Monday, December 26, 2005

"I won't get paid if I say the F-word, and I want to get paid," Miller says. "But here's a little code breaker for you. When you hear me say, 'Golly,' I really mean [bleep]."

Tonight marks the end of Monday Night Football's 26-year run on ABC. For 555 shows, NFL fans have alternately been thrilled (Dec. 22, 2003 -- Brett Favre's stunning performance the day after the death of his father), horrified (Nov. 18, 1985 -- Joe Thiesmann breaks a leg for the audience) or confused (pick any game with Eric Dickerson working the sidelines).

ABC always had an eye for the bizarre in choosing its announcers, from the sublime Howard Cosell to the ridiculous Lisa Guerrero. But no television casting in history has ever caused more consternation than the selection of comedian Dennis Miller to join Al Michaels and Dan Fouts in the booth for the 2000-2001 season.

Miller turned out to be the aural equivalent of anchovies -- 10% of us swore by him, while the remaining 90% found him so unpalatable they nearly retched. The experiment lasted only two seasons, and some fans still haven't forgiven ABC for it.

But why? Why was ABC pilloried for taking a chance on someone who actually had a grasp of the English language and real wit, someone who attended college to actually read books instead of knock heads?

It wasn't as if Miller had no concept of the game. He was (and is) a knowledgable sports fan, and his commentary often proved to be at least as insightful as that of the improbably upbeat Fouts. This was a good booth, even with three mouths gasping for airtime.

Yes, Miller had a tendency to overreach, stretching for a simile the same way Dwight Clark stretched for "The Catch." When he missed, there was a painful silence in the booth and in the living room, but damn it, at least the man was making the effort!

I had no problem having to grab a dictionary or do the occasional Google search to get one of Miller's references. It certainly beats having John Madden explain at length how a player crossing the goalline with the ball means a touchdown, or how moving one's legs more quickly means running faster.

I know Miller's tenure, at least in terms of the ratings, was a spectacular failure. I also know the "average" football fan was turned off by the polysyllabic words and mention of topics that didn't involve the 3-4 defense, frozen tundra or a cheerleader's breasts.

But there were some terrific Miller moments, including:

* "Shanahan's tendencies are harder to read than Angelina Jolie's." -- discussing Denver head coach Mike Shanahan's odd playcalling.

* "I want to thank Jesse Ventura for making me look like Ray Scott." -- on Jesse Ventura's less-than-stellar broadcast work with the XFL.

* "That's the party boat, the S.S. Max McGee." -- after a shot of a party boat headed up Green Bay's Fox River.

* "That hit was later than Godot." -- on a particularly tardy personal foul.

So although I'm sure no one but me will say it, here it is -- thanks, ABC. Thanks for giving me two years of laughter and thought to go alongside Al Michaels' play-by-play and Dan Fout's upbeat chatter, and thanks for not thinking all football fans are morons.

To read a few of Dennis Miller's greatest moments, visit the MNF Archive.

I went to the store yesterday to buy some camouflage pants ... but I couldn't find any.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Fans of the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team, pulled out the tomahawk chop, yelled war whoops and insulted Moncton Wildcats head coach Ted Nolan during a QMJHL game on Sunday. Nolan, an Ojibwa and former head coach of the Buffalo Sabres, was upset and angry after the game, but received plenty of support from the public. He also received an apology from the Sagueneens on Tuesday.

I'm not exactly sure in what century our friends in Chicoutimi are living, but this is a complete and utter disgrace. Nolan, who spends much of his time working with aboriginal kids teaching them how to handle racial tensions, did an amazing job of controlling himself.

This wasn't just a case of a few unruly and/or drunken fans stepping over the line. The video of the incident shows hundreds of Sagueneens faithful doing the tomahawk chop along with the public-address system, which was playing the same stupid music with which Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves have continued to embarrass themselves.

It wasn't the only incident at the game. Police were called to break up harassment of the Wildcats on the way to the team bus, and a Moncton player's father was alledgedly kicked and beaten after he confronted Chicoutimi fans who threw a garbage can at his son.

So there must be a strong reprimand coming from the QMJHL's office, right? Oh, there is -- read these crushing words from league commissioner Gilles Courteau:

"I find the events which occurred last Friday in Chicoutimi regrettable. The distasteful and disgraceful gestures and comments aimed at Head Coach Ted Nolan by an isolated group of spectators in no way represent the image of the Saguenéens organization, their players or the fans that attend QMJHL games."

Regrettable? Belching at the dinner table is regrettable. Having a large part of a crowd chant racist taunts at one of your coaches while being egged on by the staff of the opposing team is reprehensible.

And not representative of the image of the organization? Gilles, one of your teams is being pilloried right now, and there's plenty of nifty video showing your fans acting like complete idiots. That's the image people have in their minds right now.

The QMJHL press release also says it is taking the matter seriously, and that "the Saguenéens organization is already looking over any improvements it can make to solidify its security procedures." That might work in keeping drunken morons from attacking fans and players on the way to the bus, but it falls woefully short in terms of sanctions for the Saguenéens.

Here are my suggestions:

* Immediate dismissal of the person responsible for playing the music at the game. The crowd certainly wouldn't have been as enthusiastic without the help of the PA system.
* The next time Moncton travels to Chicoutimi, the game should be played in front of an empty arena. No ticket sales, no concession sales and no refunds -- those wanting their money back should have done a better job of telling their neighboring morons to shut up.
* A review of the video of the incident by Chicoutimi and the QMJHL to identify as many offenders as possible. Those people should be banned from the arena for one full season and also given a choice -- face charges for hate crimes levelled by the league or spend one week during the next calendar year working with underprivileged aboriginal youth.

It might seem harsh, but put it in perspective -- these measures are no harsher than what Nolan had to face on Sunday, and they certainly aren't as extreme as the scorn and ridicule the QMJHL head office should receive if it doesn't deal with this incident properly and justly.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

There was invective and anger around the National Hockey League on Friday, but it wasn't being directed at ownership, NHLPA head Ted Saskin or NHL poobah Gary Bettman. No, a man with no ties to the NHL with squarely in the crosshairs.

Dick Pound, the chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said in a recent interview with the London Free Press that he told Bettman as many as one-third of the NHL's players were using performance-enhancing drugs. That would work out to around 230 of the league's 700 players.

Now, as easy as it might seem to dismiss the intelligence of someone whose parents actually named him Dick Pound, there are issues here worth discussing. Pound is no rookie when it comes to dealing with banned substances, and while he's known as a grandstander at times, he can't be immediately discredited by the words of such NHL beacons of discourse as Todd Bertuzzi and Tie Domi.

"Who's Dick Pound?" Bertuzzi said Friday in a newspaper report. "Tell him to come in our dressing room with our shirts off and we'll see how performance-enhanced we are. Tell him he can come hang out with me and see my workout. Trust me, we're not."

And therein lies the problem. In our post-BALCO world, we read "performance-enhancing" and we immediately think, "Oh, he means 'steroids'." And maybe he does, to some extent.

But in the world of Dick Pound and WADA, "performance-enhancing" also means popping a couple Sudafed before the game to get up. This practice isn't a big secret among players or management -- former NHLer and current TSN commentator Nick Kypreos apparently talked about it on-air on Toronto's FAN 590 last year.

And the same station's Mike Hogan interviewed Justin Williams of the Carolina Hurricanes Friday morning. Williams said he didn't know of anyone taking steroids, but when Hogan asked about taking amphetamines and slugging back pots of coffee, Williams would only say he didn't use that method, and that players got up for games in different ways.

In fact, Sports Illustrated did a huge story on the use of Sudafed in the NHL way back in 1998. It described Montreal goaltender Andy Moog's use of the drug, and here's a direct quote from the story:

"There are all kinds of overdose stories—guys not being able to finish the first period because they get the shakes, paranoia, anxiety," says Detroit Red Wings athletic trainer John Wharton, who's been with the club since February 1991. "There are some guys who have been able to tolerate [large doses of pseudoephedrine]. The most I've seen a player take is eight pills. That dose would put some people in the hospital."

See, Pound and the WADA will be overseeing the drug testing at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin. And while the NHL apparently doesn't consider players scarfing Sudies a problem, WADA will. Amphetamines are on the agency's banned substance list.

It's also not a stretch to think Pound would like either to see WADA's list imposed on the NHL during its upcoming hearings with the U.S. Congress, or for WADA to be put in charge of drug oversight of all five major sports (sorry, but I count NASCAR).

So it all depends on what you consider cheating. Dick Pound and WADA consider spending the pre-game hour packing in the cold medicine and Folger's to be doping. The NHL doesn't.

But if players consider the practice to be a way to ramp themselves up for a contest that sitting around and focusing on the game won't, a way to gain an artificial edge -- well, what's not cheating about that?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Here's a nifty little end-of-the-Earth simulator to kill some time. How close can you get the numbers before you blowed up the planet real good?
And check out the speed of the shock/wind wave ... when the comets come, don't forget your kite!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

No funny stuff this week ... just putting them up for the record.

