Saturday, October 30, 2004

NFL: Week 8 picks

Arizona Cardinals at Buffalo Bills… Bills
The Bills need to run Willis McGahee 25 + times in this game. Bledsoe has been sacked an average of four times per game. At home, Buffalo needs to grind it out with a heavy rushing attack. Mainly because of home field, I’ll go with the Bills.

Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys… Dallas
After losing 24 straight road games, Detroit has opened the season with three straight away wins. Still, I’m not convinced that the Lions are a sure bet. Bill Parcells must be livid after the 41-20 embarrassment last week in Green Bay. This is the game for Dallas to put their season back on track. Expect a lot of passing from both Joey Harrington and Vinny Testaverde.

Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans… Tennessee
One streak will be broken this Sunday. Cincinnati has yet to win a road game, while Tennessee hasn’t won at Adelphia Stadium in 2004. Honestly, this is a very bad between two struggling football teams.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans… Jacksonville
Jacksonville’s coming off a solid win last week in Indianapolis. I’ve yet to see Houston beat a better than average team. Even on the road, I like Leftwich and the Jaguars.

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs… Indianapolis
So, Kansas City blew out Atlanta last week. But what’s next? Indianapolis is a very good team and can compete offensively with the Chiefs. It might take 30 points, but Manning and the boys can beat a weak Chiefs squad.

Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles… Philadelphia
Philadelphia had their wakeup call last week when Cleveland nearly defeated them in OT. If Jamal Lewis were playing, it would be a different story. Lewis is serving the 2nd and final game of his NFL suspension. Philadelphia can generate some offense against this Baltimore defense, whereas Baltimore is unlikely to score many offensive points. Philadelphia at home.

Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins… Green Bay
Since 1936, each time the Redskins won their last home game before the election, the incumbent’s party retained control of the White House. When the Redskins lose their last home game before the election, the challenger’s team wins. Who do you think I’m pulling for?

Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks… Seattle
This is a match-up of struggling quarterbacks. Jake Delhomme and Matt Hasselbeck both have more interception than touchdown passes. When picking this game, I ask myself this question, “Who is the more desperate team?” I believe Seattle will win this game to save their season. Last week’s loss to Arizona was an embarrassment. They have a chance to once again be competitive in the NFC West, considering St. Louis’s upset loss to Miami. Hasselbeck needs to control the ball and handoff to Shaun Alexander as frequently as possible.

New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers… New England
New England’s streak has to end sometime, but it won’t be this week.

New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings… Minnesota
This Viking offense is playing better than any unit in the NFL. They need every bit of it, as their defense is ranked 29th in the league. At home, Minnesota is a difficult team to beat. The Giants are not as good as their 4-2 record would indicate.

Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers… San Diego
Oakland is a spent football team. They couldn’t even win last week at home versus the lowly Saints. It’s unlikely that they’ll beat a high-powered Charger offense. San Diego got even stronger when they acquired Keenan McCardell from Tampa Bay. I’ve been hesitant to pick San Diego in the past, but not today.

Atlanta Falcons at Denver Broncos… Denver
Both teams are coming off bad losses last week. Denver was hurt this week when they lost Quentin Griffin for the season. The home crowd will make things difficult for Vick. Chalk this up as a noncommittal pick in favor of the Broncos.

San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears… San Francisco
The 49ers are by far the superior one-win team. Chicago’s starting a rookie QB this week in Craig Krenzel. San Francisco has an average offense and defense. Chicago has neither.

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets… Jets
Assuredly, some local idiots will be so pumped up about last week’s win that they’ll pick Miami to win Monday night in the Meadowlands. But nothing has changed since the Week 4 meeting in South Florida. If anything, the task is harder playing on the road. Miami’s D-Line was weakened even more with the placement of Tim Bowens on IR this week. Unlike St. Louis, the Jets actually have an overall defense ranked above 30 in the league. Miami had everything go right last week in defeating St. Louis. It would take a similar effort to come close on Monday. Jets win a competitive game.

I slept for about 12 hours

After I got home from the offices last night, I just went to the couch and didn’t get up until 7:30 this morning. I needed one good, long night of sleep to prepare myself for the upcoming three days.

Maybe I’ll get to posting some more tonight. I have to call and see what is on the agenda at the office today.


Friday, October 29, 2004

Very brief update

You can only imagine what it's like in a swing state, four days before a presidential election. I'm having fun, but at the same time it's a very busy time.

Please remember, this is a very close race. If by Sunday Bush is still at 48 percent or less in the polls, Kerry is in position to WIN this election. Don't stop believing. I've seen this campaign up close and they are pumped for a big victory night on Tuesday. All signs point to a monumental event on Tuesday night/Wednesday mornign. Early voting is going great in Florida and across the country. Democrats are organized and ready to win the ground game. If we turn out 4 % more Dems than Republicans, as Gore did in 2000, we will be ecstatic come Nov. 2.

I really need to get some sleep. Kinko's called me at 3:00 a.m. with a problem in Dave's mailings. I've got to be up by 6:00 or so to sort this out. Then it's off to staff the Kerry rally around noon. Hopefully I'll be home by late Friday night.


Thursday, October 28, 2004

Hey Cardinals Fans!

Proud St. Louis Cardinal fan Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I have a plan

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve gone off on one of my romantic tangents that characterized the first few months of my blog. I’ve written a little about a girl from my English Literature class at PBCC, Jennifer. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve tried to be more talkative around her try to gauge things. I don’t know whether she has a boyfriend or not, but I’d venture to guess that she probably does not. Of course, my inclinations could be totally off.

Yesterday in class, we had someone from a sociology class come in and do a survey regarding the Presidential election. Long story short, she passed out ballots and everyone marked their preference. I sensed from our conversations that Jennifer was a Kerry supporter, but I couldn’t be quite sure. When the papers got to our row, she said to me, “This is the easiest test I’ve ever taken.” I eagerly looked over at her paper and saw the John Kerry/John Edwards selection chosen. I could tell from talking to her that she was somewhat politically aware. She mentioned the Edwards, Clinton, and Gore rallies that were held in the past week.

The last paragraph wasn’t meant to insinuate that I’d only date a Democrat or Kerry supporter. I placed it in there to segue into my latest idea. I am planning on asking her whether she’d like to go with me to the John Kerry rally in WPB on Friday. She talked about wanting to go see Gore, but couldn’t do so because of school. Fridays are usually a day off for most students at PBCC. Classes are on a M/W and T/R cycle. There are Friday classes, but they’re less frequent than M-R. I went by the Kerry offices in Palm Beach Gardens today to pick up a couple of tickets.

I look at it this way. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a date or anything of the like. Just two people going to see the next President of the United States (hopefully!). I’ve been told, and tend to agree, that the first step in any prospective relationship is to meet outside of an academic setting. This type of setting would be more relaxing than going out to eat or getting a cup of coffee (yuck, I hate Starbucks). In my estimation, it could play itself out in a number of ways:

1) She accepts my offer and we meet at the Friday rally. I need to make it clear that I want to go with her, and aren’t just offering up tickets to go separately. If she accepts, I would get the impression that she was at least moderately interested.

2) She says she can’t go because of school or work. If she says she has school or work, I’d tend to believe it’s the truth and not a lie to get out of going. I know she works part-time at Winn-Dixie, along with taking a full-time school schedule. I’m not sure what the logical response would be. Do I ask if she’d like to get together another time, or just drop the subject for the day?

More than anything, this is an exercise to gauge where things stand. If there’s no hope, I’d like to learn that at some point. I don’t want December to come and discover that I didn’t even make an effort. The likelihood is that this is my last semester at PBCC. I need to, at the least, establish some sort of friendship or discover she’s not interested at all.

I feel a little bit nervous, but I won’t back out at the last minute. Really, I doubt it would end in total humiliation. She’s the type of girl that wouldn’t be mean or condescending about a lack of interest. It won’t be like a televisions show where she calls me a loser and tells me to get lost.

I don’t want to overanalyze things, but I also want to do my best not to come off totally desperate or awkward. It’s a delicate balance that I try to strike. It’s probably best not to put too much thought into it and try to act natural. I think someone can tell if a proposition is overly analyzed and contrived.

I’ll be sure to report back tomorrow with the news. My feeling is that the news will be neutral and not conclusive in one direction or the other.


The Basketball Team

I’ve told bits of pieces of this story in the past. Back in 1994, my Dad decided he was going to coach a recreational league basketball team. Bob was a big sports guy in his past. He was a college basketball and football player at the University of Michigan. A collarbone injury derailed his chances for greatness. I really don’t know how good an athlete he was. By the way he tells it, he was one of the greatest athletes in Michigan history. But I know the way he exaggerates things, so I can’t believe all of what he says. The specifics don’t matter. What does is the fact that he loves sports and wanted to coach this team.

He went and talked to a gentleman named Rick, who ran the junior league. I was probably around ten years old at the time. They decided to let him coach the “Heat” youth basketball team. I’d never seen him happier than in the weeks leading up to that season. He treated the team like it was his only care in the world. He’d go to scouting day and try to assemble the best talent available. As I’ll later recount, his talent evaluation was not up to par.

By November, the team came together. I can’t remember all the names, but there are a few that stick out at me. One was Rasheed Shihada, this tall, lanky kid with big hair. He was a real stiff. We had two very talented players, Brian Atchley and Reggie Begum. I also remember Marc Widler, affectionately known as the derelict. Mr. Widler still torments the North Palm Beach Heights neighborhood to this very day. Finally, there was a kid we knew at the time as Mackey Lettick. Later, I learned that he used his Mom’s last name for some reason. His real name was Mackey Voss.

Our games were held at the Community Center on Burns road, home of the famous racquetball courts. We played the Suns. Bob and I thought we had no shot at winning. Somehow, we managed to win that game rather handily.

That was the last success we had. We went winless through Christmas. December 25, 1994 was the final straw for our embattled team. On that Christmas morning, I fractured my arm on a brand new Huffy bicycle. The injury would keep me out of competition for two months. I wasn’t a very good player at all, even though my Dad thought I was. But my absence caused him to lose faith in the team. I’d still attend games from time to time, but it wasn’t the same for him. As time went by, he’d cancel practices and only attend the games. The team continued to struggle and maybe won one more game that season.

