Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, September 29, 2006 8:09 pm

Friday Random 10

Filed under: Friday Random 10 — Lex Alexander @ 8:09 pm

One More Night — Bob Dylan
Where the Cowboys Went — Pressure Boys
All I’m Thinking About — Bruce Springsteen
Mustang Sally — Wilson Pickett
What You Need — INXS
Tomorrow — U2
Good Vibrations — Beach Boys
I’m Cramped — Cramps
(Can’t Get My Head) Around You — Offspring
Combination — Aerosmith

lagniappe: OK No Way — Mission of Burma

Rejoice, for that which was lost has been found

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex Alexander @ 8:45 am

My missing camera has returned. Film *.jpgs at 11.

It’s Banned Book Week!

Filed under: Fun — Lex Alexander @ 8:30 am

I’m swamped so I have nothing deep to say this time, but Amanda Marcotte has helpfully translated objections to the most commonly banned books into plain English. Go and be enlightened.


Monday, September 25, 2006 8:08 am

Tigers 3, Lady Lumberjacks 6

Filed under: Tigers,Victoria — Lex Alexander @ 8:08 am

Sigh.

Well, once again we had a little trouble getting it together, particularly on the offensive end; one of the Tigers three scores was an own-goal. (Erika and Zoe got the other two.) Everyone seemed to have had trouble getting open for passes and tended to cluster around the ball. Standing behind the bench taking photos, I sensed some frustration (to put it politely).

Must run to work; hope to write more about this game (and the perhaps-unintended implications of the opponents’ team name) later.

Sunday, September 24, 2006 9:47 pm

Panthers 26, Buccaneers 24

Filed under: Panthers — Lex Alexander @ 9:47 pm

Well, the Panthers should have lost this game.

Anytime you give the ball away three times, you probably should lose. But John Kasay won this game for the Panthers, and not just with his final field goal. Time after time, the Panthers would drive into Buc territory only to have to settle for long field-goal attempts against a run defense that’s among the league’s worst.

The patchwork O-line allowed Bucs rushers — and the Bucs didn’t blitz much — to sack Delhomme three times, twice causing fumbles. I know they’re patchwork and I know Jordan Grossman is out of position at left tackle, but guys, this is as good as that line is going to get personnel-wise, so you’d better figure out how to work together or it’s going to be a long, ugly season.

The bright spots (and there were several): Steve Smith returned, and even at less than 100% he’s still a very good, very dangerous receiver. We got glimpses of what Carolina’s passing game could (and, I hope, will) be like with Smith and Keyshawn Johnson at the wideouts, and what we saw — a combined 14 grabs for 209 yards and a TD — looked very good. It was important for Keyshawn to have a good day against the team that fired him, and he did — catching a 31-yard TD on the Panthers’ first play from scrimmage, then making a point of finding a fan in the stands who was wearing a Panthers jersey (a Julius Peppers jersey, in fact) to hand the ball to. And you know it must have hacked off the Bucs and their fans no end for Johnson, not known for blazing speed, to score a TD on an end-around. Johnson looks like he feels happy with the Panthers, and his play to date shows it.

The Panthers’ run defense stiffened, holding Carnell “Cadillac” Williams to 48 yards (yeah, he was coming back from an injury, but still). But the pass rush didn’t get to Chris Simms nearly often enough — Peppers got the team’s lone sack — and Simms turned out not to be nearly as horrible as he had looked in the first two weeks. (UPDATE via Herb: But I guess they made it count. Simms had to have his spleen removed Sunday night and will be out for several weeks.)

(ANOTHER UPDATE: You can’t make this stuff up, folks: Three days before the game, President Bush actually gave advice to Simms and the Bucs. So, Chris, how’s that workin’ out for ya?)

Even if the Panthers lost the Vikings game when they should have won it, they won this game when they should have lost. Either way, they’re 1-2. 0-3 would have been a deep hole to try to climb out of, especially since the Falcons and Saints, both 2-0, play tomorrow night, meaning one of them will end up 3-0 and three games ahead of the Bucs. The Bucs, based on what I saw today, are a better team than 0-3 would indicate.

The Panthers are home next Sunday against the Saints. If the Saints lose tomorrow, the Panthers can pull even with them for second in the division by beating them. But after an 0-2 start, every game is still a must-win.

