Thursday, July 31, 2008

Knife Wielding Maniac on Canadian Bus

I saw this article on earlier today. I think it's better left in cold black and white print. Remind me to take my own car if I ever travel across Canada, ok?


A passenger traveling on a bus across Canada's vast Western plains stabbed, gutted and decapitated a man seated next to him in an unexplained attack, a witness told media Thursday.

The victim had been sleeping before he was repeatedly stabbed in the chest by a man with a large knife, witness Garnet Caton told public broadcaster CBC.

The other 35 passengers and driver were jolted by "blood-curdling screams" and fled. "He must have stabbed him 50 times or 60 times," said Caton.

When Caton and two others returned to check on the victim, he said they saw the attacker "cutting the guy's head off and gutting him."

"While we were watching ... he calmly walked up to the front (of the bus) with the head in his hand and the knife and just calmly stared at us and dropped the head right in front of us."

Police then surrounded the bus and arrested the man, he said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they were investigating a "major incident" that occurred at 9 pm Wednesday (0200 GMT Thursday) on a Greyhound bus traveling eastbound from Edmonton to Winnipeg, but offered no details.


The MLB Trading Deadline

Dear God what an awful series. I cannot put into words my distaste for the four game sweep the Brewers just suffered at the hands at the Cubs. Five games back now. Ugh.

But these are the Cubs. It's never to late to re-enact 1969, right? ;)

Anyhow, check out this (somewhat) tongue-in-cheek comment I left on Bucko's site:

If God himself granted me the ability to give birth, and then gave me a 12 pound baby, I would rather have Tom Cruise in sole charge of my natural childbirth than have the &*$@ Cubs come within a whiff of the Series.

I'm just sayin'.

* * * *
The MLB trading deadline passed at 4 p.m Eastern time today and some big names changed hands.
Ivan Rodriguez joined the Yankees after Detroit traded him for a relief pitcher no one in NY wanted  (Kyle Farnsworth). I-Rod is past his peak but still shores up the Yankee lineup in the absence of Posada, who recently underwent season-ending surgery. Molina was doing fine behind the plate but playing above his ability and was due to come crashing down to earth. IRod beefs up their catcher's spot.
As for Detroit, their staff gave up 12 runs yesterday in an excruciatingly long game I watched. I wonder how much of that was due to having to adjust to a new face behind the plate.
Then Ken Griffey Jr. left the Reds for the Chicago White Sox. I love Griff, even if he is past his sell-by date and playing like a Brewers era Hank Aaron, and I have a soft spot for the White Sox so I'm pleased with the trade. (what? he likes a Chicago team? Sure - they ain't the Cubs.) I can't imagine how it's a valuable trade to Chicago, but okeedookee.
Lastly Manny Ramirez left Fenway for the Dodgers in a three way trade with Pittsburgh that scratched many rumored deals with Tampa, the Marlins, and Philly. The Dodgers now have the horses to take the NL West (they are only 1 game back of AZ). For the life of me I can't see the (current) upside for Boston, despite the acquisition of Jason Bay.
His locker room antics aside it's a tough job to replace Manny's production, especially when battling for the East.
Not that I'm worried. If it hurts the Red Sox, goody - they are my (second) least-favorite team in all of baseball.
* * * *

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Smiley, Horseflies, the Cubs, and Christmas shopping

I suppose I should comment on tonight's second loss in a row to the Cubs or risk looking like a sulking loser, but in truth I didn't see/hear the game and only caught the final score on the web. It's lousy but there's a long way to go in the season and I'm gonna O'Hara this one and say tomorrow's another day.

The Cubs still suck, btw. Just in case anyone forgot ;)

* * * *

I spent most of the afternoon at a pair of doctor's offices with Smiley. We're aggressively trying to determine a cause for his lack of speech, and more importantly find a solution. Disgustingly nothing much happened today. One doc officially noted a speech development problem and referred us to someone else. We traipsed over to Doc #2 and were referred again to a different set of doctors, etc. So on Thursday Lisa will take Smiley to Children's Hospital for testing I'd hoped to have completed today.

