28 June 2005

Oh Ricky, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, hey Ricky...

Rick Santorum either has a really wide mouth, or an extra set of feet.  He just keeps shoving them in there.

Bishop, um, I mean Senator Santorum's (R-but then you knew that, didn't you? Pennsylvania) latest podiatry oratorical moment comes courtesy of this article from Catholic Online (I make no point to ridicule the web site itself as I'm sure it serves a purpose to many clear thinking people).  Santorum has written a piece entitled "Fishers of Men."  It addresses how the Church continues to work towards eliminating the scandals of abusive priests. 

Santorum keeps the tone hopeful for a bit, but eventually turns to pass sentence on who is to blame for all this: liberals, of course.  He says "the most obvious change must occur within American seminaries, many of which demonstrate the same brand of cultural liberalism plaguing our secular universities."  He cites no examples of just how liberal seminaries have become.

Then Ricky really levels the blame:

"It is startling that those in the media and academia appear most disturbed by this aberrant behavior, since they have zealously promoted moral relativism by sanctioning "private" moral matters such as alternative lifestyles. Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm."

Do you hear that, Boston?  You may still be hung over from the Red Sox winning the World Series and the Patriots dynasty, but Saint Rick believes you are to blame for the fact that some priests like boys.  Because you, Boston, are liberal.  You with your Freedom Trail and USS Constitution and all, it's a wonder there are any safe kids there.  I saw "Mystic River", Boston.  I know what goes on there. 

I thought one of the basis of faith was that it helped you make right decisions.  I never knew that it was so much more difficult to be a priest in Boston, because we all know that no one has been abused in places like Omaha, Boise, or in Pennsylvania, the state the elected Monsignor Santorum to the Senate.

I find it interesting that a man of Santorum's stature finds it so easy to demonize half of the nation's population (as you might recall that in the 2004 election, the nation was just about split in half).  Yesterday I felt Karl Rove labeled me as a sympathizer to terrorists because I am a liberal.  Today Santorum is labeling me as partially responsible for pedophilia, because I am liberal.

Hmm, I HAVE been to Boston a time or two.


But this does make me happy, because I want people like Santorum to continue to do this, to continue to make statements that are so judgmental, so condescending, and so outrageous that with each passing day, more and more people will see how extreme this country has become.  They are well on their way to making it easy for us to advocate some serious change, and I do not mean just to the left.  Lord knows there as people on the edges of both sides that need to be escorted out of the public realm.

I focus more on statements like Santorum's because the average person does not hear about this on the evening news, which is too busy playing sound bites of screams and other assorted name calling.

Please, keep it up.  I am more than happy to ensure the spotlight remains upon you, all the way to the ballot box.

27 June 2005

"Say Anything"

There's been quite a plethora of examples of over anxious politicos inserting their feet into their mouths lately.  I've grown convinced that politicians must have the largest egos in the world because they seem to believe that the general public hangs on every word they speak.

Yeah, I know, I'm labeling again.  Not everybody does it.  But enough do, and it seems to make the news all of the time now.  I wrote about the trinity of Durbin, Jeb Bush and Santorum last week.

Alas, I should have saved my words for the ultimate in porcine bloviating.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Karl Rove.

Late last week, Rove gave a speech to a conservative group in New York City, not far from Ground Zero.  Don't know about you, but I am shocked, absolutely shocked, that anyone, especially a conservative gas bag, would appear to use the location of the worst slaughter of innocent people in American history as a political crutch.  Anywho, Rove spent most of his speech in "us vs. them" mode, preaching to the lemmings why conservatives rule, and liberals suck.

You can read the full speech here if you choose.  It's not all that long.  And though it is posted on a liberal blog, the fact is I couldn't find it anywhere else.  Apparently no news services felt it important enough of a story.

Here are some of Rove's greatest hits, along with some points to ponder:

"He's (Bush) the first President since 1988 to win a majority of the popular vote."

That's correct.  Of course, had their been a viable third party candidate in this election like there was in 1992 and 1996, Bush would not have won the popular vote.  And let's not forget 2000, when W lost the election, well, the election where the people of this nation voted, not the one held in the Supreme Court...

"We are the party of ideas — and as Richard Weaver wrote, "ideas have consequences." 

Good point.  Let's play this little game:

Idea: Let's pin 9/11 on Iraq so we can invade that country and avenge an attempt on Daddy Bush's life.

Consequence: 1700 American soldier deaths, acountry FUBAR'd beyond belief, with no real end in sight. 

"We believe in curbing the size of government; they (liberals) believe in expanding the size of government."

