December 31, 2005

Frinklin Bowl Forecaster Vol. 3

Hey, has anyone noticed how lousy I've been at picking these games?

Meineke Car Care Bowl
South Florida (6-5) vs. North Carolina State (6-5)
What the hell is the Meineke Car Care Bowl? Apparently this is in Charlotte, which would explain why a lousy NC State team was chosen over a pretty good Boston College team. USF is here because it couldn’t close the deal and wrap up the most inexplicable BCS berth in history. NC State, despite Chuck Amato’s rep as a great recruiter, hasn’t won anything since Phillip Rivers left. USF, under fine coach Jim Leavitt, is a school on the rise. Both teams are erratic.
The Pick: South Florida 14, NC State 10
Watch it? If you can say, “I need to watch the Meineke Bowl!” out loud and not feel ashamed of yourself, go for it.

Houston Bowl
Iowa State (7-4) vs. TCU (10-1)
Can we puh-leeze just call this the Bluebonnet Bowl? How can you not like the Bluebonnet Bowl? Houston Bowl is so damned plain, while Bluebonnet Bowl makes you cock one eyebrow and ask, “What the fuck is a Bluebonnet Bowl?” The current name just makes you say, “Feh… another bowl.”
As for the game? An up-and-down team Iowa State team versus this year’s best non-BCS league team. The Horned Frogs are good (just ask Oklahoma), but the Cyclones can run the ball with Stevie Hicks and Bret Myer is coming around. TCU always brings it for Big 12 foes. If ISU does too, this should be good.
The Pick: TCU 24, Iowa State 21
Watch it? Only if you promise to think “Bluebonnet Bowl” while you watch.

Liberty Bowl
Tulsa (8-4) vs. Fresno State (8-4)
Fresno State stumbled pretty badly after the loss to USC, but they are still good enough –and entertaining enough- to make this worthwhile. Behind QB Paul Pinegar, the Bulldogs put up 38 points a game. Tulsa isn’t far behind at 33 points. The Golden Hurricane are a great story. Coach Steve Kragthorpe, who will get some offers from bigger schools soon, has resurrected the program.
The Pick : Fresno State 38, Tulsa 34
Watch it? If you’re on the West coast and feel like getting up to watch a game at 10 AM on New Years Eve, sure. It should be fun.

Cotton Bowl
Texas Tech (9-2) vs. Alabama (9-2)
The poor mutilated Cotton Bowl. If there were any justice in college football, this game would be returned to former heights and made a BCS bowl. Even in its weakened form, this bowl gets some gems with SEC and Big 12 tie-ins, and this is one of the best. The offense-crazy Red Raiders face the best defense they’ll have seen in Alabama. The question is what the opposite units will do. Alabama’s offense, even without stud wideout Tyrone Prothro, is better then Tech’s defense. In the junior version of this bowl (Kansas vs. Houston in the Fort Worth Bowl), defense waxed offense 42-13. The result will be the same here, but the score much closer.
The Pick: Alabama 24, Texas Tech 20
Watch it? It’s New Year’s Day –well, sorta- what else are you gonna be doing? This should be one of the best games of the day.

Outback Bowl
Iowa (7-4) vs. Florida (8-3)
This could be called the “Expectations Bowl”. Both the Hawkeyes and Gators figured to be in the Rose Bowl hunt this season, but it didn’t work out for either. However, a win here could help catapult either team into the 2006 hunt. A win here validates Urban Meyer’s first year in Gainesville. For Iowa, this could help Drew Tate enter the 2006 Heisman race early.
The Pick: Florida 27, Iowa 17
Watch it? A possible 2007 Fiesta Bowl preview? Absolutely.

Gator Bowl
Virginia Tech (10-2) vs. Louisville (9-2)
Before Brian Brohm’s injury this would be have been my favorite non-Rose Bowl matchup. Without Brohm the Gator is still a pretty sweet matchup of very good teams. Hokie QB Marcus Vick has struggled since the Miami game, and it will be interesting to see him up against Cardinal DE Elvis Dumervil, quite simply the best pass rusher in college football. The Cardinals will struggle to score against Tech’s defense; it will be up to tailback Michael Bush to keep pressure off Brohm replacement Hunter Cantwell. Bush might even line up at his high school position now and then.
The Pick: Virginia Tech 27, Louisville 14
Watch it? Yeah, but it won’t be the same without Brohm. Another game between teams readying for 2006.

Capitol One Bowl
Auburn (9-2) vs. Wisconsin (9-2)
Speaking of teams thinking about next year’s national championship…. One has to include the Auburn Tigers, who have shown stretches of dominance comparable to last year’s undefeated squad. Wisconsin would like to send Coach/AD Barry Alvarez out with a bang, but it will be difficult against a very good Tiger team.
The Pick: Auburn 34, Wisconsin 21
Watch it? This might be the weakest of the days games, so feel free to skip it.

Fiesta Bowl
Notre Dame (9-2) vs. Ohio State (9-2)
Hey, we’ve struck BCS! This might not be the Rose Bowl, but it will be impossible to pass up these two legendary programs going up against each other. It’s a hell of a match up, and as much as I wanted Oregon to snatch a second bid for the Pac-10, they aren’t as good as either team. Notre Dame, with Brady Quinn throwing to a huge wideout tandem of Jeff Samardzija and Maurice Stovall, will have to tangle with Lombardi Award winner AJ Hawk and a rock-solid Buckeye defense. The question is: Can the Irish defense stop Ted Ginn and Santonio Holmes? Can the OSU coaching staff get Ginn the ball? Should be fun…
The Pick: Ohio State 28, Notre Dame 21
Watch it? Only the Rose Bowl is more of a game than this one.

