Friday, September 30, 2005


Sunday October 2, 2005, the St Louis Cardinals will play their final regular-season game at Busch Memorial Stadium…though, fittingly, they are in the playoffs this year, so Busch will be spared the wrecking ball for a few weeks (hopefully many more weeks - Go Redbirds!!).

Having been born (and for the first 11 years of my life) raised and still constantly visiting family and friends in the St Louis area, this day is an emotional one for me.

Because of this, I have decided that today's blog entry will be about Busch Stadium, and the memory(ies) of mind that stand out the most.

The Gateway Arch reaches into the St Louis skyline, easily visible above Busch Stadium. It stands there like, in the words of The Sporting News, “an ever-vigilant sentry guarding its St. Louis treasures. Jewels, past and present, like Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Joe Torre, Ted Simmons, Bob Forsch, Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee, Mark McGwire and Albert Pujols. Diamond memories of Cardinals, Clydesdales, baseball magic and World Series moments, all colored in a sea of red.” (I couldn’t have said it any better myself)

Outside the stadium the bronze statues of Stan "The Man" Musial, Gibson, Brock, Enos Slaughter, Red Schoendienst and Jack Buck, strategically placed outside the stadium, sit ready to greet visitors and provoke inspiration. In recent years, the team has added smaller sculptures of other players, such as Dizzy Dean, Bob Gibson, and my favorite all-time Cardinal, Ozzie “Wizard of Oz” Smith.

From its 1966 opening through its impressive, and awe-inspiring facelift in the 90’s, Busch has carried the tag of a "cookie-cutter" stadium. It was the first of the sterile, boringly symmetrical, Astro-Turfed, multi-purpose facilities that sprang up in the late 1960s and '70s alongside Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers, Cincinnati’s Riverfront, and Philadelphia’s Veterans, along with many others.

The early Busch Stadium experience was Bob Gibson and Tim McCarver, Dal Maxvill, Joe Torre and Orlando Cepeda, Lou Brock and Vince Coleman, Ozzie Smith and Tommy Herr, Jack Clark and Keith Hernandez, Terry Pendleton and Al Simmons, George Hendrick and Willie McGee, John Tudor and Joaquin Andujar. It was waves of red, line drives into the gap, a man-eating automatic tarp, the Wizard of Oz, Whitey-Ball, Harry Caray, Jack Buck and Mike Shannon in the broadcast booth.

It was a massive two-sectioned scoreboard, one side occupied by an Anheuser-Busch eagle, the other by an electronic Redbird that flew back and forth during a seventh-inning stretch or in recognition of a Cardinals home run. It was team owner August A. Busch triumphantly circling the stadium in a beer wagon pulled by a team of Clydesdales, or an Ozzie Smith back flip.

It was beautiful.

There were no unusual angles, dimensions or nuances to spice up play. Dimensions were standard: 330 feet down both lines and 386 to the power alleys. Center field was 414 (later 404) and the AstroTurf, installed in 1970, was hard and fast.

Supporting the Cardinals meant appreciating the aggressiveness and fundamentals of the game, and, of course, the stolen base, which Brock and Coleman turned into lethal offensive weapons. The home run was a 70’s and 80’s afterthought. Whitey Herzog's 1982 world champions hit 67 homers (three fewer than Mark McGwire hit in his record-setting 1998 season) while recording 200 steals.

Further into the 90’s, new ownership, no longer content to let one of baseball's premier franchises play in a no-frills setting, retro-fitted Busch Stadium into one of the fan-friendliest playgrounds in the game.

The turf was replaced by grass. One area, decorated by flags, celebrated the retired numbers in Cardinals history. The bullpens were moved from the first and third base foul lines to areas behind the left and right field fences. And a more modern scoreboard in left-center was mirrored by a replay/highlights screen in right-center.

Any fan that had not been to a game since the 70’s might not have recognized the new Busch; sleek and modern the stadium became an attraction on its own merit. The house that a beer baron had built in 1966 was officially transformed into a warm, inviting for the best baseball fans in the world.

Trying to pick one favorite memory of Busch Stadium is hard. So I have picked two because, well, it’s my blog and I can do what I want. Also, because they are special to me for different reasons.

While I remember going to Cardinal games when I was younger (me dressed like a Cardinal geek – red shirts, red shorts, red hat, cardinal socks, cardinal sunglasses - I was a sight to see) with my parents and brother, or just my dad. The memories I remember most are much more recent.

Last season, 2004, the Cardinals made into the World Series for the first time since 1987 (a very long draught for a Cardinal fan, nothing of interest for a Cub fan). I was excited. My brother (who is not particularly a fan of sports) was excited. Our excitement grew larger when our Dad called and said our cousin has two tickets for Game 4 on Wednesday, October 27th and wanted to know if my brother and I wanted them.

I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t speak. I was speechless (that means the same thing I know, but stay with me here)

We jumped at the chance. So my memory is getting to the game very early, about 2 hours before game time. The plaza was jumping with a carnival-like atmosphere. Vendors selling food and beverages or novelties and souvenirs. Radio and TV stations handing out signs and rally flags.

It was incredible.

Then the game started. Our seats were in the last row of section xxxx. Literally, we could look behind us and see the city of St Louis. High up yes, but still with a great view of the field and the fans.

(The only negative thing about our seats was we were sitting next to two Red Sox fans. Now, I love sitting with Cub fans, whether it be Wrigley or Busch, because, while we may make fun of the other’s team, there was a mutual respect in there as well. Not so with these two schmucks. Think of the epitome of ego-filled baseball fans and you immediately conjure up images of Yankees fans. These two were like Yankees fans, rude, belligerent, loud, but were rooting for the Red Sox. Add to that that they used the overused and annoying phrase from Joe Buck’s commercial where he says” Slamma-lama-ding-dong.” Every other word out of their mouths was that phrase. By the 4th inning, my brother and I wanted to ‘Slamma-lama-ding-dong’ them back to Boston Harbor…but I digress.)

While the Cardinals suffered a rather impressive lack of hitting and pitching, just the fact that I was at a World Series game for the team I have followed for as long as I can remember, was incredible and etched in my mind forever.

The second moment was this past year when my wife and I, along with my brother and his girlfriend, took my twin daughters to their first Cardinal game. At the tender age of three, they behaved better than I could have possibly hoped. They sat on our laps and watched the game (who lost to the Atlanta Braves – notice a theme here? All of my Cardinal memories have the Cardinals losing the game in the background…) with an intensity and attention that is rarely seen in one three year old, let alone twin three year olds who always have a playmate with them wherever they go.

The fact I was there with my wife and children and my brother and (someday sister-in-law) his girlfriend, made the day that much better. To be able to have my daughters (who since they had been born had been having the phrase: ‘Go Cardinals!’ burned into their minds by myself) experience a game at Busch in the final season was a special thing for me. While they may not remember it all, I will.

And those are my two special memories. As I look back on my relationship with the stadium, I am filled with remorse, but also with hope that the new stadium will be as warm and inviting as the old one. And if it isn’t, it eventually will be.

