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November 30, 2008

Notre Dame 3 USC 38

I Remember Her
Click images for desktop size: "I Remember Her" by Unknown
I've been enjoying this Thanksgiving weekend immensely.
Part of living abroad for so long where no one really has a clue about the holiday, is that I learnedAdventures of Robin Hood to not miss it.
Once some of my British kids tried to do a "real Thanksgiving" for me. From my eyes it was a disaster. They all thought it was a rousing success. Of course it was me who had to drive three kids to emergency on three separate trips . . .
I was living in Mayfair and had to go to the Westminster Emergency. The duty nurse thought I should rent the cubicle where we had to go through the rigamarole, Part of my ability to forget Christmas_night_06.jpg
Click image: "Christmas Night" by Unknown
abut Thanksgiving was that a year after my wife and son passed away the day after Thanksgiving my mother called me, sobbing and in tears. My step-father had had a great Thanksgiving, the next morning he woke up, sat at the kitchen table and died. I had Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's family's but I gather he'd gotten drunk.
My step-father was a raging alcoholic. My mom was the classic enabler. "He's not a drunk, he's just a heavy drinker!" "He has to drink because of the terrible pain in his knee!" (He's had a knee injury. Nowadays the operation to fix it takes about an hour and has a 99% full recovery rate. Some guys are playing less than a month after surgery, back then they botched these things a lot. Look at the careers of Gale Sayers, Dick Butkis and Mickey Mantle.)
He was a drunk. I still don't understand why but my mother loved him deeply. He never hit my Winding the Skein by Charles Leighton
Click images for desktop size: "Winding the Skein" by Charles Leighton
mother. He saved all of his physical and mental abuse for me. He was always very sweet to her even when off on one of his drunken escapades. Some of them were funny, I guess, but I lived with him so I never saw the humour.
My mother was horrified that she'd been speaking to him for she didn't know how long before she noticed he wasn't just ignoring her. Something he did often enough.
I had to go over to the house and deal with the mess that a death at home brings; cops, coroners etc. It was pretty cut and dried. My step-father was told that if he didn't stop drinking he'd be dead within 90 days. Thanksgiving was day 90 after he'd gotten that report. I'd suspect that in his mind he figured he'd won by living through it. He'd just turned 60.The Birds I had no deep feelings when I looked at him dead. I was concerned that my mother was going to be alright. She'd keep showing a brave face but when she thought no one was watching she'd break down and force herself to recover.
There were about 100 people at the funeral. About 300 attended the wake. I thought this was a low turnout but I don't think there'd be that many for my funeral. The NFLPA sent a guy. He did well, telling my mom how the NFLPA would take care of the funeral expenses and important stuff like that. I knew a few of the others by sight but they were all my step-father's friends and were trembling waiting for the first drink of the day.
I was a bit startled by how many of them seemed to be hitting on my mother but maybe that's because I'm an only child and too sensitive to that stuff.
When I looked at my father I was glad I stopped drinking years before. He was a stuff athlete, a champion QB but now his nose blood vessels were so broken up his nose looked like it was badly crafted from morticians wax and badly stuck into the approximate middle of his face. His body was bloated, not exactly fat, he drank more than he ate but it looked unhealthy. If he'd been 80 he'd have looked the same.
No one from his NFL team or his college team showed up.
The next day I made some pretty horrifying discoveries. My mom didn't know how to write a check, much less read a simple bank statement. She was a housewife and no skills Anime
Click images for desktop size: "Anime" by Unknown
at all. She was a terrible cook, always was but she could wash clothes, grocery shop and keep the house clean. That's about it.
This stunned me because when I was little I thought she did a grand job of running our lives. I thought she was an independent career woman! She was if the career was working at the refreshment stand of the local drive-in.
They were deep in debt. They had no cash. I realized how bad things were when I took out the garbage and saw that instead of a dozen Chivas Regal bottles my step-father was drinking generic scotch, you know, the plain bottle with the white label, the blue stripe and the only printing on the label was SCOTCH.
My mom was to get about $600 a month from the NFL pension fund. That was enough for food and the house payment, barely.
She limped by for a year. I did what I could. The very next year I took her out to the Los Feliz Inn for for Thanksgiving dinner. I never A Woman's Faceliked the place but it was her favorite.
Me liking it wasn't much of the point. It spared me from cooking and more importantly it spared me from enduring her cooking. Every Thanksgiving we always had about 30 dinner guests. I don't know why really, my mom was a terrible cook. One year I remember she had the inspiration to boil her stuffed turkey . . . a lot of people converted to vegan that day, maybe that was her intent. I got my love of animals from her.
She talked about my step-father, tried to convince me that he loved me! I didn't point out the things he'd said to me, like I won All-State as a RB and he said it was because I wasn't smart enough or gifted enough to be a QB, or tough enough to be a Tight End or a Full Back. Being an RB was a dead end because everybody knew the blacks had taken over the position. How he would throw knives at me at the dinner table if he didn't like my table manners or just decided Jumping Jack
Click images for desktop size: "Jumping Jack" by NFL Films
he didn't like me. How all my girl friends must be stupid whores to go out with someone as ugly as me.
I don't think she heard him then and I was certain she wouldn't hear me then either. She told all of her "funny" stories about him, how they'd met and all. She was happy.
She died the next morning. Her neighbor called me. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, exactly a year after my step-father.
The coroner said it was congestive heart failure. I figured that it was medical jargon for a broken heart.
See, no matter who you are or what you are there is always someone out there willing to love and The Abominable Dr Phibes treasure you. I loved my mom. She encouraged me, she kept me sane, she loved me and she loved a man who I considered a monster. I spent a lot of years being so consumed with hatred for him that I was careful not to let myself become him, not to turn into the thing I hated.
But the person I loved most in the world loved him more than she did herself.

Last week I beat my friend's picks by 12-4 versus 10-6. Once again proving the superiority of men, careful planning and deep analysis. I patted her gently on the head and reminded her that some things are just male par vue. She was defensive enough to point out that she still lead in the season by 2 points. Its amazing the depths a poor loser will sink to!
As usual my picks are in bold.

Tennessee at Detroit - This Thanksgiving the NFL gave us the worst slate of football ever imagined! Starting with this turkey. This is the first time I'd gotten to see the Lions play, well, not play so much as show up. It was a disgrace. I can't see the Lions winning a game this year. While the Titans are a powerhouse team they did lose to the Jets who got whomped by the Raiders!

Seattle at Dallas - Another disgrace of a game. I can see Seahawks HC Mike Holmgren canceling his retirement rather than have this pathetic team as his final legacy. The Cowboys didn't look that good. The Seahawks looked that bad.

Arizona at Philadelphia - Okay. I decided to ignore the fact that the Cardinals only win at home. I JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Pin Up" by JW McGinnis
focused more on how dreadful the Eagles have looked these past weeks . . . I was wrong, oh boy was I wrong. The best game of the day and it was about a 2 on a scale of 10!

Indianapolis at Cleveland - Now that Brady Quinn is done for the season maybe the Browns will rise up angry and play their hearts out! Or Peyton Manning will continue to will the once written off Colts into the playoffs. I like Derek Anderson, not least because of his involvement with shelter dogs. Manning is looking like something from another planet. It looks like Manning doesn't really even need teammates. He'll win them alone if need be!

Carolina at Green Bay - Both teams are coming off of pretty humiliating losses, of course nothing Atom Man VS Superman was as humiliating as the pasting the Saints laid on the Packers in Prime Time. The Panthers looked pretty anemic against the Falcons but at least they weren't blown out in the first half. Still, the Packers play better at Lambeau field and need to rebound for their own self esteem. The Panthers have not impressed me all year.

Miami at St Louis - What better place for the Dolphins to get back to winning then against the Rams. Even if Steve Jackson does return for the Rams the team is mired in self loathing. They'll put up a token resistance at best. Their only hope is that Dolphin Chad Pennington is, well, they really have no hope.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay - The Buccaneers are heavy favorites at home today. Their defense is for real. They've already thumped the Saints. I think that Dru Brees is wily enough to not make the same mistakes against them. With the return of Reggie Bush, even if he's at 75% this should be a different game.

Herding with Grandma
Click images for desktop size: "Herding With Grandma" by Unknown
New York Giants at Washington - I don't like the Giants style of play. I don't know why. You can't deny they've looked like a juggernaut. I don't think the weird antics of Plaxico Buress are going to be enough to sway them. The Redskins look solid but not good enough to pick.

San Francisco at Buffalo - Last week the Bills looked incredibly impressive against a bad Kansas City team. Singletary has gotten the 49er's nearly rebuilt into a smash mouth team. They were not humiliated against the Cowboys. I'd figure them to improve and for the Bills to fall back into their shells.

Baltimore at Cincinnati - The poor Bengals. Every time they take a step forward they get their feet stamped on. The Ravens need the playoffs. You can see it in their demeanor and in their play. I'd like to see the Bengals compete. Maybe they will but I don't think it will be enough.Batgirl

Atlanta at San Diego - This is the most interesting game of the week. The Chargers are not as bad a team as the 4-7 record indicates. Two pivotal bad ref calls cost them 2 wins. The Falcons are for real but on their first trip to the west coast. If the Chargers haven't written off the season they match up way too well offensively and defensively. They should win this. It will really depend on their attitude and heart.

Pittsburgh at New England - Game of the week! Okay, Bilichik just might be a genius. Instead of managing games he has Matt Cassel winning them. The Steelers Secondary and Troy Polomanu against Randy Moss and Wes Welker will be a special sight indeed. With no running game and with Willie Parker running scared Ben Rothlisberger will face pure heat from the Patriots front 7. Its going to be a good one and not just because both teams desperately need to win to stay alive for the play offs.

Kansas City at Oakland - Cruddy game of the year! I'm taking the Raiders for no real good reason. They can play a little bit better on defense . . . and that's about it. It should be close but who cares.

Denver at New York Jets - The Bronco's Jay Cutler against legend Brett Favre. I think thats Femme
Click images for desktop size: "Femme" by Unknown
a closer matchup than you'd think. Sadly the rest of the Bronco team absolutely stinks.

Jacksonville at Houston - What happened to the Jaguars this season? This is a real cruddy game of the week contender. I still think Jack Del Rio is a better coach than Gregg Landry. The match ups favor the Jaguars in all areas except intangibles and home field advantage. Some how I don't think that will be enough to put the Texans over the top but when you're dealing with teams that worked hard to be 4-7 anything is possible. If no one watches will the score still count? ESPN got really burned with this stinker for a Monday night game. They should get a refund.

Chicago 27 at Minnesota 24 - A gam of the week contender and in prime time! Brian Urlacher Back From The Dead versus Adrian Petersen! RAH! The Bears won't much miss Brian Vasher. He's not been a force at all this season. The Vikings don't throw the ball that well anyway, just enough to try and keep other teams from stacking 8 men into the box. The Viking defense will feast on Forte and Kyle Orton but the Bears offense either gets blown out or pulls off the miracle play. This should be good.

When I was a little kid the big kids used to play football cards. The cards cost you a buck and you had to pick 10 winners to win twenty five bucks. Thing is that sort of parlay was really worth about 500-1 odds. Which is what I figure your odds are if you read these picks of mine with any other intent except laughing at me . . .

November 28, 2008

The less prudence with which others conduct their affairs, the greater the prudence with which we should conduct our own affairs
Warren Buffet

Inspiration by Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: "Inspiration" by Richard Mohler
Thanksgiving turned out to be an excellent day.
Except for the NFL football schedule which was pretty bad. Three uninteresting blow outs in a day . . .
Tazameti It was the Philadelphia-Arizona game that was the most interesting and that was only because the Eagles didn't stink and the Cardinals did. I picked the Cardinals because I figured that they'd finally get over this weird bugaboo of not being able to win in different time zone . . . HR Giger
Click image: "Untitled" by HR Giger

It was a bit sad seeing Dante Culpepper look so dreadful for the Lions, who were the most dreadful football team I've ever seen. I think a few non BCS schools could hand them their heads. Culpepper has fought so hard for so long it was bafflingly sad to see him attempt to lead these bumbling lost souls.
Aside from the NFL it was a great day.
My pain is under control. There are only two places where its bad. I gather this means I can assume I have abscesses.
Click images for desktop size: "Geisha" by Unknown
One is in a left lower molar. I took a cold drink and it touched the tooth. It was electric. I guess I'll have to lose that tooth. Its not getting better. The other is in my left hip. If I take a step wrong its excruciating. I think it feels worse because the other pain is so negligible now.
There's no swelling in the hip or anything. I have no idea what they do to deal with a deep muscle abscess. I hope I don't have to find out.
I've only taken 800 mg of ibuprofen this morning and feel durable.
Anyway, yesterday we went to the Chinese Buffet!
I wore gold corduroy slacks (instead of my usual jeans or a suit), a gold soft chenille like shirt that looks20 Million Miles To Earth almost like suede, a brown belt and brown Rockport deck shoes.
I thought I looked good and was a visual treat. I got no compliments but I put that off to the fact that I always look pretty good.
The only jarring note to the ensemble was my burgundy fleece. It has two large inner pockets that I lined with plastic ziplock bags!
The restaurant was busy but not packed out. It was surprisingly decorated for Christmas. Pretty tree, lights and other decorations. One I thought was add, wreaths with ribbons that said, "I Like Snow". I figure you have to like it because its not going anyplace.
I ate more food yesterday than I think I've eaten in at least three months! I say three months but I really can't think of anytime I've eaten more.
I had two handmade shrimp cocktails. Some pickled style shrimp, too much breaded calamari, and the usual Chinese dishes and noodles that I like (garlic chicken, koa pao chicken with lots of The Enchanted Prince by Maxfield Parrish
Click image: "The Enchanted Prince" by Maxfield Parrish
different style noodles).
I was also able to get about half a pound of bacon! Three sausage links and 5 skewers of chicken for the dogs.
I managed to totally trash out my well assembled ensemble. I got pizza sauce all over it. Its pretty hard surreptitiously sneaking 3 slices into plastic bags on your fleece while standing at a food counter . . . I did it but at the price of looking like the sloppiest eater that ever entered a buffet line.
At least we got to leave with no further embarrassment like being asked why my midsection had gotten so lumpish.
For desert I got a little square of sugar free cheesecake. It wasn't as good as the mere idea of eating cheesecake. Then I had a small dish of cookies and cream ice cream topped with bananas in strawberry sauce.
My friend and I were enjoying ourselves so much we actually thought about going back for more . . . we didn't but it was tempting.
Gravin Alexandera We left content. Made one stop to get some cans of dog food. I use that on the pups kibble. I make a sort of gravy for their breakfast, mainly to hide the flavor of the brewers yeast and stuff I feel compelled to insure they eat.
When we got in the house the dogs went berserk. I must have reeked of pizza and bacon.
I wouldn't give them any.
They were still glad to see us. Maybe the smells were enough.
It was time to give them their Frontline anti-flea treatment. (Last year it was in the coldest part of the winter that the fleas were at their very worst!)
After I gave them their Frontline I gave them half a piece of bacon, one at a time. As usual the giant dog ran from me. He hates sprays or Frontline or just about anything being put on him. After our usual fight I got him treated and he ran to get to the kitchen fully expecting his piece of bacon. He'd carefully noted that the other two got their bacon after treatment . . .
He makes me laugh.
I sat down to watch the football and promptly fell asleep . . . I don't know if it was so much the food as it was the boring game. Of course getting up at 5 after going to bed at 2 might have had something to do with it . . .
I woke up and was not hungry at all, even after my friend made Yorkshire pudding! I had no desire to eat, in a nice way.
I made the dogs their dinner. Helped my puppy write her blog post, mainly by taking pictures and staying out of her way. She claims I try and take too much credit anyway.
When I woke this morning I was still not hungry and didn't have any trace of the shaky hollowness I Three Bad Sisters usually face in the morning.
Last night I tired to experiment by going to bed in silence. It didn't work.
I tossed and turned and felt every pain in my body and tried to quantize each ache and throb. I thought about how much I loved my friend and my dogs and how much I don't care for cats in general and cats who bite me in reflex in particular. An hour later I got up and got the iPod, put it on and was passed out in 20 minutes.
Today I've been promised a gourmet breakfast with homemade bread for toast! I think it will be brunch really.
After that its the games. I have to believe the college games will be better than the NFL. They usually are.
I'm still shocked that the USC - Notre Dame isn't on TV. I gather its the first time since 1966 that the game hasn't been broadcast nationally. Charlie Weiss claims he's a genius. Maybe he is but it sure isn't in the area of coaching a college team.

