Some Food Inspiration

Hey y’all! If you’re like us and have found yourself in a food rut as the weather gets colder, we’re here to offer some fresh ideas from around the web.  These recipes reflect what I’m craving this time of year…comfort food with lots of veggies (okay, and treats, too).

Things We’ve Tried Recently:

These lentil, chickpea, and carrot veggie burgers.  We used to make the chickpea burgers from 101 cookbooks almost once a week, but I got so tired of them and started searching for a new recipe.  These lentil burgers are a total winner.

This version of adult spaghettios.  This was a warm, comforting meal for a chilly night.

You guys!  This is seriously the best bread I’ve ever baked.  I have almost eaten an entire loaf.

This shrimp etoufee was one of my favorite things I’ve made in a while.  I made my own shrimp stock with the shells!

Homemade funfetti cake/cupcakes.  These are not sickly sweet, which I appreciate.  I’m making these (with blue sprinkles) for an upcoming wedding shower!

On the docket:

Pineapple fried rice.  This just looks so fresh right now!

Bean and veggie tostadas.  These look so easy and so good.  One of those dinners for when you don’t want to cook dinner.

This ginger and sweet potato dal.  Those photos…how can you not want to make this?

Old favorites: These are all great recipes but I’ve been making them way too often.  Regardless, I will be revisiting them again after a short break.

Mango and peanut tofu wraps.  So fresh and crunchy!  This is also the only way my husband will eat tofu.  You can sub frozen thawed mangoes to keep costs down.

Coconut quinoa with roasted cauliflower.  Perfect light and easy meal for busy nights.

Roasted cauliflower curry soup.  Maybe we should just cook every single recipe from Cookie + Kate.  Who’s in?

These sweet potato, black bean, and corn enchiladas.  These are so easy and comforting, which is probably why they appear on our meal plan nearly weekly.

This jerk chicken and coconut rice.  I use bone-in dark meat chicken, marinate it overnight, then grill it.

This is the best pad thai I’ve made at home.  I usually leave off the chicken and add a little soy sauce and egg.

What are you cooking?

Our Thanksgiving Plan

It’s been a while since I(Deena)’ve posted something, hasn’t it?  Getting my dissertation written plus being on the job market unfortunately doesn’t leave me with a lot of creative energy, but today I have something I’m super excited to share with y’all.

To say that I am obsessed with the winter holidays might be the understatement of the year.  Thanksgiving is my favorite, because food, duh, and it is a perfect opportunity to relax for a day.

This year, we’re staying home and spending Thanksgiving with our neighbors.  It is going to be a wonderful, stress-free day full of good food, the wine I only buy for the holidays, and catching up with some of our favorite people.  We’re very lucky to live on a cul de sac in a nice-but-not-snooty suburban neighborhood, and we have better neighbors than I ever could have dreamed of.

Without further ado, here’s our plan for hosting this year!


Appetizers: I don’t want to take focus off the Thanksgiving meal, but I do want to provide some snacks for our guests to enjoy while we watch football.
-A big cheese board with 2 types of cheese (TDB, but I do love the Toscano from Trader Joe’s), crackers, salami, spice roasted pecans, grapes, and pickles.
-Cranberry baked brie with crackers (Not really using a recipe for this, but I am going to top a wheel of brie with cranberry sauce and wrap it in frozen puff pastry, then bake until it looks good)
-Spanakopita (Frozen from TJs)

Drinks: Thanksgiving is time to bust out the good wine!  This year we’re also serving a signature cocktail.  Beer is a must, and don’t forget the nonalcoholic drinks for kids or people who prefer not to drink.
-A double batch of these cranberry margaritas will serve as our signature cocktail.
-We’re also keeping a bottle of good (Bulleit) bourbon on hand, because it’s the south, y’all.
-A perfect but not too expensive red wine is Mollydooker: The Boxer (shiraz).  My uncle was kind enough to purchase this wine for our wedding, and it has since become our go-to special occasion wine.
-I’m not a huge white wine fan, at least not when it is cold, but turkey.  We’re serving the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, which is a nice crisp, dry wine.
-A mix of microbrews and light beer.  We’re planning on serving Shiner Holiday Cheer, Aviator Frost Nipped, and Yuengling Light.
-Sparkling cranberry and apple juices (from Trader Joe’s) as a delicious nonalcoholic option.

