It’s Never Easy

The Browns won an ugly game today.  As victories go, it was about as repulsive as you can get — but it was a win nevertheless.

After three games, the Browns are 2-1, and will be, at worst, tied for first in their division.  They won today because their defense played a good game against a pretty mediocre team and their offense — which was wretched for most of the game — cobbled together a good last-second drive for a touchdown.  The drive gave the Browns a 17-16 lead, and the defense forced a Miami turnover to seal the win.

We shouldn’t kid ourselves about this Browns team.  The offense clearly is searching for itself, and the defense hasn’t faced any offensive juggernauts.  Still, Colt McCoy’s performance on the two-minute drill was encouraging and may help to kick start this offense into a good rhythm.  And a more productive offense would be a help for the defense, too.  The Browns appear to have some defensive playmakers, and letting them take a gamble now and then might make them into a more effective unit.

I’ll take the win, of course — but with the Browns it’s never easy.

Spontaneous Human Combustion

A coroner in Ireland ruled last week that a man who died at his home last December was the victim of spontaneous human combustion.  The man’s body was totally consumed by fire, with damage to the floor below him and the ceiling above him, but no other injury to the room or its furnishings.  The baffled coroner was skeptical of the concept of spontaneous human combustion but could find no other explanation for the victim’s death.

Spontaneous human combustion has been hotly debated (pun intended) for centuries.  The argument about the real cause of death arises when, as occasionally occurs, a person’s body is found consumed by flames, with no apparent source of ignition and no damage to the surroundings.  In some cases, the body is reduced to ashes — which requires temperature of thousands of degrees — yet an appendage, like a hand or foot, is left bizarrely untouched.  And although scientists are skeptical, and insist that there must be some external source of ignition, the case in Ireland is one of many documented cases of human death by burning where there is no apparent cause.

Some believe that cases of spontaneous human combustion are supernatural in origin.  Scientists who accept the concept of spontaneous human combustion, however, have developed different theories to explain such incidents.  Some believe that the cause may be the build-up of methane in the intestines that is ignited by enzymes; others theorize that the cause is static electricity or geomagnetic forces.  In any event, the fat deposits in the body constitute a flammable substance that acts like the wax on a candle.  Once ignited, the melted fat soaks into the clothing and other body parts and keeps the body burning until it is consumed.

Yikes!  As if we needed any more incentive to shed that unsightly — and flammable — excess body fat!

Trying To Establish A Home Field Advantage

Today the Cleveland Browns play the Miami Dolphins in Cleveland Browns Stadium.  The Browns are trying to get to 2-1 and a record above .500 for the first time in a very long time.  Equally important, the Browns are trying to win at home and establish the kind of home field advantage that other NFL teams routinely enjoy.

Since their return to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have been awful at home.  In the 1999 season, they went 0-8 at Cleveland Browns Stadium, and that has set the tone.  Overall, the Browns have been 34-63 at home, a record that includes this year’s initial loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.  The Browns have had exactly one season where they had a winning record at home: in 2007 they were 7-1 at Cleveland Browns Stadium.  Otherwise, the record is one of pathetic futility and the dashed hopes of countless Browns fans.

This should not be the case.  The Browns have among the most rabid fans in the NFL.  The Dawg Pound is a legendary collection of face-painting, costume-wearing screamers and brawlers who can make a lot of noise and hurl a lot of verbal invective and intimidation at opposing players.  It’s time for the Browns and their fans to make Cleveland Browns Stadium one of the toughest venues in the NFL — one that opposing players and coaches dread to visit and are happy to leave.

Today’s game against the Dolphins, who are 0-2, would be a good place to start.