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Glass Flowers
Click images for desktop size: "Glass Flowers" by Unknown
Its a good day for a Thanksgiving Day.
Plenty of football, plenty of food and I'm with the people and dogs I want to be with.
Trivial Matters PLUS I checked and the Chinese buffet has bacon! Happy happy pups.
I watched an odd but oddly engrossing movie last night. A Hong Kong baseball movie called "City Without Baseball." What made it stand out is that only a very few actors were used. Most of the characters were playing themselves. And the script was written out of stories that the players told on themselves.
All of the music was either performed or written by people who had died recently (there were little title cards saying who they were and the extent of their lives) or was written by the bisexual pitcher on the team.
Fashion, Sex, Politics and Music
Click image: "Sex, Politics & Music" by SW4
The acting was fine. Never false or misleading. I got confused between some of the characters. They're were a lot of brothers and three of the girls had the same hairstyle! But the story managed to roll along just fine.
There were several very good quotes in the movie, like Confucius and "We do not even understand life, how can we understand death." and cool stuff from a half dozen other Chinese philosophers.
Wizard Of Oz But the best quote in the movie came from a character, the baseball teams manager. He was a soft little guy and he was talking to the bisexual pitcher. The pitcher was concerned because no one on the team liked him. This scene made me wonder how much were the people's words and how much the writers had taken their words and honed them into film dialogue. The manager said them so matter of factly and with an official type of glibness that I think the words were his own: "I've been at this so long that there's no problems I haven't seen and that I don't know how to solve. If its something new then it hasn't been classified as a problem yet, so that no matter what happens it is always no problem at all."
Yellow Submarine We ended by watching an old Doris Day flic.
It was pretty funny and horrifying in its overt sexism. Day is a housewife and gets a shot at being a TV commercial star. The comedy is in her trying to balance a career and still not to forgo any of her vital "wifely duties!"
Its pretty offensive and mild.
So I'm off to start to enjoy the four day weekend. No big shopping plans for Black Friday but I'll still be enjoying myself.
I hope you do too.
I hope you get to enjoy some of the monstrous amount of football lined up for the weekend!
Especially Notre Dame at USC!

November 26, 2008

If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner
Tallulah Bankhead

Forest Grove OR Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival
Click images for desktop size: "Forest Grove, OR Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival" by Anonymous
In a week I have to decide wether or not to keep this web site up.
It's a decision.
The Iguana With A Tongue of Fire Part of its about money. I'd have to borrow to pay for it for a year, including the domain registration. If I don't pay for it the whole site will just vanish. There'll be no trace left of it at all.
I've got to admit I like that. Vanished without trace. Gone with just the memory of blackness broken up by scattered colored lights, like a good pop tune.
Not too bad a metaphor for me.Mena Suvari
Click images for desktop size: "Mina Suvari"

They tell me that this site has cash value. That's a surprise. The domain name is worth about twelve hundred bucks, or I guess it would have that value if anybody had ever made an offer to buy it from me. They base this silly figure on the fact that some of those sites that track this stuff say I could make about $300 a month if I used "proper advertising".
That's not going to happen, not paid ads, not adsense in particular, not reviews written for cash with plenty of links back to the product that pays me to review it. I don't disapprove of advertising but its not what I want.
I also note that a few people have pointed out that the name warchild13 sounds more like a biker domain that a place for rambley memories from an ex-almost-everything.
During its busy times this site gets a whopping 200 "unique visitors" a day. My puppy's little site gets about 1,500 a day.
I have robot.txt set up that stops most of the site indexing tools from searching her site. Her hits come from our own mini-network a friend helped me set up. Its mainly hospitals, schools and special needs schools. I don't promote it via other "dog blogs" or even offer up links to some of them, many of which I actively peruse and enjoy. The site is for kids. And my puppy wouldn't much The Orphans by he Fozz
Click images for desktop size: "The Orphans" by The Fozz
like acknowledging that there are any other dogs in the world, especially if she can't play fight with them. She gets about 50 emails a day from the kids. She's not endorsing any products except "no littering" and don't be mean, being mean is her job.
About 10 hits a day come via search engines, my all time fave search is still for "shelby the dog who doesn't speak good english", followed by "shelby the happy great dog." This site gets about 30% of its hits from search engines, about 90% of that 30% are searching for images by artists I like. I feel good that there's a place where people can find some of this stuff.
Out of the 140 visitors left I figure I don't know about half of them, never met them, never heard from them. About 10 times a year I hear from someone who just wanted to know that I'm okay, that Thief Of Bagdad I still exist. I'm glad to hear from them too for the same reasons. Four or five times I've heard from someone whom I'd nearly forgotten. They had one important thing to say to me and were pleased to find a chance to say it. I value that too.
Then there are my friends who care enough about me, whom I amuse who come by once in a while to see how I'm doing, like a letter from a dear friend that you can chose to receive at their leisure. That's pretty cool too.
And my friends who come by every day to see what trouble I've gotten myself into. There's always plenty of that!
There are some people who come by everyday whom I don't know. Someone once wrote to me that I was creating a "work of art" here! That was never my intention, nor my talent.
Sometimes those people Dreaming by Haxxy
Click images for desktop size: "Dreaming" by Haxxy
become friends, at least once a special friend, more often than not I can't be what they want me to be and all I can do is disappoint them. There's some small value in that too, I guess, for both of us.
There's been grief too.
I've been doing this since WordPress 1.2 and Moveable Type 2.1. Lot of versions ago. Rah. You'd think I'd know about the vagaries of the net and that I'm old enough and know enough about people to understand their vindictiveness, their anger, their rage. Usually I'm just surprised as to why we all can't relax a bit more.
It fits in with my lack of intelligence. I'm still the guy who thinks that most of the violence in the world could be stopped if we all just played a little ball, if we all got to hear some really good music The Magic Voyage of Sinbad and see a great movie.
Actually, no one's proved me wrong on that score yet. Maybe its because its too ridiculous a plan to ever further implement. Of course one of my best friends. A guy who's as terse as I'd liked to be and he's rich too believed in my stupid plans. It worked too.
He's one of those guys who comes by here when he has time to think about me and he'd get mad if he ever got a compliment so I'll stop.
The other nasty negative is the spam. For a while bestiality porno ads on my puppy's site where causing me a lot of grief. It took me a long time and a lot of work to figure out how to end them.
And while so many have a hard time figuring out my site server email address the spammers seem to find them easily enough, even though they appear nowhere on the sites.
So the spammers and the people who probably have a good reason to hate me or at least be angry with me have forced me to not be as open as I'd like. Those who know me well know I either say what's on my mind or else I stay silent. The less kind, but possibly more accurate might describe my silence of sulky or surly silences.
Speaking my mind has made me enemies, some pretty powerful enemies. Enemies with political power, money and time to invest in their rage. And the calm vindictiveness to wait to see their rage deployed. So I've had to censor myself. I don't like that at all. Even when I can see the sense and the correctness of it I don't like it.this_island_earth_(1955)_v4.jpg
It damages me.
What's good though is that since starting out on free servers and all that I've gotten into a habit, its a good habit of cataloging my days, of looking backwards at the past day and seeing how it impacts today and the future.
That's a good thing. Its a self analysis that I need in my life. Self examination. Yeah.
Of course I could get the same thing from a paper journal or a scrapbook. Or I could just keep this site on my own computer and update it so only I could see it. I might be too public and egotistical to do that with the same persistence that I do now.
With my puppy's site my original intent was just to have a place to record my wonderful little dogs life so that I would never forget it, never lose a moment of our precious time together. That people involved in her life could see it too was also a huge part of the intent. That it became something In Light
Click images for desktop size: "In Light" by Unknown
more than I imagined is good and pleases me. She's done well by me in her arrogant puppy dog way.
That those 1,500 kids a day like to look at her and her bad jokes, well, I have a right to stop it, don't I? Of course I don't, but hasn't America become the place where we ignore our responsibilities for our own selfish wants? Why should I hold myself to a higher standard? As soon as I start justification stuff I know I'm defending being wrong.
I could just buy the domain name and then use my computer as a server. I've done that before and it was a drag on everything. Slows down the computer and hogs major bandwidth. Also you get to examine the mechanizations of the little trolls who try and hack the server. Amazingly 80% of them can't think beyond windows, 20% know its linux but no oneThe Unholy Wife ever tried to crack the Mac server functions. How short sighted and what a limited way to get into mischief.
I'd miss the warchild email addresses. Using that dynamic dns thing I've been able to get email servers running on the Mac in the past. It was a monster chore and I can't recollect how I did it, but I know I did so I should be able to do it again.
The site has generated a few decent movie trades, not many but a few. And having the catalog readily available is a real time saver when someone is offering something I want badly (like Season 3 of the TV series Kung Fu, yes I finally got it) but that could be worked around too.
Seems like an awful lot of workarounds.
So I've got to make the decision within a week or it gets made for me. Cool enough, I guess. I plan to download the entire site just in case. If I decide to keep the site it will at least provide an annual Frnk Brunner
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Frank Brunner

Looking forward to the four day weekend with my friend. For dinner its confirmed we're going to the Chinese Buffet! I hope they don't do a turkey thing. I hope they have bacon for the pups! I've figured out my outfit. I plan to look modestly stylish. My friend and I can't afford to go out much and we have pretty much everything we want here anyway.
So this time I'm going to look good except for the fleece with the two huge inner pockets. I've lined the pockets with plastic bags or easy depositing of things I won't eat but that puppies adore.
Its promising to be a great holiday.
The pain has modestly subsided. The antibiotics work for about 4 hours knocking the pain down from trouble_with_harry_(1955).jpg a 9 to a 5 (on the smiley pain chart). They bring it down to a level where ibuprofen can bring the pain down to tolerable levels. The healing is wearing me out and leaving me tired.
I'm hoping that by tomorrow the pain will be totally manageable.
My friend doesn't understand how I can feel the antibiotics wearing off. All I'm glad is that she's never had enough pain to understand. Its like a really bad toothache but you feel it in your bones, an electric red throbbing pain that stays constant until it suddenly decides to shock you into its own dimension of a silent scream. I only have that on my left side. Leukemia legacy stuff.
I slept for almost 5 hours last night, only waking up because of pain twice and I still managed to stay in bed and go back to sleep in pretty short order.
That's getting better, that is!

November 21, 2008

Failure is success if we learn from it
Malcom Forbes

Click images for desktop size: "Detail" by Cezanne
Not too perky today.
Need more coffee then sleep. That's my guess, anyway.
Pain killers not having much effect this morning. Pain sharp and acute.
Pickup On South Street I'll survive. Pain doesn't kill. Its a message from your body, a warning. I wish I could figure out what the heck this warning is about. The neuropathic pain is just there. Its always there "like the copper peeking around the corner".
I managed not to sleep during the day. Then I fell asleep during the NFL game. Just at the start of the second half.
It was more of a passing out then a sleep. I was thinking about how much I disliked the NFL Network. This seems a flagrant abuse of their anti-trust privilege, and yet they feel no compunction or shame about demanding that all the cable systems carry the show, Popular Teenagers Toni Gay.jpg
Click image: "Popular Teenagers" by Toni Gay
to the point of demanding congress order them to carry it!
The two biggest greed mongers in the world trying to cheat each other . . . Anyway for some bizarre unexplained reason I get the Thursday Night games free. None of the other NFL Network stuff, which is fine by me. And even if I do get it free I still think its wrong and unfair.
I also think its unfair to the players. Four days rest between games is too little. Its like begging for injuries. Then 11 days rest is pretty unfair to the Thursday's teams next opponents.
Anyway I was thinking this when I suddenly came to and the game was over. I didn't feel rested, just groggy.
Went to the computer to check emails and fell out again. And again I came to and it was an hour later. I had no feeling of resting. It didn't feel like time had passed.
I made a decision not to take any pain killers. Its not a tough decision. I'm sure all those pills are having some effects I don't want.
I went to bed. I listened to about 30 songs before I fell asleep about 3:30. Then I heard the alarm at 6:30. No Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Luis Royo
sleep, just the body switched off. The pain came on livid and yearning like a pre-teen at a Boyzone show.
I lived with it for a half hour before I took pills. Partially to prove to myself how tough I am and partially to see just how deep the pain goes.
It hurts. Its not crippling. I don't like it but its not torturous, just uncomfortable and hard to focus past.
I let the dogs outside and saw that it had snowed some. I regret that I missed it. It was just a light dusting of snow.
(Do people used to living in snow realize how poetic all their descriptions of the stuff are. Their commonplace descriptions still fill me with the wonderment of allegory and simile. A light dusting.) The snow was dry. Powder. I suddenly had an urge to go Robin Hood skiing. I'm not a great skier but I do okay. I even manage to avoid injury, some how.
That is my experience with snow. You drive up through the desert to Big Bear, play in the snow and when you get tired of it you go home. That seems proper and civilized.
I never skied many other places than Big Bear. A bunch of the guys and I once went to Aspen. Didn't like it much. Too many tourists who we all wanted to slug.
Once we went to Steamboat Springs in Colorado. Decent skiing and not many tourists, even some nice little rock climbs. They looked like they were prepping themselves to be the next big resort town. I've no idea if they succeeded.
In Europe I found the skiing good but kind of dull. I'm not great but most of the skiers there thought I was too extreme! I don't even hot dog so I was perplexed. I also didn't have the right clothes so the few times I was went my memories are mainly of how wet and cold I was.
So basically, the time I spent skiing in all its sums and totals of fun in the snow can't hold a candle to spending an hour in the snow with my dogs. We knock each other sound, attack me and each other and laugh. When I do get jerked around by a sudden flash of pain all but the giant dog back off until I initiate the games again.
The giant dog thinks my grunts and grimaces are somehow directed at him! So he just stands and looks at me forlornly, wanting me to always like him.
Scream Of Fear I always like him. Even when I'm mad at him.
I intentionally didn't play with the guitar yesterday. My main issue right now is getting my finger strength back. Even with these light gauge strings I can only do a full step bend. I used to be able to do at least 1 and a half stops even on the top E and at least two on the bottom E.
You can't work out 7 days a week and build up strength. Not picking up the box and bashing around with it was harder than I'd thought it would be. I'm a noisy guy. I like making noise. Sometimes the noise passes for music and then its pretty good for me even if not for the unwitting people who have to hear it.