The main meal: Here I’m going for classics with a twist.  Excited!
-Hickory smoked turkey.  I’m using one of the pre-brined turkeys from Trader Joe’s to save myself a little headache.  Also not really using a recipe but planning a bbq rub and loading the liquid reservoir of my smoker with either beer or cider.
-Gravy, courtesy of Whole Foods.  Since we’re smoking the turkey, I’m not sure what the dripping situation will be and I am leaving the gravy to the pros.  I already preordered and paid for it, and will pick it up after work on Tuesday.  How convenient is that?
-Mashed potatoes.  Y’all, I just bought a potato ricer and it is one of the best purchases I have ever made.  I’ll boil and rice the potatoes, then add salt, milk, and butter.
Sweet potato and swiss chard gratin.  I know people usually go for sugary sweet potato dishes, but I’ve made this before and it is just to die for.
-Cranberry sauce.  Again, no recipe except boiling cranberries, water, and sugar.  I am making about 5 bags’ worth as this is Nick’s favorite.
-My best friend Caroline’s macaroni and cheese.  She has a killer recipe, and kids just love it.
-Pepperidge Farm stuffing.  I tried a homemade cornbread dressing recipe a few weeks ago, but I used jiffy mix for the cornbread and the end result just had a bizarre texture.  I decided to keep it simple (stupid) and use the Pepperidge Farm mix my husband and I both like.  There’s no shame in some shortcuts when you have this much food to cook.
-My dad’s carrots.  Again, no recipe, but we caramelize them in a mixture of french onion soup mix, lemon, sugar, and water.
-My neighbor is bringing more veggies as well.  Need some green to cut through the carbs!
Pumpkin dinner rolls with cinnamon honey butter.  Tried these out a few weeks ago, and omg.  I am making a double batch and suspect that the kids will love them.

Dessert: I am serving the classic pumpkin pie alongside two desserts that are a little more fun.
-Decaf coffee.  Do people drink coffee with dessert, or is that just my family?  Regardless, I picked up some decaf beans.
Classic pumpkin pie.  I’ve never made a pumpkin pie before because my grandmother is the queen of pies, but this year I will give it a shot.  I’m not making the praline sauce (team whipped cream over here!), and I’m using frozen pie crust.  If you hate making pie crust like I do, I highly recommend the frozen pie crusts from Trader Joe’s.
-Homemade whipped cream.  Kitchen Aid to the rescue!
Nantucket cranberry pie.  This is so, so good.
Pumpkin whoopie pies with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  I follow her cookie recipe exactly, but I am not a big maple syrup fan.  I instead make a cream cheese icing and spike it with cinnamon and nutmeg.  I made these as one of the desserts for Nick’s 29th birthday party, and the kids would have eaten the entire plate if their parents had let them.

Shopping/prep tips/misc: I want to do a more detailed post on this, and it will probably help y’all if I have hindsight after the day is over.  Here’s what I’m thinking now:
-I’m doing my grocery shopping in two rounds.  After work yesterday, I went and grabbed all the nonperishables.  Next Monday, I am planning on grabbing the turkey and all the vegetables after work.  There is no way I could have done it all in one trip by myself, but I think it is certainly possible to make one trip if you bring another person.  I wanted to save my slave driving for making my husband clean the house.
– I was surprised by how much serveware I was missing!  I ordered most missing things from amazon, and bought foil pans and cocktail napkins from Target.  I am serving my apps, dinner, and dessert on these plates, because I know I am going to trash my kitchen in the cooking process.  My spread may not look like something from Southern Living, but it will be delicious!
-I am planning to set up a self-serve bar/apps table and then put the dinner food on a buffet table.  I’m not really sure how I will decorate the dinner table, but I figure that tea lights and flowers are usually a win.  I bought these cheap but festive napkins in orange.  Decorating is not my forte.
-We have 2 children coming so I wanted to get them something special.  I’m sure it isn’t fun to hang out with adults all the time!  I bought things to make them treat bags, and I got them each a small toy (Target dollar spot).  I also bought a gingerbread house making kit and plan on having board games on hand to fight off restlessness.
-Last month’s Real Simple had a really good article on pet etiquette surrounding the holidays.  My plan is to brush the cats and dog on Wednesday, then clean the hell out of my house.  I won’t be vacuuming on Thursday as that can stir up dander and aggravate guests’ allergies.  The dog will be in his crate and the cats will be upstairs during our gathering.

That’s all I have for now.  What are your Thanksgiving plans?  Is Thanksgiving your favorite holiday, too?

Overcoming a Poor Draft by Trading Up

Now that the trade deadline has passed in my highest priority fantasy football redraft league, it’s time to take a look at the five trades I made this year, to see how it’s affected my season so far, and its future outlook. The goal of this post is to show how you can overcome a poor draft (and subsequent poor start to the season), and still excel in your league by being vigilant with roster management, and using widely available tools to more accurately gauge past and future performance.