Sugar Bowl
Georgia (10-2) vs. West Virginia (10-1)
This is a special Atlanta edition of the Sugar Bowl, featuring two teams that, going into the season, really didn’t figure to be here. Georgia replaced a ton of talent including NFL first rounders David Pollack and Thomas Davis, while WVU had to replace record setting quarterback Rasheed Marshall. Both have done very well. Senior DJ Shockley who has shown why Coach Mark Richt was so high on him for so long leads the Bulldogs. The Mountaineers broke in a freshman QB (Pat White) and a pair of freshman RB (Jason Gwaltney and Steve Slaton), and all three look like future stars.
The Pick:Georgia 17, West Virginia 14
Watch it? If not completely burned out after a day of football, this match-up should be fun to watch.

Orange Bowl
Penn State (10-1) vs. Florida State (8-4)
I hate any college bowl game after New Year’s Day, but especially this one. What is the point of this game? Would it really kill anyone other than the TV network to put two BCS games on simultaneously? I always loved having to make the choice between the Sugar and Orange after the Rose Bowl finished. This game is… well, the Orange is a nice match up of the two winningest coaches alive, but on the field... I dunno. Penn State is one last-second blown coverage away from unbeaten, while FSU has been up and down all year.
The Pick: Penn State 24, Florida State 17
Watch it It is a better match-up than I’d like to admit, but I skip this game on principle.

Rose Bowl
USC (12-0) vs. Texas (12-0)
Is this the Game of the Century? Maybe, but it stuns me to think that Pete Carroll and Mack Brown could be coaching in GotC. Don’t mistake me, both teams are really, really good. This game will hinge on one thing: Can either team come up with someone to hurt the opposition when they concentrate on stopping the obvious. The Trojans will throw everything against Vince Young. The Longhorns will do the same against Reggie Bush. Whichever team has someone else step up big will win this game. I say its USC, because Leinart, White, Jarrett and company are better than anybody not named Young for Texas.
The Pick: USC 31, Texas 28
Watch it? The biggest game in college football in decades? Yeah… why not?

Posted by Frinklin at 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 28, 2005

Mandatory Fun

“Are you ready for Terry’s birthday?”

This comes from Sandy, a woman in my unit at work. I don’t much like her to begin with. She’s an annoying, chirpy woman who thinks everything should be pink and ends every sentence with a question.

She also dots her “I”s with little hearts, but you knew that already, didn’t you?

Anyway… my immediate reaction was “huh?”

Why would I care about Terry’s birthday? This is another woman in our unit. Far less annoying but not someone I’m particularly close too. I’m not particularly close to anyone in my unit up here, actually. I’m surrounded by bitter, nasty people. It chills my soul when I think I could, with time, become them.

“It’s Terry’s birthday on Thursday?”


“We have a birthday club here? The person with the previous birthday has to plan a potluck and pick up a cake for the next birthday? I know we told you about it? Terry really likes cheesecake so you should get that?”

Seriously? This was like one breath.

Apparently then I’ve been drafted into the mandatory fun. I hate mandatory fun. Company picnics, Christmas parties, crap like this. If I wanted to be friends with these people I would be. Yet I lack the strength to say, “No… I don’t like crap like this.”

So now I’m out 35 bucks for a cheesecake and a card. I’d also like to point out that the cake for my birthday was a nasty grocery store job coated with lard pretending to be frosting.

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December 27, 2005

Our Christmas Good Deed

Our Christmas Eve was eventful, perhaps too much so. We were running late, which is so usual everyone who knows us just assumes we will be. We had made it about three blocks when the missus spotted a dog. Not ours of course, the slightly uncontrollable Jeffery was safe in his crate at home, and the gentle, absurdly goofy Matchbox was nestled behind the driver’s seat in the cab of our truck. He always visits my parent’s house. He lived about a year with Mom and her dog Sabrina, and it’s like going home to him.

No, this was a lost dog. It was a lovely German shorthair pointer who had that Lost Dog Look. Crouched down, constantly looking back and forth as if scanning for the right house, the poor thing practically shouted, “I shouldn’t BE here!”

Ensie and I can’t resist attempting to save every lost dog we see, so we’re certainly not going to pass one up on Christmas. She stopped the truck and we found not only the pointer, but also an enormous companion dog with it. This was a mix; I’m thinking lab, maybe some Akita and perhaps some rhinoceros. This dog was less nervous than the pointer, but clearly disoriented. We tracked down the lab/akita/rhino. His name was Rusty and he was obviously an older dog. With the help of a friendly neighbor we caught the other, her name was Maggie.

Both dogs were collared, with names and county registrations. I called the number on the tags and this is, basically verbatim, the conversation that ensued.

Dog Owner Dude: Hello

Frinklin: Hi, my name is Frinklin and I think I’ve found your lost dogs.

DOD: Oh yeah, Maggie and Rusty always get out when I’m about to leave.

Frinklin: Well, we’re at the corner of This Street and That Street; you want to come get them?

DOD: No, I’m actually in Lakewood right now doing Christmas stuff. I won’t be able to get them for a while.

Frinklin: Uhhhhhhhhh…. Okay.

Ensie: (mouthing) What’s going on?

Frinklin: (Exaggerated shrug)

DOD: Can you keep them until I come home?

Frinklin: Well… No, we can’t, we’re actually off to Christmas Eve dinner at my folks.

DOD: Can you take them back to my house? I just leave it unlocked.

Frinklin: Maybe, where do you live?

DOD: Oh, I live on the corner of Pine and Some Other Street Way the Hell Away.

Frinklin: Okay, I know where that is.

DOD: Thanks. Let me know if you have any problems.

I was so irritated at this point I didn’t know what to say. And who leaves the house unlocked? Doesn’t this doofus know we live in the crime capitol of the universe here? Ensie and I didn’t have much choice. We weren’t going to leave then wandering the street, and we couldn’t store them at our house. Jeffery doesn’t much care for visitors. We had the truck, we had the dogs: What the hell?

Now how do we get them in the truck? Since Maggie was young (and unaltered, Goddammit) we figured she could jump. And she could. She just didn’t too. At this point she was so nervous she was trembling. The only keeping her going was that she was in close proximity to Rusty. The Neighbor-Lady, whom we foolishly never found a name for, suggested that if Rusty would jump into the back of the truck, Maggie would surely follow. Ensie did her best. “Jump, Rusty, Jump up!”

