Saturday, October 22, 2005

Change in plans

After spending the last week glued to The Weather Channel, I checked Princess's website and found out that our cruise itinerary had been changed.

According to the last information they provided, we're still going to the western Caribbean, but instead of Cozumel (which may or may not be open) we're doing the trip basically in reverse order.

Our new itinerary looks like This:

Sunday: depart Ft. Lauderdale
Monday: at sea
Tuesday: Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Wednesday: Georgetown, Grand Cayman
Thursday: Majahual (Costa Maya), Mexico
Friday: at sea
Saturday: Princess Cay
Sunday: return to Ft. Lauderdale

Now I just have to find out what there is to do in Majahual. I know my wife hopes there are Mayan ruins to be seen.

I hope everyone has a good week.

Friday, October 21, 2005

How is this possible?

What do you do at a strip club that runs up a tab of $241,000?

Of course, the guy whose card was used at Scores club in New York says he is the victim of fraud. Still. $241,000!?!?!!?

That must have been one hell of a lap dance.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My cruise schedule

In case you're wondering what I'm up to next week, here is my tentative schedule:

Saturday, 22 October

  • 7:00 am -- wake up, shower, sacrifice spiced rum and TripTik to the vacation gods in the hopes that the trip will be free of weather-related complications, TSA anal probes and delays
  • 7:30 am -- pack the car, double-check airline tickets, cruise tickets, credit cards, medications, travel papers, wife, luggage, etc.
  • 8:00 am -- drive to Charley 3.0 and Kari's, pack up all their crap
  • 8:05 am -- leave Charley 3.0 and Kari's, drive to CRW
  • 9:00 am -- arrive CRW, check bags, get boarding passes
  • 10:09 am -- depart CRW
  • 11:29 am -- arrive ATL
  • 12:45 am -- depart ATL
  • 2:29 pm -- arrive FLL
  • 3:00 pm -- get picked up by friends, go to their house, turn on Weather Channel
  • 5:00 pm -- grill or go out to dinner, keep eye on Weather channel
  • 10:00 pm -- double-check (again) all cruise materials/luggage (I hope I'm not too liquored up at this point)

Sunday, 23 October, Departure

  • 9:00 am -- get up, shower, get dressed
  • 10:00 am -- go out to breakfast with friends in Ft. Lauderdale
  • 12:00 pm -- Take taxi to the cruise ship dock, check in, show immigration papers, sign life away
  • 12:30 pm -- board the ship, drop stuff off at the room
  • 1:00-4:30 pm – check out buffet, rent dive mask with prescription lenses, scout out ice cream machine and take life vest to safety drill
  • 4:45 pm – get first of many frozen mixed drinks
  • 5:00 pm – depart Ft. Lauderdale
  • 6:00 pm to midnight – dinner, followed by a show, some gambling and more frozen mixed drinks

Monday, 24 October, Princess Cay

  • 8:00 am – roll out of bed, shower, hit the breakfast buffet
  • 9:00 am – arrive at Princess Cay, the cruise line’s private island
  • 9:30 am – stake out a place on the beach, near the water, with a great view of pretty fellow cruisers and in close proximity to the nearest ice cream machine
  • 10:00 am to noon – go snorkeling, pretend to be interested in the island, ogle pretty girls
  • 12:00 pm – hit the buffet and ice cream machine
  • 1:00 pm – lay out and work on my tan
  • 1:30 pm – turn over, ogle pretty girls
  • 2:00 pm – turn over again
  • 2:30-3:30 pm – snorkel some more, ogle pretty girls
  • 4:00 pm – board the boat, shower, get ready for dinner
  • 6:00 pm to midnight -- dinner, followed by a show, some gambling and frozen mixed drinks

Tuesday, 25 October, At Sea

  • 8:00 am – roll out of bed, shower, hit the breakfast buffet
  • 9:00 am – walk a couple of miles on the jogging track, ogle pretty girls on the boat, avoid 60 year old women wearing thongs who shouldn’t be
  • 10:30 am – raid the ice cream machine then sit in the hot tub for a while
  • 12:00 pm – lunch buffet followed by another trip to the ice cream machine
  • 1:00 to 5:00 pm – sit out by the pool, ogle pretty girls, drink, hit the ice cream machine (not necessarily in that order)
  • 6:00 pm to midnight -- dinner, followed by a show, some gambling and frozen mixed drinks

