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Entries from September 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Deadly Rythm...

The title of this post has nothing to do with any of this... I just like to see if anybody ever gets them.

Hey whats up? Happy Reward Friday! Make sure you reward yourselves today. (Mmmm. Dunkins breakfast sammmitch...). I was walking out the door for work this morning and I noticed I was wearing the same shirt that I had worn last Friday (clean of course). Isn't that weird? I wonder if the people at Dunkin's noticed... Hmmm.

So I was planning on posting my Turbonegro story today but I spent the majority of last night, along with my Wife, searching around in the yard with a flash-light, looking for a hysterical child's missing stuffed animal, a fuzzy blue webkin hippo named 'Snowflake'.

Snowflake is not supposed to be brought outside as he (or is it a she? I don't know.) has been lost in the yard several times already. His (or her) webkin friend, a stuffed animal chewawa named 'Sweetie', has also been lost outside in the same way, resulting in simelar hysterics and a simelar search around the yard, though at least the last time it was during the day.

Sweetie and Snowflake are also not allowed to take car rides unless it is in Mommy's van (nicknamed 'The Bomber' by the way, because my Wife says whenever they arrive somewhere it's like a bomb went off), as they are often forgotten and left behind in the car, resulting in the webkins taking an unexpected vist to Grandma's house for a few days, which usually results in, you guessed it, hysterics.

Normally we would have used Snowflake's latest dissaperance as a way to teach a little lesson on taking care of your things but it was supposed to rain last night and if the thing gets wet and ruined, who's got to deal with it then? Exactly.

In any case, the missing blue hippo was eventually found, thankfully before the rain started, after said hysterical child gave us a tip on where in the yard to look for the dang thing.

So I got the Turbonegro thing half-written. I want to finish it up before the details dissapate into a generally vauge but cool memory so I'll be trying to finish it when I have more energy later on.

In the meantime, Jess from The Army Wife has tagged my site as her first 'favorite blawg of the week'! Since this site has never been tagged as the anything of anything before, I think that's pretty cool! Thanks Jess! She has given me 10 questions to answer. What? Wait a minute! What is this homework or something!? I thought being blawg of the week was enough!

Just kidding. Here are the answers to Jess' questions:

1.) If you can be any animal, what would you be and why?
- I would be a T-Rex. T-Rex kicks ass and I could stomp on things. That would be fantastic. (check Dinosaur Comics to see T-Rex in action)

2.) Who do you think is better, Batman or Spiderman?
- Hmm that is tough because being a former comic nerd I have vast collections of both in boxes in a closet somewhere. I'd have to go with Batman because under it all he is just a regular person. No super-powers. And he's a detective. He uses his brains more than his muscle.

3.) If you were stranded on an island, what three things would you take with you?
- Ahhhh. That is a hard one to answer. Prob my acoustic guitar, a lighter.. does my family count as one thing? If not then a satellite phone so I can call someone to come pick me up!

4.) What is one of your biggest fears?
- Losing my job. This is what supports my family. Nuff said.

5.) Have you ever went sky diving? Would you want to?
- I had the chance to once but declined. This is something I have no interest in doing. I know I'd be the one to pull the cord and a bunch of laundry would come out, just like in bugs bunny cartoons.

6.) If you won a million dollars today, how would you spend your money?
- Pay off the house, and all the rest of the bills, put money away for the kids school. Buy matching set of Mustang Shelby GT's for my Wife and I. Or maybe I'd get a Dodge Challenger and she could get the Shelby Mustang. That way we could switch. I'd insist on her learning to drive a stick though!

7.) What is your most embarrassing moment?
- Well when I was in college I was in this battle of the bands thing. The guy that was helping us out with the gear, pretending to be a roadie or something, was messing around and knocked my guitar off the stand, putting it totally out of whack. I didn't have a tuner and I had to spend like 15 min trying to tune the thing by ear. It was impossible because I could hardly hear it over all the people talking and the general noise from the audience. I felt like a complete idiot standing up there trying to tune that dang guitar while everybody stood around waiting for me and watching me fool with the tuning pegs. Finally I gave up and just played it out of tune. Sounded terrible.

8.) What do you think about tattoos? Do you have any? Would you ever get any?
- I think tattoos are cool. I think it's interesting to see what people get on themselves and what the different meanings of people's tattoos are. I think full sleeves and stuff like that are cool looking.. It's painful to get one but I think if it's special enough to have something permanently done on your body then it's a good pain because the pain of getting it only adds to the meaning of the tattoo.

9.) What talent do you wish you possessed?
- I wish I knew how to work on cars, and re-build them, like Chip Foose (from the TV show Overhaulin'). That guy is my hero.

10.) What five things that you have done in life are you most proud of?
- Well my family is number one, I guess number two would be my guitar playing. I'm not the best but I'm not the worst. I've been playing for over 20 years and I never gave it up. 3 would probably be the improvements that I've done to my house, landscaping the yard, making the basement into a finished room.. 4 would be that I am proud of my team, the New England Patriots. I've been following them through good times and bad, I never gave up on them and now I'm enjoying the fact that my team is the Dynasty of this decade. 5. I guess I can make a mean bowl of chili. My spaghetti and meatballs are pretty good too.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How to annoy your neighbors...

I thought you guys might enjoy this follow up to the 'How to annoy your kids' story the other day..

This past weekend my neighbor's daughter and her friend put up a lemonade and cookie stand across the street from my house. Totally cute and adorable, it immidiately attracted the attention of my own kids who gladly went over to 'help' with running the lemonade stand, 'help' being a subjective term. Unless by 'help' you mean, help drink the lemonade and help eat the cookies.. In any case, while I was reminding my kids that they have to pay for the lemonade and cookies, my neighbor's daughter noticed that my daughter was wearing an orange shirt with a jack-o-lantern on it. The topic quickly turned to Halloween.

Neighbor's kid: I can't wait for Halloween. I'm going to be a witch!

Neighbor's kid's friend: Me too!

Me: Oh, you guys didn't hear the news about Halloween?

Neighbor Mom: What news?

Me: There's no Halloween this year. It's going to be every other year now.

Neighbor's kid: WHAT?

Neighbor's kid's friend: NO WAY!!

Me: [thinking] Way!

Me: Yeah, I heard it on the news.

