The second Presidential debate is tonight, coinciding, quite helpfully, with the first night off of the baseball postseason. I spend about 45 percent of my workday reading political blogs from all sides of the spectrum, some conservative, some (OK, more) liberal, and absolutely none written by that theoretical and mythical bird of the "impartial." This is warping my worldview; right now, more than the main two candidates, I'm ready to elect Chuck Todd and Nate Silver president. I'll be watching the debate tonight with considerable nostalgia. I long for the days, like in the clip above, when the first question at a presidential debate was some sort of variant of "So, what would you do if your spouse were raped and murdered?" Seriously, watch that. Friends, THAT'S a question. No topic up for debate, no vision or plan to outline for the American people. Hey, Eyebrows: Whaddya gonna do if some guy rapes and kills your wife? Mull on that, Professor. People say the media is somehow getting worse, that it's distorting the political process for the sake of ratings and self-aggrandizing. This could perhaps be true. But can you imagine if Brian Williams started out the debate tonight with, "So, Sen. McCain, let's say, at this very moment, your wife Cindy is beating beaten and violated by a gang of roaming leprechauns. How would you react? Would there be a punishment for the Irish and small?" A debate started with a question about a candidate's wife being raped and murdered! It reminds me a lot of Daulerio's old Rock And A Hard Place interview series on The Black Table. He would ask media figures ridiculous either/or questions and see how they responded. (Including Jayson Blair!) For old times sake, I asked Daulerio to come up with a question he'd ask if he were moderating the debate tonight. Henceforth: "Sen. McCain: Would you rather have your family killed by an Islamic extremist suicide bomber or have them attacked by wild dogs? And if attacked by wild dogs, would you eliminate unregistered animals all over the world?" Don't tell me that somehow political coverage is worse now. There's no way. Anyway: Signature throat clearing done. To the football. 32. St. Louis Rams (0-4). I'd like to thank Bill Simmons, in his NFL picks column last week, for dusting off the tried and true BYE WEEK (-17.5) over Rams joke. You really can't go wrong. You see: They're not even playing. And they'll STILL lose. He might not have been joking, actually. I'm not sure Chase Daniel and Missouri could beat the Rams right now, but it'd have to be close. Put it this way: The Lions, as Peter King pointed out, have gotten off to 21-0, 21-0, 21-3, 31-0 deficits this season to start games, and I still don't think they're the worst team in the NFL. 31. Detroit Lions (0-4). But they are close. I'm longtime friends with Michael David Smith from AOL Fanhouse — we went to college together, back when each of us were fun — and we've always enjoyed the yearly matchup between his Lions and my Buzzsaw. It's been an annual, of course, because each of our teams are always horrible. It feels kind of empty without the game this year, like when two ugly people in high school who are always each other's pity prom dates suddenly can't fulfill the obligation their senior year because one of them has been involved in an airplane crash.
30. Cincinnati Bengals. So you've surely seen this already, but I can't stop playing with it: Google's 2001 search engine, which allows you to search as if it were January 1, 2001. I cannot stop playing with this. My favorite searches so far: a: Will Leitch. b: Sarah Palin. c: Montreal Expos. d: Paris Hilton. e: Bill Simmons. f: Crystal Meth. (Highlight: "I have several friends that have been taking 'crystal-meth.' They are just in love with it; saying how wonderful it is. What is it?") I'm sure you'll have your own favorites.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (1-4). Did you know you can rent out Herman Edwards for your wedding? Surely, the Deadspin community can come up with enough scratch to deliver him to one lucky reader. He'd have to give every toast, until he tripped over the cake. 28. Oakland Raiders (1-3). Two more highlights from King's column. The first, this quote from Al Davis: ""I'm healthy. You're going to have to have me around for a while. I'm fine, really. I take all the tests four times a year. I get a checkup on everything, echo and all those things. All the blood work, I do that four times a year. My mother, you know, she lived a long time, 103. I hope nothing happens. Because disease is the one thing, boy, I tell you, it's tough to lick. It's tough to lick those diseases. I don't know why they can't. It bothers me they won't let us use — and it doesn't mean that I'm Republican or Democrat — the stem-cell. I think it could help.'' And second, this one from Peter King: "Finally got to see the premiere of Family Guy, and if I had to pick, I'm not sure which TV character I'd chose as the best in history — George Costanza, Barney Fife, James West or Brian the dog. Brian's quite a maverick." OK, which one is crazier? Like, they're pretty close, right? 27. Houston Texans (0-4). That Texans loss was so similar to so many Buzzsaw losses over the years that I want to send a letter of commiseration and condolence to Houston fans, like when one country's leader who once suffered an earthquake in a major metropolitan area sends sympathies to someone who just had one. Like a, "We Are All Texans" type of thing. You know, you think you can count on Sage Rosenfels ... and then he screws you. You've foiled me for the last time, Rosenfels! 26. Cleveland Browns (1-3). Some wisdom from the Cleveland Browns Web site right now: "See the Browns run. See the Browns stop the run. See the Browns win." It can't be fun to work for the Cleveland Browns' Web site.
