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December 30, 2005

We came across a miracle, there was beer in the soda machine
Joey Ramone

Click images for desktop size: "The Eyes Have It" by NFL Best Shots-Mike Singletary
Feeling rough today.
Not able to sleep well.
Its not of any consequence but it reminds me of things.
One of the things is this chart that seems to be ubiquitous now. It's the pain chart. Always yellow and always describing pain in that numeric fashion that they've been training us guys not to use: 1 to 10.
Because the leukemia I have usually strikes children the charts always have a graphical representation of the pain. I dislike that. I dislike being reminded that children are going through this.
They decided to use smiley faces to depict the pain stages with 1 being a pretty typical smiley face like you'd see on those old "Have a nice day" buttons. The expression changes up to 10 wear the eyes have been replaced with X's and the smile is a jagged line. To me it had always reminded me the most of something dead.
Films By John AndYoko-01(1980) 10 is described something like: "The pain is debilitating and constant. It is impossible to sleep or to have any other thoughts."
It's not right that a kid should have to be able to identify something like that.
My distress is not 10 for sure. It's about 7 and manageable. I forgot my pain pills (Motrin) at work. The motrin keeps it at about 5 and that is easy to manage. Everyone has different levels of pain tolerance. I'm lucky that years of football and baseball have taught me that pain is something you can shut out for long stretches. Just lucky.
My arm has healed up well enough that I could play throw the stick with the puppy. She enjoyed that. She actually let me catch the stick twice! Her favorite game is to tease me with the stick and never let me catch it. I think the cunning little dear was afraid I'd get frustrated and stop playing with her.
She's a comfort. I have to take meds three times a day. She keeps a better schedule than I do. When I forget, and I usually do, she'll stop and stare at the pill bottles. I think she resents that I don't share them with her.

No one ever gets my jokes.
Grunge3 1024-1
Click images for desktop size: "Grunge Girl"
I've been enjoying the Football Bowl season immensely. Some of the games have had moments of poetry that are the delight of dreams. I'm anticipating the Rose Bowl and always feel chagrined that everyone is starting to pick Texas to demolish USC!
Lou Holtz, who should have been banned from coaching for life for his disgraceful antics at Notre Dame, makes no secret of his loathing for the Trojans. Holtz won like 4 games in the NFL and 1 National Championship, but only one. His teams had the lowest graduation rate in Div I. When Stanford was whomping them one year someone pointed out that no players on the Notre Dame squad could qualify for admission to Stanford. He's no Joe Paterno.
And this is the final week of the NFL. The playoffs should be a delight.
I can't wait to see The Patriots and Colts rematch, and hope that Teddy Bruschi is able to play.
In the NFC the game I'm hoping for is Chicago and Seattle in the Championship game. That should be wonderful and fascinating.

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December 28, 2005

Iron and Magnets

Hell Is Round The Corner 10 The pain came thundering back today. It hit 10 a few times and wouldn't stamp down to the drugs. Only to trying to ignore it.
I could still laugh and talk to people but it was always around there like young Alex's cop peeking around the corner.

It was my normal day off. It was suggested that I give it up as I had Monday off for Christmas . . . suggested but no one was foolish enough to ask directly.
Day The Earth Stood Still It was a beautiful day here. Near 64 (17c) and cold sun breaking through every window.
I got to talk to the heat pump repair man. That was fun as I learned a lot . . . but not enough to attempt my own heat pump repairs . . . unless an opportunity arose . . .
I played with my puppy. We worked on heel today.
I talked to my neighbor about his job and his dogs. I talked to my landlord, whom I like, about heat pumps and dogs.
The rain started and the temperature dropped. It wasn't welcome even though it more closely reflected my mood.
My mood: Alone in the cellulose cool blue reality, where reaching out requires effort and voices are always muffled if you don't listen.
The New Year is coming. My only resolution is to refuse to die.
And to finish my stories.
And to make a list of the ten best books and movies I've seen and read this year.
I like lists.
I like the way they compartmentalize hopes and dreams.
I like the way people react and identify or look at with deep mystification.
I like lists.
I like reading others and I like making them.
You've been warned.