What planet is he speaking from?  Has he paid attention to government spending reports at all since 2000?  Can Karl Rove spell "deficit"?

And here's Kolonel Karl's money shot:

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban; in the wake of 9/11, liberals believed it was time to submit a petition. I am not joking. Submitting a petition is precisely what Moveon.org did. It was a petition imploring the powers that be" to "use moderation and restraint in responding to the terrorist attacks against the United States."

I consider myself to be a fairly well read and informed person, and like much of the nation I was glued to the news reports both on television and in the papers in the days and weeks after 9/11.  Never once did I hear anybody say anything about "understanding" the people who attacked the nation.  Never once did I hear anyone say anything about offering them "therapy" or "understanding."  In my entire life, I have never  seen a time where this society was united in understanding like it was after 9/11 where everyone knew that the US had to go after the Taliban.  It had to be destroyed.  And after it was, I never heard anyone offer an opinion different from one that can be summed up in a single word:  "Good."

I never realized that in the time frame I was listening to and reading the opinions of only conservatives.

The Democrats are mad at Rove and want him to apologize.  I say, why?  Instead of outrage, they should gather as a group, point their fingers at him, and laugh.  He has made an ass of himself, of his party, and of his president.  It is even better that the powers that be that control communications from the White House have congratulated Rove on his eloquence.

Does Rove assume that every soldier currently in Iraq, Afghanistan or in a grave because they were killed in action since the fall of 2001 is/was a Republican?  He must, otherwise instead of ammunition some soldiers would be carrying chocolates and flowers.  Worse, he assumes that everyone who died on 9/11 was also a Republican, as were their families.

Rove also assumes that one cannot be a liberal without pledging allegiance (but not under God, mind you, remember, all liberals think christianity sucks) to MoveOn.org; never mind what the petition he speaks of referred to, it asked that the United States not use 9/11 as an excuse to go after other nations it deemed despicable.

You know, like Iraq.

I'm glad Karl Rove said this, because I know he believes it.  And because he believes it, and because he will stop at nothing to make sure that conservatives win elections, he will continue to say things like these.  He will continue to address groups who think that George W. Bush was placed in the White House by God.  He and the rest of the GOP who believe in saying anything that smears liberals, whether true or not, are reaching a point where they will do more damage to themselves than good. 

They are out there.  People like Karl Rove.  Rush Limbaugh.  Sean Hannity.  Ed Klein, who it appears has written a book about Hillary Clinton that is more fictional than Wuthering Heights.  These are people who for a long, long time have gotten away with saying anything without repercussion, but their mistake is not seeing the line that they have started to inch across.  By the time they realize it, they will be miles and miles past it.

I, for one, hope they keep talking.  The closer they get to being labeled extreme is the closer we get to having elected officials from both sides
who owe their jobs to one thing, the ability of the people of this nation to turn on their BS filter.

Karl Rove doesn't like me because I am a liberal, and as such I want to treat Osama bin Laden to a couple of session with a shrink.  That is all I take from reading what he said last week.

Rove is a fool.  He'll find out soon enough.

I do love Saturday

1. Yesterday, I linked to the journal "Mall Of America," a collection of photos from shopping malls of the 1960s and 1970s.  What store do you associate most with your childhood in terms of happy memories and why?  Is the store still around?  "Dispensa's Castle of Toys."  It was, aptly named, a castle a few miles from our house, and it was nothing but a toy store.  It was huge, and it had everything.  If I remember correctly, the castle was painted pink.  There was even a drawbridge and a moat.  I always ran past the door into the place, because there was a gate with spikes raised at the top of the door, and I was convinced I was going to be impaled.  When I was about ten they opened a small amusement park next to the castle.  Everything closed a few years later, the land was sold, and now there is a forty story office building there.  Though it has been gone for more than 20 years, it is still the most original store idea I have ever seen.  You can see pictures of it (and the building that is there now) here.

2. What song makes you the most emotional and why? "Wildfire"-it's so sad the way the horse runs away, and then the girl gets lost in a blizzard looking for her...wait a sec, that's the answer my brother would give if he was doing this.  I don't have a specific song that makes me verklempt, but anything on the bagpipes has the potential to get to me because it reminds me of so many things that aren't around anymore.

3. Take the
quiz:  What year were you born under, and what year should you have been born under?  I was born under the Ram, and I do seem to have the characteristics it describes.  I should have been born under the Ox, and I see nothing that I am compatible with there.

4. What time do you typically wake up each day?  What is the latest you're normally able to sleep?  How many hours of sleep do you get in an average night? I wake up seven different time per week.  I can sleep anytime, anywhere, anyhow, so long as my body wants to.  Lately it hasn't wanted to.  We need to have a nice long talk.  I probably average seven hours a night.

