Que Sarah, Sarah

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nipple Stickers ‘n Skivvies

The other day I saw a commerical for the new movie "Beowulf" and was reminded of an absolutely ridiculous, mildly humiliating, only-in-LA experience I had a few years ago. I subscribe to a casting service called Actors Access that sends out breakdowns for movies, TV shows and commercials. It's a great tool for actors and hosts who don't have agents, as you can submit your headshot, resume and information directly to casting directors. In August of 2005 I was sent the following breakdown:

BEOWULF (motion capture females)
Feature Film
SAG

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Casting Director: Sande Alessi/Kristan Berona
Interviews: 8/24
Shoots: Oct-Dec (various dates)
Rate: $1000 per day + Agency
Location: Los Angeles

[ MOTION CAPTURE MODEL 1 ]
Female, 20-30s. 5'-10/5'-11", chest 36-37", hips 37-38". Model MUST be within these measurements...

Meeting the required qualifications—not the least of which was possessing a strong desire to make $1000 a day—I submitted myself and heard back later that afternoon. I was told to come in the next day to ensure that the measurements I gave were correct and to go through the usual question-and-answer bit with the casting people. Seemed simple enough.

At the studio, I was ushered over to a group of about 25 other women, all of whom were supposed to be nearly identical to me in height and shape. This was clearly not the case. We all made small talk, everyone noting what a large variety of shapes and builds there were considering we all fit into a 2-inch range of measurements. After some time, a woman came over to the group to explain the project and exactly how the casting session would work. It turned out the film was to be shot using motion capture, like The Polar Express, and we were auditioning to be the body double for Angelina Jolie. They wanted Jolie's character to be a mix between Jolie and Rebecca Romijn in the X-Men films—slightly taller, and more womanly and voluptuous than Jolie herself. The body double would shoot several days a week for about a month, doing all the major physical movements of the character—everything from walking to major stunts and ropes work. I was psyched. Not only was it high-paying but it sounded like an absolute blast. Can't say I minded the thought of saying I was Anglina Jolie's body double either.

Next, the woman explained that the shape of the body double's general silhouette and the "natural hang" of her breasts should match that of Jolie's as closely as possible. In order to determine this, each woman would have to take a series of 8 photographs from different angles wearing…underwear and nipple stickers. Yes, that's right. We would be grouped in a room ten at a time, where we would strip down to our skivvies, put flower-shaped stickers on our boobs and then turn in a circle for the photos. Now I wouldn't consider myself a shy person, necessarily, but I certainly don't seek out opportunities to be nude amongst strangers, either. Nonetheless here I was, in a room of nearly nude women I'd just met, about to allow someone to get photographic evidence of my every flaw and fault.

Some of the women were obviously models (or strippers, I s'pose) and, used to the mad rush of backstage wardrobe changes, happily disrobed and waited in line, bare asses waving about. Others like myself quickly stripped in the corner, slapped the flowers on and grabbed a robe to wear while awaiting our doom. In the end, it was quick and painless, just a brief 8-stop pirouette in all my naked glory, and yet somehow I still felt a bit duped. I wonder whether those photos will be the ones E! digs up for my True Hollywood Story. I've never lived in my car or been addicted to drugs, so I guess embarrassing, nude, casting photos will have to suffice as evidence of my rocky rise to fame. Or maybe someone will try to blackmail me using a particularly unflattering shot, nipple-blossoms and all—you know, like the Cameron Diaz leather fetish movie. Or perhaps a PA on the set stole the negatives and there's already a website out there called www.naiveandnude.com.

Needless to say, the "natural hang" of my breast was apparently not a match, so I never had the pleasure of doing aerial acrobatics in a sensor-laden jumpsuit. As such, I get the grand a day, either. Since the film's release, I've seen a couple articles discussing Jolie's nude scene, all of which correctly assert that a body double was used. Even before she shriveled into her current emaciated state, Angie never had the hips and curves the CG-enhanced version of her does in the film. I'm not sure which of the women I saw wandering about in her undies got the gig, but I know this: whoever she is, the hang of her boobs is worth thousands…

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Brief Thoughts on Playboy’s Sexiest Sportscaster Poll

http://www.sportsandpopculturebank.com/sspoll.html

With the second ever Sexiest Sportscaster poll currently making the news, I had to ask my regular female contributor for her thoughts on the poll; as well as the issues of gender and sexuality that surround it. For insight on how the media's presentation of women in sports journalism can affect and shape public opinion, I asked the perfect source: one with plenty of first-hand experience.

