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December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Girl
Click images for desktop size: "Girl" by Unknown
Once upon a time a friend called me. He coached at an American Military Base and he wanted a game against my kids. He wanted more than a scrimmage. He wanted the roughest team I could put together.
They had a QB being recruited by Brigham Young. He thought he had a chance at the European Military Championship.
Gator Bait I had a mixed team that year, one that would benefit from the experience.
Problem was we had a regular season game scheduled for the Sunday, the day after he wanted us to play.
Talked it over with the coaches and the kids. There was a big enough squad to cover it, so I accepted.
It was a good game. We got everybody into it.
We lost by less than a touchdown when their big QB pitched a 50 yard TD pass with 2 of my guys hanging from him.
It was impressive and regretful that he developed an attitude problem. He had the chance to be all world.
The next day I waited for the coach I rented to take us for our league game. Like the day before I'd rented a 60 seater.
Eleven kids showed up.
I was the only coach who showed up.
We went to the match, expecting to forfeit, but at least offering a scrimmage or some such.
They insisted we play. The ref's backed them up and showed me the rule that a squad of eleven made us legal.
Worse my kids wanted to play.
I was in a quandary. I'd have been cool with just getting on the bus and going home.
We played.
I caved in.
I coached like a son of a gun. Calling time outs, doing anything to get my kids through the game intact.
It was goofy iron man football. We played hard against the team that won the National Championship that year.
A lot of times I pulled kids off and went with only 9 or 10 players on the field.
Not surprisingly we lost by 2 points.
Green Lantern And Flash
Click images for desktop size: "Green Lantern And Flash" by DC Comics
What we won was a trust in ourselves and in each other.
My safety I discovered was a class running back and kicker. He went on to a DIv III school in the states and became a fireman.
My WR I learned was a shut down corner. He went on to become a Bio-Chemist.
And on and on. They have all become and remained life long friends.
For that the game was worth it.

I thought about that while I watched the Florida State - Kentucky game tonight. (FSU had 36 players suspended from the game in a cheating scandal).
Girls In Prison I found myself hoping that those FSU players would take something like we experienced that long ago day, that what they did out there wasn't just a game but an experience that they would carry with them, that would let them grow and mature into even finer young men.
It doesn't seem right some how but its seems true: the greatest things we humans learn is always stoked in the fires of adversity. Its only there that we learn who we are and what we are capable of. Who we can trust and who we can love.
My puppy and I have had our share here recently.
I'd like to think we came through it safe and secure in ourselves and in our relationships.
The New Year is bringing another very mild set of stresses that will end up making life better.
I can cope with that.
I've played and coached enough to know that adversity does not mean being alone.

There's just a little less of me

Wild Horse
Click images for desktop size: "Wild Horse" by Abogado
My puppy graduated from Level Two Obedience class.
I was surprised. She never did First Level Obedience. She never showed much interest in Obedience at all. Jut the sort of obedience that keeps us both happy, not the fancy heel exactly this way style of obedience for sure!
Date Bait I honestly didn't fully expect her to even pass. So when she was made "class valedictorian I was stunned to the point of having nothing to do but feel conceited.
I am always surprised at what my little dog will do to please me.
This follows on the heels of good news/bad news from my puppy;s family.
Her litter mate went to a big dog show cross country. That alone would have been infinitely cool, but the big shock was she won best of breed (Opposite sex . . . somehow that just seems wrong, why not best female?) and Best Bred By Exhibitor.
For some reason this flushes with me with pride. I don't know why but it does.
The bad news is that, like in people, cancer in dogs seems to be genetic. Hank, one of the coolest dogs I've ever known, died this year from cancer.
To me it was tragic.
Now it seems one of his offspring has the same disease.
I hate that.
Dogs are natural born battlers and can handle the disease better than most people. That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt or that the battle is any easier.
The bright spot is that she appears to be taking the chemo well and responding. Maybe she'll go into remission.
The dog is taking an oral chemo, similar to the one I had to take. I know how it made my body feel.
I feel sorry for her and am glad she wouldn't know what to do with pity. She'd probably prefer it if I rubbed her tummy or tried to take this stick away from her.

Autumn Rice by Vargas
Click images for desktop size: "Autumn Rice" by Vargas
On football this week I was a mediocre 11-5. Oddly for a while I was in first place! But some one went 16-0!I can't imagine anyone getting all those bizarre last week games right, but they did.
I gave up on my theory that the fix was in . . .
The NFC Playoffs wild card week appears to be a big thudding dud . . .

On my health front . . . I've been passing out.
I hate that. Its just like falling into a black hole. I get no rest and feel even more fatigued when I come to.
I'm not sure what to do about it. I can't will myself conscious until sleep. I just sit and pass out.
Irksome.
Dinosaurus I'm responding as expected to the drugs. My levels are all slowly balancing out.
I'll survive much more than this.
As usual my Blood pressure and cholesterol levels are all aces and I have at least gone through the added discomfort of the flu shot.
And the flu shot discomfort is a lot less painful than the flu!
There wasn't much more time left in the day.
I filled it by messing with the code on the site.
I decided that there aren't that many people who use the rss feeds. Its been a major amount of work coding everything to look good in the feeds - floating pictures etc. So i've gone to just using css classes to do some of the layout work.
I hope this doesn't distress anyone. It makes me feel a bit lazy.
I've also added in a Tag feature, where you can search for all other entries with the same tag at the bottom of the post.
It won't make much sense until there are tons of tagged posts, and I can't imagine why anyone would want to do such a thing, but it was fun trying to make it work.

December 30, 2007

Could I Just Take A Break Here?

Rabbits
Click images for desktop size: "Rabbits" by Unknown
Feeling awfully sick.
Finally got my meds. I was too long without them. Blood sugars over 24, which is close to diabetic coma.
I hate being reminded how sick I am.
Taking the meds and now. My body is readapting to them. Its harsh. Magnifies a lot of the other pain.
The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari I have to remind myself that all of that is compounded further because I had a flu shot.
But dogs and friends kept most of that away.
Its only now, when I'm alone at dark night, that I feel how utterly horrid I feel.
The good thing is I got three months supply.

The college bowl season has been dreary enough to make the bright spots gleam even brighter.
Nothing could beat seeing Tom Brady, Randy Moss and the New England Patriots make history tonight. If there's any justice they'll continue on to the Super Bowl.
I was impressed with Brady's after game speech. I was more impressed that when he completed the TD pass to Moss to set a personal record of 52 TD's in a year, he was signaling not 52 but 22, which is the record number of TD catches Randy Moss made on the same pass.
That the ref's threw a flag for "Group Celebration" which led to the Giants TD is asinine and indicative of what's wrong with the NFL.

I've changed some of my picks and might change them up until the cut off time, as info creeps through about who'll be playing and who'll be sitting down for some of the meaningless games and the not so meaningless ones.
Crazy season.
Crazy sport.
Red Rain
Click images for desktop size: "Red Rain" by Lyle Krannechfield
Its my friends birthday tomorrow; today really. And its my puppy's level 2 Obedience Graduation.
I hope I feel better for both their sakes!
I don't know how my puppy will do. Don't really care except for old competitive urges and pride.

I put up a movie on my puppy's site today.
It was hard getting it to stream from my site but I idi it.
I'm proud of that. I wanted it to look good for the kids. My initial design was minorly flawed so it had to be very HQ to read the scrawly writing. And YouTube made i so you could barely see any of the faces.
I like faces, my friend's faces and my dogs' faces.
I'm off to sleep now. I hope I can instead of just passing out. No rest in passing out.

December 28, 2007

The Northern girls with the way they kiss they keep their boyfriends warm at night
Brian Wilson

Kabegami
Click images for desktop size: "Kabegami" by cos2l

I'm a shallow guy
I always have been. I think that people judge me mostly on my appearance. As I get older, gnarled and weather beaten, that's a bit hard for me to take.
People have always said to me, "You don't judge other people that way, why keep holding yourself to a different standard?"
Because I'm me, I guess.
Attack Of The Jungle Women It also impacts the way I keep this web site. I tend to be fastidious and work to get it the way I want it to look and work. Subtle color variations, scripting and stuff.
I've gotten pretty good at html and css trying to get it to look right. At least write to me. I've even had to learn perl, for no other reason than to keep this looking nice and to keep my puppy's website easy for kids to use.
I had to work hard to get the search page to work. Its still not what I want. What I want is to click on search and have a translucent window open up where you type in your stuff and then it takes you to the result page and simply vanishes.
I have to learn AJAX for that . . .
I spent a couple of hours, last night, getting the whole site xhtml compliant. That means it should look the same in all browsers. Even though Microsoft continues to disdain all standards and demands that anything they do should become the de facto standard, it should get it close even in Internet Explorer.
I guess I did some of that to avoid thinking about the damage I've done to my body lately. It's all the grief with the drugs and prescriptions.
his shouldn't be that big a deal, but it is.
The problem is with the simple minded diabetic meds. Nothing fancy there, no trials or even a chance at narcotics. Just laws and customs designed to benefit . . . well, not me or many other patients for sure. Planning to sort it out today.
All of which comes back to this site. As in why did I decide to keep a journal in the first place and why continue it for so long? Why keep it public?
Marbles
Click images for desktop size: "Marbles"
Most of this I've thought about, written about before. Reviewing the days keeps me focused on what I am and what I want to be. Keeping it public is, ostensibly, to let all those people I know and care about but have lost, have a place to find me. To share pretty pictures.
I'm a public person. Shallow and public . . . When we moved here the most exciting thing was prepping an act for my friends Christmas party . . . in my mind I was even thinking of tunes where I could do an alternate tuning on the guitar so I could get around the fret board and hide how worthless my hands and fingers had become.
Part of it is I like the attention. Okay?
Not to the point of using DIGG or wanting to smash the look of the site with a sidebar advertising and begging for attention, but to the point of doing a Thalberg, "If its any good they'll know who made it."
Carnival Of Souls There's more to it than that but for now, that's enough.

This is a great time of the year: The Bowl Season is in full swing.
I was glad to see Purdue and Central Michigan play so well in a "minor" bowl.
I was embarrassed to see Arizona State let down the Pac 10 and play so poorly against Texas last night.
That's okay, they tried, which is more than can be said for all the NFL teams this weekend.
The final week of the regular season is historically a mess. There are flashes of interest but mainly Play Off Bound teams rest their regulars. Teams knocked out of it play lackluster ball or play over their heads to be a spoiler. Some teams choke.
Last week I was 9-7. Pretty mediocre. I should have been 10-6 but I ticked the wrong box at the website! Second time this season.
That leaves me 15 points out of first place . . . and yet I slog on.
My picks are in bold.

New England at New York Giants - The most interesting thing here is whether the Giants will concede the Patriots their perfect season or if they'll put up any resistance at all. The excuse is resting starters for the Play Offs. Coolest thing is that the NFL backed off of their pay per view scheme under threat of losing their anti-trust exemptions. Game of the week because this will be historic whatever happens.

