Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!



Click here. You'll find it difficult to tear your eyes away, I promise.

I found it here, to give credit where it's deserved.

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What have we learned - Week 8

Sigh. Another week, another tough loss for the Eagles. Not only that, but the losses are somewhat inexplicable. I'll get to this week's debacle soon enough. This week's theme is things that make no sense in the grand, glorious National Football League.

The Eagles were desperate. They were playing at home. They were playing a team with a back-up quarterback that had lost to Houston the week before, 27-7. And the Eagles played like crap. The Jaguars dominated the game, but the Eagles gave up no touchdowns after the first drive. Yet Andy Reid continues to ignore his running game, and McNabb played poorly. Why his receivers keep dropping passes is weird, too. They need to run the ball - it's a broken record of the Reid Era, but it's true. Their defense gets tired in the fourth quarter because they get dominated in time of possession. I'm depressed. They get a week off to regroup, and if the Giants lose they're only a game out of first place, but they need to get things together. This was the easy part of the schedule. They should have won 6 games. Dagnabbit.
Thing that made no sense: With about 7½ minutes remaining, the Eagles had about a 3rd-and-7. They tried a pass, McNabb got sacked, they punted. Shouldn't that be two-down territory? They were losing 13-3 and Jacksonville had proven that they could eat up the clock. The Eagles got the ball back, sure, and kicked a field goal, but with less than thirty seconds left. I had turned off the game by then, but I imagine they failed to get the onside kick. You're losing by two scores and you're punting to a team that has chewed you up with the running game? WTF?

I didn't watch very much of the Cardinals game at all. They suck. They made freakin' Green Bay look good. Here's a fun fact: they don't play the Packers all that often, but they still have not won a game in Green Bay since 1949, when they were in Chicago. Arizona has a lot of streaks like that.
Thing that made no sense: Why wasn't Denny Green fired via cell phone in the first half? That would have been cool.

The Titans shredded the Texans, and David Carr was benched in the second half. You know you're a bad team when David Carr isn't living up to your expectations. Everyone keeps talking about how Vince Young is doing so well, but he really didn't play that well. He's a nice story, but let's hold off on anointing him the savior of the franchise.
Thing that made no sense: Houston's draft pick. Yes, I know it's be mentioned ad nauseum, but it really made no sense to pick Mario Williams when they could have taken Vince Young. Even if he isn't the greatest quarterback, he has that Michael Vick factor that puts butts in seats.

Sure, the Ravens can go to New Orleans and win, but not the Eagles. Sheesh. I like how Jamal Lewis carries 31 times for 109 yards and everyone says it's great, but Edgerrin James carried 24 times for 84 yards and everyone asks what's wrong with him. Andy Reid should watch Jamal Lewis. It's not the yardage, it's the pounding you put on the defense. They looked like they didn't want to tackle him after about a half of him beating on them.
Thing that made no sense: The Saints making stupid mistakes. Sure, Baltimore has a good defense, but New Orleans ran some idiotic plays. Why didn't they call a halfback pass against the Eagles so my guys could have intercepted it?

The Bears could have easily scored 100 points against San Francisco, and that's pretty scary. Arizona, of all teams, showed how to beat the Bears, but the 49ers just don't have the talent. I'm starting to warm up to Chicago - I like how they attack the defense when they smell a weakness, even if it leads to turnovers, like it did in Arizona. I still think they're overrated because they haven't played a good team on the road, but I don't hate them, like I do the Peyton Colts.
Thing that made no sense: Why San Francisco even bothered to show up. After hearing for two weeks how they got so very lucky, and playing at home, there was no way the Bears were losing this game or even allowing the other team in the game. The 49ers should have just taken a vacation.

The Seattle-Kansas City game was pretty exciting, and I always like seeing ex-Penn Stater Larry Johnson do well. What has happened to the Seattle defense? Whenever I turned the game on Johnson was shredding them for big gains. A blocked field goal returned for a touchdown made this closer than it should have been, because KC dominated. The Chiefs are one of the many schizophrenic teams (like the Eagles) in the NFL. You just never know which team will show up.
Thing that made no sense: The lack of tackling skills by the Seahawks. Do they even teach tackling in the NFL anymore?

Michael Vick has impressed everyone with his newfound passing skills, but all he's done is thrown a few more touchdowns. Good for him, sure, but he hasn't thrown for significantly more yardage or for a much higher completion percentage. They've won both the games, which is nice, and their running game remains as strong as ever, but he has to do this consistently, which is what I said last week. I'm still reserving judgment. I'm not sure how the Bengals lost this game, as they had a good lead and were playing at home. Oh, wait, sure I do - Marvin Lewis turned into Andy Reid! On the first drive, Rudi Johnson, a very good running back, had 5 carries. Touchdown! The rest of the game he had 7 carries. What the hell?
Thing that made no sense: Another strange punt, as the Bengals punted with about 5½ minutes remaining and losing 29-20. They were closer to their goal line and did get the ball back quickly and scored with about 3 minutes left, but I wonder if they ever got the ball back after that. If not, it was a dumb punt. Where's Woody to shed some light on the subject?

Everyone loves the Giants now, but Eli Manning had another crappy game. I realize it was very windy and he did enough to win, but is he really showing that he can take a team to the Super Bowl? In Giants-land, the big news last week was that Tiki Barber called Tom Jackson and Michael Irvin of ESPN "idiots" for suggesting that he's a distraction to his team with all the retirement talk. He's right about Irvin, but for different reasons, but he should have kept his mouth shut. They were just giving their opinions. The biggest way to shut them up is to take his team to the Super Bowl. Which they won't do, because Eli is their quarterback!!!!
Thing that made no sense: A week later, it still makes no sense that Tampa beat the Eagles. Their offense proved once again that they stink. Shit. Way to go, Eagles.

With a little less than 4 minutes left in the game, Philip Rivers threw a touchdown pass to LaDanian Tomlinson with his team on the Ram 25 and leading 31-17. In the NFL, I don't care if teams run it up because everyone's a professional, but that was bad form, I thought. I wonder if the football gods will exact vengeance. My friend Mike has a man-crush on Marc Bulger, and I feel bad for Bulger, because his line stinks, and his receivers drop a lot of passes (not as many as the Eagles', but who does?). Someone is going to win the NFC East and the NFC West with 9 victories, I think. That's pathetic.
Thing that made no sense: More lack of tackling skills, this time by St. Louis. Hey, Rams - the guy with the ball is the one you want to bring down.

The Jets kind of got hosed at the end of the game. They were losing 20-13 to Cleveland in a game they had no business even being close in. I watched some of this game, and New Jersey looked awful. Yet here they were, 4th-and-4 at the Browns 20-something, and Chad Pennington floats a ball into the end zone. The receiver catches it one-handed and is leveled by the Cleveland defender, getting knocked out of bounds in the process. It's pretty clear on the replay that he would have come down in bounds, which in the NFL means it should be a touchdown. The official called it an incomplete pass, and it was not a reviewable play. Cleveland, which probably needed a break, escapes with a win. And they now have the same number of victories as the Super Bowl Champions.
Thing that made no sense: Why isn't it a reviewable play? They said it was a "judgment call" by the official, so it's not reviewable. Yet plays that are reviewable, like whether a receiver controlled the ball before he was out of bounds, are also "judgment calls." The explanation is pretty lame, and the rule needs to be looked at.

I freakin' hate the Colts, because they take up valuable playoff space when everyone knows they have no chance to win the Super Bowl. Yesterday, the Broncos ripped them to shreds with the running game, yet late in the game, they threw a couple of stupid passes, kicked the tying field goal with 1:49 left, at which point everyone in America knew the Colts would win because that's an eternity to Peyton Manning. Crap.
Thing that made no sense: Why didn't Denver put more pressure on Manning? The only teams to beat him recently put pressure on him, yet throughout the game, the Broncos rushed four, even after it was obvious they weren't touching him. I understand you don't want to give up the big play, but Manning will dissect you if he has some time, and sooner or later, hit you with a big play anyway. Sell-out blitzes can get you beaten badly, but they also freak Manning out a little. Stupid Broncos.

