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October 13, 2012

And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed
John Steinbeck

Claro De Luna By Titusboy
Click images for desktop size: "Claro De Luna" by TitusBoy
My wife has had to return to Canada. Her step-father died: pancreatic cancer. It was sudden and without much, if any, preparation.The Mummy's Hand
She is holding up to it well enough, better than could be expected.
I'm alone with the four dogs, soon to be a fifth. We're happily making each other crazy.
I have to go back to walking to work again. It's healthy, I suppose, if it is fatiguing. Carrying all my groceries again and all the rest of it. The physical effort makes loneliness a bit more apparent.
And it makes it more obvious that I am glad I am past that moment of grief in my life. One thing that should bind us all together is that we all have or will have to bury our parents. Our parents are the most important people in our lives. Love them or hate them they made us what we are. Their passing always marks a void and delineates the mortality we only possess without owning.
My sadness for my wife is no little binding.

This is my 3rd podcast. The first one had 376 downloads, the second also had 376. I uploaded the 3rd to iTunes and to podcast.net and it's received 247 downloads so far.
I'll take the requests into consideration.

The Cool And The Crazy 3:
Love And Mayhem In 90 Minutes

Teenage Riot
Zeke - Hello There Ladies And Gentlemen
Sand Rubies - Memories Are Made Of This
The Phantom - Love Me (alternate take)
Mink Jaguar - Leave us All Behind
Freddie And The Hitchikers - Sinners
Richard Cheese - People Equal Shit
Sonny Burgess - Ain't Got A Thing
Grip Weeds - Rock & Roll Love Letter
Jan & Dean - I Gotta Drive
Ronnie Spector - Don't Worry Baby
Mary Weiss - Nobody Knows (But I Do)
Chymes - He's Not There Anymore
Human Beinz - Nobody But Me
Flares - Footstomping Part 1
Mystery Action - Shake
Ritchie Valens - La Bamba
Jackie Wilson - Reet Petite (The Finest Girl You Ever Want To Meet)
Sparkles - Hipsville 29 BC
Cliffhangers - What A Girl Can't Do
Travoltas - That Thing You
Insiders - The Price Of Love
Electric Light Orchestra - Do Ya
The Crest - Trouble In Paradise
Dorktones - Man WIth Money
Del Shannon - Stand Up
Jan & Dean - A Beginning From An End
Del Shannon - Lost In A Memory
Plan 9 - I Like Girls
Lolas - The Only People In The World
Dream Syndicate - Let It Rain
Alan Price - O Lucky Man!
Nylons - Drift Away
Dion - Drip Drop
Buddy Holly - Love Is Strange (demo)

I'll be making a podcast for Halloween, then, by a request that cannot be ignored, a podcast for the doggies.
When my wife gets back we're bringing in another puppy. A deaf bull terrier - female. She;s white with black spotted ears.

September 4, 2011

Money won't create success, the freedom to make it will
Nelson Mandela

La by Boris Vallejo
Click images for desktop size: "La" by Boris Vallejo
I think Obama has let us all down. There's no change and no hope. Somehow he turned into a Republican.Labyrinth
There's no defense for his retracting the EPA rule that would have save the lives of about 1.5 million kids and saved suffering for millions more. It's unpardonable as is his excuse for doing this is a pure Republican fabrication: It would be too expensive for cash heavy corporations to stop killing children ergo children have gotta go.
And the word is that his job program is to ape Georgia. He's going to implement the Republican ideal and force people on Unemployment to work for free.
Georgia has 19 people enrolled in the program and 16 have gotten jobs from the program. Sounds like the perfect solution if you're determined to be incredibly ineffective.
So far the only people Obama has pleased are the RIAA and the MPAA, He's not fought a single battle and won. I don't think he's won a fight at all.
He's allowed the rise of scum like Rick Perry and morons like Palin and Bachman.
He's the worst leader since Bush.
What a disappointment. I voting for the Green Party.

I'm joining the Lane Kiffin Must Go movement too. Even though USC beat Minnesota is was a shameful exhibition. Five bonehead plays that would have gotten a high school coach called on the carpet are inexcusable in an elite program.
Going for 2 point conversions twice and failing? Going from the shotgun on 4th and 6? A non-existent running attack. Linebackers in disarray and a soft Tampa 2 that delights opposing OC's? It was clear Frost by Ankhammentu
Click images for desktop size: "Frost" by Ankhammentu
he was giving an inferior team every chance to win the game. He was playing inane NFL football in college football. It has never worked and it's embarrassing to see it being shoved down these loyal hardworking kids throats. The kids are winners the coaches are not.

I got my puppy's blood taken today to do a full blood panel. I worry over her. Gentle dog is having a bad allergic reaction. I think it is due to this hot weather. Things are blooming that are not supposed to and producing things that negatively effect us all.
He'll be fine but the medication hit him pretty hard. Poor guy.

August 27, 2011

You can lead a man to knowledge but you can't make him think
"Return of the Ex-Girlfriend" by Loveless

Hedi Klum
Click images for desktop size: "Heidi Klum"
Happy birthday to me.
I spent the eve of my birthday playing with amps, capacitors and resistors. It was fun. Plan to doKill Bill 1 the same tomorrow.
Mailed a surprise present to my wife. Mostly handmade electronical present. I'm certain that when she opens it she'll appreciate the artistry, the thought and the hard work and she'll have no idea what it is or what it does. Isn't that great!?!
The hurricane was a bust. The earthquake was cooler and it was pretty dismal in its way. My puppy and I were out with out pennants too.
USC meets Minnesota in the opener in one week!
Football is nearly here.
Shonen Knife - Osaka Ramones Get it. Play it. Love it.

February 13, 2011

No more football

Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Kabegami
The SuperBowl's over.
It was a fitting conclusion to one of the sloppiest, worst seasons in NFL history. The game, with all it's dropped passes unforced turnovers and inept officiating was the perfect microcosm of this NFL Wold Woman season that saw a 7-9 team actually advance in the play offs.
The only good thing out of the SuperBowl is the emergence of Clay Matthews as a bonafide superstar! He's earned it.
It was a rough year for me in football. No coaching and Reggie Bush and his family cast an ugly cloud over USC's season. Made worse by Cam Newton doing similar but getting a totally clean pass from the NCAA.
The best thing about the NFL is that there's always next year. Well, maybe not for the NFL. In an age when athletes are under the same spot light as TV actors few are presenting themselves in the right light for a protracted labor fight. The NFL owners are pretty much super rich scum who could care less about the game and most about a bottom line and projected growth. It's a business. You have to live with that.
It still makes me sad.

With everything going on in the world, most of it disgraceful, at least on the American side (Republicans should be ashamed) one thing that's been ignored is that Obama has installed another RIAA lawyer in a key position in the Justice Department. As even other lawyers consider the RIAA lawyers as bottom feeders this is disturbing and startling.
No appeal takedowns of websites are happening all over the world. Internet censorship with no due process. With the proposed Internet Identiy cards it presents too viable a reality to the insane government take over proposed by the Homeland Security Tea Party types.
In a time when various artists, including Francis Coppolla, are coming out and questioning the right of artist's to become mega rich just for telling stories and singing songs Obama's trenchant and vile plans for our future on the internet seem callous and cruel.
The nice thing is that there are still bands out there, probably with dreams of being mega rich as Ballerina Breakout by The Lolas well but happily churning out some great music.
One band I'm totally fascinated with is The Lolas. It's hard to find out about them. Their website is on Angel Fire and hasn't been updated since 2006!
All I can figure out is that they're from Alabama, a trio and . . . yeah, that's it. I hope they're still in business. They make light but thick jarring sound. It takes some getting used to but when it does click in the memory is that this is an important band. Important in the sense that when they're songs come round the rotation the world seems a better place for 3 minutes or so.
I fisrt heard the band on the "Right To Chews: Bubblegum Classics Revisited" album. That disc is so great the Lolas really didn't break through there.
This is the link to "Ballerina Breakout" on Mediafire. It's a sensational disk. All killer and no filler. Sixteen tracks that all rate 4 stars and better.
The odd Christmas track, "Little Drummer Boy" delights as much as it perplexes. The cover of the Kink's "Till The End Of The Day" shows they've got chops.
The rest of the tracks are exuberant pop-ish numbers filled with hooks, great 3 part harmonies and grinding jamgling guitars. Ignore it at your peril and relate that this disc has nothing in common with the RIAA brand of music and that's a good thing.
This album and the other 4 I know of are all available as MP3 downloads through various music services. The discs are near impossible to find so if yu come across one snatch it up. You'll be nothing but happier for it.

February 5, 2011

When we question his existence we acknowledge his presence
Bhuddist Koan

Hammet Cover by Gerald Gregg
Click images for desktop size: "Hammett 1945 Cover" by Gerald Gregg
One thing, personal about the SuperBowl is that I always end up hearing from some of my former players, my kids.The Wages of Sin
As the big game approaches it's a time for the mind to wander back to their own playing days. I was a part of it and probably the only person who wouldn't be offended or embarrassed for their mawkish commiserations. Some people think it funny or disturbing for a 6' 5" 320 pound man to get misty remembering paying fields and friendships forged in combat, especially when they aren't the most articulate guys going and they express themselves in rough cliches and clumsily structured greeting card style sentiment. I don't and only partially because I'm not that far removed from the same state of mind.
I think I was lucky being raised in California, in a place and a time when surfing and guitars ruled our young consciousness. Racism and xenophobia weren't accepted or even acknowledged. It was more important how much air you could get on a reentry and the spray of a lip smack.
Competitive sports existed for us almost a just a way to assert our natural superiority over the rest of mankind. That sounds as xenophobic as a Sarah Palin fund raiser but it isn't. To join up you can believe and be anything, all you have to be is crazy enough to grab a board and try.
The beaches led us to the playing fields. Back then, and today, coaches couldn't really understand or cope with the surfer mentality. Some learned to adapt because the surfers swam 4 to 6 hours a day. We were the fittest athletes in school. And in strength and agility the only ones who could compare were a few world class gymnasts. They had to adapt or watch potential championships drift back to the beaches.
So we loitered on the sun drenched playing fields. We ran and drilled and found the rest of the world acknowledging us as something more than they had just the day before. And we excelled and won Horror by Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "Horror Wallpaper" by Unknown
and our friendships grew deeper and our understanding of others increased and we stayed in a place that matured but was always young and sunny.
And that was always the heart of my coaching. Not militaristic jingoism and slogans, not tin despotic win at all cost idiocy but remember the fun, the friendships and the sun.
Coaching in Europe in the cold and the wind and the rain was different. Not just the weather but the attitude. They only know the game via the NFL and TV. Sports other than soccer are pretty much ridiculed and viewed as sissified American projects.
The NFL presence in Europe didn't help much. The coaches they sent over were the dregs of the NFL. Even then the profession yielded a few guys willing to teach but just a few.
The NFL is for profit so I can't blame them for not caring about sportsmanship or raising young people up to respect themselves and others. They hired people who knew how to get the kids to buy product, jerseys, sweat shirts etc. That was their job.White Heat
Even though my kids threw up an astonishing 105-7 record the NFL never cared. They never filtered anything our way. They never helped. My kids were from the wrong side of town for the most part. So my kids never knew what they were missing. We traded helmets when the D went on the field and kept having fun while the rest of the world ignored us.
Well, not the rest of the world. We played American high school teams, won a couple too even though we usually got thrashed. We played European champions and did okay too and my kids learned to meet different people and to discover that we weren't that different from each other after all.
I love my kids and they never failed to make me proud of them. They never quit on themselves or each other and they never forgot that the most important part was the fun.

So as to the Superbowl . . . I really don't have a favorite. The Steelers have Troy Polamanu, one of my favorite former Trojans. But the Packers have Clay Matthews, the Trojan walk on. I wish the In The Deep by Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "In The Deep" by Unknown
media would make a bigger deal about the fact that Clay wasn't a 5 star recruit. He enrolled at USC and then went to an open try out to try and make the team.
But the Packers also have Aaron Rogers, the last Cal QB to actually beat USC, took him double overtime to do it, but he did it.
I don't much like the Steelers at all after Troy although I expected them to be much heavier favorites even with a cruddy O-line. So I guess I'm picking the Packers . . . even though I wanted it to be Bears-New England . . .

My wife is still suffering from the loss of her mother. Too be expected. Its times like this that a long distance marriage is really stupid. We're still waiting for the DHS to schedule the appointment for the interviews to get her a green card. Since Obama has proven to be a bad joke as a president and kept most of the Bush people in charge I'm pretty pessimistic about the interviews and any attempt at fairness. It will work though, I'm sure of that.

December 19, 2010

If men were angels, no government would be necessary
James Madison

Shaggy Door Knob by S4W
Click images for desktop size: "Shaggy Door Knob" by S4W
I had a vivid dream Friday night. I was moving into a new home, just my puppy and I. We were invited to a wedding. I decided to go since we'd score free food and since they'd had the good sense1926 Christmas by Norman Rockwell to invite a dog one could tell these were quality people.
When we got to the wedding I discovered that the family consisted of all my ex-girlfriends! Hundreds of them. I forgot I'd been so . . . prolific (?) They all looked exactly as they did when I was dating them, all except the bride who was a stranger to me, a rather horsey blonde with fat arms. She knew me and my puppy though and kept introducing me to her sisters, all who were ex-girlfriends.
Everyone was glad to see me. And there were hundreds of sisters. They all spoke with me and asked me questions without offering advice. Everyone was interested in what I was saying.
My puppy ran through the enormous building stopping to get petted by a lucky few. She always stayed pretty close.
There was music. The bands were all bands I used to be in or were favorites that I'd been on the same bill with.
A woman I didn't know, who was my actual current wife, tried to help me find my old Mesa Boogie .45 calibre amp. I had to explain to her that it was just a combo amp and not one of the big suckers we kept looking through. She found it right after that. She was very proud of herself. We decided to stay in the storage room with my puppy and just talk.
It felt ideal and wonderful. No wonder I kept the dream close to me and tried to not let the feelings escape.
Click images for desktop size: "Sleeping" by Unknown

My wife is driving to see me. She'll be here for 3 weeks. This is ideal.
She doesn't want to drive. I try and understand that. I like traveling and I used to like driving. No matter how long the drive I seldom got tired or bored with the trip, but she's not like that.
Sitting and waiting is harsh.
I took a week off. No vacation pay, the bastards, doesn't much matter to me. I know I need the money but having to work two of the weeks my wife is visiting seems far worse than being broke.
Giant dog and gentle dog are coming with her. We even have plans for them! Christmas is going to be memorable.

But what always continues is football. I've been sadly missing coaching every day. I still never have Junior Partners 5 anything much impinge on my delight in the game. Last week I was 13-3, which still keeps me in long shot contention for a big prize for the season! This weeks games are much more interesting which means I'll probably knock myself out of contention . . .

My picks are in bold.

San Francisco at San Diego - And I actually picked the 49ers to make it to the playoffs . . .

Cleveland at Cincinnati - The Bengals woes cannot continue!! And the Browns are not that good. Cruddy game of the week contender.

Washington at Dallas - The Redskins are benching McNabb??

Houston at Tennessee - Long shot of the week. The Texans are falling apart. The Titans have already fallen. They have too much talent to not start to rebuild.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis - The Jaguars already thumped the Colts so its time for Manning to get angry and show some pride.

Kansas City at St Louis - The knock against the Chiefs is uninspiring Charlie Weiss running an O without Matt Cassell. The Rams might win this one.

Buffalo at Miami - What is a cruddy game of the week contender becomes interesting. The Dolphins are road warriors and the Bills have mastered the come back defeat.
Christmas Night by WallCell
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Night" by WallCell

Detroit at Tampa Bay - The Lions can't win on the road.

Arizona at Carolina - Cruddy Game of the Week! The only amusement here is watching Jimmy Clausen pretend to be an NFL QB. Football at it's most pathetic.

New Orleans at Baltimore - Game of the week! Taking the Saints as they seem to be ready for a playoff run while the Ravens are sputtering. Still a ball hawking D and Gunslinger Brees spells excitement and close games to me!

Philadelphia at New York Giants - I hate the Eagles and I hate the Giants style of football. Eli Manning is throwing in the towel.

Atlanta at Seattle - Possibly the lop sided game of the day. Seahawks home field advantage is theChristmas 1934 by Norman Rockwell second biggest in the league and can't be forgotten.

New York Jets at Pittsburgh - My upset of the week. The Steelers peaked way to soon. Rothlisberger has been tough but vulnerable. The Jets must win. Sanchez can respond. He should have spent one more year in college ball.

Denver at Oakland - I hope they let Tebow play. It would be hysterical.

Chicago at Minnesota - Another game that must have looked killer at the start of the season, now, no Brett Favre. At least it will be outside!

Green Bay at New England - The Patriots have evolved into their usual dominance while the Packers have been cleanly exposed. The only hope for the Pack is that the Pats are unfamiliar with their back up QB.

Merry Christmas and the best of the holidays!

December 5, 2010

Love, I thought, is stronger than death or the fear of death
Ivan Tourgueniev

interfirst plaza, houston, texas
Click images for desktop size: "Houston Interfirst Plaza"
I was examining my body in the mirror. Inspecting my scars. Not the scars that needed stitches or emotional scars, but the marks the ravages have laid on me.DC Holiday Special
First one I notice is the droop in my left eye, the remnants of the Bells Palsy attack in El Paso. Then there's the arm that is still weak and stiff from the frozen shoulder.
And on and on. For some reason I can look at all this detritus and the final impression is that I'm still a pretty good looking guy . . . Yeah. Kidding myself or facing reality. Who can tell?
I did wonder if the frozen shoulder, a by product of diabetes, was aided by me spending one summer as a baseball pitcher.
Throwing a baseball is fun. The manager of the team asked me to pitch because I routinely threw the ball in the mid 80's making the play from short to first. I had a world of fun that season but it's an unnatural strain to place on an aging shoulder. I don't know if it caused or worsened the problem. I'll have to ask.
Now I've got the same problem in my left wrist. I'm right handed and use my left wrist about as much as a right handed person would, so I have no empirical self experience proof.
Now, I got asked to pitch because I not only throw the ball relatively hard but I have pin point accuracy, at least if by pin point you mean within a 12" square . . . I shot my arm throwing a tennis ball for the old dog. We were at a dog park and about 200 feet away I watched a dog. It's always been my standard to idly aim at something when I throw the ball for a dog so I aimed at this dog and whipped it. I felt something unravel in my elbow and a big brief hurt. I forgot the pain when I saw the tennis ball plonk the strange dog right on top of its head!
I was terribly embarrassed and worried. Clearly the dog was fine as he immediately went and chased the ball, at least as soon as he assured himself the sky wasn't falling. But I felt bad about nearly hurting him. I felt bad then and I still do. Not as bad as the time I was a teen and I hit a Xmas by WallCell
Click images for desktop size: "Xmas" by WallCell
squirrel jumping across one of the roads up in Griffith Park. I had a car load of buddies with me and they were aggravated that I stopped and went back to see if the squirrel could be saved. I still stopped and looked. The poor thing was dead. I still feel bad about that too.

Last week I was pretty hacked off that Homeland Security has blocked 80 internet sites. Supposedly this was due to the fact that these sites allegedly offered up "pirated" material. Who knows if they did? They're blocked so no one can check, at least no one in the USA. No take down notice, no chance to appeal. They just took them down claiming that these sites stole American "intellectual property".
Now, the first thing I notice is that none of the sites were accused of spamming; browser hijacks; loading trojans or viruses, just the dubious charge "intellectual property theft".
I think its noteworthy that Obama's government doesn't give a damn about sites that cause serious harm to individuals, they're only concerned about protecting the rights of the MPAA and the RIAA. Fables The rich win against the poor. Didn't I vote for him to try and slow that attitude down?
Now add to that the fact that Obama has blatantly lied about his vision of Net Neutrality and I get really irked. The plan put forward by the FCC basically gives the Telco Giants everything they want and nothing that the people need. It's an odious plan worthy of John Boehner and John McCain. Obama pledged an open and free internet. He lied and is now involved in taking away another American freedom, hell, almost a world freedom.
So, you will soon no longer be able to get to this site. Instead you internet provider will take you where he wants you to go. I'm sure I'll be offered a chance to pay them a thousand or so a month to allow people access but otherwise it will be the same restricted nonsense we now get to enjoy on Fox and CNN and the networks.
And again Obama proves he is too weak to lead by offering to "compromise" which means giving in to the sick plan of the Republicans who don't care about us, they only care about the rich.
This Republican cry that taxing anything above $250K is going to hurt small business is, to quote John Bohner and his opinion of the middle class and the poor, "chicken crap". Any small business that is showing a profit of $250K NET is not a small business.
Doesn't matter. Obama is going to give them what they want and screw the people over. He won't get on TV and say that the Republicans have said, "Screw the middle class! We refuse to give them tax relief!" Instead he'll just compromise, which in his mind means giving them everything they want so they won't pick on him, maybe they won't.
Obama has become like that little kid in the schoolyard who'll never fight back. You can go defend Christmas
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas" by Unknown
him but he'll be back in the same jam tomorrow and there's no chance for him to survive, except to transfer schools or give up the job.

This is the crunch week in the NFL. The time to clinch a play off spot and to secure your momentum and spirit for the long slog. Week 131
In the On Line NF picking game my wife and I are tied at 111 correct picks each. This just proves that she has been cheating and clearly has been just plain copying my carefully thought out picks and choices. Of course I am too big a man to point this out to anyone. I will just suffer the indignity in respectable silence!

My picks are in bold.

Houston at Philadelphia - As much as I despise Michael Vick no one can deny his pure talent.Action Comics

New Orleans at Cincinnati - Poor Carson Palmer. At the start of the year this was a game I was anticipating!

Chicago at Detroit - I guess the Bears are for real.

San Francisco at Green Bay - The 49ers and the Bengals are fighting it out to be the disappointment of the season.

Jacksonville at Tennessee - The smart money is picking the Titans' Chris Johnson to continue his habit of just gashing the Jaguars. I think they are too banged up to ride a steady diet of Johnson runs and slashes. Of course, this could be the week the Titans remeber they picked up Randy Moss . . .

Denver at Kansas City - I'm so pleased that Matt Cassel is keeping the grand tradition of USC QB's alive . . .

Cleveland at Miami - An unpredictable game that still doesn't offer much in the way of entertainment value.

Buffalo at Minnesota - Cruddy game of the week contender, spared that because of the talent on both teams. Still, a lousy game.

Washington at New York Giants - The NFC East my Aunt Trudy! Who cares game of the week.

Oakland at San Diego - The Raiders have improved tons but they run into the hottest team in the Christmas Night Lights
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Night Lights" by Unknown
league right now. An upset would be sweet though.

Carolina at Seattle - Pete Carroll has done a decent job with the SeaHawks. Maybe he'll dump Jeremy Bates as his OC and get real successful next season. The Panthers just stink.

St Louis at Arizona - Sam Bradford doesn't keep this from being the cruddy game of the week. The NFC West should be barred from the playoffs this year.

Dallas at Indianapolis - The Under Achievers bowl1 The Colts are stinking it up a little less than the Cowboys.

Atlanta at Tampa Bay - Must win for the Falcons as they fight for home field advantage in the play offs.

Pittsburgh at Baltimore - Game of the Day! The blood will flow and the bruises will blossom. This game can be all you want in football.

New York Jets at New England - Game of the Week! The Jets won the first one and it was a fine fine win. The Patriots don't forget those things easily. Also the two cutest QB's in the league and both talented. Brady battle tested and proven, Sanchez growing with every play. Can't wait for this one.

November 28, 2010

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible
Dalai Lama

Space Travel by Virgil Finlay
Click images for desktop size: "Space Travel" by Virgil Finlay
Thanksgiving was pretty much a non-event. I had to work from Midnight till 8 AM that morning then had to be back at work at 10:30 that evening. Not much holiday for me.One Way Ticket to Hell
I had dinner. I got some frozen TV Turkey dinners. Between involuntary naps I watched the football, watched "Broadway Danny Rose" (for the Thanksgiving dinner) and listened to "Alice's Restaurant" the big song about Thanksgiving.
My puppy and I watched and listened and ate our "frozen turkeys", and all was well.
Except of course I still have the worst job I've ever had in my life. That I've had it a year and a half speaks more to the economy than to my sense of duty or endurance.
The job ends Tuesday. Yay!
A Superior Court Judge found for my employer. He agrees that the law violates the First Amendment!! But only in spirit, not in intent. He did not give an injunction to stop the law going into effect, he refined the law to not violate the First Amendment but to still take the addictive circumspect edges of my employer's product. The product is gambling but it really isn't, it's just a wonderful virtual sort of gambling that is as addictive as the real thing. Talk to any of my less than well educated customers and you'll easily discover that the illusion is so well done that they refuse to believe they are not gambling, despite signs, forms they have to sign and verbal admonitions that they are not gambling, they still think they are.
It ends Tuesday. The owners think they won but have at least enough sense to realize that without the gambling illusion and the possible prohibition of 24 hour business days they're not sitting on the clandestine gold mine they were.
Me. I could care less. I'm more pleased to be out of work. It scares me but it does not alarm me as much as this job continuing.
I've never been anyplace for so long where I made no friends and met no one to provide some Joan Crawford
Click images for desktop size: "Joan Crawford"
pleasant memories of the place no matter how bad the situation or environment was.

I've managed to stop the spam on this web site. The was I did it was to change the permissions on the script that activated comments. The spammers never visited the site. They used a script to execute my script and post their spam quickly and more efficiently.
By disabling the script I'm get massive error messages from the server, but nothing serious. I'm hoping that shortly the error messages will fade out and that the spammers will just go away. When that happens, or at least slows, I can then reactivate the script and permit comments. I hope so. I miss them.

But for the NFL my weekends would be , well, just fine actually but I love football so lets get into it.
I was 3-0 for the Thanksgiving Day games. So was my wife. I taught her well. Except for the Notorious cheating. She taught herself that!
Through today we are both at 103 correct picks for the season.
My picks are in bold.

Green Bay at Atlanta - Game of the Day. And the most meaningful game of the weekend. The Falcons are studly at home so I'm picking the Packers in my upset of the week! They have more pressure on them to need this game.

Pittsburgh at Buffalo - The Steelers season is in danger. They won't let up on the Bills.
Dream Days by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Dream Days" by M Parrish

Philadelphia at Chicago - The bruisingest game of the day! The Eagles match up to well with the Bears. This could be a blow out.

Carolina at Cleveland - Cruddy game of the week.

Jacksonville at New York Giants - I'd pick the Jaguars at a neutral site but have to take the Giants at home. Still I have expect Jack Del Rio and the Jags to stomp the Giants.

Minnesota at Washington - I can't ignore the stat that interim coaches win 66% of their first games. But the Vikings are so busted up and the Redskins are still in playoff contention. It's hard to not take the Redskins.

Tampa Bay at Baltimore - The Ravens are still a tight shot for the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay is just moving in the right direction. Should be a good game.

Tennessee at Houston - The Titans are a mess. They're grateful the Vikings fired their head coach to take some of the media attention off of their screwed up situation. I don't think much of the Where the Wild Roses Grow by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: "Where the Wild Roses Grow" by TitusBoy
Texans but they should be able to take advantage of the situation.

Kansas City at Seattle - My second upset pick. The SeaHawks look strong at home and the Chiefs are just a team moving in the right direction. They could win but they'll have to play better football to do it.

Miami at Oakland - The Dolphins are still too busted up to put together a game while the Raiders are working hard.

St Louis at Denver - Sam Bradford has made the Rams legitimate but Mile High Stadium is the biggest home field advantage in sports. I don't think the rams have improved enough to win a shoot out here.The Passionate Plumber

San Francisco at Arizona - The 49ers season has crumbled to dust. The Cardinals destroyed themselves. So two teams, one with shattered hopes and pride, the other full of egos and arrogance. Eh.

San Diego 34 at Indianapolis 30 - Picking against the Colts in a nationally broadcast game when they're at home is silly but the Chargers look stronger and are healthier. I'll probably regret picking them.

November 21, 2010

People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it's simply necessary to love
Daniel J. Boorstin

Untitled by William Wagner
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by William Wagner
Yesterday my puppy and I went to get her picture taken with Santa Claus. We both had an uproarious time. Dozens of dogs and dozens of free cookies!Night Runner
It was the sort of madness that restores sanity. I talked to a few people and talked to all of the dogs. My puppy was hands down the prettiest. Gilda, the sparkly red basset hound ballerina was the most stylish. An irish setter wore a striped Christmas sweater and the little 3 year old girl escorting him wore a matching outfit.
There was only one cat. That would have been a good thing except this one was so fat it should have counted as 3!
It felt hopeful and it felt like the holidays.
The best news is that we finally got a receipt number from Homeland Security for my wife's immigration application. The receipt number is important for all the other stuff to proceed. Like, with the receipt number I could impose on a senator to show an interest in the matter and maybe get this thing sped up a little bit.
No matter what I feel about the entire process it has to be done.
And my job . . . The law is still in place for my job to cease to be in 8 days! The owners last gasp hope rests in a lawsuit. They've used whatever influence high priced law firms have to get the matter heard before a judge they think will be friendly to their point of view, meaning, they expect him to grant an injunction letting them stay in business.
I'm of two minds about this. I want a job. I need a paycheck but these places have no sane or reasonable reason to exist. You can make more of an argument for how bad they are than any posit that they need to exist (except for greedy owners.)
So I'm up and down about the whole thing and just want it to end so we can move along one way or the other.

This is one of the cruddiest most bizarre seasons ever in the NFL. The lack of consistency from any Untitled by Jim Steranko
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Jim Steranko
team and the on the fly rule changes make it hard to follow and impossible to predict. I was just watching the CBS pre game show and was surprised to discover that I've had more correct picks than any of the coaches and players on the panel!! For that matter so does my wife!!

My picks are in bold.

Chicago at Miami - The Dolphins are too depleted to stage any sort of threat to the Bears.

Buffalo at Cincinnati - The Bengals season just leaves me feeling sad. The Bills finally won one but you have to figure the Bengals have some pride left.

Detroit at Dallas - Cruddy game of the week. The Lions need a healthy Matt Stafford to compete. The Cowboys won big and look incredibly boring doing it.
Night and the City
Oakland at Pittsburgh - The Raiders on't have the talent to expose the Steelers weaknesses but I still think this will be a closer game than most figure.

Houston at the New York Jets - The Jets are one of the few teams playing to their potential. All games are must win for them as they're fighting to be Superbowl contenders. They have the tools to shut down the Texans.

Gene Kelly & Cyd Charisse
Click images for desktop size: "Gene Kelly & Cyd Charisse"
Baltimore at Carolina - The Panthers are starting an 8 year vet who's played in 5 games in those 8 years . . . Destruction and mayhem are in the cards.

Cleveland at Jacksonville - The Jaguars are playing good football. The Browns only beat elite teams.

Washington at Tennessee - The Titans Chris Johnson must be dreaming of setting records today.

Arizona at Kansas City - The Cardinals are the classic example of a coach thinking he's more important than a team.

Green Bay at Minnesota - My upset of the week. Brett Favre is near the end of the string. He'll want to remember this game.

The Beggar by Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "The Beggar" by Unknown
Atlanta at St Louis - Many are picking the Rams at home. Not crazy at all but Matt Ryan and the Falcons have risen to every challenge thus far.

Seattle at New Orleans - The only way the Saints lose is if the Reggie Bush-Pete Carroll connection overwhelms the sense of team.

Tampa Bay at San Francisco - This is a game of the week contender! Go figure.

Indianapolis at New England - Game of the week but only because of the history of Brady vs Manning, Billichek vs the Colts etc.

Denver at San Diego - Kyle Orton is playing better than Jay Cutler and the rest of the Broncos like to sit back and watch him . . . Same for the Chargers and Phil Rivers.

New York Giants 24 at Philadelphia 28 - I hate the Eagles but they are fast and the Giants are not.

November 7, 2010

You ever have those times where all you do is laugh?

Cool Cat by Roads Media
Click images for desktop size: "Cool Cat" by Roads Media
I saw a murder of crows attacking a hawk.
I had the heart catheter. It was sort of nothing and sort of painful.
The hospital is new, modern and designed for assembly line medicine. I was given a cubicle, bigger than a prison cell but smaller than a monk's cell. The cubicle was too brightly lit. There was a bed, a wall mounted computer and enough space for a thin nurse to enter data.
It started with the nurse setting my IV. She couldn't raise a vein and stuck the needle into my wrist. She hit a nerve. It was thumping leg kicking burning pain. Felt like my arm was on fire. Amazingly I never moved my arm or the wrist so she left it in there. It hurt for 6 hours. Still hurts even now. The doc's claim it will heal.
I took the "procedure" without "something to relax me. It hurt like hell but it was endurable. I got to see the fluoroscope of the camera poking around in my heart. It switched and twitched around looking like a fishing line caught in a current. It bobbed around so much I idly wondered if these guys knew what they were doing.
I was in there for about 4 hours. If not for the screaming pain in the IV I'd have been bored.
the doc came in while they were wheeling me out; "I don't get to say this too often but your heart looks fine." He came to the recovery cubicle and amplified his comments: The stent in my heart was clear, there's no plaque in any of the veins or arteries. Everything looks fine and clear.
After that it 's just a matter of protecting the femoral artery, avoiding hemorrhages I stayed off my feet for 4 days, just sort of stumbling outside with my puppy when she needed it. My puppy was, as usual, great and understanding. She watched over me, never got demanding, Never left my side.
I went back to work after the 4 days. Had to. Cruddy job doesn't pay for sick days, or holidays or Pinup by Robert e McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Robert E McGinnis
vacations. Go Tea Party Republicans . . . I'm back to walking the 3.2 miles to work. It's fine.
The law that shuts down my job is still going forward. There's a lot of rumors about it being rescinded injuncted etc but they seem to be just rumors and dreams. The owners see it as positive reinforcement of their wish fulfillment. Of course my fellow workers (who, for the most part, are as scummy as the rest of the operation) and I are at a loss to plot our future in a bad economy. We're adrift. Adrift for the holidays.
Can't find a job and hate this job.

I've been listening to a lot of music. Most of it pretty poor.
About the worst one is the new Linkin Park album, "A Thousand Suns". I mean, who new that Linkin Park's main goal was to become Styx?
I didn't know the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers had broken up until I heard a pretty poor Surf Mondo Nudo record from the Heartbreakers. I don't blame anyone for making a bad Surf record: Many are called but few can shred. But this new album "Mojo" is really off. I mean it's a bad blues album?!? It's not execrable but there's nothing on the disc to brighten your day.
Neil Young did an album with Daniel Lanois. I still think of Lanois as the black guy with the cotton white mohawk in Wendy O William's Plasmatics. That's not a knock, that's praise. But Le Noise is all about the gimmick not the music. It's this tripped out grungy acoustic guitar with lots of studio effects. Now Neil Young solo would be interesting, this is mainly grating. So grating it's a hard call as to whether any of the songs are any good or not.
The best of the new stuff seems to come from Weezer except their album is named "Hurley" and features the fat guy from "Lost on the cover. I have no idea why and find myself unable to care. But the songs are okay. Not great but okay and nowadays that seems to count for too much.
Untitled by Agata Nowicka
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Agata Nowicka
There's one bright spot though. Over 25 years ago the Osaka Ramones changed their names and became Shonen Knife. To commemorate they released 2 albums, "Fun Fun Fun" and "Free Time". The albums are interchangeable and, while not essential they can only be listened to with fondness. The musicianship has improved but Shonen Knife still sing songs with power about their fave foods and the gentle beauty they ignored just some shirt time ago. these gals are what music is supposed to be about.

I've been remiss on posting my NFl picks. You can tell what a crazy season its been as I'm only 69 out of 81! My wife has been trying her totally bogus guessing/cheating system and its come back to bite her as she's a laggardly 73 of 81. Please don't laugh at her, she's not in it to win just to have some fun.

My picks are in bold.Murder My Sweet

Tampa Bay at Atlanta - Right now the Falcons are probably the best team in the NFC. The Buc's have played better football this season and benefited from the last place schedule. This might be a good Audrey Hepburn
Click images for desktop size: "Audrey Hepburn"

Chicago at Buffalo - Cruddy game of the week.

New England at Cleveland - How do the Patriots keep winning?

New York Jets at Detroit - The Lions are playing well at home but the Jets will come in with a huge chip on their shoulders and have the talent to dominate the upstarts.

New Orleans at Carolina - Dru Brees only plays with a bright fire but he'll have blood in his eyes and forestall a let down after their stunning thrashing of the Steelers. The Panthers will wear blue.

Miami at Baltimore - The Dolphins have been playing like a playoff team but the Ravens are playing like a Superbowl team.

San Diego at Houston - The Chargers are counting on a second half surge. They have nothing on the roster to base this dependency on.

Arizona at Minnesota - Brad Childress is destroying the Vikings! The Cardinals just suck. Cruddy Without You by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: "Without You" by TitusBoy
game of the week contender. How crippled will Brett Favre be in this one?

New York Giants at Seattle - My upset of the week. The Giants are not that good and the SeaHawks are playing at home.

Indianapolis at Philadelphia - I hate the Eagles but they've never lost a game after a bye week and the Colts are decimated.

Kansas City at Oakland - Who would have thought that these two teams would be the game of the week! Taking the Raiders because they're at home.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati - I look at the Bengals and I want to cry. They should be a contender but they stink. So much talent and nothing delivered.

Dallas 10 at Green Bay 14 - Back in August this looked like a for sure game of the week. Now it's a "please get this over with" match up.

September 26, 2010

USC 50 Washington State 16

Pin Up by Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "Pin Up" by Unknown
It's been a dead dull if sweaty week. Too much heat. Numbs the mind makes life seem like a distant thing.
Only bright spot is that I finally got my wife's immigration application filed. I worry about that. The way the Republicans Mad Love and the racist Teabaggers are determined to destroy America, (Why did the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch decide to swipe the name of a pretty sleazy sex act for their creation? Was it some very nasty joke played by some rich nasty jerks on some stupid nasty morons?) I fret over the idea of her coming here. If racism and hatred are going to rule and turn us to a 3rd world banana republic she'd be better off staying where she is.
Still looking for a new job. It's discouraging but necessary. My paycheck for 20 hours late this week. It's one thing to be chattel and quite another to be treated as chattel.
I got my flu shot.
And now I wait.
At least there's football.

The first two weeks of the NFL season have been horrid. It is some of the worst football I've ever seen in my life. Sloppy routes, lazy QB reads, runners missing holes and defenders ignoring their gaps. Clearly the first team needed a lot more reps!
The NFL plan to take two practice games and turn them into real games is just going to cheat the fans and reduce the quality of the game
Still I was 12-4 in my picks last week. My wife made her picks two. She game in that she refuses to Outsiders
Click images for desktop size: "Outsiders" by Marvel Comics
concede her total and irrevocable defeat!

My picks are in bold.

San Francisco at Kansas City - Who'd have figured the 49ers would be 0-2 and the Chiefs would be 2-0. Matt Cassell has shown that USC back ups are more talented than most starters. His leadership for the previous hapless Chiefs is credible. The 49ers are against the wall. This week they should play the football they're capable of.

Detroit at Minnesota - Nearly the cruddy game of the week. Favre should be catching up enough now to beat the shell shocked Lions.

Buffalo at New England - I liked that Tom Brady owed up to his poor play leading to the Patriots loss to the Jets. Bad news for the Bills, he'll prove it won't happen again.

Atlanta at New Orleans - Game of the week. Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez against Dru Brees. Oh Lost Horizon yeah!

Tennessee at New York Giants - The Giants are heavy favorites which amazes me. They've played horrid football no matter what their level of talent. The Titans looked terrible last week but you have to figure they're going to rebound. They match up well against the Giants too.

Cleveland at Baltimore - The Ravens should destroy a team that looks like its already upset about not getting the number 1 pick last year.

Dallas at Houston - I think the Texans are a badly coached team but I also think the Cowboys are poorly coached and have the most over rated talent in the league. The Texans are rolling and can overcome a desperate Cowboys team who will quit in the face of adversity.

Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay - Forget all my negative feelings about the Steelers - Troy Polamonu has that D playing inspired crippling clean football. The Buccaneers are beside themselves that they're 2-0. Today is reality check day.

Cincinnati at Carolina - The Panthers are starting Jimmy Clausen . . .

Philadelphia at Jacksonville - The Eagles are heavy favorites. The claim is that Michael Vick is playing the best football in the league. I dispute that slightly. He is a great player but a miserable excuse for a human being. He has not made repartitions as he promised. Meanwhile Jack Del Rio has a decent team in the Jaguars and a lot to prove.

Oppossed Fates by snyp
Click images for desktop size: "Opposed Fates" by snyp
Washington at St Louis - Cruddy game of the week contender. McNabb looks like a steal for the redskins who are still a horribly coached team but the Rams are just hapless except for Steve Jackson who can win a game single handedly even now, just not today.

Indianapolis at Denver - A real head scratcher here. The Colts have looked lackadaisical except for Manning. The Broncos have to recover from a suicide of a 22 year old WR. Hard to read the impact there. This is a real coin toss of a game for reasons, that sadly have little to do with football.

Oakland at Arizona - Cruddy game of the week. When a head coach figures he's more important than the players you can't expect much better than a .500 season. The Cardinal won't make anywhere near that record. The Raiders still stink but less than in past years.Mask of Dimitrios

San Diego at Seattle - The Chargers are heavy favorites. But Seattle is a miserable road trip and the Chargers are really missing Tomlinson's leadership skills. This just feels like a time for an upset.

Green Bay at Chicago - This should be a good game unless the Packers start running away with it. The Bears have demolished themselves in the past two years and no reason to think they've ended that spiral.

New York Jets 17 at Miami 13 - Tie Breaker Game. The Jets pulled it together and demolished the more talented Patriots last week. They'll keep playing gritty hard edged games. I like them.

September 19, 2010

USC 32 Minnesota 21

Click images for desktop size: "Nude" by Unknown
A few months ago there was a murder homicide at the cardiac clinic where I have to go. The clinic is about 2 blocks from where I live. It's on one of the busiest streets in town, a ridiculously large 6Legacy lane street that meanders from downtown to nowhere.
This fellow had just broken up with a receptionist at the clinic. He walked in and shot her twice in the chest and then he walked out.
About 4 hours later they found the killer. He'd parked his car along the other busy street the served the clinic and he was hunkering down in the bushes. Why it took 4 hours to find him when he was about 200 yards from the clinic parked on a street, half nosed into a ditch and impeding traffic, traffic that logically should have contained a few cops, I can't really figure out.
About 6 cars surrounded the guy, blocking the street. They exchanged some fire and then the killer shot himself in the head. None of the 50 shots the sheriff and cops had fired seem to have hit anything except the bushes the killer was hiding in. It's pretty easy to see why he gave up.
Funny thing is, this small town is always in the top ten of the best places to live in the USA. Imagine that. It's been number one a few times.

Interesting week at work.
The owner of the "internet cafe" is a revolting man, in appearance, actions words and probably thought. He's about 5' 7", and about 320 pounds. He breathes heavily walking about 20 feet.
His hair, and skin are greasy, as if they were oozing golden butter. He has one of those scraggly beards that 18 year old hipsters wore in the 80's. Over all the impression he gives off is cartoonish. This is reinforced by the ever present Blue tooth earpiece and the constant flourishing of his Moan in Blue by J3 Concepts
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Blackberry. He has to flourish it as it never seems to ring.
But looking at him and the straining pants and shirt buttons he doesn't remind me so much of a beach ball but of a grease spot on an asphalt road.
He's not particularly bright, clearly he's undereducated but he stumbled onto something and like all people he feels his genius has rewarded him with all this money because he deserves it.
Maybe one day he'll learn but not today. He says his bank account is short $60,000 and that means we stole it from him. When I asked how he knew his bank account was short I was rebuffed. Clearly he figures I couldn't understand the delicacies of a bank reconciliation, or else he didn't know what he was talking about.
They said that I was short $1,000. I thought that was stupidity/ Examining the figures it seems the made a mistake. No body apologized for calling me a thief.
Maybe in his mind he thought he did. He basically called me an idiot because I contended that LinuxKing of the Pecos was more secure than Windows. He claimed to know hackers who routinely hacked linux systems. It was so easy I guess he was implying he did it all the time too.
Even after showing him the huge gap in his logic that disproved I was short $1,000 he was still adamant that his bank account was still short 60K. I could see no way that we could short his bank account but I lack his mathematical acumen and about 150 of his Garland And Astaire
Click images for desktop size: "Garland & Astaire"
The end result of his genius is that he's fired everyone except me and his manager. That he trusts the manager is a testimony to his genius and the fact that I'm labor and would never rat out a co-worker. In fact when they asked for me to defend myself I could think of nothing to defend so I defended my co-workers pointing out what was wrong with the job and how they'd held steady and firm. That probably wasn't brilliant of me but I was pretty angry at his assaults on everyone.
So, there's two out of 7 left. Stupid. It might be a house cleaning. I can see that little brain working that out. I'm hard to replace only because I work the midnight shift and am, however stupid, not terrified of the drug dealers, the hookers and pimps. I survive.
the manager will survive because she threw everyone under the bus. Including me. She kept screaming that I told her that about the middle of September they'd be accusing us of robbing them blind. I said it because it was obvious and to give her and everyone a gentle push to stop stealing Just a Dream by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: "Just a Dream" by TitusBoy
from the till. Instead of taking my warning to be cool for what it was she tried to interpret it as some semiotic placement that I knew that all this money shortage would show up now.
It's stupid. The job is cruddy and still the 2nd worst job I've ever had. It's not worth fighting for. I would have given notice but these type of people don't understand honor, probity and integrity. How can they when they evince none of their own. I figure they'd go, "AH HAH! He stole the non-existent money and now he's running away!" These kind of people think like that because they can't imagine anyone being different or having different motivations than themselves.
I'm looking for another job. I'm stressed because even a bad job is better than no job, but not unduly stressed.

