Monday, May 29, 2006

The Make a Wish (You Knuckleheaded Jackass) Foundation

"If we don't want to use our tickets, we can tell the Twins that we don't want those and they can pass them out to kids who otherwise wouldn't see the games," I've been told.

Why don't they just give those kids some of the thousands of unsold tickets in the stadium, I ask no one in particular.

With roughly a quarter of the season in the books, it's good to know that the Twins in their unending benevolence have not only given everyone in the place a free hot dog (Friday night when they signed the paperwork on the new ballpark) but are also supporting the Make a Wish, You Knuckleheaded Jackass Foundation by donating the seats directly surrounding us to said knuckleheads and jackasses.

Lest a game be played without someone making stupid comments within earshot of me, I was treated to foul-mouthed twenty year olds and a racist old guy in Friday and Sunday's games.

Let the record show I have no problem with profanity at a ballpark as long as kids aren't paying attention and it's creative. "Hey, ump... You're an asshole!" is not creative. Neither is the old crank behind me Sunday yelling, "EEEE-CHEEEE-ROHHHH!" while he may or may not have been pulling at the sides of his eyes with his fingers to be extra-crispy flavored racist. I can also neither confirm nor deny that he was making karate chopping motions with his hands.

While there are a few familiar faces in the section (big ups to sleepy guy and scorecard lady) we have a revolving door of mutants, clowns and outright douchebags who are getting thes tickets from somewhere.

If you're keeping track at home, "Sweet seats, dude!" is a good thing. "Sweet seats, dude (now the players can hear our heckles so we should be extra loud and vulgar)" is not.

Potable water, you know, the kind you can easily carry from one place to another.

With no set agenda today, I offer you this to think about, whether you're stuck at work on an off-day for the rest of the country or just taking afternoon naps at home.

* I have no set rules for passing out change to the homeless on off-ramps, though sometimes they can be pushy and I choose to ignore them. My question is where are the homeless getting markers for their signs?

If I chose to start handing out Sharpies instead of change, would this be a good or a bad thing from their perspective?

* Sometimes when I leave the water running when I brush my teeth, I'm struck by just how good we have it. The water in your toilet is much better than most people drink. The only difference between our toilet and drinking water is about three feet of pipe.

Don't believe me? turn on your sink, flush the toilet and see what happens with the water pressure.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Barry Bonds, American hero

Hammer has a blog - no joke - and posts pretty regularly. He seems like a nice enough guy and it's pretty cool that he does posts with his kids like everyone else - at least he's not strutting like David Lee Roth at this pint, right? - so it's an oddly interesting read.

He had me with his baseball posts until I came across this:

"The Bonds on Bonds is fair and balanced. I couldn't believe that some analyst didn't want Barry to have a platform to offer another perspective of whom he is. That is typical of agenda driven journalism that will soon be replaced by community driven journalism that will offer the voice of the people, not these one sided attacks to create perception, that offer no counter perspective."

Way to go, Fox... ruin the words "fair" and "balanced" for everyone to mean exactly the opposite. Not sure if it's when they're used together now or what, but find me one sane individual who hears that phrase and doesn't get suspicious immediately.

In any event, Hammer Time.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

You spamming mothers...

Has anyone else been seeing more spam that usual in the past two weeks or so?

My Hotmail account went apeshit with offers for more school, more credit and less boner shame. While I need all of these things, I hesitate to take the advice of unsolicited e-mails in achieving that end.

I have it from a pretty good authority that the companies are sending junk in picture form to skirt spam filters... those tricky, heartless bastards.

In fact, here is the only good that comes from spam (better leave a few hours to get through them).

Monday, May 22, 2006

Welcome Back, Trotter

Awww, Frankie... you big marshmallow...

Frank the Tank wrote today about how people empathize with animals and added his thoughts on Vinnie Barbarino and his broken leg. We here at Siberia, Minnesota wish the best for him and for the rest of the Sweathogs, may they be spared the butcher's block.

Our thoughts are with you, fellas.

He brings up some good points, though, and here are my two cents.

For as many knuckleheads who walk through the doors of the Humane Society, you get a few who really stick with you. There are a few I've met who are just now ready to maybe start looking for pets after their dog or cat died years ago.