The Raiders won a football game. How is still under investigation. Andrew Walter, their quarterback, completed 5 passes. They gained 98 yards for the game. Ben Roethlisberger, who shouldn't have been playing because of his concussion the week before, completed 25 passes for 301 yards. But ... two interceptions were returned for touchdowns, and two more stopped the Steelers when they had decent field position. What a weird game. The Oakland offense kept giving the game to Pittsburgh, and the Oakland defense kept making one more stop.
Thing that made no sense: The whole game made no sense. This game was played in Bizarro World, and at the end, the players shook hands and said "Hello."

In another weird game, the Panthers managed to blow an early 14-point lead at home to a team with a quarterback making his first career start. I didn't watch the second half, but it sounds like Carolina simply imploded, and the Cowboys managed to take advantage. I'm not as shocked by this as some other people, because like rookie pitchers, unknown quarterbacks seem to have a very brief window of advantage until teams figure him out. Of course, Dallas gets to play Washington and Arizona the next two weeks, so even if they figure him out it might not matter. If he had played Washington this week and Carolina next week, this result would have been a lot different. But at least Terrell Owens caught a lot of balls. That's all that matters, right?
Thing that made no sense: Why did the Dallas offensive line suddenly learn how to block? Did they not like Bledsoe, so they were tanking on purpose? Ah, a good conspiracy - that's why ESPN needs to hire me, so I can stir the pot!

To finish off, I have a trivia question. What was the last Division 1-A college football team to score at least 100 points, and when did they do it and against whom? Take a guess in the comments!

Next week: midseason predictions! Possibly.

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Top Ten Day: My favorite cities

I was already thinking about this post prior to this morning, but then Colin Cowherd, the blowhard on ESPN radio, opened his mouth. He was talking about people who hate Los Angeles, and how the only people who hate Los Angeles are the people who can't "make it" there because they're losers. He took a swipe at Altoona while he did this (which is pretty funny, but still, Altoona's a perfectly nice town). Cowherd is a fun guy to listen to because he's so very, very wrong so very, very often, but when he's right, it's interesting. I'm not going to say he's "wrong" in this instance, because I've been in Los Angeles for the grand total of one afternoon in my life, but Cowherd strikes me as a guy who is going to have a heart attack at 50 because he's all about making coin and climbing the ladder. Did he ever think that maybe people don't like Los Angeles for perfectly legitimate reasons? Lots of movie stars, who presumably have "made it," move away from Los Angeles because they don't like it. I love Cowherd, because he's a tool. An entertaining tool, but a tool nonetheless.

Anyway, let's run down my favorite cities! These are cities I have spent a some time in, even if it's only a few hours. There are plenty of cities in the world that I would love to visit, and there are plenty of cities I went to in my wayward youth, but I don't remember them, so they won't be on the list (sorry, London). As for the definition of "city" ... well, it's like irony - I know it when I see it!

1. Portland, Oregon, United States. I have never made it much of a secret how much I love Portland. It's a decent-sized city, but it's not overwhelmingly huge. It has plenty of nice neighborhoods, it's pedestrian-friendly, it has a beautiful downtown, it's in a picturesque valley, and it has a lot to do in terms of theater, movies, events, and other interesting things. I have heard that since we left, the downtown area has gone downhill, which is a shame, because Portland's downtown was a wonderful place to just wander around and watch people or examine the architecture. It's close to nature, it's close to the mountains, it's close to the ocean, and the weather is relatively decent. Yes, it rains a lot, but not as much as you might think, and the winters are usually mild, while the summers are spectacular. I would love to move back there. Perhaps we will someday.

Web sites: The official site, the Visitors' Association, a guide to the city, the Wikipedia entry.

2. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Long-time readers (all eight of you) could have guessed that these two cities would be at the top of the list. I spent five months in Melbourne in 1992 and loved it. I would move the family there in an instant. It has a wonderful climate, it's on a big bay that leads into the ocean, so it's on a big body of water but doesn't get buffeted by the waves, and it's a beautiful place. The city is ridiculously clean, and the tram system is excellent - you could live your whole life there without driving a car. The people are very friendly (Australians tend to be), there's a pub on every corner, there's a lot to do, and it's close to some wonderful places around Australia, including Tasmania, which is a spectacular place. It's a thoroughly modern city that retains its Victorian charm. I highly recommend it if you're in the area.

Web sites: The official site, the tourist site, things to do around town, and the Wikipedia entry.

3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. I grew up in the suburbs of Philly, and although it has gone through some hard times in the past thirty years, I still love the town. It's actually a lot more interesting than it gets credit for, not only for the wonderful historical sites, but just for the things to do around town. The history, of course, is the main draw, but it also has those fantastic old neighborhoods that you get in older cities, and the waterfront area has become much nicer in recent years. The tonier areas are also very nice, and the sports teams, although losers for most of their existence, have that quality about them that makes them lovable even when they stink. I hope that Philly continues to revive as it has done recently (not much, but a little) because despite some absolutely horrible areas and some sketchy history (Wilson Goode, the mayor, remember, bombed his own city in 1985), it is a proud and beautiful place.

Web sites: The official site, the Visitors' Guide, a historical guide, and the Wikipedia entry.

4. Seattle, Washington, United States. I have never lived in Seattle, but I have visited plenty of times, and we wish we had the money to live there. It's bigger and more cosmopolitan than Portland, and its setting is, amazingly, more spectacular than Portland's, as its downtown is situated on a narrow strip of land between two bodies of water - Puget Sound (well, Elliott Bay, really) and Lake Washington. It's also built on a hill, so it's tough to walk around downtown. The neighborhoods around the central core retain their own charm, and there are always many interesting things to do. The weather is worse than in Portland, and it doesn't quite have as friendly an atmosphere, but it's a gorgeous place that everyone should visit at least once in their lives, if only to take the Underground Tour!

Web sites: The official site, tourist guide, entertainment guide, and the Wikipedia entry.

5. Paris, France. I haven't been to Paris in over 20 years, but I spent a week there in 1985 and fell in love with it. It's a great city not only for the art and history, but for the sense of community you get as you walk through the neighborhoods and through alleys and along the river and into tiny little cafés. It's amazing that, for the most part, Paris has resisted the modernization of the rest of the world yet still feels like a modern city, despite the sense of history all around. It's a pedestrian-friendly city, and there is far more to do than I could ever tell here. Of course, for a 14-year-old, the highlight might have been the naked hookers. Just standing on the street. Yowza! I would love to go back and spend some time, because we saw far less than it has to offer, I'm sure. Some day we'll get there!

Web sites: The official site, the tourists' site, and the Wikipedia entry.

6. New York City, New York, United States. I have often thought there would be only two ways I could live in New York: if I had been born there, or if I was filthy rich. If I was a native, the various things you need to know to survive in New York would be ingrained, and if I was filthy rich, I could live in Manhattan and have things done for me. I love visiting New York, even if I probably wouldn't be able to live there. It's unlike any city I've ever been in, and I doubt if there are many cities like it. It's not that it's big, it's that it's overwhelmingly big, with something to see on every street corner. It assaults your senses and attacks your emotions. Manhattan, obviously, is the center of the world in some sense, but it's amazing how organic the other boroughs are and how distinct they are. It's a wonderful city, and everyone should visit it once. Even if you don't like it, you have to experience it.

Web sites: The official site, a tourism site, another tourism site, and the Wikipedia entry.

7. New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. This is pre-Katrina, obviously, as I have only been there once, and it was in 1995. However, despite my feelings about reconstructing New Orleans under sea level in a flood plain, plus their unwillingness to admit culpability in owning slaves, I love the city. It has a wonderful old-world charm that is lacking in many American cities, and both the French Quarter and the Garden District are absolutely beautiful. Obviously, I love cities steeped in history, and New Orleans is one of those. It's very sad what happened to it, but that still doesn't mean they should rebuild it in the exact same condition, because it will happen again.

Web sites: The official site, a tourism site, Everything New Orleans, and the Wikipedia entry.

8. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. When I visited my aunt and uncle in Pittsburgh in 1984, there was no way I would have thought it might be a favorite city. It was dirty, depressed, and disgusting. However, when I returned in 1992 to see a friend of mine who went to school there, I was amazed by the reclamation project that Pittsburgh had become. It was clean, glistening, and the government had attracted lots of new development and had done a wonderful job making Pittsburgh a livable place. It's always been picturesque - downtown is on a spit of land at the confluence of three rivers and is surrounded by mountains (which gives it a weird, Gondolin-type feel), and the area to the north, where the university is, has a nice college town feel in the middle of a good-sized city. It's a city that doesn't get a lot of recognition on the national stage, but it has become a very nice place.