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December 26, 2005

Slowly I turned

Apline Glow, Summit Lake, Alaska
Click images for desktop size: "Alpine glow, Summit Lake, Alaska"
My Christmas was kind of wonderful.
By tripling my prescription of Motrin I was able to tamp down the pain to an endurable level. Considering the way I feel today it was enough to be considered a Christmas miracle.
My little puppy was a delight. She was fascinated with every package and excited by whatever it contained. She had no favorites and just loved seeing new things. She liked the treats a lot!
I got a few little things for my housemates dog. My puppy played with those too.
My housemate was gone for the weekend and it felt good to have some privacy and to be alone - just the dogs and me. It felt right.
Circusofhorrors X01 (1960) I got asked an odd question: Was my housemate taking good care of me? Odd in that this came from someone who knows him well. He functions at such a low level that I'm glad he can take care of himself. That's not a bum rap, just a fact. He's my friend.
I was more startled to think that I've fallen to a level where someone would think I need taking care of, as opposed to the old days when guys wanted to “take care of” me.
We went to the hospital to play Santa and see my puppy's patients. It was wonderful. The only sad note being that no parents showed up for the kids. It was alright because we did.
The nurses had a Santa hat for my puppy and the kids insisted that she really play Santa and deliver the gifts. My puppy decided that anything in her mouth should only be relinquished after a good chase. After the first 5 minutes of running all over the room all the kids wanted to play. If they got their present in less than 2 minutes it was proof, to them, that my puppy loved them best.
The presents were all charitable donations. No kid was really disappointed but their wish list wasn't much different than any other 9 and unders - iPods, XBoxes, even Barbies. What they got was kindness and no one seemed disappointed or didn't play with their toys. I felt a bit helpless.
My puppy didn't feel helpless and she was fascinated with everything and never stopped playing. The kids delighted in showing her their toys and she was appropriately amazed!
A little six year old girl asked me to marry her. When I demurred she asked my puppy! I hope protocol doesn't demand I pay for the wedding!
After that we went to the orthopedic wards and geriatrics. My puppy was wonderful and I heard a lot of stories about dogs. Most of the stories were pretty wonderful and interesting, but some of them reminded me of that line from “Soldier In The rain,” where Steve McQueen said almost sadly, “Mister, you never had a dog.”
Arc De Triomphe, Paris, France
Click images for desktop size: "Arc De Triomphe, Paris, France"
We came back home and I had a new traditional dinner, a Banquet Frozen Turkey Meal! It reminded me of last Christmas and the way the holiday makes even misery palatable.
I looked at our Christmas trees and got the phone calls and emails from all the people I wanted to hear from.
I decided it was a good Christmas. I saw Chad Johnson's Touchdown celebration on TV, where when he scored he ran to the sideline and pulled out a giant stocking filled with autographed souvenirs that he tossed into the crowd. I thought that was more than a little wonderful.
I hoped for peace for everyone.
I was glad I was alive.
I have to work tomorrow.

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December 24, 2005

She was just 15 an hour before I came to be BJ Thomas

Paul-Saherngreenchristmas 1024
Click images for desktop size: "Green Christmas" by Paul Sahern
Christmas Eve always leaves me space to think about my mother. She was barely 15 when I was born. I never thought about what it was like, back then especially, to be a single mother, to be 19 when she took me to kindergarten. Back then I just thought my mother was the prettiest youngest mom at every event.
The earliest Christmas I remember was when I was 5. I can still vividly recall the excitement.
I got my mom a bag of sponges that I thought were unbelievably cool - they were shaped and packaged like a loaf of multi-colored bread. I got them at the Bargain Circus on La Brea with money I got by taking deposit bottles back to the liquor store.
I got 6 Mad Magazine paperbacks, a regulation baseball and a regulation football.
I thought it was the most opulent Christmas imaginable. I didn't think such wealth existed in the world. I can see how they shaped my future. I played both baseball and football. They put me through college. And I still have an adolescent sense of humor.
Villageofthedamned X01 (1960) I even remember that I got a stocking that had an orange and a toy steel scimitar . . . back then they thought that children should live more dangerously . . . the scimitar was used on this ugly orange and blue hard plastic doll. You used the sword to cut the doll in half. It was an odd sort of magic trick, I guess. I never aspired to be a magician, then or since.
There've been a lot of Christmases since, some of them pretty terrible - I don't dwell on them - some of them pretty great. But that Christmas with just my mother and I is the one I remember as being incredible.
I even remember and not understanding her desperation when she promised me that soon we wouldn't have to live in an apartment with cracks in the ceiling and walls. All I remember of that place was the street we lived on, the palm trees and the potholes we used as bases when we played baseball, oh and an orange and purple lamp shade in my room - it had a drawing of pirates digging up treasure.
This Christmas Eve has been pleasant.
I haven't made any football picks. The death of Colt's Head Coach Tony Dungy's son was incredibly sad. When an 18 year old young man takes his own life a lot of joy leaves the world. I thought that the Colts game should have been canceled despite the expense of season tickets and TV revenue.
Instead of football I went for a walk with the two dogs. My puppy is incredibly excited about Christmas, the lights the smells. It is all so new to her. She's become such a happy dog. I'm proud of her.
Good Ol' Dog is more stoic,until I gave her her Christmas Eve dinner. Her owner doesn't believe in treats. I do and I'm dog sitting.
We went to get some Christmas tamales - I'm from LA, tamales mean holidays to me! The restaurant I found was sold out of tamales but they had Seviche! It was incredible. SInce they were closing they gave me a bowl each of carnitas and carne asada for a Christmas gift for the dogs. They loved that and sang Feliz Navidad all the way home.
Click images for desktop size: "Elf" by Nicole
I have a lot of pain right now. This morning it was near unendurable, to the point of self pity. I had the thought that this wasn't fair to feel like this on Christmas Eve.
That flash of self pity shook me out of that mood fortunately. It also helped having a puppy who said that I would feel much better if I tried to get this hedge hog away from her. It was good medicine. I've stamped the pain down to manageable levels.
I also realized that I will always remember this week leading up to the holidays as the week of the Weepy Women. Fully 8 women talked to me about their lives and broke into tears.
Guys don't cope well with women in tears. It leads us to rather stupid things like the old soft wide punch in the shoulder and mumbling something inane like, “it'll be okay.”
I told a friend about this and how there was a part of me that was jumping up in down happy inside because for one of the few times in my life women were crying at me and it had nothing to do with me . . . I mean they weren't crying because of anything I had done.
She was surprised that I'd say this. I think that any guy would feel that way. I could listen and sympathize but I can't help feeling that it was great that the tears had nothing to do with me!
So, we have a full Christmas ahead tomorrow.
Blessed Is The King Tonight there's a church that celebrates the miracle of the animals and there will be an animal blessing. I'm taking both dogs to get water splashed at them and to marvel at the other pets in the area.
Thanks to friends the puppies will have a marvelous Christmas. Even I have a present to unwrap.
On this day it doesn't feel foolish to wish everyone especially strangers a MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Peace on earth.
I hope that doesn't offend anyone. I celebrate Christmas, never had a problem with wishing anyone glad tidings same way I never had any problems with Jewish friends wishing me a Happy Hanukah.
It seems a trifle of misdirected anger to care about glad wishes from anyone for any reason.