5. What frightens you the most about getting older? That I won't make it to "old."  If I do get there, I am not looking forward to the gradual decline of my physical self.

Debi:  If you found the house of your dreams, right price, then discovered that a murder or suicide had taken place in the house, would you still consider buying the house? What's done is done.  As long as everything has been cleaned up and there is no possibility of a repeat performance, let's bring in those trucks.

26 June 2005

Your first "WTF?" moment of summer

So I pretty much ignored this "Greatest American" thing on the Discovery Channel until tonight, when they wrapped the series up by naming the so-called "greatest American."

If you're not familiar with it, this was a public vote, from the nominating-the-top-100 all the way to the end.  The fact that the public was responsible for the entire content of the show says a lot about the state of this nation.  Dr. Phil?  Oprah?  Brett Favre?

Anyway, tonight was the end.  The final five (alphabetically, of course) were Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan (???) and George Washington.  I could see any four of these men being named the so-called "greatest American":

Franklin: he was Thomas Edison before Edison was cool, he avoided politics, and he was steppin' out up until the end of his very long life.

Lincoln: he pretty much saved the country from swallowing itself whole during the Civil War, he freed the slaves, and he made stove pipe hats look cool.

King: he somehow cooly, calmly, advanced the causes and perception of an entire race even though a whole bunch of people still felt they belonged at the back of the bus.  Plus, he lived every day of his life feeling as if a rifle scope was aimed at him.

Washington: without him, there is no United States of America.  He led the forces that sent the British back across the pond, he looked good in a powdered wig, and he had wooden teeth.

Personally, I'd have voted for Washington, with Lincoln, King and Franklin following.

So what happened?  Well, you can see where this is going.  Ronald Reagan was voted the "Greatest American." 


Someone remind me what Reagan did again?  Oh right, he won the Cold War all by himself, with no help from the people of Eastern Europe, who rose up against their governments and put their lives at risk.  What else?  He ignored AIDS for half a decade, indirectly leading to the deaths of who-knows how many people, and he ran up the biggest budget deficits in history until a certain George W came along.

He's the greatest American?  I don't think so.  I think he is the person that benefited from conservative action groups flooding the phone lines and the Internet with votes.  I can't wait to hear and read the spin that the conservative folks in the media put on this, how this affirms what is being done today is "right."

Lord, what an example of how messed up this country is.

Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe Reagan is the greatest American ever.

Just like I'm the greatest writer...

25 June 2005

Not too preachy at all

And in a counter balance to my previous post, I give you a man who gets where religion belongs in society.

Billy Graham is 86 and in poor health.  This weekend he is preaching in New York in what he says will be his last public appearance.

That's a shame.  Graham has devoted his life to spreading the word of God, and he has done it in a graceful and humble manner.  You'll never see Graham choosing sides.  He avoids political messages in his preaching.  That's not to say that he hasn't had an affect on politics; Graham has advised a multitude of presidents from both parties.

Especially today, when anyone with a political opinion seems to thrust religion into the forefront, gentleman like Graham are needed more than ever.  He understands that religion should be used to bring people together, not further divide them.

Hey baby I hear the blues a'callin...

Here's something "fun" going on in Seattle this weekend:

"Inside Northshore Baptist Church, where Focus on the Family will be preaching that homosexuality can be “healed” by the power of God’s love, Christian counselors will be making much the same point."

The article mentions that this gathering is taking place at the same time as Seattle's Gay Pride festival, which last year drew over 120,000 people.  Something tells me that the good people of the Pacific Northwest will stay outdoors at a better than 100 to 1 clip this weekend as well.

Obviously, I'm a big believer of letting people do and say what they want, so long as they do not bring pain to others, but I have to laugh at the amount of money and other resources that James Dobson and his do-gooders are wasting this weekend.  Dobson is a pretty influential guy.  What could he accomplish if he spent this weekend holding workshops on poverty?

Here's another lovely quote from the article, by featured speaker Dr. Bill Maier:

“Because many of America’s gay activist organizations have promulgated this myth that homosexuals are born gay, many Americans have been misled,” Maier said. “There are many research studies that clearly show that gender orientation is changeable.”

Thank you, Big Word Bill.  He does not, by the way, cite any of the studies, at least not in this article.  I happen to believe that homosexuality is genetic, and I also believe that it will be proven someday, though I do not expect people like Dobson and Maier to give the findings any credit.

