I believe in Religious Freedoms, but the Church is getting too many breaks

10 Feb

A while back I was watching The Daily Show and though they obviously broadcast with a liberal agenda, it’s generally a fact based provider of news.  The story they covered was on the freedoms that The Church or religious organizations have.  Churches can terminate employees without the risk or repercussions secular organizations must follow.  That seemed like more than just religious freedom or protection.  This policy gives too much latitude to a Church to treat their people right. Then the Supreme Court backed up the Church and basically told people that they had no legal recourse if terminated by a Church.  Wow!  Of course, this is the same court that said Corporations are people too, so I’m not really surprised.

So, let’s start this discussion with my belief that Churches get too many breaks.

Then the new Contraception rules were released by President Obama and I honestly thought they went too far to restrict freedoms.  Requiring a Church to provide contraception coverage to women when the Church actually has a long-standing position against contraception seems wrong.  It’s actually challenging a Church’s principles and freedoms.  I truly believe that if you decide to work for a church, you should prepare to submit to the church’s beliefs and rules.  At least while you’re at work.  And you shouldn’t expect the church to help or pay for you to break their rules or beliefs.

But that’s not the whole story and I was looking at it in a limited capacity.

I read further, because my wife fervently disagreed with my position and that’s a rarity.  If she stands against me on a topic, then we need to discuss it further.  I prefer us to see eye to eye on everything so we debate things to see other points of view.  She’s an incredibly intelligent woman and I would be foolish not to consider her input.  So, I read more to better understand the topic.  Here’s the thing I didn’t realize.  These religious freedoms are not just being applied to Churches.  They apply to Churches and their affiliated organizations likes schools, universities, and hospitals.  That, is over-reaching.  That is over protection of religious freedoms.

If you work for a Church, you should expect to follow their rules.  If you work for the St. Somebody Hospital, you they should treat you the same as an employee of any other organization.  That SAINT in front of the organization’s name shouldn’t protect the company from their legal obligations to their employees.  Unfortunately, according to our government, they do.

Good news is that Obama found a fair, in my opinion, concession to the Church (& affiliated religious organizations) regarding the New Contraception Law.  Now they have the freedom to not offer contraception coverage in their insurance plans to their employees, but all insurance companies must offer it for free.  Sure, it’s really about semantics, because the Church is offering the coverage despite their objections, but since these religious freedoms are too far-reaching, I think it’s a fair compromise.

Along those lines, the government just plays with words when they say they don’t federally fund abortions.  Planned Parenthood gets money from the government to provide a lot of excellent services (not abortions) for women.  Of course, when money comes in from one area, it isn’t guaranteed to never touch the money from another part of a company.  It just doesn’t work that way.  Of course, in that case, it’s more about accountants playing with numbers rather than words.  I personally don’t have a strong opinion on federal funding of abortions (since there are numerous situations where I can see the need for Planned Parenthood’s most controversial services), but I do find it humorous whenever the topic comes up.

So now I probably upset everyone who read this in one way or another.  I guess my job is done here.

** By the way, I’m a Christian and a life long member of various religious organizations.  I was, at one time, fervently Pro-Life, but my position evolved over time.  The Pro-Life crowd actually turned me against them with their harsh words.  I believe if you’re Pro-Life, you should approach the subject in love.  And not just Love for the unborn, but Love for the woman going through the ordeal of an unplanned pregnancy.  Operate in some grace and maybe more people will listen to your point of view.  Maybe you can actually help someone.

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What did we learn from The Pats Vs. The Tebows?

19 Dec

I think we learned that what everyone says is right and despite the fact that Bill Belichick has no Superbowl wins to his name after getting busted for cheating, he still is an excellent coach.

You could say that we learned that the Patriots are a better team and while I believe that is true, it’s not because player by player they are better than the Broncos.

Tebow looked about the same although did not have his brilliant finish.  If you watched the game, you’d be surprised that he did end up completing 50% of his passes for nearly 200 yards and rushed for another 100 yards and two touchdowns.  Most of what I saw were passes coming up short or sailing over the head of receivers as he tends to do until the last 9 minutes of the game.

