Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The First Cut is the Deepest

My two favorite blog-gals , flea over at One Good Thing and frog from frogblog are at odds because flea supports male circumcision (to the extent that her sons are circumcised) and frog appears to hate the entire notion from the depths of her kind-hearted soul.*

Flea has removed a posting about attending an upcoming bris that set the whole thing off.

I hope that these two nice people can reconcile their differences and continue to entertain me...because after all, it's all about entertaining me.

The main problem I have is that I posted a great riff about attending a bris, the escalating costs of circumcision and some other smart ass comments that I wish I would have posted here. I won't even try to re-create them here.

Frog is very passionate about this issue. She is entitled to her position, and I respect her very much. That being said, if we were sire another son (virtually impossible at this point) he would probably be circumcized. Do you know why? BECAUSE IT'S OUR DECISION TO MAKE!!

Artist James' wife, Kathy**, is against it. We still hug when we meet and don't seem to be at each other's throats about it. If they were to ever have a son, I wouldn't dare ask about his foreskin. Do you know why? BECAUSE I WASN'T BORN IN A FUCKING BARN!! I RESPECT THE PRIVACY OF MY FRIENDS, NO MATTER HOW CLOSE WE ARE!! IT IS THEIR DECISION TO MAKE!! IT IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS !! (a novel concept in these times, surely).

I realize the "True Meaning of Circumcision" has been lost over the centuries, (I am so fucking funny), but think of it in these terms, it's offering something to God that is permanent, irreversible and extremely meaningful. My guess is that my parents had it done to me because it was just done. That's not the best excuse, but there you go. I'm very happy with my penis, and I can't say that I losing my foreskin without my express written consent has harmed me in any way. Parents have to make agonizing decsions about their children everyday. That's what being a parent is all about, like it or not.

**I would say, however, if she let me sire a son with her, I'd let her have her way about the circumcision. WHEW WHEW!! I am such a pig!!!!

*I constantly refer to frog's heart as a kind heart because she, in fact, has a kind heart.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Reaching Out...Part One

(I began writing this post in September 2004, coming up on the 20th anniversary of the events that follow. It rambled so much that I abandoned it. I decided to complete it and post it. We had a big snowstorm last night and it reminded me of something)

Admittedly, I possess certain pathologies when it comes to old girlfriends. I'm not talking about stalking here.

I don't think that I've ever had an acrimonious break-up. Sure, feelings got hurt, and someone may have got mad, but all in all, what started as friendship has continued as friendship over the years. I keep in contact with many of the women that broke my heart.

There are two notable exceptions. This is the first one.....

I transferred from a large southern university to a small midwestern university after my junior year. (The many reasons for this may someday be detailed, but let's just say I needed to re-focus on academics in a less distracting setting). I was lucky enough to have dated a few girls, and got somewhat intense with two. After graduation, I couldn't get out of town fast enough. The only friendship I've maintained from that 18 months of self-imposed exile is my best friend, James (then know as simply Jim). We shared many common interests, not limited to music, women, curriculum, beer, and the occasional foray into whatever wayward meds we could lay our hands on (much thanks goes out to James' galpal, who was perscribed all sorts of neat stuff that she didn't want to throw away).

James (Jim) and I were determined to not only make the Dean's List, but we also wanted to become big-time serious songwriters. Big-time serious songwriting appealed to our lazy nature. Write songs, collect royalty checks. This is why we are NOT big-time serious songwriters today. While we had lots of neat song ideas, we had some performance issues (we couldn't sing to save our lives) so we needed to recruit someone with vocal talent to sing on our demos.

Before long, we met Nancy, who was rumored to have a great voice. Nancy looked like a California Beach Girl. Nita was her cute friend. Gorgeous brown eyes. Although I was attracted to Nita, I asked Nancy on a date (out to dinner for my 22nd birthday) for the sole purpose of recruiting her to sing for Jim and me. Jim had the serious hots for Nancy, but had not worked up the courage to ask her out. I figured that I would recruit Nancy into our little cult of music, signal Jim's attraction, and see if Nancy would put a good word in for me to her best friend Nita.

Because I was not the most confident Romeo on campus, it took all my guile and wile to ask Nancy out. And while I assured Jim that my interests were strictly professional, I'm sure he wasn't buying it. Nancy said yes, she'd love to go to dinner, and so we went. I ate Lobster Bisque for the first time. Nancy was attractive, charming, and alluring. We went back to her room, and she sang along while I played guitar. We discovered a mutual affinity for Joni Mitchell, and I taught her OUR BIG SONG. She sang like an angel. It took a lot of self-control (or perhaps self denial) to keep Jim's interests in my thoughts (I was the ultimate wing-man). She was all set to sign up with Jim and I for life when Nita entered the room to say hi. Her brown eyes flashed at me, but I was busy recruiting, damn it. Nancy told me that she and Nita sang together, so maybe Jim and I should write a duet. I told her that we could write any kind of song ("Weddings, Funerals, Bar Mitzvahs" was our slogan) and we would get right to it. Nita soon left, and it was time for me to go, too. We shook hands, and I ran down the stairs to report to Jim that not only did we have one good singer, we had TWO!!. I also reported that dinner, singing, and a handshake was all that transpired. Oh yeah, and she thought Jim was cute.

