Monday, October 31, 2005

The NBA season is upon us.

By the time you read this, basketball season will be upon us. The NBA is already in full swing. This brings to mind some questions I have about this year’s hoops season and I will try to answer these questions.

Will Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant get along in Lakerland? I believe that both of them have done a good job of answering questions like this without really answering the questions. You know what I am talking about. The good old sports cliché riddled answers athletes seem to use any chance they get. Such as, “I just have to play my game” or “I need to let the game come to me.”

You know what I am driving at. Phil and Kobe seem to be saying all the right things, but they have said some pretty mean things about each other in the past. Can either of them at least forgive, if not forget?

I think yes. I believe the Lakers will have a somewhat successful season; of course anything will be better than last year. I think Kobe realizes that he needs Phil to have a chance to win a title without Shaq. As for Phil, I have no idea why he came back, unless he wanted to take a team that is not ready to contend and turn them into champions.

Whatever the case, they will make the playoffs this year but they will be a first round casualty. They have a talented team and with Phil Jackson drawing up the game plan, that will win them a few extra games.

Their main problem is they are playing in the tougher conference in the league. If it weren’t for the 3 teams that could win it all in the Western Conference, the Lakers may have a brighter future. After last year they should be happy with even a brief playoff appearance this year.

Which brings me to another question, is the Western Conference that much better than the Eastern Conference this year? In a word, no. I believe that the Eastern Conference has a few teams that have a legitimate shot at winning the title, which is more than could be said in the last 10 years.

The Detroit Pistons have lost nothing but a coach, although he is a great coach, and have returned their whole team for the most part. They may take some time to get used to Flip Saunders style of play, zone defenses and a more up-tempo offensive style, but they will be there in the end, just like last year.

The Miami Heat has practically added a new team to their roster, including former UK Wildcat Antoine Walker. They have the talent and on paper they look like a contender, the only problem is they have added a few mental patients in Gary Payton, Jason Williams, and the aforementioned Antoine Walker.

If these three cannot accept the roles they need to play to win, then this will be a train wreck that will be fun to watch. Stan Van Gundy better hope he can make this work because Pat Riley is lurking in the background like Bela Lugosi. In the long run, with Shaq and Dwayne Wade, you have to like the Heat’s chances.

There is another team that I believe has a legitimate shot at the title in the East and that is the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers have the players and the coach to beat anyone in the league. The main problem the Pacers have, besides the brittle Jermaine O’Neal, is the insane Ron Artest. You remember him, right?

The same Artest who climbed into the stands to administer some outlaw justice to the person who hit him with a Pepsi. Well, he is back after a long unpaid vacation and is ready to go. He claims he is a caged animal and the refs are going to have to do their job to keep him under control. It sounds like he learned his lesson to me. If the Pacers cannot keep this loosest of loose cannons under control, they will merely be a good team. But if they can rein him in, they have the horses to win the whole thing.

I know some of you are wondering whether the Cleveland Cavaliers have a shot this year, uh, no. They will be more improved and will make the playoffs, but LeBron James is not good enough to perform miracles, yet. The Cavs will be an exciting team to watch and will be competitive all season long.

They may even topple some of the stronger teams in the conference, but they will not be able to outlast the Detroits, the Miamis, or the Indianas in a seven game series. If Cleveland is serious about keeping James and winning a title, which I am sure they are on both counts, then they should only be two or three years away form a serious run at the Finals.

As for who is going to win the whole thing, you have to look to the West. San Antonio is the best team in the NBA. They return basically their whole team from last year and they have added Michael Finley and Nick Van Exel. I know Van Exel can be a knucklehead every once in a while, but he is nearing the end of his up and down career and I believe that Greg Popovich, the coach of the Spurs, can keep the feisty guard in check. If he can’t, he will just get rid of him, simple as that.

If you want my prediction of the winner of the NBA Finals, check out San Antonio on TV this season and you will see the answer to that question every time they play. When you have a bench with a couple of all stars ready to sub in, you have a very good team. Let’s also not forget a man by the name of Tim Duncan.

Those are just a few questions I had rolling around in the old skull this week. Perhaps I answered some that you had or more likely I caused you to have even more questions. Whatever the case, I believe this NBA season will very interesting, whether you are tracking the career path of LeBron James, whether you are interested in seeing the Spurs repeating, or whether you are interested in seeing Ron Artest storming into the stands again.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Halloween Party and JenPen's House

Here are the photos from JenPen's Halloween party. She is one of the residents in my program. She and her partner had this costume party that was full of great food, decorations, and prizes. french_toast and I won best costume. We won a copy of Beetlejuice to add to our collection.

Here is a picture of Dundas and Tracy. He looks like he needs to be in some Rob Zombi production.

This is Daniel Dick and his son. He is a resident in my program too. He was going to be a gynecologist but he was afraid women wouldn't want a doctor named Dr Dick.

These are the gracious hostesses JenPen and Dawn, repsectively.

Naphthalene High

This morning in church marked the first time I actually had to cover my nose because something smelled so bad. The chemists in the audience may already know this, but naphthalene is better known as moth balls.

I was sitting in church today and during the Lord's prayer, which I might add is three-fourths of the way through the service, the side door slammed and this old bat came strolling in. She sat right next to me and was a fairly well dressed typical seventy something church lady.

I admit that my nose is sensitive, but she smelled of moth balls. Not just smelled of them, rather she smelled like she had her pockets full and had rolled in some out on the church lawn before coming in. After a couple of minutes my eyes were watering and my head was throbbing. It was at this point I actually reached up and covered my nose with my hand.

Finally, I looked over at french_toast and asked if she smelled that. She answered me with a resounding yes before I even got the question out. To make matters worse, because she was late she didn't have a bulletin and strolled over to ask me the last hymn number and then decided to stay over there for the song. It was almost too much.

So, as I sat there in agony I theorized what exactly was the cause of all of this nonsense. Could she not smell that? Was she as high as a kite? Well, I speculate that she pulled her little suit jacket and pants out of the closet with the onset of cooler weather, immediately prior to jumping in the car for church. This is probably the first time since last January that these things out of the moth ball protected box.

As the hand bells were being played (the lemur is in fact one of the tinn tibulators as they are called), sat there wondering if it was the last sound I would here before being overcome by fumes.

The whole scenario really begs the question, who really uses mothballs anyway? At some point in history were there giant moths just waiting to pounce? I'm not sure but if I smell moth balls ever again after that experience then it will be too soon.

God Bless Exxon Mobile

Exxon Mobile's CEO must have pissed in the Green River.

Others on this blog have taken issue with businesses making an honet profit, and have joined in the chorus to "do something" (translation: pass some dumbass law/tax).

I'm not really going to undertake the thankless task of sticking up for a billion dollar business (they aren't paying me enough), because I don't really need to. One would think the benefits of free-markets and capitalism would be self-evident; but it seems some people always need a refresher. So I'll offer to buy any willing taker a one-way ticket to North Korea as soon as you can pack your bags.

I can, however, correct some glaring factual errors made by the OC boys in the post below and in the comments.

Piccu writes:
Last year at this time, the oil industry made profits of $76.38 billion, notice that is not for the whole year, just up to this point in the year. This year the oil industry has already made a profit of $100.72 billion...

I just thought it irksome that gas and oil prices are rising and the only ones that seem to be paying are the ones who aren't making $100 billion in profit after 9 months.
Exxon Mobile's third quarter profits were less than $10 billion, not 100. $100 billion is revenue - know the difference. And the numbers released are for the third quarter of 2005, not through. Just to be clear, EM made $10 billion in three months, not $100 billion in 9.

In the comments, Bratch asks:
If they were raising their prices to offset their extra efforts to continue supplying their product to the public following some natural disasters, why are aren't we seeing their profit margins at or near what they were in previous years before they doubled the price of a gallon of gas?
EM's profit margins the last 5 quarters? In reverse order starting with the most recent: 9.5%, 8.6, 9.6, 10.1, and 7.3. Are you kidding? Everyone's calling for these guys' heads, calling them criminals and parasites, and this was only they're third highest PM the last five quarters. See more here.

This information is available online, free for everyone to see with just a quick clickity-click. I suggest you try doing so if you plan on blogging the fourth quarter numbers.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Iran's president making some noise and his people are listening.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be wiped off the map. Instead of being a good politician and backing off of his comments in front of thousands of supporters, he stood by his original comments. The crowd chanted “death to Israel” and “death to America,” while some burned Israeli and U.S. flags. President Ahmadinejad said that the West were free to comment but what we think is invalid

I might be missing something, but this seems like bad news. The U.S. and Israel go way back and we seem to be their only friend. I would think that if Israel is attacked that the U.S. would help them. Is the U.S. ready to combat Iran, if it comes to that? Do we have enough resources or are we too spread out to be able to do something if we had to? What can be done to help stabilize this volatile region? How can we, America, placate these individuals?

I am afraid that there is nothing we can do. No matter who is in power, Republicans or Democrats, we would still be in Iraq and other Muslim nations would still hate us and Israel. The only way we can stop this is to leave the area and convert to the Muslim religion. With the oil in that region, we aren’t going to leave, and a lot of Americans haven’t converted to any religion by free choice, much less being forced to convert.