Last week my football picks led me to a 9-7 record. My biggest failing was underestimating the Patriots and thinking the Colts could win forever.Kiss in Attack of the Phantoms
But at least I beat my wife. She, poor thing, had a terrible 10-6 record for the week. She also failed on the survivor game. I think this week was her best chance at winning and since she couldn't it will be a long season for her.

My picks are in bold.

Miami at Minnesota - My survivor pick. For the Vikings, Favre has had another week of practice and Adrien Petersen has had an extra 3 days of rest. The Viking D looks poised and ready. The Dolphins offense was pathetic last week, and look like they have no answers.

Arizona at Atlanta - Arizona looked as horrid as you'd figure last week while the Falcons played a solid game against an inspired Steelers defense. The Steelers got lucky and the Falcons got disgusted. Just disgusted enough to take it out on the Cardinals.

Baltimore at Cincinnati - Game of the week. After getting manhandled by the Patriots a lot of people are writing off the Bengals. The Ravens are a heavy road favorite. I can't see it. The Ravens are already old and banged up, the Bengals are now certainly aware of what they need to do to win.

Kansas City at Cleveland - The Chiefs were a team I picked against last week. They played strong inspired football. They're not quite good enough to afford a let down and the Browns, well, the only way they'll beat anyone this season is if their opponents are looking past them.

Chicago at Dallas - The Cowboys are heavy favorites and while the Bears are not a good football Night Sweats
Click images for desktop size: "Night Sweats" by Unknown
team the Cowboys looked like rubbish against the Redskins. They committed more bad and inept plays than I thought possible for even a decent high school teams. The Bears still need some wide receivers. Cruddy game of the week.

Philadelphia at Detroit - The Eagles look like a game team and that's about it. Michael Vick starting for them makes me want them to lose. The Lions lost Matt Stafford, their starting QB. WIthout him it looks like a long day.

Buffalo at Green Bay - This should be my Survivor pick this week, but you only get to pick a team once for the season and I figure I'll need the Packers later on. The Bills will show up and think its warmer in Wisconsin than in New York.

Pittsburgh at Tennessee - The Steelers got real lucky last week. The luck can't last forever. The Killer's Kiss Titans Vince Young was very very classy in the Reggie Bush debacle when he had no reason to be so. The Titans still have a solid team and could pound the Steelers and would do it in a classy way.

Tampa Bay at Carolina - Cruddy game of the year potential here. Who'll win? Who cares? Taking the home team.

Seattle at Denver - Pete Carroll pulled of a small miracle last week, thrashing the trendy 49ers! He's going to be interesting to watch all season. The Broncos find it hard to lose at home.

St Louis at Oakland - If you're wondering how Chicago -Dallas beats out these two games for cruddy honors this week its because these 4 teams are expected to be bad. Anything positive absolutely glows in relation to the cruddy level of play. Still doesn't mean I'd watch or care about them.
Untitled by Nathan Fox
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Nathan Fox

New England at New York Jets - I don't think Mark Sanchez is as bad a QB as he was last week, nor do I think the Jets are as cruddy a team as they appeared. You have to wonder if the Patriots are as good as they looked! I'm thinking they are. This game is game of the week stuff. These two teams sincerely dislike each other. It will be great!

Jacksonville at San Diego - The Chargers are heavy favorites. Hard to figure why. They looked pretty dismal getting hammered last week while the Jaguars looked strong and gutsy. Picking the home team as they do seem loaded with talent but I'm tempted to take the Jaguars.

Houston at Washington - The Texans finally managed to beat the Colts. As the Redskins looked asLifeboat poor as the Cowboys they did get the win, but they'll need to play much better and more consistent ball to beat these guys. Donavan McNabb still has the juice but his line is going to wither under the Texan pass rush. The Redskins only hope is the Texan coach is no genius.

New Orleans at San Francisco - Dru Brees! This game will probably be a lot closer than people imagine. The 49er's have a lot to prove, but the Saints are still so "Oh baby!" they make my heart song.

New York Giants at Indianapolis - Brother vs Brother. Eh, who cares. Colts are in disarray but the Giants are too. Going with the home team.

September 12, 2010

University of Virginia 14 USC 17

Just So Stories by JM Gleeson
Click images for desktop size: "Just So Stories" by JM Gleeson
It's been a long week. Interesting but not for any really good reasons.
On Tuesday I got a call from my cardiologist. They got the EKG i had on Friday and wanted me toIsland of Dr Moreau come in immediately. Like, right now! Since the call came at 8:30 I took it seriously. But then I told them my insurance had lapsed and that I had an appointment on Monday to see if I was eligible. (What I have isn't real insurance. It's an emergency plan for low income people with serious health issues. Budget constraints force them to keep changing the eligibility requirements so I have no idea if I'll still be good for it.)
When I told them I might not be insured the urgency deceased. Suddenly it became okay for me to wait till after next Monday. They gave me some numbers for free advice if the chest pain got too bad etc. I have to admit I found it sardonically amusing. "We don't want you to die but we got to get paid."
I then got a letter with some of my test results. My cholesterol was great, 60! My HDL's were a touch low 25 - need more olive oil. But my triglydes were insane. They went from 120 a year ago to 672!! 500 is considered dangerous. I don't know what 672 means. I called the doc and she explained that it was most likely the diabetes being out of control. In my case it might not be so much out of control as, for various reasons, important for me to get my glucose down to near hypoglycemic levels. Which was what they'd already decided on Friday when they did the tests. They doubled the insulin and altered the meds some.
My lists of acceptable foods has really fallen to nil.

But what's important is that football season is back!
Last season my wife narrowly beat me in the season tally. This was very sad. It's hard to accept the Iron Gate by Macindows
Click images for desktop size: "Iron Gate" by Macindows
fact that a woman you care about would resort to cheating. Sad, sad sad.
I explained to her that US Immigration was probably considering this extreme cheating as proof she should not be allowed to live here. Canadian woman picking NFL games better than a highly experienced coach. It is nothing but sad, and sadder to think she actually thought anyone could believe she didn't cheat!

My picks are in bold.

Minnesota at New Orleans - An easy pick. Even Brett Favre needs practice time.

Miami at Buffalo - I don't think the Bills are going to be as bad as people believe and the Dolphins have proven that they have some serious issues on offense. I'm taking the Dolphins to win in a close one. They're facing the pressure and how they respond today will set the tone for their season.Jail Bait

Oakland at Tennessee - My must win Survivor game. Vince Young couldn't pick a better defense to get back into the season. Young has a lot to prove. The Raiders are still a team stuck in the 1980's. They insist on playing the old Darryl Lamonica Mad Bomber style football and crafting a D to combat that. The Raiders are deep in talent and in some bad personnel choices. The Titans have Jeff Fisher and are a work in progress. Oh, and Chris Johnson is for real.

Cincinnati at New England - Game of the Week! This is the game Jackson Guitars
Click images for desktop size: "Jackson Guitars"
I'm watching on the old rabbit ears TV. I'm sticking with the Bengals even though, as I write this the Patriots are up 24-0. The Bengals haven't stopped the Pat's. Kevin Faulk has stopped the Patriots! But I still feel that Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco, Cedric Benson, Ray Maleluga, and Larry Johnson can match up and win this. If they do it will send some ripples through the whole team.

Carolina at New York Giants - Not that bad a game but with a back up QB for the Panthers and the mish mosh the Giants have become this is the default cruddy game of the week.

Atlanta at Pittsburgh - Atlanta will put the better team on the field but the best advantage the Steelers have is banding together in accused rapist Rothlisberger's enforced absence.

Detroit at Chicago - I almost wanted to pick Detroit here. If this was a game that allowed for the spread I'd take the Lions easily. Martz is being hailed as the second coming for the offense. His style Ice Flowers by Anca Varsandan
Click images for desktop size: "Ice Flowers" by Anca Varsandan
of football is a decade old and he sure didn't light anything up in his time with the 49'ers. Still the Bears have talent on D. They still need two WR's.

San Francisco at Seattle - Mike Singletary vs Pete Carroll? The 49'ers believe and Carroll is one of the all time great College coaches but Singletary, so far, is a much better NFL coach.

Green Bay at Philadelphia - The Packers are my early pick for the SuperBowl this year. The Eagles haven't dumped Michael Vick.

Arizona at St Louis - The Cardinals are starting Derek Anderson? He of the 41 passer rating last year? The Cardinals have been pretty shabby in their handling of players and fans through out their history but this is sort of jaw dropping. Against anyone but the Rams I'd be picking them to lose. the Rams are woeful and Sam Bradford does not impress me.Joan of Arc

Baltimore at New York Jets - One of the more interesting games today. They're both sort of unknown quantities. How will the aging Raven's D hold up? Will Sanchez continue to improve? Should be some great football here. Taking the Jets for no good reason at all.

San Diego at Kansas City - Pretty boring potential here. The best thing will be wondering how stupid the Chargers front office feels about letting Drew Brees go to the Saints.

Indianapolis at Houston - You have to take the Colts but I expect this to be scary close.

Dallas 34 at Washington 26 - The most over hyped game of the weekend. I wonder if former Eagle Donavan McNabb is healthy enough to start for the Redskins. Will Tony Romo continue to lose the big ones while everyone talks about how great he is?

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

December 20, 2009

The more you can dream, the more you can do
Michael Korda

The Star My puppy and I took a two hour stroll. It was supposed to be an historic ice storm.
We weren't very impressed. I only slipped 4 times, 1 near fall and 0 falls. It's early in the season Calvin and Hobbes but I'd say I'm on track to winning winter.
One the near fall I had to wind mill my arms. The frozen shoulder barely hurt. It didn't rotate around as much as I'd want but it worked. A few months ago I'd have just let the fall happen instead of enduring the pain of moving my arm. So I'm winning everywhere . . . except work. I hate my job. It's the kind of job you have to hate. They don't give you much choice.
I still think like a worker, a laborer, and that its us against them. Sadly, not many of my co-workers agree with me. I ignore them.
One of my coworkers was accused of stealing $1,200. Stupidly the accusation took place right in front of me, which is as stupid and as disorienting as it sounds. After a few moments of pretending I was unaware of what was going on my coworker began, in near tears to beg not to be fired. Management seemed, to me, to be taunting him, saying how this sort of thing usually meant instant termination.
I thought the scene crossed too many lines of decency and humanity. Its pretty bad to have to beg for a cruddy job, in this economy you often feel that sort of trembling fear and anxiety. I understand it too well. It's the only reason I'm still working there.
I felt frozen, I didn't want my coworker to see I'd seen his anguish. I tried talking to management directly and offered up a bit of defense and pointed out I shouldn't be here for this sort of conversation, that it was demeaning for all 3 of us. I tried to offer up a stronger defense but I kept thinking of the new laptop with 4G dongle he'd shown me the day before, and how he was encouraging me to join him in spending a couple hundred bucks for gifts for the other workers.
Xmas I always believe that people are innocent and if they're not then there are things and personalities that I can't understand. The only ones I assume are guilty are governments, management and the powerful who view society as an impediment to their success.
My doubts must have been pretty strong because I couldn't mount a more vigorous defense. I managed to finish up and leave offering up my support. It distracted me all the way home, thinking about the situation. I sent out 3 more resumes when I got home.
The next day I was stunned by an entire wall of edicts all demanding to be signed by me. I fumed and felt like walking out. They were mainly to prevent theft. I'm never to pleased to be accused of being a thief. I have a lot of things I can be called out on but not for being a petty thief. (I always work of the old edict about stealing from your employer: If you're not stealing a minimum of 3 times your annual salary don't do it. That includes taking pens or paperclips. I mean, you are going to get caught.)
It turns out the coworker offered to make up the shortage at $20 per month . . . that's five years by Holiday Comics my calculator . . . great job security or I'm the fool for being honest. I mean, a five year zero interest loan . . .
That didn't bug me near as much as the 18 new rules and procedures I had to stomach on Christmas week.
I didn't walk out. Not more mature and level headed, just older and more fearful.

I'm enjoying having the TV. Still have mixed feelings about the WDTV Live. Odd thing is my feelings are very strong on loving and hating the device. My friend is coming to visit (with both the crazy dogs - which means my Christmas will be frenetic and most likely happy - just the way I like it!) and she's bringing the AppleTV with her. It's acting up in a way that's affecting a couple thousand people and the New Apple, is of course, ignoring the problem. It's a port problem that seems to have been launched with the new AppleTV 3.01 firmware.
I'll get to compare the two, side by side and I'll try to get it to work.
I did get to watch two of the best films I've seen this year. One's even American made!
"Moon" was a well hyped low budget flic. I liked it. Found it amusing and liked the return of science fiction, as opposed to Sci-Fi, to movies. Its been pretty well hyped so not much need to go over it. I found it a nice reaffirmation of freedom and humanity. Something most American movies seem to ignore in the 21st century.
The other film was denser and more surprising. Since "Running on Karma" I've always figured Johnny To and Ka-Fai Wa as two monster talents waiting to explode. They've done some brilliant work separately and done some light collaborations. this is the first film since "Karma" where've Xmas they've worked together as a team.
The movie is different. Firstly it's a FRENCH production! And stars French icon Johnny Hallyday! It starts off as a pretty standard though superbly made thriller, a move titled "Vengeance" makes it pretty obvious what we're going to see. I figured there'd be some sort of culture conflict, Europe vs Asia sort of thing.
To and Wa are too smart for that, in fact the film proudly touts the humanity of us all, even amidst society's killers. There are plenty of cool scenes and plenty of mayhem. The movie starts to turn at a picnic ground where the prey meets their families for dinner. The hunters stand by refusing to engage while the children are present.
Everyone gets shot up pretty badly. While the hunters administer to their wounds it turns out that Hallyday has a bullet in his skull that will cause him to become a total amnesiac with no long and a very spotty short term memory. An idea lifted in cloth from the cool "Memoir". To is smart enough Action Comics to use that movie as a shorthand stop to dispense with boring exposition.
To uses the device effectively to get to his and Wa's central theme, the nature, purity and need for revenge. When Hallyday's memory finally goes he doesn't remember pictures of his murdered daughter and grand children. He doesn't even remember the meaning of the word revenge.
Anthony Wong gives a solid performance as the hired killer with values and morals as well as brains. Simon Yam plays the villain with over the top glee. Its important he be so despicable to prove the thesis of the movie.
Wong delivers Hallyday over to his pregnant wife and 8 children. He knows he and his crew are going off to die. Since Hallyday offered him everything he had for his revenge Wong leads him to the only safe place he knows.
There in the family Hallyday laughs and spends his days playing with the children. He's happy perhaps for the only time in his life.
The children and mother are upset when the news of their father's death makes the local news. Hallyday only has a polaroid of Wong to tell him that he even knows the man. But he feels the upset around him and feels some how responsible.
Confused and befuddled he falls to his knees at the edge of the ocean and he begins to pray. He has no memory of his religion but for To and Wa faith and belief are instinctual things. And in praying to nothing Hallyday is coming into the zen of his situation. Hallyday sits at the ocean locked in his meditations even as the tide rises and threatens to drown him, even after it recedes he stays locked in his position, until the ghosts of his memory seem to rise from the ocean. The people he has loved Santa and the people he has grown to trust and see as friends rise up and give him release with a kiss.
And Hallyday the blank man from another world rises from the beach and goes off to kill, to seek vengeance. And he's aided cleverly and safely, by the children and the pregnant mother who need their own vengeance.
The idea of vengeance so elegantly woven into a high octane action movie is hard to conceive. It works for me and the film is enough of a hit to say To and Wa pulled it off.
I have a hard time accepting the organic necessity of revenge but that doesn't stop this from being one powerful film that would rank as one of the years best in any year.

I mentioned before that my friend is driving down from Canada to see me for the holidays. I'm touched and pleased and worried. I hope the weather is calmed down enough for her trip to be uninteresting. She'll have the two dogs with her. I don't know if they'll make the trek easier or more Santa Claus Funnies difficult. I'm looking forward to seeing them as well.
I'm poised to have a broke but excellent Christmas. What could be better.

I sort of lost interest in the NFL when the Saints lost tonight. The idea of two undefeated teams meeting in the SuperBowl was staggering and blissful. The Saints with Reggie Bush as the sun, Coulston as the wind and Drew Brees as the tired warrior bringing self esteem to a city and making that his primary goal despite the horrors that his own life have instilled filled me with a pride in the human race. I loved Brees leading the Saints in that pre-game high school rocking cheer. Seeing pros get as up and excited as kids is unique. The Saints may not have own them all but they won my heart. And sometimes a loss like this brings them down hard enough to reality to see them through to win the rest.
Pure crap such an important game was stuck on that dreary contentious NFL network. It should be banned by an act of congress and the NFL's anti-trust exemption revoked.

My picks are in bold.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville - The Colts did their part and the Jaguars made it more than interesting.

Dallas at New Orleans - Curse this shabby Cowboys team.

Christmas Toys Chicago at Baltimore - The Ravens have disappointed this season but still have a shot a playoff spot. The Bears only interest is in drafting some wide receivers.

New England at Buffalo - When will be certain that Tom Brady is really back?

Arizona at Detroit - Two teams coming off embarassing losses. The Lions are used to that.

Cleveland at Kansas City - Cruddy game of the week. The Browns beat the Steelers?

Atlanta at New York Jets - Mark Sanchez should be back and Ryan has the Jets paying some D. The Falcons need more than an 80% Matt Ryan to compete.

Houston at St Louis - A game of no interest whatsoever!

Miami at Tennessee - Two teams whose play off dreams are fading fast, this could still be one of the better games this Sunday. Taking the Vince Young Titans because he's playing inspired football Junior Partners 5.jpg and is pretty fun to watch.

Oakland at Denver - This game should stop the Broncos from achiving an 8-8 record after an 8-0 start!

Cincinnati at San Diego - Game of the Week. Chad Ocho Cinco invites his twitter followers out for breakfast the day before a game and then walks with them to Starbucks for coffee. Plans to wear his dead teammates jersey knowing he'll be fined massively. A teammate dies and it will either inspire or deaden a team. I hope it inspires. This is my second fave team this year. The Chargers will probably when going away but where's the beauty in that?

Tampa Bay at Seattle - Another who cares game.

San Francisco at Philadelphia - I like the 49ers. I don't like the Eagles this year. They took Vick and lied to defend it. They have also played erratic football.

Green Bay at Pittsburgh - The Steelers lost to Cleveland . . . They should just cancel the rest of their season. Maybe they already have.

New York Giants at Washington - Big rivalry game or snooze fest?

Minnesota 41 at Carolina 14 - At sometime they most have thought this would be a relevant game. What records will Favre and Petersen break is the only thing of possible interest.

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Peace on Earth!

December 12, 2009

He was the greatest coach who ever lived; he could take his'n and beat yourn and then he'd take yourn and beat his'n
Bum Phillips

Korean Girl
Click images for desktop size: "Korean Girl" by Unknown
Tired. Just tired.
Need a break. I'm not going to get one. Just have to keep soldering on.JSA
Big fight at work. I had to work Thanksgiving Day. To my chagrin the place was packed. I'd hoped it would be empty so that the bosses would think it'd be worthless being open Christmas. But it was packed.
When the paychecks came was when there was the hassle. All my co workers worked 4 hours shifts and got paid for 12 hours. I worked an 8 hours shift and got paid for . . . 12 hours. To the bosses this was fair. They claim I got paid the same as everybody else. I don't see how anybody but a boss could make that math work.
I took the day off to prevent me from freaking out and quitting. I bought a TV.
It's a decent enough TV. I'd have liked bigger and better but I could afford this one. I got a 42" Panasonic plasma for about $400. Lots of searching and coupons. I wanted plasma for the brighter picture and the wider viewing angle. Looking for now and into the future. After the LCD price fixing came to light today it also made sense.
For content I got a Western Digital TV Live. It lists for 120 but I got it for 50 from ebay. It's okay. Adding on an external hard drive makes it compare okay to the AppleTV.
It's a dense path to compare them. The AppleTV is simpler, has a more elegant interface and greater accessibility to internet content, mainly via hacks with Boxee and XBMC. The AppleTV is notoriously underpowered and greatly compromised as to formats it can play. Just another way that Apple has decided to compromise the product to appease content makers to the detriment of consumers. This is the new media age, the old refusing to acknowledge the future. Just fighting to gouge money from us while providing inferior product.
THE WDTV Live has a clunky interface, that's fit more for nerds than for ease. With a USB WIFI card Leto by Artemus Rosakis
Click images for desktop size: "Leto" by Artemus Rosakis
it connects to everything on my little network and streams everything less than 1080p without a stutter. Xvid and DivX look cruddy. They're dead end codecs and show it. MKV files look sparkling and breathtaking. The AppleTV used to stutter on 720p mkv files loaded on the hard drive! There's not stutter at all on the WD.
Some content inexplicably gets out of sync on the WD. It makes no sense as I encode everything the same way. I can't figure it out yet. Still with 1080p playback compared to AppleTV's 1080i the WD has a distinct edge.
Of course there's no iTunes integration in the WD. The WD also has a pretty poor access to the internet. It does YouTube, but without the AppleTV elegance. The WD has a nasty Flickr interface and no account sign on ability. One of the niftiest AppleTV features is the Flickr screensaver. The WD offers nothing but a flashing logo screensaver that is brutally ugly, something only a Windows user could tolerate.
I'll write more when I use it. On the flash I'd prefer an AppleTV with 1080p and the versatility of the Souperman WD Live.
I've suffered through work coping with crack addicts in the parking lot (I thought smoking crack was so 90's) attempted robberies and trying hard not to quit. I need to work. I need money, even small amounts.
On Wednesday I had my EMG test. I really wasn't prepared for it. I got 5 separate calls urging me to show up, constantly reconfirming. I guess that should have been a clue as to what to expect. When I arrived at the clinic 3 people recognized me. One as the fellow with the black dog and 2 saw me as the man from "the casino".
The test was pretty arduous. It lasted 3 and a half hours . . . The first part was attaching electrodes to various body parts and then shocking the hell out of me. On the computer this produced a pattern that looked like pink noise in an aiff editor. Just a block of jagged lines.
The next part was sticking needles into the nerves and then recording the electric pulse. This all hurt.
There was apparently three levels of damage to my nerves that had to be worked through. The first was from the neurotoxin laden chemo therapy from years ago. This was an abrupt sort of one time damage. The second is the nerve degeneration caused by diabetes. This is chronic but slow. The final one was limited to my right frozen shoulder, here the damage is from my "guarding" the arm so much as to have compressed and damaged the ulnar nerve. There is also traumatic damage. I was hurting to much to explain this was from the torture inflicted on me by the Canadian authorities.
The neurologist will examine the results and decide if there's a fix. I'll see him this Friday.
Lara Croft by Adam Hughes
Click images for desktop size: "Lara Croft" by Adam Hughes
All in all its been a rough couple of weeks. The only saving grace has been my puppy who never tires of delighting and caring for me. She's a good girl who tolerates my shortcomings and endures my oafishness.
My puppy and thinking about football.
I'm concerned about USC. I think Pete Carroll is a brilliant football coach. I have no desire to see him leave the program. I want him to prosper again and I feel confident in him. Which doesn't lessen the sting of this incredibly dire season. I think Carroll's meltdown about Mark Sanchez leaving early is explained pretty much by the poor play of freshman Matt Barkley. The kid has talent but this year he showed nothing that would let me think he could take USC to the National Championship in 2010, 11 or 12. I now have higher hopes for stud QB Jessie Scroggins. I think he'll press Barkley more than Corp or Mustain.
As the season progressed I saw no improvement in Barkley's, footwork, his reads or his forcing of passes. He still locks onto his primary receiver and recognizes the outlet pass too late. As opponents got more film of him he was easy to adjust to.Star Wars in Concert
USC was victimized with far too many crippling injuries, starting with the devastating near fatal loss of Stefon Johnson. With the bizarre nature of Stefon's injury coupled with the way the O and D line were pushed around its apparent to me that Carroll needs a new, invigorated Strength and Conditioning coach.
We also need a better O Coordinator. If Charlie Weiss hadn't been an ass and made his scandalous actionable comments about Pete Carroll I fantasized about him being the O-Coordinator. He'd actually have been a good fit and would have aggravated Carroll as much as Norm Chow had, and that partnership produced Championships. But with his criminally cruel lies I honestly think the man should be banned from football for life.
Jeremy Bates did nothing to develop Barkley and his play calling was far too NFL and completely dull and unimaginative.
The Emerald Bowl is too soon to see if there will be any chance for this group to rebound next year.
A to the NFL it's getting shocking in its mediocrity. Two weeks ago I was a very good 14-2 in my picks. Last week a not so stellar 10-6. I also got myself bounced out of the Survivor game by picking New England over Miami!

This week I've dreamed about the games and pondered them as I've walked and stalked the neighborhood with my puppy.
My picks are in bold.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland - Talk about a dire season. From SuperBowl Champs to getting hammered Little Men
Click images for desktop size: "Little Men" by Unknown
by the Browns. The Steelers are missing only one player, former Trojan Troy Polomanu. Without him it seems they are less than ordinary.

New Orleans at Atlanta - I've idolized Drew Brees since his days at Purdue and now he's proved its all worthwhile. Undefeated and looking indestructible, the little guy still finds time to be one of the major charitable rebuilders of the still devastated New Orleans. He's a great player who easily wears the demigod symbolism overcoming the suicide of his mother with his commitment to his community and his teammates. He is becoming legend and I want him to propel himself into history. The Falcons season is destructing with the injuries to Matt Ryan and Michael Turner. Ryan might come back this week but there's no word on Turner. The Falcons need the duo to compete.

New York Jets at Tampa Bay - Mark Sanchez is squawking? He's just a game manager right now Strange Invaders who needs to make a couple of plays a game. He's a good kid who listens and learns. The Buccaneers are showing life and getting competitive but now there's enough film for Ryan to adapt and fire up his under talented D.

Carolina at New England - The Patriots could be the biggest disappointment of 2009, except the Steelers seem to want that honor. They're at home and Brady is a new father. That should be Natalie Wood
Click images for desktop size: "Natalie Wood"
enough for some inspired play. Carolina is . . . 52 men strong or something.

Cincinnati at Minnesota - Game of the Week. The Vikings need to rebound. They were totally dismantled by Arizona last week. The Bengals need to win to keep their confidence up as they continue to over achieve. The Vikings have to prove that last week was a blip. They may have lost home field advantage in the playoffs but they still need to win the division. I'm taking the Bengals because of Carson Palmer and my love for Chad Ocho Cinco. I wish I could force the NFL to let Chad celebrate his scores. His antics and tough play are the highlight of any given NFL week. This one will be a burner.

Buffalo at Kansas City - Cruddy game of the week. I don't care that both teams are coming off of huge upset wins they stink.

Detroit at Baltimore - The Lions have decided to spare Matt Stafford a beating and sit him sown for this one. The Ravens will just be happy to get back onto a winning track I can't see the Lions Lonesome Cowboy
Click images for desktop size: "Lonesome Cowboy" by NFL Films
stopping them from doing anything they want to do.

Green Bay at Chicago - The Packer D is real and solid. I wonder if the Bears have anyone checking Jay Cutler's blood sugars. He is not as bad a player as he has looked. (I'm serious about the blood sugars)

Seattle at Houston - The Ho Hum game of the week. Two teams with nothing to play for. Why are we subjected to this?

Denver at Indianapolis - This could be interesting but probably not. The Colts are turning into monsters and the Broncos are working to stumble to finish the season at 500.

Miami at Jacksonville - This is a game that fails to fire the imagination. The Dolphins will be high off their stunning win over the Pats and the Jaguars will be desperate to save their jobs. It could prove interesting but won't produce much good football.
Swamp Thing
Washington at Oakland - Cruddy game of the Week II. The Redskins couldn't beat the Saints even though New Orleans was missing 4 starters. The Raiders beat somebody. We were all amazed.

St Louis at Tennessee - The Vince Young Titans hit the reality wall but the fantasy should start rolling again against the hapless Rams. Has Steve Jackson demanded a trade yet?

San Diego at Dallas - The Chargers are playing some decent football while the Cowboys are still pretending the NFC East is the toughest division in football . . . Philip Rivers or Tony Romo? Does Romo really think holding for field goals is going to spark the team? The HC agreed??

Arizona at San Francisco - The Cardinals look like they're ready for another run deep in the playoffs while the 49er's keep playing good football but just have too little talent to make it all work.

Philadelphia 27 at New York Giants 24 - The Giants look like a train wreck. The Eagles less so. I resent them allowing Michael Vick to contribute while not forcing him to honestly fulfill his promises to the community.

November 29, 2009


Carlos Pacheco
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Carlos Pacheco
I've lived outside of the US too many years for Thanksgiving to be that special to me. That doesn't mean I don't have memories and expectations.Sacrifice
One memory is of my kids (as in my team) in the UK deciding I needed an old fashioned American Thanksgiving feast.
They did their best using their frame of reference. They took over my kitchen and made a typical Brit Christmas dinner with a turkey instead of goose and roast parsnips and turnips instead of corn. It was edible. The food wasn't important. It was that a bunch of young men and women managed to plan and execute and then function as a unit to accomplish a goal.
That the goal was to please me is only important in that they accomplished it for reasons other than they intended.
I had to work this Thanksgiving. It was rough. Most of the regulars were there but the others were dopers and drunks looking for any place that was open. It's been a while since I've felt that I was in danger that I might not be able to handle. I felt vulnerable. Every other joint in town has been robbed. We haven't yet. Thanksgiving morning that felt pretty tenuous. But nothing happened.
My relief came in. The owner decided that everyone but me would work a four shift, his concession to stealing the holiday. My relief was crabby, she usually is. I don't blame her but I was irked that she'd tell me about it.
There's a dispute going on. The guys who worked four hours are getting paid triple time for it while, for some unknown reason they want to pay me only double time!!
That does seem like a rip and an insult and I will quit a job that tries to steal 60 bucks from me. We'll see how it plays out. Fairness says I win. But who knows.
I was planning on using the overtime money to buy a TV so I can watch the playoffs, the bowl Clarence Carter
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Clarence Carter
games and see my movies. If I get shorted I'll hold on to the money while I do a job search. I'm already pretty heavily taken advantage of there because I'm desperate but even desperation has its limit.
I went home and fell asleep in the chair again. Woke up about 1 or 2. Took my puppy for a walk. We played some. She likes to look fierce and attack me. It makes me laugh. Her too.
I'd decided to be alone this Thanksgiving. Share a hundred or so emails with my friend and my other friends and then go to this big buffet place everyone here talks about. They had take out so I had to decide on taking my puppy and getting two meals to go or going alone and bringing her meal home to her.
I followed good advice I wish I'd ignored and went alone.
The streets were pleasantly deserted. Few cars and no other people. The walk takes me past the cardiac clinic which is part of a huge complex. I liked seeing it completely vacant.
As I passed it I saw a bird across the street. I wished my puppy was with me. She loves to watchScandal Inc the birds.
At first I thought it was some sort of exciting omen. I thought it was a wild Turkey on Thanksgiving Day! That got me all excited but I wasn't very disappointed when I got up beside it and saw it was one of the ugliest birds I'd ever seen: an East Coast Vulture pecking at the ground. I guess he was looking for roadkill.
West Coast Vultures are pretty ugly too but I'd grown up with them and somehow thought of them as grotesque rulers of the desert. They The Beatles
Click images for desktop size: "The Beatles"
had a certain majesty and fear to them that this guy lacked.
I was about 10 feet away from him when he acknowledged me. He flew away. I was amazed that he had a wing span of well over five feet. He flew about 15 feet away and perched on a 6 foot fence. He looked impressive there as he watched me walk by. His beak and claws looked pretty vicious but I find it impossible to be afraid of animals and I figured East Coast vultures are pretty much like the guys on the West Coast and don't have a lot of interest in something living.
Thinking of it buoyed me the rest of the way.
The restaurant was crowded. It was a pretty dowdy crowd. I'd dressed nicely (thanks to my friend shipping me some more of my clothes and coats) so I stood out.
Funny place. You have to pay as you enter! You couldn't go in with a friend and just have coffee. You had to pay.
It was twelve bucks for all you could eat, which seemed cool. I was pretty hungry. I also saw that the meals to go were $4.95 a pound! I figured I could score plenty of goodies for my puppy at that price.
I got a glass of unsweetened ice tea and put it on the cafeteria tray. That was two bucks! I didn't Cassandra
Click images for desktop size: "Casandra" by Unknown
understand why the drinks were before the pay station. Now I got the point.
There were several people eating alone but no tables for less than four. I found an empty easily enough.
There were stations with plastic plates. The plates were small, like salad plates really.
I had a salad. The salad bar wasn't much but I was in good spirits and pretty happy with the concoction I whipped up. Then I went for the feast. They had a guy carving roasted turkey breast. One slice at a time. I took it, got some corn bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn and brown onion gravy.
It was okay. Not great but okay.
I went got and got another slice of turkey and some rice, shrimp and some unknown seafood dish mixed with jalapeno peppers.
For dessert I had a huge plate of melon topped with canned peaches and maraschino cherries. I then went and asked about getting a box to go for my puppy and was seriously disappointed to discoverShe Mob my little fantasy didn't play. I figured I'd get a little styrofoam box that I'd take around and fill up, they'd weigh it, I'd pay, happy puppy!
Doesn't work that way. They had food to go but it was all from this case. They had no turkey in the case. So I got a plate and another slice of turkey, wrapped it in a napkin and took it home so my puppy would have a memorable Thanksgiving.
As I walked home I started to get sick. I've been having some pretty bad chest pain this week. Not bad enough to think about taking any nitro pills but annoying. The chest pain started in badly and then full on symptoms of food poisoning.
I doubt I'll be going back to this joint.
My puppy was kind. She loved her turkey and she lie on the bed with me pretending to attack me before falling asleep on me.
My puppy made it a good Thanksgiving for sure. As good as those long ago ones when people brought me happiness instead of sadness. Back when I thought Sartre was a jerk.
Work was bad. I was seriously disappointed to go in and find the place was packed. Somehow it didn't seem right to be away from your home and gambling. It was a repeat of the previous night without any criminal types. I guess even the bad guys stay at home on the holiday.
The next day was better. My puppy and I went on our long walk. She was stoked. Everything looked new to her. She enjoyed the cold weather a lot. I liked the cool crisp day and I liked the light. I was surprised to realize that the light reminded me of the light in Florence Italy. Very peculiar but pleasant to see. Vivid colors covered with a muted patina. I'd never seen it look like that here before, and I notice those sort of things.
We went to a frozen yogurt place that has a great sugar free vanilla. They sweeten with aspartame C and H by Deskto
Click images for desktop size: "C & H" by Deskto
and not malitol. My puppy and I shared a cup of it. She thought I ate more than my share. I had a cherry lime rickey that reminded me of when I was a kid and we'd go to Delores Drive In.
It seemed a shame for our walk to end but I was still shaky. I did buy a new soda pop I quite like. Diet Mountain Dew Ultra Violet. I've only found it one place and only in those pricey buck and half bottles. I also heard that this is a temporary limited offer drink. So I guess my little bottle is precious.
Today we went for a long walk and got tacos and ceviche. Time spent with my puppy is always rewarding.

Last week my friend and I tied at 10-6 . . . I've yet to figure out how she's cheating. It is not inconceivable that she is fixing the games! This could turn into an enormous scandal! Nearly as big a scandal as her bating me nearly every week!
For the season she leads 109 to 105. Not enough to discourage me yet.The Set Up

My picks are in bold.

Green Bay at Detroit - This was my survivor game of the week. I'm still in and I have a good shot at finishing the season and maybe even winning. I'm in the final 4%!! I picked the Packers because they were playing the Lions . . .

Oakland at Dallas - Another Thursday winner! I fell like I have a shot this week! I picked the Cowboys because they played the Raiders . . .

New York Giants at Denver - The Giants suck . . .

Tampa Bay at Atlanta - The Buccaneers couldn't follow up on their only win but they are showing signs of life. Too bad because now there's no way they can sneak up on the Falcons who are desperately trying to make some semblance of a play off run. I look for Matt Ryan to have a stat crazy day.

Miami at Buffalo - When the players are more concerned about who their next head coach will be CGB94
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by CGB94
instead of their next opponent it's a pretty good sign they've given up on the season. Miami still has a chance to make the play offs and have played hard all season long. Ricky WIlliams is insane but what's wrong with that. He has a shot for 200 yards against the porous Bills defense.

Arizona at Tennessee - Vince Young is playing real football again and has the Titans looking positive. Kurt Warner is questionable for the Cardinals and as much as I'd love to see Matt Linehart come off the bench and throw for 400 yards and 5 TD's it seems unlikely. I like him a lot but this rematch of National Championship QB's shouldn't be that close.

Seattle at St Louis - Cruddy game of the week. I considered picking Seattle as my survivor team but jeez they stink. So do the Rams but Steve Jackson isn't banged up and could actually swing theSlither upset.

Washington at Philadelphia - They sold the tickets so I guess they have to play the game. The Redskins are beyond bad but still managed to win 3 games this season. The Eagles lost to the Raiders and are still in the playoff picture. This is my who cares game of the week.

Carolina at New York Jets - Mark Sanchez has been looking shell shocked recently. There's enough film on him now for opposing D's to get a handle on him and play him hard. The Panthers are a real mess though and without Steve Smith they might have a rough time mustering any O. It seems pathetic to have to think about the consequences of two 4-6 teams but I like Sanchez too much to make this a Cruddy game of the week contender.

Indianapolis at Houston - A lot of the experts are picking the Texans to snap the Colts perfect season. I can't see it. Payton Manning is still Manning and Matt Schoub isn't. It still should be competitive but whatever happens it will be anticlimactic.

Chicago at Minnesota - I'm still waiting for Adrian Petersen to break 400 yards! This could be the game. The Bears are looking disheveled and its hard to believe even Lovee Smith can get them up for this one. You wonder what records Brett Favre will break this week.

Kansas City at San Diego - Last week the Chiefs beat the Steelers. I figure they over celebrated to be easy pickings for a team that was already poised to destroy them.

Jacksonville at San Francisco - The Jaguars are 6-4 and surging and the 49ers are 4-6. The 49ers T Hecker
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by T Hecker
have been playing solid football, playing past their talent levels. They've had bad moments but no bad games this season. Frank Gore will give the Jaguars fits even if Alex Smith won't.

New England at New Orleans - GAME OF THE WEEK!! And the only one to get excited about at all. The Patriots are coming in with a chip on their shoulder after the devastating loss to the Colts last week. The Saints are looking to prove that they are as real as 10-0 can make you. Tom Brady in a shootout with Dru Brees is something to dream on for days. If Reggie Bush and Sedrick Ellis are back and healthy that will make this a game to remember. I don't really care who wins but I'm taking the Saints because well, because this is the year its safe to love them.

Pittsburgh 12 at Baltimore 18 - The Steelers can't win without Troy and now they don't have Rothliesberger and have to turn to Dennis Dixon, 3rd string. RAH! Dixon has talent but he's far from ready to start in the NFL. The Ravens will blitz him until he cries. Flacco will get enough of the job done and might even make this a rout.

November 22, 2009

To be or not to be; that's not really a question
Jean-Luc Godard

7th Vision
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by 7th Vision
Another day at work. Spent my waking time arranging my transportation for physical therapy, optician and neurology appointments. It seemed a dreary and depressing chore.Robin and Marian  
Took my puppy for her walk and, as usual, marveled at how much she enjoys just being with me; how keen she is for adventure. We saw a rabbit. It was disappointing that the bunny wouldn't sit still to be smelled.
We met a new dog in the neighborhood . A boy.
It made for a good morning.
I fell asleep at the computer reading emails, went to bed at 11 AM. Begrudgingly my puppy agreed to share our single bed. Slept fitfully until my phone rang; robot calls, two in a row, confirming the physical therapy and the neurology appointments.

Pouring rain; makes me feel even sicker.
Went to Physical therapy. It was good. He explained to me why drops in barometric pressure cause my shoulder to hurt and why the corresponding effect is a two inch loss of mobility.
The explanation was filled with tech terms and medical jargon. The ones I got were the easy ones like orbital and viscous fluid. Even when I didn't understand it all it gave me comfort to have it explained out loud.
Stretched out the three ligaments in the shoulder. Hurt but felt I was getting some good out of it. Then worked on the shoulder with some machines and tools. I made a special effort to remember the names of the tools. Can't recall any of them. Don't know if that's due to the fever or lack of sleep.
Next time I'll write it all down. Taking notes on my life.

The war with Canada escalates. I received a two page letter from them. It makes no sense. It Untitled by 3D
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by 3D
clearly was rushed and not even proofread.It is so insane and bewildering that I wish I had a good attorney I could afford to interpret it. It is as full of lies as a government letter normally is but ends with a whack phrase "I find you not to be inadmissible so I refuse you entry to Canada . . . "
To which I can only say, "Huh?"
Its what I expected but I expected a little more care to be taken and for their to be some precision and not so filled with wild conclusions and down right lies, demonstrably false lies to boot.

After a painful day at work I fell asleep in front of the computer but woke up in time for Physical Therapy and to go the neurologist.
I had to sit for over an hour in the waiting room. It was the kind of waiting room I've come to hate; large and over bearing with noise, not helped much by the two flat screen TV's blaring different commercials for medical services from opposing corners.
Met the Doctor. He was in his late 20's. Seemed like he was sort of brilliant. As we talked I foundRancho Notorious out he was one of the lead's on the NFL concussion and neurological research team.
Watching him rip through the medical database (which is still a thing of beauty) was cool. An impressive feat was that he'd gone and dug up data that wasn't in the database. Early medical treatments from before the database existed and before I lived here. A lot of research for a new patient. I started to think about how much the wunderkind Stalin
Click images for desktop size: "Josef Stalin"
must charge.
One unsettling fact was that one of the first chemo's I had, a pretty nasty one - the constant sickness and hair falling out in clumps that makes good dramatic movie fodder but is still no fun to live through, it started with a Vin or some such, well this Vin chemo contained a neurotoxin as one of its ingredients . . . it would sort of be impossible for me not to have some nerve damage. This was also the chemo that gave me diabetes. Nasty stuff. It didn't work either.
He explained that diabetes also caused a certain amount of inevitable nerve damage. Then he said the only cringe inducing thing of the day, "you know you're a pretty fascinating guy. When I was doing your medical history I was expecting someone well, no one like you. You don't even look your age let alone like someone who's been through all this," as he waved his hand at the computer screen and its load of open documents.
I replied with something weak like, "A guy is always more than just a bunch of words and pictures," with a shrug. He started to say something back and ended with, "Well, I should get on with the examination."
And that's what we did.
I have definite damage in the ulnar nerve. This was possibly caused by the cop twisting my arm. Shaped by 3D
Click images for desktop size: "Shaped" by 3D
Also my left foot surprisingly has some dead spots. I can feel a jab but I can't feel the buzz of a tuning fork.
Oddest was that I have mag something or other in my left eye. When I look to the left my left eye bounces around independently and crazily. I was totally unaware of this. The wunderkind was annoyed that the opthamologist hadn't noticed this. I didn't think much of the opthamologist so I wan't surprised by him missing it but I still have no idea what it means, other than another series of tests EMG's on December 4th.
I received an odd phone call. I'm being recruited to coach a semi-pro team. A couple of my former players are pushing hard for it.
I don't see much value to semi-pro football; at least not the values that I think I can teach. These are men and I still think I can teach young men and women best. I'll listen but I remain skeptical.

For Thanksgiving I gave myself a present. I took my puppy to see Santa Claus. I laughed a lot.Red Sonja
' We saw a lot of great dogs and ran into two of the people who were in our first therapy dog class. The dogs and the people who fed them remembered my puppy and me. I didn't remember the people but I remembered the dogs. Maybe it was the other way around for my puppy.
Their male dog just finished two years of being cancer free after being operated for melanoma. He worked as a therapy dog at the VA hospital even through his chemo. He demanded that I pet him and was begging for a cookie. My puppy let him have my attention, which is not common with her.

Which means that I'm looking forward to this week of football. A chance to get lost in the reality and beauty of a game that reflects and magnifies life.
In the contest my friend leads with a 97-94, but as you can see justice is beginning to prevail and I am inching closer to total victory!!
Last week I was a magnificent 10 of 15 while my friend was a laughable 9 of 15. A lesser man would gloat and laugh at her ineptitude. A slightly better man would feel sorry for someone so clearly out of her depth but me, well, I stick to downright mean gloating.

My picks are in bold.

Miami at Carolina - I picked the Dolphins. I think their record is poor but they've been playing better football. They were hard hit when Chad Pennington went down but have adapted well. Carolina is a great inconsistent mess of a team, talented but unreliable.

Indianapolis at Baltimore - Manning pulled off another miracle to remain undefeated. The Ravens Winter's Hunt
Click images for desktop size: "Winter's Hunt" by Unknown
won't be impressed. Their season is on the line. Oddly the defense has been incredibly inconsistent. They miss Rex Ryan as DC more than they thought. But their offense has been strong. The Colts freakish win over the Patriots is the sort that can give a team swagger through the rest of the season but it can also cause the wrong people to relax and just count on the miracle. With a new HC I'm figuring that will be the result and the hungrier, desperate Ravens pull one out at home. This is my Game of the Week but only because the schedule is pretty rotten.

Washington at Dallas - There's no heat for this game. The lack of heat actually favors the Redskins. The Cowboys record is adequate but loaded with wins against doormat teams. The Redskins are a doormat this season. This is a magnificent example of who cares.

Cleveland at Detroit - Cruddy Game of the Week. My Survivor Game. There are 839 "Survivors" left in the pool. Since you can only pick a team one time during the season you end up with a pretty Star Wars decrepit looking selection of teams at this stage. I'm picking the lions because I don't think they have a chance to win any more games this season. The Browns truly stink. Brady Quinn as starting QB is a joke. The Browns D is off looking for condo's in Florida. Matt Stafford gives the lions O some life. If I can get past this week I actually have a chance at winning the Survivor game.

