Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm shocked, shocked I tell ya!

What does the collection of human embryonic stem cell lines currently available for research have in common with ScienceBlogs?


I think there may be a (free) registration step involved so here's the gist, excerpted:

hESC lines lack diversity

Tracy Vence

Researchers at the University of Michigan were surprised to discover such little diversity in the most widely used human embryonic stem cell lines, and have declared their findings a case of social injustice.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

NIH grants are not gifts and science is not welfare

Picking up from a DrugMonkey post (and from links and discussion therein --- though the context should be independently clear here…..)

Much like in the allusions made in DM’s post and consequent discussions, there is a common misconception that NIH grants are somehow ‘gifts’ or ‘free money’ or handouts that ‘subsidize the scientist’s lifestyle’. These phrases are lifted from those discussions but I have heard the same phrases (or their equivalents) used many times in general discussions on science and funding. I have also seen, frequently, the contrast made between ‘grants’ and ‘contracts’ in that the former is a good-faith effort with no fixed deliverables whereas the latter is a legal agreement with penalties for default. Finally, I have seen people who defend the NIH-granting system try to justify it as essentially being a system of contracts or being for-fee services when one really thinks about it.

Not to be framing anything here, but I believe the best analogy for NIH grants is investment capital, and it would serve us all well to look at it and think about it in that fashion. Think about the NIH as a venture capital firm that has a really large portfolio. It makes calculated bets on a really large number of projects with a view to a two-fold return on investment: i) Increasing the body of scientific knowledge, and thereby ii) Generating advances in healthcare and medicine.

Like the portfolio of any other good investment firm the NIH portfolio is diverse. It has projects that have a high probability of success, and projects that incur high risk but promise high reward. Like any other portfolio, some investments work out beautifully in a short amount of time, others have promise but need a longer-term perspective, and yet others crap out. Like with other investment firms, it takes a serious amount of effort, justification, planning and demonstration of competence (or the strong prospect thereof) to obtain funding for one’s project. Also like with other investment firms, if you get funded once and do not deliver on your goals, your chances of getting money a second time become slimmer. Conversely, if you get funded once and hit the project out of the ballpark, your chances of getting funded in the future get better.

There are, of course, key differences:

The NIH is unlikely to dissolve your project and lab at short notice to get a convenient tax write-off in a tough year.

Even if you do succeed wildly with a succession of NIH grants (or even one really good one), it is unlikely you will become a multi-millionaire and retire by the age of 50 or something like that. One great success in this system does not ensure that generations of your progeny will live in decadent comfort --- even if your success directly leads to technology and IP that creates a multi-billion dollar industry.

The NIH investment portfolio is geared to generate returns in the form of enhanced public health, not money. But while it is not explicitly geared to generating returns in the form of money, it does contribute enormously in an economic sense. Whether in the pharmaceutical and drug industries, or in the medical device and technology industries, or in the food, nutrition and exercise industries, or in a myriad such areas really, the contribution of NIH-funded research is virtually indispensable. Don’t believe me? Do this thought experiment, and feel free to consult a variety of industry leaders when doing so---shut down all NIH generated information for a year and see what effect it has on the economy.

And finally, the NIH portfolio is so large and so interconnected, the projects so collaborative just by the nature of information and material exchange, that even apparent ‘failure’ projects often yield returns --- in that information is published, and that one never knows what piece of datum will be of great relevance at any given point in time, there are very few true failures. As a collective portfolio, the return it delivers to the people by way of advances in healthcare is tremendous. I have quoted this before and will again (there are many examples of the public benefit of NIH research but this is my favorite because it is, in the end, so all-encompassing)…Quoted from the then NIH director’s budget request for 2007----“The estimated total cumulative investment at the NIH per American over the past 30 years including the doubling period is about $1,334 or about $44 per American per year over the entire period. In return, Americans have gained over six years of life expectancy and are aging healthier than ever before.”