Buffalo at Philadelphia - This is an oddity. The Eagles are playing better ball since their season is meaningless. Buffalo is choking, which is sad. I have to pick the Eagles but my heart is with the Bills.
Movies
Click images for desktop size: "Movies"

Carolina at Tampa Bay - The Buc's embarrassed themselves last week. They may rest people. The Panther's have Steve Smith . . . This could be a real snoozer with names you never heard of in key positions. The Panthers are finishing the string.

Cincinnati at Miami - The Bengals upset Cleveland last week with Defense?? The Dolphins are now under the tutelage of the most over rated coach in history - Bill Parcells. They'll lose one for the kipper.

Detroit at Green Bay - After last weeks debacle Brett Favre is worried. He should be. He's also a great one at redeeming himself. Look for the Lions, depressed but game, to pay the price. I'm pretty sure the Packers will come out blazing to set the tone for the Play Offs.

Jacksonville at Houston - Its pathetic that the Jaguars enter the play offs as a wild card team. They are potent and dangerous. Look for them to make a statement in this one. Also they'll experiment and force some issues to test their personnel. Houston, you did better than I thought.
Confessions Of A Vice Baron
New Orleans at Chicago - I like the Saints but this is not to be. The Bears have gotten mean, now that it doesn't mean anything. They're good as spoilers. They seem to like it more than being Champs! The game means more to them then it does to the disappointed, dispirited Saints.

Pittsburgh at Baltimore - Here's a mash up of a game. The Steelers are coasting and playing lousy football. They'll have no offense that can be imagined. The Ravens have looked great and then distasteful, often in the same series! I'm taking the Ravens because the Steelers have noting to win. The Ravens will take pride in beating a play off team.

Seattle at Atlanta - This is my cruddy game of the week. Worse it will be on TV tomorrow . . . The Seahawks are the second weakest team in the play offs. They're still trying to fine tune a rickety offense. Atlanta is just glad the season is over. The Falcons may get motivated but I wouldn't count on it.

San Francisco at Cleveland - Now that the Browns have lost their chance to be Division Champs this game should prove easy for them. The 49ers have more to play for but the Browns don't want to go into the play offs on a, not with their team history.

Tennessee at Indianapolis - The hardest game to call. This could be the most fun. Neither team can actually win much here so it could be just a good joyous game or one coach or the other could decide to start resting players. I'm going with the Colts but if there were more on the line for the Titans I'd take them.

Minnesota at Denver - This would be a snoozer except Adrian Peterson needs a confidence booster to head in to the Wild Card Round. Nobody is better prepared to give it to him then the Broncos. If the Vikings don't spring Peterson for big yards this will say a lot about what to expect next week.

My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose
Click images for desktop size: "My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose - R Browning"
San Diego at Oakland - I pity the Raiders, and they're sending out a very green rookie to start his first game against a team that needs a confidence boost. Rah.

St Louis at Arizona - This would be the cruddy game of the week except both teams have spark enough to make something happen. I hope that the Cardinals defense gets a handle on Steve Jackson otherwise it will go the other way.

Dallas at Washington - The Cowboys will be resting EVERYBODY who matters. The starters will treat it like a scrimmage most likely. The Redskins are playing for their jobs next year in front of an angry home town crowd. Which is why I'm picking them for the upset.

Kansas City at New York Jets - This is a real stink pot of a game to end the regular season . . . I'm taking the Jets because the coin came up tails.

These picks are for your great amusement only. They are not to be taken as even knuckle headed advice!

December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

Desert By Alex Chaquitas
Click images for desktop size: "Desert - New Mexico" by Alex Chaquitas
In England, every year there was a newspaper debate about the name Boxing Day.
The Sun would say that is was named because it was the day that all the gifts and decorations were boxed up.
The Times would refute it with their own not very interesting genesis of the name.
Vice Raid 1959 I think the only important thing is that its an extra day off of work.
I only wish that the irritating pain would take a holiday.

I got a very cool Christmas Present.
Best Friends are a Charity rescuing abused or just lost animals. You can adopt an animal online. They have dogs, cockatiels, horses . . . even cats . . . Its a touching gift. I worry about animals. Mainly dogs and rabbits. But I worry and having one less to worry about pleases me.
There's a film that I don't much like, because it is not very good. It is either invidious, naive or inept.
"Year Of The Dog" stars one of those new age Saturday Night Live women. She looks very haggard.
The story is that she has a wonderful little dog who dies suddenly. And her whole world collapses. Then she collapses in a very bitter way.
She's abandoned by family and friends because she starts a new heartfelt love for animals. The only friend she makes out of all this is a namby pamby self serving intensely sincere hypocrite. Then she starts to steal from her company to fund Animal Rescue Centers, like Best Friends. She adopts an aggressive dog she can't control and then, through a tragic turn, about 20 other dogs.
When she finds out that her beloved dog died because he had entered her neighbors garage and eaten snail poison she flips out and, unfairly blames her neighbor. She even attempts to kill him.
Eagle's Daughter
Click images for desktop size: "Eagle's Daughter - Sculpture" by Unknown
This extreme act gains her the pity of her co-workers, family and friends. She turns her back on them to crusade for animal rights.
Now my biggest problem with the film is that it depicts almost anyone who loves animals as having some serious sociopathic issues. Like only someone who can't connect with human beings could give a damn about an animal.
In fact it goes out of its way to depict a hunter, who gives an long ineloquent soliloquy about hunting, as the most rational person in the movie.
As the leads compassion grows instead of presenting her commitment to another species as humorous and courageous it shows it as the cause and effect of a deranged mind.
That's kind of stupid if you ask me.
You can only quote Steve McQueen, "You never had a dog, mister."

Alien So recovering from Christmas is not as much fun as preparing for Christmas.
I'm tired. I ate too much. I laughed too much.
I loved my dogs not enough.
Now getting prepared for my friend to take a big trip. SHe has to do a months training in a town about two hours from here.
They pick up the tab. Still, even with all my fuzzy friends it will be lonely.
Strange. I'm alone most of my adult life but it will be lonely. Not in a bad way but only becasue I'm "wise and mature".
Of course she says, "He lives in the past, tolerates the present and forgives a future he deson't believe exists."
That doesn't really contradict much that other people have said about me . . .



December 25, 2007

And so it was

Stranded by Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: "Stranded" by Richard Mohler
It was a good Christmas.
We went out just before midnight. Ben, the little blind dog, my puppy, and me. We walked for about 40 minutes in the nice cold air.
We looked at lights and met two people. Its a pretty small town.
When Worlds Collide One was a gawky teen. He wasn't dressed warmly enough, but he was dressed well. He looked like he'd just lost his girlfriend. He mumbled a reply to our Merry Christmas and Ben barked at him.
The other fellow we met was in shirt sleeves and hopping in his car. We Merry Christmased him and he looked startled and sort of waved back.
Its not that small a town.
When we got home all the dogs had their doggie style bread pudding. They wanted more.
Opening of presents was exciting for the puppies. Their eyes bugged out of their heads so far they looked more like some amphibian than dogs.
They killed all the toys post haste and clamoured for more treats.
It was good and felt like all Christmases should. Better than many a Christmas I've had.
Until my friend's mother called. Her mother told her that the person who had hurt her most in this world was coming over for Christmas.
In my usual heavy fisted way I thought the only way to handle things was through confrontation.
I don't always know what's right for others. Only what's right for me. And that's what I would have done. I wouldn't let people keep wounding me.
Until little Ben started to hack and tremble. I held him for about an hour and willed death away from him. I kept massaging him and heimliching him and just doing whatever I could.
We thought about calling the vet but knew that their solution would be to put him down. He's blind and has allergies. He looks bad but he still enjoys life. He really does.
It was a hard decision, so it seemed best to just keep ministering to him.
Tiger Or Snake
Click images for desktop size: "Tiger Or Snake" by Evegny
With far less drama he just recovered. Hopped/fell off my lap, as is his custom, and everything was, tense, but fine.
He demanded some treats and went about his live, his nerves less frayed then ours.
We watched "The Bucket List". It was okay with one superb line, "The last 3 months of his life were the best of mine." It felt awfully contrived. Two good actors couldn't quite pull off that stunt; to make it feel natural and flowing.
Then I watched "Body And Soul", the stunning John Garfield boxing movie. That might seem an off choice for Christmas but I find the movies message of hope, self reliance and love completely apropos.
Finally we watched Judy Holiday's "Born Yesterday". She makes me laugh.
Earth vs The Flying Saucers Some where in there I had my traditional Christmas dinner. A 99 cent frozen thing.
It started in Texas when I shared it with my dog Ethel. It was a belak time and that dinner, that I couldn't afford, seemed magical and wonderful.
After Ethel died it was a way to stay connected to the dog who chose me.
As my puppy and I shared it, it felt different this year.
I still haven't sorted out the feelings. It reminded me deeply of that wonderful dog, but made me more keenly aware of the dogs here who love me, near as much as I love them.
I have to think about this more.
So Christmas isn't over yet!
Its felt good and celebatory. Not raucously so. I haven't been raucously so for a long time.

One thing I did was near completion of transfering the site to Movable Type.
Its nearly completed.
A lot of the chores were difficult. Getting the search function working was the hardest thing.
The most tedious part was correcting the errors caused by the export/import process.
I had to re-read a lot of my life in a very jumbled order.
That was okay.
I saw a lot of things I didn't like. That's okay too.

December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Louiville KY
Click images for desktop size: "Louisville Kentucky"
This is the one time of the year when you're allowed to be sappy.
Even the hard guys are allowed to simper in their boiler makers and remember mom and the smell of nutmeg and cinnamon wafting from the kitchen, even if, especially if the kitchen never existed.
The living dead girls have to attitude twice as hard to prove themselves.
Superman Remember Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas Eve. He won his biggest battle by risking serenity to win freedom cause he knew what we all know: You can be broke, abused and downhearted and Christmas isn't a cure for that, but its the time when miracles might happen. Might happen is enough.
My last story from Christmas past,
One summer I decided to work as a cowboy at a big ranch in Northern Montana, by the Blue Berry Mountains. Only because I always wanted to be a cowboy and just imagining being something was never enough for me.
They invited me back to have Christmas with them. I went.
The snow had drifted about 12 feet in spots. You drove through tunnels of snow. It was spectral. It was beautiful.
Christmas Eve I went with them to a Mennonite service. It was austere and moving in its way.
When we got back to the ranch I decided to take a ride. Everyone seemed to understand that. There was plenty of moonlight and the stars seemed close enough to the ground that you'd have to swat them away from your head like pesky flies.
The horse, a plug nosed roan plowed happily through the snow. It wanted the exercise.
Christmas
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Card - 2006"
We were in a paddock about 2 miles from the ranch house, admiring the endless sky, the hard line between heaven and earth and the silvery TV like glimmer of the snow, when I heard a calf bawling.
It was trapped in a gully filled with snow. The mother was bawling back at it but she wasn't quite foolish enough to go in after it.
I got off the horse with a rope, wondering why the two of them were this far from where the cowboys had spread the hay. I dropped a rope on the calf and it thrashed about and managed to pull me into the little gully along with it.
It felt like I was going to drown in snow.
I struggled a little. Then relaxed humming Silent Night, I started to swim the snow until I got to a purchase and managed to pull myself to firmer snow . . .
DisneyComicI was sweating which meant I was going to get really cold soon. I crawled up the little slick snow hill and trailed the rope to its length. I got the horse over and we managed to pull the calf free.
When I was slipping the rope off its neck the mother cow tried to gore me . . . Last I saw of them was their tails swishing as they jogged away into the darkness.
I got back to the ranch house. The sweat had started to freeze up on me. The Ranch mom had waited up for me, keeping a hot cup of cocoa brewing.
I put the horse in the corral, tended to it, and was relieved and grateful for the warmth inside the house.
I drank the cocoa while she asked me what had happened.
I told her I dug a calf out of a gully, with no more elaboration.
"Silly beasts. Don't let that keep you from having a Merry Christmas."
The next day they gave me an expensive Black Stetson hat.
It was a good Christmas.
So I wish the same to all of you, my friends, the curious, the strangers:
Merry Christmas.