The Grid Iron Futbol League (GIFL) is a league I have been a part of since 2003. It is a 10-team league, non-PPR, standard scoring, with 4 points per passing TD. There is one twist – if a player is drafted in the 9th round or later (must be drafted, not picked up off waivers), and is on your roster at the end of the year, you can keep that player as a 9th round pick the following year. Said player may only be kept one year in a row.  The league has the following roster construction:

  • 1 QB
  • 1 RB
  • 1 RB/WR
  • 1 WR
  • 1 WR/TE
  • 1 TE
  • 1 D/ST
  • 1 K
  • 8 Bench

This allows the possibility of starting 3 WRs and 1 RB, or 2 RBs and 2 WRs (there may be rare cases where you choose to start 2 TEs as well, in place of one of the WRs). With only needing to start 1 RB, I went with a semi-Zero-RB strategy. I had Andre Ellington targeted as a must-have in the 4th round, but other than that I was avoiding the RB spot until about rounds 6 or 7. My thinking was, I only needed to start 1 RB, and WRs generally enjoy less drop off in production comparatively to running backs the deeper you go, so they would make the better flex play most weeks. My roster turned out as follows:


I was not too thrilled with my draft. My draft got bungled right from round 3, where I was expecting Jordy Nelson or Antonio Brown to be available at my spot. I was happy to get Josh Gordon in a league where we have 8 bench spots, and I could keep him through the year so that he would be my keeper (and 9th round pick) for next year. It was simply a bonus that the rules changed and Gordon was eligible for reinstatement. I was also happy I got Ellington, but my other RBs did not inspire me. This led me to pull my first trade:

Trade 1 – Trade Jeremy Maclin away for Pierre Thomas

I made this trade the day after our league’s draft. In hindsight, I made an awful trade here, both in rationale, and in actual result. I knew I needed another starting RB, since Knowshon Moreno was projected to start in Miami, and I had no other starting RB on the roster. However, I traded the wrong WR away for the wrong RB. Pierre Thomas filled a very similar role to Shane Vereen for their respective teams, and I should have rostered only one of these guys. It was unkown how Maclin would perform for the Eagles with DeSean Jackson out of the picture, and Maclin coming off an ACL injury, so giving him up wasn’t too unreasonable. However clearly I wish I’d kept him. So take the roster pictured above, swap out Maclin for Pierre Thomas, and that was my roster going into week 1. I started out the year 1-2-1 (yes, we had the rare fractional scoring tie), and at that point my roster was the following:


At this point, my RB situation looked a lot better. I picked up Ahmad Bradshaw off the waiver wire after week 1, Lamar Miller was starting in Miami, Donald Brown was starting in San Diego, and Matt Asiata was the starter in Minnesota at the time. My WR situation was a bit different. Calvin Johnson had just gotten hurt, so I was left with a hit or miss Victor Cruz, a relative bust in Keenan Allen, and consistently low-scoring Kendall Wright. This led me to trade two…

Trade 2 – Trade Matt Asiata away for T.Y. Hilton

This trade was not made in time to process before week 5, but at the time Matt Asiata was still the starter. However, I assumed he’d be taken over at some point by Jerick McKinnon (or Adrian Peterson’s situation would get resolved). I traded him away to the owner who had Peterson and McKinnon, so that the owner could lock down the Minnesota RB situation as it evolved. In return, I got a WR who had no fewer than 5 receptions per game, but just hadn’t found pay-dirt yet. I figured it was a matter of time. Well, in week 5 Matt Asiata made his last start, and T.Y. put in a 9 catch, 90 yard performance, but since the trade hadn’t processed, I fielded a sub-par lineup and lost, dropping me to 1-3-1 in 8th place of 10. But then the trade processed for week 6, McKinnon was named the starter, and T.Y. went off for 223 yards and a score. Hilton has had only one game in single-digits since. I clearly improved my team here. However, I still saw an opportunity…

Trade 3 – Trade Calvin Johnson and Ahmad Bradshaw away for Eddie Lacy and Larry Fitzgerald

This trade looks awful for me on paper, but at that point Calvin Johnson had just finished his second straight week playing as a decoy on a bum ankle, and was looking to be out the next four weeks (three games and a bye), putting him back for a return in week 10. If I could hang on two more weeks, I’d have Josh Gordon return, so Calvin was expendable. I had Ellington, Forsett (I picked him up having waiver priority), Bradshaw, and Miller as my RB quartet, so giving away Bradshaw didn’t kill me. I used the Rotoviz Buy Low Machine and found that Eddie Lacy had an excellent upcoming schedule.


After a tough match-up with Miami, six of Lacy’s next 7 games were great match-ups, including an excellent one in week 14, the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Bradshaw’s schedule wasn’t horrible, but he’s an older, injury-prone back in a timeshare, and Lacy was clearly a buy low prospect, having started the year off slowly. I pulled the trigger, and Lacy got me 35.5 points in the same time frame that Calvin Johnson got zero. Also, I noticed using Rotoviz’s Game Splits App, with Palmer about to return, Fitzgerald was due for a bounce back in scoring.


