My Ten Favorite Photos of 2016

After lengthy deliberation I have selected the photos that I took in 2016 that are my favorites. I probably have 30 or 40 photos, or more, that could have made the cut. It is tempting to just present my top 20 or top 30, but where does that end?

Most of the pictures I selected were right here in PA, along with a few in Montclair, NJ, where I once lived and one in NYC.

All photos with my iPhone SE or my iPad Pro 9.7.

 

 

ticket-windows-at-hoboken-terminal

Ticket Windows at Hoboken Terminal

toll-bridge

Toll Bridge, Route 22, Easton, PA

611-in-the-fall

Fall in Easton, PA, Route 611

st-francis-xavier-church

Xavier

easton-train-station

Old Easton Train Station

centre-square-easton

Centre Square, Easton, PA

garden-at-van-vleck-house

Gardens at Van Vleck Estate, Montclair, NJ

garden-montclair-njjpg

Presby Memorial Iris Gardens, Montclair, NJ

painting-on-lehigh-river

Painters on the Lehigh River, Easton, PA

spring-garden-st-jan-2016

La La Land and the Race for the Oscars

Oscar time has arrived and Damien Chazelle’s La La Land looks set to dominate the Academy Awards  in the same fashion the film has dominated many other Film Awards events in the lead up to the big show on Hollywood Blvd.

I feel the same way about La La Land  that I felt about The Artist a few years ago. When I saw The Artist I though it was a lock to win Best Picture because it was such a unique film in this era, as a silent, black and white film. La La Land is a visually stunning film and as a musical it too is unique among the 2016 films. The entire cast was outstanding and it portrays Los Angeles in a very flattering way, which the Academy always seems to like. I see La La Land winning  not only the Oscar for Best Picture, but many other Oscars as well.

The big question is if La La Land can break the record for most Academy Awards wins for a single film. Titanic, Ben Hur and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King all won 11 Oscars.

La La Land garned 14 nominations, but includes two for Music Original Song, so LLL can win 13.  I think LLL is going to win 11 or 12 Oscars. I don’t think Ryan Gosling will win Best Actor for LLL, even thought his performance was excellent because the competition from Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) and Denzel Washington (Fences) is.

However, I think is very possible that LLL wins every other Oscar that it was nominated for. We’ll see soon enough .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing Seasons on the KSAT

I took these four pictures on the Karl Stirner Arts Trail in Easton, PA between October, 2016 and January, 2017, one each month, capturing the change in seasons. All pictures were taken with my iPad Pro 9.7.

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Super Bowl LI: New England vs Atlanta

The Championship Round games certainly weren’t as competitive as most fans, including myself, expected them to be, but the I think the decisive fashion in which both New England and Atlanta leaves no doubt that the best teams from each conference remain and that will set the stage for a potentially great Super Bowl Game.

I think Vegas installing the Patriots -3 as the favorite is about right. I picked the Patriots to win the whole thing in a pre-season blog post and I’m not changing that prediction now. Here is what I wrote last September…

AFC Conference Champion: New England–Steelers, Bengals, as well as Kansas City and possibly Denver could provide tough tests to the Patriots in the play-0ffs. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots fare with Jimmy G at QB. If they go 2-2 with Garoppolo at the helm I think there a good chance that they will be able to amass the best record in the AFC and secure home field advantage in the play-offs and that will be important.

NFC Conference Champion: Green Bay–I think there are at least four teams that have a good shot at winning the NFC. In  addition to Packers I would add Arizona, Seattle and, of course, the defending NFC champions, the Carolina Panthers. I won’t be at all surprised if any of those wins the NFC, I’m going to go with the Packers.

Superbowl Champion: New England–Any doubts about Belichick and Brady both being GOAT’s  will be put to rest when the Patriots win Super Bowl LI in Houston.

