Friday, September 30, 2005

Let me out!

This is a picture of my brother and me at the State Fair sometime around 1988 or 1989. Why my brother is trying to get out, I don't know. Why I look so intent, I don't know. Why there is a man dressed in white in the background, I don't know. What I do know is that this picture is awesome.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Red Sox new pitcher

No wonder the Red Sox lost tonight. They had Chewbacca pitching for them. Sure he can probably throw 100 mph, but look at those hands. While they need a left handed relief pitcher, I don't think Chewie is the way to go. He has little control of his pitches, and his demeanor is not fitting for baseball, especially in a city such as Boston. The Red Sox are desperate.

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Photo by Jim Davis/Boston Globe

Although, if you look closely, that might just be Johnny Damon after not shaving or cutting his hair for a few months.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Computer rioting and some other non-related things of note

"Mothers clutched their children for protection, people screamed as they were knocked to the ground, a stroller was demolished, cars inched through the crowd." -- Richmond Times Dispatch, Aug. 17

Sometimes I really wonder about human beings and why they do what they do. Then comes this from last month in Richmond, VA. The story goes that $50 used iBooks were going to be sold and the crowd got unruly. Then they pushed and shoved and stampeded.

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Photo by Dean Hoffman/Times-Dispatch

In other less violent news at 2:57 a.m.
--Larry King alternates from being interesting and scaring me. I still haven't figured out the guy.

--The Chicago White Sox lost, but are closer to the playoffs because the Indians lost. This bothers me. I want history. I was a collapse like no team has ever had. And I want it to be the White Sox who do it. And I want the nation to get to see Coco Crisp and Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner and Jhonny Peralta and C.C. Sabathia play on the huge stage. That is what I want, and I don't even particularly like the Indians.

--The aforementioned Travis Hafner goes by the nickname "Cronk," which in an age of nicknames simply being the addition of a Y to the end of a name, is amazing. Also, Coco Crisp, which is the best name in baseball, isn't even his given name. That would be Covelli Crisp, which would still be the best.

--For some reason, there is a whole bunch of jerky lying around the house that my mom bought. She is involved in this jerky business, and it kind of freaks me out. A couple weeks ago, she made these little pizzas that I usually like. I took a bite, and something didn't taste right, but I was hungry, so I went with it. Then I realized she stuck pieces of jerky in it and didn't feel so good. I hate jerky.

--I like Los Angeles Times sports columnist T.J. Simers. He is sarcastic, and you really can't take what he says too seriously, but nobody writes a funnier sports column.

--Yeah, I could go for a pretzel, too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

One more week

I do this every year if there's a playoff race somewhere in baseball in the final week of the season, so here are my predictions. The difference this year is that there are five races that will be determined. This is why I love baseball. This is why I refuse to stop loving it, despite the fact the Cubs are always disappointing, the players and owners are constantly trying to kill the game and the last decade and a half has been a sham due to steroids. When a week like this comes around, I forgive easily.

AL East
Sadly, it is the Red Sox and Yankees again. While I am sick of them (much moreso the Yankees) and wish they would go away forever, it is always somewhat entertaining when they play. Perhaps it is the constant possibility of a brawl or the definite nature of New York and Boston people acting like idiots.

Whatever it is, the Red Sox are a half-game ahead right now after they beat Toronto today. They play three games against the Yankees this weekend, and it has a chance to be 1978 all over again.

The Red Sox will win two-of-three this weekend and the division by two games.

AL Central
People in Chicago tend to be fatalistic to an unhealthy degree. White Sox fans take that and add about 50 times to it. That is why it has been so fun to watch the Sox collapse. The Cleveland Indians, on the other hand, have been fun to watch because they are a young team that learned how to play and started beating everyone.

On Aug. 1, the White Sox were 15 games ahead in first place. Today, they are two ahead. Both Chicago and Cleveland play weak teams (Detroit and Tampa Bay, respectively) this week before playing each other this weekend in Cleveland. If the Indians win the division, it will be the biggest collapse in baseball history.

My guess is the White Sox will be a game ahead on Sunday, but the Indians will force a one-game playoff to be played Monday in Cleveland. The Indians will win that, and the collapse will be complete.


AL Wild Card
The White Sox will still get into the playoffs because they will win the Wild Card.

Boston and New York are close, but they will beat up on each other and Baltimore and Toronto are slightly more difficult opponents than Detroit and Tampa Bay. (Although, I am probably wrong about that because Baltimore has turned into a joke.)

NL Wild Card
This is a race between imperfect teams. The Astros can't hit, and the Phillies are the Phillies.

Houston began the season so poorly that it is amazing it is even in this position. They rely so heavily on Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Roy Oswalt that if any of them struggles, the whole thing falls apart. Clemens is the most important of the three, but his back caused him to miss a start recently.

Philadelphia is a team that when it doesn't finish 30 games out of first, contends for awhile, goes on a late losing streak, wins 85 games and finishes second or third. If the Phillies are still playing next week, I will be amazed. This is exactly the type of team that would do that.

So yeah, I'm guessing Houston.