I’d score this trade as helping me out given the situation. Unfortunately, once again disaster struck one of my WRs. Victor Cruz went down in week 6 with a torn patellar tendon, leaving me once again thin at the WR position. I managed to somehow win three straight (thanks mainly to T.Y., Lacy, and Ellington) to move to 4-3-1 while grabbing Andre Holmes, Cecil Shorts III and some guy named Sammy Watkins off waivers (to be fair to my league-mates, this was before he put up two consecutive 20 point weeks, and other than week 2, had largely been uninspiring). My WR corps after Hilton was Allen, Holmes, Shorts III, and Watkins (I panicked after Fitzgerald put up 2 points with Palmer in the lineup, and dropped him for Watkins). I needed a high quality WR…

Trade 4 – Trade away Lamar Miller and Cecil Shorts III for DeSean Jackson and Bishop Sankey

The reason behind this was clear. I only needed three stud running backs since I needed to start only one or two in any given week. With Ellington, Forsett, and Lacy, I was okay there so Miller could become expendable, especially given that I was getting Sankey as insurance. DeSean gave me another starting quality receiver leaving me with the suddenly respectable trio of T.Y., DeSean, and Sammy Watkins (who put up back-to-back 20+ point weeks), with Allen as insurance, and Gordon waiting in the wings. This trade helped me out for sure, strengthening my WR corps while not penalizing me at running back. However, I’m never content. I could have stood pat and been done with my moves, but that’s just not me. I saw an opportunity once again using the Buy Low Machine. We were entering week 9, and this was Kelvin Benjamin’s schedule from week 9 through the end of my fantasy playoffs:


The easiest remaining schedule among WRs, Benjamin was definitely a trade target of mine. This led me to my final trade of the year.

Trade 5 – Trade Sammy Watkins and Tre Mason away for Kelvin Benjamin and Cincinnati D/ST

I had just picked up Tre Mason off waivers, but was not going to use him (especially given his upcoming schedule), and Watkins was an obvious sell high, coming off two 20+ point days, with the 10th toughest schedule remaining at that point according to the Buy Low Machine (or should I call it the Sell High Machine?). Watkins for Benjamin just made sense, and as a small bonus I got the Cincy D going up against lowly Jacksonville in week 9. Benjamin didn’t do so hot in week 9 despite the great match-up, but in weeks 10 and 11 he’s been a fantasy savior for me. Watkins put up a mere 6.2 points during those two weeks, although I don’t expect that trend to continue, as his schedule eases up a bit toward the fantasy playoffs. with three of his next four match-ups positive ones.

Waiver moves, attempting one more trade, and looking forward

I kept working the waiver wire, picking up Mike Evans who was only averaging 6.5 points per week before his weeks 9 through 11 blow-up. I was able to claim him off waivers by having priority after his big week 9 performance, giving me the WR quintet of T.Y. Hilton, Kelvin Benjamin, Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Josh Gordon now eligible to return. I picked up Fred Jackson off waivers after he went down with injury. His injury was short term and I wouldn’t need him in that time frame anyway. As long as he’s back for the fantasy playoffs, I was happy to roster him. He’ll simply be insurance for the fantasy playoffs, where he has a good schedule.

I was looking to make one more trade, shipping Ellington away and packaging him with one of my non-Gordon WRs to pick up another top RB given Ellington’s horrid fantasy playoff schedule and the injury to Carson Palmer, but my league-mates held tight and didn’t take the bait.

Since week 4 where I was 1-2-1, I’ve gone 5-2 and moved from 8th to 4th in the standings, with a roster very capable of winning it all. My current roster is as follows:


A few highlights of the roster:

  • Drew Brees has the 2nd easiest fantasy playoff schedule (weeks 14-16) for QBs. His schedule to this point in the year has rated 38.33 (on a 0-100 scale), but his playoff schedule rates a 69.
  • Delanie Walker has the 2nd easiest fantasy playoff schedule for TEs, with all three being good matchups
  • I have three top 10 RBs, of which I need to start one or two in any given week. I’ll likely be picking either Lacy or Forsett or both depending on the situation. Ellington, Fred Jackson, and Sankey are insurance policy.
  • I have four currently top 13 WRs plus last year’s #1 WR, Josh Gordon. I face the dreaded selection problem, but I guess that’s a good problem to have.
  • In cases where either Forsett or Lacy have a bad matchup, I’ll probably go 3 WRs.
  • Alfred Blue and Jordan Reed will be the guys I’m looking at cutting to either handcuff an RB, grab a backup QB, or grab a TE with a better match-up for week 12 (Walker has a tough match-up this week, and Reed has a hamstring issue).

Congrats if you’ve read this far! I really appreciate it. Hopefully I’ve shown that you can overcome a poor draft by being aggressive in trades, using tools available on the web (thanks Rotoviz for having some of the best tools available in my opinion!), and working the waiver wire. I’d classify four of my five trades as positive value, setting me up nicely for the fantasy playoffs. Anything can happen in the fantasy playoffs, but I feel good about the position I’ve put myself in for those three weeks.

