Saturday, October 12, 2019

Nurse The Hate Book Club and NFL Locks

Thanks to the miracle of Amazon, I have received the sixth and final volume of “My Struggle” by Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausguard.  A 1200 page book, it is the final installment in what is essentially his autobiography, or maybe more accurately, his public diary.  I can summarize the book as this.  An introverted Scandinavian man has an ordinary life filled with the tiny defeats and occasional triumphs of the everyman.  In unflinching detail he recounts his shortcomings, mental torments and small slices of hope.  For the most part, nothing happens.  While I realize this is not the most resounding testimonial for a book, or in this case a series of books across 10,000+ pages, it is one of the most impactful reading experiences of my life.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.  

I don’t know exactly how he pulls off the trick.  Like Seinfeld, it’s a show about nothing, but it’s done so well and is so universal that it resonates.  His awkward teenage years are the same as mine, but with interesting different Euro cultural differences.  He strives and fails, lost in consistent shame at his misdeeds that non one else has even noticed.  He allows you complete access into his life, and the voyeuristic draw is impossible to fight off.  The book was so successful in his home country of Norway that 25% of the population bought a copy.  Imagine if in every room you walked into that a quarter of the people gathered there knew the intimate details of your most embarrassing sexual experience.  His writing is a bravery (or self-destruction) that is unequaled in our time.  

These books are the Proust of the modern age.  Look, I know there are a shit ton of cat videos and new Netflix shows out there.  I am just a little voice gurgling out an endorsement.  There is an armada of distractions flying at you all day long.  I am just so eager to have someone else share in this cathartic experience I had in these books that I will risk leaning in with a whisper and suggest “Psst…. You should check this out.  Your life will be better if you do.”  Seriously.  

So let’s talk football…. We are are at the point of the season where the bookies are really dialing in.  They know who is good and who isn’t while the public is about two weeks behind.  The lines are getting razor sharp.  The NFL changes quickly.  The game is savage.  Teams that had a pencil thin advantage over another could lose it in an instant with a horrific injury that slides under the radar.  A team that was 13-3 could suddenly find themselves a 9-7 team because an unknown left guard went out.  I am looking at you LA Rams.

I am not sure why the Rams do not have to report Todd Gurley on the injury report.  The best and highest paid running back in the league suddenly disappears from the game plan and gets no touches.  Hey, nothing to see here.  Gurley was so dangerous and his speed required so much respect that he opened up the field for the rest of the offensive backs.  Now the clearly damaged goods Gurley is a mortal RB and the Rams are a “pretty good team”.  They don’t have a quality win this year and are hosting the 49ers, who appear to be the 2019 version of the “surprise buzzsaw team”.  Yet, the Rams are giving the 49ers 3?  Fuck, I will take that all day long.  I get the better team playing on what is essentially a neutral field and I get three?  Yes please.  San Francisco +3

Look, I’m on the Vikings.  Yes, Cousins is overpaid.  Yes, the team is struggling to define their identity.  Yes, the asshole receivers are all complaining and acting up.  Indeed, I do also believe in the Eagles.  But, in Zimmer We Trust.  Mike Zimmer is the coach with the highest percentage of covers in the NFL.  The team is home at 1pm, a spot where the oddly OCD Kurt Cousins wins 67% of the time.  Zimmer is 18-2 ATS versus non-division teams as a home favorite.  This is the type of game Zimmer’s Vikings cover.  I am on Minnesota -3.  

New Orleans is getting 1.5 at Jacksonville.  This freaks me out.  New Orleans is clearly the better team.  What does Vegas know that I don’t in trying to guide me into what seems like such a sure thing bet?  Anytime it seem like it’s too good to be true (see Monday Night’s Packers -4 over Detroit), I pull up short.  It’s like seeing a mountain of candy knowing goddamn well that an evil clown with an axe is going to pop out and chop off your dick.  You really want the candy, but there is that voice in your head that urgently argues “you want your dick more than that candy Bro”.  Fuck it.  I want the candy.  New Orleans +3

There is no reason why the Browns will win on Sunday.  They are 2-4 but with all the hype seem like they are 2-27.  They got their scrotums kicked in the dirt last Monday night so hard I wept (and by “wept”, I mean went to sleep peacefully with a winning betting ticket clutched in my hand like a baby’s rattle).  The Seahawks are 4-1 and seem like they are a buzzsaw like always, however I have not bought in.  They do not have a quality win.  This team is a mirage.  I think they are an 8-8 type team that had to fly across the country to play a team that just got horribly embarrassed on national TV.  I mean, for God’s sake, ESPN used the word “debacle” in their headline of the game.  This is what motivates violent young men not to make assholes of themselves again while wearing football gear.  I will take the Browns and the points at home.  Cleveland +1.5

Season Record:  9-3-1

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Nurse the Hate: NFL Locks and Basset Update

A quick update on the basset situation...  Ryver returned home without getting an operation.  There was not an option to do so.  She has a disc in her back badly degenerated and another issue further up the spinal column.  This is believed to be vascular, but who the hell knows.  The only thing left to do is see if she will heal up on her own as surgical options are off the table.  Her left rear leg is essentially useless right now and her back right leg is unsteady at best.  This has left me helping her along in a sling when she agrees to move at all.  She is stubborn and spent a day avoiding taking a piss, but finally relented.  There was a celebration afterwards much like I expect to celebrate watching the Bears score on Oakland.  More on that in a moment.

