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Eagles 56, Lions 21

A few happenings in last week's Eagles win over the Lions that we might not see again this season:
  • Let's just get it out of the way... the uniforms, hopefully
  • Ol' #5's perfect passer rating
  • 50+ points from the offense
  • 3 TDs by 3 different RBs
  • 3 TDs by 1 WR
Pitch and catch is fun, no? And I hope we get to see much more of that Stockton and Baldinger booth.

Taking Inventory
  • Bearcat Trent Cole's season sack total: 5
  • Bearcat Brent Celek's season reception total: 0
  • Yards Tony Hunt is stealing from Brian Westbrook, year-to-date: 1
  • Eagles record: 1-2
  • Fantasy record: 10-8
  • Office Pick'em: 33-15 (5th place)
Recap Rewind: '06 | '05




TINWA digs "Good Life". Old Man likes "Stronger". So, considering the weighty role I played in launching that Bear, I might as well go on record as blogging "Champion" is my top track on the new KanYe.

It makes me think of my dad's Archway Cookie Route like no hip-hop anthem before it. The Route may have ended up a wash-out, but it was a glorious risk. And with a freezer packed with Apricot Filled, Dutch Cocoa and Iced Oatmeal, one not without reward.

Plus, "Champion's" hook may trump De La Soul's "Eye Know" as best use of a Steely Dan sample. Hey, I like some of his stuff (that's for Witt, hope my blog's signal reaches Winchester). In fact, I Limewired "Kid Charlemagne" and gave it a few plays. The "Is there gas in the car? / Yes, there's gas in the car." line sounds like it belongs in Weird Al's "Trapped In The Drive-Thru", when in Wikireality, the lyric hints at the downfall of a famed LSD chemist. Oh, do tell, Steely.

Other Graduation thoughts:
  • Big fan of the packaging. The tri-fold cardboard jacket was sealed differently than your typical CD and was easy to open.

  • Also dig the artwork. That Bear has come along way, no? I still haven't decided where to hang the poster.

  • I personally don't think 'Ye needed to alter pronunciation of "good morning" prior to the last verse of track 1 just so that it would rhyme better with Valedictorian and Delorean. For more unnecessarily detailed analysis of Mr. West, the MC, click here, here and/or here.

  • The disc opens with a strong run of 6 tracks and closes with 5 solids. I recommend routinely skipping 7 and 8. I'd cut 7 some slack if it would show up on the CD deck as 7*.



Getting Out Our Dreams

Rarely do my dreams cause concern. After all they tend to be pretty tame. But last night's... whoa... I'll try my best to recap:
It was Sunday afternoon, Mark and I were watching American Football. The Chargers were on and I was excited to see LT breaking a few long runs to finally get his season kick-started. He was having a field-day, busting loose every time he touched it. We were analyzing whether it would be wise for me to pull the trade offer I have on the table in the Bill Hahn league since LT was finally looking like a difference maker (it has been two weeks). Then the broadcast jumped over to a McDonald's Game Break or something. More good news. Another of my personal fantasy investments, Larry Fitzgerald, was tearing it up with over 100 yards and two scores in the first half for the Buzzsaw. Must have been a Popeye's Game Break. Then I glanced at the bottom line and caught a glimpse of the name D Culpepper scrolling...
Of course what followed was the gasp. Then the rapid pulse. Finally the sweat. What could it all mean?

Well, amateur psychologists, go ahead and put your eyeglasses back on. I don't need any help with this one. I picked up Josh McCown earlier this week to be a one-week starter due to his favorable match-up against Cleveland's torchable D. I guess I failed to mention that my dreams are pretty transparent too.

