Da Scent

This is my first real attempt at an on-line journal. It'll be parts political, parts personal, parts other. I'll try to keep it interesting, whatever I write. Feedback is appreciated...

UPDATE: Ok, I've taken a step to avoid spammers. So anyone can post comments again, you'll just have to do a word verification first. No big deal, just a minor pain in the ass, courtesy of the fucktards.

Location: Pasadena, Maryland

Aspiring novelist (hey, write, call or e-mail if you can hook me up with a literary agent...no hurries though, I've only just started).

Friday, September 30, 2005

An Open Letter To Peter Angelos

Dear Mr. Angelos,

I think the time has come for you to ponder taking the next step. No, I'm not talking about hiring a manager, or a general manager; I'm not even talking about selling the team. I'm talking about considering the possibility that it is time to die.

I mean, you've lived a long, fruitful life. You have been a successful attorney. You've owned a baseball team. You've traveled all over the world. Hell, you've even had a conversation with Fidel Castro. What is there to gain from hanging on any longer?

There are so many ways you could do it. You could hold a lit stick of dynamite in between your teeth. You could throw yourself in front of a moving bus, or a garbage truck. You could stab yourself in the gut with a sword, like a disgraced samurai warrior. You could rig up a homemade guillotine to cut your own head off. Or you could cut your head off with a chainsaw. You could leap off of the roof of the Warehouse, for instance. Or you could drink a whole bottle of Liquid Plumr. You could go to the zoo and leap into the lion den, and go pick a fight with the biggest one. Or take a boat out into the deep blue sea and feed yourself to the sharks. You could drive your car right off of a cliff. You could even cover yourself in gasoline and light yourself on fire, or boil yourself in oil.

But however you choose to do it, the time has come. So hurry up, before the free agent signing period begins. We'll all be better off.

Except for you, of course.

But fuck you.



...if you can think of any other clever ways Peter Angelos can off himself, please put them in the comments and I'll add them...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

DeLay indicted - steps down as Majority Leader

This piece of shit is finally getting nailed to the wall. And in Texas, no less! 2 years in prison? Sounds too good to be true.

(Note, Roy Blunt steps in in his place. He's a piece of work himself...)

After the FEMA fuck ups, the Plame case, the declining popularity of this President, the disaster the Iraqi Debacle has become...holy shit, things aren't looking so hot for the Repubs right now, huh?

Fuckin' 2006 is too far away...

More fun... (different asshole)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

College Football Addendum II: My Top 25

Well, if it's not too early to be listing the undefeated schools, then it isn't too early to come out with my version of the Top 25, either. So here it is, along with what they're up to this week:

1. Southern California (@ Arizona State)
2. Texas (@ Missouri)
3. Virginia Tech (@ West Virginia)
4. Florida (@ Alabama)
5. Georgia (Idle)
6. Alabama (vs. Florida)
7. California Los Angeles (vs. Washington)
8. Iowa State (@ Nebraska)
9. Michigan State (vs. Michigan)
10. California (vs. Arizona)
11. Ohio State (Idle)
12. Minnesota (@ Penn State)
13. Florida State (vs. Syracuse)
14. Oklahoma State (vs. Colorado)
15. Texas Tech (vs. Kansas)
16. West Virginia (vs. Virginia Tech)
17. Nebraksa (vs. Iowa State)
18. Kansas State (@ Oklahoma)
19. Washington State (@ Oregon State)
20. Tennessee (vs. Mississippi)
21. Arizona State (vs. Southern California)
22. Notre Dame (@ Purdue)
23. Purdue (vs. Notre Dame)
24. Louisiana State (vs. Mississippi State)
25. Texas El Paso (@ Memphis)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I've Just Had An Epiphany

I want the San Francisco Giants to win the World Series. Hear me out...

The Giants are 74-82, making their best possible record 80-82. However, Barry Bonds is back after missing most of the season, and the Giants are 8-2 in games where Bonds starts this season, which means that they could win this thing.

If the Giants - or any other team - won the World Series after going under .500 during the course of the 162 game regular season, that would instantly make the World Series the biggest joke in professional sports.

Do you realize how much easier that would make the summers for us O's fans? Knowing that the Orioles' impossible goal, the goal the Yankees and Red Sox chased so passionately, was essentailly meaningless anyway? I mean, who cares if the Orioles are in contention, when what they would be in contention for means nothing?

I might even start going to games again...


College Ball Addendum

I've been debating when to write this, before this coming week or after it, but I've decided to do it now - maybe it was the weather.

Anyway, this is right around the point of the college season where being undefeated becomes a noteworthy achievement. Undefeated teams from larger conferences can begin to dream of a National Championship, and mid-major undefeateds can begin to dream of crashing the BCS Party like Utah did last season. So here is a list of the 27 remaining undefeateds (there are 119 Division 1A schools), and what they are up to this week.

(All times EST, PM)

Alabama & Florida - playing each other in Tuscaloosa at 3:30 on Saturday (CBS)
Baylor - visiting Texas A&M at 12:30 on Saturday
California - hosting Arizona at 7:00 on Saturday (TBS)
California Los Angeles - hosting Washington at 10:15 on Saturday
Florida State - hosting Syracuse at 3:30 on Saturday (ABC)
Georgia - Idle
Indiana & Wisconsin - playing each other in Madison at 12:00 on Saturday (ESPN2)
Iowa State & Nebraska - playing each other in Lincoln at 3:30 on Saturday
Kansas & Texas Tech - playing each other in Lubbock at 7:00 on Saturday
Kansas State - visiting Oklahoma at 7:00 on Saturday
Michigan State - hosting Michigan at 12:00 on Saturday
Minnesota & Penn State - playing each other in Happy Valley at 3:30 on Saturday
Oklahoma State - hosting Colorado at 2:05 on Saturday
Southern California - visiting Arizona State at 3:30 on Saturday
Texas - visiting Missouri at 12:00 on Saturday
Texas El Paso - visiting Memphis at 8:00 on Saturday
Toledo - visiting Fresno State as I write this (ESPN2)
Vanderbilt - hosting Mississippi State at 7:00 on Saturday
Virginia - visiting Maryland at 12:00 on Saturday (ABC)
Virginia Tech & West Virginia - playing each other in Morgantown at 12:00 on Saturday (ESPN)
Washington State - visiting Oregon State at 4:00 on Saturday

All for now...P&L...

NFL Week 3 Wrap-up

Week 3 of the NFL season wound up last night as the Broncos pounded the then-unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs 30-10 in Denver to grab first-place in the AFC by virtue of the tiebraker. Other notable results from the weekend:

The Dolphins shocked the Panthers with a last second field goal, to give them a 27-24 win. The Dolphins are now 2-1, and the Panthers are 1-2 (although the Panthers' win came against the defending Champions). If Nick Saban can muster 8 wins out of this squad, coach of the year should be a lock. As for the Panthers, they are in a highly competitive division, so every loss hurts.

The Michael Vick show proved to be more than the Buffalo Bills could handle, as Atlanta rolled, 24-16. The Bills have had a dissapointing last couple of weeks, especially on defense. Thought by many to be a playoff contender, they need to get better fast if they have postseason aspirations. And they'll have to do so without Takeo Spikes, who ruptured his Achilles' tendon and will have to miss the rest of the season.

