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September 30, 2008

All the dead bodies piled up and round and all the politicians making crazy sounds and I guess but I just don't know
Lou Reed

Cat and Mouse
Click images for desktop size: "Cat And Mouse" by Unknown
I'm sick. Got the cold full force.
I think I could have beaten the germs if it didn't come so close on me beating the infections.
Eastern assassination style attempts here. Western style is to strike once with full force. Lose or win then stop to figure out what to do next.
Phantom of the Rue Morgue Eastern style is to hit and then hit again and then keep hitting until you win.
I'll be listening to music and trying to pull it together. Long drive Friday to see Alkaline Trio and then Sunday is the big ol' dog walk. We all need to be there.
So I'll sit around and listen to beautiful music and being bugged by the government.
I'm pretty glad the bail out thing failed. It made no sense to me and the nasty quotes, the grandstanding bamboozling of McCain, it all bugged me.
There's that chick Senator in Nevada who blamed the entire crisis on the Hispanics! This is so totally outrageous that it comes close to being cool for the insanity of it. I'm part Hispanic (remember?) so I understand why there's no screams for this nasty racist to be impeached or hung.
Like why are we saving banks? Bush has already decided that there are only going to be three banks left in the USA: Bank of America, Chase and Citicorp. That seems nice and sane. We can sure trust those guys . . . We can see clearly that these are three civic minded groups that won't mess with the people and screw them over.
How did the crisis start? Seems to me it was because some Hispanic family went to the bank to see about getting them a home. That's the American dream, right? Its the reason that this guy or this guys father or great grandfather or his ancestors came to the US. Maybe he'd saved five grand, and with his wife working they were grossing about 4 grand a month.
They go to the bank that's been so carefully tending their money (My grandmother actually believed My Daddy by Jan Taplin
Click images for desktop size: "Warning" by Jan Taplin
that the bank kept all of her money in its vault, all in a neat little pile with her name on it, maybe on an engraved little card balanced in one of those little party name card stands they use at all the right parties - my grandmother saved up nearly 50 grand in her life. Her personal banker never suggested to her putting the money in A CD or anything, they were both happy with her earning that cool 3% in a savings account, of course until my grandmother got sick and the nursing home took all of her money)
So this couple goes to their trustworthy banker and he looks at their little pice of money and remembers that his boss is giving out bonuses for the number one home loan approval officer and he looks at the couple and he thinks about that bonus and maybe aboutPossessed getting his kids teeth some needed braces, or maybe a new jet ski. He knows that with these numbers the couple and their 2 kids can only afford about a $100k mortgages but his loyalty isn't to the customer - where else are they going to go anyway - maybe one of those mortgage brokers. Why should that broker get the money when his kid needs braces? So he okays a loan of $500k . . . its structured so that for the first year the payments are only $1,250 a month.
It will be tight but the family can afford that.
He kind of glosses over that in a year the payment will balloon up to 5k a month . . . if he's got a conscience he can assuage it. Hell, maybe the family will get a new job or a big raise. And really, its not his problem. They signed the papers!
The bank is happy. They've got a pice of paper that's not just worth 500k, with the interest its worth one million six hundred seventy thousand dollars! ($1,670,000.00)Dream By Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Dream" by Luis Royo

The bank is real happy. They sell it to some investment bank or insurance company for a million. One hundred precent return! Its safe, see. The house they bought is worth half a mill already. In a few years it will be worth maybe $750k and in five years a million!
Didn't my grandfather always say real estate was the only safe investment?
So these investment banks keep selling and trading this couples mortgage. The developers, who never heard of supply and demand, keep building. The banks keep loaning and selling the paper and the Republicans talk about all they've done for us and how we can trust them and we can trust the banks and we can trust the investment banks because we're all nice level headed people who just want to get along.America by Frank Melech
Click images for desktop size: "America" by Frank Mellech

We all know what happens next. I know a couple like this Hispanic couple.
For a year they suffered but they were proud that every month that they met their mortgage payment. The credit card bills got a little bit out of control, but, since they were home owners the bank kept increasing their credit limit. They were struggling but they had a home. Their kids were happy. The school was better. The husband was becoming a real handy man and was able to fix all the bad workmanship that cut rate developers using unskilled non-union labor had left in their wake.
It was a disappointment that while inflation sat around 6% his their jobs would only give them 3% raises. That extra 90 bucks a month came in handy though. Quo Vadis Even if 40% of it got eaten up in increased local taxes. Local government wasn't getting any money from the Feds and we need streets and stop signs.
Then their balloon payment came due. They got that refinanced and added into the mortgage payment which was now at nearly 6k . . . the bank didn't care. They sold the refinanced balloon payment at a super discounted rate. Wall Street was killing themselves to get their hands on that scrap of paper so they could resell it.
Except that my friends, even with borrowing and begging and taking on two extra jobs, they couldn't make the monthly payments anymore, not on everything. They lost their credit cards. Some guy actually came to the house, took the cards from them and cut them in half right in front of them.
The bill collectors kept calling until the phones got cut off. To feed the kids and keep them dressed for school, to pay the electric and to pay for gas to get to the four jobs, they let a mortgage payment slip. Nothing too ugly happened except they got whacked with an 800 buck late fee. By now it was just a number to them. It meant nothing.Scanners
With regret they decided to sell the house. They saw nothing but for sale signs all over their neighborhood anyway. This might be their only chance to escape. They got an offer of 350,000 . . . because of all the good repairs the husband had made. The bank said it was fine to sell it so long as they came up with the extra 300k they'd owe the bank, first.
My friends ended up slipping away in the middle of the night. Like the Oakies in the great depression. Like an out of work actor slipping out of the boarding house. They didn't even say goodbye to me. They ran away ashamed and embarrassed. They'd gotten the foreclosure notice and couldn't face the shame of what they saw as failing.
They moved out of state loaded with nothing but hope and prayers.
Meanwhile the bankers were getting trips to the Bahamas and Hawaii. The big exec's were getting 50 million dollar bonuses. I remember hearing on the radio about Wachovia bank declaring a 180 billion dollar NET PROFIT! For the QUARTER! NEt profit, after millions in bonuses to the employees, after dividends, after billions of dollars to the board and the investment banker buddies they still had 180 billion bucks left over!
For just three months.
What happened to all that money that was left over?
What happened to my friends and to your friends?
Why do we want to save these guys who didn't care about the people they were already legally stealing lives from? Where is Jack McCoy?
Pointy Trees by Poisaidan
Click images for desktop size: "Pointy Trees" by Poisaidan
(Jack McCoy is the fictional lawyer on "Law & Order" who always finds some way to get the real guilty party into court and into jail.)
Why aren't going in and seizing assets? I'm guessing but I figure if we went after the guys who profited the most from stealing people's lives and took their 6 extra houses and 9 extra cars and their trust funds and extra cash we'd have nearly if not more than the 700 billion bucks Bush and friends want from us.
But where is Jack McCoy to go after the guys who killed human beings for nothing but greed. The guys who sit around in their 200 buck silken boxer shorts with their silver nose hair trimmers and $5,000 suits, those guys who are arrogantly holding US, you and me, to ransom. "Give us all your money or we will kill you all and we'll call it free enterprise."
Rififi Homicide due to indifference.
It bugs me that none of the candidates are going after these guys. McCain talks tuff garbage. Why isn't he talking about throwing the board of AIG in cells for 5 years in cells with the other bank robbers. Then I'd listen instead of thinking he's just a senile liar.
Why isn't Obama saying that the people responsible for this fiasco will go to jail as a warning to the next in line to never let this happen again.
I think they just don't care about me, about my friends who had to slink away in the night.
We survived the great depression. The Oakies fled to California and remade their lives. The rich stay rich and the poor stay poor, but the poor stay alive with the pride that is all they have left.
They survive despite governments that make laws to keep them poor and the rich richer.
Johnny Unitas - Classic Passer
Click images for desktop size: "Classic Passer" by NFL Films
We survive because we are this country. We are not just a Christian nation. We are Catholic Nation, a Baptist Nation, a Jewish Nation and A Bhuddist Nation and an Agnostic Nation and a Nation that follows the fashionable cult. We are the people that endure and survive.
And we will always survive. I say let Wall Street burn.
I don't think it will. I think the rich will stay rich and do what is needed to get richer. If they can't let them get out in the fields with the rest of us. Let them see the things they love taken from them the same way they've stolen what we love from us.
Give us back our freedom or let us take it back. Then we will survive just fine.

September 29, 2008

A working class hero is something to be
John Lennon

Paul Newman by Robert Risko
Click images for desktop size: "Paul Newman" by Robert Risko
I never met Paul Newman. Never even saw him walking around Melrose or Rodeo Drive. Never saw him in any of the chi chi restaurants.
Saw his wife, Joanne Woodward, at a rally once. It Never Trust A Gambler was a protest thing for something that seemed vital at the time. I can't remember what it was about. Didn't meet her, just saw her from my place in the crowd.
I never worked on any movies with them. I know a few guys who did. Newman always seemed to work with old-school crews. Guys with proven track records, maybe not brilliant but steady and more than capable. The kind of crews that kept American movies considered as the ultimate in technical competence.
Those guys always spoke highly of him. Crews can mess up a star pretty easily. It happens all the time. The rude jerk who yells at them, insults them. During a brilliant take a garbage can gets kicked, a light gets spun, simple things that say we have to do it all over again. Some actors never The Beach
Click images for desktop size: "The Beach" by Unknown
learn and wonder why these things always happen to them. Wonder why they're always doing retakes trying to recapture fire flies, a moment that never happens again.
According to the old guys Newman never had that problem. He made them a part of making the movie. He got them to be on his side, not that easy with jaded Hollywood crews. He did it just with simple human respect. He didn't pander to them, like some stars who get hip but who still lack the compassion to see others as equals. He'd even yell at them when it was called for but not too often and not over the top.
That's the stories they tell. It seems pretty accurate. Its up on the screen to see. Almost always.
I'm not a big fan of Paul Newman movies. I was too young for "The Hustler" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Waiting and Mad by Charles Russell
Click images for desktop size: "Waiting and Mad" by Charles Marion Russell
Roof" to have the same impact on me that they must have had on contemporary audiences.
Then there were those films that he made with Robert Altman, including an inexplicable disastrous post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi flic, Quintet.
Probably my favorite Paul Newman movies are "Judge Roy Bean" and, of course, "Slap Shot". Which probably says more abut my taste than Newman's talent.
So I wasn't a big fan of the actor but I am a huge fan of the man. He led a life of honor that stands as a pinnacle of, at least, my fantasy.
He lived a happy life. He loved life. The memory I always have is him on TV. For some reason I had the "David Letterman Show" on TV. I wasn't paying much attention No Way Out when there was suddenly a commotion in the audience. Some guy was pushing his way through a row of seats trying to leave - a big no-no in TV tapings.
Letterman asked the guy what his problem was. he guy turned around and it was Paul Newman. Newman said, "I thought this was going to be "Cats"!"
Then he just left. I thought it was funny then. I still do.
A big star taking the time to do a little bit when he had nothing to promote, nothing to gain except to have a chuckle and a good time. I like that. It doesn't happen very often so you need to remark upon it.
I like that Newman directed a movie with his wife, to give the world a shot at seeing the woman he loved though his eyes, to showcase the talent and beauty he saw in her. I like that he loved his race cars and won championships.
But what I loved the most was that he changed the world in the best possible ways.
Carolina Morning by Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: "Carolina Morning" by Edward Hopper
There's a lot of mention that Newman with all his food products generated about $200 million for charity. It ignores the few thousand jobs his charity created. It ignores the fact that that amount equals about $10 million a year. Newman was not making $300 million a year. That's the minimum he'd have had to make for this kind of donation to benefit him as a tax write off.
The only benefit he got from his largesse was in doing the right thing. He had enough money to be happy, to provide for his family and to keep them happy and secure. So he gave the rest to the world to make the world a better place for everyone else.
The money from the food and popcorn and stuff is pretty well known. But Newman also set up homes for kids that were seriously ill. Newman let himself feel andModesty Blaise what he felt for sick kids he didn't like and he had enough man in him to do something about it. To change it.
It's hard to list all the things that Newman did, big and small for the world. Things that let the world spin a bit better. He held to his beliefs and didn't waver or back off from them. And he he believed in people and in people's rights.
He inspired others. Look at Robert Redford. Look at Reford's choices in roles after he worked with Newman. Look how Redford used his stardom after Butch Cassidy. Its important and its audacious.
Movies will continue without Paul Newman. He'll be missed like Steve McQueen is missed but they'll go on. Because of his foresight his charities will go on and continue to change and reshape the world for the better. Some small amount of suffering will be lifted. That's a powerful legacy; removing even a small amount of even one person's suffering is a big deal, to be able to do that for thousands each and every day is something I can be envious of without regrets.
The world's going to miss that. I'll miss that.
There's no one taking his place there. None of the much richer present day movie stars. Nicholson, Ford, what are they doing with their mega-millions? George Clooney has made some efforts but not in the selfless way that Newman did.
Newman just did what he did so he could live easily and happily with himself and his family, helping the world try and get to it's own place so it could be a happy as he was.

September 28, 2008

The sun can't shine on everyone

Biondina by Charles Leighton
Click images for desktop size: "Biondina" by Charles Leighton
After all the faffing about, running around and mindless research, checking out dog foods we ended up buying the same brand we always buy . . .
There's a good reason for that. A knowledgeable salesman who Knock On Any Door explained that even though the numbers are near the same the premium food is made from human quality ingredients while the cheap food is just whatever's needed to get the numbers up. (By numbers I mean protein, iron etc).
I was grateful for the info. Felt kind of stupid not figuring that out myself. At least figuring it out well enough to ask the question. My puppies are too important to put at risk.
The pups are very chilled out. The Frontline Plus is doing well for them. The issue now is to see if it lasts longer than the 2 weeks the Advantix held on. I hope so.
They're also happy that my friend has been home sick for most of the week. They're not glad she's sick, they just like having her around so they have someone warm to share the bed with.
I like her around to, but I prefer her happy and well.
My ebike is running well. Been running all over town and now trust it enough to start taking some longer trips. Up to eight miles, I figure.
The work on the two free bikes goes slowly. Trying to make a decent safe bike for my friend feels worth the effort. I haven't messed with bikes like this since I was a kid. The Raleigh is scary. It uses the old single cabled brake system that is like designed to fail! So I'm going to dump that system for the old fashioned caliper and yoke from the Barretta bike. Its not much better but at least its not a doomed mechanism.
Anime Angels
Click images for desktop size: "Anime Angel" by Unknown
My friend hasn't heard from the job she applied for. She's dealing with it better than I would. It wasn't vital but it would have been nice. She's relatively happy where she is, so I guess its all right.
I was glad Florida and Georgia lost yesterday. Not out of any particular animus for the schools but just so they'd stop talking about how cruddy USC looked against Oregon State. It was really bugging me.
Oregon State did something rather funny. The school newspaper did a story headlines, "Stolen Trojan Uniforms Found". The story claimed that the UCLA Bruins had broken into the locker room and stolen the uniforms which is why Pete Carroll couldn't recognize the team. They went in at half time and discovered the real Trojans bound and gagged.
I like college ball. I wish there wasn't so much money at stake so that the games could be even more pure fun.Invisible Invaders
I also watched the Presidential debates Friday night. McCain truly horrifies me. He's a lot of things that I despise in mankind. I think this is the first time we've ever had two candidates, neither of who played football in school.
I'm also a bit stunned that the Republicans have gone with the two stupidest candidates in history. McCain got rich by cheating on his disabled wife with a woman who had money. He finished in the bottom 5% of his class.
Palin went to 5 schools including an out of state Community College! I support the community college program whole heartedly but for people looking to improve themselves, fighting for a chance to improve their lives. Not for some dilettante beauty queen type to kill time and to scrape together enough of a degree to get a gig doing local sports reading.
I wish I thought Palin was good looking so I could think she was just a dumb girl who gets by on her looks and her slightly repellent, to me, husband was really some sort of Svengali.
I Wouldn't Be In Your SHoesUnfortunately her husband comes across about as dumb as her. The other dumb people I know who've had this kind of success have been blindly ambitious, ruthless, vicious and just plain nasty. Maybe its all just a clever ruse. The Vice President's debate on Thursday will be fascinating. It will either be hysterically funny, devastating or both. I don't think Palin is pretending to be this stupid. I think she is that dumb. I've no high opinion of Biden but what I read about his campaign at least makes me think he's bright and working hard meeting and talking with people.Spring by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Spring" by Maxfield Parrish
I like politicians to talk to people. I like it best when they talk to me.
I used to like it when councilmen would knock on the door to solicit my vote. In England I wouldn't even tell the MP candidates I couldn't vote for them. I just liked hearing them talk about what they thought was important.
I met Mondale and Carter face to face and liked them immensely. I never thought they'd be good executives but I liked them and believed what they were saying. Professional politicians should be like that.

Now the important stuff - The NFL picks.
Last week I was a mundane 10-6. I was shocked that there were two people in the pool who were 16-0!
I'm still alive in the Survivor part of the game!
This week the prizes are an iPod Touch (no sign of whether its first or second generation) a Dallas Cowboy's watch and a Tony Romo life sized poster . . .
The NFL fined Sean Peyton of the New Orleans SaintsJourney To the Center Of the Earth for going public with how the inept officiating cost him the win at Denver. Fined him $15,000! Rah! I hope they take his fine and use the money to find some decent ref's. This year I've never seen so many badly called games.

Below are my picks and my dysfunctional logic for them. My picks are in bold. (Orange as a tiny tribute to Oregon State for a game well played.)

Houston at Jacksonville - I don't know if the Jaguars beat the Colts last week because they are a better team or if Peyton Manning really needs more work and rehab. But they won. Now the Texans are just bad and looking ugly. If any thing this will give the Jaguars some needed confidence and a chance to get their offensive kinks worked out. The defensive just needs to remember to tackle and they should win this one pretty easily.