My Dad began to show signs of losing his mind at that time. One day, I went up to a bulletin board and picked up a statistics sheet. The organizer told me to put it back on the board and I obliged. When I told my Dad, he started to freak out. He ran through the gym threatening to assault the gentleman. My Dad took the most minor incident and made a big deal out of it. His ranting that day embarrassed me.

One weekend that season, my Mom went out of town and left my Grandmother to watch me in her absence. Therefore, I couldn’t make one of his basketball games. That left him distraught. After the game that weekend, he sent Rasheed and Reggie over to my house. They repeatedly came up the door and requested to see me. Like a kid being lured away by candy, they said to my Grandmother that they had gifts for me. We looked out the window and saw Bob’s Ford Probe parked across the street. Per her instruction, she did not let the boys in. Bob was mentally unstable and not legally allowed to visit without supervision. So they left and didn’t return that day. The next day, a Sunday, my Mom returned. Right when she walked in the door, we were greeted by Jupiter Police officers. They demanded that I go out and see Bob. Trying to appease him, I walked outside and conversed with him for a minute. Eventually, the police told him to go home and he cooperated.

The last big memory I had was of our Super Bowl Party that year. Bob took Rasheed, Reggie, and myself over to his trailer park to watch the San Diego Chargers face the San Francisco 49ers. The game that year was being played at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami. If you remember, S.F. went on to win in one of the biggest routs in Super Bowl history. Stan Humphreys wasn’t enough to carry the Chargers to victory. Things did not go well for my Dad. First, the kids weren’t there when we went to pick them up. He was appalled that they weren’t there promptly. Once we got together, he was offended when one of them mocked the singer of the national anthem. He went on this tirade about how great America was and how the troops died for our freedoms. By the 2nd Quarter, we abandoned the game and started playing pogs. You should have seen the look on Bob’s face. The Super Bowl, one of the year’s most prestigious events, was being passed on for a game of pogs. The moral of this story is that Bob couldn’t always relate well to kids. I still hear about this story when I talk to him.

My arm healed and I made it back for one game that season. It didn’t help much. Like I said before, my Dad had dreams that I’d follow in his footsteps. But that wasn’t meant to be. I wasn’t a terrible player, but I wasn’t at all great. He wanted to put me on an All-Star traveling team that summer. I had to tell him I was not interested. I could see how delusional he was to think I was prepared to play with the league’s premiere players. For all his good intentions, he failed to see that I wasn’t as good as he thought I was.

That was the last year he coached recreational league basketball. And in fact, it was the last year he was a marginally functional individual. He began to spiral deeper and deeper into depression and alcoholism. I honestly think that the basketball team was what kept him going. He hasn’t been the same since.

I take some lasting thoughts from that experience. One is that, deep down, he is a good man that wanted to help kids. He was active previously in the Big Brothers program. But he reached the point where I doubted whether he should be a mentor to kids. This is one thing that hurts me so much. I understand what a great person he is in his heart. The problem is that he cannot accept the passage of time. He doesn’t understand that I’m not the same person I was ten years ago. He can’t comprehend the fact that our family is no more and will never be so again.

Bob is somebody that NEEDS to be needed. That is why he wanted this role as coach. He saw it as an opportunity to help young people. I think our relationship has gone south because I do not need him, nor did I ever really need him. More than anything, he needs me and other people in order to survive. That must be sobering for someone who was successful for many years in business and social circles.

There is a picture that used to hang on my wall of the basketball team. I bring it out from time to time and think about those months. It is probably the final lasting memory I have of my Dad. I try not to remember him for the broken man he’s become today. I try to think about the exuberance he had for sports and the zest he had to help people. That whole team experience was a microcosm of his downfall in life.

It’s almost hard to believe that ten years have past since then. I don’t recall every detail, but the overriding themes are imbedded in my mind. Some people thought the experience was humorous, and I sometimes laugh at that season. But more than anything, it was a life lesson that was not forgotten.


Monday, October 25, 2004

I saw OUR President Today

Al Gore, victor of the 2000 Presidential election, came to speak in Riviera Beach today. The crowd was significantly less than the crowds for Kerry, Edwards, and both Clintons. I felt sad watching Gore up there speaking in front of a relatively sparse crowd. This is the man that should be running for re-election. No offense to Kerry, but this man is the one who should be speaking to thousands of people at rally halls all across this country. When you listen to him, you remember why we so fervently supported his candidacy four years ago. He is everything that a President should be. Fortunately, we have an equally capable candidate this year in Sen. John Kerry. These men provide such contrast to the likes of Reagan and Bush.

There was a heavy African American crowd in attendance today. I got to see Rep. Alcee Hastings (District 23- Miramar). We had this crazy black guy who got up there and started yelling about how we’d defeat Bush. I have to love these passionate African Americans. He was a more vociferous version of U.S. Congresswoman Corrine Brown. Even when he was offered a bullhorn, he choose to just yell at the top of his lungs. The crowd was fired up by his rousing display. Scott Maddox, Chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, gave an inspiring speech as well. The issues on display related heavily to poverty in the African American community.

Gore was more subdued than he has been in the past. The delivery was similar to most Democrats these days. I swear, there’s not much difference between any of Kerry’s public supporters. They must get a list of talking points before they hit the stump. Gore talked about his life out of the public eye. He told a story about eating at a local Shoney’s in Tennessee. It seems like he’s content with what happened and will be even happier when John Kerry takes office as the 44th U.S. President.

I got to sit in the second row. When he came on stage, I was able to go up and shake his hand. The crowd was riveted by Gore’s appearance. While many were apathetic at the time, the 36-Day recount brought a lot of people close to Al Gore. No matter what anybody says about him, he is the legitimately elected President and would have made a superb Commander-in-Chief. The African American community was very loyal to Gore and we can only hope that they’ll be equally loyal to Kerry on Election Day.

Bill Clinton’s speaking at a temple tomorrow in Boca Raton. Because of class, I probably won’t be able to go. Clinton spoke in Miami this evening.

Ron Zook fired

Following Florida's disastrous 38-31 loss to Mississippi State on Saturday, Head Coach Ron Zook has been let go effective the end of this season. The entire coaching staff, including Defense Coordinator Charlie Strong, have been terminated as well. UF will buy out the remaining years of his contract. Zook will coach the remaining games of the season.

Zook's fate was sealed with his loss to Mississippi State this weekend. Mississippi State is on the same caliber at UCF's Golden Knights. Mississippi State had lost a game this season to lowly Maine.

The loss two weeks prior, to LSU, hurt Zook tremendously. His team has blown 5 4th quarter leads since 2003. In addition, Zook was troubled by allegations stemming from a frat brawl in Gainesville. Reportedly, he was planning a team visit to the fraternity to intimidate the perpretrators. Fortunately, his assistant coaches nixed this idea.

Zook was never able to recaputure the success of Steve Spurrier. His team didn't win an SEC Title in his two years at the university. He's unlikely to win the conference this season, with three losses already. Florida is in an elite level of universities. Zook's results might be acceptable elsewhere, but nothing less than national title competition will suffice in Gainesville.

Now it's time for the Dolphins to fire their incompetent head coach, Dave Wannstedt. We have much to look forward to in both places when new regimes come into power. I never would have thought that Zook would end up being the first to go.

At long last, this website can cease to operate:

My Dad

I don’t think I’ve written much about my Dad on my site. My close friends know about Bob, who is my slightly disturbed biological father. He’s not to be confused with Gary, who is not quite as disturbed. Anyway, the relationship between Bob and I has been strained for years. I’ve gone years at a time without talking to him, mostly because of his psychological problems. He’s not a bad man, but his life has crumbled and he is only a shell of his former self.

Recently, he decided to move back to the state of Michigan. I’ve had a bit more contact with him. I haven’t yet gone up to Pontiac to visit. It’s not on the top of my wish list, either. I try to limit my contact with him to a phone call every other week or so. I can’t listen to his paranoid ramblings anymore. Every time we speak, he goes on about how somebody has screwed him over. Some of his more ludicrous assertions include:

1) Gary physically assaulted him outside our house in July. While Gary did place his fist on the back window of the car, he did not attempt to enter the car and inflict physical harm to him. Gary only acted so vociferously because Bob refused to leave our premises. Bob later made a veiled threat, telling my Mom, “In Vietnam, I learned to kill a man with only my bare hands”. Bob told me that he’d come back one day and “knock him out”.

2) The government has stolen all his money. Bob’s been living in care facilities for years. While some of the proprietors can be unscrupulous, I highly doubt that the mental health services stole all his money. Incidentally, Bob tells me that he’s meeting with a Michigan Congressman today to discuss the situation.

3) Bob thinks that Gary, not him, is my biological father. I know for a fact that is an unmitigated lie. My Mom hadn’t even seen Gary during the year of 1983. Bob thinks that I’ve been told that he is not my real father.

None of this compares to the egregious act that occurred last night. He called up around 11:00 p.m, clearly in a disenchanted state of mind. Things got bad when the subject of my friends came up. He asked me about why I’ve visited Orlando on about five occasions between June and October of 2004. I told him that I have a couple of close friends that attend college at the University of Central Florida. He wanted me to list their names and numbers so he could call them up and stage an intervention. I said that I would not divulge that information.

Okay, here’s where it gets sort of weird. We went around in circles for a few minutes about what happens in Orlando. I told him that we just hang out, play pool and poker, etc. He insisted that I was hiding something from him. He said, “What are you hiding from me? Are you afraid I’ll be upset if I find out?” I said that I wasn’t hiding anything and that nothing sinister was transpiring.

