NFL Football

So we're down to four teams. Next Sunday at 2 p.m. the upstart New York Jets will be in Indianapolis to play the Colts for the AFC crown. Then at 5:40 p.m. the Minnesota Vikings will take the field against the Saints in New Orleans in the NFC title game. I don't have TV at my place, so I don't watch a ton of ball, but I do keep tabs on the NFL each season, and generally manage to catch a game or two here or there.

As it happens, I caught the last half of the Arizona Cardinal vs New Orleans Saints game on Saturday afternoon, and all of the Baltimore Raven vs Indianapolis Colt game after that. And based on what I saw, New Orleans and Indianapolis are going to be very tough to beat.
New Orleans was dominant in its victory. As I mentioned, I missed the first half. By that point, the Saints were already up 35-14. They ended up trampling the Cardinals 45-14.

If the game was in Minnesota, who admittedly did look impressive in demolishing the Tony Romo "led" (yes, those are sneer quotes) Dallas Cowboys 34-3, I'd probably give them a shot. But the game's in New Orleans. And as compelling as the story of Brett Favre in the twilight of his Hall of Fame career gunning for his third Superbowl is, it's dwarfed by the idea of the Saints playing and winning in Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans. On the other hand, neither team has yet proven itself capable of winning the really big game. Still, I have to go with the Saints.
In its game, Indianapolis went toe-to-toe with a tough Baltimore squad, and looked pretty strong. Yeah, the final score was only 20-3. And the Colts scored 14 of their points in a three minute spurt at the end of the first half when the Ravens botched clock management a bit and took a couple of bad penalties. But they were in control throughout. Baltimore committed several turnovers, had a lot of catchable passes dropped, and couldn't get anything going on offense; while Peyton Manning was surgical in dissecting the defence with a pin-point short-passing game that the Ravens had no answer for.
As for the Jets, I don't know much about them. For most of the season, they were a non-entity. They only squeaked into the playoffs with late season wins over Indianapolis and the Cincinnati Bengals when both teams were resting key personnel. In week one of the playoffs, they won 24-14 in Cincinnati. But like the Saints and Vikings, the Bengals don't exactly have a reputation for winning big games. Pulling off a 17-14 road victory in San Diego against the Chargers, though, that was an accomplishment.
Going into the game, the Chargers had won 11 straight. Judging by the stats, and from what little I've heard about the Jets, they play tough D and rely on a strong running game. Again, if this game was being played outdoors in New York instead of indoors in Indianapolis, I'd give the Jets a shot. But it's not. Which sets up an Indianapolis Colts vs New Orleans Saints Superbowl on Feb. 7.

This Week at City Hall

Monday, January 17
Crime Prevention Committee (12:15 pm): Considering the November 2009 crime statistics, the Crime Prevention Week and Crime Prevention Awards and setting meeting times for 2010.

City Council (5:00 pm): First meeting of 2010! Excited? Well, you would be if you'd read this week's agenda. Boy howdy, what a way to kick off the year! Shuffling the city's boundaries! Preparing for capital expenditures! Suggestions of budgetary hijinks to come! Hydrogen from garbage! Let's get to it, shall we?

This week, council will be considering the operating budget for the Regina Police Service and $25,000 in funding allotted to the Transit Fare Assistance Program.

Also, council will be looking to expand the city's boundaries by absorbing a portion of the Rural Municipality of Sherwood, for which said rural municipality will be compensated for lost tax money to the tune of a whopping $9,450. No, there are no zeroes missing on that number. Or at least I assume there isn't as it's written that way twice in the report. Man, if I'd known annexing land was this cheap I could've got this on my line of credit.

Council will also be passing recommended changes to the Local Government Election Act. Among the changes are provisions to allow for alternative voting methods such as on-line voting, a requirement that voters have to provide identification before being issued a ballot and provisions so that special polls (such those at hospitals or personal care facilities) can be held on days other than election day.

Looks like the Youth Advisory Council will be getting its name changed to the Youth Advisory Committee and its numbers shrunk to 12 so that it can reach quorum at meetings. (Formerly, it had 40-some members and that proved unworkable.)

Council will also be considering canceling its contract with the Solar Hydrogen Energy Corporation (SHEC). We ran a news brief about this in the latest print p-dog; but, even briefer: SHEC had an agreement with the city to buy methane off-gassing from our landfill and it would turn that into hydrogen. Then the economy went to crap and it's apparently not a viable project at present so they want to back out. Have to say I'm not entirely surprised. I'm pretty skeptical of this hydrogen economy thing. And when someone comes a-knocking saying they can spin my straw -- or garbage as the case may be -- into gold, I'm inclined to ask "what's the catch, Rumpelstiltskin?"

Council is also looking at the capital projects for which it will have to give advance approval. This gives a good pre-budget glimpse at city priorities for the year so this item probably warrants a whole blog post of its own.

Finally, Councillor Clipsham is bringing a motion forward to extend council terms to four years as opposed to three.

Tuesday, January 19
Community Services Advisory Committee (5:30 pm): Considering a report from an attendee to the Canadian Urban Transit Association conference in 2009 and setting meeting times for 2010.

As always, complete agendas and reports can be downloaded from the city's website.

Pick of the Day: Going for a Walk Around Wascana Lake

I'm writing this a couple of days in advance, but the weather report for the weekend looks pretty favourable. We've essentially been cooped up for an entire year with shitty weather -- except for September, which was awesome, and November, which was pretty good too. But otherwise, frigid with a capital F. So if you get a chance today, head down to Wascana Lake for a brisk walk. Pathways are kept pretty clean in the winter, there's no bike and roller blade traffic to deal with, and we can all do with a bit of fresh air and exercise this time of the year.

Heads up to all the bachelors out there though who are tottering on the brink of making a life-time commitment to the woman of their dreams (or man of your dreams, I suppose). If your sweetie suggests a walk around the lake, and you find yourself in the vicinity of the Conexus Arts Centre, be forewarned that's there's a Wedding Expo on today. So proceed with caution.

Further south on the Wascana Parkway at the university, the Department of Music is partnering with the Theatre Department to present a concert of music and spoken word focussing on composers and writers from the 19th and 20th century. The concert is being held at Riddell Centre at 3 p.m.

And if you're looking for something to do tonight, playing at the RPL at 7 p.m. is the Australian film Three Blind Mice. It's about three sailors enjoying a last day of shore leave in Sydney before shipping out to Iraq. Here's the trailer. (YouTube) At 9 p.m., there's a U.S. documentary called Collapse about a real gloomy Gus named Michael Rupert who thinks the world is headed to hell in a hand-basket. Here's the trailer. (YouTube)