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The sudden swelling of rage and despair that comes with defeat can cause high levels of adrenaline to be introduced into the bloodstream and can sharply alter other endocrine balances as well. Bile production, for instance, can literally go off the chart, leading to increased lashing out, loss of impulse control and even muscle soreness. Have you considered how you’ll handle these intense feelings? Have you developed a coping strategy?
WEAKEND PLANNER PUTS SOME SHEKELS ON THE SUPER BOWL
Will This Be One of Those Rare Super Bowls That Actually Lives Up to Its Name? Nah.
GUY WITH THE GOGGLES' SUPER BOWL PERDICKSHUN
Tampa Bay + 3 1/2 vs. Oakland (Sunday 3, ABC)
Holy Lamar Hunt! It’s the danged ol’ Super Bowl. Now, before I begin, lemme git this outta the way: Die, Al, die. I cain’t unnerstand why ever’body gits so worked up about this here game. Out of 37 Super Bowls, there’s been about four good games. So if you is really smart, you’ll join me and watch the danged ol’ Audrey Hepburn movie marathon on AMC. But if you are gonna waste yer time with this here game, lemme give you some tips. Don’t dare start watchin’ nuthin todo with this here game till the kickoff—and I do mean kickoff. You’ll save yerself the pain of the Dixie Chicks and Celine Dion at the same venue.

Now, as fer the halftime intertainment, nuthin personal, but dang, I’m sick of these here extravanganzees. It’s time to go old-school—bring back the Grambin’ marchin’ band, the Show Band of the South!

As fer the game itself, this here is the #1 dee-fense of Tampa Bay aginst the #1 offense of the Oakland Raiders. Keep in mind, this here is the second road game in a row for the danged ol’ Bucs. Also keep in mind that this here is practically a home game for the danged ol’ Raiders. This here is also the match-up of t-Bay’s #24-ranked offense aginst Oakland’s #11-ranked dee-fense. So the edge here has to go to he Raiders. This here appears to be a game that could be mighty close, and anytime there’s a close game, you gotta give the edge to the team with the better quarterback. Edge here to the Raiders and Mr. Rich Gannon. So far, it looks to me like Oakland has the edge. The only thing I can find that says Tampa Bay is that this here year in the NF of L, the record fer faves versus dogs is 106-132-11. So Buc fans, take heart, you got a shot.

As far as bettin’ this here game, keep this in mind: There has only been three Super Bowls out of 37 when the margin of victory was three points or less: last year, New England versus St. Louis, the ’91 game between the Giants and Buffalo and the’71 Baltimore-Dallas game. So if you’re gonna place a bet, don’t worry ’bout the danged ol’ points, pick the team you think is gonna win. As much as I hate myself fer this, I gotta take he danged ol’ Raiders and lay the 3 1/2.

One more note fer you, mah many fans: Nationwide, in the two hours following the Super Bowl game, traffic accidents go up by 40%. So go ahead and drink—jest don’t drive. —Guy W.T. Goggles
(Playoffs record: 4-2)

And now for an alternate take…
EVIL VS. EVIL
For a diehard Jets fan like myself, it’s hard to figure out who to root for in Super Bowl XXXVII, which makes it exactly XXXIV years since Joe Willie Namath guaranteed a victory in Miami, one we’re still paying for, Faust-like, with our green "J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets" souls. There are enough plot lines in this one to satisfy a Tolkienologist, but no matter how you slice it, this Buccaneer-Raider matchup of swashbuckling bad folk, as George W. might put it, is all villains, no heroes, with a number of intriguing battles.

