Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Top 5 QBs, RBs, WRs Now

This list takes more into account than one pass, one game, or even one season. But it's not a list one the best who happen to be active. It also isn't a prediction of what will happen either. Injuries are not ignored. The previous list was posted on February 23, 2018.

RankPlayer(Previous Rank)
1Tom Brady(1)
2Drew Brees(2)
3Aaron Rodgers(4)
4Russell Wilson(NR)

5Pat Mahomes(NR)

Running Backs
RankPlayer(Previous Rank)

1Todd Gurley(3)

2Ezekiel Elliot(5)

3Alvin Kamara(NR)

4Saquon Barkley(NR)

5Joe Mixon(NR)

Wide Receivers
RankPlayer(Previous Rank)

1Julio Jones(2)

2Antonio Brown(1)

3DeAndre Hopkins(4)

4Tyreek Hill(5)

5Michael Thomas(NR)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Curacao to DC... Eventually

It rained the day we left.

We were told that everywhere takes a credit card in Curacao. Not so. At Mambo Beach, the ATMs only take MasterCard debit card. Candace managed to pay the burger place in a mixture of Netherlands Antillean Guilder and U.S. dollars. The taxi driver to the airport stopped at a Visa ATM and we were able to pay him. Supposedly there is a government rate to each destination, but it was $5 more to the airport than it had been to the hotel.

We were very early to the airport. We had to wait an hour before people even showed up at the counter to check us in. Security had problems with Candace's scooter"if it doesn't fit [through the scanner] it's not coming on the plane!" declared the agent. Once we took apart the pieces and lifted it up on the belt, it fit. The stroller however wasn't close. "That won't fit; just push it through," said the agent with a tone one would use with a dumb toddler. At the gate, there were the biggest fans I've ever seen. The brand was called Big Ass Fans.

We had our last taste of Curacao's indigenous sodas including Gosa Fria and its weird bubble gum flavor. And we were off to Miami. Well, almost. Abie was randomly selected for additional screening at the gate. Candace and I openly expressed our bemusement. A woman at the gate asked, "Does he have any bags?" I answered, "No." Candace added, "He's a baby!" The woman was unmoved and stared back at us blankly. This led to a discussion between two gate agents in Papiamentu in which I learned that the Papiamentu word for infant is "infant."

We arrived at Miami with fewer than two hours until our connecting flight. Two people assured me we'd make it. The wheelchair aid was wonderful. She tried to get us in every quicker line conceivable, but luck didn't break her way. Whenever we left a line, it started to move.

I didn't have high hopes for Miami's airport after our Miami Mover fiasco. The line for wheelchair users with a connecting flight was slower than an octogenarian driving with his left turn signal perpetually blinking. It seems like that should be the quickest line, but maybe that's just me and common sense. The passport agent told me all about his offer to join the secret service, but he ultimately declined because the cost of living was too high.

We finally made it through, got our bags and dumped them into the connecting flight baggage area. Then we hit security and we hot Congress's desire to fund Trump's wall. We were going nowhere. Then we realized Candace's sister had left her carry one bag back in customs and she wasn't able to retrieve it. On the bright side, we had one less bag to carry, but on the dark side, we lost a bag.

Our helper eventually pushed her way through everyone in the security line and we rushed to throw everything on the belt. In the process, I nearly lost my belt. Whoever got the stuff ran to the gate. My belt was hanging loose, my pants falling, Abie in my arms screaming, and my backpack unknowingly open. Stuff fell out, and I crumbled to the ground in despair.

"David?" I heard. Our wheelchair helper gallantly came up behind me and said, "Get in," as if it were a movie. I sat down int he chair as she pushed. It helped as I was able to get my belt on, put my stuff in the backpack and make Abie happy as he felt the breeze int he process. But that momentary aid proved more a deterrent than anything. She was wheezing from strain and I knew I could've out run her even while holding Abie. But she turned down my repeated requests to run myself.

Candace and her sister missed the closing of the gate by one minute. Then we went to rebooking. A tall man was about to leave when he announced, "I'm going to help these people," meaning us. He was very helpful but also extremely self-important, which evoked mixed feelings in me. He said at least five times it wasn't the airline's fault, but he would help us anyway.

We were put on stand-by. I've never been on stand-by before. Tali and Abie were playing around the sign that tells you how big the carry on and personal item can be when Tali fell. She bonked her head and sloped in my arms. Everyone was scared, but I knew it was just how I was holding her. I asked the self-important man what happens if we don't make the stand-by and our flight int he morning is canceled due to a coming storm in DC. He gave an optimistic answer, but the truth was, he didn't know.

