Sunday, September 25, 2005

See You Next Week

The Unknown Column will be absent this week as I take Ozzie Guillen's wife and kids hostage and threaten bodily harm if the White Sox don't hold onto their current 2.5 game lead in the AL Central. In other words, I'll be very busy and won't have time to concentrate on blogging or anything else. Kidnapping is serious business. And hopefully, worthwhile.

See you next week.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Apparently, we have slipped into some strange alternate universe. What else would explain why a Bears-Bengals meeting would be considered a big game, especially in Week Three?

Because it is.

Both of these normally downtrodden teams look like legit contenders in their respective divisions, the Bears sporting a defense that has allowed a mere fifteen points in two games, the Bengals running a high-octane offense that has steamrolled the Browns and Vikings, which might not be saying much actually, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

This is the proverbial irresistible force vs. the immovable object.

So who will give?

One of these teams is going to make the jump from early-season feel-good story to a team suddenly thinking big - real big. For the Bears, a win here would mean plenty of good vibes heading into their bye week. A win here and you can expect two weeks of nonstop excited conversation in Chitown about how promising things are looking on the western shores of Lake Michigan. It will be an all-out lovefest. Nothing but nothing changes the mood of Chicago like the Bears and a win here means two weeks of people walking tall with an added hop in their step.

And isn't that what we all want?

And isn't that what we all need, particularly as the White Sox continue a possible collapse of historic proportions and the Cubs live in oblivion while wrapping up another season of disappointment?

With the Bengals offense running smoothly and Carson Palmer appearing to take the next step towards elite quarterback status, this is a golden opportunity for the Bears defense to make an undeniable statement. Shutting down offenses run by Mark Brunell (in his fifties) and Joey Harrington (bust, plays bad piano) the past two weeks is one thing, beating up on the Bengals is another.

It doesn't hurt that Chad Johnson, a truly colorful character, specifically mentioned the Bears defense on SportCenter the other day. Yes, I know he also said a bunch of really nice things about the Bears defense and how impressed he is and how he would be wise to keep his infamous trash talking to a minimum, but, hey, he did look into a camera and mutter Mike Brown's name with a sly grin on his face that said unmistakeably "Come and get me, suckers. I need to be removed from the grass by a spatuala" and that more than qualifies as reason to bust him up. Right? Right. At least that's what I heard.

The pick: Bears 19 Bengals 10


Underrated streak of the seson thus far: No opposing starting quarterback has finished a game against the swarming Bears defense.

Overrated streak of the season: The amount of times I will gleefully mention that fact until the streak ends.
Straight-up: Bears
Spread: Bears +3

It won't be long now until the return of Ricky Williams. The Dolphins can use him, as Nick Saban has the Phins playing repectibly.

In the meantime, the Panthers made a nice, nice recovery in a statement game with New England last week. I can't imagine Gus Frerotte getting much accomplished now that the Panthers have their groove on.
Straight-up: Panthers
Spread: Panthers -3

Are you a digruntled fan of an NFC North team looking for a little piece of Heaven? Well, look no further than Mike Sherman frantically glancing over his play sheets in the dying seconds of a game that only a miracle can win. Oh, good, good times, that is.

Sherman is a truly awful coach who was fortunate to take over a team assembled by talented former GM Ron Wolf and with a still dangerous (at the time) Brett Favre behind center. Thus, Sherman's massve inadequacies were masked. Not since the last time Angelina Jolie switched boyfriends has a dude been so lucky to take over for someone else. The fact that the Packers will stink up Monday Night Football three times this season is an affront to football fans everywhere. The Unknown Column demands an explanation from the NFL front office! And an apology.

This is one of those games in which before considering anything else, you should look no further than the coaching matchup. Sherman vs. John Gruden is a bigger mismatch than Rafael Palmeiro vs. the slimiest move possible to outdo the last slimy move. Palmeiro's going to lose this battle everytime.
Straight-up: Bucs
Spread: Bucs -3.5

Speaking of odd coaching mismatches, the fact that both Jeff Fisher and Mike Martz share the same current legacy of having been to the Super Bowl once and lost is a cruel joke by the football gods. Fisher in a landslide.

Interesting game for the Titans who have been on both the good end and bad end of beatdowns this season. The Unknown Column is hoping to see Norm Chow's renowned offense take root for real in a big way in front of Mike Matrtz, whose head might explode in a freny of overused post routes.
Straight-up: Rams
Spread: Titans +6.5

So how long until ESPN has a reporter and camera fixed on Michael Vick's tweaked hamstring 24-7. This has Pedro Gomez's name written all over it, that is if he isn't too busy analyzing and reporting on Barry Bond's bowel movements.

I can see Gomez reporting now:

"It remains to be seen how Vick's hamstring will hold up when he bends over to wipe his buttocks. This has to be a major concern to team doctors, who when approached for comment said, 'Who let this (bleep) reporter in here again?' I then posed the same question to Vick himself as I stood on an adjacent toilet and peered over the bathroom stall wall. A clearly suprised and unhappy Vick told me that if I didn't leave him alone and refrain from sleeping in his bushes he would call the police. Reporting live from Michael Vick's bathroom, Pedro Gomez, ESPN."

Straight-up: Falcons
Spread: Falcons +2.5

So Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens have kissed and made up? That didn't take long. It's amazing what one lopsided win can do for a team's morale. Major props to Andy Reid for having the wisdom to ride the storm out and pacify while remaining firmly in charge of all proceedings. After navigatng the eternally rough waters that are the violent mood swings of TO, which would make a pregnant woman blush, Reid has truly entered the pantheon of all-time elite NFL coaches. Seriously. Pure winner. All he needs now is a Super Bowl win to truly cement the fact.

And this has me all flustered. I mean, I may have to rethink my whole theory on dudes with mustaches being tools. Although, Palmeiro has firmly entrenched himself as exhibit 1A in my case against the 'stache.

By the way, Chunky Soup commercials featuring Donovan McNabb's mother are near the top of the list of things that need to go. Now.
Straight-up: Eagles
Spread: Eagles +8

So I think all-time tough guy Curtis Martin is leading the NFL in carries, no? And Byron Leftwich proved again last week while getting pounded by the Colts defense that he's a true trooper.

They should just give these two guys each a shovel and have them pummell each other at midfield. The team of the last man standing wins.

But seriously, this a key game between two teams walking the fine line between true AFC contenders and also-rans. Should be tight.
Straight-up: Jaguars
Spread: Jaguars +2.5

Mike Tice vs. Jim Haslett. This game is a matchup of neanderthals, eh? How either of these guys still has an NFL coaching gig is a bigger mystery than fans of Bill O'Reilly. Wait, does O'Reilly even have fans? Didn't think so.

Do you know how on 'The Simpsons' they often depict the inside of Homer's brain and it's usually a monkey jumping around and whistling or something? I can't get that image out of my head when I think of Haslett and especially Tice. I'm still waiting for one of these guys to start frantically hopping around the sideline in a crazed monkey dance flinging their own poo a at ref following a disagreeable call.

Tice jokes will never get old. Never.
Straight-up: Saints
Spread: Saints +3.5

If you're the Browns, the worst possible scenario is walking onto the carpet of the RCA Dome a week after Peyton Manning was essentially shutdown. And that's what's happening here. Things might get out of hand.
Straight-up: Colts
Spread: Colts -14

You have to love how Mike Holmgren already has the Seahawks operating at maximum mediocrity capablities. They're already 1-1 and blowing big leads and looking dumb.You just know this team is going to end up disappointing. Again. I give them credit for beating a contender last week in the Falcons, but even that came with huge late-game meltdown, the sort of meltdown few can pull off with the style of Holmgren.

Meanwhile, for the all the relative preseason excitement regarding the Cardinals chances to actually not suck for a change, if they fall to 0-3, this season will end just like every other in Arizona: nowhere. This is a big game in the Dennis Green era. That is, if you can use 'Cardinals' and 'big game' in the same sentence, which I'm pretty certain you can't unless you add 'just kidding' or 'some things in this world will never happen'. Too bad Green is pinning his chances on Kurt Warner who's still pinning his reputation to four years ago.
Straight-up: Seahawks
Spread: Seahawks -6

The Unknown Column loves this game. Loves it. And it has nothing to do with the fact that it pits two legit AFC contenders and the possibilty of photos of really hot chicks who happen to date star NFL quarterbacks. Speaking of which, I don't mean to offend Ben Roethlisberger, who is a fine quarterback and all that, but does anyone else ever say to themselves, "No way is that dude pulling that kind of tail if he's not a pro athlete"?

Anyway, this game has the potential for some good ole comeuppance of the highest order. And I want to see it. Look, after being humiliated by the Patriots at Heinz Field in last year's AFC title game, the steamrolling Steelers now get another shot at the Pats, who showed all sorts of cracks last week, not the least of which was Bill "Check Out My Man Boobs" Belichek whining about replay decisions.

Talk about smelling blood in the water.

And someone should tell Belichek to watch the Pats-Raiders playoff game in the snow from a few years ago before he complains about faulty decisions by referees. Brady fumbled. Like I have mentioned before, worst...dynasty...ever.

And the most boring, which is even worse.

Incidentally, I'm feeling all sorts of smart for reaching for Willie Parker early in my fantasy drafts. I mean, I'm feeling like the guy who invented halter tops for chicks. Genius!

