Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The Jurist Notebook-Day One

Welcome to the new LFR. Today I am relaunching my blog with some subtle changes. First of all being a new template. Today was also my final day of jury duty. The Honorable Judge Peggy Hora has lifted her gag order in this case, so beginning today I will be publishing my daily thoughts of The People of the State of California vs. Zameer Riaz Azam.

In this criminal case, Mr. Azam is being charged with a total of 12 counts. Two felony counts of assault on the mother of his child, two felony counts of criminal threats to harm (one with a knife), one felony count of verbal threats with a knife, one felony count of threatening a withness to change testimony, 1 felony count of kidnapping and five misdemeanor counts of disobeying a court order.


HAYWARD--After nearly three full days of jury selection the trial began late in the day. Out of nearly 90 possible jurists, 12 were selected, including me (juror #3) and two alternates. There were slim pickings left in the audience; maybe 25 left.

Initially, jury selection seemed quite appealing. It was interesting learning personal facts and attitudes of perspective jurors. Just by looking at some of these people you would have never guessed that they were computer engineers, professors or small business owners. Although, I started noticing some people might have been overstating their importance.

At 3:30, the jury was set for the criminal trial of the People of California vs. Zameer Riaz Azam. Nine men and three women varying in age from maybe early 20s with a majority over 40. Not exactly a jury of his peers, but I think an advantageous one to both sides.

Deputy district attorney, Jennifer London began the state’s opening statement by describing the defendant as a “brute, a coward and a caveman.”

She detailed a highly abusive relationship with the defendant's girlfriend/mother of his child, Jennifer Bascom, who is scheduled to testify tomorrow.

On August 26, 2003, it is alleged that Azam beat his then-girlfriend in a manic rage. Azam seemed to favor beating her head against walls. The prosecutor described this action numerous times. He is also alleged of dragging her up a flight of stairs by her hair to her bedroom where he continued assaulting her.

We were shown numerous photos of bruises and scratches of Ms. Bascom and to be honest, I really didn’t think they were so horrific. Of course, they were real but the coloring of the photos seemed over-exposed. I believe there made with a standard printer rather than on photo paper.

On November 1, 2003, he again battered her and threw her through a glass shower door. I’m interested in seeing Ms. Bascom’s size. The defendant doesn’t seem to be more than average build. Would it be possible for him to throw her through glass doors and drag her by her hair?

He’s probably around 24-26 years old, possibly of middle-eastern or Indian descent and around 5-11 to 6 feet tall and fit.

The state alleges that he beat her in his home in Dublin on November 1st. She was able to escape and while getting help from a neighbor, the defendant grabbed her by the hair and dragged her across the street. Apparently, a policemen witnesses this act and he runs into the house.

The kidnapping charge seems to stem from this day. I’m going to need a definition of kidnapping under California state law. Is this kidnapping?

Tomorrow: The defense attorney, Mr. Brian Bloom will give his opening statement and Jennifer Bascom is due to testify.

Monday, September 27, 2004

What's In & What's Out II

In: Your ass
Out: your ear

In: People who intentionally swipe my jokes right in front of me, to my face, with a very slight variation of my quip.
Out: People who then laugh harder at their stolen joke.

In: Lambskin jackets
Out: Bearskin rugs (the kind that lie in front of roaring fires with some naked dude stomach down/ass up/arched back mugging for the camera.)

In: Cousins who use me for a big burrito from Chipotle
Out: Girls who use me for a big linguica

Interruption: Someone from upstairs just yelled, "You's is a ho! You's IS a ho!"

In: Pre-emptive strikes against terror
Out: Sneak attacks on my apartment

>>>Now I know why football players get all the chicks. Now I know! Everytime my cousin Milton comes over to my apartment he goes straight to the balcony and looks up for good 'ol Doug. He always wants to walk upstairs and leave him little treats. Tonight, he said he wanted put a Butterfinger candy bar at the foot of his door. What's that all about? Because Doug fumbled a ball last night or was he saying to the second-year vet, "Look, I just want you to know that I, Milton, love chocolate!"

In: Pretty girls with great views of the bay
Out: Ugly girls with average views of the Cash & Carry on Oak and 4th St.

