Saturday, January 07, 2006

Beware the Pretzel
One thing we know: No president since Nixon has been as popular a subject for long-distance psychoanalysis as He Who Shall Not Be Named. Not even Bill Clinton, to whom the adjective "pathological" was frequently applied. (We pretty much knew what was going on in Bill's head to drive him--although sometimes, what was driving him was located somewhat farther down his body, and I say that as a person who likes him.)

Another thing we know: HWSNBN quit drinking in the 1980s after close encounters with A) Billy Graham and B) Jesus. He won't answer questions definitively about use of other drugs, although there was the famous-and-never-substantiated report of a hushed-up arrest for coke possession in 1972. Whether he was ever officially an addict or not, he has never, so far as we know, gone through any sort of 12-step program. So if he was actually an alcoholic, he's never treated it--he is likely what's known as a dry drunk. That's someone who's stopped drinking, but "whose behavior, mental habits and inclinations are still in line with the behaviors, habits and inclinations of alcoholics" and who possesses such behavior traits as "grandiose behavior, pomposity, exaggerated self-importance, a rigidly judgmental outlook, impatience, childish behavior, irresponsible behavior, irrational rationalization, projection, and overreaction."

(If you're scoring at home, several of those certainly seem to fit our boy. And if you're scoring at home at 11:00 on a Saturday morning, good for you.)

Another thing we know: The guy hurts himself a lot. The proprietor of Bottle of Blog saw the latest picture of Bush's latest facial injury, sustained last weekend at the ranch, and, using his vast experience as a drinker and bartender, diagnosed Bush as a drunk who's still drinking, and probably quite a lot during his isolated Crawford vacations. The seriousness of this possibility is infinite--but the post is funny nevertheless.

Bush once famously choked on a pretzel while watching a football game (an incident which also led to facial contusions, somehow), and he will no doubt be tempting the same fate again this weekend as the NFL playoffs get underway. Just for fun (please, no wagering on the basis of my advice), here are some predictions:

Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers. These teams played a classic in November, won by Tampa Bay 36-35 when, with less than a minute to play, they went for two points after a touchdown to win the game instead of kicking for one and playing for overtime. The Redskins needed to win their last five to make the playoffs, and they did. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, lost games this season to San Francisco and the New York Jets, who both finished 4-and-12. Pick: Redskins 24, Buccaneers 21.

Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots. I don't believe in the Jaguars. They were 12-and-4 against an easy schedule. Two of their losses came to teams that didn't make the playoffs (and the other two came against Super Bowl favorite Indianapolis) and they often played down to the level of inferior competition. Meanwhile, New England is like the race car that nobody notices all day, but is on the lead lap at the end and in position to win if the leader stumbles. Quarterback Tom Brady has never lost a playoff game, and can surpass my man Bart Starr as the all-time winner if he wins tonight. Sorry, Bart. Pick: Patriots 31, Jaguars 17.

Carolina Panthers at New York Giants. The hardest game of the weekend to pick. I think it comes down to whether the Giants have to put it on quarterback Eli Manning. If all he has to do is hand the ball to Tiki Barber and throw the occasional pass, they'll win. If he's got to carry the offense himself, they'll lose. I'm with Tiki. Pick: Giants 17, Panthers 13.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals.
The easiest game of the weekend to pick. They've split two games this year, each winning at the other team's place. I've watched the Steelers a couple of times in the last month, and they look to me like the second-best team in the AFC behind Indianapolis. Cincinnati, meanwhile, has phoned it in the last two weeks, losing at home to a bad Buffalo team when a win would have given them a week off before the playoffs, and failing to show up against Kansas City last week. Pick: Pittsburgh 24, Cincinnati 7.

Washington/Tampa Bay and Jacksonville/New England are today; Carolina/New York and Pittsburgh/Cincinnati are tomorrow. Watching (and thus risking pretzel chokage) this weekend are the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, and Denver Broncos. And me.

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