One woman came in every day just to see if a cat who'd run away had shown up yet. I'd see her twice a week, say hello, chat for a little while and she'd make a pass through the kennels and be on her way.

After two weeks of this, I asked when the cat went missing. "Almost two years ago," she said.

Not that she was a crazy cat lady or anything, she's a very sweet woman in her 40s or 50s and I'd bet she's still stopping by in the afternoon.

It's kind of nice to see people care so deeply for something other than the usual career, house, car type thing. Don't get me wrong, there are far too many people who see animals as accessories (we're looking at you, Paris Hilton...) or toys for their kids, but on the whole, I need to believe that the majority of pet owners care more for their animals than say, the neighbor's kids.

Sometimes animals aren't convenient and sometimes they'll drive you crazy (I'll spare posting pictures of dog shit on the basement carpet) but on the whole they make the everyday crap seem a lot easier to handle.

I'll stop here before launching into a Hallmark card on the wonders of dogs, but it's nice to know more animals are sleeping on the foot of someone's bed tonight than in cages or garages. Or so I like to tell myself.

(Photo from:

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Wait, which button makes a balloon animal out of the enemy's intestines?

God of War II made it's debut at E3 last week and the new videos are up at - it's a great sign that to watch the video you need to enter your birthday.

I am all about hyper-violent video games that are built to grow with an aging gaming market.

Grand Theft Auto, God of War and Gun were all "adult" games that were designed to push the envelope in violence and language and it surprises me when kids have played any of these games. I realized I was part of the problem with our country's mixed up priorities when I'd played a few hours of GTA: San Andreas and thought that I'd never let my kid play that game, not because of the violence, but because the last thing I need is a kid in second grade dropping n-bombs and telling his teacher to go get more fucking apple juice for his ho's.

Trust me, my kid will have enough issues without that.

In any event, God of War was the best game that came out last year as far as storyline, animation and gameplay went. Based on Greek mythology, you play as Kratos who runs amok over an ancient backdrop - you kill everything in sight and then work on a few puzzles as you hose all the blood off the floors.

Needless to say, I really enjoyed this game.

Now, there's a second one on the way and I couldn't be happier. The fact that the market has expanded beyond sports games for older gamers is a step in the right direction. Prior to GTA, the games kind of held a middle ground where they weren't too bad for teens, but were lacking on the whole.

Now the market is flooded with titles like Hitman, The Godfather and Reservoir Dogs to supress our collective bloodlust. I can't wait to see how an exploding head looks on the XBox 360.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Seventy cents a gallon for gas... Well, hear me out, first

Ask anyone who writes for a living and they’ll tell you the same thing. Write what you know. (This is what passes for an apology for so many stupid posts about traffic. The simple fact of the matter is that with my new job requiring a lot of driving, this is becoming what I know.)

Case in point are my two cents for today. Centering around the debate over a new light rail line that would run right down the middle of the street in front of my office it’s been recently revealed that the train trip would probably take longer than the existing bus routes that are being used right now. Oops.

Part of the tangle results from mistakes made with the only existing light rail up and running which snarls traffic as it overrides signals on its trip from the mall to the Metrodome.

The only logical solution it to build a poor version of the El, clearing traffic routes, while still allowing the cities to keep their new toys. Sure, it’d look like the monorails at Epcot, but what the hell? I’ll even serve as project manager for the thing. It’ll be awesome.

I’ll invite in the Jesus of the Peanuts, known to Red Line riders during baseball season, and make it a real bang-up good time when we open it. Best of all, it’ll provide a market for all of those obsolete El cars, now that Chicago is going the route of New York City and buying knockoffs of their cars.

For those of us left at street level, today I saw gas prices slip a dime a gallon in my neighborhood, which is encouraging. I’ve started tracking fuel economy because I am a nerd and have three contingency plans for improving this in the future as my job is requiring between 200 and 300 miles per week in travel.

This could be a big issue in a month or so when the pump prices rise again to make the most of summer road trips being made when the kids get out of school. Through all of this, I miss my bike and the “commute” I used to make down Waveland Avenue, past Wrigley and onto the lakefront path every morning.

Out of all the things I miss about Chicago, second only to family and friends is that half hour each way every day that made it all worth the higher rent, city and county taxes and other pratfalls of city life.

Thirty minutes, each way, buzzing stopped cars on Lincoln Avenue? I still dream about those rides, no lie.

