The End

12 Sep

It’s over. It was a good run, and we had a great time, but the bad part is almost here.

I was optimistic before. Earlier this summer, when the Saints finally let go of Junior Galette, in spite of his position as defensive captain and the outrageous amount of money it cost to part ways with him.

During his big tantrum on the way out of town, Junior called Payton a Juicy-Fruit-Eating-Prick. YES, I thought. He’s reasserting control. Insane dickhead Payton is back, the one that makes legit media come to the team facility to dial in to a conference call. That’s the dude that won the Super Bowl. That’s the dude that can bring it all back.

In the last two minutes of the first playoff game, that went right to hell. Holding a tenuous lead, the defense on its heels, the Saints blitzed on fourth and twenty, and were thwarted by a simple screen. I am aware that preseason games don’t mean anything. I do remember that many of the men on the field for that play have already been cut. But Rob Ryan, or one of his staff, made the call, and Sean Payton claimed responsibility. Who made the call is of no consequence; the fact that it was made and vigorously defended is indicative of an unchanged mindset. Defeat, even in a meaningless exhibition game, is still accomplished no differently than the more important defeats that came before, and the stubbornness that pissed 2 potentially championship-caliber teams – one of them the best we’ve ever seen – into oblivion is upheld, once again, publicly and without shame.

That playcall is a microcosm of the Payton Saints: refuse to be inconvenienced by nuance; throw every ill-conceived notion at a problem at once, and hope something sticks; live with the shitty, heartbreaking, repetitious result you deserve.

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Simple Hunger

27 Oct

“The new Power’s mood drifted, calmed. A human might call the feeling triumph, anticipation. Simple hunger might be more accurate. What more is needed when there are no enemies?

The newborn looked across the stars, planning. This time things will be different.”

– Vernor Vinge, Fire Upon The Deep

I set out this season to write posts at the end of every week, before the next game, and I did so for a reason. Last week, I portrayed a stat (Drew Brees’s one interception ever while ahead in the final 10 minutes) as positive, when I could easily have gone off the deep end and declared it a sign of his imminent decline. Okay, I still did that, but not here, and I took it back before the game, so it doesn’t count. A week’s hindsight is calming, and the big picture is that even on his bad days Drew Brees is one of the best, and to take that for granted would be criminal.

I also predicted a final score of 47-21, which was pretty damn close, and I’m taking credit for that even if I do predict a blowout every week. Sunday was a healing experience, and after the long Cooks touchdown I had the conscious thought, “This is what home games were supposed to feel like this year.” It’s amazing the difference one week and a lot of stuff-doing can accomplish.

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The Cost

25 Oct

A short post this week, because I promised one, but there’s just not a whole lot to say.

‘You’ve found a way to stay sane, Renfrew – even if that means admitting a tiny piece of piano-playing madness into your world. But there’s a cost to that sanity, and it isn’t moi. The cost is you can’t ever allow yourself an instant of hope, because hope is something that will always be crushed, crushed utterly, and in the crushing of hope you will be weakened forever, just as surely as if you’d mainlined some slow-acting poison.’

– Alastair Reynolds, “Understanding Space and Time”

The New Orleans Saints, since 2006, have run 460 plays in the final 10 minutes of regulation while nursing a lead of fourteen points or less.

One of them resulted in an interception.

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A True Poet

2 Oct

“To be a poet, I realized, a true poet, was to become the Avatar of humanity incarnate; to accept the mantle of poet is to carry the cross of the Son of Man, to suffer the birth pangs of the Soul-Mother of Humanity.

To be a true poet is to become God.

I tried to explain this to my friends on Heaven’s Gate. ‘Piss, shit,’ I said. ‘Asshole motherfucker, goddamn shit goddamn. Cunt. Pee-pee cunt. Goddamn!’

They shook their heads and smiled, and walked away. Great poets are rarely understood in their own day.”

– Dan Simmons, Hyperion

Indeed. I wrote a few poems myself Sunday night.

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A Cult Of Pain

26 Sep


“The girl with the short hair shook her head vehemently. ‘But we won’t! One in a hundred, one in a thousand, goes all the way, all the way through. The rest of us keep pretending we’re happy, or else just go numb. We suffer, but not enough. And so we suffer for nothing.’

‘What are we supposed to do,’ said Tirin, ‘go hit our heads with hammers for an hour every day to make sure we suffer enough?’

‘You’re making a cult of pain,’ another said. ‘An Odonian’s goal is positive, not negative. Suffering is dysfunctional, except as a bodily warning against danger. Psychologically and socially it’s merely destructive.'”