Web sites: The official site, a visitors' guide, and the Wikipedia entry.

9. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We spent a weekend here in 2001, and even though our car was broken into and a bunch of CDs stolen, it's still a very cool city. Downtown is on a peninsula that sticks like a thumb into Burrard Inlet, and it's a very nice area, with some fine buildings and plenty of things to do. It is connected to the north shore by Lions Gate Bridge and to the south by a narrow isthmus of land, and is surrounded by the Old Town area and an artists' colony. There is skiing almost within city limits, and lots of water (which is a plus). The weather is horrible, I'm sure (it was Memorial Day weekend and it was cold and rainy), but the setting is spectacular. You can see Vancouver in a bunch of movies, if you've never been there. Rumble in the Bronx was filmed there (ironically, given the title), as was The 6th Day. Those are two examples where you can see the city well.

Web sites: The official site, a tourism site, another entertainment site, and the Wikipedia entry.

10. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. This is kind of a cheat, as I only spent one day in Sydney, but I really liked the city. It's a typical Australian city, in that it's very clean and very friendly. It's more modern than Melbourne, but not quite as charming. Its setting is very beautiful, and it has a lot of very nice neighborhoods surrounding the central business district. Sydney does retain a bit of old-school charm, as it's one of the oldest settlements in Australia, and the Rocks, its old core, is a tony place with nice houses where all the rich folk live. I wandered around town all day and saw the big sights, but didn't get to see as much as I would have liked. Maybe someday we'll get back there.

Web sites: The official site, a tourism site, things to do in town, and the Wikipedia entry.

Wow, that post took a while. I started it on Thursday afternoon and now it's Sunday afternoon. I was going to post some pictures, but that will make it even later. I'm lazy. So what are some of your favorite cities, all eight of my readers?

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Great songs, according to me (Part 25)

Wow, I've reached 250 songs on this list. At this rate I should finish sometime close to when the kids go off to college. I'm sure the masses will have lynched me long before then!

However, I will forge on. As usual with a lot of what I do here, these lists are fun. Lists in general are fun! And, also as usual, here's the backlist:

Parts 1-15 archived, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, and Part 24. Now let's get to it!

241. House (by Marillion on the album, 1999): Yes, another Marillion song (sorry, Lefty!). This song ends their very good yet dumbly-named 1999 album, and it's an unusual choice to finish, as it meanders around for long stretches and has a strange, ethereal, jazzy feel to it. According to Marillion, it's their tribute to Massive Attack, and it sounds like it (I like Massive Attack, by the way), with lazy trumpets and soft percussion throughout. The lyrics make it shine, however, with the story of a house haunted by the loss of one half of a relationship. Hogarth is in fine form, singing with trembling pain in his voice and wondering what the hell happened. It's not how I would have ended an album, but that doesn't mean it's not a great song.

242. How Soon Is Now? (by The Smiths on the album Meat Is Murder, 1985): I don't like The Smiths. I also don't like Morrissey. Sorry. It just doesn't do it for me. However, I do own their greatest hits album, largely because of this song. God, this is a cool tune. Morrissey whines a lot in his music, but here, the whining is tempered by the strong, existentialist lyrics, and it's less whining than questioning the very nature of reality and the reason why we are here. If you're going to whine, say I, whine about the important stuff! The reason I love this Smiths song over all others is Johnny Marr's haunting guitar work, which is sadly lacking from far too many Smiths songs. He's a great guitarist, but rarely does it sound like it, and in this tune, the echoing of the music complements the lyrics beautifully. So why does every other Smiths song stink? It's a mystery!

243. How Was It For You? (by James on the album Gold Mother, 1990): James' first great album contains a number of great songs, including this song. Tim Booth's lyrics are partly what make the band great, and this song is no exception. His slightly nasal tone works well on songs like this, too, as his scorn comes through well. When he sings, "You look better than the face of God on a sunny day," it sounds like a compliment, but Booth infuses it with such nastiness that we understand he is damning with faint praise. The whininess extends to the music, too, as the guitars flail in the background, inspiring Booth to even more nastiness. A fine, snarky tune.

244. Human Chain (by Christmas on the album Ultraprophets Of Thee Psykick Revolution, 1989): Christmas is a strange little band that never did much (two of its members went on to form Combustible Edison, if that helps), and this is a weird little album (check out the album cover!). I found this in a used record store in State College while I was in college, and figured with such a neat-o title, it had to be good! It's not the greatest album, but it has some good songs on it, and this is the best one. It has a nice funky beat to it (and I can dance to it!) with a choppy percussion section, and the vocals (by Liz Cox, I assume, who is quite good at wailing in this song) are strange and surreal, but still relevant - they speak of, not surprisingly, the links between people. An interesting, weird little tune by a band that never made much of a splash. Here's some more information about them, in case you're interested.

245. Hurt (by Nine Inch Nails on the album The Downward Spiral, 1994): "I ... hurt myself today ... to see if I still feel ..." Ah, Trent, you swell, angry guy. This, the best Nine Inch Nails album, ends with this depressing paean to, well, depression. It's a beautiful song, actually, despite the subject matter, and it gets under your skin and doesn't let you go. It's a great way to end the album, because it sums up what Trent has been raging about for an hour or so, and now, his rage is spent, but what's left is sad resignation. The Johnny Cash cover? Eh. Fine, but lacking the despair in Trent's voice.

246. Hymn 43 (by Jethro Tull on the album Aqualung, 1971): I don't have a lot of "classic" rock on this list, because, frankly, I don't own a lot of "classic" rock. I mean, I like the stuff from the 1960s and '70s, but I listened to classic rock stations when I was a kid and never got around to buying the albums. I went through a short phase in the late 1980s when I bought a bunch of old albums, and that's when I picked up Aqualung. Aqualung is a weird album, isn't it? There are some good songs on it, but "Hymn 43" rises above them. That scratchy guitar, that huffy flute, and those great lyrics - "If Jesus saves - well He'd better save himself from the gory glory seekers who use His name in death." Ian is in fine form on this song.

247. I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow (by The Soggy Bottom Boys on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? Motion Picture Soundtrack, 2000): This is one of the better movie soundtracks I've heard, and this song, which is NOT sung by George Clooney into a can, is a great one. The lyrics are sad, but it's sung with such exuberance that it doesn't bring you down. He might be a man of constant sorrow and seen trouble all his days, but when you hear the song, you just have to croon along!

248. I Am One (by Smashing Pumpkins on the album Gish, 1991): If you were smart enough to buy the first Smashing Pumpkins album back in 1991 (you were, weren't you?), you would put the tape into your deck or the CD into your player and fire it up, and this song would blast you between the eyes. The rumbling bass, the keening guitar, and suddenly, there's Billy, whining "I am one as you are three, try to find a messiah in your trinity." A very cool beginning to a very cool album, and sets the stage for a fine career that, true went off the rails a bit, but was still good for a while.

249. I Am Stretched on Your Grave (by Sinéad O'Connor on the album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, 1990): This is a great album, and this song is one reason why. It kicks off with that somewhat cheesy drum (it fits the song, but it's still kind of cheesy) and O'Connor comes in with that dreamy voice, singing her song about weird death and her obsession with it. When she goes up to the higher registers, her voice becomes even more tremulous, and we get chills. A wonderful and creepy tune.

250. I Am the City (by ABBA on the album More ABBA Gold, 1993): This is an unreleased song from 1982 that didn't show up until this second greatest hits album, but it's a very good addition to the ABBA canon. It's a strange ABBA song in that it delves into some dark territory, which our ladies taking on the persona of the city and welcoming all their acolytes who worship the urbanity of it all. It's disturbing because it sounds like a celebratory song, but when you listen, it's clear that the people in the city are somewhat pathetic, and the city itself rules over them all. Weird but wonderful.

Ah, it's always good to get another bunch of songs out there, so you can see the twisted depths of my depravity! Comments, questions, criticism? Do your worst!

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What have we learned - Week 7

I was unable to post this yesterday because the wound was still too raw. I wore black and cried most of the day. But I've recovered, so let's check out what we learned this past weekend.

First, a few observations. If Donna Shalala had any stones whatsoever, she would cancel the rest of the University of Miami's football season, fire Larry Coker, and start over next season. She didn't do that, obviously, because big-time colleges (yes, I count Penn State among them) have no integrity when it comes to money.

