August 31, 2006

Frinklin Football Forecaster: Big 12

Like the last few seasons, the Big 12 is slanted pretty seriously to the South. The top three teams in the conference (Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech) all reside in the south. A resurgent Nebraska and improving Iowa State and Colorado will battle it out all year to lose in the Big 12 Championship game.

The big storyline in this year will be the emergence of young quarterbacks. Nebraska’s Zac Taylor and Iowa State’s Bret Meyer are the only returnees of consequence. .

1. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Nebraska averaged less than 3 yards per carry last season.

What hath Bill Callahan wrought? The former Raider coach (he took them to the Super Bowl, does anyone remember that?) revamped the Huskers into a pass-first West Coast offense. Nebraska’s late resurgence last year was actually based on a return to form by the Black Shirts defense. Led by All-American Adam Carriker, this D is fast and mean.

2. Iowa State Cyclones
Did anybody -including Dan McCarney’s immediate family- really think that he could get ISU to win consistently? He has, and this program has been on a steady upswing for nearly a decade now. This could be the year the Cyclones take a big step forward. ISU has a fine QB in Meyer and the conference’s best pair of wideouts, Todd Blythe and Austin Flynn. If tailback Stevie Hicks can return to pre-injury form, the Cyclones will score with anybody.

3. Colorado Buffaloes
The loathsome Gary Barnett has finally left Boulder, replaced by former Boise State wunderkind Dan Hawkins. Hawkins might be the perfect candidate to resurrect a stagnant program. He is an offensive mastermind, and he’ll need to be, as tailback Hugh Charles is the only skill-position returnee of note. The defense is okay, save for a frightening ineptitude in the pass defense.

If Hawkins gets this team to a bowl, consider it a victory. More will come eventually.

4. Missouri Tigers
Brad Smith, the most electric player in the program’s history, is gone. Gary Pinkel’s Tigers never played up to their quarterback’s level, and one wonders how much slack Pinkel has left. Sophomore Chase Daniel -a big name recruit in his own right- has the unenviable task of replacing Smith. The defense returns 13 of 17 top tacklers in 2006, but the D wasn’t any good last year anyway. Pinkel needs this team to surprise, or he’ll be looking for a job.

5. Kansas Jayhawks
The best defense you never heard of returns only three starters. Coach Mark Mangino will have to rely on the offense, led by red shirt freshman QB Kerry Meier. Meier does have the luxury of a strong, experienced offensive line and quality tailback Jon Cornish.

6. Kansas State Wildcats
Bill Snyder is gone after building the most unexpected power program in the country. Virginia offensive coordinator Ron Prince was the unexpected pick to replace Snyder, but he got off to a quick start with an impressive recruiting class. There will be a tough transition period - Prince is completely revamping both the offensive and defensive schemes- but the Wildcats won’t backslide into oblivion.


1. Texas Longhorns
Had Vince Young returned, Texas would be an overwhelming choice to repeat as national champions. Of course, VY left and the ‘Horns will have to get by with a pair of freshman, Colt McCoy (he of the action movie name) and Jevan Snead (who certainly belongs on Bill Simmons’ Reggie Cleveland Team). McCoy is the guy to begin the season, and all he has to do is win everything. Have fun kids.

2. Oklahoma Sooners
Before the Bomar fiasco, everything was pointing to Bob Stoops’ team returning to contention for the national championship. All-Everything tailback Adrian Peterson is finally healthy, and the defense is a very Stoops-like fast and nasty group. How Paul Thompson reacts to returning to the QB position after switching to wide receiver will determine if the Sooners are playing for the Big 12 championship or the national one.

3. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Yeah,. Mike Leach is still insane, the Raiders still throw about 99.8% of the time and nobody outside the Big 12 quite realizes how good this team is. Graham Harrell finally gets the keys to Leach’s creation and he could be a very big star very quickly. The defense is exactly the opposite: a quiet, tough-nosed, decidedly non-flashy bunch.

4. Texas A&M Aggies
Was it just three years ago Aggie fans were crowing about stealing Dennis Franchione away from Alabama? The man Franchione replaced, lifetime Aggie RC Slocumb, should be forgiven a little schadenfreude at the team’s lackluster 16-18 record since he left. The famed Wrecking Crew finished 107th (107th!?!) in the nation in total defense last year. Lucky for Coach Fran, the schedule is preposterously easy.

5. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Maybe Mike Gandy wasn’t quite ready to take over. Gandy, longtime OSU assistant and still a record-holding quarterback, took over for the departed Les Miles and the Cowboys promptly collapsed. The team really didn’t do anything well, so there is little to build upon. Gandy does seem bent on improving the team’s image, as he has kicked off multiple players for rules violations. More power to him, I guess.

6. Baylor Bears
Guy Morriss is a pretty good coach, but Baylor is a pretty -no, completely- awful place to build a program. A small school with little support and academic standards approximately 257 times harder than the conference’s power schools, Baylor is basically Vanderbilt with a Texas twang replacing a southern drawl. Morriss has made strides though, and the Bears did finally win their first Big 12 road game last year.

Big 12 Champion: Texas Longhorns

PREVIOUSLY: ACC, Big East, Big 10

Posted by Frinklin at 10:49 PM | Comments (2463) | TrackBack

Worst Headline Ever

Is your husband making you fat?

"But he's so delicious, with fava beans and a nice Chianti..."

Incidentally, Ellie Krieger (whose recipes are quoted in the linked article) makes me feel all tingly inside.

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 08:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 30, 2006

Frinklin Football Forecaster: Big Ten (or 11)

Were he alive today, Woody Hayes would wonder just what the hell has happened to the Big 10. This is the offensive league in the nation, led by a bevy of stud quarterbacks like Troy Smith, Chad Henne, Drew Tate, Drew Stanton… Let’s just say defensive coordinators will have a rough time of it. Ohio State (excuse me, THE Ohio State) starts the year at #1 in both polls despite the loss of eight defensive starters.

Yeah, it’s that kinda year here.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes
Troy Smith is Vince Young. Ted Ginn is Reggie Bush. Really all you need to know about the Buckeyes.

Okay, maybe 90% of VY and Bush, but that’s still better than just about anything around, isn’t it?

2. Michigan Wolverines
UM takes a backseat to nobody –not even OSU- when it comes to pure talent. Henne slipped a bit after a fantastic freshman season, but even a lousy year ended with a 23/8 TD to INT ratio. Mario Manningham and Steve Breaston are NFL-caliber receivers and Mike Hart is the best back in the country not named Adrian Peterson. They even have an All-America left tackle in Jake Long.

