And speaking of self-destructive

The Chargers played a brilliant game, so hopefully no one will take my critique as being an indictment of their play. They proved themselves the class of the AFC West today.

The Broncos played a poor game. They gave up a 17 point lead and, honestly, the defense didn’t keep up with their part of the bargain. The bargain being this: the offense scores just enough to win and the defense keeps the other team from the long drives (like the 99 yard drive early in the second half) and the high scores that the Broncos are losing right now. If the defense had kept its end of the bargain, the Broncos would have won.

Make no mistake: the Broncos’ offense is not one that is meant to win chaturbate games this year. It’s meant to be efficient enough to give the defense opportunities to win games. But the Chargers simply overwhelmed the defense in the second half, playing almost flawlessly.

While the game was ugly in the end, it was an impressive performance by the Chargers and a well-earned win. I look forward to the rematch.

Oakland Raiders

Watching the Oakland - KC game, I realized that there is almost nothing the Raiders won’t do to lose a game. With half a minute left, down four points, and with more than enough time to win the game, the Raiders again throw away a game through bad play. Aaron Brooks’ toss for an interception killed the last shred of doubt: with the exception of the woeful Cardinals, the Raiders are the worst team in the league.

The defense actually plays a decent game and the kicking game is solid, but this team is mentally incapable of taking advantage of any opportunities that are given to them. The two wins were flukes; the self-destructive instincts are part of this team’s DNA. Which you would think would make me happy.

It doesn’t though. Even though last week’s Broncos-Raiders game was closer than it should have been, there was always that thought that the Raiders would self-destruct before they found a way to pick up the win. That certainty (and the fact that the certainty plays out so predictably) has taken most of the fun out of the Broncos-Raiders rivalry. It’s no fun to hate Raiders fans anymore, the silver and black and their contingent of Halloween-rejects just look sad and foolish now.

Every San Diego and KC game is decidedly more interesting for a Broncos fan than the obligatory two against a bunch of Raiders has-beens and rejects. Don’t get me wrong: there is still talent on the team. Almost all of it is on the defense or special teams, though, and the best offensive players look like they would really rather be somewhere else.

Maybe next year they’ll be better, but it will take a busy off-season of tearing apart and rebuilding to fix the problems with the offense.

One of the Joys of Dog Co-Ownership

Slipping into bed late at night, trying not to wake your darling girlfriend, tired and ready for sleep. Sliding your hand between cover and sheet you feel something strange. You close your hands over something just a little crisp, something that gives way quickly to a soft, squishy substance that closes over your fingers.

“Oh, shit,” you say, fearing the same, wishing like hell you had something to wipe the mess onto.

“What?” Your jasminlive girlfriend asks. Her voice is a little blurry from just waking. “What’s wrong?”

“Wait a second. Don’t move. I have to turn on the light.”

You push yourself back up, doing your best to keep your hand from fouling the rest of the linens on the bed. “Shit, shit, shit...”

Up to the light, turn on the switch, and turn back to the bed intent on finding what the dog has left you. You push the cover back slowly, wondering how bad the mess is going to be, only to find the leftover bits of a piece of pumpkin pie that the dog has stolen from the trash and carefully buried in the bed for later use.

Damned dog.

William Shatner Appreciation Day: The Horror

Of course, what is Shatner without the horrific music. His rendering of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is, as Wheels points out, a musical abomination.

But does it compare to his live take on Elton John’s “Rocket Man”?

Notable not only for it’s own badness, but also for one of Stewie’s many brilliant moments on Family Guy.

Cause he’s a rock-it man…

It Begins

Here’s something funny: I’m not a big Star Trek fan and I never have been. The first show wasn’t bad (well, actually, in many ways it wasn’t particularly good, but more about that later), but I never found any of the later shows worth my time. But I always liked William Shatner.

You could talk about his ego or how the other jasminelive members didn’t like him, you could mock his choppy delivery, or you could just be amazed at the strange women that he found himself lip-locked with in show after show, but I liked the guy. I liked him in a sort of clownish way when I was young; my true appreciation for Shatner came on my much later in life.

