Saturday, December 31, 2005

Words and phrases that need to die in 2006

Thanks to the constant mongering of the English language, here is a list of words or phrases that should disappear in 2006.

-- party it up (I can't even begin to say how much I hate this one.)
-- I can't even begin to say... (You just did.)
-- good to go
-- at the end of the day
-- give him props
-- out of harm's way
-- literally (When used wrong, which is 99 percent of the time.)
-- ironic (When used wrong, which is 99 percent of the time. Dammit Alanis.)
-- it is what it is
-- thrown under the bus
-- win-win situation/no-win situation
-- taking it to the next level
-- on the game (Dumb sportswriting phrase.)
-- zero tolerance
-- make no mistake
-- jump the shark (I still don't know what that means.)
-- insurgents
-- student-athlete
-- ESPN reports...
-- war on terror (War was never formally declared.)
-- The (team, organization, etc.) have a quality/good/bad (position) in (name)
-- haters

I'm sure there's more.

Edit: After exploring dictionary.com, I found something that is sort of funny.

1 entry found for shitkicker.
shit·kick·er P Pronunciation Key (shtkkr)
n. Vulgar Slang
1. A coarse unsophisticated person.
2. A big heavy shoe or boot.

Friday, December 30, 2005

When O.J. stopped by for dinner

The day was turning to dusk when the black Hummer limo pulled into my driveway. Looking through the kitchen window, I had no idea who it might be. I wasn't expecting anyone. But who was it? Surely the Jahoveh's Witnesses haven't upgraded from walking to Hummers. After the limo pulled to a stop, I watched as a neverending stream of people stepped out. It was like an entourage. A posse. And then, a tall, familiar figure got out and began walking to my door. "Oh my God," I thought. "It's the Juice."

My brain began to osilate between answering the door and hiding in the laundry closet. Afterall, O.J. Simpson is rumored to have a checkered past when it comes to ringing doorbells. Wahdoidowhadoidowahdoido? ok...Ok...OK...huuuuuuh...oh boy. I took a deep breath and walked to the door. Maybe O.J. is just stopping by to say hi. Or maybe he wants to see if he still has the touch. As I opened the door, and saw the former running back with 20 people in black suits and sunglasses standing behind him, he smiled.

O.J.: "Hey, how are you? I'm O.J. Simpson. We got lost and we're hungry. Could we come in for dinner?"
Me: "Wha..."
O.J.: "Thanks!"

And as The Juice and his posse filed past me, my brain was flatlining. I don't even know how to cook! When I walked back inside, I asked O.J. what he wanted to eat. He replied, "Steak. And lots of it." When I said I don't have any steak, he said, "I thought so," and then snapped his fingers to one of his posse members who walked out to the Hummer limo. Returning with is arms full of steak, the man said no words as he walked to my grill and began cooking.

O.J. stood in my kitchen noding his head and staring contently. When I approached to speak to him, he said, "I know what you're going to ask. Why is O.J. Simpson standing in your kitchen with 20 other people. It's not something you see everyday, I know. But you must understand that I am in the middle of a very important task. I must find who killed Nicole and Ronald Goldman. If it takes a lifetime, so be it. Your town is the latest stop on my worldwide tour. No city, town, hamlet, village or dwelling will be spared. Consider me a modern day Genghis Kham without the pillaging and killing. Well, I will pillage if need be, but I don't want to kill anyone. I want to find the killers. I think the steaks are ready now, son. Say, do you have any A-1?"

After I pointed to the refrigerator, he patted me on the back and walked away. Previously, the thought of O.J. Simpson patting me on the back was a terrifying thought. Now I understood the pain the man lived with everyday. He had a mission. An impossible one. He had to find the killer. And I was going to help him.

Sitting down to eat, O.J. talked to no end on many subjects. How he wished he hadn't left the Buffalo Bills for his last two seasons. How never winning a Super Bowl still frustrates him. How Leslie Neilson is the most underappreciated actor of our time and the "Naked Gun" series has never been fully embrased by the American public. "It's better than three-fourths the crap made today," he said. And, man, he ate a lot of steak.

