Its time we said goodbye

Wild About Christmas
Click images for desktop size: “Wild About Christmas – Christmas Card 2005”

This will be my last post on Dot5hosting.
I’m not thrilled about that but it was becoming impossible. It took three hours of holding and 9 hours of waiting for “Live Chat” to find out how to transfer my domain . . . and they lied to me the first time . . . Its sorted now.
It Happened One Night I’ll be putting through the name change as soon as I finish here. They say it will take 24-48 hours to “propogate” and then, like magic, you’ll be at the new host.
It should be invisible to everyone out there.
Its 9 bucks a month with the new hosting service until I decide I’m staying with it. I can’t affordd it but the kids reading my puppy’s site are worth more than that.
It will warm me on Christmas, for sure.

If I needed affirmation that it was time to move I got it. The server is down . . . at least it gave me the time to add on this little lobby card . . .

This is fascinating. Tucows, who I always thought of as an online software reseller, are the Registrars of my domain name. They are as bad as dot5hosting! My domain isn’t being released to point to the new server. No reason, just apathy, I guess. It’s not moving . . . Law says they have 7 BUSINESS days to release it . . . it is usually done on an automated system but Tucows likes to hold on to them . . . I can imagine some ugly fiscal reasons for this, but I suspect its really just not caring.

Could you hand me the left handed monkey wrench?

Christmas Advert 1972
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Advert 1972” by Coca Cola
Just got the new water heater. Two hours (approx) to a hot shower!
No headaches from washing my hair in cold water. I think that’s a pretty good thing.
Bugs Bunny Christmas Yesterday, aside from watching some modestly enjoyable football, I worked on updating the site, prepping for the move to Movable Type.
The hosting service is becoming totally aggravating. I’ve been using them for 2 and a half years. I picked them because Dot5 Hosting was and still is the cheapest hosting service out there. Domain registration and service is about seventy bucks a year!
At first they were adequate. They had fits and outages, but they remained barely adequate.
This year I debated about moving to another service but they were talking about getting new servers in and updating things. Mainly its just such a chore backing up the data bases, reinstalling, downloading the whole site, then reinstalling it, then figuring out why it doesn’t work etc etc.
In the last 7 months the service has been horrendous! Coming from a background of free servers, well it was worse than that. Customer service got moved to India . . . so where I used to be able to call or do an online chat and ask the guy to reboot the server now I have someone giving me answers out of a book until they don’t understand what I’m talking about.
They pass me off to a Senior Tech . . . which means I get an email a couple days later and nothing changes or gets fixed.
I was trying to live with the service. I spent a lot of time converting everything to Movable Type.
Movable Type works by using perl to create an html page. Html pages load faster than php. It puts less strain on the server.
Movable Type normally generates the pages in about .015 seconds per page. I had about 500 pages to generate. On free servers it could take about 10 minutes! On my wonky service it took about 32 hours. And it had to be monitored becasue it would suddenly fail.
Santas Treats - Christmas Card 2005
Click images for desktop size: “Santa’s Treats – Christmas Card 2006”
I’ve decided to change hosting services . . .
This wouldn’t be so bad if I were getting paid for it . . .
I guess you’re worth it.
Sure you are.
The page your looking at is Movable Type. I hope you noticed that it loaded really really fast!
There’s still some glitches and cosmetic things I have to sort out. I’m putting in the links one at a time . . . I know that’s important to a lot of people. I’ll try and get to them . . .
It was my original plan to make the move around Christmas, maybe even on to a new server! But the database for WordPress got corrupted. I had a back up!!! Which is close to miraculous . . . for me anyway.
Hopefully all of this will be invisible to you. It won’t affect my puppy’s blog at all.
Flash Gordon 1938 Her blog is important. A lot of kids sem to love her. They at least write to her.
That’s important to me.

Onto to football. The games were poor but the scores were exciting. I loved seeing Philadelphia rise up angry, and seeing the Redskins make a strong stand behind the old discarded veteran is engaging theater. I went 10-5 and managed to rise up to 1,793. 14 points out of first place with two weeks to go . . . and I’m optimistic . . .

There was an amazing amount of snow yesterday and last night. I am becoming an expert snow shovellor . . . No, really!
I even hurt myself badly today. Just my back killing me. I had to clear the driveway so the hot water heater guys could come in. I was having fun until I hurt myself. I was singing Christmas songs and I’m sure I was being a neighborhood nuisance. Why people don’t want to hear an acapella doo wop version of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer with exertion grunts in rhythm escapes me.
No one complained, if they had I would try and teach them the harmony parts or let them sing lead while I did the harmony.
No one does harmony anymore. Maybe they’ve heard me sing . . .
All else is well.
I think there’s enough hot water for me to take a shower.
Some of you might say I even need one.
That would be unkind.