Detroit at MINNESOTA (-1.5) -- Detroit 23, Minnesota 16
San Diego at NEW YORK JETS (+6) -- San Diego 31, NY Jets 14
Tennessee at CLEVELAND (-3) -- Cleveland 20, Tennessee 16
Oakland at KANSAS CITY (-4) -- Oakland 31, Kansas City 30
Chicago at NEW ORLEANS (+3) -- Chicago 26, New Orleans 24
Cincy at BALTIMORE (+3) -- Cincinnati 27, Baltimore 10
Carolina at TAMPA BAY (pk) -- Carolina 24, Tampa Bay 20
Jacksonville at HOUSTON (+13) -- Jacksonville 30, Houston 20
Atlanta at MIAMI (+2) -- Miami 23, Atlanta 21
NY Giants at SAN FRANCISCO (+10.5) -- New York Giants 34, San Francisco 17
Seattle at ARIZONA (+4) -- Seattle 27, Arizona 20
Pittsburgh at GREEN BAY (+3) -- Pittsburgh 23, Green Bay 19
Philadelphia at WASHINGTON (-3) -- Philly 19, Washington 17
Indy at NEW ENGLAND (+3.5) -- Indianapolis 28, New England 19

Lock of the Week: Cincy
Trifecta: Cincy, New York Giants, Miami

Week Eight, Straight Up: 9-5
Week Eight, ATS: 6-8
Week Eight, LOTW: 1-0
Week Eight, Trifecta: 0-1
Week Eight, Bank Statement: $0

Season, Straight Up: 67-51
Season, ATS: 56-60-2
Season, LOTW: 4-4
Season, Trifecta: 0-8
Season Bank Statement: -$2,200

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Time again to play ... Spot The Typo!

A customer came in my store the other night and browsed a bit before approaching me. Here's the conversation, as best as I can recall it:

Customer: "Is there another store like yours around here?"
Me: "I'm sorry?"
Customer: "Is there another store like yours around here?"
Me: "Are you asking if there's another store in town that sells autographs or jerseys?"
Customer: (getting snotty) "I'm asking if other stores sell the same things you do."
Me: "Yes, there are other stores that selling autographs and jerseys, although I can't guarantee they'll have the same mix we do."
Customer: "Where are they?"
Me: "Is there something specific you're looking for? I might be able to ..."
Customer: (interrupts and now rude) "I just want to know where the other stores are!"
Me: "They're at other malls! There's one THAT way (pointing south) and one THAT way (pointing NORTH)! Tell them we sent you!"

I felt like John Cleese in the Monty Python "Bookshop" sketch -- "Why don't you try W.H. Smith's?"

I'm going to start advocating the modification of an old bit Gallagher used to push. It involved receiving a small kit when you renewed your license plates. The kit contained a dart gun and three suction darts with "moron" flags attached. That way, when you saw someone driving like a fool, you'd shoot the car with the dart and a cop could write you a citation for, well, "being a moron."

My variation also involves three "MORON" stickers issued by the government on your birthday, and when someone sufficiently pisses you off, you affix the "MORON" tag to his or her forehead. As an added bonus, you get to slap the person with no fear of repercussion.

I think this would be a terrific step toward injecting a little more courtesy and civility into our world. You'd have to be judicious about issuing the "MORON" tag, as you'd only get three a year, and you'd certainly think twice about being rude if you thought you might get a pop in the mouth.

And yes, I know I'm being hypocritical. Reintroducing manners through violence and fear might be a bit harsh ... but the little bastard wearing the "God is a cunt" t-shirt deserves it.

Monday, October 31, 2005

I was just flipping around Fark earlier and saw something about the 10 most violent onscreen deaths. It led me to thinking about a friend I made while I was the managing editor of a newspaper in Seguin, Texas.

Robert Burns was the art director for the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I didn't know this when I first met him, though. We crossed paths when I did a story on the reclamation of a small creek that ran behind his house. He was witty and articulate, charming and just a hint of a rogue. I liked him immediately.

We developed a passing friendship, including a couple of lunches and a story on an opry house not far from Seguin where he played the spoons and entertained the locals. I was stunned to find out, however, of his involvement in the original TCM. Robert had many of the props from the movie (and many other movies) in his home, which struck me as really strange. Here was this sensitive, soft-spoken little man in a house full of awful sculptures and images.

He never ceased to amaze me, showing me videos of him performing with two mannequins on sticks, showing off raw footage of various projects. We didn't talk much about TCM -- I hate violent films -- but I did start an interview with him once about his experiences in the industry. He said TCM was an incredibly difficult experience, with long and arduous shoots that were rough on everyone. Robert also told me that despite what people thought, very little fake blood was used (less than a bucket, if I recall). He said that was what really creeped viewers out -- it looked too real, especially when other films used gore by the tanker truck.

Robert and director Tobe Hooper stayed in touch, and apparently both hated the recent remake. I believe they thought they could have done a much better job. In fact, Robert told me he had basically fleshed out a new Massacre movie with what sounded like a great plotline. I don't think I'll share it -- I think it's a piece of Robert I'd like to keep for myself.

He worked as the art director on numerous other films, including "The Hills Have Eyes" and "Re-Animator." Robert was proudest, though, of his starring role in "Confessions of a Serial Killer." Many fans saw his performance as one of the finest recreations of a psychopathic killer ever, although Burns would never admit to more than being adequate.

I was saddened to find out through the Internet Movie Database that Robert took his own life last year after discovering he had terminal cancer. It didn't surprise me, though, as he did things on his own terms. We weren't close friends by any stretch, but still, I just wish I'd known so I could have said goodbye.

Thanks, Robert, for your friendship. We'll miss you.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Welcome to the eighth week of the National Football League, where The Hoser slogged through a Salt n' Pepa week -- push it! I finished 7-7 straight up and 6-6-2 against the spread, a veritable cornucopia of mediocrity. Hey, at least I had a better week than Phil Garner.

I watched in horror as Ben Roethlisberger went wild last week against the Bengals. I mean, how could they hold up against his blistering 14-attempt attack, especially when he completed nine of them? Oh, what -- Willie Parker got the ball a bajillion times? Hard to believe that formula wouldn't have worked the week before with Tommy Freakin' Maddox under center, huh? That Bill Cowher, he's one sharp cookie.

We use Danny Sheridan's USA Today odds as the spread, mainly 'cause he's in Vegas and he's apparently pretty goddamned hot -- wait, that's Nicolette Sheridan?

Remember: these picks are just for fun. Using them to wager money is as advisable as nominating a wildly underqualified crony to be a Supreme Court justice.

Washington at NEW YORK GIANTS (-3): Lessee, Broncos edge Redskins ... Giants edge Broncos ... so it follows that ... Giants 23, Redskins 21.

Green Bay at CINCINNATI (-7.5): Blowing a 17-0 halftime lead to the Vikings gets your franchise rescinded, doesn't it? And I could see the little steam puffs coming out of Marvin Lewis's ears last week while his defense was mauled by Pittsburgh's O-line. Bengals 34, Packers 21.

Chicago at DETROIT (-3): Kyle Orton vs. Jeff Garcia! Doesn't have that Rocky Balboa vs. Clubber Lang drama, does it? Lions 14, Bears 13.

Minnesota at CAROLINA (-7): The Panthers aren't a juggernaut by any stretch, but does one win mean Mike Tice has (insert Dr. Evil pause here) ... righted the ship? Panthers 30, Vikings 17.

Oakland at TENNESSEE (+2): I got all excited when I saw "ROBY" starting for the Titans this week ... until I realized it wasn't former Miami Dolphins punter Reggie Roby. Then I did some research and found out Reggie Roby died earlier this year, which I somehow totally missed. Two things -- 1) Aside from Herman "Thunderfoot" Weaver, Roby was my favorite punter, and 2) What was up with that guy wearing a watch during the game -- didn't Miami have someone to clock hangtime on the sidelines? Raiders 36, Titans 13.

Arizona at DALLAS (-7.5): I really don't like the Cowboys this season ... but I really hate the Cardinals every season. Cowboys 27, Cardinals 17.

Cleveland at HOUSTON (pk): In honor of Halloween and the Browns being pick 'em with the Texans, Paul Brown is spinning in his grave. Browns 20, Texans 16.

Miami at NEW ORLEANS (-2): Saints owner Tom Benson appears to be moving the Saints, even in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It's apparent Benson doesn't care about his public perception, though -- I mean, he has to be smoking crack to dance on the sidelines like that, doesn't he? Dolphins 26, Saints 20.

Jacksonville at ST. LOUIS (+3): The Jaguars come in well-rested, while the Rams come in being the Rams. Jaguars 29, Rams 24.

Kansas City at SAN DIEGO (-4.5): Damn it, Arrowhead's worth at least a touchdown in any game. As long as Ladainian doesn't run back kicks and sell beer in the stands, the Chiefs will cover. Chiefs 28, Chargers 27.

San Francisco at TAMPA BAY (-10): Rookie Alex Smiths -- there can be only one! Although I don't expect any beheadings. Buccaneers 27, 49ers 13.

Philadelphia at DENVER (-3): Aside from Brian Westbrook, does Philly even have another running back? There is just no freaking way the Eagles can throw the ball 50+ times against the Broncos and win. Broncos 24, Eagles 20.

New England at BUFFALO (+7): The Patriot D gets back a couple big hitters, while the Bill offense gets more of Tweedledee and Tweedledum at QB. Patriots 30, Bills 14.

Baltimore at PITTSBURGH (-8.5): Cue Brian Billick's firing in 3...2... Steelers 27, Ravens 16.

