Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

Off and running

I have begun my first on-line course through the University of Phoenix, and so far mixed results.

  • I excelled at my first assignment. What was it you ask? Post a hello message introducing yourself to your classmates. Using my voy-board savvy, I navigated my way to successfully fulfilling this requirement. That's right, I'm going to have a masters degree at the end of this.
  • Major negative when Comcast cut my cable lines resulting in a 36 hour blackout of all things cable TV and cable Internet. While I enjoy listening to the radio and CDs, I kind of sort of need to be on-line for the next couple of years so as to not flush tuition dollars down the drain in an unattended Internet class.
  • My second assignment went well enough, though not without road bumps. My initial "Welcome to University of Phoenix" e-mail mentioned that we should write an autobiography as a means to introduce yourself to the class. There was no suggested length and as such went to work. I felt I did a nice tidy job that was coherent and somewhat witty. Without breaking a sweat I wrapped up 750 words. A few days later, I downloaded the syllabus which suggested a snappy 300 words. I adapted by throwing in more sentences explaining my plight and also suggesting I was incredibly narcissistic. Perhaps I will be forgiven for my overachieving.
  • Reading other classmates' posts and responding to them in an on-going conversation is a large part of the class, which I occasionally (frequently) have a difficult time with. People have a variety of schedules which leads to some odd progressions as someone is very active in the chat only to disappear for a couple of days and then pick up where they leave off. Additionally, people's writing talents and abilities are all over the board. Some are far easier to read than others. So it goes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Major Announcement: I'm not smart enough

When I began this blog, I was unsure of the direction it would take or even how long it would last. The last six months have been most pleasurable as I have eagerly looked forward to writing a daily post. I still do, except now I'm not smart enough.

Today is my first day of school. I have enrolled at the University of Phoenix (Arizona rocks!) in pursuit of my Masters in Business Administration. The completely on-line classwork will allow me to continue my full time work at Walgreens while simultaneously striving toward my future degree. Unfortunately, I probably will not make the football team.

What I hope to achieve is an end to working Christmases, Thanksgivings, Labor Days, and two out of three weekends. Walgreens has been very good to me, but the nature of the retail beast is it's shitty hours. I have not decided what I will do post MBA; it may or may not include Walgreens. What I want, though, is a light at the end of the tunnel, something at the end of which I can either take my education elsewhere for better hours and pay, or new doors to open within my current company. In today's competitive business world, I do not think I seek too much.

However, this announcement and development will require some sacrifice. 45-50 hours of week at work will slowly mold into 60 as we approach another retail, holiday season, and now with a full-time slate of classwork, some things will not make the cut. Sadly, what this leads into is this blog. It's not going away or dying. It merely will not be updated on a daily basis. It remains to be seen how grueling or not the classwork will be, but the time it takes to read a newspaper, find something interesting, write something about it, and then dig up a picture will most likely conflict with my new quest. As such, I hope to be posting at a minimum once a week and a maximum of three or four times. Bear with the irregularity, and you will likely be rewarded with witty commentary and inspirational photos. I felt an explanation necessary as to why, after six months of regular, daily posts, I will become irregular (and fat).

A new host!

The Price is Right's search for a new host is over! Huzzah!

There's something gratifying knowing that even though it wasn't yours truly, the producers were thinking of me in signing a Cleveland Indians fan named Drew.

As for how I feel about it, I'm fine with it. I do not envy anyone who has to follow in the legend's footsteps as the comparisons will be overwhelming and distracting. I hope that the new host isn't bogged down in the "Barker did it this way" debates. But most of all, I am relieved that the show avoided the worst contender as I would have had a hard time watching the show if she was in charge of it.Publish Post

Monday, July 23, 2007

What happens in Vegas is posted here

Return! I have returned! There's a warm feeling knowing that four people missed me.

But I digress, we need stories and pictures! I am here to provide them as part of your Monday entertainment. I shall discuss the highlights.

-I have long wanted to stay at the Bellagio Hotel and this trip, we did. I spent more money than I should have but went all out and requested the lake view room so as to enjoy the fountain show. Up 21 floors and practically dead center, we had our entertainment in the form of synchronized fountain dancing - the newest Olympic sport - every 15 minutes. The actual view from our hotel room:

-Las Vegas boasts a large number of big women in small dresses. Surely, Chris Farley's "fat guy in a little coat" shtick originated from this phenomenon. I shall spare you any pictures.

