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October 29, 2006

USC 31 Oregon State 33

Click images for desktop size: "Colorful Variants"
Yesterday was not a very good day.
Aside from the above score my high school game was canceled Friday night because of the storms.

I told the fellow who was really annoying, rude and bullying me that he was doing this and, because of fear of poverty, I left it open as to being my housemate. It was really dead in the water then. I wanted it to be. He called me and said, “You scared me! I don't want to live with you!” I said, “Good idea. Don't change your mind and don't come around me.”
I hope I don't end up regretting my small pride and protection of my puppy and my sanity too much.
A couple of people have come over and a couple more may. We'll see what happens.
Poster - Door To Door Maniac A job I was really keen on, that would have obliterated the need for a house mate emailed me to say that I didn't need to come in for the interview. They'd gone with someone they'd met earlier . . .
And . . . I guess that's it . . . Its not that bad when you line it up like that. Except for USC losing of course and the kids having to play on Monday and then finish the season on Friday.

Before I get my picks up, you know I won an iRobot Roomba: a robot vacuum cleaner. I was just pleased to win something with all my thought about football, made it seem productive instead of mere time filling. I was just going to give it to my friend but things happen. ANyway, the Roomba is no indispensable! It cleans wonderfully, doesn't annoy the pup very much and is fascinating to the geek in me. I want the Pet one now! Since I won this one I've seen them advertised all over the place. It is a very cool practical thing.

Last week I repeated my mediocre 8-5 in guessing. I fell to 47th in the country (Big Screen TV prize). So I'm rushing to get this posted before kick off. My picks are in bold.
Arizona at Green Bay - If not for Matt Linehart and Brett Favre this would be the runaway cruddy game of the week. Denny Green remains the leaden weight on the Cardinals. I'm choosing them over the Packers more on whim. The Packers are playing better, but are banged up.

Atlanta at Cincinnati - With John Abrams out the very good Falcons' D takes a big hit. They'll run more because they really don't have the tools to attack the ball hawking Bengals' secondary. Carson Palmer is still looking derailed since the Steelers game but should be able to handle a softer pass rush and get the needed points.

Baltimore at New Orleans - The Saints remain an team of inspiration and destiny. They are playing more as a team than anyone else in the NFL. I like the Ravens with McNair back and Fassel out but nobody messes with destiny, at least not yet in the new SuperDome.
Ed Allen-Shiver
Click images for desktop size: "Shiver" by Ed Allen

Houston at Tennessee - Cruddy game of the week and contender for cruddy game of the season. Taking the Titans nee' Houston Oilers because well . . .

Jacksonville at Philadelphia - What happened to the Jaguars? This is the time in the season where everyone is beaten up. The Eagles are healthier and desperate for a win. The Jaguars just look desperate.

Seattle at Kansas City - Last week The Chiefs played inspired football while the Seahawks got gutted. Worse, after the game they LOOKED gutted.

San Francisco at Chicago - The Bears will be at their most dangerous. After the bizarre debacle in Arizona they have a lot to prove to themselves. San Francisco isn't as cruddy as last year . . . about all you can say about them.

Tampa Bay at New York Giants - The Bucs get a record field goal and win. Miracles aren't destiny. They are still a cruddy team. The Giants are erratic but settling down and winning.
Creature From The Haunted Sea-1024 St Louis at San Diego - A more interesting game than it seems at first. Both teams have identical records. Taking the Chargers at home. this is my runner up game of the week!

Indianapolis at Denver - My game at the week. When Vegas odds makers figure the point spread on games one of the formulas is that home field is worth 3 points. A team that is dominant at home gets 3 1/2 points. The Broncos routinely get 6 points . . . Mile High is a rough place to play. Many of the Elway's brilliant 4th qtr comebacks happened because defenses were gasping for air and nauseous from the altitude. I expect the first half of this game to be the best then it will disintegrate in the 2nd.

New York Jets at Cleveland - Jets win against an improving Browns team.
Hefengiyi Orchid
Click images for desktop size: "Orchid" by He Fengi Yi
Pittsburgh at Oakland - Cowher will probably go with Rothlisberger but Batch has been the superior QB this season. Oakland has, well they. they may . . . they will wear their black shirts and silver helmets. That is a very cool uniform . . .

Dallas at Carolina - This is my “Who Cares” game of the week. Is anyone else willing to admit that Parcells is not a genius? Tony Romo?

New England at Minnesota - I'm picking the Patriots despite how well the Vikings are playing and improving. I like the Patriots for one reason, Tom Brady is the QB. On the Vikings side Brad Johnson is not Tom Brady.

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October 26, 2006

The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang
Mike Leiber

Click images for desktop size: "Down And Out" by Any Mouse
Confusing set of times. Much happens and all it does is remind me of the past. I went to the doctor yesterday. Maybe a bit more aggravating than expected. I have four new pills to take . . . one of them is just penicillin but it adds to the number; its legitimate and makes me seem less of a whiney baby.
One is to lower my blood pressure . . . since it is only 120-60 that seemed extreme. The explanation is that I'll live longer. That is a hard argument to rebut.
One is to lower by blood sugars to hypoglycemic levels . . . that's to keep me from really going blind.
Lower blood pressure and lower than average blood sugars . . . I predict a lot of falling down in my future.
The last is an additional pain pill that shouldn't have the narcotic effect of the ones I refuse to take.
They took 500 ML of blood for testing and gave me a flu shot with the usual caveats warning me of the danger of me contracting any diseases.
With all that I was pretty loopy yesterday evening.

