Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Tuesday update

Nothing big to report today. I'm working on getting my research paper for Mass Communication Theory done by tomorrow. And then there's my final journalism project. I think I'm going to do it on the efforts to cut back on Florida Bright Future's scholarships. A friend tipped me off on this and was able to get me some sources to talk with.

The next week or so will be focused on getting stuff done for the rest of Fall semester. It pretty much ends for me a week from today. Then it's Christmas break.

My LJ might suffer a little in the process. I've about written myself out with my personal stories and tales. I think I could use a break from that. I'll still be up with NFL picks (almost completed already) and some trivial things of the nature.


Monday, November 29, 2004

Saturday night fun

Not that anyone's counting, but I think Saturday night was "Getting Fucked up at Taylor's House 2004 Part III". Originally, it was supposed to be a one time thing. Now, a 4th GFUATH04 is looking like a distinct possibility, especially if I can find Zach a drink he likes (Paging Captain Morgan Parrot Bay).

For the first few hours, Eric and I played poker online at JimFeistPoker.com. I'm convinced that game was rigged. We played for 45 minutes and got only one or two decent hands. The game was halted when Zach told us he wanted pizza. We went to Sal's Italian Ristiorante at Abacoa and got some pizza. I don't think Zach ever payed me for his three slices. In my drunkenness, I may have told him not to worry about the price.

The main event started close to midnight. Mexico City's Marco Antonio Barrera won a narrow majority decision over Tijuana's Erik "El Terible" Morales. I had the fight scored 7 rounds to 5, 115-113 for Marco Antonio Barrera. It was the best fight I've seen all year.

The liquor went down fast and furious from the 8th Round on. I was pulling for Morales, so everytime he lost a round I had a shot of JD. Conversely, Zach and Eric had to down a half-shot whenever Barrera lost a round.

I think Eric might have gotten a little drunk. Before I knew it, his speech was becoming slurred. Mine wasn't too much better. He ended up falling asleep on my bed. I took the couch in the spare bedroom.

That's the end of me and JD for a while. I'm figuring it will be at least two weeks before we meet again, maybe longer. We've contemplated finding another Kentucky Bourbon for next time. The names I keep thinking of are Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, and Ezra Brooks. Evan Williams is another possibility. We cannot drink George Dickel, considering he comes from Jack's home state of Tennessee. It would be unfair to Mr. Jack. And if there's one thing I'll never do, it's piss off Mr. Jack.

Liquor in the front, poker in the rear Posted by Hello

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Week 12: 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
Week 8: 8-6
Week 9: 7-7
Week 10: 8-6
Week 11: 13-3
Week 12: 12-4

Total: 94 W, 67 L, 58 %

Indianapolis 41, Detroit 9 W
Dallas 21, Chicago 7 W
Cincinnati 58, Cleveland 48 W
San Diego 34, Kansas City 31 W
Minnesota 27, Jacksonville 16 W
Philadelphia 27, New York Giants 6 W
Pittsburgh 16, Washington 7 W
Carolina 21, Tampa Bay 14 L
Houston 31, Tennessee 21 W
Atlanta 24, New Orleans 21 W
Miami 24, San Francisco 17 L
Buffalo 38, Seattle 9 L
New York Jets 13, Arizona 3 W
New England 24, Baltimore 3 W
Oakland 25, Denver 24 L
Green Bay 45, St. Louis 17 W

Saturday, November 27, 2004

NFL: Week 12 Picks

Earlier this week, I projected the Thanksgiving games. I went 2-0, accurately predicting Indianapolis over Detroit and Dallas over Chicago.

Now, I'll pick the remaining 13 games of Week 12.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals... Cincinnati
Cleveland is 0-4 on the road this season. In my mind, that's all that separates these mediocre teams.

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs... San Diego
San Diego must win to keep pace with Denver in the AFC West. I'm surprised as anybody that Marty Schottenheimer has gotten this team into contention. Kansas City plays better at home, but they lack the secondary to stop Drew Brees.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings... Minnesota
Randy Moss remains questionable for this game. Getting him back is key to Minnesota making the playoffs. Fortunately, even without Moss the Jags offensive situation is uncertain. Minnesota typically plays well at home.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants... Philadelphia
Until the Eagles falter, I'm convinced this is a 14-2 or 15-1 football team.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers... Tampa Bay
Tampa seems to be back on track. Their schedule is looking very favorable. If they can get to 9-7 from their current 4-6 record, they could be a playoff team.

Tennesee Titans at Houston Texans... Houston
Have I mentioned how much I hate the AFC South?

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons... Atlanta
The Saints are plain awful. Vick should have a field day.

Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers... San Francisco
Please don't make me comment. I'm sticking with my pledge to abstain from picking Miami to win another game this season.

Buffalo Bills at Seattle Seahawks... Seattle
Seattle survived their big scare last week versus Miami. Buffalo has yet to win a road game this season. Look for either Hasselbeck or Dilfer to have enough to win.

Washington Redskins at Pittsurgh Steelers... Pittsburgh
The Steelers are getting healthier at the RB position with Duce Staley returning. The Skins are so inept offensively that I can't validate picking them to win a game.

New York Jets at Arizona Cardinals... Jets
For some reason, I'm not confident enough to pick Arizona. The Jets impressed me last week by taking care of business on the road in Cleveland.

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots... New England
Without a healthy Jamal Lewis running the football, second-year QB Kyle Boller can't generate enough offense to win. Considering New England's won 16 straight at home, they're a fairly safe bet.

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos... Denver
The Raiders don't have much left in their tank. Droughns for Denver is having a very good season running the football. Despite Denver's tendency to be inconsistent, they have enough to move to 8-3 in the AFC.

St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers.. Green Bay
There are too different Rams teams. The team that plays at home in St. Louis is a fairly reliable pick. On the road, especially in cold conditions, they're almost impossible to predict. If Ahman Green gets healthy by gametime, this is the type of situation where he should excel.

Poker Night at Taylor's House 2004

Tonight, Eric, Zach, and I had hoped to play a quiet game with Eric's dad. Unfortunately, Eric's Dad was tired, so we needed to find one or two extra players. I recruited my step-brother Tim, while Eric called an old friend named "Postal Paul". He's called postal because he allegedly builds bombs.

It took a while to get everyone together. It wasn't until 10:00 that I got Tim over to my house. At first, everything seemed okay. Tim was playing aggressively, yet found a way to follow the rules. Paul was a little slow at picking up the bidding, but I figured he'd get better with time.

I made the BIG mistake of bringing out the 1.75 L bottle of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey. I took one sip and nearly got violently ill ten minutes later. That was it for me and Jack tonight. For some reason, I kept the bottle out near the table. Slowly but surely, the bottle began to evaporate.

Paul was unable to pick up the game. Eric later noted that we would have been better served placing a scarecrow in Paul's chair. At least a scarecrow wouldn't have drank my booze. For about 40 straight hands, all Paul did was either check or fold. I don't know whether he simply had the worst luck of any poker player in history, or whether he had no clue how to bid. Paul was the first out of five players to exit the game.

Tim began to act real strange as the game entered its second hour. He showed blatant disregard for the rules by continuing to raise the big blind immediately. In Texas hold 'em, two players put a blind to start a hand. They can raise it, but only after everyone else has made their decision. Tim was not treating the chips properly and began throwing them indiscriminately. It made a mockery of the whole night. He would do things like show his cards to only one person on the table.

His personal interactions were even more suspect. First off, he kept on insulting his girlfriend, Loren. It stemmed from the fact that she called him a few minutes later than he would have liked. He started using vulgarity and calling her a "cunt". Tim wanted to invite over Loren's friend Jackie (see post entries from mid-July) and probably have sex with her. One funny moment was when Tim told Loren, "There five cocks over here that need to be sucked", or something to that extent.

Then Tim kept on getting phone calls from who I suspect was his drug dealer. Tim was literally offering the shirt off his back for some Xanax and Ecstasy. Tim even offered up four of his gold chains. You didn't have to be an expert in drug lingo to understand that he was interested in buying. Honestly, I'm glad the deal didn't go down in our driveway. We could have gotten in serious trouble. Frankly, I'm relieved that Tim left without more shit going down.

Tim ended up winning the game. He offered me a $15/10 split of the $25 pot. I accepted, thinking that there was no way I could come back. When it came to counting the money, Tim reneged on his deal and took a $20/5 split. It was unfair considering I paid for his cigarrettes and he drank 1/4 of my bottle of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey.

My Mom came home a little later and we had a minor dispute. She wanted to take Tim home, while I felt it was best for me to handle it myself. Eventually, she took him home and everything appears to be alright. I don't think Tim will ever be welcome in this house if he's been drinking.

The tragedy of tonight was Jack's loss of innocence. I used to think that he only serviced the finest among us. I was repulsed watching Jack work his magic with such hooligans. Jack really is no better than the average George Dickel or Evan Williams. When it comes right down to it, Jack is as big a whore as any liquor. I watched in agony as the bottle diminished by the moment. I estimate that more than 1/2 of the 1.75 L bottle was consumed. Eric and I hardly had any. Fortunately, I've worked out a deal to get another bottle to replace the fallen comrade.

Tonight was an upsetting night to say the least. I was genuinely angry at what transpired. All I wanted was to have a nice, quiet game of poker. I feel bad that Eric and Zach were forced to witness this abortion of an event. Tim wasn't being mean, but he was too drunk to act rationally. I worry that he's on too many different drugs. If he's not careful, Tim could end up getting seriously hurt. Well, that's for Loren and his Dad to worry about.

I am working on picking up the pieces from a very upsetting evening. I'll be lucky if I can recover 390 of the 400 chips we began the night with. I should be able to replace the wasted Jack by tomorrow.

Tomorrow night should be better. I know Eric is coming over to watch the boxing fights. Zach will likely end up coming if we cajole him enough. I could really use to drink some JD after tonight's fiasco.