Eli Manning proved more than capable of handling the pressure of playing in the city he once spurned, but the Giants' defense wasn't up to the task, and the Chargers won 45-23. LaDanian Tomlinson (don't call him "LT") had about a skillion yards and almost as many fantasy points. The Chargers' 0-2 start had them in seriously hot water, and while this win took off a lot of pressure, the next 5 weeks are all very losable games for San Diego. We'll find a lot out about this team very quickly.

The Jaguars topped the Jets in overtime, 26-20. New York lost two quarterbacks to injury in the game, including losing their starter for apparently the entire season. Unless the J-E-T-S do something dramatic and quickly, there is no way they are headed for the postseason this time around. As for the Jaguars, they are now 2-1 and have the next two weeks at home against potential playoff teams in Denver and Cincinnati. It might cause a bit of consternation amongst Jaguar fans that their team had to go to overtime to win a game against a team who's starting QB threw for only 76 yards, but remember that in this League no road win is cheap. Especially in conference.

And in the game of the week, it was the New England Patriots 23, Pittsburgh Steelers 20. Tom Brady once again established that he is the NFL's coolest customer, going 12-12 in the 4th quarter against a team that is as good as any team they'll play, in an environment that is as tough as any in football. This game had a playoff atmosphere, and will very possibly have big time playoff implications. I got one question, though: how come the Patriots always play the Colts at home, and the Steelers on the road?

Other results from Sunday: the Bengals are 3-0 after beating the Bears, but we're waiting for them to play a good team. The Raiders are 0-3 after losing to the Eagles, but we're waiting for them to play a bad team. Tampa Bay won in Lambeau by a point, in a game my friend Tristan swears was referee robbery. The Colts are 3-0 after beating Cleveland, but something appears to be wrong with their offense. The Rams and Titans, shells of the teams that went to the Super Bowl a few years back, played another thriller, with the Rams coming out on top 31-27. The Vikings finally looked good, against an exhausted and road-weary Saints team (which, sadly, does not appear to be headed for postseason play). Dallas staged a late comeback to beat San Francisco and screw my fantasy team. And Shawn Alexander ran all over the Cardinals as the Seahawks rolled, 37-12.

The Redskins, Ravens, Lions, and Texans had the week off.

Ok, look for the week 5 primer sometime Saturday. P&L...

College Ball Week 4 Wrap-up & Week 5 Preview

As I write this LSU is in the midst of a monumental collapse. Up 21-0 at the half, their lead has slipped away and they find themselves heading into overtime, tied at 24 with the Tennessee Volunteers.

The LSU/Tennessee game, you may recall, was my number 1 game to watch this weekend. The number 2 game of the weekend was supposed to be the battle of the Techs in the ACC, but it wasn't much of a battle. 51-7 was the final score, Hokies over the Yellow Jackets. Virginia Tech looks like the real deal (Georgia Tech won at Auburn earlier this year). The number 3 game was also a trouncing, as the Buckeyes hammered the Iowa Hawkeyes 31-6. Keeping with the demolition theme, the USC Trojans spotted the Oregon Ducks a 10-0 lead, then woke up and scored the final 45 points of the game. Finally, Michigan lost to Wisconsin 23-20. Well, the Volunteers just scored a TD to complete the comeback over LSU.

Ok, upsets this week: South Florida demolished #9 Louisville 45-14, smothering the faint Rose Bowl hopes of the Cardinals. Minnesota took out Purdue, 42-35 in double overtime - the Gophers have a running back named Maroney who looks like a future big time NFL running back.

As for the National Championship - as I mentioned, LSU has fallen to Tennessee 30-27 in overtime. In the SEC, LSU will have a high enough quality of opponents that they could get back into the picture should there be room for a 1-loss team, but with Texas, Southern Cal, and Virginia Tech looking so good, that might not be the case. Besides, Florida looks to be the cream of the SEC crop right now, anyway. Purdue's outside shot a a National title is now extinguished, and Michigan and Iowa had the second (and final) nails driven in the coffins of their national title hopes.

Ok, week 5 of the College season starts tomorrow night, so here's my look ahead to the coming week.

Conference play continues, and we're starting to get some interesting match-ups. These are the top 5:

5. Michigan/Michigan State - this is usually a pretty good match-up, even though Michigan State rarely has the athletes to keep up with Michigan on paper, as they like to say. However, this year it is the currently unranked Wolverines who will be the underdogs. Two conference losses would bury any hopes Michigan has of a Big 10 title, and undefeated Michigan State has their own title aspirations for which to play.

4. Iowa State/Nebraska - this appears to be the battle for Big 12 North supremacy - although Kansas State is also in the mix. Iowa State announced their presence with authority by trouncing Iowa earlier this season, and Nebraska appears to be a program to be reckoned with once again, at least on the defensive side of the ball. The loser of this game will have a hell of a hard time winning this division.

3. Southern California/Arizona State - once again, the number 1 team in the country goes on the road to play a ranked opponent. And once again, I can't rate that game higher than this because, quite frankly, I don't see Arizona State keeping competitive. The Sun Devils have a nice offense and could put up four or five touchdowns, but that won't be enough to keep up with the Trojans, IMO. This USC team is special, especially on offense, and I can't wait until I get to see them on TV when they play Notre Dame.

2. Notre Dame/Purdue - speaking of the Irish, they head to Purdue to battle their in state rivals, the Boilermakers. Both teams have 1 loss, and so the loser of this match-up will be knocked out of the National Title picture entirely, with no possibility of parole. Notre Dame, even with Purdie's loss last week at Minnesota, is probably returning to the role as underdog for the first time since the Michigan game, but that'll probably help the golden domers more than hinder them.

1. Alabama/Florida - very possibly a sneak preview of the SEC Title game. Florida is the team to beat in the SEC right now, and 'Bama is looking to reestablish themselves as the premeire school in the SEC West (which is much more of a possibility after LSU blew that big lead in Baton Rouge tonight). It's cross-divisional, so a loss won't kill either team's chances of an SEC Title, but both teams are dreaming of Pasadena, and neither team can afford a loss in that regard.

Ok, it's late and I'm beat. NFL Week 3 wrap-up tomorrow. P&L...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

NFL Week 3 Primer

Today begins week 3 of the NFL season. My beloved Redskins, as well as the Ravens, Texans, and Lions all have this week off, so this week will be all about obersvation for me, and the good news is that there are several good match-ups to observe. The top five are:

(The AFC East Edition)

5. Panthers/Dolphins - The Carolina Panthers are coming off of a big-time statement win over the New England Patriots (in a rare match-up of teams whose "home" part of their names are neither states nor cities - Tampa Bay is the only other such team), and now they go on the road to Miami. The Dolphins are 1-1, 1-0 at home. The Fish will find that their opponents this time around are a little more used to the heat than Denver, however. This is a big-time chance for the Dolphins to step up and do something the Patriots could not. For the Panthers, this game is about avoiding an emotional hangover after a huge win last week.

4. Falcons/Bills - The Michael Vick Show's next stop is in Buffalo, where the weather is not yet inhospitable and the turf will make Vick feel somewhat at home. The Bills are coming off of a pretty ugly (oxymoron alert!) loss to the Buccaneers last week, and want to avoid a 1-2 start in this division (although it is not inconcievable that the entire division could be 1-2 after this week). The Falcons, on the other hand, don't want to lose a game their divisional rivals just won. Both teams have exceptional defenses, coupled with developing offenses. Take the under.

