Taxi Driver (1976)

Director : Martin Scorsese, Producer : Julia Phillips, Producer : Michael Phillips, Author : Paul Schrader, Director of Photography : Michael Chapman, Original Music Composer : Bernard Herrmann, Casting : Juliet Taylor, Editor : Tom Rolf, Editor : Melvin Shapiro, Sound Re-Recording Mixer : Rick Alexander, Sound Effects Editor : Gordon Davidson, Sound Effects Editor : James Fritch, Sound Effects Editor : Sam Gemette, Sound Effects Editor : David M. Horton, Editor : Marcia Lucas, Art Direction : Charles Rosen, Set Decoration : Herbert F. Mulligan, Costume Design : Ruth Morley,

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Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

Amidst the cooking, the cleaning, the overeating, the napping, the football, and the Friday shopping strategy session that surely mirrors Napoleon's camp the night before Waterloo, I need to remember that I have so much to be thankful for:

I am loved: I will go over my monthly cell-phone minutes due to Thanksgiving wishes being extended across the miles among family and friends.

I am rich: I will over eat tomorrow because there is too much food on the table.

I am safe: I will be semicomatose in front of the fireplace watching football the better part of the afternoon.

I can't ask for much more than that. 

NCAA Football, Week 14

Rivalries. Rankings don't matter. Records don't matter. Upsets matter.

I have finally recovered from the embarassing loss my Red Raiders suffered at the hands of Oklahoma last weekend and I still have hope for a big bowl game. Here are this week's picks, against the spread. Lines taken from MGM Mirage and quoted material from College Football News.
  • LOSS - Texas A&M 9 at #2 Texas 49 (-35) - Thanksgiving Day - "This really has been the embodiment of the throw-out-the-record-books cliché when it comes to the rivalry, and this year, if A&M pulls it off, it might be the biggest shocker of the bunch." It won't happen, but 35 points won't either. GIG 'EM AGGIES!
  • WIN - West Virginia 15 at #25 Pittsburgh 19 (+3) - The Backyard Brawl - Friday - "Last year was proof that no one brings out the best in Pittsburgh more than West Virginia. Forget the fact that the Panthers underachieved last week in Cincinnati. This will be a different team." GO PANTHERS!
  • LOSS - Mississippi State 0 (+16) at Mississippi 45 - aka, The Egg Bowl - Friday - "Never discount the strange twists and turns of a rivalry game, but Ole Miss is too solid and MSU too flawed. The home team has won the last four games in the series. Make it five straight." But, the Dawgs will not exactly roll over and play dead. GO DAWGS!
  • WIN - LSU 30 at Arkansas 31 (+4.5) - Friday - "The Hogs might not have much going on the defensive front right now, but they should still be able to slow down the LSU attack just enough to let Dick come up with another big passing game on the way to a tough, ugly win." SOOIIIEEE PIG!
  • WIN - #22 Georgia Tech 45 (+8) at #11 Georgia 42 - "Georgia Tech is fired up for this game. If Georgia can’t match that intensity for four quarters, the winning streak will be over. While Johnson has narrowed the gap, as directed, his Yellow Jackets won’t be quite ready to win a game in Athens," BUT it will be close. GO YELLOWJACKETS!
  • WIN - Auburn 0 at #1 Alabama 36 (-14) - aka, The Iron Bowl - "The Auburn offense is sort of like the economy. Everyone’s trying everything to get it started, and all the efforts just seem to make things go backwards.... Welcome to Alabama’s cathartic exhale six years in the making. Saban and the Tide won’t be looking to make a statement; they just want the win." Besides, It will be so much more fun to watch Florida obliterate an undeafeated Alabama next week. ROLL TIDE!
  • WIN - #4 Florida 45 (-16.5) at #20 Florida State 15 - "Eventually, Harvin or Rainey will zip through a seam in the defense to quiet the crowd and end the threat of an upset. The Gators will build some space in the second half and start looking ahead to Alabama at some point in the final quarter." GO GATORS!
  • LOSS - Baylor 21 at #7 Texas Tech 35 (-21) - "Texas Tech will get back on track and put itself in the position to stay in the Big 12 title discussion. Baylor isn’t that bad, but remember, its four wins came against Northwestern State, Washington State, Iowa State and Texas A&M." I think Harrell and Crabtree are pissed and will be ridiculously good in their final game in Lubbock. WRECK 'EM TECH!
  • LOSS - #23 Oregon 65 at #17 Oregon State 38 (-3) - aka, Civil War - "There’s something special about this Oregon State team that isn’t easily explained. Even without a few critical parts, it continues to find ways to win games. The Beavers will feed off the home crowd and the play of the defense to outlast the Ducks and lock up a Rose Bowl berth." And, silence the USC apostles. GO BEAVERS!
  • LOSS - #3 Oklahoma 61 at #12 Oklahoma State 41 (+7) - aka, The Bedlam Game - "One of two things will happen. Oklahoma will prove it’s a national title-caliber powerhouse by blowing through Stillwater with a 30+ point win and yet another nuclear offensive display, or the team will come in overconfident, Oklahoma State will be well-prepared, and this will be an epic firefight with the Cowboys pulling off the stunner." GO COWBOYS!

