Thursday, January 25, 2007

Daily YouTube: More Ben and Skin hi-jinks

Those wacky boys from "The Ben and Skin Show", um, Ben and Skin.

Dirk Nowitzki is an under-rated comic performer.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Daily YouTube (sorta): What?

I have not the words to describe this.

BTW - you will need sound. And it's rated G. I promise.

Think alcohol was involved?

Boston University sophomore Michael Robertson died recently, falling out of a window in his 4th floor apartment to the alley below. The incident occured at approx 2:30 Sunday morning.

The story was, back in the day, if you're roomate croaked, you got an automatic 4.0 GPA for the semester. I don't know if it was true, but it was a constant source of mirth for us. Of course, the windows in our hi-rise dorm were rigged so you could barely toss a ham sandwich through them, much less your pissed roomie.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Richie Whitt had a radio show for 2 seconds

Didn't even know Richie Whitt had a mid-day sports show on "SportsFan 990". I didn't even know there WAS a "SportsFan 990".

Richie is not too terribly happy about it, either.

Daily YouTube: How the mighty have fallen

Channel 8, the formerly-great WFAA-TV in Dallas, was, for YEARS, the best local newscast in the country. They won awards by the bucketfull, and were the most-respected news organization in the Southwest.

Now, not so much...

Good-bye, and good riddance

The Pear Shaped Football Genius is hanging up his whistle. Bill Parcells announced his “retirement” from coaching, leaving the Cowboys in chaos and the sheep bleating in panic.

I say: Good. It’s about friggin’ time. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Parcells’ tenure in Dallas can only be termed a failure. Is the team in better shape than it was when he took over? Yes, of course it is. But that’s saying nothing. Parcells took over after the Barry Switzer-Chan Gailey-Dave Campo fiascoes. Any competent football guy should have been able to improve on the sorry state of affairs found at Valley Ranch after that series of nincompoops.

But, really. How much better are things?

Maybe we’ve got a QB, but I’m not convinced yet. Romo started out great, but faded badly down the stretch. What can we expect from here on? First-Five-Games-Tony, or Collapse-Down-The-Stretch-Tony? I don’t know. Neither do you. And if the latter is the real Romo, what’s the alternative?

Running backs? Barber and Jones look like very average NFL backs to me. Both are capable of flashes of brilliance, but both are capable of turning in a 35-yard day as well. Are things better? Yeah, probably, but not a lot.

Receivers? Glenn is greatness, but not getting younger. TO Owens was a massive disappointment and clearly not worth the baggage he brings. Witten is OK, but by no means an elite TE, at least not yet. Crayton is promising, but difficult to see as a real star. The youngsters? Hard to tell, but probably not a real break-out guy there, or at least no outward signs of one yet.

O line? It’s certainly not as bad as it looked last year, but, again, there really aren’t any young guys here. They also started to show cracks down the stretch. Some work is needed here as well.

On defense, the 3-4 appears to be a failure. Absolutely ZERO pass rush spelled doom for the rest of the overmatched unit. Can this group run a 4-3 instead? Hell if I know.

The defensive secondary is average, but only because two decent corners are balanced out by two terrifying safeties. This team has never figured out what to do with Roy Williams – they’ve never managed to play to his considerable strengths while hiding his glaring and costly weaknesses. Is it better than it was in the Campo days? The corners are definitely more talented, but overall, I think Campo fielded better defenses.

The linebackers, supposedly an area of depth, are, with very few exceptions, just plain bad. With the exception of Ware, who should be a down lineman, would you trade this bunch for Dexter Coakley, Godfrey Miles, Dat Ngyuen, or some of the others in the previous generation? Give me the old boys.

The D line is difficult to judge. Jason Ferguson seems like a competent run stuffer. Canty and Spears? I dunno. Do they do better in a 4-3? Maybe. It does seem like the personnel is better than the Kavika Pittman/Ebeneezer Ekuban days, although it must be noted that Ekuban has gone on to be a contributor in Denver. The personnel may be better, but the results are certainly not.

And on the nutty special teams, it’s as much chaos as it’s ever been. Grammatica is not a long term solution at kicker, although McBriar should be this team’s punter for the next decade. Austin and Thompson, when back from injury, seem to be decent runback guys, but how hard are those to find, really?

The coaching ranks are mostly an unknown, since none of them have been allowed to say a public word in four years. The loss of at least three of them in the past two weeks certainly can’t be good news, although you’d assume that whoever takes over would want to bring in his own guys anyway.