Relax, You Won’t Get Ebola

I kind of chuckle at all the Ebola hysteria out there. so let’s put some numbers to this outbreak to show why

  • if you live in the USA
  • Don’t travel to West Africa
  • And don’t work in the health care system…

…you won’t get Ebola (300 million Americans fit this profile). I’ll even calculate worst case scenarios to show that even in the worst case, you have nothing to worry about.

WARNING: This isn’t going to be some fancy journalistic writing…it’s my back of the napkin calculations that I did over two slices of pizza, and one hour my wife was at the grocery store.

WARNING 2: Because these are back of the napkin calculations, I use some unfounded assumptions. But each unfounded assumption is likely worse-than-worst case scenario.

First lets start with something called the basic reproduction number of an infectious disease, which we designate, R0. To keep it simple, this number represents the average number of uninfected people infected by someone else who has a certain disease. In any given population:

  • if R0 is greater than 1 then a disease will continue to spread throughout said population
  • If R0 is less than 1 then the disease will eventually die out in that population

For Ebola, the value of R0 in the West African Ebola outbreak is between about 1.7 and 2. This means, if things don’t improve, the disease will continue to spread within that population.


That’s within the West African population (and even then mainly confined to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia). Think about that. These people have poor medical care, often Ebola patients still intermingle with other people (usually family members), and often do not safely bury the deceased. Even with all that, one person only infects 1.7-2 people on average!

Since most of you reading this are in developed countries this R0 number doesn’t apply to your population.

Let’s think about this. So far we’ve had eight cases of Ebola in the United States. This includes five people who were evacuated to the United States AFTER being diagnosed. So far, four cases have concluded. Three people were discharged after Ebola ran its course, and one person died. That’s a fatality rate of 25%. Four other cases are still being treated.

If we just take the cases that originated in the United States, then we have three cases.

  • One person contracted Ebola in Liberia, flew to the United States, then developed symptoms, was diagnosed, treated, and died.
  • Two health care workers who attended to the first patient have since contracted Ebola, and both are currently receiving treatment.

A few observations about this:

  • Nobody who was on the plane with the original (also called index) case got Ebola
  • The only people who contracted Ebola were health care workers who treated the original patient
  • So far, we have one completed case of Ebola from these three people, and two others infected from the index case, so R0 is 2
  • IF neither of these other two people infect another person, then R0 would drop to 0.67, and the disease will have died out within the United States (for this index case)
  • IF we include the completed cases of those brought to the United States after having contracted Ebola, then the current R0 within the United States is 0.5 (two people within the United States have been infected from four completed cases)
  • IF all current cases treated or diagnosed within the United States complete with no transmissions, then R0 will be 0.25 (two transmitted cases within the United States out of eight total cases)

I understand those last three bullets are hypothetical, but they do show that with good tracking, good procedures, good sanitation, and good medical care, we can get R0 below the critical threshold of 1. I feel pretty confident about that, given that in West Africa there is poor tracking, procedures, sanitation, and medical care, yet R0 is only between 1.7 and 2.

Let’s dive even deeper. As we know, one of these two remaining cases did in fact travel by airplane around the time of first symptoms (there are reports it was the day before, and newer reports saying there may have been signs earlier). Let’s assume worst case scenario that this person did fly while contagious. Then at worst, out of an abundance of caution, around 800 people that flew on one of the two planes in the time after the subject flew but before the planes were removed from service are being contacted or tracked.

This means at worst:

  • 8 patients
  • An unknown amount of health care workers
  • And 800 people associated with the flights of the traveling patient…

…are the sum total of possible exposures. If we round this up to 1000 to account for the unknown amount of health care workers, that means about 0.0003% of the total United States population has maybe been exposed to Ebola.

Of those 1000 people, the way for them to contract Ebola would be for them to have come in contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. I don’t know about you, but I typically don’t come into contact with someone else’s bodily fluids on an airplane. Let’s assume that of these 800 people that flew with or after the third Ebola patient flew, that 25% of them sat in the vicinity of the patient and/or used the bathroom after the patient did. Now we’re talking 200 people, plus the additional 200 health care workers we estimated from rounding. Now we’re talking 0.00125% of the population possibly being exposed.

Even then, we know not all of these people would come into contact with the patient’s bodily fluid and contract Ebola. So far, out of our assumed 200 health care workers, 100 have been from completed cases, and we have 2 transmissions for a rate of 1 in 50 (2%). Let’s assume 2% of our 400 people get Ebola, then we have a total of 8 more cases.

That would bring us to a grand total of 16 cases out of 320,000,000 people, or 0.000005% of the population, or 1 in 20 million.

Of those, let’s take the worst case estimate of the case fatality rate for the current outbreak of 70%. Then out of all those exposed to Ebola so far, approximately 12 people would die from the current Ebola outbreak within the United States, or 1 in 26.7 million.

Given the original 6 cases of Ebola, there would have been 10 more cases for an R0 of 1.67. That’s for a worst case scenario! Our worst case scenario is less than the best case scenario for West Africa!!!