On the other hand we could send out a message saying that if you value your lives leave the Middle East. That is a first and only warning for the innocents to leave the area. Then we go in and just bomb it back into the Stone Age. Destroy it all and help with the rebuild. Let them know that we are the boss and any time they step out of line, the same thing will happen. Sounds like a horror movie. I would say that many of us could not live with that, but it is the simplest and best solution to the situation. Let’s hope it never comes to that.

I think this situation really needs to be monitored closely and I am sure that is being done. I am just afraid that things will never be calm or peaceful in this area, at least until we and the Israelis are wiped off the map or we wipe the Middle East off the map.

Why is this man smiling? Exxon Mobil Corp. and Lee Raymond have $100 billion reasons why.

Click on the link and check out this low down, dirty, son of a...sorry getting a little carried away. This man is Lee Raymond. Why is he smiling? Well, that’s easy; he is the chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp. The reason he is smiling is because third quarter profit for oil companies has risen, even though the hurricanes have shut down some refineries and caused major problems for Big Oil. Or so we were thought.

Last year at this time, the oil industry made profits of $76.38 billion, notice that is not for the whole year, just up to this point in the year. This year the oil industry has already made a profit of $100.72 billion. What does this mean? I think it means that while many Americans are slowly being killed by gas prices, jackals like Mr. Raymond are profiting off of our misery.

If there was some way to boycott oil, I would do it, but oil is in everything. If only our government could do something to try and stabilize these gas prices, but I do not see that happening in the near future. Something has go to give because these people running the oil companies do not care about how bad this makes them look. All they think it makes them look like is rich.

Perhaps what we should do is take the extra profits they made this year and use that to help with the rebuilding of New Orleans. There is a lot that could be done with that money. Perhaps we could buy off all the Iraqis and the insurgents and quietly slip out the back door? If only it were that easy.

I do not know what could be done other than these greedy weasels lowering the price of gas. I mean when is enough too much? Is there really that big a difference between $75 billion and $100 billion? Do these men feel nothing for the common man? I believe we will find when the fourth quarter profits are even larger that the answer is no.

Crappy Movie That Really Wasn't So Crappy

Seldom does a crappy movie come along and actually end up being not so crappy. This did happen the other day. Before we go on, I must say that I was very doubtful about these movies too. I also need to start by explaining my use of the DVR. I now dvr movies that I think I may want to watch. I completely reserve the right to just stop them and erase them at any point, or fast forward them to see if any action goes down if it is going slowly. With that...

There is a teeny bopper werewolf movie called Ginger Snaps. Basically it is about two sisters and one of them gets bit by a werewolf. The other one is trying to find a cure. The movie has a very Scream-esque aura about it with tons more gore. Now, I dvred the first two movies with the right to erase them at any point. I started watching this and I kept thinking this is a little better than I expected. Finally, I got far enough into it that I was committed. The main reason I liked this movie is for the portrayal of the werewolf when it is in "full bloom" (I say this because a significant part of the movie is the gradual change into the werewolf).

Ok, without giving anything away. I started the second one also expecting to cut it off. The thing was that it was much better done than the first. It was not Scream-esque at all. It was more "real" than that. Again, the portrayal of the werewolf was very good. They did an extraordinary job in both movies knowing what to show and what not to show. I wish you could see the second one without the first, but that wouldn't work.

Also, I need to back up and tell you the story about the unusual girl who first reccomended this movie to me. I was at UK doing a month of Pediatric Endocrinolgy back this past January. As you will recall, this was french_toasts department before we moved. So she and I are sitting at lunch one day and this bizarre girl comes in and starts talking. I forget now if there was a horror movie out or what brought up the whole conversation, but this girl went nutz talking about how awesome these movies were. She emphasized the point that the third one was the best. She looked like the girl in the movie for starters (very dark and goth).

So I have checked out the reviews on yahoo and get mixed reviews. It seems unifying that the people who like these movies like the third one the best. I am going to see if it is up for the dvr this weekend, if not I will contemplate renting it.

I'm not sure why, but I expect Bratch to really like the second one if he watches them. As for piccu, he is like me in that we will both watch complete crap regardless in hopes that our gamble pays off and we actually find a jewel.

Ginger Snaps
Ginger Snaps 2
Ginger Snaps 3

Thursday, October 27, 2005

No black baseball players on the Houston Astros?

In light of the coach Deberry comment, I'd like to take the time to bring some attention to the great Hank Aaron's comment that the Houston Astros should have more black athletes on their team.

It seems to me that hammerin' Hank doesn't see the whole picture. He called attention the fact that there are several Latino players on the squad and that's all fine and good, but he's not taking into consideration the sport of baseball.

Believe it or not there are also some cultural aspects to take into consideration as well. Latino baseball players are on the rise while the number of black players on the decline. I don't have any numbers to prove that, but I'll bet that if you had told me that there was a Major League Baseball team with no black players on it, I would have called you an idiot. It just seems to be going that way and if you look at where these players come from you will see why.

In the Dominican Republic and Cuba, baseball is huge. How many stories have we heard of players like Omar Vizquel playing baseball with a milk carton glove? In the Latino countries to our south, being a great baseball player is a way to get into the U.S. and make enough money to support your family for generations to come. It almost seems like there is at least one story like that on every professional baseball team.

You can't expect the children of these poor countries to play football or basketball. You pretty much need a court of some sort to play basketball and if the streets aren't paved, chances are they aren't wasting asphalt on a basketball court. And football is by far the most expensive sport there is. Uniforms, pads, helmets and a gigantic wide open field.

So it's natural to expect a rise in Latinos in baseball.

The decline of the number of black baseball players is also fairly easy to explain. If you were a young black kid in a big urban city, or worse in the projects, that possibly thought that your only way out was through sports, why would you pick baseball?

If you are great football player you get picked up at a big college or even a not so big college. Play for a couple of years or maybe even 5 years and hit the NFL and sign a contract with a couple of million dollar signing bonus. That means money up front.

Millionaire by 22 or 23, but tougher league to play in and no guaranteed contracts. But let's be honest, not everyone is big enough to play offensive line so if you aren't big your options on football are limited. Who wants to get beat up on a weekly basis anyway?

If a kid is good at basketball, up until the new NBA age limit, he could make a huge name for himself against high school kids without even trying hard. If you watched Lebron James play you could tell that he was a 6 foot 8 inch 220 pound man playing a bunch of kids he was at least a half a foot taller than and much faster than. He was a man among boys even when he was playing against high school powers like Oak Hill that is perennially full of future blue chip college players. Then you have Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Amare Stoudemire, Kwame Brown, Jermaine O'Neal, Tracy McGrady and several others with little or no college experience. Kwame Brown is terrible and he's still a millionaire in the NBA.

So what did Lebron do after high school? He declared for the draft and signed a near $100M contract with a shoe company. Then he was drafted and was given the max rookie contract at age 18. At the worst, you can go to college and be a millionaire by 22.

Now take baseball. If you are good you can maybe get drafted out of high school or go to college. If you go to college you still have to go into the minor league system. Then you have to hope that you can outplay 2 or 3 other guys on the 30-man roster for a starting spot at your position. Then you have to play well enough to get moved up through 3 levels of the minor league system each time hoping that you could win that same starting job making maybe 20 grand a year unless you are Drew Henson.

So after playing a few years in the minors and maybe playing winter ball in Mexico, you finally get moved up to the big league team where you might have Rafael Palmiero playing in front of you like a buddy of ours had when he was with the Texas Rangers for a spell.

You can probably count on one hand the players in Major League Baseball that broke into the league when they were 19 or 20 and never got moved back down to the minors. In baseball you have to pay your dues and pay them for a long time.

Of baseball, basketball and football, baseball is the sport that is hardest to make it big in. I've often wondered how many great baseball players have quit the game in the minor league system just because they happened to get there at the wrong time and circumstances beyond their control kept them from moving up. The average rookie age in baseball is probably 24 or 25. That would be 2 or 3 years of minor league ball past college.

Baseball is also the only sport where you have a chance of finding a 30 year-old rookie.

If you wanted to make a bunch of money at a sport, why on earth would you want to play baseball when basketball is practically an express lane?

The proof and other stuff... MORE PHOTOS!!!!

I believe you can click on the image to see the full size version of them.

Here is the photo of the front page of the newspaper where the coffin story was.

Here is the actual story itself.

And here are the photos of the displays that Piccu and various members of our family vandalized.

Here is my old friend I blogged about earlier in the day. It's good to have him home.

Finally... Here is fun with Photoshop.

That's right.

Tales of Halloween Mischief Part 4: The Coffin

This is the final part of my Tales of Halloween Mischief and my favorite night of devastation. I can give you the exact date. It was October the 24, 1994, 11 years ago this week. I know this because it was documented in our local newspaper. Yes this was such a good run we made the papers.

It all started around 10 PM that Monday night after we had finished bowling. We were in a league, now whether it was a church league or not is under investigation, but I think it was a straight up co ed league.