Rusty looked at Ensie, looked at me, looked at the Neighbor-Lady, looked at the truck-bed. His tail started to wag and he sort of leaned a bit so his head was resting on the open tailgate. His front feet got about a half-inch off the ground. He bonked his head against the tailgate. He really, really wanted to jump up, but he was old and heavy and he just couldn’t make it. He looked at me as apologetically as a dog/rhino can. We both knew what was coming. Luckily I know the proper way to pick up enormous, muddy dogs. Oh he was muddy. It rained an entire week leading up to Christmas.

I gave him my palm to sniff. He ended up licking it. I kneeled down next to him, wrapped my arms around his upper chest and legs and lifted (with my knees, Thank you).

Ooof…this is one goddamn heavy dog. We think Jeffery is a big kid, and at 75 pounds, he is. Rusty was about two Jefferys. He was quiet and complacent though and I lifted him into the truck without much trouble. Neighbor-Lady was proven right, as Maggie scrambled right up behind him. It wasn’t much trouble to find the house and since Maggie nearly ran me over trying to get in, it was obviously the right one.

So, this was our good deed for the Holidays. It made me wonder though. This is the third time Ensie and I have stopped, dropped everything we’re doing in order to help a lost dog. This is also the third time the lost-dog owner has pretty much not give a damn about said lost dog. The first one took about 12 hours to even respond, and then showed and never thanked us. The second one bitched about how the dog gets out all the time. And this guy can’t be bothered to come get them. If my dogs got away, and luckily they haven’t for some time, I would be beside myself until I found them. I know Ensie would be the same way.

So my question is this: Are we the norm? Or are the people we’ve dealt with the norm and we’re just overprotective?

Posted by Frinklin at 09:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

iPod Nation

I’ve finally joined.

This was the crown jewel of Frinklin’s Christmas haul. The Missus picked up the last iPod Mini available in the state of Washington. She quite rightly assumed that a Nano, while very cool looking, would end up in the washing machine within a week.

I’ve had this thing three days, and I can’t possibly imagine life without it

Posted by Frinklin at 06:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 26, 2005

Frinklin Bowl Forecaster Vol. 2

Motor City Bowl
Akron (7-5) vs. Memphis (6-5)
Zips! Tigers! Detroit Rock City!
Nothing like kicking off “Bowl Week” with a bang huh? Actually, there is a very good reason to watch this bowl, and he wears #20 for Memphis. This is DeAngelo Williams’s last game before entering the draft as the best non-USC back available. Williams is an exciting speed/moves mixture, and he could run over Akron’s D. The Zips aren’t helpless though. QB Luke Getsy, a Pitt transfer, has proven a fine replacement for Charlie Frye, and wideout Dominik Hixon has NFL speed. The difference could be expierence. Memphis is on their third consecutive bowl trip. Akron it’s first ever.
The Pick: Memphis 31, Akron 24
Watch it? You bet. A no-name Bowl that should provide plenty of offense and the chance to see Williams, a true college superstar shouldn’t be passed up.

Champs Sports Bowl
Clemson (7-4) vs. Colorado (7-5)
Huh… lose the last two games of your season 100-6 (100-6!), get your coach fired, lose your star quarterback… How is that for momentum? Mike Hankowitz keeps the seat warm for Dan Hawkins and tries to find somebody, anybody to play. Joel Klatt is out and backup James Cox has thrown for a career total of less than 100 yards. Clemson comes in on a bit of roll, but their QB Charlie Whitehurst is questionable for this game too. Expect to see a lot of freshman RB James Davis.
The Pick: Clemson 44, Colorado 14
Watch it? God no. Does this bowl ever NOT suck? Clemson is okay, Colorado doesn’t want to be there. This could be very ugly.

Insight Bowl
Arizona State (6-5) vs. Rutgers (7-4)
Like clockwork these two teams meet in bowls every 27 years. Seriously, how weird is it that Rutgers has been to two bowl games in its history, and they play the same damned team? It’s a home and home series too, as the 1978 Garden State Bowl was in New Jersey. ASU gets this virtual home game and brings a lot of explosive talent. Both quarterbacks, Sam Keller and Rudy Carpenter, can sling it, and WR Derek Hagans is ending his career as one of the Pac-10’s best ever. Rutgers is better than you think though. The Knights’ starting backfield of Brian Leonard and Ray Rice counts one of the most underrated tandems in the country. There is also the emotional aspect: Rutgers has everything to play for. The Sun Devils not so much. Hell, ASU only shows up half the time in games they care about anyway.
The Pick: Rutgers 35, Arizona State 31
Watch it? What, you’re going to wait until the 2032 Sopranos Bowl? You may never see Rutgers in a bowl again. Actually, you will, since Coach Greg Schiano has the team going in the right direction.

MPC Computers Bowl
Boise State (9-3) vs. Boston College (8-3)
Two weeks ago the Eagles were hoping for a Peach Bowl berth and worried they might have to settle for the Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. Instead, Miami fell into the Peach and BC was passed over for an awful NC State team. Now they have to fly to Boise to play the Broncos, who have won 31 straight at home. Will they be up for it? BSU has issues of its own, most notably a new coach. Will Chris Peterson, a highly-respected coordinator be up this, his first game as a head coach? The Eagles will try to copy Georgia’s method and outmuscle the Broncos.
The Pick: Boise State 24, Boston College 17
Watch it? A big conference team heading to the blue turf to take on Boise State? Absolutely.

Alamo Bowl
Michigan (7-4) vs. Nebraska (7-4)
Christmas in San Antonio isn’t exactly what the alums of either school were looking forward to. Michigan, which has to qualify as a huge (though not-Tennesee huge) disappointment this year. The Wolverines, with Chad Henne, Mike Hart, Steve Breaston and a solid line returning, were thinking national championship back in August. Henne was erratic, Hart was hurt and Breaston disappeared at times. With a month left in the season, Cornhusker coach Bill Callahan looked as if he might be fired after only two seasons. Then QB Zac Taylor blossomed and the ‘Huskers crushed K-State and Colorado down the stretch.
The Pick: Michigan 24, Nebraska 21
Watch it? These are two marquee programs that stumbled a bit. They don’t play each other often, so it’s worth catching, especially if you like passing.

