It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers
James Thurber

Hollywood
Click images for desktop size: “Hollywood” by Unknown
Rain and snow here. They’re not used to it. It locks the whole town into a deep panic. Strange. Two plow trucks with salt spreaders would make the whole thing pretty much a non-issue in a few hours.Blood Cult They do nothing despite dozens of accidents and fatalities. They do nothing and people keep driving. Except me. I keep walking.
The nasty weather makes being ordered to stay at home a bit easier to take. I saw the doc on Wednesday and got ordered to take it easy, to take off two days of work, to let my body heal.
My blood pressure is still high 144 over 80. Doc says it’s because of all the fluid in my chest. She was going to give me a lecture about walking out of the hospital but stopped when I said it was mainly because of the money. the hospital said I left because I wanted to go home and feed my puppy . . . that’s true but not all that’s true.
She also said, “The emergency doctor doesn’t understand how tough you are. Your previous doctor made notes all over the place but its hard to believe. I’ve been seeing you for six months and I barely believe it myself.”
There’s not much there for me so I let it lie. I don’t much like people thinking I’m so tough I can endure all the pain.
She sent me off to get more x-rays. I’m probably going to have to go to a Pulmonary doc. The Lyrica damaged my lungs some but there seems to be some calcification already present. The doc was under the impression I’d tested positive for TB!! I told her I thought I’d remember if I had.
I was worried, In London I had to get tested for TB every six months. I worked with a group called Blue Cross. I’d go out at night with a veterinarian to the homeless enclaves and we’d treat the dogs many of the homeless men and women kept for protection and companionship. Tuberculosis runs rampant in the homeless communities of Europe so I had to get the little skin pop test and chest x-rays far too often.
It was noted in my file that I had tested positive in one of those skin pop tests. The doc checked the computer records pretty quickly and found the positive for TB notation. A few years ago I needed a chest x-ray for Canadian immigration. It seems that the radiologist couldn’t think of any other reason that I would need an x-ray other than having tuberculosis so she checked a box on some Ferrari
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form or other.
I don’t have TB. I’m pretty glad about that but resentful about spending time having to think about it.
I got my chest x-ray and picked up my prescription drug refills. I’m going to hold off on any more neuropathic medicines and just deal with the pain with ibuprofen.
I’m supposed to see the neurologist on the 19th of this month. I decided I could survive the hurt until then. I don’t care for my neurologist much but he’s got a pretty fantastic world class rep. He’ll have to deal with the sudden breaking down of my bodies electrical system.
I have to say though, that other than taking one longish walk to the bank I’ve been pretty docile and being docile has gotten my leg under control. I haven’t taken any ibuprofen today at all.
I’ve gotten to listen to a lot of music. I like that. There’s four pretty special albums I’ve liked. All new but two are brand new and two are new collections of old stuff.
Alkaline Trios “This Addiction” is fine. So good it almost makes me forget how they are the worst The Bird With Crystal Plumage group I’ve ever had to endure live. Nearly forget but not quite. Every song is tinged with the memory of that horrific performance.
I’m also surprised by the Rob Zombie “Hellbilly Deluxe II”. Parts of it are savage and totally deluxe, like “The Devil’s Rejects” and “Halloween” were brutal savage celluloid dreams of evil. The other parts are like . . . Well, there’s a track, “The Cyd Charisse
Click image for desktop size: “Cyd Charisse”
Man Who Laughs” which starts out great then suddenly devolves into a totally inept 5 minute drum solo! Still, what’s great is very cool and what sucks can be ignored. Think “Halloween II” enacted on disc and you’d be pretty close to what the album is.
The release of The Blasters “Testament” is a surprise. Their complete Slash recordings. Slash was a music mag in LA that evolved into a record label pushing out 45’s and the occasional LP. I had a lot of contact with Phil and Dave Alvin for some reason or other. I thought the Blasters were a great band and that Dave was more into Buck Owens (which was are main point of camaraderie) than Little Richard. It was Dave who wrote the songs and Phil who promoted the band.
Getting bands to work is a miserable job. It can turn you into a miserable person. But Phil could sing and front a band for sure. And there’s plenty of evidence in these two CD’s that The Blasters should have been the saviours of music. Maybe they were.
Finally there’s the six CD collection from Buddy Holly. “Not Fade Away-The Complete Studio Recordings”. Someone pointed out that Holly’s “From the Original Master Tapes” was the first CD that showed what CD’s were sonically capable of. Prior to that disk most CD’s stuck to that insulting Japanese Art
Click images for desktop size: “Ancient Japanese Art” by Unknown
format of just using the old RIAA eq’ed for phono cartridge or cassette master tapes. They were pretty offensive sounding. Holly has never offended my ears.
The complete recordings has all the hits, some weird little tid bits, like Holly recording different versions of “That’ll Be The Day” inserting a different DJ’s name. I’d heard them before but never in what I guess you’d call a prestige collection. All the hits are there and they all rock like we’re all going to be young forever. There’s a lot of weird country stuff, complete with Texas fiddle stylings that are only of interest because Holly’s playing guitar.
My enforced vacation ends on Super Sunday. Coolness.
I’ve lost the picking games contest to my friend. Even if she picks the evil mechanized Colts I can’tAbsurd overtake her. Small victory for her which only proves she’s a cheater.
I’m picking the Saints for no other reason than the beauty of it. Little Dru Brees vs the evil Payton Manning. Hey, don’t believe those sweet and funny commercials. Payton Manning is evil. Would a nice guy ruthlessly carve up a defense like he has?
The Colts are boring and will probably win. That’s a shame. I like the wild uncontrollable offense the Brees directs. I like the flying by the seat off their pants defense the Saints throw out there. All the Colts offer is perfection. Perfection is boring.
Who dat think they gonna beat them Saints! I’ll be saying it and watching the game and hoping.
The Who for a halftime show?? Maybe 20 years ago . . .