 
Packers came close, but obviously collapsed in the end. I must admit that I did not see the rise of the Falcons coming. They really exceeded expectations this season.  I am concerned about the Falcons because of their prolific offense. I think highly the Falcons coaching staff and I like Ryan. He was definitely the league’s MVP this season.
However, I think Belichick and his coaching staff will have the Pat’s well prepared and they will take away a few of Ryan’s weapons on offense. They may not be able to shut down star WR Julio Jones, but they will stop other guys. I also expect the Patriots to limit the Falcons offense simply by keeping it off the field. I know, easier send than done, but I think NE’s offense can do that. I expect they will run the ball a lot and Brady will throw a lot of short passes to pile up 1st downs and time of possession.
If the Falcons offense does drop bombs early and they jump out to a big lead the Pat’s will be in deep trouble, but I think they can avoid that.
So, I’m going to take Patriots -3.
The Over/Under is a SB high 59 and I will take the Under.
Patriots 31 Falcons 27

 

 

NFL Playoffs 2017 – Championship Round

Two very intriguing games today.

Frankly, I won’t be surprised if any combination of the remaining teams end up in the Super Bowl because they are all good teams with excellent coaches and QB’s. However, I’m still sticking with my original picks: Patriots as AFC Champ’s and Packers as the NFC Champ’s.

 

 

 

2017 NFL Playoff Predictions (Divisional Rd)

Well, I can’t say the first round offered anything really surprising. It was OK, but all the teams that were supposed to lose did indeed lose.

Now, moving on to Round Two, with the #5 and #6 seeds eliminated from each conference the games in the next round should be more competitive and certainly more interesting.

I was right on three out four predictions in Round One. I was wrong on the Oakland vs Houston. That was a tough game to call. In retrospect I should have just defaulted to the Texans with their home field advantage.

Seattle at (-5) Atlanta

A game that could go either way, but I favor the Falcons at home. With QB Matt Ryan playing the best football of his career I think Atlanta’s high octane offense would difficult to stop for any team, and even  Seattle’s vaunted D will not be able to do that, especially without safety Earl Thomas.

Atlanta 34 Seattle 24

Houston at (-15) New England

Unless Tom Brady and about half the starters on NE’s offense are knocked out of the game early there is no way the Texans will win this game. That ain’t gonna happen. Houston’s defense actually did look good and the offense was half decent at times vs Oakland, but of course the Raiders were a mere shell of themselves with rookie QB Conor Cook  QB playing in his first game instead of Derek Carr, who was a legit MVP candidate this season. Big, Big step up in the quality of the opposing QB for the Texans defense now facing Tom Brady.

NE 35 Houston 14

Pittsburgh at (-1.5) Kansas City

This will be a brutal game. The 1.5 point spread justifiably reflects two even matched teams who finished strong in the regular season. I can’t say I would want to bet on this game. If this game were being played in Pittsburgh and if Ben Rothlisberger was totally healthy I would be picking the Steelers, but I think KC, with home field advantage, has the edge here.

KC 31 Pittsburgh 27

Green Bay at (-4.5) Dallas

In a weekend a games that look great on paper, this is arguably the best of the bunch. In Dallas, we have the team that was unexpectedly the best regular season team, elevated by the play of their spectacular rookies, QB Dak Prescott and RB Zeke Elliot and an awesome offensive line. In Green Bay we have one of the hottest teams in the league, led by the Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback who is still arguably the best in the league. The loss of star  WR Jordy Nelson does concern me, but I was impressed by how well the Packers played against the Giants highly rated defense in the second half last week. I’m going to go with the Packers pulling off the upset here.

GB 28 Dallas 24

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 NFL Playoff Predictions (Rd One)

All right, here we are, it is playoff time and it is time to find out which team is truly the best in the NFL. I just reviewed my pre-season picks for each division, which I posted on this blog back in September, and I did pretty well. My predictions for all four AFC division winners were correct and I predicted that the Patriots would have the best record and secure home field advantage. Check and check.