Emerald Bowl
Utah (6-5) vs. Georgia Tech (7-4)
This would be the fifth stop on the G-Tech Mediocre Bowl Tour, following stops at the Champs Sports, Humanitarian, Silicon Valley, and Seattle Bowls. You can see how Jacket fans must be thrilled. Despite Utah's amazing 2004, and gutty win over BYU to qualify for this bowl, GT is a markedly better team. Wideout Calvin Johnson, a sophomore, is without question the best player on either team. It will be up scattershot QB Reggie Ball to get him the football. The Utes are down to backup quarterback Brett Ratliff, and could struggle against Jon Tenuta’s defense.
The Pick: Georgia Tech 17, Utah 10
Watch it? Honestly, since the 200 Peach Bowl, all Georgia Tech bowl appearances are questionable at best. This game is no different.

Holiday Bowl
Oregon (10-1) vs. Oklahoma (7-4)
Man, the Pac-10 has got to do better than this game for their number two team. Nothing against the Holiday Bowl, which is head-and-shoulders above any of the pre-Jan 1 bowls, but facing the number three team from the Big 12 isn’t good enough. Oregon is in a tough spot here. Obviously disappointed about not getting an at-large BCS berth, the Ducks now face a very talented Oklahoma team looking to finish a disappointing season with a bang. Oregon is a pretty thin 10-1 team too. They lost QB Kellen Clemens to injury and tailbacks Terrence Whitehead and Johnathan Stewart have struggled with injuries. Speaking of injuries, Sooner tailback Adrian Peterson is healthy and ready to prove he’s a candidate for the 2006 Heisman.
The Pick: Oklahoma 21, Oregon 17

Posted by Frinklin at 08:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 25, 2005

Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward Men...


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December 22, 2005


I really do enjoy finding out when people are geekier than me. And despite what my lovely wife might think, this happens often. While I’m geeky enough to want a Master Replica Force FX lightsaber, I’m not nearly geeky enough to dress up like a Jedi or Sith and swordfight at conventions.

Maybe if I was my odds of convincing the wife would be better. Hey, can I get Jedi robes in my size?

Anyway, I’ve recently discovered the Wookiepedia, a SW-only Wiki. Around for less than a year, the site already contains 20,000 (excuse me 19,998) articles.

And yes, I’ve spent the last couple days reading them.

Posted by Frinklin at 08:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My Condolences

Yesterday the discussion was about how much of a preseason feel Saturday’s game between the Seahawks and Colts would have. Two teams with little to play for heading to the playoffs. The Colts can’t improve their positioning in any way, and the ‘Hawks are one win or one Chicago loss away from locking in home-field advantage throughout. Would Payton play more than a quarter? Would Coach Holmgren leave his horses in until everything was settled? Since the stakes were low, could this still be considered a Super Bowl preview? Probably not, since the odds are low that Jim Sorgi and Seneca Wallace will face off in Detroit.

Now, none of that seems to mean much. Colt Coach Tony Dungy’s son, 18-year old James, was found dead in his apartment in Tampa this morning. This awful event obviously casts a pall over the game on Saturday, and the thoughts and prayers of Seahawk fans are with the Dungy family.

Posted by Frinklin at 08:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 21, 2005

Finally some recognition


Longtime Seahawk Mack Strong makes the Pro Bowl in his 13th season. It's a long time coming, and much deserved.

Plus, "Mack Strong" is the best name for a fullback ever.

Posted by Frinklin at 10:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 20, 2005

Off-Season of Evil

Why bother non-tendering Ryan Franklin when you're giving his lefty equivalent $37.5 million? And now that Johnny Damon is a Yankee, it seems to reason that the M's may trade Jeremy Reed for Bronson Arroyo... you guessed it, another low-strikeout flyball pitcher.

I am seriously hating being a Mariner fan right now.

Posted by Frinklin at 09:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 19, 2005

This week's Freaky Jesus-Wear

The Christian Throwback Jersey. Actually, I'm not entirely sure why this would be called "Throwback" as most of these are current NFL/NBA/MLB with the names of Biblical verses instead of team (or sometimes player) names. This Songs jersey is the only Seattle-based item on the site. Pity.


Thanks to Deadspin

Posted by Frinklin at 10:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Frinklin Bowl Forecaster Vol. 1

New Orleans Bowl
Arkansas State (6-5) vs Southern Mississippi (6-5)
The New Orleans Bowl, transplanted to Lafayette, is missing North Texas for the first time since… well, ever. This year’s Sun Belt Conference Champ (via a three-way tiebreak) is Arkansas State. The Indians take on Southern Miss creating a matchup so unimportant it boggles the mind. USM has an erratic quarterback in Dustin Almond and an annoying tendency to lose close games. ASU would finish in the bottom third of any other conference in Division 1. Good times….
The Pick: Southern Miss 24, Arkansas State 6
Watch it? Only if you’re an alum or you really want your wife/girlfriend/partner to leave you and let you die alone.

UTEP (8-3) vs. Toledo (8-3)
Admittedly, UTEP and Toledo are not exactly household names, but this game, featuring two fine quarterbacks in Jordan Palmer and Bruce Gradkowski, should be lots of fun. Mike Price’s second year in El Paso is a bit of a disappointment, as the Miners “Couged It” down the stretch, losing back to back against UAB and SMU when one win would have wrapped up the C-USA title. The Rockets backed into this a little bit, as they didn’t play for the MAC title after getting killed by Northern Illinois. Both teams play high-octane, risky offenses. Look for lots of points and more than a couple turnovers.
The Pick: UTEP 42, Toledo 38
Watch It? Yep, this is one of the better non-BCS games this year.