So, Saturday night I'm at a cocktail party, the host, dressed wonderfully in pink, asks the group what would they like to listen to. I blurt out a somewhat cocky and moderately funny line such as, "How about some environmental music, you know, like whales and ocean sounds". Ha ha (whatever). This dude, without skipping a beat says, "Yeah, do you have any creek music!" and subsequently laughs his ass off. HAHAHAHAHAHA! I was shocked. Mortified. Never has anyone gaffled one of my lines and quickly offered a slight variation of the same joke right in front of my face. It reminded me the 80s when Huey Lewis and the News recorded "I Want A New Drug". That motherfucker Ray Parker Jr. stole the tune from Huey and took "Ghostbusters" to the top of the charts. Where the hell is Ray Parker Jr. now? That asshole is not even exciting enough for VH1's Behind the Music. Who ya gonna call now, bitch.

Interruption from above: "N-word, N-word, please! AAAHHHHH N-word"(with a slight urban suffix, such as "gah")

You might notice that I'm talking a little trash tonight. Please don't worry, I'm happy. You see, this happens when I spend the evening with my cousin Milton. You see, Milton likes to, as he commonly says, "shit on people" so I thought I would dedicate this posting to him. This is retribution for running up the score on Madden 2005 tonight. I haven't played for two years. Was it necessary to all-out blitz me for half the game? Was it worth it?

In: Pretty girls who fall over fences
Out: People who sit on the fence and still don't know who the fuck they're going to vote for.

Watch the first Presidential debate this Thursday. Our most reviled Republican friend, Johnny Noh, will undoubtedly find W. to be the most eloquent debater since Frank the Tank in the movie Old School.

In: American citizens with John Kerry bumper stickers on their car
Out: Portuguese illegal immigrants, like Milton, with John Kerry stickers on their car.

Beady-Eyed President from Washington

We live to die another fight
Love and peace is far from sight
Woman and children are dying for peace
Sir, there's men crying in the middle east

Call me dumb or call me bright
Walk in here when don't have the right
Who do you think you are?
Old and meek
I'm the gestapo cable man from Mozambique

I live the sins of past regimes
History has yet to tells us what they mean
If you leave people lifeless, buried in pairs
You'll find revenge in a Palestinian market square

Call me dumb or call me bright
Walk in here when don't have the right
Who do you think you are?
Smooth and ripped
I'm the shady metermaid of the Gaza Strip

You've picked on us for way too long
Who says the Viet Cong was so wrong
Isn't one man's enemy another's friend?
Our scabs have been picked far too long to mend

Call me martyr call me inept
Crimes of centuries past started with one concept
Take until there's nothing left
Where do we go from here?
Arrogant and done
I'm the beady-eyed war president from Washington

Complaint Letter At Dawn

Here's my email to the front office of my building. I wrote this after a cranky night of tossing and turning and a throbbing leg. Pretty good for 2:30 in the morning. I couldn't help but get a little cocky at the end. I'm just a little frustrated because I think my family would rather meet a Raider than have me live in peace. Bastards!

September 25, 2004. 2:34 am


I am once again enduring another evening and early morning of constant noise from the apartment above (D206). I believe this to be third time I have complained of the tenant above. As with the other instances, I have been patient and waited for the interruptions to subside before complaining. This is the fifth straight night I have been awaken by this tenant. I am neither a light or hard sleeper and I also do not go to sleep until around 1am. Loud and constant banging and yelling from the upstairs balcony have been frequent ranging from around 2am to 5am.

I've noticed that nearly ever person I've encountered in this building to be extremely friendly. It is completely outside the norm for anyone here to pass someone without a smile and hello. Why is it that I must live underneath the most selfish and inconsiderate tenant in the entire building?

I must remind you that this tenant has already threatened me on one occasion which, apparently was discounted because he was known to be "nice" according to your office. The last time I complained, an associate of yours told me that I could move to another unit, which seemed odd since I was the victim. I know who this person is and his relative celebrity. I hope he is not being coddled because of it.

