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January 31, 2010

That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write "F*** you" right under your nose.
Fieroanimals
Click images for desktop size: "Fieroanimals" by Unknown
J.D. Salinger is dead and I'm not.
I think he'd appreciate that. I know I do.Zurich Film Festival
I keep trying to piece together the history of all this grief.
It was winter of 1999 when they told me I had lympho ballistic leukemia. The doc's were worried because I took the news too calmly. Like there's a choice.
The put me on the chemo's that didn't quite work. I mean, they did their thing. I went bald, it burned out my pancreas so I got the predicted diabetes. I dropped about 30 pounds of muscle mass. They just didn't stop the leukemia.
They didn't tell me, or maybe they did, that the second chemo, Lanvil or something close enough to that name, was laced with neuortoxins. I didn't know until they told me a couple of months ago. Same time they told me that another of the chronic symptoms of diabetes was nerve degeneration. Diabetes was one of the contributing factors to the first heart attack.
Okay.
So a couple of weeks ago I got a fire in my thigh. Started at the middle of my back and ran all the way down to above my knee. Hurt pretty bad. I took massive doses of ibuprofen and that settled it down. The doc gave me this pill Lyrica. At first I liked it. It stopped the painful burning. The pain and ache it dealt with by making the whole thigh feel numb, but not in a bad explosive way. Just sort of dead flesh numb. I could handle it even if I couldn't enjoy it.
I followed the directions carefully. One pill a day for a week then on day 7 double them up, one in the morning and one at night.
Fifty Five Drops
Click images for desktop size: "Fifty Five Drops" by Unknown
I started the doubling up on Friday. On Sunday I noticed my feet and ankles were swollen to about twice their normal size. Real John Merrick style freaky ugly stuff.
I'd been noticing a pain in my chest when I was walking to work. Nothing over powering, but still there. I stopped taking the pill. Didn't take my Sunday night pill before hoofing it in to work. There's a severe hill at the start of the walk. When I got to the top the pain in my chest was pretty bad. It dropped me to one knee and I vomited up about two cups of liquid. Embarrassing stuff.
I called the doc first thing Monday. She was out so I talked to the Medical Student with the same last name as mine. She told me to stop taking the pills. Told her I already had. She said check back in two days.
It was a rough two days. The pain in the thigh came back, at least the burning was pretty subdued. Work was miserable. Its hard suffering in front of people who don't care. I get no sick days. I had to work to get paid.Invasion of the Bee Girls
I walked back and forth to work. It was hard. I still got there.
I took comfort in the fact that my puppy didn't seem too concerned. I was having a harder time breathing though and she slowed down when I started to gasp too hard. She still fought me for the bed. I considered it a win if I got a third of Fred and Ginger
Click images for desktop size: "Fred & Ginger"
it, about a foot.
I called the doc on Wednesday. My doc was in. She told me for me to be in that much distress it was important that I go to the emergency room. I told her I couldn't afford that, which is true.
I went to work as usual. I was getting used to vomiting at the top of the hill. I kept trying to tell myself it was getting better. I put a wedge in the bed so my feet would be higher than my heart. I did all I could.
On Friday I walked home, took care of my puppy and walked over to the Emergency Room. Something of a mistake I think.
Having chest pain rushed me to the front of the queue. Which was cool VIP stuff. They did my EKG, chest X-Ray and BP. I was freaked out. I hate hospitals now. My BP was 194 over 94. I'd never seen it that high. At home, on Thursday, my BP was 112 over 65. At the hospital it never went lower than 155 over 75.
The EMG doc came in and said that my EKG looked fine. I studied the tape with him and asked him about my two heart attacks. The last EKG I had the heart attacks were real easy to see. He looked Regresa A Mi by Titusboy
Click images for desktop size: "Regresa A Mo" by Titusboy
harder and said, "I guess this could be them."
That was when my BP dropped. I felt pretty good. My heart was healing. Even though conventional wisdom said it wouldn't, it was. My program of acerbic self flagellation and puppy playing was working.
The next thing he was saying was that he still wanted me to stay in hospital overnight for observation. That shot my BP up again. I asked a simple question; "How much would that be?"
No body knew. It took 10 minutes to find somebody to tell me the base rate would be $3,200. I told them no thanks.
I had to sign a Discharged Against Medical Advice Form. Then they were in a big rush to get rid of me. I made the doc examine my feet and ankles. He said that he couldn't see any swelling. I'm confident that I wasn't hallucinating so I decided the EMG doc was a bigger idiot than he appeared. (And trust me, most doctors are idiots. A degree confers no wisdom.)Three Stooges
The blood tests came back and my enzymes showed I'd had an "incident" some days ago. They told me stay off my feet and to relax . . .
I had to stumble around to find my way out. I walked home. My puppy was distressed. She even let me lie down unmolested.
I figured that the pain would gradually fade away and that eventually I'd pass the disaster that was Lyrica out of my life.
I got a phone call Saturday morning. The X-Ray doctor was calling. She was alarmed that I wasn't in hospital. She wanted to know if I was mobile. The X-rays showed a large amount of fluid in my chest cavity. I told her I was uncomfortable but not dying. She asked me to monitor things and to return to the hospital if pain got too bad or I were to pass out or collapse. (I avoided asking how I was going to get to the hospital if I was unconscious.) She agreed to fax or messenger my x-rays to my doctor asap.
This phone call really made me angry. I couldn't believe the doc had rushed me out before they even looked at the x-ray. I told you doctors can be idiots.
And all I've gotten out of this is DO NOT EVER TAKE A DRUG THE BASTARDS ADVERTISE ON TV. Especially Lyrica. Congestive heart failure is one of their known possible side effects . . . And I love my puppy. Late at night I only have to whisper her name and she comes running happily to me. And I love my friend who puts up with me.
When I was young I thought I was twice as much man as anyone else. It sounded arrogant even to me. But I think I was right nonetheless. Because now I feel like about half a man but the funny thing is I'm still alive even if J.D. Salinger isn't.