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December 19, 2005

Only with every breath I take
Gene Pitney

May IYesterday there were two games that epitomized what is beautiful about NFL football.
I, normally, have a hard time with pro sports. I enjoy seeing skills and bodies perfected and minds geared towards a single objective but I miss the soul and spirit that drives the sport at the amateur, high school and collegiate level.
Yesterday were two games that gave me hope, not just for sports but for mankind.
While a moron was taking responsibilities for his erroneous action that cost the lives of at least 30,000 people; taking responsibility by saying he had no intention of changing anything and would repeat his duplicitous actions as he was instructed by God. While this lunatic who reminds me more and more of Richard Speck and David Berkowitz was basking in the praise of his fellow sycophant killers Ladanian Tomlinson, Drew Brees and the San Diego Charger defense stepped into a hostile place and they played like a team.
Wasp Woman, The X01 (1959)Even though I don't yet think the Colts are a great team they do have a great offense and a great coach. It took a true honest extraordinary effort to step up and beat them so thoroughly, especially when the rest of the world was worried that the Colts would sit their superstar players down to protect them.
When they took the lead it was thrilling and then it was heart wrenching to see the Colt's inexorable machine come bearing down and come cracking back.
And when it all seemed sort of lost and hopeless a back up player, a guy who never gets the ball breaks free on a belly play and salts the game away with the freak TD!
Then to watch the team celebrate. They were like kids.
Then, later that night, the Bears started to prove that Lovee Smith's defense may indeed be great, at least as great as the Baltimore Raven's Super Bowl Defense. On a bitterly cold night they sent bodies flying, their minds totally concentrated on the task. There were at least 8 plays where the Bears' bodies did things I didn't think were possible. They shut down the number one running game and Michael Vick, the QB some are insisting is the greatest to play the game.
It was beautiful. Watching the steam flow from their nostrils they played with a frightening confidence. There was no doubt from the very start of the game that the Falcons would never see the end zone.

My puppy is growing. She is becoming the dog I've always dreamed of. She's funny, bossy and herself, not to imply she's full of herself but she very often is.

A few people have pointed out that I'm nearing the 100,000 "unique visitors" mark. I have a lot of friends and a lot of people like to look at the pictures and posters I guess. Last week there were over 10,000. I guess it's the holidays and some people, maybe people who aren't always at the front of my mind where they deserve to be, are dropping by to see if I'm still alive and making trouble.
I am.
Cokesanta1Of course most might want to see if I'll ever finish any of my interminable stories . . .
Probably, but don't place money on it.
And when I do it will, no doubt, be long after anybody cares.
I still believe in the same things I always have. I'm too old to change, too stubborn.
All of which means nothing much to me. But it seems to make other people happy and I'm all for that.

One of the very few Christmas gifts I've purchased were the Pooch Cafe books. I think Paul Galligan's comic is the funniest thing since Calvin and Hobbes. Insightful, cruel and with nary a touch of warmth. I adore it all the more so in concentrated form. Yes, I read a Christmas gift before sending it away . . .
that said, Poncho, in Pooch Cafe, is not nearly as funny as my puppy!

NagoyastoreWhat's not so funny is my health. It's not terrible but it's not good. It's a war. I find I keep my good humor. I don't know why. Guess a part of me thinks it's funny that this is happening, or maybe it's funny I feel so bad but keep on working.
I've been invited to a few Christmas parties. I don't want to go. I find that having a bathroom very nearby is conducive to me feeling at ease. And I'm not on the prowl and the people I see at parties are the same I can se every day. I don't drink so it's not like I'm going to say something I've been holding back (not that I hold much back . . .) So I'd rather stay at home, watch movies and play with my puppy. Duller than you'd ever thought I'd be but so what.

This is rambly. I wanted to say something, write something, but I keep nibbling at the edges.

I like Christmas. I like the New Years. I like all the 10 best lists.

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December 18, 2005

The photographer behind the window pane

Animexmas-1 I've not been unhappy. I've not been under any "unnecessary" stress.
I realized this week I'm numbing myself. It was nasty and vile - freezing rain and sleet and I had to go to work. A lot of my work is outside. I set my mindset to deal with the weather and surprisingly I discovered just have physically ill I'd become.
Radiation treatment isn't supposed to make you sick! Is it? I don't know.
I realized, in bed this morning is that less is less is meaning anything to me. My dog and my friends and my special friend but it takes effort to keep that in place. I've been here before and it's a constant war. Total apathy is a disease.
Man From Planet X, The X01 (Insert)(1951) I think no one should worry about me until I stop showing an interest in football and baseball!
Last week i was 11-4 (15-0 against the spread) and in the contest I'm in that was good enough to finish 492nd!! . . .
It knocks me down to 150th for the season . . . I'm not sure that 3 weeks is enough time to fight up to second and with the fancy expresso machine!
Still - I persevere.
Home teams are listed first and my picks are in bold.