When dinner was over, we did not bother with cleaning the dishes. I would not be here again. The dishes did not matter. What did matter was my new purpose in life. It is a strange feeling when you abandon your world for something completely new. But when it is an existence as noble as helping an accused and acquitted man find the real killer, it is a worthwhile life to live.

Maybe one day we will find who committed the evil crime. Or maybe we won't. Either way, at least we will have tried. And as O.J. and I walked to his Hummer limo that night, the look in his eye told me that together, we will succeed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Phone booths

I miss those glassed-in phone booths for two reasons: 1) because there was once a time when I didn't have to hear other people's phone conversations, and 2 ) I just always liked them. They weren't as good looking as the red ones they have in England, but I thought they were cool. It was a little solitary place in the middle of a busy city. Even though glass is transparent, it was as if no one could see you.

And the only thing worse than having to hear one person talking on a cell phone are the speaker phones where both sides of the conversation can be heard. It's none of my business what two people who I don't know have to say. This is especially the case when they are arguing. I'm not curious. It doesn't seem like something I should hear. But I guess there aren't any secrets anymore. Anyone, anywhere can read what I'm writing right now. I like that, though. The difference is that my newspaper state of mind makes me want to write to other people, not to myself.

Another thing that can't happen when no phone booths exist in a city are contests to see how many people can be crammed into one. Those are always humorous.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Santa Claus: The Untold Story

The legacy of Santa Claus is one of the most debated subjects of our time. While most know him as a jolly fat man in a red suit who slides down chimmneys and delivers gifts to children all over the world, others know a different man. Saying he is a man guilty of crimes involving slave labor and animal abuse, Santa's detractors describe him as a white-bearded, fat-bellied tyrant who is unfit for nomal society.

Tonight, we will study this Machiavellian figure who lives in the outer reaches of Earth's arctic wasteland, the North Pole. Who was he? What has he done? How does he continue to be so successful? It should be noted Santa refused comment for this investigation, but the stories involved come from those with a knowledge of the man known as Santa Claus.

The story of Santa Claus begins before he was known by his commonly recognized moniker. Originally Sherman McBride, he was a resident of West Bend, Wisc. who was known to go on 12-hour drinking binges. While drunk, he would eventually break into department stores, steal toys and then deliver them to houses in the area. He would do this while wearing a bright red leisure suit, and while it was viewed as being cute for awhile and downright heroic by the children, some townspeople and local merchants soon grew weary of McBride's drunk Robin Hoodian adventures.

West Bend authorities did not feel compelled to send McBride to jail, but rather banished him to "areas not suitable for normal human life and a place where he won't damage the social thread of everyday society." Nobody quite knew what this meant, but one day in 1958, McBride was found lying in an alley drunk off his ass and put in the trunk of a limegreen Ford Fairline and driven to the North Pole. Somewhere along the way in the upper reaches of Canada, his captors decided to be nice and kidnapped McBride a woman named Edna Sanders to become his wife or unwilling companion at the eventual destination. It should be noted McBride had never previously displayed an interest in women, and his close relatives debated about if whether he was gay or severely misogynistic. Eventually, they arrived in the North Pole. It was a long journey, and McBride did not quite know what to do. With a strange woman who seemed to not want to be there, McBride decided in the midst of yet another bender to change his name to Santa Claus. It seemed different enough. He did not want to be Sherman McBride anymore.

On a walk with Edna on a mild -25 degree day, Santa noticed a group of elves milling about. He figured that he could use the only residents of this desolate land for his personal bidding somehow. Remembering back to his days of plundering stores, he decided to go on nighttime raids of elf camps where he and Edna would kidnap entire families of elves. Once back at Santa's newly constructed factory and encampment, the elves would be put through rigourous 18 hour workdays (with one 15 minute) break building toys for the next year's Christmas.

Santa decided on Christmas because he could only travel one day a year now with his remote outpost in the North Pole. How to do the traveling was one question he pondered day and night. However, one drunken night, he came to the conclusion that flying reindeer was the answer. So he and Edna rounded up any stray reindeer in the area they could find. While eating dinner, Edna asked Santa just how he planned to make the reindeer fly. Angrily, he said, "Damn, woman! Magic dust, what else?" and commanded her to make magic dust. Surprisingly, she was able to do so, and the reindeer flew.

