Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How dare you! Life in modern America

Frank the Tank has me all riled up and today it's for more reasons than the cheap shot he took at the Packers to lead off his blog (and at least we didn't lose to Arizona and San Francisco - also Packers.com leads you to the team's site. Bears.com leads you here).

No, it was selection five on his links page where he pointed out that NBC is taking heat for Conan O'Brien's opening skit to the Emmys which just happened to occur on the same day that there was a fatal plane crash in Kentucky.

Frank pointed out that at this rate, ABC would need to apologize for putting Lost on the air in the first place.

I don't think I'll be as polite.

I'm not going to go the "with all due respect" and then rip away route as much as I'd like to. I mean I'd really like to.

Instead, I'll just politely ask that people give serious thought to just how stupid this whole thing is. Without a hint of irony, I'd like to say first that I expect a little more from the Los Angeles Times but I do. Not once today did I hear anyone talk about how offended they were by the show and if the Midwest is down with the bit, isn't that a seal of approval under most circumstances?

Instead, they apparently led the charge to condemn the pre-recorded skit and according to the Washington Post:

The airing of the skit, a spoof on the ABC plane-crash drama "Lost," was condemned by the general manager of NBC's Lexington affiliate, WLEX.

"It was a live telecast. We were completely helpless," Tim Gilbert was quoted as saying Sunday night on the Lexington Herald-Leader's Web site. "By the time we began to react, it was over. At the station, we were as horrified as they were at home."

This whole thing baffles me and on a purely intellectual level, the telecast never showed the plane crashing.

On a "for the sake of arguement" level, who the hell is watching the Emmys the night they lose a loved one in a plane crash? How are they going to stay away from any movie, television show or mention of plane crashes in the future? Really, if they couldn't tear themselves away from the tube on that night, chances are they're going to come across another, far more graphic, depiction of a plane crash within the next two weeks, nevermind an Emmy telecast.

On a "you've got to be kidding me" level, exactly how many complaints did the network receive before the Times ran their piece? How many would they have received had that piece not been published?

This whole thing reminds me of the Janet Jackson nipple incident where a small but incredibly vocal minority screamed and hollered about how upset they were and the TiVo reported that the halftime show was played and replayed more than anything else they'd recorded.

Can you guess which side I came down on for that one?

(Image from NBC, via WashintonPost.com)

Chicago represent!

I don't usually watch awards shows (the Oscars if there's not much else on) because I figure the cream will rise to the top of the Interweb in a day or two.

Words can't describe how much I enjoyed this clip of Jeremy Piven and Billy Bush. I think my favorite part is where Bush refuses to go off script, even thought the smartest thing for any rational human being to do would be to say, "Thanks, Piven, good luck tonight," and move on to the next celeb.

Instead, he chugs along, laughing and shrugging and asking the same line of questioning like a dazed Teddy Ruxspin.

Billy Bush is quite the little smug prick and I'm glad to do my part to make this little video a viral masterpiece.

(It might take a day to come back - it's been pretty in and out all day with people hitting up the site for video).

Monday, August 28, 2006

A moment of quiet introspection at the Tires Plus

The truck picked up a nail in the parking lot at work today, mainly because the guys in the warehouse insist on breaking up shipping palates in the middle of the parking lot that gets the most traffic.

Yeah, I was pretty happy about that.

I swung over to the repair shop 50 yards from our lot, mainly because it was close and I wouldn't have to swap out the spare. Much like changing your own oil, I tend to pay a few bucks to avoid doing shit work.

The mechanic over there charged me $17.50 to goop the tire and tell me to get it fixed soon. Guess what? They sell tires too! For the record, no I wouldn't be interested in that.

I drive the old gal home with a goopy, booger encased tire and sat around for a little while wondering just how in the hell I'd be paying for new shoes for the old truck. Much to my delight a new set of pretty snazzy off-roaders will go for about $450 with the lifetime package - which I used to be somewhat skeptical about, but for residents of Chicago, DC, Maryland and a few other spots, I got the guarantee with Just Tires and have had two flats repaired free of charge by them and have become a new convert.

So for 450 bones, I'll get some pretty sweet tires and after looking around for 10 minutes at the tire shop I realized how much I'll miss the old treads. Much like the preemptive remorse you feel before a haircut (Aww... I know I just booked an appointment, but maybe I can stretch this another week or so... Wait is this just me? OK, just me - moving on).