-Our Friday night entertainment came in the form of Danny Gans, Las Vegas' 10-time entertainer of the year. To me, that's remarkable. To think of all the shows the city boasts and then pick the same one ten times in a row as the best one must say something. As such, we investigated this Danny Gans and found him to be entertaining enough, but not the amazing spectacle he is described to be. He does a signing/imitating performance and when Homer Simpson and Daniel Powter are indistinguishable, I have to disagree with the lofty moniker.

-What our true Friday night entertainment was to be was instead located back in our home hotel of the Bellagio. Las Vegas' shady side no doubt includes its strip joints and escort services, a side of the city that while present was never really visible to yours truly who finds comfort in nickel slots and 11pm bed times (party animal, woo!). However, I was exposed to a little of this dark side post-Danny Gans. I regrettably do not have a picture of the scene as I desperately wanted a picture of these two women questionably dressed (well not really dressed), sharing a drink with a very sad looking man on a couch facing the casino floor. The man had his arm around one of the women, and the other in the most over the top way bursts out, "Let's drink!"

I turned to Becky and said that I had missed out on the blog post of the year as the photo of these three with the caption, "One of these three is paying for sex. Guess who," would have made you all laugh. Instead, you get a lame description and the awful reality that I actually talk about my blog while on vacation.

-Earlier on Friday, Becky and I took to the slots in an effort to win fame and fortune. As mentioned, I am not very daring and as such took comfort on a stool in front of a nickel slot. Unfortunately, I am at work right now as I failed to win the mega-progressive jackpot. Becky, however, did do reasonably well winning the single greatest total I have ever seen. With a "7-7-Double Diamond" on line 3, she captured over 160 credits. I realize we are dealing with weenie amounts, but I assure you that $8.00 is a lot of nickels.

-Outside of the fantastic room, the highlight of the trip came Thursday evening. We headed over to the New York New York casino to celebrate our second year of wedded bliss with an amazing steak dinner. Followers of the site probably realize that I have developed a refined taste for the finer dining establishments. Gallagher's proved to be worthy of my taste buds as it was among the best meals I have ever eaten. Comparable to Jester's sunset strips. Ok, a tad better.

-Sadly, all of the dining was not quite up to this high standard. For our final meal in Las Vegas, we opted for Italian and as such figured it fitting to visit The Venetian for the occasion. As such, we braved the 110 degree heat to make our way for the canal themed casino. Once there, we previewed a series of menus before deciding on Postrio. Becky in particular had found a dish that looked pleasing. A chicken meal featuring gnocchi in a natural, light sauce captured her attention. After discussing the details with the waiter, she decided that was the one for her and eagerly anticipated its arrival. What the waitor returned with was a chicken breast on top of what looked to be an onion/noodle soup and no gnocchi. Understandably, Becky was perturbed and brought the waiter back and in words more eloquent than these said, "What the hell is this?" The waiter runs off to check with the chef and after a significant amount of time returns to say that there was a mix-up and the chef is preparing the gnocchi this very moment. By now, Becky has rescued the edible chicken from the onion-noodle slop onto her bread plate and places the foreign substance away for immediate removal. A few minutes later, the table clearer kid brings this generous serving of gnocchi.

Despite my pompous attitude here on the site, I tend to be very sympathetic to establishments of any kind that regularly have to put up with the public as a result of my own career trials and tribulations. However, upon seeing this 4 inch by 4 inch serving area half-filled, I laughed loudly. Becky was rotating through a series of emotions that included but were not limited to irritation-fury-embarrassment-hunger-rage-comedy-disappointment-disgust-anger. Meanwhile, I whipped out my cell phone to snap the above photo. Ah, the Postrio.

-Lastly, we may have all underestimated the drawing power of Toni Braxton. We could have stayed at the Flamingo which really likes Toni.

That's a lot more Toni Braxton than I needed.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


It is with great pleasure that I announce my two day departure from you fine folks here at Wolfden V. For comical banter and inane news stories, you will have to delve elsewhere. Not that I don't love all of you, but, quite frankly, I have people to see and places to go. Until Monday!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Laddie, come on down! You are the next contestant on the Price Is Right!

Having gone nearly one full month without any posting on the Price is Right or Bob Barker, rabid fans of Wolfden V crave an update. Who will be host of the beloved show? We've weathered Hurricane Rosie, teased Sportsman Dan Patrick, and saw dancing muscle Mario Lopez bow out. Still we wait. Who indeed will it be? Not to say too much, but my name has not yet been eliminated.

But what of Bob, who thanks to savvy financial advice, is now a month into retirement. What keeps America's favorite game show host busy these days?