So $44 per year gets the average American an additional 2.4 months per year in life expectancy. Again, the NIH is not solely responsible for this but it has been and still is the chief driving force behind this kind of advancement in public health. The past 30-year record shows that a dollar invested by the NIH goes a long way towards buying you and me about two days’ worth of life, and a healthier life at that.

Some hand-out to all those researchers, eh? Or maybe just a pretty freaking good return on your investment.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Go a hypocrite....


Accenture has apparently ended its sponsorship deal with Tiger Woods saying that in light of recent events he is " longer the right person to represent them". This is too fucking rich! Accenture was born out of an attempt, by a bunch of fucking useless crooks, to save whatever they could from the Andersen group after they got nailed for enabling/facilitating/maybe even devising the greatest corporate scam in US history, Enron. Hey, Accenture, a two-timing cheat like Tiger is EXACTLY the kind of person who should be representing you fuckers!

I didn't understand the deal in the first place. Tiger is actually excellent at what he does, actually produces something everything he steps out on a golf course. Accenture is a consulting company---produces nothing but hot air and incentuous circle-jerk corporate relationshi...err..boondoggles that ultimately cost the average people everything from jobs to money. 'Consultant' has essentially meant 'pernicious pest or parasite' over the past couple of decades....Accenture needs a cockroach as a spokesman, not a talented productive human being. This was a company that was incorporated in Bermuda, for crying out that they could suck at the teat of American industry and avoid paying their fair share of taxes, no doubt....taking the whole 'offshore account' concept to a whole new level. These are the kind of assholes who have made an artform out of gaming American industry such that the workers get increasingly screwed while the suits make away with the bulk of the loot with little or no accountability.

Piece-of-shit worthless consultants....and these fuckers are now moralizing on Tiger? That is fucking hilarious!! Like I said, a two-timing cheat is exactly the kind of guy you need on your billboards. Ask all the poor folks who lost their lives over Enron.....although, in fairness to Accenture they need someone who cheats professionally, for a living, as opposed to someone who has some private life issues...

Let's see if any of the alert mainstream media call Accenture on their hypocrisy. I'm not holding my breath.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

NFL muggings


Could the NFL try any harder to give teams led by a Manning any more breaks? A touch by Mikell is illegal contact and keeps a Giants drive alive (even tho the receiver was in perfect position and just dropped the freaaking ball in stride...). Then Celek gets absolutely mugged in the end zone and no call. Later, Celek gets bumped 15 yards downfield by a LB and no call---not a problem ordinarily, but given the Mikell/Hicks call this was a gimme illegal contact call....

This happens every week with Peyton Manning's teams too---of course, Peyton doesn't really need the help, unlike Eli, but there are always holdings/interferences at key points early in games that change momentum and set the tone for the opposing D's to play hands-off for the rest of the game. It's amazing how Peyton finds his guy wide open after the receivers set picks that are illegal for most other teams.....just part of the Manning genius I guess.

Man, if McNabb had been born rich, white and privileged-surnamed he'd have 3 SB titles by now. I'm typing this the Eagles get robbed of time after a fumble recovery just before half-time.....freaking pathetic. But hey, just like Bush Jr, this country loves its aristocracy and will go to great lengths to preserve the illusion of (or exaggerate) their competence.


PS: Wow, juggling the ball on the sidelines now constitutes control if you play for a Manning.....this is great entertainment!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Some advice for the Steelers


My dear Steelers,
Do not stop now. You are on an incredible roll. Before the season started, I suspected strongly that there were some brain-fart games in store. After blowing the Chicago game and the first Cinci game, I figured, "Well, there're your brain-farts". I also figured that we'd find out how good or bad this year was really gonna be. I really thought that ol' Omar Epps would get a serious fire lit under the team. Well, it was looking promising there for a couple of weeks....but it is now obvious that this is not a good football team. The O-line is bad, defense can't hold a 4th qtr lead, the special teams are beyond horrible and even the QB play is spotty.

