is totally accepted in these circles. Some hosts also encourage owners to allow their inner child to come out. Go ahead, wear that jersey of a player on your favorite team.

A person can look at all at the 2015 fantasy football rankings they want to, but at the end of the day this is supposed to be fun. Make sure the party is fun as well. Friends can argue about the real games during the actual season.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Prez "candidate" Scott Walker: "I love you, honey, but my government now says it's time for you to die."

Megyn Kelly:

"Governor Walker, you've consistently said that you want to make abortion illegal, even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. ... Would you really let a mother die rather than have an abortion? And with 83% of the American public in favor of a life exception, are you too out of the mainstream on this issue to win the general election?"

Scott Walker:

"I'm pro-life. I've always been pro-life. And I've got a position I think has been consistent with many Americans out there in that I believe that is an unborn child that's in need of protection out there. And I've said many a time that that unborn child can be protected and there are many other alternative laws to protect the life of that mother. That's been consistently proven. Unlike Hillary Clinton, who has a radical position in terms of support for Planned Parenthood. I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago, long before any of these videos came out. I've got a position that's in line with everyday Americans."

Wow. Where do we start with this?

So if the Wisconsin governor's own wife were on that delivery table and the doctor said, "Mr. Walker, we can deliver this baby but the process of doing so will in all likelihood kill your wife. What do you want us to do?" ... Walker would answer, "Well, she's been a pretty darn good wife and mother, but I pushed through and signed that law with no exception of the mother's life being in danger. So to paraphrase the crowd at the 2012 debate: 'Let her die!' Oh, and by the way, I'm proud of my stance!"

How about if, after 6 months in the womb, tests showed that the baby was badly deformed, had a hole in its heart and had a 95% likelihood of dying in its first week of life ... and that there was a 98% chance a normal delivery would kill his wife?

"Well, as you know, I fully believe all life is precious ... except, obviously, my wife's. I signed the law that says, 'Let her die,' so our hands are tied. As Rick Perry would say: 'Oops!'"

Talk about death panels!

How likely is either of the above scenarios -- not with Walker's wife but with anybody's wife? Obviously, highly unlikely in the second scenario, somewhat more likely (but still quite unlikely) in the first scenario.

But that's not the point.

The public perception is that this yahoo values the unborn child's life more than the mother's. More than that -- he would push for a federal government mandate telling every family that they also must value the lives of unborn children more than of mothers.

Let the mothers die! Not the best campaign slogan I've ever heard.

I've seen better politics, too. This guy won't be the GOP nominee, but if he is, this would be too damn easy for the Dems to attack. He'd handily lose the woman vote -- and the votes of most other folks who have ever had a mom.

I love that he's all about small government, too -- except for women's private parts. The government pretty much owns them.

As for Walker's position being "in line with that of everyday Americans" ...

Legal abortion has the support of about 50% of all Americans -- and that's with no exceptions at all. More than two-thirds favor exceptions for rape and incest. And, as Megyn Kelly said, more than 4 out of 5 favor an exception for the mother's life.

Walker isn't just out of the mainstream on this issue, he is out of the stratosphere, possibly the universe. Every doctor's group out there believes he is dead wrong on this, too.

Oh, and Walker has never expounded upon the laws that supposedly would work to save the mother's life even as his anti-abortion law would condemn her to die.

Apparently, Republicans haven't learned from the past that this is a losing issue. Compared to the real problems facing the world, the abortion debate -- especially these little nuances of it -- appears minor. But as many GOP candidates have learned over the last few election cycles, this issue can cost them dearly.

I guess I can admire Walker's consistency and honesty. He said what he believes even though he is toast as a presidential candidate.


As for the rest of the GOP presidential debate field (in alphabetical order) ...

++ Jeb Bush sounded likable and positive, and he stayed away from saying anything that could hurt him too badly. So even though he said little of substance and all-out avoided a couple of questions, he still emerged as one the night's winners.

++ Ben Carson ... um ... thanks for showing up.

++ Chris Christie actually made some good points, but he defended the NSA spying program a little too vigorously. And his ideas on Social Security will never fly with the huge senior voting bloc. His best chance is to have his "people" shut down the roads on the way into the next debate.

++ Ted Cruz ... Ugh.

++ Mike Huckabee will always appeal to a small segment of society and will never appeal to most people beyond that segment. His audition to get a better talk-show gig is going well, though.

++ John Kasich seemed like the grown-up in the room. He might be a little too openly religious for me, but I still want to see and hear more from him. The Ohio governor looked, sounded and acted "presidential."

++ Rand Paul's long-shot candidacy? Ka-boom. He was punk'd repeatedly by his fellow candidates and had no real comebacks other than, "Oh yeah?"

++ Marco Rubio also stumbled a little on the abortion question, and he was a little too "canned" in some of his responses, but you can see how he has built a political career. When he isn't guzzling water during speeches, he is smooth. Maybe too smooth.

++ Donald Trump opened with characteristic bombast but was quickly booed for suggesting he'd run as an Independent if he didn't win the nomination. Shortly thereafter, he was slapped down by Kelly for treating women like dirt. He then spent most of the second half of the debate looking bored. As usual, he offered no real solutions for anything. I do hope he stays on top of the polls because he is fun to have around -- even if Jon Stewart isn't around to mock and lambaste him.


Word is that Carly Fiorina "won" the JV debate that took place earlier in the day. I admit that I didn't watch it. I was too busy doing important stuff, like picking lint out of my belly-button and counting how long I could hold my eyes open without blinking.

What I do know about Fiorina is that in six years as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, she ran that company into the ground and had a huge role in costing tens of thousands of people their jobs. So if the main thing on your resume is your business acumen and your main issue is jobs, and you ruined the biggest business you ran, well ... she has a slightly better chance of being president than my dog Simmie does.

Nevertheless, I'd like her to graduate to the varsity debate team next time just to see if she'll confront Trump half as effectively as Megyn Kelly did.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Looking forward to a big Thursday: My anniversary (Robbie's too), the big debate, Stewart's finale -- WOW!

Tomorrow -- Thursday, Aug. 6 -- is going to be quite a day. Fun at times, interesting at times, stupid at times, hilarious at times, sad at times.

Sometimes, it will be a combination of several of the above-mentioned emotions.

First and foremost, it is Robbie and my 32nd anniversary.

Hard to believe how quickly the time has flown by. 

I've tested her sometimes, and yet she's stuck by me. What did I do to deserve such a great wife, partner, friend and companion? (Not to mention such a great mom to Katie and Ben.)

Unfortunately, she will have to work all long day, and she already has told me she will be too tired when she gets home for us to go out and celebrate. So I will make her a nice dinner -- steak, shrimp, potatoes, salad -- and we'll go out to celebrate on the weekend.

That's fine with me. I missed many an anniversary during my working years because I was traveling. Robbie and I both agreed decades ago that "it's just a date," and we always enjoyed celebrating as often as we could on other days. 

It cracks me up when I hear about a wife or a husband who is furious at her/his spouse because the spouse had to make a living to put a roof over the family's head.

It's just a day, and people who love each other celebrate more than once a year!!


Tomorrow night, of course, is the first 2016 Republican presidential debate (not to be confused with the itty-bitty debate among the junior varsity earlier in the evening). 

If I'm Lindsay Graham or Bobby Jindal or one of the others who didn't qualify for the "Big Boy Debate," I'm saying something insane just for the publicity.

How about something like, "Mexicans are rapists and McCain is a loser for getting captured?"

Oh wait ... that one has already been used by some orange-haired mope -- and it was a smashing success among the knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing crowd.

In the Big Boy Debate, will the other nine fine gentlemen let Donald Trump bully them as if he's Bobby Knight and they're a bunch of Neil Reeds? I'm looking forward to finding out! It should be about as close to must-see TV as politics gives us these days.


And capping off the day will be Jon Stewart's final show. He has made me laugh so much over the years, and I am going to miss him. Heck, couldn't he have stayed around one more week just to poke fun at whatever dopiness takes place in the debate?

Stewart has been more than a comedian. He has been an important voice, especially for veterans, minorities, women and underdogs everywhere. 

I know I already used the cliche, "must-see TV," but if you missed Monday night's take-down of Fox News, go to The Daily Show's Web site and find it. It was fall-on-the-floor hysterical -- and, of course, it was dead-on true, too.

The Comedy Central combo of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert spoiled the heck out of viewers for years. After Thursday, we won't have either of them -- at least not as we came to know them.

Sigh. Stewart's departure will leave a major void in my daily routine.


After winning the spring/summer championship in dramatic fashion (see my previous TBT post), the Sons of Pitches opened the fall softball season Tuesday night with a more ho-hum 8-4 victory. We didn't hit much, but we played our best defense of the season. I can't wait to get my shoulder fully healed and join back in on the fun!


I never had an 11-game hitting streak in softball, but I do have an 11-article streak of having my work on the financial site Seeking Alpha selected as an "Editors' Pick."

The latest is about my purchase of Apple stock. Read it here.

So that's another thing I'll be doing tomorrow: responding to the tons of comments that will be streaming in.

Ah, the life of a retired sportswriter.