--Paul M. Banks


The balance of power between men and women in the sports industry is one I'm faced with every day. While I could go on for days arguing a variety of points, this isn't a thesis on sexuality and society, so I'll try to keep it brief. My basic belief is that women shouldn't be required to conceal their beauty or sexuality in order to be respected. The secret isn't to de-sexualize women, but rather to accept that someone can be a sexual being while also possessing innumerable other qualities. If Playboy wants to have a poll asking people to vote for the hottest sideline reporter, I say go for it. The problem isn't with the idea of viewing these women as sexual beings, the problem is that many people aren't willing to view them as anything else. I have very strong feelings on gender stereotypes and the oversimplified characterizations society maintains, but I also have a healthy acceptance of the way the world and the human race function. Trying to fight the natural urges and desires of the human body and mind is futile. Rather than chastising people for noticing a woman's beauty, instead the focus should be on proving to them that there's something behind that façade.

As Paul Banks said in his piece, society has trouble dealing with multifaceted, complex people who don't fit into a certain "box." During my Super Bowl media blitz, I was instantly assumed to be an "attention whore" with fake boobs, no brain and no sports knowledge. By the end of the 60-something interviews I did for radio, TV and print, nearly every member of the media I spoke to admitted that I was nothing like the girl they'd expected after seeing my picture. I'm no idiot. A photo of me in a loose-fitting Bears tee-shirt never could have drawn the publicity and interest needed for my e-Bay plan to work. At the same time, never once throughout the process did I carry myself in a cheap or over-sexualized manner. I deflected questions about my looks or my chest and won people over with the truth: that I'm a huge Bears fan, an Ivy-League educated television producer, my boobs are real (for the billionth time) and—the part that's hard for some to accept—that I'm a girl that doesn't fit into a stereotype. (That means you, Colts fan/S&PCB reader who asserted that I know nothing about football without ever having read a word of my work).

The same principle applies to women of the sports media. Rather than feel challenged or bested in a world they consider "theirs," many men would rather subjugate and demean the very women they're admiring. By placing these women in a role that is purely aesthetic, men don't have to accept the idea of a woman who is both knowledgeable and attractive. Unfortunately, there are also many women who assume inferior roles in the workplace and home, conceal their intelligence or withhold their opinions for fear of intimidating or angering their male colleagues or lovers. These women do just as much to preserve stereotypes as men do. This goes back to that Colts fan who, rather than supporting another female, elected to attack me and try to cut me down without impetus or evidence. Society breeds men to view women as sex objects, thereby making women see each other as "competition." Women in predominantly male industries would do well to support each other, but that's a much larger issue that I don't have time to get into right now.

The point is: Let women in sports be sexy! Let men in sports be sexy (hello, Jesse Palmer)! Just appreciate that while you're admiring their beauty, you're also getting the results of their years of hard work, practice and passion. Fortunately, there are plenty of men and women who already accept and support well-rounded, multifaceted, smokin' hot chicks like Erin Andrews, who I think will win this year's poll for her combination of outstanding sports knowledge, a great ass and an undeniably endearing personality.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Unfinished Business

http://www.sportsandpopculturebank.com/teamjournals/sarahspainpage.html

This summer in training camp the 2007 Chicago Bears announced their
mantra for the upcoming season. It was simple, powerful and inspirational:
"Unfinished Business." After a disappointing Super Bowl loss,
Lovie Smith and the boys had one focus for the season—to get back to the
big show and, this time, to win it all. Perhaps the Bears looked too
far ahead. Maybe all the talk of a score to settle in the Championship
got them hyped up for a future that they'll likely never see. The
desire to get back on top is understandable, but the need to be present in
the now is essential.

Chicago hasn't won back-to-back games all season. Rarely has the team
come together and performed well on all fronts. The Bears couldn't
score against the Chargers but their D made LT look useless. The defense
was MIA in their first lost to the Lions, and they couldn't muster
more than a touchdown in the second loss. Griese and the offense kept
them in it against the Vikings but the defense practically rolled out a
Welcome mat in the end zone for Adrian Peterson. No part of this
year's Chicago Bears team is strong enough to win a game on its own, and
that's exactly why this team hasn't won many games. Sunday's contest
was another example of a team divided.