When we look at the results Parcells obtained, how can we conclude anything other than failure? Jerry handed over the keys to the castle. Parcells got what he wanted in almost every area. And what do we have to show for it? No division titles, two one-and-done trips to the playoffs, and a progress arrow which is pointing due East. It’s difficult to predict much of an upward trend regardless of who’s calling the shots.

And for all this, we were subjected to four years of Parcells treating the media and the fans like a bunch of retarded children. His condescending press conferences were the BIGGEST waste of time since Sudoku. Did he EVER answer a tough question? Hell, was he ever ASKED a tough question? All I remember is a bunch of mildly entertaining stories about the good old Giant days, and shed-loads of “don’t waste my time with your stupid questions” arrogance.

I wrote about this a long time ago. I’ve been sick of this guy's bit for at least a year. I have no idea what’s next, and I suspect it may be back to the Gailey-Campo No-Name-Carousel, but I have to tell you I’m glad to see that pompous jerk go. I, for one, won’t miss him at all.

Unfortunately, she used her powers for evil

Stacey Finley, a 34-year-old Louisiana resident, has pleaded guilty to defrauding as many as 22 people out of close to $1 million dollars over the past six years.

Finley claimed to be able to arrange satellite scans of the suckers, er, I mean “victims”, which would reveal hidden medical conditions. Once the scan was complete, Finley would arrange for CIA agents to enter the victim’s home and administer secret medications to them while they slept.

The prosecutor in the case described Finley as a “…cult-like, charismatic personality who could convince the victims this scam was real…”

Charismatic? Heck, that’s underselling her big-time. This is the Jedi mind trick. What a gift she has.

Of course, it is Louisiana...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Daily YouTube: Restroom Etiquette

Here's EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about men's restroom etiquette. It's long, and the funny part is at the end, but it's worth it.

Today's disclaimer (this to head off another call from my mother): This one gets EXTREMELY dark at the end. I mean dark. Really, really DARK. If you're into that sort of thing, have at it. If not, you've been warned...

The joys of air travel, part 6,257

The pilot of a Continental flight from Houston to Puerto Vallarta died on takeoff from Intercontinental yesterday. The co-pilot managed to land the plane with no drama at McAllen.

As many of you know, I HATE to fly. I have dreamed up all sorts of different in-flight catastrophes, all of which end in my death. However, this is one I never pictured. Which is surprising, given the fate of the entire flight crew in Airplane!

So, great, here's something else for me to freak out about prior to takeoff. I may start administering pre-flight physicals to the flight crew. That'll be me, in the cockpit, snapping on the rubber glove. Turn your head and cough.

Football Friday-ish - Championship Weekend

Late, but not too late.

Only two games today, obviously. However, this is the last weekend of the football season which resembles a football weekend. After this, its the utter stupidity of Super Bowl Sunday, which I will probably spend with my lips wrapped around the exhaust pipe of my car.

Fortunately, that's two weeks in the future. This week, we can still talk football like it's a sport, rather than the world's most inane circus.

Saints (+2.5) @ Chicago - I am still on that Saints bandwagon. I loved what they did to Philadelphia. And, I have to tell you, I'm not that impressed with Chicago. Their defense is not what it was at the beginning of the season, and the only QB I like less in a big game than Rex Grossman is Chris Simms. Neither team has much in the way of playoff experience, neither coach is exactly big-game seasoned. Sure, the Saints are a dome team forced to play outside in the cold, but this is not a light-it-up, deep-passing team. They can run and hit the short pass, perfect for bad weather. Give me the Saints to win.

Pats (+3) @ Colts - All I need to know here is Peyton Manning, always looking for a reason to choke, against Tom Brady, the man who doesn't do anything but win. Peyton has a chance to shake the "Loser" tag again today, and nothing in his past indicates he'll be any more successful this time. The guy has made a career out of losing the big game, both in college and the pros. Belichick and Brady, on the other hand, are in their element. Give me the Pats.

And since I intend to go into a deep coma for the duration of the Super Bowl onslaught of vulgarity, I'll take the Pats over the Saints by 14.

Mark it down.

UPDATE 01/22/07 8:00 a.m.: Another 0-fer. Some of you have suggested a good gambling strategy is to take my picks and bet the exact opposite. I endorse this strategy. It's quite clear that I have NO idea what I'm talking about.

Now we have two weeks of inane run-up to The Most Overblown Show on Earth. Yippee. When we finally get to game-time, we'll all be sitting on our respective couches, drooling into little dishes set in our laps.