3. Chargers/Giants - If I told you before the season one of these teams would be 2-0 while the other is 0-2, you'd probably think it was the other way around. Yet, the Giants and Chargers have the pundits scratching their heads as it is the Giants who have gotten off to a fast start, while the Chargers remain winless. For the Chargers (as well as for every other 0-2 team playing this week) this is quite simply a must win game - you do not want to try and make the playoffs coming from an 0-3 hole, especially in the AFC, and double secret especially with two of those losses coming at home. As for the Giants, a win would put them all alone in first place in the NFC East (like I said before, Washington is idle), and this is somewhat of a statement game, as the Chargers, unlike the Giants' two previous opponents, are coming off of a playoff season. Of course, this is Eli's first trip to San Diego, the team he spurned at last year's NFL Draft, and couple that with this game being in prime time (not a coincidence), the home crowd should be into it.

2. Jaguars/Jets - Obviously, this game has huge symbolic importance, as "Jet Jaguar" was the name of the robot who helped Godzilla in "Godzilla vs. Megalon". But even beyond that, these are two teams that a lot in common. Both teams are 1-1. Both are second bananas in their own divisions, the Jets to the Patriots and the Jaguars to the Colts. Both are trying to join the ranks of the NFL's elite this season, and each should see this match-up as an important stepping stone in so doing. This is a statement game for both teams, and as such should make for very interesting TV.

1. Patriots/Steelers - With all respect to Kansas City and Denver, how is this not on Monday Night? Like the Falcons/Eagles match-up in week 1, this is a rematch of a conference title game. Two of the AFC's "Big 3" (along with the Colts), the Patriots and Steelers have a match-up this week which could have potential implications way down the line (as in, home field advantage for the playoffs) as well as the obvious immediate answers it will provide - is Willy Parker the real deal? What about Ben Roethlisberger? Was the Patriots performance last week a fluke, or did Carolina provide a blueprint for good teams to beat New England? How much are the Patriots going to miss their two coordinators? This is a game where seemingly everything favors the Steelers going in, and that is the kind of game that Bill Belicheck's Patriots have always won the last two years. Without a doubt, this is the game of the week.

Ok, I'll do the college recap tommorow night after the LSU/Tennessee game, then the NFL recap and college ball primer Tuesday morning (as the College Weekend ridiculously starts Tuesday Night). Till then, P&L...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Angry "Fuck You" Post

I'm going to try to limit these as much as possible, but this one can't not be written. Not only do I want all of my Republican friends being asked these questions, I want anyone on my side to yelling the exact same thing I am.

Well, you fuckers have gone and done it now. Hottest summer on record followed by 2 category 5 hurricanes hitting the gulf - two, in fact, of the most intense hurricanes in all of recorded history. THIS IS LIKE A GODDAM DISASTER MOVIE!!!!!

Well, you guys really showed us. You won't let those "scientists" tell you how to live your lives! Global warming? Just a theory! Just like evolution, the Big Bang, and the link between cigarettes and cancer. Seriously, people, how long are you going to remain in the Party of Ignorance?

Not only do you appear more and more stupid the further the rest of us advance into the future - what a conservative truly is, after all, at their most basic core, is simply somebody who refuses to acknowledge the passage of time - but now your ridiculous refusal to acknowledge a scientific discovery with such backing and credibility that we are the only industrialized country in the world that refuses to acknowledge its legitimacy, has produced an unprecedented FIRST MONTH of the hurricane season. 10,000 poeople died in Hurricane Katrina (thanks to your beloved economic policies which left thousands unable to flee an area they knew was going to be the site of a disaster because they were too poor), and now they are saying this one is going to be even worse.

You've derided the people who warned you this was coming - you called them "elitists", "pinheads", treehuggers", and told us to get out of our ivory tower. Well this is me telling you to pull your goddam head out of the sand. It's hard to admit your wrong, but coninuing to cling to these ridiculous ideas in the face of mounting evidence is doing you no favors. Come over to our side, and you'll be welcomed with open arms. Continue to deny reality, and it could well be the death of us all. Sounds hyperbolic, but, at this point, I don't know what to expect next.

Oh, and to all of you "In Case Of Rapture, This Car Will Be Unmaned" assholes - this looks an awful lot like the beginning of the Rapture to me, and YOU'RE STILL FUCKING HERE!

Have a nice day...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Single Happiest Moment of My Life

Wow. Wow. Wow.


Ok, so last night I have some friends over for the football game, Skins vs. Cowboys, on ABC. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect. Both the Cowboys and Redskins had narrow victories in week 1, but Dallas' opponent (San Diego) was supposedly better than the Redskins' (Chicago) and Dallas was on the road while the Redskins were home. Things began to look better on Sunday, when the Bears trounced the Lions 38-6 while the Chargers fell to the Broncos, who a week earlier had been thoroughly whipped by the Miami Dolphins. So it began to look like maybe everyone was wrong, at least a little bit, when comparing the relative strength of the two opponents.

The game started, and it started slowly, to say the least. Brunell looked an awful lot like the same Mark Brunell from last season, and while Bledsoe looked better than Brunell, he wasn't exactly leading his team up and down the field either. In fact, it was 3-0 at the half, when Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman, and Emmitt Smith were inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor.

In the third quarter, the Cowboys dug into their bag of Jap Plays and pulled out a flea-flicker for a 70-some odd yard score (Cowboy fans have been whining about how they dominated last night's game for 55 minutes but they haven't been mentioning that their only TD came on a gimmick play). They tacked on another figgie and it was 13-0 late in the 4th quarter.

With 4 minutes to go, the Skins were looking at 4th and 15 on the Cowboys 38 yard line. As I was on the extremeskins.com demanding that Gibbs put in rookie QB Jason Campbell immediately, Brunell threw a beautiful pass into the end zone that ended up in the arms of WR Santana Moss (yes, he's on my fantasy team, no I didn't play him). Nice play, I thought, where the hell has that been, oh I don't know, THE ENTIRE FUCKING GAME. Hey, at least the Skins were gonna get all those people who took them and the points a push...

But the Redskins' defense, as it had been doing mostly all night, kept the Cowboys from going anywhere on their next drive, so the Redskins wound up with the ball again, with just about a minute having been lost from the game clock. They got the ball up to their 30 yard line (as in 70 yards away from the end zone) when Brunell dropped back again. And chucked it again. At Santana Moss again. And he caught it again. And scored again.


Next thing I know, I'm lying on the floor screaming at the top of my lungs, something like "HOLY SHIT! THEY DID IT!" Maybe my folks remember, because I woke them both up.

Routes are nice. I love to watch my Skins whoop up on somebody (although that never happens these days...). But with a route all the joy is spread out over the course of an entire game. It's lot's of fun to watch, but you never get that one moment, where an entire game's worth of elation is all concentrated into one play. And because it was against the Cowboys, because it was in Dallas, in front of all those Dallas fans (and those up-till-that-point poor Redskin fans, whom I pitied all night long but now envy more than anyone else), and on the night they had their ceremony, and with 8 years of losing to those fuckers fresh in all our minds, the euphoria was concentrated and beautiful.