Denver at Kansas City - Its real tempting to pick the Chiefs. The Denver Broncos are not a real team, especially on defense. If I had any confidence in them I'd go with Larry Johnson to get 35 Lady Victoria About to Make Tarts By Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Lady Victoria About to Make Tarts" by Maxfield Parrish
rushing attempts and three TD's! Except the Chiefs are fighting it out with the Rams to be proclaimed the worst team in the NFL this year. Jay Cutler is an impressive QB and an impressive man. Going public with his diabetes, dealing with it on the sidelines makes for a strong competitive individual. No matter how many points the Chiefs MIGHT throw up he should be able to answer pretty easily. In my opinion the Bronco's will be the worst 4-0 team out there, maybe ever.

San Francisco at New Orleans - Boy, the Saints are so banged up. Now they've lost Jeremy Shockey! But Dru Brees keeps proving he is an elite QB. Even without his two top receivers I think he'll find a way to score. The 49er's are playing lot better than I ever imagined they could. I still don't like them enough to go against my heart. I want the Saints to win. I want Reggie to rush for 100 yards and catch 6 passes. So I'm going with my heart.Kiss And Kill

Cleveland at Cincinnati - Here's two teams I like, both in incredibly dire circumstances and both looking pretty horrid on the field. To make my choice harder both I like both QB's. Derek Anderson of the Browns and Carson Palmer both spent a day last week at their local animal shelters promoting saving dogs. How can you not like two guys who in the midst of their teams crisis will still take time for something like that. I wish I didn't have to chose here. I hope they both pass for 300 yards and 5 TD's. But I still have to pick one . . . I'm going with the Bengals. They showed some real signs of life against the Giants last week. They have a bit more talent that hasn't exploded yet so, with regrets I see them pulling ahead over the Browns.

Atlanta at Carolina - The Panthers finally got exposed. Figures, I picked them last week. They played like I expected them to. They have enough defense to stop the Falcon's running game and they run a complicated enough zone defense to rattle rookie Matt Ryan. The Falcons can make scoring hard for the Panthers. I figure Steve Smith should have settled in after his first game of the season and I expect him to be more of a force. With home field advantage the Panthers should win although not that easily.

Arizona at New York Jets - Last week I actually felt sorry for a pro football player. Brett Favre Meta
Click images for desktop size: "Meta" by Unknown
looked old and beat even confused. He showed enough of the brilliance he posses to reinforce the impression. I haven't seen anything of the Cardinals, not even game highlights! So I'm going to take the Jets based on home field advantage and the fact that Brett Fare has too much pride to look sucky two weeks in a row. Real scientific stuff. Its also the only game I get to see!

Minnesota at Tennessee - Gus Freotte helps the Viking offense much more than I anticipated. You knew it would only help. The Titans have a lot on defense and even with the improved Viking defense Collins, Brown and LENDALE WHITE have too much juice to be contained. The Vikings are looking too much like a dome team that fails on the road.

Mind Killer Green Bay at Tampa Bay - Griese showed that being familiar with him wasn't as important as revenge. He helped the Buccaneers break the Bears heart and spirit last week. This week he won't have that kind of juice. The Packers, even without brilliant and entertaining Al Harris, have enough D to hold them in check. This is another test of Aaron Rogers. I convinced the Buc's D is very for real. Rogers has shown guts and great temperament. He's not playing with a chip on his shoulder. He's playing like a guy who knows all that it takes to win. I like him and the Packers in this one, even on the road.

San Diego at Oakland - Okay. the Raiders have shown they're not the worst team in the NFL. They finally have enough number one picks, I guess, to stop contesting. Lane Kiffen is still the HC. He's doing a stellar job dealing with the inanity of his job on a string. The Raiders played well last week. The Chargers have a healthy Ladanian back and Sproles, the 5'4" tailback is looking dangerous and scary! The Raiders might surprise but haven't got the killer instinct on D, even at home, to secure the win, even if McFadden goes insane and score three times. . This should be exciting. This is my Survivor game this week. And oddly, my game of the week.

Buffalo at St Louis - Right now I'm considering making any opponent of the Rams my Survivor pick. They stink. Buffalo is a playoff team in the making. Lolita Steve Jackson will keep this from being a rout but that's not to keep the Bills from scoring 75% of the time they touch the ball. Cruddy game of the week. I like the Bills but the Rams are just inept.

Washington at Dallas - How did the Redskins get to 2-1. The defense is solid but far from great and the offense is an unpredictable mess. The Cowboys should expose them and do it handily if in a boring fashion.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh - The Steelers are so heavily favored at home that this would be a game worth putting money on. The Ravens and all those points? YOW! But I have to pick these straight up. I still like the Ravens. They look energized. The Steelers are really beaten up and have to be a bit shaken by how the Eagles beat them up last week. The Ravens look revitalized. Flacco looks like he's learning but can turn them on. I The Lost Continent really think they will squeak past the Steelers. Or I could look like a dunce . . . I'm used to that.

Philadelphia 24 at Chicago 18 - This is a tougher pick than I'd have thought. The Bears are heartbroken and remarkably undisciplined. It looks like that opening week win against the Colts had more to do with Indianapolis than the Bears. What makes it a nervous pick is its hard to say just how badly beaten up the Eagles are! If Westbrook and McNabb are healthy this is a no brainer for the Eagles, but at 75% it brings them down to the Bears level. This will be interesting even if it turns into a rout. The Bears might get shut out anyway.

As usual these picks are for the sole purpose of ridiculing me.

September 26, 2008

USC 21 Oregon State 27

Moths by Lotsa Trees
Click images for desktop size: "Moths" by Lotsa Trees
Its was a bad game for the Trojans and a great one for the Beavers.
The Trojans were outplayed and out coached. Almost nothing they did was right.
I just hope that the kids don't get too down on themselves. There's Gun Crazy Re-Issue a long season ahead. And now that they've dropped down to looking like a middle of the pack squad USC will have to do a lot to move themselves back into Bowl game contention.
They can still win the Pac-10. After the way they played last night that would be a great accomplishment.
The coaching staff will have to do a lot of soul searching and come up with a lot of answers. I'm glad that's not my job.
Jack Pierce
Click images for desktop size: "Make-up by Jack Pierce"
I need to consider why a team with so much talent was so thoroughly destroyed. I might not be coaching this year but I plan to coach again.
The most readily apparent problem was the scheduling. A game -a bye -a game - a bye left everyone out there looking rusty.
The trip to Corvallis Oregon is dreadful. I had to make it twice. Flight to Portland and then a two hour bus ride. That gets pretty thin and can easily let your team lose focus. Techno
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Techno
Its hard to get your mind back on the game.
Clearly the coaching staff did too little, if anything, in prepping the defense to cope with a 5'6" runner. The kid played tough and played extraordinarily well. There was at least one missed tackle on every play.
On offense the O-Line had their worst game ever. They were not prepared for what OSU was going to do and there seemed to be no adjustments.
The play calling was atrocious.
The Beavers are breaking in a new front seven. Three games is enough time to gel. But instead of going in with the hammer backs and busting them up and shattering House their confidence we got cute and ran gadget plays . . . We built up their confidence and they played out of their heads, as well they should have.
Add that up and its a game that USC deserved to lose.
Onr thing I did like was Mark Sanchez accepting total responsibility for the defeat. He said, he was the Captain. He should have been leading. He wears the name of a child Hispanic cancer victim on his face on game day. He's a good kid.
One thing that bothered me is my emotional reaction to the game.
Yeah, I'm a fan. Its my alma mater. I've bled on those fields in victory and defeat. For 18 years I never missed a home game and went to one or two away games a year, sometimes on the team plane.
That doesn't explain why at half time, when it was obvious USC had no right to win, that I felt personally defeated. Alone and beaten.
Its not been a good week.
The economy, both the country's and my own economy. With the bank and state pilfering my money Identity Lost by Psychopulse
Click images for desktop size: "Identity Lost" by Psychopulse
that it now appears they may have done improperly, its left me in bit of a dilemma. Nothing dead ugly serious but bad enough.
I understand. If they can do it to 100,000 people that a 30 million dollar tax free loan. That's a lot of money even for a state. The actual number seems closer to 300,000 people. The state retroactively rescinded a xredit they'd granted to subsidize health care.
My friend being sick worries me. That's natural. I don't like that I worry about myself being ill. That's part of my own problem, often not giving myself enough value. A dozen little things that lead me to despair, schools I Love Trouble not returning my calls and other minor things. (I don't take that personally - to me its just a sign that they need someone like me but there are probably either lack of interest or a political money thing happening. It happened before. A talented volunteer is considered dangerous in some ways. I understand and know how to fight it.) It all just adds up and I guess I was looking forward to some reinforcement that I didn't get.
I'll pull out of it. I always do. Its just that I feel it weighing heavily on me now. I know that more bad is coming from governments and my rebellious body. I need to hope I can survive it all instead of just waiting for "the people in gray" to take me away.
I've already come up with an idea about coaching for next season. It involves starting now. I'll do that.
For the other things. Its sort of not in my control. I'm cool with that. I don't have a need to be in charge, except of my puppies. They need that.

September 25, 2008

It’s the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys
Barney Frank

Mars-Valles Marineris
Click images for desktop size: "Mars - Valles Marinersis" by NASA
When I first started playing gigs we never had monitors. We set up our amps on stage and had someone stand in the back of the room to tell us what it sounded like.
For my first gigs I actually used the totally cool amp that came with my Fire Truck red Danelectro . . . Who needs to lug an amp around? The Danelectro has the amp and speakers built right into the case!!
City For Conquest Most likely I'd have continued using that built right into the guitar case sound system if people hadn't kept shouting to turn it up . . . I went through a lot of affordable combo's and head and speaker systems before finally settling on a Fender Band Master (not the classic Jazz Master amp - it was a BAND Master).
The first time I played in a club that had a sound board and monitors I was terribly distracted. Annoyed. I never really got used to hearing the band sound coming from in front of me. I practiced a lot facing my amp so hearing myself wasn't that big a deal but monitors had this strange doppleganger feel to me. Millisecond delay or something. I don't know. I just know that monitors always bug me, even though I accepted that this was the way to go.
Jungle Shipwreck
Click images for desktop size: "Jungle Shipwreck" by Unknown
Its probably the reason that I liked the original Masque Club (LA's first punk club) so much. No sound board, no house PA, just plug in and go.

My first year coaching high school ball in LA I was a volunteer who's only experience was in the rough and tumble Pop Warner league . . . The school couldn't afford a coach and I was the only one they could find foolish enough to work at a program where my defense had to give the offense their helmets when they came off field.
We had enough horses on the team that it made up for my obvious deficiencies in coaching. We were 4-0 and playing this all white Valley team.
I was astounded when I saw the team. They were so little compared to us. And then I was astonished. During the warm-up, when I had my guy doing those old-school down on old fours banging heads and shoulders stuff, you know, that manly thing that Guns
Click images for desktop size: "MC 51"
old-school football teams used to do the little guys were STRETCHING!
They looked like a ballet school!
Sure we did stretches. Spent maybe two or three minutes stretching. These guys entire warmup consisted of stretches.
Back then I was even stupider than I am now. I actually spent some time mocking them. We were over here banging heads and beating the hell out each other like men while they were being all delicate and stretching like little girls.
I already had this one in the easy win book before kick off.
Needless to say they thumped us 37-17. I'll never forget that lesson.
The next day I went to the old Roland Dupree dance studio over Carlito's Way on Melrose. (Yeah. I took dance lessons there - for the stage act - it was a secret). I managed to get one of the teachers to agree to come to my schools practices and give us a stretching routine.
It helped us a lot. It helped me more. I learned more from that guy than I ever learned in school. I got my first understanding of what it means when I have an athlete running splay footed or pigeon toed. What muscles are under developed or over developed when they hold their arms like this or that.
Next year we got to the second round of the Conference Championships.

I told those two stories on myself to show that I don't much like change. I can deal with it and often even benefit from change. But I don't like it and will only advance on change when my thick skull is bashed against the rocks of obviousness.
That said its pretty obvious that america needs to change. It needs to change hard. Previously American change was all about progressing, getting better and stronger, more open and more dedicated to freedom.
Since Nixon and mostly since Bush its been about regressing, about cowardice and fear. And ineptness. Bush has made America a joke.
Sarah Palin in two soft interviews has threatened war Canon City with Russia. Who we might forget still has enough nuclear missiles to destroy the world 3 times over, same as us. And yesterday she promised us a Great Depression.
John McCain cancelled an interview with David Letterman, said he was leaving town. But then an hour later showed up at CBS's other studio to do an interview with Katie Couric . . . maybe to try and deal with the damage of the Palin interview. Who knows. Maybe he figured Letterman wouldn't find out.
Now he wants to cancel the debates. I don't think that has ever happened. Even Lincoln never backed off of the Steven Douglas debates. But McCain, pretty clearly, doesn't want to have a conversation with us, he only wants to browbeat us into submission, to accept his cloudy vision of the world.
Now as a guy who resists change you'd think that I'd be all for this clean simple continuation of the Bush years.
Jessica Alba
Click images for desktop size: "Jessica Alba" by Unknown
I'm not. Aside from the incredible amusement factor and the totally cool laughs they provide I see them as frightening and just the people to lead us to the Rapture - the end of the world.
Hasn't anyone wondered why McCain's fellow POW's haven't been out there stumping for him. Preston Sturges showed us in "Hail, The Conquering Hero" that Americans love that stuff, the hero too modest to tell the truth about himself and needing his buddies to speak out for him. We even love the lie if its told with enough excitement and panache.
With all the sleaze why aren't we getting some rip snorting war stories? Maybe because they doesn't exist.
We need change. I doubt if Obama is the guy to bring it all about. But now I'm more convinced that he at least gives us a better shot than the addled headed Republicans.

Goldfinger My friend is home sick again. Second day in a row. Just a bad cold, but you know how miserable that can make you. I'm not too worried about here. Probably just enough.
Yesterday I got the flea stuff for the dogs, Frontline Plus. Already a noticeable improvement in the pups. But the package had some surprises! I got a cool "Music Pirate" T-Shirt and a nice soft gray pull over (I'm wearing now). My friend got a "Sex in the City" T-Shirt, she's all ga ga over . . . and a "Got Beer" T-Shirt she admires.
BUT there was also a toy for each pooch! A Football that the giant dog has decided is his. A pull toy the gentle dog thinks is too violent and a new kong for my puppy. She claims she's not fooled. She knows that is not her kong. She still blames me for not remembering where she left her kong . . .
But the prize winning prize was a Winnie the Pooh Pez dispenser. My friend is all over nuts about it. Has already eaten two of the three packages it came with and is worried about where to get cheap re-fills. As a kid she loved candy jewelry as well . . . She insists that Pez tastes delicious when it comes out of Pooh . . .
I love having friends!

September 24, 2008

When you love a dog you find every thing they do interesting, it gets so you're even fascinated watching them pee
Raymond Chandler

Laura Laine
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Laura Laine
Felt like a much not good day yesterday. Nothing changed much in the world. It just insisted on staying the same.
We did get two free bikes yesterday.
Assault On Precinct 13 A poor peoples free service in this town for folks to give stuff away.
I like the idea but I figured it would mostly be worthless junk that wasn't worth paying a junk man to haul away.
I was right.
The bikes are an old Raleigh 12 speed (that they thought was a mountain bike because it had wide tires) and some K-Mart brand I can't identify. The names supposed to sound Italian but it isn't: Barratta . . . which to me looks like they just swapped the two e's inZombie
Click images for desktop size: "Zombie" by Unknown
barrette for a's.
They've been sitting outside for a few years; lots of rust, lots of loose cables. Sadly the brakes are those weird Raleigh design that you can't easily swap out for something decent, the gear shifts don't work but I should be able to get one of them unsafe and moving.
From then on its sandpaper and steel wool to clean it up and lots of grease and oil. Not a whole lot of fun but no misery either.
I went to the dog food store yesterday and did my massive comparison of brands. The clerks must have thought I was nuts. I was taking notes, comparing and ciphering and then didn't buy anything.
I still won't buy any of the foods that were killing dogs a couple of years ago. Science Diet in particular. Charging premium prices for food and then going all the way to China to get the cheapest Ancient Japanese Art
Click images for desktop size: "Ancient Japanese Art" by Unknown
possible ingredients smacks of deceit to me. Its a Hartz or a Purina style move. Wasn't that the main reason for going to premium foods in the first place? To avoid that sort of callous skullduggery?
I also bear in mind what a few vets told me: That in terms of quality and nutrition cheap old Kennel Ration was better than almost all of the premium canned foods.
Here Candide, which we used to feed goes for 55 bucks for 40 pounds. That lasts us about two weeks.
We switched over to the food stores custom brand because it compared almost exactly to Candide and sold for $35 for 30 pounds. A small savings but a real savings.
Born Black The other thing about their custom food was that it had no beef, wheat or wheat products - things the little blind dog was allergic to. I checked over every food they sold that I consider safe (meaning there was no record of the food ever killing any animals) and discovered that their custom made food with wheat and beef had almost the same nutritional value as Candide and Wellness!
It sells for $25 for 40 pounds. Rah!
This, of course means, we can afford to buy more cookies and treats for the dogs . . .
We're picking up some today.
Also yesterday, got the bill from Sears for the washer and dryer. There was none of the promised credit on the bill . . .
Had to call them. They swore it would be on there on the next bill. I still have to write to them. First email then snail mail.
Wonderful thing the internet. It makes complaining almost instantaneous and much easier to ignore.
I had to do the same thing with the State yesterday. They actually have a page on their web site to complain about them hijacking your bank account! Its the third radio button on the options!
I doubt if it will do nay good. They're still going to swipe all and any money that goes into my bank account but, if I win, they'll owe me!
Through all of this I've been thinking about a classic of American literature, Kenneth Patchen's "The Journal Of Albion Moonlight". Great, great book, where Patchen attempts to explain America and Americans in all their forms and visions.
I couldn't recall his attitude about thieving governments but I'm sure its in there.

