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November 27, 2006

A hatful of rain
USC 44 Notre Dame 21

Ivory Ocean Blueflower
Click images for desktop size: "Blue Flower" by Ivory Ocean
When I was a little kid I remember having a baby sitter one night. She fell asleep so I got to watch a late night movie.
It was this film, “A Hatful of Rain”.
It starred Don Murray as a junkie. It was written by Michael Gazzo. He's the guy you'd probably know as the freaky voiced actor in Godfather II who is going to rat out Al Pacino but then commits suicide when his brother shows up.
That is all I remember about the movie, except one scene. I'm only guessing at the context and only guessing who said what.
I think the doper was explaining his situation.
He said that when he was a kid his father told him that to make money you had to work.
He wanted money so he got himself a shovel and went out in the backyard and started to dig a hole. When he got the hole about two feet deep he reached into his pocket and was surprised to find his pocket was still empty.
He kept digging.
He'd shovel and while then check his pocket. After a while it began to rain. He kept digging and checking his pocket.
Somehow the story resolved itself that the child was left standing there, tired, dirty and still broke holding his cap.
Poster - Lsd Flesh Of Devil
I remember it because the image of the boy digging and constantly checking his pocket seemed frightenly true to me as a kid.
It still does.
That's all I remember clearly, the boy and the empty pocket.
I don't know why it made an impact on me. I don't understand it. Maybe I just don't understand junkies or the justification people use to hurt the ones who love them. I don't even remember the point it was supposed to make, but throughout my life I remembered the boy and the empty pocket.

I had a very good Holiday weekend. Too good in some ways. There's that time in life where we invisibly pass over from ambition to survival, from struggle to acceptance.
I guess some people are born to that and others suddenly discover that is what they've become.
It was odd on the bus today. The streets I've passed back and forth every day for 18 months looked completely different today.
Not ominous or cheerful. Just different.
If there was emotion attached to the difference it would have been explicable and caused me no reason to be wondrous.
I was just constantly disoriented and had to latch on to landmarks of no special distinction just to have some small sense of where I was and to remember where I was going.
It wasn't a bad thing.

I was 14-2 in my picks this weekend. The loses were Titans-Giants and Redskins-Panthers. Go figure. It also looks like another potential housemate has flaked out. I'm past caring. The extreme rudeness of these people has made me glad that I haven't had to extricate myself from more telling situations than this. I'm going to keep looking but I'm going to keep raising my standards and expectations. I can understand what makes people look for housemates. Its more common in Europe. Here, in the US, it has too many flakes looking to cage a ride rather than looking to live a bit better. Then again, maybe I'm only interested in the flakes . . . Maybe I only like flakes. Don't snicker. I probably like you too.

Tab06 Abs 030 Juice
Click images for desktop size: "Juice #30" by tab
The only other notable worth sharing is that I'm going to be a foster dog parent. Other people go and rescue dogs from the shelters before they are executed for the crime of being born. Then they bring give them their shots and health check.
Then they bring the rescued pup to me. My puppy and I will train it and care for it then interview perspective parents.
My puppy has prepared a 16 page questionnaire. None of the questions are multiple choice or “True or False” either.
We get a major say in who will take the saved dog into their homes.
This pleases me.

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November 23, 2006

If you want to understand a man discover his dreams and then work backwards
Rob Tanner

Jasonjackson00931 Jamaicanrain
Click images for desktop size: "Jamaica Rain" by Jason Jackson
The holidays are approaching.
My father died the Friday after Thanksgiving. My mother died one year later, the Friday after Thanksgiving.
My wife and son were shot December 10th while Christmas shopping.
Maybe its a flaw in me but I don't view the holidays as a sign post for tragedy.
I like them. I like them big and overt and loaded with crass commercialism bordering on lustful greed.
I like them small and intimate with the only gifts to exchange being big love.
I like being in crowds and I like being alone.
I still vividly recall being the only person in the theater on Thanksgiving Day to see “The Trial Of Billy Jack”. It was in Boston and I missed my connection to New Hampshire.
I remember being in Chicago, snowed in and broke Christmas Eve and getting a gig at the Musicians Union playing guitar in an R&B band on the Southside.
His Girl Friday - Cary Grant - Wallpaper - 1024