I quickly understood what he was trying to insinuate. I told him to flat out say it. He said he didn’t want to. I replied, “If you’re thinking something, just ask me and I’ll tell you whether it’s true or not.” Once again, he refused to say it. So I finally said, “Are you suggesting that I am a homosexual?” He said, “Yes!” I knew exactly what he was trying to infer. In retrospect, I wish I had said I was. That would have really messed with his head. I responded, “No, Dad, I am not homosexual. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

I didn’t really take umbrage at his remarks. It gave me more laughs than anger. He can’t understand why his life has crumbled, and wants to blame everybody but himself. I just never expected for my Dad to ask me something like that. While my successes with the opposite sex haven’t always been extraordinary, I do not lust after men. I repeat—I am not a homosexual, not that there’d be anything wrong with that. So there you have it, apparently he thinks that Zach is my homosexual lover. Or maybe Adriana and Jennifer are really Andrew and Jack, and I’ve been hiding this secret for years. And if you go through my hard drive, you might find an essay entitled, “The Camaraderie of Male Strip Clubs”. (For the sarcasm impaired, the last few sentences were a joke)

My Dad is certainly a unique individual. Sometimes I wish that things had gone differently between us. He can’t get over the fact that despite his love for me, his tactics have served to alienate me from him. He can’t take back all the creepy stuff he’s done for so many years. The numerous visits from police were not happy memories from my childhood. Despite his best intentions, he’s done things that make me weary around him. At this point, all I can do is make peace and accept whatever happens to him. Frankly, in his condition at age 60, I don’t expect him to live past 70 at the latest. His health has deteriorated because of drinking and overall poor lifestyle choices.

I’ve stayed away from posting a lot about him. In general, it’s not a subject that bothers me that much anymore. I could write stuff that might seem funny and place him in a bad light. I prefer to keep the subject as private as possible. I’m much more preoccupied with my current life than I am with my past. But it does deserve introspection from time to time. I will post some more about him when I get the chance.


Sunday, October 24, 2004

Final Presidential Election Prediction

Nine days before Election Day 2004, the time has come for me to place a firm prediction on the Presidential race. I have wrestled with this decision for quite some time. During the primaries and up until the DNC, I felt fairly good about Kerry’s chances for victory. Following the Swift Boat attacks and the RNC, I was despondent about Kerry’s fate. The debates came and I was energized but quickly depressed at the lack of overall movement for Kerry. Now, a week before the election, I’m torn on who wins this election. I’ve looked at the national and state polls, which show a relatively close election. I’ll continue to evaluate these trends over the course of these next nine days. But I am ready to place my bets and predict the winner of the 2004 Presidential election.

I believe that sometime late on November 2 or early November 3, the media will project a winner. It may come later than usual, perhaps after the polls close at 11:00 ET in California. Whether or not the networks officially call it, we should have a good idea before that time. Most of the competitive states are in the East and Midwest. We can watch Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio in order to get a feel as to who is in control.

I feel that one campaign is focused on these national numbers, while the other is set on garnering 270 electoral votes. The slight national lead for Bush is based on expanding support in already decided states. Kerry has been doing much better in the so-called battleground states, where the election will be decided.

Bush has done a good job of motivating his Evangelical Christian support. However, in the states where the election will be contested, these numbers aren’t as significant. Rove believes that four million additional Evangelicals will vote for Bush this time. I doubt the number will be that high. However, he will get some increased support. But it’s not going to materialize in the states where he needs it most.

When the polls finally close, George W. Bush will likely retain a slight edge in the popular vote. I expect Bush to win the popular vote by less than one-percent. I can foresee Kerry winning by a similar margin as well. But my bet is on a Bush popular vote triumph.

Those popular vote totals may not be enough to carry George W. Bush to a second term. Buoyed by massive grassroots efforts, Sen. Kerry will narrowly win the states of Ohio and Florida. Bush will manage to hold onto Colorado and Nevada, despite gains by Kerry. Bush might even carry the formerly blue state of New Mexico. Kerry will clean up in the Midwest, coming from behind and carrying Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota. Kerry will make a clean sweet of the big three states—Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio.

My Final Prediction, made on October 24, 2004, is as follows:

Popular vote (rounded)- "President" George W. Bush 50 %, Senator John F. Kerry 49 %

Electoral vote (approximate)- Sen. Kerry with 300 + electoral votes

Presidential Election 2004 Victor: Senator John Forbes Kerry of Massachusetts

Professional Prognosticators (Part II)

I decided to go over to and check it out, while I was interested.

Mike Golic- 64 %

Sean Salisbury- 61%

Eric Allen- 61 %

Joe Theismann- 60 %

Mark Schlereth- 60 %

Merril Hoge- 58 %

Ron Jaworski- 57 %

Chris Mortensen- 56 %

I've found that ESPN's guys are slightlymore accurate than HBO's. On average:

ESPN- 60 %

HBO- 57 %

HBO's # is brought down by Costas' poor 49 % average. On a whole, there's about range of 7 percent (excluding Costas). Everybody is just above or below 60 %, with Eric Allen and Dan Marino getting close to 65 %.

Excluding Costas, since he's the only one only two who weren't pro players. ESPN's Chris Mortensen is the other, but his average is fairly decent, although dead last among ESPN's experts:

ESPN- 60 %

HBO- 60 %

ESPN gets a slight edge due to rounding.

I find these results fascinating. No matter how smart the person, it seems impossible to break the 60 % barrier. I'd be happy ending the season at 57 or 58.

Professional Prognosticators

I decided to go through and analyze the success that various football predictors have had this season. I picked representatives from Sports Illustrated and HBO's "Inside the NFL" for this posting. I might look at ESPN's picks in another one.

Dan Marino (HBO)- 63 %

Paul Zimmerman (Sports Illustrated)- 60 %. Related note... he only picks about 9 games a week.

Cris Carter (HBO)- 58 %

Cris Collinsworth (HBO)- 58 %

Bob Costas (HBO)- 49 %

The point of this exercise was to show that most experts can't get much over 60 % for the season. I don't think it really demonstrates how smart you are. I wouldn't say that I'm smarter than Bob Costas. A lot of it comes down to luck.

I've said before that my goal is to get between 55-60 % right per week. In a 14 game week, that would require me getting about 8 picks correct a week, on average.

Week 7: Picks Summary

My record:
Week 1: 0-1
Week 2: 9-7
Week 3: 7-7
Week 4: 6-8
Week 5: 8-6
Week 6: 9-5
Week 7: 7-7

Total: 46 W, 41 L, 53 %

This wasn't a great week for me. The game I regret most is NO/Oakland. I originally went with NO, but changed to Oakland. On the other hand, I did get my late pick of GB over Dallas correct. Overall, my winning percentage will rise with an 8-6 week. It would be 57 % for the week, which would slightly help my 53 % number from last week.
My goal is to get between the 55-60 % range.

Miami 31, St. Louis 14 L
Minnesota 20, Tennessee 3 W
Detroit 28, Giants 13 L
Tampa Bay 19, Chicago 7 W
San Diego 17, Carolina 6 W
Baltimore 20, Buffalo 6 W
Phiadelphia 34, Cleveland 31 (OT) W
Jacksonville 27, Indianapolis 24 L
Kansas City 56, Atlanta 10 L
New England 13, Jets 7 W
Arizona 25, Seattle 17 L
Green Bay 41, Dallas 20 W
New Orleans 31, Oakland 26 L
Cincinnati 23, Denver 10 L

We caught them sleeping

While we were out tailgating this morning, my friend Gabe had a familiar refrain for St. Louis fans. Whenever he’d see someone in a Rams shirt, he’d yell, “We’re going to catch you sleeping”. He meant that St. Louis would overlook the 0-6 Dolphins and not play up to their potential. As it turned out, we did catch the Rams sleeping this Sunday afternoon.

For the first time in almost ten months, the Miami Dolphins emerged victorious in a regular season football game. Miami scored a surprising 31 points in route to a 31-14 victory over the NFC West leading St. Louis Rams.

The game was highlighted by big offensive plays from the normally feeble Dolphin offense. Jay Fiedler went 13-17 for 203 yards. The big plays were 42 and 71-yard TD receptions from Randy McMichael and Chris Chambers, respectively. The Chambers TD pass in the fourth quarter sealed the game following a brief Rams rally in the period.

The defense played excellent, coming up with three sacks and one interception. Miami held St. Louis to just over 100 yards rushing for the day. The defense did what it does on a regular basis. The difference today was that the offense put up enough points to take pressure off this overworked defensive unit.

What does this win mean for the Dolphins? It’s certainly a good feeling for Dolphin fans to get back into the victory column. It should give a little luster to next week’s nationally televised game versus the Jets. Even after today’s win, I still favor the Jets to win on Monday night.

In the big scheme of things, changes still need to be made. St. Louis, although possessing many offensive weapons, is a very unpredictable team. They clearly were not prepared for today’s game. Wannstedt and Spielman remain a big problem and should be relieved after the season, barring a huge turnaround in the second half.

For now, I’ll revel in what was an enjoyable game at the Pro today. We need to build on this game and try to play more respectable for the remainder of this season. While the playoffs are obviously out of the question, it would be nice for Miami to show improvement. On the bad side, additional wins decrease the odds that Miami garner the #1 pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Next game: November 1 (Monday) at New York Jets, 9:00 ET

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Song of the day- "Life's a Dance"

"Life's a Dance"
by John Michael Montgomery

When I was fourteen I was falling fast
For a blue eyed girl in my homeroom class
Trying to find the courage to ask her out
Was like trying to get oil from a waterspout
What she would have said I can't say
I never did ask and she moved away
But I learned something from my blue eyed girl
Sink or swim you gotta give it a whirl

Life's a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don't worry about what you don't know
Life's a dance you learn as you go

The longer I live the more I believe
You do have to give if you wanna recieve
There's a time to listen, a time to talk
And you might have to crawl even after you walk
Had sure things blow up in my face
Seen the longshot, win the race
Been knocked down by the slamming door
Picked myself up and came back for more

Life's a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don't worry about what you don't know
Life's a dance you learn as you go

Life's a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don't worry about what you don't know
Life's a dance you learn as you go
Life's a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don't worry about what you don't know
Life's a dance you learn as you go

Life's a dance
Life's a dance
Life's a dance
Take a chance on love
Life's a dance
You learn as you go

Hillary Clinton/ Gators game/ Sorrow

This morning, I attended the Hillary Clinton event at City Place. It went more smoothly than expected. I only had to wait in line for an hour. Once we got in, it was standing room only. I had a great view of the speakers. When the film gets developed, I can post some of my shots.