Now, being suckerpunched by the oil companies to the point that $2.75 per gallon seems reasonable, I wish there was some way to be rewarded for my eco-friendly travel from last year. Some way to clock in an ID every time you headed to the pump to prorate your gas prices directly related to consumption.

For instance, if I rode my bike for 10 months, took the train two months and only used my truck to run for groceries, to the hardware store and to check in with the folks, I’d be well under “average consumption” and would pay 70 cents a gallon, as long as I used under 25 gallons per month.

People using an average amount of gas to power an average sedan would pay roughly market price in the $1.25 to $1.75 range and those with gas guzzlers who drove everywhere would pay more per gallon after they hit the top of that average usage limit.

To be fair, we could cap the top line price at something arbitrary like one and a half times the going market rate and they’d only pay increasing amounts up to that point. Think of it as gas rations, but with the ability to buy more if you’d like.

This could be as easy or as complicated as people would want to make it with allowances for rural and urban areas, or by profession with breaks for pizza guys and trucking or school bus companies.

In the meantime, I’d be on easy street, with my 75-cent gas as I’d live off the residual goodwill of a year’s worth of personal car neglect. At least until that light rail station gets politically manhandled onto a corner near you.

Monday, May 15, 2006

School's out forever

According to a new study released by the National Education Association, nearly half of all new teachers quit before their five-year anniversary. I'd like to say I'm shocked, but actually that sounds about right.

Combine surprisingly long hours, low pay and having to cater to the whims of a classroom full of crotchfruit and I'd all but demand $75K to get me into a classroom. (I've always agreed with Matt Groening that junior high is a holding pen to keep kids from bullying younger grammar school kids, while protecting them from the beatings they so richly deserve at the hands of the high schoolers.)

The study points to the pay grade and increased education by the teachers themselves (more than half hold a masters degree) as reasons for the growing attrition rates. I'll throw some more numbers at the end of the post that help outline the portrait of today's teacher.

I have to admit it was weird when my friends first started taking over in classrooms. Forget student teaching when I'd be pulling someone's head out of a toilet on Saturday and they'd be in front of 25 little faces on Monday, but when folks started getting their own classrooms, it got a little weird. (Of course none of this part applies to Tony... To my knowledge.)

Visiting after work or helping to chaperone a dance was always a little surreal, not to mention a stark reminder of just how quickly time flies. When being 25 is enough to make you an authority figure, something has gone horribly wrong. Also, the other teachers seemed suspiciously younger than I remembered.

Through all of that, it always struck me that the people teaching were those who loved teaching. It falls into that group of low-paying, high-reward jobs like nursing, veterinary medicine, firefighting, police work, journalism and others that call a small slice of the population to do important jobs for laughable salaries.

But, that love of kids, dogs or fire are enough to keep those professions flush with new blood year after year. People just out of high school fighting to go to cover city council meetings, waiting on lists just to take police and fire exams and teachers who are willing to teach wherever and whatever is needed all seem to be cut from a similar cloth.

That's why it's pretty sad when I see attrition rates for teachers at 50 percent. It just seems like we as a society should be doing more to help out here. Teachers throw in an average of 50 hours a week and put up with all sorts of nonsense from village governments to kids jamming things in their noses and this seems to be the best packages we can put together to reward them?

Just seems off.

As far as the bonus numbers go:

According to NEA's research and other sources, today's teachers are primarily white, female, married, religious, and on average are 43 years old. More than half hold at least a master's degree. Forty-five years ago, in 1961, only 23 percent held advanced degrees. Additionally, 21st century teachers:

  • Spend an average of 50 hours per week on all teaching duties, including noncompensated school-related activities such as grading papers, bus duty and club advising.
  • Teach an average of 21 pupils (elementary). Secondary schoolteachers have an average class size of 28 pupils.
  • Spend an average of $443 per year of their own money to meet the needs of their students. Elementary teachers spend about $498 per year. Secondary teachers spend about $386. Teachers of color spend about $470 per year, more than the $434 spent by white teachers.
  • Make an average starting salary of $31,704 per year, not including supplemental pay for extra duties.
  • Enter the teaching profession to help shape the next generation. Nearly three out of four (73%) enter teaching because of their desire to work with young people. And nearly seven out of 10 teachers (68%) cite it as the reason for remaining in the profession.