December 23, 2007

Everybody deserves

Merry Christmas
Click images for desktop size: "Merry Christmas"
I know a guy.
He was the sort of guy who shaves everyday with a straight razor.
He told me that, for two years he started each day staring in the mirror, waiting for the soap to soften his beard, He ran a little mantra over and over in his head: "I hate my life and I hate my wife."
For two years . . .
He called me Christmas Eve 1986. He said he was out getting the final touches for Christmas and he couldn't face the idea of going home again.
Elvis Presley GI Blues I don't know why he called me. I listened and said what you'd be expected to say to a crying man on Christmas Eve.
He didn't go home.
I saw him again.
Boxing Day 1996, in the Cologne Valley. We were at an American Football Tournament.
He recognized me. I wouldn't have known him. He'd put on 30 pounds and had a scraggly beard.
The wife he left was a blonde with perfectly manufactured breasts and blonde hair that seemed to be made of rayon. She was 28 but to me she looked like she was 42 trying to look 22.
We get a lot like that in LA. I think its the sun and the fear and the worlds most physically attractive flocking in every day.
Anyway, he introduced me to his new wife. She was polynesian and had one of those names out of a boggle box, "Just call me Wren."
Wren was about 5'2" and weighed about 200 pounds. She looked solid as a nose tackle. She made me laugh.
This guy didn't ask me about my life. He still had a lot of the straight razor shaver in him. He told me how happy he was now.
He did look happier.
He said he'd be in touch. But I never heard from him. I didn't expect to.
We were different people.
All we had left in common between us was a Christmas from a period both if us wanted to forget.

The year before the black Christmas my friend and hair stylist played Power Golf. For the last time my little family had done Christmas morning and they'd gone back to bed. So I did a Christmas Morning Surf Trek. It was a sloppy day. Three foot and choppy, but it still felt good to hit the waves. It made for a cool Yulesville.
Christmas Card
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Card -2006"
After that I met my buddy at the golf course. We were insane, you see.
Its kind of funny we were even friends. He used to run with the Billionaire Boys Club crowd and I, I was just a surfer. We were friends though.
We were well known for our slogan, "we wish of all of our friends success. (a beat) So they won't borrow money from us.
Its not as cynical as it first seems, the assumption should be that we'd loan you the money.
Anyway we needed to play golf for business. We liked the game but found it slow so we invented our own rules.
Basically you carried your clubs on your back and ran to the ball after each stroke. There were penalties for being the last to sink your putt.
Harvey Giels (Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas) We made quite a sight I'd guess, on a sunny Christmas day, running all over the green fairways stopping just long enough to smash the ball and then pursuing it again.
That was the day my buddy asked me to be the best man at his wedding.

I gave my puppy a bath today.
She hates baths. She's always so good but she still lets you know how she feels.
I like that and everything else about her.

This doesn't have anything to do with the holiday.
I'm very happy with the new host. For one thing everything works. I did discover something alarming.
25,000 times a day various websites (mainly myspace and hi5) were hot linking to the images here. In the 6 days we've been on the new site we've used nearly 3 gig of bandwidth with a third of that going to people hot linking to here. I had to stop it because some of the sites I found to be alarming and I really don't want anyone to think I approved.
Some of the sites were just dead.
I put up an error message, if they bother to look, so that when the image comes back as forbidden, they can see instructions on how to put the picture up on there site without forcing me to pay for extra bandwidth.
It seems petty of me but . . .


December 22, 2007

They're up here because they believe
Vince Lombardi

A Christmas Carol - 2004
Click images for desktop size: "A Christmas Carol - Christmas Card 2004"
We went for a walk today.
Strike that.
We started out for a walk today when the largest dog managed to escape out the gate.
He refused to come when called so I had to chase him, except I still had my puppy and the little blind dog with me. All 3 of us ran after the big dog. We were game but the little one wore out. I had to scoop him up and carry him.
Bambi 1942 We had a bout a 10 minute chase with a couple of close calls but no damage done except to my temper. Until we got home and I realized that making the little blind boy run, even for only 50 yards was too tough on his cardio. He recovered but it was nerve racking for a while there. None of which improved my temper with the big guy. I got even though. I gave the big guy 5 grams less ice cream then everyone else got tonight!
We all have our own forms of discipline.

One of the purposes for the walk, other than health . . . was to ponder this weeks NFL games in the weekend of the "Silent Night". Most of the games are, well, dogs! It makes them harder to pick as fewer teams have any reason to try. Its the holidays for them too and no matter how professional an athlete is its unique for a man to go out and want to destroy his brother in this time of peace when there is nothing to be gained for it but some weak pride.
I think they'll all play to their abilities, for the most part, but there'll be a fine edge that's lacking which makes thing unpredictable. Then there'll be some rookies getting some major game time and they'll either collapse or explode with heart and enthusiasm. I think that this week is mainly guesswork and tossing a two headed coin.
As usual my picks are in bold.

Pittsburgh at St Louis - This ones already played. The Steelers won. I picked them but it was with no heart. The Steelers are not very good and I'd expect them not to go deep in the playoffs.

Dallas at Carolina - This is good medicine for the Cowboys who are not looking all that dominant at the moment. The Panthers are feeling a bit confident after their upset win last week but they don't match up well enough against Dallas to have much of a chance. The score is Cowboys up 17-10 as I write this. This says more about the Cowboys in the playoffs then anything else.
Silver Bell 2006
Click images for desktop size: "Silver Bell - Christmas Card 2006"
Cleveland at Cincinnati - My heart ays pick the Bengals. My heart starves a lot. I'd like to see them get it together and stick it to the Browns but its the equation. The Browns are chasing the Steelers for the Division Championship. They're not used to winning. The Bengals have nothing to win or lose except pride. A lot of their players have enough pride and talent to carry them but the attitude is hard to guess. Remember a few years ago when Chad Johnson scored a TD in week 16? He scored and ran to a pylon where he had a giant Christmas Stocking stashed, he opened it and started throwing gifts to the fans. I liked that a lot. They got to the play offs that year too . . .

Green Bay at Chicago - Last week the Bears were almost as embarrassing as the Vikings. They looked terrible, the Vikings only slightly less terrible. Bret Favre is still Bret Favre and want the home field advantage. He's been there before and looks like a team of destiny. The Bears look like a team trying to remember how to play the game.
Batman
Houston at Indianapolis - This is one of those games where, if your a home town fan you might care. There's almost nothing of real interest here except wondering how the Colts will handle Mario Williams.

Kansas City at Detroit - There's a tremendous sadness in this game. Two teams who back in August looked at the world with bright eyes and expectant determination. The Lions looked ready to exorcise their demons. The Chiefs looked like well, they wee hopeful. This is one of the least important games of the weekend and its sad that it should be so.

New York Giants at Buffalo - The Giants look like a team willing to stumble into the playoffs expending minimal effort. The Bills aren't quite out of it but are playing for something, like a dying city and a teammate who most thought, a few months ago, might be better off dead. The Giants are a slight favorite! Go Bills.

Oakland at Jacksonville - The only question I see here is whether the Jaguars can keep the score down. They have fire in their eyes and are not foolish enough to let that fire get away from them. The Raiders still have those snazzy uniforms.

Pattern Of Presents
Click images for desktop size: "Pattern Of Present " by Unknown
Philadelphia at New Orleans - This is actually the game of the week. Sort of by default. As in most of the other games are sort of cruddy. Both teams have a little to play for. The Saints aren't eliminated form the play offs . . . yet. The Eagles want to put together back to back strong games for contract time. I'm taking the Saints because of Dru Brees and home field.

Tampa Bay at San Francisco - At first blush a cruddy game of the week contender. But Frank Gore looked good for the 49ers last week. And, like it or not, the Buc's are division champions. I don't think Gore can repeat his performance against this defense, without him the 49er's don't have much.

Atlanta at Arizona - Here is the cruddy game of the week . . . well, both teams will show up and they both have well tailored uniforms . . . the Falcons' gear is a bit prettier in my opinion. The Cardinals stuff seems to actually wrinkle and bunch up a lot . . .
Beatles Come To Town
Baltimore at Seattle - The Ravens beautiful performance against the Patriots was sure a one off. Seattle are trying to figure out how to win with less of a running game than even the Packers! And Hasslebeck is no Bret Favre! Still at home the Seahawks should win.

New York Jets at Tennessee - The Titans are struggling for a play off shot. They deserve it even with some bone head coaching they've shown fire and grit. The Jets have shown they are core losers. I'm only glad Eric Maginini doesn't own Wilson (so he can't take the ball and run home.)

Miami at New England - Now that the Dolphins actually won a game the glitter is off of this one. The weather will be poor but not so bad that Tom Brady can't get back to throwing a few TD's. I don't see anyone on the Dolphins who can stop him so they must be praying for a freak blizzard.

Denver at San Diego - So the Chargers managed to stick one last week. They have already won my award for most disappointing team this season, even more disappointing than the Bears! (I mean who really thought the Bears would repeat this year with all their off season insane arrogant moves). he Broncos are in a tail spin but might find the weather nice enough to put forth a little effort.

Washington at Minnesota - My runner up game of the week. Two teams who (to the NFC's embarrassment) are in the wild card chase. The Redskins looked bad last week. The Vikings looked abominable except for Adrian Peterson. I'll go with a guy who can turn a busted play into a TD any time.

As usual my picks are for entertainment purposes only. Although if you die laughing I will not be held responsible.

And if you hadn't noticed: Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings, Happy Kwanzaa. And Peace on Earth, please.