The Bears offense started off with a bang. Cedric Benson ran it for a
career-long 43 yard TD on just the second play of the game, making good
on a huge hole created by our offensive line. Benson's six-pack was
the Bears' first 1st quarter touchdown all year. A patient and
methodic Seahawks drive was nullified by an unlikely Josh Brown miss, and Rex lead the team down the field again. A Gould field goal put Chicago up 10-0 and things looked swell. Unfortunately, the Bears had to hand the
ball back over to Hasselbeck and the 'Hawks. Another patient drive
from Seattle, this time resulting in a DJ Hackett touchdown. For most of
the game, it appeared as though the Bears were running a sort of
"prevent" defense. They were willing to give up quick slant routes and short passes, hoping to keep the 'Hawks from making any big plays. While a 70
yard bomb'll kill ya quicker than a series of 7-10 yard gains, that
doesn't mean those gains won't kill ya just the same. This is the same
sort of game plan Chicago used in the Super Bowl...and we all know how
that story ends.

Midway through the 2nd the Seahawks struck again, this time with some
help from a Chicago special teams error. The Bears were forced to punt
from deep in their own territory, but managed to hold Nate Burleson to
just a 10 yard return. Unfortunately, Rod Wilson put a hit on Burleson
after he was well out of bounds, giving the Seahawks an extra 15 yards.
Wilson's stupid penalty allowed the Seahawks to start from the Bears
32 yard line and, in just 4 plays, Seattle took the lead on a Maurice
Morris rushing TD. Thankfully, the Bears offense showed up again on a 60
yard drive that ended with an Adrian Peterson touchdown. Grossman
looked great, going 6-for-6 to three different receivers. It was good to
see Greg Olsen get more looks this game, although I have yet to see the
blistering speed everyone that raved about in spring training. Thus far,
Olsen's used his size to make some great grabs, but I'd love to see him
make something happen after a catch every once in awhile. The game was
all tied up at the half, 17-17.

Chicago's special teams came out of the break and immediately gave up
another big play, allowing a 44 yard kickoff return by Burleson. Then
Burleson burned our D, too. Hasselbeck had time to eat a sandwich and
wash it down with lemonade before hitting Burleson in the end zone,
wedged between two defenders who seemed entirely uninterested in covering him. The Bears couldn't make anything happen on their next drive but
then Ogunleye stripped Hasselbeck and Urlacher (who looks a little like
a Viking Sea Captain with his red-tinted beard) collected the fumble.
That set up a huge play. 4th and 1 at the Seattle 25 and Benson
couldn't pick up the yard to keep the drive going. Lovie Smith has come under fire in the last few days for not giving Benson the ball enough after
that great first touchdown run, but until Ced can prove himself in
clutch situations like that 4th and 1, I don't blame Lovie for his
hesitance.

Early in the 4th Sexy Rexy and the offense got to the Seattle 29 to set
up another Gould field goal. 24-20 Seahawks. With the lead down to 4
points the Bears' defense came back onto the field and responded
by…giving up a 59 yard catch to Hackett on the first play of the nex
drive. Another Seattle field goal and the lead was back up to 7. With 8
minutes to play the Bears started the biggest drive of the game. First
Grossman hit Moose for a 22 yard gain on a great grab up the right
sideline. Next play, Grossman went to Berrian (who had 9 catches for 102
yards) for an even more spectacular one-handed catch for 23 yards. At the Seattle 42, with all the momentum on the Bears' side, Grossman tried to
scramble instead of throwing it away and got stripped. The Seahawks
recovered and the air was knocked complete out of the Bears' proverbial
sails. Grossman was 24 of 37 for 266 yards and no picks, but no play
was bigger than that fumble. Josh Brown hit another field goal for the
'Hawks on the other end and their 10 point lead was too much for the
Bears to make up.

The offense wasn't perfect, but it was penalties and poor play on
defense and special teams that lost this game for the Bears. Now sitting
in the NFC North cellar, topped by perennial ass-hats, the Lions, things
look dreary for last year's division champs. All that talk of
finishing what they started last year and instead the Bears have only given
themselves more unfinished business. The team is still mathematically
eligible for the playoffs, but it will take some luck if Chicago hopes to
play in January. Rather than focusing on early '08, let's hope the
Bears decide to take care of business next week first, 'cause you
can't finish something you never get to start.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Writer’s Strike