Within 24 hours, I asked Nita out, and we seemed inseparable for the last 6 weeks of the semester. It turned out that she had a crush on me, and was upset that I asked Nancy out on a date. Nancy and Jim started hanging out, too. Nita and Nancy both graduated that term, and we never got around to recording any songs.

During Winter break, Nita and I wrote nearly daily. She lived in the Quad Cities, I lived in the Northwest Suburbs. We called long distance after 11pm to save money. She started looking for work, and I worked for my sister's boyfriend plowing snow. During break, Nita and Nancy visited a friend in the Western Suburbs, and conspired to see Jim and I as often as possible. We met downtown and spent the entire day sight seeing. We watched Steve and Garry do their radio show. We went to the Hancock at night and we went to Gino's East and we went to the bars on Rush Street. We spent New Year's Eve day downtown as well, and watched the late afternoon news from Arnies on State St. The forecast was for a lot of snow, so we decided to head to my parents house right away to avoid the storm. Jim had never been to my house, but he and Nancy took off in his car, and Nita and I took off in my car. At some point, the storm hit, and Nita and I finally made it home. This was in the days long before cell phones, so I had no way of reaching Jim and helping find the house. Magically, he and Nancy appeared in our driveway, and we celebrated New Years 1985 together. Ricky Nelson was killed that night in a plane crash. I promised Nita that 1985 would be our best year.

After 20+ years, whenever our region braces for a big snowstorm, I think of that night. It was a truly magical time.

While 1985 was a good year, it was not to be for Nita and me. As much as we tried to grow closer, I feared that I would become too distracted from my studies and decided I could not continue the romance. I was SO ready to marry her; but I had to finish college, I had to make the Dean's List, I had to make up for my earlier academic failures. I may have broke her heart. I know I broke mine.

I've always believed that if you've done something in your life that you regret, then you should try to redeem yourself.

Nita went on to get her Masters Degree, and in her late 30's decided to change careers and become a nurse. She was inspired by the nurses who cared for her mother while she was dying with Cancer. She doesn't know that I know this about her. I haven't spoken to her in over 20 years.

I've always believed that if you've done something in your life that you regret, then you should try to redeem yourself.

I'm mailing a letter to Nita today. Just to say hello and tell her that I've Googled her. I'm not looking to rekindle the lost flames of youth. I just want to let her know that she's been thought of, and thought of kindly.

Life is too short not to reach out to those you think kindly of.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Miss you, John

There are places I remember all my life,
Though some have changed.
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain.
All these places have their moments
Of lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I loved them all.

And with all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
And I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them.
In my life I loved you more.

And I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them.
In my life I loved you more
In my life I loved you more

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Homage to Dan Fogelberg

I was introduced to Dan Fogelberg’s music in 1979. Sean Murphy, my good friend at the time, had a couple of albums. The first one I heard was Netherlands. Being a “band geek”, I was intrigued by any popular music that incorporated an orchestra. It wasn’t long before I jumped into the Fogelberg catalog and became a fan.

As I was also a budding singer/songwriter, I thought Fogelberg* as really cool because not only did he write the songs, he also played a lot of the instruments on the records. And not only could he play several instruments, he played them very well.

Fogelberg had everything that I wanted. He could sing well. He played guitar really well. He was a handsome devil. He wrote (what is now considered to be sappy) romantic ballads that were literate and fit my Archetype of Romantic Love.

I learned a lot about guitar playing from Fogelberg. I would play along with the albums looking at sheet music, amazed that I could make it work. Once, in my dorm room, I played the bridge from “Phoenix” along with Fogelberg as a cute coed came into the room, and she was mightily impressed. If I only had his looks, I would have got lucky. Or so I would like to think.

I recall reciting the lyrics to “There’s a Place in the World for a Gambler” to Lori once before we started dating, and I think she was impressed. Keep in mind that Lori is now married to a doctor who does not play the guitar. He’s a great guy, but I’m just saying he doesn’t play the guitar.

Over the next month or so, I intend to write about the albums that Fogelberg released from 1972-1981. These had the most impact on me and influenced a lot of my own writing and playing style. The ‘reviews’ of these records will include some mundane information regarding technique and zeitgeist, along with what individual songs meant to me on a personal level.

My Fogelberg era ended in 1984 when I left college in Texas and transferred to a smaller school in Illinois. By then I had abandoned the Archetype of Romantic Love that had ultimately failed me (which is a nice way to say that I pulled my head out of my ass and grew up a little bit).

