Flattland: "Hello, Laos!"

For the most part, 2005 was an outstanding year with the exception of that last little part. In 2005, I met my wonderful fiancé, I was well on my way toward an Allied Health degree and licensure, and holy crap, the Seattle Seahawks were heading directly toward the Super Bowl without slowing down to ask for directions.

Then I ended up moving to my Boss’ couch on Christmas Eve and the Seahawks got the most-watched hose job Super Bowl loss in NFL history.

So, I continue to resonate with my Seahawks. The both of us can rightly at least FEEL, “Hey! I’m not entirely sure that was my fault!”, yet the context of the situation virtually insures that nobody will believe us to the extent that we’re not entirely sure what the hell happened our own selves. All that’s left to do is try not to leave any room for doubt, next time.

Naturally, I would love to go on a ‘We got robbed! Waaaah!’ sort of tirade, but not only is it against the law to be a whiny-ass in Texas, it’s utterly pointless in general. Claiming that the referees officiated a biased game is little different than claiming from the State Penitentiary that you’re innocent. Whether it’s true or not is utterly irrelevant -- It’s guaranteed from the situation that nobody’s going to buy it. “My lawyer sucked!/Bill Leavy sucked!” People at best smile and nod sympathetically while thinking, “Yes, a likely story.”

Now, we progress onward in the Offseason. So far, the Three Big Things I’ve noticed: Shaun Alexander’s Big Honking Contract, Steve Hutchinson’s Transition Tag, and Joe Jurevicius’ Departure.

On the first topic, I’m torn. Is it an overall great thing that Shaun is likely to play out his entire career in Seattle ? Absolutely. Should we have paid him what it took to insure that this happened? Of course. Are running backs in general grotesquely overpaid? I still think so. It’s possibly just my own personal football mentality, but I’m still of the opinion that running back is one of the easier positions to replace. I’m not saying they should be one of the lower-paid, mind you. Your average halfback gets a good deal more abuse on a daily basis than many players on the field. Should they be the highest-paid player on the team? No way. The offensive line deserves more credit than that, I feel.

Which brings us to The Incredible Hutch! Brilliant move on the part of the Front Office. Let the market set Fair Market Value, then match it. I’m confident that this is the best strategy, though I hope some team doesn’t go all Dan Snyder on us -- breaking the bank in the first year of the contract to keep us from being able to match. I’m hoping Hutch is smart enough to stay away from a team who’s going to cripple their salary cap for one player, even if that one player is him. Either way, I’d rather bank on a strong O-Line as a whole than on a halfback.

Finally, farewell to Joe Jurevicius. This saddens me. Joe was one of those players I loved even when he wasn’t a Hawk. I guess this is one of those situations where it’s better to have had and lost than never to have had. It sounds like Joe has his ties in Cleveland, so here’s hoping he’s successful there. Between the Trent Dilfer situation and the Joe Jurevicius situation, I’m dangerously close to becoming a Browns fan. They’re AFC, it’s not cheating.

Given that it’s been so long since there has been an actual new ‘Flattland’ column -- It strikes me that up to this point I might be misleading new readers into thinking that I actually talk about football for any length of time. This is most assuredly not the case. As such, I feel it’s best to have a Trav Flatt Q&A Catchup Edition at this point.

Q: Trav, what kept you away from the keyboard for so long?

A: Domestic Bliss, full-time class, and various jobs. Also, I can get to be an exceptionally lazy person when someone isn’t there poking me with a stick.

Q: Trav, what made you return to writing a regular.NET column?

A: An inordinate amount of free time. Lacking the Domestic Bliss, getting far enough along in class to be part time, and landing a hospital job which grants me three or four days off a week. Also, Les called me an A-hole.

Q: Trav, we have been horribly deficient in the field of Ferret-Related News Items. What have we missed? Tell us, damnit, because we actually seem to care to judge by our reader mail!

A: Not a great deal, I fear. I did receive an out-of-the-blue reader mail regarding Medicinal Ferrets, though. The article has since expired, and to be honest, I don’t remember what it was about. Still, the concept of ‘Medicinal Ferret’ needs to be brought attention to. More recently, though… It seems that Rising Gas Prices can be blamed on ferrets. No, really:

“DENVER (AP) -- State and federal biologists say they are worried about a proposal to boost energy development in northwestern Colorado that is part of a government effort to reintroduce black-footed ferrets to the West.”

Q: Trav, whomever shall we draft in the first round of the… uh… draft?

A: Quite obviously, Eastern Illinois’ Linebacker, “Lucious Pusey”. I would explain to you why, but at this point we’re still just innocently citing a man’s name. We should trade up, if necessary.

Other possibilities:

*D’Brickashaw Ferguson : “What a beautiful baby, we’ll call him, 'D’Brickashaw'.”

*Tiatusi Lutui

*Frostee Rucker

*Freddie Roach

*Ashton Youboty

Q: Trav, what other fascinating things, not necessarily ferret-related, have been happening?

A: Okay, I was going to hold this little tidbit of scientific interest back for another column, but I’m feeling generous. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is true: The Laotian Rat-Squirrel (http://www.forbes.com/work/feeds/ap/2006/03/09/ap2583524.html) is NOT extinct!! Yes! I personally am greatly relieved. Unfortunately, we can no longer use the cliché of something having gone, “The way of the Laotian Rat-Squirrel.”

The article notes that there are also many ‘Never-before seen bats’ and ‘Barking deer’ in Laos. Coupled with the Rat-Squirrels, it seems like Laos is not so different from Central Texas. I’m not certain if they bark, but we are quite overrun with deer -- I have personally witnessed a deer T-Bone a Hyundai en route to Wal-Mart. While we don’t have Rat-Squirrels, we most certainly do have Nutria. There are few things as disconcerting as being happily wandering about outside after dark and nearly stepping on a gargantuan rat intent on standing its ground.

Well, I can think of a couple: In reference to never-before-seen-bats, specifically. It seems my apartment complex is quite the habitat for bats. I’d been warned of such, but had yet to see any. Additionally, I scoffed at the notion. “So what? A few bats. Ha ha.”

I can now see why people dislike them, having been swarmed. Speaking of swarming, we also have ( Central Texas in general, and my apartment complex specifically), Killer Bees. The “Official” Killer Bee capitol of the World is Hidalgo, Texas (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/TXHIDbee.html). It was admittedly stupid of me to think that the worldwide capitol for Africanized Bees might be… Oh, hell… maybe somewhere in Africa. In any event, Abilene, Texas has occasionally contested Hidalgo’s claim. Whatever the truth of the matter, I know that MY town is somewhere between the two, and I further know that my apartment complex’s trash dumpster houses some of the fuzzy yellow bastards.

In summary, perhaps I should move to Laos.

Fire off your inquiries, insights, and Laotian Rat-Squirrel pictures to travtex@verizon.net

Trav Flatt

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