We learned that the Broncos have a very good defense that put lots of pressure on Brady, but eventually wilted in the face of the continual pressure to stop that offense.

The Broncos need a healthy McGahee to win.  They held their own when he was in the game and healthy.  He limped off and the offense lost a significant step.

We learned that field goals never, ever, ever will beat this Patriots team.  The Chargers are very familiar with that fact.

We learned that despite the current “Gronk” love fest going on, there’s another stellar tight end in New England by the name of Aaron Hernandez.  Yeah, they have two who may both end up in the Pro Bowl.

Overall, the Patriots have amazing receivers.  How many bullet passes did Brady’s receivers (including tight ends) perfectly snatch out of the air?  There were several passes where I expected incompletions that resulted in first downs because of great hands.  Tebow would benefit from a few more quality receiving threats.

The Patriots learned from previous games it seems and decided to keep it simple versus Tebow early and then throw the playbook at him in the second half so he didn’t have time to adjust.  We may see more teams going that way in coming weeks.  Don’t show your defensive wrinkles until the second half and limit Tebow’s ability to adjust.

We learned a lot and very little at the same time.  For me, the biggest thing I took away from the game was the importance of a great leader and how One man believing they can overcome all odds doesn’t trump 53 men believing they can overcome all odds.  Tebow can have all the faith in the world in his ability and his team’s ability to win, but it doesn’t compare to Belichick instilling that belief into his entire team.

The Patriots believe that they will win.  Every single player on that team seems committed to victory and it was obvious that they relished the task of ending the Broncos recent run.  Did their complete trust in their coach, their team, their quarterback, and their system come from winning or do they win because of that trust?  It’s irrelevant now because they have it.  They do the little things on every play that helps them win.

I saw the Patriots fight for extra yards on every play and yet never risk losing the football.  They commit to winning.  Belichick seems to collect only the players that are going to buy into his plan and work toward the team goal in a kind of solidarity that you just don’t see anywhere else around the league.  I personally don’t like the Patriots, but you have to respect the team that he’s assembled and coaches every Sunday.

Perhaps Coach John Fox will mold these Broncos into that kind of winning program.  It certainly can’t hurt having Tebow on the roster since he already has that perfect determination within him, but there are some definite gaps in that philosophy on this Denver team.  That stout defense eventually lost heart it appeared and just couldn’t come up with the stops when they needed them.

The turnovers.  The Broncos made mistakes when the pressure was on and gave the Patriots offense and Brady extra chances to score.  Never a good thing.

And Tebow is young.  He still has a lot to learn.  If you’re a believer (in Tebow that is), the game didn’t change your belief.  You still see the escapability, the scramble with his eyes always downfield (a skill Vick didn’t develop until he got to Philly), and the relentless desire to make the play work (kind of hurt him on that last drive).  If you’re a Tebow critic, I’m sure the game made you believe he still can’t play in this league since you probably ignore his 193 yards passing and two rushing touchdowns.

Tebow is young.  He needs more work and a lot more polish to his game.  He is, however, playing his team out of any draft position for a quarterback next season that could challenge him so John Elway and John Fox should get ready for an offseason of teaching Tebow everything he can possibly learn about being a quarterback in the NFL.  He has the head.  He has the athletic ability.  He has the desire.  He’s proven he’s teachable.  Can they teach him?

The Math in Sam Hurd’s Drug World

16 Dec

As a lover of math, I couldn’t help but delve into the numbers involved in the Chicago Wide Receiver’s recent drug related arrest.  It’s like a fun little word problem you see in one of those movies where the teacher finally connects with the inner city youth by speaking in terms they can understand.  Nevermind that any of us can process the purchasing and selling of drugs for profit a lot easier than figuring out exactly where two trains traveling at different speeds will meet.

So, according to ProFootballTalk.com, Sam Hurd was arrested after trying to set up the routine purchase 5 to 10 kilograms of cocaine (@ $25,000 a kilo) and 1,000 lbs. of marijuana (@$450 lb.) a week for distribution.  So we can see that Sam had the cash on hand to pay $575,000 to $700,000 a week for drugs.  Seems like a lot of money, but break it down and you can certainly understand where Sam came up with the cash.