Houston v Arizona Cruddy game of the week. Would be cruddy game of the year except San Francisco and Houston meet next week!

New Orleans v Carolina The Panthers are not Super Bowl Contenders but they still have enough talent to demolish the demoralized Saints and a back up QB. Hey, I LIKE AARON BROOKS!

Miami v New York Jets Candidate for cruddy game of the week. But I like the Jets, I like their heart. But I picked the Dolphins cause they stink less.

St Louis v Philadelphia How odd that this has more cruddy game connotations than it should.

Minnesota v Pittsburgh Brad Johnson has singlehandedly stabilized the Vikings but Mike Tice is a cruddy coach, worse in the league after Denny Greene. I'll stick with Cowher in a must win game for both teams.

Indianapolis v San Diego I don't think the Colts are indestructible. They have plenty of holes that makes them look better in the diminished talent pool. San Diego and Tomlinson could exploit the main weakness (Line Backers) and they have the D to rattle Manning's cage in a must win for them. But you can't pick against an undefeated team especially with the nasty scheduling the Chargers have had to deal with.

Tennessee v Seattle Poor Steve McNair. Shaun Alexander is finally getting some national attention. An uninteresting game except to partisans.

Jacksonville v San Francisco Most interesting to see what crazy Smith does with the football. The 49ers might take Linehart with their number 1!

Detroit v Cincinnati Juron had his mercy week and his team didn't respond. Carson Palmer and the Bengals are loose and having fun. That makes them very dangerous.

Oakland v Cleveland One of those games to avoid. These are two bad unpredictible teams. Go with Cleveland as being more relaxed.
Star Washington v Dallas An interesting game. I'm going with the declining Redskins even after watching Bledsoe try and keep the mediocre Cowboys in contention.

Chicago v Atlanta The game of the week and it's national on ESPN. I like the Bears to bust it up and win or lose you figure the score will be 12-6. I'm guessing that the Bears will get the 12 but it could go either way. Lots of fun!

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December 14, 2005

I'm a cool rockin' daddy in the USA
Bruce Springsteen

Santa Napping
Click images for desktop size: "Santa Napping" by Unknown
Yesterday I got a haircut.
On impulse I canceled my hair dresser appointment and went to an old fashioned Red & White stripped barber shop.
It was cool, $7 bucks and it's a terrible haircut but it was a great macho guy experience.
The barber chair made me sit in a way that was really causing my arm to hurt and go numb. The barber suggested a two buck massage with one of those wild plug in the wall strap it on your hand old time things. It made the pain recede.
It made me feel so good I treated myself to a three buck shave - hot lather and a straight razor.
Colossusofnewyork,The X01 (1958)Nothing makes you feel cleaner than a hot lather straight razor shave. It's one of the reasons men, as a generality, have better skin then women - exfoliation.
I might not look great but I felt great.
Which set me up for today.
Today was not as bad as the monster hanging out in the back of my brain.
I had radiation treatment.
I got in trouble there, at the hospital. I always feel like a jerk wearing those paper backless robes they give you. And you're lying there on a sheet of white butcher paper stretched over a foam and naugahyde couch with a million bucks worth of electronics staring into your face. And the doctors and nurse are either real patronizing or tend to treat you like an object and who can blame them when they're experience with you is going to consist of their causing you intense pain and then maybe you dying on them so who want to get friendly right, I mean who wants to look at some goof in a paper backless robe like he was a human being, right?
But part of the side effect of this is that they also don't ever pay much attention to you while they're getting ready.
The getting ready part is tripped out too. I mean, I'm laying there with enough paper robe to keep a mere shred of dignity UNDERNEATH the machine and they're putting on these heavy yellow lead vests! And standing behind 5 inches of lead glass!
So I got off the couch and went behind the glass and watched them get ready.
problem was none of the three noticed I had moved until they were ready to fire off the radiation guns . . . so I got lecture. It was worth it and I got to see all the buttons.
I thought it should have looked more complicated; at least as busy as a 24 track studio . . .
Then I had to suck it up and take my puppy to her Therapy Dog indoctrination.
Han Wang-Elizabeth-El
Click images for desktop size: "Elizabeth" by Han Wan
She was kind of terrible. She had to say hello to everyone  . . . often . . . and at inappropriate moments . . . and often by shoving her pointy nose in there butts . . . and I was proud of her . . .
We'll go to the children's ward each Wednesday and we'll be at the Christmas Party on Christmas Day.
I'm pleased about that. this is a County Hospital and the kids don't seem to have family to come visit them. They have some gifts for them but a crazy joke telling puppy will probably be the highlight of their day . . . mine too.
I have to go to work tomorrow and I'm drained. I'll make it though and probably stay in good humor.