If catching touchdown passes will get me some quiet then I'll start practicing. Apparently, my neighbor only has one more than I do, or you do, for that matter. I'll be down to your office later this morning to further discuss this matter.

Steve Tavares

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Ad Watch


I was watching the A's game on Channel 36 last Friday. KICU is heavy in locally-produced commercials ranging from the ubiquitous car dealership ad to Jim Rodgers, the people's lawyer.

While these spots serve their purpose in commerce and camp, I've never seen one in more bad taste than a commercial for Mr. Chau's Chinese Fastfood. It actually tries to makes a link between General Tao Chicken and the Laci Peterson murder trial. Seriously.

It begins with a mock up of a front page with the screaming headline that reporters are flocking to Redwood City....for the new Mr. Chau's in Redwood City! The reference is undeniable and the linkage between chinese food and a pregnant murdered woman is the most bizzare piece of advertising ever.

How did this get by Mr. Chau, if there is such a person and is KICU so hard up for advertising dollars to agree to air the ads.

Should we put it by Mr. Chau's? These are the ads that feature an over-the-top Asian cartoon with an unmistakably chinese impression and somehow produce 23 different ways to serve fried, bit-sized battered chicken pieces.


What's going on with the ads regarding proposition 68? This constitutional ammendment would possibly increase gambling revenues by $1 billion.

I don't want to get into the pros and cons right now, but do the proponents of prop 68 have amnesia in this ad?

The ad encourages us to believe that the Indian tribes do not pay their fair share of taxes. Did they forget that we stole their land and rectified it by setting up reservations in the worst parts of the country?

Pay your "fair share"!

Anybody remember when some indians were freezing and the white man so kindly gave them all warm blankets to stay warm? Turns out the blankets were infected with smallpox and indescrimately killed indians who lacked any immunity to the "white man" disease.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Movie Birdcage Upstages Dolphins Manliness

Raidahs over Bucs....These "exciting plot lines" are actually quite stale. Who cares about Gruden in Oakland or Sapp playing his former mates. Do I care that Tim Brown will perform his patented 2-yard reception plus one-yard falldown? After party at Doug's place, 14-7.
Sea-town over the Whiners...Luckily for the Niners they discovered Dorsey before they had no chance. They'll be lucky to score double digits. Rewrite! They never had a chance.
Eagles over Lions...Motown finally plays a good team. You're not there yet 8 Mile, but close.
Colts over Packers...Methinks that Green Bay are going to frustrate prognosticators all season. I like my cheese with a certain consistency.
ATLians over Cardinals...this could be week 3's rout of the week. Yeah, I love Michael Vick, but I won't marry him.
Titans over Jaguars. This one is a toss-up. I just want the Jags to lose so as to dampen their ridiculous hopes of playing in the Super Bowl at home.
Broncos over Bolts...It would actually be more interesting if Elway was battling...well...the Chargers haven't had a good QB since...Dan Fouts.
Giants over Browns...hopefully the refs start the game early enough to escape Coughlin's wrath. Kickoff: 9:55am or else!
Bengals over Ravens...Carson Palmer will begin to show consistency to go with size and presence and a purely ridiculous name.
Vikings over Bears...Da Bears do not have two consecutive intra-division upsets in them. Moss was overshadowed Monday and will take it out on Midway.
Chiefs over Texans...The original Texans (Chiefs) will get back on track. Priest's first sermon will be around 10:30am and the length will run around 80 yards.
Steelers over Dolphins...The Fish can't even beat a rookie QB? Correct! The movie, Birdcage seems more manly than the Dolphins these days.
Rams over Santinos...St. Louie has enough this week to cover-up Marc Bulger's blunders. The city of New Orleans hasn't seen this much water and wind since former coach, Jim Mora, Sr.
Cowboys over 'Skins...These MNF matchups are so convulated. If God was traded to Cincinnati they would find a way for Him/Her to play which ever team the Devil played for. Oh, excuse me, wrong sport. The devil plays for the Yankees.