(Photo from

Thursday, May 11, 2006

How Smart Are Dumb Things

One of my greatest strengths is the ability to make simple things complicated.

Why use two wires when you could splice in five and burn your hand with a soldering iron?

Why use the highway when you could switch back on five side roads and run into a washed out bridge?

Why spend a quiet evening at home when you could spend the whole weekend in jail for ignorant behavior?

What's the fun in settling for stock? Exactly.

I was thinking of this today as I took a one-way street home and was shocked at how well the street lights had been timed. While Chicago's surface streets have their stoplights synchronized to the beds in the University of Chicago's Epileptic Ward, the Twin Cities spent a few extra bucks to line them up.

Green after green with not so much as a red "don't walk" hand to slow me down. Nice.

The highway on ramp I sit at every morning is timed as well. Sometimes the two lanes waiting to enter the roadway play a quick game of ping pong with each light alternating every two seconds and sometimes you sit and wait for 30 to 45 seconds for traffic to clear.

I read about these in The Wisdom of Crowds but never really thought much about it until I started commuting in the mornings again. One of the points James Surowiecki makes is that people are more willing to wait if they know these types of lights are being used. If we think they're just timed strangely, we'll blow through them.

I think Minneapolis needs to spring for signs that point out their "smart lights" to let us know we're making the right decision to sit their with our coffee.

So, while I continue to wonder how smart video games are with their artificial intelligence - "Is the pitcher throwing random pitches to random spots, or should I be looking for a yakker away here?" - I'm buying into the stoplights in town.

I put my trust in you, robot gatekeeper. Get my happy ass to work on time.

(As a side note, if you keep to a steady 36 miles an hour in the center lane of southbound Portland Avenue while playing Italian Leather Sofa by Cake off of Fashion Nugget, the potholes will hit the bassline perfectly if you've started at the right time. I doubt the Minnesota Department of Transportation did this on purpose, though. Sometimes they just need to get on the stick for road repair.)

(Photo from

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Six of one, half dozen of another

At the suggestion of a co-worker I took the backroads home today to avoid the "traffic" on the highways in Minneapolis.

I use snooty quotes there because I moved from Washington, DC to Chicago in consecutive moves, so a rolling 5 to 10 miles per hour isn't so bad to me.

Guess it's about the perspective.

Burnt pizza doesn't smell so bad if you just performed a David Blaine stunt and stuck your head in a cow's ass for two weeks, either.

The last quarter of the drive is live motoring across a rich guy's lawn, so all told it's not half bad. While the running joke is that the Minneapolis parks system is cheating because it's just land no one was going to use anyways with a parks sign on it, I have to hand it to them. While on a different scale than I'm used to and in a strange setting, it's really enjoyable.

Beats the freeway stacks and odd traffic patterns and though it actually adds five minutes to the nighttime drive, I think I'll be using it more.

Then again, anything is better than a 20-minute commute for two miles* that I had in Northern Virginia.

* No lie - 20 minutes to go two miles... consistiently.

(Photo from

Monday, May 08, 2006

With musical guest...

In my advancing age, I’ve found little to no motivation to get out on the weekends anymore. Some of it is new town creepiness, some of it is trying to figure out which bands tour through and which local acts are good and some of it is out and out apathy.

OK, most of it is out and out apathy.

However, by staying in, I’m catching Saturday Night Live on a more consistent basis, basically for the first time since that sixth, seventh and eighth grade window where you were old enough to stay up, but not to go out and it’d be the talk of Sunday school. A running joke lifted directly from Mad Magazine was that the musical act of the night was a famous band playing an obscure song or an unknown band playing a chart-rocketing hit. There really was no middle ground.

Enter the Red Hot Chili Peppers Saturday night – opening with their new single and choosing the old standby, Give It Away for their second set. It’s getting kind of strange to see these guys hanging on, waiting to claim the mantle from the Rolling Stones as the oldest touring rock band. At least Flea is wearing pants these days. I bet 45-year-old balls in a tube sock would be a little hard to sell as rock ‘n’ roll. Well, moreso than Mic Jagger as a grandfather.