I remember Christmases at posh restaurants with 20 friends, over tipping because it was Christmas Day after all.
And I remember celebrating Christmas in the Desert with a 79 cent frozen turkey dinner and a little dog.
Big times, small times, people flying in and me flying out. Over decorating an Intensive Care unit at the hospital so my wife wouldn't wake up and feel forgotten and remember only the tragedy.
I remember walking the streets at Midnight Christmas Eve and waiting to see if a miracle happened as fondly as waking up at 4 AM when I was 5 hoping for a new bike.
I like the holidays, whatever happens will always be memorable.
I hope your holidays are pristine and shiny and worth wrapping up to recall in a year.

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November 19, 2006

USC 23 California 9

Click images for desktop size: "Asphalt Star" by Delios
I never really met Bo Schembechler, but, in an important way, maybe I did. I played against his Michigan teams 3 times. Back then the games meant something different to me, to us. No matter what we were always dogs to Michigan - they were 4 yards and a cloud of dust and we were the soft warm weather surfer boys. (That always bothered me - I was the only guy on the team who surfed regularly, and I never understood why it was meant to be disparaging).
We won all three games against Michigan. It was always special. I'm not talking about the significance of the game itself but in the way it was played.
To be the best you have to play the best. That's one thing that will never ever change.
Schembechler's teams were the best. We won those games but on the field it meant something.
You had to play your best every second of every play. Your concentration couldn't waver because sure as hell the Wolverines were going to play their best and any mistakes you made, a wrong half turn or a misread on your block meant that you were going to pay.
Poster - King Of The Rocket Men Every play was a game in itself and to beat Michigan you had to win an awful lot more of those plays than you lost. There aren't many games where that's the case.
The thing was that the Wolverines didn't cheat. They didn't play dirty. I had to wear rubber goggles, during most big games my glasses were smudged with blackout, rosin and spit. Against the Wolverines my glasses stayed clean, they weren't jabbing fingers into my face trying to blind me to get that little edge.
Schembechler taught them that to win they had to stand up and be proud of themselves, proud of what they did. They wanted to beat you but they wanted their wins to mean something, something more than just what was on the scoreboard.
They played so proud that you played proud.
Each time we beat Michigan the reporters never talked about us as being great. The reporters always wondered what the problem was that a clearly superior team got beat by the likes of us. That made me and my teammates angry.
Since our opponents on the field just played outstanding football the only place to direct the anger was at Schembechler himself. That's unfair but we were just kids.
The last time I saw Schembechler was the 1990 Rose Bowl. I got to stand on the sidelines and watch USC beat Michigan. It was like old times.
Out of my ten fave games playing football Schembechler was responsible for three of them. He raised the game up to a level where it was awesome to step on the field because you knew that to step out there you were among the best and to win you would have to not only be your best but you would discover that you could be better than you ever imagined.
There are few people who can bring that into your life and to do so on a regular basis means that Bo Schembechler was a greater man than I was then able to acknowledge.
Dreamer Vladstudio
Click images for desktop size: "Dreamer" by Vlad Studio

Last week I was a dismal 6-10 in my NFL picks. This dumped me down to 1,481 in my quest for the Big Screen TV and may almost have put the iPod Nano out of sight as well.
As usual there were some wonderful great moments and a lot of really bad bad games. I didn't mind losing. My picks are in bold.

Buffalo at Houston - Both teams looked improved last week, but this is still a contender for cruddy game of the week. I hate the Houston front office so I'm taking the Bills. This is a better method of picking then a coin flip I guess.

Chicago at New York Jets - The Jets looked great beating the Patriots last week. The Bears looked better routing the Giants. Without a great running attack the Jets are playing into the Bears strength.

Atlanta at Baltimore - Last week the Falcons showed just how unreliable they are. The Ravens, even without Ray Lewis, should have enough to stop VIck when it counts. Steve McNair will keep adding to the legend.

