Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Underrated Horror Gems--"Dead & Buried"

     "Dead & Buried" is a 1981 film directed by Gary A. Sherman, and written by "Alien" scribes Ronald Shusett and Dan O'Bannon.  It evidently did okay at the box office, and got mediocre to good reviews, but didn't get the attention I feel it deserves.  It's a very good living dead movie, but it seems to be neglected when folks talk about the best zombie movies.  I'll give you a brief summary of the film, which won't divulge important spoilers.  Then I'll follow with spoiler-marked paragraphs discussing the movie in depth (some might say to ridiculous, geeky extremes).
     Potters Bluff is a small seaside town in New England.  But something is amiss.  An unusual amount of violent deaths keep happening, with the victims always being outsiders.  The Sheriff, Dan Gillis (James Farentino), is baffled--even more so because some or perhaps all of the deaths are clearly homicides.  Meanwhile, his schoolteacher wife Janet (Melody Anderson) seems to be keeping secrets, and is showing an odd interest in the occult.  Weird details continue to emerge, and Dan tangles with the strange, colorful town coroner/mortician Dobbs.  Who, or what, is responsible for all this senseless carnage?
     (SPOILERS AHEAD UNTIL MARKED)  "Dead & Buried" came out during the zombie boom of the late 1970's/early 1980's that followed George Romero's horror masterpiece "Dawn of the Dead," the second in the series started by 1968's "Night of the Living Dead."  And, like most good genre movies, it put an interesting spin on a horror cliche.  Many of the "Dawn of the Dead" inspired movies were fairly shameless ripoffs--they featured zombie hordes that devoured the living, and who reproduced by biting and/or killing their human victims.  Usually the only major difference was where the movie was set, or how the "zombification" process started.  But the zombies in "Dead & Buried" are closer to the original Caribbean field worker slaves of the movies in the first half or so of the 20th century.  They retain their sense of identity, their intelligence (mostly--more on that later), their ability to use tools and drive, etc., and are able to pass as living humans.  They are, though, extremely dangerous and violent, although they don't eat their victims.  The movie sidesteps what causes the living to return as zombies--Dobbs says as one point, "Call if black magic.  Call it a medical breakthrough.  I'll take my secret to the grave."  But, whatever it is, Dobbs clearly is the zombie master and controller, the voodoo priest/mad doctor who's running his undead crowd.
     Dobbs is quite a cool character.  It appears much of the reason for why he's doing this is passion for his profession.  The only time we see him angry is when he talks about the "obscenity" of a closed casket funeral.  He sees himself as an artist, as he restores horribly mangled bodies into pristine looking zombies.  In a macabre way, he's like a performance artist playwright--he assembles his undead "cast" and then has them "act" as they exist in the "set" of Potters Bluff.  Or, if you like, Dobbs is an insane would-be movie director.  He has his undead "children" murder people, while filming it, so he can watch the events later, and repeatedly.  Clearly he's mad, and a psychopath, but still, I kind of respect his joyful dedication to his career.  It's refreshing in a way to see someone who clearly adores his job.
     There is, obviously, one giant plot issue in the movie--namely, why does Dobbs resurrect Dan Gillis in the way he did, with (apparently) full memories, full intelligence, and his old sense of morality, ethics, the law, etc?  (Okay, Dan doesn't recall Janet killing him, or his returning to "life," but everything else as far as we can tell.)  Dan could have easily been another one of Dobb's smiling zombie assassins--even better, because he could cover up murder evidence, be seen as more trustworthy to outsiders, etc.  Clearly this is probably the case because it makes for a more compelling movie, but it even makes sense from the characters' viewpoints.  My take is simply this--Dobbs loves messing with Dan.  He gleefully sets this up so Dan bumbles about slowly.  Dobbs arranges for more and more bizarre clues to be dropped, until Dan learns the devastating truth. Cruel, sure, but consistent with Dobb's demented sense of humor.
    This sense of fun is also evident in Dobb's demise, and subsequent regeneration as one of his "children."  We learn that one of the prerequisites for becoming a zombie is a violent death--perhaps by someone else?  Dobbs is clearly eager to die and become a zombie, so why doesn't he commit grisly suicide, or have his other undead servants murder him in ghastly fashion?  Instead, he chooses a risky course of action--he goads Dan into losing it and shooting him (Dobbs).  Dobbs lucks out because Dan shoots Dobbs in the torso--fatally, but not immediately so.  Dobbs needs time to prepare himself, evidently mainly by injecting his trunk with some mysterious liquid substance.  So it would appear that if Dan had decided to shoot Dobbs in the brain, or heart, or somewhere else that would result in death within seconds, than Dobbs would lose, and not get to be reborn as a zombie.  Again, I think this was contrived by the writers for dramatic purposes, but it can fit in with the movie characters' personalities.  I think Dobbs does this because in a weird way he likes Dan, and wants him to be his murderer, and wants to take the chance that it might not work out.