Steve........Last week: 9/16...Season Tot: 17/30
Milt Sr........................8/16.....................14/30
Milt Jr.........................6/16.....................13/30

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I'm Afraid of Monsters

I would say that I had a pretty well-adjusted childhood. Although, my Dad will tell you that I once cried at a wedding reception when I was 8 because they ran out of chicken wings and I was afraid to ask a Burger King employer for packets of ketchup because I was too shy, aside from that I was normal. I never wet my bed or was afraid of the dark, but I am now!

This evening, I went to grocery store at stopped at the local Boston Market on Fruitvale for a meatloaf sandwich, creamed spinach and corn (I wanted mashed potatoes and gravy but I'll get to that later).

Once inside, I encountered the two biggest mothersuckers I've ever witnesssed. I would later learn that these were two Oakland Raiders ordering dinner...a large dinner and lucky me to be waiting behind these two behemoths.

First off, between them they must have taken 10 minutes to order. Between ordering, asking questions about the food, poking and tasting and paying; a line of about seven people formed.

The two players are little-used rookie and second-year defensive lineman, Tommy Kelly and Terdell Sands.

As far as I could gather, using my investigative reporting skills, between the two they ordered 4 1/2 chickens, 2 large salads with a chipotle dressing ("Is that dressing fat-free? Yes, it is. Ok.) and what looked like gallon bucket of mashed potatoes with a large cup of brown gravy and a smaller container of stuffing. They didn't order anything to drink so I'm assuming they stopped at the Port of Oakland and suckled the nozzle of two super tankers filled with Diet Pepsi (Pepsi is the official cola of the NFL).

As they left the restaurant and I ordered there was little damage to me except for the likely cold-sweats and shrilly-shriek of terror at bedtime, but they did run off with all the mashed potatoes. First, Doug Gabriel stomps on my ceiling like an wild elephant in heat and 308 Jackson Street, Apt. 206 is his savannah, but now these two Boston Market marauders deprive me of a dallop of soft, silky and potatoey goodness.

These guys were monsters. They must have been 6-5, 320 pounds of pure muscle. When they stood next to each other eyeing the huge rotisserie ovens filled with roasting chickens they reminded me of two hungry, scheming raptors from the movie Jurassic Park. I believe if nobody was there one of them would have charged the oven, broken the glass and helped themselves to the chickens carcasses inside.

As they exited Boston Market they began to act very odd. There were six Oakland policemen having dinner in the dining room as the two Raider Pollo-Pillagers reached the door. One started roaring like a mashed potato Mothra and the other a Green bean Godzilla. Well, the cops were terrified. They leapt to their feet and barricaded themselves behind the soda machine. Kelly and Sands both continued to their automobile crushing small Japanese sedans along the way. Was this really happening? How long until they were swatting at Goodyear blimps?

Anyways, as I observed these Raidahs and their gastronomical greatness I kept thinking about all the objects these guys could crush. I'm sure Tommy Kelly could smash skull with his two hands, turn it to powder and use it to make pans of Jello gelatin.

I'm sure Terdell Sands could sit on a big screen TV and turn it into a very expensive, but useless accordian. Seriously imagine how violent a hit that these guys could put on an opposing player. It definitely gives you an insight into how brutal the game of football can be.

It also gives you an insight into how much toilet paper an average NFL player must use to stay fresh.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Rodney's In a Coma

Sadly, this may be the end of the line. Let's finally give him some respect. Here's some of his great one-liners:

The first time I hitchhiked I got beat up. I used the wrong finger!

My wife, how can I trust her? When my kid was born, four guys gave me cigars!

When my wife was pregnant, I told her, I said, "Honey, if it looks like you, it'll be beautiful." She said, "If it looks like you, it'll be a miracle."

My wife told me she's going to run away from home. Luckily I live in a cliff!

I did a show, the whole audience was gay. I did great! I mean AFTER the show!

I'm gettin' old. A girl asked me if I wanted to have some super sex. I took the soup!

I saw my psychiatrist. I told him, "Doc, I keep thinking I'm a dog." He said, "How long has this been going on?" I told him, "Since I was a puppy."

I tell you, my psychiatrist's a beauty, he told me I got a split personality and from now on I have to pay him twice. Oh, my wife, she's happy I got a split personality, yeah, she likes two guys at once.