San Francisco at Green Bay - The 49er's are a team playing better ball then their record shows. The Packers have been incredibly inconsistent but their 5-4 record is better than they are. If Singletary can keep his team together and away from being discouraged they should smash the Packers.

Buffalo at Jacksonville - The Bills make me nervous here, not that they are any good but they're the first team this season to fire its head coach. Historically cruddy teams have won like 70% of their first games after the HC has been dumped. Otherwise Jacksonville and fiery Jack Del Rio should take it to them in a rout.

Pittsburgh at Kansas City - This is going to be an ugly game. And pretty uninteresting too.
Ten-My target by TCYC
Click images for desktop size: "Ten: My Target" by TCYC

Seattle at Minnesota - Adrien Petersen, Brett Favre.

Atlanta at New York Giants - The Giants are favored in this one? Old prejudices die hard. Matt Ryan is flying high. The Falcon ground game is potent while the Giants have been bumbling. Steve Smith is looking great as a possession receiver but they mix Plaxico Burress more than they want to admit.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay - The Saints are without Reggie Bush and Sedrick Ellis. That hurts. Dru Brees' mother committed suicide. The Saints might be ready to fall. The Buccaneers have been looking eerily potent. This game is their SuperBowl. I'm sticking with the Saints out of faith.

Arizona at St Louis - This should be a rout. If it isn't there should be an investigation.

San Diego at Denver - The Chargers are starting to peak, too early for the playoffs of course, while Running Wild the Broncos are falling hard back to earth. They remind me of an old Chicago team (Remember Bobby Douglas - for your sake I hope not) that started the season 7-0 and finished 7-7 . . .

New York Jets at New England - This would not be the week I'd want to play the Patriots. Angry after the last second loss to the Colts (And I think Billichik's decision to got for it on 4th down was right. Even a great punt would not have changed the out come. The only question I have is not putting the ball in the hands of Randy Moss or Wes Welker). Tom Brady is going to turn buzz saw and looking to put his foot on someones neck. The shambolic Jets defense are going to be the poor guys out there.

Cincinnati at Oakland - The brilliant play of Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco on offense and Keith Rivers and Rey Maluga on D will keep this one entertaining. A new QB for the Raiders isn't going to be anywhere near enough.

Tennessee at Houston - I wouldn't have thought it possible but Vince Young is pulling the Titans together. The Texans are trying and get Steve Slaton back this weekend. This one has the potential to be entertaining especially watching Brian Cushing chase Vince Young down.

Philadelphia 34 at Chicago 35 - The Eagles shouldn't miss Brian Westbrook much, they've got plenty of weapons. I'm picking the Bears at home because Jay Cutler seems to follow up horrific performances (5 picks last week) with stellar jobs on his next outing.

November 15, 2009

Stanford 55 USC 21

Steve Argyle
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Steve Argyle
I have been H1N1ified.
Cost me $10. The clinic where they are giving the shots for free had 13 doses. They expected it toOctopus be gone within the hour of my calling. The pharmacy in the grocery store had 20 doses. The vaccine was free but they charged ten bucks for administering it or something. Since the government is administering the program I figured it had to be approved for them to do this. When I asked the pharmacist they assured me it was all kosher, so I went for convenience.
I'm still a bit perplexed that my health puts me on the list of the "at risk ". I don't know if that makes me "lucky". I mean I'm up there in front of pregnant women and children 4 and up. I'm preferred because of the diabetes, the chemo and the heart disease.
I'm still uncomfortable about the words "heart disease," at least when applied to myself. Makes me feel decrepit instead of vaguely dangerous.
I mean Ron Santo and Jay Cutler had/have diabetes, so that stays within my view as tough enough, Kareem Abdul Jabbar has gone public with his leukemia so that doesn't feel so much like I'm an outsider but heart disease conjures up some pretty unwelcome images. Images unsavory enough to not dwell upon, I don't think I was intended to ever get to be this kind of old.
My friend's secretary is in hospital now with H1N1 and pneumonia. So I have genuine concern. I have little enough immune system. Stupid cold bothered me for three weeks and I still have remnants of it, so I'm pretty glad to have the vaccination.
When I tell people I've gotten the vaccine it's amazing how almost everyone has a stupid story to tell me about why they don't need to be immunized. Fear is at least an honest answer. But most of the stories are about how they never get the flu, although sometimes they get colds that are so bad Piercing Stare by Fastner and Larson
Click images for desktop size: "Piercing Stare" by Fastener & Larson
they have vomiting and diarrhea . . .
Which, in my byzantine mind, leads me to bracket that logic with the sort of torsion you get from governments. The fight with the Canadian government shows no progress. There's some revealing tells.
Firstly it seems whenever you find there's something inherently wrong with the world it always seems to end with a battle with the government.
Stupidly I'm kind of experienced at it.
The first time was because of some law. In California it used to be that if a woman was getting beaten by her husband it was okay for her to run away but it was illegal for her to take her children with her . . . I mean you'd have to be some pot bellied, stogie chomping knucklehead to have come up with that one. A woman gets beaten, and if you ever saw any of these women these are beatings that drop your jaw, and when one of those poor victims finally gets the courage to save her life and she selflessly looks to protect the lives of her children the stupid cops could arrest her and then either throw her in jail or force her to return to the guy who was trying to beat her to Out of the Past death. Without busting the guy kicking the hell out of the woman . . . Yow.
The madness of law. We won that one but only because I got allies who took over and knew the right way to go. Considering my way involved a baseball bat with nails sticking out of it, that was a good thing. The law got changed. People, politicians fought against it. They Judy Garland
Click images for desktop size: "Judy Garland"
argued that any woman who would desert her home clearly wasn't in any place to care for children and that she belonged in the house with her husband. If her husband slapped her around, well, she married him didn't she. Yow.
Winning gave me confidence. I got involved in a lot I didn't win but usually I partially won and learned to ungracefully compromise. Like in England the abuse of children is horrifyingly rampant. Like the shelter for children in Islington where the care takers were turning the children into prostitutes and sending them out to turn tricks on the street. That only went on for 30 years. I think two guys went to prison for 3 or 4 years . . .
Or the British passion for writing children off as worthless and unredemable. Thirteen year old kids lost forever because one adult couldn't be bothered.
You win a few you lose a few. But you learn that the corruption of a government is beyond a persons ability to conceive. That they will exceed your nightmares with evil and nonchalance.
But they have tells. The Canadian government didn't send a form letter to my abridged list of complaints. They blithely ignored them except for demanding I resubmit forms I'd submitted 3 times before.
Right now they're trying to find my unnamed witnesses. If they were confident that they could be Orbs And Lines
Click images for desktop size: "Orbs & Lines" by Unknown
bought or discredited they would have blithely denied all the bad deeds, or justified them as standard procedure. Ignoring them with a bland promise to have a third party perhaps review them in the future is a weak chain link fence that they flee too.
It doesn't mean that the guy reviewing it won't fall back on denial and other outrageous claims. They have a difficulty there in that too many of the witnesses aren't Canadian. And that I'm not totally crippled and from Jamaica (Jamaicans suffer even worse abuse) or African or from some country too far away and too poor to support a proper battle causes some concern.
Have to see what happens. It's a long war where they rely on time to win just by wearing you out.
I am worn out. My job continues. It sucks. Often its pretty easy to despise humanity.
I get corrected. I probably am not getting depressed. Depression has become to clinical term and carries a lot of weight and implications. The actual word should be despondent, which is far morePhase IV temporary and doesn't respond well to drugs. You can be despondent and not feel enough rage to consider suicide or homicide. It's an emotion not a treatable disease.
My puppy . . . took her to a pet store and used their scale. She's lost exactly 1 pound in 3 months . . . dang. I feel like I'm starving her and, trust me, she's convinced I'm starving her.
We went for a long walk today to get tacos. I'm impressed with how much of her therapy dog training she still recalls and applies to life. Like the rescue dog drives her crazy and plays violently, nearly viciously. She wants to retaliate but does what she was trained to do with kids and that's to disengage and to come to me. A couple of times I thought she was going to retaliate against the rescue dog but instead she followed her training.
Today when a bunch of little girls swooped down on her to pet her she did what she was trained to do and that was to sit close by my side so that the little girls were forced to approach her one at a time. She still loves the attention.
I figure in a month my physical therapy will be over. Then I can start back at her therapy dog refresher. I hope she still is interested in being a therapy dog. She's very very good at it. I'm not going to force her to do it. She and I know each other well enough for her to know I'd like her to do this and I know her well enough to know when she's just trying to please me and not enjoying it. I like it when she is happy being a doctor dog, when she takes her rounds seriously and playfully. It's up to her what she wants to do here.
After a week off I'm back full force on the doctors this week. Physical Therapy on Wednesday and Friday. I get a free pair of glasses on Wednesday too. I pick them out anyway. Bifocals with a line, Polar Bear
Click images for desktop size: "Polar Bear" by Unknown
no tint and no frame selection. Those will be my indoor glasses. I'll have to buy my tinted all the time glasses. The opthamologist says I still have to wear them predominantly or risk blindness. My eyes are too sensitive to light. I priced the lenses out and the cheapest estimate for lenses is $250. I was thinking of buying a pair of cool RayBans and having prescription lenses fitted to them. Should bring the price up to about $400 . . . On Friday I have to see the GP doc, about drugs and the fact that my left foot has turned purple! As if deeply bruised. I got my new LL Bean slippers! The bruise seems to be receding as I wear them! It's probably just the stupid job where I have to stand and walk on a linoleum floor for 8 hours straight. Then I have to meet the Neurologist to end my Friday. That's to set up the test to see where the nerve damage is in my right arm. It makes the pinky and ring finger part of my hand numb. They say there's a compression of my ulnar nerve. It will probably require surgery to correct but maybe not. Its from when the cops where twisting my arm.
I also have to find a source for Plavix. It's the one drug I need to actually stay alive. The cheapPeeping Tom clinic is not going to carry it cause its too expensive . . . So far I got one price and that freaked me so badly I haven't checked else where. They wanted $540 a script . . . But Joe Lieberman is going to filibuster the health care bill.

Sounds like a good time to think about football.
Last week I was 9-4. Not good enough for a prize but pretty good. My friend was a truly pathetic 8-5. I tried not to laugh at her but it was hard.
For the season I have a surging 84 points while she still lingers around with a pathetic 88.

My picks are in bold.

Chicago at San Francisco - This was the Thursday night game. I picked the 49er's mainly because the Bears haven't won in San Francisco since they were Super Bowl champs! And you had to figure Piglet
Click images for desktop size: "Piglet" by Unknown
Singletary would have would be fired up facing his old team. I was worried about Jay Cutler doing so poorly. The Bronco's kept a coach who's whole job was checking Cutler's blood sugars and keeping him properly leveled. I wonder if the Bears are showing the same care. It could account for 5 interceptions. Seriously.

Atlanta at Carolina - The Falcons are a team better than their record. They're a playoff team. The Panthers are in disarray. They have some talent but it's obviously occupied in something other than football.

Tampa Bay at Miami - This one could be ugly. The Bucs showed some spark last week but the Dolphins have had a week to study the film of the rookies. The Bucs have nothing that can stop the Dolphins running attack. This might be the blow out that gets the Dolphins fired up to make a decent play off run.

Detroit at Minnesota - My Survivor Game of the Week. This is the closest thing to a lock as you can Playgirls and the Vampire find in sports. The Lions haven't won a road game in 3 years! And prior to that they set the NFL record for consecutive road losses. The Vikings are fired up and playing gritty football behind Brett Favre and Adrian Petersen. This is another ugly one.

Jacksonville at New York Jets - This should be a decent game. The Jaguars are on the rise while the Jets are still struggling to find an identity. Mark Sanchez keeps improving and manages the game well enough and responds when he needs to step it up. I'm taking the Jets because I like Sanchez and he's at home.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh - Game of the Week. The Bengals stunned everybody when the thumped the Steelers earlier in the season. Now the Steelers are looking for revenge, which normally would make me lean towards Pitt but I adore Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco. The man got fined 20k for his awesome joke of trying to bribe an official with a dollar bill. His response was to pay the fine and then pledge an equal amount to a program to feed hungry kids. He's a maniac but p[lays so beautifully. And I think they should have given him a 40k bonus for bringing some lightness and joy to what has been a pretty dreary season for the NFL. No Fun League.

New Orleans at St Louis - The Saints in the Super Bowl? Why not? The Rams for the number 1 draft pick? Probably.

Buffalo at Tennessee - Vince Young for comeback player of the year? He's revitalized the Titans offense and that's for sure. The Bills season seems lost, once again, so he might continue his Secret Smile by LawnElf
Click images for desktop size: "Secret Smile" by Lawn Elf
surprising level of play. The only surprise for the Bill is that TO hasn't had his typical melt down . . . yet.

Denver at Washington - This is going to be a stinker but it will keep the Bronco's record gaudy. The Redskins should be the most moribund team in the NFL but shockingly there are worse!

Kansas City at Oakland - And here are two of them. The Cruddy Game of the Week. Taking Oakland not because they stink less than the Chiefs but because the Raisers have a much better soap opera going on. A Head Coach in need of counseling? RAH!

Seattle at Arizona - A game that should not be competitive. If it is it will take a pretty strong effort by the Cardinals to give it away. Mike Holmgrem left the Sea Hawks in time!

Prisoner of the Cannibal God Dallas at Green Bay - Last week the Packers gave Tampa Bay their only win of the season! The common thought is that the Cowboys have started to get their act together. I'm taking the Packer underdogs at home because I think the Packers are going to respond to being embarrassed but mainly because Tony Romo has never looked that good to me.
Philadelphia at San Diego - A game that's interesting for all the wrong reasons. Last time on the West coast the Eagles got thumped by a pigeon and the Raiders! Will the forces of nature rage against them again? Can the Chargers come up a new creative way to use all that massive talent to lose another one? The Eagles risked universal scorn by signing Michael Vick - so far he's accounted for a massive 37 yards . . .

Anime by Hanbai
Click images for desktop size: "Anime" by Hanbai
Baltimore at Cleveland - Does anyone really think that Brady Quinn is the answer to the Browns woes? I just hope he gives the ravens enough of a game that they can work on and restore their defense.

New England 30 Indianapolis 28 - Game of the Week Runner Up. Rah. For a long time I was really bored with the constant Colts-Patriots match ups. This year is a little different. I'm surprised the Colts are undefeated! I'm stoked that Tom Brady has gotten his groove back. This could be a burner. I'm taking the Patriots not just because of Brady but because the Patriots have the tools to consistently deprive Manning of Dallas Clark (his favorite target)and that should be all the edge they need.

November 8, 2009

USC 14 Arizona State University 9

Orangeness by LawnElf
Click images for desktop size: "Orangeness" by LawnElf
Its been another exhausting week. Being sleepy is my natural state.
I work and go to physical therapy. That's about it. All I can handle. Oh, and fight with the CanadianMountain of the Cannibal God government.
Physical therapy has entered that stage of really doing me some good, but that means a whole lot of pain.
I do get excited about the improvements. Its hard to tell anyone about it because they're so small but important. I can reach in my front pocket without squealing. I can put my wallet in my back pocket and not have to do a 5 minute twirling dance to get it out. I can brush my hair with my right hand.
My shoulder blade has finally separated from the rib cage. That was hard. Now there's a dull burning pain surrounding my shoulder blade that intensifies when I do the 3 exercises to keep lifting it back to normal.
For the rotation which was the most damaged because of what the cops did to me, I have to stand with my hand braced waist high on a door jamb. Then I simply turn. I hurt myself pretty badly doing this.
I like my physical therapist, we talk about martial arts films and various techniques for strengthening thigh muscles in kids. He takes me seriously and often starts our visits by telling me the results of his research into one of my more difficult observatory drills. But he doesn't remember what kind of maniac I am. Like most of us when we like someone we assume they're sane and more like ourselves than anyone could actually be.
Assuming I'm sane is risky and foolish.
When I was doing the rotation drills I'd put all my weight into it. More strength means faster recovery, right? I did them until the pain was nearly causing me to black out, pushed right through all the pain and when the soreness didn't leave I continued with the next set on schedule and just Cole Phillips
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by C Coles Phillips
kept pushing through the soreness and pain.
Turns out that's pretty stupid.
I'm supposed to do the twists with light pressure and only to the point of where the pain starts. The pain is supposed to stop as soon as I release the pressure. He was incredulous that I was doing them my way. I was incredulous that he didn't tell me not to hurt myself . . .
The soreness went away pretty quickly doing them his way but i don't think I'm seeing as rapid a result as I was with my methods.
Today I raked up the leaves in the yard and now my shoulder feels only tired without a trace of soreness. Two months ago it would have been an impossible chore.
One bright spot of the week was that the Apple Store exchanged my retro keyboard for a brand new one with no hassle or skullduggery. As distasteful as I find a lot of Apple's new business techniques and their shoddier manufacturing they keep winning me back with the superb customer service.
Like I still love my 2nd hand iPod Touch (what a clumsy name). I like the little casual games, I love Never Trust a Gambler finding wifi hotspots and checking my email anywhere. I like reading news feeds and while I'm on the bus or waiting for the transportation to pick me up from the doc's I like watching movies on it. "Riot in Cell Block 11" was totally cool. And it plays music. Its become an indispensable part of my life. I can see wanting an iPhone but not while its tied to At&T or, rumored, Verizon and their exorbitant fees and slip shod service.
The other delight is and will always be my puppy. She's dealing okay with the rescue dog. He's too aggressive with her and resists learning Brigette Bardot
Click images for desktop size: "Brigette Bardot"
how to play "properly".
One of the neighbors commented that my puppy was the most elegant lady like dogs she'd ever seen. She said my puppy always acted with grace . . . which I sort of doubt but I don't mind that being the public perception of her.
One of the traits of her breed is their sensitivity and their memory. I've never struck, swatted, kicked or struck her. It sickens me and enrages me when I see someone strike a dog, almost as much as it does if it were a child. But my puppy reacts to harsh words like they were knives cutting her flesh.
I fell asleep and forgot where this was supposed to be heading . . .
Anyway, while we were out for our walk today we stopped into a drugstore. I lashed my puppy to a garbage can so I could see her through the door and make sure no one messed with her. While I walked past the counter a dark voice barked at me, "COACH!"
It was one of the kids I coached when he was in high school. As I think he was voted the student most likely to get 10 to 20 years I was pleased to see that he was working. At first I thought it was a cruddy job he had but then decided it was at least a better job than the one I had . . .
Indian Camp by Charles Russell
Click images for desktop size: "Indian Camp" by Charles Russell
He came form behind the counter and asked me, not how I was doing or some such but, "Hey, where's Coach Puppy?"
I told him that she was outside. He said, "Yeah, I wouldn't mind but the manager probably get upset if she came inside, but heck, she's the Coach!"
We went out together and bought her inside. She seemed to remember the kid and probably asked if he'd been scoring any TD's. He scratched her butt which pleased her. They talked while I got the few things I went in there for.
While we walked he told me how he still lived with his grand mother. He also told me something I didn't know. His grand mother had been in the hospital with a heart attack. She'd been one of my puppy's patients. He said she still tells people about the black dog who'd come and peek around her door to see if she needed any doctoring.
He said that he can always make her laugh by telling her some of the stories about the doctor dog being his football coach.My Gun is Quick
I'm always proud of my prim little puppy but sometimes it is nice to be reminded of why.

Last week I was a stunning 8-5 in my NFL picks . . . my friend was a mediocre 9-4. I think she has hacked the server and manages to change her picks, not enough to attract any attention from the guys running the game, just enough to beat me!
Despite her ability to cheat I still feel confident that this week I will over take her and prove my innate superiority in all things football!

My picks are in bold.

Washington at Atlanta - This is my Survivor pick this week. There are only 14,000 still left in this contest! The Redskins are a manic depressive mess. The Falcons are facing being eliminated from the play offs if they don't win. Easy choice.

Arizona at Chicago - The Cardinals are schizo's. Their stunning win over the Giants was a fluke or a Orion Nebula by NASA
Click images for desktop size: "Orion Nebula" by NASA
pure revenge game. They're bewildering. The Bears are a good enough football team that are still working out how to play together, the defense without super stud Urlacher has joined up to play fierce football while the offense still has not adapted to its new super stud diabetic Jay Cutler. They seem to take a step forward then get flustered. They'll need a complete game to handle the Cardinals. There's no reason to think they won't pull it together.

Baltimore at Cincinnati - Game of the Week. And it should be a burner. The Ravens brutally exposed the Denver Broncos last week while the Bengals have discovered defense and inspired play from Carson Palmer. While Chad Ochocinco has been spending the week bragging on what he plans to do to the vaunted Raven's D while NOT giving them any bulletin board material! This is pretty much a must win for both teams and both teams are capable of mashing the other. That certainly excites me! I'm picking the Bengals for no real good reason. I just love the way Palmer and Ochocinco play.Night of the Living Dead

Houston at Indianapolis - The Colts' defense is an injured shambles and as much as I dislike the Texans and their football I can't ignore they've been throwing up a lot of points lately. The Colts have Manning and there's nothing in the Texan scheme that makes me think they can stop him. This is a game of the week contender, a contender because I don't much care for games that are evened out due to injury.

Kansas City at Jacksonville - Cruddy Game of the week contender. No Larry Johnson, who I met as a high school footballer and thought the world of, for the Chiefs so an underpowered O gets weaker. Their D is incapable of getting any worse. The Jaguars are under achieving and totally exposed. Jack Del Rio won't let them lose to a vastly inferior opponent.

Miami at New England - I think the Dolphins' running game will gouge the Patriots D for plenty. Ted Ginn has finally shown he has some talent but I can't see him getting any TD's against the Pat's special teams. The Dolphins can hang with the Patriots now but they don't have much to answer Brady, Welker and Moss.

Green Bay at Tampa Bay - This is one of those boring games that is killing the NFL. The Packers are a team and the Buccaneers are a discombobulation wearing jerseys. If the Buc's do win I'd demand a congressional investigation. Too many of those guys seem to think sports are more important than things like health care anyway.

Carolina at New Orleans - The Saints are undefeated! The Saints. The Panthers are playing far Dracula's Daughter
Click images for desktop size: "Dracula's Daughter" by Universal
below their talent. They'll step up their game against the Saints but I hope it's not enough.

Detroit at Seattle - Cruddy Game of the Week. The Lions haven't won a road game since the Great Depression. They don't deserve it but the Seahawks should win this one, probably on a last second field goal.

San Diego at New York Giants - Two of the seasons great under achievers. I wouldn't be surprised to see the two teams trying to lose this one. Might be entertaining.

Tennessee at San Francisco - the 49er's will make the Titans rethink starting Vince Young. Mike Singletary has them playing inspired football far above the talent level to that point where the high level IS the talent level. I wouldn't be surprised to see Kerry Collins reappear.

Pittsburgh at Denver - One of those solid games that used to make up the bigger part of the NFLNo Way Out schedule. The Steelers' strength on offense is pretty well nullified by the Bronco D, but the Bronco's O will be negative oxygen reserve against the Steelers' D. It should get pretty smash mouth and close. I have to trust Rothliesberger in the close ones. This one and Dallas and Green Bay are the only away teams I picked this week!

Dallas 22 at Philadelphia 21 - The Eagles Dismantling the Giants last week doesn't make any where near as strong an impression as them getting manhandled by the Raiders. Dallas is a mediocre football team that was designed to beat the Eagles. I'm willing to let that play out.

November 1, 2009

USC 20 Oregon 47

Happy Halloween by Julia Nikolaeva
Click images for desktop size: "Happy Halloween" by Julia Nikolaeva
I'm not feeling too great. Mostly in my head and heart. My body feels mostly like it always does.
It was a pretty good day. Got things done that pleased me. But then the letter A stopped working on Maniac my keyboard and that started the slide.
I couldn't avert the slide, even when I discovered the keyboard is still under warranty. Now I just have to get it there to exchange it. Another task. Just means that's the keyboard wasn't the root of the issue, just the last straw sort of thing.
My job is pretty horrible. The hours make it worse. Not only am I always exhausted but I deal with the degenerate gambler types. They're not very nice or polite. After the first week they're not interesting. Their differences are all overwhelmed by their identical compulsion. This is pretty low rent legal gambling so I guess I shouldn't have been distressed to discover the compulsion is something for nothing. Most of my "customers" don't have jobs. They describe sitting in a chair and clicking a mouse to make the electronic slot wheels to spin as hard work. Maybe it is. I tried it and found it boring.
There's not even a rush. For this to be legal, and right now it is legal, this is a sweepstakes. The winnings are determined as soon as you sit down and log in. The slot machine aspect is simply a reader to hook you in. What they spend hours doing could be accomplished in about 10 seconds. But then they wouldn't keep spending money.
People do win, the biggest winner was $9,000. It doesn't really matter to me. These people don't tip. They run me ragged but it never dawns on them to tip. Their attitude is that it's my job and they feel no need to show gratitude or pay a gratuity. So I clean up their messes, protect them from the predators because it's my job and I'm paid plenty . . . I've heard them say often, "Don't pick up the garbage. It's his job, let him do it."
The women are almost all enormously fat. They don't want to sit on the toilet seat so they crouch Death
Click images for desktop size: "Death" by Unknown
sort of over it but they are so big they mainly urinate all over the floor and then complain about how the bathroom stinks. I clean it up.
I bought three bags of Halloween candy. I figured it was too much for any trick or treaters. We got one here. So I was giving it away to some of the people. It made me feel human. One person said thanks. Mainly they wanted to exchange it for something better. Most came up and demanded their free candy. Nearly all complained about the selection . . .
It wears you down. When they lose they get nasty. And I'm the only one around who they're pretty sure won't slug or shoot them for being nasty.
And I need a job. I make enough to be broke. I'm still far enough down the poverty scale to still be eligible for food stamps and free medical. Without a job I'd be even more lost.
Then there's my continuing war with governments. I wonder why I suddenly became so important that they need to fight so viciously. There's nothing bureaucratic or professional about it. Its just cruelty. Ridiculously I understand it. People want me to fight. I want to fight for justice, just like in MAgnum Force the comic books but I am so weary.
I miss my things. I never thought that I'd be one of those people that's defined by his possessions. I like my music. I like being able to watch football. I like my clothes. Maybe the broken keyboard reminded me that the only thing I have left is this computer. It keeps my music. It stores my movies. I watch them here now. It's not satisfying. Its hard to get lost in a story on a computer screen. At least it is for me. I keep checking emails.
Betty Hutton
Click images for desktop size: "Betty Hutton"
I just feel beaten up. It will pass. Depression doesn't scare me. I'm not suicidal really. Never have been. But sometimes I get in these moods. Fortunately I have a good dog who loves me nearly as much as she loves her Kong, her ice cream, her treats, her food . . . I'm sure I'm in there somewhere.
The first time my puppy and I met she bit me! After being separated by the heart attack episode she snapped at me. We have that kind of relationship. She knows I'm depressed so she acts the clown. That's hard for her. She's a pretty beautiful dignified thing most of the time.
I can't be depressed too long. If a cure consists of more than a kiss and scratching her butt or chasing her for the Kong she gets confused. She needs to know that what she does works. She needs to know that I am okay. Its those traits in her that make her a great therapy dog and why the children love her.
Right now I smile because I think of how incredibly tickled she gets when she makes me chase her for the Kong. She is so overjoyed she looks like she could explode with joyousness. If she were human she'd have to sit down and laugh for 10 minutes while wiping away tears. Right now she's awakened and looks at me just long enough to make sure I'm okay. If I weren't she'd come over and doctor me, whether I wanted doctoring or not.
Dracula's Daughter
Click images for desktop size: "Dracula's Daughter" by Universal Pictures
When I'm not here she spends most of her time waiting for me. That saddens me.
Halloween was fine. My favorite pet store is going out of business. I went to their last day sale and got some good bargains.
The crazy people on the corner, the ones who over decorate their house. (Spiders crawling up the wall, a graveyard with animated figures, giant cats and purple spiders, billowing smoke , music and sound effects - it almost sounds slick. It isn't. Its WalMart cheesiness run rampant) The husband dressed up as Leatherface and was chasing the trick or treaters with a toy chainsaw. It was enough of a show that the street was blocked with parked cars and kids waiting their turn to ask for candy and get chased.
They did this for themselves, not for charity or for profit but for the fun. Somethings are nice in small towns.
I went to the Chinese restaurant and spent my last 6 bucks on some Mu Shu chicken. When ever I get mu shu I always wonder why those pancakes are so valuable, I mean they give you a pint of muThe Midnight Story shu and four pancakes!
I watched the USC-Oregon game on-line. It was pathetic but I'm still a Trojan. Always will be. It's okay to gloat over our worse loss in 8 years, cause its been 8 years and seven consecutive championships. We'll probably still go to a bowl game. It was a bad loss but that's all it was.

I don't feel much like going into great detail on my NFL picks this week. But so many people like to ridicule me over them it feels like it would be selfish to not make them public.
Last week I was 8-6. As usual I was pretty happy about losing half the games and flummoxed by the other 3. My friend somehow stumbled to identical record. Her cheating ways have stopped paying off! She remains five points ahead for the season. But you can sense that I'm about to make my move!

As always my picks are in bold.

Denver at Baltimore - Denver is not as good as their 6-0 record . . . which is probably one of the Fashion Plate
Click images for desktop size: "Fashion Plate" by NFL Films
ridiculous things my friends like to hear me say. The thing is that the Broncos think they are a perfect tam and that kind of belief very often works. The Ravens are a lot better than 3-3 and they know it. Attitude and home-field advantage make me pick the Ravens.

Cleveland at Chicago - I'm sleeping through this one, if the Bears can stay awake they should throttle the dispirited Browns.

Seattle at Dallas - The Cowboys win last week was one of the games that bugged me. I don't like this team much at all. The SeaHawks are the new trademark of the NFL completely erratic.

St Louis at Detroit - Cruddy game of the year, perhaps the decade! I have no memory of what prompted me to pick the Lions. Who cares who wins. Maybe they can figure out how to tie.

Houston at Buffalo - The Texans have become the flavor of the month recently. They won two games they had no business winning and did it convincingly, I still think they stink. Their wins arMondo Cane e more a product of the diluted NFL product than talent or skill. The Bills have looked surprisingly better, like they whipped the schoolyard bully and are now going after all comers. It should be interesting.

San Francisco at Indianapolis - I really like the 49ers and where they're going. They're playing good football and have a definite future except they lack a lot of talent. The Colts don't lack much of anything.

Miami at the New York Jets - The Dolphins played the game of their lives and instead of a win they ran into the Dru Brees, Reggie Bush thrasher. Incredible game, good enough to keep faith in the NFL. Can the JEts stop Ricky Williams? Probably not but I don't think the Dolphins can stop Mark Sanchez and the hot dog!!

Oakland at San Diego - My Survivor Pick of the week. Not chosen cause the Chargers are so good but because the Raiders are so bad.

Jacksonville at Tennessee - The Jaguars are starting to play good football while the Titans are 0-6 and bringing head case and USC destroyer Vince Young back as starting QB. So I'm picking the team in disarray because it just feels like them winning would be the better story.

Carolina at Arizona - After their great win at New York last week it's a sure bet they won't be ready
Click images for desktop size: "Face" by MK20Face by MK20 to lie down against the enigma team that is the Carolina Panthers.

Minnesota at Green Bay - For some reason the big story if Brett Favre returning to Green Bay and Lambeau Field. I think the big story is that they're coming off a loss and Adrian Petersen ain't happy.

Atlanta at New Orleans - Game of the Week. The Saints are undefeated . . . The Falcons are rising rapidly but the Saints are undefeated . . . A good one on Monday Night!

New York Giants 30 at Philadelphia 28 - Now we no longer have to hear about how the NFC East is the best division in football. They stink like the rest of them.

October 25, 2009

Oregon State 36 USC 42

Bleed by Janet Angus
Click images for desktop size: "Bleed" by Janet Angus
Once again my week has consisted primarily of recovering from work and falling asleep in the wrong places.The Last Man on Earth
My job gets no better. At least it is a job. I work Midnight till 8 AM and I get at least 5 people a night wanting job apps. Since two thirds of those are gamblers I do wonder what money they are using to play with, but thats a different point.
The big point is at least it's a job. I get paid. I dislike it with an edged bitterness which I start each shift willing myself to forget. Gamblers appear to be rude, obnoxious schemers. I extend myself to be courteous to the point of unctuousness. About 1 in 20 respond with even a curt acknowledgment. When I pay them their winnings I get perhaps one thank you in 50.
The same way I'm often pleased that I don't drink or get high I'm pleased that I don't have any impulses that demand I gamble. Just lucky I guess.
I realized this week that I had some long stretches where my shoulder did not hurt! I'd get the stabs if I used to much or twisted it around behind me but just sitting or walking I had no pain. It was a unique experience. I also noted I have much more use of the arm, I'd guess and my physical therapist agrees, that I have about 60% use of my right arm!
I was feeling so good I made the mistake of telling my physical therapist about it. I forgot an absence of pain is merely an excuse for him to hurt me even more. I've gotten4 more exercises to do each day. They're simple enough and hurt like hell but getting my arm back is so worth it.
The orthopedist came into my Friday session and checked me out. I have a knot in my trapezius about the size of a baseball. When I'm lying down it hurts like a son of a gun when I move my head. The doc just pointed out that its one of the worst of the "defensive" damages I've done to myself trying to cope with the pain of my shoulder. The main focus in my physical therapy now is trying to Candles
Click images for desktop size: "Candles" by Unknown
loosen up the shoulder tendons so I can get full mobility back one day, bringing the atrophied muscles back and eliminating the damage done by the cop torture and my trying to cope with the agony of the shoulder for 8 months.
The general feeling from the two doc's and the physical therapist that another 6 months of me trying to survive (like the Canadian doc insisted I do) would have resulted in the loss of the arm. I still have to see a neurologist to assess how much damage I've done to my ulnar nerve. They thinks its possible if not probable that I've damaged it in more than one place. A third of my right hand is still numb. I've gotten used to that.
The other big event was getting my monthly supply of drugs. A pain. There's one that isn't covered under any of the plans I'm on. Means I have to buy it from the drugstore at full price. Careful shopping has me getting it at $32 for a month's supply. It's not covered because it's a medicine for heart attack victims that is pretty well restricted to leukemia victims. This confuses me. It feels like The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue I'm being penalized for being too sick or something. It becomes a niggling complaint when two of the drugs I seriously need to survive, Plavix for my heart and Lantus for the diabetes (a 24 hour insulin) might become unavailable. The program that got these for me has run out of funding. I might be stuck.
I have about 3 weeks of Plavix left and about 3 months of inulin in hand.
I got to speak to a curt nurse who is in charge of the program. She wasn't too helpful other than they were trying. I'll have to shop around. I know they're expensive. This month the drugs cost me $180 which is a lot but still a great deal. I can almost afford it.
While I was picking up my drugs you can't help but notice that the economy (unemployment and low wages) combined with inept health care has packed out the clinic I depend on for survival. As in it normally takes me about 10 minutes to go in, pay for and pick up my drugs. This Friday it took over two hours. Of course I fell asleep and missed them calling me by about 3 minutes. I got aggro and pushed to the head of a line and got it sorted right away. The workers all thought it was funny I had Blackfeet Burning Crow Buffalo Range by Charles Marion
Click image for desktop size: "Blackfeet Burning Crow Bufallo Range" by Charles Marion
fallen asleep because I'd been standing.
My housemate took his new dog into the vet. He went to see my puppy's Dr K, which I felt was fairly cool. The new guy checked out fine. Dr K tried to talk my housemate into taking him to an obedience class. Don't think it took.
The new guy checked out fine except he had whip worm which is fairly contagious. I took my puppy's stool sample to this vet's office up by my work. I'd never take her there except in a psycho type emergency but to look at feces under a microscope I think they're fine.
They told me that she didn't have worms. I was glad for that. When I got home I was petting her head. She had this lump on her head I had been putting off to her tussling with the new guy. It wasn't a lump, it was a tick!
Since she uses Pfizer's Revolution (at about $45 a pop) she's not supposed to get ticks. I used alcohol to try and loosen it. I'm still worried that I got the entire thing out of her skull. I'm now The Legend of Hillbilly John terrified of her getting some nasty infection. For every inch of terror I have an equal amount of anger of Pfizer's product not working. Since Revolution is also supposed to prevent heart worm I'm agitated that it might have failed there too. I hate that I was duped into trusting a mega corporation, a company that blithely pollutes the water table and various other crimes against humanity. Why I would think that a company like that would do their best to protect my puppy makes me angry with myself.

Last week was a rough time in the NFL. I valiantly managed to Angelina Jolie
Click images for desktop size: "Angelia Jolie"
struggle to a manly 8-6 record with my picks. My friend using arcane arts, blind luck and clearly some cheating went 11-3. I should point out 11-3 is not good enough to get a prize.
For the season she leads 63 to 58. For some reason she now thinks she can give me tips on football! She's even taken to sending me her picks so I can have a chance to change mine!
I might have to become a soccer fan . . .

As usual my picks are in bold.

Green Bay at Cleveland - The Brown's season continues to sink into the quagmire. They tried to look stout against the Bengals last week but it was still a defeat. Their season can be summed up by Brady Quinn, the former Notre Dame, has been squawking that his being benched for ineffective play will cost him millions in potential incentives . . . The Packers have not been very reliable this season but against the Browns all they really need to do is show up.

San Francisco at Houston - The Texans were surprisingly strong last week upsetting the Bengals. Pin Up Art by JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Pin Up Art" by JW McGinnis
Schaub threw 4 TD passes. I can't see him duplicating anything like that against Mike Singletary's 49ers, especially with them coming off a bye week. The idea of the 49ers being in first in the woeful West is the only thing I find interesting about this game.

San Diego at Kansas City - The Chargers looked pathetic in their must win game against Denver last week. They managed to all but eliminate themselves for the division championship. The Chiefs managed to win their first gamer of the season against the hapless Redskins which gives us the Cruddy Game of the Week. Week 6 is too early for a meaningless game in the NFL but here it is.

Minnesota at Pittsburgh - Game of the Week! Brett Favre, Adrian Petersen and a stout D have the Vikings undefeated. The Steelers can answer them on all fronts except they have nothing in the running game to compare to Petersen, who does? Troy Polamanu is back and looking full strength.The Lost Boys The Steelers need him, without Troy I'd almost make this a lock for the Vikings. You have to figure the Vikings front four will knock Rothlisberger around some, not enough to stop him , but enough to keep it interesting, Hines Ward will destroy the Vike's secondary but Favre will return the favor. Dick LeBeau will scheme to stop Petersen but no one has yet. This has the potential to be a classic game. I can hardly wait. It feels like whoever has the ball last will win this one.

Indianapolis at St Louis - This is my must win Survivor game. A certain female football know it all isn't in the Survivor game any more . . . I'd feel sorry for the Rams. This has to be a low spot in their season, having to face an undefeated Colts squad that actually appears to be getting sharper and more confident with each week of play.

New England at Tampa Bay - If I didn't have friends in England I'd be opposed to the NFL tax deductible trip to the UK, but I'm pleased the kids get to see Tom Brady. This game is so unfair to the Bucs. The Patriots throw up 59 points. To have to face these guys at home is daunting enough but to give up even that little edge when you're a pretty inept team seems cruel.

Buffalo at Carolina - The Bills are banged up beyond belief, their stirring win over the Jets came at a high price. It could give them some sort of karmic edge, a lot of guys are going to get their chance to make an impact sort of thing . . . nah. The Panthers are healthy and should roll on this Afterglow by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Afterglow" by Maxfield Parrish

New York Jets at Oakland - I loved it when the pigeon decided to play special teams for the Raiders. Watching it fly downfield and keeps it lane was awesome. When the very forces of nature are with you, when the animal kingdom is rising up angry against the Eagles and Michael Vick it's a glorious thing. Sadly for the Raiders the Jets don't have that sort of nasty baggage, they just have a clear eyed rookie QB who's coming off his worst game as a pro. Sanchez needs a stellar game to keep his confidence up. The Jets defense will get a much needed boost of confidence facing a bumbling offense.

Atlanta at Dallas - This is a hard game to read. Could the Cowboys be as bad as they've looked this season? The Falcons are playing well enough to clearly expose them. The Cowboys running game will find it rough going against the Falcons front 7 which will put the game in Romo's hands. Only Falcon fans want to see that happen. Matt Ryan will continue to impress.

New Orleans at Miami - The Dolphins must be praying for a hurricane. That's the only thing they LSD Flesh of Devil can do to slow down the Drew Brees Machine. The Saints defense matches up too well against the Dolphins O. I expect the Ricky WIlliams Wildcat will put up some points but there's no way it keeps up with the Saints' scoring.

Chicago at Cincinnati - One of the most interesting games of the week. Jay Cutler managed to lose the game to the Falcons almost single handedly. He's too good to do that two weeks in a row. The Bengals were either exposed or just had a bad day against a buzz saw in their loss to the Texans. So two talented teams with chips on their shoulders, both teams in bad need of a win to have a chance at the post season. Sounds like a game! I adore Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco. With Cedric Benson looking revitalized he's in a great position to make the Bears regret their less than stellar treatment of him. Revenge is a great way to win football games. This should be interesting and is only a Game of the Week contender instead of the Game of the Week because both teams are coming off of losses.

Philadelphia at Washington - What a stinker. And another game that is already close to meaningless. The most interesting thing will be seeing if a tornado hits the stadium and snatches Vick away to Oz. What a cruddy Monday night game.

Arizona 14 at New York Giants 27 - The Cardinals have yet to win on the East coast. With the Giants feeling exposed and brutal after having almost half a century hung on them by the Saints it's a bad time to be searching for an identity. Not my choice for a prime time game but its better than most of the schedule. Warner will keep it mildly interesting.

October 18, 2009

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.

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?

October 4, 2009

USC 30 California 3

Go Forward by Ryohei Hase
Click images for desktop size: "Go FOrward" by Ryohei Hase
I have a cold. More of a cough really. I can visualize the customer who gave it to me. It could have been another one but not likely. The others coughing and sneezing didn't cough in my face. I need aGodzilla vs Megalon sneeze guard at the cash register?
My puppy is doctoring me. Funny how her prescriptions all seem to involve a whole lot of rubbing her tummy.

Last week I was a near brilliant 13-3. My friend was a tepid 12-4. Pretty sad really but that what happens when you cheat. I am sure she is cheating as she still somehow leads in the season 34 to 33!! This game needs stronger enforcement of the rules is what I'm thinking.
My picks are in bold.

Detroit at Chicago - The Lions finally won their game last week. After 21 months of emptiness we can finally stop hearing about it. The Bears are suddenly playing buzz saw football. Odd, adding Jay Cutler fires up the Offense and losing Brian Urlacher fires up the Defense. Curious, but understandable. The Bears are looking like Division title contenders right now. They won't let this one get away from them.

Cincinnati at Cleveland - Carson Palmer is back! He's going downfield and hitting everything open. Playing elite and tough. The Bengals look real. Rey Maleluga is as advertised (Go Men of Troy!) The Browns are . . . playing at home. That's the brightest thing about this game for them, the short commute to work. This is my survivor game of the week.

Seattle at Indianapolis - The Seahawks managed to lose to the Bears last week. Make no mistake they more lost the game than the Bears won the game. The Colts are playing survivor football, they won't overlook these guys. It should be destructive.

Tennessee at Jacksonville - Who would have thought that these two teams would be starring in a Good Morning
Click images for desktop size: "Good Morning" by Unknown
cruddy game of the week contender? The Jaguars got it fired up nicely last week for their first win, while the Titans look strong but keep managing to make the fatal mistake to lose all their games. They're too good a team to keep this level of ineptness up. This will be an interesting match only because the Titans are desperate.

New York Giants at Kansas City - I have to remind myself this is the pros, otherwise I'd be feeling really sorry for the Chiefs. I mean they aren't inept but they sure are missing . . . talent? A concept of how to win? I don't know. The Giants are far from spectacular and they do miss Plaxico Burress, (The only man to get two years in jail for shooting HIMSELF) even if they are 3-0.

Baltimore at New England - Finally a decent game on the schedule and it's a Game of the Week contender! This one should be awesome. This is one of those games where I I have no idea who might win. Groovy. The Ravens are playing like SuperBowl winners and actually look like they mightThe Glass Key just keep getting better. The defection of Rex Ryan to the Jets hasn't slowed their D a step. The Patriots look like they're in a rebuilding year but are still a machine. I think the Pats will hammer with Maroni and Taylor and then squirt Faulk through some cracks for good yardage. Welker should be back, but in what shape? The Ravens will make anyone who touches the ball pay a heavy price. When they have the ball Joe Flacco shows there is no such thing as Uma Thurman
Click images for desktop size: "Uma Thurman"
a sophomore jinx. He's looking like a crafty vet! Billichik will still set up some fronts that will confuse him and he'll make mistakes but I think the power running game will off set his errors and give them the win. But who cares, This should be a game that shows what the NFL is supposed to be like!

Tampa Bay at Washington - And then back to the crud. This one just eases into the vaunted Cruddy Game of the Week slot. Tampa Bay hasn't even looked like they want to win a game and the Redskins managed to lose to arguably the worst team in the history of football. This one will stink the joint out.

Buffalo at Miami - The Bills at least look like they're willing to play the Dolphins have disintegrated and with Chad Pennington out there's no one around to pull the mess together. A year ago this would have been an interesting match up but now its just another cruddy game of the week contender.

Mark Sanchez & The New York Jets at New Orleans - The Game of the Week. Can Mark Sanchez Hand to Hand Combat
Click images for desktop size: "Hand to Hand Combat" by NFL Films
continue to make history and win his first four starts for the Jets? It would be sweet. But Drew Brees, the TD machine. Brees is angry because last week the Bills held him to only 27 points! Can Rex Ryan figure out how to stop the TD machine that is the Saints? Can they contain Reggie Bush on punt returns and when he's on the line? Too many weapons, the most in the NFL right now. The Saints can't stop the Jets O much, they can only slow it down but that should be enough to see the Saints take it on a couple of long TD's. Sanchez looked like a rookie against the Patriots but still did enough to win. He'll gain some confidence here but will also be awed some by the SuperDome and the Drew Brees Machine. It will be great which ever way it goes.