There’s the Bucs’ intense ex-Raider coach Jon “Chucky” Gruden, a year removed from walking out on the team (according to some of his less forgiving players), vs. his successor, mild-mannered Raiders offensive coach Bill Callahan. There’s large, loudmouth Tampa Bay lineman Warren Sapp vs. equally large, loud-mouthed Oakland lineman Frank Middleton. There’s gloating ex-Jet Keyshawn Johnson and clutch Joe Juravicius just asking for the damn ball against a veteran, ball-hawking Raider secondary, led by Rod and Charles Woodson, that dares you to come at ‘em. And, of course, Oaktown graybeard receivers Jerry Rice, Tim Brown and frisky newcomer Jerry Porter against the tenacious Buc secondary, featuring hard hitters Ronde Barber and John Lynch. There’s veteran journeymen QBs Rich Gannon (the league’s MVP) and Brad Johnson, both of whose careers were saved by Gruden’s “offensive” genius.  There’s Tampa’s #1 defense against the Raiders’ #1 offense. There’s sweatsuited Brooklyn tough guy Al Davis, an original member of the gangs of New York, going against the upstart coach who dared one-up him by taking a walk—and leaving the sly, street fighter owner with a pair of #1 and #2 draft picks and several million extra bucks. Rumors abound; the gold-chained one may even walk if he grabs the Vince Lombardi trophy, but his first taste of the Bowl since 1984 must be sweet for the old buzzard.

Yeah, the Raiders going for the ring brings me back to the classic Oakland-Jet AFL rivalry of the late ‘60s, with guys like Ben Davidson, Ike Lassiter, Ted "The Stork" Hendricks and Heidi continually tormenting my team, just as they did this year, turning my man Chad Pennington into a chump. As an old AFL guy, it’s hard for me not to root for the Raiders, but this one completely strains my allegiances. It’s a cliche to say defense wins championships, but it does, and the Raiders haven’t faced a defense like Tampa Bay’s so far this postseason. It’s also a cliche, but nevertheless true, that turnovers will decide it, given the mirror image of the two teams, and how well-matched they seem. My guess is it will be a hard-fought, physical battle with a minimum of scoring, say, around 20-17 Oaktown, the difference being a Sebastian Janikowski field goal in the last minute of regulation or in the first five of overtime. Those keeping track, that means bet the under and put yer money on the Bucs, though your margin for error is as slim as my wallet. Still, even without participating in the office pool, the game itself promises to be, for once, more compelling than the big-money commercials. —Roy Trakin

WEAKEND POPCULT TOP 10
1. Super Bowl Payback:
It’s a sad byproduct of most otherwise wholesome sporting events that, as competitions, they produce joy and disappointment in equal measure. For everybody who wins, there’s somebody who loses. Now the Super Bowl is upon us, and while we have every confidence that your team will emerge victorious come Sunday, it pays to think ahead about what might happen if, for some reason, things don’t go your way. The sudden swelling of rage and despair that comes with defeat can cause high levels of adrenaline to be introduced into the bloodstream and can sharply alter other endocrine balances as well. Bile production, for instance, can literally go off the chart, leading to increased lashing out, loss of impulse control and even muscle soreness. Have you considered how you’ll handle these intense feelings? Have you developed a coping strategy? Consider this: Instead of going out and mowing down pedestrians or slicing yourself with razor blades, why not pick some no-good sack of shit who rooted for the other team and rat them out to Interpol? That’s right: the International Criminal Police Organization maintains a division dedicated to tracking down football hooligans for the purpose of quelling football hooliganism (although this crisis surrounds the international game we refer to as soccer), and the page dedicated to it on their website says they welcome the submission of any “useful information” to aid in the crackdown. Get it? Imagine how much better you’ll feel once you’ve held some dumb fuck’s feet to the fire of an international criminal investigation! With any luck, he’ll end up in a cell in a non-habeas-corpus country painting Uncle Bertha's toenails, while you chill at the crib, sucking back the last of the leftover Coors Lights. Maybe you won’t have to torch that police car after all. —JO

2. The Lodge at Torrey Pines: If you have Super Bowl tix and haven’t yet booked a hotel, you’re in luck, cuz lodging in the San Diego region is at 80% of capacity. Dunno whether this beautifully detailed new resort just north of La Jolla village is booked up, but it’s worth a call. The Lodge, which has a spa (natch) and two terrific restaurants, is on the 18th tee of the Torrey Pines Golf Course, which is bordered by the cliffs that make this part of the SoCal coastline so picturesque. It’s also a five-minute walk from the trailhead of the spectacular Torrey Pines State Reserve, one of the great spots for tramping around in nature. The well-marked trails are of varying difficulty, and some of them wind their way to breathtaking vistas. —BS