So what do I do?
  1. Bail on the premonition, play the match-up, start Josh McCown over Tony Romo and Jay Cutler

  2. Trust that I have better vision with my eyes closed and no conciousness and drop McCown immediately

  3. Start a Fantasy Fantasy Football League where real-life NFL players are awarded points based on stats from games I totally dream up

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Redskins 20, Eagles 12

What did we learn from last night's 20-12 Philly loss to DC? I need to locate the JVC's AM Loop Antenna. The only thing more painful than watching the Birds break down in the red zone was listening to the MNF booth - Barkley's guest appearance included - "calling the action." I found the decision to override actual play-by-play and color commentary with the soundtrack to Days Of Our Lives an unbearable one. MJ summed it up best when she briefly dropped her People magazine below her chin to question "why are they still talking about this?"

On the field, there are some concerns. While we've been able to successfully stuff the run, the secondary's injuries are mounting and the play of Sean Consadine has been spotty. Offensively, the book seems to be out already on our starting wideouts' inability to shed the bump-and-run with Reggie Brown playing the role of Todd Pinkston and Kevin Curtis' game looking eerily like James Thrash's. As for the star of ESPN's soap opera, I'll reserve judgement on Donovan's effectiveness (or lack thereof) for a few weeks yet. Getting in synch obviously isn't coming as easily as I assumed it would and he may need a few more games to hit stride. Also, can we please ditch the no huddle?

Taking Inventory
  • Eagles offensive TDs, season-to-date: 1
  • Minutes spent talking about The View during an NFL football game: 2
  • Booming Sav Rocca punts: 1... maybe?
  • Eagles record: 0-2
  • Fantasy record: 7-5 (the yin and the yang so to speak)
  • Office Pick'em: 23-9 (5th place)
Recap Rewind: '06 | '05

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Constitution Party

Happy Constitution Day everyone! Now playing on the Instutute's campus monitors is the U.S. Constitution in its most unthinkable format - a powerpoint slideshow chock full of bullet lists, fun facts and Pepsi Can-ized US Flag graphics. I've been bewildered by the I's fuss over this holiday, but as usual, Wiki clears things up:

The law establishing the holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an
amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004. Before
this law was enacted, the holiday was known as "Citizenship Day". In addition to
renaming the holiday "Constitution Day and Citizenship Day," the act mandates
that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational
programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day. In May
2005, the United States Department of Education announced the enactment of this law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any
Why should the kids have all the fun? Here's your Constitution Day Cookout primer:
  • First off, allow yourself plenty of travel time as traffic will no doubt be heavy. It's never polite to arrive late, or worse, pull a Rhode Island.

  • It'll come up for sure, so dig deep and allow that pesky Preamble to resurface. I'll get you started: "We the people..." ...lost yet?

  • Be ready to rule on "friendly discussions" with authority by packing a Pocket Constitution.

  • If you're doing the grilling, cut your patties thin to keep your guests from waiting too long for their burgers. After all, you're cooking beef, not framing the Constitution! (101 days)

  • Finally, party in style with your favorite Constitution Day tee. May I recommend "The Second Ammendment?"

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The Office Pool

An $85 entry fee normally ends any conversation of me jumping in an office pool. But I've been struggling to get to know people at the Institute and thought this might serve as an excellent talking point. Plus, with over 40 participants, there are plenty of weekly and seasonal opportunities to recoup lost funds. And what's great is that there are no point spreads - just pick the winners straight up and let the chips fall where they may. Okay, I'm in. Now who's running this thing...


Ugh. Let me guess, there's a database app to manage the pool that looks like it was built in 1992. Check. Ooh and I bet a shortcut to this eyesore will conveniently appear on my Citrix app panel based on my log-in credentials. Check. Surely they came up with a clever name for this operation... what?!? Frenzy? Nooooo!!!

I am off to a nice start having pocketed 15 singles in week one and am currently tied with a few others atop the leaderboard. But no matter how well I fare as the season progresses, I'll still only be as imaginative as an IT guy. Bleh.