Cincinnati at New Orleans - The Bengals did their part to make last weeks loss to the Chargers be the game of the year. They showed that they don't have near enough defense. I think the New Orleans Offense is better than the Chargers (except that no one is better than Tomlinson). As brilliant and entertaining as Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson are and will be the Saints defense will be a decider. This is a game of the week contender for sure.
M - Fritz Lang - Peter Lorre Wallpaper - 1024
Minnesota at Miami - The Vikings need this game to stay even thinly in contention for the play offs. The Dolphins are improving but not enough.

St Louis at Carolina - The Rams are not great but the Panthers are looking dreadful. The Panthers have all the talent but have done nothing with it, while the Rams keep making something out of nothing.

Oakland at Kansas City - My Ho Hum game of the week. The biggest interest is seeing how many yards Larry Johnson can wrack up!

Pittsburgh at Cleveland - If I bet football I'd take the Browns and the pints and not even think about it. The Steelers are still off track, their defense is too banged up and they are still too cocky, “the best 3-6 team in the game”?? I like the Browns D and the offense can do just enough to keep this interesting.

New England at Green Bay - My dreamy game of the day. Brady against Favre. The Patriots showed just how vulnerable they are and Favre is still Favre which means highly entertaining and dangerous. You have to take the Patriots even if I found Bilichick's antics after his defeat last week to be revolting.

Tennessee at Philadelphia - I never figured a team with Donavan McNabb would be a contender for cruddy game of the week. Norm Chow gives the Titans a slight edge in this one, what other coach could make Vince Young look almost respectable. But you have to figure that the Eagles have some pride left.
Tab06 Sav 041 Comp142
Click images for desktop size: "Computer" by Tab

Washington at Tampa Bay - Joe Gibbs is starting a rookie QB against the Buc's . . . I guess he's trying to show the world he's still a genius . . . Tampa Bay will eat him alive.

Detroit at Arizona - Cruddy game of the week. Matt should finally get his first win. As much as I like Detroit and as good as they looked last week getting the win everything says the Cardinals should win. But never discount the Denny Green factor.

Seattle at San Francisco - So the 49ers announce they're leaving San Francisco and the whole Bay Area yawns. The Seahawks are so beaten up its sad. The 49ers are just sad.

Indianapolis at Dallas - Game of the week contender. Payton against an over rated under achieving defense. Tony Romo and Julius Jones against a nonexistent Colts defense. You still have to take Tony Dungy over Bill Parcells and Manning over anybody.

San Diego at Denver - My game of the week!! As much as I like the Chargers Mile High Stadium is the decider here. I'd love to see the Chargers win and they could wreck the Broncos dreams today.

New York Giants at Jacksonville - Seriously ESPN deserves a rebate for these Monday Night fiascos. Two badly beaten up teams. I'm picking the Giants because their O-Line is setting them up for a beautiful running game. David Garrard is now the starter and the banged up Giants D will be fully prepared for him. At least a month ago this looked like a choice game. But now . . .

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November 16, 2006

Living with the Dead

Click images for desktop size: "Fall Leaves" by Alan Jenkins
Woke up.
Pain and nightmares.
Nightmares about the past.
Maybe its just the pain, or the time of year, or the thunder storms. I don't know what brings them on.
I don't like nightmares.
I don't like being reminded of how powerless we are against the past, how powerless we are.
I don't like reruns in my head trying a thousand ways to to do something different, to change the past and realizing that nothing I could have done on that day would have changed anything.
You can't change the past.
You can only change the future.
I've tried.
Frustrating thing about changing the future is you never know what you've actually done.
As I said that I thought that is a good thing, not knowing. If we knew we might screw it up.
Poster - It Conquered The World We don't need angels showing us what the world would be like without us. That's not specific enough.
Thinking about the present is the best way I know to calm the self induced ghosts.
The power just went off, I have a back up power supply for the computer. Should keep it on the alarm clock. No idea how long the back up power will last. I'll keep typing in the dark.
At least I know this is the storm and not ghosts.
I saw the neighbor on his roof this evening. He was putting up Christmas lights.
Funny how the poor feel the need to make things glorious.
I managed to bully my way to an MRI today.
The good news is that the pain isn't connected to the old football injury. You know, spearing used to be legal?
I remember the play well. It was in Alabama. I played for 3 more weeks before the pain made me go to the Doctor. I used to be tough. Now its a fused disk.
The bad news its the chemo leeching the calcium from my bones. Like a smart disease it attacks most where you're weakest.
I need to keep doing my exercises. Good thing I remember them.
I know enough to respect the pain. So I won't make it worse. Harder lesson to learn than you might imagine.
My puppy came in. She just wanted to check on me. She gave up the bed to be close, just in case I needed something to pet. She's a good dog.
Today she's 18 months old. She didn't really care or notice. She was just glad to play.
I can't post this. Power supply is on the computer, not on the modem.
Powers out 20 minutes now.
Called the power company. They estimate - note estimate - power back on in 4 hours.
Nothing like the ineptness of a monopoly to take away the last lingering remnants of a dream.

