Help Us, Trent!

Tonight is the first round of the NFL draft.  The Browns made a bit of a splash by swapping first round picks with the Minnesota Vikings — and giving the Vikings three later round picks, to boot — and then drafting Trent Richardson of Alabama.

Every Browns fan knows the team is cursed and can expect only miserable failure come draft day.  Against that backdrop of complete and utter pessimism, I have to say that . . . I think Richardson is a good pick.

Richardson was a mainstay in the Alabama attack last year.  He gained 1679 yards on the ground in 2011, averaging 5.9 yards a carry, and caught 29 passes for another 338 yards.  He scored 24 touchdowns and showed the ability to make big plays with long runs and pass plays.  Equally important, he played well in the big games, including running the ball effectively against the tough LSU defense in the BCS championship game.

The Browns need offensive punch — their offense somehow managed to both suck and blow last year — and Richardson looks like someone who can make the defensive coordinators on opposing teams sweat a little.  Now, if only the Browns can find another playmaker (a speedy wide receiver would be nice) and somebody to block, they’ll have taken their first, tentative steps toward respectability.

In the meantime, I suggest that Richardson promptly identify and buy the largest insurance policy he can get his hands on, and keep his eye out for falling anvils.

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The Candidate Who Wouldn’t Leave

Yesterday Newt Gingrich indicated that he was finally ending his presidential campaign.  The announcement caught most knowledgeable observers by surprise, because they thought his campaign had ended months ago.

In this campaign cycle, Gingrich became the candidate who wouldn’t leave.  In recognition of his long overdue decision to face reality and get the heck out of Dodge, I offer this bit of doggerel:

Let’s raise a glass to our friend Newt

It took months to give him the boot

A white-haired whiz, great in debate

He somehow lost state after state

A stubborn cuss, he kept attacking

Only to take one more shellacking

His glibness was his main asset

That’s why he ended deep in debt

His campaign just went on and on

Long forgotten, he’s finally gone.

Trying To Maintain That Force Of Habit

When I woke up today at the regular time for my regular morning walk, we were in the middle of a gully-washing thunderstorm.  So, my normal long stroll was cut short to a quick, furtive trip around the house amidst lightning flashes — just long enough to allow the frightened, shaking dogs to do their duty.

I hate it when a morning rainstorm prevents my walk.  I have lots of bad habits and precisely one good one — taking a long, healthy, fresh air-breathing, cobwebs-clearing walk in the morning with the pooches.  I’ve been on the road recently and haven’t done it for about a week, and now I’m stymied in doing so this morning.

I’m always worried that, if I don’t rigorously stick to the schedule, my lone good habit will vanish like a puff of smoke in a stiff breeze.  Bad habits always are hard to break, but good habits are hard to keep.  That’s because bad habits typically are fun and immediately rewarding, while good habits are neither.  It’s easy to roll over in bed in the morning, snooze a bit longer, and rationalize that a short walk is good enough.  Good habits need to be treated with the daily care and attention that you might give to a rare flower in your garden.

This morning I was up and ready to go, ready to let my good habit reassert itself, when the fates intervened.  Hey, Mother Nature:  how about a little cooperation here?