With the Pittsburgh Steelers enjoying their hard-earned bye, Steeler Nation can likewise do the same. This will be the last stress-free weekend for many of us until some time early in February. It’ll also be the last time many of us shave. Remember, guys, the playoff beard superstition goes in to full effect as of Monday. Ladies, I’d invite you to join us but if you grow hair anywhere other than your head, that’s pretty disgusting.
How to pass the time? Well, you could watch Pitt embarrass our city once again in the Tidy Flush Toilet Bowl. I’m so glad I went to CMU. Our offensive line may not be able to run the 49 Rocket Go but they could devise a fuel to make a rocket go in about 49 seconds. Us non-masochists will probably read a book. Over the holidays, reader Steve Lowe sent me his debut novella Muscle Memory and I give it my full recommendation.
Imagine if one morning everybody woke up to discover they switched bodies with the last person they screwed. Tom Cruise would wake up as that guy who pretends to be his assistant, President Obama would wake up as a taxpayer, and Roger Goodell would wake up as James Harrison. *Shudder* It wouldn’t really inconvenience West Virginians, though, since most share the same last name with their cousins.
That’s the basic idea behind Muscle Memory. It’s a “Twilight Zone” meets “X-Files” meets “Tales From the Crypt” type story. And Terry Bradshaw is the Cryptkeeper! Not exactly but he does make a pivotal appearance in the story. And, unlike in Failure to Launch, there’s no danger of seeing his magnificent ass. This being Steve’s first published work, the writing sometimes varies from extremely good to a little rough. However, his sharp characterizations and sense of atmosphere remind me of early Stephen King except substituting the New England flavor for something decidedly more Rust Belt. As somebody who took a ton of creative writing classes but was always too chicken to try getting his work published, I am more than happy to support Steve’s efforts. If you’d like to support a fellow Steeler fan and read a creepy little yarn to boot, Muscle Memory can be picked up for $9.95 on Amazon.com by clicking here.
Of course, after reading books and/or watching Pitt get blown out, there’s a little matter of four playoff games to watch. Never hurts to scout the opposition. Here’s a quick run down of sure-to-be-wrong predictions about this weekend’s games.
New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks
People are predicting a blow out but I don’t see it. New Orleans is not that good. They squeaked by the Steelers on Halloween but that was Ben’s first real tough game of the season and the offense was still very rusty. Last week, the Bucs went up and down the field on the Saints defense. Unfortunately, Seattle’s offense isn’t as good as Tampa’s and they don’t have Black Ben Roethlisberger. My heart wants me to slip into some skinny jeans, paint my fingernails, crank up the Sonic Youth, and predict a Seahags upset. But my head says Saints will pull it out.
New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts
The Jets are the only team the Steelers cannot face next week because they’re the 6th seed and New England gets the lowest seed remaining. People are jumping back on the Colts bandwagon because they managed to win their crappy division after all the other suckass teams shot themselves in the foot like a bunch of Elmer Fudds on speed. I’m not buying it. Yeah, the Jets are overrated but Peyton Manning is the ultimate playoff choke-artist. New York by a field goal after Rex Ryan pumps up kicker Nick Folk with a vigorous foot massage.
Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles
I believe Green Bay is the best team in the NFC. They certainly play the best defense, coached by former Steelers D-coordinator Dom Capers. Philly’s worship of Michael Vick turned out to be a case of puppy love after he stumbled a bit toward the end of the season. Does Vick have the leadership to guide a team through the dog days of winter? I think people betting on the Iggles are barking up the wrong tree. Thank you, I’ll be here all week. Try the pot roast.
Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs
Ah, talk about a Sophie’s Choice. Our hated enemy against a bunch of cornfed yokels. The Ravens D are typical bullies, they run their fat mouths a lot but whine and cry when people stand up to them. And I still maintain Joe Flacco is not an elite quarterback, no matter how much talent surrounds him. Then you have the fact I simply cannot ever bring myself to pick the Ratbirds even though we’d have no problem beating them in the Divisionals. So while I’m pulling for the Chiefs, the fact they got slapped around by the Raiders last week doesn’t instill me with much confidence.
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