Saturday, September 23, 2006 9:01 am

Only the good …

Filed under: Salute! — Lex Alexander @ 9:01 am

die young.

The fascists, the doughy pantloads, the torture monkeys and the Alabama Taliban, on the other hand, always insist on hanging around well past their sell-by dates.

Friday, September 22, 2006 8:31 pm

Friday Random 10

Filed under: Friday Random 10 — Lex Alexander @ 8:31 pm

After a slow start, we’re rockin’ tonight … 

The Hitter — Bruce Springsteen
No Return — Kinks
That’ll Be the Day — Buddy Holly & the Crickets
I Can See for Miles — The Who
Closer to My Baby — Dorothy Williams
Rock Star — Hooper
Come Out and Play — Offspring
Love Stinks — Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Get the Lead Out — Aerosmith
I’m a Believer — Monkees

lagniappe: Rock on the Moon — Cramps

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 7:11 am

Status report

Filed under: Hooper — Lex Alexander @ 7:11 am

Hooper: Daddy, I had an emergency of pee-pee.

Daddy: You did? What happened?

Hooper: Nothing. I made it to the potty OK.

Daddy: 10-4. Resume your station, then.

Hooper: Daddy, you’re funny.

(Graphic suggested by Mr. Sun! and provided by your tax dollars)

Attention, commenters

Filed under: Odds 'n' ends — Lex Alexander @ 6:33 am

Please read this before commenting.

Thank you.

(Hat tip: Apostropher

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 6:30 am

Ahoy, thar, maties!

Filed under: Fun — Lex Alexander @ 6:30 am

It’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Monday, September 18, 2006 8:46 am

If you love comics …

Filed under: Fun — Lex Alexander @ 8:46 am

… you’re gonna love Comix Underworld, a new joint by my friends Joe Killian and Herb Everett. Go check it out.

Sunday, September 17, 2006 4:50 pm

Vikings 16, Panthers 13 (OT)

Filed under: Panthers — Lex Alexander @ 4:50 pm

It’s one thing to have a game taken from you. It’s quite another to give it away. And that’s what former first-round draft pick Chris Gamble did for the Panthers this afternoon.

Disclosure: I didn’t see most of the game. I took the kids to a birthday party while the Vikings were still up 3-0 and didn’t get back in front of the TV until there were less than 3 minutes left in the third quarter. But I saw what mattered — Gamble, the starting corner and punt returner, caught a punt in the fourth quarter and then — with his team up by a touchdown, and apparently not as part of any planned play — tried to lateral it to fellow defensive back Richard Marshall, who was nowhere near where the ball came down. The Vikings recovered, then scored moments later on a fake field goal to tie the game at 13.

In overtime, Gamble was the guy covering Vikings receiver Troy Williamson, who caught Brad Johnson’s pass near midfield as Johnson was being dragged to the ground by Julius Peppers. Williamson only ran that ball down inside the Carolina 5 — and Gamble added insult to injury by facemasking Williamson on the end of the play. After two meaningless dives into the pile, the Vikings brought out Ryan Longwell to kick the short field goal, and that was that.

What-ifs are pointless, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that had Gamble simply returned the punt as planned, the Panthers would have won the game. The Vikings couldn’t move the ball for jack against the Panthers, and Peppers and Mike Rucker were up in Brad Johnson’s grille all afternoon. (Credit to Johnson: the guy plays like someone 10 years younger.)

They say cornerbacks have to have short memories, but after his performance today, Chris Gamble needs a serious case of amnesia. That improvised lateral will be showing up on TV a lot between now and the end of the season, I fear.

This season is young and already ugly. Drew Carter, despite trying to run Steve Smith’s quick outs like Steve Smith, is no Steve Smith. Keary Colbert is clearly a busted draft pick. I thought I heard them say both Kris Jenkins and Shaun Williams went out with injuries. I hope I was mistaken; without Dan Morgan and Kris Jenkins, the Panthers’ D starts approaching mediocre much more quickly than anyone wants. And give the remade O-line credit for hanging tough, but they need some continuity at every position if this team is going to make the playoffs.