Ryver is a proud tough dog.  She doesn't seem to be in pain beyond a discomfort level she has grown accustomed to over the years.  I can't believe she has been so stoic with this back situation she has been shouldering quietly for years.  She is alert, wants her treats, and wags her tail.  The recovery, if it happens at all, will be slow.  The home care will be difficult, but this basset has earned every opportunity to heal.  I hope that this is the right decision and I dread the possibility of having to make a decision to put her down later.  I could use a break here.

Let's not let the health of one mouthy basset hound get in the way of the real issues.  I am, of course, talking about this week's NFL slate.  It isn't often when a team loses their #1 pick to injury, has that player replaced by Chase Daniels, and it is considered a good thing for the team.  That is precisely what I believe happened with the Bears.  Mitch Trubisky is not very good.  The Bears are unable (or unwilling) to run their total offensive playbook because Mitch cannot execute the plays, hasn't been able to learn them, or a combination thereof.  Despite this being a counterintuitive statement, I think the Bears are better today than they were with Trubisky.  Daniels has worked with this system and should be able to be an effective game manager.

The Bears are playing the Raiders.  The Raiders are coming off a big win this week against the Colts.  What do you think of when you think Raiders?  The Antonio Brown debacle?  The Burfict signing?  The Raiders are the anti-Patriots.  When I think of what the Patriots do after a win, I think they get focused on getting better.  When the Raiders win they all get Tuesday off and gift cards to Dave & Busters.  Knock on wood if you're with me men.  I see lots of pressure on the Raider QB and Mack spending most of his time hitting dudes in a "you never should have traded me" way.  I will take the Bears -5.5

There are a bunch of stats about how good Pittsburgh is in the underdog role.  There are also stats aplenty about how close Pittsburgh plays Baltimore, and the team getting points is the side to jump on.  I think this is all about how the Public still perceives the Ravens to have a great defense when in reality they have given up 500+ yards two weeks in a row.  The Public also believes that Lamar Jackson is a budding superstar, and the Steelers are doomed without Big Ben.  I like this spot for Pittsburgh to maybe even win outright, but I will just take the points here.  Pittsburgh +3 at Baltimore.

From the moment I looked at the NFL schedule, I saw the Browns losing to the 49ers on Monday night.  The 49ers are better than perception.  The Niners have a very good defensive line, which is not good as Little Baker Mayfield will have almost no protection up front with his weak Browns O-line.  This is the Browns fourth "big game" in a row, and probably the least important.  This just seems like a normal time for a lag.  East coast team flies west.  Their last three games have been Monday Night in NY, Sunday night at home vs the Rams, and then the big showdown against Baltimore last week.  Meanwhile the 49ers are coming off a bye, are 3-0, and have this as their first "big game" of the year.  I see this as a way for the 49ers to announce "we're back" while Cleveland will be challenged to summon the effort they had team wide last week.  San Francisco -4.

Season Record:  8-2  

Friday, October 4, 2019

Nurse the Hate: A Basset In Distress

My basset hounds are getting older, approaching nine.  They have had the bumps and bruises of advancing age, ailments which have been mostly inconvenient.  I didn't think much of it when Ryver, the bossy sister and alpha of the pair, started to gimp a bit.  As someone getting older himself, I have been accepting that sometimes I will wake up feeling terrible. When I do I think, "My God, am I hungover.  What did I do last night?".  It is then my memory usually engages and I discover that I didn't do ANYTHING last night, I read a book and watched a mindless TV show.  I feel terrible just because that is evidently a joy of aging.  Thus, I feel empathy for Ryver as she and I gimp around the block.

When I got home yesterday, I discovered that Ryver was unwilling or unable to move her back leg.  She couldn't walk across the room and barked at me, her eyes saying "I can't move my leg.  I'm embarrassed but I need you to help me."  As an absurdly proud dog, perhaps too proud for a basset hound, I feel like I could read her expressive face, though I will admit that maybe I was projecting.  I tried to help her and discovered she was dragging her left leg limply.  This was well beyond being gimpy.  I rushed her to the vet.

My local vet checked her over.  He was alarmed.  He's a younger guy and has yet to develop that poker face necessary when delivering bad news.  I watched the telling exchange of glances between him and the tech as he explained how the dog had likely slipped a disc or maybe had a degenerartive condition.  This was well out of his abilities.  My only option was a referral to a specialist that did back surgeries or else it would be unlikely she would regain the use of her back legs.  This is terrible in the scenario of a human being, but for a dog, it's curtains.

It is amazing how quickly things can turn in life.  That morning I walked the bassets and we shuffled around our traditional morning walk, a routine that I find helps provide me a center.  It is a brief pause that offers a respite from the daily demands.  No matter how much quicker the outside world wants to pull you in, the basset hounds are going to take their goddamn time and sniff the hedges.  I like how they take their "job" seriously.  They look to me as a de-facto leader, which comes from being the provider of rides in the car and treats.  However, they give me more than I could ever give them.

Today Ryver is going to have surgery on her back, a procedure which the specialist said is "50-50".  I have beaten myself up over not noticing the severity of the basset's condition earlier.  Surely there was something I could have done, an indication I had missed.  They are dependent on me for everything.  It feels like my failure completely.  I am waiting for an outcome, one that I fear is going to be terrible.  The outcome already feels like it is going to be bad, but this is the time when the slim hope of the lucky coin flip can be used as a life raft.  I think about the basset in her unfamiliar surroundings, in pain, and in my mind wondering why I have abandoned her when she needs me the most.  She is a tough little dog.  I wish I could do something more.  I need her to be OK.