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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's one of those, what's going on with me posts...

Started going back to the gym yesterday. I had stopped a while back because I got sick and then never picked it back up. One excuse after another, the usual drill. I was still exercising, walking every day, just not going to the gym... Anyway. I got back on it yesterday. It feels good to be lifting again, even though I am kind of sore. It's all about inertia with me. Once I stop, it's hard to start again. Once I get going, I can keep it rolling. I am not expecting to look like Arnold or anything like that. Just want to be toned, or whatever the fuck. As long as it's not fat.

My lifting playlist:
Rollins: Come In and Burn, Weighting
Supersuckers: The Evil Powers of Rock and Roll, Paid
Minor Threat: Out of Step

Got paid today so I bought the Slayer tickets for February down at Lupo's in Providence R.I. That is something to look forward to. Providence is kind of a hike, but it's going to be worth it to see Slayer in a small club atmosphere. And it's on a Friday night. Extra added bonus. There's an excellent bar right down the street from Lupos to too. They've got a great beer selection on tap and they make a tasty bowl of chili. Bonus Bonus. I'm psyched.

Killswitch is going to be playing down there later this year too. That could be a good show to see but that one is up in the air. Still deciding on that one...

The other day some of the people I work with went out for coffee and instead of the usual Dunks' they wanted to go to a Starbucks. I ordered a medium coffee, just to play fuckity-fuck with the Starbucks guy. I had a wry smile so he knew I was busting his balls.

'You mean a grande brewed?' he replied with a smile.

'Yeah. That's it,' I said.

Starbucks is ok but I prefer Dunks. I overdosed on Starbucks once when I had to spend 10 days in NYC for work. I got so sick of it, so now it does not have the big wow factor for me that most people around here seem to get from a Starbucks coffee. Give me a medium regular from Dunkies any day.

Starbuck was kickass in the book Moby Dick.

Ok. I think I've strung enough completely unrelated topics together there. Have a good one.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Memo to The Boston Red Sox...

Lets keep this short and sweet today:

1. Don't trade Manny.

2. Don't trade Manny.

and finally, 3., (I think you know where this is going...) Don't trade Manny.

(Seriously Red Sox, don't fucking trade Manny.)

Thank you.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

General thoughts on The Pats...

We're heading into December, the final month of the NFL regular season. Where are The Patriots at?

Well at 8-3 The Pats have a good record and the division lead. I'm always happy when they hit that 8 win mark. There's no way they can have a losing season now. Of course, expectations for the team are a lot higher than a .500 season these days, but it still gives me a sense of relief to get those 8 wins. Call it a throwback to the days when the Pats did not always expect to contend for the Superbowl on a yearly basis.

The Patriots are currently the 4th seed in the AFC, though that could change and they could potentially move up a spot, maybe two, by the time the end of December rolls around. The Jets are still hanging around and are two games back in the division, but The Pats have a pretty favorable schedule heading into December. It would take an epic collapse for them to lose the division lead at this point.

Sadly The Patriots lost linebacker Junior Seau for the remainder of the year when he suffered a broken arm in Sunday's game vs Chicago. It is a real shame that he had to end his season, and most likely his career in this way, going out on an injury. He was having a stellar season after coming out of a brief retirement to play with The Pats. Maybe the team can give him a Superbowl as a final gift before he hangs em up for good.

The biggest concern for me right now with the team has been the continued problem with turnovers. Whether it's tipped passes that wind up as interceptions or just plain fumbling the ball, the continued turnovers that are occurring, game in and game out, are going to end up being the team's undoing, just as it was last year in the playoffs. Unless they can get the problem fixed, that is. The Pats have a month of December Football to figure out how to fix the turnover problem. This is the time when teams really start to get into full playoff football mode, so hopefully the Pats can put a stop to the giveaway problem as they ramp up for the post-season.

Besides the turnovers, the next biggest concern is the continued rash of injuries to the team's defense. There's not much to say there. Every season, the Patriots sign about 35 cornerbacks and safetys to their roster to start the season and by December, it seems like 33 of them are always hurt. It's the same old story every year, and if anybody can deal with it, through experience if nothing else, it's The Patriots.

Here's a quick look at the top four seeds and their remaining schedule:

Indy - I bleeping hate Indy. It seems like I like them less and less every year. Believe it or not, there was once a time when I actually liked Indianapolis. They used to be one of my backup teams. Those days are long gone. Indy faces Tennessee, Jacksonville, Cincy, Houston and Miami. On the face of things, none of these teams would seem like they would present a huge challenge to The Colts at this point, but Tennessee has been knocking off good teams left and right and Jacksonville always gives Indy a game.

Baltimore - These guys are scary this year, scarier than Indy if you ask me. They've got Cincy, K.C., Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. There are some tough games in there, but with the way The Ravens are bowling over teams, none of them are jumping out as a potential loss for The Ravens. K.C. is probably the toughest game they have left.

San Diego - These guys are one of my main Patriots backup teams, except when they are in the way of The Pats getting a higher seed in the playoffs that is. They've got Buffalo, Denver, K.C., Seattle and Arizona. Not necessarily an easy schedule for these guys. Denver and K.C. are going to give them everything they have. Seattle could be a challenge as well.

The Pats - Detroit, Miami, Houston, Jax and Tennessee. There are a few potentially challenging games in there. Miami, Jacksonville and Tenn could be tough games. As long as The Pats continue playing solid all around football and clean up the turnovers, these are all winnable games.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Pats win caps off a nice long weekend

Well my long Thanksgiving weekend is winding down. After I write this I'll read a few pages of my book (currently reading Jarhead by Anthony Swafford), then it will be time for sleep. When the alarm goes off in the morning it'll be back to the 9 to 5 routine.

It was a great four days off. Thanksgiving was a lot of fun, though I ate way, way too much. I could hardly move when it was time to leave my Mom's house. It was either that piece of pumpkin pie or that last Harpoon IPA that send me over the edge.

In general, I ate way too much this entire weekend. I did have a salad at one point, but it was a taco salad. Even though technically a taco salad is 'a salad', I don't know how non-fattening that kind of salad really is. In any case, I think it can be said that when the least fattening meal you've eaten over a four day period is a taco salad, you've gone a bit overboard.