Wednesday, 26 October, Cozumel

  • 6:00 am – roll out of bet, shower, hit the breakfast buffet
  • 7:00 am – dock in Cozumel, Mexico, disembark and take a water taxi to the mainland
  • 8:00 am – board a bus and head off to Tulum
  • 9:00 am – arrive at the historic Mayan ruins at Tulum. Get gouged for chincy t-shirts, bottled water and other touristy crap
  • 10:00 am – resist the urge to eat the local food, take pictures do touristy crap at Tulum
  • 11:00 am – get back on the bus and head back to Cozumel
  • 12:00 pm – arrive in Cozumel, shop for some cheap tequila
  • 1:00 pm – sample local drinks, look for the Hard Rock Café in Cozumel
  • 4:30 pm – stumble back to the ship
  • 5:00 pm – shower, hit the ice cream machine, eat some food that is known to be safe, depart Cozumel
  • 6:00 pm to midnight -- dinner, followed by a show, some gambling and frozen mixed drinks

Thursday, 27 October, Grand Cayman

  • 9:00 am – roll out of bed, shower, hit the breakfast buffet
  • 10:00 am – walk a mile or so, hit the ice cream machine, oogle pretty girls by the pool
  • 12:00 pm – arrive in Georgetown, Grand Cayman
  • 12:30 pm – walk to Captain Marvin’s dive shop
  • 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm – go snorkeling in at Sting Ray City, have complimentary mixed drinks
  • 4:00 pm – leave Captain Marvin’s, take a taxi to Hell
  • 4:30 pm – eat ice cream in Hell, sent postcard from Hell, buy chincy tourist t-shirt that says, “I went to Hell and all I got was this lousy shirt”
  • 5:00 pm – take a taxi back to Georgetown, shop for jewelry and electronics
  • 6:30 pm – return to the boat, hit the ice cream machine
  • 7:00 pm – depart Grand Cayman, shower, hit the dinner buffet or Sabatini’s Italian restaurant
  • 9:00 pm – see the show, do some gambling, have frozen mixed drinks

Friday, 28 October, Jamaica

  • 8:00 am – roll out of bed, shower, hit the breakfast buffet
  • 9:00 am – arrive in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
  • 9:30 am – walk off the boat and directly to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Café
  • 10:00 am – order the bartender to bring everyone in my party two shots of tequila every 10 minutes until someone passes out, then every five minutes after that
  • 12:00 pm – stumble out of Margaritaville and shop for some of the local “delicacies”
  • 3:00 pm – return to the boat, hope bags aren’t searched
  • 3:30 pm – depart Ocho Rios, Jamaica, hit the ice cream machine
  • 4:00 pm – hit the buffet for some snacky foods
  • 5:00 pm – get some more munchies
  • 6:00 pm to midnight -- dinner, followed by a show, some gambling and frozen mixed drinks

Saturday, 29 October, At Sea

  • 12:00 am – hit midnight buffet to stave off munchies
  • 8:00 am – roll out of bed, shower, hit the breakfast buffet
  • 9:00 am – walk a couple of miles on the jogging track, ogle pretty girls on the boat, avoid 60 year old women wearing thongs who shouldn’t be
  • 10:30 am – raid the ice cream machine then sit in the hot tub for a while
  • 12:00 pm – lunch buffet followed by another trip to the ice cream machine
  • 1:00 to 5:00 pm – sit out by the pool, ogle pretty girls, pack bags, prepare tips
  • 6:00 pm to midnight -- dinner, followed by a show, some gambling and frozen mixed drinks

Sunday, 30 October, Return

  • 8:00 am – roll out of bed, shower, hit the breakfast buffet
  • 9:00 am – prepare bags for departure
  • 10:00 am – sit around and wait for number to be called for departure, raid ice cream machine one last time
  • 11:00 am – disembark from the ship, get in line for customs
  • 12:00 pm – go through anal probe at customs, declare all the liquor I bought in Mexico, hope bags aren’t searched for “special” goods from Jamaica
  • 1:30 pm – retrieve luggage from baggage claim, take taxi to Ft. Lauderdale airport, find a way to kill two hours in Ft. Lauderdale airport
  • 3:52 pm – depart FLL
  • 4:41 pm – arrive TPA, find a way to kill three hours in Tampa airport
  • 7:59 pm – depart TPA
  • 10:04 pm – arrive CVG
  • 10:55 pm – leave CVG
  • 11:52 pm – arrive CRW

Of course, all this is predicated on Wilma not interfering with my vaction. If she decides to crash the party in south Florida, we could be in a world of hurt.

The worst case scenario is that we're in Atlanta when Wilma makes landfall around Naples, Florida. That will probably shut down every airport in Florida south of Orlando for the rest of the day. That will mean that the High Lord and his party will probably be stuck in the lovely (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. We'll then have to hope we can make the first flight out of Atlanta to Ft. Lauderdale in the morning and go straight to the ship.