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

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

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

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

My picks in the two games are in bold.

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

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

Stanford 55 USC 21

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

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

My picks are in bold.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prisoner of the Cannibal God

Dallas at Green Bay – Last week the Packers gave Tampa Bay their only win of the season! The common thought is that the Cowboys have started to get their act together. I’m taking the Packer underdogs at home because I think the Packers are going to respond to being embarrassed but mainly because Tony Romo has never looked that good to me.

Philadelphia at San Diego – A game that’s interesting for all the wrong reasons. Last time on the West coast the Eagles got thumped by a pigeon and the Raiders! Will the forces of nature rage against them again? Can the Chargers come up a new creative way to use all that massive talent to lose another one? The Eagles risked universal scorn by signing Michael Vick – so far he’s accounted for a massive 37 yards . . .

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

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

USC 14 Arizona State University 9

Orangeness by LawnElf

Click images for desktop size: “Orangeness” by LawnElf
Its been another exhausting week. Being sleepy is my natural state.
I work and go to physical therapy. That’s about it. All I can handle. Oh, and fight with the CanadianMountain of the Cannibal God government.
Physical therapy has entered that stage of really doing me some good, but that means a whole lot of pain.
I do get excited about the improvements. Its hard to tell anyone about it because they’re so small but important. I can reach in my front pocket without squealing. I can put my wallet in my back pocket and not have to do a 5 minute twirling dance to get it out. I can brush my hair with my right hand.
My shoulder blade has finally separated from the rib cage. That was hard. Now there’s a dull burning pain surrounding my shoulder blade that intensifies when I do the 3 exercises to keep lifting it back to normal.
For the rotation which was the most damaged because of what the cops did to me, I have to stand with my hand braced waist high on a door jamb. Then I simply turn. I hurt myself pretty badly doing this.
I like my physical therapist, we talk about martial arts films and various techniques for strengthening thigh muscles in kids. He takes me seriously and often starts our visits by telling me the results of his research into one of my more difficult observatory drills. But he doesn’t remember what kind of maniac I am. Like most of us when we like someone we assume they’re sane and more like ourselves than anyone could actually be.
Assuming I’m sane is risky and foolish.
When I was doing the rotation drills I’d put all my weight into it. More strength means faster recovery, right? I did them until the pain was nearly causing me to black out, pushed right through all the pain and when the soreness didn’t leave I continued with the next set on schedule and just Cole Phillips

Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by C Coles Phillips
kept pushing through the soreness and pain.
Turns out that’s pretty stupid.
I’m supposed to do the twists with light pressure and only to the point of where the pain starts. The pain is supposed to stop as soon as I release the pressure. He was incredulous that I was doing them my way. I was incredulous that he didn’t tell me not to hurt myself . . .
The soreness went away pretty quickly doing them his way but i don’t think I’m seeing as rapid a result as I was with my methods.
Today I raked up the leaves in the yard and now my shoulder feels only tired without a trace of soreness. Two months ago it would have been an impossible chore.
One bright spot of the week was that the Apple Store exchanged my retro keyboard for a brand new one with no hassle or skullduggery. As distasteful as I find a lot of Apple’s new business techniques and their shoddier manufacturing they keep winning me back with the superb customer service.
Like I still love my 2nd hand iPod Touch (what a clumsy name). I like the little casual games, I love Never Trust a Gambler finding wifi hotspots and checking my email anywhere. I like reading news feeds and while I’m on the bus or waiting for the transportation to pick me up from the doc’s I like watching movies on it. “Riot in Cell Block 11” was totally cool. And it plays music. Its become an indispensable part of my life. I can see wanting an iPhone but not while its tied to At&T or, rumored, Verizon and their exorbitant fees and slip shod service.
The other delight is and will always be my puppy. She’s dealing okay with the rescue dog. He’s too aggressive with her and resists learning Brigette Bardot

Click images for desktop size: “Brigette Bardot”
how to play “properly”.
One of the neighbors commented that my puppy was the most elegant lady like dogs she’d ever seen. She said my puppy always acted with grace . . . which I sort of doubt but I don’t mind that being the public perception of her.
One of the traits of her breed is their sensitivity and their memory. I’ve never struck, swatted, kicked or struck her. It sickens me and enrages me when I see someone strike a dog, almost as much as it does if it were a child. But my puppy reacts to harsh words like they were knives cutting her flesh.
I fell asleep and forgot where this was supposed to be heading . . .
Anyway, while we were out for our walk today we stopped into a drugstore. I lashed my puppy to a garbage can so I could see her through the door and make sure no one messed with her. While I walked past the counter a dark voice barked at me, “COACH!”
It was one of the kids I coached when he was in high school. As I think he was voted the student most likely to get 10 to 20 years I was pleased to see that he was working. At first I thought it was a cruddy job he had but then decided it was at least a better job than the one I had . . .
Indian Camp by Charles Russell

Click images for desktop size: “Indian Camp” by Charles Russell
He came form behind the counter and asked me, not how I was doing or some such but, “Hey, where’s Coach Puppy?”
I told him that she was outside. He said, “Yeah, I wouldn’t mind but the manager probably get upset if she came inside, but heck, she’s the Coach!”
We went out together and bought her inside. She seemed to remember the kid and probably asked if he’d been scoring any TD’s. He scratched her butt which pleased her. They talked while I got the few things I went in there for.
While we walked he told me how he still lived with his grand mother. He also told me something I didn’t know. His grand mother had been in the hospital with a heart attack. She’d been one of my puppy’s patients. He said she still tells people about the black dog who’d come and peek around her door to see if she needed any doctoring.
He said that he can always make her laugh by telling her some of the stories about the doctor dog being his football coach.My Gun is Quick
I’m always proud of my prim little puppy but sometimes it is nice to be reminded of why.