Poster - Doctor Blood's CoffinNo word from my potential house mate . . . since we had a tentative appointment to swap checks for keys last night its cause for concern. Not great concern. My puppy and I are very very happy in our little empty house with the big yard.
I'm realizing that a major part of the problem is that people are looking for housemates to save money, but what I'm asking for, while a very good deal, is still out of their comfort zone. They see the place and think of how nice things would be and then they get home and calculate and try and stretch the dollar and . . .
Maybe I'll hear from the guy, maybe not. running an ad again in any event, and will do so until someone gives me a check and it has cleared the bank.
Did hear from him and it was unsettling. I feel I'm being bullied. I don't bully well. This time I may have told him forget it, but he probably doesn't understand things unless you yell at him. If he can't treat me like a human being how is he going to treat my dog as she deserves?

Todays practice was odd. Some of the kids looked discouraged beyond the facts. We play our last home game tomorrow and whatever happens this should be a great time to revel in memories. Talked to my guys and removed the doubts in their minds. They're aggressive kids - sometimes I think I breed aggressive children - they should get the message through to some of their more negative teammates, remind them we are a team and that there is a place for this frustration.
The genesis for all this was a silly newspaper story where some woman was making a case that her sun in the band worked harder than the team!!!!!
I'm not making this up - she claimed that he had gotten chapped lips and sunburn from all the practice he had to do.
I appreciate and sometimes love the bands at games, they are part of what makes the game unique, but when I look at my 8 guys - 8 out of 56 - and count the sprained wrists, ankles, broken fingers, contusions . . . I find it hard to sympathize that this is somehow easier to cope with than chapped lips and sunburn . . . Its been an odd season.

Hongkongbynight 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Hong Kong By Night" by Deterling
Yesterday I got into an reverie. There was a group of “special” adults at the bus stop. They were cool. One fellow was very tall and angular and kept moving to some unknown beat. He had a complicated set of hand movements that I found fascinating. After a minute or so he repeated them very precisely, till I realized the gestures were part of a song, the repeated gestures were the chorus.
It made me think of one of my kids. He was a young stallion, a pure stud - one of those athletes whose athletic abilities eclipsed my abilities as a coach.
He was 6'5“ 260 pounds and ran a 4.4 forty, benched 425. This when he was 17. He was unblockable and attacked our game with self satisfaction. He played DE. On one play against the All-Stars they triple teamed him, he moved the whole pile and got to the QB for a hurry up. The QB still got the pass off, it got deflected and caught. My kid made the solo tackle 30 yards downfield.
That was just one play. He did that all the time.
I managed to convince my friend to sponsor him on a trip to America. He was set to go to Penn State. Joe Paterno WANTED him. He saw a killer edge line backer.
First Spaceship On Venus Wallpaper - 1024 He returned to England.
Then, well. He came to my house one evening. I was in the kitchen and suddenly saw things fly out the upstairs bathroom window, the scale, medicine cabinet.
My kid had locked himself in the bathroom. His mother was screaming hysterically. I finally got him to open the door. He was stark naked. He was clearing everything out of my bathroom that would interfere with his transmission to Tramador.
He'd constructed a communication device in my bathtub. It consisted of a whole lot of books and magazines being submerged in water, the shower curtain and shower rod being arranged in some exact fashion. I regret not asking him if it had worked. I mean maybe he was right and the problem was I had the wrong books and magazines or maybe my shower rod was the wrong metal.
The poor kid had, what they tell me, was a psychotic break. His mother was an ambulatory schizophrenic, the doctors said that it wasn't uncommon.
Macballs By 1St Tiger
Click images for desktop size: "MacBalls" by 1st Tiger
They took him to the hospital. He escaped. He came to me. I went back with him and found out that they were terrified by his behavior but more by his size. I couldn't bring myself to be afraid of him or anything except devastated for a fine young man to have such a hurdle thrown in front of him.
They'd put him on an adult ward and were over medicating him.
I let my sadness over his lost future turn into anger, righteous anger the worst kind. I made a lot of enemies getting the hospital to admit their wrong doing and to treat him properly and with the respect he deserved. No matter how eloquent I'm supposed to be I could never convince these doctors the kid had a future.
I miss him and I miss the future that could have been his. He was a good kid.
They said all of his wild tales of being a hero who had to vanquish the Evil 7 were just psychotic delusions. I wish I could be as sure of things as they were. All I knew was that he was in a lot of emotional pain. I worried that I had pressured him into this. They were my private worries.
The enemies were of course public.
But I still pay attention and listen when ”special“ people are trying to communicate and trying to sing me a song with their bodies.

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October 23, 2006

The changing from sunlight to moonlight

Click images for desktop size: "Pirates"
I guess I'm getting old.
My memory of the distant past is growing sharper and more distinct. Good memories and bad. Like when I was four and my mother said I could buy a toy. (even today a reason to celebrate)
Suddenly a fellow was shouting that the store was closing in 5 minutes. Instead of being able to weigh and consider all that Woolworths had to offer I had to grab something quickly . . .
I'm getting old.
Wondering what coloration my mind has made to the past. I'm giving the past as much consideration as I usually give to the present.
I guess that's what it means to get old.

Poster - Curse Of The Mummy's TombIt looks like my search for a housemate is over. This fellow seems eager enough. I'm not thrilled about it. Not his fault at all. Its all to do with me.
My puppy and I like being to our own devices. We like getting things and putting them where we like them. Problem is can't afford the rent on our own and there is a room and a bathroom we never even think of entering. . . so, he's supposed to come by and give me money on Friday and then the rest of the money for the month on the Weds following.
Yeah, that's why I'm doing it.