Speaking of stud Steelers running backs from nowhere, whatever happened to Barry Foster?
Straight-up: Steelers
Spread: Steelers -3

My favorite moment from Week Two had to be when Jerry Jones worriedly and speedily came waltzing down to the sideline in the final two minutes after the Cowboys blew a late lead to the Redskins. Hysterical. As if his sudden presence is going to change anything other than add to the laughter of Redskins fans everywhere.

Besides, if you had a jacuzzi in your luxury box shaped like Texas Stadium, is there anywhere else you should really be? Really?

I mean, why would you even be wearing clothes?

One week after getting pounded by a team coming off a disappointing Monday night loss, the 49ers get another. At least they get the Drew Bledsoe-to-Terry Glenn show, as opposed to Donovan-to-TO.

Anyone else get the feeling that the Mike Nolan face is primed to be a regular occurrence? I don't know why, but I can't help the feeling it's all going to end badly for Nolan. How long until the NFL feels sorry for him and says in a condescendingly reassuring voice, "You go ahead and wear that suit jacket on the sideline, Mike. There, there."
Straight-up: Cowboys
Spread: Cowboys

You know, it's a shame San Diego is such a laid back city, because Eli Manning's first trip to SoCal since spurning the Bolts at the 2004 draft has the potential to be ugly - real ugly. We're talking Ashlee Simpson-at-the-Orange Bowl ugly. Janice Dickinson on 'The Surreal Life' ugly. I don't mean to dismiss the passion of Chargers fans, but many of them are probably too chilled out on pot and lattes and sweet sunshine to truly take advantage of a situation that should rightfully make the hanging of Mussolini look like a compassionate crowd eager to forgive..


I mean, I can only imagine if the situation was reversed and Eli was coming to the Meadowlands, or Chicago or Philadelphia. You know, cities where football is taken more seriously than crabs.

I can't imagine what Bears fans would have to say to Eli as he entered Soldier Field. Actually, I can imagine it, but since the Unknown Column has a large youth readership, I'll refrain from sharing and let you, dear reader, imagine for yourself. (Yes, my highly reliable data says my youth following is massive actually. You should see all the hate mail I received this morning following last night's curse-laden rant on the White Sox. Jeez, internet-monitoring parents can be so picky about these things. Chill out. As if your kids don't know every curse in the book by third grade. And if they don't, they should. Stop sheltering them. As my old man likes to say, "It'll put hair on their chests", which would actually be gross on any young girls, but you know what I mean.)

In Chicago, I'm guessing Archie Manning, a meddling father of the highest order who really missed his truly calling as a lunatic tennis dad, would have to sit in a luxury box. Or anywhere his noggin would be out of the reach of batteries and bottles. And Eli? He would just cry. Seriously. He looks on the verge of tears at most times anyway, which is funny considering I've always suspected Archie wanted Eli in the Big Apple because he envisioned his son as some sort of commercial superstar in the county's biggest metropolis. Eli has about as much commercial appeal as roadside underwear. Broadway Joe he is not.
Straight-up: Giants
Spread: Giants +6

Dick Vermeil vs. Mike Shanahan? This isn't even close.
Straight-up: Chiefs
Spread: Chiefs +3

Last week
Straight-up: 10-6 (17-15 on the season)
Against the spread: 11-4-1 (20-11-1 on the season)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Fuck the White Sox

Worthless fuckin' bums. Fuck all of them. Fuckin' crimes against fuckin' humanity - each and every fuckin' one of them. Fuckin' wastes and dicksacks and fuckin' fuckwads. Eack one of these worthless fuckers can kiss my stinkin' ass AND PRINT IT! Lousy fuckin' cocksuckers. Goddamn fuckin' runners all over the goddamn fuckin' bases in the goddamn fuckin' ninth and tenth innings of a fuckin' tie fuckin' game and these fuckin' wastes are swinging for the goddamn fuckin' fences like a bunch of fuckin' fatass beer league softball fuckers. Popup. Popup. Pop-fuckin-up! MOVE THE FUCKIN' RUNNERS, YOU FUCKIN ASSHOLES! The winning fuckin' run is on third fuckin' base, you clueless fucks. But you all want to be a fuckin hero, don't you? Yeah? Am I right? WELL, FUCK YOU! Fuck you and fuck the goddamn horses you fuckin rode in on, you fuckin abortions that should have fuckin' been. One fuckin' run in two fuckin' games. One! Fuck the White Sox. A bunch of spineless panty waistes and girly men! No-good fuckin' chumps should have fuckin dribbled down their fuckin' mothers' legs. Fuck this collection of impotent fuckin' choke artists and douchebags. Fuck them. Fuck these guys. All of them. I'm fuckin' through with them. Done. Finished. Kaput. I don't need this fuckin' bullshit. Every fuckin' year. Every fuckin' year. Every fuckin' year. Every fuckin' year. Fuck them all. Fuck it. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

And fuck me for even giving a fuckin' shit.


Shut Him Up

Did you catch last night's SportCenter when loose-lipped Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson called out the Bears defense and Mike Brown, in particular?

Now, I like Johnson. His trash talking is playful and funny, as opposed to jackholes like Terrell Owens and Ray Lewis, guys who wouldn't shut their mouths in a room of a thousand locusts.

That said, I can't believe that Brown and the gang have taken kindly to the goading of Mr. Johnson. I'm sure they're eagerly anticipating the first time Johnson comes across the middle on a slant route. I hope they're eagerly anticipating it as much as I am.

Should be fun. Can't wait.

Just As I Always Suspected

In case you wondering why there has been such rash of hurricanes lately (and for the past several years, if you ask me), Scott Stevens of KPVI-TV in Pocatello, Idaho has the answer for you: the Yakuza is behind it.

A-ha! Just as I always suspected! The Japanese mafia is directing man-made hurricanes towards the unsuspecting shores of America. It's true. They told me. The aliens from planet X-5451B told me.

Incidentally, I also blame the Yakuza for the collapse of the White Sox, Skip Bayless' continued employment, and Jenifer Aniston's fading good-looks.

You know, this Stevens clown is in Idaho, which means he's not too far from a that small shack in the middle of nowhere he should probably be living in.

No Signal

Perhaps there really is a God, and perhaps he is not a vengeful god but rather an understanding god, and perhaps he has a soft spot in his heart for White Sox fans. After all, the satellite feed for the Sox-Indians game on Wednesday night was mysteriously (and, in the end, mercifully) broken and many Sox supporters, their emotions already a twisted tangle of disbelief and panic, were spared what was certainly the low point thus far of a crazy season.

"No signal." That's all I got for much of the game. These words written in the top left corner of a black screen. It was like staring into the void as the universe collapsed into itself and all hell broke loose and there was little to do other than sit in silence and go numb with the feeling that complete helplessness is an endgame of human emotions.

Complete. Helplessness.

No signal. Ah, how prophetic. Those words can adequately sum up the current state of the Sox as they sputter and fade down the stretch and make their tortured fans feel as though they are rapidly falling into a black hole with no apparent end.

8-0. Goddamn. A loss last night would have been bad enough, but 8-0 was a tremendous kick to the balls. White Sox fans everywhere today are moving with noticeable limps and pained grimaces on their sorrowful faces, not to mention the shattered nerves, twisted heart strings, and litany of curses muttered beneath their breath. We're a mess. All of us. No doubt.

I had a feeling the night would end badly early on when the telecast was lost a couple of times for only a few seconds before returning. It was an ominous sign, for sure. Something dark and menacing was brewing on the last night of summer. I had an uneasy feeling in my gut. Something wasn't right. Something was about to break and explode. The ways of the universe were slowly begining to collide into themselves and create havoc and nothingness all at once.

When the Sox sqaundered a promising two-runners-on-and-no-outs situation in the second inning the feeling went from something resembling indigestion to a full-on sharp pain. I could almost feel the air trembling. If air can tremble, I felt it.

Of course, the Sox squandered many similar opportunities the previous two nights only to remain relatively unscathed, but this was different. Something in the air was odd and ominous and growing. The telecast again went on the fritz, this time a little longer, this time the screen a slightly more menacing shade of black, and I glanced around the room unassuredly and tentativeley asked "Who's there? Who are you? Stop toying with me. I'm not scared of you."

But I was. I could feel the doom heading straight at me like a runaway freight train, like a weak Scott Elarton fastball that somehow coerced comically confused Sox hitters into a seemingly endless string of harmless popups. One after another. Again and again.

The telecast eventually went out for good (I think) around the fifth or sixth inning with the score a still manageable 2-0. I switched to the radio telecast but it was only a few moments before Travis Hafner - can this guy just spontaneously combust or something? Seriously? - hit a three-run home run in the seventh to put the Indians up 5-0 and presumably out of reach for a Sox offense dying a slow death on this night. Jon Garland had flirted with disaster earlier in the game only to escape. Not this time. Not with Hafner at the plate and he suddenly swinging a left-handed bat like Barry bonds without the disgusting attitude or the stream of steroids in his veins.

Screw it.

I turned the radio off, made myself something to eat, and switched to ABC to check the season premiere of 'Lost'. My only hope was to have one of those a-miracle-happened-and-I missed-it experiences. And I would have gladly missed it. Gladly.

Alas, no. No miracles on this night.

Of course, by the time I decided to spare myself anymore crippling Sox pain, 'Lost' was ending, meaning I had missed the eagerly-anticipated season premiere of the only show on network television I legitimately follow. Figures. Thanks, Sox. I had not only missed some serious plot lines, but I also missed a sweaty Evangeline Lilly running around on an exotic beach in scant clothing. Oh, my fury had no end by that point. None. Baby, I need TIVO like the Sox need a nice run of wins.