But think about this…these eight cases so far have all been from people who were in West Africa, or a health care worker who treated someone who was in West Africa. Of the other assumed cases, we assumed it would be split half and half between health care workers and general population (those on the plane). So only four, yes, FOUR out of 300 million non-health care workers, non-West Africa visitors, would in the worst case contract Ebola in the month since it was first diagnosed within the United States. That’s 1 in 75 million people. And of those, only three would likely die, meaning worst case 1 in 100 million Americans in the general population might die as the third generation of transmission of Ebola within the United States. Any further deaths would either be from a new index patient, or from the third generation of this current case passing it on to a fourth generation.

So, for the three cases of Ebola where the people were out in the general public (the original case diagnosed in the United States, plus the two people he transmitted it to), only FOUR people in the general population as a worst case scenario will contact Ebola. That puts the R0 at 1.33. And if we did even 1 person better than that, suddenly the R0 is at the magic number of 1 (meaning it wouldn’t die out, but at any given time the average number of people with Ebola would be the same).

And again…I’m almost assuredly severely over-estimating these chances, so that I can present the worst case scenario. So therefore, I’m almost assuredly saying we’ll be at the R0 value of 1 or less in the general population, and this current episode will get snuffed out within the general population, until the point we can get it snuffed out from the health care/West African traveling population (which will only happen when the current outbreak in West Africa ends).

So, there may be a few handfuls of times Ebola crops up in the United States until the current West African outbreak is fully eradicated. But in each case, if you’re in the general population, you have a minuscule chance of catching Ebola. Something like 1 in tens of millions. And your chances of dying from it are even less.

So we’ve had 4 completed potential index cases in the United States in a 3 month span, with 2 more index cases receiving treatment. That’s two per month. However, that rate will almost surely pick up simply because the rate is still increasing in West Africa. But even if we assume worst case an average of 10 new index cases per month, that’s 120 per year. So if we’re at the R0 value of 1 or less, as we can safely assume, then we may see 360 cases in the next year in the general American population, and 250 deaths. That’s greater than a one in one million chance of you dying from Ebola within the next year. Again, that’s using worst case death rates, a worst-case projection of the number of new cases in the next 12 months, and a near worst case projection of transmission of these cases to the general public.

To put it simpler, even in the worst case scenario, if you’re in the general population then you have about twice the chance of getting struck by lightning in a given year than dying from Ebola…and you don’t worry about getting struck by lightning, do you?

I’m not losing any sleep over it, or giving it a single worry. I suggest you do the same. You’ll enjoy life more by not worrying!


PS: This

NFL Betting: Week 6

Since I currently am in Seattle on vacation, this one will be short and sweet. No explanation on any picks. Last week was average, going 7-8, but 4-3 on real money bets for +5 units. I don’t love love any plays this week, but there are a few I’m willing to put one unit on.

Week 5 (all picks): 7-8
Week 5 (money picks): 4-3 for +5 units
Overall (all picks): 36-38-2 (48.6%)
Overall (money picks): 14-12 for +8 units (53.8%)

Week 6 picks:

Indianapolis vs. Houston (NO PICK)
Missed picking this due to vacation

Denver (-9.5) over New York Jets

Cleveland (-1.5) over Pittsburgh

Jacksonville (+4) over Tennessee

Atlanta (-3) over Chicago

Green Bay (-3) over Miami

Detroit (+1.5) over Minnesota

Cincinnati (-6.5) over Carolina

New England (-2.5) over Buffalo

Baltimore (-3.5) over Tampa Bay

San Diego (-7) over Oakland

Dallas (+8.5) over Seattle

Washington (+3.5) over Arizona

New York Giants (+3.5) over Philadelphia

San Francisco (-3.5) over St. Louis

Real Money Bets:
Dallas (+8.5) over Seattle – 1 unit
Denver (-9.5) over New York Jets – 1 unit
Atlanta (-3) over Chicago – 1 unit
Baltimore (-3.5) over Tampa Bay – 1 unit
Washington (+3.5) over Arizona – 1 unit
New York Giants (+3.5) over Philadelphia – 1 unit


NFL Betting: Week 5

Week 4 was a disaster, plain and simple. I went underdog heavy, and it came back to bite me. The poor week puts me at nearly 50/50 for the season. However, on a bright note, as posted on my facebook page like I do every week prior to the Thursday night games, I picked this Thursday’s Packers/Vikings game perfectly, and put a full 5 units on it! Big early plus to start the week.

Week 4 (all picks): 5-8
Week 4 (money picks): 2-5 for -3 units
Overall (all picks): 29-30-2 (49.2%)
Overall (money picks): 10-9 for +3 units (52.6%)

Week 5 picks:

Green Bay (-9) over Minnesota
Again, as posted on my facebook page, I put a full 5 units on this and hit! I even said I’d take the Packers up to -14…big win!

Carolina (-3) over Chicago
This line is tough, so no real money on it, but I’ll take Carolina at home against a Jekyll/Hyde Bears team.