People have too much hate. I hear guys talk, they don't like their mother-in-law, they hate their mother-in-law. Me, I love my mother-in-law - it's her daughter I can't stand!

I worked a nightclub. The boss told me he'd pay me under the table - I waited after two hours, he never showed up!

They took a survey - why men get up in the middle of the night. Ten percent get up to go to the bathroom and ninety percent get up to go home!

My family, most of them are drunks. I remember when I was a kid, I was lost, they put my picture on a bottle of scotch!

I don't get no respect. I told my landlord I want to live in a more expensive apartment. He raised the rent!

I tell you, I never had any luck with girls. I took out a Mexican girl, it took me two years I taught her how to speak English. The first words she spoke were, "I'm leaving you."

I Know I'm A Little Late....But

Here a my Super Bowl picks. From my predictions you could have easily gathered my picks, but here goes:

AFC Playoff Teams
East: NY Jets
North: Cincinnati
South: Tennessee (Home Field)
West: Denver
Wildcards: New England, Kansas City

AFC Championship Game: NY Jets over Titans

NFC Playoff Teams
East: Philadelphia (Home Field)
North: Green Bay
South: Atlanta
West: Seattle
Wildcards: Cowboys, Lions

NFC Championship Game: Atlanta over Philadelphia

Super Bowl XXXIX: NY Jets over Atlanta, 23-22.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Are You Ready For Some Overhype?!

Week 2 Predictions:

Raidahs over Bills....Al's team never loses their home opener.
Saints over 49-Whiners...McAllister runs wild over the pink and yellow.
Redskins over Giants...Joe Gibbs is hailed as a genius again. Wait until the 'Skins play someone good.
Broncos over Jaguars...Jags won't score much again.
Ravens over Steelers...Lewis won't let Bettis score 3 TDs
Falcons over Rams...St. Louie could have been 0-2.
Lions over Texans....Lions are 2-0. Who would have thunk it?
Packers over Da Bears...It's the Cheese!
Titans over Colts....A shootout. Home team wins. Remember Tenny is going undefeated en casa.
Chiefs over Panthers...It's going to be a long year in Charlotte.
Bucs over Seahawks...I can't see the 'Hawks winning two road games to start the season.
Cowboys over Browns...Last minute FG winner. We call it at Sunday Tickey Sunday HQ, a red-hot!
Pats over Cards....A rout in the desert. 38-14.
Jets over Chargers...The turf at Qualcomm always looks so pretty and lush in September.
Dolphins over Bengals....The Fish will steal this one. Don't get exciting Miami until basketball season.
Eagles over Vikings....MNF Special. Are you ready for so overhyping of T.O. and McNabb?!

Milton Jr.....7-14
Milton Sr.....6-14

Come on down! Menu: Chili Dogs and beer. Ciao

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Prozac Makes Kids Suicidal

A new study claims that children who take Prozac are twice as likely to be suicidal. This is news? Aren't children naturally suicidal?

If not, then why do we continually tell them to look both ways when crossing the street? Because, they'll just walk blindly into traffic. Suicidal? Yep.

My nephew, Luke, when he was about three years old jumped from four steps up my Mom's staircase to the floor below. This infantile insanity resulted in a broken leg. Suicidal? Definitely.

When my sister was about six she stuck the small sour candies, Tiny Tarts up her nose. They were lodged there until a combinations of tweezer extractions and nose-blowing ended her attempt.

Those are a few, but maybe you can help me with more stories on this burgeoning theory of child suicide. Leave a message.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

NFC North Predictions

1 Green Bay Packers
Brett Fav-rah will make one last drive down playoff lane but the Pack won't get any farther than they have in the previous five years. Ahman Green will lead the NFC in rushing and continue to be forgotten in the same breath with other great backs in the league

2 Detroit Lions
Along with Cincy, this is the team that will suddenly defy logic and be a potential NFC powerhouse only to suck next season. I like the vision that the ownership in Motown has used in sticking with GM Matt Millen. He's made some astute offensive acquisitions. Ten wins and a home wildcard playoff game.

3 Minnesota Vikings
I think this team is severely overrated. They started quickly last year, struggled in the middle and flunked out of the playoff hunt on literally the last play of the season. These guys are weak. I see a combustible situation arising between coach Mike Tice and Randy Moss.