Meanwhile we're trying to teach him sign language, with mixed results. 'Please' and 'help' seem to have caught on but to cope with years of his speech problems he's mixed in a bunch of signs he created himself. It's all kind of a jumble right now.

But no boo-hoo and no pity fest. The kid's happy and handsome and healthy. One of the doctor's today asked if I had any concerns about him beyond his speech. I dismissed the question immediately. "He's as healthy as a horse. Look at him, the kid's built like a brickhouse."

(for the record, he's 39# as of today)

Knock on wood about the health.

* * *

You know, there's a disturbing amount of flies buzzing around inside my house tonight. I killed three in the bathroom alone. As a matter of fact a big horsefly just buzzed by my head. How big? If this was WWII I'd have mistaken him for a Messerschmidt.

That's truly a scary big bugger.

I guess I'll have to redo the insulation around the window air conditioner.

* * * *

I had a great comedic line in that fly section that I edited out to avoid the slight chance of a misconception that would hurt someone's feelings, someone who to my knowledge has never read this blog and doesn't know it even exists. Better safe than sorry.

Still, sometimes the self-censorship that makes this site work makes me gag. One of these days I'm going to have an epiphany ala George Carlin (he of the once clean routines) and just go ga-ga.

* * * *

We got the majority of our Christmas shopping done last week as we hit the pre-season clearance sales, and wrapped up all the back to school shopping today.

Yea us!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Brewers-Cubs pt. 1


One of the most annoying parts of my job (in the summertime) is that I have to deal with a massive influx of Cubs fans whenever Chicago plays in Milwaukee. By and large they're courteous, and I certainly welcome the flow of cash into our economy. There are exceptions to the 'courteous' rule of course, and naturally I ran into quite a few of those today.

Tommorow I'll have to hear more smack  from the group, assuming they sober up in time, as the Brewers dropped the opening game of the series at Miller Park.

Online there's quite a brew (no pun intended) ha-ha over the loss, with recriminations and accusations flying this way and that. Blah. It's one game, and with 56 games to go we're two games back of first place. By Thursday we could be one game up on the Cubs. Now is not the time for useless finger pointing.

[Although I will say that to me Rickie Weeks, aka Hole in the Glove,  is a waste of a #2 overall pick. Sure he's no Matt Bush, but by now he should have given us a taste of something stronger than potential. When you couple horrible defense with a pathetic average and on base percentage . . .well, I just don't see the attraction.]

If you really want something to worry about, mull over the Suppan disaster on Sunday. The man gave up seven runs - SEVEN - in an inning and not only was kept on the mound but allowed to return the next inning. [Manager] Ned Yost's reasoning: "He was one pitch away [from getting out of the jam]".

Two points here. One I disagreed from the start with the decision to overspend for Jeff Suppan last year, and I hope I jotted it down on Slapinions somewhere at the time. Everyone needs to look smart once in awhile.

Second, I am an unrepentant Yost backer, having noted and dismissed the rabid criticisms thrown at him by fans. There's no excuse however, for the miserable handling of Suppan on Sunday. It was just plain awful, deer-in-the-headlights managing if  I've ever seen it.

If we miss the playoffs  by one game at the end of the season  then Sunday may very well causethe blame to squarely fall on Yost's shoulders.

Frankly, I'm sure I'll be pointing fingers at him too, just as he packs his bags and heads out of town.

Enough of this buzzkill. On with the games - and three consecuitive Brewer wins.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Brewers tie for the Division Lead!

Man, what a week for baseball in Milwaukee!

The Brewers swept a tough four game set down in St. Louis to finish off an eight game win streak that included seven wins on the road. The games themselves were nail biters with three of the wins coming in the last at-bats for the good guys. First there was a Bill Hall homer in the 10th inning, then another last second blast from him the next day, and to cap the series off a cocky dinger off the bat of Ryan Braun. I was privileged to watch all three games and I couldn't have been happier.

After a loss yesterday they came from behind again to win today at home. Once again Ryan Braun and Bill Hall combined to do the job, with Braun homering to tie and Hall singling home the eventual winning run.

Ryan Braun is hitting like a beast.