Several of my fellow cruisers on a message board have said that Princess has never cancelled a cruise, but if the Harbourmaster in Ft. Lauderdale closes the port, we may be leaving a day late. There are a million things that could go wrong, I'm just hoping that everything works itself out with a minimal amount of general chaos, mayhem and destruction to south Florida and the Caribbean and that my vacation isn't disrupted too badly.

I'll let you all know how it went when I get back.

2-fer picks

Since I'm leaving the country on Sunday, I'm posting two weeks worth of picks this week.

For week 7, my predictions are:

Detroit at Cleveland
Green Bay at Minnesota
Indianapolis at Houston
Kansas City at Miami
New Orleans at St. Louis
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
San Diego at Philadelphia
San Francisco at Washington
Dallas at Seattle
Baltimore at Chicago
Buffalo at Oakland
Denver at N.Y. Giants
Tennessee at Arizona
N.Y. Jets at Atlanta

A couple of notes for week 7:

I know Brett Favre has always had problems in the Metrodome, but c'mon, this is the Vikings we're talking about.

When was the last time anyone said, "The Bengals are in sole possession of first place"?

For week 8, I'm taking:

Arizona at Dallas
Chicago at Detroit
Cleveland at Houston
Green Bay at Cincinnati
Jacksonville at St. Louis
Minnesota at Carolina
Oakland at Tennessee
Washington at N.Y. Giants
Kansas City at San Diego
Miami at New Orleans
Philadelphia at Denver
Tampa Bay at San Francisco
Buffalo at New England
Baltimore at Pittsburgh

Some week 8 notes:

It seems that I went with an almost straight "home team" ticket this week, but with few exceptions, the home teams are playing better football. I don't know whether or not Marc Bulger will be starting in St. Louis and if he's not, the Jaguars will eat Jamie Martin up.

I think the Pats come off the by strong and paste the Bills.

I was burned once picking against the Broncos at home; not this week.

Bears-Lions. Somebody's got to win.

Since I'm picking two week's worth of games, it only follows that there should be two Cheerleaders of the Week.

The first is from the team with the best record in the league, the Indianapolis Colts, who are sparse on the information they provide about their cheerleaders.

This is Jill C. She is an elementary school teacher from Needham, IN and this is her fourth year with the squad. In case you didn't know, she is responsible for designing the Colts Cheerleader's logo.




You can see more of Jill's pictures here.

The second Cheerleader of the Week hails from the team with the worst record in football, the Houston Texans, who need all the love they can get.



This is Celina, who is a 2 year veteran of the Texan Cheerleading squad. She is a graduate of Texas A&M and works as a sales rep for a local TV station. Her favourite colour is pink and she likes Mexican food. You can check out a Real Media video greeting from Celina here.

If you're still wanting more cheerleaders (who doesn't), CNN runs a weekly photo album of cheerleader pictures here.

I hope everyone has a good week while I'm gone and happy picking.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It's cruise time

As you can tell from the countdown on the right, there are only a matter of days left until me, my wife and a couple of friends embark on High Lord's Second Annual Hurricane Season Cruise Vacation.

Last year, we went on Royal Caribbean's magnificent Mariner of the Seas to the eastern Caribbean: Nassau, Bahamas; Charlotte Amaile, St. Thomas; and Philipsburg, Sint Maarten. This year, we booked with Princess Cruises and are doing the western Caribbean route on the Star Princess: Princess Cay (Princess Cruise's private island); Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

We would have booked again with Royal Caribbean except that the price on Princess was lower. We'll see if we get a product that is of the "you get what you pay for" type, or if part of cruising with Royal Caribbean is paying for the name. From what we've heard, the two lines are comparable in amenities and service, but the food on Princess is better and that Royal Caribbean is better for kids and families.

Of course, all this may be moot since there is a hurricane brewing in the Gulf of Mexico that is threatening to hit our port of departure, Ft. Lauderdale on or about the day we're supposed to fly in. Ah, the joys of going to Florida in October.

We dodged a bullet last year when a hurricane hit Port Canaveral and Orlando a week before our cruise, but this year, we may not get so lucky. I may have to sacrifice some Caribbean rum to the vacation gods so that this hurricane will pass us by.

I should have known that there would be problems when my brother-in-law Jim, who was supposed to go on the cruise with us, got called out of retirement by the US Army Corps of Engineers to do damage assessment in Mississippi and bailed on us. That was a bad omen, but I'm optomistic nevertheless.

