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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opening Day . . . Nearly

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

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