Monthly Archives: April 2007

REALLY?…NO, REALLY???

I think I’m happy with these picks. Typically, I question the motives behind Bill Polian and Tony Dungy’s decisions on draft day, but I’ve come to understand that they obviously know more about these players (at this point) than I do. By the end of the season, I’ll know everything there is to know about the players that we keep from this list.

Indianapolis
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 32 Gonzalez, Anthony WR 6-0 195 Ohio State
2 42 Ugoh, Tony G 6-5 305 Arkansas
3 95 Hughes, Daymeion CB 5-10 192 California
3 98 Pitcock, Quinn DT 6-3 301 Ohio State
4 131 Condren, Brannon FS 6-1 208 Troy
4 136 Session, Clint OLB 5-11 236 Pittsburgh
5 169 Hall, Roy WR 6-2 229 Ohio State
5 173 Coe, Michael CB 6-1 190 Alabama State
7 242 Dawson, Keyunta DE 6-0 268 Texas Tech

I went back and looked at the draft picks from last year, and I was simply amazed at how many of them played and how many of them made an impact on us winning the Super Bowl. Joseph Addai, definitely, but Antoine Bethea and Charlie Johnson were on that list from last year. Both played throughout the season and in the Super Bowl. Charlie Johnson made such a seemless transition on the O-line that I never knew when he was in the game and Ryan Diem wasn’t. I can’t say enough about Antoine. He really came up big for us when we needed him so much so that I clean forgot he was a rookie.

Commissioner Goodell did a FANTASTIC job at his first draft…especially with the decision to move Brady Quinn to another room away from the cameras that wouldn’t leave him alone. That poor guy. I’ve never been a fan of Notre Dame, but I like Brady. I think he’s a good guy and a good QB, so I felt bad for him being the only one left in the green room and the cameras hounding him. I taped the 1st round (apparently the longest in NFL history) so I wouldn’t miss Commissioner Goodell saying “with the 32nd pick in the 2007 draft, the Indianapolis Colts select…”. I was a little squeamish when I heard him say Wide Receiver for the first pick as I knew that Aaron Moorehead had just signed his tender Friday. In my mind, all I could see was Nick Harper, Jason David, and Cato June packing up their lockers. All defensive players and we pick an offensive player. Of course then I’m reminded that Brandon Stokley chose (after we cut him because he couldn’t pass his physical) to play for the Broncos this year in what may very well be his final year in the league (but he may surprise me).

So, every analyst I hear says this Anthony Gonzalez is a stronger/faster/younger version of Brandon (who I loved during his time with the Colts). I guess I’ll take that. I love his vertical leap (38″) and the fact that he was an Academic All-American and Rhodes Scholar Candidate. Not to mention the fact that he said being chosen by the Colts was a dream come true. I think I can get behind this kid.

Now for the scary part. As I mentioned, we lost Cato June, Nick Harper, and Jason David to other teams during the Free Agency period. And, then on the second day of the draft, the Raiders did something crazy, smart, stupid…I’m not really sure at this point what to call it. They traded (as had been speculated for some time now) Randy Moss to the Patriots…get this…for a 4TH ROUND PICK. Randy Moss, who I considered a great receiver when he came out of college who has/had problems with his off the field situations and the running of his mouth, has been relegated to being equal to a 4th round draft pick. So does that mean he’s washed up or just a plague on the franchise? Don’t know…what I do know is that we lost the three of the best players on the team to cover a player like that, and we have to play the Patriots this year. I NEVER look forward to that game on the schedule, but sheesh…I’m REALLY not looking forward to it now.

In other news, Alabama for the first time since the 1936 draft, has a Mr. Irrelevant (or last player chosen in the draft). Ramzee Robinson is a better player than that, but he did get drafted, and I hope the Lions know how good of a player they got. The plague that is Mike Shula continues as the players from his final season as the Alabama coach were pushed to the second day of the draft. All the prospects from Alabama this year are good players, and as I watched the names go by, I couldn’t help but wonder how much of the free fall that was Shula’s final season with us, made their draft stock fall.