Sometimes I just don’t get it. And then I do.

Christmas Card 2005
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Card 2005” by Unknown
It’s colder than I’m used to. I can only think of a few times when I’ve ever been colder.
THose times I was places where it was foolish to expect it to be anything but freezing.
Maybe that’s the way it is here too.
New Adventures Of Batman And Robin A while ago I came back from Europe and went to Texas. Too complicated to explain why Texas. It was he place I thought I had to be.
One of the reasons I was glad to be returning to America was that I had seen the rights of people, of workers and children stomped on. It was a disgrace.
I never figured that the European Employers had either decided to follow the American lead or if the US Government had decided that people were no longer as important as corporations. Workers not as necessary as stock holders . . .
By trusting in people and trusting in the law I got myself into the worst hell of my life.
Where do you go when they tell you that you’re right but no money comes in the window while the landlord pounds on the door?
Its sad because my friend is in the same situation. A wrongful termination by a failing company. They owe her money but they’re not going to pay so that they can save themselves her “golden parachute”, which wasn’t all that golden.
And the strength of it is that they are going to make her go the whole ten yards and sue them. The logic is simple: They’ll either settle before judgement or they’ll be out of business.
Nice guys. Businessmen.
There’s no escaping them.
Bastards.
Merry Xmas.
Tomorrow my puppy goes for her level 2 Obedience certificate. She needs 6 points from her Down Stay.
She doesn’t like to lie down. I realized that she never has and I got her to do it for her Therapy dog training by making it a game. Its compounded now because she views the down command as another word for PLAYTIME!
Its my fault . . . the children always pay for the sins of the father.
Christmas Card 2006
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Card 2006” by Unknown
Its not terribly important that she pass or get a certificate. Its only important for her self esteem . . . ??? Okay, I’d be proud if she got the Certificate because it comes with a red ribbon she can beat up!

And now . . . THE NFL!
No matter how many water heaters or appliances die around me that no one can afford to replace I always keep my priorities straight.

Last week I was 14-2, which sounds pretty good but actually dumped me all the way down to 2,393rd place! With 3 weeks to go it is daunting, but I’ll have fun anyway. Strangely I’m not mathematically eliminated . . .
As usual my picks are in Bold.

Le Samourai Denver at Houston – I picked Houston as there defense has been coming on stronger and stronger while their running game has reached its peak, which os good – not great. The Bears proved last year that a good defense and good running game can take you places. Denver is falling apart. They should win one or maybe two games but they’re done this year.

Cincinnati at San Francisco – The Bengals are a much better team than their record shows. If they had a line backer survive the first month of the season or anything resembling a defense they’d be contenders. The 49er’s remain suspect. But, as I write this they trail the Bengals by 3, 10-7! So who knows. Nah. They’ll lose. Frank Gore is not good enough to carry this team.

Arizona at New Orleans – Two teams playing out the string when all they really want to do is go home and dream of next year. I give the nod to the Saints because Drew Brees is playing for more than a contract. He’s got a chip on his shoulder and the talent to make doubters pay.

Atlanta at Tampa Bay – What else bad could happen to the Falcons. I feel for them and know what they’re going through. Not enough to pick them but . . . other teams have had sudden coaching teams and come out and played inspired football . . . just not often against a decent team that is trying to lock down a play off spot. It would be beautiful if it happened though. Just beautiful.
Christmas Card 2004
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Card 2004” by Unknown

Baltimore at Miami – I’m telling you the Dolphins are the most feared team in football right now. No one wants to be the guys they beat. The Dolphins are even bringing in the 35th Anniversary team – the perfect team – to help rally them. Still, the Ravens have been snake bit the last two weeks. They should get better here. And if the Dolphins lose and the Patriots win (they should) history will be made next week when a 14-0 team meets an 0-14 team. The universe needs that sort of balance.

Buffalo at Cleveland – The Game Of The Week by far! I’m taking The Browns because of home field advantage, mostly. But its a game on the cusp, I think. And I’ll get it on TV . . . which is something good.

Green Bay at St Louis – The Rams aren’t as bad as their record but the Packers and Favre have the look of a team wanting to make history. I want them to make history!

Osmosis Jones Jacksonville at Pittsburgh – I’m surprised the Steelers are so heavily favored here. I guess the logic is home field advantage and their recent 1-3 spat will send them on the field angry. My instincts are that the Jaguars could make this a rout but will get dizzy and let the Steelers keep it close. My runner-up game of the week. I won’t get this on TV . . .