The wheelchair helped tried to get Candace's sister her bag back, but it was a dead-end. The babies were exhausted. Abie hadn't napped and Tali barely had. It was well past their bedtime not including the extra hour from the time change between Curacao and the East Coast. Candace made the decision that we should try to get the babies home even if it meant splitting up. I was called and brought Abie aboard at the last minute. Candace's sister was called and brought Tali aboard at the last second.

Abie slept most of the flight, but cried when woken up in the middle of the flight and at the end. A man in my row asked a flight attendant for extra headphones and gave them to me so I could watch tv.

On the plane, I kept crying, partly a release, mostly worry for Candace. I would've been more comfortable if she had her wheelchair instead of the travel scooter. We got off the plane and things were mostly smooth from there. Tali was very good-natured and calm, but Abie was very upset, almost inconsolably. He wanted me to hold him, but we had too much stuff. We got a taxi and made it home. Abie and Tali went right to sleep.

I stayed up worrying. A snowstorm was coming, so I couldn't just drive and pick up Candace from the airport if she made it.  She made it today and took the metro with no problem. I drove her van through the snow and picked her up from the metro. So we finally got all the people and all but one bag home.

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Bookstore Journey and the Aquarium

I woke up, found a bathroom outside of oir room as not to wake the babies and I was off on my arduous journey to the bookstore. Candace inspected the sole of my left foot and deduced that something has been stuck in it for long enough the new skin swallowed it. It only jurt when I put pressure on that spot. Then it was a sharp stabbing pain.

I left at around 8:15 as the sun isn't boiling yet. The temperature suggests that it only gets to 80 degrees here, but it's an unforgiving 80 in the heat of the day. I used awkward steps to avoid land on that spot on my left foot. I felt my tendons felt sore as a result.

There doesn't seem to be much city planning outside of downtown. There's a nice gated apartment complex named after some ferocious fish next to a rundown mini strip mall complex next to a pristine McDonald's. The sidewalks are equally as diverse. Every once in a while there was a Dutch colonial house, a sight seeing destination. Those houses and the banks were surrounded by artificial grass, since not much grows on the island. Curacao mostly exports petroleum products and agriculture makes up only 1% of the economy.

The sun was angry at me as I marched and then plodded onward. People on the street in Curacao honk or call out when they know someone, otherwise they act like East Coast Americans and mostly ignore you.

Finally I made it to the bookstore. It was it's own building and looked cool. I was excited. The lights were on and people were inside. The internet had said it was closed on Sundays but open on Mondays. And then, a sign. Closed for stock filing. My heart dropped. I was overheated, tired, and thirsty. I sank to the steps. I witnessed several others yank on the door, stop, read the "closed" sign, look around, and wander off befuddled.

I knew there was another bookstore nearby. It wa  in a fancy mall by a wooden makeshift bridge that allowed to cross over an open sewer. The bookstore was clearly catered to Dutch speakers. The English section featured mostly grocery store novels. But I found a local section that had some English books. Almost all were created by some well connected tourist who documented their trip, published a not quite professional looking book and hoped to make a little money off of it. There really aren't many books English books aboit Curacao.

I stopped by a grocery store and got sodas, gummies, and fruit. I learned what an English drop gummy is and I don't think I like it. I passed by a traffic stop in Spanish and an abandoned wig on the way back. My foot had gone numb.

Then it was time to go to the sea aquarium. Abie loved going on a boat. It didn't move, but we went underneath and some fish, sharks, and sting rays swimming about. We saw dolphins and lionfish also. We've seen the sealions while walking to or from our hotel. Whoever names these animals isn't very creative. I half expect to see a lionbird and lionlizard too. The babies seemed to have a good time. Time to rest for me. This time of day, the glare from the sun's reflection off the water hurts my eyes. I like when the sun is down but there's still some light.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Aquarium, A Freeish Burger, and Cigarette Machines

I wanted to go to the aquarium yesterday, but Candace didn't want to go spur of the moment so we were planning on going this morning. It's next door from our hotel. Candace wasn't feeling well this morning, so I took the babies to a playground on Mambo Beach. They were proud to have played with "big kids" although the Dutch 4 year olds pretty much ignored my nearly 2 year old little Jew babies.

