Thursday, May 31, 2007

See ya Cindy

I wanted to write about Cindy Sheehan yesterday, but Johan Santana was clearly the lead story. In fact, it pains me to drop him down the web page, but alas the world moves on. And no, there was no Johan sighting today, sadly.

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan has decided to call it quits.

"I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost."

Noble enough. Fine reasons but, unfortunately, it didn't end there.

As will no doubt surface throughout the rest of this piece, I vehemently dislike Cindy Sheehan. Personally, I think it's fantastic that we live in a society where someone can openly oppose the government's course of action, and I'm fairly mixed on the Iraq war. So as I write on the following, please know that the disdain for her comments originates not from a staunch Republican backing of the war, but rather the complete lunacy of her comments.

Sheehan wrote a farewell letter in which she stated the following:

(Her son Casey Sheehan) died for nothing.

Perhaps it's the need to swing toward the extreme for attention grabbing's sake that causes her to say this. It's stupid, absurd, and insulting to her and to those who have died in the war. Look, Iraq is a completely different place now than it was five years. One of the most ruthless dictators in the history of mankind is no longer committing genocide. Iraqi citizens have freedom unlike anything seen for generations. The country is still a dangerous place with plenty of civil unrest and the reconstruction process far bumpier than anyone wants, but to say "nothing" has changed is moronic at best.

"It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years, and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most."

I honestly wonder how Casey Sheehan would reply to this statement if it had been made while he were still alive. The best I can do is place myself into the situation and comment as if it were my own mother making those statements. I'd be incredibly disappointed that my mother did not support me in something I felt was important. I would be shocked that she would find serving the United States and offering my life for this country and the freedom of the Iraqi citizens an ignoble cause.

The United States is becoming "a fascist corporate wasteland."

Sheehan's bitterness overshadows the valid points that she does make at times. This off the topic rant makes no sense with its vague overtones that detracts from her overall message. These are the type of bitter statements that repulse me from someone who might very well have something valid to say. But when she starts waving her arms, generally blaming everyone for everything, how does someone seriously interpret that?

"I will try to maintain and nurture some very positive relationships that I have found in the journey that I was forced into when Casey died and try to repair some of the ones that have fallen apart since I began this single-minded crusade to try and change a paradigm that is now, I am afraid, carved in immovable, unbendable and rigidly mendacious marble."

At a time when Congress is fighting a bill through that includes benchmarks and time tables for troop withdrawls from Iraq, I have a hard time with the aforementioned, repulsive extremism in her quote. "Carved in immovable, unbendable and rigidly mendacious marble" is more rhetoric that poorly tries to stress her point and position and yet turns me away in light of actual events. Ignoring facts and throwing around more absolute statements is a waste of time.

"Single-minded crusade" screams of the tragedy of the situation. The article I've linked to cites that Sheehan's "antiwar activism had cost her her marriage" and "that she now owed extensive medical bills." That Cindy Sheehan loves her son so immensely and misses him so much may be her most endearing qualities. That Casey's death has caused her to become so warped and single-mindedly focused on things more important than her health and husband may be her least redeeming ones.

Photo from Rolling Stone

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

By far the coolest thing to ever happen to me at Walgreens

Yesterday morning, I was having a substandard morning. My photo clerk awoke when I called her at 8:30 to ask her why she was already a half hour late. My intern had the day off, which meant I was flying solo. Some guy who took photos in a poorly lit room was convinced that our machine was the reason his photo came out dark. And so on and so forth. Really, no different from any other day.

Then I hear a page over the intercom, "Manager to the toothbrushes with the key."

I've heard it dozens of times before and strolled to the back wall of the store to unlock our case of various electronic toothbrushes that range from $69.99 - $149.99. As I fidgeted with my keys to find the right one, I looked up to see which of our ample 90+ clientele needed assistance. But there was no elderly customer. There was Johan Santana.

Now, I had been told that he visited our store from time to time as he does not live far from my Walgreens. But, I had never seen him in there, instead my cashier (Manny, the best cashier I've ever worked with who oddly makes it a point to find out if everyone speaks Spanish, which Santana does) tells me that his wife and kids are in at least once a week. So the whole time I'm unlocking the case, I'm debating whether or not this is him. I quickly recall the Twins' schedule trying to figure out if it makes sense whether or not it could be him. Sure enough, my baseball mind recalls he allowed 4ERs and got the win the day before in the Metrodome versus the White Sox and that Minnesota plays a night cap tonight. It's most likely him.

After Johan selects an Oral-B model, he thanks me and heads to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription of sorts. Being the suave guy that I am, I run to the back and try to peer out the window to further confirm my beliefs. After, he is done, I grab the pharmacy intern who rang him up and asked him for sure.

Definitely Johan Santana. Damn right, the best pitcher in baseball shops my Walgreens.

Photo from BaseballEvolution

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Fondue! It's a fun word to say (or type). Fondue! Fondue! Fondue!

The other evening Becky and I visited The Melting Pot, which as it's tiny logo states, is a fondue restaurant. Truth be told, I had been dreading this day for several weeks. Becky had received a mailing and decided that the enclosed money saving coupon made it imperative that we visit the restaurant. I had no idea what fondue entailed and the thought of being motivated by a coupon stands against every professional sense I have.

Regardless, we set off for downtown Minneapolis with coupon in hand ready for a food adventure. We arrived just a few minutes before our 7:30pm reservation and just behind another couple who clearly had not made reservations but were instead hoping for an opening in the schedule. They were in luck as the hostess said that they were ready to be seated and after a non-exaggerated 3 minutes of analyzing the seating chart, picked which of the two tables they should go to.

Becky and I step up and are promptly told that we will have to wait for a few minutes and are handed one of those vibrating, light up pagers. In lieu of the conversation we had just overheard, we were perplexed, and The Melting Pot started off poorly and my hesitancy was slowly being confirmed.

Fortunately, from this point on, the evening improved. I would not be so irresponsible as to suggest that the alcoholic beverages helped, but hey, we firmly believe that a good martini (Becky) and a good glass of wine (yours truly) can forgive seating transgressions.

So what made this fondue restaurant different? The table has a large stove top smack dab in the middle, where three of the four meal courses are prepared. The silverware rolled up in the napkins includes two fondue forks for dunking various foods throughout the evening. Otherwise, the place looked like any other restaurant.