My wife is a Weather Channel junkie and flips to the tropical update every chance she gets. I tell her that it doesn't matter what their projection for Florida is today; it will change in the next 24 hours. I am not going to worry until about Friday afternoon because I know that things change and hurricanes are about as predictable as a slot machine; sure there are patterns, but you never know from one spin to the next what will come up.

Anyway, we're getting psyched up to go and I'm almost all packed. Now if only the vacation gods will bless us on our trip . . .

Some football thoughts

  • I watched the Florida State-Virginia game last Saturday and am convinced more than ever that Jeff Bowden is costing his dad games. Down by 5, 3rd and 14 and Jeff calls a run up the middle. What the hell!!!!!

    Quick, Bobby, get your kid a job somewhere else because two games a year, he is killing your team.

  • We also got to the see the Jaguars-Steelers game and I have a feeling that we're going to get lots more Jacksonville games here since Pennington is out for the year and Randy Moss and the Raiders are stinking it up.

  • Another game we got was the Patriots-Broncos game. I know people are quick to write the defending World Champions off, but they looked pretty good to me. First off, yes injuries have hurt them and they're losing a couple of the close games they would have won last year or the year before. However, the Broncos have a distinct home field advantage due to the altitude and they almost blew it at the end.

    The thing that's hurt the Pats more than anything hasn't been the loss of Rodney Harrison or Teddy Bruschi, it's been the offensive line play that has been sub-par. They've got a bye week coming up and I think they'll come out pretty healthy afterwards and be ready to make a run at the playoffs. Remember, they play in a weak division, so it's just a matter of being able to go on the road in the playoffs and win.

  • I saw the first half of the Monday night game and the Colts looked mortal for the first time all year. What I don't know is if the Colts won the game of the Rams blew it.

    For the first half, Indianapolis was back on their heels. Maybe they were looking past the Rams. Maybe they thought that Mike Martz's absence would make the Rams tentative.

    In fact, having someone other than Martz calling the plays was probably the best thing that could happen to the Rams. Every game Martz has two or three "what the hell are you thinking" calls and is quick to abandon the running game. Last night, the Rams ran the ball well and went into halftime with a good lead and solid game plan. Was it the injury to Marc Bulger that turned the tide, or did the Colts just make the right adjustments?

    Either way, Indy needs to be careful not to get overconfident going into the next few weeks.

  • Is there anyone in the booth more annoying than Phil Simms? A lot of people give Joe Theisman a hard time, but to me Simms is easily the worst colour guy in the football world. How this guy ended up on CBS's A-team is beyond me.

Football pick 'em, week 6 results

It seems that the football gods were pleased with the return of the Cheerleader of the Week and rewarded me with another double digit win week. If not for the Giants blowing it in Dallas, my buddy Tybaltus was flirting with bye-week perfection, but alas, he came up short.


Results for week 6:

Tybaltus 13-1 (92.86%)
Gwalchmai 12-2 (85.71%)
Jeto 12-2 (85.71%)
Tunky 12-2 (85.71%)
BPH 11-3 (78.57%)
Dove 11-3 (78.57%)
Me 11-3 (78.57%)
J'Shawn 11-3 (78.57%)
Jwmblade 10-4 (71.43%)
Lakeloverinnc 10-4 (71.43%)
PadreJim 10-4 (71.43%)
Greenie 9-5 (64.29%)
Home Team Wins 9-5 (64.29%)
Howie 9-5 (64.29%)
The Z 9-5 (64.29%)
Weasel 9-5 (64.29%)
Bloodstalker 8-5 (61.54%)
dejavu 8-6 (57.14%)
DemiMorgue 8-6 (57.14%)
Sweetest Sin 8-6 (57.14%)
Toughy 8-6 (57.14%)
VoodooDali 8-6 (57.14%)
Ally 7-7 (50.00%)
CB 7-7 (50.00%)
Ender 6-8 (42.86%)
The overall standings:

