Monday, September 28, 2009


Although after October 1st, the official deadline, your only hope of getting into the tournament is if you personally know the Association President.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


"Why do stinky feet smell like mushrooms?"

Then a minute later.

"They don't taste like mushrooms."


Bogsok Washington! September 2011 is a long way away. Sad.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I know! Another football post is threatening to push your patience beyond its normal limits. I know that most of you (my readers) don't consider yourselves fans of the sport, and you have been kind enough to continue checking in here at this remote outpost of cyberspace despite the obnoxiously high percentage of football-related posts recently. I promise to cut back. Thank you for your patience.

Here is something I am learning about myself. I am not a very decisive person. This is why I avoid Coldstone Creamery, and this is also why I always order the same things at restaurants even though I am intrigued by other options on the menu. Paralysis by analysis is a real problem with me. So for you football fans out there among my readership I am seeking a little fantasy football advice. I am afflicted by indecision.

Who would you play this weekend:

Quarterback Controversy- Jay Cutler (Bears @ Seahawks) vs. Jason Campbell (Redskins @ Lions). So far Cutler appears to have the greater Fantasy Value, but c'mon the skins are going up against the anemic Lions. What would you do?

Running Back Dilemna- I have four running backs, but I can only play two. Who would you play? Clinton Portis (Redskins @ Lions), Matt Forte (Bears @ Seahawks), Felix Jones (Cowboys vs. Panthers) and Leon Washington (Jets vs. Titans). Barber is hurt in Dallas and is expected to see only limited play time if he sees the field at all, and last week Jones got nearly 100 yards on only 9 carries. With an expanded role he could be a fantasy stud this week. Matt Forte hasn't done very well in hsi first two games, but those were against the Packers and the Steelers. He could be truer to form against a softer defense in Seattle. Clinton Portis has also been underperforming, and he is a little dinged up (listed as probable), but he could have a field day against an anemic Detroit defense. I am not really considering Leon Washington. I don't know what to do!!!


All three clowns over at yahoo sports have picked the Detroit Lions over the Redskins in this weekend's matchup. That fills me with rage- an impotent rage, but still a rage. My prediction- the skins win handily.

"Fight on! Fight on!
'Til you have won,
Sons of Washington!
Rah Rah Rah!"

Monday, September 21, 2009


It's just monotonous.


The year was 2001. I had moved to St Albans where I had taken a job with the Police Department there, but it would be four months before Sarah and I would say "I do." I was renting a one-bedroom efficiency apartment at 19A Lower Welden Street in St Albans, but for the first several months I slept in a sleeping bag. So one day I drove over to Kmart for the sole purpose of purchasing some bedding. This was the comforter I bought. I liked this one because of the colors. The stripes of yellow and blue against a white background gave off a springtime warmth- open water and lemons. It reminded me of a beach and palm trees- an attractive color scheme in the gray and white days of a late winter. Of course, when I got home and made my bed properly for the first time I couldn't help but feel a tingle of excitement as I thought of the coming day when I would share the bed with Sarah- a very exciting thought indeed. These days the blanket is kept folded and tucked away under Jack's bed. I keep it there because he often wakes up in the middle of the night and has trouble going back to bed unless I am there with him. So this comforter finds continued use today as my emergency bedding on those nights when Jack demands a late night audience.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I just turned on the TV to watch the pregame show ahead of the Cowboys/Giants game tonight and was appalled to find the odious Keith Olbermann there giving the highlights of the day's games. Ruining football by his mere presence! It's like going on a date with a girl and learning that she invited a friend of hers to come along as well. A guy friend who you have shrewdly identified as a rival suitor attempting an end-round under the guise of friendship.

"You'll like him. He's sooo funny."

Sure, I will. I can't stand Keith Olbermann, and if he insists on hi-jacking my evening's entertainment I will be forced to write a letter to NBC. "C'mon football, let's go somewhere else."


...the Redskins were inside the 10 five times, and didn't come away with any touchdowns! It feels more like a loss. I'm glad for the win, but today's game did nothing to make me feel better about Campbell and this offense. A few more games like this and the drums will start beating for a change. I think I can hear them faintly already- the raging caucophony of the disenchanted which is threatening to harmonize even now into a symphony of, "Collins, Collins, Collins, Collins..."


It's September and that means it's time for yet another letter writing campaign to my former College Post Office Box. Some friends have advised me that it is creepy to send these letters without my name attached atop the return address. So here's to another season of unrequited correspondence. I'll keep you posted on how things go.