I do, of course, have better memories than the Redskins beating Dallas in week two of a regular season. However, as far as one moment of sheer unadulterated joy, I don't believe anything ever topped Moss scoring that second TD. I wish I could have bottled that shit up.

After that, it was two minutes of nerveousness, waiting for some BS pass interference call or some other such nonsense that the Cowboys ALWAYS got against us that would set them up at the 2 with just enough time for Jose Cortez to atone for his earleir miss by kicking the game winning figgie, but it didn't come. The Skins held on, and the celebration began. I went to bed at 3 AM. I got up this morning at 7, not because I had to, but because I couldn't sleep. I suppose I'll be tired at some point, but I've been up all day and it hasn't happened yet.

Anyway, as far as the rest of the NFL weekend went, it was more blowouts, more suprising results, and, for you Ravens' fans, more misery. My top five for the week were:

5. Dolphins/Jets - the Jets won this won, 17-7, which is hardly a stomping, but seeing as Nick Saban has the Dolphins playing better, a win is a win. I'm not ready to call the Jets a great team yet - that week 1 loss in still as ugly as it was a week ago - but this was an important game for them to win.

4. Chargers/Broncos - the Broncos held home field, beating the Chargers in Denver. This puts the Chargers in an 0-2 hole in a conference where 10 wins is necessary for a playoff berth, but they aren't out of it yet. The next few weeks are going to be very important for Schotty & Co., however.

3. Chiefs/Raiders - the Raiders were unable to hold home field against the hated Chiefs, which is doubly bad news for a team that is now 0-2. When you have only three divisional home games a year, you want to be damn sure you don't let them slip away, but that's exactly what happened here (although Randy Moss was robbed of that TD...pathetic call). Eventually the Raiders will learn (as the Redskins did) that the secret to success is chucking the ball as far downfield as possible and letting Moss catch it, as often as possible. I have no idea why they went to Porter in the end zone on 4th down at the end of the game. I mean, Porter is on my fantasy team, I think he's a great receiver...but he's no Randy Moss. Nobody else is. Go to your playmaker.

2. Patriots/Panthers - the Patriots went down to Carolina and got beat pretty decent. Stephen Davis had a monster of a game with 3 TDs, and the Carolina defense did a good job of holding the Pats to a reasonable 17 points. I wouldn't read too much into this game if I were a Pats' fan (although it does show that the mighty Patriots are not, in fact, invincible), but it has to be an enormous feather in the cap of the Panthers, who were coming off a divsional home loss to an emotionally riled up Saints team.

1. Jaguars/Colts - the Colts held home field, but barely. Byron Leftwich had a performance in the 4th quarter, while injured, that conjured up memories of the tear-inducing performance he had at Marshall when his offensive line was literally carrying him down the field after long completions. If there is a gutsier player in the NFL, I don't know who he is. As for the game, 10-3 was the final score. The good news for Indianapolis, besides the fact that they put themselves a game up against the only other good team in their division, is that they can now win, apparently, even when the vaunted offense isn't lighting up the scoreboard like a Christmas tree. They have held their opponents to 10 points in two games. That's 10 points, TOTAL. And 7 of those came on a garbage time TD by the Ravens. That makes them the most dangerous team in the NFL, at this point.

Ok, this week's college line-up (first game of the weekend is, ridiculously, tommorow):

We got some goodies, not quite as good as last week maybe, but still soome goodies...

5. Michigan/Wisconsin - a "preseason top 5 team", the Wolverines had high hopes for this season, but they took a major hit the weekend before last, when Notre Dame came into the Big House and beat them. Now they travel to undefeated Wisconsin. The Badgers haven't exactly distinguished themselves against high-quality competition, but they have given no reason to think they aren't capable of winning this year, either. If Wisconsin has any aspirations of winning the Big 10, they have to win this one. Same with thew Wolverines, for that matter.

4. USC/Oregon - normally you'd think the number 1 team in the country going on the road to face a ranked opponent would be higher than #4, but honestly the gulf between USC and the other schools is so high at this point that I would be suprised if this wasn't a laugher by game's end. If Oregon can make this close, it'll show the champs are vulnerable. Otherwise, we're back to where we started...

3. Iowa/Ohio State - two of the Big 10's "big three" (which all lost two weeks ago) meet in the Horseshoe in Columbus. The Big 10 is poised to be the most competitive conference in football this year, with as many as 7 teams potentially vying for the crown. Obviously, every game is direly important. Like Wisconsin/Michigan, and all the Big 10 match-ups this week and every other week, a loss could cripple a team's chances of winning the conference.

2. Georgia Tech/Virginia Tech - the battle of the Techs in the ACC. Both teams are currently undefeated, with Virginia Tech trouncing two overmatched opponents after winning a great opener against a game NC State squad, and Georgia Tech still shining after their week 1 victory at Jordan-Hare Stadium. This is a divisional game, soany hopes either team has of winning their division (and, thus, their conference) lies in winning this game.

1. Tennessee/LSU - who designed Tennesse's schedule this year? After a tough loss in the swamp, things get no easier for the Vols, who now get to go to Death Valley and play against the charged up Bayou Bengals in the first major football game in Louisiana since the hurricane. Because the Volunteers are so damn good, this will be a tough one for LSU, but I wouldn't be shocked if the emotion took over and the Tigers won by 20 points. One thing is for sure, it's gonna be rockin', and Tiger Stadium is a tough place to play in at night for a visitor. GEAUX TIGERS!

Ok, that's all for now. P&L...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

College Ball Wrap-up

Wow...what a day yesterday was. I was getting a good omen when Utah/Texas Christian and Houston/Texas El Paso, which were played on Thursday and Friday Night, respectively, were both superior games. But I had no idea that Saturday was going to be so good:

Notre Dame erased a three-touchdown defecit only to lose in overtime. Also losing in the extra session was Clemson, to Miami of Florida. Oklahoma got absolutely trounced by UCLA, which should lead to the school falling out of the rankings entirely, but the media loves to overrate the Big 12, especially the Big 12 South, so it wouldn't suprise me if I saw that they were still there (polls will be out later today - I'd post them here but I consider the polls to be largely irrelevant at this point in the season). Boston College made Florida State work for it, but they came through late with a come-from-behind victory to reestablish themselves as the premeire team in that division. After coming very close to knocking off (an overrated?) Georgia last week, Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks got the thumping the Bulldogs wanted to give them, but they got it from the Crimson Tide. Don't look now, but Alabama is undefeated and should be 4-0 when they host the Gators in two weeks. My number 1 game of the week was a little less dramatic than some of the overtime games, but Florida played some inspired ball to beat Tennessee at home, possibly establishing themselves as the best team in that division (they still have to get through Georgia, of course). With Florida, LSU, Georgia, and now possibly Alabama looking real good early, this should become one hell of a good season in the SEC this year. Of course, it's almost always a good season in the SEC, but still...

Not much on the upset front (although some would call UCLA dismantling Oklahoma an upset, but Vegas had UCLA by 7 - here's guessing a lot of angry Oklahoma fans lost their shirts betting that there was no way those California kids would beat their Sooners by more than a TD). Division 1-AA California Davis got a win over Stanford, which should pretty much make those players happy for the rest of their lives, beating a Pac 10 team, albeit not a very good one. Michigan State beating Notre Dame qualifies as an upset, but other than those three games, the weekend went pretty much according to plan, although the games were exciting.