September 23, 2008

Only lawyers guns and money can get me out of this
Warren Zevon

Pin Up JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Pin Up Art" by JW McGinnis
Still upset about the banks dumping my accounts and giving it to the state.
I still don't think I'm a fault here. It maybe legal but I feel like a victim.Godfather II I'm stunned that the bank nor the state ever made any effort to contact me. They just took the money. Out of the blue.
I'm looking for someone to blame.
I'd like to blame the bank. Part of it. The charge to loot my account for 40 bucks was $100.00. Now, under the best of circumstances that seems a touch excessive. I'm sure the exorbitant fee is somewhere in one of those small print pamphlets they hand you.
If the state gives them the go ahead I guess they have to hand over the cash . . .
The state wanted their money. When I asked why someone hadn't contacted me they said they didn't have to. It was in the papers I signed for my medical stuff.
It probably was. I might even have read it.
Grass
Click images for desktop size: "Grass" by Unknown
I keep wondering how a whole state got so desperate for money that they'd go to such extravagant lengths, potentially wrecking lives. I mean, this hurts me but its survivable. What if that were my rent money or the money for a kids operation. I can dispute the charge and get the money back. I give the woman I spoke to credit. She worked hard not to sound smug when she told me the process would take about two years . . .
I keep wondering why my 300 buck maybe debt for subsidized drugs was worth these steps and I keep coming back to Bush and all his tax cuts for the rich. Trickle down doesn't work. The state going to get its money and they're going to get it from the vulnerable, the poor.
The Wild Bunch Bush is going to give the rich $700 billion bucks because they used all the money he's already given them and blew it. I read somewhere that that's $1,600 for every person in the US. Rah! Could we maybe give three hundred bucks of that to the state so I can get my drugs?
I resent the fact that this money will be used by the investment banks to get themselves richer. There'll be nothing for the people, just for the rich minority.
I have to stop thinking about this. It just depresses me in so many ways. Personally and for my world view.
Getting depressed doesn't do much for anybody except for the rich who like poor people to be too depressed to do much about anything.
I called a couple of high schools and left my number inquiring about being a volunteer coach. I'm not pursuing the first school. Impressions, you see. I have value. If they can't see it then they never will, even if I canoodle them into taking me on staff I'll be the clip board carrier, the xerox boy, or the film indexer.
Those are all important jobs. I have talent greater than that.
Green Tea by Michael Puckaz
Click images for desktop size: "Green Tea" by Michael Puckaz
I'm going to keep looking. There's a lot I can do and want to do. I can't drive anymore so that limits me. With my ebike I've got a 10 mile radius I can cover. I look hard enough I'll find something that will work. Every other place I've volunteered in the last 5 years has been able to work around my inability to drive. No one ever indicated it was a big hassle. I wouldn't expect it to be here either.
Looking for work for money and looking for something to do where I can give what I do best for no money. I should be busier.
One bright thing. Its minor but it brings me small pleasure. When my hard drive died I lost my Shonen Knife music collection. I've managed to get some of it back.
2001 A Space Odyssey A lot of people don't know about Shonen Knife. A lot of people voted for Bush . . . Shonen Knife was one of Kurt Cobain's favorite bands. He requested them and got them to open up for Nirvana on two tours! Red Kross and Sonic Youth have both recorded songs as tributes to them!
More astonishing, to me anyway, is that Shonen Knife, the band, is over 25 years old! They started out as "The Osaka Ramones"!
The got better. At their best they combine that J-Pop bubble gum vitality with a driving pink guitar sound. Naoko Yamano, the guitarist, has the best right hand I've heard in years. She plays with a speed that rivals Johnny Ramone's.
Interestingly she plays often with a pure clean tube sound, where the normal thing today is to take the speed and distort it to give it crunch and drive. Atsuko, Naoko's sister, is the drummer. She keeps the beat. Surf
Click images for desktop size: "Surf" by Unknown
She's not as maniacal as I usually like drummers but she keeps a thudding pound going and does nicely on the light frill work.
Their cover of the Monkee's "Daydream Believer" is a nice intro into their poppier sound. It has exuberance and I still like the goofy phonetic english.
In their more "mature" stuff like "Tower Of The Sun" they show a graceful move into more serious modes. I think I prefer the total trash of their classic ode to gooniness "Banana Chips". Long live SHONEN KNIFE!
I'm taking my bike out today to check out dog foods. I need our dogs to have the best possible nourishment. I also need to save money. When the little blind dog was alive we had to be ultra-cautious about foods allowed in the house. He had so many allergies. Now the remaining trio only know they like food! Candide was killer expensive and we Asphalt Jungle finally managed to find a replacement that was about 20% cheaper but still offered all the nutrients and was hypoallergenic! Now, my quest, is to find the nutrients only and save money. I really do miss the company that custom made my dog food in my old state. They even delivered!
Oh, some people will be pleased that my puppy's site has been updated. I'm used to the kids dunning us about it. Some of them want it updated 3 times a day . . . but this time even ADULTS were bugging me!
It had to be done. Its more difficult lately. I didn't even take the pictures. Its not that I'm uninspired but, well, I just miss the little blind dog a lot. Its harder to have reportable adventures without him around.

September 22, 2008

Sickness will surely take the mind where minds don't usually go
Pete Townshend

Indigestible Suppuration by F AlterEgo
Click images for desktop size: "Indigestible Auppration" by F**k AlterEgo
Today just started out badly.
Flat tires on the car, but the new handy air compressor fixed that. Not as fast as I'd like but at least it did the job.
Without Honor Bigger problem was going on-line and discovering that my bank accounts have been wiped out. A garnishment. Which is creepy enough but the bank also charged me a hundred bucks to give my money to somebody else. This has seriously overdrawn my account . . .
I keep the account back there as a simple convenience. I mail them a small deposit each month and then pay my bills from there. That way I can pay my few bills on-line with less hassle.
After a half hour on long distance I finally found out that the state government is the one who did the garnishment.
Another half hour on long distance and I found out that the state says I owe them three hundred five dollars and thirty six cents ($305.36).
When I lived there, well one of the reasons I even moved there, The Man Who Laughs - Conrad Veidt
Click for desktop size: "The Man Who Laughs"
the state and city offered a subsidized medical program. It worked well for me. It kept me alive. There's no doubt of that.
But it seems that since I didn't live in the state for the full year in 2007 the state wants their part of the drug subsidy money back . . .
I guess they have the right . . . I guess.
My savings account had 20 bucks in it. They took that. The bank then took for 4 bucks I had in checking and over drew the account 96 bucks for their hundred dollar fee . . . No one told me about it. The state says they don't have to. Maybe I signed something. I don't know but its done now.
My regular deposit is en route to the bank now. I gather they'll just take that too. Not certain on that. A bit to dazed to ask and didn't want to give the idea.
Skeleton
Click images for desktop size: "Skeleton" by Unknown
So, filled with a touch of despair at the minute. Remembered that, once again we got an exorbitant electric bill. Another bill with no recourse other than to pay it. The hassle is that the meter reader doesn't like to come here so we get estimated bills that aren't exactly reasonable and then suddenly get these monster bills.
Life gets so complicated.
Didn't feel that good just waking up today. That hollow feeling. I stood in the shower and had those vivid memories that come only from trauma, about the second chemo therapy. That was the nasty one - hair loss, dramatic weight loss. The whole ugly kaboodle.
I was remembering lying there in bed between treatments and thinking that for the next one I'd make them drag me out of the room. I fantasized fighting them, making them drag me to get the needles.
Of course then in reality I'd have to fall out of bed and then Zombie On Broadway crawl to the toilet so I could vomit up nothing but black bile.
Still, I took a lot of comfort imagining the fight and how I'd smash that orderly's fascinating bulbous nose, feel the bone crunch. I dreamt about throwing bed pans through windows and kicking that revolting lunch table/counter that hung over the bed like a melmac vulture right through the static-y TV.
Even now the image of the destruction makes me smile.
It never happened. The extent of my hospital rebellion was to insist on walking to the treatment room, refusing the trolley or the wheel chair. Defiant unto death.
After the two flat tires and the discovery my little piece of money had been legally pilfered I felt most like I did in the group therapy meetings they made me attend.
Chemo victims are not the cheeriest group of people going. Anyone who can act like more than the living dead is usually stared at with deep loathing and a sense of pervading doom.
My kind of leukemia usually manifests in children under 12. I've been in enough groups with the walking oncology dead, balding heads covered with scraggly wisps of hair that you protect like the final flames of your first love, eyes sunken so deep that the room looks like a gathering of skulls. I remember one woman who always wore stretch pants. By the third meeting her stretch pants hang so loosely she held them up with staples and paper clips. We were an aggressive bunch who could do no more than grumble curses at whoever made defective bone marrow and let it get into the market place.
20 Million Miles To Earth During the second chemo all the other patients were children. The kids, when they were able would come and visit me. I was the only adult around who didn't come with sterile sickness and needles. As usual the kids did me more good than I did them.
As much as you may think you deserve to simply roll around in your own self pity and suffering, hating an unjust universe its impossible to languish like that when a 9 year old who looks 60 wants you to play Chinese Checkers with them. I'm not tough enough to ignore that. And the kids would actually laugh when they beat me.
Because everyone else in my oncology ward some doctor or some well meaning or heartless nurse decided I should attend the parents group sessions.
I always spent the first half of that hour despising the parents for their healthy robust faces and pudgy cheeks. It was easier than relating to the horror that their child was dying, that their child was suffering something beyond their comprehension and that the horror was right there in front of Harris Lake by The Fozz
Click images for desktop size: "Harris Lake" by The Fozz
them.
There were the parents who sat there in tears. The parents who cursed. The parents who whined. What upset me that that most of the talk was about themselves. The talk was always about how the parents felt. I don't recall any talk about the kids, about how to help the kids cope with something that was impossible for a kid to understand.
It never made me feel good. It made me see them as selfish. That's a harsh way of viewing the parents of victims but its the way I felt. Understanding and trying to empathize couldn't shake the feeling.
The pip smoking tweedy dad who said he wishes he could take the illness into himself and spare his child, to me, looked like he was being smug confidently expressing a noble Pickpocket idea because he knew it would never happen.
I was sick. I give myself allowance for thinking those ugly black thoughts. Don't the sick get dispensation for being unfair and self centered?
Anyway, the way I feel right now is what I'm trying to explain.
The second chemo: This was my life for two months. It felt like years. At the end of it I walked into the doctors office. I sat down gingerly. I'd gotten into the weird habit of carrying myself gently. I felt like I was made of glass and could be prone to shattering. I was always afraid of leaving bits of myself scattered about. I worried about gathering all those bits together again.
The doctor looked out the window when he spoke to me. Never a good sign. The doc told me that the chemo didn't take. Didn't do any good. He also said I might be developing pernicious anemia. That's a pretty bad thing to maybe be developing.
I left. I didn't thank him for his time. I wasn't angry, numb or much of anything. I was relieved that it was over. At least for now.
I left the hospital and stopped in a corner shop to get a coke and a candy bar . . . health food for my soul. Behind the counter of the corner shop you could see the security camera TV. The camera was aimed so that it showed the top of my head. My hair never grew back the way it used to be but then the camera showed a big gaping bald spot and I was suddenly overwhelmed with a sadness that was uncomfortably close to the greatest sadness I had ever felt.
Green Eyes
Click images for desktop size: "Green Eyes" by Unknown
My solution was to get on a plane and go and coach my team. We won the championship that year. Four kids went to university, two went the pros, three got jobs coaching, the rest all went on to do a lot of things that make me proud of them (as if that were their intent - I still have a fantastically large ego.) It was a good season.
But when I was looking at that TV screen with my ugly skull glistening through the wisps of hair, that's about how I feel now.
Not with that riveting intensity. Not with the realization or the spectral feeling of disassociation. Not nearly like that.
But remembering that makes this seem like a minor thing.
I have a puppy. I have my friend and my friends.
I'm still unstoppable.

September 21, 2008

Another Bye Week??

Angel
Click images for desktop size: "Angel" by Unknown
No USC game. Without the Trojans the Pac 10 continues to embarrass itself . . . badly. ow bad is Tennessee that UCLA could beat them!
I'm still chagrined that schools are all using their 12th game to schedule patsies. Ohio State gets raves for coming back against Troy? Missouri is a scoring machine against Buffalo?
The Third Man There has to be some way to force athletic departments to schedule decent opponents. I understand and empathize with second tier programs benefiting financially and in player experience when they play top level schools but for Ohio State, LSU and others to schedule 3 such opponents makes a mockery of the sport. Of course UNLV did beat ASU but that doesn't justify having them on the schedule.
I'm feeling better today. Nearly 75%. The abscesses are retreating. I feel less sick. It still feels like ticks are crawling on me, but I know they're not. I check often . . .
And then I think of football and the NFL makes me queasy all over again . . .
Anima Mia by HR Giger
Click images for desktop size: "Anima Mia" by HR Giger

Last week my picks proved every negative about my understanding of the game. I was a less than scintillating 7-8 . . .
I'm still not out of it though. I'm also still alive in the Survivor Tournament! This week the prizes are again a $500.00 gift certificate at 7-11, a Fat Had Poster and a WIFI watch that does game reports . . . I think the watch is cool but not very inspiring. What does 7-11 have that I'd spend 500 bucks on? I'd also need to meet a kid who'd want a giant poster of a football player . . .
As usual my picks are in bold.

Oakland at Buffalo - Last week Darren Mcfadden proved that he's can be an elite RB. He actually stopped the Raiders from being considered the worst team in the NFL! Unfortunately he's sore this week/ The Buffalo Bills are trying to make a statement that they belong amongst the elite. This game won't be pretty which is sad for me as it's the only daytime game I'll get to see . . This is also my must win game for the Survivor section of the contest I'm in!

He Man by Earl Norem
Click images for desktop size: "He Man" by Earl Norem
Tampa Bay at Chicago - Griese played well last week for the Buccaneers. That really surprised me. I started to believe in the Atlanta Falcons and really thought they'd give him fits. This week the Bears will be angry after the freaky loss. They also know Griese very well. He played with amazing mediocrity for them for 2 years. I'd expect the Bear D to tee off on him. On the other side of the ball the Bears will not be able to move the ball well. With Devin Hester hurting for the Bears this could be a 3-2 finish! I'm picking the Bears because of home field.

Carolina at Minnesota - I'm not a believer in the Panthers. Last second wins don't bring championships. Except they're playing the Vikings who, on paper, looked like they'd be much better than they are. They sure spent a lot of money to get this?The Mummy's Tomb Gus Freotte brings some improvement at QB. He'd be hard pressed not to. Tavaris Jackson stuns me anytime I see him on the field. He looks like he's playing scared. The key for the Vikings is still Adrien Petersen. He could explode and destroy the Panthers. He is always capable of destroying any team. It depends on how well healed he is. Anything less than 100% and the returning Steve Smith will have plenty of time to let the Panthers run rampant in the Dome.

Kansas City at Atlanta - Kansas City has shown that they deserve to be considered for the title of worst team in football. They are going so bad that they are even bum rapping the only legitimate player they have, Larry Johnson. The press have been all over Johnson calling him selfish etc. That's pretty much untrue. I've known the kid since high school when he played for State College. He's a fine kid who's just not tough enough to carry a team with an inept game plan. This would be my cruddy game of the week but there's a chance that the Falcon's Matt Ryan could light up the Chiefs secondary and that would be fun.

Miami at New England - Matt Cassel managed the game well last week. "Managed the game" is a synonym for "didn't play like a bonehead." Miami looks a lot better than they did last year but I still expect the Patriots to play like a team and stand them off. It should be close.

Arizona at Washington - This is a hard game to figure. Washington stinks but they held off a Hometown
Click images for desktop size: "Hometown" by Unknown
superior team in the Saints last week. The Cardinals stink but they have romped on two of the poorer teams in the NFL. This is still a cruddy game of the week contender. Just harder to figure. The Cardinals are healthy. I didn't see enough of the Redskins game highlights to form an opinion but they still look like they're terrible.

Houston at Tennessee - I like Kerry Collins, have since he played at Penn State, and I'm totally chuffed he's starting for the Titans. He makes the Titans running game better. His arm is still sharp and he doesn't make the bad decisions he made when he was younger. The Texans are just bad.

Cincinnati at New York Giants - I'm sort of heart broken by the way Carson Palmer has played so far The Raven this season. I've seen nothing that gives me a clue as to why. I'd almost rather pick the Bengals and lose than go against him and Chad Ocho Cinco. Too many problems in the locker room is the only thing I can see that has destroyed this team. The Giants will be boring but they should have enough to win. Who knows, maybe picking against the Bengals will inspire them to win! Lord known, something needs to inspire them. This is a lost team.

New Orleans at Denver - This is my big upset pick of the week. The Bronco's beat the Chargers last week on the worst call in the history of the NFL. They should have been embarrassed and forfeited the game! This is the NFL and sportsmanship has never mattered. The Saints are healthy on D this week. The offense is still banged up but if they use Bush and Mcallister with a bit of sense they can blow the Broncos out of Mile High.

The Werewolf vs The Vampire Woman Detroit at San Francisco - This is the cruddy game of the week. The Lions are loaded with talent and are 0-2. They always lose on the road. Now that the 49ers' have given up on SMith they're playing more conservative, better ball. They still stink but they managed to beat the Seahawks last week. I don't believe they can win two in a row.