4 Chicago Bears
Da Bears seem to be building in circles and I don't see this edition as anything different except one factor. QB Rex Grossman should begin to show that this team will be a force next year.

NFC South Predictions

1 Atlanta Falcons
The best way I can describe Michael Vick would be to call him a robot; a cyber QB. In my lifetime I've never seen an athlete like #7. I believe he could literally win the Super Bowl for Hotlanta by himself. Imagine when more pieces are put in place. This is the NFC representative in Super Bowl XXXIX.

2 Carolina Panthers
I can't believe everybody jumping on the Panthers' bandwagon. C'mon, did they suddenly come out of nowhere to becoming a force in the NFC. Yes and no. Last year's Super Bowl appearance was a fluke. If QB Jake Delhomme is injured, where will Carolina be then?

3 New Orleans Saints
Coach Jim Haslett will have this team poised to be excellent next year. What I'm saying is that there will be just enough good times in Nah Ohleans for him to save his job.

4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
How quickly has the Boy Genius, Jon Gruden fallen? It's painfully obvious that Tampa mortgaged their future for one run at the Super Bowl crown and succeeded. Nothing wrong with that, I'm sure. It's not going to be a good year in Tampa. QB Chris Simms should start getting auditions for the top job.

NFC East Predictions

1 Philadelphia Eagles
Same old story in Cheesesteak land. Home field advantage in the NFC and another loss in the championship game. In the end, you'll find that Philly isn't much better or worse in whole scheme of things with Terrell Owens

2 Dallas Cowboys
I have no idea what happen with the whole Quincy Carter saga but I would really be loving the 'Boys if Vinny Testaverde wasn't their quarterback. This defense is so quick that it will lead the NFL in defense and get the Cowboys into the playoffs. Although, one and out.

3 Washington Redskins
Sure the Clinton Portis deal will strangely beneficial to both Washington and Denver, but after 10 years away from the game coach Joe Gibbs isn't going to straighten this dysfunctional organization.

4 New York Giants
I can't imagine the New York Times and New York Post having much fun with new coach Tom Coughlin. If Army-like toughness and blandness might make it hard for to succeed in NYC. Rookie QB Eli Manning will be an uncomfortable disaster, at least, this season. The jury will be out on him next year. I just hope somebody doesn't crack this guy sometime this season. Anybody notice that he looks like such a timid little boy next to his brother, Peyton Manning?

NFC West Predictions

1 Seattle Seahawks
This will be coach Mike Holmgren's best team in Sea-town but they're such an enigma. QB Matt Hasselback will continue to become one of the best passers in the league. Of course, RB Shaun Alexander is a fantasy player's best friend. Expect him to lead the NFL in touchdowns. He could easily score 5 in one game!

2 St. Louis Rams
Rams are going in some other direction than they have in the past. It hinge on whether rookie RB Stephen Jackson develops into anything special. QB Marc Bulger is going to get coach Mike Martz fired.

3 Arizona Cardinals
I would hope that new coach Dennis Green can work some magic in the desert. He will only because they actually play with toughness and thus be a normal bad team with just below-standard personnel.

4 San Francisco 49ers
Poor Niners. Their decades of dominance are officially over. But, I don't think they're going to embarrass the City by the Bay. LB Julian Petersen will still lead of strong and quick defense. That should be enough to steal a game versus the Rams and definitely the Cards. Five wins. Erickson's gone.

Friday, September 10, 2004

I'm Juror #3

Last week I was chosen for jury duty at the Alameda Superior Court in Hayward. For the next three weeks I will be serving in a criminal case that was somewhat publicized in the media.

With respect to the Honorable Judge Peggy Hora, I will not discuss this trial until its conclusion, but I am keeping a daily notebook of each days events and I'll publish them daily in the New LFR when the trial wraps up; roughly around October 6th.

When I do relaunch the new LFR, it will include some new features. I value everyone's comments good, bad or critical. It helps me write more effectively to my audience.