These are the tires I bought as my first truly adult purchase when I opted to get new tires instead of taking that cash and going on vacation with some friends over Thanksgiving. I realized that day that being grown up can suck a lot.

Also the tires that I had on the truck when I moved into the city apartment with the guys and two years later to Washington, D.C. They took me to Minnesota to surprise The Girl and back home to Chicago when D.C. was over. Countless bad first dates and utterly forgettable trips to Target and the grocery store.

They took me to the major Civil War battlefields on the East Coast because I'm a nerd like that and to and from the shelter this winter when there wasn't a lot to look forward to outside of this house. From Lucky's first trip to the vet and to the beach the day he learned to swim, it's been a pretty good time.

Now, they're just balding scraps of rubber that are on their last few miles and need to go. Still, I can't help but look back on the past 50,000 miles and just shake my head at how much things have changed.

That counts for all the good and not so good, and for a truck with no power accessories or cruise control, I take a small degree of pleasure in knowing that I've been present for every mile that's been put on that lovable old heap.

It's not like the truck is going away and I'm tired and muddying the point, but rarely do you hit a point in your life where the real and imagined miles you've traveled intersect like this.

I'm due in Wednesday morning to get the swap done - I might have to make sure to take a really good final ride on my way home tomorrow.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Name a food... it'll be on a stick

Softball-sized hail.

Severe flooding.

Blinding sheets of rain.

The apocalypse? No, state fair time is here.

After logging an evening shift for the Humane Society at the Minnesota State Fair tonight, I think I've seen things that I can never unsee and that will haunt me for the rest of my days.

It's an overdone bit, but simply going to any fair will make you feel pretty good about your own life. I saw so many variations on the mullet that I may have stumbled across a few new sub-species. I'm thinking of naming one after the blog, one after Disconnected's and a previously unseen variety after the Tank.

That's how I roll.

I'm pretty sure I'll have more to say if we head back this weekend or next, but tonight was a good introduction to the whole atmosphere. Really, it's no different than Wisconsin's or the Illinois State Fair, but it's always a little crazy to see it up close and personal.

I haven't seen it yet, but the big buzz is surrounding hot dish on a stick. In one of those weird cultural deals, Minnesotans call casseroles "hot dish" here and it's kind of a statewide inside joke that it's a big deal. It's basically any meat, wild rice and cream of mushroom soup thrown in a baking pan and heated. Then, they cover it with crunchy dried onions and serve it any time or any place.

It's allegedly on a stick this year. I need to see how many laws of physics this violates to believe it's true. Also, it comes with cream of mushroom dipping sauce.

Anyways, the highlights of the night included nudging The Girl (or vice-versa, raising our eyebrows and giving the international eye roll for, "Check out that fucking guy..." and shattering all myths about hot farmers' daughters.

All this and corn dogs? What's not to love?

(Image from: collections.mnhs.org)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Homicide, life in the woods

For those of you who listen to country music, this will make complete sense... for those who don't? This will make complete sense.

Troy Lee Gentry, half of the group Montgomery Gentry and the little guy without the Amish hat on the right, is up on charges that he all but snuck up on a sleeping, deaf bear and killed it with a machine gun. The reality is that he was a step or two away from that.

According to the reports he bought a tame bear from a Minnesota man, then "hunted" it in a pen, shooting it with a bow and arrow. This opened a whole can of bees on talk radio here this afternoon.

You had callers who hunt bears who said "real" bear hunting was a lot harder than this and others who said this sounded about right when it came to how a bear hint works. Hunters from all over the area were calling in and it was pretty entertaining for an hour or so on a slow sports day.

One of the first callers was trying to explain bear baiting, where a hunter hangs a bag of trash in a tree for weeks or months leading into hunting season and when Yogi comes for his free lunch later in the year, there's a hunter waiting to pop him in the skull.

Now that's a sporting chance.

Back to Gentry, though, he allegedly hunted this thing in a fenced in pen about the size of the Metrodome's playing field. No word on if that was the baseball field or the football field.

He even went so far as to film the whole episode and re-edit it to look like a draining hunt so he could show his buddies what a real man he is... heh.

My favorite call of the day was from a good ole boy from Gentry's home state of Kentucky who called it chicken-shit hunting and kept calling Gentry's entire family a group of clowns. He also pointed out that regardless of time in the pokey and up to 20 grand in fines, the worst part of this for the singer is the complete loss of dirt road cred.

