Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terry Schiavo is Dead

I just heard the news and offer my prayers to her and her family.

 It's alarming how society just wanted her out of the way. The quicker she died, the quicker we could go on pretending we had all the answers to the ethical dilemas medicine has created.



The Post about the Zoo March 30th

I didn’t plan on going to the zoo today.

I didn’t plan on taking five kids.

I didn’t plan on severe thunderstorms making a beeline for Milwaukee County.

But then again, I did plan on traveling the world after college.

Since we all know how that turned out, it only makes sense that an unplanned, haphazard trip wound up being a success.

Spurred on by a half-forgotten email about reduced fares, my wife decided at 11 o’clock we were going to pay the rhinos a visit.

Which was easier said then done. My eldest was still at a friends house following a sleepover, and the rest of the clan had spent the night at my mother’s.

So we swung by my Mom’s and picked up my daughter, but left Parker behind. What was a three week old going to do at the zoo other than sleep?

In exchange we picked up both of my sister’s daughters.

Then it was on to pick up my oldest.

Where we added another kid, her five-year old friend.

Get rid of one, pick up three. Interesting math.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. While the Milwaukee County Zoo may be one of the best, most progressive zoos around, it bores me to tears.

Just like the museum, I made a trip or two to the zoo every year of my childhood. Maybe there’s someone out there who can pick up subtle differences from year to year, but as far as I can tell it’s the same elephants eating the same hay and making the same steaming piles of waste as the ones I saw 20 years ago.

In addition, maybe the zoo’s cheaper than most, but to my mind the mob’s gotta have a hand in it.

Even on a ‘reduced fare’ day the cost is prohibitive. And the cost of food/beverages/rides? Just sign over your paycheck and be done with it.

But the kids, they love it. And for them, it’s worth it.

The primate house continues to be the universal favorite (although to my eldest’s disappointment, there was no repeat of the gorilla-who-ate-his own vomit.) My middle child adored the aquarium, and I dug the elephants.

But to my wife’s disappointment, the big cat exhibit was closed. As was the petting zoo, the goat-feeding yard, and a bunch of other stuff.

There’s always a reason for reduced fare days.

But the kids loved playing on the playground next to the empty goat yard, and they adored what animals they did see.

The highlight for me? We loaded four of the girls into the double stroller, making it heavy as all get out. But in response to the girls’ cries of ‘faster faster!’ I ran - yes ran - the stroller down a roadway and up the length of a hill.

Normally you don’t see 300 pounds move that quickly outside of the bear exhibit.

We capped it off with a trip on the carousel and an in-depth examination of a stray ladybug, then headed home.

But not before a bought a one year family pass.

What can I say, it’s not that bad of a place to spend a day.

Oh, and by the way - the T-storms held off until we were at home.

Like I said, it only makes sense that an unplanned, haphazard trip wound up being a success.


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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

What is this, a photo blog?

If my new camera was a woman I'd buy her a ring.

This is a pic of a doozy of an impending storm, taken on Milwaukee's northwest side around four p.m.

Shame the pic quality has to be reduced to fit on the site, but whatcha gonna do?

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Trip with All the Kids March 28th

Fair Warning: This is one of those sappy parenting orientated posts that are really just an excuse to avoid scrapbooking. Read at your peril.

Today, in exchange for getting out of cleaning the house, and to honor a promise to my daughter over her spring break, I took my three rugrats and their three cousins  on a road trip to some local sites.

Alone, without any other adults. Yikes!

The Mitchell Park Conservatory - which is something it's never called, it's The Domes for cripes sakes - are three conoidal glass domes that have been a Milwaukee landmark since the '60's.

There's a desert dome

 a jungle one,

and a temperate dome that rotates through different themes throughout the year.

My Dad, if memory serves, worked there before he went to Vietnam, and I've probably seen the things a hundred times.

This was the third trip for my eldest - we went there on Sept 11, 2002 when many city landmarks were free in honor of 9/11 - and once last fall with my youngest daughter along.

 This, naturally, was Parkers first trip.

It went suprisingly smooth, despite having the Brady Bunch along. The eldest denied remembering the place, but suddenly remembered an obscure donated art project that's tucked into a corner of a dome. The search for this art class globe was one of the centerpieces of the expedition.