A quick internet search brought up that the average price of cocaine is somewhere in the $100 a gram range.  It’s probably higher, but lets keep the numbers simple for this exercise.  I also found an average price of medium quality marijuana to run about $100 an ounce, bringing the price per pound at about $1,600.  Let’s plug them into our equations.

$100 gram of coke X 1,000 grams per kilogram X a minimum of 5 kilograms a week = $500,000 revenue

$500,000 – ($25,000 a kilogram purchase price X 5 kilograms purchased) = $375,000 profit a week

$100 oz. marijuana X 16 oz. per pound X 1,000 pounds purchased = $1,600,000 revenue

$1,600,000 – ($450 a lb. purchase price X 1,000 lbs. purchased) = $1,150,000 profit a week

So, Sam Hurd’s side business was expecting to make him $1,525 million a week in TAX FREE profit.

Bringing in over $1.5 million a week in profit would seem to make the $575,000 layout practical.  You might wonder how someone works their way up to running this serious of a tab on drug buys?  Well, Sam just got a $1.35 million signing bonus this summer to play Wide Receiver for the Chicago Bears and his three-year contract would pay him $685,000 this season and more the following two seasons.

There, now we spent some time with Math for the day and we can forget about it until the cashier at the mall kiosk can’t process the appropriate change for a $20.

(PS…feel free to correct any math errors…if my brilliant math wiz wife has a minute, I’ll have her scrutinize my work too)

After this Sunday, will the Anti-Tebow Crowd Give In?

15 Dec

The short answer is no.  The Anti-Tebow crowd first said he couldn’t do it and “he wasn’t ready”.  A few wins in and it was, “it won’t last long.”  Then after beating the Bears and their great defense (thanks to a Marion Barber fumble), it was “in spite of Tebow”, they’re winning.

It’s hard to argue with the naysayers, because they’re right to a degree.  Anyone watching Tebow play quarterback would have to say he wasn’t ready.  He’s playing into the position, but every game you can find plenty of passes that just don’t look like they belong in an NFL game.

Of course, it won’t last long.  At least this winning streak won’t last long.  If you said the 2007 New England Patriots winning streak wouldn’t last long, you were right.  In less than a year, they lost a game.  Sad for them it was in the Super Bowl, but they did lose.  Eventually Tebow and the Broncos will lose and Tebow will be the reason for a loss.

Are they winning now “in spite of” Tim Tebow?  That’s a bit more difficult for me to agree with though there’s no doubt the great defense and running game the Broncos present have just as much to do with this string of victories.  Tebow, with the help of Coach John Fox are playing the game to win every single quarter of every game, but that doesn’t mean that their approach is the same in every quarter.

Why can’t Tebow duplicate his incredible 4th Quarter stats throughout the rest of the game?  Why does he put balls in the turf in the 1st Quarter and hit his receivers in stride in the 4th?  Why, if he’s this prolific in the 4th, doesn’t Fox open up the offense earlier?  Why are they winning if they’re aren’t taking all the national analysts’ advice?

Coach Fox and Tebow are winning because they are risk adverse and their defense and running game allows them to play that way.  In the first three quarters, if Tebow sees an open man, but isn’t 100% confident in the play, he shorts the ball.  He isn’t playing with the confidence in his ability to read defenses and deliver the pass that a five-year veteran with a couple trips to the Pro Bowl would. The defense and the running game keep it close.  In the 4th, when Denver needs points and the time for avoiding risk is over, the Broncos and Tebow open it up.  Look at Oakland.  Don’t you think the Raiders would rather have the Risk Adverse Jason Campbell back with his 6 TDs, 4 INTs and a 4-2 record over Carson Palmer and his 9 TDs, 13 INTs and 3-4 record?

