Thursday, July 30, 2009

Epic Fail

I am not a police officer, nor do I ever expect to be so. That being said, I think that if you asked most law enforcement officers they would note that one of the most important functions of their job is to make sure the criminals go to jail and stay there. Therefore, when the friendly local sheriffs department in my town made to bold decision to allow an inmate housed in their jail to simply change into street clothes and walk out of the kitchen door UNSUPERVISED I would consider that a failure. And epic failure.
Now I am not trying to rag on the friendly local sheriffs department, okay? Let's get that clear. I've met a few of the guys and gals who work up there and in general they are pretty nice when they aren't pulling me over. That being said, I wouldn't wish this type of thing on the kids up there, but it happened. By far the biggest epic fail of the day I would say. So now, it's a rainy Thursday and there is a criminal on the loose in my tiny town. The story was all over the news on TV and on the radio, and the friendly local sheriffs department fired up that automated calling software that called everyone in the area to let them know that there was a wanted criminal running around. That being said the word spread at beyond lightening speed using the most efficient and most reliable yet least accurate form of communication: word of mouth.
This is where epic fail #2 happened. As would be expected, suddenly the entire town turned into one gigantic group of people playing the game telephone. Like you used to play in kindegarden with your friends. Except this was with grown ups. And sometimes involved a real telephone. The reason that it very rapidly became an epic fail was because by the time that whatever information, or in this case heresay and conjecture, got from Point A to Point Z via Points B thru Y the stories trickling in were wildly divergent. He was armed and dangerous (something the sheriffs department never said). He was holding up banks (something he never did). He was running past the post office (which he might have but probably not because it is on the main drag and he was found the opposite direction from the post office). He was at various times an inmate from Texas, Wisconsin, and Illinois (he was being housed here for crimes committed in the Milwaukee area). So you could see that basically nobody knew anything for real about what was going on other than that an inmate walked away from the jail. Epic fail by the word of mouth method.
Good news is that the friendly local sheriffs department found the guy sitting in someone's van about five or six blocks from the courthouse and jail. It took them roughly seven hours, which when computer using math is slightly more than an hour per block. As I began formulating and writing this post I was ready to call this another epic fail. However, the more that I have written the faster I have sort of flip-flopped and reconsidered my position on the whole matter. I understand that it took seven hours to find someone who was six blocks away, but the more I thought about that the more I realized that I couldn't have done any better. Actually, considering that it was a relatively small, very rural county sheriffs department working in conjunction with a small city police force I thought they did pretty well. Yeah, I know, it was seven hours to search six blocks, but it's a pretty densely packed six blocks. And it's not like a big city where EVERY DOOR is locked. Most people here leave their homes open. Most people here leave their garages open. Most people here leave their sheds open. Get the point? Okay, then one more: most people leave their cars open. The point here is that it was house by house, store by store, etc. by etc. Plus the guy when the exact opposite direction that everyone would have expected him to go. So I guess they did pretty well. That being said I can't just let them out of this, I mean this is a post about epic failures, right? So let's compromise with the sheriffs department and we will borrow a term from NASA. We will call this a successful failure. Successful because they got the guy back. Failure because it took all day. Seriously though, good work guys.
The last epic fail of the day is on the fugitive's head. Yeah, you failed buddy. I mean, you were successful in getting out of prison I suppose, but after that not so much. First of all, I don't know if you could see or if you looked around you on your way here but once you get out of town you are basically in the middle of nowhere. I hope you like running through the woods because that's what you are going to be doing if you escape from jail in these parts. Fail. Second, you had SEVEN HOURS and you only made it like six blocks. Okay, I am fat and lazy and it only takes me like fifteen minutes by foot to get to where you were found, and I live four blocks the other direction from the jail. I mean, I know you didn't know where you were going but still, that's pretty weak guy. Fail. Third, in the seventeen seconds it took me to get from the courthouse door to Mike-a-licious' driveway right across the street I thought of about nine ways that I could have gotten out of town and far, far away in the seven hours that the jail breaker had before his capture. Even if I was tromping through the forest in the rain I would have made it at least seven miles away, right? FAIL! Sorry guy. I mean, you were going to get caught eventually anyway because the police have radios and whatnot but you certainly could have put up a much better fight I think. I mean, props to you for taking the opportunity when it presented itself in getting the hell out of there, but not so hot on the running away part. so half and half I suppose.
So anyway, epic fails all around when it came to keeping this guy incarcerated. Epic fail when it came to the dissemination of information. Epic fail when it came to tracking him down quick-like. Epic fail when it came to him getting away. In the end however, it all came back to where it was supposed to be. The guy is locked up like he should be. The town is safe like it should be. The guy will be facing a few extra charges for what I would assume is a myriad of broken laws. And in the end this sleepy little tourist burg got a whole lot of excitement for basically free. All's well that ends well I suppose. Strange how a string of epic fails turned into everything being back to square one, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Waitress Revisited

The other day we talked about The Waitress that I had at dinner almost one week ago. Just to recap, in case you did not get a chance to read it or if you are allergic to hyperlinks or something I am going to recap it for you. Our waitress did a pretty awful job all around. She was very nice and was trying hard and all that but she just wasn't a good waitress. That being said we should say that she was new and just because she wasn't a good waitress on DAY FIVE of working at it doesn't mean that she wouldn't become a good waitress somewhere along the line. So the question that arose in my mind was how to tip her appropriately and of course I ended up at some overly deep philosophical meaning behind how much you left for said tip.
So anyway, devoted reader AND master mechanic AND restaurant entrepreneur AND professional chef Chef Tel was kind enough to write in with some tips on how I could have appropriately handled the situation in lieu of throwing my butter knife at an elderly person and barrel rolling out the front window of the restaurant and into their professionally landscaped bushes, which is what I ultimately chose to do. What he recommended, to me and you and anyone else with access to the Internet or the ability to communicate with someone who does was to tip The Waitress just a bit below 20% because that would sort of let her know that yeah she put in the effort but there was room for improvement. Also still tip her an appropriate amount because I liked looking at her tramp stamp. First of all, I was not looking at her tramp stamp; she had a full-on T-shirt as part of her uniform and was showing nothing around her middle. So you can only imagine where her tats happened to be but good guess anyway Chef Tel. Second of all, I have to admit that is a pretty good idea and I am slightly embarrassed that I couldn't figure out to take the middle of the road. Yeah, here is me, Mr. Moderate for anyone who knows me, and I couldn't figure out not to tip high, and not to tip low, but to tip somewhere in between. Yikes. I wonder if I am losing it.
Or maybe The Waitress had me head spinning, I guess we will never know. Chef Tel goes on to make the very cogent point that in the end it really doesn't mean squat what we tipped her, aside from whether she cursed us under her breath or just sort of didn't think of us at all. What matters is not the kind of person that I am, or that my family is; what matters is the kind of person that the waitress is. He goes on, IN ALL CAPS, to note that if she is the kind of person who is happy to just get ANY tips at all as opposed to someone like me who would use the tip amount to sort gauge my progress it isn't going to matter one bit how much beyond the price of the meal was left at the table.
So anyway, just some things to think about. I certainly thought about what Chef Tel said; after I was done thinking about The Waitress of course. And I've been thinking about some other things that I've been reading about the food service profession (like the hilarious blog called The Bitter Waitress or a recent Yahoo! article about ten secrets from a professional waiter) and I think that all of that totally supports my long standing opinion that food service is by far and away the most difficult industry in which to work. And I used to work in the gambling industry, so you can tell how serious I am about that. So thanks Chef Tel for setting me straight, and thanks to The Waitress for bringing me my food and being nice, if not terribly successful, about it. I have decided that I am definitely going back soon to check up on your progress. I just hope you are one of the people who actually cares to make progress.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Ghosts of the CBD

