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Up From the Pit Fantasy Football 2014 Preview

September 4, 2014

Welcome! This is the third time I’ve started this fucking preview because the WordPress editor keeps acting up. And no I don’t want to write it in Word and then transfer it. I hate Word. Anyways… ON TO THE FOOTBALL!!!!

Since we are hosting the UFtPFFL here at Raising Hellions this year, I thought I should take some time to explain to both of my readers what makes our league a little more fun for us than others have been in the past. Firstly it is for low stakes. It’s a 20 dollar buy in and all of that money is split between the champion and runner up. I know some people spend hundreds of dollars a year on this game. I personally think that’s crazy. Twenty bucks is just enough to smile about if you win, but not a terrible loss if you (as is most likely) lose. Secondly, even though we use ESPN’s free Fantasy Football service to keep track of things for us, we don’t play the game as weekly head to head matchups. Instead each team is awarded points based on their performance each week, from 8 points for the highest total each week on down to 1 point for the lowest. I have to credit co-commissioner Chris Dunn for the scheme, which is designed to avoid one of the most frustrating experiences in Fantasy Football, the week where it seems like everything clicks, you pull out your highest score of the year and you get bubkus because the team you are paired off with did just a little better. I think it really smooths a lot of the randomness out of the season and does a better job of rewarding good lineup decisions.  We play a 14 game season with the top two teams at the end of the year squaring off in a Superbowl. Last year we played a Toilet Bowl of sorts with a 5 dollar buy in for all the losers to play for over the kind of random last two weeks of the regular season.

Without further ado, here are the teams for 2014, in Draft Order.

Open Carriers: Coach Chris Dunn.

Named after those brave Americans ready to protect our freedom to shop at Target whilst heavily armed, the OC’s led off the draft by picking last years NFL and UFtPFFL Most Valuable Player (and possible Son of Man) Peyton Manning. His Majesty will be supported by some great receivers in Brandon Marshall and Jeremy Maclin. A lot of this teams fortunes may ride on the balky knees of Rob Gronkowski.

Neer Neer Neeeeeeer: Coach Karl Hiller

Named after a sound effect I believe? Coach Hiller is in his second year of Fantasy Football and gamely fights on despite knowing less about the NFL than my 9 year old. Hoping to improve on last years last place finish, NNN picked up a fairly pass heavy roster, starting with Drew Breesat QB and the dangerous Calvin Johnson at WR. He’ll be very pleased if Bronco’s RB Montee Ball responds well to getting the starting nod in Denver’s high powered offense.

Our Sports Team: Coach Lou Doench

“We’re Great! You Suck!” sings Weird Al Yankovic in this teams fight song. I went with an old school Fantasy approach, snagging Shady McCoy and Eddie Lacy as my starting RB’s in the first two rounds, adding possibly the best receiver in the draft in Demaryious Thomas, and gambling in the later rounds on TE’s Zach Ertz and LaDarious Green.

Team Sheirer:  Coach AJ Sheirer

AJ joined the league for fun and to help us get to an even number, but he’s never been able to make the draft so we drafted him by committee again. AJ “Purple Jesus” Peterson was his reward for picking fifth, and he has a nice passer in Andrew Luck coming back in round 2. With AP and Arian Foster at RB he has a Superbowl Backfield from 2012, but may be getting a little long in the teeth at this point.

Seoul Crushers:  Coach Abby Stevenson Doench

Korean import Abby honors her forebears this year and hopes to make her ancestors proud behind Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch, super TE Jimmy Graham and the omnipresent Victor Cruz, who has been on all three of Abby’s rosters. She’s a former champion and she’s looking for revenge for last years Super Bowl loss, so watch out.