We once again loaded up in the big red Ford. There were five of us if I remember correctly, but there could have been six. We took off into the night looking for yards to plunder.

We started off easy and just drove around searching for the best places and making mental notes. We decided we would spend some time in one city then move on to another just in case any alarms were raised. We started in BD. We hit some jack o lantern bags and some pumpkins, you know, easy stuff. We were just getting warmed up.

As we got warmed up we started to focus more on bigger displays. We were ready to hit dummies, light up decorations and just bigger displays than a pumpkin or two. We found the first one. A home had made a dummy and sat him in a rocking chair. On this night, dummies were not safe in the city. The thieves in the bed of the truck leaped over the sides and poured into the yard picking clean everything they could carry.

We went like this for a few hours and crossed over into Hartford to finish the night. We did the same thing we did in BD, only we didn’t have to warm up, in fact we were hot…as hell!!! Woohahahahaha!! Sorry, got carried away. Anyway we ran through the streets dodging patrols and skipping lit up homes. We collected quite a few dummies and pumpkins and were feeling really good about ourselves. Then we saw it.

I do not recall the home but I do remember the street we found it on. It was on a couple of saw horses, I believe and it was magnificent. It held a skeleton of some sort. What is this I am speaking of? It was the greatest home made coffin I have ever seen. It was made of good heavy wood, possibly oak. The kind of wood that ruins nails if you try and hammer them into it. It looked as though it was perfectly measured and was big enough for a short human, which fit the description of one of the marauders in our group (remember, no guessing of identities).

We kept driving back and forth just staring at the coffin and salivating. We finally decided things were cool and we made our move. There were other things in this display, but the main objective was the coffin. I am not even sure anything else was taken, except the coffin and its contents. It took two guys to pick it up and carry it to the truck. As I said, this was no shoddy presswood coffin. This was something that someone had spent some time on, which we found out later was true.

After we got the Halloween treasure into the truck we couldn’t believe that we were able to get our hands on it. This is something that I would bring in every night before I went to bed. It was a big mistake on their part. We pulled off some place to admire all the booty we had stolen that night. We began the discussion of what to do with it all. We didn’t want to bring any of this to our homes so we decided to take it all to someone else’s home. The question became, dump it in a stranger’s yard or a friend’s yard? We decided to dump it in a friend’s yard. Like you wouldn’t have.

We headed back to BD and headed to our friend’s house. He lived in the city, but it was on a back street that was not well lit. By this time it was after midnight and as far as we knew, the whole town was asleep. We pulled up in front of the house and began to unload our stash. It was unbelievable how much we had. We had dummies, pumpkins, bags of leaves, cornstalks, plastic light up decorations, and the coup de grace, the coffin. We dumped it all and giddily rode off into the night.

We all agreed that it was the most successful night we had ever had. We got more stuff that night than any other nights combined. We didn’t realize how successful and good a night it was until the weekly paper came out on Thursday, October 27. Right on the front page was the headline, “Coffin Confiscated.” It didn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out what it was about. Apparently a woman called the newspaper to tell her story about the missing coffin. Her husband and son worked all Saturday or Sunday afternoon on that coffin and they were so proud of it and now some no good vandals have made off with it.

We saw this and we thought it was…well, hilarious, BUT we also felt a little bad. Just a little. We had not talked to the friend of ours who had a yard full of stolen property, so we called him up. We asked him if he had gotten rid of everything being that this call was placed 3 days after the fact. He said no and in fact hadn’t even moved anything. We told him about the coffin and told him to call the law and tell them he was the victim of a Halloween prank and that he had the missing coffin. As far as I know, he did that and that family had a happy Halloween.

That was not the first time we had stolen something only to return it. Do you remember the little light up pumpkin head dolls and their hooks? The year after we took them, we were bored and decided to take them back to the owners. We loaded up the truck and drove out to the home and let a couple guys out and did the old drive by until we picked them up on the road. They had gone into the yard and stuck the hooks in the ground and put the little pumpkin dudes back up. They did not look for an outlet to plug them back in, but I bet the owners were very surprised to find them hanging in their yard once again. And just in time for Halloween.

As I said, we had made the paper with the front page story on the missing coffin, but as we looked further into the paper we noticed something else. The newspaper’s photographer had gone out into the Hartford area and taken pictures of four or five Halloween displays. We recognized these displays because we had stolen every one of them except one. This one was at a local day care center behind a chain link fence. We did case the joint, but decided we would move on to less fortified displays.

This was a proud moment for us and we all knew that we had hit the top of our game. There was nowhere to go but down. When you make the paper and steal most of the displays featured in the paper you really can’t top it. So we didn’t try. We went out again the next year (documented in Tales of Halloween Mischief Part3) but it wasn’t the same so we all settled into retirement. Well, maybe semi-retirement. I have to admit I still find myself checking Halloween decorations out and wondering how easy it would be to fleece this yard and that yard. Maybe we should mount up and ride one more time. Maybe we will, maybe we will.

Be on the lookout for documented proof of the great coffin robbery right here on IA.

Fisher Deberry, racist or just politically incorrect?

"It just seems to me to be that way," he said. "Afro-American kids can run very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me that they run extremely well."

Is this racist? It appears as though it should be, but is it really? Apparently someone thinks so because Fisher Deberry, the coach of the Air Force Academy, has apologized for those comments and had been reprimanded by the Air Force Academy. The media has taken this story and run with it. But was what he said really that offensive? Or was it shocking to hear someone say what many of us already think?

I know it sounds very stereotypical, but he is not saying something that most of us don’t think. Look at the NFL, black players make up 99.9% of the speed positions. Look at the gold medal winners in the 100 yard dash in the Olympics for the last 20 years. I don’t think it is offensive to say that blacks can run fast.

His only mistake was saying things like this out loud during a press conference. People are bound to get all fired up over something an old white guy said that was not meant as a derogatory statement. If this had been a black coach saying this, we probably wouldn’t have this become as big of a story as it is.

Deberry was commenting on the fact that the school they had just played, TCU, had many black players and they were faster than the Air Force squad who didn’t have as many black players. In this time of extreme political correctness you just cannot say things like this in public and not offend someone, even if what is said is not meant to be offensive.

Would things have been better if he used code words instead of saying Afro-Americans? Would the things he said been more acceptable if he said that his team needed more “speed?” Would it have been better accepted if he talked about how TCU was so much more “athletic” than Air Force and that Air Force needs to recruit more “athletic” players? Is this better than just laying out the truth? Apparently, yes.

I believe this is a case of Sivart’s media taking something and blowing it way out of proportion. I guess the World Series isn’t big enough sports news this week so they had to search for a story to blow up. (Speaking of which, Hank Aaron is making a fuss over the fact that the Houston Astros have no black players on their team.) I wonder if Good Morning America had a piece on this.

Welcome to the jungle, it's gonna make you old. HUNH!

Axl Rose must be so proud. He fronted one of the greatest rock bands in history. He sold millions of records. He saw a million faces and he rocked them all. Axl Rose was the coolest.

Now it seems according to Ellegirl magazine, he is still cool, just not the coolest. Axl Rose was voted the second coolest “old person” in the world. He is second to grandparents. (How your grandparents are cooler than Axl Freakin’ Rose, I don’t know.) I know it’s not the same as just being plain the coolest, but considering where Axl is now, this is pretty good. Somehow all this is making me feel old.

French Toast's worst nightmare, if she had a daughter.

This post is especially for the wonderful French Toast. Click on the link and enjoy this story about 8 year old girls, guns, and bears.

Speaking of guns, I talked with Merlin's dad today and he asked if we fired the guns we had transported to South Carolina. I told him that we had discussed it but we didn't do it because French Toast was freaking.

He then surmised that the weapons had still not been fired if that was the case. I agreed and we both laughed at French Toast's irrational fear.

Chain of events...

This morning I had to take my beloved 4x4 to the shop to have some work done. I spent about $350 last December having the upper and lower ball joints replaced so I could save my tires and here we are in October and I'm probably going to need at least one new ball joint.

For those of you who don't know, ball joints connect your wheels to the front end of your vehicle and they allow them to pivot and turn easily. Ideally without making a loud high-pitched metal-on-metal squeal like I'm currently experiencing. Constantly.

And the funny part is that when I purchased the joints there were three grades of increasing "quality" and price. Crappy, not-as-crappy and gold-plated crap. The gold-plated crap upper joints that I purchased were supposed to be the best on the market. And now I'm having to replace one less than a year after purchasing them.

What sucks about this is that had I suspected that I had a bad ball joint, I wouldn't have driven my truck to South Carolina. It's all fun and games until your wheel breaks off of the truck going down a twisting mountain interstate.

The humor in this is that I purchased the $60 "not-so-crappy" lower joints and they are fine, but the $100 upper joints are literally gold-plated crap and they're screaming for mercy.

I told you that story to tell you this story.

I had to have Piccu come pick me up at the mechanic and bring me to the office this morning. We were on our way through town and I happen to look in a hatch in the Jeep and sitting there was a good friend of mine.

Sivart will know exactly who I'm talking about when I say his name. The friend I found was good ol' Pakistan. Pakistan is a hawk-bill pocket knife that I bought at a convenient store for like $3.99 maybe as far back as high school. At least college, but he's the best pocket knife ever.

