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October 28, 2003

First off, I dedicate this column to Butterscotch, the family cocker spaniel who passed away in her sleep last night at the ripe old age (in dog years) of 13. She stayed in the backyard area of my parents' house in Nashville, and while she wasn't the sharpest animal as far as intelligence went, she wasn't mean-spirited or troublesome. Rest in peace, Butter...

Ned t-shirt
This Ned t-shirt will be one of the initial items offered on

My double root canal was a rousing success this morning. It turned out about as well as I could have possibly hoped. Hats off to Dr. Ruiz and his staff out in Town 'N Country. I'd heard so many horror stories about root canals, but the procedure went almost flawlessly. The only problem came during the first thirty seconds, when they needed to add more novocaine (and let me assure you, that hurt like you wouldn't believe, which had me worried that I was in for two hours of pure torture). But one more injection and, presto, I was good to go.

Most of my DigiQuest co-workers had predicted that I wouldn't make it in today, and it was with a certain feeling of pride that I walked through the building and took in the various shocked "What are you doing here?!?" looks. But there was important work to be done, and short of incapacitation I wasn't going to be kept away. And, in the end, it paid off. PayPal is a lock for us with (launching on 11/1/2003), which makes me happier than you could possibly imagine.

I called Kara out in San Diego today to make sure that all was well with her with the fires that have torn through southern Cali. Her voice mail picked up, but she called me back tonight and confirmed that all was okay with her. It was a rather awkward conversation beyond that, as you might imagine in a situation with so much water under the bridge. But I was glad to hear that she was safe.

The new season of the FOX show 24 debuted tonight. And, despite a power flicker that sent my cable box into a temporary bout of insanity, the episode proved to be gripping and intriguing. Clearly the franchise has maintained the momentum of seasons one and two, if tonight's debut is any indication. The show is worlds better than the vast majority of everything else that's out there on contemporary broadcast television.

Corey Dillon
Corey Dillon has been unable to escape from the Cincinnati Bengals.

I've heard some speculation that Tampa Bay Bucs DT Warren Sapp is behaving in such an abrasive public manner in order to deter the Bucs from slapping the Franchise tag on him in the off-season. I hate to break this to you, but I don't think Sapp has anything to worry about with that. The Franchise tag is a salary cap nightmare, a one-year stomach punch of a deal used to strong-arm elite players on teams with cap space into sticking around (see RB Corey Dillon of the Cincinnati Bengals and OT Walter Jones of the Seattle Seahawks as past victims of that). But if the Bucs had wanted Sapp beyond 2003, they would've already signed him to a long-term extension that would've softened the cap blow for this season. The Bucs are taking a shot to the junk with Sapp's deal this year, make no mistake (which is backloaded, as almost all NFL contracts are). I still stand by my earlier prediction that the Bucs will place the Transition tag on him, which will allow them to receive a first round pick as compensation from whatever team decides to sign Sapp (or potentially opt to keep Sapp with a matching offer if the market stays low enough for him to be retained at a reasonable cost). With the Franchise tag, the Bucs would be obligated to tender Sapp a one-year offer that would be an average of what the top five DTs in the game are making. Financially, that makes little sense, particularly with the Transition tag sitting there as an option. For being a team that traded away many recent first round draft picks (in particular with the Keyshawn Johnson and Jon Gruden trades), the Bucs could sure use an extra #1 pick by way of losing Sapp as a Transition free agent. It just makes too much sense for it to play out any other way.

Incidentally, for all of you fans in Tempe who booed San Diego Chargers WR David Boston last night... you can all collectively stick it. The boos should've been directed at the Cardinals organization, which allowed Boston to walk without receiving anything in compensation last off-season (in an incredibly puzzling move). Then again, I was hoping that the Cardinals would end up moving to Los Angeles; nothing against the greater Phoenix area, but that moribund franchise needs some of the bright lights of the big city to spruce things up (it hasn't had much success at all since its days in Chicago, which it left in 1959).

Kill Bill, Volume One
Kill Bill: Volume One is an excellent film.

If you don't mind gratuitous violence, I give a strong recommendation to the latest Quentin Tarantino movie, Kill Bill: Volume One. His attention to detail is as remarkable as ever, with characters as memorable as they are diverse. Plus, they even managed to work in a reference to Kaboom cereal, which my brother Matt and I found uproariously hilarious. When Matt was little, he once consumed a couple of bowls of Kaboom... and his crap turned green as a result of the artificial color overload. I kid you not. It's disgusting, but true.

You will have to work at times to suspend disbelief, though this is done seemingly intentionally, as if to set the motif. Perhaps most disappointing is the fact that this is only Volume One. I left the theatre wanting to see Volume Two right away. But, like everyone else, I'll have to wait until 2004 for that.

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