This is at least three times as funny when you consider that these two jerkoffs have built an entire career around being tough guys and real Southern boys. It would be a bit like finding out that Kid Rock goes to bed at 9:30 every night with a small glass of wine and a good book.

The strange thing? They're booking him for mis-tagging the bear as "wild" because there's no real law against shooting a tame bear in a small pen, just if you falsify the records about where you shot it.

This apparently has something to do with whether or not you can stuff the bear or not. Uh-huh, right.

I think that regardless of how you feel about the morality of hunting or in this case, execution-style bear removal techniques, it comes down to one of the e-mails the show got in the middle of the afternoon, who said that this is like losing you virginity to a hooker. Sure, you technically had sex, but you didn't really earn it, so where's the sense of satisfaction in that?

I think the thing that will ruin it for all of the fans who get off on the group's image will be this little tidbit - the bear's name before he iced it was Cubby. Yeah, you're all man when you shot an animal that shares a name with a Mouseketeer.

(Photo from charlottesvillepavillion.com / chaffeezoo.org)

Hakuna euthanasia

This type of shit just makes me furious. Punch a clown furious. Spit in a salad bar furious.

Allow me to quote the first two graphs from a week or so ago:

Five meerkats at the Minnesota Zoo were destroyed and tested for rabies Thursday after a girl was bitten when she reached her hand into the animals' exhibit.

The meerkats -- two mates and their three offspring born this spring -- had been vaccinated for rabies, but were ordered killed by the state Department of Health because the girl's parents didn't want her to have to undergo a series of rabies shots, said zoo collections manager Tony Fisher.

God forbid that Little Suzie Fuckwit gets a series of shots because she stuck her dumbfuck arm into an enclosure full of wild animals as her dumbfuck, mouth-breathing jackass parents stood idly by.

I'd like to hope they lost track of this kid because they were distracted as the DCFS agent was asking for ID as they prepped to release these kids into a pack of wild dogs where they'd have a fighting chance, but I suspect they were just watching their other little brats running free and tea-bagging the grizzlies or something.

I mean, Jesus...

It's good this little shit got a chunk taken out of her hand and all, but nothing says, "Stop being such a dumbshit" like a series of rabies shots to the gut.

Did we really need to kill five animals because Ma and Pa didn't want to have to take this brat to get her rabies boosters?

The funny thing is that I get a strange sense of calm when I look in my Bible under the book of Darwin, which says, in part: "Lo, the stupid and weakest members of a species tend to take care of themselves. That, or they are elected to public office."

(Image from moviecitygeek.com)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Boner shame: The Nick Lachey story


Just, wow...

I think Tyler Durden pretty much nailed it when he tagged the post with an, "Oh no she di-ent" In fact, that was what I was going to call the entire post, until I saw that. But, oh yes, she did...

Jessica Simpson has reportedly gone public with her thoughts on Lachey's wang. She was less than generous in her assessment. The words, " I really felt sorry for him, I still loved him though," might have been uttered.

Ouch. Pity sex where the pity part starts after the sex? Not good at all.

I was going to say if this story gets legs that he's pretty hosed, but let's face it - if it's on Tyler Durden, it has legs. Big ones. Like Manute Bol type legs...


If there's a sex tape floating around and there's any chance that he's not hung like a third-grader, it'll be out tomorrow morning. Oh, wait - it's still before 9 p.m. on the West Coast. It should be out in the next six or seven minutes.

Oh,and that picture of him smiling? He's not doing that anymore. I just couldn't find one of him suing Jessica for defamation of character.

(Photo from: us.yimg.com)

The Twins are unclear on the concept of "first"

This one has been rattling around my skull for a while now, but I pretty much hit my breaking point tonight.

Uh, guys? When something is called the "Ceremonial First Pitch" you can't do five or six of them in succession. No, not even if you play Outkast in between the third and fourth ones.

We'll remember. Yes, Andre 3000 is an interesting fellow, but we still don't forget what happened two minutes prior.


Tonight there were no fewer than four first pitches. If this is the way you want to roll, that's fine. Call them "Pre-game Pitches" or something.

You know, something other than "first."

Still a little fuzzy on this?

OK, that's fine. Here, let me help:

first (fûrst)
1.) Corresponding in order to the number one.
2.) Coming before all others in order or location: the first house on your left.
3.) Occurring or acting before all others in time; earliest: the first day of spring.
4.) Ranking above all others, as in importance or quality; foremost: was first in the class.

