See more articles, reviews, fiction and poetry, including more of my writings, at group blog PLUTO'S REALM.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Good Prevails Over Evil in Australia

Sometimes it seems that we live in a dark world in which evil always triumphs. When the American populace slipped from inexcusable ignorance to downright, well, evil-ness by re-electing the Bush Cabal in 2004, I had to sigh and admit that Satan was real and God was not, and that Hell was right here, right now. OK, I exaggerate a little, but you get the point.

Sometimes though, there is a ray of light, and the sun has burst forth in all its glory this year at the Australian Open, where four of my favorite women's tennis players have made the tournament their own and driven those evil, bestial denizens of Darkness, the Williams sisters, back into their subterranean lair where their only recourse is to suck the rotting remnants of the marrows of the sports fans they had deluded in the past. That's right, Venus-nasty and Serena-monster were both defeated in the quarter-finals.

And the good guys (girls) all won in straight sets. On Tuesday (Monday night to us here in Amerika), 22-year old Serbian player Jelena Jankovic, justifiably seeded third, accomplished the most important task by slaughtering the Beast (Serena). You all know of my vast love for Serena. On the same night, my fiancee Maria Sharapova accomplished surely the upset of the year by beating first seed Justine Henin in two sets, the second at love. I have no problem with Henin; she just finished the best year of her career and she deserved every minute of it. Maria just ended Henin's 38-match winning streak. But it's nice to see Sharapova finally coming into her own; she's already won two Grand Slams, starting with Wimbledon at 17 (her own first defeat of the Beast, an annihilation in grand style), but she just moved to a whole new level. This could indeed be the Year of Sharapova.

On Wednesday (last night), my other girlfriend Ana Ivanovic put the second nail in the Williams' coffin by defeating Venus. Oh, yeah, the Goombah Sisters had already gone down in defeat in doubles to a couple of Chinese players the day before, so the monsters have plane tickets home. I suspect they are riding back in those same coffins, with the mother earth of whatever land they came from (Compton?) packed tightly around them.

Which leaves us with four of my favorite players headed into the semi-finals, which I am informed will take place tonight on some cable channel, broadcast starting at 9:30 Central time. First, Maria vs. Jelena, followed by Ana vs. Daniela Hantuchova. Hantuchova is a young Slovakina player who seemed ready to hit the big time a few years ago, had some health and other problems, but has been on the comeback and is now playing in her first Grand Slam final. I don't see her taking Ana, but good for her anyway.

There are two interesting things that could happen tonight to set up an interesting final. First, if Jelena beats Maria (Jelena is the higher seed because Maria had injuries last year that kept her out of tournaments and hurt her ranking) and Ana beats Daniela as expected, we could have an all-Serbian final, the unlikelihood of which is only paralleled by the all-Belgian matchup of Clijsters vs. Henin at the French Open years ago. The second, which scares me a little, is a meeting between Maria and Ana. I certainly hope they don't talk about me; I'll be busted for sure.

But it really doesn't matter. The final will be Friday night (Saturday in Australia). No matter who wins, we'll have won. The Williams sisters have been banished. Good has prevailed. There is a God, at least in the Australian world of women's tennis, at least for now.

And I don't get to this topic very often, so let me just say, it's sad for me and for the world that Martina Hingis couldn't be here. She proved that she could come back, though she couldn't quite get to the top again, and it's sad that her retirement had to be hounded by silly doping charges. Someday I really want to raise and discuss the issue of why non-performance enhancing drugs (cocaine in the case of this accusation) are banned in the first place; if you remember those Winter Olympics, why should we care if the best snowboarder in the world can do it stoned? But back to tennis: If only Maria Kirilenko would begin to perform up to her potential, I could die happy.

That's all for now.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Guest Blog: Jim Lydecker's "Perfect Storm"

As some of you will recall, last May I presented the only two guest blogs ever to appear on the Ratzaz Diaries, by my old friend Jim Lydecker, who makes his home in Napa, CA. Lately, I've been advocating the necessity of facing reality -- and I mean total reality, which for means my practice of zazen. It is my strong belief, based on all the observations I can make in this present existence, that we are coming into the end times for human civilization as we know it. I have only come to this point of view after letting go of all the stories we tell ourselves about history and looking this moment in the face.