Unaccompanied Minors: Coach Tony Doench

Abby’s loyal husband, Tony Went for blazing speed as his teams hallmark, with Jamaal Charles, Giovanni Bernard and CJ Spiller giving him a squad of running backs who can score from anywhere on the field. His receiving corps will depend a lot on players with new addresses this year, Eric Decker leaving the high flying Broncos for the more stationary Jets and DeSean Jackson (also a speedster) leaving the high octane Eagles for the three ring circus of the Washington Controversies. Will his gambles pay off?

Captain Chaos: Coach Frank Mcelwain

Hoping to channel the spirit of the late Dom Deluise, Frank Did a fine job this year drafting from the 7 spot. Matt Forte, Aaron Rodgers and Dez Bryant form the potential core of a championship team. A lot will be expected from an aging Andre Johnson and Reggie Bush to step up and support the stars.

The Geatland Grendels: Coach James Geers

Last years champions defend their title sans Manning this year. They focused on acquiring Bengals, showing an optimism for the hometown team usually reserved for members of Mike Brown’s immediate family. But AJ Green, Andy Dalton, and the Bengals Defense can score points. He’s just going to have an interesting bye week to navigate.

Week One Preview

The season kicks off with great game tonight, pitting the defending champion Seattle Seahawks and the ferocious defense that embarrassed the Bronco’s in February against the Green Bay Packers and the returning Aaron Rodgers. Tonight’s game might be an indicator of the rest of the season. Do you start your star players against the ‘Hawks? Or go fishing for a better match up with lesser players. The Bengals begin their defense of their AFC North Crown on the road against division rival Baltimore Ravens. Will Marvin Lewis finally win a playoff game? The quest begins Sunday.

In other interesting games, The Jets and the Raiders will vie for the title of  “Most Directionless Organization”, the 49’ers will be the first beneficiaries of facing the Cowboys and what may very well be the worst defense in the NFL in quite some time. And the Colts and Bronco’s will hook up once again for another silly “Peyton Manning’s Revenge” game.

Remember folks, players lock in at kickoff of their game. Get your lineups in, doublecheck the injury reports, sacrifice a fatted calf, do what you feel you need to do to be ready. Then lets go have a fun Fantasy Football season.

Good Luck Everybody!

Long Overdue Update Post!

September 4, 2014

Coolest Hat Ever

Hey there internet friends! It certainly has been a long time since we had a post here at Raising Hellions. If this blog is the only way you keep up with me then it would certainly look like I fell off the face of the Earth! Which is not true at all. But there have been some big changes in my life the last year that I should probably explain to both of my readers.

Thing one is a Great News Thing. Last year I was given the opportunity to join an awesome collection of bloggers at the newest Skepchick sister site Grounded Parents. The GP’s are an awesome gang of intelligent and funny moms and dads and other interested parties who are dedicated to secular and science based parenting. We aren’t all experts, heck most of us are just avid amateurs, but we blog to share our stories, our passions, our insights and our gripes. It has been an incredible amount of fun and I feel like I’ve made some awesome E-migo’s . You can check out what I’ve written for GP here. I’m especially proud of my series examining common social media memes that give bad parenting advice or commentary, the Internet Meme Demolition Derby. I’ll try and get into the habit of posting a link here whenever I have a new GP piece, usually on every 10 days or so.

The other thing is more of a Bad News/Good News thing. Last year I began seeing a psychologist for the first time in my life. What started as a way to ask some questions about how much of my Dad’s hypochondria I inherited (the answer is a good bit) became a long overdue examination of my own mental well being. So I’ve been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The anxiety was bringing on panic attacks and the ADHD has been interfering with my life for 45 years. I now take Stratterra , which is a non stimulant ADHD treatment which luckily also has an off label application for anxiety treatment. I’m also benefiting a great deal from the weekly talk therapy sessions, hashing out some of my issues with my particular life situation. We’re having some interesting discussions about how hard it can be to be an extrovert who has to spend too much time cooped up in non social situations, something I’ve had to do as a SAHD for 9 years now.