NCAA Football, Week 13

Ooooh-weeee! The BCS picture could get a bit muddled this week, or it could become crystal clear for a few teams. I am hoping for the latter given the controversy surrounding the BCS system. It would be nice to go through a bowl season without all the chatter about who should have been in which game. (Oh, and don't miss my little video tribute to the Red Raiders at the bottom of the page.)

Here are my picks, against the spread. Lines taken from MGM Mirage and quoted material from College Football News. (Lines last updated by 8:00 am (PT) on Saturday, 11/22.)

  • WIN - Michigan 7 at #10 Ohio State 42 (-20.5) - "[T]his has gone from America’s greatest rivalry game, one of the few yearly appointment watches for even the most casual of football fan, to an afterthought. There’s no buzz, there’s no excitement, and there are no expectations for anything other than an Ohio State blowout." GO BUCKEYES!
  • WIN - North Carolina State 41 (+11) at #22 North Carolina 10 - "North Carolina and Miami are going to find out in the next two weeks that NC State is for real. The Pack is a genuine nuisance that’s playing much better on defense...." GO WOLFPACK!
  • LOSS - Washington 13 (-7) at Washington State 16 - The Apple Cup - Yawn. "You can throw out the records when Washington and Washington State meet each November for the Apple Cup. In fact, both schools are requesting that you literally throw out the records.... There’s bad and then there’s Wazzu-bad. It’s close, but Washington hasn’t quite reached that level of futility. For the first time all year, the Huskies will own the line of scrimmage...." GO HUSKIES!
  • WIN - #15 Michigan State 18 at #8 Penn State 49 (-15.5) - "The offensive line will try to bury the MSU defensive front from the start, while the defensive line will load up to stop Ringer.... Michigan State will have a recurring flashback to Ohio State. Penn State hasn’t played at its best over the last few weeks, but it has been waiting to get to this point." GO NITTANY LIONS!
  • WIN - Mississippi 31 (+4) at #18 LSU 13 - "Is it really possible that Ole Miss can finish second in the West? Partly because the SEC stinks this year, er, uh, is down, and partly because Ole Miss is playing well.... This isn’t the LSU defense of last year by a long shot." GO REBELS!
  • LOSS - #14 BYU (+7) 24 at #7 Utah 48 - Which potential BCS Buster will survive? Hopefully not the one that is currently undefeated - that's Utah. Considering that 11 of the last 12 games between these two have been decided by less than a touchdown, I am taking the points. GO COUGARS!
  • WIN - #20 Pittsburgh 21 at #19 Cincinnati 28 (-6) - "The Bearcats are home to the Big East’s top passing game. The Panthers have shown cracks in the secondary over the last three games. Cincy will try to exploit that situation with some of the league’s most dangerous receivers." GO BEARCATS!
  • WIN - #21 Oregon State 19 (+3) at Arizona 17 - It's as if the writers are still trying to find a way to put USC (can't spell "sucks" without USC!) in a BCS game. One way to avoid that nonsense is for OSU to win out. "At some point in late September, Oregon State morphed into the Pac-10’s version of Alabama. It’s not the sexiest team in the country, but it doesn’t make mistakes, does all of the little things well, and just keeps finding ways to win." GO BEAVERS!
  • LOSS - Florida State 37 at #25 Maryland 3 (-1) - "Maryland defies all logic. It has almost no star power, yet just keeps winning, especially at home and against quality opponents. The Terrapins will run their Byrd Stadium record to 7-0, seizing complete control of the division...." FEAR THE TURTLE!
  • LOSS - #2 Texas Tech 21 (+7) at #5 Oklahoma 65 - I likely won't sleep again until Saturday night, so here goes nothing: "The Texas secondary is lousy, but OU’s has been almost as bad against the better passers on the slate. The cover-2 scheme will allow for big yards after the catch; Michael Crabtree could go ballistic. Even though he’ll be under the most intense pressure all season long, Harrell should be able to fire at will and get his receivers in a place to come up with big yards after the catch.... As good as Bradford has been, Harrell has been better." WRECK 'EM TECH!