Finally, here's what I learned from tonight. #1, never let Tim come near me when he's been drinking liquor. Tim is volatile enough sober. #2, never bring out that large a bottle of JD. In a way, I'm happy this occured. After tonight's debacle, I will never show such a bottle to anyone outside my very close circle of friends. #3, don't allow a poker game to get that out of hand. I believe Tim should have been ejected and had his money returned. His blatant disrespect for poker rules was an embarrassment to even Postal Paul.

A sincere sorry to anyone who was affected by this unfortunate happening. I realize that I got a little angry tonight. Believe me, it was not directed at any one person. More than anything, I was angry at myself for being so stupid and facilitating the events that took place. I've settled down a bit and am ready to sleep until at least noon. I take solace in the fact that tomorrow night will be much more relaxing. I want to enjoy one last moment from this Thanksgiving holiday and hopefully deem it a success.

We'll do better poker over Christmas. I'm sure we can find one or two reputable people to join us.


Friday, November 26, 2004

The Plan

Tuesday night, I talked a little about Jennifer. I don't want to seem obsessive in posting twice about this in the same week. I just want this to be a brief follow-up to that post. I like to record these sorts of things for posterity.

She wasn't in class on Wednesday, but I realized later that she had called me before class. I actually did get to talk to her later. She suggested that we get together and study for our upcoming "Poets of the Victorian Era" test. As you may recall, I was going to ask her to do that, but she mentioned it before I did.

So I gathered my crack team of romantic strategists (well, it was only one person) and we talked about my next move. I'm waiting to see the dynamic of this study group. I'm hoping it's a group of two, but have thought of a backup plan in case more people show up. The centerpiece of this plan is to study for a while and then initiate a "study break" where I try to feel her up (not literally). Hopefully, at that point I can be honest about my feelings and once and for all learn where we stand.

The plan is more detailed but I didn't feel like going through it all. I'm expecting she'll call me sometime this weekend. As details develop, I'll elaborate further. Today's post wasn't one of the emotional/dramatic ones that I tend to put out from time to time. This was just something that I should have posted about a few days ago but never found time.


Thursday, November 25, 2004

My Thanksgiving

Today, my Mom and I went down and spent Thanksgiving with our family in Boynton Beach.

The ten of us, including my grandmother, two cousins, three aunts, and two uncles went to the Prime Catch restaurant on Woolbright Rd. The turkey dinner was decent, but not great. I was hoping to get a steak, but was disappointed to learn they didn't have a baked potato to accompany it. Instead, I decided to get the turkey, as almost everyone else did.

Afterwards, we went back and conversed further at my family's house. We commisserated over the electoral failure of John Kerry and the Democrats. Aside from one of my aunts, this whole side of my family is liberal.

I started getting tired around 7:30 and we left shortly after 8:00.

Overall, I had a good time, as I do at most family functions.


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Thanksgiving break is here

Class officially adjourned for the Thanksgiving break about 30 minutes ago. I had one English Lit class today at the CC.

I do have some stuff to worry about over the break. There's a 10-page term paper due in my Comm Theory class on Tuesday. In addition, I have a final reporting project for journalism due the following Tuesday. I have to begin, at the very least, contacting my sources.

I have this stupid English Lit test on Wednesday. He gives you a line from a poem and you have to name the poem and explain what it's about. Considering I haven't read the majority of the poems, it might be challenging. I figure there's about eight poems. I'll try to learn and comprehend a poem per night.

I'm off to do some chores now. I have to take some junk to Goodwill for my Mom. That store cracks me up. They take everybody's junk and are able to sell it for a decent amount of money. I would not lower myself to shop there myself, but it's better than taking it to a dumpster.

Hopefully I can find a place to have lunch. I'm pretty hungry after not eating breakfast. I might just go to Taco Bell. I like that restaurant because it's cheaper than most. You can get a good meal for under $4. At Burger King and McDonald's, it can run $5, $6.

I hope to have a fun weekend in spite of some academic commitments. I always enjoy Thanksgiving with the family. Unlike a lot of people, I get along very well with my family. I think my Aunt, Uncle, and one of my cousins is coming in from out of town. We're going to some restaurant I've never heard of. Usually are family dinners are at the Sailfish Marina, but this time we chose a place down in Boynton.

I'm just glad that we're coming down to the end of this semester. I expect to earn a GPA around 3.5 for this term.


NFL: Week 12 Picks (Thanksgiving Day)

Indianapolis Colts at Detroit Lions... Indianapolis
At this point, the Colts offense is firing on all cylinders. Last week, Edgerin James rushed for 200 + yards along with 4 Peyton Manning TD passes. The only hope Detroit has is for Joey Harrington to play a perfect game. I don't see Lions CB's Dre Bly and Fernando Bryant being able to slow down Harrison & Co. Despite the Lions proclivity for playing well on Thanksgiving Day, Indianapolis has too much firepower. In addition, the Lions blew their chance to compete in the NFC North. Had they hung onto their 4th quarter lead Sunday in Minnesota, they would have been tied for 2nd with Minnesota, one game out of first. Currently, they're two out and need Green Bay to collapse.

Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys... Dallas
This one's a coin-flip. The Cowboys are already looking forward to 2005. RB Julius Jones is back and has replaced veteran Eddie George in the starting lineup. Drew Henson, who went 6-6 in his debut last week, will start ahead of Vinny Testaverde. This game comes down to how well Henson protects the football. The Bears win when they are able to intercept passes and return them for big yards. That's one thing the Bears have done well for years. It's hard for me to believe that Dallas is as terrible a team as they have looked in their past two games. I may regret it later, but I'm selecting the home team. Lets hope the Cowboys don't melt down like they did last Thanksgiving versus the Dolphins.

El Fuhrer

Billboard along I-4, Downtown Orlando Posted by Hello

I came across this at DU. I have to admit, this is one of the creepiest billboards I've ever seen. At first, people thought it was a photoshop. But evidence has come forward confirming this authentic billboard.

One billboard is approaching downtown Orlando from the North on Interstate-4. The first one appears just after the Lee road interchange on the East side of the freeway. The second one is on the West side just south of the Fairbanks interchange but it faces southbound traffic from across the freeway.

This is of particular interest because I travel to Orlando frequently. Frankly, I want to drive by there next time and see for myself. I don't want to be overdramatic, but this reminds me of something Stalin would do. Billboards proclaiming the glory of "Our Leader". I understand he got 51 % of the vote. I'm waiting for George W. Bush statues to start being erected all throughout the red areas.

I have more shots (from davhill of DU) of the same billboard that I may post later.

She Likes Me, She Likes Me Not

Imagine what I felt today when I went out to my car, checked my cell phone, and noticed the name Jennifer on my list of missed calls.

I immediately re-checked the call list and made sure it was from this afternoon. It was.

A few moments later, I returned her query. Since I have no voice mail, I was not privy regarding the subject of her inquiry. As if turned out, she had a question about some homework assignment. We conversed for a minute and discovered she had the flu. Lets hope I didn’t pass my virus on to her.

I’ve been thinking about this whole issue for a couple of days. Procrastination is my M.O. in almost everything I do. There’s a test on Tuesday. Well, I can study double hard on Monday night. But there’s a good football game on that night. Okay, I’ll set my alarm for 3:00 a.m. and study six hours straight.

The point is that I’ll always find some reason to delay doing something and try to rationalize my behavior.

I don’t think I need to recap the basics of this situation. It’s scattered throughout this Live Journal and chronicled extensively on my other web log.

The notable change since my last update is the revelation that she is going to attend the University of Kentucky next fall. That means any relationship would likely be rather temporary. And that might not necessarily be a bad thing. At this point in my life, I’m not looking for that one true love. I just want to fuck someone until their nose bleeds (Sorry, that’s wrong). Actually, that’s not what I’m about. I do love that line, though. Funny side note: The spell-checker wants to change “their” to “his or her”. If followed, the edited version would read, “I just want to fuck someone until his or her nose bleeds.”

I almost feel like I have to take a chance and gamble that things work out well for me. By nature, I’m a rather conservative person. By that I don’t mean that I exhibit right-wing political tendencies. But I tend to be rather cautious and abstain from taking unnecessary chances. Sometimes that works to my advantage. For instance, playing cautiously puts me in good position to finish second in games of poker. On the other hand, my lack of aggressiveness hinders me from winning the ultimate prize.

I find myself consciously evaluating the odds of success in everything I do. In this situation, I would place my odds at 55/45 for at least having an opportunity to date her. I’m not sure whether the 55 are in my favor or against me. But if this were a game of poker, those odds would be considered fairly decent.

That’s enough with the nebulous poker references. I went on for too long, but my main point is worth noting. It’s hard to get something you really want without committing to lay it all on the line.

In this case, that means opening myself up for the possibility of rejection. The conscious decision to open oneself up to that sort disappointment is not an easy one. The possible reward, however, makes it a worthwhile proposition.

Sorry if I’m coming off as too analytical here. Spontaneity is not exactly my thing.

Let me try to set the scene as vividly as I can. I’m written about the similarities I see between Jennifer and myself. For instance, both of us are journalists and politically liberal. Of course, one or two similarities don’t always mean much.

Our differences are in our personalities. She seems to be the type of person that can and does talk to anybody. On the other hand, I am fairly reserved and take a while to warm up to people. Consequently, I have a hard time telling whether she’s simply being friendly or does indeed like me. I find myself freezing up when I talk to her. I very well could be sending signals that I’m not interested, when in reality I’m too nervous or scared to put my best face forward.

I’ll open up a little and try to explain what I think I like about her. It’s not really about looks or anything shallow like that. I find her to be a cute girl. She has red hair; usually, she wears it in a ponytail. But I saw her once when she let her hair down, and it was the first time I looked at her and thought, “Man, she looks hot.” But I digress.