On Sunday morning, I was on iTunes, burning in another round of CDs for a newer iPod and saw that the first song from the Peppers was at number five or six to start the day. It had moved up a spot by that afternoon. This begs the question that I usually contemplate when some of the lower profile bands (Fallout Boy comes to mind) are given the mic on national television once a week.

I’m continuing my search to try and correlate single sales and appearances on SNL in an effort to justify my sloth on Saturday nights. If it still matters, it’s still a reason to stay home.

If not, I’ve just lost my edge.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The best five bucks I'll ever lose

So Frank the Tank and I have a standing bet on when Minneapolis would break ground on a new baseball stadium for the Twins. The winner gets five bucks and the right to bring up their "rightness" over the loser's "wrongness" for 30 to 40 years.

This is about as good as it gets for us - ask us about the deal we cut with a buddy for 30 bucks in"don't break my legs" cash at a peeler bar, once. It's a doozy.

The Twins have until May 2007 to find a damned shovel for me to take this one and every indication is that I'm going to lose out on this one. Caught between a few major power plays, a candidate for governor and a populace that, on the whole, fails to appreciate major league baseball, the Twins are about out of luck and out of town.

You know what, guys? Call me, I'll help you move. I own a truck and everything.

The overriding sentiment is that the Twins are expendable and all I ever hear is, "If they put that on a ballot, I'll vote against it. I'll also vote for a former smackhead and fail to fund libraries, too." Bottom line? People are pretty passionate about their opposition to paying for a new baseball stadium on the heels of two new football stadiums, too.

While gallons of ink are spilled to speak of tough fan bases in New York, Boston and Philly, how do we miss Minneapolis? Two World Series titles in the past 20 years and three consecutive AL Central titles until last year? Oh, that's what you've done for me lately... Screw that, I don't want to pay another sliver of a percentage on sales tax...

This baffles me. I can't imagine this happening in Chicago, but there they have the benefit of two entrenched franchises I suppose. Oakland, Kansas City, Tampa? Yup, yup and yup for possible moves. Seems like the Twin Cities should be on the bubble for this sort of thing, but they're not.

Still, as sad as I'd be to see baseball leave town and take the rest of the majors with them, I've come around to realize that if a town is too stubborn to give their team a halfway decent home, then by all means, send them somewhere else. The Metrodome is awful. It's cramped, the turf is a joke and the whole thing smells like a foot. It also fails to accommodate fan needs and as we learned leaving Tuesday's game if too many doors are opened at once, the roof deflates - they had security barring the exits and everything.

Also, its got a Nazi roof.

I'm not saying that moving the Browns from Cleveland, the Nordiques from Quebec or the Dodgers from Brooklyn is acceptable in any way, shape or form - just that when a town makes it clear that they don't want to help provide a major-league caliber facility in any sport, it's best that they hit the road.

Las Vegas Twins, where can I buy a hat? Considering the short-sighted ill will and bitterness in town, I'm enjoying the karma of the Twins being the front runner to become the first team in what should prove to be a phenomenal pro sports town. We can even get Pete Rose to manage. I just hope we can transfer our season ticket package.

Here's the thing - Minneapolis/St. Paul has major league teams in hockey (The Wild), basketball... sorta (Timberwolves), football (Vikings) and baseball (Twins). Remove these teams to leave only football and what do you have? Green Bay. Yeah. Not good.

It's a fair comparison. Green Bay has the Weidner Center, Twin Cities have the Guthrie. Green Bay has dormant industry and paper mills, the Twin Cities has dormant industry and a Ford plant. Green Bay is a cold, desolate place where I spent four years, the Twin Cities legally have me bound through next June. I can honestly say that by cherry-picking teams, Minneapolis becomes Green Bay very quickly - a third-class city with slim hopes of making it back up to the second tier.

I say this without the usual dose of Minny-hating venom. This is just the way things are.

You say you hate the Twins and don't watch baseball? Great. You think the cities are fine without them, no problem. Just don't come crying to me when your tax money starts rushing out to cover the loss of jobs when the Vikings move (which they will) and the Gophers get a new field (also a certainty). At least the Twins are fighting to stay within city limits.

How many cents on the dollar will Minneapolis see on a beer sold in Anoka County? Better yet, how many beers do the sell each year at the Guthrie Theater, Science Museum of Minnesota and a barren warehouse district combined? See where this is going?

