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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
Click images for desktop size: "Doris Day"
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.

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 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.

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 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 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 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.

October 29, 2008

Half the lies they tell about me aren't true
Yogi Berra

Starcraft 2
Click images for desktop size: "Starcraft 2" by Blizzard Entertainment
Why are they still playing baseball?
I've been avoiding baseball this year. I still have this fantasy that my arm will miraculously heal all on its own and then I'll be able to find a senior league and play. Play forever.
UFO Watching games is just a sort of negative, bitter sweet reminder that I'm no longer what I was. That's a hard thing for the heart and mind to swallow whole.
But baseball and Halloween? That just doesn't seem right. They might drag this on until November. Which is a real drag since this is, sadly, about the dullest World Series ever.
I figured it would be better. The Tampa Bay team is loaded with guys I watched at the Triple A level. What little I've seen is that they looked great in Triple A but merely adequate in the bigs. The World Series isn't supposed to be merely adequate.
Its supposed to be legendary and not on TV while I'm watching snow flakes fall on my puppy.
Its snowing here. And in my memory of baseball.

A lot of people were upset about my seeming defense of the Hells Angels. I don't think the Angels need any defense.
In Southern Cal you end up knowing a lot of people from the future and the past. Hair boys, car boys, bikers and surfers.
I never became a biker. I loved the surf too much and that gave me a freedom that I could hold in the hands and in my mind all day, every day. And when I finally got old enough to own and ride a bike I looked at Harley Sportsters. Thought they were cool but had more of a leaning towards Japanese crotch rockets.
I still do have a fondness for the memory of the bikers. Especially for their origins. They are as Forsaken Angel
Click images for desktop size: "Forsaken Angel" by Unknown
Californian as surfers and a Tommy's burger eaten in a convertible muscle car.
When the Angels started, I guess it was after World War II. They had Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome back then too, only then vets who displayed the symptoms were branded as weak and cowardly. Patton would walk around slapping all their faces if he could.
These lost souls found their homes to small, the world too oppressive. Like all Americans they looked to the west and drifted to California. Solitary figures without a home they found a release in the cheap motorcycles floating around and found it exhilarating. The drifters ended up drifting together. I'd guess the old military feeling of belonging to a group caused them to come up with a uniform: colors. A uniform that set them apart as well as setting them together.
I imagine that guy wearing the old style baggy jeans, parked with his stripped down Harley Electro Guide on one of the hills, looking out aUnder Aget the pounding surf of Malibu and the long silver ribbon of PCH, hunching his shoulders inside his army fatigue jacket, the sleeves discolored from the removed rank insignia and service badges. And what he saw in the California dawn was a place to be what he was with no war, no killing and less fear then he'd known in half a decade.
Then there was the Korean War, or "The Police Action." And there were more vets, more people ostracized from society. WWII vets were at least acknowledged as heroes. Vets from Korea were lucky that they weren't branded as traitors.
(A big part of my problem with McCain is his embracing being called a war hero for his actions in Viet Nam. McCain should be grateful for guys like William Ayres - who has NOT been found guilty of any terrorists acts - and all the underground and war protestors who humanized the soldiers. A soldier in Korea who behaved like McCain did in Viet Nam would have been court martialed. An officer, such as he was, would have been court martialed with the possibility of facing a firing squad. Korean vets who did far less than he faced far worse.)
And there was rock & roll. And there were the movies. Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin set the new Edmund Dulac
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Edmund Dulac
standard for bikers with "The Wild One". Based on an incident in northern California where a couple of biker gangs stopped for beer and a party "The Wild One" did for bikers what the Godfather movies did for the Mafia. It glorified and made it beautiful. Brando and Marvin were like the schizo image of bikers everywhere - the good and the bad so big and intense it took two stars to embody one individual biker.
The bikers grew and held steady and strong within themselves. Until the 60's when Roger Corman, Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra (!) made it seem wonderful again. A movie that was mainly guys riding their bikes to the glorious sound of Davie Allen and the Arrows. Heavenly Blues as played by Fonda became an instant icon and Vampire Circus aviator sunglasses the direguer fashion accessory for people who never saw a bike. Why not. Heavenly Blues who didn't even let death separate him from his buddy Bruce Dern. (The seminal scene where they steal Dern's body and prop him up and pass him the joint and the bottle still reverberates and affects today.)
And lord they made money. And a bunch of bikers had to be chagrined. Some of them got extra pay (like $50 a day) to be in the movie looking like themselves which meant they looked like nothing the world had ever seen before, and they watched as everyone else made money and more money.
Most seem to credit Sonny Barger for reacting to this and starting to register the Angels trademarks to try and pick up on the cash cow that was blossoming in front of them. Money.
I've met Angels, usually at Hollywood "too hip" parties or most often at Country Line. We'd play dominos and drink Mickey Big Mouth Malt Liquor. I never had any issues with them nor they with me. They were just guys.
Maybe the money and the toughness has led them to lives of "organized crime". I wouldn't know. I do know I don't trust lazy cops take on them. These are the same cops who are using Bush's whack anti-terrorist laws to brand black street gangs as terrorists so they can violate their civil rights and get away with it.
So whatever the Angels may have become or may not have become I'll keep my memory intact. Some of them probably are criminals, they probably were before they joined up with the Angels. The Angels might have been the only place where they could find a home. Everyone is entitled to a home.
"No one remembers the good we do. Everyone Remembers the bad."
Due to the state trashing my bank account I've had The Unholy Wife to pay my bills with Money Orders this month. Its been a mess. I sent them out 15 days ago and not one of them has been credited to my account . . .
This is frustrating and vaguely frightening. Todays task is to sort through this mess.
And to do some laundry and mop the floors while puppies with snow packed paws track all over everything.
The giant dog has suddenly gone lame. He's fine and in good spirits. He still runs and bounds like a maniac but then he'll suddenly stop and limp. For a while he'll barely be able to crawl up to his favorite perch on the sofa.
I'll be keeping an eye on him and hoping that this is as bad as it gets and its just a mild sprain from playing too hard.

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 7, 2008

You're interefering with things man should leave alone!
Curt Simodak

Fresh Cocktail
Click images for desktop size: "Fresh Cocktail" by Unknown
I have to admit, I feel daunted.
Waiting for the shoe to drop daunted. Not where's my next meal coming from daunted. I mean if you need to feel daunted this is the way to go.
Zaat When life threatens to tumble you in some direction you don't want to go, when its apparent that being overwhelmed is just a phone call or an email away we turn to sports!
There its just games. Games that in childhood taught us how to be American. How to socialize, how to excel, how to prosper and survive in a world that made little sense.In The Heat Of The Night
As an adult sports form that window where we remember the excellence that was in our grasp, the simple beauty that was unfettered by expectations and was so much better than merely a dream.
Sports are safe, comforting, exciting and brilliant.
I watched the Saints - Vikings game last night. Of course I was stunned by the three brilliant punt returns by Reggie Bush. I was impressed with the Saints in general.
What stunned me was the continued inept officiating. The NFL ref's have been getting worse and worse each year. Last night inept calls again changed the outcome of the game.
In particular Reggie Bush made a good run to the viking 5 when he was flagrantly tackled by the Eye
Click images for desktop size: "Eye" by Unknown
face mask! It saved a touchdown and would only have been a 3 yard penalty so it was nasty and fine worthy but not an incredibly stupid penalty.
Since Bush was trying not to have his neck broken he fumbled the ball. No big deal as the penalty would let them keep it. To my horror the refs IGNORED the dangerous personal foul and gave the Vikings the ball.
They rewarded dirty play . . .
Since Sean Peyton has already been fined $15,000 for criticizing the depressing ineptness of the refs he has to keep his mouth shut. Even as he watched one of his star players have his career and life threatened by vicious play. Even as the flagrant foul played relentlessly on the replay boards.
The ref's ignored that. Maybe it was to get even with Peyton for White Slave showing them up the last time.
Even in college ranks the officiating has been degrading. I'd like to blame John McCain and George Bush, but it probably has more to do with instant replay.
It used to be that officials were under some pretty extreme pressure to get it right. There a dozens of good reason for this the first being to keep the game fair and safe.
Now none of the football refs are professional full time refs. They're mainly lawyers and executives who use their position on national TV every weekend to promote themselves and their business. It makes no sense to me but that's the way its been and that's the way its going to stay.
They can point to the NFL where there was recently a serious scandal with a crooked professional ref. And they can ignore that there was only one and that in baseball there's never been any . . .
But that's the way its going to be.
It seems to me that instant replay is destroying the football officials need to get it right.
If at your job they suddenly announced that it didn't matter how well you did your gig because they had another guy who was going to double check everything you did so if you made any mistakes, don't worry, he'll catch them.
Its the same way spell checkers have made us a nation of horrendous spellers when we step away from our computers.
There's just a whole lot less pressure, if any, to get it right. Games being lost because of bad officiating is one thing but the rising injury toll in the game is insane and I think its a direct result of Purple Hair
Click images for desktop size: "Purple Hair" by Unknown
poor officiating.
The NFL has something the college game doesn't have. They'll go back in and slap massive fines on players for dirty play. They'll even suspend players. Look at the tragic accident that befell Anquin Bolden and the dirty hit on the Saints' TE last night. What's frightening is that neither of those plays were flagged. The ref's depended on instant replay and the "front office" to do their job for them. They get lax and the game gets out of control.
It spills over to the college game too. Which is even sadder. Even though most spectators don't draw the line and realize that 90% of the kids playing the college game are NOT going to the NFL and they are NOT pro athletes, they are just kids and for them to face crippling injury due to an adult not doingThe Sound Of Music his job properly is a sin and a crime.

Well, the second presidential debate is tonight. I'm barely interested.
I hope that Obama shows class and ignores the personal attacks against Obama and his family, the pretty ugly scurrilous attacks of a guy who I still consider a traitor and a liar. Let the Mad Dog roll and talk about how we're going to get out of this mess that McCain and his pals created and nurtured.
How did McCain avoid jail time or get re-elected after confessing to his role in the S&L debacle?
I note that the stock market is still plummeting. Now that its come to light that when Lehman Brothers knew it was going to file the largest BK in history they were funneling all their cash to their top brass.
So it can't be any surprise that with the simple provision of no golden parachutes for banks taking House Of Frankenstein
Click images for desktop size: "Karloff-House Of Frankenstein" by Universal Pictures
the federal bail out that the patriotic bankers have decided to let the country go to hell. And John McCain agrees with them.
I still think that these guys deserve hard prison time for defrauding and stealing from the public.
Little nasty slime like Bonnie and Clyde became heroes because they robbed banks and shot bankers.
Its not going to happen but it should. Hang one banker and they'll all rethink their policies a bit clearer. Isn't that their attitude about us? Steal their home, steal their land, steal their life and the next guy won't be so eager to live a decent life.
So I hope Obama doesn't succumb to the scandalous lies of the despicable traitor and stays on course with lining out some sort of future for our country.

October 2, 2008

Furthermore, to hell with hate
Joe South

Darkness To Light by Shifted Reality
Click images for desktop size: "From Darkness To Light" by Shifted Reality
With the Dodgers and the Cubs both in the playoff's I can't lose! At least not in the first round. I was surprised that the Dodgers showed so much power. Not so surprised that the Cubs were held in check.
Scandal I hope it goes seven games and that the winner eviscerates the Phillies and gets to the world series. The series really should be the Cubs vs the Angels, but I'll take whatever happens!

Finished off the sick day by watching two more movies, watched them curled up and too hot underneath down like comforters.
Watched "The Rocker". Pretty bad comedy about a drummer who got kicked out of his band on the eve of their legendary success. The Bride Of Frankenstein
Click for desktop size: "Bride Of Frankenstein" by Universal
drummer stages a comeback twenty bitter years later with his nephews alternative rock band. It had a surprising number of good laughs in it. The acting was on a pretty decent level. The real surprise was they cast Pete Best (the drummer the Beatles kicked out of the band on the eve of their success) playing the replacement drummer.
The plot was wonky and the music was dreadful but I laughed aloud quite a few times. Much more enjoyable than it had any right to be.
We ended the night watching "10 Things I Promised My Dog". Now, I'm a sucker for Japanese dog movies. They are virtually their own genre.
They are remarkably gentle films. Extremely life like in their tragedy and conflict but always there are redeeming people about, always there is love and always there is a beautiful dog who behaves exactly like a dog and not like a movie star.Superman-DC Comics
Click images for desktop size: "Superman" by DC Comics

There's never a bad guy in these movies. There's never any dramatic conflict of that sort. The intrusions into the little world are always the product of fate, of life and its vagaries.
It works well for me. I always get misty when the dog passes away from old age.
The genre is so popular in Japan that they made a film that was a massive hit: "Always". It was a generic dog movie WITHOUT THE DOG!
I liked "Always" fine. I preferred "10 Things I Promised My Dog" because it has the cathartic release of getting me misty when the dog passed away at the end. "10 Things" had some great acting. The guy playing the father was superb. The dog was excellent, the girl was cute and bland. There was a classical guitarist. Sunset Boulevard He was actually playing live in the film. He was impressive as a player. Its always stunning when musicians play live in movies. It got Gary Busey his oscar nomination ("The Buddy Holly Story"). Its so effective in building its own little tension that its surprising its not done more often.
I can't recommend this one to anyone but fans of the genre. The director stuck too closely to the formula and didn't seek to expand or contract his vision within the genre like Anthony Mann did with the Western, or Don Seigal did with the prison movie. I enjoyed it immensely. It did what it was supposed to do well, exactly as was expected. That was its only flaw.
It got worried and agitated at all the right sports, laughed when I needed to relief the tension, excited at learning something that was obvious but seemed like a private insight. It did all you could expect and did it extremely well it just didn't Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Luis Royo
add anything new. In other words I wanted to love the movie, but instead I only liked it a lot. That's the weakness of the Japanese dog movies.
Like the rest of America I'm stoked about the Vice Presidential debate tonight. Sarah Palin has become the funniest TV character in decades. This is like the ultimate reality show comedy.
Every day she seems to top herself. I really don't know how she does it, how she keeps coming up with these great lines!
Yesterday was so totally cool when she accused Kate Couric of being unethical!! And she made it even funnier by claiming she knows that "pop quizzes" and reporting what a candidate says is unethical based on her community college degree in journalism!
She's a riot!
Terminator-The Sarah Connors Chronicles She nearly blew it with her commiserating about how "Joe Six Pack" she was by then pointing out how she had lost 20k in the market melt down . . . she seemed to think that everybody in America lost at least that much . . . sort of ignoring that all the people on minimum wage don't earn 20k in a year. I got the point of the joke but I thought it fell flat. I was sort of hoping she'd try and recover by giving us a flute solo but no such luck.
I do have to question the sanity of anyone who thinks this awesome comedienne could actually be in charge of anything more than a TV production house. I mean I think its clever that she screwed over the people in Alaska by charging them for transportation from her house to her house, and brilliant to charge them a per diem for sleeping in her own house. That's the kind of creative accounting that TV producers live by. But to be in actual charge of a whole lot of people? I keep thinking about RoseAnne. Maybe Palin could show us her private tattoos tonight.
I hope Sarah doesn't ket me down tonight.
I was seriously disappointed in Obama. He gave a good speech from the Senate floor. Pointing out the greed and government ineptitude that led to the stock market going off (it still has not crashed). He decried everything that needed decrying but he voted for it anyway. We're still giving rich lying stealing bastards our money.
That's not right.

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
Click images for desktop size: "Anime Angel" by Unknown
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 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 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 out what he wanted us to feel, if anything. This might just be an experiment, an attempt a new mode of story telling. Its compelling and brilliantly made it has depth so its not like a hollow candy, more like a nougat center without nuts are chocolate coating.
I still have to see "The Dark Knight". For some reason I can't get inspired about seeing it. It feels almost like a chore.
I liked the first Christian Bale Batman quite a bit. This one has so much hype. I keep thinking its gong to be all about the tech and not so much about the humanity.
I want to see it and like it, but the trailers were kind of boring so I'm unsure. Its unfortunate that my friend is anti-Hollywood. I'm not. But this movie just doesn't feel right.
Which is odd to think about something you haven't seen.
Its been one year since my puppy and I moved.
Its the right choice. Except for the fleas.

August 30, 2008

USC 52 University of Virginia 7

Dual eta Carinae Nebula
Click images for desktop size: "Dual Eta Carinae Nebula" by NASA
I didn't get to see the game on TV. Here, for reasons unknown, they showed powerhouses Utah versus Michigan . . .
I did get to stare at a flash animation of the game and then catch as many highlights as possible. I've gotten used to following the SC season this way . . .
There are still a lot of questions.
I Spit On Your Grave Most startling was the welcome lights out performance by Mark Sanchez! To start the season with a 300 yard game is remarkable.
That he wasn't sacked and that the O-Line opened up some gaping holes were pretty welcome sights.
I expected more from Virginia. (At least they weren't the poxy powder puffs that the Big Ten played. Ohio State opens with a 1-AA school but insists they be considered for a National Championship? More than ever I want to best these guys in two weeks.) Virginia had such a fine season last year I find it hard to believe they are this poor. I plan to follow the rest of their season with interest.
Once again I am not very pleased with Steve Sarkasian's play calling. We threw the ball too much. While its hard to argue when Sanchez was so stellar the team and the game would have been better served by punching the ball up the gut more.
The linemen will be facing some faster bigger opponents in two weeks. Letting them bull dog a few of these VA linemen would have been better for their advancement.
One truism in line play: The man who gets his hands on his opponent first always wins. Its why I like line men to work out on boxing speed bags. When you get the flipper or the punch up and in there first and disrupt your opponents entire body he's reacting to you instead of to the play, In that tenth of a second where he's recovering you can guide him and put him where you want him. The O-Line is going to need more of that against Ohio State.
The Buckeyes in their classless scheduling of an exhibition opponent to open the season didn't show me much. Their front seven is quick and strong.Wonder Woman
Click images for desktop size: "Wonder Woman" by DC Comics
They can be handled. I don't know if this group of 20 year olds got enough experience today to do deal with the Buckeyes LB's. We needed to run more and give them the feeling.
I also wasn't thrilled with the constant calling of the dink passes. Mark Sanchez has a killer arm and our receivers clock out as the fastest in the country. Sanchez can hit the bomb. (1 for 49 yards and 1 for 20). Why the short ball first instead of as a count down? Its like he's still calling plays for John David Booty. He's not calling the plays for the players on the field but from his playbook.
I think it will cost us down the line. Not adapting to the players and not calling a game plan to develop them are near fatal mistakes that I always relished seeing in an opponent.
The Defense could have been minutely better. The held them to under 200 yards. VA's game plan was terrible but understandable when SC jumped to a 21 point lead.
The D will improve.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 I find John McCain's choice for running mate just weird. Like Senior Bush picking Dan Quayle was weird. This Palin person seems George W Bush creepy in every way. And in her entire life she's gotten as many votes, well nearly as many votes, as there were fans at Nebraska's opening game.

I'm worried about New Orleans. I think most of us are. Just three years after the Republicans attempted to destroy the city to be faced with the same carnage while the same hateful Republicans are still in charge is just incredibly sad.
So many lives destroyed then and to face the same destruction and to know that the government that awarded itself huge kudos for their bumbling apathy is still in charge and still out to destroy you is truly heart wrenching.
I found Michael Moore's inane comments about God wanting to disrupt the Republican convention as weird as McCain's choice for VP.Liv Tyler
Click images for desktop size: "Liv Tyler" by Unknown
I guess Moore has gotten so fat and rich that he's lost sight of people. That used to be a strength of his.

Next weekend brings on the NFL. I've already registered for my on-line contest.
I want to win a prize. They have money prizes but I want to win a real prize . . . like a Roomba!
Aside from the picking the winners they have an additional contest this year. You have to pick one sure winner every week, but you can't pick the same team twice! Seems like fun.

And this company, Pet Care Choice . . . really screwed over the order for the flea stuff. Nearly a month later and nothing. I threatened to go and dispute the charge with my credit card company and actually, finally, got a response from them. They claim they'll credit my card in the next 5 days. We'll see.

August 16, 2008

The city that day
Matt Skiba

Nykoli Aleksander
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Nykoli Aleksander
When Mark Spitz won his seventh gold medal in 1972 I was in hospital getting cartilage scraped out of my knee. It was a magic time in sports. Miami going undefeated, The Oakland A's with all those cool names (Catfish Hunter, Blue Moon Odom) blasting through the Big Red Machine (Pete Rose, Johnny Bench) in the world series.
Cat PeopleBut it was Mark Spitz that everyone was talking about. The day after he won his seventh medal I was hobbling around and went to the hospital gift shop. They had a rack of Mark Spitz posters with him wearing red, white and blue trunks and seven olympic gold medals around his neck.
Then Mark Spitz was everywhere you looked. Billboards, magazine covers TV. I remember him on a big deal Bob Hope Special where he wore some strange Chattaqua outfit complete with a straw hat and bamboo cane, and sang and danced a duet with Bob Hope. He was terrible.
He was even worse on the "Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour". He couldn't act, tell a joke or sing a song. He was as bad as your next door neighbor would be on TV. (The next door neighbor who always refused to throw your ball back when it went into his yard. That neighbor.)
It sort of amazing that we never had to see Mark Spitz in some Superfly knock off movie, or see him in some big swimming movie where he mentors Captain America some loser kid to super stardom.
I'm sure the offers were out there so I suspect that it was his decision and not the exploitation producers. The whole thing is we kept watching. Seven gold medals and as terrible as Spitz was he always looked like he was having fun, as much fun as we would if we were in his place.
Then abruptly he stopped it all, went back to IUPUI (Indian University-Purdue University-Indianapolis) and finished up his dentistry degree . . . dentistry . . . is anything less fun?
A lot of guys on TV were stunned by this. I'm sure Spitz's agent wasn't too thrilled either. There was an awful lot of commentary about how dentists have the highest suicide rate in any profession.
The same people who were (fairly) bum rapping his abilities on TV were now bemoaning Spitz's proposed absence.
I thought it was cool. Even my parents had long serious discussions about whether Spitz was doing the right thing.
One thing that they mainly ignored was Mark Spitz's hair. In an era when swimmers routinely shaved their entire bodies in an effort to get that dolphin like streamlined thing going. When they showed that a single lock of hair could add one thousandth of a second to your time Spitz didn't shave his body and he wore a mustache and a moddish haircut.
When every coach and parent in the US was yelling at their kids to get a haircut Spitz's arrogance and confidence seemed totally cool to us. And being cool he became a hero.
I don't know much about Michael Phelps. Like most of us I only really heard of him just now. I know he's from Michigan, or at least goes to Michigan. Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
He's got a website, but nowadays, who doesn't.
What I do know is he tied Spitz with seven medals. He's got a shot at busting two records. He can get an 8th medal and join Spitz as the only athlete ever to win every single event he entered. Rah.
I hope he follows Spitz's career all the way and becomes an aggravating fixture in the media and then after he burns all the fun out of being super famous he calmly and happily goes back to his life.
How cool.

My friend is still working like a mad woman.
She had visions of being finished yesterday but encountered a major snafu involving misappropriation of funds or at least unauthorized use of nonexistent funds or something like that (over my head). It wasn't malfeasance just bone headed and wrong.
Since part of the snafu's guy's job is to prevent this sort of thing its becoming a monstrous undertaking getting it sorted out. Count The Hours My friend also has to move around the cash to cover his "bad checks". So, well, the hope is she'll finish today and slowly get our life back.
She didn't take a dog with her today. Seems foolish to me. Dogs are very good at this sort of stuff.
She told me about an email she sent out with the subject line, "The Year End That Wouldn't". Which is a pretty good joke for an accountant (controller).
She was looking at this website in a browser instead of the rss feed. She was pretty impressed with how it looked.
I like how the pages look here. I don't think she understand that I can reread my story just by looking at the pictures.
The words really are here just to frame the pictures.

August 10, 2008

Don't be like a tree. Trees get chopped down. Be like the moss by the river. Living where ever there is food and light.
Daniel Kwok

Ninja Princess
Click images for desktop size: "Ninja Princess" by Unknown
It's hard to say which is the biggest shock: Russia and Georgia declaring war on the first day of the Olympics, George W Bush behaving like a buffoon and going to the Olympics to frolic while the world burns, or Mark Sanchez (USC Starting QB) dislocating his knee playing catch, Ohio State suspending two players for two games against AA opponentsIt Conquered The World but making sure they're eligible to face USC or the fiasco/soap opera that saw retired Brett Favre end up a New York Jet. Bret Favre was always one of my favorite players. His openness and candor about his life on and off the field was praiseworthy. His brilliant performances on the field made legends no press agent would ever imagine.
When Favre retired it was at the top of his game. It left many of us in tears.
His coming out of retirement was . . . I invested so much emotion in watching him leave the game I was more irked than pleased about his 12th hour decision to come back. Then to disrupt his team to that extent . . . and now, with the Jets, he seems to have revoked one of his greatest claims. Sandy Koufax is the only other athlete at Favre's level to ever leave the game with class and dignity. I always dream about that "One more season" but the legend and memories are more burnished and glowing because Koufax left intact.
Favre has thrown in with Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, Marcus Allen and Joe Namath as guys who moved on and played more on their reputation than their talent. Favre will have success and some failures but he's tarnished the beautiful dream. It's hard to forgive something like that.
That's disappointing but not really shocking.
Ohio State suspending players is regrettable but understandable. Who can forget Joe Paterno suspending 4 of his starters the night before the National Championship game and Penn State still went out there and thumped heavily favored Miami.
That Ohio State bent over backwards to ensure that the punishment of the players would not impact the team is disgusting. As long as the "Big Ten" and all eleven of its teams continue to place money before the development of their athletes into young men and community leaders I will continue to hold it in low regard and with the contempt Shoot The Piano Player I usually hold for unworthy opponents.
Yeah, I want Ohio State to face USC at full strength. I played against Ohio State 3 times. They are the biggest bunch of cry babies I ever played against. Every loss was because they got improperly flagged for an overt illegal dangerous play. Or, my favorite, their players got hypnotized by the beautiful LA weather . . . If they had to lose two starters and lost they'd be crying all over to the press about how the Trojans cheated by exploiting their lesser players begging for another chance to be humiliated in the National Title game. The school still makes big bucks the TV appearance. Why risk tens of millions of dollars for something as mundane as a young person's future?
Sadly the Big Ten, Ohio State and the NCAA don't shock anymore. This is their standard.
George W Bush continues to prove he is a selfish boor. He can take time off to fly to see the Olympics but he could only spare a "fly over" of New Orleans when the crisis there was at its worst.
I am pleased that no athletes have gone on record saying something about how the President inspired them to victory or something of that nature.
Even the President's "huh" attitude towards the tragic murder of the American tourists wasn't shocking. In fact Bush will only shock me if he ever does something intelligent, or caring or something not in keeping with a typical arrogant loser.
I don't know enough about present day Russia or Georgia to understand the how's or why's of their war. I haven't been to Russia in over 7 years and then it was a country in wild upheaval. A country demanding change.
Clarence Holbrook Carter
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Clarence Holbrook Carter
War is always a shock. A stunning condemnation of our status as human beings. I hope this war is about something not money or about the lies the government spreads. I doubt it, but I still hope it.

Yesterday the giant dog got a bath and a haircut . . . he still hasn't quite forgiven us. For some reason he holds me as almost solely responsible.
If I can get some more decent photographs I have a post nearly ready for my puppy's website. That will, hopefully stop people from being mad at me.
As it is I'm just waiting for the sun. And a walk with the dogs.
So far my only reaction to the Olympics has been overwhelmed by the pictures of Beijing. It appears such a fascinating city I can't really grasp or emote over the proud athletes efforts.
I'm just waiting for the track and field events.

August 6, 2008

A Voice That Cries At Every Dawn

Home Town
Click images for desktop size: "Home Town" by Unknown
The cat is still alive.
We gave her Arsenicum Album. That's supposed to help ease her and maybe to help her to pass over.
I can't tell if it helped make her feel better.
You're only supposed to give it 3 times. If nothing happens then it "wasn't the proper treatment". I have no way to grasp that concept. All it means right now is that it didn't appear to work.
The Glass Key Today will be hard. If she doesn't start to improve I'm going to have to make arrangements to take her in and have her put to sleep. That won't be easy. I don't want her to suffer. I'm certain she isn't yet. She's not happy but she shows signs of happiness more often than any indications of distress.
At moments I feel like I'm torturing her just to assuage my own soul and rage. Then she starts to purr and tries to nuzzle.
I don't like cats. I don't want them or any animal to suffer. Its not easy to dislike something you've tended to, that you've cared for. The cat's important to my friend. That just adds to the gravity of what's happening.
It's selfish but I'm very glad that my little blind dog didn't go through this. He stayed happy and excited until he just quit. He went so quickly there wasn't even time to take him to the vet. He left nothing but happy and joyous memories.
Maybe I'm feeling for the cat because her state and condition reminds me too much of my own state. I didn't think I was that self centered, but who knows. The entire point of trials and stress is to see what comes out of it, to see what you are.
I do all sorts of little tests on myself everyday, checking my mind mostly. Everything changes. Everything.
My friend has been working super long hours. I worry about her. She doesn't know how to test herself and will just keep running until she can't run anymore.
She has a deadline, fiscal year end stuff. She worked about 18 hours last weekend. Then had yesterday wasted because the computer crashed. Windows. What sort of asinine system allows this: She was saving her work every thirty minutes or so to avoid the crash problem. When it crashed this time it deleted the data file . . . deleted it and blanked all the data. Blanked 18 hours of work . . . She got lucky. Where she works does twice daily back-ups so she only lost about 90 minutes of work. It took them almost the entire day to get her file restored. She got it all re-done and, being Windows, it crashed again and, of course, deleted and blanked the data file.
They were able to restore it more quickly this time but it was still the old back-up with the same 90 minutes of work missing.
Windows. And the Microsoft fan boys always like to tell me how its so much better for business than Linux or Apple.
Click images for desktop size: "Girl" by Unknown
All of this has sort of dampened my usual enthusiasm for football.
USC began camp yesterday. Almost all the players reported. Two valuable additions aren't there yet. They're freshmen and need NCAA Clearing House approval. A D-End didn't make it academically. He was good. He's gone to one of the Virginia Prep schools I've had experience with. A good choice for football but a very very poor choice for his academics. He'll be missed.
The fallacy of the BCS was shown last year when there was no USC Georgia game. Now USC is number three and Georgia the pre-season number one. Both teams faced mooks in their bowl games.
Mark Sanchez is turning into something special. He claims that he watched all three of his starts from last year almost continuously this summer. The Incredible Two Headed Transplant He's the fire that will either crash and burn or destroy. He's got the brains, the heart and the guts to be a monster.
He had better be. Super Mitch Mustain waits in the background. This kid has been proven under fire in the SEC and has fit into SC brilliantly. In 3 years he'll lead USC to the National Championship. The O-Line is scary. Not in the good way. All young, all monsters but only 3 weeks to become a unit. I think that as the season goes on they'll become true monsters and start to blow up defenses. Unfortunately they start off with Virginia and Ohio State. A rough place to be learning. If they can survive those two they'll come out of that destructive and unbeatable.
Running backs . . . Stafon Johnson and "OH NO IT'S" Joe McKnight. And 4 other guys who can stomp and run and cut. Stanley Halavi as a true FB keeps it scary and sweet.
At wide receiver there's nothing but talent and not one guy who stepped up to even approach his potential last year. Sanchez and Mustain can go down field. They need these guys to stretch out and make some catches. (Isn't that the most obvious statement ever made.)
Tight End will be fine.
The defense will be even better this year if they get a decent nose tackle. They don't even need great. LB and FS have all the greatness you can imagine. They're projecting 4 first round picks here including the incredible Taylor Mays, Brian Cushing and Ray! Pure destruction.
Today they take the field for the first time at 5:30. I'm anxious for the reports.
Mountain White Flower
Click images for desktop size: "Mountain White Flower" by Unknown
Its a beauty that is real and will distract from the reality so close at hand.
I'm calling the high schools around here today and volunteering to coach. I'm hoping for something positive or, at least, encouraging.
I've decided my health isn't where it needs to be to work with the little ones in Pop Warner. They need more than I've got. It bothers me because Pop Warner is always hungry for experienced coaches. Little ones are too important to risk doing a bad job. That said, I might consider it if nothing comes from the high schools.
That might sound wishy washy but I've thought it through carefully.

May 12, 2008

There's a new sun rising up angry in the sky
Cynthia Weill

Abseits der Wege By Michael Kutsche
Click images for desktop size: "Abseits der Wege" by Michael Kutsche
Gardening is just one of the many things I know nothing about.
Mindless destruction, on that, I'm pretty good and knowledgeable.
Kind of cool to combine ignorance and experience into making something that, well, works.
Iron Man I've nearly finished clearing and making the sunning garden, and within my self imposed deadline. All that's left to do is destroy the huge pile of detritus and Virginia Creeper. I'm still figuring over that one. I did use some of the Creeper to add a small moat around one of the fences. There's a section that's been damaged by kids and less savory types hopping it. I'm pretty sure a four foot tangle of that nasty stuff will deter all except the determined. You can't stop them except with a baseball bat . . .
By rounded sweaty estimation I've pulled about 2.5 miles of Virginia Creeper from the ground and out of the trees and shrubs. If there were a professional tug of war league I think I'm in shape for a tryout.
(That reminds me. Once, years ago, I was in the mid-west, for reasons I don't remember.
A high school had decided to go for a world's record by having the longest ever tug of war. They were going to string a rope 3 miles over a river! It might have been the Mississippi but I think it was the Wabash.
The idea was that the losers would get tugged off the bank and tumble through 10 feet of briars and roots to land in the water. Then, I guess, we would laugh uproariously as we looked at the wet and muddy bleeding jocks.
I watched them use an old tug to drag the rope from one bank to the other. It was the first sign of trouble when a second tug had to come in and assist the hauling. It took them nearly an hour. It was a massive hunk of hemp, a good three inches thick. I pulled it and shredded my hands on it.
Soon they had two hundred kids on each bank and the contest began. The only problem was the rope Syntehtic Storm By Alex Iuss
Click images for desktop size: "Synthetic Storm" by Alex Isuss
was so heavy that they couldn't move it. They couldn't even stir it to raise out of the water.
I watched two hundred kids sweating and slipping while the rope barely created a ripple. The rope wasn't taught across the river it hung down in the water completely submerged.
After about 15 minutes the kids all collapsed exhausted. he rope never moving.
They bought in tractors. {Where was I that a couple of huge John Deere tractors were that handy?}
Then I discovered something interesting about hemp. When you let it soak in river water it not only gets heavier but it stretches. The tractors went about 100 yards but the rope remained resolutely submerged.
One of the reasons that playing those "farm boy" football teams Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter was always worrisome is that those guys never knew when they were beat. For some reason the kids decided to give it another try . . . The now stretched rope still didn't move. At least this time there were some ripples. I almost cheered when I saw the rope move but stopped because I thought it would probably be misinterpreted and get me punched out. (there was a crowd of a few thousand present and people were making money selling food and drinks.)
The kids, at least on my side were really killing it. Faces were purple with exertion, veins were popping out of arms and temples. They dug in hard. It was pretty entertaining . . . except the rope refused to move. It was like watching a condemned prisoner try to dig an escape tunnel through a concrete wall with a plastic spork. I admire determination and fear the mindset that refuses to accept the impossible.
They gutted it out for a good twenty minutes as the crowd thinned out till it was just girl friends and parents. Dejected the kids gave up. I drifted away too.
I hope they just left that massive rope at the river bottom. It clearly wanted to stay there but I figure it was too expensive to just forget about. I never found out. I should have stuck around.)
It rainy today, or at least still wet, the perfect excuse for no yard work today. Its worth mentioning I didn't blind myself.
I watched a few movies this weekend. The most notable was Roman Polanski's "The Ninth Gate".
It was awful. Boring and dull.
I have certain issues with an admitted child molester who flees the country to avoid prosecution being allowed to make movies. And I have a silent boycott of the American distributers who allow Polanski Virtual Anime
Click images for desktop size: "Virtual Anime" by Unknown
to make money, the same silent boycott I give to the politico's who fight for the extradition of draft dodgers but are cool with multi-millionaire child molesters making a living by thumbing their noses at us all.
I can understand how messed up Polanski had to have been having his wife and unborn son murdered so violently by whacky Charles Manson and followers. I can see how that got him involved with Houston and the Nicholson crowd (not a group known for curbing its excesses) but it doesn't excuse harming a child. And all the defenses Polanski through up (She was asking for it. Her mother set up the date. etc) just made his lack of control all the more heinous to my eyes. Then to flee . . . that's not an artist that's just scum who deserves old fashioned rusty scalpel castration. Anyway this rather boring tale of Satanism was interesting only in proving the resilience of Johnny Depp.
It made me realize Depp has only made a few good and/or profitable movies. Watching "The Ninth Gate" it was hard to remember if the guy has any talent at all.

March 25, 2008

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.
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.

March 2, 2008

Sha la la la lee
Steve Marriott

Dog Jesus
Click images for desktop size: "Dog Jesus" by Unknown
The most interesting new music I've been listening to lately are Guitar Wolf's "Dead Rock" (A Japanese rock band that everyone but me seems to hate, not everyone, they're onto their 6th album). I love their versions of Springsteen's "Fire" and the crazed cover of "Route 66".
The Bellboy And The Playgirls The Moviees, "Action Man" from "Become One Of Them" is a light, bitter sound with buttery rhythm guitars and sharp drum attacks.
The Rooks "Encore Echoes" which somehow remind me of childhood dreams. They have a nice garage sound with modern sensibilities. They sometimes sound too ancient, as in the past, but not passe. "Better Start Right Now" is a cool introduction to their sound.
At least all these groups are from the 21st Century . . . I still have a fondness for the past.
But first a digression . . . I found out about these bands from my gal pal. Back in the 80's this guy Michael Weldon started a flysheet called "The Psychotronic TV Guide".
He'd note all the cool , the strange, and the hip movies on TV that week and write up little reviews and schedules. He xeroxed the sheet at work and then would pass them out to commuters and passersby. Much cooler than religious tracts.
Even in this internet age there's something to be said for shoving a piece of paper into somebody's hand. Wheldon got fired from his job. I gather for running about 3000 copies of his little sheet a week. But someone else got the idea of publishing his little reviews in a book. It sold well, still in print, "The Psychotronic Guide To Movies." Its thick enough to be imposing and scholarly looking. It was fun and easy to read cover to cover - lots of pictures.
Someone else has taken up the task. I understand, the internet is cool but its not immediate. It can just hang around and it takes time and money to use. A sheet of paper to somebody bored riding the subway has a factor.
Lost Kids - Envy
Click images for desktop size: "Lost Kids" by Envy
Anyway this guy is doing a list of the top 500 Power Pop albums of all time. Which sounds weird to me but then, why not! My only issue with it is that one of my bands is on it!
I was never Power Pop. I like pop. As in Pop Art and Popular Music. Power Pop to me always meant guys in black shirts, white shirts and skinny ties. (John Woo stole the look for "A Better Tomorrow" and then Tarentino stole it from him for "Reservoir Dogs.")
It meant The Knack and "My Sharona", or Rick Springfield, rolled up sleeves on sports coats (?) and hundred buck haircuts. It didn't seem to have a lot to do with playing all sweaty in a stuffy club while 400 people throbbed to your drive and beat, kids having fun and looking to you for hope and fun. Chuck Berry had it right, The little girls understand.
Power Pop seemed like an A&R man's way of trying to create the next big thing.
Blonde BaitSometimes the kids need to make their own big thing. Which is why power pop is something you don't hear about and rap and hip hop became the new dominant genre.
Anyway, like I was saying before I interrupted . . . I still listen to too much old music while I wait for a new Alkaline Trio CD. And one old guy I love is Chris Bailey.
He was one of the original Brit pinks with The Damned and then the Remarkable Saints. I like Bailey's dead nasal voice that uses the music and notes to give his tunes their emotions instead of poor acting, over singing and genuflections.
I like that he used horns and dozens of grinding thrashing guitars. He knows how to dance.
So I was shocked to discover Bailey did a solo album in 1983, "What We Did On Our Holydays." It stunning cause its all covers. Floats between two types, hard full R&B classics (mucho Sam Cooke whom he treats too reverentially). The rest is solo acoustic BLUES tunes! Like "Country Boy" his playing surprises and his voice reveals as much intensity and depth of feeling as when he was groaning over the Saints thrashing guitar lines.
I like music. I need more of it every single day.

Spring training has started. Its a good time. It hasn't yet detracted from the Barry Bonds hoopla, or from the sad plight of Roger Clemens, (not sad for "The Rocket" but sad for me. Even the cynical and crabby ones like me need heroes, guys who can make the impossible conceivable. I don't know or much care if Clemens did a half dozen shots of steroids. I think this Macnee guy is revolting slime who fits in well with Washington DC. But I do know that the Jeff Beck's Blow By Blow Gibson
Click images for desktop size: Jeff Beck's Gibson Les Paul
way Clemens handled the whole affair has caused him the disgrace and humiliation he was trying to avoid. Maybe he was arrogant, or misled. I expect my heroes to stand proud on their own. To tell the truth and laconically let me know there is some place in the world for men like we always wanted to be.)
Even with the new modern world. I like baseball. I love it. Every time you take the field you could dream, even those short few years ago when I could still play you'd go to the plate and dream of that fat guy with a cigar in his mouth and loud clothes and flashy jewelry saying. "Kid, how'd you like to play for the Dodgers."
In Spring Training you've got all those hundreds of kids under 21, dreaming and trying to see if they're good enough to be Mickey Mantle or Sandy Koufax or Don Kessinger or Roger Clemens . . .
The college baseball season has started. USC is playing. Not doing too badly.
Baseball is supposed to be better than life and a microcosm of it. I want it back.
Just me being old.

January 20, 2008

Now is the time of indecision

Click images for desktop size: "Statue" by Unknown
Spent the morning in the shower remembering things.
Good things, great things. Things about people and friends. Special moments.
As most of us do I ended up some how comparing the then with the now.
Barabarella 1968 Japanese I like now better. I like now best.

Today is "Championship Sunday".
The precursor to the Super Bowl.
I like this better than the Super Bowl. Better more evenly matched football for certain.
I have not been "mathematically" eliminated from the contest! So you have to suffer another embarrassing taste of my picks . . . I think its summed up best by my friend. I emailed him that I was picking New England over San Diego and Green Bay over the Giants.
He's a big Giants fan, I mean BIG, has travelled 10,000 miles to see a game sort of thing. He wrote back that, judging from my picks so far this year he can start celebrating the Giants' Super Bowl appearance.
Friends can be so cruel . . .

Its seems pretty obvious why I've made these picks. The Patriots have a chance to be the first team in history to go 18-0 for the season. How do you pick against perfection?
Its up in the air how well Tomlinson will play for the Chargers. He claims to be in perfect shape but who knows. If he has a breakout game, like he's capable of, then the Chargers could pull off the upset.
Their QB, Rivers, is listed as questionable. Realistically, I think the Chargers have a better chance with Billy Volek taking the snaps. Volek is not that far behind Rivers in terms of talent and he is way in front of him in terms of calm. He's far less likely to throw the big interception than Rivers is.
Without Antonio Gates the Chargers really need to have Tomlinson play like a madman, rushing, catching and even throwing the ball.
Click images for desktop size: "The Mighty Thor" by Jack Kirby
The Patriots just have to play up to their game. The Chargers can run the ball but they can't pound it, which plays to the Patriots greatest strength on D. No one has yet come really close to shutting down the Brady Machine.
The Chargers have the tools on the edge to keep Brady moving but It doesn't seem like they have the big push up the middle, which is the one thing that slows Brady down. He likes to take a step forward to deliver the ball and having an O-Lineman or a D-Tackle at his feet forces him to throw the ball with just his arm. Brady has the arm strength to pull that off about 60% of the time. When he can get his hip into the ball he's accurate about 98.6% of the time . . . Rah!
Belle Et La Bette The Chargers corners can't keep Moss and Gatney covered all day and the middle LB's can't control Welker and Faulk and keep pressure on Brady.

Green Bay and the Giants are two teams that weren't supposed to be here.
Any team with Brett Favre pulling the trigger can always make the Championship. I don't think Packer's RB Ryan Grant can have the game like he had last week, but he'll play enough to keep the Giants front 7 honest. The two D-ends for the Giants will sack Favre and maybe even create a couple of turnovers but it seems unlikely they'll derail the Packers scoring machine. They have no one to stop Donald Driver and Favre's propensity for going down field will confuse the entire secondary.
I still do not believe in Eli Manning. In the stunning win against Dallas he was not much of a factor. There are a lot of QB's who could have done the same, probably better. The best that can be said is that Manning didn't lose the game this time.
The Packer's secondary is playing like lightening. If they can defend a few passes or make a big INT then they'll destroy Manning's meager confidence and it could get ugly.
The Giant's best hope seems to be relying on Brandon Jacobson to pound the ball and dance some. The Packer's will stop the stuff up the middle pretty well but they'll be relying on LB pursuit to keep contain when he dances. Engel Des Teufels by The Deviator
Click images for desktop size: "Engel Des Teufels" by The Deviator
If the Giants still had Shockey that pursuit would have been negated. There replacement TE's have done well and will keep some of that pursuit at bay.
I still see Green Bay coming up with the points when they need them and making enough key stops to win this one pretty handily.
Which means Green Bay vs The Patriots in the Super Bowl. Old School football, two generations of perfection achieved from opposite poles. Its my dream game.
If both teams lose then we have Giants vs Chargers which also has some charm - except there'd be way too much written about the Manning-Rivers trade fiasco years ago.
Green Bay vs Chargers is interesting only to se Tomlinson vs Favre. And Patriots vs Giants would be dreary. Billichek wouldn't let what happened in New York to end the season happen again in the Super Bowl.
I can't think of anything else to say.
Now I'm just waiting for kick off.

January 14, 2008

Everything's got something to say

H.K. Pepnxz
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by H.K. Pepnxz
At sometime everybody wants to be a writer. We've all got a story to tell or there was a moment in time where we saw something and we're certain that no on else saw it in quite that way, and probably no one ever would again.
Its part of our nature to want to tell people about it. We want to communicate. We want to educate, to inform, to titillate and enlighten. Sometimes we just want to hurt.
Seduce And Destroy 1973 We want to justify and avenge. Address grievous wrongs. And we want to entertain.
It used to be a lot easier to be a writer. Not to make a living at it but to see stuff on a printed page.
That's important to people. Having a solid thing in your hand that ou can give to loved ones to hold. Its proof in a judgmental world that we exist. If it weren't there wouldn't be all those adverts around for vanity presses.
“See your words typeset and bound in genuine paper for a few grand.” There are a lot of them in business. Money means its got to be important, right?
There used to be the pulps, a cheap magazine. They gave us Hammet and Chandler, and Howard and Lovecraft. The pulps faded away to be replaced by the 25 cent pocketbook and the surprising 35 cent magazine.
Those strange magazines hung on in one form or another. Up through the 70's there were a dozen or so of them that printed genre pieces, fiction, short stories. You have to start in shorts until you learn how to write and to create an effect before you dream up a story or live a story big enough to take up a book.
There was an Alfred Hitchcock Magazine, A Twilight Zone Magazine, Analog and a few more. They paid pennies a word and came out in this phony folio sized format that could be squeezed into racks at the checkout stands of grocery stores.
Eventually those little magazines had to fade away. No more advertising for porn, our snake oils, at least not enough to keep the little magazines going. And who needed 8 mm porn when Playboy was on sale next to the little magazines. Instant gratification always beats anticipation. We are Americans after all.
They were place for guys to write. To be bad and maybe never heard from again or maybe to stick like Jim Thompson, Bloch, Ellison and on and on.
Hell, there were even poetry magazines right out there to buy next to Life and Look, not hidden away like they were a more dangerous kind of porno.
Those little magazines were classy and classless. I've seen the food stained badly typed rejection letters they would send out. They actually read the submissions and would tell you no and tell you why they said no.
They gave a new writer a space to work and continue to dream. Most of us, that's all we want anyway.
Money By Envy
Click images for desktop size: "Money" by Envy
In the late 70 and on they were replaced by the over priced glossy mags. They didn't want many new writers unless you had an agent who could convince them you were the next big thing. They sold for 5 bucks an issue and advertising was 5 grand a page based on a 10,000 circulation.
They wanted the literary stars and the hot up and comers. They didn't have a space for a guy with a story to tell, who just had a good yarn.
The internet killed most of those mags. The internet. Its takes and it gives, don't it?
I have to say I don't like reading a big block of unbroken text on a screen. Which is why the e-books surprise me. I can't struggle though electronic works of books I like on a computer. Surprises me that there's so much interest in the Amazon Kindle.Les Carabiniers I don't want to read a story that way. I want the luminous part to come from the words not from the pixel. But maybe they'll succeed and be so desperate for product that they'll read submissions from the little guys like us. Maybe even send out badly typed emails as rejection letters and explain what's wrong with your story, at least what's wrong to them.
It would be nice to see the writing business change in the same way the music business is going to have to change.
If they let those kind of stories get out there so people could read them on the subway on the way to work then I'd be a lot more interested in the tech.
Until then I'll stick to newspapers, I guess. But I would like to read about people's stories, the way things seemed to them at one spectacular moment in an otherwise forgettable day.
Its why I like blogs. Most of them are as dull as life. Sometimes they're not and I relish those moments.

I was 0 for Sunday in the NFL. Doesn't matter. I preferred these results.
Now we'll have a banged up San Diego at New England this Sunday. And a team I still think is cruddy playing against the ebullient Packers. Which means I have a good shot at seeing my dream Super Bowl happen - Green Bay vs New England!
That would be decidedly RAH!
The conference Championships have a decidedly old world feel to them: Packers vs the Giants is like so 40's and 50's. And the AFC seems real old school with Chargers at New England. 60's stuff. Sort of cool in its way.
I hope I get to see the games.
Cause, yeah, still fighting with the cable company. Now fighting to let me cancel!
A new millennium . . .

January 13, 2008

Everybody's got an in

Seamus by Jisuk Cho
Click images for desktop size: "Seamus" by Jisuk Cho
Last night I watched Jacksonville at New England. It was one of the best NFL games I have ever seen.
The Jaguar's David Garrard (QB) has always looked better than good. Last night he was inspired. He impressed me to the point of adding him my list of elite players.
Psychout In the Divisional Championships I have seldom seen a team play as well as the Jag's did last night. The game plan was solid, worked well and impressively. Except they ran into one of the greatest teams of all time and a guy who is poised on being the best ever QB not in the Hall Of Fame, Tom Brady.
Brady even managed to eclipse the brilliant performance of Brett Favre earlier that day. What could have been better than Favre in a snowstorm chucking the ball as he falls to the ground? David Garrard's first TD pass while he was being savaged, for one and Tom Brady's emotional machine like performance for another.
Tom Brady is still my favorite player in the NFL, Brett Favre is still my favorite QB and now Garrard has moved into that pantheontology.
Jack Del Rio has proven himself a superb coach. If Pete Carroll should (shudder) leave USC for the NFL, Del Rio is still my first pick as his replacement. He looked into the maw of the cannon and came out ready to play. Better he had a team ready to crush the monster that is the Patriots.
I hope that todays games provide that level of professional play and vivid excitement. This might be a generous wish as I might not be able to see the games.
A dispute with the cable company . . . is that anything new to anyone?
Does anyone need a better illustration of the evils of a monopoly? And what ever got into the heads of the government to support and encourage this monopoly. I understand how we got to this point but I can't believe so little is being done to correct the issue.
Emotional By Envy
Click images for desktop size: "Emotional" by Envy
Monopolies have always held to the same credo. Higher prices and increasingly worse products.
After spending a couple of hours on hold listening to bad muzak and annoying commercials for extending my cable package I was finally able to talk to a person a few days later.
It appears the cable company reduced our service as I was disputing a 20 buck charge . . . I just got a bill on Friday that was due on the 28th of January. Part of the bill was for the services they decided to reduce . . .
Confuses me too.
The end result was me passing on "discussing" the issue by being put on hold to talk to someone else and stating, "I think the best thing to do is to rip the cable box out of the wall and returning it to the cable company tomorrow."
Pretty rash for me but the effrontery of it was amazing.
Imagine getting your car repaired. You spend 100 bucks and then say, "Hey, you charged me for a Ford part and this is a Chevy! I'm not paying you the 20 bucks for the part till this is sorted."
Teenage Tramp Now in the middle of the night the repairman comes and swipes your four tires claiming he is holding them until you pay him the 20 bucks!"
Fortunately I don't watch much TV, just movies and I have a big enough collection to seldom depend on TV for them. I really only watch football. As much as I hate bars I'd rather sit in a bar to watch the Super Bowl than give these guys anymore of my paltry sum of money.
It won't make a difference to anyone but me.

On a cooler note: You know I'm a Buddy Holly fan. It seems that all the way back in 1989 this crazy French cat is also a Buddy Holly fan. Difference is that he owned an independent record label. He commissioned a mess of post punk artists to cover Buddy Holly tunes to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his passing. Rah!
Its pretty good, there's frankly two scary acoustic tunes from the dementia praecox king, Roky Ericson, a pretty straight forward cover of "Peggy Sue" from Falco but its the 29th track that floors me.
I'm a big Saints fan. Chris Bailey is some kind of twisted dwarf monster who's freaky deadpan monotone vocal surrounded by jangly crunch guitars and mellow blues horns thrills and pleases me.
They do a cover of Holly's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore". Its the reason I got the CD.
The Back Stops HEre - NFL Films
Click images for desktop size: "The Back Stops Here" NFL Films
It isn't often in life that you have unusually high expectations and have them exceeded. Bailey's version is surprisingly heartfelt and emotional. Its almost sweet, except that Bailey brings in a cruel edge of reality that threatens to move the song from the pop world to the operatic stage. He doesn't, don't think he wanted to, but its that tension that adds to the power of the tune. Yow! Double yow! You need a cold shower after this one.

My blood sugars are responding. This morning was the first time that the levels were below my maximum. Also worth a double yow! I got a present of the new BB King endorsed One Touch Glucose Meter. It is cool and much easier on the bleeding fingers and on the jabbing myself!

January 11, 2008

It doesn't matter, they can't stop me

Eternal Temptation By Uncle Grumpy
Click images for desktop size: "Eternal Temptation" by Uncle Grumpy
A quiet day spent waiting mostly.
Some people when they wait think. I'm the master of the white noise. When I think, I think. The rest of the time I just see what's going on around me. Its white noise time. I can react to everything like its new without the coloration of the day. Not all the time. Point Blank Sometimes what happens in the day might not be worth thinking about but the feelings impinge on everything and squeeze even the white noise of blank thought to some shade of ochre.

Not making much sense here. That's normal. The not thinking thing though is something I have in common with a lot of people. Its more a matter of letting reflex take over and analyzing the results when you have time.
Not really worth writing about but . . . what is really?
I think more paper has been inked writing about what people should or shouldn't write about than . . . see I'm out of metaphors. My kingdom for a silly simile.

I'm just a bit sick now and happy.
My friend got home safely. I have a puppy who loves me as much as she loves anything, (except maybe ice cream), a blind dog who thinks I'm great and two other dogs who think I'm just okay.
My friends home safely. I don't have time to think.

Which means its the best time to talk about this weeks playoff games . . . Of course if the NFL induces Pete Carroll to leave USC I might swear to never watch another game for the . . . lets not make any self fulfilling prophesies here.
My picks are in bold.

Seattle at Green Bay - Mike Holmgren returns to the home of his only Super Bowl with a far inferior team. The Sea Hawks can disrupt the Packers game plan. They can take away the run and get to Brett Favre and maybe get him to make mistakes. Favre won't make that many. I thinkDelphian Calamity By Alex Iuss
Click images for desktop size: "Delphian Calamity" by Alex Iuss
Holmgren has never been in Favre's head and only knows that Favre is unpredictable and capable of astonishment. Cocteau said that the purpose of art is to astonish us. Favre does that.
The Packers defense is good playoff caliber stuff. They got the men to halt the weak Sea Hawks run game most of the time and their corners are becoming legendary. Hasselbeck is banged up and on the road. He'd need a great game to beat this secondary. Even on screens and dunk stuff the Packers LB's match up to well. I don't think the Sea Hawks will get shut out but I expect more Field Goals than TD's out of them.

Jacksonville at New England - The Jaguars present the biggest threat to the Patriots dream of perfection this year. Their strengths play into all the Patriots weaknesses. They can pound the ball at the heart of the line all day with success. Garrard's best passes are in the middle of the field where the Patriots can only win by excessive gambling from their slightly above average safeties. The Trip 1967 Of course Billicheck, the coach of the millennium so far, knows this too. I'd call this a wash.
On the other side of the ball you have Tom Brady. If they win, and I expect them too, I plan to write about why I like Tom Brady more than I like Peyton Manning. One of the best QB's ever to play the game understands history and wants to blaze his name across it. Randy Moss likes being the subject of rap songs. (How cool is that, to walk into a club and a record is playing something about, "And I'm as slick as Randy Moss", not even slicker than, because hyperbole can't exceed the reality of Randy Moss.) The Jags will make things difficult for sure. They'll bust a few plays wide open. They'll play inspired ball but I can't see them out scoring this machine. Which doesn't mean that Jack Del Rio, Jaguar's HC, isn't my first choice to replace Pete Carroll at USC (if it comes to that this year or in the next decade).

San Diego at Indianapolis - This is going to be the last game ever at the RCA Dome. That's some small inspiration from a team that is too good to need inspiration. Tony Dungy is intimating this might be his last season. Another chunk of inspiration for a team that doesn't need it. In the hub bub surrounding the Patriots most people haven't realized that the Colts won one more game this year than they did last year when they won the Super Bowl . . .
There's not a lot to say here. This could be the blow out game of the playoffs.

Draw A Chef
Click images for desktop size: "Draw A Chef" by Anonymous
New York Giants at Dallas - The Cowboys started out heavy favorites in this one, then the pictures and stories about WB Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson came around. There was question about Terrell Owens being available and New York looked good against a cruddy Tampa Bay team.
What a lot of baloney. The Cowboys stomped them twice in the regular season. Romo has last years disaster in Seattle to atone for, Terrell Owens would play on one leg AND MAKE CATCHES. He wants another Super Bowl.
Who knows how close it will be. This is the tie breaker game and I had to choose the score of 28-14 Cowboys. I still think this game is a lock.

These are just my picks for this little internet football game I play in. Amazingly I'm not eliminated yet! But I need to win all four this week, I think. Anyway these are picks to be the butt of bad jokes only and not intended to be used as advice by some maniac with a betting fetish and a 12 gauge.

December 28, 2007

The Northern girls with the way they kiss they keep their boyfriends warm at night
Brian Wilson

Click images for desktop size: "Kabegami" by cos2l

I'm a shallow guy
I always have been. I think that people judge me mostly on my appearance. As I get older, gnarled and weather beaten, that's a bit hard for me to take.
People have always said to me, "You don't judge other people that way, why keep holding yourself to a different standard?"
Because I'm me, I guess.
Attack Of The Jungle Women It also impacts the way I keep this web site. I tend to be fastidious and work to get it the way I want it to look and work. Subtle color variations, scripting and stuff.
I've gotten pretty good at html and css trying to get it to look right. At least write to me. I've even had to learn perl, for no other reason than to keep this looking nice and to keep my puppy's website easy for kids to use.
I had to work hard to get the search page to work. Its still not what I want. What I want is to click on search and have a translucent window open up where you type in your stuff and then it takes you to the result page and simply vanishes.
I have to learn AJAX for that . . .
I spent a couple of hours, last night, getting the whole site xhtml compliant. That means it should look the same in all browsers. Even though Microsoft continues to disdain all standards and demands that anything they do should become the de facto standard, it should get it close even in Internet Explorer.
I guess I did some of that to avoid thinking about the damage I've done to my body lately. It's all the grief with the drugs and prescriptions.
his shouldn't be that big a deal, but it is.
The problem is with the simple minded diabetic meds. Nothing fancy there, no trials or even a chance at narcotics. Just laws and customs designed to benefit . . . well, not me or many other patients for sure. Planning to sort it out today.
All of which comes back to this site. As in why did I decide to keep a journal in the first place and why continue it for so long? Why keep it public?
Click images for desktop size: "Marbles"
Most of this I've thought about, written about before. Reviewing the days keeps me focused on what I am and what I want to be. Keeping it public is, ostensibly, to let all those people I know and care about but have lost, have a place to find me. To share pretty pictures.
I'm a public person. Shallow and public . . . When we moved here the most exciting thing was prepping an act for my friends Christmas party . . . in my mind I was even thinking of tunes where I could do an alternate tuning on the guitar so I could get around the fret board and hide how worthless my hands and fingers had become.
Part of it is I like the attention. Okay?
Not to the point of using DIGG or wanting to smash the look of the site with a sidebar advertising and begging for attention, but to the point of doing a Thalberg, "If its any good they'll know who made it."
Carnival Of Souls There's more to it than that but for now, that's enough.

This is a great time of the year: The Bowl Season is in full swing.
I was glad to see Purdue and Central Michigan play so well in a "minor" bowl.
I was embarrassed to see Arizona State let down the Pac 10 and play so poorly against Texas last night.
That's okay, they tried, which is more than can be said for all the NFL teams this weekend.
The final week of the regular season is historically a mess. There are flashes of interest but mainly Play Off Bound teams rest their regulars. Teams knocked out of it play lackluster ball or play over their heads to be a spoiler. Some teams choke.
Last week I was 9-7. Pretty mediocre. I should have been 10-6 but I ticked the wrong box at the website! Second time this season.
That leaves me 15 points out of first place . . . and yet I slog on.
My picks are in bold.

New England at New York Giants - The most interesting thing here is whether the Giants will concede the Patriots their perfect season or if they'll put up any resistance at all. The excuse is resting starters for the Play Offs. Coolest thing is that the NFL backed off of their pay per view scheme under threat of losing their anti-trust exemptions. Game of the week because this will be historic whatever happens.

Buffalo at Philadelphia - This is an oddity. The Eagles are playing better ball since their season is meaningless. Buffalo is choking, which is sad. I have to pick the Eagles but my heart is with the Bills.
Click images for desktop size: "Movies"

Carolina at Tampa Bay - The Buc's embarrassed themselves last week. They may rest people. The Panther's have Steve Smith . . . This could be a real snoozer with names you never heard of in key positions. The Panthers are finishing the string.

Cincinnati at Miami - The Bengals upset Cleveland last week with Defense?? The Dolphins are now under the tutelage of the most over rated coach in history - Bill Parcells. They'll lose one for the kipper.

Detroit at Green Bay - After last weeks debacle Brett Favre is worried. He should be. He's also a great one at redeeming himself. Look for the Lions, depressed but game, to pay the price. I'm pretty sure the Packers will come out blazing to set the tone for the Play Offs.

Jacksonville at Houston - Its pathetic that the Jaguars enter the play offs as a wild card team. They are potent and dangerous. Look for them to make a statement in this one. Also they'll experiment and force some issues to test their personnel. Houston, you did better than I thought.
Confessions Of A Vice Baron
New Orleans at Chicago - I like the Saints but this is not to be. The Bears have gotten mean, now that it doesn't mean anything. They're good as spoilers. They seem to like it more than being Champs! The game means more to them then it does to the disappointed, dispirited Saints.

Pittsburgh at Baltimore - Here's a mash up of a game. The Steelers are coasting and playing lousy football. They'll have no offense that can be imagined. The Ravens have looked great and then distasteful, often in the same series! I'm taking the Ravens because the Steelers have noting to win. The Ravens will take pride in beating a play off team.

Seattle at Atlanta - This is my cruddy game of the week. Worse it will be on TV tomorrow . . . The Seahawks are the second weakest team in the play offs. They're still trying to fine tune a rickety offense. Atlanta is just glad the season is over. The Falcons may get motivated but I wouldn't count on it.

San Francisco at Cleveland - Now that the Browns have lost their chance to be Division Champs this game should prove easy for them. The 49ers have more to play for but the Browns don't want to go into the play offs on a, not with their team history.

Tennessee at Indianapolis - The hardest game to call. This could be the most fun. Neither team can actually win much here so it could be just a good joyous game or one coach or the other could decide to start resting players. I'm going with the Colts but if there were more on the line for the Titans I'd take them.

Minnesota at Denver - This would be a snoozer except Adrian Peterson needs a confidence booster to head in to the Wild Card Round. Nobody is better prepared to give it to him then the Broncos. If the Vikings don't spring Peterson for big yards this will say a lot about what to expect next week.

My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose
Click images for desktop size: "My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose - R Browning"
San Diego at Oakland - I pity the Raiders, and they're sending out a very green rookie to start his first game against a team that needs a confidence boost. Rah.

St Louis at Arizona - This would be the cruddy game of the week except both teams have spark enough to make something happen. I hope that the Cardinals defense gets a handle on Steve Jackson otherwise it will go the other way.

Dallas at Washington - The Cowboys will be resting EVERYBODY who matters. The starters will treat it like a scrimmage most likely. The Redskins are playing for their jobs next year in front of an angry home town crowd. Which is why I'm picking them for the upset.

Kansas City at New York Jets - This is a real stink pot of a game to end the regular season . . . I'm taking the Jets because the coin came up tails.

These picks are for your great amusement only. They are not to be taken as even knuckle headed advice!

December 22, 2007

They're up here because they believe
Vince Lombardi

A Christmas Carol - 2004
Click images for desktop size: "A Christmas Carol - Christmas Card 2004"
We went for a walk today.
Strike that.
We started out for a walk today when the largest dog managed to escape out the gate.
He refused to come when called so I had to chase him, except I still had my puppy and the little blind dog with me. All 3 of us ran after the big dog. We were game but the little one wore out. I had to scoop him up and carry him.
Bambi 1942 We had a bout a 10 minute chase with a couple of close calls but no damage done except to my temper. Until we got home and I realized that making the little blind boy run, even for only 50 yards was too tough on his cardio. He recovered but it was nerve racking for a while there. None of which improved my temper with the big guy. I got even though. I gave the big guy 5 grams less ice cream then everyone else got tonight!
We all have our own forms of discipline.

One of the purposes for the walk, other than health . . . was to ponder this weeks NFL games in the weekend of the "Silent Night". Most of the games are, well, dogs! It makes them harder to pick as fewer teams have any reason to try. Its the holidays for them too and no matter how professional an athlete is its unique for a man to go out and want to destroy his brother in this time of peace when there is nothing to be gained for it but some weak pride.
I think they'll all play to their abilities, for the most part, but there'll be a fine edge that's lacking which makes thing unpredictable. Then there'll be some rookies getting some major game time and they'll either collapse or explode with heart and enthusiasm. I think that this week is mainly guesswork and tossing a two headed coin.
As usual my picks are in bold.

Pittsburgh at St Louis - This ones already played. The Steelers won. I picked them but it was with no heart. The Steelers are not very good and I'd expect them not to go deep in the playoffs.

Dallas at Carolina - This is good medicine for the Cowboys who are not looking all that dominant at the moment. The Panthers are feeling a bit confident after their upset win last week but they don't match up well enough against Dallas to have much of a chance. The score is Cowboys up 17-10 as I write this. This says more about the Cowboys in the playoffs then anything else.
Silver Bell 2006
Click images for desktop size: "Silver Bell - Christmas Card 2006"
Cleveland at Cincinnati - My heart ays pick the Bengals. My heart starves a lot. I'd like to see them get it together and stick it to the Browns but its the equation. The Browns are chasing the Steelers for the Division Championship. They're not used to winning. The Bengals have nothing to win or lose except pride. A lot of their players have enough pride and talent to carry them but the attitude is hard to guess. Remember a few years ago when Chad Johnson scored a TD in week 16? He scored and ran to a pylon where he had a giant Christmas Stocking stashed, he opened it and started throwing gifts to the fans. I liked that a lot. They got to the play offs that year too . . .

Green Bay at Chicago - Last week the Bears were almost as embarrassing as the Vikings. They looked terrible, the Vikings only slightly less terrible. Bret Favre is still Bret Favre and want the home field advantage. He's been there before and looks like a team of destiny. The Bears look like a team trying to remember how to play the game.
Houston at Indianapolis - This is one of those games where, if your a home town fan you might care. There's almost nothing of real interest here except wondering how the Colts will handle Mario Williams.

Kansas City at Detroit - There's a tremendous sadness in this game. Two teams who back in August looked at the world with bright eyes and expectant determination. The Lions looked ready to exorcise their demons. The Chiefs looked like well, they wee hopeful. This is one of the least important games of the weekend and its sad that it should be so.

New York Giants at Buffalo - The Giants look like a team willing to stumble into the playoffs expending minimal effort. The Bills aren't quite out of it but are playing for something, like a dying city and a teammate who most thought, a few months ago, might be better off dead. The Giants are a slight favorite! Go Bills.

Oakland at Jacksonville - The only question I see here is whether the Jaguars can keep the score down. They have fire in their eyes and are not foolish enough to let that fire get away from them. The Raiders still have those snazzy uniforms.

Pattern Of Presents
Click images for desktop size: "Pattern Of Present " by Unknown
Philadelphia at New Orleans - This is actually the game of the week. Sort of by default. As in most of the other games are sort of cruddy. Both teams have a little to play for. The Saints aren't eliminated form the play offs . . . yet. The Eagles want to put together back to back strong games for contract time. I'm taking the Saints because of Dru Brees and home field.

Tampa Bay at San Francisco - At first blush a cruddy game of the week contender. But Frank Gore looked good for the 49ers last week. And, like it or not, the Buc's are division champions. I don't think Gore can repeat his performance against this defense, without him the 49er's don't have much.

Atlanta at Arizona - Here is the cruddy game of the week . . . well, both teams will show up and they both have well tailored uniforms . . . the Falcons' gear is a bit prettier in my opinion. The Cardinals stuff seems to actually wrinkle and bunch up a lot . . .
Beatles Come To Town
Baltimore at Seattle - The Ravens beautiful performance against the Patriots was sure a one off. Seattle are trying to figure out how to win with less of a running game than even the Packers! And Hasslebeck is no Bret Favre! Still at home the Seahawks should win.

New York Jets at Tennessee - The Titans are struggling for a play off shot. They deserve it even with some bone head coaching they've shown fire and grit. The Jets have shown they are core losers. I'm only glad Eric Maginini doesn't own Wilson (so he can't take the ball and run home.)

Miami at New England - Now that the Dolphins actually won a game the glitter is off of this one. The weather will be poor but not so bad that Tom Brady can't get back to throwing a few TD's. I don't see anyone on the Dolphins who can stop him so they must be praying for a freak blizzard.

Denver at San Diego - So the Chargers managed to stick one last week. They have already won my award for most disappointing team this season, even more disappointing than the Bears! (I mean who really thought the Bears would repeat this year with all their off season insane arrogant moves). he Broncos are in a tail spin but might find the weather nice enough to put forth a little effort.

Washington at Minnesota - My runner up game of the week. Two teams who (to the NFC's embarrassment) are in the wild card chase. The Redskins looked bad last week. The Vikings looked abominable except for Adrian Peterson. I'll go with a guy who can turn a busted play into a TD any time.

As usual my picks are for entertainment purposes only. Although if you die laughing I will not be held responsible.