Practice this morning was good. There were some lost eyes on the field but the focus stayed true. The goals are still there. Things were up tempo.
We talked about the World Series. I haven't had much interest in this series. I think the Cardinals are boring. I liked the Tigers but I have a hard time with American League teams as a rule. The DH rule. I like the Tigers young fireballers, and “Pudge” Rodriguez is one of the best catchers of all time. But last night got my interest rekindled. I loved the dirt ball fiasco.
While I don't think major league umpires can be fooled by an old fashioned mudball the mere concept of it has a poetry. Add to it the age of the pitcher and his incredible streak of 24 scoreless innings in the playoffs and series; it softens my heart and makes me yearn for beauty.

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October 22, 2006

The main thing to remember

Lost Soul By L8
Click images for desktop size: "Lost Soul" by l8
I forgot to mention, we lost on Friday 39-7. I was very proud of the kids. They played well despite all the insanity swirling around them.
We have film today. It won't be interesting. Too many turnovers from us. I understand that.
This Friday is the final home game. It will be interesting to see how much support we get, how many people will be in the stands.

Last week was my worst week yet for picks. I was 8-5. I would have enjoyed going 7-6 to see Matt Linhart and the Cardinal upset the Bears. Wasn't to be.
Here are this weeks guesses. My picks are in bold.

Carolina at Cincinnati - Carolina is playing good ball right now. The Bengals are not. This is the week for the Bengals to prove something to themselves. The Panthers are feeling sure of themselves. The only real worry for the Bengals is Julius Peppers going up against a banged up or replacement tackle. If they can handle him this will be a pretty cool shootout with Carson Palmer remembering Chad Johnson.
Poster - Alien Vs Predator (Teaser 3)
Detroit at New York Jets - As glad as I was to see the Lions win one you can't get past how well the Jets have proven they can play. I expect this to be close but home field and Chad Pennington should make a difference.

Green Bay at Miami - I can't see any game with Brett Favre in it being the cruddy game of the week. Take Favre out and this has all of the nothing you could ask for. Dolphins' coach Nick Saban has never dealt with this sort of losing attitude and I can't see him fixing things against a desperate Packers squad.

Jacksonville at Houston - Even if Leftwich has to sit out playing the inept Texans is the game to miss. The Jag's defense will eat David Carr alive. You have to wonder about the front office liars who picked non-factor Mario Williams in front of Reggie Bush. Since there's been no reports of attempted suicide you have to figure they are smug in their ineptness.

New England at Buffalo - This game might be close except for Tom Brady. He's a champion and will find enough talent in the Bills defense to keep him interested and creative.

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay - The Eagles are on of the best teams in the NFC even when they figure out ways to lose to teams barely equal to them in talent. The Buc's don't have enough to pose much threat.

Pittsburgh at Atlanta - Everyone is claiming the Steelers are rolling. I can't see it. The Falcons Michael Vick is saying all the wrong things off the field and not doing many things right on the field. The Falcons defense is getting more awesome though. This could be a 0-0 triple overtime!

San Diego at Kansas City - The superb Tomlinson against the thus far disappointing Larry Johnson. Both backs are good men and great players. It will be interesting to see if Johnson can get inspired against the very tough Chargers front 7. Also can Rivers continue to grow against a decent KC secondary. A good game but the Chargers are ready to rampage.
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Masahiko Fujii

Denver at Cleveland - This is my cruddy game of the week. Jake Plummer is too erratic to be fun to watch. Kellen Winslow is playing decent ball but not as good as his attitude suggests. Not the worst teams out there but the dullest. Bronco's D will finish this one.

Arizona at Oakland - This would look like the cruddy game of the week. Matt is an extraordinary talent hampered by the worst coach in football history. With his histrionics following the Monday Night debacle and his whack decision to replace the Offensive Coordinator instead of firing himself, Denny Green shows the only team he might be able to beat are the totally inept Raiders.

Minnesota at Seattle - Without Alexander for the SeaHawks the Vikings should be able to keep this close enough to be interesting but the Hawks passing game is getting deadly enough to insure a win.
Women Of The Prehistoric Planet-1024
Washington at Indianapolis - Expect Manning to show the one dimensional Colts attack is the best one dimensional attack in NFL history. The Redskins keep proving Gibbs should have stayed retired.

New York Giants at Dallas - This is the game of the week because the Cowboys keep acting like they are better than their record while the Giants keep playing like they start every game down 14 points. Tiki Barbers odd retirement announcement shouldn't affect the Giants too much. Terrell Owens shows that his greatest value is in attracting so much attention that no one talks about the weaknesses in the rest of the team!

My puppy picks all the teams I didn't.
After a sensational day of college ball this is a day where the NFL needs to step up big time.