The entire night was, um, lost. It went straight down a dark, mysterious hatch, though if the survivors of Flight 815 went down the mysterious hatch of their sudden island home, and I have no idea if they did, I'm clueless as to what they found. The Cleveland Indians? Hafner with a sinister grin on his face and a bat on his shoulder? Ozzie Guillen with his inpenetrable, cocky, tough guy act broken finally, him with his face in his hands and silently sobbing?

Oh, well. Whatever. Again, I'm trying to stay positive here. There are two ways to look at things:

1) The apocalyptic view: The Sox have sqandered a 15-game lead and now face a tougher schedule than the Indians before the two teams finish the season in Cleveland.

2) The positive view: The Sox have a 2.5-game lead with 12 games to play. Period.

Look, as dark and empty as things seem right now, as dark and empty as thousands of television screens were on Wednesday night, the second view, though surely just meaningless words to many history-hardened Sox fans preparing for the worst, is just as true as any Sox struggles or any Indians hot streak. Had anyone told Sox fans prior to the season that the team would hold a 2.5 game lead on the first morning of autumn, they would have jumped all over the good news. Where else would you want to be but atop the standings late in the season?

So there is no need to give up. Not yet. That would be foolish. I'll relinquish my Sox hopes when they're pried from my cold, dead hands. Nobody has ever said any truer or more powerful words than the late Jimmy Valvano when he bellowed, 'Don't give up! Don't ever give up!"

I love that.

Tonight the kid, Brandon McCarthy, takes the mound against the hated Twins and notorious Sox-killer, Johan Santana. Sure, things look bleek, but a win here would go a long way to restoring some of the good vibes that are virtually nill at this point.

Hey, you can only fall so far down the proverbial hatch before you hit rock bottom. Was last night rock bottom for the Sox? Well, it certainly had that feel, so maybe it was. Getting shutout and beat up in the biggest game of the year is about as low as you can go. The mysterious ways of the universe that blacked out much of the evening also suggested as much. It was an eery and unbearable nightmare all around.

But last night has come and gone. It's over.

There are eleven games to go. The Sox lead by 2.5 games.

These are the only numbers that matter.

Don't give up. Don't ever give up.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Punching Back

If the White Sox are trying to take years off of the Unknown Column's life, they're doing a smash up job. Well done. Seriously. This is purely heart-wrenching stuff. High drama. It's like watching an elephant on thin ice. On roller skates. It could all go to hell at any moment. The first two games of this Sox-Indians clash have been nineteen innings of a pure, unadulterated, tooth and nail dogfight. It's great for entertainment purposes, but very poor for one's health. I'm estimating that each runner stranded by the Sox last night took off one year of my life apiece, those in scoring position took two, those left at third base were virtual heart attacks on the spot, and in the end, that was a maddeningly large number of runners. Maddening. I think I can probably forget about my entire retirement age. I mean, are the Sox trying to leave a runner at third base in every inning? Is that some sort of goal here or what?

But the Sox won.

They aren't going anywhere just yet.

Joe Crede played the role of hero and personally brought the Unknown Column to his knees in a moment perhaps only a death row inmate getting a last-minute reprieve could understand. Complete and uttter relief. Crede remains the guy who can never hit for average but somehow has a knack for late-game heroics and his walkoff home run last night in the tenth was exactly what Sox fans everywhere needed. Needed bad. In the worst possible way. It was the ultimate fix. Suddenly everthing seems OK again. Suddenly the Sox look less like choke artists and more like a team still landing punches.

Sure, the Sox are backed into the corner right now. Sure, they've taken some blows. Sure, the mouthpiece has been dislodged, the vision blurry, the knees weak and buckling, and the crowd is screaming for the bloody knockout. The death blow. Everyone knows that. Everyone has heard the phrase "collpase of historic proportions". Everyone is aware of all circumstance and repurcussions. But this is a fifteen-rounder, baby, and the Sox have a few punches yet to throw. They ain't going out like no chumps.

And you know what? Fuck the Indians. That's what I say. I'm bored of hearing of how hot they are. Yeah, they're hot. So what? Good for them. I think that's 11-of-15 games the Sox have taken from them now.

And the Sox need one more win tonight. No reason to let up now. Take the series. Beat the Indians and it will make beating up on the hated Twins over the weekend all the more sweet. Yup, beat the Indians one more time and it could be a beautiful weekend at the Cell with the magic number getting microscopic.

It could be.

Jon Garland is on the mound tonight and I like the chances.


Juan Uribe's gem of a defensive play at shortstop to rob Coco Crisp of a single to end the eighth inning and preserve a one-run lead could have been a season-saver. Amazing.


Travis Hafner? I really don't like the dude. He's absolutely killing Sox pitching. Killing it. I really, really want to see Garland send his ass back to the dugout looking bad. Let this happen, please.


OK, when A.J. Pierzynkski rounded third and stepped on Aaron Boone's back in the seventh inning, well, that was hysterical. However, depsite Pierzynski's reputation as being surly, nothing about the play looked cheap or dirty. It appeared that Boone simply dove in his path and Pierzynski had no other choice in his frantic effort to score. In fact, it wasn't until the ensuing commercial break was over and Hawk and D.J.pointed out Pierzynski's foot plant that it was even noticeable. At least to me anyway.

Whatever. Either way, it was hysterical.

Besides, this is a pennant race, baby! Get the #$%@ out of the dude's way.


You're still da man Bad Bobby Jenks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Enjoy Cuss Words?

Then you'll find this very fuckin' funny. Hysterical.

Porn Squad

Porn squad? Sounds like an interesting flick, right?

Unfortunately, no. It's the further idiocy of BushCo. being diplayed yet again as these these dumb, dumb men prove to be so off the mark with their logic it is both scary and humorous all at once. Now they're all in a huff and puff about porn. Again. And they're luring recruits to fight another one of their ill-conceived, pointless, and ultimately futile wars. Ooooooooh, evil, evil porn. Yes, its is "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. Hey, at least this "war" won't cost lives a la Iraq. So I guess that's something.

Look, the Unknown Column has long had major differences with the policies of Georgie Dumbfuck and his incompetent lackeys, but this has gone too far. The Unknown Column doesn't mess around when it comes to porn.

Is nothing sacred anymore? Nothing?

It's amazing that with all the costly and deadly mistakes this administration has made, and all the problems to be addressed, these clueless clowns focus on porn. It's laughable. It really is. I love how these so-called ultra-religious "Christians" are so eager to dictate what individuals do in the privacy of their own homes, yet are the ones behind the slaughtering of countless American soldiers and Iraqi citiizens.

Who would Jesus bomb?

Maybe if these foolish men spent less time thinking about the penises of America, they'd be better suited to handle real problems.

Don't they realize that this is a war thay cannot win - ever! - just like the so-called War on Drugs. Look, people will always do drugs and they will always love porn. Period. Sorry, but there's nothing anyone can do about it. Drugs will be there to be had, as will porn. It's human nature. So turn your head, mind your own damn business, and leave the "degenerates" alone. Porn isn't harming anyone, except for possibly some calloused fingers and ruined eyesight from hours staring at a computer screen. Get over it.

The saddest part, according to the article, is that even the FBI is laughing at this nonsense.


Monday, September 19, 2005

OK, the Joke's Over, Right?

Surely, the White Sox are kidding. This is obviously a joke. Right?

Ah, sadly it is all true. The Sox lead is down to 2.5 games after last night's loss to the Indians. Things are getting serious.

So, I'm just going to look at the positives here. At this point, it's either that or go insane.

And in that spirit, the Sox did manage to overcome a four-run deficit to take a 5-4 lead into the eighth inning.

Then, in the bottom of the ninth, when they were again down 7-5 courtesy of Damaso Marte showing why Ozzie Guillen should have just told him to stay at home when he had the chance, the Sox had two runners on with Paul Konerko at the plate. There were two outs, but the winning run had a bat in his hand, and who else would you want hitting in that situation but your supposed big-hitter, your slugger? It was a tight situation, but the grandest victory imaginable was...right friggin' there. With one swing. It could have been beautiful. The Sox made it possible, and though they didn't make it happen in the end, they were right there, battling like mofos. Would, coulda, shoulda won.

Alas, the bullpen did what bullpens do almost without peer - induce the onset of dangerous levels of rage.

Oh, the Unknown Column was approaching, my friends.

Perhaps it was fitting that Marte played the role of goat after his little "episode" where he sorta "disappeared" for a few days last week. Sure, there was plenty of blame to go around last night, but it was Marte who came in and promtply wet himself, giving up a dreaded walk and a single, both eventually scoring when Travis Hafner, who is the new official Sox killer after last night, doubled off Bad Bobby Jenks.

Look, Jenks is awesome, and has been a blessing in his pseudo-closer role, and has a future as bright as anyone (he really does), but he's still a kid. He isn't pefect or Mariano Rivera. At least not yet.

But Marte? He's a weak link. Period. He's continually proven it this season. Screw it. Look, if you're prone to getting in pissing matches with your manager, it's probably best that you at least manage not to be blown up on the mound.

Marte has morphed into a bum. There isn't much the Sox can do about that at this point in the season, but in the meantime, they can learn from the past.

Two weeks ago, the Sox lost a heartbreaker in 12 innings to the Angels in the opening game of a series at the Cell. They then promptly failed to show up in the next two games and were swept.

They best not do that again. The Sox have two more games with the Indians to right this rapidly sinking ship. Mark Buehrle pitches tonight and it's about time he proves he's a big-game pitcher once and for all. He hasn't been one of late.