Is it really a choice to be gay?  Homosexuality has been around for a long, long time.  It's mentioned in the Bible, and the writings of Ancient Greece talk about it too. 

If it is indeed a choice to be gay, people have been choosing to be so for a very long time.  My guess is if people of all types have been practicing certain behaviors for such a long time, then there probably has to be a genetic link to it.

Again, that is just my thought.  I could be wrong.  If James Dobson happens to be reading this, I don't need to be "saved."

A final selection from the article:

"In addition to “powerful stories of ex-gay men and women,” people attending the Love Won Out conference will hear... the Rev. Nancy Heche, the mother of Anne Heche, the actress who famously married a man after living a widely publicized lesbian life with comedian Ellen DeGeneres."

This is a clever way of labeling, I think.  I might argue that there is a better word for people like Anne Heche than "ex-gay."

Like bi-sexual.

22 June 2005


It's been one of those days.  One of those days where I begin by questioning my judgement, and then, once I am reassured that I am indeed a sane and rational individual, see oh, a billion examples of how the world is full of morons.

This is going to be a rant.  Leave now if there are small children to be considered.

(But first, the radio just started playing "She Sells Sanctuary" by The Cult, so I must take a few minutes and dance around my house...)

Hmm, I'm not 20 anymore, am I?  But I digress.

So it was a beautiful day weather-wise here in suburban Chicago, and against my better judgement I went to play golf.  You'd think that I could find many other ways to spend a great day.  I used to be a halfway decent player, but this year my game has completely abandoned me.  I covered more ground today than a gull at a landfill.  But I did start playing well over the last five holes or so, and I always enjoy the company out on the course, so it wasn't really all that bad.

By the time I got in the car to drive home from the course, I felt like I had not wasted the day.  Plus it was only 2 PM, so there was time to do other things.  And then it happened, the idiots starting coming out.  As they normally do, they first appeared on the road.  Not once, but twice on my drive home I was the first car in line at an intersection stopped by a red light, and each time, as soon as the light changed to green, the driver behind me honked.  I'm a fairly attentive driver.  I wasn't on the phone or even listening to the radio.  I can say that my attention was fully dedicated to the traffic situation. 

I didn't even get my foot off the brake before both these drivers gave me their auditoria blessing.  The first time, I just glared in my rear view mirror.  However, the second time, I decided to have some fun.  I didn't move.  I just kept looking in my mirror back at the honker, who of course, honked again, and a third time for good measure, before swerving around me.  In both cases, I noticed there appeared to be no one else in the car, and given that neither car sped off in a hurry, I assumed that there was not an expectant mother sprawled out in the back seat in the mid stages of labor. 

In fact, the second driver was so not-in-a-hurry after passing me that I found myself in front ofhim again about five minutes later, at another stop light.  I thought about what I could do to further enrage this guy.  Ideally, it would have been my wish to somehow block both lanes of traffic, whip out my cell phone and order a pizza, not allowing anyone to pass until I was done with it.  But then I thought I might have to share, at least with the cop that would be arriving soon to ticket me.

So I did nothing but continue on my way home.  As soon as I got settled I fired up the computer to see what had gone on in the world since I headed out to greener pastures.

God, I love this country!

I do actually, I think it's great to be an American and enjoy the benefits of this place.  Even though I've been to other places, I can't imagine living anywhere else but here, in the good ol' US of A.  One of the things I love most about this place is the fact that if I want to, I can come here and write about anything I want, whether or not people agree with me.  It's called freedom of speech, and it goes further than that; it covers freedom of expression as well.

Ah, but our esteemed elected officials in the House of Representatives today decided that there are certain things that cannot be done in the name of free speech, such as BURNING AN AMERICAN FLAG!!!

Yep, this is a great day to be an American, folks, as we are well on our way to protecting Old Glory.  I need to stop going on about this before I get a visit from some very special people.

This makes me bang my head on the table because I can think of about seventeen million more important issues that Congress should be dealing with BEFORE this one.  What do you suppose bothers the average citizen more, that someone burns a flag or that FORTY MILLION PEOPLE WHO WERE BORN HERE CAN'T AFFORD HEALTH INSURANCE?  Or how about the fact that the DEATH TOLL OF AMERICAN FORCES IN IRAQ IS OVER 1700 AND THERE STILL DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE AN EXIT STRATEGY?

I'm sorry, I appear to be yelling now.  I'll try to calm down.


This is not a right vs. left thing.  Plenty of politicos on both sides of the fence voted for this measure today.  And yes, I still realize that it has a long way to go before it would become an AMENDMENT TO THE US CONSTITUTION, FOR FREAKS SAKE, but just the fact that it is being addressed, when there is so much more that needs to be dealt with, makes my arteries explode.  Seriously, I think I need to stop this now and call for an ambulance.