Lock of the Week: Oakland
Trifecta: Oakland, New England, Cleveland

Week Seven, Straight Up: 7-7
Week Seven, ATS: 6-6-2
Week Seven, LOTW: 0-1
Week Seven, Trifecta: 0-1
Week Seven, Bank Statement: -$800

Season, Straight Up: 58-46
Season, ATS: 50-52-2
Season, LOTW: 3-4
Season, Trifecta: 0-7
Season Bank Statement: -$2,200

Wendy's and the CFL teamed up last night for a pretty cool promotion -- or least one that turned out to be pretty cool. I don't know how well it would have been received if Brian Diesbourg had shanked all four of his field-goal attempts, but the 40,000+ in attendance at the Rogers Centre got a real treat.

I'm watching the video right now (which you can find through the above link), and here are my thoughts:

1) I want the guy's "Wendy's" jersey. That's gameworn, man.

2) What if they'd pulled the name of a 75-year-old man or woman? And would they have shown that on TV? "Here's 75-year-old Johnny Fussbucket, lining up for his first kick ... oh, and he's broken a hip!"

3) Hilarious. Jock Clime and the rest of the team is making this seem like the OT for the Grey Cup. And that dude at the 40-yard kick reminds me wayyyyy too much of Sean Salisbury.

4) 20-yarder wide right, 30-yarder wide right, 40-yarder wide right ... did this guy go to college at Florida State?

5) Someone just said exactly what my old kicking coach used to say -- "Keep your head down -- the cheerleaders will let you know if it went through."

6) Oh, snap! TSN and Wendy's iced their own promotional kicker!

7) Awesome, 40K+ crowd. Maybe New Orleans could move to Toronto?

8) That is absolutely unfriggingbelievable! And the best part was the Argos mobbing him in the middle of the field.

I've already heard grousing about how a Wendy's rep handed Diesbourg one of those big fake cheques for $1 million, but the money actually comes in 40 annual payments of 25 years. Are you serious? It's free money! All those who would refuse the dough every year out of spite for the length of the contract, raise your hand.

That's what I thought.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Welcome to the seventh week of the National Football League, where The Hoser bounced back with an 8-6 against the spread and a solid 10-4 straight up. However, the party that had been scheduled for reaching .500 ATS for the season was cancelled due to an accounting error which had credited me with two more wins than I deserved. Those responsible (some firm named Enron -- I can't recommend them) have been sacked.

New England slipped to .500 on the season, but it's mainly because of injuries. Citing a shortage in the secondary, Pats head coach Bill Belichick recently brought in several older players for tryouts, including Bill Bates, Paul Kruse and the remains of Red Grange.

We use Danny Sheridan's USA Today odds as the spread, mainly 'cause he's in Vegas and maybe he can get me one of those white tiger cubs from Siegfried and Roy.

Remember: these picks are just for fun. Using them to wager money is as advisable as picking the Atlanta Braves to win a World Series.

Kansas City at MIAMI (-2): Did Trent Green's arm fall off or something? Why is Miami favored? Kansas City 31, Miami 20.

New Orleans at ST. LOUIS (-3): God love the Saints (ha!) for hanging in there against Atlanta last week. I suspect they'll be a little down, but hey, they're playing the Rollover Rams! New Orleans 27, St. Louis 23.

Green Bay at MINNESOTA (+1.5): The Vikings' hopes for this season are sunk, but there is some good news -- they have been accepted for the America's Cup in 2008. Green Bay 28, Minnesota 10.

Houston at INDIANAPOLIS (-15): I can't remember a line this big -- or this deserved. Indianapolis GOOGOLPLEX, Houston 13.

Pittsburgh at CINCINNATI (pk): Rudi! Rudi! Rudi! Cincy 23, Pittsburgh 20.

San Diego at PHILADELPHIA (+3.5): Eagles head coach Andy Reid said the rest of the NFC East is "catching up" to his team. Yes, in the same fashion that England "caught up" to Argentina in the Faulkand Islands War. San Diego 28, Philadelphia 24.

Detroit at CLEVELAND (-3): Ugh. Cleveland 17, Detroit 16.

San Francisco at WASHINGTON (-13): LaVar Arrington said he rejected his contract because it contained the "mark of the devil." Well, duh ... Dan Snyder had to sign it somewhere. Washington 31, San Francisco 17.

Dallas at SEATTLE (-3): Historical note -- Alexander the Great was a bedwetter. Side note -- Bill Parcells may be wetting the bed thinking about Shawn Alexander. Seattle 23, Dallas 17.

Buffalo at OAKLAND (+3): That grinding noise you hear is Al Davis's patience wearing thin. Oakland 24, Buffalo 23.

Baltimore at CHICAGO (-1): Ugh II -- Dyspeptic Boogaloo. Baltimore 19, Chicago 17.

Tennessee at ARIZONA (-3.5): Ugh III ... oh, nevermind. There are more dogs on this week's slate than in Takeru Kobayashi's stomach. Arizona 33, Tennessee 24.

Denver at NEW YORK GIANTS (-2): I'm starting to gain faith in Bronco QB Jake Plummer. I'm also starting therapy soon. Denver 27, NY Giants 21.

New York Jets at ATLANTA (-7): The Falcons have exactly one player on the injury report this week. Conversely, the Jets have exactly one healthy player. Atlanta 31, New York Jets 16.

Lock of the Week: Green Bay
Trifecta: Green Bay, Kansas City, Denver

Week Six, Straight Up: 10-4
Week Six, ATS: 8-6
Week Six, LOTW: 1-0
Week Six, Trifecta: 0-1
Week Six, Bank Statement: +400

Season, Straight Up: 51-39
Season, ATS: 44-46
Season, LOTW: 3-3
Season, Trifecta: 0-6
Season Bank Statement: -$1,400

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I'm really into autographs and that stuff. I just picked up a huge lot from Leland's auction house in New York, more than 170 8x10s. There are some great names -- Johnny Depp, Barbara Streisand, Russell Crowe -- but the most fun has been trying to figure out who some of the unknowns are. I just knew maybe the top 30-40 of the pieces, and the rest was a crapshoot.

This has been especially difficult considering I watch very few movies and very little television. I think I'm happiest with a Val Kilmer auto'd promo shot from "Top Secret," one of my favorite comedies. I also got two Chaka Khan autographs, but even stranger -- I sold one of them the first day. I may start posting a random 8x10 here on occasion, just for fun. I'll put those who identify the signature into a pot and when I run out of John and Jane Does, I'll pick a winner and send out an autograph of someone suitably obscure.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Welcome to the sixth week of the National Football League, where The Hoser went a pathetic 7-7 straight up and an even more pathetic 6-8 against the spread. I just missed on a couple of ATS shots, but then St. Louis's Reggie Sanders just missed that ball in Game 2 of the NLCS and all he got for it was whiplash and a sore ass.

As parity becomes more and more the norm in the NFL, it becomes more and more obvious it's a good thing I'm not putting the rent money on these picks. God, when you can't count on the Eagles to deliver a sound thrashing, what is this world coming to? Pretty soon, someone will write in and tell me Peyton Manning is gay!

We use Danny Sheridan's USA Today odds as the spread, mainly 'cause he's in Vegas and I'm counting on his vote in a Robert Goulet karaoke contest in a couple weeks.

Remember: these picks are just for fun. Using them to wager money is as advisable as having Doug Eddings umpire your family reunion softball game.

New York Giants at DALLAS (-3.5): Bill Parcells has got the Cowboys rolling and while the Giants are improved, a team that can shut down the Eagles can shut down Eli Manning. Dallas 24, NY Giants 17.

Carolina at DETROIT (-1): Both of these teams had bye weeks in Week 5 -- well, they played Arizona and Baltimore, respectively, but what's the difference? I like the Panthers' skill players better than I like the Lions' ... errr ... anything. Carolina 29, Detroit 20.

Atlanta at NEW ORLEANS (+5.5): After last week's complete and utter meltdown against Green Bay, can Jim Haslett regroup the Saints and top the hobbled Falcons? No, he can't. Atlanta 34, New Orleans 16.

Minnesota at CHICAGO (-3): I would say the Vikings were well-rested after a bye week, but some of them chose to have a team outing that was like The Love Boat on acid. Still, we now know what Minnesota can do that Chicago can't -- score. Minnesota 22, Chicago 17.

Washington at KANSAS CITY (-5.5): Did the bye week allow the Chiefs to get over their soul-crushing, gut-wrenching, lily-livered complete and utter collapse against Philly two weeks ago? I'm guessing no. Washington 26, Kansas City 24.

Cincinnati at TENNESSEE (+3): I looked up the word "titan" and to paraphrase Inigo Montoya of "Princess Bride" fame, I do not that word means what Tennessee thinks it means. Cincy 31, Tennessee 20.

Jacksonville at PITTSBURGH (-3): This entire line centers around Tommy Maddox or Charlie Batch quarterbacking the Steelers for a week. So what, they can't hand the ball to Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker 50 times? Pittsburgh 23, Jacksonville 19.

Cleveland at BALTIMORE (-6): The Ravens racked up an astonishing 21 penalities in last week's loss. Does anyone remember when Brian Billick was a genius? Cleveland 13, Baltimore 12.

Miami at TAMPA BAY (-4.5): Even with Ricky, the Dolphins will get smoked. Tampa Bay 22, Miami 16.

New England at DENVER (-3): I know the Pats are getting hit hard with injuries, but I think offering the team trainer position to Bill Romanowski is going too far. Denver 24, New England 23.