I was trained, during my time in college, as a geographer. So I am familiar with the term CBD. CBD stands for Central Business District, and it's a term that is used in geography and economics and planning to describe what is traditionally known as downtown: that area of a community where there is a high concentration of business and often government activities located centrally in an area. This is sort of a dying concept in some suburban and ex-urban areas where strip malls and commercial strips along multi-lane highways tend to rule the roost. But older and more traditional cities and most small towns still have a CBD, and most of those CBD's have living spaces in them in the form of apartments above the businesses that line the streets.
I live in a CBD. Many of you have probably lived in a CBD especially if you have lived in a college town and lived off campus. And certainly everyone has gone to a CBD for shopping or a show or that sort of thing. But have you ever noticed that the residents of the CBD are rarely ever seen or heard from by the other masses that populate that area? I came to that realization today as I entered my apartment building and a family of kids stared at me as I entered a door that wasn't a store like I was doing so with my pants off. And I checked, my pants were on AND appropriately fastened.
The point here folks is that the patrons of the CBD and the residents of the CBD rarely ever mix, and when they do it is very rarely noticed. I think of all the time I have spent in the downtown areas of all the towns in which I've lived and I can't think of a time when I noticed the people who live there. Certainly one notices when there is an event occurring. I always noticed those watching the dogsled race from the comfort of their living rooms while I was standing outside in the bitter cold. And when I was sitting with my legs dangling out of my apartment window watching the Independence Day parade the people in the street noticed me too. I know because they were looking up at me and pointing like I was going to fall down upon their heads like rain or a meteorite or something.
The problem is two-fold as far as I have been able to discern. And believe me I have been studying this problem for quite some time in all sorts of depth. First is that when you are down in the CBD, whether it is for a concert or a play or to go to the bar or whatever, you aren't thinking about the people who live there. You aren't thinking about the people who live there when you rev the engine of your truck every time you go down the block, which is about every five minutes or so. The point here is that when you go downtown you usually have an agenda - a mission if you will - that you are focused on and thinking about. You are going to the bar. You are meeting your friends. You are hurrying to the show. You aren't thinking about the fact that there are people living around there. You also aren't looking up. All the housing in the CBD is on the second floor and above; the first floor is all about business, which is why you are downtown in the first place. So the residents tend to go unnoticed.
Part of the reason that occurs, however, is because of the residents of the CBD themselves. Like I said before the Worldwide Headquarters is in the CBD of my town, so I know how CBd residents think and act and move. And part of the reason they are so infrequently noticed is because they take pains to not be noticed. Not so much not to be noticed but to not be inconvenienced. See, when you live somewhere and there tends to be mass influxes of people on a regular basis, that really makes it hard for you to get around and get anything done. So residents of the CBD, faced with this very situation, tend to find ways to get away from that. I take back doors and alleyways every chance I get. If I am in my car I take the most direct routes out of downtown that don't have to cross busy main drags. I do my best to not actually be downtown among all the people because it inconveniences me in so many ways that I can't even begin to describe. In fact, I wouldn't have been using the front door of the main street if there hadn't been construction going on out the back. Usually the shoppers and the bar hoppers are just voices outside my window or faceless bodies passing by below me.
So there it is: a pretty potent mix of behaviors on the two sides that creates all these sort of ghosts of the Central Business District. And that's the look that I got from these kids - this sort of incredulous but intensely interested and a little bit frightened look like one would have if they saw a ghost. But it wasn't a ghost, it was just me, going home to my place in the CBD. So next time you venture downtown for whatever reason, keep your eyes peeled. Look in the back alleys and sidewalks and most importantly look upward. Chances are you will catch a peek of one of the ghosts of the CBD.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The End of Geocities

I got an e-mail the other day, Company, from ummm...from the good people at Yahoo! The reason that this particular e-mail was pertinent was that it was to inform me, among thousands of other people, that GeoCities was going to be closed down in October.
A lot of people who are of the younger sort, or the computer illiterate sort who might be reading this today won't really understand the significance of this. But it is pretty significant that after God-knows how many years Yahoo is pulling the plug on one of the first web hosting services for the everyday, non-computer dork like myself. To be honest, it makes sense from the standpoint of the folks at Yahoo!, since they have far better web hosting services now and because just about nobody used GeoCities anymore.
I have a GeoCities website though, did you know that, Company? Oh yeah. You probably thought that this sweet blog just sprung out of nowhere like a mushroom in the forest. That's not true. Long ago, when I was just an impressionable freshman in college, I sat down at my university-issued desk in my university-issued chair with my university-issued computer and formed a GeoCities site that all of about four people looked at. Needless to say I didn't have quite the perseverance then that I do these days. That site at one point went months without so much as looking at or thinking about or updating the thing, to the point where I had to put like an apology or something because I hadn't made changes in so long. It had actually been so long that I had forgotten the address even.
What I had with GeoCities was a site called "The House of Big Dave" and I thought at the time, and I still think today that it was a pretty good idea. What I did was this: I took a floor plan for a house that I got off the Internet, made it out like it was my house, and put links on all the rooms so that you could go from room to room through what is basically my house. So like if you went and clicked on the garage then you could see what is in my garage, with my usual witty comments. Same if you clicked on the bathroom or whatever you could read about all that. I thought it was pretty ingenious. You can go look at it here if you really want to. But only until October 26. After that it will be no more. And it's not like it will just be frozen in time. It will be gone, completely. Any pictures that were part of it, all the text, all the background and whatnot will be erased off the face of the Internet never to be seen again. And that will be that.
So if you want to go see what GeoCities holds, get on it right now, because there isn't much more time. And when GeoCities closes it will be the end of an era of sorts, as one of the first drag and drop website hosing services quietly slips into memory forever and its children, in the form of a million different sites in a million different places go on to be truly special things. Or, as you can see here, truly useless.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Waitress

The Waitress was cute. Her name was Jackie. She had a series of tattoos in a series of places that I found very sexy. And her pants...well...let's just say that I applauded her choice of pants. I, not surprisingly, being twenty-something and single, was immediately happy when we were seated at her table. She was nice, but it wasn't like it was supposed to be. It wasn't like it was a forced niceness, it was more like an uneasy niceness. Like she was nice normally but was having trouble getting it through to the world.
She was not a good waitress. She got there soon enough and took our order okay, but she didn't quite have the interaction correct. She did good with the whole "start with the lady and go around the table" thing, but while she knew there was something wrong with what the lady was ordering she couldn't quite put her finger on it or get the point across. She brought the wrong beer. She forgot our water. We waited forever for our soup. She forgot our bread. She gave the next table the wrong check...twice.
So somewhere in there we asked her if she was having a rough night. She looked at us. Okay, let me finish that sentence. She looked at us quizzically. We informed her that we had heard her tell the next table she was having a rough night, that is why we were asking. Hahahaha. She laughed. It was cute, I liked it. She said that no, she wasn't having a bad night. She was experiencing her first Friday fish fry as a waitress in a Northern Wisconsin resort town. It was her fifth day as a waitress. Not her fifth day on that particular waitressing job. It was her fifth day as a waitress EVER. we have an answer.
That explained it all. The nervous niceness. The slow service. The forgetfulness. The whole package. It all made sense once she told us that. I would be nervous as hell too. Luckily for her for whatever reason that particular restaurant wasn't as busy as usual that night. Wait times that usually stretch over an hour were roughly half that. Yet she was still struggling, and she was still visibly nervous, and I can't say that I blame her.
So she put us in a quandary. She was not a good waitress, but that doesn't mean she couldn't be or wouldn't be. And it doesn't mean she wasn't making an honest attempt. That being said, we still didn't get good service. So how do you tip her? Do you give her a good tip for making the effort? Do you give her a bad tip because of the bad service? A bad tip might discourage her and stunt her development, but how does she know that she needs to improve if she gets a good tip for bad service. What do you do in that situation? That's the question. I sort of want to keep going back and sitting in her section, gradually increasing her tip as she gets better and better, just so she sort of gets it and knows she is improving. Then I would be helping her better herself and I would also be getting myself out of answering the question we just asked. I could tip her badly but if it's part of a bigger, overall helpful plan I don't feel like such a dick. However, we all know that is impractical. So how do you answer the question?
There is a bigger question too: how do you act in this situation? What does one do? Especially once one knows The Waitress is new. Do you act like she is a normal waitress who is terrible and not caring? Do you exercise infinite patience? I guess that depends on the type of person that you are; it goes back down to the basic dip switches of ones personality. You know, how one is wired on the inside. The Waitress, through her very ordinary struggles of learning a new job, has boiled everything down into what kind of person one should be. Wow. I'm not going to tell you how to be. I'm not going to tell you how we were, because it doesn't matter. The world needs all types. She needs the bad tip to learn what is and what is not acceptable. She needs the good tip to know that there is hope for the future. She needs someone who is a total a-hole so that she can appreciate those who ask to be seated in her section and treat her nicely. That's just the way the world works. Good chases evil. Evil makes good, good. That's just how it is. All of this from The Waitress. I guess she wasn't so bad after all.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Perfect Game