Now, after this stellar run of losing to KC, Oakland and Cleveland, you are faced with a tremendous opportunity. Don't blow it. I heard some alarming things after last night's loss, about how you were gonna play for pride and all that garbage. Don't freaking do it. I think we can all agree that the time for pride has long passed (losing to KC, Oak and Cle; giving up non-off TDs for 8 weeks in a row; blowing a bunch of 4th qtr leads etc took care of all that pride crap)--- now is the time for strategic planning. Keep this roll going and finish 6-10. It is not that hard to do because the last 3 games are eminently losable. Heck, any game is eminently losable this year. I know that you can dig down deep to find a way to blow three more games. Finish 6-10, get a top-10 draft pick, and trade up if necessary to draft Ndamokung Suh or Eric Berry or Russell Okung or Rolando McClain. Then at least we'd gotten something out of this year's incredible efforts.


Monday, November 16, 2009

The NFL---It's really not that difficult

to coach on game day. Yes, there is some serious work that goes into everything that leads to game day. But game day is not that hard in most cases. It's pretty simple---run the goddamned ball and stick to the basics. Even if you're not getting much yardage, run the goddamned ball. Aside from giving your D a break, it makes the opposing D-line work harder. When you face a run block, you are powerlifting the other guy. When you face a pass block, the other guy is powerlifting you. You make the opposing D bench press 300 lbs 10 more times a game, then their legs are more tired and in crunch time their pass rush is just a fraction slower. That fraction is what decides ballgames. We went over this last year. Run the damn ball. Nothing good really happens when your QB chucks the ball 40+ times a game (unless you have also run it about 30 times, but that rarely happens anyway).

The Steelers ran the ball 18 times and threw it 40 times yesterday. Two of the rushes were by Roethlisberger, scrambles, so basically they had 19 running plays to 42 passing plays. Nice loss there guys, and kiss the fucking division goodbye!

The Eagles outdid everyone yesterday though. They ran it 13 times and threw it 55 times. Nice loss, guys!

Dallas ran the ball 14 times and threw it 39 times. Nice loss there, fuckers.

It almost never fails---throw the ball that many times, and end up with a loss.

Like last year, Indianapolis is the exception. They win a lot of games by chucking the pill all over the place. And if this keeps up, like last year they'll have an early playoff exit. The only time they fared better, when they won the Superbowl in the 06 season, they ran the ball really well and did so thru the playoffs, and Manning didn't have gaudy stats.
Look it up.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

NFL stuff you may not know

or care about....

After 39 games as a starter in the NFL, Kyle Orton is 27-12 with a 56.8% career completion rate and a 1.4 TD/INT ratio. After starting 39 games in his career, Eli Manning was 20-19 with a 54% career completion rate and a 1.2 TD/INT ratio. And just for craps and giggles, you should know that after 40 games as a starter, Ben Roethlisberger was 29-11 with a 62% career completion rate, a 1.2 TD/INT ratio and a Superbowl title.

Both E.Manning and Roethlisberger have played for teams with great defenses but Eli has had the benefit of a consistently superior running game and offensive line. Both currently have started 77 games in their careers. Eli Manning is 47-30 with a career 56.2% completion rate and 1.4 TD/INT ratio, a career yards/attempt of 6.5, a career QB rating of 77.9 and one Superbowl title. Roethlisberger is 55-22 with a career 63.4% completion rate and a 1.5 TD/INT ratio, a career yards/attempt of 8.0, a career QB rating of 90.9 and two Superbowl titles.

If the Miami Dolphins could find some pass defense they could still be a force in the AFC. They are possessing the hell out of the football, averaging over 35 minutes of possession per game. But they lost games earlier in the season because (1) They couldn’t defend the pass, so opponents could strike really quickly and (2) They couldn’t put up points fast with Pennington at the helm. Ever since Henne took over, they have put up 38 and 31 points. Their pass D still sucks and it nearly cost them the Jets game but Henne’s ability to go downfield brought them back to win that game. This week’s game against the Saints will be a good barometer. Miami isn’t going to win many shootouts and their pass D has to play better---and there is currently no better passing attack in the NFL than the Saints’.