Las Vegas Bowl
BYU (6-5) vs. Cal (7-4)
Under new coach Bronco Mendenhall (is that a GREAT coach name or what?) the Cougars got up off the map after Gary Crowton’s disastrous tenure. He’ll bring a high-flying, distinctly Lavell Edwards-ish BYU team in against a rebuilding Cal squad. With an excellent defense and monster rushing attack behind Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forrsett, the Bears would seem to be the favorite. Two problems though: Cal still doesn’t have anyone to play QB, and Jeff Tedford’s team sleepwalked through the Holiday Bowl last year.
The Pick: Cal 31, BYU 21
Watch it? Meh. This could be fun, but nothing special.

Poinsettia Bowl
Colorado State (6-5) vs. Navy (7-4)
Excuse me, this would be the “San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl”, which this game a strong contender for the “Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl Goofy Name Trophy”. This should be a fun matchup of seriously contrasting styles. Paul Johnson’s Middies lead the nation in rushing, while the Rams sport a top-25 passing attack. Navy is lead by the two-headed rushing offense of QB Lamar Owens and FB Adam Ballard. CSU’s best is quarterback Justin Holland, an NFL-prospect looking to end an erratic career on a high note. This will be a tough matchup for the Rams, as they have no run defense whatsoever.
The Pick: Navy 24, Colorado State 17
Watch it? The contrast in styles should be fun, and Holland could always explode.

Fort Worth Bowl
Kansas (6-5) vs. Houston (6-5)
Does spending the holidays in Fort Worth count as an upgrade over Houston or Lawrence? Possibly, but considering both teams are making just their second bowl appearance in a decade, neither is complaining. This is another contrast in styles game, as Kevin Kolb leads the Cougars’ explosive passing attack against Kansas no-name defense. The Jayhawks started slow, losing their first four Big 12 games, but finished strong, including a 40-point demolition of Nebraska. Houston will have to muster a rushing attack to win this game. Kansas will have to come up with some offense of any kind. Expect both teams to bring it, as bowl appearances are rare for both schools.
The Pick: Kansas 17, Houston 14
Watch it? If you’re a hard-core fan, sure. Nick Reid, Charles Gordon and the rest of Kansas’ defense is worth tuning in.

Hawaii Bowl
Central Florida (8-4) vs. Nevada (8-3)
UCF is runaway winner of the longest distance to travel, both literally (a tick under 5,000 miles) and figuratively (0-11 in ’04). George O’Leary has successfully rehabbed his reputation with this very young club, and Nevada coach Chris Ault added another chapter to his after returning to the bench. This is also the first Hawaii Bowl that doesn’t include Hawaii, so attendance might be a problem. Those who do show up will enjoy a fun game between two talented mid-majors. Nevada is more experienced and should win in a slugfest.
The Pick: Nevada 35, UCF 24
Watch it? Yep. Between Nevada’s oddball “Pistol” offense and the chance to see what should be a very, very good Golden Knight team a year early, this game is an excellent Christmas Eve present.

Posted by Frinklin at 10:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 16, 2005

John Spencer 1946 - 2005

John Spencer, the very talented character acter who won an Emmy for his role as "Leo McGarry" on The West Wing died today of a heart attack. Spencer brought heart and fire to his role as Leo, and will be missed. As his Leo was also the VP candidate on the show, it is unknown at this time how the story will be affected.

Posted by Frinklin at 11:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Spirit of 1977

Today, one of Westlake Center’s star buskers was a middle-aged man (bordering on elderly), obviously down on his luck, playing a battered guitar and shrieking his way through “Anarchy in the UK”. While he sang about as well as Johnny Rotten, we had to give him credit for the effort involved. He nearly shredded his vocal cords on the last “DESTROY”.

This was followed up by an Elvis cover. I love working downtown

Posted by Frinklin at 06:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Book Club: The Iowa Baseball Confederacy

A couple weeks ago, my friend Carl over at FoolBlog posted a review of The Iowa Baseball Confederacy. I commented on the post, and then Carl e-mailed me for his opinion on the ending. In my reply, I suggested making this a blog-based discussion, and Carl replied with the ringing endorsement: "Hey, I'm desperate for content!" Thus inspired, we decided to go ahead with the plan. Carl posted his original question on his blog earlier this week, and I am now posting my reply, along with a new question to spark further discussion (placed below the fold because it contains spoilers; if you haven't read it yet, I encourage you to do so). I imagine Carl and I will continue this discussion at irregular intervals until we get tired of it or run out of things to say, so you can look forward to that.

Now, about your question... I'm glad you asked, because it made me go back and re-read the ending (along with skimming a number of other sections). I didn't read the ending the same way you did, and after looking it over again, I still don't (though your read is plausible).

Remember that just before he runs into the 1978 version of Drifting Away and Onamata, he's dancing with Missy and musing about he'd like to have that moment frozen in time. Drifting Away says, "Maybe I'll see you at the ballpark in Onamata," then thinks about it, then says, "After." Gideon replies, "Yes, after..." then pauses and says "Sarah."

You read this to mean that Drifting Away will let Gideon have Sarah back. I read it to mean that he'd be going back to a time "after Sarah," after The Flood. Big Inning, the Iowa Baseball Confederacy, and Sarah are all permanently lost. Of course, if this is true, I'm not sure why Gideon would want to go back to 1908.

Truth be told, until I re-read it, I didn't think Gideon was going anywhere. I believed that his trip back to 1908 represented a spiritual journey, in which he learned that clinging too tightly to a passion/obsession led to doom, while pursuing love and learning to be happy with what you have brought rewards (Stan, Drifting Away). For Gideon, Missy was love, and Sarah/Sunny and the IBC were obsessions. But if he's going to "take something with [him] this time," he's obviously going *somewhere.*

I still believe that Gideon can't go back to Sarah or to the game. I'd like to think that he understands this, though perhaps he doesn't (notice that he tried to save Sunny, even though she was obviously fated to die). Maybe he misunderstood Drifting Away's remark? Drifting Away assumed, when he saw Gideon and Missy looking happy, that Gideon's quest was also over. Maybe, though, Gideon doesn't think his quest is over yet. Maybe he's been searching so long that he doesn't know how to stop.

