Friday, December 31, 2004

The (Mandatory) Post about New Years Resolutions NYE 2004

In the thirty years I've spent on this planet, I can't think of a single New Years resolution I've kept. Whoa, scratch that. From age fourteen on I included "lose my virginity" on each list.

Thank God I got that out of the way last year.

So I thought this year I'd make my self-improvement list public to lend it a little moral authority. You know, give it a little oompah that it's been lacking. I therefore present:

Slapinions Rambling List of Likely Unattainable but certainly Doable New Years Resolutions (Had I Only a Smidgen of Ambition And Personal Will Power) 2005 Edition.

I will lose weight by exercising more and practicing self-control of my eating habits. I will go to the gym on a regular basis. I will also quit smoking.

I'm lumping those together so that when I fail it'll only count as one mark against me.

Despite all my inherent masculine distaste at the idea, I will learn to braid my daughter's hair.

Because on the rare mornings her appearance is my responsibility, my daughter goes to kindergarten looking like Gene Wilder.

I will figure out how to transfer my home videos to DVD's using my computer

Which, after all, was the whole reason I spent the extra $500 on the thing in the first place.

I will attend church more often

I did much better this year, but working third shift doesn’t make it easy come Sunday morning and the guilt is piling up.

I will not falter in my assertion that the Godfather is a thousand times better than Scarface

Mark this one as done. It's not even a contest.

Again swallowing my masculine genetic predisposition, I will help my wife catch up on our children's scrapbooks.

Disturbingly enough, I actually enjoy doing this.

I will no longer invest hope, excitement, or expectations in my Milwaukee Brewers

Which is something I should have done ten years ago.

I will no longer childishly try to spoil my wife's orgasms by whispering "Richard Nixon" at that 'special' time

Frankly, this should never have been an issue.

I will make every effort to secure publication of my writing, and will accept rejection with renewed determination

It's sad when your only published work is a twenty-year old letter in Boy's Life

I will read a hundred books.

Been saying that for years, but have never cracked ninety.

I will take the extra time to relearn my parenting skills to benefit my son.

Because after two daughters, the whole 'penis' thing makes me feel like my wife's giving birth to a Martian.

I will make at least a piddling attempt to renew my acquaintance with the guitar

I was never any good, but I enjoyed it. And it would impress my daughters.

 I will not lose any more teeth in the coming year

Let's just let that sleeping dog lie, shall we?

I will attend an out-of-state baseball game with my Dad

I will make some effort at mental improvement

Ideally I'd like to learn Polish or Latin, but I'd settle for remembering half the phone numbers in my cell.

I will successfully find a better paying, safer, more challenging day job.

Not just because the one I have now pays poorly and is eventually going to get me killed, but because I really am capable of better. Plus working nights is hell on my tan.

Will I succeed? I'll fill you in with an update next year. 'Til then -

Happy New Year everyone!

Artie Shaw Dead at 94

Artie shaw, an extraordinary clarinetist from the Big Band era, died yesterday at the age of 94. My personal favorite among the jazz greats, Shaw had a long and adventurous life. He will be dearly missed.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Post about Father Frank Yaniak Dec 30th

I woke up this morning to the news that Father Frank Yaniak had passed away Christmas Eve.

That this shocked me was more surprising than the news itself. He was eighty years old and in declining health for years. It was only a matter of time.

But I couldn't imagine it happening.

Fr. Yaniak was a short, stern faced man with a no-nonsense manner. He wasn't the kind of priest you see advertised today, not when the Church is struggling to restore its tarnished image with kinder, more accepting clergy. In the years I attended his parish there was no holding hands during the Lord's prayer, no showy outpouring of "Amen!" by the congregation, and certainly no new-age philosophy to be had.

But there was another side of Fr. Yaniak, one I had the pleasure of being introduced to the year of my marriage.

Our first attempt to get married was quickly - and rudely - rejected by a priest, allegedly because my wife was Lutheran, but more likely because of our ages (my wife had only just turned nineteen). The chances of finding a Catholic church to marry us appeared slim, and I have no idea why it ever seemed like a smart idea to approach the strictest priest I knew.

But it was.

Mind you, he never wavered on his principles. Because we were living together he had us move up the wedding an entire year. When we argued that we could stay (cough) celibate if it meant an extra year to save up money, he smiled and said "you will never convince me that such a thing is possible with a young couple like you."

Over the next few months we grew to enjoy his company. He was a well-read man that could speak Latin, Greek, and Polish, yet his home was strewn with mystery novels. In an age of Surgeon Generals warnings he was never without a cigar, and he proudly boasted that when he moved in he'd replaced every no-smoking sign with an ashtray.

And in a time when - spoken or not - everyone doubted the wisdom of our wedding, Fr. Yaniak never once gave the impression of anything but absolute faith in our future. Nor did he ever single out my wife's religion, quickly and smoothly suggesting accommodations for a service where half the congregation was Lutheran.

At our wedding, after he spoke a Polish blessing, we re-enacted a German tradition where the groom kneels on the bride's dress and she stands and steps on his shoe to reassert her independence. My wife's actions were not believable to Father. He made her do it again, and she stomped on my foot with gusto. "Now we know who'll wear the pants in the family," he told the audience.

We were the last couple he ever married.

Five years later I asked him to come out of retirement for my first child's baptism. He was shockingly frail, but happily performed the ceremony. At the end he addressed our family.

"There's an old joke I used to tell at the end of these things. See you the same time next year. I don’t think I'll get that chance, but all the best to you."

He was wrong. He lived three more years, long enough to get one last Christmas card from a family that will soon include three children. My oldest, on whose bed his baptismal gift of a religious medal still hangs, came to the funeral with us and said a prayer over his casket.

Rest in peace Frank Yaniak. We'll miss you.

 

 

The Post about the Tsunami December 30th

I'm not sure which is more revolting: the earthquake and tsunamis that have devastated Asia, or the political bickering that has risen up around it.

Sri Lanka has refused aid from Israel, citing the presence of military personnel in their offer. Which translates to: we'd rather have our people die than overcome our religious prejudice.

Meanwhile the Vatican failed to get this memo and criticized Israel for failing to act. Take this as honest criticism guys - I am after all, a staunch Catholic - but try to keep up with current events, ok? SEE UPDATE BELOW

Then our press ripped into President Bush for failing to get in front of a camera and express his sorrow. Try to explain this one to me. Last I checked, it's not going to do one bit of good for the people in Asia.

Of course, our friend the UN hinted that the US was stingy with its aid. Ironic, coming from an organization whose budget is a tenth of the amount Americans donate to charity each year.

And last but not least, some of my colleagues on the left have written comparing the destruction in Asia to the events of September 11th. They conclude that it makes 9/11 insignificant.

In terms of lives lost and destruction to property, I certainly agree. It's impossible to argue otherwise. Just as of this writing - with thousands missing and thousands more doomed to die of disease - the death toll trumps 9/11 twenty times over.

I write the next words with care, because in no way do I mean to minimize a single life that's been lost this week.

But in the course of history, 9/11 will be remembered long after the tsunami is a mere footnote.

As awful as they are, natural disasters happen. They occur randomly, without prejudice and no nation is immune. From the Galveston hurricane of the early 20th century to the earthquake in Iran last year, mankind lives at the mercy of the planet it inhabits.

In contrast, the events of 9/11 were not haphazard acts of nature. They were careful, deliberate acts of malice, the work of one group seeking to destroy another and willing to kill innocent strangers to do so.

Would I rather have had a hypothetical family member in New York on that awful day, as opposed to one of the countries hit this week? Without question. Most of those who worked in the World Trade Center had an opportunity to escape, and provided you were not employed in rescue services (or simply worked at the Empire State Building as opposed to the Towers) you were safe.

That's not the point.

Like Pearl Harbor, which was far less bloody than a score of less influential battles, the human cost of the event belays its importance to the future. September 11thmarked the starting point of a new era in terrorism and the beginning of a global conflict. It initiated a new era in federal powers and responsibilities, opened the door to a controversial doctrine of pre-emptive attack, and challenged the power and future of the United Nations as a legitimate force in the world.

And that's only the effect that we've felt after three years. Who knows how deep an impact it will make over the course of the next twenty-five.

Mourn for the victims of the tsunami, do all you can to aid the survivors, and say a prayer thanking God you weren't there. But there's nothing we can do to stop it from happening again.

Let's hope the same can't be said for 9/11.

Click here to help

UPDATE:

CWN Corrects Mistranslated Vatican Article

Catholic World News has issued a correction for their mistranslation of a Vatican newspaper article, making it clear that the Vatican was criticizing Sri Lanka for not accepting Israel’s help:

Vatican, Dec. 30 (CWNews.com) - The following is a corrected version of a story that appeared on CWNews.com earlier this week, in which a crucial error in translation caused a serious misinterpretation of the news. CWNews apologizes for the error.

Vatican, Dec. 28 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican newspaper has denounced a decision by Sri Lanka to reject emergency aid offered by the Israeli government. Sri Lanka declined the Israeli aid because it would have been furnished by a military team.

Calling for “a radical and dramatic change of perspective” among people “too often preoccupied with making war,” L’Osservatore Romano chastised the government of the stricken Asian nation for putting unnecessary restrictions on an Israeli offer to furnish medical help.

