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LMS XVI: Week One - The Beckoning Call Summons the Animals

Posted: 2009-09-13

Animals, The little bastards are finally caged. What at first was thought to be Hubble's latest photos of emerging star life in nebula N83B, turned out to be a view from space of much frenzied activity at THE VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER, as THE ZOOKEEPER somehow managed to lock down 6,681 animals into their temporary homes (some will be more temporary than others). It took some doing...

...but the last (well, maybe the last) of the scrubby, dopey, dazed and confused (but ever hopeful) beasts have been wrestled into their cages. Some wonder how THE ZOOKEEPER succeeds at this gargantuan feat each year. The answer is modestly simple: meticulous planning, a steel reserve, firm patience, strict adherence to an even handed disciplining of the beasts, and, of course, MUSCATEL in great quantities. When used unsparingly in the great annual struggle to load the cages, it works.

Your economic stimulus package of 2009 awaits, oh ye football genius aspirants. Once again, the smartest football experts on this planet will be vying for the title of FOOTBALL GENIUS, with a modest monetary award to be issued to the winner(s), as THE WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALL POOL begins yet another promised filled year. Of course, Jon and Kate have known such hopeful beginnings as well. It would be well to contain your excitement for now.

But there are some housekeeping details to go over before we get too far down this road to fame and fortune. Nobody should be breaking out the chips and dips and calling the guys from Kabul over for an Afghani style celebration just yet.

First, YOUR PICKS ARE DUE WHEN YOUR SPONSOR SAYS THEY ARE DUE. I don't want to hear any Congressional-like bickering on the subject. Get in your cage and shut up, Joe Wilson. We don't need no back sass'n, boy. If your sponsor sends in picks without yours, I will make them for you.

Second, THE PICKS YOUR SPONSOR SENDS ARE THE PICKS YOU WILL LIVE WITH. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CHECK THEM FOR ACCURACY BEFORE GAME TIME. IF THE GAME IS PLAYED, THE PICK WILL STAY UNLESS THE ZOOKEEPER HAS MADE THE ERROR (incomprehensible as that may be, it could happen). These picks go out before game time so that they can be checked. Do so.

Third, IF YOU SEE A NAME THAT IS A DUPLICATE OF YOURS, DON'T PANIC. THE ZOOKEEPER can tell which pick belongs to which cage. It's like a Santa Claus thing. He just knows. At some point (last year I think it was week 14) he will get around to putting your sponsor's initials after the duplicate names. Don't sweat it. You don't need to change your name. Animals. Freaking animals.

Fourth, THIS POOL REALLY IS SIMPLE. Just show us your skills. Win, baby, win.

DUMB LETTER OF THE WEEK: How's this for starters in the mailbag - "Dear Zookeeper, I used to work with a guy who's brother was in your pool last year. He doesn't work here anymore but he told me that he would get me into your pool. I just remember that his first name was Bob. When should I begin sending my picks?". Animals. Freaking animals.

Time is running short and the Steelers and Titans have emerged from the tunnel and are on the field. Let's get to the numbers:

0 OUT, 6681 IN. 2,178 SAINTS, 1,994 RAVENS, 841 PATRIOTS, 452 SEAHAWKS, 360 LIGHTNING BOLTS, 166 CARDINALS, 124 COLTS, 108 VIKINGS, 92 NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS, 71 BENGALS, 71 COWBOYS, 69 MIGHTY MIGHTY STEELERS, 53 FALCONS, 43 TEXANS, 19 PACKERS FROM THE FROZEN TUNDRA OF LAMBEAU FIELD, 13 EGGLES, 9 BRONCOS, 7 J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS, 3 TITANS, 2 49ERS, and 6 lone star selections going for broke in WEEK ONE: CHEFS, NATIVE AMERICANS, BILLS, DOLPHINS, BROWNS, DA BEARS.

That should be enough to get you all started.

PICK OF THE WEEK HONORS: Here they are, all lined up waiting for that special recognition they have strived so hard to earn: RED BARON & TELRAMUND on the 49ers, a 6 point dog on the road in Arizona; BRATELLI 1 on the Bears, a 3 1/2 point dog on the road to a divisional rival; ELLIE on the Chiefs, a 13 point road dog to the pool favored Ravens. 1994 to 1. Nice odds. CVERA214 riding the 4 point road dog Dolphins; JJ ROCK on the Browns, a home team 4 point dog. Nice pick; LEXINGTON STEELE on the Redskins, a 6 1/2 point road dog with a divisional rival; and GRIGGSY a 10 1/2 point road dog BILLS on a Monday Nighter in New England. Really, GRIGGSY? The Bills?

Geniuses all, for sure, but the honor goes to Ms. ELLIE with that incredible vision she had. Might have been the mushrooms or the clams, Ms. ELLIE.

Admit it, all of you. You know that you have a better shot of Ludicrous giving you a car this weekend. If that Kabul party thing doesn't work out for you, maybe you can invite Jim Bob and Michelle Dugan over for a game of charades. Animals. Freaking animals.

That's it for WEEK ONE. THE ZOOKEEPER has much to consume following this opener and so little time to do it. Irish in the Big House this weekend. Big game. Go in peace and love. Special shout out to the family and friends of BABY JOE, R.I.P. He was a good animal.

ZK