Ahhh…I love the NFL, and the draft just makes me feel like the season isn’t as far away as it actually is.

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"I ask you, who is that nice?"

Many times on this blog you’ve read about Tony Dungy and how much I completely adore him. He has, in my opinion, revolutionized the idea of head coaching demeanor. He has a deep, deep faith in God and cares about family first. He doesn’t spend all hours of the day in his office. He doesn’t expect his other coaches and players to do so either. His quiet strength is remarkable considering the business he has chosen as a career. But there are so many things we don’t know about this man, but yet when I hear new things about him, I’m never surprised. The following is the Rick Reilly column from this week’s Sports Illustrated. I cried through nearly the entire article, but no matter how many times I tell people how incredible this man is, I always feel like I’m not convincing enough. If this article doesn’t convince any leftover doubters out there, then I don’t know what will. Read on if you wish.

Coaching the Grief-Stricken
by Rick Reilly

Maybe you could use a happy story after what happened at Virginia Tech, and maybe I’ve got one.
I have this friend, an Iowa truck driver named Mark Lemke. Last July he wrote to SI, nominating his 19-year-old son, Cory, for FACES IN THE CROWD. Said the kid set all kinds of golf records and he’d been meaning to write for a long time. Said he was finally doing it now because Cory had just died in a motorcycle wreck.
Well, I wrote a column (Aug. 21, 2006) about how I got Mark on his cellphone as he was driving his tractor trailer on an Ohio highway and how he wept while talking about losing his best pal. And I don’t know if it was from thinking of my own 19-year-old son or what, but it’s the only time I ever cried while I wrote.
And then we made up a FACES IN THE CROWD box for Cory and stuck it at the bottom of the column.
Anyway, a couple of months go by, and then Mark gets this call: “Mr. Lemke?” the voice says. “It’s Tony Dungy.”
Now, Lemke, 51, is just an ex-jock with a simple life that a motorcycle drove a hole through. The most he hopes for when he gets off the road is his wife Maud’s sloppy joes and his favorite couch and maybe a frosty root beer and a Vikings game to take his mind off Cory for a few hours. So, naturally, he figures the call is a joke.
“No, it is Tony Dungy,” the voice says. “I’m just calling to offer my condolences to you and see if there’s anything I can do to help you.”
Now you’ve got to understand, this was in October. The Colts were into the teeth of their schedule, the most critical season in Dungy’s life, not to mention Peyton Manning’s, not to mention the millions of Colts fans’. They figure if their team doesn’t win it all this year, the genie goes back in the bottle.
But Dungy has his own sorrow to swallow. His 18-year-old son, James, hanged himself three days before Christmas in 2005. And Lemke knows this. So maybe Dungy, who’s the same age as Lemke, is a guy who can relate. So they talk, and the coach tells Lemke to keep in touch.
“The hardest thing for me is, I sit in that truck all day, and all I do is think about him,” Lemke tells him one day. “You’re lucky. You’ve got so many people around you to get you through the days.”
“Yeah,” Dungy says, “but it doesn’t get you through the nights.”
And pretty soon they’ve got this bond going. Dungy has a wife, five kids, the monster job, numerous charities he works with and a thousand things to do, yet he takes the time to answer every Lemke e-mail, gives him his cell number and returns every call. They go deep sometimes. Lemke gets hot at God for taking Cory. Dungy tells him that’s normal, but he adds that if they keep their faith, “we’ll see them again.”
Then it’s the playoffs, and Dungy is apologizing for not replying to Lemke right away. Sorry about not getting back to you, he emails Lemke one day. Sometimes I can go a few days without getting on my computer, especially if our defense is not playing well.
I ask you, who is that nice?
Next thing you know, the Colts are in the Super Bowl and Dungy is inviting a man he’s never met, a Vikings fan, no less, to be his guest there. So Lemke finds a load that needs hauling to Florida and a load that has to come back, and he drives his 18-wheel rig to Miami. The day before the game he meets Dungy in person at the team hotel. They hug. They visit. They pray. The next day Lemke takes his seat in Dolphin Stadium and watches his new buddy win it all.
And this is only one stranger whom Tony Dungy has befriended. There’s the former high school coach in Wisconsin whose son committed suicide. There’s the young kid in Indianapolis who lost his mother and brother in a car wreck. Heartbroken people all over are suddenly getting a hand up from a man who himself should be a puddle but is instead a river of strength.
Yet Dungy refuses to talk to the media about these good deeds, which only makes them better.
“I’m awfully grateful to him,” Lemke says. “He helped me keep my faith. He taught me that he and I — we’re not alone.”
After two weeks of hearing about how low man can sink, isn’t it nice to know how high he can rise?
Tony Dungy stands as a reminder to every parent who’s grieving right now that there is a way through the pain. And that way is through each other.