She comes off as a very innocent and sweet. And if I can say this without being offensive, I suspect she’s closer to me when it comes to level of sexual experience. And that is very little. If I can say something else more personal, I think I’d feel inadequate being with someone who had an extensive sexual history. I don’t know why, but whenever I see her I hear the lyrics of Vanessa Carlton’s “White Houses” going through my brain.

There’s something else to discuss that may or may not simply be an excuse for procrastinating. The remainder of this semester might be rather uncomfortable if she rebuffed my advances. I’d still be sitting by her every day in class, unless I simply decided to change spots. And that might be a little awkward in and of itself.

I’m feeling a sense of urgency to try and make something materialize out of this situation. It’s not always easy for me to even become friendly with members of the opposite sex. Now that I’ve found a person who I consider myself friendly with, I think it’s the perfect opportunity to make something happen. But if this self-professed “perfect situation” goes badly, than what will the right time be? I feel that this is the kind of girl who is “in my league”, if not marginally above my league.

I’ve tried to consider constructive ways of making a move of sorts. Someone suggested that I should ask her to coffee. I don’t know if “coffee” is more of a colloquialism or if I really should make plans for Barney’s or Starbucks. I have to admit that I’ve never drunk a cup of coffee in my life.

The idea I had was to see if she wanted to get together and study for our upcoming exam. One confidant has told me that I should immediately make clear my desire for a romantic, not a platonic relationship. On the other hand, it’s hard to really ask someone out during a class period. I believe that this idea would have its advantages. If she said no or essentially blew me off, at least I would know she’s not interested. I wonder how hard I should press things. I’d want to make it clear that if she legitimately didn’t have time to get together that I’d be interested in doing something at another time.

I know Thanksgiving is a busy time for a lot of people. Some families have people come over to stay. It’s feasible that she might truly be busy.

A second sort of wild card to throw into the mix. I talked to her tonight and she said she was sick. I’m not sure if tomorrow (or today, as it is past midnight) would be the best day to try and press things.

I’d probably leave it with saying that she knows my number and call if interested. If she called back with any sort of response, I would gauge that I should continue my advances. If she completely blew me off, I’d take that hint too.

If anybody thinks I wrote something that could totally lead to disaster, feel free to AIM me or call my cell and give me advice. My AIM is right on my profile page. And there’s always the trusty comment feature.

Although I posted this more for myself and less for feedback. I appreciate anybody’s input, but I think writing this stuff out does me good even if nobody reads it. In the end, I know the situation best and have to learn to trust my own instincts.

How do I think things will be after tomorrow’s class? I will probably say nothing, or offer up some token, ambiguous gesture of friendship or romance. I think I need to go to sleep and put some of this out of my mind for a little while.

I might have forgotten the best solution. Thirty minutes before class, I should measure out exactly 1.5 ounces of Jack Daniel’s whiskey. That way, I would be more relaxed and able to benefit from my lowered inhibitions. On second thought, maybe that isn’t a great idea. But Jack will remain in my heart, even if he’s not gracing my lips.

I do think this subject needs more analysis, preferably when I’m intoxicated and even more in touch with my emotions.

I will conclude with this rather frank statement. I assert here on this blog today that I will not allow this to slip me by. For evidence of what happens when I feel I let an opportunity slip away from me, see http://www.livejournal.com/users/tsias/1031.html?mode=reply

On a more happy note, now I can go into my spare room and listen to U2’s “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb”. For a slightly less serious LJ/Blogspot experience, be ready for my album review in the coming days.


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

CD Review: "Harmonious" by Vanessa Carlton

Today I went to the music store and eagerly stood in line to buy an album. I rushed over to the new releases, my eye drawn to “Creed’s Greatest Hits”. I walked over, took a look, and promptly ran to the bathroom to vomit. Seriously, did you think I would buy Creed’s Greatest hits? But I digress.

I actually went there today to buy U2’s new effort. While I was there, I picked up “Harmonious” by Vanessa Carlton. I walked to the cash register with shame and never made eye contact with the lady. Albums like this should be purchased online and signed for by an unsuspecting family member.

Seriously, I’ve wanted to buy this album for quite some time. Most stores like Wal-Mart and Target aren’t carrying it.

I’ll be honest and say I haven’t listened to the whole thing. I might keep it wrapped and have a relative give it to me for Christmas. But I’ve listened to all the songs I could find on Kazaa and heard 30-second clips from all the songs. I feel I have enough information to give a marginally competent review.

“Harmonious” is the follow-up album to her 2002 release of “Be Not Nobody”. Most people know Vanessa Carlton from her hit single “A Thousand Miles”. But a hidden gem in that album was the song “Ordinary Day”. Although she got good airplay out of “A Thousand Miles”, I still feel that album was unsuitably appreciated.

“White Houses” is the most noteworthy single from this album. It’s perhaps among my top five songs of 2004. Her voice is simply beautiful. The song has a wonderful melody.

I’ve taken a while to think about the song and what it means. In addition, I went online and read what others were thinking. The “White Houses” that she refers to are probably fraternity houses or college dormitories. In a more broad sense, Carlton tells the tale of five young people who spent a summer together.

She takes a liking to the boy “in his bright red shirt”. They have sex in the back of his car and presumably lose contact. In the last verse, she almost begs him to remember her. Carlton sings, “And you, maybe you’ll remember me / What I gave was yours to keep.” While what she “gave” to him might be construed as her virginity, I see it more as a case of her lost innocence. The impression I get of the girl is that she’s very young and naïve.

I also think there might be some socially conservative undercurrents to this song. My sense is that she regrets having premarital sex. Take a look at this stanza, “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”. Right there, it’s written that she thinks she made a mistake. She’s also commenting, IMO, on the fact that a lot of young girls get caught up and make mistakes with boys. The “little bit of pain” line was great. I don’t think I need to explain what that refers to. Overall, this was a beautiful way of explaining her first time.

I’m trying to understand what the “white houses” symbolize. Any English novice could tell you that white represents purity. Some have suggested that the white houses are a metaphor for her heart. For example, when she says that she's going keep all of the secrets in white houses, she means that she will keep secrets like drinking and within her heart.

There are some other good songs on this CD. “The Wreckage” chronicles the aftermath of a catastrophic automobile accident caused by road rage. There’s probably a deeper meaning here. Since I’ve already done one in-depth song review, I won’t do so here.

The songs I’ve listened to from this album are far better than most from “Be Not Nobody”. There is a darker element to a lot of these songs. You can see an advance of maturity in her sophomore effort.

Stephan Jenkins of “Third Eye Blind “fame is the co-writer and producer of this album. People tell me that he’s a lyrical genius and attribute the success of “Harmonious” to his efforts.

I’ll admit that the song “White Houses” is probably more for the young female audience. But it’s more mature than most of the stuff put forward by Hilary Duff and the like. I prefer this type of song over the teen angst ridden lyrics of Avril Lavigne. I’m sorry, but I can’t see Jessica Simpson or Britney Spears doing such a good song. I’d give Michelle Branch the edge over Vanessa Carlton, but I enjoy listening to both.

Overall, I give this album 8 out of 10 stars. While it lacks a hit of “A Thousand Miles” caliber, the totality of this album seems better than the last one. I recommend this album to anyone who isn’t ashamed to admit that they like Vanessa Carlton. And even if you can’t admit it in public, at the very least you can listen to it in your room alone at night. If anyone’s interested, ask me for a copy. I also have U2’s “How to dismantle an atomic bomb”. I will write a review of that CD later on in the week.

Taylor’s Review: ******** 8 stars (out of 10)
Release Date: 11/9/04

Monday, November 22, 2004

CU "attacks" my blog


If you read the replies in my thread "Jack is gone", you may have noticed a cryptic message from "Anonymous" user.

At DU, I posted in a thread about taylorsias.blogspot.com. Unfortunately, some of the CUnts got ahold of it and decided to have some fun with me.

For those not in the know, CU is one of those sites on the Internets that mocks DU. While some of the mocking is deserved, CU has taken their obsession to unparalleled heights.

CU is basically a small group of posters that disagree with the moderating tactics of both Democratic Underground and Free Republic.

DU'ers have allowed this small group to drive them completely paranoid. While there may be an element of moling that exists on DU, I cannot imagine it being widespread. But the fear that CU'ers make DU feel is simply bizarre.

I welcome CU'ers to come and comment if you'd like to post respectfully. I have taken a brief break from talking politics after months of arduous support of the Democratic nominee.

I'll bet even conservatives can enjoy the sweet taste of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey. It's the one red state indulgence that I do enjoy.


Jack is gone

It is with deep regret that I announce the passing of my bottle of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey. Tonight, Tim, Loren, Larry, and I consumed the end of the bottle that was enjoyed last Friday night in the Heights.

Around 10:00, Larry and I drove up to the Quarterdeck to check up on his 40 something drunk roommate. All the guys in there were trying to hook up with her. Larry wanted to make sure nobody was giving her any shit. She was so drunk that she barely noticed our presence in the establishment. After only a few minutes, we departed the Quarterdeck. 10 minutes is enough of me and that place.

I express regret because Jack has been erroneously blamed in the dispute that ensued tonight at Larry's house. See, we were all chilling and things were going okay. I had about five shots of JD. Loren and Tim had two apiece. It was supposed to be a nice night of relaxing and drinking.

But things suddenly went bad. For a reason I have yet to comprehend, Loren started getting upset with Tim. She blamed the altercation on his drinking the Jack Daniel's. Naturally, I was enfuriated by her blaming of the JD. He must not be blamed in the way she did. I quietly explained that Tim, not Jack, was where her anger should be placed.

Sadly, I was unable to get drunk off the amount I drank. Now I have to go through the arduous process of attaining another bottle. Because of Thanksgiving, I only have from today through Wednesday to find a buyer. If Tim ends up sleeping at my house as might be the case, he'll owe me a favor.