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December 12, 2005


ChillI bought a Christmas Wreath today. I can't afford a tree and the trimmings but I wanted something to put up for people to see so they'd know that I cared; that I was grateful; that I was happy.
I think my puppy would like a tree to look at, to fret over and, eventually to destroy. Vet bills and doctor bills stop that. It saddens me but not very much. My puppy makes me laugh too hard to be sad about things like that.
I approach Christmas pretty much the same way all adults do, with lowered expectations and higher hopes. I have always wondered where peace is.
Last year I spent Christmas alone in the desert. I had a 79 cent Banquet turkey dinner for a Christmas feast.. I was stressed but I was not unhappy.
A few days later a dog would find me.
Its A Wonderfull Life(Lc)7XksWhere I work now, I work alone. That means i can bring my puppy to work with me most days. The two of us like that. I got a little Santa Claus Ornament (bisque, made in China) to hang on the door. When I showed it to my puppy she wanted to eat it. It made me wish I could figure out a way for us to get a small tree. We'll see, but it seems like a foolish excess, but maybe on Christmas Eve we can be out wandering and find a miracle.
I'm recovering from the cold. I'm not looking forward to the doctors on Wednesday, but I am looking forward to my puppy continuing to be a therapy dog in the children's ward of the county hospital. It makes us both feel pretty good but for completely different reasons. My puppy gets to run around and be an absolute maniac. I get to see her grow more comfortable in herself and I get to see a few kids not feel lonely. I think that's an "we all win" situation.

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December 11, 2005

Reggie Bush Wins the Heismann
Richard Pryor Dead at 65

Dj White Boot Tangle(Xmas) Yesterday was goony. But my puppy was consistently great!
My job is terrible. I have to keep remembering that my wages always show up and as agreed. For Christmas I get no christmas bonus and only the legal minimum of days off. And I'm sure the email asking why is employee moral so low . . .

I'm saddened that Richard Pryor died. I never worked with or even for him but I was a kid and always thought he was funny. Later I liked him in the clubs, then I liked his movies. People who can make you laugh are rare.

As the college season is nearing an end my love of football wanes. I like what Grambling is doing in IAA. Even Div III has more than potent interest with two of my kids advancing as coaches. As a spectator I like the daily IA games and look forward to some great bowl games.
Brain Eaters, The X01 (1958)The NFL is business as usual. Lots of interest but none of the passion and emotion.
This is not just an excuse for why my NFL picks are so poor! Actually they were pretty good last week but I still finished 154th!! This has dragged me down 8 spots to 143.
This is this weeks picks. Home team listed first and my pick in bold.

Pittsburgh v Chicago My game of the week. Two smash mouth teams playing nothing but defense! Going with the Bears to stop the run and further dismantle Big Ben.

Cincinnati v Cleveland Carson and Chad. All those overweight guys who never played the game can knock Chad Johnson all they want. He takes the heat for the team, he distracts opponents with his antics and he works harder than any wide receiver since Jerry Rice.

Tennessee v Houston Cruddy game of the week.

Jacksonville v Indianapolis Del Rio's D will knock Payton silly but he doesn't have the tools to score against the Colt D. Never bet against an undefeated in December!

Buffalo v New England As great as it is to see new teams rise up and play proud it saddens me to see the old boys who played with their hearts fall to age and injury.

New York Jets v Oakland Raiders start a project (a failing project) at QB. The Jets deserve to win this.

Minnesota v St Louis I can't believe I'm picking the Vikes. Martz has been destructive off the field and Brad Johnson makes you wonder what's wrong in the NFL that he was unsigned.
Dc House Ad Huntress Carolina v Tampa Bay I'm taking the panthers but not by much.

Philadelphia v New York Giants I don't like the Giants on the road but the arrogant move by the front office regarding TO has left this team a total shambles.

Seattle v San Francisco The Niners made their last game closer than it should have been. Bad move as the sea Hawks will be out to totally dominant.

Arizona v Washington Somehow this game feels like a cruddy game of the week contender.

Denver v Baltimore With no Ray Lewis this game feels like a desperate reach for the ravens. This could be a scary blow out.

Dallas v Kansas City With something on the line I'll take Vermeil over Parcells almost always. And I love watching my kid run for the Chiefs!

San Diego v Miami Tomlinson could break even more records today.

Green Bay v Detroit Cruddy game contender. It's doesn't win because Brett Favre is still playing like he can win these games on his own.

Its A Wonderfull Life(Lc)3Xks

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December 10, 2005

I was just thinking about a girl

PuppyI have to eat cereal everyday. I don't remember exactly how much. I got the measurement and then figured it out in a bowl and just use the same bowl daily.
In my box of Cheerios there was a free book. I used to like free stuff in cereal. I remember getting a set of navy frogmen that you filled with Baking Soda and they would bobble up and down in the pool, and then a submarine with a balloon inside that you pumped up to make it surface.
As an adult I think books are better but I know I got a lot of pleasure out of the cheap plastic stuff and probably learned some elementary physics as well.
This book was called "No Dogs Allowed" and was written by the woman who plays Maria on Sesame Street; a woman I probably still secretly lust after.
Astounding She-Monster X01 (1957)I was hoping that the book would be an indictment of the nastiness of making dogs something less than animal in the US. It bypassed that issue and seemed to advocate, well, scoff law; ignore the stupid rules and have fun anyway.
I am determined to finish the story of my "big" student film. The drama of whether or not I will succeed is probably bigger than the drama in the story.