Neighbor Mom: Really? Was that in the paper or..?

Me: I'm not sure. I heard it on the radio.

Neighbor Mom: Really?? I hadn't heard that. I'll have to look into that.

Neighbor's kid: [concerned] Can we still dress up and go out anyway??

Neighbor's kid's friend: [defiantly] Well I'm still going out!

Me: I guess they are limiting the candy too. They are trying to get people to give out healthy stuff like protein bars and fruit snacks and stuff instead of candy.

Neighbor Mom: [amazed] Reaally?? I swear I hadn't heard that...

Me: Well that's what I heard..

[At this point I am totally amazed at how easily I was able to trick all these people into thinking there was no Halloween this year. I even had the Mom totally convinced that Halloween was going to be every other year and I had to decide how long I wanted to let this go. I had visions of the entire neighborhood thinking that Halloween was going to be every other year and calling my house to find out where I had gotten this information. There was a little devil on one shoulder egging me to see how long I could keep this going, thinking it would be pretty funny to have the whole neighborhood actually believing this tale.. And there was an angel on the other shoulder telling me I better let these guys off the hook. The angel won. The devil was disappointed. Sorry Satan, maybe next time.]

Neighbor Mom: [skeptical] Is that true?

My daughter: [interrupting just as I was about to let the Neighbor Mom off the hook..]

My daughter: [rolling her eyes and shaking her head] Don't listen to him.. He's kidding, aa-gain.

Neighbors: [very relieved] Ohhhh. Ha Ha. Boy you really had me going there!

[It turns out I had a little extra help from a real-life angel in the end there..]

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Book Review: Little League, Big Dreams

I recently finished reading a very interesting and enjoyable book called Little League, Big Dreams, by Charles Euchner. I happened to finish the book, coincidentally, just about the time that the 2007 Little League World Series was wrapping up.

Little League, Big Dreams uses the 2005 Little League World Series as the back-drop to present the underlying theme of the book, what Euchner calls, 'The Professionalism of Childhood'. In the book Euchner describes the hard work and sacrifice that these young baseball players go through (some may say, endure) in order to make it into the Little League World Series tournament.

There were a number of areas that struck me when reading this book. The biggest thing that stood out was the dedication and sacrifice that coaches, parents and, most importantly, kids are willing to make in order to win these Little League baseball games.

The book describes kids who are willing to sacrifice permanent, long term damage to their not yet fully-developed arms in order to win. High pitch counts (at times throwing close to, and sometimes over 100 pitches in a game), pitching on three days rest, and throwing the dangerous curve ball, whatever it takes to win. It describes the coaches who demand this of their players and the parents who allow it all to happen.

Is it worth it? Is it worth having a 12 year old kid cause permanent damage to his arm to win a Little League baseball game? It is suggested at one point that Little League baseball is burning out the arms of talented kids who could potentially become big-league pitchers some day. You want to know the reason for the demise of pitching in today's game? Take a look at what's going on in Little League.

The book also spends a lot of time describing Little League coaches; grown men, some of whom are former big-league players themselves, treating Little League baseball as if it were the big leagues, and demanding the same types of sacrifices from their young players. Do these men take things a little bit too far over 'a kid's game'?

Focusing on teams from Hawaii, California and the Carribian nation of Curacao, Eucher describes the ideology of each team and the various methods that are used in order to get into the tournament. He describes kids giving up an entire summer to baseball, 6 days a week of training and practice, 'every day but Sunday' for an entire summer (sounds like fun?) He describes the different types of Leagues that are out there, Cal Ripken Baseball, PONY League, various travel teams, and how they are basically used as a training ground for the real goal of winning the Little League tournaments that will get your team into the World Series.

The quality of play in Little League baseball might not be as high as the competition a team will face in a PONY League or Cal Ripken League game, but those leagues have nothing that compares to the potential fame and fortune of making it to the Little League World Series. Do they show the PONY League World Series games on ESPN or talk about them in the newspapers sports pages?

Euchner also spends time on the business of Little League: the sponsorships, the money, the endorsements and the media attention that goes into these games. There's big money to be made on Little League baseball.

I should also point out that the book is not a cover-to-cover inditement of Little League. Euchner spends time describing the history of Little League baseball, where it all started and how it got to where it is today. He describes the setting of the Little League World Series tournament itself and the fun and enjoyment that the kids have simply being there. How, even with a giant spotlight on them, kids are still kids having fun.

If you have an interest in baseball and want to get a different perspective on the sport, a focus on kids emulating grown-ups, (grown-ups who are playing a kids game,) or if you are a parent who's child is taking part in organized youth sports, I think you will find Little League, Big Dreams to be both an interesting and enlightening read.

As I was reading it, I found myself asking, what would I ask my kid to do to win a baseball game? What would I allow? It's easy to sit back and say, 'I would never allow my kid to sacrifice their health over a Little League baseball game,' but in the heat of the moment, with the game on the line, would one more pitch wind up becoming just two more? Don't be surprised if you find you are asking yourself those very same questions.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Just some quick stuff for a Monday..

Even though it's a Monday, so far this day has been pretty good. The Patriots won yesterday and that always makes Monday's a lot nicer. The Pats started out a little slowly against the Bills and there were some worries of a possible let-down after the big win last weekend vs. San Diego. The team was not running on all cylinders to start the game, commiting several costly penalties and even an uncharacteristic fumble by Tom Brady at the goal-line when it looked like the Pats were going in for a sure-fire touch-down on a quarterback sneak. It seemed to take The Pats a quarter or so to get things into gear, but once they did, boy, they were gone. Final score: 38-7, Patriots. The game was pretty much well in hand for The Patriots by the time the 4th quarter even started. It's nice when your team can basically play the backups for the 4th quarter and kill the clock till time expires.

Next up: Cincy on a Monday Night. Ug. I love that the Pats are featured during prime-time, because that means they're a successful team, but man I hate those late night games and being up till midnight to see the outcome.

The Toronto Blue Jays finally did us a favor and beat the Yankees today. That puts the Red Sox up by 2 games in the AL East and lowers the Magic Number to win the division to 5 games. Nice. Thank you Toronto!

I got a call from my Wife this afternoon telling me that the generator that I bought has been delivered. I had been saving up for that thing for a very long time, over a year, and it is good to finally have it. No more power outages at my house and one less thing to worry about.