Okay Company, I think you should know that I love sports, and I could easily talk about sports just about every day. That being said, I am pretty sure that you don't want to hear that. In fact, I know sure that you don't. But I still love sports; so much so that I have thought about starting a sports blog. Thankfully though, every time that thought comes around my head prevails when it says "You don't have time and that would be so much more work" even though my heart is screaming "WRITE A SPORTS BLOG!"
Anyway, all that being said, I am going to write about sports today, because something sort of magical and certainly extraordinary happened at US Cellular Field (which you might know as Comiskey Park) in Chicago. Yesterday afternoon against the defending American League Champions the Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox All-Star left-handed pitcher Mark Buehrle pitched only the 18th perfect game in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB). The 132 year history of Major League Baseball. For all of you math majors out there that's one every seven years and four months on average, which doesn't sound particularly impressive until you factor in how many games are played between how many teams every year and that comes out to one perfect game for about every 11,000 MLB games played. Impressed yet? I think Wikipedia said it best when they noted that "For comparison, more people have orbited the moon than have pitched a Major League Baseball prefect game." Now you should be impressed.
For those of you who are not sports literate, and I am sure that many of you are not, a perfect game is when a pitcher allows no hitter to reach base. No hits. No walks. No hits batsmen. No errors by the fielders. Nothing. Twenty-seven people come up to bat and twenty-seven people walk away without touching first base. I know that this doesn't sound particularly difficult; it's ideally how every game should go. But it's not easy. You can't make a single mistake. You must throw the ball where the batter can easily hit it to avoid walks. Your fielders must all be in the prefect position to field every ball that is hit into play. And, honestly, you need a heap of luck and usually at least one amazing play.
Buehrle got his amazing play in the top of the ninth inning, with no one out when he was facing Gabe Kapler, who himself has had a rather remarkable career. Kapler got a hold of the 105th pitch in the game and drove it towards center field, where journeyman DeWayne Wise had just entered the game in that inning. The same DeWayne Wise who was with the Atlanta Braves when they were on the wrong end of the last perfect game in 2004. Wise ran, he ran a long way actually, and leaped at exactly the right moment to get the ball in his glove as it was sailing over the top of the wall. He didn't catch it though. Not right then. The impact with the outfield wall sort of knocked the ball out of his glove so he had to reach up and catch it in his bare hand before it hit the ground. All while doing a sort of backward somersault. It was pretty amazing. You can watch it here. It always seems that as games like this go on - whether they are perfect games or no hitters - the players in the field make more and more outstanding plays. And so it was in this game.
I am always impressed by this feat. I know that it can make for a boring baseball game if you like offense and hitting and whatnot, but it's still amazing to me. If you aren't quite sure how extraordinary and amazing this feat is, think about who called Buehrle while he was in the clubhouse after the game getting sprayed with champagne. Well, I don't know if he was getting sprayed with champagne but I DO know that he was in the clubhouse when President Obama called him to congratulate him. Now, it is true that the President is an avid and longtime white Sox fan, and that he met with Buerhle during the All-Star Game a couple of weeks ago, but still, when you get a phone call from the Pres and you DIDN'T win some sort of championship, then you know it's on.
And so it is. Congratulations Mark Buehrle on your perfect game, stats show you will never do it again. Enjoy it, you are part of a very exclusive club. And good for you all of you who were fortunate enough to see it in person. You're probably going to have to wait another seven years before it happens again.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Okay Company, let's begin by me telling you that I have always liked Brooke Shields, okay? I think she is gorgeous now and always has been. And I will not be afraid to admit that when I think of a MILF quite often I think of her (I am a twenty-something guy, okay Company? I don't have anything other than improper and dirty thoughts). So it should come as no surprise that when I saw her appear on the 13 inch TV screen in my bedroom the other night, I snapped to attention in more ways that one. Then again, Brooke Shields is always hawking something on TV, so I guess I wasn't so surprised until I saw what she was selling. Then, I wasn't so excited anymore.

My darling Brooke was selling Latisse, which is prescription medicine that increases the length and thickness of one's eyelashes.

Yeah. That's a medicine. A prescription medicine. That means it's been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That means that you have to go down to your doctor and pay your co-pay before you can get it. That means that your insurance will cover most of the cost and therefore Friend Steven, Trey Parker, Michael Ian Black, and everybody else who has health insurance will have to cover most of the cost. All so that you can have thicker eyelashes. This makes me angry on so many levels I can't even begin to form it into words.
Okay, first of all they have sullied the reputation of my dear, sweet, Brooke Shields. I know, she was the one who signed the contract to shill the stuff on TV, so maybe it has exposed the almost love of my life for a money-grubbing washed up actress who cares WAY too much about her eyelashes. That saddens me. That saddens me a lot. I always thought she was above that. So thanks drug company that makes Latisse for destroying my childhood dreams. That was neat of you.
Second of all, I've got a big problem with Latisse because it is a useless prescription drug that does what about 492 over-the-counter cosmetic products do as well. I can't turn on my old-style tube television without seeing someone dancing around on a white sound stage and doing extreme closeups to the camera so I can see how long and luscious their eyelashes are. I think there are also like some sort of press-on eyelash extensions that I am not quite sure about, but some chicks have eyelashes that don't seem like they could ever be grown naturally no matter how hard someone tried or how altered their DNA happened to be. Stereotypical New Jersey housewives and porn stars and Lady GaGa seem to like them though. So I guess that my question is: with this plethora of mascara and God-knows what else out there on the shelves at K-Mart, why is someone marketing prescription eyelash medicine and who exactly is in such desperate need of it?
I think that is the thing that gets me most about this whole deal. This is one of the most useless prescription drugs in the history of history. I mean really? Prescription medicine for eyelashes? For real? Is that really something that we need to be worrying about? I mean, I am a dude, and I know that I pretty much never look at a girl's eyelashes. Not really ever. Let's be honest, by the time I make it to their eyes from wherever I happen to start, I have too many thoughts swirling through my head to worry about the fullness of their eyelashes. And I am not going to lie, I have never suddenly found a girl less attractive because of thin eyelashes. Never. Ever. I am sure that if you go digging into the archives of the Discovery Channel or a major Northeastern research institution or maybe the Revlon Head Offices you will find at least a ream and half of research on how there is some sort of primeval biological sexual impulse that clicks on when you see full, luxurious eyelashes around a pair of big dark eyes, but I can't imagine it's the biggest or most important spark in the history of the world. In fact, I don't usually notice a girl's eyelashes unless they are being batted in my direction, in which case I am very interested in them.
The point here, Company, is that while it may work alright, Latisse is pretty much useless and vain. How awful is it that some company spent literally millions of dollars researching, producing, advertising, and trademarking this drug when there are still people out there dying of yellow fever, cancer, heart disease, and even influenza. I guess that those problems and diseases pale in comparison to the terrible pandemic of eyelash thinness that is sweeping the globe. We all have to hoof 5 k over and over and over again so that lung cancer research can go ahead but yet someone out there signed off on an eleventy billion dollar project to make Brooke Shields' eyelashes more noticeable. This just reeks of wrongness, doesn't it Company?
Plus, as I sat ruptured by the beauty that is Brooke Shields with her amazing eyelashes, I was able to hear all of the unfortunate side effects that Latisse has to offer, and none of them seem any fun. Certainly nothing that is worth having in order to get thicker eyelashes. Let's look at them, shall we? 1.) May cause eyelid skin darkening which may be reversible. Okay, no big deal. It can be reversed and most women are going to put dark makeup there anyway. I could like with that probably. 2.) There is potential for increased brown eye pigmentation which is likely to be permanent. That is not so cool. I am confused about this one actually, because from what I have seen Latisse is brushed on just like the over the country makeup, so how it actually gets into the pigments of your iris and changes them around is a mystery to me. But that can't be right. The only thing that should be changing your eye color is mother nature as you grow up from being a baby or maybe an optometrist giving you colored contacts. If I were a blonde haired blue eyed beauty and I saw that I would learn to live with my tragically think eyelashes. 3.) There is a potential for hair growth in to occur in area where Latisse solution comes in repeated contact with skin surfaces. Ahhh, now we've come to the secret behind Latisse. Your eyelashes are really just super fine hairs attached to your eyelids. Latisse makes those hairs grow thicker. Latisse makes hair grow where it comes in repeated contact with skin. Sounds like this miracle eyelash thickener is just that same shit that I have been spreading on my bald spot for the last eight God-damned years packaged up in a little plastic tube with a brush. 4.) I don't care enough about number 4 to type it out here. 5.) The most common side effects after using Latisse solution are an itching sensation in the eyes and /or eye redness. Great. I use Latisse and so I always have red eyes. So it looks like I am always crying, but I have thick eyelashes. Yeah guys really like that. Nothing turns them on more than a chick who is always weeping.
So I guess I am firmly against Latisse and everything is stands for. Sorry. If you use it and it makes you feel better about yourself then more power to you I suppose. But I won't touch the stuff with a ten foot pole. And if I were married and caught my wife spending money on that I would divorce her. That's actually a reason that is being added to the papers under "reason for divorce:" use of Latisse. It's right between "irreconcilable differences" and " infidelity." So don't waste your money and your doctor's time on this stuff, okay Company? Take the money you'd spend on this and by Livestrong bracelets or something. At least then you'd be promoting something important in the medical field like cancer research. If you insist on using the stuff at least sign the back of your drivers license so that when you die your rich, luscious, luxurious and wildly attractive eyelashes can be implanted in someone else's eyelid. Then at least you are doing some good.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Long Days in Lancaster