As for the game itself, I'm going to go with the more complete team, which appears to be the Colts at the moment. However, Peyton is the still the Great Unknown in big games. This is his opportunity to shake the "Can't Win the Big One" tag once and for all. He took a GIANT step yesterday. I'm actually pulling for him to go all the way.

The Cambodian "Jungle Girl"

Been meaning to get to this one for a few days:

Cambodian police in a remote village along the Vietnamese border have cordoned off an isolated home to keep prying eyes away from the family of Sal Lou. The family, it seems, has been reunited with a daughter who disappeared in 1988 at age 8. Where has she been all this time: Living alone (maybe, more in a moment) in the jungle. She was recently captured, filthy, near starving, naked, and unable to communicate, by a farmer from whom she was trying to steal rice.

A miraculous, ecstatically happy ending to a family tragedy? Maybe. Maybe not.

This story, weird to begin with, only gets weirder.

There are reports which indicate the "Jungle Girl" was not alone when caught by the farmer. She may or may not have been accompanied by an equally feral man, who ran off when the farmer challenged them.

Additionally, the supposed "identifying mark" on the woman is a scar on her wrist, which came, her maybe-maybe-not father insists, from an accident involving a knife and the woman's maybe-maybe-not younger sister prior to the disappearance 18 years ago. These marks, which are unquestionably visible on the woman's wrists, may be, instead, an indication she had been bound by the arms, a common treatment for the mentally ill in rural Southeast Asia.

Oh, and the maybe-maybe-not younger sister? She disappeared at the same time way back in '88. No sign of her now.

And, finally, not the least fascinating part of the Sydney Morning Herald article linked above: The last part of the article lists several previous cases of children abandoned at early age who somehow survived on their own, aided by animals.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Insurgency now and 60 years ago

VERY interesting post on Faster, Please! today comparing the similarities between today's Iraq and Germany in 1945.

Hollywood hasn't made a major motion picture about it (Clooney's The Good German may mention it - I haven't seen it so I don't know), so it's not widely known, but unrepentant Nazis made life very difficult for occupying armies. Insurgents, who called themselves "Werewolves", ran around killing Allied soldiers, blowing stuff up, conducting reprisals against civilians suspected of collaborating with the occupiers, and generally terrorizing anyone and everyone.

Sounds familiar, right?

The Werewolves were defeated within a couple of years, and Germany calmed down, due to a number of different reasons, including the occupiers' (both Western and the Soviets) brutal repression of the insurgency, and, by the way, probably not-just-a-few innocent civilians as well.

There are a great many differences between post-Hitler Germany and post-Saddam Iraq, including outside support, via Iran and Syria, of Iraq's insurgency, VERY different attitudes about rights and responsibilities of occupiers and occupied, general cultural history and disposition of the populace, and motivations of the insurgent themselves.

However, there are some parallels as well, and it's an interesting history lesson for us to review.

Daily YouTube: Channel 8 tenseness

Dale Hansen, LONGtime Channel 8 sports anchor, is getting grupmy in his old age. Here is a somewhat recent (from last fall) example. The tension he brings to the set is DELICIOUS!

Little Mavericks on FIRE

The little Dallas Mavericks are about to lose the "little" tag for the duration, at least from me. This team is tearing the league UP so far this season and a comment from me is long overdue. I'm quite certain both you, the loyal reader, and the entire Mavs organization, right up to the top nut himself, Mark Cuban, have been on the edge of your seats, awaiting a Mavs pronouncement from me.
Well, the suspense is over. Here it is. Worth the wait? Not a chance.

The transformation of the Mavs from perennial laughing stock to league-dominating powerhouse is, essentially, complete. Avery Johnson has proven to be a coaching savant, only really stepping on his own wankie once since taking over the reins. Of course, that "once" was in the NBA Finals last year, but he appears to have learned from it.

Nowitzki and Howard are the two stars, both, it's worth pointing out, former Don Nelson draft picks. Jason Terry has made us largely forget Steve Nash. This year's spare-part additions like Devean George, Greg Buckner, and Austin Croshere are all fitting in well, contributing as hoped, and may prove to be the missing pieces.

Last night's victory over a Houston team which is surging, and which played about as well as it can, was only the most recent example of what has been complete dominance this season.