Boeing in the tank[er]

I was so relieved today to hear that the professional engineers at Boeing reached a contract agreement, that's the SPEEA, for those of you not in the know. After all, their jobs are inherently dangerous and they desparately need protection against employer exploitation, even though they can't deliver a freakin' plane within a year of its original deadline. Union extortion!

This reminds me of THIS opinion piece and this comment:

Reading these comments are like watching my early years in Michigan. Living though unions and companys banging each other as if they were enemies and not having common interests. If any union member thinks they can get job security through a contract then they're not paying attention to GM, Ford and Chrysler workers around the country and the 30 year trail it took to get them there.
Many countries around the world demand we offset work, many have better skills and as a compnay we have to be prepared to be the absolute best we can in terms of cost, quality etc and use all of them. We have the best company in the world in terms of pay, benefits and jobs I for one don't need a contract to guarentee my job. Let me compete and I'll win every time. Why don't the unions in Seattle wake up and make sure that type of language is in place before someone at the top gets smart and closes Seattle for good. My guess is that decision is already being made. The Engineers up there are just as bad if not worse. Many of us in IDS can't wait until we start resigning these simple little people movers instead of the complex airframes we design.
A boeing senior manager

NCAA Football, Week 12

[...and, of course, a new theme song at the bottom of the page...]

Well, my on-the-brink-of-a-national-title Red Raiders are off this week, resting up for Oklahoma, but I am eagerly anticipating the pack chewing each other up and further isolating Alabama and Texas Tech.

Here are my picks, against the spread, with lines taken from MGM Mirage and quoted material from College Football News.

  • WIN - Indiana 7 at #8 Penn State 34 (-33.5) - Are you serious? 34 points? I am thinking that Jo-Pa won't leave his starters in to run up numbers like that. After all, the Spartans are next. GO HOOSIERS!
  • WIN - #11 Ohio State 30 (-9.5) at Illinois 20 - "The Illinois running game has gone bye-bye. There was the 292-yard, four touchdown effort against Indiana, but you and ten friends could do that at the moment on the hapless Hoosier run defense." GO BUCKEYES!
  • LOSS - #3 Texas 35 (-13) at Kansas 7 - "Reesing’s a gunner. Yeah, the KU pass defense is the worst in the Big 12, but the Texas secondary hasn’t exactly been a prize allowing a mere nine fewer passing yards per game than KU. Texas didn’t look tired against Baylor last week, but it struggled a wee bit to put the game away...." ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!
  • WIN - #10 Georgia 17 (-9.5) at Auburn 13 - According to my brother, Auburn is the best five-loss team in the country. Since the Tigers are out of contention for the SEC title, and holding onto a glimmer of hope to play in the Bowl, they seriously have nothing to lose and frustration to vent. WAR EAGLE!
  • LOSS - #25 South Carolina 6 at #4 Florida 56 (-22) - "Florida hasn’t faced a defense like South Carolina’s all season long, and that includes Georgia, LSU and Tennessee. The Gamecocks are playing another level defensively, especially on defense, ranking third in the nation allowing just 257 yards and 15.6 points per game." GO GAMECOCKS!
  • WIN - #16 North Carolina 15 (-2.5) at Maryland 17 - "The Terrapins have been a different team at Byrd Stadium, winning all five of their games, including upsets of Cal and Wake Forest. As is often the case when less is expected, they’ll be ready to vex the experts and spit out an “A” game." FEAR THE TURTLES!
  • LOSS - Texas A&M 21 at Baylor 41 (-8) - the battle for the basement - "Baylor won’t be able to slow down the A&M passing game. Griffin and the ground game will produce, but they won’t be able to keep up in the second half." GIG 'EM AGGIES!
  • LOSS - #6 USC 45 (-23.5) at Stanford 23 - "Suffice it to say, there’s no chance USC will be looking past Stanford this time around. The Trojans defense is playing too well these days to have problems with a Cardinal offense that’s last in the league in passing." GO TROJANS!
  • LOSS - #13 Oklahoma State 30 (-17) at Colorado 17 - "It shouldn’t take more than a few early scores to put this away. Colorado doesn’t have the firepower to keep up with Iowa State much less Oklahoma State." GO COWBOYS!
  • LOSS - Mississippi State 7 at #1 Alabama 32 (-21.5) - According to my bro's wife, the Dawgs are just the team to pull off this upset - after all, they have done it the prior two years. With the LSU scare still fresh on Tide minds, and Auburn coming up next, she may be right. "Granted, the [MSU] secondary hasn’t faced a who’s who of quarterbacks, the SEC West isn’t the Big 12 South, but the D is just good enough to make this interesting if Bama isn’t sharp." GO DAWGS!