NY Jets at BUFFALO (-3): The good news -- Vinny Testaverde will complete 70% of his passes on Sunday. The bad news -- 30% of them will be to the Bills. Buffalo 20, New York 16.

San Diego at OAKLAND (+2): Has there ever been a better 2-3 team than the Chargers? Geez, who made this schedule -- Torquemada? San Diego 33, Oakland 19.

Houston at SEATTLE (-9): Every week I say the Texans will finally cover ... and they don't. Screw it. Seattle 41, Houston 13.

St. Louis at INDIANAPOLIS (-13.5): Despite my normal jabs at him, I hope Mike Martz makes a speedy recovery and returns to football soon. I just hope it's coaching the
Philadelphia Soul. Indianapolis 30, St. Louis 23.

Lock of the Week: San Diego
Trifecta: San Diego, Washington, Minnesota

Week Three, Straight Up: 7-7
Week Three, ATS: 6-8
Week Three, LOTW: 0-1
Week Three, Trifecta: 0-1
Week Three Bank Statement: -$800

Season, Straight Up: 41-35
Season, ATS: 36-38
Season, LOTW: 2-3
Season, Trifecta: 0-5
Season Bank Statement: -$1,800

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I love a good laugh, and I love a good eBay listing. This gentleman unloading a pair of leather pants bought for all the wrong reasons is both in spades. Enjoy, and be sure to read all the questions.

Down and dirty this week -- no time to be funny!

Chicago at CLEVELAND(-3): Bears, 20, Cleveland 14.
New Orleans at GREEN BAY (-3): Packers 22, New Orleans 20.
Tampa Bay at N.Y. JETS (+3): Bucs 17, Jets 13.
Seattle at ST. LOUIS (-3): Which coach is the bigger moron? In a dead heat, it's ... Mike! Seattle 30, St. Louis 26.
New England at ATLANTA (-2.5): No Michael Vick vs. almost no defense. Take Bill B. Pats 24, Atlanta 21.
Miami at BUFFALO (-2): Kelly Holcomb should have been the starter from Day 1. Bills 27, Dolphins 20.
Baltimore at DETROIT (-1): I think the Ravens got a little of their mojo back last week. Ravens 16, Lions 10.
Tennessee at HOUSTON (-3): At least Houston's D isn't awful ... just awfully tired. Texans 20, Titans 16.
Indianapolis at SAN FRAN (+15): Indy 34, San Fran 13.
Carolina at ARIZONA (+2.5): Panthers 26, Cards 22.
Philadelphia at DALLAS (+3): If you can't score 1st and goal from the one against Oakland, you can't beat Philly. Eagles 30, Cowboys 19.
Washington at DENVER (-6.5): D.C.'s D will keep this close and they'll pull off the upset. Washington 23, Denver 20.
Cincinnati at JACKSONVILLE (-3): Ride, Carson, ride! Cincy 29, Jacksonville 18.
Pittsburgh at SAN DIEGO (-3): Martyball! Chargers 26, Steelers 21.

Lock of the Week: Philadelphia
Trifecta: Philly, Cincy, Baltimore

Week Three, Straight Up: 9-5
Week Three, ATS: 7-7
Week Three, LOTW: 1-0
Week Three, Trifecta: 0-1
Week Three Bank Statement: +$200

Season, Straight Up: 34-28
Season, ATS: 30-30
Season, LOTW: 2-2
Season, Trifecta: 0-4
Season Bank Statement: -$1,000

Saturday, October 08, 2005

I just had to share this wonderful response to a comment I made on SportsFilter. The reality of just how low the Bush administration and the U.S. military has sunk in trying to get the American people to buy into the war in Iraq is amazingly plain in the saga of the family of former Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman. Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Iraq, but the Army (and my gut tells me Donald Rumsfeld) chose to mislead the public and Tillman's parents about the incident, presumably to continue their use of Tillman as a PR figurehead for recruitment and the war.

Here was my reaction to the article:

Completely fucking despicable, and I'm not even talking about Ann Coulter (okay, I'm talking about Ann Coulter too). At what point do the American people realize what a bunch of lying jerks they've voted into office -- twice -- and set fire to the White House to roust these bastards?

/oh, and when exactly will Coulter enlist for her turn in Iraq?

Over the top, I admit ... but at some point, won't the American public just get tired enough of this stuff to revolt? Apparently not, as my new friend Phyllis Colburn wrote to me:

I just read your comments about "at what point do the Americian people realize what a bunch of lying jerks they voted into office, twice and set fire to the White House to roust these bastards." Needless to say, sir, I find your comments not only offensive but reckless. If you don't like Bush or his policies, fine. But burn down the White House? Come on!!!

I'm so sick of dealing with people like you who spend alot of time looking down their nose at everyone. Bush won in 2000 because the Democratic Party backed a Presidential nominee who was, and still is, an arrogant asshole who couldn't develop an original thought to save his life. And, he won again in 2004 because the Democrats nominated another arrogant asshole. He won because the Democrats and their buddies in the media, could not come up with a viable alternative. So, Mr Frazer, it's not about stupidity. Rather than encourage people to "burn down the White House", why don't you do yourself a favor and get your facts straight? Oh that's right. I forgot. You're Canadian. I stand corrected.

Hey, at least she called me "sir", right?

Phyllis, here's my response to you:

Dear Phyllis,

You know, after reading your email, I now completely agree with you. I really shouldn't hold the American people at fault for voting for Bush in both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. Al Gore and John Kerry are "arrogant assholes" for sure, especially the unoriginal Gore. No one would frame George Bush, a man who failed at just about every business venture he ever tried and yet finds himself intelligent enough to lead a country, as arrogant. Dubya was even clever enough to avoid Vietnam -- while those two Democratic dopes actually enlisted! Shoot, George has even said himself that God wants him to be President, which I find strange. I always thought of God as a socialist, but hey, who am I to question George, right?

I must also admit, Phyllis -- I, until recently, was a member of that soft-headed liberal media to which I think you were alluding. I mean, I've never voted for a Democratic presidental candidate in an election, and I wrote editorials in favor of America's actions in Iraq in the early days of the war, but it could have been a smoke screen, right? The paper is called the Spencer County Journal-Democrat after all. And it certainly wasn't the young men I interviewed coming back from Iraq -- poor kids who were duped into joining the National Guard as weekend warriors or the Army as a way to get a job and then sent to die in the desert, and older men forced overseas while their families were left to struggle at home while Bush's administration actually tried to cut combat pay -- who changed my mind, right? I think what turned me might have been all those WMDs we found in Iraq.

As you might have already guessed, Phyllis, I am an American. I still hold citizenship in the United States and left just over a year ago. I don't blame you for thinking my wrongheadedness comes from being a Canadian, though. I mean, when you think of a riot or violent protest, you always think Canada before the U.S., right? I mean, it's the Canadians who have been out there supplying weapons to terrorists for the last 30-40 years!

But don't worry, Phyllis -- I'll stay up North while I'm working to "get my facts straight." Actually, I guess you should worry a little. You do know about this little incident, right?


Wayne Frazer

Friday, September 30, 2005

Welcome to the fourth week of the National Football League, where Washington and Cincinnati are undefeated and Indianapolis is winning with defense. At last check, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue had not been replaced by Rod Serling.

Even more surprisingly, the Giants are scoring at will, but the Raiders are still waiting for their offense to fire up -- sorry, poor choice of words. I'm hoping they'll make a trade for suspended Miami running back Ricky Williams. Partnered with Randy Moss, Oakland could call them the "Best Buds".

We use Danny Sheridan's USA Today odds as the spread, mainly 'cause he's in Vegas and I might get some free hot dogs at Circus Circus out of it.

Remember: these picks are just for fun. Using them to wager money is as advisable as inviting Dick Cheney to be a celebrity contestant in your local bar's "Hot Legs" competition.

San Diego at NEW ENGLAND (-5): I want to pick the Chargers to win this game, but I keep having "Apocalypse Now" style flashbacks of Pats QB Tom Brady picking apart the Steelers in the fourth quarter last week. And if Brady says it's safe to surf this beach, it's safe to surf this beach! New England 24, San Diego 20.

Denver at JACKSONSVILLE (-3.5): I'm taking the Broncos to cover for two reasons -- 1) Maybe Denver QB Jake Plummer can finally have two good games in a row, and 2) Jags RB Fred Taylor carried the ball 37 times last week. Thirty-seven. A downtown dealer doesn't tote the rock that much. Denver 27, Jacksonville 23.

Houston at CINCINNATI (-9.5): The Bengal offense is awesome. I haven't seen this many strong Johnsons since Peter North and Ron Jeremy co-starred in "Shaving Ryan's Privates". Cincy 34, Houston 20. Editor's Note: These two weren't actually in that fine film. They've only teamed up for one movie, 1987's "Rising". I know that because I had my research assistant Myles O'Toole look it up.

Indianapolis at TENNESSEE (+7): The big question is whether these two teams will combine to score seven points. Indianapolis 17, Tennessee 13.

Philadelphia at KANSAS CITY (+2): After hitting the game winner on one leg last week, Eagles kicker David Akers has been annointed as a hero. Where's the love for Sebastian Janokowski, who regularly has performed after heroic bouts of drinking and spending the night in jail? Philly 26, Kansas City 20.