Tomorrow I'll get back into the exercise routine of walking and going to the gym on my lunch-break. And it will be back to the same old boring sandwich every day for lunch. Oh well. Only a few more weeks till Christmas vacation...

One of the highlights of the weekend was The Patriots win over The Chicago Bears today. The Bears were a very intimidating team coming into Foxboro. They had a 9-1 record and even Patriots Football Weekly had given the Pats only one out of five possible advantages in the running, passing and special teams categories going into the game.

I watched the first half of the game while I worked on covering up the lolly columns in my basement with pole wrap. I finished up the work just in time to come upstairs and catch the second half in the comfort of my living room.

It was a very exciting game, thought there were quite a few moments of stress. The end of the game was particularly stressful. With The Pats holding onto a narrow lead, I paced the living room, wrapped up in The Lucky Patriots Fleece Blanket, occasionally yelling at the TV.

My baby daughter was rambling around having fun in her walker and with my every shout or curse, she would turn and look at me quizzically, like she was not sure how to react to this noise that I was making. She is not used to seeing me yelling and shouting, so she always looks at me funny at first when something happens during a game and I make noise. Then she smiles when she sees everything is ok and Daddy is just being noisy.

The Pats were successfully trying to run out the clock to end the game when running back Corey Dillon coughed up the ball, giving Chicago a last ditch chance for a comeback. As the yelling ensued, my daughter rambled over in her walker to see what all the shouting was about and game me a smile, like, 'Don't worry Dad. It's going to be ok.'

Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman then proceeded to throw the ball up for grabs and it was intercepted by the Patriots cornerback, Asante Samuel. Game over. Baby smiles are extra lucky.

Some side notes:
Congratulations to Kevin Faulk for taking over as the Patriots all-time record holder for receptions by a running back.

Nice job to Stephen Gostkowski for his 52-yard field goal today. The first try at it was a miss, but as luck would have it, Chicago called time out before the kick, giving him a second chance, which he made.

Welcome back to punter Ken Walter. He did not do too badly I thought, considering he had basically been retired prior to re-joining The Pats today.

Pats linebacker Junior Seau left the game with an arm injury. Hopefully he will be able to return to the team at some point. He had been having a great year after un-retiring to join The Pats.

Today was Tom Brady's 100th game. With today's win Tom Brady now has a 76-24 career record. Nice.


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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Made it...

Whew. Made it. I did not think this Thanksgiving break was ever going to arrive. The clock seemed to be stuck in extra-slow mode today, but quittin' time finally arrived.

Now the grinders have been chomped and the beers have been cracked. Time to kick back, relax and then relax some more. It's time to decompress... Whew.

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving holiday. Stay safe and have fun my friends.

OMG Terrell Owens does not like Donovan McNabb I did not know that!

There was a story on ESPN that talked about the fact that Terrell Owens will not be sending any get well messages, text or otherwise, to his former Philly teammate, Donvan McNabb, who suffered a season ending leg injury last week.

Apparently, the two players do NOT get along! NO WAY! I did NOT know that!

After finishing the short article, I was asking myself, 'Why did I click on that link?' I don't know, but that's 30 seconds of my life that I can never get back.

In other non-news, it's officially cold out here in the glorious Northeast U.S. I had to don the Patriots winter jacket for the first time this year. I don't mind the cold so much. It's the snow that I hate. If it's cold and does not snow all winter, I am completely down with that. Like, totally, for sure.

Plus the prospect of no snow equals a potential for good ice on the ponds for skating and hockey, which, really, is the only good thing that winter has to offer as far as I'm concerned. No snow = good winter. All you snow-skiers out there can bite me hard. Come shovel my driveway.

I keep telling my Wife that a nice snow-mo-bile would really make a big difference in changing my attitude towards snow, but even with all the blatantly obvious hint-dropping, so far, a snow-mo-bile has yet to appear in my driveway. Shocking, I know.

Other top stories we're following: I have to go to the store after work to get some canned pumpkin. That's because I'm going to attempt to make pumpkin bread for Turkey Day tomorrow. I'm using my grandmother's recipe, for those of you who are still reading this truly enthralling post at this point. Yes it's true. I crap you negative*

*I stole that line from Eddie Spaghetti of The Supersuckers.

Ok. Is it 5 O'clock yet? I've got a 4 day weekend to get started...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Another day down, one to go...

Ok. Made it through Tuesday, which is actually Thursday, work-wise that is. That makes tomorrow Friday and that gives me an excuse for a Dunkin's sammitch to start off the day. Nice.

I am a little bummed out tonight because one of my favorite bands, The Supersuckers were playing in the area the last few days, in Boston and Providence, but sadly I was unable to see them play either show due to a severe case of negative cash-flow.

It always sucks when you miss out on witnessing The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World.

My only consolation is that I did just see The Supersuckers a few weeks ago when they opened for Social D, so it's not all that bad. And, also easing my pain somewhat, I recently learned that Slayer is going to be playing down at Lupo's in Providence this upcoming February. Yes. Slayer in a small club that has big support poles sticking up right in the middle of the spot where the pit forms.

That's right I will be there for that extravaganza. No way I'm going to miss that, negative cash flow be damned (I hope).

Hail Satan.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Short week...

Hey gang. How you doing? It's a short week for me this week as we head into Thanksgiving, meaning that every day is going to drag as I alternate between looking at my watch and the clock on the computer screen, waiting for five o'clock to arrive.

We've got one day over with as Monday is winding to a close. Tuesday is going to feel like a Thursday and that's fine by me. I'm hoping something will pop up tomorrow that will keep me just busy enough not to notice the time going by, but not busy enough to warrant me staying a minute past 5 PM.

How's that for a motivated work force? Yeah. You know it baby.

It's a slow, three day work week. The office is dead and those who have not taken vacation this week are there marking the time just like I am.