One year we lost power in the winter for several days after a blizzard. My Wife had to take the kids to her Mom's house because our house got too cold, plus there was no running water, etc. I had to keep a fire in the fire-place non-stop to keep the temperature up in the house so nothing froze. It was not fun. That's when I decided I wanted a generator.

More recently, we had a very rainy Spring and the sump-pump started running due to the water table coming up. Thank goodness we have a sump-pump, because we learned the hard way that we needed one a few years back when all the snow melted in the Spring and the basement flooded. I found out first hand that bailing out your basement with a shop-vac really, really, REALLY sucks. So I am glad that the pump is there, but I absolutely HATE it when it is running. That means there is water under my foundation and the pump is keeping it at bay from rising into the basement. That means if for some reason the thing breaks or if the power goes out, disaster.

It puts me into a constant state of worry and anxiety whenever that thing comes on. This past spring I was a nervous wreck for weeks during the time that it was running. After busting my ass for over a year to turn my basement into a finished room (The Man Nook), the idea of it possibly flooding had me in a non-stop state of frayed nerves. My mind was running wild with imaginary situations that would cause a problem with the sump-pump and prevent it from working.

Now we have a generator, and I won't have to worry about the power going out and watching helplessly as water comes up into my house. Whew. Not to mention we'll now have heat, water and the refrigerator working as well should the power go out for an extended time. Double whew!

On a final note, I'm going to see a band called Turbonegro play a show in Boston tonight. It should be a lot of fun but it kind of sucks that the show is on a Monday night. I'm kind of tired as I write this right now and I'd rather just go home and check out the generator to be perfectly honest.

Hmm, does this mean my age is catching up to me?

Well the hell with that! I'm sure that I'll have fun. I just need to catch my second wind here. I'll grab a coffee on the way in to the city to help me get the energy back up for the show. I'm sure it will be interesting, that is for sure. Ok I think I've got myself sufficiently psyched up now. Turbonegro rocks and this will be my first time seeing them. It should be interesting to see the cast of characters that come out for this one. Look for a story about the show in a few days or so.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I totally rock at delightful and adorable children's poetry...

You may not know this but I am a master at coming up with silly songs and poems for kids. I'm like the Tom Brady of delightful and adorable poetry for children. I'm not afraid to say it. It's a natural talent that I have.

Here's one I just came up with today for my daughter:

Ohhhhhh I am a toddler, and I like to climb,
I give Mom a heart-attack all the time!

Cuz I climb way up, way up high,
Then I jump right off, into the sky!


That was right off the top of my head. Oh yeah. Delightful children's poetry publishers.. call me. [extends pinky and thumb].

Saturday, September 22, 2007


The Red Sox clinched a post-season spot tonight after a Detroit loss and a come-back win for The Sox against the D-Rays. Excellent. But guess what? I still want to see the Sox win the AL East.. Am I too obsessed with this? Probably. Am I a totally and completely spoiled Red Sox fan? Absolutely. I'll admit it. I mean, the Sox are in the playoffs and I should be happy, and I am, and if the Sox win the Series this year, will the fact that they won or lost the A.L East really mean anything? Nope. But right now in this moment in time, I still would like to see them win the AL East anyway.. Because fuck the yankees. Fuck. Them.

Don't misunderstand. I'm very glad that the Red Sox are in the playoffs, but at the same time, I feel like there is still work to be done. Because there is. I hope the Sox feel the same. I'm not going to lie (I never do), if the Sox open any champagne tonight I'll be annoyed.

With all due respect to the Red Sox accomplishments so far this season, this team SHOULD be in the playoffs. Step one: check. Now it's on to step two.

Open the Champagne as you are raising a trophy overhead, not before.

No Pain means no Gain.

"He's gonna walk down that long dark alley and what he finds there, you know he'll never forget.."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Patriots Power: Bring on the beer and buffalo wings and bring on The Bills, bubba-lou-la-bowmm... (That's called alliteration. Yes, I got carried away with it.)

Some quick thoughts on the upcoming Pats / Bills game.

Like many Pats fans, seeing the 0-2 Bills coming into Foxboro has me thinking this Sunday's game has 'Pats win' written all over it and I find I have to continually remind myself that The Bills are ALWAYS a tough opponent for The Patriots. Regardless of their record this team is not to be taken lightly. The members of the press may scoff at Coach Belichick's suggestion that The Bills present a lot of challenges, but I think I'll listen to the Coach, not the writers.

Shocking, I know.

Do I sound like a broken record sometimes? You don't have to answer that. I know, I do. And continuing in that vein, I say this a lot and it remains true, the win / loss record means nothing when you're playing your divisional opponents. Just think about how many games between the Pats and Bills have come down to being decided by three points or less over the years.

The Bills have a very good defense and they will come into Foxboro desperate for a win and geared up to try and knock The Patriots off of their current perch as one of the NFL's 'elite' teams, (that is, as 'elite' as you can be after only 2 games..) As if beating the Pats is not motivation enough, The Bills will certainly be looking to win a game for their injured tight-end, Kevin Everett, who thankfully is showing signs of recovering from his spinal cord injury.

Despite last week's lopsided score, losing 26 - 3 to The Steelers, The Bills' defense actually played very well in that game, keeping the Steelers out of the end zone for the entire first half and limiting them only to field goals. The problem with the Bills is that their offense is, ahem, not that good, a fact that has got to have the guys on The Patriots D licking their chops. Hopefully the Patriots defense can continue their stifling ways after shutting down (and shutting up) San Diego's offense last week. That would be nice.

On offense, I'm hoping to see more of the same from The Pats, an offensive line that provides plenty of protection for Tom Brady and a balanced running and passing attack that has me jumping out of my chair every time Brady makes one of those beautiful passes to Randy Moss or Wes Welker.

On the 'intangibles' side of things, it works out good that the Pats have another game at home this week in the friendly surroundings of The Razor, not only because of the obvious home-field advantage, but because it will give the video-tape story another week to die down before the team goes back on the road to play in a hostile environment. Despite the press doing it's best to keep the story alive, by now it has basically become old news. Thankfully the whole video-tape scandal is pretty much on life support at this point and by the time the Pats hit the road next week, I expect there will be some new uproar for people in the press to get the NFL blabber-sphere worked up about and the majority of the herd will have moved on to greener pastures.