I have no religion. Celebrating Christmas; this time of year seems made for looking back
Henry Koster

Christmas Wish 2003
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Wish - Christmas Card 2003"
The first Christmas I remember: My mother and me. I woke up and under the tree on the kitchen table were five Mad Magazine paperback books and a magic set that had this horrid orange and blue doll made of hard plastic.
The doll came with a scimitar. Thanks to some whirligig secret gears and meshes you could pass the scimitar through the doll and the doll never fell in two.
A Christmas Carol Its the earliest Christmas I remember.
Its my best Christmas as a child that I remember.
I remember the stages of my life through Christmases. More than birthdays, I remember Christmas.
Some of the memories are movies or TV, some of its family but mostly its the people.
I remember being 7 and the crazy woman who lived in the crazy house with all the garbage n her front lawn. She yelled at us constantly because we were little hoodlums. If a ball went into her backyard it was gone forever. She was always going to call the police on us. I don't think she ever did.
At Christmas she would dress up and sit on her front porch. By dressing up I mean that most of the time she wore a bath robe, or if out and about slacks and a T-Shirt. She was always alone. But around Christmas she would wear a worn red velvet dress and a green knit shawl, with an enamel broach of a Christmas tree.
She sat on her porch and when she saw us she would call us over. First time I saw her up close I was shocked that she wasn't 120 years old. She was probably in her late 30's. Its hard for a kid to judge an adults age and memory is always either too kind or too harsh.
She gave each of the kids a paper plate. Covered in plastic wrap was a hunk of green lime jello. Suspended in the jello were pieces of shredded cabbage and carrot.
I have no idea what the significance of it was, what it had to do with Christmas. Other than the fact that every Christmas Eve she would be out there making us take that lime green jello.
I only ate it once, the first time. It was terrible.
Christ Is Born 2005
Click images for desktop size: "Christ Is Born - Christmas Card 2005"
She used to tell us that Santa came to Southern California on rain drops because there wasn't any snow.
I think she meant it to be consoling but it confused me then and confused me now.
She last told me that when I was 13 and I didn't believe in Santa Claus anymore. I didn't correct her.
Shortly after that Christmas and ambulance came to her house. She never came back and the trash and the garbage in her yard corroded and rusted.
Never thought about her much except for missing her at Christmas.
I've had some black Christmases and some of them that could only be happy.
I used to love out annual big Christmas Party. A couple hundred people and all the musicians making music. We taped it all and would play the tapes from last year until someone picked up a guitar and started to make new music this year.
Spaceman Discovers Christmas It was a wonderful fun that just grew and grew. Every year my wife and I were stunned at how each party got bigger and better with no more effort from us. People we didn't know would show up and play. They'd tell us how they'd been wanting to come for years and were so glad they finally got to be here.
We felt good because we had so many loving friends and we had made them feel like a part of ourselves.
Then there weren't anymore parties.
There were the Christmases with the dogs.
There was little Ethel, the dog who followed me home from the day labor joint.
I'd gotten a job to start in the New Year and we sat in my crummy one room and ate a 79 cent frozen Turkey dinner and laughed and she did tricks for me she hadn't done before.
Because of her and because of hope it was one of the best Christmases of my new life.
Then there was the first Christmas with my puppy. Her first Christmas. I didn't have much for her but her aunt and my friend sent us packages that filled the house with Christmas joy. They sent decorations and presents and our house was filled with as much rapture as a Dickensian Christmas dream.
My little puppy taught me to remember the joy and excitement and the peace that the season brings. Her friends reminded me that innocence, kindness, hope and love will always exist. Even if it comes on a paper plate of lime jello.
This is an unhidden Silly Song Silent Night by Eddie Bond and Dinky Duck. Its pretty stupid which means I like it plenty. It helps if you remember who Dinky Duck is.


December 20, 2007

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Santa's Workshop
Click images for desktop size: "Santa's Workshop - Christmas Card 2005"
And suddenly everything is beginning to look alright.
Its not quite "Twas The Night Before Christmas" but its getting there and it feels enough like it to not matter.
Woody Woodpecker And isn't that a part, a small part, of Christmas? That the grief and hatred and rage of the world can be overwhelmed?
My friend got her dream job.
Her pay cut will be more than I grossed last year . . . but its still her dream job. Doing something you believe in, using your skills to achieve a dream you've had, a dream that's just not in her world but in all of ours.
Its the sort of dream that I wanted my kids to strive for. And she got it.
Rah.

The new host is turning out to be pretty impressive. I'm not sure if that's because the old host was disintegrating so badly that I've lost perspective or if Blue Host is really that good.
At dot5 the mysql server was dying so every time you did something that touched it the database would just corrupt all the more. Trust me; a busted database is something you just do not want.
They helped me fix it. I never expected that.
I still can't run Movable Type 4.1 beta. And you know how it gnaws at me to not be running all the alpha and beta software that I can . . .
It will get fixed and I'll have it sorted out soon enough. Yup.
Its that kind of day.
Everything seems possible.
Its coming up Christmas.
Napping By The Fire - 2004
Click images for desktop size: "Napping By The Fire - Christmas Card 2004"
There are parts of myself I don't like.
I am conceited so that might surprise you.
Parts of me I don't like!
But its so.
During this mini-crisis I was afraid of it.
I'd figure some of you have seen it.
I'm not every in touch with my human side (lets not even waster time talking about feminine side!).
It manifests itself when things get bad. I start to lock down and prepare to do nothing else except endure.
I disconnect from physical and emotional sensations. I go off of pure intellect and rage.
Its my survival mode.
It doesn't make it pleasant to be around me.
Wizard Of OzI'm into the mode so it doesn't impact me much at all except for hating the lack of feelings, while thinking this is the only way to make it through.
Through all of this recent spate I've noticed that I didn't fall into that mode automatically. For me that's a big step; not just waking up and being in that monstrous mode.
And then I never really fell into it. Yeah, I had to fight it some, but not enough to want a cashiers check for.
I think its my puppy. She has demands and some needs. She keeps me sane.
I think its my friends. They need caring for to struggle on too.
Its probably a combination of all of these things and a lot of things I don't even know exist.

The Pittsburgh - St Louis game is on TV. I picked the Steelers although I wouldn't be surprised to see the Rams beat them.

December 19, 2007

If you can hear this

Merry Christmas If you're reading this it means that you're at the new hosting site and your name servers have migrated!
I was looking at the old traffic meter I kept and it's apparent that the old host had been dying for months and months.
Here everything just feels zippy!
I'm glad you found us again . . .
Comic Cavalcade Today was just a day of waiting. Me: I waited for the old Registrar to release the domain name. My friend had a bit more difficult time. She was waiting for her dream job to call.
No real reason to expect them to, except that each of her references would call her after they spoke to her dream job and they indicated they would probably make a job offer today.
No phone call.
She (and I for that matter) would be disappointed but would accept not hearing from them. I still stir up a lot of anger towards her jerk ex-employers. I have nothing but bad feelings towards them and it codifies all the bad I had felt about them previously only in a more grotesque gargantuan form.
There's still tomorrow.

It was warmer today, which was justification to not finish all the snow shovelling . . . it justified it to me anyway.
My back is feeling about 90% right now but my right shoulder is cramping up.
We went for a walk, the blind puppy, my puppy and I. They rejoiced in the warmer weather and the sight of kids having snow ball fights and sliding around in the slush.
It felt like Christmas was really almost here.

December 18, 2007

Its time we said goodbye

Wild About Christmas
Click images for desktop size: "Wild About Christmas - Christmas Card 2005"
This will be my last post on Dot5hosting.
I'm not thrilled about that but it was becoming impossible. It took three hours of holding and 9 hours of waiting for "Live Chat" to find out how to transfer my domain . . . and they lied to me the first time . . . Its sorted now.
It Happened One Night I'll be putting through the name change as soon as I finish here. They say it will take 24-48 hours to "propogate" and then, like magic, you'll be at the new host.
It should be invisible to everyone out there.
Its 9 bucks a month with the new hosting service until I decide I'm staying with it. I can't affordd it but the kids reading my puppy's site are worth more than that.
It will warm me on Christmas, for sure.

If I needed affirmation that it was time to move I got it. The server is down . . . at least it gave me the time to add on this little lobby card . . .

This is fascinating. Tucows, who I always thought of as an online software reseller, are the Registrars of my domain name. They are as bad as dot5hosting! My domain isn't being released to point to the new server. No reason, just apathy, I guess. It's not moving . . . Law says they have 7 BUSINESS days to release it . . . it is usually done on an automated system but Tucows likes to hold on to them . . . I can imagine some ugly fiscal reasons for this, but I suspect its really just not caring.

December 17, 2007

Could you hand me the left handed monkey wrench?

Christmas Advert 1972
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Advert 1972" by Coca Cola
Just got the new water heater. Two hours (approx) to a hot shower!
No headaches from washing my hair in cold water. I think that's a pretty good thing.
Bugs Bunny Christmas Yesterday, aside from watching some modestly enjoyable football, I worked on updating the site, prepping for the move to Movable Type.
The hosting service is becoming totally aggravating. I've been using them for 2 and a half years. I picked them because Dot5 Hosting was and still is the cheapest hosting service out there. Domain registration and service is about seventy bucks a year!
At first they were adequate. They had fits and outages, but they remained barely adequate.
This year I debated about moving to another service but they were talking about getting new servers in and updating things. Mainly its just such a chore backing up the data bases, reinstalling, downloading the whole site, then reinstalling it, then figuring out why it doesn't work etc etc.
In the last 7 months the service has been horrendous! Coming from a background of free servers, well it was worse than that. Customer service got moved to India . . . so where I used to be able to call or do an online chat and ask the guy to reboot the server now I have someone giving me answers out of a book until they don't understand what I'm talking about.
They pass me off to a Senior Tech . . . which means I get an email a couple days later and nothing changes or gets fixed.
I was trying to live with the service. I spent a lot of time converting everything to Movable Type.
Movable Type works by using perl to create an html page. Html pages load faster than php. It puts less strain on the server.
Movable Type normally generates the pages in about .015 seconds per page. I had about 500 pages to generate. On free servers it could take about 10 minutes! On my wonky service it took about 32 hours. And it had to be monitored becasue it would suddenly fail.
Santas Treats - Christmas Card 2005
Click images for desktop size: "Santa's Treats - Christmas Card 2006"
I've decided to change hosting services . . .
This wouldn't be so bad if I were getting paid for it . . .
I guess you're worth it.
Sure you are.
The page your looking at is Movable Type. I hope you noticed that it loaded really really fast!
There's still some glitches and cosmetic things I have to sort out. I'm putting in the links one at a time . . . I know that's important to a lot of people. I'll try and get to them . . .
It was my original plan to make the move around Christmas, maybe even on to a new server! But the database for WordPress got corrupted. I had a back up!!! Which is close to miraculous . . . for me anyway.
Hopefully all of this will be invisible to you. It won't affect my puppy's blog at all.
Flash Gordon 1938 Her blog is important. A lot of kids sem to love her. They at least write to her.
That's important to me.