Speaking of having no integrity, some Florida State boosters want Bobby Bowden to resign. There's only one word for people like that: idiots. I don't like Bowden because he's ahead of Paterno in wins and I think during the late 1980s and early 1990s, when FSU was on top of the polls, they were wildly overrated, but the fact remains, boosters: you wouldn't have a football program if not for Bowden. People make the same claim about Paterno, but Penn State had a decent program before he got there. Florida State didn't start playing football until 1946. I want Bowden to quit so Paterno can overtake his win total, but he should be able to stay as long as he wants.

It appears that Shawne Merriman will be suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Someone on ESPN yesterday said that it's wrong, but he understands the mentality of someone trying to get as much money as they can right now because of the short shelf life of an NFL player. That makes sense until you think about the fact that some of these guys get 5-10 million dollar signing bonuses, which is simply a check in that amount made out to them. I don't know what Shawne Merriman's financial situation is, but he can't live pretty comfortably for a while on NFL money if he is forced out of the game because of injuries? That's ridiculous.

As for the games ... well, Philadelphia has now lost three games this season - all on the last play of the game. Jesus, that sucks. They screwed up at the end of both halves. In the first half, there were nine seconds left and they had the ball at the Tampa 6-yard line (maybe the 8) with no timeouts. McNabb inexplicably threw a pass to L. J. Smith at about the 3, where he was tackled. No touchdown, and no field goal, in a game they lost by two. At the end of the game, Brian Westbrook scored with 33 seconds left, leaving just enough time for Tampa to move into position for a 62-yard field goal. I mentioned this when the Jets scored against the Colts - shouldn't these guys think about scoring too quickly? Westbrook actually stopped at about the two and danced into the end zone. There was no Tampa player within 30 yards of him. Couldn't he have just turned around at the goal line, watched the defenders come toward him, and then, when they got close, stepped across the line? It wouldn't have been showboating (well, maybe a little), it just would have taken time off the clock. I don't think it would be a delay-of-game penalty. That being said, people are blaming the defense for not stopping Tampa on that last drive. Listen, the defense screwed up a few times, I'll admit. They also held the Buccaneers to 9 points. That should be good enough to win the game. The Eagles were the first team in NFL history to have over 500 yards of offense and not give up an offensive touchdown and lose. Good job! They need to stop playing in Florida. The last three times they've played there McNabb has thrown up. Charming.

I was so vexed by the Eagles game that I barely watched anything else, so the rest of what we have learned will be short. Also, Krys was out all morning and I was dealing with the children, so instead of flipping around the channels, I just kept it on the game. Sorry!

If I were a betting man, I would have bet everything I own on the Raiders to win against the Cardinals. There was no way Arizona was going to win that game. I keep thinking I should write a letter to Bill Bidwill offering to coach the Cardinals for the rest of the season for half of what Denny Green gets paid (which is still more than I've ever made in my life). I can't do any worse than he can, right?

I didn't watch any of the Detroit-New Jersey game. A couple of mediocre teams going at it!

Joey Harrington had an interception returned for a touchdown against Green Bay, but I really wish the NFL would have statistics for different kinds of INTs. The ball was right in Randy McMichael's hands and he let it bounce off of them into Charles Woodson's mitts. That's on McMichael. The NFL should have three INT categories: the fault of the QB (McNabb's were all his fault); the fault of the wide receivers (when a ball they should catch bounces off their hands); and Hail Mary INTs, which don't matter. The latter two categories hurt quarterbacks, and they shouldn't.

Instead of suffering through the Eagles game, I should have watched Pittsburgh-Atlanta. Everyone is jumping back on the Vick bandwagon after he threw 4 touchdown passes. Yes, that's very nice. He threw three of them to his tight end, however, and that's pretty much the only person he ever looks for. Also, let's see him play this way consistently - even two weeks in a row would be nice. Still, a fun game for the Falcons. These two teams played to the last tie in the NFL, and this time they went to overtime. Another tie would have be neat.

Hey, weren't the Jaguars good at one point? I was kind of hoping they would win the game, because they come to Philadelphia next week and they are now desperate for a win. Of course, so are the Eagles. Should be fun.

New England-Buffalo is another game I completely missed. Is it possible for anyone in that division to give the Patriots a teeny-tiny run for their money? Sheesh.

A pretty good win for Cincinnati, considering how they had been playing and how Carolina had been playing. This is another game I saw very little of, but I liked the deep throw on 4th-and-1 from Carson Palmer. Even if it hadn't worked, it's still a good call. Fortune favors the bold! Of course, that philosophy failed the Panthers at the end of the game, when they had a shot at a pretty easy field goal. Jake Delhomme threw it into the end zone where it was intercepted. I don't mind the call, but the throw was awful, and the intended receiver was NOT Steve Smith. If you're going to throw a pass in that situation, you need to find Smith or throw it away. Silly.

More proof that the NFL makes no sense: San Diego at 4-1 and with a monster defense goes into Kansas City at 2-3 coming off a 45-7 loss to the Steelers, and the Chiefs pull out the win. It really shouldn't have come down to a last-second field goal, either, but the Chiefs blitzed themselves into bad situations. What a weird league.

Should the NFL consider kicking the Browns out of the pro ranks? I think Romeo Crennel could probably do some good things in Cleveland, but I fear that he won't be around much longer, which is a shame. Teams could learn from Pittsburgh, where they've had two (2) head coaches since 1969. Unbelievable. The ownership of the Browns should give Crennel at least two more years. Meanwhile, the Broncos continue to be impenetrable on defense. Wow. Next week Indianapolis visits Denver. That should be a fun game!

I haven't heard the consensus about whether the hit on Matt Hasselbeck was dirty or not - it didn't look dirty to me, but what the hell do I know? Everyone claimed the Seahawks would escape the "Super Bowl Loser" curse, but they are finding out, like the Eagles last year, that it's tough to win when all your good players get injured. Of course, they still play in a crappy division (despite the Rams' play this season), so they might still win it. But can you really be confident with Seneca Wallace running the offense?

I liked the Washington strategy yesterday - get to Peyton Manning. Yes, he burns teams for big plays, but they pounded him, and kept him in check for a while. I'm watching the situation in Washington with no small amount of glee, because I do not like the team and think Daniel Snyder is a horrible owner. Good job, guys! Meanwhile, the Colts continue to look good, but they have become like the Yankees - the regular season doesn't matter even a little bit. Call me in January!

I was kind of hoping that the Cowboys won last night, even though I despise them. My thinking was that it would have been better for the Eagles, because they already beat Dallas and lost to New Jersey. But it's still cool to see the Cowboys slowly implode, and it was very sweet to watch Terrell Owens drop a fourth down pass when he was wide freakin' open. Good stuff. As for the Giants, they are probably going to win the division unless Philadelphia figures out how to play 60 instead of 55 minutes of football, but Eli Manning continues to struggle. I'm sorry, but it's true. He completed 12 passes last night, less than 50% of his throws, and had the one nice touchdown pass to Burress on the first drive and that was it. Yes, he's making important throws when he has to, but I wonder if he can keep that up. The Giants get Tampa this week. How much you want to bet Ronde Freakin' Barber doesn't get two gift-wrapped touchdowns? Yes, I'm still grumpy.

The NFL continues to be wacky, which is why we love it. I wonder, if you go back through the history of the league, how many 36-22 final scores there have been. Not a lot, I would bet. Yet we had that score on back-to-back days. Kind of cool.

Next week: will I be gnashing my teeth and rending my garments yet again? Only time will tell!

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Some links I had lying around

For the past few weeks, I have been able on Mondays and sometimes Tuesdays to surf the Internets for those links we all love, and then I read comics on Wednesday afternoon and other things come up later in the week, and I don't end up with many. Well, I've been doing that so often recently that I have quite a number of interesting things. So, in order that they don't get too old, I thought I'd throw them out there and see what you think. Maybe something in them will interest you!


Just when you were starting to formulate reasons Arizona isn't the dumbest state in the nation comes this story from Saturday's newspaper. Eight statues of lions with rams trapped underneath them are being removed from the entrance to a children's water fountain park. Not because there's no reason for lions about to devour rams to be featured at a children's water park, but because some people have complained that the position of the animals is too sexual. Yes, you read that right. I'm dying to see if the little ones are upset by things that adults deem too sexual. As someone in the article states, adults with their minds in the gutter are the only ones who seem bothered by this. I think that lions pinning rams to the ground is kind of a weird thing to put there, but not because it's sexual. People are bizarre.