New York Jets at New England – I see football as sport and art. There’s not much difference to me between ballet and a wide receiver, between a boxer and a down line man, between a back and an opera star. Except nobody belittles you if you say you don’t like football. The Patriots are looking like magic. Billichik has the whole Spy-Gate fiasco to fire up his team. Pity the Jets.

Seattle at Carolina – The Seahawks are working hard to make people believe they belong in the play offs. The Panthers don’t have enough talent to convince them other wise.

Tennessee at Kansas City – I almost feel sorry for the Chiefs. If Vince Young would stop worrying about stats and just play his game this could be a rout. Their defense is better with Haynesworth even at 50% and their running game is a wonderful thing. The Chiefs are just looking to avoid the off season cull,

Indianapolis at Oakland – Since the Raiders have already conceded the game when they guaranteed time for rookie Jackson at QB how could anyone pick them. Peyton Manning has a rep as a great guy but do you notice the blood in his eye at game time?

Detroit at San Diego – I feel sorry for the Lions. They worked so hard all season and especially last week. I hope they all get a chance to return as a team and try again next year, avoiding the pot holes. The Chargers are a disappointment, especially Philip Rivers and even Tomlinson has not looked good. Without Shawn Merriman as creaky defense got worse but they should still have enough to squeak by the disappointed Lions.

Philadelphia at Dallas – Boring game of the week. There’s no magic left in the Eagles. They may get crazy and shock the Cowboys but not in Dallas.

Nell McAndrew
Click images for desktop size: “Nell McAndrew”
Chicago at Minnesota – The Bears are going with Kyle Orton . . . Adrian Peterson is healthy. I’m looking forward to the Vikings making the playoffs. Aside from the Cowboys and Packers the pool is so weak they could get deep into it.

Washington at New York Giants – This is my cruddy game of the week. Both teams confuse and confound me but not in any pleasant way. Neither of them are playing good football. I’m taking the Giants because they always seem to play just well enough to save Tom Coughlin’s job.

As usual using these picks for any reason than to admire my insanity is just plain silly!

Hi de hoe hiddy hi hoe, I’m Hardrock, I’m Coco, I’m Joe Remembered Christmas Cartoon

Christmas In The Park
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas In The Park” by Unknown
Feeling pretty good, got good music on my iPod.
Hearing from friends always helps on that front. And it should.
Listening to too much Christmas Music. Even enjoying stuff I normally don’t like, like George Jones’s Christmas tune, My Mom and Santa Claus. So you know the holiday’s fast approaching.
The Man Who Returned To Life It depresses me slightly, just slightly enough to not put a damper on my good feelings, but it does bring me down a bit to be the recipient of so many good wishes when all I can do is smile in return.
I hope that’s enough.
The one Christmas gift I am giving this year arrived today. It works. It made me giddy happy to give it.

The transition from WordPress to Movable Type is going easier than anticipated. More Thanks to Movable Type than WordPress.
I’ve even gotten all the links exported over. Some of them look a little bit gnarly and there’s all sorts of goofy stuff off but it’s shaping up.
I don’t think anyone cares about the “brass tacks” of doing this. Most people are concerned about the why of it.
Both WordPress and Movable Type are “free”. This is pretty recent for Movable Type. One of the cool things is that WordPress is open source.
That’s also the problem. The code is a mess and getting more and more kludged up. No one is cleaning up the code, they seem to just keep building. Also there seems to be no one concerned about legacy.
Like the way I designed this site to only have one column, all the junk that’s in the side bar is up in that little menu up top. “Links” doesn’t work anymore. They changed the code, all the identifiers etc. And I can’t sort through the code and find what they did! Not many comments and I follow a trail only to find its been killed far down the line.
Nutcracker Troop
Click images for desktop size: “Nutcracker Troop” by Unknown
For all I know my layout may be impossible.
They have plenty of support on the WordPress forums but too often its of the “that’s the way it is, pard’ner” variety.
I like to fiddle with it myself and I am an idiot about this stuff. Stupid enough to think playing around with it is fun!
The other drawback, for me, to WordPress is that the xmlrpc does odd things. I can understand it. They wanted to make a kit that anyone could take out of the box and start working, always giving satisfactory results.
I admire that. Its not what I want for me.
Movable Type has its own issues. It can be extraordinarily complicated and befuddling.
I still have no idea what a module does, why they exist or why I need them.
It works in this odd piecemeal fashion (so does WordPress but to a far lesser extent). Each part of the page is segregated out. The body, the entry, the headers, the banner. And they have their own in house names for tags.
The Meanest Man In The World Where <$php include this?> works in all php files (WordPress is php if I hadn’t mentioned it) Movable type uses something like <$MTIncludeMTNameYoudNeverThinkOf$> which has requirements of before and after tags and complicated rules on nesting.
If your stubborn enough, you can make it work exactly the way you want it to. Boy, you have to be stubborn. Its also real easy to completely trash the whole site with a single misplaced tag.
They are a charge for it company, but they still try and make everything work out of the box. Again what they offer out of the box isn’t exactly what I want.
I am stubborn though and, I’m told, naturally crabby.
But the main reason for the change is my cruddy hosting service.
WIth WordPress and php when you request a page in your browser the server builds the page for you when you ask for it!
This is a rather pretty thing to think of. Its made just for you!
That puts a lot of strain on a server, hits a lot of cpu cycles. The cruddy hosting service just watches the cpu hit 100% until it dies.
When you’ve got 262 customers on your server and 60 of them are doing php request (like most forums are MYSql and php based) everything dies, the server drops the connection and everyone figures I’ve closed down the site.
Merry Christmas - Sarah Michelle Gellar
Click images for desktop size: “Merry Christmas” by Sarah Michelle Gellar
With Movable Type the perl scripts create an html page.
HTML is the easiest thing for a server to handle. I’ve timed it and it takes at least one half the time for the page to load, and often 3 to 4 faster than the WordPress page.
The hiccups come when I’m creating the page . . . but its easier for me to curse my cruddy server than to put you through it. And boy it drops a lot, usually in the middle of things . . .
I had set a deadline of New Years to get the move made. I’ll make that easily. I might even make it before Christmas and just let the kittle cosmetic imperfections to dwindle as time goes by.
I’m still using ecto to post. Its improving, but not fast enough!

Badges? Badges. BADGES! I got to show you no stinking badges! Alphonso Bedoya

Christmas Lighthouse By Phillips '57
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Lighthouse” by Phillips ’57
I’ve never coached in the NFL.
Really don’t want to coach pro athletes. I can’t see the fun or the sense of accomplishment in that, really.
That doesn’t mean that I can’t be outraged by the actions of Bobby Petrino. Not as a sports fan but as a coach and a member of at least one of the associations he belongs to.
Inframan I don’t want to go on about him. He’s not worth it as a coach. I’m more stunned that he could get a job.
If you don’t know, Bobby Petrino walked out on his contract with the Atlanta Falcons. He lasted 13 games. The day he walked out he took another job. Coaching the Arkansas Razorbacks.
If I were an alumnus I’d be raising hell with the athletic director. I don’t believe Arkansas are so obsessed with winning that they’d throw pride out the door. That they’d trust the young men of their institution to a man who would apparently desert them at the slightest whim.
Thing is that Petrino immediately mad me think of another coach who was some what under the gun this year: Joe Paterno.
I never played for Paterno. I enjoyed watching him coach twice. Once when he hammered USC in some bowl and once when we hammered him at the Colosseum.
He’s got class. In victory and defeat. He spoke kindly, forcefully, and without evocation both times. He was polite and smelled like you wished your dad smelt on Christmas morning.
As a coach he’s survived the 3 yards and a cloud of dust to move into the aerial circus years and now into the indomitable defense years. He’s done so without a blemish. No NCAA infractions, most of his students got their degrees. More than a few became Hall Of Famers in the NFL.
If you ever visit State College one of the things you notice is that there are a lot of buildings named Paterno. Not as a tribute to him but because he donated the money to build them – libraries, not Athletic Centers, class rooms, not gymnasiums.
Heavenly Angel
Click images for desktop size: “Heavenly Angel” by Anonymous
He said he wanted to give something back to the institution that had given him so much.
Sometime ago an NFL team, I forget which one, offered Paterno 3 million dollars a year to coach for them.
His response was something like, “If your not saving lives there’s nothing a man can do that’s worth a million bucks a year,” and he turned it down flat.
If you get to the practice field you’ll be surprised to see an awful lot of High School coaches. They’re always welcome. Sometimes he puts them to work, sometimes he or his staff teach them.
He loves this game and delights in what he learns from it.
I think that he and Eddie Robinson are the two greatest men to ever teach this game.
I’m cynical enough to be intrigued. Someone bought a big court case to force Penn State to reveal Paterno’s salary.
Invasion Of The Saucermen 1957 Now a days I’m always ready to have my drams crushed, and maybe the idol had clay feet after all.
After a lot of vourt room tantrums they finally gave up the number.
Joe Paterno makes $500,000 a year.
Its a handsome salary but doesn’t much compare to the millions Lou Saban is pulling down at Alabama, or the millions Bobby Petrino is getting from Arkansas.
He’s donated millions of dollars back to the people who pay him. He’s raised his family and raised young men to go out into the world with the same firm but gentle hand and eye.
There’s an argument for yin and yang.

I’m doing fine. Getting excited about Christmas. Why not. I don’t need presents galore to enjoy the day.
I regret not being able to give presents, but that a minor quibble that might have more to do with my pride than with altruism.
I wish my puppy and I were going to see kids this year. We’ll be fine.
My friend had her dream job interview today. It must have gone well as she had some very scant reasons why she wasn’t a shoo-in.
She should be a shoo-in.
Put up more decorations that only my puppy and I noticed. Lit the tree so my puppy could lie there in the dark and admire it. Although she does seem concerned that its not surrounded with good smelling packages. She’s being so good. She remembers Santa Claus Is Watchin’ You by Ray Stevens so she wouldn’t be bad.
Things are good enough here now to not mind the pains I’ve had. I went three days, almost, with no pain pills, before I caved in.

I’d walk two miles around trouble. If I have to. Borden Grant

Christmas Volcanoe By Vlad Desing Studios Put up our little disco tree and some decorations yesterday.
Nothing fancy, just a couple garlands and a wreath on the front gate. Felt pretty good.
My puppy was fascinated with the tree and had to inspect each ornament and watched me carefully while I hung each one.
It! The Terror From Beyond Space I’m pretty sure she’ll be happiest when there are presents to go under it.
Still working on her Christmas card.
It looks like we won’t be able to afford to send out too many, if any, Christmas cards. This is just a little jpeg one she can send to the kids. Kids love email in the same way I used to love getting regular mail.
I’ve got a feeling some of you may be getting the electronic version, which, you could always print out and hang on the string around the fireplace . . . I mean, that’s what I do and all.
In my Christmas decoration box I found all the Christmas cards we’d received in the past two years. Its a nice bountiful treasure. One of the pleasures of doing the decorations is looking at those cards and remembering, no recalling, each of the senders.
Never get much of a chance to tell people what they mean to me. Recalling them is the only chance I have. Doesn’t mean much cause its all in here.
The best card I ever got was of my friend’s new born son.
I’ve lost that. Pity me for only having the memory.

I was 14-2 in my NFL picks this weekend. Alarmingly that still dropped me over 300 places in the standings!
I watched the Bush-less Saints vs the Vick-less Falcons last night.
In the wake of Michael Vick’s sentencing it was an odd sight. All those people supporting him.
I tried to recall if anyone in Chicago had dressed outrageously when Jamall Anderson got sent to prison for drug sales (90 days) or when Tank Johnson got sent away for breaking his probation by carrying around guns.
Spidergirl I don’t think so. But maybe.
I’d like to think that these are fans so tightly bounded to their team that they are willing to forgive. But I don’t like kidding myself.
The wave of editorials I’ve read seem to forget that the victims were tortured cruelly to death. They stop short of saying “but it was only dogs”. But they stop just short.
They blame most of Vick’s troubles on PETA . . . and on his lying. One editorial in the Washington Post seemed to say, perhaps unintentionally, that it was the lying about his involvement that Vick was being punished for, not cruelly hurting innocent creatures.
Too many editorials pointed out the various manslaughter convictions, shooting incidents, rapes etc committed by NFL players. Pointing out how those players received lighter sentences than Vick. I guess this is in support of their factious expose of the huge power wielded by animal lovers. I Demand Payment None of them pointed out that maybe those other guys got treated far too lightly. My friend did right away, so its a pretty glaring thing.
It bothers me. I love dogs in general and mine in particular.
I don’t know what to make of it really. It saddens me to see a 27 year old man destroy his life. The Vick football players have both done that. And I can’t grasp why fighting dogs was something that so obsessed Vick that he’d put his life so at risk. I’ll never understand wanting to hurt an animal; especially to the point of death. I never will. Its one of those things where all I can say is, some people are just like that.

I’m hoping Christmas washes those thoughts out of my mind. I don’t need to think about the terror that’s in this world all the time, do I? Maybe I do.
Anyway I keep listening to Christmas music like the coolest whack version of Twas The Night Before Christmas while I try and move this site over to Movable Type. Its becoming a real pain but it might be worth it, if I can do it.

An Apology

Virgin And Child - Botticelli
Click images for desktop size: “Virgin And Child With Four Angels And Six Saints” by Botticelli
Last week I titled a post “Happy Hanukkah. The next day I posted a film poster that could be seen as glorifying Nazis.
Pretty stupid of me.
I swapped some posters with someone and I got a bunch of strange exploitation posters in exchange. The one about Nazi’s was one of them.
There was no hidden message there. I didn’t even think about it. I found the poster interesting in design and thought nothing else about it.
That’s by way of an explanation and certainly not an excuse.
I’m very sorry if the content offended anyone. I’m offensive enough without being rude unintentionally.
I apologize with sincere contriteness to anyone who might have been hurt or affected in any way.

What good are Saturdays without football

Unknown Lovers By Korn
Click images for desktop size: “Unknown Lovers” by Korn

When I was a kid one of my favorite bands was The Who. I soon realized that the reason I liked them was that after just one hearing I could play almost all of their songs better than they can! That was The Who’s real genius. Songs like “Call Me Lightning” come to mind. Its not Christmas music like Speedball Junior’s “Rudolph’s Secret” its just a smug thought I had out walking.
My NFL picks last week were a disaster!
I went 7-9! Fell from 60th to 2300!!
In this contest they throw out your worst 4 weeks. I’m stockpiling those worst weeks up. I still have fun. Football is always something I enjoy thinking about.
The Omen Even when I discovered that the cable company is grossly overcharging for the privilege of seeing the games . . . and with Bowl Season coming up fast I’m not keen on telling them to . . . you know.
We’ll see. Wait for push to go to shove.
The Drug Company sent me my money back for the drugs I never received. Maybe that’s a good sign of better things ahead.
My friend got a call for her dream job. Definitely signs of better things ahead.
The NFL week starts on Thursday now. As usual my picks are in bold.
Chicago at Washington – I picked the Bears. I thought they were better poised to reclaim some dignity and I figured the Redskins would be shattered from from funeral and the lack of practice. It was a terrible game but you have to admire the Redskins Back Up QB taking charge. First loss of the week!!
Carolina at Jacksonville – This is one of those “go long: games. The Jaguars played themselves out of first place last week, against the Colts. The Panthers are just good enough to take their frustrations out on.
Dallas at Detroit – A few weeks ago I was looking forward to this one. Now it seems that the Lions are a haunted team committed to burning out in flames. Roy williams being injured does not help their cause. The Cowboys are steam rolling and believe they are going to the Super Bowl. There’s no real threat in the NFC, that’s for sure.
Christmas Magic
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Magic” by Unknown
Miami at Buffalo – Definite contender for cruddy game of the week. The Bills are an interesting team, better when the kid from Stanford plays at his level.
New York Giants at Philadelphia – This is a game that promises to be ugly bit interesting. Both teams are playing poorly at exactly the wrong time of the season. The Eagles have a nice revenge factor going after the way the Giants beat them down in New York. Creepily the Giants are the leading Wild Card team!
Oakland at Green Bay – I have confidence Favre will start and play until they have a lead. After the Disaster in Dallas they have a lot to prove to themselves. The Raiders new found running game will give them enough incentive to play hard.
People Who Own The DarkSan Diego at Tennessee – I’m taking The Chargers – the flops of 2007. The Titans are playing shaky football, particularly on defense. I don’t trust the Chargers to perform at all and if I keep thinking about it I’ll change my pick . . . Chris Brown is looking good . . .
St Louis at Cincinnati – I keep picking the Bengals . . . I can’t help it. I like that offense and their coaches! This week it should be a good pick. Bulger is doubtful for the Rams and Steve Jackson can’t win a shoot out!
Tampa Bay at Houston – I’ve never thought much of Gruden as a coach. If the Buc’s don’t obliterate the Texans I’m putting all the blame on him! I hate not naming the starting QB and making it sound like a strategy when all it is is indecision.
Arizona at Seattle – This is a cruddy game. Neither team is playing inspired football but the Cardinals are snake bit. The Cardinals should be able to handle the SeaHawks all passing game pretty well. The Arizona O is . . . well, a time bomb.
Minnesota at San Francisco – Very quietly the Vikings have played themselves into contention for a Wild Card slot. If they can’t destroy the 49ers then they’re just pretenders, not contenders. Most interesting thing will be seeing if Petersen comes back and if he does how much they’ll play him.
Cleveland at New York Jets – The Browns have been hiccuping as of late. The Jets just look cruddy. If the Browns can solidify they can go deep in the playoffs. As to the Jets, I’m trying to figure if they really want Lee Dorsey or just want to make sure the Dolphins don’t get him. (Bad reference to the NFL draft)
Wink
Click images for desktop size: “Wink”
Kansas City at Denver – Another game with cruddy written all over it. The Bronco’s seem to be playing for something I can’t figure out while the Chiefs are just looking shell shocked, as well they might. If Johnson were back or Homes hadn’t had to retire it might be different. But . . .
Pittsburgh at New England – Game of the week! The Patriots now look like God and the refs are on their side. The Steelers are predicting their own victory? They’ll run the ball but you have to think that the Patriots will have enough defense to stop them when it matters. This one could be awesome.

New Orleans at Atlanta – Here’s the cruddy game of the week. It pains me to think that but its true. Reggie Bush is probably gone for the season. The Falcons have gone beyond just being terrible. I can’t think of any reason to watch this. Brees might do something heroic. A game like this shouldn’t need heroics.
Planet Of The ApesIndianapolis at Baltimore – Rah. Can the Ravens play as tough against the Colts as they did the Patriots? Can they keep that ferocity up for two weeks in a row? Can the Raven’s coaching staff not screw them up? It would be great if that could only be. Or will Manning regain his composure and just flatten them. I think the answer is some where in between but the Colts are still too good.

As usual these picks are just for my friends to point at me and laugh.
After my picks last week I think using this worthless advice or taking it at all seriously would be evidence in a competency hearing!

I’ve never liked a woman enough before to give her 12 sharp knivesMichael O’Donahue

The Lady Of Shalott By John Waterhouse
Click images for desktop size: “The Lady Of Shallot” by John Waterhouse

I have been developing skills I didn’t realize I had.
Snow shoveling skills.
I think snow shoveling skills are pretty much taken for granted around here. There’s about 4 inches of snow on top of 2 to 3 inches of ice.
No one seems to much notice or care. I nearly get killed walking to the mail box. Ordered To Love Walking my puppy becomes an experiment in terror.
Fortunately for her, and for me I suppose, I like terror.
So, I’ve become a snow shoveler. This was only because it became apparent that no good hearted kids were going to show up and do it for me. Not even Elves.
Anything I could say about snow shoveling would make me sound like a fool; or even worse, like a rank amateur.
The only real skill I have in it being an innate ability to hurt myself. But, and here’s the real clue to success, never to hurt myself badly enough to actually stop!
I think I am perfecting it enough to make it an acknowledged art form so I can apply for federal funding.
I do a lot of dancing around grabbing various body parts, which my puppy and my dogs all take as a sign of great fun to come. I tweak my back and every joint in my body just two points past the smiley chart of discomfort, just enough to know it will really hurt later, at least by the next morning. All the while I’m extending myself just enough to be sore and tired but NOT enough to actually warm myself! That’s a real skill.
Why it doesn’t snow when its about 60 is a mystery only God and religous philosophers can ponder with any hope of results.
As I carve my uneven and winding dirty path I note that I have a gift for dumping the dirty snow I’ve just removed into a slushy pile that I will invariably step into or, even better, I’ve put the pile in a place that I will have to climb over it to accomplish one of my more mundane chores.
Snow Flakes
Click images for desktop size: “Snow Flakes” by Unknown
I think I was bred in California (SOUTHERN California) for a reason.
What worries me greatly is that my puppy and I are both having fun.
I get the impression we are certainly entertaining the neighbors . . .
I’ve also noticed that I do not have a good selection of music on my iPod that works at all for cold weather and snow. This is an odd discovery and I don’t know if it has weight or not.
My impressions, surf music works – especially when we stand and watch kids sled or snow board, Rob Zombie does not. Rap doesn’t, pop does. Doo wop works the best, heavily distorted guitar solo’s the worst.
I may be onto a new marketing ploy here, or I may not appreciate music properly when my hands and ears are numb.

Phantom From Space I’m giving serious thought to opening up the comments section of my puppy’s and my blog here.
I shut them off, or screened them heavily because of a) comment spam (beastiality ads on my puppy’s site number about 500 a month) b) People – I normally like people but not all the time, not when they’re being hurtful and they remain strangers c) My cheap but poor server.
a – can be handled with some Movable Type plug-ins. Kids like to talk to my puppy and I’d like them to be able to freely, and even talk to each other. My current system of giving out my puppy’s e-mail address and restricting commenting by blocking all but her freinds and family’s ip’s works but it lacks elegance and feels chained.
b – I’m in a place now where I can cope with the vindictive out here. I have a bipolar attitude towards anonymous love and hatred. The full reality is that I don’t care but it distresses people I do care about. Its my biggest consideration.
c – is all logistics. This site is based on WordPress, which is php based. I like open source projects, the idea of them anyway. WordPress code is something of a jumbled mess. They keep improving it without ever going back and cleaning up the code. It could be slimmed down. But the bigger issue is that my cheap but cruddy hosting service freaks out at processing all the php code. Php and cgi do put a lot of load on a cpu, and with a hundred or so sites on a shared server, all running php it bogs things down dramatically.
Stones By Corbis
Click images for desktop size: “Stones” by Corbis
Movable type is perl based. My hosting service freaks out at cgi scripts, but Movable Type creates an html page which even the cruddiest server can display with little grief.
In other words I’ll have to deal with the grief on my end but it will be invisible to you.
Movable Type is a pro product actually meant for something much bigger than my wants. The biggest pain in the neck is setting it up. I’ve been working at it, dawdling at it for a couple years now. I may now have my impetus for speeding ahead.

We’re going to put up Christmas decorations today . . . I’m wondering how much I can hurt myself doing that . . .
Detour I’m feeling a bit poorly, nothing bad enough to illicit sympathy, but badly enough to want to sit quietly. No one is allowed to sit quietly when they have puppies!
My puppy has an exam tomorrow, for obedience!! I hope she passes. I wanted her to start focusing so we can go to a Therapy Dog Class and get her accredited for this area.
They don’t allow dogs in hospitals here!! Fear of lawsuits for spreading infection! MY PUPPY DOES NOT SPREAD INFECTION, although I might.
She’ll get to go to retirement homes and maybe some kid things. We’ll see.
As to my iPod, one group that works summer, spring, fall and winter are Jan & Dean. Frosty The Snowman can even become a klazzik hit in their nimble hands.

Opening Day . . . Nearly

Candy Pop by THFM
Click images for desktop size: “Candy Pop” by TFHM
The dogs woke me up too early this morning. A notorious cat had invaded the yard . . .
Couldn’t fall back to sleep until late hence over slept . . .
No particular dog has stepped forward to apologize.
Out Of The Past
Some fellow in France has done a little review of this site. The link is over on the link page. I only think its fair to link and counter link. Networks . . .
Anyway, the site is in French so I’m semi-baffled as to what he’s saying. I do note the names Ring Lardner and CLR James are in the paragraph. Even if he’s only saying that I’m no Ring Lardner or CLR James I’m very cool with that.
Maybe it has nothing to do with me at all. My French is pretty poor.
Anyway, the mention of CLR James and Lardner reminded me that Opening Day is less than a week away.
Yeah.
I love baseball. Not so much as a MLB fan but of the game itself.
It has become a world wide sport. I saw the Boston Red Sox play at the Surrey Oval in London. I was able to play in a well organized league in London.
Baseball is the one American sport that truly has become international. They’ve always signed Hispanic players and now they’re bringing in Asian players as well. I watched a Korean pitcher play in Triple A ball.
I resent my body for not letting em play anymore. It might be a matter of “The older I get the faster I was” but I think I was a pretty good player. Not Major League good, but good enough to love playing and good enough to enjoy having people watch me play.
I don’t make predictions on baseball games. The greatest teams lose 1 out of 3. The greatest batters lose more than half the time. Its what makes baseball more than a spectacle and a game that nourishes and allows heroes today to be the goats of tomorrow.
I once missed baseball so much that I got into cricket. Ball And Glove
Click images for desktop size: “Ball And Glove”
I followed the County teams in London. I enjoyed it and marveled at some of the players skills. Cricket taught me a lot about British society. Our worlds are mirrored in the games we play.
One thing I realized about baseball is that it has never produced any great books about the game. I mean there’ve ben great movies about players (“The Lou Gehrig Story”), great books written about teams and seasons, great articles written about some of the games, (my favorite baseball quote – “Watching him pitch was as easy as trying to buy a friendly drink for a whore” I’m not quite sure what it means which only likes me make it more), great works of fiction (“Bang The Drum Slowly”, “Ironweed”). But there’s never been a great book about the beauty of the game. Nothing that can compare to CLR James devastating treatises on cricket certainly. (“He who knows only cricket knows nothing of cricket”).
I can’t imagine why. Maybe its because the time spent in the stands or on the field Where Danger Lives allow for enough rumination that the thoughts we have become too personal, something that we can’t bear to share. Unlike cricket (where a match lasts 4 to 5 days) there isn’t enough time to think it through and let those personal thoughts graft onto our own imagined coda’s where we can distance ourselves to the point of being willing to share.
All I know is I love baseball, all the dreams its giving me, all the times it let me succeed and all the times it let me fail.
That kids in Singapore, in Greece, in Utah and in Chile all know what I’m talking about; that a pickup game in a sandlot is as important as a game in the play offs and that its been this way and always will be this way despite the scandals, despit the players, the game is bigger than them all.

And lest we forget this is the start of spring practice in football. USC has the Mark Sanchez (Gatorade Player of the year and my friends personal choice for Trojan of the year) vs Mitch Mustaine (8-0 for Arkansas as a freshman!!) battle to look forward to, the usual log jam of superb players at running back; the worries about the D-Line and the LB’s now that some all world players have moved on; the questions at WR and CB.
This really is a beautiful time of year . . . if the snow would finally melt.