3. 13 Conversations About One Thing (Columbia Tri-Star Home Video): A rigorous roundelay that is exactly what it says it is, a moral tale about cause and effect in relationships from first-time director Jill Sprecher. Oscar-worthy Alan Arkin’s cynical, frustrated insurance agent sets in motion a series of events that brings down Matthew McConaughey’s arrogant lawyer, John Turturro’s heartless physics professor, his abandoned wife Amy Irving and young housecleaner Clea Duvall in a story about luck and karma and the ambiguous power of human connection. —RT

4. Damien Rice Makes Noise: The last time an essentially understated artist generated this loud a buzz was a year ago, when Norah Jones came on the radar screen, and you know what happened to her. O, the debut album from this introspective, hyper-romantic writer-singer, hasn’t even been released yet in the States, but it’s getting play on such influential adult stations as Santa Monica’s KCRW, and Steve Hochman gushed about Rice’s L.A. debut at Largo in the Thursday L.A. Times Calendar Weekend section. As Hochman pointed out, the album’s most breathtaking track is the closer, “Eskimo,” which starts with a whisper and builds to a crescendo of symphonic proportions, complete with the sampling of an operatic aria. The song positively cries out for a Baz Luhrman-directed video. Rice and his vocal accompanist Lisa Hannigan are slated to perform Saturday night at the Troubadour; expect a respectful tastemaker crowd with a minimum of cellphone ringing during the quiet parts. If you’re curious, take a look/listen at damienrice.com (I was visitor #101,019). —BS

5. Jesse Malin, The Fine Art of Self Destruction (Artemis): The ex-frontman of New York provocateurs D Generation might seem like a longshot to emerge as a stellar singer/songwriter, but acclaimed tunesmith Ryan Adams was smitten enough to jump in and produce this solid disc. Malin’s choruses will have you singing along before they’ve gone by twice, his lyrics are both compassionate and clever and his scratchy voice is remarkably expressive. Adams, who lends support on guitar and sings backup (alongside Hole alumna Melissa Auf der Maur), proves a deft producer. Standouts include “Queen of the Underworld,” “TKO,” “Riding on the Subway” and “Cigarettes and Violets.”
—SG

6. Uncut magazine, Keith Richards cover: Here’s a British music magazine to give Mojo a run for its money. The current issue has comprehensive cover story about the pirate Stone, tracing the why and the how without getting bogged down in minutiae. Included is a CD sampler chosen by Keef and titled The Devil's Music, which seemingly contains every recording that ever rocked his world or became an influence—and we're talking the original recordings, too. —HG

7. Good or Bad, Happy or Sad: Sure, your Barry Whites and Isaac Hayeses are superfine for an erotic folderol. But for every phase of romance—from flirtation to afterglow—it’s pretty hard to beat Al Green. That’s especially true now that The Right Stuff and Hi Records have unleashed The Love Songs Collection, an anthology that all but the libido-challenged will want to spin regularly. The new set spans musical caresses from 30 years of the Rev.’s career, and it’s ravishing. What’s more, Feb. 11 will see the reissue of four crucial albums, Green Is Blues, Al Green Gets Next To You, Let's Stay Together and I'm Still In Love With You. That’s enough Al to keep your changer going all night—with stops in lush, moonlit places like “Let’s Stay Together,” “Tired of Being Alone,” “I’m Still in Love With You,” “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” [R.I.P., Maurice Gibb] and “For the Good Times.” But there are also detours through humid, funky byways like “Can’t Get Next to You,” “Take Me to the River” and the potent “Love and Happiness.” Each reissue boasts bonus tracks (his inspired reworking of the Beatles’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” for example, is appended to Green Is Blues) and extensive liner notes tracing the history of these epochal recordings and of this seminal artist’s career. Critics have exhausted themselves thinking of adjectives to describe Green’s exquisite voice (“silky” probably holds the top spot), but its qualities remain ineffable, like a spell of enchantment. And the Memphis players who backed him up set a standard for intimate soul that has yet to be matched. He may be a reverend now, but Al’s greatest work remains a beguiling advertisement for sin. —SG