Here's a new blog: A Woman Was Lynched Today. It's sad that it is necessary to track crimes against women.


Brian Hughes is re-reading Flex Mentallo. Holy crap, is Flex Mentallo excellent. Here's his take on issue #1, and here he looks at issue #2. He hasn't gotten to issue #3 yet.

I'm stealing this picture from Kevin. I hope he forgives me. It's just too glorious:

I found quite a weird story here: the city of Gallatin, TN, is upset because scenes from a movie - Thong Girl 3 - were filmed in the mayor's office. Two things are interesting about this: it's not necessarily the nature of the movie, just that it's prohibited without the city council's approval; and that this is the third Thong Girl movie! And, of course, this wouldn't be the 21st century unless the filmmaker has a blog (with no bad pictures, trust me!) and you can always go the films' official website. Hey, look! Here's Thong Girl right now:

Fightin' crime ... while wearing a thong.

Chris Sims reads Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose so you don't have to! In case you don't know anything about this comic book, this is a typical panel:

In fact, that might be a bit tame for this book.

Speaking of Chris, he also delves deep into the best-selling comic book of all time: X-Men #1. Wow, I own this book and enjoy it, but he's right - it's kind of goofy.

Dave Campbell looks at X-Statix #24, which features Iron Man and Mr. Sensitive fighting each other ... naked. Whoo-hoo!

Scipio brings us ... octopus love!

Oh, Alan, how could you?

Scipio has also managed to interview Aquaman. Not to be missed! And, he gives us the grooviest Aquaman panel ever:

Jake shows what happens when Green Lantern meets Freddie Mercury!


Should we partition Iraq into three parts? I'm sure the president doesn't want to hear that!

Speaking of the War on Terror™, remember Afghanistan? Yeah, it's going into the shitter. Good to know that we care.

Sadly, until the election in a couple of weeks, you are not allowed to criticize incumbent politicians. Welcome to America!

In the wake of the Mark Foley scandal, there's only one thing to do: Shut down the page program. Sure, because it's their fault.

Dick Cheney gets grumpy. I know, shocking.

What you don't know about your prescription drugs might kill you. How nice.

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers spotted a bumper sticker. Here it is:

Spotted, of course, in Portland, OR. I miss my old town!

Keith Olbermann is a shameless Clinton apologist, but other than that, he makes some very good points, like here, when he rips Bush a new one:

I'm sure lots of people have already seen this, but it's still worthwhile: the murder of habeas corpus.

Speaking of which, Glenn Greenwald shows why Bush just doesn't get it with regard to the loss of habeas corpus. Silly man. And, of course, Fox News lies to its viewers about the act. Naturally.

Bush Republicans are all for torture! Good to know. This comes from Andrew Sullivan.

Daddy Dialectic had some interesting posts a while back. Here's one about conservative parenting techniques, one about corporal punishment, and one about why conservatives just don't get it when it comes to kids. It's a very interesting blog all around.

And while we're caring about the children, parents in Kansas are concerned about showing pregnant teens and other bad folk in a high school yearbook. Oh, the horror! The kids will be warped if they see girls getting pregnant! I found this at Education Wonks.

Lots more education links here, including a teacher getting hacked to death in Mexico for opposing a teacher strike. That's just wacky.

The United States gets tough ... on space. Take that, space! Dear Lord. I found this at Wicked Boring.

Wicked Boring also links to this, in which a Democrat is forced to apologize for using the word "slavish" to describe a black Republican's devotion to his party. Because people are just so stupid.

You may have already seen this - the new government signs about what to do in terrorists attacks. Funny stuff. I found this here.


I found this here: Rock album covers go to war! Someone has too much time on their hands!


As What Would Tyler Durden Do? points out, the government of Kazakhstan gets grumpy because Sacha Baron Cohen, in his guise as Borat, makes fun of them and calls them stupid. They want him to knock it off! They probably shouldn't spell the word "bank" incorrectly on their currency, then.

Thai lingerie workers wave bras to defy martial law! Those kooky Thai lingerie workers! I found this at Dave Barry's blog.


The GayProf was tired of blogging for a while (he's back), but in the meantime, he listed some fun things you blog about when you're tired of blogging. And there are videos!

Ragnell makes a good point about blogs.


I can't remember where I saw this, but check it out: Hot Chicks on Bikes. Totally work safe, I swear. Not enough posts, though. Let's go!


I know you're dying to buy ... Jesus bandages! If you're dead and you slap one on, do you come back to life? It also comes with a Jesus toy. Who wouldn't want that?

Andy Martello found this:

How can this not be the greatest thing ever?


Andy also gives us ten Halloween costumes you can make with the old suits in your closet. My favorite one is the retarded monkey!

Is this a brilliant Halloween costume? Deb Geisler thinks so.


Mr. Gisby's Totally Gay Pet Shop. Yeah, I'm a bit scared as well. Look around the site!

From YesButNoButYes we get: this web site, where you can put your name in and find out how many people in the country share it. I am the only "Gregory Burgas" in the country! You can also go here, which has an astonishing collection of melons. Yes, melons:

YesButNoButYes also points us to unintentionally sexual video games. Lots of fun stuff.


Gregg Easterbrook is always entertaining, and in last week's column he featured his cheerleader of the week, Laura of the Minnesota Vikings. Two things are interesting about Laura and her web page. First, she claims she is NOT six feet tall ... she's 71 inches. Okay, Laura. Second, click on the link and look at the URL to see how the Vikings feel about their cheerleaders. Interesting. This, of course, gives me an excuse to post her picture:

Yeah, I'm a hypocrite. But at least I'm not a powerful organization like the Minnesota Vikings!

That's all she wrote for this week. Have fun with the links, and we'll see what transpires over the next few weeks before I leave. It's always a fine thing to revel in the madness of the web!

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"Him you brainwashed? What's he got that I don't have?"

We were visited last weekend by the Jehovah's Witnesses. When I answered the door, the two women told me who they were, but they also said they were actually looking for Spanish-speaking households. They gave me their little pamphlet, then left. I felt like George Costanza, who provides the quote that is the title of this post, when the Sunshine Carpet Cleaners "induct" Mr. Wilhelm into their cult but not him. To quote George again, "What kind of a snobby, stuck-up cult is this?"

We had fun with the pamphlet. Krys immediately thought, "That little girl is going to get eaten by that bear!" Krys is, of course, horribly cynical. I explained that in the New World, the bear and girl would frolic in harmony. She still thinks the girl is going to be an appetizer.

I just thought I'd pass this along: if you want to get rid of the Jehovah's Witnesses when they come to your door, just say you don't know Spanish. Apparently they have enough boring English speakers!

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"Arizona ranked dumbest in U.S."

That's the headline at the top of today's Arizona Republic. Nice thing to see first thing in the morning.

Of course, it's just a flashy headline, and the actual story is about a survey that compares the way states educate their children. So it's not that we're dumb, it's that we don't care.

And of course, the state's superintendent of public instruction, is grumpy about the survey.

I'd rant more about this, but I've done it before. The article is interesting, so you can read all about it. The "smartest" states, incidentally, are those Commie places like Vermont and Massachusetts. Stupid Commie states, taking all their citizens' money and spending it on education! That's because they don't appreciate good, wholesome values like "truthiness."

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The strange tale of the Goldfish crackers

Look! It's an innocuous package of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers! But some of you, who don't have children or can't handle the cheddary baked goodness of Goldfish crackers, might not know that this package has a dark side ...

First, here is the side of the bag, featuring one of the goldfish inside. Her name is Brooke. The first thing we learn about her is that her flavor is Parmesan. Then we learn that her "achievements" include most likely to be the first goldfish president. Let's consider this.

Okay, they named the food you're about to eat. Then they give her a flavor. Her achievement is not an achievement at all. And, of course, her achievement will never come to pass, because soon we're going to eat her! That's pretty traumatic.

Then we go to the back, where there is a maze. The instructions tell us to help Brooke and her friends get "back to their home under the bed." What the hell? What are goldfish - crackers or otherwise - doing living under my bed? I don't get this at all, and I think my brain might explode if I think about it too much.

