USC 34 Notre Dame 27

Untitled by Steve Argyle
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Stephen Youll
Its been a long week. They all are, or at least seem to be. Lonely most of the time.A lot of things that seemed important became trivial or forgotten.
I’m just now shaking the cold. Two weeks. I felt congestion building up in my lungs. When I walkedJuvenile Jungle up the big hill at night it felt like pneumonia was going to win out for sure. Massive doses of Vitamin C seemed to do the trick there. I do not like the feeling of drowning on dry land.
The graveyard shift hours continue to weigh heavily on me. I remain just constantly exhausted, constantly in need of sleep. I keep dozing off like a narcoleptic. At least I don’t drive. It would be scary if I did. My puppy has taken it upon herself to lead me places. She knows better than I do when I’m walking in my sleep.
My days off are spent exhausted while I try and give my body some time to heal so I can survive the coming week. Pretty creepy cycle.
Work is the same. It’s a terrible job. I got another raise. That just seems odd to me. Money doesn’t make me hate the job any less. Two more people have quit. Couldn’t take the abuse from our customers.
I guess gamblers are abusive. It comes with being obsessed and unable to comprehend the rest of the world. I’ve snapped at a couple of them. They either apologize or else they get huffy and tell me how to do my job. Even old and crippled I can intimidate the latter group.
Also for reasons I can’t comprehend all my fellow employees hate each other. They probably hate me too but like to talk to me and tell me how much they hate the others. Since we only see each other about 15 minutes day this just seems stupid to me and a huge waste of vehement energy. The main complaint is that the other emplyees won’t do what they’re told and the only reaction is nasty gossip. Stupid. See?
My physical therapist came back from his conference this week. I went in. Even though the sessions are doing me a lot of good the traveling there just wears me out even more. At this session I got two more daily exercises. I’ve gotten the two tendons in my shoulder loose enough to start working on the third tendon.
My shoulder blade has also gotten locked in and I have to loosen it. The new exercises are so Supermom
Click images for desktop size: “Supermom” by Unknown
nothing looking but they are excruciating for me.
For the shoulder blades I have to put my hands against the wall and lock my elbows. I then have to raise my head and chest to the ceiling and then lower them while trying to raise the shoulder blades from the rib cage. When I do it right its electric. I seem to do them wrong most of the time.
The other requires a stick. I put one end in the palm of my hand and push it with the other hand as far back as I can stand, which is not very far.
My other personal high lights: I got a new pair of shoes, on sale; 90 bucks gotten for 40. I got a haircut – bad haircut. Amazon.com was for some unknown reason giving away the entire Mojo Nixon catalog! I like Mojo Nixon just enough to download his stuff for free. Further mystery: the stuff was only free in the US.
I got a couple of people asking me how I came to my conclusion of not wanting to work with the high school football team, especially since the coach said all the right things.Jeopardy
It might be difficult to explain even though it shines with crystal clarity in my mind. Every coach has certain things they want to do, would love to do with their teams on the field. They have a vision. In the NFL you get to draft players to fulfill that vision, you get to sign free agents to make it complete. It’s the same way a conductor goes about hiring musicians for his orchestra.
In college ball the coaches and staff get to recruit players who they feel can help them realize their vision.Its only in high school football and below that the coach has little say in who is going to play for him. For me this is one of the challenges and the great beauties of Mike Tyson
Click images for desktop size: “Mike Tyson”
this level of football when seen only as a game; that the coaches have to adapt and change their philosophies and hence grow alongside their players as they envision and dream of ways to win together. It’s a different relationship to the players and to the game.
I like a wide open game. Wide splits from my O-Line, a punishing FB and a zippy RB with a QB who can rifle the ball 30 yards down field on every play. Except you seldom get the players who fit the mold.
Some coaches stick to their diagram and they can teach well enough to win and every five or six years they produce a champion. But they still have to adapt if only begrudgingly.
I’ve had a 5’2 135 pound full back. I’ve had O-Lines where the heaviest player was my 180 pound tackle. I’ve had QB’s who had no accuracy further than 20 yards down field. But we all worked together and figured out ways to win.
The Wing T formation, of which the present day Wildcat formation is a variation, was invented by a coach who had small players and no defense. He came up with it as a way to control the ball and the clock, forcing a low scoring game and giving his kids a chance to win. The spread and the veer Swan King by Michael Parkes
Click images for desktop size: “Swan King” by Michael Parkes
were invented for the similar reasons.
Now the coach I was talking to liked to run a no huddle offense. That can be a very pretty thing to see and to execute. It requires experienced players who know the game well enough to react and play almost on pure reflex. Payton Manning and Tom Brady showed you can play an entire game that way. It increases your time with the ball and wears a defense down. But if you don’t have experienced players the nu huddle is a brutal thing to see, ugly and sad. You have QB;a making wrong reads, and WR’s running wrong routes and worst of all you have O-Linemen hesitating instead of attacking.
In football one-tenth of a second is the difference between a TD and a tackle for a loss. That’s why speed is so important. As are reflexes. A football player who has to stop and think even for a tenth of a second is a guy who is still standing there thinking while the play is over.
That is exactly the play I saw that night. The Head Coach was locked into running a no huddle It The Terror From Beyond Space offense even though he had no personnel that were equipped or ready to run it. That means that the coach cared more about his dreams and ambitions than he did about the players on the field. The team is 0-8. That kind of record breeds weird things in young men’s minds. Some forget about winning and just try and enjoy being on the team. Most begin to doubt themselves and their worth as players and as human beings as they see themselves failing miserably at executing their coach’s orders. I think that the coach is giving orders that shouldn’t have ever been given.
That he wasn’t willing to scrape the no huddle and work instead on executing his plays, in teaching how to figure the assignments and how to attack the assignments tells me the truth behind the words.
I could never work with a coach who places his tiny dreams over the hearts and ambitions of his players.
That’s all there is to it really.
My puppy remains. She’s doing well on her diet. She looks beautiful. To me she never stopped Conan by John Buscema
Click images for desktop size: “Conan and Red Sonja” by John Buscema
looking beautiful.
Her life has taken some upset again, not in a bad way, but upset is upset. My housemate got a new puppy from the shelter. He moved in on Tuesday I think.
He’s a rottweiller mix. He’s pretty goofy and lovable. My puppy hates him. He’s taken to “marking” everything she has, my bed, her bed etc. He gets too rambunctious and when my puppy tries to get him to back off he gets vicious with her. He wants to play but he’s too young, too wild and too big!
He’s bitten me a few times, play bites but they hurt. He doesn’t back down when you yelp like most dogs. He needs training but for right now he needs to realize he’s no longer in the shelter. He was there for 6 weeks and before that . . . He was a surrender but his owners couldn’t even be bothered to bring him into the shelter, they called the dog catcher and told him to pick it up or they’d kill it.
When he calms down he’s pretty nifty. My puppy still hates him but she’s willing to try playing with him and just turning her back on him when he doesn’t act “right”.Invasion of the Space Preachers
He’ll be fine. I just hope that the two of them can learn to play together. They both need rough and tumble playmates.