Four of the next five games for the Atlanta Falcons are against opponents coming off a bye week (Dallas week 7, Washington week 9, Carolina week 10 and New York Giants week 11). Arthur Blank must have pissed off someone in the NFL scheduling office.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Newer, More Improved, Big Bang Theory

There is an interesting article in the NY Times
about the Large Hadron Collider---take the few minutes to read it, if you haven't already.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

"A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one....."

“It must be our prediction that all Higgs producing machines shall have bad luck,” Dr. Nielsen said in an e-mail message. In an unpublished essay, Dr. Nielson said of the theory, “Well, one could even almost say that we have a model for God.” It is their guess, he went on, “that He rather hates Higgs particles, and attempts to avoid them.”

I think this is brilliant. I buy it.

Indeed, I'll take the theory even further: I think that the Higgs boson's time traveling sabotage of the LHC will be successful only for a little while more. Eventually, the boson will not make it in time to catch the lightning bolt to generate the necessary jiggawatts for the trip and it will fail once to get back to CERN in time. Then the CERN scientists will get the LHC functioning perfectly and run it to successfully generate the Higgs boson.....on December 21, 2012.

I expect the applause for my theory to be rapturous. Ba-dum-tisshhhh.

I mean, if you want wackadoodle, I got all kinds of wackadoodle.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

With friends like these....

At a time where science, and indeed even knowledge and learning, is under attack by various malicious and ignorant and fundamentalist factions, we really do not need the head of the NIH to say this....“We’re not the National Institutes of Basic Sciences,” he said. “We’re the National Institutes of Health.”

This could only serve to reinforce the lay person's erroneous notion that basic research is an 'ivory tower' activity with no naturally consequent practical applications. What needs to be said prominently and repeatedly is that open and unfettered basic research (and often serendipitous discovery) drives most of the advances in medicine and health care. And that, as a nation, we should find a way to increase the NIH budget for basic research by at least 5% on an annual basis.

By the way, I am all for "considering clinical and therapeutic implications in their work"; as a matter of fact, I am involved in the process of furthering the conversion of one bit of science into, hopefully, a couple of bits of technology. But where is the money for this fine notion going to come from? Even the NIH SBIR program, which is really a lifeline for small companies that are too early for venture funding, has been somewhat hijacked. The rules have now been changed such that large, venture-backed companies can now compete for this line of funding---this sounds great on paper "Hey, let's fund the stuff that is closer to market" etc, but in reality it is only going to subsidize the risk assumed by venture capital firms and pass that risk onto the taxpayer. Now vulture capitalists can own more of your stuff, that they can strategically sacrifice in their "exit strategies" aka "take the money and run", for even lesser investment on their part. At the same time this kills small companies that actually operate in that difficult and vital space between the "piece of cool datum from university lab" and "stuff that a vulture capitalist will want to own for pennies on the dollar".

So you want to make an overt PR push to "take lab science and make it relevant to health", great. I'm on board. Now show us the money, boss.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Are you ready for some football? Part 3

The conclusion of the The Definitive 2009 NFL Preview:

NFC WATB… er…North:

The NFC North. Scion of the legendary NFC Central. The Black and Blue division. The Norse division. Home of legends such as the Purple People Eaters, the Monsters of the Midway, the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field. The division that doubtless inspired the voice of Jon Facenda to greater depth and timbre. Of course, now with the addition of Cutler and Favre it has turned into the NFC Whiny-ass-titty-baby division.