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October 21, 2006

I need a love to make me happy
Southside Johnny

Explosion By Timelikeit
Click images for desktop size: "Explosion" by Timelikeit
My puppy has a new game. She thinks its funny. When I go to bed she stands at the foot of the bed and presses her head down very hard on my toes. When I look at her she smiles and jumps up next to me, looking down, staring and grinning. Then she lies down next to me and looks adorable and loving. If not for the fact that she thinks it hysterical to spend the next ten minutes trying to push me out of my single bed it would be a sweet daily moment.
It is anyway.
Sometimes she sleeps with her head under my arm and it feels like the world is far away.
It isn't.
I live now in a small town. They don't like to think this is a small town but it is. With cable and satellite TV everybody in the world is hip to the latest trends and fads. Everybody thinks they're cool, with it and small town rich. With the internet they can order anything. I figure that's why baggy clothes have become popular . . .
Poster - After Hours (2) This makes them smug and all knowing. They misuse slang, deny others rights they demand for themselves and generally behave like people everywhere always have. I think the difference is that they don't have a diverse population to expose the fallacies they concoct. they don't have confrontation, and when they do have it they behave like Catholic Priests knowing their Bishop will protect them.
About a mile and a half from my puppy's and my house is a ratty looking bar. They call it a night club.
Maybe to them it is. Any other corner of the world its a grotty neighborhood tavern.
I've noticed that in small towns like this there is always a tiny barrio. In this town it means a restaurant with a salsa bar and good burritos and ceveche.
This club is in the barrio and even has an hispanic sounding name: “La Zona”.
What makes La Zona interesting is that it is owned by a deputy sheriff. Most of the employees are also deputy sheriffs.
Its not a cop bar. Maybe it was opened with that intent but economics take things where they want you to go, not always where you dream.
What makes La Zona with all these Sheriffs working there interesting is that they sold crack . . . out of the bar/club. It also appears they fenced stolen goods and most interesting is that they operated a murder for hire business. At least thats what they were arraigned for.
Cops have to make a living too. Cops also have yuppie dreams of American wealth.
At first I was surprised by the murder for hire business. Then I figured that people in small towns must hate too, maybe even more than their big city counterparts. I wonder if life in this town is cheap or expensive and how much hate you have to have to put a dollar amount to it.
Would you kill some one for five bucks or ten thousand? If it were five hundred would you set up a biannual hit list, work your way up the corporate ladder or expunge the world of those ex-significant others?
Flames   Grey Metal Weave Wide By Jbensch
Click images for desktop size: "Flames" by J Bensch
Is their a premium attached when you have a professional killer, a cop, doing it for you?
They never put the interesting stuff in the newspaper.
What I find odd though is that this wasn't a big front page story. In LA and London and Chicago it would have been all over the papers, TV, radio for weeks. In a small town it was just a blip. Maybe it goes on all the time and doesn't perk anyones interest.
“Did you hear the cops are running crack, stealing and killing people for money?”
“Again? Oh well, but did you hear that the high school team had to forfeit some games?”
“What! We ought to string him up!”
Not making a point here but you can't help but notice that TV and the papers have mentioned the team every day and no mention of all about cops selling their guns to anyone who walked through the door.
All I'm sure of is that my puppy and I take good care of each other, even if there's times when it seems funny to try and push me out of bed.

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October 19, 2006

There's never been a time in the world where you could do so little and get so much done
Arlo Gutherie

Stone Soldier By Dakann
Click images for desktop size: "Stone Soldier" by Dakann
There's a bit of a scandal at the high school where I volunteer. One of the players had conflicting birth dates - one set showed 1988 and another showed 1987.
Its important because if he turned 19 before October he's an ineligible player.
He did and he was.
The HC is the one who caught it. He reaffirmed why I like him. He didn't wait and see if it would be caught. He didn't sit the player out and pretend nothing happened.
He called the league and forfeited all the games. He called the players and coaches together and let us know what had been done. He sent a letter to each of the varsity players explaining the facts.
He took full responsibility. He didn't blame a clerk for making the mistake. He didn't blame the kid. He never let anyone have a clue as to whom the kid might be.
13Tzamet(2006)-05The HC has a family and a teenaged daughter in there too.He has put them at risk. He needs the job, wants a better one. He knows he has a good chance of being fired for this because the local papers who carried the story have all pointed out that this would be the first losing season in 47 years . . . A few parents have already expressed outrage.
We were going to go to the state playoffs, now we would have to win out and hope for a few miracles to make it but we still might play for the championship. The players opportunities for the future haven't been impacted - a college recruiter isn't going to scratch their names off the books over this. Sure, there's some disappointment but I would rather that a kid see a man stand up in the path of fire because it was the right thing to do instead of just winning a championship.
Its what I mean about the game teaching the athlete about life.
I think the HC did something heroic and courageous. I have seen him do nothing but the right thing. He could have kept his mouth shut. He could have slunk around worried that one of the other coaches might catch the technical error. It wasn't that the kid has his grades fixed to be eligible. It wasn't that they were trying to sneak in a bigger kid for a fifth year of eligibility. It just happened and it was wrong. The HC stood up to it in a way I understand and relate to.
He's a fine man who just set a sterling example to the players on his team, and a good example to other coaches and their players. I note that none of our opponents, especially our less economically disadvantaged opponents, have refused to accept the forfeit, claiming they did not deserve the win. (I've done that in the past and believe it is the proper response here. I don't blame them for taking advantage of the technicality, nor do I judge them. They understand the needs of their own teams, I can't claim to know that.)
My feeling is that the HC is a good man who has done the best thing. If he is going to be attacked for it I will support him.
Click images for desktop size: "Streetfighter" by Sega
I'm sick and I'm tired but there are some fights that get thrust in your way and you know that to avoid them would be to your detriment and to the detriment of the community and to society. I am old battered warrior which means I want to win with the least effort possible. That makes me dangerous because I've fought people like this far too many times.
Maybe I'll be wrong and people might actually understand that teaching a few noble sentiments and learning to be proud of the right things is more important than a game. Its a big lesson that the game teaches these young people.
Now, tomorrow, we have to play the highest ranked team we've yet to face. I figured us to win. It will come down to the team and what they want.
I think that's how it should be.