I have literally been looking, although not that hard, for a replacement for Pakistan for about 3 years and couldn't bring myself to purchase one because all good pocket knives cost too much. And you are risking too much spending a lot of money on sunglasses and pocket knives. Sunglasses just because they are too easy to break and pricey knives make you feel bad when you beat on them or break the tip off trying to prying on something stupid.

Pakistan is special because he has his name written on the blade. Sure some might tell you that has something to do with where the knife was made, but those people are stupid.

And so ends the blog entry of a 12 year-old.

I'm just hoping that French Toast doesn't make Merlin delete this post since we all know her stand on guns. Or at least BB guns. I hope she doesn't have the same aversion toward knives.

Adult ADHD on the way up

I really should say that the use of stimulants is on the way up. According to the NY times article I linked, the use of stimulants in adults doubled in the country. Four states led the way with more than double at a 117% increase, and of the four guess who was in there? Yeah you got it, Ky. There are multiple theories as to why this situation might be. The article sites the idea that stimulants promote weight loss and many adults want the easy way out. I don't doubt this to contribute, but I also recognize that many of these meds are amphetamine based. Hmm..... people wanting amphetamines? Why would that happen? I like to recognize the possibility that with the growing awareness of ADHD, that there may be at least a few people that flew under the radar during the formative years and then actually gained benefit from the meds.

As an aside, I like to put my two cents in on the diagnosis of ADHD. I think that it is grossly misdiagnosed; not overdiagnosed. Meaning That many people who are given meds don't need them and many people who need them aren't getting them. I certainly don't think that every kid should be on them, but for those it helps, it's a great thing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Counting Down the Dead

My friends at Good Morning America, the New York Times and various other media outlets are trying to undermine the military efforts of their home country. That's a bold statement, but let's face it, I have proof. In the New York Times, they ran pictures of every soldier killed in the war with Iraq. ABC's Nightline has done the same thing already this year.

Today on GMA they memorialized the 2000th soldier killed in the Iraq War. That really, in and of itself, doesn't bother me. The problem I had with was the morbid countdown we've had all week on GMA. Monday they told us we were close to 2000. Tuesday they said the 1999th had died. Today they mentioned that the 2000th soldier had been killed. They showed his picture. They interviewed his mother. It really hit home and made you question war exactly as they intended.

Weekly they tell you support for the war is waning. Weekly they tell you the president's numbers are down. DAILY they tell you the number of dead in the war.

Can you recall, ever, seeing a war in which we heard every day how many people had died? It didn't happen in the war in Afghanistan. It didn't happen with the Persian Gulf War. And America won both of those conflicts so fast they can hardly be called wars at all. But daily now we're told how many people have died, and support wanes, and spineless Republican leaders bend in the face of increased scrutiny so that we fight the war halfheartedly always concerned with public opinion polls and media backlash.

When America supports a war, it wins. Period. When America doesn't support a war, it doesn't win. See Vietnam. There is a difference between not supporting a war and working to undermine the support of others. Today the media, as it will everyday, continues to attack us at our subconscious being. And when America fights this war half-heartedly and suffers defeats, the media will tell you about it. But when America wins battles and makes progress, you will not hear it.

I'm getting sick of it, as you can tell. I'm nearing a boycott of ABC. But if I boycotted every network that does this, I'd have to sell my TV and devote myself to reading books by Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter and Lara Ingram. So I won't boycott ABC yet, but I'm getting closer. As I said yesterday, someone has to call the media out, and I guess it's us bloggers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Pictures on Parade

This is the set of pictures as promised. The top left is the finished product. The others are the reverse mohawk, as the nonsense began.

This next set of pictures are of the halloween mayhem. For starters here is the a portion of the Incongruent-Affect gang at the nearly world famous Beacon; the alleged largest Lipton Tea seller. There I am on the left, then piccu, Bratch, and Lemur. French_toast is behind the camera.
The next shot there is in the cabin of Piccu. He is in vacation mode. Down below there are the "little rascals" butch and mac.

The final picture is of the Drag King show. It is a bit racey, so viewer discretion is advised. This chick was carrying a whip and doing some routine to NIN. Like I said in my post before this was new exprience. By the way I want to make it clear that they are both girls.

Are these things really that important

Is it me or do professional sports leagues seem to have a problem keeping their nose out of the player’s and in baseball’s most recent case, owner’s business? It starts with the NFL, called the No Fun League by some, regulating what a player can wear or what ways a player can celebrate. A player cannot wear a towel stuffed in his pants if it hangs longer than the league allows. The NFL would not let Peyton Manning wear black high top cleats in honor of Johnny Unitas the week he died because it violates the league rule on what cleats should look like. Is it really that important? As long as the players wear their team’s uniforms, who cares what kind of socks they wear?

Over the last couple of weeks we have been bombarded with the travesty that is the new NBA mandated dress code. I know some of the players in the NBA are young, but they are not in high school anymore. Most of the league is made up of adults who can make their own decisions.

The NBA after adopting the thuggish hip hop look is now backing away from that. The owners and commissioner of the league are afraid that the way the players dress before and after the game is setting a bad example for kids. Many will want to blame this on race, but it is purely a money issue as are all things such as this. The people who buy these $10,000 luxury boxes are Fortune 500 companies and the NBA is afraid of scaring that money off. Again, as long as you wear your team’s uniforms during the game, whatever you wear after work is your business.

Now we get the latest controversy, if you can call it that. Apparently major league baseball wants the Houston Astros to open the roof on their dome for tonight’s game. I guess the blimp people have paid to much money to sponsor MLB and not get a shot of the field from 6000 feet in the air. The Astros want the dome closed because it gives them a slight advantage and if I recall, home advantage means just that, the home team has an advantage. The Astros believe that with the roof closed the stadium is louder and it is a funner atmosphere.

Now if the Astros think this is an advantage for them then they should be able to do as they please. The only problem is that MLB has the authority to make decisions like this in the postseason and MLB wants the dome open. The Astros will probably have to do as they are told and this is another factor in the White Sox being destined to win the World Series.

I do not understand all these stupid battles that go in professional sports. I guess owners think that they can tell players what to do because they pay them such outrageous salaries. However, players would not make these salaries if owners were not willing to pay them. It all comes down to money, which is the way things are in the world of millionaires fighting billionaires.

I hate Good Morning America

Jessica Yellin (her name is honestly "Yellin'") this morning was live on GMA reporting on the CIA leak at the White House. Before we get too far, understand that this leak has been skyrocketed out of proportion. It was the leak of a non-covert CIA operative, which is not a crime. A non-covert operative who did a photo shoot with her husband for a popular magazine BEFORE the leak.

Now that we've established that this entire investigation is as big a waste of time as the merit system investigation of Governor Fletcher's administration in Kentucky, let me get to my point. GMA is pretty dead on obvious about their bias against the Republican administration. I say Republican, because I don't think they care if it's George Bush or Abraham Lincoln, they just don't agree with conservatism.

This morning Yellin reported that there is a huge uproar because Cheney's top advisor, I. Lewis Libby, may have posessed documents of a conversation he had with Cheney where Cheney actually was the source of the leak. The real story to follow would be that Libby had testified he heard of the operatives name from the press, so he possibly has perjured himself.

Following that story, I would completely understand. That's news. Instead they focus on Cheney, claiming he's at fault. Now, follow me here, the vice president has every right to know a CIA operatives identity. He's one of the few who can. He also has every right to discuss that with his closest advisors. ABC even said this DURING this very report. Then they went on to talk about how Cheney is now at the center of this storm and how indictments are pending.

Cheney, my friends, did nothing wrong here. The only thing newsworthy is the possible perjury of Libby, but ABC turned it into another story of how Cheney is evil and it's all his fault. That is lying. Straight up, and without question, it is lying. Someone needs to start calling out the media. It's getting absolutely ridiculous.

I understand if you don't like Bush. Hey, I'm a republican, and I don't really like Bush myself. But the media cannot divorce itself enough from their own political biases to report a story factually without adding in made up components to make the public think that either Bush or Cheney is ultimately at fault. They've done it over and over, most recently with this CIA leak and with Hurricane Katrina. I hope most Americans are smart enough to see through this, and the ratings of network news sources seem to indicate Americans are that smart. But you have to admire the networks, for sticking to their guns and continuing to offer you inaccurate news at their own expense.

Happy Birthday Jason and more Friday the 13th news.

Good news, good news for those of you who are fans of the Friday the 13th series. It appears there will be more coming in the next few years, starting with Freddy vs. Jason vs. Michael Myers. That will be an experience. I do not know if you have seen Freddy vs. Jason, but you should. Bratch and I saw the movie on opening night in theaters and the place was packed and it was like a party. Most of the time when I go to see a movie, I want quiet so I can enjoy it, but in this case the party atmosphere added to the experience. I imagine it will be the same for F vs. J vs. MM.

In other news coming out of the 25th anniversary party of Friday the 13th is that there will be a remake of the first one and they will just start the series over again. I do not know if that will work. The first few are my faves and the ones that follow them like 5,6,7,8 and so on, become more of a spoof and parody of what they started out being. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy them, but I am not sure you can make the same movies and sell them again.