So now, a question for you, Carl, about the book's weaknesses. If I'm reading you correctly, it seems that you find the ending to be the book's greatest weakness. (If I'm wrong, please correct me.) Most of the book's critics, though, seem to take issue with the sprawling scope of the book. It's not often, after all, that you see, among other things, Teddy Roosevelt, Leonardo da Vinci, religious allegory, the struggle between white settlers and Native Americans, and - oh, by the way - an entirely fictional baseball league crammed into one book. Those who don't like the book tend to argue that Kinsella tried to take on too much, and as a result, the book wanders all over the place. I freely admit to a fondness for sprawling epics, so this didn't bother me. Did it bother you? I'll talk more about why I liked the spawl so much, as well as my opinion of the book's greatest weakness, next time.

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 11:04 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 15, 2005

What a Christmas This could turn out to be

Last year, the struggling Mariners signed Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson. Big moves for a team that really, really needed them. This year, after a promising start with Japanese catcher Kenji Johjima, the Mariners have signed noted malcontent (and seriously slipping talent) Carl Everett. To make matters even better,according to the Seattle Times the M's have focused in on signing a free agent pitcher. The options are Kevin Millwod (good), Jarrod Washburn (not-so-good), Scott Elarton (really rather terrible) and Sydney Ponson (potentially apocalyptic).

Good times...

Posted by Frinklin at 10:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 14, 2005

Carl, the Dinosaurs don’t believe in you either

What’s the best way to improve your baseball team this off-season? Why, pick up an overpaid, ageing, homophobic misanthrope, that’s how. Now, I'll be totally honest: If this guy still hit well (say in 2000, when he hit .300/.373/.557) I'd have less of a problem with this, but at this point he's a fading hitter who is still completely crazy.

Hello, Carl Everett, now go away.

Posted by Frinklin at 09:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is the More Important Information?

For some reason, I’ve always remembered an episode of The Flinstones with almost perfect clarity. Fred and Barney are going to a costume party dressed as spacemen, and there is a pop group called “The Wayouts” who also dress as spacemen and the boys are confused with the band. There is also a War of the Worlds-type marketing campaign around the band and most of Bedrock believes they are being invaded by aliens. Hijinks occur.

You might wonder why I would relay this. Well, the Missus and I have a fenced back yard here at the new house (how long can I call it a new house?). Since we live “in the city” we put padlocks on both gates to the backyard. These locks are combination locks, and they use the same combination.

A combination I cannot, for the life of me, remember under any circumstances.

Yet, I can remember the Wayouts, and even sing their theme song.

I would be much smarter if it weren’t for such things.

Posted by Frinklin at 08:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 12, 2005

Commercials are the new radio

My ears just popped: I heard Spoon's creepy, falsetto-drenched "I Turn My Camera On" used in a car commercial. While this might not be as jarring as "Lust for Life" (an ode to the Iggy Pop and David Bowie's Berlin decadence) or Jefferson Airplane's "Volunteers", an ode to revolution being used to shill for cruise lines and the loathsome Tommy Hilfiger, it's still weird. While "I Turn My Camera On" is a catchy song -very much influenced by "Emotional Rescue"- it's also a song all about the pleasures of voyeurism. Not quite what you'd think when thinking about buying a Buick.

Hey, if it gets people into Gimmee Fiction, one of the very best albums of 2005, it will be worth it.

Posted by Frinklin at 10:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 08, 2005

It worked for the Jets, dammit!

The (again) NotSoSuperSonics busted out their throwback jerseys in a loss to New York on Tuesday, and despite my liking the current look, I can't for the life of me understand why they just don't bring back the lightning bolt full-time.


In other Supes News, thanks to the team's ArenaWatch web page, you can track the need for a new basketball stadium. Despite the fact that KeyArena was completely gutted and renovated in 19-freakin'95.

Posted by Frinklin at 09:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A "Where Are they Now" nobody asked.

Heath Shuler for Congress? Apparently so. The former Tennessee Volunteer star and Redskin bust is running as a Democrat against seven-term Republican Charles Taylor.

For his sake, I hope he's better at politics than he was running Norv Turner's offense.

Posted by Frinklin at 09:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 07, 2005

The Magic of Video

The teaser for X-Men 3 is up, and suprisingly enough, it doesn't suck.

The mid-90's were quite the time for Seattle sports fans. Not only did we see Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson, the Sonics featured Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp. This collection of dunks (was there ever a better Alley-Oop combo than GP and Kemp?) will remind you how awesome the Reign Man was.

This version of Spike Jonze's GAP ad, is one of the most perfect TV commercials ever. This version, the pussified one the GAP is running, is not.

Thanks to Throwing Things, Garfield Ridge and SuperSonicSoul.

Posted by Frinklin at 09:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Proof That Apocalypse is Nigh, As If More Were Needed

Consider the Los Angeles hip-hop quartet the Black Eyed Peas. Their current single, "My Humps," is one of the most popular hit singles in history. It is also proof that a song can be so bad as to veer toward evil.

So begins a terrific and spot-on article on Slate about one of the worst songs ever recorded. Thanks to my pop-loving co-worker, I am all too well-acquainted with this song, and every time I hear it, I want to jam a pencil in my eardrums. I cast a jaundiced eye on popular culture generally, but the popularity of this song is enough to convince me that the taste of the American masses is so appalling and insipid as to be beyond redemption.

Meet the lowest common denominator, ladies and gentlemen, for it is here. After this comes darkness, only darkness. If you'll excuse me, I'm off to stock my bomb shelter.

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 08:01 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 05, 2005

An Article My Wife Needs to Read

My wife doesn't really understand why, despite the Seahawks being anywhere from 3-30 points ahead, that I never get comfortable watching the game. Perhaps this, from Seahawk fan Kevin Jackson for ESPN can explain why.

No team has been kicked in the nuts more than the 'Hawks the past few years. Nobody.