If you happen to have a bag of Goldfish crackers, you can go to this web site, enter the code from the front of the bag (which I think is under the sell-by date, because it's the only thing that looks like a code), and "unlock special secrets about the Goldfish world under the bed." I will not be doing that, because I fear what I might learn.

Pepperidge Farm is freaking me out. They should stop doing that.

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What have we learned - Week 6

Before I rant about the games, I'd like to rant about the announcers. Two, in particular, neither calling an NFL game. One was a college football game, the other was the baseball game from last night. See if you agree with me that announcers are, basically, idiots.

Situation #1: Oregon had the ball and a 27-13 lead late in their game against UCLA. They had 4th-and-2 at the UCLA 35-yard line. They went for it. The Oregon runner was hit at the 35, but he struggled forward a bit before going down. As he went down, he reached forward with the ball toward the 33. When he hit the ground, the ball came loose. UCLA recovered, but after review, it was pretty obvious he was down. That's not what made me angry. The announcer (I don't know who it was; Dan Fouts does the ABC West Coast games, but I don't think it was him) said that even though it wasn't a fumble, UCLA would get the ball because the runner didn't get the first down. Okay. To back this up, he kept drawing on the screen where the runner's knee went down, which was at about the 35. However, the rule in football is that it's where the ball is when the knee goes down, and the ball was very close to the 33. This guy kept harping on the fact that the knee was down at the 35, and nobody bothered to tell him he was an idiot. The refs but the ball at the 33 and Oregon got a first down and went on to kick a field goal (and won the game 30-20), and the announcer kept ripping the refs. I happen to think Oregon got a bit of a favorable call, but it was pretty close to where the runner went down. Why is the announcer calling football games if he doesn't know something that is pretty common?

Situation #2: Tim McCarver opened his mouth. Tim McCarver keeps getting work, for some reason, probably because he sounds "folksy," even though a lot of what he says is stupid. I happened to turn the game on in the bottom of the second, and St. Louis had runners at first and third with one out. Their number eight hitter, Yadier Molina, hit a ground ball past David Wright at third, scoring a run. Endy Chavez came up and threw the runner out at third. Tim McCarver said it was a good play, because whoever it was that was running was "being aggressive." Good things happen when you're aggressive, said McCarver. Then he said something about the pitcher coming up and he was going to bunt you over anyway, which is where his thought process lost me. The ball was hit to left field, and it didn't go over Chavez's head. He came up and had a very short throw to third base, and nailed the runner by a good ten feet. So now the pitcher comes up with two outs, a runner on first, and no chance to bunt, while if the baserunner hadn't been so aggressive (which is how McCarver likes his ballplayers, even if they're stupid), the pitcher would have come up with men on first and second and one out and could bunt them to second and third. There's no guarantee that he'll succeed, of course, but even if he doesn't, you still get to the top of the lineup with two men on. If they're at second and third, a single to right probably gets you two runs. Why is Tim McCarver so stupid?

But let's move on to football!

I continue to scream at Andy Reid for not running the football, and it's going to come back to haunt him. Even if it doesn't work, running the football helps time of possession, which helps your defense rest. The Eagles had the ball eight minutes less than the Saints yesterday, and the defense was tired at the end. It's not like they didn't run well - Brian Westbrook had 72 yards on 16 carries, which is a healthy 4.5-yard average, but Correll Buckhalter had one carry, so unless he's hurt, that's just stupid. Everyone is talking about how good the Saints defense was, but the Eagles took themselves out of the first half by throwing the ball deep on every play. When they worked the ball down the field slowly, they were successful, and it opened up the deep ball. And the defense had to be tired. The Saints got the ball back with 8 minutes left ... and never gave it back. 16 plays later, they kicked the winning field goal. I blame the defense a bit, but I also blame Andy Reid and his weird refusal to run the ball more. Sheesh. New Orleans looks pretty good on offense, but I have a feeling the officials are going to call everything their way when they play at home. I won't say it's a conspiracy, because it's not, but I bet anything close will go the Saints' way. Just this year, and just at home. As for the Eagles, you had to figure they would have a letdown after the Dallas game last week. I just hope it doesn't carry over to next week in Tampa.

Detroit won a game. Against Buffalo. I thought the Bills were going to be decent this year? What the hell happened? Did the two feet of snow last week (!) freak them out?

I was so happy for a while, because Houston led Dallas 6-3. Then the Texans remembered they are, in fact, the Texans, and Dallas scored the last 31 points of the game. Owens scored three touchdowns, so all is right in the world. For now, of course. We'll see what happens when he once again plays against a professional team instead of a junior varsity high school team.

I missed a lot of the New Jersey-Atlanta game, but I'm getting madder and madder that the Eagles didn't hold the lead against the Giants, because they're looking better and better. I still don't trust Eli Manning, but at least Michael Vick proved once again that if he can't run, the Falcons can't win. I've said it before and I'll say it again - he's exciting, talented, and flashy, but unless he learns how to throw, they'll never win in the playoffs.

I'm not sure if the Rams got hosed on the last second call, because I don't know what the rule is about offensive penalties with less than ten seconds left. All I know is that St. Louis had a 21-7 lead and couldn't hold it, then had a 28-27 lead and allowed Matt Hasselbeck to go right down the field with no timeouts to set up the winning field goal. But Torry Holt is freakin' awesome. If you haven't seen his touchdown to briefly give the Rams the lead, you should watch ESPN or something, because it's a beautiful catch.

How did Washington lose a game at home to a winless team when they had a 14-3 lead? HOW???? I don't mind, because I don't like Washington (you'll notice I never use their nickname, because it sucks and they should change it), but that's just weird. Vince Young didn't even have that good a game. Washington is 2-4, and I'm happy.

I'm a bit puzzled why teams don't cover Steve Smith. The only time a team has covered Steve Smith in the past two seasons, it was in the NFC Championship Game and the Seahawks beat them. So why doesn't anyone else? I understand that Carolina has a decent running game and Keyshawn has been playing well, but why on earth does no one cover him? Steve McNair, who had been playing okay (not great, but okay), got hurt, and Kyle Boller came in, and if McNair is out for a while, Baltimore's season is pretty much over. Sucks to be Ray Lewis!

I hadn't seen the roughing the passer call against the Bengals, but I just did, and what the hell was up with that? The Cincinnati guy sacked the quarterback, and they called roughing. How on earth do you even throw a flag on that play? I don't even get it. How does that official ever work again? Seriously, if you haven't seen it, the Bengal player sacked Gradkowski, who dropped the ball as he was about to hit the ground, and they called roughing. WTF????? Now, you can argue that the Bengals should have scored more than 13 points against a Tampa team that hadn't won a game yet, but still. That wasn't just a horrible call, it was a mysteriously horrible call. Usually, you can figure out why a call was made, even if it sucks. This one, I don't get at all. Woody, I feel your pain.

I watched about five minutes of the Miami-New Jersey Jets game. Weren't these teams supposed to be decent, at least? Why don't they just award the division to New England and everyone can go rest for the off-season?

The Steelers played a good game against an overrated Kansas City team, and Larry Johnson did something stupid. I like Johnson, because he's a Penn Stater, but the week after almost getting his head wrenched off by a Cardinal tackler, he grabs Troy Polamalu by the hair (which is pretty funny, actually, and perfectly legal) and then, when Troy is on the ground, stands up and wrenches the hunk of hair he's holding up, for which he received a 15-yard penalty. Way to remember that your head almost got ripped off, Larry. When Roethlisberger doesn't have to win the game by himself, he's pretty good. He threw only 19 passes yesterday. Maybe the Steelers should run the ball more often?

San Francisco got to within 28-19 yesterday, in a pretty entertaining first half. Then, right before the half, LaDanian Tomlinson scored, and like a college football factory that toys with the cupcake on their schedule for a while before turning on the afterburners, the Chargers blew the doors off the 49ers. The Chargers looked scary-good on offense yesterday, but they let Alex Smith do way too much on offense. Alex Smith!?!?!?

Why can't Denver play offense? They scored 13 points at home against the pathetic Raiders last night. Yes, they have a very good defense, but don't you have to score some points occasionally to win anything in the playoffs? I'm just wondering. I have a feeling the Broncos are a paper tiger.