In the NFC I did not fare quite as well. I only went 2 and 2. I was right about Green Bay and Seattle winning the NFC North and West, respectively, but I did not see the Cowboys winning the East or Atlanta dethroning the Carolina Panthers in the South. I always thought NFC East would be a real dogfight and that the Redskins would win the division again. I thought the Cowboys would struggle to take the division after they lost starting QB Tony Romo for the first half of the season. I knew Dallas had a lot of weapons on offense and a terrific O-Line, but I did not think rookie RB Zeke Elliot and rookie QB Dak Prescott would be truly great as they were. Both were real stars this season and they will make the Cowboys a Super Bowl contender for years to come.

As for the Giants, they delivered an unexpected Christmas present by making the playoffs. I must admit they exceeded my expectations. I never thought they would do any better than 8 and 8 this season, but the D and Beckham carried them to playoff!?! I have to give GM Jerry Reese some credit this time around. He bet big on the FA’s he signed for the defense and won.

I did predict the Panthers would suffer more losses this season as the rest of the league focused on them, but I was surprised by their really poor start (1-4). They never recovered from that. Atlanta, on the other hand, made a marked improvement in HC Dan Quinn’s second year. Hawks QB Matt Ryan was masterful this season and he would be my choice for league MVP this season.

Now, who will win the NFC?  It appears to me at least 3 or 4 teams could win the conference, but there is no question that Dallas should be considered the favorites with home field advantage at AT&T Stadium.

Back in my pre-season Blog post I ended up picking Green Bay to win the NFC and face the New England in the Super Bowl. I must admit I really questioning myself when the Packers still under .500 at the 10 game mark, but then they got their act together and ripped off 6 straight victories to end the season 10-6 and Packers that we saw at the end of the season was the team that I expected. I’m going to stick with the Packers. I think they are the one team in the NFC that can take out both the Cowboys and the Atlanta Falcons.

However, winning the NFC is one thing, winning the Super Bowl is another. I predicted that Patriots would win Super Bowl this season and I see no reason to change that prediction.

OK, on to the first round games.

Oakland at Houston

Houston -4.0

The Oakland Raiders would have been a real threat to win the AFC, but the loss of QB Derek Carr effectively ended their hopes to reach the Super Bowl. Houston wasn’t very good this year, in large part because new QB Brock Osweiler has been a big bust. So, we have two teams here that will be offensively challenged. I think the Raiders will win, but I don’t see them to winning any more playoff games after this one.

Oakland 21 Houston 17

Detroit at Seattle

Seattle -8.0

Detroit had a pretty decent season, going 9-7, and gave the Packers some serious competition for the NFC North. However, the Lions still seem like a work in progress and  I don’t think the Lions have enough weapons to defeat the Seahawks at home, where they are extremely tough to beat.

Seattle 31, Detroit 21

Miami at Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh -10.0

I think it fair to say Miami exceeded expectations this season, going 10-6 with rookie head coach Adam Gase. Well done, welcome to playoffs. The Fins are now taking a big step up facing a veteran Steelers team in cold, snowy Pittsburgh. The Steelers  were up and down at various points this season, but when they bring their A game they can complete with any team in the league.

Pittsburgh 27, Miami 14

NY Giants at Green Bay

Green Bay -4.5

This is the definitely the best of first round games. I’m conflicted here because I am a big NY Giants fan, but predicted that the Packers would go all the way to the Super Bowl. The Giants excellent defense gives them a chance against any team in the league, but they catching a Packers team that is peaking at the right time. Giants WR O’Dell Beckham will be a problem for Green Bay, but I don’t see the G-Men putting up enough points to win this game. I won’t be real disappointed if I’m wrong because that will set-up a very interesting 3rd game vs the Cowboys. The Giants, of course, were the only team to beat the Cowboys during the regular season,

Green Bay 24, New York 17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


George M. Fattell.

The gmf journal is a general subject blog that reflects my thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics that are of interest to me. Current home base is Easton, Pennsylvania, USA. Retweets do not equal an endorsement.

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