I'd like to call to attention the words of one of the esteemed members of the House, a Mr. Randy Cunningham, a Republican who represents a district in California, for his words today in telling us why we must ban flag burning:

"Ask the men and women who stood on top of the [World] Trade Center.  Ask them and they will tell you: pass this amendment."  

You idiot.

Imagine that it is 9/11/01 and you, unfortunately, are at the top of the World Trade Center.  In the short time that you have before you meet a simply awful and tragic demise, would you be thinking about, oh, say your family?  Maybe your friends?  I imagine myself in that situation and while it is just about impossible to comprehend, I do think I can say with all my convictions that one of the last things I'd be thinking is "I hope to God four years or so after I die that this country gets its act together and bans flag burning!"

I think the first thought I'd have that did not involve my family might just be "I hope all politicians have the grace and honor to not reference myself and the other victims for their political gain."

I wonder how Mr. Cunningham is able to sleep tonight.  Of course, I wonder if this conversation took place at the dinner table of his home tonight:

Mr. C (talking to his wife):
...And then I said that the people who died on 9/11 would want a flag burning amendment! 

Mrs. C (sending dishes to the floor with one swoop of her arm):
Take me now on this dining table, my Congressional Patriotic stud!!!

You know what?  I don't really want to live in a country that confuses its priorities like this.  I want to live in a country that accepts the differences that make it a great place to live.  I want to live in a place where we are concerned about the things that we can control to make this a great place for everyone.  Am I missing something lately?  Is there such an epidemic of flag burning in this country that we are all at risk from it?

Someone explain this to me, please.  What the hell is happening here? 

And what would have happened to me today if in response to the very premature honking reminder that "green means go" I would have gotten out of my car and lit a flag on fire?

21 June 2005

For your (tortured) viewing pleasure

There's been quite a bit of chatter about torture lately.  I'm not mounting my soapbox here.  I just have an idea on how to eliminate the whole problem, how to get EACH AND EVERY prisoner to spill their guts as soon as possible:

Have them watch NBC tonight.

Seriously, can you come up with a worse night of programming?  An entire hour interviewing a woman who is so full of herself that instead of just canceling her wedding came up with an elaborate tale, complete with imaginary felony acts?  Why does anyone care about this person?  I can't believe anyone would reward her with more publicity, and don't get me started on the money.

If that isn't enough to get any captive begging for mercy, then there's a whole two hours of the Hilton family. 

I'm telling you, by eleven PM tonight, we should know everything that's going on with every terrorist prisoner, courtesy of the NBC (Nothing But Class) network.

19 June 2005

Why I'm fairly certain I will never grow up

Interesting that I would follow a post about the prospects of fatherhood with something like this, but I gotta be me.

I'm 38, and although I see it when I look in the mirror, I definitely do not feel it from a mental stand point.  I suppose there isn't a manual that could tell me how someone my age is supposed to think, but if I had to put a number on what my mental age is, I'd say it's around 20.

Case in point: from time to time I battle insomnia.  I absolutely hate lying in bed waiting for sleep to come, so if I cannot sleep, I have to get up and do something else.  Sometimes that something else involves watching television.  Last month, I discovered something on television in the middle of the night that has set my mental age back a year or so:

The Aqua Teen Hunger Force.  Check out the link.  This is the song that starts each episode:

My name is Shake-Zula, the mic rulah,
the old schoolah, you wanna trip, I'll break it to ya.
Frylock and I'm on top rock you like a cop,
Meatwad you're up next with your knock-knock.
Meatwad make the money see,
Meatwad get the honeys G.
Drivin in my car, livin like a star,
ice on my fingers and my toes and I'm a Taurus.
Cause we are the Aqua Teens,
make the homeys say ho
and the girlies wanna scream."

If you have no idea what that is, I may not be able to describe it to you.  However, if you've seen it and don't agree with me that it is one of the funniest cartoons ever produced, there may be something wrong with you.  Or maybe it's me.

How has this show affected me recently?  Let me count the ways...

1. I changed the name of one of my fantasy baseball teams to "Shake-zula."

2. We are thinking about getting another cat.  If we do, I want to name it "Meatwad."

3. I bought the first release DVD of this cartoon.  And I NEVER buy DVDs.

4. I have watched every episode on said DVD set.  Twice.

5. I have "googled" every episode summary.

6. I have been kept awake at night by the show's theme song running continuously through my head.

7. I have laughed hard enough at this show that I can feel myself starting to pass out, and I've kept on laughing.

8. I have decided that I could never, ever buy a "Happy Meal" again.

The face may say 38.  The mind says something much, much less.