November 20, 2008

There are only two things worth investing in: Power and beauty
Sogo Masashi

Amano Maten
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Amano Maten
It snowed here yesterday.
All day and through the night. I swept 5 inches of it off of the car so I guess its safe to say there was at least five inches of snow.
I Wake Up Screaming They say that this is awfully early for this much snow here. I wonder if they're just trying to console me, give me a false sense of security.
Funny enough, I don't much mind the snow. I prefer shoveling the snow and spreading salt and stuff to mowing the grass and raking leaves. I'd rather have a full gardening crew do all of it but for some reason I don't mind the snow as much. Maybe because its still pretty new stuff to me.
I do point out, with pride, that I've not fallen down yet . . . Its early days yet and the dogs are eyeing me, knowing they'll get their chance.Michael Whelan 7.jpg
Click image: "Untitled" by Michael Whelan

Last night I went out in the storm (which is a harsh word for the amount of snow there was but I still thought of it as a storm) and I was momentarily stunned with the peace and calm of it all. The moon really did give the landscape "the luster of midday." The tree branches all dripped and bowed under the weight of the snow.
It was all very beautiful, peaceful and serene until my puppy and the giant dog decided to plow through the unbroken snow rolling and tumbling while they had their big play fight. They gamboled and tried to get me to join in. They buried their muzzles in the drifts and ate it up like ice cream charging back and forth, looking for good eating snow while occasionally attacking one another for no good reason.
THen they'd come up and push their wet bodies hard against me for some pets and play. My unbroken winter landscape now looked like a battlefield from World War One.
If the dogs weren't panting and wild eyed with giddy joy it would have been hard to take. I decided I Buttons and Denim
Click images for desktop size: "Buttons And Denim" by Unknown
liked the busted up yard as much as I liked the pretty painting of the yard as it was before. It meant more than just prettiness and/or a lack of ugliness and concealed messes.
I think that's the reason that I like the snow more than grass and raking. The dogs love to watch me shovel the snow. They like to dig through each shovel full making sure I'm not discarding something important. They like to watch me grumble and curse and maybe even slip and fall. They like to check ahead and come back to tell me its safe to proceed, and they like to stand obstinately directly in my path to see if they can make me go around them.Invisible Invaders
In other words arduous chores become fun. So that even if I had someone to shovel the snow and plow the driveway I'd still be out there with my nicked up blade shovel with my doggie buddies.

AppleTV did an update last night. Bringing it up to 2.3.
I haven't installed it yet because it disables and removes Boxee! I'm not sure why Apple goes out of its way to remove 3rd party applications. I read it was doing the same thing to the iPhone.
Seems sort of paranoid controlling to me. It might have something to do with the MPAA or the Networks.
Boxee lets you watch Hula and CBS, Comedy Central et al right on your TV. Since these are already advertiser supported I can't see the networks much caring about this. Watching them this way there's no way to skim through the commercials, Big Medicine
Click images for desktop size: "Big Medicine" by Unknown
whereas if I was using a DVR I can zip right through all of that.
I can't imagine why the networks would want me to be forced to watch their stuff only on my computer.
The MPAA might not like that Boxee allows easy watching of Xvid and DIVX files through the AppleTV. They might view this as condoning or encouraging video piracy.
With the way these same media conglomerates are fighting the idea of DRM free music this short sighted approach is possible.
But since I could set up a cheap old computer and call it a "Media Center" or even use a Mac Mini instead of a TV that would circumvent all of these protections and even make things more available.
In fact over on Engadget a lot of guys are mocking the AppleTV by claiming how their XBox 360's I Walked With A Zombie and Playstation 3's can already play all of this stuff without any add ons.
I prefer the AppleTV for several reasons, not least is that its small and near silent. It also adds to my enjoyment in the various streaming modes.
But considering that the latest AppleTV also does not allow re-installing Boxee it seems that the update was mainly just to allow Apple to maintain its paranoid consumer unfriendly control of the things you buy.
I hate that. It stinks of Microsoft.
It also means I won't be installing the AppleTV update until Boxee figures out how to reinstall itself. That shouldn't be too long.

I'm not doing great.
I'm not doing badly, just not great.
I'm getting a cold . . . so being in pain and congested with a thick feverish head is a bit much!
Its not that bad though.
I noticed that for about 15 or 30 minutes after I wake up in the morning I'm pain free. SO maybe that's a good reason to take a nap, a lot of naps!
I'm planning on making matzo ball soup today. My puppy's aunt sent me a package of matzo ball soup mix. Any modern scientist will tell you that matzo ball soup is the only approved cure for a cold!
So that's the plan for today. It should be interesting. One place the pups are not a lot of help in is the kitchen. Only because they don't believe that everything that comes out of the kitchen is not for them.

November 19, 2008

She loves me now but she's going to love me more
Jan Berry

Autumn Colors
Click images for desktop size: "Autumn Colors" by NFL Films
There's an old vaudeville joke, one of those routines that requires a top banana and a stooge.
The stooge walks into a used clothing store and asks about a suit. The top banana gives him one Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman that is way too large and cut funny. The stooge complains that the pants sag. The banana shows him how to stick his hand in the jacket pocket and pull them up. This keeps going on and on. No taper on the jacket: just hold your arms like this. Sleeves too long: hold your elbows in like this.
Until finally the stooge is standing all knock kneed, hump backed cross eyed and distorted like some Picasso sculpture made flesh. The stooge buys the suit and walks down the street.MaxfieldParrish-MountainPeakWinter.jpg
Click image: "Mountain Peak Winter" by Maxfield Parrish

The stooge passes two guys lounging by a lamp post, reading the paper, as guys used to do back in those days. One nudges the other and they stare at the stooge as he shambles down the street with his bizarre knock kneed posture and roiling gait.
"What do you think is wrong with that fellow?" asks guy one.
"Beats me," says guy two, "but don't his suit fit nice!"
Curtain, guffaws and applause.
Right now I feel sort of like the stooge.
If I hold my mouth just so it minimizes the discomfort. Holding my head about like this cuts back on the feeling that a 6 penny spike is driving through my throat. Squinting my left eye like Popeye Shanna by Frank Cho
Click images for desktop size: "Shanna" by Frank Cho
stops it feeling like a poker is piercing my brain etc etc.
Nothing does much to stop the dull tooth ache like pain in my bones. Its a sort of phantom pain anyway. More discomfort than pain really, like a bad memory you can't shake, a bad dream that persists through the day.
I'm not worried. Just uncomfortable. I still trust my puppy to tell me when I'm in trouble. She gets overly attentive and clingy when I'm in trouble. Right now she just doesn't want to share the bed and wants me to make breakfast faster. So I'm clearly fine and not worth wasting precious brain cycles over.
I'm still playing the guitar everyday. Trying to limit it to an hour or so a day, I've got no speed or The Galloping Ghost strength in my fingers. I'm buzzing strings even on simple open chords. I'm curious to see if the strength comes back. I decided I need to limit it because after about 3 hours of noodling about on Sunday I discovered I couldn't grasp the lid on a jar of olives tightly enough to open it.
No big deal. I'll take it as a great sign if my fingers get stronger. Proof positive that my body isn't dead. Not dead at all.
I love the little guitar. Starting to remember some chord progressions. The body is still far behind the mind but that's to be expected.
Yesterday I read more about the recent grief and the RIAA.
Some mawky conservative think tank has come out and criticized the courts. They think the RIAA has been reasonable . . . there's a lot of lawyer gobbeldy gook in the paper. Jerks use lawyer talk when they have no justification. Does anyone not know that yet?
The main argument is that the RIAA should get what they want because they want it. Its not the RIAA's fault that their lobbyists rammed through a poorly conceived draconian law that gives the RIAA everything and the public nothing. The people should just be grateful that the RIAA allows them to breathe and give up the cash.
Charlie Neeson, the Harvard law prof fighting the RIAA n simple constitutional facts stated that perhaps its time for the RIAA to stop thinking the world owes them a living and to figure out alternative ways to make a living.
Girls In Prison Neeson suggested something like making the music free and embedding adverts n the tracks. Which I think is pretty stupid but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and think that it was just a thought off the top of his head. He does point out that the millions of bucks that the RIAA has extorted via threats and the courts has still not found any of its way to the artists. Its just being used to feed the legal machine and extort more money. Its the new RIAA industry.
Thing is that the RIAA is redundant. Musicians have always been ripped off. For the most part they didn't care.
The deal used to be that the musicians mad records and the record producers kept all the money. The band used the promotion of the records to sell out live shows. They made serious bucks that way. Both sides. The producers a lot more than the musicians.
The RIAA's big job was setting up some standards to make sure that records all had an acceptable EQ curve so that they'd sound like something when played through the crappy phono stylus. (When CD's became big a lot of them sounded pretty terrible because the record labels were dumping them out there with the same old RIAA EQ that they needed to have translated by Beyonce
Click images for desktop size: "Beyonce"
cartridges and needles for vinyl. I still sort of figure a lot of the love people have for vinyl is the love for the high compression and steep roll offs required to get vinyl to reproduce noise.)
The best deal musicians ever got was when the bands would first start up. You'd record some tracks at an 8 Track studio for like 15 bucks an hour, print up your own CD's for like a buck a piece, have the lead singer's girl friend, who was always an art student someplace, design a cover and a label, run them off and then sell them at your shows for 5 bucks a piece, 10 if the band got big enough.
We might not have known it then but those were the best days. Ambition has a nice way of hiding happiness from you.
Thing is I still don't need the RIAA and the corrupt disdainful musicians who embrace them. There's plenty of music out there that's not owned by anybody but the people who love it, who make THe Giant Claw it and who listen to it.
Oh, there's a question I can answer. Lars, drummer from Metallica, the hypocrite who started and embraces the RIAA's legal onslaught, he who sold a painting this weekend for 14 million dollars isn't giving half the money to the artist not even 10 bucks. See, he doesn't have to. Fair use act or something.
One thing I've been listening to a lot is compilations. The great ones are where a bunch of disparate bands with a common thread get together and try and get some attention by packing a disk with all killer no filler tracks.
With my garage love I particularly like this new one called, "Be A Caveman." Lots of good to great bands, like Events doing "She's Our Girl".
An old compilation that rocks is "Teenage Riot." Its all vintage stuff with a JD zip gun attitude and a switchblade edge. Doofus tracks like Reggie Perkins doing the theme for "High School Caesar" make Considering An Empty Future
Click images for desktop size: "Considering An Empty Future" by Unknown
me smile. The whole disk is filled with wild tunes, radio commercials for wilder films and the frequent totally cool tracks like Little Johnny and the Rumblers covering "Riot in Cell Block Number 9".
A newer surfish band on the scene are The Crimson Ghosts. Their CD "Some Kinda Hits" is one of those things where every song sounds like a forgotten song buried in your head. Nothing really tears your head off but nothing makes you reach to push the button for the next track. Nice and solid stuff like Their cool and reverb drenched cover of the Misfits "Attitude"
The Sand Rubies out of Phoenix continue to impress me. Their cover of Arthur Lee's "Signed D.C." Hollow Triumph gets a double RAH! and a Yow!
All you got to do is listen.
Finally this morning I woke up with a clear memory of a Jan and Dean song. It was a great tune, lush production sparse but meaningful words. Probably from that great period where everything Jan Berry dreamed was an instant hit. Except I can't seem to find it and now I'm wondering if they really did it.
Then I wondered if all the guitar noodling had made me write a new song. Possible. I'm usually half asleep when I write anything, except I remember once waking up and thinking I'd written an awesome song. The first line was. "She walks in beauty like the night . . . " It was three days before I found out that somehow George Byron had some how time travelled from to the future and stolen it from me . . .
I remain skeptical about my "genius".

November 18, 2008

Live out of your imagination, not your history
Stephen Covey

Today's City Tomorrow
Click images for desktop size: "Today's City Tomorrow" by Unknown
And suddenly its winter.
I'm not used to winters yet so I don't know if this is normal. To me it seems the temperature went from 70, to 60 to 50 to 24 in less than a week.
Follow Me Quietly There's snow too.
The dogs seem to like it. A lot.
I remain undecided.
Yesterday I spent the day raking wet leaves and snow. Shows the value of procrastination. How to make a miserable job despicable . . .
My friend made a trip and got me some ibuprofen. But not before I surf_05.jpg
Click images for desktop size: "Surf" by Unknown
tried some of her Aleve. I took four of them in a gulp. Then read that the max dosage is 3 a day . . . it did a middling job of masking the pain but made me a touch queasy.
The ibuprofen is still the best for that but even it seems to be either lessening in effect or else the pain is growing. Can't really determine.
Its still manageable.
I realized I'm not wearing my glasses like I ought to. Sometimes I feel embarrassed because its a bit disconcerting wearing shades when its cloudy and dark out. But its mainly because my vision has shifted in some way that makes the glasses nearly as much an irritant as an aid.
I need to go see an optometrist and a dentist.
In the state-that-tried-to-ruin-my-life-and-so-its-architects-voted-out they had a cheap dentist. Based on earnings I had to pay 20 bucks a visit. The only drawback was that they didn't take appointments. It was first come, first serve.
That meant getting there at 5 am. They let you in at 9 and the first patient was seen at 10. Had some interesting conversations in that line. Watched a few Abandoned by Shifted Reality
Click images for desktop size: "Abandoned" by Shifted Reality
neighborhood dogs come by and do their begging in those gray hours before traffic and school.
I showed up once at 5:30 and was 34th in line. Sketchy time. They only see 35 patients a day.
Interesting all the dentists were volunteers. The care was cursory but adequate and you got to see the same dentist.
Similar for the optometrist.
Now it be worth it. Who has the 3 or 4 hundred bucks to front these guys. Something to have to save for.
I've been bugged lately by politics. I was hoping that be over for a while. I guess evil never ends.
Bush and Cheney instead of slinking away and praying they're not hauled in front of the World Court for war crimes are continuing to try and destroy America.
They've already destroyed our freedoms and taken away our liberties and they're doing everything The Flesh Eaters they can to destroy what little we have left.
Bush has violated the law again and is using executive privilege to destroy what little beauty and nature we've got left. He's selling leases to do strip mining and shale oil extraction in our national parks. Maybe not right in the middle of the parks but in those border areas.
What they can't shoot and kill they'll pollute to death.
What I find sad is that the Democrats haven't done a damn thing about it. Why aren't they saying that bidding on these leases is foolish because on January 20th all those sales will be declared null and void.
I don't think that energy independence is worth destroying the world or the tiny pockets of beauty that we have left. The amount of oil they'd produce 20 years down the line could be made up by walking the 5 blocks to the store.
Then to insure Bush's corruption continues he's "burrowing" a lot of his scuzzier cronies in permanent positions in the government. Again the democrats are silent. Instead of promising to review each of these last minute appointments and voiding any that they think are not in the best interest of our country they're fighting to keep Lieberman in charge of the most decrepit useless Homeland Security. Its a burgeoning chunk of incompetence so lets keep the same boob in charge no matter what scandalous things he does.
We got fooled again.
One bright spot I've noticed is that a real heavy weight has gotten involved in the RIAA scandal. And Fight Club on the people's side!
Charlie Nesson the Harvard law prof is taking on the case of some grad student the RIAA is sung. His argument is vital. THe law that Bush shoved through is unconstitutional. The government and the Republicans cannot make laws that enable private citizens to persecute criminal laws as civil matters.
While I could debate the criminal aspect of the argument in that nasty single sided legal thought it makes sense.
The scuzz RIAA lawyers are fighting it, of course, not because he's wrong but because the kid they're suing should have said that originally and that now its too late to bring in that argument!
You know I hate Metallica. I didn't used to. Back when they played Giradelli's almost weekly, when Al Moore
Click images for desktop size: "Pin Up" by Al Moore
they were out passing out tickets trying to get people to come check them out they were all right. They were just regular musicians. A dream and a song.
Then the Black album went platinum and they turned into the biggest jerks on record.
Lars, the sloppy drummer, has a place reserved in Dante's hell right next to Judas Iscariot and Bob Ford in the ice fields of the betrayers.
This is the same Lars who sold a painting this weekend for 14 million dollars, a painting he paid two million for a couple of years ago. He was stunned it didn't go for over 15 million . . .
This is the same Metallica that put Napster out of business because Lars was so freaked out that people were listening to his music and enjoying it and he wasn't getting his cut!Eyeball
Yesterday I was in the market looking at a newspaper headline. Some band just got a lifetime achievement award. The band took their name from one of the songs I wrote decades ago.
I had that knee jerk reaction, the same one Lars probably had: "I should get paid! or somethin' . . .
But because I'm not an immature jerk, at least about some things, I realized its cooler that I made a contribution to some kids having a good time. Not only the band itself but all of the kids who had their lives shaped the band's music, who lie under the covers having the band's music provide the sound track to their lives.
That's pretty important giddy stuff. More important, I think, that a few bucks. Maybe I'm lucky there's no 14 million buck paintings that I simply need to have.