Tonight's win puts the Brewers in a tie with Chicago for the Central Division lead with 58 games left to play and a pivotal three game set between the clubs coming up next week.

Last year the Brewers started hot, the Cubs cold, and 'round about this time the lead switched hands and flip-flopped the rest of the year until the Cubs iced it. Role reversal in '08???

Oh, and CC Sabathia? Lights out. 4-0 since coming over including *three* complete games. Knock of wood that guy is a workhorse, the kind of pitcher you drool over in a fantasy draft.

No matter how you look at it, this year's race is shaping up to be a doozie.

* ** *

Meanwhile the A.L. East, home of my beloved Yanks, has heated up. As Tampa flouders Boston has discovered its middle relief is no relief at all, and the Yankees have learned how to win on the back of a disturbingly effective pitching staff. As a consequence New York has now taken the first two games of their current series with the Red Sox.

Yesterday Joba Chamberlain buzzed Boston's Kevin Youkilis high and inside, and today payback came with a 98 mph fastball that struck A-Rod on the elbow.

Youkilis is a putz and from what I hear disliked even on his own team, but I doubt there was any intention to actually strike the guy. Intimidation has always been a part of the game and its made all the more important by how much these teams despise one another. For what it's worth  Joba is now crawling around in Youkillis' head getting him flustered, and that alone might have made it worth the retaliatory hit on A-Rod (provided there is no damage to #13).

* * * *

For Christmas: I want some commemorative item from Yankee Stadium. I've seen $100+ items, but it can be as simple as the $25 coin I saw that includes certified infield dirt.

Yes, I'm serious.

* * * *

Memo to the Arizona announcers, our old alum Darren Sutton and the never-gonna-be-Hall Mark Grace: you suck. Quit yakking about nonsense and call the game, and for the love of all that is  right in the world stop encouraging people to bring signs to the game. They are for the sole benefit of the cameras. They are obnoxious. They appeal to the crass insticts of the pack. They are unwanted, unneeded, and unholy.

 Just stop.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Our Annual Visit to Eeyore's House in Downer Woods

First off I'd like to say 'thank you' to Rose for featuring me as one of this weeks AOL Guest Editor's Picks. I'm flattered. :)

* * *

This week, as has become a tradition in our house, we packed the kids off to the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee for the summer College for Kids program. Unlike prior years LuLu was now old enough to go and attended with her sister.

The program was started 20 plus years ago as a way of providing fun and educational summer classes for kids in Milwaukee. I attended one of those early classes and loved it.

And despite the rather hefty cost ($~150-300 per child per class - scholarships and discounts available) I do think it helps a child transition to college down the road. Not by increasing test scores or anything like that, but just by making them more comfortable and at ease in the college enviornment. Between all the times my Dad took me to campus when he was a student and my own experience at College for Kids, I was right at home when I began school there in '92.

Heck, YaYa already knows the campus layout better than some of the incoming freshman, I kid you not.

Anywho, they're taking a cooking class, a reading class, and an acting workshop. Of the three I think the reading class was a mistake. We booked it long ago when we thought YaYa might need extra help with the subject, but as it turns out she needs about as much help with reading as I need lessons in how to eat cookies. Still, it's her favorite of the three and Lu is still learning, so all is well.

On Monday we continued another tradition. In Downer Woods, a nature preserve on the north end of campus, there exists a pile of branches and twigs that mimics to a 'T' the pictures of Eeyore's house from Winnie the Pooh.

Each year we hike into the woods and visit with Eeoyore.

So after we picked up the girls on that first day

we all headed over to that part of campus and make the trek.

It's always a pain to get a stroller through the back to back 90 degree turns of the entrance.

but it's worth it.

Unfortunately when we got to the 'house' it was in shambles, a victim of the fierce June storms we had. I cannot express how truly depressing the sight was - the 'slam da book' end of our novel tradition.

There were no crying jags or things of that sort, just a overall sense of sadness. Lu took it hardest as she genuinely believed it was his home, worriedlymentioning to me several times that he would need to rebuild it or find another place to sleep. Sometimes it hits you like that; they seem experienced and worldly and with one sentence you remember they're just your little one.