Adriana got to stand on stage directly to the right of Sen. Clinton. I have some good pictures of that, as well. She was able to get a picture taken with her and Hillary. The theme of the day was women. Kerry is doing everything in his power to expand the gap with female voters. He must pull as many women as Gore did in order to win this election. It was all women standing on the stage. Besides Adriana, there were a number of dignitaries. There was the co-chairman of the FL Democratic Party. They also featured a young black girl whose voting for the first time in her life. County Commissioner, District 3 Addie Greene gave a stirring introduction of Sen. Clinton. Carol Ann Loehendorf, Chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee, was standing to the left of Adriana.

Clinton emphasized women’s issues. It was a pander fest, to be honest. Lois Frankel made comments like, “Behind every strong woman is a strong man”. It was like watching an episode of Oprah or Rosie O’Donnell. I guess this is what it takes to get the female vote these days.

Clinton talked about abortion rights, which is a classic issue for Democrats. She went on to lament that women still make less in the workplace than their male counterparts. Clinton then touched on universal themes of the campaign—Iraq, healthcare, economy, etc. Basically, she makes the same case that most Democratic surrogates attempt to put forth.

I watched the Gators lose 38-31 to unranked Mississippi State. This will certainly expedite the end of the Ron Zook era.

So upset was I that I drowned my sorrows alone in liquor. Actually, that wasn’t entirely the case. Tim came over and we enjoyed some alcoholic beverages. I was introduced to Miller Light and reunited with the sweet Captain Morgan, Spiced Rum. After about three shots, that was all I needed for the night.

I’m anticipating a fond reunion with Jack Daniels, Tennessee Whiskey tomorrow. Tim and Loren might join me at the Dolphins game. Both are of age, so it’s possible I can enjoy time with my old friend.

Tonight’s World Series Game 1. My prediction is Red Sox in 5 games. I might try to write a more detailed preview later.


David Boston arrested!

Another banner headline for the Dolphins.,0,4269484.story?coll=sfla-dolphins-front

DAVIE · Dolphins wide receiver David Boston was arrested Tuesday night in Vermont on a charge of simple assault at the Burlington International Airport.

A Burlington Police Department report stated Boston was arrested for an alleged assault against Ed Gorchinski, a 59-year-old ticket/gate agent. Boston, 26, is cited to appear in court in December, according to a police report.

Further details of the arrest are being compiled by Burlington police, spokesman Wade Labrecque said early Saturday morning.

Boston, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in August, has been rehabilitating in Vermont. Boston also recently underwent a second knee surgery in Vermont stemming from an infection.

Agent Mitch Frankel didn't return a telephone message late Friday seeking comment. The Dolphins are declining comment until receiving more information about the arrest.

The Dolphins acquired Boston from San Diego last March for a 2005 sixth-round draft choice in hopes he would help upgrade their wide receiver corps. But Boston, who led the NFL in receiving yards in 2001, tore his left patella tendon during a joint practice with the Houston Texans.

Boston pleaded no contest to a charge of driving under the influence of drugs in March 2002 while playing for Arizona. Signed by San Diego in the 2003 offseason, Boston was suspended for one game last year for conduct detrimental to the team.

Boston had no legal or disciplinary problems since being acquired by the Dolphins.

Exciting day tomorrow

I need to get off this damn computer and try and get some sleep.

We're going to see Hillary Rodham Clinton give a speech tomorrow morning at the Harriet Himmel Auditorium in City Place. The gates open at 10:45, but they recommended we be there a few hours early. They will have big-screen televisions outside to accomodate the overflow. I'm waiting for a call tomorrow morning to clarify our plans. I think Dave might come through for us and get seats inside the building. Dave treats his assistants well and I have no doubt he'll do his best.

Then there's the big Game 1 of the W.S. between Boston and St. Louis. While I'm thinking about the W.S., here's my brief grade of the last four World Series encounters.

2000- Yankees over Mets in 4... F
What an awful series. After all the hype, the Mets couldn't even win a game. As it turned out, not many people outside of N.Y. cared. It went down as one of the lowest rated Series in history.

2001- Arizona Diamondbacks over Yankees in 7... A
This was a truly great series. Schilling and Johnson were awesome for Arizona. Luis Gonzalez 9th Inning, come from behind hit made this a classic series. I was one of the few people who didn't want New York to win after 9/11. September 11 changed some things, but not my hatred of the Yankees.

2002- Anaheim Angels over San Francisco Giants in 7... C
For some reason, I didn't watch any of this Series. It's the only W.S. I haven't cared about in the fifteen years I've followed baseball. Not that it was a terrible series, I just couldn't get into it.

2003- Florida Marlins over Yankees in 6... B+
I can't give this an "A". I reserve that grade for primarily 7 game series. Both LCS series that year were A +++++. The World Series ended up being sort of anti-climactic. I enjoyed it immensely, but I wouldn't call this an all-time great series. Bartmann and Beckett are the two names I remember most from that year's postseason.

10 Days Before the Election

Sorry for the overemphasis on politics the last few days. As you can probably tell, this election has really played with my nerves. It’s hard to believe that Election Day is so soon. We’re heading into the last week of the campaign.

Honestly, I don’t feel very good about Kerry’s chances. After the DNC, I was ecstatic about Kerry and felt he had command of the race. But then Swift Boat Vets came in and knocked the campaign off balance. Kerry steadied the ship with his solid debate performances, putting him back in the race.

The polls are all over the place. I’ve seen polls showing Kerry ahead or tied, but most of them show Bush expanding a slim lead. The polls were wrong in 2000 and could very well be off this year. However, I worry about some of our perceived advantages. I worry because they were the same talking points offered up by Dean supporters in the primaries. Dean’s supporters felt that: 1) All the newly registered voters would help Dean, 2) 18-24 y/o voters weren’t being polled, 3) Undecided voters would swing his direction. I kept hearing how Dean’s internal polling showed a likely victory in IA and NH. Of course, Dean went on to lose by 20 points in Iowa and 10 in New Hampshire. This election needs to be about convincing likely voters, not relying on new voters to carry us to victory.

My biggest fear is that the undecided voters will break for Bush because of terra. Bush continues to lead on the issue of fighting terra. Others suggest that economic issues will influence the election more than the threat of terra. I’m not so sure about that. Come Election Day, we’ll see who was right.

Kerry’s biggest advantage might be the Electoral College. Recent polls show Ohio and Florida trending towards Kerry. Were he to win those states, along with Pennsylvania, it would be nearly impossible to lose the election. However, it’s hard to imagine that happening without Kerry being within 1-2 % of the popular vote. I believe that individual states will trend towards the candidate who’s polling well nationally. We’re looking at the states of PA, OH, FL, IA, MN, MI, NH, and WI to decide this election. Despite some wild polls, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and New Hampshire all lean towards Kerry. Florida and Ohio are 58 EV’s worth of toss-ups. Finally, Wisconsin is looking better for Kerry.

A week from tonight or tomorrow, I expect to be able to project the race fairly accurately. If Bush is leading by 4 + in the polls, and has approvals over 50, Kerry is toast. I believe if polls show the race between 1-2 points for Kerry, then it’s truly a dead heat and turnout will be the pivotal factor.

There’s no telling what will happen in the next 10 days. I hope that the Kerry campaign has a bombshell that would dramatically alter the dynamics of the election. Of course, I then worry that Bush has a similar damning piece of evidence on Kerry. My advice is to relax and take a look at things in a week. And take heart in the fact that polling is not the end all and be all of politics. If Bush is significantly up, it’s safe to assume that he will end up winning. But if it’s within the margin of error, we’re talking about a 2000-style contested election. Lets hope that Kerry closes strong and rectifies what has been a four year long nightmare.

Friday, October 22, 2004

NFL: Week 7 picks

St. Louis Rams at Miami Dolphins… St. Louis
I won’t embarrass myself by picking Miami again. However, if Miami were just a little bit better of a football team, this would have all the makings of an upset. I’m not sold on this St. Louis team. They struggled to beat Tampa Bay last Monday night. That being said, there’s little hope for Miami’s defense to hold up against this high-powered Rams offense. Provided Martz has his team focused, there’s not much hope for Miami to break its six game losing streak.

Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings… Minnesota
As of yet, nobody’s been able to stop Daunte Culpepper. I don’t see anything in Tennessee’s 22nd ranked defense to suggest they will slow down Culpepper. Clearly, this is not the same Tennessee of year’s past. A solid defensive unit will eventually put a stop to Culpepper. But it’s not Tennessee this week. Like I said last week, it may take 40 points, but Minnesota will pull out a win.

Detroit Lions at New York Giants… Giants
Frankly, Detroit is a very bad 3-2 club. Their offense and defense are both among the worst in the league. They got crushed last week by a flailing Green Bay Packers team. Tom Coughlin has had two weeks to prepare the Giants for this contest. The only chance Detroit has is if Kurt Warner reverts back to his turnover prone days in St. Louis. With Tiki Barber finally learning how to run without fumbling, the Giants have too much firepower for the Lions.

Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers… Tampa Bay
I’ll use this space to comment on Brian Griese’s resurgence. Remember last year when, ensured with the Wade Smith protection plan, Griese looked awful. Armed with a decent offensive line, he’s done fairly well in his first two games. It’s hard to imagine Rex Grossman leading the Bears to victory, far less his replacement Jonathan Quinn. In a battle of bad football teams, I’ll go with the hosting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns… Philadelphia
Until Philly shows some signs of weakness, I’ll continue to feel confident about picking them. For Cleveland to have any chance in this game, they must establish the running game with William Green. I can’t see Philadelphia losing this game, even at Browns Stadium.

San Diego Chargers at Carolina Panthers… San Diego
I’m surprised to see San Diego coming into this game as the underdog. While I’m not sold on this team, they would seem to have enough to ward off the 1-4 Panthers. Carolina does get a lift this week with the return of RB Stephen Davis. Carolina doesn’t have a strong enough front four to stop LaDanian Tomlinson. Drew Brees can make enough big plays to pull off a slight upset and win on the road in Carolina. San Diego came within one point of beating a very good Atlanta Falcons team on the road. That’s enough to convince me they can hang with Carolina, a much inferior team to Atlanta.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis… Indianapolis
This is the second meeting of the year between these two AFC South rivals. I see no reason to expect Jacksonville to emerge victorious this time. Jacksonville surprised me last week by beating the struggling Chiefs. It would shock me more to see them pull off the upset on the road in Indianapolis, where the Colts have a tremendous advantage on the artificial turf. Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich is banged up with a bad knee and listed as questionable.

Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs… Atlanta
How in the hell is Kansas City a four-point favorite in this game? I keep saying that K.C. will get this thing turned around, but it never seems to happen. Atlanta’s not great, but there must be a reason they keep on winning. Michael Vick will run this porous Chiefs defense ragged.

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens… Baltimore
This game is close because of the absence of Jamal Lewis, serving the first of his two game NFL suspension. Buffalo will try to run Willis McGahee as much as possible. Drew Bledsoe can be forced into making bad plays by the aggressive Ravens defensive unit. The experts seem to like Buffalo on the road. I still think that Baltimore wins without much offense. Look at how they beat the Redskins two weeks ago with no offense.

New York Jets at New England Patriots… New England
The Jets have reason to be confident coming into this game. They are 5-0 and could take the AFC East lead with a victory. My prediction is fairly simple. I’ll take New England until they give me reason to doubt them. I may very well lose this one, but I’ll probably get 13 wins this season by picking them.

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals… Seattle
Seattle has struggled in losing their past two games. No matter how downtrodden they feel, there’s no way they get beaten by the Cardinals. Seattle needs to be careful with the ball. Provided they don’t self-destruct, there’s no reason to pick against them.

New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders… Oakland
I wish I could pick neither team in this game. I believe Oakland is a little bit better than they showed last week vs. Denver. Somewhere, this team has to have enough pride to beat the equally abysmal Saints of New Orleans. Thank God nobody outside the Bay Area and New Orleans regions will be subjected to this abortion of a football game.

Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers…Packers
I’m holding off on this game. I’m not convinced that Green Bay is back. Their victory last week was against a very overrated Lions team. However, it’s hard to imagine Green Bay being winless at home after four games. On the other hand, Parcells has lost two games in a row. It’s hard for me to see how he lets his team lose three straight. Of all the Week 7 games, this one gives me the most to think about. UPDATE: I reluctantly choose the Green Bay Packers to win this football game.

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals… Denver
There was a time when I thought Cincinnati would have a good year. After getting burned on multiple occasions, I’m picking the favored Broncos. They seem to have their act together on both sides of the ball, leading the league in scoring defense. Cincinnati will have emotion of their side in what is the team’s first MNF game in nearly a decade. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that Carson Palmer has twice as many interceptions as TD passes.

Edwards rally

Today I went to the John Edwards rally at the Hester Community Center in Boynton Beach. This establishment was in a predominantly minority part of Boynton Beach. That’s good for Democrats, since most of the African American community votes for us.

I actually arrived around 8:00. They promised me a chance to meet Edwards if I volunteered early. As I learned later, their word did not mean much. This guy Chuck sent me down to Pompano Beach to pick up pipe and sheet for the event. There was mad traffic both ways. It took me 90 minutes round trip. Finally I got the pipe and dropped it off at the loading deck.

By the time I got to the Center, I had to go to the back of the line. Then I see a shuttle drive by with Adriana and her sister. I was hoping that I could get them in without a wait. Unfortunately, the guy only let me in. Somehow, they skipped ahead of a few hundred people and got into the building shortly thereafter. It would have been a very long wait.

For about an hour, we listened to every black elected official in Boynton Beach. There was State Rep. Hank Harper of the 84th District. Anne Gannon, who is white, spoke. None were of the caliber of the esteemed Rep. Corrine Brown, representing the 5th Congressional district of Florida, Orlando.

Edwards came out to speak just around noon. We were seated directly behind where the Senator was speaking. I’ll bet we’ll be on the local news tonight. I believe they wanted the two girls to be in the camera shot. They have the trifecta that is good for any political picture: Young, female, and Spanish. I’m sure Edwards wants a diverse crowd to be seen on television.

Well, Edwards gave his normal speech. He did add stuff from the debates and mentioned the flu vaccine crisis. Overall, there’s nothing much different from the speech I reported on last month in Orlando. It was cute when his two young kids, Claire and Jack, came on stage at the beginning. I usually hate kids, but I have a soft spot in my heart for those two kids. Were it Cate on stage, nothing would be soft. (Sorry, that was inappropriate)

It started pouring down raining right as I left. I wanted to come pick up Adriana and Angela at the door, but the police had it blocked off. So we all had to get wet. I drove them to their parking spot at a nearby Church and I left.

I’m losing track of how many of these functions I’ve been to. After a while, I could give the speech. I like the events for the atmosphere and the chance to see fellow Democrats.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Song of the day- "White Houses"

Haven't done one of these in a while. It took me reading the lyrics to understand the meaning of this song. I do think it's one of my new favorite songs on the radio.

White Houses
by Vanessa Carlton

Crashed on the floor when I moved in
This little bungalow with some strange new friends
Stay up too late, and I'm too thin
We promise each other it's 'til the end
Now we're spinning empty bottles
Just the five of us
With pretty-eyed boys, girls die to trust
I can't resist the day
No, I can't resist the day

Jenny screams out and it's no pose
'Cause when she dances, she goes and goes
Beer through the nose on an inside joke
I'm so excited, I haven't spoken
And she's so pretty, and she's so sure
Maybe I'm more clever than a girl like her
Well, summer's all in bloom
Summer is ending soon

It's alright, and it's nice not to be so alone
But I hold onto secrets in white houses

Maybe I'm a little bit over my head
I come undone at the things he said
And he's so funny in his bright red shirt
We were all in love and we all got hurt
I sneak into his car's black leather seat
The smell of gasoline in the summer heat
Boy, we're going way too fast

It's all too sweet to last
It's alright
And I put myself in his hands
But I hold on to secrets in white houses
Love, or something ignites in my veins
And I pray it never fades in white houses

My first time, hard to explain
Rush of blood, oh, and a little bit of pain
On a cloudy day, it's more common than you think
He's my first mistake

Maybe you were all faster than me
We gave each other up so easily
These silly little wounds will never mend
I feel so far from where I've been

So I go, and I will not be back here again
I'm gone as the day is fading on white houses
I lie, put my injuries all in the dust
In my heart is the five of us
In white houses

And you, maybe you'll remember me
What I gave is yours to keep
In white houses
In white houses
In white houses

A Sacrilegious Day

I could also title this post “Fuck the USPS (Part II). As I wrote about yesterday, the Post Office declined to take our stamped Aronberg for Senate direct mailings. Since it was the larger 8 ½ by 11” sheet, we had to place additional 12 cents postage on each mailing. You wonder how long that takes? Well, even if you don’t care, I’ll tell you anyway.

I tried to call in some favors to no avail. It became clear that we would be forced to manually place the 12 cents on each of the 1300 letters. I told Adriana and Michelle that I would be down after my Exam ended. So, around 3:00, I once again drove down to the campaign offices in Lake Worth. We share a place with the Kerry for President workers. They rented an additional room for canvassers, giving us more space.

For literally three hours straight, Adriana and I did nothing but place stamps on letters. To make up the 12 cents, we had to use one 10-cent stamp and 2 penny stamps. Don’t think that the job was over with. At 6:30, we did take a break to eat some pizza. Michelle ordered from the New York Style Pizza restaurant on Lake Worth. I was given the unenviable task of picking up the delivery. I feared for my life walking into that restaurant. I continued to wear my BOSTON Red Sox jersey in a New York pizza place. I was waiting for one of the cooks to spit in our cheese pizzas. Fortunately, I didn’t notice any saliva adorning the pizza.

We got about 15 minutes of break and then proceeded to get back to working. We worked for another non-stop hour. I’m not saying it was excruciating work, but it got a bit boring. We talked and laughed some, but mostly suffered and the hand of thousands of stamps.

Finally, some relief came at about 7:30. One of Adriana’s friends brought us in a 12-pack of Bud Light. Oh how that was a sight for sore eyes. I had divulged earlier in the day that I was not of legal drinking age, so I thought they might not let me consume any. But they did and I proceeded to have a couple of Bud Lights. I felt sort of bad, considering it was my one-month anniversary with Jack Daniels. One month ago tonight I was introduced to Jack. I wonder how he’d feel to see me celebrating with another beverage. Even though I was gulping down the Budweiser, my heart remains with Jack. How I long until we meet again, fair ole’ Jack.

Maybe sacrilegious is too strong a word. I’m just not sure if campaign headquarters is the place to be getting buzzed off the Bud Light. It was funny when somebody came in trying to take pictures of campaign workers. Michelle saved us by saying, “Get out! We have liquor”. I’m sure the Kerry campaign would love to have pictures out of underage drinking at their PBC headquarters. Seriously though, the photographers were on our side and would have never taken such a picture. I guess there’s nothing really wrong with drinking on the job. It sure makes the task much more enjoyable.

We ended up getting out of there a little before 9:00. In all, it was a good 5 ½ hours of stamping. I think I did around 700 letters myself, with Adriana picking up the other half. That amounts to 2100 stamps placed on letters today.

I need to get some sleep soon. I’m on the advance staff for Sen. Edwards’ visit tomorrow. Michelle negotiated that Adriana, her sister, and myself would get to personally meet Edwards. I’m still waiting for the call from Ed, the young Kerry campaign worker who’s organizing the event.

It kept me occupied to say the least. What else was I going to do? I’d much rather be around people, even if the job is mundane. And the Bud Light was an added surprise. I think I’ve found my beer of choice. I hated the Coors Light beer. I did feel like I was going to throw up at time tonight. Maybe it’s because I was drinking in too big of sips. I was able to control my gag reflex enough not to make a fool out of myself. I felt myself getting more comfortable as time went on. Nevertheless, I much prefer hard liquor such as Jack Daniels, Tennessee Whiskey.

Now I only hope that the USPS processes it right. I left it with some guy around 9:15. He said he’d put it on the mail truck tonight. If it gets fucked up, I will not be pleased.


The Red Sox win the pennant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Right now, I can't find the words to describe what's happened the last four night. I have to say, this surpasses the 1992 NLCS Game 7 as my most memorable baseball moment.

And I'm 1-0 in my LCS picks. Lets hope St. Louis comes through tomorrow. Although, Houston vs. Boston would be an interesting W.S. It would be good (Kerry, Red Sox) vs. evil (Bush, Astros).