Dallas at Denver - A good game. You have to figure there's not much chance of the Broncos containing the newly discovered Cowboy running game. Taking the ball out of Romo's hands is aGun Crazy Re-release good strategy. He looks like a superstar when the games not on the line. That the Cowboys picked up Chauncey Washington to fill in their busted up RB team only helps the cause. The Bronco's are 3-0, RAH! Go figure. They sure don't look like an undefeated team but there you go. The Cowboys can't afford to let this one get away from them. The Bronco elysium field should slip away this week.

St Louis at San Francisco - Break up the Rams - PLEASE! The only interesting thing here is seeing how well Singletary brings his team back after that devastating last second loss to Brett Favre. Its hard being the spear carriers and watching a legend destroy you. Having the Rams at home will make his job a lot easier.

Green Bay at Minnesota - This is a game that won't live up to the hype. Brett Favre's first game against the team that dissed him two years ago. Favre is way too professional to let that impact him, at least until the end if the Vikings are winning. The Packers will have enough to do trying to Picture Hanger by Peter Druben
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stop Adrian Petersen. They can slow him down but no one has figured out how to stop him yet. The Viking D won't overwhelm Aaron Rogers but they'll make him uncomfortable, that should be enough for them to win at home.

San Diego 24 at Pittsburgh 20 - A decent game for Sunday prime time. That makes 4 out of 16 this week. Pretty shabby. This one will prove interesting. The Chargers are gaining momentum and the Steelers a=have lost two in a row. The Steelers worries go far beyond losing super stud Troy Polamanu to injury. Even if he tries to comeback this week the D will still be inconsistent. The big woes are the Steeler O which is blah. No Willie Parker this week but capable back ups. The Chargers and Philip Rivers are ignited. The D should harass Roethlisberger and make him questionable to appear on the WWF's RAW Monday night. They've got answers for most of what the Steelers can try. It will be a good game but I think the Chargers have the most to prove.

As usual these picks are for those with a sense of humour or deep self destructive tendencies, for amusement only.

September 27, 2009

Washington State 6 USC 27

kb by Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: "kb" by Richard Mohler
The Men of Troys victory last night was one of the most depressing games ever. After running up an easy 20 points in the first quarter they just stunk. This was a game that they should have and thatFear of Clowns they needed to score 60 or 70 points while shutting out the Huskies. Instead it was just an undisciplined mess. Depressing. They might not even be the 12th best team in the country.
Next week they face Cal, who got destroyed by Oregon yesterday. They need to win to have a ghost of a chance to win the Pac 10. With as strong as Oregon, Arizona and Arizona State are looking the record setting Championship might be beyond them.
The young men played hard but would ultimately disintegrate. It's only because Washington State is such a poor team that they managed to survive and win this one.
Oh, and Pete Carroll is still one of the greatest coaches of all time. He's struggling hard with a team that is getting wracked with injuries and playing well below expectations.

Lots of rain yesterday. The clinic I go to ran out of Flu vaccine! There's a bit of a run on it as they're insisting you have this vaccine before you get the Swine Flu vaccine in a few weeks. I managed to get the shot at a drug store. Cost me twenty bucks. I can't afford that but since they pound it into me that the flu might prove fatal to me I guess its worth the price.
After getting the shot I went to this outlet store and managed to get bedding. I'd been sleeping on a borrowed set of sheets. I got burgundy sheets, pillow cases and a comforter for twenty-five bucks! My puppy adores the more comfy bedding . . . I haven't gotten to try it yet. I keep falling asleep in the chair. In fact I spent most of the day doing just that, falling asleep, being groggy, accomplishing little then falling asleep again.
Pekinese and Girl by Archie Dickens
Click images for desktop size: "Pekinese and Girl" by Archie Dickens
It took me most of the day to compose a letter to the Canadian Provincial government about my heart attack bill. My eyes are so unfocused I haven't even been able to re-read it, let alone concentrate well enough to make sure I got all the facts into it.

Last week I was 10-6 in my football picks. Pretty impressive I thought. It showed some gritty determination and a willingness to take some chances.
My friend was had a laughable week. Her system of taking the team who uniforms clashed the least with their opponents led her to a miserable week where she finished 10-6. I would feel sorry for her but she still leads in the season totals 22 points to my 20 points. I'm sure she has this lead because she cheated. There will probably be an investigation.

My picks are in bold.

Cleveland at Baltimore - This is my Survivor Game this week. The must win! I'd like to have savedExperiment in Terror the Ravens for another time but there are too many questionable match ups this week. The Ravens keep looking incredibly strong. It's early but it still wouldn't surprise me to see them win the division and go very deep into the playoffs. While the Browns are looking . . . like a 2nd season expansion team.

Tennessee at New York Jets - The Titans are a good football team Doris Day
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but opening the season 0-2 has them thrown. They start hearing all that stuff about "No team has gone 0-2 and made it to the Superbowl". It's daunting. Their defense seems messed up now, not bad but out of sync. The Jets are proving difficult to figure. Rex Ryan bought in his defense and they're executing it well. He's either got them playing over their heads or at least up to their potential. The shock is that one year ago Mark Sanchez was losing and looking bad losing to Oregon State! He's 2-0 and the Rookie of the Week the first two weeks of the season! The Titans are due to rise up and start dominating teams but the Jets are believing in themselves and playing with zeal.

New York Giants at Tampa Bay - Cruddy game of the week contender. The Giants are 2-0 but have not looked great doing it. The Buc's just reek. There's not much else to say. Its far more interesting that Plaxico Buress got 2 years for shooting himself in the leg while a cop in Toronto got two years less a day for using his position as a cop to molest children.

Green Bay at St Louis - I think the Rams will win 3 maybe 4 games this season, I just have no idea against whom. The Packers still look like an unreliable first tier team. The NFL has too many cruddy The Creation by Michael Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "The Creation" by Michael Parkes
teams this year and the Rams are one of them. Hard to stir up much interest.

Kansas City at Philadelphia - It really looked like the Chiefs were on the way to recovering some respectability this season. It hasn't shown up yet for sure. McNabb is still out for the Eagles and the big news is that the Eagles are going to play Vick this week . . . Principal almost makes me pick the Chiefs. It's not often that an entire organization lies to you. Vick has done nothing in the community and nothing as he promised to help animals. The owner of the Eagles swore that he would. I hope they lose.

Atlanta at New England - Game of the Week. Finally a game to get interested in. The Falcons are playing angry. Matt Ryan is throwing the ball well and making sweet calm decisions. Their defense is playing very well. While the Patriots are going to be missing Super Studs Wes Welker and RandyThe Exorcist Moss! That almost puts the teams dead even. The Pats new defense is starting to settle in and play like a Billichek team so this could be a whole lot of fire and ice. I'm sticking with the Patriots for one reason: Brady.

San Francisco at Minnesota - Game of the Week Runner Up. Two teams on the rise. Brett Favre facing a Mike Singletary defense. This is sweet. The Vikings have the huge advantage in personnel and they're playing at home. Everyone the 49er's play has a huge advantage in personnel but going back to last year they just keep winning and playing some deadly serious ball. Would love to see them go to 3-0 but that could be a little bit too much dreaming.

Jacksonville at Houston - I just don't like the football that the Texans play. I like them to lose. But the Jaguars . . . when you hold the ball 45 minutes and lose you have to be so snake bit it could be a month before you get over those shakes.

Washington at Detroit - Cruddy game of the week. The Redskins are playing inept ball. The defense looks sound but gets tired too quickly, especially with the non-offense they sport. The Lions are still looking for the elusive butterfly of a first win. I don't want to keep track of how many weeks its been.

New Orleans at Buffalo - Can Drew Brees throw up 45 points three weeks in a row? WHY NOT! He's becoming a legend and deserves a win every time he steps on the field. The Bills seem to be The Strangers
Click images for desktop size: "The Strangers" by Marvel Comics
flopping around trying to fins an identity. They're not a bad team but they sure seem to play like one. Terrell Owens has not had much impact but he could catch fire in this one. The Saints D still leaves a lot to desire. But no one can win in a shoot out against Brees.

Chicago at Seattle - The Bears put together an incredible effort against the Steelers. They deserved the win. Thing is in professional sports those sort of efforts can become habit. The Seahawks are going to be without Hasselbeck. Seneca has a cool first name , a snippy arm and terrible decision making processes. It won't be a blow out but I'd expect the Bears to suck it up again. They have more to prove than any other team in the NFL.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati - My cockeyed pick of the week. I like the Bengals way of playing football. I only wish they did it better. The Bears beat up the Steelers. I still think the Bear secondary won the game. The Bengals shouldn't be able to stay on the field with the Steelers but Carson Palmer and Flesh Feast Chad Ochocinco create some beautiful moments of the most magnificent poetry. So I'm choosing beauty over ruthless efficiency and delighted hope against angry Champions coming off a bad loss.

Denver at Oakland - Its very tempting to want to pick the Raiders here. They're such a bad team they can't even lose consistently. They have some good players but they are just a bad team. The Broncos don't have much in the way of players to match up with the Raiders but they're playing good ball the past two weeks and putting themselves in position to win. Have to go with the team.

Miami at San Diego - The Dolphins looked so good coming into the season then they fell apart in the opener. They seemed to be on track last week, but against the Chargers they really need to be playing their A game. I don't think they're there yet. The Chargers are looking strong on D. Even without Tomlinson Rivers has the O moving. They play hard edge ball in the season. They might blow the Dolphins out. It will depend on how the Dolphins handle giving up the first score. The Pencil and Paint
Click images for desktop size: "Pencil and Paint" by Unknown
Dolphins also have to overcome the Year 3 curse of Parcells.

Carolina at Dallas - The Panthers are really poor. They look aged and broken, even their stars look haggard. The Cowboys are riding a string of hype. Typical for the team. Even without the hype the present Panthers team doesn't have much of a chance.

Indianapolis 16 at Arizona 18 - This is an interesting game. The Colts miss Tony Dungy more than I could ever have imagined.The offense has looked woeful but the defense has played strong, strong enough for legend to be Payton Manning to pull off miracles and win the games they shouldn't have. The Cardinals in two games have looked dreadful and then like NFC Champions. Hard to figure out which team will show up today. I'm taking the Cardinals because, well, how many miracles can a team expect?

These tired picks are for your vast amusement only. Or to ponder the depths at which a football coach might sink as he ponders life wrapped up in a game.

September 20, 2009

USC 13 Washington 16

The Hall
Click images for desktop size: "The Hall" by Unknown
USC embarrassed themselves in Seattle. It wasn't completely unexpected but the horrid level of play was shocking.Detour
What was worse though were the USC forum and message boards. When an Ohio State fan calls Matt Barkley "A Newport Beach Douche" you can write it off as ignorance and anger. I find this treating of kids playing college ball in the same vein as professional adult athletes disconcerting, sad and pathetic.
But when USC fans are cheering and vocalizing about hoping to see a Grace Kelly
Click images for desktop size: "Grace Kelly"
player get hurt and that the player is a Trojan is despicable.
Its clear to me that these people are just fans, and not very good ones. Some of them might even have attended USC but there's no doubt that they never stepped onto the field and played the game.
I used to love attending USC games. I went to almost every home game for nearly 15 years. I had eight seats, 4 by the press box at the 50 and 4 at the 50 about 12 rows up.
I used to love the games. I remember one family with 3 daughters aged 5 through 9. The little girls came to every game decked out in full USC cheerleader kit.
I remember one very bad loss at the Coliseum on Homecoming. Arizona beat us on Homecoming and we looked pathetic. After the game the player's still took time to talk to the little kids. The fans yelled encouragement and gave them pats on the back.
Even when we were getting beat by Notre Dame (there was a long streak we still haven't made up for) none of the ND fans or USC fans yelled to kill or injure any player on either side. There was a lot of bickering and yelling between Trojan fans and Golden Domers, but it was all good natured. Chances were we'd see these guys in our offices on Monday morning.
That Trojan fans were yelling and cheering for injury to any player I would find abhorrent. That they Life in Technicolor by Khashiguana
Click images for desktop size: "Life in Technicolor" by Khashiguana
were cheering against Trojans is depressing. I see it as a fall that is intolerable. It's not quite enough to turn me off of the sport. The game is too beautiful for that. But sadder than the rather slovenly loss is the sickening behavior of Trojan fans. That has put me into a somber mood. Even my puppy is considering going back to her roots and supporting the Buckeyes.

Last week I was a hard fought 10 and 6 in my picks. Took some gambles that didn't pay off but still threw up some sterling numbers there. A couple of the games that I lost actually cheered me! I was glad Mark Sanchez got his rookie win. I was happy to see Mike Singletary lead the 49er's to a win.
I'm rather embarrassed by my friends picks. Using her system, which I think consists of picking the team with the coolest logo, she finished the weekend a rather lackluster 12-4. A record like that implies sheer guess work and does not reflect a serious analytical study of the game and its coachesThe Crow and players.
If she doesn't improve this week I might have to take my ball and go home!
This weeks picks. My choices are in bold.

Carolina at Atlanta - The Panthers' Jake DelHomme looked like he was at the end of his career last week. The Falcons looked confident and very real. Not much to consider here.

Minnesota at Detroit - Its become a chi chi thing to pick the first opponent the Lions will knock off. They haven't won a game in close to two years! The Vikings are a popular choice to become their victim this week, based on the odd theory that last season the Vikings beat the Lions by less than usual . . . Adrian Peterson is the best back in football now. The Lions don't have an answer for him. I hope the Lions play better. Calvin Johnson is an exciting player. He deserves to finally win one but I don't think it will be this week.

Cincinnati at Green Bay - Last week the Bengals lost to the woeful Broncos on a weird deflected pass. Kismet I guess. The Packers looked very strong against a disorganized Bears team. I keep cheering for Carson Palmer, for Ochocinco but they keep losing. Add the touchiness the Packers feel about their lost season last year and the lack of organization in the Bengals locker room and this could be a blowout.

Arizona at Jacksonville - Last week the Jaguars defense looked tough against Indianapolis. The Offense looked peeked but . . . In the loss to the 49er's the Cardinals looked ragged and Normandy 1944
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disorganized. Add to that that last season the Cardinals never won in the eastern time zone and the pick seems clear. I'm waiting for Kurt Warner to give way to Matt Linehart!

Oakland at Kansas City - Cruddy game of the week, maybe the season! Matt Cassall MAY be coming back for the Chiefs, but he'll be rusty. Russell is looking like a huge Number 1 pick bust. The Raiders defense still looks better than okay but the offense is decrepit.

New England at New York Jets - Game of the week! Mark Sanchez throws for the third most yards as a rookie in NFL history. Rex Ryan proves he can take any defense and turn them into studs. But the Patriots have Tom Brady and Bill Billichek. This almost looks like a rebuilding year for the Patriots but Brady won't buy that. He'll be fired up to outplay young gun Sanchez by at least 3 to one. This is going to be exciting. If Sanchez can beat Brady I expect him to go insane! But I don't think that the Jets' Jones can rush for another 100 yards against the Patriots so more pressure is going to be on Sanchez. Its hard for Payton Manning to be consistent against the Patriots, so it mightDay of the Triffids be impossible for a rookie to figure them out.

New Orleans at Philadelphia - Drew Brees or Dru Brees, it doesn't matter how you spell it, the man is a football touchdown machine. The only QB to marvel at not named Brady or Favre. He's exciting. The defense looks a little bit better too! For the Eagles McNabb is either out or planning to play with a cracked rib, either way the Eagles' O is going to suffer mightily. The Eagles D will create some plays but I can't see them matching up well with all the crazy weapons the Saints will bring. Game of the Week Runner Up

Houston at Tennessee - The Titans should have beaten the Steelers. They didn't but they came out angry about it. The Texans should have known that the season has started. They didn't.

St Louis at Washington - St Louis is one of the cruddiest teams in the league. The Redskins are an unknown quantity, older but they don't look much better, just older. Still, last year they played Flying Eagle
Click images for desktop size: "Flying Eagle" by NFL Films
pretty well, certainly well enough to handle the Rams.

Tampa Bay at Buffalo - The Buccaneers are another team in disarray. They really have nothing to hope for and no real part of the team can be relied on. The Bills have Owens and Lynch and a defense that goes from excellent to HUH? in a twinkling. The Bills are a rough team to pick right now except against somebody like the Bucs.

Seattle at San Francisco - A west coast game of the week! At least for the NFC West.The NFC and the AFC West pretty much stink, but this game will still go a long way to determining the eventualNFC West division Champ. Since it normally takes 8 or 9 wins to take the division all divisional games are important and even though it's only week 2 having undefeated teams compete in the West is pretty rare. Mike Singletary has the 49ers playing consistent focused defense. Frank Gore is showing he's still capable of tearing up the league and Shaun Hill is getting the most out of minimal talent. The Seahawks looked impressive at home. They almost always do. Matt Hasslebeck is looking healthy and he is a Superbowl ready QB. I'm going Damnation Alley with the home-r in what might actually be an exciting match up.

Pittsburgh at Chicago - Brian Urlacher is out for the season. Troy Polamanu is Questionable. Guess who can afford to lose their Superstars the most. Jay Cutler (who I root for as a diabetic showing you can deal with all that fatigue and play in the NFL) stank the joint out last week. The Steelers secondary is not a place to get healthy. Even with Urlacher out there's still some interesting match ups for the Bears D. I think they'll push Rothlesberger around some, Heinz Ward won't have an easy time pushing around the Bear corners, but he'll still get in some hits. TE Heath Miller will work hard but the Sam back will bottle him up most of the time. But the Bears will need to play a near perfect game. They're capable of that but you have to lean towards the Steelers punching at them until the wall cracks.

Cleveland at Denver - This is my "Survivor Game". In the Survivor Game you have to pick one sure winner each week with the caveat that you can only pick a team once each season. So picking the Lions opponents last season would work but picking the Patriots two years ago wouldn't. I figure I should save the good teams as long as I can so I've picked a cruddy team to beat up on an even cruddier team at home. Denver won at Cincy on a classic fluke play. At least they had to play hard for the fluke play to mean anything. The Browns just plain reek. They've got some players but this is a season for Magnini to rebuild the team. I don't expect much from them and they still fail to deliver.

Baltimore at San Diego - This should have been the Monday Night game. This will be prime time Light Bulb
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stuff. The Ravens are playing angry. A working class team from the east going up against favored glamour boys in the west. Rah. Joe Flacco is looking like last season was no fluke. The Raven's D is still vicious and can run the most complicated schemes in the game. San Diego is no real slouch either. I'm taking the Beast from the East to win a close one.

Indianapolis at Miami - Only week 2 and the Dolphins are disappointing. Last week they looked insanely disorganized on both sides of the ball. This should have been a statement game. The Colts are poised to fall from the elite class but not this week.

New York Giants 24 at Dallas 23 - The tie breaker game. I'm pretty bored with the Giants Cowboys rivalry. If they hadn't over hyped Tony Romo so much I could get into the working class QB versus elite superstar Eli Manning. As it is I'm picking the Giants based on their front 7. They'll handle the Cowboys running attack well enough and keep pressure on Romo. Neither team has much in terms of receivers. It will come down pretty much to the kicking game and we know how exciting that is.

This picks are for amusement only, and smirking is allowed.

September 13, 2009

USC 18 Ohio State 15

Eastern Western Eyes
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After looking horrible the entire game Joe McKnight managed to win it for the Trojans. Matt Barkley looked over his head. Maybe this was enough experience to send him through the brutal Pac 10Crypt of the Living Dead schedule to come.
With Lou Holtz and Notre Dame crashed to reality the schedule makes it look like a National Championship run is possible, but we're still away to Cal . . . and the UCLA defense looked decent against Tennessee. Looks like a great season ahead. Now if I only had a TV . . .
I got my puppy her rabies shot, which duplicated her rabies shot from 4 months ago, her three year rabies shot from four months ago . . . stupid governments.
Our vet, Dr K, was shocked to see us. My puppy is looking gorgeous and I'm not dead.
Everyone seems to think I don't look bad enough. My puppy's gramma, who is a nurse, made comments to that effect. My physical therapist, who is a great guy but I still hate anyone who hurts me as much as he does, had to read the medical records because he didn't believe I'd had two heart attacks in the last 90 days.
I guess its good to look better than expected. I don't see that its gotten me anything.
After the vet we went for a walk in the woods. My puppy loved it. She even dived into the river to get herself a drink. She is still too protective of me and still a bit too co-dependent but she's for sure my dog and is happy, even if she did get a shot.

First week of the NFL. Here are my picks. Laughter is not mandatory, nor will I back up my choices with money!
My picks are in bold.

Tennessee at Pittsburgh - I made the right choice but for the wrong reasons. I got to see an avi of the game and was impressed with the Titans. Very impressed. They've improved when I'd figured Untitled
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they'd gone downhill. For the Steelers they still have Troy on Defense and Heinz Ward on O. Ward plays wide receiver like you dream your receivers might one day play.

Miami at Atlanta - My screwball pick of the week. The Dolphins looked good in pre-season. Really! THe Falcons looked okay. The Dolphins have something to prove to the world and too themselves while the Falcons are already seeing themselves in the play offs. I'm going with the hungry team with no dreams in their hearts, just a gritty need to win.

Kansas City at Baltimore - The Ravens are beasts. The Chiefs are not. Matt Cassell gives them a chance but he's coming off a short pre-season and an injury. These are not the guys you want to practice against. I don't see how the Chiefs can stop anything the Ravens can do on offense. I alsoThe Creature Walks AMong Us would be terribly impressed if they scored.

Philadelphia at Carolina - I'm one of those guys who thinks that VIck served his time in prison and deserves a second chance. I dislike the cynicism that the NFL showed in reinstating him so quickly. I also hate the harsh business sense that led the Eagles to taking him; to push McNabb and to play VIck enough to win and then use him for serious trade bait. That they lied about their intended involvement in pro-animal rights and that Vick has barely paid lip service to his promise to repay dogs for the sick cruelty he perpetuated against the species makes me want to never pick this team again. The Panthers are an enigma. They still have a lot of talent but they never seem to put it together for a season, sometimes not even for a game. They'll have the Vick haters to inspire them and a home crowd. It should be close.

Denver at Cincinnati - The Bronco's trade away their best player and get nothing much in return . . .Helmet
Click images for desktop size: "Helmet"
Carson Palmer showed he can be a stud but since that one glorious year he's been incredibly brittle. If they are going to roll this season they have to put it together here. Cruddy game of the week.

Minnesota at Cleveland - Brett Favre? He's still a legend. The Browns might improve this year, maybe even enough to not stink. Brady Quinn does not look good to me. The Vikings till have Adrian Petersen and who ever plays QB knows all he has to do is hand it off.

New York Jets at Houston - I don't much like the Texans and I love Mark Sanchez. But Sanchez has merely looked good in the pre-season when the intensity level gets turned to 11 I'm not sure he'll be able to match it in his first sight of it. Even with Rex Ryan (Rex?) the Jets D is pretty sickly. It will be a good game but the crappy Texans should win.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis - The Colts start without Tony Dungy. That's a huge loss. The JaguarsDay the World Ended though have disintegrated into something unrecognizable. Payton Manning and crew will prove that life goes on without Dungy.

Detroit at New Orleans - My Sure Win of the week. Dru Brees. Reggie Bush. Matt Stafford has looked pretty bad most of the time. Woman at Yellow Wells
Click images for desktop size: "Woman at Yellow Wells"
The lions have had to improve. Inertia wouldn't let them stay as bad as they were last year but going against a committed to winning the championship Saints team is no medicine.

Dallas at Tampa Bay - I don't like the Cowboys but the Buccaneers are a terrible mess. The Cowboys would have to struggle hard to lose this one. Who cares game of the week.

San Francisco at Arizona - It's killing me. I want to pick the 49ers. I really do.Common sense kills my football picks. I expect this to be a chilling exciting game but the Cardinals just looked so sharp last year. I say Warner is a year older, players are grumbling about their contracts and getting lazy landing easy endorsement packages. They should fall.

Washington at New York Giants - All I know about the Redskins is that they didn't get any of the free agents high on their shopping list. And they're still going with Jason Campbell at QB. The Giants The Chosen One by Titusboy
Click images for desktop size: "Chosen One" by Titusboy
didn't replace Plaxico Buress. What's usually a marquee match up looks pretty dreary this season. Taking the Giants out of habit.

St Louis at Seattle - A cruddy game of the week contender. If you don't live in either city why would you even care. Seattle's at home. they loaded up with agin ex-Patriots. I guess that's enough to beat a Rams team that still looks tattered.

Buffalo at New England - Game of the week. Tom Brady. And he's expecting a child. They could go 18-0.

San Diego at Oakland - The Chargers look geled. Tomlinson is old and past his prime but still a weapon. Phillip Rivers looks ready to be dominant and Shawn Merriman is back and back in trouble.Death Race 2000 Oakland needs to be disabnded. They are expansion team bad.

Chicago 34 at Green Bay 27 - Tie Breaker Game. The Packers were heading downhill last season. Not Aaron Rogers fault. The Bears pick up of Jay Cutler should energize the O to scary levels even without a legitimate wide receiver or running back. And a decent offense will spark up a ragged defense. This should be a good match that I'd like to have seen later in the season.

There you have it. My picks are for entertainment only or a good piece to pass over to your enemies who might think they want to learn more about the game.

September 6, 2009

San Jose State 3 USC 56

Tiger Dream World
Click images for desktop size: "Tiger Dream World" by Unknown
In about 24 hours or so my puppy will be coming back to me.
Matt Barkley's debut with the Trojans was a qualified success. The whole team looked terrible in theBullit first quarter. Our vaunted secondary looked feeble and our line looked like they were looking for a leader. On the O-Line two false starts were costly. Fumbling was endemic. It was a disaster.
Of course the way it ended was as it was expected. Over 600 yards total offense to San Jose's 100 plus. I have more confidence with Aaron Corp at QB. The offense seems stilted with Barkley. He's an awesomely talented kid but all near risk plays were off the table as they had him manage the game.
All in all the Trojans played half a game and looked incredible in the half they played. If they can play a whole game they will be frightening indeed.
Next up is the highly anticipated clash with Ohio State. They looked horrifyingly bad barely beating Navy. It took some heroics after the final Navy TD to keep the game safe. Navy was going for the two point conversion. The pass was intercepter and run back the other way for the two points to keep the victory. Before that play OSU was fading fast while Navy was accelerating.
Both lines for Ohio State looked bad. The linebackers for Ohio State looked weak and were easily blocked. Terrell Pyror played well but not brilliantly.
If they don't step it up the game next week could be a boring repeat of last years. The Trojan D looks solid enough, better than Navy's. I'd love to see a competitive game but it appears OSU might be over rated. I hope not.

In about 24 hours my puppy will be back with me. I hope she'll be glad to see me.

The NFL starts this week. I'm giving serious thought to using my next paycheck to buy a TV and then Tree by Girish Chaudry
Click images for desktop size: "Tree" by Girish Chaudry
to get satellite. It is cheaper than cable and DISH Network was a package that has all I want for 30 bucks a month. Thing is I only want it for football season. Trying to sort it all out in my head and my pocketbook.
With the NFL season comes my usual NFL picks. More people, old friends, new friends and strangers write to me about the NFL stuff than any other topic . . . I guess it's amusing to see a coach with 20 years experience be so stupid about the pros. Either that or people can say "My picks were better than his! Why, I could probably coach better than him too!"
I don't know why people want to see me make a fool of myself. I won't disappoint.
My friend has signed up too. The contest I'm in has lousy prizes this year. Kind of grim. It's not about the prizes. Its about winning, no, it's about having fun.

My puppy is coming back to me in about 24 hours. I hoe she remembers me. I hope she's glad to see me.Casino Royale

I don't get Labor Day off. The real sign of a cruddy job.
The co-worker I liked has given notice. The job wears you down hard and fast. The customers tend to be rude and self absorbed. They quickly forget that were human too and they don't understand we get a miserable wage with no coffee breaks and no lunch break. In fact they make unreasonable demands. They also manage to make my co-workers feel unsafe. I understand it even if I don't share their fear.
I plan to keep the job either as long as I can or until I get a good job. I keep sending off resumes and scanning the ads. The pickings are scant though.

Click images for desktop size: "Fred Astaire & Rita Hayworth"
My puppy is coming back to me. Less than 24 hours. I hope we're as happy together as we usually are. I worry that she missed me as much as I missed her. It took me months to ease her dependence on me. Now I'm a touch sad and proud that I was succesful. Proud of her, I mean. My puppy works hard to please me. She worked hard in her therapy dog training. She learned there how to be around people. She even learned to like some people and to tolerate those she didn't like.
My puppy's life has been pretty easy. The only harshness she's had to deal with are baths, being seperated from me, and her eternal diet. She's a fatty. I never see that. I only see my puppy and whatever it is she is inside and outside is the dog I love.
I figure she'll forgive me for being stupid enough to not have my dog with me and then she'll spend a few days making me pay . . . and whatever she does I'll find it adorable.

June 3, 2009

I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way
Carl Sandburg

Irises by Vincent Van Gogh
Click images for desktop size: "Irises" by Vincent Van Gogh
Woke up in screaming pain from my shoulder. Very bad.
I see the doc's today at 3:30. I hope they have some sort of miracle pill to calm this thing down.The Devils Rejects
I'm far from impressed with the miracle of Lantus insulin. I thought it was starting to kick in. I got hypoglycemic trembles. Had to eat the glucose tablets to get them to stop, but it appears it was more from me not eating anything for 12 hours than the drugs.
Here's to today.

Football last night. It was good for me. It wasn't good in general but it was far from the worst session I've ever been involved in. The organizers' hearts are in the right place they just don't have the skills to pull it off.
The Equipment Manager and the Team Manager are stellar.
Saw 118 kids yesterday. No stud athletes. That's no big deal. They were kids. Some showed potential. Potential is all that they need right now. In general the kids seemed eager to learn, eager to play they just have no clue as to how.
I ran the agility section with the 6 inch agility hurdles. This is one of my and a lot of other coaches favorite sets of drills. We used to run these drills with "step over bags" which were about the same height as the hurdles and about six inches broad. One of the evolutions in sports science is how even this small thing has changed.
Originally the step over bags were about 12 inches high. The point then was getting the players to get their knees high, like stepping over arm tackles and flying bodies. Gradually it dawned on us that getting the knees high slowed the player down, it was not efficient use of kinetic energy. The step over bags got shorter and shorter. Virginia Tech was then using one inch plywood, eight inches wide and five feet long, as step over bags, getting the placement of the player's feet and legs while letting their knees and feet stay low and Indominitble
Click images for desktop size: "Indomitable" by Unknown
flowing to the motion instead of chopping against the motion. And now we accomplish the same thing with little plastic hurdles.
Part of me resists the change over. There are certain elements I think need the five foot long bags to properly implement. Since they don't have any step over bags and as raw as these kids are my normal concerns about finding a replacement drill aren't needed here.
I started with the "Bunny Hop". Six hurdles, 1 yard apart. The kids are supposed to keep their feet together and hop over each hurdle, one hop per hurdle. I had intended this as just a warm up and not part of the evaluation. Two thirds of the kids could not keep their feet together at all. One third could not clear each hurdle with one hop per hurdle. About 10% faded out and couldn't complete the drill.
They wanted to grade three drills. The single step, where the kids run through the hurdles taking one step to clear each one, come to the end, turn left, explode forward five yards turn left againThe Chosen and run through a second set of hurtles.
Then there was the side step, same drill basically.
The final drill were the in and outs. Just a weave going forward, side step, then backwards. What I look for are eyes, good football stance and good arm motion.
In West Texas and California high school ball 95% of the kids would have been given a 1. I gave most of them 3's. I only graded three kids as 1's and 4 kids as 4's. No 5's. I figured I should use a bell curve and not a rigid standard.
Gloria Swanson
Click images for desktop size: "Gloria Swanson"
Even the experienced kids kept their eyes on the ground trying to watch their feet, had no arm movement and no sense of precision. I tried to give them visualizations of what they were doing and why. They liked that. I gave the 4's more based on effort than skill. I like effort.
My friend ended up not working with me. She had to start and do the 10 yard time on the 40's. During a water break I glanced at her sheet. I was impressed I saw a few 5's and several 4's! Kids hitting 4 seconds in the 40's make my heart glow. Until I realized I was looking at the wrong column and the 4's and 5's were the 20 yard times!
Watching a few of them run it was apparent they all needed just some fundamental work. With times like that I can get some massive miraculous seeming improvement. I think the kids will work hard enough to accomplish that.
Since most of you know that my coaching technique involves trotting along the athlete and encouraging and exhorting I realized I trotted about two miles yesterday! I was pretty shattered Hug Me Forever by Jana Jelovac
Click images for desktop size: "Hug Me Forever" by Jana Jelovac
after practice. But it felt good.
We have to go again on Thursday. I'm going to push to take over my friends job and run the 40's. The kids clearly need some coaching there. That was my biggest surprise. I didn't hear any coaching, just instructions.
Oh, after practice we stopped and bought whistles! Just regular whistles. I still like loopy ones but that could terrify the parents.
That was the oddest part of the day for me, the 200 or so parents who just sat in lawn chairs on the side lines. I still don't quite know what to make of that.

New foster dog has decided he likes us. He spent much less time humping foster dog and more time hanging out with me and my friend. Yesterday he had no accidents in the house.
He was crated for about 4 hours while we were at practice. I hung out outside for 10 minutes before we left. There was no evidence of the bad behavior his previous fosters experienced.
New foster is a good little dog. He wants to be loved. Boy, does he not know anything! I think as heThe Giant Behemoth gets a bit calmer, he'll learn.
Foster dog has two more applications! No word on whether they are acceptable. Foster dog is pretty special. He's struggling to learn, struggling to find out how to fit in. He's a pretty great guy.
I took the Original Trio, gentle dog, my puppy and giant dog, on a walk with just the three of us. They needed the reassurance. My puppy not so much. She;s been through all these fostering things before. She stays steady. Gentle dog needed reassurance that he's still special the most, even more than giant dog who is is very insecure and jealous.
My friend bought me a new hard drive! A 500 gig Western Digital.
I'm not looking forward to installing it. The iMac case is NOT user friendly. There's so much tape and putty etc that it can get pretty overwhelming. Too many tight gentle windings to break, too many glues to distort.
Ella Fitzgerald by Bernardine
Click images for desktop size: "Ella Fitzgerald" by Bernardine
I did it before. I'm going to check around and see if I can get someone to instal the drive for 50 bucks or so. I figure 50 is about how much my fear is worth.
I feel oddly reluctant to let the computer out of my hands.
No issues from the "lost" files. I'm hoping it was just cache files or something.
I'm worried that I've loaded all these responsibilities on my friend, football practice, vets and doctors when she got hit with some ridiculous deadlines at work yesterday. I have to think of something reasonable so she can get her business and recreation done while I handle myself better.
I mowed half the yard yesterday. Not much of a contribution to her ease of mind.

June 1, 2009

When I told my doctor I couldn't afford an operation, he offered to touch-up my X-rays
Henny Youngman

Experiments Gone Wild
Click images for desktop size: "Experiments Gone Wild" by Unknown
Five dogs is too many dogs!
At least it seems that way today. Chances are that after a week or so it might very well change.Squirm
The new foster is a pathetic story. His story bears constant repeating. He's three years old; has no training whatsoever, not even housebroken. His front teeth have been knocked out. I've no concept of why or the method used. He has worms and it appears to be long term and never treated previously.
He lived with another dog. The owner of the pair went to court and was told to get rid of the dogs or face jail time. (We're not allowed to know what he was arrested and tried for. I understand that even scum must be protected even when it frustrates me.) He took the dogs to the pound and gave them instructions to kill them. They Keith Richards
Click images for desktop size: "Keith Richards"
were on 24 hour death watch when they were rescued.
The new foster was with another experienced foster family and for some reason he was destructive there. They couldn't cope with him. So he ended up here.
At first he was pretty crazy.
He's been recently neutered but still tried to hump every dog in the place. Our three told him off pretty quickly, since he's about half the size of the smallest here the new foster had enough sense to back off. Except that foster dog, also recently neutered, doesn't seem at all concerned. New foster humps him constantly. Foster dog just goes about his business with this little dog humping whatever part of him he can latch on to.
Its a bit annoying but oddly seems to have calmed both fosters down immeasurably! Strangely my memories from adolescence don't consider dry humping as much of a relief . . . It works for them.
New foster has had two "accidents" in the house. I think they weren't accidents. I think he did it on purpose. He defecated within the first 20 minutes in the house. Last night he urinated by the book case.
Fire by Lawn Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Elements-Fire" by LawnElf
He's been very good other than that. He's accepted being crated at night. My friend thinks he's a Pariah dog mixed with Basenji. There's no reason to dispute this, although I think the breed name is unfortunate. He certainly vocalizes like a Basenji, no barking but lots of odd little vocalizations.
He won't let his picture be taken. Dog myth about his soul being stolen? He eats more than the giant dog!
Today is going to be stormy. Beau coup thunder and lightening. We'll see how it goes.
He's a cute dog ad incredibly good natured. Stubborn about his dislikes but no real problems.
Today I have to schedule an appointment with the vet for both foster dogs. Foster dog for booster vaccines and heart worm meds. The new foster for worming (fecal sample!! yuk . . . )
They both need baths. I'm not sure if I have the strength for that.
My arms are killing me. I find it monotonous. On Saturday I was making the bed and flipped the duvet. It locked my arm up. I couldn't move it for twenty minutes.Sunset Boulevard
A couple of years ago I accepted the new pains and took some pride in being able to survive and assimilate them. But now the hurt just makes me weary. My doctor appointment is on Weds. I'm hoping that there is some sort of reasonably quick treatment available.
I'm getting better at suddenly becoming left handed but if I lose my concentration and use my right hand for almost anything I pay too severe a price.
I have other fears about the doctor this trip. I don't think the Lantus (insulin) is working. I think that they're going to try me on a different type of insulin.
Two hours after eating a kiwi my blood sugars were 15.8! I had nothing else to eat after that and my blood sugars were down to 9.1. This is not good.
This morning they were at 8.3. They should be around 4. I was getting very similar results with just the pills. I'm up to 27 units of insulin. Starting to push the envelope. When they started me on metformin I had to get up to the maximum allowable dosage before I started to see results.
I've finally adjusted to the side effects of the Lantus. The trembling in the morning is gone, as is Fallout 3
Click images for desktop size: "Fallout 3" by Unknown
most of the nausea and the extra hand cramping. Its a bit discouraging to have to imagine going to another type of insulin and additional side effects.
For some reason, maybe medical, I had it in my head that player tryouts were on Saturday. They're tomorrow and Thursday. Over 350 kids to look at and evaluate. At least I'm primarily an observer and won't have to run any of the drills or do much instructing. I have to get together the pad so my assistant (actually my friend) will know what I want and need recorded. I'll probably keep my little scraps of paper going to insure that I get all the data I can.
A lot of the drills will be worthless, I'm certain. For some reason my fellow coaches want to make sure that there are "fun" drills in the package. I think they underestimate the young athletes. The fun they'll have is in testing their limits, comparing themselves to their teammates, not doing "fun" Smartie Pants drills that accomplish little for them or in terms of evaluation.
From what I've seen I expect that some of the drills will be run incorrectly which will also make them rubbish. I worry about being judgmental but then I remember that six of the coaches I trained went on to coach professionally. One in the Div III championship game. I think I've paid the price to believe I have a glimmer of what things should be done.
I don't want to be judgmental. These guys aren't professional coaches. I suspect I'm the only one with a degree in physical education. For some of their swagger its also obvious that I've had more experience and success than the rest of the coaches combined. I admire that they're willing to work with the kids, that they have the drive and willingness to do the job. I know the rewards that come from coaching. They're huge. But they are not the sort of rewards that appeal to just anyone.
They deserve respect and have earned the right to be proud of what they're doing. I'll remember that even if I think they're being dumb.
Most of you know that I am capable of a dumbness greater and more profound that it is reserved only for the well meaning and the oblivious.
I'm going to wrap my shoulder and arm, maybe even wear some sort of sling. I don't think me rolling on the ground cursing in unintelligible grunts and groans will do much for my image with the kids.

May 26, 2009

Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery
Malcolm X

The Abyss by James Cameron
Click images for desktop size: "The Abyss" by James Cameron
The football meeting was tedious. It wasn't helped by the meeting room. No air circulation and 80 degrees. Men coming straight from work in that environment . . . The Mini-Skirt Mob
This wasn't the worst meeting of this sort I've ever been to but it was bad. At least there were no shocking displays of ignorance. I did have to explain that while I wanted 10, 20 and 40 yard times it didn't mean the kids had to run three races, you just needed 3 time keepers.
I wasn't too surprised that my fellow coaches weren't didn't know the basic football drills. Only mildly disappointed that they didn't know the names of the drills.
I wasn't even surprised when one coach made the typical bad coaching statement, "You can't tell how good a player is till you see him hitting on the field." Its probably true that he can't, anyway.
The biggest stunner was that one of their most impressive feats was that they provide us with agility ladders and hurdles. These are impressive and expensive pieces of gear. None of the coaches had a clue how to use them.
They knew you ran through them or something but they didn't seem to know any of the drills to train the kids nerves to respond and gain true speed and improve the player's reflexes.
There was one very gung ho coach. A line coach. HE said a lot of pretty intelligent things. I could even forgive that most of his training techniques are about twenty years out of date. He's not a pro and probably doesn't even have a clue where to find the info on better techniques to accomplish his goals. At least he had a plan and knew what needed to be accomplished.
I was lightly stunned to find out he worked with the 10 year olds. I'm not confident that his sort of attitude translates well to kids that age. Maybe his attitude is tempered when he's working with the kids.
After Degas
Click images for desktop size: "After Degas" by Unknown
All in all I had a lot of second thoughts about the whole endeavour, on my part not on the teams part. I know you have to work with what you have. You try and train your coaches. I'm sort of proud that 5 of the coaches I've trained have gone on to be professional coaches.
Luckily I was braced for all the second thoughts and negativity.
I think it will all work out. I need it to.

I'm up to 21 units of insulin. It still hurts when I inject it, but at least I'm sure I'm doing it correctly.
I'm confused. It seems to be working and then it suddenly isn't.
I'm feeling incredibly sick. A big part of it is from the pain in my shoulder. Its waking me several times a night. It seems that the killer stab of hurt comes about 3 hours after I've gone to bed, then I can't get back to sleep. The ache has spread across my whole upper body. I have to be very careful to stretch out slowly and try and avoid any sudden jolts of pain.
Invariably I'll pass out a couple of times during the day. Fall asleep for an hour at a time. This bugsThe Love Butcher me no end. Bothers me worse than the general feeling of nausea and feeling unwell that now seems to accompany the day.
I am so bored with my suffering.The Wizard of Oz
Click images for desktop size: "The Wizard of Oz"
We did get to go to the Chinese Buffet yesterday. This was enjoyable. My friend and I were both interested in how busy this place always seems to be now.
There was someone new there, a pudgy Chinese fellow, who seated us. He seemed to fumble around while he was attempting to act with flair and grace. I watched him after he left us. He went to a mirror and studied himself most carefully, licking his inky and smoothing his eyebrows with the wet digit.
I liked the food. My friend ate more than I did!
I took my pack and lined it with a plastic grocery bag. (Those bags are going to become rare. All the grocery stores are now selling the bags for a nickel each. No more free bags, you have to bring your own. I can't fault them for this. I might even approve until I need a plastic bag for dog related activities.) I filled my pack with bacon, sausages and steak for the pups. That always makes it a The Reader by Ada Shulz
Click images for desktop size: "The Reader" by Ada Shulz
good day.
Today I have to start on all the chores I was ignoring during my friends vacation, starting with too much laundry and unleashing the roomba.
I already miss my friend. I like having her around. Tomorrow she has to go away for a couple of days to a work conference. It shouldn't be too bad for her. She's getting put up in a pretty plush hotel. She has tickets to a show by one of those singers who I don't much care for. Her co-worker and friend is going with her.
I'll watch movies and ache.

