Archive for January, 2008

World’s Meanest Feline Bodyguard

Posted in KittyMonster with tags , , , on January 30, 2008 by tigereye

Have I mentioned that Spike is a bit aggressive?

Well, if I haven’t, he is. As I type this, my right hand looks like I stuck it down a garbage disposal without turning off the blades first. This is courtesy of Spike after I committed some real or imagined slight last night — possibly coming home from work at 5:30 instead of being home at 4 to feed him at the usual time. It hardly matters. I’ll be right in the middle of petting the little hellion when he’ll attack me with teeth and all three sets of claws, which, I should remind myself, need clipping.

Every now and then I’m the recipient of a Spike kindness, though.

Like every time I get in the shower.

Spike is a rare cat: he likes water. He used to hop into the shower with me at my old apartment, at least once every couple of months, and he’d stand there preening while the drain became white with shed fur. But at my house, the water pressure (along with everything else) is a vast improvement over the apartment, and the drumming/raining noise of the shower makes him too nervous to get in. Which is just as well. You try shaving your legs when a cat keeps butting them with his head. I should have scars on my calves that pass, in some countries, for tribal tattoos.

So here, Spike will often stand guard in the bathroom while I’m in the shower, and when I yank back the curtain, he’ll come up to the edge of the tub and lean on it. The first time he did this, I said, “Well, that’s sweet of you,” and leaned down to him, and he gave me a nose-to-nose kiss.

Yes, really.

He does it all the time now — not every day, because he’s often got more important things to do than make sure the shower doesn’t kill me, but at least once or twice a week I get a little dose of a mean, mean cat’s affection.

Sometimes it’s very hard to stay mad at him, even when the back of your hand is plastered with band-aids.

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Voting in the South Carolina Primary with a Bullet in my Head

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2008 by tigereye

It’s hard to work up any enthusiasm for the Democratic process when it’s a Saturday, you have to work, and a migraine that feels exactly like a bullet has lived over your left eye for nearly two days. All I was concerned about yesterday morning was getting to work without either fainting or throwing up all over the house and the car. At least this gives things a little perspective: I already had my candidate picked out, but frankly, if any Democrat from the previously cluttered field had approached me and said, “You know, if you vote for  me, I’ll get rid of that headache for you and funnel some money into migraine research at the National Institutes of Health,” I’d’ve seriously considered changing my vote. I probably wouldn’t have changed it for Kucinich, whom I despise for his oversized ego, but any of the others would’ve gotten a second look.

By now, we all know how everything shook out in the SC Primary. Not only did Obama win big, a record number of Democrats voted, which is a good sign, meaning a few more people have shaken off whatever line of conservative political bullshit they’ve been fed at church on Sunday by a preacher with an agenda, or maybe they’ve told a blathering Republican coworker or boss to go screw themselves when that person is expounding about the Republican party. Southern Republicans are possibly the most self-righteous chunk of the American electorate that I’ve ever had the misfortune to experience firsthand. They’re mostly to blame for my loathing of Republicans in general — or at least they’re as much to blame as the official idiot mouthpieces like the entire staff of Fox Anything. I know a few Republicans that I like, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy: it just means they’re exceptionally likable, and I still have hope for their conversion.

And here’s something everyone else is probably thinking too: I’m sick of hearing about the impact race had on this primary. Good God, every journalist sent into the south by a newspaper or a network, major or otherwise, rattled on about racial politics to such an extent you’d think they’d been dropped onto the set of a movie occurring in 1968. I wondered where they stayed and what they did while they were down here. When they left their hotels, did they glance nervously around them in a search for evidence of racial strife? Did they go into restaurants and public buildings and start counting black or white people under their breath? Did they feel pressured by their particular media outlet to perpetuate this crap? What the hell got into these people for the past week or two?

Because look, people, I’m not nuts about living in South Carolina, but it’s not for any racially motivated reason. (Frankly it’s got a lot more to do with being surrounded by Republicans.) This is not 1968 or 1958 or any time generally associated with southern racial disharmony, which is not to say I’m the kind of clueless dolt that believes racial or sexual equality has been reached anywhere in this country. We’ve got a long way to go there, in SC or in California or in Texas or in Massachusetts.