NL West
The National League West is a joke. I don't even want to write about it, but I guess I will.

The Padres have been in first place all season, despite currently being 78-79. The Giants have struggled all year and would be 24.5 games out of first if they played in the NL Central. However, San Francisco is only three games behind the Padres.

The Giants won last night, and they play three more games this week against San Diego. San Francisco is going to win because the Padres are so imept that they couldn't even win a division they should have won by 15 games.

That's all I have to say about it, but seriously, if the Cubs were in the West, they would be a half-game out of first. How sad is that?

Headache ramblings

The sun is shining, dogs are barking, the neighbor is mowing his lawn, the bugs and birds are chirping and I WISH THEY ALL WOULD STOP! Sun...stop shining! Dogs...shut up! it some other time! Bugs and birds... do the same as the dogs. I woke up at 3 a.m. with one of those upset stomach inducing headaches, and it's back now. Bloody hell.

I also had a dream last night that I dislocated my elbow. Who has a dream like that? I can see having a dream about a million different things, but a dislocated elbow? My reaction to it wasn't of screaming in pain, but of "Heh, what do you know? My elbow feels funny."

I'm going to go sit in a dark room now.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Why you shouldn't TP

This is why you shouldn't go TP-ing your teacher's house. You know know when he/she will decide to wield a sword and start swinging it wildly...

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Boone High School teacher faces charges in connection with injuring a student with a sword.

Students and the teacher said a confrontation happened Tuesday night when a group came by his house to engage in a traditional high school prank -- putting toilet paper on his property.

"We were all TPing and stuff and a bunch of kids went to his house. And he came from a neighbor's yard with a sword and was chasing after everybody and hit a kid's hand," said Matt Phannes, a student.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Stupid ISTEP

A yearly tradition for elementary school students in Indiana is the ISTEP test. It's basically a standardized test that determines how a school is doing and if a student can move on. They were always given in March, and oh man, the teachers were on edge. They made it seem as if the test was the most important thing that would ever happen to us. Most of us believed it, too.

The only part I remember, and it's because it was the same every single year, was a fake vocabulary memorization part. It really was the same every year. You were always guaranteed of getting at least a couple questions right because you knew they were going to be there.

1. A yonker is a young man. Remember, a yonker is a young man.

2. Wuzzle means to mix. Remember, wuzzle means to mix.

3. A baloo is a bear. Remember, a baloo is a bear.

4. Daddock is rotten wood. Remember, daddock is rotten wood.

5. Sculch is junk. Remember, sculch is junk.

Yep, I remember.

The places I've been

I guess I should try to go south and west...

create your own personalized map of the USA

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Feeding a Chia Pet Kool Aid?

Chia Pet Technical Support

Includes the quote...

"Ever since they came out with the Chia Pet Groomer we keep getting calls about physical injury to customers ... they really need to add an inset stating that injured individuals using the groomer should call 911 and not Technical Support. We're here to help with the pet, not the person."

Coach quotes

Quotes of the night from the high school football coaches who call me at the Star...

1) (Yelling to the side) "Hey, what are you doing over there? Get off that! (To me.) Sorry about that. We have the dumbest kid in town."

2) "I'm sorry, but those penalties were bullshit. We had the officiating crew from hell."

3) "Josh! You're in my personal space!" (Later on in the same call) "Guys, come on! Back away from me! You're in my personal space! I need some room here!"

And as an aside, what is that smell?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Pretend letters to a mean advice lady named Mrs. McFadden, Part 2

Dear Mrs. McFadden,
I am a 33-year old woman who has a problem. My boyfriend recently broke up with me, and I have never been this depressed. Ugly thoughts have been going through my head, and I think I might 1) not be good enough and 2) will never be loved again. Am I going to be lonely forever?

Depressed in Delaware

Dear Depressed,
Yes. Perhaps you should just give up now. Now would be the time to buy about 52 cats, let them go to the bathroom all over your house and wait for the neighbors to complain. Have fun!

Mrs. McFadden


Dear Mrs. McFadden,
This may seem like a rather sensitive issue to bring up in a forum such as this, but I will continue. I moved into my new appartment two weeks ago. I have not slept much since due to the couple in the room above me. I think you get what I am saying. Every single night, it is the same damn thing. Their vigorous games of Dungeons and Dragons and the pounding and shouting in victory and defeat are keeping me from getting the sleep I need after I get home from working as the late shift manager at Applebees. In the mornings, I see them as I walk out, and they look at me with sheepish grins. Sure, I liked to play a good game of D&D back in the day, but I was at least considerate to the people who lived around me.

Awake in Abilene

Dear Awake,
There are so many places I could go with this, but I'll try to be as nice as possible after I stop laughing. OK. So that's what they call it now, eh? Well, you might want to, oh God, I can't keep writing. You know what, I suggest you go up and ask to join them in their game of "Dungeons and Dragons" sometime. Tonight, maybe. Perhaps your "skills and feats" will impress them enough. And while you're at it, get a new job. You're such a lowly elf bard. I don't even know what I'm talking about. You people!