Course number one is the cheese portion of the meal. Selecting the cheddar cheese option, the server brought a slew of items, most notably shredded cheddar cheese and melted it into a goopy mess. Using the elongated fondue forks, we dipped two types of bread, cauliflower, and apples into what was a surprisingly tasty and flavorful concoction.

Course number two is the salad. I eat salads, but I can do without salads. Eh. Not much worth mentioning here.

Course number three is the main entree. Here we selected one of three different meat dishes, which feature anywhere from five to seven different combinations of meats, and one of four different spiced pots. Our particular pot was Caribbean flavored, and we enjoyed tuna (eh), chicken (Becky really liked), shrimp (I really liked), teriaki marinated sirloin (we both really liked), and fillet mignon (not of this world good). Generally speaking, we stabbed the uncooked, bite size meat and let it sink into the boiling pot. Two minutes later, a tasty morsel was ready for the taste buds.

Course number four is dessert, and is the single greatest thing I have ever consumed. Ever. With a slew of chocolate choices, Becky left the picking to the chocoholic in the family, and I did us well. The flavor was "S'mores," which consisted of a pot of boiling, melted dark chocolate, crumbled graham crackers, and lit on fire for dramatic flare marshmallows. The pot of goop before us, I probably could have drank as liquid heaven, but the server proceeded to bring out the dunking material. To soak in this dark chocolate goodness, we had bite sizes of strawberries, pineapples, bananas, marshmallows, brownies, pound cake, and cheesecake. It was unbelievable. I would have dunked my chair into the dark chocolate and eaten that, but to have ridiculously delicious desserts to dip into the melting pot was indescribable.

In fact, I've now made myself hungry. Go look up the nearest Melting Pot restaurant to you and go there now. I'm going to go boil something.

Photo from The Melting Pot

Monday, May 28, 2007

Charles Nelson Reilly

As a huge fan of game shows, it saddened me to learn that Charles Nelson Reilly passed away last evening due to complications from pneumonia. Fantastic entertainer.

Photo from

Since is taking a 3-day weekend

From Friday's USA Today:

"The Reds called RH reliever Gary Majewski from Class AAA Louisville and optioned RH reliever Todd Coffey. Majewski, acquired from the Washington Nationals in a trade, was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 15 relief appearances for Louisville. 'The reports have been real good,' manager Jerry Narron said. 'A lot of times, when a guy's in Triple-A, you don't look at his numbers. You look at how's he's pitching. All indications are that he's been pitching good."

So "all indications" does not equate to "numbers." Ok. The Reds are in good hands.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Office season finale

With a gaping hole on Thursday nights from now until next September, I found myself last evening mourning the best television show in the history of mankind. As such, I decided to take a look back at the season finale as well as a look forward as to what we might be able to expect from the goofy gang come the fall.

"Pam, are you free for dinner tonight? Alright, then it's a date."
Is sporting a new haircut that I'm fairly confident he copied from yours truly. For the second season finale in a row, he made a move on Pam with this one looking as if it will pay off better than last time. Sure plenty could happen in the 4 months that elapse between new shows, but season four is shaping up to be the first with the two primary characters in a relationship.

"What I said needed to be said, and I'm not embarrassed about it. It only took me 3 years to summon the courage to say it."
Former secret assistant to the regional manager and madly in love with the word "cliche," Pam continues to have the boys falling all over her. I was a little surprised the finale featured no appearances from Toby, who I thought may make a surprise thrust forward after showing hints of feelings for the quiet secretary. As is, Pam will continue to answer phones and draw.

"Pam is kind of a bitch."
The show can go one of two ways with the Karen character. One, she can disappear forever and no one would care much. Two, she can come back to Scranton and terrorize Pam who appears to have stolen her man. Her character has been fairly hum-drum and could use some tweaking, which would be possible with a more sinister side.

"I have got it made in the shade. I know this company. The other branch manager are total morons. Hey, Pam, I forgot what day the interview was. I drove to New York accidentally. I'll be like three hours late."
"Could you give Jan a message for me when she gets in. Just say, 'I want to squeeze them.' It's code. She'll know what it means."

Enjoys Natalie Merchant and her lyrically deep"Thank You" and passed his unwanted recommendation onto Karen and Jim resulting in neither getting the corporate job. Michael will continue to be the king of the morons in a crushing relationship he has no control over. His continued leadership will probably put Dunder Mifflin at the brink of disaster and his home life will drive him insane.

"It's these pain killers I've started taking since the surgery. Awww! It's makes my moods totally unpredictable. Wooow!...Wait a minute. Actually, this could be great. This could be perfect. You know my full time job can be our relationship. I can wear stretch pants and wait for you to get home at 5:15. (Psycho laugh) It could work. This could work, really. (She claps thrice)."
Took a significant hit when she was fired from her corporate job in what was the second most surprising development in the finale. Her role next season will have to diminish unless Michael hires her on at the Scranton branch. But she did correct two of the four cons Michael has about her by installing new chest devices.

"My ideal choice? Jack Bauer. But he is unavailable, fictional, and overqualified."
Dwight impressively managed to find 7 different types of Pennsylvania top soil in a single afternoon and prepare a presentation on them. Dwight will return as to the familiar role of bumbling buffoon and super suck-up, and that's just fine.

"I don't care if that's how they consolidated power in ancient Rome...goodbye Kelly Kapoor."
Similar to the absence of Toby, I was surprised that nothing in the way of a cliff hanger or any other development came in the Angela-Dwight relationship. They've been stagnant for the better part of a year and thought something - anything - would happen. Also, while Angela has never been crazy about Kelly Kapoor, it was interesting that she called out Kelly by name as needing to depart. Then, nothing happened. Curious.

"The capital of Maine is Montpelier, Vermont, which is near Ithaca, New York where I went to Cornell."
Seems to be stronger than Dwight, yet could not defeat him in arm wrestling within the allotted time. Too bad. His character is also in need of a spark or a change. He played kiss-up to Dwight who played kiss-up to Michael, and three people removed from the boss seems fairly contrived. He needs to come into a greater sphere of power and boss Dwight around for awhile after he was made to be the gopher for the bulk of the season. And what happened to Angela hating Andy?