Packers 16, Eagles 13

The night before the Birds took the field for the first time in '07, I was debating on which classic from the VHS vault to pop in the Broksonic. Should I go the season opener route and revisit the Pickle Juice game? Talk about a quintessential table-setter. Or should I play up the Packer angle and relish once again on a successfully converted 4th and 26? Put the belt on Freddie! Maybe my decision to just go with the less relevant tape of Eagles Video Yearbooks was most appropriate, since the following day's action was hardly classic material. Unfortunately though, it will go down in Eagles lore - the mishandled punts by Greg Lewis and JR Reed won't soon be forgotten.

Taking Inventory
  • Brett Favre vs. Philly (since 2000): 4 TDs, 9 INTs
  • Times Brett Favre's interceptions have been blamed on a rookie running back not initiating a blitz pick-up block in the exact spot on the field that it should have been, even though the block effectively thwarted a blitzing linebacker: 1 (by the Moose)
  • Reno Mahe signings: 1 (JR Reed cut)
  • Eagles Record: 0-1
  • Fantasy Record: 6-0
  • Office Pick'em: 11-3 (more on this later)
Recap Rewind: '06, '05
Also See: TINWA's thoughts, StrouseNet's thoughts



Contestant’s Skid Row

This title may have the makings of a quality “Same Name” Wheel of Fortune puzzle (new season starts Monday, 9/10, with all sorts of new wrinkles), but it actually sums up life as I continue to follow through with ‘07’s resolution: Enter more contests.

Thus far I’ve avoided letting the losses get to my heart. However, after YDR’s handling of their “Summer Photo Contest,” I’ve been sunk to Brittenum Twin status: My spirit has been broken.

“Summer Photo Contest” sounds innocent enough, right? Find a few snapshots of Mallory doing this or that in a seasonal setting and give it a whirl. The contest results were printed last Sunday and we didn’t make the cut. No biggie.

Dejection set in soon after when I checked out the archive of entries online. First of all, my pictures looked dark on a PC, no doubt the format of the machine the judges were using. The poor color representation zapped the sunsation out of a few of my shots, but despite Hodgman’s efforts, that’s just the way of the world I guess.

Then, I really hit rock bottom when I clicked to view my photos and saw a 5-star rating system attached to each pic. I didn't make the paper, now I've got to stand by as the people tell me how close I wasn't? Mally’s face is barely peeping out of the top of a ferris wheel carriage and you’re giving me 1.8 stars? I use my cam’s built-in “Fireworks” setting, but my killer July 4th shot can only muster a 1.7? My daughter’s first steps on the beach warrant a 2.4? This county is merciless!

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The 2007 Lines

As the men in Midnight Green prepare to launch another promising season this Sunday at Lambeau, I'll kick around a few thoughts on the state of the Birds this 2007 season eve by reflecting on the most quotable of preseason Eagle quotes:
"It's going to be a new 100 percent," Jevon Kearse said yesterday. "It's not the 100 I used to be. It's a new 100 percent."
The defensive end position remains key for the Eagles this season as it would be nice to be able to pressure the quarterback consistently without blitzing linebackers or safeties. This was the game plan last season, but things didn't work out so well. I think Juqua Thomas might be the man to watch this season, so it's probably okay that Jevon's feeling less freakish.
"Before every game, we're going to say that the first thing we want to do is take that run away. Let the quarterbacks and the DBs decide the game." -- Broderick Bunkley
This ties in with the previous quote, and quite frankly, it scares me. Should the above M.O. go awry again this season, 5's unit will be under the gun to win shootouts aplenty. I've been content with our Gang Green defense allowing rushing yards by the bunches in the past because: a) even though opponent's running games were effective, head coaches just couldn't resist the lure of the passing game and more times than not ended up playing right into the Birds' claws; and b) we usually won 11+ games. I'm just not sold on this LB/DB crew going into the season.
Asked when he'd last returned punts, before the Eagles asked him to take a shot, (Greg) Lewis said, "Probably in a previous life."
The special teams unit was quite the toast of Philly's preseason. The Aussie punter beat out the incumbent and will be on the field goal holding hot seat. Maybe more of a concern is Mike Dorenbos' adventure at replacing a long-snapping legend. Then just this week the whirling dervish that is JR Reed has returned to return since spotlight skier Jeremy hadn't Bloomed. Oh, and there's what Greg Lewis said. Could be an adventure.
"I think the people who really understand the game really understand what an outstanding quarterback Donovan McNabb is and what he's meant to the franchise," Ron Jaworski said.
Finally, if things don't work out this year and the proverbial window suddenly slams shut on this Reid/McNabb/Dawkins version of our beloved Birds, it will have been an enjoyable ride. Donovan's not done by any means and will no doubt pick up the pieces should it be with another franchise. But it's easy to get caught up in what could happen if the team struggles. Andy Reid steps away from the game, Dawk retires, and management cuts ties to top-dollar vets, ultimately creating a starting spot for QB Kevin Kolb and his new era.