While vodka plus reindeer torture was one of his favorite pastimes, the reindeer named Rudolph was the one Santa enjoyed ostrisizing the most. Not only did Rudolph have a bright red nose that glowed in the dark, he was not the brightest one of the group. Santa commented regularly that "despite his goddamn red spotlight of a nose, that damn reindeer couldn't find his ass with both hooves in the dark." Only on a foggy night when Rudolph was his only option did Santa give him any benefit. After the successful flight, together, Santa and Rudolph became the stars of the North Pole and Christmas. However, Santa did all he could to prevent his now-prized reindeer from receiving too much credit. At one low point in both of their lives and careers, Santa introduced Rudolph to horrors of heroin and cocaine. While he eventually recovered thanks to the magic workings of the Chief Elf, Rudolph never fully trusted Santa again. Due to Santa's status as an unquestionable figure, he never faced the consequences of his actions.

But despite his being one of history's most infamous elf, labor and animal rights abusers and generally being recognized as an incorrigible drunk prick, Santa remains a beloved figure around the world. Thanks to an ever-expanding public relations campaign, Santa's image becomes softer and more cuddly every year as his real personality becomes increasingly malevolent, darker and disturbing.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Noooooooo!

Just because it amuses me. Thank you, Internet.

Friday, December 23, 2005

A bump on the head

I hit my head earlier, and now I'm feeling somewhat Republican. So that's how it happens. You hit your head, and suddenly George W. Bush makes sense. Wow. It's all so clear now. USA! USA! Let's go spy!

# # #

In separate incidents, I also hit my left hand and my right shin. I have phases where I run into stuff. It just sort of happens out of nowhere. Dinner table. Bang. Doorway. Ooomph. Bed. Plop. Stairs. Slip.

I did once fall down the basement stairs. I wear these nylon pants, and the pant legs are a little longer than mine. I was walking down, my heel stepped on the pant leg and down I slid. It was sort of fun, actually. It did scare the cats. Well, it scared one of them. The other just sat there staring at me with a "you're an idiot" look on her face.

A totally different episode involved my first cat and the Christmas tree. She liked to climb the tree, and I was told to not let her. One time, she took off for the tree, and I chased her. She went for the tree, I dove to get her, I grasped at her and the tree fell on both of us. She ran away. I had the tree on top of me. This was 12 or 13 (or maybe 14, they all run together) year old Daniel, so I yelled for help. My parents didn't quite know what to make of it, their son trapped under a six-foot tall fake Christmas tree. So it just became yet another reason for them to make fun of me. I do a good job of providing them with such things.

Something I can't figure out is why I used to fall out of my bed so much. It seemed like at least a couple times a year, I would wake up in a panic as gravity did its work. That was always the highlight. Actually, it was something I always dreaded. I'd go to bed at night hoping I wouldn't fall out. Fortunately, it hasn't happened in 11, 12 years.

# # #

OK. While we're on the topic of ways I've hurt myself, let's talk scars because it's my blog, and I can do whatever I want. Four right hand/wrist. One left hand, middle knuckle. One forehead, above my left eye. One left shoulder. One chest. One right shin. One right knee. I'm surprised I don't have more considering how often I fell off my bike when I was little. My brother and I would race around the driveway in a circle. At one of the turns, I would always turn too sharply and go down. There were some nasty cuts in those races.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

And on the second day of winter

It's the middle of the night on Dec. 22. There is still some snow on the ground. It is cold. Santa Claus will be breaking into my house soon. However, I'll say it anyway because I feel an urgent need to do so.

The Cubs suck.

For some reason, I am feeling the need to give up on them once and for all. They've made some improvements to the team, but it's going to be the same story. Plus, they said they were going to do "improvements" and "additions" to the bleachers. Turns out they tore the bleachers down and are building new ones. Of course, the company that is doing all this (Tribune, Co.) also owns a lot of the newspapers that are laying off employees. My journalism philosophies shouldn't affect my baseball philosophies, but in this case, they are because the two are intertwined.

Co-Worker Steve, who is a Cubs fan, is telling me to pick another team before I get to be like him: late-30s and hopeless with a small child who is beginning to likes the Cubs, too. I could never do that to my children. I want them to have some hope for happiness. Maybe I'll just steer them away from baseball althogther. Yeah, that would be best.