I'm doing okay. I wonder if people realize that I'm pretty happy. The things that bother me don't stop me from being happy.
My puppy is happy. She bugs me all the time and insists I be happy.
Things bother me. Nothing mush is like I want it to be. So what.

I may have found a housemate. My puppy's and my house is cute and with just us here it feels like a home - maybe a bit slap dash but still a home. We'll be okay.

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October 15, 2006

USC 28 ASU 21

Painted Dress
Click images for desktop size: "Painted Dress" by "Unknown"
There is nothing like standing on the sidelines during a football game.
Especially a game under the lights when your breath is steaming and the mist and the remaining bugs flitter under the arc lamps.
It feels like a new world, a special world that only the players of the drama can really know. The crash of helmet and pad is the forefront, The background that comes like a living white noise from the crowd and the announcers never really interferes with the feeling that you and your team are alone. The drama, the conflict and the resolution are played only for you.
When you add to that a puppy who stands by your side holding a fuzzy football tight in her mouth . . . Its a complete world. I'm sure that if the astronauts looked down at the planet on a Friday or Saturday night they would see the fields and stadiums as pure white glowing balls of inexplicable energy.
Its a private beauty. The public gets to share in it but only in the apparent spectacle, never in the great beauty. That can only be hinted at until you step on the field.
Poster - The Thing With Two Heads We won Friday 20-7. It was a good win against a good team. The real beauty comes in seeing your teammates rise up and meet and beat a challenge.
The players have made my Over Time speech from Monday night a bit of local legend. They were caviled at by the others. The only thing I had to say was, “Isn't this great?” hey looked around and had to agree.

My housemate search is becoming a tragic comedy. Tragic is too strong a word, but comedy isn't.
This time a woman from the Inland Empire was supposed to move in today. I put her through some hoops regarding references. She made me nervous. I was afraid I'd come home one day and find her and my meager possessions all gone. An unsupported fear. I actually checked the references and agreed on Thursday that she'd move in on Saturday. We negotiated the rent etc. I came home, neatened everything and then she never showed . . . This was better than my last 20 hour housemate.
Its with mixed feelings I'm dealing with this. My puppy and I like living alone. The reality is we can't afford it. This women has two kids and she was real concerned about their bimonthly visits. I like kids and admired her concerns even while I wondered why they weren't with her.
I guess my negative instincts were right. My two calls weren't returned.
The wearisome hunt continues.

Last week I was 12-2 with my NFL picks. Not good enough to win anything but I'm still in decent position (35th) to win a season ending prize.
There are some good games this week. My picks are in bold.

Buffalo at Detroit - I'm actually picking the Lions! The Bills were throughly beaten last week. Beaten up physically and mentally. Detroit has been getting grittier and improving in each of their defeats. This could be the best chance the Lions have this season to win.
Protective Mother
Click images for desktop size: "Protective Mother"

Carolina at Baltimore - Last week the Ravens weren't so much beaten by the Bronco's as they were asphyxiated by the Mile High Stadium. Denver has the nastiest home field advantage in the league. Even with Steve Smith the Panthers have looked little more than ordinary. I expect the Ravens to be breathing fire. They have a lot to prove against a Panther offense that converted no 3rd downs against the Browns.

Cincinnati at Tampa Bay - The Buccaneers looked better than expected last week. Not good enough though to beat the Bengals.

Houston at Dallas - The who cares game of the week. Will Mario Williams prove he was a better pick than Reggie Williams? Will Owens catch a TD?

New York Giants at Atlanta - A contender for game of the week. I'm picking the Giants. I think they can contain Vick and the running game. The Giants weakness is in the secondary and the Falcons don't have the tools to exploit it. The Falcons defense is scary with Abrahams in the line, so if the Falcons get an early lead this could be a rout.
Poster - The Phantom Of The Paradise (3)
Philadelphia at New Orleans - My game of the week. Everything points to an Eagles win. Brian Westbrook is back, Donavan McNabb is playing at the top of his considerable game. But the Saints look like a team playing for destiny. I never bet against destiny. Besides they have Reggie Bush.

Seattle at St Louis - One of the more interesting games this week. They're more evenly matched than they should be, especially since the SeaHawks will be missing Alexander. I don't really grasp how the Rams keep winning but they are. The coin flip falls for the SeaHawks mainly because they should know how to win this type of game.

Tennessee at Washington - This avoids being the cruddy game of the week only because it will be fun to see how well Portis and Brunell tear them up. And to see what the Redskins defense does to rookie Vince Young.

Kansas City at Pittsburgh - When a team makes excuses for losses expect them to continue to lose. The Steelers are a good team, so are the Chiefs. Rothlisberger had a brilliant first two seasons but he is showing he can't hand;e himself or adversity. And Parker is no real running attack. Larry Johnson is.

Miami at New York Jets - The Jets are the best looking losing team I've seen this year. Miami is just a disaster.

San Diego at San Francisco - If the Chargers are real contenders they need to blow teams like this out of the water. Should be the cruddy game of the week but Rivers is an unknown enough quantity to keep it interesting and Tomlinson is just sheer beauty.
Vampire Bat Wallpaper - 1024
Oakland at Denver - The cruddy game of the week. The Raiders - Broncos fury is long gone. the Broncos will win but it will be so boring. Even an upset would be boring.

Chicago at Arizona - The Bears defense looks like it could be the greatest in NFL history. A bad O-line, a talented rookie QB (Who is still one of the finest young men and players ever) and no Larry Fitzgerald are no match for a Bears defense that plays every down as if they were losing by 3 and there's only 1 minute left to play.
But the Cardinals new stadium will look pretty for its Monday night debut.