I'm already thinking that tomorrow will be a good day for an afternoon coffee run. Technically that happens on Wednesdays, as a little mid-week mini-reward, but since tomorrow is really Thursday, (even if it is actually Tuesday) that means I will have missed Wednesday and thus, can make up for it by going for coffee tomorrow afternoon.

See how that works?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Overall, a good day for Football...

It was a very good day for football today, with the exception being Philly's Donovan McNabb suffering a season-ending injury with a torn ACL. That sucks. I hate to see that kind of thing happen to any player.

The Pats laid the whomp down on Green Bay today, putting an end to their thankfully short, two game losing streak and winning for the first time at Lambeau Field, 35 to zipola. No more losing streaks for the rest of the year now Patriots. Thank you.

Amazingly, this was only The Patriots second time playing at Lambeau Field and only the third time they have played in the State of Wisconsin. For some reason, these two teams don't seem to cross each other's paths that often.

Even though The Packers are not an upper echelon NFL team right now, they are always tough to beat at home and it was good to see the Pats get this win. It's amazing what it does for my mood. All is right with the world again and I can now head into the short Thanksgiving Holiday week calm and content.

I was sorry to see Far-vre get hurt in the game. Hopefully it is nothing that will keep him from playing next week. I don't like to see players get hurt, on either side of the ball..

In other good Football News, The Indianapolis Colts can now be referred to as 'formerly undefeated'. How 'bout them Cowboys huh? Woo hoo! I mean, Yee-Ha! Dallas beat Indy, 21-14, today. Thanks Dallas. Glad we got that out of the way. Now the rest of us can get on with enjoying the regular season knowing that The Colts won't go undefeated. That is a load off my mind.

As The Pats were winning in Green Bay, The Jets were losing at home, giving The Patriots a little breathing room in the AFC East. I wonder what the magic number for The Pats to clinch The Division is at this point... It's probably something like 3 or something like that. I'd take the time to figure out the Pats magic number and let you know what it is if it were not for one thing: figuring out the magic number would require thinking, and that is something I am not in the mood to do at the moment. Right now I am in the mood for zoning, as in out, soon to be followed thereafter by sleeping.


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Friday, November 17, 2006

Please note:

I would just like to note the following:

It's the middle of November and the temps here in the Northeast U.S. are in the 60s. Fabulous. I hope it stays like this all winter. I hope it is 55 degrees in the middle of January. Global warming rules.

You may have noticed that I've been throwing around the word 'awesome' a lot lately and I feel the need to point out that 'awesome' is not a word that can be applied to just anything around here. 'Awesome' is definitely not an adjective to be taken lightly. To receive the 'awesome' moniker on this site, something must be truly AWESOME. So if I tell you that I think something is awesome, that means that I think it's really, really good and super cool too.

Unless I am being sarcastic.

Like when I describe getting cut off in traffic by a person talking on their cell phone while driving their Ford Expedition as awesome, that's not really awesome. That's the opposite of awesome. Or if I describe the feeling of finding out that Jessica Biel has been dating Derek Jeter as awesome, that is total sarcasm right there. That is definitely the opposite of awesome. Oh my sweet Jessica, what were you thinking?

Please don't tell me that Jeter has also dated Jessica Alba. There are some things I'd rather not know. Maybe he has, maybe he hasn't. I honestly don't know, but if he has, then don't ruin it for me. Let Jessica Alba remain pure in my mind. Thank you.

While I have been using the word 'awesome' quite a bit recently, on the flip side, I have been trying to curtail my use of the word, 'fuck'. Overuse of this word limits it's effectiveness. Plus it's naughty.

A couple people have e-mailed me, ok one person, has e-mailed me, asking what I thought of the The Sox shelling out 50 million just to talk to some Hekimatzuizilla guy. (Apparently he's a pitcher?) My answer: The Pats are playing Green Bay this weekend.

Seriously, talk to me when pitchers and catchers report. I'll see who shows up at The Fort and tell you what I think then. Right now it's football season.

This may be one of the most pointless posts I have ever written. And that's saying something.

One last thing. The End Zone is on Fridays now, so head over to Faster Than the World and check it out if you get a chance!

Ok as you were. Happy Friday.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oh yeah, the scout team!

Vinny Testaverde's recent arrival in Foxboro has had a few people scratching their heads. My initial thought was that he would provide a good veteran presence for Brady to work with, but the question was asked if Vinny would be playing on the scout team and a little light-bulb went off.

Yes. The scout team!

One of the less heralded roles that former Pats backup Chandler Bing, I mean, Damon Huard, played on the team was his ability to run the Pats' scout team. He was known to be able to mimic opposing quarterbacks right down to the letter, including quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, and that provided a great deal of help to the defense's game preparation week to week.

Yes. The scout team! Helping Tom Brady! Fetching coffee for the coaches! Whatever! As long as the team is getting better and gets back on the winning track, it's all good. I have not had to live through a Patriots losing streak in 4 years and 2 games is long enough I think. Time to get back to winning streaks.

This upcoming game against Green Bay will be interesting. The Pats used to play Green Bay rather frequently in the late 90s, especially after they met in the Superbowl, but that has tapered off over the last few years.

Seeing The Patriots playing at Lambeau is always kind of cool. There's something about that stadium that is unique from all the others in the league. It has a certain aura about it.

I'm sure we will hear all kinds of Far-vre / Brady comparisons leading up to the game. The old war horse vs. the latest and greatest QB and all that. Whatever. As long as The Pats come out of the game with a win and Chicago hands The Jets a loss this weekend, I'm good.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tingly Tingles...

Last night I watched the Red Sox 2006 Hall of Fame show. The first part of the show featured the induction of Dave Roberts.

I felt all tingly watching the replays of Roberts and 'The Steal', the play that started the greatest comeback in sports history back in 2004.

Roberts steals 2nd

There was also an extremely comical moment with Kevin Millar that had me laughing out load as he pretended that he was being inducted into The Sox HOF for getting the walk that put him on first base and allowed Roberts to come in and pinch run for him. Well it is true that if Millar did not get that walk, then Roberts would have never had gotten his opportunity to come in and eventually steal second. Much appreciation to Kevin Millar.