On the way out the kids started to collect bugs (moths mostly) and we convinced them otherwise by telling them to 'take only pictures, leave only footprints'.

I guess the kids were a little tired after the day's events

But we followed this up by stopping at my Mom's house to celebrate my nephew's birthday.

Stand by for more pictures of College for Kids next week as the girls have parts in the class play!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Definitely, Maybe


Definitely, Maybe is a standard issue but very enjoyable warm  romantic comedy set in (gasp! Could it be?) New York City.

Ryan Reynolds is a separated thirty-something dad whose daughter, played by Abagail Breslin, wants to hear the story of how her parents got together. Reynolds obliges her, but not before changing the names of the women involved and daring her to guess which one is her mother.

What follows is a charming and romantic story that involves you to the point that you'll start rooting for the woman of your choice.

Now there are two flaws in the logic of the film, one of them alarming, but to give credit where it is due they didn't occur to me until well after the film ended.

First, of the three women one is a professional writer, and one is a transplanted Wisconsinite. These and other details should be enough to identify her mother right off the bat, given that she seems quite close to both her parents. But, maybe the kid isn't half as nosy as my own and she never asked. Eh, could be.

Second and more importantly, depending on who the mother turns out to be the daughter now knows that her Mom was unfaithful, bi-sexual, promiscuous, a Democrat and/or all of the above. I realize what we see may not represent the (hopefully) edited version he tells his daughter, but yikes. For what seems like a good father in the midst of an amicable divorce, that's a heck of an impression to leave on a kid.

But again, during the movie itself  Suspension of Disbelief takes over and all is well.

So which one was the Mom? Watch and find out if it was your favorite. I think you'll be surprised.

3.25 out of 4, 80 out of 100

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Smiley, Spaghetti, # 2 and the Lu (that's a pun - you'll see)

It happens to everyone, and I'm sure I'm treading no new ground by rehashing how I spent my day on Sunday. Still . .

Sometime near midnight I noticed the toilet was clogged. I had contributed to our city's grand fertilizer stock moments before but, judging soley by size and shape, didn't view it as a threat to our plumbing.

Plunging didn't solve the problem. Although the water went down it still flushed weakly and oh so slowly.

So I went online, read up on a few tricks, and tried 'em. Nuttin'. I finally gave up and went to bed, making sure to tell my wife that the commode was out of order. (we have an extra bathroom in the basement)

The next day, after work, my Dad came over with his toilet auger. It was an inopportune time as I was watching all four kids,YaYa had the neighbor's daughter over and I had just served them all spaghetti,  but what can you do?

We stick the auger in. We go through the motions. We hit paydirt. And we begin withdrawing said auger.

I saw air bubbles coming up and a brown cloud forming and thought 'oh God, this is going to be bad', but my Dad, being more in tune with man's natural processes, kept right on going until a fine mist of brown sludge burst from the bowl and the auger was out.

Attached to the end, pierced by the end actually, was an empty bottle of the kid's bubbles.

'Smiley!' I roared. He trotted in before backing up from the odor. "Did you do this?!"

He shook his head no but gave me a Danny look: a quick hunch of the shoulders, eyes a-shimmering, a sneaky grin and a quick but but silent 'hee-hee'.

[two years ago he flushed a triangle from his shape sorter at our rental, causing our landlord to have to replace the entire toilet. A week ago he flushed a toilet paper roll at my Mom's house backing up their bathroom. Maker of Trouble and Mayhem indeed.]

Now the problem was getting the bottle off, because as I said the auger had pierced the thing. I tried, oh how I tried to get it off daintily, with plastic bags between me and the thick brown sludge in and around the bottle, but it could not be done.

And so I grabbed it bare-handed and began to slowly unscrew it down the line.

Meanwhile I hear plates being overturned, slaps and crying from the living room, and cries of blame echoing from more than one child's mouth.

I couldn't get the bottle off that last bit of the auger.

"Cut it," my Dad said. "It's the only way."

And so I took a kitchen knife and in its last moments of its useful life began cutting the bottle off, choking down my dinner.

At this point LuLu comes into view, apparently oblivious to the wretched smell.. "Daddy, I want to go swimming with Stacey," she said.