So, why don’t they win? You’d have to ask Lloyd Carr.

3. Iowa Hawkeyes
Drew Tate couldn’t do anything wrong before last season; now it seems everybody has forgotten how good he is. They Hawkeyes didn’t live up to expectations, but Tate did. He finished with over 2,800 yards and 22 touchdowns. He’s surrounded by a good tailback in Albert Young, quality tight end Scott Chandler and questions at wideout. The Hawks dull, bend-but-don’t break defense has to replace to NFL linebackers, Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge.

4. Penn State Nittany Lions
Couple years ago Penn State fans were thinking that JoePa had lost it, that it was time to start finding a replacement. A list that included Rick Neuheisl, just to freak out traditionalists.

Funny how 11-1 changes things huh?

The Lions came back strong (insert “roaring back” cliché here if you like) in 2005, propelled by Big 10 MVP Michael Robinson. Robinson is gone now, replaced by Anthony Morelli, a stud recruit that Lion fans have wanted to see since he arrived a couple years ago. He’ll throw to Derrick Williams, a sophomore who might be the fastest man in college football.

5. Purdue Boilermakers
Purdue missed a bowl for the first time in eight seasons last year, and Coach Joe Tiller shook things up, replacing five assistants in the off-season. The names change, but the style stays the same. The Boilers continue to run a wide-open spread offense and a small, speedy defense.

6. Michigan State Spartans
John L. Smith’s ass is on fire right now. Smith, thought to be the guy who finally builds MSU into year-in, year-out contender hasn’t done so. They haven’t even come close actually, last year collapsing after a 4-0 start that included an overtime win at Notre Dame. MSU might have the best offense in the conference –really saying something there- but they might have the worst defense too. That says even more.

If they get any kind of defense, this team goes places. If it doesn’t Smith is DOA.

7. Wisconsin Badgers
Hard to see Wisconsin without Barry Alvarez, isn’t it? The Badgers were awful before Alvarez, and it’s up to replacement Brett Bielema to stop it from happening again. Bielema hired well, keeping OC Paul Chryst and picking up veteran d-coordinator Mike Hankwitz. This is a talented team coming off a very impressive win over Auburn in the Capital One Bowl.

8. Minnesota Golden Gophers
A team that couldn’t find enough space for all their running backs now can’t find enough. Lawrence Maroney left early to the NFL and Gary Russell left due to academic woes. That leaves QB Bryan Cupito to lead Glen Mason’s offense. Cupito has been adequate, but he’s never needed to win a game on his own. That will change this year.

9. Northwestern Wildcats
With the death of Randy Walker during the off-season, Pat Fitzgerald became the youngest coach in the nation. No one really knows how NW will handle this upcoming season, but Fitzgerald hasn’t made any substantial changes. Record-setting QB Brett Bansez must be replaced, but the defense is the bigger worry.

10. Indiana Hoosiers
In his first year in Bloomington, Terry Hoeppner got off to a fast start, winning four of the first five before a lack of talent caught up with them. The Hoosiers crashed, getting blown out in each of their six losses to end the year. Hoeppner knows he has to upgrade the talent level, and he is recruiting well. Indiana, led by QB Blake Powers, can throw the ball, but everything else is questionable.

11. Illinois Illini
Ron Zook, unloved by Florida, has found a home with the downtrodden Illini. His first season was terrible, with two quick wins followed by nine consecutive losses to finish the year. Zook is an energetic – nearly hyperactive – sort that will need all of his energy to fix this moribund program. He’s off to a good start, pulling in mega-recruit Isiah “Juice” Williams to play QB. Juice will backup senior Tim Brasic. For now.


Posted by Frinklin at 09:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 28, 2006

Frinklin Football Forecaster: Big East

This might be the most top-heavy league in the country. West Virginia and Louisville are both borderline national championship contenders. The other six teams are borderline bowl contenders. Mountaineers at Cardinals on November 2. The other teams might as well just watch. Teams ranked 3-7 could finish just about anywhere.

Just not in the top two.

1. West Virginia Mountaineers
The last time WVU came into the year as a challenger on the national scene, they puked all over themselves. This year, after a thrilling win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, the Mountaineers should be better prepared. Two quicksilver sophomores, QB Pat White and RB Steve Slaton, ran all over the Bulldogs, and should do the same in the Big East.

2. Louisville Cardinals
The Cardinals fully expected to run rampant over the Big East last season. They didn’t quite live up to expectations, but it certainly the fault of the offense. Led by Brian Brohm and monster tailback Michael Bush, this offense was downright scary, putting up over 43 points per game and topping 60 three times. Bobby Petrino seems to be in for the long haul now, but he’ll have to curb his Mike Martzian “I’m smarter than you” recklessness for this team to be a championship contender.

3. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
After a ton of heavy lifting, Coach Greg Schiano’s team has turned the corner. The Knights first bowl appearance since 1978 (against the same team, weirdly enough) should be followed by another. Despite the star power of Bush and Slaton, Rutgers features the best running back tandem in the league. Ray Rice is the shifty tailback and Brian Leonard is the do-everything fullback. The Knights do have a new quarterback, the heralded sophomore Mike Teel.

4. Pittsburgh Panthers
Dave Wannestadt’s inaugural foray into college ball didn’t go quite as smoothly as he expected. The Panthers stumbled at the start with a horrific overtime loss to Ohio and a 7-6 loss to Nebraska that might be the nadir for both programs. Pitt will be a very young team built around two legitimately great players: QB Tyler Palko and MLB H.B. Blades.

5.Connecticut Huskies
After stunning the conference and earning a bowl bid their first year in the Big East, UConn came back to earth a bit in 2005. Problems in the passing game stunted the offense, while the defense ranked #1 in the conference the second straight year. The Huskies should find themselves in minor bowl this year, thanks in part to a preposterously easy schedule that includes Army, Navy, Indiana and Rhode Island.

6. South Florida Bulls
Another Big East team with some offense issues, the Bulls lost leading rusher Andre Hill and are trying to replace QB Pat Julmiste for the second straight year. Coach Jim Leavitt has built an impressive defense, finishing in the top-20 nationally. Led by stud linebacker Stephen Nicholas, the Bulls are fast and physical.

7. Cincinnati Bearcats
The Cats were ugly –seriously ugly- last season. In Coach Mark Dantonio’s first season he rode a senior-driven squad to a bowl appearance. His second year… not so much. Now he reaches the third with another young team. Dantonio’s pedigree (Tressel, Mason, Saban) is impeccable, but he faces a long rough year. A schedule that serves up Ohio State and Virginia Tech doesn’t help much.