Billy, tortured and bleeding is sitting unconscious atop his horse when he encounters a strange French brother and sister. They look at the beaten kid with the mildest of curiosities and calmly see him fall to the ground.
They pick him up, tend to him. Billy hasn't ever known or expected kindness so he reacts boorishly.
As they ride along together, Anton, the brother, playing his harpsichord and Colette, the sister, sunning herself; Anton explains that they are Heugonaughts come to America to be left alone. Anton is open about it but Billy doesn't grasp that Anton is gay and his sister is a prostitute.
They drift. Billy mends. Billy is in awe of meeting people who talk to him. They drift, until in the middle of the desert they see a boom town of tents and scaffolding. They drift in and set to work. Anton plays piano at the big saloon and Colette turns tricks.
Billy doesn't have a "career" so he does all the house work and chores. Billy is overjoyed. He has friends, he has something of a life. He's not chasing or killing. He's happy.
Until Sunday. (There has to be an until in all stories like this).
Shirow - 002Anton and Colette are going to church. Anton explains that in their line of work it is important that at least once a week they be repentant. It makes the solid citizens feel more comfortable. Anton and Colette that having a man with them who looks good with a gun, as Billy does, never hurts. Solid citizens can get violent.
Billy has never been to church before. This church is just the framing, a floor and a roof. the people sit on barrel and plank benches in their finest clothes. Of course the townsfolk all turn and stare at our trio. the sheriff shows particular interest in Billy, actually to Billy's guns and how he wears them like they were the most important part of his clothing.
The preacher starts the service. he is a die hard testifying crowd pleaser, exhorting people to cast out the devil to cast out sin.
Billy listens confused. As he stares at the preacher his confusion turns to agitation.
And that's when the drama begins.

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December 9, 2005

Why should it be easier to doubt than to believe

Heather Wishes For Medded out and sleeping too much.
I forgot to take my medication yesterday and then wasted some waking time trying to figure out a way to adjust my body osmosis to balance everything out to the proper dosage . . . which makes even less sense when you type it out.
Did a full day at work. Waiting for bad weather and used the last remnants of dryness to bring home and put up my new bed.
The new bed is small but it gives more room in my room. It feels comfortable but my puppy and I spent part of our dopey awake time fighting over who got which section.
With all the medical expense I don't think I'll be able to afford anything Christmas-y.
What could be more Christmas-y than that?
Feeling a little edgy. This is the eve of the anniversary of the worst day of my life.
It still resonates.

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December 7, 2005

Just sick and tired . . . not sick and tired!

Elegantsanta 12 Wasted day.
Fighting a cold my housemate gave me. Last time I got a cold I was in hospital for 4 days. No immune system.
Just another real reason my puppy and I should live alone.
Accomplished nothing but sleep and feeling bad. My usual list of complaints and add fever, congestion and coughing to it.
Oh, well . . .
Watched "Meet John Doe". I like it more than Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life", "The Honeymooner's Christmas Show", or even "The Bishop's Wife", this is my fave Christmas movie. It's pretty dark but Barbra Stanwyck is glowing, Gary Cooper is incredibly believable. Any movie that has Regis Toomey making you misty eyed with sincerity is special.
It's a pretty dark movie and, sadly, the message and warnings are more important and relevant than ever before.
I guess the message of that is that humanity sucks but we know it and don't want it to.

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December 6, 2005

The story rolls on . . .

Click images for desktop size: Untitled" by Wayshak
I had to buy so many drugs that I decided to figure which prescriptions were the most important (budget, like I have only this much money).
The one I passed on was the Penicillin for a “low level general” infection.
I'm supposed to start the radiation treatments tomorrow and the first thing they have to do is make sure that I've cleared the infection . . . I told them I didn't take the penicillin because I couldn't afford it and . . . instead of saying get the pills and come in next week I have to get up at 4:30 and go in and be tested and possibly sent home to come back next week etc etc.
I feel like I'm being punished! I'd love to blame someone but, as usual, there's only me . . .

Scarlet DivaSomeone tried to remonstrate me by saying that if I spent more of the money on myself instead of my dog . . . that's not an argument to me. The puppy can't complain, she can only suffer. She can't say she's hungry or bored she can only be stoic. So she gets everything she needs and there's no further discussion.
Other than that having to get up early on my day off, I'm feeling fine. The pain is more endurable.

The end of the story . . . I hope. (For the 2 people who seem to care):

Billy is captured by a gang of outlaws, who torture him for no other reason then sadistic boredom.
He escapes because the blood has made his hands slippery enough to slip the ropes. In a mad dramatic dash he gets to his guns and manages to kill all the members of the gang.
The pain and the weight of six killings numbs him to reality. He gets on his horse and passes out riding into the dawn.
The horse stumbles around into scrub desert. It's a good animal and keeps Billy balanced unconscious in the saddle.
Very gently we hear the sound of a harpsichord playing Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. It grows louder and the horse starts a delicate trot to the sound.
If Billy could see he would think he was hallucinating: There is a driver less buckboard pulled by a determined roan Perchon Horse. On the buckboard is a harpsichord played being played by Anton. On top of the harpsichord is a beautiful woman, Colette - Anton's sister. She has fiery red hair and is nude except for a light wrapping of red gauze which streams 12 feet into the air around her.
1929 Ford Woody
Click images for desktop size: 1929 Ford Woodie
The apparition drifts across the yellow hills in the rosy pink dawn until the Perchon and Billy's horse meet and nuzzle. Anton finishes the piece of music while Colette unabashedly stares at Billy. In light he he not a tragic figure nor pathetic but he is appalling, coated with blood and wounds.
(The girl, Lynn, who played the part was stark raving beautiful gorgeous - she was also a horrible actress, jaw droppingly bad. So bad it was decided that she would only speak French . . . she didn't speak French, none of us did, so we had her speak gobbeldy gook with a French accent. Two odd things: We didn't have subtitles - but no one ever seemed to notice she was talking gibberish. And while she couldn't say anything in English convincingly her nonsense and not worrying about it seemed to work and she won two awards for acting!! Proof of both the Bressonian method and Dziga Vertov!)
Colette looks at Billy and asks a question. Anton looks over the harpsichord and says, “No, I don't think he is dead.”