See? First is pretty much localized to the pitch that takes place before all others. Use it wisely. Don't waste it on some rag-armed executive from a packing plant.

I expect this to be cleared up by the end of this week. Thanks, guys.

(Image from twinsbaseball.com)

Monday, August 14, 2006

This just ruined August

Damn it!

First those weird, kinda frightening commercials with guys rubbing all up on him and now the news via Deadspin that Joe Buck will be on the air for roughly two more hours every Sunday... even if he's not ruining your home team's game.

You know, two things for the record here.

One, I never really cared what channel I had on for NFL pregame, but it was usually FOX because I'm an NFC Guy. No more. CBS all the way until the NFC kicks off.

Two, despite being a Packer fan, you had to give it to Moss for doing something different after that TD. Granted, I was also looking forward to seeing if Chad Johnson really did hit a deer and kept it in his garage last year, so I'm not the best person to talk to on this one, but still.

The way Buck flipped out was pretty priceless. In fact, here it is for your repeated viewing pleasure. Joe Buck, ladies and gents - the main reason your TV has a mute button!

Looks like Tim McCarver will have an extra two hours of quiet study time every Sunday now - maybe he can get a majority of the names he pronounces/facts he spouts out correct in 2007... nah.

How Alcatraz got her groove back


An Alcatraz that doesn't have slamming doors? It's downright un-American.

Luckily the National Park Service (who will sell you one of the best yearly passes you can imagine if you're on the East Coast - just be prepared for your smartass kid sister to call it your "Nerd Pass" for the rest of your natural born life) is working to correct the problem.

Having never been to the prison, except in my mind with Sean Connery, I wasn't aware of this, but I guess they stopped locking tourists in when they could no longer let them out with a reliable success rate. That was probably a good plan.

However, the nation's largest prison hardware firm ("For the best in shanks and other stoolpigeon silencing equipment!") is looking to hand-craft the missing equipment to allow rangers to lock people in and let them think about what they've done.

It seems to me that being one of the lucky few who needed a locksmith to get them out would be a pretty fun dinner party story to tell for years afterwards. Kind of like being stuck on a busted Ferris Wheel, you have a unique story to tell your kids, only without the carnie-related pandemonium that normally ensues.

Still, I can't help but wonder how unfulfilling it's been to visit and stand in the cells, but not be locked behind bars, even for a few minutes.

Recently, I've been working at a firehouse that's being constructed from scratch. When I first saw the blueprints, I asked a co-worker who is the lead guy on the job where the fire pole was. He said that it's one floor, so there isn't one.

All I can think about are all the disappointed kids who'll show up and not only miss out on a dalmation, but find out there's no fire pole, either.

It's got to be like finding out there's no Santa Claus.

(Photo from SFGate.com)

Friday, August 11, 2006

We must do our patriotic duty and defend the nation's bug zoos at all costs

In a story from the hopper that keeps coming back around and around, the nation has been transfixed/moderately concerned/slightly uneasy laughing at the sheer stupidity of thosands of travellers forced to dump out shampoo bottles as the enter security checkpoints.

I imagine that this too, shall pass. Much like lighters being banned in favor of no more than three books of matches and sweeping layoffs a year after hiring a full army of TSA agents, this will settle and the world will be safe for those flying with yuck mouth and Listerine again.

Also, the U.S. continues to miss the boat when it comes to what is and what is not important in our ongoing War! On! Terror! (OK, it took several tries andhaving to write the HTML code by hand to get that link to take... I think the governement is somehow involved in trying to shut down the hippie blogger menace here.)

To quote the opening paragraph: "A Homeland Security database of vulnerable terror targets in the United States, which includes an insect zoo but not the Statue of Liberty, is too flawed to determine allocation of federal security funds, the department's internal watchdog found."

No shit? You'd think that the temp hired to type that up in the first place would come to the same conclusion.

As we had the water cooler discussion at work today, I asked in all seriousness if anyone thought that this whole thing is a head fake by terrorist organizations to get everyone watching the airlines as they plan for any place but.

One strange thing I came across was as I was trying to think up a way to describe this thought process to a co-worker, I needed an American equivalent of a reason to try and attack a much bigger country and my mind immediately went to "If you needed to bomb the hell out of America for $15 million..." I think that sums up why we're getting bombed so much in the first place.