Of course, as great as this is to watch, and as euphoric as we're all feeling here on Jan 17th, none of this means much unless it sustains through June. The bar has been set very high for this team, by both past (and current) performance and by by it's coach. Winning the division or the conference is not what this is about. The championship is what this group is aiming for. They are making all the right moves so far.

Israeli Army Chief of Staff goes bye-bye

Israeli top military dog Dan Halutz has resigned over his role in Israel's less-than-triumphant war with Hezbollah last summer.

This is not a big surprise, as everyone from civilians to casualties and their families to the military elite has been critical of the conduct of operations in southern Lebanon. However, it is worth noting that Halutz is the first Chief of Staff since David Elazar in 1974 to get canned. Elazar, you may (or not) recall, was the guy in charge when Israel got caught with their pants down in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. It's interesting, and telling, that the Israelis are treating the failed go at Hezbollah as seriously as the biggest military foul-up in the brief history of the country.

Omert is next, of course. If this doesn't get him, the bank thing will. It's hard to say who's next in the Prime Minister's office.

I know it's a waste of energy to do this, but I can't help but wonder what things would be like if Ariel Sharon had said "no" to a few potato latkes in his life. Very different, that's sure. A lot better? I certainly think so.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Not exactly shocking: No UN resolution on Burma

The US had introduced a resolution in the UN Security Council, urging the Myanmar/Burma junta to free Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners. For reasons I don't entirely understand, Russia and China cast their first joint veto in over 30 years to kibosh the resolution.

While the Burmese generals certainly don't pose much of a threat to world peace, this move is a puzzler. One assumes the Russians and Chinese (and the South Africans, who also opposed the resolution) are concerned about setting a precedent. Regardless, this proves a couple of things to me, neither of which is terribly surprising:

1. The UN is totally over-rated when it comes to protecting human rights. The world body is essentially useless in this area, and I wonder why we waste oxygen supporting it for these matters.

2. Honking about human rights makes for good press releases, but, when push comes to shove, governments don't give a rat's patoot. Is it a threat to either security or, more importantly, commerce? No. Then don't bother your government with it. Instead, divert your energy to a private organization like One or Doctors Without Borders, who can realistically make a difference.

ETA is back in business

Basque terrorist group ETA, who proclaimed a permanent cease-fire back in March, are back in the business of blowing stuff up. The bomb in the Madrid airport car-park last week was their handiwork.

The vast majority of Basques are disgusted by ETA's action, but that seems to hardly bother the terrorists.

There's a lesson here, but I'm too depressed to dwell on it at the moment. "Permanent" clearly doesn't mean permanent, at least where violent, thuggish morons are concerned.

Daily YouTube: My new favorite TV show

From our friends in the UK: Branianc: Science Abuse. The show science teachers like to confiscate, then share out in the Staff Room.

Woman-to-English translations

Forwarded to me by my smart and ultra-hot wife (and I'm not saying that to suck up - that's how I refer to her in casual conversation), a primer on some words women routinely use:

1.) FINE: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2.) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five Minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3.) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

4.) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

5.) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)

6.) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7.) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say you're welcome.

8.) Whatever: Is a women's way of saying UP yours.

9.) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking "what's wrong", for the woman's response refer to # 3.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Daily YouTube: While we're on the subject of Beckham

The great Ali G. interviews David and Victoria Beckham on Comic Relief.

NOTE: Ali G., in case you didn't know, is pretty juvenille and is not for the kids. Consider yourself warned.

Bill Parcells: 'I've Always Hated Football'

I have long suspected it. It's great to be finally vindicated.

Hey, it's in The Onion, so it must be true.

Daily YouTube: The Road Warrior trailer

The trailer from one of the greatest movies of all time, The Road Warrior.

Football Friday - Divisional Playoff Edition

We're down to eight. I think all four teams left in the AFC have something. I'm not nearly as impressed with the NFC. Regardless, there are some games worth a stop-down this weekend, especially since it seems likely the DFW Metroplex of Love is going to be encased in ice for the next few days.


Colts (+4) @ Ravens - Baltimore has it goin' on on defense. The Colts, potentially, have it goin' on on offense. This SHOULD be a great struggle. However, Peyton and his mates forgot to show up last week, and there's no guarantee they're back for this one. Defense rules this time of year. Give me the Ravens.

Eagles (+6) @ Saints - I am on the Saints' bandwagon, and will be pulling for them like crazy against the hated Beagles. I think they've got the touch. HOWEVER, they are still the Saints, they still play in the Super Dome, site of some nutty curse or another, and it's really tough to believe they are where they are. Six points is a bunch to lay, but if I'm gonna be on the bandwagon, I gotta do it.