So, I've got a lot to do today. The roomba is already nicely sweeping the house. Yes, I still love my roomba and really love the improvements its made. It works so much better than before and I clearly loved it in its orignal incarnation.
I have to clean stuff but first I have to take the dogs for a walk. They're stoked by the weather and that we didn't go for a walk yesterday.
I figure there's not enough snow and ice out there for them to knock me down, so that's a big win for me and will clearly demonstrate my superiority over dogs!

November 16, 2008

USC 45 Stanford 23

Water Covers Tracks
Click images for desktop size: "Water Covers Tracks" by Unknown
Yesterday I got another Christmas gift! And I had pancakes for dinner!
You would have to consider that a good day.
detour-.jpg The present was a guitar!!!!!
Yeah. Its an interesting Gretsch Guitar. Made with a sense of humor. Its a 3/4 thing, which takes some getting used to but it sounds pretty okay. There's no fret wire burrs, neck is straight (even has a neck torque adjustment!). The box says its made of REAL wood and makes REAL guitar sounds. It even holds its tuning no matter how much I pound on it. Good deal.
I've had Gibsons and Ovations that weren't this solid. Okay, they did sound better but cost about six times what this little guy cost.
The face of the guitar is green and painted. The picture is of some terrified cowboys running away as two UFO's levitate cows into their holds!interiors _03.jpg
Click images for desktop size: "Interior" by Unknown

Considering how much I dislike cows I think this is pretty funny. My friend, who gave me the guitar, claims that this is the sort of instrument Jack White would play. There's four in this "series" and the guy at the guitar shop said, "Yeah. He's probably got the whole collection!"
I played around with it all day. Both my hands are killing me. I can barely type. Its neuropathic cramping. So bad I don't even notice the hurt from my callouses reforming.
My fingers are weak. This is an acoustic with .12's. I can only bend about 1 1.2 steps!
I also have no speed at all. I can only remember a few riffs and runs . . . well, that's pretty normal. I've always had to drill everything and then forgotten it the next day.
I like the little guitar. Its worth the hand cramps.
Wide Open Spaces
Click images for desktop size: "Wide Open Spaces" by NFL Films
I've run out of ibuprofen! Surprised me. Trying to make do with aspirin right now. Not working.
The pain is in the left side of my face, as usual. So bad that it goes numb and throbs from my fore head down to my chin. This makes my teeth hurt some, so that they feel like they belong in someone else's mouth. I've bitten my tongue a lot and have put about five holes on the inside of my cheeks.
Then its just the usual stuff in my joints and deep inside my bones. I didn't really relate to how much the ibuprofen cut through the pain. I'm going to wait for four hours after taking the aspirin and try some Tylenol to see if that cuts through it.
I'd walk to the store but that seems daunting. Its snowing and raining here. (Nice damp dogs . . . Death Tripping and wet footprints all over everything) Not the nicest weather to take that 3 mile walk in. I might have to do it anyway.

Last week I went 11-3 in my NFL guesses. I won't discuss my friend's picks. What's the sense in pointing out her sporty deficiencies. So she was 12-2. Why pick on her for getting the two easiest games wrong. Just stare at her in bemused affection.
The good news is that she's not into betting. I used to have a couple of friends and we bet all the time, not money but we bet penalties, like "Loser has to walk everywhere with a strut all day," or "You have to end every sentence by saying 'As you wish all wise and beneficent one.'"
She'd probably want to bet something like chores or washing dishes. I'm to clever to fall for that one!
As usual my picks are in bold.

New York Jets at New England - I took the Patriots. They lost. I'd take them again over the Jets. I can never pick a team that lost to the Raiders. Still, the game of the week.

Detroit at Carolina - Any game the 0-9 Lions are in deserves consideration for cruddy game of the week. The Panthers are leading the NFC South. That surprises me. There's not much of interest for me in this game. Well, it will be interesting to see if the Lions can lose them all, but that's about it.

Fight Of The Century by Ray And Peese
Click images for desktop size: "Fight Of the Century" by Ray and Peese
Denver at Atlanta - When the Broncos aren't on the receiving end of some of the worst officiating in NFL history they're a pretty wretched team with a sparkling QB. The Falcon's D is solid and won't give Cutler the chance for 4th quarter heroics. The Falcons and Matt Ryan are looking confident and good. I'd take the Falcons and give the points.

Philadelphia at Cincinnati - The Bengals are still half hoping that Carson Palmer gets healthy. They haven't looked good all year, but at times they haven't looked bad. The Eagles are seeing their season slip away from them. They know they can't take anything for granted and must win out or miss the playoffs. I think they've got enough heart to do it. as to enough talent . . .

Minnesota at Tampa Bay - The Vikings can't rely on Adrien Petersen to get 200 yards against the Dracula Prince Of Darkness Buccaneers. That doesn't mean he won't or can't do it but you can't count on it. Jeff Garcia should be able to mount a better Offense than the banged up Rodgers (Green Bay) did last week. Added to the fact that the Vikings don't do real well outside of domes got to go with the Buc's.

Baltimore at New York Giants - My brain says the Giants, Giants, Giants. There is no reason in the world to think the Ravens have a chance in this game. Stats, mutual opponents everything says the Giants win this pretty handily. So what. I'm taking the Ravens. I believe in Joe Flacco's heart and clear vision. I believe in Ray Lewis' spirit and desire. The Game of the Day.

Oakland at Miami - Cruddy game of the week. Not the Dolphins' fault. What Al Davis is doing to the Bullrider by Jesus Helguera
Click images for desktop size: "Bullrider" by Jesus Helguera
Raiders is freaky scary. They're not even goody fun to watch like the Lions. They're just poor. The Dolphins should be able to run the Wing T and do pretty much anything else they want.

New Orleans at Kansas City - This years two heart break teams. Thigpen is starting to look genuine for the Chiefs but Dru Brees keeps showing he may be the best QB in the NFL, except everybody around him is dropping like flies. He shouldn't have a chance but he never quits. This one could be pretty wild. I'm taking the Saints for my heart and not because they should win.

Tennessee at Jacksonville - My friend, who last week was an excellent 12-2 in her picks thinks theThe Cabinet Of Dr Caligari Jaguars might win this one. I don't think her instincts are wrong. Jack Del Rio is a better coach than his team. To protect his job he might get them fired up to wreck the Titans shot at a perfect season. I'm taking the Titans on the old theory that you don't bet against an undefeated team. Besides I like Kerry Collins and Lendale White enough to not mind if they lose one.

Houston at Indianapolis - Last week I'd written the Colts season off, so Manning has pretty much willed the Colts into a position of not being mathematically eliminated from the play offs. He's done it with a lot of heart. The Texans stink.

Chicago at Green Bay - This is a miserable game to pick. No one knows how healed up Aaron Rodgers is. Who knows which Bears team will show up. And both teams are capable of either playing pure drek football or stunning football. Orton should be playing QB for the Bears this week. That might give the defense some confidence to bring their A game. The Packers' D is too banged up to consistently stop anybody, at least last week and probably this week too.

Arizona at Seattle - The Seahawks might have Matt Hassleback ready to go. A rusty QB going against the division leaders isn't a whole lot of hope to me. It might fire them up. The Cardinals O is looking secure and comfortable. That's all it should take to win this one pretty easily. I love seeing Dinosaurus Bolden play for the Cardinals especially as gutsy as he has since his serious injury. He deserves to shine in the play-offs.

St Louis at San Francisco - Last week I was shocked to see that Mike Singletary has in one game and one bye week recreated the 49er's. He has cruddy personnel to work with but he's got them playing hard edged smash mouth football. This is amazing. And they looked pretty good doing it. This should be the week that Singletary's coaching pays off. The Rams are disheveled and confused. The 9er's should be starting to trust Singletary. He's turned them from a laughing stock into a team. I expect even better play this week.

San Diego at Pittsburgh - The Steelers D will decide this one. The Chargers keep looking woeful. Condonatio by Lukas Walker
Click images for desktop size: "Condonatio" by Lukas Walker
They're not out of it only because the AFC West is such a bad joke. The Steelers on Offense are bruised and abused but should still manage to get by the confused, lethargic Chargers.

Cleveland at Buffalo - There was a time I was really looking forward to this game. Once upon a time in a land far away. The Bills have really blown it in the last month. Trent Edwards has gone from phenom to glum. The Bills D has gone from "bend - don't break" to "HEY he was your man!" The Browns are having to deny that they just up and quit against Denver. They're insisting that Brady Quinn, who didn't look that bad two weeks ago, is their QB of the future. This are two teams looking to lose it all. Cruddy game of the week contender.
Electronic Monster
Dallas at Washington - Two teams trying to rebound. The Cowboys are hoping that a rusty Tony Romo can do better than a vacant lot at QB. The Redskins saw their dream pretty well dismantled by the Steelers. Since the Redskins destroyed Romo and the Cowboys in Dallas earlier there's no reason to give the Cowboys that much of a chance on the road.

And there you have the future of my embarrassment. These picks are for the purposes of mocking only . . . my friend won't tell you hers. She's afraid you'll steal them and make tons of money or something, like win a prize that he'd even share if he got a few good tips or something . . .

November 14, 2008

You got to get down and kneel like you want to pray

Sakura by Digital Blasphemy
Click images for desktop size: "Sakura" by Digital Blasphemy
This has become a house of illness!
My friend was home yesterday. Home sick. She puts it off to gluten poisoning! I'm not so sure, but what do I know.Blood On The Moon
The giant dog was ill Wednesday night. Then my puppy was ill last night. So ill she didn't even come and start bugging me for dinner!
My puppy being ill is always a source of worry.
The worst part is that I'm still sick but I'm used to it so I got to be nursemaid . . . I'm not that good at that.
Still got some of the things done. Changed and washed the sheets and the vomited on things, so that my friend would at least have a cool clean bed to suffer in.
I got some bare maintenance house cleaning done. It was raining so I couldn't do any yard work. Which bugged me. The worse I feel the more I like to be doing something.Tom Ewell And Marilyn Monroe
Click image: "Tom Ewell & Marilyn Monroe"
Mot heroic something but when I'm moving around I don't have time focusing on my pain. Nursemaiding doesn't change my focus enough to do the same thing.
When the rain broke I took the gentle dog and my puppy for a walk to get a loaf of bread for me (I still like to eat "raw" bread when I'm sick) and some Jalapeno Halvarti cheese for my friend . . . I'm not sure if cheese is the best thing for someone who's sick. I didn't think of that then. I only thought of that now.
After that I put on "Air Bud: Spikes Back". The Air Bud movies are these harmless pretty bad flics about a sports playing golden retriever.
Yeah. I liked it plenty. But I'm the sort who enjoys seeing how nicely a dog walks down stairs. My friend does too so it was a good movie for lounging about and feeling terrible to.
In this one Bud plays volleyball. Bud plays the center or the setter on the team. This lets us have a couple jokes about too bad he's not an irish setter, which tells you the quality of these films.
I really liked the Air Bud movie where he played football. I laughed a lot just seeing a dog wearing a THor-Blood Oath
Click images for desktop size: "Thor & Hercules" by Marvel Comics
silly football helmet . . . This one was okay by those standards but "Spikes Back" is the least of these movies.
When you see the Japanese dog films and compare it to the American output its pretty depressing.
It makes me worry a lot about Richard Gere making a movie about Hachiko. Hachiko is still one of the most thrilling and moving true dog stories ever.
I worry about how they'll miss the simple beauty of Hachiko's story and turn it into something that's not about a dog's love and loyalty and will instead make a movie about people. There are plenty of movies about people. I think that this one could afford to be about the dog. He's the quiet heart broken hero, not the reporter or the emperor.Caltiki The Immortal Monster
After that my friend went for a proper lie down and I put on "The Face of Another". Its one of those Japanese art films from the sixties. Pretentious and all that. This is from the guy who made "Woman In The Dunes" which was pretty pretentious but kind of fun.
This one was a black and white semi science fiction thing. A tech salary man gets his face blown off by using a tank of liquid oxygen instead of a tank of liquid air . . . I have no real idea what the difference is.
The salary man goes crazier and crazier but in one of those wordy ways, not slicing and dicing people but just talking too much.
The salary man goes to a shrink who specializes in building the self esteem of people who've been disfigured in accidents. He makes plastic body parts to stop people from obsessing about their differences.
For the salary man he decides to do something incredibly unethical and make him a mask! I have no idea why making a mask is unethical.
The shrink makes him a mask that is super real. No one would ever think it was a mask. The salary man develops another personality to go along with his new face. And that's about it.
There's all sorts of babble about how society perceives faces and that's about it . . .
I fell asleep during it. Slept so hard that I couldn't be awakened. Which is strange for me. Stranger that my puppy didn't try and wake me at dinner time!
At least all the dogs ate their usual breakfasts. I made them blander than usual. What could be Conceptions by Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Conceptions" by Luis Royo
blander than dog food anyway. They all ate it up and are all in their usual sleeping positions.
The gentle dog is wrapped around my feet. The giant dog is on the love seat hoping that someone will try and steal his precious rawhide. And my puppy is sprawled on the bed.
My friend is at work and I have that nasty totally hollow feeling in my body.
So all is normal.
Today's plan: To unclog the drains around the house, preventative somewhat. To take all the dogs for a good long walk. And to not succumb to falling asleep in the middle of the day.
After a bright sunny morning the clouds are gathering again. I don't want ti to rain. They say it will snow this weekend.
I don't mind the snow. Somethings about it I like a lot. I've just got all these leaves that have to be removed and right now they are too wet and yukky to deal with. At least to wet and yukky for me.
I feel terrible. For some reason I still think I'm going to win . . .