Overall, tonight was rather a disappointment. I learned the hard way that six shots is simply not enough to get drunk. Next time, I'll have to consume a minimum of 10.

In another respect, tonight was a proud night. It's always a good thing when you get mildly buzzed on a school night. Hopefully I won't be feeling too bad tomorrow morning. I trust that Jack will treat me right, as he always has.


Sunday, November 21, 2004

Week 11: 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
Week 8: 8-6
Week 9: 7-7
Week 10: 8-6
Week 11: 13-3

Total: 82 W, 63 L, 57 %

Minnesota 22, Detroit 19 W
Denver 34, New Orleans 13 W
Tampa Bay 35, San Francisco 3 W
Carolina 35, Arizona 10 L
Tennessee 18, Jacksonville 15 L
Baltimore 30, Dallas 10 W
Buffalo 37, St. Louis 17 L
Indianapolis 41, Chicago 10 W
Pittsburgh 19, Cincinnati 14 W
Jets 10, Cleveland 7 W
San Diego 23, Oakland 17 W
Seattle 24, Miami 17 W
Atlanta 14, Giants 10 W
Philadelphia 28, Washington 6 W
Green Bay 16, Houston 13 W
New England 27, Kansas City 19 W

Friday Poker Night

On a whim, I traveled two and a half hours to Orlando to compete in a game of poker. In fairness, I didn’t drive just to play poker. It gave me the opportunity to hang out with a couple of my very good friends, Eric and Zach.

After some wrangling, I finally was able to leave West Palm Beach in time to make 11:00 first deal. Of course, Zach is always a little late, so we didn’t get underway until just around midnight. Zach’s stoner friend Dave canceled on short notice, leaving us only four players. Typically, Zach prefers to have a fifth player. Nevertheless, four is enough and the proceedings commenced.

For about two hours, Zach, Eric, Sean, and myself played even. It looked like we would go on and on with nary a player exiting the competition. Finally, Zach got a little careless and I took him out on an “all-in”. Zach claims that he just wanted the game to be over, but he was a beaten man this night. It embarrasses me to admit that I took slight pleasure out of watching Zach be the first out. He just wins too often. It was time for him to go out early for a change.

Eric was the next to go. I don’t remember the exact scenario behind his departure. For the early part of the night, it looked like Eric would take the game. He had some very good hands, beating me on a K-A kicker early on. Eric was the prohibitive chip leader for some time. But in poker, things can change quick. Over two hours in, Eric was the second man to be defeated.

That left Sean and I to play for the remainder of the time. Zach started getting upset as time went on. At one point, he made a questionable move as dealer by looking at Sean’s hand. Sean got sort of upset and it resulted in a mild verbal exchange. While it was not an egregious offense, Zach was clearly in the wrong and was correct to apologize for his infraction.

I was proud of how I played Sean for the final two hours. Long story short, we played until 4:00 a.m. Finally, Sean seized all my chips and took me out with pocket pairs. I really thought I would win this night. I went from virtual chip depravity to a full arsenal of whites, blues, and reds. At the very least, I take solace in the fact that I was able to recover and get another chance this evening. Sean is clearly a better poker player than I am, although he plays much more often than I.

I desperately want a win next time out. Each time, I feel my confidence growing. I won’t let myself get into the mentality of accepting second. While I play poker mainly for fun, I do want to experience the thrill of undisputed victory. I can feel it coming.

We might have another game here in West Palm Beach over Thanksgiving weekend. I’m scoring my call list to find two extra players to accompany the triumvirate of Eric, Zach, and myself.

It regrets me to say that I did not consume any of the Jack Daniel’s last night. Part of me was still feeling sick from days of a stomach virus. I worried that Jack would upset my stomach. Another reason is that my poker record is bad when on the JD. When drinking Jack, I’m always first out. When clean of Jack’s intoxicating influence, I consistently finish second. I feel sort of obliged to continue my sobriety while playing poker.

I hope to be reunited with Jack in the coming days. I still have a quarter of my 1 L bottle remaining from last weekend. I’m making the rounds to acquire another bottle for this weekend. I never like to have less than a half bottle left in my possession, at any time.

Jack must be consumed in copious amounts. That’s why I didn’t even start last night. If I don’t drink at least three shots, it’s hardly worth the strain of consumption. Preferably, it takes a minimum of five shots to attain suitable intoxication. Of course, half of the .7 L bottle is optimum to enjoy the experience to its pinnacle.

Overall, poker was fun last night. Each time, I feel myself getting better. I’ m playing against two people who play poker far more than I. Even with my relative lack of experience, I can easily hold my own, one-on-one, for many hours. For $5, it’s worth the hours of entertainment.

Thanksgiving coming soon

I look forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. On Thursday, we’re going to come fancy restaurant by the water on Woolbright. I forget the name off hand.

The whole family will be gathering to enjoy what likely will be a turkey dinner. Afterwards, I think we’ll go to my cousin’s house in Boynton to converse further.

The football is mediocre this year. Detroit vs. Indianapolis could be a good game. Regardless of their record, the Lions always play well on Thanksgiving. Dallas vs. Chicago should be a snoozer. Not much reason to make any effort to see that one.

The good thing is that I miss my busiest day of classes, Thursday. I’ll have to get working on my research paper, which is due next Tuesday. I want to be able to enjoy my time off on Thursday and into the weekend.

After this weekend, the semester is pretty much over. An exam and a final reporting project and I’ll be done for Fall Semester 2004.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

My story idea

This week, I'm working on finalizing my second reporting project. I chose to do a service article on the flu shot shortage. I figured it was something I could do in a rather short period of time.

I ran around town all day looking for this lady, Judith Davies. She's the administrator at the WPB Health Department. When I reached her office, I was aghast with what I saw. On her door was a picture of George and Laura Bush. It read, "Thank you Mrs. Davies for your loyal commitment. We look forward to working with you for a Republican victory this fall." She ended up being a fairly nice lady. I didn't have much choice but to be non-confrontational. She gave me some good quotes and a wealth of literature.

On Friday, I'm attending a CDC conference on the issue at Bethesda Hospital in Boynton Beach. That should fill in some of the gaps. If I get the energy, I'll write my rough draft tonight. The final is due on Tuesday. Then I have to prepare for the big final story project due in December.

I'm trying to gain more confidence as a reporter. I don't like the idea of reporting simply for class. I feel impotent going into a meeting as simply a student reporter. The key will be for me to feel and act like I have the prerogative to be asking the tough questions in pursuit of the facts.

This story might suck a bit. I'll make the best out of what was, frankly, a mediocre idea. I chose it because I was short on time. I knew my Mom could probably get me some interviews on short notice. Once I get one more source to talk to, I will have reached the minimum of three.

Understand that my writings for newspaper are more sophisticated and structured than these blog entries. I pretty much wing it here at taylorsias.blogspot.com.


NFL: Week 11 Picks

I' m posting early this week. I reserve the prerogative to change my picks up until gametime.

This week is the opposite of last week. There were a ton of really difficult games to pick in Week 10. This week, about ten of the selections were no-brainers. Hopefully there aren’t too many big upsets.

This week marks the first time since Week 2 that all 32 teams will be in action. There are 16 games to choose from, up from the usual 14.

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings… Minnesota
Minnesota has lost some games recently, but they’ve been against Indianapolis and Green Bay, both good football teams. Daunte Culpepper has enough, even without Randy Moss, to eviscerate a porous Lions secondary.

Denver Broncos at New Orleans Saints… Denver
Denver does not resemble the team that many picked to do well this season. However, they remain well in playoff contention at 6-3. Denver understands the importance of this game and will prepare accordingly.

San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers… Tampa Bay
The 49ers are 0-4 on the road this season. Tampa’s nothing special, but Griese has played decent at the QB position. Frankly, I’m upset about SF blowing last week’s home game against the Panthers. While a SF win would be best for the Dolphins, I can’t see them delivering 3000 miles from home.

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers… Arizona
Picking the Cardinals on the road is never an easy thing to do. Prior to their win in Miami, they had lost 16 straight home games. On the bright side for the Cards, Carolina is 0-4 this year at Ericcson Stadium. I take Arizona on the basis that they are playing for a playoff spot. They are only one game out of being tied for the Wild Card. Somehow, coach Dennis Green has taken this young group of players and molded them into a respectable unit.

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars… Jacksonville
Interestingly enough, Tennessee has been a .500 team on the road this season. It’s their 1-4 record at home that’s lead to their being in last place in the AFC South. Jacksonville still concerns me without Leftwich, but they can rely on Fred Taylor to put enough points on the board.

Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens… Baltimore
Baltimore survived a scare last week versus the Jets. This week, look for a Ravens team that takes early control of this football game. Without much of a running game, Baltimore can prepare exclusively to attack Vinny Testaverde. We’ll see the aging QB throw his typical couple of interceptions on the way to a loss.

St. Louis Rams at Buffalo Bills… St. Louis
Last week’s win against Seattle was certainly impressive. But now, St. Louis faces a trap game in Buffalo. This Rams team is suited better to play in their home confines of St. Louis. If the weather is cold in Buffalo, we could see another slip-up, like their loss in Week 7 to Miami. But for now, I’ll take the Rams to defeat their clearly inferior Bills opponent.

Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears… Indianapolis
For three weeks in a row, I have chosen against Chicago and lost. But these wins have been against the mediocre teams of San Francisco, New York Giants, and Tennessee. With 31 TD passes, Manning is on pace to break Dan Marino’s 1984 record of 48. With that sort of focus, I doubt Chicago can do much to break the Colts’ momentum.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals… Pittsburgh
These Steelers show no signs of slowing down.