Seahawks (+9) @ Chicago - The only thing the Seahawks proved against the Cowboys is they are slightly less chokish. Seattle and Chicago both seem like teams built of straw. One good punch, and I think either of them can fold. I have so little faith in Rex Grossman that I'm going to take the points, and would not be surprised at all if Seattle wins outright.

Pats (+4.5) @ San Diego - Now THIS is a playoff game. This one ought to be at pick, if you ask me, and that's why I'm going with the Pats. Well, that and a slight sentimentality, always fatal to the gambler (which, I must reiterate, I am not). Don't bother calling during this one - I'm not answering the phone for the duration. I think this is your Super Bowl, right here.

I made my emergency trip to the grocery for supplies, so I'm ready to be stranded in the house for days. As long as the power and the cable hold out, bring it on!

Becks comes to America

World's best-known footballer, ultra celeb-athlete, well-married, so-physically-blessed-by-the-Lord-God-that-he-makes-Gay-Rod-look-like-a-snivelling-high-school-girl, living human brand-name David Beckham is leaving Real Madrid, arguably the top football club on Earth, and coming to play for the LA Galaxy of the American Major League Soccer (MLS), arguably a middle-rung team in a Class C league. He's reportedly signed a 5-year, $250 million contract to play and pitch various goods on these shores.

This is HUGE. It is, quite literally, the equivalent of Michael Jordan going to play his final 5 years in the Italian League.

Beckham has never been the world's flashiest footballer. His skills are actually sort of pedestrian compared to human highlight reels like Ronaldinho. He is, without a doubt, the greatest free-kicker of all time, but he's never been the fastest guy out there.

He is, however, the best-known footballer of all time, and, arguably, one of the top 3 best-known athletes on the planet (Tiger and Jordan being the other two). And, as such, this is a GRAND SLAM of the highest order for both the Galaxy and MLS. Every game Beckham plays in will be a sellout, TV rights will actually be worth something, and legions of new fans will flock to the game.

I love bold moves like this, especially since this one shows every indication of being a stroke of genius. Everyone involved should emerge a winner.

Bravo, Galaxy and MLS!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Daily YouTube: The Laughing Baby

This kid is a crack up.

And if you liked that, you'll LOVE this...

Sacrificing chickens in Euless TX

One of my default jokes involves the sacrifice of chickens. Heck, I made a chicken-sacrificing joke just the other day in relation to Rex Grossman.

Regardless of my propensity to talk about the subject, I have never witnessed or been any part of the sacrifice of any animal, and intend to keep it that way.

Not everyone in our little DFW Metroplex of Love feels the same way.

Apparently, a group following the Santeria religion would like to practice animal sacrifice in the suburb of Euless. And, since there's not much of importance happening in the world lately, it's become a topic of some debate here locally.

Some points raised on both sides:

How are the Santerians (?) any different from the rest of us, who have animals slaughtered for us upstream in the food supply?

Is this a bit of animal cruelty?

What about freedom to practice religion?

What about the rights of the neighbors to not have animal sacrifices going on next door?

What does this do to property values?

I guess where I come down, as I often do, is not so much on the rights of the principals in the story. The Santerians are, I suppose, free to worship within bounds. But, my sympathies lie with the neighbors. I don't want animal sacrifices in the house next door or down the street. I also don't want the group who worships old Chevy's up on blocks in the front yard in my neighborhood, or the characters who celebrate National Blow Stuff Up Day, profess their love for their Saviour by spray-painting their landscapping in the Day-Glo palette, or celebrate the harvest by filling their swimming pool with Venezuelan Beaver Cheese.

It just seems to me that we get all caught up in the whole "the government can't tell ME what to do" thing, and lose sight of the reasons the "government" wants you to do or not do it in the first place.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Daily YouTube: The Spanish Inquisition

The inspired goofiness of Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition, which no one expects.

Pt 1

Pt 2

Strange doin's in two US cities

In two separate, but eerily similar incidents, NYC and Austin, TX dealt with business closures, odd occurrences, and some very jittery citizens.

In NYC, a strange odor, some said of natural gas, wafted across most of Manhattan and parts of New Jersey. Commuter train service was temporarily halted, some buildings were evacuated, and, no doubt, lots of people had nervous failed-smiles on their faces. Mayor Bloomberg came out to say he was "confident" the odor was not dangerous, based on testing done by someone official somewhere, but offered no explanations for the odor.