Every time a black person and a white person interact in the south, ominous brooding music doesn’t play in the background, and the two people in question don’t look at one another like the Sharks and the Jets are about to face off behind them. It’s not like being on the set of “Mississippi Burning” every time you accidentally bump into someone of another race with your cart in the grocery store: you excuse yourself and move on, not planning revenge and not feeling assaulted. (Just because the grocery store is a great place to pick a fight doesn’t mean Publix is going to segregate.) This is generally true for friends and acquaintances and total freakin’ strangers. Sure, once in a while there’s going to be some jackass on hand to stir up trouble, like whatever Godforsaken asshole hung a noose on a tree in Louisiana, but if you’ll all check the news, this is true all over the country, from the northeast to the southwest.

So we had two weeks’ worth of reporters trying to fit one primary neatly into the frame of racial disharmony they’d brought with them, tucked between their microphones and their overcoats. Will black people vote for Clinton? Will white people vote for Obama? Uh, yes to both, guys, and it’s pretty insulting to have heard these questions for the first time in SC after going through three previous primaries without anyone spending an entire broadcast on race. The real question that should’ve been asked was, Will all those people in SC whose (Republican) Congressmen and (Republican) senators and (Republican) governor have acted like they couldn’t care less about job loss and lack of health care ever wise the fuck up and remember that the last time our economy looked this bad was right after Reagan and Bush, and every time Americans are convinced to put another (lying, clueless) Republican in the White House, the economy tanks? I’ve heard and heard all about how bad things look in Michigan, but I’d be shocked if it looked significantly worse than things do here. Jobs have been leaving the south since the eighties, when good old Reagan started handing out tax cuts like Halloween candy to every rich business-owning asshole in the country who might want to move his business overseas, and the ones in the south just happened to be near the front of the line. Education isn’t the answer, either: I have a degree with honors and can’t find a job. And by the way, no one has ever addressed the real problem of re-educating workers in the south, which is How the hell are they going to feed their families and pay the rent while they’re “getting new skills” in the job retraining that no one I know has ever seen down here? You don’t get paid during job retraining. Tell that to Mitt Romney and watch his multibillionaire head explode because a poor person just talked back to him. That’s class politics, and there’s more of that going around than you’d think.

There are a lot more immediate problems down here than racial politics. Racial politics never made anyone go through their grocery list and cross off all the stuff they want and need but can’t afford. Racial politics isn’t making companies pull up and move to China. And racial politics isn’t why more Democrats just voted down here than Republicans did. Whoever covers the campaigns needs to get a new slant for their story — which I’m sure they will, now that they’re moving on from SC — and start asking, Will a southerner vote for a Democrat? Hopefully the answer is yes, no matter what race the southerner is. And maybe the eventual Democratic candidate can do something about the bullet in my head, even if it’s just getting me some decent affordable health insurance and/or a good job. You know, the real issues. The stuff that crosses racial and gender lines. The things that gave the Democratic party a victory yesterday along with one of its candidates.

Five Great Places to Pick a Fight

Posted in Rants & Rages, Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2008 by tigereye

1. The grocery store. Really, if you can’t work up a good mad while trolling through the aisles with a wobbly cart and a headache, you’re just too mellow to be believed. I spent twenty minutes yesterday at my favorite local store, trying to get at the frozen cookie dough while a woman blathering on her cell phone blocked it with the mighty combination of her ass and her cart; listening to a nasal Brooklyn transplant berate a poor cashier for her own mistake in picking out on-sale lowfat cheese; minding my own business reading the ingredients on a microwaveable sandwich so I don’t eat onion powder and go into anaphylactic shock, only to hear some high school dimwit comment to a friend about “people looking at the calories.” By the time I had everything I needed, I needed something more, like two drinks in rapid succession and then a double-barreled shotgun for the high school kids. And a good defense attorney.

2. Football games. I realize many of you will just have to take my word for this, but trust me, there is almost no event so overripe for instantaneous violence as a football game, be it high school or college. (The only pro game I’ve ever seen was a peaceful affair, even while serving $5-a-cup beer.) There will always be a drunken jackass reeling his way through the crowd, pointing a finger far too close to your face and blasting you with Jack Daniels breath while he verbally mangles an insult at your team. Believe me when I say it becomes your civic duty at this point to smack this guy so hard he drops his drink. If he’s in the stands, this is best done when you’re with at least three or four friends as short-tempered as you are. I have lots of these, many of them relatives.