I believe Tebow is a confident man throughout the game, but that confidence also comes with an understanding of his limitations currently.  He’s a young QB with less than a season of in-game experience.  Perhaps he’s reading the defenses for three quarters and finally feels he has a total grasp of what they’re doing in the 4th.  Perhaps he simply is the NFL’s answer to Big Shot Rob.  Robert Horry had a decent career if you eliminate the last few minutes of crucial playoff games.  If you include them, he’s legendary.  He simply performs better when the game is on the line.  It appears Tebow suffers from the same affliction.  He gets better when his team really needs him.  So is it just the 4th Quarter, or can Tebow perform well outside of the final minutes?

Take a look at the Broncos win over the Vikings.  Tebow passed for over 200 yards and actually had his best quarter in the 3rd.  His team was down and at risk of falling far behind.  Time to perform and time to err on the side of Reward rather than Risk.  He went 3 for 4, with 79 yards passing, and 2 touchdowns.  Those are amazing numbers, especially for a guy many say can’t play the position.

This game Sunday is one circled on my calendar for the last month, because when Tebow’s Broncos started this streak I compared them to the Patriots.  These two teams are direct opposites, but yet are functioning with similar philosophies.  The Patriots can’t run the ball.  They play attrocious defense.  They have one of the most dangerous passing games in the league.  The Broncos are a dominate running team.  They play stifling defense.  They have a questionable passing game throughout most of the game.  Both teams play to their strengths and focus and avoid risk for most of the game.  The Broncos keep it slow and low scoring if possible so they don’t have to rely on their offense and the Patriots try to blow out the other team so they don’t have to rely on their defense.

Pitting these two together is a dream come true for a football fan.  No matter what side of the Tebow argument you fall on, you have to wonder which strength prevails in this contest.  You also have to ponder, if the Broncos can limit the Patriots offense or if Tebow can lift the Broncos offense to keep pace with New England, who do you trust in crunch time?  You can never pick against Brady.  He’s near flawless in late game situations.  Of course, Tebow comes alive in those moments too and he’s got a running game that can keep the ball away from Brady.

No matter the outcome of the game on Sunday, the Anti-Tebow crowd is still going to predict failure and they’ll be right.  Of course, there’s nothing in Tebow’s personality that seems to say that he’ll accept losing and won’t bounce back.  If the Patriots get the win Sunday, my guess is they’ll see Tebow and his Broncos again in the playoffs.  And perhaps by then, he and Coach Fox will be leaning a little more on the Reward side of thing rather than Risk, but I doubt it.  Go with what got you here.  Avoid risk until the situation demands you grab the reward.

Surprising Results From Finally Taking The Blu-Ray Plunge

9 Dec

I did it.  After fighting the advertising pressure for five years, I finally gave in and bought a Blu-Ray player over the Thanksgiving weekend.  I still can’t see spending $30 a movie, but there are a few surprising things that come with most Blu-Ray players that really made me happy with the purchase.

First off, there are so many internet streaming functions available through many Blu-Ray players and as a media box, it works worlds better than my Xbox 360.  I’ve used the Xbox over the years for a few different types of media streaming, but the functionality, ease, and number of content providers available through my Blu-Ray player is simply awesome.  I had no idea that I’d really like having YouTube hooked up to my TV, but I do.  And with Hulu Plus, Vudu, and some of the other services, I’m going to take a long hard look at cutting back on my cable bill and getting content elsewhere.  Plus, there’s Pandora.  I use Pandora a lot on my laptop, but some of the channels are ideal for pumping through my entertainment center and really enjoying the music.  Last.FM through Xbox just doesn’t compare.

Secondly, as a media streaming device, I expect it to be substantially easier to use video and audio that I ripped to our home network.  I still need some time to work on this, but after spending some time with the player, it seems like it will handle everything that I want it to without having to buy a separate media streaming box or dealing with the less than user-friendly Xbox.

Lastly, and the biggest surprise is the picture.  Of course, I know Blu-Ray is 1080p.  A true High Definition picture and I expected the video quality to be excellent.  I still may choose to buy or rent some films on DVD where I think the clarity of Blu-Ray hampers the film (i.e. cheap CGI which DVD blurs a bit, but obviously appears as crap on Blu-Ray).  Perhaps the companies are slighting us nowadays with the quality of DVDs, since the color pallete often looks a lot more drab than I thought was necessary on DVD, but there is no doubt that colors and the images really pop on Blu-Ray.