Whatever the case, I hope we get the movie that was rumored to be made before we found out about Freddy vs. Jason vs. Michael Myers. What movie was that? How about Freddy vs. Jason, vs. Ash? You know, Ash from the Evil Dead series. Check out Army of Darkness this Halloween season, my personal fave of the Evil Dead series and tell me he wouldn’t be a great addition to the fight.

Twisting my arm, and putting one of those tiny racquets in my hand

They begged and begged so finally I gave in. I mean I have never been a big racquet ball player, but I have played enough to count on one hand maybe two. I admitted that I played tennis for a long time growing up, but they didn't take no for an anwser.

This is how my fellow residents drug me onto the racquet ball court. There were four of them waiting at the courts yesterday, so when I got there we ended up playing cut throat on one court and then one on one on the other. The crowd included Dundi, who piccu I know has met playing cards in Lexington, and then the two little rascals (Butch and Mac) who made it to scare fest 2005, and the other guy was one of the upper level residents.

It started out they just wanted to teach me the rules and let get warmed up on the two player court. I took out Dundi 11-4 (he wanted to go to 11). Then they were going to intergrate me into the cut throat, but I wanted one more two player to get loosened up. So Mac came over and I took him down 15-7. Then it became glaringly obvious that I wasn't getting out of the two person court until someone beat me. Unfortunately it never happened. The upper level John was by far the most talented in terms of where to hit the ball and how hard to hit it, but after some running and some adapting to his shots I took him out 15-10. The final match was with Butch. Now, he is the most physical. It's not really intentional but he just doesn't get out of the way and throws some body blocks. Also, if you are between him and the ball; he goes after it regardless. We had a lot of "do overs" because of positioning. After being stuck on 3-3 for a long time, worked up to a solid8-3 then the wheels came off and it was straight to 8-8. Finally I found the serve and how to vary me shots. I went straight to 15-8.

I'm more competitive than talented and the time running and lifting weights seemed to pay off, especially an hour into it. I did enjoy the racquet ball a lot more than I expected. I'm not saying its any frisby golf, but it was fun.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Fate is on the White Sox side.

Is it just me or does it seem like fate wants the Chicago White Sox to win the World Series? I have been watching this year’s playoffs and I have noticed some things that make me believe we have another Boston Red Sox situation.

Here we have a baseball team that hasn’t won a World Series championship since 1917. That is a long time. In fact it is a longer time than the drought the Boston Red Sox suffered through. Why don’t we love/hate the White Sox like we love/hate the Red Sox? What can we blame their curse on? Is there room for another curse in baseball, much less the city of Chicago?

The White Sox are most famous for throwing a World Series. The famous Black Sox scandal not only embarrassed Chicago, it almost ruined baseball. I can’t believe that hasn’t been picked up and used as an excuse for their run of futility. The Black Sox Curse, that has a nice ring to it.

Whatever the case, curse or no curse, the White Sox (as of this writing) are up two games to none on the Houston Astros and appear to be on their way to a World Series championship. Things just seem to be falling into line, as they have all the way through the playoffs for the White Sox.

Can anyone forget what happened in the first round with the White Sox facing a 2 games to none deficit going into game 3 in Los Angeles? Well, they were facing a two games to none situation until AJ Pierzynski took a trot down to first base and threw the whole series on its ear.

With the help of an incompetent umpire, the White Sox stole one from the Angels and cruised to a 3 games to one series win. I am convinced this incident sucked the life out of the Angels. They already had to be playing on fumes after the Yankees series and this “dropped” strike three blew their second wind right out of them.

That was the first thing that made me think the Chicago White Sox were destined for Great things this postseason. I saw a few things in game 2 on Sunday night in Chicago that convinced me this year once again belongs to the Sox.

One thing that convinced me is that the weather was so bad even I was uncomfortable just watching it. It was cold and rainy and nasty. I half expected the game to be called and finished on Monday, but this being the World Series; I knew that was going to be a long, long shot. While I am sure it was miserable for both teams, I am also sure Houston probably doesn’t play in 45 degree weather all that often. The elements were against the Astros.

Here is another weird thing. It comes once again from the umpires. Jermaine Dye was up to bat in the seventh inning and was hit by a pitch. Or was he? Apparently he was not, but it appeared as though he was and the umpire sent him to first base, thus loading the bases with the White Sox trailing the Astros 4 runs to 2.

I am sure the umpire made the best call he could; in fact, I too thought Dye was hit by the pitch, until I saw the replay. We all know what happened next. The bad call extends the inning and Paul Konerko comes up and blasts a grand slam to give the Sox a 6-4 lead. Are we sure that Dye would have gotten out if he had not been “hit” by that pitch? No, but it didn’t help the Astros one bit. Fate hurts.

Now, if those two things aren’t enough to convince you that fate is intervening on the behalf of the White Sox. We get to the 9th inning. Somehow the Astros battle back against all odds and somehow tie this game up with the best closer in baseball coming on to hold off the White Sox. Brad Lidge is a bad dude; believe me when I say this. No one can stop him unless your name is Albert Pujols.

Lidge is facing a guy who did not hit one home run during the regular season. A guy who is known more for stealing bases than rounding them in a home trot.

Scott Podsednik steps up against Brad Lidge and lofts a 2-1 pitch into the bleachers. This is Podsednik’s second homerun in the post season. Either this guy is the new Derek Jeter or we need to test for illegal substances or fate is stepping in and giving the White Sox some help.

This was the kicker for me. I am convinced this Series is all over but the shouting. I know, I know, it’s not like I have been Kreskin so far with my baseball predictions, but this is bigger than a moron like me trying to prove how smart I am. This is bigger than that. It’s been said many times in cases such as these, but this time it will hold true. You gotta believe, and even if you don’t, it’s not up to you and me. It’s fate.

Louisiana Proves Government Can Screw Up Anything

Is the state of Louisiana incredible or what? First you've got a mayor who mobilized a bunch of busses to evacuate the needy, then tabled the idea until the busses were literally under water. Then you've got a governor who honestly told the national guard to wait an extra day before sending them in to help the victims of the biggest hurricane in New Orleans history. And now, the state legislature has suspended funding rebuilding projects because of the excessive amount of pork projects attached to the bill.

If you click on the link above, you can read the story from the Times-Picayune that tells about some of the frivilous projects attached to the rebuilding bill. Things like a horse park, picnic shelters, and other idiotic spending that might cost them federal dollars. Think of it like this, would you give your teenager $100 if they spent the first $100 on a tatoo that says "I Love Enrique?" No. So you see the point.

It's just like the mobilization of the guard in the days after Katrina hit. The help is there, but the leadership is so corrupt and idiotic, they can't get out of their own way to let help come in. Now they've screwed up this reconstruction process with projects that should be put on hold. If they other parrishes and townships can't handle that, tough.

It would be naive to think this only happens in Louisiana. Fortunately, most states will never suffer the catastrophic circumstances that has led to such a harsh spotlight on the government there. But pork barrelling is much older than you or I. It's part of the political process, and that process is fundamentally flawed in that regard. So who suffers? I'll give you a hint. It's not the politicians. The people of New Orleans are suffering now. It could just as easily have been me, you, or any other American citizen.

We pay higher taxes for projects like these that get buried in bills that actually matter. And we're partially to blame, because if our area doesn't get our fair share of the projects, our representative won't be reelected. This is why I'm a conservative folks. I believe in less government, less pork, less taxes, less, less, less. New Orleans is now seeing what more gets you.

The Hobbit: Men in Tights

On Saturday, french_toast and I made it up to Spartanburg to watch her 7 year old cousin perform in a play. It wasn't until I got there that I realized it wasn't a play, but it was in actuality a ballet. At that point, I was having a few mixed emotions about how this whole experience was going to pan out.

The ballet was the Hobbit and our cousin was a fairy. Most of you familar with the Hobbit may be scaratching your head now? I mean there are no fairies in The Hobbit, right? Well in this version there were. For those of you who have not been to a ballet, let me give you my interpretation of how the whole concept of a ballet works. We are all familar with the prancing the ballerinas do. So now but a narrator opening each scene to tell you what is just about to take place. Then everything happens without words just dancing out the scenes. In college I went to an Opera for a class, and let me tell you the ballet is much much better. I like the theater, and a good play is very enjoyable. The ballet is something everyone should do once, perferably when you are a child. These little kids around us were mesmerized by what they were seeing.

As for The Hobbit itself, the ballet was pretty good. It was two acts, each made up of many scenes. I have to say that when the fairies came out in the beginning of the second act, it was funny watching our cousin and all of the second graders. They only were out there less than a few minutes. Before all of this during the intermission, the man in charge of the Spartanburg Ballet came out to make a plug for donations. He laid down a statement about the dragon that would be coming out near the end. I leaned over to french_toast and whispered something to the effect that the dragon was going to be "bad-ass." Well, the dragon really wasn't that bad-ass. It was someone on stiltswith this giant dragon head and a giant tell coming from behind. I guess in the grand scheme of things it was pretty cool, but when movies have desensitized us to the point where our imaginations are essentially removed, it's hard to get into non "realistic" dragons.