So the gist is that my SAHD and skeptical parent blogging has moved to another venue and the personal blogging has been… unmotivated. But I need to write more. At the blog Writing about Writing, fellow GP Chris Breechen exhorts those interested in becoming writers to write every day. Now I’m not sure I am interested in becoming a “writer” in the sense that I’d like make money at it or anything, especially if it would interfere with my real job of supporting the Girl and raising our Hellions, which is what keeps me in whiskey money. But I do want to become a better blogger, which requires practice. So Raising Hellions will continue as my personal blog, a home for my writing about friends and family and whatever else comes to mind.  I plan on restarting the Monday Muse posts, I have a bunch of new music to share with y’all. And I’ve decided to make Raising Hellions the home of my weekly review and preview essays for the Up from the Pit Fantasy Football league, the first of which will be landing sometime before the kickoff of tonight’s Green Bay/Seattle season opener. UFTP Fantasy Football  is a labor of love, a low stakes friends and family affair started by my friend Kester and myself when we grew frustrated with the way previous leagues had been run. I had a lot of fun writing these last year, here’s a sample.

Up from the Pit Fantasy Football Week 7 Review
or The battle for second place rages on.

Hey there Pitters! Better late than never comes this weeks recap of bone crushing Fantasy Football action. The Return of the Sunday Hotties (135 pts) seem to be intent on erasing the sibling kissing taste of last years tie for the Championship. Another first place finish widens Abby’s lead in the overall standings to 8 points over the Grendels with seven weeks to go. The Hotties attack this week was led by Matt Forte’s (28 pts) three touchdown performance and Vincent Jackson’s (25 pts) 138 yd, 2 td scorching of the beat up Atlanta Falcons.

The Green Arrows (103 pts) surged back into contention for second place when their namesake wideout AJ Green (21 pts) blasted out of his slump with 155 yards against the Lions, as well as a 22 pt day from veteran RB Frank Gore (more on him later). Captain Chaos (96 pts) closed to one point behind the Grendels for third place on the year on the back of Aaron Rodger’s 28 point Sunday.

The Grendels (94 pts) continued their surprising rise from last years basement with another MVP level game from possible Terminator robot Peyton Manning (31 pts), although that wasn’t enough in real football to stay winless as The Bronco’s fell to the Colts in Manning’s return to Indianapolis.

Tito’s Puentes (80 pts) dialed up Cybertron and received help from Megatron (Calvin Johnson) who caught every ball thrown anywhere near him on Sunday for 27 pts. The Least of Your Problems (75 pts) squeaked past Team scheirer (74 pts), led by the Carolina Defense mangling the Rams to the tune of 19 pts, while TS suffered from disappointing outings across the board (although AJ has to be happy with the 30 pts Cam Newton put up in Thurday night action lasy night.) Breaking Wind (67 pts) continued to struggle despite the efforts of Possible Giant Leprechaun Colin Kaepernick (21 pts) and the long awaited return of Rob Gronkowski (11 pts).

Player of the Week: Peyton Manning (again)

Coaching Genius Move of the Week: Nobody. The starters did their jobs this week and no coaching gamble really paid off.

Put Me in Coach Award: Oof this was a rough week for QB’s. Tito’s Puentes swapped Nick Foles (6 pts) in for Matt Ryan (25 pts) on the advice of a lot of experts. But the award this week goes to TLoYP, who managed to miss Andrew Luck’s (31 pts) triumphant performance in upsetting the Bronco’s, although is is not Karl’s fault the red hot Jay Cutler (1 pt) suffered a torn groin early in the game.

Transaction News: We had our first big trade this year as Captain Chaos offered to solve The Green Arrows’ revolving door at QB in exchange for dealing from the GA running back depth. Aaron Rodgers and Frank Gore swap teams as both coaches fight to catch the Grendels for second place.

This week features a huge slate of byes, with Chicago, Tennessee, Indianapolis, San Diego, Baltimore, and Houston taking the week off to work on their Halloween Costumes.

Good luck and have fun this weekend!