However, that’s not the picture that surprised me.  It was when I first tried out a DVD in the Blu-Ray player.  Amazing!  Simply amazing.  I have an Audio/Video Receiver that does a good job of upconverting standard definition video to high def and a brilliant Plasma television that does a great job upconverting.  So why was I surprised?  The perfect digital connection allows the Blu-Ray processing to really display it’s glory.  If you’re like me, then your DVD player at best has component cables (the red, green, and blue ones).  It really provides a nice picture, but it’s analog and therefore you inherently lose a generation of quality when you’re watching it.  Playing the DVD in a Blu-Ray player with the perfect digital signal passing through HDMI cables from beginning to end lead to the best possible picture.

Apparently I’m not going to have to replace my entire DVD library.  One film in and I”m totally impressed.  Looking forward to checking out some of my Superbit DVDs and the last Star Wars Special Edition package I bought (not Blu-Ray).  My wife doesn’t get it, but I’m so happy with the purchase.  I now understand why everyone always said that if you have a great High Definition Television and you don’t have a Blu-Ray player, you really aren’t seeing what your TV is capable of.

The Life and Brines of a Young Dad at Thanksgiving

21 Nov

This year, I’m entering my first ever “Turkey Off”.  I think that’s where the ‘Young Dad’ comes in.  Don’t all we men at some point need to attempt to prepare a turkey so that one day when Dad is no longer around, we’re prepared?  Nevermind the carving, which actually concerns me more than the cooking of the giant bird.

I’m a young Dad as in my kids are young.  Probably a little closer to forty than most would usually be with a 2-year-old and 9 month old.  It’s a wonderful life, but one with very little sleep on average.  The beautiful topper right now is my precious 9 month old is cutting her first two teeth which means sleep, for her, is random at best.  My lovely wife takes the brunt of it, but the sleep deprivation has worked its way through the whole family.

So the “Turkey Off” was actually Dad’s idea.  I had suggested that perhaps I could tackle the turkey this year, but our lovely hostess, my sister, hinted strongly that it was probably best left for Dad.  Upon further probing, two concerns came two light.  First, there’s no evidence that my first time cooking whole poultry will lead to something edible.  I’m a decent cook, but I used to experiment quite a bit my first time out with recipes and that lead to some questionable (at best) results.  She doesn’t realize this, but I stick to recipes far more than I did in my younger days.  I still experiment with things I just whip up in the kitchen, but I usually have a better understanding what I’m doing now and I tend to use a trusted recipe as a guide.  I still have dishes that end up less than a success, but it’s usually just too little flavor rather than a horrendous taste.  And a little salt, or salty cheese, tends to solve those problems.

The second, and most concerning question my sister raised was my tendency for tardiness.  Yes, I tend to be late.  Now that I have a wife and two kids, I really tend to be late.  Always stuck in my head is Paul Newman‘s line, “Punctuality is the courtesy of Kings” (probably paraphrasing) that he delivered to another star actor encouraging him to be on time since everyone on a movie set is always waiting for the star, but yet, I have not resolved my tardiness issue.  The family will excuse being late with bread or dessert or even a random side dish (my usual entries), but it would be sacrilege to have all the other dishes prepared and presented on the table and that one giant spot in the middle vacant until I showed up.  I get that.

So I backed off and once Mom said Dad picked up a giant free range turkey this year, I figured there was no need to even consider the poultry.  Then Dad entered with his challenge.  He welcomes the young experimental cook’s challenge and thinks it will push him to make an even better turkey this year.  Plus, (he didn’t say this), with there being two turkeys, it’s no big deal if mine is a little late or if it turns into a dry, indigestible mess.

So now, off to prepping.  I did a little googling on Sunday to get an idea of what I was venturing into and realized that I have one day to get all my ingredients together.  Brining seems the way to go and since most turkeys (as far as I’m aware) that I would buy tend to be frozen, I have a three days of prep in front of me.  I needed to start up the extra fridge last night (or clean out the cooler) so that I have a place to thaw and the store the turkey in it’s brine and since thawing a large bird properly can take 2-3 days, I’m already behind.  Glad I didn’t wait until the last minute.