Friday, September 18, 2009


For those of you who have been following my blog for a while this is not your first introduction to the found money jar, but I haven't given my readership an update on its status for quite a while. I spilled out its stinky (I hate the smell of change) contents onto our kitchen counter this morning and found that we have amassed a grand total of $383.78 since moving to Idyllwild 5 years ago, and that simply by picking up pennies in parking lots and fishing quarters out of coin returns. In 2007 Sarah and I took $250.oo of that and invested in a U.S. Saving's Bond, which Sarah is convinced will not be worth the paper it is printed on by the time it matures in October of 2017. (If this is your first introduction to the found money jar you may read more about it here and here.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm looking forward to the Skins home opener against the Rams this weekend. I doubt they'll be on TV, but I just need a victory to cleanse the palate from last week's loss to the Giants. I expect that the defense, especially the secondary (I'm looking at you Deangelo Hall), is going to make a point of being a lot more aggressive. I wouldn't want to play against them this week as they have a lot to prove, and the ability to do so with panache. I think they're going to come out with some smash mouth answers to the questions raised after last weekend. I think we can look for Jason Campbell to have a better week against a mediocre defense. I predict that Malcolm Kelly will contribute more in the game plan, and the running game will have more success, this week. The Redskins' offense will "get well" in a one sided matchup verses the rams. The question is can they do it against the premier teams in the league? The next two weeks they go up against the Rams and the Lions, games they should win, but if they're going to make the postseason they will have to use these two weeks to work out the kinks and find a rhythm that will work against stiffer opposition. Let's just hope they don't lose either of their next two games.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Alright Redskin fans, I know we are all working our way through the stages of coping with a loss- denial, anger, blah, blah, blah... I am still angry. I thought they looked pathetic. The play calling was horrible, the defense was sloppy (couldn't tackle to save their lives) and the offense was just as anemic as the pundits predicted they would be. Honestly, it was just a horrible game. The offensive line didn't give Campbell enough time, but c'mon! I'm tired of making excuses for him. He just flat out sucked last night. Really awful! What was with that illegal forward pass? You know the one, the one that was intercepted! Ughhhh. The only time I actually felt good was when they faked the field goal for a touchdown and when London Fletcher laid Brandon Jacobs out. That was sufficient revenge for when Jacobs steamrolled Laron landry last year. I just wish it could have been Landry to lay the hit on him. Landry did try and settle the score himself during the game, but it just came across as petty and unsportsmanlike. Really he just looked like a punk. I'm all for headhunting Jacobs, but not that way. C'mon skins! You put me in this funk, it's up to you to deliver me.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Here's Jack asking me to go swinging with him on the porch. This is one of his favorite activities- mine too.
"Okay, Jack."


Today when I took the camp's trash to the dump I found this little critter living amongst the trash bags in the depths of the trailer. He had pulled out a used placemat and was busily shredding it for nesting material when I lifted a bag and exposed his little getaway. He quickly retreated out of sight and as I removed the remaining bags one at a tiome he continued to retreat deeper and deeper. Of course, I knew that eventually all of the bags would be removed and I wondered what he would do when it was just me, him and the bare metal walls of the trailer. It actually made the job more fun imagining that final moment when the last bag was lifted to leave him with no place to hide. I speculated that he would attempt to scale the walls, and I wondered if mice could climb straight up a sheet of metal. I worked quickly, and when i finally tossed aside the last trash bag the mouse scurried to the nearest corner and attempted to jump out. I was impressed by how high he could jump, but he never came even close to the top of the trash trailer. After attempting to jump three or four times he settled down in the corner eyeballing me with a twitchy nervousness. Every time I moved he tried yet again to jump out of the trash trailer. Finally, it began to scuttle along the opposite edge of the trailer and retreated out the back door. I said, "goodbye" and wished him a long and happy life at the dump, but as I closed up the trailer got ready to leave I noticed that he was still clinging to the outside of the trailer. "Go on! Get! You don't wanna be hanging on there when I drive away lil' guy!" He just kept on eyeing me in that twitchy nervous way so I got a broom and swept him off the side of the trailer. He scurried around and around before climbing back up onto the trash trailer. I repeatedly swept him off and he kept on coming back for more. I'm not sure how many times I swept that stupid mouse off the trailer- maybe 5- but no sooner would I sweep him off than he would come back for more. Finally I said, "Have it your way!" climbed back up into the truck and rumbled off. When I got back to camp he wasn't anywhere to be found. Poor lil' fella!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Monday, September 07, 2009


You will note that, based on my map, Alaska is on its own and Hawaii has been returned to the Hawaiian royal family. Don't worry guys, I will funnel weapons and other material support to Palin in her bid to unify Alaska under her iron fist.