On the National Championship Front, Notre Dame fell out of the picture at least temporarily with their loss to Michigan State (by temporarily I mean at least until November, and even then things would have to go exceptionally well for them to get back into it - they still have a game with Southern California left, so you can't discount them completely). Tennessee took a huge hit - it would now take Florida losing twice for them to win the division. The faint hopes of Boston College and CLemson were both pretty much extinguished, as was what was left of Oklahoma's bid to make three National Championship Games in a row. Still left: Southern California, who hasn't lost a game since September 17, 2003; Texas, still riding high off that big win in Columbus; Louisiana State, who has a huge test coming up this week (more on that Tuesday); Florida, who looks like they're the team to beat in the SEC East...for now; Georgia, who would probably be upset with my description of Florida; Alabama, who is off of most people's radars but has the schedule to shoot up quickly if they can win (remember, you read that Alabama could win the National Championship here first); Florida State, who managed to get out of that ugly game against Miami with a win, and have followed that up with a much more convincing performance against BC; Virginia Tech, which has not played a decent opponent since opening week (that changes next Saturday...again, more on that Tuesday), but has been blowing their opponents out like you would expect a top tier team to do (all aliteration aside); and Purdue, which is the Big 10's lone torch bearer since Ohio State, Michigan, and Iowa have all lost. Of course, lot's of teams could still be in the mix if they ran their schedule - Vanderbilt hasn't lost yet, for instance - but these are the scools whose games you should be keeping an eye on in the coming weeks.

Ok, that's plenty for now. Pro ball recap Tuesday, as well as my look ahead to next week in college, which comes early because the college weekend starts on Wednesday this week. Till then, P&L...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Pro Ball Look-Ahead

Yesterday I did a preview of this weekend's college games. Today, we'll focus on Sunday.

After an interesting week 1 (interesting in retrospect, not in fact; there were a lot of blow-outs opening weekend) we find ourselves staing at week 2, and this is about the point in the week where fans who's teams either honked it or came out like gangbusters are beginning to look ahead to week 2 wondering if what they saw was an omen or an aberration (sp?). My top 5 is swarming with AFC teams, who take up 9 of the 10 spots on the list. Let's get right to it:

5. Jets/Dolphins - two teams that have their fans wondering whether last week was a fluke or not. The Jets are out to prove that it was, the Dolphins are out to prove that it wasn't. You hate to bury a team two weeks into the season, but if the Jets can't hold home turf against what should be an inferior opponent, it'll be tough to see them making the playoffs this year in a division where one team is the twice-defending Super Bowl Champions and the other two teams seem to be greatly improved. As for the Dolphins, they can't be thinking playoffs yet, but if they can go into New York and stick it to the Jets in their home opnener, then maybe they aren't as far away from the post-season as everyone thinks. That's a lot on the line for week 2.

4. Chargers/Broncos - in Denver, two teams are trying to prove that week 1 was a fluke. The Broncos had the more lopsided loss on the scoreboard (34-10 to those Dolphins), but they at least were on the road, in inhospitable conditions (90 degrees with 60% humidity - YUCK!). The Chargers lost at home, 28-24, to the Dallas Cowboys, a team they supposedly are much better than. In addition, this is a division game, so it's a chance for each team to put themselves a game up on the other.

3. Chiefs/Raiders - the other two AFC West teams are meeting in Oakland. The Chiefs made mincemeat out of the Jets in KC, now they head to Oakland, to meet a Raiders team that got pushed around in week one by the Patriots. The Chiefs defense is supposedly vastly improved, and they looked the part in the opener. But the Raiders are a lot more explosive on offense than the Chiefs are. In a division where all four teams have a legitimate shot, every divsion game counts extra. This should be a good one.

2. Patriots/Panthers - some people think this is a Super Bowl Preview. I don't, but it's tough to deny that these two teams aren't near, or at, the tops of their respective conferences. The Panthers had a miserable start to last season but rallied to almost make the playoffs, despite so many injuries nobody knew who exactly was playing by season's end. The Patriots are, of course, two-time defending Super Bowl Champions. Because it's an interconference match-up, the importance of it, relatively, is somewhat muted, but as compelling TV, there isn't much better on this weekend.

1. Jaguars/Colts - Peyton's crew stomped the Ravens down on their own turf last week. This week they head home, where they'll take on a Jaguars team that disposed of the Seahawks neatly last weekend. Byron Leftwich & Co. look to make the AFC South a two-horse race, and a good way to start would be beating down Indy on their home field. Meanwhile, Indianapolis is trying to take the next step to being in the Super Bowl, and if they want to show they've taken the step, they'll hand the pesky Jags their first loss of the season. Two great teams in a divisional match-up, this is my NFL game of the week.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bill Maher drops The Fucking Hammer!!!

This is so awesome, I've got to repost it:

America must recall the president. That's what this country needs. A good, old-fashioned, California-style recall election! Complete with Gary Coleman, porno actresses and action film stars. And just like Schwarzenegger's predecessor here in California, George Bush is now so unpopular, he must defend his jog against...Russell Crowe. Because at this point, I want a leader who will throw a phone at somebody. In fact, let's have only phone throwers. Naomi Campbell can be the vice-president!

Now, I kid, but seriously, Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you anymore. There's no more money to spend. You used up all of that. You can't start another war because you also used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people.

Yeah, listen to your mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit card's maxed out, and no one is speaking to you: mission accomplished! Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service. And the oil company. And the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or spaceman?!

Now, I know what you're saying. You're saying that there's so many other things that you, as president, could involve yourself in...Please don't. I know, I know, there's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela, and eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote. But, sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man.

Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire metropolis to rising water and snakes.

On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two Trade Centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans...Maybe you're just not lucky!

I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side. So, yes, God does speak to you, and what he's saying is, "Take a hint."

Pro Ball Wrap-Up & College Ball Preview

Well, week 1 of the NFL season is in the books. Actually, it's been in the books for a while, but I've been busy and I haven't gotten around to writing anything about it until now. Sorry, but the good news is now that I've had time to digest it, maybe my analysis will be more insightful.

The first thing that needs to be understood is that it is too easy to overestimate the importance of week 1. It is easy to do, because right now, all we have to go on is one single performance from each team, and that's an awful lot of weight to put on one game, especially one that happens before the teams have really had a chance to develop their chemistries and identities.

That in mind, here's a review of the big stories from the first weekend.

First, the Saints big win in Carolina. It was great for the players and their fans, and important because it shows how the players are ready to react to their situation, at least initially. I expect this emotion to carry them through the first half of the season, and it'll being to wear off around the same time they begin to get used to their odd circumstances.

Secondly, Atlanta wins at home against Philly. Don't go handing the title of NFC's best team over to Atlanta quite yet. Jeremiah Trotter was missing and it's tough to win on the road in prime time, especially on Opening Weekend. But Atlanta got a big win that could be very important come tiebraker time.

Thirdly, Colts romp in Baltimore. The Ravens let the Colts dictate the tempo of this one, and the result was disasterous. The positive effect that the Kyle Boller might have had, however (and this is no reason to cheer for an injury, Baltimore fans - Good God, when the Eagles' fans cheered Irvin's injury - and that was disgusting, too - at least he was playing for the other team!!!), is that the Ravens will toss the playbook where the QB drops back to pass 40-odd times and instead do the smart thing and hand it off to the NFL's best rock-toter.