Jim has been doing a good job for several years now of screaming in the wilderness about his similar conclusions based on plainly observable facts. I think this year people are finally starting to admit the obviousness of global warming; most of use are still in denial about Peak Oil. The worst of all these, and the granddaddy of them all and the utmost culprit, is the overpopulation crisis, which most of you are blatantly ignoring. You are, as Jim says, breeding yourselves into extinction.

Don't worry, nature takes care of herself, as they say, and hopefully a good plague or war will take out most of earth's population early so that a few may be saved in time to still the resources to rebuild. More on this later. In the meantime, here's Jim's concise summary, published in the Napa Valley register since he sent me the draft. Click here to read the story on the Register page; you can still add a comment, there, which will go to the author, or of course you can leave it here. More from me later. Now, Jim....

Overpopulation and peak oil: The perfect storm
By Jim Lydecker
Friday, January 18, 2008

Americans have recently become aware of converging crises that can end life as we know it, though experts have been warning us for many years.

For example, many economists have been warning for decades of the severe consequences resulting from runaway national debt and an imbalance of trade. And the current mortgage/liquidity crisis was first discussed in the early ‘90s by a number of financial experts.
Global warming, a phenomenon universally accepted as fact within the past five years, was first discussed by the Swedes in the 19th century. Several papers published at Stockholm University warned of global warning with the advent of the industrial age.

For a variety of reasons, humans usually don’t react to problems until they become crises. All these crises are semi-connected, where one will trigger one or more of the others. However, there are two crises marching toward us now, shoulder-to-shoulder, that will trigger every other, both large and small. At best, they will end our industrial civilization. At worst, they may depopulate most of our species. These two comrades-in-arms, overpopulation and peak oil, are of such complex magnitude, no amount of financial or scientific commitment may stop them. They are creating the perfect storm of which there may be no survival.

The ever-quickening rise in oil prices partly attributed to the ever-weakening dollar. However, oil prices would still be increasing as demand outstrips supply. The slide down peak oil is unstoppable.

Most want to believe oil is limitless. The fact of the matter is it’s a finite resource, a geological gift of nature, half of which we’ve run through in less than 150 years. You only have to look as far as the mature, collapsing fields as the North Sea, Mexico’s Cantarell, Alaska’s North Slope, Russia’s Caspian and various Middle Eastern countries to know we are in deep trouble. In December’s OPEC meetings, it was made public that they were supplying 15 percent less than two years ago despite pumping as fast as they can. The massive Saudi field, Ghawar — by far the world’s largest — has only been able to maintain its five-million-barrel-a-day output by injecting nine million barrels of sea water daily. It’s said as goes Ghawar, so goes Saudi Arabia.

No substance is more interwoven into life as oil. Most of us see it as gasoline and believe more fuel-efficient autos will save the day. This is a fallacy as cars take much oil to manufacture, so if we replace all gas guzzlers with fuel-efficient vehicles, it will make matters worse. And using grain-produced ethanol is proving to be a mistake. Agriculture is one of the most oil-intensive industries and the more we grow, the quicker we use oil up.

Oil is necessary for drugs and pharmaceuticals, energy, fertilizers and pesticides, chemical production and everything plastic. With the advent of oil came a revolution in medicine, agriculture (where 2 percent of the population now feeds the rest of us, while it was the opposite in 1850), transportation, information, machinery and industrial production. Never before has life changed so much and oil was directly responsible for this modernization.

If peak oil is the sharpshooter with modern industrial civilization in its crosshairs, overpopulation is the hangman with the noose around our necks.

In 1850, the world population lingered at 1 billion; in America it was 23 million. The world population is now closing in on 7 billion while here it nears 310 million. It was oil, and its cousin natural gas, that allowed the population to grow to unprecedented proportions as quickly as it did. As oil is depleted, it’s correct to assume the population will decrease proportionately.

In 1974, the government released a study (NSSM 200) that concluded the world population needed to be decreased drastically for humans to survive after peak oil without dire consequences. This was followed by the Carter administration’s Global 2000 document that said an immediate goal of less than 2 billion worldwide is necessary. Others suggest a world of no more than 500 million is more realistic. (For more information on hundreds of studies, visit:

Knowing so much about a near future of mass migration, epidemics, famines, society collapse and die-offs of biblical proportions, one should ask: Why are we not making population and oil conservation the primary issues? I always wonder why towns are proud welcoming in the first born of the year when, in the overall scope of things, having a baby is the most selfish thing a person can do. Why encourage our species to breed ourselves toward extinction?