St Louis at Seattle - This is also the cruddy game of the week. They need to break up the NFC West. This has to be the most pathetic division in football. Except St Louis is jockeying hard to be the worst team in the NFL. They are looking like this season's Miami. I'm glad I won't have the chance to see any bit of the debacle.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis - The Jaguars are 0-2 and the Colts are 1-1 and this is still a contender for game of the week. What I've seen of the Jag's is poor tackling, which is amazing in a Jack Del Rio squad. You have to figure they'll step up against their nastiest rival. The Colts Peyton Manning is still not far enough along in his recovery. Without Marvin Harrison I can't see him willing a win like he did against the hapless Vikings. Without Bob Sanders anchoring the Colts secondary this should be a chance for the Jag O to finally start to dig in and at least play to their level. In other words of the Jaguars don't win here their season will already be wasted. What will make it great is that the Colts have to feel the same way.

The Daltons and James Gang
Click images for desktop size: "The Daltons and James Gang" by Unknown
Cleveland at Baltimore - The Browns season is, sadly, falling apart. One thing about pro teams is that they are slow to recover from debacles. Right now the Browns can only be looking forward to playing the Bengals. The Ravens are showing a mild resurgence. The rickety defense is still getting it up to stop the important plays and they can blockade the run. Raven rookie Joe Flacco is "managing the game well" and looking like an NFL QB. He's only played the one game but the Browns are so shaken that they need someone weaker before they'll remember how to win.
When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia - This is my game of the week! The Eagles looked strong against the Cowboys. Donavan McNabb looks like a serious QB, Brian Westbrook looks fit and dangerous. The Eagle defense looks much better than I would have predicted. The Steelers look strong too but Rothlisberger is banged up. I think the Cowboy defense is better than the Steelers so the Eagles will score. I also think Steeler RB Willie Parker will look slow after a dose of the Cowboys Marion Barber. With the home field I like the Eagles better than I like the AFC dominance theory.

New York Jets at San Diego - If any team has a right to be angry it the Chargers. What happened to them last weekend should go all the way to the Supreme Court! The Jets have enough with Favre to keep this one exciting but they don't have enough Defense to stop Rivers and Sproles (figuring Tomlinson didn't practice this week and is questionable, if not doubtful to play.) After the way a Brady-less Patriot squad handled the Jets last week you have to like the Chargers now. If Favre beats them in the closing second the Chargers will be so snake bit that they'll need two voodoo priests, a Cajun Queen and an exorcist to even think about stepping on the field again.

Dallas 31 at Green Bay 28 - This is my tie breaker game. Hence the points. I'd like to see Green Bay win this one but the Cowboys just look too strong. Aaron Rogers is getting cocky in the Packer backfield. This is the game that might teach him humility or, if he can pull it off, really make everyone up north go Brett who? A Monday Night game is always sort of a game of the week . . .

As you can tell from my season record (17-14) these picks are for amusement (or loud guffawing) only.

September 19, 2008

You're my brother. You should have looked after me
Bud Schulberg

Falling Star by Emperaa
Click images for desktop size: "Falling Star" by Emperaa
There's a writer, Stanley Elkin. He likes to be identified as a Chicago writer. A pretty select group, I guess.
I can only think of Elkin, Saul Bellow and Sara Paretsky and that fellow who wrote "Man With the Golden Arm", Nelson Algren.
I always think of ALgren as New York based because of all his early TV work. The Legend Of Hillbilly John Thing is I always think writers who locate themselves in a particular area are pretty interesting. I mean, Faulkner had his mythic south, Kennedy has Albany New York, Joyce had Dublin and Chandler had L.A.
It always seems that the more specific a good writer gets the more universal his story becomes. I've got no proof of this. Its just the way things feel to me.
Stanley Elkin had multiple sclerosis. It killed him. He was probably thinking about how it was going to kill him when he wrote "The Living End".
"The Living End" is a funny story about this jewish guy who dies. The fellow goes to Heaven. He's disappointed because Heaven really doesn't come up to his expectations. He thinks it looks a lot like Disneyland, but he guesses its better than the alternative.
Suddenly he is confronted by the voice of God. God begins to berate our hero. He condemns him to hell because he once ate a piece of bacon, he wore pants with zippers instead of buttons, he worked on the sabbath. God casts this guy into the darkest pits of hell shouting out his final transgression; "and you thought Heaven looked like an amusement park!"
Fernando Vicente
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Fernando Viecente
For this sins the hero is doomed to suffer eternal torment alongside murderers, rapists, child abusers, lawyers . . . That his seemingly minor sins were seen, by God, to be as serious as genocide. A commandment is a commandment. A sin is a sin. Its a funny little book. Too hard to find, I think, but worth picking up.
There's always something about divine justice that horrifies and interests me. I think its pretty normal to at some part of your life to think that you've been hard done by. What's important, I think, is not to let it bug you to the point of being morose or silly or cruel.
I've taken it too far, often. I have an adolescent concept of correctness. My greatest fault has been in not allowing people who love me to be a part of me. Sometimes in idiotically minor ways. To let a player help me set up the field, help me carry stuff when my arms are full. The Canyon by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "The Canyon" by Maxfield Parrish
Little meaningless things that might have let them know that I valued them and trusted them to be a part of me.
Its an old true cliche that the easiest way to get someone to feel indebted to you is not to do them a favor but to allow them to do you a favor.
Somehow I turned that into a code. I didn't want to have people feel indebted to me. I feel indebted to so many and sometimes it weighs heavy. I wanted everyone I loved to feel unencumbered, free to pursue their dreams and to help others they met to pursue their dreams.
I have to remind myself that this tic of mine when added to my natural aloofness can make me seem heartless and unfeeling. That's not very important in itself, others perceptions of me. It is important when it makes people think that I think less of them. I don't grasp sometimes that how I feel about people is sometimes important to them. Probably a lot more The Hills Have Eyes important to them than how they feel about me.
Its just something I have to remember.
My friend sent me one of those test things that was supposed to tell you how much of an animal lover you are. I had a problem with it. The basic premise was skewed. It relied on a faulty concept that you could only love animals if you hated people . . . there was no lee way in thinking that animals and people are pretty equal in my eyes.
Its that same sort of thinking, not realizing there are alternatives that exist outside of ourselves that plagues me. I have to stay always aware of it or I become nothing except some sort of monstrous saint.

I've been calling the school twice a day trying to reach the HC. I left a message today. If he doesn't call me back I'll move along. There's a limit to how much stalking I'll do to get an unpaying gig.
My friends interview went well. They pointed out she's pretty well over qualified for the position. From what she says her potential immediate superior was the most concerned about this.
She liked the people and the job seemed interesting enough, at this stage, to keep her interested. They were seeing 9 applicants and will start their short list call backs on Tuesday.

Last night watched the last of this summers comic book flics. "The Incredible Hulk fits in nicely between "Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight."
I didn't think it was that good. The acting was fine and for the first time I appreciated Liv Tyler. Fat Frac by NBD
Click images for desktop size: "Fat Frac" by NBD
I had a hard time thinking of skinny Tim Roth as a quasi killer super soldier . . .
What I liked about the Hulk movie was that he wore purple pants, the Lou Ferrigno and whack Bill Bixby cameos, and that he says, "HULK SMASH!"
I also got excited because the story played out almost like the comic book "Abomination" I remember reading when I was a kid.
I was pretty disappointed in the action. I guess Corey Yuen was a lot more responsible for "The Transporter" than given credit for.
Of course all misgivings were forgotten at the end when Robert Downey Jr enters the bar and gives a hint that there'll be an Avengers movie next summer!
I know it wasn't promised but in these kind of things a hint is more binding than a promise.

September 18, 2008

I get what I want when I want it
The Hives

Electric Honey Hornet Mitten by J3 Designs
Click images for desktop size: "Electric Honey Hornet Mitten" by J3 Designs
They finally came and got the old washer and dryer out of here yesterday. Took them all of 7 minutes from entry to exit.
At least it's done. Now I have to write a letter to Sears complaining to get some more compensation. A week of inconvenience and extra work caused their sub-contractor should be compensated,
Teenage Doll Right now my friend is off on a job interview. The main attraction in this job is that it is less than a mile from the house!
Oddly her job title will be a reduction in status, from Controller to some sort of accounting manager. But the money will be close to the same . . . I put it down to the vagaries of working for not for profits.
Here present job is a national wilderness preservation group. Well thought of I guess. The job interview is in the same field but only state wide.
There's a small part of me that would like to see her stay at her present job. She's just getting to know the people and likes a few of them well.
Clarence Holbrook Carter
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Clarence H Carter
But the idea of being able to take the dogs over to meet up for lunch and whatever is more than a little cool.
Plus with the coming depression and the oil company gouging being able to walk to work and/or only having to drive a mile to work means a savings of about $500.00 a month!
And the time factor. Now her job is about 45 minutes a way. This is a 12 minute walk . . .
Its nice going on a job interview when there's no real pressure to get the job. It would just be nicer. Its all cool.
If she has fun on the interview maybe she'll get past being angry with me for not wanting to drive 100 miles to see the Mudhoneys . . .
She say's they're one of the original grunge bands. I think them as a tired punk metal act. I'll probably end up going and then if I hate the show I can use it as leverage to get something I want . . .
I've always had reservations about bands that name themselves after Russ Meyer's flics.

We finally watched "The Dark Knight". Evening Wind by Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: "Evening Wind" by Edward Hopper
I was pretty disappointed, especially as I'm a big fan of "Batman Begins".
"Iron Man" was definitely more fun. "The Dark Knight" had some decent moments but it was too thin to be such a long long movie. The acting was fine but not very exceptional. I thought Heath Ledger's Joker was more hammy (hammier?) than even Jack Nicholson's Joker.
Ledger had some decent scenes but they ended up being too mannered for my tastes.
Aside from Morgan Freeman's line about, "You think that one of the wealthiest most powerful men in the world is a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands and you want to blackmail him?" there wasn't much to enjoy here.
The special effects and gismos were okay. The thing I spent The Beyond most of the time wondering about was how this movie got to be the monster hit that it is.
One thing I found fascinating was that the themes that it hit on most effectively were explored much more touchingly in "A Man Who Was Superman".
"A Man Who Was Superman" has been rising higher and higher in my estimation. It was such a light colored film that explored such dark insidious themes, but it did it with a smile on its face and a far more mature perspective on the world.
"The Dark Knight," at times seemed to be going for the dark for no real purpose than it was the easier thematic way out of things.
I like dark. I like unremitting darkness in movies too, but here they were going for too many other things and it got to be a bit of a mess.
The only thing I actively disliked though was the final battle between Batman and the Joker. The conflict between Gordon and Batman when we know that Bats is always right about this sort of thing, especially in view of the fact that Gordon kept being wrong throughout the movie added nothing but grate for me.
The comics have prepared me for the Joker getting that one lucky punch in that decks Batman but I couldn't quite accept that just whacking Batman with a pipe would get him down. Then for Bats to escape only because of a rather dull gizmo was annoyingly anticlimactic.
The Garment Jungle I watched WALL-E by myself last night. I didn't get it. I liked WALL-E and the insane cleaning robot but that was it. I didn't get the point of showing people as basically good but as fat non-moving unattractive non-capable creatures.
It made the ending bewildering for me.
There was a time when I would have gotten a kick out of the omnipresent Apple images - the iPod video, the robots re-booting with the Mac chimes, now it just comes across as commercial propaganda aimed at kids.
That's a bit too cynical for me.
Today I'm going to take the ebike to the store to get some dog food. Its about a two hour walk and about 15 minutes on the bike!
I love being mobile.

September 17, 2008

I'm a twenty first century man but I don't want to be here
Ray Davies

DNA by Krabban
Click images for desktop size: "DNA" by Krabban
Still sick. The infection is going down well enough to avoid a trip to the doctors. Pricey things: doctors. Pricey things: Meds.
My friend doesn't know how to tell a joke . . .
Sorcerer We we're talking about how the giant dog sometimes feels lost. My puppy is my dog and the gentle dog is my friend's. Both dogs are comfortable in the relationship, comfortable enough to share time with each of us.
The giant dog is insecure. He's special to us but that's not enough for him. Like an acne scarred teen he wants to be the most special in the world to someone. He searches and interferes and often goes for bad attention if for any scant second he feels he's been forgotten.
He's silly enough and goofy enough not to become morbid about it. He also loves the other two and would be lost without them.
So we were talking about the giant dog's desperate need for a codependent relationship. My friend thought it was funny to say that we would have to find a home for the giant dog where he could be lavished with the attention he craves.
I didn't realize she was joking and said something Son of Blob about he'd have to go with me if that time ever came. The giant dog looks to me as pack leader. He sometimes feels the instinctive need to challenge me and is relieved when he loses. (He has issues with his instincts to be in charge and his natural goofy disposition and his problem with being large enough to reach any shelf in any house.)
This prompted my friend to joke that I was in love with the giant dog. Which is probably true enough in its way. She thought the joke funny enough to email my puppy's aunt. She left out the background and simply wrote that we had to find a new home for the giant dog . . . My puppy's aunt, being a kind and sweet pro-active sort, wrote back immediately about her search for a new home for the giant dog!
And then I remembered that all the way through high school and college at least 80% of the fist fights and 70% of the :feuds" all started because of a joke that someone didn't get.
Here I'm sure my friend didn't understand that other people might not realize that the giant dog could never live without us or we without him.
My friend doesn't know how to tell a joke . . .
This is day four of the great Sears ransom story . . . They didn't show up yesterday. I got a call about mid-day telling me that it would have to be rescheduled till today.
I pointed the obvious things out. I hate having to core dump on poor employees who empathize but are powerless.
The saga continues. What makes it bearable is that the new washer and dryer work well . . . so far.
We're getting Vonage here. Cutting monthly expenses to the bone while, hopefully, not noticing much of a change to our Spartan lifestyle.
1960 Corvette
Click images for desktop size: "1960 Corvette"
We got a cool deal on the Vonage. I resent that they still use hard MAC coded phone modems and the world's cruddiest routers, but the deal had the router for only 9 bucks, one month free and no activation fee.
I was pretty happy with Vonage before. Happy is the wrong word. It worked okay and was only occasionally annoying and sporadically infuriating. I guess that counts as happy in the world of telecommunications. It is cheap.
To celebrate the savings we spent the money on a new wireless router. It wouldn't have started to cover the price of doctors and penicillin (what a country . . .) My old linksys was giving me fits. I could keep it going with so alchemy and constant reflashing. It was serviceable enough. Got a linksys draft-N router. We don't have any draft-N wifi cards in any of the computers (maybe my friends work laptop?) so don't notice any speed bumps. Haven't tried to see if there's any improvement Silent Running in distance reception. It hasn't crashed yet.
I was amazed with myself. I'd been nursing the old router along for so long that it took me less than 5 minutes to get the new one up and in place with the same WEP security and my own personal configuration quirks. In the Windows world that makes me an expert I guess . . . doing something meaningless so many times that you can cope with the inane requirements . . .
I'm glad its working well. I would have missed a lot of laughs without the internet. The colossal story about Bush suddenly becoming a hard core socialist. How uncanny. The government is taking over a company and "loaning" them $85 BILLION dollars! I'd guess that's as large as the gross national product of 2/3rds of the world's nations.
So much for the lie about deregulating banks and insurance companies . . . I like that they are charging AIG interest on the 85 billion. Calculating this in my head i think that's about 1 and 1/2 billion a month in SIMPLE interest. What bank charges simple interest? I haven't read any other terms of the loan, just Bush being hard core about charging them interest.
I do wonder where we're getting the money to loan them. And, of course, how the heck we can ever expect a company that is so mismanaged will ever be able to come up with an extra 1.5 billion a month to pay the interest.
I'm a bit stunned that the balm that Bush puts on this outrageous "loan" is that AIG was simply going to default on all those little annuities and money market accounts that little people had rested their entire life's futures to. Why are there never any jail sentences for bankers stealing from the people?
Utitled
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
Its stuff like this that made Dillinger and Bonnie & Clyde national heroes. They robbed banks. Banks have always been the enemies of the people. Its almost a natural thing. Banks hate people. Its fair to hate them back.
I still thank that bankers should face jail sentences when behaving this badly.
It also amusing that McCain and his cronies have spent their careers dismantling the protections that Franklin Roosevelt (in retrospect he may have been our greatest president) slaved so hard to build to protect us from predatory banks. And now they claim to have a solution to fix what they broke. Sadly, none of the fixes seem to involve admitting that letting banks feast on each other was not the smartest thing going.
I always like it when a guy who inherited a hundred million dollar fortunes pretends to understand my problems . . .
I have to admit though that I am impressed by the fact that no matter how many lies McCain & co. get caught in they just bray the lies louder and watch as their poll numbers shoot up.
Sudden Fear Same way that Palin keeps nasally twanging about how she wants a transparent government but then decides that her own legislature should be ignored. The "troopergate" mess reminds me of Spiro Agnew. Nixon was so corrupt and started McCain's lying to procure office mess. Nixon was such a corrupt jerk that people forget that Agnew, his vice president was even more corrupt. He plead nolo contendre to taking bribes when he was Governor of Maryland and was forced out of office. Nixon was able to pardon him to keep him out of prison.
Now, Palin is breaking the law and contradicting herself (lying is an apt word here) about why she fired a good public servant, contradicting herself about her honesty and willingness to cooperate with her own government.
So now the campaign just spouts out more irrational lies but I notice that they keep gaining in the polls.
This stuff would make me ashamed of being American but the fact that the American people appear to demand poverty and a banana style group of despots just makes me laugh. I only weep for the children.

September 16, 2008

I believe we stand as much as we can and then we die when we can
William Kennedy

Dave Nestler
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Dave Nestler
I watched the Monday Night game. What a whacky mess.
DeSean Jackson made the most bone head play of the century! He caught a sure touchdown pass, an elegant play, but as he ran towards the end zone he began to celebrate and threw the ball away . . . compounding it was that none of the Cowboys figured it out so they never picked the ball up.
Satan's Slave I didn't like DeSean as a player when he played for Cal when he would always bum rap USC. I'm not above maliciously enjoying his faux paux in the NFL.
Watching the game I was, as usual, impressed with Brian Westbrook. It bewilders me why Sean Payton (HC of the New Orleans Saints) doesn't use Reggie Bush in the same way. Maybe with Deuce McAllister back in the line up he'll start to exploit Bush's talents. Maybe not when you consider that horrific score against the bad Redskins team.