January 24, 2010

Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be
Claude Monet

Fairy Tale by Titusboy
Click images for desktop size: "Fairy Tale" by Titusboy
It's been a finite week. Beginning and an end. Lots of discoveries about my body. Things I probably didn't need to know but . . . Village of the Damned
Like, my cruddy job leaves me to tired to have anything more than scrambled thoughts. I have moments but then the fatigue toxins hit. I need to organize my thoughts each day to keep the days separate. Otherwise, like now, they all run together into a gray block that goes from paycheck to paycheck with little in between.
I've even found it hard to focus in on a movie. I either fall asleep or find myself getting impatient.
My puppy grounds me. She's still the same but she's more important to me each day. Together we have our little adventures. Together we're going to save this big old pit bull down the street. She takes care of herself and she takes care of me.
Today we walked to the pet store and weighed her. She's lost one-fifth of a pound. I was pleased.
My big fear is that I'm going to drop one of my pills and she'll pick it up, thinking its some kind of groovy treat or something. And I take a lot of pills. Too many pills.
The Lyrica hit me hard. I was waking up and walking across the room and it felt very clearly like I was walking up a steep hill. The capsule makes my chest feel heavy. I'm waking up with low blood sugars so it's not a pretty combination. It feels like theres a little slot car motor in my chest and the axle is spinning and sputtering deep inside of me rotating my organs around some mad dance.
They seem to be doing their job though. The fire bright burning from my hip to my knee has died down and gradually the pain has gotten tolerable.
Lyrica is one of those drugs you have to introduce to your body gradually. On Friday I got up to the Sea Shore
Click images for desktop size: "Sea Shore" by Unknown
full dosage. It controlled the pain by making my thigh almost completely numb. Numb doesn't hurt much and I can deal with it. I'm still walking to work everyday and walking back after. It's a matter of will and I don't have much choice.
Work is work. It doesn't mean much. Just once I'd like to have a conversation with one of the customers that doesn't end with them trying to involve me in some scam. There's nothing there except a scant paycheck. Nothing at all.
I work, stumble in, feed my puppy, try and walk her. She has a new favorite stick that she keeps assiduous track of. She can find it under leaves in the middle of a thousand other sticks. She tries to get me to chase her for it. When I feebly try she giggles.
Then I just collapse. This week I'd wake up in pain after the pills ran out. I'd deal with that by taking more ibuprofen and then playing on the WDTV Live. I've hacked it up to where I'm almost happy Werewolf Of London with it.
In all my hacking around I did make one decision. I used to save all the movies to DVD's. Now I realize that I can do better by storing them on external hard drives. I figure I can get 400 DVD's on a 1.5 TB drive that I can get for about 80 bucks. Four hundred DVDs would cost me more than that. And the External HD has a much longer shelf life.
It goes along with my idea of keeping most of my music in lossless format instead of aac. (I haven't used MP3 for years) In blind tests I can tell an MP3 from the original better than 805 of the time. With Yul Brenner
Click images for desktop size: "Yul Brenner"
aac it was about 30% of the time. aac sounds more open to me, less compressed and many fewer artifacts. Lossless makes the whole process moot. And on the iPod it starts to sound a whole lot like life when I'm walking around out there.
The only issue is that the iPod only plays Apple Lossless files. This is a weird codec which seems based on flac but is totally proprietary. I hate proprietary codecs. But its lossless so it's no issue at all to dump them back and forth to and from flac if the need arises.
The lossless files have the airy openness and purity of joy. Of course my music collection has swollen to over 75 gigs and I can't quite fit 300 songs on the iPod, but really, how often do I need more than four hours of music at a time.