Goodbye old friend…

Thought of the Day

“Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo.”
Translation: "The devil is wiser because he is old, not because he is the devil."
- Old Spanish Proverb

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Thought of the Day

“Midway upon the road of our life I found myself within a dark wood, for the right way had been missed.” – Dante Alighieri, from Inferno (AKA Dante's Inferno)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Applaud and Heckle

Applaud: to Conan O’Brien for this quote: "Yesterday President Bush made his fifth visit to the area that received the most damage from Hurricane Katrina. In other words, the White House." (From The Simpsons, to Late Night, to (in the future) The Tonight Show, his humor and wit has improved with each passing year. Makes me believe that he will be better than Leno (and Letterman) when he takes the reigns of the Tonight Show in a couple of years…)

Heckle: to former FEMA putz Michael Brown had his head handed to him today when he testified before a House committee on FEMA’s response, or lack thereof, to Hurricane Katrina. After that, ‘Brownie’ will accept a new job as (wait for it). . . as a consultant for FEMA. Nice. (Only in political circles can someone screw up something this major, then “resign”, and then be brought back as a consultant, all while making more money than before…gotta love it!)

Applaud: to two distinct individuals who each had an impact on other people’s lives:
- Dr. M. Scott Peck, noted author and self-help guru.
- Don Adams, who brought joy and laughter to adults in “Get Smart”, and then to children in “Inspector

Both died Sunday, and both will be missed…

Heckle: George W. Bush…again, like before, just on general principles alone…

Applaud: to quick thinking. Early Saturday morning, the owner of the Holiday Inn in Sulphur, Louisiana noticed that the hurricane-force winds had shifted and were threatening the, up to then unprotected windows in the back of the hotel. The owner quickly alerted the guests to put their mattress up against the windows in order to prevent them from shattering. Only 3 windows were lost and no one got hurt.

Heckle: to for dumping their genteel butler logo *and* their name. The company that runs the site stated that the slightly chubby and balding English butler isn't the kind of image that they want representing the search engine – so they are pushing him out – clearly a case of ageism. The company also announced that they are going to be changing the name (to ask or as well. My thought: boycott them. Use Google, Yahoo, or

Applaud: to Clarence Aguirre. One of the conjoined Filipino twins (who survived a long series of delicate surgeries to separate him from his brother) has begun walking. (Being a father of twins who missed being conjoined by, literally, a matter of minute, this makes me very happy and very proud for his parents) His brother is expecting to follow suit and take his first steps soon.

Heckle: to MLB’s Players Union. In an attempt to counter Commissioner Bud Selig’s offer of a “50-100-lifetime ban” penalty for testing positive for steroids, the union offered up a “20-75” penalty with provision after provision attached. The Union has got to get smarter in this area soon – the public is getting fed up with the abuse in the game, and every other professional sport (even surfing) has a real penalty system already in place. Take a cue from the NHL’s Players Union and take the offer. Otherwise, like the NHL Union, you could find yourself taking an offer that takes more away from the players than before.

Applaud: After viewing recent news accounts, we believe Bill Frist's political career is in a persistent vegetative state with little chance of recovery. Anyone know where we should send the flowers?

Heckle: to FEMA (shocked, shocked and appalled, aren’t ya?) The federal agency has turned down Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle’s request for financial assistance to help his state recover from tornadoes that tore through the state last month. In a letter to Doyle, FEMA Acting Director R. David “Duck Tape” Paulison said the damage “…was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments.” (Mind-boggling, isn’t it?)

Applaud: to China for releasing in a statement that they will start to use satellite technology in order to look in on the sexual antics of Panda Bears….(you can NOT make this kind of stuff up.)

Heckle: to “Brownie” once again. Why? Why not?

Applaud: to FLOTUS, Laura Bush, for giving the Bob Barker treatment to our Puppet-in-Chief. According to the Washington Post, Laura Bush is telling George to be a little more Metrosexual by laying off the “swagger”. Steve Soto has the smackdown:
And now it's happened. It must be fun around the house now, with a top Republican saying openly that Laura's got Bush's balls in her pocket. If Skippy wasn't drinking before, he is now.

Thought of the Day x 2

Two quotes today, from two disparate individuals, each of them touched people in vastly different ways...

"One extends one's limits only by exceeding them."
- M. Scott Peck, author - passed away Sunday, Sept. 25, 2005

"I may never get to play with the Philharmonic, but on the other hand, is Leonard Bernstein licensed to kill?"
- Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 - passed away Sunday, Sept. 25, 2005

Monday, September 26, 2005

A Parting of Wisdom to all the Married Men Out There

My Advice for Married Men

Well, it's taken years of research on my part, but I've discovered something that could revolutionize how we look at the relationship between husband and wife. Take a seat this is some heavy stuff. My research has left me with the only conclusion that seems to fit. And that conclusion is:
Men and Women think differently.

I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.

Imagine the marriages that could have been saved if this information had been available even a few short years ago! (I was lucky, I learned this fact very early in my life…early enough that I was able to use it to my advantage while in college)

It's almost as if women are from Venus and men are from ....some other, far-away, place…like New Jersey.

That's it, it's like women are an alien life form!

Just when I had finally gotten to the place in my life where I had rid myself of all emotions that seem to interfere with making intelligent, logical decisions, I figure out that most women actually value these types of feelings. And worse yet, they seem to want to talk about them.

Are they crazy??

But, loving my wife, I decided that if talking about how we felt was important to her, then that is what I will do.
Apparently though, it takes a little practice to get it right. My first attempt was after a particularly sad movie that my girlfriend, who is now my wife, had rented and we watched together. This move was just chocked full of lost loves, children orphaned, and dreams shattered. When the movie was finally over (luckily in time to catch the end of a rerun of The Simpsons) my girlfriend/now wife tearfully turned to me and asked me how it had made me feel.

Now, being a little new to this whole ‘feelings discussion thing’ concept but still trying my best, I answered, “hungry.”

The look on her face was like a loud 'incorrect answer' buzzer on a TV game show.

“Sorry Kemp, that was the wrong answer! You now have to go back to the beginning of the game and start all over, losing any points you may have accumulated up to now…”

For this reason, I have prepared a list of words that seem to work as acceptable answers, and some you would do well to avoid when talking to the love of your life:

- Amorous (full of love) not, and I can’t stress this one enough, not horny.

- Depleted (worn out from all the emotions swirling around my head), not brain-dead.

- Devastated (just imagine your team getting swept in four games in their first World Series since
1997 by a team that had not won it in 50 +years and sitting by two of the latter’s fans in the
deciding game four – damn Red Sox)

- Livid (very angry), not pissed off

- Effervescent (got this one from an old 7-Up commercial. I don't know what it means, but it seems to work when I don't know what else to say)

Humor is another thing that can get a man in trouble. Women do love humor, it's what alot of women actually look for first in a mate, at least that is what I was always told, but I am still a little skeptical.

The key to humor is to remember that it must be used correctly and at the proper time.

Why do men not make dead people jokes at funerals? I can tell you that it's not because they don't want to. It's because there are women around. If ever there was a funeral where there were only men in attendance, the dearly departed would have a mustache and beard magic-markered onto their face in short order. This is not out of disrespect either; it's just one way of dealing with the 'sense of loss' (which you may want to ad to the above list)

Men even joke in the midst of conflict. A friend of mine once told me about the time, after an especially emotional disagreement between him and his wife, that he thought he could apologize and lighten the mood at the same time by purchasing her a dozen roses and a card that said, “I'm sorry that you were wrong” Wow! Bit of advice, don't ever try that one guys – talk about failing miserably on both the apology and the humor front! (See, if he would have asked me about that, I would have told him only to do that if he wanted to sleep in the garage for the next month)

One last thing husbands, be prepared to hear this from your wife at some point: “I feel like crying and I don't know why.”

Try your best to hide the shock and horror that you will feel about this obviously alien statement, and trust me, don't offer to call an ambulance. Your wife is just telling you, in Venus language, that she wants comfort and an ear to bend.

And no, the comfort should not lead to "anything else…

Thought of the Day

“I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.”
- Hunter S. Thompson

Sunday, September 25, 2005


No long, drawn-out, hilarious entry today.


Let me first avow myself about what I am going to say by stating this: I love my children and my wife very, very much. More than anything else in the world...hell, the universe.

That having been said...

Why am I excited?

Because my wife and daughters have a wedding shower to go to...and that means...

Sorry, I'm giddy with excitement...

That means...

Oh, I can't say it, I'm just to darned excited...

(Breathes out)

That means that I get an afternoon totally by myself.

No chores (they're all done), no work, nothing.

Just me, a nice salami sandwhich, a football game...and total...




Enjoy your Sunday, I'll be funny again tomorrow.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Older you Get...yada, yada, yada

When I was a young lad (yes, a young lad back in the home country of Ireland – and by Ireland I of course mean St. Louis) I remember wondering how anyone could watch something as torturously dull and boring as the news. It was painful, especially knowing that Fraggle Rock was just one little channel click away (yeah, I said Fraggle Rock – so what…)

I said to myself I'll never watch the news as long as I live.

Sigh. I must be getting old now. I watch the news constantly. News and weather with a good dollop of sports and politics thrown in for good measure.

What's really sad is that I can watch it for hours and hours, turn it off, then turn it back on again ten minutes later.I watch the Weather Channel constantly. It's just not good enough to get the forecast for my town (I think my current record is having watched forty seven "local on the eights" in a row) and then change to something else…no. I have to get the weather for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. I mean, what if weather develops while we’re watching The Apprentice? (Wait a minute, that’s not right, I don’t watch realty TV. Let’s alter that to…) while we’re watching Scrubs?

For news I have CNN and their jolly band of newsies like Soledad O’Brian, Jack Cafferty, Wolf Blitzer, et al. On MSNBC there’s Keith Olberman, Lester Holt (whom I remember from when he was a struggling anchor in Chicago) On Fox Ne—, wait a minute, sorry, my TV doesn’t go that far to the right.

I have favorite news channel and weather channel personalities, that’s a little pathetic right?

Don’t’ get me wrong, when I say I like watching the news, the weather, politics, and sports (though the ESPN schitck is getting very very old -- I mean, how mind-boggingly annoying does Chris Berman have to get before someone fires his 'arse') I don’t mean I do not watch anything else, I do watch comedies and dramas, and the annoyingly titled, dramedies. But, if I had my pick, I would watch the news.

That’s a sure sign of getting old, right? I mean…never mind. I guess I’m going to have to resolve myself to the fact that I am getting older and that my tastes are changing and maturing so I am watching shows aimed at an older demographic.

I wonder…is Murder She Wrote still on the air?

Thought of the Day

Bartlet: If anything happens... You got a best friend?
Tribbey: Yes, sir.
Bartlet: Is he smarter than you?
Tribbey: Yes sir.
Bartlet: Would you trust him with your life?
Tribbey: Yes sir.
Bartlet: That's your Chief of Staff.
- from The West Wing

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Word to the Wise...

Spread the word, there’s a new sheriff in town. In the never-ending attempt to create thought in today’s society (a rare and, unfortunately, sometimes misunderstood concept), my friend Scott and I have decided to launch another blog.

This one, of which we will be the prominent posters & writers, will have one subject. One topic that can bring people together…or tear them apart.

It will only be about politics.

Yes, you read that right: politics.

No family posts.

No entertainment posts.

No pop culture posts.

No coffee pos— (wait a minute, that one we may have to think about a little more)

Our other blogs will be for that (those links by the way are &

This one will only be about politics.

All day – all night – 24/7

We will have occasional guest posters, some of whom may even be less Liberal…or worse yet, Conservative Republicans. (I know what some of you are saying, but, let’s practice some tolerance for those who disagree with us – are you listening Bush administration??)

You never know what can happen in the world of blogging.

So, if you are into politics, and I know many of you are, take a gander, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Here’s the link:

What’s that link? It’s

In case you missed it, that link is

Have a read.

Thought of the Day

"A leader leads by example not by Force."
- Sun Tzu, from The Art of War

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Portal of Serenity

Remember before you had kids, or maybe just shortly after you had kids? (I do, although at times I seem to embellish some of the facts about that -- as does my wife. Just ask her...on second thought, don't.)

Remember those delusions of grandeur you always had about being a parent?

How about the statements you made to anyone that would listen? (Mind you I never said anything like this)

Statements like: “My child will never act like that!” or “My child will be getting all 'A's in school” or “My child will always listen to what I say or ask.”

(How’s that working out for ya? Going well, right? I’m sure it is – going as well as Puppet-in-Chiefs current approval ratings I bet…)

Another favorite that was thrown out there – ”My child will not sit in front of that television all day.”

Before you had kids, you would see other people’s children sitting there in front of the tv, and, you swear you could actually hear them getting dumber with each minute they watched another episode of Teletubbies. You told yourself, ‘There was no way your children were going to fall into that trap.’Oh thee, of little faith. Apparently these parents had the right idea all along. The television is by far the most effective babysitter in all creation.

Who knew?

Submitted for your approval, twin girls, three years old, their mother out of town. They are fighting, screaming, biting and destroying for hours and hours without end until you've pulled out the last of your hair, developed a twitch or worse yet, started writing a blog.

Now imagine pushing a button, and these same little monsters freeze where they are, their mouths still gaping from being cut off mid-scream. Slowly they drop to the floor where they remain motionless for as long as the portal of calm glows its effervescent hue.

And when I say motionless, I mean motionless, like a statue. I usually have to put little bowls on there laps to catch the line of drool falling from their open mouths.
It's perfect. Almost too perfect.

The high parenting standards quickly go out the window. You try to soothe your conscience by editing their viewing content, only allowing them to watch shows that are kid-friendly like The Wiggles, Barney or The Doodlebops (which, by the way, are NOT parent-friendly – if anything, these shows can have the effect on parents that showing your little ones “Night of the Living Dead” could have on them)

Deep down though, you know that you would let them watch “Animal House” if it was the only thing on. Trying to battle your conscience by saying: “It has singing in it, they love music!”

(While I was a Stay at Home Dad (SAHD), and if the girls were playing quietly, I would put one of the seasons of The West Wing into the DVD player. When my girls heard the opening montage music, they rushed into the room and would sit down quietly next to me and watch.)

You have failed. You are now one of 'those' parents.

But hey, at the very least you've failed peacefully.

Thought of the Day

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."
- Henry David Thoreau, from Walden

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Thought of the Day

“Ah, women. They make the highs higher and the lows more frequent.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche

New Feature...Applaud & Heckle

New feature today in Kemp’s Blog, hope you like it.

It’s called Applaud and Heckle, where each day (or each other day, or a few times a week, or a few times a month – heck, whenever I need filler for the blog), I will dole out things that we as a nation should show our appreciation for and things that we as a nation should say ‘Tsk Tsk Tsk’ to…

My entry about being home alone with my children is still a work in progress.

And awaaayyyyy weeeee goooooo….

Applaud: to Nazi Hunter extraordinaire Simon Wiesenthal. While we mourn your death, we celebrate your life and the differences you made in it. May your memory, legacy and hunt live on forever…

Heckle: George W. Bush…just on general principles alone…

Applaud: Bill Clinton. For doing the absolute most (interviews, visits, listening) an ex-President can do to help the Katrina victims. (Some of you are probably asking, what about Bush Sr.? He has been rather quiet and hidden the last week and a half; I think he may be trying to keep Barbara out of the view and earshot of the press, should she stick her foot in her mouth again…which would be a pretty safe bet…)

Heckle: FEMA…again…(are you really that surprised???) Truck drivers are getting paid by FEMA to drive truckloads of ice from the Midwest, down to the Deep South...and up to Maine. WHY? Because of (wait for it – contain your shock please) mismanagement. Cost of this runaround: $800 of your tax dollars per day.

Applaud: the St. Louis Cardinals for winning the National League Central Division. Go Redbirds!

Heckle: the Chicago Cubs. Again, on general principles alone. Plus the fact they suck.

Applaud (or should it be heckle? It’s your call): the Bush(league) Administration for touting their readiness for Hurricane Rita. (Of course they’re ready, it’s heading for Bush’s beloved state of Texas. Think about it. It Rita hits Texas, Bush will want to go down ASAP and some people will ask why is he going down right away when he waited to go to N.O. and Biloxi. But if he waits to go down, people will say “Wow he really is that stupid.”)

Heckle: to Mother Nature for giving the country another powerful hurricane. Come on Mother, we only have 4 more names left for the season…or we will have to go to Greek names. Hurricane Alpha, just doesn’t sound right…

Applaud: the Sacramento Monarchs (who??) on winning their first WNBA (who??) title…

Heckle: to the fact that it takes something like a devastating hurricane to bring out the (what is supposed to be instinctive) journalistic senses of today’s press and media…

Applaud: the NFL for raising $5 million for Katrina relief during the Monday Night Football doubleheader telethon…every little bit, or even larger ones, helps…

Heckle: oil producers for pumping up the price of oil because Rita was entering the Gulf. Any price-increase excuse in a storm…

Applaud: the FDA for allowing breast implants, with some conditions…though those conditions were not detailed by the agency…I would have to guess that one condition would be to not implode on the wearer…though I could be wrong about that. Why is this an applaud? Two words: Pamela Anderson

Heckle: this column for being thoroughly unoriginal for doing a cheer and jeers type column…

Applaud: Kemp for having the moral turpitude to still do an entry like this even though every other blog has one like it…when in Rome.

And one final Applaud to the makers of the "Girls Gone Wild" videos. The video makers, known for filming “movies” showing women flashing their breasts (is this a great country or what?) plan to donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of their Mardi Gras-themed DVDs and videos to the Red Cross to help Katrina victims. While the product may not be classy, the act sure is.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Time for me to get pseudo-serious for a moment…again. I have a great story for tomorrow's post about my kids...and being home alone with them while my wife is out of town on business...yep, just me and two 3-year old me, you don't want to miss tomorrow's entry.

Or today's for that matter...

Well, I didn’t get the school board seat. Eleven people applied for it and they called four out of the eleven in for interviews (I was one of the 4)

It was given to someone else.

Everyone is telling me not to be upset or distressed about not getting selected, saying: “At least you applied for it.” “You got called in for an interview, 7 applicants didn’t.” “Your name is out there now.”

Well, I am upset.

I am distressed.

I am also very, very curious.

What made this other person a better choice than me, or the other 2 that were interviewed for that matter?

The local newspaper, in an article about the selection, printed that a member of the board remarked that “community involvement set (the) appointee apart.”


Maybe I’m being naïve…or dim…or just plain bitter that I didn’t get the position, but I fail to see what ‘community involvement’ has to do with being the most qualified to sit on a Board of Education. Am I missing something here? Have the parameters of what a school board does changed?

I thought the purpose of a school board was to clarify the districts purpose, employ a superintendent, delegate authority, monitor performance, and take responsibility for its own actions (wow, that’s a unique concept)

I understand that it is important for the board to connect with the community, but to make it the pivotal reason as to rank potential school board members. I would think that being a team player and believing in the district would be more important and more of a necessity than community involvement, but maybe I am wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, I do things for the community. I participate in the Polar Plunge (that’s when you jump into a frozen lake in the middle of winter to raise money for Special Olympics), Ronald McDonald House, United Way, take part in events with the Chamber of Commerce group I am a member of, but something she does was more impressive, or touched (and I could get into some trouble with this statement) a particular demographic that the board was looking for.

The board president went on to say, “Her ability to work with a team, and her belief in the strengths of the district made her stand out.”

I work well with a team; I pointed that out in the interview – citing examples of exemplary work and conduct and success.

I also believe in the strengths of the district. In fact, I strongly believe in the district’s strengths, and I told them that in no uncertain terms.

But I goofed, I think, when one of the board members asked me what the weaknesses of the district were, and I told them.

I know, I know. Silly me, I told the truth and stood by my convictions…I apologize, I guess I got confused and thought they wanted the truth…not a cleverly conceived lie.

(Sometimes I may be less observant than others, but I make up for it with cunning and guile, and what I lack in memory I more than make up for with exceptional powers of deductive reasoning – and yes, that does come with a cape)

The woman who was selected stated that the high rate of poverty among school children in the schools is the primary concern that the district needs to address, saying: “Most folks don't realize when they deal with schools with a high rate of poverty; there are issues that go into the classroom. The school district has to become a part of those issues, even if they're not an issue of the school district...”

How that falls under the jurisdiction of a local school board is beyond me. Haven’t we been hearing that since George “Puppet-in-Chief” Bush (thanks again Scott) stol— (sorry, I have to stop doing that), won the election in 2000? That the era of big government is over. When a school board member decides that they need to get knee-deep into the high rate of poverty, aren’t we crossing a line???

Am I right? Or am I just being bitter again about losing? Eh, maybe a little of both.

The woman chosen went on to state in the paper that she is undecided about whether she will run for election when the seat expires in ‘07, as she doesn't consider herself a politician.


I mean, she sure answered the questions from the paper with a politico-like response, with answers like:

“It (the district) needs support, and it needs people who care.”

“It (the board) doesn't need people in there with an agenda.”

“The foundation of a great community is a great school district…” (That one gave me pause as I said almost the exact same thing in my interview, except substituting ‘strong’ for ‘great’ school district)

I can hear any politician in DC or any state capital saying that as well.

I am certain she will be running for the seat in 2007…

…and so will I.

Thought of the Day

"So don't adjust that dial; and, while we're gone, if any talking animals ask you to buy some tacos or beer-for God's sake, do what they tell you. You've been watching Sports Night on CSC. Have a good night. "
- Casey McCall (Peter Krause) on Sports Night

Monday, September 19, 2005

Macca's Back

Some of you may have noticed that I took a 3-day weekend from blogging. I posted my thought of the day because I know there are some of you out there who can’t go on if you don’t get my imparting of other people’s wisdom. But today, I am back.

A few weeks ago I posted something about an upcoming music album: Chaos and Creation in the Backyard by Sir James Paul McCartney.

It is out. In fact, it came out last week.

Now, while I have not had a chance to buy the album itself yet, I did listen to the entire album streamlined on McCartney’s website (, and all I can say is ‘Wow.’

The album is great, but as others have written, it needs several replays before you begin to pick up on the subtle "old Paul" peculiarities that sometimes lay between the lines. The lyrics are much more introspective than we usually hear from Paul and with a more somber tone.

Spend some time with the album and it becomes crystal clear that Sir Paul is far from spent as either a songwriter or a record-maker. This is the intimate McCartney in the vein of his 1970 solo debut “McCartney” or his 1978 release "London Town," and the comfort allowed him to be as unguarded as he's ever been.

The unmistakable, rockin’ pounding of Paul at the keyboard hasn't changed in over 40 years. It is clear that he is restraining himself from sounding over-ebullient, and the result is good, very good.

I have a personal synopsis of some of the album’s songs. Take it as you will and as it was intended; one person’s opinion. Granted, the opinion of a person who has a vast knowledge of McCartney. (Actually, I have a vast encyclopedia of useless knowledge in my head – that’s why no one will play Trivial Pursuit with me anymore or why my wife won’t watch Jeopardy with me anymore – I’m just too damn smart...all of you who know me can insert your own smart-ass comment here)

The album opens with four of his best songs in ages (and certainly better than anything from Driving Rain. Now don’t get me wrong, I thought Driving Rain was a good album, this one is just better in every musical aspect)

“Fine Line” (my personal favorite song from the album. Has a message deep down, but not as preachy as some of his other solo songs from the past 10 years. And has some stellar piano and bass work from Macca himself)

“How Kind of You” (a tad vague as to whom the song’s subject is [John? George? Linda? His mother?] but still a haunting tune)

“Jenny Wren” (immediately takes the listener back to the beautiful Beatles’ ballad “Blackbird”)

“At the Mercy” (which, in my humble opinion, is a 21st century version, in quiet tones, of “A Hard Days Night”)

"English Tea" (with a lovely and sad beginning that is, ultimately, fun. May remind some of you of The Beatles’ "Savoy Truffle.”)

"A Certain Softness" (a sensuous love song with a rumba-like beat underneath)

"Riding to Vanity Fair" (perhaps the biggest departure for Paul on the entire album. He takes a giant leap and tries a totally different sound and, in my opinion, succeeds. It lingers in the mind long afterward. )

“Promise to You Girl” (quite possibly the best track on the album where we hear some of the old, jaunty Paul, and we can forgive the "Queen-like" background vocals thanks to a rockin' backdrop. Best of all: Paul seemingly channels George in a fantastic guitar solo)

"Anyway" (one can hear some of the driving beat of "Why Don't We Do it in the Road," along with echoes of "Strawberry Fields," just enough to tease the listener’s memory of the past)

Overall, the album is phenomenal and awe-inspiring. If you are a Paul McCartney fan, you will absolutely love it. If you are a casual Beatles or McCartney fan, you will like it as well. Hell, if you are a fan of good music, you will like it. If you are a Britney Spears fan…you have my sympathies.

Thought of the Day

“Don't let one cloud obliterate the whole sky.”
- Anaïs Nin

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Thought of the Day

Men are born to succeed, not fail.
- Henry David Thoreau

Friday, September 16, 2005

Thought of the Day

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime, doubly so."
- Ford Prefect in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Thursday, September 15, 2005


I have been back to work now for 5 months after being unemployed for 13 of the last 20 months, and lately, I have been reflecting on those past dozen or so months. It was a tremendous joy to be able to stay home with my twin daughters, something some fathers do not get the chance to experience, so I relished the time I had alone with them.

But, while staying home, I noticed that there was a bit of bias against dads that were in the same predicament that I was. So I recently did a web search and tried to find information on dads that settle in a habitat to tend to the offspring while mom is at her chosen vocation.

We have been called everything from Mr. Mom’s (thank you very much Michael Keaton and Lonestar) to sissies, to momma-daddys (my twins’ inventive phrase for me).

I am talking, of course, about stay at home dads. For 13 of the last 20 months I was a stay-at-home Dad, or SAHD for you acronym-ites out there. While the numbers of SAHD’s are small, by all accounts it is becoming a fast-growing segment of the American population.

Of course, when your sample size is tiny, it is easy to enjoy explosive growth. The next time you read that the number of at home dads has doubled, remember this probably means it went from 34 to 68 dads nationwide - and that includes a few working dads who just sleep in on Saturdays but get counted in the statistics.

Most SAHD’s have a negative view by the outside world but truth be told, we brought it on ourselves. Consider the acronym used to describe stay at home dads: SAHD. Running around telling everyone you are sad may explain why some people look at us like we are lepers.
There is, however, a website devoted to SAHD’s. It's address:


What - the domain name was already taken?

Now, I'm all for slowing down to smell the flowers, but if you start to brand yourself as the little old man in the far right lane barely able to see over the steering wheel, don't be surprised when no one shows you respect.

Life as a stay at home dad was a constant challenge. I received very little praise for my efforts. Did anyone walk up to me and tell me that I did a great job of getting my children dressed this morning? No. Did I get recognized for my part in the recent family record of 157 consecutive days between visits to the doctor? No. Did anybody shake my hand and acknowledged the hell that I went through to convince my 3-year-olds to wear something besides their Wiggles T-shirts and shorts during the 7-degree/24 inches of snow days? No.

Truthfully, I did receive praise from my wife, my parents and my brother for doing a good job while home with the kids. But, seriously, making it sound like I got no praise makes for a better read – don’t you think?

Another problem with staying at home? Isolation. Not having anyone around to have adult conversations with did start to take a toll on my sanity.

Now, I was lucky, for the first part of my idleness, I was finishing up my Master’s degree and used the downtime (what little of it there was) to work on my thesis. The second part of the idleness, I did have a part-time job teaching some business courses at the local college. For the most part though, I was stuck at home.

Sometimes the isolation worried my wife. You know that you have been a stay-at-home father too long when:

- You invite Jehovah's Witnesses in for a cup of coffee.
- You start to understand the twins’ twin-language.
- You consider cheating at your favorite computer game as a way of "sticking it to the man." Take that Halo!!
- You consider taking a job so beneath you, a gravedigger would have higher social strata that you would.
- You look forward to the change of seasons so that you can look at different clothes when doing the laundry.
- You watch the same shows as your kids, and you start to like ‘em.
- You consider switching political parties because you think Republicans “Care more for the American citizenry and their working future.” (Sure, I believed that as much as I believe Georgie-boy and his claim of responsibility for the Hurricane Katrina fiasco)

This is just a warning to those of you considering staying at home with your children. The loneliness is hell.

But, despite all of the trouble, despite all of the loneliness, my children are absolutely hilarious. Sometimes, the humor is in the form of a monologue. Other times, it would be in the form of a face or an exchange between the two children.

It's time for stay at home dads to get some spine and also some marketing savvy. First, lose the "stay" in "stay at home dad," it brings about images of agoraphobia. Now, I would never make light of anyone’s phobia (what am I saying, of course I would), but come on, it sounds so confining. Plus, the stay in stay at home dad is an incredible misnomer. I would love to have been able to stay at home just one day, but my twins demanded to play outside in all types of weather; rain, snow, intense heat and bitter cold.

Next, the very phrase "at home" has a stigma, and it focuses on the house, not the children (which is why we are home in the first place). I have an alternate phrase, but it raises the hair on the backs of the necks of working parents who hear it. "Full time father." Hey, sorry, but in this country, every group gets to name itself.

In short, it's time we at home dads go on the offensive. Sure, it may ruffle some feathers, but it sure beats being SAHD in the slow lane.

And, I have to throw a big shout-out to the first stay at home dad I ever knew, my Uncle Nishan. Health issues forced him to stay home and take care of his child (my cousin) while his wife (my Aunt) worked. This was in the late 50’s/early 60’s when things like that were REALLY looked at with a tilted head. Never did he flinch in his responsibility; never did he allow other people’s comments to faze him. He cooked, he cleaned, and he raised a child. And he did it well, and he taught me, my brother and our cousins that gender roles should NOT be an influence in our lives.

Thought of the Day

“Weaseling out of things is important to learn, it's what separates us from the animals - except the weasel.”
– Homer J. Simpson, The Simpsons

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Oh! The Humanity!

I have a decision to make.

Do I want to poke myself in the eye with a hot poker?

Do I want to crawl, naked, over tons of shattered glass?

Do I want to watch continuous episodes of the Fox “comedy”, The War at Home?

Or do I want to listen to Ashlee Simpson music all day and all nightlong?

All of those things are painful to do, but none of them are as painful as looking for a new house.

For the past 3 months, my wife and I have been looking for a new house. Our current one, which we purchased about 6-7 years ago, is getting too small for our needs. Also, there is no way in hell I am going to survive in a house with 3 females and one bathroom (though my father-in-law did survive living with 6 females and no males in a house with 1.5 baths…I still think he deserves either Sainthood or a Congressional Medal of Honor for that – but that’s another entry for the ol’ blog)

What an ordeal this has been. An ordeal that has been excruciatingly painful. It has even been more painful that listening to a speech by George "I didn't think the levees would break" Bush.

It didn't take long before house hunting became a nervous strain as we endured disappointment after disappointment upon walking into houses and immediately suffering that sinking feeling. Or looking at the house a first time, liking it, coming back and noticing all the things we somehow missed the first time.

On our journey we were also unfortunately introduced to all variety of crackpots and oddities that allegedly constitute our fellow man. Amongst an inflammation of tedious and ill-informed commentary, these malformed anthropoids love to tell horror stories, in detail, associated with home ownership. Yes, that will help sell a house.

Being shown shabby real estate by embarrassed agents was one thing, but it was the homes that were being sold ‘By Owner” that provided an insight into the terrifying depths of humanity that menacingly lurk amongst a society. On one such sale, we were shown around by the owner (who was also a realtor) – a half man, half ape-like creature that evolution had apparently passed by.

One house we looked at was, for the most part, nice. Perfect size rooms and kitchen, nice basement with a wet-bar, good-sized yard. The problem? Time apparently freezes in this house. The décor would have been 70’s retro…except it was all the original stuff and the owners had not updated ANYTHING. Plastic mats on the floor, avocado-green wallpaper with little yellow flowers in the kitchen AND the front room.

Another house we looked at had a nice floor plan, but the people who lived there smoked…like chain-smoking chimneys. I moved a picture on the ecru-toned wall and saw a perfect white wall behind it. The carpets were installed last spring and already had the heavy smell of smoke in them, so much so that the seller’s realtor thought we would have to replace them to get rid of the odor. Also, keeping in mind this was an open house; we couldn’t see the garage because their dog was in there (actually, it wasn’t a dog, it was a moose).

Now, if you were having an open house, wouldn’t you try and do something with the dog so people walking through could see, I don’t know, the ENTIRE house? Or am I being too logical?

There was another house, right across the street from the smoke house, that looked nice on the outside, but the inside looked like it had been diced and sliced into pieces by a blind surgeon. They tried to make 1 bedroom into 3 bedrooms, so each one was about the size of a shoe and, quite frankly, smelled like one as well.

Another house sounded great in the newspaper. But then we drove out to see it. Upon turning onto the road it was on, my wife and I both looked at each other and said, at the same time and without hesitation, ‘this is a redneck neighborhood.’ It looked as though we either traveled instantaneously to Appalachia, or wandered onto the set of the 1989 Patrick Swayze movie, Next of Kin. There were the archetypal cars in the front without tires and, what I could have sworn was, a still. Though I could have made that second thing up in my head.

I could write about some of the other houses we have seen, but that would result in a blog entry the size of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Needless to say, as time passed, our spectacular failures in finding something to our liking were becoming increasingly frustrating. Are our demands that unreasonable, why is this so hard?
We did flirt with the idea of building, but, deciding that we didn’t want to torture ourselves more than we already have, so we shelved that idea.

After all of these frustrating experiences, my wife and I have shifted our reality into cruise control and have, for the time being anyway, decided to stop looking for a couple of months in the hope that the universe will work itself out of this little funk and a nice, perfect house will present itself to us.

And while we wait for that to happen, I will write the great American novel, will sell a screenplay for a mindless Hollywood movie (I think the world is in the mood for a Revenge of the Nerds remake – wait a minute, that’s already being done), and discover a new solar system.

I believe that true happiness is about focusing on what you have rather than desiring what you don't. Sure, this is a cool fundamental principle to live by. Just remember, that every now and then you must surrender to your dreams while allowing disappointment to stir the imagination.

That, and you have to be a glutton for punishment.

Thought of the day

“Man is a genius when he is dreaming.”
- Akira Kurosawa

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Political Thought

Republicans began the month by absorbing blistering attacks on President Bush's management of disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina (or Himicane Corinna if you are Laura Bush) and the massive flooding of New Orleans.

Later in the month, aTexas grand jury indicted Majority Leader Tom DeLay's political action committee.

By last Thursday, the GOP wasn't feeling all that grand, and one of them snapped...

Who was the snapper (or is it snappee)?

New York Rep. Tom Reynolds.

You know Tom Reynolds.

Well, ok, maybe you don't. He is the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

Mr. Reynolds was quoted as saying: "The name calling ... these things have gone too far," referring to comments by (my new personal hero) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

What did Rep. Pelosi say to get Rep. Reynolds so agitated you ask? Ms. Pelosi simply stated that "President" Bush (or Puppet-in-Chief as my good friend Scott calls him) was oblivious to what was happening in New Orleans.

Come on Tom, she was onl y speaking the truth. The entire Bush family seemingly was oblivious to the devastation in New Orleans and Mississippi. Heck, the entire Bush administration was oblivious. Bush himself looked confused. Dick Cheney remained on holiday in Wyoming. Condoleezza Rice saw a Broadway show, “Spamalot”. All while New Orleans was fighting for their lives.

Then in the same interview, Reynolds lashed out at Rep. Rahm Emanuel (a Democrat from my state of Illinois and also a Bill Clinton confidant) who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) .

DeLay's political action committee; Texans for a Republican Majority (isn't that a scary thought) was indicted Thursday on five felony counts of using corporate money to influence state elections ("I am shocked - shocked to find gambling in this establishment!') The Travis County grand-jury investigation threatens DeLay's political standing in the House because, if indicted, he would have to step down as majority leader.

"I'm tired of having Rahm calling up you guys" to discuss allegations of wrongdoing by Republicans, said Reynolds, calling Emanuel "Mr. Righteous."

Emanuel discounted the allegations, saying, "I feel for Tom. He's got a tough re-election again. He's got a horrible political environment. More of his colleagues are seeknig other office or talking about retirement. More races are in play. He's under a lot of pressure. I have nothing but empathy for him. My recommendation: work out. It helps you deal with stress."

Reynolds stated, "While he (Emanuel) wants to play this game, he's got exposure. If the Democratic leadership thinks the Republican leadership will be silent on ethics, the Democrats got another thing coming. ... I intend to have the NRCC come back."

Never underestimate the ability of Republicans to turn things around to try and benefit them.

Right now, it really sucks to be a Washington Republican, and Reynolds, along with a few others, are starting to crack under the pressure.

Ain't life grand?

That's all for my political writing for the week - I just felt something had to be said.

I will be funny again tomorrow, I promise. I have good entries in the pipeline about my kids and their ever-changing moods, our search for a new home, and other, knee-slapping, milk-coming-out-of-your-nose laughing, rib-tickling writings.

Thought of the Day...

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
- Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

Monday, September 12, 2005

It's Back! The Thought of the Day...

“A witty saying proves nothing.”
- Voltaire

Why write my own blog when I can point you to another well-written one?

Today, I was going to write about the collossal f-up that was FEMA’s response to Hurricane Katrina (or Himicane Corinna if you are Laura Bush)

Then I thought about it.

Why write my own, well-written rant when I can guide all of you to another, well-written rant by my best friend Scott and his entry: Brownie and the Disaster...or How could one guy screw a bad thing up even more.

It’s presented, in it’s entirety, below - take a look.

(His link by the way is

“Ok, I know it has been a few days since my last post. But as a single father of a pre-teen, working full-time and temporarily living 42 miles away from my son, I get really busy. Divorce support group 1 night per week, great visitation time with my son 2 nights and every other weekend, and some days returning to work in the evening after visitation, it doesn't leave me much time for anything else, like I said.....really busy. So while I have had attitudes and opinions about the happenings of the world around me, there have just not been enough hours in the day lately. Thank god for that miracle elixer "coffee". I could go on and on about the virtues of coffee, but instead why not read one hell of a well written blog by my best friend and coffee gourmet, Kemp at . I could not have written it any better myself.

The only caveat that I can add is that I am what Kemp refers to as a coffee junkie. Now I love a great cup of fresh gourmet coffee as much as the next person, and can truly appreciate it. However, I am also the guy that can reheat the coffee from yesterday and enjoy it, and having been a police officer and having served in the U.S. Army I can drink any beverage that is hot, black, and able to pour without having to 'cut' it with a knfe as the cup fills... bring on the sludge!!

But I digress.. The big item to rant about this week, again, is Michael Brown. Would I much rather be spouting off about our puppet-in-chief, you bet, but I cannot let this one go by.

I am at work yesterday at lunch when I get an e-mail from with Breaking News. The news turns out to be 'FEMA Director Removed From Katrina Duty". Wow, it only took the largest natural disaster in U.S. history and 11 days of incompetency for this 'yutz' to be taken off the front line of response.

Wasn't FEMA rolled into that newly hallowed institution known as the Department of Homeland Security in order to place our nations readiness and responsiveness resources under one centrallized chain of command? Now a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link, and in the supposed 'Steel Chain' known as the Departmentof Homeland Security, Michael Brown is evidently a paper link. That's right, you get the paper wet and the chain will break. Almost two weeks ago his link was soaked!

You know it's bad when Democrats AND Republicans are essentially calling for his head on a platter. (I would prefer his head to be placed on a pike and placed near where Interstate 10 enters New Orleans, but that is just me....ah the good ole days...) When our President visited the Gulf Coast region on September 5, he was quoted as saying "And Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. The FEMA director's been working 24 hours".

Now maybe someone forgot to tell the President that the hurricane hit the area on August 29th and that there were approximately 168 hours since the hurricane. So, what had 'Brownie' been doing the other 144 hours????Obviously not much.

We also find out that Michael Brown was a longtime friend of Presidential campaign manager Joseph Allbaugh, who himself was a FEMA Director. 'Brownie' was Deputy under Allbaugh and was moved up when Allbaugh left the agency. Here my friends is the undeniable, living proof of the phase "Being promoted past your level of incompetency." What a surprise, patronage in a high ranking government position!!

Now you may say Michael Brown must have had a good deal of prior experience working with emergency situations or disaster preparedness in order to be placed in charge of the nations emergency response agency. You may say that, but remember, just cause you say it doesn't make it so!

According to CNN and many other reliable news agencies, before joining FEMA, 'Brownie' was a top official with the Arabian Horse Association. Reportedly in a capacity as overseeing the judging of Arabian equestrian events. And as reported on CNN, the secretary of that association says 'Bownie' was asked to resign in 2001. Ok, now how incompetent do you have to be that they ask you to resign from the Arabian Horse Association??

If working for a Horse Association qualifies you for running a goverment agency, I should be a shoe-in for 'Chief of Staff' for the next Democrat elected to the White House.

Now before you start thinking to yourself "Well he must have had the educational background or other previous work experience to justify his holding such a position"...not so fast. Time magazine and The Associated Press were both told by various officials with the City of Edmund, Oklahoma, and the University of Central Oklahoma that the information contained in his resume regarding positions held with the City and the University were not necessarily as stated.

So, how do we make sure that should another disaster, natural or man-made, god forbid, strike within our nation, the appropriate people are in the proper positions of responsibility. Simple, demand accountability from our elected officials. Nothing less.

After all they are elected by us, and are supposed to be in Washington or state government to represent the peoples (our) best interests.

You know, you're right, maybe that is just too simple....”

Sunday, September 11, 2005

September 11th....

No ranting.

No raving.

No tirades.

Not even a calm oration.

Just a simple reminder.

Remember September 11, 2001

Saturday, September 10, 2005


I’m an addict.

I’m addicted. I admit it. I have no control over it at all. It I don’t have it, I feel the void; headaches, nervousness, irritation…and that's only for the people who have to put up with me without coffee

I’m speaking of coffee of course. Morning. Afternoon. Evening. Anytime of the day is a good time for coffee.

One doesn't drink coffee because one is thirsty, or because it provides nutritional value, or because one enjoys it. Rather, one drinks coffee because it is a chance to revel in life--to enjoy its dark and bitter waters, the acidic aftertaste. Then, and only then, you know that your day couldn't possibly be that bad and you gain the strength to go on…one more step…one more day of more cup…

One also drinks coffee because one is hooked…

Now, while I am hooked on coffee, I take comfort with the fact that I am not a coffee junkie. Coffee Junkies drink the sludge at the bottom of the day-old pot hanging around the office or in the gas station or at a restaurant.

I am a coffee gourmet.

Like an alcoholic who only consumes vintage Bordeaux, I choose beans and grounds of a certain, provenance (you just want to slap me now, don’t you?)

Anyhow, back to the blog at hand.

I am hooked on coffee. Have been since high school. During college, it got worse, drinking more and more and more and more. Then it ebbed a little after graduation. Don’t get me wrong though, I still drank coffee, just in a little more, moderation.

Then, in the waning months of 2001 and the start of 2002 two events happened that shot my coffee consumption through the roof. My wife got pregnant and I started Graduate School…all within 4 months of each other.

That was the end of my coffee moderation and the beginning of my coffee excessiveness.

An excessiveness that has sustained itself to this day. Yes. My children were born (over 3 years old now) and I finished graduate school last year. But, I still drink WAY to much coffee…though that term is relative. I mean, how much is too much???

It's not that I've been in denial about my coffee addiction; denial is not my strong suit. For years I acknowledged my addiction with a hearty: “Coffee, the best drug of my generation.”

What about alcohol? Eh. Alcohol has its place, but it has laws and such to control the flow.
What about smoking? Eh. Smoking also has laws. And a bit of a stigma associated with it, with people banished to doorways where a community of folks look like they're having way too much fun.

Coffee, on the other hand, is culturally approved, universally accepted, socially enabled, and financially promoted. There's a fix on every corner.

Why do I drink coffee? Well, it helps to focus for some reason. I find I think twice as fast and twice as focused after a couple (or 3…or…4…or 11) cups of coffee.

Some people say that in order to get the full effect of coffee, one should eat a nice solid meal along with it. They say that there is a balance involved in drinking coffee, a balance of solid and liquid, of drinking and eating. Like the natural flow of the universe.

What twaddle. What hogwash. What tripe. What claptrap. What drivel.

One doesn’t need to eat in order to get the full effect of coffee. One needs to drink coffee that is strong and heartening.

There is a certain macho factor too. Like when it’s early in the morning and I'm working and really need a pick-me-up, I don't want some namby-pamby cuppa joe. I don’t want some cup of some gas-station “cappuccino” that is only glorified hot chocolate. I want a cup of coffee made with more than enough scoops to satisfy the world. I want to put my spoon in my coffee and have full confidence that it will stand up in the coffee and not touch any of the sides. The coffee should be hot, not scalding, just hot. The Turks have a proverb about coffee that I take to heart…

“Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.”

Those Turks really knew what they were talking about.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Chaos & Creation in the Backyard

Paul McCartney has a new album coming out...

"Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard" is Paul's 20th studio recording since The Beatles. It also marks a four-year hiatus since his last studio album, "Driving Rain."

The new album, for all you alternative-music types out there was produced by Nigel Godrich, who has produced some of the largest albums in the last few years by such singers/groups as Radiohead and Beck.

The albums release coincides with the kick-off of his latest tour.

Which I will not be going to this time around. I have seen McCartney in concert 4 times before (Indianapolis' Market Square Arena, Chicago's Soldier Field, St Louis' Busch Stadium, and Chicago's United Center) Each time I have seen him has been with my (older) brother Al. Unfortunately, I will be missing it this time. My brother will be going to see the concert in Detroit though...

With his girlfriend...

And not me...

But, with his girlfriend...

But hey, I'm not sirree...

Anyway, check out Paul's official website at and you can listen to 3 songs from his upcoming Chaos and Creation in the Backyard CD.

All three songs on the site are great and fans and non-fans will definitely notice he has got his stroke back.

The albums release is Monday, September 12, 2005. I plan on buying it that day (or at the latest on Tuesday) and will post a a review in the days after.

So go on, click the link and take a listen. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Where have you been???

Well, I’ll tell you.

Since last Thursday, when I changed the URL and title of my blog, I have had some problems with it (username wasn’t tied to my account, blog would not allow me to add/edit, etc.).

So I have been blog-free since last Thursday…and boy, am I feeling it. And, since our friends at blogspot never returned my email calls for help, I had to erase everything and start from scratch. So, my site counter is now back to zero, all my previous blogs had been vanquished from the earth, and my links are now gone meaning I have a LOT of work to do.

I will re-post all my previous blogs in the next few days. Along with some blogs that I had written without a place to post since last Thursday.

So this little blog-blurb (a new term to add to the American Lexicon) is to officially announce my return to blogging. I thank you, and appreciate you all waiting anxiously for my return.

I have a few blogs to post now that I had already written. I will post those shortly, followed by my new thought of the day entry and also my blog entry for today, Thursday, September 08, 2005.

Thank you for waiting, I'll be back shortly to entertain, inform and explain life's idiosyncrasies...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Twins' First Movie

My wife and I took our 3-year old twin daughters to their first movie on Monday (Labor Day). We saw Valiant, a Disney-produced cartoon about homing pigeons during WWII.

I, for one, was hesitant about this concept at first. I did not think that my daughters were ready for their first movie theater experience. I foresaw images of the two of them running around the theater, shouting, crying, talking, and, overall, being theatergoers from hell.

I was wrong. I was very, very wrong.

Those of you looking for an entertaining read about child-bearing embarrassment are bound to be disappointed.

They behaved throughout the entire movie.

I know. You could have knocked me over with a feather as well.

They ate their popcorn, drank their soda (or ‘pop’ as they call it here – but that’s fodder for another blog) and sat through the entire film. Granted, the movie was only about 85 minutes long, but it was absolutely the perfect length for them. Apart from getting up to sit in my lap or my wife’s lap, they sat still. Perfectly still. For almost one and a half hours.

It’s enough to almost make one weep.

I began thinking, could this be the beginning of them growing out of the ‘terrible two/horrifying threes’ stage that we have been in??

I have this past weekend as examples. One or two meltdowns only. And theses were not major, defcon 2, terrorism alert level high meltdowns. I would categorize them as a minor, done in 5 minutes, type meltdown. Those of you with kids know exactly what I am talking about.

So I have hope that this is the turning point, the crossroads as it were to a new day dawning. A day, of prosperity.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

School Boards

The area school board is taking applications to fill a vacated seat on the Board of Education and I am applying for it.

Why you may ask?

Because I for one think that education is a very important aspect of a child’s life. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those that thinks a child should be all schoolwork and no play, but I do think that having a solid educational background is a good thing. If you disagree with me (and I know there will be people who disagree with me), that is fine. That is your opinion and (you gotta love this country) everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.

One of the questions on the application asks what my educational philosophy is, and I know all of you are just anxious to see it as well, so here it is.

My educational philosophy is that the role of education is oftentimes underestimated and misunderstood. The true role of education and teaching is to prepare the students for the rough roads that will be ahead of them in life, as well as teaching them the materials that need to be covered in the class. The better we can teach children to make responsible decisions and give them the tools to think for them selves, the better society we will create. The finest teachers I have had in all my years of schooling were the ones who taught me not only how to memorize information, but also taught me how to actually use that information in order to be a success in life. I feel that in order for a student to really want to learn, they must first see that what they are learning will help them be successful in the future. If a student does not or cannot see a real reason to retain the information taught to them, they will not remember it. If the information is not retained, then what did the teacher actually teach the student?

The role of the student is also many times misunderstood and underestimated. Students themselves sometimes underestimate their importance in society. The truth is that students are a vital part of our society. Students truly are the future of our world. Students also play the role of teacher far more often than they realize. Again, going back to my experiences with teachers, the best teachers I've ever had were the teachers who were not afraid to admit when they were wrong. A good teacher is not embarrassed if a student shows them up; instead they look at the experience as a positive experience. It should be every teacher's goal to have every student leaving their classes with at least as much, if not more, knowledge of the course and life than they themselves have.

I believe that lifelong learning is the key to happiness, and no other profession offers as many opportunities to be a lifelong learner as the profession of teaching and education. I want to be able to impact students in positive ways, as many of my teachers have done throughout my life. One day each student will set off to lead his or her own lives. We have to trust that we did the best we could, to prepare them to live in a world that they will have a part in shaping. All students have a great potential ahead, but it is up to educators to help them see it is within their reach.

Of course, that’s just one guy’s opinion.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A Very Special Episode

We now interrupt this normal blog programming for a VERY special announcement.

I have started a trend. I’m a trendsetter.

Now that I have started a blog, my best friend Scott (my best friend besides my wife) has started one also.

Be sure to check out his blog at

What does he talk about? Like me, he is a ranter. He will rant/rave/tirade on anything that pops into his (much older than me) head of his…just kidding Scott.

Give him 10 minutes and he’ll give you his opinion on life as it happens.

It’s vigorous and forceful opinion with a decidedly skewed view of the universe – you won’t see him on Fox News Channel (he has a brain), or even on CNN for that matter. (They couldn’t afford his salary)

His link again is

Learn it. Live it. Love it (but not as much as mine)

That link again is

I’m assuming you know mine; otherwise you couldn’t/wouldn’t be here reading it.

Have I mentioned that the link is

Go on, give him a shot…he’ll still respect you in the morning…