May 21, 2009

I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed
Michael Jordan

Red Umbrella by Marta Dahlig
Click images for desktop size: "Red Umbrella" by Marta Dahlig
Modestly bad news on the health front. (My health has plenty to be modest about.)
Last night my blood sugars were at 12.7. I injected 18 units of Lantus (insulin). I was awakened atHercules in the Haunted World 4:30 by barking dogs and our guys wanting to go out and bark fight with them. I took my blood pressure and it was 150 over 80! My blood sugars were at 16.4. The blood sugars haven't been that high in years (?).
Three hours later the blood reports 10.5.
I feel frustrated.
I have to wrap my arms in elastic bandages just to move. It makes me feel like a Frankenstein monster in swaddling clothes. The bandage compression doesn't help the diabetic inspired neuropathic pain, but it suppresses the severe pain and cramping in the other muscles.
I haven't been able to stretch for months. Not even the old fashioned yawn-ey stretch in the morning thing, so that the muscles around the affected areas have started to knot up from the tension. I mean really know up. At first I thought I'd developed a series of tumors! I try and work them out with out much success.
(To understand how pain just below the shoulder point of the right arm and the elbow of the left has trashed my shoulder, neck, and clavicle I always use the story of Dizzy Dean. Dean was a hot shot Hall of Famer for the St Louis Cardinals. He broke a toe on his left foot. It annoyed him but it was just a small hurt, The Cardinals needed him. He needed the money so he figured he could easily pitch through the little pain. He pitched two games before he injured his arm and was out of baseball for good. His left foot was his pivot foot and the little pain forced an unnoticeable change in his delivery. His body compensated to avoid the pain and this produced enough torque in his elbow to tear the ligaments. They didn't have theKessel Energy Spider by Dragon Winter
Click image: "Kessel Energy Spider" by Dragon Winter
surgical techniques to repair it back then so a stubbed toe ended the career of one of the best pitchers in baseball.)
I'm starting to get angry about it.
The foster dog had a mild blow too. The perspective parents abruptly backed out. They claimed a family emergency that will necessitate them being in India for several months. I suspect if we had approved them and let them take the foster dog home they'd have called us in a couple of weeks and asked us to take him back. This is a pretty evil thing to do to a dog or a person. The timing is at least good for him.
I like to kid myself that I'm perceptive enough to have realized that these would have been the sort of people who would not see a dog as family, Any family emergency would, in my little world, have included the puppy.
Poor guy, but it could have been worse. He's a good pup. He'll find a home.
My goal with foster dogs isn't to move them out and sell them. I'm not involved in high turn over. I'm kind of known for making people jump through hoops. I want the dog and the people to all beHouse of Frankenstein happy together and to face life together. Love should not die.
The porch painting is progressing nicely. My friend is still having fun. That's the important thing. I don't care how long its taking so long as she has fun.
As the worst painter in any group I always get the cruddy job. Ceiling painting. It was hard because I had to extend my arms over head. It went alright though. The bandages got me through it.
It is finally looking like something. The color was supposed to be Judy Garland
Click images for desktop size: "Judy Garland"
sand and look like stone and gravel. Its sort of a yellowish brown in execution. Nothing wrong with the color, just not what my friend expected. (To me it still looks like the inside of a translucent mushroom.)
Painting the ceiling I managed to drip paint on everything. My hair, my iPod even the giant dog has a couple of interesting splotches on him. They add personality . . . the last thing giant dog needs is more personality. I kept throwing him off the porch but the sight of me cursing and shouting in pain while standing on a ladder is just too appealing. Even my puppy comes and peeks at me. She walks away shaking her head.
Today I start of the floor. Being a porch I get to use the hose on it. For some unknown reason I'm looking forward to that. Sweeping it down and then spraying it with the hose. I wish we had one of those high pressure "thousand pounds of pressure hoses". That would be cool and potentially destructive!
Ricordi Del Cuore by Titus Boy
Click images for desktop size: "Ricardo Del Cuore" by Titus Boy
I still love the idea of potential destruction.
I also realized that I have a coaches meeting on Monday. This meeting slightly baffles me. Its to discuss drills to be done in player evaluation.
I'm confused because this is silly stuff and doesn't fit the pretty slick image they've presented to me. There are a core of drills. Watching a kid run them, watching him step over bags, watching him run, watching him strive to compete tells me all I need to know. It shows his heart and his present ability level. It shows his attitude.
When kids get psyched and say stuff like "I need to get the pads on. When I'm out there hitting people then I can really show them what I've got!"
The kids are wrong on that. I can tell what you've got by the way you plant your foot on a post corner cut drill. I can see how well you'll mix it up by the way your eyes follow me as you do theI Walked With a Zombie step over drills. I can tell if you've got the heart to be unbeatable by the way you check others heights on the vertical jump. I can tell how hard you can hit by your distance on the broad jump. Most importantly, how you do on that tell me what I have to teach you and what we need to do together to shape your body into what you want it to be.
I always note coaches who want full contact drills. I was asked to coach an All Star team in Europe. I and the other American coaches were google eyed when we saw one of the European coaches running "nutcrackers". Nutcrackers were punishment drills, made to "toughen you up" is some jerk of a coach thought you were slacking.
You give the kid a ball and set him out to run into three defenders with no protection. The defenders are about five yards off from the kid. The kid is guaranteed to get hammered. Some jerk college coaches use nutcrackers to get kids to quit the team and give up their scholarships.
We asked the European coach what he was doing. He was seeing if the kids were tough enough and really wanted to play. Since this was an All Star trial I sort of figured that had been answered.
That coach never beat any of our teams.
I'm afraid how many of my fellow coaches in this meeting will want to run full contact drills to see the obvious stuff that they should be able to see on their own.
Their argument will be that the kids love the contact. Some of them, most of them hopefully, love the contact. I like to keep the kids hungry for it.
Picture Book by Robert Blum
Click images for desktop size: "Picture Book" by Robert F Blum
Maybe I'll be surprised and the meeting will be to discuss some new drills that some crazy scientist has devised that safely and intelligently give even more diagnostic proof. Maybe.
My friend is going to have to end her vacation by going to this meeting with me. She's going to become my statistician! I need her to follow me around and record all the trials. Most of you have seen me on my own with my little scraps of paper with dozens of numbers rapidly scrawled all over them. Some of you have even given me nice little notebooks which, in a matter of hours, I have reduced to little scraps of paper that fall out of my pockets all over the field.
I figure she might enjoy the meeting and might get an idea of the information she'll be recording. She'll enjoy that. even organizing it into spreadsheets!
Time to feed the dogs and start on todays porch project!

May 4, 2009

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less
Marie Curie

Sky 1 by Ausencia
Click images for desktop size: "Sky 1" by Ausencia
This weekend was as busy as I figured. My body is still in rebellion. Lots of pain from the usual suspects.Battling Butler
Sometimes I wish I got a little sympathy for the hurting. I'd probably resent that too. You can't win with me, or, as I prefer, I can't lose.

Saturday started too early. My friend and I arrived at the football equipment locker. We weren't the very first ones there.
My friend got to sit at a table and do all the paperwork, registering the new kids. A rough enough job that I was glad to avoid.
Snow Fun
Click images for desktop size: "Snow Fun" by NFL Films
I got stuck doing shoulder pads and fitting game jerseys. That devolved as some guys showed up late or not at all. Normal stuff. They got a couple of players to fit shoulder pads. I fit jerseys and double checked the shoulder pad fittings. I only had to swap out a half dozen sets of pads so the kids did alright.
Fitting game jerseys is a real pain. Game jerseys are ultra tight. Lot of reasons for this; being tight the help compress the shoulder pads increasing protection slightly and also enabling the player to hit with more impact. Tight jerseys make it easier for referee's to see holding. The jerseys are so tight that if a ref sees a player's jersey being pulled its obvious that this is far from incidental contact. It also helps protect the player from actually being held and unfairly impeded.
And tight jerseys look great.
My method of getting on a jersey is to put them on the pads first and then put the jerseys and pads on as a unit.
That's too pokey for this sort of deal. There was only one jersey of each size. The new jerseys would be ordered based on my measurements. That means I had to put the jersey on each kid and then Sinister by Yasushi Nirasawa
Click images for desktop size: "Sinister" by Yasushi Nirasawa
take it off.
The quickest way was to roll the jersey up from the bottom, have the kid slip his arms through, up to the elbow. I soon learned to tell ALL the kids to put their arms through the arm holes and not the neck hole. With the jersey on the arms the kid has to raise his head and arms to get his head through. Then I reach around behind them and pull the jersey over the pads and down.
I nearly choked out half a dozen kids . . . I'd then straighten the jersey and check it. The real grief was when I'd eye balled the wrong size and had to re-fit the kid twice (once it required 3 fittings, and one took four).
I also learned to tell the kids to stand strong when I was pulling the jersey, I still dragged about a dozen of them to their knees.
Getting the jersey off is worse. I have the kids pull one of their arms free then I pull the jersey King Of the Zombies loose from the pads then have them pull the jersey from the side over their noggins. The jersey then just falls off the other arm.
I didn't keep track but I probably fitted close to 200 kids.
I was on my feet for 8 solid hours doing this. If I was getting paid $7.50 an hour I'd have quit after the first hour and demanded my check. For twenty an hour I'd not have ever gone back and I'd have complained bitterly about no coffee breaks. For free I didn't mind it. My friend felt the same way.
I tore four of my weak nails. My hands didn't start cramping badly until 6 hours into it. I think its interesting that my hands cramp up after 15 or 20 minutes playing guitar. So logic says that guitar playing is 24 times harder than pulling kit around on kids.
I liked meeting the kids and having my brief chats with them and the parents. I felt there was a slightly higher percentage of parents who were in this for the right reasons, slightly higher than usual. Not at the cost of the parents into it for the wrong reason. There seemed to be fewer indifferent ones though. That's a nice positive.
Another nice positive was that they provided pizza for lunch. Eat on your feet thing. I asked them if they could order from this one pizza joint because they have a gluten free pizza that my friend could have. I was originally told no, they had reasons for that, acceptable reasons. Then they ordered from the same pizza joint I asked for because my request was more important to them than the reasons. EXCEPT they forgot the reason was to get a gluten Evening Chant
Click images for desktop size: "Evening Chant" by Unknown
free pizza for my friend. Amusing unless you're my friend who got no pizza!
There were 5 coaches I noted who scarfed down free pizza but never seemed to work with any kids . . . made the note to not let them near any of the kids on my team.
As soon as I'd sent the last kid out the door my friend and I hoped in the car to go pick up the foster dog.
He was being held by this really sweet couple. New dog is a big happy goof, totally bewildered by everything that's happened to him he embraces his confusion by laughing and playing until the scary parts go away.
Its pretty obvious that he lived for a while where he was loved but badly cared for. He's not neutered, his dew claws are dangerously long. He sort of knows a few commands. I think the family abandoned him. He was found wandering in the woods. Kept in a dog pound for a couple of months. Put on death's row, then thrown into a car and driven away, then another car, then a home for a few hours and finally ends up here.
He's smart, scared, confused and happy. The food they gave us for him is too rich after dog poundLaura grub - diarrhea and vomiting. Because he's not neutered giant dog hates him, my puppy has made it clear he's not to invade her personal space and gentle dog endures him because gentle dog is gentle dog.
All he wants is to play and be told its all okay.
His trip continues tonight when he has to go to the vet to get neutered, dew claws removed and all other vetting. It irks me no end that the pound couldn't do even these simple things to make his life easier. The idea of its wasted money on a dog they had slated to die doesn't cut it. Would you deprive a cancer victim of pain killers?
He's going to make someone a fine dog. He'll make them laugh. He's learning simple commands but still has a hard time concentrating. He'll be fine.
Sunday was the eagerly anticipated dog walk.
It was a bust. Highly disappointing. All the more so because there's no one to blame. I'd really have liked someone to blame.
Click images for desktop size: "Surf" by Unknown
The dog walk is normally at this gorgeous hotel grounds. Some guest must have seen that there was to be a dog walk and thrown a fit about loose dogs ruining her holiday.
This was last second. To the hotels credit they did not forbid use of their grounds. They have something like 300 acres. They just set up a different trail for the walk but THEY INSISTED ALL DOGS BE LEASHED!
In today's economy I can understand them not telling the rich guest to go to hell. The trail they set up was horrid. Dirty, hot. We had to walk through about a half mile of loose dirt and wood chips stepping in the tractor tread marks and depressions.
It would have been okay if the dogs were running loose and making friends. This was just a walk that we could have done better at any of a dozen places.
London After Midnight
The dogs still enjoyed it.
My friend's assistant from work bought her dog along. He was great. I was sad that the great adventure we had promised her had devolved into something bland.
She and her dog came home with us and new dog and assistant dog played incredibly hard and rough. It almost made the shambolic day worthwhile, for me at least.
My friend and I were both fatigued. I think she was as glad I was there as I was glad she was there.
Things seem to work out better that way.

April 29, 2009

Only the new born are innocent but we all get older
Jean Pierre Melville

Love Like This by Lavakillu
Click images for desktop size: "Love Like This" by Lavakillu
This weekend suddenly got busy. In a nice way.
Saturday I have eight hours of kit fitting for kids 13 and under. I volunteered my friend to doHillbillys in a Haunted House registration (paperwork) for the kids. The foster puppy will arrive in the area on Saturday morning.
Lots of logistics, kennels to set up, food dishes to shift about. Then the decision on whether the new comer will be up to doing the dog walk on Sunday.
Not a bad time at all unless they stick me on 8 hours of fitting kids for helmets . . . shoulder pads are a lot easier and quicker. Pants and girdles are the easiest. I've got a feeling I'll be doing a lot of helmets . . .

My friend says I was pretty upset Monday about the doctor. She also thinks she understands the doc thinking I was going to slug him.
I didn't feel upset. A little bit down probably. I thought I was being as gentle with the doc as I could be.
Maybe I hide this kind of stuff from myself but not from her. Possible.
One thing that does upset me is Joe Biden appearing at the MPAA dinner. Biden went as the Vice President. He got a standing ovation for calling kids who download music and movies from the internet "thieves".
This is just another step towards Obama's campaign to criminalize kids sharing music.
Criminalizing downloading will save the RIAA and the MPAA serious money. They won't have to hire scum bag PI firms to hack innocent people's computers searching for "illegal" stuff. They'll have the FBI do it for them. I doubt that the FBI will even have to get a warrant to do this. In the UK they're already forcing the ISP's to keep all the logs of everything anyone does on the internet. So do we. London Streets 1888 by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: "London Streets 1888" by TitusBoy
Bush's lie was that it was to root out all those millions of terrorists. Nothing political about it they claim. Nobody would ever misuse all this data.
Obviously the FBI has done such a stellar job of removing crime that they have plenty of excess time to go trolling for 14 year olds scarfing down the top 40.
Then the rich jerks would save even more money. They wouldn't have to hire sleazy ambulance chaser lawyers, the US Attorney's office will prosecute the kids. Obama's hired the scummiest of them to train the rest in being even a purer distilled kind of scum. They'll get the kids jail time, probation time. Those services are all standing empty. The US Attorney has locked away all the rapists, child abusers etc and the prisons must be standing empty because everyone has been rehabilitated. Probation officers must be facing being laid off. (Of course America leads the world in having the largest percentage of its population in prison, we must be trying to beat our own record).Gun Crazy
And then the RIAA and MPAA can then ask the judge to award them money for the serious damage these children have done to their business. At twenty bucks a track times a billion or some other wretched formula. Obama himself puts the damage at $350,000 a track. Rah!
When Obama gets his law passed criminalizing the kids I'll boycott every rich musician who doesn't sign off of the RIAA. Like rich guys like Tony Bennett who shockingly claims he isn't rich enough and wants to squeeze even more money out of people who just want to La Liseuse by Fragonard
Click images for desktop size: "La Liseuse" by Fragonard
listen to music.
This really bugs me. If I buy a car and loan it to a friend for the weekend this logic would make me a criminal.
According to the RIAA and the MPAA when I lay down my twenty bucks I haven't bought anything. I don't own the CD or the DVD they do. I can't tape it or make a digital copy of it or let my friends hear it, play it at parties. Blockbuster can charge me to borrow it but I can't loan it for free. I don't know why. Neither do they. They just want all the money for the least amount of money.
They claim that me loaning my CD to a friend costs them thousands of dollars. They're losing money! Well, not losing money just making a bit less but they want it all: No Compromise. Sales aren't dropping becasue we're churning out cruddy product its becasue I think I own something I paid them for.
Silliness that they've spent billions during the last 60 years to turn into law. Unfairness. The rich bullying the poor.
I wish I'd voted for McCain. Not that he'd have been any better but I figure he'd been inept at getting Lost in a Bad World
Click images for desktop size: "Los in a Bad World" by Unknown
this stuff done. He wouldn't have the same deadly proficency that Obama has.
McCain would have hacked off our allies, like Canada, with the same stupidity and ignorance but he'd have been laughed at more than seen as real and threatening.
The comfort of incompetence.

There is something going on out there. I saw this video that I think everyone else in the world has already seen. Its just a little music thing. You can click here to see the YouTube version of this bunch of guys all over the world doing "Stand By Me".
Its exciting and unexpected. It reminds me of why I wanted to play music. Getting rich would have been nice but mainly I wanted to make a joyful noise. I wanted to make people dance. I wanted to be heard. It looks like these guys have the same idea. Its a great mammouth effort. I'm buying the CD becasue the RIAA has nothing to do with them and the music is sweet.

April 22, 2009

Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why
Bernard Baruch

Click images for desktop size: "Church and God" by Unknown
I discovered something rather surprising this morning. Reconstituted powdered milk can go sour!
I guess it makes sense but hardly.Blondie
I use powdered milk in my morning coffee in one of my byzantine money saving schemes. Everyone complains about the price of gasoline but no one is complaining about the price of milk. Here, and this is a rural area with dairy farms not to far away, milk is about five bucks a gallon.
Seems incredibly dear for a staple, a staple that impacts the health of our children. With osteoporosis on the rise and with America's domination of world sports seriously declining (we didn't even make the finals in the World Championship!) and with McDonald's posting a 4% increase in business this quarter I think we have a pretty clear view that we're still not focusing enough attention on nutrition and the needs of our kids.

Yesterday was a sort of lost day. Nothing of note accomplished at all. I realized that today is an anniversary of sorts. It was in 2003 that I entered my second remission. The doc's then said that if Untitled by Clarence Carter
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Clarence Holbrook Carter
all things went well I'd live another six years. A few years later they said the exact same thing. Six years seems to be the time frame they work on.
I'm still going. Maybe a bit slower but still going. I've no idea if this is due to excellent medical care or the fact that I'm incredibly stubborn.

My friend successfully completed her quarter end madness which leaves her open for the ponderous meetings for budgeting this week.
Budgeting is always a big deal especially in not for profits, and more especially for not for profits that's only focus is conserving nature. And most especially in the run up to an economic depression. People look at unspoiled land and think of the beauty of a strip mine, how nice a flock of condo's would look on that majestic bluff. I understand that impulse even as they don't understand my impulse to leave it as it is.The Big Sleep
When I got dragged into rock climbing we used nuts, aluminum chocks developed by Yvonne Chounaird (The Great Coonyard). These chocks didn't harm the rock, once you removed them it was as if they'd never been there. Properly used they're as secure as a piton.
Pitons were never cool but they were all that you had.
Climbs are rated by difficulty. I forget what 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class climbs are, probably hikes. Fourth class climbs are scrambles Dusty Springfield
Click images for desktop size: "Dusty Springfield"
where you need yo use your hands to go up but no technical climbing or equipment is needed. Fifth class is when you start to need gear. It gets crazy from then on going all decimal on you. From 5.0 all the way up to 5.10 (five ten not five one 5.1 Told you it got crazy.) When I was at the tail end of my climbing period there was a movement to add 5.11 (five eleven) or 6th class to the rankings. This was mainly to classify climbs that were probably considered impossible 5 years before.
The fellow who does the first ascent of a route gets to record it in the campground book and report it to Ascent Magazine. They also get to rate the route.
The ratings cause a lot of debate at night. I have to admit that in a sport that's primary enticements are pain and fear the bickering about how difficult a climb actually was safely on the ground was one of my favorite parts of the sport.
Thing is that there was a climb on Sentinel in Yosemite that was rated at 5.9, problem was that so many people had done the climb with pitons instead of nuts that the constant placing and removal of Ensnare by Shadowness
Click images for desktop size: "Ensnared" by Shadowness
the pitons had scarred the crack the route followed so severely that there was now a rock ladder leading to the summit. The piton scars were so deep it was possible to stick the toe of your boot into them and a 5.9 climb was degraded to a 5.2.
It was worse on desert climbs. Yosemite is granite, the desert is sandstone.
That's always my biggest fear. That a 5.11 planet is gradually being degraded to a 5.2
Surfers all have our stories. Sitting out at your favorite point break and suddenly realizing your sitting in the middle of a 200 yard wide pool of raw sewage. Or that time down south when the ocean was suddenly thick with empty used hypodermic needles, needles you saw stuck in the thick hides of the harbor seals. Harbor seals can be aggravating but never to the point where I wanted to stick needles in them.
Every surfer knows at least one guy who caught hepatitis from stuff that we've dumped in the ocean. And we've all had days where the beach was black balled not because of outrageously highBonnie Scotland surf but because some George Bush supporting company had dumped mega tons of toxic chemicals in the ocean that would kill, blind or skin you.
This was going on for a long time before Al Gore "invented" global warming. Anyone who's stood on top of a rock in Joshua Tree and looked out at the Salton Sea has watched the clouds of yellow pollution drift in from L.A. Clouds that ring and touch the stones and ground as nastily as a leaky pen in your shirt pocket.
Now the Arctic caps are melting, by miles now instead of feet and it keeps happening.
Today is Earth Day. I feel about that the same way about that as I do about "Be Kind To Animals Week". I mean, who would ever be mean to animals? Who would be stupid enough to throw litter out of cars and destroy the place where you have to live the rest of your life? Why do we need to remind ourselves to not be cruel heartless jerks? It does not speak well for us.
It does make me even prouder of my friend that she's sacrificing in her paycheck to help us not be so stupid.

Just got a call from the team manager making sure I'd be at the meeting tonight. Its nice to be wanted.
I've got my list of equipments and my questions all ready. I'm mildly excited. I still don't really want to be an HC but it will pay off for the team and for me, I'm certain.

April 21, 2009

Come on baby and take a chance; lets dance
Chriz Montez

Crimson Dawn by Spargett
Click images for desktop size: "Crimson Dawn" by Spargett
With constant disk repair and running a full series of diagnostic and repair tools I'm keeping the iMac running. Running acceptably.Attack of the Crab Monsters
That's good because I'm going to need this thing to get ready for the season. I want to start prepping a playbook and do those other "coacherly" things. I used to be impressed when I'd go to pre-season coaches meetings and I'd see a coach there with a 4 inch binder over filled with his playbook. I always figure that this was one heck of of coach, a lot better than I could ever be. Then our teams would meet in the season and we'd beat them 80-0.
I never figured it out. I have a good friend who coaches O-Line at a Bob Dylan
Click images for desktop size: "Bob Dylan"
high school. He has a 400 page playbook! But its not really a playbook. It has some O-Line plays in it but the book is mainly a preparation, a how to book on the theory of playing the Line, dietary and strength needs. The whole shebang.
Each season he says he has to throw out about 100 pages and maybe add in 50 or sixty. Now he's a coach who's a lot better than I'll ever be.
See, I don't know how to prepare a playbook until I see what kind of kids I have. This Saturday a couple of coaches were waxing rhapsodic about how much they love the pulling guard. The pulling guard is where, for example, you would get your right guard to run down to the left side of the line and turn forward and block so you have an extra surprise blocker for your running back. I agree that it is a pretty play. In all my years of coaching I've only had one guard who had the speed to reach his assignment.
The coaches talked some more about the difficulty in getting their tackles alert enough to know to pick up any backside pursuit. A defensive end could read the pull and follow it. Their solution to having slow guards was to give the Running Back some extra steps in the backfield so that he couldn't get to the proposed hole until the guard got there.
I won't ever coach against these guys which is good. I hope that this attitude is prevalent throughout Angel Fish
Click images for desktop size: "Angel Fish" by Unknown
the league. When I see a slow guard pull the call is simple. You have the Defensive end hold his position which nullifies the tackle looking for back side pursuit, the middle line backer shadows the pulling guard and the Strong Safety pursues the pulling guard on a run blitz.
In college and high school ball that should either stop the play for no gain or limit it to 3 yards. At this level it should result in a three yard loss and 40% of the time a turn over.
If I get lucky and get a running back with that much speed I'll use cross blocking to open up seams and pound him up the A and B gaps for 4 yards a clip all day.
If I've got a guard who can turn and cover 4 yards in the time it takes my running back 7 yards I'll run a couple pulling plays to set up the decoy and go opposite and use the full back to pick off the Defensive End while the TE knocks off the Sam Backer.
And if I don't have players who can remember all that we just do straight ahead blocking and run aBeast From Haunted Cave spread like running game.
Thing is I like a wide open game. I like 50 yard passes on the corner route. But if I've got a QB who can only throw the ball twenty yards I sort of have to adapt and do something different.
I never saw the job of coaching as being something to please myself. I think of it as a chance to give kids their best opportunity at success. I can't figure out what method that might be until I've seen what the kids can do and what they like to do.
Sure I try to get my QB to throw 50 yard lasers. I try to get my RB's to run 4.2 forties. But if they can't my job is to figure out what we can do with the talent they have.
The only thing I can use to justify my unconventional approach is to say that in the last 10 years of coaching my teams have led their league in scoring 9 times and in total yardage 8 times. I've always been incredibly lucky in the talent that's been entrusted to me to teach so maybe if I went in with a system already planned out and fit the kids to the system the kids would have been even Brunette by Archie Dickens
Click images for desktop size: "Brunette" by Archie Dickens
more successful. I don't really know.
I've got my list of stuff I need for the first practice: 2 stop watches 3 whistles, a ladder, some cones and some step over blocks. And some bodies to fit in the whistles and stop watches. A Defensive Coordinator would be nice too.

My friend got home at 7:15 last night. That puts it at a 32 hour day. She survived it pretty well.
The month stays pretty rough with a new boss, budgets etc. She gets a couple weeks off in May. We're going to pain the porch. Probably being ably assisted by nosey dogs.
We actually watched a Zatoichi movie! I'm mildly surprised she's become a Shintaro Katsu fan. This was the eleventh Zatocihi film and there's no denying that Katsu has definitely worked incredibly hard on developing the character. He's made a sad, funny and never pathetic creature. His sword fighting in this one is very good. Its easy to believe that the carnage is being perpetuated by a blindApocalypse Now man. I think bathos is more enjoyable than pathos and bathos always works best when its resolved with gallons of stage blood.

I've checked my puppy's email. I was amazed that she had nearly one thousand. All from kids in hospitals. They don't get to see much spring in the hospital.
I made up a maze game for her site. I thought it would be a quick and easy thing to do. It took me six weeks and five drafts. The final thing had 28 layers! Normally I'm amazed to get 4 or 5 layers in a picture. I'm glad the kids like it. Much gladder than I am sad that they are where they are.
The main crux of their emails is that we need to have more adventures!
I also notice that a lot of the kids thank my puppy but almost none even acknowledge I exist! The few that do think I should give my puppy more ice cream . . .

My health feels better. The old complaints are not improving. They'll bug me but not inhibit me, I think. No doubt they'll improve just enough so I can be uncomfortable but still able to do all the porch painting . . .

April 8, 2009

Only the mediocre are always at their best
Jean Giraudoux

Death Rattle Comics
Click images for desktop size: "Death Rattle Comics 4" by Unknown
I feel like an aged tiger today. A leery tiger waiting for the hunter he hears in the grass.
You know how in bad slasher movies there's that moment when there will be that shocking noiseThe Boogie Man Will Get You and it turns out to be a cat and you know its coming but you jump anyway? Even when you know that just as the victim realizes the slasher will appear behind them and get them anyway and you still laugh as the victim dies.
The Book Lover by Kupka
Click images for desktop size: "The Book Lover" by Kupka
Its just a feeling that's hanging around me. Its funny though, of all the terrible things that have happened to me none of them were ever presaged. They always leveled me hard and unexpected.
Like an the anti-universe Roman Generals I used to mark the entire month with a black stone. I'd throw away the clothes I was wearing that day under the theory that they were cursed.
It doesn't take to long, with that method, to find every month marked with a black stone.
I don't know what I'm worried about, but I am. Maybe its the old if I imagine everything terrible then none of that terrible stuff will ever happen. Maybe.
Or maybe its been so long that I don't know how to handle happiness.

I'm not doing well with this antibiotic. Its making me queasy and gassy. I notice a slight reduction of the swelling today. Only slight but I did notice.
Desert Girl
Click images for desktop size: "Desert Girl" by Dennis
My blood pressure has been getting slightly lower since I'm not fighting the pain. 140 over 90 today, which is still too high but not as worrisome. My blood sugars are doing better as well.
I still have the brain shuddering pain in my left elbow and in my right shoulder. Lots of grunting and going "OW!" when I move. After the tooth extractions I got out of the habit of doing the exercises. I can get back into doing them for the right shoulder but I have no idea what to do for the elbow.

For some reason I found myself thinking a lot about North Korea. The people are starving. The people are escaping to China just to find food. People are dying from third world diseases that are associated with malnutrition but the government is testing billion dollar missile systems.
Children are dying and Kim Jong-Il is making weapons of war. Generals don't know how to feed aThe Female Butcher child let alone how to feed a people. Generals know how to make war. War is always their first solution.
I was jaw dropped by Sarah Palin making the statement that she was going to ensure that Alaska would use all of her power to protect America from the impending North Korean threat. Which sounds a lot like if Schwarzeneger decided that California was going to declare war on North Korea.
I thought it was illegal for local politicians to dictate a separate foreign policy. I mean what would a state do against a country?
Palin let her own people, she let Alaskan's starve and freeze to death but she's some how going to gather the resources to build a state wide security net? And she seemed to ignore that everything and everyone says the missile launch was pretty much a disaster, from the North Korean standpoint anyway.
She seems more like Kim Jong-Il than a viable Presidential candidate.

I've been following the USC spring camp pretty closely. Partially to ignore baseball's opening day. I'd really like to see Mitch Mustain take the starting job at QB. There's something I like about the kid. Aaron Corp seems to be the leader right now but I think Mustain will be the guy to lead the team back to the National Championship.
I don't have too many worries about the defense. It won't be as stifling as last years but It will still be top 10. Guys are improving, the secondary will be a monster. The linebackers are all experienced and deadly. I can't wait until August.

Click images for desktop size: "Dog" by S4W
I've finally gotten some new stuff to listen to. Nashville Pussy, a band with a femme lead guitarist and a femme bass player. The new album is "From Hell to Texas". They're pretty good. They fall just south of great. There's something missing to propel them. I can't figure out exactly what.
I'm considering adding to this site. Just a little jukebox to share music. Its a little app called KavaTunes. It prepares a pretty spiffy looking set of php pages that mimic the look and feel of the iTunes music store OR an iPod. It then allows you to stream the music from my server or download it.
I was thinking I'd start out with my Top Ten Most Played songs and then add and adjust the next 10 monthly, so it would become like a Top 10, then a top 30 etc.
It might be fun for me, provide some cool non RIAA controlled music and prove beyond doubt that my listening habits are totally bizarre.
I forgot to mention that I updated the movie and genre listings. They're up to 3,400 movies. I keepThe Day the Sky Exploded having to explain on both lists you just have to click on the little buttons or titles to get more information and bigger artwork.
My friend got me a new chair for the computer! She had a gift certificate that was about to expire. I was touched that she'd use it for something for me.
Its a cool black leather thing. It's only fault is that the casters roll too freely. Since I normally have at least one dog wrapped around me it means I have to be a bit more cautious about scooting it around.
Its time to take our long walk. The sun is shining. There was MORE snow last night but its all supposed to melt today and then freeze up tonight. Makes all that snow shoveling yesterday seem like a bit of a waste but it provided some fun for three members of the household.

March 27, 2009

Art may imitate life, but life imitates TV
Ani DiFranco

New World by Sergey Musin
Click images for desktop size: "New World" by Sergey Musin
Out of the 32 resumes I sent out I got a response. Its to coach 7-14 year olds. The club has 12 teams in their league.The Killers
Normally I prefer working with the 14 to 19 year olds. I don't have to watch my language as closely for one thing. Getting back into Pop Warner football makes me smile.
I gather my resume is more intimidating than impressive for the people around here. Rather shocking to me. Doesn't matter though, Music System
Click images for desktop size: "Music System" by Unknown
to me. I can't help what I am.
All I know is that I'm excited about the chance to coach kids again. I've already started plotting out drills. Anticipating the level of talent. It fills me with pleasant hopes.
The first problem was that the interview with the board was originally set for March 31st . . . about two hours after I'm scheduled to have 6 teeth removed. I was up for it but decided to think clearly for a change, but only because he offered a second option without me asking.
So Thursday, April 2nd will be the day. Six p.m. Rah.
I think they want me to head coach. I can do it. I'd rather just work a position or at most coordinate the offense. My preference would be O-Line. I'll take whatever they're willing to offer. And all for free.

The pain is getting stranger. My face and mouth are dead things. My right arm is an electric conduit of agony. Doesn't matter much.
My friend worked from home today. So we took a long lunch and walked the dogs at the park, most of it off lead. Gentle dog thought it was wonderfu, Giant Dog ran back and forth and my puppy was nervous about what kind of trouble I was getting her into but rand around and had at least the minimum amount of fun.
I liked seeing them stampede around. I liked walking with my friend on what still feels like a nice Dark Art
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Dark Art
autumn day.
My earphone wires didn't show up again today. I sent Earphone Solutions complaining. I got a polite and quick response looking to place blame and poining out that they were still within the maximum allowable time frame.
I'll give it to Tuesday. I need my Ultimate Ears to recover from oral surgery.
As disappointed as I was by the lack of wires there's a blast of good news. The new Tony Jaa movie "Ong Bak 2" has been released on DVD. (Was it ever in the theaters?) I am totally stoked.
I should have it tomorrow. If I don't there will be a weak carnage.

February 5, 2009

I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me... All I ask is that you respect me as a human being
Jackie Robinson

Soa Lee
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Soa Lee
It was not a great recruiting class for USC this year. It was a good class but it held some potential for greatness.
Some of the kids who chose other schools I think made a mistake, a few of the kids I'm glad didn'tAn Evening with Karloff come to USC.
There's the five star linebacker that chose Arizona State primarily because their academic standards are so much lower. ASU also has an excellent tutoring program set up because they take in so many marginal scholastic athletes. I'm all for that. The most important Blonde in Green
Click image: "Blonde in Green" by Unknown
thing is for these kids to get an education.
But I do think that the demands of football and school are too much for a lot of these kids.
One of my great delights in the 80's was when unranked Stanford was routinely dismantling Lou Holtz's top ranked Notre Dame teams. Keith Jackson pointed out a few times that Notre Dame didn't have a single player on their squad who could have qualified academically for Stanford.
Education is still the thing. The one complaint I have with Pete Carroll is that I would like to see the percentage of athletes getting their degrees get up to 100%.
I was dismayed about the number of kids USC lost to UCLA. I feel sorry for those kids. Seriously. Woman's Figure
Click images for desktop size: "Woman's Figure" by Unknown
Rick Neiuhisal has a pretty horrid reputation as an academic coach.
The kids who chose Notre Dame. It depends on their reasons for attending the school. If its to get playing time and falling for the glitter of the program and ignoring the horrendous job Charlie Weiss has done then they made a mistake. If it was for the traditions in the program and a great education its impossible to fault them.
As much as I like the intrigue of Signing Day I wish it weren't such a media event today. These are kids and this is insane pressure. 80% of these kids are never going to get to the NFL. I want them to have the dream. I had it. But I wish the dream were more in line with USC's old wide receiver John Jefferson, to get the best education he can get and to have some fun playing a greatAsphalt Jungle game in a wonderful spotlight. Playing in the NFL would be great for money and fame but its not the end all. What's important is to have the foundation of a great life.
I worry about guys who leave school early and then get 1 or 2 years in the NFL and then have no real future. I worry about guys like Rickey Ervins. A great little college back who played 2 years for the Washington Redskins and then nothing. I worry every time I read the news and see how some former NFL player was arrested for drugs, Art and Beauty by Robert Crumb
Click image: "Art and Beauty" by Robert Crumb
robbing a liquor store. You know the drill.
Its a shame that guys like Pete Carroll and Joe Paterno are the exceptions among college coaches. They want to win, sure, but they also have an investment in the young men's future.
I hope all the kids do well and that they attain the dreams and remember the people who love them and the ones who cheer for them.

I spoke to the bank yesterday. It appears we may be on the path to something that could result in my friend getting her car. I'm not happy with the whole package but it appears to be the only way forward. The alternatives are far worse.
So far I'm still very pleased with this used car lot. So far they've been holding the car with no issues at all. I have to talk to them today to see if they'll go along with this new deal: The loan could take a week to 10 days to process and while it looks better than 90% that it will happen there's always Spider's Ice Cream by J3 Concepts
Click images for desktop size: "Spider's Ice Cream" by J3 Concepts
that doubt. While the loan should go through and might happen much quicker can't be promised.
I wouldn't blame them for not wanting to hold the car for my friend. If they couldn't I would still go back to them to look for its replacement.
I never thought that I'd trust a used car salesman. It feels like trusting Nixon or Bush!

My friend is due back from her business trip tonight. We're looking forward to it. I think she'll be exhausted. I also hope she doesn't have a 12 hour day and get get out of there early enough to get home at a reasonable hour.

Yesterday I shoveled the entire driveway and the yard. My back is sore this morning but not really hurting except for those stupid moves I tend to make. Slept on the floor again. The dogs seem toBeyond the Time Barrier love that or else they might be trying to crowd me off the floor.
I developed a new technique for flicking the snow away. I can't fling it as far, maybe only 4-6 feet instead of the usual 10 to 12 feet. The technique involves using my left arm as the fulcrum and then just using the right as the weight to toss the snow. It worked well enough.
While I was shoveling the driveway the next door neighbor spoke to me. Not the guy but the woman. She asked about us giving them the old snowblower. I agreed for reason of wanting it out of our yard. I tried to talk about some other things, some just social but no real progress there.
She did tell me one thing. One of our neighbors I like. I thought her husband was still in hospital. The neighbor insisted her husband had died two years ago! I don't know if she's right and I've just blocked out someone having to deal with another dead spouse or . . .

February 2, 2009

Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Arizona Cardinals 23

Ginevra de Benci by Da Vinci
Click images for desktop size: "Ginvera de Benci" by Leonardo Da Vinci
And wasn't that one of the cruddiest Superbowls ever.
Definitely in the top 5. If it weren't for the final 10 minutes it would have been number 2. TenWeekend Murders minutes isn't a game.
The grand finale of the season was partially ruined by nightmarish bad officiating. When one team uses two challenges to get two horrific calls over turned you do have reason to question the ref's impartiality.
Still the most jaw dropping calls were the non-ejections of two Steelers. Their dirty play was disgraceful, a bad example to kids. Virtual Girl
Click image: "Virtual GIrl" by Wallpaper Collection
The worst was allowing James Harrison to remain in the game. Driving his fist into a player who was down on his knees is terrible but then to hit the guy in the throat while he's staggering to get up deserves the most powerful punishment.
James Harrison has worked hard to play this game. He had a magnificent season. For me it will be forever tainted by his twisted and dangerous antics.
The Cardinals' play calling was absurd. I still can't figure out what they were thinking of. Their most successful drive was off the no huddle and exploiting the brilliant play of Larry Fitzgerald, Bolden and Breaston. Then they forgot about it.
When all they had to do was stop the Steelers for two minutes they went into a weak prevent instead of maintaining the inspired play that got them the lead. The coaching got them to the Superbowl but the coaching cost them the championship.
Rockwell Poncho by Paul Gilligan
Click images for desktop size: "Poncho Rockwell" by Paul Gilligan
I managed to miss Bruce Springsteen . . .
Now comes that fallow part of the year. They'll be the Football Combine in a couple of weeks. There's enough Trojans invited to make that mildly interesting. I'll be curious about Clay Matthews and Mark Sanchez.
I'm one of those who think that Mark made a mistake in entering the draft early. I honestly think that a senior year could have seen him as at least a Heisman finalist. It would have let him learn to control his emotions and set him up for a solid NFL career.
As it is now I think he'll get the signing bonus he craves but will either set on the bench for two years, which would not be a bad thing, or get thrown to the lions too soon and end up shuffling around as a back up until he gets a fair chance somewhere down the line.Wicked Wicked
I still hope for the best for him. He is a fine young man.
Then there'll be the draft in April which is always lightly amusing. I wonder if USC can beat last years record for first round picks.
There's baseball season and there's spring ball and then a dearth until August.
Nice cycle of life. I don't think I would want to change it.

Today I plan to watch a movie, "Outlander". Its about a spaceship that crashes on Earth during the Iron Age and mixes the Space Man up with some Vikings who have to work together to kill a space monster.
There's this sci-fi writer, David Drake, who wrote a book with a near identical idea. Except in his book there was no space man, only the space monster. The monster was a baboon like creature, slightly larger than man sized and incredibly viscous.
The monster lands in ancient Rome and is hunted by Gladiators!! Drake is too prolific (I can't even remember the title of this book) to be great but he has written a couple of great books. This one and "Redliners".
What made this one great was the history of Ancient Rome he threw in not only for atmosphere but to advance the plot.
The gladiators aren't horrified by the creature, but like the mice in the Sufi legends seek only the most expedient professional means of killing it. Their vengeance and anger has no place in their plans to destroy something bigger and stronger than they are. They move like Gladiators, with no fear but only the need to finish the task.
Click images for desktop size: "Dogs" by Unknown
Great book, I wish I could remember the title . . .

I was hoping that we'd hear about the car loan by now. The loan officer doesn't seem to be in. So we have to be patient.
I hate being patient sometimes. There should be no problems at all but with the economy the way it is now I trust banks even less, which is something I thought would be impossible.
My friend needs that car.
I need for her to have what she needs.
The dogs could care less.

January 19, 2009

Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit
Frank Borman

Cruel Shoes
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Cruel Shoes
Things aren't going great today.
There was about 6 inches of snow over night. Interesting stuff. New self anointed snow shovelingThe Falcon's Alibi masters have to anticipate being regularly tested.
I was up at six and making the phone calls to handle the garage and rental cars.
The garage gave me the second worst answer a mechanic can give you, "Uh oh!" when I told him the engine had seized.
The worst answer is some variation of laughter or "Seychelles! Here I come!"
Won't know until this afternoon what the final verdict will be. My friend had reality settle in and is now pretty upset. She was very attached to her little car. It fit her and it fit her personality. From Crunch Time.jpg
Click image for desktop size: "Crunch Time" by NFL Films
experience I can say it was little but still held four dogs and two people.
Then I called the car rental joint an hour before the pick up time. I was assured everything was in place and in order.
Four calls later and 1 hour past the pick up time the driver finally showed up. The car rental place is only about 10 minutes away. Three dogs and I could probably walk it in an hour or close to it.
My friend got there to find out that they had no car ready. Since we reserved it on Saturday and with the lateness this was sort of irritating. I guess the attitude was bad too. It wasn't the best on the phone either.
Anyway I had to do a quick search for another car rental joint. Went to one of the big national chains. Oddly, they were about 60 bucks less for the week then the recommended place that created the fiasco.
DC Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "DC Comics" by Unknown
They're on their way to pick her up at the first rental joint.
My friend isn't much given to teary eyed histrionics but I think she's feeling close.
She was wondering if she jinxed herself by calling this "Hell Week". She still has about 100 hours of work to get through this week, barring complications. (She doesn't schedule for contingencies.)
Hopefully, before I finish writing this I'll have word that everything is sorted.

The football yesterday was good. The Philadelphia-Arizona game was very edifying. Great lead changes, each team dominating a half with a socko conclusion. The final play of the game was cool and wild and a suitable championship conclusion.
The Steelers-Ravens match up was pretty much as advertised. I was disappointed in the injury to Fire Maidens Of Outer Space Willie McGahee. It looked devastating. I hope he's okay.
I still blame the Steelers for two of the worst Superbowls in history. Their win against Seattle and the loss to I can't remember who! That's how dull that one was. I think it was against the Dallas Cowboys in the late 90's.
The saddest part is I know they'll be favored. But maybe Larry Fitzgerald, Edge and Kurt Warner can keep the game exciting enough to enjoy.

Just got word that the second rental joint has picked my friend up from the first rental joint. What a mess.
For me, everyone knows that in the face of disasters (and this is a mess albeit a minor one in the face of the world).
When thing go wrong I can't help to think back to what I could have done to make things better or to not happen. Hindsight, yeah, but you need hindsight to expedite the future.

I have to go shovel snow. One bright spot is that the neighbors haven't dumped anymore snow on top of the gate. They've still blocked the man gate but should still be able to get the rental car into the parking space tonight. Amazing what things you find to be grateful for; people not being jerks for even just a little while.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr day. Its a shame they couldn't have re-scheduled the inauguration to happen on today. It would have been touching. It already will be.

January 18, 2009

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith
Paul Tillich

Computer Games
Click images for desktop size: "Computer Games" by Unknown
Unfortunate trouble today. Car trouble.
We went out in the morning to get dog food. The oil light was on/ I opened the hood and saw that oil was splaying out from the oil filter. I filled the engine with the oil we had in the car (justThe Desperate Hours purchased).
So we made a quick call to Jiffy Lube to get a new filter and on the way there the engine seized . . .
Not very good news.
We got a tow truck to a to a garage that's nearby. Walked home in the snow. Cold, snow and no ride. Just time to think about can't afford a new car, probably can't afford a new engine. I'd guess the bearing probably burned. Maybe not.
The engine seized on a busy bridge, going uphill. I got out to push it while my friend steered. It was slow going. I was full extended and Cone Nebula
Click image: "Crab Nebula NGC 2264" by NASA
looking at the ground, trying to make sure I didn't hit any ice and fall on my face. Suddenly the pushing got easier. I thought maybe the ground had leveled or something, I looked up and this fellow had just decided to help and was pushing for all he was worth. We got it to a driveway and even between us we could not get it up over the hump when suddenly anther car stopped and this fellow got out and finished helping.
They left as quickly as they came. Big city instincts had me reaching for my pocket and calculating how much money I had. But they left well before I was able to reach. Rah!
I had my mobile on me, fortunately. I walked to two garages, both closed on a Saturday of course. My friend managed to ring up a tow truck on her AAA. Funny thing was she thought her card had expired but the girl on the other end said it was paid for the year. So the tow was free.
We had to wait for it but less that 20 minutes. It was cold but not deadly cold inside.
Then we walked home and felt sad and then not so sad.
Click images for desktop size: "Coffee" by Unknown
I told her that chances were good it would be three to four thousand to fix or replace the engine. Can't afford it. Can't afford a new car either, or a used car.
This is the busy week for my friend. Where she works is 30 miles away. There's public transportation. It runs twice a day and takes over two hours. So we reserved a car. About 240 for the week. Can't afford that either.
But we're still smiling.
That's what friends are for I guess.
The weekend seemed to be off to a good start too. On Friday my friend too the giant dog into work with her. This greatly offended the gentle dog. He's still pouting today! He believes he is the working dog!
But the giant dog did well. He was protective without being aggressive. There's about a 6 acre fieldDivided Into Zero by my friends workplace and he played in the snow with another working puppy. And he was off lead! And came back!
There's a place near us that does a gluten free vegetarian pizza. That night we had pizza. My friend her gluten free one and the dogs and I our terrible bad for you pizza. We enjoyed it and felt all woozy and content.
Until my puppy decided that a piece of pizza I was holding was too tempting. She snatched it from my hand. She gave it right back but then scuttled away rather than go to place, or puppy prison, the big house for bad dogs, or the bathroom with the DOOOR CLOSED! For five whole minutes.
Click images for desktop size: "Daybreak" by Unknown
Then the car thing happened. Stress and cold weather has made my friend sick again. Funny, she was born and bred to this climate but I deal with it better. As we walked I put it off to my building my endurance by taking the dogs out for an hour or so everyday. When we got home it seemed to be that she was just more dressed for running from car to store than for endurance.
First time I ever knew there was a difference.
So I'm waddled in stress and worry. Its only a car but we need a car to survive. It is the centerpiece of our survival universe. It will sort out. It has to. This is the sort of problem that can be dealt with it just ripples and makes things difficult and, hopefully, doesn't destroy.
Thank god for football and movies.
The AFC and NFC Championship games are today. And its certainly odd.
The two six seed teams, the two who barely qualified are in the Championship. Baltimore andEyes Without A Face Arizona looked unreal thrashing favored opponents. Philadelphia looked no nonsense in thrashing an inept Eli Manning and a disorganized New York Giants team while the Steelers destruction of the Chargers seemed predicated on the Steeler's O-Line finally remembering how to block.
I was 2-2 in my picks. Careful study that couldn't anticipate the emotional swings of the teams. My friend was 2-2 because of lucky guesses.