And the Unknown Column needs a tall drink.

The Future of the Bills?

I found this photo of J.P. Losman humorous and figured I'd share it. I mean, Losman looks eerily like the normal Bears quarterback in the photo. (Hat tip, BrumZ.)

Watch it Again and Again

For all you Bears fans who'd like to see video of Mike Brown's devastating hit on Marcus Pollard yesterday, here it is. Oh, it's enjoyable. Yup, that's the good stuff.


For the White Sox, it's time to put up or shut up. This is it. This is what it's all about, baby! Big games in September. The Indian are coming to the South Side as the hottest team in baseball for three monumental clashes starting tonight. They've closed to within 3.5 games of the suddenly catchable Sox and show no signs of letting up. Sox fans everywhere are loosening their collars and wiping their brows. Me? I haven't felt so panicked since the last time I heard a bartender shout, "Last call!"

Earlier in the summer, when the Sox were playing the best baseball in the bigs, yet somehow being largely overlooked by the national media, who questioned whether the Sox were for real or merely a mirage, plenty of angry Sox fans were quick to point out the alleged injustice. We get no respect, they muttered. Whatever. Respect will come when you win meaningful games in the fall, games like the ones taking place the next three nights at the Cell, not in May or July. Personally, I avoided such tripe. I couldn't care less if the so-called national media experts believed or not. What do they know anyway? Right? How to wear makeup and look into the correct camera?

That said, there are plenty of people (especially Cubs and Twins fans) with sinister grins right now saying, "I told you so. Suckers." There are plenty of people joyfully proclaiming that the Sox were winning games with smoke and mirrors and that now the inevitable truth is coming out in the wash. As my buddy said the other day, "They're laughing at us. And that's the worst part. They're all laughing at us."

I hope the Sox players realize this. I hope they realize people are mocking them. I hope they realize people find their recent struggles humorous. I hope they realize there are people absolutely giddy at the thought of witnessing what, quite arguably, would be the worst collapse in history. Yeah, it would be that bad.

If ever there was a time to take perceived slights and funnel that into useful motivation, that time is now for the Sox.

The Sox are at home. They will trot out their three supposed studs of the rotation, Freddy Garcia, Mark Buehrle, and John Garland. The Cell will be packed and ready to rock hardcore if only given the slightest of reasons. In other words, there are no excuses for a Sox team that has been notorious for making excuses in the past. This is it. The time is now. Let's roll!

At the moment, there are plenty of Sox fans who feel like the sky is falling, if it hasn't already landed. There is definitely a contingent of Sox fans who feel the worst possible fate is imminent. They're just glad that regardless of what happens the three next nights, the Indians can't mathematically grab the division lead while in Chicago. But they're convinced it will happen sooner than later.

This is the curse of being a Chicago sports fan: you always expect the worst. Always.

Screw that, I say.

I'm strangely confident that the Sox, the notoriously second-half slumbering Sox, will wake up just in time. I think they take care of business. Hell, I'll just come out and say it: I predict a sweep. That's right, baby! A sweep! I predict the Sox take all three games and end Wednesday night with their magic number wittled down to four. (Is 'wittled' a word? Who cares? I'm all jazzed up!)

I'm thinking positive. Instead of fearing these upcoming games as additional nails in the coffin, I'm viewing them as blessings in disguise. Yup, the Sox are being required to be on their toes right down to the wire. This will help once the playoffs begin. Remember the 2000 Sox? That team raced through the schedule, clinched early, and then spent the final weeks of the season in a sleep walk induced by a palate of meaningless games. Their level of urgency had dropped suddenly and significantly. By the time they faced the Mariners in the playoffs, it was too late to wake up and the Sox were rightfully swept in three agonizing games.

Not so this year. There is too much on the line, and this can be a good thing.

Look, there are no ifs, ands, or buts involved here. The next three nights will be the biggest games played on the South Side in years. The questions have been asked and asked and asked again.

Now come the answers.

I have faith, baby, I have faith.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Bandwagon is Boarding

I think it was about the time Mike Brown was cruising into the endzone with an interception return to put the Bears up 31-6 in the first half that it began rumbling.

Yup, all you suckers who wanted no part of the bandwagon, all you doubters, all you disbelievers, all you haters, and, well, all of you who just have a clear memory of recent depressing Bears seasons, you best climb aboard, baby!

The bandwagon is rolling now following an absolute ass-kicking of the Lions, 38-6, "ass-kicking" being the operative words.

Just say it with me now. Bears. Ass-kicking. Again. Bears. Ass-kicking.

Words haven't rolled off my tongue so smoothly since the last time I said, "Why can't I get this damn bra open?"

So get on board while you can. Everyone is welcome. Except for Jay Mariotti. He can go fuck himself. Nobody wants a negative creep hanging around. Fuck the douchebag. Nobody likes him anyway.

Ah, you may think I'm gloating on the heels of a win over a team usually as troubled as the Bears or being unreasonably excited, but look, it's been a long time since Bears fans have witnessed an ass-kicking like this one. Well, at least an ass-kicking that they were on the enjoyable end of. In fact, not since 1987 have the Bears won by such a lopsided margin. And, oh, was it beautifully brutal. From the moment the underrated Ian Scott intercepted the doomed Joey Harrington on the Lions' first possession, till the moment Brown nearly beheaded Marcus Pollard with one of the nastiest (though deemed technically illegal) hits you'll ever witness (this hit was scary), the Bears displayed what physical football is meant to be. An ass-kicking. Take 'em out back. Period. As simple as that. Dick Butkus was somewhere smiling and nibbling on raw meat and tree bark.

And when the Bears defense wasn't wrecking havoc on anything the Lions attempted, the Bears offense was running over, around, and through the Lions defense. Thomas Jones finally displayed the reason he was given a fat contract prior to last season and had his best day as a Bear, and Cedric Benson chipped in with his first serious action, as well, looking unspectacular, but getting further christened. If these two remain a consistent 1-2 rushing punch, the sky is the limit. I'm a little worried by the way Benson perpetually looks like he's just been rudely awoken and told that the aliens have finally landed, but hey, if the dude can run the dude can run. He can run, right? Right?

Toss in the special teams play, namely a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown by the beleaguered Bobby Wade, who has been battling demotion and fighting for an active roster spot, and this was something Bears fans have heard of but rarely seen: a complete game.

And this is exactly what the Bears must do to be successful. Kick ass. Old school-style. In all facets of the game. Nobody is expecting Kyle Orton to lead the Bears to glory with an attractive air attack. Nobody is expecting the Bears to have the most talent on the field. Nobody is expecting the Bears to be a well-tuned football machine that runs smoothly at all times. Hell, nobody is expecting the Bears to be favored against, well, just about anyone. No, if the Bears are to be successful, they must do exactly as they did against the outmatched Lions: seek and destroy.

Harrington was knocked around all afternoon like a helpless rag doll and forced into throwing five interceptions. Five! I mean, the Bears may have officially signalled the end of the Harrington era in Detroit, and to be honest, as a Bears fan, I don't know if that's a good thing. I mean, I get a kick out of watching Harrington spit only for the goober to hang from his facemask. Now that's funny. (Yes, that actually happened today.) And I enjoy watching Harrington walking along the Lions bench giving high fives and offering words of encouragement in a attempt to, you know, be a leader or something when the Lions already trail by 32 points and his teammates, to a man, give him lackluster nods as if to say, "Yo, INT King, you see the scoreboard, right? Right?" Harrington is so cute, isn't he?

Eventually, and mercifully, Harrington was removed from the game, marking the second week in a row that an opponent's starting quarterback finished the afternoon on the sideline looking bewildered. BAM! BAM! Two-for-two, baby! I love it. I friggin' love it! This is a streak that must continue. Carson Palmer is next. The Unknown Column wants blood and guts. He wants carnage. He wants destruction. He wants the lifeless bodies of opponents lying in the turf as Bears defenders dance around them like half-crazed primal warriors. Scratch that, make it fully-crazed. Demented. Psychotic. Disturbed. I'm talking Courtney Love-on-a-bad-day crazy.

At the moment, the defense cannot be showered with enough praise. Take away an early TD toss from Harrington to Roy Williams, which came against Jerry Azumah, who is not yet 100% following hip surgery in July, and the Bears have allowed just three field goals in two games. Nice. That'll win you some ballgames.

Chris Harris, a rookie free safety suddenly thrust into the starting lineup in favor of struggling vet Mike Green, was making plays all over the field. Nothing against Green, but Harris is bigger, faster, younger. The aforementioned Brown was a one-man heat-seeking missile, nearly knocking Pollard unconscious, returning an interception for a touchdown, and clearly determined to dominate once again after missing most of last year with a torn achilles. Nathan Vasher, with two more interceptions, continues to display an uncanny nose for the ball. Lance Briggs is one of the most underrated players in the league. And Brian Urlacher? Well, provided he stays healthy (knock on wood), his goal of being the NFL's defensive MVP doesn't seem farfetched at all. Today he picked up a pair of sacks when not providing relentless sideline-to-sideline pursuit. Adewale Ogunleye left early with an ankle injury, but he seemed to be walking reasonably well.