I bought a live performance DVD last year, and enjoyed it very much. He sings in a lower register (don’t we all), and being human, seems to perspire a lot under the lights (don’t we all).

Last year, Fogelberg was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and spent almost a year aggressively fighting it. As of August 2005, his website says that he is healthy again.

*I have never met the man, so I don’t think it is good form for me to refer to him as “Dan”.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

On the Fly (over)

Again, the national media portrays Chicagoans as dumbass hayseeds. Maybe we are.

First of all, until last night, I’d never heard of “Jimbo’s”, the South Side bar where FOX placed a camera to capture the reaction of Sox fans during last night’s Game 4. FOX opened the telecast by ‘interviewing’ a female Sox fan as she bragged about the Sox. The woman they spoke to is the “stereotypical” Chicago woman (an “Antoinette”, I call them*): Heavy set, bleached hair in a manly short cut, obviously a smoker (deep, flemmy voice), not especially attractive.

If the situation were reversed and they were in a Houston bar speaking with a woman, she would be a tall, big-haired attractive blonde, buxom, in a western shirt, possibly wearing a cowboy hat, speaking with the cutest drawl (you know, the one that I threw a perfectly good education away for).

At least we didn’t have any car burnings or rampant vandalism with this championship. I guess a World Series win is not cause for looting, unlike NBA championship. (Subtle racism somewhat intended).
*Chicago men are all “Anthony”, or Ant’ny, as it is pronounced.

Go Go Sox

Congratulations to the Chicago White Sox.  We Cub fans will just have to deal with it; and perhaps learn something from it as well.

Swoopes, there it is !

Sheryl Swoopes is a fantastic basketball player and a role model for not only women athletes, but the rest of us as well.

Her private life is hers.  She’s not breaking any laws in my state, and she’s not denigrating my lifestyle.  

Good luck next season, I say.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Wilma !

It's not that I'm tired of all the hurricanes, and I'm not tired of the hurricane victim stories.

Officials in the Keys and southern Florida ordered people to evacuate. Some did, others did not. What I'm tired of is hearing people on the radio who wouldn't leave as requested complain about the intensity of the storm and say "I didn't think it was going to be that bad". Mind you, these were people who had the means to leave, but chose not to.

You people. I'm tired of you.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

On the Verge...

I believe that I am ready to explode creatively and produce not only an album, but a screenplay as well.

A marketable screenplay.

In the meantime, stay tuned for a multiple post in praise of the 1972-1979 works of Dan Fogelberg.

But first...

Artist James Plakovic gave me a couple of CD's with an eclectic mix of music. One of the tracks was an orchestral arrangement of "Baba O'Riley". I am a huge fan of Pete Townsend (thanks to James) and this is what I must say about that track:

It is often the case that the true genius of an artist is revealed in the interpretation of his works.

Whoever took the time and talent to create this arrangement of Baba is to be cherished and held in awe.

.....As Baba should be.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I am a Total Bastard

The following is sarcasm...I don't really believe this. It's a shame some people take me seriously.

I am not the most sensitive, politically correct guy:

A month ago, Islamist terrorist groups were heralding the destruction caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as the righteous wrath of Allah on the spawn of satan that is America. Approximately 1200 people died as a result of those storms.

The earthquake in Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan (the summer home of Al Queda) caused over 40,000 deaths.

My God is 40 times more powerful than your god. Deal with it.

On a related, politically incorrect note: That region is prone to earthquakes. You'd think that those governments would have adopted and enforced more stringent building codes so entire apartments, schools, buildings, etc wouldn't turn into dust after a big earthquake. You think people are standing around pointing fingers at their governments for failing to keep the poor safe? Yes, I am a bastard.

Seriously, these people need help. Please help.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Last night I searched for and found all my music/recording equipment and accessories, and even found a home for them in the office. I'll need to buy batteries for the effects pedals. I also need to re-load my Roxio software onto my computer, because I forgot to do it when I replaced the hard drive last fall.

Wait a minute, where's the mic stand? Either in the basement storage or in the garage. In either place, it's collecting dust.

The photo has nothing to do with my post. It's just a photo I took on a recent jobsite visit to Soldier Field, and it was a beautiful day.

Monday, September 26, 2005

No more dead asses!

Distinguished artist, faithful reader, and all-around good guy James came north for a visit 10 days ago (along with lovely wife and daughter) and we had the chance to hang out and get a few things thought out and talked through.

We paid a visit to Leapin’ Lyrics in Geneva, IL, and now there is another outlet for MusicArt T-Shirts (and hopefully prints and such)!  

We also worked on some of our songs, which are 20 year works in progress.  You know, there are millions of people who write songs together, and they all believe that their songs are good.  We are among them.

“Weddings, Funerals, and Bar Mitzvahs” was our slogan.  We believed (and still do) that we can be professional songwriters.  After our work session Thursday night, I firmly believe we still “have it”.  