The concensus was that a sporting event was next, but the question remains - why on earth would you try and bomb a plane at this point when it's one of the most sriously guarded industries in the world now?

Why wouldn't you just walk into a major stadium and do your damage there? Seriously, you're going to try and mix chemical from three shampoo bottles to make a bomb that will blow out the wall in an airplane bathroom? Didn't MythBusters teach us all we needed to know about explosive decompression?

My homeboy at Disconnected in Suburbia is advocating focusing on the positives and not worrying so much. I'm going with at least focusing in the right direction. Yes, the planes are important, but what else are we concentrating on?

I have to say the thought of an organization that's responsible for our collective well-being worried about the terrorist menace striking us in the petting zoos isn't giving me a lot of confidence here.

Instead we're going to hassle people who won't stand for the national anthem and those that speak out against the US in small Bible Belt towns? Look at the rest of the watchdog list: bean and bourbon festivals and a kangaroo center?

We might not have found a surefire way to rate our national assets, but we may have proved that computers have a sense of humor or are starting to get pissed off at us.

Still, whenever the next attack happens, we'll all be shocked, despite the fact that we tried so hard at keeping the airports safe. Tring to cause a problem there when we don't see that level of security anywhere else is the equivalent of trying to rob a bank when the Brinks truck is parked outside with the door open and engine running. Where's the sense in trying to up the degree of difficulty?

It just doesn't add up.

Finally, when I'm brought in for questioning later tonight and you see me on the news, keep in mind I had a hat on today and my hair doesn't usually look that bad. Oh, and I usually shave Saturday or Sunday... I'm getting a little scruffy.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I sense a great disturbance in the Force

Did you feel that?

No, not the previously mentioned thawing of Peyton Manning (I hear that he'll be nearly complete by the end of the weekend) the other thing... the kinda dark in a cool sort of way thing.

Yes campers, Disconnected in Suburbia is back. Go ahead, hit the link on the sidebar.

I'll wait.

Feel better? I know I do.

(There, he has his own blog back. Can I stop sleeping on the couch now, Honey? Yes, we can make sure he takes his drug rug with him.)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Blogging about the football against my will

You got me. I'm in a footballin' mood today, I suppose.

Just checked in with Frank the Tank and he's got a new posting/links day that went up since I last paid a visit.

As will happen from time to time, Frank is on the pipe. He's usually pretty right on, but his preface on the return of pro football is a little off kilter.

"At least in Spring Training baseball games, there is a feeling that the game of baseball is actually being played with the players that are going to be out there every day," Frankie said.

Uh... dude? Split squads? Extended stretches for minor leaguers? Pitchers with numbers like 87 and 88 (and some of those are doubled up)?

No way. Granted, he's right about preseason football and the need to get in, run plays and get the hell out of the stadium before you hear the third quarter gun, but no way is Spring Training anything more than a chance to shake of the rust and get the family out of New York, Chicago or Boston when the weather is still slushy and grey.

Side story: My buddy Rich and I are sitting in the Twins spring stadium in Fort Myers and watching the first game we're seeing that trip. Things seem a bit off and pitchers are in and out in two innings or less. We're sitting on the third-base side and watching guys do lazy jogs along the outfield fence while the game is going on and the players are all but Babe Ruth-ing it up by order beer and hot dogs from the vendors.

I'm looking around and I see a guy, ass-up in right field, stretching his back out and rolling around the grass, loosening up his legs, I guess. I nudge Rich and point it out, thinking it's weird for the right fielder to be stretching so vigorously while there's a man in the batter's box and he tells me to lean around the support beam to see the real right fielder, who was standing a few feet over in the obstructed portion of my view.

That's about the time I lost any sort of respect for the scores that fill the ESPN crawler every March.

Can you imagine defensive linemen stetching in the opposite end zone as their team in the red zone? Or receivers jogging sideline to sideline on the 20 while a team is heading away from them on the opponent's 40?

At least the football players seem to be trying.

I also took a little exception to the claim that it's not real football. I'll warn you right now that after working with a lot of those scrubs, I have a completely different view than most football fans.

Some of my favorite players were the ones who were rookies or free agents looking for a chance. I drove vans to and from practice to get them back for lunch between two-a-days and back to the dorms after the afternoon workouts and saw that a majority of them were pretty cool guys.

That doesn't mean that they should be given free passes to start in the NFL, but sloppy as the play can be in the preseason, you won't find harder working guys than the practice squad/special teams candidates.