It was really nice to see Dave and listen to his comments after being inducted. He seemed to truly appreciate the honor.

Later in the show former Sox Manager Joe Morgan was inducted as well as The Rem Dawg, Jerry Remy.

Warm fuzzies all around.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Some thoughts from Captain Crabby Crankypuss...

I've been in a crabby, cranky mood the last few days. I don't really know why, I just have. It's not just because The Pats lost again on Sunday, though that certainly did not help matters. Maybe it's that time of the month for me. I don't know. November is kind of a rough month for me. Some events occurred during the month of November a long time ago that unfortunately still haunt me to this day. I hate it because this fucking ball and chain just does not ever go away. I've tried Jack and I've tried Jesus, but I still carry shit around that won't go away. Whatever. Enough about my problems.

The Pats are tearing up the grass field down at Gillette and will replace it with an artificial surface. I have mixed feelings about it. I think the game should be played on grass, but I guess if The Pats are going to let people play soccer on it and have concerts and other stuff going on on top of the field, then it's probably the best thing to do.

It has been painfully obvious that the grass surface does not hold up to all the abuse that soccer, concerts and football put on it. The field looked horrible at the start of the season and it only became worse as the games continued. At one point it looked more like The Pats were playing on a beach out there than on grass.

Personally I don't think that soccer should be played on that field, but I can understand why the Krafts allow it. A privately financed stadium needs to generate revenue and that's the bottom line.

An artificial surface will be able to stand up to far more abuse than a grass surface can. An improved surface should also reduce the risk of injury as well. Anybody that has ever played sports on a bad surface knows that it can be hard on the ankles and knees. It's not fun when you're running down the field and roll your ankle because you hit a bad spot and stepped into a giant divot on the field.

I wish the field at The Razor could have remained a natural surface, but in the long run, it's probably the right thing to do.

The Pats signed Vinny Interceptaverde as their emergency quarterback. I guess I should not pick on him with that name anymore now that he's a Patriot, especially considering the number of picks that Brady has thrown in the last few games.

I'm not really sure what the rationale for signing Testaverde is, but I'm guessing that one reason might be that it provides a benefit to Tom Brady to have a veteran QB presence around to talk with about different situations and to bounce different ideas off of. Up until now, Brady has been the veteran / mentor to Matt Cassel and it's been kind of a one way street. Cassel gets valuable knowledge from Brady, but how much is Cassel really helping out Tom?

Now Brady will have a person there for him to turn to who has been around the league and has faced all kinds of different situations while playing quarterback. Brady has not been himself this season. Hopefully having a guy like Testaverde around will be a help to Tom as he continues to work on getting better every week.


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Monday, November 13, 2006

What I said

Richard Seymour's comments on the Pats' recent loss to The Jets this past Sunday pretty much echo the same thoughts that I had immediately after the loss...

"Just from looking at the game film, we don't question anybody whether they're hustling or putting their best foot forward. We just have to do a better job and play smarter than we're playing now."
-Richard Seymour

It's not that the Pats are not working or playing hard, it's the mental mistakes during the game that are killing them. The Pats have been making it too easy for the opposition and have been beating themselves. Clean up the mistakes during the games and the team will be right back on track.

Shake it up...

This site has grown very 'blah' for me lately and I think it's time for a change around here... I don't know what is going to happen or when it's going to happen but it's time to make this place a little different.  Maybe a new look will help... I don't know. But it's time for something to shake this place up a little. The writer will stay the same, sad to say, but maybe the writing can be improved too.

The world did not end after The Pats lost yesterday...

When The Patriots lose a game, the following day always sucks. Yes, I am well aware that I take these games way to seriously. Here are a few things that help me feel better after The Patriots loss to The Jets yesterday:

- The Pats are 6-3. Obviously you want to win all of these games but that is not realistic. 6-3 is a decent record at this point in the season, so I need to try to maintain some perspective and not act like they are 3-6.

I tend to be very up and down when it comes to following my teams. When things are going well, I think that we are going to win The Superbowl. If the slightest thing goes wrong, I want to immediately hit the panic button. I get all, 'Oh shit, we're going down! The season is over!' when in reality that is not the case..

- We still hold the lead in the Division. Yes, the race has tightened, but The Pats are still in the drivers seat as far as the AFC East goes.

- The Pats have lost the last two games mainly due to turnovers. That is a problem that they should be able to fix.

- I have to admit I have become somewhat spoiled by The Patriots and their performance over the last few seasons and my expectations week to week may be unreasonably high. Expecting them to go 6-0 in the AFC East is a prime example of that. If The Pats lose a game, even a divisional game, it is not the end of the season... The Playoffs don't start tomorrow.

- In 2001, the Pats were 5-5 at one point. No-one expected anything from them that year and they went on to win the Superbowl. I am not saying that I expect history to repeat itself, or that this year's Patriots team is the same as the 2001-02 team, I am simply using that example as a way to remind myself that the way things look at mid-season is always very different than the way things end up as teams head into the playoffs. A lot can (and will) change between the middle of November and the middle of December.


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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Turnovers kill Pats again...

That Patriots / Jets game today was one of the most frustrating Pats games I've watched in a very long time, even worse than last weeks loss to the Colts.

The Patriots offense was running in the mud all day, both literally and figuratively. I don't understand why, but it feels like the Pats are almost refusing to go with what seems to be their strength on offense, the running game. Dillon looked great running the ball today, but hardly touched the ball. I think he got 10 carries all day.

The Pats looked great throwing the ball against Minnesota a few weeks ago but overall, the Pats' passing game has felt totally out of sync all season. There have been times when it seems like they are starting to click, but then it falls apart.. This current crop of receivers is not what I would term as 'sure handed'. Yes, they have made some nice catches, Reche Caldwell's catch and run for a TD today was very nice to see, and with the 2 point conversion tacked on, that score pulled the Pats within 3 at the end of the game, but plays like those seem to be few and far between.

It feels like more often than not, passes are getting dropped or tipped. I feel like The Pats are continually taking shots down field and 'going for it' with long passing attempts as well, instead of sticking with what works, consuming the clock and moving the chains with the running game and short to intermediate passes. I wish The Pats would get back to running the ball more and get Dillon more involved. Stop trying to force the passing game. Go with what works.