Thoughts on today

I have to be honest; since I was 12 and discovered golf, the first thing I think about on Father's Day is that it is the day that the US Open plays its last round.  I've got it on television as I write this.

Growing up, we never made much of a big deal about Father's Day.  My Dad loved being low key and hated attention.  He'd acknowledge our cards and gifts, but that was about it.  We never did anything else.

The most memorable Father's Day my family spent was my first, June 1967.  My parents chose to have my baptism that day, and they did not plan on it being so difficult to find a place open for a little celebration meal afterwards.  My sister, who was three at the time, was extremely vocal about how she was being starved to death.  I think she still feels resentment to this very day...

So today is not that big of a deal for me.  My father passed away in 2002, and I was fortunate to realize long before that day that we had an exceptional relationship.  I didn't need a specific day to appreciate my Dad, and I still don't.  I think about him every day, love him dearly and look forward to the day when we see each other again.

I was able to see my father-in-law for a short time today.  He lives out of town but had a layover in Chicago before flying overseas on a business trip, so my wife and I were able to meet him for lunch.  He is a wonderful man, devoted completely to his family, and he has welcomed me into it from the first time I met him.  I will always be grateful to him for that, and I know I am lucky to have him as my father-in-law.  I don't look at him as a replacement for my own father, as no one could, but I do find comfort in knowing that if we have a problem or need some advice, he is available for us.

What I find myself thinking about most today is the future, and the fact that if everything progresses as we hope it will, soon we will be parents, and I will be a father.  I don't know if I can adequately describe how I feel about that.  It is what I look forward to most, what I feel I was put upon this Earth for.  I was lucky enough to spend a great deal of time with my nephew when he was a newborn, and as I watched him grow I realized that I enjoyed being around him and other children.  As my friends and family have had kids I continue to enjoy their company.  I love kids.  I just thought that perhaps it was not meant to be for me to have any of my own.

Thankfully, I was wrong about that.  I met my wife later in life than most men do, and as a result I will be pushing 40 when the first wee one comes along.  We won't have large family, for many reasons, and I am fine with that.  I would rather have a couple of kids that I can fully devote myself to, though there was a time where I could have seen myself with five or more.

I'm a lucky man.  I was blessed with an exceptional father who's love and influence will last until the end of my days, and as I approach the point in time where I too will be a father, I am confident that I will pass along the same to my children.

18 June 2005

In Saturday compliance

1. Do you do a yearly "spring cleaning" in your home?  If so, have you done this year's version, yet?  Not usually.  This year instead of cleaning, I moved.  I've never understood where the whole spring cleaning thing comes from.  Oh, look, the world is waking up from winter.  Everybody grab a swiffer!

2. Have you ever been blindfolded and asked to identify which of two drinks is Pepsi or Coke?  If you haven't, do you think you could tell the difference?  Did it once when I was a kid.  It was easy to tell.  Interestingly enough, I prefer Coke to Pepsi, but I prefer Diet Pepsi over Diet Coke.  And my life hasn't been the same since they took Crystal Pepsi off the market...

3. You find out that you're going to have a child:  what baby names will you choose? I want to name my first son Desmond.  I get funny looks from people when they hear that.  Contrary to popular belief, it's an Irish name, and I think it is very cool, but it certainly would not bother me if people thought he was named after Bishop Desmond Tutu.  His middle name would be James, so if people can't get over Desmond, they can just call him DJ.  I don't really have a preference about a girl, and since my wife has agreed to the "Desmond" scenario, I think she'd get to name our daughter.

4. You must become one of the Brady Bunch kids for a single day:  which one would you choose to become and why? Must?  I'd say Peter.  I think he has the best chance of hooking up with Alice at some point.  Plus he had that really cool voice thing going.  And he wasn't afraid to dress like a girl.

5. Where are you going for summer vacation this year?  We went to Ireland on our honeymoon in May, so I think the summer vacation thing for this year is kaput.  I hope to make it to St. Louis for a weekend to visit my sister and her family.

6. What is the most religious thing you do on a day-to-day basis? Be aware of my mortality on an almost constant basis.  My life is just one big chapter from "Ecclesiastes."

17 June 2005

Morons on both sides

I've never understood the point of any politician bringing up Adolf Hitler or the Nazi regime, especially when they do so in comparison to something in modern times.  The Third Reich was the most oppressive, heinous regime ever.  There's no point in comparing anything to it.  You're only going to look ridiculous doing so.