     Dan's wife, Janet, is an odd character, too.  Dobbs says that she's his prize, as she lasts longer than the others before she needs her decaying flesh to be retouched and repaired.  She was reportedly the first zombie, and Dobbs made her the best as a gift for Dan.  Apparently enough of her intelligence and memory survive that Dan doesn't notice that she's dead (or maybe Dan's zombie senses of these might be faulty).  But this kind of falls apart at the end reveal scene, as there Janet appears to be mindless, and reciting a script like a robot.  And what of the other townspeople?  They appear to be the same as before to Dan, and function the same as before, as far as we know.  Is this all surface?  Would Dan notice that they were shadows of their former selves if he spent a lot of time with them?
     Also, the movie ends on a cliffhanger.  What happens next?  Dan appears extremely displeased with knowing that he's dead, and that Dobbs is his puppetmaster, etc.  Isn't Dobbs afraid that Dan will attack and possibly destroy him, or otherwise reveal the secret?  Or will Dan calm down and become a good little soldier in Dobb's family?  We can only speculate.
     Plot aside, I thought the film was very well crafted.  The town of Mendocino, California, stands in for the fictional town of Potters Bluff, which is supposed to be set in Maine.  And although it's across the country from where it's supposed to be, Mendocino has a neat look to it.  It has a great timeless quality to it which adds to the movie's tone of quiet menace.  Despite being so tiny (about 850 people), Mendocino has a long history of films and TV shows being shot there.  Among its highlights are "East of Eden" (1955), "The Dunwich Horror" (1970), "The Karate Kid Part III" (1988), and multiple episodes of the Angela Lansbury 1980's television series, "Murder, She Wrote."  Also, I assume this was intentional--the whole movie looks drab and colorless.  Like a pale imitation of life--it fits the theme well.
     The special effects are definitely several notches above the typical low budget genre fare.  Effects maestro Stan Winston ("The Thing" (1982), "The Terminator" (1984), "Aliens" (1986), "Pumpkinhead" (1988) (he also directed this one), "Terminator 2" (1991), "Jurassic Park" (1993), "Iron Man" (2008), to name just a few) did many of the movie's scenes.  Included among these are a fantastically gross burn victim, a very hard to watch hypodermic-needle-to-the-eye death, and a bare skull being rebuilt and refleshed before our eyes.  Really, the only dodgy effects scene is one the studio reportedly forced upon the director, and apparently not done by Winston, of the doctor's demise by acid.  There aren't lots of repulsive and gory scenes in "Dead & Buried," but when they occur they are (with the one exception) very disturbing, and well done.
     (END OF SPOILERS--SAFE FOR ALL TO READ FROM HERE ON)  Director Gary A. Sherman didn't have a long career, at least as a director.  His 1972 effort "Raw Meat," about cannibals in the London Underground, has become a cult movie (and I thought it was pretty good, but maybe a tad overrated).  Other films of note were 1982's "Vice Squad," and 1988's "Poltergeist III."  The cast of "Dead & Buried" was a mix of obscure and famous actors.  James Farentino (Sheriff Dan Gillis) wasn't a huge star, but he did get an Emmy nomination for the 1977 television miniseries "Jesus of Nazareth," and also appeared in "The Final Countdown" (1980), "Her Alibi" (1989), and "Bulletproof" (1996) before dying in 2012.  Melody Anderson (Janet Gillis) is best known for her starring turn in 1980's "Flash Gordon."  She retired from acting in the early 1990's and now is a social worker/public speaker specializing in drug addiction.  Jack Albertson (William Dobbs) sadly died in 1981, about 6 months after "Dead& Buried" came out.  He's best known for appearances in "Miracle on 34th St."(1947), "The Subject Was Roses" (1968) (for which he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor), "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" (1971) as "Grandpa Joe," "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972), as well as starring in the 1974-78 television sitcom "Chico and the Man."  Girl on Beach/Lisa was played by Lisa Blount, who appeared in 1982's "An Officer and a Gentleman," 1985's "Cut and Run," 1987's "The Prince of Darkness" (a great John Carpenter movie), and 1990's "Needful Things."  She also won an Oscar, sharing one with her husband for the Best Live Action Short Film "The Accountant" in 2001.  Alas, she's also deceased.  The character of Phil was played by Barry Corbin, who was in "WarGames" (1983), "No Country For Old Men" (2007), and is probably most familiar to audiences for playing Maurice in the 1990-95 sitcom "Northern Exposure."  Mortician's assistant "Jimmy", Glen Morshower, has been a very busy actor, appearing in over 200 movies and TV shows, including "CSI," "The West Wing," "Pearl Harbor" (2001), "Black Hawk Down" (2001), "Moneyball" (2011), and "X-Men:  First Class" (2011).  And finally, tow truck operator "Harry" was played by Robert Englund, who of course was "Freddie Krueger" in the "Nightmare On Elm Street" series, as well as in "Eaten Alive" (1977), the "V" television miniseries (1983-84), "976-EVIL" (1988), and "The Mangler" (1995), among others.
     So, in closing, I'm not sure why "Dead & Buried" is relatively unheralded.  It has an interesting take on a hoary theme, is written and filmed well, has good acting and direction, and has an overall creepy undertone with regularly spaced intense, frightening scenes.  Fans of the living dead will probably appreciate this one.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--Cornichons