There's going to be another dog walk at the big mansion estate. When we look at the pictures of the lat big dog walk there its pretty apparent that our guys had the time of their lives.
My puppy was a bit more reserved. She takes her self anointed jobs too seriously to ever just let go when there are strangers about but even she had fun running up ahead and then running back to make sure I was okay.
I'll miss the little blind dog being with us. His trying to bully the great danes was pretty heart warming. Even he had a great time on that day.
I'm pleased. The Dog Walk will be the Sunday of the weekend we're going to see Alkaline Trio. It should be a splendid weekend.
Some of you have noticed the funny goings on with the footer of this page . . . This worries me; that anyone is looking, I mean.
I have a free traffic counter from Sitemeter. It only counts the unique visitor who come to look at the front page. I like that. If you come to the movie library or something else it lets you be. Then it Back By the Full Moon
Click images for desktop size: "Back By the Full Moon" by Unknown
sends me an email once a week telling me a lot of useless stuff but loaded with groovy numbers!
Like this page gets about 100 hits a day. Which to me seems like a lot. In the internet its something less than insignificant.
The official unique visitor count is closer to 800 a day but that includes spammers, robots etc. Which means the number is just goony and has nothing to do with anything.
I like the data. Seventy Five percent from bookmarks, eighteen percent from search engines. That kind of junk.
Its all pretty meaningless. I never intend to "monetize" the site. I don't want to become a "professional blogger". I'm not ever putting up ads and I'm not writing "reviews" for anything I don't care about. So all the numbers are nothing except for my personal amusement.
I also like the way the numbers look down there. They balance the look of the footer which does it job of saying this is the end of the page very nicely.
She Devil Anyway Sitemeter ended up doing a revamp that bought it more in line with Google Analytics. That was another service I tried and didn't care about.
That end of stuff didn't bother me very much except they also changed things enough to change the look of the entire counter. I disliked it so I removed it.
I spent about 15 minutes experimenting with other counter, including one provided by the hosting service. I didn't like any of them and decided that the footer looked just fine with no counter in it.
Then Sitemeter sent out a bulk email. I guess I wasn't the only one with complaints, although I suspect they other complaints were more serious than my fashion worries.
So for now the counter is back there . . . for now.

I have to wait for the third day for Sears to come and pick the old washing machines - between 7 a.m. City Of The Gods
Click images for desktop size: "City of the Gods" by Unknown
and 5 p.m. . . . and we had to pay for the right to wait . . .
I amusing myself trying to figure out what logic the oil companies used to jack up prizes when the price of oil has fallen. Something about future oil production maybe less so we have to pay more now because we will have to pay even more later . . . seriously, why aren't these geeks regulated?
As the stock market continues to crash I note that this is the worst hit the economy has taken since 9/11. I find it fascinating that it took Bush 7 years to equal the terrorists body count of Americans. The terrorists killed one of my best friends. Bush has killed two of my friends, not trying to track down my best friends killer but in a war for his own ego. Its taken Bush 7 years to cripple the country in the same way the terrorists did in 30 horrifying minutes.
And my fellow Americans are going to elect Palin and McCain so that the terrorism and the carnage can continue.

September 15, 2008

You may leave here for four days in space but when you return its the same old place
PF Sloan

Black Skimmer by S4W
Click images for desktop size: "Black Skimmer" by S4W
It was a grim weekend.
After the euphoria and beauty of the USC game, after the final images have replayed over and over in my mind, I re-awoke up to find that God and the Republican army have pretty well trashed America.
Planet Of The Apes There was the tragic train crash in Chatsworth California, killing at least 18 with so many others lying maimed in hospital. Its surprising that the Republicans haven't claimed that it was a terrorist attack and used it as an excuse to post Homeland Security on all buses and trains.
Even they couldn't be that crass. They probably thought about it but got distracted by the imminent collapse of the US economy.
They shouldn't be surprised by this. They engineered it, put it in place and then pushed over the dominos. They tried to shore it up ala Bear Stearns. Just trying to hold the economy with duct tape and baling twine. They wanted it to hold together like an old Ford Torino I once had, just keep it chugging along, burning oil and spitting out black smoke, just hold together until next payday. They wanted it to hold together until the election, then they would be free of blame.
Circular Logic by Lawnelf
Click images for desktop size: "Circular Logic" by LawnElf
Then Hurricane Ike rips through Texas while more and more storms build ready to pound us into submission, all the way from the Gulf Coast up to Chicago where a friend of mine had their house flooded. At least they're okay and their home is still standing. I'm grateful for that.
While a part of our country is smashed and broken and thousands look out on a desolate life we can count on the Republican oil companies to exploit the tragedy and jack up prices to bolster themselves against shortages that might never come.
A great example of the trickle down theory in economics . . . With thousands suddenly homeless, their family possessions lost forever, with pride gone before anyone can even ask for a helping hand their are always maggots out there willing to make a future impossible, and if you can get rich in the process all the better.
Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
Are there any oil company scholarships? At any school? Are there any community centers or free clinics that the oil companies have helped build or fund? Do they do anything for charity, I mean other than the 7% they need in order to get the tax refunds?
Do they do anything for the world they exploit so unmercifully? Will they survive when the American economy collapses?
Banks are now filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy . . . the institutions that destroyed people's lives so totally in the 20th century are coming close to destroying the world in the 21st. And they want protection from themselves.
It would be pathetic if it wasn't so egregious, far fetched and about to happen.
Merrill Lynch sells itself to Bank of America for pennies on the dollar just to avoid losing everything.
Re-Animator Its funny. I remember learning in school, California history classes in grammar school, about how Bank of America was founded after the great San Francisco earthquake. These two Italian immigrant brothers set up the bank in order to help their community rebuild their lives.
We were taught that what the two brothers did was a courageous and noble thing, that they showed faith in their community and risked themselves to help rebuild it. Sort of like a real world version of George Bailey in "It's A Wonderful Life".
Now they're the largest bank in the world and are picking up bargain basement items at close out sales. I think, partially to protect themselves so that when the market crashes they'll have the wherewithal to scoop up more fire sale items.
Maybe their speculation will help save the economy. I doubt if that's part of their concern, but maybe it is. You have to be fair. Even if banks and warmongers don't deserve any empathy you still have to be fair. We're Americans and we still believe in being fair. Maybe not as much as we used to though . . .
I was at a party once. Gore Vidal was there. I can't remember what kind of party I'd be at that would have Gore Vidal and me on the guest list.
I heard him say some stuff about how the word senator came from some Latin word about being senior. He said that the idea was that you spent your life getting old and then when you were old it was expected that you'd give what was left of your posh life to the community.
He said it a lot nicer than that. I can't recall his words. I can only recall liking the way he said it. He ran for Senator from California a few years later. He lost.
Cole Phillips
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Cole Phillips
I could add to his words the cynical thought that by the time someone got enough money to think about becoming a senator he'd be so venal and corrupt that he'd think that corruption was good and that goodness was something so vague and forgettable to not even bear serious consideration. And he'd serve the country and get richer and richer all the time singing that old Jay and the Americans tune "Only In America". Maybe doing a little soft shoe in the vestibule while he waited for the elevator.
Its like this. Is there anyone out there who doesn't know that Sarah Palin is a dangerous lying shrew? Is there anyone who doesn't know that McCain is about as maverick as the guy in the Porsche who parks in the handicap zone because he's more important than you and only needs to get a few things.
Revenge of the Creature Americans love a good liar. They like to be deceived.
There's nothing left to talk about. The republicans have wrecked the country already. We have more thought police than the old Soviet Union. We're faced with a deep poverty that will make the dollar worthless so we won't be able to flee.
Mexico is already like the largest supplier of all that foreign oil the politicians are going to free us some. In a few years maybe the Mexican government will be erecting a wall to keep the hungry Americans out.
The Republican plan worked for 50 years for the Soviet Union. Homeland Security is really just the American police being used to suppress us, to keep us home, to make it hard for us to be free so we can be controlled and exploited far their largesse.
Elect the Republicans. Its the fate we deserve I guess. We let it happen, aided it along. Time to pay the reaper and live in the hell we have been moving to.
Ruslana Korshunova
Click images for desktop size: "Ruslana Korshunova" by Unknown

I'm sick today. Stomach flu or food poisoned sick. But its not that. I'm just sick. With that damn hollowness it makes me crabby. Only my puppies make me smile when I'm like this.
It was a grim sort of weekend here. We did manage to avoid most of the ugliness of the storms. It hovered around but didn't come knocking. It was like a nervous bum afraid to ask for a handout.
Its sunny today.
The washer and dryer work. Work well. I was almost sorry to run out of dirty clothes. They feel soft and smell like scented candles at High Mass.
If Sears delivery wasn't inept it would have been pleasant. There going to come on Tuesday, supposedly, to take the old machines away. That's like a week of having to keep the house torn up, moving the stove and stuff. Feels like paying for their convenience.
Return of the Fly I'm not a man to make threats but there will be a letter sent . . . maybe I can get them to give back some money . . .
Bad picking in the NFL this week. I'm 5-9 going into tonight's game. Four of the games I picked wrong I was pleased with the way the games went. Two of them were appalling. So this week I don't win the $500.00 7-11 gift certificate . . . 7-11? That's a heck of a lot of beef jerky! What else do you get a 7-11?
Looking back at the facts and figures it should have been a good weekend. I don't know why it didn't feel like it.
Too many bad things going on. Too much disaster. Too much.
Some days it doesn't feel like it pays to be human. All the monsters are winning too much.
I called the high school. Left a message on voice mail. Shouldn't have done that. Too easy to ignore voice mail and a time stamped message stops me from calling every hour and until I get a person.
Can't look too crazy or desperate.

September 14, 2008

USC 35 The Ohio State 3

Yaqui Deer Dancers
Click images for desktop size: "Yaqui Deer Dancers" by Unknown
I have to say I was impressed with Tressell's coaching, not for this game but in general. I was not impressed with some of the Ohio State players. Intentional dirty play, 3 personal fouls, is unacceptable.
To his credit the coaching staff did keep those to a minimum and they weren't repeated by the same players.
OSU played hard until the end. That's good.
Monster On Campus It was a good win for USC, but I saw more room for improvements than I saw good things - at least on offense. I don't know anything about defense except my O schemes would work a lot better if those other guys would cooperate.
They'll improve I'm sure. I was stunned by the excellent play of the O-Line. I've never seen a line so excited about playing the game. It warmed my cruel cold heart.
The washer and dryer were delivered today. They complained about the stairs too but it still took them less than five minutes to get them down there . . . of course they didn't take the old ones up because, without measuring they said they wouldn't fit up the stairs.
The lead guy called his boss and handed us the phone, then he took off . . . when the woman on the phone asked to speak to him she was flustered that he had left.
Now, I have to hang around for a third day to wait for these guys to come take the stuff away . . . they charge for this too.
I'm pretty disappointed in Sears and really won't do any more business with them so long as they hire delivery services as cruddy as this.
The irritation the cruddy delivery service created was quickly assuaged when we found out that a local pizza joint does Gluten-Free pizza!
I don't have issues with wheat (how did I miss that one) but my friend does so being able to go into a joint and to actually be able to order something is tres cool, especially when its something like pizza!
I still haven't got enough football. I would have like the USC game to go on another half at least.
But its Sunday, time for the NFL which means I get my weekly chance to prove what a fool I can actually be.
Last week I was an incredibly mediocre 10-6 . . .
My picks are in bold.

Magnum ForceChicago at Carolina - The Bears were helped a lot last week by a rusty Peyton Manning. But they still looked good. Good enough to win a lot more games than I first thought. The offense is ramshackle but the healthy defense looks capable of doing what necessary. The Panthers looked weak against a Sand Diego team that still seemed to be in pre-season mode. They looked ragged at every position and managed to put together few drives. The Panthers won on a miracle play that should have been stopped easily. Of course they never should have let them get into that position to begin with. I can't see the bears let the Panthers get into that position again.
CGMM_61.jpg
Click images for desktop size: "Lyre" by Unknown

New Orleans at Washington - The Saints won last week pretty much in the way I expected them to, but they've got three starters out on defense. If they were playing and other team than the Redskins I'd be strongly reconsidering picking them for this week. Washington just looks dire, even 3 days more rest and practice won't help much. I look for Brees to ad to his legend even without Coulston on the field. With Deuce back in the backfield I'd really expect another breakout game from Bush. I expect nothing from the Redskins except a few temper tantrums.

New York Giants at St Louis - I wasn't very impressed with the Giants opener. But the Rams look dismal. I was shocked that one of my good friends, a staunch Giants fan (he went to Brown so he needed something to root for) isn't following them at all this season. He thought last year was so great with them winning all those games they should have lost that he knows they'll only disappoint him this season . . . I doubt if they'll disappoint him in this game. How did the SuperBowl champs manage to draw the two worst teams in the NFL to open their season? This is my "Survivor" game, the one game I must pick right to continue in the game!

Aztec
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Indianapolis at Minnesota - I'm a picked surprised at how many "away" teams I'm picking this week. The Colts didn't look terrible last week. Manning only showed he was human and needed to practice before he plays. He's done that this week. The Vikings looked pretty poor against the Packers and their new QB. Two bad games in a row for the Colts will be nearly as amazing and disheartening as seeing Tom Brady go down in the season opener.

Oakland at Kansas City - Cruddy game of the week contender. Oakland has nothing. Its sad seeing Lane Kiffen (formerly of USC) run such a ragged offense. The Raiders' D has improved but not enough to compensate for the stilted O. The Chiefs aren't much better except that Larry Johnson last week showed that he may be back and at 100%. Considering what he did against the Patriots last week he should Night Of The Hunter rumble and rip the Raiders which will be all Kansas City should need.

Buffalo at Jacksonville - Last week the Bills looked as good as I thought they could. The Jaguars looked pretty pathetic. So in a bout of non-logic I'm going with the Jags. The team is too talented to start 0-2. It will be a war. This is my game of the week.

Tennessee at Cincinnati - The Bengals looked pathetic in their loss. The Titans looked better than to be expected. So I'm taking the Bengals because they still have too much offense. The Titans can slow them down but not stop them. Vince Young being out and the bizarre circumstances there will have an effect but their back up QB's are probably better than he is, even though their offensive game plan will be more limited it will be more effective. My runner-up game of the week.
Cherry Deluxe
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Green Bay at Detroit - Boy, the Lions really stunk the joint out last week against Tennessee. Green Bay looked like they were ready to be 13-3 all over again. (Both these teams were responsible for two of my bad picks last week) Its been chic for a while to pick the Lions to finally play to their potential. I can't see it this week even at the friendly Silverdome.

Atlanta at Tampa Bay - Matt Ryan led the Falcons to an incredible start. That means that the Buccaneers have had a chance to study a whole games worth of film on him. In fact I'd have picked the Buc's except for the weird QB controversy that's erupted there. With Garcia claiming he's ready to play and Gruden saying, "No your not!". Gruden Orgy of the Deadhas never really gotten Offense. When your incumbent is benched for a journeyman QB look for trouble. Griese will do okay but can't be counted on to do enough. This is one pick that could really blow up on me though.

San Francisco at Seattle - The Seahawks were pretty much embarrassed up at Buffalo. The team is used to being humiliated on the road, but not at home. Especially against the hapless 49er's who are still in disarray. Tier fine RB, Frank Gore, is looking like he is a fine Fantasy pick (and I still don't like fantasy football) but fantasy picks don't often win games.

Miami at Arizona - I'm picking the Cardinals even though I really dislike what they're doing to this team. The Dolphins with Chad Pennington and Joey Porter have really improved, but they still don't quite know how to win. For their first road game I think it will be just a bit too difficult but only slightly.

San Diego at Denver - The Broncos are favorites in this game. Several reasons for this - betters liked that they were able to beat up a dismal Raiders team; Ladanian Tomlinson is hurting and Shawn Merriman is out. After the pathetic game against the Panthers even mediocre coach Norv Turner should be able to get these guys fired up. The Superbowl is the Chargers for the taking. The Broncos are not a very good team. They are just better than the dismal Raiders. This game is too important for the Chargers to let it get away.
The Spotlight
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New England at the New York Jets - Who would have ever figured the JEts would be an overwhelming favorite in this game? What looked like a great face off between Brady and Favre is now a curiosity item. I'm taking the Patriots because I just don't know how the team of the 21st Century is going to look without the greatest QB of all time. Its hard to figure. They may get beat or the D may step up and hammer Favre. This won't be a great game but it is the most fascinating game of the week. I'm taking the Patriots until they show they can lose.

Philadelphia at Dallas - This is a game of the week contender. I hate the Cowboys so much I couldn't make it the big pick. After the Cowboys manhandled a good Browns' team last week and with the way Donavan McNabb played for the Eagles The Paradine Case there should be plenty of fireworks. I'm picking the Cowboys only because they should win. I'd be stoked if they didn't though.

Pittsburgh 28 Cleveland 21 - This is my tiebreaker game (in the contest thing). I still don't like the Steelers much but after the way the Browns confidence was shattered by the Cowboys last week this is too big a test for them to work on their recovery. A great coaching job by Romeo Crennel could keep this game close. The Steelers just have to play their usual game to win it though. They've had the Browns number for too long.

As usual these picks are for entertainment only and to provide fodder for laughing at me and my supposed knowledge of the game.
Friday was so hectic that I forgot to call the high school to see what was up with them. Its hard to believe that just a year ago Champion contenders were fighting for my services, thinking I was the guy to put them over the top? Have I fallen that low or is the game just not that important here? Anyway Monday I'm going to bug them for a yes or a no answer. Why die quietly when you can make a ruckus. My dogs and I love us a good ruckus.