Which brings me to the senior Senator from my home state, Dick Durbin.  He is in the middle of his second six year term, and until a year or so ago, he was a fairly quiet public official.  In the aftermath of the 2004 elections, he was elevated to the second highest position in rank among Democrats in the Senate, the minority whip.

Durbin is fairly liberal, which makes him an easy target among the more conservative media, and most of the time he ignores it.  It hasn't hurt his approval ratings much, as he was re-elected in 2002 with almost 70% of the vote. 

However, Dick put his foot in his mouth this week, and he did it by rolling out Hitler and the Nazis.  He compared the Guantanamo prison camp in Cuba to one of many historical oppressive regimes, including the Holocaust.

A little much, no?  There's no point to it.  Of course the United States does not resemble any of those regimes.  To even suggest that it does eliminates any shred of credibility.  I'm not sure of Durbin's motivation, but there would seem to be a better way to present his thoughts.  Maybe Dick's nervous about the presence of Barack Obama, who has the making of a political superstar, stealing his Illinois mo-jo. 

On the other side, there's Florida governor Jeb Bush, who seems hell-bent on keeping Terry Schiavo alive, in a relevant sense.

I won't rehash the results of the autopsy that were made public earlier this week, other than to reiterate that she was irreversibly brain damaged with no hope of recovery.  That isn't my opinion, that is a fact from the medical examiner.

Today Jeb announced that he has requested an investigation into the time frame that Michael Schiavo gave regarding when he first called paramedics when his wife collapsed in 1990. 

I should also mention that the autopsy results could not give a definitive reason why Terry Schiavo's heart stopped.  Jeb Bush seems to know why, though, and it looks like he will not stop until he can pin the blame on Michael.

And a special mention to Penn. senator Rick Santorum, who was hell-bent in keeping Schiavo alive.  After the autopsy results, Santorum, instead of acknowledging the facts, simply said that any incident where a state is attempting to end the life of an individual must come under federal review.

Say Rick, what about that death penalty that you so adamantly support, that you have said before is a states' rights issue?  Should that now fall under federal jurisdiction?

Dick, Jeb and Rick, you're not thinking right.  It's summer, maybe it's time for a vacation, boys.

16 June 2005

Last one on this, I promise

I swear I will never mention Michael Jackson ever again in this blog, but I stumbled across this tonight, and it is well worth devoting just ten more minutes of your life to this freak.

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog visits with the supporters outside the trial.

13 June 2005

Hey everybody!



Now can this all go away please?  And for the record, I couldn't have cared less about his guilt or innocence.  I just want him to go away.

11 June 2005

Two for one

From last week:

1. Who is the last performer you saw live in concert? U2 in 1997 (but I'm seeing Coldplay in August-can't wait...) What is the last film you saw at a theater? "Sideways"  Which was more worth the money you paid? U2, it's not even close.

2. What do you do more of in a typical day:  work, sleep, eat, exercise. watch TV, surf the web? Sleep, it's not even close.

3. Your office brings in a new drink machine and it's your job to fill the eight selection slots.  What drinks (non-alcholic, of course) do you select? Diet Pepsi and seven different flavors of Shasta.  Wait, what about the Fresca...

4. Take the quiz: 
What is your expression number?   Do you agree with the description it gives you?  What do you disagree with most? I'm so 5.  The first thing it says is that I am a multi-tasker-HA!  The rest of it isn't too bad, but I always looked at myself as a 3.14 or something.

5. Counting all light fixtures and lamps in your home, how many bulbs do you have in place, and how many of them are on right now? What is this light you speak of?  The sun is down and I am typing this in the dark save for a lone candle.

Laura: What is your favorite movie line ever and why? From "A Fish Called Wanda", Jamie Lee Curtis' diatribe towards Kevin Kline after he hangs John Cleese out the window: "Calling you stupid is an insult to stupid people!  I've known sheep that are smarter.  I've worn dresses with higher IQ's."

And today:

1. When was the last time you looked your significant other in the eye and told him or her how much theymean to you?  Never.  I always look deep into her left ear.

2. Which business do you have the longest continuous relationship with:  your bank, your auto insurance provider, your home telephone provider, your cellular phone provider, or your cable company?  How long have you been with them? I've had the same auto insurer since I bought my first car.

3. What is the most embarrassing question you've ever been asked?  It's pretty hard to embarrass me.  I've been asked plenty of odd questions but nothing steps forward as embarrassing.  I expect to be bombarded with 'em now, though.

4. You have the ability to snap your fingers and be instantly transported to one of three places whenever you wish to go there.  Which three places would you select as your destinations? Ireland, Ireland and Ireland.