Today in Austin, authorities shut down Congress from the Capitol to Town Lake. The closure extended a couple of blocks east and west of the main thoroughfare as well. The cause of this significant disruption: 60 dead birds were found on sidewalks last night and this morning. Again, officials are going out of their way to state, unequivocally, there is no threat to public safety.

Both events will probably turn out to be nothing, and, most likely, everyone will go about their business. But, coming simultaneously as they did, and knowing AQ's penchant for simultaneous events, one can't help but get the old nervous stomach-jump.

Events like these serve to remind just how vulnerable we remain. And the threat is still out there.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Tales From the Dark Side: With a Whimper

Have we all had a chance to digest last night's debacle? Have we all come to grips with Seahawks 21 - Cowboys 20?

This one was so bizarre, so unexpected, so wrenching, that I'm actually feeling sorta bad for the Cowboys and the sheep today. I can't even work up a whole lot of bile.

The Cowboys gutted up, put the past few weeks of utter foolishness behind them, and played hard. They didn't quit, and that's worth mentioning.

But, even still, this game was there for the taking. Seattle tried hard to give it up. It's just the Cowboys tried even harder.

Where were your marquee players? TO Owens - contributed NOTHING. Terry Glenn - contributed two points to the other guys. Romo - I can't kick the guy when he's down. You know what he contributed.

And the D? They looked OK against a fairly lame Seahawks team that just didn't seem to want it much either. But they couldn't make the big stop when they had to, once again couldn't make a play at the crucial time.

And, thus, it ends.

Folks, this was a mercy killing. You, the sheep, now get to go on with your lives, no longer hostage to the false promise that was the 2006 Dallas Cowboys. This team has teased you for six months with shadowy illusions of glory, only to reward your loyalty with ashes. What right did Bondo Face have to hold your world in suspended animation for even one week longer? 'Cuz, you know as well as I do, this team was not getting anywhere near the Lombardi Trophy this year.

If that's the case, let's spare ourselves the drama, shall we? Now, we're free to pull for some of the other great stories out there.

The fascist Pats are ramping up the assembly line, ready to manufacture wins out of the ground-up body parts of their injury list.

Coach Fran's own, personal Jesus, LaDanian Tomlinson (seriously, Fran should be giving LT 10% of everything he's earned from Alabama and A&M) looks like the one guy who can carry a team to the Promised Land.

Peyton Manning overcame his own chokishness to live at least one more week.

Can Rex Grossman sacrifice enough chickens to voodoo his way into the NFC Championship or even beyond?

Can Jeff Garcia continue to ride the rainbow to ultimate fulfillment?

We'll find out the answers to all of this, and without the unnecessary clutter of false, undeserved Cowboy hopes. Thank God.

So, now it's down to Valley Ranch mini-dramas like, will the Pear Shaped Football Genius return to glare at us all dourly and remind us constantly of the feebleness of our sports brains? Will TO Owens return to throw yet another ego-fest birthday party, and to perhaps complete his unfinished task of killing himself? I'm sure there are other questions about, but these are the two we'll be beaten into submission with.

My own hope is that, come next Aug, both are history. But I anticipate both will, instead, be back to further my descent into Darkness.

Ah well, until then, continue to give in to your feelings, young Jedi.

Israel is somewhat serious about Iran, in case you were wondering

According to the Brit Sunday Times, Israel has spent some time planning a possible air strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. This strike, according to the Times, would be carried out by IAF planes utilizing low-yield nuclear "bunker-buster" bombs.

The Israelis, of course, deny the crap out of it. The Foreign Ministry and Olmert's office both decry the report as utter nonsense.

Well, what do you think they're going to say?

Boys and girls, if you think Israel doesn't have about ten different methods for dealing with Iran's coming nuclear arsenal on the books, you are living in a dream world. Further, if you think none of those methods includes a nuclear option, please send me some of whatever it is you're smoking.

The Israelis have been thinking, and planning, about this possibility for a lot longer than Iran has been publicly working on a nuclear program. The Israelis have probably spent a fair amount of time thinking about Libya becoming a nuclear power, the Egyptian government being overthrown by radical Muslims, the Saudis turning off the oil spigot, and the Peruvians going neo-Nazi (well, maybe not that). When you're a country of seven million (approx 5 million of whom are Jewish) living amongst hundreds of millions of Arabs, many of whom want you living somewhere else at best, dead at worst, you tend to plan for all sorts of contingencies.