I got the babies down for a nap at their normal time for the first time on the trip. They woke up and I was trying to rush us out the door. We saw a dolphin jumping up by a boat on the sea outside our hotel room's balconyand that slowed our progress. On the way to the aquarium next door we stopped to watch some of the sea lion show from a bridge outside the complex. We made it over to the ticket booth, but it was closed. They close at 4 and it was 4:05.

So we watched the rest of the sea lion show from the outside bridge. The the babies checked out some abandoned- for the moment- construction trucks an  the babies were thrilled.

At night, we got a burger for Candace's sister after finishing our meal. When the burger came the man said we had to pay in cash because they had opened a month ago and it was taking a long time to get a card reader. Well, we didn't have cash, so we were embarrassed. I've had trouble with my debit card, so I couldn't go to an ATM. Candace has a working card, but for anaccount that she doesn't use and isn't easily accessible. The man said we could pay tomorrow.

Though neither Candace nor I smoke, we spent the rest of the night trying to figure our how to use a cigarette machine since we didn't have cash. We got as far as to get an "age coin" to ensure that we're over 18.

When we got back to the room, the burger and cigarettes run proved moot as Candace's sister was asleep.

The sea is rough, which is why there's no ferry to Aruba evidently. Though the temperature is the same balmy 80 degrees every day, it is windy. It's nice when the sun is out, but annoyin  when trying to eat outside and keep your napkin near you.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Iguanas and a Minimart

I spent the afternoon yesterday walking to a minimart about a mile from the hotel. I had become tired of spending$3 for a 20oz soda. Some parts of the Willemstad area are really built up and a few feet away they're not. Very quickly I left the resorts behind, trudged along a dirt path on the side of the road as cars whipped by me.

The minimart was run by a man of Chinese heritage. It was a hole in the wall with much of the inventory visible in piles in the back. I thought about either flying to the sun or visiting hell to experience some relief from the swelter of the store's bowels.

I marched past the mostly Dutch vacationers at Mambo Beach proid that I had 8 drinks, cookies, cassava chips, and gummies for only $16. There have been Americans here, but we're outnumbered by the Dutch. There are lots of Dutch children here which makes me wonder about the school schedule in the Netherlands.

Today was a lowkey day: all you can eat tacos and a trip to the resort's fake beach. The beach is extremely rocky and my feet are raw as a result. I went swimming in the sea and both babies started crying hysterically because they thought I was swimming away forever.

We've seen a lot of iguanas on the island. It had been my goal to eat iguana, but so far I've only heard of one restaurant that serves them and it's in Westpunt. The iguanas have tended to be a little skiddish, maybe because they keep getting eaten, but some are more social.

In Curacao, the word dushi is very popular. My kids have been called dushi. It's pronounced like douchey, so I call Candace it all the time. Even when I mean it like douchey, I have cover. It's cathartic and yet sweet at the same time.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Otrobanda: A Bridge too Far

The babies, Candace, and I took a shuttle into Punda this morning. The famous Queen Emma Bridge was our drop-off spot. The bridge had been swung open to let boats cross, so we decided to walk around and go back on the bridge before it was time to leave.

We first walked to the Mikveh Israel-Emanuel Synagogue. It is the oldest synagogue in use in the Western Hemisphere. The synagogue is in the Sephardic style with the him a in the middle and the seats facing it. The floor is sand. It was fun to be there with the next generation of Jews but Abie and Tali were grumpy and just want to get at the Torah platform which was off limits.

We left and fed them plantain chips before coming back to visit the museum. There was a Torah scroll smuggled out during the Inquisition and the yellow star or a Dutch Jew during the Holocaust, among many other items. Bake wanted to be a Daddy hat, meaning sitting on my shoulders, so we couldn't see it as thoroulhly as we would have liked.

We then went to the old market for some food. A woman shoved a menu in our face after we circlee around and wen  to the upper level via a ramp. It worked and we blew most of our cash on the local meal. Tali stuffed herself with mashed potatoes and Abie ate rice and polenta. A woman from the shuttle over ran into us and had purchased shirts for the twins that were in their favorite colors this week : Abie yellow and Tali blue.

We next saw the floating market. Venezuelan merchant dock their boats and set up stands on land to sell their fruit. We found the bridge again just in time to hear the alarm and see the gates close. We never made it to the bridge, but we got to see it swing open. It rests on floats and at least one is motorized. So we spent out last 25 minutes staring at the iconic colorful houses from across the St. Anna Bay.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

In Curacao

The twins haven't had much pool experience and both nearly drowned to death on multiple occasions in the kiddie pool. They haven't quite figured out how to stand up after tripping in the pool.