Now, the brine and the recipe.  So many vary and I love the idea of bringing something really different to the table in a smoked or fried turkey, but they both present more problems than I really want to deal with.  Frying a turkey leads to fires and trips to the emergency room every year.  I would trust I could avoid either catastrophe, but with my penchance for clumsiness, I’m not betting on it.  Smoking a turkey is a bit more doable, even though I don’t have a smoker.  It can be done on a regular charcoal grill, but my small grill may not be large enough to really keep the heat “indirect” and place a pan below the sweating bird to catch the drippings.  So, I’m left with the oven roasting option my Dad uses and trying a different recipe.

I’m currently leaning towards Alton Brown‘s recipe on Food Networks.  I figure if the entire Food Network puts one chef’s turkey front and center, year after year, then there has to be something special about it.  He uses ingredients I don’t tend to keep around the house and that increases the financial impact of this experiment, but not to the point that’s prohibitive.  Still, the smoking idea lingers in the back of my mind.  Either way, a decision must be made this morning so I can make the trip to the store (with both little ones in tow) and can start all my prep tonight.  Yeah, the other dishes on my plate include easy mashed potatoes and a pumpkin dessert thing.  Neither of those I expect to take much time and my wife will be assisting on both, but we still need to plan out time for each item to take over our little kitchen.  Don’t tell my Mom, but I’m thinking of using potato flakes instead of real potatoes to simplify Thursday.

The only reason I’m considering the “just add water” variety of potatoes is that with a few experiments under my belt now, I turn out really stellar mashed potatoes.  My wife is a lover of all things potato and really enjoys them.  It seems wrong to go that route, but I do believe that my mix of garlic, parsley, a little butter, and mostly olive oil provides a great tasting pureed bud.  Prepared from scratch or not, I imagine that the potatoes will contain more olive oil than butter.  The fragrant and slightly fruity oil really pairs well with the potatoes and you get all the creaminess without the trans fats.  Of course, Smart Balance Butter gets you that buttery goodness without any trans fats too.  Oh the choices.

The choices for the brine are endless too.  They all contain plenty of salt and water, but that’s where the similarities end.  I could go with a fruity, aromatic brine.  Or perhaps a very sweet bourbon brine?  There’s always the beer brine to consider, but I only have a stout beer in the house and a little too long in a brine bath will make that bird’s simply taste like beer.  Choices, choices, choices.

There is one thing I learned over the years; there is no choice when it comes to Cream Cheese.  Sure, you can use some low-fat or fat-free Cream Cheese in a cheesecake, but only very little and never, ever use it in frosting.  Fat-free and low-fat Cream Cheese has a flavor that just detracts from the sugary goodness of a frosting.  The extra tang can work in a cheesecake, but not in frosting, so don’t skimp on the fat there.

Good luck in your Thanksgiving Dining Endeavors and forget about the fat and calories for a day.  Enjoy and revel in food and family.

The RANGERS matter a lot in Dallas Tonight

28 Oct

As someone who spent the majority of his life in Dallas and grew up enamoured with our professional sports franchises, tonight means a lot.  The Texas Rangers are in the World Series again and they actually have a chance to win it.  Granted, it doesn’t look great after the meltdown last night, but they have a chance and that’s all we can ask for.

The thing is if the Rangers win, that gives us TWO of the THREE major championships this year and puts extra pressure on the Cowboys to complete the Trifecta.  The Mavericks shocked and delighted the world when Dirk led them to a Championship this summer over LeBron and the Dream Team in Miami.  And that’s why tonight’s game is important.  I’m not a Rangers fan and I really don’t care if the Rangers lose tonight.  I followed the “professional” franchises we had in Dallas when I was growing up and by that I mean the Cowboys and, occasionally, the Mavericks.  The Rangers eventually got a beautiful ballpark which meant that I went to plenty of games, but I never really cared if they won or lost.  Neither did most of the crowd.  We went for the atmosphere, the food, and the homeruns.  Oh, and to see Rusty Greer make a play.