Especially when you got caught with your pants down as recently as 33 years ago, and you came pretty close to the ultimate nightmare.

I don't doubt the veracity of the story. My only question is, Why did it get leaked?

I think Ha'aretz defense columnist (and Tel Aviv University professor) Reuven Pedatzur is on to something when he says:
I refuse to believe that anyone here would consider using nuclear weapons
against Iran. It is possible that this was a leak done on purpose, as
deterrence, to say: ’Someone better hold us back, before we do something crazy.'

There's no doubt in my mind the Israelis want the Iranian nuclear program stopped by diplomatic, internationally-sponsored efforts. But, you better believe that, if the world can't stop the Iranians via diplomacy, the Israelis will stop them via force.

Daily YouTube: The Jet-Pack

A few days ago, I wrote about flight being the greatest of all super-powers, and that I was on the lookout for a jet pack. Here it is:

Friday, January 05, 2007

Red Sox sign Joel Pineiro. As a CLOSER??!!??

The Red Sox have signed perennial Mariners' spare Joel Pineiro to a one-year, $4 million contract. The shocking part is the contract apparently has incentives tied to closing games.

Joel Pineiro has never looked good against anyone other than the Rangers. Here's a guy who doesn't top 90 mph except when the wind is blowing hard, and has a tough time around the corners. How is he a CLOSER?

I know Theo Epstein is way smarter than I am, so there must be something I don't know.

Football Friday - Wildcard Edition

Oooh. "Wildcard." Sounds cool, doesn't it? "We're a WILDCARD team. Anything can happen. Watch out."

It's Wildcard Weekend in the National Robot League, and, no doubt, excitement abounds, somewhere...

Kansas City (+7) @ Indianapolis - Can the Colts defense stop anyone? Are they, after the Cowboys, the worst defense in the playoffs? We shall see - Larry Johnson is a load, and the Colts have shown no inclination to slow down anyone's running game. On the other hand, Peyton and Co can certainly score points. It's a tough one to call, but I'm going to take the seven and go with KC.

Jets (+8.5) @ Pats - It seems like the Pats have figured it out. And who the heck are the Jets anyway? I know, I know, everyone has underestimated the Jets this year. I just have too much faith in The Guy in the Crappy Hooded Sweatshirt and his Storm Troopers.

Giants (+7) @ Eagles - This is the only easy bet for me. The Eagles have impressed me a bunch the last few weeks, and the Giants are in a free-fall that approaches the one the Cowboys are in. I think there's a good chance this turns into a rout. Look for extreme ugliness in the City of Brotherly Shove, both on the field and in the stands.

Cowboys (+3) @ Seattle - Wow, this is a tougher call than it should be. On one hand, the Cowboy D has got to be the most demoralized group this side of the Palestinian Authority. On the other hand, Seattle is so tapped for defensive backs that they're probably going to start Pete Hunter. Is this a playoff game or a reality TV show? Well, it wouldn't be the Dark Side without an anti-Cowboy pick, although I do think there's an outside chance the Cowboys prolong the agony for another week.

Best super-powers

Here's a fun topic from MSNBC - the top 5 super powers. I'll play along:

5. Quick healing/indestructibility - sorta the same thing, the ability to survive just about anything. This is different from the Superman-type nothing-can-harm-you-in-any-way. You're able to be hurt, you just get over it quick. That diving into a volcano thing always made me giggle.

4. Invisibility - has to be at will. I wouldn't want to be invisible all the time, just when I need/want it. Just think about the prank potential!

3. Ability to speak any language - not sure if this is really a super power, but I think it would be the coolest thing ever to speak every language on earth like a native. To never have a language barrier. Of everything on the list, this seems the most achievable via technology.

2. Super-human reflexes - the ability to duck, dodge, block almost anything. I'm so slow to react to anything, so this has always been high on my list.

1. Flight - ALWAYS the top wish for me! How cool would it be to soar through the sky, or blast along 50 feet off the ground at like 600 mph? Any mention of an anti-gravity belt or a jet pack, I'm interested. After testing, of course.

And just for the heck of it, here are some of the lamest powers I could find:

Animal mimicry
Matter ingestion
Pheromone manipulation (huh?)
Giant wings sprouting out of your back
Anything that turns you a different color, like the Hulk

Monday, January 01, 2007

Daily YouTube: The Cheese Shop sketch

More classic Monty Python - this time the John Cleese/Michael Palin timeless Cheese Shop sketch. Pure greatness. What a senseless waste of human life.