My picks are in bold.

Philadelphia at Arizona - A few weeks ago the Eagles just trounced the Cardinals. It was an embarrassing defeat for them. It was also a meaningless game for the Cardinals. The question is: "Can the Eagles keep up this surprising run?"
They probably can but the Eagles were pretty dinged up after whomping the Giants. Most importantly the Eagles resurgence has hinged upon Brian Westbrook and he is dinged up pretty badly. He'll play but it would be tough to expect him to play at the level he has been at this past month.
The Cardinals are playing ball as well as they have all season. They're bashed up some but reasonably sound. Their X-Factor is Kurt Warner, the evil genius who worked his way into the NFL after years in Arena football and the WFL, worked his Confined by Julie Bell
Click images for desktop size: "Confined" by Julie Bell
way into three Superbowls and two MVP's. This is no doubt his last chance to again prove the world wrong.
The Eagles secondary can handle him. No one can handle Larry Fitzgerald right now. With Antaun Bolden set to play they can't even afford to double cover him unless they wan to rush just 3 linemen all day.
With James and Hightower being just effective enough to get the play action pass working the Cardinals will get their points at home.
The Cardinals' Defense has looked good in the playoffs. Westbrook is too good a back not to make a few great runs. But Donavan McNabb will likely throw a couple of picks against the ball hawking Cardinal's secondary. DeSean Jackson will face a rougher set of jams and presses then he's seen previously. They'll open up the middle for him where he'll get cleaned out.Dracula
This should be the most entertaining game of the day.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh - I'm taking the Ravens almost on a whim. Joe Flacco has gotten a lot of e-ink for being the first rookie to take his team this far, but I keep remembering that Rothlisberger did it with the Steelers in the most boring way possible.
This is going to be a ugly brutal game. The two best defenses in the league playing angry. The Steelers Troy Polamanu is banged up. At 905 he's still the best player on the field.
I don't think the Steelers O-Line can hold up against the Ravens as well as it did last week. They'll bash a fragile Rothlisberger around and do whatever it takes to take him out of the game.
The game should come down to field goals but in nasty weather and cruel winds the kicking game will spend most of the game on the sidelines.
Its should be mean, cruel football today and I think the Ravens feel too maligned to back down, give up or consider losing.

January 12, 2009

Capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without hell
Frank Borman

Plans Of Man
Click images for desktop size: "Man's Plans For a Better World" by Unknown
My friend is home today. Precautionary sick day. My insistence.
She's got a quarter end thing this month. That usually entails a few 36 to 48 hour shifts. That startsAppointment With Danger Wednesday.
Seems to me that it makes better sense to fully recover from any illness to better endure the hyper-mandatory deadlines that begin this week.
The only issue is that, despite my precautions, I feel myself getting a cold too.
It used to be that I was immune to everything. If I caught a cold I'd sneeze or cough for a couple hours, take a nap and wake up fine. Unremembered Faces
Click image: "Unremembered Faces" by Unknown
Once I had a temperature of 104. I was traveling that day. I took two aspirins I got at the Atlanta Airport on a layover, took a 30 minute nap in one of those creepy airport chairs designed to keep you alert and uncomfortable, and I woke up fine.
Since chemotherapy everything hits me in a near fatal way. I don't understand how the cure (chemotherapy) for one disease makes you immediately vulnerable to every other disease. It doesn't feel logical.
Getting the body tough enough to throw off some crazy blood cells shouldn't take so much effort that your body has nothing left to fight anything else, ever.
Its a reality I reject. And reality doesn't give a damn.
The cold is early stages enough that I think I can fight it off.
Its snowing right now. Light powdery stuff. Makes me want to go skiing . . . or skydiving. Not sure which one would be the closer to fatal but the pleasure receptors in my brain still remember them.
Blue In Space
Click images for desktop size: "Blue in Space" by Unknown
I didn't help my cause for illness fighting by attacking the snow yesterday.
I shoveled the yard as is my usual task. Not the whole yard but the sidewalks and driveways. I usually have the dogs to increase the burden and make it a chore but they make me laugh and feel happy enough to not care about the extra work.
I went to shovel the entrance from the gate to the main driveway. Since my neighbor has piled a few hundred pounds of snow in front of the man gate I had to take the dogs in. They disapproved. (Why is it that in this huge yard they have to stay within 5 feet of me at all times but the second they get out of the gate the mission is to get away from me as fast as possible. How much fun can it be for them watching me chase behind them?)
After I shoveled the entrance I got worried about the neighbor plowing the yard and piling all thatBeast of Blood snow right back in front of our gate. With a sick friend and three dogs I got worried about emergency runs delayed while I frantically shoveled a clear path. I envisioned firemen struggling valiantly with flame throwers trying to burn an exit through the heavily compacted snow. So I shoveled the driveway.
I only did 25 yards. of the 30. The driveway is 12 feet wide so that's like 100 square yards with about 7 inches of snow. I wish I knew the math to calculate how much snow in pounds I shifted. I'm sure it was prodigious.
No matter. I still feel the right to name myself the master of the snow shovel. The driveway looked fabulous, like a pathway to snowy paradise. I'm sure the pathway to Valhalla is not any better shoveled and landscaped.
I'm working on some katas to further evolve the discipline I have so well perfected. Soon I will take students and for a nominal fee instruct them in the art I have constructed.
Shar Pei
Click images for desktop size: "Shar Pei" by Unknown
It was 15 outside. I noticed that again I managed to shut down my body so well that I only felt my usual pain and didn't really notice the cold. I'll make that part of my instruction.
Of course when I went that evening to contemplate my great feat and the beauty of my plan to give us normal ready access I discovered that our neighbor had parked his snow mobile right in front of the gate.
I'm still convinced that this is not malicious just stupidity and an inability to conceive that the world extends somewhat beyond his field of vision.

The NFl on Saturday was Majestic. I was thrilled to see Arizona rise up and play some pretty impressive football in the first half. The Baltimore Ravens win over Tennessee was exciting and tough.Barberellas
On Sunday the games were pathetic. No excitement. Just dull inevitability. Although I still am entertaining the idea that Eli Manning took a huge bribe to throw the game for the Giants. He looked purely horrendous.

I heard from my friend who got his degree in Archaeology. Somehow this has turned into him becoming a teacher. Grammar school teacher. Odd path, I think. He's tutoring an autistic kid while looking for full time employment. Cool stuff. I hope it works for him.
His girlfriend got him a Canon 1000D!! I think that's great. He's been shooting old camera bodies with film. Doing pretty well with it. He has an eye for it.
I would have loved to see photo's by him at some dank jungle while he discovered a million year old space ship made of stone and wood that contained the final remnants of its alien astronaught. (Who then awakens and devours the entire archeological team, of course. His photo's would make him posthumously famous!)

I'm doing laundry. Tending the ill(er) and petting the dogs. Talking to lawyers and bureaucrats and that's enough for me today.

January 10, 2009

When you have a dream, you've got to grab it and never let go
Carol Burnett

Wave Outline
Click images for desktop size: "Wave Outline" by Unknown
Still feeling thin. My friend isn't doing much better. Only two dogs at the dog party. They had a weeks worth of fun looking at the pictures.
She had a bad day. Creepy co-worker who reports to her. My friend went ballistic and gave herselfA Quiet Place to Kill a 26 hour (and counting) headache.
We took the dogs out for a late night walk. It was fun. Everyone felt a little bit better for it. What was nicest that the park near us was completely empty except for two guys who had somehow stomped out a 10 yard square ice skating rink. The dogs had never skating before and they were enthralled to the point of not even barking at Surf
Click images for desktop size: "Surf" by Unknown
the strangers.
It was cold. My friend asked me, "Can you feel your face and fingers?" I said, "Of course!"
But then thinking about it I realized that I couldn't. Not at all. I didn't realize it.
I'm also worried about a dear friend who works at Starbucks. What that corporation is doing is pure evil.
Recently they closed down nearly 700 shops, throwing an estimated 2,800 people out of work. The company disputed all unemployment claims stating that they could have transfered to another store . . .
Their new ploy to force attrition, is to demand that all employees makes themselves available for work for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not being available is cause for termination. They make no guarantee that any employee will receive the hours for which they may have been hired. Meaning that you could wait for work for 84 hours and only get 4 hours Welcome to Hell by Jakob P
Click images for desktop size: "Welcome to Hell" by Jakob P
of work.
I've been in that situation. Watching the rent clock tick and scrabbling for money to pay the phone bill so you can call in and be told there's nothing now, check back in a few hours or tomorrow. You can't even look for another job because you relied on your paycheck that barely met your minimum survival needs. Can't take a part time gig because you have to be available. So you sink into depression clinging to hope and a lifeline that doesn't ever materialize.
This is a pretty cynical move by Starbucks. I'm sure the exec's are still drawing full pay. They have to take care of their families. They are too cowardly to think about yours.
I'm also sure that this has led to a sweet amount of corruption for those low level store managers. Fifty to a hundred bucks a week to get you 30 hours a week. Small bribe when it lets you avoidAlmost Human starving.
The move has given the Union movement a bit of a kick, but its too late now.
When Ronald Reagan destroyed the unions he knew full well that he was destroying the American dream. Even superstar athletes need a union.
I remember Walter Payton had to go through hell to get paid 700,000 a year after leading the NFL in rushing for 4 years. He never got it. Had to settle for 600,000.
It was Reggie White, then a Philadelphia Eagle, who showed the way. He was making 225,000 and wanted a raise to 350,000. The oner of the team said it was impossible. The Eagles were losing money and they couldn't afford to pay him a fraction of what he was worth as a player and a box office draw.
White went to court. HE got the Eagles to open their books. What they found was surprising. The Eagles were losing money. The largest expenditure was a 25 million dollar a year salary paid to the owner. The second largest was the 15 million that went to pay for the owner and his families homes, the fourth largest was for cars, boats and personal vehicles.
Dark Tower
Click images for desktop size: "Dark Tower" by Marvel Comics
Its the same at Starbucks. Its the same for those employees as it was for Reggie White. Dedicated good employees cast aside and their needs ignored.
I'll never drink a cup of franchise coffee again.

At least this is the best week of NFL football this season. All four games have a burgeoning promise that ascends to the imagination as a falling star in the desert beckons to the cave men.
Last week I was 3-1 one in my picks. I missed on Arizona. I was glad to lose it. The Cardinals were brilliant.
My friend was 2-2 in her picks. I guess I just can't teach her anything!
My picks are in bold.

Arizona at Carolina - I don't think the Panther defense can stop the Cardinals. They can slow themA Nymphoid Barbarian In Dinosaur Hell down especially since Boudin, my pick for courageous player of the year, may not be able to play. Still I can't see them stopping Larry Fitzgerald or the quick strike. Meanwhile the Panthers rely on Steve Smith and Deangelo Williams. I think the Cardinals can stop Deangelo and slow down Smith but not at the same time. There'll be a lot of junk passes that will set up a few pass interference calls when Delahome goes deep to Smith. It could be a Panthers blowout but more likely will be a shootout. The Panthers barely won a shootout against the Saints a few weeks ago. That was on the road. I think they'll win a shootout today in the final moments.

Baltimore at Tennessee - If the Titans could have avoided Baltimore I think they had a sure path to the Superbowl. Last week Joe Flacco made history by being the first rookie QB to win a playoff game. He has shown he has no regard for that kind of history. That's a good thing. Every step he has taken has been something new for him and the league. The Titans have enough D to make him nervous but not to stop him completely. Meanwhile the Ravens defense is looking better than anyone since the Ravens won the Superbowl. They match up against the Titans strength for strength. This will be a smash mouth encounter. I pick a surly swarming defense against a great running game. And then there's the Ray Williams fire. The Jake Reed hunger. I can't wait.

Eagles at New York Giants - The games both won at the others house this season. This is the tie Chinese Dancer
Click images for desktop size: "Chinese Dancer" by Unknown
breaker. The game will have almost a college feel. Two rivals who hate each other playing down in the cold and the dirt, true NFL style. There's too much intensity here. The Giants have played cruddy ball since the Plaxico Buress incident while the Eagles have played their best ball in the last four weeks, mainly thanks to studly play by Brian Westbrook. But the Giants have had the bye week to heal. They're completely healthy. The Eagles are in good shape but had a physical game last week. That and the fact the Giants have more talent makes me give them the pick. If all the games weren't so good this would be the game of the week.

San Diego at Pittsburgh - A few weeks ago they played in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won 11-10. ThisArena week the Chargers won't have super stud Ladainian Tomlinson. But the Steelers QB, Rothlisberger is coming off a severe concussion, the kind where you think you're someplace else dreamy. Rothlisberger will get battered. Holmes will pick up some of the slack. If Tomlinson were in the game I'd take the Chargers. Derrick Sproles (who grew 2 inches just by joining the NFL) is a nifty little back. He can't survive the battering from the Steelers and Polamanou. Last week against the Colts they were saying how Philip Rivers was willing the Chargers to the wind. What I saw was Rivers throwing a lot of iffy passes into too tight of a window. I think the Steelers won't let him get away with that. I can see the Steelers winning on a defensive score.

As usual these picks are for my contest and for laughs. I wouldn't pay any attention to them unless your idea of laughs is losing money to bookies . . .

January 3, 2009

Doctor said I just need a pocketful of nickels and a juke box to cure all my ills
Carl Perkins

Psychopulse by 4AM
Click images for desktop size: "4 AM" by Psychopulse
One thing I hate about objective opinions is they're hard to ignore or argue against.
I thought I was holding it together but I guess I've been a bit of a jerk these past few days.
Overcompensating. I keep feeling bad, plugging away at the pain pills but I'm still being a jerk.Robot Monster
When that's the case its always a good idea to find something to pin the blame on.
I chose the cats: The stupid cat that lives with us and the skanky cat who I have to feed who resides in the dog house.
See how easy that is?
I like that cats exist now. I think cats are probably responsible for the recession, Cheny's ability to torture people and Bush's ability to Melinda Clarke
Click images for desktop size: "Melinda Clarke"
illegally detain American citizens. And me being crabby. Its all part of a package.
The skanky cat has now moved permanently into the dog house. The dogs don't even care about it anymore. It has enough sense to not antagonize them and now that I'm putting its food out of the dogs reach they couldn't care about it at all. Unlike the stupid cat the skanky cat doesn't try and attack them and then run away thinking its faster than they are.
Cats. Grumble.
I forgot to mention that I've updated the film libraries. A bit over 3,300 movies now. Its slower updating thanks to the AppleTV. Where before I had to keep every movie I saw now I can just delete them. I wish I could delete them from my memory as easily. I still have shudders about "Semi-Pro" but I am pleased that I have absolutely no recall of "Eagle Eye" other than the trailer, I can't remember a thing about it, which is probably a good thing.
I also cleaned a few things up, made corrections that sort of thing. I have to say it: I'm not selling movies or boot legging them. They're for trade only.
Robert Crumb
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Robert Crumb
There's no copy of "The Dark Knight", which I thought was a turgid boringly long mess. Heath Ledger will probably get the Oscar. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences loves to give the Oscar to dead actors. I figure because the producers always vote them in. Any footage they have of Ledger become more valuable and dead actors can't suddenly come back and demand 100 to 1,000 times more money and a percentage of the front end.
I still thought Ledger's the Joker was a sloppy construction. Thew whole film was sloppy and sprawling in a bad way, like your fat uncle sprawling on the sofa watching baseball on a hot summer day way.
I still also don't have a copy of "Gladiator". I didn't like that one either, even though one of my Seven Samurai better friends chides me over its exclusion. He thinks its the greatest movie ever made. He won't trade me his copy. He and his girlfriend have just moved and taken on some new teaching positions so his plan to get a 50 inch plasma, and a Blu Ray player just he can watch "gladiator" over and over again have, thankfully, had to be put on hold.
You will find more Asian films, more action and monster movies. Some wannabee surfer thinks my By Kankei
Click image: "Untitled" by Kankei
taste in movies is elitist. I think its cool that loving Godzilla and Chambara flics is now elitist.
Oh and click on the buttons and things in the movie pages. It will display the posters and descriptions.
After me picking Gene Vincent's re-release of "The Day the World Turned Blue" and "A Million Shades of Blue" as my album of the year a friend sent me another 2008 re-release. Gene Vincent's "Born To Be A Rolling Stone". He's right that "Rolling Stone" is a better over all album. The music is tighter, there are catchier tunes. "Rolling Stone" has been available for ever in one version or another. I have at least 3 CD's of it. This new one is the best though. Remastered sweet and clean. They've bought up the lovely acoustic guitars and at times Parfume by Roebuck
Click images for desktop size: "Parfume" by Roebuck
Gene's voice shimmers. I'll stick with the "Blue" albums though. Two first time on CD releases on a single disk. That's very cool.
The album I'd love to see (hear) on CD is the odd one that Gene made in England with the Puppets. They were his band when he played the Blackpool Pier. Every day two shows a day. I think that was a happy year for Gene. The album is joyous, tight and exuberant as the days with the Blue Caps. Its almost all other versions of his hits but they are very very good. Having it remastered in the same way as these two disks would be very welcome indeed. The same with almost any of the Rebel Heart disks. (Reference for dedicated Gene fans - Rebel Heart has about 20 LPs featuring every scrap of Gene's recordings, including stuff fans recorded in hotel rooms and the like - great stuff.)Secret Beyond the Door

The bowl season is looking interesting. Right now it appears that my opinion of the SEC and Big 12 are more accurate than the presses'. The Sec has decent defenses going against mediocre offenses and the Big 12 has good offenses going up against the worst defenses in the country.
Even Sports journalism has been caught up in the fall of journalism in this country. There won't ever be another, "All the President's Men". They'll just report the press releases as fact and go along with the hype.
Utah destroying "Number 1" Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and Misissippi dismantling Texas Tech yesterday sort of proves all of that. WHile the Pac 10 going 5-0 in the bowls while being called the worst BCS conference in the nation makes everything look kind of silly.
But nothing touches silliness as much as the NFL's Wild Card Weekend.
Planning the Attack by Charles Russell
Click image: "Planning the Attack" by Charles Russell
I'm not a fan of the wild card games. Runner ups get a chance to go to the Super Bowl? It sells tickets though and I'll, no doubt, watch all four games so, there you go.
I'm pretty much way out of the season prize but I'll pick the games anyway.
In the final week of the regular season I picked an astonishing 9 games correctly. My friend, in her abysmal ignorance managed to get SIX games wrong. Pathetic. That she thinks her 10-6 record is superior to my 9-7 picks shows her woeful insight into this beautiful sport.
My picks are in bold.

Atlanta at Arizona - One of the more interesting games. The Cardinals only lost to the New York Giants at home. I'm still picking Atlanta and stunning rookie Matt Ryan. Although I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cardinals jump out to an early lead and then just build on it this game smellsSpice World more like a shoot out. The Falcons have a better defense and the Cardinals have a better offense. It should be the most fun game. I'm still picking the Falcons because its fun to imagine Matt Ryan marching the Falcons down the field in the final minute on the winning drive.

Indianapolis at San Diego - The Colts are pretty heavy favorites here. Good reason. What is more embarrassing for the NFL, having the 8-8 Chargers when the AFC west or having an 8-8 team in the play offs at all! The Colts have managed to win on sheer will this season. They're healthy and experienced. Tomlinson and Gates, the two best players the Chargers have sat out of practice this week. Normally that would bother me but the two of them are serious talents and probably benefited from the bye week. Philip Rivers is looking sharp and I can see them winning the shoot out. It took a great drive by Manning to beat them in the regular season. They should have learned something from that game.

Baltimore at Miami - The Dolphins are stoked by going from 1-15 to the play offs! Chad Pennington is stoked because they eliminated his old team from the play offs. The Ravens are angry. Angry because Matt Ryan got rookie of the year over their super rookie Joe Flacco. Angry that no one Beauty Contest Loser
Click images for desktop size: "Beauty Contest Loser" by Unknown
gives them a chance to advance to the Super Bowl. In the NFL angry always seems to trump happy.

Philadelphia 30 at Minnesota 27 - I don't like the Eagles or the Vikings much. The Eagles have the D-Line to contain but not stop Adrien Petersen. They will make a joke of the lousy QB Jackson. The VIkings can pressure McNabb and contain Brian Westbrook but not all day. It should be close but only because the Eagles will let the Vikings dig out of a hole.

With my gaudy 60% accuracy rate at NFL picks only a total wastrel who wants to throw away his money would pay any attention to these picks . . . for amusement of my enemies only. You know who you are!

January 2, 2009

USC 38 Penn State 24

Click images for desktop size: Unknown by Unknown
It was a quiet New Year for us. The nicest part was there were no fireworks, no one shooting guns into the air hence no scared puppies.Fantastic Voyage
I held up pretty well through out the holidays. Only sick a few times. Sort of sick right now and sort of depressed that the holidays are over. Even though we have three more days it feels close to an end. Time to go back to being leery.

The Rose Bowl was pretty classic football. It was certainly the classiest game this season. Mark Sanchez had his first flawless Fashion and Sex by S4W
Click images for desktop size: "Fashion And Sex" by S4W
game of the season. There was no dirty play from either side just hard edged aggression and positive play. It was a game that was positive entertainment and an advertisement for the sport being played as a way to develop youngsters into men.
It had a beauty. At first I was a touch irked by USC's apparent collapse in the 4th quarter. Now its apparent that it was Penn State playing the football they're capable of. Daryl Clark is an amazing QB. I've seldom seen a player make so many right decisions. His mistakes were rare and created by the USC devastating defense.
Its made for a happier end to the season.

I've been feeding the skanky cat. Its a stray. Not feral but not friendly, which is fine by me.
The dogs have been stealing its food. Even telling them eating cat food will turn them into cats doesn't deter them. I cleared some snow off the dog house roof, which is where it seems to like Eclipse by Peekaboo
Click images for desktop size: "Eclipse" by Peekaboo
living and put its food up there. It eats the dogs look at it angrily so all is well.
The dogs were all negative attention seekers for New Years. My puppy vomited 3 times, once on the bed - nothing like two AM sheet changing. The giant dog somehow got a tiny sliver of metal in his front paw, no blood and my friend dug it out pretty easily. The gentle dog got up for our nightly "security walk" and was limping dramatically. No swelling or tenderness in his legs or feet but the limping persisted until we got outside. Then he started to bound around, bit me a few times (which still seems to be his greatest fun) and had to run like a maniac to chase my puppy down the hill to yell at our neighbor dogs. No limping since.
On new years my friend and I had a bottle of "Ice Cider". Some sort of aperitif. It was expensive. Forbidden Planet Like 30 bucks for 12 ounces! I don't drink but I really disliked it. I thought maybe it was because we were slugging it out of wine glasses. It wasn't until after that I read the label that I saw it was an aperitif, meant for them little tiny port glasses. Since that was about all I drank anyway I'll stand by hating it. It certainly was no inducement to get me to drink.
(I'll never understand why it bothers people that I don't drink. It does. Makes some people angry and some nervous. Too used to Southern California where most people wrongly assume I was just a drunk and that I'm working on my AA chip.)
Still feeling sad and sick enough to want to get back to feeling bad.
NFL Football picks have to be done by tomorrow. I have to practice being wrong. Its so rare for me to be wrong. With practice I'll get it right!

December 28, 2008

Inspiration is an awakening, a quickening of all man's faculties
Giacomo Puccini

Pin Up Art by JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Pin Up Art" by JW McGinnis
Its going to be 62 today. All the snow is gone. There are a few treacherous ice patches still lingering but they'll be gone soon too.
Thirty mile an hour winds. The wind is icy and feels like life struggling.2001
It feels like a beautiful spring day. Which also sounds stupid to say 3 days before the new year.
I'm discovering I like the cold and the snow. Maybe its just my body and will bending to the inevitable but it feels right.
Garbo as a Trojan
Click image: "Even Garbo wants to be a Trojan"
I've spent most of my life in the warmth of the sun or in temperate regions. Cold was a thing to visit and to see, and marvel at. Now I look forward to the warm shower spray hitting me while the air around me is frigid and cruel while I stand naked.
I like layering clothes and surviving the harshness of the weather. Walking the dogs who leap and cavort in oblivious excitement.
The cold makes a simple walk to the store seem like an adventure, an exciting accomplishment that marks the day with a white stone.
This December spring day is yukky. The mud instead of soft snow and slippery ice is ugly and of no value to the soul or to the eye and heart.
I like the snow. I like watching the dogs play in it and stop to bury their faces in it. I even like shoveling it. It feels like a victory.

The dishwasher is in a few dozen pieces. It stopped cleaning the dishes. Took it apart. There's a lot of calcium build up but nothing that would explain its futile efforts as splashing the dishes.
Glittering Hallways of Heaven
Click images for desktop size: "Glittering Hallway of Heaven" by Unknown
We're going to soak the screens, filters and spray arms in CLR today. It might do something. There's a few other parts that need checking out. I feel like a bumbling handyman, but so far seem to have broken nothing.

My friend is enjoying being home. I enjoy her being around. She seems worried that she's bothering me or something. Can't quite read it and the things that could be bothering her play in my head in horrifying cinerama.
We had a good Christmas. The toys, the food, even my CHristmas cookies were okay. My unbaked oatmeal cookies didn't set properly but they were still edible until the stupid cat decided to get on the counter and put cat poison on them!
The dogs are still over joyed. I love them so it pleases me as little else could.Charley Varrick
I keep thinking about the Rose Bowl. If nothing else Joe Paterno and Pete Carroll will give us the classiest bowl game of the season. That counts for a lot to me. Why USC is so heavily favored surprises me. I could see them being maybe 3 point favorites but I think Penn State should be up by about 2. They hammered Oregon State, the only team to beat USC this year and they beat Ohio Marylin Manson
Click image: "Marylin Manson"
State in a tense gritty smash mouth affair. USC destroyed Ohio State but not as convincingly as Penn State destroyed Oregon State. So, I wait.

This has been, I think, the worst NFL season in years. The on,y real bright spots are the two rookies, Matt Ryan of the Falcons and Joe Flacco of the Ravens playing so well and Matt Cassell coming off the Patriots bench to become a star.
The offenses have all been dull and repetitive. The defenses have settled in and know their jobs. The last time the NFL looked this dour it took the old AFL to wake them up.
Roger Goodell, NFL commish, has created this environment. He's cheapening the product, bending to the whims of the owners and and the gamblers while treating the stars of the game like flotsam that get in the way of his vision for the Death Rattle
Click images for desktop size: "Death Rattle Comics" by Unknown
game. Which is sort of like George Martin firing John Lennon from the Beatles because Paul wrote catchier tunes.
Last week I started out 8-1 in my picks! I was the national prize leader by two points!! I then proceeded to be wrong about every single late game and finished the week a dolorous 10-6. I wanted that NFL team watch and was viewing a lifetime supply of beef jerky as proper recompense.
My picking this year has been terrible. Usually I was always in the top 10%. This year I'm in the top 70% or the bottom 30% if you chose to be unkind.
What's worse is my friends picks. She was an unsightly 9-7 last week. Clearly she has not been learning from my masterful examples.
The Servant
As usual my picks are in bold.

New England at Buffalo - This had game of the week potential but Buffalo has been to flat. It should still be close. Teddy Bruschi is out for the Patriots so is Richard Seymour. Its a must win for the Pats while for the Bills this is nothing but pride and setting themselves for next years contracts.

Kansas City at Cincinnati - There are actually worse games this week, worse than this! I think the Bengals gave all they had last week in beating the Browns while the Chiefs keep playing better, not well enough to be good but better. Larry Johnson should do well and Thigpen to Anthony Gonzales is pretty to see.

Detroit at Green Bay - This is an exciting game for all the wrong reasons. The Lions are looking to Untitled by Soa Lee
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Soa Lee
become officially the worst team in NFL history. Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their debut season managed to lose them all. The Lions have already lost more games in a season than ANYONE! They've sewn up the number 1 pick. Wonder if they'll take a receiver. The Packers are a mediocre team (who sure have the Bears number) but should have enough self respect to not spoil the Lions bid for immortality.

Oakland at Tampa Bay - And anther meaningless game . . . The Buc's have more talent but since they flamed out so badly in their two must win games they may already be on their winter vacations. The Raiders might fire it up but probably not.

Tennessee at Indianapolis - The Titans have already announced that 7 starters are sitting down to get ready for the play offs. The Colts will probably follow suit. Keep the big guys primed and then A Tale of Two Sisters send in the back-ups. How unexciting. The Titans won when this matchup earlier in the season, when it meant something. Here I'll take the Colts because they have a tiny bit more to play for.

New York Giants at Minnesota - Picking the Giants as they're more sensitive and not looking at all indestructible. The Vikings have to play them My Life Savings
Click image: "Life Savings"
later on the road (if they advance that far). It would be easy to take the Vikings in this case but I'll stick with the Giants because they take so much heat when they don't win big that they'll take a loss as the end of the world.

Carolina at New Orleans - This game only means something to one guy. Dru Brees has a shot at the all time passing record for a season. The Saints need something to show pride in after this dismal mess of a season. The Panthers still look terrible to me as well. NFL football shouldn't always rely on miracles to win games.

St Louis at Atlanta - And this game means nothing to nobody. I don't think the Falcons could manage to throw the game to the Rams. They'll like having a live scrimmage before the playoffs. Who knows, the Rams may forget their place and pull out a squeaker but I can't see how.
Korean Woman
Click images for desktop size: "Korean Woman" by Unknown

Chicago at Houston - The Bears looked horrific against the Packers twice. They can still make the playoffs? The Texans aren't revitalized. They're weak. The Bears should have enough gritty pride to not want to be embarrassed completely this season. Whether the Vikings or the Bears make it to the playoffs they figure to be first round exits.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh - This is the cruddy game of the week. Worst offense in the NFL against the best Defense. The only drama is how long will the Steelers wait before bringing in Bryon Leftiwich for Rothlisberger. Since the Browns couldn't move the ball against the Steelers 2nd and third stringers we may even get to see the third string QB for the Steelers.
An American Werewolf in London
Jacksonville at Baltimore - This one of the more interesting meaningless games. Interesting because there's a chance both teams will play hard. The Jaguars are looking at a housecleaning and some may want to keep their jobs. The Ravens haven't clinched a playoff spot yet and know they will be underdogs. The defense will burn through the Jags.

Seattle at Arizona - Another meaningless snore-er. These games get scary for people foolish enough to bet them. The Cardinals have nothing to play for. In many ways they've already accomplished everything they wanted this season. The Seahawks stink but have nothing to lose. They've been improving. It will also be Seahawks coach, Mike Holmgren's last game. That almost makes me lean to the Seahawks. They played their hearts out last week against the Jets to win his final home game. Running on emotion leaves you burned out and empty. I don't think they Mini Watogla by Newsman Pro
Click images for desktop size: "Mini Watalog" by Newsman Pro
can bring that much fire to the game again. It would be something to see if they can. Would they parade Holmgren on their shoulders and carry him off the field? They should anyway.

Miami at New York Jets - Game of the week, if only because Chad Pennington comes home to face the guy who replaced him. This lover's spat will make things exciting for the Dolphins while Brett Favre's right arm will keep things tense for the Jets. This is the big stage, Favre owns the big stage. Pennington owns the Meadowlands. This will be good. A loss takes the Jets out of the playoffs. A win gives the Dolphins the Division title and pushes the Patriots out of the playoffs.

Dallas at Philadelphia - This is the media's game of the week. I'm not that interested. The Cowboys Attack of the Crab Monsters sold their souls and cheapened the game far more than making snow angels in the end zone ever could, and have little to show for it. The Eagles have looked dreadful too many times this season, even in a couple of games where they pulled out surprising wins. Winner gets a wild card spot. Loser gets to go home and read. The Cowboys fit that role better I think.

Denver at San Diego - Embarrassing game of the season. If the Broncos lose the Chargers win the Division and go to the playoffs as 8-8 champions. This has already been a cruddy season so I'm picking the Broncos to avoid that debacle. The Chargers should be favored. I still think Jay Cutler is a very good, approaching great QB.

Washington 13 at San Francisco 9 - And the season ends Sunday night with this meaningless travesty. Redskins coach Jim Zorn, so highly touted mid-season has been under the gun and dealing with serious job threats. If the Redskins have anything in them at all that should give them enough edge to win this one. Mike Singletary is no sentimentalist and the 49er's will come looking for bear cocky and confident. It will be better than it should be.

Not responsible for brain hemorrhage or apoleptic seizure that may occur when considering these picks.

December 22, 2008

The secret of creativity is knowing how to hide your sources
Albert Einstein

Fallen Angel IV by Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Fallen Angel IV" by Luis Royo
We had tostadas for dinner last night. Made from scratch tostadas. Nearly blew up the pressure cooker cooking the beans.
Sort of made us both sick . . . To much tos and not enough tada I guess . . .The Killers
Everything is still feeling good. My friend couldn't sleep from her tostada illness so she ended up working on some project for her job. Heck of a way to spend your Christmas vacation.
She explained everything she was doing to me in fine detail. I don't think it was very important that I didn't understand a thing she was talking about. She seemed very content and proud of herself for solving a problem and I could appreciate that. Even if I had no concept what the problem was or anything else much about it.
Typography Greeting by Blur
Click image: "Typography Greeting" by Blur
Last night we watched Jim Henson's "The Christmas Toy". Mildly amusing but nothing to go out of your way for. Then we watched an episode of the old TV series, "Kung Fu".
It's my friends favorite TV show ever. I enjoy it because I keep discovering a lot of friends had parts in the show. I still get a charge out of seeing my friends work.
It's become the tradition to watch an episode every Sunday night. Were about a third through season two right now. Last night the show was pretty good. David Carradine still bugs me. He can't fight but I do like his halting way of speaking english and Keye Luke is Keye Luke (Master Po). From Charlie Chan on I've always thought he was awesome.
Last night the show actually got into some Chinese history. It seemed accurate. At least it didn't contradict anything I already thought I knew.
It explained the story of the Manchus' burning the Shaolin Temple and killing all of the monks and how the five surviving monks formed the Tongs. How they convulsed their beliefs in order to use violence to not avenge but regain the place of their religion Christmas
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas" by Unknown
and in their convulsions metamorphed into bandits.
Then there was an interaction between a missionary and Caine that surprisingly showed the parallels between Christianity and Buddhism! Surprising and pithy stuff for a TV show. It didn't go that deep into it but it was enough to fire up some imaginations I'd imagine.
Then Richard Lo playing the venerable aged Tong leader gave a fantastic portrait of calm and logical evil. Approaching his problems and issues with reverence and ruthlessness. An elegant portrait of the evil men do for the betterment of society and themselves.
It would have been a much better show if David Carradine could at least look like he could fight . . .
Last night my puppy did a strange regression back to when she refused to go outside unless I wasSpiderman with her. I don't mind trekking through the drifting snow with her but it bothers me that she might suddenly have lost her inner sense of security, a feeling the two of us worked hard to instill.
She seems better this morning. More focused on having fun. That's the way it should be.

I've got a dozen Christmas tracks today.
Christmas Card by S4W
Click image: "Card" by S4W
I don't much like rap. I like the old school stuff, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Public Enemy, NWA and, of course Snoop Dogg. Snoop seemed to have lost his way a bit lately but he's come out with a new album that is a Christmas record!!
So far I like it. Very little tedium, the nice quasi-jazz mixes and lush production values. "Landy in my Egg Nog" is cool, funny and real.
I talked to Mamie Van Doren and she told me how Elvis had invited her to see Louis Jordan in Vegas. She didn't get to go because her then husband, Ray Anthony, was a jealous guy. For some reason what fascinated me was that Elvis wanted to see Louis Jordan. I checked him out and he was sort of a wild man playing within the big band croonermentality of the time. His Christmas tune "Santa Claus Santa Claus" does nothing to dispel the image. He is for sure worth listening to.
Christmas Pets
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Pets" by Unknown
And speaking of Elvis The Holly Twins' "I Want Elvis For Christmas"is okay but gets legendary when you know that its a teen Eddie Cochran playing the guitar and doing the hiccupy background vocals!
And when you go there you have to mention Dora Bryan's "All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle"
Carla Thomas made it personal with her "All I Want For Christmas Is You". Cool Stax sound and soaring voice.
Going even more old school is jazz legend Dave Brubeck. Rah. His "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is very cool and has the right sense of mellow for wrapping those last minute Christmas gifts.
Stepping slightly ahead in time we've got yet another new Christmas album. This one from Little Steven Van Zandt, the guy from Bruce Spingsteen, the Asbury Jukes and the Disciples of Soul. He just recorded a bunch of new garage stuff for a thing called "Christmas A Go Go. It is definitelyThe Two Mrs Carrolls alright. This is The Electric Prunes doing "Jingle Bells", from the day when a name like Electric Prunes made sense to somebody.
From the same album we have The Chevelle's doing the elegantly titled "Come All Ye Faithful Surfer Girls". Get your jaw ready to drop.
From the authentic era is this righteous tune, Davie Allan and the Arrows going all Yuletide with "Ho Ho Ho Seven-Hark The Herald Angels Sing". Which is possibly every old biker's favorite Christmas tune.
Madonna tried to ruin the Eartha Kitt klazzik and here The Dollyrots redeem the legacy of "Santa Baby" with this gravely distant purr.
Joey Ramone died. The world is a darker place without him. He left a lot of stuff out there that's being ignored. One of them is his truly cool cover of Darlene Love and Phil Specter's Christmas smash "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)". It should not be missed.
Eventide by Stag
Click images for desktop size: "Eventide" by Stag
And finally we have one of the little promo things I'm so fond of, Jan and Dean wishing you a "Happy New Year". Not much better in life than that.
We have to go out and get dog food. Have to beat the weather. Its sunny and cold now. Snow is promised before the day ends.
I'm kind of looking forward to that. Even with all my snow shovelling muscles sore and tired it still makes things pretty and fun and adventurous.
What's irksome is that Christmas eve is supposed to break 40 and then to rain . . . and then freeze. We'll survive. We always do.

December 21, 2008

I'm not a genius; I'm just a tremendous bundle of experience
R. Buckminster Fuller

Cruxificion of the Goddess
Click images for desktop size: "Crucifixion of the Goddess" by Unknown
Some torpid news yesterday.
We'd been buying special gluten free oats for oatmeal and stuff but it turns out that my friend is still having bad allergic reactions.
My only food restrictions are fat and sugar and that causes me some minor distress. My friend can't Sex Kittens Go To College eat wheat, gluten and now oats. Kind of sucks.
My little blind dog couldn't have wheat, beef and who knows what else. He'd go crazy if he got any. Somebody needs to make a pill. That's the American way isn't it?
I was also pretty dismayed to see that the USA General in Iraq is refusing to comply with Obama's demand for troop withdrawal. Its nice to know that Bush has succeeded in turning the US into a South American puppet government. This appears to be the start of a junta. Obama is crazy if he doesn't have the guy relieved from duty the second he takes office. I'd think that having him charged with treason, mutiny and a few other charges wouldn't be out of line.
Yesterday we got the tree up. That's great fun. The dogs are fascinated but then disappointed because they're not allowed to eat the ornaments.
I still like it. I like remembering the friends who gave us the stuff. I liked the copper ornament that the little blind dog gave us. I like it Lights Of Christmas
Click image: "Lights of Christmas" by Unknown
Nearly finished vacuum sealing all the doggie secret Santa gifts. The stickers look nice but don't stick to the packages real well. We'll figure something out.
No one came to my puppy's Christmas party. Last time I let her handle the invitations. She didn't care. She had fun.
There's another 3 inches of snow on the ground this morning with more expected. I have become the master of the snow shovel.
My friend gave her spare snow blower to our new neighbors as aSanta Dog
Click images for desktop size: "Santa Dog" by Unknown
bribe really to get them to take care of the 30 yard driveway that leads to both of our houses. The neighbors still perplex me. That means I don't think I like them but have only a few reasons not to. The guy is a rude jerk so that's easy to explain away. He is a total jerk.
His wife is pleasant but I keep getting a nasty tang of insincerity. She's a bartender or a bar maid at a local rather scuzzy bar. Its honest work but she shows all the signs of being a heavy drinker. Maybe that's what I'm reacting to. My own innate prejudices.
Or there's a good chance she's a jerk too. But we have seen her at two of the dog walks which is normally enough to warm me to almost any person. And I do like their dog. It upsets the husband that the dog likes me. He yells at it when it comes up to say hi and never acknowledges me. He's,Superman And Santa Claus like I said, a total jerk. I keep trying to keep things amenable. At least to the point of them calling the fire department if the house is on fire.
But now the snow blower my friend gave them is frozen to the ground!
Today I watch football and I plan to make cookies. CHRISTMAS cookies. I was going to make Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies but with my friends revelation . . . I could still make them and just keep them all for myself! Most likely I'll make the coconut flour cookies. They're okay too.

Last week my courageous picks resulted in me going 8-8! An impressive display of guts and risk taking on my part. My friend played all the safe picks, made all the easy choices and ended up an embarrassing 10-6.
My friend is not a Christmas music nut, but she is fond of one song: "Little Drummer Boy".
To teach her a lesson I managed to find about 30 versions of the tune. With I'm finished with her she'll never want to hear "rump a tum rum" ever again! That's her penalty for trying to look like she is beating me in NFL picks!

The Harry Simone Choral did the original "Little Drummer Boy". When I was a kid and driving around with my mother they would play it ad nauseam on the radio.
Which is why its cool that my peers have done what they could to renovate, some might call it destroy, this little ditty. Tech band Low's version of the drummer song turns the tune into a trance Elemental by Skywalker
Click images for desktop size: "Elemental" by Skywalker
dirge. Not very tasty but appropriate somehow.
Heavy metal guitarist, Gary Hoey had a surprise hit album of Christmas music. He basically played heavy distorted guitar over jams of Christmas tunes. It was so successful he had to do a sequel! Here's Gary Hoey's metallic take on the drummer boy song.
Steve Vai noticed Hoey going platinum so he organized a bunch of hard rock guitarists to do the same thing. The Merry Axemas albums are interesting but not very. Guys like Steve Stevens, a fine guitarist who kind of blew his chances by taking the quick and easy path with Billy Idol kind of typifies the album. For the most part each track starts off with some delicate and fine playing before it suddenly just rips into a loud more or less formless jam. Alex Lifeson does our featured track. Not much more to say than that other than I would hope that some part of this Something Weird record went to a charity or something. No mention of it but one can hope.
One thing my search discovered is that Joan Jett is still in business. I still remember her from the Runaway days where Kim Fowley and Rodney Bingenheimer were promoting them. Fowley to continue making money and fame and Bingenheimer because he's a lonely guy looking for love or a reasonable facsimile. Jett was the most talented musician in the band. Now it seems she even has her own record label and has produced a new sampler of the bands she's signed! Cool. We have the lady herself Joan Jett doing "Little Drummer Boy" replete with fat barre chords!
Next up is the 60's band who had the big hit with "Wimoweh" - the lion sleeps tonight song. The Tokens' version of the drummer boy is kind of sweet. The soaring falsetto takes over at times and moves the tune back into a primal mode.
The Dandy Warhols, of all groups, did an interesting cover. It still sounds like the Dandy's too. That's fine by me.
No song is any good unless you can make it into a rollicking surf tune! Los Straitjackets prove that wrestling masks, surf guitars drums and Christmas rock.
But I've save the best two versions for last.
The Little Drummer Boys by Mike Watt and the Crew of the Flying Saucer was, I thought, the most insane version of this track I'd ever heard. And how could you not love a band name like that! But then I heard something better. A coolness not heard of since Hal Blaine or Sandy Nelson Dusty Watson Complex leaves no doubt that the most dangerous weapon in the world is still a simple trap kit and the willingness to take no prisoners.
Click images for desktop size: "Snowflakes" by Unknown

And now to week 16 of the NFL.
My picks are in bold.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville - As the NFL plays out it string more and more of the games are the sheerest tedium. The NFL should follow baseballs lead and use these dead games to highlight new players, try some new strategy. Instead its just the same boring plays that having worked for 14 weeks but maybe they will now . . . that wasn't the case for the Jaguars Thursday, but only because of the tremendously moving appearance by Richard Simmons in a wheelchair. They played spirited football like they should have played all season. They lost because Peyton Manning doesn't care about opponents teammates or gutty performances. He only cares about winning and getting to the Superbowl. I wrote the Colts off 10 weeks ago. With the win they clinched the wild card. Show to Bug Bunny Christmas go, shows to go . . .

Baltimore at Dallas - The Cowboys are choking big time while the Ravens have that glint of desperation that just might carry them through into the playoffs. Superstars bickering vs aging superstars looking for a collision, looking for the hit to end it all. The choice is clear to me even though the Cowboys are pretty heavily favored. Game of the week contender.