Fans of the PIR will recall his famous sign-off, "Have your pets spayed for neutered. Goodbye, everybody!" This animal cause has taken up Barker's time as he has been lobbying California politicians to pass a bill that would require all pet owners to do as Bob says by the animal's 4 month birthday. As people tend to do when Bob gets involved, they went crazy:

"We were just inundated," said Don Wilcox, chief of staff to Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod, a Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate's local government committee, which scuttled the bill. He said the committee received 30,000 letters and thousands of phone calls both for and against the plan.

Some of the letters even encouraged McLeod to bid higher in an attempt to win a new car.

Ok, so that didn't happen, but what did happen was a surprise entry into the debate.

When the Senate panel met Wednesday to move forward, among the hundreds who showed up to oppose the bill was a collie named Laddie, an offspring in the line of former TV show star Lassie.

Laddie to the rescue!

The story goes that Laddie is a 9th generation descendant of TV's famous Lassie. While Lassie saved Timmy's life (click here to see Timmy today and here to see Lassie today), Laddie was out to kill. It appears that for the time being Laddie was successful as his emotional appearance was enough to end debate and push the bill aside for the time being. Ends up the Lassie-line would have ended if this bill had been in existence as somewhere along the lines, probably during Civil War times, the chain would have ended. And clearly, we couldn't have that.

Laddie then left the courthouse, ran to Hollywood, and hoped to play Plinko.

Photo from LassieWeb.org

Monday, July 16, 2007

Breakfast at Applebees

What did you have for dinner last night? A tasty meat? A creamy pasta?

Not enough of you went out. Specifically, not enough of you went out to Applebee's. It's tough times for everyone's favorite neighborhood restaurant. Blaming a slew of things from rising gas prices and increased mortgage rates cutting into potential customers' disposable income, Applebee's sales have slumped. Shareholders became testy so management did what management types do. They panicked, shrugged their shoulders, and sold themselves to a pancake maker.

IHOP Corp., best known for its chain of blue-roofed pancake restaurants, said Monday it has agreed to buy the bar-and-grill chain Applebee's International Inc. for about $1.9 billion in cash.

$1.9 billion dollars in cash. Now that's a lot of rooty tooty fresh n fruities.

For those of you unfamiliar with the International House of Pancakes, let me say that it is a fine dining establishment. The cheese omelet with a side of hash browns is a reasonably priced, delicious way to kick off your day. A side of cinnamon swirl french toast can even be substituted with a small upcharge. My mouth is now watering.

Additionally, Wikipedia informs me that it was a favorite dining spot of the title character in Son of Sam, who enjoyed his pancakes on a regular basis. If it's good enough for a murderous movie, it should be good enough for you.

Not to be outdone, Applebee's was prominently featured in Talladega Nights: The Ballard of Ricky Bobby and NBC's much loved but little watched program Friday Night Lights. Media domination notwithstanding, IHOP now owns "Eatin' Good in the Neighborhood."

So where does this leave Overland Park, Kansas' favorite son, Applebee's? They'll continue to exist with slightly different management techniques, such as not serving alcohol to infants:

On June 10, 2007, a toddler was served a margarita in a sippy cup by the restaurant manager in Antioch, California (Part of the San Francisco Bay area). The toddler became sick and required medical attention. The incident was labeled an honest mistake because both apple juice and margarita mix were kept in identical containers. The franchise offered to pay for medical costs and to provide free meals. The container problem was also resolved as different containers are being used.

Photo from KMOV

Friday, July 13, 2007

Halfway there

To the delight, or perhaps chagrin, of my wife we are halfway through the baseball season. The numbers, the pennant races, the season ending Ken Griffey Junior injury watch continue to heat up. I love it.

As we soar into this second half of the greatest season on Earth, I wanted to throw out some crazy predictions and wild analysis. This way, when one of these 394 statements come true I can tout my impeccable baseball knowledge as pure genius.

1.) The Milwaukee Brewers will win the NL Central by double digits.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The NL Central is that bad, and the Brewers are that, well, not bad.

2.) The Cleveland Indians will not win the AL Central.

It pains me. It hurts me. I am physically ill. But, they will bow to the Detroit Tigers.

3.) The Cleveland Indians will win the World Series.

I feel better now. I hold out hope. Strike that, I know they will win.

4.) Alex Rodriguez will become an Angel.

After obvious predictions in numbers 1, 2, and 3, I feel I need to get a little wild. Let's move A-Rod out West where he desires a fresh start from the horrible NY media who make him think he's not the best player in baseball.

5.) Joe Morgan will not be fired.

It's a little known secret that ESPN knows how bad Joe Morgan is. However, it delights the higher ups to read the witty banter on firejoemorgan.com, and as such, continue to give him a platform to embarrass himself.

6.) The Los Angeles Dodgers will represent the National League in the World Series.

Perhaps I'm nostalgic after my visit to Dodger Stadium earlier this season or perhaps I just love a guy named Loney. Either way, I'm going Cleveland-Los Angeles for all the marbles.

7.) J.J. Putz will win the Cy Young.

Speaking of guys I love, I have no greater baseball crush than my discovered talent from many years ago, J.J. Putz. Only Joe Borowski (worth the click), the worst closer in baseball, has more saves than Putz in the AL. Once Putz goes on his second half tear, faded first halves from Dan Haren and Josh Beckett will fade to distant memories while Putz takes the title.

8.) Johan Santana will finish second in voting, and more importantly have clean teeth.

Johan is phenomenal second half pitcher and the avid Walgreens shopper will no doubt give Putz a run for his money.

9.) Torii Hunter will become a Milwaukee Brewer.

Rabid Milwaukee fans, well at least one of them, will be clamoring for the Brewers to make a big move to show they are serious for the postseason. The Twins will provide in the form of free-agent-to-be Hunter, who will then roam the center field of Miller Park while winking in the direction of the press box.

10.) Barry Bonds will match Hank Aaron's home run record at 755, and then a noble display unlike anything he's ever done before, retires before actually breaking the sacred mark.

It could happen. Maybe. Possibly. Hopefully.

11.) Furthering the theme of baseball justice, Ozzie Guillen (see above) will lead the White Sox to the worst record in baseball.

With just 5 more wins than Tampa Bay, Chicago's record is pretty bad. Plus, it's not that unreasonable, considering Chicago is bound to begin selling off talent sooner rather than later.

394.) Ken Griffey Junior will be shut down August 12th.

The date is later than my previous guesses (April 29, 2005...January 2, 2006), but I figure it gives him a few games before disappointing Cincy fans who will be recently mourning the loss of Adam Dunn for a few unnamed prospects who will never see the major leagues.

Photo from MVN

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Saints Are Marching...into murky water

So my new thing is including complimentary music with my posts. I attribute this back to my radio days and the fact that I've had far too many filler posts lately that require spicing up the good ones to retain readers. In this instance, I'm going with Green Day and U2's "The Saints Are Coming" to stimulate the ear drums while I write what I venture to say will be the most controversial post to date. Though, come to think of it, that damning piece on duck sex was pretty wild.

We are coming up on two years since Hurricane Katrina brutalized my former hometown. Horrible floods ensued killing too many and ruining the lives of even more. I'm not doing any research here, but it's probably the worst natural disaster of my lifetime for us here in the United States. Terrible, awful event.

The response effort was terrible and awful, too. The news stations knew more about the disaster than those responding to it. While coast guard helicopters made television spectacles of the heroic efforts to save stranded people on their rooftops, most everyone agrees that nothing else positive can be gleaned from government response. Michael Brown became the scapegoat of all things slow response, and his defiant attitude and later departure led to more head shaking.

But, as a former resident of the city, I can say that blame game cannot solely rest with Michael Brown, FEMA, or even George W. Bush. While everyone likes to take shots at single persons and hold them accountable for all things bad, it's unrealistic and tiresome. The natural disaster exposed many faults with the city structure and government response, and the suffering that ensued was unfortunate. However, the issue remains as murky as the salt and fresh water that engulfed New Orleans. And it's time for a new group to take a little of the fault that, I believe, previously received a big pass.

The residents are not helping themselves.

Images of people looting for television sets in the wake of the hurricane are easy to recall and also to dismiss as mob mentality or an isolated incident. Most definitely citizens of New Orleans have an what I call an "entitlement mentality." The vast majority feel that they are entitled to something similar for being a resident of the city. I recall a news story from when I lived in the city of an armoured car overturning and the surrounding people stormed the vehicle embarrassingly flailing for dollar bills floating through the air. They felt entitled to that money and it didn't matter that it wasn't there's. It wasn't "stealing" since they deserved it. I saw enough of that in my five years there to know that electronics stores being vandalized and wiped clean thanks to the lawless nature of the city post-Katrina to know it absolutely was not an isolated incident.

That selfish mentality makes it difficult for those outside of Katrina to care about the utter destruction. Why would someone in Oregon want to help out these lawless thugs ransacking the city? New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has a negative perception nationwide, and that he was reelected only contributed to the nation's larger shoulder shrug. What about the raping and destruction of the Superdome? Shooting at helicopters bringing supplies to Chairty Hospital? I certainly understand hesitation on the nation's part to donate to the cause.

And so things sat for a great while. The city tried to rebuild. The country was saddened but largely indifferent. Green Day and U2 rocked the Saints' return to the city. And then a new statistic popped up.

Federal agents investigating widespread fraud after the Gulf Coast hurricanes in 2005 are sifting through a landslide of more than 11,000 potential cases, a backlog that could take years to solve.

11,000 cases. Think of the time, money, and effort necessary to resolve this pathetic display of entitlement. The 2003 population estimate, per the US Census Bureau, put New Orleans at 469,032 people. Using that number, that's over 2% of New Orleans residents have made a fraudulent claim. That number would go higher if children and spouses were subtracted so as to create a number for households, which I have to believe is the more likely way to submit a claim through FEMA.

When the storms hit, FEMA ignored some of its financial safeguards to get aid to victims more quickly.

What a shame. For all the crap, and I'm sure most of it deserved, they did attempt to fast track (with "fast track" perhaps needing to appear in quotes) the system to get money to people as soon as possible. Then in 1 in 50 submitted a false claim. What a ridiculously high number, which would go yet higher if there stipulations existed on how people must use their assistance.

Other cases auditors had criticized - people spending aid money on jewelry or vacations - turned out not be a crime, because federal law doesn't specify how money must be spent.

So so sad.

I have contacts still in New Orleans, and I cringe to think that they have to put up with this crap. That they get lumped in with the bad rap that city is giving to itself. It's a natural disaster that has brought out so much bad in people, and with so many willing and able to help, it's unfortunate that such a high percentage of the population feel the need to cheat and lie and push down the good souls who are trying to rebuild.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Simply Wonderful

(Suggested audio listening during reading this post, "Wonderful" by Everclear.)

Someone stop me if I'm wrong, but is there anything wrong with the 7 Wonders of the World? Are they no longer wondrous?

Someone felt that the ancient 7 Wonders of the World were in need of updating and an on-line vote was conducted with new 7 wonders of the world emerging. Residents of these nearby new wonders cheered while residents of the old wonders groaned. I find myself in the latter category.

The Greeks, Babylonians, and Egyptians worked hard for their designation, and I vehemently disagree with this new seven wonders (lower case, mind you) revelation. A little head-to-head comparison, if you will, with the reigning champions, the Ancient 7 Wonders of the World taking the lead billing.

Lighthouse of Alexandria vs. Petra

Indiana Jones discovered Petra, but he hasn't touched the Lighthouse of Alexandria. If Jones cannot conquer the ruins of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, it must be more powerful. (Note: With a new Indiana Jones movie on the way, the jury may still be out on this "wonder battle.")

Colossus of Rhodes vs. Colosseum

The Colossus battles the Colosseum! I know for a fact that Steven P. Rhodes would not stand for this comparison and as such, I give the advantage to the Colossus of Rhodes.

Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus vs. Chichen Itza

Oh, like some chicken dish stands a chance against the massive Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus. In fact, that name itself is a wonder that anyone can pronounce it.

Statue of Zeus at Olympia vs. Great Wall of China

Zeus laughs at your pithy wall and skips over it daily. Plus, China ships unsafe products. Zeus hates that.

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus vs. Christ the Redeemer (statue)

In a rare moment of victory, the new 7 wonders come out on top. Jesus so totally rocks Artemis' world.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon vs. Machu Picchu

Nebuchadnezzar gently hangs his flower baskets throughout the lost city of Machu Picchu. It is the relatively unknown gentle touch of the Babylonian king that made the gardens special, not the wild, untamed jungles that overwhelmed a city. Advantage Hanging Gardens.

Great Pyramid of Giza vs. Taj Mahal

Not even close. The Pyramid is such a massive wonder that it was granted honorary status on this new list of the 7 wonders. The Pyramid kicks everyone's behind times ten.

Photo from archaeology.about.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

En Fuego

Growing up in Ohio, I was a sports fan at a young age. The Indians, Cavs, and Browns delighted me and angered me as any group of sports teams will do. I collected the baseball cards, cheered at the Richfield Coliseum (!), and groaned at John Elway. I was your typical youthful sports fan, and I devoured the sports section in the morning newspaper. Cleveland's Plain Dealer provided me with the foundation of stats and scores that would later fuel a horribly unhealthy fantasy sports drive (I'm comin' for you, Edwin). A later move made the Dayton Daily News the sports page of choice for yours truly.

Reading in the paper the next day was all fine and good for the budding obsession, but TV sports were better. I enjoyed watching the games on TV as much as possible and on occasion (Monday Night Football comes to mind most readily) avoided the newspaper until I could watch my VHS tape of the game from the night before so as to not ruin the suspenseful outcome.

Then somewhere in the time frame of 5th grade, I began to consume ESPN.

Most definitely during summer vacation, the thirty minute Sportscenter was a necessary viewing before doing anything else. With a full day's highlights packed into a half an hour, Sportscenter became my greatest media delight. This was a time before Make-A-Wish, "Who's Now," and 38 analysts per sport watered down the program. No, this was the glory time for the show when the beloved recap screen actually showed stats from the game with the lesser teams (think Royals) were sometimes only allowed said recap screen without highlights. This was a time when Peter Gammons was the only damn baseball analyst you needed (that may actually have not changed).

Oh, how I loved Sportscenter. It was reading the morning sports section on steroids. But there was one thing greater - the Monday morning Sportscenter.

Due to Sunday being packed full of games and coverage - the overlap of the baseball season and football season was overwhelming - Sportscenter extended to one full hour. It took a full hour to get through all of the games, and the extra time even allowed for a non-irritating feature segment in the Top 10 Plays of the Week. The segment was must see. Hold the rap music and fancy video distortion at the door, Mr. Ultimate Highlight. No social commentary with commercial segment in between numbers six and five, Mr. Berman. This segment belonged to the plays and two goofy anchors who usually put some theme to the plays and then listed a slew of sports names who would not be appearing despite the connecting theme.

Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick were my favorites. I was physically violent anytime one of them would not host the Monday morning Sportscenter, taking a break where Bob Ley and/or Charlie Steiner would fill-in. It was Olbermann and Patrick that fostered my love of the show, ESPN, and sports in general. I even went out and bought their book, The Big Show, and read it cover to cover to absorb more of the their insights and wit.

Later, Keith Olbermann would leave the network and the team was broken. He now hosts The Countdown, some NBC cable show that counts down the top 10 news stories of the day, no doubt a nod to the gimmick that originated on Sportscenter. He would pop up on various news shows, and even returned to sports on a case-by-case basis. Lately, he's been regularly appearing on Patrick's radio show, which I have never listened to because I just cannot get into sports radio regardless of who does it.

But now I have just read that Dan Patrick is also leaving ESPN. I can't say that I have seen him host a Sportscenter in months or maybe even years. As mentioned I can't say that I have listened to his radio show. And I also cannot say that I have enjoyed his work now, when I have consumed it, as I used to ten years ago. While to a lesser degree than Stuart Scott, Patrick gets ridiculed for his over-the-top, pompous attitude and annoying catch phrases. I give Patrick a pass. He did it before the rest, before it was the "you have to do it this way to get face time" mentality. I'm sure much of the disaster of the current Sportscenter is attributable to his mannerisms and tendencies, but I'm going to revert back to my 5th grader self and say that I will miss Dan Patrick.

Photo from Sportsanimal 1300

Cheap Plug

Best blog post ever. Well done, good sir.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Motivation Monday

When it comes to domain names, it's hard to find a more telling one than www.despair.com. They've put forth a tremendous effort in capturing photos and writing captions that are more realistic than those "other" motivational posters. What are the odds that the fellow in this picture is a Cincinnati Reds fan?

Friday, July 6, 2007

Memorable vacation photos

I'm headed to Las Vegas later this month, which just so happens to be where this AP picture was taken. In an article describing the massive heat wave that has absorbed the southwest, we have these two women carrying incredibly dehydrating beer while dumping a bottle of water, not down the gullet, but rather splashing it all over the torso. I hope that if a photographer catches me on the street, I make an equally attractive facial expression.

Photo from CNN.com

Thursday, July 5, 2007

One too many showings of The Shawshank Redemption in Las Cruces

When it comes time to figure out a blog post topic, I have a few favorite sources for stories. CNN.com is usually the first stop as it offers a wide array of news and entertainment pieces that happily features an imbalance of intelligence. Because all things stop on holidays, news gathering organizations often post fluff features prepared months ago so that no one really needs to do any work at all. Yet, occasionally a news story does pop to forefront, and if you are wondering what the lead story was yesterday afternoon on a reputable news site such as CNN. Look no further!

Baby powder, cocoa butter part of prisoner's recipe for escape

Las Cruces, New Mexico, famous for the Whole Enchilada Festival, was the site of this 4th of July caper.

Anita Rachel Thomas, 20, was able to wriggle out of leg irons because she was wearing six pairs of socks, authorities said. She used cocoa butter as a lubricant to slide the leg irons and handcuffs from around her ankles and wrists, officials said.

Six pairs of socks. That's a lot of foot protection, especially where the high is supposed to be 90 degrees today. Stinky feet. I also underestimated the ability of prisoners to acquire cocoa butter while incarerated.

Thomas, freed from restraints in a jail transport van outside court on Tuesday, threw baby powder at an officer, pushed him out of the way and tried to run past him, Dona Ana County sheriff's officers said.

The getaway is reminiscent of the old Batman TV series. A gigantic "POOF!"would have covered the TV screen as Thomas attempted her get away with a magic "now you see me and now you still see me" cloud. Also, we can add baby powder to the five extra pairs of socks and cocoa butter that this prisoner had on her this fine day. But wait, it gets better.

She made it about two feet past the officer when he grabbed her, they said.

Wow, all that getaway planning resulted in two steps of freedom. The baby powder was not quite as debilitating as Thomas would have liked. I have to believe that if you quietly wandered the other direction, she could have gotten two feet past the officer.

There you have it. The lead news story at noon eastern time in the grand old U.S. of A.

Photo from Our Dynamic Planet

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Fourth and Fireworks

Ah, the fourth of July. The middle ground of summer for many Americans who believe that warmest season of the year begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day. It's a time to recall the sacrifices made during the Revolutionary War time frame when men such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson invariably shaped the course of history, founding this mighty nation. It's also a fabulous movie starring the ultra-hip Will Smith punching out bad guy aliens and Bill Pullman whipping around on jets in a way George W could never imagine. Or, it's another night at Walgreens, but this time featuring double pay (woo!).

Typing "4th of July" into Google - festively decorated with a soaring eagle and red, white, and blue letters, by the way - brings up a host of sites, one of which is US City Link, that promises to be your website host of all things Independence Day. With links to President Bush's 4th of July address, the text of Star-Spangled Banner, a virtual tour of the U.S. Senate (riveting!!), and even festive Independence Day masks:

If only I had prepared better, I would have worn that at work tonight.

The 4th is also synonymous with fireworks, as no other day on the calendar year demands the spectacle of lights quite like this one. Leave it to Americans to be dazzled by sparkly things. Be that as it may, US City Link enlisted to services of Jeffrey G. Strauss, M.D from Straus Eye Center Prevent Blindness America (a noble cause we at Wolfden V support) to come up with a fireworks safety quiz. Lucky for us test takers, the true/false format makes the test passable without much studying.

So, before you blast off your fingers this evening, perhaps reviewing some of the questions and answers might save you that late night pharmacy run in which you find the guy in a grey smock who answers "Aisle 12 C" in response to your hurried inquiry as to where burn products are located.

1. Fireworks injuries can only occur during the Fourth of July

Clearly the answer here is false. Grueling question to get us started. Do you feel safer yet?

2. Sparklers are safe fireworks and can be given to children

Absolutely this one is true. Giving toddlers something shiny and dangerous is a recipe for a memorable summer's night.

3. Only people who are careless or unsupervised are injured from fireworks

False. Their relatives, by virtue of flawed DNA, are also likely to be injured.

4. Males are more likely to get hurt from fireworks

Definitely false. As the superior race, it is mathematically and physically impossible for men, especially intoxicated ones, to harm themselves or others.

5. Bottle rockets are not dangerous because they're just firecrackers tied to a stick

True. It is also encouraged that you tie this stick to Fido and watch the fun ensue.

6. Homemade fireworks are safer than store bought fireworks

False. Walgreens is the Pharmacy America Trusts, and a well respected retailer who will be more than happy to meet your explosion needs this fine evening.


6 correct: You are more patriotic than George Washington!
5 correct: Signer of the Declaration of Independence.
4 correct: Fort Ticonderoga stands no chance against you!
3 correct: Revolutionary War rank and file soldier. Just bring a blanket at Valley Forge.
2 correct: Better stay inside and watch Mel Gibson's "The Patriot" tonight.
1 correct: Hey, look! Something flashy and sparkly in the distance!
0 correct: You are most likely already missing a digit.

Photos from Digi-Hound and Beautiful Masks

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

O.J. Simpson and the Deathly Hallows

An interesting story out of Miami, Florida this afternoon. You might recall how O.J. Simpson was going to write a book If I Did It that would have chronicled how he would have murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The magnitude of the insensitivity was overwhelming and at the last moment, the publisher pulled the book.

But, there was still a book.

Ends up O.J. had way too close of connections to the publisher. A court ruled that the publisher and O.J. were so closely linked that the book belonged to him, and as a result of the civil lawsuit he lost, the bankruptcy courts got a hold of If I Did It.

Fred Goldman, father of the deceased Ron Goldman, has made it a personal campaign to thwart Simpson's every move, which his is prerogative. I fault him not for this, I fault him for this:

The family of Ron Goldman has purchased the rights to O.J. Simpson's canceled book, "If I Did It," from a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee in a settlement reached Monday... The Goldmans want to rename the book "Confessions of a Double Murderer" and plan to shop it around.

I see and understand the importance of wrestling away the book from O.J. The man is a jackass to the nth degree. He should not in any way profit off these poor people's murders.

But, should the father of the deceased? Should Ron Goldman's dad really "shop around" this book?

The insensitivity issue is still prevalent. I don't know that I'm comfortable with that.

Photo from The Sydney Morning Herald

Monday, July 2, 2007

July 2

Some days transcend stories. Take for example, Christmas. December 25th is special every year and regardless of the news stories that may occur on that particular day, the uniqueness of the day is that, well, it's Christmas.

July 2nd, someone I know, would have you believe is one of those days.

On the surface, it may seem like another summer day. Perhaps warm, overly humid. A day inching us closer to baseball's All-Star break. 48 hours removed from our nation's birthday. Firework purchase time, maybe?

Wikipedia - the most trusted news site on the Internet - offers plenty of tidbits for July 2nd.

Today happens to be the feast day of Saint Otto. Wikipedia didn't bother to have any information on Saint Otto ("Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact title") , but hey, let's all take some time to reflect on the Bishop of Bamberg.

July 2nd is also Palio di Siena as celebrated in Italy. As you are all probably experts on Palio di Siena, you do not need me to tell you that it is a horse race in which the rider and horse are dressed up as a variety of animals and Earthy things (owls, rams, forests, lonewolfs). As with all flag waving ceremonies that have Catholic origins, this Italian celebration is a must-see.

On July 2, 1776 John Hancock signed, in letters far too big later leading to some later signers to circle their names ala yearbook signing and messages, the Declaration of Independence. (Could be true.)

On July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart vanished over the Pacific Ocean, leading to a tremendous aviation mystery not solved to this day.

July 2nd is also a big day for the nation's largest retailer. For this day 45 years ago in Rogers, Arkansas Sam Walton celebrated the opening of the country's first Wal-Mart.

This date in 1983, The Police saw their last album "Synchronicity" hit store shelves on its way to an impressive four months at the top of the Billboard charts.

All of these events are all well and good, but this day is meaningful not so much for its religious feast days, its American history, or even its musical meaning. Rather, July 2nd shows its value because of who joined the world.

There are a handful of famous birthdays. Among them are...

-Valentinian III, 419. I would tell you something fascinating about Valentinian III, but I became bored after reading his birth and death dates.

-Christoph Willibal Gluck, 1714. Some regard him as the father of the Rococo and Classical age of music---at least in Opera. Important to remember from this excerpt is that only "some" regard him as the father. I don't want any heated exchanges in the comments section of this post for those of you who debate this claim.

Rene Lacoste, 1904. Rene was a tremendous tennis player, capturing seven Grand Slam titles during his reign of dominance. The only title he failed to win was the Australian Open and that's only because in the 1920s, it wasn't as easy to get to the land down under as it is today.

-Bret "The Hitman" Hart, 1957. 5-time World Wrestling Federation Champion was known as "The Excellence of Execution" whose memorable feuds with Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin rank him among the all time greats of the squared circle.

-Jose Canseco, 1964. Noted baseball player who took steroids and now enjoys prostituting himself for money. Jose is also the proud face of many of my baseball cards back when he was the best player in the game for his 40 steal speed and 40 homer power.

-Mike Brinkman, 1982. Good friend of mine in high school went off to Japan in a noble attempt to make English the accepted langauge everywhere in the world. Became tired of being called "Brinkman" instead of Mike and consequently decided to live his life in a drunken haze. Hey, Brinkman, drop me an e-mail if you read this. Long time, no talk.

-Lindsay Lohan, 1986. Today is Lindsay's 21st birthday, which is interesting simply because she has become notorious for her partying and alcoholic (and drug?) intake despite her not having been of legal age. People do not consume these alcoholic beverages before they are legal, do they?

Also, and most importantly, today is my wife's birthday. Happy Birthday!

Sometimes a picture says it all

I suppose if I were going to be paid a-gazillion dollars, I wouldn't care if I looked like the biggest turd on Earth either. Chicago, enjoy Joakim Noah.

Photo from The Big Lead