So that’s the plan folks. Music, Football, more silly pix of the kids. Raising Hellions is back in action. Hope everyone has fun.

Monday Muse: Laurie Berkner

July 8, 2013

So far I have been blessed to to be spared the affront visited on all parents by their progeny, that they will have terrible taste in music.   It seems every generation is visited with this curse.  The old fuddy duddies hated, in no particular order; Jazz, Rock and Roll, New Wave, Disco, Rap, Trip-hop, Electronica, Heavy Metal, Chamber Music, Mozart,  The Blues, Swing, Sinatra, Choral Music, Country and Western, Bluegrass, AM I MISSING ANYTHING?

I’m positive that somewhere back in the mists of time there was a caveman lamenting to his cavewoman about the “Kids these days with their new fangled DRUMS,  Back in my day we banged two rocks together and that was damn fine music!  And don’t get me started on those obscene cave paintings grumble grumble…

Now there has been a slow infiltration of “new” music into the Hellions playlist.  Katy Perry pops up now and then.  The Peanut loves Thrift Shop for some reason (which is fine, because I do as well).  I’m fine with that though.  I don’t buy into generational music resentment.  There is always great music being made, and there has never been a better time than today to find it.  As the Who sang many years ago “The Kids are Alright”. They always have been.

Still, I’m glad that the most requested artist from the Hellions is still a “kids” musician.  And in my opinion the Queen of kids music today is Laurie Berkner.  Ms. Berkner  first appeared on our radar from her many guest spots on Nick Jr’s Jack’s Big Music Show, a delightful program that taught youngsters a lot about music  in fun and friendly fashion. It ceased production in 2007, but it’s absolutely worth your time to check it out. It will definitely be on my upcoming list of “Kids TV that won’t drive you bonkers or insult your intelligence”  It’s a longer list than I thought it would be.

Laurie mixes  her own takes on classics like “Wimoweh(the lion sleeps tonight” and “O Susanhah”, songs that grandma or grandpa can tap along to, with her delightful original compositions, little songwriting gems like “Victor Vito”, “Under a Shady Tree”, and “I’m a mess”.  And it’s in her original compositions that she really shines.  She writes inventive and challenging songs for an audience that is often ill served by Barneylevel dreck and recycled nursery rhymes  (Barney is definitely not on the list).

Still cranking out tunes at the age of 44 (she’s 6 months younger than me!),  The Laurie Berkner Band (Laurie, Susie Lampert on piano.  bassist Adam Bernstein, and drummer Bob Golden) are still writing and touring. In fact they will be in the Heart of it All at the Big Fun Kid’s Fest in Columbus, Ohio this September 1st.  Maybe we’ll see some of you there?


PS. The Wikipedia article on Laurie Berkner clued me into the term “Kindie Rock”.  I’ll be exploring that term and the artists it covers at a later date.


10 Years…

May 25, 2013

Ten years ago today the Girl  and Boy stood out in unseasonable rain and cold and exchanged vows in front of friends and family.  We danced and laughed and sang and turned that dreary afternoon into a night we will never forget.

10 years later, with three Hellions along for the ride, it is as obvious to me today as it was then that I’m with the right person, in the right place, at the right time.

Today I celebrate 10 years with the love of my life, a love that has only grown deeper and more focused with the passing years.

Happy Anniversary Girl…


This is still our song…

The First of May… Not Safe For Work

May 1, 2013

It’s beautiful outside.  Just bought my tomatoes.  What, did you think cold winter was gonna last forever?

This is my favorite video of this song.

Better Bloggers than I: What’s Really Wrong With Congress? | The Weekly Sift

April 29, 2013

A new feature I’m trying.  I share a lot of links on my Facebook page, to other blogs, sometimes to news articles.  Then my conservative, religious or libertarian friends yell at me,  I yell back and a good time is had by all.   Which is great if you are my Facebook friend (if you aren’t my FB friend, well why not? I’m Facebook Easy; note I unfriend 9/11 truthers on sight).   But why limit the reach of my linkage to my Facebook friends when I can add a link here and nab both of my blog readers as well, besides it will automatically get linked to Facebook and Twitter anyways!