J'Shawn 11-3 (78.57%)
Tunky 58-30 (65.91%)
Greenie 47-25 (65.28%)
Lakeloverinnc 36-20 (64.29%)
BPH 56-32 (63.64%)
Home Team Wins 56.32 (63.64%)
Gwalchmai 55-33 (62.50%)
HLD 55-33 (62.50%)
Dove 45-27 (62.50%)
Tybaltus 54-34 (61.34%)
Jwmblade 51-37 (57.95%)
The Z 51-37 (51.37%)
dejavu 50-38 (56.82%)
Howie 25-19 (56.82%)
Jeto 42-32 (56.76%)
PadreJim 49-39 (55.68%)
Sweetest Sin 49-39 (55.68%)
CB 40-32 (55.56%)
Weasel 48-40 (54.55%)
Ally 46-42 (52.27%)
VoodooDali 29-27 (51.79%)
Bloodstalker 43-44 (49.43%)
Ender 43-45 (48.86%)
DemiMorgue 13-15 (46.43%)
Toughy 12-16 (42.86%)
The "inactive" list:

ch85us2001 28-18 (60.87%)
Kipi 9-7 (56.25%)
X-Phile 8-8 (50.00%)
BottleBlonde 14-16 (46.67%)
HunterHack 7-9 (43.75%)
IceKrystal 19-26 (42.22%)

For a bit of housekeeping, I will be out of town this weekend and next weekend. I've got a date with the Star Princess, the western Caribbean and soon-to-be-Hurricane Wilma. I will post full results when I get back.

The week 7 games are:

Detroit at Cleveland
Green Bay at Minnesota
Indianapolis at Houston
Kansas City at Miami
New Orleans at St. Louis
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
San Diego at Philadelphia
San Francisco at Washington
Dallas at Seattle
Baltimore at Chicago
Buffalo at Oakland
Denver at N.Y. Giants
Tennessee at Arizona
N.Y. Jets at Atlanta

The week 8 games are:

Arizona at Dallas
Chicago at Detroit
Cleveland at Houston
Green Bay at Cincinnati
Jacksonville at St. Louis
Minnesota at Carolina
Oakland at Tennessee
Washington at N.Y. Giants
Kansas City at San Diego
Miami at New Orleans
Philadelphia at Denver
Tampa Bay at San Francisco
Buffalo at New England
Baltimore at Pittsburgh

Friday, October 14, 2005

Some bad cheerleader news

Police in Jacksonville arrested two men in an apparent plot to kill a Jacksonville Jaguars cheerleader and steal her car.

The two men were arrested and are being held in the Duval County Jail on $100,000 bail.

It's a sad, sad day when two nutcases plot to carjack and kill a professional cheerleader for her car. I hope they take these two idiots to the Gator Bowl on a hot Sunday afternoon and let the crowd chew them up.

My picks for week 6

Atlanta at New Orleans
Carolina at Detroit
Cincinnati at Tennessee
Cleveland at Baltimore
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh
Miami at Tampa Bay
Minnesota at Chicago
N.Y. Giants at Dallas
Washington at Kansas City
New England at Denver
N.Y. Jets at Buffalo
San Diego at Oakland
Houston at Seattle
St. Louis at Indianapolis

Even though I love parity, it plays hell with picking games. There are lots of toss-up games again this week, but I am courting the favour of the football gods by bringing you the Cheerleader of the Week.

Adrienne of the Cincinnati Ben-Gals hails from Dayton, Kentucky and was selected as the COTW because of her occupation: labourer for Baker Concrete Construction. Despite having a CJ degree from my alma mater Marshall University, she is a hard hat worker. Why doesn't anybody on the road crew that is tearing up Norwood Road look anything like Adrienne?

This is her second year with the squad and in her spare time she enjoys hanging out with her friends and family, running, cheering and coaching. She has a young daughter and is a self-professed "northern Kentucky sports legend."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Road Trip

You may or may not know, but my brother-in-law was called out of retirement by the US Army Corps of Engineers and sent to Mississippi to do damage assesment in or around one of the towns that was levelled by Hurricane Katrina.

He and his wife were supposed to take their son to Orlando to attend Full Sail, a computer/design school in Winter Park, Florida. When Jim was sent to Mississippi, I told them that if they needed someone to take David to school, I'd be more than happy to do so. Well, last Saturday, they called me and asked if I'd drive the Penske truck since 18 year olds can rent and drive the trucks, but they can't get insurance (go figure).

They offered to pay my plane ticket home and said that David, his friend James and James's mom would all be going. They wanted to leave at about noon Monday afternoon after picking up the truck and loading it.

I said I'd be happy to make the drive, but I wouldn't leave at noon, only to get into Orlando at about 1 am. Instead, I said that we should leave at about 9 pm and get in Tuesday morning, get checked in and all that during daylight hours.

They said that would be fine so at about 8:00 Monday night I drove over to Jim & Peggy's with a big bag of M&Ms, a six pack of Pepsi and two days worth of clothes in my backpack.

Monday afternoon when I checked out weather.com, it looked like it would be clear sailing. Unfortunately, when I got to Jim & Peggy's it started raining and didn't stop until we got to Georgia.