8. Syracuse Orange
This is year two in former NFL coordinator Greg Robinson’s rebuilding job, and progress is slow. Last season Robinson tried to run a West Coast offense with option talent and an attacking defense with bend-but-don’t-break talent. The results were not pretty; last in scoring offense and scoring defense. Robinson has another solid batch of recruits, but anything above last should be considered a victory.


Posted by Frinklin at 10:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Time For a Change of Plans

From MSN: Chinese police end funeral striptease acts

So much for my plans to have my funeral in China. Perhaps if I can get my funeral on "Sabado Gigante" instead...

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 10:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 26, 2006

Random Football

The Frinklin Bowl Practice version was tonight. Ensie's Chargers over Frinklin's Seahawks. We already have tickets for the real game in December. The first team offense continues to have difficulties with the 3-4 defense. The first team D looked okay, but the corners still don't look good. I really like the new punter Ryan Plackemeier, but he needs to learn how to hold for field goals.

Ugly game all around really.

I miss Chuck Knox. His favorite line was always "Football players make football plays."

Think about it. It's a Zen koan.

Warren Moon: I love the guy, but man he sucks on TV as much as he does the radio. It's also bizarre to hear Verne Lundquist as the Hawk's pre-season voice. I know he does other things, but after 124 years as the voice of SEC football, it's disconcerting to hear him do anything else.

Okay, I've finally dived in Madden 07 on my 360. It looks terrific and plays well, but I have one quibble. Just how prevelant are steroids in the Maddenverse? The player models are absurdly muscled. Lineman look like Ben Grimm in football pads.

Posted by Frinklin at 11:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 23, 2006

Review: Wendy's Vanilla Frosty

Today, I renew a long-dormant Mediocre Fred tradition, and offer my thoughts on the latest, greatest thing in fast food. Critics may sneer at my taste for fast food; truly, culinary culture has gone to the dogs, they think.

Well, I say pish tosh to the critics. No less a food expert than the late, great Julia Child publicly proclaimed her love of fast-food hamburgers. And Julia was right; I'd rather nosh on a $2 Quarter Pounder from Mickey D's than some $10 bleu-cheese-studded venison burger topped with apples and havarti. Certain things are best when they're basic. Hamburgers are one exmple. Reuben sandwiches are another. (I've never had a decent Rueben at any place with tablecloths.)

Or how about the root beer float? You can get one for about three bucks at A&W, and it's a slice of heaven. And making it with fancy micro-brewed root beer, or hand-churned vanilla-bean premium ice cream, doesn't make it better, just more expensive.

People who insist on upscale burgers, fries, and floats are the same kind of people who always use extra-virgin olive oil, whether they can taste it or not. (Real chefs use the lower-grade olive oils in things like pesto, where you can't taste it.) They might as well just pile their money in the middle of the kitchen and set it on fire.

So take that, food snobs. Hey, if we're talking steak, I'm willing to shell out to get quality goods. But if it's burger time, I'm pointing my car toward the nearest Golden Arches.

Now, with that out of the way, let's discuss the product.

I've always been frustrated with the Frosty. I always felt it was fairly snooty of Wendy's to insist that the Frosty was a breed apart from the pedestrian milkshakes and ice creams offered by other fast-food joints. To me, insisting that a Frosty is "above" shakes and ice creams is like slipping a Rolls Royce grille and a landau roof on a VW Beetle. But, true to their word, the Frosty has always maintained that nether-region of consistency between the two, neatly combining the worst of both worlds: runnier than soft-serve, so you can't scoop it onto a cone, and thicker than a milkshake, so you can't suck it through a straw.

Also, the Frosty was invented in 1969, and soldiered on for decades as Wendy's only dessert offering, with no attempts to expand or build on the line. If you go to Wendy's, and you want a dessert, you'll have a Frosty, or you'll get nothing and like it. This indicates one of two things: Either the Frosty is the pinnacle of the dessert universe and no improvements are possible, or Wendy's is a lazy and hidebound company that is afraid to venture even slightly beyond its comfort zone. For a fast-food chain that used to advertise with pride the fact that you could customize your burger, this Stalinist approach to dessert was particularly disheartening.

It's only in the last couple of years that Wendy's has bothered to tinker with the Frosty. Last year brought us the Fix n' Mix Frosty, a blatant rip-off of the McFlurry, which allowed Wendy's to charge their customers more for less Frosty, along with a little package of crushed Oreos or mini M&Ms. At least McDonald's mixes it for you, and gives you a larger dessert. (The F&M Frosty is, admittedly, pretty tasty, but did not compel me to rush back to Wendy's to get another.) Now, after 37 years, Wendy's has finally discovered a ground-shaking new frontier in the Frosty universe: vanilla.

That's right, all these years, you could get any Frosty flavor you wanted, as long as it was chocolate. Actually, that's overstating it. The standard Frosty flavor resembles real chocolate in the same way the vinyl seats in my parents' old '75 Nova resembled real leather. It might be better described as "Unconvincingly Chocolate," or "Quasi-Malt." It's worth noting that when the Top Secret Recipes guy was trying to duplicate the Frosty, he made it more like the real thing by making it less chocolatey. Even Wendy's admits it: the signs for the new product tell us that the Frosty is now available in vanilla or "original." I'm assuming they did this because chocolate threatened to sue for libel.

Now, it's hardly to Wendy's credit that it took them almost four decades to think of vanilla. Maybe we'll see strawberry by 2040. But, all things considered, I prefer vanilla to chocolate, so better late than never, I say.

My first bite of the new Vanilla Frosty melted on the tongue, in that inimitable Frosty style, and I tasted... nothing. Being an inveterate vanilla fan, I've long since grown tired of lazy flavor-makers who equate "vanilla" with "complete absence of flavor." I think it's the white color that throws them off. So I was all prepared to rip Wendy's a new one... but, wait, I started to taste the faint stirrings of a flavor. A rather weak flavor, sure, but a flavor. And a familiar one. But familiar how? I couldn't quite place it.

I took another bite. A McDonald's close? No, Wendy's vanilla is distinctly different from McDonald's vanilla. I still couldn't place the flavor, but I was sure I'd tasted it before. Another bite. Certainly it didn't resemble actual vanilla, but somehow... perhaps something from my childhood? I swished the virgin-white Frosty around my tongue and thought about days of yore.

It took a few more bite before I finally remembered. It tasted like the calcium supplements Mom gave me in grade school. They claimed to be "vanilla" too, and they were so much like the new Frosty that I wonder if the same fellow was responsible for both.