November 12, 2006

USC 35 Oregon 10

23 By Ravelithium
Click images for desktop size: "23" by Ravel Lithiumr
The pain pill really knocked me out last night - nearly 14 hours of sleep.
Sadly all it did was make me feel hung over, unrested and with the back pain fully intact.
But I know most of you want to chuckle at my vapid football picks.
Last week I was 7-7. This knocked me out of the top 1% and all the way down to 417th!! I've stopped aspiring towards the plasma TV and am now aiming for the iPod . . .
My picks are in bold.

Baltimore at Tennessee - The Titans treated Future Hall Of Famer Steve McNair as badly as a corporation can handle an individual. He made them too much money and got locked out of his home. I expect him to play like a man possessed when he leads the Ravens back to Nashville.

Buffalo at Indianapolis - Peyton Manning.

Cleveland at Atlanta - I'm not sold on the Falcons and I'm still not sold on Michael Vick. This is a common sense pick. I seem to be wrong on most of my common sense picks. I expect Cleveland to come in for blood and pride.
Poster - It Came From Outer Space (3)
Green Bay at Minnesota - Brett Favre has owned the Vikings but he has no defense to help him out.

Houston at Jacksonville - I like Jack Del Rio as a coach and s a person. I dislike the Texans front office. This is a vengeance pick and it helps the Jaguars are the much better team.

San Diego at Cincinnati - This is my game of the week. The Bengals have been insulted. People forget they are human beings and will lash back. This is a deeply talented team. The Chargers are deep too and in Tomlinson have the premier football player playing today. This will be fun. The Bengals get the nod because of Palmer and Johnson and the fact that the Chargers have supremely unimaginative Marty Schottenheimer calling the shots.

New Orleans at Pittsburgh - A game of the week runner up. Going with destiny and against the inept coaching job Cowher has done for the Steelers this season.

New York Jets at New England - This will be an entertaining game but TOM BRADY!!

Kansas City at Miami - ANother common sense pick/ I don't think the Dolphins beating the Bears last week was a fluke, it was just the first time this season that the Dolphins played like a team.

San Francisco at Detroit - Cruddy game of the week runner-up. The Lions have looked marginally better than the 49er's and I like the look of the Lions.

Washington at Philadelphia - The Redskins Joe Gibbs is looking more and more out of it in modern football and the Eagles have Donavan McNabb who usually responds to a bad team game with a stellar individual performance.

Denver at Oakland - A common sense pick but I'd bet this one and give the points.
Click images for desktop size: "Alone In The Universe" by Luthor

Dallas at Arizona - You have to pick Dallas but with Parcells, histories most over rated coach, and Denny Greene, histories worse coach, this could be a wash with the Cardinals finally showing up for a whole game. GO MATT!

St Louis at Seattle - The Rams aren't that good but the Seahawks are too banged up and have been playing too badly to consider, even at home.

Chicago at New York Giants - The real Rex Grossman that I remember showed up for the Bears last week and the defense couldn't pull it out of the fire this time. I'm taking the Bears because Grossman has to know that he needs to prove something here.

Tampa Bay at Carolina - some body at ESPN should get a refund. This is the 2nd cruddy game of the week in a row for Monday night football. Taking the Panthers because of Steve Smith.