BEST. MONDAY. EVER.

Monday, the President of the United States, per tradition, welcomed the Super Bowl Champions to the White House for a visit. Thanks to my most gracious, kind, and wonderful friend Sammie (and yes I’d say that about you even if you hadn’t gotten me in) got me on the list of invitees. His name has replaced mine in my parents’ wills, per my request. And as you’ll see in the pictures, I was pretty close to the action. The entire team wasn’t there, but a good number of them were…including some that will not be on the 2007 roster. I’m still matching faces in my pictures with names because I know that a lot of the 3rd string depth chart and the practice squad was there (YEA JOSH BETTS!). Their faces are less recognizable to me than the Bob Sanders, Tarik Glenn, and Reggie Wayne’s of the group.

Monday just seemed to tie a nice little bow on top of the gift that was the 2006 season. I have lots of memories (good and bad) from this season, but this one took the cake. After President Bush’s speech, which was actually pretty good and you can read here, he took some pictures with the entire team, received a few gifts, and then was led off of the South Lawn as were the players. However, some of the players stopped on their way out to sign autographs and shake hands with the Colts faithful in attendance. I got to meet Dallas Clark, Jeff Saturday, and Adam Vinatieri. That was priceless. Dallas was absolutely sweet, Jeff was gracious and humble, and Adam was patient and kind…Just as I expected them to be. Tony Dungy and Peyton were led away from the crowd because the event coordinators decided they’d hung around too long with the special guests in attendance (senators, Condoleeza Rice, etc.), so I didn’t get to meet them…someday though…even if it’s in Heaven. I didn’t actually go with the expectation of meeting any of them. I just wanted to be there with them…to experience, with them, the culmination of what they’d worked so hard for…to be a part of the Colts family for just one afternoon…to nod my head in complete agreement when the President spoke of their perseverance and good hearts…to know that no one can take this away from them…to know that I will never forget every second of Monday afternoon as long as I live.

52 Dunks and Standing Room Only

This weekend was pretty awesome for the sports fanatic in me. Saturday night, I attended the Commonwealth Collegiate Challenge in Richmond, VA where between the CAA and ACC, 52 slam dunks were made…all with some kind of acrobatics involved. The final score:

ACC was Home, CAA was Guest. It was really a lot of fun. The guys, who hadn’t practiced together unless from the same team, had an all out blast. You could see it on their faces. They were really having a lot of fun. I think by the end of it, every player had dunked a ball and/or made a 3 point shot. And those tiny point guards have vertical leaps you wouldn’t believe. I think even the 6’10” center from UVA (Jason Cain) made a three point shot on his way to a 30 point game total (tied with Reyshawn Terry from UNC for the most points).

About 12 hours away on the same day, Alabama was holding it’s spring football scrimmage called the A-Day game. I kind of envisioned that a lot of people would come to see what Nick Saban has put together in the last 4 months, but I didn’t imagine this:

Bryant-Denny Stadium now has 92,138 seats. Every single one of them was filled on Saturday. As Sportscenter put it, there are only about 16 teams in the all of college that average that attendance for a REGULAR SEASON GAME. The gate attendees had to turn people away in the first half because the stadium was at its capacity. There were people standing on the ramps at each corner, which is common during the season as well since the student section is on a first come, first served basis.