God bless,
Mrs. McFadden

Monday, September 05, 2005

Times-Picayune editorial

This is from Sunday's New Orleans Times-Picayune. While reading it, keep in mind that today (Monday), the N.O. mayor said 10,000 might have died...

OUR OPINIONS: An open letter to the President
Dear Mr. President:

We heard you loud and clear Friday when you visited our devastated city and the Gulf Coast and said, "What is not working, we’re going to make it right."

Please forgive us if we wait to see proof of your promise before believing you. But we have good reason for our skepticism.

Bienville built New Orleans where he built it for one main reason: It’s accessible. The city between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain was easy to reach in 1718.

How much easier it is to access in 2005 now that there are interstates and bridges, airports and helipads, cruise ships, barges, buses and diesel-powered trucks.

Despite the city’s multiple points of entry, our nation’s bureaucrats spent days after last week’s hurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the fact that they could neither rescue the city’s stranded victims nor bring them food, water and medical supplies.

Meanwhile there were journalists, including some who work for The Times-Picayune, going in and out of the city via the Crescent City Connection. On Thursday morning, that crew saw a caravan of 13 Wal-Mart tractor trailers headed into town to bring food, water and supplies to a dying city.

Television reporters were doing live reports from downtown New Orleans streets. Harry Connick Jr. brought in some aid Thursday, and his efforts were the focus of a "Today" show story Friday morning.

Yet, the people trained to protect our nation, the people whose job it is to quickly bring in aid were absent. Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach.

We’re angry, Mr. President, and we’ll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry. Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That’s to the government’s shame.

Mayor Ray Nagin did the right thing Sunday when he allowed those with no other alternative to seek shelter from the storm inside the Louisiana Superdome. We still don’t know what the death toll is, but one thing is certain: Had the Superdome not been opened, the city’s death toll would have been higher. The toll may even have been exponentially higher.

It was clear to us by late morning Monday that many people inside the Superdome would not be returning home. It should have been clear to our government, Mr. President. So why weren’t they evacuated out of the city immediately? We learned seven years ago, when Hurricane Georges threatened, that the Dome isn’t suitable as a long-term shelter. So what did state and national officials think would happen to tens of thousands of people trapped inside with no air conditioning, overflowing toilets and dwindling amounts of food, water and other essentials?

State Rep. Karen Carter was right Friday when she said the city didn’t have but two urgent needs: "Buses! And gas!" Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be fired, Director Michael Brown especially.

In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, he said his agency hadn’t known until that day that thousands of storm victims were stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning and said, "We’ve provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they’ve gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day."

Lies don’t get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President.

Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told him, "You’re doing a heck of a job."

That’s unbelievable.

There were thousands of people at the Convention Center because the riverfront is high ground. The fact that so many people had reached there on foot is proof that rescue vehicles could have gotten there, too.

We, who are from New Orleans, are no less American than those who live on the Great Plains or along the Atlantic Seaboard. We’re no less important than those from the Pacific Northwest or Appalachia. Our people deserved to be rescued.

No expense should have been spared. No excuses should have been voiced. Especially not one as preposterous as the claim that New Orleans couldn’t be reached.

Mr. President, we sincerely hope you fulfill your promise to make our beloved communities work right once again.

When you do, we will be the first to applaud.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Living hell and the failure of the government

Before the storm, you had little. Then you lost everything. It's hot and humid. You haven't taken a shower in five days. You're hungry and don't know when your next meal is going to come. You're thirsty and don't know when you'll get a glass of water...even though your entire city is filled with the stuff that happens to be polluted with God knows what. The mosquitoes are getting worse, and the snakes, feral dogs and crocodiles are hungry. You're pissed off and tired and you keep hearing gun shots. People are lying dead everywhere. It stinks of sewage, death and anger all mixed together. Welcome to hell on earth. Basically, you want to leave and someone is in your way. That someone is keeping you from leaving. That someone might also be keeping you from living. What do you do?

I've thought several times about whether this is equivalent to 9/11 or multiple 9/11's. It is hard to. One was a terrorist attack, the other is the wrath of Mother Nature. What is similar is the anger that followed.

After 9/11, people were angry at being attacked. However, the responce from the government was such that we did the pull together act and we felt good about ourselves.

Earlier this week after the storm hit, we were sad. The destruction was at a level we had never seen. Anger followed, but this time it was because of the lack of a responce. New Orleans has been abandoned. The people have been abandoned.

Bush said there was no way to know the levees would break. That's ludicrous. The media has been reporting for years that New Orleans was in a great deal of danger of being destroyed by a giant hurricane. On Sunday, they knew what was likely. Every weatherman in the United States was saying that it was a possible Category 5 hurricane.

But the government didn't react the way it should have. It waited. It failed. New Orleans is the picture of an anarchist's paradise. Everybody in every other city should wonder, "If something happens to my city, will I be abandoned?" It is a failure at every level of government.

It's going to be interesting in the coming days, weeks and months to see how the country reacts to everything. We are living in volatile times. With the hurricane, increasing gas prices, anger about the war in Iraq, I just hope the country doesn't explode with unrest.