Here are some of things I've been working on:
The Jurist Notebook
More satire political satire as we head down the stretch to the Nov. 2 election.
More Wonderbread vs. Johnny Noh political debates
The introduction of conspiracy maven, Hobo John. He really exists and I spoke to him last Wednesday.
Q&A's with some of my co-workers including the famous Jerry.
...and for the homies, my weekly football picks and baseball postseason insights.

Also, don't forget to read, and

Thursday, September 09, 2004

AFC North Predictions

C'mon this is the New NFL! It's the Bengals turn. This team was clearly on the rise last year and installing QB Carson Palmer over Jon Kitna is a mistake, at least now. Kitna will buy Palmer some more seasoning. This is undoubtedly the NFL's surprise team. Cue the "Back from the Dead" news stories.

Maybe I'm hoping this group of unappealing, if not, scary individuals on this team (i.e. Deion Sanders, Ray Lewis and Jamal Lewis) fail. I can't deny their defense. I'm not sold on QB Kyle Boller. Maybe because I saw few positives from his days at Cal and then suddenly he was the most sought after signal caller in the country. Still sounds like hype. The Ravens will earn the AFC's last wildcard spot.

QB Jeff Garcia will be a one-year experiment in Cleveland. This is the same Browns team for the last 4 years. Wild things will happen everytime they play. Expect maybe a 30-point, 4th quarter comeback. An opposing QB throwing for 500 yards or a Brown linebacker forgetting to wear his pants on the field. Rookie TE Kellen Winslow, Jr. will be an impact player. Much more than NY Giants' TE Jeremy Shockey, but in the same vein. This guy is better.

At first glance, the Steelers seem solid. QB Tommy Maddox should hold the starting spot nicely until Ben Rothlisberger is ready (he's going to be gooood). Pittsburgh is trying to do the retro thing on defense. Former defensive coordinator, Dick LeBeau, is back, but he doesn't have the same personnel. The defense will be like fitting square pegs into a round hole. On offense, RB Duce Staley will do fine until about Week 7, then, I don't know how RB Jerome Bettis can still perform to his former level.

AFC South Predictions

The Titans will win the home field advantage in the AFC with a perfect 8-0 home record. Any team with Steve McNair behind center will be successful. They lost a lot of names, not talent, on offense. Eddie George and Jevon Kearse were shadows of their former selves. Clearly addition by subtraction.

The Texans are a team on the rise. QB David Carr is set to have a breakout, Pro Bowl season. Carr to WR Andre Johnson will become a mantra in Houston this season. Along with RB Domanick Davis, this is the divsion's up and coming offensive threesome. Houston will win some exciting games this season.

This will be the sixth year that the threesome of QB Peyton Manning, RB Edgerrin James and WR Marvin Harrison will be together. Are they any closer to the Super Bowl at Year 6? No, but they're older and it will show when 1 or 2 get injured for a long period of time. They will not make the playoffs to the chagrin of the NFL marketing geniuses.

I don't know why so many prognosticators are fawning over the Jaguars. I'm not a big fan of QB Byron Leftwich nor head coach Jack Del Rio. It's not because I know of the former Hayward High grads past drug use. You know where I got the info. I do believe, if healthy, that RB Fred Taylor will run for 1,500 yards and a boatload of touchdowns.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

AFC East Predictions

The AFC East will again be most competitive division in football. I'm a big Chad Pennington fan and he has the potential to single-handedly lead this team deep into the playoffs. Watch out for first round draft pick, Jonathan Vilma. Fantasy league sleeper: WR Justin McCareins. The Jets will sneak past New England on tiebreakers.

I don't buy into the whole Patriots dynasty talk. RB Corey Dillon will turn out to be a dubious addition to a team that values cohesion. With DL Ted Washington gone to the Raidahs, how will they stop the run? Many football people are raving about rookie NT Vince Wilfork, like Vilma a product of Miami (FL). I think it's hard to count on a rookie to play nose tackle on a contending team. Aside from that, they have head coach, BIll Belichick and QB Tom Brady. There will be no Super Bowl letdown for the Pats.