The previous high attendance for an Alabama A-Day game was 51,117 at Birmingham’s Legion Field (Current Capacity: 71,594) in 1988. Admission is always free. The previous best for a Southeastern Conference spring game was believed to have been 73,000 at Tennessee (Neyland Stadium current capacity: 104,079) in 1986, according to Alabama. By comparison, national runner-up Ohio State drew 75,310 (Ohio Stadium capacity: 101,568) at $5 a ticket for its own spring game on Saturday and champion Florida (Ben Hill Griffin Stadium capacity: 92,000) earlier pulled in 47,500. Simply amazing.

After this afternoon, I’ll have what is probably the best Monday of my life to share with you. Nothing can take this one away…not even if this afternoon at 4pm Brandan Wright announces he’s going to the NBA. Stay tuned…

Courage

We’ve seen a lot of courage this week in the recounting of stories in the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy. I’ve found myself seeking solace in normal everyday problems to try and take my mind off of all of it because every now and then you just need a break from thinking about all those families who will never see their son, daughter, mother, father, sister, or brother smile or hear their laugh, again. To never be able to hug them, again…it’s just a deep sadness that makes you sit unable to move for an eternity.

This weekend, I’m going to Richmond to attend the Commonwealth Collegiate Challenge. It’s a Senior game between basketball players from the Colonial Athletic Association and the Atlantic Coast Conference. When I first heard about it, I was excited to go because Reyshawn Terry and Wes Miller from UNC were playing in it. I’ve spoken over email and the phone with the event coordinator, and today I asked if because of the tragedy this week if the Virginia Tech players planned to still play. I explained that I understood completely if they didn’t, but would love it if they did. He said they did plan to play, and the only change was actually Wes Miller having to drop out because of a prior engagement. That saddened me because Wes is my favorite player from this year’s team until he explained that they had replaced Wes on the roster with another Virginia Tech senior. These same players that it pained me to see during the season, these Tech basketball players who may not have known the shooter or the victims at all, but as was said several times in yesterday’s convocation, they are all Hokies. Courage comes in all shapes, sizes, and amounts, and when those boys walk out on that court Saturday night, I’ll be proud to stand up and cheer on the HOKIES.

So It Goes. Rest In Peace, Mr. Vonnegut

Ever since the first time I picked up Slaughterhouse-Five in high school to do a book report because it was on the approved list of books from which we could choose, I have been a fan of Mr. Vonnegut’s and that book became my favorite book of all time. I couldn’t put it down. It moved so quickly and all over the place. And I loved it. He was insightful and honest and a little bit crazy, but what I loved about him was that he wasn’t afraid to be crazy and to speak his mind. Thanks, Mr. Vonnegut for leaving the legacy you did with your writing. Your brilliance will be sorely missed.

Kurt Vonnegut, Counterculture’s Novelist, Dies

Kurt Vonnegut, whose dark comic talent and urgent moral vision in novels like “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “Cat’s Cradle” and “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater” caught the temper of his times and the imagination of a generation, died last night in Manhattan. He was 84 and had homes in Manhattan and in Sagaponack on Long Island.

His death was reported by his wife, the author and photographer Jill Krementz, who said he had been hospitalized after suffering irreversible brain injuries as a result of a fall several weeks ago.

Mr. Vonnegut wrote plays, essays and short fiction. But it was his novels that became classics of the American counterculture, making him a literary idol, particularly to students in the 1960s and ’70s. Dog-eared paperback copies of his books could be found in the back pockets of blue jeans and in dorm rooms on campuses throughout the United States.

Like Mark Twain, Mr. Vonnegut used humor to tackle the basic questions of human existence: Why are we in this world? Is there a presiding figure to make sense of all this, a god who in the end, despite making people suffer, wishes them well?