So my first installment will be to Doug Muder’s  excellent blog The Weekly Sift. He specializes in big thinky pieces and excels at the seemingly forgotten art of the long form blog.

What’s Really Wrong With Congress? | The Weekly Sift.

Today’s piece is a review of former Maine Representative Tom Allen’s new book “Dangerous Convictions:What’s Really Wrong  with the U.S. Congress”, a book that is on its way to my Kindle App as we type.  The Sift does a great job of hitting the salient points so go read there, because as the title says, he’s a Better Blogger than I.

Here’s a tease.

So the typical liberal/conservative debate in Congress these days looks like this: The liberal will present an evidence-based expertise-based plan to, say, deal with the economy’s measurable lack of demand by spending money to fix our roads and bridges. The conservative will respond with unquantifiable, uncheckable assertions that debt will destroy business confidence, and that unemployment will go down if we stop coddling the unemployed with extended benefits and instead cut regulations to give the “job creators” more freedom.

Where can the conversation go from there? There is literally nothing to talk about. As Allen says:

Our political polarization and dysfunctional public debate is largely driven by convictions and worldviews immune to contrary evidence and expertise.


Then go back and read everything else he has ever written. Go on… there will be a test…

Monday Muse: The Indigo Girls: Part the Second

April 15, 2013

So the Indigo Girls show at the Madison Theater show last month was so awesome that it broke the blog! That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

So why am I a ginormous Indigo Girls fan?  Why am I one of those people in the crowd who knows the song they are playing by the end of the first chord?  That still freaks out the girl a little bit.  I guess it starts way back in the 90’s when I heard this song on 97X (BAM! the future of Rock and Roll)

First and aside about WOXY, modern rock, and the misunderstood term “alternative” music.  A few years ago on A Prairie Home Companion, host Garrison Keillor, after a performance by Wilco asked (I’m paraphrasing from memory) something to the effect of; “They call you guys alternative, but ‘alternative’ to what? That just sounded good!”.   Here Keillor makes the mistake a lot of folks make in trying to use “alternative” to define a sound or style of music.  What alternative means to me is not a style of music, but instead a style of music programming.  What made WOXY “alternative” was not that they played a bunch of music that fit a certain style or genre, but that they eschewed genre almost altogether and just programmed music that “just sounded good” to their dj’s and their listeners. And they were unafraid to mix things up. So you could hear Tori Amos, the Nine Inch Nails,  REM, The Throwing Muses,  classic Ramones, and then an Indigo Girls tune back to back to back.  Which is how I got clued in to this duo from Georgia singing about an Italian astronomer.

Back to the tunes…

It didn’t start out as fanaticism like my Over the Rhine fandom, it was something that grew slowly, building purchase by purchase, release after release.  The Indigo Girls became the comforting voice that filled the cold and scary times of my life with warmth, intelligence and passion.   By the time their excellent double live album “1200 Curfews” was released I was a dedicated fan. It was to see the Girls live for the first time that I went to the first Lilith Fair tour at Riverbend.  This is what they opened with and it still blows me away.

That’s actually from the current tour.  The young men forming much of the band are the Shadowboxers , who are just adorable, even though their sound isn’t quite up my alley they are damn talented and I expect them to grow into something pretty cool.

I could go on and on and on talking about the Girls activism for LGBT rights,  Amy Ray’s solo albums,  their support for independent artists, the way that consistently prove to be very cool people as well as accomplished artists, but that’s what wikipedia articles are for.  I’ll end for now by saying that I have more to say about my favorite band, but 500 words at a time is all my brain will bang out right now. More to come in future installments.  Seriously, I might end up going album by album at some point.


PS: There, I wrote a blog post… can I go back to blowing up large sections of Pandora now?


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