I just woke up. Fell asleep in my chair . . . again.

One of the reasons for my confusion is that my bedrock is fading. There's only three games left in the season. Three NFL games and then its over until August when we get to start it up all over Maria Magdalena
Click images for desktop size: "Maria Magdalena" by Unknown
again. With any luck in February the cardiologist will clear me and starting in August I'll get to start coaching again.
But now the emptiness gets to settle in.
It doesn't help that my friend has managed to jam up the computers so badly that she is beating me by NINE points for the season. My sense of justice hopes she get caught for the serious server hacking she must have been doing to change it so she was perfect last week! Of course I'm fond of her and the idea of her getting any more hassles upsets me slightly. But I'm not sure if that upsets me as much as being cheated of my natural superiority . . .

My picks in the two games are in bold.

New York Jets at Indianapolis - Yeah. I know that a Colts vs Saints SuperBowl has been in the cards since week 8 but the Jets shouldn't be even be here. They may turn out to be like John McCay's and Doug Williams' Tampa Bay team that miraculously got to the Championship game onlyWorst Case Scenario to get easily throttled. But I'd rather believe in the dream than the reality. Payton Manning is a machine. If Tom Brady didn't exist there's no denying he'd be the greatest QB of this generation. But Rex Ryan's defense is the type that can give him fits. And Ryan is creative enough to figure out a way to take Dallas Clark away from him. Reavis will shut out Reggie Wayne and that leaves him some talented receivers but the issue is whether that front seven will even give him a chance to check down and find them. The Colts can't run the ball against the Jets, they've barely needed to run at all this season but today they need to be effective enough to use the play action. The Jets don't have to sack Manning, they just need to knock him down a few times and be in his face, they can do that. On the other side of the Ball it's the Jets solid running game and the wide eyed cockiness of Mark Sanchez, the Super Rookie who should have been taking the Trojans to the National Championship this season. Instead he decided to go to Untitled by Peter Tapang
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Peter Tapang
the Superbowl. I think there's a good chance he can do it again or else Sanchez could end up being the new generation's Doug Williams. Besides that, if the Colts ride Manning to victory it will be boring and predictable. If the Jets win it's a beautiful drama filled with laughter and tears. Always go with the dream even if it's doomed.

Minneapolis at New Orleans - The Game of the Year! This has everything you could want. The lowly Saints flying high riding a video game offense commanded by little Dru Brees. Brees makes my heart ache. He's got the swagger and the toughness wrapped up with enthusiasm and the excitement of the game. He makes his good receivers great. Reggie Bush, who has added hard nosed toughness to his ballet like runs. Jeremy SHockey playing on one leg but still blocking and still catching touch downs. The Saints line will control the Vikings pass rush and might even hold the Saints to under 40 points. Maybe. But then the Vikings; Brett Favre. Brett Favre. The ultimate Witchfinder General gunslinger. Every time he takes his helmet off I'm shocked to see that patch of gray hair on his head. He's a force and the greatest playmaker ever in the NFL. He specializes in making the impossible routine. But he also has the record for most INT's in history. Sharper, Saints safety has a broken hand. That will save Brett at least one pick but two picks could turn this game around. Then there's the beast, Adrien Petersen. He's slowed down some, the beating of 17 games seems to have taken a toll. With a healthy Sedrick Ellis at tackle (TROJAN) the Saints nimble linebackers will find the gaps easy to shut down. Brett will find some pressure too enough for the Saints to win a shoot out. And if any team ever needed and deserved a Champion its New Orleans. Whichever team wins this game it will be exciting and fraught will the elegance and beauty of the game.