September 13, 2008

Sometimes the good guys win one

A Good Mixer by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "A Good Mixer" by Maxfield Parrish
I'm sick of politics.
For me its over. Barring anything unreasonable happening or someone standing up proud to change my mind. I'm done.
Good thing too as today is the day of the game of the season (so far). USC v OSU.
Murder My Sweet I'm a bit startled at how much hype the game has received. I don't like much of where the attention has gone wither. The sports media seems to always forget that these are young men. Kids really, most of them not even 21 years old.
Point spreads and injury reports are fine in the NFL, as far as I'm concerned. Its a pro sport and it was created for that sort of thing. Bu this is kids going out to fight for pride, for old alumni guys like me, for their teammates, for their family and for their girl friends or better still, their want them to be girl friends.
There'll be a score. You need a score to have a handle on how to judge your performance Blue Character Anime
Click images for desktop size: "Cardinal & Gold Anime" by Unknown
but that's all it should really mean.
I'm excited about this game because it does pit two of the finest defenses in the country against a decent offense (OSU) and an unproven but potentially great offense (USC).
I do hope that Jim Tressel (OSU HC) isn't playing mind games or games ,man ship regarding Beanie Wells. I want the kid to be healthy enough to play and to play well. I want to see him against the Trojan defense.
I hope its not games man ship. Tressel has done enough of that with his two game suspension of his two DB's. (Never heard of a two game suspension before - its usually one game or three.)
I was pretty shocked to read Coach Terry Bowden state that he thinks that Tressel's ploy with Wells is games man ship. Then Bowden added that it was a two game plan to play mind games with USC to set OSU up for a victory. He went on to say that the Ohio game and Wells being listed as doubtful is exactly what he would do . . .
I still say that kind of junk is for the NFL where its a big Lady In The Lake "who cares" deal. Its not something that in play for the development of young men. Its not beneficial to either the Buckeye or the Trojan players. Its not part of education. If winning becomes that Lombardi like in College ball then the sport will lack and be just an unpaid minor leagues for the NFL.
Its a lot more than that. I hope that the money doesn't drag the game down.
I also hope they don't do something as daft or dangerous as novocaine Wells. I want him to play. Without him I think OSU can move the ball and score some but the pressure will really be on the OSU defense to win the game. Counting on defense to score you points is do-able but it can't be relied on.
On offense I think the Buckeyes can handle the Trojan front four pretty well. They won't be able to handle the linebackers. I expect to see Clay Matthews sneak in on a few plays and incredibly disrupt things. Brian Cushing, Ray Maualuga will be forces and MaiavaAlex's Eye
Click images for desktop size: "Alex's Eye" by Unknown
will stand strong against any running backs.
They'll be some cool safety blitzes and at least one outrageous corner blitz. If they decide to test out Taylor Mays he should have at least one pick.
The USC offense is a bit worrisome. Our wideouts have to improve a lot against what they did at Virginia. Virginia hit them with pretty much zone all day. OSU likes man to man and they have the physical presence to make it work and hold up for their blitzes. If Mark Sanchez stays cool and uses his feet well he will get some shots downfield that will open up the dump passes to Joe McKnight and Stanley Havili. Our TE's will not be much of a passing factor. They may get a couple but they'll be used primarily to keep the blitz off of Mark's back.
Mark of the Vampire Our running game might wear the Buckeyes front seven out. They could start ripping them hard in the second half, with Bradford, Johnson and Gable pounding them up the middle and with "OH NO ITS" Joe taking them wide this will be an interesting test of stamina.
I'm hoping Sarkasian (USC OC) uses the first quarter to run. Go deep a couple times to keep the box open but mainly just beat up the front 3 and get some solid crunchers in on the linebackers. Get them weary and dazed and then explode on them.
Realistically OSU has never seen a relentless running attack like USC is capable of. Last year they couldn't handle Illinois attack which was nearly as strong as but not as varied at the Trojan attack. It seems impossible that OSU can stuff the run consistently but if they do and they can get Mark Sanchez to force the game they'll have a shot. I'm sure that's their plan.
It won't be that easy. The OSU should make some big plays, exploiting their experience against the Trojan youth. If they don't things will get very ugly.
Special teams are strange. Neither team has much experience on punt return coverage yet both have game breakers on their return team. Ray Small put a bulls eye on his neck with his comments dissing the Trojans. It will be interesting to see if he can back those words.
Joe McKnight is probably the finest punt returner in the country but he fumbles!
USC's long snapping is a big worry. They'll be practiced up but the Buckeyes will be coming hard to mess it up. There could be a big play here against Troy.
On kick offs USC has a bad history of screwing up in their return coverage. They can feast or famine here, force the fumble or allow the big return. Ohio's kick return coverage is better and more consistent.
It should be exciting. Sadly it will probably be heart breaking for one school or the other.
None of the other junk matters now. Today belongs to the kids. I hope the adults haven't messed it up for them.
Planet Of The Apes
Waiting for the washer/dryer to be re-delivered today. I don't know.
Got a call from Sears today that was very aggravating. I had to fight to keep my temper in check and just relate the inanity of their contracted delivery guys. They were jerks. Put me on hold for twenty minutes and then disconnected me . . .
I called back and railed at them some. Got them to agree to a Saturday delivery and to waive the hefty delivery fee.
I still don't trust them. Although, since it gives them the chance to mess up my Saturday of football they'll probably show up. Whether they deliver the stuff is a different issue.

I did see a rather interesting movie last night. Johnny To is one of my favorite directors. He started On the Prowl By Charles Russell
Click images for desktop size: "On The Prowl" by Charles Russell
out making Michelle Yeoh a star in those manic "Heroic Trio" flics. Very over the top stuff but very cool and fun.
Then he teamed up with Andy Lau and delivered the stunning "Running On Karma". A devastating film that showed pure cinematic power and love.
He had huge hits with the triad flics, "Election" and "Election 2". Calling them the Chinese Godfather flics is faint praise. Last year he delivered the fascinating "Mad Detective". In retrospect it seems he was experimenting with nuance, character and allowing the actor to tell his story.
His latest is "Sparrow". The film has minimal dialogue, possibly less than "The Driver". (Walter Hill's interesting stab at existentialism).M
The brilliant part of the movie is that To explains NOTHING! No character is giving a background, they are all as we see them, but we are never at a loss to know exactly who they are. Each character is nuanced because To gives them just enough to complete them so that we know who and what they are. Its stunning.
What it lacks is an interesting story. Perhaps to avoid the easy way out and rely on genre cliches To's little story about pick pockets doesn't really give us much. There are some emotions and some touching scenes (particularly the last scene of the crime boss who is not so much a villain as a human being in love) and some powerful bits.
But the tone is too elegiac, intentionally so. Its hard to figure out what he wanted us to feel, if anything. This might just be an experiment, an attempt a new mode of story telling. Its compelling and brilliantly made it has depth so its not like a hollow candy, more like a nougat center without nuts are chocolate coating.
I still have to see "The Dark Knight". For some reason I can't get inspired about seeing it. It feels almost like a chore.
I liked the first Christian Bale Batman quite a bit. This one has so much hype. I keep thinking its gong to be all about the tech and not so much about the humanity.
I want to see it and like it, but the trailers were kind of boring so I'm unsure. Its unfortunate that my friend is anti-Hollywood. I'm not. But this movie just doesn't feel right.
Which is odd to think about something you haven't seen.
Its been one year since my puppy and I moved.
Its the right choice. Except for the fleas.

September 12, 2008

Who you going to believe? Me or your own eyes!
Harry Ruby

At the Musuem by Cornmeister
Click images for desktop size: "At The Museum" by Cornmeister
In the sixties there was a pretty stupid novelty song by The Young World Singers called "Ringo For President". It was trivial and silly.
I guess I might need to explain that Ringo was the drummer for the Beatles and, at the time, the most popular member of the group. At least in America.
Journey Into Fear When you listen it it, the tune is sort of grating. This shameless exploitation hope does go on to list a platform for the Brit to run on for President. Not too surprisingly, I guess, I find it a lot more sensical and endurable than the stuff I'm hearing about today.
It bothers me that I was the only one who was appalled by the World Trade Center 9/11 memorial yesterday.
In an event that was to remember the heroism and the tragedy of a black day in American history, on a day when all the parties agreed that this would be a respectful ceremony the Republicans and John McCain in particular went out of their way to turn this into just another political rally.
This is shameful. It is unpatriotic. It is also fitting that a man who managed to not lose weight while he was a prisoner of war, who made a couple of fascinating videos for the enemy should not feel any respect for American dead.
Lie to yourself, lie to me, lie to them is a great strategy for the Republicans. Way tell the truth when if you hammer at a lie long enough and refuse to back down from it no matter what facts there are, why back down when Americans will just accept that the lie is the truth.
George Bush really has led us into Stalinist Russia and 1984.
Sarah Palin had her first interview with a tame journalist. He didn't press her about much. It was a joke.
It was a moment of horror when Palin recanted her religion.
In a speech Palin clearly claims that she knows God's will. When questioned about it she backtracked. She suddenly claims to have no idea of what God's will is.
Now Fundamentalists are fine by me. The extremists in the Christian "Jihad" make me uncomfortable with their desires to stop all "wrong believers" to the point of violence against other religions, even other Christian religions. It hasn't helped that the Bush administration has tacitly approved of their violence.
But at least they were sincere in their believes. I don't think if any frothing Christian or Muslim when asked if they thought that they were acting in God's will would ever hesitate to announce that of course they were and will always be acting such because they know God's will.
I thought it was part of their belief system. I disagreed with it but I trusted it, if you know what I Untitled by Neowitch
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by NeoWitch
mean. I don't trust someone who within the space of two weeks renounces the God they claim to have believed in all their live for a God who is more acceptable to middle America.
Of course even that "acceptable" God has a rule on the books about not bearing false witness against your neighbor. So I'm wondering if Palin's God is Christian at all. Even the Koran says something about lying to gain.
A person who can so blithely renounce their deepest believes frighten and disgusts me far more than an airhead who can so easily propose that we have a nifty little nuclear war with Russia. I mean Palin believes in the rapture, so all a nuclear war would do is return her to God's side.
Of course Obama hasn't done much about any of this. I want to support him but his choosing an old pol like Biden for running mate and his stand against personal rights makes him unpalatable.
I still can't forgive him for letting the phone companies off the hook Invaders From Mars for spying on me. We've all seen enough "Law & Order" episodes to know that the phone company isn't going to hand over that kind of info. They know its illegal. Why does Obama think they should get a pass?
Why isn't he rallying people against the monster that is McCain and Palin. He's letting them have all the say.
The only two things I'm happy about with Obama is his stand on net neutrality (but will he stand firm for it against the might of Time Warner and the evil blood suckers at Comcast - bandwidth caps!! Will he just give them a pass too?).
The only salve I have in my decision to vote for him is his stand on puppy mills. Making those inner rings of dog inferno illegal on a federal level has been long over due.
I'm sure there's a guy who lived in your neighborhood. The geeky looking guy who whenever there was a traffic accident or any sort of mild emergency was always out in the street in jeans and a T-Shirt with flares and those cool Emergency coned flashlights, with an expensive gun on his hip and his grocery store security guard badge pinned to his chest.
Weird but as harmless as any guy who carries a gun can be judged harmless.
It bothers me that these kind of guys are now in the Border Patrol and Homeland Security.
It bothers me that we've set up and given huge powers to these people and yet the people are seriously deficient.
I know 3 people who went into Border Patrol and 2 in Homeland Security.
One woman who is first generation Hispanic took the job because it gave her and her family all those cool government benefits and perks. The other four . . .
Bang I'm Dead
Click images for desktop size: "Bang, I'm Dead" by Unknown
They couldn't get jobs in the State Police, the Sheriff's office, or the local police. All four of them are slow and hate filled. They wanted to be cops so they could shoot people. If they shot bad guys that would be okay but I don't think they were that discriminating.
One of the four had a high school diploma. The other 3 had GED's. One of them bragged to me about how he'd paid some guy to take the GED test for him.
All four of them are now in Homeland Security. They're the guys who go through your luggage, hold up your flight, hold you up, read your private emails decide if your suspicious.
It bugs me that all the candidates think that having sub moron thugs running our life, protecting us, isn't a problem.
They never get their bus pulled over, or their flight held up or their baggage rifled at the whim of some guy who bought his GED.
Jail Bait Is the world this close to an end.

The washer/dryer aren't here . . . the delivery guys showed up. They didn't want to be working. They spent 10 minutes explaining to me that they only had 7-8 minutes to do the job. Their schedule was rigid (but I had a 5 hour window for the delivery . . . )
They claimed they didn't have time to get the stuff down into the basement . . . but I should still sign for receipt of the stuff and they'd send someone out to get them down and installed right away.
I asked them when that would be. They spent 10 more minutes cursing me in Arabic (I don't speak Arabic) and trying to get me to sign the delivery receipt so they could leave the unboxed appliances in the yard . . .
They told me about all the bad things that would happen if they had to take the stuff back because they didn't have time to get the stuff in the house today and how great it would be when they sent out the special crew.
Listen To The Pink by Miss Yucki
Click images for desktop size: "Listen to the Pink" by Miss Yucki
Finally I called Sears (for of course the stuff was from them) and was told that it could be as long as 3 weeks before this other crew could get out there . . .
Later, when complaining to Sears I was told that the two delivery guys said it was a waste of THEIR time, that we had nothing ready . . .
Sears just called me. Very upsetting. Buying stuff isn't supposed to be this difficult, even when you can't afford the merchandise. Got a little bit of credit from them for the inconvenience and a new delivery date of tomorrow . . . we'll see.
All I can do is look forward to watching USC and Ohio State tomorrow, even if I have to do it wearing dirty clothes . . .
We did watch "Iron Man" last night. It reminded me of "Robocop2". It was better than expected. Laughed out loud 3 or 4 times!
I needed that.

September 11, 2008

Deeper into the never never

Alma Parens
Click images for desktop size: "Unknown" by Alma Parens
I don't care much for cats.
I don't hate them. I've even had to live with them for some years.
I don't like them. I don't want them exterminated but I don't like them as a group.
I was A Teenage Frankenstein As individuals I seem to like the cats that are least feline.
I don't know why. I don't think cats are worth thinking about that much. There are a lot of things I dislike more than cats. I can't think of many off hand but I instinctively know there are things I dislike a lot more than cats.
There is an animal I hate. I hate bugs.
I hate them because they complete the circle of the food chain. I think bugs are higher in the food chain than we are.
Bugs eat people.
From mosquitos to maggots. Bugs eat people.
And mainly i hate fleas. I hate them for being small and fast. I hate their efficiency. A perfect size and shape for eating, escaping and giving birth to millions of children.
I hate them under a microscope.
I hate them because they eat dogs.
They make dogs suffer. If a person treated a dog like a flea treats a dog I would strike them down.
X-Men
Click images for desktop size: "X-Men" by Marvel Comics
I would smite them.
As it is the only weapons I have are chemicals and combs and loving patience. Its scarcely enough. I hate the chemicals, once again just from instinct. I hate the chemicals most because its the only weapon I have. Pyrethrins - comes from chrysanthemums, so its like almost nearly practically organic chemical junk.
All three dogs are plagued and they still look at me with adoring eyes and smiling faces. They suffer and they still laugh and play.
I love dogs. I love that they offer up an unaffected love. A dog can need a person. A person needs his/her dog.
It works out well. Except for fleas impinging into that tiny macrocosm.
Hell's Island I have a lot to do today. I have to get ready for the delivery guys.
My friend got a new washer and dryer. Can't afford them. Need them. Old ones nearly 20 years old. The dryer is ripping holes in clothes. The washer is scarcely getting things clean, more like it gets them wet. Leaves them soapy.
They were on sale. Got them on the plastic, the never never, the "dollar down and a dollar a week".
Debt.
With the price of gas and the price at the laundromats this will probably be a lot cheaper and a lot more convenient.
I haven't seen them. Just pictures on the web. Nothing fancy. Just old fashioned white things. Nothing to be happy about, nothing to be sad about, except the debt. But we need them.
The house is small. Have to get ready for them. Removed the bannister from the stairs so the machines could get down them.
Have to move the stove out of the kitchen so the machines can get in the doors. Had to remove the door from the basement so that there'd be enough clearance to get the new in and the old out.
Had to uninstall the old ones. Odd side effect there. The valve to shut off the water to the washer doesn't seem to work! So had to turn off the water at the main!
So I'm sitting here unshowered and stinking. Unshaved and thinking about fleas and how much I have to do get get ready for the new machines.
I Walked With a Zombie I also have to clean up the water from the old machines so the new machines won't start their new existence in the damp.
So I'm just sitting and stinking and thinking instead of doing.
Thinking about USC football and the game this Saturday. Hoping the good guys don't lose.
Thinking about my blood levels. I've been hitting super lows for the glucose. This is strange. Hitting those hypoglycemic low numbers in the low three's and high two's. Not eating right, I guess. Makes my hands do that lock up painful cramping thing.
I wonder why. Not wondering enough to do anything about it. Just like to wonder instead of moving and doing what I need to do, I guess.
Oh, I got two free tracks from iTunes. A certificate for something or other. Couldn't think of anything I wanted so used the "Genius" bar in iTunes 8. It was pretty trippy. Nearly fun.
Tower Of Babel
Click images for desktop size: "Tower Of Babel" by Unknown
Didn't improve my opinion of Apple though. iTunes 8 is still too screwed up. Keep finding things they've decided to omit, like id3 tag conversion. Wonder why.
Since iTunes is the engine behind iPods, iPhones and their big push for Microsoft style domination you'd think they'd take some care with it. At least explain the bizarre changes and the peculiar subtractions. You'd think they'd at least make it as bug free as possible.
I guess there's no need to explain when it becomes apparent the reasons were greed and laziness and a pretty solid disregard for the consumers.
Apple is probably making huge donations to McCain/Palin . . .
I going to go play with my puppies. Puppies manage to enforce only one mood, and its a good one.
Then I'll do what needs doing.
Honest.