It came when I realized that he was a unique figure in entertainment: he was an actor who inspired decades worth of jokes about his melodramatic, choppy line readings; he wasn’t always well-liked by his fellow actors; and, yet, he was the guy who had a long career through multiple TV shows and who will remain part of our cultural lexicon (admittedly, often on the wrong end of the joke) well beyond my years. He isn’t one of those marginal actors who maintains a low-level career doing direct-to-video movies (like the Cories), he’s stayed frequently in the spotlight, loved by masses even as they mock his worst moments.

That’s impressive.

It doesn’t hurt that he seems to have discovered himself late in life. He knew that he was part of the joke, and he found a way to laugh along and make us like him even more. He knew that he ego was bigger than his talent, so he found a way to make that awareness part of the act. Whatever he is like in person, his TV persona is warm and funny and self-deprecating. He’s a hard guy to dislike when he’s talking about the ways that Star Trek changed the world, but doing it with a sly smile and a boyish glint in his aging eyes.

So, here’s to William Shatner, object of both our admiration and our laughter. He has entertained us for decades and, rightly, earned his place in Hollywood.

Speaking of the Zune

I’m betting that this will not be the normal user experience with the Zune software, but it makes a darned funny read.

Unfortunately, the reality of our experience with the first version of the Zune software this afternoon is much like that of many version 1 software experiences. It sucks.

Three things: “Welcome to the Social.” I hate that. I mean, I guess you could make the case that they are welcoming you to the event (as in, “ice cream social"), but it’s awkward and ugly. And where did the name Zune come from, anyway? That is also awkward and ugly. The brown bit doesn’t bother me because I’m guessing most people will be happier with the black and white version, although I do wonder when brown became the new color for electronic gadgets. Lastly, I’ve heard that the Zune doesn’t act as a removable drive--what would be the driver for that decision? I use my Nano to shuttle big files to and from work constantly. I mean, I bought it to play music, so that’s the most important thing, but the Nano is also a practical way for me to take important files with me. If Zune doesn’t work that way, I’d love to know why.

So, yeah, angry Zune enthusiasts, please don’t burn down my house. I’m not saying I hate the Zune or that it’s a horrible thing or that Microsoft is evil. I think that the direction MS is heading makes Zune the first true competitor to the iPod and with Microsoft’s money and industry pull, that competition is going to be fierce.

But Brown, “Zune”, and “Welcome to the Social” are still a little confusing to me.

Now, pardon me while I rearrange the workout list on my Nano. Maybe a little “Want You So Hard” by Eagles of Death Metal. Just a thought…

I Gotcher Repository for Stolen Music Right Here, Pal

That is to say, Mr. Morris, that you are wrong. Take me for example: I buy CDs, I buy from iTunes, and I have my monthly downloading fest from eMusic. Anything on my Shuffle, my Nano, or my SLVR that wasn’t purchased is about 90% likely to be a live track from a bootleg--and, no, I’m not feeling so guilty about that.

I pay for music and the people that I know pay for music. Stop insulting the people who pay your bloated salary, Mr. Morris, and stop blaming recent industry setbacks on consumers instead of bad product management on your part. The music industry is still changing to fit the varied needs of people who are buying fewer and fewer CDs because they can fill their musical needs through online services. There are still people like me who believe that CDs sound better than the downloads and people who believe that records sound warmer and more pure than CDs, but the movement is toward digital distribution that is always on, ultimately should have a wider selection than any store imaginable, is cost effective, and doesn’t always require the purchase of an entire CD for the one song the listener actually wants to hear.

It’s no wonder that convenience is winning the war, but a smart media companies can make greater profits serving the widest possible market from large catalogs and low overhead in digital distribution. When the market changes and old companies fail to keep up with those changes, it is hardly the consumers’ fault when revenue drops.

I find it shocking that Microsoft will be paying about $1 per Zune sold to Universal Music Group--a company that stands to profit from another venue for legal purchases through Zune’s own music site. What, precisely, did UMG contribute to the little electronic device?

Anyway, thanks to Jerry for pointing me to the original post about Doug Morris’ poorly chosen words.