November 12, 2008

The shaving razor's cold and it stings
Boyce & Hart

Sorry Wrong Number
Click images for desktop size: "Sorry, Wrong Number" by Unknown
One day during our chemo-therapy "support group" sessions the two people in charge of it were running late.
There were two of them: A pretty young woman with a severe disability that forced her to walk withBlack Gold a peculiar rolling gait; a bearded psychologist who liked to stroke his beard and make profound announcements. At least he thought they were profound. The members in my group never discussed these laborious sessions so I can't say that they found his statements as torturous as I did.
He was a Notre Dame fan, even though he didn't go to Notre Dame and for some reason he thought it would endear himself to me by proclaiming this over and over to me. Probably clouds my memory of him now as well as my opinion of him then.
The woman was a social worker. We would have felt better about her except she kept trying to be empathetic and that just made us pity her all the more.
So there are the nine of us sitting in our circle in our uncomfortable institution type chairs when this oil company exec pulls out one of those hospital oxygen masks. He's got a long chunks of surgical tubing hot glued to the intake and exhaust ports.
He explained in great detail that he was going to attach this to a tank of helium. I got quickly Pet Lover
Click images for desktop size: "Puppies" by Unknown
interested. Once Tom and I got a tank of helium and spent a good week walking around talking like munchkins to everybody at any inappropriate opportunity. It was fun and cool. We even worked out a rapid version of "We Represent The Lollipop Guild" that started out in cool high trembly harmony and, as the helium wore out, descended into a crazed sounding baritones.
This exec wasn't looking to sound crazy cool. He explained that if the chemo didn't put him into remission he was going to hook his mask to a tank of helium. Hook it all up to himself, turn on the gas and drift off to the endless sleep.
He explained that he'd talk to some of his doctor friends and they all assured him this was the easiest non-painful ways to commit suicide.
Anyone who's ever been puking up clear bile for a few hours while watching clumps of their hair fallAttack of the Crab Monsters out into the toilet while their veins and lymph nodes burned in unholy white fire from chemo would have no problem understanding his macabre plan.
No one wants to die of cancer or leukemia. Its a terrifying kind of death. But no one wants to ever go through chemo ever again. Its too vivid a pain that doesn't dull in memory.
So we all understood. It started the most animated conversation I'd ever seen in the support group.anime _18.jpg
Click images for desktop size: "Hanabi" by Unknown
For the next twenty minutes everyone laid out their suicide plan. Only one woman said that it was foolish to consider suicide after all we'd each been through but then she added that she had no intention of dying from cancer and if it came to that she'd put her husband's 9 mm in her mouth an pull the trigger, sparing her family the grief of watching her decay until she passed away.
Listening to everyone's preferable mode of death was pretty interesting. Being human and American it soon became competitive with details and flourishes. One woman wanting to emulate Jayne Mansfield and Claudia Jennings by speeding along the FDR Expressway and ramming into a giant buttress that hung over the road just a couple miles past some exit or other.
Being what I am I was fixated on the idea of a tank of helium and how much fun it would be to have some now. So that the next time the psychologist asked me how I was feeling and when I grunted out my usual, "Fine" and he dismissed me with his usual, "Fine is not a feeling, tell us how you're feeling" I could answer him in great detail huffing on a balloon of helium and doing that great munchkin voice, ending the performance with a solo rendition of "We Represent The Lollipop Guild".
Somewhere in there the social worker and the psychologist must have entered the room.
Holeproof Hosiery by Phillip Coles
Click images for desktop size: "Holeproof Hosiery" by Philip Coles
They were pretty shocked at what they were hearing. I imagine at first they were pleased to hear us inter-reacting and being semi-raucous. They probably smiled smugly to themselves, thinking all their hard work was finally paying off. Then when they heard what we were talking about I suspect they kind of freaked. Maybe they took it personally. Like some personal failure they couldn't convince a mess of adults to be joyous in their suffering.
The psychologist lectured us for about 20 minutes about how stupid we were and the social worker went on about how she could understand how we felt but that yadda yadda yadda blah blah blah.Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman
Attack Of The 60 Foot Centerfold
And we went from being enthused story tellers and fantasizers to being another room of suffers who resented the world for not suffering like we suffered. Some grew surly, as usual, because the gods did not elevate us to sainthood for enduring the suffering and the temptations we endured.
Most grew depressed again, counting the days, minutes and seconds in their chemo trials, afraid to pray for release because it might seem selfish while one or two's thoughts drifted to their families and worried how they'd feel about their love ones being bald and emaciated, sick and sad and lonely in their private hell, a hell they'd never imagine sharing with their kids or their spouses because some hells are too intense and too real and seem to ridiculous to want to inflict on anyone you care about. Most of the time you want to spare people you care about, spare them even a glimpse of that glowing smoldering revulsive grief and pain.
And that's what they social worker and the psychologist didn't understand, what they couldn't grasp.
You can't get encouragement to survive in hell. You survive because you have no other choice but to go on to the next second of the next day. You don't expect rebate. You don't expect cessation. You only want to get through the time you have to get through.
I had a dog who had to have chemo and have a leg amputated because of cancer. I spent a lot of time with him during his chemo. He was suffering and had no idea of why or how. He only knew he trusted me and he would lie there with his head in my lap while I squatted in his kennel. Once in a great while he would slowly and with great effort thump his tail to let me know he appreciated me being there. The fact that he could lie there in his misery and still think it important enough to let me know that it was important to him that I was there is just one small piece of proof in my mind that dogs are, in some ways, better than people.
He lived for 3 years after all that and he was as happy as he'd ever been. Not once did he blame me for forcing him to live which was, after all pretty selfish of me; forcing him to live so I could enjoy seeing him laugh and play.
That's what I was thinking about when the psychologist finally finished up and suddenly asked me, "How are you feeling today?"
I said, "Fine," and he went into his usual spiel. I wished i had a tank of helium.

I'm not feeling better. I guess I just adapt well to being ill.
On Monday I was upset. I tried to do some yard work. DIdn't get too far. Sat on the sofa and put a movie on TV. Slept right through the whole thing. Put on another movie. (Couldn't re-watch the one I'd slept through. If it was any good I wouldn't have fallen asleep. Right?)
Zuma Beach by n0rcalguy
Click images for desktop size: "Zuma Beach" by n0rcalguy
I slept right through that one too. I seemed to be picking out boring movies.
I don't like sleeping, especially during the day. It bothers me for all the standard reasons.
I felt pretty wretched. Even though the sleep probably helped me heal and kept me from feeling worse it agitated me to waste so much time. I tried to console myself by thinking that I'd slept more this day than I had in any night in the last week.
I tried to get somethings done. I felt to thick skulled to remember exactly what that was, but I remember trying.
On Tuesday I woke up feeling about 40% better. After an hour I felt about 20% better and it held that way all the day.
I stayed awake the whole day. Watched 3 movies. They were all pretty dull. I mean the best of Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla them was "Doom", that old The Rock movie based on a video game . . .
I also watched "Irma Vep" a pretty pretentious French flic that starred Jean Pierre Leaud, he the star of "The Four Hundred Blows" and all the way to "Last Tango In Paris". Now he's about 65 and looks it. He is still remarkable talented. The real revelation was Maggie Cheung. She was incredible playing . . . MAGGIE CHEUNG! Cheung is the female in a lot of Jackie Chan Movies and the good "bad girl" in the Heroic Trio movies. Her she was acting as herself as a Hong Kong actress hired to go to Paris and star as Irma Vep in Leaud's remake of Felliuade's "Les Vampyres". Leaud has a nervous breakdown who is replaced by another intellectual filmmaker who fires Cheung for purely racist reasons. It was pretty boring except for the two leads.
And I finished by watching "In Bruges" which is this Brit flic that's not as clever or telling as it seems to think it is. It was pretty boring but I did manage to stay awake.
I'm worried that my illness is worrying and depressing people.
It shouldn't.
I woke up feeling about the same way as I felt going to bed. I can cope with that without much thought or effort.

November 10, 2008


Click images for desktop size: "Ronin" by Stan Sakai
Sick today.
Nothing serious just sick.
Amazing Colassal Man The standard pain and then something else I can't quite grasp.
Upset stomach, tired (but not fatigued) and sleepy.
I'm not worried. My puppy hasn't become overly attentive, which she does when I'm seriously ill.
So, for now, just sick.
Taking natural stuff - Oil of Oregano, Fenugreek, and Olive leaf.
I don't like that they have flavours. I mean the pills taste like what they say they are. Kind of yukky.
Felt slightly better after passing out.
Cat woke me up.

November 9, 2008

California 3 USC 17

Plotting by Lawn Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Plotting" by Lawn Elf
I hope that anyone who saw the Alabama - LSU game will give up the myth that the SEC is the best conference in the country.
That was one inept stinker of a game. It was terrible in every facet, That Alabama is number one is The Good The Bad and The Ugly heinous. That LSU is in the top 20 is a poor joke.
USC's win was lackluster. They'll be penalized and they should be. (Although the entire world of football officials should be penalized. In the NFL and in college ball the officiating has degraded to an abominable level.) After watching Texas Tech dismantle Oklahoma State is there any one who can doubt who is actually number one? (And not just because my kid Akacia Gin Ichi
Click images for desktop size: "Akacia Gin Ichi" by Unknown
scored the first TD! The announcers actually knew his name this time!) Texas Tech plays superb offense and are the only team in the Big 12 who know that defense is important too.
Then there's Penn State. I really wanted to see Texas Tech and Penn State at 1 and 2. Iowa squashed that dream. It was a brilliant game for Iowa. It seemed that on every play at least one player of the field reached deep and did something that should have been beyond them. It what I love about college ball, the emotions laid out on the field.
And USC rally didn't look so bad. The coaching, of all things, is looking worse each week! Mark Sanchez looked solid but not spectacular. The coaches still are asking too much of a young O-Line.
But the Trojan D is looking unbelievable. After last night they are giving up a whopping 6.7 yards a Out of the Airlock by Blurberger
Click images for desktop size: "Out of the Airlock" by Blurberger
game! Against one of the top running attacks in the country they gave up a total of 27 yards. Purely incredible. The defense is National Champion caliber.

I made myself sick yesterday. Sicker than I've been in a long time. The pain's been bad but the fatigue has not been. The fatigue or lethargy worries me more than pain or discomfort.
It was my own fault. Having fun and not paying attention. My friend threw the dogs and me out of the house while she re-did the office to facilitate her working at home more. Cool.
I decided to work on blowing the leaves. One thing about all the trees is they sure generate a lot of leaves. That must seem obvious but it still surprises me.
I was having fun blowing the leaves, stopping when the dogs wandered within 10 yards, playing with The Curse of Frankenstein the dogs. I started to get hungry and ignored it. My blood sugar dropped too low.
I think its funny and some sort of joke that I could get to be diabetic and get my blood sugar too low. There was no sugar in the house and soon I started to feel hat grinding in my blood and bones. I guess its the body trying to find some procaine to help with the pain and stressing itself out when there's not much in there to find and no sugar to process it with when it does find some.
That's not the tech specs but as close as I can get.
For some reason I didn't want my friend to know how terrible I felt. Pride? Embarrassment? Stupidity . . . I don't know. I tried to conceal it. My brain kept flashing white. Not white noise but like a glossy 8x10 photo of a white poster board white.
Pride of the Piegan
Click images for desktop size: "Pride of the Poegan" by Unknown
I've been through it before so it doesn't scare me anymore. I just don't like it.
I ate something. Sort of collapsed for a couple of hours and came out of it well enough just to feel sick.
I have to be more careful. Past history says the effects of this will linger for a few days so the best option is to avoid me . . . or only talk about how wonderful my dogs are. Your choice.

Last week I was 9-5 in my NFL picks. I tied with my friend . . . again . . . this is getting obnoxious. This is just proof that dames have no business in football! WOMEN! They just don't get it! If she can't do better than that she has no business watching the game. You can see how stressing about how she is doing is affecting my own infallible methodology of picking winners!
The things I put up with!
As usual my well thought out picks are in bold.
Denver at Cleveland - Normally I would never pick this terrible Bronco defense on the road. But because the Browns opted to start Brady Quinn instead of Derek Anderson (noted dog lover) it made this a clearer choice. Quinn did much better than I thought, not great but not totally terrible either. Jay Cutler, the Bronco's diabetic QB played incredibly well! Except I discovered that in rushing to pick this Thursday night game I accidentally clicked the wrong button and took the Browns . . . I've done this before, sometimes its even worked out for me . . . I hate Thursday games . . . except on Thanksgiving . . .

New Orleans at Atlanta - I love the Saints and coming off their bye week and that stunning win in London two weeks ago you'd think I'd stick with them. But they just are so banged up. The Falcons are looking unreal with rookie Matt Ryan. He's pretty much got a lock on Rookie of the Year. The Saints D is just too thrashed out to pressure him and keep hi on track. This could be the game of the week but common sense says the Falcons are in better shape. I hate common sense too.

Tennessee at Chicago - I don't think the Titans will go undefeated but I don't see this Bears team as being able to beat them. The Bears will hamper the Titans running game a little bit but they won't be able to rattle Jerry Collins. If Grossman starts he has a lot to prove and could make a difference, underline could. If a gimpy Orton starts the Titans D should smother him.
Purple People Eaters
Click images for desktop size: "Purple People Eaters" by NFL Films

Jacksonville at Detroit - Could this be the week that the Lions finally win one? Nah. The Jaguars are stinking the joint out right now but the Lions are planning to starts a QB who's been out of the game for over a year and who's been with the team for 5 whole days . . . ewwwww. At least the Jag's won't have any recent film of him to study. Cruddy game of the week.

Baltimore at Houston - I'm actually shocked that the Texans have won 3 games! The Ravens keep looking meaner and meaner and Flacco is continuing to deliver and improve. Flacco is the other starting rookie QB and would be the Rookie if the Year if not for Matt Ryan of the Falcons. Biggest thing today is to see the the Ravens can pitch the shut out.
The Fourth Man
Seattle at Miami - You'd think that after just one win last year the Dolphins would be stoked to be at 4-4 already! .500!! They're not. They want more and are seeing themselves as contenders in the AFC East! The Seahawks Seneca Williams has looked better at QB than I expected. He still stinks but not as badly as I thought he would. The Dolphins should eat this one up.