Tennessee (-1) over Cleveland
I actually like the Titans for a bounce back game. Delanie Walker might have a field day here.

Philadelphia (-7) over St. Louis
I actually see some upset potential here, as this reminds me of a matchup last year between Minnesota and Philly where the Vikings stomped the Eagles led by Matt Cassel. I think Austin Davis has a nice fantasy day, and this game could come down to the wire. Yet I think the Eagles are just too much in the end.

Atlanta (+4) over New York Giants
I actually don’t like Atlanta on the road (Matt Ryan outdoors has an awful record), but I’ll bet it here as they are getting over a field goal against inconsistent Eli.

Tampa Bay (+11) over New Orleans
I don’t think Tampa Bay is any good, but they’ve looked better under Glennon. I think they’ll put some points on an awful New Orleans defense to keep this within single digits.

Houston (+6) over Dallas
I think Dallas is over-rated, and is being backed heavily by the public here. A nice one to fade.

Buffalo (+7.5) over Detroit
If Detroit were -6.5 I’d take them, but at -7.5 I have to take Buffalo here. We’ll see how Orton does, but I don’t see him as a downgrade whatsoever from Manuel.

Baltimore (+3.5) over Indianapolis
This game is a real money pass for me, but I’ll pick the Ravens to run the ball and keep Luck off the field.

Jacksonville (+7) over Pittsburgh
I think the Jaguars keep dropping in the public eye. I’ve seen potential from them, and they should cover here for once.

Arizona (+7.5) over Denver
Are we really getting 7.5 points for the 3-0 Cardinals? Take it and run.

San Francisco (-6) over Kansas City
San Francisco is strong at covering the TE position, and thus shouldn’t have much trouble stopping the Chiefs in the air. If they contain Charles, they win comfortably.

New York Jets (+7) over San Diego
Yes I’ll take the Jets again…doesn’t feel good though. Geno’s going to do it one day. He’s been close the last two weeks to getting the cover thanks to his defense keeping high scoring offenses relatively in check.

New England (+1.5) over Cincinnati
Yes, the Patriots aren’t the same team as they have been. But can I really really go against Brady and Belichick getting points as an underdog at home?

Seattle (-7.5) over Washington
I can’t see Cousins doing much against this defense. Just go back to the playoff game his rookie year where he couldn’t move the ball whatsoever against this D, of which many players still remain from that team.

Real Money Bets:
Green Bay (-9) over Minnesota – 5 units
Tennessee (-1) over Cleveland – 1 unit
Atlanta (+4) over New York Giants – 1 unit
Houston (+6) over Dallas – 1 unit
Buffalo (+7.5) over Detroit – 1 unit
Arizona (+7.5) over Denver – 1 unit
New England (+1.5) over Cincinnati – 1 unit

NFL Betting: Week 4

Thank goodness the weekend is here! I’m incredibly ready for some NFL action, especially after my Redskins got absolutely trounced on Thursday night. To make matters worse, I had picked the Redskins to cover the spread. Whoops. At least I didn’t put money on it. But, after two consecutive winning weeks, I’m looking to make it a trifecta – three in a row would be lovely. Let’s see how I do!

Week 3 (all picks): 8-6-2
Week 2 (money picks): 3-2 for +2 units
Overall (all picks): 24-22-2 (52.2%)
Overall (money picks): 8-4 for +6 units (66.7%)

Week 4 picks:

Washington (-3.5) over New York Giants
As stated above…whoops!

Oakland (+4.5) over Miami
I took this line earlier in the week, and glad I did. It’s moved to +4 now. With QB controversy in Miami, and both teams traveling quite some distance, the Dolphins look ripe for a letdown. Oakland hasn’t played terribly in two of their three games this year.

Chicago (+2) over Green Bay
I don’t like this line, so I’m avoiding any real money, but Green Bay has struggled, and Matt Forte could rip them apart. Brandon Marshall might miss this game, another reason to stay away with your money until we know more.

Buffalo (+3) over Houston
These teams are pretty equal, and if Arian Foster is deemed out, this line could close up a little bit. I think this game is low scoring and close. Anything within a field goal here would please me.

Tennessee (+9) over Indianapolis
The Titans as +10 would be even better, but I’ll take them +9 as well. Unless they are playing Jacksonville, Indy tends to play close games under Andrew Luck. If the Titans go with Mettenberger, I don’t see that as a downgrade from Locker. If they go with Whitehurst, that’s a downgrade.

Baltimore (-3) over Ravens
I’ve got real money on this one. I over estimated the Panthers last week. I don’t think they’ll play as poorly as they did against the Steelers, but I still think Baltimore is the better team, and at home.

New York Jets (+2) over Detroit
New York was not far from tying it up against Chicago, and I think they’ll learn from their mistakes (Geno made a few, and Mornhinweg made a few) and pull out the upset at home.