And I think it finally it me almost two months later that the White Sox won the World Series. How did that happen?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Santa wins

Get 'em, Santa. Musically linked to "Father Christmas" by The Kinks is a story about a Scottish Santa who was knocked over by a bunch of kids and used a five-foot Christmas tree to fight his attackers.

When I was small I believed in Santa Claus
Though I knew it was my dad
And I would hang up my stocking at Christmas
Open my presents and I'd be glad

But the last time I played Father Christmas
I stood outside a department store
A gang of kids came over and mugged me
And knocked my reindeer to the floor

They said:
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys.
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

Don't give my brother a Steve Austin outfit
Don't give my sister a cuddly toy
We don't want a jigsaw or monopoly money
We only want the real McCoy

Father Christmas, give us some money
We'll beat you up if you make us annoyed
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys

But give my daddy a job 'cause he needs one
He's got lots of mouths to feed
But if you've got one, I'll have a machine gun
So I can scare all the kids down the street

Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

Have yourself a merry merry Christmas
Have yourself a good time
But remember the kids who got nothin'
While you're drinkin' down your wine

Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
Father Christmas, please hand it over
We'll beat you up, so don't make us annoyed

Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread, so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Day in the Life of Peyton Manning, Time Traveler: Part 1

As Peyton Manning roared through the worm hole he recently discovered in his clothes closet, he wondered if time traveling was such a good idea. "What if I don't make it back in time for Sunday's game? I can't let them start Jim Whatshisface." But now wasn't the time to think about that.

The time to say "no, jumping into that worm hole might be dangerous" would have been as he stood eating his cereal, staring with a contemplative grimace on his face at the whirring flashes of light. Over and over for what seemed like two hours, he debated if whether he should jump in and see what was within. But with his wife on vacation, Peyton decided that with no one around to advise him otherwise, it might be a good experience. Afterall, worm holes looked pretty cool in the movies. And he was just generally bored and had nothing better to do.

So after putting his cereal away and dressing himself in full pads, Colts uniform and helmet, Peyton jumped. At first, it felt like a curly slide, but then turned into the rollercoaster of death as he tumbled this way and that, falling and rising. "AHHHHHHH!!! I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so....SCARED!" he screamed. Faster and faster he went until, finally, he dropped out of the sky.

"Sweet Jesus's mother killing a grizzly bear! Who are you?" asked a startled man, pointing his musket at Peyton.

"I'm Peyton Manning, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. Who are you, where am I, when am I and who the hell are they," our woozy hero replied.

"I have no idea what you're talking about, but I'm Davy Crockett, it's March 6, 1836, we're at The Alamo in San Antoino, Texas, that's General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna Perez de Lebron's Mexican Army, and we're about to die come morning," the man said.

Peyton stepped back and pondered why of all times and places he had to come here. Noticing his worm hole about to close, he rushed toward it, but it was too late. The quarterback of an undefeated football team, he would now have to attempt to lead this small band of revolutionaries to victory against Santa Anna's mighty Mexican army.

Just then, General William Barrett Travis sauntered over to Peyton and surveyed him. Travis, angered by the lack of reinforcements he requested, was intrigued at the sight of this stranger. He knew the average size of the Mexican soldier was 5-feet-1-inch, and with this peculiar giant on his side, the rebels might just have a chance. Doubtful, but possible. And so Peyton Manning was put in charge of the Texas rebellion.

Immediately, he began pointing, screaming and waving his arms to the others atop the Alamo. "BLUE 42, BLUE 42! RED DOG! SLANT 2! DOWN SET! HUT...HUT...HUT...HIKE!!!" The soldiers just stood confused at the strange helmeted man standing before them gesticulating like a madman. And Peyton realized this wasn't a football game. He asked Travis what to do.

"Lead them," Travis said, a tear flowing down his weathered cheek.

And Peyton knew the winning answer. Letting out a scream that crossed centuries of time, he summoned help. And with that, Indianapolis Colts cornerback Bob Sanders dropped out of the sky.

"What the hell, man? I was sleeping," Sanders said.

"Bob, hit them," Peyton answered sternly while pointing out at the Mexican troops.

"Peyton, I'm tired, and don't you think that changing the past and messing with the whole space-time continuum thing might not be such a smart..."