Hat tip to Little Green Footballs for the update.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Dare to Dream - a link to Slapinions on another site??

I know my friend at OftenCold has linked me, but just for kicks I did a google search and found this at a site called NIF = News-Interesting-Funny.

A link to my post on Time's Person of the Year is halfway down the page under "interesting". Well, hot dog.

Check it out, and roam the site a bit as a way of saying 'thank you'. If you comment, be sure to tell 'em Slapinions sent ya.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Why you shouldn't put your password on a public computer

This is funny, and having worked at a public library, I can see it happening. Enjoy.

Hat tip to Tre




Session Start (Yahoo! -
While reading this, keep in mind that I'm not Josh.
But it sure was fun to pretend to be Josh...
whoever he was, he's fucked now.

dys4iK:sweet_thang_for_u_2002): Thu May 30 18:38:11 2002
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: hey hey hey
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: sup josh
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: hey did u ever call tracy?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: our grad. practice is thur right?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: hey u there?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: josh???
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u called tracy right
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: y u ignoring me???????
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i'm ur girlfriend!!!!!!!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: talk to me
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: look
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i dont know what ur deal has been lately
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i mean come on josh
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: we were prom queen adn king and this is how u act!!!!!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: fine whatever
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ignore me
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: fine
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: see if i care
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ok what the fuck!!!!!!!!!
dys4iK: bot.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: r u gonna talk to me or not
Session Close (sweet_thang_for_u_2002): Thu May 30 18:40:27 2002


Session Start (Yahoo! - dys4iK:sweet_thang_for_u_2002): Thu May 30 18:40:28 2002
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: bot???
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: huh?
dys4iK: I have no clue who the hell you are,
dys4iK: but this sure is interesting,.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: josh!!!
dys4iK: you're josh?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what is wrong with u
dys4iK: I thought I was supposed to be josh.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what is ur deal
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: r u drunk
dys4iK: I think you should go find the right Josh.
dys4iK: I wish I was drunk...
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: whatever
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i know its u
dys4iK: haha.
dys4iK: ok.
dys4iK: how'd you find me?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u r goin to grad. tomorrow right
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ur on my list
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: duh!!!!!!!!!!
dys4iK: I'm not going anywhere tommorow night.
dys4iK: I spend my days sitting at my computer,
dys4iK: jerking off to weird porn.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: whatever
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: y r u adcting like this
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: jsoh what is wrong with u??
dys4iK: 'cause i'm in hard drugs.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u told me u never did drugs
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u said u quit
dys4iK: I lied.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: so u were lying?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what??????????
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: omg
dys4iK: in fact,
dys4iK: I could be on drugs,
dys4iK: _right now)_
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: !!!!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: josh
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: y do u always pull this shit
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ur goin off to osu next year
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: and ur doin drugs
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what is ur deal
dys4iK: yep.
dys4iK: drugs and college.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: omg
dys4iK: hoo-rah.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i cant beleive that
dys4iK: yep
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: did u ever call tracy
dys4iK: I've gotta go fuck my sister now.
dys4iK: back in a bit.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: and explaoin to her ur stayin with me
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what!!!!!!!!!!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ur sister is only 8
dys4iK: oh, hey, right.
dys4iK: ok.
dys4iK: my cousin, then.
dys4iK: how old are my cousins?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: josh u know how old ur cousins are
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: dont be stupid
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: r u high?
dys4iK: I can' help it,
dys4iK: it's the drugs.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what is ur deal josh
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: god
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ok
dys4iK: my deal?
dys4iK: ten bucks an hour.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: we can get through this
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: jsut call me
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: did u call tracy
dys4iK: who's tracy?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: tracy randlof
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: remember
dys4iK: sure.
dys4iK: she was a nice lay.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u were gonna tell her u wer datin me
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what!!!!!!!!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u slept with here
dys4iK: of course.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u told me u didnt
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: omg
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: (
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: josh i'm crying b/c of u
dys4iK: her and some other girl.
dys4iK: it was fun!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: omg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: JOSH
dys4iK: and some guy.
dys4iK: I think.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: WHAT IS WROGN WITH U
dys4iK: I can't really remember.
dys4iK: the world was funny colours at the time.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: OH SO NOW UR GAY
dys4iK: no, not gay.
dys4iK: not yet.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: WHEN DID ALL THIS HAPPEN
dys4iK: but if you keep this up, maybe.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: DONT EVEN SAY PROM NIGHT
dys4iK: it happened tommorow!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: TOMORROW???
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what?
dys4iK: yeah.
dys4iK: tommorow.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ummmmm
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: josh
dys4iK: yeah?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i'm gonna come over ok
dys4iK: over to canada?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: canada??
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what are u talin about
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: talkin*
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u dont seem to good
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: im comin over
dys4iK: I already told you I'm not josh.
dys4iK: but you seem to believe I am,
dys4iK: so I'm playing the part.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: whatever
dys4iK: but, I can't play it in person.
dys4iK: sorry.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i'm gonna break up with u
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: we are over
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: 9 months of nothing
dys4iK: yep.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i know its u cuz of the name
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i'm not stupid
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: god
dys4iK: yeah.
dys4iK: such a stupid name.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: well i'm on my way over
dys4iK: ok.
dys4iK: see you in a few days.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: we can have break up sex
dys4iK: hoo-rah.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: tehn i'm leaving
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ok
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: for good
dys4iK: yay.
dys4iK: you promise to neve rphone?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i cant beleive u slept with tracy
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ur supposed to be mad
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: and begging me to stay
dys4iK: why would I be mad?
dys4iK: oh, sorry.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: b/c i'm leaving u
dys4iK: please don't leave me!
dys4iK: please stay!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ugh
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: whatever
dys4iK: wahhhh!
dys4iK: *cries*
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: uknow what
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: forget
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: it
dys4iK: ok!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i'm not comin over
dys4iK: gladly!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: screw u
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: dont talk to me ever again
dys4iK: you don't want to get into the threesome?
dys4iK: hey, speaking of which,
dys4iK: I should get back to sex.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ugh
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: who is there
dys4iK: tracy.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: .............
dys4iK: .................!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: (
dys4iK: come on.
dys4iK: you enjoyed it too.
dys4iK: I know about you two.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what!!!!!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ummmmm
dys4iK: when you got drunk?
dys4iK: at some party.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i dont know what ur talkin about
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: .................
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: well
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: that was a long time ago
dys4iK: there you go.
dys4iK: see?
dys4iK: it was fun.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i was drunk josh
dys4iK: deal with it.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: so what if it was
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: that was a ont time thing
dys4iK: I can't fix all your female, hyper-inflated ego disorders.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what has gotten itno u
dys4iK: I told you!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i cant beleive this!!!!!!!!!!!!!
dys4iK: drugs.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: (
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i'm tellin ur parents
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u need help
dys4iK: when I figure out who you are...
dys4iK: haha.
dys4iK: ok.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: who I am!!!!
dys4iK: except, my mom is shooting up in the bathroom,
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: wat do u mean by that
dys4iK: and dad is drunk with some other woman.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ummm, she is at my house
dys4iK: she is?
dys4iK: since when?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: and ur dad and my dad are out of town on a business trip
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: so what are u talkin about
dys4iK: hey, whoa.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: she has been here all da
dys4iK: our dads are fucking?
dys4iK: when did that start?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: whatever
dys4iK: that's pretty crazy.
dys4iK: think they'd let us join in?
dys4iK: with tracy, too?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ???????????
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u sick bastard
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: god
dys4iK: haha.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u r soooooooooooooo immature
dys4iK: I'm immature?
dys4iK: yes, I suppose I am.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i cant beleive i wasted 9 months with u
dys4iK: neither can I.
dys4iK: you fell for me like a brick in water.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
dys4iK: that was funny.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: X-(
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: no u fell for me
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u begged me to get with u
dys4iK: haha.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i turned u down 3 times
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: remember
dys4iK: yeah. tracy told me to keep asking, though.
dys4iK: she thought if I got you to go out with me,
dys4iK: we could have a threesome.
dys4iK: or something.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: lol
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: whatever
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u wisj
dys4iK: pretty clever, eh?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u know now that i think about it
dys4iK: wasn't my idea.
dys4iK: she was the one who wanted you.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i only liked u b/c of ur car
dys4iK: I have a car?
dys4iK: cool!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ummmm yeah
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ur spider eclipse
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: duh!!!!!!!!!!!!!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: thas y i dated u
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: not cuz of the looks
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: although u do look godd
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: good
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ur nothin w/o me
dys4iK: hey, yeah?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: and u know it
dys4iK: what are you, then?
dys4iK: cheesecake!
dys4iK: haha!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: huh?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: cheescake?
dys4iK: yeah.
dys4iK: you're a cheesecake.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: how?
dys4iK: now that everyone's seen pictures of you naked.
dys4iK: heh heh.
dys4iK: but hey, you made some lonely geeks happy for a night.,
dys4iK: =)
dys4iK: it was kind of you.
Session Close (sweet_thang_for_u_2002): Thu May 30 18:57:45 2002