Arizona at New England - Matt Cassel played brilliantly following the death of his father. He plans to finish the season the same was a s a tribute to his dad. That's a powerful mojo. The only hope the Patriots have is to win out. Arizona is already in the playoffs, even has at least one home playoff game their first in like 35 years. So Larry Johnson and Arrington are going to sit out this meaningless game . . . The Cardinals haven't won a game on the East Coast this season. Can't expect much effort from them here.

San Diego at Tampa Bay - Coaching had probably cost the Buccaneers their shot at the playoffs. Pin it all on Jon Gruden and bizarre strategy in back to back must win games, both of which they lost. The Buc;s aren't eliminated. The Chargers were everybody's pick to go to the SuperBowl the minute Tom Brady went down. Now they The Sandman Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "The Sandman" by Maxfield Parrish
are fighting to get to .500. They've no heart and never should have fired Marty Schottenheimer.

San Francisco at St Louis - Until Mike Singletary took over the 49er's this was a early pick for cruddy game of the year. Right now you'd have to think the Niner's would be idiots to not make Singletary the permanent HC. With what he has done with this team in 3 weeks is astounding. They are playing hard edged football, entertaining football. The idea of them having a few draft picks and a training camp is scary stuff. The Rams are hoping not to get relegated to a lower league.

Pittsburgh at Tennessee - After four freakish wins they're call ing the Steelers the "Team of Destiny". I see it as inept officiating that has only gone against the Steelers once. This is going to be a good game, especially with Haynesworth out for the Titans. These teams will probably meet againStrange Bedfellows in the playoffs. Having Haynesworth out will help the Titans in that game more than it will hurt them in this one. The Titans will not be able to run or pass the ball very consistently. Even without Haynesworth the Steelers haven't been moving the ball well at all. Unless the ref's decide to cheat again I think the Titans win a squeaker. Oh yeah, game of the week.

Cincinnati at Cleveland - Cruddy game of the week. Sad really. Both teams looked so promising coming out of camp. Taking the Bengals because, well, why not. Nobody has anything in this one. Slight edge to the Browns for their defense and ball hawking but the offense will cough the ball up as much as they take it away.

Miami at Kansas City - I'm taking the Dolphins because, well, its just common sense really. But the Chiefs aren't looking good but they've gotten more dangerous. An upset wouldn't surprise me here. I still expect it to be close.

New Orleans at Detroit - The Bears gamesmanship cost the Saints Reggie Bush and their season. Dru Brees is still looking like he's going for the Hall of Fame and against the Lions that should be enough. In fact the Lions only real hope is that the Saints are so heartbroken about their Elysia by T Hecker
Click images for desktop size: "Elysia" by T Heckler
season that they forget to show up.

Houston at Oakland - Cruddy game of the week contender. The Texans are not looking better. they've been lucky and played teams that have given up. Like the Raiders this week.

Buffalo at Denver - Here's a game so dull I don't even want to think about it. Lynch should get some big yards. Trent Edwards is due back but its hard to figure how shaky he'll be. Jay Cutler is all the Broncos have and probably all they'll need n this one.

New York Jets at Seattle - The Seahawks stink but I'm nervous about Favre playing in a hostile environment. He could throw four picks in this one. Which still wouldn't be enough for the Seahawks to win.The Great St Louis Bank Robbery

Philadelphia at Washington - The Redskins have rolled over and learned to play dead. The Eagles have a shot at the playoffs. That's about all I can muster for this snorer.

Atlanta at Minnesota - The Falcons are looking tired. The Vikings aren't looking good. If they were this would be a game of the week contender. Still Adrein Petersen and the Williams boys will keep the Vikings in it and disrupt the Falcons ground game enough for a home win.

Green Bay at Chicago - A few weeks ago the Packers spanked the Bears. That's the last game they won/ They've looked terrible losing too. The Bears stink but they're at home and eager to repay the humiliation they suffered. Oddly, the Bears Christmas at Rockefeller Center
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas at Rockefeller Center" by Unknown
have an outside shot at the playoffs.

Carolina at New York Giants - I don't think much of the Panthers. See the Steelers comment above. Winning games is not the same as having a winning football team. The Giants have looked tired lately, stressed about Plaxico Buress and young receivers not handling the pressure. This is a game they need to right themselves to avoid an early exit from the playoffs.

Veiw these picks at your own risk. Not responsible for any physical damage due to excessive laughter and/or hysterics.

December 19, 2008

The best way to predict the future is to create it
Peter Drucker

Colorfast by Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: "Colorfast" by Richard Mohler
We got the stickers to label the doggie treat Christmas presents. They're bigger than I expected. If I'd known I'd have written what the treats are on them. Out Of the Past
I have this fear that a) People will think I'm a loon (which they will anyway) and think I mean to harm their dogs or b) in these hard times that I'm giving out free samples of a product I want to sell.
I want them to just see that somebody else cares about their dogs and enjoys them as we walk around the neighborhood. I can't control people's perceptions.
I sealed up three bags using the vacuum sealer thing. It was cool Christmas Card
Click image: "Merry Christmas 2008" by S4W
and easy. Kind of fun too. I liked watching all the air get sucked out and the bags crinkling hard to the shapes of the dried veggies. It was aesthetically pleasing to me.
The big snow is expected today.
I hope its really big. So far this morning there's just a light dusting on the ground.
Yesterday I shoveled the yard in preparation for the big storm. I discovered its easier to do that then to just wait and let it all pile up.
I keep the dogs out there with me while I do the shoveling. They seem to enjoy standing on the ground I just shoveled and then getting in my way as I continue. Its their game and they're laughing.
I saw the gentle dog suddenly bolt past me. I watched him, amused at his speed and intensity while Snowshoeing by Steven Stradhee
Click images for desktop size: "Snowshoeing" by Steven Stradhee
I wondered what he was chasing. There's an abandoned bomb shelter in the back yard! Not an A-Bomb shelter, which would be very cool, but a plywood walled bunker sort of thing. Its collapsed but still has the shape of a room about 8 feet below the caved in roof. The roof has been used for years to toss fallen branches and other yard debris. It looks pretty natural, a part of the terrain.
As I watched the gentle dog scooted over the roof of the bomb shelter and disappeared. I went back to shoveling for a bit then realized the gentle dog hadn't reappeared and my puppy was agitated.
I went over to the shelter and was surprised that the gentle dog had followed whatever he wasNight of the Demon chasing down into the shelter and was now stuck!
It wasn't a big problem to drop down besides him. I lifted him up and pushed him out through the hole in the roof.
In my haste to rescue him I neglected to calculate my own escape.
I thought about it for a second and tried to do an old rock climbing style "mantle". Its where you grab the ledge above your head pull yourself up to where you can rest your forearm on the surface and then lever yourself up.
Pretty simple.
Except my hands would not grasp the wood. Since I've started to play the guitar again I notice that aside from the pain and the cramping finger style playing has left my right thumb feeling jammed and dislocated. My recent falling downs has also left my wrist weak.
Christmas Matrioshka
Click image: "Russian Christmas Matrioshka" by Unknown
I tried a couple more times, trying different techniques. All I managed to do was to break off some chunks of dusty ceiling.
There's still a door on the shelter so I tried that. Most people probably would have thought of trying the door first . . . but I have pride in wanting to exit the same way I entered. Pride is often confused with stupidity. Besides it was dark down there and I really hadn't thought of it.
The door was solidly jammed and throwing my weight against it only made the shelter vibrate in an uncomfortable way and I had a flash of me being buried alive under plywood and yard debris.
More worrisome was that my puppy and the giant dog decided that all my banging around was a sure sign that I was having a world of fun and they were threatening to come down and join me. Planet of the Apes (Czech) They kept poking their noses through the hole. Giant dog was play growling at me trying to make me let him join in the fun.
I yelled at them to sit. I was surprised that they both did.
I remembered I had my cell phone in my pocket, which is more common sensical than usual for me. I've often watched old movies where all the tension from a scene or a chase could have been solved if the hero just had a cell phone in his pocket.
Christmas Cheer
"Christmas Cheer" by Unknown
I thought for a bit about calling 911 but I figured they'd probably have to break down the gate to get into the yard and, that just didn't seem worth it.
I was also wondering what the gentle dog was chasing. I hadn't heard anything rustling down there. I sometimes smell a heavy musk in the backyard. Rather skunky but not quite the skunk smell I know. I'd decided it must be wolverines! It didn't matter that I'd been told that there weren't any wolverines around here, that they're several hundred miles further north, I enjoyed thinking that there's a semi-dangerous animal lurking in my backyard.
At this time I also figured that all my banging around would have seriously hacked off any skulking wolverines who would have gone by my jugular by now. I figured it was most likely that the gentle Dragon Lady
Click images for desktop size: "Dragon Lady" by Unknown
dog was chasing the "stupid cat".
I also found it interesting that it seemed several degrees cooler in the bomb shelter. For some reason my lack of subterranean knowledge made me think it would be warmer, which is stupid and against all my experience but I still fondly cherish the notion that just 10 feet below the surface the earth is filled with pools of magma that house great fire resistant dinosaurs.
I finally figured out that I could hang from the roof and do a sort of chimney move against one slick wall and sort of scramble out that way. It took about 10 minutes for me to get to a position where I could grab something and try and pull myself out.Red Dust
The first time I grabbed a branch which wasn't attached to anything and fell back into the shelter. The next time i just madly flailed at the dirt until I was able to roll myself onto solider ground. Of course the dogs all had to rush over and smell me.
I checked the gentle dog over and decided he had no bumps, contusions or abrasions. He was a bit nervous about the hole but still eager to bite me.
I finished my shoveling, went in and made us a frozen pizza I'd gotten on sale. The dogs and me love our frozen pizza, except they always want more than their share. I think they think the same thing about me.
We watched the Colts Jaguars game on TV. It was better than I anticipated. It was sadly moving seeing Richard Collier come onto the field in his wheel chair.
My friend was working late, in preparation for the two weeks off and anticipating that the big snow Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Luis Royo
would stop her from going into work today. So I went to bed alone.
Not quite alone. Usually my puppy lies on the bed until my presence annoys her. Tonight the gentle dog nudged her aside and lie next to me. Nose to nose. I love dogs but I don't like doggie kisses or them licking me at all. I also don't like doggie breath. He moved further down, turned around and pressed hard against me and stayed there until my friend got home. Then he went to greet here by stepping on my face. So everything is back to normal.

A few people have written to me complaining that the song version the downloaded wasn't the one that I claimed it would be! I realize that when I ftp'd a song with the same name to the server I was overwriting the old version! I'll get that fixed.
Here's Jan and Dean doing a little "Merry Christmas promo". I like these little messages inserted Santa Claus Conquers the Martians into my playlists.
Shonen Knife aren't the only Japanese girl band to celebrate the holidays, this is The 5 6 7 8's doing "Rock N' Roll Santa". Cute stuff with a nice cutting edge.
Soupy Sales has a son named Tony. Tony started out with a band called Tony and the Tigers. Soupy used all of his influence to promote his son's band. Eventually Tony would marry Tyrone Powers' daughter, Taryn, and then form Tin Machine and be David Bowie's band for a lot of years. That's how it goes in Hollywood. None of which has anything to do with this CHristmas track by Soupy himself. "Santa Claus Is Surfin' To Town" has been blamed for everything from causing the cold war to increasing the percentage of American youth experimenting with drugs. The drug part is serious! It's just a gooney Christmas record that I like fine.
It is certainly no crazier than Ray Steven's scary "Santa Claus Is Watching You" especially in this post 9/11 anti-American tyranny.
And we'll end with two tracks designed to ruin forever your memory of Clement Moore's poem. Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns crazed version of "Twas The Night Before Christmas" rolls along in madness that seems absolute until . . .
Now we all know who Henry Rollins is. The founder of Black Flag, the the paramour of Lydia Lunch. Those shows . . .I mean, they were nothing except Lydia screeching on stage while Rollins would jump into the crowd and punch out hecklers! Iceman by Marvel
Click images for desktop size: "Iceman" by Marvel Comics
And a few hundred people would PAY to experience this! While Van Halen and Metallica where down the street PAYING the club owners to get to play Lunch and Rollins were making money doing this poetry reading thing. YOW!
Rollins was cool. I could even accept him taking parts in movies. It wasn't until he hosted that awful TV game show that I realized the beautiful angry young man was dead and all that was left was a guy who wanted to make a living. Once again I bring up the Eskimo tradition of sending their greatest heroes out on ice floes to die lest they live on and destroy the legend. Henry Rollins doing a Christmas tune is insane, that his radical hep cat be bop reading of "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" even exists is a Christmas miracle that is a quiet blessing. Scare the kids with this one while you just groove daddio.
Finally a band called The Priestess and the Fool have released a new Christmas album and left it up for FREE DOWNLOADING. Rah! Merry Christmas. The music is okay. They do an interesting cover of the Pogues "Fairytale of New York". Click the bands name to get it. Classy package 192 kb mp3's, cover art and pdf booklet. I approve.

December 14, 2008

Is it Sunday yet?

The Vet
Click images for desktop size: "The Vet" by Unknown
The giant dog vomited this morning. There was blood in it.
Being a dog he's staying pretty perky but refused his food even though it had egg in it.The Boogie Man
Have to watch him closely.
We went out and did four hours of shopping yesterday. Not Christmas shopping but just get supplies in survivor type shopping. I started to weaken at about 2 and a half hours. Too much time on my feet with no food and no pain pills. Got through it by steering all the carts and seeing how close I could come to the too many other shoppers out there.Christmas Lights 34
Click image: "Christmas Lights 34" by Unknown

We have discovered that the Salvation Army Store here is pretty good.
Got home and tried to watch a dog movie, "The Twelve Dogs of Christmas." Great title. Movie seemed to have everything, Christmas AND dogs. It was dreadful. Acting so poor that it couldn't be called amateurish. Only the crazy dog lady had a spark of talent but even she got sucked into the poorly conceived role and terrible writing. Even the costuming was insipid, and I've yet to comprehend the reason this "depression era" film was shot through constant heavy diffusion filters.
My friend thought it was exploitive. I just thought it was bad. Had to turn it off when, well, the plot is that this town has banned dogs, which is kind of "huh?" but I could bear with that. They have a Zen Garden
Click images for desktop size: "Zen Garden" by Unknown
dog catcher who seems to have some great disturbance mentally, or at least that's the way they decided to play him. He catches up the dogs in the town and they just disappear. It appears that he hates dogs so much that he sells them to one of those notorious depression era dog fighting clubs . . . okay. I guess there's a lot of money to be made catering to the blood thirsty desires of the homeless and unemployed. I see that's evil but the dog fights are between a female Old English Sheep dog (who was very cute) and a neutered German Shepherd . . . I figure the headline fight was a pekinese against a Chihuahua.
The only commonsensical thing was they didn't show any dog fighting. Instead a 10 year old girl City Without Baseball (with the stupidest hat and pig tails in movie history) swoops down and rescues the dogs while 20 adult men stand around and watch her escape. There's too much dumbness to list and it all comes off as just dull.
The dogs are cute but clearly not movie trained. They claim, as an odd plot point that there are 51 dogs at the crazy dog lady's house. But through out the movie I saw less than a dozen all toll.
This is just a movie to avoid.
Then watched the problematic "Frost/Nixon".
Frank Langella gives a great performance. Its Oscar worthy for sure. All the acting is top notch. The film was . . . not that good. I liked that they hammered home a bit too incessantly that what Nixon was despised for is the same stuff that party boy frat house cheerleader George W is doing and laughing at us about. Its a point worth making.
The focus is too much on David Frost. A Brit mid-atlantic man who comes off pretty despicable in his own right.
I mean here's a guy flying first class, staying in the best hotels and eating at all the best restaurants in LA ad we're supposed to feel empathy because he's using his own fortune and borrowing from his rich buddies to make this massive interview.
I didn't buy it. It made the whole affair feel sleazy, like being in the house of a famous porn star. Langella's performance made it work and held things together. He makes Nixon human and vulnerable while not letting us forget the monster and destroyer that he most surely was.
Christmas-Best Night of the Year
Click images for desktop size: "The Best Night of the Year" by Unknown
Its a fine line he walked and he did it gracefully. It would be like watching someone do a portrait of Hitler.
I was up and down all night. I'll put it off to no college football anymore . . . and worry about Steve Sarkasian proving to me he is a total jerk by trying to hire away the entire USC coaching staff to go with him up to Washington. Doesn't he know that there are other good coaches out there?

Today Christmas music focuses on punk Xmas. I always thought it was funny that punk bands paid any attention to Christmas at all. The first Christmas punk single I heard was from some Gardena band. They did a thrash version of "O Come All Ye Faithful". It wasn't very good. The record had a yellow label. And that's all I really remember about it. That yellow label and its adolescent scream of "we're so rebellious we even hate Christmas, but we still like Boys' Prison presents."
The Dickies thrashy "Silent Night" is the first song I remember having an impact. I got it on this wild 45. It was pressed on clear vinyl that was shaped like a Christmas tree! The other tracks I've lost but they were great too. (Maibooz "Santa's Gone Surfin'" and some turgid mawkish thing I don't remember. I don't have either of them to post.)
That was soon followed up with the freakish follow-up "(Its Gonna Be a) Punk Rock Christmas" by the Ravers. Its bad but funny and incredibly dated. I never heard of the Ravers before or since. Figure they were a mock band made up by some producer with dollar signs in his eyes who figured this could be a novelty hit.
Later on we got the awesome Shonen Knife doing "Space Christmas". A nice bouncy Christmas tune with nice crunchy guitar.
Which somehow leads us to The Presidents Of The United States doing "Space Piglet". This is on a Surfer Sihlouette by Chris Welch
Click images for desktop size: "Surfer Sihlouette" by Chris Welsh
punk compilation. I don't like that the new punk would accept this.
I think that the tradition started with the Seattle garage punks of the 60's. The sonics were part of a compilation album that the producer figured would generate a lot of interest. Its a pretty collectable album. Pretty amazing because its sort of dull. The Sonics stuff rules okay, but the Wailers are mawkish and dull and I can't even remember the other tracks because they're nothing but bad.
The Sonics tune, written to the tune of "Farmer John" was so good it was covered by Gruesomes covering "Santa Claus". The coolness of the chorus, "I want a twangy guitar, a cute little honey and lots of money, Santa Claus," says all I need it to say.
Before they eventually folded like a giant star collapsing in on itself the Sonics did another Marvel Holiday Special Christmas tune, "It's Christmas" doesn't destroy civilization like a lot of their tracks but nothing the Sonics do is ever dull or without interest.

Last week I was 11-5 in my football picks. In the past couple of years that would have been one of my off weeks. This season its one of my best. I figure corrupt officials! Its the only thing that explains the bizarre calls that have become a part of every game recently. My friend was 12-4. Which is easy to explain. She cheated.
With only three games left in the season the really cruddy games out number games of interest and good games. No one is really dominating are looking uncrushable. No one's looking that good either. A lot of teams are looking that bad and a record number of teams are looking remarkably mediocre and boring.
As usual my picks are in bold.

New Orleans at Chicago - I picked the Saints. This was an incredibly unimpressive game. That the Bears will probably end up in first place this weekend is a shame. They're a really poor team. The Saints have broken my heart. They looked just as bad as the Bears.

Washington at Cincinnati - The Redskins are in serious meltdown mode. Their stars are complaining, the intensity is fading as they are looking at another 8-8 season. Personally I don't know how they played so well during that early stretch. The Bengals are officially a disaster. The bright spot of the season being a tie with the Eagles. So the Redskins should pull out of this one Christmas 31
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Tree" by Unknown
pretty easily and build up some confidence.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta - A game of the week pretender. The Buccaneers looked pretty horrid against the flimsy Panthers last week. Matt Ryan is good but showed signs of the fatigue of the long season against the Saints. Both teams have their back against the wall. You'd have to figure this one to be low scoring and close. Normally I'd pick Buc's coach Jon Gruden to do something stupid to cost them the game, but Ryan looks like he's dealing with a tired arm and dead legs. He might be able to pull it together but the Tampa Bay defense should be too tough.

Tennessee at Houston - Since the Titans have clinched everything you can in the regular season the Texans best hope is for a total loss of concentration by the 12-1 Titans. Otherwise this could beCaptain Video really ugly. I wouldn't be too surprised to see the Texans jump to an early lead before Tennessee wakes up and brings down the hammer.

Detroit at Indianapolis - I can think of no reason whatsoever to watch this game. Its a live scrimmage for the Colts. Calvin Johnson will play well for the Lions but no one will be able to get the ball to him.

Green Bay at Jacksonville - A strong contender for cruddy game of the week. Two teams with lost seasons playing out the string so they don't have to give refunds on the season tickets. No offense for the Jaguars. The packers looking more than a little bit lost and dazzled. I suppose Green Bay could get crazy like they did against the Bears but it seems unlikely on the road.

San Diego at Kansas City - The AFC West is so poor the Chargers aren't officially eliminated yet. These guys are playing for pride and next years contract. Kansas City has some talent but very little on defense. This is another cruddy game but Ladanian Tomlinson might wake up and go crazy. So "Swarm" detl by Tessa
Click images for desktop size: "Swarm - detail" by Tessa
might Larry Johnson . . .

San Francisco at Miami - I'm sure the Dolphins were looking at this as a lock game but after the fire Mike Singletary has bought to the 49er's and proven last week in their thumping of the Jets the Dolphins had better be leery. They've got much more talent than the Niners and they still have a shot at the playoffs. They still have a shot at winning the division. This suddenly is a game of the week contender!

Buffalo at the New York Jets - A lot of the luster is off this game. Two badly exposed teams. This could be competitive for all the wrong reasons. I'm going with Brett Favre to make a march to the playoffs. I'll be surprised if he doesn't throw at least one incredibly painful pick.

Seattle at St Louis - Cruddy game of the week. This could top the Auburn 3-2 game for inept The Crawling Eye humor.

Minnesota at Arizona - The two worst divisions in football put their two best teams against each other. What a yawn. The Vikings D will harass Kurt Warner a little bit but he'll still get his 300 yards. The Cardinal D will still give the Vikings their 13 points and we can all get to sleep early.

New England at Oakland - The Patriots are still mathematically alive in the playoff hunt but Matt Cassel's, the Patriot's QB, father passed away this week. Who can imagine what he's going through. I'm not sure he'll even play even though he returned to the team to practice. A tragic game whatever happens.

Denver at Carolina - Two teams playing bad football even with division leading records. Jay Cutler could lead the Bronco's to a win but their defense is way to poor to stop the Panthers too few strengths.
Santa Checking it Twice
Click images for desktop size: "Santa Checking it Twice" by Unknown

Pittsburgh at Baltimore - Game of the week. Running scared Willie Parker won't do much against a healthy and vicious Ravens defense. The Ravens believe in themselves and are nasty enough to prevent any miracles. The Steelers are leading the division due to inept calls and miracles. The Ravens have seen them already. Joe Flacco, Ravens rookie QB, is playing like a vet and not showing the expected fatigue. this game will have more hard hitting than the rest of the league. This is for the division lead, for pride and for honor. Ray Lewis is fighting Father Time and knows this might be his last chance to be on top of the world. They'll be focused and ready to break the other teams heart. This might be the game of the year. If it goes to overtime we'll se who has the bigger heart.

Cleveland at Philadelphia - The only thing this game will accomplish is to give the sportswriters the Beast of Blood chance to exclaim how the Eagles have pulled a dramatic turnaround and have gotten hot at the right time just like the Giants did last year. Its still a snoozer.

New York Giants at Dallas - The hyped game of the week. It should still be interesting. The guys are pro's so I don't put too much worry into Witten, Romo and Romo punching each other out during the game. What is a worry is just inept the Cowboy offense has looked for the last 8 games. The Giants won't have their top rusher which will keep the game closer than it should be.

As usual these picks are a certain test of your laughing muscles. Even my puppy thinks she do better picks . . .

Giant dog going up and down. Outside by himself now, gorging on grass. We didn't do any Christmas decorating yesterday as my friend has off from the 19th until after New Years. Seemed smart to wait until she could relax and have fun. Sick giant puppy might cause some plans to change. No difference to me or her so long as the big galloot feels good.

December 9, 2008

Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win
Bobby Knight

Stop or I'll Shoot by The Real 7
Click images for desktop size: "Stop or I'll Shoot" by The Real 7
I don't think there's ever been a great book written about football. Except for things like "Radar Blocking: Its Practice and Techniques" or "Five Hundred Drills for Specific Goals".Squirm
There's never been a book that encapsulates the sport and its players and makes clear the beauty, the drama and the tragedy of the game. No Dickens, or Thoreau or Chandler has ever been able to step forward and codify its beauty.
What we have are things like, "Semi-Tough", or "North Dallas Forty" and "Meat On the Hoof". Decent enough stories in them but they come across, to me anyway, more like expose best seller types. There's no attempt to telling the bigger more global story.
If I was forced to pick the best I'd say that "Friday Night Lights" is Soa Lee
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Soa Lee
the best book about the game, good enough to survive the turgid movie and the annoying TV show. Its more a journal of a season then a story. It attempts to give insights to the players and the drama but being non-fiction it has too much detail and back story to fill in. Often the characters get lost.
And "Remember the Titans" is probably the best movie, but its more a movie about racism and coping with it, using football as a metaphor. The storybook ending may have been accurate but it never takes the time, or maybe has the time, to examine the inner turmoil about the game itself. Things get simplistic. Why would these kids put themselves in this difficult position to merely play a game? One kid because he's fat, another to get that football scholarship etc etc.
There have been plenty of those cheesy "auto-biographies" of stud athletes. They usually start with a bullet list of twenty high points in the stars career and some sports writer who the star is Christmas Sticker
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Sticker" by Unknown
comfortable with because he sees him for a couple of hours after every game gets a 6 hour interview to fill in the details.
I sucked those books up when I was a kid. I was always looking for the key to being a better athlete. They were sometimes interesting but never illuminating. The writers lacked the skill to broaden the message and the athlete's agent was more concerned about the book then the athlete himself. Normally the athlete doesn't want to look bad or offend anybody.
After Jim Bouton came out with the baseball book, "Ball Four" it looked like things might change. "Ball Four" was funny and a shocking expose of the biggest team in sports at the time, the New York Yankees. It was fun and had dirty words in it so as a kid I loved it. It came close to explaining theStrip-Girls drive to compete, the desire to play a game.
Part of this is because most athletes aren't very articulate. The few that are described as articulate usually get the tag from adding "sir" to the end of their answers.
A lot of reasons for this. I was pretty startled to discover that I'd been trained to not voice words in my head but to see and react.
A simple example is when a teacher asks a question like, "What is two time three?" Most people would go "two times three equals six" and then actually voice the words.
When I hear the question I visualize the symbols and then blurt out the answer. There's no translation in my head. Of course I'm just as likely to blurt out five as i am six, which is part of the reason athletes get branded as dumb. Our life training forces us to analyze things in a different way.
The closest description I can give is like when you're driving home from work. You're thinking about the job, there's a favorite song on the car stereo and you suddenly discover that you're home with no clear memory of how you got there.
It happens to everyone but athletes, especially football players tend to live that way.
It starts on the field. The difference between a guy who runs a 4.4 forty and a 4.3 forty is huge in a straight line. If the guy running the 4.3 has to think about where to go next the extra speed is more than lost.
Sword and Fans
Click images for desktop size: "Sword and Fans" by Unknown
We're drilled to recognize a cover two defense with a blitzing linebacker coming off the edge. The entire team has to see the same thing, recognize it and know what to do. If you have to say to yourself, "Let's see, the SS is playing centerfield and the FS is faking a blitz without committing his front foot while the Willie back is crowding the End so the pass is off and it will be a run to the strong side at the B gap," the play is over and either busted or for a loss.
The recognition has to be spontaneous and symbolic and the execution as routine as your dive home from work.
I have a friend who was a four year starter at Penn State, a defensive end. He was a second day draft pick and decided that rabbiting the NFL training camps wasn't for him. He returned to school and got his Doctorate in Micro-Biology. When he got his degree he taught for a few months before aSweet Smell of Success Fortune 50 company offered him a position doing pure research with his own private lab.
As one of his professor's explained to him, "Too many scientists learn things by rote. They learn the answers and where to find them when they forget them they learn where to re-find the answers. The best way tolerant is to assimilate the knowledge taught and to make it a part of your life, a pure part of your logical thinking process."
The Fortune 50 passed over a lot of candidates for their position and took my friend not because he was the most brilliant but because they hoped that the dedication and tenacity he had shown in playing football at that high a level would translate to the lab and research. He's worked there for nearly 20 years.
Its this ll important facet of the make up of an athlete that all writers seem to ignore to the point of me wondering if they know it even exists.
Now no film director I know of has ever played football. I find this odd because making a movie 3D Abstract
Click images for desktop size: "3D Abstract" by Unknown
requires a lot of the same skill sets as playing football; especially for the director, cameraman and actors. With this rather significant similarity in thought processing I'd expect a more sympathetic approach to sports in movies.
John Hancock made a brilliant short film called "Sticky My Fingers and Fleet My Feet". Its about a middle-aged guy ho is very proud of how much he keeps in shape. Every Sunday he goes to the park and plays a flag game with his buddies. He's the star of the team. Then one Sunday one of the guys brings along his 14 year old nephew. The nephew has to cover our "hero". He smokes him completely. Our hero has his worst game of the season.
After the game he accuses the nephew of being a ringer, a high school stud they bought in to The Boy Who Cried Werewolf humiliate him. The kid never even tried out for his school team. He knew he wasn't good enough.
It was stunningly good entertainment. Hancock got offered a lot of movies, all of them sports related. Problem was that what came across as a paean to dreams was actually, in Hancock's mind a derisive comment on athletes and wannabe athletes. He had a strong antipathy for anything athletic.
This worked to his advantage in the lethargic and macabre "Bang the Drum Slowly", the Robert DiNero, Michael Moriarity film about a major league catcher dying of Hodgkins Disease and his friendship with the teams star pitcher.
But it was the next film that highlighted the attitude of Hancock in particular and movies in general towards sport.
Hancock's next film was the surfer flic "California Dreaming". It starred Dennis Christopher, hot off the surprise hit movie about bike racing, "Breaking Away" and stalwart Seymour Cassell.
The film was a dismal failure. Hancock hated surfing and surfers. A few guys who extra-ed and did surf stunt work on the movie were appalled at the contempt in which Hancock held them. The film failed on every level because the contempt shown through. It was impossible to care for any of the characters. They all came across as arrogant and dislikable. It was a sad movie that undercut its strong script with bad choices.
In fact it started to typify the "sports" movie in that the only way to succeed in one was to ignore the sports and the athletes and focus on the story away from the field. Sports became only a catalyst or as a source of conflict.
Santa Claus
Click images for desktop size: "Santa Claus" by Unknown
Its given us horror films like Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday" and tons of teen romance flics. All varying in ambition and all missing the point of playing the game, of understanding the character's motivations and drives.
Its said that a masterpiece is identifiable because it finds its perfect form. Since books and films escape football perhaps it is the game itself that is the ultimate form for the game.
there is more drama in even a bad football game then most movies could encompass. A cast of fifty each one who is pivotal in the final outcome and resolution. Fifty stories focused on concentration that shuts out everything but the task at hand. Fifty stories about what breaks that concentration and leads to disarray. Unfortunately TV sportscasters seldom get involved in anything that deep. They bring up the easy stories like Brett Favre playing the game of his life on the evening The Boss of his father's death. But they provide no empathetic set-up, no basis to understand and to make Favre's plight and tragedy and triumph a tangible thing. Its left to the players on the field to convey those vivid emotions while enacting a play they've been practicing for years. Convey it with ballet like grace and the steady tempo of a driving rock tune.
There's more to think about here, at least for me. I'm just struggling too much to make it clearer.

Its been six months since my little blind dog passed away. Eighteen years since my wife and son were in their accident. Ten years since my best friend Tom died. I miss them and so many others every day.
I keep meeting new people. I'm lucky enough to have loved so many people and so many dogs. I'm lucky that somehow I have the capacity to love my friend and my three dogs as much as I've ever Yakuza Girl by Evgeny
Click images for desktop size: "Yakuza Girl" by Evgeny
loved anyone. All the people, past and present are a part of me. A part I never want to see go.
Looking back through this journal I'm irked that there are a lot of things I've omitted about my daily life. I follow George Orwell's journal. Some guys are presenting it as a blog. Interesting stuff. I like that Orwell was obsessed with his chickens. He records their egg output every day. Some entries only read, "Two eggs."
I need to to something like that. When I look back I can feel what I was feeling then but not always the why for the feelings. I get more of that from the pictures then from the words. Like I say the words are just here to make pretty frames for the pictures.
Tomorrow begins Christmas Music season. I'm going through and picking them out now.

December 7, 2008


Royal Dream
Click images for desktop size: "Royal Dream" by Unknown
It snowed all day yesterday. Nearly four inches of soft powder.
Not soft enough. It covered up the slabs of ice very nicely so that when crazy dogs tried to get me to play with them they succeeded in knocking me down. I wasn't hurt bad but I'd figure 4 inches ofNight and the City snow should be softer than that.
USC won another Pac 10 Championship. Somehow it feels hollow. One bad quarter and USC is out of the National Title game. I can stand that except I can't quite cope with the over hyped Big 12 and SEC getting the shot over more deserving teams.
Penn State will be a good game and a worthy opponent. I saw Joe Paterno at his first visit to the Coliseum. I sat behind his bench. It was great. I got to see USC win against a legend and I got to see and hear the legend. Very classy guy he was too. The mental image is of him wearing his Penn State blue tie, a gray business suit and clunky white sneakers, standing next to a giant O-Line man who missed a block. Paterno explained to him with grave patience the Grunge Christmas
Click image: "Grunge Christmas" by Unknown
right way to try and handle Tim Ryan on obvious passing downs. It was memorable and educational.
Still, I wish Oregon State had won out and that USC was playing Texas . . .
The USC season seems to be embodied in Mark Sanchez. I adore the kid and think he's a stellar QB. But no one gives him any respect and there are a lot of calls to bench him. The kid threw 30 TD passes. Only Matt Leinhart and Carson Palmer have ever thrown for more. The odd thing is that Mark throws some beautiful balls and then manages to throw some of the dumbest passes imaginable, like there another QB inside him that doesn't want to be great.
He'll be back next year. I think he'll become a killer. I hope so. His support for and in the Hispanic community is endearing. His support of a kid who died of cancer was heartening. He comes across like a young man you would like to have a a son. Someone to be Spiderman
Click images for desktop size: "Spiderman" by Marvel Comics
proud of.

Years ago we were sitting in a Thai restaurant we frequented. We were seated next to a table with two guys and a girl. I recognized one of the guys as Andy Robinson. Robinson gave one of the greatest performances in movie history when he got to play Scorpio, the evil villain in Don Seigal's "Ditty Harry". Robinson was so effective in the role that he found it close to impossible to get work. Casting agents and producers assumed that that type of deep malicious madness couldn't be acted. It had to be real.
Robinson's classic performance was too good, especially in a debut role. Seigal tried to help him out by giving him a different sort of part in the excellent "Charlie Varrick" but Robinson was too subdued to make any real impact. I'd guess he was afraid to unleash the monster within ever again.The Molesters
During a lull in the conversation at our table I suddenly heard Robinson say, "I'm an actor. I did one of those Clint Eastwood movies. You probably never saw it. It was . . . well, just a movie."
Before I knew what I'd done I heard myself saying something like, "You don't need to apologize. That's a classic movie and you were fantastic in it. You were inspirational. If they don't know who you are they don't deserve to be sitting with you."
I got a look from him that I'm sure is the same kind of look that scared the bejeebers out of casting agents. But he said, "Thank you. Its easy to forget that people watch those things. Thanks."
We ended up talking and he gave us tickets to a show he was doing at the Amudsen Theater. I don't like theater but I liked him. I liked how Robinson looked bone chilling and deranged even when he Fashion Sex Politics and Music by S4W
Click image: "Fashion Sex Politics and Music" by S4W
was just talking trash.
That came to mind last night when I watched the semi-remarkable "JVCD". My friend didn't want to watch it because its a Jean Claude Van Damme flic.
I like Van Damme movies. He tries. He insists on directors and brings in talent like John Woo and Ringo Lamm to work with. He tries to be more than just a stony hero.
In "JCVD" Van Damme plays himself. The movie is almost painfully autobiographical. Van Damme produced the movie.
The movie opens with a single take six minute action sequence. Pretty tour de force stuff as Van Damme goes through about 60 guys, fighting and shooting through a clearly stage bound war set. Its impressive stuff and frightening to think of the logistics to get all those stunts in one continuous fluid take with only one camera. Lots of fights, bullet hits and explosions. Very cool.Paleface
When the take ends Van Damme talks to the director, a Chinese kid who is throwing darts at a photo of the Hollywood sign and not watching the take. Van Damme claims he is too old to keep doing these long single takes. The Chinese director thinks Van Damme is a worthless hunk of meat.
JCVD is also involved in a bitter divorce and a custody battle for his daughter. He is forced to sit in a classroom and hear his daughter say she doesn't want to live with him because every time her father is on TV the other kids all make fun of her.
Van Damme wants to make decent movies but his image and his agent won't let him. HE decided to return home to Belgium to try and escape from his pain from the divorce and from losing his child. While there he goes to bank to get some cash. The bank is being robbed and the cops decide that its Van Damme doing the robbery!
There's so many great and telling bits here about celebrity and illusion, myth and reality. But what holds the core is the remarkable self deprecating performance by Van Damme.
Cagily, we keep waiting for Van Damme to explode and take out the robbers and exonerate himself. What actually happens is that JCVD gives a monologue. If it were anyone else but Van Damme it would be considered an Oscar clincher.
Its one of those speeches you hear from a stranger in trouble. Van Damme explains his entire life in one long static take. The revelations are so jumbled and personal you know you're eavesdropping on Studies by Benvenuto Cellini
Click images for desktop size: "Studies" by Benvenuto Cellini
someone's thoughts. When its a stranger you can occasionally look away. And what moves you the most is that the stranger has trusted you enough to share with you the fact that he's another human being.
Charlize Therzon got an Oscar for "monster" a horribly hackneyed film and an atrocious performance that impressed people because Therzon didn't wear make up and had her hair done badly. People love beautiful women making themselves look ugly. I'm not sure why.
Van Damme doesn't use any device that cheap. He strips away the celebrity and exposes his humanity and the hopes and dreams and thrills of being human. Its a magnificent moment.
This is a film to see. Its entertaining and after "The Man Who Was Superman" the best film I've seen Please Don't Eat My Mother in 2008. Oh, its in French mostly which surprised me.
Week fourteen of the NFL. The week where the rookies hit a wall. The space like the 13th round in the old World Championship boxing matches. Its a place they've never been before and its impossible to know how they'll react.
Last week I was a dismal 7-9 . . . it shows the predicament of trying to gauge injuries and the traumas of the long season. My friend was 7-9 as well because she clearly does not understand the sport!
My picks are in bold.   
Oakland at San Diego - It was nice of the NFL to keep the cruddy game of the week on the NFL Network, thus sparing most of us. I watched about 5 minutes before I became bored.

Minnesota at Detroit - Another cruddy game. The only interest is in seeing if Adrien Petersen can break 300 yards. If he doesn't it will be an off game for him. Can anyone believe that the Vikings are going to win the division? Its easier to figure the Lions will go 0-16.

Houston at Green Bay - The cruddiness continues. The Texans are proving to merely stink and not be the total disaster that I imagined. The Packers are a train wreck with hopes. There are some decent games this week.

Jacksonville at Chicago - And this isn't one of them. The Jaguars are just bad this year. The Bears are my pick for most inconsistent team of the year. I can't think of any reason to care about any of the above games. I hope they're not on TV here.

Thirty Feet Tall by persona
Click images for desktop size: "Thirty Feet Tall" by Persona
Cincinnati at Indianapolis - Some place in this country they're playing a game someone cares about . . .

Philadelphia at New York Giants - This is a little better, but not much. McNabb kept the Eagles from embarrassing themselves last week. It doesn't figure he'll do the same this week, even with a healthy Brian Westbrook. The Giants have already survived the Plaxico Buress debacle and should proceed to win a a nice hum drum fashion.

Atlanta at New Orleans - The Falcons are hot. They look real and they look very good. The Saints are the beneficiaries of justice and get back 3 valuable players that the NFL tried to unfairly ban. Return of the Fly Reggie Bush should be in for some play and Dru Brees is still looking like the QB of the year, even more so than Kurt Warner. I'm going with my hearts for the Saints to over step themselves at home.

Miami at Buffalo - The Bills have battled their way back to .500 but they haven't beaten anyone who mattered to do so. The Dolphins are not over achieving and struggled pathetically last week. In the bad weather I think Pennington will look good but the defense will have some issues. Marshawn Lynch is the heart of the Bills team and he should carry them past the superior Dolphins. I changed this pick at the last minute. I didn't realize that this game was to be played at a neutral field in Canada, more to the point that it would be an indoor game! The Bills have given up a win for a few bucks.
Scarlet Cascade by Frank Frazetta
Click image: "Scarlet Cascade" by Frank Frazetta

Kansas City at Denver - This is my insane pick of the week. But it makes sense to me. Larry Johnson is back in shape. He should slash the Bronco's D for about 150 yards. Thigpen is looking better. The Broncos have Jay Cutler who is looking awfully impressive. This should be a cruddy game that gets pretty competitive in a crazy shootout way.

New York Jets at San Francisco - And you thought picking the Chiefs was crazy . . . The Jets have looked good and then they've looked execrable. Singletary has got far less talent on the 49er's, but they keep improving each week. They are playing like a team while the Jets are playing like talented units who sometimes play together but often don't. The Jets should win this one but Singletary's under talented bunch keep comingReturn of the Vampire together. This could be the upset of the week.

New England at Seattle - The Seahawks still look dreadful to me, even at home and even with Hassleback returned and in shape. The Patriots are pulling together but a 39 year old our for a year Junior Seau makes them pretty vulnerable to the run and the short passing game. I'd still don't see the Seahawks being able to win.

St Louis at Arizona - The only thing to see here is whether Kurt Warner can get close to 500 yards against the bumbling Rams.

Dallas at Pittsburgh - Game of the week. I've gone back and forth on this one. Its fun to think about. The Steelers have that D. The Cowboys D is pretty good too. Both teams need the win to stay in the play off chase, the Cowboys need it more. Troy Polamonu should light up Terrell Owens. The final comes down to the Steelers have no Running game at all. Willie Parker is running scared and without abandon. The Cowboys running games is hampered but in better shape. This is going to be good.

Cleveland at Tennessee - Back to the crud. 11-1 Titans against the Browns 3rd string QB. This will be ugly.

Tampa Bay at Carolina - I don't believe in the Panthers even at home. The Buccaneers are playing for it all and look better poised to do it. Jeff Garcia loves Monday night games.

Washington at Baltimore - Runner up game of the week and its the Sunday night game so I'll for sure get to see this one. The Ravens are believing in themselves while the Redskins confidence is cracking. Every match up favors the Ravens.

So 4 decent games out of 16 . . . Doesn't speak well for the NFL. A judge has stopped them from unfairly suspending 5 players. The NFL's repsonse is ugly. They are falling back on an interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement and claiming that thier anti-trust exemption places them above the law.
Much the ame way my picks place me outside the realm of football knowledge . . .