"BOB!"

And with that, Bob Sanders whirled through the Mexican troops leaving no survivors, and the Texas rebels won and had several rounds of beers and they all lived happily ever after in their new state free from Mexico, and Peyton and Bob found the worm hole exit and went back to 2005, the end and goodnight.

# # #

I'm tired, and I had to end it somehow.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Build me a statue

NBA player Vince Carter is going to have a statue of himself built in front of his high school's new gym that will be funded for by the $2.5 million Carter donated to the school. I wonder if there are better ways the money could be used than a life-size statue of Vince Carter.

Although, I suppose that if I were to donate some money to Butler's school of journalism, I would like to have a bigger than lifesize statue of myself built in front of the Fairbanks Center. That would be a fitting tribute to me, the legend that I am. Me up there in marble looking all regal holding my notebook and massacring the competition. It would need a fitting inscription, too. Actually, I don't think I should have to donate any money. I gave them five years of my life, the least they can do is give me a giant marble statue. A couple big fountains would be nice, as well. They could have a water and music show every night with lights illuminating the water and my statue. It would conclude with a fireworks display. While they're at it, they could also just name the School of Journalism after me because, Pulliam? What's a Pulliam? Anybody who reads this and is still at Butler, please bring this up with Dr. Anokwa next semester. It needs to happen.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Snake, snake! It's a snake!

This might be old news, but it's new to me. So, you take a movie with the general plot being an assassin who wants to kill a witness in protective custody by releasing a bunch of poisonous snakes on an plane flight over the Pacific Ocean. OK. That's one of the greatest plot lines ever. No bombs. No guns. No crazed militants. But snakes. And then that movie needs a name. What is chosen?

Snakes On A Plane.

Genius. Snakes On A Plane was the original working title, but it was later changed to Pacific Air Fight 121. And then back to Snakes On A Plane. I don't know why it was ever changed. It's the most amazing movie title in the history of movie titles. People aren't going to remember Pacific Air Flight 121. Snakes On A Plane, yes. It is perfect. Straightforward to a fault. B-movieish, too. You're already ripped into the movie just by the title. So there are snakes on the plane. Now I want to know how they're going to fight the snakes on the plane and what they're going to do to get the snakes off the plane.

And when you read it, it's not Snakes On A Plane. Rather, it's AHHHH! SNAKES ON A PLANE!!! Even better is that Snakes On A Plane stars Samuel L. Jackson. So, now, it's read as, AHHHHH! THERE ARE MUTHAFUCKIN' SNAKES ON THIS MUTHAFUCKIN' PLANE, AND THERE AIN'T A DAMN THING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!!!

And why did Samuel L. Jackson take the role? Because of the name of the movie.

"We're totally changing that back. That's the only reason I took the job: I read the title."

The possibilities for future sequels are endless, too.
Snakes On A Plane 2: Lions On A Bus.
Snakes On A Plane 3: Groundhogs On A Train.
Snakes On A Plane 4: Yaks On A Boat.
Snakes On A Plane 5: Squirrel Monkeys On A Bicycle.
Snakes On A Plane 6: Beetles In A Beetle. (DVD release only.)

I'll stop there, but you get what I'm saying.

This what I'm looking for in a movie. Complete, utter nonsense. Life is just a bunch of nonsense. Too often, movies try to put it all together for us. Well, I don't want it to be handed to me. I like nonsense. I want nonsense. Snakes On A Plane is going to give me nonsense. The theatre release date is Aug. 18, 2006. I can't wait.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, Charlie Brown

If you put "Walk The Line" and "Ray" next to each other, you'd probably find they are basically the same movie. Take a famous musician who has recently died, but gave his blessing for a movie to be made about him before his death. The story goes through his childhood when he had a brother die tragically. This affects him the rest of his life. Flash forward to him getting a start in the music business by having a sound no one had ever heard. The story then goes through his career that features problems with womanizing, drugs and alcohol and then recovery.

They're the same movie, but they're also two of my favorite movies of the last year. As believable as Jamie Foxx was as Ray Charles, Jocquin Phoenix was as Johnny Cash. At first, when I heard Phoenix was going to play Cash, I wasn't sure. However, he both looked and sounded like man who had a black wardrobe.