8. Chicken Chilaquiles at the Border Grille: Mexican comfort food from the women who host their own Two Hot Tamales series on the Food Channel. Tomatillo sauce, corn tortillas, that oozy white cheese that melts into everything like butter with more body and pieces of chicken breast on a plate with watercress and jicama salad, dressed lightly, but pungently. A bit exotic, absolutely rib-clinging, definitely ease-inducing (Santa Monica, Pasadena, Las Vegas). —HG

9. Music to Sweat By: Heard spinning during spinning sessions this week at the Sports Center in Toluca Lake: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ “American Girl,” Spoon’s “The Way We Get By,” “So Lonely by the Police, Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved,” the Rolling Stones’ “Rip This Joint” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” Matthew Sweet’s “So Far,” John Mayer’s “3 x 5” and “That Old Black Magic” by Louis Prima & Keely Smith. —BS

10. King Crimson, The Power to Believe (Sanctuary Music): Still prog after all these years, guitar maestros Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew and Trey Gunn push the boundaries of rock on their first studio album since 2000 (and Sanctuary label bow). The churning Mahavishnu/Zeppelinesque “Level Five” reminds you that the band’s “In the Court of the Crimson King” is one of the pillars of modern metal (along with “Stairway to Heaven”), while the Middle Eastern “Power to Believe II” recalls Fripp’s ambient music with Eno. The circular logic of “Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With” proves Crimson’s influence is still being felt today. On Power, you’ll find the roots of System of a Down’s rhythmic diversity, the stoner blooze of Queens of the Stone Age and tourmates Tool’s geometric precision. —RT

TRAKIN’S PICKS TO FLICK
City of God (Miramax)
Premise: Critically praised Brazilian film set on the streets of Rio de Janeiro follows two boys who grow up down differing paths from the late ‘60s to the early ‘80s, with one becoming a photographer, the other a drug dealer.
Stars: Alexandre Rodrigues, Matheus Nachtergaele, Alice Braga.
Director: Fernando Meirelles, Katia Lund.
Thumbs Up:
Critics are unanimous… Does it approach Bunuel’s Los Olvidados or Babenco’s Pixote?
Thumbs Down: Subtitles give you a headache.
Soundtrack: None.
Website: www.miramax.com/cityofgod/index.html offers the bare bones, a trailer, cast and crew listing, synopsis and movie showtimes.

Darkness Falls (Columbia Pictures)
Premise: Horror flick based on 2001 short film, “Tooth Fairy,” by screenwriter Joe Harris about the imaginary being who rewards kids that have lost their teeth by leaving them something under their pillow. First movie from Joe Roth's Revolution Studios’ low-budget genre division.
Stars: The only “known” entity is Emma Caulfield from Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series.
Director: First-timer Jonathan Liebesman.
Thumbs Up: Could be a low-budget sleeper a la Blair Witch Project or Child’s Play.
Thumbs Down: A horror movie about a tooth fairy is the worst concept since the Leprechaun series.
Soundtrack: Varese-Sarabande album includes Brian Tyler score.
Website: www.showtimes.sonypictures.com is as low-budget as the film, but does include synopsis, “fear cards,” preview, a “stay in the light” game, products, a way to create your own nightmare and a cartoon about the tooth fairy legend.

The Slaughter Rule (Cowboy Pictures)
Premise: Twin brothers’ Alex and Andrew Smith’s $500k directorial debut, which premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, about a guy who gets cut from his Montana high school football team only to join a local, six-man amateur team, helmed by a coach who may or may not be gay. The movie aired on the Sundance Channel last month.
Stars: Ryan Gosling (The Believer), David Morse (Proof of Life)
Directors: Alex and Andrew Smith began writing the script 12 years ago, when they discovered they each had been writing about a coach from their childhood who continued to haunt them. The title refers to a rule in six-man football where the game is called if one team is leading by 45 points.
Thumbs Up: A gritty drama that captures the competitive nature of amateur sports against the scenic backdrop of Big Sky country.
Thumbs Down: Hoosiers with Dennis Hopper as a homosexual instead of an alcoholic.
Soundtrack: The alt-country Bloodshot Records album features a score by Son Volt/Uncle Tupelo’s Jay Farrar, with new music from Vic Chesnutt, Freakwater, Pernice Brothers, Malcolm Holcombe and Blood Oranges, as well as classic cuts from Nico Case, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Ryan Adams and Speedy West. There’s also an Uncle Tupelo cover of “Blue Eyes,” a rare Gram Parsons song, previously available only on an Italian Parsons compilation. See www.bloodshotrecords.com for more.
Website: www.theslaughterrule.com offers a plot synopsis, credits, a biography on the Smith brothers and links to distributor Cowboy Pictures and Sundance Channel. —RT

