Friday, February 6, 2009

Strange Odors

Aromatic Mystery in New York City Is Solved - So the mystery maple syrup smell comes from Frutarom, a food flavoring manufacturer in North Bergen, NJ. First, it's good to know that our food flavors are manufactured in separate plants so the flavor won't be contaminated by any contact with the actual food, food presumably being processed at an unidentified location in - where else - New Jersey. Second, why is it always New Jersey. Don't you think, just one time, a mystery odor could emanate from some other source? This was a maple syrup smell, where is Vermont when you need it.

The Next Plaxico? MVP Santonio Holmes wanted the ball in Superbowl XLIII, and he made the biggest plays - a 40 yard catch and run taking the Steelers to the six yard line with a little over fifty seconds left and then the game winning touchdown. A first round pick, Santonio has gained the strength and confidence to become one of the league's top receivers from the snap to the whistle. After the whistle? Not so much. Santonio has more in common with the sweat pantsed six gun dropping ex-Steeler Plaxico than just a unique first name. In 2006 Holmes was arrested for disorderly conduct and, in a separate incident, domestic violence and assault. Old news? Perhaps, but in 2008 he was arrested for possession of marijuana. As Good As News won't even mention that nude photo that popped up on the Internet. In a pre-superbowl interview Santonio announced he had dealt drugs as a teen - maybe a thoughtful choice, an honest revelation that shows kids they can turn things around, maybe a boast to establish his street cred and grab some extra press attention.

Santonio's problems aren't all off the field. Watch the replay at the end of that 40 yard gain. The clock is running and the Steelers are three points down with one time out left. The smart play is to get to the line and throw a very safe pass into the end zone very quickly. A completion wins, an incomplete pass stops the clock. With second down, six to goal, twenty five or thirty seconds and a time out left the Steelers could still have tried two more passes into the end zone, then kicked if necessary. Saving the time out would have allowed the Steelers to survive a sack or a recovered fumble and still get the tie. Santonio is not racing for the huddle or the line of scrimmage after his catch, he's doing a celebratory strut in the end zone - with the clock running and his team losing. The clock runs for a few seconds as Santonio struts, then the Steeler's own failure to regroup forces them to burn their last time out. On the next play Santonio is still mentally caught up in his own celebration, dropping a very catchable ball after fading to the left rear corner of the end zone. On the final touchdown Santonio is the last option, for good reason, but makes the big catch, then celebrates with a move that should have cost the Steeler's 15 yards and could have resurrected the Cards from the dead.

What does the Superbowl mean for Santonio? There's a chance he will have a long and great career as a star, with his Superbowl success leading to true confidence and a new maturity on and off the field. There's also a chance, probably a much greater chance, that national stardom will magnify and accelerate the effect of the demons already tugging at Santonio's psyche.

What to do? Trade Santonio now. He will never be more valuable. There's a wealthy team in the Meadowlands that needs a replacement at wide receiver. See, it's always about New Jersey after all.

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