     Now that readers have gone through an exhaustive review of quarterbacks in title games, it's back to weirdo foods.  This week's one is, once again, a tad weak.  A cornichon admittedly isn't that far out.  But, it was new to me, so here it is.
     Essentially, a cornichon is a French variant on the pickle.  Most obviously, these are much smaller than a typical pickle, at least the American version.  Instead of being around 3-5 inch spears (or sometimes larger), or being round cuts of about 1-2 inches in diameter, cornichons are maybe 1-2 inches long, with a diameter of about a half inch.  They're made from a different species of cucumber than typical pickles, and are then even harvested earlier, before they're fully mature.  This is thought to give them more of a tartness.  Also, the cornichon cucumber has many tiny bumps or nubs on it.  One website I consulted said if the cucumber is allowed to grow more that these tiny bumps turn into spikes.  (Which sounds really cool to me--I'd like to see a spiky cucumber or pickle, but evidently I'm in the minority about this.)  Once they're picked, the mini-cukes are, well, pickled in vinegar, like their larger cousins.  However, the special added ingredient for cornichons is an herb, tarragon.  This in turn is the main ingredient in Bearnaise Sauce, and is the main flavoring in soft drinks enjoyed in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Russia, and the Ukraine.  Furthermore, tarragon is unfortunately a known carcinogen.......if you consume 100 to 1000 times what a typical person consumes.  So I guess you're fine as long as you don't eat only tarragon for every meal, and in tremendous, competitive eating-style amounts.
     Once made the cornichon is usually eaten as a snack, often to accompany cheese, cured meats, and pate.  In England cornichons are called, "gherkins," and sometimes gherkin is kind of used interchangeably with "pickle."
     My cornichons were actually made in Germany, by a company named Hengstenberg.  So maybe cornichon purists, if they exist (and part of me wants them to), might claim I didn't have "real" cornichons.  But these sufficed to me.  They looked, as advertised, like small pickles, with odd, warty growths on them.  And they a regular pickle.  Maybe a tad sweeter than an average dill pickle, but I doubt I could have told them apart in a blind taste test.  I guess my palate isn't nuanced enough to detect the precious tarragon.  I was slightly disappointed that the cornichon wasn't dramatically different.  But, since I like regular pickels, my take on them is a compliment.  However, since they were imported, they were a bit pricey.  The small jar I bought (about 10 ounces, I think) was close to $5, while a 16 ounce jar of regular dill pickles (depending on the type, but in general) is about $2 cheaper, at least.  So I would buy them again for their taste, but probably only every once in a while because of their cost.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Quarterbacks in Super Bowls/Championships