I guess the reason I’m not a professional songwriter is because I don’t want it bad enough.  I have a ‘regular’ job, I have a ‘regular’ family, and ‘regular’ responsibilities.  I commend James for wanting to be a professional artist bad enough to find a way to be one.  He has been able to structure a career and family that allows him almost just enough time to be productive and creative.  But he’s the first to admit that it’s very stressful pursuing your dream.

And every time we part company, I feel bad for letting the dream go.  We can do this, but why won’t I get off my dead ass and do it?  For one thing, I love being lazy.  I could create the time to sit down with my 4-track and compose, but I’d rather sit on my rear and vegetate.  Like all the deep thoughts I’m thinking make a bit of difference.  I need to get motivated.  I need to set goals and KEEP THEM!

I have been working on a recording project for a while, well, it’s still in the concept stage.  In a classic instance of putting the cart before the horse, I’ve created the CD cover, picked out all the songs, written liner notes, etc, but haven’t begun any actual recording.  THIS IS SO ME!!!

So tonight, after the city council meeting, I’ll be scrounging through the still-packed boxes in the basement and locate all my recording equipment and accessories.  I’ll find a place to set up a studio area, and as of Oct 1, begin an earnest rehearsal schedule to record this project called (fittingly enough) Woulda Shoulda Coulda.

Turning my back on my gifts is sinful.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Arlo & Janis (& Katrina)

I'm a huge Arlo and Janis fan. In fact, I have a huge crush on Janis; she's very sexy for a pen and ink drawing.

Jimmy Johnson, the genius who created this comic strip, lives in Pass Christian, MS. Rather, that is where his home is. I don't know if he is in his home today or not.

I don't know Jimmy personally, although through his comic strip and website, I have come to know of him, and I admire him very much.

Sometimes we aren't able to grasp the enormity of a disaster because we "turn off" the voices of the strangers who are affected. Jimmy has posted an aerial photograph of Pass Christian with commentary about what buildings used to exist and how neighborhoods were wiped out by Katrina.

The media is busy in other places; we might not see Pass Christian on TV. His website has put a "face" on the disaster that we may be able to relate to.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

It begins at home

I received an e-mail from faithful reader James the other day:

"I got quite misty yesterday when (my daughter)came home from school. Her school is gathering pennies in order to raise money. When she came home she did an "extensive" search of the house for pennies. She had just about accepted the fact that she did not find very many. Then she remembered her piggy bank, went up and took out all the pennies. She came downstairs and proudly stated something to the effect that could now help the people hurt by the hurricane. I'm telling you, I hugged and smooched that kid and had to walk away to regain my composure. Egadz! Sometimes the future doesn't seem so bad."

Inspired by his daughters ingenuity and generousity, I decided to discuss this with my kids (ages 9&5). My wife and I explained to them that all these people that we see on TV lost their homes, toys, pets, clothes, books, etc.; and that they were being "asked" to ride on buses many hundreds of miles away to live in an indoor stadium or convention center in a city of someone else's choosing. We reminded our kids that they were very fortunate that we live in a nice home, in a safe town, and have lots of toys, clothes, and a wonderful dog. (Which means a tornado will come and knock my house down next week, because I'm a big believer in jinxes).

We told the kids that we would be giving some extra money at church on Sunday that will be sent to help these families. We asked them if they would consider giving some of the money that is in their piggy banks (yes, they are actual piggy banks) to help these families, too.

My daughter emptied her bank, counted the money, and decided to give about 60% of it. I told her that I was very proud of her generosity, and that her kindness would be returned to her someday.

My son emptied his bank and said that because he has so many nice toys that he didn't need the money, so "those people" could have all of it. Besides, his birthday was only 6 months away, and he would get more money then. $12.67. I thanked him for his generousity and told him that I am indeed a proud father to have such caring children.

They put their money into ziplock bags and proudly put it in the collection basket on Sunday. The folks who count the money each week probably weren't thrilled (although we put slips of paper with the dollar amount in each bag to make it easier to process).

It has been my goal to raise children with a certain "community service conscientiousness". I think I'm on the way.

Thanks again to James and his daughter for the inspiration.

And yes, I'll be sneaking some extra change back into their piggy banks to help rebuild their savings.

Can we just focus?

People are starving, dying, and generally having a lousy time.

Why are we having this debate on whether they are called refugees or evacuees?

Don't we all something more important to do? Like saving them, housing them, and feeding them?

Each time I hear a so-called "community leader" whine about this issue, I want to scream!

Hey, George!

Mr. Bush,

I've always, ALWAYS, given you the benefit of the doubt. But come on, let's pull the old head out of the keister and 1) whack the FEMA guy; 2) put together some plan (even if it is over-the-top authoritarian; and 3) ask your beloved mom to just stay home ( I mean she's a sweet lady and all, but there is never a positive PR outcome when River Oaks Matrons rub elbows with the Great Unwashed).