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

My picks are in bold.

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

Arizona at Chicago – The Cardinals are schizo’s. Their stunning win over the Giants was a fluke or a Orion Nebula by NASA

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolina at New Orleans – The Saints are undefeated! The Saints. The Panthers are playing far Dracula's Daughter

Click images for desktop size: “Dracula’s Daughter” by Universal
below their talent. They’ll step up their game against the Saints but I hope it’s not enough.

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

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

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

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

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

USC 20 Oregon 47

Happy Halloween by Julia Nikolaeva

Click images for desktop size: “Happy Halloween” by Julia Nikolaeva
I’m not feeling too great. Mostly in my head and heart. My body feels mostly like it always does.
It was a pretty good day. Got things done that pleased me. But then the letter A stopped working on Maniac my keyboard and that started the slide.
I couldn’t avert the slide, even when I discovered the keyboard is still under warranty. Now I just have to get it there to exchange it. Another task. Just means that’s the keyboard wasn’t the root of the issue, just the last straw sort of thing.
My job is pretty horrible. The hours make it worse. Not only am I always exhausted but I deal with the degenerate gambler types. They’re not very nice or polite. After the first week they’re not interesting. Their differences are all overwhelmed by their identical compulsion. This is pretty low rent legal gambling so I guess I shouldn’t have been distressed to discover the compulsion is something for nothing. Most of my “customers” don’t have jobs. They describe sitting in a chair and clicking a mouse to make the electronic slot wheels to spin as hard work. Maybe it is. I tried it and found it boring.
There’s not even a rush. For this to be legal, and right now it is legal, this is a sweepstakes. The winnings are determined as soon as you sit down and log in. The slot machine aspect is simply a reader to hook you in. What they spend hours doing could be accomplished in about 10 seconds. But then they wouldn’t keep spending money.
People do win, the biggest winner was $9,000. It doesn’t really matter to me. These people don’t tip. They run me ragged but it never dawns on them to tip. Their attitude is that it’s my job and they feel no need to show gratitude or pay a gratuity. So I clean up their messes, protect them from the predators because it’s my job and I’m paid plenty . . . I’ve heard them say often, “Don’t pick up the garbage. It’s his job, let him do it.”
The women are almost all enormously fat. They don’t want to sit on the toilet seat so they crouch Death

Click images for desktop size: “Death” by Unknown
sort of over it but they are so big they mainly urinate all over the floor and then complain about how the bathroom stinks. I clean it up.
I bought three bags of Halloween candy. I figured it was too much for any trick or treaters. We got one here. So I was giving it away to some of the people. It made me feel human. One person said thanks. Mainly they wanted to exchange it for something better. Most came up and demanded their free candy. Nearly all complained about the selection . . .
It wears you down. When they lose they get nasty. And I’m the only one around who they’re pretty sure won’t slug or shoot them for being nasty.
And I need a job. I make enough to be broke. I’m still far enough down the poverty scale to still be eligible for food stamps and free medical. Without a job I’d be even more lost.
Then there’s my continuing war with governments. I wonder why I suddenly became so important that they need to fight so viciously. There’s nothing bureaucratic or professional about it. Its just cruelty. Ridiculously I understand it. People want me to fight. I want to fight for justice, just like in MAgnum Force the comic books but I am so weary.
I miss my things. I never thought that I’d be one of those people that’s defined by his possessions. I like my music. I like being able to watch football. I like my clothes. Maybe the broken keyboard reminded me that the only thing I have left is this computer. It keeps my music. It stores my movies. I watch them here now. It’s not satisfying. Its hard to get lost in a story on a computer screen. At least it is for me. I keep checking emails.
Betty Hutton

Click images for desktop size: “Betty Hutton”
I just feel beaten up. It will pass. Depression doesn’t scare me. I’m not suicidal really. Never have been. But sometimes I get in these moods. Fortunately I have a good dog who loves me nearly as much as she loves her Kong, her ice cream, her treats, her food . . . I’m sure I’m in there somewhere.
The first time my puppy and I met she bit me! After being separated by the heart attack episode she snapped at me. We have that kind of relationship. She knows I’m depressed so she acts the clown. That’s hard for her. She’s a pretty beautiful dignified thing most of the time.
I can’t be depressed too long. If a cure consists of more than a kiss and scratching her butt or chasing her for the Kong she gets confused. She needs to know that what she does works. She needs to know that I am okay. Its those traits in her that make her a great therapy dog and why the children love her.
Right now I smile because I think of how incredibly tickled she gets when she makes me chase her for the Kong. She is so overjoyed she looks like she could explode with joyousness. If she were human she’d have to sit down and laugh for 10 minutes while wiping away tears. Right now she’s awakened and looks at me just long enough to make sure I’m okay. If I weren’t she’d come over and doctor me, whether I wanted doctoring or not.
Dracula's Daughter

Click images for desktop size: “Dracula’s Daughter” by Universal Pictures
When I’m not here she spends most of her time waiting for me. That saddens me.
Halloween was fine. My favorite pet store is going out of business. I went to their last day sale and got some good bargains.
The crazy people on the corner, the ones who over decorate their house. (Spiders crawling up the wall, a graveyard with animated figures, giant cats and purple spiders, billowing smoke , music and sound effects – it almost sounds slick. It isn’t. Its WalMart cheesiness run rampant) The husband dressed up as Leatherface and was chasing the trick or treaters with a toy chainsaw. It was enough of a show that the street was blocked with parked cars and kids waiting their turn to ask for candy and get chased.
They did this for themselves, not for charity or for profit but for the fun. Somethings are nice in small towns.
I went to the Chinese restaurant and spent my last 6 bucks on some Mu Shu chicken. When ever I get mu shu I always wonder why those pancakes are so valuable, I mean they give you a pint of muThe Midnight Story shu and four pancakes!
I watched the USC-Oregon game on-line. It was pathetic but I’m still a Trojan. Always will be. It’s okay to gloat over our worse loss in 8 years, cause its been 8 years and seven consecutive championships. We’ll probably still go to a bowl game. It was a bad loss but that’s all it was.

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

As always my picks are in bold.

Denver at Baltimore – Denver is not as good as their 6-0 record . . . which is probably one of the Fashion Plate

Click images for desktop size: “Fashion Plate” by NFL Films
ridiculous things my friends like to hear me say. The thing is that the Broncos think they are a perfect tam and that kind of belief very often works. The Ravens are a lot better than 3-3 and they know it. Attitude and home-field advantage make me pick the Ravens.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolina at Arizona – After their great win at New York last week it’s a sure bet they won’t be ready

Click images for desktop size: “Face” by MK20Face by MK20 to lie down against the enigma team that is the Carolina Panthers.

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

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

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

USC 34 Notre Dame 27

Untitled by Steve Argyle
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Stephen Youll
Its been a long week. They all are, or at least seem to be. Lonely most of the time.A lot of things that seemed important became trivial or forgotten.
I’m just now shaking the cold. Two weeks. I felt congestion building up in my lungs. When I walkedJuvenile Jungle up the big hill at night it felt like pneumonia was going to win out for sure. Massive doses of Vitamin C seemed to do the trick there. I do not like the feeling of drowning on dry land.
The graveyard shift hours continue to weigh heavily on me. I remain just constantly exhausted, constantly in need of sleep. I keep dozing off like a narcoleptic. At least I don’t drive. It would be scary if I did. My puppy has taken it upon herself to lead me places. She knows better than I do when I’m walking in my sleep.
My days off are spent exhausted while I try and give my body some time to heal so I can survive the coming week. Pretty creepy cycle.
Work is the same. It’s a terrible job. I got another raise. That just seems odd to me. Money doesn’t make me hate the job any less. Two more people have quit. Couldn’t take the abuse from our customers.
I guess gamblers are abusive. It comes with being obsessed and unable to comprehend the rest of the world. I’ve snapped at a couple of them. They either apologize or else they get huffy and tell me how to do my job. Even old and crippled I can intimidate the latter group.
Also for reasons I can’t comprehend all my fellow employees hate each other. They probably hate me too but like to talk to me and tell me how much they hate the others. Since we only see each other about 15 minutes day this just seems stupid to me and a huge waste of vehement energy. The main complaint is that the other emplyees won’t do what they’re told and the only reaction is nasty gossip. Stupid. See?
My physical therapist came back from his conference this week. I went in. Even though the sessions are doing me a lot of good the traveling there just wears me out even more. At this session I got two more daily exercises. I’ve gotten the two tendons in my shoulder loose enough to start working on the third tendon.
My shoulder blade has also gotten locked in and I have to loosen it. The new exercises are so Supermom
Click images for desktop size: “Supermom” by Unknown
nothing looking but they are excruciating for me.
For the shoulder blades I have to put my hands against the wall and lock my elbows. I then have to raise my head and chest to the ceiling and then lower them while trying to raise the shoulder blades from the rib cage. When I do it right its electric. I seem to do them wrong most of the time.
The other requires a stick. I put one end in the palm of my hand and push it with the other hand as far back as I can stand, which is not very far.
My other personal high lights: I got a new pair of shoes, on sale; 90 bucks gotten for 40. I got a haircut – bad haircut. Amazon.com was for some unknown reason giving away the entire Mojo Nixon catalog! I like Mojo Nixon just enough to download his stuff for free. Further mystery: the stuff was only free in the US.
I got a couple of people asking me how I came to my conclusion of not wanting to work with the high school football team, especially since the coach said all the right things.Jeopardy
It might be difficult to explain even though it shines with crystal clarity in my mind. Every coach has certain things they want to do, would love to do with their teams on the field. They have a vision. In the NFL you get to draft players to fulfill that vision, you get to sign free agents to make it complete. It’s the same way a conductor goes about hiring musicians for his orchestra.
In college ball the coaches and staff get to recruit players who they feel can help them realize their vision.Its only in high school football and below that the coach has little say in who is going to play for him. For me this is one of the challenges and the great beauties of Mike Tyson
Click images for desktop size: “Mike Tyson”
this level of football when seen only as a game; that the coaches have to adapt and change their philosophies and hence grow alongside their players as they envision and dream of ways to win together. It’s a different relationship to the players and to the game.
I like a wide open game. Wide splits from my O-Line, a punishing FB and a zippy RB with a QB who can rifle the ball 30 yards down field on every play. Except you seldom get the players who fit the mold.
Some coaches stick to their diagram and they can teach well enough to win and every five or six years they produce a champion. But they still have to adapt if only begrudgingly.
I’ve had a 5’2 135 pound full back. I’ve had O-Lines where the heaviest player was my 180 pound tackle. I’ve had QB’s who had no accuracy further than 20 yards down field. But we all worked together and figured out ways to win.
The Wing T formation, of which the present day Wildcat formation is a variation, was invented by a coach who had small players and no defense. He came up with it as a way to control the ball and the clock, forcing a low scoring game and giving his kids a chance to win. The spread and the veer Swan King by Michael Parkes
Click images for desktop size: “Swan King” by Michael Parkes
were invented for the similar reasons.
Now the coach I was talking to liked to run a no huddle offense. That can be a very pretty thing to see and to execute. It requires experienced players who know the game well enough to react and play almost on pure reflex. Payton Manning and Tom Brady showed you can play an entire game that way. It increases your time with the ball and wears a defense down. But if you don’t have experienced players the nu huddle is a brutal thing to see, ugly and sad. You have QB;a making wrong reads, and WR’s running wrong routes and worst of all you have O-Linemen hesitating instead of attacking.
In football one-tenth of a second is the difference between a TD and a tackle for a loss. That’s why speed is so important. As are reflexes. A football player who has to stop and think even for a tenth of a second is a guy who is still standing there thinking while the play is over.
That is exactly the play I saw that night. The Head Coach was locked into running a no huddle It The Terror From Beyond Space offense even though he had no personnel that were equipped or ready to run it. That means that the coach cared more about his dreams and ambitions than he did about the players on the field. The team is 0-8. That kind of record breeds weird things in young men’s minds. Some forget about winning and just try and enjoy being on the team. Most begin to doubt themselves and their worth as players and as human beings as they see themselves failing miserably at executing their coach’s orders. I think that the coach is giving orders that shouldn’t have ever been given.
That he wasn’t willing to scrape the no huddle and work instead on executing his plays, in teaching how to figure the assignments and how to attack the assignments tells me the truth behind the words.
I could never work with a coach who places his tiny dreams over the hearts and ambitions of his players.
That’s all there is to it really.
My puppy remains. She’s doing well on her diet. She looks beautiful. To me she never stopped Conan by John Buscema
Click images for desktop size: “Conan and Red Sonja” by John Buscema
looking beautiful.
Her life has taken some upset again, not in a bad way, but upset is upset. My housemate got a new puppy from the shelter. He moved in on Tuesday I think.
He’s a rottweiller mix. He’s pretty goofy and lovable. My puppy hates him. He’s taken to “marking” everything she has, my bed, her bed etc. He gets too rambunctious and when my puppy tries to get him to back off he gets vicious with her. He wants to play but he’s too young, too wild and too big!
He’s bitten me a few times, play bites but they hurt. He doesn’t back down when you yelp like most dogs. He needs training but for right now he needs to realize he’s no longer in the shelter. He was there for 6 weeks and before that . . . He was a surrender but his owners couldn’t even be bothered to bring him into the shelter, they called the dog catcher and told him to pick it up or they’d kill it.
When he calms down he’s pretty nifty. My puppy still hates him but she’s willing to try playing with him and just turning her back on him when he doesn’t act “right”.Invasion of the Space Preachers
He’ll be fine. I just hope that the two of them can learn to play together. They both need rough and tumble playmates.

Last week I was an uninspiring 8-6 in my NFL picks. Well, uninspiring to someone with my lofty standards perhaps but to someone who was, oh, shall we say 7-7 a record of 8-6 must look very lofty and impressive indeed.
My friend was 7-7 last week. Her cheating finally caught up with her! She still leads for the season 52 to 50 . . . I believe she hacked the website but it would be beneath me to say that until I get the evidence. I make no accusations but I point out that she is leading and keeps beating me week in and week out. I only ask how is this possible?
I read a lot of columnists agreed with me that last weeks NFL schedule was the dreariest ever. This weeks is no better really.
The biggest news is that the NFL actually decided to not let an avowed racist own an NFL team. Rush Limbaugh, who describes the NFL as watching the Bloods vs the Crips, wanted to buy the St Louis Rams. A few players said that they would refuse to play for a boss who hated them because of their skin color. Fair deal.
As badly as Goodell has responded to the lack of parity in the league and his bumbling handling of Michael Vick at least he was quick to respond and refuse Limbaugh to purchase an NFL team.
Limbaugh, of course, blames the blacks and the liberals. He never apologized for being a racist. He never explained it or claimed it was said merely to pump up his ratings. He was appalled that he didn’t have a right to buy a team and make it all white, I guess.

My picks are in bold.

Sea Creature by Evegeny
Click images for desktop size: “Sea Creature” by Evegeny
Houston at Cincinnati– Last week Carson Palmer’s win against the Ravens was a thing of incredible beauty. They played a classy well ordered game against a what appeared to be a stronger team. The only way the woeful Texans win is if the Bengals fall asleep and relax against a mediocre opponent.

Detroit at Green Bay – This is saved from being a cruddy game of the week contender by Aaron Rodgers spirited play and that the Packer defense hasn’t curled up and died. Like all .500 teams the Packer’s main problem has been consistency. They should be able to put together a pretty complete game against the Lions. The Lions have improved a lot since last year but not enough to pose anything other than an upset threat. The win against Washington has sharpened the NFL, no one will over look them again.

St Louis at Jacksonville – Cruddy game of the week contender. As the team at the center of the The Killers Rush Limbaugh fiasco, well, a major distraction is what this woeful team needs. Anything would be better than thinking about the quality of football they’re playing. The Jaguars are one of those joker teams playing the elite teams well while messing up with everyone else. It would take an amazing amount of screw ups to lose to this Rams team.

Baltimore at Minnesota – Game of the Week Contender. The Ravens two losses were beautiful things, games that bought out the best in their opponents. They played sterling football and got beat via legendary efforts. This is still a great team but they’ve yet to rise to the level that lets them produce those super human efforts themselves. Meanwhile the Vikings are making the Bret Favre acquisition appear to be a genius move. Adrian Petersen is still the most fearsome back in the league and Favre is just the guy who can make a defense pay when it tries to misalign to contain the running threat. The Viking D is playing up to expectations which is just good enough. In Baltimore I’d pick the Ravens but in the Vikings DomeI have to go with Favre and Petersen.
Untitled by Al Moor
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Al Moore

New York Giants at New Orleans – Game of the Week. Two undefeated teams. Both with attitude. The Giants are blue bloods, a team expected to win and the Saints, a team that got famous for having it fans show up wearing bags over their heads. Drew Brees is an elite QB and flanked with Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and a vengeful minded ex Giant in Jeremy Shockey, they produce one of the most potent and pretty offenses in NFL history. And the Saints Defense is suddenly looking fierce and serious. John Vilma has finally become the LB he was expected to be. The Giants O has been solid, good running game, Eli Manning has been consistent and his passing attack has barely noticed the lack of high quality receivers. Their D is slightly off looking but hasn’t really been challenged yet. They’ll be challenged today for sure. This should be business as usual for the Giants while the Saints are looking to be taken seriously. Normally I’d pick the business like team but this time I want the Saints to win so badly I scarcely care. This is a pick for my heart.Kiss And Kill

Cleveland at Pittsburgh – This is my survivor pick of the week. Only 2,993 people still in the Survivor contest. I wonder if the teams will wear those horrible throwback uniforms this week. Do they serve Rolling Rock in Three Rivers? I always think of that as Pittsburgh’s beer. Its probably some corporate NFL approved beer. I think my shoelace is untied. And that’s the more interesting things that cross my mind when thinking about this game.

Carolina at Tampa Bay – Cruddy Game of the Week contender. Maybe the Panthers are getting it together, I mean they finally won one . . . Their defense is a gawdawful mess which matches up well with the gawdawful Buccaneer offense. I expect a lot of Cadillac Williams up the middle . . . I have no idea what the major talent on the Panthers’ O will do. Not much from past experience. Which is okay because there’s not much the Buc’s can do to stop much of anything.

Kansas City at Washington – Cruddy Game of the Week. I’m picking the Chiefs because the Redskins are just too appalling to believe. How did they win 2 games? The Chiefs can’t be as bad as their record insists they are. Can they?

Philadelphia at Oakland – There’s talk of arresting the Raiders HC for punching one of his assistants . . . which is more hitting then the Raiders are doing on the field. If the Eagles lose this one they should force Vick to go apologize to the dogs he refused to visit (jerk) while the rest of the team should seek anominity by opening up a record store across the bridge in Berkeley.

Smokers
Click images for desktop size: “Smokers” by Unknown
Arizona at Seattle – In the papers, on Monday morning this game might look more interesting then it will be to watch. Hasslebeck has the Seahawks looking respectable while the Cardinals are committed to making last years Superbowl run look like a pure fluke.

Tennessee at New England – Here are two underperforming teams. At least the Patriots have looked solid. The Titans looked good in their season opening day loss and then have proceeded to totally disintegrate. Tom Brady’s getting more and more on stride and his supporting cast is getting healthier. The Patriots O-Line is looking cracked and suspect but that won’t be much of a problem against the Titans. I’d look for the Patriots to fatten up here and get completely well and confident.

Buffalo at New York Jets – After a record setting 3 wins reality hit Mark Sanchez hard with one loss where he looked terrible and another loss where the Jet defense was inept. Sanchez sent out a Kung Fu Mama tweet last night asking opinions on what movie he should watch. (Hangover, Angels and Demons, Terminator, Funny People, Public Enemies or Star Trek) Nothing fills me with confidence more than a relaxed QB, At home against a sketchy Bills defense Sanchez should completely on track. Trent Edwards and Terrell Owens have not looked very good. Marshall Lynch may have hit a wall in his career. They shouldn’t pose many threats for the Jet D.

Denver at San Diego – This is a good intriguing game. The Bronco’s have a jaw dropping looking record put together with fluke plays and the leagues strongest home field advantage. Are they real? This is a solid test in their division. The Chargers are 2-2 even while Philip Rivers is looking pure elite and near flawless. This is do or die for both teams and the best Monday Night game in ages. I’m looking for the Bronco’s to possibly getting exposed on national TV while the Chargers look to shine on the big stage.

Chicago 21 at Atlanta 20 – This is a good mid level game, like the type that should fill the NFL schedule (instead of all the cruddy games dominating the schedule now). I’ve flip flopped on this one a lot. It’s a good game to think about with Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan and two solid defenses. Neither team has much of a sustained running attack so it’s going to be an aerial fantasy. I think Cutler has a slight edge with his less than stellar receivers which includes the enigmatic but incredibly explosive Devin Hester. And this is one game where special teams could be a huge factor in which case the Bears have it all over the Falcons.

These picks are for amusement and ridiculing only any other use is just kind of foolish don’t you think?

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it Thomas Jefferson

Look Deep

Click images for desktop size: “Look Deep” by Unknown
My puppy and I are really back to normal; CONSTANT BICKERING.
Wouldn’t have it any other way.Dracula AD 1972
She is still too protective of me but she’s settled in nicely.

My housemate has decided to get a new dog. His passed away about 6 months ago. She was a good girl.
I went to the pound with him a couple of times. I thought almost all the dogs were pretty special for one reason or another. He picked two, went and spent time with each of them in these little visitor “cells”. Then we took the big step of taking my puppy to meet his final choice, a male rottweiler mix, somewhere between 6 months and 9 months old. He’s a handful.
My puppy didn’t like him. She wouldn’t, especially when I’m around. It will be fine. She’s been around fosters and other dogs most of her life. She’ll bully him and then decide he’s worth playing with. The point of the meeting, in my mind, was to make sure he didn’t try and savage her. My puppy thinks she’s a great fighter but . . .
I managed to talk the person showing us the dog to let us take them both on a walk around the property. It went well, I thought. We even managed to have a chance encounter with the other dog my housemate had picked out. It made for a pleasant day.
Today he went and filled out the adoption papers, paid the fee. The new dog should be moving in sometime between Wednesday and Friday. Coolness.

I still have a cold. It’s the reason I’m not supposed to catch colds. The cough is irritating but not debilitating.

The coolness is that I got a second hand iPod Touch. I like it a lot. Cost me $75, so far works fine. I Neat and Tidy

Click image: “Neat and Tidy” by Major League Baseball
got a raise at work so this was my treat . . . actually I just wanted one. I like being connected on the WIFI but its pretty obvious that having an iPhone and 3GS connections would be incredible and incredibly expensive. I’ll stick with this and just hope for miraculous hot spots. Since I have WIFI at work it means I can answer emails and stuff at will instead of hoping the owners fix the rickety lap top we have at our disposal.

The WIMAX from ClearWire is pretty paradoxical. It went out, the modem wouldn’t connect. I called and was told that it was because I would have to move to their Clear service which is 5 meg down and 50K up. (50 k up is painfully slow, 5 meg down is okay). I had to wait 3 days to get the new modem. When I got it they hooked up fine but there was a weird charge on my card. I called again and got an apology and a credit, 3 days later, for the $25. Curious.
I was reservedly happy with the Clear service, even though I thought this was a lot of grief for a service that wasn’t a month old yet. Until I got an email telling me I was using the service too much House of Wax and they were going to cut me off or charge me more . . . So I’m not allowed to use the bandwidth they give me? YOW!
This isn’t going to work out for sure. Hammering my debit card with two incorrect charges for some unknown reason, cutting me off for 3 days, then say that I’m using the service more than anticipated is kind of nutso. They claim the service agreement covers excessive use but that seems crazed to me. I’m paying for a service that I can’t use? Great googa mooga. What a great idea for a business, selling you stuff you’re not allowed to use.
WIMAX is a totally cool idea but Clear or ClearWire are jerks and not a trustworthy company from my experience.
Back to looking for a dry loop dsl provider.

I still don’t have a TV but thanks to friends I got to see an mkv fie of the USC-Cal game. Very interesting. I’m impressed and dumbfounded by turns. The greatest disappointment for me was the O-Line. I expected them to be monsters and they’ve looked merely competent. Too much talent to Art and Beauty by Robert Crumb

Click images for desktop size: “Art and Beauty” by Robert Crumb
not overwhelm.
Matt Barkley doesn’t look as good as the hype. I know his shoulder must still be sore but he lacks the confidence at weird times. Maybe with Ronald Johnson coming back for Notre Dame the deep threat will let him open up his game.
I’m incredibly unimpressed with Jeremy Bates as a play caller. Way too much NFL fear play calling. College ball is about being loaded on faith and hope and looking to a player to step up and perform a miracle. It’s not about making the “safe” call and prevent defenses.
Still this is a very good exciting team I feel proud of.

I went and saw the worst football game of my life on Friday night. Very poor. It made me sad as the kids were pretty typical and totally willing to lay it all out there.
I got to talk to the HC and they’re interested in having me as an assistant. He said all the right The Hunchback of Notre Dame things but when I watched the game I realized I could never work for him.
The team is 0-8 for a reason, and it’s not the talent of the kids. The HC had implemented a no huddle offense. You could see hesitation at the line as the kids attempted to remember over complicated assignments. The no huddle is a very cool thing if you’ve got the personnel. It was obvious that this isn’t the case. It was just an ego thing playing to the HC’s fantasy and ignoring the talents and weaknesses of the kids.
Frank Sinatra

Click images for desktop size: “Frank Sinatra”
You have to lead kids and the only way to do it successfully is to be their servant.

And to prove my deep understanding of the game of football; last week I was an impressive 9-5 in my NFL picks. I can bask in that for a moment. 9-5.
I forget what my friend got. I think I was 11-3 or something trivial. I have discovered how she cheats. She reads my picks and the ones I get wrong she chooses the other teams! How low and nearly contemptible. I don’t think her score is official so even if she unofficially has 45 correct picks for the season my 42 exactly correct picks are assuredly official and hence count for far more. As usual my picks are in bold.

Cincinnati at Baltimore – The Game of the Week1 Carson Palmer is playing like the elite QB he is while the Bengal defense is playing way over their heads. They are looking like a play off team. This week they meet the team I still think has a chance to get to the SuperBowl. The Ravens are playing meticulous football. Their game against the Patriots showed they are in the oxygen thin stratosphere, a brilliant team playing at the level of their talent, executing with precision and playing with heart. The Bengals are playing with intensity and beauty as well, but theirs has the feel of street football, which is exciting and pretty in The Outsiders

Click images for desktop size: “The Outsiders” by Marvel Comics
its own way. I’d love to see the Bengals win this one but the Ravens don’t look like a team ready to lose two in a row.

Cleveland at Buffalo – This is an up year rating wise for the NFL. The good games are great but pretty few. This season offers up more stinkers every week than you can imagine. Like this cruddy game of the week contender. Buffalo has talent and Terrell Owens making waves. Cleveland has . . . Derek Anderson, who I still like and then . . .

Washington at Carolina – This stinker has the winless Panthers coming off a bye week. Did they use the time trying to pull the team together or did they grouse about their contracts? The Redskins are a mess but less of a mess than the Panthers. This one could end up 6-3 or 49-47. Either way it will stink.

Pittsburgh at Detroit – I watched Ben Roethlisberger on RAW this week. I was surprised at how I Married a MOnster from Outer Space much I liked him. He took it to the Chargers last week and the Lions don’t have much to compare to the Chargers or to anyone except the Panthers and Buccaneers. This is almost a sure win.

Dallas at Kansas City – The rest of the world is finally twigging to the fact that Tony Romo is not a very good QB. The Cowboys look good as a power running team though and have enough good backs to keep inserting them, at least for now. The Chiefs . . . I feel sorry for them. They have some players and those players are surrounded by a bunch of practice squad stiffs who seem to have given up on the season already. The Cowboys are ripe for picking off but I’ve no confidence in the team rising to the occasion.

Oakland at New York Giants – Another slaughter. It doesn’t matter whether or not Eli Manning plays. The Giant Defense will score enough points to beat the hapless Raiders.

Tampa Bay at Philadelphia – My Survivor pick of the week. McNabb looks on schedule to come back this week. Doesn’t really matter as Kolb has the team looking pretty good. I just hope they keep Vick off the field. The Buccaneers have Cadillac Williams and then a prayer.

Minnesota at St Louis – The 4-0 team vs the 0-4 team . . . so much for parity. The most interesting thing about this game will be seeing if Adrian Petersen runs wild after being contained pretty well last week.

Atlanta at San Francisco – Game of the Week contender. The 49er’s are playing beautiful football, A Family

Click images for desktop size: “The Family” by Unknown
the team rising above the individual players talent to being a cohesive force. The Falcons are a good team coming off a bye week. It will be an exciting match. I’m going with home field advantage to make my pick but I suspect it will come down to the final two minutes one way or the other.

Houston at Arizona – This is one of those white noise games. It will happen but no one really knows why. The most interesting thing to me is wondering when the Cardinals will let Matt Linehart into the game.

Jacksonville at Seattle – This cruddy game has some small interest in that I think the Seahawks can actually win. I’m a Jack Del Rio fan but his Jaguars, this season, are an incredibly inconsistent bunch. This is a long haul road trip to an unfriendly place. The Seahawks, what little I’ve seen of them have not looked like a bad football team. Matt Hasslebeck should return this game. They have a chance.

New England at Denver – I have no idea how the Broncos got to 4-0. Its like last season, somehowThe Incredible Two Headed Transplant they get all the flukey breaks in the first half of the season before it all come crashing down. The Patriots don’t really believe in flukes or luck. I watched the Raven game and this is a scrappy team. I like that. This could be a good game.

New York Jets at Miami – Mark Sanchez and the Jets ran into a buzz saw called New Orleans last week. They didn’t look that bad. They have a chance to look good against a confused and confusing Dolphin squad. Sanchez tweeted right after the game something like “I made a lot of mistakes and cost us the game. I have to study and learn from them and not let them happen again.” We’ll get to see here. I’m counting on the cocky kid.

Indianapolis at Tennessee – At the start of the season this looked like it be a cool matchup, a changing of the guard as the Titans stepped up over the Colts. Instead it’s a flash back to ten years ago with the colts being 4-0 and the Titans being 0-4. The Colts keep improving each week while the Titans keep blowing up and looking worse and worse. I can’t see prime time making any changes in any of this.

These brilliant picks are for your amusement only. You might want to print them out and use them to light your fireplaces.

USC 30 California 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

USC 13 Washington 16

The Hall

Click images for desktop size: “The Hall” by Unknown
USC embarrassed themselves in Seattle. It wasn’t completely unexpected but the horrid level of play was shocking.Detour
What was worse though were the USC forum and message boards. When an Ohio State fan calls Matt Barkley “A Newport Beach Douche” you can write it off as ignorance and anger. I find this treating of kids playing college ball in the same vein as professional adult athletes disconcerting, sad and pathetic.
But when USC fans are cheering and vocalizing about hoping to see a Grace Kelly

Click images for desktop size: “Grace Kelly”
player get hurt and that the player is a Trojan is despicable.
Its clear to me that these people are just fans, and not very good ones. Some of them might even have attended USC but there’s no doubt that they never stepped onto the field and played the game.
I used to love attending USC games. I went to almost every home game for nearly 15 years. I had eight seats, 4 by the press box at the 50 and 4 at the 50 about 12 rows up.
I used to love the games. I remember one family with 3 daughters aged 5 through 9. The little girls came to every game decked out in full USC cheerleader kit.
I remember one very bad loss at the Coliseum on Homecoming. Arizona beat us on Homecoming and we looked pathetic. After the game the player’s still took time to talk to the little kids. The fans yelled encouragement and gave them pats on the back.
Even when we were getting beat by Notre Dame (there was a long streak we still haven’t made up for) none of the ND fans or USC fans yelled to kill or injure any player on either side. There was a lot of bickering and yelling between Trojan fans and Golden Domers, but it was all good natured. Chances were we’d see these guys in our offices on Monday morning.
That Trojan fans were yelling and cheering for injury to any player I would find abhorrent. That they Life in Technicolor by Khashiguana

Click images for desktop size: “Life in Technicolor” by Khashiguana
were cheering against Trojans is depressing. I see it as a fall that is intolerable. It’s not quite enough to turn me off of the sport. The game is too beautiful for that. But sadder than the rather slovenly loss is the sickening behavior of Trojan fans. That has put me into a somber mood. Even my puppy is considering going back to her roots and supporting the Buckeyes.

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

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

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

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

Arizona at Jacksonville – Last week the Jaguars defense looked tough against Indianapolis. The Offense looked peeked but . . . In the loss to the 49er’s the Cardinals looked ragged and Normandy 1944

Click images for desktop size: “Normandy 1944” by Unknown
disorganized. Add to that that last season the Cardinals never won in the eastern time zone and the pick seems clear. I’m waiting for Kurt Warner to give way to Matt Linehart!

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

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

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

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

St Louis at Washington – St Louis is one of the cruddiest teams in the league. The Redskins are an unknown quantity, older but they don’t look much better, just older. Still, last year they played Flying Eagle

Click images for desktop size: “Flying Eagle” by NFL Films
pretty well, certainly well enough to handle the Rams.

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

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

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

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

Baltimore at San Diego – This should have been the Monday Night game. This will be prime time Light Bulb

Click images for desktop size: “Light Bulb” by Unknown
stuff. The Ravens are playing angry. A working class team from the east going up against favored glamour boys in the west. Rah. Joe Flacco is looking like last season was no fluke. The Raven’s D is still vicious and can run the most complicated schemes in the game. San Diego is no real slouch either. I’m taking the Beast from the East to win a close one.

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

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

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