December 5, 2008

Life is a succession of moments, to live each one is to succeed
Corita Kent

Petrouchka by Micahel A Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "Petrouchka" by Michael A Parkes
I've yet to understand how it can be bright and sunny yet there are still snowflakes swirling in the air.Inner Sanctum
Its cold. 18. Everyone else seems to think this is nothing. I think I'm destined to remain an alien. This cold is endurable but it is never something that I think I can accept on any level as being the natural course of life.
One of the interesting things is that the cold has turned everything into ice. The snow that survived the warm (39!) and the rain is now just a solid 3 or 4 inch slab of ice.
This makes it easier to walk the dogs. I just need to avoid anything white or that sparkles in the sunlight. My puppy, as alien to this ice Peace On Earth
Click image: "Peace On Earth" by Unknown
planet as I am seems to slip a lot, especially when she trots around her appointed yards in the yard. I'm worried about her hurting herself. She's very intent on getting wherever it is she needs to go as quickly as possible. She seems to enjoy it though.
I bought wood in to make a fire. I did succeed in a small way in making a fire. It didn't blaze but it did burn and make flames. It didn't seem to warm anything. The hardest part about bringing in wood was breaking it free of the ice.
Today I'll try again.
The NFL is frightening me. This is probably the worst season in years. Too much erratic play. Team seems to be playing with no consistency. Only the Tennessee Titans and the New York Giants appear to be able to keep to a level and then build on it. (As a Ingrid Bergman
Click images for desktop size: "Ingrid Bergman"
team, some units, like the Pittsburgh Steelers Defense, are playing at a high level throughout.)
I don't put this off to "parity" or even injuries. It seems to be a by product of Roger Goodell's inept use of his power as Commissioner.
Goodell cynically appears to be using the sad death of Gene Upshaw, long time president of the Players' Union, as an excuse to gut the players. He supports the corporate greed over the needs of his product.
The owners and referees are not what people pay to see. From Goodell's insane support of the pure horror of inept officiating to his jaw dropping reinstatement of foolish gangsta wannabee Adam "Pacman" Jones he's proven that he'sMark of the Vampire only concerned with image and placating greedy owners and not preserving the brilliant play of his stars and his product.
The inanity of fining players five to fifteen times the amount for exuberant displays and celebrations as he does for illegal season and career ending hits and excusing and praising officials who don't call these flagrant muggings make his concerns clear.
This week Goodell has suspended 6 players for having in their system a diuretic that can, supposedly, be used to mask a certain type of steroid. The drug is in the list that all the players have. I agree that if its in the contract it should be adhered to.
But it seems that in five of these cases the diuretic was an ingredient of a food supplement. An ingredient that was NOT listed in the chemical ingredients. There was no way for anyone to know the supplement included this diuretic without having it examined by a lab and by having the lab look for it specifically.
Athletes need to stay committed to keeping themselves in peak condition. With all the steroid issues right now they all take extra care about anything they ingest from cough medicine to food. Its a tedious task but part of a price for fame.Jesse James Rides Again
The NFL is not a legal system and uses their anti-trust exemption to avoid due process. They've suspended these five players for having a chemical in their system that might be used to mask a type of steroid. They do not have to prove that the athletes were intentionally ingesting the diuretic to mask steroids. If they find a masking agent they bounce you. It doesn't matter that there is certifiable evidence that the athletes were victimized by the company that produced the food supplement. Its not fair but they got busted, no matter how unfairly.
Except in this case the Star Group who produced the supplement told the NFL the supplement contained this diuretic. The NFL knew the secret BEFORE they caught these players. The NFL felt no need to tell their star players that they should avoid Star. They simply knew it and waited for a chance to prey on their athletes.
They knew full well that they could lie by with holding this information. And that by with holding this vital info they could catch someone. Then they could trumpet Goodell's zero tolerance policy and get more anti-trust exemptions and curry more favor with the Government by whittling down the power of their employees. Terrifying the workers.
Plaixco Buress shoots himself in the leg with an illegal weapon. The O'Mara's have a lot of power in the NFL. They suspend Buress for four whole games . . . the NFL is silent.
Its pathetic. It also sets a nice employer-employee precedent that scum corporations like WalMart The Knave Watching Lady Victoria Depart by Maxfield Parrish
Click image: "The Knave Watching Lady Victoria Depart" by Maxfield Parrish
watch with a wise eye.
Things are creepy even at my alma mater.
Steve Sarkasian has been the Offensive Coordinator at USC for 2 years. I have been vastly disappointed in certain facets of his performance, while being very happy with his physical training methods and his ability to relate to the young men on his team.
He interviewed for the Job as HC at Washington University. Nothing wrong with that except he interviewed while the USC season was still going. I figure he got permission. Except he never talked to his team about it.
The kids got to hear about him getting a job offer from ESPN. That's kind of like finding your wife is leaving you by watching Entertainment tonight.
Mark Sanchez, the great kid but inconsistent QB for the Trojans took it pretty much that way.Kiss of the Vampire
This is a pretty serious glitch in Sarkasian's career. If USC looses to UCLA on Saturday I place the blame at Sarkasian's door. A man should progress his career but to ignore the real needs of the players who performed so well as to get him considered for this job is deplorable.

My friend had to take off work today. Last night I made a chocolate oatmeal cookie, sugar free and gluten free and low fat! They didn't come out too well. I was afraid they'd made her sick.
I'm mildly glad they didn't, not so glad she's suffering. She has to sleep with a mouthguard to alleviate the pain in her jaw.
Not a happy household. I miss taking antibiotics. I feel the pain increasing when the antibiotic times Queen of Dorks by Claire Beneton
Click images for desktop size: "Queen of Dorks" by Claire Benenton
come round. I've had to make a small up tick in the amount of pain killers. That does the trick.
So no one happy around here. Except the dogs. They're always happy and can't understand any pain that can't be removed by rubbing on their heads or rubbing their tummies.
At least everyone will be amused watching me try and start a fire. I've never understood why watching me hurt myself always makes everybody laugh . . .
Never seems to fail though so it must be some sort of special talent.
I used to like being special.

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 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 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 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 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.

October 26, 2008

USC 17 Arizona 10

Wolf And Moon
Click images for desktop size: "Wolf and Moon" by Unknown
This is generally considered the half way point of the season. Its interesting to see the super powers that have died and the new blood pushing its way into the elite. The Colts aren't quite dead but fading fast. The Patriots are being dinged and beaten into Mutant submission. Jerry Jones hopes of making the Cowboys into the 90's New York Yankees is an experiment failing.
The "dominance" of the NFC East is a joke. The AFC and NFC West Dark Art Wallpapers 05.jpg
Click image: "Dark Girl" by Unknown
continue to be humorous aberrations. In fact the NFC is looking might peeked, while the AFC keeps bringing the slam.
Tennessee is looking past its over hyped QB and has become dominant. They're playing old fashioned football too perfection and proving it still has a place in the aerial world. Buffalo has learned how to win and does it by scrapping, scratching and fighting.
The only NFC team in the equation looks to be Tampa Bat, who are using a stifling defense and a ball management O to look a lot like an AFC team . . .
Last week I was 10-4. Pretty reasonable but not great. As usual I find myself cheering against myself on game day. The NFL is just entertainment. I still have no emotional connection to any of these teams. I just enjoy the pinnacle of athletic perfections.
Computer Girl
Click images for desktop size: "Computer Game Girl" by Unknown
My picks are in bold.

Buffalo at Miami - The Bills are looking stronger and stronger. Its still hard but not impossible to see them in the SuperBowl. They have the champions talent of always being able to do just enough. That's hard to do doing an entire season but look at how the Giants parlayed that ability in the playoffs last year. The Dolphins look better and better each week, win or lose, but the Bills should still be too much for them.

Oakland at Baltimore - At home the Raiders looked just good enough to upset the Jets. They did not look good. In fact the Jets looked terrible and only part of that was due to the Raiders. The Ravens are banged up but seem to be taking some sort of strange team bonding attitude after the recent "Bounty" scandal (Where Tyrell Suggs made comments that theOut Of the Past NFL is taking as threats to reward Ravens for injuring Steelers). Joe Flacco has faced better D's then the Raiders can muster. Raven pride will decimate the Raiders Offense. I look for McFadden to not have a great game.

Arizona at Carolina - The Panthers are overwhelming favorites in this one. I don't understand why. They have been, at best, inconsistent. Two of their wins have been blindly lucky and created by bad officiating. The Cardinals on the other hand have been punching up big numbers and are playing with an intensity and fire I didn't know they were capable of. Their division is so pokey that they have a chance to win it. They're taking that chance seriously.

Tampa Bay at Dallas - Loading up on convicts, malcontents and fringe attitude players has caught up to the Cowboys. Its not helped by having an older laid back coach who is forced to defer to a The Knave of Hearts - Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Knave of Hearts" by Maxfield Parrish
young hot headed OC. Romo, who is not a great QB, just a well trained one, going down should not cause a team to blow up like this. If you think about it they were blowing up before last week. Terrell Owens is making the situation unendurable. Who would have thought that in a week you'd see TO cursing out his QB while across the country Randy Moss was throwing blocks for his running backs! The Buccaneers are playing solid defense. Too bad Jon Gruden has to much ego to let someone else run their offense. Jeff Garcia has always given the Cowboys fits. This game is vital for both teams, more so for the Cowboys maybe, but I see the Buc's as being more capable of rising to the challenge.

Atlanta at Philadelphia - Matt Ryan of the falcons, looked amazing against the Bears. He should look good against the Eagles too. But the Eagles O and Donavan McNabb are much more of a threat than the Bears O. Its unsure if Brian Westbrook will be able Night Of the Bloody Apes to go, and if he does how well he'll be able to play, But picking against the Eagles at home against this kind of team is more than reckless.

Kansas City - New York Jets - The Chiefs have no running back, no quarterback and very little defense. The Jets are embarrassed after the defeat in Oakland. This has cruddy game of the week waiting to happen unless the Jets go crazy and Brett Favre decides to show that last weeks dismal performance was a one off.

San Diego at New Orleans - Game of the week and not just because its being played in London England. The Saints are this years hard luck team. Even Jeremy Shockey has started to show the strange attitude that made the Giants happy to get rid of this talented gutsy player. They've lost Reggie Bush, theirs an impending steroids scandal and all of that must seem 5000 miles away for them. The Chargers remain inconsistent and just rather daffy at times. I'm taking Dru Brees in front of Philip Rivers but it should still be a royal barn burner shoot-out!

St Louis at New England - The Rams have won two in a row! Who'd have thought. They should be feeling confident. The Patriots have lost Tom Brady and have now watched the end of Rodney Harrison's career. I think they'll pull together even harder and tougher. They may not make the playoffs this year. Still hard to say, but I don't expect them to lose to the Rams, even though the Rams do have the tools to exploit the Patriots defense.

Washington at Detroit - As pathetic as the Lions are and as bad as the front office wants to make RanDB by Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: "RanDB" by Richard Mohler
them I'm still tempted to pick them over this yo-yo Redskin squad. But the Lions are pathetic. This is the runner up cruddy game of the week.

Cleveland at Jacksonville - This is probably the roughest pick of the week. The Browns still seem to be struggling with their identity this season. The only chance they have for the play-offs is to win out. The Jaguars are almost a mirror image of the Browns. These are two teams squandering their talent and I can see no real reason why. I'm taking the Jaguars because of home field advantage. I have little confidence in that.

Cincinnati at Houston - Another, who cares, cruddy game. The Bengals have probably lost Carson Palmer for the season. The Texans are boring. This gamePickup will be torturous to watch.

Seattle at San Francisco - Cruddy game of the week. The SeaHawks with no QB, defense or running game. The 49ers fired Mike Nolan for not winning with no talent and cruddy draft picks. But the 49er's bought in Mike Singletary to HC, which is strangely exciting. You know that a game is boring when you're looking forward to seeing somebody coach . . .

Indianapolis at Tennessee - The Past meets the Future. I don't think the Titans will go undefeated this season but I also don't think that its the Colts who'll beat them. The match-ups are too stacked in the Titan's favor. The Colts don't have the front 7 to stop the Tennessee running game and when they start to commit the secondary can't play man well enough Reign Of Terror to shut out Kerry Collins. Tennessee also has just enough D to harry Manning and to humble the Colts running attack. It might be closer than I'd expect but probably not. A good Monday Night game, at least on paper. This is a change for the strange games the NFL has given ESPN this year. If they reach the saturation level they want for the NFL Neywork I expect TV games to become a litany of cruddy games of the week.

New York Giants at Pittsburgh - As much as I dislike the Steelers I dislike the Giants even more. Too over rated teams that do nothing but win. The Steelers have the juice to humble the Giants. The Giants are slumping right now. The NFC East is slumping right now so I can't see them juicing up for this one.

As usual these picks are only for reading and then pointing at me and laughing.

October 18, 2008

USC 69 Washington State 0

Subversive Beauty - Ritual by Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Subversive Beauty-Ritual" by Luis Royo
I still seem to have the internet.
I guess I'm happy about that. The internet is important to me. I realize how many apps I use day to day that rely on being connected to the internet. My movie database, the weather report, the AppleTV all work best with an internet connection.Falcon's Alibi
On the Mac its rare to find an app that doesn't connect to the internet if only to check for updates.
I'm glad it has yet to go down.
But I am perplexed by the phone company. The swore, in writing, that it would be shut down on the 16th. Now they've screwed up all the correct things they were going to do. Gave me plenty of wrong and contradictory advice along with some great official confirmation Rex Vaudville Theater
Click image: "Rex Allen Theater, Aberdeen WA"
The phone company screwing up is something you just expect. Nothing much to worry there. An exasperated sigh and you get down to sorting the invariable mess out.
But when it comes to being jerks you expect the phone company to be right there! Exact to the nano second. Sure, they can't do much well for the customer - that is always going to be screwed up. But when it comes to looking after their own self interest you expect them to be absolute unreasonable jerks.
It makes me feel unsettled somehow. Like a force has shifted, like a planet is out of its orbit and a sense of doom hangs as heavy in the air as dense as a hedge fund.
But then USC wins on the road and you know that the real world is still out there.

I made gluten free, sugar free, low fat cookies tonight. Yup. I made cookies from scratch.
I'm such a guy.
They were coconut cinnamon sugar cookies, only with Splenda instead of sugar.
I don't think they were very good. I'm probably wrong because the giant dog thought they were Tiger
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
tasty enough to steal 3 off the plate. He did his time in doggie prison with no complaint.

I also seem to have gotten my puppy's new postcard function to work okay. Today I am like a young god, of that there is no doubt. I have to do all the writing yet to introduce it and give the reason for it. I like it fine. I don't know how to tell the story that my puppy says needs to be told. She's always scant on those sort of details. I'm just supposed to do it well. I always fail.

I still follow all the teams where I coached or the schools where any of my kids went on to play for. I like when my kids do well of course. I like it best when one of my old teams do well. I hope it means that some of the things I believed in stayed with the team after I left and that those things are in some tiny way part of them doing well. I have such an ego.

Last week was a dismal week in this household for our NFL picks.Eyes Without A Face
I got quite a chuckle that my friend using her "Lucy Ricardo" method of picking games was a diminutive 6-8. It is not polite to laugh, so I managed to control myself.
All you can do is pat her on the head and remind her that these are manly things and maybe not the right thing for a woman to try and comprehend.
On the other hand the great experience I've had in this game, all the years of playing, coaching, studying, analyzing really paid off. There were an amazing amount of fluke plays and inexplicable upsets. That's what makes the game a beautiful thing I love. Still, bearing up under all of that I was still an hard fought and scintillating 6-8 in my picks . . .
As usual my picks are in bold.

Dallas at St Louis - The Rams won their first game of the year last week. Of course they did it against the Washington Redskins who appeared to be on the start of a real tear. Washington was my Survivor pick . . . so I'm out of that part of the contest. Now, since Washington has already beaten the Dallas Cowboys and since St Louis beat Washington you would think that I'd be picking the Rams (who do really have great looking uniforms and great helmets). The Cowboy are banged up, their starting QB broke the pinky finger on his throwing hand. So, of course I figure the Cowboys will win. I'm a glutton for punishment.

Princess - Anime
Click images for desktop size: "Princess Anime" by Unknown
Tennessee at Kansas City - The Chiefs only potent weapon, Larry Johnson, has been suspended for the game. The Titans are the only undefeated team in the NFL while the Chiefs are 1-4. Now, you would think that would mean that I would automatically pick the Chiefs. I also know and like Kerry Collins, the Titans QB. The Titans have a devastating running attack. One thing that sets an offensive line and lets them play outside of themselves is a running game. It makes their pass blocking trebly effective. Instead of having to bear up under constant bull rushing and LB hits and chips they get to attack and grind down the front seven. Vince Evans was more running back than QB. Kerry takes what his O-Line creates for him and has been, not spectacular, but steady and excellent. In the face of logic and despite the creepy Titan kit I have to go with them. This could be Gambling House a blow out shut out.

San Francisco at New York Giants - I have no emotional investment in the NFL. None at all. Its the reason I can enjoy this harmless pick 'em game. I loved the way the Cleveland Browns destroyed the Giants on Monday Night, even though I picked the Giants to win. It was a beautiful thing to see. Manning is banged up. If I looked as bone headed as he did I'd claim to be banged up too. an Francisco has aspirations. The Giants have to prove this was a fluke. They have to win. I can't see any way for the 49ers to do much more than show up and get a few good runs out of Frank Gore.

Baltimore at Miami - The Ravens were humiliated by the Colts last week. Really smashed. The Dolphins gave the hapless Houston Texans their first win of the season. They looked inept. Sadly, London After Midnight
Click images for desktop size: "London After Midnight" by Unknown
every single game that the underdog won last week appeared to be outrageously influenced by inept referee's. The NFL proves this by fining guys $5,000 for criminal hits that injure star players while saying that an official's call stunk the joint out and unfairly decided the outcome of the game will get you a $50,000 dollar fine . . . The fines go to the United Way, which is good and shows how gooney the priorities of the NFL have gotten under the leadership of Roger Goodell. No, I think the Ravens are closer to being a winning team than are the Dolphins. The Dolphins are scrappy after the loss which is a big team improvement. Scrapping about a defeat is better than accepting them as a part of life. The Ravens are angry. They're also more talented. Anger is stronger than scrappy.

San Diego at Buffalo - The Chargers humiliated the New England Patriots last Sunday. Sadly they did not look great while they were doing it. Tomlinson needs to heal up. Buffalo lost their first game but had the bye week to heal up. This is my game of the week. The young upstart Bills show they'll play with all they've got. They seem to play to the talent of Earth VS The Spider their opponent. They should be healed up and can take it to the Chargers. The Chargers will come and play hard too. But they look like a good team that could have been great. To me they seem to be playing for the paychecks. There's no heart there. No big play when they need it the most. They can roll when its easy but no heart when they have to struggle. I'll go with the heart. (And if I'd know San Diego was going to wear their baby blue kit last week I'd have picked them!)

New Orleans at Carolina - The Panthers QB used to be a Saint, way back when the HC their was in love with a guy who only had a two year career. That's How Delahomme ended up in Carolina. Delahomme gets up for the Saints. New Orleans is still banged up pretty badly and weeks away from getting healthy. But Dru Brees is, right now, the bet QB in the NFC. He's staggering. Take away any of his weapons and he still performs. Reggie Bush is becoming a stud. The Panther defense can't stop the Saints, only the ref's seem to be able to do that. The Saints can stop the Panthers often enough to pull off the win.

Minnesota at Chicago - If it weren't for Houston and Detroit playing this week, this would be my cruddy game. Two incredibly inconsistent teams here. The shock of last weeks stunning loss to the Falcons might have the Bears either exasperated or seeing blood. No one knows for sure and I'd guess that half the team feels one way and the rest the the other. The Vikings are great under achievers. I'm going with the Bears because of home field advantage. Bleh . . .

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati - Poor poor Bengals. One of two teams without a win. Carson Palmer still Summer '06 by Gailan
Click images for desktop size: "Summer '06" by Gailan
out and probably needing surgery. The Steelers are not fun to watch. I find Rothlisberger irritating and Troy Polomanu exhilarating. Taking the Steelers because I can't pick a team I feel sorry for.

Detroit at Houston - This is the CLASSIC cruddy game of the week. Detroit just traded their best WR to the Cowboys, so they've clearly given up on the season. They still have the record for worst road record in the last 10 years. They have no starting, healthy QB. They are a mess. The Texans just stink.

Cleveland at Washington - So what was the Brown's Kellen Winslow's mysterious illness that hospitalized him? And how was he cured? Did it have something to do with the Browns looking devastating against the Giants while they'd only looked inept before? I'm taking the Browns because I like the team and I just can't bear to pick the RedskinsGodzilla (still the most offensive nickname in sports) after costing me the survivor series contest! And how can you pick anyone who loses to the RAMS for pete's sake!

New York Jets at Oakland - After a week to rest up do you think Brett Favre is pleased to have to face the soft secondary and weak pass rush of the Raiders? Do you think he's dreaming of 6 more TD's, maybe even 7 in this game. I do.

Indianapolis at Green Bay - Last week the Colts said, "We are back!" I thought Manning looked panicky at times, even when the game was in coast mode. Last week the Packers looked tight losing a game that was theirs. Aaron Rogers made some highly entertaining throws. I really liked the ones that bounced five or ten yards in front of the receiver. I hadn't seen that since high school ball. The Packers are still without the great db Al Harris. He could take out any of the Colt WR. I just feel that the Packer D is still real and I think the COlts is old and not putting together good games let alone good series. They play well from the front but not well at all from behind. This will be a tight game with a Packer Hey Stop Stabbing Me win or a blow out (for the Colts). I have faith. And Rogers should be a bit more healed.

Denver at New England - The Patriots stinking the joint out saddens me. Matt was a USC QB. I liked that they say, "He never started a game for the Trojans but he's still good enough to start in the NFL!" No he isn't. Billinger isn't a genius. Maybe I could be a genius if I had Tom Brady playing for me. I'm still picking them because I still think the world of Jay Cutler and that the rest of the Bronco's stink. They look bad at Mile High and flat out terrible on the road.

Seattle 3 at Tampa Bay 28 - Prime time game that should be a real snorer. The good news is we all need a little bit of extra rest after the exciting football on Saturday!

But maybe Boston will force the game 7 and we can really be entertained. With the Dodgers out of it its hard for me to get stoked about the ACLS.
As usual my picks are for the general laughter of the unseen crowd and it is a sign of a serious disorder to take them seriously. You might be near as ill as me!

October 12, 2008

Arizona State University 0 USC 28
I started searching for a better way but I couldn't see the light
Climax Blues Band

Koln Dome Bridge
Click images for desktop size: "Koln Dome Bridge" - WWII Photo Post Bombing Run
During the pre-season yesterdays USC matchup with ASU was being hyped as being nearly as big a deal as LSU and Florida, Texas and Oklahoma, with the whole Pac 10 race dependent on its outcome . . . I remember that clearly. Born To Kill
But the way both teams played yesterday that seems like a nasty joke. Let me rephrase that - the way 3/4 of the teams played yesterday. The USC defense started out playing in a mediocre fashion letting the country's worst running attack lash them up cruelly, but as the USC offense played with more and more heartbreaking ineptness the defense rose like one and became an impregnable inspiring wall that refused to lose.
Click images: "Dracula" by Universal Pictures
Five turnovers in the game most within 20 yards of the USC goal line and no touch downs allowed. ASU has last years Groza Award winner, the finest kicker in the country, one peculated to be a first round draft pick. Fili Moala blocked two of his field goal attempts to preserve the shutout.
Pete Carroll will , no doubt, take full responsibility for the offensive debacle. I put the blame on Steve Sarkasian, the Offensive Coordinator. Each week I'm pretty mystified, when I'm not horrified, by his play calling. He gives up on things or runs the same stupid play into the ground. He takes too many home run shots and doesn't give his young O-Line a chance to settle in and play to its level of talent.
Mark Sanchez has talent. He's a good kid. His talent and confidence are being undermined by this horrific refusal to play to his strengths, to protect him from his weaknesses and to protect him from the teams weaknesses.
Ultraviolet by Superville Design
Click images for desktop size: "Ultra Violet" by Superville Design
Look at how Texas has protected Colt McCoy. They never give up on the run, even when its failing. They wait for the home run to come to them. They manufacture the opportunities for McCoy instead of forcing him to make them himself. Same with Chase Daniels at Missouri.
I think Sanchez might have more talent than either of them but he' not being given a fair chance to show if he does or not.

The political scene is now horrifying. Even McCain is horrified at the rage and nastiness he has purposefully incited. The rampant racism his wife, his running mate and his commercials are setting off. He's trying to turn the name "Obama" into a synonym for "uppity ni**er". Its working.
Beyond The Door A man showed up at an McCain rally with a stuffed monkey with a hangman's noose around its neck and an Obama sticker on its forehead.
Some businesses are refusing to serve people with Obama bumper stickers on their cars.
"Georgia congressman and Civil Rights leader John Lewis, reacting to the increasingly incendiary atmosphere at McCain-Palin campaign rallies, condemned the GOP for using tactics that are creating a mood not unlike the one created by George Wallace, the former segregationist governor and presidential candidate. Lewis accused the Republicans of "sowing the seeds of hatred and division," and warned the McCain campaign that they are "playing with fire:"
"As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign," Lewis said in a statement. "Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse."
The veteran Democrat even invoked one of the most divisive figures in recent U.S. history. "During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a Jeff Beck's Fender Esquire
Click images for desktop size: "Jeff Beck's Fender Esquire"
church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama," said Lewis.
He warned, "As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better."
The McCain campaign responded by saying "that's not what we're doing!"
Of course they also said this about the release of the Branchflower report on Troopergate. Palin's response: "If you read the report, you will see that there was nothing unlawful or unethical about replacing a cabinet member," Palin said as boarded her campaign bus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "You got to read the report."
The first line of the report quotes the law and says thatCat People Palin violated state ethics law by trying to get her former brother-in-law fired from the state police, a state investigator's report for the bipartisan Legislative Council concluded Friday.
Palin says there was nothing unlawful or unethical, just read the report. And the report says? It was unlawful and unethical.
The McCain camp's claim of some pretty petty and horrifying abuses of power is that since the report makes no recommendation that criminal charges be leveled, it's therefore a case of "no harm, no foul."

Last weeks NFL picks provided some justification of my system as opposed to my friends.
Using her daffy system of team colors, nicknames and helmet design she was an absurdly ludicrous 7-7 in her picks. It is hard not to laugh at her flailing futility.
I, using my method of careful analysis, study of previous games, tendencies and my encyclopedic knowledge of the game burnished by years of Blaze Starr Goes Nudist coaching and playing finished the week a gloriously scrappy 7-7 . . .
My picks are in bold.

St Louis at Washington - After firing the head coach teams have a solid history of rebounding and winning the next game in which they're given no chance. That's the scenario for the Rams this week, after firing coach Mike Linehan . . . that's about the only hope the Rams have. Their offense guided by Steve Jackson and with Mark Bulger under center can be productive but the defense is a bad joke. I have no confidence in the Redskins except their helmets are red even though they are not as nifty as the Rams curly horned blue and gold affair. Still, the Redskins keep winning. I can't for the minute understand how, except they keep scoring more points than the other guys. This is my Survivor game pick of the week. I'm still alive in the contest which only has 1,225 still competing out of 100,000 plus!

Carolina at Tampa Bay - The Panthers are a surprisingly strong favorite here. This surprises me as the Buc's defense has looked incredibly stout and the Panthers have looked remarkably lucky. Sometimes luck is far better than skill or talent. This comes down to the Buc's wearing black and dark red while the Panthers wear baby blue! But for logo's the Panther is far cooler than the unchic pirate the Bucs are cursed with. This is almost a pic em!Cat Women On The Moon

Cincinnati at New York Jets - After the incredible performance two weeks ago destroying the Cardinals the Jets got a week off to heal up! The Bengals are busted up and in total disarray. Carson Palmer isn't starting with a weak commitment that he might get some playing time. The Bengals haven't won with Palmer and its impossible to win without him. The Bengal D has shown some resolution in the past few weeks but Brett Favre is excited about playing in New York now. Even though the Bengals have the coolest helmet in the NFL and the Jets have the creepiest I don't think that will be enough.

Oakland at New Orleans - The Saints are as unlucky as the Panthers have been lucky. The NFL aggravated the situation by their fines this week and by Goodell assuring the refs that they were doing a great job and not to worry about it . . . In their last game against the Vikings, 3 Vikings were fined for dirty play! BUT the largest fine was for the DB who ran back the blocked field goal Return of the Warriors by Charles Marion Russell
Click images for desktop size: "Return of the Warriors" by Charles Marion Russelll
for excessive celebration! The nasty and potentially fatal face mask tackle of Reggie Bush (which led to the game wrenching fumble) was only fined $7,500 . . . why to protect the players. The Players Union needs to replace Gene Upshaw quickly before Roger Goodell decimates the league! The Raiders have fired wunderkind Lane Kiffen, not too smart really. See the bounce back theory under the Rams game. Jamarcus Russell gets to come home to the SuperDome. The Saints are super busted up. Finally the Raiders kit is the di reguer classic standard for gang bangers and wannabees everywhere while the Saints kit is the highest in "eh- factor. A fleur ds lis? Still, despite all these facts I figure the Saints will blow them out. They need to.
Cool Hand Luke
Detroit at Minnesota - Poor poor Lions. I think they might win one or two games this year given they are overloaded with talent, even disgruntled talent. When they do win it will be a shock, whomever they beat. The Vikings are a joke to me. A dirty team who have very little to offer, especially considering the mountains of money they've spent on talent. But they do have purple kit (Someone in this household who is not me's favorite color) and there is no denying that viking horned helmet is very cool.

Baltimore at Indianapolis - This is a rough pick. The Colts have only won twice and they've looked insanely unimpressive in both wins. Even Peyton Manning has looked nearly human. The Ravens (who dress in black but have chosen a CROW for their logo) have looked impressive in all their games, extremely impressive. With the brand new stadium the Colts really are missing a big part of their home field advantage. In another situation I'd take them and Surf
Click images for desktop size: "Surf" by Unknown
the 3 points . . . I just changed my mind. The old fashioned horse shoe on the Colts logo has swayed me to go with my heart and the Ravens Joe Flacco tearing up a Bob Sanders-less Colt's D. This is my game of the week.

Chicago at Atlanta - The Bears appear to be this years schizo team, winning some games they shouldn't and inexplicably losing the easy ones. This should be one of the easy ones. I don't think the Falcon's Matt Ryan is quite ready yet to face a pass rush like the Bears can muster even without suspended tackles. (I do think that Smith did the right thing in suspending the tackle. Teams respond to discipline and resent favoritism and teammates getting away with stuff. The suspension should fire up the rest of the squad.) Coming off a career game Orton won't be quite as good but he won't need to be. Even though the Falcon's kit is eons cooler than the old school Bears gear I'm still taking the Bears!

Click images for desktop size: "Lily" by Unknown
Miami at Houston - Its been nearly 3 years since I picked the Dolphins to win one! Now I figure they'll let me down . . . if its because they wear teal and white as opposed to the Texans red and black I'll do something drastic! Chad Pennington is the leader the offense has needed since forever. Their defense is not as punishing as in previous years but it is pretty efficient. Houston looks good in struggling . . . They hung their future away when they passed over Reggie Bush and hired Craig Morton. In its history no one has ever managed to full on beat the Wing T formation. Its an offense designed not so much to win games as to keep them close enough to maybe win. The Dolphins have adapted it and are making it work in the high powered NFL.
Jacksonville at Denver - The Bronco's keep winning even when they get exposed. I think Jay Cutler is a very good QB and his handling of his diabetes is inspiring. He makes a good role model. I don't think anything about any of the rest of the entire team. What they have going for them is Cutler and Mile High Stadium. Th Jaguars are more problematic. They have talent, they have fire, they have coaching and they're 2-3 . . . They need to win and to string together some big wins or the wide open AFC will have them sitting at home watching the playoffs on TV. As the Jaguars wear teal and have the snazzy snarling cat on their lids I'm picking them.

Green Bay at Seattle - The Packers are a team in transition. That's obvious as they've already lost as many games this season than they did all of last year. The Seahawks are just a bad team in a bad division. Aaron Rogers has shown he's a good NFL QB, but he's not shown he can play hurt. Lat week he was good but couldn't get his wracked body to its former level of excellence. Rogers may have damaged himself even more by playing last week in a game the Packers lost anyway. If he's spent the time healing I'd have them as the easy pick here. The Seattle Kingdome is a nasty place for visiting teams, especially teams who don't play there every year. I think that the Seahawks should pull the upset victory today. Beside a seagull, an albatross for gosh sakes, maybe the dorkiest logo Crescent Moons
Click images for desktop size: "Crescent Moons-Crop Circle"
in the NFL but its still more inspiring than a letter G!

Philadelphia at San Francisco - Brian Westbrook, the heart of the Eagles attack, is out with broken ribs. But they still have Donavan McNabb who is the heart and brains of the team. The 49ers have exceeded everyones limited expectations but face a team that is desperate for a win. And the Eagles kit is that lovely shade of metallic green. The eagle is a cool enough logo while the 49ers logo, unless its on Jerry Rice or Joe Montana, is just dumb.

Dallas at Arizona - After their strong comeback after the embarrassing defeat the Cardinals look like a force. The Cowboys dismal performance against the Redskins should have them fired up. They can't afford back to back losses if they expect a shot at making the playoffs. The paychecks should be enough to inspire the Cowboys to beat the Cardinals. NowCrimson Kimono I know the Cowboy C is a stupid logo, heck they don't even play in Dallas! But I've been to Arizona plenty of times and I have never seen a Cardinal in the whole state! So on that front the additional edge goes to the Cowboys.

New York Giants at Cleveland - Cruddy game of the week. The Browns are without their premiere player, Kellen Winslow. The Giants are healthy and must be chomping at the bit to play this depleted team. The Giants should win easily and it will be nothing but dull.

New England 24 at San Diego 20 - This is the Sunday night game and its a good one. The Brady-less Patriots are still an enigma. Their aging Defense still suspect. At times it shows its age but then suddenly rallies itself. The Chargers are also an enigmatic team. Has Ladainian Tomlinson taken too many hits. He's shown little of his brilliance of years past. Little and exciting Sproles has been more productive in pivotal situations. Now the Pat's logo, the colonial in a football crouch is an historically bad logo. The Charger lightning bolt is tres cool. If the Chargers were still wearing their powder blue kit of ages past they'd be an easy pick here. But its still hard for me to go against the Patriots until they've shown they've forgotten how to won.

As usual these picks are for you to use when picking on me and have no other value unless you enjoy throwing money away.

October 5, 2008

Oregon 10 USC 44

Black Sand Beach by Lyle Kranchfield
Click images for desktop size: "Black Sand Beach" by Lyle Kranfield
So Friday rolls around and we head out for the concert. First we stop and have pizza! It is a continuation of my birthday after all . . .
I had the special. We go to this pizza joint because they do gluten free pizzas. My friend had a The Brain From Planet Arous gluten free Mediterranean thing. It was half the size but twice the price of my special but it was also twice as good, so I guess it balances all out.
After eating we hit the road. Its a long drive but at the end of it will be Alkaline Trio. Skiba and co. have been one of my favorite bands for a few years now and I'm really looking forward to it, willing to push through the crowd of "youngsters" to catch a glance at the band.
While we're driving and driving we listen to a radio station that's broadcasting live from the venue. They're not broadcasting the show. They're playing records that have nothing to do with the show . . . then they do a brief interview with band members, interviews that are totally dominated by a rather inept deejay . . .very annoying.
But Alkaline Trio come in and do an acoustic version of one of their "hits". Its very good and keeps the excitement up for the long long drive. We fill up with gas. Costs about 55 bucks. We're still stoked.
We hit some traffic but keep on pushing and pushing.
We finally go down some ragged streets and find the club. We enter the place just as Alkaline Trio are hitting the stage. Groovy.
The club is freaky. Its clearly an old disco. It has several of the old rear projection TV's scattered around the place with fuzzy old style cameras showing blurry on stage action. The plastic and the inflatable palm trees seem weird but make sense with the disco ball in the middle of the room and the old style disco lights subbing as stage lighting.
Fall To Pieces by Tony X
Click images for desktop size: "Fall To Pieces" by Tony X
You couldn't help but notice that the sound was dreadful. I'm sure you've noticed at concerts when they insist on playing tapes through the PA system before the lights go down how the sound is all clammy, boomy and just plain aggravating. It makes you worried that when the band comes on they're also going to sound that distant and cold. But then the band sounds just fine.
That's from playing recorded music through speakers designed for live sound. It works the opposite end of the tone scale but exactly the same way when you pipe a bands sound through speakers designed for recordings.
The band sounded terrible. The speakers were hissing and splatting all the high notes. They set up a nice vibration for the bass even though they didn't have enough bottom end to hear the notes you could at least feel them. The Erotic Adventures of Pinochhio
To make things worse they'd done little to change the joint from its disco roots. The place had a 30 foot ceiling and no baffles or even steamers to deflect the sound so all the highs just went spinning off into the ether and what was left of the mids were bounced around on concrete floors and tiled walls.
It sounded like crap. It was a huge ugly slab of feedback and harmonics.
I was annoyed but liked seeing the band live. The place was sold out Disco
Click images for desktop size: "Discos" by Unknown
and there were about 1,800 people there. The stage was only about 4 feet high so I picked through about a third of the crowd to find a safe place to stand. There was no mosh pit. I like the mosh, even when my job is to stand at the edge of it so my friend can mosh and feel safe. I become like the goalie, bouncing happy pogo-ers away from her, keeping them in play but keeping my friend safe. Sometimes I like a bit of slam dancing myself.
At this place, they seemed to just want to watch . . . There were a couple of guys who were trying to keep their day jobs but wanted to look like it was 1976. One guy did a mohawk, a short mohawk, with vaseline. Not very convincing but amusing. Two poor souls actually tried to crowd surf. I hope they were having fun because to me it looked sort of empty and nearly pathetic.
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
I'd long wondered how a band could make such great records and still not be stars. Alkaline Trio weren't even headlining this gig . . . They were okay. Matt Skiba tried to connect with the audience and worked hard. The other two just limped along it seemed.
Their new drummer was too fussy for me. I liked the old drummer who was straight ahead and savage.
I was getting into it and thinking that they were alright. I thought they were starting to build momentum and would soon get the audience whipped up. They launched into "This Could Be Love" and they exploded. Even crappy sound and muddy instruments couldn't keep the power of the song down. Even stupid disco lights trying to emulate stupider hard rock light shows could The Golem kill the joy of seeing them do the song live.
Even when Skiba interrupted the song to try and get an audience sing along going during the bridge I was still with the band and thought that now the show had turned and it was going to start getting great!
And as the last note died Skiba said, "Goodnight!" and left the stage.
One lonely voice called for an encore but everyone else was turning for the bars.
They played for about 25 minutes . . .
Gee. I'm sure glad we drove three hours and paid 50 bucks a ticket to get to see you rehearse. It would have been nice if you'd done a sound check first.
I am no longer an Alkaline Trio fan.
I saw only one show that was worse. Long Beach Auditorium: Elvis Costello and the Attractions. The place was packed and they came out and played for 25 minutes.
Now, you'd already sensed that Costello was a fraud so it was easy to be angry with him and swear to never fall for his lying songs again.
I like Alkaline Trio and its disappointing to find out that they don't care about their fans or their audience. They didn't extend themselves. They barely tried. You owe an audience a glimpse of your soul. At least a feeling of the heat of the fire that burns inside. You don't rush off stage like you've got something more important to do.
I'm too old to be disappointed in heroes. At least now I know why Alkaline Trio aren't stars and don't Spider Web
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deserve to be.
Better than them were the Kipper KIds (one of whom married Bette Midler . . .) There act consisted of coming on stage stark naked except for old latex bathing caps and swimming goggles. Then they'd throw beans and cans of paint at each other until they were unholy messes. They could do that for 30 minutes.
At least you didn't feel ripped off when you watched their act.
Still, I had a great time. The drive was dark and spooky. The anticipation was great and seeing heroes crash and burn has its own attraction.
Another reason to never buy an RAIA sponsored recording ever again. And to check out local bands who work there asses off for beers and a smattering of applause.The Killers

Lat week I was a mediocre 7-6 in my NFL picks. My friend decided to make picks too and compete against me. Her criteria is the teams nick name, how cute their helmets are and whether or not Reggie Bush plays for them . . . she ended up being a mediocre 8-5 . . .
I'm not giving up though. Where would the fun be in that. As usual my picks are in bold.

Tennessee at Baltimore - From what I've seen the Titan's D is nearly as stout as Pittsburgh's. I liked the way the Ravens took it to the Steelers last week but they got pretty banged up. Kerry Collins has something to prove now that Vince Young has started practicing again. Flacco showed that he's ready for prime time, so while I wouldn't be surprised to see the Ravens pull this one out I have to thin the Titans will do enough to win.

Crow Head
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Kansas City at Carolina - I like the Chiefs Larry Johnson. I have since High School. He's showed that he can sometimes carry the team. I don't think he can do enough to keep the Panthers from scoring more than their fair share of points. I don't much care for the Panthers at all but at home they look like a solid pick.

Chicago at Detroit - Matt Millen was a great linebacker and a pretty poor front office exec. His getting fired still shouldn't affect the Lions play on the field. I'm skeptical about the Bears putting together back to back defensive efforts and they looked fine against the banged up Eagles. The Lions don't pose that much of a threat. Where they are strongest plays right into the superiority of the Bears. I've made this my survivor game. The one I have to win to stay in the running for the big prize! So, I'm not that skeptical The Mad Ghoul even with the Lion at home.

Atlanta at Green Bay - This pick is predicated on Aaron Rogers being well enough to at least play at 80% of his ability. He' shown he's a good player but hasn't stepped into great yet. Without him this will be a loss. The Falcons are an emotional team that believes in itself. If the Packers have too many 3 and outs the Falcons can put together enough drives to possibly win this.

Indianapolis at Houston - The Colts coming off a bye week. Manning with enough practice to be in opening game shape. The Texans stink.

San Diego at Miami - After the total dismemberment of the Patriots its tempting to go with the Dolphins at home. The Chargers have too many weapons and the new look Dolphins haven't put together back to back strong efforts. Brains say the Chargers have their backs against the walls and the SuperBowl in their hearts. The heart says the Dolphins have a big chip on their shoulder.

Washington at Philadelphia - The Redskins looked surprisingly strong in taking it to the Cowboys. I'm still not ready to concede that this is a good team. I'd look for the Eagles to tear them up. Brian Westbrook is back for them. He was the difference in the Bears game. Andy Reid teams don't lose many back to back. The Redskins can't get that high two weeks in a row, can they? My game of the week.

Seattle at New York Giants - Cruddy game of the The Mummy's Ghost week. The Giants will beat up on an inferior opponent and do it in the most boring way possible.

Tampa Bay at Denver - This is my upset of the week. I have no idea why the Bronco's are so heavily favored, last week the Chiefs destroyed them utterly. Tampa Bay is looking stronger and stronger. Do the bettors give that much credit to the friendly confines of Mile High? This is an upset I feel pretty comfortable with. If I bet I'd take the points and giggle.

New England at San Francisco - The Patriots were humiliated two weeks ago. They had the bye week to let the humiliation sink in. You have to figure they'll come out strongly and should contain Frank Gore and beat up on the 49er's QB. The Niners don't have enough D to totally stop even the Brady-less Patriot attack. I figure Pat's win but don't cover the ridiculous spread.

Eskimo Pin Up
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Cincinnati at Dallas - I feel sorry for the Bengals. I really do. Even if, miraculously, Carson Palmer can play he won't be 100%. In fact he stands a good chance of getting injured while trying to will the Bengals to a win.

Buffalo at Arizona - The Bills are playing to my expectation. So are the Cardinals. They were gutsy but still totally thrashed last week. They avoided near tragedy when Anquin Bolden got hit. Boldin's career might be over and that's sad. I expect the Bills to keep playing tough and doing enough to win.

Minnesota at New Orleans - How much worse can it get for theThe Snake Pit Saints. Sedrick Ellis is now out for 6 weeks. They keep getting people down. But Dru Brees might be the best QB in the NFL this season. Bush is playing solid ball and has his spectacular plays. The Viking D is the tyoe he could explode against. As depleted as the Saint's D is the Vikings O is so horrid, aside from Super Back Adrien Petersen, that the Saints should win a tight one at home.

Pittsburgh 10 Jacksonville 17 - This is my tie breaker game . . . I know, but they make you chose one like this. The Steelers were nothing but lucky last Monday night and now they have no running game. I'd expect Rothlisberger to be admiring the Florida sky a lot. He'll be on his back at leat 12 times tonight. He's healing but not 100%. The Jaguars are hungry and feeling right. I'd look for them to play loose and winning ball.

So, you may laugh now. These picks are for the pointed amusements of my enemies only . . .
I have a dog walk to attend today so I won't be able to watch and wonder what was going through my mind.
Tears for the Cubs. I'm shocked that they got swept. YAY for my Dodgers though. I never expected them to get this far.

September 28, 2008

The sun can't shine on everyone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 26, 2008

USC 21 Oregon State 27

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

September 25, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

September 21, 2008

Another Bye Week??

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 16, 2008

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

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

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

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

September 15, 2008

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

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

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

September 14, 2008

USC 35 The Ohio State 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tennessee at Cincinnati - The Bengals looked pathetic in their loss. The Titans looked better than to be expected. So I'm taking the Bengals because they still have too much offense. The Titans can slow them down but not stop them. Vince Young being out and the bizarre circumstances there will have an effect but their back up QB's are probably better than he is, even though their offensive game plan will be more limited it will be more effective. My runner-up game of the week.
Cherry Deluxe
Click images for desktop size: "Cherry Deluxe" by Unknown

Green Bay at Detroit - Boy, the Lions really stunk the joint out last week against Tennessee. Green Bay looked like they were ready to be 13-3 all over again. (Both these teams were responsible for two of my bad picks last week) Its been chic for a while to pick the Lions to finally play to their potential. I can't see it this week even at the friendly Silverdome.

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

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

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

San Diego at Denver - The Broncos are favorites in this game. Several reasons for this - betters liked that they were able to beat up a dismal Raiders team; Ladanian Tomlinson is hurting and Shawn Merriman is out. After the pathetic game against the Panthers even mediocre coach Norv Turner should be able to get these guys fired up. The Superbowl is the Chargers for the taking. The Broncos are not a very good team. They are just better than the dismal Raiders. This game is too important for the Chargers to let it get away.
The Spotlight
Click images for desktop size: "Spotlight" by Unknown

New England at the New York Jets - Who would have ever figured the JEts would be an overwhelming favorite in this game? What looked like a great face off between Brady and Favre is now a curiosity item. I'm taking the Patriots because I just don't know how the team of the 21st Century is going to look without the greatest QB of all time. Its hard to figure. They may get beat or the D may step up and hammer Favre. This won't be a great game but it is the most fascinating game of the week. I'm taking the Patriots until they show they can lose.

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

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

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

September 13, 2008

Sometimes the good guys win one

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

I did see a rather interesting movie last night. Johnny To is one of my favorite directors. He started On the Prowl By Charles Russell
Click images for desktop size: "On The Prowl" by Charles Russell
out making Michelle Yeoh a star in those manic "Heroic Trio" flics. Very over the top stuff but very cool and fun.
Then he teamed up with Andy Lau and delivered the stunning "Running On Karma". A devastating film that showed pure cinematic power and love.
He had huge hits with the triad flics, "Election" and "Election 2". Calling them the Chinese Godfather flics is faint praise. Last year he delivered the fascinating "Mad Detective". In retrospect it seems he was experimenting with nuance, character and allowing the actor to tell his story.
His latest is "Sparrow". The film has minimal dialogue, possibly less than "The Driver". (Walter Hill's interesting stab at existentialism).M
The brilliant part of the movie is that To explains NOTHING! No character is giving a background, they are all as we see them, but we are never at a loss to know exactly who they are. Each character is nuanced because To gives them just enough to complete them so that we know who and what they are. Its stunning.
What it lacks is an interesting story. Perhaps to avoid the easy way out and rely on genre cliches To's little story about pick pockets doesn't really give us much. There are some emotions and some touching scenes (particularly the last scene of the crime boss who is not so much a villain as a human being in love) and some powerful bits.
But the tone is too elegiac, intentionally so. Its hard to figure