Detroit at TAMPA BAY (-6.5): How long can the Bucs survive relying solely on the legs of rookie Carnell Williams? Oh, at least one more week. Tampa Bay 23, Detroit 13.

St. Louis at NEW YORK GIANTS (-3): The Giants and Jets have come to an agreement to share a new stadium in the Meadowlands. There could still be a snag, however, as the two teams may fight over who gets Jimmy Hoffa's body. St. Louis 31, New York 21.

Buffalo at NEW ORLEANS (PK): This could be about the Saints being carried by their new-found fans in San Antonio. It could be about inspiration and heart. But it's mostly about Buffalo sucking. New Orleans 24, Buffalo 19.

Seattle at WASHINGTON (-2): How the hell are the Insensitively Named Jerks 2-0? Twenty-three points keeps you undefeated? Unless Sammy Baugh rose from the dead to install an offense over the bye week, the Seahawks wins in a walk. Seattle 27, Washington 14.

New York Jets at BALTIMORE (-7): The Jets have again called on quarterback Vinny Testaverde to take the helm, and it wasn't just his history with the team that led them to pick him up. He also had a wonderful letter of reference from Bronco Nagurski. Baltimore 17, New York 16.

Minnesota at ATLANTA (-5): Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper finally woke up last week, and it'll be the Falcons having the nightmares this week. Minnesota 27, Atlanta 26.

Dallas at OAKLAND (-3): Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells and offensive coordinator Sean Peyton have gotten together to draw up a daring new scheme -- the all fake punt offense. Oakland 30, Dallas 24.

Green Bay at CAROLINA (-7.5): Oh, just a half a point too much! Carolina 27, Green Bay 20.

San Francisco at ARIZONA (-3): Arizona senator John McCain has been on the warpath over the use of steroids, but he should be focusing on the fraud perpetrated on the state when the Cardinals moved from St. Louis. I mean, they said they had a pro franchise! San Francisco 38, Arizona 19.

Lock of the Week: Philadelphia
Trifecta: Philly, Seattle, San Francisco

Week Three, Straight Up: 10-6
Week Three, ATS: 6-8
Week Three, LOTW: 0-1
Week Three, Trifecta: 0-1
Week Three Bank Statement: -$1,000

Season, Straight Up: 25-23
Season, ATS: 23-23
Season, LOTW: 1-2
Season, Trifecta: 0-3
Season Bank Statement: -$1,200

Editor's Note: During weeks in which only 14 games are played, the Lock of the Week will be bumped to $500 from $300. You'd think I'd occasionally get one of them right and benefit from it ... and it makes figuring the math and the juice easier.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Welcome to the third week of the National Football League, where the fans of both the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings have our sympathies.

Seriously, it's tough to figure out who came into the fall with a more flawed plan -- FEMA or the Viking front office. You can bet another head man named Mike will be losing his position soon.

We use Danny Sheridan's USA Today odds as the spread, mainly 'cause he's in Vegas and Celine Dion won't return my phone calls.

Remember: these picks are just for fun. Using them to wager money is as advisable as betting "The War At Home" will be on FOX in six more weeks.

Tennessee at ST. LOUIS (-6.5): Wow, what a difference a few years makes. This would have been a hot ticket in 2001 -- you know, back when Steve McNair could still walk and Mike Martz was still a genius? St. Louis 24, Tennessee 23.

Oakland at PHILADELPHIA (-7.5): I'm pretty sure whatever Andy Reid stuffed up his players' rear ends last week is still burning. Philly 27, Oakland 16.

Jacksonville at NEW YORK JETS (-3): I picked up a milk carton this morning and the Jaguar offense's picture was on the back. New York 19, Jacksonville 14.

Cincinnati at CHICAGO (+3): The Bengals look fantastic, having rolled up 64 points on the way to a 2-0 record. That was accomplished against Cleveland and Minnesota, however, which is on a par with smoking your grandmother in the 40-yard dash. Still, Bears QB Kyle Orton will face a stiffer test this week -- namely, an actual defense. Cincinnati 31, Chicago 17.

New Orleans at MINNESOTA (-3.5): The Vikings -- the NFL's equivalent of "Gigli." New Orleans 22, Minnesota 21.

Carolina at MIAMI (+3): A field goal? Didn't the Panthers just humble the defending champion Patriots? Oh, and what's Ricky Williams's favorite Pat Benatar song? "Weed Belong". Carolina 23, Miami 13.

Cleveland at INDIANAPOLIS (-13.5): All Browns QB Trent Dilfer does is win ... except this week. He'll still get a couple TDs, though, and that's enough to cover. Indianapolis 30, Cleveland 17.

Atlanta at BUFFALO (-1): This is all speculation that Michael Vick won't play this week due to a hamstring injury. If he plays, the Falcons win. If he doesn't and Matt Schaub is the QB, Atlanta wins bigger. Atlanta 21, Buffalo 13.

Tampa Bay at GREEN BAY (+3.5): The Bucs have found the next great running back in Carnell Williams. The Packers have found out they need to blow their team up and start over. Tampa Bay 24, Green Bay 17.

Arizona at SEATTLE (-6.5): The Seahawks made huge progress last week by just hanging on to beat Atlanta. The Cardinals also had big success in talking the league out of relegating the franchise to NFL Europe. Seattle 20, Arizona 10.

New England at PITTSBURGH (-3): The popular pick is Pittsburgh, but I think this is where Willie Parker gets parked. The Patriots will be pissed, and I'm out of alliteration. New England 21, Pittsburgh 20.

Dallas at SAN FRANCISCO (+6.5): The Cowboys will bounce back after last week's collapse. Man, that was like Kirstie Alley walking on a balsa bridge. Dallas 28, San Francisco 13.

New York Giants at SAN DIEGO (-5.5): Given the difference in their temperments, do you think Eli Manning considers his brother a spaz? Expect lots of Ladainian. San Diego 24, New York 20.

Kansas City at DENVER (-3): Here's a simple equation -- Denver moron QB + vastly improved Chiefs defense = home Monday Night loss. Kansas City 31, Denver 19.

Lock of the Week: Carolina
Trifecta: Carolina, Kansas City, Cincy

Week Two, Straight Up: 10-6
Week Two, ATS: 8-8
Week Two, LOTW: 1-0
Week Two, Trifecta: 0-1
Week Two Bank Statement: even steven

Season, Straight Up: 15-17
Season, ATS: 17-15
Season, LOTW: 1-1
Season, Trifecta: 0-2
Season Bank Statement: -$200

Saturday, September 17, 2005

I'm not a big fan of scary movies. I'm naturally a jumpy sort, and I don't see anything with a lot of graphic violence in it. I can't fathom why people complain about pornography, and yet they're glad to plunk down $10 to see dismemberments and shootings. Nice values.

In spite of this, I gladly went along with my wife choice of our Friday night flick -- "The Exorcism of Emily Rose." I do like a good spook story, and I assume a PG rating to mean there will not be wanton use of chainsaws and machetes.

Unfortunately, this film's screenwriters cast out the demons of excitement and intensity through the choice of setting. Despite what the trailers show, 90 percent of "Emily Rose" takes place in a courtroom, as the story centers on the trial of the priest who attempted the exorcism. You go in expecting pea-soup fountains and spinning heads and wind up with "Brimstone & Order."

This isn't to say the movie isn't a little scary. There are moments of enjoyable creepiness and fright, and the understated special effects are more jarring than might be expected. "Emily Rose" does nice work in paralleling possession with the prosecution's explanation of a possible combination of psychosis and epilepsy.

But the trial sequences come off hokey and predictable, and the insight into Laura Linney's defense attorney are too cliche -- she drinks, she's gotten an acquittal for a man who ends up murdering again, she's trying to make partner. Tom Wilkinson's turn as Father Moore is decent, but he's just not given much to work with here. He seems awfully damned calm for a guy scrapping with Lucifer, and there's just no "The power of Christ compels you" for him here.

And Campbell Scott, who I don't know much about, is atrocious as the prosecuting attorney. The character is meant to be starchy and stuff, I'm sure, but it's tough to take a guy with an 80s porn-star mustache and Snidely Whiplash overtones too seriously.

Give Jennifer Carpenter credit for slogging through this. She plays possessed pretty well, with the requisite gnashing of teeth and screaming, but the screenwriters never give us a chance to know her and like her before Satan sublets her soul.

What really galls me, though, is this whole "based on a true story" crap. I'm not going to go into much detail, but a little research will show the actual case turned out much differently than the movie does, including the conviction of both the priest and the parents. Anneliese Michel is a German girl from the late 60s/early 70s who more than likely was seriously ill rather than possessed, not a farm girl in the 80s who got screwed over by Lucifer.

You might jump a little in your seat, but "Emily Rose" withers and dies before the end of the first scene. Save your cash and go rent "The Exorcist" instead.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

How does one go 9-7 against the spread but 5-11 straight up? The Hoser did it last week, along with missing not only the trifecta (to be expected), but the Lock O' The Week (yeah, I know, also to be expected).

Last week was hairier than Larry King's ears, but expect normalcy to reign during Week Two. The 49ers and Dolphins will return to the dregs, and 27 TV talking heads will call Michael Vick the most exciting player in football. He was 12 for 23 with a pick, damn it!

For clarification, the bank account runs like this -- $100 per game ATS, $100 on the trifecta and $300 on the Lock of the Week. The house takes 10% juice, and the betting is an even $2K per week.