The Girl thought I was nuts a few years ago when I was watching one of these Pop Warner type slugfests and just kind of smiling at all of these guys doing all they could to keep chasing the dream they've had since they were little kids.

In Frankie's defense, some of them are terrible and some of the do not belong anywhere near a professional football field without a mower and a can of line paint, but I don't get the feeling that the garbage time is any more worthless than any other sport's preseason.

Actually, I'd rather see less time spent in the preseason period to cut down on the injury factor and anyone who has seen what the players go through every day in the summer heat probably feels the same way. While I don't pity anyone who is given the talent and opportunity to at least try out for a professional team, I have to say it's difficult to watch guys slowly fall off the roster, sent home or trying to sign on with other teams to play one more year.

You'd hear rookies telling each other that they were trying out for 31 other teams each time they geared up for a preseason game and there's a lot of truth to that. While most of the players who go that route never become stars, a few stand out each season.

People forget that Ryan Longwell wasn't supposed to make the Packers roster his rookie year (and was undrafted in 1997) with the job reserved for Brett Conway from Penn State. He went on to start every possible game for Green Bay until his jump to Minnesota this year. If I remember correctly, he'd been with San Francisco who let him float, was picked up by Ron Wolf and when injuries opened the door for him, he took over and became the career scoring leader for the franchise with 964 points.

So, while I agree that games can be brutal to watch when the third string defense is punishing the fourth string offense, it all comes down to how you're seeing the game. Is it the best football available? No, but neither is opening day for Arizona.

The simple fact is that most fans refuse to believe that even though it's the preseason, their team doesn't give a shit about who wins. They're focusing on routes and defensive packages and getting rookies up to speed with the tempo of the pro game.

At least the scrubs are playing their asses off. Well, that and there's a little more credibility when no one is working on their tan from the bullpen.

(Images from joe-ks.com / vmedia.rivals.com)

Brett Favre is clearly insane

I tend to not even notice that football is in season until Week 5 or 6 most years. It's pretty strange, because I used to pull a paycheck and free meals from Green Bay's training camp every summer and I'd have that shit locked down by the second week of August.

Now, I consistiently finish last in my fantasy football league (now accepting submissions for a clever team name!) and can only really keep track of the season's opener by the cold shiver that goes down my spine when Peyton Manning is brought out of cold storage, told the new rules put in place to help the Colts make the Super Bowl and he's told to stop pouting to his wife about last year's playoffs.

(If for no other reason than to rejoice when I type the following words into Google and see my blog among the thousands of possible entries, "Peyton Manning is a fucking fuck." I feel much better now.)

While I have plans to chime in on the prospects of another exciting season of Green Bay Packer football, this will hold folks over in the meantime.

Rest assured, we haven't all had the Kool-Aid with regards to the greatest team Favre has ever been a part of.

Go Pack.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Race in Peace, Ralph

Ran across this tonight on Wikipedia which lists little-known names for some fairly famous people.

I've enjoyed Ralph Earnhardt and Norman Julius "Boomer" Esiason in the "E's" and countless others thoughout.

I think this list could be pretty deadly in the hands of the right heckler. I mean, Dusty Baker can use "Dusty" as a stage name of sorts to ignore the venom heading his way at home and on the road, but I'm betting you could rattle him using the same name his mother gave him.

I'm already making mental notes incase I'm ever asked to manage.

I'm talking even something like Little League. The other parents would come up to shake hands at the first day of practice and I'd grin and say very sincerely, "Hi, I'm Dave!" Then I could spend the rest of the season blissfully ignoring the ongoing commentary from the stands centering on how badly Dave sucks as a manager.

Man, Dave should never have ordered that beanball. There's just no room for that in children's sports.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Not the tiny, cardboard investments they once were

Over the winter I was looking for things to kill time until the job market opened up and decided if an activity couldn't be cheap, it should at least be fun. So, in what wasn't one of the more rational moves I could have made, I bought a box of baseball cards.

Actually, it ended up being two and for anyone who was 12, you know that buying 36 packs doesn't mean you'll get the full set. No, there were plenty of holes and doubles of shitty players and overall it was pretty entertaining.

However, the whole experience was kind of disorienting. I went up north to St. Cloud to a shop that had a pretty good buzz from a collector board and it lived up to the hype. The funny thing is that it's in the basement of a strip mall (Strip malls have basements? Yup, but I kept thinking of Jan Hooks' scene in Pee Wee's Big Adventure) and I was pretty sure someone was going to hit me in the head and take my wallet.