While most residents are content to subtract Metrodome staff (engineers, ticket takers, cleaning crews, etc.) from their mental ledger, that's the tip of the iceberg. Hotels, restaurants, parking, concessions are all sources of revenue for the state. While concerts every few nights at the Target Center are great, the scope and sheer number of games in a professional baseball season are a cash cow that the city can't afford to pass up.

Let's say that hotels and the like go to half staff in the summer without the Twins in town to fill them. That's lost revenue in taxes paid by both employers and workers in addition to choking out the obvious cash flow. The Vikings are looking to move out of the county with their new home, which leaves the Timberwolves and University of Minnesota athletics to buoy the budget.

For those who argue that the Metrodome can be kept on as a concert venue to replace those dollars, go ask the former employees of the Pontiac Silverdome how that's working out.

Would you rather pay a few cents on every hundred bucks you spend (with millions more paid by out-of-towners at the Mall of America, etc.) or worry about downsizing and a hiccuping local economy as the hospitality industry loses a major revenue source?

In my opinion, it's more than losing a pretty cool small market ballclub and having a dead area where the Dome used to be. I'd rather the team go where it would be appreciated, supported and pull a dedicated fan base. Not every town can be New York, Boston or Chicago with rabid fans, but is it too much to ask for a little respect?

How about just tolerance for a team's existence in the meantime? For the people who brought you "Minnesota Nice" this is a real hatchet job.

(Photos from: The Minnesota Twins / /

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Prairie Ho/Companion

Lindsay Lohan will be in St. Paul tomorrow – do I need to update my shots or something? What kind of precautions do I need to take with regards to boiling water before drinking it and such? How long do I need to run the shower before I can enter it without fear of having my skin revolt and make a run for it, Tom and Jerry style?

Per a discussion with a co-worker, I contend that Garrison Keillor, one of the four sports teams and freezing temperatures are the only things people associate with Minnesota. The funny thing is that he claims to have no knowledge of Keillor, which is kind of like growing up in Chicago and denying the existence of Abe Lincoln or Mayor Richard J Daley.

While he can spout a list of Minnesota firsts and bests from the alleged apprehension of the James gang to the largest public hanging (it was a slow century after that) it’s pretty difficult to nail down anything of real substance. Mall of America, Viking sex cruises, trees and cold.

I say those are the heavy hitters if a random slice of random people were picked from around the United States and asked to list off Minnesota’s institutions.

(Photo from

Monday, May 01, 2006

Yeah, that pretty much covers it

Leave it to Deadspin to seperate the wheat from the chaff.

Granted, it doesn't take a lot of legwork to find an article on ESPN Page 2, but Chuck Klosterman hit the nail on the head with the Reggie Bush draft day bed shitting.

If you just want the quick hit, get ready to start making snorts and squeaking noises in your cube at work:

Yet the Texans have nonetheless convinced themselves that they will be better off selecting Mario Williams, the tall, speed-rushing defensive end from North Carolina State. I suspect Williams is potentially stellar. In time, he could be Pro Bowl caliber player. And the Texans' reasoning (I assume) is that(a) you build a team around defense and pass rushing; (b) they already have a decent running back; (c) Bush might be hyper-expensive; and (d) Reggie's parents appear to be living in a free house, which seems a tad sketchy. This is all fine and reasonable. The only problem is that Gary Kubiak has failed to weigh these points against the opposing argument, which is that REGGIE BUSH IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TACKLE. HE IS WAY, WAY BETTER THAN ALL OF THE OTHER DUDES WHO ARE ELIGIBLE TO BE DRAFTED. WHEN REGGIE BUSH IS RUNNING WITH THE FOOTBALL, THOSE ATTEMPTING TO KNOCK HIM TO THE GROUND CANNOT SEEM TO DO SO. THIS QUALITY IS ADVANTAGEOUS WITHIN THE GAME OF FOOTBALL, AS THAT IS PRETTY MUCH THE TOTALITY OF THE SPORT.

Obviously, this decision is wolf-face crazy. It's the kind of decision you make when you are drunk, and on cocaine, and on deadline, and on fire. It's going to define the future of the Houston franchise, and it will potentially wreck it (at least for a decade).

I imagine that the lines for season tickets in Houston are thinning as we speak. If they existed in the first place.