Afterwards, the kids enjoyed running in the drained pool outside and called me over to tell me they'd found the 'rest of the water' - a puddle that had formed over a drain cover.

I tried taking them on a tour of a firehouse, but unlikemy childhood, the firefighter told me I'd have to clear a tour with the bigwigs downtown. Not today, folks.

So I went throught the KFC drive-thru, and took the gang down to Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers.

On this gorgeous spring day we picniced in the shadow of the stadium, then spent a good half-hour playing on the elaborate jungle gym that can be found by home plate.



Still on the plate for this spring break week: No, not Daytona. A visit to a firehouse, a sleepover, Betty Brinn Children's museum, and (hopefully) some rest.

Hope your Easter went well.


Ps. Thanks to Jonah for taking many of the pics along the way. Good job!

ps2. Over Easter a neighbors soccer ball got stuck in Jonah's tree, and he was kind enough to leave the festivites to climb the tree and retrieve it. Here's a pic, which is cool enough I felt forced to tack it on to this post.

Check out

Not to radically change gears here, but check out this site. The operators of the blog gave out over 3000 postcards inviting people to submit a secret of theirs (anonymously). The results are posted on the site.

It's an interesting mix of regrets, triumphs, humor

 and some very disturbing secrets:

Check it out and give me your opinion.

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter!

A Happy Easter to everyone!

For your blogging pleasure I present a holiday-inspired photo scheme, a sampling of this Holy Thursday's

Ninth Annual Bring Your Kids Over to Dan and Lisa's to Dye Massive Amounts of Easter Eggs Because Back In their Youth They Foolishly Thought They Couldn't Have Kids And Created An Annual Tradition to Bring the Joy of Children Into Their Lives, If Only for A Day, and Now Are Forced to Stand By the Fruits of This Foolish Belief

Virtually every kid we've known in the past decade has taken part in at least one year of the festivities, with my nephew Jonah racking up a Cal Ripken-like streak of nine consecutive starts. 

This year went quicker than most, despite dyeing eight dozen eggs. Chalk that up to having two kids at the table nearing or at the decade mark.

As I explained to Jonah, it takes a little longer when the average age at the table is four, and half the eggs land on the floor . . .

I'm sure I'll burn in hell for this, but I present my easter tribute to Kurt Cobain:

and just some of the finished product, which is then distributed to family far and wide

and only mildly related, but worth a look anyway: this morning after church, we had a visitor at the breakfast table:


Again, Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Why Snow Hates Cars March 26th

This started off as a story to keep the kids occupied in the car, but it's grown quite a bit since then. Along with The Coffin Tale, The Pumpkin Story, and The Fuzzy tale, this one's in continuous circulation on our road trips.

Content copyright protected by Copyscape website plagiarism search

You know cars hate snow.

When it snows cars slip

and slide

They spin their wheels

and get stuck

and sometimes they get so cold they can't even move at all!

You know cars hate snow.

But do you know why snow hates cars?

It wasn't always that way.

Once upon a time, when the Great Snow King

ruled winter, cars and snow got along just fine.

The Great Snow King was called 'great' for a reason.

Oh, sometimes he sent cold, cold winds down from the North Pole

and he always made sure your parents had plenty of snow to shovel

But he also made sure kids had snow for sledding, and snow angels,

and snowball fights.

He always made sure there was snow for Christmas,

and if he was feeling super nice,

he'd send just enough snow to cancel school.

Now the Great Snow King had a son that was a snowman, and he wished more than anything that his boy would

someday be King.

His son The Snow Prince had other ideas.

He wanted to be an actor.

Of course, that was a silly wish, because snowmen do not become movie stars.

Except for one time.

This time.

Now, while the Snow Prince was dreaming about movies, a car was dreaming about something else.

His name was Jazz, and he was as brand-new as a car could be.

He was shiny and smooth, with big comfy seats and a powerful engine that went

"Vroom Vroom" as he went down the street.

Jazz wanted to be a race-car when he grew up, and he liked to drive fast. Too fast for the city, so he would go out to the country and go "zoom zoom" down the lonely roads.

That was how he met the Snow Prince.

It's not often you see a snowman in summer. Especially one who’s sled was stuck in the mud.

"Howdy partner. Need some help?" Jazz asked.