January 16, 2010

To be is to do
Immanuel Kant

ctrlaltsup by Couac
Click images for desktop size: "ctrlaltsup" by Couac
The holidays were pretty good, but they already seem like a vivid dream.
My friend came down from Canada and bought the giant dog and the gentle dog with her. The giantTruck Stop Women dog was pretty much, "Oh, there you are. I want a cookie." While the gentle dog was very glad to see me and showed it.
My puppy was her usual reserved self and just wanted to play fight everybody. The rescue dog wouldn't stand for that and insisted on being the center of attention, which sort of ruined things but only a little.
We did the usual poor people Christmas stuff. And on her birthday I took my friend to a Korean Tofu Soup restaurant. I proposed and tried to make it not sound like a business deal. She said yes.
Services will be in March.
But my health keeps deteriorating. The latest is nerve damage in my leg. It hurts like a prairie fire at harvest time. It burns from just above my right hip all the way down to my right knee, the burning causes a lot of muscle cramping.
I keep examining the leg expecting to see swelling or blood but it just looks normal. I noticed my thighs are getting skinny but my calves look great!
Pain so bad went to the doctor. It was a hobbling trek. The doc pointed out that one of the first chemo's I had was full of neurotoxins, that and the diabetes meant I could look forward to a lot of neuropathic pain and damage. She prescribed this drug Lyrica, 75 mgs. I found out it's a controlled drug. First time taking it made me dopey, right now it makes me feel hungover and thick skinned. I don't know if its helping the leg pain more than ibuprofen.
The doc gave me the usual lectures. I made her laugh a lot. I went straight from work and was cotton headed from lack of sleep. For some reason I'm always acerbic and funny when I'm struggling to stay awake.
The Giant Orion
Click images for desktop size: "The Giant Orion" by Unknown
They changed a few of my other drugs, mild changes.

One cool thing about my friend visiting was she bought along her AppleTV. The idea was that I'd either getting it working on her MacNook or I'd swap it for my WDTVLive. I got it working pretty quickly.
But I was able to compare the two. For beauty and ease of usage the AppleTV makes the WDTVLive look pretty stupid. It just works and requires nothing but intuition and curiosity.
In terms of playing media though the WDTVLive was like so much better. It really would come down to what you want to do with it. I'm running the WDTVlx Live hacked firmware from b-rad. That let me get the WDTV at least looking, not good, but not so horribly ugly. Like all Windows based machines the interface and networking are pig ugly and near hopeless. The hacked firmware improves some of that. It should be pointed out that the WDTV is one of the only media players that recognizes HTFS drives (Mac hard disks) so it gets plenty of points for that.Touch of Evil
I like the WDTV but only after a lot of work. I'd never be comfortable with my friend or kids using it. It's fragile in its network connections, but robust in playing anything. It includes a file manager to let you delete, move or copy files right from the WDTV. Pretty stupid feature if you had kids. No way to restrict that that I can see either.

Last weeks playoffs I got perfectly. I was 0-4 . . . My friend was 3 of 4. I'm calling for a congressional investigation into game fixing.
My picks for this week are in bold.

Arizona at New Orleans - Last week against the Packers Kurt Warner looked incredible, pure Hall of Fame type play. A lot of people are saying he's ready to blow it all open again this year and carry the Cardinals to the SuperBowl. The Saint's have lost there last 3 games and are well rested. I think they'll be plenty sharp especially Dru Brees, Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush. Sedrick Ellis should also be healed up. With him on the line the Saints line backers don't have to fight off as many blocks and become an efficient unit. I want the Saints to win. I think they can slow down the Cardinal O enough to win a shoot out.

Baltimore at Indianapolis - Its tempting to go with the Ravens. They're one of my favorite teams. I don't much like the Colts but for the reasons I don't like them (boring game plans, flawless execution, no fun or drama) is the reason they'll probably win this going away. So I'm picking the Sandalwood by Pepper Vu
Click images for desktop size: "Sandalwood" by Pepper Vu
Colts but cheering for the Ravens.

Dallas at Minnesota - Suddenly everyone is calling for the Cowboys to get to the SuperBowl. The Cowboys stink. Their impressive wins come against the NFC East and a Saints team that had already clinched the first seed in the play offs. Brett Farve and Adrien Petersen are going to give the Cowboys more than they can handle while the front seven will destroy Tony Romo's confidence.

New York Jets 17 at San Diego 31 - We NEED to see the Chargers against the Colts in the AFC Championship game. The Jets are playing strong inelegant football. The Chargers are just flying low and winning. I'm stoked fro this one.