Lions win - no suprise to me - I've still got them winning the NFC North; Redskins win a defensive battle, not the last time that'll happen; Rams fall to San Francisco, shocking only only to those who don't realize that any team in the NFC West is perfectly capable of losing to anyone on any given Sunday, including Chesapeake High, or me and 10 buddies; Pittsburgh runs all over Tennessee, who is in for a long season; so is Houston, who proved their inabilities against the Bills; Dallas beats San Diego, can Schottenheimer spell "fluke season"?; Giants roll over Arizona - don't know why everybody was so in love with the Cardinals; same goes for the Jets, who got stomped by KC, and the Broncos, who got trounced by the Dolphins (I mean, seriously, how do you get trounced by the Dolphins? TROUNCED, by the DOLPHINS?????); the extremely overrated Vikings made me look like a genius by honking against the Buccaneers; and the Bengals beat the Browns.

Ok, College Week 3 starts tonight with Utah versus Texas Christian, which was threatening to crack my top 5 before TCU blew it against SMU, which is probably the most consistently bad program in NCAA Divison 1A football (Army and Buffalo are up there, too). Anyway, that might not hold your interest (I'll be watching), but there are several games this weekend that should be mandatory viewing for all those who call themselves football fans. So many, that my top 5 did not have room for Michigan State/Notre Dame, or SMU's follow-up game against Texas A&M. The ones that did make it...

5. Oklahoma/UCLA - The fall of the Sooners, who lost to the aforementioned Horned Frogs of TCU then nearly blew it against Tulsa, comes as a great joy to me. They have their biggest test of the season thusfar when they travel to Los Angeles (although not, sadly, to get trounced by the Trohjans again). UCLA is supposed to be one of the Pac 10's best this season, and if they have any hope of competing with USC, they have to prove they can beat up on an Oklahoma team that looks like a shell of it's former self (although they have been overrated for about 5 years running, now). As for Oklahoma, they had better turn things around quick, their match-up with the Longhorns is coming up and Texas has a lot of frustration they can't wait to take out on Stoops' squad.

4. Alabama/South Carolina - Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks did much better than expected in his SEC redebut. You can bet Georgia wanted to stomp the Ball Coach silly, but they were simply unable. Two apparent future SEC powers will meet when the Crimson Tide comes to South Carolina. 'Bama has had probation problems recently, but they are moving away from that era and should reemerge as a powerhouse soon. Which team is closer to being a power, this game will help determine.

3. Miami/Clemson - Miami and Florida State both looked horrible in week 1, and both pratically had last week off (FSU was playing "The Citadel" - whatever the hell that is). Both better get their act together quickly, because they are each playing teams this week that have impressed thusfar. Miami gets to play Clemson, who have beaten Texas A&M at home and Maryland on the road. This is still a very winnable game for Miami, and they would be my easy pick if they weren't so terrible opening weekend, but with Clemson coming to play and smelling a possible division championship, Miami had better come with it this time.

2. Florida State/Boston College - Meanwhile, the Seminoles have to make the trip north to Boston, where they'll lock horns with the Eagles of Boston College. BC dissapointed last year by not winning the Big East, but have big wins this year against BYU and Army, but Florida State is obviously a big step up in competition. FSU, BC, and Clemson are all in the Atlantic Division, so this weekend has huge potential implications down the line.

1. Tennessee/Florida - The Gators are back under prodigy coach Urban Meyer and with prodigy QB Chris Leak. Tennessee failed to impress in its week 1 win over Alabama-Brimingham, while Florida has had no such problems with its two opponents, Wyoming and Louisiana Tech. This could be the game of the year in the SEC East, and it could decide who walks away with the division title (although Georgia certainly has something to say about that).

With so many great games in store, who can wait for Saturday? Not me...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Cincy Trip & College Ball Wrap-up

Well, dad, Mr. Daniel Barchonowicz, and I took a trip to Cincy this past weekend to take in a couple baseball games at their relatively new stadium. While it was pleasant enough, with a definate mid-western feel, it was rather impersonal and underwhelming, to tell the truth. It wasn't a dump, like their old place, but it certainly wasn't on par with OPACY, PNC Park, or any of the other nice fields I have been to.

Anyway, because we spent all day Saturday and Sunday walking around Cincinnati/in the ballpark, I didn't get much opportunity to watch football, and while I had enough of a good time to say it was worth the trade-off, I would have liked to have seen some of the games this weekend that I either missed enitrely or caught only pieces of, most notably the Redskins opening day win over the Bears.

Bearing in mind that the football weekend isn't over until tonight, I'll recap the major college action here, and hold off on pro ball until tommorow:

My top five games, if you'll remember, were Tulsa/Oklahoma, South Carolina/Georgia, LSU/Arizona State, Notre Dame/Michigan, and Texas/Ohio State. If you're a college ball fan, you were ecstatic this weekend because none of these games dissapointed, and the last two even exceeded expectations. Oklahoma ended up beating Tulsa 31-14, but the game was close (17-14) with under four minutes to go. Georgia beat South Carolina, but the Ol' Ball Coach's squad kept it close, which might mean they are a lot closer to being competitive in the SEC East than people originally thought. That is a situation worth monitoring. LSU beat Arizona State in a thriller that had a lot more meaning than just football, and Texas had a 4th quarter comeback victory at the Horseshoe in Colombus. It's also worth noting that Iowa State pounded Iowa 23-3, which means all of the Big 10's big three (Michigan, OSU, and Iowa) went down in the same weekend.

Should be a hell of a weekend next weekend, highlighted by Tennessee/Florida, but more on that Wednesday. Til later, P&L...

Friday, September 09, 2005

Weekend Ball Preview

Well, pro ball season started last night with the Raiders and Patriots playing a game that wasn't particularly exciting except for Tristan calling a missed extra point by the Patriots, which was pretty incredible.

Anyway, this weekend offers up an interesting set of games in both college and pro ball, so I'll give my 5 games to watch in each, starting with Saturday:

5. Tulsa/Oklahoma - Normally, this wouldn't be anywhere near any top 5 list, and in fact I am pretty sure that Oklahoma will end up winning this game. However, after TCU's victory in Norman last weekend, Oklahoma is in a very desperate position; they need to prove that last week was a fluke. Anything less than a complete annihilation of Tulsa tommorow, and Oklahoma is in serious trouble heading into their conference schedule.

4. South Carolina/Georgia - this is another game where the outcome is fairly certain in advance, but will be interesting to watch, anyway. Steve Spurrier is making his grand return to the SEC, and his first assignment is to head into Athens, where his name is an anathema, with a team that will be, physically, outclassed by the Bulldogs. The Georgia boosters will be demanding that coach Richt run it up on the Ol' Ball Coach, and if Georgia does go all out, this will provide a good benchmark to see exactly how far Spurrier has to go to establish his new school among the SEC's elite.

3. Louisiana State/Arizona State - this is a big step up from the first two games listed. The Tigers come into this one with a lot on their minds, obviously. But with 20 returning starters they figure to be the team to beat in the SEC West. We'll learn a lot about them on Saturday, against a very decent Arizona State team on the road (originally, this was supposed to be played in Baton Rouge). If the Tigers dominate this game, with everything that has happened the last 10 days, they will be a favorite to play in Pasadena in January.