New York Jets at Cleveland Browns… Jets
This is gut check time for New York. Very poor coaching led to last week’s loss versus Baltimore. If they can recover from that loss, they should be able to defeat the 3-6 Browns. But if there’s a lingering hangover, the Browns could surprise people. The Jets understand that a loss would be the end of their divisional chances. I think Herm Edwards gets his team ready and bounces back strong.

San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders… San Diego
Both teams have the benefit of a bye week. Oakland really seems to have fallen apart as a football team. San Diego controls their own destiny in the AFC West. Don’t look for a slip-up here.

Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks… Seattle
Unless they show me something soon, don’t expect me to pick the Dolphins to win a game again this season.

Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants… Atlanta
The Eli Manning era begins against a surging Falcons team. Tom Coughlin must be looking for a success story similar to that of Pittsburgh rookie QB Ben Roethlisberger. The Giants lost me when the lowly Cardinals defeated them. The Falcons never make it easy, but they’re my selection nonetheless.

Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles… Philadelphia
The Eagles haven’t given me reason to doubt them yet.

Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans… Green Bay
Green Bay has really turned this season around. While Houston presents some challenges for the Green Bay defense, it seems like the Packers are a difficult team to stop.

New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs… New England
Although Kansas City can be a dangerous team, the Patriots never seem to take anybody too lightly.

Faux outrage

I turned into Monday night's game between Dallas and Philadelphia few minutes late, so I missed the much talked about opening scene. Apparently, ABC was doing a cross-promotion with their hit Sunday night drama "Desperate Housewives". I'm told that actress Nicolette Sheridan was shown going into the Eagles locker room, dropping her towel, and jumping into the arms of Philadelphia WR Terrell Owens. For the record, no nudity or sexual conduct was shown.

Predictably, ABC apologized yesterday. Michael Powell (Asshole) quipped, "I wonder if Walt Disney would be proud?" I have to wonder if Michael Powell is proud of what he's become, but that's another topic. The FCC is deciding whether or not to fine ABC the maximum of $32,500 for indecency.

I have to ask a simple question. What is the big deal? Maybe it's just the social liberal in me saying this. I heard Eric Allen on ESPN News yesterday lamenting the fact that children might have seen this introduction. I cannot understand why sexuality is considered such a bad thing in this country. Kids can watch men beating the shit out of one another for three hours, but this brief episode between T.O. and Sheridan is considered so wrong.

I have a couple of ideas. One, I think there is an underlying element of race baiting. It scares people that an attractive white woman like Nicollette Sheridan could be attracted to a rich, black athlete like T.O., even if it was indeed purely fictional. For years, whitey was afraid of the black man even touching a white woman.

I also think that some folk consider premarital sexual feelings to be inherently evil. How could it be that two young, attractive celebrities could even think about such impure actions?

We're not talking about a Janet Jackson like incident. I didn't think the JJ incident was that bad, but many people did. I fail to see how that brief exposure of her bosom precipiated such an overresponse. I get the sense that parents are so uncomfortable talking about sexuality. Therefore, they are petrified of anything that might make kids ask questions. They want their kids receiving sex-ed from the abstinence only type of educators that have slowly permeated our public school system.

Fire back, everybody! Any social conservatives out there? Explain why this MNF incident deserves anywhere near the attention it has received in news media the past two days.

This FCC crap has had a chilling effect in more ways than could be discussed in this post. I fear for the future of media when they are so concerned with what this body may or may not impose on them (google "Saving Private Ryan FCC").

For someone who is considering a career in journalism, I see significant reason for concern.


Spring 2005 schedule

I finally got down to scheduling my classes for next semester. Overall, I am pleased with my selections. I was able to get good times and days.

COM 4621: News Media Ethics, Dr. Susan Willey
Wednesday, 1:00-3:50

JOU 4004: U.S. Journalism, Dr. Susan Willey
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00-12:20

JOU 4181: Coverage of Public Affairs, Dr. Susan Willey
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00-3:20

I'm still planning on taking at least one more class, possibly two. I might take one class in my minor. I'm looking at MMC 4200. It's Wednesday nights from 7:10-10:00. Personally, I'd rather have classes two days a week for 90 minutes apiece. Nothing I can do about that. Course selection in Jupiter is rather limited. I have to meet with an advisor and see where I stand. I'd rather take 12 credits and take a class or two this summer.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

My favorite recording artists

I may have very well written a similar post a few months ago. But I thought it was time for one of these vanity posts. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite musical acts.

Sorry for any factual errors. I'm still not feeling well and strung out on mild sedatives. I'm sure everyone can get the gist.

U2: I'm currently working on downloading their new CD, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb". A few months ago, a copy of the CD got lost and radio stations got their hands on it. I want to get it before it comes out on November 23. Almost all the tracks are available online. While I can't expect it to live up to "All that you Cannot Leave Behind", I anticipate a quality CD (not that I'll pay money for it).

Bruce Springsteen: Some people might say that he's washed up. He didn't do much until 2002's release of "The Rising". His song, "No Surrender", was the theme song for John Kerry's campaign. My favorite Springsteen tracks are "Hungry Heart", "Streets of Philadelphia", and "Glory Days". "Lonesome Day", off his latest release, was good too.

Garth Brooks: I'll give credit where credit is due to good country singers. He's had the dignity not to capitalize off 9/11. While he very well could be politically conservative, his music has great meaning. I know people mock him, but he might be the most successful recording artist in history.

Jimmy Buffett: The man knows how to have a good time. This is one singer who I must see in concert one day. I had a chance to see him last May, but chose instead to see Michelle Branch. I'm sure Jimmy will be back in Florida, certainly if he has a farewell tour. People think his songs are all about booze and sex. But listen to songs like "He Went to Paris". Jimmy can produce meaningful songs, too.

Michelle Branch: She's the cream of the crop when it comes to young, female artists. She is head and shoulders above the likes of Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson. She actually writes her own music. "Breathe", "All you Wanted", and "Goodbye to You" are terrific songs. I find her more hot than the aforementioned Spears and Simpson. That's just my opinion, and I'm sure many would disagree with me.

Dixie Chicks: I liked them long before they became an icon of the left. It's a shame that they've been exiled from country music. Most country music singers have sold-out and lost their dignity in the process.

Hilary Duff: This one is sure to be controversial. I wouldn't call her my favorite, but she deserves a spot on this list. If people were honest and didn't worry about societal stigmas, she'd be much more popular. I love her songs like "Come Clean" and "So Yesterday".

Evanescence: Amy Lee does the "goth" act better than most. Her new duet with Seether is decent.

Willie Nelson: Another great country music singer. He's from another era. Old country singers like Waylon Jennings, George Jones, and Johnny Cash are to be commended.

Maroon-5: What a great act. I could listen to "She Will be Loved" all day long, and some days I listen to it a half dozen times or so.

Sheryl Crow: I commend her for longevity. She's stayed at the top for over a decade now.

Kimberly Locke: She really is the "Eighth World Wonder". :) (or maybe I just needed to include a token minority)

ODB: I never listened to his music, but felt the need to give him props here. RIP

Fall Semester 2004 almost over

This can be seen as a good or bad thing. For a while back in September, I never thought we'd see the end of the semester. I figured we'd be in class well into January. But the weather calmed a bit and we should be done before the middle of December.

There's been a lot of memories from this semester that deserve a full entry before its over.

For now, I have to worry about a few big assignments left. In my Mass Communication Theory class, I have to write a 10-page term paper. MLA, the style I am most familiar with, will not be allowed. Instead, I have to use APA or CM. I despise the term paper. It's such a drag. I have to get started, as it's due the first class after Thanksgiving. I'll try to do two pages a day over five days, leaving some extra time for revision.

I also have two reporting projects due. The final one is the most important, making up 25 % of the final grade. It serves as a substitute for the final exam. This is for my News Reporting class.

I'm expecting to get an "A" in my English Lit class. In my Journalism courses, I expect to earn an "A" or "B+". I can still achieve an A if I do really well on these last couple of assignments.

In some ways, I'm sad that the semester is coming to a close. It's probably been my favorite semester in my college life. I'm now ready to begin choosing classes for Spring term. Hopefully I won't have any classes before 11:00 a.m.


Another flat tire

For the second time in a matter of months, my Mitsubishi got a flat tire on Saturday night. The first time, back in September, I could attribute it to road debris caused by the hurricane.

I got this flat riding up A1A in Jupiter. All of a sudden, my left tire went flat. The car shook uncontrollably and I could smell where the left side was smoking. Luckily, I made it into the grass.

This real creepy guy came up and tried to help. His name was Eric, and he'd just been released from Jupiter Medical Center. He looked to be borderline retarded. He kept talking about Jesus. In fact, he was wearing a "Jesus" baseball cap. Fortunately, I no longer have Kerry/Edwards stickers on my car. He would have likely been upset and might have snapped on me.

I called Gary. He was at the nearby Moose Lodge, so he came over quickly. The police arrived a few minutes later. Gary got real pissed off at Eric and ordered the police to have him removed from the scene. The guy was trying to help, but ended up getting in the way. He really was a loose cannon and I was worried about what would happen if Gary and the police weren't there.

It didn't take Gary long to fix the tire. We drove it up to Tires Plus and had it fixed the next morning.

I'm a little worried about the car. It doesn't always run smoothly. It's at 103,000 miles now. I'm hoping it lasts past 150,000. It might just be that I'm used to driving better cars and the Mirage isn't on par with the Hyundai or even the Honda Civic. We shall see.


Monday, November 15, 2004

Now I'm sick

I came down with a real bad flu virus last night. I've literally been unable to get out of bed until now. I think it's the same virus my Mom had. I wanted to go to class today, but there was no way I could.

I won't go into graphic detail, but suffice to say I was throwing up from about 5:00-10:00 am.

I love how the luck goes against me. I wanted to go to my English Literature class to see Jennifer today. The last class, she wasn't there. Then today, I was absent. Had I been remotely able to move, I would have been in class today.