25. Seattle Seahawks (1-3). Tim Grierson, my best pal from Mattoon High School, pointed out that last week marked the 17th anniversary of the release of Nevermind. And there's your most depressing news of the day.
24. San Francisco 49ers (2-3). I'm not sure anyone's ever figured out what happened to Tina Fey to cause that tiny scar on her face, and, frankly, I'm disappointed this guy has given up the good fight. I tell anyone who will listen that Tina Fey is our generation's Woody Allen, and they look at me with the same glazed-over, empty stare I get every time I say "Woody Allen."
Tina's the one on the far right. 23. Green Bay Packers (2-3). Rough day in Wisconsin on Sunday. I will attempt to boost the spirits of Wisconsinites by pointing out that when I was in Milwaukee earlier this year for a long weekend, I noticed that I've never been to a place that had so many attractive women dating morbidly obese men. Deadspin readers, why are we not living in Milwaukee? It's cheap, and they have a lake downtown. And all they do is drink! We're all idiots for not living in Milwaukee. 22. San Diego Chargers (2-3). Yep, I'm done, enough with these guys. By the way, at this rate, you can pretty much count on Norv Turner running for office in the next few years. 21. The Buzzsaw That Is The Arizona Cardinals (3-2). Cheering for Kurt Warner is like cheering for a piano prodigy whose career was ruined by a heroin addiction to remain clean just long enough to make it through one last recital. You know he's going to relapse. He always does. You just hope that he makes it through the Rachmaninoff without using, knowing full well you won't know until he either finishes, or starts urinating on the orchestra. (Note: I am not sure this analogy makes sense. This Buzzsaw season is already driving me insane.) 20. New York Jets (2-2). I'm no political scientist or pundit, but I will say this about the potential success of the McCain-Palin campaign's attempt to tie Obama's friendship with William Ayers to "palling around with terrorists." I had two friends from home this weekend express surprise that William Ayers was white. That is to say: This is probably going to work, and even though I don't think it'll be enough to swing the election to McCain, I suspect my fellow Obama supporters, always prone to terrified histrionics, have a few more "holy fuck we're blowing this" moments left in them.
19. Miami Dolphins (2-2). Now that Chris Berman has come full circle and is doing NutriSystem ads — I dunno, maybe I just have a crappy TV, but, uh, he doesn't look any skinnier — I recommend everyone head over to Nutrisystem's site and play around for a while. Cris Carter is a Nutrisystem success story! I love how he tried to puff out his stomach like he was "fat" in the "before" picture. (Along with Dan Marino and "Steve B.") Something tells me they didn't need to ask Berman to do that.
18. New Orleans Saints (2-3). Most remarked upon baseball playoff advertisement: That DirectTV commercial in which a digitally enhanced Craig T. Nelson hawks their shitty and annoying satellite service while the little girl from "Poltergeist" says "They're heeeeere." Of course, that's Heather O'Rourke at the end of the bed, the little girl who died at the age of 12 after "Poltergeist 3." (We're Old Alert: She would be 32 today, and addicted to drugs.) I look forward to the next round of DirectTV commercials, in which Brandon Lee sells us the Sunday Ticket package in full "Crow" makeup, and Vic Morrow complains that, if only he hadn't chosen digital cable, he wouldn't be stuck in this blasted swamp with helicopters landing on him. 17. Minnesota Vikings (2-3). Just for the sake of the viewing audience, is there any way someone on the Vikings can make Brad Childress a playcalling headset that somehow covers his bald dome? That guy is shiny bald, bald bald, Kornheiser bald, Dr. Katz bald.
16. Indianapolis Colts (2-2). You know, if it were any other team than the Colts pulling these ridiculous wins out of nowhere, it might be tempting to get excited by them. Instead, it's "Christ, that's all freaking Manning needs is luck on his side." If the colts end up winning 12 games and coming together just in time to fly through the playoffs, I'm blaming you, Rosenfels. 15. Atlanta Falcons (3-2). Just a guess here, but I'm gonna wager that "Free Mike Vick" T-shirt is no longer part of Roddy White's sartorial rotation.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2). I find it discouraging that no one can even muster up any outrage about Frank Caliendo anymore. While flipping back and forth between the baseball playoffs and football over the weekend, I, like everybody else, realized that Frank Caliendo has taken over every television station. Last year, people were ready to storm TBS studios with pitchforks and signs with pictures of Darrell Hammond on them. Now? We just sit and take it, knowing that Frank Caliendo will never, ever, ever go away. This is what America thinks sports fans like, people. Christ, maybe they're right.