"No," I said.

"Daddy, yes! I want to go swimming!"

"Damnit Lu, get out of here!"

"No!," she said, stomping her feet. "I want to go swimming now!"

"Lu," I said, still working on the bottle, sludge now all over my arms. "If you haven't noticed I'm elbow deep in poop right now - "

At which point I vomited spaghetti all over the floor. Lu didn't even pause.

"I don't care. I want to go swimming, and I'm going."

"Leave her be," my Dad said, looking at my vomit with scorn. "Give me the knife."

I handed it over and he did the deed. Once I cleaned it all up, dry heaved once or twice, and carried the garbage out,  it was done.

While I was occupied the kids had flat-out destroyed the house and waged war upon one another. All in full view of of YaYa's friend.

Did I mention the house smelled like a waste treatment plant?

&**$#$ Smiley.

A Fly Went By


I thought it might be interesting to occasionally revisit some of the books I loved as a boy.

'A Fly Went By' is a great rhyming book by Mike McClintock, who's real claim to fame lies in introducing his friend Dr. Suess to the world while McClintock worked as an editor.

The book tells the story of a series of panicked animals that run by a boy, each afraid of the animal behind them and each in turn misinterpreting the fears of their 'pursuer' as a threat to themselves.

                       The fly ran away
In fear of the frog,
Who ran from the cat,
Who ran from the dog.
The dog ran away
In fear of the pig,
Who ran from the cow.
She was so big!
The cow ran away
From the fox, who ran
As fast as he could
In fear of the man.
That man heard a thump,
And away he ran!"

A good way to ruin any book is to jump on Amazon and read the amateur psychology offered in the customer reviews. The book, written decades ago, has reviews that actually 'warns' parents that the text includes the word 'kill' and that man in the poem is a hunter with a rifle. Oh, the scarring this will cause a child!

[Aside #1:nevermind that I have no memory of the gun in the text and have never, as I've mentioned before, fired one in my life.]

[Aside #2: I'm afraid America has become a nation of mollycoddlin' parents nowadays. Prosperity certainly has its downside. It's a damn wonder we haven't been conquered by some country that doesn't demand bike helmets, doesn't forbid swing sets as our school's insurance does, can handle a reference to killing in nature and doesn't object to kids being kids.]

[Aside #3: BTW - I saw two kids wearing bike helmets yesterday  . . . while they rode their big wheels. C'mon!]

I'm sorry. Back to the book.

I don't think it takes a degree to see that the Cold War era book tries to highlight the idea that miscommunication is at the center of most disagreements. Beneath that I think it also teaches a simpler ideal. Namely that anxiety and fear are often exaggerated in your own mind, and that most of the time Everything's Gonna Be All Right.  I like that bit.

A very fun and sweet book, and still in print. Pick it up for the kids in your life.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show


Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show is a documentary of a '30 towns-in-30 nights' tour Vaughn organized around four relatively unknown young comedians. Vaughn says the purpose of the 2005 tour was to give people in the heartland and small town America a glimpse of a premier comedy show that they ordinarily wouldn't get a chance to see.

[I fail to see how X # of stops in California and Vegas achieve that goal, but allrighty.]

Notice that I said it's a documentary, not a concert film. This is more like the 'making of' portion of the tour, with snippets of monologues tossed in left and right but no complete set, nor even half of one.

Vince Vaughn comes off as surprisingly articulate and intelligent and I get the impression many of his 'characters' are no more than variants of the man himself. Vaughn is interesting when he's on the screen, and some of the comedy clips are great.

And for some . . well, maybe you had to be there.

At a few points the crew pushes the self-indulgent idea  that stand up comedy is an art form that expresses, analyzes, and aids the inner turmoil that is the 'artist' . Eh, it probably does, but even so it ain't Beethoven man. It's jokes about roller skating and BJ's. Keep it in perspective buddy.

However, I did think there was one big problem with the film.

Namely, the comics were not that funny.

Ahmed Ahmed was a bore. While I applaud him for turning the post-9/11 backlash against Muslims (including one apparently bogus arrest in an airport) into a career, I imagine it would kill me if, as an artist, I was confined to one narrow subject matter ad nauseam. How exhausting.