I can't imagine how the long-time Sox fans must be feeling right now. I decided at the beginning of this year to pull for the Red Sox in the AL East. It can't compare to those fans who have suffered since Bill Buckner's misque nearly 20 years ago. After losing A-Rod to the Yankees, I never thought they would win the AL Pennant. Congrats to all the New Englanders out there.

I wonder how long Joe Torre has left. He hasn't won a world series in four years. I'm not sure you can blame him for this. It's not his fault that Mariano Rivera blew two saves. Overall, he did a decent job of managing. Were he to be fired, I'd recommend that any team pick him up. This off-season, the Yankees should improve their pitching. Kevin Brown was an utter failure in the ALCS. He couldn't make it past the 2nd tonight. Javier Vazquez has been a bust. Outside of Mussina, this team has few solid starters. I expect they'll make a big push for Astros CF Carlos Beltran.

The Sox can't get complacent. The "Curse" has not been broken yet. It will take a World Series win to take care of that. They match up well with either National League club. It will be interesting to see how much they can get out of Schilling. Francona has to be happy with Lowe's performance in Game 7. Despite pitching one inning tonight, Martinez is the likely Game 1 starter. If Schilling's healthy, he could take Game 2. Then they have to choose two out of the combo of Lowe, Wakefield, and Arroyo.

P.S. David Ortiz has won the ALCS MVP award.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Fuck the USPS

This morning, I got a call on my cell phone around 10:30. It was Adriana asking me if I could work a Dem meeting tonight. I was to be the person who passed out literature for Aronberg. She put me in touch with one of his aids and I reluctantly agreed to do the volunteer work. Any other night would have been great, but there were two crucial playoff games. Simply to do a friend a favor, I missed the Astros/Cardinals (which was a thriller, incidentally). I did get back for the 2nd Inning of Sox/Yankees.

I kept in touch with a girl named Michelle all afternoon. When I was talking to her on the phone, I expected to a see a middle-aged fat lady. I was surprised at what I saw. She is actually very hot. Nevertheless, she laughed when she saw my Sox jersey. I was originally supposed to change into an Aronberg t-shirt, but as a Sox fan she thought it was sacrilege to take the shirt off on this most holy of days.

Here’s where the United States Postal Service comes in. Michelle had me run an errand to the Summit Boulevard Post Office. I have grown to despise that branch of government. First, they sent me to the back of the line for no good reason. I had gone to the front of the line because I was the only person there. Suddenly, about ten people showed up. I had passed some sort of imaginary line and they forced me to the back of the line. Then I finally get there with my 1300 pieces of campaign literature. They proceed to tell me that I need 49 cents postage instead of the standard 37. They said it was an “oversized pamphlet”. This is the second fucking time that’s happened to me. When working on the Burdick campaign, we ran into the same predicament. I wasn’t involved in putting the flier together, so there wasn’t much I could do.

The main purpose of my night was to work the West Lake Worth Democratic Club’s monthly meeting. I had to pass out the campaign literature to the assembled members. In all honesty, it was kind of worthless. Everybody in that room was a Democrat and probably 99 % were voting for Dave already. It did give me a chance to see some interesting speakers. Ric Bradshaw, a candidate for Sheriff, gave a speech. Then a representative for Ken Eggleston’s campaign gave an address. Evidently, it wasn’t important enough for Ken actually to show up. Instead, there was this balding 65-year old man who spoke with a lisp. I was hoping there would be another altercation. At a recent club meeting, the police had to be called in.

Dave finally showed up around 8:00. I did want to hear his speech. I was very impressed. He should have a great future in Florida politics. He excused me, since he knew I wanted to be home for baseball.

I got back in touch with Michelle after I left. She swore me to secrecy about the mailing dysfunction. I told her I’d keep them overnight and give them to Adriana tomorrow morning. I might have to go back to the Lake Worth office to help with the additional stamps. 1300 letters is a decent amount to have to work through. Hopefully each of us can take approximately 600.

Finally, I’ll leave with one observation. One thing I like about Dave is how his staff consists of so many young people. Dave himself is only 31-years old. It’s a contrast to the Democratic clubs, which are mostly made up of elderly Jews. I’m thrilled to see so many young people being employed by Dave.

Election recommendations

It's time for my fall 2004 endorsements. I will be selecting races from the state of Florida and Palm Beach County.

When you get to the voting booth, there will be a 16 page touch screen ballot. It shouldn't take long. My suggestion is to take an index card into the voting booth. It will help you remember how to vote on the amendments. The dozen amendments are what makes voting such a long process for some people. You can get the same information at home on the computer, so you don't waste everybody's time reading over the long and drawn out proposals.

President... Sen. John F. Kerry
No explanation needed

U.S. Senate... Betty Castor
If there is to be a President Kerry, I'd like him to have strong Democratic support in the Senate. Martinez seemed okay at first, but he's turned out to be a real ideologue. Clearly, Castor is the preferrable choice for Florida Democrats and Independents.

U.S. Congress, District 22... No recommendation
I can't in good faith recommend to vote for a candidate who's currently not campaigning. Jim Stork withdrew from his contest against incumbent E. Clay Shaw in September. Due to a legal technicality, the Democrats weren't able to get another name on the ballot. I also cannot in good conscience vote for the Republican. So either leave the space empty or vote for Stork. In theory, Stork could still win and there'd be a special election later in 2005. In reality, Shaw will win re-election handily.

Palm Beach County Sheriff... Ric Bradshaw
I don't care much about the sheriff's race. From my limited knowledge, Bradshaw seems more experienced. On the other hand, Ken Eggleston has been the subject of much controversy. He was fired over a dispute with incumbent Sheriff Ed Bieluch. The idea was that Eggleston would have Bieluch's endorsement after he retired in 2004. Instead, Bieluch decided to seek another term and then decided to withdraw and endorse Bradshaw. Both candidates are Democrats, so you can't go wrong either way. My personal preference is for Bradshaw.

School Board, District 1... David A. Harris
I was displeased at incumbent Monroe Benaim's choice to oppose automatic pay raises for public school teachers. Harris has garnered the support of the local AFL-CIO. In this non-partisan race, the union endorsment carries a lot of weight and influences my decision to support Harris's candidacy. However, considering Benaim's raised over $100,000 to Harris's $15,000, expect Benaim to win the runoff easily.

Clerk of the Circuit Court... Sharon Bock
Her opponent, Scott Fronrath, is an officer with the Jupiter Police Department. Without much more knowledge, I'll recommend voting the party line.

Tax Collector... John Clark
Clark has done a good job in his 12 years as tax collector. Questions about his health dog re-election efforts against 2000 candidate Pete Carney. Absent any compelling evidence to sway my decision, vote for the incumbent.

Amendment 1: No
Amendment 2: No
Amendment 3: No
Amendment 4: No recommendation
Amendment 5: Yes
Amendment 6: Yes

Amendment 7: Yes
Amendment 8: Yes

I won't go into all these initiatives. The only one I feel very strongly about is Amendment 3. That initiative provides for medical liability compensation limits. I feel it's unfair to cap damages for pain-and-suffering. This amendment is a charade put forth by doctors and the GOP.

I haven't much of an opinion on Amendment 4, which allows Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to conduct referenda approving slot machines in para-mutual facilities. I did see a bumper sticker at Riverwind Apartments urging me to vote No. I've talked to a few Democratic groups and they don't have a preference. Based on the Post's recommendation, I followed suit and opposed 4.

PBC Ballot Initiatives... Yes (OR for bonds) on all 3
If nothing else, vote to increase the sales tax by one half cent in order to fund school construction. Remember, vote YES on the 1st local initiative.

Judges... Retain all
I decided to simply vote to retain all of them. That was the endorsment of the Palm Beach Post. In retrospect, I should have done some research and decided to oppose judges appointed by JEB? If anybody feels like doing that homework, be my guest.

Big Tuesday

Well, not really. I had my usual morning and afternoon class at FAU. We got to watch the Jon Stewart Crossfire clip. Big news was made last week when Stewart went on CNN's "Crossfire" and proceded to rip their program. Among other things, he chided Crossfire as being bad for America. I didn't get to watch it live, but read the transcript Saturday afternoon. had it up and running by Monday morning.

I finally got to see Tim and Loren again tonight. We hadn't seen each other since the catastrophe that was Tim's 23rd Birthday. That July night the police were called and hostilities arose. I'm glad that I got to see them and my neighbor, Larry. Loren needed to use my computer to type up a writing assignment for her PBCC English Composition class. We watched the first seven innings of the Yankees/Sox game.

I thought things would turn disastrous when Loren lost her car keys. Everybody was blaming each other and I couldn't help but think it would turn into another police incident. After about 15 minutes of searching, Larry found them at the bottom of his couch.

For some reason, Larry thought it was a good idea to light off a firework at 11:00 p.m. Not sure why he did that.

Then we had the epic Game 6 between Boston and New York. I will say this now. I understand that New York City is highly liberal and Democratic. But I can't help but feel an immense amount of scorn towards the Yankees and their bastard fans. The scene in the 8th Inning was reminescent of the RNC Convention last August. The Yankees were having a collective meltdown. Alex Rodriguez tried to cheat in an effort to reach first base. When it was clear he was unable to reach safely, he did a little gay motion and knocked the ball out of Arroyo's hand. Initially, the Yankees were awarded a run and Rodriguez was on second. But following an umpire's conference, justice was restored and the run was expunged from the record. This is when the Yankee fans started throwing crap on the field. FOX didn't show explicit details, but riot gear were called in and they had to stay on the field in the 8th Inning.

Order was restored and Boston ended up winning 4-2. There were some anxious moments in the 9th when the Yankees had the winning runner at home plate. Closer Keith Foulke was able to retire Tony Clark for the win.

Game 7 is a sports event that everybody should watch and tape for posterity. If the Red Sox are to pull it out, it could erase over 80 years of Sox futility. They will need hundreds of officers to keep the petulant Yankee fans from rioting all over Yankee Stadium.


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Big Papi!!!

Wow! The ALCS has certainly changed since Saturday night, when the Yankees demolished Boston 19-8. At that point, most people thought the series was over. I figured Boston might be able to win one game and force a 5th game on Monday. Even at this point, the Yankees should be a sizable favorite to win this series tonight or tomorrow. But the Red Sox performance has made this a very worthwhile ALCS to view.