– Ursula K. LeGuin, The Dispossessed

Ursula LeGuin is awesome. Read that shit. Start with The Telling.

Here’s a cool thing from Scientific American about humans and pattern recognition. The article talks about the superstition that arises from false pattern recognition – belief that an image of Jesus appeared in your toast, or the face on Mars – and the idea that these “false negatives” arose from natural selection. The argument, basically, is that if we hear rustling in the brush, and we’re scared of it, there are two possibilities: it’s a fucking tiger, or it’s not. If it’s a tiger, we’re more prepared to deal with it if we assume the rustling means danger. If it’s just wind, there is no harm in a moment of irrational fear. So we see patterns everywhere, and because there’s no evolutionary control for assuming a pattern when it doesn’t exist, we have no mechanism for toning that shit down when it’s completely unnecessary. So, sometimes, we look at a burnt tortilla and see the Buddha. Or whatever.

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19 Sep

“The man refuses to believe that what he is told is true. He asserts that he is either dreaming or hallucinating, and declines to be put in the false position of fighting to the death where no “real” danger exists. He is implacable in his determination to disbelieve his apparent situation, and does not defend himself when he is attacked by the champion of the other world.

Question: Is the man’s behavior courageous or cowardly?”

– Stephen R. Donaldson, Lord Foul’s Bane

Every football fan is different, but there are patterns of behavior that we all follow, common theories to which we subscribe, formed from a need for explanation or comfort or a masochist desire to punish oneself, ostensibly for liking the wrong team when he or she was 10 years old and dooming himself or herself to a life of pain. I mean, if we’re going to be melodramatic. It’s been a melodramatic week, so why the hell not?

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The Fool Saint

12 Sep


“He is the fool saint,
The golden stranger living forever
On the edge of reason.
Let your guard fall and he is there!
His crimson peace and sovereign pallor
Strike into our universe on prophetic webs
To the verge, of a quiet glance — there!
Out of bristling star-jungles:
Mysterious, lethal, an oracle without eyes,
Catspaw of prophecy, whose voice never dies!”

– Frank Herbert, “The Ghola’s Hymn,” Dune Messiah

Wait, is there a pattern here? Oh, yes. Yes there is. I won’t bother explaining all the ways “The Fool Saint” works as a title this week, because if you haven’t read Dune and Dune Messiah (yes, Messiah too) it isn’t even worth it. Seriously, what the fuck, people?

Last week I made a prediction:

“…every week will bring a new thing, an event you haven’t seen before; most of them will be great, some unpleasant, but all memorable.”

Nailed it!

Read On >>

Stuff Your Eyes With Wonder

29 Aug


“‘Stuff your eyes with wonder,’ he said, ‘live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that,’ he said, ‘shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.'”

-Ray Bradbury, Farenheit 451


Hi. Sorry about that whole not-posting-during-the-entire-preseason thing. Historically, my preseason blog posts are uninspired and unentertaining. So, you know, fuck that.

I pledged this year to wait until after the final game. There were too many non-football Distractions – Hard Knocks, work, life, preseason games – to focus properly on the season ahead. Now that the fake stuff is over, it’s time to get ready for the real thing.

So here we are. I’ll spare you the boring stuff; only one preseason game really serves as any kind of an indicator (as much as any preseason game can) and the GOAT over at Girod Street Endzone covered it better than I ever could have. The last game, a game Wang once called the final fake-ass dog and pony show of the lyingest month of them all, is utterly worthless. Here, without bothering with a proper segue, is the pre-preseason post from SaintsWin, in case you missed it. And with that, I move on.

The real thing is just over a week away, and the real thing promises to be glorious. The season ahead, ladies and gentlemen, is the shit dreams are made of. Of course it’s easy for any fan to get excited when everyone’s undefeated and hope springs eternal and other appropriate but painful clichés, but I sincerely cannot remember a team that was quite this exciting this very early in the process.

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Hard Knocks, Episode 1

5 Aug

I’m too drunk to write anything. Here’s my notes. I’ll write things about football after the football Friday. This is The Year.

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A Broken Window Never Closes

18 Apr

I wasn’t going to write until after the draft. I don’t get into player study, or game tape analysis, or whatever the hell we’re calling it now. This isn’t going to be about the draft, though.

Today, I realized something. Something happened this offseason. Something momentous. Something world-changing. And we fucking missed it. It happened so quietly, amid a cacophony of offseason changes, that we didn’t even realize a single man had fundamentally altered a paradigm that we take for granted every March, April, May – we missed a shift in the very structure of football’s competitiveness. Parity has been stricken a paralyzing blow without anyone taking notice.

Loomis broke the fucking window.

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