Good News Bucs Fans

It’s our bye week! A merciful God has intervened and we will not lose this weekend!

A rather pedestrian 9-5-1 last week, I’m a little disappointed. I know the percentage is respectable, but still, I should have seen the Eagles/Giants and the Ravens/Bucs outcomes. I went with my heart, not common sense. This week, I’ll pick it up.

The Pats have the J.E.T.S. tonight on Thursday Night Football. Tom Brady has never lost on Thursday. And it’s the Jests.

No time to waste. The Thursday kickoff is only moments away. So here are my hurry-up-and-tell-us-already picks for Week Seven: Pats over Jests, Ravens over Falcons, Vikings over Bills, Bears over Dolphins, Saints over Lions, Packers over Panthers (unless they tie, eh?), Colts over Bengals, Browns over Jags, Seahawks over Rams, Native Americans over Titans, Chargers over Chiefs, Cowboys over Giants, Cards over Raiders, Broncos over Niners, Texans over Steelers. And, just because I love saying it–My Bucs WON’T lose this weekend!

Near Perfection!

darin3Oh! The agony! My Buccos were oh-so-close to pulling off the win in New Orleans. But that’s not what ails me today. It’s that I was one game away from a perfect slate for the week! ONE GAME! And, knowing me as you do–which NFL team spoiled it for me? Of course, the Buffalo Bills! The Bills found a way to win and sent me to a 14-1 slate. The Bills–the NFL’s closest thing to a Canadian Football League team. The Bills–they of 4 straight Super Bowl losses, years (and years) of futility since, and … they had J.P. Losman (pronounced LOSS-man) as their QB for crying out loud! The Bills!

Nevertheless, a pro like me has to move on. There are bigger story lines. In New York, Rex Ryan has that Green Mile look about him. His statement, “Geno Smith is our starting QB” may as well have been prompted by the question, “Do you have any last words?” And now there is news out that Michael Vick failed to seize the starting role because he hasn’t taken practice snaps seriously. He’s in the coach’s doghouse. This is Michael Vick we’re talking about, right?

In Oakland, the Tony Soprano era began with a bye week. That was time enough for Derek Carr to heal … and for Matt Schaub to disappear. No seriously, he was last seen getting into a black sedan … nothing since. When asked about it, Coach Sopano said, “You a wise guy? You ask a lotta questions!” That reporter, by the way … ?

Oh and this just in … the Patriots are back! Just ask the Bengals. And this week they get … wait for it … the Saskatchewan Bills!

I know why you’ve come, however. It’s for the picks. The Pigskin Pontiff types, and you run to the water-cooler to amaze your friends with your pigskin prognosticating prowess. 14-1 last week–you’re a celeb! SO without further ado, let me find my pointed hat and dish out my ‘say-five-hail-Marys-and-keep-Michael-away-from-the-dogs’ picks for Week Six: Colts over Texans, Steelers over Browns, Patriots over the Canucks, Bengals over Panthers, Titans over Jags, Packers over Dolphins, Lions over Vikings, Broncos over Jets, Bucs over Ravens, Chargers over the Mob, Falcons over Bears, Seahawks over C’Boys, Cards over Native Americans, Giants over Eagles, 49ers over Rams.

Improving Our Craft

storyAlways on the lookout for ways to get better at what we do, I’ve endeavored a series of posts here that I hope will provide some great insights and thought provocation where our craft is concerned. I recently ran across this gem. How does the old saying go? If the shoe fits … Drink deeply!

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.

Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music! The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

H.T. to the late Gary Provost for this wisdom and wit. You can learn more about (and from) the great writing teacher by visiting