A win this week would give the Pats a 2-0 division record and a 3-0 conference record. The Jets and Dolphins will be facing each other this week and that means one of those teams, hopefully The Jets, will be 0-3 on Monday. Yes it's only week three and I'm already thinking about playoffs and tie breakers. Even though it's only September, these are the games where home-field advantage is earned. That's what's great about the NFL. There is no such thing as an 'unimportant' game.

I'll end it with a shout out to my number one favorite entities of all time ever, the All-Powerful Football Gods. Beers are always free for you guys whenever I am around. You know it. Thank you Football Gods.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

How to annoy your kids...

Here is your chance to help our troops in Iraq
Yes, I am hijacking my own post to let people know that Jess at The Army Wife is looking for help. Her husband's squad is currently stationed in Iraq and they can use any support that you can give. Jess is accepting donations through PayPal to help buy baby-wipes, personal hygiene and other items for her husband's squad. Any help you can provide goes directly to our men in the field. Please click here to head over to The Army Wife.com and learn how you can help. Thanks for reading.


Kids: [in a lilting voice] DaAAA-aaaddddd...

Me: Yes?

Kids: Guess what.

Me: What.

Kids. Guess what's coming uuuuuuupp sooooooon...

Me: What.

Kids: Hal-o-WEEEEE-EEEEnnnnn...

Me: Oh, Mommy didn't tell you?

Kids: [concerned] What.

Me: There's no Halloween this year. It's going to be every other year now. I heard it on the radio.

Kids: [shocked] WHAT???

Me: Yeah, the Department of Holidays said they were moving Halloween to every other year. And it's going to be in August now instead of October.

[kids jaws hit table]

Me: [continuing] I guess there were a lot of complaints that there were no holidays for August so they're moving Halloween next year. The weather is nicer and they said October already has Columbus Day, so...

[Wife just glances up at me and keeps eating]

Kids: Daaaaaaad....

Me: Yes?

Kids: Halloween is not every other year, it's THIS year. We've got catalogs and everything!!

Me: Yeah well I guess what happened is they just came out with this and the catalog companies were not notified in time to stop the Halloween catalogs from going out. So just save those for next year. You can use them then. Or just throw them away. I'm sure they'll send out new ones for next year..

Kids: [agog, nervously] Dad, you are being silly..

Me: I'm telling you, it was on the news! They're changing Halloween to every other year now. It was on the news! I heard they were rotating the candy too. One year it's gonna be candy and the next year it's gonna be just healthy stuff, like grapes, bananas, granola bars... I guess they decided kids were getting too much candy at Halloween. I think next year is a candy year. So that will be good, right? Next year you'll get some candy..

Kids: [jaws hanging, silent and dumbfounded]

Kids: [coming out of their shock] Mom, is that true??

Me: [interrupting, before she can say anything] I'm telling you I heard it on the news! They wouldn't make up something like this. Mom probably just forgot to tell you... right Mom?

Wife: Um. Yeah..

Me: Oh, and I heard that Christmas is every FOUR years now, which is great. That will really cut down on all those presents and stuff we always have to buy..

Kids: WHAAAAT!!!??

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pats / Chargers 4th Q: 31-14 Pats.

The 2nd half has not been quite as perfect as the 1st was for The Pats. The Chargers have scored twice while The Patriots have answered with a TD of their own to make the score 31-14, Patriots.

I've been a tad nervous at times, especially after an Ellis Hobbs turnover during a kick-off return gave the ball back to the Chargers deep in Pats territory. Relentless defense by the Pats, including 2 back-to-back sacks by Rosie Colvin, put The Chargers out of reach, thankfully, and they were forced to punt the ball back to The Pats.

Now we have 11 and change left in the game. I'm hoping for a nice, clock-chewing drive by The Pats here to kill the clock. A TD to put things, for all intents, out of reach would be excellent.

This has nothing at all to do with the game, but The Patriots cheer-babes in the white-colored, 'classic' cheerleader sweaters and skirts? Hot.

31-14 Pats. 5:11 left in the game. 2nd and 7 for the Pats on the San Diego 9 yard line... provided there are no you-know-what's, we should get a minimum of 3 points out of this drive. By the way this has been a 9 min + drive for The Pats. Perfect..

A 4th and 1 results in a decisive TD for The Patriots. Oh yeah. 38-14 Patriots. And now here is a TV commercial featuring LaDainian Tomlinson. No comment. Heh.

Less than 3 min left in the game. Lights out. Gino Cappelletti noted that it will be a long flight home for the Chargers. Enjoy the flight San Diego. I don't want to really say too much about that team, even though I could certainly say a few things. I don't want to incur the wrath of the Football Gods. (Thank you Football Gods. You light up my life.)

To paraphrase Gil Santos' remarks in the post-game, nice job by Bill Belichick to keep the Pats focused during that circus that took place last week. I hope he will savor this win for an hour or so. The Pats fans at The Razor applauded him as he walked back to the locker-room. It was good to see. You know he's going to get some harsh treatment around the rest of the league. Good job Patriots Nation.

Next up: The Buffalo Bills.


Half-time at The Razor. 24-0 Patriots. But Shawne Merriman has done his dance a few times..

Quote of the game so far: Look at the speed of that man!! - Play by play call by Gil Santos during Adalius Thomas' interception return as he streaked down the sidelines for a touch-down.

24-0 Pats at the half. The Pats have been nearly flawless on both offense and defense. Awesome totally awesome. There have been a few mistakes, a couple sacks on Brady, as well as an INT after the ball was thrown a little behind Moss and it bounced off of Moss' outstretched hand. There has also been a missed field goal as well as some short kick-offs by Stephen Gostkowski. Other than that, The Pats have really played an extremely well executed game.

The Patriots are moving the ball almost at will on offense and have caused 3 turn-overs on defense. Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson has not been a factor in the game yet, though his helmet's visor / face-guard has been really impressive in close-up camera shots..

The crowd at the Razor has been exceptional. They've been very loud when needed. They gave Bill Belichick a standing ovation at the start of the game and have booed down Merriman whenever he attempts his ridiculous little dance. Nice job by the 12th Man.