On the bright side, this is a good way to start my diet. I lost about 8 pounds from last night to today.

Just got done watching the Eagles crush Dallas. Glad I didn't make a last minute change. I really did think Dallas could make it close. Donovan McNabb is simply an amazing QB. If you watch ESPN, you'll see this one scramble where he ran around for 14 seconds. Terrell Owens caught 3 TD passes.

Finally, I think I'll be able to make my classes tomorrow at FAU.


Update on my Mom

Last night, I wrote about taking my Mom to the hospital because of food poisoning.

Well, it looks like she should be allright. She spent most of the day sleeping, but is recovering fairly well. I hear that it takes 24-48 hours to overcome it.

I'm going to talk to my neighbor tomorrow, who is the manager at Quarterdeck restaurant. Hopefully he can at least give her a refund on the meal. I can't say that I'd want a gift certificate for the place. I've written for months on this blog how I hate that restaurant.

I much prefer Sonny's or even Applebee's as restaurant choices in Jupiter, Fla.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Week 10: Picks Summary

The game that pisses me off this week is CAR/SF. At the very last minute, I changed my selection to SF. And for the first half, things were looking good. But things turned against me in the second half.

There were three very close, OT games this week. I was very fortunate to win two of those. My second late change of the week, JAX, came through despite blowing a 17 point lead. On the other hand, Baltimore overcame a 14 point deficit to beat the Jets in OT.

One last interesting statistic. My winning percentage has stayed exactly at 53 % since Week 6. Seven or eight wins a week has been the norm for me.

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
Week 8: 8-6
Week 9: 7-7
Week 10: 8-6

Total: 69 W, 60 L, 54 %

New Orleans 27, Kansas City 20 L
Baltimore 20, New York Jets 17 (OT) W
Jacksonville 23, Detroit 17 (OT) W
Atlanta 24, Tampa Bay 14 W
Pittsburgh 24, Cleveland 10 W
St. Louis 23, Seattle 12 L
Chicago 19, Tennessee 17 (OT) L
Indianapolis 49, Houston 14 W
Cincinnati 17, Washington 10 L
Green Bay 34, Minnesota 31 W
Arizona 17, New York Giants 14 L
Carolina 37, San Francisco 27 L
New England 29, Buffalo 6 W
Philadelphia 49, Dallas 21 W

Eventful Saturday night

I'm posting a little later than usual this evening.

Tonight's been hectic. I decided to order the HBO boxing PPV this evening. The bouts were mostly unmemorable. Evander Holyfield, at the age of 42, continued his losing streak. This bum named Larry Donald won an easy unanimous decision over the former champ. In the main event, John Ruiz retained his worthless belt against Andrew Golota. The highlight was when Ruiz's trainer Norman Stone got ejected. I have to review the tape, but Stone was saying to the referee, "You're a fucking asshole!" It was some funny shit.

Then my Mom started to get sick. For some reason, she ate dinner tonight at Quarterdeck. It defies me that after all the bad experiences, people still eat at that hellhole. The spinach dip gave her bad food poisoning. For most of the night, she was vomiting uncontrollably and barely able to move.

Finally, I called 911 at midnight. The paramedics came over to evaluate things. She kept on passing out, even as the paramedics were examining her. I was able to get her to the hospital in my car.

There was some interesting happenings at Jupiter Medical tonight. This one lady went psycho and assaulted two of the nurses. She seemed to be rambling on uncontrollably. At first, I just thought that it was a drunk person causing trouble. I now suspect that she was on drugs. The cops had to come in and calm everyone down.

That's where I stand now. I'll go back to the hospital around 4:00. Hoping she can be released by the morning. They should have given her enough antibiotics and fluids to calm things a bit. She was doing really badly tonight. She was throwing up and passing out at the same time. Eventually, I had no choice but to call the paramedics.

If I don't post much tomorrow, it's because I'm sleeping in late. I doubt I'll be able to sleep until 6:00 a.m., at the earliest.


Friday, November 12, 2004

NFL: Week 10 Picks

I picked 13/14 favorites this week, only deviating with my selection of Detroit over JAX.

This week's new feature is "Games to Watch". I will embolden a couple of games that I think are particularly interesting. This week's picks were Seattle/St. Louis and Minnesota/Green Bay.

Kansas City at New Orleans... Kansas City
Never get too confident in the Chiefs. From week to week, this team is hard to predict. With Priest Holmes doubtful, this game shows the signs of an upset. Luckily for Kansas City, the Saints are falling apart at the seams and can't stop anybody on defense. Kansas City in a high scoring affair.

Baltimore at New York Jets... Baltimore
All Baltimore has to do is find a way to stop Curtis Martin. It's hard to imagine a scenario where Quincy Carter does much in the absence of injured QB Chad Pennington. Look for Jamal Lewis, not Martin, to have the big day.

Detroit at Jacksonville... Jacksonville
Somehow, the Jags find a way to win with two weeks rest. But David Gerrard won't lead this team too far. Leftwich must be ready by playoff time.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta... Atlanta
Not an easy pick. But the Falcons have had two weeks to prepare for this game. Can Atlanta summon the urgency, considering their main competitors in the NFC South are Tampa Bay and New Orleans? Still, I hesitantly go with the favored Falcons.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland... Pittsburgh
Trap game for the Steelers. Unfortunately, the Browns can't stop Staley or Bettis. Look for the Steelers to impress.

Seattle at St. Louis... Seattle
Shaun Alexander runs circles around this porous Rams defense. The Seahawks get revenge for their Week 5 collapse in Seattle.

Chicago at Tennessee... Tennessee
I've been burned twice in recent weeks by the Bears. It's hard for me to see them winning three straight.

Houston at Indianapolis... Indianapolis
The Colts are never a safe pick. Almost anybody, including David Carr, can throw for big yards against this abysmal secondary. Still, Manning is having an MVP season and will throw as many TD's as his team needs to win.

Cincinnati at Washington... Washington
I like the #1 ranked defense of the Redskins in a game that's pretty meaningless. Washington can be motivated by the fact that besides Atlanta and Philadelphia, there are no sure playoff teams in the NFC. A win here elevates them to a respectable 4-5.

Minnesota at Green Bay... Green Bay
This is reminding me a lot of last season, when the Vikings started 6-0 but missed the playoffs at 9-7. It looks like Green Bay is back and ready to tie the Vikings for the NFC North lead.

New York Giants at Arizona... Giants
Seeing the Cardinals win two straight games should be enough for the Giants to get motivated. They won't overlook the Cardinals and allow their season to be destroyed. But if Kurt Warner starts to turn the ball over like he did last week, they should bring in the rookie Eli Manning.

Carolina at San Francisco... San Francisco
Edited- 4:05. I originally wrote that Stephen Davis would lead Carolina to victory. Recently, I learned that Davis is out for the year. Hence, I'll change my pick to the 49ers.

Buffalo at New England... New England
The sentimental pick is Drew Bledsoe leading his revitalized team to victory over his former teammates. Logic dictates that New England will not lose to a 3-win team at home.

Philadelphia at Dallas... Philadelphia
Parcells should have his 'Boys up for this Monday night showcase. But it doesn't cure the team's defensive ails and overreliance on the aging Vinny Testaverde. Philadelphia gets back to its winning ways.

Another night at the Jupiter Moose

You can tell I'm bored when I spend part of my evening at the Moose Lodge. Gary was working tonight and I decided to go up and see him. Tim and Loren joined me, as well. The usual cast of drunks and social misfits were in attendance.

I played exceptionally well at pool this evening. I won my first two games, only to collapse against Tim in the 3rd. I lost because I inadvertantly went for Tim's ball and made it in. 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

I got the sense that Tim was stoned tonight. When I went over to Larry's house beforehand, there was the distinct aura of marijuana. I'm 100 % sure that marijuana was being smoked on the premises.

I stayed up there for about an hour and a half. Tomorrow night, I'm going there to play Texas Hold 'Em poker. They're playing from 7:30-9:00. I'm hoping to organize a smaller, private game at my house later that night. There's a $500 pot to be won. The winner at the table gets 75 %, and second place gets 25 %. That's providing nobody goes out before the alloted 90 minutes ends. I think it's worth a shot. The buy-in is $20.

The Jupiter Moose is unlike any other place in town. While the characters are shady, it isn't entirely a bad place. They have pool tables and television sets. I hope to take advantage of these old men tomorrow night and go home with their money. Should be interesting.


Thursday, November 11, 2004

Jack is in the Hizzouse!

It's official. For the first time in over a month, the Jack Daniel's has entered my residence. First off, I'm a little pissed. I sent Tim to the liquor store to get me a 1.7 L bottle. He told me that the .7 L bottle was selling for $33. I'm not disbelieving him, but it's not the price I've noticed at other local stores. Nevertheless, I feel I was screwed out of $12. And I only have the small bottle. Hopefully it's enough to last through tomorrow night. I'm going to suggest that everybody but myself and Eric bring their own liquor.

I'm ashamed to say that I dabbled briefly, by myself, into the bottle tonight. I had one shot, just to test it out. It's not worth drinking anymore unless it's for the purpose of intoxication. Jack currently sits, overlooking my room. I won't waste anymore tonight. Although I think I might begin drinking Jack mixed with Coke. The taste literally makes me want to throw up. I'm not sure if I should subject myself to the discomfort, considering a little soft drink can alleviate it. I'll probably end up trying both ways.

I'm so upset that the 1.7 L bottle isn't here. The .7 L is okay, but it doesn't last that long. I might have to get some more before Thanksgiving.

I need to live with the situation how it is. For the longest time, I have survived with the small bottle. I can't let a little disappointment ruin the Jack experience. Next time, I'll send Tim to the place where the 1.7 L is sold for $35. I'm sure this bottle can handle at least 20 shots, more than enough to bring about the desired effect.