We are still in the summer habit of opening all of the windows at night to let in the cool air, but this morning my kids woke up with chattering teeth and complaints of being "coldy." Thus the first necessary fire of the season. We had all of the wood in the house already because last night our friend from Germany, Kristin, came over for smores which we made in our fireplace after the kids had gone to bed. Kristin likes smores and claims that she had never had them until this summer. Apparently they don't know of smores in Germany, and she says there is no such thing as graham crackers in Deutchland either.

Sing it with me... "And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free, and I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me, and I'll gladly stand up next to them and defend her still today- There aint no doubt I love this land! God bless the U.S.A.!!!"

Graham Crackers!!! (Tear running down my cheek.)

LET'S PLAY ILLUSTRATION- The game where I give you a scenario and you tell me what spiritual analogies can be drawn from it.

During the latest wildfire to threaten our mountain we drove out to inspiration point to get a view of the fire, which was a few miles distant, but still quite visible. Sarah and I were surprised by how large the crowd was out there. Here I've photographed some of them looking out towards the fire.

Sunday, September 06, 2009




I know a large percentage of my readership here at the bummer-free zone are not football fans, but you're going to have to bear with me over the next several months, because I am. For the second year in a row I am part of a fantasy football league. I honestly didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did. I guess the word "fantasy" turned me off. It seemed, to my mind, like a more socially-acceptable and masculine cousin of star trek conventions. I don't know why I thought that, but I did. It's actually a lot of fun though, and this year I'm even more excited because my lovely wife, Sarah, has also joined the league. I have fifteen players on my roster, and each week I play 8. (1 QB, 1-2 RB's, 2-3 WR's, 1 TE, 1 K, and 1 D/ST)


Running Backs:
Clinton Portis (Redskins)
Felix Jones (Cowboys)
Leon Washington (Jets)
Chester Taylor (Vikings)

Wide Receivers:
DeSean Jackson (Eagles)
Terrell Owens (Bills)
Roy Williams (Cowboys)
Dominik Hixon (Giants)

Tight Ends:
Dustin Keller (Jets)
Tod Heap (Ravens)

Rob Bironas (Titans)

Defense/ Special Teams:


Sex within marriage is like a fire in a fireplace- it lends cheery excitement and a cozy warmth to a home. Sex outside of marriage is like a structure fire- its blaze may also be exciting and, yes, intense, but ultimately it ends in destruction. A fire in a fireplace is controlled, useful, beneficial, and may be kindled as often as necessary, but a structure fire is uncontained, destructive, and once it consumes, raging to ash, all that is left is aftermath.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


She spoke words into me
Like a spark into tinder,
And watched with joy as
The wild thing spread.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Strangers waiting, up and down the boulevard,
Their shadows searching in the night,
Streetlight people, living just to find emotion
Hiding somewhere in the night.


It has been a very dry summer here in the San Jacinto Mountains. The summers here are always dry, but this has got to be one of the driest I have ever experienced. The dust on the paths through the camp have turned the consistency of a fine baby powder, and all vegetation that is not drought resistant or irrigated has turned brown and brittle. But last week I woke up one morning to smell that unmistakably heavenly smell of rain. It came wafting in through the window fan, and into my dreams. As I lay asleep breathing in the heady odor I dreamed of a goldenrod stock bent over from the weight of rainwater gathered in its heavy cluster of blossoms. In my dream it was leaning out over the dirt road to the lake house in Vermont, and as I walked along the road the goldenrod brushed against my thigh soaking my pants through. (No, I did not pee my pants!) Then I woke up. Jack was standing in the doorway of our bedroom staring at me in the dark.

"Jack, do you want to go see the rain?"



Jack and I went out onto the porch where the rain was still gently falling. It was evident that the worst of the storm had already passed, but it was wonderful to breathe in the smell of rain after such a long arid summer.


Sometimes when I’m driving I’ll see tire marks like this, and I always wonder what happened. Did a deer jump out? Was it a drunk driver? Were they distracted? Was anyone hurt? Killed? Sometimes they look like it had to be catastrophic. In my mind they are like screaming exclamation marks, and I wish I knew the whole story. They sometimes end at a dented guardrail, maybe a bumper is left behind or a delicate pattern of shattered headlight lens. Sometimes they just end. I always find them sobering.