This is personal and it's long. It will contain subject matter you might think of as "about a curse", so if that doesn't interest you I apologize and please come back some other time. Some odd things happened during this last playoff period that affected me. Things that threw off my mojo balance. First, Paul Newman died. When I was a senior in high school, we had a "study hall" where they asked us if we wanted to study or watch a movie... They had a choice of about 5, so once a week I got to watch "Cool Hand Luke". It turned into and is still my favorite movie of all time, with stunning work from Mr. Newman and a superstar cast including Dennis Hopper, Harry Dean Stanton, and George Kennedy. Anyway, I think he was a national treasure and the kind of significant loss that makes the world shake a little. Next. I read the CHICAGO TRIBUNE every morning, and I'm sure they warned us but... One day I got up, went outside, and there on my front porch was a paper, but when I opened it they'd completely re-designed it. Like picking up my coffee and taking a sip of tomato juice. I'm kinda used to it now, but this was just the kind of thing that makes me go look in the mirror to make sure it's me. Then, the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED cover. It's a curse so powerful and true, you don't even have to be an oddball like me to know it's significance. When Sutter told me there was a fabulous article in SI about the Cubs, all I wanted to know is if the Cubs were on the cover. I couldn't even talk about it. Naturally after all that, I was the walking freaked. If you read this blog, you already know about the Man with the Owl Eyes. Seeing this weird guy (and his son, who had the same eyes, I just didn't paint him) at both Wrigley playoff games, once at Bernie's and the next night getting off the el, was just the mad capper of the week. Last year the season-ending weirdness came in a small baggie. The cremated ashes of The Judge, who's presence at a particularly impossible comeback Cub victory led us to decide he should come to a couple more games rather than be spread around Wrigley Field. In addition to it being pretty cool for him to get some extra time at the games, he was good luck. And after the final loss to the Diamondbacks we finally decided to do what we were supposed to do, and in the process found out about the Secret Society of People Who Spread The Ashes Of Deceased Cub Fans At Wrigley. And this year the Man with Owl Eyes. I am sure I bring this on myself, I totally understand that. But as soon as I saw him on the sidewalk at game 2, I knew disaster was gonna happen. How Big Z kept it together amazed me, with the game ruined by errors in inning two. And in the end there were capital E's by every single guy in the infield. That doesn't happen to anybody but the Cubs. Anyway, I'm not saying it was a curse or the goat or a black cat or even the Man with Owl Eyes. I'm just sayin'. Lastly. Somewhere late during game 2, I went to the men's room. Inside was a giant, mostly quiet crowd. Inside they also play the AM 720 Cubs broadcast, and since it was between innings Pat Hughes was doing a live commercial. It went something like this: "...And now you can buy the new book "Hoodoo: Unraveling the 100-Year Mystery of the Chicago Cubs..." Everybody knows it's about curses and bad luck, and without missing a beat one guy went "F$#@ YOOOUUUUUU!" Then we all laughed. Then the Cubs lost.