Energy and population are the two subjects you never hear politicians discuss. Columnists, on the left and right, have recently written how it is only OK to talk about conserving oil and decreasing population [now that] it’s too late.

By the way, as should be obvious, not everyone or anywhere near everyone who sits zazen shares my observations on this, or is willing to admit it. That doesn't mean anyone is wrong. Don't understand this? Try it. I've been telling you what to do, or at least pointing you toward it. This guest blog is presented to show you why....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Some Good Stuff Gets Done

OK, after all the bitching and whining and gnashing of teeth, some things I feel good about. No axe to grind here, just minor pieces of good news.

To start with the latest, last night's inaugural Tuesday night meeting of the Nashville Zen Center was a success, in just the way I'd hoped it would be. We had three NZC members including one of our newer guys, and four guests. Two of the guests were friends of mine from the Circle of Friends group, who were probably there just to support me but I hope they liked it and will come back. They were experienced meditators; and then there were two new guys who'd obviously never tried a lotus posture before, and that's even more fun. If anyone's interested, we're trying to do an approximation of Soto Zen rituals as funneled through the Atlanta Soto Zen Center, in lieu of the curious mixed bag of practices the NZC has accrued for its Saturday morning sits. If you've never tried Zen before, this is your chance to get the real stuff; come join us next Tuesday or any Tuesday at the Barn. We don't mind starting from scratch with beginners, unlike at the Saturday meeting, and there's plenty of Q & A opportunity. Contact me if you need directions or have questions.

And again, in spite of all my whining, I did get the new web page for the Nashville Buddhist Festival up and running over the weekend. It still says it's under construction (as it will be in fact until the Festival is finalized next summer or early fall), mostly because I haven't decided what to do with the Welcome page, but it's very diffferent from the old one. I almost feel like thanking the folks at WebHost for their incompetence in not properly backing up the server for Sitebuilder, so that all the data from the old page was lost and I had to re-do, with regard to which I had developed a certain ennui. Let me know what you think. It's sparser and harder, just one more effort in my attempt to counteract the sugar overdose you may be getting from some of the pseudo stuff I was concerned about in my prior post. Insulin for the soul?

And, also with mixed feelings, I've decided to make these Ratzaz Diaries posts available on MySpace. I have real mixed feelings about MySpace, especially as it's owned by the death of all media, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp (which, if you've been living under a rock, brings us brain damage like the Fox News Channel and has now purchased, if you can believe it). But it's put me in contact with some very interesting people, and if you're a MySpace member you can get alerts of new posts on this BlogSpot site just by adding Ratzaz as a friend and subscribing to the Blog there (although I'll warn you it doesn't look as good there). I may also put out bulletins on the Blogs occasionally, but I haven't worked that out yet. And if you want to read archived posts, you have to come to Blogspot.

By the way, if you're getting email announcement of the Ratzaz Diaries, and you want me to stop, just let me know; you won't hurt my feelings. Similarly, if you're not, and you don't have the Ratzaz Diaries added as an RSS feed or don't want to use the MySpace option, let me know, I'll be glad to put you on the list.

And also by the way, thanks to all of you who've been commenting on this blog, now that I made it as easy as I can. You can also comment on MySpace. And there have been some interesting links to the Rataz Diaries lately; you can check them out for each entry at the bottom of the post; I found this one and this one particularly interesting. Thanks to especially to Anita Thompson for the mention, and to clintonfan for her comment on Obama.

So really nothing bad to report today at all, except a lot of you seem to be down with various ailments and injuries; I don't read anything into it, just get better. Hope to see you soon.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Spirituality 101 and the Darkness

Tuesday night I went to the second meeting of the Nashville Buddhist Festival "Board of Directors" (for the currently non-existent corporation) in furtherance of the Fifth Nashville Buddhist Festival, to be held in October, 2008. As you will recall, the Fourth NBF this last September was a huge success, and as a result many participant groups swelled, particularly those geared to new participants. It seems there is in fact a hunger for Buddhism in Nashville, or more likely for any alternative to a Christianity many associate with negatives in their own pasts or with repression or whatever, or with which they are just bored.