We use Danny Sheridan's USA Today odds as the spread, mainly 'cause he's in Vegas and he might front me free Rio buffet tickets.

Remember: these picks are just for fun. Using them to wager money is as advisable as getting tossed on a Monday night for having a slapfight during pre-game.

Baltimore at TENNESSEE (+4): I just looked up "sucks" at and it said, "See RAVENS OFFENSE." Okay, maybe not, but the Titans aren't going to blow anyone away either. Baltimore 19, Tennessee 14.

Pittsburgh at HOUSTON (+6): Willie Parker sounds vaguely like a porn name, doesn't it? Expect the Steelers to roll Big Willie Style for another week. Pittsburgh 29, Houston 21.

Jacksonville at INDIANAPOLIS (-9): If you can beat the Ravens by 17, you can beat the Jags by nine. Indianapolis 31, Jacksonville 20.

Detroit at CHICAGO (+2): I'm back on the Mooch Train, baby! Who isn't after a win over the Packers, with Brett Favre and a slow, aging ... and injury-riddled ... well, they're still good enough to beat the Bears. Detroit 23, Chicago 14.

San Francisco at PHILADELPHIA (-13): The Eagles have called in reconstruction specialists to separate Donovan McNabb's sternum from his spinal cord. What a shot -- three fingers of ouzo doesn't pack a wallop that hard. The 49ers will crash back to earth, but they won't lose by two touchdowns. Philadelphia 31, San Francisco 20.

Buffalo at TAMPA BAY (-2.5): I really like both of these teams, so I'm going strictly on that old "home field is worth a field goal" adage. Plus I trust Jon Gruden will add more Cadillac and subtract a few Brian Griese attempts. Tampa Bay 23, Buffalo 20.

New England at CAROLINA (+3): Just three points? Come on! Tom Brady's hair is worth at least a touchdown! New England 29, Carolina 23.

Atlanta at SEATTLE (-1): I'm just going to say it -- the Falcons would be better served to put Michael Vick at either running back or wide receiver. Let the tar and feathering commence! Seattle 29, Atlanta 27.

St. Louis at ARIZONA (+1): The Battle of the Week One Disappointments! The Rams are not as bad as they showed against San Francisco, and the Cardinals ... well, the Denny Green era has turned sour already. St. Louis 34, Arizona 23.

Miami at NY JETS (-6): I can't imagine the thrombo Jets coach Herm Edwards must have had after last week's debacle. Meanwhile, the Dolphins will return to being the Dolphins. New York 24, Miami 17.

Cleveland at GREEN BAY (-6): The loss of wide receiver Javon Walker won't hurt the Packers -- they weren't going anywhere anyway. Still, Brett Favre's pride will drive them past a bad Browns team. Green Bay 26, Cleveland 19.

Minnesota at CINCINNATI (-3): I happen to love Daunte Culpepper. I just don't think you can expect the Vikings to win on the road when they have a total of one decent running back on their roster, and it's him. Cincy 30, Minnesota 24.

San Diego at DENVER (-3): Saying Jake Plummer QB'd like a chicken with its head cut off is just insulting -- to the chicken. People are going to start talking about Mike Shanahan's job afer this loss. San Diego 28, Denver 24.

Kansas City at OAKLAND (+1): Even if Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil does the right thing and benches RB Larry Johnson for a week (and I don't care about the damned circumstances -- you don't ever knock a woman to the floor), Kansas City is still powerful enough to win on the road. Kansas City 30, Oakland 21.

Washington at DALLAS (-6): Wow. Bill Parcells vs. Joe Gibbs. Will the game be decided by clock management? By gutsy playcalling? No, it'll be decided by whose quarterback doesn't totally stink. Dallas 27, Washington 17.

New Orleans at NEW YORK GIANTS (-3): I expect the Saints to be a little flat. Who wouldn't? New York 23, New Orleans 19.

Lock of the Week: Pittsburgh
Trifecta: Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Detroit

Against the spread, Week One: 9-7.
Straight up, Week One: 5-11.
Lock of the Week: 0-1.
Trifecta: 0-1.
The Bank Account: -$200.

I swear to God, it's September 14th and I just saw someone walk in front of my shop with a shopping cart full of Halloween candy. That's just wrong, and not just because we're more than six freaking weeks away from Halloween. No, it's mainly that those cretins must have the willpower not to eat the candy themselves. How can you withstand eating bite-sized Twix bars for more than a month?

Anyhow, amuse yourselves with .the history of candy corn and I'll be back with my Week Two NFL picks later today

Friday, September 09, 2005

Oh, and while we're at it, take a few minutes and read's nifty page of really stupid quotes pertaining to Hurricane Katrina. It's nice to laugh at idiots.

Be sure to read No. 25. Ouch, baby ... very ouch.

After discovering this week that President Bush's compassion for the poor must come from his mother's side of the family, Tom Delay goes Barbara one better and likens sleeping in the Astrodome to being at camp. Niiiiiiiicccce, but maybe an innocent mistake. It's possible Delay attended Camp Starvalotta or Camp Yourhomesagon when he was younger.

I'm guessing our friend Tom was just trying to make a few kids in a rough spot feel better, and we probably shouldn't beat him up too much for it. It's just that given the utter lack of urgency in disaster response from the Republican hierarchy, it's tough not to look at a Republican comparing being a refugee to sleeping out in the backyard and think, "Wow, are you that insensitive?"

I'm almost positive Delay isn't ... but some of those he pals around with sure as hell are.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Welcome back to another fantabulous season of The Hoser Picks, where I essay to prognosticate each week's National Football League outcomes using my incredible knowledge of the game and inside information from all the top NFL sources.

Editor's Note: The Hoser has neither incredible knowledge or inside information. He can barely best Billy Sims in a spelling bee.

We use Danny Sheridan's USA Today odds as the spread, mainly 'cause he's in Vegas and I'm hoping he can get me good seats to a Charo show someday.

Remember: these picks are just for fun. Using them to wager money would be as stupid as hiring a former show-horse judge to run the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Oakland at NEW ENGLAND (-7.5): Patriots quarterback Tom Brady mentioned goats in an interview with GQ during the offseason, which is coincidental, as the Raiders still blow them. More than a touchdown in an NFL primetime opener, however, is too much. New England 27, Oakland 23.

Denver at MIAMI (+4.5): Broncos QB Jake Plummer has been fantastic in the preseason, which means about as much as Maurice Clarett saying someone stole some stuff out of his car. Still, the Dolphins are weaker than dope cut with parsley -- play Miami when Ricky returns. Denver 31, Miami 13.

Cincinnati at CLEVELAND (-3.5): The Trent Dilfer era begins in Cleveland, and I expect it to be about as memorable as the presidency of Millard Fillmore. Bengal RB Rudi Johnson might be the fantasy star of the week. Cincy 27, Cleveland 24.

Tennessee at PITTSBURGH (-7): Steelers fans look at young QB Ben Roethlisberger and expect the Second Coming, and they might get it -- of Mark Malone. Taking bets on which happens first -- Titans RB Chris Brown gets hurt or Mary Kate Olsen gives a beau a fatal paper cut by rubbing up against him. Get a sandwich, for God's sake! Pittsburgh 26, Tennessee 17.

Houston at BUFFALO (-5): That collective sign of relief you heard during the offseason was from Bills fans happy to dump the whining machine that is Travis Henry. JP still looks a little lost, but Buffalo will get 30 of the same strokes from Willis and win easily. Buffalo 29, Houston 16.

Chicago at WASHINGTON (-6): Imagine quarterback Kyle Orton's chagrin -- he hears he gets to start right away in the NFL ... but it's for the Bears. That's like being the prettiest hooker on "COPS". Still, I like the Bears for no better reason than I hate Dan Snyder. Chicago 17, (Change Your Mascot Already!) 16.

New Orleans at CAROLINA (-7): Get up, walk to your closet and pull out five things you'll never wear again. Now go donate them to the Red Cross so they can be sent to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Thanks! Carolina 26, New Orleans 23.

Tampa Bay at MINNESOTA (-6): Randy Moss is gone and it will make the Vikings even better offensively, provided they find a running back. I'm rooting for them just to see Jon Gruden make that face like he's eating spoiled pickles. Minnesota 34, Tampa Bay 24.

Seattle @ Jacksonville (-3): This is Mike Holmgren's final final FINAL chance to make the Seahawks as good as they should be. He'll be off to a good start after Week One. Seattle 29, Jacksonville 20.

NY Jets @ KANSAS CITY (-3): Expect Dick Vermeil to cry a river when he realizes the Chiefs forgot to keep any wide receivers around for this season. Just repeat the mantra -- CurtisMartinCurtisMartinCurtisMartin and you shall be rewarded. New York 24, KC 23.

Arizona at NEW YORK GIANTS (-2.5): Giants QB Eli Manning will be much improved this year. It just won't start against a stiff Cardinals defense. Arizona 20, New York Giants 16.

St. Louis at SAN FRANCISCO (-5): This line is WAYYYY too low. Even Rams head coach Mike Martz isn't stupid enough to not run Stephen Jackson 30 times against the woeful 49ers ... or is he? St. Louis 37, San Fran 20. Extra note: The over/under here is 46. I'd be big on over if I were a betting man.

Green Bay at DETROIT (-3): No freaking way. The Lions favored over the Packers? Haven't they heard Jeff Garcia is out for the season?!? Green Bay 27, Detroit 20.

Dallas at SAN DIEGO (-4.5): Anyone else expect the Chargers to fall flat this season? Dallas 23, San Diego 21.

Indianapolis at BALTIMORE (+3): Boy, tough call. Do I root against Ray Lewis or Peyton Manning? Indy 20, Baltimore 19.

Philadelphia at ATLANTA (+1): He's a self-centered, obnoxious blowhard who hopefully will be out of football for good soon. But enough about Trev Alberts. Philly 24, Atlanta 20.

Lock O' The Week: St. Louis to cover.
Trifecta: St. Louis, Philly, Denver.

I was watching Lou Dobbs on CNN last night and Douglas Brinkley, an author and historian who lives in New Orleans, was talking about the rebuilding and rebirth of the city. His argument was that despite the widespread damage to the French Quarter and the remainder of N.O., it will rise again because the soul of a city lives in its people. I couldn't agree more, and therefore we should have no problem razing New Orleans entirely, leaving the rubble for wetlands and building 20 miles inland. It's the people, not the location, right, Douglas?

This isn't popular, I know, but isn't it ridiculous to pump all the water out of the fishbowl just to demolish everything inside and start over when there's an excellent chance the same type of destruction could happen again, maybe even before an adequate levee and seawall system can be built? Who's going to insure businesses and homes? Will it be the American taxpayer, who already foots the bill for idiots who live in flood plains?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I certainly have no problem with New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson considering moving his team permanently to San Antonio -- the Superdome is most likely irreparably damaged, 25,000 season tickets is not a very strong fan base, and of course, he owns the team, so he has the right to do with it as he wishes -- but my God, the timing. It's difficult to understand how any human being could be thinking about such matters when most of the city is still underwater.

But it's not Benson's job to be thinking about the people of New Orleans. It's his job to run his business, and right now, any owner would be foolish to keep his franchise in a city that might not even exist in the same place next year, and especially one that wasn't doing a great job of supporting the team to begin.

Those villifying Benson right now are convienently overlooking who leaked this story. Benson didn't call a press conference to announce he was considering the move -- a Louisiana state senator gave the story to the press, and suddenly nails are being handed out, nails that should already be marked for those in government who failed miserably in both planning for and responding to this disaster.

Has anyone considered that perhaps not having to worry about a pro football franchise would be good for New Orleans right now? And why would the city and the state be concerned about the departure of the Saints when they certainly have much weightier issues facing them? Is the first priority of the Louisiana legislature really going to be making sure the Saints have everything they need? It shouldn't be, and hopefully it won't.

I know the argument about the Saints being a part of the history of New Orleans, and how the government has helped the franchise through tax abatements and other incentives. That's hogwash. It's a business, and businesses move when it's best for them. As for money, the state of Louisiana would receive $81 million in rebates from Benson, money that could probably be put to better use than fixing the Superdome. And if New Orleans comes back bigger and badder than ever, does anyone think the NFL wouldn't put an expansion franchise there? Or someone else wouldn't move and take advantage of it?

And so why would Benson be pilloried for considering what's best for him and his business? Ask yourself this -- if you were in New Orleans right now and someone offered you a chance to move to a better business situation, especially to leave the calamitous mess the Saints face right now, would you? If you answered in the negative, I suggest you probably wouldn't be running a business in the first place.

Friday, August 12, 2005

This is a column I wrote several months ago about the Todd Bertuzzi incident and what I felt was the ridiculous positioning of him as a victim in all of this. I'll add my feelings about the recent reinstatement of Bertuzzi afterward.

Here we go again.

The outpouring of love for the wronged Todd Bertuzzi has begun anew in the aftermath of his reinstatement hearing Wednesday. Support poured in from other players.

"I think he should be reinstated," Vancouver Canuck Brendan Morrison. "It's not to take anything away from Steve Moore. Obviously, he suffered a lot, but to start the healing process for Todd, the best thing is to reinstate him."

"I think he paid his debt," said former Canuck Martin Rucinsky. "Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt like that. But [Bertuzzi] is a good hockey player and he belongs on the ice."

So someone explain to me how putting Todd Bertuzzi back on the ice is going to keep other people from getting hurt? Explain to me what part of Bertuzzi stalking, sucker-punching and debilitating another player we should just get past?

This wasn’t two guys in the mailroom having a little punch-up. It wasn’t even your normal square-up-and-throw-down NHL brawl.

This was, as the Crown charged and Bertuzzi admitted, an assault, pure and simple. This was an attack on another player in an attempt to, at the very least, injure him and, at worst, do what Bertuzzi promised after Moore’s legal hit on Marcus Naslund a few weeks earlier – make sure he wouldn’t be playing after March.

Congratulations, Todd, you succeeded beyond your wildest dreams.

What I can’t understand is why both the players and the league don’t understand that allowing Bertuzzi to play again would put both of them in danger.

Let's suppose he is reinstated. Bertuzzi laces 'em up for the Canucks and sometime this season goes loony again and assaults another player. Guess who's going to get sued this time? That's right, the NHL. It will have been Gary Bettman and the league who allowed a person with a proven tendency for violence to return to the ice and hurt someone else.

And why don’t the players grasp that Bertuzzi doesn’t care whether he hurts another player, because he thinks he’s doing his job? Will it take another broken neck before they demand that this menace is banned for good? Will his fellow Canucks finally admit he’s a goon when someone gets killed?

I don't care that Bertuzzi's supposedly a good guy off the ice and a star on it. He's also a danger to anyone else playing the game. Why should other players suffer because he can't control himself?

There should be some forgiveness for Bertuzzi. Everyone deserves a second (or in Todd’s case, a third or fourth) chance. He should be able to try to work past his anger issues and the shame of his crime.

But go ask Steve Moore about forgiveness. He's the one who will most likely never play hockey again. He's the one who has had his livelihood denied him through the stupidity of someone else. He’s the one who will be blackballed by NHL teams simply for asserting his rights by filing a civil lawsuit.

Bertuzzi is not the victim here, and forgiveness has everything to do with allowing him to move on with his life. It has absolutely nothing to do, however, with him ever playing NHL hockey again.

This week, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman chose to bring Bertuzzi back, citing the lockout as part of the suspension. It also kept Bertuzzi from playing in the World Cup, two world championships and the European leagues.

So what? The suspension should only deal with games missed in the NHL, and the pitiful fact is that Bertuzzi missed a grand total of 13 games for committing a criminal act on the ice. That's right, 13, or seven less than Texas Ranger pitcher Kenny Rogers faced for shoving a cameraman.

And the games Bertuzzi missed during the lockout? I'd ask Bettman to produce the scores of any games the Canucks played last season. Because if there weren't any games, it's pretty tough to count them as part of a suspension.

The ugly truth here is that Bettman knows Bertuzzi will be a sideshow at every road game the Canucks play this season. That means added ticket sales, increased visibility for the league and a ToddWatch in the media. When will he go off? When will his first big hit be?

Meanwhile, Steve Moore keeps working to get his strength and equilibrium back, pushing himself to have a chance to return to the livelihood Bertuzzi robbed from him. It might be next week, or it might be never, but the day Moore is cleared by doctors is the day Bertuzzi should return to the NHL.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Canadians as a whole seem to be smitten with IKEA, the furniture store where you get to build a couch using three sticks and an allen wrench. I'm pretty much in love myself, though, because they have a "scratched and dinged" section where you can get stuff for 50-90% off retail. Like I care if my nightstand only has three legs -- it gives me a use for that Dean Koontz book I got as a gift a few years back.

My wife and I invariably spend more money in the damned Swedish food market than we do on household goods, though. Today we dropped $20 on kettle chips, kick-ass chocolate bars at $1CDN each, a bag of the best Swedish fish I've ever had and a box of cinnamon rolls. Plenty of free samples to boot, although I'm not eating anything that says PUREED CRAB and comes in a toothpaste tube. That's wrong.

IKEA also takes its restaurant seriously. The location we visit (Highway 7 and the 400) always has tasty Swedish meatballs, roasted potatoes and lingonberry drink on tap. Throw in some lingonberry sauce and a bowl of fruit salad for $6.99 all in and I'm there. I missed the $1 breakfast this morning, though. Damn it.

In the swirling mass of humanity that is IKEA on Sunday, you're bound to hear some funny shit. This afternoon, a woman passing us said, "You know, the circle thing with the ladybugs on the lid," to her shopping companion. Of course, how silly of me! Who doesn't know what that is?

Embarrassing IKEA Moment No.1 -- The company seems to think customers like 80s and 90s music, and I suspect they're right. We're browsing the kitchen section and Madonna's "Crazy For You" starts. I'm quietly, shamefully singing it under my breath when I turn to my right. There's a ponytailed Filipino guy next to me and we both sing, "I never wanted anyone like this." Our eyes lock briefly, and I doubt either of us will ever be more uncomfortable than we were right then. Horrifying.