They also had lots of other interesting characters and ways of presenting the story. In the end it was an hour and a half of supporting family and experiencing my first ballet. I reccomend it. That night after our Saturday matinee we headed out to dinner with the whole family. One of the Cousins who is in tenth grade was asked whether he had enjoyed all of the girls in tights. He basically replied that there was only one hot girl in the whole thing. Immediately, I cut him to begin to guess who he was talking about. Of course, this opened a whole can of worms. But, I did in fact get on the first try: the queen of the goblins. She had some tight leather outfit, was the only one who didn't look like an 11yo girl (though who knows how old she is).

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Long live the kings

As you may read below and as you can imagine, after wrapping up my exam on Friday I was ready to blow off some steam. So where did I head out to? Where every red-blooded man goes when he wants to get loose-- a drag king show. Yes you read correctly, a drag KING show. french_toast, the lemur, dundi and I made our way over to the show about seven oclock. A girl in my psychiatry program along with her partner and another girl, bid on a charity auction and won a drag king show.

I am about to give my review and what I was able to focus on during the shindig, but I believe "the toast" and "the lemur" are going to give their versions as well. We walk into this bar with a run way set up with pits on either side. at the same level as the run way there are some tables set up all around. Directly at the end of the run way is a couch for the winners of the auction. The three girls on the couch came in ready to party.

There were about twenty to thirty people at this private show. I guess there were about five ladies (or gentlemen depending on your take) who performed two songs each. There was a variety of music ranging from AC/DC and Nine inch Nails to some boy band type stuff. It was all pretty cool some got into the lip singing and some did some crazy dances. Some of these ladies had some fake facial hair and they actually looked like the back street boys. Some of them just looked like really punked out chicks.

There was a lot of risque dancing going on and crazy antics, but it was great fun. When the performers did some crazy entertaining stuff the dollar bills would wave. The lemur was on the corner right next to the run way and had the best views of some of the stuff that went on and I mention it because it was up to him to "deposit" my dollar bill when the act didn't even make it off the run way.

At one point someone circled around and after a particularly riveting performance Dundi handed her a dollar bill as she passed. She took a step back and planted this gigantic kiss directly on the old pucker. It wasn't a huge deal except the look on his face was worth the price of admission. He as caught off guard to say the least.

At the intermission as the performers were changing costumes the mc did a survey of stand up if you are a gay woman, then gay man then straight guy then straight girl. There were a lot of gay girls and I guess no gay men. There were the three of us guys and two or three strainght girls.

After the intermission things really got going. The performer who had came out to NIN in the first part really looked like a pretty hot punked out chick. She came complete with a whip. Some how she got one of the scantily dressed girls on the runway and proceeded to wrap her up with the whip. The next thing I knew there was some tongue contact and apparently the scantily dressed one was pretty... shall I say toasted. Somehow they stumble a bit and if you remember the seating arrangement, the Lemur was in the path. So here are two hot girls making out on his lap and then the chair he was in realized the balance wasn't quite right. He started to tip over until our friend who invited us made the save got everyone back up right.

There where lots of other little moments, but the whole thing was a very new experience for the four of us. It was fun and though I am not sure whether I will see it again, it was worth the one time experience.

Testes, One. Two. Three?

Thursday and Friday of this week marked one of the least enjoyable experiences of my life. I took my third and final board exam for medicine (god willing that I passed it). I have taken more tests than I can count. I have taken at least three prior test that last an entire day. This one was by definition a festival of pain (FOP).

First off it was two days long. Second, it totalled between 400 and 500 multiple choice questions, which were case scenarios (meaning it was a paragraph or two for each one). Third, there was a new part to the exam sucha that we do case scenarios. Essentially they give you a set up where you are the Emergency Room Doc and this patient comes in complaining of something. You then have an infinite arsenal of tests or treatments you can order. It allegedly recogonizes around 12,000 commands.

All of this was long, difficult, and tiring. There were a few other people I knew taking the exam, but becasue you can take your breaks whenever you choose, you really don't run into the others much. My friend came out and was sitting with this pediatrician. Now keep in mind that there is a huge database of questions. If 5 of us are taking the test at the same time you won't get any of the same questions. He was talking to her and asked if she was have trouble getting the computer to accept a particular command. At this point, the girl at the desk who is supposed to check your id everytime you come in and out of the room, looks up and says "are you talking about the test?"

Well, apparently he almost had a total melt down. She hammered him with questions about their conversation. He esentially decided that he had not done anything wrong and though he was talking about an exam where no one has the same questions, and they weren't even talking about the questions specifically; that he would just not even get into it and just simply say "no, we weren't talking about the test."

This wasn't good enough for her and she asked him another time or two and suddenly after not checking anyone's id the entire day decided to hammer him for not signing in on the right line or something.

That was a horrible test and fortunately I didn't get questioned about that whole experience since I wasn't there. I pray to god that I don't have to retake that.

Gettin' My Wig Split

So for the past several years, I have been cutting my hair pretty short. I guess it was over a year ago that I realized i should buy a twenty dollar set of clippers and just get my wife or myself to cut it. It was short anyway and after a couple of attempts my method was perfected. Over the past year I have evolved to a 3 or 4 guard on the top and a 1 on the sides and back. This had worked out well, but the last couple of times I have been wanting to try a shorter cut. I finally got the courage up on Friday to put a 2 on the top and a 1 on the rest. I thought it really couldn't be THAT much shorter. Well, I was wrong. After finishing the top part of my hair without a mirror as always. I moved to the shorter guard to cut the back/sides. Well, it started when I couldn't find the 1 guard. I searched and searched and finally found it: it was on the razor. I had managed to grab the wrong one and put it on to cut the top. Let's say it was short. My hair is about as light blonde as can possibly be and from a distance it looked like I was shaved slick. You'd be surprised how fast it grows and today it already looks and feels longer.

I am indeed the moron.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tales of Halloween Mischief Part 3 (The exciting conclusion.)

As we headed back into town, we decided to go through some of the back streets and look for the darkest houses with the most stuff. We found quite a few houses that were dark and ripe for the picking. It was at this time that we seemed to be running into some, well, problems with pumpkins.

At one house we stopped and 3 or 4 jumped from the bed of the truck and over a fence into a yard filled with Halloween goodies. Cornstalks were taken, hay bales were taken, and of course pumpkins were taken. Unfortunately one of the pumpkin takers had a little trouble stopping as he got to the truck. I am not sure exactly what happened, whether he slipped or just couldn’t stop himself, but one cousin ended up smashing a pumpkin between the truck and himself. It didn’t help matters that the pumpkin was a little rotten. He had pumpkin innards all over his jacket and shirt. That wasn’t the only somewhat aged pumpkin we handled that night.

At another house, the crazy one of the group ran to a porch to nab a huge pumpkin. It looked as though it could have been about a 40 to 50 pounder. It was sitting on the end of the porch and the porch was about thigh high. He bent down and thrust his arms under the pumpkin expecting to clean and jerk that sucker into his arms and run it back to a waiting truck. The pumpkin had other plans. Apparently this pumpkin had been waiting in the sun for many, many days and was very rotten on the bottom. At least it was rotten enough to ingest our friend’s arms up to his elbows into its stomach. Our crazy friend, not to be defeated went ahead and lugged it to the truck regardless of the slippery pumpkin guts and threw it into the truck.

There was one more unruly pumpkin we had to deal with on this night. We were in a subdivision and found some nice houses to confiscate decorations from and the cousin who smashed a pumpkin between himself and the truck was on the trail of another pumpkin. I guess he got spooked by something because he came running for the truck looking as if he were about to make a dive into the bed.

The main problem with this form of entry is that the truck we were in was a four wheel drive, red monster. The bed of it was at least five feet off the ground. Pumpkin or no pumpkin, he was not going to jump over the side of the bed into the truck. He realized this and tossed the pumpkin to another cousin so he would have a little easier time climbing in the truck. The pumpkin must have been pretty ripe because as my cousin caught it, it exploded on to him as if he had been hit with a water balloon filled with pumpkin guts. We got everything together and moved on to our most creative vandalism of the night.

We were driving through the back streets of BD and we saw a house with a huge Halloween display lit up by spotlights in the ground. There was something odd about this house. It seemed as though no one was living there. It was too new. There were no signs of life. After a few drive bys to check things out, we hit it. It had all kinds of good decorations, plastic skeletons, ghosts, pumpkins and a rather shoddy, but cool homemade coffin.

We grabbed up everything we could get and took off down the road. By this time we had a huge amount of stuff and we were thinking of something to do with it. Someone came up with the great idea to take the decorations from the last house to the Taylor place and set it up. The Taylor place is basically a farm with an old farm house that was usually rented out to, let’s say less fortunate people (quite often a bootlegger). The owners are great people and for a pretty big farmhouse, the rent was always really cheap.

We thought we would spread some Halloween cheer and give this family a big Halloween spread. The farm house sits way off the road, though it can be seen from the road and there is a long driveway to the house. We decided to set up the decorations right at the beginning of the drive so that everyone who drove by would see it.