Green Bay at Minnesota - Who would have thought that this game would have meaning. Who would have thought that it was because both teams are 4-4 . . . The Packers should score frequently against the Vikings but its a hard call as to whether they can stop juggernaught Adrien Petersen. I think they slow down the one dimensional attack enough to win this one going away. If Petersen gets over 150 yards it could be more interesting than the Packers would like.

Buffalo at New England - A couple of weeks ago this had game of the week written all over it and then the Bills decided to disintegrate. They've looked terrible in 3 losses, 2 of them consecutive. The Brady-less, Harrison-less Patriots have looked better than anyone could imagine. Maybe Billichek really is a genius. Cassel should continue to have success against the flustered Bills D and the inspiration Patriots D should handle a suddenly desperate Bills team that will be trying to hard.

St Louis at New York Jets - Dr Jekyll and Mr Favre. Old age seems to have cost Favre some of his Bringing Up Baby consistent brilliance. He's still incredibly entertaining but, well, last week he did set a new record for the most interceptions ever. The Jets D has looked woeful, even against the pathetic Raiders! Still you have to pick them over one of the worst teams in the NFL. This will probably be more interesting than it has any right to be.

Carolina at Oakland - Al David cuts CUTS one of the premier DB's in the game . . . the man has clearly lost it. DeAngelo Hall i the kind of guy you build a secondary around. The Redskins must be stunned they were able to pick him up for NOTHING! If this doesn't make the Raiders more nervous and trepidatious than they already were nothing else will. A tight bad team against a mediocre team. The Panthers are mediocre but should spring enough "lick" plays and dominate the tight Raiders Offense.

Indianapolis at Pittsburgh - Co-Game of the week. The Steelers Defense is looking nearly as good Virtual Girl
Click images for desktop size: "Virtual Girl" by Unknown
as USC's! In Dungy's final year his Colts are sort of -eh. All but mathematically eliminated from the play-offs Peyton Manning will bring some heat, enough to inspire some spectacular plays from the Steelers. Whether Rothlisberger or Leftwich play is no big deal They'll still dink around enough and have good enough field position to stay close.

Kansas City at San Diego - This is a for sure cruddy game of the week contender. Was saves it is the way the Chiefs hung tough before they figured out a way to lose it last week. The Chargers looked to have the AFC sewed up but let two badly officiated games wreck their entire season. Clearly no one has enough of a voice in the locker room to get these guys to straighten out. This will be dismal.

San Francisco at Arizona - RAH! The Cardinals as overwhelming favorites? The Cardinals in first Coffy place!?! Even if it is the woeful west the Card's look potent enough to blow the crazed 49ers out of the park. I loved Mike Singletary as a player. I thought he was doing a decent job as an assistant coach but, man, he went berserker in his debut as an HC. I can't see the lackluster Niners responding to his intensity. Not even his defense.

New York Giants 31 at Philadelphia 28 - Co-Game of the Week. The Giants are starting to look indomitable. But the Eagles are desperate to make the play offs, an honor they think they deserve. The Eagles will leave the game with their hearts bleeding in their hands. The Giants will play that same dull football that with its machine like boredom should prevail in the last two minutes. I'd love to see the Eagles get crazy and win this but it seems a bit beyond them. Even with Westbrooke healthy and re-tuned Desean Jackson is too leery to be totally dependable in a game when he needs to be firing.

After you finish admiring the keen logic and sheer brilliance of this magnificent picks I'd point out that a woman, a mere girl, a neophyte who's been following the game for almost 3 years has matched me consistently even though I've been playing and coaching the game most of my life . . . so these are clearly for amusement only - meaning its okay to laugh at me. Just not too loud.
I still have a very tough puppy.

November 7, 2008

You know more than you think you do
Dr Spock

Lilac Swamp
Click images for desktop size: "Lilac Swamp" by Unknown
A full week of bad pain.
The Tylenol and 800 mg of ibuprofen seem to bring it into manageable lengths. I'm still keeping my Woman's Prison good humour. Still laughing at the antics of my crazy dogs.
Forced myself to stay in bed until 6:30. Got up several times during the night. Only once did I meditate about taking some of the neuropathic pain killers.
No denying the things work but they disconnect me so far from life that the pain relief is scarcely worth it. Its a relief though to know that the scary pills exist. If it gets to the point of being unendurable its a viable method of last resort. I notice that the Babes by BJ
Click images for desktop size: "Babe" by BJ
pain pills contain a mood elevator. I don't know if that's smart or drug company arrogant.
The last resort being when I think that the pain is going to make me mad, when it becomes a force so great that it threatens to overwhelm, when all life becomes just a gray wall of deadening pain. Or when I find I can't laugh at the antics of the dogs.
When I had back surgery they gave me a morphine pump for when the pain got to bad. I'm still scared of addictive drugs, scared a lot. It was nice holding the little plunger button in my hand. It felt like I had a way out. When the pain would stab me I'd clench it tight, but I never used it. I figure it did its job well. I'd do well with placebos.
The dogs have been hysterical as of late. Especially the giant dog.
This morning there were two cats under the deck. One is a cat who lives here but the other was a huge gray and white big headed cat. I think I'd seen it skulking around in that cat fashion but I don't notice cats enough to say for sure. I only recognize our cat because it wears a bell.
Nebula X4 by Hunzonian
Click images for desktop size: "Nebula X4" by Hunzonian
This big headed cat was driving all three guys crazy! My puppy crawled under the deck so she could growl at it and at least remove some of its cat smugness.
The space under the deck is about 24 inches not counting the support beams. My puppy can crawl under it on her belly.
The giant dog thought she was getting more than her fair share of barking in so he crawled under the deck too . . . in about two minutes he was whining so I had to crawl under the deck to help pull him out.
My puppy resented me entering her "private" club house and looked me in the eye while she crawled out. The giant dog kept licking me gratefully while I tugged him around. (I still dThe Time Machineon't like dogs licking me.)
Finally got him pulled free, so of course since it was safe he went right back under. Got stuck again . . . I pulled him out again.
He thought this was a good game and plunged right back in.
I was aggravated, crawling around in damp dirt isn't much fun. Really, its not, for me anyway.
When he started to whimper this time I decided to ignore him. Of course the other two dogs where running back and forth the outside of the deck trying to find a gap big enough to stick their noses into and worry the smug big headed cat. They were amusing too and didn't require me brushing cobwebs out of my hair.
Suddenly the giant dong slunk out from under the deck. It looked like the thousand clown coming out of that little car.
The giant dog was angry and angry with me. I didn't understand the game very well, not well Warlords Of Atlantis enough to suit him.
He ignored the other two running back and forth and came over and stared at me. His tail was not wagging. He then turned around and went back under the deck. After a minute you could hear him happily barking at the big headed cat then he emitted a long anguished howl and then a sharp staccato series of whines and yips.
I'm not that hard hearted yet so I had to crawl back under the deck. Once again the giant dog was ecstatically pleased to be rescued. His whole body was trembling with pleasure.
I'd finished my morning routine outside and was heading inside. The other two eagerly followed. The final part of the morning routine is breakfast treats. The giant dog watched us head in quietly and then turned around and went back under the deck!
I called him. He ignored me. Being a mature human I decided to ignore him in return.
We went inside. I decided to not give the two other dogs their treat yet. I have it in my head that they all get their treats at the same time. Prevents jealousy and, more importantly, it cuts back on some of the treat stealing that my puppy is the main perpetrator of.
After a few minutes I felt guilty and went to the door to go rescue the giant dog. He was standing at the door, not even deigning to scratch as usual. He was angry.
Sheltering Oaks by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Sheltering Oaks" Maxfield Parrish
He came inside. He wasn't even going to take his treat, He refused to sit!
The dogs always sit before they get their treat. My puppy always sits right in front of me and pokes me with her nose in case I'm particularly stupid that day and don't notice that she's sitting right in front of me.
The gentle dog sat and got his treat but the giant dog just glared at me. He couldn't believe I left him there to suffer!
He refused his treat! Aggravated I poked it into his mouth. He just let it fall to the floor still glaring at me! Of course my puppy knows the sound of a treat hitting the floor, she was on it like a shot. It took her a couple of seconds to figure out how to keep her treat in her mouth while picking up the giant dog's.
As soon as she had it she ran out of the room and the giant dog panicked. I had to go to my puppy and ask her to give me back the giant dog's treat. She did so with poorly concealed bad humour.The Whip Hand
The giant dog was happy and took his treat and danced around with it proudly.
And that's my boring dog story of the day.
I have a million of them . . . Every minute they amaze and amuse me.

I have discovered that the real reason for the desperate push for the White House wasn't a mad lust for power by the Democrats. It was so the candidates could get them some dogs!
My friend read me a story this morning about how Biden's wife said he could have a dog if he got to the White House! Biden kept pictures of his dream dogs pasted to the back of the seat in front of him on the plane as an inspiration to him when he grew weary of the campaign trail!
His wife has tried to hedge her bets and claim that her intention was that if Biden got to be President then he could get his big dog!Tron
Biden is sticking to the letter of her proclamation and stating that the White House is the White House even as Vice President.
Well done! And an excellent reason to seek high office. If he'd told the story abut his need to win the election to get his dog I'd have had no problem campaigning for him!
I'm getting bombarded with emails urging me to sign petitions for Obama to get different kinds of dogs. I liked that he mentioned getting the dog in his acceptance speech.
The emails are urging this breed or that breed. I have sympathy for the petitions urging him to get a shelter pup. But I still think that choosing a family member who is going to live with you is an incredibly personal choice. I don't think he or his kids should be influenced by the outside. Although I do think that Belgian Shepherds have a keen understanding of economics and fighting! They are also protective and good at looking after you when you're up late at night. I think that Obama will be pulling quite a few all nighters, especially at first.
Whatever dog they choose I'm mainly pleased that they'll be two dogs in the White House. Between them I figure two dogs can get this country running in the right direction!
Its been three days now since Obama and Biden were elected.
Aside from the vital issues of dogs and dog procurement I remain disappointed . . .
Click images for desktop size: "6" by Nemets
The disappointment line is one I copped from Rudy Vallee and the movie "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying". The first example of a weird how-to book being successfully realized as a musical! Since it was a hit we've had to endure scads of bad movies trying to capture that same lightening.
Anyway Robert Morse (who I met when I was doing sound for my friend, when Tobe was directing a Christmas play at the Pasadena Play House - Morse played the toymaker and he is as pleasantly crazy as I'd ever wished for) decides to advance his career he needs to move into advertising. Rudy Vallee (who I saw perform at his church - I got to shake his hand - a thrill for me as I was a fan because of this film and "Palm Beach Story" - Valle was cool, ancient but so very cool) the Bride Of Frankenstein president of the company talks about his trouble with advertising but against his wishes, because Vallee likes Morse, he gives him the job.
As they end the conversation, about two minutes later Vallee says, "Finch, now that you're the Vice President of advertising I have to say that, so far, I m very disappointed in what I've seen!"
Whenever I steal a joke that I really like no one ever gets it . . .
At least my puppy looks at me with a look at deep pity and then insists that I listen to hundreds of her "better" jokes . . .

November 6, 2008

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars
Les Brown

Mon Belle
Click images for desktop size: "Mon Belle Ami" by Unknown
Like most people I see things as I want to see them. This isn't neurotic or psychotic. It is just one of those things you learn in Philosophy 101, along with that damn Plato's Cave thing.
The Hitch Hiker Like when I look at my puppy I always see that erstwhile little dog who stood on her hind legs with her front feet resting on the little console as she stared resolutely out the windshield, occasionally and unexpectedly leaning over to give my face a lick.
That's a problem. It let me over feed her to the point of obesity. That's bad. Real bad. Worse in dogs than even in humans. But she always looked so happy when she got a treat . . .
Her being happy made my moments joyous, even as I was killing her. All because my subjective reality saw that little puppy dealing with her stress and doing so only to please me, to make me happy.
When I look at my friend . . .
The Valley
Click images for desktop size: "Valley" by Unknown