If you have an IKEA near you and you've never been, go. Even if you don't buy anything, you'll be amazed at the sheer number of a)useful items they have dirt cheap and b)completely ridiculous items that someone, somewhere must be purchasing. Buy a few $1.50 beer glasses and spend the money you save on Swedish fish.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A friend of mine in the States sent me this New York Times link about the rape and subsequent horrors a Pakistani woman has suffered (you'll need to go read it to understand any of this, but it's worth your time). What follows is my response:

As one of the not-so-nice Canadians, I agree with the decision of the Canadian bureaucrat. Kristof says the couple is safe, although not happy, in London. What reason does the Canadian government have to expedite the transfer? Why should the nice Canadians move any more quickly than the British consulate, who apparently aren't in any great hurry to grant asylum? And if the couple has relatives in Canada who are ready to accept her, why were they not contacted for this column? Why is there nothing from a spokesman of the Pakistani government, not even the standard "Phone calls were not returned" (in fact, I don't even see anything except the word of Shazia and Khalid)?

While I applaud the attention given to the deplorable plight of women in Pakistan and surrounding countries, this is a sloppy, sloppy job by Kristof to point fingers rather than attempt to solve the issue. I will email Joseph Volpe, and I hope Shazia does receive asylum here -- in its due course, through the proper channels -- not because an American columnist thinks Canada should be ignoring the diligence and caution his own government is pushing on the rest of the world.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Well, the deal got done ... and maybe the Blues aren't quite as stupid as I thought. Yes, Chris Pronger should have been dealt before the draft (and before St. Louis painted itself into a cap corner). But for the situation, I like this deal.

The Blues get a couple of young defense projects in Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka. Lynch is a big fella (6-3, 214) who'll bang and scrap (181 and 202 PIMs in his final two years at Red Deer). He had a terrific year with Toronto in the AHL in 2003-04 before sliding back last season, but St. Louis won't be looking to Lynch for scoring. If he can improve his skating, he'll be a good stay-at-home No. 5 or 6.

Woywitka could be terrific in a couple seasons. A former first-round pick of the Flyers (and we know how well they draft), he has good size (6-2, 209) and strength. He's not ticketed as a great offensive threat, but he did score 52 points in 57 games for Red Deer in 2002-03, the year he was named the best defenseman in the WHL. Woywitka is at least a No. 3 or 4 blueliner and could be even better.

To go with the potential, the Blues also get Eric Brewer, a former No. 5 overall pick and a fellow who can step right in to the first defensive pairing. While he's no great shakes offensively, he has a great shot and will use his 6-3, 220-pound body to wipe some guys out. Is he Chris Pronger? No, but Brewer is more than capable and he'll fit in nicely.

Could the Blues have done better? Maybe. I still believe a few teams might have traded a high first-rounder to get Pronger on draft day. Whether that option was explored or not, I don't know, but getting three defensemen -- one very good, one average to good and one possibly very good -- for a great one under duress ain't half bad.

And anyhow, it has to be counted as a great week for the Blues. Someone took Pavol Demitra off their hands.

Monday, August 01, 2005

If you have kids that aren't all edgy and don't dress in "Don't Be An Ass Clown" T-shirts (I actually saw a 14-year-old kid wearing one of these the other day and thought, "Not only is 'assclown' one word, you moron, but I'm guessing your parents are said animal."), take them to see "Sky High". It's a new Disney flick revolving around a high school for the children of superheroes. Of course it's predictable and a little smarmy, but what's so wrong with that? Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston are great, the teen actors are funny and hey, TWO former members of "The Kids in the Hall" got work! Check it out at the link below, which I don't know how to make prettier.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Here at the Hoser, we're glad to see newly minted Anaheim general manager Brian Burke hasn't lost his gift of gab during the long winter's night that was the lockout. Asked about the possibility of trading the Mighty Ducks' No. 2 pick on Saturday's draft, Burke said he "would be happy to trade up or down in this draft." That's nice stuff.

As for the reality of a deal, there are quite a few studs out there being obscured by the shadow of Sidney Crosby. Vancouver's Gilbert Brule and Sudbury's Benoit Pouliot have been trading spots in the rankings, and Bobby Ryan (Owen Sound) and Marc Staal (Sudbury and younger brother of current Hurricane Eric) are right up there also. Here's a thought -- how about the Blues, who for some stupid reason have decided to pay both Keith Tkachuk and Doug Weight this year, swapping Chris Pronger to the Ducks for the No. 2? It makes sense for both teams, as Anaheim can absorb the contract and use the experience, while St. Louis could either then look to move down a bit and land Staal (No. 4-6) or just go nuts, get the best available talent and market the hell out of it.

Given the track of the Blues, however, it seems unlikely. With the Lauries looking to unload the franchise, they are unwilling to eat any contracts. Mark Sauer and the rest of the Laurie flunkies are mouting about "flexibility", so St. Louis fans can look forward to another year of overpriced, mediocre talent surrounded by mediocre prospects.

At least one person knows what end is up, and that's Pronger himself. Here's his take on the Blues being unsure of whether he will stay or go:

"It's frustrating that they have had 15 months to put a game plan together. They had an idea of what (the CBA) was going to look like. It's very frustrating not knowing where you're going to be. That's the thing ... it's not that they're giving you good news or bad news. They're not giving you anything." -- quote from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and its fine reporter, Jeremy Rutherford.

In other words, the Blues don't know their CBAss from a hole in the ground.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I found a link on Sportsfilter the other day to a truly awful story. A 27-year-old Pennsylvania man apparently offered a boy on his baseball team $25 to injure a mentally handicapped player by hitting him with a thrown baseball. The reason? The coach wanted to circumvent the rules which force a manager to play every kid on the team for at least a couple of innings. Most leagues have these sorts of rules, and having been a baseball coach for many years, I wholeheartedly agree with them. There's nothing worse than an overzealous coach who cares more about his won/loss record than whether the kids are enjoying themselves. However ...

Warning -- insensitive comments to follow

While this is absolutely despicable, can I just say I don't think having an eight-year-old mentally disabled kid on the field with other fully able kids is such a hot idea? I know we're all for inclusion and all that, but isn't there a pretty spectacular chance of this kid getting drilled by a batted ball or a throw anyhow? Is it fair to the other kids that they may have to hold back so they don't hurt the disabled boy?

I wasn't a child star or anything, but I could whip the ball around pretty well when I was eight. While it didn't change the way I played, I did always flinch at the thought of firing a throw from short to first when one of my teammates who was simply less gifted at baseball than I was was over there. Now, you can't keep a kid off a team just because he happens to stink on ice, and hell, I wouldn't want to. Some of my favorite players have been the ones who couldn't put their hands in a mitt when they showed up for the first practice. By the end of the season, we had figured out what his or her strength was and played to that.

But if a child really has little to no chance of physical improvement, stands an excellent of getting hurt and negatively affects the game around him or her to the point of diminishing the fun of the other players? I just don't know.

And yes, I'm fully aware for going to hell for saying this.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

If media outlets are to be believed, the NHL lockout is finally over. I consider it to be true because a local cable TV show just came by the store and asked me to do a little stand-up on how likely fans would be to come back and how the lockout had affected collectibles and memorabilia business.

In the Toronto area and in Canada, I don't think the lockout will have any lasting effect. From what I've learned since I moved here, hockey is more important to Canadians than baseball is to Americans. It's not just a game -- it's a style of life, something not learned but almost instinctual. You can find tons of people in the U.S. who don't know a squeeze play from squeezing the Charmin, but even a 12-year-old Canadian girl can wax elequently against the neutral-zone trap.

In the United States, however, I'm not sure hockey will be able to recover. It's not like the lockout put the NHL into intensive care -- it was there already. It's just that Americans really don't give a crap about the game. We don't grow up playing it, it's difficult to follow the puck if you don't have knowledge of the game and the game isn't urban. Markets like Detroit, Boston and New York will not have any trouble finding fans to fill seats. It's burgs like Nashville, Phoenix and Tampa Bay that will struggle mightily to regain the tenuous grasp they had on season-ticket holders. Those are towns that shouldn't have had NHL franchises to begin with, and now the collective-bargaining agreement is designed to prop those clubs up at the expenses of true hockey hotbeds. Oh, well ... when 6-8 teams do finally end up folding, that (along with two management-started work stoppages) will be commissioner Gary Bettman's legacy.

I'm pretty geeked for business to pick up here. Fans have been wandering in talking about the agreement, and they've been quietly, almost shamefully excited for a couple of months. I'm more excited, though, to finally be able to hear the "Hockey Night in Canada" theme song blaring out of my 61-inch high-definition TV. So's my wife -- and that's one way I know I married the right woman.

I like to write, and from my track record as a newspaper columnist, people liked to read what I write. Now I'm not a newspaper columnist, however, but I still sit down and bang out the occasional column, and so rather than just keeping them to myself, I thought I'd share them. I mostly write about sports (and yes, I realize I'm using the word write a lot, but the other verbs for it sound so pompous -- who pens something, or authors it?), but anything else that strikes me, I might put up something about it.

I just moved to Canada in October after getting married. Yes, we met on the Internet. She beat me playing Scrabble, and who's going to stand for that? I got the ultimate revenge, though ... she has to wake up next to me every morning. Michelle has a four-year-old son, Cabot, who is an absolute riot. He's just about to start JK or whatever it's called up here. Preschool, where I'm from. He's sharp as a tack, and I think he's going to be a big kid -- I smell a linebacker.

I help run a hockey collectibles store in Barrie, ON -- TJ Sports at the Kozlov Centre -- and I also have a web site where I buy, sell and trade game-used hockey jerseys and equipment at Stop by and check it out. I usually have coffee brewing and a spare candybar or something.

I'll post more later. For now, I'll close by saying my thoughts today are with those families dealing with their loss after the cowardly attack on the underground in London.