Bret Ernst was hit or miss but batted a thousand past the midpoint of the film. Sebastian Maniscalco was still employed as a waiter when picked for the tour, and I can see why he needed a day job.

However, John Caparulo rocked and was funny as hell. I was suitably impressed when he cleaned up his potty mouth act for the all ages show after Hurricane Katrina - a mark of a true professional.

Overall a topsy-turvy, uneven film that could've used a few minutes less runtime.

2.5 out of 4, 60 out of 100.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Jonah!

Before the day ends let me send a Happy 14th Birthday to my nephew/Godson Jonah, featured here on his graduation earlier this summer.

Lump's 1st birthday is right around the corner, and so I am reminded that I am often embarrassed when I see video of Jonah's 1st. birthday party. I was quite enamored by the boy and addressed him in a constant, distrubingly high baby-voice, often referring to him by a series of goofy nicknames.

 In hindsight, given that (in theory) his great-grandchildren will see it someday, it's not the ideal way to be recorded for posterity.

But one good thing (among dozens) about having a baby around back then: it was good schoolin' for having one of my own. Oh, don't get me wrong. Being a Dad is much more hellish than being an Uncle ever was, even when I lived with the lad. But it was a nice appetizer to the meal, and a good way to practice.

And it did pay dividends. A couple of years later I headed up north with Lisa to visit some of her relatives prior to our wedding. I wound up holding a nine or ten month old boy, and to the amazement of the crowded room I easily navigated a coat on and off the kid. I mean that in the true, unadulterated sense of the word 'amazement'. You'd have thought I negotiated peace in Dafur or cleaned up Jesse Jackson's mouth.

Major props for me for with their family, so kudos to Jonah for that.

Anyhow, I'm rambling. Happy Birthday and many many more.


A warning, courtesy of Alphawoman

I read a post on Alphawoman's Blog this morning that got me worried. I'd noticed in recent days that the 'sitemeter' graphic was no longer displaying on my sidebar, but I wrote it off to a typical glitch. Not so.

According to her post AOL has removed this great site - provider of DEPENDABLE, free stat counters for journals - from its list of 'acceptable' sites.

You can check out her write-up here and she posted additional info in the comments on my last post.

The issue here is the ol' slippery slope. If Sitemeter is disallowed today, maybe Photobucket (and all the pictures I've posted here via the site) will be gone tomorrow.

Two other complaints I have about AOL Journals:

1. Magic Smoke lists a handful of journals in its 'other journals' sidebar. This isn't about them (they are fine sites and worth visiting) but what is the rationale to single those out above all others?

2. Still waiting for the print/save option after most of a year.

LOL. Man,  AOL is great at ticking off their clientele, eh?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Night Parking in Milwaukee

In this great city of mine you have to pay for the privilege of parking on the street in front of your own house, high property taxes be damned. I'm sure it's worse elsewhere - most things seem to be - but I think it's a crock.

Anyway, neither here nor there.

Since we picked up the Freestar our old van has been parked in one of the two spots behind my house, waiting for a friend of ours to get off her behind and get together the money to buy it from us (no pressure, no pressure). This leaves us with the task of temporarily rotating one of our two working vehicles to the street each night.

I have so far refused, on philisophical grounds, to reward the city's policy by spending $12 for a permit. In return the city has slapped me with a single parking ticket for $15. Eh, close enough to count as a draw.

But I didn't feel like another ticket last night so I went online to apply for night parking permission . I entered the address where it was parked and the plate number and was rewarded with a message that said (closely paraphrased)

Night parking permission refused. Permission is restricted to three (3) nights in a thirty day period.

If you have reached the three night limit but still require night parking permission, please call  555-5555 for assistance.

Fair enough. I called the number and gave the same information I'd typed in online.

"Oh, I'm sorry sir. You've reached the three night maximum."

"Yes, I know. That's why I called."

"I see. Well, there's nothing I can do for you."

"Excuse me?"

"You've reached the limit. I can't do anything for you."

"Then why bother with this number?"

"You've received permission three times in thirty days sir. That is the limit."