DENISE’S WEAKEND COCKTAIL
Is this the slowest month ever? It sure as hell feels like it! I think I’m anxious about moving to the beach. I was checking out my new neighborhood yesterday, and let me tell you, WOW! The men are hot and stylish. After all of these years living in the Valley, I had given up hope on men that I was attracted to, but thankfully, I seem to have finally found them. There might be a dating life for me out there, somewhere on the Westside.

My re-entrance into the dating world has raised a few questions, and a few eyebrows on the faces of some of my friends. I’ve been getting e-mails from my dedicated readers regarding those difficult questions that all of us want answered, such as booty-call etiquette and the inevitable “leave behind.” How do you distinguish the booty call from possible dating material? I still think it goes back to how soon you wango tango together, and I’m waiting for someone to prove me wrong—PLEASE! I feel like I’m beating a dead horse, but as I’ve said before, I believe that you’re not going to be “courted” in the same way if you sleep with a guy immediately, rather than waiting. Simple things like regular phone calls, dates that begin earlier than 2 in the morning and old-school chivalry, like opening car doors and not allowing the gal to reach for her wallet, become non-existent if you raced into the sack. My cocktail of the week is dedicated to all of us that have “accidentally” left these behind during one of those sack races.

Silk Panties
1 oz. Stoli vodka
1 oz. peach schnapps
Chill and strain into shot glass

The “leave behind” is probably the oldest, most-practiced trick in the book when it comes to one-nighters. Basically, you hook up with someone, usually it’s the first time, and you leave an item of value behind to ensure that you will see that person again. It’s insurance of sorts. The only problem is that everyone knows the leave-behind game, and it ends up making you look desperate. Now, men—don’t kid yourselves, it’s not only the ladies who pull this trick. Maybe it’s that you’re trying to get out of her house before she wakes up—or her boyfriend gets home—therefore forgetting your shit, but I don’t think that’s always the case. There is one exception to the leave-behind rule—underwear—they have a way of getting tangled in the sheets due to the manner in which they were removed. Due to the awkwardness of the morning after, you’re willing to forfeit your favorite pair of skivvies that you paid $15 for at Victoria’s Secret in order to get the hell out and start your walk of shame. Bottom line—after a random hookup, take your stuff with you when you go…apart, of course, from your dignity, which is often impossible to locate.

De’s L.A. bar pick of the week: Your father probably wouldn’t approve of your racy bedroom behavior, but he would certainly approve of this week’s pick. The Father’s Office on Montana in Santa Monica is a classy joint. I was hoping for a little grungier sort of place when I walked in, because that’s my style, but was quite pleased to see the room filled with young, hip (and great looking) Westsiders. Some say this brewery/restaurant has the best burger in the city, and, thanks to a very kind stranger, I was able to taste it—YUMMY! Beware—the chef makes it one way and one way only, no ketchup or mustard allowed. I hear that the sweet potato French fries are to die for and the beer selection is monstrous. I’m quite delighted that this eye-candy packed bar packed is so close to my new digs. Bon appetit for me!

One last question to leave you with: Have you ever noticed that when someone who likes you a lot, but you only like a little, starts to like you a little less, suddenly you start liking him a lot more? Hmmm? I guess I’ve assumed the role of Denise the Dating Diva and will soon need to change the name of my column. Keep amusing me with your shameful stories. Until next week—hugs & kisses. Denise Bayles

Contributors: Denise Bayles, Darren Cava, Holly Gleason, Simon Glickman, Jon O’Hara and Roy Trakin

Edited by Bud Scoppa

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