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NFL Weekend: 1000...

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Just two days after April 1st, 2010, Turf Show Times let their guard down. It allowed me to sneak in and join this, the most amazing - and largest - Rams fan site on Earth, and quite possibly the Universe. I know it's probably big on Glaxor...

Since then, I've literally written millions of words for Turf Show Times, culminating in article #1000 here today... I joked with Joe McAtee - site manager and article machine - that though his article total is more than double my own, I may very well have him when it comes to "Word Count." You see, I'm the kind of writer who likes to slowly slide toward the point I'm making. I'm pretty sure I can't write greeting cards, or bumper stickers, and Twitter is just flat out wrong to me. 140 characters? Really?

See what I mean? Limiting writers like me to a mere few words will not just prevent future generations from access to my vast knowledge, and keen insights, it may very well bring on the Zombie Apocalypse!

As a writer, I don't hide the fact I get, shall we say: Confused, at times? But what's worse, I appear to have the ability to bring my readers down whatever swirling rabbit hole my mind takes me at any given moment...(see the comments section in the article linked)

There's also moments when I may - from time to time - ever so slightly make a joke or two at the expense of others. I spare no one (see: Brandon Bate), and even famous fashion models with NFL quarterback husbands are fair game:

The Jets HAVE to beat the Patriots at something - ANYTHING - this season. The war room phone rings, and GM Mike Mccagnan is told New England is calling? "Hello?"

"Yes, is 'zis Mikey?" the sultry voice asks.

"Yes, who is this?"

"'Zis is Billy Belechick? Who else would it be you crazy boy?"

Mike stared at the phone, then heard the husky female voice yell, "Ach Tung! Both of you be silent, or I vill get zee genital hammer!"

"Zee reason I'm calling Jets today is to trade wis you, ya?"

"Um... Bill? You sound funny? Has your voice gotten lower?"

"Vat kind of thing to say is zis? You shop the trade, or no?"

Mike shrugged, "OK, what are you offering?"

"I gives you four... NO, FIVE of zee first round picks to shop at the #6 place, ya?"

Mike leaned forward on the war room table. "Er, uh... You're offering the New England #32 this year, and their first round picks over the next four years for our #6 pick?"

"Yes! Zis is what I'm sayings to you... Plus, I can get you back stage at Fashion Week. Lots of the naked-s womens for you to see, ya?"

Mike knew New England's picks were tantamount to high second rounders every year. But the Fashion Week thing sealed the deal. "Done!"

Back in New England, Giselle hung up the phone. "See how easy zis was? Now get my Tommy a receiver who catches the balls..." Bill and Tom - sitting on the floor next to her - just nodded.

Yes, I've had a bit of fun with my very good friend Brandon Bate. A stellar writer, he's let me throw a joke or two his way...

"Burrr-apa!  Burrr-apa!" My friends and I went silent. They studied me for a second, backing away from the fart-esk sound. I made a dismissive wave of my hand, "That's just a ring tone... No, really!" They continued to back up anyway. The caller ID told me who was calling. I answered my phone just as it farted again. "Welcome to the Church of Small Genitalia auto-sign up. Thank you for joining. Just know that guys with little dicks like yours are people too! We'll try to help by signing you up for every Viagra site in the universe! If you've reached this number by error, or are from the Washington D.C. area - work for Lowes - and are in denial, and would like to un-sign up, please press #1..." My phone started beeping furiously, and I could hear a generous smattering of swear words in-between the beeps. The line went dead...

I looked at my friends, then sniffed my phone, "Does anyone else smell egg salad?"

I have my semi-serious side too. Like the time I decided to let loose my reasonably underwhelming legal prowess regarding "Free Agency"...

Free agents aren't all that free, are they? With all the different kinds of free agents - restricted, unrestricted, exclusive rights... I would have thought the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment set EVERYONE free, but nooooo! Now I'm not saying NFL players are slaves, or even very well paid indentured servants, but come on! Free agency has 32 Mason-Dixon lines written into it's legal language. I wonder why manufacturing unions didn't write something like this into their deals? Outsourcing jobs to other countries? Nope, you better look at paragraph 347 pertaining to job location change. It's something about exclusive rights...

Writers have a myriad of sides to them. Some subjects hit us harder than others. While I like to have fun writing, every now and then I step outside of my comfort zone...

CTE is a subject that's not going away anytime soon for the NFL. I wrote this piece based on an interview with the leading medical professional in the field... When Junior Seau's family was being shut out of his Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, I banged this article out...

But for me, Turf Show Times has always been about having fun, and stepping away from the regular world to be with my Rams friends. You may have noticed I write things not normally found on most sports fan sites? I've even found a way to wiggle and weave one of my faaaavorite movies of all time into a Rams article - Princess Bride... You see, the everyday statistics articles have never baked my cookies. It's why I'm forever grateful to Ryan Van Bibber. When he asked me to join the writing staff here, I'd been writing things way outside the Sports box. Conventional fiction, and ghost writing for a variety of clients, being a Sports writer isn't in the same hemisphere; taking a completely different POV (point of view) and voice.

I recall asking Joe if he actually thought I'd be able to write well enough for Turf Show Times, and not get roundly laughed off the page by its readers. He encouraged me, and neither he, nor Ryan, ever second guessed my subject matter. When I started an odd series of fiction-based stories - featuring a woman who worked in the Rams front office - a tone for what I'd do over the next 5 plus years was set...

The funny thing about "Front Office Fiction", is I still have no idea how I came up with the name: Derinda Platt? Her persona is based loosely on a character in Devin Briar, my mildly successful first novel attempt. I like to take characters I come up with out for what I like to call "test drives". I place them in short stories, and fiddle with how they speak and act. In the first rendition of Front Office Fiction - "If Grisham Wrote "Playing for Pizza" Now" - it was in the middle of the NFL player lock out. I'd gotten bored, and that's never a good thing with me. Finding things to write for TST was getting tough, so I pitched a nutty one night, and wrote about a fictional former NFL player in Italy who didn't know anything about the Lockout. I was kind of hooked, and since then over 30 different stories featuring Derinda Platt have made their way to readers at Turf Show Times. She's been to London, burnt down the "Today Show" set,  and done a "Live" Mock Draft. Derinda has tried to negotiate a stadium deal, and eventually - in a way - met me. I even let her meet Brandon Bate on several occasions, but these two are my favorite among those times: Go here, and here if you'd like to see how Brandon fared. It's worth it, especially when he peels a banana...

I've poked a bit of fun at myself too, and even shared family gatherings with Turf Show Times readers. In a nutshell, I've always tried to make my articles "outside the box" reads. Most of you know me as being a positive guy, and I just can't get on the gloom and doom bandwagon others relish. If you're of a mind, here's a place where you can find something to laugh about any time of day...

So thank you Ryan, Joe, Brandon, Frank, and the entire staff of writers I've worked with over the years. Thanks to all the Turf Show Times members, who've honored me with their time, and friendship. 1000 articles... It doesn't seem like it's been that many, but most fun things are always so easy to do, and forever great to look back on...