“Oh yes, sir, if you please,” The Snow Prince said, for he was nothing if not polite.

Quick as a jiffy, Jazz tied a rope to the sled and with a ‘vroom vroom’ of his engine pulled it free.

“Oh thank you sir!” The Snow Prince said.

“Aw, lay off that ‘sir‘, stuff, mister. The names Jazz, and racings my game!” he said.

“I’m the Snow Prince,” the snowman said. “And soon I’ll be a movie star. I’m going to be famous!”

Jazz was a little confused.

“Don’t see many movie stars around here. Especially one’s that melt,” he said.

That was when the Snow Prince noticed a drop of water on the end of his carrot nose

The weather was a bit warmer than he was used to at the North Pole.

“I guess I didn’t plan very well. I thought it would still be winter and I could ride my sled. But it’s not, and if I don’t hurry up I’ll never get to Hollywood,” The Snow Prince said.

“What’s out there?” Jazz asked.

“Only the best movie ever! It’s all about a snowman that comes to life one winter and sings lots of songs to make kids happy. They start filming soon, and I’m going to be the star of the show! I was born to play that part!” he said.

“Hmm. Well, that sled won’t get you very far,” Jazz said. Just then another big drop of water fell off The Snow Prince. Splash!

Suddenly Jazz had an idea.

“Tell you what. I’ve never been to California, and I hear they drive really fast there. If you like I can give you a ride,” Jazz said.

“Oh no, I couldn’t impose,” The Snow Prince said as another drop of water fell to the ground.


“I have air conditioning,” Jazz said, and that was that.

So Jazz and The Snow Prince set out across America.

They drove through the Midwest and saw lots of farms.

They drove through prairies and raced buffaloes.

They drove through the Rocky Mountains, where The Snow Prince enjoyed the cool mountain air.

And along the way the two became the best of friends.

But not once did the Snow Prince tell Jazz that he had run away from home, and that his father was looking for him. And he never, not once, told him how mad his father would be if he found them.

Finally they got to California, and The Snow Prince was so happy to see the big Hollywood sign! He was this close to being the worlds first and most famous snowman actor!

“I’m hungry Snow Prince,” Jazz said. “Mind if I stop for some gas before we drive to the studio?”

“Go ahead, I’m hungry too,” he said.

Jazz pulled into a gas station. In it’s window was a red sign that said “Ice Cream”.

“You better be careful . It’s mighty hot out here in California,” Jazz said.

“I’ll only be a minute. And you’ll be right outside,” The Snow Prince said. With that, he went in search of some butter pecan.

As Jazz was filling up his tank with the best tasting gas he’d ever had, he was very happy he’d taken the trip.

Not only had he met a great friend, but he’d seen the whole country, and California was very pretty.

That’s when he heard it.

At first it was very quiet, like a mouse, and Jazz thought he was imagining things. Then he heard it again.

“Vroom, vroom vroom”

The noise seemed to be coming from down the block. Jazz was itching to go see what it was, but he knew he shouldn’t leave The Snow Prince.

“I’ll just be gone for a minute,” he thought to himself. “I’ll be back before he even notices.”

With his mind made up he drove down the block. The noise seemed to be coming from behind a tall pine fence.

Halfway up one of the planks was a knothole. Jazz popped a wheelie and put his headlight to the hole.

There, on the other side of the fence were dozens of cars going round and round a track as fast as they could!

“A race!,” said Jazz. “Hot dog!”

He was very excited and wished he could get a better view. Then a man in a bright blue usher’s suit tapped him on the fender.

“’Bout time you got here! We’ve been looking everywhere for you, the race already started. You better get in there before the boss gets any madder,” the usher said.

“But I’m not who you think . . . “ Jazz said, confused.

“Enough chit-chat. Are you gonna race or not?” the man asked.

Jazz should have remembered The Snow Prince and said “no thank you”, but he was much too excited to think of anything but driving in the race. His dream was coming true!

Back at the gas station The Snow Prince stepped outside with his ice cream. He looked left

and right,

and left again,

but didn’t see Jazz.

His ice cream started to melt in the hot California sun.

At the racetrack Jazz was doing well, moving closer and closer to the lead.

Outside the gas station The Snow Prince was worried. His ice cream was a gooey mess and he could feel melted snow drip,



down his face.