13. Baltimore Ravens (2-2). You know, there aren't any Baltimore Ravens fans out there who get angry because I never have anything to say about the Ravens, are there? Whew, good. So! Frank Caliendo! Here's my last rant on this. Look at that picture above. That is all the different faces of Frank Caliendo. That is to say: They all look like Frank Caliendo. Why in the world would any respond to a print or Web ad of Frank Caliendo doing impressions of famous people when you can't even hear him doing the famous people's voices? Frank Caliendo doesn't look like any of those people! Christ, I need to sit down. 12. New England Patriots (3-1). People always ask me how working so much online has changed my life. I didn't think it had until I was talking to Daulerio this weekend, and I think he summed up, quite succinctly, why doing so much online has turned me into an asshole. Last week, a bunch of friends of mine, including the great Jim Cooke, hosted a party for Mammal Magazine, their new journal of genius. It's a really great magazine/journal/book/whatever, and I'm very proud and honored to know people talented enough to pull off such an endeavor. Unfortunately, I had plans the night of the launch party that I couldn't cancel, so even though Jim and all those guys have been coming to readings and parties of mine for years, I wasn't there. I felt bad about this, and when I was telling Daulerio about how guilty I was feeling, I said, "Maybe I'll give them a shoutout in the column this week." Daulerio looked at me and didn't have to say a word. The disgust was palpable. Let's go over what I did: a: Missed a party involving great friends of mine showing off their astounding achievement. b: Felt superficially "bad" about it. c: Didn't move heaven and earth to change my plans, even though I knew how important this was for my friends and how much they had earned it. d: Decided, in order to "make it up to them," I'd give them a link in a column encouraging people to buy their work, as if this would possibly somehow be an equivalent gesture for which they would feel grateful. Yeah: Working online turns you into an anti-social asshole. It happened so quickly that I barely noticed. My only saving grace is that they probably didn't want me to come anyway.
But still: Go buy it. 11. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3). Hey, I'm not so economically depressed this week, people! That's good, right? Because things are so much better now! Anyway, a friend of mine pointed out this picture from a few weeks ago:
With the following caption: "Poor Lehman: All the news vans and staff milling around make it look like they're waiting for somebody to jump." I think we have a clear way out of this malaise: Laid off investment bankers battle to the death on pay-per-view, Running Man-style. Better than the fucking Hills, that's for goddamned sure. 10. Chicago Bears (3-2). Kyle Orton! Holy crap! He's actually good! (Against the Lions, anyway.) God, this is going to make for the best Wheaties box of all time.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (2-3). So, Westbrook was around and moderately healthy, DeSean Jackson took back a punt return and a home crowd was in a great mood. And then that happened. The Eagles have gone from a chic Super Bowl pick to a last place team in, like, two weeks. They better win their next three. 8. Buffalo Bills (4-1). The odds that Kurt Warner ran to Trent Edwards after the game Sunday to help him out with his concussion (and pray for him, of course) are pretty high, I'd think. It's pretty amazing that an injury to the starting quarterback for the Bills might affect that division as much as Tom Brady's injury. So does a concussion to a Stanford quarterback drop him to the level of intelligence of, say, a Michigan State quarterback? Georgia, maybe? 7. Denver Broncos (4-1). In honor of my favorite Broncos fans, this week I point out that "South Park" returns with new episodes on Wednesday. I'm so relieved: I couldn't listen to the "Team America" soundtrack anymore. It appears the first episode is about China, and rape. Click to view 6. Carolina Panthers (4-1). Palin Watch! My favorite underreported story about the potential leader of the free world is that her husband is a former member of the Alaskan Independence Party, which encourages Alaska to secede from the union. (Alaska First!) I want the AIP to know that I support its cause and, therefore, encourage the state, indeed, to secede. This is the government equivalent to catching your child smoking and then forcing them to smoke a whole carton of cigarettes. 5. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1). Over the last 20 years, the Steelers have finished under .500 four times. My Buzzsaw? Seventeen times. So forgive me if I don't feel sorry for all the running back and Roethlisberger injuries. 4. Dallas Cowboys (4-1). One could make a convincing argument, while we're discussing the Buzzsaw, that this week's game at home against Dallas, before a bye week in the worst division in recent memory, is one of the top 10 most important games in franchise history. And there will STILL be more Cowboys fans there. No big deal for me: It's always like that at the sports bar. 3. Tennessee Titans (5-0). We're all glad Kerry Collins is doing better and is off the hooch, but forgive me if I can't help but reminding you of the best Kerry Collins story of all time. Back in training camp 1997, when he was with Carolina, he called Muhsin Muhammad the n-word, which (shockingly!) caused him to be punched in the face. Here are his thoughts on it today: ""That, to me, was the worst part of the whole thing I've experienced. The guys were talking to each other that way, and I was trying to be funny and thought I could do it, too. I was so upset by it. It was bad judgment. I could have been labeled a racist for the rest of my career. I had to live with the way I used that word with a teammate. Extremely poor judgment. I was naïve to think I could use that word in any context." God, isn't this the funniest mental movie ever? I think you'd need an actual record-needle-scratching noise, or maybe the WAA-WAHHHH sound they make when you lose on "The Price Is Right." 2. Washington Redskins (4-1). This is a fun, likable Redskins team that should probably be considered the best team in football right now. It still doesn't change the fact that with every win, Daniel Snyder gets a little happier, if not, alas, a little taller.
1. New York Giants (4-0). Their next two games are against Cleveland and San Francisco. I can only assume they get to play the Rams five or six more times this year too.