# # #

In the spirit of "It's Christmas, Charlie Brown," from the sportsjournalists.com message board, here are names for Charlie Brown specials because sports journalists are funny and weird. None of these are mine:

Linus Likes You That Way, Charlie Brown
You Made Your Parents Drink Themselves To Death, Charlie Brown
Chlamydia Isn't A Flower, Charlie Brown
It's Gonorrea, Charlie Brown!
The DNA Test Says He's Yours, Charlie Brown
Downloading Porn Will Make You Blind and Poor, Charlie Brown
The very special episode starring Woodstock: "It's The Bird Flu, Charlie Brown"
It's A Threesome, Charlie Brown
The Little Red Haired Girl's Real Name is Albert, Charlie Brown
Who Farted, Charlie Brown?
Dr. Hal Bosley Prefers To Graft Your Back And Ass Hair On To Your Head, Charlie Brown
Pigpen Wants To Take A Bath With You, Charlie Brown

# # #

Back to Johnny Cash, "Folsom Prison Blues" is one of the greatest songs ever recorded. "Cocaine Blues," too. And yeah, "I Walk The Line" and "Ring of Fire." They've all been stuck in my head for hours, but at least I'm not a boy named Sue.

See? I have a soft spot in my heart for country music. Just not for the junk made today. What made Cash great was that he was one of the most versatile musicians of any time period. He crossed genres. I don't think Kenny Chesney or any of these people could do what Cash could do.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Everybody's flying and no one leaves the ground

On the radio and the TV and online, the same question is being posed today over and over and over again: Where were you when you heard John Lennon was shot on Dec. 8, 1980? I know where I was. While the circumstances leading up to which are too disturbing to think about, I was a zygote. Yep, I was a cell formed by the union of two gametes that caused my mom to go to the doctor that day and see what was going on. The knowledge of my future existence came to be on the day John Lennon died.

When I was really little, like a year and a half or so, my favorite song to bounce around to was Lennon's "Nobody Told Me." My parents played a lot of music around me when I was that age, but that always seemed to be a strange coincidence. A few years ago, I was convinced I was John Lennon in a previous lifetime. Some people get to be a slug, I was John Lennon. That would've been an interesting previous life.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It's sucking my will to live!

When I was 11 or 12, my mom bought me a Flowbee (a.k.a. Suck Cut) haircutting device for Christmas. If you've ever seen Wayne's World, you'll know basically what I'm talking about. It was the worst Christmas present I ever got.

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The way it was supposed to work is it sucks your hair into the tube, the person cutting determines how much hair should go in, presses a button and cuts. The Flowbee website says you can give yourself a full haircut in five to 10 minutes, and you don't have to clean up afterward because the hair goes in the vacuum. The best line from the website is: "The Flowbee is so neat and efficient that you can give yourself a trim just minutes before a party or that important business meeting!" Hmmm.

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Interesting idea. Bad execution. And I don't think that guy is really cutting his hair. He looks too calm, but that could be a pained grimace. I'm a little thrown off his early 1990s haircut, weird green shirt, quasi-porn mustache and the fact he looks like Randy Johnson.

To picture what enduring the Flowbee was like for me, you must remember what happened to Garth in "Wayne's World." I believe his exact quote when Wayne used the Suck Cut was, "It's sucking my will to live." Basically, that's what it did.

Dad sat young me down in the chair and went to work. It failed. The thing sucked my hair up into the nozzle and got stuck. I cried out something to the effect of, "Ow! It hurts! Stop!" And it cut. Oh, it cut all right. It cut just enough to make me look like a freak. In those days, my hair never was particularly well done anyway, but after that episode, I had to go to the barber to get it fixed as well as it could possibly be fixed.

Mom, being her normal difficult self, said that it wasn't the machine's fault it didn't work. It had to be the operator. She wanted to try it herself, but I wouldn't allow it. Thankfully, it was returned. Or broken into a million pieces and burned. That latter would have been more favorable.

(Side story about my youth and bad hair experiences. When I was in fifth grade, my dad took me to a barber shop in Plainfield where they had done a good job before. However, the second time, they cut the lower part of the back of my head a lot shorter than anyplace else, and it looked like a haircut a lot of the girls at school had at the time. That was a fun experience. Dad wasn't too happy. I wasn't too happy. My enemies, they were happy.)