It is not a sign of weakness to flat out fire a guy who has screwed the pooch, even if you were the guy that hired him in the first place. Actually, it makes you look stronger to do so.

Just handing the evacuees cash isn't going to solve the long term problem. A huge stimulus package needs to be developed so these people can get jobs and get on their feet as soon as possible. Surely we need some roads to be built, or perhaps even a city in southern Lousiana.

Now there's a plan! Employ the affected people to rebuild their city. Hire them, train them, pay them. Yes, it will cost a fortune, but it will cost a fortune either way.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Finger, finger, who gets the finger?

Because this is America in the 21st century, let's start pointing the finger of blame...

At President Bush, for using money that could have been used to make New Orleans safe to the war in Iraq.

At Bill Clinton, for using money that could have been used to make New Orleans safe to make the budget surplus.

At George HW Bush, for using money that could have been used to make New Orleans safe to bail out the Savings and Loans.

At Ronald Reagan, for using the money to end the Cold War.

At Jimmy Carter, for using the money to attempt to bring peace to the Middle East.

At Richard Nixon, for using the money in Viet Nam.

At Lyndon Johnson, for spending the money creating welfare and The Great Society.

At John Kennedy, for spending the money to go to the moon.

At Dwight Eisenhower, for spending the money on the arms race of the 1950's.

At Harry Truman, for spending the money to defend South Korea.

At Franklin Roosevelt, for spending the money to defend our country in WWII, and before that, to pull our country out of the Great Depression.

At Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge and Warren Harding ,for whatever the hell they accomplished during their administrations.

At Woodrow Wilson, for keeping us isolated, then engaging us in WWI.

At William Taft, for eating too much.

At Teddy Roosevelt, for being Teddy Roosevelt.

At Lincoln, for saving the Union.

At Thomas Jefferson, for spending the money that could have been used to save New Orleans, for making the Louisiana Purchase in the first place.

Do you understand where I'm going here? New Orleans has always been this Civil Engineering Textbook Disaster Waiting to Happen. It has NEVER been the political will of our leaders to prevent it. And yet, no shortage of people hesitated to invest their lives in this area because of the risks involved. I don't fault the people for living in New Orleans, I just don't think it's right to point fingers at the last caretaker because the storm hit on his watch.

For God's sake, quite whining about what isn't happening and take some action!!!

Thursday, September 01, 2005


This isn't about the looters.

There are bad people in this world, as there are good people. The difference is, the bad people get to be on TV, while the good people get to be in magazines.

This isn't about race. This isn't about class.

Anyone could have been stuck in New Orleans (or Gulfport, or Biloxi, or any of the hundreds of small towns that are no longer). Eighty percent is underwater. Here's something to think about: Eighty percent of the people who used to live in New Orleans no longer have....anything. No house, no posessions, nothing.

How would you feel if this happened to you? Your family? Your children?

I don't understand why some people felt the need to steal televisions and jewelry. However, I won't make a moral judgement about them in this case. I do understand, and wholeheartedly agree with the looting of grocery stores. Let's face it, the food is going to spoil, and my children need to eat. I've just lost EVERYTHING, GODDAMMIT!!! So let me feed my family.

I predict that for every person that was rescued from a rooftop, there are 4 people dead inside a home. What we see in terms of devastation in New Orleans is but the tip of the iceburg.


The total cost of impact will be several times that of 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Just wait till the water is gone.

(photo credit: Marc Serota/Reuters)

Friday, August 26, 2005

21st Century Office

The company I work for was finally free of the terrible lease that the old owners forced upon the new owners, and we built a new facility and moved in today.

I used to have a desk with a couple of file cabinets inconveniently located for my use. The work area was so small that I couldn't keep up with the paperwork that crossed my desk. No amount of "clutter-free" hints, tips, and booklets could help me.

Now, in my new, modern work area (similar to one that every other office puke in America is used to) I have lots of space to fill with my paperwork. Instead of sharing a wastebasket, I'll have one of my very own. Instead of trying to "shush" people while I made phone calls, I have some privacy, and the traffic pattern is no longer centered around my workstation.

The washrooms are modern, and it only takes one flush to take care of my business.

Because I'm a top producer, I have a "window seat" which may sound glamorous, except I have to fight the glare on my computer screen. I'm not really complaining, though. I'm loving it.

Because I have worked for companies that have modern workstations, I expect these kinds of facilities. There are co-workers, however, who are resentful of the move. They don't understand why we needed to move; they are fearful and anxious. Perhaps they feel that way because this move signals that we are in THE BIG TIME. We're the market leader in our industry, and have been of many years. It was painful to bring customers to our old office. I'm very proud of the new place.

Our management has recognized that our self-image could use some polishing. Starting Monday, a new dress code will be in place. It's about time. Our workstations will not be home to meals and radios and lots of photos taped tackily. We're in THE BIG TIME now.