I went with my friend and fellow host Greg Chard to Friday's WGA strike to talk to some of the writers on the picket lines. A lot of people--especially those outside Los Angeles--are unaware of the main issues that caused this strike, so we wanted to get the real story out. Over 4,000 WGA members and supporters showed up at the rally, including many well known TV and film stars. We learned a lot about the issues and had some fun cracking jokes with some of Hollywood's most talented writers and actors, including Tom Arnold and Thomas Lennon (Reno 911's Lt. Jim Dangle). Check out some quick videos we made by copying and pasting this link:

www.youtube/user/spain2323

College Football v. NFL - Part 2

http://www.sportsandpopculturebank.com/cfbvsnfltwo.html

College Football v. NFL - Part II of II


By Paul M. Banks (college) and Sarah Spain (NFL-bold)


We know you've all had this argument before: at the sports bar, during holiday parties, at the tailgate. In autumn, some people look forward to Saturdays each week, others count down the days till Sunday. Now the debate hits S&PCB...


The Al Bundy/Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite factor

"I scored five touchdowns in the state championship game"
--Al Bundy, Married With Children

The simpler offenses and wide open jersey numbering system makes the game much more appealing to a larger audience. In America, the "free market" "deregulation" and "democracy" are sacrosanct. Wide receivers and running backs should all be able to choose whatever numbers they want; unlike the Fascist NFL numbering system. Seeing the playmakers in single digit numbers is really cool because this helps us former players reminisce about our high school (as Bruce Springsteen would say) glory days. Watching Illinois' top rushing attack this season reminds me of another athlete wearing a blue and orange 5. (OK, not really. Rashard Mendenhall was never as often-injured or as low on his team's depth chart as I was.)

When I saw We are Marshall, I laughed hysterically at the scene where the coach mentions what a simple offense the veer is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veer

It reminded me of a week in practice back in 1995 when I ran Thornwood high school's offense on scout team. I thought it was the most primitive offense I've ever seen. I learned the entire playbook overnight! This is an example of why college football features more systems and formations that former players and more fans can relate to. They saw the exact same thing in high school. We don't get to see this part of the game much in the NFL.



Numbers, schmumbers. I was 23 in all my sports and I love to see Hester and Jordan dominate, but I'd never consider the number connection to be anywhere near the top of the list of reasons why I love the NFL. I get the appeal of all levels of sport but nothing can compare to watching the best there is. When I want to remember how it feels to completely dominate, I just whoop on some short dudes at the playground. : )

When you get down to it, everyone wants to watch the BEST of the best. The NFL features the fastest, strongest, hardest hitting, biggest guys in the world. Sure, it's nice to watch a game and be able to pick out offenses you ran, but the real excitement is seeing guys do things you could NEVER do. Watching Hester burn a whole field of pro players is even more exciting than watching him burn a field of college guys, many of whom could never compete in the NFL. Sure, high school and college are still fun to watch (especially when you wanna re-live the glory days!) but nothing can compare to watching the best.




Purity: more about the game than being an athletic mercenary


-OK, we all know about the corruption beneath the surface in the lives of college athletes, but we don't discuss it openly. It isn't exactly helped by news items like the Colorado program's "prostitution slush fund," but like Wham told us in their hit song "Careless Whisper" -"there's no comfort in the truth, pain is all you'll find." Exhibit A of this maxim is the negative PR this past off season concerning NFL players. The '07 NFL off season news cycle greatly overshadowed the illegal activities in the college game. Pac Man, Vick and other malfeasants at their level would likely be dismissed from their program in college without being given multiple chances; even if they went to Miami or Florida State. Yes, Roger Goodell has gotten more hard line, but the fact that he has to displays how much more criminal activity truly exists in the professional ranks.

Also, there are no training camp holdouts or franchise tag related negotiation issues. It's more about the love of the game and loyalty to the team. Especially when you subtract the distractions of monetary bonuses earned from individual statistical benchmarks.


While the NFL has its issues, part of the reason the issues are more prevalent is because these are adults, with all the issues and responsibilities of adults. College players have everything planned out for them--practice, class, study hall, curfew, etc. Sure, you can get into a little trouble in college if you don't like authority, but pulling a Marcus Vick is just pathetic when your life isn't that complicated. Once you're in the pros and football is your job, it just gets easier to get caught up in the money, the hos, paying bills, taking care of kids, families, etc. It's not right either way, and neither set of players has an excuse, but for me it's much more upsetting to see college kids acting out. Let's agree that it's a tie on this one--I hate watching talent go to waste because players just can't get their sh*t together off the field.