The Razor looks great from the arial shots by the way. So impressive. I think of old Foxboro Stadium and then look at Gillette Stadium and I am proud.

I love this team.

Ok game on. The Pats need to come out in the 2nd half with the same level of execution. No let up.

Quick update:
Forgot to note I was moved from the living room down to the Man Nook (a.k.a. the basement) by my Wife due to noise issues and accidentally knocking things over issues after The Patriots scored at the start of the game. I guess I was a little over excited.

'You act like you are in the game or something!' said my Wife.

That is ok though. The Man Nook is a super cool place to watch a game, surrounded by my Patriots stuff on the wall. Plus I have Patriots pillows on the couch. And that is cool.

The Bills, Fish, and Jets (ha) all lost today. All three of the Pats rivals in the AFC East are now 0-2. Nice.


The Chase is on..

The NASCAR Chase for the Championship begins with this week's race at NHIS in Loudon, New Hampshire.

Here's my quick thoughts on the Chase Contenders and their shot at the Championship:

Jimmie Johnson - eh. Don't hate the guy but don't really want to see him win.

Jeff Gordon - eh. Don't hate the guy but done really want to see him win. If he did win I would not really be upset though. Part of me actually thinks it would be kinda cool to see Gordon win another championship.

Yes. My stance on Gordon has softened considerably.

Tony Stewart - Don't really care either way.

Carl Edwards - Don't really care eithe way.

Kurt Busch - I can't stand Kurt Busch and wish he were not in the Chase at all.

Denny Hamlin - eh.

Martin Truex, Jr - eh.

Matt Kenseth - Kenseth is a favorite of mine. I would not mind seeing him win another championship.

Kyle Busch - I dislike him almost as much as his brother, Kurt. No further explanation is necessary.

Jeff Burton - I have always been a big Jeff Burton fan and I think it would be awesome if he were to win a championship.

Kevin Harvick - I became a Harvick fan instantaneously. After he stepped into the 29 car following Dale's death and won that race by inches over Jeff Gordon, he became one of my top drivers and he's been there ever since. I still remember Harvick's first win where he beat Gordon by the nose of the car. I happened to be watching it in a bar and people were literally standing on bar-stools cheering at the end, jumping up and down, screaming and generally going nuts. It was pandemonium and it was awesome. Needless to say, I would love to see Harvick win a championship

Clint Boyer - eh.

So going back through my list, I'm basically rooting for Burton or Harvick to win The Chase, mostly leaning towards Harvick.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Kraft has Belichick's back, releases a statement...

New England Patriots owner and savior Robert Kraft has released a statement on Patriots.com.

I am only re-posting a portion of that statement here. Go to Patriots.com to read the statement in it's entirety.

"I believe that Coach Belichick always tries to do what is best for the team and he is always accountable for his decisions. He has been a very important part of what our organization has accomplished over the last seven years. In this case, one of his decisions has resulted in a severe penalty for our franchise. He has paid a heavy price and so has our organization. He has apologized for his actions. I accept his apology and look forward to working with him as we move forward.

...I look forward to returning all of our focus and energy to the field."

I am 100% in agreement.


You shake my hand, while you're pissing on my leg...

Final thoughts on the Patriots video-taping story:

First off, I should be up front about this right from the start: I have no problem with The Patriots use of video tape to capture opponents signals. I do not consider this cheating, any more than I consider any of the other various advance scouting methods that teams use to be cheating. The video from the field-level sideline camera was being used as another form of scouting that The Patriots were later using for future reference and game analysis. The field-level sideline video tape was never used to gain an advantage during the actual game being played, just as the top-level sideline and end zone tapes that are captured during games are not used during the actual game.

To me this is not that much different than a guy sitting in the stands taking notes and making remarks into a tape recorder, a practice which is 100% allowed and used by every team in the NFL.

Not only do I not have a problem with the use of video tape, it I think it's a pretty clever thing to do. If you can find a way to gather information to your advantage, and it is within the rules, go for it.

And that's where the problem comes in. The use of the field-level sideline video camera has been deemed to be against the rules and, despite their knowledge that the use of a camera in this location is against the rules, The Patriots continued to use it. That is an unquestionable violation of the rules and it is wrong. It deserves punishment and punishment has been rendered.

But is it cheating? I say no, not if it is not being used to affect the game currently being played.

Now, before anybody gets all on their high horse and tells me that any form of breaking the rules during a game should be considered cheating, if you want to be that technical about it, then cheating takes place on every snap of the game on both sides of the ball. Sometimes it's caught and a penalty flag flies, sometimes it's not caught and the play goes on. Is it cheating to stick your fingers into another player's face mask on the bottom of the pile and try to poke their eyes? It happens. Is it cheating? If you want to be technical about it, yes. And if you get caught, you get in trouble.

How about a coach advocating that his players intentionally spear another player while they are down, basically advocating causing an intentional injury to an opposing player for your own team's benifit. Is that cheating? Depending on how strictly you want to interpret 'cheating' I'd say it is.

Players and coaches bend and sometimes break the rules to try and win games. Sometimes they get away with it, sometimes they get caught. Like it or not, that is the way it is in every sport.

And yes, you can say that the use of the field-level sideline video might not be used to affect the outcome of the current game, but it's use could affect future games. No argument there, though I would question the extent of it's effect. Teams use scouts in the stands to gather the same information that is captured on the tape. The tape gives you a more clear visual representation than a description in a notebook or on an audio tape, but the same basic information is there, just the same. Add to that the fact that teams continually change their signals, hide their signals, use fake signals, etc. Does the videotaping of those signals really give that much of an edge? I honestly don't think so, and I'm not trying to be all 'homer' here, this is my honest opinion.

I'm not trying to say that the Patriots did no wrong in their use of a field-level sideline video camera to record opponents signals. Despite whatever Belichick's 'interpretation' of the rule may be, it seems pretty clear cut to me: no video-cameras on the sidelines, coaches boxes, or anywhere else the members of the team have access to. End of story. The Patriots broke an established rule and they have now been punished for that action.