Tales From the Dark Side: The Happiest of New Years!

It's a beautiful Jan 1 here in the DFW Metroplex of Love. The sun is shining, the sky is clear. It's cold, but the air is nearly still. A perfect January day.

Made even more crisp, clear and joyful by Lions 39 - Cowboys 31, of course.

Where do we start our dissection of yesterday's Cowboy "effort"? There are so many juicy negatives, and so few positives, it's sorta like the big buffet table at Sonny Bryan's BBQ.

Let's start with the very, very few positives, as it will be a short list:

1. The cheerleaders wore their regular outfits, despite the mid-40's game time temp. I'm sure it was not fun for them, but it made me appreciate my HDTV once again.

2. The announcing team of Kenny Albert and Brian Baldinger were comically (and predictably) terrible. Albert's not awful, but Baldinger is a moron (with the down-South long first "o", emphasizing the intensity of the word). I had no idea Bill Parcells began his coaching career in Wichita Falls, TX. I had thought it was at Wichita State, in Kansas. Thanks for correcting me Brian, you ding-dong.

3. Um, uh, er. I think that's it.

Well, that was easy.

On with the fun stuff. What went deliciously, invigoratingly wrong for Bondo-Face, the Pear Shaped Football Genius, and their under-achieving minions?


Previously the only thing that gave the sheep hope, the offense has turned into a Marx Brothers routine. Where has the running game gone? JJones and MBIII were on top of the world a month ago. Now neither of them can find a first down marker with a compass and a pair of binoculars. JJones has all but disappeared from the field, with most of the work he used to do going to Barber now. And MBIII himself had a big bag of nothing yesterday as well.

Can the disappearance of the running game be the result of the offensive line playing down to its capabilities? Of course! We've been talking about this suspect line since training camp. This bunch of retreads and never-weres has managed to kill Drew Bledsoe's career, but that wasn't enough for them. Romo managed to make them look serviceable for a few week, but their inability to block even average pass rushers or to open holes wider than a deck of cards finally caught up with them. Walter Payton, Jim Brown, Bo Jackson, and Vince Young could be running the old Wing-T behind this line and not have any success.

How about the receivers. OK, we have to back off a little here: Terry Glenn and Jason Witten are the two guys on the offensive side who have nutted up week after week, who make plays, and who keep their mouths shut. These guys deserve better. It was nice to see the overrated TO Owens actually hang on to a long TD pass for a change. He must have backed off on the Novocaine injections he got in his hands this week.

And what about Tony "Captain America" Romo? Is this really what he is? Was that first five weeks merely lightning in a bottle? That's my bet. I think we've got an average NFL QB here, folks. One who's got some real ability, but who takes too many risks and will make too many mistakes to be really successful in this league. I give him full credit for cashing in on his early success. Carrie Underwood is a Nice Piece, even though I predict she will blow up to pre-TrimSpa Anna Nicole size in the not-too-distant future.


There's not much left to say about this enormously disappointing defense.

What does this bunch of so-called professionals do well? As far as I can tell, nothing. Terrence Newman and DeMarcus Ware on the only two players on the defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately, Mike Zimmer, the heroic defensive coordinator of years past, is going to pay for this mess with his head. The real blame lies with Bondo-Face, who has been duped into overpaying for underachieving defensive talent both in the draft and free agency, and with the Pear Shaped Football Genius, who appears to have implemented a scheme (the 3-4) without first finding out if he had the guys to play it.

Seriously, if you can't cover deep, can't get to the QB even when you blitz, and are questionable against the run, what chance do you have? Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander can't wait to go against this bunch.


I sometimes think Parcells laughs himself to sleep every night. What a set-up he's got here. Bondo-Face is paying him millions, the press are scared to death of him and no one will ask him any tough questions, his staff is completely subservient to him, and he's got enough skins on the wall from previous stops (an aside - what is so great about two Super Bowl wins - I mean, its certainly impressive, and way more than anything I've accomplished, but does it really entitle you to the "genius" tag for the rest of your career?) that no one is going to question him.

Do you really think Parcells cares one bit that Randy (Grampa Urine) Galloway is saying "it's time for Bill to go"? Me either.

The 2007 regular season closes with as bad a 9-7 as you can have. One quality win (the Colts) and a sackful of really bad losses points us towards a date with destiny in Seattle next Saturday night.

We'll be watching from the Dark Side, callin' 'em as we see 'em, and pulling for Cowboy failure, just as we promised back on March 18,2006.