Onto to football. The games were poor but the scores were exciting. I loved seeing Philadelphia rise up angry, and seeing the Redskins make a strong stand behind the old discarded veteran is engaging theater. I went 10-5 and managed to rise up to 1,793. 14 points out of first place with two weeks to go . . . and I'm optimistic . . .

There was an amazing amount of snow yesterday and last night. I am becoming an expert snow shovellor . . . No, really!
I even hurt myself badly today. Just my back killing me. I had to clear the driveway so the hot water heater guys could come in. I was having fun until I hurt myself. I was singing Christmas songs and I'm sure I was being a neighborhood nuisance. Why people don't want to hear an acapella doo wop version of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer with exertion grunts in rhythm escapes me.
No one complained, if they had I would try and teach them the harmony parts or let them sing lead while I did the harmony.
No one does harmony anymore. Maybe they've heard me sing . . .
All else is well.
I think there's enough hot water for me to take a shower.
Some of you might say I even need one.
That would be unkind.

December 16, 2007

Sometimes I just don't get it. And then I do.

Christmas Card 2005
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Card 2005" by Unknown
It's colder than I'm used to. I can only think of a few times when I've ever been colder.
THose times I was places where it was foolish to expect it to be anything but freezing.
Maybe that's the way it is here too.
New Adventures Of Batman And Robin A while ago I came back from Europe and went to Texas. Too complicated to explain why Texas. It was he place I thought I had to be.
One of the reasons I was glad to be returning to America was that I had seen the rights of people, of workers and children stomped on. It was a disgrace.
I never figured that the European Employers had either decided to follow the American lead or if the US Government had decided that people were no longer as important as corporations. Workers not as necessary as stock holders . . .
By trusting in people and trusting in the law I got myself into the worst hell of my life.
Where do you go when they tell you that you're right but no money comes in the window while the landlord pounds on the door?
Its sad because my friend is in the same situation. A wrongful termination by a failing company. They owe her money but they're not going to pay so that they can save themselves her "golden parachute", which wasn't all that golden.
And the strength of it is that they are going to make her go the whole ten yards and sue them. The logic is simple: They'll either settle before judgement or they'll be out of business.
Nice guys. Businessmen.
There's no escaping them.
Bastards.
Merry Xmas.
Tomorrow my puppy goes for her level 2 Obedience certificate. She needs 6 points from her Down Stay.
She doesn't like to lie down. I realized that she never has and I got her to do it for her Therapy dog training by making it a game. Its compounded now because she views the down command as another word for PLAYTIME!
Its my fault . . . the children always pay for the sins of the father.
Christmas Card 2006
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Card 2006" by Unknown
Its not terribly important that she pass or get a certificate. Its only important for her self esteem . . . ??? Okay, I'd be proud if she got the Certificate because it comes with a red ribbon she can beat up!

And now . . . THE NFL!
No matter how many water heaters or appliances die around me that no one can afford to replace I always keep my priorities straight.

Last week I was 14-2, which sounds pretty good but actually dumped me all the way down to 2,393rd place! With 3 weeks to go it is daunting, but I'll have fun anyway. Strangely I'm not mathematically eliminated . . .
As usual my picks are in Bold.

Le Samourai Denver at Houston - I picked Houston as there defense has been coming on stronger and stronger while their running game has reached its peak, which os good - not great. The Bears proved last year that a good defense and good running game can take you places. Denver is falling apart. They should win one or maybe two games but they're done this year.

Cincinnati at San Francisco - The Bengals are a much better team than their record shows. If they had a line backer survive the first month of the season or anything resembling a defense they'd be contenders. The 49er's remain suspect. But, as I write this they trail the Bengals by 3, 10-7! So who knows. Nah. They'll lose. Frank Gore is not good enough to carry this team.

Arizona at New Orleans - Two teams playing out the string when all they really want to do is go home and dream of next year. I give the nod to the Saints because Drew Brees is playing for more than a contract. He's got a chip on his shoulder and the talent to make doubters pay.

Atlanta at Tampa Bay - What else bad could happen to the Falcons. I feel for them and know what they're going through. Not enough to pick them but . . . other teams have had sudden coaching teams and come out and played inspired football . . . just not often against a decent team that is trying to lock down a play off spot. It would be beautiful if it happened though. Just beautiful.
Christmas Card 2004
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Card 2004" by Unknown

Baltimore at Miami - I'm telling you the Dolphins are the most feared team in football right now. No one wants to be the guys they beat. The Dolphins are even bringing in the 35th Anniversary team - the perfect team - to help rally them. Still, the Ravens have been snake bit the last two weeks. They should get better here. And if the Dolphins lose and the Patriots win (they should) history will be made next week when a 14-0 team meets an 0-14 team. The universe needs that sort of balance.

Buffalo at Cleveland - The Game Of The Week by far! I'm taking The Browns because of home field advantage, mostly. But its a game on the cusp, I think. And I'll get it on TV . . . which is something good.

Green Bay at St Louis - The Rams aren't as bad as their record but the Packers and Favre have the look of a team wanting to make history. I want them to make history!

Osmosis Jones Jacksonville at Pittsburgh - I'm surprised the Steelers are so heavily favored here. I guess the logic is home field advantage and their recent 1-3 spat will send them on the field angry. My instincts are that the Jaguars could make this a rout but will get dizzy and let the Steelers keep it close. My runner-up game of the week. I won't get this on TV . . .

New York Jets at New England - I see football as sport and art. There's not much difference to me between ballet and a wide receiver, between a boxer and a down line man, between a back and an opera star. Except nobody belittles you if you say you don't like football. The Patriots are looking like magic. Billichik has the whole Spy-Gate fiasco to fire up his team. Pity the Jets.

Seattle at Carolina - The Seahawks are working hard to make people believe they belong in the play offs. The Panthers don't have enough talent to convince them other wise.

Tennessee at Kansas City - I almost feel sorry for the Chiefs. If Vince Young would stop worrying about stats and just play his game this could be a rout. Their defense is better with Haynesworth even at 50% and their running game is a wonderful thing. The Chiefs are just looking to avoid the off season cull,

Indianapolis at Oakland - Since the Raiders have already conceded the game when they guaranteed time for rookie Jackson at QB how could anyone pick them. Peyton Manning has a rep as a great guy but do you notice the blood in his eye at game time?

Detroit at San Diego - I feel sorry for the Lions. They worked so hard all season and especially last week. I hope they all get a chance to return as a team and try again next year, avoiding the pot holes. The Chargers are a disappointment, especially Philip Rivers and even Tomlinson has not looked good. Without Shawn Merriman as creaky defense got worse but they should still have enough to squeak by the disappointed Lions.

Philadelphia at Dallas - Boring game of the week. There's no magic left in the Eagles. They may get crazy and shock the Cowboys but not in Dallas.

Nell McAndrew
Click images for desktop size: "Nell McAndrew"
Chicago at Minnesota - The Bears are going with Kyle Orton . . . Adrian Peterson is healthy. I'm looking forward to the Vikings making the playoffs. Aside from the Cowboys and Packers the pool is so weak they could get deep into it.

Washington at New York Giants - This is my cruddy game of the week. Both teams confuse and confound me but not in any pleasant way. Neither of them are playing good football. I'm taking the Giants because they always seem to play just well enough to save Tom Coughlin's job.

As usual using these picks for any reason than to admire my insanity is just plain silly!

December 14, 2007

Hi de hoe hiddy hi hoe, I'm Hardrock, I'm Coco, I'm Joe
Remembered Christmas Cartoon

Christmas In The Park
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas In The Park" by Unknown
Feeling pretty good, got good music on my iPod.
Hearing from friends always helps on that front. And it should.
Listening to too much Christmas Music. Even enjoying stuff I normally don't like, like George Jones's Christmas tune, My Mom and Santa Claus. So you know the holiday's fast approaching.
The Man Who Returned To Life It depresses me slightly, just slightly enough to not put a damper on my good feelings, but it does bring me down a bit to be the recipient of so many good wishes when all I can do is smile in return.
I hope that's enough.
The one Christmas gift I am giving this year arrived today. It works. It made me giddy happy to give it.

The transition from Wordpress to Movable Type is going easier than anticipated. More Thanks to Movable Type than Wordpress.
I've even gotten all the links exported over. Some of them look a little bit gnarly and there's all sorts of goofy stuff off but it's shaping up.
I don't think anyone cares about the "brass tacks" of doing this. Most people are concerned about the why of it.
Both Wordpress and Movable Type are "free". This is pretty recent for Movable Type. One of the cool things is that Wordpress is open source.
That's also the problem. The code is a mess and getting more and more kludged up. No one is cleaning up the code, they seem to just keep building. Also there seems to be no one concerned about legacy.
Like the way I designed this site to only have one column, all the junk that's in the side bar is up in that little menu up top. "Links" doesn't work anymore. They changed the code, all the identifiers etc. And I can't sort through the code and find what they did! Not many comments and I follow a trail only to find its been killed far down the line.
Nutcracker Troop
Click images for desktop size: "Nutcracker Troop" by Unknown
For all I know my layout may be impossible.
They have plenty of support on the Wordpress forums but too often its of the "that's the way it is, pard'ner" variety.
I like to fiddle with it myself and I am an idiot about this stuff. Stupid enough to think playing around with it is fun!
The other drawback, for me, to Wordpress is that the xmlrpc does odd things. I can understand it. They wanted to make a kit that anyone could take out of the box and start working, always giving satisfactory results.
I admire that. Its not what I want for me.
Movable Type has its own issues. It can be extraordinarily complicated and befuddling.
I still have no idea what a module does, why they exist or why I need them.
It works in this odd piecemeal fashion (so does Wordpress but to a far lesser extent). Each part of the page is segregated out. The body, the entry, the headers, the banner. And they have their own in house names for tags.
The Meanest Man In The World Where <$php include this?> works in all php files (Wordpress is php if I hadn't mentioned it) Movable type uses something like <$MTIncludeMTNameYoudNeverThinkOf$> which has requirements of before and after tags and complicated rules on nesting.
If your stubborn enough, you can make it work exactly the way you want it to. Boy, you have to be stubborn. Its also real easy to completely trash the whole site with a single misplaced tag.
They are a charge for it company, but they still try and make everything work out of the box. Again what they offer out of the box isn't exactly what I want.
I am stubborn though and, I'm told, naturally crabby.
But the main reason for the change is my cruddy hosting service.
WIth Wordpress and php when you request a page in your browser the server builds the page for you when you ask for it!
This is a rather pretty thing to think of. Its made just for you!
That puts a lot of strain on a server, hits a lot of cpu cycles. The cruddy hosting service just watches the cpu hit 100% until it dies.
When you've got 262 customers on your server and 60 of them are doing php request (like most forums are MYSql and php based) everything dies, the server drops the connection and everyone figures I've closed down the site.
Merry Christmas - Sarah Michelle Gellar
Click images for desktop size: "Merry Christmas" by Sarah Michelle Gellar
With Movable Type the perl scripts create an html page.
HTML is the easiest thing for a server to handle. I've timed it and it takes at least one half the time for the page to load, and often 3 to 4 faster than the Wordpress page.
The hiccups come when I'm creating the page . . . but its easier for me to curse my cruddy server than to put you through it. And boy it drops a lot, usually in the middle of things . . .
I had set a deadline of New Years to get the move made. I'll make that easily. I might even make it before Christmas and just let the kittle cosmetic imperfections to dwindle as time goes by.
I'm still using ecto to post. Its improving, but not fast enough!