Sunday and Monday were two of the best baseball games I’ve ever seen. Both lasted over five hours in duration. Fortunately, I didn’t watch every inning. I’ve seen the games from about the fifth inning until its conclusion. One man jumps out at me as being a tremendous baseball player. Red Sox DH David Ortiz has hit three game winning hits so far in the playoffs. Each one of them came in extra innings. He hit a HR to win the decisive Game 3 of the Angels series. A two-run HR won it for Boston in Game 4, and a Texas leaguer did it in Game 5’s 14th Inning. He was even able to steal a base in extra innings, despite being erroneously called out by the umpire. The guy can’t run or field. All he does it hit baseballs and win games for this team.

Boston remains in an unenviable situation. Their season will come down to whether Curt Schilling can pitch tonight. He’s going to give it a try. In all honesty, he needs to pitch at least seven innings to give their bullpen a rest. They need a bullpen that can make it in a Game 7, if necessary. I assume that they’d go with Tim Wakefield, who pitched two innings yesterday, in a deciding Game 7. Bronson Arroyo would be going on three days rest, but he had to pitch an inning in last night’s extra inning contest. I have to say that this game could very well be a legendary baseball moment. If Schilling pitches well, he will go down as a baseball hero in Boston. A decent performance isn’t enough. Francona said that he has no pitch count placed on Schilling. My guess is that he’ll give it everything he has. I have no clue what happens if Schilling is forced out early. I’d venture to suggest that reliever Ramiro Mendoza would be used in long relief. Their bullpen has been decimated because of the 12 and 14 inning games.

Boston does have some advantages going. Jon Lieber is hittable, even after his masterpiece in Game 2. New York would have to throw Kevin Brown or Javier Vazquez in Game 7. Neither has shown much in these playoffs. New York has been hurt by a lack of left-handed relief pitching. Felix Heredia is their only southpaw coming out of the bullpen. Before last night, he had hit two of the three batters he’s faced in the postseason. Boston has a specialty left-handed pitcher in Mike Myers, who got a crucial out last night against Hideki Matsui. Who can the Yankees put in there to retire David Ortiz in a crucial spot?

I’m sticking with my Sox in 7 prediction. It’s too late to turn back now. I’m in jeopardy of losing both my series. Houston won last night’s game with a 9th Inning Jeff Kent HR. The Cardinals will have to face Roger Clemens at least once more in the series, if it makes it to Game 7. Roy Oswalt could come out of the bullpen on short rest. I haven’t followed the NLCS too much. Ironically, FOX didn’t pick up the game until the 8th Inning last night. The Sox/Yankees ran late, so FOX put the game on FX. I flipped it on occasionally, but mostly watched the ALCS. It’s a shame, since the Astros, led by Carlos Beltran, have orchestrated a tremendous comeback.

Tonight is the most excited I’ve ever been about a baseball game. The groundwork has been laid for a truly classic contest of wills. Boston needs a Willis Reed like performance out of Schilling to force a final game on Wednesdauy.

Two weeks out

I wanted to take a few minutes to give my thoughts on the upcoming presidential election. I’ve stated in recent days that I felt George W. Bush would manage to win on November 2. In some ways, that’s a lot like some of my football picks. George W. Bush vs. John Kerry is a lot like this week’s game between the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans. I had no clue who was going to win, but in the end you have to type out a pick. So I picked the Titans, but ended up losing. Enough with the sports analogy.

I’ll keep this as simple as possible. I don’t have the energy to look up every poll and statistic. I’ll briefly give me thoughts on a number of issues surrounding the election.

1) Undecided voters: Different polls yield different percentages of undecided voters. For instance, John Zogby’s polling continues to show 7 % undecided. That happens because he doesn’t include “leaners”, or voters who have a slight preference towards a certain candidate. Election models pointing towards a Kerry win speculate that 65 % of the undecided voters will break for the challenger. I’m not sure if this relates to presidential elections. Late deciders often times focus less on issues and more on personality and likeability. Polls show Bush with an edge in that area. Kerry should be energized with a recent poll saying that only 21 % of undecided voters approve of Bush’s job performance as president. The bottom line: Undecided voters will break to some degree for Kerry. The difference between 51 and 65 % might be the difference between victory and defeat.

2) Get out the vote: I’m having a tough time gauging which party will get out their vote. In 2002, Gore won by orchestrating a tremendous GOTV efforts. Karl Rove has had four years to correct his mistakes. The GOP has practiced their efforts in congressional and gubernatorial races in 2002 and 2003. Democratic groups like Move On and America Coming Together have spent over $100 million in registering new voters. The big question is whether these newly registered voters will actually make it to the polls. History suggests that these voters are unlikely to vote in great numbers. It’s the focus of these independent groups to get as many of them to vote as possible. Bottom line: More than anything, this is the single most important element of this election. As long as the race stays within a few points, GOTV will be a deciding factor.

3) Bush’s approval: That’s the number that will most drive the election. If Bush’s approval rating is under 50 %, then Kerry has a real chance to win. Typically, the approval rating the weekend before the election closely mirrors the percentage of the popular vote garnered by the incumbent. That’s why I get scared when any poll puts Bush above 50 % job approval. The bottom line: Don’t follow all the horserace polling. Closely monitor Bush’s approval rating. Unless historical trends are altered dramatically, that will drive Bush’s total percentage won on Nov. 2.

4) Swing states: I’m not a big fan on focusing too much on these select states. I believe that the states will trend whichever way the national as a whole does leading up to the election. State polls can be unreliable, especially if they are done by non-reputable pollsters. John Kerry and Bush both need to win two out of these three states- Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio. Considering today’s visit to the Sunshine State, it looks like Kerry believes he can take Florida’s 27 electoral votes. Honestly, the swing states deserve a post all to themselves. I can’t justify it in such a brief format. The bottom line: I don’t believe this race will be decided by electoral college votes. One candidate will break out and win this election by 2 or 3 %.

Finally, one last word of caution about polls. In 2000, 39 of 43 national polls showed George W. Bush winning the popular vote, prior to the last weekend before the election. Basically, polls can be wrong in close races. For this election, I advise everyone to pay attention to likely voters vs. registered voters. All these polls have two results. One is for registered voters, and the other is for likely voters. They use a formula to try and discern whether a person will actually vote in the election. With registered voters, Democrats tend to poll much better. When the likely voters model is put in place, Republicans usually gain a few percentage points. What does all this mean? The higher the turnout is on Election Day, especially in swing states, the better it is for the Democrats. Don’t be fooled by these polls showing Bush with a lead outside the margin of error. When registered voters are polled, the race is dead even and sometimes favoring Kerry.

Of course, I’ll write some more as the election draws closer. These are only a few of a myriad of factors affecting the election. My prediction is to say that I just don’t know who will win this thing. I have a slight lean towards Bush, but any slight change in momentum could propel Kerry or Bush ahead. If anybody asks your opinion about who wins, answer it this way: John Kerry can win this election provided everybody who supports him actually votes on Election Day. Try to get everybody who leans towards Kerry, or just plain doesn’t like Bush, to make the commitment to vote on November 2 or earlier.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Saturday's dealings

I got up earlier than I thought I would on Saturday. I believe I woke up sometime between 11:00 and 12:00. Evan and Rahul were up by noon, but Eric was still asleep in his room. I turned on the television and watched the 1st Quarter of Oklahoma vs. Kansas State. The Sooners went on to win 31-21.

After a while of sitting on the couch, I decided to walk down to the Riverwind clubhouse. Fortunately, they let me in without nary a hassle. I shot a game of pool and went directly to the Internet computers. I needed to check my email, log onto AIM, and check out some of my favorite sites. That killed about an hour of time. I called Zach and asked if he wanted to have lunch. He was going out with Megan that afternoon, but we made tentative plans for dinner.

I went back to the apartment and found Rahul and his girlfriend, Brittany, watching a “Winnie the Pooh” movie on the WB. I kept my feelings of horror to myself. Finally, I felt too hungry and decided to go eat myself. I drove a few miles south and dined at the TGI Friday’s. Incidentally, Eric called just as I had entered the establishment. Since he had to wait for his visiting friend Daniel at the room, I decided to place my order and eat. The waiter was an incompetent black man. He tried to be friendly, but for the most part creeped me out.

People laugh at me when I say I like the TGI Friday’s restaurant. I used to like it more before they upped their prices and got rid of baked potatoes. I hadn’t eaten there in a number of months. They continue to serve one meal that compares to almost anything served at restaurants nationwide. TGI Friday’s uses a special sauce on their burgers, steaks, chicken, and shrimp. Jack Daniels, maker of my beloved Tennessee whiskey, dabbles in this non-alcoholic sauce. Sadly, that was the only Jack Daniels I tasted this whole weekend.

I went back to the apartment and met Eric’s friend, Daniel. Apparently, he used to be a roommate before failing out of the University of Central Florida. Now he goes to college at the University of South Florida, in Tampa. He seemed like a very nice guy. We played three games of cutthroat billiards at the clubhouse. I finished second twice and third once. I am destined always to finish in second place. Back at the room, we caught a little of the Houston Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals NLCS baseball game.

Zach called me on the cell and proposed we go somewhere to eat some wings. We all concurred that the Orlando Ale House was an acceptable choice. Considering I had eaten a decent meal four hours ago, I wasn’t that hungry. But I decided to chip in and eat a few wings. I found that the Ale House was filled with supporters of George W. Bush. One man was wearing a shirt that simply read, “President Bush”. Our waiter had a “Viva Bush” pin on his hat. He was a nice enough guy, but it was very inappropriate to wear that on the job. I’d never wear any Kerry/Edwards paraphernalia at a place of employment. I wondered why so many Bush supporters were there. Bush had held a rally at 5:00 in Daytona Beach. Still, that was two hours away and it was only about 7:30. They couldn’t have returned home so quickly. The last straw came when the waiter made us wait 10 minutes for the check. We decided to leave him a tip. Unfortunately for him, I don’t think it amounted to more than ten cents. For a second, I got worried when I thought I had left something at the restaurant. Luckily for me, it wasn’t lost and I didn’t have to return to the scene.