Defensively, the Pats were missing some key players today. Rodney Harrison was out as well as Ty Warren. Richard Seymour was in the game but spent a lot of time on the sidelines. The Pats seemed to be unable to stop the Jets defensively, who simply moved the chains with the running game and short to intermediate passes, like I was screaming for The Patriots to do.

With the loss, The Pats fall to 6-3 and The Jets climb to 5-4 and only one game back for the Division lead in the AFC East. The result of this game will make things interesting over the next few weeks. The Pats could have effectively wrapped up the division with a win. Instead they are looking at a dog-fight the rest of the way if The Jets go on a run.

Maybe this loss will serve as a wake up call to The Pats. It's not like I think they are putting out less than 100% or playing lethargically, like they are assuming they are going to win these games, they just need to clean up the mistakes. Eliminate the damn turnovers and they are in a different position right now. It's that simple.

The last 2 games were both lost due to turnovers. Clearly Brady is still not on the same page with his receivers. They have made progress since the beginning of the year, but now we are in the second half of the season and this is where teams either elevate their game, of get left behind.

I hope tomorrow I won't hear anyone say, 'This is not how The 3 Time Superbowl Champions play.' Whenever I hear someone say that kind of thing it makes me nuts.. The Pats won the Superbowl two years ago. This is a different team now, a very different team. People need to stop expecting these guys to play every week like the 2004-05 Superbowl Champions.

Thankfully there are still a lot of games left and I think the Pats can pull it together. We are still in good shape at 6-3, but we're looking at another week of living with a loss. That sucks. The Pats ended the last of their many long running streaks today. Until today, they had not lost back to back games since 2002. Now that streak is over. I'm pretty sure that was the last one.

It's time to start thinking of the team as what they are, a 6-3 team who is in the playoff hunt, but not guaranteed anything. Hopefully they'll get back on track next Sunday against Green Bay.


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Friday, November 10, 2006

Very Superstitious..

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I went into the closet and was trying to decide what to wear for a shirt today. I started to reach for a green flannel shirt but before I could take the hanger off of the rack, I quickly stopped and paused as a voice inside my head said, 'WAIT!'

Voice: 'The Pats are playing The Jets this weekend. You can't wear green. Green is the enemy color. You don't want to give any help to the Jets by wearing something green do you? Better wear something blue. Dark blue. Patriots blue'

I put the green shirt back on the rack and grabbed a blue shirt instead. And I put on some Patriots socks for good measure.

Yes, I have issues.


Yesterday I got an e-mail from ticket master telling me about some upcoming concerts and shows. One of the concerts listed was Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band and it was going to be on a Saturday night. 'Hey that might be a fun night out,' I thought, so I called my Wife to see if she would be interested in going. She was more than happy at the idea of getting a night out, so I clicked on the link to see about getting a ticket.

Guess how much? For Bob Seger. You'll never guess.

Seventy-Five Dollars!! For Bob Seger! What??

I was thinking the tix would be 30 - 40 bucks, max. Am I crazy to think $75 is way to much for Bob Seger tickets? Would you pay $75.00 to see Bob Seger? Maybe I am just cheap (I am.) That price seems to be a little recockulous to me. Plus add in all the fees and other nonsense that get tacked on any you're looking at probably $90.00 a ticket. For Bob Seger. 

I like his old songs but I am not what you would call a die-hard Seger fan. I was just looking for a fun night out with my Wife. Needless to say, the Wife and I will not be seeing the Bob Seger show. Maybe if we're lucky Clutch Grabwell will be playing somewhere that night instead.


Things were fairly sedate at the Dunkins this morning when I went in to get my Friday sammich and coffee. There was no parking lot craziness or other Dunks related issues to report today.


One last thing, The Bruins continue to be 'The Hub of Frustration', losing again, last night to Toronto. The B's are not fun to watch right now. Not fun at all. The Bruins suck right now ok? There I said it.

Sooner or later they're going to turn things around. Ever the optimist...

Happy Friday! Don't forget about Valour IT!

Hey what's up innerwebinstangs. (I just made that word up.)

Hope you're having a great Friday! I just wanted to post a reminder here not to forget about VALOUR-IT!

This is a great program that will directly help a U.S. Soldier who has been injured while defending OUR country, and YOUR freedom. So take a second and click on the link there to the right at the top of the page and send some money to help support Valour-IT. It does not matter how much. Five, ten, twenty bucks... whatever you can spare.

Instead of getting a pizza tonight, put the money towards a voice-controlled computer that will go an American Soldier who can't use their hands right now, that will allow them to communicate with their family, friends and compatriots still in the field.

That's right. I'm guilting you. Do it.

(And Thank you!)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Last Nine Innings: A book review

I don't normally do book reviews here but I recently finished reading a very interesting and extremely enjoyable book entitled, The Last Nine Innings by Charles Euchner.

The Last Nine Innings uses Game Seven of the 2001 World Series between The New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks as a dramatic backdrop to discuss the game of professional baseball as it is today.

The book follows each inning of the climactic game of one of the most exciting World Series to take place in recent years and on it's way, describes some of the changes that have taken place in the game of baseball, such as the increased usage of statistics to help Managers make critical in-game decisions, the internationalization of the game that has come from the influx of players from regions such as Latin America and Asia, and the advanced training techniques used by today's baseball players to keep their bodies in top shape over the course of a 162 game season. I found Euchner's interview of Steve Finley and his description of the workout regiment Finley uses in order to increase his overall body strength and flexibility to be extremely interesting.

There were several parts of this book that I particularly enjoyed, such as it's description of the ever increasing mix of statistics along with old-school gut feelings during games and how the two work together to shape the outcome of a game.

Euchner details the training methods and thought processes of the athletes that played in the 2001 World Series. Through player interviews intermixed with descriptions of the game's action, he talks about what they are thinking when they come to the plate, their different swinging styles, hitting stances, and how a player will use the position of their hands on the bat to affect how and where a ball will land on a hit. He describes how a player positions himself in the field, and how, as a pitcher throws to the plate, fielders keep their bodies prepared to be able to run, catch, field and throw the ball in order to make the necessary plays to win the game.

The part of the book that I most enjoyed was Euchners' descriptions of the thought processes and methods that dominant pitchers such as Curt Shilling, Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson use when facing batters throughout the game. From training, pre-game preparation, and in-game strategies, pitch to pitch, Euchner describes what these great pitchers do in order to get strikes, or to get a ball to ground out or pop up to where they know their defense can catch it for an out.

Euchner devotes entire chapters to Shilling, Clemens and Johnson. As a Red Sox fan, it was great to read about Curt Shilling's approach to every game, and how he goes into every game looking for perfection. He starts every game trying for a no-hitter. If someone gets on base, he strives for a one-hitter, and then moves on from there.

The Last Nine Innings was an enjoyable read that I think will fascinate both the casual baseball fan and the hard-core fan that never misses a game. Whichever group you happen to fall into, I can tell you firsthand that you will learn something from this book and after reading it, you will watch the game of baseball with a new insight and perspective.

For baseball fans who are waiting for Spring Training to arrive, this is a great book to help get you through the winter. Check it out if you get a chance.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Harrison has broken shoulder...

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe is reporting that Pats safety Rodney Harrison has a broken shoulder blade. The timetable for his return is unknown.

That is a shame after the amount of effort he put in to get back on the field this season.

The report says the the injury will not require surgery. Hopefully Harrison will only be out for a few weeks.

In the meantime, ug.

Troy Brown is The BALLS...

Have I mentioned that Troy Brown is 'THE BALLS'?

Well he is.

Somewhat lost in the hoopla and frustration surrounding last Sunday night's Patriots / Colts game was Troy Brown's record breaking 535th pass reception.

(Boston.com photo)

Brown passed Stanley 'The Steamer' Morgan as The Patriots all-time leading receiver and etched his name at the top of The Pats' receiving record with catch number 535. Not too bad for a guy who almost did not make the team back in 1993.

Morgan's previous record of 534 catches had stood for over 20 years. Who knows how long Troy's record will last once he's finished with the game? I don't know, but I won't be surprised to see a giant Troy Brown banner hanging at Gillette some day, commemorating one of the greatest players in Patriots history.

Troy Brown does it all for The Patriots.

Troy Brown = THE BALLS.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Recockulous turnovers cost Pats...

Monday AM. I'm still stinging from last night's Pats loss to the increasingly hated Colts. Yea, I know it's just a game. Easy for you to say.

My Wife came downstairs as I was getting ready for work this morning and asked, 'so, how did it go.'

'They lost.' I replied flatly.

'I had a feeling. It did not sound too good,' she said.

Yes, I can get quite vocal during games, especially when my team is continually wasting scoring chances by turning over the ball. And that is what gets under my skin more than anything, not so much that The Pats got beat, because I don't expect them to go 16-0 during the regular season, it's the way that they lost.

That was a completely winnable game for The Patriots last night, but the story of the game is the 5 Patriot turnovers. The excuse everyone will be using today is that some of those INTs were tipped balls, but that does not matter. It's on Brady just as much as it is on the receiver. Brady needs to put the ball in a spot where the receiver can cleanly make the catch, and not have to try to jump, stretch and contort himself to make some kind of miracle grab. That's how balls get tipped up in the air like a volleyball, just waiting for a defender to grab it.

Even with all the mistakes, penalties, dropped and tipped balls that went right into the hands of The Colts, The Pats were there at the end of the game and they had a chance to tie the score in the final two minutes, but in the end they could not overcome their own mistakes as the game ended with a final, deflating turnover on a tipped ball interception. Don't call it a comeback.

The bottom line is, I can bitch about last night all I want, but that is not going to change the final score. Today is going to be my usual, 'bitchy after a Patriots loss so don't bug me' day, then tomorrow it's time to suck it up and get back to business.

Like I said last night after the game, there's still half a season in front of us and a lot of things can and will happen during the next eight games. The Pats can practically seal up the AFC East with a win over The Jets this upcoming Sunday, so I'll be looking ahead to that.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pats / Colts: 2nd Half thoughts as we go...

Some of these penalties are absolutely ridiculous. Hands to the face on Pats linebacker Mike Vrable? Hmm on the replay Vrablel's hands were on the guy's shoulders. I did not know shoulders=face. That ref #14, I don't know his name, I think he needs his prescription checked. I think he was the same guy who called 'taunting' on Troy Brown. Idiot ref...

Adam Vinatieri misses his first field goal attempt of the year. Ha-HA!!

Another turnover by The Patriots. This time Dillon coughed up the ball. I can't believe the Pats just keep giving the ball to Indy's offense like this. This game will be lost on these turnovers. Sickening... The Patriots Defense really needs turn up the heat and get a turnover themselves... A sack of Manning and then an incomplete pass results in a punt. At least The Colts did not get points this time. The score remains 17-14, Colts...

Time to stop typing for a while and concentrate on the game...

End of the 3rd. Colts went up by 10. Pats got 3 back to pull to within 7. They could have gotten more but a sure fire TD pass was tipped away by The Colts and then the rookie, I'm not going to bother trying to spell it right, Pats kicker shanked the field goal attempt wide right...

4th Q. 24-17, Colts. Time to dig in Patriots. You're only down by 7 here. Get it back. Penalties and turnovers are killing The Patriots. We need to play clean for the remainder of this thing to have a chance...

INTERCEPTION PATRIOTS!! With the Colts driving for a potential back-breaking score. The Pats pick Manning off. Now we need to get this thing tied up. NOW.

Dammit another tipped ball results in yet another turnover for The Patriots. That makes 4 turnovers in this game. Turnovers. Penalties. The clean game I was hoping for is not happening. 10 and change left in the game and the Colts are driving, as they have been all night. I hope the Pats can hold them to a field goal here... Damn this has been a frustrating game for Patriots Fans.

The Pats stopped The Colts on 3rd down and The Colts boot a field goal. 27-17, Colts. Not out of reach, yet, but The Patriots need to score a TD here and pull this thing to within 3. I'm trying to contain the stress in this game but it has not been easy. I've been clutching The Lucky Patriots Fleece Blanket.

I take these games to seriously. Dammit.

The Pats got a field goal to cut it back to 7 points. 6 and change left in the game. Not much time left. It's basically on the defense at this point to get the ball back into the hands of the offense as quickly as possible. No more posts till it's over. I could be in a bad mood tomorrow...

Well the game is over and The Patriots have fallen to The Colts, 27-20. Fuck. There's not much to say in this one except that there were 5 Patriots turnovers in this game and that cost them the game. Granted, several of Brady's interceptions came on tipped balls, including the final one, which came with The Pats trying to drive for a tying score, but that does not matter. A turnover is a turnover and that is what cost The Patriots the game. The numerous penalties against The Patriots did not help. Many of them came on 3rd down where they had The Colts stopped, but instead allowed their drives to continue.

There's not much else to say. Did I mention, fuck. Oh and I will be in a shitty mood tomorrow. This loss effectively puts The Pats in 3rd place or somewhere thereabouts in the AFC, depending on tie breakers and all that. The good thing is that there are 8 games left in the season (This is where I try to make myself feel better, in case you can't tell.) and there is plenty of opportunity there for The Pats to make a run at one of the top two playoff seeds. But in the meantime, dammit.

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Pats / Colts: 1st Half...

Some quick Pats / Colts thoughts at half-time...

The first half was not what I would call stressful. Frustrating is probably a better term to use. The Pats inability to stop the Colts passing game was very tough to see. I honestly thought that The Patriots would be able to do a better job against the Colts receivers, but The Colts are marching down the field with every possession.

The Pats looked good offensively. The running game has done a great job and there have been several big catches by The Pats receivers to move the chains.

Obviously, turnovers are the big thing The Patriots have to stop. The Colts have two interceptions and one of them led to a quick seven for Indy. The second one was because of a tipped ball, but still, it prevented the Patriots from scoring or possibly taking the lead.

Some of the penalties in the game so far have been ridiculous, but none was worse than the 'taunting' penalty called on Troy Brown. That was a total B.S. call if ever there was one.

Rodney Harrison has been out for most of the 1st Half after sustaining an arm injury. I hope he can come back in the 2nd half. The Patriots secondary seemed to be doing a better job with him in there, but if he can't get back in the game, the rest of the Patriots defense is going to have to step up...

Now The Pats are kicking off to the Colts. Let's hope The Pats can make things a little more difficult for The Colts... Have I mentioned that my extreme dislike for Peyton Manning continues to grow almost every season. I friggin can not stand that guy. I hope the Pats can get some turnovers off of him in this 2nd half...

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Colts Pats talk over at 'The End Zone'

Hey what's up gang. If you get a chance, head on over to 'The End Zone' and check out my latest football post, as well as the extremely interesting method I have chosen to pick this weeks games, 'The Spongebob Game Picks'!

Basically, whatever my mind wanted to pick, I picked the opposite. You will be surprised how many of them are actually turning out right. The Spongebob Method works! Who would have guessed!

Plus there's a bonus over there featuring one of the most asinine technical support calls I have ever taken.

Check back here later for some Pats / Colts posting on tonight's game...


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ten Thousand?? We could almost buy our own ship for that!

Hey innerwebs! Later on today, this site will pass the 10,000 hit mark and I wanted to mark the occasion with a quick post about it and also say that I really appreciate everybody that stops by.

Special thanks to anybody that links to my site as well. You are super cool.

Ok. Back to your weekend. Hope it's a good one. I'm about to go out and mow the lawn for the final time this year.

It was an exceptionally good year, lawn-wise. Weeds were minimal and a lot of the areas that were a little bare really filled in nicely. I think it might have been the best year my lawn has ever had and hopefully next year will be just as good!

For those who are not aware, I am a slave to my lawn.

Once the lawn mowing is complete, it'll be time to winterize the old lawn-mower and then re-arrange the shed, a chore that I hate doing, mainly because it means putting all the summer stuff away and moving the snow-blower to the front of the shed. Once the snow-blower's in the front of the shed, that officially marks the onset of winter. Here's a huge, 'BLAH!' to the start of winter.

I'm hoping this season will just be cold and not have too much snow. I'd like to do some skating on the ponds this year. We already had a brief snow flurry at the end of October, so I guess we'll see how that goes!

Ok time to get to work. Have a good weekend!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Pats / Colts / B's and Maple Syrup...

Hype it up baby. This Sunday, the greatest football game of the century will take place in Foxboro MA with The Pats facing The Undefeated and assuredly, this time, unstoppable Indianapolis Colts. At least, that's how the sports writers are talking about the game.

Haven't we been here before? The Colts come into Foxboro toting their ridiculous offensive numbers and best in the AFC record. HOW CAN THE PATRIOTS POSSIBLY STOP THEM?? Of course, this time around, people have come to the realization that the Pats HAVE stopped them, almost every single time, in this same type of situation, so the guys at ESPN are hedging their bets a little with this game. They've become a little gun-shy about picking against the Pats, even if deep down in their hearts, they really, really want to. That's you I'm looking at Tom Jackson.

Personally I would prefer to see the Patriots get a complete and total lack of respect heading into this game. I wish everybody at ESPN and the national sports media would unanimously pick the Colts to win and talk about how nobody can cover The Colts receivers and how The Pats don't have a chance because they no longer have Deion Branch and Adam Vinatieri is now kicking for The Colts.

That kind of thing just gets Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi and the rest of The Pats D that much more fired up. In my mind, a seething mad Harrison is a good thing. Unfortunately, the 'Experts' have learned their lesson about picking against The Pats over the last few years, so the disrespect factor is not as high as I would like to see.

I expect The Pats / Colts game on Sunday will be a good game and there are playoff implications riding on the outcome, but in the long run it's still just one game half-way through the season. Regardless of who wins the game, there's still a lot of football left to be played in front of both teams and anything can happen in the 2nd half of the season.