Session Start (Yahoo! - dys4iK:sweet_thang_for_u_2002): Thu May 30 19:03:41 2002
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: keep what going
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: our relationship
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: yeah right
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: dream on
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: we're over
dys4iK: hey, you're back.
dys4iK: hi again!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: y r u makin a joke out of this???????
dys4iK: because i have no idea who you are!
dys4iK: but this sure is fun.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: prove it to me that ur not josh
dys4iK: how about you prove that I _am_ josh!
dys4iK: =)
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ok
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what was our prom theme
dys4iK: uh.
dys4iK: underwater?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: omg
dys4iK: or that may have been the drugs. =D
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i told u ur josh
dys4iK: oh, right.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what do i look like
dys4iK: yeah.
dys4iK: uh.
dys4iK: fat, ugly.
dys4iK: lot of acne down your back.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ummm wrong
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: wrong
dys4iK: blue hair.
dys4iK: purple eyes!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ????
dys4iK: you have this weird bump on your back,
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: am i a cheerelader
dys4iK: but noone will tell you.
dys4iK: a cheerleader? hey, coo..
dys4iK: cool.
dys4iK: i dated a cheerleader!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i know
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: cuz u dated me
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: duh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
dys4iK: duhh!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: lol
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: there's teh old josh
dys4iK: whatever!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: aw
dys4iK: you're so funny.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i knew it was u baby
dys4iK: whatever! duhhhh!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: awwww
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: josh lets not break up
dys4iK: you're pretty thick, aren't you?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: lol
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: josh u r the best i've ever had if u know what i eman
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i dont wanna loose u
dys4iK: you should smoke some crack with me tonight.
dys4iK: come over right now.
dys4iK: let's smoke some crack.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: the way u touch me
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i dont want to loose u
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: lets not break up
dys4iK: yeah. your skin is sort of clammy, though.
dys4iK: what, with being a vampire, and all.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ??????????
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i'm not clammhy
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i use pure silk lotion from batha and body
dys4iK: Sammy the Clam!
dys4iK: pure silk lotion?
dys4iK: doesn't silk come out of the ass of worms?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ???????????????
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i dont know
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: jsoh
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i want u so bad right now
dys4iK: so finger yourself, or something.
dys4iK: I'm not sticking myself back in there.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i alreadly am
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: wahtever
Session Close (sweet_thang_for_u_2002): Thu May 30 19:10:20 2002

Session Start (Yahoo! - dys4iK:sweet_thang_for_u_2002): Thu May 30 19:10:24 2002
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u know u want this
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i'll wear my cheerleading outfit for you
dys4iK: ew.
dys4iK: I hate cheerleaders.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: no u dont silly
dys4iK: will you wear a strapon?
dys4iK: and fuck me in the ass?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: the way i can straddle u
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u luv it
dys4iK: hey, will you let my dog fuck you?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ummmmmmmm
dys4iK: do it!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: when did u get a dog
dys4iK: you can smoke crack first.
dys4iK: I'll get a dog!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: no
dys4iK: so it can fuck you.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: NO
dys4iK: and I'll videotape it.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i wanna video tape u and me
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i want u
dys4iK: I want me, too.
dys4iK: but I'm with tracy now!
dys4iK: sorry!
Session Close (sweet_thang_for_u_2002): Thu May 30 19:12:29 2002


Session Start (Yahoo! -dys4iK:sweet_thang_for_u_2002): Thu May 30 19:12:32 2002
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u mean u want me
dys4iK: I'm madly in love with you.
dys4iK: the drugs are fucking with my head.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: awwwwwwwww
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: josh
dys4iK: I don't know what i'm doing anymore.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i love you too
dys4iK: marry me?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: awwww
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: its ok baby
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u want to marry me
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: josh
dys4iK: I was lying about tracy!
dys4iK: I just wanted to make you feel jealous!
dys4iK: seriously!~
Session Close (sweet_thang_for_u_2002): Thu May 30 19:13:28 2002


Session Start (Yahoo! - dys4iK:sweet_thang_for_u_2002): Thu May 30 19:13:33 2002
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: we just grad
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: awwwww
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: really
dys4iK: no.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: awwwwww
dys4iK: i was lying again.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ?????
dys4iK: 'cause it's funny to watch you awwwww at me.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: josh
dys4iK: yeah?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: do u really luv me
dys4iK: I need more drugs.
dys4iK: I love drugs.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: no jsoh no
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: no
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: u luv me
dys4iK: I love drugs!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: no josh
dys4iK: I need a dimebag of hash to go with this.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: quit sayin that
dys4iK: and I'm running low on needles.
dys4iK: gotta start reusing needles.
dys4iK: damnit!
dys4iK: fucking hell.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: josh
dys4iK: oh well.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: stop
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: quit
dys4iK: I'll microwave them.
dys4iK: stop what?
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ur actin weird
dys4iK: I'm jonesing.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: huh
dys4iK: I gotta go fix myself up.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: what does that mean
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: josh
dys4iK: coming down.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i got my nipples pierced today
dys4iK: hey, me too!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: really!!!!!!!!!
dys4iK: no.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i did i t jes for u
dys4iK: why? you're supposed to hate me, bitch.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: so u can play with them
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i dont hate u
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i luve u
dys4iK: you keep telling me you do!
dys4iK: stop the lying!
dys4iK: oh god, I can't take it anymore!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: well i an forgive u
dys4iK: fucking hell!
dys4iK: I should just oD.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: nooooooooo
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: josh wait
dys4iK: it'd be fun.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i'm coming over right now
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ok
dys4iK: go for it.
dys4iK: you know where I live.
dys4iK: (I don't.)
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ok i'll be over in 20 min
dys4iK: ok!
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ok baby
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i
dys4iK: I'll be waiting.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i'm coming
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i love u
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: ...............
dys4iK: .........................
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: say it to me josh
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: please
dys4iK: I'll go get the strapon.
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: i'm on my way over now
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: bye babe
sweet_thang_for_u_2002: c u soon
dys4iK: bye!
Session Close (sweet_thang_for_u_2002): Thu May 30 19:17:53 2002

The Post about NKOTB December 28th

As the veteran of nearly a decade of marriage, I know that honesty is the cornerstone of a good relationship, and a smooth lie the bedrock of a happy one.

In the same vein, my relationship with my readers has been a happy one so far, but I can't end the year living a lie. In the interest of full disclosure I have to tell you the embarrassing truth:

I am a New Kids on the Block fan.

That wouldn't be so bad if the person at the keyboard was a thirty-year old woman who once pined over Kirk Cameron and knew the words to Wind Beneath My Wings. Instead I'm a thirty-year old man who stands 6'3" tall and weighs over three hundred pounds.

And except for one awkward summer at band camp, I never had any feelings for Mr. Cameron.

My bewildering obsession coincided with my marriage. My wife was a hard-core NKOTB fanatic in her early teens: a member of the fan club, obsessive stalker, hopeful future lover of Jonathan Knight, ticket holder to four concerts, and possessor of more useless trivia than Ken Jennings.

I was, most assuredly, the opposite. It shames me to think of how many derogatory twists on their name I created, how many times I insulted my sisters for their allegiance, and how many times I passed up NKOTB merchandise (at '80's prices!) without a second glance.

In 1999 two of the New Kids went solo, and knowing it would make my wife happy I indulged her long-suppressed impulses to scream and yell and wait in line for hours just to catch a glimpse of them.

And wouldn't ya know it, they grew on me.

They're not Led Zeppelin or Benny Goodman by any means . But Face the Music could hold it's own with any R&B out today, Jordan Knight is incredibly gifted, Donnie's a hoot, and the worst of their schlock is still pretty catchy.

I still don't understand my wife's love for Jonathan, but hey, to each his own.

So five years later my wife and I have twenty-nine videotapes devoted to NKOTB. We have NKOTB slippers, dolls, trading cards, marbles, cups, jackets, books, comics, magazines, a sleeping bag, sheets, pillows, toys, and more. We've been to every concert in Wisconsin and once flew to Boston to see Joe McIntyre.

I even made the newspaper thanks to the New Kids.

Back in '99 Joey McIntyre appeared for a CD signing at a local restaurant. We waited in line outside for hours on a bitter cold winter night. When we finally reached the front of the line security declared the event over and closed the doors.

Correction: They tried to close the doors.

The 'security guards' were local high school football players. That might have been sufficient to intimidate the average fan, but the only place I'm average is the bedroom. I thrust out my paws and kept the door from closing. Whatever I said to the poor kid didn't matter. All he saw was a very large, very angry man who, given the circumstances, was apparently quite gay to boot.

He let us in.

The next day the signing was in the newspaper, because at some point somebody (?) had knocked the front door off its hinges.

Now my wife sometimes doubts my sincerity, pointing to my constant thirst for attention. True, there really was no call to wear the No More Games tour jacket to a job interview, but aside from that I'm on the up and up. But she can keep doubting me if she likes.

Me, I just keep keepin' on.

 

My wife wishes to add that this post unfairly maligns her home as some 'crazy house' where NKOTB stuff can be seen on the mantel. This is categorically untrue; the NKOTB stuff is kept in a room of its own.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Reggie White

Packers great Reggie White died today of an apparent heart attack. He was 43.

The Post about Christmas 2004 Dec 26th

This was the first Christmas that I didn't get a chance to see It's a Wonderful Life, my favorite movie of all time.