December 12, 2007

Badges? Badges. BADGES! I got to show you no stinking badges!
Alphonso Bedoya

Christmas Lighthouse By Phillips '57
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Lighthouse" by Phillips '57
I've never coached in the NFL.
Really don't want to coach pro athletes. I can't see the fun or the sense of accomplishment in that, really.
That doesn't mean that I can't be outraged by the actions of Bobby Petrino. Not as a sports fan but as a coach and a member of at least one of the associations he belongs to.
Inframan I don't want to go on about him. He's not worth it as a coach. I'm more stunned that he could get a job.
If you don't know, Bobby Petrino walked out on his contract with the Atlanta Falcons. He lasted 13 games. The day he walked out he took another job. Coaching the Arkansas Razorbacks.
If I were an alumnus I'd be raising hell with the athletic director. I don't believe Arkansas are so obsessed with winning that they'd throw pride out the door. That they'd trust the young men of their institution to a man who would apparently desert them at the slightest whim.
Thing is that Petrino immediately mad me think of another coach who was some what under the gun this year: Joe Paterno.
I never played for Paterno. I enjoyed watching him coach twice. Once when he hammered USC in some bowl and once when we hammered him at the Colosseum.
He's got class. In victory and defeat. He spoke kindly, forcefully, and without evocation both times. He was polite and smelled like you wished your dad smelt on Christmas morning.
As a coach he's survived the 3 yards and a cloud of dust to move into the aerial circus years and now into the indomitable defense years. He's done so without a blemish. No NCAA infractions, most of his students got their degrees. More than a few became Hall Of Famers in the NFL.
If you ever visit State College one of the things you notice is that there are a lot of buildings named Paterno. Not as a tribute to him but because he donated the money to build them - libraries, not Athletic Centers, class rooms, not gymnasiums.
Heavenly Angel
Click images for desktop size: "Heavenly Angel" by Anonymous
He said he wanted to give something back to the institution that had given him so much.
Sometime ago an NFL team, I forget which one, offered Paterno 3 million dollars a year to coach for them.
His response was something like, "If your not saving lives there's nothing a man can do that's worth a million bucks a year," and he turned it down flat.
If you get to the practice field you'll be surprised to see an awful lot of High School coaches. They're always welcome. Sometimes he puts them to work, sometimes he or his staff teach them.
He loves this game and delights in what he learns from it.
I think that he and Eddie Robinson are the two greatest men to ever teach this game.
I'm cynical enough to be intrigued. Someone bought a big court case to force Penn State to reveal Paterno's salary.
Invasion Of The Saucermen 1957 Now a days I'm always ready to have my drams crushed, and maybe the idol had clay feet after all.
After a lot of vourt room tantrums they finally gave up the number.
Joe Paterno makes $500,000 a year.
Its a handsome salary but doesn't much compare to the millions Lou Saban is pulling down at Alabama, or the millions Bobby Petrino is getting from Arkansas.
He's donated millions of dollars back to the people who pay him. He's raised his family and raised young men to go out into the world with the same firm but gentle hand and eye.
There's an argument for yin and yang.

I'm doing fine. Getting excited about Christmas. Why not. I don't need presents galore to enjoy the day.
I regret not being able to give presents, but that a minor quibble that might have more to do with my pride than with altruism.
I wish my puppy and I were going to see kids this year. We'll be fine.
My friend had her dream job interview today. It must have gone well as she had some very scant reasons why she wasn't a shoo-in.
She should be a shoo-in.
Put up more decorations that only my puppy and I noticed. Lit the tree so my puppy could lie there in the dark and admire it. Although she does seem concerned that its not surrounded with good smelling packages. She's being so good. She remembers Santa Claus Is Watchin' You by Ray Stevens so she wouldn't be bad.
Things are good enough here now to not mind the pains I've had. I went three days, almost, with no pain pills, before I caved in.

December 11, 2007

I'd walk two miles around trouble. If I have to.
Borden Grant


Christmas Volcanoe By Vlad Desing Studios Put up our little disco tree and some decorations yesterday.
Nothing fancy, just a couple garlands and a wreath on the front gate. Felt pretty good.
My puppy was fascinated with the tree and had to inspect each ornament and watched me carefully while I hung each one.
It! The Terror From Beyond Space I'm pretty sure she'll be happiest when there are presents to go under it.
Still working on her Christmas card.
It looks like we won't be able to afford to send out too many, if any, Christmas cards. This is just a little jpeg one she can send to the kids. Kids love email in the same way I used to love getting regular mail.
I've got a feeling some of you may be getting the electronic version, which, you could always print out and hang on the string around the fireplace . . . I mean, that's what I do and all.
In my Christmas decoration box I found all the Christmas cards we'd received in the past two years. Its a nice bountiful treasure. One of the pleasures of doing the decorations is looking at those cards and remembering, no recalling, each of the senders.
Never get much of a chance to tell people what they mean to me. Recalling them is the only chance I have. Doesn't mean much cause its all in here.
The best card I ever got was of my friend's new born son.
I've lost that. Pity me for only having the memory.

I was 14-2 in my NFL picks this weekend. Alarmingly that still dropped me over 300 places in the standings!
I watched the Bush-less Saints vs the Vick-less Falcons last night.
In the wake of Michael Vick's sentencing it was an odd sight. All those people supporting him.
I tried to recall if anyone in Chicago had dressed outrageously when Jamall Anderson got sent to prison for drug sales (90 days) or when Tank Johnson got sent away for breaking his probation by carrying around guns.
Spidergirl I don't think so. But maybe.
I'd like to think that these are fans so tightly bounded to their team that they are willing to forgive. But I don't like kidding myself.
The wave of editorials I've read seem to forget that the victims were tortured cruelly to death. They stop short of saying "but it was only dogs". But they stop just short.
They blame most of Vick's troubles on PETA . . . and on his lying. One editorial in the Washington Post seemed to say, perhaps unintentionally, that it was the lying about his involvement that Vick was being punished for, not cruelly hurting innocent creatures.
Too many editorials pointed out the various manslaughter convictions, shooting incidents, rapes etc committed by NFL players. Pointing out how those players received lighter sentences than Vick. I guess this is in support of their factious expose of the huge power wielded by animal lovers. I Demand Payment None of them pointed out that maybe those other guys got treated far too lightly. My friend did right away, so its a pretty glaring thing.
It bothers me. I love dogs in general and mine in particular.
I don't know what to make of it really. It saddens me to see a 27 year old man destroy his life. The Vick football players have both done that. And I can't grasp why fighting dogs was something that so obsessed Vick that he'd put his life so at risk. I'll never understand wanting to hurt an animal; especially to the point of death. I never will. Its one of those things where all I can say is, some people are just like that.

I'm hoping Christmas washes those thoughts out of my mind. I don't need to think about the terror that's in this world all the time, do I? Maybe I do.
Anyway I keep listening to Christmas music like the coolest whack version of Twas The Night Before Christmas while I try and move this site over to Movable Type. Its becoming a real pain but it might be worth it, if I can do it.

December 10, 2007

An Apology

Virgin And Child - Botticelli
Click images for desktop size: "Virgin And Child With Four Angels And Six Saints" by Botticelli
Last week I titled a post "Happy Hanukkah. The next day I posted a film poster that could be seen as glorifying Nazis.
Pretty stupid of me.
I swapped some posters with someone and I got a bunch of strange exploitation posters in exchange. The one about Nazi's was one of them.
There was no hidden message there. I didn't even think about it. I found the poster interesting in design and thought nothing else about it.
That's by way of an explanation and certainly not an excuse.
I'm very sorry if the content offended anyone. I'm offensive enough without being rude unintentionally.
I apologize with sincere contriteness to anyone who might have been hurt or affected in any way.

December 8, 2007

What good are Saturdays without football

Unknown Lovers By Korn
Click images for desktop size: "Unknown Lovers" by Korn

When I was a kid one of my favorite bands was The Who. I soon realized that the reason I liked them was that after just one hearing I could play almost all of their songs better than they can! That was The Who's real genius. Songs like "Call Me Lightning" come to mind. Its not Christmas music like Speedball Junior's "Rudolph's Secret" its just a smug thought I had out walking.

My NFL picks last week were a disaster!
I went 7-9! Fell from 60th to 2300!!
In this contest they throw out your worst 4 weeks. I'm stockpiling those worst weeks up. I still have fun. Football is always something I enjoy thinking about.
The Omen Even when I discovered that the cable company is grossly overcharging for the privilege of seeing the games . . . and with Bowl Season coming up fast I'm not keen on telling them to . . . you know.
We'll see. Wait for push to go to shove.

The Drug Company sent me my money back for the drugs I never received. Maybe that's a good sign of better things ahead.
My friend got a call for her dream job. Definitely signs of better things ahead.

The NFL week starts on Thursday now. As usual my picks are in bold.

Chicago at Washington - I picked the Bears. I thought they were better poised to reclaim some dignity and I figured the Redskins would be shattered from from funeral and the lack of practice. It was a terrible game but you have to admire the Redskins Back Up QB taking charge. First loss of the week!!

Carolina at Jacksonville - This is one of those "go long: games. The Jaguars played themselves out of first place last week, against the Colts. The Panthers are just good enough to take their frustrations out on.

Dallas at Detroit - A few weeks ago I was looking forward to this one. Now it seems that the Lions are a haunted team committed to burning out in flames. Roy williams being injured does not help their cause. The Cowboys are steam rolling and believe they are going to the Super Bowl. There's no real threat in the NFC, that's for sure.

Christmas Magic
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Magic" by Unknown
Miami at Buffalo - Definite contender for cruddy game of the week. The Bills are an interesting team, better when the kid from Stanford plays at his level.

New York Giants at Philadelphia - This is a game that promises to be ugly bit interesting. Both teams are playing poorly at exactly the wrong time of the season. The Eagles have a nice revenge factor going after the way the Giants beat them down in New York. Creepily the Giants are the leading Wild Card team!

Oakland at Green Bay - I have confidence Favre will start and play until they have a lead. After the Disaster in Dallas they have a lot to prove to themselves. The Raiders new found running game will give them enough incentive to play hard.

People Who Own The DarkSan Diego at Tennessee - I'm taking The Chargers - the flops of 2007. The Titans are playing shaky football, particularly on defense. I don't trust the Chargers to perform at all and if I keep thinking about it I'll change my pick . . . Chris Brown is looking good . . .