The love of the game idea is a nice sentiment, but I don't think the argument is as viable now. Sure, players at smaller colleges are in it for the love of the game. One of my football player friends at Cornell was trying to go pro, but for the most part the guys were playing because they couldn't imagine NOT playing. These big college programs are getting to be more and more like pro teams now, though. You hate to see what coaches and programs are willing to do under the table to get the big recruits coming out of high school. If you're a 17 year old kid and you're already exposed to that side of the "business" it's hard to view football as just a game you love.

Players switch teams, sit out a year, ask for release, take money under the table, and fight it out for a small number of scholarships. All these issues are just like franchise tags, holdouts, etc. in the pros, they just aren't as closely covered by the media. And regardless of what others may think, I don't think all pro football players lose their love of the game just because they make it to the big leagues. If they're the kind of guy that's gonna take plays off and only kick it in when their contract is up, then they've probably already lost that love in college or earlier. Take Jamarcus Russell. I'm sure people would attribute the effort he gave in college to a love of the game but there's no way he suddenly flipped a switch and became money-hungry right when he hit the NFL. Obviously, the guy was about dollar bills, not loyalty, and now he's screwed the Raiders into starting Josh McCown. There are always gonna be guys--on all levels--who don't love the game enough, but there's also gonna be guys like Favre that'll never lose their childlike joy for the game of football. That's something even Packer-haters can love.



The Postseason


Uhuummmmm..well...yeah, I'm just going to go ahead and concede this one to you. Everyone realizes that 90% of the bowl games are just glorified corporate outings where someone also invited two college football teams. Having stadiums named after a multinational money making machine is one thing, replacing the game's actual name with that of the brand seeking more publicity is indefensible. (It will ALWAYS be the Citrus Bowl to me, not the Capital One Bowl)

Beyond indefensible is the BCS's BS. When undefeated teams get shut out of playing for the title, (like Auburn and Boise St. have recently) everyone loses. The win-or-go-home mid-winter tournament that is the NFL playoffs is truly the pinnacle of professional sports.


You nailed it. BCS = BS and lame-named bowls = consolation prizes for losers. Yeah, it's nice to watch your team in a post-season game, even if their season was a disappointment, but it's sorta like getting hyped up for the 3rd place match in a tourney when you know the better teams are in the Championship. As an NFL fan, it hurts if your team isn't in the Super Bowl, but losing in the NFL playoffs is more respectable than winning some consolation no-name bowl. The Super Bowl is it. You can't deny that that ONE game, ONCE a year, for all the marbles, featuring the greatest players in the world, is the greatest spectacle in sport.

College Football v. NFL - Part 1

http://www.sportsandpopculturebank.com/cfbvsnflone.html

College Football v. NFL - Part I of II

Paul M. Banks (college) v. Sarah Spain (NFL-bold)

We know you've all had this argument before: at the sports bar, during holiday parties, at the tailgate. In autumn, some people look forward to Saturdays each week, others count down the days till Sunday. Now the debate hits S&PCB...

Superior tradition, pageantry, Fight Songs etc.


- Football began in the 1860s with a collegiate match between Princeton and Rutgers. It has a 60 year head start on the professional league and that deeper sense of history has spawned numerous rituals that give the fan a greater emotional reaction than you can not find in the more business like professional ranks. The scripting of O-H-I-O, Notre Dame's "Play like a champion today" sign, the singing of "Rocky Top at Tennessee;" the college game is the one with the superior traditions, unique quirks and more colorful rituals. And listen to the fight songs in the amateur ranks! Don't get me wrong, I love hearing local talent Soulja Boy's "Crank That" at Soldier Field when the opponent is ready to kick to Devin Hester or Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin" when Dez Clark has a big gain down the middle on a slant route, but neither experience compares to a time tested fight song like when all of Spartan Stadium at Michigan State sings along word for word, and continues singing even when the band has stopped playing and action resumes. (OK, I admit that last example is a little creepy in a quasi-Fascist sort of way), still Michigan's fight song is so old the lyrics actually say "champions of the west" because it was written back when that part of the nation was considered the frontier. I doubt Jock Jams, 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready for This" and Kernkraft "Zombie Nation" will still move thousands of people over 100 years from now.