Tampa Bay (+9) over Pittsburgh
I’ll bite. They burned me bad last week. But they played a bit better under Glennon, and with Doug Martin back they could control the ball a bit better. The public is all over Pittsburgh here, so give me Tampa Bay.

Jacksonville (+14) over San Diego
I put real money on this one too. I’ve been an underdog backer this week, and it continues here. I’m looking for a backdoor cover. A late, meaningless TD to give San Diego a 10 or 13 point win, or something.

San Francisco (-4.5) over Philadelphia
Can’t go dog here. San Francisco hasn’t looked as good as they should have, but neither has Philly. Their close win against the at home against the Redskins doesn’t look as good now, they struggled with Jacksonville, and pulled out a late come from behind on the road to Indy…their only impressive result.

Minnesota (+3) over Atlanta
Am I seriously doing this? Yes, I am…80%+ money on Atlanta, Matt Ryan isn’t the same Matt Ryan outdoors, and with no Peterson, Bridgewater could actually open things up for Patterson more than Cassel by being a second threat with his legs.

Dallas (+3) over New Orleans
I’d be all over Dallas if it moved off +3, but even here I’ll go with them. Although no real money. This game seems dangerous to pick. Don’t know what Romo or what Brees you’ll get.

New England (-3.5) over Kansas City
When will Brady be the Brady we remember? Well, on MNF I’ll take that bet. If you’re a daily fantasy player, I like Julian Edelman to go off. This is not a real money bet though.

Real Money Bets: (lots of plays this week, and quite the opposite of the public this week)

  • Oakland (+4.5) over Miami – 1 unit
  • Chicago (+2) over Green Bay – 1 unit
  • Tennessee (+9) over Indianapolis – 1 unit
  • Baltimore (-3) over Carolina – 1 unit
  • Jacksonville (+14) over San Diego – 1 unit
  • Minnesota (+3) over Atlanta – 1 unit
  • New York Jets (+2) over Detroit – 1 unit

NFL Betting: Week 3

What a crazy week for me. All week I’ve been at #JMPcon, then setting up some important work meetings that took me away from making my picks on Friday. Saturday was a full day, so I’m making these picks last minute. Since I still need to set my fantasy teams, there won’t be much discussion this time unfortunately. Let’s get right to the picks.

Week 2 (all picks): 10-6
Week 1 (money picks): 4-1 for +5 units
Overall (all picks): 16-16
Overall (money picks): 5-2 for +4 units

Week 2 picks:

Tampa Bay (+7) over Atlanta
Well, that was laughable.

San Diego (+1) over Buffalo
Close one for me, I think the chargers are the better team. Being on the road going east isn’t easy, but I’m not as high on the Bills as some are.

Dallas (-2.5) over St. Louis
Not really insightful analysis, but Dallas rolls here.

Philadelphia (-6) over Washington
I need to see more from the Redskins than a win over paltry Jacksonville before I can pick them on the road against a quality team.

New York Giants (+1) over Houston
Pure gut feel here.

New Orleans (+11) over Minnesota
Normally I’d take the points, but I think New Orleans is pissed off enough to win big.

Tennessee (+7) over Cincinnati
Yes, I saw what Dallas did to the Titans. But I’m looking for a rebound. Cincy is really good though, I just think it stays close.

Cleveland (+2) over Baltimore
Supposedly Flacco has been ill some of the week limiting his prep work. And Cleveland hasn’t been all that bad. I’ll take points at home.

Green Bay (+1) over Detroit
This is a real money play. I like the Packers getting a point. Their defense will need to step up though.

Indianapolis (-7) over Jacksonville
Indy has lost two close games, to two high powered offenses. The Jags are not that.

Oakland (+14.5) over New England
I wouldn’t normally look at prior years records, but fading New England as a double digit favorite at home has been profitable over the years (15-6 recently). I don’t see this New England team as a whole lot different, even worse probably, which is why I’m allowing this comparison to stand. Tom Brady isn’t the Tom Brady of old either.

San Francisco (-3) over Arizona
Drew Stanton beat the Giants. He won’t beat the 49ers.

Seattle (-5.5) over Denver
This should be a lot closer than the super bowl, even with Seattle’s home field. But to me, Seattle at home at this line is something you just don’t go against.

Kansas City (+4) over Miami
Kansas City isn’t terrible. They aren’t great, but not terrible. I’ll ride them as a dog one more time.

Carolina (-3) over Pittsburgh
This is a real money play for me. For me, Carolina is the better team at a neutral site. I’ll take ’em -3 at home.

Chicago (+3) over New York Jets
Definitely rolling with the points here.

Real Money Bets:
San Diego (+1) over Buffalo – 1 unit
Green Bay (+1) over Detroit – 1 unit
Dallas (-2.5) over St. Louis – 2 units
Carolina (-3) over Pittsburgh – 1 unit
Chicago (+3) over New York Jets – 1 unit