Ok. Now that I've gotten the rational part of the post out of the way, I honestly think The Pats are going to kick The Colts ASS on Sunday. I think this will be the one of those famous 'blueprint' games where Belichick shows the rest of the league, 'This is how you beat the Colts. Here you go. Have at it and have fun with it.'

A few random thoughts:
- I can't believe the Bruins lost that game to the Buffalo Sabers last night. I turned the TV off and The B's had a 3 goal lead in the third period. I came into work today and saw the score was 5-4 Buffalo and could not believe my eyes. Unbelievable. The fucking 'Hub of Hockey'. The Hub of Frustration is more like it.

- My Wife did not feel like arguing with my kids about dinner last night so she made them waffles and gave them some apple slices to go with it. My kids were dipping the apples in the maple syrup. To quote my own children when my Wife puts a vegetable on their plate, 'Yuck.'

I thought it was bad enough that they like to dip apples in ketchup, but apples and maple syrup?? Ug.

Then they were asking me, 'Want some Dad?'

'Ah, that's very nice sharing but no thank you.'

My Wife tells me to just be happy they are eating something healthy. True. I have always said that she is the smart one.

- The fact that not a single member of the Red Sox starting infield from this past season was awarded a Gold Glove is ridiculous. It is beyond ridiculous. It is recockulous. The Sox had one of the best fielding teams in the history of baseball last season and no Gold Glove love for a single player? I guess so. No Gold Gloves for YOU Red Sox infielders!

Add in the fact that a Gold Glove was awarded to Derek Jeter and that makes things even more recockulous.

Yes, that's right. When you get beyond ridiculous things become 'recockulous'. And that is what this whole Gold Glove fiasco is. Recockulous. Feel free to use that word by the way.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's Office Candy Day!!

It's two days past Halloween. In homes across America, all of the candy has been sorted and put into gigantic piles while parents everywhere wonder to themselves, 'Holy Crap! What are we going to do with all this candy?! That is just way too much! We need to get some of this out of the house before I O.D. on Kit-Kats.'

The solution to this problem is simple: Bring it into work and leave it in a pile in the break room. Hungry nerds will descend upon the candy pile like sharks smelling blood.

The problem: siphoning the candy out of the house without the children noticing that the candy bag has suddenly become noticeably smaller. It is difficult, but it can be done, as long as you are careful and don't take too much candy out at once.

This morning I arrived at work with my bag of leftover candy and headed to the break room to drop it off. There was already a large candy bowl in the middle of a table, filled almost to the top with candy. Notice I said 'almost'. Undoubtedly the bowl was full when it arrived, but even before 10 AM, the nerds had discovered that there is FREE CANDY in the break-room. I dumped my pile on top, filling the bowl back up.

I am willing to bet that the candy bowl will be empty by the time I leave work this afternoon. Nothing attracts nerds like free food and if it happens to be free candy, well, that's simply irresistible to the cube-dwelling folk in offices everywhere.

The vending machine guy is going to be pissed. It is going to be 'no dinero' for the vending machine company, for the next few days at least, as people whittle the candy levels in their homes down to  more reasonable levels.

I'll be checking the break-room candy bowl every few hours to see how things are progressing. Of course, there are bound to be people like me coming in and filling the bowl back up with more candy, so it will be interesting to see what will happen. 

Will the bowl remain at a consistent, nearly full level, or will the candy eventually run out? How long will it take? Will it be empty by lunch? Or will it take all day?

As you can see, this will provide me with an interesting distraction to the mundane work day that looms ahead...

Check back for an update later on!

I just checked the candy bowl before heading into the superfun, always cold, dark and noisy computer lab. It's not even 11 AM yet and all of the candy that I had piled into the bowl this morning is GONE. The bowl is currently sitting at half full. Many of the nerds don't arrive at work till 10ish (it's a laid back place), so it's possible the bowl could be re-filled at some point. More to come...

Update 2:
It's noon-ish and the candy bowl is about 1/4 full. All of the chocolate stuff is just about gone. All that's left is a few straggling 3 Musketeers bars (who really likes those anyway?) and hard candy like smarties and lollypops.

Ok admission time: I grabbed a few candies myself. I noticed there were some Reeses' 'Fast Break' and 'Nutrageous' bars in there and I nabbed them. Hey, I had never tried those before and I wanted to see what they tasted like, ok? The 'Fast Break' tastes like snickers, except with peanut butter instead of nuts. I like Snickers better. The 'Nutrageous' was super good though. And I grabbed a cherry Tootsie-Pop. And that's IT, so step the fuck off.

Update 3:
For those of you still following along, it's around 4PM and all that's left in the office break-room candy bowl are a few straggling lollypops. Those will be gone soon I bet.

Well that was fun. I'm going to have to come up with more goofy things to keep track of at the office. It's like a secret side project. It makes the day go by quicker.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Help somebody! Support Valour IT!

If you look over there on the right, you'll see a button for Valour IT.

I hope you can take a moment out of your day to help support this great program and maybe donate a few dollars to help our wounded U.S. Soldiers.

Thank you!

Here is some more helpful information about the program and the fundraiser from Blackfive:

Want to be part of something big?

Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss (Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss' father), provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field without having to press a key or move a mouse.

WHAT: Friendly fundraising competition for Valour-IT.
WHEN: October 30th through Veterans Day, November 10th .
WHERE: Based in the blogosphere, spreading everywhere else.
WHY: Because giving wounded warriors with hand and arm injuries access to a computer supports their healing and puts them back in touch with the world.
HOW: Blogger teams will be divided along military branches, with civilians "up for grabs.

It's a tax-deductible donation and eligible for matching funds from companies who do that sort of thing (see: http://soldiersangels.org/valour/irsinfo.html for proof for the cautious).

The snail mail address for those who'd rather donate that way:

Soldiers' Angels
1150 N Loop 1604 W, Suite 108-493
San Antonio, TX 78248

Let's be a part of something big.

When it comes down to it...

Last night was about only one thing:


As my daughter so eloquently put it as she ran across a neighbor's lawn, "CANDYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!"


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