The Snow Prince tried to go back inside by the air conditioning, but the clerk pointed to the puddle he was making and said “Stay out!”

Now he was very worried indeed.

Down the street a man took out a checkered flag.

The race was almost over.

And the winner was . . .


Everyone was cheering! A man handed Jazz a microphone.

“Say a few words to the crowd son,” he said.

“Gosh, I’m so happy. I just wish my friend . . ,” Jazz began. Then he realized what he’d done.

“Snow Prince!” he yelled, roaring down the street faster than he ever had on the race track.

He pulled into the gas station and looked around.

He looked left,

and right,

and left again,

but there was no sign of The Snow Prince.

Unless, that is, you noticed a carrot nose floating in a large puddle of water.

Jazz was so sad he never raced again. To this day the only time he leaves the garage

Is to drive a little old lady to church on Sunday’s.




Since The Snow Prince was made up of - what else? - snow, he didn’t go away forever.

The sun dried up the puddle

and he floated in the clouds

until he reached the North Pole, where he fell,

one by one,

as snowflakes until he was back to his old self.

When the Great Snow King saw him he was too happy to be angry at his son.

But The Snow Prince was very, very mad.

While he was up in the clouds as drop after drop of water, another snowman

got the part in the movie

and went on to fame and fortune.

Every kid knows his name.

You know it too -

His name was Frosty.

When The Snow Prince heard this he told his father all about how Jazz had left him behind to melt, and the Great Snow King became very angry too.

So he passed an order:

From this day forward,

When it snows cars shall slip

and slide

And spin their wheels

Cars will get stuck

and sometimes they will get so cold they won’t even move at all!

Which is why cars hate snow, just like snow hates cars.


The End

 copyright 2005 Dan Slapczynski

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

A much needed LOL Break

Two serious posts about the Terri Schiavo case appear below, and I encourage you to read them . . .

 . . . but to break up the gloomy karma, I present this little ditty:

While researching my son's circumcision several links popped up on the search engine, among them the sponsored link below:

Circumcision Sale  - New & used Circumcision. Check out the deals now!

Personally, if I was in the market for a circumcision I'd avoid the used model, but to each his own.


Response to a Comment on My Schiavo Post

Please note that I was unable to post this email as a comment because of it's length; my post on the subject is found below.

For the record, although it wasn't mentioned in the piece, I was deeply annoyed by the political interference on this matter - both by the GOP who I do believe acted out of moral duty, and the Dems, who ran interference on strictly political grounds.

This should never have been a matter for Congress or the White House.

Any email comments will be posted on this site, provided the language is suitable for everyone. Please limit them to 2000 characters or less so I can post them in the comments section.

Danny-please post to your site...

First, let me begin by saying that anyone who does not have a Last Will and Testament, should see very clear that each person needs one.  If you have not seen what happens to those who do not have a will, as in this case, then they are either blind or stupid.  It is my humble opinion that we are far more humane to our animals that to our family members.  If a horse has a broken leg that is in a section that will not heal very well, we put the horse to sleep.  If a dog gets Parvo, we are told that it could be almost $3,000 and we will only get a 50% chance of survival.  It is considered by most to be humane to put the animal to sleep.  Why can't we euthanize our family members?  To have a person starved to death is not humane at all.  It is a horrible, painful death.  It is not even something that occurs to POW's.  To stay on subject, the Schiavo case has really shown all of us that we have a lot of opinions on the subject of death.