And for this trendy preseason Super Bowl pick, that remains a big if. The Panthers are now two games behind the Saints and the Falcons. A loss to the Bucs next week would put them alone in the division cellar. And although I would expect the Panthers to win that game, we’ve already seen in the first two weeks how much expectations about this team are worth.

UPDATE: In post-game interviews, John Fox says Gamble’s lateral really was a called play. On the one hand, oy. On the other hand, at least the rest of the team won’t be hatin’ on Gamble for the rest of the season.

Saturday, September 16, 2006 1:22 pm

Tigers 3, Shooting Stars 2

Filed under: Tigers,Victoria — Lex Alexander @ 1:22 pm

Victoria passes to a teammate in Saturday’s game. Photo by Herb Everett.

I was right — the Tigers did play better fundamental soccer today. That let them get their first win, over a team against which they were more evenly matched, from the standpoint of pure athleticism, than last week’s opponent. In fact, the Stars’ ball-handling skills were a little better than ours, but a win is a win.

Zoe was the MVP, mixing two goals with a stellar turn in goal. Mary got the other goal. Victoria gave up a goal in the fourth quarter to let the Stars tie, but she redeemed herself a few minutes later, when a wide-open Star attempted a goal shot just as Victoria was going down to smother the ball. It looked from the sidelines as if the ball got her squarely between the eyes, but in fact it hit her nose and mouth. (No blood, amazingly.) She had to come out for the rest of the game — two minutes or so — but the block inspired the team and Zoe got the winning goal moments later.

Our strikers still tended to cluster a bit and didn’t get forward quickly enough in the transition game — too often, a Tiger would be in Star territory facing a couple of defenders with no one to pass to. But the problem was nowhere near as bad as last week; what they’ve learned is starting to come back.

Friday, September 15, 2006 9:59 pm

Friday Random 10

Filed under: Friday Random 10 — Lex Alexander @ 9:59 pm

Soul Dressing — Booker T. and the MGs
Johnny B. Goode — Chuck Berry
One Fine Day — Offspring
Tell the Coach — Bus Boys
Melissa — Allman Bros.
Born to Run — Bruce Springsteen
Tell Me That It Isn’t True — Bob Dylan
Wake Up (Next to You) — Graham Parker
Pleasant Valley Sunday — Monkees
Don’t Leave Me This Way — Otis Redding

lagniappe: Mystery Train — Elvis Presley

The right perspective?

Filed under: Hooper,Why, yes, I AM a bad parent. Why do you ask? — Lex Alexander @ 8:16 am

Hooper’s attempts to play team sports haven’t worked out so well — he’s fine with the sports, but not so much with “team” — so, to give him an outlet and, just maybe, give him a chance to learn some self-discipline, we’ve enrolled him in tae kwon do classes. We went and signed him up last night and bought his uniform, and when we came home, he donned the uniform, kicked a kitchen cabinet door loudly and announced, “I can’t wait to kick my first butt!”

Oh, dear.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 9:17 pm

It’s like this

Filed under: Victoria,Why, yes, I AM a bad parent. Why do you ask? — Lex Alexander @ 9:17 pm

I told Victoria last night that she needs to stop using the word “like” inappropriately and that if she didn’t, I was going to start fining her a penny for each offense and that would be the money I would retire on. She didn’t believe me until I, like, totally took a penny away from her after she said it again.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 6:36 am

Global warming is real. Says who? An oil-company CEO.

Filed under: Weird — Lex Alexander @ 6:36 am

No, really:

Touting the importance of a “culture of conservation” and investment in alternative fuels, John Hofmeister sounded less the leader of the world’s third-largest oil company as much as a speaker at an Earth Day celebration.

The Shell Oil Co. president, addressing a group in St. Louis Thursday, said as far as the company was concerned, the debate over the science of global climate change is over.

“It’s a waste of time to debate it,” he said. “Policy-makers have a responsibility to address it. The nation needs a public policy. We’ll adjust.”

Granted, Shell benefits from the higher oil prices such a “realistic” policy generates, and I’d be stunned if Shell’s record on global warming is all that pristine. But still, it’s nice to hear a note of reality from such an unexpected source.

Magic and loss

Filed under: Odds 'n' ends — Lex Alexander @ 6:27 am

I have a lot of thoughts about the fifth anniversary of 9/11, but given that I was all 9/11, all the time at work yesterday, I’m really tired of the subject. So instead, I’ll just point you to this brilliant post by my friend David Allen, a reflection on loss and grief. It’s occasioned by 9/11, but it’s about loss in general, and his writing is magic. Go read the whole thing.