Not to mention, any company that wants to buy us out will have to pony up some real dough, now!!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

No longer a little boy

I have a little down time as we pack up our office and move to a new place.

My son graduated to "Big Boy" status last week. He strapped on a back pack and got on a school bus for his first day of school.

I try not to brag too much about my son. Both of my children are great kids. I've written about my daughter in the past; she is a very special girl. My son, who started kindergarten last Thursday, reads at a 2nd grade level, can do math problems including multiplication. He understands most of the jokes in his beloved "Captain Underpants" books. His vocabulary is amazing. His teachers will love him, and he'll have no friends because none of them will be able to conduct a conversation on his level.

Don't get me wrong, he's still 5 years old. He can be the goofiest kid I know. On the first two days of a school, he got lost and ended up with the first graders after lunch.

And the boy loves his Legos. The Legos tell me just how brilliant he is. The things he builds, and the imagination he brings to his creations tell me that we're going to have our hands full keeping this kid interested, engaged, and stimulated. Granted, Legos are much cooler than when I was a kid and had 5 basic blocks in 5 colors. The 'new' Legos allow a child to express himself in amazing ways.

Anyhow, as he was getting on the bus, I mentioned to my wife "we'll remember this day when he leaves for Northwestern".

And suddenly, we both felt very sad, and very old.


I finally gathered the patience required to learn how to insert links into my template.

It was very easy, once I had a template that lent itself to inserting links.

Never too busy... mention that Pat Robertson is an idiot.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Kid with a New Toy

Now that it's easier to upload photos, I can't wait to start "illustrating" my blog.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Buzz Words

There's a new "buzz" word out there...Soft Core Porn.

In our local newspapers, a cosmetic surgery clinic runs advertisments that feature a buxom woman in a knit bathing suit, showing off a trim tummy and a nice set of breasts. While eye catching, it isn't any more provocative than a swim suit ad in the Sunday Target flier.

In a recent letter to the editor, a reader took the publication to task for running this ad, calling it "Soft Core Pornography". Now, I've seen soft core porn; you know, the stuff that is on Cinimax on late Friday nights. You see naked women, snatches of pubic hair (pun intended), and simulated sex acts. No erections, no money shots. I prefer it to hard core, if only because after Shauna Grant, the whole hard core industry turned my stomach (yes, I know I'm splitting hairs here, but, hey, it's my blog).

A few weeks ago, a co-worker who I admire (and a recent born-again churchgoer) was complaining about the attire of a woman in our office who wore a short skirt on casual day. She said "We've got soft core porn going on in the office". Naturally, my ears perked up. After chatting, I discovered that there are "born-again" groups who are now labelling anything that is provocative as Soft Core Porn.

How quaint.

I guess it speaks well to their ignorance of Soft Core Porn. Afterall, if they really knew what SCP was, they wouldn't be calling swim suit model ads SCP.

Let's all pay attention to this phenomenom; and take the opportunity to educate our righteous brethren to what soft core porn really is.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Relative Sobriety

Four weeks ago, I attended the Cubs vs Red Sox opener at Wrigley with some of my in-laws. The atmosphere was great...lots of fans in from Boston and everyone was getting along.

We got to Wrigleyville early so we could catch some of the live bands at The Cubby Bear, a popular bar/venue across the street from the ballpark. My brother-in-law and nephew went in and we proceeded to enjoy a few beers. As I said, the atmosphere was great, and 4 beers later, we strolled out of the bar and bought lunch at Taco Bell. Then we went into the stadium and got to our seats in time for the anthem and first pitch.

Our seats were in the first row of the upper deck all the way down the left field line. At some parks, these might be bad seats, but at Wrigley they were great (all seats are good at Wrigley unless you are behind a pillar--then they suck).

It was a great game, the Cubs were hitting like crazy, and even milktoast pithcer Greg Maddux had a home run. During the 7 innings that you could drink, I enjoy 4 more beers, and I was having the time of my life.

After the game, I went with my brother-in-law to Murphy's Bleachers, the venerable bar located (of course) across the street on the north/east side of the stadium. There, we enjoyed 2 more beers in rapid succession, then met up with the rest of our party to catch the bus down Addison Street to the L station. We jumped off the bus at a White Castle, ate dinner, and walked the 5 blocks to the L station.

I don't recall the walk to the station, the train ride, or the hour car ride after that. My only impression of the entire time was that I wanted to die. When I got home, I was so ashamed of myself that I just went upstairs and hid from my wife and kids.

I don't drink very much. Well, what I should say is that I don't drink very often, but in the past year, when I do drink, I binge like a college freshman on my first semester away from home. This is not a good thing. It seems that the old warning light that used to come on telling me that I've hit my limit no longer comes on.