St Louis at Cincinnati - I keep picking the Bengals . . . I can't help it. I like that offense and their coaches! This week it should be a good pick. Bulger is doubtful for the Rams and Steve Jackson can't win a shoot out!

Tampa Bay at Houston - I've never thought much of Gruden as a coach. If the Buc's don't obliterate the Texans I'm putting all the blame on him! I hate not naming the starting QB and making it sound like a strategy when all it is is indecision.

Arizona at Seattle - This is a cruddy game. Neither team is playing inspired football but the Cardinals are snake bit. The Cardinals should be able to handle the SeaHawks all passing game pretty well. The Arizona O is . . . well, a time bomb.

Minnesota at San Francisco - Very quietly the Vikings have played themselves into contention for a Wild Card slot. If they can't destroy the 49ers then they're just pretenders, not contenders. Most interesting thing will be seeing if Petersen comes back and if he does how much they'll play him.

Cleveland at New York Jets - The Browns have been hiccuping as of late. The Jets just look cruddy. If the Browns can solidify they can go deep in the playoffs. As to the Jets, I'm trying to figure if they really want Lee Dorsey or just want to make sure the Dolphins don't get him. (Bad reference to the NFL draft)

Wink
Click images for desktop size: "Wink"
Kansas City at Denver - Another game with cruddy written all over it. The Bronco's seem to be playing for something I can't figure out while the Chiefs are just looking shell shocked, as well they might. If Johnson were back or Homes hadn't had to retire it might be different. But . . .

Pittsburgh at New England - Game of the week! The Patriots now look like God and the refs are on their side. The Steelers are predicting their own victory? They'll run the ball but you have to think that the Patriots will have enough defense to stop them when it matters. This one could be awesome.

New Orleans at Atlanta - Here's the cruddy game of the week. It pains me to think that but its true. Reggie Bush is probably gone for the season. The Falcons have gone beyond just being terrible. I can't think of any reason to watch this. Brees might do something heroic. A game like this shouldn't need heroics.

Planet Of The ApesIndianapolis at Baltimore - Rah. Can the Ravens play as tough against the Colts as they did the Patriots? Can they keep that ferocity up for two weeks in a row? Can the Raven's coaching staff not screw them up? It would be great if that could only be. Or will Manning regain his composure and just flatten them. I think the answer is some where in between but the Colts are still too good.

As usual these picks are just for my friends to point at me and laugh.

After my picks last week I think using this worthless advice or taking it at all seriously would be evidence in a competency hearing!

I've never liked a woman enough before to give her 12 sharp knives
Michael O'Donahue

The Lady Of Shalott By John Waterhouse
Click images for desktop size: "The Lady Of Shallot" by John Waterhouse
I have been developing skills I didn't realize I had.
Snow shoveling skills.
I think snow shoveling skills are pretty much taken for granted around here. There's about 4 inches of snow on top of 2 to 3 inches of ice.
No one seems to much notice or care. I nearly get killed walking to the mail box. Ordered To Love Walking my puppy becomes an experiment in terror.
Fortunately for her, and for me I suppose, I like terror.
So, I've become a snow shoveler. This was only because it became apparent that no good hearted kids were going to show up and do it for me. Not even Elves.
Anything I could say about snow shoveling would make me sound like a fool; or even worse, like a rank amateur.
The only real skill I have in it being an innate ability to hurt myself. But, and here's the real clue to success, never to hurt myself badly enough to actually stop!
I think I am perfecting it enough to make it an acknowledged art form so I can apply for federal funding.
I do a lot of dancing around grabbing various body parts, which my puppy and my dogs all take as a sign of great fun to come. I tweak my back and every joint in my body just two points past the smiley chart of discomfort, just enough to know it will really hurt later, at least by the next morning. All the while I'm extending myself just enough to be sore and tired but NOT enough to actually warm myself! That's a real skill.
Why it doesn't snow when its about 60 is a mystery only God and religous philosophers can ponder with any hope of results.
As I carve my uneven and winding dirty path I note that I have a gift for dumping the dirty snow I've just removed into a slushy pile that I will invariably step into or, even better, I've put the pile in a place that I will have to climb over it to accomplish one of my more mundane chores.
Snow Flakes
Click images for desktop size: "Snow Flakes" by Unknown
I think I was bred in California (SOUTHERN California) for a reason.
What worries me greatly is that my puppy and I are both having fun.
I get the impression we are certainly entertaining the neighbors . . .
I've also noticed that I do not have a good selection of music on my iPod that works at all for cold weather and snow. This is an odd discovery and I don't know if it has weight or not.
My impressions, surf music works - especially when we stand and watch kids sled or snow board, Rob Zombie does not. Rap doesn't, pop does. Doo wop works the best, heavily distorted guitar solo's the worst.
I may be onto a new marketing ploy here, or I may not appreciate music properly when my hands and ears are numb.

Phantom From Space I'm giving serious thought to opening up the comments section of my puppy's and my blog here.
I shut them off, or screened them heavily because of a) comment spam (beastiality ads on my puppy's site number about 500 a month) b) People - I normally like people but not all the time, not when they're being hurtful and they remain strangers c) My cheap but poor server.
a - can be handled with some Movable Type plug-ins. Kids like to talk to my puppy and I'd like them to be able to freely, and even talk to each other. My current system of giving out my puppy's e-mail address and restricting commenting by blocking all but her freinds and family's ip's works but it lacks elegance and feels chained.
b - I'm in a place now where I can cope with the vindictive out here. I have a bipolar attitude towards anonymous love and hatred. The full reality is that I don't care but it distresses people I do care about. Its my biggest consideration.
c - is all logistics. This site is based on WordPress, which is php based. I like open source projects, the idea of them anyway. WordPress code is something of a jumbled mess. They keep improving it without ever going back and cleaning up the code. It could be slimmed down. But the bigger issue is that my cheap but cruddy hosting service freaks out at processing all the php code. Php and cgi do put a lot of load on a cpu, and with a hundred or so sites on a shared server, all running php it bogs things down dramatically.
Stones By Corbis
Click images for desktop size: "Stones" by Corbis
Movable type is perl based. My hosting service freaks out at cgi scripts, but Movable Type creates an html page which even the cruddiest server can display with little grief.
In other words I'll have to deal with the grief on my end but it will be invisible to you.
Movable Type is a pro product actually meant for something much bigger than my wants. The biggest pain in the neck is setting it up. I've been working at it, dawdling at it for a couple years now. I may now have my impetus for speeding ahead.

We're going to put up Christmas decorations today . . . I'm wondering how much I can hurt myself doing that . . .
Detour I'm feeling a bit poorly, nothing bad enough to illicit sympathy, but badly enough to want to sit quietly. No one is allowed to sit quietly when they have puppies!
My puppy has an exam tomorrow, for obedience!! I hope she passes. I wanted her to start focusing so we can go to a Therapy Dog Class and get her accredited for this area.
They don't allow dogs in hospitals here!! Fear of lawsuits for spreading infection! MY PUPPY DOES NOT SPREAD INFECTION, although I might.
She'll get to go to retirement homes and maybe some kid things. We'll see.
As to my iPod, one group that works summer, spring, fall and winter are Jan & Dean. Frosty The Snowman can even become a klazzik hit in their nimble hands.

December 5, 2007

Happy Hanukkah

Goe Platz Der Synagoge
Click images for desktop size: "Goe Platz der Synagoge"

I have a friend. He used to be one of my kids. He became an archeologist.

I always pause and think, "How cool is that?"

He talked about the "dangers" of his profession. It was an intriguing conversation. Went something like this: Mad Love We move rapidly down to the surface of the planet then along the raw, untarnished terrain, past mud huts and peasant farmers dressed in rough skins and little cloth. When we suddenly reach the edge of a great white glowing city.

There are hover cars here and clean refined elegantly gentle people stroll the wide boulevards. They wear togas and peplums. Even though we move past them too quickly we know that they are talking of nothing but the deepest most beautiful subjects.

We keep on zooming up to the centerpiece of this small Utopia; an enormous rose marble castle. We shoot up the spires until we come to a lavish room. The centerpiece of this room, mounted on a golden other worldly metal is a simple red clay urn.

It is apparent we are intended to view this urn with majestic awe. When suddenly the urn, for no known reason, begins to crumble. A piece of it falls to the floor.

The piece of urn stays where it is. The world around it dissolves as we zoom ahead, only this time we don't zoom through space but through time. Until we reach the present day and discover the shard of pottery in the hands of a gleaming archaeologist. We know that the past/future world is his dream of his discovery.

A dream that could be written up, published and after a while accepted as fact.

Christmas Trees
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Trees"
Paleontologists can have the same issue. He had a glib phrase for it. I don't remember the exact wording. It was something about reconstructing god from a toenail clipping.

Letting ego and hope and dreams cover up and distort objectivity. To let dreams become facts.

What seems to prevent this from becoming the universal truth are the cold hard facts of history.

I've long been concerned that we Americans don't put much value in history. We don't study it much, we don't learn from it, we don't see this as a story of people, ourselves, a story.

America, white America, really doesn't have a whole lot of history, anyway. Which could explain why so many kids assume Benjamin Franklin was our most important President; his pictures on the hundred dollar bill, right?

The Mole People - 1956 Most nations have their character forged by their history. Their inspiration and their aspirations are based on a firm bed rock of what went before.

America's character was forged by pulp fiction writers, story tellers, TV and movies.

I've always thought that was a good thing.

Very few people can live up to the demands and image of the hero's we create for ourselves. The wild west is our mythology that brands us and is the image we project to the world.

It forced people to live up to an impossible standard of "truth, justice and the American Way". Or as John Ford said, "When the truth becomes legend, print the legend."

I've always guessed that its our own scant history that has lead America into some of its gravest disasters. Sometimes its not enough to read the man in front of you, you have to read his past as well.

Viet Nam is an easy example. We ignored historical imperatives. We were doomed to fail. The Viet Namese have been conquered and occupied for centuries, but they never stopped being Viet Namese.

They even created a terrifying martial art based on their historical imperative. Its an organized fighting style that teaches its okay to take a fist to the face so long as you break your opponents finger. Then when the finger is broken take a punch to the chest to enable you to break his wrist, then on to break the arm, then the shoulder than a knee, then a leg etc.

This is a nation that codified its history into a fighting discipline. This is a nation of people willing to get the crap kicked out of them so long as at the end they stand triumphant.

Ocean Before The Storm By GYS Moville
Click images for desktop size: "Ocean Before the Storm" by GYS Moville
Schoolyard politics dictate that you don't mess with the crazy kid who'll pick up a baseball bat and try and clock you in the head!

Its dumb football coach logic; understanding that when we make a move that we can study what our opponent has done in the past against others to predict what they will do in the future.

I just think we all need to pay a little bit more attention. We need to remember, especially now but always that the person in front of us has a past as well as a present and a future. We all do.

I think that's great.



Its cold here.

Went with my puppy for our walk and to take pictures of some of the Christmas lights in out neighborhood.

I don't really know any of the neighbors yet. That's odd for me, but not worrisome.