Green Bay is now the chic pick to win it all this year. I hope they do really well but, to borrow a phrase from Chris Collinsworth, I am not so sure. Their defense has to prove a lot of things this year and the offense still has to produce like it did last year. Minnesota is better on defense and Adrian Peterson alone makes them a potentially dominant force on offense. I think Minnesota wins this division even if Favre’s arm falls off after 10 games like it did last year. Green Bay should earn a wild card spot. BTW, Detroit will be much better than they were last year---I think Jim Schwartz could have them winning very soon, possibly as early as next year.

NFC South:

Both New Orleans and Atlanta look great but both have suspect defenses. I say Atlanta wins this division based on their better ground game and New Orleans earns a wild card berth.

NFC West:

Seattle is the chic pick to win the NFC West. They won’t. They’ll suck, as they deserve to, being led by the vocal conservative shithead Hasselbeck. About a month into the season, Ol’ Hassle-back will throw out his spine again during one of his weekly ritualistic orgies with Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly. The 49ers will win that division, and it may not be close. Those of you who are yelling, “ B-B-But the Cardinals…!!!”, pipe down. Arizona was the worst team to make the playoffs last year---then they caught lightning in a bottle when they found a running game and Kurt Warner stumbled upon this pop report that Viagra can improve athletic performance as well. Defense and rushing win championships, and I don’t see Arizona having a sufficient supply of either, especially the latter. They do have ex-Steeler Whisenhunt as head coach, and they still have LFitzgerald and Boldin, so they won’t completely suck---just enough to not make the playoffs, methinks.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Are you ready for some football? Part 2


The Definitive 2009 NFL Preview continues…..if you didn’t read the first part, it's here.

AFC South:

The Texans will finally win the AFC South if Gary Kubiak and Kyle (product of neo-American meritocracy) Shanahan don’t completely fuck up the offensive play calling at crucial times like they did last year. But that’s too much to ask and so the Titans will win the division again. The Titans are always tough, they looked pretty good last night against the Steelers, but they will miss Jim Schwartz and Haynesworth in the long run---they already missed Schwartz’s defensive mind in the fourth quarter against the Steelers. So the Titans will not be as dominating in that division as they were last year. The Texans will benefit from this small Titan dropoff, will finish second in the division and contend for a wild card berth.

The Colts will have a hard time getting 8 wins this season. If Joseph Addai and Donald Brown play out of their minds, maybe the Colts will win more than 8. But even then I doubt it, unless the Colts sprout a defense all of a sudden. Even if they have a couple of miraculous wins like they did last year I don’t see them getting past 9&7.

The Jaguar players pretty much quit on their coach last year and I have no idea about their team this year, but I’m guessing they are still chopping wood so I’m conveniently assigning them a losing season.

AFC West:

The Chargers will win this division easily--- unlike last year when they should have won easily but scraped out an 8-8 division-winning season.

The Raiders will be much better than people expect and they’ll finish second. Of course, that ain’t saying much in that division.

I would have picked the Chargers as a mortal lock for the Superbowl title this year except for the fact that they are led by Norv Turner. I will state, however, that their FUQIT Quotient at key positions is so high that even Norv may not be able to hold them back this year. FUQIT Quotient (Frustration of Uniquely Qualified Individual Talent) is (something I just invented and) a measure of the Talent of a brilliant player multiplied by the Frustration the player feels in not having been rewarded with a Superbowl title for that talent. Rivers is a kickass QB who is steaming over the fact that fellow classmates Roethlisberger (two titles) and Mr. Mediocrity Eli Manning (one title) are ahead in the bling-bling game. Also, the scuttlebutt from San Diego is that Rivers is an intensely devout man who prides himself on not swearing. A frustrated pro athlete who does not swear…this has got to be the biggest case of emotional blue balls ever, right? The guy is a ticking time bomb, I tell ya. Anyway, LaDainian Tomlinson is good enough to kick Emmitt Smith into the footnotes of history but the lack of playoff success frustrates him to tears---plus his career window is closing fast. Shawne Merriman’s roid rage is so frustrated at not even meriting a FUQIT Quotient yet that he is allegedly choking his girlfriend in his spare time. So anyhoo, you get the picture --- I would not be the least surprised if the Chargers win the Superbowl. I will, also, only be mildly surprised if they end up at 8-8 again (of course, in that division 8-8 could win it again and then they could still go on to win the Superbowl….so…..yeah……).