Meanwhile, Orton continues to be, well, spectacularly unspectacular. But consistent. Hats off to the kid. He hasn't been flashy, but he hasn't made killer mistakes. He's managing games well. He's keeping Muhsin Muhammad happy, and I like to see Moose happy. He's doing what he has to do to help the Bears win, and, just as importantly, avoid losing. He's earning the respect of the Bears' vets, and, more importantly, he has them believing that he's not just dead weight to be dragged along for the ride a la the usual stiffs the Bears trot out to play quarterback. What else can one expect at this point? Not much. Hopefully, expectations can be raised a little on a week to week basis, but there's no need to rush the rookie. He's doing his thing and it's working.

And the offensive line deserves props for spearheading a big rushing day, which was a pleasant surprise after they did plenty to cost the Bears last week against the Redskins.

So, yeah, it was a great win for the Bears, particularly when you consider that the NFC North could very well come down to the Bears and Lions. Minnesota is cursed with Mike Tice, the NFL's dumbest coach, and Green Bay might be lucky to win four games this year. Yes, folks, the Packers are that bad. I almost feel sorry Brett Favre. Almost. OK, who am I kidding? I couldn't care less about Favre's demise. In fact, I laughed heartily as the final seconds ticked away in the Browns' hilarious win in Lambeau. Good times.

So this could be the start of big things for the Bears.

Hey, why not?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Check 'Em Out

The Unknown Column is an admmiteed sucker for anything Brit rock. Loves it all.

Come on, nobody knows how to pull off sunglasses and a cool haircut like the British. So ckeck out the Stereophonics latest album, Language. Sex. Violence. Other? Actually, the album came out several months ago, but I'm just listening to it now and liking it.

Check out the video for "Dakota" as a sample here.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Pig's Pigskin Picks


It's not often a Bears-Lions game matters much, if at all, except to local diehards and degenerate gamblers, which is sad considering they have been playing twice a year since Lincoln was president, but with the Vikings and Packers in disarray (HOORAY!), this game actually has significance. I mean, one of these teams might actually win the division, which doesn't happen often. Hey, it could it happen. Quit your snickering.

If Joey Harrington is outplayed by Kyle Orton, the unintentional comedy meter might just explode.

Oh, and since the Unknown Column desperately wanted the Bears to draft Mike Williams, can Williams be, you know, knocked unconscious or something? It would make me feel better. A little.
Straight-up: Bears
Against the spread: Bears +1.5

The Ravens have apparently been getting quarterback advice from Bears GM Jerry Angelo. I mean, Anthony Wright? Is this cat really the Ravens starter? Really? Shouldn't he be in the CFL or starting for the Bears? Ravens fans must look back on Trent Dilfer with much fondness, which is a frightening thought. I suppose Chad Hutchinson will be added to the Ravens roster any week now. A la the Bears, the Ravens are a fantastic waste of a solid defense and seemingly perpetually offensively-challenged. Remember when Brian Billick was considered an offensive genius? Hahahaha!

Then again, there will be much joy to be had in watching Billick and Ray "I Didn't See Nuttin'" Lewis as the Ravens' season goes down the drain. How often do you get to see an arrogant blowhard (Billick) and a would-be inmate (Lewis) both get what they deserve? Not often enough, I say. And when the losses in Baltimore start adding up, 'Cops' would be wise to have their cameras rolling. There should be at least 3-4 episodes in it.

Does Lewis realize that rougly 99.9% of the world's football-viewing population a) thinks his pre-game dance is idiotic and annoying, b) thinks he's overrated, c) thinks he should have done jail time, and d) just doesn't like him? Someone should keep him abreast of this situation. Fill the dude in.
Straight-up: Ravens
Against the spread: Ravens -3.5

It's starting already. Yup, it's that time of year when Steelers fans get giddy and start envisioning a trip to the Super Bowl. Hell, they'll even talk about how much homefield advantage will make a difference come January. And the rest of the nation will be inundated with stories of Pittsburgh blue collar-types with mustaches and hard hats talking about how the the Stelers personify them.

And then the Steelers will bow out disgracefully in the playoffs. At home, no less.

Wanna bet?
Straight-up: Steelers
Against the spread: Steelers -6

The Unknown Column has only one request for this game: Can the Bills please wear the sweeeeeet 1965 throwback uniforms that they wore last week...

...while the Bucs wear the ole mighty orange unis they wore before trying to look like the 49ers...


This would bring the Unknown Column much happiness. Especially if a kicker wears a facemask like this...

Straight-up: Bucs
Against the spread: Bucs -2.5

Amazing stat: The Colts have scored 24 points combined in their last two games with the Jaguars. Wow, that's impressive. A vaunted attack hasn't been shut down so thoroughly since the last time the Unknown Column was at a strip club and asked Amber what she was doing when she got off.

(Yes, the Unknown Column's "game" would be described as vaunted. No, really. Stop laughing. OK, maybe not vaunted. How about decent? Persistent? OK, How about 'not quite pathetic'?)

Tony Dungy recently had his contract extended through 2009, which means Colts fans have at least five more years of bitter playoff disappointments. And the rest of us have at least five more years of Peyton Manning face. Thank you, Jim Irsay.
Straight-up: Colts
Against the spread: Jaguars +9

I'm still amazed that anyone has any faith in the Vikings. I mean, what part of Mike Tice + no Randy Moss + no leading rusher Onterrio Smith + purple uniforms don't people understand? The Vikings are a mess. This year might bring back memories of Les Steckel's one year reign of horror in 1984. The Unknown Column predicts that Mike Tice won't make it through the entire season and Daunte Culpepper is about to go through his Art Garfunkel-without-Paul Simon phase. Somewhere Randy Moss is laughing. And I will thoroughly enjoy every moment of it.
The pick: Bengals
Against the spread: Bengals -3

Interesting game for the Panthers, a Super Bowl favorite facing an 0-2 start after two home games. A desperate team backed into a corner is always dangerous, especially one coached by John Fox.

Check this tidbit on Tom Brady from the Gawker...

Tom Brady - at Gypsy tea later that night making out with multiple girls then acting like the perfect boyfriend when his fiancée, Bridget Moynahan showed up. I was so disappointed!!! He is portrayed as such a sweetheart in the media - what a dog!

Wow. Brady's real life looks eerily like the inside of the Unknown Column's head. That said, here's hoping the Panthers drive Brady's sore shoulder into the turf hard. Yeah, I'm bitter. Sue me. The neverending loop of commercials featuring the Patriots has me on the verge of madness. Has a team with less personality ever been thrust upon the public this way? I'm sorry, but Richard Seymour talking to a Pepsi machine doesn't exactly ooze charisma. Surely, one could find more exciting personalities at a young Republicans meeting, that is if one didn't first slit one's wrists or set one's self on fire. The Patriots and their weak and utterly boring excuse for a dynasty have officially jumped the shark and must be stopped. What happened to the fun, interesting NFL champions? You know, the Cowboys and their hookers and coke, or the Ravens and their pending legal cases. The Unknown Column is sick of the Patriots. And their whiny, eyeball-shooting Boston fans. Oh, and fuck the Red Sox, too.
Straight-up: Patriots
Against the spread: Patriots -3

The Unknown Column remains convinced that Terrell Owens is gay, not that there's anyting wrong with that. I only mention this because I can't get the thought of T.O. locking the door to an empty trainer's room and then lovingly rubbing Donovan McNabb's bruised chest with baby oil while Barry White quietly plays in the background.

What's wrong with me?

But T.O. is gay, right? Come on. Think about it! Isn't it obvious?
Straight-up: Eagles
Against the spread: Eagles (no present line)

Let me get this straight: The maddeningly mediocre Seahawks are giving points against a legitimate contender? I don't care where this game is being played at. Take the Falcons and the points. The Seahawks blow.
Straight-up: Falcons
Against the spread: Falcons +1

I heard a rumor that the Rams have one young, potentially stud running back in Stephen Jackson and another running back destined for the Hall of Fame in Marshall Faulk, yet Mark Bulger continues to throw the ball roughly fifty times per game.

Nah, no NFL coach could be that stupid.

Could he?
Straight-up: Rams
Against the spread: Rams +1

I know I can't be the only one sort of rooting for another putrid Jets performance if only for the possibilty of Herm Edwards producing one of the best post-game press conferences ever. Have your TIVO ready.
Straight-up: Jets
Against the spread: Dolphins +6

It just doesn't get much uglier than this. The only thing that could make this fest of ineptitude any uglier would be if it was played in Cleveland's old Memorial Stadium without any grass. Actually, that would be beautiful.

First team to cross midfield wins.

The Unknown Column is absolutely giddy at the prospect of 60,000 cheeseheads booing Brett Favre and clamoring for Aaron Rodgers. That's going to be a little slice of Heaven right there. Oh, yeah.
Straight-up: Packers
Against the spread: Browns +6.5

Is anyone more deserving of a slow slide into suckiness than Mike Shanahan? I don't think so. I mean, shouldn't he be running a dirty college program by now?
Straight-up: Chargers
Against the spread: Chargers +3

So, what are the chances that Larry Johnson and Sebastian Janikowski get together this weekend, hit the clubs, drop some roofies in the drinks of unsuspecting chicks, and then drag those chicks back to a hotel by their hair? I'd say good to pretty good.
Straight-up: Chiefs
Against the spread: Chiefs -1

Anyone who isn't a Giants diehard and roots against the Saints in their "home" game in the Meadowlands has no heart and should be forced to watch bachelorette boy Jesse Palmer's highlight reel on an endless loop. And if that doesn't drive them insane, then they should be forced to watch 'The Bachelorette'. Oh, the horror!
Straight-up: Giants
Against the spread: Giants -3

Someone should tell ABC that it's not a universal law that a Redskins-Cowboys game must be played on Monday Night Football. Especially one in which fossils Drew Bledsoe and Mark Brunell are the starting quarterbacks.
Straight-up: Cowboys
Against the spread: Redskins +6

Last week
Straight-up: 7-9 (7-9 on the season)
Against the spread: 9-7 (9-7 on the season)
OK, so it wasn't an overwhelming start, but the Unknown Column is just getting started, baby!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

He Gone?