"Last year, Creed asked me how to set up a blog. Wanting to protect the world from being exposed to Creed's brain, I opened up a Word document on his computer and put an address at the top. I've read some of it. Even for the intranet, it's pretty shocking."
No longer fetches coffee and took home the award of biggest shocker. Coming out of nowhere, Ryan captured the much coveted corporate position despite having never made a paper sale in two years. Probably is headed out of the Scranton branch so this writer/producer need not appear in every episode. Yet, the demeaning treatment he received from Dwight and Michael will have to be referenced in future episodes. Personally, I'm going to miss his down to earth interviews (still think the best moment in the show's history was his mouth agape and completely silent interview upon learning Dwight and Angela were an item), but has the potential for most character growth now in a new position.

"Who was that? What!?!"
Ever confused and ever chatty, Kelly can go back to being a background character. Perhaps a feud of sorts with Angela and a job at local mall are in her future.

"Who do you think is hotter? Pam or Karen?"
The sophomoric comic relief did his thing in the finale. Good for a line here or there to make everyone feel horribly uncomfortable. I doubt he transcends much more than that in season four. But of course, now that I wrote that, he'll probably end up as CFO when it's all said and done.

"I find it offensive. Au natural, baby. That's how I like him. Swing loose sweet chariots."
Spells "cyberspace" with an "s" at the beginning and also discusses what the best kind of car is at (that's the most I could read from the computer screen shot). By far my favorite character with his quirky ways and his name sake is inspiring my fantasy baseball team of the same name to a strong 2007 showing. In last year's season finale, they turned up the oddball by showing a kleptomaniac side of Creed and they haven't backed down in season 3. I hope it continues next go round.

"Hey, Pam, I think I need to say something to you. I really miss our friendship."
The bloom seems to have died as the one interesting quirk to Oscar's character appears to have run its course. Unless a new character is introduced or someone comes out of the closet, Oscar's homosexuality storyline is tired.

"No. In fact, I'll give you a billion Stanley nickles if you never talk to me again."
Uninterested and indifferent, Stanley is all about the money. I think there's room to do something with him, but he plays his role well within Dunder Mifflin.

"I would never do that. Waste of money. In my experience, guys are way more attracted to you to the back than the front."
An alternate to the girls' conference room gang, Meredith is one of the more distant background characters who drives a van and enjoys the booze. Is there anything more than the occasional splurge of alcohol in her future?

"Michael isn't qualified for the job he has now, but he got that one."
Happily wed to Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration, Phyllis is back to being the motherly influence in the office. I can see something happening in the relationship with Bob Vance, but it would be a minor storyline at best.

David (CFO):
"What do you think of Michael Scott?"
David used to be new enough and high enough up in the company where he was immune from the insanity of Michael Scott. However, now having met him a couple of times, interviewed him, and fired his girlfriend, no longer can David pretend that the crazy man does not exist. Now that David seems to have taken over the sensible, authority presence Jan relinquished when she went insane, how David interacts with Michael could become a key piece of the next season. Or, David turns out to be just as wacky as the rest of the people in the company.

Picture: Myspace page of Pam Beesley

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lucky Lotto Part II

So ESPN ran a story and a picture (above) on their main page for the better part of the entire day yesterday. Absolutely brutal. What an awful, telling photo of what Danny Ainge has done to that franchise. Nothing like the enthusiasm and hope of the offseason! I wonder how Joakim Noah is going to feel with these two men faking smiles on draft day all while thinking, "You aren't Greg Oden." And then to have ESPN focus on the fact that Boston didn't get the pick with a complete Bill Simmons opinion piece. If the masses read ESPN, as many know that Boston didn't get the first overall selection as did those who know Portland did win it. ESPN delights in your misery.

In other news, my favorite local sportscaster, Randy Shaver, offered this scathing news report (mostly word-for-word).

"The Timberwolves signed coach Randy Wittman to a contract extension earlier this afternoon. This despite the fact the Wolves played poorly under Wittman, and despite the fact the team went 12-30 after taking over for Dwayne Casey and despite the fact the team missed the playoffs for yet another season."

That's just awesome. What a 6 o'clock sportscast.

Photo: ESPN

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lucky Lotto

Kristina Schneider is making the news rounds as the lucky lotto winner, and I fail to share in the euphoria that surrounds her winning.

The jist of the story:

-Schneider is a gas station clerk

-Customer buys three of the four remaning scratch off tickets on the roll

-Schneider uses $10 she found on the ground to buy the last ticket

-Ticket wins her $1,000,000

-Schneider has nine maxed out credit cards and $8,500 in school loans

Several points I would like to make:

-Why is someone with an associate's degree working a gas station?

-Why would someone with children, nine maxed out credit cards, and school loans feel that $10.00 (probably two hours worth of work after tax) would best be logically spent gambling? Her winning merely reinforces bad behavior and does not change the fact that it was an unwise decision.

-How do you get approved for a ninth credit card after maxing out eight others?

-Doesn't BP (franchise where ticket was purchased) have some policy about finding money on company grounds? I realize I'm incredibly cynical when it comes to retail but doesn't "finding $10 on the ground" seem shady coming from a cashier (versus say "finding it" in the register)?

-Instead of this money changing her life, why is it that I can't help but shake my head realizing that this good fortune will be friviously wasted when after deciding to take the payments over 10 years instead of a lump sum Schneider is quoted as saying, "If I'd have taken a lump sum, I'd be broke again within five years."

Photo from the New Hampshire Lottery Commission

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cleveland will take your team out back and smack them around

It's time for a pure baseball post. Enough of these stupid criminal stories, file away those green ogres, and let's take a brief time out from retiring. Let's examine what's really important. The Cleveland Indians.

I'm going to be a wee bit self indulgent and take a look at why Cleveland is the best team in baseball.

(Note: I realize that writing this will jinx the club into an awful tailspin, but hey, it's not often that Cleveland has anything to boast about. Time may be of the essence here, and as such, it's time for this post.)

Exhibit A.) Cleveland is in first place

Their 27-15 record puts them a half game a top the AL Central standings. While that may not seem like a significant lead, the Tigers in second have five more wins than any other second place team in the AL. They flirted with the now its here now its gone "best record in baseball" moniker for awhile before a lackluster west coast trip brought them a few percentage points behind Boston.

Exhibit B.) Jacobs Field belongs to The Tribe

Cleveland is 17-4 at home this season, convincingly the best record in baseball at their own park. The recent series versus Cincinnati set attendance records, showing that Cleveland fans are warming up to this team, something they have not done since Jacobs Field opened in the mid-90s. Should Cleveland make the playoffs and should they be able to secure any type of home field advantage for any series they should show who is boss at The Jake.