2. Notre Dame/Michigan - the status of this game shot through the roof when Notre Dame demolished Pittsburgh in their own building last week. Now they head to the Big House to take on #3 Michigan. With new head coach Charlie Weis and a new pro-style offense, Notre Dame can (obviously, thanks to last week) put up some points. Michigan's offense is loaded with talent, and both defenses are suspect, so this should be a shootout, which means it would be entertaining even if there were not potential National Championship implications for both teams.

1. Texas/Ohio State - Ohio State and Texas have never played. Ohio State is #5, Texas is #2. Whoever wins this game has the inside track to Pasadena. That's some pretty high stakes this early in the season...

And now for the top 5 pro games:

5. Packers/Lions - The early lead in the NFC North will be up for grabs when the Packers head to Ford Field. If Detroit is going to win the division like I predicted, they'll need to start by taking care of business at home against a divisional foe.

4. Saints/Panthers - The New Orleans Saints carry the hopes and dreams of a devestated city on their shoulders as they start their campaign off in Charlotte. Will that be a burden or a galvanizing force? I'd love to say it'll be the latter. We'll begin to find out on Sunday...

3. Jets/Chiefs - Well, well, well. For years it's been the same story in Kansas City, they can score points with anyone, but they coan't stop anyone. Well, now the defense has been revamped with several personnel acquistions. Will it be enough? And even if it is, has thier offense grown too old in the meanwhile? On the other side, the Jets expect to make the leap into the NFL's elite this season, and this is the kind of game that elite teams win. Both of these teams have something to prove.

2. Colts/Ravens - The Colts return to Baltimore. It's a prime time game. It's kickoff weekend. Think M&T might be hopping? I'd say it's a fair bet. Indy has an upgraded defense that it wants to show off and, coincidentally, Baltimore has upgraded it's offense in the offseason. But the real show will be the Ravens defense against the Colts offense. This should be a barn-burner (whatever that means...).

1. Eagles/Falcons - It's a NFC title game rematch, only at the Georgia Dome rather than the Linc. Both teams walked away from last year's postseason with a bad taste in their mouths, and each recognizes that they'll probably have to get past the other if they want to go to Super Bowl XL. Home field advantage in the playoffs could be critical, and so this is an important game in many respects.

Should be a hell of a weekend.

My projected winners: Oklahoma, Georgia, Louisiana State, Michigan, Ohio State, Detroit, New Orleans, Kansas City, Baltimore, Philadelphia.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Are you ready for some (pro) football?

It's kickoff eve for pro ball so, as promised, here is my NFL preview. First, a look at my fantasy team:

QBs - Kerry Collins, Byron Leftwich
RBs - Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, Thomas Jones, Reuben Droughns
WRs - Tory Holt, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Joey Porter, Santana Moss, Matt Jones
TEs - Antonio Gates, Chris Cooley
DEFs - Bills, Redskins
Ks - Sebastian Janikowski, Jon Hall

Let's run it down, division by division, starting in the AFC:

East - This division belongs to the New England Patriots, until further notice. The Jets and Bills will be looking at records in the 7-9 - 9-7 range, and the Dolphins will be improved, but I don't see more than 6 wins for them this season.

West - The Raiders stole Randy Moss from the Vikings, and will be rewarded with a division championship. The Chargers will fall back, and they as well as the Broncos and Chiefs will all be in the neighborhood of .500 at season's end.

North - 5 young QBs will break out and lead their teams to the playoffs, and the first one I'm listing here is Kyle Boller, whose Ravens should win the division with a stout defense as well as a healthy Jamal Lewis and Todd Heap. Cincy QB Carson Palmer is the second such QB, as the Bengals will be back in the eplayoffs for the first time since forever. The Steelers will struggle this season, looking at 9-7, and the Browns will be just awful, and in the hunt for the Matt Leinart sweepstakes.

South - Peyton Manning is still the NFL's best QB, and he's still good enough to lead his team to the playoffs, but they still have defense issues in Indy. Byron Leftwich is young QB #3 who's team is headed for the playoffs, as the Jags will eek in around 10-6. Tennessee and Houston will struggle.


East - This division is the property of the Philadelphia Eagles, until further notice, but one of those other three teams is gonna make a run this season. Here's saying it will be the Redskins behind Patrick Ramsey (QB #4) who will take the wildcard. Dallas and New York should both be good for 7-9 wins.

West - Perhaps the worst division in football, the aging Rams are still the class of this division. The Cardinals are on the rise but will miss out on the postseason, as will the Seahawks, who are on the fall. The 49ers are just plain awful.

North - If the NFC West isn't the worst division, the NFC North is. I'm looking for the Lions to take this division with Joey Harrington (#5) behind center, ahead of the Packers, who have decided to forgo playing with an offensive line or a defense, and the vastly overrated Vikings, who gave away their best player. And as for the Bears, well, they're the Bears...enough said.

South - The Saints have always had the talent to take this division, and I have no idea how Jim Haslett keeps his job. Here's saying (and hoping) that Hurrican Katrina can do what the head coach could not...that is, inspire the Saints to play up to their potential. It would be the feel good story of the season, that's for sure. The Falcons will grab a WC in this scenario, while Carolina just misses out. Long year for the Buccaneers, I'm afraid...but hey, hockey season is right around the corner...

That's all I got for now...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Southwest Airlines & College Football

Well, I just got back from a four-day trip to Massachusetts to visit my sister & cousins and I had a hell of a time. During my stay, my sister and I talked about a variety of subjects, and this blog came up. She told me that I sounded too angry, all the time, here. In so many words, she told me that I write too many "Fuck You" Entries.

This is a legitimate point. When I get angry about something, this is usually where I come to vent. And this blog is called Da Scent (sounds like "dissent") for a reason. I represent a voice that is often marginalized, even attacked, in today's politics. Push me, I push back, and the best way I know how is with profanity-laced tirades. I write these tirades in the second person because it helps me vent if I imagine I'm talking to whomever is the object of my wrath, but I can see how that would also make the people who read this uncomfortable, because it appears as if I'm yelling at them, which is not (always) the case.

Anyway, the point is I saw something on Friday before I left that upset me a great deal, and had I not had this discussion with Kait, this would definately be another "Fuck You" Entry, and more intense than usual because it would actually be directed at someone who might read this. However, at my sister's request, I will put that column aside for another day, maybe after I've calmed down a little bit towards this person (I mean it, I'm really upset), and can write a more rational, and less profane, response, maybe saving a friendship in the process. Instead, I am going to write about two things which made me happy this weekend, specifically my experience with Southwest Airlines on Friday and the spectacular opening weekend of College Football.

First, if anyone wants to fly anywhere, and you don't have a dog you have to bring, Southwest is the only way to go. Not only are their prices the best by a long bit, but I just had a wonderful experience with their service. When I dragged myself to the airport on Firday, I got their and realized that I didn't have my wallet. I would have to go all the way back to Pasadena to get it, and then get back to the airport (big thank you to Jeff, btw, who picked me up, drove me back to Pasadena, then back to the airport, a 90-120 minute trip on his part, since he aso had to get to the airport and drive back to Pasadena himself). Anyway, I had to change flight times, and still arrived at the airport a mere half-hour before my flight. But thanks to everyone I talked to at Southwest, including the woman at the service desk, whose name tragically escapes me, I was able to get on the 5:30 flight no problem and with no extra expense. SWA is truly a first-class organization, discount fares and all.