Nice folks, though and we talked about e-mail spam and baseball and I asked the lady behind the counter what she suggested in terms of a good set. The reason I needed to do this was multiple sets from the same manufacturers and all sorts of other garbage.

Apparently I'm not the only one who misses the good old days.

Back in the day there were only a few sets that mattered: Topps, Upper Deck, Donruss and Fleer. Others floating in and out, but those were the big ones. Upper Deck took over as top dog and Topps just seemed dated. Without going into too much of a song and dance about a simpler time in 1983, it was a good time to be into baseball cards.

They were cheap and available all over, but the cards with Cubs players were the only ones to matter in our neighborhood. Now, there are separate sets depending on where you buy them (Target has it's own set through Topps- learned that one the hard way).

When you add all the intra-company sets and alternates, overpriced junk that is sold as rare or with special inserts from old autographs and such and the whole thing is kind of a mess.

I was told as I was packing up my Topps set this year that there were special inserts from the Pope, Ronald Reagan and others and had to ask myself why. Aren't baseball players cool enough anymore. More shocking than anything are the prices (into the hundreds of thousands) for these cards.

The closest I came was a small piece of the jersey that Victor Martinez wore in the 2005 All-Star Game.

It looks like the bottom line is that cards are becoming too expensive for kids who are gravitating towards game cards like Pokemon and company. I say if this generation falls away from card collecting, that's just fine. It'll be cheaper when I buy them for my kids... then fight them as we tear through packs just to see who's inside them.

(Image from SportsHollywood.com)

Bad dog! Bad!

I see my fair share of dogs in any given week. Mostly on Wednesday when I help out at a puppy class at the Humane Society, but you'll see them all over.

It's funny because I'm getting to the point where I can see problems as I sit at a stoplight (usually because people aren't paying attention to their dogs, letting them pull, etc. and usually while they're on a cell phone - shocker, huh?) and know what they should be doing instead.

Now, I can't fix these same problems with my dog, but it's getting to be like those guys who can hear a problem in a car's engine or drivetrain and diagnose it before you can even see it.

The thing is that you don't need to be any sort of expert to know what's wrong with this situation. For the record, only one of the teddy bears belonged to Elvis, not the whole collection, but it's still a bummer for the owner of the bear.

If I'm the dog's handler, I'd get a pen, paper and a thesaurus and look up synonyms for "one-time occurance" and "will never happen again" for your next round of guard jobs.

(I'd also bet dollars to donuts that the dog has a fuzzy little chew toy in his kennel).

Also of note:

* The guilty look on the dog's face
* This happened at the Wookey Hole Caves?
* "...leaving fluffy stuffing and bits of bears' limbs and heads on the museum floor..."
* "A security guard at the museum, Greg West, said he spent several minutes chasing Barney before wrestling the dog to the ground."
* Heh, Wookey Hole

(Photo from sfgate.com)

Wee, wee, wee - Half the way home

We've all been there before.

You're a half mile from home after six hours of steady drinking, only your bladder left the bar about a half hour before you did. You have options, but not really. It boils down to two paths:

a.) Piss in your pants
b.) Piss anywhere else

Yeah, no brainer. Unless you're trying to prove a point or put a fire out in your drawers, you find the a dark alley or corner (stay safe, kids!) and piss all over your feet.

Good times.

The Chicago Tribune had a story today about the legal ramifications of pissing, being caught by the fuzz for this and then kinda lying about not knowing the guy who was peeing next to him. (As an aside, it's a general rule of thumb to not pull one's junk out in the presence of a total stranger - just saying, is all).

Long story, short, kid one denies knowing the Phantom Pisser, the cops figure out the PP's real identity and then use Facebook to put the two together as friends. Seems kind of flimsy to me, but sure, why not.

The best part is the quote from the kid who is either having a lot of fun with this as the media comes running, is drunk right now or both.

"I had no idea that old people were wise to Facebook. I thought they referred to it as a doohickey that kids play with," he said. "I got bone-crushed."


As a bonus story here, I e-mailed Frankie and Danny this afternoon when I found this for no other reason than because the University of Illinois was the site of two of my favorite drunk, misbehaving episodes.

On the advice of my lawyer, I'll refrain from posting them here. The U of I cops are online now.

(Photo from theepochtimes.com)