     During the build up to the recent Super Bowl 50, much of the discussion was about Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, and his relative lack of success in the playoffs.  His overall playoff record is a fairly mediocre 14-13, and he has a 2-2 Super Bowl record.  This got me to thinking about quarterbacks' records in title games in general.  One of my pet football peeves is folks who don't seem to know, or acknowledge that the Super Bowl didn't exist for much of the NFL's history.  The NFL dates back to 1920, and the first Super Bowl was played in 1967, for the 1966 season.  So people who crow that the Detroit Lions haven't even made a Super Bowl are correct, but they're ignoring the fact that the Lions did win several NFL League Titles before the Super Bowl existed.  So I decided to go back and look at starting quarterbacks' records in all title games, and get a complete list.
     This was a little complicated.  Because there were two other professional football leagues of consequence during the NFL's run.  From 1946-49 the All-American Football Conference (AAFC) played, comprised of 7-8 teams.  Readers might ask, "Why do we care about this inferior, knockoff league?"  Because three of these teams were absorbed into the NFL for the 1950 season--the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Baltimore Colts (who only lasted a year before folding, only to be replaced in 1953 by a separate team from Dallas later renamed the Baltimore Colts again).  And the Browns won the NFL title in their first season, and played in the NFL Championship game 6 times in their first 6 years (winning 3).  So they were clearly up to NFL standards.  Later on, the American Football League (the AFL) played from 1960-69.  In 1970 they were completely absorbed into the NFL, and (with three former NFL teams the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cleveland Browns, and the Baltimore Colts) became the American Football Conference.  During the four years when they played the NFL in the first four Super Bowls, they were 2-2.  Suggesting that they were at a respectable level of football skill, and not some "Mickey Mouse League" or something.  (There were other professional football leagues in this time too, like the World Football League (WFL) in 1974-75, the United States Football League (USFL) from 1983-86, and the XFL in 2001, of varying levels of competence.  However, no teams from these leagues were absorbed into the NFL, and so I don't think they are worthy of our consideration.  There were talented players in these leagues, especially the USFL, some of whom played for the NFL before, and/or after, but the leagues themselves were small time, minor leagues.)  So, long story short, I'll list AAFC and AFL titles for quarterbacks, but not these other leagues' titles.  Individual readers can choose to disregard the AAFC and AFL titles if they wish.
     Moving on, there was the issue of how NFL champions were decided in its very early days.  From 1920-32 there were no official playoffs, or postseason title games.  The champ was determined by winning percentage.  However, tie games didn't count in this percentage.  So, to take the most extreme example, the 1932 Chicago Bears, who went 7-1-6 (wins-losses-ties) were champs over the Green Bay Packers, who went 10-3-1.  In the early 1970's the NFL changed the system, and since then ties count as half a win, and half a loss in the winning percentage.  Also, in 1974 the NFL altered their rules to allow for an overtime period even during regular season games, meaning ties became much less common (post season games, of course, couldn't ever end in a tie).  Additionally, many of the early NFL teams went defunct before the 1933 season, so get ready to see some unfamiliar team names.  So, from 1933 to 1965, the Eastern and Western Division/Conference champs played in the NFL Championship Game to determine the overall NFL champion.
     There was one final huge problem in compiling this list.  I was aware that the early NFL teams didn't pass as much, as the rules against it were more restrictive, and the ball itself  was more round, and more like a soccer ball than the modern shape.  But, I didn't realize the differences in the positions, too.  An early quarterback was usually called a blocking back.  Plus, the differences in what each position did were more nebulous.  Often a player billed as the tailback or fullback actually appeared to lead the offense more, and throw most of the passes.  To add to the confusion, the statistics weren't nearly as complete.  For 1920's NFL teams, for example, I couldn't find player stats except for most touchdown plays.  So, you have examples like the 1939 Green Bay Packers.  In their title game against the New York Giants, Larry Craig is listed as the starting blocking back (quarterback), but Arnie Herber is presented as leading the action in game accounts, and is listed as throwing all the passes in the game.  Even as late as the 1956 title game, Don Heinrich is listed as the starting quarterback for the New York Giants, but Charlie Conerly is credited with being the actual quarterback, the field general for the team.  So, with all of these problems admitted, I did the best I could to determine the "real" quarterback for these games, even if they weren't the official listed starter.  Since the 1920-32 season were so problematic, I'll list them separately, usually with 2 or 3 players who might be the main quarterback (blocking back).  For 1933 and on, I'll list one (occasionally 2) best candidates, and if they're questionable I'll include an asterisk (*).
Quarterback is abbreviated "QB," blocking back as "BB," wingback as "WB," halfback as "HB," tailback as "TB" and fullback as "FB."  And "Super Bowl"is "SB."