He also shared with Twain a profound pessimism. “Mark Twain,” Mr. Vonnegut wrote in his 1991 book, “Fates Worse Than Death: An Autobiographical Collage,” “finally stopped laughing at his own agony and that of those around him. He denounced life on this planet as a crock. He died.”

Not all Mr. Vonnegut’s themes were metaphysical. With a blend of science fiction, philosophy and jokes, he also wrote about the banalities of consumer culture, for example, or the destruction of the environment.

His novels — 14 in all — were alternate universes, filled with topsy-turvy images and populated by races of his own creation, like the Tralfamadorians and the Mercurian Harmoniums. He invented phenomena like chrono-synclastic infundibula (places in the universe where all truths fit neatly together) as well as religions, like the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent and Bokononism (based on the books of a black British Episcopalian from Tobago “filled with bittersweet lies,” a narrator says).

The defining moment of Mr. Vonnegut’s life was the firebombing of Dresden, Germany, by Allied forces in 1945, an event he witnessed firsthand as a young prisoner of war. Thousands of civilians were killed in the raids, many of them burned to death or asphyxiated. “The firebombing of Dresden,” Mr. Vonnegut wrote, “was a work of art.” It was, he added, “a tower of smoke and flame to commemorate the rage and heartbreak of so many who had had their lives warped or ruined by the indescribable greed and vanity and cruelty of Germany.”

His experience in Dresden was the basis of “Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade,” which was published in 1969 against the backdrop of war in Vietnam, racial unrest and cultural and social upheaval. The novel, wrote the critic Jerome Klinkowitz, “so perfectly caught America’s transformative mood that its story and structure became best-selling metaphors for the new age.”

To Mr. Vonnegut, the only possible redemption for the madness and apparent meaninglessness of existence was human kindness. The title character in his 1965 novel, “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine,” summed up his philosophy:

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’ ”

Mr. Vonnegut eschewed traditional structure and punctuation. His books were a mixture of fiction and autobiography in a vernacular voice, prone to one-sentence paragraphs, exclamation points and italics. Graham Greene called him “one of the most able of living American writers.” Some critics said he had invented a new literary type, infusing the science-fiction form with humor and moral relevance and elevating it to serious literature.

He was also accused of repeating himself, of recycling themes and characters. Some readers found his work incoherent. His harshest critics called him no more than a comic book philosopher, a purveyor of empty aphorisms.

With his curly hair askew, deep pouches under his eyes and rumpled clothes, he often looked like an out-of-work philosophy professor, typically chain smoking, his conversation punctuated with coughs and wheezes. But he also maintained a certain celebrity, as a regular on panels and at literary parties in Manhattan and on the East End of Long Island, where he lived near his friend and fellow war veteran Joseph Heller, another darkly comic literary hero of the age.

Mr. Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922, the youngest of three children. His father, Kurt Sr., was an architect. His mother, Edith, came from a wealthy brewery family. Mr. Vonnegut’s brother, Bernard, who died in 1997, was a physicist and an expert on thunderstorms.

During the Depression, the elder Vonnegut went for long stretches without work, and Mrs. Vonnegut suffered from episodes of mental illness. “When my mother went off her rocker late at night, the hatred and contempt she sprayed on my father, as gentle and innocent a man as ever lived, was without limit and pure, untainted by ideas or information,” Mr. Vonnegut wrote. She committed suicide, an act that haunted her son for the rest of his life.

He had, he said, a lifelong difficulty with women. He remembered an aunt once telling him, “All Vonnegut men are scared to death of women.”

“My theory is that all women have hydrofluoric acid bottled up inside,” he wrote.

Mr. Vonnegut went east to attend Cornell University, but he enlisted in the Army before he could get a degree. The Army initially sent him to the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh and the University of Tennessee to study mechanical engineering.

In 1944 he was shipped to Europe with the 106th Infantry Division and shortly saw combat in the Battle of the Bulge. With his unit nearly destroyed, he wandered behind enemy lines for several days until he was captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp near Dresden, the architectural jewel of Germany.