We dropped Zach back off at the Gatherings for his nightly nap. In the meantime, we caught a little more of the Red Sox/Yankees game. After about five innings and an 11-6 lead, I knew the Red Sox were out of it. Around that time, Evan came home. In addition, Brittany brought her parents over and converged in someone’s room. I didn’t partake in that conversation. Seemed like nice enough people, though.

For some reason, Zach wanted to go to UCF’s monthly “Late nights” festivities. They hold it at the student union of the University. Everyone else reluctantly tagged along. Other people were telling me that it wouldn’t be very much fun. Zach and I met Eric and his cronies around 11:00. This fellow who was doing some strange shit with his mouth intrigued Zach. I guess he was talented, but it got old after a few minutes. Everybody but Zach and I decided to go home. I didn’t have much of a choice, being Zach’s chauffer/butler for the night. It did get a little better afterwards. We went to this very strange room where everybody was playing board games. Some of the parents were acting very weird. One lady took off her shoes while a man, presumably her husband, gave her a foot rub. I don’t mean to sound prudish, but it was a bit appropriate considering the circumstances. I watched as Zach won two games of chess with this foreign kid. I’m amazed at how well Zach does at almost everything in life. I didn’t know that Zach had played a few thousand games of chess, beginning at age 15. The other kid was on the chess club and computer sciences major.

What came next was even more disturbing. We found a room where karaoke was being performed. Walking in, we listened to this guy trying to sing country music. Next came a young girl, probably about five years old, singing Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated”. Don’t get me wrong, “Complicated” isn’t a bad song. But her rendition was very unnerving. That lasted all of ten minutes. We got up when a parent began to sing the lyrics to Evanescence’s “My Immortal”.

Zach couldn’t resist the free food that was being offered at the student union. The meal of choice was spaghetti and meatballs, courtesy of Sbarro’s pizza. I settled on eating a few meatballs and some lemonade. I could have done without eating again that evening. The line was about 15 minutes long, but we waited nonetheless.

Finally, we went home. Zach had me walk about a half mile in search of the “haunted arboretum”. Everybody knew that it had been damaged from Hurricane Charley. We walked to find a deserted parking lot. The arboretum was clearly not in service. It was around 1:00 when we finally made it back to the car.

I thought Zach was going to bring the movie “Bulworth” back to the Riverwind clubhouse. But as is the case most weekends, there was not a space for visitor parking. The golf cart driver told us that we couldn’t even park at the pizza place next door. I hear that they tow a good half dozen cars a night at the complex. So we ended up going back to the Gatherings and watching the film.

I was disturbed by the poor conditions at Zach’s apartment. His room was smaller than I had expected. His parents took his bed, leaving only a blow-up bed for Zach to sleep on. I kind of feel bad for the guy. He has no computer and no bed. No wonder he tries to spend most of his time away from there. The movie was entertaining. I don’t want to go much into it at the moment. Maybe a movie review is in the works for later in the week. I left there sometime around 3:30.

I figured that there would be parking spaces past 3:00 a.m. I was wrong and found no available spaces. So I rode around for about ten minutes. When I returned, there were a handful of open spots. I quickly parked and walked back to the apartment. Daniel, Evan, Janel, and Eric were still up. I’m told that they played X-Box for most of the night. Frankly, I’m not much into non-sports video games. And I don’t even play sports games much anymore. It was busy enough as is, so I’m glad I spent a few hours at Zach’s. I got the sense that Daniel was a little drunk. He may have mistaken the sprite bottle for actual sprite. We replaced it a week ago with some cheap Smirnoff vodka. I regret not being present for that spectacle. Everybody went to bed by 4:25. It took me about a half hour to fall asleep. It didn’t help that Daniel started snoring about 4:30.

Saturday was a good day for me. I got to meet some new people and travel along with adventure that is Zach’s life. The only downside was that the Red Sox got totally blown out. That left them down 3-0. As I write, they are up 2-1 in Game 5 at Fenway.

Hopefully I get Friday’s recount up soon. Also, look for some election commentary fairly soon.


Week 6: Picks Summary

My record:
Week 1: 0-1
Week 2: 9-7
Week 3: 7-7
Week 4: 6-8
Week 5: 8-6
Week 6: 9-5

Total: 39 W, 34 L, 53 %

Briefly... I had a decent week so far at 9-5. There's a couple of games that really have me kicking myself. Nevertheless, I did make a couple of decent picks and should up my percentage by a few points.

Atlanta 21, San Diego 20 W
Buffalo 20, Miami 13 L
Washington 13, Chicago 10 W
Cleveland 34, Cincinnati 17 L
Green Bay 38, Detroit 10 W
Houston 20, Tennessee 10 L
New England 30, Seattle 20 L
Jets 22, San Francisco 14 W
Philadelphia 30, Carolina 8 W
Jacksonville 22, Kansas City 16 L
Denver 31, Oakland 3 W
Pittsburgh 24, Dallas 20 W
Minnesota 38, New Orleans 31 W
St. Louis 28, Tampa Bay 21 W

Sunday recap

I woke up at 9:30 in order to get home for the Dolphins vs. Bills football game, beginning at 1:00. I arrived at Zach’s house around 10:00 and made the trip in a little over two hours. I must have driven between 80 and 85 mph the whole way. I was privately wondering what it would be like to be in the same car with Zach for that long a time. It was pleasantly surprising.

I think I made it out to the Country Estates at about 12:30. Zach asked me to come in for a few minutes. His dad, Richard, had offered to give me $40 for gas money. He was very appreciative that I had brought his son home. When Richard awoke, he lifted his shirt and showed me his battle sores. Three days ago he had undergone surgery to remove his gall bladder. Three weeks prior he underwent an angioplasty on his heart. In the most disturbing comment of the day, Mr. Spencer informed me of his upcoming penile surgery. I didn’t ask exactly what was wrong with his penis that required such drastic action. He was unenthused about this procedure, scheduled for later this month.

For some reason, Richard seems to have taken a liking to me. We sat and talked on the couch for a half hour or so. He kept on talking about how his favorite team was anybody playing the Miami Dolphins. He consistently chastised Dan Marino for his lack reluctance to scramble. I kind of nodded and didn’t say anything confrontational. He asked me if I wanted to stay for the game. I originally planned to stay only until halftime, but ended up watching the whole game at the Spencer’s residence. The Bills won 20-13.

The whole experience was sad and rewarding at the same time. Richard was so grateful that Zach came home for Sunday afternoon. He kept on thanking me for driving him back. I could tell that he was having a great time “hanging with the guys”, even if he was still in pain from the surgery. I didn’t have a bad time myself. I find Richard interesting to talk with. He comes off as being a very smart man. I know that he does respect Eric and me very much. He was talking about how happy he was that Zach has such nice friends. That kind of made me feel good. This encounter might merit more evaluation in another post.

I made it back to the Heights around 4:00. I finally took a shower and did a little bit of homework. I tried to hold off on eating until as late as possible. A friend and I were going to get something to eat, but I couldn’t wait. I ate a couple of candy bars and some macaroni and cheese.

Zach did end up calling later and we drove to the Sonny’s restaurant in Jupiter. Unfortunately, I arrived at 9:15 and found it closed. The funniest thing was that Zach’s car broke down again making the U-turn into the restaurant. All of a sudden, the car just went dead. He was able to restart it and get going. Considering the unsteady state of his car, we drove my Hyundai the rest of the evening.

Neither of us wanted to spend much money, so we decided on dining at Wendy’s. I didn’t remember the fact that Zach once worked at the Jupiter Wendy’s. The line wasn’t very long when we walked in. There were only two customers ahead of us. However, the employees were very poor. One of the guys spoke only Creole. Zach noticed that he worked with one of the black girls who was serving the food. Apparently, two years ago she stormed out, quit, and vowed never to return again. I guess she reneged on that arrangement. After about five minutes of waiting, to no avail, we left.

Originally, we were going to play pool. But I wanted to get some exercise, so we went to play some racquetball. I had to go buy some racquetballs at the Slave Mart earlier today. It was the only store open at 7:00 on a Sunday evening. There were two other guys, Will and Chris, playing when we arrived. I was reluctant when Zach initiated a game of doubles. I’m always worried that we’ll get totally humiliated. What resulted wasn’t bad at all. I didn’t recognize him, but Will was in one of my Art classes last year at PBCC. After a few serves, I could tell we had a great chance of emerging victorious. We won the first game 21-12. Zach and I won the second contest 21-15. I think I played relatively well. Those guys had no clue how to play together. They kept on going after my serves that were headed out of bounds. I kept on serving balls that would have been handled by most adept players. Once I learned that they couldn’t return a serve, the rest of the game was easy. I made a few unforced errors that resulted in a close game. We really should have kept them under 10 points for the game.

I drove Zach back to his car at Sonny’s and we drove to Slave Mart for the second time today. He wanted to get a few blank CD’s to copy some music of mine. He went back to my place and made a copy of Avril Lavigne’s new album, “Under My Skin”. I swear, I’m not making this up. I feel better knowing I’m not the only person who occasionally enjoys the music of Avril.

We tried to watch some of “The Girl Next Door” on DVD. The sound was messed up on my PS2. Zach did fix it, but we only saw about ten minutes of it. We decided to turn it off and watch the rest of Game 4 between Boston and New York. I began to get really nervous when I saw New York leading 4-3 in the 9th Inning. Mariano Rivera is as close to perfect as you can get in the playoffs. Surprisingly, he blew the save and the game went into extra innings tied at 4. Zach stayed until the 10th Inning. Finally, after a marathon five-hour game, David Ortiz hit a two-run homerun in the bottom of the 12th Inning to give Boston a 6-4 win. It’s still hard to see Boston coming back and winning Game 5, tomorrow at 5:00 in Boston. The Sox bullpen was decimated. They used everybody but Ramiro Mendoza and Tim Wakefield. They’ll need 7 or 8 quality innings out of Pedro to even have a shot. I am glad that there will be at least one more game. A sweep is not befitting of this great 2004 Boston Red Sox franchise. On the bright side, if the Red Sox came back it would be a great ending to over 80 years of frustration.

I still want to post Friday and Saturday updates. I need to get some sleep now, as it’s coming up on the two o’clock hour here on the east coast. If I get ambitious, I might start on them later this morning.