I have no doubt that alcoholism runs in my family. While I don't think I'm "addicted" to alcohol, I have "consumption issues". And so, on June 11, I made the decision that I won't drink anymore. It seemed like a smart decision to make. I gave myself two "outs": I'll allow myself a beverage in a controlled situation (like a holiday party or a similar function with my wife around), or if I'm in Texas and have a Shiner Bock. Of course I know that giving myself "outs" may lead to disaster, and I'm not sure that I would take advantage of my "outs", but it was part of the deal I made with myself.

Last Friday, I returned to Wrigley Field with almost the same group, and I had a wonderful time. Sure, a beer would have been nice; but even with my wife there, I didn't "want" a beer. Two days later, I played golf with my brother-in-law, father-in-law, and uncle-in-law, and was able to enjoy myself without drinking. Yes, a Mike's Hard Lemonade would have been terrific, but a Sweetened Tea was pretty good, too.

One day at a time is right.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

It's that time of life

Mom passed away about 5 years ago (4 years, 8 months, 4 days ago), and faithful reader James' father passed away about 5 years ago (4 years, 9 months, 15 days ago), pal Stuart's dad passed away almost 4 years ago (3 years, 10 months, 5 days ago), former love of my life Lori's dad passed away almost 2 years ago (1 year, 9 months, 20 days ago)*.

We're getting to the time of our lives when our parents are dying. My dad's health is spiraling downward, James mom is as spry as the come, but she is in her 80's, Stuart's mom was in good health the last time I asked.

Lori's mom passed away last Thursday.

Having both parents pass within 2 years of each other is a jolt. I always remembered her folks as being a vital, engaging couple. They enjoyed a certain level of affluence, and had high expectations for their children (which is why I'm married to someone else --hahaha**)

I know that Lori did not take her father's death very well. It was very sudden, although at 72, he lived a full and productive life. It's just that everyone thought he'd live to see 85 or 90. The same with her mom. It's my understanding that she had been suffering from strokes and that her passing may not have been so unexpected as Lori's dad's.

When Mr. Hill died (I never called him Jack), I sent Lori a short e-mail, which to my relief, she did not receive. The content wasn't bad, I just regretted not sending her a card.

Things happen for a reason, I guess. Last Wednesday afternoon, I was thinking about Lori and her mom, wondering how they were getting along without Mr. Hill. I went as far as yahoo-ing Mrs. Hill to find her address. I was going to send Lori an e-mail, just checking in, but I got distracted by a phone call.

Tuesday morning, I turned on my work phone, and retrieved a voice mail that had been left there on Friday afternoon. It was from Linda (see "First Kiss" posting from November 04) who told me that Lori's mom passed away on Thursday.

I'm not claiming any great psychic connection between Lori and I. Sure, it exists, but it's not some unfulfilled romantic psychic connection. I usually feel it a day or so before she sends me an e-mail, and she usually tells me that she's been thinking about me after I send her one. You spend enough time being someone's friend, and you just know. She's forgiven me, and I've forgiven her. Some things just arent' meant to be. But that's the topic of a future post.

I really liked her parents. They were so....exciting. He travelled to the USSR on business. She was quite the socialite. They always treated me with dignity and respect, even though it was obvious that I wasn't son-in-law material.

Not wanting to make the same mistake twice, I bought a nice card and mailed it to Lori this morning. I included the following note:


I’m really sorry to hear about your Mom. I know this is a sad time for you.

Here’s what I remember about your Mom:

A quick wit, a caring heart, a loving person. Very classy, lots of character. Strength, confidence. Elegance. Charm.


She taught me how to play Shanghai (go-ers and stay-ers) while the Cardinals played the Brewers in the ’82 World Series. She held the townhouse together during Hurricane Alicia in 1983 (who needs electricity?). She put up with ardent admirers of her daughter. I remember the “30-year Service Rings”.

Last Wednesday afternoon, I was thinking about you and your Mom; wondering how you were getting along without your Dad. I have no idea why I was thinking these thoughts, I just was. Linda left me the message on Friday afternoon, and perhaps there was a reason I thought of you both, after all.

Your parents made quite an impact on me. I was always impressed with their dynamic. While I wouldn’t say that my parent’s marriage was dysfunctional, it was a lot different than your parent’s. I preferred the way your parents interacted as peers instead of “leader-follower”. I respected their confidence in each other; their obvious pride in each other. They were comfortable in letting each other “be”. You may not have realized that this was special, but I always thought it was. If a man and woman were meant to be together, it was your Dad and Mom.

It is the way I want Marriage to be. It is a worthy aspiration.

I know you miss your Dad, and I know you will miss your Mom. If it is any comfort, I’d like to think that they have reunited and are together as they should be, as they should always be.

Thinking good thoughts for you,


*Thanks to SSDI database. I don't know these things off the top of my head, you know.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Friday, June 17, 2005

This is a dusty blog

Faithful reader James reminded me that I had not updated in a while. I didn't realize that it has been a month. Well, we did go on vacation, and then we got back, and then I've worked on several home improvement projects in the new home.