November 11, 2006

An evil soul means an evil sword

What Makes You Happy
Click images for desktop size: "Whatever Makes You Happy" by Scot Chitwood
Got new drugs yesterday. That use to mean something different. These drugs only have something to do with fun in the most indirect way. They keep me alive to enjoy people; to enjoy my puppy. They're really wearing me out today.
On one of them, I made a mistake and read the information pamphlet. Putting off starting that one until Saturday. They gave me a 30 minute lecture about the drugs. As usual I only half listened - too depressing, reading all the side effects meant, to me, that these pills may not be worth it.
What's the point extending life a few months if the extension is going to be filled with misery.
I don't think that my attitude is suicidal. I think my attitude is common sense.

It's a couple days later. At work I was cutting down tress 8 or 9 of them, misjudged one and it bit me.
That was distracting.
Yesterday was the first round of the State Playoffs. All three teams that legitimately beat on us the field won their first round games pretty easily, all by at least 2 touch downs.
Poster - I Was A Teenage Werewolf One of them invited me to their game, clearly as a recruiting thing. I was flattered when I told them I couldn't come without my puppy that they hastily arranged things.
Because its the Championships there was a bit of scrutiny making sure I wasn't helping . . . I'm not too sure what sort of illicit advice I could give. My puppy would probably tell them to score more touch downs . . . . It was different being just a spectator. I was saddened by the low turnout especially on what was a beautiful evening. This is the other “poor” school in town. It is making me consider things a bit more seriously than I other wise would.

For some reason I've been wrapped up in thought thinking about an old Chinese song . . . yeah. Its a song thats ancient, from the time in the bronze age where iron swords were making an appearance and myths about an indestructible metal called steel were floating in the ionosphere.
I guess the closest thing we have to this sort of song would be “Yankee Doodle” or something like that, and that is not really ancient at all.
It seems there was this bad king. I note that there are seldom any good kings mentioned except in fairy tales, must be something about the job, or something about dispatching all your enemies doesn't really prepare you for a life of public service.
Anyway, there's this bad king. He's very well protected, lives in an impenetrable Chinese castle and is always surrounded by a phalanx of 100 guards, even when he sleeps. All of the guards' families are kept in prison to be executed if one of the guards screws up! Which may have added to his rep of being a bad king. There's a nameless assassin who is given the job of killing this king, a job considered to be impossible. To the outside world it appears that the assassin has lost his nerve. He puts aside his sword and begins to play the qin. The qin is that sort of lute shaped metal instrument played like a lap steel guitar, the strings plucked with a feather.
For 10 years the assassin practices the qin until he is soon recognized as the most virtuoso player in all of China.
Wolf Soul  By Wolf Wind
Click images for desktop size: "Wolf Soul" by Wolf Wind
He is invited to play at the palace.
When he plays for the king, the king is astonished at the beauty of his playing. He descends his throne, walks past his guards and takes a seat on a stool near the qin to better hear and to see the amazing dexterity of the player.
The song ends and as the last note begins to fade the assassin breaks the neck of his qin to expose the steel blade he has cunningly concealed within.
He stabs the bad, but cultured, king in the throat, killing him on the spot. The he impales himself on the blade while plunging his face into a burning brazier.
He burns his face so that he cannot be recognized so that the kings supporters cannot take revenge on him by killing his family.
What a crazy cool Chinese cat.

I also figure that if USC can beat, Oregon today, Cal next week, then Notre Dame and UCLA they should get to play for the National Championship.

I found one of my narcotic pin pills. I've taken it. It makes me groggy and even dopier than usual. I think about a friend today telling me I'm the least relaxed person she ever met. That's funny. I feel relaxed. I don't panic about things. Maybe feeling relaxed is all the difference.

Oh, and I love my puppy.