But I had been reluctant to do it all over again. It seems that I've been lured in, simply because there is an element of the Board that isn't ready to deal with the reality of organizing the organization or with any of the hard realities underlying the puffy white clouds of their own conceptual Buddhism. Plus the damned website has to be rebuilt because the Host screwed up, with which particular reality I am none too pleased (spending at least a solid day re-doing my own work). Ah, well.

As to my reluctance, ahem, well. Let me explain.

I started out on the part of my life that led to my current Zen practice at least by the age of 18 or so. I'd realized by at least the age of 10 that the brand of Christianity to which I'd been half-heartedly exposed was pure bullshit. Although I was a voracious reader in junior high and high school and got deep into history and politics, it was college time before I really discovered philosophy. I graduated as a philosophy major in 1979, by which point I'd pretty much realized that Western philosophy was 99% bullshit, too, and moved on to Eastern religions. I think it was George Harrison, not the real teachers, that got me hooked. Anyway, my voyage through Buddhism was been thoroughly recounted herein and won't be repeated here.

The point is, by at least age 20 and I'd pretty much realized that the mind was useless as a tool for determining meaning. It's just at this point that one becomes vulnerable to a good deal of navel-gazing philosophies and the practices of gurus, and luckily by the time I got to California and became exposed to actual alternative spiritual practices, as opposed to my readings, I had the armor to avoid the real scams (and my tenure with Nichiren Shoshu was more of a willful suspension of disbelief). Getting to where I am today (involved with a sincere Zazen practice with a worthy teacher in a lineage worth pursuing) was a matter of skill, luck and experience.

Of course, some things about where I am today could reasonably be said to suck. There was a cost for all that dithering about with philosophical questions that ultimately proved to be untenable or meaningless, which nevertheless had to be worked through. I never developed the drive for money or success that my peers at Stanford or even at UT had, and my absolute lack of material success, position or security is the result. It's nice to think that the perspective I have now was worth the cost. It's hard to resist at times wishing I'd had the drive to pursue that mansion in the country or security for old age. But then I guess no one really does.

And that came home to me the other night after the NBF meeting, after once again being sucked in by all the blathering about our mission to encourage Buddhism in Nashville. Because see, after you sit for a while, there is a compassion which naturally arises when you see people poking their little heads up out of the nest to see if there might be something more to life than McDonald's and American Idol. Me, I tend to have done things backwards a lot; I developed an interest in physical fitness about the age of 28, when all the high school jocks were losing theirs. And when I see people in their twenties and thirties who have already established their lives in the Material World (thanks, George) and are just now beginning to search for Deeper Meaning, that baby-bird compassion is evoked. Although the cynical portion of myself sees them as somehow spiritually retarded, I realize that is to some extent sour grapes on my part, and is at best petty. And for the most part I really do like these people and want to help.

But, anyway, the NBF meeting took place during a storm. When I got home, the lights had been off and I had to reset the clocks, etc. Just as I got my noodles, cooked, the lights went off, and this pattern went on til finally about 8 p.m. I said the hell with it and just lay on the couch for a while. And then it struck me: this is reality. This is the future, and just the benign beginning of it. Soon there won't be any power. But next time there will be people with guns at the door wanting my food, and I won't have any. Then I won't have a door. Then we'll all be living in Resident Evil: Extinction.

And that's what my zazen is about: the ability to deal with anything, every stark moment of reality as it arises, without judging if it's good or bad. Yeah, if you're a New Age victim, you heard it here first: There is no higher plane. There is no exalted state. There is no promised land, and no enlightenment. Nothing will ever be any different than it is right now, in terms of who you are. You're stuck with you. Deal with it. This is the real and final message of my lifetime of philosophical inquiry. Deal with it.

Because when the cannibals come to the door, your chanting and your bells and your visualizations, your Secret and your gods and your mumbo-jumbo, your politics or your philosophy and ethics, all that will be gone. Just you looking down the barrel of a gun (Mao had that right) or at the razor-sharp teeth of a predator with your name on 'em.

The point? Buddhism 101 or the Secret or whatever won't help. You have to get beyond all the -isms, and you can't get there by following glad-handing teachers who just want to suck your wallet or build you a fairy castle. You have to look at the wall and let the wall look back at you. And there you can find reality in all it's ugliness, and that's just you. And then things get bigger and better in a way I can't explain to you. Just encourage you.