It was the first time in my life I received only two presents, a wallet and my Secret Santa gift.

It was one of the few years where I didn't have the chance to enjoy stollen, one of my favorite desserts of all time.

It was the rare year where my family didn't have oplatki, the Polish wafer that we share as a blessing on Christmas.

And it was the first time my Grandma, eighty-two years old next January, spent the holiday in the hospital.

Kinda odd then that I'd rank this Christmas as one of my best ever.

But it was.

It was certainly not because of any of those things, but there was a different air about this Christmas. My parent's traditional Christmas Eve celebration, which I feared would be melancholy without my Grandma, went off without a hitch. It was a more subdued atmosphere but also more relaxed. Instead of the usual hustle and bustle we opened presents in order, from youngest to oldest. By the time the kids were done they'd wandered off to play in the other room, leaving the adults time to linger and talk.

Imagine that: pleasant conversation at a family gathering. Truly a season of miracles.

It went so well that by the time we were back home the Christmas spirit was just warming up. Since we have no fireplace, my wife made a special key that we hung on the door for Santa. The kids held up their end of the bargain with the big guy by setting out milk and cookies, and at my oldest's insistence, a bowl of water for the reindeer.

It was once they were asleep that I may, in retrospect, have gone a little too far.

I tried to create Santa footprints from the door to the tree and back again. You'd think that wouldn't be a problem in Milwaukee, where there's no such thing as a floor free of road salt and snow, but it was too cold for my shoes to pick up any of the old standbys. So I tried my daughter's watercolors, which did nothing but create a mess. I tried used coffee grounds and then cherry kool-aid, Nothing.

Finally, I did the only sensible thing. No, I didn’t quit - I surfed the net. Thanks to a friend, in minutes there were baby powder tracks across my freshly scrubbed floor.

Naturally, my kids didn't seem to care. And while they were gracious about it, our presents fizzled - except for that three-foot tall Elmo. It's our fault. We made the mistake of sandwiching our gifts between the night at Grandma's and Christmas breakfast with Grandpa. That's like expecting me to watch both halves of the Super Bowl and call the halftime show my favorite part.

Next year, our gifts are being handed out on the 23rd.

We ended the day with a visit to the hospital. Thankfully my Grandma was in good spirits and so were the kids. Our oldest recited her ABC's, 123's and prayers so well that we rewarded her with a gift of her own choosing - some 99¢ Barbie coins that she treated like gold.

Now there's still a chance things can go wrong. Tomorrow my mother-in-law's side of the family is coming over for a Christmas brunch, all sorts of stuff could happen. But I think we're safe.

Because his year It's a Wonderful Life seems to be more than just a movie title.

Friday, December 24, 2004

The One about the Commercialization of Christmas Dec 24th

Personally, I dig the commercialization of Christmas.

Oh, I know that sounds sacrilegious, but I assure you my family's celebration is firmly rooted where it belongs. We'll bundle the kids up and take them to church, we keep the baby Jesus out of the nativity scene until Christmas morning, and my three-year-old even wants to put up Happy Birthday signs for Jesus. We know whose holiday it is - but thanks for asking.

I just don't think it's wrong to buy presents for people you love.

Now, granted, that's kind of hypocritical given that eleven months out of the years I'm the most miserly man in America. You want a true conservative revolution in Washington? Put me in charge of the budget. Last year my wife needed new mittens to replace a pair she lost in the middle of our Milwaukee winter. She got them - the next April, when they were 75% off. Heck, if I could figure out how to remove the racing stripes I'd reuse my kids' diapers. A bucks a buck.

Just not in December.

A loyal reader took me task for this recently. "Christmas is for kids," she said. "I don’t ever want to hear you complain about money again." Then, her nose firmly in the air, she went on to say that she'd bought gifts for her entire circle of family and friends, including her ever expanding brood of kids, for under two hundred dollars.

While I'm sure the thrift shop appreciated her business, that's not for me.

For starters, there are the six nieces and nephews, teachers, crossing guard, godparents, Christmas cards, my immediate family, and co-workers.

Come December I don't have time to be cheap. I'm too busy shopping.

And I don't really mind. There's something to be said for hoarding all your base impulses and then releasing them on the local shopping mall. It's like the glorious day when you abandon your diet and hit the ice cream stand. Your capacity for the activity seems endless, and you wonder why you ever thought of stopping. All vestiges of self-restraint are gone, and while you may regret it in the morning, for the time being it's open season.

The only bump in the road seems to be my children's gifts. My wife and I believe that the biggest, best toy should be from Santa, with smaller more practical presents addressed from Mom and Dad. That way they learn to disdain us early in life, making the transition to their teenage years that much smoother. The problem stems from having to define the biggest, best toy.

Is it the $75 V-Smile game system, which they'll love but looks boring in the box and will be greeted with a yawn? Or is it the three- foot tall Elmo doll, $60 cheaper but guaranteed to bring shouts of glee the moment it's opened?

And there's the question of parity. The gifts for both girls should be roughly equal in value, but must break down into identical number of gifts, lest one of my divas believe themselves slighted. Theoretically an easy thing to do, the practice is nearly impossible. It's much easier to shop for a three year old with a history of likes and dislikes than for a one year old whose favorite activity is dumping whatever glass of liquid is left in within her reach.

All this may sound overboard, but with my meager earnings they're far from spoiled the rest of the year. They deserve a special Christmas and doggone it they're gonna get one this year.

Merry Christmas to one and all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Post about My Favorite Authors December 22nd

I had a conversation with a friend online yesterday, and a small chunk of it was devoted to books. That inspired me to fill a blank page with some suggestions for last-minute shopping for the book lover on your list. Most of the following was blatantly stolen from a web page I wrote way back when, so don’t bother pursuing that plagiarism charge - concentrate on trying to bust me for being too beautiful for the web.
That being said, aside from a preference for mystery writers you'll also notice there's only a few females on my list. I don't intentionally seek out male writers and I've read great books written by women. Either I have an unconscious sexist agenda, or it's all a big coincidence. You decide :).

My Picks -

ROBERT B PARKER - From the first time I read Parker, I was hooked. While I read everything he writes (and we‘re naming my first son Parker; seriously), the Spenser novels remain his calling card. EARLY AUTUMN is arguably my favorite book of all time, and aside from the ever-annoying Susan, you really can't go wrong with a Spenser novel. Two cautions: I‘ve heard that both of Parker‘s sons are gay, so as of late he‘s shown a tendency to make every other tough guy a homosexual. It doesn‘t bother me, except it‘s timing paints it as an effort to validate his kids, which shouldn‘t be necessary. Secondly, if Parker has a weakness, its that all his protagonists are Spenser clones. Sunny Randall, Jesse Stone, Wyatt Earp - put them in Boston with an annoying girlfriend and you've got Spenser.

LAWRENCE BLOCK - One of my favorite authors, which is ironic, since I can't stand the Burglar series that made him a fortune, or the Evan Tanner books that taught him his trade. Even so, the Scudder novels, with one or two exceptions, are works of art. EIGHT MILLION WAYS TO DIE is one of the best. His non-fiction 'how to write' books are also a joy to read.

BERNARD CORNWELL - a late addition to my favorite list. The Sharpe series expertly blend the Napoleonic era with adventure fiction and the Superman myth. Plus they're just darn good fun to read. The scene in 'Eagle' where Sharpe, fearing court-martial, is instead promoted put a grin on my face for days. The Archer series was in much the same vein. Drawbacks to his writing? Aside from Sharpe's amazing ability to score with a beautiful lady during every battle, nada.

LOUIS LAMOUR - Perhaps the least respected author on this list, Lamour is none-the-less a legend in the western genre, and with good reason. If there' a God in Heaven, the Sackett novels should stay in print forever. Likewise, his autobiographical EDUCATION OF A WANDERING MAN was great; forget the critics that said otherwise. Lamour did write over 100 books in a career that began in his '40's, so expect some repetitious descriptions here and there.

HERMAN WOUK - A literary giant (IMHO) best known for his least literary works, THE WINDS OF WAR. And WAR AND REMEMBRANCE. I love both of the Wind books, but THE CAINE MUTINY COURT MARTIAL, a superb novel in all respects, is my favorite.

MARIO PUZO - Read the first line of Wouk's bio, but substitute 'THE GODFATHER' for 'Winds'. I love his career making novel of the mob - in fact, its the only book I've ever re-read, and with pleasure - but his talent was best seen in lesser known works. THE FORTUNATE PILGRIM is literary to its core (and sometimes to its fault). THE DARK ARENA, a dark gothic tale of post-war Germany, is excellent - although I think he snuck in an unhappy ending just to be 'highbrow'.

DICK FRANCIS - After her death, the former jockey admitted his wife played a large role in writing his mysteries. If that's true, then I've got more than one female among my favorite authors. Each book is set within the world of horse racing, and very few feature the same hero. Francis has his good and bad books, but most are worth their weight in gold. FIELD OF THIRTEEN, LONGSHOT, and DRIVING FORCE are my favorites.

LAWRENCE SANDERS - Forget the awful (and popular) Archie McNally series. I love the late Sanders for his "Deadly Sin" books. The original was the best - the well crafted page-turner, THE FIRST DEADLY SIN.