September 10, 2008

The New Poets Rebel

Wedding by Clarence Holbrook Carter
Click images for desktop size: "Wedding" by Clarence Holbrook Carter
There's an apochraphylic story from the sixties.
Lyndon Johnson was running for Senator. He told his campaign manager to start spreading a rumour that his opponent had carnal knowledge of sows.
The campaign manager was aghast. He sputtered, Hand of Death "Mr Johnson, we can't say he's a pig f***er! Its not true!"
In the joke Johnson replied, "I know that. The point is to make him deny it!"
The Republican Party never got the joke.
There latest commercial libeling Obama is a dangerous disgrace.
Implying that Obama is a pedophile goes too far. It harkens back to the evil Nixon "Dirty Tricks" campaign.
It also presents an ugly innuendo about the Republicans. The statement that they are using in their sly innuendo was a plea to teach kindergarten students the difference between good and bad touching from an adult.
Its not unreasonable to purpose that the Republicans don't want children to know the difference. Since they've created the ad its fair to surmise that they are advocating keeping children ignorant and even less able to protect themselves. Any right thinking man could decide that they wanted children ignorant so that they can prey upon them.
One of the few things I whole heartedly agree with Obama about and its twisted like this.
I've worked with young people for a whole lot of years. Its always been important to me that no kid, male or female, ever feel uncomfortable around me. I spend a lot of time in locker rooms with the kids. I've always made it a hard unbreakable rule that no coach, including myself, ever be alone with a kid in those sort of situations. There must always be at least one other coach and one other player. Its not much but its all I could come up. Kids are already woefully ignorant. They are Withus Flying Dog by Flying Wombat 007
Click images for desktop size: "Flying Withus Dog" by Flying Wombat 007
vulnerable. They need approval and they need affection. Even 6' 5" 280 pound line backers.
They have to be protected. They need to be better informed. They need cool headed education from day one.
Not according to the Republicans.
I'm not a bible student. Maybe there's nothing in the bible about protecting the welfare of children.
Sarah Palin is a nightmare.
One of her decisions as mayor was to have the police charge rape victims for their rape kit examination . . . . She's strongly, vigorously on record demanding that rape victims who might sadly become pregnant be forced to carry the child to term . . . Clearly sexual predators are not inhuman monsters in her eyes.
People are actually still claiming that the "liberal media" are being unfair to her and McCain. What liberal media?
McCain lies all over the place and it should be ignored? Gun Crazy And not ignoring it means you're a liberal?
McCain's incessant lying and rewriting of history being accepted as fact scares me. Its that old childish thing, "tell a lie three times and people will think its true." Its been proven effective for the Republicans since Nixon. Why change?
It does bother me that at his age McCain might not be able to tell what is the truth anymore. It would explain his stream of contradictory answers to things. Each moment he may be living in a different truth, like most of us.
Not being ageist just trying to understand how a man who purports himself to be a good man can be so many things that I typify as being a bad man.
Sarah Palin though: she's a pure monster. An ugly vile contemptible monster. Forgetting her bounty on wolves ($150 a leg . . .) Her vindictiveness and her Nazi like attempt to ban books, BOOKS! What is most vile is her attempt to suppress religious freedom.
Horrifique 2
Click images for desktop size: "Horrifique 2" by Unknown
I do consider attempts to "cure" homosexuals and Jews as vile and an attempt to suppress religious freedom.
Its not that I find her religion so bizarre. All religions look bizarre to outsiders. The Catholic church with its ritualistic cannibalism would terrify an alien. It preaches against graven images but fills its churches with statues and graven images . . .
I'm sure that my own personal religion formed from years of Catholic catechism, zen learned from TV, movies, comic books and rock & roll seem freaky and other worldly to anybody outside of myself but that's cool. Its what I believe and I have a right to it.
It works for me and it doesn't interfere with you believing whatever you believe in.
When a religion preaches that you have to give them money or you're not allowed to believe or that it preaches intolerance of another's beliefs it stops being a religion to me. It becomes something ugly that is only an excuse to hate.
Palin, when she's not slurring dogs is slurring people Halloween and slurring those people's rights to believe what they chose to believe. She has argued that her faith is the true faith and that others are wrong! She argues so fervently that it seems clear that she will not allow me to believe what I chose, nor will she allow you to have your own personal religion.
She calls herself a "hockey mom". Which, I guess, is some bastardization of soccer mom. I always thought of soccer mom as a pretty pejorative term. It implies a woman who has no interest in sports but doesn't mind schlepping her kids around because she gets to socialize with other pampered upper middle class and upper class women where they can sit around and kvetch about their husband's career. It also implies a woman who's world of experience is so shut down that they can't envision another world.
I never viewed it as a compliment. I don't know of any women who embrace the term, until now. In fact I know many woman who resent being called soccer moms. They think its degrading.
It looks like the Republicans are going to steal Gorgo the country from us and win the election. The rest of the world is amused or terrified. Unfortunately its our enemies who are amused and are friends and the neutral nations that are terrified.

Yesterday Apple released iTunes 8.
This is the worst piece of software Apple has ever released. It is draconian in the same way Microsoft is draconian. It is evil.
I'm not even talking about the way it begs for my complicity in sharing all my personal tastes and personality with them.
About 5 or 6 years ago, back in the days when OSX was called Jaguar, I think, Apple released an update that killed your internet connection! Not just mine but everyone who updated! I had to go to the public library and get the fix.
As ugly as that was most Apple users viewed it with wry amusement. We believed that Apple and its users were a team. This was just a mistake. We forgave and understood.
Then the iPod took off.
iTunes 8 is a cynical marketing ploy. Its contemptible.
One of the things I like about OSX is that its attractive, easy on the eyes, easy to work and concentrate without being overwhelmed with brutally ugly widgets and canvases.
iTunes 8 has decided that trying to trick me into impulse purchases is more important than me having my computer look the way I want it to look.
They've disabled some pretty basic functions. Some for no reason I can think of, some to turn iTunes into an advertising piece of spam.
Cabinet Of Dr Caligari
Click images for desktop size: "The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari"
Its unacceptable. By hacking around in the app I could get it looking presentable but then discovered that it renames all of my files and there is NO WAY to stop it. It does this for its convenience, not for mine. No way to keep my files named the way I want them named . . . how draconian. How Microsoft.
When this computer dies I will most likely get a much cheaper than Mac pc and run Ubuntu.
Apple is bending towards WalMart's ways and running the computers to the benefit of money and the iPhone. I bought the computer to work for me, not for them.
Oh, and there is no easy way to uninstall iTunes 8 and go back to iTunes 7. I know how to do it but I wonder if its worth the effort.
Nothing works better in iTunes 8. The only reason for the update was the Genius (!?!) bar and to add all the spam stuff.

Girls Girls Girls With all my carping you might not believe it but I had a good day yesterday.
I took my ebike to my appointment with the High School head coach. That was pleasant and fun.
The interview was less so. Nothing wrong with it but I have some questions that I never got the clear cut concise answers I wanted.
I'm being understanding. As usual I'm trying to be careful and not be too understanding. I'm trying not to let my eagerness cloud my judgement.
My phone just buzzed to tell me that I had to recharge the battery. In that moment I was totally rushed thinking it was "the call".
African Desert
Click images for desktop size: "African Desert" by Unknown
The main problem is that the school can't afford to hire pure football coaches. They have teachers who've volunteered for unpaid overtime . . . I've been there before.
Teachers have a different perspective on the kids then a coach does. They should. They have different responsibilities and, while they do share some common goals they also have different goals. My concern is that the overwhelming goal be to the benefit of the kids.
Now I just get to wait for my phone to recharge then I'm biking to the store to get a couple can's of dog food!
Life is good and interesting even if the outside world isn't.

September 9, 2008

A Hard Fought Battle

Dream by Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Dream" by Luis Royo
I have to shower, shave and look like an adult soon.
I'm meeting the HC (head coach) of the local high school after lunch. I'm excited.
I've learned to sit so hard on my emotions that I've forgotten how much a part of me coaching is.
A coach is not all I am but it is a part of what I am.
From Hell It Came All day yesterday my head was filled with drills and memories. Seeing the kids running my killer warm-up. (Dynamic stretching - hard but effective - no muscle pull injuries in 6 years while running it - NONE!). Seeing the defects in a players physical make-up and figuring out how to correct them. (splay footed running, upper body tension).
What was funny was thinking about this all the players were blank faced, ready to be filled in with new faces and new nicknames.
(I'm terrible at remembering names. I've had a few players who played for me for two years who never corrected me while I was always calling them the wrong name. I'm not sure what that says about me. Now I just use nicknames, my low powered mnemonic. Sometimes it made sense, like when I had six players all named Dan . . . Then it became an issue for some of the guys if I didn't give them a nick name. You can't win, which is fine by me.)
I really hope the school and I mesh on philosophy and that I can work with them. In talking to them I realize that I have a pretty gaudy coaching record. Not my fault. I can't help it if I was lucky enough to usually have great kids who turned into good football players. Its there record. I was just the guy standing on the sideline usually seen asking a player what's going on out there . . . while my puppy wanted them to score big touchdowns, the 21 point variety . . .
I'm hoping for the best but expecting less. Usually a good philosophy for yourself, but lousy when thinking of others.

As to my skills in football my NFL picks were a rather mediocre 10-6 this past week. Some of the losses were remarkable. I liked Joe Flacco looking like a stud for the Baltimore Ravens. Who could have guessed that he was the clue to Transformers
Click images for desktop size: "Transformers" by Hasbro
firing up a moribund offense. It will be exciting to see if he can maintain that this week now that other teams can study film of him. This seasons Ben Rothlisberger? I hope so. I still don't like the original.
Who could have figured that Cincinnati's offense could be so miserably skunked by the Ravens?
Matt Ryan was also remarkable for Atlanta. I like seeing 22 year old rookies blow up the NFL.
The Bears smashing Indianapolis looked like a combination of Peyton Manning needing to practice more (some) as well as the team pulling together.
And Aaron Rogers destruction of the Vikings last night was pretty to see. For a guy with that much pressure on him to replace a legend, well, its heart warming and gratifying.
None of the losses disturbed me except the loss of Tom Brady for the season. Get Carter This saddened me. I can only hope its not a career ending injury. Brady plays the game with a ruthless beauty that excites and confounds.
Not imagining him on the field leaves a void.
Now, for the rest of the week, I'll be sweating the USC Ohio State game. I wish the Trojans weren't such strong favorites. Combined with their dismal play on Saturday this could be a strong strong motivator for the Buckeyes. They're a good team. I think the players deserve to be on the field as much as I don't think the OSU program deserves the win.
The program stinks and represents most of what I dislike about football. That doesn't change the fact that the Trojan opponents are great motivated kids who deserve to win as much as the Trojans.
I still want USC to win . . .

September 8, 2008

You walk on hollow ground

Shut Up by Riftsurround
Click images for desktop size: "Shut Up" by Riftsurround
I watched three games yesterday, flashing back and forth between two others. It was great. Not as great as college ball but the quality of the athletes is inspiring.
So inspiring its easy to see how the NFL can warp the fundamentals of sportsmanship and delude coaches as to what the joy and beauty of the game truly is.
The Fountainhead I always worked on a simple principal: Teach the players how to play the game and let the game teach them about life.
I don't know how that can get so complicated but it seems to.
I realize, in retrospect, that my greatest failure as a coach was in not teaching my players how to deal with failure.
Like a child I always believed we would win every game. If we didn't it was because I neglected to teach a certain skill that I hadn't for seen as being needed. Or I didn't inspire or motivate a player to do his best. Failure was always my responsibility. It still is.
With bland tunnel vision I forgot that there would invariably be a time when I would no longer be there. I relied to heavily on the game. The game can take a lot of weight, a lot of people leaning on it, but I still counted on it too heavily.
I don't have a clue how to teach young people to accept the limitations that have been placed on Reclining Nude 1917 by Modigliani
Click images for desktop size: "Reclining Nude 1917" by Modigliani
them. Not society's limitations. Those are nonsense and if they do exist its important to destroy them.
I mean the limitations that the human body and brain have to accept. We can never lift 1 ton over our heads or run a 1 minute mile sort of limitations. I mean that there will always come a time when you're not fast enough or strong enough or tough enough to prevail.
Prevail, to me, means to do more than survive.
It has to happen. I haven't any semiotic signpost to tell me how to teach this. How to prepare for the inevitable failure that will happen in life and to teach that this inevitable failure does not lessen you, does not make you less of a player or less of a human being.
Dezi Arnaz, in his dotage, told a good anecdote. Flight To Hong Kong It was a baseball story. He would ask who you thought was the greatest hitter ever. You'd have to say Ted Williams because he was the last guy to hit .400 for the season.
Arnaz would mull this around and finally agree with you that Ted Williams was the greatest hitter of all time. Then he'd ask you if you wanted to hit .400. Of course, you'd say yes or, if you were like me you'd say, "No! I want to hit .500!"
Arnaz would praise your earnestness and then ask how you were going to cope with being wrong half of the time.
surf_03.jpg
Click images for desktop size: "Surf"
I never had an answer for that. Even now.
There are the platitudes but what could are they when your looking down the wrong end of a gun that says failure?
I know that there are ways to not get to the right answer.
On Saturday this kid that plays for Ohio State, Ray Small, had a brilliant punt return that most likely set Ohio State on the way to a win. For a while there it looked like they'd forgotten how to get there so his contribution was invaluable.
Ray was heavily recruited out of high school. He was recruited by USC. After the game Ray sort of tainted the coolness of his accomplishment when he said, "As I took my visit to USC, I'm like 'How are they successful? They're not even serious about the game. Before the game they're all going crazy. Me and Rob Rowe was on the visit and I'm looking like, 'Wow.'" "Here at Ohio State, they teach you to be a better man. There it's just all about football."
I'm a bit saddened that Ray's grammar hasn't gotten better. I can put it off to the excitement at being interviewed. I'm sorry he thinks that being excited and having fun isn't what footballs all about. Any coach Flesh Feast I've ever respected was pretty adamant about one thing: Have fun, be crazy until you step onto the field. The field is your office. On the field its time to get to work.
Its never, "just all about football," ever. If it is then that coach is a failure. I quote CLR James too much, so why not again: "He who knows nothing but cricket knows nothing of cricket."
Its never about win at all costs or closed practices. That's NFL crap. Its about studying your opponent and having him study you. Its about the clash and the respect that the clash brings.
Its about them knowing your "secret plays" but not knowing when or if you'll spring them. Its about leadership being born on the field and everyone walking off the field a winner no matter what the scoreboard says.
Its about loving your players not for bringing you victories but for being young people who can still aspire to greatness. Its about fun and being happy. Its about laughing and being as proud of a teammate as you are of yourself. And its about accepting your opponent as an equal to contend with who needs to be loved for having the same vision you do and for having the courage to step onto the field with you.
Its about the hours of sweat so you can be a suitable opponent.
Any less than that is a disservice to the young men who look to you.
I need to go on about this. Tomorrow I'm going to meet the HC at a local high school. They might need some help for the Junior Varsity.
I know all the drills. I know all the exercises The Conductor by Skan Srisuwan
Click images for desktop size: "The Conductor" by Skan Srisuwan
and how to improve a players physical skills. Its helping their hearts grow that's my major concern and what I need to work on the most.
I haven't told them about my puppy being a fine assistant coach. They're probably not ready for that . . . yet.
I'm pleasantly surprised at how excited I am about this. The drills and practice I saw from a moving car did not look very impressive. A lot of too small kids.
I once had a running back, Dan. He was 5' 4" and weighed about 140 pounds. He made up for that by being on the slow side. But he had a lion's heart. In one game he took out a 6' 5" middle linebacker. About 260 pounds. Dan ran right over him and hit him so hard he took the line backer out of the game.
Size is secondary, for sure. He was a great kid.
4D Man I look forward to meeting more great kids. It always happens. There are just so many great kids out there.
I just have to work hard to be sure that I can give them what they deserve.
Of course, I have to get the job first. That's always, "Who knows."
I don't know the coaches. I talked to the HC on the phone and he seemed okay. I need to know that our goals are similar.
I have to not scare them into thinking I want their jobs. I only want to volunteer.
And maybe we'll win some games together and maybe we'll have a whole lot fun. And maybe one kid will play better than he ever imagined he could. A fat kid will suddenly start losing weight and start parading around in a T-Shirt.
I love coaching. I forget how much.