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December 4, 2005

USC 66 UCLA 19

Atow013 Moschino
Click images for desktop size: "Love" by Moschino
I'm proud of this years Men of Troy, not just for the record, which they can be proud of, but for the way 18 to 22 year old men handled instant fame in the town that is fueled by celebrity.
Matt Linhart struggled to be an athlete, then last year he was at the top of the world and a sure number one pick. He walked away from 56 million dollars so that he could have fun, be with his team and maybe make history.
He's had an emotional ride, none deeper then this, his last game, his last chance to shine at home. When he walked off the field yesterday, I got misty. Seeing him hold a rose and do nothing but praise his teammates was more than wondrous.
University of Southern California . . .
Watching Reggie Bush wearing his area code on his face, pointing to his parents, playing at a level that we didn't imagine existed 4 years ago, and then to see him laughing, celebrating, leading the band with a rose while the celebrity laden crowd of fans chants Reggie-Reggie-Reggie. Then to hear him speak after with full sincerity of the love he has for his teammates.
Creature With The Atom Brain X01 (1955)USC Conquest!

My health is stumbling along. The pills make me sleep way too much and make me sleep erratically. Not that big a deal, really. Sometimes I wish I could cope with pain killers. I can't but I can deal with the pain okay.

Yesterday two of my “kids” actually got to coach against each other in Div III football. One lost and the other won . . . I hope they remember that they are teammates in more than just a Quarterfinal game. Another group of my kids managed to get an invite to the GMAC Bowl! Against an oppenent they have a good fair chance against.
See, this game is a large part of my life and the undercurrent that puts life's meaning in sharp relief.

And now the NFL . . .
My picks this week are even more idiosyncratic than usual . . . which means please don't bet on these picks.
I'm still angling for that second prize!
Home teams listed first with my pick in bold.

Carolina v Atlanta I'm not strong on this pick. Both teams are looking vulnerable, but Carolina has become incredibly one dimensional since playing the Bears.

Miami v Buffalo A contender for cruddy game of the week. Saban has not been a messiah, Ricky Williams has not played to his ability but Buffalo's coaching staff and front office seemed committed to failure. I'll take JP Losman.

Pittsburgh v Cincinnati The game of the week, loads of psyche and loads of commitment. I go with Carson and Chad.

New York Giants v Dallas Everyone knows I think that Denny Green is the worst coach in football, even worse than Mike Tice! Up in that group is Bill Parcells. I know he wins but always ugly and with no excitement or heart. He's the new George Allen, but at least Allen would bleed with and love his players. Giants' D does it all today.

Lawnelf Shelovedcallas
Click images for desktop size: "She Loved Callas" by LawnElf
Chicago v Green Bay Bret why didn't you leave last year. It saddens me to see a great player wither. This is nearly as heartbreaking as when Ernie Banks hung on that one season too many. To see superlatives reduced to mortality is not a good thing. it prooves nothing. It's why you can cherish the memory of Sandy Koufax.
Baltimore v Houston Oddly I think that the Texans could fire it up for this one but common sense says the Ravens. I hate common sense, it crushes dreams.

Cleveland v Jacksonville My pick is based here on the hope that Jack Del Rio can fire up and inspire his team to overcome the loss of their leader.

Detroit v Minnesota I know the Vikings are hot behind Brad but a team with an admired coach fired in mid season comes out deadly and angry.

New Orleans v Tampa Bay Brutal defense and their season is on the line - I look for the Buc's D to inspire the win.

Indianapolis v Tennessee As sad as the case is of Brett Favre Steve “Air”McNair, one of my all time fave players is being done a serious injustice by his front office.

Delinquent Parents (Hs) X01San Francisco v Arizona The ultimate cruddy game. AZ has talent but I look for the Denny factor.

St Louis v Washington The Redskins in an interesting trial for both teams.

Kansas City v Denver If the Broncos win here I'm a believer. Larry Johnson though still has my admiration (even if I think his little brother is more talented and his little sister the better athlete.)

New England v New York Jets Marv has my utmost respect as a superior coach. That he gets the Jets to show up and play so hard is laudable. But not in Foxboro in December. I'd love a Jets win but that damn common sense again.

San Diego v Oakland Tomilson, Brees and Gates OH MY!!