Wore the iPod and listened to Cathy Sharpe - North Pole Rock. It was a nice calm time.

I'm no photographer and I'm afraid to look at my "work" just yet.

As usual I was proud of the way my puppy acted as we met people. I was enthralled as she looked at the decorations.

December 4, 2007

In the cool cool cool of the evening

Diamond Warrior by M Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "Diamond Warrior" by Michael Parkes
I got to see the Patriots - Ravens game last night.
Quality high drama.
It was thrilling seeing the Ravens rise up and play the game they always imagined they could play. Seeing Ravens LB, Ray Lewis, defend passes was inspirational. It felt like a magic in the air.
I Passed For White While, selfishly, I'd like to see the Patriots go undefeated its from a pure aesthetic stand point, I have no emoptional committment to any NFL team. Its enjoying art for art's sake.
So, for me, it was merely exciting seeing a mediocre team rise up and turly play like this one game was their Super Bowl.
Its part of the magic that an undefeated team brings to the stadium. By the dint of their accomplishments they make their opponents rise up and exceed their potential.
The final three minutes were a combination of the Patriots greatness and the Ravens mediocrity. They virtually willed themselves to lose.
I could have dealt with that. What was disappointing was that they didn't show the class they displayed on the field after the game. They finger pointed and blamed the refs. As I thought the Ravens played incredibly well and incredibly dirty blaming the refs seemed pathetic and undermined what they'd left out on the field.
It turned a marvelous effort into something less than a game.
What I saw on the field made me feel privileged to be able to understand the game. It was a beautiful effort from both sides.
I've never played pro ball so I don't know how pro's take these things. it was a gut wrenching loss, for sure, and a narrow escape for the Patriots. But as a college player, even a high school player some one would have come down hard for voicing that sort of silly opinion,
Like I said, I never played pro ball so I wouldn't really know.
My step-father did. He was a jerk too. So, who knows what's acceptable anyway.
Alpine
Click images for desktop size: "Alpine" by Cannibalized
I'm using the new beta of ecto to post this. A few of the improvements I suggested are in it. That feels modestly cool, ya know?
Its still giving me fits.
I feel confident they'll be worked out, unless I get so frustrated with it and check it before hand.

Only other thing of note is started my meager Christmas shopping.
I don't much like crowds but I like the feeling of it all.
To understand hating crowds you need to be in Oxford Circus, London to understand how a crowd can become an ugly monster with an independent life.
I like Christmas music too much, often the wilder or sillier the better. Like Buck Owen's - Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy.
And if that's not obvious enough I don't know what else to do . . .

December 3, 2007

There's nothing to fear here

In His Fathers Footsteps Steve Paxton
Click images for desktop size: "In His Father's Footsteps" by Coffee Lover (Steve Paxton)
Yesterday was a disaster with my NFL picks.

Which was not as worrisome as the horrendous BCS schedule.

Illinois in the Rose Bowl?

Ohio State vs LSU?

Grimms Fairy Tales For Adults It feels like all the games have that ghastly pallor.

It could have been an exciting Bowl Season but this slate of games just feels like an out of conference schedule. Maybe I'll get caught up in the hype later but right now I don't think any legends will be born on this New Year's Day.



I've been called out twice for a bad habit of mine: concealing links.

I do it like this: "There's a song that I look forward to every Christmas. Its silly but I like it. The Marquees - Christmas In The Congo is an innocent seeming sly number. That you can dance to."

I don't call any attention to the link so to hear it or download it you have to get "lucky" and have your cursor hover over the link to even know its there.

I have no problem with that. In fact, I like people suddenly discovering little things. Little things that break through the conundrums of the day to show a tiny speck of straight white light, a light that seems almost private and just between too anonymous people.

I can see it could be annoying to some, maybe to many, so I'll give it some thought. But how can you be annoyed at missing something you didn't know existed?

Maybe you just worry you should go through and hover over everything?

I've not a lot to say.

I am having some kind of interesting fun playing with the new ecto as each new beta comes out. Makes me want to post stuff.

I notice that the blog thing has sort of petered out. I thought it had gotten to big, when bloggers started to get White House Press Credentials I was worried.

Christmas
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Ornament"
I liked the "reporting" blogs when they worried about their community and wrote blistering harangues against a counsellor or alderman who refused to put up a stop sign at a dangerous intersection.

I liked them when some timid person tried to share some knowledge, give some insight into something new they'd learned.

I liked it when people shared the stories they encountered everyday, the little stories that touched them, especially when they didn't know where it had touched them.

I even liked the blogs that have become supplanted by tweeterific, you know, the ones where someone posted about 30 times a day. It gave a shape to understanding someone else's life and that is a great thing.

I never liked the political blogs where people spoke down to each other and ranted about opinions as if they were facts.

I think that people used to like this blog because of the pictures. I hope that. House Of Wax I think people liked to read the words here when they were filled with despair. I've had my share of desperation. I don't know if its more or worse than any others.

Right now things are not great. I'm concerned but not worried. Its one of those times when things are disastrously wrong and all my recent decisions should be questioned.

I'm not questioning them.

I accept them as being right for then and for the future.

See, everyone is allowed to be happy, even when its at the wrong time.

If that weren't so no man would walk to the gallows with a smile on his face.

That last sentence is hyperbole, of course. Because I'm happy I think things will work out even if working out means it takes Quasimodo swinging from the Cathedral Spires, swooping in and plucking me from the executioner's fire.

You see, I have hope.

December 1, 2007

UCLA 7 USC 24

Clara Bow
Click images for desktop size: "Clara Bow"
Okay. So I was goofy wrong about the Green Bay at Dallas game . . .

So I go into the weekend 0-1.

I'm still brimming with optimism because . . .

USC WON and we're going to the Rose Bowl.

Fists Of Fury I hope we get Ohio State!

Back from the divine to the profane: Amateurs vs Pros, The NFL

Its clear now that Green Bay and Dallas are the class of the NFC. As we head into these lame duck weeks its always interesting to see how teams will respond. Especially with the intense tragedies that happened off the field.Condolences to Sean Taylor's family. He was on the verge of greatness.

As usual my picks are in bold.



Atlanta at St Louis - This game is saved from cruddy game of the week status for two reasons. The least of these is the improving play of the Rams. Even without QB Marc Bolger the Rams should be able to run Steve Jackson all day. What will be fascinating is watching the Falcons respond. Their QB elected to go to prison early, anticipating his sentencing. This week his two co-defendants got 18 and 21 months. That was allowing them mercy for ratting out Vick. (As much as I despise what Vick has done, this has become sadder than I can imagine. I accept that he is just coming to terms with the horror of his actions. His offer of 1 million dollars to care for his victims is genuine. With all the grief he is enduring I liked that he is making an attempt that seems honest. Look at the other criminals know playing in the NFL. Look at Tank Johnson at the Cowboys. His offenses are equally heinous. Look at the RB Jamal on the Browns. He was selling drugs! He never did anything this real.) Will the Falcons rally and actually catch some of the Joey Harrington passes? Will they attempt to show some pride or will the just drift along. If they do only just show up I think that Bobby Petrino gets my vote for worst coaching performance in the NFL. The Balancing Act by James Christensen
Click images for desktop size: "The Balancing Act" by James Christensen




Buffalo at Washington - This could be a pretty good game. I can't quite grasp the constantly changing QB situation for the Bills and they won't have Lynch back from the IR. They have enough defense to hold the Redskins down. Its the Redskins defense that will be interesting. They have to come out and perform just a week after one of their teammates, a team leader, died in a terrible way. Shot in the leg, through the femoral artery. Its not a way you'd want anyone to go. Seeing if they can rally around his memory enough to make up for his strong presence on-field will make this tragically dramatic. The Body Snatcher



Detroit at Minnesota - This is close to being my game of the week. Adrian Peterson returns to the Viking line up. He makes them a force. The Vikings are still high off their destruction of the New York Giants but I'm taking the Lions. I'm picking the underdog because this is a team with ghosts. They view themselves as losers. A loss today against the Vikings will enable them to quit on themselves and allow the ghosts to ruin their lives. A win means more to them than it will to the Vikings. I always take the little guy playing for pride, playing for their lives.



Houston at Tennessee - Last week I don't think the Titans were exposed, they just ran into an inspired Bengals team. The Texans aren't at the Titans level yet.



Jacksonville at Indianapolis - The Jaguars are playing excellent football, good enough that it would take the Colts best effort to beat them. The Colts aren't at their best. A Jaguars' win would tie them for the Division lead. The Colts know this but I don't think they're healthy enough to pull this off. This should be the game of the week.



New York Jets at Miami - This is the AFC's cruddy game of the year. Its not so much a matter of who'll win this but who'll be the last one to figure out how to lose.



American Football
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San Diego at Kansas City - The Chargers have only proved that they are a totally undependable team who can win or lose on any given whim. I'm only taking them because the Chiefs rookie QB hasn't shown much of anything yet and they have no real running game.



Seattle at Philadelphia - The Eagles played inspired excellent football against the Patriots. They haven't shown that they can maintain that level. Seattle is looking terrible and they know it. I'd expect the Eagles play last week to inspire them and force them to lift their game.

Godzilla King Of The Monsters

San Francisco at Carolina - The 49er's are one of the worst teams ever. But the Panthers appear to have given up on their season. Fox, panthers head coach, has never been more than good. A busted up 44 year old QB isn't going to save them.



Tampa Bay at New Orleans - I already lost lost one game I picked from the heart, so things should even out here. But really, Garcia's play for the Buc's has been spotty at best. And the Saints are so talented on offense they should throw up some points at home.



Cleveland at Arizona - Why did the Browns take over hyped Brady Quinn? Their young QB Anderson is having an excellent season. Last week the Cardinals figured out a brand new way to lose. Those kind of losses stay with you.



Denver at Oakland - This weeks, "Who cares" game. This used to be an intense rivalry that came close to the feelings of a college game. Now the biggest thing to bet on is whether the game will be blocked out in the bay area. I know a few Oakland fans who are hoping it will be.



New York Giants at Chicago - The Bears are praying to make the playoffs while the Giants are praying to keep their jobs. I liked the way Eli Manning held his composure after the Vikings ripped him apart. There's not much left to like about the Bears except I value determination and the way they avoided losing against the Bronco's last week showed plenty of that. Dick Dale's Fender
Click images for desktop size: "Dick Dale's Fender Stratocaster-The Beast"




New England at Baltimore - I'm not sure the Ravens have enough left to even keep this thing competitive while the Patriots are sure to come out angry after their "humiliating" victory last week.



Cincinnati at Pittsburgh - This is my game of the week. I consider the Steelers exposed. On their own field they were horrendous against an horrendous team. Not much will change in a week. WHile the Bengals came out sharp and stayed sharp as dogs against the Titans. The Steelers play nasty dirty (as in cheating) football. A lot of teams start to hate them. The Bengals are number one on their enemy list. Lotsa fire down below!