But that's all worst-case stuff and my fearless forecast for the upcoming season does not at all hint at a closing window of opportunity. I've seen guesses on the Eagles' record this season ranging from 8-8 to 10-6, but I'm ready to lap those low-balls. It looks like we've got games against 3 alleged elite teams (CHI/NE/NO), 1 pretty good team (SEA), and a lot of question marks. I say we split the 4 toughest tussles, lose once to a division rival, and one more time St. Elsewhere. That's right... Midnight Green is back to the upper echelon: 12-4.

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An Awesomely Brilliant Rocker

I'm often asked how work's going and rarely offer much of a response. My reticence isn't due to the fact that it's not going well though. In fact, much to the contrary say these recent emails:

Bill Walton's mastery of hyperbole is more than welcome during any NBA broadcast. Various co-workers' unwitting insertion of the same into my mailbox... not so much. Multiple exclamation points, smiley faces - what I really think when I get a few of these within the span of a day or two is that there is some kind of inside joke going on and the Instituters are just having fun with me. Brilliant? I converted a series of HTML pages into a PDF document.
Awesome? I uploaded a word file to our web site to override the outdated version. I rock? Cool.

By the way, can you take exclamation points and smiley faces into a performance review? "Sir, as evidenced by correspondences saved in my Exclamations and Smileys Outlook folders, I've accrued 427 exclamation points and 88 smiley faces over the last fiscal year. Need we really discuss 'being a team player' and 'future challenges?!?'" ☺

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FFL'07: Gang Green, Pt. 1

Nothing beats a live draft and for the 11th straight season the FFL crew (sorry for the lack of league-name creativity but there wasn't much need for differentiation back in '96) got together for some pizza and some picks.

Following tradition, each team entered the draft with 3 keepers from the previous season. My 5-time Super Bowl winning franchise Gang Green struggled mightily in '06 and had to swing a few off-season deals just to have some talent worth protecting. The trio of Brian Westbrook, Rudi Johnson and Terrell Owens were slated as my playmakers heading into the 8-team draft. Due to many draft day player trades and position swaps, I'll have to exclude the players pick numbers, but here's what I got:

QB: Jon Kitna, Vince Young, Matt Leinhart
RB: Brian Westbrook, Rudi Johnson, Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, Michael Turner
WR: Marvin Harrison, TJ Houshmandzadeh, Vincent Jackson, Donte Stallworth, James Jones, Dwayne Bowe
TE: Vernon Davis, Owen Daniels
K: Jason Hanson
DEF: Baltimore Ravens

Nemesis Yuck made a draft day offer that I couldn't pass up on. The result has Vincent Jackson slated as my 3rd receiver rather than Andre Johnson, but the deal led me to jump on a TE and DEF earlier than I would have otherwise. We'll see whether the move was worthwhile. Also, I was pleased to dump T.O. in exchange for Marvin Harrison... will the numbers prove the deal to be as favorable as I'm hoping?

Overall, this squad lacks the punch some of my opponents pack (Dawg Pound's backfield combo of LT and LJ for example). The goal is to finish in the top half of the standings and become a playoff team. Then, anything can happen (DC Express' victorious
backfield combo of Ladell Betts and Sammy Morris in last year's Super Bowl for example).


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