If you're interested, tonight you can see Arizona's new stadium, which is apparently gorgeous. That might be the only reason to watch, as the Cardinals get fed to the Bears in Matt Leinart's second career start. It could get ugly early. Arizona has played on Monday night only four times since moving to the desert (tonight's the fourth), but in one of those games, in 1995, they were filmed as part of the final game in Jerry Maguire (I had always wondered if some of that was actual game footage or if it was staged), and they also ended Steve Young's career here in 1999. So they've been memorable for some reasons!

Most impressive win: Seattle on the road without Shaun Alexander. Yes, St. Louis's defense isn't very good, but still.
Least impressive win: Denver. Ugly, ugly, ugly.
Most impressive loss: Yes, I'm a homer, but the Eagles went on the road against the "team of destiny" a week after playing in a playoff-like atmosphere and probably should have pulled out the win. But for a stupid muffed punt at the end of the first half, they probably would have. So yes, they had a letdown, but they were still almost good enough to win.
Least impressive loss: Washington. Stop printing those playoff tickets, Dan Snyder!

Another good week. I'm getting a little tired of all these close games, because I want to watch them all and can't! It's vexing.

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Top Ten Day: My favorite junk foods

It's a pertinent topic, I promise. I went to the doctor yesterday and he, like Mr. Burns' doctor, was surprised I was still alive. So I'm cutting everything out of my diet. I shouldn't be flip, but I feel fine. We're still trying to figure out why I'm such a mess. It doesn't help that I have indulged in these products for too long!

1. Dr. Pepper. Yes, the diet kind is okay, but there's nothing like the hard core regular kind. You can call it the elixir of the gods if you like, I don't mind. I don't know when I started drinking Dr. Pepper, but it was many years and many pounds ago. Damn my slow metabolism! This will be the hardest thing to kick, even though I still drink the diet. I don't even know if I will be able to kick it completely. We'll see.

2. Snickers. This will be a bit easier to break, even though I love Snickers bars. All the great things about chocolate and caramel and peanuts rolled into one. And why are the king-sized bars so much tastier than the regular-sized bars? Someone needs to investigate!

3. Oreos. The king of the mass-produced cookie. I say that because there's nothing like home-made chocolate-chip cookies, but for stuff you can buy in the store, Oreos rule. I could, quite literally, eat an entire package of Oreos in one sitting. And again, no wussy thin ones! Double-Stuf all the way, baby! People who like the regular kind more than the Double-Stuf are letting the terrorists win. Why do you hate America? (And no, I don't dunk them in milk. I'm hard core!)

4. Nutella. Chocolatey hazelnut spread. MMMMMMM! I have mentioned my love for Nutella before, but it's fun to reminisce. I used to eat it in Germany in the 1970s, but when we moved back to the States in 1979 I couldn't find it anymore. For years I forgot about it, but in the late 1980s, I found it at the mall in a specialty shop and almost died of happiness. Since then it has become more popular and now you can find it at the grocery store. It's wonderful. If you haven't tried it, go buy some and slap some on a nice piece of bread (or toast). You may become addicted. Don't say I didn't warn you!

5. Kit Kats. When I was in high school, I often acted in the play (an autumn thing) and the musical (a spring thing). We would have long practices after school and into the evening. So we would bring our homework and such for when we weren't on stage (more often than not we would talk, but theoretically we would do homework). So we often skipped dinner. I would go to the 7-11 and buy a Dr. Pepper, a ham and cheese sandwich on a hoagie roll (with nothing else; I can't stand mayonnaise), and a Kit Kat. Everyone used to make fun of me because they knew exactly what I was eating. I don't eat Kit Kats as often as I did then, but they're still excellent.

6. Pop Tarts. For years I didn't eat these, but for a while, Norah liked them, so we bought them and I ate a few. She seems to off them now, so I won't buy them anymore. I really only like the brown sugar and cinnamon ones - the other flavors were always too sweet, even for me. But the brown sugar and cinnamon - tasty! Heated or not, too. It matters not!

7. Any crappy cereal, but since they were introduced, Chocolate Lucky Charms. I mean, Lucky Charms weren't that healthy to begin with, so the gurus at General Mills thought: "How can we make them even worse? I know - instead of boring regular pieces of cereal mixed in with the marshmallows, let's make them chocolate!" Oh, you are deliciously evil, General Mills gurus! I have stopped buying bad cereals, as well, but I still love them. These were the pinnacle of horrifically bad for you, though.

8. Oreo Blizzards from Dairy Queen. The Oreos are explained above, and who doesn't like ice cream? Fascists, that's who. In New Zealand, when I was still relatively svelte, I ate a little less than half of a gallon of ice cream in one sitting, because we were moving on and had no place to store it. No, I'm not proud. Why do you ask?

9. Devil Dogs. DEVIL DOGS!!!!! Once I moved off the East Coast, I could not find Drake's cakes anymore, and I was sad. Devil Dogs and their Coffee Cakes (made famous in the Seinfeld episode) are so freakin' good it might be illegal. Despite my father famously (well, if he were famous, it would be "famously") calling Devil Dogs "chocolate air" once, they're still great. I will occasionally ask my mom to bring me some Drake's cakes from the East when she visits. No more!

10. Anything by Tastykake. Tastykake is a Philadelphia tradition, and now they've branched out into other parts of the country and aren't as special anymore, but their stuff is far superior to Drake's (and, it goes without saying, Little Debbie and other "national" brands). They can ship to you, so order some cupcakes and other such stuff today! If you don't like it, I suppose you love killing puppies, too. Do you? DO YOU?????

Like I wrote, I have to cut back on everything, because I'd like to, you know, live and stuff. So let's remember our favorite junk food fondly as we say goodbye. None of us are young and stupid anymore!

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Long-time readers may remember last Christmas, when some motherfucker stole the wreath off of our garage door. Well, it happened again.

Krys loves Halloween. More than is probably healthy, actually. Ever since we moved into this house she has wanted to decorate, and this year she finally did. She put up fake spider-webs and spiders and a creepy windchime of skulls and a ghoul with a black cape and white hands with a mask like the killers in Scream wore. This ghoul, which she hung right by our front door, made ghoulish noises when anyone walked by. She put it up on Sunday. Last night someone stole it.

Let's consider this. Someone came right up to our front door, through the gate that separates the entrance area from the driveway (which has no lock on it), and took it. I have to imagine it was punk high school kids, because this thing had no value whatsoever. I would just like to know what these assholes plan to do with it. What's the fucking point?

You can say that this kind of thing happens all over the country. But it's only happened to us in this shitty state. Reason Number 5,989,184 to get the hell out of here. No wonder people around here don't decorate for anything other than Christmas. People suck.

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Q: Why don't Republicans use book marks?

A: They prefer to bend the page over.

(Stolen from here, which has some other fun stuff as well, all of which I've heard before.)

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What have we learned - Week 5

Well, we learned that Terrell Owens is still classless, which is why he's on the perfect team! But that will come in a bit.

First, a thought or two about college football. I hear "experts" all the time talk about the SouthEastern Conference as the best in the land. Now, Penn State is a Big Ten(eleven) school, but I don't necessarily think the Big Ten(eleven) is the best conference - it might be this year, but each year everything fluctuates. The problem I have is that the "experts" say the SEC is the best conference every year. That's bullshit, and it's certainly bullshit this year, and I can prove it, and so could every "expert" if they bothered to take their heads out of their asses and consider cold hard facts instead of the fact that the "atmosphere" in Baton Rouge on a Saturday night is awesome.

USC, which everyone seems to agree is having a down year, beat Arkansas, an SEC team, 50-14. In Arkansas, I might add. Arkansas, unranked this past weekend, went on the road to Auburn, supposedly the best team in the SEC, and spanked the crap out of them. IN AUBURN! The "experts" pointed to this game as proof that the SEC is tough, because Arkansas beat Auburn so handily. I point to this game, and the USC game, as proof that the SEC is mediocre. I don't often agree with Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio, but he always hammers this point home: SEC football is great when the teams play each other, but when they play outside the conference and play any team with anything resembling a good offense, they get smoked. Why do you think Spurrier was so good in the conference for so long? Because the SEC teams didn't know how to handle his offense!!!!