As for college football, wow what a way to kick off the season. Opening weekend, like the rest of the pre-conference schedule, is usually a down time for college ball, because you have big boys beating up on little schools. And while there was some of that, Texas beating up Louisiana Lafayette 60-3 for example, there were also several instances where the games were plenty exciting, including some games that were not supposed to be.

The biggest shocker of the weekend, of course, was tiny Texas Christian University shocking the big boys of Oklahoma 17-10 in Norman. While you would be correct to assume that I would hesitate to cheer for any team with both "Texas" and "Christian" in the title, I'm always ready for a big time upset, especially when it involves Oklahoma going down.

Some of the other games that I got a kick out of watching on TV were Illinois's OT victory over Rutgers, Utah's win over Arizona, Colorado's win over in-state rival Colorado State, Georgia Tech's upset victory at Auburn, West Vriginia winning at Syracuse, Louisville holding on against a Kentucky squad that was not supposed to compete, Virginia Tech avengeing last year's loss at NC State, and Mississippi outlasting a Memphis team that lost their starting QB in the first series to a broken leg yet managed to hang in until the game's final minute. There were a number of close games I did not see on TV, including Tennessee over Alabama-Birmingham 17-10, and Maryland's 3 point victory over Navy.

Ironically, the game that most dissapointed me was Florida State/Miami. True, the game was close, but the two football teams looked, well, bad. I mean, I was simply not impressed with either squad. Bungled snaps, poor kicking, dropped passes, dropped interceptions, special teams breakdowns (other then all the missed FGs), all plagued the contest. To give an exampe of how bad it was, at one point Florida State blocked a punt, and recovered it at Miami's 2 yard line. They then proceeded to go backwards 8 yards before missing a 27-yard FG, and that was the team that ended up winning. So it was pretty bad. Neither team would have beaten either NC State or Virginia Tech, who played a hell of a game the night before.

Anyway, it was a heck of a weekend, and on Thursday night pro ball kicks off. I'll wriet my pro ball preview tommorow evening, after my fantasy draft. Till then...


Friday, September 02, 2005

Krugman in the Times

Best editorial yet:

September 2, 2005

A Can't-Do Government

Before 9/11 the Federal Emergency Management Agency listed the three most likely catastrophic disasters facing America: a terrorist attack on New York, a major earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane strike on New Orleans. "The New Orleans hurricane scenario," The Houston Chronicle wrote in December 2001, "may be the deadliest of all." It described a potential catastrophe very much like the one now happening.

So why were New Orleans and the nation so unprepared? After 9/11, hard questions were deferred in the name of national unity, then buried under a thick coat of whitewash. This time, we need accountability.

First question: Why have aid and security taken so long to arrive? Katrina hit five days ago - and it was already clear by last Friday that Katrina could do immense damage along the Gulf Coast. Yet the response you'd expect from an advanced country never happened. Thousands of Americans are dead or dying, not because they refused to evacuate, but because they were too poor or too sick to get out without help - and help wasn't provided. Many have yet to receive any help at all.

There will and should be many questions about the response of state and local governments; in particular, couldn't they have done more to help the poor and sick escape? But the evidence points, above all, to a stunning lack of both preparation and urgency in the federal government's response.

Even military resources in the right place weren't ordered into action. "On Wednesday," said an editorial in The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss., "reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics. Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!"

Maybe administration officials believed that the local National Guard could keep order and deliver relief. But many members of the National Guard and much of its equipment - including high-water vehicles - are in Iraq. "The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission," a Louisiana Guard officer told reporters several weeks ago.

Second question: Why wasn't more preventive action taken? After 2003 the Army Corps of Engineers sharply slowed its flood-control work, including work on sinking levees. "The corps," an Editor and Publisher article says, citing a series of articles in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, "never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security - coming at the same time as federal tax cuts - was the reason for the strain."

In 2002 the corps' chief resigned, reportedly under threat of being fired, after he criticized the administration's proposed cuts in the corps' budget, including flood-control spending.

Third question: Did the Bush administration destroy FEMA's effectiveness? The administration has, by all accounts, treated the emergency management agency like an unwanted stepchild, leading to a mass exodus of experienced professionals.

Last year James Lee Witt, who won bipartisan praise for his leadership of the agency during the Clinton years, said at a Congressional hearing: "I am extremely concerned that the ability of our nation to prepare for and respond to disasters has been sharply eroded. I hear from emergency managers, local and state leaders, and first responders nearly every day that the FEMA they knew and worked well with has now disappeared."

I don't think this is a simple tale of incompetence. The reason the military wasn't rushed in to help along the Gulf Coast is, I believe, the same reason nothing was done to stop looting after the fall of Baghdad. Flood control was neglected for the same reason our troops in Iraq didn't get adequate armor.

At a fundamental level, I'd argue, our current leaders just aren't serious about some of the essential functions of government. They like waging war, but they don't like providing security, rescuing those in need or spending on preventive measures. And they never, ever ask for shared sacrifice.

Yesterday Mr. Bush made an utterly fantastic claim: that nobody expected the breach of the levees. In fact, there had been repeated warnings about exactly that risk.

So America, once famous for its can-do attitude, now has a can't-do government that makes excuses instead of doing its job. And while it makes those excuses, Americans are dying.

E-mail: krugman@nytimes.com

Thursday Recap & Look Forward To Saturday

Well, the first day of College football is nearly in the books, as I write this, only three games remain, two of which are blow-outs, although Idaho is managing to keep it close against Washington State, which is worth monitoring.

Anyway, Vandy and Wake was a hell of a game, at least, it would have been had I had ESPN U, which I don't. As it was, the most interesting game I got to watch was probably Steve Spurrier's South Carolina debut, which didn't exactly go smoothly, but they escaped with a 24-15 win.

Anyway, Vandy beat Wake 24-20 for the year's first upset, and 1-AA Northwestern State got an upset win over Louisiana Monroe.

Ok, bunch of big games coming up this weekend. The highlight, obviously, is Miami vs. Florida State on Monday night. Four other games to watch are, on Saturday, Texas A&M vs. Clemson, Georgia Tech vs. Auburn, Boise State vs. Georgia, and on Sunday, Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina State.

Be back for a recap next week. I'm off to Massachusetts for the weekend to visit Kait. P&L...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Three Columns

I don't usually agree with Post columnist George Will, but every once in a while he pulls his head out of his ass and writes something reasonable. Usually, it's about baseball, but this is one of those rare instances where he is on point politically:


Also, we've got a good editorial from the Times, wondering why W is acting like a first-rate jackass while this country suffers from it's worst natural disaster in recent memory:


Finally, another Post column (by Dan Froomkin) which asks the questions that every American should be asking themselves right now:


Good stuff x3.

Speaking of good stuff, I'm reading a book right now called Freakonomics by Steves Levitt and Dubner...it's a non-partisan book, and it makes a lot of connections most people haven't...a very interesting look at the world in which we live.