January 9, 2010

There's no justice there's just us
Terry Pratchett

Untitled by 3D
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by 3D
The holidays are over.
Sad. Bittersweet life.Tammy and the T-Rex
I'm one of those guys who sees the holidays as continuing until the SuperBowl, a bit more subdued maybe but blocking and tackling and guys trying to catch balls while other guys try and stop them always fills me with a sense of wonder and peace.
Now that the Bowl season is over its time to get into the NFL playoffs. The finest athletes in the world, blocking and tackling and trying to catch a ball.
The playoffs cap off what was a pretty dire NFL season. The quality of the football was pretty high but the scheduling made it so that there were a huge amount of meaningless poorly played games. I was talking to some guys who thought the Cleveland v Lions game was the best game of the year. That's the one where the Lion's Matt Stafford won the game with a touchdown pass with no time remaining.
What I saw was a pretty poorly played game with erratic execution. That doesn't change what it means to the players and the players are always what makes any game fascinating.
As bad as the season was there were some bright glowing spots. There has to be.
The New Orleans Saints with Dru Brees cheerleading them and gut checking them to a 13-0 start was incredible. And The Cincinnati Bengals sweeping the AFC North was something that I couldn't ignore and appreciate.
As it stands that's my dream SuperBowl. Right now it's not my prediction it's just the SuperBowl I would like to see.
There's a lot of things I like about the Bengals. There's a strong USC connection, which I always like. Carson Palmer, the QB, coming back and playing like the elite QB he is. Keith Rivers and Rey Robert Crumb
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Robert Crumb
Maleluga giving the Bengals a real playmaking defense and a dangerous front seven. And then they picked up Larry Johnson.
I knew Larry Johnson from State College High School. He was a phenomenal athlete then. I met his father and mother and his little brother Tony (who may be a better athlete but lacks Larry's hard competitive edge). I know the kid and I know he's not like the way the press has depicted him.
There are things about being an elite athlete that non-athletes never seem to get. They can't imagine what its like to prepare your body to stretch it past the possible, the mindset that's entailed in always believing you're being better than your opponent. The stresses of tuning your body and your mind create a tension. Pop stars and classical musicians are permitted to have their affectations and tantrum demands. Its expected and respected. An athlete is only "permitted" to be either sullen or at least keep his mouth shut.
There's been a lot of talk about Tom Brady being the NFL player of the decade. It would be really hard to make any arguments against that. The rings, the record and the duress and he definitelyTerminator falls into the "keep your mouth shut" category in his public life. But as awe inspiring as Brady is there's a player on the Bengals who falls into a different category, The Player I Most Wished I'd Coached of the Decade. And that player would be Chad Ocho Cinco nee Johnson.
Ocho Cinco created one of the most wondrous moments in sports history. It was a week before Christmas and then Ocho Cinco scored a TD. I don't remember the score or the situation or even who the opponent was. What I remember was Ocho Cinco scoring the TD and then running to a side line marker. He tilted the marker up and pulled out a giant Christmas stocking stuffed with loot. He then ran up and down the sidelines tossing Christmas presents to the fans.
It was glorious, it was ebullient and the greatest TD celebration that ever was or will be. The NFL fined him and banned all such actions so they'd never be again. They've completely erased the moment from their history. They took something fun and made it illegal because it detracted from the seriousness of the game.
I've been coaching for 20 years. Most of it working with the social inclusion of youth. Football is a Phish Food by tpgPhotography
Click images for desktop size: "Phish Food" by tpgPhotography
hard vicious game that I still contend is the best and ultimate way to show young people how to work to improve themselves to be the best that they can be so that they can fit into a plan and be part of a team so that the team can go forward and accomplish unbelievable things. And all of those kids took the lessons that our game had to teach them and used those lessons to succeed in a community and society that had previously written them off as wasted youth.
And that worked because our game is fun. The hours of gym work, the hours of practice for the scant minutes of game time were all just fun.
The NFL doesn't much care about fun.
I worked with NFL Europe or the World Football League or whatever gooney name they were giving it for a while. It soon seemed to me that this league had only two purposes: For the owners to be able to take lavish European vacations that could be written off as business expense and to sell Through the Back Door more NFL merchandise. I met about half of the NFL owners of the time and a good chunk of Paul Taglibue's staff.
It was only after Vince McMahon founded the X-Football League that anyone started to care about what they were putting on the field. Starting to use the League as a "minor" developmental league was Gene Kelly
Click images for desktop size: "Gene Kelly"
the solution but that was still secondary to expensive vacations and selling merchandise. Neither goal held any interest for me so I didn't last long in the NFL Europe offices or fields.
But those are the kind of guys who never played the game who could look at Chad Ocho Cinco, an elite receiver who rejoiced in and loved our game and instead of catching the infectious fever that Ocho Cinco brings to the field they only saw something that needed to be eliminated.
Whatever these guys do for a good time I doubt it could ever interest me.
This year Ocho Cinco, in the midst of the best season the Bengals have ever had, after a blown pass interference that wasn't called, Ocho Cinco tried to bribe the official with a dollar. It was humorous, it was fun and funny. It bought an NFL game up to a level of beauty and entertainment that I never thought it could recall.
Ocho Cinco was fined $50,000. He paid the fine and then matched the fine and made an equal donation to children's charities. To understand NFL priorities remember that a cheap shot merits as little as a $3,000 fine. That's like getting 30 days for assault and 15 years for dancing after midnight.
The Pull of Maybe by Blurburger
Click images for desktop size: "The Pull of Maybe" by Blurburger
Chad Henry, the other Bengals elite receiver died tragically this season in a shocking way. Ocho Cinco wanted to wear his jersey the weekend of Henry's death. The NFL said no tributes to the dead unless they're straight ahead white guys I figure. Ocho CInco stood his ground and the NFL promised him the heaviest fine it could levy. The Player's Union actually stepped forward and said it would pay the fine on Ocho Cinco's behalf. The NFL refused. Their intent was to punish Ocho Cinco if he dared to pay a tribute to his friend and teammate, a touching tribute that would have touched my heart and the heart's of millions to see.
They took the joy and beauty out of the moment and Ocho Cinco sadly, if prudently, denied himself the simple Eulogy to his friend.
There's a long list of things Ocho Cinco has done that appeal to me. When he had no receptions against Reavis in the season finale he gave Reavis credit for being great and never blamed his injured knee. He had one season where he went public with his despair at playing for loosing teamsThese Are the Damned and then came back and apologized for it and on and on.
Chad Ocho Cinco is a player that I think can be held up as an example to other young men. He works incredibly hard. He's super fit. He runs excellent routes, helps his QB, is a good blocker. His game is constantly improving. And he has fun playing this sport at its highest level. He laughs and enjoys his status as a rich celebrity. HE cares for the children of his community in ways great and small. He's turned the iPhone and the smart phone community into his own special place to reach out to fans and other players.
Chad Ocho Cinco is what I dreamed each of my players, my kids, might become. And I think he's special and I hope to see him play in the SuperBowl catching a TD pass somersaulting out of the back of the end zone with the ball still in his hands.