1920 Akron Pros:  Harry Harris, BB, although  back Rip King threw all TD passes.
1921 Chicago Staleys (later Chicago Bears):  Pard Pearce, BB.  Although WB-HB Chic Haley and
          Dutch Sternaman threw some TD passes.
1922 Canton Bulldogs: Wooky Roberts, BB.
1923 Canton Bulldogs: Harry Robb, BB.  TB Lou Smyth threw more TD passes.
1924 Cleveland Bulldogs: Wooky Roberts, BB, although Hoge Workman threw more TD passes.
1925 Chicago Cardinals: Red Dunn, BB.
1926 Frankford Yellow Jackets: Ben Jones, BB, although FB Hust Stockton threw all TD passes.
1927 New York Giants: Doug Wycoff, BB, but FB Jack McBride threw all TD passes.
1928 Providence Steam Rollers: Curly Oden, BB, but TB Wildcat Wilson threw all TD passes.
1929 Green Bay Packers:  Red Dunn, BB, although TB Verne Lewellen threw some TD passes.
1930 Green Bay Packers:  Red Dunn, BB appears to be starter most of the season, but TB's
         Verne Lewellen and Arnie Herber had some TD passes.
1931 Green Bay Packers:  Red Dunn, BB, but Paul Fitzgibbon and FB Bo Molenda also threw some
         some TD passes.
1932 Chicago Bears:  Keith Molesworth, BB, with John Doehring the backup.

From this point on, I'll list the player, his team(s), his title wins and losses, and what years, abbreviated with a two digit number, since we haven't hit 2020 yet.

Keith Molesworth  Chicago Bears, 1 Pre-Championship Game title (32), 1 NFL title win (33)*, 1 NFL title loss (34)*.

Harry Newman, New York Giants, 1 NFL title loss (33). (Also possibly main QB in 1935 loss.)

Ed Danowski, New York Giants, 2 NFL title wins (34, 38), 1 NFL title loss (35*, 39)

Glenn Presnell, Detroit Lions, 1 NFL win (35).*

Ace Gutowsky, Detroit Lions, 1 NFL win (35)*

Arnie Herber, Green Bay Packers/New York Giants, 2 NFL wins (36,39), 2 NFL losses (38,44).

Riley Smith, Boston (later Washington) Redskins, 1 NFL title loss (36).

Bernie Masterson, Chicago Bears, 1 NFL loss (37).

Sammy Baugh, Washington Redskins, 2 NFL wins (37,42) and 2 NFL losses (40,43*)

Sid Luckman, Chicago Bears, 4 NFL title wins (40,41, 43,46), 1 NFL loss (42).

Frank Filchock, Washington Redskins/New York Giants, 2 NFL titles losses (45, 46).  Also notable because Filchock was accused of taking money to throw away 1946 title and was banned from the NFL.  He claimed he was innocent, and played in the Canadian Football League (CFL).

Nello Falaschi, New York Giants, 1 NFL title loss (41)*.

Tuffy Leemans, New York Giants, 1 NFL title loss (41)*.

George Cafego, Washington Redskins, 1 NFL loss (43)*.

Irv Comp, Green Bay Packers, 1 NFL title win (44).

Bob Waterfield, Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams, 2 NFL title wins (45,51*), 2 NFL losses (49, 50).
See Norm Van Brocklin info below.

Paul Christman, Chicago Cardinals, 1 NFL win (47).

Tommy Thompson, Philadelphia Eagles, 2 NFL wins (48, 49), 1 NFL loss (47).

Ray Mallouf, Chicago Cardinals, 1 NFL loss (48).

Norm Van Brocklin, Los Angeles Rams/Philadelphia Eagles, 2 NFL wins (51*, 60), 1 NFL loss (55).  (The Rams apparently played Van Brocklin and Waterfield almost equally, and Van Brocklin helped Rams win 1951 NFL title, as a backup QB.)

Otto Graham, Cleveland Browns, 4 AAFC title wins (46-49), 3 NFL wins (50, 54, 55), 3 NFL losses (51, 52, 53)

Bobby Layne, Detroit Lions, 2 NFL wins (52, 53), 1 NFL title loss (54).

Ed Brown, Chicago Bears, 1 NFL loss (56)*

George Blanda, Chicago Bears/Houston Oilers, 1 NFL loss (56)*, 2 AFL title wins (60, 61), 1 AFL loss (62).