Every season as July rolls around, those that are even remotely curious about the Rangers, change their focus to the behemoth that is the Cowboys.  They are our team.  The Rangers so rarely mattered past July 1st and the Cowboys were in training camp, that we had better things to do.  Like last night.  I had better things to do.  I was playing a new video game and flipped over to watch an inning here or there between matches.  I was hoping for a win and Josh Hamilton sure made it interesting in the 10th, but it was only because I’m passionate about the Cowboys.

If the Rangers win tonight, the heat is on the Cowboys.  Jerry Jones puts pressure on the ‘Boys daily.  That Star on the helmet puts pressure on the team daily.  The fans are always ready to apply pressure and worship winners, but the pressure to win from all sides is going to increase exponentially if the lowly Texas Rangers bring a Championship home to the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex.  If the Mavericks and Rangers both have 2011 rings and the Cowboys finish the 2011-2012 season without one, Jerry and the Team will hear the chanting loud and clear.  They’re the supposed Championship Team in town.  They have the pedigree.  They last won a Championship in 1996.  That’s 15 freaking years ago.  It’s about time for a turnaround.

That’s why this Rangers’ win couldn’t come at a better time.  A World Series Banner may just give the Cowboys the extra shot in the arm they need as they head to Philadelphia this weekend.  The Iggles.  Our rivals.  Nevermind all that national crap about the Cowboys and Redskins, it’s the Cowboys and the Iggles.  No other rivalry even comes close.  It’s not in the Win-Loss column as Dallas has a slight advantage there (56-44 according to Wikipedia).  It’s not the Championships between the two teams (Dallas with FIVE and I think Philly has a number north of Negative One).  It’s the attitude and the animosity.

It is strange that we have Buddy Ryan’s kid on the Cowboys sideline now.  Buddy’s defenses were scary good and we still hold a grudges for the Bounty Bowls.  It really is the defense that stands out when I think of the Eagles.  Sure, whoever is running the ball for the green always seems to get loose against the Cowboys, but their defense ended Michael Irvin’s career and certainly shortened Troy Aikman’s.  Great feeling is that now, like the early to mid-nineties, the Cowboys defense is better than the Iggles and intimidates opponents more.

Reflecting on recent Cowboys-Iggles History, I’m reminded of the ending to the 2009-2010 season.  The back to back Eagles losses that ended McNabb’s days in Philly.  I’m looking forward to DeMarcus Ware introducing himself to Michael Vick’s fragile and frail figure a few times Sunday night.  Perhaps a brutal body slam or two by the beast known as Anthony Spencer.  Those two alone should have Vick sleeping restless tonight.  Plus with Sean Lee roving the middle and a Secondary that’s finally healthy, Rob Ryan could bring pressure for almost anywhere.

I guess I could devote time to Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Miles Austin, and our possible emerging star in DeMarco Murray, but none of them really strike fear in the hearts of Iggles’ fans.  You know Romo can light it up, but he can also toss horrible interceptions.  Witten is a thorn in the side of any defense, but he rarely breaks a game open.  Miles Austin is a threat at any time to post a big score, but this season has not seen the kind of results we expect from the Pro Bowl receiver.  Murray could be a one hit wonder.  His game versus the Rams last week was brilliant, but it was the Rams.  No, the one guy that deserves a mention from the offense is Dez Bryant.  He is deserving of the honor of wearing 88 in Dallas.  He’s kind of like that little annoying receiver the Iggles have.

Dez Bryant is like DeSean Jackson in that he is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.  He has the moves and the breakaway speed that make defenses and special teams worry constantly.  The biggest difference between Jackson and Bryant is that Bryant can break any tackle.  Sometimes it works against him, because he takes more hits than he needs to, but he’s the player that makes the Cowboys offense look threatening.  He’s a young player and not consistent enough yet, but he’s going to have a breakout game this season and I think this weekend just might be it.

Go Rangers and put the pressure on My Cowboys for Sunday night!  It’s gonna be fun.