NFC East:

The Eagles will win the NFC East easily if Andy Reid doesn’t fuck up the play calling at crucial times like he did last year. But that’s a tall order, especially with the distraction of the ‘wildcat’ possibilities with Vick now. The bottom line is that anything that reduces Westbrook’s touches also reduces the Eagles’ chances of I have a bad feeling about this season for the Iggles…

The Giants are loaded on defense and have a great run game but I don’t favor them to win the division because they are led by Eli (product of neo-American meritocracy) Manning. Plus, by cutting David Tyree at the same time that they made the mediocre-piece-of-crap-Manning the highest paid QB in football they have SURELY pissed off the karma police enough to ensure them losing seasons for the rest of Eli’s career, haven’t they? I know, I know, but I can hope, can’t I?

The Redskins have upgraded on defense. Plus I think it is the first time in QB Jason Campbell’s career that the poor guy gets to run the same offense for a second consecutive year. So you’d think they’d be serious contenders. But I don’t know…Portis said, during the last election, that Obama was surely the better candidate for the nation but he wasn’t sure he’d vote for him as he was worried his taxes may go up. Now that kind of stupidity, especially in DC, has got to invoke some seriously bad karma…..

The Cowboys will be, as always, very entertaining. They have the talent to win but I have the sneaking feeling that Jerry Jones’ tight face will be feeling a bit tighter at many times this season. I can’t wait for the first Cowboy receiver to drop a pass because he was too focused on the ginormous HD screen, right over the field in the new stadium, as opposed to the freaking football. Also, I really, really, hope that in every Cowboy home game the visiting punter hits the screen a couple of times….for any visiting team it is only a couple of do-overs but by the end of the season the Cowboy special teams would have had like a few dozen extra special team do-overs and that has got to be great for the health of the Cowboys, hasn’t it? All the Cowboys on IR can can rest secure in the knowledge that Jerry Jones did a smidge more than the bare-minimum requirement and therefore the screen was technically legal…..I’m looking for some seriously good times here….

Getting back to the issue of the NFC East, this is too tough to call. Screw it, I’m calling that no team wins the NFC East this year. I’ll say that they’ll all finish 8-8 with identical conference records and some lame tie-breaker will send the least-loser to the playoffs. And that will likely be the Eagles, and furthermore, they could go on to ride this playoff berth all the way to the Superbowl. I had to write that to avoid getting hate mail from Comrade PhysioProf.

The remainder of the The Definitive 2009 NFL Preview will hopefully follow sometime late tomorrow. Be sure to tune in.

My sponsors just wet their pants---I mean, breaking up a single episode into two was commercial enuff, but three installments...that’s some serious enterprise at work right there…


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Troy freaking Polamalu

If it weren't for him, the Steelers would be losing by 2 TDs right now.

Troy "I just got bumped by the receiver but I'm gonna reach up with my left hand, while falling, and intercept that pass anyway" Polamalu.

Fuckin' Ayyyyyy!

There have been some horrible calls in this game, surprisingly against the home team. The fucking Titans may have knocked out Polamalu---I have always admired Jeff Fisher teams but the "receiver pulling Polamalu down by his hair that was called a penalty on Polamalu" play may be changing my mind.
All that having been said, I have a disturbing stat---Steelers 10 rushes, 12 yards. All other things aside, this cannot bode well. The defense can only do so much. If you cannot control the ball, you cannot win consistently.
Steeler left tackle #78 was so freaking bad in this half that I actually looked up who he was---Max Starks. Max, if this is what you're bringing this year, email me. I will abandon all hope.

Are you ready for some football?