"Yeah, but I know I haven't called in for permission in July. At worst I'm a few days away from the 30 day mark."

"26 days actually. It's been 26 days since you last received permission."

What a p**k.

"Ok, so I'm four days away. Can you please waive the limit tonight?"

"Hmm. Yeah, no sir. The rules are firm."

I was nearly laughing. "Why have your website direct people to call you at all if you there's no chance of getting permission? Is it just for giggles? I mean I don't care, it's not going to break my wallet, but doesn't that strike you as a little bit strange?"

"The law is the law sir."

I felt like yelling "My taxes pay your salary!", but then again his taxes pay his salary too (which is kind of lousy, no?), so f* it.

I doubt I'll continue my one man stand much longer. The last time I did that, by refusing to pay a ticket issued at the airport (for parking in an employee lot while I was an employee with the proper ID in the window) my $20 ticket went up to triple digits and my plates were suspended. If nothing else my wife will demand I get the permit.

But I'm hoping our friend will take the van off our hands and solve the problem before it comes to that.

Lightning Bug Lane

Sure, everyone's concerned about a new name for Lump. But in the meantime we've come up with a new title to refer to our street: Lightning Bug Lane.

I have never seen so many fireflies in such a small area. If you go out at twilight you'd swear a small patch of the night sky has fallen to the earth. There's soft twinkling lights everywhere you look.

This past week I took the kids out - one kid at a time, one kid a day - to capture some fireflies. First up was YaYa, intrepid bug hunter and collector for years now. She and I caught perhaps a dozen and a half without even trying, and one of our neighbors even joined in, proclaiming with delight that it was the first time in her 50-odd years she'd ever captured one!

Next up was Lu, accompanied by her cousin. Not quite as experienced or aggressive a bug gal, Lu still caputred a good dozen or so for herself.

On the third day came Smiley, who joined the hunt after a day of fun with Grandma.

Smiley has a well known aversion to insects, stemming from the time a colony of ants swarmed him at a picnic a year or two ago (it's mentioned here on the site somewhere). Therefore I wasn't expecting a very long hunt, but boy was I mistaken! He seemed to have discovered his calling and caught them with an ease that was remarkable.

(his hunt was earlier in the evening then the girls and so the pictures turned out better)

That's a lighting bug clenched between his fingers in both (above and below) shots.

Unlike the girls, who were fond of releasing the bugs, Smiley fought it tooth and nail. But in the end he gave in and they were set free.

A very fun way to spend a few minutes each night, and it was great that each kid got their alone time with me.

In closing, here's a shot of my niece wearing the 'suit of armor' I bought Smiley.

and one of our now empty bird's nest in the shed. I guess/hope the birds grew up and flew off on their own.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Scam at Home Depot??

Sweet niblets could my computer get any slower tonight? While waiting for this page to load I read Bradbury's Night Call, Collect (from his story collection I Sing the Body Electric) start to finish. Dangnabbit.

And for what? A lousy email joke. Still, here it is, with thanks to acompany employee.

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Be Careful - A 'heads up' for those men who
may be regular Home Depot customers.

Over the last month I became a victim of a clever scam
while out shopping.
Simply going out to get supplies has turned out to be
quite traumatic.

Don't be naove enough to think it couldn't happen to
you or your f! riends. Here's how the scam works:

Two very hot 20-21 year-old girls come over to your
car as you are packing your stuff into the trunk. They
both start wiping your windshield with a rag and
Windex, with their breasts almost falling out of their
skimpy T-shirts. It is impossible not to look. When
you thank them and offer them a tip, they say 'No' and
instead they ask you for a ride to Lowes. You agree
and they get in the backseat. On the way, they start
undressing. Then one of them climbs over into the
front seat and starts crawling all over you, while
the other one steals your wallet.

I had my wallet stolen March 4th, 9th, 10th, twice on
the 15th, 17th, 20th, 24th & 29th. Also April 1st,
4th, twice on the 8th, 16th, 23rd, 26th, 30th,
three times last Saturday and very likely again this
upcoming weekend.

So tell your friends to be careful.

P.S. Walmart has wallets on sale, $2.99 each.