Well, as for fight songs specifically...The NFL equivalent to a fight song would be "Bear Down" not "Crank That." Hearing lifelong Bears fans singing Bear Down is just as goosebump-inducing as hearing alumni sing their old fight song -- so it's a tie there. (btw...check out this link to see me and my Super Bowl date awkwardly singing Bear Down for the Chicago Trib guy when we're suddenly joined by Tommie Harris!

http://redeye.mycapture.com/mycapture/photos/FImage.aspx?ImageID=41409&EventID=217638&CategoryID=22693&Collecti..0&Sort=

Songs like "Big Pimpin'" played throughout the game are more like school bands playing tried and true favorites like "Hang On Sloopy." I do appreciate the youthful, nostalgic feel of a big marching band sitting in the seats along with the fans, so I'll at least give college football the win there. However, fight songs and pageantry sort of fall under the more general category of "overall game experience." Leaving out actual players and game play for now, the NFL wins for game experience for a simple reason... In college 4 hours of class is considered a full day's work and binge drinking every day of the week is accepted. In The Real World most people are lucky to get out after 8 hours of work and are forced to limit their excessive drinking to the weekends. Saturday college football games are the beginning of a full day of other drunken activities including but not limited to: unprotected sex, recreational drug use, keg stand-ing and foam partying.


Meanwhile, Sunday NFL games are one of few remaining acceptable activities for which adults can be completely hammered. (Weddings and bachelor(ette) parties are two other such notable occasions). I love the pageantry of college games but NFL tailgating and post-partying offers up a social opportunity that those of us in the real world sorely miss now that we can't head to a party full of attractive co-eds any day of the week. NFL games are also a great time for family bonding. Yes, there are lots of parents that have raised their kids to love a certain college team, but often times those kids grow up and become loyal to their own alma mater. No matter where they move or where they go to school, they'll still be able to come home to root for their NFL team.




Everyone gets a team



-There are numerous states in the Deep South and Great Plains where dozens of large communities lack professional teams. Pro franchises are hundreds of miles apart from each other. College football gives these people and the entire state something to cheer for, which is extra special when pro teams are few and far between. In places like Alabama, Mississippi, and Nebraska, college football is more than a past time...because it has to be.


Very good point. College wins that one. On the other hand, some of those Mississippians and Arkansans are still hard core NFL fans, regardless of distance.

Every game counts v. 1-3 team coming back to make playoffs to make playoffs



-In college football, there is no room for error. One loss and you can kiss your BCS chances goodbye. If you schedule all cupcakes in your pre-conference (like Kansas St. and Minnesota usually do) in order to stock up on wins, the computer will make sure you're left out of the big party later. Every game is a playoff game, and no matter what the scenario is, you always have to, as Larry the Cable Guy would say "get-r-done." Although I agree with you that having fewer games than baseball or basketball makes each one more meaningful


After waiting months and months for football season to start, you wanna go into every week with hope and get at least half a season under your belt before you know the dream is over. I'd much rather hold out hope that my team can pull it together to make the season count than know by week 2 that they're out of it. One or two bad games for a college team, and they're done. Injured QB? Too bad. Team tragedy? Suck it up. Team chemistry slow to take hold? Sorry fo' ya. There are still only 16 NFL games a year, so unlike baseball or basketball, every game DOES count...just not enough to ruin your whole season. I believe in second chances (and in the case of my Bears, third...and fourth...and fifth...)

Mailin’ It In

http://www.sportsandpopculturebank.com/teamjournals/sarahspainpage.html

There's a lot going on in the world of Sarah Spain right now. I won't bore you with details, I'll just say that my brain (not to mention my time) is so full of *stuff* that writing intelligent, cogent commentary about the Bears/Eagles game is proving difficult. Instead of trying to force organized prose out of a disorganized mind, I will instead mirror my brain's clutter with a post in the form of a sort of stream of consciousness rant. What follows is a pieced-together look at the notes I took down while watching the game. I apologize in advance.