BEVERLY CLEARLY - Yes, she's a children's author. HENRY AND RIBSY was the first book of length I ever read, way back in first grade, and I gobbled up her Henry Huggins and Ramona series. I'll be sure to pass on her books to my own children.

MICHAEL CONNELLY - Prone to forced plots and absurd twists, he's still a great mystery read - in fact, you don't realize how crazy it was until after you've finished and recommended it. BLOOD WORK is among his best, although the movie was boring.

ROBERT CRAIS - His Elvis Cole mysteries are Spenser rip-offs for a younger audience, but they are well written and almost - almost - as good as a RB Parker book. LA REQUIEM is the best so far.

TERRY GOODKIND - Hey, normally I hate the fantasy genre. Hate it, hate it, hate it -but I love Goodkind. His SWORD OF TRUTH series is great, although he could stand to lay off some of the intense sado-machistic (sp?) scenes. If that last part didn't scare ya (and it shouldn't) then try picking up one of the series. They're all pretty good.

ROBERT JORDAN - Yeah, yeah. I still dislike the fantasy genre, but a friend hooked me on Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Each one is as thick as a phone book, and they really need to be read in order to be appreciated. But the man can write.

JOHN SANDFORD - The PREY novels are excellent and feature the self-assured, violent but moral characters that I'm drawn to. Check out EYES OF PREY, in my opinion the best of the bunch.

ED MCBAIN - The pseudonym of Evan Hunter, McBain's 87th Precinct novels are universally recognized as the original - and best - police procedurals out there. He was the print inspiration for shows like NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues. Almost all of the 50+ books are great, but I favor WIDOWS and ICE. (under Hunter's byline, my favorite is The Moment she was Gone. Excellent!)

RUDYARD KIPLING - CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS is a sentimental favorite, as is his oft-quoted poem IF. SOLDIERS THREE ain't half bad either :)

STEVEN PRESSFIELD - An author that, in my opinion, either swings and misses or hits a home run. GATES OF FIRE is a novel about the battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartan warriors held off the Persian army until they died to the last man. It was a battle that arguably saved Western civilization, and the novel does it great justice. His latest novel about Alexander the Great THE VIRTUES OF WAR, is also quite good.

MINETTE WALTERS - Finally, a female author that ranks as one of my faves! As an Englishwoman Walters not only embraces, but accepts as par for the course a highly socialized welfare state. This is rather hard for an American to swallow, so be prepared. A strong sense of social responsibility pervades her work. So far, my favorite is THE SHAPE OF SNAKES.

ROBERT HEINLEIN - The master of science fiction. His posthumous GRUMBLES FROM THE GRAVE is a great look into the life of a writer, and STARSHIP TROOPERS is a compact novel that didn't deserve the bad movie it inspired.

DEAN KOONTZ - You know, I’ve read a dozen of his books and he still leaves me . .conflicted. I think he tries too hard to prove himself, almost like he’s a self-educated man trying to validate himself to the folks with a degree on their wall (which is odd, as I know he’s well educated). Anyways, maybe I’m crazy. If you like his work, almost any book will do.

STEPHEN KING - I’m not part of his fan club, and I think he’s one of the most over-rated popular writers and a stinking Sox fan to boot, BUT …THE STAND and THE SHINING are brutal, wonderful works of art. Just try reading THE SHINING while sitting in a hotel lobby in the middle of the night, I dare ya. If you like involved, multi-character novels, THE STAND is for you.

MARK BILLINGHAM - Detective procedurals set in London. Grim, violent work with a strong lead character. Try SCAREDYCAT on for size.

LEE CHILD - Extremely well written tales involving Reacher a strong, violent man of unflinching morals with a tendency to land in hot water. Do you see a pattern here? Skip the newest, as it’s a poor stab at a Republican conspiracy plot, but every other title under his name is worth more than a look.

* I’ve only read one book by this author so I can’t list him as a favorite, but if you want a disturbing book to go along with that holiday cheer, pick up THE BONE PARADE by Mark Nykanen. NOT NOT for the faint of heart. The main character makes Hannibal Lector look innocent.

BRUCE CATTON - The man knew the Civil War inside and out, and his writing made you want to read everything he had to say about it. As the subject of his books sometimes overlapped a loyal reader will see some repetition, but overall, a master of his art. Pick up MR. LINCOLN'S ARMY or GRANT MOVES SOUTH to start.

PETER STRAUB - A Milwaukee boy done good. Excellent novels, most set in the horror genre. Pick up KOKO or my favorite GHOST STORY.

DONALD HARSTAD - Hope I spelled that right. A retired Iowa sheriff’s deputy, Harstad now writes wonderful police procedurals set in an Iowa county. I can’t come up with a title off the top of my head, but everything I’ve read is worth a purchase.

Have fun, and happy reading!

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Post about the Person of the Year December 20th

As I'm sure you've already heard, Time magazine has named George W Bush its Person of the Year.

I will now pause briefly to allow the liberals among us a moment to weep, wail, punch the wall, and draw a Hitleresque mustache on the cover after canceling their subscriptions. Now take a deep breath.

All better now? Good. Let's move on.

But of course the left can't move on, a fact so tiring my piddly wit can't find the strength to make the obvious moveon.org pun. In the scant hours since the announcement I've read four five scathing attacks on the decision, most coupled with a condescending brush-off of the award itself.

Yes, I'm aware Stalin won the award twice, thank you. I also know that Hitler won it once, as did Khomeini and Khrushchev. After all, sainthood is not a prerequisite. The title goes to the person who had the deepest impact, good or bad, in a given year.

Which explains how Ted Turner got on the cover in 1991

If Bush wasn't chosen for his humanitarian efforts, as Gandhi was in 1930, he also wasn't picked as an excuse to waste an issue justifying the left's hatred. According to the editors Bush sharpened the political debate "until the choices bled" and was chosen for "reframing reality to match his design, for gambling his fortunes - and ours - on his faith in the power of leadership."

Bush won the award in part because he is a polarizing figure, inspiring adoration in one person and disgust in the next, and all the while never catering his decisions to the wishes of the latest Gallop poll. He is quite possibly the only man in the world to live up to the idea that we are not judged by who are friends are, but who we count as our enemies.

"I think the natural instinct for most people . . .is that they want people to like them," Bush said in the issue. "On the other hand . . .I take kind of a delight in who the critics are."

One of those critics, Michael Moore, was a finalist for the title and a better - or more aptly named - loser there has never been. John Kerry, who no doubt would have earned the nod if not for sixty million Americans, was named among the People who Mattered, a diverse list that included Nancy Reagan and Kobe Bryant.

It's not surprising to see that polarization come bursting back to life for a trifling thing like a magazine cover. What is surprising to me - and Lord knows, by now it should be old hat - is the amount of hate that transcends the political arena and leaks into the personal.

Included in the liberal attacks I mentioned above are references to the 'triumph of the short-bus students' and yes, I called it, a copy of the Time issue with a Hitler mustache. My, what an excellent advertisement for the party of tolerance and diversity.

You can argue this all you want, but anyone who blames their hatred on Iraq, 9/11, or the economy is a liar. Had the election of 2000 been clear-cut things would be different. The President may not have had any more fans, but at least the average Democrat wouldn't be sulking like a spoiled child.

But of course, they're free to feel and express what they like.

As for me, I'm off to buy a few copies of Time for the ol' scrapbook.

 

[fyi - if you want the complete list of winners, click here]

Saturday, December 18, 2004

The Post about Kerik December 18th

This one's for the author of  cantkeepquiet.com, who posted a commentary entitled 'hypocrites' about the Kerik situation. Go ahead and check out the site, and when you do make sure to tell her I sent you his way. I'm not sure my contribution here refutes any of her claims, but what the heck.

 

 

It takes a lot for a newspaper headline to surprise me.

After all, having survived OJ, Monica, Bush/Gore, and the success of The OC in the last ten years alone, I'd thought I'd seen it all.

And then came Bernard Kerik.

One week after the announcement that he was the President's pick to head the Department of Homeland Security, Kerik suddenly withdrew his nomination. He claimed that the immigration status of his family's nanny, and his failure to properly pay her taxes, led to his decision. Maybe. But that's turned out to be the least of a seemingly endless parade of lurid and disturbing allegations.

Kerik, the former NYPD Commissioner, allegedly accepted thousands of dollars in cash and gifts without properly disclosing them and maintained an adulterous relationship with two women at the same time. He's also reported to have ties to a man suspected of being in the mob, stalked a former lover, used an apartment designated for 9/11 workers to wield his romantic magic, and used his position to impair the careers of anyone that crossed one of his lady friends.

Wow. Add a few more charges to the mix and the man could pass for a Kennedy.

But I feel I have to confess something. I knew about Kerik and kept quiet.

You see, everything I know about the New York Police Department I learned from watching Barney Miller and NYPD Blues. So when I heard about Kerik's nomination I thought back to the only image I had of him - 9/11 - and thought he was an excellent choice. Tough, seasoned, politically savvy - what wasn't to like?