At the end of the regular season I am leading my friend by one point. This is a testament to the genius and clear headed thinking I gave all my picks as well as a testament to the depths of feminine cheating and lucky guessing . . . Well, it is.
Due to some insightful scheduling 3 of this weeks 4 games are rematches from last week . . . That sure spells excitement not to mention a weird sense of deja vu.
My picks are in bold.

New York Jets at Cincinnati - The Jets won last week in a game that meant everything to them and nothing to the Bengals. The only thing that makes me nervous about this game is that the Bengals still won't have Ray Maleluga. Their D needs his high rev motor back there. He's a disruptive force who fits in well to the Bengals team. I also think Ocho Cinco will burn Reavis for one long TD.

Philadelphia at Dallas - Its hard for me to pick a team with Michael Vick. He has not held to his Midstream Encounter
Click images for desktop size: "Midstream Encounter" by Unknown
promises as far as I'm concerned. I was a supporter but he's done minimal work with kids or on behalf of animals. Carson Palmer appears at his local animal shelter on Pet Adoption day for nothing but the joy of it. Where was Vick on that day? I think that was the condition for his release and for his reinstatement. It's the NFL and only tickets and merchandise sales really matter.But I like the Cowboys D well enough but think their O is wreckless and erratic. The Eagles are even more erratic, remember they got bombed by the Raiders not that long ago. McNabb is too good a QB and too intense a leader to permit a replay of last weeks dismal performance.

Baltimore at New England - Game of the Week if only because it's not a replay like the others. I like the Ravens and think they match up well with the Patriots. Brady has a broken finger to match his three broken ribs so it should be close.

Green Bay 28 at Arizona 21 - The packers blew the Cardinals out last week in a game that meant nothing to the Cards. The Packers should keep the swagger and Clay Matthews should delight in chasing down immobile Kurt Warner.