1st Quarter:
Bears look pumped. This is a make-or-break game and Philly's a hard team to read. Their inconsistency this season reminds me of a certain QB, in a certain city, with a certain nickname beginning with Sexy. Hmm…Brian Griese kind of looks like Dennis Quaid. I think it's in the eyes and the bone structure. Donovan McNabb is looking a little "hippy" – must not be getting as much cardio in with that reconstructed knee. Oh look, they aren't kicking to Hester. What a surprise. First Bears drive and wow, Cedric Benson is disappointing. Wonder if Brian Westbrook does private running back tutoring sessions. I imagine his hourly rate would be pretty high, but the Bears might want to think about hiring him in the offseason to help Ceddy out. Or maybe they could just use that money to buy a real RB instead. Decent Eagles drive, glad they only got a field goal outta that. 3-0 Philly. Quarter's over already and the Bears have seen about 3 minutes of action on offense. Not a good way to start this one…

2nd Quarter:
Griese to Olsen. I'm lovin' this combo. With his injury behind him Olsen is finally showing Chicago fans the speed and athleticism everyone was talking about in training camp. He should be able to create some huge mismatches. Griese to Clark. The announcers are really harping on the conspicuously absent Bears' wide receivers. Our offense is killing fantasy owners. Can't count on much from anyone, just a little bit from everyone. Thankfully, spreading it around is just fine with those of us that still care more about our actual team than we do our fantasy players. Oh geez. Robbie "good as" Gould missing a 39 yard-er is all we need. Gould and Hester are our constants. The way our offense looks today we're gonna need all the field goals we can get. Camera pans to a cheerleader during the break. Creepy camera guy tells her "one of the guys in the truck thinks you have great eyes." Funny, 'cause his camera certainly isn't focused on her eyes. Sometimes I'd rather not watch these games at work (I get a live feed, no commercials). I just don't need to hear Al Michaels singing along to the background jams and Madden asking for a sandwich. I feel like I'm intruding on a private man-to-man talk. On the other hand, they've got some great things to say about replays before they analyze them live. Back to the cheerleader. She does have quite nice eyes, but why in the world do the Eagles cheerleaders have pink pom-poms? Last I checked magenta wasn't one of Philly's colors. Still better than the "jorts" and ripped heavy metal tees the Jacksonville gals wear sometimes. Just 'cause your fans are white trash doesn't mean you have to dress down to them. You don't see Packer cheerleaders gaining 40 pounds and refusing to wax their mustaches now, do you? Oh, this doesn't look good. Another patient, methodical drive by the Iggles. Thank god their red zone offense is pathetic. 6-0 on another Akers field goal. It's amazing how different a return looks when Rashied Davis is the one with the ball, not Hester. Nothin' doin'. He used to do alright…must've gotten rusty watching Hester from the sidelines. Griese to Moose! Oh Moose, you've been missed. Man are you slow though. That run looked like a DB on a pick-six. Great catch though. 44 yard gain and the Bears are in business. Up the sideline to Hester but he can't make the grab. As the announcers point out, if Griese had thrown that pass earlier it would have been an easy 6. Hester's first step is gonna burn any cover guy, the pass just has to get there before he runs out of field. Enough about the birds, guys. Yeah, Eagles=birds, got it. Wow. What a play by Griese. Sheldon Brown comes at him untouched and he brushes him right off and hits Olsen right side. I've got a feeling Sexy Rexy would've overreacted to that pressure and thrown it away. Moose again. Look at that announcers! Big plays from our wide receivers. Unfortunately, more red zone futility. We have to settle for another field goal attempt. 31 yarder…It's up, It's Gould! There we go. At least we're on the board. 6-3. Man, we cannot stop the run at its inception. Our front line has been getting consistently burned by RBs for weeks. It looks like it's about bad angles—you gotta hope it's not about heart. Another Philly field goal. Now this is great football…snoooore. 9-3 Eagles. We can't stop a drive to save our lives but Philly can't score a TD to save theirs so it's a 6 point game. The announcers have it right again...we're play calling like we have our old defense. The Bears aren't gonna win games by putting up a TD or two anymore. We need to air it out and puts some points up to give our D a break.

3rd Quarter:
More mobility from the old man. Griese avoids Lito Shepherd and hits AP for a big 1st down. Now to McKie from the 3 yard line…he's…not in. Damn. Replay shows that Berrian pussed out on a block. I wonder if there are a lot of plays like that. Bears laziness that the average viewer doesn't catch onto but that costs us games. We're so gonna score on this one anyway. At the 1 yard line? We've got this in the bag. Oh snap. Literally. Kreutz and Griese treat us to the Grossman preseason special. Snap fumbled, Bears recover and have to settle for another field goal. 9-6 Eagles. Another Westbrook 1st down with Charles "Peanut" Tillman and Hunter "I look like a prep school lax player on 'roids" Hillenmeyer BOTH right there. It doesn't seem possible that these are the same players as last year. No fundamentals. Are we trying to strip first, tackle second? Why can't we get this guys down? More importantly, what is going on with the back of Nick Runyan's neck? Every time they cut to a tight shot of the Eagles huddle the viewer is subjected to an up-close view of Runyan's ape-like, sweat-drenched neck hair. Ugh. Thank goodness McFlabb couldn't connect on those last two passes. Eagles punt…we're still in this. This looks like another nice methodical drive by Griese and the offense.