Assigned by his captors to make vitamin supplements, he was working with other prisoners in an underground meat locker when British and American warplanes started carpet bombing the city, creating a firestorm above him. The work detail saved his life.

Afterward, he and his fellow prisoners were assigned to remove the dead.

“The corpses, most of them in ordinary cellars, were so numerous and represented such a health hazard that they were cremated on huge funeral pyres, or by flamethrowers whose nozzles were thrust into the cellars, without being counted or identified,” he wrote in “Fates Worse Than Death.” When the war ended, Mr. Vonnegut returned to the United States and married his high school sweetheart, Jane Marie Cox. They settled in Chicago in 1945. The couple had three children, Mark, Edith and Nanette. In 1958, Mr. Vonnegut’s sister, Alice, and her husband died within a day of each other, she of cancer and he in a train crash. The Vonneguts took custody of their children, Tiger, Jim and Steven.

In Chicago, Mr. Vonnegut worked as a police reporter for the City News Bureau. He also studied for a master’s degree in anthropology at the University of Chicago, writing a thesis on “The Fluctuations Between Good and Evil in Simple Tales.” It was rejected unanimously by the faculty. (The university finally awarded him a degree almost a quarter of a century later, allowing him to use his novel “Cat’s Cradle” as his thesis.)

In 1947, he moved to Schenectady, N.Y., and took a job in public relations for the General Electric Company. Three years later he sold his first short story, “Report on the Barnhouse Effect,” to Collier’s magazine and decided to move his family to Cape Cod, Mass., where he wrote fiction for magazines like Argosy and The Saturday Evening Post. To bolster his income, he taught emotionally disturbed children, worked at an advertising agency and at one point started a Saab auto dealership.

His first novel was “Player Piano,” published in 1952. A satire on corporate life — the meetings, the pep talks, the cultivation of bosses — it also carries echoes of Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” It concerns an engineer, Paul Proteus, who is employed by the Ilium Works, a company similar to General Electric. Proteus becomes the leader of a band of revolutionaries who destroy machines that they think are taking over the world.

“Player Piano” was followed in 1959 by “The Sirens of Titan,” a science-fiction novel featuring the Church of God of the Utterly Indifferent. In 1961 he published “Mother Night,” involving an American writer awaiting trial in Israel on charges of war crimes in Nazi Germany. Like Mr. Vonnegut’s other early novels, they were published as paperback originals. And like “Slaughterhouse-Five,” in 1972, and a number of other Vonnegut novels, “Mother Night” was adapted for film, in 1996, starring Nick Nolte.

In 1963, Mr. Vonnegut published “Cat’s Cradle.” Though it initially sold only about 500 copies, it is widely read today in high school English classes. The novel, which takes its title from an Eskimo game in which children try to snare the sun with string, is an autobiographical work about a family named Hoenikker. The narrator, an adherent of the religion Bokononism, is writing a book about the bombing of Hiroshima and comes to witness the destruction of the world by something called Ice-Nine, which, on contact, causes all water to freeze at room temperature.

Mr. Vonnegut shed the label of science-fiction writer with “Slaughterhouse-Five.” It tells the story of Billy Pilgrim, an infantry scout (as Mr. Vonnegut was), who discovers the horror of war. “You know — we’ve had to imagine the war here, and we have imagined that it was being fought by aging men like ourselves,” an English colonel says in the book. “We had forgotten that wars were fought by babies. When I saw those freshly shaved faces, it was a shock. My God, my God — I said to myself, ‘It’s the Children’s Crusade.’ ”

As Mr. Vonnegut was, Billy is captured and assigned to manufacture vitamin supplements in an underground meat locker, where the prisoners take refuge from Allied bombing.

“Slaughterhouse-Five” provided another stage for his fictional alter ego, Kilgore Trout, a recurring character introduced in “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.” The novel also featured a signature Vonnegut phrase.

“Robert Kennedy, whose summer home is eight miles from the home I live in all year round,” Mr. Vonnegut wrote at the end of the book, “was shot two nights ago. He died last night. So it goes.