And here's the kicker: I liked those supplements. A lot. Even better than the Flintstones chewable vitamins that are the bedrock of the childhood experience. And I like the Vanilla Frosty, too. It's a pleasant little trip down Memory Lane for me. And even if it wasn't, I'd still prefer Wendy's kinda-vanilla to their kinda-chocolate. I think the vanilla would respond especially well to Fix 'n' Mix treatment, too. (A little more tinkering and bigger cups, and it will basically be a McFlurry, and there is no shame in that.) So it's thumbs up from this reviewer.

Now, if I could just convince them to make the Smokey Bacon Cheeseburger a permanent menu item...

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 10:48 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 22, 2006

Frinklin Football Forecaster: ACC

1. Florida State Seminoles
Florida State finally found a quarterback in sophomore Drew Weatherford. He was rickety at times last year –rickety as in 18 interceptions- but he improved enough last season to claim the job. The ‘Noles didn’t seem nearly as dominant as a defense with Broderick Bunkely, Ernie Sims, Antonio Cromartie (who, admittedly, missed the year with injuries) and AJ Nicholson should be. As always, FSU is a contender on the national stage. The question is how serious a contender?

2. Clemson Tigers
Tommy Bowden has managed to avoid the guillotine despite grumblings from the Tiger faithful who apparently think that Clemson should contend for everything every year. His last two teams have stumbled out of the gate. This –loaded on both sides- should avoid that. The only problem is the loss of QB Charlie Whitehurst. As Whitehurst’s backup Will Proctor is a fifth-year senior. If gets the job done, Clemson can take the ACC.

3. Boston College Eagles
Boston College has become one of the most consistent programs in the nation. Matt Ryan, who started and played very well to end the season, should be the Eagles’ best QB since Matt Hasselbeck. BC lost a couple good offensive linemen, but Chestnut Hill has become a breeding ground for quality lineman. BC is strong up the middle on defense, but weak on the edges. Tom O’Brien has a quality program here; one that has reached a bowl game in seven straight seasons. This team should make it eight.

4. Maryland Terrapins
His first three seasons, Ralph Freidgen won 31 games with three bowl appearances. In the two years hence, the Terps have 10 wins and no bowls. Diminishing returns or a retrenching? Fridge takes over the play-calling this season with the retirement of Charlie Taaffe, but it won’t matter if he can’t settle on a quarterback.

5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
The toughest team to play in the ACC? Might be. Jim Grobe’s Deacons play a grind it out run offense led by Micah Andrews and QB Ben Mauk. Mauk needs to improve and prove Wake can put the ball down the field. On defense the Deacons are experienced -10 returning starters- but not particularly fast and athletic.

6. North Carolina State Wolf Pack
How can a team with three NFL first-round draft picks on the defensive line possible improve? Well, Coach Chuck D’Amato had better do it quick as his is one of the hottest seats in the nation. The Pack started 2-4, but rallied last season to get a (very minor) bowl bid. NC State needs to start strong, or D’Amato might not last the season.

1. Miami Hurricanes
Larry Coker is 53-9 as a head coach, and he is under serious heat. That’s what happens when you lose three games – including a horrific 40-3 loss to LSU in the Peach Bowl- as the Hurricane coach –as the top man in Coral Gables. Coker revamped his staff, hiring six new assistants including new OC Rich Olson. The D was fine last year, but the offense was boring and ineffective. Get young stud QB Kyle Wright working, and the Canes are in business.

2. Virginia Tech Hokies
One guy.

The Hokies are only one guy short of a serious national championship contender. Unfortunately for Frank Beamer, that one guy is New Mexico Vick, currently trying to stay out of jail and on the Miami Dolphin roster. Despite the losses of Vick, DE Darryl Tapp and corner Jimmy Williams this is still a good team.

Just one guy short.

3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Two big questions here: Can Reggie Ball throw to the right-colored jerseys? And can Chan Gailey get this team going on a weekly basis? If the answer is yes the Ramblin’ Wreck is the sleeper team in the ACC. If both answer in the negative, then it becomes a very, very long year in Atlanta. Ball – an amazing blend of quickness and arm strength- has the luxury of throwing to the best wideout in college football: Calvin Johnson. Of course, Ball is apt to going entire quarters without getting a ball on-target.

4. North Carolina Tar Heels
John Bunting survived what turned out to be a pretty serious rebuilding project, and has the Heels on an upswing. Not much of one, but NC is heading in the right direction. They do need a new QB to compliment bruising back Ronnie McGill. Bunting was a respected defensive coordinator in the NFL; which makes the relative mediocrity of his Tar Heels’ defenses so mysterious.

5. Virginia Cavaliers
When he arrived from the New York Jets, Cav coach Al Groh immediately upgraded the recruiting, landing heralded talents like D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Ahmad Brooks and Wali Lundy. It seemed that UVA would be the home-grown challenger to Florida State.


The Cavs have disappointed recently, and the roof could cave in this year. The big recruiting classes are gone; the team has stumbled at the box-office and the fans have soured on Groh. Making matters worse is the departure of both coordinators to head jobs elsewhere.

6. Duke Blue Devils
The hardest job in the country? Probably, yeah. Ted Roof is the head man here, an intense driven sort who –if he can propel the Dookies to any success – would do just fine at a bigger school. For now though, he’s in Durham: basketball-nuts, difficult academically, indifferent to football. The good news? The Blue Devils are younger then in recent years and due to Roof’s diligent recruiting they are almost certainly more talented.

Then again, they didn’t beat a DI school last year.

ACC Champion: Florida State Seminoles

Posted by Frinklin at 05:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 21, 2006

It's a Beautiful Morning

It's been truly gorgeous in the Fedroplex lately. Like the rest of the country, we baked through that miserable heat wave earlier this month, but after it broke a couple weeks back, we've had a nearly unbroken string of stunningly beautiful days. Apart from a little rain, it's been perfect. The skies are a perfect azure, marbled with a few wispy cirrus clouds. The sun shines down benignly, making you feel warm and glamorous without burning you to a crisp. Even the humidity that's the usual bane of Washington summers has been largely AWOL lately. It's as close as we can get to paradise this time of year.

With weather like this, my mind's been playing hooky. I keep hopping up from my desk to "clear my head" with a sun-kissed walk around the lake. (Even the Canada geese that often torment me are feeling too relaxed to hiss these days.) I keep staring out the window, which offers a perfect view of the parking lot; even the vast expanse of asphalt looks beautiful in weather like this. And I feel relaxed, easy like Sunday morning, a rare experience for a wound-too-tight sort like me. I sit on the lake shore, close my eyes, let the breezes nuzzle me, and pretend that I live in San Diego or somewhere like that, where the Augusts are actually bearable. It's lovely.