September 7, 2008

I like onery old cusses. I hope to live long enough to be one.
Paul Fix

Styling Spaceport
Click images for desktop size: "Styling Spaceport" by Unknown
It was a beautiful day here yesterday. More so because I go my ebike up, fixed and running. It needs tuning and oiling but its running. Its beautiful. I took it around a long block and it felt as peaceful as my first solo drive in my first car.
Die You Zombie Bastards! When I came back I played with my dogs. We had our usual fun. What was notable is that for the first time since the move my puppy mouthed me three or four times. She hadn't done that since we moved nearly a year ago.
That pleased me and made my heart a little larger.
Then watched some football.
The most notable thing that I see is my old saw still proves true. 1A schools that insist on scheduling 1AA schools should be knocked out of consideration for BCS bowl consideration.
Ohio State has a long history of running one of the lowest regarded academic programs in the country. They train professional football players and seem to have little concern for them beyond winning on the field.
This is not a knock on the players at OSU. They are a talented group with much to be proud of. It is a knock on the coaching staff and the athletic department and the athletics department's PR group.
That OSU goes to back to back BCS Championship Bowls and is an absolute disgrace in each of them in a damning testimony that the only thing working well in their administration is their PR department that hustles hard to impress the voters.
When they made the deal to play USC a simple check of the calendar let them know that this would be the weakest time to schedule the Trojans. The scheduling was all to their advantage. That's the Big Ten way.
I can hear them snickering to themselves calculating how many starters they'd have returning and how many freshmen their seniors would be facing.
Then to insure success they schedule a 1AA opponent as an opening day "scrimmage". Then they follow Dragon Lady
Click images for desktop size: "Dragon Lady" by Unknown
that with a slightly more difficult opponent: a lightly regarded school from the lightly regarded MAC. You know that they had it all figured out; two in effect "exhibition games" would have them all tuned and ready to destroy the Trojans.
Except the kids from the little school rose up and put on a dazzling display. Its too bad they couldn't keep playing over their heads well into the fourth quarter. It was an impressive display that needs applause.
Needless to say this is not in the best interest of OSU players when it comes to preparing them for life, ecen if their life continues to be in football after leaving school.
To be the best you have to play the best. To improve you have to play someone better than yourself.
The Buckeyes at least got a wake up call. I figure they'll be ready for the Trojans. I hope so.
I also note that over priced, over hyped and over weight Charlie Weiss has done a great job for the Fighting Irish. Last year he made them the worst team in the country. Edge Of Hell This year he appears to have led them to the very brink of mediocrity.
Chuck Long and San Diego State made an impressive try against them on the road. It came down to some pretty pathetic officiating (It still think the football crossed the plane on the fumble instead of a touchdown that turned the game around).
I want Notre Dame back in the elite so I can fool good about hating them!
The NFL goes full swing today. I plan to watch every game I can get here. Yesterdays college schedule was supposedly not very interesting. I thought it was great and fascinating. East Carolina looking deadly. The SEC getting beaten again when they go outside the conference. Georgia trying the OSU scheduling mode to try and win the National Championship. Stanford standing proud and testy. So many stories, so many kids playing their hearts out.
Its a wonderful time of the year.
On Monday I'm making a hard pitch to volunteer at a local high school. I'm going to flash the credentials and everything.

September 5, 2008

But I still feel them inside of me

Sacred Fire by MA Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "Sacred Fire" by Michael A Parkes
A lot happened yesterday. A lot.
I'm not feeling any better. I'm not feeling any worse. I wonder if this is just the new level I'm at. Living on ibuprofen.
I got told I was getting snappish and sharp. I don't feel snappish or sharp. Modern Times I feel slow and dull and electric.
My mood wasn't helped when it looks like my puppy has developed a yeast infection. I take that as a personal failure, a lack of perfection. Yeah, I'm an imperfect dog god.
Those sort of things always hit me hard. For some reason this discovery yesterday near devastated me. She'll be fine so long as I remember who I am. "Remember who I am."
I saw a Korean film the other day: "A Man Who Was Superman". Its a fictionalized account of a true story. There was a kid who survived a bullet to the head, a Ecstasy by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Ecstasy" by Maxfield Parrish
Korean army bullet during the war. He lived with the bullet still stuck in the middle of his brain. The most visible effect of this was epileptic seizures.
He's married with a beautiful daughter. There's a car accident. A group of bystanders stand around and watch and do nothing. He's thrown clear of the wreck but when he tries to save his family he has a seizure and can only lie and twitch in the street. He has to watch his wife and child burn to death. Worse is that his seizure doesn't cause him to black out. Even worse is the large crowd of people who merely watch this grim tableau like it was just another HD television broadcast.
Old Dusty VW Right from the 70's by Sweibel
Click images for desktop size: "Old Dusty VW Right From The 70's" by Sweibel
He has a psychotic break. He believes he's Superman. He has lost his super powers because the "bald villain" buried a pice of kryptonite in his head.
As Superman he is incredibly mad and incredibly happy. He became a fixture in Seoul, well known because he spent his days helping others. Always helping others. From helping people across the street to lying in wait to catch a pedophile, to chasing and catching purse snatchers.
A jaded TV reporter is doing a human interest story about him. They fall in love, not sexual love, but the deep love that comes with pure friendship that is sometimes possible between a man and a woman, even if most films like to ignore or trivialize it.
The reporter asks Superman why he spends all of his time helping people. He says its important so that he can remember who he is.The Deathhead Virgin "So I can remember who I am."
Its a pretty wonderful film. It gives rushes of excitement and nice little touches of cgi where we get to see the monsters that Superman is fighting on our behalf.
What makes the movie wonderful, compelling and fantastic is the performance of Jeong-min Hwang. He works hard and makes you fall in love with him. Its near impossible not to get sucked into his story, to feel for him the same way you'd feel for anyone else you loved.
The film has all sort of structural issues but because of Jeong-min Hwang this is the best film I've seen this year and maybe the best since "The King And The Clowns".
Its a film about being human. It will have an impact on your life and your perception of life. Its an entertainment that becomes art.
I also found something out about a song I covered in at least three bands. I think everyone covered it. I think when we first learned it we got it from the Rolling Stones or something. It turns out it was from a two hit British Wonder.
Chris Farlowe's "Out Of Time" was twice a number one hit, in the sixties and the 70's.
Nothing else. Its just a great song. I think we did a better version of it than the original. I think I remember the Ramones doing it at the Hollywood Palladium. Its just a great song that still resonates.
I watched the Giants-Redskins game on TV. What a boring mess. I mean the score was 16-7 at the half and that's the way it ended.
Some of the New York writers are actually calling the game a dominant showing by the Giants! I can't figure out if these guys are morons or just hometown fans.
The Redskins offense was a huge pile of garbage. A decent 1A team could have dominated that offense. Arcadian Landscape by Huysum van Jan
Click images for desktop size: "Arcadian Landscape" by Jan Van Huysum
It was a pathetic showing. During the first half the Washington defense was almost as discombobulated as their offense yet this dominating offense could only rack up 16 points . . . and no touchdowns after the opening drive where it really looked like the Redskins weren't too certain the game had actually started. They looked like they were only scrimmaging.
After the Redskins' D woke up in the second half they really shut down the Giants. The Giants looked foolish and the Redskins actually had a chance to win with 3 minutes left.
If that was a dominating performance than the game is dead. There could only be a couple worse ways to open the season.
Then I tried to watch McCain's speech. I couldn't cope with the old man rambling or the lies, the viscous slimy lies. When he talked about his father bombing Hanoi even though he knew McCain was there making propaganda videos for the enemy Chamber Of Horrors his spin on it was that his father put country first and family second. All I could think was that he was hoping that he'd kill his son, which is an evil thing to think. It was my reflex thought. I had to stop watching.
Now I think I must vote for Obama. I hate McCain for this. Not only do I find him more and more contemptible, sick and filled with hate for people, conniving and creepy sneaky but now I have to terrified if he and his hate monger pit bull pal Palin should ever get power they will destroy the world.
I did get my ebike fixed. I just have to make a few time consuming adjustments today and then I'll be mobile again! Of course summer's almost done . . .

September 4, 2008

Season with a gun

Rainy Day by George Peters
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The NFL starts today. I love football but the NFL has always seemed somewhat oblique to me. I get it but I don't love it.
I love seeing the finest athletes in the world hurling themselves around. Blood and Black LaceThe worst NFL team executes superbly. The lowest athlete on the practice squad has speed, size, power and technique that you seldom get to see in your, or at least my, playing career.
But it lacks passion. Its a game played for money. You can get passionate about money but that passion doesn't compare to a few dozen young men standing in front of a crowd of 100,000 with everyone they know in the world cheering for them. Traditions hang much heavier in College and even high school ball.
You can make a valid argument that about 10% of the players in college and 1% in high school are playing for money down the line. That doesn't really work out during practice and on game day.
The game at College and high school is like pure unrivaled, uncomplicated love. There's no taint, no perversion here; only sweetness and lingering memories of the pressure of the first time, the first face flushing rush of the clear experience.
In the NFL its a lot like how I imagine sex with a hooker. They do it better perhaps but there's no involvement there. No you. No "only for you".
Poison Ivy by Evgeny
Click images for desktop size: "Poison Ivy" by Evegeny
Its a different experience, devoid of emotion, devoid of hope and the promises that love is supposed to bring gushing into your heart.
College and high school ball are the dream. The NFl is the harsh world, the reality where dreams are stripped away and there is only the speed and the crushing weight of a world that can't be ignored.
I feel that and I'm still excited.
Here are the picks I'm making in the little on-line contest for the opening week of season number what ever in the NFL.

My picks are in bold.

Attack of the Puppet People Washington at New York Giants - I didn't think much of the Giants last year and now with their two stellar D-Ends missing I think even less of them. Winning the Super Bowl makes you the champion. It doesn't make you the best team. The only interests in this game is too see if the Redskins play as ineptly under Jim Zorn as they looked in pre-season; Whether Steve Smith can keep developing as an over looked steady receiver and just how poor the Giant's D will be with out Strahan.

Cincinnati at Baltimore - This will be a fascinating game. I like Carson Palmer and Chad Ocho Cinco. I like that Palmer went out of his way to pump up his alma mater in an interview while knocking the program at Ohio State. Still, the Bengals are a team on the ropes. Lots of talent but no production. The Raven's D is old, maybe too old. Now the Raven's have no QB. Joe Flacco might be good one day but not yet. He still might make some interesting plays. This should be one of those games that will start to define each teams season.

Seattle at Buffalo - Seattle are heavy favorites here. I don't know why. Buffalo played well last year, a young team on the rise. They developed well and made a lot of good fine tuning adjustments in the off season. The Sea Hawks' Mike Holgrem is a great Hall of Fame coach but he's playing in such a poor division that the team is under no real pressure to win. They have a few walking woundeds who'll be in the game. It all adds up to a win for the Bills. Buffalo deserves some victories, the city I mean.

New Warrior Anime
Click images for desktop size: "New Warrior-Anime" by Unknown
New York Jets at Miami - If either team had a touch more talent this would be my game of the week. Miami is the most improved team in the NFL. They'd have to be after a miserable last season. The Jets with Brett Favre and some prudent improvements on the D-Line will be better. Then there is the joker, the Jets releasing Chad Pennington and then watching him land in the Dolphins' camp. Pennington is a decent QB and will have a whole lot to prove to his unsupportive ex-teammates as well as to his new team. It ought to be some fun and the air will be filled with flying footballs and enough gooney mistakes to keep it amusing if the excitement wanes.
Brute Force
Kansas City at New England - The Chiefs were a team in disarray last year. I can't see where they've done much or anything to improve on that . . . The Patriots had the greatest and most disappointing season in the history of the sport. Brady is limping. This is almost just a scrimmage to get him back into shape. The pre-season showed that Tom Brady is the Patriots.

Detroit at Atlanta - Michael Vick's evil legacy should not be forgotten. It sent the Falcons into a deep spin last year. Now they've got a nice stud at QB and a decent D. Their running game has eroded to nothing. The Lions keep looking like they're going to turn the corner. They're learning to win. They made some cautious but solid improvements over last years squad. They should win against a rookie QB in his first game.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans - I'm still nonplussed at how the Buc's won this weak division last year. They've not improved.Green Skull
Click images for desktop size: "Green Skull" by Unnown
The D got them by last year but not when it counted. New Orleans had some pretty nasty injuries but their stars established themselves. Then they spent the off season shoring up every major weakness. Reggie Bush should explode this year, probably not in this game but they won't need him to. This is my must win game. The contest has a Survivor series. You have to pick a different team each week that you're certain will win. One mistake and your out.

Jacksonville at Tennessee - This is the Jaguars year. They have it all and made some great improvements and added depth. The Titans' Steve Young has been exciting and won them a couple of games they'd lost but only a couple. He has not shown he's an NFL QB. A ground game can't beat the Jaguars defense.The Black Sleep

Houston at Pittsburgh - Here's a game in which I have nil interest. It will probably be the only game on TV this weekend . . . Pittsburgh is not improving. The Texans appear to have made their biggest strides last year. Greg Landry still hasn't shown any chops as a head coach and neither has Mike Tomlin. Eh.

St Louis at Philadelphia - The big buzz for the Rams is that they re-signed Steve Jackson. He's a good player. That means they have him and Mark Bolger and a bunch of guys who used to be the best but aren't the best anymore . . . The Eagles seem to be resurgent. I'm not sure why.

Arizona at San Francisco - The Cardinal curse continues. They help that curse an awful lot. Going with Nosferatu
Click images for desktop size: "Nosferatu" - Max Schreck
Kurt Warner is going to accomplish what? The WR's are super talented and miserable. The defense is solid without being spectacular. But they're playing the 49ers who are still woeful. A cruddy game of the week contender.

Carolina at San Diego - The Panthers' John Pepper is a mediocre coach at best. He's destroying a superb talent in Steve Smith. Smith doesn't help by being a total jerk to his teammates. The Chargers still have the electrifying Ladanian. Shawn Merriman may be playing for the season but I think its foolish to risk his career. A solid, legal crack back and he's out for who knows how long. But that's the kind of stuff that inspires teammates. The Chargers just have too much talent to not blow these mokes off the field.

Dallas at Cleveland - I like the Browns. They are going the way a team needs to go to move into the elite status. I hate the Cowboys. I hate that they are trying to doCaged Fury an "Al Davis" by picking up some nasty pieces of humanity just to win games. The Cowboys do have the horses though and this will be a little too much for the young Browns. I figure it will be a closer game than the spread but I have to pick the teams straight up.

Chicago at Indianapolis - What is wrong with the Bears? George Halas used to brag about his $300 backfield but this is the 21st Century: you can't win games with nothing at QB and average RB's. The defense looks strong but older. Even a crippled Peyton Manning will have some success especially since the Bears will probably give the Colts decent field position all night.

Minnesota at Green Bay - This is a rather dufus game for a Monday Night opener. The Vikings made some strong moves and will be a better team. The Packers have to show they can win without Brett Favre. I'm not sure they can.

Denver at Oakland - ESPN should be ticked. They got a Monday night double header that starts with a dufus game and then flows straight into the cruddy game of the week. Denver might be a .500 team this year but Oakland might not win 5.

As usual this is just for fun and because I like people to think I'm an idiot. (It keeps it more fair in the in-fighting). I'm still more excited about next Saturday. Of course Ohio State is still tuning up. At least they're playing a Div 1A opponent this week, even if its not a BCS school.

September 3, 2008

Why didn't the Ramones have a horn section?
Or
Age is a degenerative disease

Old Baseball On The Grass
Click images for desktop size: "Old Baseball In The Grass" by Sandra Cunningham
I have a strange factoid: If USC were its own country (and there are plenty of people in LA, particularly on the West side, who already think we are) the Trojan athletes would have placed 13th in the medal standings at the Beijing Olympic Games and been tied for 8th in the Gold Medal standings.
I have no idea what that really signifies. It just seems cool. The past and present Trojans won 21 medals overall.
The Asphalt Jungle And I still wish USC was not ranked Number 1, at least not yet. I wanted Ohio State to come in with there uncompetitive schedule and be 7 point favorite. I want them at full strength so they couldn't offer up any more of their lame excuses when we throttle them. I hope we do beat them. I sort of like this years Men of Troy.

My friend went back to work today. I miss her a bit. I was rotten company on her 6 day weekend. I just kept feeling sicker and sicker. Its not that bad. Its really how I feel "normally" about three quarters of the time. I just didn't want to feel that way now.
We went and test drove cars today. She needs a new car. We can't come close to affording one but it was fun driving new ones.
We looked primarily at Hyundai's - The Tucson and the Santa Fe (plenty of room for dogs). And the Kia. I thought the Kia felt kind of tinny. The Nissan X-Trail was too big and kind of oppressive looking to me.
For the final dinner we grilled p two salmon steaks she marinated in some sort of glaze-y teriyaki sauce. We had them with wild rice. There was nothing to be cynical about while we ate.
Spiderman
Click images for desktop size: "Spiderman" by Marvel Comics
We watched the great dog movie, "Soldier In The Rain". Its a cool movie that is inexplicably not available on DVD. I got a hold of a TV capture that was pretty low Q. The movie is so cool it doesn't need a great copy to be wonderful.
Watched intermittently the documentary about Hunter Thompson "Gonzo". Interesting stuff.
It made me sad that the country has ended up in exactly the state that a drunken, drugged out madman brilliant writer predicted. It was so easy to for see, and we let it happen anyway.
This Sarah Palin fiasco could not have been for seen. What a vile mess. And its been less than a week.
This woman wanted to BAN BOOKS!! She condemns to hell those who think differently than her. She abuses the power of her office for personal vindictive reasons and then because she wriggled through a legal loop hole she behaves like a career criminal Andy Warhol's Dracula and takes her "alleged" offenses even further. Actually, unless they were making good money most career criminals would have enough sense to walk away from a crime if they were lucky to walk away from it on a technicality. It takes a sociopath to continue on the same mad path, a sociopath with psychotic delusions of grandeur who would think that their wrong actions are excused by divine right.
McCain is an idiot but even he should know he needs to ask her to step down. The damage will clearly only increase.
Obama has behaved well throughout all this. He impressed me here. If only he believed in freedom and personal liberty I could vote for him. As it is I have to consider him as just the lesser of two evils.
I can't believe that none of the third party candidates have stepped up and clearly made a stand about all this insane stupid folderol. That they haven't makes them look even less attractive.
I might have to vote for Obama just to keep the country out of the mad man McCain's hands. People elected Bush. There are enough cowards to elect McCain and his hate filled savage Alaskan.
This morning I woke up to discover my iMac was having a system crash.
A corrupt coreservicesd file someplace. I rebuilt the launch services and tried everything else I could think of. So far it seems to be holding.
Very fatiguing.
I would suspect the dogs of sabotaging the computer. They did get an extra long walk today while I let the system files install and update.
I realized that there sabotage would include more bite marks. So I have to blame the guys up in Cupertino . . .
Who is Apple supporting in the election? Why?