Firstly, I need to address an issue that has gotten completely out of hand ---- that of sportscasters conferring honorifics upon themselves. The ESPN assholes, in particular, hand out titles like so much Halloween candy---Professor so-and-so, or Doctor Whatshisface, or Dean of college football etc. People work really hard to earn and retain these titles in real life, so I think it is an affront to the academic community that a bunch of yahoos yakking subjectively about sports can hand these titles out to themselves. Well, screw that. Two can play that game. So this Definitive 2009 NFL Preview is brought to you by 15-time SuperBowl champion and Unanimous-First-Ballot-Hall-of-Famer Anonymoustache. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, ‘Doctor’ Lou.

I didn’t think the football commentators’ booth could get any more annoying till I caught a few minutes of Jon Gruden on MNF last week. To think that I used to consider him a smart guy…….the fucker poached Dungy’s Superbowl in Tampa, hasn’t done shit since and his commentary explains a lot about why. I mean, do we really need him to be staring into the camera with his “I’ve been trying to pinch off this particularly obstinate loaf for 20 minutes now” grimace and proclaim, “Brett Favre creates jobs!”. Do we need this? Really? I mean, REALLY? Gruden reminds me of an old adage that says “It is better to be silent and be thought of a fool than to open your mouth and leave no doubt”. Of course, he is the genius who drafted Chris (product of neo-American meritocracy) Simms, so the signs were there a while ago. He makes me long for the drunken-frat-boy-schtick of Theismann, Mike Patrick and the other fucker, and they were really really annoying (I’ll tell you what…..Let me tell ya something…..I’m tellin ya…..You know what? I’ll tell ya…….I’m gonna tell ya something right now…..).

From what I have seen, I think Chris Collinsworth is considerably overrated and he’s certainly no freaking Madden. Let me explain that to you in Collinsworth-speak: I’m not so sure that Chris is not still the pedestrian hack that I originally thought him to be before he got all these rave reviews from the powers that be in broadcasting. When you consider that, it makes you think again. But then again, that could be because he is just really good at kissing broadcast exec ass, but there is no clear evidence either way so it’s gonna be tough to make that call, you know? I’m not sure that in the end we needed to review this at all; we could have just stuck with the call on the field which was that Chris is considerably overrated.

Al Michaels: Chris, that analysis was uuuuuuge….this game is so exciting I’m having trouble breathing….do you believe in spiracles???.....welcome back to Sunndeeeee nite footbooaall……

OK, here’s the Freaking Definitive NFL 2009 preview:

AFC East:

The Patriots will win. The Jets will be pretty good and will make the playoffs---the standard for rookie QBs, and the teams led by them, has been raised last year by Ryan + Falcons and Flacco + Ravens. RookQB teams now expect to win, and the Jets are solid on both sides of the ball. Plus, head coach Rex (product of neo-American meritocracy) Ryan seems to have his dad’s renegade, bounty-laying, ass-kicking and name-taking redass and that alone could be good for a couple of wins. I am excited by the prospect that the Jets will do really well and then have a minor meltdown in a game that might prompt Ryan to coldcock one of his fellow coaches. Too obscure?

AFC North:

This will be brutal at the top again. Baltimore and Pittsburgh are mirror teams: Tough defense, solid running game, good young QBs and some serious mutual respect+hatred. Much as my heart wants Pittsburgh to win, I have to give the edge to the Ravens this year. I think they will be a bit hungrier and the Steelers may be a bit more relaxed. Plus, Ray Lewis’ window is closing fast and I’ll bet he’d love to stand on the sidelines at the superbowl one more time with a lead and watch his offensive buddies slowly kill the clock….I mean, watch as they slowly bleed the game to an end…..I mean, when a guy has killer instinct you gotta give it to him, y’know? What, too soon? So anyway, I say Baltimore wins the division and Pittsburgh makes the playoffs as a wild card.

The rest of the preview will have to wait till tomorrow or the day after. Be sure to tune in.

In the business, we call this a ‘tease’. My sponsors are agog with excitement.