A day or two later I stumbled on a web site whose name I can't recall. It had nothing to do with politics or NY at all, but the day's commentary was about Mr. Kerik. The site's author had worked under him in one menial capacity or the other, and for about a thousand words he proceeded to unload on his old boss. At the time I thought it was just sour grapes, but clean up thelanguage a bit and it could have doubled for most of the news reports of the past week.

Oops.

The obvious question is this: if someone in Milwaukee could discover the truth with a rusty 56k modem, why couldn't Washington?

I think the answer lies with that first, patriotic image I had of Kerik. Three years after the fact our images of a smoke filled New York remain vivid, the heroes of the day all the more so because they stood in such contrast to the harsh world that we inherited on that September morning. In the best of circumstances it's hard to see our heroes for the human beings they are. When that human being is as flawed and corrupt as Kerik allegedly is, it becomes all but impossible to comprehend the gulf between reality and caricature. That, and the ringing endorsement of Rudy Guilani, were enough to blind the administration to his faults.

That's no excuse. The careless vetting of Kerik made the Bush White House look foolish and kept the press jumping for a week. And while I doubt Kerik would ever have endangered the country had he been confirmed, it's frightening to think of what other scenarios a slip-shod screening could produce.

In the end, Kerik will land another job, the Bush White House will move on and those responsible for the mistake will learn from it and make the screening process impregnable. Washington D.C will survive.

It's a shame some of our faith in heroes won't.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Post about Christmas Cards December 16th

This year my wife and I mailed seventy-one Christmas cards to the usual assortment of friends and family. Each card included a personalized note, a smartly printed label, a professional photo of my children, and a subtle but strategically placed holiday sticker on each envelope.

In return we've received fourteen cards, one of which is from a tobacco company that wished us a Happy Kwanza.

If I was prone to rationalization - which normally, I am - I'd label this evidence of a dip in Christmas card giving overall, or proof of the decline of snail-mail in the internet age.

Of course that wouldn't explain why I had to wait in line at the post-office for forty minutes behind scores of people mailing their cards.

So I'm inclined to take this as a personal affront. It certainly can't be directed at my kids, not unless you know them like I do. And my wife could be the source of the boycott, if it wasn't for the fact that no one is foolish enough to cross her. Therefore, it has to be me.

And it hurts people. It does.

Oh, it's not about the cards. Truth be told I rarely read them, other than to note the sender and make sure they spelled my last name correctly (how is it that people in your own family - people that share your name, can spell it wrong every year?).

Now, I used to read them all, back when I was fresh faced and young and thought it was oh-so special to have Great Aunt Sally send you a Christmas card at your very own address.

A few years into it you notice that there are only four or five varieties of cards in circulation in any given year, each one saying the same thing. That starts the decline.

Then the fateful year comes when you look at your empty wallet and stoop to mailing out the ten-for-a-dollar cards from the discount store. You hope no one notices your shame.

Whereupon you realize that while Mom receives the top of the line cards each Yuletide, those same people annually mail you the rinky-dink single ply cards you're holding in your hands.

No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus.

But as I said it's not about the cards. It's about economics, a simple matter of exchanging value for value. If I may have a moment:

The cards themselves were on sale for perhaps a dollar each.

The stamps totaled $26.27.

The stickers really don't count, as we purchased them on triple clearance.

No such luck with the photos, which cost $50, not including the incidentals like dresses, shoes, and hair bows.

The time wasted in line at the post office? Priceless.

So, conservatively, we're looking at a total investment of around $150. That boils down to more than two bucks a person. Is it so much to ask that I get even a teensy-weensy card in return?

My wife, ever the voice of reason in things not involving Oprah or the New Kids, says I'm overreacting. According to her it's a matter of reaching out to loved ones you otherwise have no contact with to tell them "we still aren't divorced, and by the way we've bred again."

She has a point. So what if I don't get a card from five-sixths of the people I thought important enough to put on my list. It's not the end of the world, and it doesn't mean I'm not loved. I'll still send them all a card next year.

Provided they reimburse me my two bucks.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Post about My Ideology December 14th

I’ve been wandering all over blog-dom in the last month, perusing what people around the globe have to say.

My conclusion? Thank heavens for the computer age, because it can’t be healthy to keep this stuff bottled up.

There are sites about pets, and sites ‘written’ by pets. There are Republican blogs, Democrat blogs, blogs about blogs, blogs about blogs about blogs, transgender blogs, gay blogs, straight blogs, and blogs about nothing. There is even a site (purportedly) written by a one year old boy, which if true means my three year old is a slacker and good for nothing.

(Which is something my wife and I have always suspected, but try to keep on the down-low)

But not once, did I ever feel I got to know what that person truly believed about the things that mattered.

And when you get right down to it, it’s important to know whether the author of a site favors Biggie or Tupac. Wars have been fought over less.

So in the interest of partial disclosure I present my Rambling List of Personal Ideology, Ranging from the Divine to the Absurd with little Order and even Less Sense, vol. 1

I‘m a Catholic, for many reasons. Among these are what I call the two Hollywood rules: whatever its faults, the original is better than any remakes. And when all is lost and the devil is loose in the world, who shows up in the movies to set things right? It ain’t the Mormons, brother.

I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies.

I am truly bothered by the idea that Tony Soprano might be killed off before he gets a chance to redeem himself, and wonder whether God takes things like that into account.

I believe Oswald killed Kennedy.

I think M*A*S*H was the best sitcom ever, and prefer Trapper to BJ, Colonel Potter to Blake, and Winchester to Burns.

I think Friends takes second place, and firmly believe Chandler rocks.

I think when a political party chooses an ass as a mascot it tells you everything you need to know.

I prefer Laurel and Hardy to Abbott and Costello, werewolves to vampires, and the Captain to Tenille.

I think Burger King burgers are better than McDonald’s, Wendy’s is better than both, and McDonald’s fries trump all.

I think Kate Winslet is the sexiest woman in Hollywood, and am eternally grateful that she removes her clothes in 80% of her movies.

I think that sometimes the quickest way out is through.

Personally, I go with Tupac.

I think baseball is the greatest sport of all time, followed by football, boxing, basketball, and hockey, in that order.

Soccer, when erroneously called a sport, ranks last.

I am the only person on the earth who can say he likes every type of music - and mean it.

I think the New Kids on the Block are the best boy band ever, and that Jordan Knight was their most talented member.

I prefer DC comics to Marvel, but favor Spider-Man over Superman. Go figure.

I prefer Conan to Leno and Kelly over Kathie Lee.

Of the hundreds of books I’ve read in my lifetime, the only one I’ve read twice is The Godfather.

Titanic is the first of two movies I’ve seen more than once in the theater. I saw it thirteen times.

Gladiator is the second. I saw it three times.

I believe human teeth are the only flaw in God’s design.

And finally, and most importantly in the whole scheme of things:

I think the Godfather would wipe his ass with Tony Montana.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Post about the Reserves December 12th

The older I get, the more I worry that there are no true solutions to a problem, only temporary course adjustments.

The formula is always the same. A problem is evident, and a solution - innovative or tried and true, it doesn't matter - is put into action. The trouble is solved and great praise is bestowed. Twenty years later that panacea has created its own difficulties and the cycle beings again.

What we're seeing in Iraq is the end/beginning of a cycle.

After Vietnam Chief of Staff Creighton Abrams was charged with overhauling the troubled Army as it switched to an all-volunteer service. He reduced it in size, but he also implemented a fundamental change in its organization. Abrams believed Vietnam had gone wrong partly because we were able to wage a war with a bare bones contribution from the Reserves - which, to his mind, slowed the impact of the war on the middle class and necessary debate on the war. His reorganization of the Army ensured that any future war would necessitate activating the reserves.

It worked. In both the Gulf War and Iraq, whether you agree with the war or not, action was preceded by public debate and congressional approval.

But this newfound reliance on the reserve system has strained the patience - and performance - of some Army units. In October reservists from a South Carolina unit refused orders to drive a convoy because it was too dangerous.

Last week eight U.S. soldiers and reservists filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the Army's stop-loss policy, another 'correction' of Vietnam policy. Unlike Vietnam, where units were depleted of experience and leadership by a policy of rotation, soldiers are sometimes required to remain with their units past their scheduled return.

And this week Spc.Thomas Wilson of the 278th Regimental Combat team (a unit comprised mainly of Army National Guardsmen) openly confronted the Secretary of Defense about a lack of armored vehicles- to the loud applause of his unit. It was later discovered that a journalist had secretly coached Wilson.

I don't doubt that the vast majority of reservists are patriotic Americans doing their duty. And I don't mean to minimize the sacrifice they make by leaving their families behind for months and even years; after all, it was a sacrifice I was unwilling to make in the years of peace that followed my eighteenth birthday.

But the truth is that it's an army and not a means of paying for college or making an extra buck. If you aren't prepared to be called to active duty, then it would be wise not to enlist. If you are unwilling to accept that 'fairness' is largely absent in war and you may be forced to stay longer than you thought, then it would be wise not to enlist. If you do not have the vague notion in your head that a whole lot of missions are dangerous and could get you killed (even if you're only driving a truck), then it would be wise not to enlist.

[This might land me in hot water, but if your character precludes showing the Secretary of Defense his due respect, and you prefer to turn a courtesy visit into a carnival at the request of a reporter, then kindly choose not to enlist.]