We went all out. We used everything we took from the last house and even some other things we had laid claim to during the night. Coffin, check. Skeleton, check. Pumpkins, ghosts, cornstalks, check, check, check. As the kids say in the streets, we hooked them up. It was not the greatest Halloween display of all time, but it was pretty good. We were glad our thieving ways could help a less fortunate family. We felt doubly good.

As we left the Taylor place, it was around 11 pm, we had gotten a lot of stuff done in about 3 or 4 hours and we were ready to return to base. As we were taking the back roads back to the house, the crazy one gets a wild hair and launches a pumpkin from the bed of the truck and obliterates a mailbox. We usually never destroyed anything, unless you count the destruction of Halloween dreams by stealing decorations. I really had mixed emotions about it later on in the week when I learned it was a cousin’s mailbox. A distant cousin, so it didn’t bother me too much. It’s all in good fun.

As for the family that we played Great Pumpkin too, I never knew what they thought. I can only imagine the looks on their faces as they reached the end of their drive and saw a huge Halloween wonderland. We did this about two weeks before Halloween, so they had plenty of time to enjoy their decorations. That is until some no good, low down, thieving vandals stole every bit of it the day before Halloween. There really ought to be a law.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Spoiler for a dying Alias.

Even though Alias looks to be deader than Michael Vaughn, I found an interesting little tidbit. If you are one of those people who do not like spoilers and want to be surprised by everything, then do not click on the title link, third question down. Otherwise, enjoy!!!

Astros, White Sox, just like I predicted.

Since I did not write a column for this week’s paper, I will go ahead and talk some sports today, basically because I am bored and want to kill time until lunch.

The Houston Astros beat a team that I and many others thought were the real deal Holyfield. I thought the St. Louis Cardinals were going to roll through the National League and then roll through the World Series. It just looked like it was their year. They had better pitching and only a somewhat less potent offense than last year. They just ran into a team that has played the best baseball since the all star game. Don’t let it be said that a great team cannot be beaten by a hot team every time.

I first realized the Cardinals were in trouble when baseball pundits kept talking about how an injured Reggie Sanders was going to hurt them significantly. Excuse me? Is this the same Reggie Sanders who went 0 for playoffs with the Reds? The same Reggie Sanders who didn’t even have a foul tip against the Braves in 1995. The same Reggie Sanders that had 16 at bats and 10 of those ended in strikeouts. If the Cardinals were pinning all their hopes on Reggie Sanders then they had bigger problems than his injury.

In the end, twas pitching that killed the beast. The Astros have the best rotation and the best closer in baseball. They shut down one of the highest scoring teams in baseball and except for an Albert Pujols homerun that is still circling the globe, they made it look easy. The Astros also put some runs on the board. This was the thing that I thought would kill them. In the end they showed themselves to be the better team.

We now have a World Series between a team who hasn’t been to the World Series since 1959 and a team who has never been to the World Series. The Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros begin the battle on Saturday. Fox is now wondering aloud, “Who are the ad wizards who came up with this matchup?” It won’t send the ratings through the roof, but I wouldn’t be surprised if people watch this Series.

There are a few reasons people might be interested in the 2005 World Series. One is that this is a Series of firsts. First time ever for Houston and first time back for Chicago since 1959. My favorite line throughout the playoffs this year is about the Chicago White Sox. They have thrown a World Series since they last won a World Series.

It is the first Series for Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, two guys who have entertained baseball fans for what seems like 50 years. I am glad these two have their chance to win a championship. I do wish Bagwell was in a little better health and could help out more and hopefully he will be able to DH. I am also saddened that Larry Walker will not have his chance to win a title as this is supposedly his last year before retiring. He was one of those players that put everything on the line and unfortunately all those years of line putting showed in the NLCS.

Another reason this Series may bring in some viewers, at least for games 1 and 5 can be summed up in three words. Clemens, Clemens, Clemens. Roger Clemens is the biggest name in this Series. People will watch him because he is the greatest and this could be it for his career. He could go out on top if he wins the Series. I don't know why he would because he is as dominate as he ever was.

This also brings to mind another reason people will watch. Clemens and Andy Pettitte are most known for their postseason with the New York Yankees and Clemens also with the Red Sox. Just because those two teams are not in the Series does not mean they can’t be injected into it throughout. I can already hear the announcers as Bagwell comes to the plate for his first at bat talking about how he was a lifelong Red Sox fan and was drafted by the Sox and then traded to Houston. Fox will be too scared not to try to inject Yankees and Red Sox into the Series because it is scary enough to have a World Series without either of those teams.

All in all, I plan on watching most of the Series because I am a baseball fan and I watch no matter which two teams play. I hope it a 7 game affair because that is what we all want. There's nothing like a game 7 with everything on the line. I believe that, big shocker, this will be a Series dominated by pitching and a team that can scratch out 3 runs a game will win this Series. I believe that the Astros are just so hot right now and because the Pujols game did not kill them, that they will take the World Series in 6 games. As you know, my predictions aren’t exactly the greatest so don’t be surprised to see dancing in the streets in Chicago this Halloween.

Tim McCarver, enough said.

I have found a home for some of you out there. I know you are like Bratche and I and you loathe a certain baseball color guy. A guy who doesn’t really seem to know what he is talking about. A guy who finds something that he thinks only he recognizes and beats it into the ground. A guy who just plain sucks. I am of course talking about Tim McCarver.

Well Good news, good news, I have found a website for those of us who cannot stomach McCarver any longer. It’s the I Hate Tim McCarver webpage. Click the title for the link and enjoy.

Anheuser-Busch forgot what they did for a living.

Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc is taking their free game off the market because players are not following directions. Bud Pong is a game Anheuser-Busch “invented” to “provide adults who socialize in bars with a fun activity.” How do you play Bud Pong? Well I’ll tell you. You fill up two cups with…water and bounce ping pong balls into the cups. Those who lose a point take a drink of…water. I never knew Anheuser-Busch sold water, man am I out of the loop.

Anheuser-Busch was shocked, SHOCKED I say, to learn that people were filling their cups with beer and drinking it when they lost a point. Anheuser-Busch was clear that only water should be used. They never meant for the public to play this game with anything but non alcoholic fluids because to suggest otherwise would be wrong, Jerry. Yeah, right.

We all know that Anheuser-Busch knew what it was doing. If you are a company that manufactures beer and you put out a drinking game, what do you expect? This is something I would expect from big tobacco. Anheuser-Busch wanted to provide adults who socialize in bars with a fun activity, huh? Guess what Anheuser-Busch? Adults who socialize in bars are already doing something fun, they’re getting drunk. Guess what doesn’t help you get drunk and socialize in bars? Drinking water. This is like Philip Morris giving out free lighters with explicit instructions to not use them to light cigarettes. That dog won’t hunt.

Get a clue Anheuser-Busch. Why did it take 3 and a half months for you to figure out that your game was being abused by these warped individuals? Are you sure you just weren’t ending the promotion anyway and decided to play morally responsible beer company and issue a statement about how you would never want anyone to buy and drink your product if it meant they would get drunk? That may have not been the case, but you know, that we know, that you know what you were doing. I’m gonna go drink some water.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

They just hate us so much....

The Ohio County Lady Eagles' soccer team really angered some folks tonight. They won their first ever district title last week and then beat the same team again for the first ever 3rd Region title. And everyone hates it.

No single team is hated more in their respective sport than Ohio County is in girls' soccer. People pure straight hate them. I thought it was just around here in the 6th district, but when they travel across the state during the summer teams complain about the way they play and generally can't stand them.

The best part about it is that it's so fun to be the bad guys, or girls as the case may be. Everywhere they go people hate on them and they just bop around and have fun. Most of the teams in this soccer district act more like Marines than teenage girls kicking a ball around.

The real reason why everyone hates Ohio County is because they ran over one of the toughest districts in the state and then won the region and made the Sweet 16 state tournament in only it's third season of varsity soccer. You know that you are doing it right when everyone hates you because people don't hate losers, but OC is a little more respected now.

Unfortunately that respect only goes so far. Case in point. All-District team for the regular season consists of 16 girls. There are 3 top 25 teams in this district, but OC was leading the way and was in the top 25 all season whereas the others broke in later.

The All-District team for the regular season saw only 4 OC players and they were the best team in the region and the team that finished 3rd in the district had 7 players. The good news is that the players that were snubbed from OC were voted to the 3rd All-Tournament team and I know that just irks everyone in the district.

The team from the poor rural county bulldozed the 4 city teams out of the district and region and they can't stand it.

I also heard that our local daily newspaper almost didn't even send a photographer down to cover the game. And this bothers me because this story has been creeping up on us for 3 years. The first day that anyone ever covered this team they thought in the back of their mind, if they win and do well, it would be a great story.

A smalltown team starts up with barely enough players to play and then fights tooth and nail in a district where 4 teams are from a single city while OC's soccer field used to be a corn field. Then they jump into this perennially tough district with top 25 teams and in 3 short years they not only win the district but they make the state tournament by winning the region?