We sauntered over to the Mambo Beach area which was extremely touristy. The faux cabanas at the man-made beach, the beach-side bars playing all the current hits like Ginuwine' s Pony, and the overpriced restaurants aren't exactly my idea of paradise, but it's what's nearby.

We're near a bunch of resorts, so there isn't a place to get cheap food or drinks close by. In the morning I walked a couple of miles to a grocery store, loaded up my backpack, and another bag, and trudged back to the hotel. The groceries' weight increased as I progressed, and the sun beat down on me.

Candace and I went to an Indian restaurant for Valentine's Day and we both enjoyed it. We walked back along the hotel's seawall and freaked out her sister by whispering "Red rum" before letting her in on the gag.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Miami to Curacao

Things have exactly broken our way thus far. Apparently American Airlines charges to check a travel crib. When you have twins, that’s double the fee. A TSA agent in Baltimore said, “One at a time,” when we tried to all go together. I tried to give him the passports and then take the babies back to the line. “One at a time,” he snapped sharply. So I tried to look for Candace’s passport. “Give me the passports!” He grunted. “You said, ‘One at a time,” I answered exasperated. Apparently, that made me the bad guy. He saw my name and kept trying to “eaze” the tension in a way that people do when they’ve been given the upper hand after being rude.

Abie sat on my lap on the plane. He watched Blippie several times and tried to kick the seat in front repeatedly, but the man next to me gave him a good review. With car seats and cribs, getting to the rental car center in Miami was difficult. It didn’t help that a sea of people were frustrated that the Miami Mover stopped moving for an hour. We couldn’t get on the train and when it finally came and we had our shot, everyone rushed past the stroller and the wheelchair onto the train. That tels you something about about those people. We somehow missed the next one and I gave the doir a swift pound in frustration. The maintenance man yelled at me not to hit the door. I explained my frustration and her answered in a way that explains why he works with his hands and not with people. Words to the effect of “I don’t care about your situation, don’t hit the door.” I glared at him until we left. Tali and I made the next train, but Candace, her sister, and Abie still missed the next train. Needless to say I was fairly close to saving “Climate Change” the trouble and wiping out all of Miami myself.

We visited my Grandma in Coconut Creek. It was great to see the babies interact with her. The both loved each other very much. Tali read with her and Abie played in her walked. Tali injected occasionally with “more food” elongating the f and then exploding into the oo because she’s just learning the f sound.

Grandma’s community is protected by a gate with security. The first day I gave them my driver’s license and ygey gave me a pass, bodda-bing bodda-boom. When Candace put the license down on the cupholder lid or door or whatever it’s called in the rental Dodge Grand Caravan. Then the license disappeared. Apparently it slid into the nether rehions if the cupholder console. When we back to Grandma’s the next day, the guard wouldn’t accept my passport as ID. She kept telling me to get the license. Candace and I tried to explain that we’d love to get it but it’s trapped. The guard asked if I had a copy of my license. My just fell a little. Finally Candace thought to show the guard yesterday’s pass. That was sufficient. The guard said, “Try to get your license,” to which I replied, “ Obviously!” Because I didn’t want to scream “No shit!” With the babies in the car. I left saying, “ID is ID.”

We went to the beach in Pompano and had a good time. I felt like we left for the airport today withe plenty of time. 3 hours and 40 minutes before our flight. It was supposed to be a 45 minute drive. It wasn’t. It took about 2 hours. The rental car people saw a dent in the back of the car. I have no idea how it got there but they’ll charge us.

We got to check in and the man said the flight’s baggage closes in 20 minutes. Then there was a problem with the infant tickets. We got to cut the long security line, but it took a long time for someone to check Candace and her chair. I ran ahead. Abie only wanted to be with me, so I carried him what seemed lie the breadth of Miami or at least tge airport. “Daddy hat,” he demanded as he wanted to be on my shoulders. I made it and the gate agent said, “The others have 15 minutes.” They made it and the plane ride was. Except Abie had his first day ever without a nap. Tali napped a bit on the plane.

We got  to cut the passport line, but waited forever to get a taxi. Other drivers shaed a driver into taking us in Papiamentu. Candace had booked a taxi, but they emailed us today that they couldn’t pick us up. The resort said we can only have four in our room, but I tried to plead that yhe babies shouldn’t count. They’ll make a decision tomorrow. We ate at the restaurant here and Abie and Tali were tired and not on their best behavior. The babies cuddled me in the room. We were supposed to have a partial sea view, but I maybe that means we can only view part if the sea because the view is pretty awesome.