The White Sox aren't making easy work of wrapping up the AL Central, are they? One distraction after another.

Two weeks ago Mark Buehrle accused the Rangers of cheating, while last week several Sox players bitched and moaned about disappointing crowds at the Cell for the series with the Royals.

And there's also the current four-game losing streak to overcome.

Oh, and the Indians continue to be the hottest team in baseball and remain in the Sox's rearview mirror.

Now the latest controversey surrounds Damaso Marte, who according to radio reports, is done for the season, either through injury or the wrath of Ozzie. It's unclear what exactly has happened at this point. The only things that seem to be known are a) Marte plunked the first two batters he faced in the ninth inning of a 1-0 win over the Royals last week and b) he was sent home before a game with the Angels over the weekend after skipping a session with trainer Herm Schneider and showing up late.

Now, apparently, Marte is gone, his days in a Sox uniform possibly finished.

Naturually, conspiracy theories are abound. Some say Marte is legitimately injured and there is no reason to get excited. He's simply going on the DL. Some say the Sox are upset with Marte for not being forthcoming and honest about his injuries. Some say there was a clash with Ozzie and this is another example of the volatile Ozzie blowing up and acting promptly and directly and decisively. In other words, Ozzie being Ozzie. His way or the highway.

Personally, my initial reaction is to have a hard time believing Marte could have so angered Ozzie that he would be sent home for good only weeks before the playoffs. Marte has always seemed shy and intensely quiet. To be honest, in his four years with the Sox, I don't recall ever seeing a news clip from him in the locker room. I don't even know what his voice sounds like. And Marte quotes in the paper are rare, as well.

Of course, that means nothing. Don't judge a book by its cover. Maybe Marte does have an attitude problem. I don't know.

All I do know is that Ozzie has long ago let it be known that he will not stand for insubordination, and Marte has suddenly disappeared like a mob hit.

There are two ways to look at the possible loss of Marte:

1) This is bad news. Marte was usually the first lefty out of the bullpen. This leaves a big hole that will weaken the entire pitching staff. Moreover, why would you punish Marte in this dramatic fashion? Why not play it low key and thus keep his trade value relatively high come the offseason? Lefties with good stuff are always at a premium. Often it is best to let cooler heads prevail.

2) This is good news. If the White Sox have had one weakness the last few years it has been mental toughness. This is why the Twins have continually beaten them in the Central in the second half of the past three seasons. Ozzie has been adamant about getting rid of the characters who permeate that weak mentality. If Ozzie feels that Marte is part of the problem, then I stand by his decision to take swift action, even if it comes in mid-September.

Besides, Marte hasn't been the dominant lefty out of the bullpen that he was in the past. He's struggled this season.

Since coming to the Sox in 2002, Marte has been, dare I say, one of the most underrated relievers in baseball. A fireballing lefty is a rare thing, and Marte was a gift that just seemed to show up on the Sox roster one day. Hell, I remember when he first arrived on the South Side as an unknown and thinking, "Damn, who is that cat? He's nasty" And his results were as nasty as his stuff. He was good. Reliable. Solid.

This year? Not so much. Marte has struggled and, despite deceptively solid stats, has been one of the weaker options out of the bullpen, despite Ozzie continually being quick to use him. If anyone in the Sox bullpen was going to implode in the playoffs, you'd get pretty good odds on Marte being the one to do so.

Perhaps now we'll never know. And perhaps that's a good thing. Neil Cotts is a fine lefty, and Brandon McCarthy's move to the bullpen should add depth as well.

If Marte is gone, he's gone. Maybe we'll learn the truth, maybe we won't. Hopefully, in the near future, the Sox roster will be made up entirely of "Ozzie guys" and such troublesome blowups will be rid of.

In the meantime, at this late point in the season, there is nothing the Sox can do but buckle up and soldier on. With Marte or without.

Timeline in Quotes

I'm a day late on this, but the Sun-Times Richard Roeper has a nice collection of some of the quotes to come from the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. Check them out...

From the disputed presidential election of 2000 to the terrorist attacks on America on 9/11/01 to the failure to find Osama bin Laden to the quagmire of a war in Iraq to Hurricane Katrina, this has been a terrible decade, century, millennium.

It's got to get better in 2006, doesn't it?

In the meantime, we're two weeks into one of the most tragic and shameful events in American history. Here, in chronological order, are some of the most memorable quotes from evacuees, politicians, journalists, media personalities and celebrities.

*"I wasn't going to let a little thing like a hurricane keep me from wearing my bathing suit." -- Eva Longoria on the Video Music Awards, Aug. 28. Had Longoria known what was going to happen in the days to come, one imagines she would have come up with another bit.

*"The looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked." -- New Orleans councilwoman Jackie Carlson, Aug. 30. Meanwhile, President Bush was playing guitar with country singer Mark Willis in San Diego. Bush would return to Crawford, Texas, that night, for one more night of taking it easy before finally cutting his vacation "short."

*"I must say, this storm is much bigger than anyone expected." -- FEMA Director Michael Brown, on CNN, Aug. 31.

*"Excuse me, senator, I'm sorry for interrupting . . . for the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people out here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated . . .

"And when they hear politicians . . . you know, thanking one another, it just . . . cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body in the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the streets for 48 hours . . ." -- CNN's Anderson Cooper, Sept. 1, in an awesome tirade directed at Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who had been tossing compliments to fellow politicians and blowing bromides up the wazoo before Cooper cut her off.

*"George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual for this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed." -- New York Times lead editorial, Sept. 1.

*"It was chaos. There was nobody there, nobody in charge. And there was nobody giving even water. The children . . . they're all just in tears. There are sick people. We saw . . . people who are dying in front of you." -- CNN producer Kim Segal, describing conditions in the New Orleans Convention Center, Sept. 1.

*"Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well." -- FEMA chief Brown, Sept. 1.

*"From here and from talking to police officers, they're losing control of the city . . ." -- CNN's Chris Lawrence, Sept. 1.

*"We just learned of the convention center -- we being the federal government -- today." -- FEMA Director Brown, trying to deflect criticism to local government, on "Nightline," Sept. 1.

*"Don't you guys watch television? Don't you guys listen to the radio? Our reporters have been reporting on it for more than just today." -- Koppel's response.

*"Many of these people, almost all of them that we see are so poor and they are so black . . . " -- CNN's Wolf Blitzer's well-meaning but unfortunate description of the evacuees, Sept. 1.

*"Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job." -- President Bush, Sept. 2. One of the most idiotic, misguided, clueless and smug things the president has said during his two terms in office.

*"I'm satisfied with the response. I am not satisfied with the results." -- President Bush, later that day.

*"Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch." -- President Bush, cracking wise in Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2. And maybe when he sits on that porch, one of those unemployed evacuees can bring him a nice iced tea and a fan. After all, they'll be looking for work.

*"George Bush doesn't care about black people." -- Kanye West Sept. 2 on an NBC telethon for hurricane relief, as a deer-in-the-headlights Mike Myers stood beside him, no doubt wishing he was off making "Shrek 57."

*"I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fund-raisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear. . . . Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened in Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh!" -- Excerpt from Michael Moore's open letter to President Bush, Sept. 2. Moore is reportedly considering making a documentary about Bush and Katrina. It would be the easiest film he's ever done.

*"I open the television, there's people still there, waiting to be rescued, and for me that's not acceptable. I know there's reasons for it. I'm sorry to say I'm being rude, but I don't want to hear those reasons." -- Celine Dion in an interview on "Larry King Live," Sept. 3. An hour later, yours truly was in the audience at Dion's show in Las Vegas, where she told a baffled audience that she had cried and yelled at Larry King earlier that evening.

*"The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in a St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, 'Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?' [starting to cry] And he said, 'Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday.' And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night." -- Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard, Sept. 4, on NBC's "Meet the Press," in one of the defining media moments of all the hurricane coverage.

*"We lost everything. Katrina didn't care if you were poor or rich; all the houses look the same now." -- Mississippi resident Penny Dean, quoted in People magazine, which has covered the hurricane story in honorable and comprehensive fashion.

*"What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them." -- Former First Lady Barbara Bush, sounding like a bad caricature of a "Dallas" character, in the Houston Astrodome, Sept. 5.

*"I understand there are 10,000 people dead. It's terrible. It's tragic. But in a democracy of 300 million people, over years and years and years, these things happen." -- Republican operative Jack Burkman, MSNBC, Sept. 7, in an obvious attempt to go for the Humanitarian of the Year Award.

*"Go f-- yourself, Mr. Cheney. Go f-- yourself." -- Off-camera citizen heckling the vice president during a live interview that aired on CNN and MSNBC, Sept. 8. The "Go f-- yourself, Mr. Cheney" guy has his own Web site and is auctioning copies of personal video footage on eBay.

*"First time I've heard it. Must be a friend of John, er, uh, never mind." -- A chuckling Cheney's nonsensical, half-joke of a response when a reporter asked if he'd been hearing a lot of that sort of thing.

*"We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." -- Rep. Richard Baker (R-La.), Sept. 8, in a quip to lobbyists quoted by the Wall Street Journal. Baker is denying the quote; the WSJ reporter stands by his story.