God bless Jack Daniel's. Just being able to see him in my room is enough to make tonight a happy evening. He will be put to rest for tonight and should return around 10:00 tomorrow night, if not sooner.



Daily update (11/10)

Today was an uneventful day. I woke up early to finish my English paper on Orwell. I covered his essays, "Shooting an Elephant" and "Politics and the English Language". I got it done barely in time.

Jennifer (see previous posts for background) was absent again in my Lit class. Well, another week passes by. I'm wondering if she'll call me and ask what went on in class. We exchanged numbers in case one of us missed class and needed info on that day's proceedings. I have my cell on waiting for any messages.

I slept a little while in the afternoon. Finally, the technician came over and hooked up my new computer. It's much better than my old HP. I'm told the tower cost $1200. I'm not enjoying the full effects yet. I have to download a huge file that's taking four hours. It's slowed down my Internet connection quite a bit.

I have off for Veterans Day Thursday and no classes scheduled for Friday. I should be able to have a relaxing weekend.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Sad but true Posted by Hello

RIP Dave

January 16, 2000- November 9, 2004 Posted by Hello

Monday, November 08, 2004

The long drive

I arrived in my English Literature class today to discover that the teacher had bought us pizza from the Pizza Hut. When I walked in, he asked if I would go to the restaurant and pick up the delivery. I was eager to do so. Incidentally, Jennifer was sitting behind me and asked if she could go. It sounded good to me, so we went out to my car and drove to the Pizza Hut in Juno.

When we got to the car, the first thing we talked about was the disappointing election results. I still have my Kerry/Edwards sign in the back seat. She calls herself a “Liberal Independent”, but not of the Ralph Nader variety. She was 100 % behind the Democratic ticket.
After making a wrong turn (Stupid me!!!), I found the Pizza Hut. The pizza still had a few minutes left. We walked over to the Subway and I bought her a soda. Apparently, she did not like the bottled sodas that were sold at Pizza Hut. Finally, the food was ready and we walked back to the car.

This is when a few uncomfortable things began to unfold. I made the mistake of having my CD case in my front seat. While I was organizing the pizza, she began to go through my music. Those of you who know me can attest to the fact that I have some odd CD’s in that case. I’m not too ashamed of the Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffett, and U2. I would defend them to the grave. But it gets a little worrisome when the Michelle Branch, Kelly Clarkson, and Phil Collins are revealed. I really should get rid of Phil Collins’s “Testify”. I downloaded it more as a joke than anything. She started asking me about the Dixie Chicks. I do have four of their CD’s.

I do have some cool songs, but they are mostly in my mix CD’s. Looking through the full CD’s I own, I can admit that there are some embarrassing ones. I got real worried when she finally got to my Garth Brooks CD’s. I don’t listen to him much anymore. Most of them are from five years ago. I quickly backtracked and uncomfortably revealed that I was once a big country fan. To my surprise, or perhaps horror, she put the Garth Brooks CD into the player. As I drove down US1, she started singing the lyrics to all these old Garth Brooks songs. I laughed to keep from crying. Although I do know a lot of Garth Brooks lyrics myself, I’ve never felt compelled to start singing his songs in my car.

Well, I’m still confused as ever. I’m wondering if I might have missed a chance to make some sort of move. Ideally, it would have been a good time to at least give a hint of some sort of interest. So many times, I felt like floating some sign out there. I should have said something like, “You know, if you’re up to it, I just purchased six bottles of Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey and I’m looking for someone to share with.” Seriously, I could have been like, “I don’t know if you’re busy this weekend, but maybe we could get together and do something.” If she wasn’t interested, at least I would have known and been able to put this out of my system. I feel like this was the kind of opportunity that I should have been able to capitalize on.

I wish I could get a better read on people. If I knew what people were thinking, I’d be $75 up on poker winnings. But alas, I have a difficult time judging what other people are thinking. Today, more than anything, I leave myself with this question. “What were you thinking?” I have an opportunity to take some sort of initiative, yet leave with more questions and few answers.

For my reader or two out there, thanks for taking the time to read these musings. I’ve tried to limit their frequency.

I will end by saying that, in the next week or so, I plan to finally muster up enough courage and face the acceptance or rejection that may occur.


I touched greatness today

When class was over today, I decided to take a ride down to Northlake Boulevard. There’s a store called “ABC Liquors” located just east of Military Trail and Northlake. I don’t think there’s any law prohibiting minors to enter a liquor store. This was a liquor store unlike any other. I chose it because of its sheer enormity. Some liquor stores, like those at Walgreen’s, are tiny and only have one employee. This one was the size of an Eckerd’s.

I was there to scout liquor. On Friday, I was made aware of the possibility of there being an even greater bottle of “Senor” Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. I just had to see it to believe it. So I went searching for the exulted 1.7 L bottle of JD. It took me about five minutes to find it. I was hesitant to ask store employees where it was located. Finally, just west of the Scotch whiskeys were the JD. The first thing I saw was the standard .7 liter bottle, priced at the standard $19 and change. I kept on looking and saw what I came to see. There he was. For just under $35, I could buy 1.7 liters full of 86 proof Senor Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I actually grabbed out and took Senor Jack into my hands. I held him up and began reading the label. It was the much talked about, rarely seen bottle of 86 proof JD. I sat it back down and walked away for a few moments. But I had to return and give him one last look. I once again grabbed the bottle and held him for a precious few seconds. Worried that the attendant would get perturbed, I sat him down for good and left out to my car.

I needed to be 100 % sure of the pricing and content of the bottle of Senor Jack. I went to that store specifically because it’s near Tim’s house. I plan to ask Tim to purchase my next bottle of JD, sometime between now and Thanksgiving holiday. I know he’ll be reliable to get it for me. I saw that they were selling a six-bottle discount for a slightly lower price. I’m considering buying all my JD for the year at once. It’s better than worrying about getting some when I’m already out. I have to go back and get the exact pricing on the six-bottle deal. I know it would make me seem like an alcoholic, but it would be enough to last for literally months. I would have, in my possession, 10.2 L of Senor Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. Of course, I would divvy some of it out to my close friends whom happen to also enjoy JD.

I don’t think I can ever go back to that small bottle. The mathematics doesn’t make sense. A .7 L bottle goes for approximately $20. The 1.7 bottle costs $35. You’re basically saving more than $5 by buying the larger bottle. And there’s a certain sense of power that comes with possessing the grand bottle of JD. I want to get it as early as possible, so that I can place him on my mantle for all to see. He deserves a spot to the right of my O.C. DVD set and to the left of my Dave Wannstedt bobble head doll. I don’t care who sees it. I’m proud of Senor Jack Daniels and I want the whole world to know. Before I close my eyes to go to sleep at night, the last thing I will see is that bottle of Senor Jack.

I want to close the deal as soon as possible. Seriously, I just think it’s good to always have JD ready for any occasion. I despise having to scramble at the last minute to find someone who will buy for you. I recommend always having half a bottle ready at all times. I’m not an alcoholic or anything like that. At times, I can be overly sarcastic when it comes to JD. Jack has become a larger than life figure. Most of what I say about him is merely joking. But I cannot deny that I love the time we spend together and hope to make our meetings a monthly or bi-monthly event.

Post election obeservations

This is my final post on politics for a while. I'll say a month to be conservative, but I'd like to make it longer. I may post some of my Election week experiences this week, but that will delve more into the personal interactions and experiences.

There will be time to discuss why we lost. But for now, it's time to take a break.

This is an email I received from my Uncle. There's something disturbing about a guy who refers to himself as "The Donald". His name, btw, is Donald Janda. Who does he think he is, Donald Trump?


1. George and Osama have something in common. Both are religious fanatics. Both have supporters and armies dying to prove it.

2. There are two Americas. 51% are Republicans who promote democracy while perpetuating Republicaism. 49% are Democrats, Independents, and Liberals who promote democracy while living in a Republicamocracy. (It would seem the Republicans like to use Democrat nomenclature).

3. Republicans are good at creating the perception of good governing while being unable to govern good, Democrats are great at governing while unable to create the perception of good governing.

The Donald

Stiff competition

I have something bad to admit. When Miami was playing Arizona this past Sunday, I found myself pulling for the Cardinals to win. At this point, Miami does not benefit from additional wins. The absolute best-case scenario is 8-8, which is far short of playoff material. Fans will be no happier with five wins than they are with one.

So I’m left looking at draft positioning. Instead of studying over team rosters, I find myself scouring over possible tiebreakers for the draft. Miami is 1-8 going into the bye week. Currently, they would have the overall #1 draft pick. Strength of schedule is the first tiebreaker. Miami’s opponents have a combined winning percentage of .533. Carolina trails at .505, while SF’s opponents have a winning percentage of well below .500 (.457).

Miami has a considerable edge in obtaining the first overall pick. But it’s not a certainty as of yet. Miami can win no more than three games, IMO. Some possible traps include games versus San Francisco, Buffalo, Seattle, and Cleveland. I include Seattle because their team is so inconsistent. For me to sleep easy, Miami needs to have two or three wins going into Week 17. We also must start rooting for teams that have played the Dolphins this season. We benefit when teams that we have played win. It elevates our overall strength of schedule.

There are a huge amount of three-loss teams (12). Frankly, it scares me. If even one of them collapses and goes winless in the next 8 weeks, then Miami has a considerable challenger for #1. Provided each of these teams wins a minimum of one more regular season game, then Miami is in great shape. Miami will have breathing room when they return from the bye week. Either Carolina or San Francisco will end Week 10 with two wins. That will leave Miami and one other team with two losses.

Deep down, I’m hoping that Miami keeps Dave Wannstedt on as coach for the remainder of the season. I don’t know how it works in football, but in baseball a new manager usually means a brief winning streak. We cannot afford to have even a two-game win streak. The Dolphins must remain totally demoralized to have any chance at being #32 in the league.

