It is nearing that time of the month again, and I don't mean for Jalopy's girlfriend. I have lost his e-mail someone send it to was way too complicated and corporate for me to remember. Please excuse the earliness with which this comes, but it appears that I will finally be living like a real PC volunteer for a few weeks-no access to the Internet.

A quick note on how strange this place is. My site is at 17 degrees below the equator. I am at 11,500 meters most of the time. I will be living for a month at 3,000 feet. My site begins at a height of 15,000 ft. It is summer. It rains every day and in my rural site every hour. It is summer. It was snowing this afternoon at the pass at the top of my site. It was raining in the same place at 8:00 in the morning.

Well, it has been a disappointing January thus far in the "Notre Dame Nation". But before my picks, a quick note on the appearance of one Monk Malloy and Dick Warner and Lou Nanni in La Paz two weeks ago. They were here to visit the ND alumni club...righhhhhhhhttttttt in Boliiiiiiiiiiivia.

So, I came to a realization: I am competing with the Administration again. This epiphany came in the middle of Monk's applause-rendering speech about the success of the Generation Campaign and ND's Latin (-American) connection, and immediately after I witnessed a few wealthy Bolivians (non-alums) sitting down with Monk and Warner and Nanni in an attempt to forge a connection with them to get their kids in. It hit me (and it hit me hard): here, were the top dogs, the head honchos, pitching Notre Dame to the wealthy (extremely wealthy-live in much nicer houses than any of us grew up in) in the hemisphere's 2nd poorest country. And there I was trying to fit in in my silly-looking tie and linen sports coat. I realized that these same people, hands on their wads, were the people that I needed to get money from to support projects to help their country. Granted, much of this has to do with the tremendous gap in wealth and racism here (between natives and Europeans). Incredible. Don't know if I should write something to somebody.

Anyway, enough with the rambling. February:

3rd @Pitt. Tough game. But we pull it out. Graves hits his stride is over his (pusilanimous) stage. 86-79.

5th St. Johns. Murph has had this marked on his calendar (even if it is a Teletubbies calendar) since his snub in the game against the Olympians. He drops 36 and we win in the JACC by 15. 83-68. Johnnies hurting.

11 @WVa. They get drubbed later this month. We run up the score...they fight (albeit, like shoeless, toothless wonders)...we win. A triumph for civilization. 89-80.

14@ Rutgers. They are not a bad team. But we play good second half ball after taking our usual huge first-half lead against a not-good team. It is Valentine's Day. Murph's mom returns to the Garden State since Murph was a 6'6" tot at Delbawt'n, inspiring him to pull down 20 rebounds again in NJ. 80-74.

18 Seton Hall. Griffin is back, but it is discovered that he has been accepting money from an agent. He is suspended and team is demoralized. JACC rocks and since Joe What's-His-Face is banned from the JACC, there is no chance of peeing this one away (speaking of pee, remember how I was banned from the stadium and had my tickets confiscated). 85-77.

21 Boston College. BC playing as well as they have since Billy Curley was leading the show at the Conte Forum rolls into SB with high hopes of a late field goal. This time they miss wide right. 90-88. No D

24 @ VTech. These guys suck. But we have to lose three games a season to teams we are supposed to beat. The real story is that they felt snubbed about the Fiesta. 70-62. Graves goes 2-13 from the field. Swan and Humphrey go a combined 6-20 from the line.

26 @ Connecticut. Tough game. UConn student body start a chant: "Have another ya (damn) lush", directed at Murph. He responds, draining 5 threes en route to a 40 pt game (this seals the deal on him going to the draft). But we lose in OT (an collapse that would only befit an Indiana game)...90-76. 16-2 in OT.


4 Georgetown. What a surpise...but since we already beat them...we lose he in Inglesby's finale. Palmer comes back to make the first basket...Sky the second. Then, we go cold. Zahm 2-2, rest of team 2-14. Lose by 16. 87-72.

Notice that when score 80 we win. When we don't, we lose. Key to postseason, find a pre-game routine for Graves to get him in the groove (something like Major League, A live chicken-hey, Wade Boggs used to eat only fried chicken before games-Graves is from Kentucky).

Take it easy. Let me know how you are all doing. Kuder send me your address again. Have some picture for you, Cheez, Nixon and Boss.