Exhibit C.) Cleveland is smacking around the AL Central

Versus the AL Central 9-2.
Versus the Chicago White Sox 4-2.
Versus the Minnesota Twins 5-0.
Cleveland opens up a series against the Royals tonight (only two teams have fewer wins in baseball) and then the big series comes this weekend against the Tigers. But, so far so good.

Exhibit D.) Fausto Carmona is the best pitcher on the staff

Normally a statement like that would scare the crap out of my team's chances, but this year not the case. With a 5-1 record, 2.55 ERA, and 1.14 WHIP Carmona easily leads Cleveland's rotation. He was supposed to be a fill-in starter when Cliff Lee began the season on the disabled list and now Carmona is securing himself a spot in the rotation now that Jake Westbrook is injured. The extra arm allows Cleveland to remove the struggling Jeremy Sowers and helps the higher ups avoid hitting the panic button while injured guys get better and into form.

Exhibit E.) The much improved bullpen is cruising

Last season, the much ado Indians failed miserably due in no small part to their bullpen being unable to hold any lead. This year, a new cast and crew have shut down the opponents. Aaron Fultz, Rafael Betancourt, and Tom Mastny all have ERA's 2.75 or lower and perhaps more importantly WHIP's below 1. And (biting my tongue until it bleeds) Joe Borowski has 14 saves.

Exhibit F.) The fearsome foursome are again fearsome

This team is built around offense, and specifically that refers to Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez, and Jhonny Peralta. Last year, Peralta was miserable. He started this season slowly but has warmed up of late getting his batting average up to .281 while leading the team with 10 home runs. Travis Hafner's numbers are solid (8 HRs, 29 RBIs) but they are reduced if only because no one wants to pitch to him. He's averaging nearly a walk per game on his way to a team leading .439 on base percentage. Grady may be the best lead off man in baseball. He's fourth in the league in runs scored with 36 as well as contributing 7 homers and 15 steals. Sensational catcher Victor Martinez leads the team in runs batted in (32) and batting average (.324).

Exhibit G.) Andy Marte got injured

Ever since acquiring Andy Marte from the Braves to be the third baseman of the future, Cleveland fans have been waiting. We waiting through the dismal Aaron Boone years, and then we waited while Marte went through "rookie struggles." This year, though, patience was wearing thin and when he started the season with .179 average in 13 games, I personally had enough. He went injured allowing Casey Blake and Ryan Garko to find their way into the line-up with both making the most of their opportunity. Either one is a better option and now Marte sits as a back-up infielder.

Picture from The Segway Collection

Monday, May 21, 2007

Summer Blockbusters

Enjoying my first weekend off since April 14th and 15th, I spent the time holed up in my house shivering, unsure of what to do with a Saturday and a Sunday off. Once the fear and anxiety subsided, I made my way out into the sunshine. Stumbling from the brightness, I felt the need to go mainstream and see what it is that people do when not working - something a large segment of the population apparently does not do - on the weekend. I went to the movie theater.

Dressed as Shrek (see above...ok, not really, I'm about 1/100th that man's size).

This week, I went to see the newest, hottest, hippest thing out there in Shrek the Third ($122 million in one week). The week before last I went to see the previously newest, hottest, and hippest thing out there in Spiderman 3 ($281.9 million in three weeks). In fact, it's now a requirement that I see movies that are the third in a series from now on. Fortunately, with Hollywood not interested in drumming up new ideas, I should have no problem keeping busy this summer. But how do the first two summer blockbusters line up?


Spiderman 3 picked up where Spiderman 2 left off, which was right in the middle of what is the larger feud between Peter Parker and Harry Osborne and their alter egos. A couple of new villains - the not so evil Sandman and the incredibly evil Venom - keep Spiderman busy when he's not getting bogged down in real world, Peter Parker stresses. Throw in the love interest in the form of always in trouble Mary Jane Watson, and you've got your movie.

Shrek the Third continued the development of the ogre's personal life having gone from outcast loner to happily wedded to unlikely heir to the kingdom of Far Far Away. This particular installment from the franchise introduced a slew of new characters, several of whom were from the Arthurian stories. Now, having just completed the four book Mary Stewart Arthurian/Merlin saga, I have to deduct points from Shrek. Mary Stewart's Merlin character may be my favorite literary character ever, and Shrek the Third portrayed him as a bumbling, hapless lunatic.

Winner: Spiderman 3

Computer Effects:

Both films boasted top of the line computer technology with Spiderman 3 being hailed as the most expensive movie ever made. In said movie, The Sandman's image and character are phenomenal as some of the coolest computer effect out there. The whole movie, though, did not adhere to such high standards. Topher Grace (best actor in the film by far) morphs in and out of the Venom character, which I thought was a little sloppy. The action sequences were done super fast with many of the falling down skyscraper action being blurred to simulate Spiderman's actual view. However, I want to be able to see what's happening and don't equate incomprehensible smears on the screen as top of the line computer graphics.

Dream Works continued it's excellent animating standard in Shrek. The characters were well done, and the backgrounds were impeccable. Slowly but surely we are marching to a film where we won't be able to tell what is animated and what is live action. While we aren't going to mistake a giant green oaf as being real life, it's the computer graphics from Dream Works that are the superior standard.

Winner: Shrek 3

Theater experience:

I viewed Spiderman 3 in an IMAX setting indulging my senses to a barrage of noise and lights unlike any other viewing experience. However, this primordial stimulation also had its drawbacks. Long rows of seats and a packed house made it impossible to move from my perfectly centered seats, leading to a personal crisis when I had to pee 25 minutes into the 2 and a half hour film. By the time the film concluded, I just wanted everyone to die quickly and without talking/weeping so that I could relieve myself.

I consumed Shrek the Third in a traditional movie theater. The place was not nearly as crowded as Spidey, which was surprising to me since it was Shrek's opening weekend, and Spiderman was in his second weekend of release when I saw it. I enjoyed being able to find a seat after a near panic attack that was caused by traffic and the three other women with whom I was attending in need of concessions even though we arrived nearly 10 minutes after the show's start time. A small baby in the seat directly in front of Becky coughed the first 45 minutes of the film, and we exchanged looks wondering if the child was going to suffocate while the mother sat engrossed in the film and uncaring of the child's well being.