*"How, then, did we get here? How did the richest country on Earth end up watching children cry for food in putrid encampments on the evening news? How did reporters reach crowds of the desperate in places where police, troops and emergency responders had not yet been--three days after the storm?" -- Time magazine, in a report to be published today.

The Asshole is Back

Hide your needles. Barry Bonds, unfortunately, is back. To this the Unknown Column says, "Too bad, he wasn't missed."

Here's hoping another injury derails Bonds' career permanently and the cheater never gets a sniff at Hank Aaron's record. Fuck Barry Bonds.

Speaking of returns, Mark Messier will not be making one when NHL play resumes. He'll retire after 25 years, six NHL titles, and one fling with Madonna. Not too shabby.

Monday, September 12, 2005

World's Hottest Chick?

Hmm. I don't know. But she's definitely the world's hottest news anchor. (With apologies to Chicago's own Cheryl Burton.) GOODGAWD! The Unknown Column is in love. Melissa Theuriau. Stunning.

Well, it's a Start

Week One
Redskins 9 Bears 7

The bad news is that the Bears lost their season opener to the Redskins on Sunday, 9-7, in a brutal, ugly affair between two extremely physical but offensively-challenged teams. The Bears are now 0-1, largely because when the beleaguered offense finally got moving consistently - at the most opportune of times, no less, in the middle of the fourth quarter - the offensive line peed itself and was flagged for three - THREE! - consecutive false starts and then, to truly top off the maddening absurdity, gave up a sack to put the Bears at third-and-38 when only moments before the potential game-winning points loomed as a distinct possibility. Only the Bears.

Obviously, that all sucks.

The good news is that everything else, essentially, went exactly as expected. The defense bent but didn't break, the offense struggled but, aside from one glaring ommission, avoided the killer mistake, and the Bears had every opportunity to win a close game on the road. Going in, that was all any Bears fan could ask for.

You can argue if there is such a thing as a "good loss" or not, but this Bears defeat could have been much worse. There were definite positives to be found.

For instance, it only took until the 11:00 minute mark of the second quarter until the defense knocked out its first (hopefully, of many) opposing quarterback on the year when Lance Briggs nearly decapitated Patrick Ramsey and caused a fumble, prompting me to leap up in a moment of pure ecstacy and shout, "IT HAS BEGUN!" Of course, FOX's Randy Cross began moaning about it being an illegal clothesline, but it wasn't. Briggs was vaulted into the air by his blocker and thus was coming down on Ramsey from above. Fair play. Big hit. BAM! Ramsey done. Cross should keep whatever pansy-ass Bay Area football mentality he has to himself. Boo, hoo, hoo. Sissy. Go work on your hair.

I must confess, I was getting endless pleasure out of watching Ramsey wandering around the sideline confusedly, looking as though he knew attempting to go back in was the brave and honorable thing to do, but wanting no part of it. (He never returned.) His world was rocked. Rocked!

Overall, the defense, as usual, was its normally consistent self. Bottom line: No Redskins touchdowns, three sacks, and three turnovers. Not to shabby. A good day's work.

Sure, Clinton Portis was able to get some nice chunks of yardage straight up the middle, but that's exactly what a Joe Gibb's offense is built to do. Portis getting his was understandable. Portis - nor any other Redskin player - not finding the endzone was commendable.

And, sure, the Bears defense looked succeptible at times on third down conversions. However, that will happen when you're forced to be on the field for so long. Also, Jerry Azumah, still recovering from recent hip surgery in August, was continually burned by Santana Moss in nickel situations. Right now, Azumah is a weakness, a concern that needs to be addressed before the Lions and all their big, talented wide receivers enter Soldier Field this Sunday.

As for Kyle Orton, the rookie QB tossed into the spotlight, he didn't embarrass himself. One big mistake - a third quarter interception in the endzone that killed a rare Bears trip inside the Redskins' 20-yard line - was the only glaring mistake. Truth be told, when it mattered most, with the game reaching its final moments, Orton had the Bears moving on their most consistent drive of the game. Cedric Benson had just entered for the first time, and Orton had completed a few passes that had the Bears marching. Things were looking good. There was no reason not to believe that the Bears, at this particular juncture, couldn't grab a field goal, go ahead 10-9, and then rely on the defense to hold the Redskins for the final few minutes.

But it wasn't to be. In one of the most infuriating sequences to a fan imaginable, John Tait, Fred Miller, and Ruben Brown were each called for a false start within a matter of seconds, and the Bears marched backwards, backwards, backwards, way out of field goal range, and right into a loss.

That is unacceptable. Completely unacceptable. And this is what bothers me about Lovie Smith: the apparent, at times at least, lack of utmost discipline. As the Bears marched backwards, the camera panned to Lovie, who just stood there, apparently speechless and dumbfounded. Dick Stockton said he appeared "puzzled". Puzzled? Look, there are plenty of adjectives I'd like to see affixed to a Bears head coach and "puzzled" isn't one of them. I want to see Lovie howling into his headset about all the heads that will be rolling if the comedy of errors continues. I don't want to see the dude silently standing there looking as though he's lost control. Show some emotion, baby! The best coaches do...not...stand for such shenanigans.

And that was far from the only time the offensive line did its best to cost the Bears the game. I lost track of how many times the Bears went from third-and-short to third-and-long because of a flag on the O-line. That was a big factor in the Bears having six punts on six first half possessions.

And the running game was nothing to get excited about.

Bottom line: If you want to point fingers, you can point directly at the offensive line. Atrocious. Appalling. Unnacceptable. The sad part is, the offensive line is stocked with veterans with Pro Bowl experience. These aren't rookes, no-names, and castoffs making such dreadful mistakes. I mean, praise be to the lord there were no Quasim Mitchell sightings!

Hey, at least the Bears didn't get any 15-yard penalties for fighting or taunting or being clowns in general. See, it helps when resident doofus David Terrell is no longer on the roster. (Pause here to give thanks to the football gods.) Such moments of stupidity were a hallmark of the 2004 Bears.

The Redskins aren't a bad team. Despite what the experts say, the Unknown Column fully expects the Skins to be in the playoff race all year. They have a dominant defense, a stud running back, and a Hall of Fame coach. This was not a bad loss, and in a few months it may look even more respectable.

The 2001 Bears also began their season on the middle East Coast (in Baltimore) and came home with an ugly 17-6 loss. That Bears team then rebounded in Week Two by beating an NFC North opponent (the Vikings) in Soldier Field before running off a 13-3 record.

With the 2005 Bears set to host Detroit this week, the parallels are eerily similar.

If the Bears play defense the way they did yesterday and Orton avoids mistakes and the running game gets rolling (Benson or Thomas Jones - whoever!), the Lions are a very beatable team.

And a 1-1 record would be right where these young, underappreciated Bears need to be.


Steel. Balls of steel.

Never let it be said that Joe Novak doesn't have them because the Northern Illinois coach displayed them in Saturday's 38-37 loss to Northwestern. No, not literally. Pervert.

After the Huskies completed a 71-yard drive in the final seconds with a touchdown with six seconds remaining, Novak decided to go for the gusto, two points and the win. Tom Osborne was somewhere shaking his head.

No dice. Game over.

But the decision did show plenty of moxie from a Huskies team playing its second consecutive road game in a Big Ten stadium to open the season.

I mean, I think I'm going out on a limb when I go into a Mexican joint and order anything other than a steak burrito with everything/extra sour cream. For me, that's craziness. So I must admit, if I'm a coach in the position Novak was, I'm kicking the extra point and playng overtime. Every time.

For Northwestern, the near escape means a 2-0 record heading into a showdown at Arizona State. It also means that Tyrell Sutton should get ready for the star treatment in this town. The freshman RB ran for 218 yards and four touchdowns.

NIU RB Garrett Wolfe (248 yards, 3 TD) wasn't bad himself.

Elsewhere, Illinois also improved to 2-0 with a 40-19 pounding of San Jose State. Granted, the Spartans aren't exactly world beaters, but it was only a few years ago they embarrassed the Illini in Champaign. Remember that?

The Unknown Column is still far from convinced of Ron Zook's competence, but 2-0 is 2-0.


Roger Federer is just too damn good.

The dude is a machine and had no problem raining all over Andre Agassi's memorable, inspirational run in the U.S. Open final.

Even as Federer struggled in the middle of yesterday's match, there was never a moment when Agassi didn't look borderline overmatched. And when Federer got rolling in the fourth and final set, well, Mary Carillo described it best when she said that it was like watching Secretariat run. Utter dominance.

At this point, Federer is like Drago in Rocky IV - the big, bad foreigner who crushes opponents with barely a hint of emotion or a heart. He's cold-blooded, dominant, and scary good. He must break you.

I was almost half expecting a beat-up, exhausted Agassi to grab the mic from Dick Enberg and say, "If Roger and I can get along, then so can the U.S.A and Switzerland!"

Friggin' Swiss.


OK, when did a Jessica Simpson-Nick Lachey sighting become a moment of national importance? Is there any legitimate reason why an absolutely horrid rendition by these two of "America the Beautiful" should be broadcast simultaneously on multiple channels? Surely, there can't be. Can there be?

Maybe the Unknown Column continues to lose touch with the rest of America.

I mean, Simpson and Lachey? Really? You'd be hard-pressed to ever find less talent with a mic in hand - unless you looked elsewhere in the Simpson household.