Miami can actually improve this team in the off-season. Once Wannstedt and Spielman are fired, a new group can take over and hopefully pick a star #1 pick.

One-loss teams

Carolina Panthers (1-7): They have played a decent schedule and lost to some very good clubs. But I am disappointed that they could not beat Oakland at home. Looking at their schedule, I see some openings. Next week’s game in San Francisco is one that they must lose. I am confident that Miami can hand the 49ers their second win when they play in three weeks. If Carolina cannot win against SF, I see a schedule that provides for a few wins. They have Tampa Bay, Arizona, and New Orleans at home. On paper, this team scares me. But their schedule should provide for a minimum of two or three wins, just enough to get the 2nd overall pick.

San Francisco 49ers (1-7): The Dolphins have destiny in their own hands. On November 28, Miami travels to the Bay area to meet the 49ers. They play Tampa, Arizona, Buffalo, and Washington in the second half. But they key for Miami is finding a way to lose this game to San Francisco in three weeks.

Three-loss teams

Miami has some breathing room here. There are no teams currently with two losses. Barring a major calamity, the competition is between Carolina and San Francisco. But be warned. There are enough three-win teams that if even one of them breaks down, Miami has some worries.

Dallas Cowboys (3-5): Parcells should muster up another win or two.

Washington Redskins (3-5): Gibbs should muster up another win or two. And these two teams play each other once more this season. Hopefully we see no ties.

Chicago Bears (3-5): Strong performances against SF and the Giants elevate Chicago a bit. I was worried for a while, considering Craig Krenzel is their starting QB. But he’s been decent so far.

New Orleans Saints (3-5): Benefit from easier schedule.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5): Ditto

Arizona Cardinals (3-5): Miami dodged a huge bullet in their 24-23 loss on Sunday. Had they managed to win, Arizona could have easily slid ahead of the Dolphins. Thank God for the ineptitude of veteran Miami defenders.

Buffalo Bills (3-5): I’m not too worried about this team. Mike Mularkey has them playing just well enough to win four or five games. The win over the Jets was huge. The Dolphins still have one game left versus Buffalo.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-5): I don’t have much to say.

Cleveland Browns (3-5): Not much to say.

Tennessee Titans (3-5): A Steve McNair team will win more than three games a season.

Kansas City Chiefs (3-5): Enough offense.

Oakland Raiders (3-6): Win over Carolina helps.

Week 9: 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
Week 8: 8-6
Week 9: 7-7

Total: 61 W, 54 L, 53 %

This was a poor week for me, but with a MNF win I finished even. My only regret is not deciding to pick Cincinnati over Dallas. There were a lot of surprising upsets, including Chicago over the Giants and Buffalo over the Bills.

Arizona 24, Miami 23 W (*** proud of this pick***)
Pittsburgh 27, Philadelphia 3 L
Tampa Bay 34, Kansas City 31 L
Oakland 27, Carolina 24 L
Buffalo 22, Jets 17 L
Cincinnati 26, Dallas 3 L
Washington 17, Detroit 10 L
San Diego 43, New Orleans 17 W
Seattle 42, San Francisco 27 W
Chicago 28, Giants 21 L
Denver 31, Houston 13 W
New England 40, St. Louis 22 W
Baltimore 27, Cleveland 13 W
Indianapolis 31, Minnesota 28 W

Friday, November 05, 2004

NFL: Week 9 picks

Arizona Cardinals at Miami Dolphins… Arizona

Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers… Philadelphia

Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers… Kansas City

Oakland Raiders at Carolina Panthers… Carolina

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills… Jets

Dallas Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals… Dallas

Washington Redskins at Detroit Lions… Detroit

New Orleans Saints at San Diego Chargers… San Diego

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers… Seattle

Chicago Bears at New York Giants… Giants

Houston Texans at Denver Broncos… Denver

New England Patriots at St. Louis Rams… New England

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens… Baltimore

Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts… Indianapolis

Thursday, November 04, 2004


In the days after Tuesday’s election loss, I began to think about whom the Democratic Party would run for President next cycle. For those of you who say it’s too early to contemplate, think again. I can bet dozens of Democrats are thinking about the prospects as we speak. Off hand, I came up with a short list of possible contenders. The eventual nominee might be someone most people have never heard of.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (New York): That’s probably the most prominent name being thrown around. While it’s way too early to project with any certainty, I don’t think she will enter the fray. And as of now, I would not support Clinton in a Democratic primary election. Clinton might be able to maximize the women’s vote, but I fail to see how her candidacy would be anything but a disaster for the male vote. However, if Clinton does decide to run, she’d have to be considered the frontrunner for the nomination. Clinton needs to gear up for what could be a life-and-death struggle to retain her seat against Rudy Giuliani in 2006.

Sen. John Edwards (North Carolina): Edwards is another name mentioned at the top of projected lists for 2008. While Edwards would certainly be a major contender, I don’t want him to run in 2008. Traditionally, losing V.P. nominees don’t go on to much success in future elections. Added to that, he is out of a job after January. If he wants to continue in politics, he should run for Governor of North Carolina in 2008.

Former Gov. Howard Dean (Vermont): It’s naïve not to place him on this list. We’ll never know how Dean would have fared against Bush in 2004. Dean is formidable because, besides Clinton, he would have the most secure financial base upon entering the contest. His loyal supporters are very liberal in giving away money. My gut tells me Dean decides not to run, but instead takes a crucial role in formulating Democratic strategy in 2006 and 2008.

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark (Arkansas): This is the last of the 2004 contenders that has a shot in ’08. Personally, I don’t see this happening. Clark was an awful on the campaign trail. If he does want to be in politics, run to replace Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2006.

Gov. Mike Easley (North Carolina): If you had to ask me today who I want to be our nominee in 2008, I would choose Easley. Despite a horrible Democratic showing in the South, Easley was re-elected Governor by 15 points. I don’t think even John Edwards could have pulled that feat off. Easley is the model for a successful Democratic nominee. He’s from the South, perceived as a moderate, and not hampered by a Senate record. Name recognition won’t be that big a hindrance. Carter and Clinton were hardly household names before winning the presidency.

Gov. Mark Warner (Virginia): If only Warner was allowed to seek re-election in 2005, I would love his chances. In Virginia, governors are only allowed to serve a single term. But I’m not sure if a one-term governor is good enough for us. The reason I include Warner is that he was able to get elected in Virginia, a fairly conservative state. He would have been a more effective V.P. nominee than Edwards turned out to be. Once again, I feel that a governor is our best chance. For anybody who has served in Congress, there are so many votes for the Republicans to take out of context. There’s a reason why Governors end up winning the presidency more often than Senators.

Sen. Evan Bayh (Indiana): The Democratic base will be pissed off at this selection. While claiming to be pro-choice, Bayh has angered many Democrats (to be more specific, women) with tendencies to support pro-life policies. Sadly, just as no pro-choice Republican could be their nominee, a pro-life Democrat could not win our primary. I’d have to look over his record more clearly to get an understanding of his position on abortion. I would like Bayh better if he was only Indiana’s two-term governor, as he was, rather than with his additional service as Senator. I’m not sure if I could support a man whose father (Birch Bayh) was defeated in a Senatorial election by Dan Quayle.

Gov. Phil Bredesen (Tennessee): See my description of Easley and Warner. I don’t know enough about him to comment intelligently.

Sen. Russ Feingold (Wisconsin): This is a name tossed out there by people who want a more progressive nominee. He’s in the same mold of a Paul Wellstone. But I don’t think a Jewish man could be elected President. Were it not for that factor, I could make a strong case for Feingold. I think we need someone who can shore up Midwestern states like Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. A big problem for Kerry was that he was forced to fight life-and-death to take close Midwestern states. In the end, he took all of those Gore states except for Iowa.

Sen. Joe Biden (Delaware): It wouldn’t be presidential speculation without the name Joe Biden. He ran once in 1988. His name was mentioned in 2004, but he never came close to running. I hate to say it, but Biden would be a worse disaster than Kerry.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (Connecticut): He might me arrogant enough to think he could try again. I’m sorry, but Joe does make me laugh sometimes. I loved when he claimed a “three-way tie” in the New Hampshire primaries. If anyone took the initiative to actually look up the numbers, he finished fifth with 9 %, 3 points behind John Edwards and Wesley Clark. The presidential race can always use a little JOEmentum.

Former Rep. Dick Gephardt (Missouri): God, no! I’m half joking with this one. There’s 0 chance of his re-entry into the presidential race. His 18 % showing in Iowa sealed his fate. The only way he was back in public service was if he could be in a Kerry Administration.

That’s about ten serious names I listed. Lieberman and Gephardt were thrown in there for fun. I’m not about to throw my support to anybody this early. I feel a sense of loyalty that might lend me to supporting Dean. But unless the dynamic changes, I’m very likely to support Easley or Warner.

So much depends on whom we are forced to run against. Were Bush to see his approvals drop drastically, there would be a mindset to change parties in the White House. My best guess is that Sen. Bill Frist, of Tennessee, is one of the likely GOP nominees. Frist would present a similar dynamic to that of Bush. He’d keep intact the “Gods, Guns, and Gays” vote that Bush has garnered. Sen. Chuck Hagel, of Nebraska, is a more sensible Republicans. He’s one of those guys who I could accept winning. Just as I’ve listen a dozen Democratic prospects, there will be just as many Republicans who think they have a legitimate shot at becoming President.

My hope is that our Party has a consensus on who should be our nominee. My best suggestion is to nominate a moderate Southern governor with modest roots. Play him up as a Washington outsider, similar to how Republicans marketed Bush in 2000. I’m not sure if we can win with a Northeasterner or Westerner. I almost think we need someone from the South, or perhaps the Midwest.

So to summarize, my very, very early inclination is to recommend that Gov. Mike Easley of North Carolina be our 2008 presidential nominee.