It's not rocket science, this is the story and it hasn't ended yet. They just won the single tournament most every school strives to win every single season in every single sport and now they have a state tournament to play in.

David Copperfield's latest illusion is a head scratcher.

I don’t get it Big Dan. What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on here? David Copperfield is going to impregnate a girl on stage without touching her (which I am sure is a relief for the girl). What is this supposed to prove? Is there a turkey baster involved? Is he going to use spermal telepathy? Will the church have anything to say about this? Who is this woman and will Copperfield marry her afterwards to make her an honest woman? The big question is why do we care?

I think magicians went out with the Lambada, especially the long haired, flowing curtains, half nude assistant type magician. People want to see David Blaine (although he has to have the least charisma of any human on earth and most animals) and Chris Angel.

The only way I can see this working and freaking people out is if he impregnates her on stage and she comes to term in, say, 10 minutes and has the birth onstage. Now that is a trick. Sign me up for that. I can see some problems with logistics and the messiness, but that would we an illusion for the ages.

Yamma Hamma!!!

Check this out. It is guaranteed to make you check for more than just the lid being up. Click and enjoy!!

Alias fans Start the vigils. ABC is finally killing the show.

It looks like bad, bad news for Alias fans. Apparently Alias has not been doing so good since moving to Thursday nights. Maybe because Thursday is death night for everything that is not on CBS or ER. Maybe it’s also because ABC has moved it to a different night for the third time in 3 years.

Every year you have to go on a special fact finding mission to find out what day and what time Alias is coming on. Do you think that may have something to do with Alias not being able to find an audience? I do not see why ABC didn’t just leave well enough alone and leave Lost at 7 central, Alias at 8 central and the new show Invasion at 9 central. That sounds like a pretty good lineup to me. ABC would have had my Wednesday nights sewn up. I can only guess that ABC is helping Freddie and George Lopez out just by putting them on the same night as Lost. If only Jennifer Garner were a Latina, then maybe she could have stayed on Wednesday nights. I see the Freddie and George Lopez show as all the shows that were between Friends and Seinfeld that had really good ratings compared to other shows, but were not even close to other NBC shows on Must See Thursday. You will see Freddie go quickly and be soon followed by George Lopez.

Why are people not watching this show? It has action and hot chicks for the guys and it has that soap opera like story line for women. It may be the perfect show. It has gotten away from a having to see every show or not being able to follow it type of show to more of a stand alone episode type of show. You do not need to know the mythology of the past seasons. Maybe people think that is the case and they do not want to start a show that they need a huge amount of background information on.

What ever the case, it looks like Alias will be gone after this season. It just seems to me that ABC has done everything it can to slowly kill this show, which seems crazy because they keep bringing it back. One thing that can be said about TV execs, just because a show is good does not mean it should be on TV. Look at Yes Dear and According to Jim. Who watches these shows?

I hope something can be done because Alias is a great show and Jennifer Garner is getting hotter and hotter. When she finally breaks through and becomes the huge star she appears to be ready to become, ABC will not have her in their lineup and will probably be kicking themselves.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

My comment got too long...

A heated commenting session was going on under Merlin's dodgeball league post so I thought I would blog about it instead.

See, Merlin informed us that our little jaunt down to South Carolina would take about "5 to 5 and a half hours if you take your time". Unfortunately, it took us a lot longer than that to get there with Knoxville traffic, the mountains and a stop at IHOP.

We've been giving Merlin a hard time about it, but it really wasn't all that bad. We just expected it to be considerably shorter.

The funny thing that I was going to comment about is that everyone firmly believes that I drive incredibly slow.

However, these same people also will only drive 9 mph over the speed limit because they don't want to get a speeding ticket.

That being said, most of the time I'll drive 70 mph(i.e. slow) on the interstate, but everyone else that calls me slow will drive 74 and consider themselves outlaws like George Castanza bootleggin' a movie.

Here's my point, the "you drive like my grandma" comments don't hold much water when you don't have the onions to drive 76 mph. And they especially don't hold water when most drives we make are 45 minutes and under. That's the difference of getting there quickly at 5 p.m. or laugh-out-loud slowly at 5:03. I also tend to make sure that my life is never so hectic that 3 extra three minutes is a big deal.

Sivart likes to think that on our Road Trip of Death a few years ago that I was practically driving Miss Daisy back from Pennsylvania with the cruise control set at 70. And going through the mountains of West Virginia his Xterra was churning at a nose-bleeding 4,000 rpm on those 6 percent grades at 2400 ft.

So I guess when we stopped for gas in eastern Kentucky, if I had told Sivart to drive not only would he have climbed through the window a la Bo Duke-style, but he would have driven a spine-tingling 4 mph faster.

The moral of the story is, I drive comfortably at 65-70.

The Bandits of the world? They drive 74 and Jerry Reed writes song about them.

Ready to see the remake of The Fog? Read this and change our mind.

I just got off the site, which is a very cool movie site, and they had a review of the latest horror remake, The Fog. This review does not surpirse me, but it definitly makes me rethink seeing this thing. After watching it this weekend, I was a little curious about this movie, mostly because of Selma Blair. I love me some Selma Blair. Enjoy!!

Tales of Halloween Mischief Part 3

This should actually be Tales of Halloween Mischief Part 4 because this is the last big Halloween run we made. I am going all Tarantino on you and putting the last run we made third because the year before this one was our best. Don't worry, that edition will be coming next week and I may even have some nice vintage newspaper clippings of it, but I digress

This run consisted of friends and family totaling 8 people. We used one vehicle, a giant red truck with 3 in the cab and 5 in the bed. Usually we just decide on the spur of the moment to go out and get our vandalism on, but this time we planned to go out a few days earlier. This was premeditated.

We made this a family affair and a few who had never been on one of our patented runs were getting their first taste. We loaded up and headed out close to 10 pm. You want to start late; you have fewer witnesses after 10 as well as less people that are still awake.

We start out by leaving the big city of Hartford and go toward Daviess County. There is a special something that a cousin had been lusting over for a few years, but just never tried to do anything about. There is a home outside of town that is not hugely decorated, but they do have two unique items in their yard. There are two iron stakes in the ground in this yard. I guess I would describe these iron stakes as shepherd’s hooks. The stakes came straight up out of the ground then curved downward at the top to make a hook and then curved back up to hold the items we were after. The items were two light up pumpkin men.

They were about two feet long. They were just like dolls. They were dressed as clowns and their heads were jack o lanterns that were lit up from the inside by a bulb. This was going to be a great caper because this house is on the corner of a somewhat small road, though there are quite a few residents that reside on this road and a major thoroughfare. The major thoroughfare, the one that passes right in front of the house, is a US highway. There is some traffic on this road. To top all this off, there is another road that accesses the US highway right beside the smaller road on the side of the house. Let’s not even get into the two roads that are in front of the house across the US highway. In other words this was not something that could be done fast and sloppy with no chance of being seen.

We decided to send out our two best men. They were dressed in dark clothes and have had many years of vandalism behind them. We pulled to the end of the road beside the home and they climbed out of the back of the truck. We drove off and were going to make a turn around and drive back by to see how things were going. If we drove by and saw the little pumpkin heads glowing in the night, we knew to drive by again. If they were out, we were to pull into the road just past the house to pick up our men.

We took a little time in turning around and gave our boys quite a few minutes to get the job done and sure enough by the time we got back, the pumpkin heads were gone and we pulled in to wait for our guys to return to the truck. They soon ran down the road and climbed in the bed of the truck and we were off. Not only had they successfully grabbed the pumpkin men, but they also got the iron stakes from which they hanged.

The run was not without some tense moments. When they jumped out of the truck, they climbed into a ditch just wide enough for the both of them and just deep enough for them to be just barely below eye level. The reason they had to to dive into this ditch was because as soon as they made their move to the yard, a car came down the road on the side of the house. They dived into the ditch and prayed. One of them said that the car was so close to them that they could have reached out and grabbed the exhaust pipe. The car drove on and they proceeded into the yard and procured the pumpkin heads without further incident.

With what we assumed was the biggest caper of the night out of the way, we decided the rest of the night would be random grabs and just have fun. We grabbed some pumpkins on the way back into town, including one crazy theft of a couple of giant plastic light up pumpkins. These things were about two feet tall and as big around as a basketball. Luckily we had one of the craziest (or stupidest) guys on our team that night and he went after the lit pumpkins.

Because they were lit up, you would assume that they had to be plugged into an outlet or an extension cord somewhere. You would have assumed right. In fact the pumpkins were plugged into an outlet inside the house. As I said, luckily we had our crazy guy with us and he calmly walked to the front door, bent down to inspect the pumpkins and check where they were plugged in. When he realized they were plugged in inside the house, he opened the door and reached in and unplugged both of them and made a dash for the truck. He did all this without causing any alarm as far as we could tell. We were off for more.

On the way back into town, our crazy guy tried to destroy a chiropractor’s business sign with a thrown pumpkin, but luckily when it comes to sports he is horrible. He missed it by a mile and I will say I was glad that happened. We had always done stupid things but never destroyed property, well at least until the end of the night (foreshadowing).

To be continued……….