The invention of the Flowbee was a dark day in haircare. It is amazing that it is still for sale. Even more amazing is that it costs $59.95. I am sure that if I watched enough late night television, I would run across an infomercial for it right alongside the miracle hair remover device where they show the guy with the massive backhair.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Unreal

From the Wichita Eagle:

A professor whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he sent e-mails deriding Christian conservatives was hospitalized Monday after what appeared to be a roadside beating.

University of Kansas religious studies professor Paul Mirecki said that the two men who beat him made references to the class that was to be offered for the first time this spring.

Originally called "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies," the course was canceled last week at Mirecki's request.


In the story, it talks about the professor's e-mails deriding religious fundamentalists, and yeah, he probably shouldn't have done that, but what happened to him is just insanity veiled in religion. You know, I've always been more favorable to the New Testament "do unto others as you wish for others to do unto you" concept than the throwing stones...or beating people with metal pipe ideal.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Too bad The Count looks like the man who nearly ruined the NHL

If any of you ever happen to see this baseball card (a 1966 Topps Don Mossi), please buy it for me. It's the greatest baseball card ever made...

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In the book "Ball Four," Mossi was described as looking like "a cab driving down the street with its doors open."

# # #

And NHL commissioner Gary Bettman looks like The Count...

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I have no further comments at this time.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Lava falls

In Hawaii, a 40-acre wide area of the volcanic shelf collapsed a couple days ago, and now we have lava falls.

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Third grade writings

I was going through a file cabinet tonight and found a file of all of my third grade homework. Dad kept everything I ever did from preschool until I stopped having to have my homework signed. There's a ton of stuff down there. Lots of weird drawings with coloring done outside the lines. And to show you all how far I've come, here are two of my creative writing assignments from third grade.

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Nov. 14, 1990

The best time I had with a friend was when Geoff says what job he wants. I like it when he says he wants to fix heating and cooling systems. I like it when he says he liked duct tape. I like it when he asks me what he likes. He is sometimes funny.

Geoff was my best friend from second to fourth grade, although I knew him through high school. For some reason, he really liked air conditioning systems (particularly Carrier systems...but not Trane because it's a horrible brand), and that is what we talked about at lunch every...single...day. He also had a thing for duct tape, and I also found a "you're my friend" certificate thing they made us give, and his to me had a big piece of duct tape on the back. A present, perhaps. My parents didn't know what to think of Geoff because he also enjoyed calling our house at 6 a.m. and hanging up.

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Nov. 27, 1990

The worst day of my life was July 2, 1990. My neabor was going to get rid of our kitten before we got it. I went in my room and crieded. I cried for a longtime. On July 23, 1990 we got our kitten.

The story behind this is that one of my neighbor's cats had a litter of kittens. We took them all to our house, one-by-one, to see which we liked the best. That turned out to be a calico kitten I called Peaches. I liked her best immediately. Our neighbor's wife decided we could have her, but then said no because she wanted to sell the cat. She thought she could get some money for Peaches because of her coloring. When I was told, I ran into my room and cried for at least two hours. If it wasn't bad enough, it was the day before my ninth birthday. Eventually, my dad convinced the woman to let us have the cat, who only lived eight years. She was sort of a demon cat who would hide in the shadows and run out to chase you and bite your ankles, but I was the only one she liked.

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From my fifth grade file, I found the ultra-secret parent/teacher conference report sheet. Overall, it looks like I did well. In social studies, the teacher wrote that I had "good insight" and that I made "good comments and asks good questions." In English, it was that I had "good use of skills in other areas," whatever that means. The part that I like is:

"Daniel is very intense. I'd like to see him lighten up a little."

My teacher sort of scared me a little that year. She was a large woman with a loud voice who came across pretty gruff. I also spent a little too much of my time that year trading baseball cards under the table during class with a couple kids. Another thing I did was cheat on some of my homework assignments. We would grade our own papers during class, and when she went through the answers on assignments that stumped me, I sometimes had the paper in my lap and would darken the correct circle as she read. To not raise suspicion, I would fill in the wrong answer from time-to-time. I still feel sort of guilty for doing that. It's the only time in my life I've ever cheated on anything.