It's time to re-examine the Army's organization. Abrams was right - reserve units do hold a special place in America's heart. But while in the past Americans may have needed a kick in the pants to question a war; we've grown bitter and cynical and perhaps, smarter. We don't need that extra incentive, not at the expense of morale.

And in an era where the Army is called to work miracles under the glare of an antagonistic media, maybe it's best if that work was done by personnel who do it 24/7/365.

Thursday, December 9, 2004

One Month!

Today is the one- month anniversary of this site. So far I've had 2406 visitors.

Impressive, but most come from Blog Explosion, which mean they're staying for the minimum required time and moving on.

Even so, fourteen people on BE have chosen to bookmark Slapinions, which is fourteen more people than I'd have reading it otherwise. And twenty-two people on BE have chosen to rate my site on a 1 to 10 scale. As of this writing I have a 6.86 rating, which is pretty good considering my site is as visually appealing as Bea Arthur.

I'm trying to add the Haloscan comments as recommended below. In the meantime, these are the comments that are strictly from BE users and not visible to mere common folk:

You can only comment if you have an AOL account, which I don't, but I liked your Giambi post. Pretty gross the way they screw up their bodies. What the hell do guys that make 100K on the bench need a union for?

purplezebra | 00:25 December 4th, 2004 | 0 Replies | Report | Delete

I agree with the second comment

amb3589 | 20:37 December 3rd, 2004 | 0 Replies | Report | Delete

I was not able to comment on your post "The One about Giambi" I just wanted to leave a comment to say I agree 100%. I really think that all of his health problems are due to steroids. I hope that the health issue becomes the big thing in all of this. Life and death is certainly bigger than baseball, and this truely is a life and death issue...

PeterMan | 17:02 December 3rd, 2004 | 0 Replies | Report | Delete

I agree with the first comment. Mainly political blog, but not insulting like many other political blogs I've run into.

I suggest changing the comment format, since it forces you to sign up for an AOL Journals account. I myself recently switched from a members-only comment account (Blogger) to the universal Halocan, and I've found that people are more willing to comment on my posts now.

Oh, and you must be the only other person on Earth besides me who knows about Donnie Wahlberg's rap from "No More Games"! I presume you're talking about the original version of "No More Games", not the C&C Music Factory version...

kaonashi | 22:53 November 29th, 2004 | 0 R#eplies | Report | Delete

Very well written blog. Largely concerned with politcs, but doesn't rant. Content with about a PG-13 content for very light adult references. (Things like "Yoda" sex comments.)

Oftencold | 02:26 November 22nd, 2004 | 0 Replies | Report | Delete

 

 

Until the comments are up and running, I'd like to ask a favor. If you are a repeat visitor to the site, or plan on being one, drop me a line at Slapinions@aol.com and tell me. I'd like to get some sense of who's reading my stuff, and will post your name and (if you have one) your url in a future post.

The One about The ID Policy December 9th

I was buying cigarettes at the grocery store the other day when the clerk asked to see my ID.

Yes, I smoke. Get over it.

Now I'd heard about the new store policy that says clerks are required to look at the ID of anyone purchasing alcohol or tobacco. I knew that on paper their policy was to card everyone, regardless of age, rather than face the wrath of our litigious society. I just didn't believe that this 'ideal' would carry over into the real world, where common sense insists that the grandmother at the counter might just be old enough to tip one back.

But apparently, these people actually read the memos on the break room wall.

I must admit to being a little put out. I'm long past the point where being carded makes you feel cool and grownup, but I'm also too young to find it flattering. I can see questioning me over liquor, but cigarettes? I was old enough to buy them before the checkout girl was born.

And it's not like I don't look my age. I had two days worth of stubble - which for any other man would be a week's growth - and thinning hair. I had two kids in my cart. I wear a wedding ring. I was paying with a credit card. And if that wasn’t enough, the Eisenhower/Nixon T-shirt really should have been a tip-off.

In retrospect, it doesn't seem like they asked the world. But if you've ever tried to keep two toddlers quiet and happy at a grocery store, you can appreciate how desperate a thirty second delay can be. A weeks worth of cigarettes do less damage to my health and well being.

I understand that a company has to protect its financial well-being, but more and more it seems to be at the expense of logic and responsibility. If my kids purchased cigarettes illegally, but without gross negligence - in other words, if they didn’t manage to do it at age ten - then my beef wouldn’t be with the store, it’d be with my kids.

Alcohol is a different story. Unlike tobacco it has immediate consequences, not only for the consumer but for people on the road. It makes sense to tighten sales policy, although I don’t see how you can justify going to the extreme the store has.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. doesn’t see it that way.

In a column published in the December 9th Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel takes issue with the ribbing the policy has been taking.

Those who have hang-ups with [the] policy have apparently neither lost a child nor been at the scene of a violent crash involving alcohol . . . I don’t find anything funny about notifying a parent that their son or daughter is dead. . . . That cashier . . .may be saving your son or daughter’s life. Do you find that incontinent?

Well, Gosh, now I feel bad. I mean here I sit, without a single casualty (knock on wood) to use to score cheap points in a debate. And you know, maybe he’s right. Maybe it’s not all about liability and twisting common sense on its head. Maybe it’s a humanitarian effort. All those ideas about how the policy essentially forgoes enforcing a perfectly good law in favor of an overboard stance . . .

What can I say? I was wrong.

No one is in favor of underage drinking. So prevent it by doing your job and carding anyone twenty-five or even thirty. I’m fine with that.

Just leave the chain smoking grandma’s alone.

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Ugh

I tried and failed to load haloscan comments into the site. I'll contact them and see if it's even possible.

In the meantime, the entry below is in response to a question from Sarah Jakubowski. If you have any questions, comments, etc and can't access the pathetically limited comments section here, feel free to drop me a line at slapinions@aol.com

Enjoy.

 

The One about Belling

If someone had come up to me two months ago and said that my homestate of Wisconsin would be the center of a media controversy, I'd have laughed in her face. Remember, I'm barely old enough to remember Reagan's first term, yet I have clear memories of a sock puppet - yes, a sock puppet - doing the weather forecast on Milwaukee's CBS affiliate. And while the puppet has long since retired, that's still about as risqué as the local media gets around here.

Had that prediction been made, I'd be eating a lot of crow for the holidays.

As of this writing there have been not one, but three separate incidents involving radio talk show hosts in Milwaukee and Madison. Conservative Mark Belling was suspended for five days following his use of the term 'wetbacks'. Madison host John Sylvester faced criticism for calling Condoleeza Rice "Aunt Jemima", and former Milwaukee Alderman Michael McGee was suspended recently for uttering the F word on air.

I've heard discussions on free speech, censorship, FCC regulations, and corporate responsibility that have been spawned by these episodes. That's lovely, but I think they all miss the boat. Do you know why none of this - not the original 'sins' or the subsequent arguments - have inspired me? Because, when it comes down to it this is nothing more then a case of three men filling seconds of airtime with a lousy, ignorant choice of words. Fine them, suspend them, or fire them as the incident warrants, but please spare me the talk of lofty ideals. I don't buy it.

On the other hand, there is some validity to the claim that the 'liberal' media crucified Belling while ignoring the excesses of its own poster boy. But not for the reasons you think.

Yes, there's a wonderful staged atmosphere to the Belling affair. Following his statement the station received only a "couple" of complaints. By their own admission, many of the Mexican-American groups that protested Belling first heard about it days after the fact, from Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporters looking for (and creating?) a story. And subsequent efforts to have Belling's employer fund Community Centers and college programs to 'make amends' smacks of selfish exploitation.

But when it comes down to it, Belling said the word, and it was inevitable that it would be reported. Mark Belling is a household name in Wisconsin. John Sylvester is not. Mark Belling filled in for Rush Limbaugh nation wide. If John Sylvester has ever broadcast nationally at all, it's not common knowledge.

Put yourself in the media's shoes: if you had two nearly identical stories, one featuring Pam Grier and the other Julia Roberts, which would you play up?

Moreover, Belling's remarks were off the cuff. Sylvester's reek of self-publicity. It's just possible that the media - for once - recognized the truth and buried the story, only to have it dragged front and center by conservatives.

[McGee, by the way, had been the subject of a legal investigation prior to his suspension. Because of this, it's impossible to draw him into these comparisons; the station probably looks at the obscenity as a Godsend]

And you know what? This might have done both Belling and the state some good. Belling has a solidified and angry base at his beck and call. And coming as it did in the wake of the election, he absorbed a lot of the venom of an angry Blue-State electorate - sparing his own supporters the wrath of the left.

Still, it makes you long for the days of the sock puppet, doesn't it?

Sunday, December 5, 2004

The One about Chai Soua Vang December 5th

Last week Chai Soua Vang, a truck driver from Minnesota, was found trespassing on private land while hunting in Wisconsin. Confronted, he turned as if to leave.

Forty yards away he opened fire.

The owner of the land called for help, an act that only increased the scope of the tragedy. When it was over, Vang had taken the lives of six people and wounded two others.

Four of the dead were shot in the back. Of the eight victims, only one was armed.