Winner: Push

Picture from About: Family Crafts

Friday, May 18, 2007

Two and two equals three

From the Wednesday, May 16, 2007 edition of the USA Today comes the following headline and subheadline.

FEMA says it's ready for hurricanes
Revised disaster plan not finished

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tonight is the biggest night in television history

I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that tonight could very well be the biggest night in television history. Some will argue that series finales of MASH or Seinfeld might be larger and those people would be horribly wrong. Others might say groundbreaking moments such as Ellen DeGeneres portraying the first gay character in prime time or even some of the countless gender issues like Lucille Ball's pregnancy presented in I Love Lucy would put that show as an epic event.

While they are all memorable, they are nothing compared to the double whammy that Thursday May 17, 2007 holds.

For starters, The Office season finale is this evening. I tend to place a tremendous amount of value on each new episode regardless of where it falls in the season. Regularly, I think that each show warrants more attention than the previous, which naturally means that the program this evening will be the best ever. The greater plot lines of the program move at a snail's pace, and that's just fine since it's the "regular" day-to-day workings of Dunder Mifflin are what make it so appealing. But this evening we should get a tiny bit of romantic movement to go with those zany folk in Pennsylvania. Extend the show out over an hour and you've got a big stinkin' deal.

But even I must confess that The Office will be second fiddle tonight, and damn it, that's just hard to do. In fact, it takes something 50 years in the making to bump The Office. Tonight, Bob Barker makes his farewell.

Last night, Bob's final prime time Price Is Right aired with plenty of lavish gifts and prizes. While he's still taping shows and won't wrap that up for a few more weeks, CBS gives him the send off he so richly deserves tonight after a magnificent career that includes a few decades (!) analyzing prices, spinning clunky old wheels, and giving away cars like they were free candy. Everyone is so enamoured (rightfully) with his 35 years on Price is Right that his 19 years as host of Truth of Consequences sometimes falls to the wayside. Imagine in this day and age anyone hosting two different shows 15 plus years. It's not possible. Networks pull plugs mid-season now, and Barker's longevity will likely go without match.

The simple host and winner of 17 (!) Emmy Awards wanted to retire while he "was still young." With the time off, he wants to take an African safari and work with his animal charities. A replacement for him is still in the works, but we all know the show will never be the same. Ever with a sense of humor, Bob confessed in an interview that the world probably will end without him.

" 'The Price Is Right' will not continue," Barker joked. "In fact, when I retire, all of television is going to end. There will be no more television. You can just put potted plants in those sets."

He may be right.

(Obligatory note that tonight is the season finale of Grey's Anatomy, too.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A rose by any other name is still as sweet

Or conversely, a pile of crap by any other name is still as smelly.

My beloved Valparaiso University ditched the Mid-Continent Conference for the Horizon League last summer, with competition to begin once school resumes in the fall. Valpo was an inaugural founder of the Mid-Con and held the league together as the only school regularly worth a damn in the conference. So after Valpo jumped ship, the Mid-Con sank. Really, it did.

The Mid-Con is no more. In an on-line article titled "Mid-Con Presidents Council Launches Summit Plan" a reader will find four paragraphs later that the league has changed its name to the Summit League. Geographically, eliminating "Mid-Continent" makes sense as schools ranged in location from the midwest to Eastern Asia.

However, what preceded the name change announcement was a vague call to make the Summit League a better place.

The Summit Plan, which places an emphasis on presidential leadership, seeks to advance the league to one of the premier mid-major conferences in the country. It focuses on student-athlete welfare, academic performance, increased home attendance and improving the league’s rating percentage index (RPI) in all sports.

Ok. So previously the Mid-Con didn't want to be one of the "premier mid-major conferences?" And by "premier" the council really means academic excellence leading to improved attendance. I'm not sure that those go hand-in-hand (not looking this up but I think Ohio State has graduated 1 player in the last 7 years), but I suppose it's a noble goal worth striving for.

Just how does this happen?

The league plans to recognize the academic achievements of its student-athletes at every opportunity, while seeking to improve the Academic Progress Report (APR) scores of each team.

If I were a Summit League athlete, believe you me, I would be motivated at the appearance of my name on a not-so-widely-read press release. As for raising the "APR," I'm pretty sure that phrasing just means that there will be a league wide commitment to cheating.

The marketing efforts will be focused on increasing the home attendance, which helps support the student-athletes and provides additional exposure.

I suppose that there are even going to be any "marketing efforts" at all is an improvement from the devoid publicity the league generated for itself over the last decade. We can only hope that these efforts aren't limited to a free Summit League banner to be hung in each home gymnasium, though I'm sure that's probably what it will amount to.

In addition, the Summit Plan will include a review of staffing, budgeting and scheduling by each member institution to be conducted with the goal of improving the RPI in all conference sports.

How about reviewing the staffing, budgeting, and scheduling of league offices instead of the individual schools? I will forever contend that "staffing" would be solved by hiring Tony Hamilton, former Mid-Con guru of everything. He could be commissioner, PR man, and bouncer.

"Budgeting" would be considerably easier if anyone in authority had some goal of geographic improvement to the conference. The odd number of teams led to some crazy travel patterns such as the ever enjoyable flights from Shreveport, Louisiana, to Kansas City, Missouri, and finally Cedar City, Utah. As is, Valpo left citing these concerns and will now take much cheaper and quicker bus trips to Chicago and Cleveland.

But it was the fourth paragraph the dropped the bombshell of a new league name. This critical paragraph also boasted of a new logo, image, and website. The logo is simplistic, doing away with the awful looking red and blue rainbow and introducing a sleek mountain peek.

The logo itself was designed by Nina Schmidt, a graphic designer at South Dakota State University.

I'm glad that the league is already looking at its own budget and opting to go with student work rather than bother with any type of professional search. The best part, though, is that Nina Schmidt from South Dakota State isn't even in the conference yet. The school will be June 1st, but I like that it took a new school to bother coming up with anything. Had I have known the logo search would have gone this direction, I would have contacted my sister for the job. Dani could have done this as she meets the qualifications of a.) student graphic designer b.) improve the current garbage logo and c.) not in the conference. In would boost her resume and perhaps increase her grades, which as we now know, is what the Summit League is all about.

It's the website that has me most excited. Instead of the easy to find, those press releases displaying awesome grades can be found at A dot org domain! I love it.

So all this happened at a press conference that by most accounts was attended by the three guys in the picture and one photographer. What a big day for the Mid-er- Summit League!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

First Amendment Fallout

A few weeks ago, Don Imus filled the press with delightfully stupid remarks on which every one felt compelled to debate, comment, yell, scream, make inappropriate comparisons, and issue death threats. Eventually, CBS fired Imus, which the jock had to gleefully endure since he filed a lawsuit, and will someday win a few bazillion dollars for calling a group of basketball players a derogatory name. I'm not sure why he'll be rewarded for those comments with a victorious lawsuit, but the world is a topsy-turvey kinda place.

But now, the reprecussions from said incident are bouncing their way toward satellite radio. I have thus far resisted the evils for satellite radio because I fear that it will soon be the demise of local radio. Instead of a country full of djs, we will soon have JACK-FM broadcasting without any personality, or we'll have one guy speaking to everyone. Blah.

The upside of satellite radio is that it is outside of the completely unnecessary watch of the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC likes to pretend that it can and should set the moral standard for every one, fining those it deems offensive and silencing the unpopular voice. You'll note that they did not have a peep to say about Don Imus and the system worked it's magic as the vocally offended managed to remove Imus without a government mandate. Yay for people policing themselves!

Back to the issue at hand, though, XM Satellite Radio has opted to begin policing itself. Moronic shock jocks Opie and Anthony who were kicked off of New York radio for sponsoring a contest that eventually led to a couple having sex in a church live on the air. Clearly not the kind of people you want your daughter dating.

Regardless, it cost them their jobs and they, much like Imus will eventually, cashed in on their newfound fame by signing a lucrative deal with satellite radio. Just last week, Opie and Anthony put a homeless guy on the air who promptly spewed forth sexual comments toward a handful of famous people. XM cared not for these remarks and suspened their bad boy DJs.

A commentary/newspiece (and boy the Torch still is the king of those) written over at CNN suggests that XM satellite, which operates outside of FCC regulation because it is a subscription service, decided to suspend the doofuses (doofi?) for more government reasons than would otherwise be the case.

The suspension also demonstrates how scared the satellite radio companies are of looking like the poster children for bad behavior at a time when XM and Sirius will depend on the goodwill of the government to green-light their merger.

So because Imus said naughty things, and because XM and Sirius want to merge, and because they want the government to smile on their combing forces, and because Opie and Anthony were at the wrong place at the wrong time, a non-government regulated company is restricting the free speech it so gladly advertised at its conception. I miss the first amendement.

Monday, May 14, 2007

It's Something

I typically take weekends off here at Wolfden V but rarely do I go a weekday without posting. Today I drove home from work after putting in 26 hours in the last 2 days trying to figure out what my Monday post would be about. With so many work hours, I haven't had an opportunity to experience anything unusual or sample the world. My world has been Walgreens, which I do my best not to write about since I try to not relive the retail world.

So, as mentioned, I was coming down the road racking my brain for a good topic. Nothing was coming to me as I looked at red brake lights. I needed inspiration. I needed a topic. I needed anything.

At that moment, I saw two ducks on the median of the road. My first reaction was that I was going to have a reenactment of the video I linked to a few days ago with momma and papa duck trying to cross the busy road with a fleet of babies. Instead, it was just mom and dad. And sex.

With a line of traffic a mile long, no one moving anywhere, two ducks just a few feet from my left tire decided to procreate. And there you have it.

Friday, May 11, 2007

This post is brought to you by the letters "K" and "P"

As mentioned previously, I enjoy the USA Today even if it means I read copies of the paper days after the actual events have happened. So just the other night, I was catching up on various sports stories when Becky begins giggling. She saw the above picture and observed, "His fly is open."

And now we know the secret to Brad Penny's successful outing: a little extra ventilation.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Now what did I just say about stealing?

You, dear readers, no doubt have noticed by now my enjoyment of the absurd news story. It's that imbalance of intelligence that fascinates me that humankind can put a man on the moon and at the same time resort to name calling (think ho-bag). Yet, I believe today I write my first comments on an absurd news story that occurred nearly one hundred and fifty years ago.

My beloved alma mater is Valparaiso University known for such things as a single basketball shot and, well, that's about it. But the surrounding area boasts Chicago, Gary, and the Indiana Dunes. The latter nearly became a lot more famous than "cheap hot spot for college students" as it is otherwise known.

"Stealing Lincoln's Body," a new book by Thomas J. Craughwell, brings to light an otherwise obscure plot to grave rob our 16th President. The idea was not some well thought out Confederacy revenge point that some might expect. Rather, a gentleman and his gang of thugs who were already being monitored for counterfeit money thought they could steal Lincoln's corpse, run off to the Indiana Dunes, and hold it their for ransom. They needed only get through a single padlock and some plaster of paris, and the gang would have the sarcophagus as there was no security and the tomb was above ground.

The problem arose when one of the gang happened to be an informant of the Secret Service who promptly notified higher powers of the shenanigans. A steak out ensued, shots were fired, the thieves got away, and in the dark the good guys shot at themselves. The good news is that Honest Abe stayed put and the Indiana Dunes were instead destined for obscurity.

Interestingly, the reason the kidnapping plot is little known is that it received very little coverage even in 1876 when it occurred. Why? Rutherford Hayes was eeking out victory over Samuel Tildon to become the nation's 19th President on this very night.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Thou Shall Not Steal

An Alabama judge came up with a wonderful way to punish shoplifters (see above). Those convicted of stealing from the local Wal-Mart had the option of 60 days in jail or standing with the sign expressing their moral shortcoming. I enjoy it when judges make up penalties that buck the conventional fine and minimal jail time.

A bystander thought that the punishment was cruel, which I assure you it is not. As a retailer, I'm all for embarrassing shoplifters and would encourage a return to the days of Hammurabi's Code. People from all walks of life steal, and it's done in large amounts every day. I don't work in a particularly "bad" neighborhood and in fact my Walgreens has one of the wealthiest populations of any in the district. Yet, not a day goes by when 7 or 8 empty boxes of something are found tucked behind another product. That's just what is left behind, as it's certainly plausible that most don't bother to leave any evidence behind opting to take package and all. For every one of those items that goes out the door, we have to sell another 20 to break even. Not to mention the time it takes to file a claim and change the computers counts to reorder the product now lost.

As such, I care not for thieves. I'm all for fingerprinting every individual that comes into the store so that every time I find an empty package, we can submit it to the FBI's data base. I've heard the Jean Valjean argument that people who steal take items that they need, and I can tell you that that is crap. If bread were going out the door to feed a hungry family, I might (stress might) be more understanding. But I can tell you that the most frequently ripped off items are candy bars, condoms, pregnancy tests, and make-up. You tell me which of those someone MUST have, and I'll buy it for them.

I applaud the efforts of Judge Kenneth Robertson Jr., but I might suggest that these people have to wear the sign and apologize and do community service and serve the jail time and pay the fine and get a tattoo with the same phrasing and lose a finger.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Singing and Dancing

It's not one of my favorite shows, but Becky enjoys the Dancing with the Stars series that ABC has thrown together for top notch ratings. As such, if I happen to not be working a particular Monday night, I am thrust into the world of B and C list celebrities attempting to ballroom dance. The show is about as good at it sounds but as a fan of American Idol I realize my room to criticize is razor thin.

Last night, though, the show was marred with all kinds of technical errors that I have to believe calls into question the integrity of the show. The typical formula involves the dance, the judge review, the actor interviewed backstage, and then the revealing of the judges' scores. So after the female judge reveals a score of 10 for Abraham Lincoln's waltz, the interviewer backstage interjects that judge keyed in a score of 9 and meant to say 9. Therefore the scoring is changed.

What? Meant 9 but raised a score card and said 10? Are we revisiting the French judge and Olympic figure skating?

This happened one other time I watched the show some time ago where the interviewer asked Thomas Jefferson how he felt about receiving a perfect 10. The issue here is that the judge's scores had not yet been revealed and the interviewer quickly back peddled stumbling through some cover-up about how judges key in their scores ahead of time. Key in to who? And by ahead of time you mean the 10 seconds that elapse in between the judge critique and the revealing of scores?

Throw in a production whoops of showing James Madison's phone number while Dwight Eisenhower was dancing and if you've got a cluster of crap. So in between the rounds of dancing, we've got scoring changes and technical glitches. Woo hoo! Then again I may just be bitter than John Ratzenberger got the boot last week.

Which brings me to the never controversial, always technically sound world of American Idol. Tonight we get the final four, which just so happens to be the last time I felt an attachment to the show. While I watch it every week, I have not been emotionally connected to a contestant since last season's final four when the brilliance of America decided to remove the far-more-talented-than-everyone-else-and-if-you-don't-believe-it-look-at-record-sales-for-those-final-four-now Chris Daughtry from the finals. Morons.

This season there has been a remarkable level of consistency among everyone, which contributes to the show's blandness. Melinda Dolittle sings at the same high level every week and is going to be in the final two. Blake Lewis has been the most unique performer dishing out weird mumbo-jumbo in reconfigured classics, and as a result will also be in the final two. Lakisha Jones performs very well but has a ridiculous attachment to singing songs that other American Idols are known for, thereby reducing her originality and range of song. Despite Simon Cowell's obvious attempt to push through the singer he wants by sorta making out with her a few weeks back, I think we may be witnessing the last of Jones' big ballads tonight. And finally Jordin Sparks who has been strong but unspectacular throughout will reach the Vonzell Solomon level of "wow, she was pretty good and vote her to the top 3 but seriously, she's not going to win."

Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees is the talking head who offers two lines of profound advice and says everyone is great on this evening's show. He will also likely take up 4 minutes of Wednesday show and then be featured on various "you just lost" videos, shaking hands and hugging the contestant who most recently earned Daughtry's "Home." Upon doing some research, I found that Gibb bought that lakeside home of Johnny Cash's in Tennessee that burst into flames last month, a mere year and a half after he purchased it.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Look both ways and go anyway

I'm a bit of a sucker for springtime. I never had such a strong feeling for spring before living in Minnesota, but a good 6 months of death tends to make one appreciate the non-black months. Living in the neighborhood that Becky and I do, we have plenty of lakes and ponds to stroll around. About this time, the baby ducklings are hatching and for reasons I cannot fully explain, I could sit and watch them all day long.

While geese are far less attractive, their neon yellow newborn are still equally fascinating to me. Fortunately, Minnesota drivers agree.

Clicking the hyperlink (and if this doesn't work and I've been having trouble with it, click the "Canadian geese bring traffic to a standstill" video link) will take you to a thrilling video involving newborn goslings and Interstate 494. This video offers better drama than anything we are about to experience this cliff hangar TV season.

Someone is going to be sleeping on the couch

A man in Brazi named Brenol made an unwise decision. He decided to put his wife up for sale and used the internet for his platform:

The described his wife physically and listed her qualities as a homemaker and companion. He reportedly said she was 35 and "worth her weight in gold."

If that weren't bad enough, Breno was asking all of $50.

You might be thinking that the two had a fallout and this was some awful idea for revenge. Nay, the reasons were more fiscal in nature.

"I sell my wife for reasons I prefer to keep short ... I really need the money."

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Why is everyone picking on Paris?

Paris Hilton is going to jail. She's to spend 45 days behind bars for driving with a suspended license. This, of course, is not the story. The real story are the fun quotes from those involved in the nonsensical circus.

During the prosecutor's closing argument, Paris' mother, Kathy Hilton, felt the need to interject with laughter and then blurted out for no particular reason:

"May I have your autograph?"

Moments before the judge read the verdict, Paris Hilton, who was ten minutes late for her court time, offered this sincere apology:

"I'm very sorry, and from now on I'm going to pay complete attention to everything. I'm sorry, and I did not do it on purpose at all."

Afterwards, Kathy Hilton's mood swung in the opposite direction as shockingly her and her daughter's flippant attitude resulted in a month and a half prison time for Paris:

"This is pathetic and disgusting, a waste of taxpayer money with all this nonsense. This is a joke."

The prison term is a joke since Paris had already pled no contest to reckless driving after failing a field sobriety test in September, a couple of other traffic tickets, not completing the alcohol education program made mandatory by the first boo boo, and in this most recent incident pleading ignorance to not realizing her license had been revoked. Not to mention the scene her mother caused and the "heartfelt" apology which was condescending to everyone involved in the legal system. Paris is lucky she didn't get a harsher sentence. Like say having to take a civics class.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Influential People

Influence: the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others

Time Magazine publishes an annual list of the top influential people in the world. It's a fascinating exercise simply because of the total and complete ambiguity editors use in defining "influential." I would venture to argue that Grady Sizemore is a very influential Cleveland Indian (in fact winning the game last night with an RBI double) yet he did not make the list.

Other individuals like the chap who jumped in front of a subway train to save another man's life did make Time's 100. I don't know that that incident makes him influential in any sphere of life except for the man's whom he saved, hence the ambiguous "influence."

The big news on the list is not so much who is on it, but who isn't. The magazine neglected George W. Bush. The President of the United States missed the cut. Whether you like him, hate him, or are apathetic towards him, there is absolutely no one who is more influential in the world today. No one. Not even Sacha Baron Cohen.

Yes, Borat made the list. Tina Fey is there too. Heck, John Mayer made the list. But not the President.

Tony Dungy (but not Petyon Manning) made the list. Roger Federer - tennis player - is present.

Freaking Chien-Ming Wang is one of Time Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential People. Yes, New York Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang is more influential than George W. Bush.

This is an asinine comparison, which is doing what is suppose to do that being to generate debate (and have incredibly influential bloggers such as myself give the magazine some additional publicity). Never mind the most powerful man in the only superpower country didn't make the list, we have to make room for a Yankees pitcher who is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA. Look, if they were serious about including international sports stars, Daisuke Matsuzaka or Yao Ming should get billing here. But neither should be on the list at the expense of the man who has the power to wage or end a war.

The argument made for leaving Bush off the list is that he's a lame duck who is alienating everyone with his rouge leadership style. Ok, fine whatever. Why don't you talk to Congress about how influential he is being that he just vetoed a bill passed by both the House and Senate to set a timetable to bring home troops from Iraq? I'm not going to get into the bill's merits one way or the other, but that a single individual killed it with a single vote makes him pretty influential to me.

The list doesn't exclude politicians. Rather it includes Hilliary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, and even Raul Castro in its ranks. Frankly, I'm fine with two of the three, and Raul will make it as soon as Fidel Castro is no longer really in charge so that's ok by me too. But don't you think that Clinton who wants to be President and Rice who reports to the President should probably not be ahead of Bush?

So I went over to the Time Magazine website to find a link for this story after I saw it on CNN this morning, and I found that Time had also conducted an Internet poll to see who you (the person of the year last year...Time is slipping mightily) thought should be on the list. I thought well maybe the public will get this right, even though when I viewed the story on CNN, the public was weighing in with an asinine 61% "yes, Bush should have been left off the list."

I opened the page and the person receiving the most votes for the most influential person was Rain - a Koren R&B star I had never heard of until this list. Needless to say, I didn't bother scouring the list for Bush because the public is incapable of measuring influence.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Now you too can eat like a billionaire

In between the USA Today and nineteen credit card applications, Becky and I recently received a Sharper Image catalog in the mail. The June 2007 edition featured every one's favorite billionaire, Donald Trump pointing to a feast of food that would no doubt feed every single person that reads this blog and then some.

Ends up the Donald is launching his own line of meat. Yes, the real estate mogul made the next logical jump to cows. Apparently the Sharper Image has the honor and privilege of the exclusive introduction to Trump Steaks.

The Sharper Image has gone all out and even given this massive event it's own webpage, featuring various meat packages and yes, a special message from Trump himself. For those who opt not to listen to the 60 commercial, the Donald in his typically exuberant fashion offers these original lines:

"When it comes to great steaks, I've just raised the stakes!"

"They are the best tasting most flavorful steaks you've ever had. Truly in a league of their own!"

"The best of the best!"

"One bite and you'll understand exactly what I'm talking about!"

Now if I have one bad fiscal habit, it's that I enjoy a good meal. As such, I indulged Trump and the Sharper Image by turning the page in the catalogue that led to the various packages for purchase. They ranged from $199-$999. Holy crap.

Scared off by the price, I soon turned the page and began thinking of ways I could sink the "unsinkable pool float" ($149.95) and what in the world would I do with an Alochawk, a professional-grade alcohol breath screener ($119.95).

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

You know you want an upside down, rainy kiss with Spiderman

Below are the top ten films from this past weekend and their respective earnings.

1. Disturbia $9.1 million.
2. The Invisible $7.6 million.
3. Next $7.2 million.
4. Fracture $7.1 million.
5. Blades of Glory $5.2 million.
6. Meet the Robinsons $4.84 million.
7. Hot Fuzz $4.8 million.
8. Vacancy $4.2 million.
9. The Condemned $4 million.
10. Are We Done Yet? $3.4 million

This weekend a certain fellow in red and blue (and black) makes his return to the local 42-plex movie theater. Just by comparison this arachnoid fella brought in more money in his opening weekend in 2004 than did all of these movies. Times 3. Plus 8 million.

So do your American duty and go out and see the film so that no one involved in the making of this film goes hungry.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

This is so going to mess up the 1989 World Series

This is the beautiful, and in tact, Bay Bridge that links San Francisco, California and Oakland, California. It's no longer operable.

Bright and early Sunday morning, a gas tanker decided to ruin the collective Monday mornings of thousands of Californians. A truck carrying 8,600 gallons of gasoline blew up and melted the highway that connects San Francisco to Oakland. Officials are using "months" as the unit of measure for repairs, which has to have hundreds of thousands of people upset that they cannot instead enjoy the arrival of JaMarcus Russel and departure of Randy Moss from their respective cities.

I've done a little bit of research, and well, the situation sucks for commuters who normally use the Bay Bridge.

I selected a random address in downtown Oakland and then a random address in downtown San Francisco. According to Google Maps, a normal drive from point A to point B would cover 10.7 miles and 17 minutes.

The next best route, taking the Bay Bridge out of the equation, would have the commuter going north through San Quentin and then south across the Golden Gate Bridge into the city. New calculations?

35. 8 miles and 46 minutes.

That's 25.1 extra miles and 29 more minutes. Each way.

Of course those numbers are only good if there is no one else on the road, which certainly is not the case. Keeping in mind that the new route is already clogged with commuters, the additional 280,000 commuters who formerly used the Bay Bridge will create nightmares that are best blogged about and not endured.

What does this all mean? California, and possibly America, will panic that a terrorist attack could cripple the city and taxpayers will fund some ridiculously under used transportation alternative.

It also means that I need to be on my way to make my 19.2 mile, 26 minute drive in to Walgreens and while doing so I shall be gleefully whistling, "Hi ho, hi ho it's off to work I go."