A while back we discussed a pretty heinous case from the small Mississippi River town of Cassville, WI. During a long, long night in Cassville three men, twin brothers Alex and Nick Grunke and their buddy Dustin Radke dug up the corpse of the recently deceased Laura Tennessen, who had died at the age of 20 in a motorcycle accident. That in itself is obviously illegal, but when you ad in the fact that they are accused of doing this in order to have sexual intercourse the case just gets strange and perverted.
Anyway, after a lot of time and energy in the courts trying to determine if having sex with a corpse is a crime, and determining that it is (that all happened during Alex's trial earlier this year) Nick finally went on trial in the county seat of Lancaster a couple of days ago, and what a trial this is going to turn out to be. I mean, real A&E made for TV movie kind of stuff. Like stuff you'd see on some sort of Justice Files type show and be grossed out by it and wonder how exactly the people who had to deal with this dealt with it. So you can imagine that this case, aspects of which have already spent lots of time and money floating all the way up to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, is going to cause quite a stir is this small, rural county. And that it is going to make for some long days in Lancaster.
First of all, let's just say this: I am astonished that none of the defense lawyers have asked for this case to me moved out of the county. I can't imagine exactly how these boys are going to get a fair shake anywhere down in that corner of the state. The media coverage has been intense. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald and the Wisconsin State Journal and Madison-area television media have covered this case extensively since it began in 2006. If you search for it you will find a lot of articles and updates about what went on. So I am surprised that it was never asked for the trial to be moved, although I suppose the news has spread far and wide. I mean, I live over 300 miles away and I know all about it, and you live God knows how far and you are reading about it right now, so I would guess that they figured it was a moot point. Anyway, jury selection took just about an hour to whittle the pool down from the 66 people who showed up to however many sit on a jury. The Telegraph Herald reported that "When Judge George Curry asked if any member of the jury panel had heard anything about the case, nearly every hand had flew [sic] into the air." Yikes, tough room.
As would be expected, one of the the Three Musketeers cracked and reached a plea deal. IN this particular case it was Radke, who sang like Mariah Carey in order to save his own behind. In exchange for his testimony two of the three counts (which, by the way were attempted criminal damage to a cemetery, attempted misdemeanor theft, and third-degree sexual assault) were dropped, but everyone would get to hear in the public record about how messed up Radke is in the head. Anyway, he testified, much like he did at Alex's trial, that Nick Grunke was basically the ringleader of this very, very misguided gang of retarded sexual deviants, and that they were digging up the corpse because Nick wanted to have sex with the woman, or at least with her remains, when there were caught in the act on September 2, 2006. Seems pretty cut and dry, doesn't it? Well, let's take a look at how Nick's attorney spun this one, shall we?
In a very sitcom-ish sort of strategy, defense attorney Suzanne Edwards decided to start her defense of her client by basically tearing him to shreds. She portrayed him as a shy, naïve, virgin who just sort of longed for some sort of female companionship. Well maybe he should have gotten a dog then. This guy is not shy, a shy person would worry too much about getting caught robbing a grave. He is not naïve because if you don't understand that digging up a corpse and having sex with it is very, very wrong in a very, very socially unacceptable way then there is something so much bigger wrong with you it's not even funny. I sort of think this guy knew exactly what he was doing and was just a creepy creeper. Edwards claimed that Grunke longed to have a girlfriend to hold and spend time with, and that he just wanted to "set up a little fairy-tale scenario." Yeah, I am going to have to call shenanigans on this one. We all feel that way all the time. And last I checked, ninety-nine point nine repeating percent of people aren't digging up the corpses of local women in order to satisfy those longings. Do you know why? It is sick and wrong to do that, that's why.
So anyway, as Edwards tried to convince the court and the jury and God and fate that Nick Grunke only wanted to pose the poor deceased woman's body in a "non-sexual way" prosecutor Tony Pozorski was attempting to cut as many holes in that theory as he could. As the main issue of contention was whether or not Nick actually intended to have sex with the corpse or not when he started digging on that fateful September night, one could imagine just how heavily Pozorski is leaning on the testimony of the songbird Radke, who went so far as to state that Grunke has talked about necrophilia many times in the past and that the body they were digging was not a specific target. His credibility, however, took a bit of a hit when he admitted to lying to police in the past in order to get out of trouble. I've gotta say I am not surprised.
So where does this leave us? Well, it leaves us waiting to see how this brother fares in court. Alex, at his trial, was found guilty of two of the three counts while the jury deadlocked on the third and is awaiting a new trial. His trial caused the state legislature to pass a law declaring necrophilia illegal. Great. I can only begin to imagine what this trial will bring. Long nights in Cassville certainly do lead to long days in Lancaster, now don't they?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Walter Cronkite

Well, for those of you who haven't heard, or are too young to quite understand the significance of the event, legendary news anchor Walter Cronkite passed away sometime late Friday night. I wasn't alive for any of the Walter Cronkite era when he sat behind the anchor desk for the CBS Evening News; I missed it by a little short of 10 months. If you are of my generation then you grew up with guys like Dan Rather and Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw, who were all distinguished newsmen but none of whom could ever hold a candle to what Walter Cronkite was in his heyday.
If you were to look up the Voice of America you would find a lot about a government funded radio service that broadcasts propaganda to places like China and Zimbabwe, but that isn't the real voice of America. Walter Kronkite was the voice of America. From 1962 until 1981, Cronkite appeared on TV screens across the nation guiding the nation through some very turbulent decades. Nobody in 1963 really realized the impact that the JFK assassination would have on the nation and on society until Uncle Walter shed tears on camera. Later in the decade, Lyndon Johnson was able to sum things up best regarding Walter Cronkite when Cronkite criticized the Vietnam War and Johnson remarked "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." That is how important he was to the fabric of America during those years.
It's hard to sort of fathom that these days because it's so hard to be iconic in this the Information Age. Now with the flick of a button we can access news 24/7 streaming across the bottom of about a dozen television channels as well at just about any site on the Internet. Hell, even Big Dave and Company streams a little news across the bottom for you to see. Or at least we used to. But in the 1960s and 70s ones choices were much, much more limited. Of course there was radio, but why listen to the radio when there is TV, right? When it came to television there were only three choices: NBC, ABC, and CBS. The DuMont Network does not count, I am sorry. But every weeknight on CBS there was Walter Cronkite telling you "the way it is" every night. He gained the trust of America in a way the no one before or since has ever done. The fabric of America wouldn't be what it is without him, and he will be missed. Rest in peace Walter Cronkite, you will be missed. And that's the way it is: July 21, 2009.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Moon Landing 40th Anniversary