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December 2, 2005


Red As The Sin
Click images for desktop size: "Red As The Sin" by Janet Janesko
I watched a Spanish film in the middle of last night: Thesis (Tesis).
In the past six years or so, when this became important I guess, I've been told I lack a feminine side. I've never figured out what they meant which was usually taken as proof!
I do know that this film, Thesis, was one of the few films that had me involved in the plight of a heroine. Thesis was made by the guy, Alejandro Amenabar,  who later made, “Open Your Eyes”, which Tom Cruise optioned and virtually destroyed in his revolting “Vanilla Skies”. (Except I really liked Cameron Diaz in this one.)
Thesis is about a young woman who sublimates her own slightly perverted sexuality in her school work; she's writing a thesis on audio-visual violence.  this sets up the plot which moves the entertainment along.
In her research her thesis director dies watching a film. Angela (played by a highly attractive Ana Torrent who I recalled with a jolt as the only good thing in “Spirit Of The Beehive” as a child actress) discovers the dead man and steals the video tape he'd been watching.
Creaturewalksamongus X01 (1956)She's afraid to watch the tape, afraid of what could be on it that would kill a man. She turns off the picture and makes a cassette of the soundtrack. The soundtrack is of a woman screaming and pleading for her life.
She enlists the aid of the University bad boy, Chema. (they have a cute meet - in the cafeteria; when he looks at her we hear his walkman playing speed metal; when she looks at him we hear her music so vapid light classical piece).
The tape is of a snuff film. More disturbing is that they both recognize the girl being murdered and dismembered. It's a student who vanished 2 years ago.
It is through these machinations that the real beauty of the story is allowed to unfold. What film is worth anything unless it is about love and understanding it.
Chema and Angela investigate the killing. Chema because Angela is gorgeous and Angela because she is reluctantly turned on by the violence.
Angela is falling in love with a gorgeous student who Chema insists is the killer. Angela puts this off to Chema's jealousy but also believes him. She has dark sexual fantasies of the good looking student who is clearly stalking her.
As they live with life and the threat of the murders she begins to mistrust everyone around her, always with cause. She's falling in love and living in terror. One point being that isn't love a terrible and horrifying thing in and of itself?
There are so many wonderful moments of beauty in this film. Surprisingly there is very little blood and very little violence shown which somehow makes it creepier. The tech work is very good, approaching Hollywood and just below Japanese status.
This is a film to seek out and to see. Not quite a film to love and it's odd conclusion of valuing friendship over love is a bit heart rendering, but it is still a thing of beauty.

Redskins BroncosWhich brings us to the conclusion of my little film:
Billy, the 16 year old gunfighter, in pursuit of his parent killers.
Billy enjoys his first night out alone and unshackled. He talks to his horse and makes coffee, staying up all night counting stars.
The next day, as things must in this sort of film, he runs by happenstance into the first of the killers: A vicious thug.
They meet in a cave that acts as a bar - a plank over two wooden barrels that has two bottles of whiskey (cheap set design). Billy lets him draw first and with blinding speed puts two bullets into the violent thugs heart.
Problem is that Billy doesn't react like a gunfighter but like a human being. He looks at the dead man, whitens and vomits.
Billy's a gunfighter supreme but he's no killer, not even for a thrill. He wanders the west confused as a 16 year old with a lifelong quest he doesn't want to fulfill.
In a torrential rainstorm. (It just happened) Billy rides into a small town and happily watches a bank robbery. Until one of the riders bandanas are torn off and Billy recognizes killer number 2.
Billy vaults his horse and rides off in pursuit. This is a loathsome vicious group. They sit around the camp fire complaining about their lot in life while knife fighting with each other to keep off the boredom.
Billy steps into the camp fire light, guns drawn. He has no interest in the bank robbers just the man who killed his parents. His plan is to release the robbers but to take the killer in to stand trial . . .
Deadly Mantis, The X04 (Insert)(1957)A gang member who went to the outdoor toilet sneaks up and conks Billy on the head. The gang tortures him with fire and knife throwing.
And on that I have to end tonight. What will happen to Billy? Why should anyone care.
My puppy has been a sheer pleasure for two whole days! She always is but she's becoming something special.
Last night I dreamed. I seldom do, as to in memory. I dreamt I was coaching a high school team in Kansas. They wanted us to play in a cornfield that was on a misshapen yellow hill. On the field, at the 50 yard line was a small barn.
I figured this would give us homefield advantage.
I pretend to see nothing significant in that.

The pain is the same. I get paid on Monday and them I can afford to get the penicillin for the general infection.

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December 1, 2005

I go boop bip bip boop bip bip, yeahArthur Lee

Click images for desktop size: "Poor Butterfly" by Design 555
Sore and more tired than I was ready for. Managed to get through a busy day at work.
Mainly because I have a puppy who never ceases to amuse and often amazes.
My puppy makes me happy.
The tests work over left my body more tired and taut. They did nothing to relieve the previous pain or discomfort. I live on ibuprofren. I still won't take narcotic pain killers. They would take too much away of me.
I have to go back on my promise. I'm so twitchy and feeling blind I couldn't tell the story well. Unless you tell it well people might miss what makes things remarkable.
Sometimes I can't be as strong as people want me to be.

I am pleased that Matt Linehart won the Johnny Unitas Award as the nation's best Quarter Back. He's a good kid who struggled hard before he earned greatness.
He's kind to children and dogs and is going to be the sort of man we all dreamed we were.
I want them to beat UCLA and win the 3rd National Title.
Wouldn't that be something to see?

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