Falcons 20, Panthers 6

Filed under: Panthers — Lex Alexander @ 6:23 am

Can you say “ugly”? I thought you could.

First, to take nothing away from the Falcons, their defense is GREATLY improved with the addition of Lawyer Milloy and, especially, defensive end John Abraham, acquired during the offseason from the Jets. Abraham might be the only DE in the league as quick as Julius Peppers, and he had himself a day — two sacks, both resulting in fumbles.

That said, the Panthers made two changes to the O-line in the offseason, but even before Travelle Wharton went out with a knee injury, the line was looking very, very bad. Even Jordan Gross, a former first-round draft pick who’d actually played some left tackle, didn’t do much good against Abraham. You’d think, given the problems the franchise has had almost every year of its existence with the O-line, that team management would have taken more care in this area. You’d think. And to judge from Sunday’s game, you’d be very, very wrong.

If only the problems stopped there.

I realize that Atlanta led the league in rushing last year, but a healthy Kris Jenkins and free-agent pickup Maake Kemoeatu at the tackles were supposed to provide an answer. They didn’t. Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood ran for almost 200 yards between them. And when four of your top five tacklers are your starting secondary, you know you’ve got problems in the front seven.

A word about the tackling. Actually, several words: Sloppy. Unfocused. I could go on, but you get the point. I trust John Fox’s film session yesterday was long and painful on that point.

And then there were the injuries. Steve Smith, the league’s top receiver, didn’t play. Middle linebacker Dan Morgan went out early with yet another concussion. The aforementioned Wharton (although his injury apparently is not as severe as first thought) is done for the year. Without healthy starters, this team will not win the division. One or two more injuries at key positions, and this team will not break .500.

And there’s one position where even a healthy starter might not help: running back. I questioned the Panthers’ decision to give DeShaun Foster the big bucks and the featured-back gig. I’m not feeling any better about that decision after Sunday. Foster looked indecisive and took WAY too long to start trying to hit a hole and get downfield. I realize the disruptive play of the Falcons’ D-line was a big problem, but at some point, if you’re the featured RB, you’ve got to just start trying to move the pile on your own. Not only didn’t I see the ability to do that, I didn’t see any effort.

I realize I’m a pessimist by nature, but this team has given me reason for pessimism over the years. It could still get its act together and go to the Super Bowl as predicted, but a lot of things are going to have to change for that to happen.

Saturday, September 9, 2006 5:27 pm

Tigers 1, Pink Panthers 8

Filed under: Victoria — Lex Alexander @ 5:27 pm

Ouch.

Unlike a lot of team’s in Victoria’s league, the Tigers have no real stars. What they do have, and what has enabled them to beat better teams quite often, is a level of teamwork that most other teams in the league don’t approach. They have become able to anticipate one another’s passes and breaks, as well as those of their opponents.

Problem is, every offseason they forget almost everything they’ve learned. And so it was in today’s fall season opener, in which they played the Pink Panthers, pretty consistently the league’s best team. In addition to a couple of true stars, the PPs are, player for player, at least one step quicker than the Tigers at every position. Even when they’ve been playing at their best, the Tigers haven’t done well against them. And because this was a season opener, the Tigers definitely weren’t at their best today.
They gave up four quick goals in the first quarter, primarily because no one on defense was going to the ball. On offense, instead of breaking open for passes, they clustered around the ball. Victoria played right forward in the second quarter, and it was uncanny how often she would make a blind pass when the teammate who would have been right there to receive it last spring was, this time, about three inches off her left heel.

V’s friend Ally, new to the team but a friend since they were 1 (they share a birthday and spent five years together in day care), did well in goal in the third quarter. She gave up one goal, but this was the first time she’d ever played organized soccer, let alone kept goal, and she got no specific instructions beforehand. Under those circumstances, I thought she played outstandingly.