The drive down was mostly uneventful, except for the rain. About 12 miles north of the Georgia border, we had an enounter with some of Ridgeland's finest. I was driving down I-95 going about 10 miles per hour in excess of the posted legal speed limit. I saw two Crown Vics on the side of the road and slowed down just like everyone else. We passed them and nobody pulled out and I didn't think anything of it.

A few minutes later, I looked out the window and saw a Dodge Durango with blue lights on top and "Ridgeland Police Department" in big gold letters on the side riding next to me for about a minute. I cursed as he slowed down, got behind me and turned his lights on.

I pulled over and James's mom got on the walkie-talkie and asked if she should pull over, too. I told her to go up to the next exit and we'd call them on the phone in a few minutes.

When we'd come to a stop, I turned the light on the inside of the cab on, got out my driver's license and the rental agreement. He came over to the passenger's door and asked to see all the paperwork and then asked me to step around to the back of the vehicle.

Earlier in the trip, I jokingly had told David that I was worried about being the victim of racial profiling and getting pulled over for moving illegal immigrants in the back of the truck, but that the people smuggling migrant workers around probably aren't two asian guys named David.

Anyway, the police officer asked where we were from, where we were going and how long we had been on the road. I told him that we had been on the road for about 7 hours at that point and were taking my nephew to school in Orlando. He said, "I've been following you for a couple of miles and you've been weaving all over the road. I was worried that you were either tired or under the influence."

He said to pull over if I got tired or switch out, and then told us to have a safe trip. He never ran the tag and didn't run my driver's license.

I was also really glad that he didn't ask to look in the back of the truck since David's motorcycle was back there and you're not supposed to transport vehicles in the back of cargo trucks.

So we drove on and got to Orlando a little after 10:00 am. We would have gotten there sooner, but we stopped in St. Augustine for breakfast at Denny's. We found the apartment and got everything unloaded. After about 10 minutes, both David and James had their shirts off and were sweating bullets in the October Florida heat. I told them to get used to it and that it would only get worse.

Once we got all their stuff unloaded, we returned the truck and they drove me to Andrew's house, where I promptly went to sleep on his couch for about three hours.

By some stroke of luck, Mom was flying into Orlando Tuesday afternoon after visiting Uncle Bill and Meredith in New York, so we all went out to dinner at the Orlando Alehouse. I had shrimp, scallops and imiation crab meat in a garlic wine sauce over linguine, Andrew had wings and Mom and Megan both had some sort of quesadilla.

I tried to get them to go to the Cheesecake Factory for dessert, but everyone else wussed out on me and I settled for ice cream. We sat around Andrew's house for a while then I went to be early.

When I got up the next morning, Andrew had left for work, Megan was on her way out the door and Mom was just getting up. Mom and I went out to breakfast and then she dropped me off at the airport.

The flight home was uneventful. Since I was only going to be away for 48 hours, I didn't pack a suitcase. Instead, I stuffed everything inside a big-ass backpack I bought before the cruise last year and took it as carry-on luggage. I was slightly worried about getting a TSA anal probe because I packed my electric razor and had a bottle of ibuprofin, Sudafed & Claratin, but they waved me through the metal detectors in Orlando with no problems. I also found out that it will fit in the overhead bin on one of the big jets, but not one the smaller ones.

This was the first time I had flown Independence Air, and they seem like a good operation. I flew through Washington-Dulles airport, which was fun because I had never been there before. I finally landed in Charleston, WV at about 4:30 and my buddies Meeker and Tim picked me up at the airport.

I had a pretty good time and it was good to visit with my mom and brother for a little while. I tried to get Sarah to go with me, but she said, "I'm going to Florida in two weeks. I don't need another trip."

Football pick 'em results

Here are the football pick 'em standings through week 5:


For week 5:

Sweetest Sin 10-4 (71.43%)
CoolBreeze 9-5 (64.29%)
Tunky 9-5 (64.29%)
dejavu 8-6 (57.14%)
Howie 8-6 (57.14%)
Jeto 8-6 (57.14%)
PadreJim 8-6 (57.14%)
BPH 7-7 (50.00%)
Greenie 7-7 (50.00%)
Gwalchmai 7-7 (50.00%)
Jwmblade 7-7 (50.00%)
Tybaltus 7-7 (50.00%)
VoodooDali 7-7 (50.00%)
Ender 6-8 (42.86%)
Me 6-8 (42.86%)
The Z 6-8 (42.86%)
Ally 5-9 (35.71%)
DemiMorgue 5-9 (35.71%)
Dove 5-9 (35.71%)
Lakeloverinnc 5-9 (35.71%)
Bloodstalker 4-10 (28.57%)
Toughy 4-10 (28.57%)
The overall standings:

Greenie 38-20 (65.52%)
Tunky 46-28 (62.16%)
Lakeloverinnc 26-16 (61.90%)
BPH 45-29 (60.81%)
Me 44-30 (59.46%)
Dove 34-24 (58.62%)
Gwalchmai 43-31 (58.11%)
CB 33-25 (56.90%)
dejavu 42-32 (56.76%)
The Z 42-32 (56.76%)
Jwmblade 41-33 (55.41%)
Sweetest Sin 41-33 (55.41%)
Tybaltus 41-33 (55.41%)
Howie 16-14 (53.33%)
Ally 39-35 (52.70%)
PadreJim
Weasel
Ender 37-37 (50.00%)
Jeto 30-30 (50.00%)
VoodooDali 21-21 (50.00%)
Bloodstalker 35-39 (47.30%)
DemiMorgue 5-9 (35.71%)
Toughy 4-10 (28.57%)
The "inactive" list:

ch85us2001 28-18 (60.87%)
Kipi 9-7 (56.25%)
X-Phile 8-8 (50.00%)
BottleBlonde 14-16 (46.67%)
HunterHack 7-9 (43.75%)
IceKrystal 19-26 (42.22%)

This was a weird, weird week. Aside from the Savant of the Week, Sweetest Sin, almost everyone else sucked big time.

I hope people do better this week. The games are:

Atlanta at New Orleans
Carolina at Detroit
Cincinnati at Tennessee
Cleveland at Baltimore
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh
Miami at Tampa Bay
Minnesota at Chicago
N.Y. Giants at Dallas
Washington at Kansas City
New England at Denver
N.Y. Jets at Buffalo
San Diego at Oakland
Houston at Seattle
St. Louis at Indianapolis

If you would like to make picks, please leave me a comment or send them to me via email.

Friday, October 07, 2005

It all makes sense now

Dubya claims that God told him to invade Iraq.

God also apparently told Dubya to create a Palestinian state an invade Afghanistan.

Is there anything scarier than the most powerful person in the world claiming that all his actions are being guided by a little voice inside his head that says, "Go invade other countries"?

It seems to me that Son of Sam got similar instructions.

Just to be fair, maybe Dubya has some hotline to God that I don't know about. However, God doesn't talk to me like that.

Believing that God has told you to do something is a very dangerous thing because it instantly legitimises any course of action you take. Abortion clinic bombers believe this. Kamakazie pilots believed this. The guys who hijacked 4 planes on 11 September 2001 believed this.

Without having heard the direct voice of God before in my life, I am inclined to believe that this is just a stunt to justify his own actions and heavy-handed political schemes (or perhaps the heavy-handed political schemes of those around him who are pulling the strings). To me, this makes Dubya an even more dangerous SOB.

What's next?

Hey, let's suspend the civil rights of all Americans. It's okay, God said so. Oh, wait, we already did that with the Patriot Act.

Football pick'em, week 5

Here are my picks for this week's NFL games:

Baltimore at Detroit
Chicago at Cleveland
Miami at Buffalo
New England at Atlanta
New Orleans at Green Bay
Seattle at St. Louis
Tampa Bay at N.Y. Jets
Tennessee at Houston
Indianapolis at San Francisco
Carolina at Arizona
Philadelphia at Dallas
Washington at Denver
Cincinnati at Jacksonville
Pittsburgh at San Diego

I can't believe all the road teams I'm picking this week.

I'd really like to be wrong about my Bengals/Jags pick, but it scares me to say that the undefeated Bengals may be playing the most consistant football of anyone in the league right now.

There are a couple of "somebeody's got to win" toss up games this week (Titans/Texans, Bears/Browns) and a couple of crapshoots (Fish/Bills, Seahawks/Packers) so it will be interesting to see how everyone does this week.

Also notice that I am picking Denver at home.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Not that there's anything wrong with that . . .

A former Anglican priest turned author was talking about Harry Potter and called him "gay."

Who cares?

Of course the fundy Christians are sure to seize up on this and the depiction of "witchcraft" as an excuse to burn books and drive up sales.

I wonder if they realise just how many childhood icons are also gay and if they are suddenly going to start a crusade against Sesame Street.

Consider the following characters:
  • Velma. Duh!

  • Bert & Ernie. At least they're in a committed relationship

  • Bugs Bunny. He's a cross-dresser and is always kissing Elmer Fudd

  • Peppermint Patty & Marcy. Classic dom/sub lesbians

  • Spongebob Squarepants. The Wall Street Journal said so in 2002

  • The Smurfs. There's only one girl Smurf and she's with Papa Smurf. Who else do the others have to turn to?

  • Popeye. He's a sailor. Enough said.

And you can always read about more ambiguously gay cartoon characters if you get bored.

Seriously, who is threatened by these characters? Watching Bert & Ernie isn't going to make someone gay. Watching Scooby-Doo isn't going to make girls become lesbians (Velma), guys become stoners (Shaggy) and couples start swinging (Fred and Daphne).

Don't the fundy Christians have anything better to do?

Like maybe find out why their guy lied to the American public and started a war that can't be won and only results in Americans being brought home in caskets which he won't let anyone photogaph. Or find a national security leak on his own that turned out to be his #2 guy's chief of staff. Or wonder why poor people feel disenfranchised when they're paying twice as much for gas as they were two years ago while their guy gives tax credits to billionaires.

It seems that we (as a society) are consumed with the wrong things.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Harriett Miers . . . who?

It looks like Dubya has pulled a nominee for the Supreme Court out of judicial nowhere and I wonder what the hell he's thinking.

Earlier, Dubya was defending her against remarks that her lack of experience as a judge from both the left and the right.

The liberals fear that she's just another ideologue who Dubya is going to use to promote his fundy Christian agenda and the fundy Christians are worried that she's got no record and won't be conservative enough.

Of course, Dubya says he wants someone who will be a "strict constructionist" and won't "legislate from the bench" (unless the case involves Terri Shiavo or some other item on the fundy Christian agenda, and then it's okay) and he says Miers conforms to his opinion.

I don't doubt that Harriett Miers is a good attorney. Democrats are also charging that Dubya is using cronyism all over the place and that Miers appointment is just another presidential abuse. To be fair to Dubya, he's not the first, nor will he be the last, president to put his friends in jobs they're not qualified for. In fact, the practice has a long and glorious history and is considered one of the spoils of election.

However, a seat on the Supreme Court isn't like being appointed the county Postmaster General or to being the head of FEMA. It's a lifetime appointment that has long-term, national ramifications for everyone. Is Harriett Miers an appropriate person to put in that spot?

Cheerleader Alert!

CNN/Sports Illustrated is running a feature which shows 33 "Movers & Shakers", NFL and NCAA football cheerleaders.

If you still want more cheerleaders, I suggest you check out the Cheerleader blog.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Football Thoughts for week 4

  • Did the Patriots get exposed or did they just lose to a good (if underachieving) San Diego team? Let's fact it, nothing can last forever, especially not a 21-game home winning streak.

    The NFL has saddled the two-time defending champions with a killer schedule and injuries are catching up with them. Of course, we also have to mention that head coach Bill Belichick's two coordinators both left for their own head coaching gigs. I'm not about to write New England off, but I think the chances of them 3-peating are very, very slim.

  • Of course, in starting this discussion, I'm selling the Chargers short. Despite dropping their season opener to the Cowboys, then getting beaten by Denver in week 2, the Chargers dismantled the Giants and the Patriots, scoring over 40 points in each of the last two weeks.

    They're tied for second in the tough AFC West, but they're entering a long stretch of the schedule which includes Pittsburgh at home, at Oakland, at Philadelphia, the Chiefs at home, then at New York (Jets) before their bye week. They could be 5-3 at the half way point or they could be 3-5.

  • The highest scoring team in the league is led by a Manning and it's not Peyton.

    As much as I detest Eli Manning (to be fair, I also dislike Elway for the same reason), he's on a roll and he has grown tremendously as a quarterback since Tom Coughlin put him in last year. Now, if only he had a defense to back him up in the close games . . . (sound like anyone you know?)

  • Speaking of offensive explosions, how about the six highest scoring teams from this week: New York Giants (44 points), San Diego (41), Philadelphia (37), Arizona (31), Indianapolis (31), Kansas City (31).

    I never thought I'd see the day when a team led by Josh McCown scored as many points as a team led by Peyton Manning.

  • As I was watching the NFL's first regular season game in Mexico (because apparently Mexicans will buy tickets to see the Cards play, while the good people of Arizona avoid them like the plague), I couldn't help but wonder if the Arizona offense was allergic to the endzone.

  • At least that's better than the San Francisco offense who is apparently allergic to the ball.

  • A fantasy note: I picked up Tim Rattay in one of my leagues and briefly thought of playing him instead of Donovan McNabb because I (stupidly) listened to the injury report on Chunky Soup Boy and thought the Niners would wipe the floor with the Cards.

    All that proves is that I still know nothing about football.