Today is a very important anniversary. Unless you live under a rock, or maybe on the moon, you know that today is the 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing.
The reason that I capitalized it when I talked about the Moon Landing is because there have been lots of things that have landed on the moon, but I am referring to THE Moon Landing, the very first one where a human being actually walked on the surface of something that was not the Planet Earth. Just think about that, would you? Stop, take a moment, and think about the enormity of what was accomplished on that day. Peel away all the propaganda and alternate conspiracy theories that have sprung up over the years: Don't think about the political significance of winning the space race, or the many billions of dollars it cost for us to get there, or the people who say it was all filmed on a sound stage somewhere, or any of that stuff. Think about how a MAN walked on something in SPACE. Outside of the atmosphere. On ANOTHER world. Now that's rad. To the max.
I was not alive on July 20, 1969, okay? And my generation has not been fortunate to experience something like the Moon Landing. We've had our share of JFK-style moments for sure, but we've never had something occur for which we are thoroughly prepared beforehand. I can imagine what it was like though, to be gathered around the television with your friends and family listening to Walter Cronkite (who passed away Saturday night, by the way; we will talk about that tomorrow) narrate one of the top ten moments in the human history. I mean, I know it was in grainy 1969 television and not in super HD 1080p digital remastered satellite transmission (okay, I am sure it was satellite transmitted but you know what I mean) like we would have it today but for that time it had to be pretty remarkable to watch Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin step out of the Apollo 11 module and wander around on the surface of such an exotic place. Can you imagine the wonder of actually WATCHING A HUMAN BEING WALK ON THE MOON! I know that "officially" people in other countries, mainly the Soviet Union and probably China and I would guess Madagascar because they didn't get a chance to watch it, were not impressed. In fact, the Associate Press had a story running across its lines about how the moon landing sort of deflated the Russians at the time. So you could imagine how much it would INFLATE the spirits of people all across America. And it should have inflated people all across the world just through the enormity of the whole thing.
So really, on this the 40th Anniversary of something that as of right now we can't do anymore, and that we haven't done since 1972, think about how momentous of an event that really was. Seriously. If you called NASA right now, like just looked them up in the Houston phone book and dialed the number of their front desk, they would promptly inform you that they are not equipped to land a man on the Moon. How do you feel about that? That is how monumental that event was. It has also served to sort of set the ground work for the trip to Mars that NASA wants to do because let's be honest you can't go to Mars if you haven't been to the Moon.
Like I was saying, on this the 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing just take a moment to reflect on just how big and impressive of an event it really is and was. Think about the millions and millions of man hours that went into it. Think about all the men who died in the many space missions that came before Apollo 11 was able to successfully put that man on the moon. Just let your mind settle on the whole event for a couple of minutes while you eat lunch in the park or wait for YouTube to load at your desk at work. Just think about it. Man has walked on the moon. And it happened for the first time forty years ago today. Wow.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wedding Thoughts

Well Company, I have spent the last weekend attending a wedding, and I have to admit that it has been loads of fun. I mean really. My sister got married a couple of months ago, and while I had fun at that wedding I was a little afraid to cut loose around all my relatives. But this weekend there was a nice mix of people I didn't know and people who already know that I am sort of a special guy in a "he-should-be-wearing-a-helmet" kind of special way. So anyway, that being said, here are some thoughts on the wedding.

- Half the night they had a band, and the other half of the night they had a DJ. I think this was a good idea. First, it sort of sidesteps the difficult question of whether to have a band or a DJ, plus the band played during dinner AND could play stuff for the, how do we say, parental set. And while I really liked the the DJ didn't do a lot of talking and whatnot, I mean, let's be honest we didn't want or need an emcee, but he could have at least looked like he was having fun.

- While at first it seemed like bringing in a round of pizzas at about 10:30 pm sounded like a good idea because people would be hungry and it would help soak up the alcohol, and even though the pizza was good, I sort f think that maybe in hind sight maybe leave that part out next time. It seemed like when everyone ate the 'za as G-Funk would call it just sort of sapped everyone's energy.

- At this particular wedding there was a disproportionally large amount of people who travelled in from out of town, so they had a shuttle running from the reception to the hotels where the block of rooms was booked pretty much all night long. Great idea. Makes it so much easier for everyone AND keeps drunk driving to a minimum.

- Yeah, I know it's your wedding but holding it on the same weekend as a major music festival in the same area as a major music festival was a bold decision. It worked out okay.

- Part of the success of a wedding is how well the families get along. And that includes the friends. Easiest way to avoid wedding drama is to make sure that everyone gets along, or can at least get along for a couple of days. We did, and had a blast.

- If you are going to swipe a large, pink, stuffed unicorn from a rummage sale across the street from the church, look for nasty stains before you bring it on the wedding bus and chuck it at a bunch of girls in nice dresses.

- I am also very impressed with how much more grown up we were at the wedding as opposed to at the bachelor party. I know, I know. It was a bachelor party and we aren't supposed to be grown up while we are there but I was impressed that we went at it having a great time until we ran out of steam and then we all went our separate ways. We didn't try to party like we were 21 anymore because we aren't 21 anymore and we recognized that. Good for us.

Anyway, as you can imagine I wrote the Sunday morning, not long after I woke up, before I could even get down and hit up the continental breakfast. And yes, my head was a little foggy. But that's good, right? It gives it uncensored sort of look at what went on. Anyhow, I had a total blast at the wedding, the best time I've had in a long time, and the wedding went off about as well as one could ask a wedding to go off. Yeah, I am sure I made an ass out of myself, but that's what you are supposed to do, right? At least I was an ass in a tux.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

From The Gift Horse

Here's an idea Company. Don't look the gift horse in the mouth.
There is a problem with some people in this world. Well, there are many problems with many people in the world, but the particular problem to which I am speaking today is that there are a lot of people who like to look the gift horse in the mouth, to put the ages old expression to use. They expect to get things free and once they get that free stuff they expect more for the same price. Well it doesn't work that way, and all it does is piss off the people who went out of their way to stick their neck out for you.
You see, Company. Sometimes in this life you will get something for free, just because the people on the other side of the proverbial or sometimes literal counter are just feeling in a nice, giving, mood. For example: the girl at the gas station gives you your fountain drink for free, just because she is nice. We all know that this has happened to me before. Since this has happened to me before I know how it feels: it feels really good. It is like a little pinprick, except it's a pinprick of niceness that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. So I try, in my life, to pay it forward as you will and do little nice things for other people.
But there are always stupid people who don't realize what is going on and get mad or confused when they don't get the free treatment the second time around. Like the idiots who used to go to the Thai place in town where the awesome owner and chef would always give you a couple of crab rangoons in with your order, even if you didn't order crab rangoons. Well, she would do that if she liked you at least. Well, some idiot while I was in there one day waiting for my food (her stuff is awesome and so she was really busy and if she told you your food would be ready in a half hour it really ended up being like 60 minutes and you'd end up sitting there waiting but that was okay because the place was awesome) and this knob of a kid who she apparently liked got the test. See, every once in a while if you usually got rangoons she would not put them in there just to see if you are still cool. When when the mob boss gives you an unusual errand just to make sure you were still loyal. So she gave the kid the test, and the kid is a bonehead asshole who apparently feels he needs free stuff so he checks his food (which everyone does) and proceeds to ask "Where are my rangoons?" Yeah, go sit on a fencepost kid. If you are too dumb to realize that you are getting a little extra, or maybe a little freebie, you probably didn't deserve it in the first place and definitely don't deserve it anymore.
So I guess here is the deal, Company. Make sure that you never expect a free lunch. If you get a little something for free, or maybe if you get a great deal or someone goes the extra mile to do something nice to help you, be appreciative. If you get the run of the mill full price deal the next time so what. Just be happy for what you've got in the past. Take time to think about what is going on and be happy that you got something, because many times people go through life without getting anything at all. Maybe that is the secret of happiness.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Crying in the Spotlight

So, in a rare moment, I was watching one of the major broadcast networks the other day. I rarely take the time to watch ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox other than when there are sports on so it should be noted that I was watching that business. Anyway, an advertisement came on for that Hell's Kitchen show where that stupid British chef yells at people because that gets ratings. I was sort of wondering what it is about British guys cutting down hardly innocent people that makes America want to watch when I saw a blonde lady in a chefs outfit start to weep because instead of just telling her that her chicken was underdone he felt fit to scream "Your chicken was as pink as your lipstick!" when I started to wonder what the hell was wrong with these people.
Not the yelling British guys. I know what is wrong with them: They are assholes. I am sort of wondering what is wrong with the people who are signing up for these shows. I suppose that my point here is that they shouldn't be crying. They shouldn't be surprised by the overly critical criticisms. They shouldn't be stunned that they are beat down week after week, episode after episode. They shouldn't be grossed out because they didn't know that they would have to eat bugs in whatever God-forsaken place Survivor has taken them to this year. They really shouldn't be surprised that someone sold them out for seven seconds of fame in front of a camera that is hidden inside a closet somewhere. No one on any of these "reality" shows should be surprised by any of this stuff, or anything at all because they all knew what they were getting in for.
Alright, we can give a free pass to the first people on the first seasons of all these terrible, truly terrible shows. I can't imagine that you can have any idea as to what you are walking into if you are on the first season of Survivor. You can't really quite know what to expect when going into a notoriously tough chef's kitchen (by the way, can you imagine having to work for him in the real world when there isn't a pile of money at stake? Like if it is just your shitty day job? I wonder how unbelievably high the turnover rate in his kitchen is) during season one. Fine. But from the second season on you are just asking for it and so I don't feel a single drop of remorse for you or what you are going through.
I mean, let's be honest, Survivor isn't going to book everyone into the Ritz-Carlton for season two. Simon Cowell isn't going to suddenly start offering words of encouragement to anyone who isn't in the final round of American Idol. It's not like everyone in season two of The Real World is going to suddenly band together and successfully operate a roller disco. Or build Habitat for Humanity houses. It doesn't work that way because nobody sitting behind a television remote control doesn't want to see peace and harmony. They want to see you cry. They want to see you fight. They want to see you throw up. That's the way it is and you know it. So don't expect any sympathy whatsoever. Everyone knows that you are just in it for the cash and the fifteen minutes of fame and they want to see you squirm. So squirm.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I was tired of my lady, we'd been together too long.
Like a worn out recording of a favorite song.
So while she lay there sleeping, I read the paper in bed.
And in the personal column, there was this letter I read:

"If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.
If you're not into yoga, if you have half a brain.
If you like making love at midnight in the dunes on the cape.
I'm the lady you've looked for, write to me and escape."