Yesterday was a long day. I did a lot. Not a lot of different things but a lot.
It was nice because I did a lot of yard work and had all three dogs outside with me for most of it.
I filled in the two holes the giant dog had dug. I still don't know why he digs them. Its not boredom, so I wonder what he's looking for.
Knowing the giant dog well I figure he lost a bone someplace in the yard and he's digging the holes here because its easier to dig here than there. There's no grass right in front of the door. The dogs always hit the ground running there and have a nice little circle of dirt and dust to roll in.
I filled all three of them in with mushroom mulch. I have a fantasy of grass growing back there one day.
I took the half empty bag of mulch back and then went to the shed to get the leaf blower. It took me about 10 minutes.
When I got back the giant dog was all pleased and excited. His butt was wiggling with unbridled joy and expectation. He knew I;d be pleased. Instead of three holes there were now four, and these were all much deeper and bigger than the ones I filled in.
Yin Yang Sky by WK Wong
Click images for desktop size: "Yin and Yang Sky" by WK Wong
In dog reality I had clearly filled in the holes not due to hating holes but because I clearly wanted a better quality hole. He just knew I'd be so pleased.
He made me laugh. I laughed harder when he was shocked I didn't give him a cookie as a reward for his hard work.
I'd never really used a leaf blower before. I was looking forward to it. I got the dogs in the house. If anyone was going to get blinded I figured it should only be me.
Now, my friend has this Black & Decker Leaf Hog. Interesting name. I guess its intended to be appealing.
My friend said that it was intended to vacuum up leaves and mulch them. She said it did this terriblyLast House On The Left and that it was only useful as a leaf blower. Its a huge thing, nearly 5 feet long.
There a long thick nozzle that ends in a six inch diameter intake. Then down by the handgrip is a three inch exhaust.
Even though there's a sticker on the nozzle that says "Be sure power is off before converting to vacuum or blower" there's absolutely no apparent way to make this conversion. When I turned it on it was pretty apparent that it was set to vacuum. It wasn't picking anything up but there was a pleasantly powerful exhaust blasting my feet.
I fussed with it, got bored with the fussing so I carried the thing like a military rifle at "order arms" position and directed the exhaust as a leaf blower by turning my body and twisting the thing up and down.
Worked pretty well but made me pretty arm weary. Its electric so not so heavy just big enough to be awkward and uncomfortable.
I got some big sections of the yard done. I had to give up at one space when I had a fifteen foot wall of leaves about three feet high. The dogs loved that. They've made it a fifteen foot wall that's now two feet tall and five feet wide (at last look).
Inside the house I continued my love affair with the new roomba. I'd left it running with the dogs in the house. I wasn't worried about it after I'd seen the gentle dog sleeping on the floor. The roomba bumped his foot and he lazily looked up at it then lay back down to sleep.The Omega Man
The roomba picked up an amazing amount of filth. I sent the dogs outside so I could mop the house. The place looked and smelled immaculate. I was very impressed.
I let the dogs back in. The cat came in with them and suddenly my immaculate floors were covered with yard dirt and dead leaves. Darn cat . . . always dragging in filth.
Darkness was coming on so I decided to watch a movie. My friend Jon had sent me a Thai flic called "Som Tum".
I've known Jon since he was 12. He was a pet store groupie. He liked to hang out and play with all the animals, eventually my wife had to give him a job.
Jon was thai. His mom was a single parent. She worked in the notorious Oki Dog. Oki Dog is that place at the fringe of West Hollywood that's used to be the hangout for the runaways and male hustlers. It made the most revolting food ever Dark Art
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Dark Art
conceived. An okie dog was two grilled hot dogs with chili and a huge amount of odd veggies all wrapped in a flour tortilla. An oki dog was incredibly cheap though. I think it was a buck. You sure couldn't eat more than one . . .
Jon's mom said, correctly, that she couldn't afford for Jon to have all the pets he craved. Jon loved animals, birds, mice, and especially dogs and rabbits. He came to our house often and our dogs and rabbits loved him nearly as much as he loved them. They were always excited to see him and he never even gave them treats.
When we were entrusted by our vet to feed an abandoned tiger cub Jon worked even harder than we did to try and keep the thing alive. The tiger had to be fed every two hours. When I'd get up in the middle of the night to feed it Jon would already be there at the cage wanting to help.
When the tiger didn't make it Jon cried, not hysterically but with a deep profound sense of loss.
Working at a cruddy minimum wage job where she had to fend off the advances of the owner was The Brasher Dubloon not the reason Jon's mom had immigrated.
She decided to return to Thailand. This upset Jon terribly. He was 17 now and had turned into a pretty good kid. His love of animals had not diminished. We talked to his mom and we decided he could stay with us until he graduated from Fairfax High. He was no problem, actually a lot of help with our menagerie of animals.
Jon took me to the Thai movie theater for my birthday. It was this dilapidated joint down on Vermont way past Pico is all I remember but way before Exposition too.
The films were terrible. It didn't help that the theater was using a projector bulb that should have been replaced months ago. Seeing a dim shadow of a poorly shot film with indecipherable poorly translated subtitles is not my idea of arty filmmaking.
Like all kids Jon decided that since I didn't like those THREE movies I hated all Thai cinema. And as I Bandicoot
Click images for desktop size: "Bandicoot" by Unknown
was an adult this meant my opinion could never ever change.
When he graduated from school I took him back to Thailand. I';d never been and he was eager for me to see what a terrible wretched place it was so I could always feel sorry for him . . . or something like that.
We assiduously avoided all movie theaters. His choice. I was actually rather interested. I liked the garish posters.
He was shocked to read that I consider "Tom Yum Gum" as one of the 10 greatest films ever made. See, its a Thai movie. How could I like it? I hated Thai movies!
For my birthday Jon sent me a copy of a Thai move, Som Tum". It stars Nathan Jones. Jones was the giant muscle man that Tony Jaa has a memorable fight with at the Buddhist temple in "Tom Yum Gum"
Three Extremes I was surprised when I started the movie and over the logo's the subtitles read, "Subtitles not for sale. Specially prepared translation by Jon for his friend DC".
I was moved by this. I had to be.
For some reason Jon translated the Aussie English in the movie as well as the Thai. I guess he figures that I'm too stupid and too American to understand the accented English without help. He knows me pretty well so he probably has a point.
"Som Tum" is an alright movie. It has some remarkably touching scenes. It has some excellent fights, mainly from a 12 year old girl who is truly incredible. Jones is mainly a comic prop who, even though he has a big fight scene at the end, mainly seems to be showing how through love and concern for others it is possible to build self esteem and familial ties WITHOUT fighting.
Pretty laudable.
The plot is that Jones is a gentle giant but when he eats Sum Tom, a spicy Thai salad, the chili's make him flush red and he turns into a crazed fighting machine. Fortunately this weird take on Popeye and his spinach is not overdone.
Most of the film is about four people learning to trust and love each other even though they are alien and speak a different language. Its over plotted: there's a jewel robbery and plenty of fights but at its heart its more sweet than exhilarating.
Jones and the girls rebuilding the family restaurant is given more emotional weight and thrills than the very good fight scenes. The final denouement is Jones realizing he's not a loser or a low life. He Winter Lights
Click images for desktop size: "Winter Lights" by Unknown
came to Thailand because he won a raffle where the trip was the prize. For Jones it was more exciting that he got his name in the newspaper for being the winner then actually winning something. Its was the only time in his life he'd felt like he'd accomplished anything.
A good movie that I'll always hold as special.

Post election I'm still amused by the Palin stories. She seems unaware that she's become a national joke.
Obama has been President elect for a whole day.
So far nothing in my life has changed for the better.
So far I'd have to say I'm very disappointed in his performance . . .

November 5, 2008

Then I remembered, woods fate is to burn
Takashi Kimura

Little Red Riding Hood
Click images for desktop size: "Little Red Riding Hood" by Campari Inc
I want to do a TV commercial for the Roomba.
I think I can even convince my puppy to give it an endorsement. Its the only vacuum cleaner she's not terrified of.
The New Barabarians None of the dogs care about it very much. They only react if it comes up behind them and punches it in the leg. They're mildly annoyed by the boops and beeps it utters but they really don't care.
If you own any pets you know that dogs abhor a vacuum (cleaner). That they'll nap while this one cleans the floor two feet from their head is near miraculous.
My puppy could say, "we have a Roomba and I don't care!" while there's a shot of her sleeping as the roomba scurries around her.Impalers by Electrocutie
Click image: "Impalers" by Electrocutie

I like it . . .
It also does the floors even better than my old red roomba! After sweeping by hand with a decent broom the roomba picked up 4 times the dirt. fur and. embarrassingly, human hair!
There are some other improvements than just cleaning even better: Its not so willy nilly. The old roomba would just smack into stuff and then turn around. This one still does but it also seems to consider things a bit. It clearly slows down while it scans before running under dressers and bed ruffles. A lot less getting jammed under stuff. The bin is easier to clean. The filter is much easier to clean.
Supposedly its better at not getting tangled up in cords. I didn't really notice that. It got tangled up in the extension cords that are prevalent in this old house at least four times. Easy enough to cope with but still annoying.
Planning on doing the rest of the house today. The coolest thing is that, while I still plan to monitor it, I'll be outside with the dogs doing some yard work. Then I plan to leave the dogs inside while the roomba does the office and bathroom while I blow the leaves!
The Thunderbolts
Click images for desktop size: "The Thunderbolts" by Marvel Comics
I had no idea I needed to be this efficient. I don't really but its nice to have things cleaner than I could ever do it myself with almost no effort on my part!

Obama got elected. I'm guardedly pleased.
Oddly I have less confidence in his position on my rights than most. I think he, like most Democrats, is going to pull up short at some of the sweeping changes we need. Like the restructuring of Homeland Security.
Does anyone really believe that the insanity that they put people through at airports has stopped anything? I mean, I left Texas on a Greyhound bus. The bus was held up for 3 hours while Homeland security checked for terrorists! On a bus . . . then just before leaving Texas the bus was held up for another 2 hours on the high way The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue for a surprise inspection, first by INS looking for illegals . . . and then Homeland Security. I guess to see if we'd constructed a bomb out of toothpaste and used disposable razor in the 4 hours we'd been on the road.
Obama still thinks the phone companies have a right to listen in on our phone calls and to share the info with anyone who might ask. He voted for it.
He voted to give the banks that 750 billion so they could buy up other banks and give themselves fat bonuses while they laughed at us.
I'm also concerned about international relations. I think the Asian countries are going to have less of a problem dealing with a black man than our European allies.
Its easy to imagine how the xenophobes in the French, German and Spanish countries might react. Dream by Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Dreams" by Luis Royo
Spain is still fighting internally about the difference between being Catalan and Spanish with some odd discriminatory practices.
The big surprise will be from the UK. Ireland won't have many issues, but England and Scotland . . .
Back when the US was fighting internally about civil rights and equality for all regardless of race, religion or national origin En gland decided to make the magnanimous gesture of removing class restrictions for 92% of the white Anglo-Saxons in the country.
At cricket fields and soccer stadiums there are still the markings for "Amateur", upper class athletes who were paid more than the professionals. The "amateurs" had separate dressing rooms and after match club houses. To my mind not much difference between "Whites Only" drinking fountains.
Its frightening because they really did consider this an act of kindness. Not a rectification of a grievous wrong but an act of kindness.
In the 80's England began to experience their race riots. These were serious things but The Incredibly Strange Creaturescomparatively mild compared to the riots in Watts, Chicago and New York. Sadly, the riots continue into the 21st century, not just for blacks but for Indians and Pakistanis as well.
There is more innate bigotry and hatred of "the different" in England than I've ever seen in any other place. As sad as it was to see the entire block of "Confederate States" vote for the demonstrably inept McCain the rhetoric of the KKK are seldom as strong as the words of a North Country farmer or a Midlands bank executive in casual conversation when it comes to matters of race. And that's sadder still.
I don't know if the English view different races as "inferior" or if they just hate anything or anyone different. I would figure that the majority hate Americans. In general they consider American women stupid and easy. American men as greedy, fat louts.
They may be our "staunchest" ally, but only when its to their greater benefit. They'd have been much happier with a continued Republican administration, for sure.
One of the oddest, to my American mind, is the constant encouraged animosity between African blacks and West Indian blacks. The African's call the Caribbean blacks "slaves" and the Caribbean's just hate the Africans for being arrogant.
Then you have Sir David Condon, the Head of Scotland Yard, and the rest of the police making the outrageous statement that "blacks were predisposed to crime" and continuing to state that "most blacks were criminals".
Only the Guardian lightly criticized him. The general feeling wasn't that he was wrong but that such thoughts should be kept private and not stated so obviously. No one called for his resignation or his ouster, even when he made it plain that he intended to encourage racial profiling. He believed that if every black were afraid to walk down the street it would stop street crime . . . The Snake Pit
Of course it didn't, but an entire race was singled out and made to feel alien and less than human. Not a good way for a person to feel, nor a way that anyone should feel.
How Gordon Brown, Liberal Prime Minister, will cope with a man he considers to be born a criminal will be interesting. As the majority of England's business is wrapped up in foreign and domestic banks it will be interesting to see how they can work together to face the rapidly encroaching world wide depression.
I wonder if Obama will get to have dinner with the Queen? I'm guessing he'll be to busy for such frivolity but it will be interesting to see if he's even invited.
There's a world of trouble still to come. I figure Obama and Biden give us a lot more of a fighting chance than McCain or Palin ever could.
I do have the worry that McCain purposefully threw the election, or that the Republican party just threw him to the wolves for some bizarre reason of their own. I hope not. Its too Machiavellian for me to consider fully.

November 4, 2008

We hold these truths to be self evident
Tom Jefferson

5 Centimeters a Second by Kabegami
Click images for desktop size: "5 Centimeters a Second" by Kabegami
I was exhausted but still didn't sleep well last night.
Woke up twice. Got out of bed and wandered briefly. Pain.
Managed to make a cocktail of ibuprofen and Tylenol that seems to tamp down everything to Target Earthtolerable levels. Worry about what it might be doing to my kidneys but that's a fear for daylight and for some other tomorrow.
I got about three hours of sleep all together. I'm in pretty good spirits. Very good spirits.
I got my Christmas early! I got a new Roomba!
Now, aside from the coolosity of Xmas in early November, its a ROOMBA!
Anime Xmas
Click image: "Anime Christmas" by Unknown
I won my first Roomba in my football contest (where has that magical picking talent gone?). I fell in love with it.
I like clean but I'm just not very good at it . . . The Roomba is.
While I did an endless amount of tests fascinated about how much more dirt it could pick up than me with a broom or a traditional vacuum cleaner, I never did any experiments to see if it really saved time. Maybe it doesn't but there's no question it cleans about an equal amount of dirt than I do AFTER I've done my cleaning!
Most of the time wasted, for me, is in watching the thing do its job, rescuing it from a nest of wires or fishing it out from whatever awkward place it decided to finish in. (The worst is under the bed - just out of reach, but at least I'm crawling on my belly on an immaculate floor!)
I can't fire it up to go drive the dogs crazy until after noon.
I can hardly wait.
I'm still discouraged that only one of my mailed money orders has been credited to my accounts. It seems a heck of a way to blow my low credit rating. I can't absorb too many 39 buck late fees for being late with my 10 buck payment, especially when they should have had the thing in plenty of time!
Click images for desktop size: "Conflict Anime" by Unknown
I'm not quite numb to this predicament yet. I soon will be. Mailing off the payment to the one company that bothered to post my payment properly.
My puppy's aunt was sick this weekend. The only bright spot to that is that her insurance was reinstated Saturday.
Her insurance was cancelled for like four months due to a clerical error by her employer. They denied responsibility and her manager didn't step up to take the responsibility for the error, which left my friend vulnerable and worried for over a third of a year.
Since she keeps the cruddy job only because of the insurance this was a pretty nasty hardship.Star Wars 4 A hardship for no good reason or purpose. Who needs unions? Why do workers need to be heard?
She's waiting on the results of a couple of tests to see exactly what's wrong. At least she doesn't have the fear of the thousand buck blood test hanging over her head.
And finally today all this mess will be over. Its election day!
What I'm manly worried about is the Republican and right wing rhetoric. Whoever gets elected the Republicans have run such a nasty campaign that I fear they may have created as huge a schism as Bush ever envisioned. He created two countries, I hope we can become one again.
With Palin being an acknowledged anti-American, with her husbands deep involvement in a state secessionist movement and that groups continued financial support of her I worry.
The Republicans keep calling on the Ghost of Ronald Reagan. I remember Reagan as governor of California. He and Senator Hawyikawa were both trying to ram through a law that would enable them to throw the hippies and any other dissidents into concentration camps. The state still owned the interment camps where they flung the Nessi during WWII. It wasn't a threat nor a lame joke. It was their vision of recreating the world in some sick fantasy.
It took the Stanford Marching Band at the Rose Bowl to bring enough attention with their "Salute To RAY-GUN" to squash that and get Reagan out of Sacramento.
Click images for desktop size: "Storm" by Marvel Comics
I still get the impression that Palin is an absolute airhead, but she likes to kill stuff so she clearly has little respect for the rights of others. Her husband comes off like a airhead too but he still calls too many shots and would be the de facto VP.
McCain is a coward. Cowards spend a lot of time doing nasty things to prove that they aren't cowards. So I worry.
If Obama gets elected I fear that the racists and loonies will kill him. I think they'll make it a mission and view themselves as heroic as the jihadists do.
That sickens me but it seems an inevitable aftermath. Along with Alaska finally seceding. Palin will say she's got the oil and pull it all out. She'll be bitter and vengeful if she loses. I take that as granted.
I'm also worried that Obama has not got enough respect for privacy and for human rights. He's The Big Sleep voted to many times to curtail human rights of Americans, maybe because he wanted to look tough on terrorism. I wanted somebody in who'd be looking out for me to live like a human being and like an American.
Still, there seems to be more of a chance of that under an Obama administration that a Republican, being a free American I mean. Will Americans ever be brave, tolerant and free ever again?
Or will we just stay obese, hateful people cringing in our panic rooms passing firm judgements against anyone who has different colored eyes or a different name for god.
Best to vote.
Best to hope. Even to think instead of just reacting.