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October 11, 2006

She came out wearing nothing but a button and a bow, singing nay yeah
One thing most people never get good at is waiting
I like girls who talk in triplicate

Click images for desktop size: "Organic" by Pixelhust
We played our make up game on Monday night. Started under a pus filled sun and ended with misty haloes around bright lights.
We won in overtime - 28-21. We were leading 21-7 at the half. We nearly gave it way.
In the first half we controlled things well, but the opposing coach made a nice half time adjustment and figured out how to jam up our radar blocking scheme. I was impressed that he recognized it and came up with his own scheme to counteract.
After our second 3 and out I changed the scheme and asked my guys to go back to straight zone blocking calls. I told the OC and told him that it would probably take 1 or 2 series for the changes to settle in and get us the flow back, and that we could exploit it later on when we had the front 7 committed to the wrong pattern.
He panicked and decided to get off the game plan.
Poster - Werewolves 0N Wheels I'm not one of those who believes that football is an aphorism for war, but in any contest the most inexplicable thing is to be winning and then to panic because there are small set backs. I know that they're are people out there who are only satisfied with winning in a devastating fashion, that even the smallest losses are a disgrace. It seems more prevalent to me now. I think its a heavy influence of video games.
Or maybe it was the resounding success of New Coke.
Anyway, they scored 14 points off of our turnovers. There was so much panic in the coaches during the overtime break that the kids just went out and played the way we taught them how to play. They scored on the first possession, easy and going away. hen when our opponent had the ball they were tight, over coached they fumbled on their second touch. We recovered. Game over.
We made the state top 25 yesterday. The guys we beat were still ranked 3 steps in front of us . . . go figure.
So far this season I've re-learned something, something that seems important to me.
As a coach my job is to teach. I teach kids the best way to play their sport. I teach them the skills they need to excel. Sometimes I meet an athlete who's talent far exceeds my coaching abilities. Then my job is to do my best not to mess them up and to give them the opportunity to use their talent.
My fancy schemes and strategies are pretty worthless things. What matters is what happens out on the field. Its there where the miracles happen. A coach on game day doesn't do much except the sheerest greatest pleasure of watching others take the little they've learned from you and turn it into something real. Once upon a time I was accused of teaching young people how to be fine young adults. I didn't. The game taught them what they needed to know about life, about being part of something, something important. All I ever did was teach them how to play a game.
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I went to the doctors today. Nothing special happened. No miracle cures there either. I do need to get new glasses. That irks me. I was happy not having a housemate but now, its pretty clear I have to have one. New glasses will be about $600. They have to be even darker. With a housemate its do-able.
My puppy and I have totally enjoyed having a home that is just ours.
We'll adapt. What else can we do?
Have suddenly had this odd fear of coming home and finding the new housemate gone along with every little thing we own.
We can survive that too.

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October 7, 2006

USC 26 Washington 20

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The most annoying thing about this week is just how much my puppy and I have enjoyed living with just each other.
We can't afford it.
My High School game was cancelled last night due to weather. Something nice did come out of that. The local paper has consistently made the team the favorite in every single game we have played. This appalls me. We have a freshman QB with limited arm strength, a good RB, and an inconsistent defense. We're 3 - 3. Our opponent last night is ranked 16th in the state! The paper had us as a 1 point favorite . . .
Last night I got to meet the reporter who does the handicapping. I asked him why he always made us the favorite and he said something startling: “Because that O-Line is probably the best I've ever seen.”
I coach the O-Line . . . so I had to remove him from my list of idiots . . . I didn't identify myself to him.
Poster - World Without End (2) I found out the game was canceled while my puppy and I were in hospital. Nothing wrong just over protective players (and my former players out there know how I feel about that) and a bored paramedic crew who were pleased to have something more to do than sit out there in the rain. I went into hospital and was checked out an hour later.

Money situation is serious but not desperate. I borrowed $50 from a friend so I have food for at least 3 weeks. The bills are paid and I have enough to get through, well, for bus fare at least. Nothing wrong with that.

The film review is getting purchased. Twenty bucks . . . better than a stick in the eye . . . I guess. They want more. I don't have the check yet, but right now twenty bucks feels like a lot. I haven't heard from the other guys I submitted it to . . . think I'll just let it rest.

In the on-line football contest I'm in 37th place . . . which is good enough for nothing - yet!
Last week I was 9-5. I can't see me improving or getting worse this week.
My picks are in bold.

Buffalo at Chicago - I can't understand Rex Grossman, the Bears QB. He doesn't look at all good to me but he gets results. The Bears defense looks incredible. The Bills have been inconsistent, but even their top game wouldn't be enough here.

Cleveland at Carolina - I'm tempted to take the Browns here. They can hang tough enough but there's no credible reason than liking their attitude to select them. The Panthers look astonishingly better with Steve Smith back. For one player to have this much impact doesn't say much for the rest of the team.

Detroit at Minnesota - I like Detroit, but will be stunned when they win a game. They lack almost everyplace except heart. Playing in another dome they stand a chance but the Vikings have some talent and a cagey QB.

Miami at New England - The Dolphins so far are looking like the bust of the year. The way the Patriots ripped thru the Bengals bouncing back from a loss was remarkable. The Dolphins will just be a place for them to rest and experiment, but the Patriots will come through with the big play whenever they need it.

St Louis at Green Bay - this looks like a cruddy game but you can't under estimate Favre. Even if he is just a shadow he's fun to watch. St Louis has been all over the place and clearly lacks a killer instinct.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans - Chris Simms' performance while playing through a burst spleen makes me re-evaluate him as a player. But the Bucs still stink. The Saints are a good team. This could be the week that Reggie Bush gets his first TD. Gruden, Buc's Coach, is arrogant enough to run a base defense without the “Reggie Backer” all the other teams have used to contain Bush, if that happens it could get explosive.
Click images for desktop size: "Hhhmmmmmmm"

Tennessee at Indianapolis - Four years ago this was a stellar match up. Both teams have faded but the Titans have fallen to the very bottom of the pile. The only interesting thing will be seeing how Vince Young fares in his second game starting for the Titans.

Washington at New York Giants - I have to give Joe Gibbs some credit, if he he can keep the Redskin's Mark Brunell playing at the level he has for the last two weeks. Meanwhile the Giants shaky secondary should be addressed, Their front 7 is startling in depth and talent, their front four is amongst the best. They have to play the game but on paper this should be a Giants blow out. It figures to be a lot closer than that.

Kansas City at Arizona - Denny Green continues to prove that he is the worst coach in the league. Throwing the incredible Matt Linehart completely unprepared into this game could destroy the future of the franchise. Matt will produce only slightly more than Kurt Warner and take some serious heavy blows in the process. He won't learn much except bad stuff. Kansas City got hot against the terrible 49ers. You have to figure them to win here but I can't go against Linehart.
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New York Jets at Jacksonville - This is my game of the week. I don't care who wins. This will be a symphony, like a Listz Rhapsody. I'm taking the Jaguars because of Jack Del Rio and the fact they're at home.

Oakland at San Francisco - The cruddy game of the week and possibly the year! The only thing of interest here is which team will get the number 1 pick.

Dallas at Philadelphia - This is the most over hyped game of the year. TO getting razzed by the Philly fans. I guess some one cares about that. This is two decent but not great teams. It should be fun but the announcers constant references to Terrell Owens will make this tedious. Watch it with some good music on the stereo.

Pittsburgh at San Diego - A game that might be entertaining. Schottenheimer showed how to coach just well enough to lose against the Ravens last week. The Steelers don't have the tools that the Ravens have. It will be interesting but not that much - Unless you want to see Rivers “manage” a game and Rothlesberger not manage . . .

Ravens at Denver - Playing at Mile High Stadium is daunting. Plummer might play his A game but I don't think that will be enough. The Ravens scream power on D and McNair has them playing as a complete team. Does anyone remember that McNair was Co-MVP with Manning and has always been considered a great team leader? The Ravens will come up with a way to win as long as they can breathe . . . In Mile High that is a serious consideration. Breathing I mean.

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October 5, 2006

Is this the last stop before Sumnerville?

Clog Them Veins Widescreen By Bigger K
Click images for desktop size: "Clog The Veins" by Bigger K
Got paid today and that sent the feeling of desperation through the roof!
I've decided not to advertise the house share in the papers, too expensive when the majority of people move on the first. I have been advertising on craigslist and its been amusing. I've gotten two obvious scams and a lot of students who are way to young. AA couple I've met but after the last disaster I want to be really really sure.
One thing I've done is write to the woman who moved in asking her to be fair. I doubt if I'll ever hear from her.
I'm angriest about the effect this has had on my puppy. With all the moving in and out . . . I decided to spread out of my one room. She got panicky. I'm sure she thought I was moving out too and was going to leave her alone.
I don't like her being anything but happy. She doesn't deserve less.
Poster - X - The Man With The X - Ray Eyes One thing I've done to try and bring in some extra cash is write reviews for a couple of sites. They had approached me, I forget why, about doing this for them.
This is the piece I've submitted. I sent it to both of them. The way things are going they'll both accept it and then sue me for selling it to both of them.
On the other side of it, its been pointed out that my review of “You Are My Sunshine” has almost nothing to do with “You Are My Sunshine” . . . I sort of disagree but I see the point . . .

In the 50's there was a German refugee named Douglas Sirk. He made melodramas that were massive hits at the time, “All That Heaven Allows”, “Inherit The Wind” and more. About the only one still visible is the tear jerker - “Imitation Of Life” an angst-ridden film of two widows, one black and one white, and their children trying to survive together against a cruel world.
Sirk's trademarks were bright primary colors, often framing his stars in bright colors against bright cyan skies.
He kept the lighting neutral, not often using it for dramatic effect, thus forcing the drama and focus to always be on the actors and their voices. His plots always centered on possibly real people of different classes and backgrounds attempting to co-exist and survive and a world that didn't care what you were or what you might become.
Sirk might well be totally forgotten today, his 3 major hits occasionally turning up, but in the 80's a brash, strident playwright wrote critical pieces on Sirk, considering his films to be the epitome of the film art, and film to be the epitome of art.
Fassbinder's writing was so persuasive and the films he would subsequently make so potent that he was responsible for the term “Sirkian” entering the lexicon.
Fassbinder made some of the great films of the 70's & 80's, all of which cadged extensively from Sirk both thematically and in style.
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Click images for desktop size: "Infinite Crisis" by Lee
One of Fassbinder's best films, “Ali: Fear Eats The Soul” was merely an adaptation of Sirk's, “All That Heaven Allows”. The major telling point in both being the way a family and the community reacts to an older woman seeking sex and then love, a love that appears, at first, to be an empty product of sex.
(You need to remember that, as it is also a central theme in “You Are My Sunshine”.)
Regrettably I can't read Korean. Even being a native Angelino with a lot of friends in Koreatown, can't give me any insight to why, from the outset, Korean movies so carefully ape the films of Douglas Sirk. In a few of the gangster films like “Old Boy” and “Bittersweet Life” there are strong hints of Fassbinder but overwhelmingly most Korean movies are eerily Sirkian!
“You Are My Sunshine” is a good movie, atypical in a lot of ways. It explores similar themes to “Christmas In August”, “Birdcage Inn” and even “Spy Girl”.
Wasp Woman-1024 The only irksome thing about it was the sudden rush to proclaim this a true story. If a film director can't convince me that a story is real then why should I bother watching?
“You Are My Sunshine” almost seems like another remake of “All That Heaven” allows, but retold for a more modern audience and for a different culture.
Aside from the readily apparent similarities (the iconography of the two giant yellow balloon men and the vivid primary colors worn by the actors until they descend into hell) there is one scene that truly jumps out, when the farmer calculates out how much he figures a coffee shop girl makes in a month and then goes and delivers the cash to plead with her to not make anymore deliveries, the camera angles used are identical to the ones used by Sirk when Dorothy Malone confronts Robert Stack in “Inherit the Wind” and the scene is played in tone to equate to Fassbinder's self starring “Fist: Right To Freedom” when he tries to buy the cute rich boys love with his lottery cash.
The similarities are too close to the surface to be happenstance but so ingrained and organic that it just conceivable that Sirk and Fassbinder had converged with the Koreans on to the universal best way to tell these sort of stories.
Aside from the film history lesson this is a good movie. Highly entertaining and giving a brilliant insight into human relationships, into humanity.
The climax is soul searing but the denouement side steps some important issues, which seemed odd in a film that until then had been so committed to exploring the whole truth.

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October 1, 2006

USC 28 Washington State 22

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Click images for desktop size: "Pile" by Alan Sherwood
All the people who applied to be house mates were in the midst of divorces. I guess this should be a sign to me of something.
The woman and dog that moved in yesterday are moving out today . . . couldn't stand by her decision to be away from her husband.
Leaves me in a bind and puts a good final period on a pretty horrendous week.
I guess we'll survive. Its just harsh to have all those few pleasant minutes of lightness get dashed like this. Boy she moved in with a lot of stuff.
I don't plan to help her move out.
I gave her the money back. What else could I do?
She didn't offer a partial payment or to reimburse expenses so this is probably for the best.
I liked the dog.
Poster - White Zombie
My high school team lost on Friday. Part of it was how beat up the team was after the “Big” game. That's indisputable. The other problem was the harsh “Hoover Style” coaching the staff used after the previous weeks lost.
I don't think you can expect young men to get out there and bleed on a field without building and giving them the confidence to know they have the right to walk amongst the best.
We have a coaching meeting in a while. I plan to make these feelings of mine known this time. If it doesn't go over well . . . this has been a bad week, might as well ride it out.

These are my picks for the NFL this week. Sorry that my terse logic will be even more terse this time. I was 8-6 last weekend. The incredible spectacle of hope and determination in New Orleans kept me from .500 . . . I'm sure that was the least of anyone's thoughts and I felt small thinking it at the time.
My picks in bold.

Arizona at Atlanta - New Orleans played with an intensity and the situation was created to make the Falcons look worse than they are. Arizona should win this but Denny Green will keep the Cardinals away from a win.

Dallas at Tennessee - Between Parcells and Owens the only reason to pick the Cowboys is that the Titans really look like the worst team in football. A rookie who left school a year early as their savior? Not likely.

Indianapolis at New York Jets - The Jets look better than expected and the Colts don't look as good as years past but there is still to wide a gulf in talent to take the Jets.

Miami at Houston - This is the cruddy game of the week. Taking Miami because . . .

Minnesota at Buffalo - This is a confusing one. It even has the potential of being highly entertaining.
Click images for desktop size: "Animals" by Wolf Pasterrio
New Orleans at Carolina - Its hard to accept that the Saints can continue the emotional high they displayed on Monday. That was a miracle game. This could be the week that Carolina regroups and plays to their full potential. On the other hand sometimes a small kid gets a lucky shot in on a bully and it changes their life forever.

San Diego at Baltimore - San Diego has played well but against the worst opponents in the league - no matter you can only play who's in front of you. The Ravens look scarily real and have the determination to win, especially against a first year starter who will have to prove his worth today. Personally I'd love to see Tomlinson explode and win the game in the final seconds.

San Francisco at Kansas City - Another confusing game with under talented unpredictable squads. I'd love to see Larry Johnson get back on track but it will be hard with no support. Still, SF is just now learning to win and Arrowhead is no ones fave place to play.

Detroit at St Louis - I actually feel sorry for the Lions and cheer every time they score or keep it close.
Killers From Space-1024 Cleveland at Oakland - This might be the only time to take the Browns!

Jacksonville at Washington - Brunell got hot and played out of his skin last week. The Jaguars lost to the Colts and have something to prove.

New England at Cincinnati - Coming of a loss makes the Pat's incredibly dangerous. The Bengals faced their worst nightmare last week and came out on top. Palmer and Co and a defense that keeps improving make the Bengals the choice but narrowly. Runner-up for game of the week.

Seattle at Chicago - The game of the week. Seattle cannot be as good as they looked for 3 quarters against the Giants, especially without even the threat of Shaun Alexander. The two super star wide outs face a defense, one of the few that can handle them. The Bears can handle close slug it out games. The Sea Hawks are still trying to get back to form.

My puppy still cheers me up and points out how happy the two of us are together.

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