Martin Luther King was shot a month ago. He died, too. So it goes. And every day my Government gives me a count of corpses created by military science in Vietnam. So it goes.”

One of many Zenlike words and phrases that run through Mr. Vonnegut’s books, “so it goes” became a catchphrase for opponents of the Vietnam war.

“Slaughterhouse-Five” reached No. 1 on best-seller lists, making Mr. Vonnegut a cult hero. Some schools and libraries have banned it because of its sexual content, rough language and scenes of violence.

After the book was published, Mr. Vonnegut went into a severe depression and vowed never to write another novel. Suicide was always a temptation, he wrote. In 1984, he tried to take his life with sleeping pills and alcohol.

“The child of a suicide will naturally think of death, the big one, as a logical solution to any problem,” he wrote. His son Mark also suffered a breakdown, in the 1970s, from which he recovered, writing about it in a book, “The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity.”

Forsaking novels, Mr. Vonnegut decided to become a playwright. His first effort, “Happy Birthday, Wanda June,” opened Off Broadway in 1970 to mixed reviews. Around this time he separated from his wife and moved to New York. (She remarried and died in 1986.)

In 1970, Mr. Vonnegut moved in with Ms. Krementz, whom he married in 1979. They had a daughter, Lily. They survive him, as do all his other children.

Mr. Vonnegut returned to novels with “Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday” (1973), calling it a “tale of a meeting of two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast.” This time his alter ego is Philboyd Studge, who is writing a book about Dwayne Hoover, a wealthy auto dealer. Hoover has a breakdown after reading a novel written by Kilgore Trout, who reappears in this book, and begins to believe that everyone around him is a robot.

In 1997, Mr. Vonnegut published “Timequake,” a tale of the millennium in which a wrinkle in space-time compels the world to relive the 1990s. The book, based on an earlier failed novel of his, was, in his own words, “a stew” of plot summaries and autobiographical writings. Once again, Kilgore Trout is a character. “If I’d wasted my time creating characters,” Mr. Vonnegut said in defense of his “recycling,” “I would never have gotten around to calling attention to things that really matter.”

Though it was a best seller, it also met with mixed reviews. “Having a novelist’s free hand to write what you will does not mean you are entitled to a free ride,” R. Z. Sheppard wrote in Time. But the novelist Valerie Sayers, in The New York Times Book Review, wrote: “The real pleasure lies in Vonnegut’s transforming his continuing interest in the highly suspicious relationship between fact and fiction into the neatest trick yet played on a publishing world consumed with the furor over novel versus memoir.”

Mr. Vonnegut said in the prologue to “Timequake” that it would be his last novel. And so it was.

His last book, in 2005, was a collection of biographical essays, “A Man Without a Country.” It, too, was a best seller.

It concludes with a poem written by Mr. Vonnegut called “Requiem,” which has these closing lines:

When the last living thing

has died on account of us,

how poetical it would be

if Earth could say,

in a voice floating up

perhaps

from the floor

of the Grand Canyon,

“It is done.”

People did not like it here.

Schedule Release

Yesterday at about 1pm I got a little excited, and then, I got a lot nervous. Here’s why:

Indianapolis Colts 2007 Schedule
WEEK DATE OPPONENT TIME
1 Thu., Sep. 6 SAINTS 8:30 p.m.
2 Sun., Sep. 16 at Titans 1 p.m.
3 Sat., Sep. 22 at Texans 1 p.m.
4 Sun., Sep. 30 BRONCOS 4:15 p.m.
5 Sun., Oct. 7 BUCCANEERS 4:05 p.m.
6 BYE
7 Mon., Oct. 22 at Jaguars 8:30 p.m.
8 Sun., Oct. 28 at Panthers 1 p.m.
9 Sun., Nov. 4 PATRIOTS 4:15 p.m.
10 Sun., Nov. 11 at Chargers 8:15 p.m.
11 Sun., Nov. 18 CHIEFS 1 p.m.
12 Thu., Nov. 22 at Falcons 8:15 p.m.
13 Sun., Dec. 2 JAGUARS 1 p.m.
14 Sun., Dec. 9 at Ravens 8:15 p.m.
15 Sun., Dec. 16 at Raiders 4:05 p.m.
16 Sun., Dec. 23 TEXANS 1 p.m.
17 Sun., Dec. 30 TITANS 1 p.m.