To that end, I encourage anyone in the Nashville area to come sit with Nat and I at the Nashville Zen Center's new Tuesday night meetings, starting next week, January 15, 7 p.m. at the Barn. Get directions off the NBF site or the NZC site; it's all the same place. If you've already been to a Nashville Buddhist Festival, you probably don't need to go to another one. Please understand, almost none of the teachers you'll meet there are charlatans. It's just that the teachings you'll get there or from some of the groups are geared for beginners, and you may not have that kind of time.

If you've been wrestling with philosophical questions for a while and are about to have done with it, at some point it's time to go to work. If you're not ready to do that, there's plenty of gurus out there to soak you in incense and out of your money. They'll make you smile, for a while. Just don't forget about those teeth.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Iowa Caucuses

Or is it cauci?

Before I wrote this I tried calling my good friend from Iowa to see if he had any idea how the bizarre system the Democrats use for their election-year caucus came about. While the Republicans uses a paper secret-ballot system that sounds like it came from the Shriners, the Democrats have one that seems to involve standing in a corner of the room designated for supporters of your candidates, and someone counting the corners. If your candidate gets less than fifteen percent of the vote, you have to go to another corner. It sounds like either something someone from the eighteenth century in a cocked hat would think of, or a prom event (either Carrie or Porky's, pick one). At any rate, this year it gave us the new frontrunners for the Presidency: Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama.

And yeah, I gotta talk about politics. Some of you probably wrongly assume that because I think we are on the brink of the end of human civilization, it doesn't matter who's in the White House. Those of you belong to a subgenre of my readership called "idiots". When the Titanic is going down, what could be more important than what the crew does? It's true that you probably won't survive the impending end of civilization -- but hell, Jim Morrison was right, No One Here Gets Out Alive. But the way you go, and when, makes a difference, and whether the U.S. government happens to be sane at the time is going to determine that. The deterioration in civilization in the last eight years could have been played out over half a century if Gore had not rolled over like a bitch in the year 2000 to the rotweiller at his throat. So if you want the kids you squirted out against my advice to have a decent life, better vote Democrat.

Anyway. The Democrats, in a turnout that approximately doubled the previous peak, picked Barack. This says a lot. You should know by now that I want Hillary Clinton in the White House next year, badly. The reason for this is the curiously unadvertised but obvious fact that this would a Presidency led by the couple that gave us the best administration of the second half of the last century, at least. In its time the Clinton years were seen as a co-Presidency, and there is no reason it would not be the same again. I trust these people.

Not that I have anything against Barack Obama, especially if he and the Clinton people can come to terms before November, as I think they will. Trust me people, Bill Clinton is engaged is a fight to save humanity, and he will do what it takes. Personally I don't think any of the candidates other than Hillary (extended Hillary, so to speak) have the experience we'd want; as in 1988, a cursed election if there ever was one, the Democrats are all dwarves, as are the Republicans also this time, save for McCain. So Obama is almost as good as anyone.

In Iowa, Obama's campaign brought out a huge response; the major element of his victory was new voters who rallied to him. He got the youth vote, and remember that the first serious Black Presidential candidate in history just won the first caucus in a state that is 98% White! John Edwards came in second because he was the second choice of all the voters whose candidates got less than 15% on the first ballot (they were looking at about 16% combined in the polls, and all but Bill Richardson dropped out when the results came in). I had thought that he might win the state, looking at that factor in poll results.

By contrast, the Republican caucuses were a sad affair, even in their own right, especially since the state went Republican in 2004. Turnout was sad compared to the Democrats, and despite Mitt Romney having spent $17 million of his own money (before October!), they elected a dumbass Baptist minister from Arkansas. Despite the fun of comparing him to last Governor from Arkansas, I'll resist for now. It would make a better Saturday Night Live skit anyway. I doubt Huckabee is a bad guy; I'll bet he even believes the lame mumbo he spouts. The main problem with him is that he makes George W. look sophisticated, which I thought was impossible unless we got back to Andy of Mayberry. Which means..

Well, think of the entity that really controls this country now as a combination of the creature from The Deep with something from H.P. Lovecraft and Freud's description of the id. It looks for empty minds like George W.'s to entice with riches and power and to make its slave. Mike Huckabee is dumb, vulnerable and a perfect meal for it. We might as well elect Dick Cheney as President for his immortal, unnatural life.

So what goes on in Iowa, Joe? The Democratic party seems viable active, progressive and overpowering. The Republicans seem to consist of three farmers in HeeHaw jerseys with Aw Shucks Bibles clasped in their lizard hands. Now, I think at last I understand Slipknot!