3. Parking lots. Even before the term “road rage” was coined, parking lots have the potential for violence of a building constructed on top of an Indian burial ground in a Stephen King story. There’s just so much that can go wrong! People too lazy to return their carts leave them out to roll into someone else’s car, dolts who overshoot a parking space then actually think the person behind them will back up and let them have it, passersby make disparaging remarks about whatever candidate your bumper stickers are endorsing, zealots leaflet cars about how Jesus doesn’t want you to pay your taxes but He sure encourages you to keep your guns… I’d bet that in the days of horses and buggies, fights broke out at the stands where the horses were tied up. I’m kind of surprised I’ve never seen evidence of this in an old Western.

4. In a bar. Like the parking lot, any bar has a fighting chance, ha ha, of hosting a free-for-all at any given moment. Over pool games, over the jukebox, over the wrong person hitting on somebody… If you take the crowd from the hypothetical football game above and put them in a bar, bottles and noses will be broken. This isn’t a fun place to witness a fight, though, because vomit tends to accompany the festivities.

5. Movie theaters. I’ve been in more arguments here than at football games, although that’s probably just because movie tickets are so much cheaper by comparison. This hot spot will, however, show your age, as you can hardly keep from reflecting that when you were a kid, people got to the movies on time and shut the hell up when they got there. Now it’s just one more day at the circus, except all the participants are clowns and none of them man-eating big cats. In fact, between cell phone conversations and people dragging infants to R-rated horror shows and whole packs of people filing in late with their Jumbo Popcorns and Giant-Ass I Gotta Pee Again Drinks and Only An Asshole Orders Jalapeno Nachos at a Movie Combos. At the circus, there’s always the chance that one of the elephants might stampede into the stands; at a movie these days, that’s what it would take to keep me from getting into an argument with whatever dolt has an entire empty theater to sit in but chooses to sit right in front of me.

6. (Bonus Fight) Online. One day I will learn how to punch someone in the mouth right through the computer screen, and I will then be elected President of the World.

Cry You a River

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2008 by tigereye

I’m not a wimp, I swear.

I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately, but everything makes me cry. Around Christmas, I figured this is normal, or as close to normal as I’m going to get. I have some relatives who are gravely ill, and seeing them or not seeing them evokes the same response — tears, natch. Candlelight communion always gets me too. And then there’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” and all the other holiday specials that pretty much flatten me around that time of year.

But I’m usually over it by now.

I think I spent half of last week either in tears or choking them back. I can’t bring myself to blame Hillary Clinton for starting it, but when I saw her on TV, genuinely moved, I was too. I love Hillary, and I’m not voting for her in the primary, and I’m unhappy with myself about it, and I found myself with big movie-ish tears welling in my eyes while I watched her. Then the media’s star collection of mouthy dolts spent the rest of the week talking about that moment, and I got so angry I found myself fighting off a whole different brand of tears. What the hell, people? Everyone swallowed that shtick about W hugging the teenager who lost her mother on September 11, but I didn’t hear every jackass with a microphone expostulating about it for an entire week. God save me from the “liberal media,” and other fabrications.

It was books that got me next: The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat, an old favorite by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who’s ever loved a pet, but there are a couple of moments in it that’ll make you reach for the Kleenex. I sniffled my way back to some dignity, stopping along the way to give Spike a huge hug he probably could’ve lived without. Then I also reread Elizabeth Berg’s Talk Before Sleep, possibly the best thing I’ve ever read about women and friendship, but it’s also about losing someone you love, and not only that, the first time I read it — not realizing what I was getting into — was less than two months after the unexpected death of someone close, someone I miss just about every day. It’s a beautiful, moving book, but dear God, I don’t know what got into me, reading it right after Foudini. I might as well have spent the evening stabbing myself with scissors.