I'm not very bullish on this team. They're filled with a bunch of well-known, but over-the-hills names on defense, but I think their two-headed running attack will be the talk of the NFL. Rookie head coach, Mike Mularkey, likes a ball control offense and with RBs Willis McGahee and Travis Henry, the Bills might contend if they start fast and coast to their frigid home-field advantage in snowy December.

These guys make me sad. The loss of Ricky Williams matters less than the season-ending injury of WR David Boston. The window has clearly passed on this once-dominant defense. Jay Fiedler and A.J. Feeley are unacceptable quarterbacks, especially with only one offensive weapon in WR Chris Chambers. Head coach Dave Wannsteadt will be gone by week 4 or 5. Maybe Don Shula will make a comeback?

Thursday, September 02, 2004

AFC West Predictions

I like the acquisitions they made on defense with DE Raylee Johnson, OT Luther Elliss, CB Champ Bailey and first round draft pick LB D.J. Williams from De La Salle. The defense will lead this team to the division title. QB Jake Plummer will play the care-taker role similar to Trent Dilfer in Tampa Bay (2002) and Jake Delhomme in Carolina (2003).

I think this team will underachieve again. Everyone is waiting for a Rams-type team to arise but it's not happening. I think they will slip into the playoffs after a fast start. Priest Holmes will begin a steep decline. Vermeil will cry.

Who's going to seize the feature RB position? Tyrone Wheatley? I don't think so. I think da Raidahs have too many mediocre running backs clogging the depth chart. I worry about the offensive line. Too many new guys playing new positions. Ray Buchanan playing safety? I believe this team will throw the ball prolifically. Either Gannon or Collins will be throwing up huge passing numbers to Jerry Porter, yes, Doug Gabriel, Jerry Rice and one of their other young receivers. Special teams will indeed be special again under long-time Dallas assistant Joe Avezzano. Special teams will turn a team capable of 6-7 wins into one that can win 8 or 9.

I don't know who will QB this team. Starting Philip Rivers will do irrepairable harm to his career unless he just hands off to LaDainan Tomlinson. The wide receiver corps is as thin as any team in the NFL. Somebody's gonna git hurt!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

A Manocracy For The 21st Century

Excerpts from my speech to the Republican National Convention

America, we live in an exciting yet dangerous world. A place where evildoers wish to limit our personal freedoms and seek to destroy our way of life. I say to you, women of America, back off!

This country has reach the pinnacle of greatest on the backs of men. So, ladies, sit there and smile and agree with everything us boys say. That's the American way. You know what I'm talking about, Laura. You overly self-medicated, deer-in-the-headlights-look in the eyes, crazy broad....

Boys will be boys. For example, the prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq, or shall we say, "The Prank", was just initiation to the ways of our society. An effective way to teach them I-raqis the idea of Manocracy. Who ruined it? A female officer. Everything got out of hand after Lynndie England showed up. I'm here to condemn her actions. They were barbaric and inhumane...for men to watch! Piling up a bunch of naked I-raqis is not what Manocracy is about!....

Our Manocracy must return to the good old days of the 1950s. Boys should have friends with names like Lumpy, Whitey and Dobie, not Miguel, Alejandro or Obsanjo Oogie Boogie. If you have a buddy named Chester, you should feel free to jokingly call him Chester the Molester. Wives and mothers should wear crisp, white evening dress even if it's 10:30 in the morning. Children should be able to drink milk out of wine glasses just like the Beav' did at the Cleaver home....

I ask you what has the suffrage movement really done for America? I'll tell you. It's made Manocracy unstable. Women have single-handedly elected Bill Clinton twice and gave Al Gore the most votes in 2000. I propose maintaining women's right to vote but let's have them vote on other things. Maybe, their favorite flavor of Hamburger Helper (Go Stroganoff!) or maybe best disposable mop (Go Swiffer!). Because I'm opened minded, maybe allow them the right to vote for People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive (Barbara Bush!).

American, again, let's maintain the sanctity of our Manocracy. Let's fortify the borders of all our hangouts; the garage, the backyard, the grill, the Moose lodge, the restroom (Viva urinals and mass pee troughs!) and protect our historic rickety-old treehouses.

God bless our precious American Manocracy and thank you. Somebody make me a sandwich.