Washington State 6 USC 27

kb by Richard Mohler
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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
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It took me most of the day to compose a letter to the Canadian Provincial government about my heart attack bill. My eyes are so unfocused I haven’t even been able to re-read it, let alone concentrate well enough to make sure I got all the facts into it.

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

My picks are in bold.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Orleans at Buffalo – Can Drew Brees throw up 45 points three weeks in a row? WHY NOT! He’s becoming a legend and deserves a win every time he steps on the field. The Bills seem to be The Strangers
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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
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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

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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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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disorganized. Add to that that last season the Cardinals never won in the eastern time zone and the pick seems clear. I’m waiting for Kurt Warner to give way to Matt Linehart!

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

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

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

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

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

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pretty well, certainly well enough to handle the Rams.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USC 18 Ohio State 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Arizona Cardinals 23

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

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

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

Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal George F. Will

Now You See Him My friend got her new car yesterday. Not really, not yet but all is nearly finished.
The car lot was pretty interesting. The lot itself was just about a quarter mile long and it had fourThe Stuff rows of cars jammed side by side. Just a huge amount of cars.
Their system is that you inspect a car and then go to the main office where you give the the number of the car you want. They give you the key, copy your driver’s license and that’s about it. You drive the car as long as you want and then take out the next one you’re Zathara interested in.
RAH! No sales pressure at all. There’s was a windy snow storm yesterday and the place was still packed! One of the cars we were interested in was sold wile we were there! We drove about 90 minutes to get there based on a recommendation and was very glad for the experience.
We checked out 6 cars. All makes, all models there for easy comparison. Aside from the thirty mile an hour winds and blinding snow it was a great experience.
After you pick the car you want you have to sit down with a salesman . . . that was painless too. The only thing that was tried to sell to us was a warranty. Its a good warranty but hyper-expensive. A thousand bucks for 2 years! Since its also like 90 minutes away I didn’t see much value to it but Ninety Degrees by A Brito did think my friend should get the 6 month warranty to get into spring.
My friend went to the bank Friday evening. Did all the loan stuff. The guy said there should be no problem but it was too late to get the final approval. If he doesn’t see a problem I’d ho[e that means there won’t be any problems.
My friend was totally chuffed but a little bit dismayed that her favorite car was also the cheapest car we looked at! She felt even better that a local dealership had the identical car with 20 thousand fewer miles for FOURTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS MORE!
The way this place works is that they get the car in and just set it in the lot. When the car is purchased they throw it into the shop, detail it, tune it new tires and do any work they find. You get to say any problems you saw. Like I pointed out some light staining on the rear seats and felt reallyThe Unholy Four anal for doing so, but so what.
Then in a week to 10 days you go and pick the car up. Seems odd at first but also seems incredibly fair.
Since my eyes got to bad to drive its been a long time since I got to shop for a car. It was fun, especially doing it this way. I was tired but not in the usual weary way that car salesmen usually inflict.
On the way home we stopped at Taco Bell to celebrate. She had gluten free bean tacos (yeah, they make them) and I had a bean burrito, meximelt and a chicken taco.
When we got home we continued to celebrate – she took a nap and I shoveled snow. Since I keep the yard so well shoveled out it only took me about a half hour to shovel the two inches of snow that fell. As soon as I finished it started to snow again!
My friend’s nap was cut short. My puppy was sleeping with her and my puppy likes to cuddle, except she so big and so strong that her cuddling has the usual effect of pushing you off the bed!
So we watched the Chinese movie “Ip Man”. Ip is best remembered today as the guy who first taught Bruce Lee.
The film was very good. Donnie Yen is still amazing. His hand speed is staggering.
The first two thirds of the movie are supposed to be pretty accurate. They had the two legendary episodes in Ip’s life that I knew about: Ip fighting a swordsman armed with a feather duster and his famous fight with ten Japanese karate experts where he thrashed them all without ever being touched.
Marvelous recreations better than I had imagined from just reading about them. Like the final third Gothic of the film which is a weird amalgamation of fantasy and fact, if that wasn’t the way it really was this is the way it should have been.
Good stuff and a good movie to finish a celebratory day to.

Today’s the Superbowl. The end of football for another year.
Once again the Superbowl is in a fair weather city. I always sort of wish the game were played in a driving snowstorm, an ice bowl, a real pit where the intensity would have to build and it could become a savage contest of men and nature.
While I don’t think this game will be as bad as the Steelers-Seahawks debacle I don’t expect a very good game.
The Steelers have all the tools to stage a massive blowout. If Heinz Ward is 80% or better it will be a long turgid day for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals just don’t match up well. Their offense is too quick strike to wear the Steelers down. I expect Larry Fitzgerald to exploit an overly aggressive Troy Polamanu and avoid the shut out but Tombs of the Blind Dead that’s about it.
There is an X Factor. Kurt Warner. He’s been here before and knows he will probably never get here again.
He’s won strong and lost to Tom Brady is Brady’s first start and the beginning of his legend. He could rise up angry and dismantle the dream but it seems to miraculous.
Even though the Cardinals have been bigger underdog’s than this in every single one of their playoff games. No one thought they could handle Carolina and felt certain that the Eagles would trounce them easily.
There’s a pretty good chance the game will go to the back ups. Rothlisberger still holds the ball too long. His astonishing effectiveness on third and long this season justifies it but it makes him vulnerable.
Warner will have a hard time surviving the blitz. When it gets down to back-up QB’s Matt Linehart World Wide still comes up short against Steeler back up Byron Leftwich.
It maybe herd like but I see the Steelers covering the spread in almost every scenario. That doesn’t please me at all.
The half time show. A good reason to hate Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Their nipple ring fiasco ensures that we will never see decent bands at the Superbowl. A strong performance by Tom Petty last year just proves to those old dinosaurs in the NFL (and I’ve met too many of the old untrustworthy bastards) that this is the ticket.
Bruce Springsteen . . . does anyone care? Springsteen’s cred with me drops even lower, that he’d do such a gig smells like sell out.Under Age
He couldn’t possible be as bad as Paul McCartney (the Superbowl and an aged Beatle??) and no one could be horrifying as the Rolling Stones but this should be an incredibly dreary show. I wonder if he opens or closes with Reagan’s fave tune, “Born in the USA”.

Before that we still have some errands to run while we have the rented car.
My friend will be gone for 3 days next week. Need FOOD for ME!
Its been so long that I’ve been able to drive I’m used to having to walk a few miles in bad conditions to feed myself, but there’s no sense in being macho all the time.

Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit Frank Borman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My picks are in bold.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

St Louis at Atlanta – And this game means nothing to nobody. I don’t think the Falcons could manage to throw the game to the Rams. They’ll like having a live scrimmage before the playoffs. Who knows, the Rams may forget their place and pull out a squeaker but I can’t see how.
Korean Woman
Chicago at Houston – The Bears looked horrific against the Packers twice. They can still make the playoffs? The Texans aren’t revitalized. They’re weak. The Bears should have enough gritty pride to not want to be embarrassed completely this season. Whether the Vikings or the Bears make it to the playoffs they figure to be first round exits.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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