Here are my opinions on her case.  1st, There was no will and the husband is trying to act on the wishes that she had told him.  I think the family is blind to the fact that she will not ever recover and she most likely does have brain damage that will not return.  All of these medical cases that have been brought by her family are irrelevant because NONE have ever been comatose for over 15 years.  I have seen recoveries, but all within a 2-5 year period leave the hospital and then go into rehab.  She has been like this for well over 15 years.  It is not going to happen, and we should be humane about this.  The President has no authority on this matter (sorry Danny), and this should be handled by the state not the President.  Another reason I feel that this should have been left alone by the President, and other Federal Judges, is because the medical interpretation is vital to this case.  In fact it is Paramount.  On CNN, Dr. Gupta stated "You can not interpret this from a video; you need to see the patient in person.  Aside from the Judges, and Dr's in the state of Fla. who reviewed her file and saw her, no other judge or President has seen her in person.  The tapes are impossible to review and interpret in this case. Because of those things, I feel that all of this political interference is not good for the person at all.  If they do not see her in person, and know what the legal interpretation is in this case, for them to say that "she is not in a comatose state" is a premature statement and thus makes the person look like an idiot.  I realize our President and the courts are trying to act on good faith, but in regard to the President, his interference on this issue does interfere with states rights.  I am sorry but the legal system is working, the family may not like the outcome, but it is working.  They are right it is not humane to starve a person, but in this case the family needs to let her go.  Whenever emotion interferes with the law, there are problems.  Too many Judges have seen her, neurologists have seen her, this is a grey area, but they need to let her go.  If they think starvation is not humane, then let us have legislation that allows us to find a much quicker way to put them to death.  Once again, weneed to learn from this and have a will for our family members.  We all need to make sure that if we think starvation is not humane, then have the congress begin legislation for euthanasia.  Once again, the family needs to let her go, and let her die.  I would haunt my wife if she allowed me to stay comatose this long.

I am sure I will here from this one.  Danny for the record:  I think Bush (both of them) acted in good faith.  I just think that since they have only seen videos, that they are opening themselves up to scrutiny, and opening themselves up to the states rights issue.

Let me hear what you think...


The Post about Terri Schiavo March 24th

Moments ago, the Supreme Court refused to hear a last minute appeal to save the life of Terri Schiavo.

It surprises me how saddened I am that she is about to die .

I would not want to share Terri’s fate - I dread the possibility - but the way her life is about to end is wrong.

It’s not strictly an anger fueled by religion or personal belief, for while I’m pro-life, I’m also pragmatic.

Had she put a living will in place, had she clearly and openly discussed her opinion to loved ones, had she even jotted her thoughts down on a napkin at some long ago dinner, I would honor the decision to let her go.

But in the absence of a living will or concrete proof of her wishes, I believe we have the duty to error on the side of life.

The quality of that life may be debatable, but it’s also irrelevant.

If I had to choose, I would not select the life of Christopher Reeves, Larry Flynt, Stephen Hawking, or a thousand others who have persevered in the face of reduced capacity.

I doubt Terri would have wanted their lives anymore than I do.

And part of me feels that if Terri had a voice, she wouldn’t choose her current life either. It’s hard to see a twenty year old photo of a beautiful young woman and think this is what she wanted.

If she could wake up fully coherent for five minutes, maybe she’d tell her parents to let her go.

Or perhaps she would wake up and say that some part of her still resided in that body, that some unrecognized core of her existence still lived on in a hospital bed in Florida.

Perhaps she’d tell her husband to let her time on Earth run its course.

I don’t know, and more to the point neither does anyone else. No group has a stranglehold on what’s right and wrong in the Schiavo case.

For that reason, if nothing else, I think society should error on the side of caution.

The arguments to the contrary are loud and compelling. Her existence, by our measure, is pitiful. She is not some innocent victim of fate, having succumbed to her the effects of her own failings. Her spouse, by all measures of law and ethics, should trump the wishes of her parents. She is reliant on artificial means to live beyond a week.

It’s still wrong. It was a year ago, it is today, and no matter what society says in a hundred years, it will be wrong then too.

But there’s a purpose to everything, and if nothing else Terri has issued us all a clear warning to make our wishes known while we have the chance.

So, if I fail to fill out this form or that, or just never get around to it, pay attention:

If I’m in a similar situation, my wife - no one else - has the right to determine my care. Though she disagrees with me on this issue, as is often the case, she’ll do what’s right.

And to her I say:

When you reach the point where you think enough is enough, push forward a bit.

If I’m wrong and there is no God, I gain nothing by moving on. If there is a God - and there is - then I win no brownie points for cashing in my chips sooner than I need to.

In clear conscience move on with your life.

And then, when you know it’s time, let me go.

Excuses, Excuses

Yes, I know: I should have posted by now.

Not some measely pics or a glorified diary entry, but an honest-to-goodness 600 word "please someone, offer me even a low paying writing job" column.

But in fairness, not only has my work schedule changed for the first time in years (throwing my whole sense of time and place off) but two of my kids are very sick with the flu.

One went to the hospital for dehydration/vomiting Tuesday night, the other woke up imitating her sister just a few hours back.

Add a newborn to the mix and you could almost say it's not an excuse, it's a reason . .

I hope to get a proper post up today (Holy Thursday)



Bedroom Lights

Our bedroom features a leaded glass panel above one of the windows, which my wife chose to keep uncovered when we moved in.

In addition to making it impossible for a third shifter to sleep in total darkness, it casts wonderful rainbows and other assorted goodies on the wall throughout the day.

Here's a pic of the treats it creates in the evening:

and my girls' serving as Vanna White wannabees:

Saturday, March 19, 2005


Congrats to the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Panthers (my old school) on advancing to the Sweet Sixteen!

Next up, a wupping on Illinois!


Winter in Wisconsin

One of the great things about a digital camera is that I can now take pics like the one above without fretting about wasting film...this is a pic of a late winter storm that hit March 18th.

The Post about my 31st Birthday and The Done List March 19th

Today is my thirty-first birthday.

If you're expecting me to whine about the onset of old age, forgetaboutit.

Oh, I know my life story is nearing (or past) the midpoint of the tale, with nary a plot line to be seen. And sure, I haven't fulfilled my dreams of finding the Ark of the Covenant and defeating Belloq, or moving to the South Pacific and operating a sea-plane taxi, and yeah, I've yet to publish a book.

But let's look at the positives: I've sired three fine children, and . . .

Well, I've sired three children.

But never fear, I'm genetically immune to being depressed on my birthday.

My family is oddly enamored by them, insisting that each and every one be celebrated with cake, gifts, balloons, and irrational glee. My Mom still calls me promptly at midnight, both as the day begins and ends, to wish me a happy birthday.

Coming from a family where birthdays are subdued and well, normal, my wife can't understand this fascination.

She plays along (throwing me an opulent surprise party on my 30th, for example) but for the most part chalks it up to another one of those things she should have thought long and hard about before the wedding.

Let me tell you, that list is growing mighty long . . .

Anyway, in honor of my own Special Day, and at least in part to refute my own growing sense of loserdom, I'm going to rip off a concept I saw online, "The Done List".

[Sadly, as my Mother reads this I have to leave some good things off the list - wink wink nudge nudge - but even so, there's some stuff to make her blush. So Ma, close your eyes.]

In my thirty-one years I've:

    1. Flown in a helicopter
    2. Won a Super Bowl pool
    3. Saw Robin Yount collect his 3000th hit
    4. Met Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin
    5. Traveled to Arizona to watch a spring training game
    6. Graduated from college
    7. Rode a horse
    8. Attended a Presidential Inauguration
    9. Been a school boardmember
    10. Testified at a murder trial
    11. Flown cross-country just to attend a concert
    12. Cut the opening day ribbon for a fair (alongside a Congressman)
    13. Out-raced a hurricane in a Ford Aspire
    14. Attended a major-league baseball game in another state
    15. Been VP and treasurer of the staff Sunshine Social Club
    16. Been written up at the same job for having a surly attitude
    17. Milked a cow
    18. Slept overnight in bed with a corpse - not intentional
    19. Drove a member of the Black Crowes to the airport when his wife went into labor
    20. Drove from Wisconsin to Georgia stopping only for gas (twice)
    21. Been to the Country Music Hall of Fame
    22. Once arranged female 'companions' for a visiting rock band
    23. Wrote a book (unpublished)
    24. Caught a foul ball at a MLB baseball game
    25. Rode in a sailboat
    26. Attended a minor league baseball game
    27. Present at the births of all three of my children
    28. Been within 100 feet of a gunfight
    29. Been ticketed by the police for 'parking' with a girl in a public park
    30. Subsequently dumped by my girlfriend when she found out
    31. Broken a bone/had stitches
    32. Had the power go out during my tonsillectomy, in one of the biggest rainstorms in Milwaukee history
    33. Been accosted outside a porn shop by a man wearing rubber gloves - on Good Friday
    34. Marched in a parade
    35. Had to call 911 - conservatively - three dozen times
    36. Been mooned by an irate customer yelling "why don't you just F* me up the ass? It's what you're doing anyway!"
    37. Won second place in a spelling bee
    38. Broke a ceiling tile while playing football at work
    39. Had a 'friend' steal from me
    40. Took an IQ test while horribly intoxicated - and managed my best score ever
    41. Ate buffalo
    42. Went to Disney World
    43. Wrote a love poem to a TV star
    44. Been grand champion of two pinball games
    45. Been a best man twice and a godfather to two children
    46. Snuck into a concert rehearsal
    47. Had my ear pierced
    48. Shaved and/or Naired my back
    49. Had teeth pulled
    50. Got married

Not exactly Churchilian in scope, but it'll do for now.