Politics bit me again. I went to a John Edwards rally. I’d heard bits and pieces of his stump speech, and I knew his background was very much like my own, a family living in a mill village and working in a mill most of their lives. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of mills in the south, they’re the 20th-century descendants of plantations, for all practical purposes. He’s an exceptional speaker anyway, and when he talked about the worth of the mill workers being the same as that of the mill owner — words that, 50 years ago, would’ve got him run out of town — I only held onto myself by biting the hell out of my lower lip and thinking I’m surrounded by news cameras and I’m damned if I’ll be shown crying on the six o’clock news. I wasn’t, but it was uncomfortably close for a moment or two.

I want to emphasize that I knew the movie John and I watched this weekend was going to make me cry. I just didn’t know how much. We had a choice of “We Are Marshall” and “Gods and Monsters” this weekend, neither one of which we’d seen, and we picked the football movie since the season’s coming to an end. Look, I had very low expectations. Matthew McConaughey hasn’t been at the top of his game in a while, and he hammed up his character with an enthusiasm worthy of William Shatner. But the story of the movie got to me. It was a little close to home, about a small town that has everything emotionally invested in its football team (Clemson, anyone?), and there were a couple of scenes toward the end that even choked John up a little. I, of course, cried all over the sofa.

Then I went home the next day with a migraine, which knocks my defenses down a few degrees anyway, and tried to explain the movie to a friend on the phone, and ended up bursting into tears all over again, damn it.

Her: Are you crying?

Me: (sniffle) Uh, no.

Her: You sound like it. Movie really got to you, huh?

Me: I’m not crying!

Her: (silence)

Me: OK, maybe a little, but it was really good.

Her: Have some chocolate. It’ll make you feel better.

Which it did.

So what the heck is up with this? I can’t possibly be menopausal yet. I’m too young and not lucky enough. But I’d like to be able to go out in public without there being the chance that I’ll, I don’t know, hear “Fire and Rain” on the radio and not drive off into a ditch somewhere, sobbing.

And that’s all before the grand finale I’ve got planned for tonight: I’m going to watch “The Green Mile” for about the 10th time.

I have a box of Kleenex and a very furry cat in case I run out. Check the news for flooding in the southeast…

Bite My Democratic Ass, Dennis Kucinich

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2008 by tigereye

Well, someone has to say it.

I figure every week there’ll be at least one major screwup from a candidate, so if I don’t have a heartwarming moment in American political history to record, I’ll have one to laugh at instead. I was going to snitch the Ron Paul blast-from-the-bigoted-past from last week, which felt a little unfair, since Ron Paul, in all his crotchety Rip Van Winkle-ish glory, will be remembered when the 2008 election is over as That Crazy Old Dude, if at all. But he’s been superseded by someone I can make fun of from within my own party and not feel the least bit bad about it.

Honest to God, Kucinich — I mean, really

I guess this makes me a political snob. I tend to look at the also-rans most of the time and try to decide who’ll eventually be part of the cabinet and who’ll be lucky to appear in group debate pictures a year or four from now. So far I think Joe Biden and Christopher Dodd will probably get some recognition by whoever ends up winning the Democratic nomination, and, God willing, the general election, but I’m not willing to go any farther than that.

I have some friends who appreciate Dennis Kucinich, and speak highly of him, and that’s fine. Like Chuck Berry says in the live version of “My Ding-a-Ling,” which wouldn’t be entirely out of place as Kucinich’s official campaign anthem, it’s a free country, so y’all go right ahead and sing however you want to. But this week he’s showing ominous signs that he’s buying into his own bullshit, and yet no one’s volunteered (yet) to slap him mightily across the face and snap him out of it.

First of all, the man wants a recount of the New Hampshire vote. Not Obama and not Edwards, who are, after all, the only people with anything meaningful to be gained if it somehow turned out that the NH vote had left a bag of hanging chads behind in some cold, snowed-in town hall somewhere. Not even Bill Richardson, who might’ve been a viable candidate in a year that three of the most charismatic people in the party didn’t decide to run as well. No, Kucinich wants a recount, bless his ridiculous Mickey-Mouse-looking little heart. He Has Suspicions of Foul Play. As if any one of the top three or four would’ve actually benefited by stealing a hypothetical bag of Kucinich votes, when in reality you could add his entire total to anyone else’s and not make 1 per cent’s difference. (I will say this for the man, at least he put up his own money for this recount rubbish, although it seems more entertaining just to set $27K in cash on fire in an oil can somewhere in a cold city.)