5. Last week, the Reader's Choice question asked you to identify your favorite movie line.  Later this month, the American Film Institute will list the 100 Greatest Movie Lines of all time.  Which one do you expect to win? "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" though I could come up with many more that derserve it, I think. 

6. You are given the gift of an original oil painting by any famous artist.  What painting would you choose and why? "The Scream" by Munch.  I just think it's cool.


08 June 2005


"Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then."

That was my favorite phrase of yours, even when you inexplicably changed the squirrel to a hog and insisted that that was the way you always said it.  I still hear that phrase every once in a while.

In the last week, it seems like I've heard it ten times per day.  I think I've heard it in my sleep as well.

Today marks three years.  In that time, so much has changed, and yet, nothing has changed at all.  I still feel like someone hit me in the stomach with a bowling ball, and I am resigned to the fact that feeling is never going to go away.

I'd give anything I've ever had and ever will have just for one more day.

I miss the security of knowing that there was a person I knew who had gone through everything that I had yet to, so that I could ask about what to expect when those experiences came my way.

I miss going out for breakfast,  It hasn't been the same since.

I miss hearing you rip on the Cubs even though I was aware that you wanted them to win more than anyone.

I miss it all.

My father was so much more than that; he was an advisor, a mentor, a guru, a sage, an almanac, an historian and a friend.

You don't get over losing all that. 

You manage instead.

And, to be honest, it isn't as bad as I make it out to be here.


Give me your poor, your tired, your 52 weekly issues at a significant savings...

Hello, my name is Jim, and I am a magazine hoarder.

How did I get here, standing up in front of strangers and admitting my problem?  I'm not quite sure, but I do know that it has taken a long time for me to get to this point.

They say problems like this have roots all the way back in childhood.  Looking back, I can see a few signs from then that led me to this place.  My mother used to shop for groceries every Friday afternoon, and would return with a few household magazines that I would eventually thumb through.  As an eight year old, I found myself saying many times "No, this marriage cannot be saved..."

When I was in junior high school I absconded with multiple back issues of "Baseball Digest" from the library.  This was before the invention of whatever that thing is that clicks every time you enter and exit a library so that no one takes anything without checking it out first.  That whole ugly thing could have been avoided if the school library didn't have a fascist policy of not allowing magazines to be checked out in the first place.

There I go again, blaming others for my troubles, things that I have created myself and have no one else to blame for.

I recently moved into my wife's house, and while I was packing I noticed that I still had a significant collection of assorted magazines that I moved twice before, all because I could not bring myself to toss them into the recycling until I had read them all.  So they sat for a year.  And then I moved.  And I brought them with.  And they sat for a year.  And they are still unread.  And I moved.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

I have a year's worth of "Brill's Content," a magazine which hasn't been published in at least five years. 

I have "Golf Digest" issues from the late 1990's because one day I shall read them, and therefore take ten strokes off my handicap.

Does anyone ever bother to read "The New Yorker"?  Every article is so damn long.  I want to know about the plans for Ground Zero, but do I have to read twenty-two pages to understand them?

Is "Newsweek" relevant if the news is three years old?  Can I suggest they change the name of the periodical to "Newsfromtheearly21stcentury"?

And yes, it is the hardest thing to admit here, but I do subscribe to "Entertainment Weekly."

Subscribe.  There's the rub.  It started in the late 80's, when I had to have "Sports Illustrated" every week.  I still do, and I must say, I get around to reading most issues before they hit their one month old mark.  But as the years passed, I found myself bombarded with cheap offers for other magazines.  What's ten bucks for a year of "National Geographic Traveler"?  So what if I travel to a place, then read about in a magazine that is twenty months old?

I get these notices that say I am eligible for a "professional's discount" which is how I ended up with three years worth of The New Yorker for fifteen dollars.  As I said before, I need a month just to read each issue. 

I'm sorry, I know I am supposed to be totally open and honest here, but I just cannot talk about my experience with "The Economist."

I have answered "yes" to far too many of the "do you ever" questions regarding magazine habits.  Steps must be followed.

This week, when Mr. Browning-Ferris stops by to collect the recycling, he's going to find about twelve bags full of old magazines waiting for him on the curb.  I've admitted my problem and I am getting rid of the half-read issues that I have hidden under the bed, in dressers, and in bathroom closets.  I will shred unsolicited mailings unopened from now on.  I will remember that books are more enjoyable and last longer. 

I hope Mr. BFI doesn't peek inside any of the bags he has to pick up this week.  I'd hate to be responsible for someone else's relapse.