Of all the tragic tales we hear on the news, this seems to be one of the most cut and dry. Aside from a ludicrous denial that he quickly recanted, the statements of Vang and the survivors agree on the general course of events. Where they differ, forensic evidence refutes Vang. Furthermore, Vang has been cited for trespassing in the past, and was recently investigated – although not charged – with spousal abuse.

Since the shootings Vang has also become a suspect in an unsolved 2001 murder in the area. That victim was also shot in the back.

Which is why I was surprised when a friend said he hoped Vang was acquitted.

Now I make no claim to being the nicest or most inclusive of men, but in my thirty years I have managed to gather a pretty diverse group of friends. They include college graduates and high school dropouts, Christians and a Druid, Republicans and self-proclaimed Socialists.

The friend that hoped for acquittal? A conservative married man in his late thirties who’s a diehard Republican. He’s also a cop.

Not exactly the opinion I expected from him, but the more we talked, the more I realized his opinion wasn’t based on facts or scientific reasoning. It was based on his own emotional response to the situation in the news.

Because among all those other adjectives, my friend is also African-American.

“You don’t understand what it was like for him up there,” he said. “Alone in the woods surrounded by a bunch of angry white guys? How scared do you think he was?”

I asked him how he thought that excused killing six unarmed people. “You think they were so innocent? What do you think they said to him. ‘Please Mr. Asian-American, vacate this land that you are illegally occupying.’ Pu-lease.”

Again, I asked how that excused shooting four people in the back, or stalking and killing the initial survivors for more than a hundred yards in the woods. If it was just plain old fear, be it racially motivated or not, wouldn’t it have been a quick, mindless attack? Why the methodical, coldhearted approach? The man put on camouflage gear in the middle of the attack, for Pete’s sake.

I never got a satisfactory answer. I don’t expect there is one.

I don’t understand this seemingly irresistible temptation to project bias into every situation. And it isn’t a phenomenon limited to race or creed. Gay activists are angry because of a report that perhaps, just perhaps, Matthew Sheppard was murdered for reasons other than his sexuality. I understand his death became their movement’s rallying cry, but what does it say when the loss of a young man’s life becomes less important than a message you wish to send? Regardless of why he died, his death was tragic and wrong.

Maybe I can’t understand this precisely because I’m a white, straight male. But Vang didn’t try to kill all eight people because of color or ethnicity, he did it to assure that there’d be no witnesses left to identify him. He failed.

So should the attempts to pigeonhole everything based on race.

Friday, December 3, 2004

Bunch of Schtuff

First off, if you're visiting courtesy of Blog Explosion, here's the scoop: some of my commentaries are purely political, some are humorous, and some are a mix of both. Take a look around before your thirty seconds are up, and if you don't like the subject of one post, I'd encourage you to take a look at another before you make up your mind.

Secondly, I had some major dental work in the last few days. Sorry for the delay in posting. Friday's post is below.

Third, I've made myself a wish list on Amazon. Not that I expect anything from the casual reader (although it'd be nice) but I figure someone in the family will see this and get an idea of what I want/need . . . before they inevitably buy me socks.

http://amazon.com/gp/registry/2STAM2V4HX4XI

Lastly, in answer to one of the few - the very very very few - comments left on the site: sure, I'd be happy to offer up my views on whatever you like. I have an opinion on most things, and if all else fails I can always make one up. Just drop a note in the comments section, which I'm told is quite nasty to behold, or email me at Slapinions@aol.com and I'll respond in kind.

By the way, some readers have filled me in on how clumbsy and inconvienent the AOL comments section is constructed. For this, I apologize. Given a few more months, I may move this site to a more hospitable locale. Any ideas/preferences between sites like blogger and blogspot and the like? Let me know.

The One about Giambi

So Jason Giambi, All-Star first baseman for the New York Yankees, used performance-enhancing drugs.

That’s an understatement. Giambi injected human growth hormone into his stomach, testosterone into his buttocks, rubbed a steroid cream over his body, took the female fertility drug Clomid, and placed drops of a liquid steroid under his tongue.

If steroids were heroin, this guy would rival Courtney Love.

I feel a bit guilty making fun of Giambi. I’m a big Yankees fan – heck, my son’s nursery’s going to be done in pinstripes. And I love baseball. My senior thesis in college was about baseball. The bookcase in my bedroom has five shelves of baseball books dating back a hundred years. And I dutifully attend my hometown Brewers games, even though they haven’t had a winning season since Lincoln was in office.

But I really, really hope baseball gets screwed on this one.

Why? Because I’m sick of everyone pretending the game’s on the up and up. For ten years we’ve seen players put up numbers that belong in a video game. You know how many times someone hit 50 home runs in a season in all the years before 1995? Eighteen. How many different players have reached that plateau since then? The same number: eighteen. Up until the mid ‘90’s only the occasional freak would hit above .320. Now, for anyone outside the Brewers organization, that’s bare bones adequate.

A juiced ball you say? Smaller parks? I’ll buy it to a point. But in exchange don’t ignore the fact that some of the guys that step to the plate look more like linebackers than baseball players. Yeah, yeah, Sammy, I read your book. You didn’t really grow until you immigrated and had proper American nutrition – you know, McDonald’s, KFC, the sort of places that promote a hundred pounds of new muscle in your twenties.

And Barry Bonds? [full disclosure : I have been accused by some to irrationally despise Barry Bonds. They’re wrong. I don’t think it’s irrational at all.]

Please note that Giambi obtained his drugs directly from Bonds’ personal trainer, the same guy Bonds felt so indispensable that he fought Giants management when they wanted him banned from the locker room.

Until the mid ‘90’s Bonds was a thin, athletic outfielder. One ofthe best players of the era, and a two time MVP, he hit more than 40 home runs in only three of his first fourteen years.

Then, well into his thirties he had a massive growth spurt, emerging as a huge, muscular power hitter. Now I’ve hear this explained away by saying that people naturally get thicker as they get older. Uh, yeah. But for most people I know ‘thicker’ means around the middle and in the caboose, not the biceps and chest. [note to self: If Barry is exonerated, rejoice. In 2.5 years you too will experience naturally induced muscle growth and finally kick the butt of the guy that kicked sand in your face at the beach]

Now what worries me is that MLB is at the mercy of the players union. Players like Bonds can say ‘test me’ all they want, because they know the union won’t allow it. Maybe it’s time MLB said enough. If the union wants to strike, let them. See how much goodwill they generate by striking to avoid a drug test.

Baseball is a game that depends on its statistics and records for continuity, far more than any other sport. Let too many fall courtesy of steroids and the game will be harmed forever.

Without realizing it, Giambi may just save the game he tried to swindle.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

The One about A Lack of Ideas - November 27th-28th

And so I sit here, pondering what to write about.

It's not writers block, mind you. I'm woefully familiar with that, and this doesn't come close. I'm not sweating, desperately looking for an excuse to escape the terror of a blank page. I could write, if I had a subject that was up to par.

Unfortunately that's the one thing I seem to be lacking.

Initially, I was going to write about the UN Oil for Food scandal, and the depths to which the UN has sunk under Anan's leadership. Actually, I did write about the UN Oil for Food scandal, but I also accidentally deleted 600 words of said prose. I think I'll tackle the rewrite another day.

I could write about my most recent day of work, which is certainly interesting enough; but the details would probably violate some confidentiality paper my employer had me sign once upon a time. For the time being I'd like to keep my job, thank you.

I could write about taking my kids to see Santa today. There's plenty of material to be found in a half- hour drive in a cold November rainstorm, only to discover Santa was on his lunch hour. I could write that after waiting an hour we finally met Santa - only to have my youngest child, predictably, start crying hysterically. Or about how our camera broke down just when I lined up the kids for the perfect shot.

But I can't. I'm too bitter.

I also have a great idea for a story that involves my wife, but in the aftermath of the Santa debacle we had an argument nastier than the first half -hour of Saving Private Ryan. Despite my misgivings, I guess I'd like to keep her too. So scratch that story idea, at least for now.

I could resort to that bastion of all blog (web log) enthusiasts, the pandering ode to Blog Explosion. I do have my opinions on the web directory, both good and bad. But is it worth a page of what amounts to free advertising for the site? Not today it isn't.

So in the end I'm left with nothing. It worked for Seinfeld, it can work for me.

[As long as we're on the subject of the most over-rated sitcom of our time, let me get something off my chest.

What's the deal with the whole "it's a show about nothing" tag? You hear it everywhere, repeated like it's such an innovative, explosive concept.

News flash: it wasn't a show about nothing. It was a show about a group of friends in New York City and their daily interactions - just like every other show on TV. And do not, kind sir, resort to saying that it was the individual episodes that lacked 'something'. That too is a misnomer. It may not have been the tightest of plots, but every show was about 'something', whether it be volunteering with the elderly or waiting in a Chinese restaurant.

Don't bother arguing. You know I'm right.]

So in the end I'm left alone at the keyboard with a head stuffed with useless, discarded ideas. It isn't the most thrilling way to spend an evening, and it certainly isn't a boost for the self-esteem.

I suppose that by this time tomorrow I'll have a whole bevy of ideas to choose from. It stands to reason, since the only requirement for this gig is a bit of writing ability, a lot of opinions, and of course, an ample dose of bad luck hanging over your head.

Thankfully, I'm blessed with all three.