The punishment that has been levied is pretty stiff in my opinion. There's the money, which, I'm sure Belichick and the Pats don't want to have to pay, but really that is the lesser of the two penalties. These are multi-millionaires we're taking about here. The loss of draft picks, potentially a 1st rounder, is a pretty big thing though. Draft picks are the chips that The Patriots use to allow them to get the players that they want on draft day and the loss of a pick, especially a potential #1, affects the future of the team for years to come. An impact, 'franchise' type player that the Pats covet on draft day may no longer be available to them, because they don't have the picks to be able to move around on the board the way they want to and get that player. The loss of a #1 draft pick is a pretty stiff penalty in my opinion, much worse than a suspension would have been.

Admittedly I was relieved when I read that the NFL Commissioner had determined the tape that was confiscated from The Patriots had no effect on the outcome of the game last Sunday. Bill Belichick's statement that the video was never used to gain an advantage during an actual game was also re-assuring. If it have been found that the Patriots were using these tapes during games, now that would have been a different story altogether. Thankfully that was not the case.

Despite the stupidity of their mistake, is the legacy of my team tarnished? Do the three Superbowls the Patriots won now have an asterisk next to them? No, not in my eyes anyway. Other people might see it differently, and they are welcome to their opinion, but like The Patriots players, I really don't care what other people think about my team.

Did they break a rule? Yes. But when someone asks me if I think the Patriots are cheaters, my answer is 'no' and my conscience is clear.

There is another aspect of this situation that has been on my mind as well. What do you think of Eric Mangini's role in this whole thing? How do you think other coaches will look at him now? Is Mangini a hero for standing up and blowing the whistle on Belichick or is he a rat for turning in the guy that helped him get to his current position as The Jets head coach? The coaching community is very, very tight... I would be interested to know what they think of this whole thing. We'll probably never know of course, but it would be interesting. I know I would not want to work with someone that I thought was a rat. But then again, the best way to avoid a problem is to not break the rules in the first place.


(photo: boston.com)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What's done is done. NFL releases it's ruling in Patriots video-tape embarrassment, Belichick releases statement...

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made his ruling regarding the Patriots use of a video-camera to tape the opponent's offensive and defensive signals in last Sunday's game vs The Jets.

You can read the full story on NFL.com here. I was going to link to the story on NFL.com but when I checked the link to make sure it worked, I noticed that the story has been modified since it's initial posting, which originally contained the bare facts of the ruling and the statement from Goodell. The story now contains some 'embellishments' from the AP which I prefer not to link to.

Fuck the media. BECOME the media.

Here's everything you need to know:

- Coach Belichick will pay a 500,000 fine, the maximum allowed under the NFL Constitution and By-Laws.

- The Patriots will pay a 250,000 fine. Fines were levied against the Patriots organization due to Belichick's "substantial control over all aspects of New England's football operations. His actions and decisions are properly attributed to the club."

- Depending on whether the team makes the playoffs this season, The Patriots will forfeit either a 1st round draft pick or a 2nd and 3rd round pick in 2008.

- Effective immediately, The NFL will closely monitor the Patriots video coaching program.

- A suspension of Belichick was considered, but it was determined that the punishment levied was more 'effective' and 'long lasting' than a suspension would have been.

- It should be noted that Goodell determined that The Patriots' use of the video-camera during Sunday's game vs. The Jets had no impact on the outcome of the game.

So there you go.

For the life of me I still cannot wrap my head around why The Patriots would do this, after the NFL had expressly stated back in September of 2006 that, "videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent's offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches' booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game."

That statement seems pretty crystal clear to me, and that's what makes this whole situation so hard to understand.

The Patriots were told not to do something, they did it anyway and they got caught red-handed in the act. This is something I expect from my five year old kids, not grown, intelligent men like Bill Belichick and his coaching staff. This is not what I expect from this Patriots organization. This is not only beneath them, but it is just plain STUPID. It's an embarrassment. What. the fuck. were they thinking?

I can only shake my head in amazement. It seems I've been doing that a lot lately. I don't like it.

It simply boggles the mind of this Patriots fan.

GO PATS (yeah I still said it.)

Bill Belichick released the following statement through The Patriots (hat tip to the Projo PatsBlog for being on the spot:

"I accept full responsibility for the actions that led to tonight’s ruling. Once again, I apologize to the Kraft family and every person directly or indirectly associated with the New England Patriots for the embarrassment, distraction and penalty my mistake caused. I also apologize to Patriots fans and would like to thank them for their support during the past few days and throughout my career.

As the Commissioner acknowledged, our use of sideline video had no impact on the outcome of last week’s game. We have never used sideline video to obtain a competitive advantage while the game was in progress.

Part of my job as head coach is to ensure that our football operations are conducted in compliance of the league rules and all accepted interpretations of them. My interpretation of a rule in the Constitution and Bylaws was incorrect.

With tonight’s resolution, I will not be offering any further comments on this matter. We are moving on with our preparations for Sunday’s game."

Ok, now that that's over with, I just want to get back to football. Bring on the Chargers.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Love to cut you down to size, we love dirty laundry...

Like most Pats fans, this video-taping story has me pretty pissed off. But you know what's actually pissing me off even more? The way the jackals in the press have torn into this story like it's a piece of raw meat.

ESPN's Chris Mortenson puts out a report based on info from 'league sources' saying that the NFL Commsioner has found the Patriots are guilty of violating league rules by video taping The Jets defensive signals on Sunday.

Ok fine. That sucks balls.

But wait, following the ESPN report, NFL senior vice president of media relations Greg Aiello comes out and says that Mortenson's information is false. FALSE.

This was in the Projo PatsBlog yesterday. Without lifting the whole piece, here are some relevant parts. Check out the link for the full story:

"A spokesman for the National Football League Tuesday night denied (emphasis: mine) ESPN and NFL Network reports from earlier in the day that the league had found the New England Patriots guilty of violating league rules by taping defensive signals during Sunday’s game against the New York Jets..."

Oh, hello? Really? Well how about that. Can someone please explain why Chris Mortenson's 'report' is still being depicted as being 100% accurate? What the fuck? Who has no fucking integrity here? Further...

"Greg Aiello, NFL senior vice president of media relations, said there had been no official determination made and that the Patriots had not been notified of any decision, nor has head coach Bill Belichick been summoned to league offices in New York City for a Friday meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell."

Hmm.. what about the 'reports' of all those teams coming out of the woodwork and lining up to point their finger at the Pats for cheating as well?