That was enough, wasn’t it? You’d think so. And then we find out he’s suing MSNBC for not giving him a seat at Tuesday night’s Democratic debate.

Oh, for the sweet sufferin’ love of God, man.

Look, it’s his money and he can waste it any way he wants to. I can respect that. Back when I had a reasonably high-paying job, I bought so many red lipsticks I could now keep the Robert Palmer “Addicted to Love” band chicks in makeup until they’re all in the same nursing home for pouty models. I’m  not exactly afraid to throw money away. But it ticks me off that he’s dragging the Democratic Party, by association, into his personal celebration of hubris. To this, I say Look, dude, this isn’t just about you any more. Every time this story airs, you’ll be in some group shot, because cameramen are usually not fools, and you’ll have either Clinton or Edwards or Obama somewhere in the background with you, and you won’t just be making an ass of yourself, you’ll be embarrassing them by association.

Along with the rest of us, if you need it spelled out for you.

This week in politics has been irritating enough, frankly. First there was the non-story of Bill Clinton and the term “fairy tale,” which fooled exactly no one into thinking he was belittling Obama’s candidacy, and then there was the non-story of Hillary allegedly giving Lyndon Johnson credit for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work, which fooled even more no ones than Bill had. What a crock of crap. The notion that the Clintons have anything to be ashamed of when it comes to the politics of race is like saying George W. Bush should be more careful how he treats millionaires. Just as ridiculous is the idea that Obama’s campaign stirred up this cauldron of swill. If there’s anyone out there who doesn’t see Karl Rove behind this, put your glasses on and look again, please, because the only way any Republican is going to beat whoever’s the eventual Democratic candidate in the fall is if they create enough infighting between the front runners. If somebody’s campaign had anything to do with this, I’ll bet you all a silk pajama it’s Mitt Romney’s, or Fred Thompson’s, or someone else’s who drops God’s name like it’s going to get them past some kind of imaginary evangelical bouncer.

And then on top of this, Dennis Kucinich and His All-Ego Band decide they want to be treated like a front-runner. Well, guess what? Maybe I do, too. It’s probably not too late, in fact, to launch Tigereye for President and tour the campuses of Clemson, LSU, Auburn, Grambling, Memphis, and Trinity, looking for Tiger votes. If I did, starting now, I bet I’d do better than Dennis Kucinich. I’ve just got that kind of winning personality. Not to mention better hair.

So look, little man, you’ve had as many chances as anyone else to prove yourself a viable candidate, and to no one’s surprise but your own, it’s just not working out for you. That’s just the way it happens, and you’re not even close to being the first it’s happened to, although you’re moving rapidly up the charts in the race to see who lacks the most dignity while losing. Suck it up, Kucinich, and put your $27 grand back in your pocket, or better yet, try to save some face and donate it to charity, but leave New Hampshire and MSNBC out of your little play for air time. There’s more at stake here than just your future. The rest of us want a little happiness, too, and we’ll take it starting in November, if you’ll just leave things well enough alone.

Other Door

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2008 by tigereye

“American Idol” is back, and for someone who despises reality TV, I could hardly be happier. There’s nothing to make me appreciate my own normalcy quite like the parade of American idiots who line up every year to make Simon Cowell, and every other Brit on the planet, glad we won the Revolutionary War so they don’t have the likes of us on their hands.

I really do loathe reality shows, and up until last year I loathed “Idol” right along with “Survivor” and “Big Brother” and all the other programming that features fools in all their off-the-medication glory. Look, I worked retail for fifteen years: I don’t need my television to know what kind of whackjobs are out there, unrestrained, free to walk the streets — or worse, the mall. I used to see them every day. I fitted them with bathing suits (there’s not enough therapy available to get me over this), slathered them with lipstick, and finally withdrew far enough to just stick a book in their hands and scurry away. But “American Idol” brings nature’s own losers up close and personal again, some of them talented and others so unhinged you can smell the pharmaceuticals through the hi-def screen.

The auditions are just great.