Last week I was an uninspiring 8-6 in my NFL picks. Well, uninspiring to someone with my lofty standards perhaps but to someone who was, oh, shall we say 7-7 a record of 8-6 must look very lofty and impressive indeed.
My friend was 7-7 last week. Her cheating finally caught up with her! She still leads for the season 52 to 50 . . . I believe she hacked the website but it would be beneath me to say that until I get the evidence. I make no accusations but I point out that she is leading and keeps beating me week in and week out. I only ask how is this possible?
I read a lot of columnists agreed with me that last weeks NFL schedule was the dreariest ever. This weeks is no better really.
The biggest news is that the NFL actually decided to not let an avowed racist own an NFL team. Rush Limbaugh, who describes the NFL as watching the Bloods vs the Crips, wanted to buy the St Louis Rams. A few players said that they would refuse to play for a boss who hated them because of their skin color. Fair deal.
As badly as Goodell has responded to the lack of parity in the league and his bumbling handling of Michael Vick at least he was quick to respond and refuse Limbaugh to purchase an NFL team.
Limbaugh, of course, blames the blacks and the liberals. He never apologized for being a racist. He never explained it or claimed it was said merely to pump up his ratings. He was appalled that he didn’t have a right to buy a team and make it all white, I guess.

My picks are in bold.

Sea Creature by Evegeny
Click images for desktop size: “Sea Creature” by Evegeny
Houston at Cincinnati– Last week Carson Palmer’s win against the Ravens was a thing of incredible beauty. They played a classy well ordered game against a what appeared to be a stronger team. The only way the woeful Texans win is if the Bengals fall asleep and relax against a mediocre opponent.

Detroit at Green Bay – This is saved from being a cruddy game of the week contender by Aaron Rodgers spirited play and that the Packer defense hasn’t curled up and died. Like all .500 teams the Packer’s main problem has been consistency. They should be able to put together a pretty complete game against the Lions. The Lions have improved a lot since last year but not enough to pose anything other than an upset threat. The win against Washington has sharpened the NFL, no one will over look them again.

St Louis at Jacksonville – Cruddy game of the week contender. As the team at the center of the The Killers Rush Limbaugh fiasco, well, a major distraction is what this woeful team needs. Anything would be better than thinking about the quality of football they’re playing. The Jaguars are one of those joker teams playing the elite teams well while messing up with everyone else. It would take an amazing amount of screw ups to lose to this Rams team.