4th Quarter:
Gould hits again. What an utterly boring tie game. 9-9. Yes! Two big sacks by Tommie. A huge stop for our D. 3-and-out for the Eagles and we've got a chance to take the lead. Holy Benson big gain. Haven't seen him pick up more than 10 in a coon's age. What the…no!!!!!!!! Bad snap…fumble recovery for TD…wait, wait…it's coming back. Ed Hochuli, the Brian Urlacher of the referee world, tells us "the ball was snapped beyond a quarterback under center, so it's a 5 yard false start penalty on the offense." Has anyone ever heard of that rule? Greatest rule in the book, says me. Another field goal. I loooooove Gould. 45 yarder. Bears up 12-9. This is a real barn burner. Dammit. I don't care what Kevin Curtis scored on the Wunderlich test, just stop him. 23 yard gain. Eagles rolling. Oh man, touchdown Matt Schobel. Here comes Madden again: "Like I said, whichever team scores a touchdown is gonna win it." Well shit. 16-12 Philly. All hope is not lost, though. Yeah, we haven't found the end zone all day but Griese and the offense have been clutch the last couple weeks, getting it done late in games. Big drive, on it's way. Hmm, incomplete, penalty, incomplete, sack. That probably won't work. Here's the test. The D has been decent all day—no big plays or Purple Jesus-like performances. Now's when it counts. 4 minutes on the clock and we need a stop and the ball. What in the holy hell? We just let fatty McEagleston with a bum knee and the weight of that huge chip on his shoulder RUN it for the 1st down? That is plain embarrassing. Nice, key stop by Archuleta, putting a body on McDrab. Still not sold on Archie, seeing how many big plays he's given up this season, but at least he pushed 'em back to 2nd and 13 on this one. "There's a flag!" "Where?" "On the field" "…Oh" Still don't understand it, but I'm quoting Soldier Field's finest. Big Philly penalty and they're punting. Holy crap that was a great punt. Damnit. Okay. A 2 minute drill starting at our 3 with the game on the line. If the last few games are any indication, now's the time for Griese Does It to shine. Bears have no timeouts (those couple miscommunications between Hester and Moose, etc. are coming back to haunt us). Griese to Clark. Nice. Griese to Orange Jesus (alright, alright, OUR Adrian Peterson isn't exactly a savior, but damn that was a key 9 yards). Griese to Hester. There ya go, kid. I can't believe this is happening. 25-yarder to Berrian and we're in Eagles territory. Our offense is a well-oiled machine. Our offense is a couple of lovers in the throes of passionate, rhythmic lovemaking. Our offense is an assembly line of 1st down production. Our offense is the sound of a thousand angels singing in unison. Our offense is several more cliches and a maxim or two. Half a minute to play. Super Hester for 21 yards! It's great that he's starting to find his way on offense. It's not just about the go route anymore. Hester's gonna be making big time plays all the time now that he's getting the playbook down. Holy Halas! Griese's done it again! Griese to Moose…this touchdown is brought to you by the AARP. Moose may be old but he's still got the fire in him. On a post route, gutsy call, gutsy throw, gutsy catch. Bears up 19-16. I love these guys. If I were a man, my pants would have just gotten tighter. Wow, everyone at work is staring at me. I blacked out there for a minute. Ah, I see. Apparently I just jumped out of my chair and did several awkward, near-groin-pulling aerial spins whilst squealing. Thank god I work in sports. That display would have been far more obtrusive at say, a proctologist's office. It's just Griese, man. He's thrown for 463 yards and five touchdowns in the fourth quarter this season (103.4 passer rating). Heck yes. Lovie and the boys said they wanted to treat this like a playoff game and they got the win. 3-4 ain't great and the game wasn't pretty, but we're still in this thing. Meanwhile, the Eagles go down in a fiery blaze. Poor Donovan. Another loss. And people are gonna be so much harder on him than they would any other QB with a losing record. I mean, no one picks on Marc Bulger. Or Carson Palmer. Cheer up, Donovan. Your city has just been honored - http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20071019_Hey__Were_not_just_fat_-_were_ugly__too.html