And I know I wasn't the only one just hoping to see an hysterical lip-synching disaster. But that would have been asking for too much.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

30 Minutes Till Kickoff

Let the season begin.

(Cue "Hoosiers" theme music.)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Check Back in a Year

Kanye West continues to tackle the most difficult and darkest areas of race relations. Yes, last week, the president of the United States. This week, Bobby McFarland and his friends in Suburbia, USA using the word 'homie'..

He says, "I think white people are allowed to say 'bling'. They are allowed to say old-school black slang, like 'hottie' and 'homie'.

"Actually, I do not think that (white people) are allowed to use slang until it is at least a year old. If you say a slang word too early, it's like you're trying to be black. So as long as the slang is a little played out, you're all good."

Um, OK.

By the way, check out Kanye's new single "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People".

For some hearty laughs check out these cats. You can't make this stuff up. (Hat tip, BF Hoodrich.)

Yard Work

Check out this "Yard Work" blog. Hilarious.

White Sox fans will get a particular kick out of the article penned by Hawk Harrelson. Hawk doesn't like Jay Mariotti. I was rolling.

Except for Mariotti. Now, I got no problem with Jay. He’s a good guy. Maybe not a great writer, but whatever. Not everyone’s John Grisham. We had some run-in before, but that’s under the bridge and over the rainbow. Long gone. He’s OK people, even if he’s chicken. Hawk didn’t want to fight. Hawk just wanted to talk, straighten things out, cinch it up and hunker down. But Jay didn’t want to talk. That’s fine. I’m right, he’s wrong. Folks love me, folks hate him. I hit .239, and he never played ball. All that matters.

With tomorrow being 9/11, it's a good thing the Philly Phanatic is behind bars.

Even Anna Benson has contributed a column, which is not only hilarious, but gives me more than enough reason to post a pic, not that I need a reason, but still...

(Hat tip, Frank Costanza.)

Luck of the Irish?

Tough loss for the White Sox last night, 6-5 in 12 innings. Mark Buehrle looked shaky and, unsurprisingly, Vlad Guerrero ended up playing hero. Paul Konerko remained scorching hot for the Sox with a home run and two doubles.

One positive was the green uniforms the Sox sported to honor the halfway point to St. Patrick's Day. Come on, you gotta love that! The Unknown Column is a big fan of throwing the alternate jersey into the rotation every once in a while, and while he is not a big fan of paying inordinate amounts for said alternate jerseys, he may just have to splurge for last night's green number. If he can find it. That was awesome. And the cap is a definite future purchase, as well.

I mean, any organization that grasps the beauty of one day to get competely out-of-your-mind smashed is scratching me right where I need to be itched.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Passing the Buck

Mike Brown has been fired.

Relax Cincinnati. Not the Bengal's troubled president. Sorry to disappoint you.

The FEMA head. The guy who was shitcanned from his job overseeing horse shows but had connections to Georgie Dumbfuck and thus suddenly, and ultimately utterly unfortunately, found himself overseeing the aftermath of the biggest natural disaster in American history.

That was his job.

Now a whopping twelve days after Katrina struck, Georgie Dipshit, between staged photo ops, is saying, "Oops. Brown fucked up."

You gotta love (i.e, be disgusted with) the way this inept administration just shitcans Brown and thinks they have some solution to the problem.

This administration is the problem.

They pass the buck off to Brown and fire him and shrug their shoulders and smile for the camera and say it was all just a big mistake and Brown had to go even though it wasn't long ago Bushie was telling Brownnie he was doing "a heck of a job".

Wrong. The problem was the highest levels of the United States government not pulling it together and getting stuff done. Getting done what needed to be done. You can talk all you want about who was at fault - the city of New Orleans, the state of Louisiana, or the president sitting in the Oval Office (oops, I mean the guy hanging out on his ranch in Texas.) - the job of the president is to get stuff done in a time of national crisis.

That didn't happen.

They hired Brown because he was a buddy and the dude was a clown. Nice foresight and wisdom, eh?

In the meantime, they they are suppressing photos from the Gulf Coast. At least any photos they don't consider you, dear reader, worthy of viewing, meaning any photo that might upset you is strictly forbidden.

Perhaps they want everyone to pretend it didn't happen. Or forget.

Perhaps they don't want you to see what happens when people in the deep summer of the deep South live at gunpoint for an entire week without water or food or medicine or fresh clothes or diapers. It isn't pretty.

Perhaps they don't want you to see what was GOING ON while they were flying around in luxury planes and buying very expensive shoes on Madison Avenue and hiding out in Idaho until the coast cleared.

So nice of you to make an appearance, Cheney. Didn't mean to disturb you.

Damn straight props to whoever the guy was who told Cheney to go fuck himself down in Mississippi.

Damn straight. Cheney can go fuck himself.

Is this what Cheney does? He hangs out in Idaho while thousands die on the Gulf Coast and while getting the occasional update on his little plan over in the Middle East that is so gloriously fucked up and never going to end?

Is this the sum of his accomplishments?

Well, then, what the fuck was he voted in for?

Fuck Cheney and him wandering onto the scene nearly two weeks late and making empty comments for the cameras and acting as if everything is under control.

It's not. There are Mike Browns everywhere and the longer Bush is president and Cheney is his cold-hearted incompetent sidekick this will always be a problem. The problem.

But why not show it?

I can understand this administration not showing the photos of coffins coming home from Iraq. And especially not photos of what those bodies looked like before they were placed in their coffins.

This administration is responsible for that much more directly. People don't kill by the thousand unless someone is ordering them to do it.

A thinking killer leaves no signs of his handiwork. No photos. No coffins.

Now they would rather you not see the ugliness of Katrina's wreckage. Apparently, they know what's best for you.

The Unknown Column says that regardless of what side you're on, or you who you support or who you blame, you have the right to make up your own mind.

The truth
can be
infinitely ugly.

P.S. - If anyone knows where I can find any uplifting and joyful photos of what's going on down south, let me know. I'll post those too. Never let it be said that the Unknown Column isn't fair.

One Advantage to Rising Gas Prices?

The Handlebar, which the Unknown Column can already attest to being a fine establishment, at 2311 W. North Avenue here in Chicago will continue to lower beer prices in proportion to rising gas prices.

Under its Inverse Petrol-O-Matic Beer Pricing Scheme, beer prices will fall as gas prices rise.

So with gas at $3, a pint of Goose Island 312 ale is also $3. When gas hits $4, the beer's $2. Five-dollar gas gets you beer for a buck and if gas hits $6 the beer's free.

God bless these folks. Just when you think the world has run out of good people...

I'll tell you what, if the price of gas ever reaches $6, the Unknown Column may never be heard from again...but you'll know exactly where to find him.

Shock the World, Baby

Week One
Bears at Redskins
Noon, Sunday

I love it.

I love the Bears being huge underdogs. I love Bears fans grimacing. I love outsiders snickering. I love how nothing is expected. I love people laughing heartily at the idea of a fourth round draft pick starting at quarterback. I love people expecting injuries. I love people who say Cedric Benson isn't prepared or that he's a space cadet or another bust waiting to happen. I love when people say Brian Urlacher is overrated. I love opening up in the NFL's largest stadium - 90,000-plus. I love it all.

Yes, I love each and every dumb asshole (i.e., Jay Mariotti) who have nothing but bad things to say about the Bears. Nothing but bad things. Nothing.


Bring on the season, baby.

Bring on the Redskins, baby.

Let's just see how bad the Bears are going to be, shall we? Me? I don't think they'll be too shabby at all.

Not too shabby at all.

In fact, the Bears have all the makings of an absolutely fantastic story. The defense is going to be awesome. Awesome. The best since the legendary wrecking crew of the 1980s. The status of Benson and Kyle Orton as rookies will only serve to make their success all the more fun and enjoyable. In Benson and Thomas Jones, the running attack is loaded. The wide receivers are a collections of kids being mentored by Mushin Muhammad.

There is plenty of feel-good potential here. In fact, if Lovie Smith ever shows a hint of emotion, this season is going to be great.

There is nothing like the joy of a successful Bears season, especially when it's completely unexpected. Remember 2001?

This season could be just like 2001 all over again. Mark my words.

The NFC North is garbage. The Packers are crumbling and Mike Holmgren is about to be exposed for what he is: an incompetent coach who was lucky to take over a previously built and successful team. In Motown, Steve Mariucci is starting to get that perpetually confused and concerned look on his face and Joey Harrington is a pretty boy bust. In Minnesota, say what you will about Randy Moss, but you don't get rid of a playmaker like that and not expect some initial struggles.

In other words, the NFC north is more than manageable.

The schedule, on paper at least, is more than manageable, as well, with only one 2004 playoff team (the Vikings) among the first twelve games.

The pieces are falling into place and the stars are lining up. I feel the mojo rising.

My prediction? 11-5.

That's right, baby, 11 and friggin' 5!

Shock the world!

As for this week against the Redskins, the key will be hounding Patrick Ramsey into submission. I mean, who's Patrick Ramsey? Seriously? He's not going to beat anyone. Blitz, blitz, and blitz some more. Then blitz again. I want to see a FOX camera shot of Ramsey's helmet ominously rolling away from his limp, shocked body and him laying motionless on the grass as Redskins fans are hushed.

If Jones and Benson are pounding the ball successfully, which I suspect they will be, and Orton avoids killer mistakes, which I suspect he can, this is a winnable game. And this entire season won't be nearly as gloomy as all the predictably negative jackasses in this town are so quick to predict.


The pick: Bears 17 Redskins 10