Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible
Dalai Lama

Space Travel by Virgil Finlay

Click images for desktop size: “Space Travel” by Virgil Finlay
Thanksgiving was pretty much a non-event. I had to work from Midnight till 8 AM that morning then had to be back at work at 10:30 that evening. Not much holiday for me.One Way Ticket to Hell
I had dinner. I got some frozen TV Turkey dinners. Between involuntary naps I watched the football, watched “Broadway Danny Rose” (for the Thanksgiving dinner) and listened to “Alice’s Restaurant” the big song about Thanksgiving.
My puppy and I watched and listened and ate our “frozen turkeys”, and all was well.
Except of course I still have the worst job I’ve ever had in my life. That I’ve had it a year and a half speaks more to the economy than to my sense of duty or endurance.
The job ends Tuesday. Yay!
A Superior Court Judge found for my employer. He agrees that the law violates the First Amendment!! But only in spirit, not in intent. He did not give an injunction to stop the law going into effect, he refined the law to not violate the First Amendment but to still take the addictive circumspect edges of my employer’s product. The product is gambling but it really isn’t, it’s just a wonderful virtual sort of gambling that is as addictive as the real thing. Talk to any of my less than well educated customers and you’ll easily discover that the illusion is so well done that they refuse to believe they are not gambling, despite signs, forms they have to sign and verbal admonitions that they are not gambling, they still think they are.
It ends Tuesday. The owners think they won but have at least enough sense to realize that without the gambling illusion and the possible prohibition of 24 hour business days they’re not sitting on the clandestine gold mine they were.
Me. I could care less. I’m more pleased to be out of work. It scares me but it does not alarm me as much as this job continuing.
I’ve never been anyplace for so long where I made no friends and met no one to provide some Joan Crawford

Click images for desktop size: “Joan Crawford”
pleasant memories of the place no matter how bad the situation or environment was.

I’ve managed to stop the spam on this web site. The was I did it was to change the permissions on the script that activated comments. The spammers never visited the site. They used a script to execute my script and post their spam quickly and more efficiently.
By disabling the script I’m get massive error messages from the server, but nothing serious. I’m hoping that shortly the error messages will fade out and that the spammers will just go away. When that happens, or at least slows, I can then reactivate the script and permit comments. I hope so. I miss them.

But for the NFL my weekends would be , well, just fine actually but I love football so lets get into it.
I was 3-0 for the Thanksgiving Day games. So was my wife. I taught her well. Except for the Notorious cheating. She taught herself that!
Through today we are both at 103 correct picks for the season.
My picks are in bold.

Green Bay at Atlanta – Game of the Day. And the most meaningful game of the weekend. The Falcons are studly at home so I’m picking the Packers in my upset of the week! They have more pressure on them to need this game.

Pittsburgh at Buffalo – The Steelers season is in danger. They won’t let up on the Bills.
Dream Days by Maxfield Parrish

Click images for desktop size: “Dream Days” by M Parrish

Philadelphia at Chicago – The bruisingest game of the day! The Eagles match up to well with the Bears. This could be a blow out.

Carolina at Cleveland – Cruddy game of the week.

Jacksonville at New York Giants – I’d pick the Jaguars at a neutral site but have to take the Giants at home. Still I have expect Jack Del Rio and the Jags to stomp the Giants.

Minnesota at Washington – I can’t ignore the stat that interim coaches win 66% of their first games. But the Vikings are so busted up and the Redskins are still in playoff contention. It’s hard to not take the Redskins.

Tampa Bay at Baltimore – The Ravens are still a tight shot for the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay is just moving in the right direction. Should be a good game.

Tennessee at Houston – The Titans are a mess. They’re grateful the Vikings fired their head coach to take some of the media attention off of their screwed up situation. I don’t think much of the Where the Wild Roses Grow by TitusBoy

Click images for desktop size: “Where the Wild Roses Grow” by TitusBoy
Texans but they should be able to take advantage of the situation.

Kansas City at Seattle – My second upset pick. The SeaHawks look strong at home and the Chiefs are just a team moving in the right direction. They could win but they’ll have to play better football to do it.

Miami at Oakland – The Dolphins are still too busted up to put together a game while the Raiders are working hard.

St Louis at Denver – Sam Bradford has made the Rams legitimate but Mile High Stadium is the biggest home field advantage in sports. I don’t think the rams have improved enough to win a shoot out here.The Passionate Plumber

San Francisco at Arizona – The 49ers season has crumbled to dust. The Cardinals destroyed themselves. So two teams, one with shattered hopes and pride, the other full of egos and arrogance. Eh.

San Diego 34 at Indianapolis 30 – Picking against the Colts in a nationally broadcast game when they’re at home is silly but the Chargers look stronger and are healthier. I’ll probably regret picking them.

Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever Napoleon Bonaparte

Its All Tears by Flisky I really enjoyed this Thanksgiving. More than I have in years and years.
It was everything Thanksgiving is supposed to be, food, football and family.
The Big Clock I’d be wistful about it except that Christmas is coming.
I still get giddy at Christmas. No sensible reason why. Still no money. I’ve already gotten all my gifts. The only presents I can buy are things for the dogs.
I get to put up our tree. That makes me remember. Remembering is always a good thing. Remembering the good Christmases and the bad ones. Love and hate but always with strangers struggling to recall goodwill and stuff like that. Even now I remember my second grade teacher explaining to the class what “Peace on Earth” meant while we made up the big class bulletin board for Christmas. It seemed big at Christmas Time the time anyway and with nothing but white paste, rounded scissors and construction paper for tools and seven year olds for workers and designers it was big enough.
Its a safe bet this Christmas will bring enough memories to add to the cornucopia. Why shouldn’t it.
The only downside to the whole weekend was the NFL. I think this was one of the worst weekends this year. Almost all the games were dire. The games were almost blow outs and when they weren’t the play was so sloppy it was hard to care. Instant replay is making games tedious and the officiating just keeps getting worse. Far more aggravating is the total lack of consistency of the calls. Not just from officiating crew to crew but even within the game itself.
While I appreciate Roger Goodell’s concern about off field behavior (the Plaxico Buress incident this weekend smacks of Leon Spinks inanity. The bigger concern, I think, is that Buress is dragging his La Belle Ferroniere by Da Vinci teammates into his self serving party world) the quality of the game is deteriorating.
Its going downhill because of the creepy actions from the commissioners office. Fining a second level linebacker who’s making a million a season $5,000 for a flagrant cheap shot on a star player is not going to prevent that sort of nonsense from going on, especially when stars are fined $75,000 for “excessive celebration” for making a game winning play.
Personally I get a kick out of the celebrations. They’re entertaining. (I don’t think they should be allowed in college or high school but in the pros its just entertainment.)
The idea that not projecting the “image” of the NFL is 15 times more important than protecting the players who we pay to see play at the top of their game is disturbing and seems an inept way to Captain America protect the “product”.
Maiming the stars that people are willing to pay to see so they can sell another video of “big hits” . . . I like big NFL style hits too, but I like it when both players pop back up and continue the game. There’s enough injuries with clean hits.
The college game is being destroyed by the BCS. The BCS responds too much to politicking and to hype. I think that almost all of the voters see only two or three of the games they’re voting on. Its always been that way. But at least then the arguments were entertaining.
The computer systems are an horrific joke. One hundred million stats could not compile the heart of a player let alone the heart of a game. Computers don’t spit out objectivity by looking at mere numbers, they merely reflect the prejudices of the guys deciding which numbers are important. All statisticians know how to make the numbers be real and how to make them lie.
I’m pretty ambivalent about a play off system in college football. It works well in Div 1AA, Div II and Div III. It works astonishingly well in College basketball.
The 8 team playoff seems too long to me. Another month of abusing young bodies for entertainment is more than a little creepy. I think that only guys who never played 1A football could embrace that, and of course some schools who could see this adding about 150 million more bucks to the coffers.
A four team playoff seems more doable and more sensible. Two more games is a lot, would Lucy Liu generate a lot of money and would keep things on a keel to decide who is the best. It also should not interfere too much with education. Remember that even on a National Championship team only about 10% of the players are going to have a career in professional football, so education should always be the primary goal.
A two game play off would also partially obviate the hot team squeaking into the Championship. College ball has always been about the season, the whole package, not about a wild card team starting to click at just the right time to sweep in.
I could enjoy a two game play off without too much guilt.

I still haven’t made up my mind about the hosting site. I’ve checked around and Blue hosting The Brain that Wouldn't Die remains one of the cheaper services out there. It also has been pretty reliable. The problems I’ve had with it have all been short lived. I have no complaints with them at all.
The pricing bugs me some. Its like 10 bucks a month for one year, 8 bucks a month for 2 years and 6 bucks a month for 3 years . . . so the deal would be 3 years but who can come up with that much cash? Coming up with one year would be rough enough. Maybe its just being broke that bugs me. And the fact that while I’m in a good mood I still don’t know whether I’ll be around in 3 years. I’m not a business or a corporation.
There’s a big part of me that likes the idea that once I’m gone the site vanishes. No moping around.
I’m inclined to keep the hosting service. My only real reason is my puppy’s site, the only reason that seems worth the money anyway. So I’m not sure that keeping it going isn’t just laziness and a Europa by Soa Lee spoiled luxury.
Free hosts have pretty steadily declined. Mainly because of spammers and scammers, I guess. And now they all seem to be weighted down with obligatory advertising. Huge banners and pop ups that they automatically place on every site each time they serve a page, so that seems out.
Someone suggested a .mac (now .mobileme). Its slightly cheaper and comes with beau coup fringe benefits. As a hosting service .mac doesn’t have near enough bandwidth or storage space for even just my puppy’s site.
I’m downloading the whole thing now. Just my puppies site is over 10 gig! Lots of pictures and movies!
All toll the whole site is over 22 gig . . .
I am downloading the whole thing and changing the stuff to be prepared for whatever I decide. I’m Blacula nervous waiting for my decision . . .
I’ll give it a lot of thought while I’m doing laundry and shoveling snow today.

The antibiotics seem to have done all they can. I still have pain but its not a totally absorbing pain. The worst is from what, I assume, are two abscesses. One in my tooth and one in my hip. They still get electric at times but I can smile now, something I couldn’t do for a couple of weeks.
I also note that I am no longer aware of the antibiotics wearing off. Before they gave me about four hours of relief. A drag when you’re on a 12 hour rotation.
My ibuprofen intake is down to about 2400 milligrams a day and I’m close enough to comfortable to not argue the point.
In fact I can even spend time considering the career of Johnny Burnette.
Thinking about Johnny Burnette and Christmas, friends and dogs is indeed a sweet life. No time to even consider mortality!
I like it when I can savour being alive and can look forward to this day and the next day.
It seems like a sweet dream.

Notre Dame 3 USC 38

I Remember Her I’ve been enjoying this Thanksgiving weekend immensely.
Part of living abroad for so long where no one really has a clue about the holiday, is that I learnedAdventures of Robin Hood to not miss it.
Once some of my British kids tried to do a “real Thanksgiving” for me. From my eyes it was a disaster. They all thought it was a rousing success. Of course it was me who had to drive three kids to emergency on three separate trips . . .
I was living in Mayfair and had to go to the Westminster Emergency. The duty nurse thought I should rent the cubicle where we had to go through the rigamarole, Part of my ability to forget Christmas_night_06.jpg abut Thanksgiving was that a year after my wife and son passed away the day after Thanksgiving my mother called me, sobbing and in tears. My step-father had had a great Thanksgiving, the next morning he woke up, sat at the kitchen table and died. I had Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s family’s but I gather he’d gotten drunk.
My step-father was a raging alcoholic. My mom was the classic enabler. “He’s not a drunk, he’s just a heavy drinker!” “He has to drink because of the terrible pain in his knee!” (He’s had a knee injury. Nowadays the operation to fix it takes about an hour and has a 99% full recovery rate. Some guys are playing less than a month after surgery, back then they botched these things a lot. Look at the careers of Gale Sayers, Dick Butkis and Mickey Mantle.)
He was a drunk. I still don’t understand why but my mother loved him deeply. He never hit my Winding the Skein by Charles Leighton mother. He saved all of his physical and mental abuse for me. He was always very sweet to her even when off on one of his drunken escapades. Some of them were funny, I guess, but I lived with him so I never saw the humour.
My mother was horrified that she’d been speaking to him for she didn’t know how long before she noticed he wasn’t just ignoring her. Something he did often enough.
I had to go over to the house and deal with the mess that a death at home brings; cops, coroners etc. It was pretty cut and dried. My step-father was told that if he didn’t stop drinking he’d be dead within 90 days. Thanksgiving was day 90 after he’d gotten that report. I’d suspect that in his mind he figured he’d won by living through it. He’d just turned 60.The Birds I had no deep feelings when I looked at him dead. I was concerned that my mother was going to be alright. She’d keep showing a brave face but when she thought no one was watching she’d break down and force herself to recover.
There were about 100 people at the funeral. About 300 attended the wake. I thought this was a low turnout but I don’t think there’d be that many for my funeral. The NFLPA sent a guy. He did well, telling my mom how the NFLPA would take care of the funeral expenses and important stuff like that. I knew a few of the others by sight but they were all my step-father’s friends and were trembling waiting for the first drink of the day.
I was a bit startled by how many of them seemed to be hitting on my mother but maybe that’s because I’m an only child and too sensitive to that stuff.
When I looked at my father I was glad I stopped drinking years before. He was a stuff athlete, a champion QB but now his nose blood vessels were so broken up his nose looked like it was badly crafted from morticians wax and badly stuck into the approximate middle of his face. His body was bloated, not exactly fat, he drank more than he ate but it looked unhealthy. If he’d been 80 he’d have looked the same.
No one from his NFL team or his college team showed up.
The next day I made some pretty horrifying discoveries. My mom didn’t know how to write a check, much less read a simple bank statement. She was a housewife and no skills Animeat all. She was a terrible cook, always was but she could wash clothes, grocery shop and keep the house clean. That’s about it.
This stunned me because when I was little I thought she did a grand job of running our lives. I thought she was an independent career woman! She was if the career was working at the refreshment stand of the local drive-in.
They were deep in debt. They had no cash. I realized how bad things were when I took out the garbage and saw that instead of a dozen Chivas Regal bottles my step-father was drinking generic scotch, you know, the plain bottle with the white label, the blue stripe and the only printing on the label was SCOTCH.
My mom was to get about $600 a month from the NFL pension fund. That was enough for food and the house payment, barely.
She limped by for a year. I did what I could. The very next year I took her out to the Los Feliz Inn for for Thanksgiving dinner. I never A Woman's Faceliked the place but it was her favorite.
Me liking it wasn’t much of the point. It spared me from cooking and more importantly it spared me from enduring her cooking. Every Thanksgiving we always had about 30 dinner guests. I don’t know why really, my mom was a terrible cook. One year I remember she had the inspiration to boil her stuffed turkey . . . a lot of people converted to vegan that day, maybe that was her intent. I got my love of animals from her.
She talked about my step-father, tried to convince me that he loved me! I didn’t point out the things he’d said to me, like I won All-State as a RB and he said it was because I wasn’t smart enough or gifted enough to be a QB, or tough enough to be a Tight End or a Full Back. Being an RB was a dead end because everybody knew the blacks had taken over the position. How he would throw knives at me at the dinner table if he didn’t like my table manners or just decided Jumping Jackhe didn’t like me. How all my girl friends must be stupid whores to go out with someone as ugly as me.
I don’t think she heard him then and I was certain she wouldn’t hear me then either. She told all of her “funny” stories about him, how they’d met and all. She was happy.
She died the next morning. Her neighbor called me. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, exactly a year after my step-father.
The coroner said it was congestive heart failure. I figured that it was medical jargon for a broken heart.
See, no matter who you are or what you are there is always someone out there willing to love and The Abominable Dr Phibes treasure you. I loved my mom. She encouraged me, she kept me sane, she loved me and she loved a man who I considered a monster. I spent a lot of years being so consumed with hatred for him that I was careful not to let myself become him, not to turn into the thing I hated.
But the person I loved most in the world loved him more than she did herself.

Last week I beat my friend’s picks by 12-4 versus 10-6. Once again proving the superiority of men, careful planning and deep analysis. I patted her gently on the head and reminded her that some things are just male par vue. She was defensive enough to point out that she still lead in the season by 2 points. Its amazing the depths a poor loser will sink to!
As usual my picks are in bold.

Tennessee at Detroit – This Thanksgiving the NFL gave us the worst slate of football ever imagined! Starting with this turkey. This is the first time I’d gotten to see the Lions play, well, not play so much as show up. It was a disgrace. I can’t see the Lions winning a game this year. While the Titans are a powerhouse team they did lose to the Jets who got whomped by the Raiders!

Seattle at Dallas – Another disgrace of a game. I can see Seahawks HC Mike Holmgren canceling his retirement rather than have this pathetic team as his final legacy. The Cowboys didn’t look that good. The Seahawks looked that bad.

Arizona at Philadelphia – Okay. I decided to ignore the fact that the Cardinals only win at home. I JW McGinnis focused more on how dreadful the Eagles have looked these past weeks . . . I was wrong, oh boy was I wrong. The best game of the day and it was about a 2 on a scale of 10!

Indianapolis at Cleveland – Now that Brady Quinn is done for the season maybe the Browns will rise up angry and play their hearts out! Or Peyton Manning will continue to will the once written off Colts into the playoffs. I like Derek Anderson, not least because of his involvement with shelter dogs. Manning is looking like something from another planet. It looks like Manning doesn’t really even need teammates. He’ll win them alone if need be!

Carolina at Green Bay – Both teams are coming off of pretty humiliating losses, of course nothing
Atom Man VS Superman
was as humiliating as the pasting the Saints laid on the Packers in Prime Time. The Panthers looked pretty anemic against the Falcons but at least they weren’t blown out in the first half. Still, the Packers play better at Lambeau field and need to rebound for their own self esteem. The Panthers have not impressed me all year.

Miami at St Louis – What better place for the Dolphins to get back to winning then against the Rams. Even if Steve Jackson does return for the Rams the team is mired in self loathing. They’ll put up a token resistance at best. Their only hope is that Dolphin Chad Pennington is, well, they really have no hope.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay – The Buccaneers are heavy favorites at home today. Their defense is for real. They’ve already thumped the Saints. I think that Dru Brees is wily enough to not make the same mistakes against them. With the return of Reggie Bush, even if he’s at 75% this should be a different game.

Herding with Grandma New York Giants at Washington – I don’t like the Giants style of play. I don’t know why. You can’t deny they’ve looked like a juggernaut. I don’t think the weird antics of Plaxico Buress are going to be enough to sway them. The Redskins look solid but not good enough to pick.

San Francisco at Buffalo – Last week the Bills looked incredibly impressive against a bad Kansas City team. Singletary has gotten the 49er’s nearly rebuilt into a smash mouth team. They were not humiliated against the Cowboys. I’d figure them to improve and for the Bills to fall back into their shells.

Baltimore at Cincinnati – The poor Bengals. Every time they take a step forward they get their feet stamped on. The Ravens need the playoffs. You can see it in their demeanor and in their play. I’d like to see the Bengals compete. Maybe they will but I don’t think it will be enough.Batgirl

Atlanta at San Diego – This is the most interesting game of the week. The Chargers are not as bad a team as the 4-7 record indicates. Two pivotal bad ref calls cost them 2 wins. The Falcons are for real but on their first trip to the west coast. If the Chargers haven’t written off the season they match up way too well offensively and defensively. They should win this. It will really depend on their attitude and heart.

Pittsburgh at New England – Game of the week! Okay, Bilichik just might be a genius. Instead of managing games he has Matt Cassel winning them. The Steelers Secondary and Troy Polomanu against Randy Moss and Wes Welker will be a special sight indeed. With no running game and with Willie Parker running scared Ben Rothlisberger will face pure heat from the Patriots front 7. Its going to be a good one and not just because both teams desperately need to win to stay alive for the play offs.

Kansas City at Oakland – Cruddy game of the year! I’m taking the Raiders for no real good reason. They can play a little bit better on defense . . . and that’s about it. It should be close but who cares.

Denver at New York Jets – The Bronco’s Jay Cutler against legend Brett Favre. I think thats Femmea closer matchup than you’d think. Sadly the rest of the Bronco team absolutely stinks.

Jacksonville at Houston – What happened to the Jaguars this season? This is a real cruddy game of the week contender. I still think Jack Del Rio is a better coach than Gregg Landry. The match ups favor the Jaguars in all areas except intangibles and home field advantage. Some how I don’t think that will be enough to put the Texans over the top but when you’re dealing with teams that worked hard to be 4-7 anything is possible. If no one watches will the score still count? ESPN got really burned with this stinker for a Monday night game. They should get a refund.

Chicago 27 at Minnesota 24 – A gam of the week contender and in prime time! Brian Urlacher Back From The Dead versus Adrian Petersen! RAH! The Bears won’t much miss Brian Vasher. He’s not been a force at all this season. The Vikings don’t throw the ball that well anyway, just enough to try and keep other teams from stacking 8 men into the box. The Viking defense will feast on Forte and Kyle Orton but the Bears offense either gets blown out or pulls off the miracle play. This should be good.

When I was a little kid the big kids used to play football cards. The cards cost you a buck and you had to pick 10 winners to win twenty five bucks. Thing is that sort of parlay was really worth about 500-1 odds. Which is what I figure your odds are if you read these picks of mine with any other intent except laughing at me . . .

Happy Thanksgiving

Glass Flowers Its a good day for a Thanksgiving Day.
Plenty of football, plenty of food and I’m with the people and dogs I want to be with.
Trivial Matters PLUS I checked and the Chinese buffet has bacon! Happy happy pups.
I watched an odd but oddly engrossing movie last night. A Hong Kong baseball movie called “City Without Baseball.” What made it stand out is that only a very few actors were used. Most of the characters were playing themselves. And the script was written out of stories that the players told on themselves.
All of the music was either performed or written by people who had died recently (there were little title cards saying who they were and the extent of their lives) or was written by the bisexual pitcher on the team.
Fashion, Sex, Politics and Music The acting was fine. Never false or misleading. I got confused between some of the characters. They’re were a lot of brothers and three of the girls had the same hairstyle! But the story managed to roll along just fine.
There were several very good quotes in the movie, like Confucius and “We do not even understand life, how can we understand death.” and cool stuff from a half dozen other Chinese philosophers.
Wizard Of Oz But the best quote in the movie came from a character, the baseball teams manager. He was a soft little guy and he was talking to the bisexual pitcher. The pitcher was concerned because no one on the team liked him. This scene made me wonder how much were the people’s words and how much the writers had taken their words and honed them into film dialogue. The manager said them so matter of factly and with an official type of glibness that I think the words were his own: “I’ve been at this so long that there’s no problems I haven’t seen and that I don’t know how to solve. If its something new then it hasn’t been classified as a problem yet, so that no matter what happens it is always no problem at all.”
Yellow Submarine We ended by watching an old Doris Day flic.
It was pretty funny and horrifying in its overt sexism. Day is a housewife and gets a shot at being a TV commercial star. The comedy is in her trying to balance a career and still not to forgo any of her vital “wifely duties!”
Its pretty offensive and mild.
So I’m off to start to enjoy the four day weekend. No big shopping plans for Black Friday but I’ll still be enjoying myself.
I hope you do too.
I hope you get to enjoy some of the monstrous amount of football lined up for the weekend!
Especially Notre Dame at USC!