Charlie Conerly, New York Giants, 1 NFL win (56), 2 NFL losses (58, 59)

Tobin Rote, Detroit Lions/San Diego Chargers, 1 NFL win (57), 1 AFL win (63), 1 AFL loss (64).

Tommy O'Connell, Cleveland Browns, 1 NFL loss (57).

Y.A. Tittle, New York Giants, 3 NFL losses, (61, 62, 63).

Billy Wade, Chicago Bears, 1 NFL win (63).

Frank Ryan, Cleveland Browns, 1 NFL win (64), 1 NFL loss (65).

Jack Kemp, Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers/Buffalo Bills, 2 AFL wins (64, 65), 2 AFL losses (60, 61).

Babe Parilli, Boston (later New England) Patriots, 1 AFL loss (63),

John Hadl, San Diego Chargers, 1 AFL loss (65).

Ace Parker, New York Yankees, 1 AAFC loss, (46)

Spec Sanders, New York Yankees, 1 AAFC loss (47).

George Ratterman, Buffalo Bills, 1 AAFC loss (48).

Frankie Albert, San Francisco 49ers, 1 AAFC loss (49).

(Note that Super Bowls (SB) are listed by their number, not the year.  And I'm not typing out the Roman numerals, either.)

Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers, 3 NFL title wins (61,62, 65), 1 NFL loss (60), 2 SB wins (1, 2).

Joe Namath, New York Jets, 1 SB win (3).

Len Dawson, Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs, 1 AFL title win (62), 1 SB win (4), 1 SB loss (1).

Daryle Lamonica, Oakland Raiders, 1 SB loss (2)

Earl Morrall, Baltimore Colts, 1 SB win, sort of (5), as he replaced starter John Unitas with the score tied, and he led them to victory.  1 SB loss (3).  Also played in SB's 7 and 8 with Miami, but as a backup to Bob Griese..

Joe Kapp, Minnesota Vikings, 1 SB loss (4).

John Unitas, Baltimore Colts, 2 NFL title wins (58, 59), 1 SB win, kind of (5).  See Earl Morrall notation.

Craig Morton, Dallas Cowboys/Denver Broncos, 2 SB losses (5, 12,).

Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys, 2 SB wins (6, 12), 2 SB losses (10, 13).

Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins, 2 SB wins (7,8), 1 SB loss (6).

Billy Kilmer, Washington Redskins, 1 SB loss (7).

Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings, 3 SB losses (8, 9, 11).

Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers, 4 SB wins, (9,10,13,14).

Ken Stabler, Oakland Raiders, 1 SB win (11).

Vince Ferragamo, Los Angeles Rams, 1 SB loss (14).

Jim Plunkett, Oakland Raiders, 2 SB wins (15,18).

Ron Jaworski, Philadelphia Eagles, 1 SB loss (15).

Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, 4 SB wins (16, 19, 23, 24).

Ken Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals, 1 SB loss (16).

Joe Theisman, Washington Redskins, 1 SB win (17), 1 SB loss (18).

David Woodley, Miami Dolphins, 1 SB loss (17).

Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins, 1 SB loss (19).

Jim McMahon, Chicago Bears, 1 SB win (20).

Tony Eason, New England Patriots, 1 SB loss (20).

Phil Simms, New York Giants, 1 SB win (21).

John Elway, Denver Broncos, 2 SB wins (32, 33). 3 SB losses (21,22,24).

Doug Williams, Washington Redskins, 1 SB win (22).

Jeff Hostetler, New York Giants, 1 SB win (25).

Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills, 4 SB losses (25,26,27,28).

Boomer Esiason, Cincinnati Bengals, 1 SB loss (23).

Mark Rypien, Washington Redskins, 1 SB win (26).

Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys, 3 SB wins, (27,28, 30).

Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers, 1 SB win (29).  Also played in SB's 23, 24 as backup.

Stan Humpries, San Diego Chargers, 1 SB loss (29).

Neil O'Donnell, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 SB loss (30).

Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers, 1 SB win (31), 1 SB loss (32).

Drew Bledsoe, New England Patriots, 1 SB loss (31).

Chris Chandler, Atlanta Falcons, 1 SB loss (33).

Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams/Arizona Cardinals, 1 SB win (34), 2 SB losses (36, 43).

Steve McNair, Tennessee Titans, 1 SB loss (34).

Trent Dilfer, Baltimore Ravens, 1 SB win (35).

Kerry Collins, New York Giants, 1 SB loss (35).