This was also the year that on my report card, it said I talk too much. After seeing that, I shut up for a couple years. It was probably a good thing because in fifth grade, I was hanging out with the kids at recess who would become the druggies in middle school and high school. My shyness, which in turn made me somewhat of a loner and selective in who I was around, took me away from these people. While the shyness caused other issues, it probably kept me from messing up my life. That's a happy ending.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Saturday reading material

Doctors did a face transplant on a woman in France. Her pet Labrador retriever had attacked her in May, and she received a new nose, chin and lips in a 15 hour surgery. It's remarkable what can be done with modern medicine, even if the phrase "harvesting the face" makes me more than a little uncomfortable.

Of course, the first thing I thought of when I read the story was the terrible Nicholas Cage/John Travolta movie. That's unfortunate. It was forced on me once, and I just didn't like it.

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And here is a happy story titled, "Russian squirrel pack 'kills dog.'" A witness said the dog was barking at the squirrels, so the squirrels attacks and "gutted" the dog. That's nice. As if I wasn't already wary, yet fascinated, by squirrels in the first place.

One sentence from the story: A pine cone shortage may have led the squirrels to seek other food sources, although scientists are sceptical.

Don't trespass near hungry squirrels.

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With the Army-Navy game today, Baltimore Sun sports columnist Rick Maese wrote a column in Friday's paper about families of former players who were killed in Iraq. The part of the story that got me the most was...

Ed Blecksmith, J.P.'s father, says he's on the verge of tears all day long. Jennifer Zellem, Scott's widow, has been a single mother for the past 14 months. Marianna Winchester, Ron's mother, is just now understanding what it means to have lost a son.

"The first six or seven months, you live in denial and shock," Marianna says. "You think it's just one long, bad dream. I tell you one thing, now that we've moved past a year, it's actually been more difficult. The reality finally hits.

"I still have his number in my cell phone. I can't erase it. You just wait for the phone to ring, to see his name pop up on there. Or an e-mail that says 'Hi mom, how you doing?' You know it's not going to come anymore. You walk into a store and know that you don't have any reason to visit the men's department. There's nothing over there for me to buy."

The ones left behind were all surrounded at first. But as time passed, everyone else was able to return to their normal lives. Soon, the rest of the platoons came home. And their sons' friends keep aging. They're getting married. They're having children.


One thing Maese does well is that, while he is anti-war (based on what I've read of him in the past), he doesn't let his views into the story, even though it's a column. He allows the family members to tell their stories. Maese is a good writer. At 26, he's also the youngest major newspaper sports columnist in the country. He has a bright future.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Before my head hits the keyboard in exhaustion

First off, pie beats cake any day. Don't get me wrong, cake is great. However, pie is on another level.

Top 5 pies:

1) Apple
2) Pecan (No whipped cream.)
3) Blueberry (When done right, it's higher than No. 3.)
4) Coconut (I just like it, and no one understands why.)
5) Banana cream (I had one once that makes me drool like Homer Simpson at the thought.)

Bottom 1 pie:

1) Pumpkin (I just hate it, and no one understands why.)

Supposedly, there are areas of the country where cheddar cheese is supposed to go with apple pie. While these are my No. 1 favorites in their respective food genres, this is just a no-no combination. I wasn't even aware this existed until a few days ago, but it just sounds frightening.

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If I looked back over this blog, I wouldn't surprised if a large percentage of the entries had to do with food or eating. It seems like that is the subject a little too often. Funny it comes from someone who has severe cooking deficiencies and has never been confused with being fat.

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Music suggestion: Nic Armstrong and the Thieves.

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Most of the time, what I write on here is just off the top of my head, but I've also noticed that when I'm not writing on this, I'm thinking of things to write. I actually write down lists of things in my head and on paper of what to write about. Like if I think of something weird during the day (example: Elmo, VH-1 Special), I'll run it through my mind (sometimes a couple days) until I feel comfortable to enough to sit down here to write it. A lot don't make it because they weird me out a little too much, and I can imagine they'd do the same to you. I have to censor my brain sometimes. They're not bad. They're just...weird. It's strange, strange to actually think about what to write in this so-called blog.