November 3, 2008

A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave
Mohandas Gandhi

Click images for desktop size: "Lookout" by Unknown
I tried an experiment last night. It didn't work out to well.
Its been a long time since I tried sleeping without noise. Lately I've been going to bed wearing the iPod. I made a playlist that lasts 90 minutes or so. Generally I'll fall asleep by the first 10 or so Riff-Raff tunes. Then I'll wake up and listen to the last 4 or 5. I'll take off the earbuds then fall back to a pretty normal, for me, sleep.
Sleeping with no music, or TV set to sleep didn't work very well at all.
First thing I did was notice all the pains in my body. Somehow I've developed a new pain. It feels like a knitting needle has been pounded into my nose with a rubber mallet, pounded Th Enchanted Prince by Maxfield Parrish
"The Enchanted Prince" by Maxfield Parrish
until its gone though my brain and come out the back of my skull. Its a pretty straight line of hurt.
I've never had anything like it before. I have no idea what it might mean, if anything.
I noticed every little tic of discomfort. I managed to shut them down one by one. Then my mind drifted to football. I was appalled that USC fell two places in the BSC rankings. Very stupid.
Not so much USC's poor play but due to the rather idiotic love affair of over hyping the SEC in particular and the Big 12 flavor of the month.
I understand over hyping the SEC. CBS payed a small fortune to get an exclusive broadcast deal on the conference. Its in their benefit to keep the myth alive that this is the best conference in College football. The SEC has three fine teams and then a mess. All those "superb" defenses getting ripped for 40 and 50 plus points every week, and Alabama scheduling cupcakes.
The Big 12 doesn't believe in Defense. One player on Texas Tech, Whitlock, played out of his skull and destroyed Texas. Its why I love college ball, one player gets amped and suddenly becomes a leader who smashes everything. Texas Tech deserves to be number one and Penn State number two, in my opinion. The rest doesn't make a lot of sense.
How does Florida getting beaten by Mississippi mean less than USC playing a bad half against Oregon State? Its senseless.
Allegories Of Love by Terry Rogers
Click images for desktop size: "Allegories Of Love" by Terry Rogers
Then I noticed my hands were cramping up. I massaged them and thought about music.
I had that momentary desire bred of a deep seated insanity that makes me want to be in a band.
There's nothing like the fun of standing on a stage and playing guitar. Carrying on and still getting to the mike in time to do my background vocals. I have a pretty thin voice that sounds thin and bland singing lead but somehow sounds fabulous (that's right - fabulous) when doing harmony.
When its working right you can hear the crowd actually gasp when you hit the mike and the chords just so.
I then laid out my schedule for today. I worked it out fine and ended up by saying to myself that will work out great so long as it doesn't rain or something stupid. (Of course this morning I got up Superstooges VS The Wonderwomen and it was raining.)
I thought about my bills and how annoying it frustrating it was that only one company had posted my money orders.
My puppy came in and put her nose in my face. I petted her for a moment and realized that nearly 5 months after his death I still terribly miss my little blind dog. As wonderful as the three dogs who live with me now are and as much as I love my puppy there's still and empty hole inside me that only he fit in.
I then fell back on my exercise to promote sleep. This about 3:00 am. I took my name, squared the number of letters in each of them, added them together and then found the square root of the total.
I decided this would be my lucky number!
I got up to 6 decimal places before I finally fell asleep.
Dark Art
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by F Fiedler
I don't know where a 6 decimal number will help me if I suddenly decide to play the lottery, so I guess that experiment was a failure too.
I still got up at 6:30 which is cool.
I like staying on schedule.

This morning I'm bored with the election. Although I'm sad the nasty campaigning is coming to an end.
I liked Obama's little movie. I thought McCain was pretty funny on Saturday Night Live, right up there with Nixon saying "Sock it to me?" on the old Laugh In show.
This reinforces an old theory of mine that the evil at least think they have the most fun in the world. And that's nearly the same thing.
I'll also miss seeing the insanity that is Sarah Palin. She's been a total hoot, I can't accept thatSeven Samurai anyone takes this ogre seriously. I mean no one in the world could be so stupid or lost in the ether of hatred and bigotry or insanity to not see that this is nothing but a colossal joke. If its not a joke than its an insult.
An even bigger insult than Dan Quayle and Spiro Agnew. Although she does remind me of both of them. Some beauty queen brain damaged abomination of the two of them. Quayle couldn't spell potato and Agnew was convicted for bribes and abuse of power . . .
Maybe she's not a joke . . .
But she is so funny!
Doing laundry now.
I still like doing laundry in some way.
Bad sleep experiment aside still had an excellent weekend. On Halloween we saw monsters and a unicorn and we had pizza! We also got some Greek food that made me sick but was great enough to be worth feeling poor.
Had a Greek feta salad, a fancy meatless and eggless breakfast and I made Tom Yum Gum soup on Sunday. Got ingredients at the Thai market. I really like it there. Cheap and other worldy enough to feel like fun. I wish it were closer.
And I got to be with my friend.

November 2, 2008

Washington 0 USC 56

Chorus Line
Click images for desktop size: "Chorus Line" by Unknown
If you're lucky, as a coach, you're going to run into athletes who have more talent as players then you do as a coach.
They're the kind of players where you just hope you don't mess them up, that you don't inflict something on them that will delay or derail their shot at greatness and being special.Point Blank
I've been lucky. I've had so many players like that. Maybe I'm just not that good a coach. Or maybe being a good coach is sometimes just letting the kids run and play making sure that they don't do anything to hurt themselves or others.
One of those kids was a little running back I coached in West Texas. He was unbelievable. He had speed, power and a desire to compete that was far above anything I ever possessed as a player.
He was always asking for advice. I couldn't even tell him to run faster. He timed out faster than any player I'd ever seen. No matter what platitudes I spouted he always came back and asked for more advice. After at 83 yard TD run that had my jaw dropping (broke two tackles on the line and three more downfield) he came to the sideline and asked how he could have done that better . . .
I think the "advice" I gave him was pretty stupid and got reduced to, "Don't drink. Get plenty of sleep. Don't eat at McDonald's." (I hate McDonald's, the food and the concept.)
Click images for desktop size: "Hulk" by Mike H and Marvel Comics
All the kids were usually worried about me. Why I worked a cruddy job but refused to be paid for coaching. I wouldn't discuss it with kids. They have enough to worry about without my weirdo baggage floating in their brains. As I couldn't drive (I couldn't have afforded a car then even if I could see well enough to drive) this kid volunteered his dad to pick me up for practices and to get me to the team bus for games.
We'd talk in the car. He asked me, as they usually did, about how it was to play in a big time college team. How did I do it?
Instead of my stock answer I told him the truth. That in high school I was all state because I played with a violent rage. I was loaded with rage. The rage that got me my full ride also nearly got me kicked off the team.Planet Of The Apes
I told him about my coach who took the time to talk to me and to listen to me. He got me to drop the rage and to appreciate the beauty of the game. He changed my life dramatically. Then I started to play better. I played with a love for the game, to appreciate the beauty and the precision.
Then the conversation just fell into my standard rhetoric about teammates, community etc. Rhetoric because I believe it so intensely.
When the college scouts and coaches showed up it was pretty overwhelming for a kid from West Texas. Even a kid with NFL potential and poor parents doesn't have enough ambition to cope with the offers the promises and the lies of the recruitment process. I helped with what I could. I offered no opinions, just guidance and the ability to be stoic and deflect some of the more obnoxious recruiters.
As usual I boringly insisted on education as a priority.
Finally my kid decided on Texas Tech. I had no opinion other than happiness that he was going to get a college degree and have a future. Maybe in the NFL but with a degree from a good school I knew he'd be able to make his dreams for himself and his family come true.
He's a red shirt junior this year.
I watched the game last night on TV. I was totally stoked just seeing him on TV on the sidelines. I was proud of him.
I was stunned when he got in the game at wide receiver then flabbergasted and overjoyed when he Beauty Parlor by Charles Marion Russell
Click images for desktop size: "Beauty Parlour" by Charles M Russell
caught a couple balls! He ended up being the leading receiver for the Red Raiders. He kept catching important balls and the announcers didn't even know his name!
He was in the New York Times today. They only talked about the one pass that he made a brilliant dive for but couldn't bring in. But he was there. He played. He was a vital part of the biggest game of the week.
My friend said it was the most fun football game I'd ever made her watch. And my kid was a part of that.
I'm proud of him that he held on, that he played and had fun.
I love college football where one player can stand up and turn a game into something it wasn't intended to be.

The Phillies won the least memorable World Series in my lifetime and I went 9-5 on my picks last week.
My friend gets upset that I did not mention that her inane method of picking teams led her to a miserable score of 8-6.
Pathetic.Ox Bow Incident
I merely don't need to point out my grave superiority in finally picking one more right than she did.
As usual my picks are in bold.

Detroit at Chicago - Here's a cruddy game to start things off. The Lions have a legitimate shot at not winning a game this season. As much as I like the Lions talent, at least until they inexplicably traded away Roy Williams for close to nothing, they show the main problem with the NFL. All NFL owners are rich white guys. Black coaches were banned from the NFL for a long time because NFL teams were successful enough but were still mainly rich white guy toys. Rich white guys wanted to hang out with their staff. Winning wasn't as important as having a cool golf buddy or lunch pal. More money thankfully changed that. Too much money, anti-trust exemptions etc. But there's still that part of rich guys that makes them want to hang out. How else to explain Matt Millen, a great player and just a great guy and demonstrably the worst executive in the entire history of football and he kept the job for nearly a decade!! And NEVER won more than 8 games in a season! But he was cool and everybody liked him and he had great stories. So the Lions have become the most dismal team in the NFL for the last decade and for at least a few years to come. The Bears are the perfect example of a family owned business. They stink one week, look great the next, look great for a while and then still lose and are generally all over the place. Rewarding mediocre performances and trying to stiff their stars while trying to keep the business going as cheaply as possible. This is how the NFL started. They El Rancho Motel by Tim Melideo
Click images for desktop size: "El Rancho Motel" by Tim Melideo
should win pretty easily today but I wouldn't be surprised to see them let the Lions do better than they should.

New York Jets at Buffalo - Both of these teams looked gawd awful last week. Still the Bills look like one of the classier teams in the AFC. The Jets defense is looking pretty shabby right now and Favre just looked old last week, like his body was finally playing older than his mind. Sad, really. This should be a pretty competitive match because Favre usually was able to respond to sub-par performances by playing lights out. The Bills D will harass him and Favre will make a couple of those mind blasting plays that only he can but eventually the Bills front 7 will bury him. The Bills O is solid and sometimes very good if seldom spectacular. That will be enough today I would think.
On The Threshold of Space
Jacksonville at Cincinnati - The poor Bengals. Carson Palmer out for the season and and and. I give them credit, they've played hard and still looked pathetic. I also note that there's been little finger pointing or blame passed around. The Jaguars are the big enigma team. How can they have so much talent and still stink? This will be a game that will pump up their stats and keep us thinking that the Jag's are a better team then they really are.

Baltimore at Cleveland - A game of the week contender. Not because they are two great teams but because both teams are playing at about the same level. They can appear devastating and brilliant, especially the Ravens on D, while the Browns can muster it up to play like killers. I'd expect this to be a back and forth game. I trust Derek Anderson and home field advantage just a bit more than I trust rather brilliant rookie Joe Flacco.

Tampa Bay at Kansas City - The Buc's looked prettyMurder My Sweet dismal last week. The Chiefs are dismal. Herm Edwards a very good coach made a tremendous mistake in the way he dumped the Jets, even if he had good reasons. I'm very disappointed in Larry Johnson. That he deserves his suspension for spitting a drink in a woman's face is unquestionable. That this great kid I met when he was playing high school ball would get himself into that sort of situation. I can't understand the pressure of being a pro. It must be pretty great to get a damn good kid Surf
Click image: "Surf" by Unknown
into that sort of embarrassing situation. The Chiefs will likely get shut out today. The Buccaneers O doesn't look good enough to blow them out but should still beat them handily.

Houston at Minnesota - This is the cruddy game of the week. It has cruddy written all over it. The big point of interest is whether Adrian Petersen can get over 200 yards! The Texan's O has looked a bit sharper lately but the Viking's D, at home, should nullify that enough for Adrian to make the difference.

Arizona at St Louis - The Cardinals have looked pretty dismal on the road so far but they are playing decent football. They don't get exposed they just keep making critical errors at all the wrong times. The Rams are resurgent and should make a game of this. Steve Jackson is insisting on playing even through an injury. That's inspirational but kind of stupid. I don't think the Rams can stop the Cardinals O juggernaught. They're in a better position to win a shootout. Their defense can give Bolder fits and that should make the difference.

Pirate Girl
Click images for desktop size: "Pirate Girl" by Unknown
Green Bay at Tennessee - After that massive win last week the Titans are due for a let down. The Packers are desperate and they are in a better position to knock off the Titans then the Colts were. Still I have to pick the Titans. You don't go against an undefeated tea. Game of the week runner-up!

Miami at Denver - If this game were at a neutral I'd pick the Dolphins in a blink. But Mile High is miserable for visiting teams. There's no way for an athlete from out of town to acclimate to playing in that rarefied air. After about half an hour of exertion its almost impossible to breathe. When you reach deep in the tank in the fourth quarter most of the time there is nothing there. The Bronco's are not a good team this year. The Dolphins will keep it close but the 4th qtr will bring the Broncos back and people will still talk about them like they're good. (Jay Cutler IS good!)
Night Of The Hunter
Dallas at New York Giants - Before Tony Romo went down, before Pacman Jones got busted again, before TO started mouthing off again this would have been a pretty highly anticipated game. Now the thing is to see if Brad Johnson is limber enough not to get broken in half. This is not going to be fun or pretty, unless you hate the Cowboys.

Atlanta at Oakland - Another Super Rookie in Falcon's QB, Matt Ryan, should have enough to destroy Oakland. I think McAllister will punch up some serious yardage against a decent Falcon's D but Raiders QB Russell will be be destroyed when he isn't self destructing. Watching the Falcons on the road is the only point of interest here.

Philadelphia at Seattle - The Eagles have to be laughing here. The Seahawks won one last week against a whacko 49ers squad. They're not that good. The Eagles will destroy them.

Pittsburgh at Washington - The Steelers D will remind the Redskins of the opening week of the season when they looked hapless. Rothlisberger should have a decent game to make up for the debacle of last week. I still think the NFC East is not that good. It only looks that way because the rest of the NFC pretty much stinks.

New England 22 Indianapolis 21 - This was the best game of the year for the past 5 years. An injury to Tom Brady, the end of Rodney Harrison's career and two knee operations for Peyton Manning have made this something else. The Colts are out of the play off picture. The Patriots are skyving around trying to find an identity. They play Red Planet Mars proud. The Colts are expecting Bob Sanders back on D and Joseph Addai back in the running game after lengthy injuries. Its hard to get people back into the groove when they've been out that long, so they'll help but not enough. This is my game of the week, no just in memorium to two great teams but because watching people play with fire and pride is more entertaining than watching two great heavy weights slug it out. I'm picking New England for no good reason at all. I have no idea who will win.

So that's it for this week. Paying attention to these picks might get you committed but will certainly make Las Vegas bookies happy . . . for entertainment only . . . that means its okay to laugh.