All of this is my lame attempt to explain why I haven't commented on the Great Macaca Kerfluffle. While this Virginian has been masquerading as a Californian, our favorite Californian-masquerading-as-a-Virginian, Senator George "Gomer" Allen, has been trying to dig himself out from under a loose-minded quip he made last week. I was following this story, and I meant to write about it, but this weather got in the way. Dave Barry once wrote about the Bahamian "Lethargy Zone," which he discovered on a trip to Bimini. According to Dave, when you get to the Bahamas, you find yourself pondering such weighty matters such as, "Should I scratch my armpit Now? Or Later?" That's essentially what this weather has done to me. I said to myself, "Should I use my lunch hour to write a lengthy screed about Senator Allen and his diarrhea of the mouth, or should I go sun myself on that park bench over there?" Suffice to say, it was no contest.

Fortunately, PG at Half the Sins of Mankind has picked up the slack, and written a lengthy screed that's probably better than what I would have written, if I ever got around to it. (Incidentally, the title of her post strikes a chord with me, since there was a kid in my neighborhood who used to say "That's mighty white of you." And he grew up in the same cosmopolitan, multicultural suburbs that I did. Strange.)

At any rate, after all the hubbub and the shouting, I find myself sort of in the middle on this. I tend to disagree with the people who think that Allen was using the word "macaca" as a deliberate racial slur; I've heard the case, and it seems thin to me. I think Allen just used the first funny-sounding made-up name that came into his head. Admittedly, this isn't much of an improvement, but the people who are screaming that Allen was calling Sidarth a monkey are reaching, I think.

However, I also don't buy the Republican spin on the incident. Perhaps I would believe their spin, if I knew which spin I was supposed to believe. The Allen camp has issued a dizzying string of hare-brained and ever-shifting explanation. First, they claimed Allen was referring to Sidarth's mohawk haircut (which he doesn't have). Then, they claimed "Welcome to America" was an attempt to "welcome" the Webb campaign to the "real" part of Virginia (even though Webb's family hails from that very same part of the state). Then they claimed that "macaca" meant "s***head," which seems like an odd thing to offer as a defense (is it really any better than calling the guy a "monkey")? And then... well, the arguments got even stranger from there. (This is a funny parody of the Republican line of defense.)

I think that all this incident proves, really, is that George Allen is none too bright (how do you say something like that to someone who is videotaping you on behalf of your opponent?), has a mean streak, and has the sort of simple-minded view on race ("Foreign people are weird") that is pretty much inappropriate beyond grade school. All of this gibes pretty neatly with the picture of Allen that I've received from thoose who have seen him up close, so it's no big shock to me. But it's nice of him to fill the rest of the world in on this.

How will this affect the campaign? It's not going to knock him out of the Senate. (Ask Trent Lott.) Allen's always had a bit of a race problem (see also his bizarre fascination with the Confederacy, and the noose he used to hang in his office, for instance), but Virginians already knew this, and it's not going to beat him now. Jim Webb is a good guy, but he's pretty much a resume in search of a better candidate and campaign. (Memo to Mark Warner: Where are you now that we need you? Bet you wish you'd decided to run for this seat now.)

I think it's a lot likelier, though, that this incident will put an end to any serious chance Allen had of becoming president in 2008. The ever-growing file on Allen and racial issues now had a compelling sound bite and video clip, and that should be enough to finish him.

How could this be? How could it sink his presidential aspirations, two years down the line, but not cost him a Senate seat right now? Are Virginians a bunch of unreconstructed racists?

No. (Not most of them, at least.) Rather, imagine if you were dating a man, and you found out that he was having an affair with your sister? You'd dump him flat, right?

Now, imagine that you'd been married to that same man for 20 years. You knew he had a reputation as a Casanova, but you'd married him anyway. Would you still be so quick to leave him when you discovered he was carrying on with Sis? Maybe not. It's a lot easier to kick someone you've just met to the curb, as opposed to someone you've shared so much history with. You've made an investment; there's more at stake. Also, it's not as though you didn't have any sign this was coming.

So, come November, I predict Virginia will still find itself in bed with ol' Gomer. But there's still time for America to refuse his proposal. I'm hopeful that America will see through his pick-up lines and turn him down.

If you'll excuse me, it's time for another walk in the sunshine...

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 10:37 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 19, 2006

Jamie? Not Jamie!


The lead story on the local news tonight was not continued unrest in the Middle East, or American soldiers dying in Iraq or the wierd spate of fatal car accidents that has struck the Seattle are. It wasn't even the amazing weather, which is odd since the local stations usually fall over themselves trying to prove it gets sunny around here.

No, the lead story was longtime Mariner Jamie Moyer getting traded to the Phillies. Both anchors, the weekend sports guy and a reporter "on-location" at a sports bar near Safeco Field.

A touch of overkill.

I understand the sentiment. Moyer has been a rock in the community since the day he arrived in Seattle. His Moyer Foundation has done amazing work in the area, and it's always been assumed that he would retire a Mariner and probably end up in the front office somehow. He still might. A free agent at the end of the year, Moyer would certainly consider coming back to Seattle if he decides to pitch again next year. For right now though, another M recognizable to the non-sports fan has left, one of the few connected to the glory year of 2001 and the only left who played with Jr, Alex, Randy Johnson and Jay Buhner.

Pretty nice; Moyer won 145 games as a Mariner, and all they gave up was this guy.

Posted by Frinklin at 11:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2006

Frinklin Football Forecaster: English Premier League

Now how did this happen? This Frinklin has never been a soccer guy. I didn’t play it as a kid. I didn’t follow the World Cup. Up until this last month I couldn’t name more than 2 teams in the MLS. Then Bill Simmons wrote his article on picking a Premier League team. In a matter of a day or two I became a EPL convert. I’ve read websites and downloaded podcasts and I’ve researched enough to realize I don’t know a damned thing about this league.

That’s never stopped me before though.

1. Chelsea
The two-time defending champions, the Blues go for the hat trick with a virtual all-star team that leads the universe in payroll. After contributing to more World Cup teams than any other side in the world, Chelski went ahead and signed Andrey Schevchenko and Michael Ballack. Self-proclaimed “Special One” Jose Mourinho has a loaded team.


2. Liverpool
At the end of last season, Liverpool was the best team in the Premiership, and they proved it by upsetting Chelsea for the FA Cup. While the Reds’ transfers lacked the glamour and big names, pickups like Mark Gonzalez and Dirk Kuyt solidified the squad. It also helps that Steven Garrard, the best player in the Premiership, is in his prime.

3. Manchester United
Lemme see…. Man U is now owned by an American family that almost the entire fanbase despises, the two best Red Devils –Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo- got into a row at the World Cup and are widely believed to hate each other, the team overpaid by a ridiculous amount to sign Michael Carrick in an attempt to replace Roy Keane (giving Carrick his number no less) and then watched him get hurt. Now Sir Alex Ferguson is making a furious attempt to sign Owen Hargreaves despite the fact he’s under contract with Bayern Munich until 2010.

Yeah, fun year at Old Trafford.

4. Tottenham Hotspur
Last year Spurs lost a Champions League spot on the last day of the season to their hated rival Arsenal. Several members of the team were waylaid with food poisoning, spawning rumors of foul play. This has little to do with this season; it just shows how fun this league can be. Manager Martin Jol took Manchester United’s overpayment for Carrick and turned into Didier Zakora and Dimiter Berbatov. A breakthrough by Aaron Lennon is looming, and this is the year Spurs sneak past Arsenal into the Champions League.

5. Arsenal
The good news? The Gunners placed a man on three of the four categories for UEFA Footballer of the year. Goalkeeper Jens Lehman, Defender Emmanuel Eboue and the incomparable Thierry Henry are all up for the award. The bad news? Those might be the only three guys left on the team. Arsenal has lost a host of quality players, with Jose Antonio Reyes and Ashley Cole apparently next to go. Cole wants to go to Chelsea enough you half-expect him to come onto the pitch with a Jose Mourinho blowup doll. Kids like Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott need to continue to grow up… like 5 minutes ago.

6. Everton
Sir Paul McCartney’s favorite team stumbled out of the gate last season but should rebound. The Toffees (what a great name!) will struggle to score, but picking up Andy Johnson from Crystal Palace should help. Having Tim Howard –while not spectacular- will solidify the net.

7. West Ham United
The Hammers made a spectacular return to the Premiership last season and should build upon that. Known as the “Academy of Football” for an amazing ability to find young talent, West Ham will have to weather the loss of Dean Astin for the first half.

8. Bolton Wanderers
Sam Allardyce was a candidate for the Three Lions manager position, but instead returns to his tough veteran bunch. This side plays hard-nosed football, but is thin and aging in most positions.

9. Blackburn Rovers
The only team not named Arsenal, Manchester United or Chelsea to ever win the Premiership, the Rovers finished sixth last year and qualified for the UEFA Cup. Another tough-but-thin team, they are lead by Robbie Savage, whom everyone (opponents, teammates, referees) seems to hate.

10. Newcastle United
This would have been a bit easier with that Owen kid, but Michael probably won’t play at all this season, and his career might be in jeopardy. To make matters worse, longtime Magpie and EPL all-time leading scorer Alan Shearer retired. This will be 52 years and counting for the Toon Army.

11. Aston Villa
Aston’s biggest off-season pickups won’t ever show up on the pitch. Randy Lerner, the Cleveland Browns’ owner has an agreement (maybe) to purchase the team, and manager Martin O’Neil joined the team after David O’Leary’s ugly exit. This placement is strictly due to O’Neil, as the Villains haven’t signed anybody to actually play this season. Even with the changes, it isn’t out of the question that the bottom falls out anyway.

12. Manchester City
Manchester’s other team is just about as “other” as you get right now. They do have the charming Stuart “Psycho” Pearce as Manager. City is old and rather lousy. A couple lousy breaks and this team could easily find itself in the Championship.

The Gallagher Brothers might go on a killing spree if that happened.

13. Middlesbrough
When Steve McClaren left to manage the English national team, Boro made the rather odd decision to promote Gareth Southgate from defender to manager. Technically a player-manager, as he’s still registered to play in case of emergency, Southgate has much to learn. Boro didn’t actually score any goals during friendlies. That can’t be good.

14. Wigan Athletic
Other than finishing 10th in there first year back in the EPL, there isn’t much to say about the Latics. No stars, solid –if slightly dull –football team. They do need to figure out what to do with Pascal Chimbonda.

15. Reading
Easily the best story in the EPL, the Royals have reached the top level of English football for the first time in the clubs 107-year history. And it didn’t come cheap, neither. Reading dominated the Championship, finishing 16 points past the nearest competitor. This is a fast, attacking side that could shock the league much like Wigan did in 2005.

16. Charlton Athletic
The Addicks are the personification of mid-table, finishing between 7th and 13th every year the past six seasons. They do have a new manager, replacing Alan Curbishly with the well-regarded Iain Dowie.

17. Fulham
When Mohammed Al-Fayed bought this club, he did with the idea he would build it into a London powerhouse to rival Man U and Arsenal. Yeah, that hasn’t worked out real well. The Cottagers are in serious jeopardy right now, with an unpopular, unsuccessful manager in Chris Coleman, and a stagnant, unexciting roster. It will be a fight against regulation all year.

18. Portsmouth
Pompey (one of the goofier nicknames in English football) signed Sol Campbell from Arsenal and David James from Man City. This would have been terrific about 5 years ago. Unfortunately for Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp it isn’t, and Campbell and James are just playing out the string.

19. Watford
How the hell did this team get promoted? Other than Marlon King, the Hornets lack firepower and team speed. The club –once owned by Sir Elton John- could find itself a one-and-done.

Oh, why do they have a moosehead logo and the Hornet nickname?

20. Sheffield United.
It can’t be a good sign that the Blades are inviting comparisons to last year’s Sunderland club. In case you missed it, Sunderland finished with the lowest point total in EPL history.


Posted by Frinklin at 11:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 10, 2006

I Love Connecticut

In today's Washington Post, we learn that Lowell Weicker still hates Joe Lieberman.

In this clash of stubborn independents, I'm on Weicker's side. Of course, it's not really a fair fight, since I've never met Lieberman, but I had Weicker for a seminar class my first year in college. Ostensibly, the class was supposed to teach us about the ins and outs of politics. In reality, it was mostly Weicker telling old stories about Connecticut politics, while we wrote a couple papers and hoped he'd remember our names when we asked him to write a recommendation for future internships on the Hill. It was a fun time; Weicker is a wonderful character, brash and voluble and egotistical and a great storyteller, and his stories never failed to capture our attention.