By the way - Happy Birthday to me!

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Parker Update

As of yesterday the little guy clocks in at 8 pounds 2 ounces. Pretty impressive considering he weighed in at 7 pounds 4 oz when he left the hospital last Wednesday.


Ps. his umbilical cord finally! fell off yesterday

Thursday, March 17, 2005

To Those Who Update via Email

The last few posts have multiple pics attached, and within a week I hope to be adding pictures to the posts about DC and other golden oldies.

As always, if you can't comment on the site, feel free to email me and I'll post your relevant - and flattering - email here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Post about the Nursery March 16th

Ever notice home redecorating shows work on rooms bigger than most houses?

What’s so hard about that? Give me a thousand square feet for a bedroom and it’d look pretty spiffy whether I had a professional do the job or handed it off to a vagrant with a paintbrush.

Let’s see those shows tackle an 8x8 room and see how it turns out.

That’s all we had to work with once the girls abandoned their room for their soon-to-be arriving brother.

Three weeks before the birth, my firstborns son’s room was decorated in a spiffy lavender and pink scheme. In our quest to make our summer move easier on the girls, their old room had been recreated - in miniature - right down to the technique used to apply the paint.

That was a whole lot of effort for naught - not only did we have to paint over it a year later, the girls showed as much interest in it as they do the Nasdaq composite.

Financially ignorant little buggers.

As for the new room: I wanted a New York Yankees nursery, complete with a huge ‘top hat’ logo on the wall.

Strangely, my wife didn’t volunteer to paint it, and I let the concept fall to the wayside.

Sort of.

My wife came up with a plan to paint red, white, and blue stripes on the wall. This made for more of an Americana theme, but as she was quick to point out, it could easily be accented with Yankees memorabilia.

After all, there is nothing so American as the New York Yankees.

(Refresher: I stand for America, the Catholic Church, the New York Yankees, the GOP, and US Steel. Staying true to this theme, I am also the only Caucasian male to root for Apollo Creed - both times)

The horizontal stripes made the room look wider, but I can think of more pleasant ways to paint a room.

To start with, the ‘one coat’ white paint was anything but, and when I returned to the store for more I was told they were out of white paint. They would however, gladly mix some for me.


We used a laser level to tape off the different stripes, but found the ‘professional grade’ tape bled through.

Bit of a problem with label accuracy on this project.

Thinking on her feet, my wife left it largely as is, referencing some obscure rustic Americana painter.

In other words, we were sick of it and not about to start over. Still, the end result was striking, even when we added some wallpaper baseballs to a stripe.

To quote my father “I feel like I should salute when I walk in”.

We kept the girls antique dresser in the room and put my oldest’s crib back together (the middle child had used hers as a $500 teether, reducing parts to firewood).

My mother-in-law stepped in to create a wonderful, Yankees themed crib bumper. From the leftover fabric she graced us with a dresser scarf  and a throw pillow, while my Mom presented Parker with a Yankees blanket and receiving blanket.

Above the crib we spelled out Parker’s name, and on a side wall hung a picture that had been mine as a small boy.

On the wall opposite the crib, the Wall of Heroes - three framed 11x14 sepia pictures of Babe Ruth - and a bookcase snatched from oblivion that currently holds knick-knacks, among them another childhood picture and a NASCAR racer Grace made for Parker at Home Depot.


Will he appreciate the room? Probably not until he sees pictures years down the road. But it’s not about winning my son’s approval.

It’s about me having a Yankees room in my house.

Thanks to the Mrs for her planning and execution of the room, Jeanne Scorsone for some stellar sewing creations, Kathy Slapczynksi for her rpresents, and Tre Wagner for the use of his  laser level.