Baltimore at Minnesota – Game of the Week Contender. The Ravens two losses were beautiful things, games that bought out the best in their opponents. They played sterling football and got beat via legendary efforts. This is still a great team but they’ve yet to rise to the level that lets them produce those super human efforts themselves. Meanwhile the Vikings are making the Bret Favre acquisition appear to be a genius move. Adrian Petersen is still the most fearsome back in the league and Favre is just the guy who can make a defense pay when it tries to misalign to contain the running threat. The Viking D is playing up to expectations which is just good enough. In Baltimore I’d pick the Ravens but in the Vikings DomeI have to go with Favre and Petersen.
Untitled by Al Moor
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Al Moore

New York Giants at New Orleans – Game of the Week. Two undefeated teams. Both with attitude. The Giants are blue bloods, a team expected to win and the Saints, a team that got famous for having it fans show up wearing bags over their heads. Drew Brees is an elite QB and flanked with Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and a vengeful minded ex Giant in Jeremy Shockey, they produce one of the most potent and pretty offenses in NFL history. And the Saints Defense is suddenly looking fierce and serious. John Vilma has finally become the LB he was expected to be. The Giants O has been solid, good running game, Eli Manning has been consistent and his passing attack has barely noticed the lack of high quality receivers. Their D is slightly off looking but hasn’t really been challenged yet. They’ll be challenged today for sure. This should be business as usual for the Giants while the Saints are looking to be taken seriously. Normally I’d pick the business like team but this time I want the Saints to win so badly I scarcely care. This is a pick for my heart.Kiss And Kill

Cleveland at Pittsburgh – This is my survivor pick of the week. Only 2,993 people still in the Survivor contest. I wonder if the teams will wear those horrible throwback uniforms this week. Do they serve Rolling Rock in Three Rivers? I always think of that as Pittsburgh’s beer. Its probably some corporate NFL approved beer. I think my shoelace is untied. And that’s the more interesting things that cross my mind when thinking about this game.

Carolina at Tampa Bay – Cruddy Game of the Week contender. Maybe the Panthers are getting it together, I mean they finally won one . . . Their defense is a gawdawful mess which matches up well with the gawdawful Buccaneer offense. I expect a lot of Cadillac Williams up the middle . . . I have no idea what the major talent on the Panthers’ O will do. Not much from past experience. Which is okay because there’s not much the Buc’s can do to stop much of anything.

Kansas City at Washington – Cruddy Game of the Week. I’m picking the Chiefs because the Redskins are just too appalling to believe. How did they win 2 games? The Chiefs can’t be as bad as their record insists they are. Can they?

Philadelphia at Oakland – There’s talk of arresting the Raiders HC for punching one of his assistants . . . which is more hitting then the Raiders are doing on the field. If the Eagles lose this one they should force Vick to go apologize to the dogs he refused to visit (jerk) while the rest of the team should seek anominity by opening up a record store across the bridge in Berkeley.

Smokers
Click images for desktop size: “Smokers” by Unknown
Arizona at Seattle – In the papers, on Monday morning this game might look more interesting then it will be to watch. Hasslebeck has the Seahawks looking respectable while the Cardinals are committed to making last years Superbowl run look like a pure fluke.

Tennessee at New England – Here are two underperforming teams. At least the Patriots have looked solid. The Titans looked good in their season opening day loss and then have proceeded to totally disintegrate. Tom Brady’s getting more and more on stride and his supporting cast is getting healthier. The Patriots O-Line is looking cracked and suspect but that won’t be much of a problem against the Titans. I’d look for the Patriots to fatten up here and get completely well and confident.

Buffalo at New York Jets – After a record setting 3 wins reality hit Mark Sanchez hard with one loss where he looked terrible and another loss where the Jet defense was inept. Sanchez sent out a Kung Fu Mama tweet last night asking opinions on what movie he should watch. (Hangover, Angels and Demons, Terminator, Funny People, Public Enemies or Star Trek) Nothing fills me with confidence more than a relaxed QB, At home against a sketchy Bills defense Sanchez should completely on track. Trent Edwards and Terrell Owens have not looked very good. Marshall Lynch may have hit a wall in his career. They shouldn’t pose many threats for the Jet D.

Denver at San Diego – This is a good intriguing game. The Bronco’s have a jaw dropping looking record put together with fluke plays and the leagues strongest home field advantage. Are they real? This is a solid test in their division. The Chargers are 2-2 even while Philip Rivers is looking pure elite and near flawless. This is do or die for both teams and the best Monday Night game in ages. I’m looking for the Bronco’s to possibly getting exposed on national TV while the Chargers look to shine on the big stage.

Chicago 21 at Atlanta 20 – This is a good mid level game, like the type that should fill the NFL schedule (instead of all the cruddy games dominating the schedule now). I’ve flip flopped on this one a lot. It’s a good game to think about with Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan and two solid defenses. Neither team has much of a sustained running attack so it’s going to be an aerial fantasy. I think Cutler has a slight edge with his less than stellar receivers which includes the enigmatic but incredibly explosive Devin Hester. And this is one game where special teams could be a huge factor in which case the Bears have it all over the Falcons.

These picks are for amusement and ridiculing only any other use is just kind of foolish don’t you think?

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