Tom Brady, New England Patriots, 4 SB wins (36,38,39, 49), 2 SB losses (42,46).

Brad Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 SB win (37).

Rich Gannon, Oakland Raiders, 1 SB loss (37).

Jake Delhomme, Carolina Panthers, 1 SB loss (38).

Donavan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles, 1 SB loss (39).

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2 SB wins (40, 43), 1 SB loss (45)

Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks, 1 SB loss.

Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts/Denver Broncos, 2 SB wins (41, 50), 2 SB losses (44,48)

Rex Grossman, Chicago Bears, 1 SB loss (41).

Eli Manning, New York Giants, 2 SB wins (42,46).

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, 1 SB win (44).

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, 1 SB win (45).

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens, 1 SB win (47).

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers, 1 SB loss (47).

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, 1 SB win (48), 1 SB loss (49).

Cam Newton, Carolina Panther, 1 SB loss (50).

So, in conclusion, here are the quarterbacks with the most title wins.

7--Otto Graham (4 AAFC, 3 NFL)
5--Bart Starr (3 NFL, 2 SB)
4--Sid Luckman (4 NFL)
4--Terry Bradshaw (4 SB)
4--Joe Montana (4 SB)
4--Tom Brady (4 SB)
4--Red Dunn (4 Pre-NFL Championship Game Championships, maybe)
3--Troy Aikman (3 SB)
3--John Unitas (2 NFL, 1 SB (sort, see Earl Morrall notation above)

Oh, and finally, I think it's awesome that the 1920's Canton/Cleveland Bulldogs had a player who went by "Wooky" Roberts.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--Icelandic Capelin Eggs

     Millionaire that I am, today I dined on some caviar.  Ha!  Just kidding, sort of.  This archaeologist is far from being rich.  But technically, I'm telling the truth.  I had some fish eggs, just not the ridiculously expensive Beluga sturgeon kind (currently going for about $3200-$4500 per pound, or $7000-$10,000 per kilo!).  "Caviar"is obviously a catch-all term for fish eggs.  (Incidentally, I learned something surprising recently.  My parents told me that when I was 7, I might have had actual Beluga caviar.  On a trip back from England, we were fortunate enough to be on a luxury liner, the Queen Elizabeth 2, which provided some for guests.  My parents couldn't recall exactly, but evidently, if I did have some, I didn't like it.  But back then I was not very experimental in trying new foods.  So I'd like to give it another chance, as an adult with a (slightly) more refined pallet.)
     Capelin are small fish (adults average 20-25 cm. in length) in the smelt family.  They live in the North Atlantic/South Arctic Oceans, in the area around Iceland.  They're an important food source for many animals, such as squid, mackerel, seabirds, whales, and seals.  And they are the major food source for cod.  They're mainly caught during spawning, when they swim into shallow waters around beaches.
     As I mentioned in a previous post (See July 30, 2013 post), I find fish eggs (roe) to be hit and miss.  Flying fish eggs (called tobiko in sushi restaurants) I enjoy, and salmon eggs are also tasty.  However, lumpfish caviar I find revolting.  Way, way oversalted.  (And I've said this before, but seriously, Google image "lumpfish," and I think you'll agree that they're on the short list of World's Ugliest Creatures.)  So going in I was unsure of what I would probably think.
     The black capelin eggs I got, (from Season Brand, distributed by The Manischewitz Co. out of NJ) looked like largish black grains of sand.  To get the full effect, I tried them plain, and then on Wheat Thins crackers.  Both ways turned out to be good.  They were salty, but not overpoweringly so.  I did prefer them on the crackers, but plain wasn't bad.  They had a slight pop to them, a ghost of a crunch.  They were expensive (about $4 for a 2 ounce jar), but not ludicrously so.  I certainly recommend them.  And I've already gone back and bought more.  Sometimes they're available in sushi restaurants, as substitutes for the flying fish roe.  And if you're watching your weight, the entire jar was only 30 calories, and 1 gram of fat.

     Also, I'm glad to report that "Creepy Campfire Quarterly Volume 1" is doing very well.  It went as high as #3 on Amazon's list of horror anthologies for Kindle books, and last I checked it was still at #29.  It has three reviews so far, and all were positive (all were 4 out of 5 stars).  Word on the street is that the book may be reviewed by a national horror magazine, so fingers crossed.  Before I neglected to mention the book's price, so I'll provide that here--the Kindle edition is $2.99, and the paperback is $7.20.