Making it to the Super Bowl last year was hard enough. Repeating is rare. This schedule does not bleed repeat. Except for that week we play BYE. I love that team. They always lose. 🙂 Excuse me while I go and bring my heart rate back down to normal.

To find out if you should be a lot nervous or a little excited go to 2007 NFL Schedule to see the schedule for your favorite team.

Where Do I Send My Resume?

I am so excited about the new NFL personal conduct policy. The best part about it is that the teams can be fined if the League determines that the team was negligent in complying with the policy and educating their employees. FANTASTIC! The best part is at the bottom where the NFL suggests that a best practice in implementing the policy is to have a full-time club player development director, i.e., Team Mom. Where do I send my resume????

On a totally different front, Tyler Hansbrough is returning for his junior year at North Carolina. Today is an ultra smile-worthy day. I smile every day that I get to live, but today this is something extra to smile about.

NFL strengthens personal conduct policy

(April 10, 2007) — The NFL announced changes to its long-standing personal conduct policy and programs for players, coaches, and other team and league employees.

The modifications focus on expanded educational and support programs in addition to increased levels of discipline for violations of the policy, Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

“It is important that the NFL be represented consistently by outstanding people as well as great football players, coaches, and staff,” Commissioner Goodell said. “We hold ourselves to higher standards of responsible conduct because of what it means to be part of the National Football League. We have long had policies and programs designed to encourage responsible behavior, and this policy is a further step in ensuring that everyone who is part of the NFL meets that standard. We will continue to review the policy and modify it as warranted.”

Added NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw: “The NFL Players Association and the Player Advisory Council have been discussing this issue for several months. We believe that these are steps that the commissioner needs to take and we support the policy. It is important that players in violation of the policy will have the opportunity and the support to change their conduct and earn their way back.”

Education

  • The annual rookie symposium of all drafted players will be expanded to include mandatory year-round rookie orientation by all clubs that will reinforce the information presented at the June symposium.
  • An expanded annual life-skills program for all players and clubs will be mandatory.
  • There will be mandatory briefings each year for all players and clubs given by local law enforcement representatives. These briefings will cover laws pertaining to possession of guns, drinking and driving, domestic disputes and other matters, including gang-related activities in the community that could be of significance to players, coaches, and other club-related personnel.
  • Every club will be required to implement a program for employees to enhance compliance with laws relating to drinking and driving.
  • Counseling and treatment programs for all club and league employees that violate the policy will be expanded.

Discipline

  • The standard of socially responsible conduct for NFL employees will be higher. Club and league employees will be held to a higher standard than players. Conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL will be subject to discipline, even if not criminal in nature.
  • Discipline for individuals that violate the policy will include larger fines and longer suspensions.
  • Repeat violations of the personal conduct policy will be dealt with aggressively, including discipline for repeat offenders even when the conduct itself has not yet resulted in a conviction of a crime.
  • Individuals suspended under the policy must earn their way back to active status by fully complying with professional counseling and treatment that will include evaluation on a regular basis.
  • Clubs will be subject to discipline in cases involving violations of the Personal Conduct Policy by club employees. In determining potential club discipline going forward, the commissioner will consider all relevant factors, including the history of conduct-related violations by that club’s employees and the extent to which the club’s support programs are consistent with best practices as identified and shared with the clubs. Recommended best practices include having a full-time club player development director and a full-time club security director.

Next Tip-Off: 7 months

It’s times like this when you wish the new season started tomorrow so you could at least start gradually getting this bad taste out of your mouth.

P.S. Apparently if you play or played for the Colts and your name starts with a D you get in trouble with D-Law. Knock it off boys cause this Team Mom is starting to disown a few of you.