V. played defense the entire second half, and the level of guts she had to display to do so was astonishing. Ragweed has hit her very hard despite all her medications — she was up twice during the night breathing steam in our bathroom so that she could stop coughing long enough to sleep — and yet she gutted it out, playing excellent defense. The Tigers gave up only two goals in the second half, both times when the keeper got caught out of position. V. even took a kick to the head that brought tears briefly to her eyes, waved her hand to come out of the game, then thought better of it and stayed in. She was hacking like a vomiting dog at the end of the game, but you would never have known it to watch her challenge the Pink Panthers’ forwards and send the ball booming back toward their goal.

And toward the end of the game, tired as they were from the heat and the humidity and the wider field that the under-9s play on, the Tigers started to get their teamwork back. I suspect they’re going to do much better next week.

Friday, September 8, 2006 9:25 pm

Friday Random 10

Filed under: Friday Random 10 — Lex Alexander @ 9:25 pm

(back to Winamp this week)

Massachusetts — Bee Gees
Self Esteem — Offspring
KKK — Bus Boys
No Return — Kinks
I’ve Got No Time to Lose — Carla Thomas
Lovers Town — Pressure Boys
Since I Lost My Baby — Temptations
Uptight Good Woman — Solomon Burke
Johnny B. Goode — Chuck Berry
(Theme from) The Monkees — The Monkees

lagniappe: Cry to Me — Freddie Scott

Feeling safe

Filed under: Fun — Lex Alexander @ 9:19 pm

“Lex,” you say, “I’ve got a huge, existential problem here: How do I tell real terrorists from people who commit violent acts but aren’t terrorists?”

I. Don’t. Know.

But not knowing doesn’t matter as long as you know who does know. And I do: the good folks at Spittle & Ink.

OK. We’re all safe now.

Quote of the day

Filed under: Fun,Quote Of The Day — Lex Alexander @ 6:17 am

… not to mention a serious candidate for Best. Blog. Comment. Evah: In a discussion on torture and the ticking-bomb scenario at Political Animal, commenter Brooksfoe offers this gem:

“You know, I know it’s illegal for two men to get married. But what if their marrying was the only way to defuse a ticking nuclear bomb? We need to get rid of these quaint old laws, which are not suited to a world where terrorists can punch a number into a cell phone and set off an anthrax bomb in a frozen embryo, burning countless flags.”

Thursday, September 7, 2006 6:34 am

Yo, Don, bleep this

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns!,Podcast — Lex Alexander @ 6:34 am
Tags: , ,

The Rev. Donald Wildmon and the American Family Association’s wildly misplaced sense of priorities are the victim subject of the next Blog on the Run podcast.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006 6:17 am

And they say journalists hate good news …

Filed under: Salute! — Lex Alexander @ 6:17 am

Read this and see if you don’t go “Awwwwww …”

Sunday, September 3, 2006 3:38 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Sun …

Filed under: Fun — Lex Alexander @ 3:38 pm

…is Jim Rosenberg. Just ask him.

Sitting on that secret has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

I’m thrilled about Jim’s blogging success. I’m even more thrilled that, when he is in a good mood, he calls me a friend. We met when Ann hired him as a humor columnist for Triad Style magazine almost 15 years ago.

He’ll be at ConvergeSouth, talking about online dialogue. You should be there.

Friday, September 1, 2006 8:58 pm

Friday Random 10

Filed under: Friday Random 10 — Lex Alexander @ 8:58 pm

Rather than Winamp, this is the iTunes shuffle:

Orangefield — Van Morrison
Everyday People — Sly & the Family Stone
I Don’t Care (So There) — The Donnas
Like a Rolling Stone — Bob Dylan
Poison Ivy — Coasters
All the Way Home — Bruce Springsteen
The Lonesome Road — Flat Duo Jets
Brian Wilson — Barenaked Ladies
These Arms of Mine — Solomon Burke
Love Is Pain (Live B side) — Joan Jett
lagniappe: Please Return to Me — Fleets

Humor in the most unlikely places

Filed under: Fun — Lex Alexander @ 8:44 pm

There hasn’t been much to laugh at since Israel and Hezbollah started going at it again earlier this summer, but I must admit — and I realize this makes me a bad person — that I smiled at this.

Quote of the day

Filed under: Quote Of The Day — Lex Alexander @ 8:42 pm

Haven’t done one of these in a while. From Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon: “… how ethical can a worldview be that starts on the premise that the truth itself is a threat?”

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