All right, moving on to the game they play for pay:

The Dallas-Philly game lived up to the hype, at least for the most part. I loved seeing Owens short-arm not one, but two passes late in the game. Yeah, he's a tough guy. And today on the aforementioned Colin Cowherd's radio show, he and Eric Allen were bashing the Eagle receivers. Sure, they picked on Owens, but they bashed Hank Baskett (3 catches, 112 yards, 87-yard touchdown) and Reggie Brown (40-yard touchdown while he was double-covered for the game-winning touchdown). WTF? Yes, I realize the Eagles don't have a super-duper #1 receiver, but I can't think of any team in the history of the league who won a Super Bowl simply because they had a super-duper #1 receiver. The closest is Jerry Rice with the 49ers, but they had a ton of weapons. Just like the Eagles. I'll take the receiving corps this year as opposed to Owens ripping the team apart. Like he's about to do to the Cowboys. This was the most satisfying win the Eagles have had since the NFC Championship Game in early 2005. They are banged up and they haven't played the toughest part of their schedule, but I'm hoping they keep building confidence for when the schedule does get difficult. And the next time they play Dallas (on Christmas), let's hope Owens has destroyed the team by then. Wouldn't that be a nice present?

The Matt Leinart Era began auspiciously in Arizona and ended ignominiously, as the Cardinals blew a 14-0 first quarter lead and lost when one of the best kickers in the game, Neil Rackers, missed a 51-yard field goal at the end (which is, to be fair, a tough kick). Once again, the Cardinals can't run the ball, and that was their downfall, as they couldn't control the game once they got an early lead. I heard something interesting on the local radio show this morning: the Cardinals' offensive linemen often don't get down in a three-point stance on passing plays because they're getting beat so quickly, and that tips off the defense that it's a pass. Interesting. Just one of those minor things that can tip a game, and shows why the Cardinals are a bad team. That and they can't tackle Larry Johnson on a 78-yard screen pass until their cornerback almost rips his head off. Good job, there.

Every single time I turned on the Buffalo-Chicago game, the Bears were in Buffalo territory. I thought I had to be missing something, but at one point they showed a graphic that the Bears had run 14 of 18 plays in Buffalo territory, and then later they had run 15 straight plays in the Bills' side of the field. Holy crap, that's a good team. I remain completely unconvinced of Rex Grossman's greatness, but right now, nobody can challenge them in the NFL, much less the NFC. Of course, that will change next week when they go on the road to Glendale, AZ, and face their mighty ex-crosstown rivals, the Cardinals! Matt Leinart might have a short, two-game career.

The Vikings scored two defensive touchdowns and beat the Lions by 9 points. Minnesota isn't that good, but in the division that mirrors America (the haves - the Bears - and the have-nots - the Lions and Packers) the Vikings are the diminishing middle class! Who knew football contained such vivid socio-economic metaphors???? Good to see the Lions ran Joey Harrington out of town. Yeah, he was the reason you weren't winning.

The Rams are 4-1, but consider this: in two games, they were about to lose and be tied, when the opposing quarterback fumbled near their goal line. The Arizona game was worse, because Warner fumbled the snap, but this past week was almost as weird, because all Green Bay needed was a field goal to tie, and they took one more chance at the end zone, and Nancy-Boy Favre fumbled on kind of a freak play. So yes, St. Louis is winning. But they play Seattle next week, and you know the Seahawks are going to come out flying, having had two weeks to stew after that shellacking they took from the Bears. The game is in St. Louis, so it should be a wild time. And I think Nancy-Boy convinced his coach to let him take a shot at the end zone because he wants to pass Dan Marino for most touchdown passes in a career and all he cares about now are his stats. Who's with me?

The Colts might be the worst 5-0 team in the NFL history. Seriously, they can't beat the Titans by more than one point at home? Really, Peyton? Any team with a halfway decent quarterback and a decent defense would beat the crap out of Indy right now. In fact, it's interesting to see that after the Indy game, Byron Leftwich has been flinging the ball all over the field. If they had allowed him to do that against the Colts, that game wouldn't have been close. Indy needs to make some serious adjustments. Vince Young ran the ball well, but he looked lost on some of the passes. He can certainly improve, but I have a feeling it might be a while. Matt Leinart made some poor decisions, but he looked a lot more comfortable and polished.

I hardly watched the Miami-New England game, but I see that Daunte Culpepper is whining about not playing. I have a soft spot for Harrington because he's an Oregon QB, but I think he needs to play right now. Culpepper is coming off a big injury, and it's pretty obvious he's still hurt. I love quarterback controversies. They're so interesting. And the Patriots just cruise along. I still don't trust them, but apparently every other team in the division has decided to suck (Bills/Jets scores: 7-81), so they should win it easily.

Tampa-New Orleans was actually a very entertaining game, even before the Reggie Bush punt return for the winning touchdown. I fear for Philadelphia going down to Nawlins next week, because everyone loves the Saints this year and the place is apparently going to be a madhouse the entire season. I don't have a lot to say about this game. It went back and forth, the Tampa quarterback (Gradkowski) played his heart out, and Bush will be scary good very soon. Let us hope Jeremiah Trotter knocks him back into the Stone Age for at least one game. Then he can go nuts.

Boy, the New Jersey Giants looked pretty bad, but at least they were playing a team that looked worse. Washington didn't even look like they wanted to play, and it was a divisional game! These are the two teams everyone was picking to make the playoffs from the NFC East? Eli still looks like a rookie in that he can't put together two consistent consecutive drives, much less games. And Jay Feely missed an early field goal that makes me even more angry that Trent Cole kicked some Giant in the Philly game and gave him 15 extra yards. No way he makes that from 50-some yards. Stupid, stupid Trent Cole!

I didn't watch any of the Cleveland-Carolina game. God, it looked dull. I suppose that the Panthers deserve some credit for winning three straight after their 0-2 start, but they're just not that impressive. I know the Browns aren't awful, but you have to beat them by more than that at home, Carolina.

Troy Aikman had a fantastic dig: "Is Randy Moss still in the league?" Who knew Aikman was that evil? Early on, Moss dropped a beautifully-thrown pass in the end zone when he was wide open. From then on, you just knew the Raiders were going to lose. I hardly watched this game either, but Oakland is just so awful, I would not be surprised if they lost every game. They have to win one by default, don't they? Here's another quarterback that I like - Andrew Walter went to Arizona State - who doesn't deserve the treatment of playing for such a shitty team.

Holy crap, the Jaguars took out their frustration on the Jets, didn't they? The Jets have been this way for years - they look pretty good one week, and then stink the next. It's weird. I don't know how Leftwich throws that ball with such a wind-up, and wonder if it gets him in trouble with good teams, but 41-0 is still impressive in the NFL. Let us hope Jacksonville allows Leftwich to fire away the next time they play the Colts.

Why doesn't San Diego keep the powder-blue uniforms? It's pretty unanimous that they are the best NFL uniforms ever, yet they only break them out once a year. Silly. And I'm not sure why the Steelers did a couple of things: sat Charlie Batch when it had to be clear that Roethlisberger needed a while longer to heal; and put so much on Ben's shoulders when their success the past two years has been predicated on NOT putting so much on his shoulders. He will probably be a good quarterback, but he's still only in his third year. They have run the ball less this year and asked him to win the game, and he's not yet there. Pittsburgh will have a rough year, I think. They already are.

Let's see ...
Most impressive win: The two big wins - Chicago and Jacksonville - were at home against mediocre teams. I don't want to be a homer, but I think it might have been the Eagles. With all the media attention and the reminders that McNabb kind of lost this team last year, the potential was there for a big meltdown. And the defense stepped up (they only gave up two touchdowns, remember), especially in the second half.
Least impressive win: Carolina, although the Giants are a close second. As I pointed out above, you have to beat Cleveland more impressively at home.
Most impressive loss: Surprisingly, Arizona. I know "moral victories" don't exist in the NFL, but to play a team that won the previous week 41-0 toe-to-toe with a guy making his first start is pretty good.
Least impressive loss: The AFC East didn't represent this week, did they? Jets: 0-41. Bills: 7-40. Dolphins: 13-20 against the Patriots. I guess Miami played tough, but the other two were just awful.

Some big games next week: Giants-Falcons, Panthers-Ravens, Seahawks-Rams, Eagles-Saints, Chiefs-Steelers, and the Bears play here Monday night. It's a shame that the Cardinals get to show off the UPS (University of Phoenix Stadium - it's pronounced "OOPS!") on national television in a game that they might lose by five touchdowns. Ah well, c'est la vie. I'll be here next week. I hope you join me!

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