Make something out of all those years of summer tour: Fantasy RatDog lets Deadheads flaunt their skills.

Most casual classic-rock fans are familiar with the bizarre world of the Grateful Dead. But only the seriously Dead-icated care enough to follow the explosion of side projects that has fallen out after the demise of head Deadhead Jerry Garcia. RatDog is one of the more popular spinoffs, the former-side-turned-full-time band of Bob Weir, the Dead´s resident heartthrob and crooner.

For the gamblers in the crowd (we know you´re out there — we saw you try the brown acid), there´s Fantasy RatDog, sort of a cross between fantasy football and a Dead pool, wherein each tour season, faithful ´Dog fans make picks regarding what songs ol´ Bobby will play and in what order he´ll play them. Winners are decided by a point system way too geeked-out for Outtakes to handle. Seriously. (Full details can be found at www.ratdog.org/fantasy/index.php.)

The Fall 2005 Fantasy ´Dog season is well under way. Currently, the top three players are Chez, with 92 points, JackStraw with 91, and unclejohn65 with 90. These guys have seen more shows than you´ve taken showers (wherein lies a correlation, we assume). Don´t mess with them.

Christopher Smith

Outtakes´ prognosticator, Cosmic Charlie, has been steadily picking winners all tour, so we´re proud to shake down his tips for all those who are here for Weir and ready to play.

Disclaimer: These are estimated prophecies and are not meant to be considered professional advice.

With close assessment of time of year, home-field advantage, and win/loss record, Charlie´s picks for RatDog´s Boca blowout are as follows:

First Set Opener: ¨Jack Straw¨

First Set Wild Card: ¨Help on the Way¨

First Set Closer: ¨All New Minglewood Blues¨

Second Set Opener: ¨Loser¨

Second Set Wild Card: ¨Estimated Prophet¨

Second Set Closer: ¨Eyes of the World¨

Potential Upset: ¨Looks Like Rain¨

Hail Mary: ¨It´s All Over Now, Baby Blue¨

Sudden Death: ¨El Paso¨

Overtime Encore: ¨Ripple¨

Charlie tells us that the RatDog Fall ´05 lineup continues last year´s trend toward offense and aggressive rock ´n´ roll. Style of play has shifted away from the traditional, acoustic-based, nickle-slot incarnation of teams of yore. Manning the helm is team captain Bobby Weir; a wily veteran, the once-teenybopping guitarist has found his arm and is strumming with the best of them. He continues to borrow heavily from the classic Dead playbook, and this show promises to be no different. Look for a heavy barrage of songs performed in an improv formation with a blues-based backfield.

Now get out there and win one for the tripper. — D. Sirianni

RatDog hits the field at 6 p.m. Saturday, November 19, at Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Tickets cost $35. Call 561-750-1668.

Whose House?

Rev. Run (a.k.a. Joseph Simmons) is a founding member of hip-hop legend Run-D.M.C., and his new disc, Distortion — a collection of rap-rock hybrids not unlike the vintage tracks he created with his former group — was released on October 18. Additionally, Run now stars in a ¨reality-based¨ TV series (co-produced by his brother Russell Simmons and Puff Daddy... or P. Diddy or Diddy, or maybe it´s just Did now) about his solo career and family life titled Run´s House, and yes, this is probably MTV´s replacement for The Osbournes.

Old rapper tries to revitalize his career? Big deal. What´s interesting is that Rev. before the Run and the quasipriest look (all black with a white clerical collar) that he sports when he´s taped chilling with Diddy and Simmons. Turns out Run entered the clergy by joining New York´s Zoe Ministries — a multimedia, multimillion-dollar ¨prophetic church¨ founded by one Bishop E. Bernard Jordan. When Jordan started his church in ´83, he designed a pyramid of ranks, which his followers climb through service to the ministries. In the late ´80s, when Run´s career tanked, he turned to Jordan for spiritual and financial guidance. The bishop started him off as a lowly usher, a totally humbling experience for the struggling pop star.

This linking of Run´s spiritual being to his financial health is the foundation of the gospel Jordan preaches. In his book Cosmic Economics, the bishop writes, ¨True wealth is not determined by the amount of money a man has in his hands, but it is measured by his ability to create more substance... money is within. Money is a state of consciousness.¨

Thus, Jordan is a Christian-based self-empowerment guru à la Tony Robbins, and he apparently possesses occult powers like clairvoyance. For the ¨suggested donation¨ of $20.20, ¨Bishop Jordan will prophesy on cassette tape for you for vision and clarity in a situation.¨ And, according to a recent interview with Run, Jordan once prophesied to him that Diddy would approach him about an important business deal. Two weeks later, Diddy phoned and pitched Run´s House. Hallelujah!

So, is this all a crock of shit? At the least, it´s a total showbiz put-on. However, after watching the second episode of Run´s House wherein Run thoughtfully and honestly examines the ways in which he mishandled his ¨birds ´n´ the bees¨ discussion with his son Diggy, it seems this reverend has more of a right to wear his rather absurd costume than all the child molesters hiding in the Vatican. — Justin F. Farrar

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