On to New Hampshire!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Triad City

When I bought my first computer, probably in about 1988, there was no internet in anything like its present form. Computers themselves were just coming into common acceptance for ordinary humans, and they had no hard drives and no graphics cards. Mine was a Wang. I never could have justified buying it except for business; I just just opened my own law practice, and I was broke. Nevertheless, there were already games designed for PC's and the first one I bought, and about the only one I ever played, was called Wizardy.

Wizardry was a attempt to duplicate Dungeons-and-Dragons-style role-playing games for the computer. It necessarily visually simple, with no graphics card and no real RAM either; everything was stored on big old floppy disk. You had to load the game with one disk, then put in a player disk you created to get your characters into the game. Once there, you ran around in a dungeon killing monsters or being killed by them. Of course you were the only real player as the online-RPG was unthought of. I became obsessed with the thing; I know I spent thirteen hours straight one Saturday playing the thing in my office, stopping only for food and the bathroom. Finally I developed characters who could kick the ass of every monster the game had to offer and it was over.

Of course that's the way all computer games work. Also, like all the others, Wizardry came out with subsequent editions, all of which added more sophisiticated graphics, etc., but I never could get into them. As PC's got better, the games became more like video arcade games. The more work the computer did, the less work you had to do. So younger and dumber people could play them, and the games became targeted for the market.

I never could get into Gaming, in the modern sense of the word. First, to get good at the sophisticated ones, especially the RPG's, you had to have an amount of time no adult with a job could ever devote to them, especially if he had any other interest in life at all. There are simpler games of course; most of the stuff developed for the PlayStation and the XBox realizes the aforementioned concern, and it's basically well-done arcade stuff. I can enjoy an occasional evening of PlayStation tennis, but it's not a mental activity (plus I don't like the damn controller). So I've been looking for a good online RPG, realizing I don't have twenty hours a day to develop my characters.

My interest was revived the other day by a free game where you create your own wolf-self and live the life of wolf in the wilderness, but when I tried to run it, my computer lacked enough RAM and kept locking up. I had wanted to try Second Life, which is hugely successful and has a following of millions probably, though it's reality based (a second mundane boring American life, hmm....), but my chief graphics card wouldn't run it.

So OK, yeah, I need to buy a better computer or upgrade this one. But in the meantime, I discovered this thing called Triad City, which is the coolest thing ever.

Triad City is a ten-year-old RPG which has no graphics. None, not even the elementary card-less ones of Wizardry, but it has all the potential conceptual sophistication you could want. It was obviously created by a couple of guys who loved literature and fantasy, had respect for the necessity of learning to use the English language. Triad City is a wide-open RPG with no pictures except those in your head. You create your own character, and develop him/her/it (there are eight genders). There are creator- and player-made maps available, but other than that, it's all up to you. You navigate around with basic verbal commands. It's potentially huge. It's wonderful.

Yes, you should have a few hours available on the night you start. I won't presume to tell you more about the site; you should experience it for yourself. Go here. It's free. You'll meet some really cool people. Be prepared to use your imagination and your skills and your sense; this is a game for adults (not necessarily Adults), and to do some work with your head. It won't kill you.

And you might see me there. But I won't tell you who I am. At least not at first. But you'll probably figure it out, as there's every few people there. I mean, almost none. As I write this, 6:17 p.m. CST, there are no players on. None. Just five bots. Monday, my first night, there were three players. Last night, there were four, I think. More will be on tonight. I will, I think.

How bizarre, or maybe not. This great thing is available for free, but no one is using it. Meanwhile, billions of people who access to it are not. Literallly. Did you mistakenly think I had faith or respect for humanity?

I did write the creator, and Triad City looks like it's here to stay. And hopefully get a little bigger, but not a lot. And hopefully you, if you can type and think and have even an out-of-date computer like mine.

Oh a couple more thoughts. I don't understand the idea of playing a computerized sport when you could play the sport itself, even if badly. I mean, there's some excuse for cripples or people like me who are getting to do all the stuff with their bodies that they can do in their heads. But the rest of you? The idea of kids doing their sports online while they sit on the couch and get fat and stupid(er) revolts me.

Finally, Triad City is to John Madden's NFL games is as books are to TV. Take it from there. Or don't take it near me.