Posted by Frinklin at 07:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 04, 2005

The Decline and Fall of the Food Network, or, The Horror of Sandra Lee

I've long been a Food Network addict. And for years now, I've noticed how the channel has strayed from its original mission. Once upon a time, the TV Food Network (as it was then called) actually focused on cooking shows. These were the sort of shows that you might have seen on PBS, with a genial host showing you how to prepare the sort of dishes that were generally within the range of the reasonably proficient home chef. This seemed like a winning formula, one that could draw decent ratings decades into the future.

But Food Network execs, displaying the same creative thinking that brought the world New Coke, decided that this wasn't good enough. Thus began what I like to call the Era of the Celebrity Chef. The chef, rather than the food, was the star of the show. This meant that outsized personalities, obnoxious catchphrases, and behavioral tics that would have landed anyone else in a psychiatric ward were now the order of the day. (This culminated in the Cult of Emeril, in which the dangerously unstable Boston/Louisiana/Portuguese chef/lounge lizard Emeril Lagasse was given a studio audience who cheered his every move and shouted his every catchphrase like a roomful of zombies. Lagasse's ego eventually swelled to the point where it required an extra seat on airline flights.) Also, because they were star chefs, they scorned the idea of making dishes that home cooks could emulate. Instead, they offered a healthy dose of professional snobbery, as if anyone who did not maintain a minimum of 15 different truffle oils and a full set of copper mixing bowls should not be allowed into the kitchen. This attitude reached its apotheosis with the show "Chocolate", in which Jacques Torres spent each episodes producing delicacies so stupefyingly intricate and complex that I felt unqualified even to watch the show, much less invest the month and a half that reprducing any of his creations would undoubtedly require.

Eventually, some bright light at the Food network figured out that some people liked to watch cooking shows to learn how to cook, not to watch overpaid egotistical professionals show off, and they began to replace some of the celebrity-chef shows with something more like the original model. And yet they decided that we still wanted hosts with "personality," so they've given us zany southern-fried mental patient Paula Deen, who spends her Thanksgivings playing poker with her family, and giggling schoolgirl Rachael Ray, who seems like the kind of person who would have starred in a "Girls Gone Wild" video back in college.

More insulting yet, they seem to have decided that the home chef can't handle anything more complex than opening a couple cans and dumping things into a pot. "30 Minute Meals" comes in for frquent criticism on this score, but Rachael Ray looks like Julia Child next to the woman who inspired this piece, the mockery of all that the Food Network once stood for, the horror that is... Sandra Lee.

Sandra Lee is the star of a show called "Semi-Homemade Cooking," which I'd seen a couple of times before. I was never a fan of the show, given that most of her "cooking" seem to involve finding ways to make packaged food taste like like it hadn't come straight out of a box and that she devoted more time to preparing the cocktail than to any other part of the meal, but it didn't really bother me that much. Lee seemed like an unremarkably vapid bottle-blond, but she didn't really stand out in my mind. I did, however, find something unsettling about her, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Last night, though, I found myself at home on a Saturday night (again) with an hour to kill before the codeine kicked in, and so I tuned in "A Semi-Homemade Christmas." This featured Sandra spending an hour in a rented house in Canada preparing dinner for a motley crew of family and friends. Having nothing better to do, I decided to settle in and figure out what exactly was so unsettling about Sandra Lee.

In the end, there were a number of things that bothered me, chief among them one salient fact: During the entire one-hour program, her eyebrows did not move once. Any semblance of a facial expression she might have formed, in fact, had clearly been Botoxed into oblivion. Say what you will about Rachael Ray: that her makeup gets glossier every year, that the highlights in her hair look like a desperate attempt to recapture her 20s, that she is increasingly developing the glazed look of a too-dedicated party girl. Granted, on all points. But at least she has facial expressions! She is capable of displaying enthusiasm, and she does. All too frquently, perhaps, but she does. Poor Sandra clearly lost the ability to display recognizable emotion on her face several cosmetic surgeries ago.

Not that I'm sure she has any emotions to display. Every once in a while, her raccoon-rimmed eyes would lock onto the camera, and I saw the vacant stare of a person who regards Prozac as a between-meal snack. Given her all-too-obvious fondness for intoxicating spirits, one might assume that her deadened expression was caused by alcohol, but it looked more like a booze-and-pills combo to me. God knows what demons she's fighting, but they must be awfully fierce. (Between the vapid stare and the numb expression, what I assume was intended to be a charming anecdote about how her nieces and nephews called her "Aunt Sandy Claus" came off as insincere and disturbing. It didn't help that none of the kids called her that later on, when they appeared on the show.)

To make matters worse, she was wearing an off-the-shoulder sweater that she clearly did not have the shoulders to pull off. It struck me as a little racy for a holiday dinner, particularly one at which children were to be present. Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mrs. Robinson...

Watching this desperate domestic diva careen around the kitchen, chattering endlessly while slapping together too-cute decorations and mixing sickly-sweet cocktails who sugar content appears intended to mask an obscene quantity of alcohol, was pathetic. It only got worse when her family and friends showed up. I'm not sure if, or how much, they were paid to appear on the show, but I felt sorry for them the moment they appeared on screen. The kids' expressions ranged from the kind of forced smiles you see on hostage videos to outright avoidance of the camera. I felt sorry for nephew Bryce, who appeared to be too old to appreciate being called "Brycer," as Sandra insisted on doing throughout the show. I felt sorrier still for nephew Austin. Toward the end, poor Austin visibly winced after "Aunt Sandy Claus" demanded that he kiss her on camera. These kids have years of therapy awaiting them from this show alone.

The adult family members didn't look much more comfortable than the kids, none more so than Sandra's best girlfriend Colleen (or "C'leen," as Sandra kept calling her). Sandra seems to mention C'leen in every show (at least every one that I've seen), and most of her mentions seem to involve stories about how much they like to drink either or patronizing praise of C'leen's single motherhood. ("Bless her little heart, she works so hard! She's a single mother, you know. So brave. Bless her heart.") Well, C'leen didn't appear too happy to be there generally, but when Sandra asked, "Another cocktail, C'leen?", her old pal shot her a seriously perturbed look, captured for posterity on camera. I'm not if C'leen was more upset about the intimation that she was a lush, or about the constant pats on the head for being such a brave single mother and all.

Speaking of marital status, Sandra had a wedding ring on her finger, and yet her husband was nowhere to be seen at this "family gathering." At best, this is odd; at worst, it's really, really sad. Although if my speculation is correct, it would explain a lot, including her dead expression and the obvious discomfort around the dinner table.

One can't help but wonder why the Food Network chose to broadcast this sad spectacle. One tends to assume that sexual favors were involved, but it's possible that it was intended to give hope to those whose holidays (and families) are less than perfect. "Cheer up," the Food Network says to these viewers. "No matter how dysfunctional your family is, your holiday dinner couldn't possibly go worse than this!"

Whatever the reason, I've decided that the Food Network and I are through until this trainwreck of a woman is off the air. I'll miss Alton Brown, sure, but this woman has to be stopped. Take a stand with me, won't you?

P.S. I debated scrapping this entry, on the grounds that it was awfully mean-spirited toward a woman who is clearly in need of professional help. But this I saw that she refers to herself on her Web site as an "internationally-acclaimed Lifestylist," and I decided that, screw it, she deserves anything I can dish out.

UPDATE: The Sandra Lee drinking game! I personally don't think I have the liver for this, but if someone is brave enough to try, let me know how it turns out.

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 07:17 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

December 02, 2005

Something I didn't know, anyway.

I'm not quite a rock snob. I can come off as one sometimes, but I have way too many gaps in my knowledge to qualify. I'm enough of a rock snob to seem like a rock snob to people with pretty mainstream tastes, but seem like a clueless moron to real rock snobs.

Case in point: I knew the Bee Gees were a somewhat successful British Invasion-type group (they're from Australia of course, so they don't actually count as Brit Invasion) before their days as disco Gods in the mid-70s, but hadn't ever actually heard anything from those days. My father recently picked up the band's new Number Ones album (which seems like an incredibly sloppy collection) and I've finally heard some of their stuff.

It's really freakin' good. Not quite the big Three (Beatles, Stones, Who) but a solid second-level band like the Zombies, Hollies or Kinks. I think I've played "I've Just Got to Get a Message to You" about a hundred times in the last week.

Posted by Frinklin at 10:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Oddly Enough, I Didn't get this for my birthday

The Ultimate Star Trek collection, a 212-disc DVD collection of... well, everything. Every episode of all five series, all 11 movies, plus all the deleted scenes and commentary you can imagine.

All yours for a cool $2500. Now, while Amazon states they're sold out, I can't imagine why. Wouldn't the target audience for this massive set already have each series and movie?

From the Corner via Ace.

Posted by Frinklin at 09:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 01, 2005


Now this is a cool birthday present. It snowed all day -but didn't stick. Later in the evening, after various weathermen said it wouldn't start up again, it started up again. We're at about 2 1/2 inches so far, which is quite a bit for Tacoma.

Pictures tomorrow... I think.

Posted by Frinklin at 11:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Amateur Book Review: Star Wars: Dark Lord-The Rise of Darth Vader

Yeah, the title needs some work.

This title is a companion piece to James Luceno’s previous Clone War-era work, the Revenge of the Sith prequel Labyrinth of Evil. That was a look at Darth Sidious’ machinations just prior to RotS, and made the beginning of the movie make a lot more sense. Now Luceno tries to do the same with the ending.

Dark Lord starts before the movie even ends. A team of Jedi, led by Master Roan Shryne – a slightly burned out combination of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Quinlan Vos- leads a team of Jedi and clones against an Outer Rim territory controlled by the Separatists. The invasion goes well, and Luceno does an admirable job of showing the hard-won camaraderie between the clones and Jedi. Then Order 66 is issued and the Jedi are slaughtered. Shryne and a Padawan named Olee Starstone survive thanks to a clone that refuses the order, thinking that it is a Separatist ploy. The book then splits to follow two stories: Shryne and Starstone’s escape and dawning comprehension of what has happened, and Vader’s acclimation to his new body and new self.

Vader’s story works better. Anakin’s story is endlessly fascinating, especially when he realizes his new limitations. There is an entire chapter, more or less, that concentrates on his limitations in the Vader bodysuit. It’s a scene wallowing in self-pity and pathos. Anakin spends much of the first half of the book like this, very much a woe-is-me, what-have-I-done mode. Which, considering in about a span of a day or so he killed his teachers, betrayed the order, murdered several dozen children, tried to kill his best friend, accidentally killed his wife and (he thinks) unborn child… well, that’s to be expected, isn’t it? The trick is how Palpatine twists these feelings and channels them toward his own ends. The relationship between Sith is endlessly fascinating. Palpatine continues the father figure role, but it’s clear –even to Anakin- that he’s just using Vader for his own ends. This is also the first book that looks into Sidious’ character for any amount of time, and it is an avenue that the powers at Lucasbooks should really explore.

The other storyline, the struggle of Shryne and Starstone isn’t as compelling. That might be due to the fact that the competing storyline is something SW fans have been wanting for 20 years, and we’ve never heard of the new people. It works, of a sort, and Luceno captures the sense of bewilderment (and entitlement) that the Jedi are feeling. The two stories intersect at the end, with the Imperial invasion of Kashyyk. Luceno constructs this well –military action is a strength of his- and though the book strains for an emotional climax as well, it falls a bit short.

There is a lot to like about Rise of the Dark Lord. The moments that touch on Anakin and Palpatine’s relationship are excellent, as are moments with Bail Organa and an epilogue where Obi-Wan realizes that Anakin survived Mustafar. The book is short, probably too short at 322 pages, and moves very briskly. Luceno is somewhat of a go-to guy for the SW universe at this point, having wrote The Unifying Force, the finale of the New Jedi Order series, as well as Labyrinth of Evil. Both were excellent, which surprised me, as my initial experience with his work was the turgid and nearly unreadable Agents of Chaos series. He’s improved a great deal, and I would read further Vader books by him.

Posted by Frinklin at 03:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack