Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gene Simmons...I rest my case.

Gene Simmons is angry at Radiohead. You see, Radiohead has put their latest album (which is their best in a while) on-line, and they are allowing people to pay whatever they want for it. This cuts out record labels entirely, and all the profit goes straight to the band. It also means you are getting an album for, say, 5 bucks, and Radiohead is making just as much off that purchase as they would if you bought it for 19.99 in the store! (I love this by the way. Good for them.) However, Gene Simmons doesn't see it that way. He said "that is not a business model that works. Would I open a store that said come in and pay whatever you want? Are you on crack?" This led to much discussion about how he could possibly market KISS-brand crack, which would make his music seem even better. (Incidentally, the Radiohead experiment has proven to be quite successful, and the average price people are paying seems to be around ten bucks.)

This is the same Gene Simmons who recently said he will not be releasing any more new music, at least for a long time, because he hates the dire straits in which the music industry finds itself. He just plain thinks there is no more money to be had with average-to-poor music. You see, his last album, A**Hole (that's actually how he spelled it on the CD cover, that isn't me censoring myself again) was actually a pile of garbage, and very few people purchased it. So he made very little money. And he realized he would be richer if he sold KISS bobble-heads, coffins and bathroom tiles, so he poured himself into that. I mean, Gene Simmons doesn't need to have ANYTHING to do with music any more, since he has a TV show to keep him famous, and KISS tea-cosies to make him money. And he is right - there is nothing he could do, musically, to make himself any more money. And the music industry IS hurting. What's the biggest indication they are hurting? They are so bereft of good artists that they would be willing to put out...another Gene Simmons album.

So, Gene Simmons is now spelling it out for you KISS fans. The music is irrelevant. The artistry was never there. IT was always about money, and the only reason to make music was to make money. The money has dried up, so has the music. That makes Gene Simmons a prostitute. Which means he is extraordinarily qualified for his current project, that is taking up all of his time. He is writing a book, called "Ladies of the Night - A Historical and Personal Overview of the World's Oldest Profession". Anyone want to take bets on who is going to be on the cover? Mata Hari? Heidi Fleiss? My money is on Gene Simmons.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Just to hedge my bets.

And so I don't have to recant on my deathbed, I thought I would also include a list of my own personal favourite pro-religion songs. Here goes, in order:

#10: Bunny Wailer - Blackheat Man. Rastafari is a religion too...one of the peaceful ones, for the most part. This song is beautiful.

#9: Burning Spear - Marcus Garvey. Also about rastafari. Marcus Garvey was a major icon for the rasta religion.

#8. J.S. Bach - The St. John Passion. Also about religion and passion - Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ. Bach's passion is less violent, but more musical. This one is Christian.

#7. The Carter Family - Will The Circle Be Unbroken. One of my new favourite songs in the world. Every few years, I come back to this one. A great version is also done by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Johnny Cash guesting. This one is Christian.

#6. Warda Al-Jazairia - Song For The Mother. In strict Islam, musical instruments are banned, so...OK. Fine. I googled this one.

#5. Johnny Cash - Just As I Am. From a fantastic album, one that was released as part of his American Recordings toward the end of his life. The album is called My Mother's Hymn Book, and it's totally worth grabbing. Despite all the Jesus stuff. Or, even, because of it if that's your cup of tea.

#4. Five Blind Boys of Alabama - Alone and Motherless. If you have to go the gospel route, go the blind old guys gospel route. Fantastic stuff.

#3. Blind Willie Johnson - Let The Light From The Lighthouse Shine On Me. Once again, if you're gonna go gospel, go old and blind. This song is featured on the soundtrack to that lousy Tom Hanks movie The Ladykillers. Fairly bad movie, but amazing soundtrack. This song is on the CD three times, and each version is awesome.

#2. Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Just a Closer Walk With Thee. By "thee", she means the LORD!

#1. Desmond Dekker - Honour Your Father and Mother. My new favourite song in the world, actually. So fun, and some seriously interesting vocal acrobatics. An old Jamaican rocksteady song NOT about rastafari.

OK. Now my sould is back on even terms. I am going to go back to listening to CHEZ, and hope that Friend of the Devil, or Sympathy For the Devil, or Running With The Devil, or anything by those heathen Doobie Brothers doesn't come on!

In the spirit of damning God.

This whole God damn business has got me thinking. Why The Pusher? Why not a thousand other songs, dozens of which are played on CHEZ? I love my top ten lists, so here is a top ten list of the songs that offend our lord and saviour. If you download them, you will be making God angry, and you will also be making record company execs angry. And Lars Ulrich will cry. So don't do it.

#10. Jesus is Just Alright - The Doobie Brothers. Jesus is just alright? It sounds like the Doobie Brothers are "damning" Jesus with faint praise here. Isn't saying that he is JUST alright tantamount to saying "Jesus is NOT fantastic"? He's not rotten, but he's not terrific either. He's just alright, and he's offended. So are the zealots.

#9. Imagine - John Lennon. Obvious, I know. But imagine there's no heaven? It's EASY? Heathen! Of course there is a heaven, and you can only go there if there are things to kill for, like countries and religion and possessions. So to imagine that those things do not exist also ruins us in the eyes of God!

#8. Clean Up Your Own Backyard - Elvis Presley. A preacher who doesn't practice what he preaches? He ducks out of sight and cheats on his wife? A preacher? Not only is this implausible and likely would never take place, it is also blasphemous. Elvis currently resides in Hell. Or maybe Utah.

#7. Superstition - Stevie Wonder. "When you believe in things you don't understand, then you suffer." Suffer when I DON'T understand? Ridiculous! The whole point of calling something a belief is that you DON'T understand it, but you believe it anyway! Otherwise, it would be called a FACT.

#6. Friend of the Devil - The Grateful Dead. FRIEND of the Devil? The Devil HAS no friends, just like the homosexuals and the sodomites and the people with nose piercings and that fat kid in school who smelled like cabbage.

#5. 9th Symphony - Ludwig Van Beethoven. Ode to Joy? JOY? How can an avowed atheist and follower of Goethe have ever known joy without the touch of the lord? Impossible. (He has been reinstated lately, thanks to his deathbed conversion where he allowed priests to administer the sacraments.)

#4. Religious Vomit - The Dead Kennedys. Umm...no such thing I'm afraid. If you read your bible carefully, you will discover that you are not allowed to have bodily functions. Sex of course is banned outright, and so is going to the bathroom. Religious vomit? Oxymoron!

#3. Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk - Frank Zappa. Jesus thinks I'M a jerk? Well then, I think Jesus is a jerk...uh-oh. Thanks Zappa, I guess it's hell for all of us!

#2. Atheist Peace - Bad Religion. OK...atheist peace is not possible. Peace is attainable only through religious wars. Therefore, no peace is possible without war, and no war would take place without religion. Caught you! You're wrong! ("Bad" Religion must refer to one of the OTHER religions, like the Mennonites.)

#1. It Ain't Necessarily So - George Gershwin, as performed by Sammy Davis Jr. No, Gershwin. It IS necessarily so, because a book told me. Don't go doing that independant thought thing or I will curse you.

Honourable mention goes to Jimmy Buffett for his timeless classic "My Feet Stink, My Head Hurts, and I Don't Love Jesus", and to XTC for "Dear God". They didn't make the list because they are not terrific songs. Losing My Religion gets mentioned only as a way of saying R.E.M. sucks. Oh, and that death metal band Deicide? Yeah, they suck too. But none of them suck as much as religious fundamentalists. Also and alas, none of them are as funny!

Zealots and their zealousy...zealousness...zeal!

I think Bill Maher said it best. The Middle East has religious extremists, and so does North America. However, theirs tend to be scary, whereas ours are just funny. Theirs stone and behead people, ours...point out the gay teletubby. Look! He's purple! And he carries a purse...gay! This bible-thumping good time is brought to us by the people who would tear down our most venerable institutions and cherished childhood TV programs in the name of some bizarre interpretation of the bible. The bible, that most revered of books, and one of the most insightful volumes ever penned. (Some others are: The Koran, The Torah, the Talmud, and Jeffrey Toobin's outstanding expose on O.J. Simpson, The Run of His Life.) Of course, it is also one of the most inciteful books ever penned. (Some others are: The Koran, The Torah, Satanic Verses and "My Story, My Dream" by Celine Dion.) I know inciteful isn't a word. But I'm proud of my analogy.

Inciteful in that it has inspired countless crusades, wars, bloodshed, crucifixion of Spongebob, and today's phone call about Steppenwolf's "The Pusher". A phone call on our answering machine this morning just boggled my mind. A woman who is obviously a born-again Christian (or, as she said, a Catholic AND a Christian...which I guess isn't redundant when you are a true believer). She went OFF on our station for playing The Pusher because of the repeated use of the phrase "god damn the pusher man". The words "god damn" are the most offensive in English, you see, because they are specifically aimed at DAMNING God! She made her point angrily, by making use of the phrase "god damn" about eleven times herself. She suggested that it would be LESS offensive if we used the phrase f*ck this and f*ck that. (Hmm. I just realized that I am censoring myself in my blog. I guess I find the word "f*ck" more offensive. I wonder why I just did that? Does the fact that I have replaced a "u" with an asterisk change your understanding of the word? Are you equally offended, or just placated. At least he censored himself, you say. I don't know why I do that. Oh well, f*ck it.)

One caller pointed out what we had all been saying since we heard the call. First of all, the point of the song was missed. "God damn" in the song is actually asking God to physically damn the pusher man, and therefore the God Damn is actually used in proper, biblical context. The phrase "God damn you to hell" means that I would like God to damn you, such that you end up in hell. Therefore, Steppenwolf is not damning God, they are damning the pusher, and as far as those times go, a song that was anti-drug even to this extent was a fairly remarkable thing. But once again, it definitely proved that OUR zealots are funny! Goddamn funny.

Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who

Brand new DVD in stores, it came out last Tuesday, called Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who. Being an enormous Who fan, I had to pick it up right away, and boy, am I ever glad I did. This is the full story, beginning to end, (or, at least to present day) of the greatest rock band who ever lived. There is some amazing unearthed footage of the Who when they were still the High Numbers, playing a set in Liverpool, on the bonus disc "6 Short Ones". The band members are incredibly candid about absolutely everything, including the times where they were acting like total jerks. Pete Townshend even talks openly about the child pornography investigation that took place a few years ago, over which he was arrested and eventually exonerated. I even learned some things about the Who and their music that I didn't already know, for example:

I had always thought that stutter vocal in My Generation came from Townshend mocking his uncle during the recording, and the engineers told them to keep it in. It turns out he was paying tribute to John Lee Hooker, who used the technique on a few of his songs.

The synthesizer intro at the beginning of Baba O'Reilly was inspired directly by Walter (later Wendy) Carlos, and it was a bit of a middle finger to mainstream radio, who would never play a song with a 45-second opening synthesizer track. Also, Townshend claims that he put the birth date of his spiritual guru, Meher Baba, (also the namesake of the song, of course) into the computer, and that synthesizer riff that was used at the beginning of the song was what was spit back out. He still insists that's true, but everyone else around him says it's "rubbish". The English say great words like "rubbish" a lot, yet another reason to watch the DVD.

Other great stuff too, but I won't mention it here, because I want you to purchase this DVD. It is incredible, and the concert footage is tremendous, although there isn't enough of it.

Almost-impossible rock and roll quiz

I took this quiz on the Rolling Stone website this morning. I got 39 percent right. Anyone who beats me gets a major kudos.

http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/17177243/the_almost_8212_impossible_rock__roll_quiz#

Bonkers. But fun - keep in mind, I had an edge because I knew all the Steven Seagal movies.

A great lunch.

Hey, all you Kanata residents - there is an amazing place for a great lunch on the corner of Hazeldean and Castlefrank. It's called Pestos, it's a little deli in the Kentucky Fried Chicken plaza, and I went there yesterday with my mother for lunch. I had no idea what half the stuff on the menu was. Not because it's a Starbucks-type place where everything has an unnecessarily fancy name, but because I just plain don't know what "prosciutto" or "ricollatta" is. OK, I made that last one up, I think. Doc recommended this place to me a while ago, and I never made it until yesterday. I had a fantastic lasagna, and then I asked the guy at the counter for a couple of sandwiches to take home, and he went ahead and made me a couple without actually getting a specific order, since he could see I was overwhelmed byt the selection. Whatever was in the sandwich, it was one of the best I've had in a long, long time.

While I was sitting in there with my mom, Brian McGrattan came in and ordered. He sat by the window, eating by himself. I thought for a second about going over to say hi, I'm a fan, and I love the way you punch faces...but I figured that it was quite likely that the one time he really didn't want to be bothered was while he was eating quietly by himself. So I just went home and ate my sandwiches. It seems like a lot of people know about this place, because a lot of them were in there around noon hour, but for those who don't, I thought I ought to mention how delicious it is. Pestos is delicious.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My worst nightmares..come true.

My second-worst nightmare came to life yesterday, as I sat down to read my book in the living room and my girlfriend begane watching Celine Dion on Oprah. I couldn't concentrate on my book, since I was feeling an intense rage simply from my proximity to the TV. This was only my second-worst nightmare, however. My worst would be Celine Dion collaborating with Anne Geddes...oh, they already did that. And my third-worst nightmare would be Anne Geddes on Oprah. which, according to my girlfriend, was already done last week, when Anne Geddes announced her new book, "Babies in Birkas" was available at stores now. I was mercifully spared that one, but boy, is it ever getting tough to sleep lately.

Words! To Your Mother!

I felt I had to pass along the gist of a conversation that took place off the air yesterday. doc and I occasionally will complain about words. How people add -ivity to the end of words and think it's perfectly grammatical, or -iveness, or what have you. Is there a more obnoxious "word" in the world than "stick-to-it-iveness"? The most recent Family Guy made me happy when Stewie, as president of the world, announced that anyone who used the word "irregardless" would be sent to a work camp.

Anyway, we began to discuss various words, and Doc made a good point. The word "spree" isn't used too much. And when it is, it can describe only one of two things. A "shopping spree" or a "killing spree". There are no eating sprees, or singing sprees. Only shopping and killing. Woody made the point that the same could be said for "nagging". Nagging can be used to describe only one of two things. A "nagging wife", or a "nagging groin injury". There are no nagging head injuries, or nagging bosses, only wives and groin injuries. I share this with you only to give you all a break from the football talk.

Read this if you don't care about football!

I got my first speeding ticket ever on Saturday night. I was at a party with some friends, and an emergency at home called me away. I was tearing down the queensway, not quite at street-racing speeds, but definitely over the limit. When I saw the lights behind me, my pulse raced and my heart skipped a beat. And I wondered - do most people feel like this? do most of us panic when a cop flips his lights on behind us? Or do regular people just think "oh crap, I'm caught" and pull over? I must admit, my first instinct was to take off. high-speed chase, weaving in and out of traffic, hurtling down the 417 at breakneck speeds, likely crashing and dying along the way. I think the reason for this is that in a car, we feel a lot more primal, a lot more like animals than people. Which is why any incident on the road provokes a fight-or-flight response. If someone cuts you off, it's FIGHT! If a cop starts chasing you, it's FLIGHT!

This made some sense to me, as I mulled it over in my head. I mean, this cop wasn't pulling me over to offer me food or give me friendly advice. He was AFTER me. And when someon is AFTER you, you run! Fortunately, within four seconds, I had advised my brain against such evasive manoeuvers - plus, the traffic was getting bunched up, and I couldn't have made it more than a few yards. I calmly and quickly put my turn signal on, moved out of the fast lane, and pulled over on the shoulder. Now, I had just come from a party. I had brought a bottle of Jack Daniels to this party. I had made myself one jack and coke and I had had one beer. So I knew I would pass a breathalyzer, were it to come to that. However, I still had that bottle of Jack, now open with one shot missing, sitting in plain view on the passenger seat. Although I wouldn't be busted for DUI, I felt certain that the punishment for open alcohol in a car was equal, if not more severe, than DUI. So I was fairly nervous.

I couldn't find my registration. Many garage bills, the bill of sale for my car, the insurance, I had all that. But I had never been pulled over before, so I had never needed to find my registration before, and to be honest, I don't even know what it looks like. I ripped apart my glove compartment looking for it, feeling certain that with his flashlight at the window, the cop could clearly see me attempting to throw the refuse down on the passenger seat in a futile attempt to conceal my liquor bottle. Nervously, I made some jokes about this being my first speeding ticket, he made some jokes about popping my cherry, and I'm thinking does he mean cherry like "virginity" or cherry like "what goes in a pina colada"? He sees my booze, he's angry! In the end, he just asked if the car was registered to me, I said it was, and he went to his own car to check. Again, the fight-or-flight impulse became very strong with me. He has clearly seen my open liquor, he is going to bust me, I will be taken away in handcuffs and I will never get home to this family emergency. Unless I RUN RIGHT NOW! Again, the smart part of my brain over-ruled the idiot part of my brain, and I stayed put. The officer came back to the car and said "I've knocked it down to 115, so you don't lose any points. Here's your ticket, drive safe."

That was it? That was it! I was thanking God and Allah and Vishnu and whomever else I thought might have had a hand in my miraculous escape, and then the FLIGHT instinct was given free reign. I now had no reasonable logic in my brain to prevent me from taking off as fast as possible, and I started away down the shoulder. I got up to quite a good spee, quite quickly, and was very eager to get back into traffic and get home as fast as possible. Without speeding...much...and I pulled into the first lane. At which point a big ol' truck, which had been coming up behind me in the slow lane at what must have been close to 140, with only one headlight, cranked on his high beams and leaned on his horn. So I sped up. Nothing scares me now, I've been pulled OVER! And I WON! It cost me 50 bucks, but I felt pretty good about that as I drove home at a safe 120.

More football - ignore this if you don't care!

OK. Here's the plan. This time, I will actually use the picks I make this week in the pool at work, and I will get back on top! 16-game weeks resume, and here goes:

Carolina - Green Bay: The Packers are awesome, the Panthers are awful. Losing to the Falcons? Come on. The Pack in a rout.

Washington - Dallas: The Cowboys will not be beaten by an average team at home. They will destroy the Redskins.

Arizona - Cincinnatti: The Bengals and Cards are both coming off surprising wins (well, they were a surprise to me, as you can see from my picks last week). But Arizona is lousy on the road, and although Cincy could not punch the ball into the end zone against Baltimore, they had enough chances to kick seven field goals and win. the Bengals defence is not as good as it seemed against the incredibly bad Ravens' offense, but they are good enough to beat Arizona at home. Take the Bengals.

New England - Buffalo: After a bye, and on a high after the Colts game, the Patriots will be better than ever. No spread could be enough to cover this score. And the Bills have looked decent, but they just barely managed to beat the Dolphins last week. New England by 50 points. Or more.

Cleveland - Baltimore: The former Cleveland Browns, the Ravens, could surprise here. They do have a shot, if Kyle Boller plays well and Steve McNair continues to be benched and that defense stiffens like they did against the Bengals last week. Even then, it's only a chance. Cleveland is a very good team, and almost pulled the upset on the Steelers last week. The Browns will win a tight one.

Tampa Bay - Atlanta: The odds of Tampa underestimating the Falcons here are slim. The Falcons are coming off a big win last week, a divisional game against the Panthers. The Bucs are off a bye, and they need a win to keep their lead in the otherwise-awful NFC South. The only team that looks like it has a chance to catch them is the Saints.

Pittsburgh - New York Jets: The Steelers could have a down after last week's thrilling victory over the Browns, but it would take a complete meltdown for them to lose to the one-win Jets. After Indy's loss to the Chargers, the Steelers have a real chance at the first-round bye in the AFC, so they will look sharp. And win big.

Oakland - Minnesota: Oakland is terrible. They continue, week in and week out, to get worse. However, Minnesota is not any better without Adrian Peterson. He was knocked out in the 4th quarter against Green Bay, and although it is not a season-ending injury, it will keep him out for this game. That leaves Minnesota with virtually no offense at all. Oakland in the upset.

Miami - Philadelphia: for the Eagles, no game is a nothing game. They must win this one to have any chance at the playoffs, and they still believe they are good enough to make those playoffs. They have won only once at home all year, this will be twice. Just because the Rams won their first game last week does not mean the Dolphins will do so this week. Their best chance was against the Bills, and they fell just short. They could well go 0-16.

San Diego - Jacksonville: Just when I think the Chargers have been exposed as pretenders, they beat the Colts (and yes, Indy should have won, but a victory is a victory nonetheless). And just when I think I have pegged Jacksonville, they go on the road and beat the very good Titans. The Jaguars are not that good at home, the Chargers are not that good on the road...this is the toughest game of the week to choose. It could be a blowout either way. I'm going to say the Jaguars have more to gain with a win. And I will take Jacksonville.

Kansas City - Indianapolis: KC looked awful in losing to Denver last week. No one should lose to Denver. Except maybe the Fish. And Indy is NOT going to lose three straight. The Colts will hammer the Chiefs.

New Orleans - Houston: Texans are coming off a bye. They are good at home. And New Orleans got beaten by the formerly winless Rams last week. But I am going to take a stab in the dark and say that the Saints loss this week was just a blip in the road, and that they will move on to win the NFC South after starting 0-4. New Orleans, but it will be close.

St. Louis - San Francisco: The Rams lost their first eight games. They looked like they could run the table, but with the talent on this team, it was not going to happen. Bulger played great this week as the Rams knocked off the Saints. The Niners played awful against the Hawks, and they will be thinking about that in their short week. San Fran is the worst team in the NFC right now. The Rams will win their second straight.

New York Giants - Detroit: OK. Both coming off losses, both having excellent seasons. But, the Giants are a real contender, the Lions are not. I finally jumped on the Lions bandwagon, thinking they had screwed me every previous week, and then they screwed me again. I am now officially off the Lions bandwagon, and I will pick against them if they go 13-3. Which they won't. And they won't beat the Giants. Lions will lose their first home game of the year.

Chicago - Seattle: the Bears did a good job in smoking the Raiders, but they just haven't had it together this year. The Seahawks haven't either, but they really looked like they got something going on Monday night. Then again, that "something" came at the expense of the Niners, who are the second-worst team in football. So who can say for sure? All I know is the Hawks have been excellent at home, and I am taking Seattle.

Tennessee - Denver: Vince Young seems to be suffering through a serious sophomore jinx. He can't run like he did last year, due to some nagging injuries. However, they are playing Denver, and the Broncos are pretty bad. Assuming Jacksonville won the day before, the Titans will need to win to keep pace. And if the Jaguars lost, then Tennessee will have a chance to be the lone challenger to the Colts in their division. An extra day to prepare will give the Titans a win in Denver.

That's it! If I am mostly wrong, strike me down in my football pool. If I am mostly right, I will begin bragging again next week.

Calendars. Calendars? Calendars.

As I have promised to do, I will off-set my NFL blog posting with a post about something else. This time, calendars. Specifically, the Ottawa Sun Sunshine Girl calendar that was delivered to the station while we were on vacation. Not that I have any specific objection to a calendar filled with hot women, or any problem with anyone who wants to send us something with pictures of hot women. But I do have a problem with them calling it a calendar. I guess the theory is that if these hot women come in "calendar" form, then it carries with it an implicit justification for hanging these pictures on your office wall at work or on the bedroom wall at home. However, I have a calendar on my office wall at home. Every year I have one, and this year it is a sumo wrestler calendar given to me by Ted. Nothing sexy about it, I am afraid, but it makes me smile.

The reason I have this calendar in my office is that I often need to know what I am doing in the upcoming days. That way, I don't miss the charity events, drunkfests, or poker nights with which I am often involved. In order to keep track of those things, I write them down in the big, empty white spaces provided to me, along with the date, on that calendar. It is a terrific system. However, with the "hot chick" calendars out there, they assume that looking at the hot chick is more important to you than planning your life, since they don't give you any space to write. It is just a huge two-page picture of some babe, and the "calendar" portion is merely a tiny square in the corner with the dates. If this is the case, why call it a calendar? Just have a bunch of babes posing, and sell it like it's a book! The only thing this calendar will help me with is if someone asks "hey, what month is it?" I asked Woody that yesterday, he said "the month is...Natalie." After that, I got nothing. Well, nothing but hot babes.

Something new didn't work.

I am in a slump. A major slump. This week I went 5-9, the first time I have been under .500 for an NFL week. I will likely fall out of first place in the office pool, since I am awful.

Here are the ones I got right: Green Bay did beat the Vikings. I was wrong, in that I thought it would be close. I was also wrong, thinking they could not stop Adrian Peterson. Not only did they stop him, they knocked him out of the game in the 4th quarter. But they won, and I was right there. The Bills did win, the Fish did cover. Whew! One right. (At the last second, however, I decided to take Miami in the pool in the office. Big mistake.) Cleveland-Pittsburgh WAS one of the best games of the year, and Pittsburgh won. Right all around. The Lions DID lose, just to spite me. OK, I was wrong there, but at least I saw it coming. Chicago did beat the Raiders, even though Oakland managed to contain Devin Hester. And Seattle hammered the lousy 49ers, who may not win again this season.

The ones I got wrong: Everything else. The Cowboys are for real, and I picked the Giants maybe because I wanted in my heart to believe the Packers are the NFC's best team. (I did take the Cowboys in my office pool at the last second. You win some, you lose some.) The Chargers have become a bizarre enigma. Sure, Peyton Manning played maybe the worst game of his life, and it was very close, and the Colts should have won on that Vinateri 29-yard field goal that he missed, but wow! I guess I should have stuck with my pick of two weeks ago!

I will try this new idea of mine once more, and post my picks for this week later today. But if I am smashed again, I will quit doing this.