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November 7, 2006

I'm not well informed enough to vote but I do it anyway, even if its just voting against, especially if its voting against someone or something

G Dreamful 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Dreamful" by G
Between all the aches and pains, the finances and the house mate hunt, and the pathetic football picks (7-7 this week and I enjoyed every game I lost more than the ones I won - that's why I don't bet) I was feeling restless early Monday morning.
My puppy and I walked over to the practice field. Even though I told her that the season was over she still insisted on taking her fuzzy football, same as we've done for the past 3 months or so.
We were surprised. I went to the field to revel in memories. When we got there two of my kids were already there, chucking a football around in the lightening dark.
I played catch too. It hurt like hell every time I caught or threw the ball. I didn't mind it. Three more of my kids showed up. They said the absent 3 had to work now that the season was over, work for their parents. Poster - Girl With An Itch So we tossed the ball around and I listened to them talk. My puppy keep dive bombing us trying to convince us that chasing her and her football was much more fun then playing with our ball.
When you'd make a grab for it she'd jet off full speed and look back confused that we weren't all in hot pursuit.
While we tossed the ball around the kids all talked about their futures. Plans for the day and plans for the rest of their lives. Once in a while they'd ask my opinion. Between grunts and groans I approved anything that didn't involve sitting on a park bench with an open brown bag wrapped bottle of wine in your hands. It was a kind of wonderful time there.
Going into work I thought about it. I get a lot of praise heaped on me, undeserved praise, for doing what I do. Most people don't understand that I work with kids for purely selfish reasons.
For me the few hundred hours, the police vetting etc etc are all worth it because of those little vignettes, hearing young people speaking about a future with poise and confidence. Today there were plans made that 4 months ago might have seemed like nothing more than dreams, not goals or aspirations even, just dreams. And today they were plans.
To be part of that is more important to me than anything short of my puppy. Its a reason I hold myself to a standard I believe in. I maintain my honor in little things like no advertising on my puppy's or my websites. I know I'm not “special” in many ways. I've met to many people who are. I do believe though that sometimes when people are scared or planning for a future that they have to know that above all else what you say or do can be relied upon.
My agent once said to me, “Never trust anybody until you see what's in it for them.” He was talking specifically about Hollywood and deal making, but I know him well enough that he meant it as a life lesson.
Fraxdesk-No.10 1440
Click images for desktop size: "FraxDesk"
I remember that line of his often. I make sure that in my kids (the athletes) that they know I expect blood, sweat, pain and never quitting on their team or their teammates.
In exchange I'll give them the same and I'll try and pass on what little I know and have stolen from others to try and let them be the best they can be.
Yesterday morning in the early dawn six of us had to see the practice field one more time because we didn't want it to end, to ever end.
I thought, as usual, I got the better part of the deal with my kids. I thought that even with the forfeits, the press and the 1-9 season on the record books it was a remarkably successful season.
I guess my kids feel the same way.
My puppy still thinks we should have been chasing her.

My back is still in pain but reducing. No more stunning electric shocks and a lot less groaning every time I move.
It rained hard, cold and soaking. The good part was I didn't have to water the gardenias.
I took my puppy with me and went and voted. My primary goal was to NOT vote for any of the jerks who had called me with a recording. I got a sticker and my puppy got fawned over.

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November 5, 2006

Most of the time, its hard enough just being ourselves
USC 42 Stanford 0

Luisroyo Theneedlesofjoy
Click images for desktop size: "The Needles Of Joy" by Luis Royo
Its been a chaotic week. On Sunday I avoided getting hit by a car while on my bike and I really torqued my back.
Its been giving me a lot of pain ever since. As in 5 minutes putting on my socks bad.
The good part about that was that it made clear to me that the antibiotics I've been eating have knocked out most of the major pain I was feeling before.
I don't know if that is a fair trade off. I also never imagined how many times I bend down.
I haven't missed any work. I have been glad things have been slow.

High school football season is over. We won on Monday (the postponed game from the Friday) 52-0. It was the final home game. No band. Poor turnout but the kids learned to play for the joy of the game all over again. It was an admirable performance. All the seniors got on the field.
It was also where some more damage was done to my back. I don't blame anyone. For a football player, after the personal fantasies, a couple of their big dreams are to win a game where the fans storm the field and tear down the goal posts. ANother is to carry their coach off the field. Except usually coaches don't have bad lumbars that make it hard to keep themselves erect, nor do they have a puppy who is not so keen on seeing the coach raised out of their reach.
What's a little more damage when it helps some one make a small dream come true.
Poster - Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!(3) On Friday we played the team that won the conference. They whalloped us 31-7.
The score was secondary. They were a much better team. What was important was that the kids kept playing. They never just gave up.
That was more important to me than a story book ending. Story book endings are pleasant dreams that play through your head and bring smiles on cold nights. Playing through at maximum speed when it looks hopeless is something that sticks with you through out life.

My near legendary search for a housemate rolls on.
And on.
Oh, and on.
One looks promising. 3 have been jerks. 2 have left me numb. 1 would have been pleasant but her father had problems with me being male and not Chinese.
And on.

Last week was my worst week ever in picking NFL games!! I was 5-8. This knocked me all the way down to 147th!
With that in mind my picks this week are in bold.

Atlanta at Detroit - I like the Lions. I really do. Michael Vick has been too hot. I don't think it will last all season, but who knows. The Falcons' strengths hit right at the Lions' weaknesses.

Cincinnati at Baltimore - GAME OF THE WEEK! This one has me excited. The Ravens front 7 against the patchwork Bengals' O-Line will be something to witness. And the ball hawking Bengals secondary and punishing D-Line will make some head cracking plays. I hope it all comes down to McNair and Carson Palmer. That would make this a symphony. Chad Johnson makes me laugh and is good for the game. The NFL should be rewarding and not fining him. No Fun League.
Click images for desktop size: "Melons" by Pixelhust
Dallas at Washington - Okay. I was wrong about Tony Romo. I'm not wrong about Parcells and Gibbs being vastly over rated. I still see this as a who cares game with the Cowboys being slightly less awful.

Green Bay at Buffalo - Brett Favre has never been away. I think this will be a close game. The Bills still have not learned how to win, but they are a talented team.

Houston at New York Giants - Last week the Texans proved they have no business in the NFL. They sat David Carr down. No one has even bothered to report whether he will still be a back up this week, so little is the interest. The Giants have to view this as a chance to tune up and work out the kinks before the monster game next week against the Bears.

Kansas City at St Louis - There are a lot of factors in this game, both talent wise, emotionally and in coaching. Its going to be fun seeing what the two first year coaches bring today. I'm taking the Chiefs because Larry Johnson is still one of the finest young men I've ever met and Herm Edwards is a superior coach.
Shadows Of Death-1024 Miami at Chicago - Just like the Giants get a tune up before next weeks “Clash”, so do the Bears. Miami is a better team that Houston but not by much. Nick Saban is not much of a coach and Lovee Smith is getting more and more impressive. Blow Out of the week.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay - Last week the Saints, my team of destiny, got stuffed. I still liked the way they played when it looked hopeless. They played like a college team running on emotion. The Buc's have looked better, hard to look worse, but the Saints will need to win to continue to believe in themselves. That makes them the pick. I still think they are a team of destiny.

Tennessee at Jacksonville - What has happened to the Jaguars? Inconsistent is one thing but erratic is quite another! I never figured that Jack del Rio would come up with a one man team, but with Byron Leftwich as that man it is what he has. Talent-wise the Titans can't stay on the field with the Jags. But . . .

Minnesota at San Francisco - This should be an utter blow out. If it isn't then the Vikings need to rethink their play off aspirations. Goodbyesky
Click images for desktop size: "Goodbye Sky" by Adrianna
Cleveland at San Diego - Even with the Shawn Merriman fiasco the Chargers are still looking too strong and playing well. The Browns aren't ready to take it to the West Coast yet. WIthout Merriman I'd still look for Winslow to have a big day for the Browns.

Denver at Pittsburgh - Both teams got beaten last weekend, both in different but bad ways. Cowher is looking like an idiot by insisting a dinged up Rothlisberger is the man when Charlie Batch has played better and WON! The Bronco's will recover and score enough.

Indianapolis at New England - Runner up game of the week. Manning and Brady are two of the best to ever play this game. Both are on teams where the talent around them is dwindling. The game is on prime time network when both these guys have shined. I'm taking the Pats over the undefeated Colts just for that reason. The Colts keep withering when under the big spotlight.

Oakland at Seattle - The cruddy game of the week is on Monday night . . . Someone already told me that this gave him an excuse to see what has going on in “Rasslin'”.

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