And if you hadn't noticed: Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings, Happy Kwanzaa. And Peace on Earth, please.

December 12, 2007

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.

December 8, 2007

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)

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!

December 4, 2007

In the cool cool cool of the evening

Diamond Warrior by M Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "Diamond Warrior" by Michael Parkes
I got to see the Patriots - Ravens game last night.
Quality high drama.
It was thrilling seeing the Ravens rise up and play the game they always imagined they could play. Seeing Ravens LB, Ray Lewis, defend passes was inspirational. It felt like a magic in the air.
I Passed For White While, selfishly, I'd like to see the Patriots go undefeated its from a pure aesthetic stand point, I have no emoptional committment to any NFL team. Its enjoying art for art's sake.
So, for me, it was merely exciting seeing a mediocre team rise up and turly play like this one game was their Super Bowl.
Its part of the magic that an undefeated team brings to the stadium. By the dint of their accomplishments they make their opponents rise up and exceed their potential.
The final three minutes were a combination of the Patriots greatness and the Ravens mediocrity. They virtually willed themselves to lose.
I could have dealt with that. What was disappointing was that they didn't show the class they displayed on the field after the game. They finger pointed and blamed the refs. As I thought the Ravens played incredibly well and incredibly dirty blaming the refs seemed pathetic and undermined what they'd left out on the field.
It turned a marvelous effort into something less than a game.
What I saw on the field made me feel privileged to be able to understand the game. It was a beautiful effort from both sides.
I've never played pro ball so I don't know how pro's take these things. it was a gut wrenching loss, for sure, and a narrow escape for the Patriots. But as a college player, even a high school player some one would have come down hard for voicing that sort of silly opinion,
Like I said, I never played pro ball so I wouldn't really know.
My step-father did. He was a jerk too. So, who knows what's acceptable anyway.
Click images for desktop size: "Alpine" by Cannibalized
I'm using the new beta of ecto to post this. A few of the improvements I suggested are in it. That feels modestly cool, ya know?
Its still giving me fits.
I feel confident they'll be worked out, unless I get so frustrated with it and check it before hand.

Only other thing of note is started my meager Christmas shopping.
I don't much like crowds but I like the feeling of it all.
To understand hating crowds you need to be in Oxford Circus, London to understand how a crowd can become an ugly monster with an independent life.
I like Christmas music too much, often the wilder or sillier the better. Like Buck Owen's - Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy.
And if that's not obvious enough I don't know what else to do . . .

December 1, 2007


Clara Bow
Click images for desktop size: "Clara Bow"
Okay. So I was goofy wrong about the Green Bay at Dallas game . . .

So I go into the weekend 0-1.

I'm still brimming with optimism because . . .

USC WON and we're going to the Rose Bowl.

Fists Of Fury I hope we get Ohio State!

Back from the divine to the profane: Amateurs vs Pros, The NFL

Its clear now that Green Bay and Dallas are the class of the NFC. As we head into these lame duck weeks its always interesting to see how teams will respond. Especially with the intense tragedies that happened off the field.Condolences to Sean Taylor's family. He was on the verge of greatness.

As usual my picks are in bold.

Atlanta at St Louis - This game is saved from cruddy game of the week status for two reasons. The least of these is the improving play of the Rams. Even without QB Marc Bolger the Rams should be able to run Steve Jackson all day. What will be fascinating is watching the Falcons respond. Their QB elected to go to prison early, anticipating his sentencing. This week his two co-defendants got 18 and 21 months. That was allowing them mercy for ratting out Vick. (As much as I despise what Vick has done, this has become sadder than I can imagine. I accept that he is just coming to terms with the horror of his actions. His offer of 1 million dollars to care for his victims is genuine. With all the grief he is enduring I liked that he is making an attempt that seems honest. Look at the other criminals know playing in the NFL. Look at Tank Johnson at the Cowboys. His offenses are equally heinous. Look at the RB Jamal on the Browns. He was selling drugs! He never did anything this real.) Will the Falcons rally and actually catch some of the Joey Harrington passes? Will they attempt to show some pride or will the just drift along. If they do only just show up I think that Bobby Petrino gets my vote for worst coaching performance in the NFL. The Balancing Act by James Christensen
Click images for desktop size: "The Balancing Act" by James Christensen

Buffalo at Washington - This could be a pretty good game. I can't quite grasp the constantly changing QB situation for the Bills and they won't have Lynch back from the IR. They have enough defense to hold the Redskins down. Its the Redskins defense that will be interesting. They have to come out and perform just a week after one of their teammates, a team leader, died in a terrible way. Shot in the leg, through the femoral artery. Its not a way you'd want anyone to go. Seeing if they can rally around his memory enough to make up for his strong presence on-field will make this tragically dramatic. The Body Snatcher

Detroit at Minnesota - This is close to being my game of the week. Adrian Peterson returns to the Viking line up. He makes them a force. The Vikings are still high off their destruction of the New York Giants but I'm taking the Lions. I'm picking the underdog because this is a team with ghosts. They view themselves as losers. A loss today against the Vikings will enable them to quit on themselves and allow the ghosts to ruin their lives. A win means more to them than it will to the Vikings. I always take the little guy playing for pride, playing for their lives.

Houston at Tennessee - Last week I don't think the Titans were exposed, they just ran into an inspired Bengals team. The Texans aren't at the Titans level yet.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis - The Jaguars are playing excellent football, good enough that it would take the Colts best effort to beat them. The Colts aren't at their best. A Jaguars' win would tie them for the Division lead. The Colts know this but I don't think they're healthy enough to pull this off. This should be the game of the week.

New York Jets at Miami - This is the AFC's cruddy game of the year. Its not so much a matter of who'll win this but who'll be the last one to figure out how to lose.

American Football
Click images for desktop size: "American Football"

San Diego at Kansas City - The Chargers have only proved that they are a totally undependable team who can win or lose on any given whim. I'm only taking them because the Chiefs rookie QB hasn't shown much of anything yet and they have no real running game.

Seattle at Philadelphia - The Eagles played inspired excellent football against the Patriots. They haven't shown that they can maintain that level. Seattle is looking terrible and they know it. I'd expect the Eagles play last week to inspire them and force them to lift their game.

Godzilla King Of The Monsters

San Francisco at Carolina - The 49er's are one of the worst teams ever. But the Panthers appear to have given up on their season. Fox, panthers head coach, has never been more than good. A busted up 44 year old QB isn't going to save them.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans - I already lost lost one game I picked from the heart, so things should even out here. But really, Garcia's play for the Buc's has been spotty at best. And the Saints are so talented on offense they should throw up some points at home.

Cleveland at Arizona - Why did the Browns take over hyped Brady Quinn? Their young QB Anderson is having an excellent season. Last week the Cardinals figured out a brand new way to lose. Those kind of losses stay with you.

Denver at Oakland - This weeks, "Who cares" game. This used to be an intense rivalry that came close to the feelings of a college game. Now the biggest thing to bet on is whether the game will be blocked out in the bay area. I know a few Oakland fans who are hoping it will be.

New York Giants at Chicago - The Bears are praying to make the playoffs while the Giants are praying to keep their jobs. I liked the way Eli Manning held his composure after the Vikings ripped him apart. There's not much left to like about the Bears except I value determination and the way they avoided losing against the Bronco's last week showed plenty of that. Dick Dale's Fender
Click images for desktop size: "Dick Dale's Fender Stratocaster-The Beast"

New England at Baltimore - I'm not sure the Ravens have enough left to even keep this thing competitive while the Patriots are sure to come out angry after their "humiliating" victory last week.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh - This is my game of the week. I consider the Steelers exposed. On their own field they were horrendous against an horrendous team. Not much will change in a week. WHile the Bengals came out sharp and stayed sharp as dogs against the Titans. The Steelers play nasty dirty (as in cheating) football. A lot of teams start to hate them. The Bengals are number one on their enemy list. Lotsa fire down below!

November 25, 2007

Its 3rd and long

Click images for desktop size: "Party" by Anonymous
Its been a movie and football soaked weekend.
What's been nicest is that it hasn't detracted a whit from time with my loved ones. Its been almost blissful.
Except that my puppy thinks I should spend all my time freezing to death, outside chasing her.
Night Of The Howling Beast (1977)-1 That's her tiny loss.
My tiny loss was in not hearing from as many people as I'd hoped. Until I realize that not many of those people are even aware of what Thanksgiving is or that it even exists.
The point being that there is nothing to say this hasn't been an absolutely splendid Thanksgiving.
I've even been perplexed. I'd forgotten or never really known about someone cooking for me at the holidays. Especially cooking well.
I could get used to it.
I did get a touch of a cold, just enough to distract me and get me to work on silly little things.
I've upgraded the Movie Library. I now have 2,500 movies!
I think that number pushes me into the realm of being a nut. If there were any doubt in the first place.
To jump start the inevitable, the movies are not for selling. They are for trading.
I'm always interested in trading for more stuff. More movie stuff I mean.
I've upgraded the posters on a few and re-"genred" some more. I'm trying to get it to break down into alphabetical pages by genre. A worthwhile project which is right up there with solidifying my Queen's Pawn Gambit opening skills.
The holidays are, oddly, a dead time for movie trading.

Movies we've watched this weekend:
"Deck The Halls" - dumb dreck but pleasant enough.
"Female Demon Ohkasu " - a decent but surprisingly gory chambara flick. Had some actual karate fighting and some great tattoos. It was B&W which made the head choppings and stuff easier to take. I'm looking forward to watching the 2 sequels.
"Like A Dragon" - a new Tashiki Miike flic that was confusing as heck. Not helped by bad subtitles that swapped genders around indiscriminately. Even with that stuck with it to the end and rather enjoyed it.
Pinkerton Lincoln Mcclernand
Click images for desktop size: "Pinkerton, Lincoln, McClernand" by Unknown
"Unfaithfully Yours" - the very cool Preston Sturges film about suspected infidelity. Great holiday fodder.
"Piglets Big Movie" - We were all kids once and its not a good idea to ever forget that.
"The Nine Lives Of Fritz The Cat" - Because we're not kids anymore. This film interests me. Ralph Bakshi did the original. It was his entry into features. Robert Crumb hated the original and killed Fritz, his strongest character off to prevent this sequel. Steve Krantz, a Chicago business man, wanted to be a big deal producer. Krantz started off producing some episodes of the first Spider Man cartoon. He hired this Robert Taylor guy to make a sequel. It did well enough for Krantz to get financing for a movie called "Cooley High" which was very good and a monster hit.
Rear Window It even spawned a tepid TV version called "What's Happening". But what makes it interesting is that Krantz loved being in Hollywood. He did all the mover things including dumping his long standing wife for some starlet wannabee. His wife, Judith, took to writing as a way to assuage his grief from the impending divorce. She wrote "Scruples" which was a mammoth best seller. Judith Krantz became the new "Jacqueline Suzanne" and churned out a series of boring sex filled pot boilers that were also huge best sellers. Maybe it was coincidental that the wife's income shortly exceeded his but he stopped the divorce. He still produces movies, mostly bad TV productions of his wife's stuff. Movies are fascinating, aren't they?
"Wheels On Meals" - Just to show people how the now rubbery and flaccid Jackie Chan deserved to be a star.
"Fearless - The Director's Cut" - Which really is Ronnie Yu's vision which makes the film must see viewing for more than its being Jet Li's final martial arts escapade. (He's clearly followed the career of Jackie Chan and can see where things go wrong as one ages.)
"Who's Your Caddy" - which is really really dumb. But such was the mood that even that was a pleasant enough diversion so long as you don't pay a whole lot of attention to it and clean the house while its playing. As for football I watched every single game I could. The Tennessee - Kentucky game was disappointing. If ever a team deserved to win it was Kentucky.
The Kansas - Missouri game was awesome. Well played and hard hitting.
LSU deserved to lose and the only part that bothers me will be if West Virginia gets into the BCS Championship Game.
West Virginia reminds me of the old BYU national championship. After a full season of playing nothing but mooks BYU went into their personal Holiday Bowl and played a 6-5 Michigan team. They beat them (and it is not a joke to say that given enough time you can coach a team to play any one game - hey, I coached my kids to play American Championship teams and to get wins we had no real claim to.)
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas" by Kabe Gami
The victory got BYU a national Championship. It bothered me a little at the time, the same way it will bother me if West Virginia gets to play for the Championship. But in the end you can only beat who's in front of you and everyone gets the same amount of time to prepare.
And for all of those kids its meaningful and they all expend the same amount of energy to get there.
So for the kids it is important.
Its the pollsters and the BCS computers who make this a joke while they give the kids a prize to aspire to. Now its time for the NFL!
And thinking about USC-UCLA this next Saturday. And wait for the BCS polls to see how far up the ladder we've moved.

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November 23, 2007

USC 44 Arizona State 24

Click images for desktop size: "Lady Of Red"

Football yesterday was uneven. The Thanksgiving day was pretty great.
Lots and lots of things to be thankful for.
Lots of things I hope become the everyday things I can simply expect from life: laughter, congeniality and dark open roads.
Alphaville (French) (1965) And dogs. Always life with friends and dogs.
No matter how bleak life gets you can usually rely on friends and you can always rely on your dog. That's something to be thankful for everyday.

As to the football:
The Green Bay game was very entertaining thanks to Brett Favre and Donald Driver. I was shocked at how good the Green Bay defense and special teams have become. But not as shocked as I was to see the Lions playing like they were running from the ghosts of their own past. They're a decent team who are evolving. I hope the coach and Kitna can keep them together to realize that 3 game losing streak was an occurrence and not a divine premonition.
The Dallas-Jets game was, sadly what was to be expected. A dominant performance from the Cowboys. I watched Tank Johnson play for the Cowboys with some pretty mixed feelings. Johnson is a solid player. He deserves a chance after all of his trouble with the police and with prison but i don't get any impression that all his troubles are behind him, nor that they made any true impact on him.
Worse, I don't think the Cowboys care. They just wanted a solid line man and to win.
I was surprised that I got the Colts-Falcons game free! Rah!
I don't know how this NFL Network thing can be allowed to exist. Hopefully I'll get it again for free for next Thursday so I can see Green Bay!
Anyway, I didn't get to watch much of the Colts win. My only real interest is that I'm 3-0 in my football picks contest this week!
I didn't get to watch it as I was glued to my computer "watching" USC at Arizona State.
Watching means going to ESPN and CSTV and staring at green fields with little icons bopping along while I try and visualize what's happening.
Lightfromtheleftturn Vitaly Yurchenko
Click images for desktop size: "Light At the Left Turn" by Vitally Yurchenko
It must work in some way.
I didn't move for most of the three hours.
It was a good game. A great game for John David Booty, and a good game for our defense, a lousy game for special teams. I mean -4 yards rushing allowed through 12 minutes of the 4th quarter!
It was a grand statement by Pete Carroll over the man USC considered before hiring Carroll.
I am glad that they didn't hire Ericson.
I was appalled by one thing that appeared to be.
I couldn't see the players, only the icons but the play calling made it look like Ericson quit on his team.
It started when the Sun Devils scored a touchdown off of a blocked punt with over 8 minutes left, bringing the score to 44-24. This year the Devils have a rep built on incredible 4th quarter comebacks. I was nervous, in fear of another "Miracle In The Desert."
Battleship Potemkin(1925)1Xs I was expecting the on side kick and then another mad touch down etc etc.
They kicked away.
Fair enough. I guess the plan was to rely on the defense for a 3 and out and then they'd fill the air with footballs.
The Devils' defense did okay but let the Trojans eat up 3 minutes!
Then instead of pitching the ball deep they RAN!
The Devil's ate up their own clock and their own chances. Then they PUNTED on fourth down . . .
USC went straight to the run game and marched downfield.
Then on 4th and 6 with an easy field goal in reach Pete Carroll did a nice sportsmanlike thing. No one would have blamed him for kicking the 3 pointer but he just ran a running play.
We turned the ball over on downs and left Arizona State with 1:18 on the clock.
Instead of trying to get that last TD against our second stringers the Devils ran the ball and ran out the clock.
I have no idea why and it depressed me, like they were saying we weren't ever really trying.

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November 19, 2007

Art for art's sake

Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Odilon Redon
Sometimes I think I'm anxious to post in the blog because I've found some pictures I like and I want other people to see them.
I get asked about the pictures a lot.
Usually by someone wanting to use them for something or other. Most of the time people just "hot-link" to them. That eats up my bandwidth so I have to change the name of the pic slightly so it doesn't link here anymore.
Most of the pictures are from people I know in some form or another.
Caltiki,Theimmortalmonster X01 (1960) Some are sent to me unrequested, some are pictures I've requested from people (I get turned down an awful lot on that score, which seems odd to me) A very few I've made myself.
The movie posters are just things I love.
I've been asked if the pictures and posters have anything to do with what I'm writing about. Of course they do, but perhaps it is in such a vague way that it is only apparent to me.
It doesn't matter much. I really do think the words are just interesting framing devices for the images.
In the same way that people always think I'm smaller than i really am, (To the point where I was standing next to a guy who was really huge, about 6'4" and the comment was made that he wasn't as big as they thought he was) people seem startled that I respond to visual arts.
I find some deeply moving. I have a definite preference for modern art. Don't care much for abstract. (I still like Georgia O'Keefes' comment when she was at LACMA, that she thought Rothko's canvases would make lovely rugs. I met her when she was photographing our friend Twinks for something or other. I liked her a lot. She liked that I played guitar and surfed.)
I still admire the dadaists a disproportionate amount, find expressionism depressing, and symbolic art pretty hit or miss. And I like photographs. I enjoy looking at all pictures, especially snapshots.
I always wanted to make a piece of art that would move someone.
That's a gift so far beyond me that I'm envious of everyone who can do it, and I get disgruntled by people with the ability and often the talent but without the courage to create art.
Which is a lot of blather about how much I like the pretty pictures I put up here.
It had a point.
Oh yeah. When I first started doing this I set up one of those Creative Commons things. My understanding is you can use the content here as long as you don't alter it or use it for some money making scheme. The people who let me put the pix up do so with that understanding.
Phedre Cabanel-1
Click images for desktop size: "Phedre" by Cabanel
So stop bugging me, is what I'm saying. Do something with the stuff if you can. You don't need my permission. Its art. Only the RAIA and dead painters estates care about it, or care enough to try and get in the way of you enjoying it.
And unless they've requested otherwise I won't give out addresses, emails or phone numbers.
And that I like putting them up as wallpapers/desktops.
I like working. Mac's let my desktop images dissolve one into the other every 15 minutes. So I like working especially when I suddenly see a beautiful image. It refreshes me, excites me, and pleases me.
I'd like to share that.
Eskimo Nell X01(Quad) I still haven't gotten my drugs. I fell for a rip-off and walked into it.
"You can't cheat an honest man," so I guess I deserve it. I'm going to squawk about it and make trouble if I can.
My friend's ex-employer keeps appalling me. They're proving worse than my ex bosses. Except my ex's were uneducated people struggling to do a task that was beyond them and they screwed up. These guys are educated, and pretend to be breathing the rarified air of entrepreneurship and international finance. It hurts me most because its happening to someone I care about.
My puppy is doing fine. She's a filthy mess and loving it.
I've got the old screaming toothache in my bones thing. I'll live.
This weekend was my worst ever football guesses. Since the Titans are getting stomped right now it looks like I'll be 8-8 for the weekend!
I hope USC beats ASU. Then I can go back to feeling smug.

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November 17, 2007

What A Difference A Day Makes
T Cullen

La Scapgliata - Leonardo Da Vinci
Click images for desktop size: "Detail-La Scapgliata" by Leonardo Da Vinci

Sick, sore confused.

Everything will be fine though. No reason to say that except for the same blind faith and trust that got me here in the first place.

I try not to think too much when my head is full of rueful thoughts. You can't trust a brain that leads you to where it wants you to go.

When your mind is flashing with confusion, anger, fear you're not going to make the right decision.

1984 You also shut yourself off from input that could help make a saner solution.

I think the best thing is to try and relax. Hard to do when in turmoil but I can't think of a better place to expend the energy.

It will keep you out of trouble or at least let you see the trouble you're walking into.

Last week I was 8-6 in the football picks. I would have been 9-5 except for the typo! I can't figure anyway to let them have that one.

The odd thing is that I still rose in the rankings! All the way to 23rd! Which is a long way from winning but certainly enough to fool myself that I have a chance.

Here are this weeks picks. My choices are in bold.

Arizona at Cincinnati - The Cardinals are showing some signs of life while the Bengals managed to claw up a fine defense even if they never punched it in for a TD. In the coming shootout you have to like Carson Palmer. Even in this disastrous season he's looked poised and good. Warner is still a warrior and has some tools but the Cardinal defense can't shut the Bengals down.

Carolina at Green Bay - I'm now an entrenched Brett Favre fan . . . and the Panthers are falling apart in a bad way. No QB, Steve Smith, their best player, gimpy and complaining. The Panther's D is shaky but has more to prove so this could be slightly interesting.
Lines Of Fate - Hexan Design
Click images for desktop size: "Lines Of Fate" by Hexan Designs

Cleveland At Baltimore - The Browns are looking good and this Anderson at QB seems the real deal. They don't know how to win yet so they're always risky (see the Steelers game last week). But the Ravens. . . Steve McNair benched. He played poorly and he may be too banged up to play at all much longer. Seems a real shame. Their defense is proud but the youngsters on the Browns side of the ball will eat them up.

Kansas City at Indianapolis - The Chiefs were much better last week than expected, even with the rookie QB rotated in but its ridiculous to expect the Colts to look that bad two weeks in a row. Manning takes things personally and this will be a big statement game for him.

Live Fast Die Young
Miami at Philadelphia - The Dolphins are now the most feared team in the league. No one wants to lose to a winless team. i don't think the Eagles have much chance of becoming their first victim. The Dolphins are going with John Beck, a rookie, at QN. He's talented and might make some plays but not enough.

New Orleans at Houston - This could be an interesting game. Both teams have little to play for except pride. I think that Brees and Bush have more of that than anyone else out there.

Oakland at Minnesota - This is the cruddy game of the week. I'm taking the Raiders because Daunte Culpepper is starting at QB. I've always liked him. And The vikings were pretty shameful in how they ended his long tenure with the team. I'm not taking the Vikings because they'll have no Adrian Peterson to upset things for them.

San Diego at Jacksonville - This is my game of the week. The Chargers managed to hang on last week against the Colts but for that first half they were dominant. the Jaguars are one of my favorite teams and David Garrard is supposedly really truly going to be back starting this Sunday. Yeah, I can't wait!

Tampa Bay at Atlanta - Back to the slaughter for the Falcons. They sketched out a win against poor teams. Jeff Garcia is coming off a week of rest and a loss. He'll prove his points this week

New York Giants at Detroit - Both teams are coming off of mind numbing losses. The Giants have been dead quiet this week except for Coughlin, their HC. He's been kind of silly. The Lions are back in the dome. They're tough there. This should be good. Kitna vs Manning; seems to me Kitna should win that.

Pyro By Stag
Click images for desktop size: "Pyro" by Stag

Pittsburgh at New York Jets - A real yawner. Most interesting thing will be seeing if the Jets get a dozen first downs.

Washington at Dallas - The kind of game where if the Cowboys lose it will be their fault and they'll hear about it for weeks. Gibbs, Redskins HC, keeps showing the game has passed him by.

St Louis at San Francisco - I don't think the Rams have turned any corners or anything but the 49er's get worse each week! Avoids cruddy game of the week status because I think you'll fall asleep before half time.

New England at Buffalo - If I didn't know how much guys like playing in prime time games I'd think moving this game to prime time was cruel. The Bills are coming on nicely and now they get thrown into the meat grinder that is Tom Brady and the Patriots. Weather will help the Bills keep this one closer than it should be.

Rocky Horror Picture ShowTennessee at Denver - Monday night gets an interesting one. The Titans should roll up the yards at first but are they conditioned to play in Mile High Stadium. While the Bronco's offense is showing some life, I don't think they're showing enough.

Chicago at Seattle - The game I don't even want to think about. Both teams look worse and worse each week. Now that the Sea Hawks have given up on the running game you have to figure Lovee Smith can come up with a defense. Personally if I were a Bear fan I'd start screaming about the Bear's letting Ron Rivera go!

Everything will be fine on my end.

So long as its fine on yours.

These picks are probably even worse than usual and are only intended to use to poke holes in my inflated ego.

November 12, 2007

Fate is a bridge of chance we build to someone we love Jae-young Kwak

New York City Madness
Click images for desktop size: "New York City Madness" by Tim Melideo

This weekend I looked at server log for this website.
I was surprised, incredibly and pleasantly.
For the first 10 days of November my little puppies web site has had nearly 250,000 visitors. Accounting for 11.1 gigabytes of bandwidth. We have 50 gigs so this is not a big issue.Wages Of Sin
What I found most pleasing was that 86% of her visitors were direct links or bookmarks. Only 1% from referrers (links on other web sites) and the rest from searches, like google and yahoo.
A surprising amount of the searches were from China, Japan and Korea.
Perhaps there's an overwhelming desire for Belgian Sheepdogs in Asia.
I hope for non-culinary reasons.
The last reason I had any cause to pay attention was over a year ago. The cause then was that I was nearing the bandwidth limit.
That time I discovered my puppy's web site had over 90,000 visitors. Then the old monthly average was around 50,000.
I'm glad my puppy interests people.
What is most pleasing about all this is that most of the traffic (I love using nerd/interent terms like I grasped the concept) is from bookmarks, and most of the bookmarks are from computer labs in grammar schools and from computers at Hospitals.
That's the reason that no matter how well intended the advice no matter how scary my finances are I can't put advertising on her pages.
The kids in schools deserve a break from their drudgery. They like my puppy's arrogance and self assuredness. They like that she never admits to being afraid.
They also seem to mainly like when my puppy is bum rapping me!
When I was a kid I was impressed with a neighborhood kid named Ron because he go away with sassing his step father. So, I do understand.
Its the kids in the hospitals who mean the most.
When I had the leukemia I was in oncology wards with too many children under 12. They were facing the same death sentence I was, except they didn't have the stoicism, cynicism or the rage I carry with me to help them deal with it. they were lost in something incomprehensible.
Click images for desktop size: "Solitude" by J Trager
I got into a bad habit I still carry with me, of acting like a silly fool.
I still don't care how ridiculous I look if it makes a child laugh, especially a child who is in tremendous undeserved pain.
How could I care?
If they laugh because my Doctor, Lawyer, Football Coach, Dog Teaching puppy thinks I'm old and stupid, my large ego can take the hit.
There's no way I could stand the money that might come from some sort of advertising. Certainly not from the indiscriminate Adsense or any other revenue source. Better to starve in Heaven or whatever.
I, selfishly, like that the kids have a web page they can look at and maybe laugh and take away nothing from it other than that.
Them On the football front I'm 8-5 for this weekend. I should be 9-4 except I clicked the wrong box on one of them!
What I find odd is that only one of my psycho picks didn't pan out. Three of the genuine losses were my caving in to the "line".
I still would have picked the Colts over San Diego. Who guessed Payton Manning would throw 6 picks and that Venetari would blow a chip shot!
The most pressing news is that I still haven't received my drugs!
I've been without them for 10 days. Actually only out of 1 of them. Its not a panic yet but it is a point of concern.
I've been nervous about it since I gave them my money, so part of this feels like I'll win if I get anything!
I've called them and they insist that they're hung up in customs. Possibly and probably. I don't really accept that as a customer that's my concern.
I keep remembering two quotes, Damon Runyon's "If a character walks up to you in a bar and bets you $5 that he can make the Jack of Hearts jump out of a deck of cards and spit lemon juice in your eye, you better get your handkerchief out."
And of course, W.C. Fields, "There's a sucker born every minute, so never give a sucker an even break or smarten up a chump."

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October 14, 2007

Arizona 13 USC 20

Ken Kelly1-1
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Ken Kelly

Finally getting to see USC play this year was an odd mixture of emotions.
They won in a fitful way. What I saw was a team pulling itself together. A team down to its third string O-Linemen anchored by a Center (Sobey) playing with 16 stitches in his hiking hand. A defense full of pride and deeply riddled with injury.
For the second and third quarter the team was a disgrace. They looked like what they were, 2nd stringers a year away from being great.
Angels Hard As They Come (1971)-1 When the game was on the line Joe McKnight (great nickname - "Oh no it's JOE!") and Mark Sanchez gave glimpses of what the future will hold. But they also showed why they're not starters now.
The emotion those kids displayed in the 4th quarter was touching, it made me glad they were playing a mediocre team so that driving emotion wasn't in vain.
What I also saw was that we were too highly ranked. Even healthy we don't have the wide receivers to make us an elite team. We miss Steven Smith and its very clear that Dwayne Jarrett made a mistake in leaving early for the NFL. He could have led this team and placed himself better for his NFL draft pick; clearly Dwayne could have the experience to his advantage on the field.
Fred Davis is a monster player but even a great tight end cannot be your primary receiver.
Still they're my alma mater and I am proud of them.
Playing this game is not as easy as the people in the stand think.

Last week I was 11-3 with my NFL picks. This was good enough for the top 95% and to raise me to the top 60%. Not good enough for a prize. And the prize this week was a WiFi enabled watch that gives updates of all the scores! Or a thousand bucks.
I've had a thousand bucks before (though it seems like ancient history) but I've never had a watch that gave you all the scores AND TOLD YOU THE TIME!
Of my picks the only loss that disappointed me was Green Bay's. I saw a coach who doesn't know how to win. McCarthy started out with a good strategy but then crippled his gunslinger legend (Favre) and "played it safe" which is a sure way to lose always.
This week my picks are in BOLD.

Cincinnati at Kansas City - Can The Bengals keep recovering from horrific starts? Beats me. The Chiefs are growing and improving. The Bengals are without their best running threat. But Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson are just too much fun and play with too much love for me to pick against them. This will be a statement game from them.
Click images for desktop size: "Love Of Hearts" by Anonymous

Houston at Jacksonville - These are two teams I haven't seen anything of, and they've both gone through some pretty drastic changes since last season. I'm taking the Jaguars because of Jack Del Rio and that I don't think that the Texans have quite learned how to win yet. Landry makes me nervous as a coach. Quarterback's don't make the transition to great head coaches. Their position on the field has a certain tunnel vision, a set of instincts and mind set that doesn't translate well to seeing the entire game.

Miami at Cleveland - The cruddy game of the week. Picking the Browns as they seem a touch less cruddy, I mean they somehow won two games and did hammer the Bengals.

Minnesota at Chicago - I don't think the Bears are back but I do think that the Vikings are facing a disastrous year. their O-Line is in disarray and when that happens a new offense looks even worse. The big interest will be OU's Adrian Peterson matching up with Brian Urlacher. It will be a pleasant contest of physical and mental skills. The Bears are a mess but have far more talent.
Astro Zombies Philadelphia at New York Jets - A cruddy game of the week contender. The Jets are in a loser's mindset. They're even going the New York route of ripping their teammates! Disconcerting when they're ripping the guys who are playing the hardest, if not the best. The Eagles aren't much better but are still capable of showing flashes of excellence, like from memories, like a great song where you sort of remember the melody but can't quite recall the chorus.

St Louis at Baltimore - Yet another cruddy game of the week contender. I've loved Steve McNair all the way back from his days as Air McNair at Alcorn State. I have to face the facts that he's gotten old and beaten up. Toughness is a great thing but often the body just quits. Like running 100 yard dashes until you vomit, then keep running them until you pass out. The defense is playing well enough to hammer a Ram's team that is totally lost and confused.

Tennessee at Tampa Bay - This should be a good one. Gruden is not my favorite coach but he is fully capable of stopping the run and maybe even handling most of Vince Young's heroics. The same can be said of the Titans D facing a more lackluster Buc's O. Sometimes I like 13-7 games when its a chess match. this one should be. Picking the Titans because they've had a bit more experience believing in themselves.

Washington at Green Bay - I'm picking the Packers. This is an important game for both teams. Its a defining game. A chance for either of them to show that they've stepped up and are ready to contend. When that happens you have to go with Favre although Gibbs is a far better coach than McCarthy, he still hasn't shown a true appreciation of the modern game. The Packers should shut down the air attack and the Redskins running game is pretty banged up. Another highly enjoyable game and would have been my game of the week except that the game of the year is happening.

New England at Dallas - This is the game of the year! (At least until New England and the Colts meet up . . . possibly). If you follow the sport you should be inundated with enough hype. Brady, the tough lovable vet - Romo, the heir apparent coming off his worst week in the NFL. Randy Moss vs Terrell Owens. Oh yeah. Solid defenses at least one football genius on the sidelines. Got to take the Pats until they show some vulnerability.
Click images for desktop size: "Melody 2" by Reed Crandall

Carolina at Arizona - It feels like feast or famine this week. Another cruddy game. For the Panthers David Carr keeps proving he's been over rated - he can't even get the ball into the hands of Steve Smith! Arizona is less of a mess but its worrisome to see Matt Linhart out of the line up, for personal reasons. The Cardinals are steadying while the Panthers keep tumbling. Watch Carr have a breakout game to make me look foolish!

New York Giants at Atlanta - The Falcons won one for pride. The Giants won one for pride. Now if either one of them could play some good entertaining football. picking the Giants only because the Falcons might take years to recover form the Vick debacle.

New Orleans at Seattle - Okay, I'm picking with my heart. The Saints can't be this bad, really they can't. Seattle is looking like a mess that might stumble into the play offs. Normally I'd take them in a game like this, but Drew Brees and Reggie Bush, I mean, come one!

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October 12, 2007

Its living on it and dying on it, that's whats what makes it ours
John Steinbeck

Kandinsky Contrasting-Sounds
Click images for desktop size: "Contrasting Sounds - Detail" by Kandinsky
I watched the new "3:10 To Yuma".
I like westerns. I like that the future is nothing but possible.
The best thing about it was how easily it forced me to recall the original Delmar Daves, Glenn Ford, Van Heflin western.
This one held my interest the most when it did direct quotes from the original. In the end the new version merely pointed out the weaknesses of the new director, James Mangold. It became a trite entertainment instead of the assertion of humanity that the minor original contained and exploited.
1966 - The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Russell Crowe's portrayal of Ben Wade was too much of a sociopath to ever feel comfortable with. glenn Ford's Ben Wade was an outlaw, an intelligent killer but not a bad man. His actions were always true to himself. Ford's Wade was a western sensualist and the movie's ending seemed wish fulfillment and natural, a satisfying conclusion to a play where he cast himself as the hero.
Christian Bale's Dan was weak and deceptive. Heflin's Dan was weak but infinitely true to himself and his self image. Most irritating in this new version was the use of the son. It was manipulative to cast the kid into the company of danger merely because Mangold had no faith in the intelligence of his audience and mainly because Mangold has no faith in people. He used the kid as a club. A man would not follow through on an impossible task for his own self esteem , his own pride and his own vision of the world, a man would only be brave to perpetuate a deception and to promote a lie.
In terms of ability to tell a story, Mangold clearly had no faith in his own abilities. He erased all the tension. Tension is tough to convey to an audience. It takes skill. Mangold turned away from the tension and turned it into a "road movie". Road movies require the least skill. Every film student has at one time or another made a road movie. They're easy. All you have to do is keep moving, keep your characters extreme and unnatural.
The movie made me sad. American films have stopped believing in people as heroes.
We are heroes.

Tomorrow I'm excited. I'll get to see USC play Arizona on TV. I'll get to see Sanchez make his first start and hope to see something magical that might save the Trojan's season.
It will make up for the incidental stress of this week. Nothing really, just fighting with the same stuff we all fight with. Getting the cable to look right, getting the internet to work right and dealing with the out-sourced customer support.
I've been feeling sicker and more in pain this week, but I've been happy so it doesn't seem so bad. I keep waiting for something shattering to happen and hoping it won't.
I'm taking my bike in for repair. It didn't do well in the moving van. I miss my E-Bike. I have to do laundry tomorrow.
Tough life, huh?
The only real worry is my puppies paw. Its healing fine but I want it well. She's so happy but still worried about me. She's worried too much and still struggling to fit in to this new world. She loves me and tries her hardest.
Kernhal Runhome 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Run Home" by Kernhal
And here it is coming up on week six in the NFl and none of my kids have been cut from their teams. I don't see them getting playing time yet but they're still out there having a chance at a dream.
So my life is something that can only be described as good. Too fast and too . . . too . . .
I don't know, it just is and there's everything right about that.

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July 9, 2007

You're something there ain't nothing lower than
Broderick Crawford

Theorphans Thefozz
Click images for desktop size: "The Orphans" by The Fozz
For no real reason I've decided that Alkaline Trio is my favorite group.
Probably because I've listened so much to "Remains", and likely because Tesla's new one "Real To Reel" is covers, they even sink to covering their own stuff - and its faithful covers, not new just the old songs done reverentially.
And The White Stripes have gotten too big. I enjoy Jack White but the passion and expectations of deliverance are gone, replaced with boring confidence and amazing skill.
There's just nothing new out there that socks and amazes me anymore, except Matt Skiba and Alkaline Trio.
Pride Of The Yankees Xlg - 1941
My friend said something I was stunned by. She thinks that all surf music sounds the same!
As a guy who has 16 versions of "Pipeline" and can identify the guitarist and the group from the attack on the first note of the opening glissando I am, needlessly and obviously, shocked!
She claims that because she likes the Duo Tones acoustic surf album that exonerates her from this onerous claim. The Duo Tones don't really count. Back in the day you always could identify a Dick Dale tune by his speed, Link Wray by his hysterical attack, Paul Johnson by his his exuberant precision and Gil Orr by his technical proficiency.
Since Duo Tones are Paul Johnson and Gil Orr and since both of them learned classical guitar first (hey, the lead guitarist in Anthrax studied jazz guitar before he discovered thrash) I contend that, while the Duo Tones are definitely surf liking them doesn't count as appreciating surf music.
I've always figured that all instruments are just a way to approximate the human voice while trying to isolate and purify the tone. (Except percussion which is just approximating the pounding of bones on rocks, which is why I studied drums first).
In surf music the guitar replaced the lead vocalist. The guitarist was the front man of the combo. Surf music was too cool for words. When Dick Dale invented it by using the Fender Reverb unit to make his blazing fast riffs sound like a vaseline machine gun every kid in the South Bay discovered a calling.
Now one thing modern surf bands, like the Aqua Velvets et al forgot was that surf music isn't tiki rooms and ultra lounge,its hard scuff up the floor boards dancing music.
Click images for desktop size: "Zebra" by Unknown
The kids who played it had to be better musicians than most garage band types. Almost all of them had actually had lessons!
This was a rock and roll where they could get all the chicks and get to show off.
Very few of the guys in surf bands could surf. Which was cool. When we parked our vans at a break and turned the tape decks up loud it was more likely the Ramones or reggae we surfed to. Surf music was for the drive along PCH, scoping the waves and starting to feel the pump.
I like surf music. It will never fade away.

The All Star game is tomorrow.
I'm stoked. Baseball is the only sport where an All Star game really works. It reminds me of the pick up games in the park. No pressure, just the fun of the game and a casual interest in victory.
Few things are as beautiful as that.

I've bought boxes home to start packing.
I might be leaving my cruddy job right on time. Today I've had to deal with appraisers and Structural engineers. Why the hell an hourly employee is left to their own devices in handling the brass tacks of a multi-million dollar transaction is totally beyond me.
One thing I'm certain of is that something isn't right. We've been told, and I know they lie to us at will, is that this is for the new investors. . . An environmental report for investors?
This smells of a major refi or, most probably, a sale.
I might be mistaken but I've been here before, although not in the lowly capacity I now have.
This is the oddest place I've ever worked. The fellow who I threatened about dumping his dog has quit, called from 4 states away to say he quit without notice.
What a jerk.
At least he didn't leave the dog tied up to a fence post . . .

June 16, 2007

I just hold the ball like this and then throw the hell out of it
Steve "Lefty" Carlton

Benny Darkday2 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Dark Day II" by Benny
Every pitcher I've ever known has had the same mind set as a Weakside Line Backer on a run blitz.
Justin Verlander just threw a no hitter for the Tigers a couple of weeks ago. It still resonates. That's one of the things I love about baseball. The game stays the same forever. A no hitter today conjures memories of every no hitter before it. It augments the legend and illuminates the beauty of one man and his team rising to a level of perfection. And it makes perfection real and attainable.
Verlander got his no hitter the way I like them, with 100 mile an hour fastballs.
The last no hitter I saw was in person was Nolan Ryan's, way back when he was a California Angel. Ryan threw the hundred mile an hour fastball. HE had the rep of being a "nice" guy. He also had a rep for having control problems. Control problems - One of Ryan's records is striking out the side on 9 pitches. No fouled balls, just 9 pitches in a row three batters couldn't even touch. That isn't a control problem.
1959 - Hot Money Girls I always figured that Ryan kept the control problem ruse going to give him an edge. You know a 100 mph fastball can kill you, break bones if it hits you. If you were facing a guy who had control problems you're going to have to work awfully hard to on concentrating after the first pitch slips away from him and comes at you head high and behind you.
I think the ruse was more effective than Don Drysdale's. Drysdale's wasn't a ruse though. Drysdale remembered anyone who got a game winning hit off of him and then would proceed to intimidate, head hunt and humiliate you for the rest of your career. Batters really had to decide how much they wanted to win when Drysdale was on the mound.
How much simpler and saner to have "control problems". How much more intimidating when you never know when death's retaliation will come hurtling down at you.
He was a beautiful pitcher and one of the best I've ever seen.
The first no hitter I'd ever seen was Sandy Koufax's perfect game. I was 7 or 8. My grandfather took me that day. Back then I played baseball at the parks or empty lots, always running through my batter's litany (which I ran through even at my last game). Keep the label up. Don't close you eyes when you swing. Drop the bat, don't throw it before you run down to first.
Even with that limited knowledge Koufax was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. When I caught my first 6 foot peeler a few years later Koufax was the reference point I used to describe that waves beauty, power and elegance.
When I look at art I see few that can compare and only a handful of paintings or sculptures that can stand up to the glory of Koufax in the 9th inning of that game.
I was a decent hitter. Like most batters I divide the strike zone into a base 9 sectioned rectangle (High, low, middle - inside, outside, middle) and then I quarter each section. I know where I can hit the ball in that diagram. I know where I can't hit it. The diagram shifts depending on the umpires view of the strike zone and then shifts again depending on the speed and delivery of the pitcher.
I'm All Ears
Click images for desktop size: "I'm All Ears" by Unknown
I think Koufax saw the strike zone as a series of floating dots, the size of dimes. He remembered what you did to the ball the last times you were at the plate and marked it down in his head, then he threw the ball to the dot where he knew you couldn't do anything with it.
When I was in my 20's a friend got a coaching job in San Luis Opisbo. He got a house in Half Moon Bay. His next door neighbor was Sandy Koufax. I went up there and we spent a Saturday watching Koufax practice his golf swing, mess around in his yard. It was a remarkable day.
Later my friend got friendly with Koufax and said I should come up for a BBQ or something like that and meet him. I didn't. I never wanted to talk to him. What if he didn't like me? Or, far worse, what if I didn't like him? He was a work of art, a monument. I couldn't have lived if he'd just been a man.
Delinquent Parents (Hs) X01 On Wednesday I have to go to the hospital for some tests. There was a delay to schedule me for "the machines". I'm not fond of machines where they strap me down naked underneath it while they put on lead aprons, welding masks then stand behind 6 inches of lead impregnated glass and another wall of solid lead. ZI'm not so stupid that I don't know its safer to back there with them!
The tests are for some weird numbness in my right arm. No stroke or heart attack. The easy answers gone they go to the machines. I only have to pay the same 20 bucks as for a regular doctor visit so its cool.
Worse is that one of the dogs I cared for Memorial Day weekend has "offended" his owner. He wants to dump her and sees no correlation between his treatment of her and the way she is. I threatened him. I can still draw the fire so maybe he'll listen. I doubt it but he does know I'll carry through if the puppy suddenly "runs away".
And the next door neighbors and I had a set to. Two dogs gone, one dead from being mistreated, another found running down a busy street (8 week old tiny puppy). There's a 3rd dog living there . . . as abused as the others.
I made my point with them but cowards who take their hate and neglect out on an innocent tiny puppy aren't capable of listening.
My ride just showed up for volleyball.

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April 4, 2007

Kid, what's it worth to you?

Click images for desktop size: "Safe" Major League Baseball
I've been a bit . . . unwell.
Saw the doctors today on an emergency visit. Its a good news/bad news thing.
The good news is that I don't have to take that horrible oral chemo till they sort it all out.
The bad news is that my white blood cell count is too high and red cells too low - which explains a lot about how I've been feeling.
The worst part is just the general malaise and fatigue. There's freaky pain but its just pain and nowhere near as bad as the pain of losing a friend.

I lost a friend today.
Eddie Robinson passed away. He was 88. He coached football.
He wasn't like what most people would consider a friend. I met him once when he spoke at a conference for coaches.
I was coaching in England then. Had just started. I loved the kids but there were odd things - just as an example. I was the HC but before every game I had to mark out the field, set up the end zone and all the field markers. Then after the games I had to break all down and put it all away.
1956 - The Creature Walks Among Us Nothing wrong with doing that but it felt weird.
I cornered Coach Robinson and talked about it. He told me about when he started at Grambling he had to do the same thing.
He got to the point where he looked forward to it and when Grambling Football got big enough to support a full time grounds crew he sometimes even missed it.
I remembered that. I always remember it too the first time some players showed up early just so they could help me get the field ready for game day. My team were considered socially excluded, which is fancy talk for being bums and hoodlums. It meant a lot on that day - I remember thinking that the sun cut through the early morning haze a bit quicker that day.
I never saw them that way but the rest of the UK did. The hardest part was making sure they didn't see themselves that way.
I talked to Coach Robinson a few times about it. I've talked to a lot of football coaches in my time and one thing he and I never discussed were X's and O's.
We never discussed the mechanics of playing the game on the field. He always talked about getting the players prepared to step on that field and more importantly about the time when they would step off the field forever.
Coach Robinson won a lot of football games. He's still number 1, 2 or 3 all time. (I'm not sure where Bobby Bowden or Coach Paterno fit in on the list). He sent a heck of a lot of players to the NFL. He was proud of them but I think he was prouder of the players who left the game and opened their own businesses and raised families.
The few times we talked it was always about how to use this sport of ours to get these young men ready to win in the important game out there in the world.
That's what I'll miss the most, that there is one less man on this planet who thinks that more important than dollars, more important than fame, is the importance of being proud of yourself, of loving your community, of loving your family. That more important was how much love you could give, not how much you could take.
The coaches most important job was to instill those qualities in the players who came to you and to teach them that those qualities won on and off the field.
Eddie Robinson was a great coach and a great man.
Blatte Satinends 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Satin Ends" by Blatte
There's a lot more that's been going on.
My little foster puppy Noelle is on her 1 week trial for her new forever home. I hope it works out. I was surprised to discover that some people think that they are getting to try out the puppy for a week, and some think the puppy gets to try out the new parents. I think its just enough time to see if they fit and can become a family.
I have a new puppy to share the place with my puppy. She's older and a bit scared right now. She just came an hour ago.
She'll be fine.

I got a raise at work! Fifteen months after my last raise. I got 3% which would be okay if I were making 60K plus.
I get paid by the hour so the raise is less than $500 per year . . . or about less than half the going rate of inflation.
I merited this raise because I increased net profits by 18%.
What is shocking is that they'll be shocked when I quit.

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January 31, 2007

But I'm still alive

Click images for desktop size: "Merrie Flower" by Unknown
At the doctors today.
I had to sit next to a woman. indeterminate age, but older. She was about 5'4", 190 to 200 pounds, straw like auburn hair that was losing the battle to gray. She wore two dirty gray sweat suits against the cold and talked as much to her writhing fingers as she did to me. She wore a touch of rouge and some badly applied too red lipstick.
I found her attempts at make up touching for some reason.
She asked me, "Where you going to be living when you die?"
She didn't wait for an answer. "I don't want to be found by strangers. I don't want strangers going through my stuff. They'd like as steal all the treasures. They would!"
This was a pretty unsettling line of conversation. I'd never given any thought to it.
"I've seen them graves, them paupers graves. Just throw you in a cardboard box and stack you 12 by 12 they do. Don't want that for me. Spending eternity with strangers rotting right next to you. I got me a plan. I'm getting one of them TV life insurances. Pay five thousand dollars they says. No questions asked. No physical!"
I couldn't comment on her plan. It was better than mine, which is . . .
Then she started to cry. If you could ever call crying masculine that's what she was doing.
I patted her shoulder for lack of anything better.
5 The receptionist called me then. I went to the door and asked her if the woman would be all right.
The receptionist said, "Oh, she gets herself worked up all the time. She snaps right out of it."
She was gone when my appointment ended.

Its time to think about the Superbowl . . . Really, it is.
And I just don't know. I think the Colts being a touchdown favorite is a bit suspect. But that's as deep as it goes.
When it comes down to coaching, Tony Dungy has proven he's a class act who can handle more stress than a mere game. His tactic of keeping his players at home for an extra day drew fire but, if he wins, others will emulate it.
Lovee Smith is near as capable and also a class act. In fact these two may be the classiest coaches ever to be in the big game.
You have to give the Colts a slight edge on this.
The games biggest draw is the Colts O vs the Bears D. If Tommie Harris and Mike Brown were healthy the Bears would be an easy pick.
The Colts O-Line is very good. Good enough to control the Bears front four but not good enough to handle the blitzes or the Bears front 7. Manning was able to stage a brilliant comeback against a crippled Patriots Defense. Even without two Superstars the Bears D is much stronger than that. I have to give an edge to the Bears.
Manning will have a hard time with the pressure and the Bears should force some turnovers.
Flipping it around the Bears O is scary for all the wrong reasons. Rex Grossman is not a Superbowl QB, but he makes some super plays. Their running game will take a while to get going but they will wear the Colts down. Colts DE Freeny will have to step up fast and play the game of his career for a full 60 minutes or the Bears will run the guys down and allow Grossman to make his safe throws.
I can't really foresee that, altho it is more than possible.
Considering all that I pick the Bears.
But what I really think is that the game will be a blow out for one team or the other.

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January 15, 2007

Happy MLK day

Mooney337-Outwiththelioninwiththelamb 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Out with the lions, In with the lamb" by Mooney
I had to work.

It was certainly good, bad, ugly and bizarre in the Division Playoffs this weekend.
The Good was the New Orleans Saints. They and the Eagles played the best game of this NFL season. It had everything, big plays, clean hits and tackles, elegance and toughness.
The bad was the Bears win over the Seahawks. It was just dreadful football. The only interesting thing was watching Brian Urlacher. When Tommie Harris is in the line up Harris acts like a giant full back opening up blitzing lanes for Urlacher. Then is when Urlacher plays like a demon sent down from a higher league. Without the giant tackle squashing the line and keeping the guards off of him Urlacher looked merely great.
The ugly was the Colts-Ravens game. NO TOUCHDOWNS!!! Manning looked like a average NFL QB and then shocking said for the record that he wanted “as much credit for wins as he gets for losses”! As the quote is always out of context its hard to imagine what happened. Did he have a sudden personality change? Was he overcome with self pity? Was he joking?
Poster - Oldboy And the bizarre was the Patriots getting throttled, abused and man handled by the Chargers yet still managing to win!
The most insane play was when the Patriots went for it on 4th and 5. Brady threw an interception and instead of just batting the ball down the Charger took off with it. If he'd just dropped the pass the Chargers take over 25 yards better off, but he takes off with it then Troy Brown (One of my fave NFL players) reached in and stripped the ball from him! Fumble, Patriots recover, Touchdown . . . rah!

So this weeks Championship games are . . . creepy. Frankly I'm bored with seeing the Colts and the Patriots square off . . . It will be a decent game. Interesting to see if Manning finally gets to the Superbowl with his worst team ever.
Saints at Bears is hard to call. Both teams are giving up big plays and making big plays. You have to lean to the Saints as a better team especially with the Bears missing Harris and Brown. The Bears have too many other good players on D to ever let an opponent rest easy.

My two foster dogs appear to have found homes. My puppy doesn't miss them except in the same way she misses her toys that she loses.
Tomorrow is the big deciding day for one of them. The adoption service I work with has a strict policy of a one week trial adoption. It makes good sense when your attitude is to find the best family mix for dog and humans.

I got pressed this weekend in a conversation. The end result of it was me having to admit that even with the lousy job, the money worries etc. I'm pretty happy - brain running to fast to admit it sometimes. Its easy to be happy when you have a great dog.

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January 8, 2007

Seperation will not part us

Christian Donner Chrome 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Chrome" by Christian Donner
I didn't post my picks for the Wild Card games out of respect for the passing of USC kicker Mario Danelo.
Its shocking whenever a 21 year old dies, let alone a young man who was looking down the road to a bright and happy future.
I don't know the exact place where Mario fell, but I do know the cliffs around San Pedro. Used to use them for some hang gliding.
As he was raised there I can easily imagine him scampering out there to see the moon on the ocean or maybe catch a sunrise reflecting off the waves and turning them silver.
Its sad.
Pete Carroll (USC head coach) made a statement about how this affected the entire Trojan Family. It may sound like rhetoric to outsiders but when my wife was in hospital every week their were fresh flowers from the Athletic Dept. Coaches and coaches wives came to visit, teammates and present members of the team came by to talk to her, me to be there and make it not seem so all alone.
At her services a teammate and the present member who wore my number acted as pallbearers.
Poster - London After Midnight (2)
In the midst of loss its easy to forget the depth of feeling that people can stir up inside you. Generally its only years after the general wash of emotions have subsided that you can understand the people reaching out to you and the comfort they offered and received.
The USC Trojans will miss and remember Mario.

This weekends Games look so much better than the Wild Card games, as they should actually.

Seattle at Chicago - Chicago whomped all over the Seahawks in the regular season. The Seahawks have since looked abysmal. I picked the Cowboys to beat them last week. And still flailing and stumbling they arrive in Chicago. The Bears front four is in disarray, with arrests and injuries. The Bear offense continues to be unreliable but potent when it does work. I'd give the points and take the Bears. The Seahawks have nothing to brag about and looked pretty poor against Dallas.

Philadelphia at New Orleans - The top NDC match for sure. The Eagles are playing hot ball, always succeeding when they need to. The Saints are a juggernaught though and the bye week will come in very handy for them. I expect the Saints to win but not easily.

Indianapolis at Baltimore - I picked the Chiefs to beat the Colts last week. Well, I expected the Chiefs' O-Line to at least try and block someone! Payton Manning is a great QB but the Colts continue to find ways to lose in the playoffs. Baltimore and Steve McNair will be ready for him. Remember McNair and Manning were Co-MVP's just a couple of years ago. McNair's been to the SuperBowl and knows how to get back there. Go Ravens.

New England at San Diego - The game of the season! It would have been better as the AFC Championship game. LT vs Brady. It doesn't get much better than this. Brady doesn't lose in the Playoffs, until last year at Denver. The Chargers are the best team in the AFC and I'm picking them to win this one but if I were betting money I'd take the Patriots and the points.

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November 5, 2006

Most of the time, its hard enough just being ourselves
USC 42 Stanford 0

Luisroyo Theneedlesofjoy
Click images for desktop size: "The Needles Of Joy" by Luis Royo
Its been a chaotic week. On Sunday I avoided getting hit by a car while on my bike and I really torqued my back.
Its been giving me a lot of pain ever since. As in 5 minutes putting on my socks bad.
The good part about that was that it made clear to me that the antibiotics I've been eating have knocked out most of the major pain I was feeling before.
I don't know if that is a fair trade off. I also never imagined how many times I bend down.
I haven't missed any work. I have been glad things have been slow.

High school football season is over. We won on Monday (the postponed game from the Friday) 52-0. It was the final home game. No band. Poor turnout but the kids learned to play for the joy of the game all over again. It was an admirable performance. All the seniors got on the field.
It was also where some more damage was done to my back. I don't blame anyone. For a football player, after the personal fantasies, a couple of their big dreams are to win a game where the fans storm the field and tear down the goal posts. ANother is to carry their coach off the field. Except usually coaches don't have bad lumbars that make it hard to keep themselves erect, nor do they have a puppy who is not so keen on seeing the coach raised out of their reach.
What's a little more damage when it helps some one make a small dream come true.
Poster - Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!(3) On Friday we played the team that won the conference. They whalloped us 31-7.
The score was secondary. They were a much better team. What was important was that the kids kept playing. They never just gave up.
That was more important to me than a story book ending. Story book endings are pleasant dreams that play through your head and bring smiles on cold nights. Playing through at maximum speed when it looks hopeless is something that sticks with you through out life.

My near legendary search for a housemate rolls on.
And on.
Oh, and on.
One looks promising. 3 have been jerks. 2 have left me numb. 1 would have been pleasant but her father had problems with me being male and not Chinese.
And on.

Last week was my worst week ever in picking NFL games!! I was 5-8. This knocked me all the way down to 147th!
With that in mind my picks this week are in bold.

Atlanta at Detroit - I like the Lions. I really do. Michael Vick has been too hot. I don't think it will last all season, but who knows. The Falcons' strengths hit right at the Lions' weaknesses.

Cincinnati at Baltimore - GAME OF THE WEEK! This one has me excited. The Ravens front 7 against the patchwork Bengals' O-Line will be something to witness. And the ball hawking Bengals secondary and punishing D-Line will make some head cracking plays. I hope it all comes down to McNair and Carson Palmer. That would make this a symphony. Chad Johnson makes me laugh and is good for the game. The NFL should be rewarding and not fining him. No Fun League.
Click images for desktop size: "Melons" by Pixelhust
Dallas at Washington - Okay. I was wrong about Tony Romo. I'm not wrong about Parcells and Gibbs being vastly over rated. I still see this as a who cares game with the Cowboys being slightly less awful.

Green Bay at Buffalo - Brett Favre has never been away. I think this will be a close game. The Bills still have not learned how to win, but they are a talented team.

Houston at New York Giants - Last week the Texans proved they have no business in the NFL. They sat David Carr down. No one has even bothered to report whether he will still be a back up this week, so little is the interest. The Giants have to view this as a chance to tune up and work out the kinks before the monster game next week against the Bears.

Kansas City at St Louis - There are a lot of factors in this game, both talent wise, emotionally and in coaching. Its going to be fun seeing what the two first year coaches bring today. I'm taking the Chiefs because Larry Johnson is still one of the finest young men I've ever met and Herm Edwards is a superior coach.
Shadows Of Death-1024 Miami at Chicago - Just like the Giants get a tune up before next weeks “Clash”, so do the Bears. Miami is a better team that Houston but not by much. Nick Saban is not much of a coach and Lovee Smith is getting more and more impressive. Blow Out of the week.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay - Last week the Saints, my team of destiny, got stuffed. I still liked the way they played when it looked hopeless. They played like a college team running on emotion. The Buc's have looked better, hard to look worse, but the Saints will need to win to continue to believe in themselves. That makes them the pick. I still think they are a team of destiny.

Tennessee at Jacksonville - What has happened to the Jaguars? Inconsistent is one thing but erratic is quite another! I never figured that Jack del Rio would come up with a one man team, but with Byron Leftwich as that man it is what he has. Talent-wise the Titans can't stay on the field with the Jags. But . . .

Minnesota at San Francisco - This should be an utter blow out. If it isn't then the Vikings need to rethink their play off aspirations. Goodbyesky
Click images for desktop size: "Goodbye Sky" by Adrianna
Cleveland at San Diego - Even with the Shawn Merriman fiasco the Chargers are still looking too strong and playing well. The Browns aren't ready to take it to the West Coast yet. WIthout Merriman I'd still look for Winslow to have a big day for the Browns.

Denver at Pittsburgh - Both teams got beaten last weekend, both in different but bad ways. Cowher is looking like an idiot by insisting a dinged up Rothlisberger is the man when Charlie Batch has played better and WON! The Bronco's will recover and score enough.

Indianapolis at New England - Runner up game of the week. Manning and Brady are two of the best to ever play this game. Both are on teams where the talent around them is dwindling. The game is on prime time network when both these guys have shined. I'm taking the Pats over the undefeated Colts just for that reason. The Colts keep withering when under the big spotlight.

Oakland at Seattle - The cruddy game of the week is on Monday night . . . Someone already told me that this gave him an excuse to see what has going on in “Rasslin'”.

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October 23, 2006

The changing from sunlight to moonlight

Click images for desktop size: "Pirates"
I guess I'm getting old.
My memory of the distant past is growing sharper and more distinct. Good memories and bad. Like when I was four and my mother said I could buy a toy. (even today a reason to celebrate)
Suddenly a fellow was shouting that the store was closing in 5 minutes. Instead of being able to weigh and consider all that Woolworths had to offer I had to grab something quickly . . .
I'm getting old.
Wondering what coloration my mind has made to the past. I'm giving the past as much consideration as I usually give to the present.
I guess that's what it means to get old.

Poster - Curse Of The Mummy's TombIt looks like my search for a housemate is over. This fellow seems eager enough. I'm not thrilled about it. Not his fault at all. Its all to do with me.
My puppy and I like being to our own devices. We like getting things and putting them where we like them. Problem is can't afford the rent on our own and there is a room and a bathroom we never even think of entering. . . so, he's supposed to come by and give me money on Friday and then the rest of the money for the month on the Weds following.
Yeah, that's why I'm doing it.

Practice this morning was good. There were some lost eyes on the field but the focus stayed true. The goals are still there. Things were up tempo.
We talked about the World Series. I haven't had much interest in this series. I think the Cardinals are boring. I liked the Tigers but I have a hard time with American League teams as a rule. The DH rule. I like the Tigers young fireballers, and “Pudge” Rodriguez is one of the best catchers of all time. But last night got my interest rekindled. I loved the dirt ball fiasco.
While I don't think major league umpires can be fooled by an old fashioned mudball the mere concept of it has a poetry. Add to it the age of the pitcher and his incredible streak of 24 scoreless innings in the playoffs and series; it softens my heart and makes me yearn for beauty.

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October 22, 2006

The main thing to remember

Lost Soul By L8
Click images for desktop size: "Lost Soul" by l8
I forgot to mention, we lost on Friday 39-7. I was very proud of the kids. They played well despite all the insanity swirling around them.
We have film today. It won't be interesting. Too many turnovers from us. I understand that.
This Friday is the final home game. It will be interesting to see how much support we get, how many people will be in the stands.

Last week was my worst week yet for picks. I was 8-5. I would have enjoyed going 7-6 to see Matt Linhart and the Cardinal upset the Bears. Wasn't to be.
Here are this weeks guesses. My picks are in bold.

Carolina at Cincinnati - Carolina is playing good ball right now. The Bengals are not. This is the week for the Bengals to prove something to themselves. The Panthers are feeling sure of themselves. The only real worry for the Bengals is Julius Peppers going up against a banged up or replacement tackle. If they can handle him this will be a pretty cool shootout with Carson Palmer remembering Chad Johnson.
Poster - Alien Vs Predator (Teaser 3)
Detroit at New York Jets - As glad as I was to see the Lions win one you can't get past how well the Jets have proven they can play. I expect this to be close but home field and Chad Pennington should make a difference.

Green Bay at Miami - I can't see any game with Brett Favre in it being the cruddy game of the week. Take Favre out and this has all of the nothing you could ask for. Dolphins' coach Nick Saban has never dealt with this sort of losing attitude and I can't see him fixing things against a desperate Packers squad.

Jacksonville at Houston - Even if Leftwich has to sit out playing the inept Texans is the game to miss. The Jag's defense will eat David Carr alive. You have to wonder about the front office liars who picked non-factor Mario Williams in front of Reggie Bush. Since there's been no reports of attempted suicide you have to figure they are smug in their ineptness.

New England at Buffalo - This game might be close except for Tom Brady. He's a champion and will find enough talent in the Bills defense to keep him interested and creative.

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay - The Eagles are on of the best teams in the NFC even when they figure out ways to lose to teams barely equal to them in talent. The Buc's don't have enough to pose much threat.

Pittsburgh at Atlanta - Everyone is claiming the Steelers are rolling. I can't see it. The Falcons Michael Vick is saying all the wrong things off the field and not doing many things right on the field. The Falcons defense is getting more awesome though. This could be a 0-0 triple overtime!

San Diego at Kansas City - The superb Tomlinson against the thus far disappointing Larry Johnson. Both backs are good men and great players. It will be interesting to see if Johnson can get inspired against the very tough Chargers front 7. Also can Rivers continue to grow against a decent KC secondary. A good game but the Chargers are ready to rampage.
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Masahiko Fujii

Denver at Cleveland - This is my cruddy game of the week. Jake Plummer is too erratic to be fun to watch. Kellen Winslow is playing decent ball but not as good as his attitude suggests. Not the worst teams out there but the dullest. Bronco's D will finish this one.

Arizona at Oakland - This would look like the cruddy game of the week. Matt is an extraordinary talent hampered by the worst coach in football history. With his histrionics following the Monday Night debacle and his whack decision to replace the Offensive Coordinator instead of firing himself, Denny Green shows the only team he might be able to beat are the totally inept Raiders.

Minnesota at Seattle - Without Alexander for the SeaHawks the Vikings should be able to keep this close enough to be interesting but the Hawks passing game is getting deadly enough to insure a win.
Women Of The Prehistoric Planet-1024
Washington at Indianapolis - Expect Manning to show the one dimensional Colts attack is the best one dimensional attack in NFL history. The Redskins keep proving Gibbs should have stayed retired.

New York Giants at Dallas - This is the game of the week because the Cowboys keep acting like they are better than their record while the Giants keep playing like they start every game down 14 points. Tiki Barbers odd retirement announcement shouldn't affect the Giants too much. Terrell Owens shows that his greatest value is in attracting so much attention that no one talks about the weaknesses in the rest of the team!

My puppy picks all the teams I didn't.
After a sensational day of college ball this is a day where the NFL needs to step up big time.

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October 21, 2006

I need a love to make me happy
Southside Johnny

Explosion By Timelikeit
Click images for desktop size: "Explosion" by Timelikeit
My puppy has a new game. She thinks its funny. When I go to bed she stands at the foot of the bed and presses her head down very hard on my toes. When I look at her she smiles and jumps up next to me, looking down, staring and grinning. Then she lies down next to me and looks adorable and loving. If not for the fact that she thinks it hysterical to spend the next ten minutes trying to push me out of my single bed it would be a sweet daily moment.
It is anyway.
Sometimes she sleeps with her head under my arm and it feels like the world is far away.
It isn't.
I live now in a small town. They don't like to think this is a small town but it is. With cable and satellite TV everybody in the world is hip to the latest trends and fads. Everybody thinks they're cool, with it and small town rich. With the internet they can order anything. I figure that's why baggy clothes have become popular . . .
Poster - After Hours (2) This makes them smug and all knowing. They misuse slang, deny others rights they demand for themselves and generally behave like people everywhere always have. I think the difference is that they don't have a diverse population to expose the fallacies they concoct. they don't have confrontation, and when they do have it they behave like Catholic Priests knowing their Bishop will protect them.
About a mile and a half from my puppy's and my house is a ratty looking bar. They call it a night club.
Maybe to them it is. Any other corner of the world its a grotty neighborhood tavern.
I've noticed that in small towns like this there is always a tiny barrio. In this town it means a restaurant with a salsa bar and good burritos and ceveche.
This club is in the barrio and even has an hispanic sounding name: “La Zona”.
What makes La Zona interesting is that it is owned by a deputy sheriff. Most of the employees are also deputy sheriffs.
Its not a cop bar. Maybe it was opened with that intent but economics take things where they want you to go, not always where you dream.
What makes La Zona with all these Sheriffs working there interesting is that they sold crack . . . out of the bar/club. It also appears they fenced stolen goods and most interesting is that they operated a murder for hire business. At least thats what they were arraigned for.
Cops have to make a living too. Cops also have yuppie dreams of American wealth.
At first I was surprised by the murder for hire business. Then I figured that people in small towns must hate too, maybe even more than their big city counterparts. I wonder if life in this town is cheap or expensive and how much hate you have to have to put a dollar amount to it.
Would you kill some one for five bucks or ten thousand? If it were five hundred would you set up a biannual hit list, work your way up the corporate ladder or expunge the world of those ex-significant others?
Flames   Grey Metal Weave Wide By Jbensch
Click images for desktop size: "Flames" by J Bensch
Is their a premium attached when you have a professional killer, a cop, doing it for you?
They never put the interesting stuff in the newspaper.
What I find odd though is that this wasn't a big front page story. In LA and London and Chicago it would have been all over the papers, TV, radio for weeks. In a small town it was just a blip. Maybe it goes on all the time and doesn't perk anyones interest.
“Did you hear the cops are running crack, stealing and killing people for money?”
“Again? Oh well, but did you hear that the high school team had to forfeit some games?”
“What! We ought to string him up!”
Not making a point here but you can't help but notice that TV and the papers have mentioned the team every day and no mention of all about cops selling their guns to anyone who walked through the door.
All I'm sure of is that my puppy and I take good care of each other, even if there's times when it seems funny to try and push me out of bed.

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September 17, 2006

USC 28 Nebraska 10

Elephanteyes 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Elephant Eyes"
Last week I went 13-3 in my picks. In the local contest that put me 11th out of nearly 150,000.
What surprising is that there was an online contest that I thought was too complicated. I did the one entry and forgot about it. I won!
The prize is sort of odd and sort of cool. I won a vacuum cleaner ROBOT!
I love robots. Sadly this one does not look like the one in the Chuck Jones cartoons. You know, the one that cleans up the “House Of Tomorrow” and then has a nervous breakdown trying to clean up after insane mice/rabbits/dogs/cats!
This one is just a round disc. It has a remote control.
I sense madness for all dogs in the universe!
Poster - An Adventure In Nudism
This week is not as interesting as the first week. Here are my picks in bold home team second.

Buffalo at Miami - They kind of stunk out the joint against the Steelers. Buffalo might be able to beat the Dolphins at home but it seems unreasonable to expect them too. The most interesting thing about this game will be the performance of Culpepper. What happens today will spell the rest of Miami's season.

Carolina at Minnesota - This feels like a weird pick. The Vikings beat a terrible Washington team, barely. The Panthers looked terrible against the Falcons. They won't have Steve Smith this week either. Right now they look like they might be that bad. The Vikings don't look that good but good enough to handle the Panther D and Carolina's offense will play close but will probably have a hard time in the MetroDome.

Cleveland at Cincinnati - Give the points and sit back and watch. This should be a laugher or at least another step in Carson Palmer's rehab.

Detroit at Chicago - I feel sorry for the Lions. They might give the Bears two consecutive shut outs. Then the question is how many points will the Bear's D put up. The Bear's offense is even worse than Washington's.

Houston at Indianapolis - One of the “business as usual” things I despise about the NFL is the blatant lying. Reggie Bush didn't announce he would leave USC until Houston swore they were going to take him with the first pick.
They didn't. Emotionally I hope the Texan's never win another game. intellectually I'm just glad they still stink.
The “interest” in this game is whether the guy they took, A DE from North Carolina State, will fire up and look like a number 1 against Peyton Manning. Who cares? The Colts will roll professionally and easily.
Dc Cover Infinitecrisis 07 (Perez)
Click images for desktop size: "Infinite Crisis" by M Perez
New Orleans at Green Bay - I love Brett Favre and was saddened that he looked like my worst nightmare against the Bears. What's easy to over look in that moment was just how abysmal the Packers' defense looked and played. This might be a coming of age party for Reggie Bush and Drew Brees. I don't expect Favre to get shut out again but I don't think they can throw up as many points as the Saints are capable of.

New York Giants at Philadelphia - The Eagles did not look good against the Texans. Weirdly they seem satisfied with just winning. The Giants looked almost good enough to join the elite in their defeat at the hands of the Colts. This should be a mild upset, especially if the Giants D plays in the Eagles backfield 4 times a quarter.
Poster - Assault On Precinct 13 (3)
Oakland at Baltimore - An offense worse than the Bears? The Raiders may have found a way to be totally inept. The Ravens are showing the potential. This should be another shut out for the Ravens.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta - While I don't think the Falcon's O is “that good”, their defense looked very very real. This should be an easy win unless . . . well, there's no unlesses I can figure out. Maybe Vick fumbles twice and throws 3 INT's . . .

Arizona at Seattle - Rah! No team looked as bad winning as the Seahawks did last week. The Cardinals are definitely on the rise. My heart says go with the Cardinals and take the points but if there is any pride in Seattle at all they should win their home opener and handily.

St Louis at San Francisco - The 49ers are improving. The Rams will want to prove beating Denver was no fluke. This is my cruddy game of the week. I can't think of anything interesting here.

New England at New York Jets - If it weren't for Seattle looking so bad everyone would be talking about how poor the Patriots looked. I really think this could be a Jets upset. Pennington has too much to prove. Their defense looks to weak and they still have nothing that looks like a running game so I have to stay with the Pat's.

Tennessee at San Diego - The Chargers - well, Philip Rivers proved he is capable of not losing a game and Ladainian Tomlinson continues to prove he might be the best player in the game. The Titans will definitely show up unles the bus gets a flat tire . . .

Pittsburgh at Jacksonville - The Steelers played good D against the Dolphins but Tryo Palomulo is dinged up. The Jaguars keep playing over their head to the point that it is now their game. This is my game of the week. I'm sticking with Jack Del Rio and Brian Leftowich and company to get a win that is important to them.

Washington at Dallas - Another cruddy game. Dallas should win handily.

My high school team won Friday night 41-6. My puppy takes all the credit.

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September 5, 2006

What's the score?

Click images for desktop size: "A Sign Of Strength" by Anonymous
It feels nice right now. High School football and College Football are in full swing. The pennant races are sorting out with enough tantalizing questions to make the dreaming on it better than a first date. (Can the Tigers get to the series, will the Dodgers hold on to first, does anyone want to win the wild card?)
The NFL starts this week. I don't like this Thursday games idea, they mess up the symmetry of my punk little universe. High School ball on Friday. Colleges on Saturday, the pros on Sunday and then Monday night cause there's nothing else on TV anyway.
That's the way the world was intended.
There's one thing I like. The players know about it. In the pre-season games the guys trying to make the team play the hardest but when the season starts the intensity level cranks up to 11 for everyone. The hits are harder and the mind concentrates fully until just reflex and instinct take over.
Its a beautiful thing.
Poster - The Mole PeopleAlso beautiful is Ryan Howard of the Phillies. Howard is having a fabulous season and has the Phillies in the thick of the Wild Card race. He said something about how relaxed the team was and just focusing on playing good ball. Laughing and joking.
How very much the same point for athletes to be in but coming from opposite directions.

This is an interesting first week to the season. My picks are in bold and the home team is the second listed:

Miami at Pittsburgh - The Steelers are the most boring team ever to win a SuperBowl. Cowher is the epitome of an NFL coach - win at all costs, winning is all that there is. Miami's Saban isn't much better in that regard but at least he's not coaching young people anymore.
I pick the Dolphins. The Steeler defense is in a “get it done” mode; they'll step up but they can't overcome the deficiencies of the 2nd string QB, Charlie Batch. The Dolphins Duante Culpepper has a lot to prove and this will be a big stage. I'd take the Dolphins and the points.

Atlanta at Carolina - Michael Vick is fun to watch but he is no messiah. The Panthers are for real and have the talent to make this a laugher.

Baltimore at Tampa Bay - Everything on paper says this should be a win for the Buc's, as easy as any win can be over the Ravens. The Ravens D is elite and Steve McNair is Hall Of Fame bound so I pick the Ravens in a mild upset. This is a game where the intensity level will pay off.

Buffalo at New England - This should be a slaughter. If the Patriots don't blow them out it means they have more problems than are readily apparent.

Cincinnati at Kansas City - If Carson Palmer plays this will be a chance for him to set records. The Bengals can stop Trent Green but I wouldn't be surprised if Larry Johnson, who is one of the finest young men imaginable, runs for over 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. But against Palmer, another fine young man, and Chad Johnson, whom I've never met but like his attitude, that won't be enough.

Denver at St Louis - Jake Plummer of the Broncos is a scary guy. He wins games he shouldn't and loses some that he should have wrapped up. St Louis is only a shadow of itself, but, oddly enough this game looks like either team is capable of blowing the other out of the stadium. I can't see this being a close one but I can see either team scoring 3 TD's in the final 5 minutes to win it.

Texan Lunberjack Drop 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Drops" by Texan Lumberjack
New Orleans at Cleveland - Drew Brees hasn't settled in well and Reggie Bush has looked like an excellent but not yet a magical back. This is a good opener for the Saints. A chance to get it all right on the offensive side. Their defense will continue to stink but Cleveland can't exploit it well enough to win.

NY Jets at Tennessee - This should be the cruddy game of the week. The most interesting thing will be seeing if the Titans panic and rush Vince Young in.

Philadelphia at Houston - The Texans lied (business as usual in the NFL) and took a D End from a 6-5 team with the number 1 pick. Kubiak was a great QB coach but he may be in too deep as a head. Who knows what the future holds for them or for the Eagles, but this game should be a blow out. If it isn't . . . Andy Reid could get run out of town.

Seattle at Detroit - The poor Lions. Have to publicly announce they were dunderheads and cut the Number 2 pick from 2004 then then they get the SeaHawks. Shouldn't have to happen to them in a year, yet alone in a week.

The Bat - Vincent Price -1024Chicago at Greenbay - This looks interesting because it could also be a disaster for Green Bay. Four games are not enough experience for the Packers Offensive unit. If the Brilliant Brett Favre can keep his cool he knows how to make the vaunted Bears D look bad, but if he goes into gunslinger mode it could be terrible. The Bears O is still pathetic.

Dallas at Jacksonville - Parcells keeps himself in the spotlight, but the Cowboys still have enough fire power and defense to take it to the Jaguars. I like Jack Del Rio more and can't help but admire the grit of Brian Leftowich, so against all sense I'm picking the Jaguars, even if I expect the Cowboys to win.

San Francisco and Arizona - Another cruddy game candidate. Is Alex Smith improved? is the main interest. How will Denny Green come up with a way to lose is the other question. Still the Cardinals at home against the worst team in the NFC should get a close win.

Poster - The Soul Of A MonsterIndianapolis at the NY Giants - Sunday night prime time and its got the hook you can't ignore - Manning v Manning. Sibling rivalry taken to the big stage. The brothers have a quirky sense of humor about it (See their ESPN commercial hyping the game?) but are both, if nothing else, solid competitors.
Peyton is one of the best QB's ever to step onto a field. His little brother Eli wants to be and thinks he can be.
If it were just QB against QB Peyton wins it, but the Giants have a better team - a more balanced attack and a better Defense. This is still the game of the week and I'm going with the Giants because of home field advantage and I have to pick somebody. There's a chance for beauty here and in this world and this life no one can ignore beauty.

Minnesota at Washington - Gibbs isn't really ready for 21st Century football and the salary cap. He was a great coach.
The Vikings should have enough to win.

San Diego at Oakland - Philip Rivers . . . Tomlinson is one of the all time great backs and should run riot against the Raiders, unless Rivers puts them in to too deep a hole.

With these things to think about its easy to ignore the pain I'm in.
I hated going back to work today but my puppy made me laugh hysterically when I go home.

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September 1, 2006

I'm an easy going guy but I always got to have my way
Eddie Cochran

Click images for desktop size: "Etcher" by Anonymous
Its been a harsh week.
I took the week off to look for work. That didn't go well. At least I left myself the opening to go back to the old job.
It makes me feel like a prisoner, but I'll get around that.
For some reason it brings to mind an event in Texas. I was working at this job I didn't mind but most of the time we'd show up for work and get sent home - no work no pay sort of thing.
I was walking home when these 2 crazy girls from work picked me up - crazy as in crazy and girls as in both under 25 and living with the parents. They wanted to come over to my place. They were pretty explicit.
I said no. I didn't want them in my space, learning that much about me.
I turned them down. Really. I did.
The same way having two girls intrude into my dog's and my life made me feel its that same sense of intrusion, of lack of freedom and choice that my job presses in on us.
Possession If I had to chose between them I'd take the two crazy girls . . .

Football has been going very well, for me and my kids anyway. The other coaches are panicking. I try and remember that their jobs might hinge on this. They take the loss in ways that don't affect me.
My goals always stay the same. To work out problems I've seen in the film and to endure that my kids play better than they did the week before.
I still see their deficiencies as a failure on my part. Not on theirs. I can't drill sergeant and blame them for not listening or not trying hard enough.
My other big fear is that we'll win tonight and the staff will see that as justification for this weeks methods. I expect to win tonight. I always expect to win. I take losses very personally.
Again I remember Eddie Robinson - “No coach ever won a game and no player ever lost one.”
My kids have given me everything I've wanted for them. They walk with pride and now they need to swagger.

It was my birthday this week. I got cool stuff. My friend sent me flowers. I noted that they were her favorites - color and type. I liked being remembered. I like them.
I also got ELEVEN DVD's!
A box set of eight Shaolin Temple films! Including five by Liu Chia Liang! And that subset includes The 36th Chamber films.
They're from a Chinese Company called Celestial which has lavished as much attention on them as Criterion does on it's classics. They are very beautifully restored and fully merit the extra attention. I also got a beautifully restored DVD of Django! Its most noticeable feature (aside from the Italian sound track) was a tiny 2“ DVD of a 10 minute film called ”The Last Pistolero“. It wasn't very good but it starred an aged Franco Nero. His presence gave the little movie weight and power.
Flames   Blue Metal Wide By Jbensch
Click images for desktop size: "Flames - Blue Metal" by J Bensch
A mildly interesting new film called ”Warriors Of Heaven And Earth“ and a remarkable film, ”A Man Called Blade“.
”A Man Called Blade“ is a slightly above average spaghetti western. What makes it memorable is the soundtrack by the Anti-Morricone's - The DeAngilis Brothers. There idea of what makes a music score is so avant garde it would be stunning in experimental cinema. That they carved out a career in main stream exploitation films is heady stuff.
Their music isn't outre, or pretentious. In fact its primitive and relies more on voices and pitch than anything else. Its cool and funny. Not much fun outside of the movie, but in a film it is revelatory stuff.
And finally someone sent me two books! Charles Dodgson's ”Symbolic Logic“ and ”Lewis Carroll Puzzles“. The puzzle book is dull and not even Lewis Carrol puzzles. Just stock stuff that they've illustrated with some pix from the Alice Books and ”Hunting Of the Snark“. It is so dull they even credit the Snark pix to Tenniel.
Poster - Rope Of FleshThe book on logic is satisfying. I had a first and lost it so this is a very welcome thing.
The only sad part is that they were sent from Amazon and Amazon CUT OFF THE NAME OF THE SENDER!
So what I'm hoping for is that in the next few days I get an email or letter calling me an insensitive oaf for not responding with a proper thank you!

No one sent me a birthday present for my dog. She is pretty huffy bout this.

This week I had two doctors appointments. One was for my eyes. No glaucoma and no loose retinal nerves or anything. My vision is getting worse though.
I always imagined going blind as the same as walking around with my eyes clothes - nice inky blackness sort of thing. I didn't think it would be a matter of blurriness and grays.
They dilated my pupils for the picture taking. It took 3 days for the drops to stop screwing up my eyes.
I have to go back in October.
I had a physical. My cholesterol is excellent. My good cholesterol has even looked positive, much improved. I credit that to the flavorless but better than nothing Olive Oil margarine I've started eating lately.
My blood pressure is 120 over 70. That's good but they want me to lower EVERYTHING!
They are even considering putting me on blood pressure medicine!!!
They are trying to stretch me out to the max on that 10 years they promised me, I guess. One interesting thing is that for some unknown reason I developed this odd rash on the back of my left hand. It is all little, smaller than a pinhead, white dots. It hasn't spread and the 50 or so on my left hand are matched with about 4 on the back of my right.
No pain, no itching. They make my skin feel like snake skin!
Maybe people will use it as an excuse to start calling me snake!
I've always wanted a nick name like Snake!

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August 20, 2006

Summer Means Fun
Terry Melchoir

Click images for desktop size: "Simple Sunset" by Iconoclast
There's a lot I like about this time of year.
The baseball races are locked in and the burning questions remain: Will the Cardinals fold? Will the Dodgers be able to maintain the sparkling play from the past month and get to the Series or will the suddenly hot Giants make a move?
In the American League the Red Sox and Yankees are always amusing but the real baseball is in the Central where the Tigers have shown they are not going to fade and keep staying in front of the White Sox, who are playing brilliant ball, and even the twins refuse to go quietly into that goodnight.
And then there's pre-season football . . .
Now that Mike Tice has departed there is no question that Denny Green is the worst coach in the Sport. He is always amusing in the way he manages to confound with the sheer inanity of his statements and his decisions.
Poster - Angels Hard As They ComeMatt Linhart has a whole week of practice in so announce to Billichik, still the best coach in the game, that you are going to start Matt in the 2nd quarter . . . in case Billichik decides to leave his starters in a little longer . . . Matt is cool and will probably survive it. Probably or at least possibly.
Remember when they started Rookie John Elway against the Pittsburgh Steelers? Brutality got a new name. It took Elway 2 years to properly recover from that beating.
Greene is a fool.
Warner will win them some games, the WR's in AZ can do it, but he won't win any more championships, so in a coaching snit you make a lamb of the main hope for your franchise?
At another end of the talent spectrum there are the NY Giants. The defense this year will be very scary. They should easily retake the division title and, with very few good breaks, should make it to the SuperBowl. Gibbs doesn't have a QB in Washington, Parcell's continues to be the most over rated coach in History at Dallas, Philadelphia doesn't have it anymore.
Going through the rest of the league the only other point of interest is Carolina: Scary defense but an offense that always seems to break down.
The Bears? Getting hammered by the 49er's, even in pre-season says too much about them, especially with Favre fired up in Green Bay and the Vikings looking patient. The Bears defense showed some life against new starter Philip Rivers of San Diego, but so what?
In the AFC its unrealistic to expect the Steelers to repeat. The Bengals, if they get Carson back at QB are talented. The Colts aren't dead yet but the Patriots kept them from the SuperBowl when they had the drive to win.
No team really captures the imagination in the AFC but there are interesting side trips.
Duante Culpepper is one of my favorite players. He was born in a woman's prison and managed to find the attitude and the heart to play in the NFL. If he is rehabbed he can make some exciting moments and win some games for Miami.
Dragon Lantern
Click images for desktop size: "Dragon Lantern" by Unknown
The Jets and KC will limp along and try and adjust. Larry Johnson, one of my fave people, will provide some magic in KC but Trent Green will not.
Anyway you look at it the AFC is pretty wide open.

My kid's team starts the season next Friday night. The local paper actually had a comment about our unit. A nice comment too, especially when the O-Line is so seldom noticed except when things go wrong!
Practice tomorrow and it will be serious.
My college player has been coming to my job so I can observe him. He's feeling good about it and understands the concepts. He says it is helping him at his college camp.

Yesterday the pain was pretty intense, but I was able to calm it down with just a couple of mild pain pills instead of the killer pain killers. It didn't remove it but made it tolerable and this morning the pain has diminished and no drug hang over.

They Made Me A Criminal Wallpaper - 1024I've crossed the 1,100 DVD/movie line . . . Mainly due to some early birthday gifts. Three sets of 50 movies in the horror, gangster and Western vein. Good stuff.
I also got a great set of 8 classic Kung Fu films - Liu Chi Ling films. They're in Chinese (Mandarin) but are fantastic looking so far. I've seen all the films but the DVD transfers are so bright and crisp they feel brand new and exciting.

The Mayor's office called me Weds. They want me to address the City Council about Item 25, Child Safety. I haven't decided yet. Don't know if it will do any good or not.

So everything is alright for a while. My puppy is fine and showing some small signs of weight loss. I'm fine what more could want?
Maybe a little more money but who doesn't want that.

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June 25, 2006

The world is a changing place; only beauty is constant

Vl Mirita Classic
Click images for desktop size: "Mirita Classic" by VL
Its finally down to time to change jobs. This has never been remotely like a good job. I kept it too long, mainly because I could take my puppy with me. Mainly out of habit and fear.
I look at my puppy and I feel a sense of responsibility, of family. She loves me and trusts me - she sort of only trusts me.
The only good thing about this job was that the check never bounced.
I've had other jobs in the recent past where just getting paid as promised was no guarantee. Other than that its an abusive position where corporate heads hide from employees they make no secret of despising and mistrusting. But the checks always cleared and I could bring my puppy with me.
I realize I'm old. Change kind of scares me. Even knowing it is inevitable and required, change kind of scares me.
Law Of The Wild Ep#12 (1934)I've sent out a few resumes and have started to get serious about it. I'm hoping I can endure it long enough to have another job lined up before I give notice. I'm striving towards that.
Change kind of scares me.
Responsibility scares me too but I've always faced it, welcomed it. I used to love change too, new lands, new people, new lives, new friends.
So I've redesigned my resume. Always start a new venture fresh. Resumes, CV's, forcing a past that you can't change, that I wouldn't want to change. Looking at dates, remembering, remembering what I was. Eventually remembering will force me to look to the future. Not yet, but it will happen; looking forward and, of course, the future.

I'll get my new Electric Bike tomorrow. It looks George Jetson futuristic. I like that. Jet Black and electric. Transportation that will let me look for a new job easier. Help me find a new place to live for my puppy and I.
I'm excited about it. If work weren't such hell it would delight me.
I'll assemble it tomorrow and then charge it overnight, so Tuesday I'll be mobile electric.
There aren't enough bike paths around here so I've mapped out several routes in my head to avoid sure death trap intersections, of which its easy to identify plenty! Its not a car but I'm as excited as I was at 15 when I bought my first car, an ancient Pontiac, for $50.
The idea of freedom and independence rings the same.

I've broken down about baseball and I've been following the College World Series. I love it. I think these are the two best teams there in years. The game tonight should be a beautiful thing.

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June 7, 2006

Its all gone quiet over there

2 Sides Of My World By Shineft
Click images for desktop size: "Two Sides Of My World" by Shine FT
(To the tune of Doris Day's Que Sera Sera) When I was young I asked me mum what should I be
Should I be Chelsea Should I be Leeds
This what she said to me
Get your fathers gun. Shoot all the Chelsea scum.
(Sung by a entire train load of young men on the tube to Stamford Hill, Chelsea's home ground)

People keep asking me why I'm not excited about the World Cup Of Football (Soccer).
I never even heard of soccer until Foosball tables starting being around, and then there was Kyle Rote Jr.
There was an early days reality show on ABC where they were searching for the “World's Greatest Athlete” Rote Jr was the son of a famous American Football Player. Jr won the first “World's Greatest Athlete” show. He played soccer.
There was a lot of fuss about it then. We tried it but thought it was sort of dull. We preferred football, baseball and even pick up games.
Banlieue-13 1
I went to the Coca Cola Cup (one of Football's innumerable mini Championships) at Wembly. It was a sort of glorious madness. In a 100 yard run corridor I counted 100 mounted policemen. The corridor from the train station to the entrance was lined with police in full riot gear. There were growling german shepherds every 10 yards. These dogs could have gotten work at German Concentration camps. It was clear that once you started on the way to Wembly there was no turning back and no escape.
I saw a boy, maybe 6 or 7, his face was a fiery red from screaming and crying in fear. He was wearing a Leeds shirt that was slick from the spit of the Aston Villa fans who passed him. Adults spitting on a child and the omnipresent police paid no attention, not even to console or protect a child.

FIFA, the governing board of football, has publicized the game well. Their main adage seems to be the old high school gossip thing; you know, tell a lie three times and it becomes the truth. They kept insisting Football was the number one sport in the world. No one ever asked them where they got these figures, or even how they calculated it. It was just accepted as truth. I mean sportsmen would never lie. right? And businessmen masquerading as sportsmen are even more well known for their forthright honesty when selling you 5 cents worth of soda for 6 bucks.
They and the governments all publicly abhor the proliferation of violence surrounding the sport. In South America players who make a glaring error are often shot by angry “fans”.
The governments do nothing to stop this. It could appear that they encourage it.
After every international match involving England, when England loses there is an invariable football riot around Trafalgar Square.
In 1996 England lost to Germany in another of the mini-championships. The riot following that match lasted 6 hours. An estimated 8 million pounds of damage was done to shops and automobiles. There were 1,200 injuries to “non-combatants.” there were 1,400 arrests and 12 prosecutions. The prosecutions were primarily for Drunk And Disorderly Conduct.
Amazing Transparent Man Wallpaper - Lon Chaney - 1024 The Brixton Race Riots in London were about racial discriminations. It is considered a “black” spot in English history. It lasted for 12 hours. There was an estimated 500,000 pounds of damage to property.
Three hundred injuries to “rioter”, 2,700 arrests and 2,400 prosecutions. There has never been another race riot.

Eric Cantona was the first multi-millionaire superstar player imported by Manchester United. During a match at Crystal Palace he shouted at a fan and then gave the fan a karate kick in the chest, then stomped him wearing spikes.
The fan pressed assault charges. FIFA took no action at all.
In court Cantona, a white French multimillionaire claimed that he was being discriminated against. The courts accepted that but as the unprovoked assault was Televised found him guilty. His sentence was 2 hours of community service. He had to go to an upper class school and sign autographs. Cantona was so outraged at this horrible conduct that he left England.
Having a player actually interact with the community was so rare that it was also televised. Cantona showed up rumpled, unshaven.
The assaulted fan had his season ticket revoked by FIFA and has a lifetime ban as he admitted to calling Cantona a Frog Wanker.

So I don't think its possible me support the game. Aside from the fact I find it tedious to watch I think that supporting soccer means that I support lack of teamwork, lack of pride in yourself. And I can't really care how America's 6th best athletes fare against the World's Best. (This is not a knock of American Players, just factual observation. American women have elevated the sport and created a new standard of how the game should be played.)

February 6, 2006

Pittsburgh 21 Seattle 10

Click images for desktop size: "Alone In The Universe" by Cody Nicholl
My skill at picking NFL games continues to be disproved.
Funny thing was that the game played out pretty much how I expected except I never counted on the ref's. I think this is something the NFL is going to have to deal with soonest.
With all the money involved and the fact that none of their officials are full time it is pretty easy to wonder whether their was some outside inducement for some of the strange calls, calls that were crucial and changed the game.
Darrel Jackson's touchdown being taken away was incredible! And their where 4 other calls just as questionable.
What else I didn't figure was how deadly dull this game would be. There was some outstanding play but all in all it was just sort of creepy.

Last night, after midnight my puppy decided I need a complete re-enactment of the SuperBowl. She got her football and proceeded to toss it around for an hour. Even sleepy it amused me. She's so happy about everything. For that I'm very glad.
I got to see my neighbor's pit bull puppies tonight. As much as I deplore the way he keeps them I know he does the best by his standards, which are just different to mine. Can't change how wonderful I thought the puppies were. Little things were all very tough with me, just as they should be.

HugMy Powerbook continues to struggle bravely on. But it is struggling. I have a new one coming.
I remember years ago I had a PC that I used to dual boot, Windows, BeOS, and Linux. Under Windows the machine crashed constantly, under linux there were some odd problems, under BeOS nothing. No problems at all, just rock solid.
BeOS did one day tell me that I was running the wrong voltage through my cpu . . . I fixed it and Linux ran as rock solid as BeOS and Windows . . . crashed a bit less often . . .
Mac OS X is rock solid too. Even as the hard drive disintegrates it struggles manfully on! Or woman-fully along, if you prefer.

Oh, and Mick Jagger should not ever wear short sleeved shirts!
I can't believe these guys have outlived the Ramones.

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January 23, 2006

I kill because I'm scared of being killed

Click images for desktop size: "Let Me Slip Into Something A Little" by Pixelhust Girl
The NFL Championships are over and I thought they were a disgrace. Only the Seahawks played with a nice precision, speed and accuracy.
The Steelers won. They have some nice players but the Cowher interpretation of the NFL credo leaves me vaguely uneasy. I have always disliked the, “Just win baby!” philosophy of the NFL. It cheapens what I consider the greatest sport in the world.
At it's best its 22 world class athletes in the peak condition throwing their bodies around in a stirring example of stamina, toughness and vision. At its worst its the Steelers.
When Carson Palmer of the Bengals completed a 66 yard pass to his 3rd receiver on the second play of the game does anyone really know for certain that the Steelers would have gotten out of Cincinnati?
They clearly didn't which is why Cowher sent in an expendable DE to end Palmer's career. They don't play smash mouth football, they play “take out the players who can beat us” football. That's approved in the NFL, that's why they only call it a 15 yard penalty instead of a forfeit.
I'm hoping for the Seahawks to win. I like the way they played and the fact that they did it with no one noticing that they were on anyones schedule. I like teams that have stars but that the stars are secondary to the team. Its one of the reason I enjoyed seeing the Patriots win.
Killer Shrews, The X01 (1959)Where this attitude really bothers me is that all the pee wee, Pop Warner and high school [players see this and they get it into the head that the NFL is the universal truth. We're Americans. When we see someone get millions of dollars you have to figure that the NFL way is the right way. Some come to think it is the only way.
American football is a tough sport, tough enough. I had two South Africans who were on the under 19 International Rugby Team try out for my team. They barely survived the practice played in one game and they had to quit. It was too hard on them.
When you are teaching a player how to play the game you teach them how to defend themselves, how to fall to avoid injury, how to tackle to avoid injury to yourself and your opponent, how to condition yourself to avoid injury; proper protective gear and tape etc etc.
That should be enough. More and more it isn't. When NFL players are allowed to celebrate knocking a player out of a game, when coaches no longer have their teams to cheer when an opponent moves off the field on his own power, the kill or be killed method comes to play.
This undermines far too many salient points of the game. The vast majority of football players are not going to play in the NFL. I still feel, strongly, that football is the finest sport available for young people. The game teaches many things such as perseverance, teamwork, sportsmanship, discipline, and the struggle through adversity. Things that no other sport can teach to the level where the lessons become ingrained life messages.
To me that is and shall be the beauty of the game. But when the NFL shows shoddy vandalism and brutality as the ways to go, when coaches at lower levels seek to emulate the NFL and teach these outmoded and foolish tactics they diminish the beauty of the game.

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December 11, 2005

Reggie Bush Wins the Heismann
Richard Pryor Dead at 65

Dj White Boot Tangle(Xmas) Yesterday was goony. But my puppy was consistently great!
My job is terrible. I have to keep remembering that my wages always show up and as agreed. For Christmas I get no christmas bonus and only the legal minimum of days off. And I'm sure the email asking why is employee moral so low . . .

I'm saddened that Richard Pryor died. I never worked with or even for him but I was a kid and always thought he was funny. Later I liked him in the clubs, then I liked his movies. People who can make you laugh are rare.

As the college season is nearing an end my love of football wanes. I like what Grambling is doing in IAA. Even Div III has more than potent interest with two of my kids advancing as coaches. As a spectator I like the daily IA games and look forward to some great bowl games.
Brain Eaters, The X01 (1958)The NFL is business as usual. Lots of interest but none of the passion and emotion.
This is not just an excuse for why my NFL picks are so poor! Actually they were pretty good last week but I still finished 154th!! This has dragged me down 8 spots to 143.
This is this weeks picks. Home team listed first and my pick in bold.

Pittsburgh v Chicago My game of the week. Two smash mouth teams playing nothing but defense! Going with the Bears to stop the run and further dismantle Big Ben.

Cincinnati v Cleveland Carson and Chad. All those overweight guys who never played the game can knock Chad Johnson all they want. He takes the heat for the team, he distracts opponents with his antics and he works harder than any wide receiver since Jerry Rice.

Tennessee v Houston Cruddy game of the week.

Jacksonville v Indianapolis Del Rio's D will knock Payton silly but he doesn't have the tools to score against the Colt D. Never bet against an undefeated in December!

Buffalo v New England As great as it is to see new teams rise up and play proud it saddens me to see the old boys who played with their hearts fall to age and injury.

New York Jets v Oakland Raiders start a project (a failing project) at QB. The Jets deserve to win this.

Minnesota v St Louis I can't believe I'm picking the Vikes. Martz has been destructive off the field and Brad Johnson makes you wonder what's wrong in the NFL that he was unsigned.
Dc House Ad Huntress Carolina v Tampa Bay I'm taking the panthers but not by much.

Philadelphia v New York Giants I don't like the Giants on the road but the arrogant move by the front office regarding TO has left this team a total shambles.

Seattle v San Francisco The Niners made their last game closer than it should have been. Bad move as the sea Hawks will be out to totally dominant.

Arizona v Washington Somehow this game feels like a cruddy game of the week contender.

Denver v Baltimore With no Ray Lewis this game feels like a desperate reach for the ravens. This could be a scary blow out.

Dallas v Kansas City With something on the line I'll take Vermeil over Parcells almost always. And I love watching my kid run for the Chiefs!

San Diego v Miami Tomlinson could break even more records today.

Green Bay v Detroit Cruddy game contender. It's doesn't win because Brett Favre is still playing like he can win these games on his own.

Its A Wonderfull Life(Lc)3Xks

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December 4, 2005

USC 66 UCLA 19

Atow013 Moschino
Click images for desktop size: "Love" by Moschino
I'm proud of this years Men of Troy, not just for the record, which they can be proud of, but for the way 18 to 22 year old men handled instant fame in the town that is fueled by celebrity.
Matt Linhart struggled to be an athlete, then last year he was at the top of the world and a sure number one pick. He walked away from 56 million dollars so that he could have fun, be with his team and maybe make history.
He's had an emotional ride, none deeper then this, his last game, his last chance to shine at home. When he walked off the field yesterday, I got misty. Seeing him hold a rose and do nothing but praise his teammates was more than wondrous.
University of Southern California . . .
Watching Reggie Bush wearing his area code on his face, pointing to his parents, playing at a level that we didn't imagine existed 4 years ago, and then to see him laughing, celebrating, leading the band with a rose while the celebrity laden crowd of fans chants Reggie-Reggie-Reggie. Then to hear him speak after with full sincerity of the love he has for his teammates.
Creature With The Atom Brain X01 (1955)USC Conquest!

My health is stumbling along. The pills make me sleep way too much and make me sleep erratically. Not that big a deal, really. Sometimes I wish I could cope with pain killers. I can't but I can deal with the pain okay.

Yesterday two of my “kids” actually got to coach against each other in Div III football. One lost and the other won . . . I hope they remember that they are teammates in more than just a Quarterfinal game. Another group of my kids managed to get an invite to the GMAC Bowl! Against an oppenent they have a good fair chance against.
See, this game is a large part of my life and the undercurrent that puts life's meaning in sharp relief.

And now the NFL . . .
My picks this week are even more idiosyncratic than usual . . . which means please don't bet on these picks.
I'm still angling for that second prize!
Home teams listed first with my pick in bold.

Carolina v Atlanta I'm not strong on this pick. Both teams are looking vulnerable, but Carolina has become incredibly one dimensional since playing the Bears.

Miami v Buffalo A contender for cruddy game of the week. Saban has not been a messiah, Ricky Williams has not played to his ability but Buffalo's coaching staff and front office seemed committed to failure. I'll take JP Losman.

Pittsburgh v Cincinnati The game of the week, loads of psyche and loads of commitment. I go with Carson and Chad.

New York Giants v Dallas Everyone knows I think that Denny Green is the worst coach in football, even worse than Mike Tice! Up in that group is Bill Parcells. I know he wins but always ugly and with no excitement or heart. He's the new George Allen, but at least Allen would bleed with and love his players. Giants' D does it all today.

Lawnelf Shelovedcallas
Click images for desktop size: "She Loved Callas" by LawnElf
Chicago v Green Bay Bret why didn't you leave last year. It saddens me to see a great player wither. This is nearly as heartbreaking as when Ernie Banks hung on that one season too many. To see superlatives reduced to mortality is not a good thing. it prooves nothing. It's why you can cherish the memory of Sandy Koufax.
Baltimore v Houston Oddly I think that the Texans could fire it up for this one but common sense says the Ravens. I hate common sense, it crushes dreams.

Cleveland v Jacksonville My pick is based here on the hope that Jack Del Rio can fire up and inspire his team to overcome the loss of their leader.

Detroit v Minnesota I know the Vikings are hot behind Brad but a team with an admired coach fired in mid season comes out deadly and angry.

New Orleans v Tampa Bay Brutal defense and their season is on the line - I look for the Buc's D to inspire the win.

Indianapolis v Tennessee As sad as the case is of Brett Favre Steve “Air”McNair, one of my all time fave players is being done a serious injustice by his front office.

Delinquent Parents (Hs) X01San Francisco v Arizona The ultimate cruddy game. AZ has talent but I look for the Denny factor.

St Louis v Washington The Redskins in an interesting trial for both teams.

Kansas City v Denver If the Broncos win here I'm a believer. Larry Johnson though still has my admiration (even if I think his little brother is more talented and his little sister the better athlete.)

New England v New York Jets Marv has my utmost respect as a superior coach. That he gets the Jets to show up and play so hard is laudable. But not in Foxboro in December. I'd love a Jets win but that damn common sense again.

San Diego v Oakland Tomilson, Brees and Gates OH MY!!

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November 27, 2005

My father was in the hospital. He motioned the doctor to come over to his bed.
He said, "People are wonderful!" With that he died.
Francois Traffaut

Beached B24 I have had a calm, pleasant Thanksgiving weekend.
Four days in a row off!
I slept, healed, played with my puppy.
My puppy and I spent Thanksgiving Day at the local hospital with the children. We all had a marvelous time. We watched a lot of movies. "The 7th Victim," a classic, or it should be, from Val Lewton, about death, peer pressure and love - always about love and it's different forms. It is filled with so many wonderful scenes and moments it's senseless to try and lay them out.
"City Of God," which was about one tenth as interesting as "The Gangster Tapes", which it owes a heavy debt to.
"The Brothers Grimm," the new one from Terry Gilliam. It was sweet and a great lesson on how to make a good movie that has no chance of being a success.
Bride Of The Monster X01 (Insert)(1956)We watched some beautiful football. Most incredible was the final play of the Nevada - Fresno State game. Nevada was leading 35-32 when the Nevada back broke through and had an easy TD, but instead the kid slid to the ground at the one yard line. He preserved the win and didn't rub Fresno State's nose in it.
But what I remembered that I like most in my life is to plug headphones in and walk down a road with my dog. No matter what else or even nothing else in life this will always bring me pleasure, smiles and a feeling of ease.
Now for my picks in the NFL!
We don't pick the Thursday games so it's a bit shorter today.
Last week I was abominable and finished 707th for the week! Which dropped me down from 168 to 181 for the season. remember that if tempted to bet based on my pro picks!
Home teams listed first - my pick in bold.
Cincinnati v Baltimore - Carson and Chad still have the chip on there shoulder. The most interesting match up of the day.

Buffalo v Carolina - After the way the Bears embarrassed the Panthers last week Carolina has too much to prove.

Tampa Bay v Chicago - Chris Simms meet Mr Urlacher, over and over again. Minnesota v Cleveland - Vikings have to be the worst team in the league but they find the most bizarre ways to win.

Kansas City v New England - Not just a sentimental pick. KC looked horrific last week. Washington v San Diego - The NFL has given the Chargers the creepiest schedule in the league. Still Brees and Tomlinson have a lot more juice than Tampa Bay.

Tennessee v San Francisco - Cruddy game of the week. I still love McNair but . . .

Houston v St Louis - Rams are true Jykell and Hyde. This is the week to win.

Arizona v Jacksonville - Jaguars are held together with chicken wire and nylon, Warner had his revenge game last week in St Louis. Interesting but cruddy game.

Oakland v Miami - Why not? Most boring game of the day.

Philadelphia v Green Bay - At the start of the season this was a game I was looking forward to. . . This is why they make them play them all instead of letting computers decide.

Seattle v New York Giants - Manning still not a road warrior. The game of beauty will be Alexander vs the Giants front 7.

New York Jets v New Orleans - The two teams with the most heart and character in the league forced to meet. New Orleans is my pick just becasue they have more to prove.

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November 20, 2005

USC 50 Fresno State 42

Strain 1024
Click images for desktop size: "Strain" by 5D Design
Been having a difficult time lately. The week following the strain of my puppy's accident and then her spaying has been followed by a week of huge physical distress for me.
The pain is back to that level where I can't really sleep. Just a low level of unconsciousness. This morning I realized I've been through this before. It takes a couple of months of physical therapy to fix. Before it wasn't as bad and in my left arm. I'm right handed so this makes things difficult, even typing is stressful.
Fortunately the Men Of Troy decided to be entertaining last night. The game was so exciting I suddenly realized I seldom thought about the pain!
Elect Reggie Bush!
Matt Linehart as the Secretary Of State!

Let Me Die A Woman
Last weeks NFL picks were pretty good but they still only netted me a 365th place for the week! My standing for the season fell 3 places from 165th to 168th.
All I want to do is to come in second for the week to win an expresso machine!

This weeks picks: Home team first my pick in bold.

St Louis v Arizona Bulger is back. Even with Kurt Warner Denny Green keeps proving he is inept. I'd bet the house on this one.

Chicago v Carolina An interesting game. If only Urlacher could cover Steve Smith, then this would be must see. Probably the game I'll watch. Two good defenses and the return of Grossman spell smart coaching from Smith that will cost him a win here.

Dallas v Detroit Marracucci has just made a bad situation worse. I heard someone say that Detroit was being held hostage by their corp of superior receivers. Lions will make it close but they can't close on the road. Cruddy game of the week contender.

Tennessee v Jacksonville This is a wild pick. I think McNair is a Hall of Fame QB. I love Leftowitz and Jack Del Rio but they're banged up trying to hang with the elite. The Titans have been improving and McNair can exploit the Jaguars injuries.

Cleveland v Miami Cruddy game of the week.

New England v New Orleans More interesting than it should be, for all the wrong reasons. A bleagured Saints squad facing a smashed up Patriots. No game will show more heart and determination this week.

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Click images for desktop size: "Vachement" by Pre
Washington v Oakland Mainly interesting to see Redskins rebound and to watch the Collins-Moss-Porter show.

New York Giants v Philadelphia Too much going on for the eagles to think about winning. They'll hang close enough to make it fascinating.

Baltimore v Pittsburgh Tommy “Gun” Maddox went to UCLA. The Ravens aren't as bad a team as their record says they are.

Atlanta v Tampa Bay If Vick can't get past the Buc's voo doo the Falcons don't advance in the play offs. The other game I plan to watch!

San Francisco v Seattle Alexander has an easy week to set himself up for the season records.

San Diego v Buffalo The Tomlinson show will be worth watching!

Cincinnati v Indianapolis Emotion, Carson and Chad are all the Bengals have going for them. It might be enough.
Kb-002[Poster-Art]Denver v New York Jets As sorry as you can feel for a pro team, that how sorry I feel for the Jets. A very good coach blindsided. Denver wants to win.

Houston v Kansas City Almost a cruddy game of the week.

I'm stoked to have 4 days off in a row for Thanksgiving. I just have to try and get to my friend for the holidays.
I can't take a bus cause they won't let my puppy travel with me so I've been trying to find a ride share. I'm getting desperate and checking the local papers and craiglist religously.
Whatever happens I'll be fine. But I might be happy!

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November 17, 2005

The road follows me frantically

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Click images for desktop size: "Desert Girl" by Denis Goulet
What I want is to get a couple of minutes of my puppy doing her prancing and dancing on video.
What you want is someone to come into your life who believes in you, who will stand by you in times of trouble, who will never doubt you, who will love you like a mother, a brother and a lover.

Both pretty good aspirations, I'm thinking.

A friend of mine died yesterday. He died of leukemia.
He was a running back for the University of Colorado back in the 80's. Back when Colorado looked like a power house and had lofty aspirations too.
The first time I saw him I was on the sidelines. It was the first time I'd seen the Colorado Buffalo. It was nearly as cool as seeing Traveller circle the stadium. I mean, here was over a ton of ripping snorting beat barreling out onto the field fighting and bucking while 4 frat rats tried to hold that wildness in check holding it back with school colored ribbons.
Dirty O'neill, The Love Life Of A Cop (1974)
Right behind him was my friend.
He looked wilder than the buffalo.
They were playing Nebraska for the championship.
That week my friend had been diagnosed with MD. Yeah, that MD, Jerry's Kids MD.
He played like a champion that day. They won. He played for two more years and was one of the reasons that Colorado was a force in college football.
Then he was diagnosed with leukemia. He kept close to his family, worked with kids. And then yesterday he died.
He was 39.
He was a champion on and off the field.
We weren't really friends, except in other people's eyes. Everyone just thought we had so much in common. We didn't really, except liking kids and a refusal to just roll over and die, and a strong desire to be the best and to see everyone around us rise up to be the best.
Maybe that is a lot in common.
Dead at 39. That sucks. I hope they don't do a Lifetime TV movie about him. He was more than that.
He was a human being.

My puppy is recovered from her surgery and her car accident. So quickly it astounds me.
She's been off the pain meds for 2 days and is starting to complain a little bit about the pulling and the sudden stabs, I think. She hasn't slowed down and her sense of humor, while still stupid, is highly active. Its hard for me to force her to slow down. I love seeing her be a nut.

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November 6, 2005

USC 51 Stanford 21

Bedford Oak, New York City
Click images for desktop size: "Bedford Oak, New York City"
One thing I know about being a Trojan: No one knows what's like to wear the bulls-eye. To be for every opponent you face a chance to justify a season, a life if they can beat you on the field of play. Being a defending champ means having to be more than perfect, more than the best. I'm still incredibly proud of this years team.
I still say dump the celebrities and let Traveller roam free!

With everything going on I forgot to finalize my NFL picks for this week. Some of the choices I ended up making are not the choices I would have gone with today.
I couldn't do much worse anyway. Last week I finished a “better” 347th for the week. I raised myself to 190th for the season . . . my best season placing had been 93rd. I am clearly not clairvoyant or able to assess pro sports . . .
Dementia 13 (The Haunted And The Hunted)-1
Any way, as usual the home team is listed first and my picks are in bold.

Miami v Atlanta The 'Canes are the best team in FLA . . .

Tampa Bay v Carolina An astonishingly uninteresting game that promises to be boring. Steve Smith can provide some fun, Simms was grossly over rated and a flop in college and shown nothing to prove he can play in the NFL.

Baltimore v Cincinnati Baltimore is gutsy but Carson Palmer is the real deal and a winner.

Minnesota v Detroit I picked the Lions before I knew the extent of Culpepper's injuries. Brad Johnson is a workhorse and what could put the Vikings on top. I'd have picked them over the Lions.

Jacksonville v Houston I'd bet the house on this one and give the points. Cruddy game of the week contender.

Kansas City v Oakland An interesting game. Raiders are almost playing well. Go Larry Johnson!

New York Jets v San Diego At the start of the year this looked like an exciting match. Now the only real question is, “Can Tomlinson avoid jet lag?”

Cleveland v Tennessee I have no idea what I was thinking here . . .
Click images for desktop size: "Area 4" by Pixelhust

New Orleans v Chicago Cruddy game of the week. New Orleans has had to endure too much - an insensitive boor of an owner is just too much. He's managed to turn the city against a team that they looked to for hope. The Bears defense is getting better . . .

San Francisco v New York Giants If the 49er's can pull off two wins in a row I say send them straight to the SuperBowl! Eli should get his first road win.

Arizona v Seattle Another cruddy game contender. Sea Hawks are talented but boring. Biggest interest is how will the Cardinals implode this week?

Green Bay v Pittsburgh I should have picked Green Bay. Favre is getting angry and that is scary for opponents. Steelers ground game will decimate the Packer D but Favre is a monster.

Washington v Philadelphia If I'd known about the Owens' suspension I'd have picked Washington. McNabb will press to prove Owens is not the team and when he presses he has a history of failure.

This is not shaping up as a stellar season for the NFL.

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October 16, 2005

USC 34 - Notre Dame 31
The crystal is cracked
There's blood splattered on the wall
Roger McGuinn

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Click images for desktop size: "Gundam"
The USC - Notre Dame game was good despite the hype, despite the supposition that SC would lose. Despite all of that it came down to young men playing for the honor of their schools, their own self image and for the sheer exuberant fun.
They all played with admirable skill, intensity and heart.

I still hate those green jerseys.

My high school played on Friday and won 13-10. It was also good for exactly the same reasons. It was a little better because I got to be there and got asked for advice on the sidelines. I'm not coaching yet , just getting to know the players and getting ready for spring ball.

Girls In Prison I also have a commitment to help out this kid with the band. He let me use his gear so I owe him at least that much. They just play that dinosaur “Classic” rock style that I have no feeling for.
I'll have to figure something out.

When I grow up I wanted to be Roger Clemens. I was in Boston the night Clemens threw 22 K's. He was incredible then and he remains incredible now.
I want an Astro's-White Sox World Series, then I won't care who wins. I just think that will be the most fun to watch.

And on to the NFL . . .
Last week I was 7-6 and finished 945th in the contest. This dropped me from 93rd for the season all the way down to 170th.
I don't even remember what the prizes are . . .
WIth that ringing endorsement here are my picks for this week. Home teams listed first and my picks in bold.

New Orleans - Atlanta Deuce's loss hurts the Saints more than the Loss of Vick hurts the Birds.

Detroit - Carolina The lion's receivers are too good. Carolina can pressure Herrington but they've looked poor since their win over the Pats. The game I want to see.

Tennessee - Cincinnati Carson will rule today. I expect BIG numbers from him. It's sad seeing the brilliant Steve McNair saddled with this team.

Baltimore - Cleveland The ravens looked devastated last week. They have too much pride to play that poorly 2 weeks in a row.

Pittsburgh - Jacksonville The game of the week. Maddox is a better than good back up. Leftowitz is not great yet. They could win but I expect the defense to step up with Big Ben on the side lines.

Bache Otto A Spaniel And A
Click images for desktop size: "A Spaniel And A Pug" by Otto Bache
Tampa Bay - Miami Ricky Williams returns. I expect little from him today. I knew Ditka was out of it when he gave away the Saints future to get him. This promises to be a not very entertaining match.

Chicago - Minnesota Cruddy game of the week contender, except the Bears defense is showing signs of beauty.

Dallas - Giants Manning can come of age, Bledsoe will come crashing to earth.

Kansas City - Washington Redskins defense will make this interesting.

Denver - New England Patriot pride and the greatness of Tom Brady make me pick them.

Buffalo - Jets I don't think that pro athletes can keep that beautiful emotion flowing two weeks in a row.

Oakland - San Diego Tomlinson keeps up his attack on the Hall of Fame. Brees makes Philip Rivers trade bait.

Seattle - Houston The other cruddy game of the week contender.