A number of lazy pundits, looking for a story angle that writes itself, have drawn parallels between Lieberman's odyssey and two past Connecticut races involving Weicker. In the first instance, Weicker first won his Senate seat in 1970 by positioning himself between liberal Democrat and anti-war activist Joe Duffey and incumbent Tom Dodd, a conservative Democrat who ran as an independent. In the second, Weicker (who alienated a lot of Republican loyalists with his role in the Watergate hearings and his opposition to Reagan's budget plans) lost his seat to Lieberman in '88, when Lieberman ran to Weicker's right and collected the endorsement of William Buckley, among other disgruntled conservatives. Weicker subsequently ran for governor as an independent and won.

The '70 race offers some interesting parallels, but the Republican nominee this year (Alan Schlesinger) is so weak that nothing short of a miracle would allow him to duplicate Weicker's feat. (Some cagey Connecticut Republicans are trying to force Schlesinger off the ballot and replace him with someone who can win, but it seems unlikely.) In the end, it's Lieberman vs. Lamont again, so there's not a true three-way race as there was in '70.

The '88 election is instructive, to be sure. It certainly explains why Weicker hates Lieberman so much (and why it must be sweet for him to stand by Lamont's side and extract a little revenge). But the key differences help explain why I'm so put out with Lieberman for what he's doing.

As Weicker correctly points out, he made his decision to run as an independent in a separate race, and he chose to go the independent route exclusively once he decided to run for governor. He didn't try for the Republican nomination, lose, and then run as an independent. That, to me, is the key difference. One could argue, with considerable justification, that both Weicker's and Lieberman's independent runs were ego-fueled attempts to get even with the party that abandoned them despite long and respectable careers. But Weicker went all out and took his one shot, and I respect that.

If Lieberman had had the courage to do the same, I'd respect him, too. But instead, he comes off as someone shopping for an electorate that will elect him, no matter what the cost. He's the kid on the playground who yells for a do-over after he got beat fair and square. Or, to borrow a line from the West Wing, "you're the guy who screams at the ump because you don't like the call at the plate." Running as an independent after losing the nomination, not through any sort of back-room trickery but through an honest vote, is a little too self-serving for my taste.

Listen, I believe there should be a place in the Democratic Party for the Joe Liebermans of the world. Although I personally find Lieberman to be a bit of a pious, self-righteous gasbag, I admire his integrity and his congeniality. I think Congress needs more, not fewer, politicians who are willing to work with the other side. If we drive all the moderates out of the political system, the country loses.

But we don't need moderates this badly. Not enough to justify Lieberman's electoral two-step. My advice to Lieberman: drop this independent campaign, please. If you win, both sides are going to work extra-hard to beat you next time. If you lose, you're political poison. Maybe the Republicans will let you be a kinder, gentler Zell Miller for a while, but I doubt it. Everyone will understand if you don't endorse Lamont, but let the campaign go. Fade into the shadows and lick your wounds for a while. After a year or two, write a book about what's wrong with the system. It'll sell great, I promise.

Then, once the book's out and you've established yourself as an elder statesman above mere politics, the field is open. You could become a university professor, telling old war stories like Weicker and building a generation of thoughtful, consicientious politicos-to-be. You could serve as an advisor to future presidents, Republican or Democratic, keeping them honest. You could go on lecture tours. You could even run for office again, as an independent. You could run for governor (it's hard to imagine genial Joe as a governor, but hey, surprise me). You could even run against Lamont again in six years, as an independent for real this time. Maybe you'll be over it by then, but maybe not. (Ask Weicker.)

But don't ruin your reputation, your justly-earned respect for a long and dignified career, over this. You're a good guy, and you deserve a better ending. If you don't blow it now, you'll get your chance to write one.

I'll let Weicker have the last word. It's a bit of a cheap shot, but if you stay in the race, Joe, he won't be the only one feeling this way when it's over:

There is a strong independent constituency in Connecticut, Weicker says, but "I suspect the public is going to see right through" Lieberman's party switch.

It's not the purpose of the U.S. Senate to provide Lieberman with steady employment, he says.

"He wants a job."

(P.S. If you're looking for a good source to keep up with Connecticut politics, I recommend this excellent blog. Great read, and a lot of good info.)

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 02:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 08, 2006

We all know that football is nuclear retardation disease....

What was life like before YouTube? I can no longer remember. Here Borat learns football. It runs just a tad long, but just try not to laugh.

Hey, Fred... does this answer your question as to why American Football hasn't caught on anywhere else?

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan a couple days ago.

Posted by Frinklin at 05:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 07, 2006

Amateur Movie Review: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Less a movie than a connected set of gags, Talladega Nights is still the funniest movie I've seen this year. Not quite as brilliant as Anchorman, Ballad is a touch too long, a touch too overstuffed, and a tad short on actual character development.

And none of that matters.

This is -in the best moments- a screamingly funny movie. Will Ferrell stars, produced and co-wrote, much like Anchorman. A script credit could go to the entire cast, as the best bits of this movie are largely improvised. Ferrell plays the titular Ricky Bobby, a simpleminded speedfreak who goes from pit crew to star NASCAR driver in the span of one race. His boyhood best friend Cal Naughten Jr, played by John C. Reilly, follows him. Ricky Bobby has a distinct style, either winning the race outright, or crashing while trying to win. He lives by his motto: You ain't first, you're last. Eventually he meets his match in Jean Girard, a gay French Formula One drive imported to NASCAR. .

Seriously, if the idea of a gay French NASCAR driver doesn't strike you as amusing, this isn't your movie.

Talladega Nights features an excellent cast led by the always reliable Ferrell, who has become the hardest working man in comedy. Ferrell is always in the moment, always ready to sacrifice his body, his dignity, anything to keep the laughs coming. Reilly, a consummate professional even in all this lunacy, plays the sidekick, teammate and best friend who eventually steals Ricky's "smokin hot wife" and much of his life. Sasha Baron Cohen is almost unrecognizable as Girard, playing the gay Frenchman completely deadpan despite the bizarro accent he effects. Jane Lynch and Gary Cole are priceless as Ricky's parents, and his young sons Walker and Texas Ranger steal every scene they appear in. If anything, there might be too many gifted performers here, as talents like Molly Shannon and David Koechner barely register more than cameos, as does the sparkling Amy Adams. The recent Oscar nominee is Ricky's new love interest, but doesn't get much screen time past her insanely brilliant "Ricky Bobby is not a thinker" pep talk.

Talladega Nights like Anchorman or 40-Year Old Virgin, pretty much destined to be -well, not a classic, but very well remembered and endlessly quoted by geeks and hipsters alike. It should also end up the basis for a least one Sports Guy column. I'm thinking NFL wrap-up.