"Aiello said the league had nothing further to report when asked if more teams had leveled accusations against the Patriots."

Well how about that. I guess I'm just stumped. So who am I going to believe here? Chris Mortenson and his 'sources' who, by the way, turn out to be completely wrong half of the time... or the actual NFL spokesperson who's job it is to let people know what's really going on. If I worked in the press I guess I'd believe Mortenson, since that's the story everybody is still going with.

I'm not going to pretend like there's nothing going on here and that this is all some big mix up or mistake by the Pats. Obviously as a fan, I'd love for this whole thing to have a perfectly reasonable explanation but let's face it, something is not right. I'm just not sure how bad that 'something' may actually be because the actual people involved at the NFL have not told us yet.

Maybe before you crucify a person and an organization, you should make sure what you are saying about them is really true. Unlike the jackals at ESPN and the rest of the press, I'm going to reserve my judgement on this video-tape issue until I hear what the NFL officially has to say about it, not some anonymous 'source', and I'm still waiting to hear The Patriots' side of the story too.

I know. I'm no fun. And if it turns out that ESPN has been right about this situation all along? Well I guess I'm a tool and it sucks to be a Pats fan (I've been there before). But what happens if it turns out that ESPN has not been right all along? What happens then? Phht. Probably nothing. On to the next story right Mort?


Fear and Loathing in Patriots Nation...

I honestly don't want to read the news today. I am afraid I am not going to like what is in it regarding this whole Patriots video-taping thing, or, that there will be no new information about it at all, just a lot of speculation and opinion from the blabber-sphere, which is almost worse. I wish the Pats would come out with a statement of their own. I want to hear their side of the story.

Chez MRhé pretty much summed up my exact feelings on this whole mess the Pats are in over on his site. Angela's got it covered over on Boston Brat as well. I'm pretty much limited to gritting my teeth and slowly simmering at a near boiling point.

Musical Interlude:
Bend me shape me misdirect me
Its all the same to me
Look at all this useless talk
Look at all this useless talk
Look at all this useless talk

What was that last night at Fenway Park? The Sox came back and won the game 16 - 10 after being down at one point by 7 runs to the D-Rays, which was the point that I stopped watching by the way. I started flipping around the channels and saw that Overhaulin' is back and Chip Foose and co. were overhauling a saa-weeet 57 Corvette. Oh how I love that show. I love car porn.

I knew the ending would turn out good on Overhaulin' so I decided to stick with that as opposed to getting aggravated and annoyed by The Red Sox.

In between ads I would click over to NESN to check the score. It seemed there was some hope of a comeback happening there as the Sox looked to be clawing their way back into the game. At that point I decided it was best not to watch it. If I did, I might break the spell and ruin the Red Sox chances for a comeback. Besides I really do love Overhaulin'. Chip Foose is my hero. Did I mention that I love car porn?

This morning I checked the score of last nights game and saw that the final was 16 - 10, Red Sox. Wow. The Sox gave almost everybody in the bullpen a chance to get some pitching work it seems.

Thank God the Sox won last night because I fully expect Toronto to give us zero help against the MFY over the next few days. Yes I still have Dan Duquette in my head reminding me that the Sox have spent more days in first place, (more days in first place, more days in first place... repeat. repeat.)

With the Sox getting a day off on Thursday, the MFY automatically pick up a half game right there. Depending on what happens tonight, the MFY could potentially come into Fenway only 3 and a half back on Friday. I'd be lying if I told you I haven't been thinking about a repeat of 1978 right now. I want to have as much cushion in the standings as possible with the MFY coming in to Fenway this weekend, especially with Dice-K starting for the Sox on Friday. Frankly I have already chalked that game up as a loss. Feel free to prove me wrong Dice.

Is there any way that we can get Clay Buchholz to take Dice-K's place in the rotation this weekend? I feel like Dice could really use the rest, if you know what I mean.. (Because he sucks. He aggravates the hell out of me. He's like the Phantom Menace of baseball; a couple cool moments here and there but overall a totally over-hyped disappointment. Is Dice a guy that you would honestly want to start for The Red Sox during a playoff game? I wouldn't. No way. He's an implosion waiting to happen in every game he starts. There. I said it. And I feel better for it. Again, anything you can do to change my opinion of you would be welcomed, DICE..)

This Patriots thing has me all geared up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thoughts of the day...

Like many other people I spent a lot of time today thinking about where I was and what I was doing on the morning of Sept 11, 2001. I spent time thinking about that day and it's aftermath.. Six years later the final outcome after the horrible events of that day is yet to be determined.

My thoughts and prayers have been with injured Bills tight end Kevin Everett who sustained a spinal cord injury in last Sunday's game vs The Broncos. Initially the prognosis was bleak, but ESPN is reporting that Everett now has 'voluntary movement' of his arms and legs and as a result his doctors are optimistic that he will walk again. That is great news and I hope he is able to fully recover from his injury.

One thing I never like to see is a player getting hurt, even if it's the opposition's player. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard Jets 'fans' actually cheering after their starting QB, Chad Pennington, was injured in Sunday's game vs. The Patriots. Nice way to support your team and let the players know you care Jets fans..

Meanwhile, my team, The Patriots, seem to have some splainin' to do regarding this whole drama surrounding the supposed videotaping of The Jets defensive signals on Sunday. This was a story that I initially blew off as nonsense, and I fully expected it to be yet another case of the media over-blowing a whole lot of nothing way out of proportion, but now ESPN has a report out that NFL Commish Roger Goodell has found that The Pats did indeed do the dirty deed. According to the report, there is 'visual evidence' to support this.

As a Pats fan, I think this video-taping story sucks. It is an embarrassment to the team and by extension to myself as a fan. Not only that, it is a distraction to the team as they prepare for another important game this Sunday vs San Diego, a game that, while only the second game of the year, could have reprecussions at the end of the season with playoff scenarios and potential tie-breakers on the line. I'm sure this is not what Bill Belichick wants to be dealing with right now.

It is unbelievable to me that Belichick could willingly allow something so stupid to take place during a game. Then again, I still find myself shaking my head in amazement over the Rodney Harrison HGH situation as well, so who knows what to think. Harrison and Belichick are men that I admire, or have admired, for their intelligence and their no-nonsense approach to playing pro football. These are not the guys that I would expect this kind of thing from. This is the kind of thing that other teams have to deal with, not The Patriots.

I guess this serves as an unpleasant reminder that nobody and nothing is perfect and I find myself shaking my head and wondering what's the next bad news story going to be and who's it going to involve? We're not The Cincinnati Bengals.. yet.

Regardless of Belichick's direct or indirect involvement in this video-taping shenanigan, something that as of now has yet to be determined, as The Pats top man, he will still bear the responsibility of violating league rules, should it turn out that is the outcome of this whole thing.

Call me crazy, stubborn or just stupid, but I am still holding out a dim hope that it will turn out that there is no truth to this video-taping matter, or that at least there is a reasonable explanation to the whole thing. I'm still not jumping to conclusions. So far all we've heard are reports from the media based on 'league sources' and more often than not these anonymous sources turn out to be wrong.

The Pats have yet to tell their side of the story and I am anxious to hear what they have to say about this situation. According to the ESPN report, The Patriots have not even been notified of Goodell's decision, but yet here is 'a league source' telling all on ESPN.com. How lame is that? Don't you think the team should be notified before ESPN? To me that is very lame and makes me slightly dubious about the accuracy of this report. The media is more worried about getting the story out first, not getting it right. Innacurate, blatantly incorrect reporting happens all the time, then there is some small retraction stuck in a corner as the last sentence in an article somewhere, once the whole story comes out.

Hopefully that will be the case in this instance.

Regardless of what happens, I'll still be a Pats fan and if this video-taping situation really does turn out to be true, I'll shake my head, take my lumps, be embarrassed and move on. We've still got a game to play on Sunday.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Finally Friday..

It's Friday.

I made myself an exceptionally good cup of coffee this morning.

I listened to The Ramones all the way to work.

Traffic was light.

The line at Dunkin's was short.

It's Football Season. (Even though it was irritating to wake up this morning and see that the Colts won last night, 41 - 10. When I stopped watching the game at halftime it was a tie game at 10 - 10. What the hell happened after that? Maybe Peyton used that super scary stare of his on the Saint's D all throughout the second half.. That does not account for the Saints offense tho.. ??? By the way, there was a Peyton Manning advertisement during every single commercial break in the first half. I kept track. Annoying. And in case you did not get it after last night, 'this is our country'. Ug. Can someone get John Mellencamp out of my head please? Thanks a lot Chevrolet. Mission accomplished and not appreciated at all thank you. By the way I used to own a Chevy S-10 and 'reliable' is not a word that I would ever associate with that vehicle.)

I thought NBC did a good job covering the game last night, once it finally started.. I was wondering if the game was ever going to start at one point. I liked NBC's graphics. They were informative but not intrusive. Nice job NBC. You've come a long way from refusing to show the score of the game in the corner of the screen way back in the day..

The Red Sox broke a 6-6 tie in the 9th and went on to win the game against the O's last night. (The O's paid tribute to the 75th anniversary of the Negro League Baltimore Black Sox' championship last night by wearing Black Sox uniforms. For no apparent reason I was hyper focused on the big 'B' in a circle logo that adorned The O's hats and helmets. All it needed was some spokes and it would have been the Bruins logo.)

I've finally saved enough money to purchase a generator for my house. (I've been saving my pennies for this for a long time.)

Hank III tix (for the Boston show) go on sale today.

I found out that Clutch is coming to Worcester! AWESOME. I have been wanting to see those guys for a while now but they always play someplace too far away, like Maine, or there is some schedule conflict that prevents me from going. In November they're going to be playing practically right down the street at The Palladium with some other band I've never heard of, Coheed and Cambria (I'll have to check them out). I guess Clutch is actually the middle band. That's ok. I fully intend to be there anyway.

It seems that Pats coach Bill Belichick has successfully found a new and creative way to manipulate The Patriots injury reports, to the annoyance of others I'm sure. Notably from Thursdays' amazingly and thoroughly vague report:

Limited Participation in Practice:
QB Brady, Tom Right Shoulder (It's practically a running joke at this point)
WR Moss, Randy Team Decision (Will he play? Will he not play? I guess the Jets will find out on Sunday. Have fun planning for him just in case. Ha! I love it.)


Happy Friday


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Peyton Manning is one scary and intimidating looking character...

I just got an e-mail from NFL.com to let me know, in case, you know, I was not already aware, that THE NFL SEASON KICKS OFF TO-NIGHT (Night... night.. night.. ECHO... Echo... echo..)

The e-mail included this extremely menacing picture of Reggie Bush and Peyton Manning..

Oooooo. Scary! And menacing!

I would not want to meet either of these characters in a dark alley at night! (Actually, that is true. I wouldn't.) That goes especially for Manning though. I mean Reggie Bush has the whole, 'what, do you really wanna fuck with me?' bad-ass thing goin' on there but just look at how intimidating Manning is, staring at you from under those eyebrows, with those dark circles under his piercing eyes. It feels like Manning is trying to steal my very soul with that penetrating stare. And that's scary. Get away from my soul Peyton! That's for me! Mine! Not yours!

I wonder if that's part of Manning's game plan this year, to use that look to scare opposing defenses. I can tell you with 100% seriousness that seeing this picture in my e-mail did make me feel extremely scared and intimidated. I hope Manning does not look at Adalius Thomas like that when The Pats take on the Colts later this year, because Adalius might just run right off the field in a state of pure terror and cower behind Bill Belichick.

'But Coach, you should have seen the way he looked at me just now! We never saw that on the game tapes!'

Ok that's about all the sarcasm I can muster. What I really thought when I first saw that picture of Manning was 'tool'.

It suddenly strikes me that Manning kinda looks like Sheen Estevez from that show 'Jimmy Neutron'.

Anyone else see the resemblance? Anyone?

I am glad the NFL is starting back up again tonight. Go Saints.

(and GO PATS!)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

1st day of school..

Today is my kids' first day of kindergarten. I'll be heading home later to see them get on the school bus for the very first time. It is hard for me to believe they are starting school. It feels like time is flying by.

Next thing you know they'll be graduating from high-school and asking me to borrow the car and 20 bucks...

Somebody slow this ride down please. It's going too fast for me.


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