I didn't think about my lady, I know that sounds kind of mean.
But me and my old lady had fallen into the same old dull routine.
So I wrote to the paper; took out a personal ad.
And though I'm nobody's poet, I thought it wasn't half bad.

"Yes I like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.
I'm not much into health food, I am into champagne.
I've got to meet you by tomorrow noon, and cut through all this red tape.
At a bar called O'Malley's where we'll plan our escape."

So I waited with high hopes. Then she walked in the place.
I knew her smile in an instant, I knew the curve of her face.
It was my own lovely lady, and she said "Oh it's you."
And we laughed for a moment, and I said "I never knew...

"That you liked piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.
And the feel of the ocean. And the taste of champagne.
If you like making love at midnight in the dunes on the cape.
Then you're the love that I've looked for. Come with me and escape."

If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.
If you're not into yoga, if you have half a brain.
If you like making love at midnight in the dunes on the cape.
You're the love that I've looked for. Come with me and escape.

- "Escape" by Rupert Holmes. It is NOT called "The Piña Colada Song" or "If You Like Piña Coladas." Get it right.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The All-Star Game

So the Major League Baseball All-Star Game was held last night under the Gateway Arch at Busch Staduim in beautiful St. Louis, Missouri. And while the American League was able to score a 4-e victory in a rather unremarkable game to extend their winning streak to 13 years over the National League, and even though it was on Fox, which I don't particularly care for when it comes to broadcasting baseball, I still thorughly enjoyed it.
The All-Star Game really starts on Sunday with what is called the Futures Game, and continues to build through the Home Run Derby and celebrity softball game on Monday to the big event on Tuesday. At least that was how it shook out this year. And it was sweet. At least I thought so, and I am going to tell you why.
I love that the All-Star Break is a celebration of baseball, and there are few things that are more pure and wholesome. Now hear me out. One has to look past the advertisements that adorn every flat space in the stadium. One has to see beyond the fact that some of these guys make more in a year than Costa Rica. Past all that, and a little left of the millions of billions of camera and media way down on the field it is a celebration of family and baseball. During the Home Run Derby the players who aren't participating in the Derby line the first and third base lines. Most of them are with their kids. There are dozens of children ranging in age from about 4 to about 12 catching anything that isn't a home run. The place is filled with kids and families and the fans are psyched. Plus it rounds up tons of money for charity. I love it.
At the actual All-Star Game it is more a celebration of baseball. And America. There are always members of the Armed Forces floating around. Every year all the baseball greats from whatever city is hosting make appearances. This year the President of the United States was running around acting like any other giddy baseball fan. They even honored all sorts of "everyday heroes" who did a lot of good things for the world. Then the actual game started and one got to see phenomenal talent from both sides going one on one. It is baseball at its best and you know what else ramps it up a little bit? The game actually means something. The winner gets home field advantage in the World Series. Awesome. So I loved the All-Star Game. I wish all of them were like that.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bastille Day

It's Bastille Day today, Company, and doesn't mean anything unless you live in France, which I don't. It celebrates the day in 1789, when, inspired a little bit by the American Revolution but mostly by the fact that they were hungry and pissed at their King and Queen, the French stormed the Bastille Prison in Paris (because nothing other than the Tour de France and the invasion of Normandy happens anywhere else in France, I don't know if you knew that) which was the symbolic start of modern France.
Now, this is all well and good. And I understand Bastille Day. For the French it is their equivalent of our Independence Day. Just like we call our Independence Day the Fourth of July they often call Bastille Day le quatorze juillet which literally translated means "The Fourteenth of July." How original.
The whole story behind Bastille Day though, I am not so sure about. I guess that I am not sure how storming a prison really helps anything, you know? Here's a math problem for everyone: Exactly how shitty does your country have to be in order to make one want to storm their way INTO shitty eighteenth century prison? Seriously. You can tell me all you want about political prisoners and people locked up wrongly by the crown, it still seems backward to me. I would have more expected the inmates to be breaking out of the asylum.
Whatever they did on that fateful day back in 1789, it worked. It led to a huge upheaval in French government (one of many, I know) and society and led to the France that we have today. And it gives a good reason for all of us to celebrate on July 14th, whether we are French or not. Listen, I like wine, I like cheese, and I like bread: three things that all French people love and three things that I am willing to indulge in. I might even put on my beret. How do you feel about that?

Disco Demolition Night

We missed a pretty significant anniversary yesterday, Company. And that was the 30th Anniversary of the infamous Disco Demolition Night. So let's talk about that.
The Chicago White Sox, all throughout the 1970s and 1980s were known for their unique, off-the-wall and often times shameless promotions. On the night of July 12, 1979 the Sox held one such promotion in conjunction with local radio station WLUP "The Loop" and its anti-disco crusading DJ Steve Dahl. The promotion was simple: If you brought a disco record to Chicago's Comiskey Park, then you would only have to pay 98¢ for admission to the park. Between the two games of a double header between the White Sox and the Detroit Tigers Dahl would blow your record, along with everyone else's into infinity.
It seemed like a good idea to the White Sox, because they thought it would put a few extra butts in a few extra seats. And it seemed like a good idea to Dahl because it was one more publicity stunt in a line of publicity stunts that was working out very well for him. In an interview with Jeremy Shaap for Outside the Lines, he notes that he was nervous that only a couple of thousand people would show up and the place would be cavernously empty for his little stunt. He couldn't have been more wrong. Roughly 90,000 showed up. The stadium only sat 52,000 or so. People were sneaking in. There is footage in the Outside the Lines piece (seriously, just go watch that video, it's fantastic) of people being hoisted through decorative holes in the wall of the stadium beyond the left field bleachers. That is roughly 15 times more people than would normally show for a Tuesday night double header and the White Sox, and Steve Dahl I sort of think, were totally unprepared.
It started before the first game was over. The funny thing about records is that they fly through the air much like Frisbees, and that was why they were flying onto the field from the stands, missing players by mere inches. Once the first game was over, a 4-1 Tigers win by the way, Dahl appeared on the field with his posse dressed in an Army uniform and riding in an Army jeep. Things would only go downhill from there. First of all, when he detonated the box, to much applause, it ripped a giant hole in center field, as would be expected. There must be something about the smell of several dozen thousand Bee Gees records smoldering in the steamy Chicago night that makes people go a little nutso, or maybe everyone just loves a good explosion, or maybe they just REALLY didn't want to have to sit through another White Sox monstrosity, but as Dahl and his retinue exited the stadium stage right, and the White Sox starting pitcher for Game 2, Ken Kravec entered stage left, several hundred fans tumbled down onto the field I guess what would be called stage middle, then followed by several hundred more entering stage all around, as in over the outfield wall, from above the dugout, from behind the plate, just about everywhere. Michael Clarke Duncan, the wonderful actor, was among those first hundred people who poured onto the field. He slid into third base and stole a bat from one of the dugouts.
Other people stole the bases, literally. Some people tore down the batting cage. People were climbing the foul poles. Soon there was a bonfire alight in center field. Just about anything that could be thrown was raining down on the field. People were grabbing handfuls of sod, as if that was going to do them any good to steal. About 20,000 disco haters took to the field and had themselves a big party despite Harry Caray (yes, he was the announcer for the White Sox in 1979) and White Sox owner Bill Veeck asking over the loudspeaker for everyone to return to their seats and the baseball fans remaining in the stands chanting the same thing, WITH THE ORGANIST'S ACCOMPANIMENT!
You know, however, what will make 20,000 drunk (yes they were drunk, it was a baseball game and it was in Chicago) and high (yes, there was the unmistakable smell of pot wafting over the ball park that night) disco-hating teenagers and twenty-somethings clear a baseball field in no time flat? Cops. Especially cops on horseback and cops in riot gear, both of which showed up and managed to clear the place out, with no injuries and thirty-some arrests. Then it was up to the White Sox ground crew, who did a pretty outstanding job of basically rebuilding the playing surface in about twenty minutes. In the end though, it was futile. There is only so much that one can do with a giant hole and burned area in center field. And with bits of infield missing. And no bases.
So of course the game was forfeited to the Tigers. And every visiting club said the field didn't play right anymore. It got Mike Veeck, the owner's son and the one responsible for the promotion, blackballed from Major League Baseball. But it did make an event that was noticed and broadcast and commented on all around the world. So happy anniversary Disco Demolition Night. You rocked. And you have been given credit for killing disco. Thank God.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Driving Me Crazy

Have you ever taken a long trip in the car? I mean, of course you have, the road trip with friends is one of the most time-honored and fantastic things ever, but I am talking about going on a long trip alone. Perhaps you are on a sales trip driving your company Oldsmobile across central Illinois. Or maybe you are going to the big Memorial Day summer kick-off party at your boss' summer home but your wife couldn't make it this year so you are flying solo. Whatever. I did that yesterday, and today, and there was nothing on the radio and I was bored with the compact discs that I had brought with me and so I sort of just had time to think and I was amazed by what I think about when I am driving alone.
What do you think about while you are driving alone? What do you do when you think no one is looking in your car? The greatest think tank about the life of the average American - Seinfeld - tackled this topic in a sort of round about way during its run. I am sure that you remember the episode where Jerry kept getting caught picking his nose in his car. So I guess that is what he does when he is alone in his car. I will admit to you that I talk to myself. Incessantly. Seriously, if there were some sort of psychological professional riding around with me that I could not see, like an invisible shrink or even better an invisible grad student in psychology, I am sure they could write their whole thesis or at least a term paper about what I was saying OUT LOUD while in the car all by my lonesome. And they would get an "A" because I only allow smart invisible psych students in my car with me.
Seriously though, when I am not talking to myself I am not sure that I have one specific thing that I think about. I am sure that some people like always play the game where they try to string a story together from the billboards that they pass. Like you pick the first word of the sentence off the first billboard, then you pick the second word off the second billboard, and so on. But not me. I know that if there is something big going on I tend to get lost in through about that thing. For instance, if I had just found out that I had gotten a girl pregnant, I am sure I would be thinking about that pretty intensely. I mean, that is a pretty big life change, you know? Sometimes there is nothing going on and I just get into a philosophical mood. Today, however was not one of those days.
Since today was not one of those days, I found myself doing one of the most common things that I do, aside from talking to myself. I have this nasty habit of trying to look down every side road to see what is down there. This is especially hard and dangerous when it is a four-way intersection. I find my head whipping around like some strange form of sideways whiplash just to see what there is to see. Today, however, I sort of took it to another level. I looked right down the third or fourth one-and-a-half lane gravel road with a nice country house on the corner and I found myself thinking about what it would be like to be coming home down that road. Then I started thinking about what it would be like if I were grown up and maybe coming home to the house in which I grew up for the holidays or whatever. I had all these images running through my head, sort of half the introduction to the show Newhart and half something out of the opening scenes of a movie on The Hallmark Channel. It was pretty funny now that I am thinking about it. Now, thinking about what I am thinking about while I am driving in the car while driving in the car? I've done that. Are you really surprised?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tap That All Night Long

Do you know what one of the stupidest things in the world is, Company? Bottled water. It makes no sense at all and benefits no one except the people who are bottling it. Yet people, very stupid people to be sure, buy bottled water like it is going out of time. And 102% of those people have something in their homes called a faucet. And you know what comes out of the faucet? Water that has been cleaned and filtered, and they've even added chlorine and flourine to help your teeth. How about that? Oh, and one more thing: you've already paid for it. So why then are you paying extra for water in bottles?
So one can see just how ridiculous this whole bottled water fiasco is. And apparently you are not alone, because I guess there has been a backlash about bottled water. It actually costs a lot of money to haul that water around in a truck, all those bottles are made out of plastic which are made out of oil, and all those bottles end up in landfills lying around for three-hundred years. So, with all that being said, people are starting to sort of rise against the bottled water thing, which is good because it is about time we come to our senses. Just get a reusable water bottle and fill it from your tap people.
Anyway, an entire town in Australia, nestled somewhere in the green hills of New South Wales and known by the VERY Australian name of Bundanoon, has decided to ban the stupid and wasteful practice of drinking bottled water. Actually, you can still drink as much bottled water as you would like, but if you sell it you are in deep shit. The residents of the town voted overwhelmingly to ban the sale of bottled water in the village and became the first municipality in the entire world to do so. At one of the most heavily attended meeting in the history of this community of 2500 people, 350-ish people voted in favor of the ban while only two people voted against it. One town resident, who will remain nameless, voted against the ban because he thought it would make more people turn to sugary drinks. The other "no" vote was cast by a representative of a local water bottling union. as would be expected.
Now, I sort of told a lie in that you aren't really in deep shit if you sell bottled water in Bundanoon, or "Bundy" as it is sometimes known, because while the residents voted this ban into effect they did not give it any teeth. In fact, they did not vote any sort of penalties for those who violate the ban. Proponents, however, don't seem to think that is a problem as the ban has been supported by most of the shopkeepers in town.
The townspeople and those who drafted this new law are not unsympathetic to those in town who sell bottled water, however. As a way to help make up for profits lost from the sale of bottled water, organizers have suggested that stores sell reusable bottles for about the same price, which can then be refilled for free at municipal fountains specially set up for this program or they can buy cheap filtered water that is kept in the stores, which sort of defeats the purpose I guess but whatever. You can't win them all I guess.
It IS important to note that, while Bundanoon has taken the most drastic steps to curb the usage of bottled water, many cities and municipalities around the globe have issued directives to their entities to stop spending public money on bottled water, which makes sense because when was the last time you were in a public building that didn't have a drinking fountain in it? But anyway, while Bundy might be a forerunner in this Bottled Water revolution they do have a long and sordid history with the bottled water industry.
While I think it's hilarious that a member of the bottled water industry lives in town and cast one of the two no votes the stone that started this hornets nest buzzing was when a bottled water company from over the hill and dale in Sydney tried to put what they call a "water extraction plant" (which in America we would call a bottled water plant) in the town in order to tap the towns aquifer, ship it to Sydney to get bottled up, and then bring it back to town to sell. That did not go over well. So while that little issue is working its way through the court system, the town decided to cut the whole thing off at the pass and cut off the demand. Although I sort of hope that the company puts in the low bid to provide the filtered water for the stores to sell to refill the reuseable bottles. I think that would be hilarious and the ultimate slap in the face of the town.
I do sort of like this town though, because they have risen up against stupidity and finally had the guts to say "Hey, this is dumb and we are no longer willing to participate." There aren't enough people who are willing to do that in this world. So good for you Bundanoon, I give you like 37,000 respect points. How do you feel about that? Probably pretty thirsty. Why not have a nice cool glass of tap water?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Your Car Alarm

So recently, actually just for the last say week or so, I have been having real problems with your God-damned car alarm. Let me lay them out for you, in list, but not list of eight, form.

1.) Your car alarm barely works. Okay, that's true. I will give you that it works a little bit. But not like you want it to. The reason is that no one pays attention to your car alarm until it has been going off for like seventeen minutes. By the time anyone takes notice all the shit in your car is gone and being sold down in Chinatown. So yes, your car alarm did it's job of drawing attention but you are still without seats. I mean, maybe you've scared off the smash and grab teenager who just wanted your factory stereo but ran off when your horn started going off. Congratulations, you have made yourself the most hated man in your neighborhood in the process.

2.) You don't even pay attention to the damn thing. The totally defeats the purpose. The most important person that your car alarm is supposed to alert is you. But you are rarely, if ever, in earshot. And even when you are you are too busy hitting on that skanked-out barfly that you won't like so much once you get her out into the light. Or you are in the movies or something. That means that you have no intention of caring if your car alarm goes off or not. So why bother turning it on in the first place? Like I said before, the only people who are going to get scared off by your blaring horn and flashing turn signals are probably going to get deterred by the simple fact that your doors are locked in the first place. Either way they know you aren't coming out of Pier One regardless.

3.) You have it activated in inappropriate situations. Yeah, you heard me. There are situations in which you should not have your car alarm activated. Like when you are within eyeshot of your vehicle. Because you can see what is going on with it. If you are at certain events with loud percussive noises, such as fireworks or a building demolition you should have it turned off because the concussion can set it off. There was a car alarm that went off and ruined every fireworks display I tried to watch this year at Independence Day. And never was the owner anywhere nearby to attempt to turn the thing off. So think about the circumstances before you activate your stupid factory system or your useless aftermarket version, because I swear I will stab speed holes into your car if that thing goes off at the fireworks again.

So yeah, that was a list of three. Because those are mostly my main points of why I am pissed at your car alarm. So just think about it, okay? Just put a little bit of thought into what you are doing, okay? Then I won't have to be so pissed off. And then everyone will be happier.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Buy One Get Three Free

Yesterday I drove past the friendly local fireworks store. Yeah, it's actually a store. It's not like a kiosk or a dude who sets up a tent with tarps wrapped around two of the sides, it is a bona fide store with shelves and doors and the whole nine yards. But I see the fireworks store every day, so that in itself was not what excited me. What got me all worked up was the meaning behind the words printed on the banner that was hanging on the friendly local fireworks store. The banner read "Buy one get three free" and all I could wonder was why I wasn't at the fireworks store buying fireworks.
Seriously, would someone please explain this to me? Why are we all not at the friendly local fireworks store with all of our life savings buying FOUR TIMES as many fireworks as we would normally be able to buy? Seriously. We should be walking in there with wheelbarrows full of cash money and driving away with trailers full of bottle rockets and those giant ash worms that you can get. Oh, and M-80s and Black Cats and all that other fun stuff that will blow your hands off if you are not careful. That's what I want and that is what we should be buying.
Why? I will tell you why. Because it's a great freaking deal and fireworks are sweet. Listen, you go and buy a bunch of awesome fireworks at a sweet price today while they are all on super sale and then you can light them off all the rest of the year. New Years Eve? Light off some fireworks. Lose your virginity? Light off some fireworks. Child comes out Asian when you are white as a ghost? Light off some fireworks. It doesn't even need to be such a grand occasion. With deals as good at this one you can light off some bottle rockets when dinner is done, or set off one of those sweet ones that goes way up and goes off shooting in each direction then goes off again with smaller pops and the embers float down to Earth whenever the Knicks win a game. And we all know that fireworks make any occasion special.
Listen, I can hear you all out there worrying yourselves about how you can afford to spend a bunch of money on fireworks just because they are on sale after the Fourth of July. You are the same people who go out and buy thirty-six bags of M&M's on February 17th just because they went on sale super cheap after Valentine's Day. Either that or you buy new garden shears just because they are on sale and there is a coupon in the Sunday paper even though you live in an apartment and there isn't a blade of grass for miles in any direction. But that doesn't make sense to me. You are the very people who should recognize the greatness of this deal. Buy one firework and you get THREE MORE. That means you get FOUR fireworks for the price of ONE firework. That is the best deal in the history of deals.
So anyway, that is where I am going to go and what I am going to do. And it is where you should be going and what you should be doing. Buying fireworks. That's the most important thing that you can do with your life EVER. By engaging in this one simple activity you will be bringing joy not only to yourself but to everyone else that is ever near you for the rest of your life. All you have to do is buy one and get three free.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

An Open Letter To the Guy Who Was In My Office Yesterday...

Dear Guy Who Was In My Office Yesterday,
Okay fuckbag, I don't like you. And that's sad, because I liked you when you first walked into my office. You walked up to my window and politely waited until I was done on the phone and I asked "What can we do for you today?" before you unleashed your absolutely disgraceful and disgusting ridiculousness upon us. So I guess what I am saying is that I liked you until you started talking. That being said I would be willing to empathize with your situation if you hadn't been such an unmitigated asshole about the whole thing. I mean, I understand that it frustrating to own a piece of property upon which you cannot build a home, but you approach to this problem is what makes you exactly what is wrong about America these days. You are the exact opposite of all those things that I talked about on Independence Day, and you are the reason that people in other countries hate people from America. Especially Canada.
First of all by announcing that you are from another state and that they do things differently in that state I have lost most of the fucking respect that I might have had for you. The good feelings that I had towards you from the first impression evaporated faster than Purell hand sanitizer. I don't care where you are from, you aren't there right now. If they do it so much better there then you should just go there and stay there. That would make everyone happy because there they do things the only way that you tiny little fucking brain can wrap itself around so you are happy, and I don't have to look at your and your bitch ass complaining in my office. By saying that you automatically pissed me off and no I am much less inclined to help you out.
Second of all, get your facts straight, will you? I know that you think that me, my associates, and everyone else in town in just a back country yokel, but we are pretty smart cookies, and we are going to know that you are feeding a line of bullshit. So you can take it and just cram it up your fucking ass, okay? In your care, we haven't really began to research anything other than trying to find out what you own and already the fact don't line up with your story. So now, you just look like a fucking piece of retard that doesn't know his left hand from the shit your just took in your pants. At least give the real story, or at least some variation of it instead of THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT IS REAL!
Third, you aren't that fucking important. I would be a little bit more understand towards the fact that you can't build a house if you 1.) Didn't already have one there and 2.) Didn't want to build a 3500 square foot one next to it. Okay, just because you can't build a 3500 sq ft house doesn't mean you can't build a house at all, it just means that you can't build the monument to douchbagishness that you want to erect. Have you considered a 1500 sq ft house? I grew up in a 1500 sq ft house, and I didn't see anything wrong with that. So why do you need a 3500 square foot second, well really third, house? That is just ridiculous. I mean, you obviously wouldn't understand that because you lost your grip on reality long, long ago. But in the rest of the world that is just fine.
Fourth, each time that you said "I just want to know who I can sue." you came about an inch of being impaled with my Swingline, okay? I just wanted you to know that. I have had a staple in my hand from that exact kind of stapler and that hurt enough, I am sure when bashed into the back of your skull they will take you down. Seriously, here is the deal asshole. You bought a property knowing exactly what you were going into. You knew it wasn't buildable. And now that it has gotten into your tiny little fucking brain that you can't build your piss-drinker mansion you are pissed and think that you can just sue someone and get what you want. Well it doesn't work that way. Seriously, do you realize how you sound? You can't just do whatever you want and then expect to litigate your way out of any sort of responsibility, especially when the judge has already shot you down. Oh, and way to totally take pot shots at the judge who short your TOTALLY UNREASONABLE request down, just like he should have. Do you really think that you are going to get him thrown from office? You aren't smart enough. You know what the phrase "I just want to know who I can sue" is the natural mating call of? The total sack of shit. Anyone who utters that phrase is a complete and total sack of shit who should be shipped out to a frozen arctic island without a coat. And I would be the first person to spit on you as the boat pulled away from the store. How about suing your parents for raising such a stupid fucking asshole? How about that? Maybe I will do that. And I will ask for extra because you ruined what was otherwise shaping up to be a very happy Monday. I hope that you blow the transmission on your car AND warp your cylinder heads on the way home. Dick.
I can't even begin to describe how much I hate you. I am not even sure that there is a word in the English language that can adequately explain it. I really want to come to your house and put a javelin through your eye when you answer the door. Seriously. I am deeply disappointed that when your brain added the information that you couldn't build your dumbass house that the information it displaced wasn't the part about breathing. See, the way I figure it you are such a stupid asshole that you can only have a certain amount of information in your brain at any given time. So like, when you see what the forecast is supposed to be for today it just replaces what the weather was like yesterday. So when you added "I can't build a giant house to compensate for my tiny, malfunctioning penis" to your brain it probably replaced some information like "Don't hit on high school girls because I am in my 60s." I wish it would have replaced "Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out." Or maybe just how to get here from where you normally live, that would work for me.
So get ready. Oh, and just so you know, if I get one sliver or maybe tweak my shoulder a little bit throwing that javelin at you, or maybe I get a mosquito bite while throwing a Molotov cocktail through your front window, or hit my funny bone while impaling you with a rock hammer, I am going to sue the hell out of your estate because apparently that is the only thing that registers with your kind. That kind being of course the complete fucktard asshole. Maybe when I win the lawsuit I will get your property, on which I know I can't build a house. But that is okay, because I like it just the way it is. I don't have a midlife crisis to deal with.

Suck My Balls,
- Big Dave