Posted by Frinklin at 07:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 02, 2006

the unexpected dog

I've mentioned this a couple of times now, so I probably should explain.

We have a new dog. This was not the expected dog. The expected dog should come home with us sometime in the next week to 3 years. There are some issues there. That will put us at four. And none of these a small dogs. Hell, we don't even have any mediums. Jeffrey is a pit bull-Sheppard mix. Matchbox is a Husky-Lab mix. Waiting for us in Wyoming is China (the name will change, I'm sure of it) an Aussie-Malamute mix.
The unexpected dog is a Great Dane. We've always wanted a Great Dane. Well, Ensie always wanted a Great Dane and I eventually came around. We realized that we wanted a third dog when we had Herky the Houseguest. Ensie found China in Wyoming, and made arrangements for us to get her. We're still working on that. There was also a notice in the Tacoma paper about how overcrowded the Humane Society is right now.

We really should just skip over such articles. But we're not nearly that smart. We decided to visit.

Just to visit, right?

We weren't -as we kept telling ourselves- looking for a dog. I don't think either of us believed that.

Ensie found him first. An elderly Great Dane. How much chance does this poor guy have to be adopted? He was scary-thin, like Nicole Richie-post-coke-jag thin. His back legs bowed underneath him, and he had trouble standing. His eyes were slightly glazed, and his fur was falling out in tufts. According to the info sheet on his kennel, he was a stray, not an owner turn-in or anything. The Humane Society didn't have a name, and wasn't sure about his age. The vet estimated it was about 13. Thirteen for a Dane is about mid-twenties for a smaller dog.

Great choice for a pet, huh?

Not all was bad though. He was more alert than you might think, and he did lick my hand through the cage door. He'd probably been a pet before. He was fixed, and seemed to have some basic obedience training. More than anything though, he just wanted to lay down. His behavior study showed disinterest in just about everything. Again, how much chance does this old man have to be adopted?

Getting better everyday, apparently.

We adopted him. We hoped -and still do- to give him a family and nice, stable home for his last years. Or year. Or days, as it seemed at first. We named him Pharaoh before we left the Humane Society. Actually, we dubbed him Pharoah, which means we're going to get misspelled tags any day now. Our issues began before we left the parking lot. We had the Tribeca, and it was obvious that this old dog wasn't going to be jumping in the back. The good news? It sure seemed he wanted to get in the car with us. When I went to lift him, he struggled at first. Then he snapped at me. Ensie kept his jaw closed with the leash, and I was able to lift him into the car. We stopped at the pet store on the way home. He let me lift him down, but he snapped at me again. Walking he was fine, but when we stopped at the pet store his back legs would cross, catch at the knee and he would fall down. We picked up an extra-large muzzle for him. He didn't have any problem wearing it, but he wasn't pleased when I lifted him back in. Both Ensie and I were nervous the ride home. Maybe this dog didn't have as much left him as we thought. When we arrived back home, he jumped out of the back before I could lift him. His back legs collapsed under him when he landed.

We did the Jeffrey Meeting first. We were outside and on neutral ground, with both on-leash. Jeffrey got really excited and tried to jump on Pharaoh, who snapped back at him. I pulled Jeffrey off of him and made him submit. Eventually he did... sorta. He was never really relaxed, but he came closer than Pharaoh. He snapped at Jeffrey whenever he came near. We brought out Matchbox. Same story. Matches handled it well, but Pharaoh snapped at him. This was puzzling, since he shared his cage with another dog. We figured it was as much the stress of the day and the pain in his legs as much as anything. It was really hot that weekend, so we didn't worry about him sleeping outdoors for a night. We set up a bed outside and gave him a big bowl of senior-dog kibble that he steadfastly refused to eat. Ensie and I visited him during the evening and night, just to check up on him. He seemed to relax a little, but we both realized that he didn't want his back end touched at all. It was not a good start.

Had the Humane Society been open on Sunday, we probably would have taken him back.

Sunday forced us to work with him. We bought him soft food, which he gulped down. We slowly reintroduced Jeffrey and Matchbox to him. Jeffrey was much better the next day. He wasn't so interested and he wasn't threatening. More importantly, Pharaoh was feeling better. He could stand for longer periods, and actually wanted to walk around the yard. We just left the three of them out there for awhile. We still weren't entirely sold, but we decided to let Pharaoh in the house. Just for a bit. He did okay. Jeffrey left him alone, but he had serious problems navigating in the house. He was constantly bumping into walls and couches. There was also an issue with the cats: He was scared of them, and lashed out because of it. We bought some soft food and he managed to eat it. He stayed with us thought Sunday evening, but slept outside again. Now we had a choice to make: Do we take him back, or do we -based on the day's improvement- keep him. There wasn't any choice, really.

We wanted to make this work. Ensie took him into the vet's office first thing Monday morning, and he was surprisingly healthy. His teeth and gums had issues, he was seriously underweight, but she didn't find any hip dysphasia. He was also more alert than he'd been during the weekend. We kept him inside the house, and he slept in our bedroom like the other dogs. At this point we have Jeffrey on the bed with us, Matchbox on the floor on my side and Pharaoh on the floor next to the Missus. I haven't the foggiest idea where the fourth will sleep. That was 10 days ago, and the improvement Pharaoh has made is remarkable. He's appetite is healthy, he's getting along with the dogs and cats, he even goes on a daily walk. He's even seemed to figure out who Ensie and I am. He wags his tail when we come home and follows us around the house. He's our dog.

Posted by Frinklin at 08:12 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Random Question

Why is it that American football hasn't really taken off worldwide? Think about it for a second... other than the CFL and NFL Europe (which I doubt would exist without NFL money behind it... I mean, average crowds are under 20,000, and all the teams except one play in Germany), are there American football leagues anywhere else in the world? (Australia has football, but it's Aussie-rules, a very different - and to my mind, superior - sport to what we play here.)

Think about it for a second. Baseball is popular in Japan and the Caribbean (and, increasingly, in China and Korea, too). Basketball is spreading throughout Europe and China. Hockey is alive and thriving in Canada, Scandinavia and Russia. (And soccer... well, we don't need to talk about soccer.)

Why has American football never made the leap? Too many players required? To violent for the rest of the world? Does the equipment cost too much for less-wealthy countries to afford? Is it anti-American sentiment abroad? Or...?

I welcome your thoughts. And if you're an Aussie-rules fan, tell me who your favorite club is! (Personally, I go for St. Kilda.)

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 11:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack