Today in Texas History – December 2

From the Annals of Faux Law Enforcement – In 2010, Our Poor Idiot Governor Rick Perry named Chuck Norris (if Walker- Texas Moron fame) and his brother Aaron as honorary members of the Texas Rangers law enforcement agency.  Criminals across the state trembled at the prospect and a couple of would be felons turned themselves in.  If only Red could know what the actual Texas Ranger in the background was thinking.

Red’s NFL Picks – Week 13

Red just can’t quite get out of the hole he dug for himself in September. Red maintained by going 3-3 in Week 12 which puts Red at 31-33-2 for the season. He may demand a recount.

Sure Bet Pick of the Week –OTNAs overtake Cardinals. At the beginning of the season, the Cards talked about “stacking wins” presumably meaning having a couple of nice 4 to 6 game winning streaks.  Right now the Cards have been reduced to talking about “stacking first downs.” Meanwhile in Maryland, the OTNAs are putting together an offensive powerhouse with Kirk Cousins at the helm (words Red never thought he would write).  KC has 20 touchdowns and an outside shot at a 4500 yard season.  The Kelley-Jones tandem at RB is mediocre but will suffice when you have 3 receivers who might catch 80 and surpass 900 yards on the season – especially when that group does not include DeSean Jackson (who doesn’t lag too far behind in yards and TDs).  The Cards have the remarkable David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald and squat after that. Yet somehow the Cards are favored by 2.5.  The consensus O/U is a hefty 50.5 but that doesn’t scare Red too bigly.  Take the OTNAs and the points and the over if you must.   Landover, Md. 33 Arizona 24.

Underdog Pick of the Week – Buccaneers belt Chargers. The Bucs still are in the thick of a playoff race with the Falcons in their division and other Wild Card contenders.  The Chargers are going nowhere in the incredible AFC West and have no realistic change of a Wild Card berth.  Yet the professional prognosticators are fairly unanimous in calling this one for the Chargers.  Go figure.  It might be that others are catching on to Red’s long time fixation on the triple-reverse time zone, inverse coast hex and think that the Bucs can’t win bigly on the West Coast.  Red factors that in, but he also factors in having something to play for in December and gives the edge ever so slightly to the Bucs in a match-up of equals.  But he is predicting a shoot-out that could go to OT. Tampa Bay 36 San Diego 33.

Rivalry Game Pick of the Week – Jets jettison Colts. Not much in the old rivalry closet this week. These teams have played each other a respectable 72 including 4 post-season games.  The Colts lead 41-31 but with the Jets having won the biggest one of them all in Superb Owl III.  The Jets have had the Colts number winning 4 of the last 5 dating back to 2009 (another era in NFL terms) and won the 17-16 playoff “thriller” on the road after 2010 season.  Red predicts that Luck is the next Ryan Fitzpatrick – that is a smart QB from an academically challenging school that has early success and morphs into a caretaker QB as his career winds down.  The old caretaker wins this one but not too bigly. New Jersey 24 Indianapolis 14.

Texas Franchise Pick of the Week – Packers pick on Texans.  For just a moment last week, Red thought the Chargers were going to find a way to blow an 11-point lead with 41 seconds to go in the game.  But alas, these were the Texans and while Red has seen offenses suck before, the Texans offense is (with apologies to Homer Simpson) “the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.”  Sorry, Red is under a court order to use that phrase at least once every season.  The Pack is back, way back, but on the way back, unless it packs its bags and heads back backwards.  And that’s just the Dom Capers-led defense.  But remember, the Chargers were supposed to have a subpar defense that was borderline godawful at stopping the run. And the Texans scored how many points last week?  Game time temps are expected to be in the low 30s with sleet and snow.  Maybe A-Rodg’s pee will freeze before it hits the bucket in his sideline tent. But Red digresses.  Please God, let this be a blizzard game so that the Texans will have one last excuse for a pitiful offensive performance.  Sadly, even at 6-6, the Texans are a good bet to win the AFC South, get a home playoff game (Ka-Ching) and get stomped bigly by the Dolphins or Chiefs or Broncos or Stealers or Ravens or . . . ??? in front of the not-so-faithful. Green Back 21 Houston 11.

Prime Time Pick of the Week – Panthers punch Seahawks.  And speaking of division leaders with crappy offenses – one cannot ignore the stench emanating from the Seahawks sideline.  The current leading rusher for the Hawks is (drum roll please) C.J. Prosise with 172 yards and 1 touchdown.  With a running game like that you end up scoring 5 points.  With the falloff of the defensive unit formerly known as the “Legion”, the Hawks are going to have trouble down the stretch.  If not for playing in the god-awful NFC West, the Hawks would be lucky to be .500 and scrambling for another playoff berth with a 7-9 record.  Everyone but everyone is picking the Hawks to win this one.  Red will look like a genius when the Panthers win bigly.  Pete the Cheat still makes the playoffs for one last season, but only by default and only for one game. Carolina 35 Seattle 14.

Shit Bowl Pick of the Week – 49ers foul Bears. Red has pretty much avoided Chip Kelly’s disaster on the West Coast this season because he kind of likes the Chipster while thinking that he should return to being the great college football coach that he is.  Lord knows he won’t take much of a pay cut when Nebraska or the like come calling.  In the meantime, Red is really proud to present one of the shittiest of the Shit Bowls in recent memory.  Really, who hasn’t been waiting all season for the Brian Hoyer – Colin Kaepernick show down of sub-prime, fan-hated NFL quarterbacks.  It will be an exciting race to see which of these two giants of the gridiron will move past 1500 yards passing for the season first.  Throw in a little Jordan Howard and Carlos Hyde at running back and you have the makings of a good afternoon nap on the couch in Red’s man cave (also known as the broom closet). Even Alshon Jeffery has managed to delight his fantasy football backers with all of 1 – count ‘em 1 – touchdown this season.  Red will be hanging the Christmas lights instead of watching this beastly bowel battle lest he string up a noose with those lights and bigly hang himself from the eaves instead. Santa Clara 10 Chicago 9.

Today in Texas History – November 28

From the Annals of Screwing –  In 1882, the Screwmen’s Benevolent Association called a general holiday (actually a strike)  for its members in opposition to the appearance of black workers in the cotton-screwing trade.  The SBA was a trade union of specialized longshoremen who used screwjacks to stow and pack cotton bales into the holds of ships.  The screwmen were almost entirely whites of various European origins and opposed allowing blacks to practice their trade. The SBA used an apprenticeship system to exclude blacks and gain a virtual monopoly of the work at the port of Galveston. After the invention of the high density cotton compress in 1910, the need for screwmen was gone and the SBA faded into history.

Red’s NFL Picks – Week 12

The week off did Red a world of good as he went 4-2 in Week 11 and has for the moment stopped digging. Red is now 28-30-2 for the season. Good enough for a win in the Electoral College.  As a special this week, Red will pick all 3 Thanksgiving Day games and squeeze them into the rubric one way or another.

Sure Bet Pick of the Week – Vikings vanquish Lions. All 10 Lions games so far this season have been decided by a touchdown or less.  While that sounds incredible, it is somewhat misleading because by Red’s inexact calculus at least 57.6% of NFL games in any given season are decided by 7 points or less.  Which means that the Lions are due for a blowout game one way or another.  Given the Lions tendency this season to fall behind and then mount a furious rally to win or make it close, Red should call this one as a close game.  But the Lions are too likely to be distraught over Calvin Johnson’s third place finish on Dancing With the Stars Tuesday night to have that incredible rally in them on Thursday. Take the Vikings and 3 points and the over at 42. Minnesota 35 Detroit 10.

Underdog Pick of the Week – Cardinals can Falcons. Red can’t help but think that the Cardinals don’t suck as much as they apparently – well – suck.  Falcons are there for the taking, but only if Carson Palmer can stay upright for more than 30 snaps.   Arizona 25 Atlanta 23.

Rivalry Game Pick of the Week – Cowboys collapse OTNAs. This one is pretty good as NFL rivalries go.  Back in the day there was hardly a more heated divisional rivalry than this one.  Sports Illustrated called in the greatest NFL rivalry of all time.  Red doesn’t go that far but he does remembers some fairly classic games.  For example, Billy Kilmer taking down Roger Staubach in overtime at RFK on a brisk November afternoon in the first NFL game Red ever saw in person.  Or the Clint Longley “Mad Bomber” game on Thanksgiving in 1974 might have been the most interesting NFL game Red ever watched as the Boys rallied from a 16-3 deficit behind their unheralded third string quarterback. Or the 1979 season ending game where the winner went to the playoffs and the loser went home and the CBs scored twice in the last 5 minutes to send the OTNAs packing.  Or the SCAB game in 1987 where a team of replacements beat the scumbag Cowboy players including Danny White, Randy White, Tony Dorsett and Ed Jones during the strike.  And for the record, that was the game after which Red declared that he was no longer a Cowboys fan after 27 years of loyal service. The list goes on.  The Cowboys lead the all-time  series 67-42-2.  However, the Redskins have won the only two playoff games after the 1972 and 1982 seasons. The Boys are just playing too good to lose this one on Thanksgiving – although that would make for another incredible game in the long list of incredible games in this rivalry. Arlington 31 Landover, MD 30.

Texas Franchise Pick of the Week – Chargers catcall Texans. Red has some experience in coming back from a trip to Mexico.  Red figures he has visited our sunny southern neighbor somewhere in the vicinity of 35 times and at least 1/3 of the time, didn’t feel quite up to snuff for at least a week afterwards.  And that’s only the times he didn’t have ceviche.  He has eradicated those episodes from the memory banks.  The Texans are coming off a tough loss to the Raiders at Estadio Azteca on Monday night.  So combine a short week with an overabundance of tacos, tortillas and tequila and you can fill in the rest.  Meanwhile the Chargers are coming to Texas after a week off.  The Chargers have found new and imaginative ways to lose games this season blowing a 17 point 4th quarter lead against the Chiefs and fumbling twice in the last 80 seconds against the Colts.  That and a missed field goal or two and the Chargers are fighting for the AFC West divisional title – and what a fight that is.  The Chargers may be the best 4-6 team in NFL history.  The Texans may be the worst 6-4 team in NFL history.  They certainly occupy those positions this season.  Red weeps as he calls it San Diego 28 Houston 24.

Prime Time Pick of the Week – Stealers over Colts.   Will Andrew Luck play or will the nation get to witness the glory that is Scott Tolzien under center.  Red hopes that Luck plays, as that underrated QB on Thanksgiving night thing (see Mad Bomber above) sometimes works out in unexpected ways.  Red also hopes to be well into diabetic coma by the time this one comes on Thanksgiving night.  Let him know how it comes out. Pittsburgh 21 Indianapolis 3.

Shit Bowl Pick of the Week – Eagles Edge Packers. Red can’t resist the chance to put the Packers in this week’s Shit Bowl because the Packers are in fact reallyshitty this season.  Of all the underperforming teams in the league, the Packers are the underperformiest. Yeah, that’s not a word.  And this isn’t a game that should be the only option for the true football junkie trying to hang on to the Thanksgiving weekend high of maximum football overdose.  Red thinks the Packers have packed it in, while the Eagles have to be thinking “We’ve got a chance.”  Keep thinking that all the way to the offseason guys.  Take one last injection of gravy and stuff that last piece of stale pecan pie in your mouth before tuning in to watch this execrable excrement exhibition. Philadelphia 6 Green Bay 3.

Today in Texas History – November 23

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From the Annals of Overeating –  In 1964, Dr. Michael DeBakey and his team performed the world’s first successful coronary artery bypass graft surgery in Houston.  Debakey developed the concept behind the coronary bypass after noting that in many forms of arterial disease, the portions above and below a diseased or blocked segment of artery were normal.  He theorized that the damaged portion could be bypassed to restore blood flow and prevent a fatal heart attack.  In the first successful coronary bypass he used a  large vein from the patient’s leg to bypass the blocked or damaged area between the aorta and coronary arteries.  The surgery has now become common-place performed at hospitals around the world.

So enjoy your Thanksgiving meal.