They’re what got me last year, what enticed me into the sordid world of the show like the guy on the corner telling me the first hit’s free. I was flipping channels, looking for something, and stumbled across a zaftig platinum-blonde chick in a gold lame tent blouse and lipstick too red even for me, singing (?) “Don’t Cha.” No, I bet no one wishes his girlfriend was hot or anything else like you. I was fascinated like I hadn’t been since I came across a bird-eating spider on Animal Planet. And only marginally less frightened.

Stop! my better judgment tried to tell me, just as it had done with the spider. This is “American Idol”! You make fun of your best friend for watching this! You roll your eyes self-righteously when you hear other people talk about it! Keep going! Keep switching channels! Find something less embarrassing to watch — isn’t “Soul Plane” on?

But no. I was doomed. And worse, hooked. I think that audition episode aged me like those before-and-after-meth users photos, where you see a normal twenty-year-old and then you see her again at twenty-two, or maybe forty-five, with teeth like old leaning tombstones and burn sores on her lips. Because not only did I have to look at some of those people, which took me right back to the circle of hell that is retail, I had to listen to them sing.

Holy Mary, mother of God, save me from these people singing, and save them from themselves, I thought. Or at least let a bird-eating spider start wrapping them up in a little take-back-to-Australia spider doggie bag. I mean, some of these people… Look, my parents always told me when I was little that I could grow up to do anything I put my mind to, too. They meant well; they certainly didn’t intend to make a writer out of me, or they’d have told me something more motivating, like “work on those math grades.” But just because they said I could do anything didn’t mean I believed them. They were just preparing me for other Things People Say, like my boyfriend telling me I looked great in that dress and then two hours later mentioning that my slip had jumbled itself up so mightily beneath my skirt that I looked like I was hiding a less-than-vestigial tail.

I mean, some of those froot-loops go on “American Idol” because they have deep-seated issues that make them dress up like Princess Leia or Uncle Sam. Fine. I suppose they know what they’re doing, and that someone’s making sure they’re not hiding their pills under their tongues. But the ones who are wretchedly, soul-suckingly, Biz Markie bad and then start to cry when poor beleaguered Simon (yes, it’s come to this: I feel sorry for Simon Cowell, because his job is so much like mine) tells them they’re horrible: how can they not know it themselves? Surely they’ve listened to their own voices mangling the notes in the shower, right? God knows I have. I can sound worse than average singing the “Love Theme from Mystery Science Theater 3000,” which is an accomplishment that would get me featured on “American Idol” if I had exhibitionist tendencies and donned a Big Bird costume while I sang it. But there was a guy on there tonight who compared his singing to Paul Robeson’s — and he did have a pleasant speaking voice — and then bleated his way through “Go Down, Moses” as if someone had double-dog-dared him to ruin karaoke night for everybody. To his credit, Simon never even cracked a smile, although Randy and Paula nearly peed themselves. The guy left, disappointed. He said he’d be back next year with a more modern repertoire. Thanks for the warning, dude.

You’re not going to make me tell you about the pasty fat guy who got his chest hair waxed and tried to sing “Don’t Cha,” right? Or the girl who really was in a Princess Leia costume? I can’t make this stuff up, and with the writers’ strike going on, neither can anybody working for Fox.

So I gave up. It’s How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Me Some Freaks. In a way, “American Idol” is almost good for people like me, who are trying to find jobs that no longer bring us into contact with the general public. It’s motivating as hell, in fact, to make me get up in the morning and charm my way through every employment agency in a three-county radius, because if I don’t I’ll end up behind a cash register again, watching the equivalent of the audition crowd schlep past on the other side of the counter, all of them with more spending money than me. I don’t think I can take that again. And unlike Simon, I won’t be getting paid enough to try.

The Last College Football Post My Friends Will Be Asked to Read Until August*

Posted in Confessions of a Female Football Fan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2008 by tigereye

It’s over now, and I’m not entirely displeased with how things turned out. Good for you, LSU! I’m a Clemson fan before anything else, so it’s natural for me to cheer on any team called the Tigers. Then again, Clemson lost narrowly to Auburn in our bowl game, so maybe I’ll rework that philosophy in the off-season.

Getting my team out of the way first, it wasn’t a great year, but it wasn’t bad, either. We had a good quarterback for the first time since the early ’80s; because we had a good quarterback, we also learned we had good receivers. Before now, who knew why they couldn’t make more catches? We had one of the best pairs of running backs in the NCAA, one of whom is going pro this year. James Davis, you will be missed. We had a killer defense, all of whom wanted to follow in the big, fast footsteps of Gaines Adams. Sigh. We miss him too. And at least next year, maybe we won’t have to play Virginia Tech, who have clearly just got our number.

As for other teams…

It was nice to see Ohio State lose again, to yet another faster, tougher, better SEC team, although OSU has learned that if you play all the other teams in Ohio you’ll eventually end up at #1, whether you deserve it or not. The same goes for Southern Cal, who were talked up as the best college football team in history by sports loudmouths all over the world, led by Lee Corso as usual — and then lost to 40-point underdog Stanford, at home. This didn’t slow Corso or the others down for long, though, and it didn’t keep Pete Carroll from politicking to get into the championship any more than their second loss did.

Some great teams rose and fell this year. West Virginia could’ve run the table, but suffered their two losses like everyone else and then had their coach yanked out from under them, only to find… their interim coach led them to a bowl victory better than his predecessor probably could’ve. The Fiesta Bowl was one of the best football games I saw this season: everyone picked Oklahoma to win, and then the Mountaineers came out swinging, with an unheard-of defensive formation, a smaller team, and dizzying speed to beat the holy hell out of Bob Stoops’s Sooners. Patrick White, don’t let anyone tell you you’re not as good as Tim Tebow. What a game! I walked around the house for the next two days singing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” My boyfriend is less pleased with the Fiesta Bowl because of this. I’m not a very good singer.

Georgia started off wobbly and finished strong, and Hawaii started off undefeated and finished demoralized. But I loathe Georgia, so ’nuff said about that.

Appalachian State, known as dangerous by the entire southeast, beat Michigan by two points, although it wasn’t nearly that close. For those of us disgusted with the hubris of the Big 10, it was a great moment. For poor old nice-guy Lloyd Carr, it was the beginning of the end of a distinguished career.

Indiana honored their late coach’s memory by getting to a bowl game; Illinois shocked the world by getting to a bowl game; Kansas did itself proud by getting to a bowl game. Miami shocked their fans by not qualifying for one.

The BCS system managed to royally screw only one team this year (Missouri), which someone will probably cite as evidence that the crappy system is working. They also managed to put three teams in games that looked beyond their abilities: Illinois, Kansas, and Ohio State. Hats off to Kansas for the upset; sorry, Illinois, but they had to give Pete Carroll’s overrated team someone they could be expected to beat (the real reason Georgia didn’t go to the Rose Bowl); and Ohio State, once again you got what you deserved.

As usual, there were plenty of coaching, uh, highlights. Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy lost his mind, or at least his cool, at a press conference early in the season; LSU’s Les Miles just barely held onto his temper at a press conference just before his SEC championship win. Lloyd Carr found out that winning a national championship at Michigan means little if you keep losing to Ohio State. (If Rich Rodriguez thinks he’s going to put together a better team at Michigan than the one he just left at West Virginia, I’ve got some oceanfront property in both those states to sell him.) The same clueless whining ingrates at Florida State who can’t appreciate the experience, canniness, and decency of Bobby Bowden spent another year whining. Similar clueless ingrates at Clemson are whining about his son Tommy, so I suppose it’s a family tradition. Pete Carroll spent another year at Southern Cal with an overrated team, but with the best hair in the NCAA. Any day now I expect him to start doing Pantene commercials. And Charlie Weis will have to lay low for a while (it’s been kind of nice not seeing him) until he can get his Notre Dame team into shape for 2008. I can only hope they’ve got a game scheduled with Appalachian State.

Well, that’s it for 2007. I hope LSU enjoys their long-overdue time at Number One for a few months, before the loudmouths across the land release the preseason polls and park Southern Cal or Ohio State there again. Jeez, like most of the fans across the country who are tired of this favoritism, I can hardly wait.

*Until the 2008 season rolls around, I’ll just have to bore my friends to death with politics instead. Oh well!