As soon as the Michael Jackson verdict was returned, Chicago media headed to Gary, IN and interviewed people who now live in the neighborhood where the Jackson family resided over 30 years ago. Like anyone there remembers the Jackson family. Anyway, they managed to find an old lady who was glad Michael was found not guilty because "he doesn't have it in his character" to be a pedophile. Doesn't have it in his character? Evidence entered at trial indicated that Michael possessed some pretty lurid pornography, and it was accessible to his young wards. Hey, who doesn't like to see some naked women? But Michaels coffee table books of young naked boys in suggestive poses isn't my idea of good porn.

Michael Jackson is a creep. And now I am putting every parent in the world on notice: This man is a creep. Do not let your children alone with this man!

Well, I did the best I could.

Terry Schiavo's autopsy came back, and lo and behold, she was brain dead all this time!! Her brain was grossly atrophied and weighed less than half than a normal brain. She was blind and utterly incapable of ingesting food without aspirating. I downloaded the autopsy report from and agree with the opinion that her brain damage was profound and irreversible.

Now about all you folks who claimed that she was responding to you and could see you and that she was trying to communicate with you. You wouldn't have been lying just to further your agenda, would you? How is bearing false witness (a sin according to the Ten Commandments, by the way, along with Thou Shall Not Kill) going to benefit your right-to-life arguments in the future?

I can't say whether or not it was right for Terry to be taken off the feeding tube. It was between her husband and her. And as I have documented earlier, her husband went many extra miles to help her and support her. As evidenced, she could not survive without extraordinary means. And I would make the argument that she was not even aware that she was living. Calling Jean Paul Sartre!!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Zion Tragedy

It looks like a lot of facts are in about this terrible crime.

What bothers me is the post-arrest (pre-bond hearing) response from the grandfather of one of the girls, who said that the police were unfairly accusing Hobbs because he was an ex-con and the easiest guy to arrest.

Look, this guy was arrested, tried, and convicted of assaulting your adult daughter with a CHAINSAW!!! Do you really think that it was the first time he ever was mad at your daughter? Any sane person would think that the chainsaw incident was the culmination of a long period of abuse.

After Hobbs was sent to jail, your daughter came home to live with you. Didn't you ask her about her life with this man? And yet, as soon as he was let out of jail, you open your home to him (and don't even get me started with your daughter, the mother of the little girl) without question and now you defend him. Even if my daughter said "Gee, he gets mad at me every now and them, but I loooooove him", I'd live for the day he showed up at my house so I could beat him with a baseball bat.

No, you let him in, asshole.

How do you feel now that he as confessed three times (written statement, oral statement, and videotaped statement).

The guy's going to death row, and you (and your small-brained daughter) should go along for the ride.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The All Knowing Fly

What'd I tell you?

Getting Settled

We moved to the new house over the weekend. When did I become too old to walk up and down stairs? I realize there is a slight change in the altitude, but this is ridiculous!

As much as I love the new home, we are about to fight an uphill battle against 'deferred maintanance'. The sellers were not able to do much cleaning and stuff before the move, she was in mid-pregancy and he was in the hospital for over a week with a mystery virus. I'm giving them credit for that, however, there are a lot of things we'll need to take care of very soon.

To wit:

There are 13 light bulbs that need to be replaced, in locations ranging from outdoors to the little bulb that illuminates the ice/water dispenser on the fridge. Even the microwave bulb was burned out, but that didn't matter because we purchased a new one and had it installed yesterday.

The carpets were (and still are) the filthiest I've ever seen. Before we moved our furniture over, I ran our handy dandy Hoover carpet shampoo-er over all the carpets, collecting foul dirty water, sand, and gobs of pet hair. At the end of the first day of moving, our neighbors little girl discovered that her feet were black from walking around barefoot in our home. Yuck! We'll get them "professionally" cleaned as soon as all the boxes are emptied.

The yard is in terrible shape. Weeds and dandelions everywhere. Bare patches where their dog had pee'd (and pee'd and pee'd). It needs to be aerated tout suite (that's real quick in French, you know).

And this one, which is for the ages. The husband is a plumber. Or so he says. They had installed some really nice terra cotta tile in the kitchen area and the powder room. When he re-installed the toilet, he either didn't replace the wax ring or didn't take into account the increased floor height and added an additional ring. Now I know that most of you don't know about wax rings for toilets, but as soon as I saw the tiny trickle of water (first noticed by my eagle-eyed nine year old daughter) I knew he was a lousy plumber. The funny thing was that when I recounted the story of my daughter discovering the tiny trickle of water, my wife's 82 year old grandmother said "he forgot to replace the wax ring! You alwyas have to put a new wax ring on when you pull a toilet. what are they, 75 cents?" In fact, every woman over 40 that I told the story to said the same thing. So how is it that all these gals know about replacing wax rings but this plumber didn't?

For the record, a plain wax ring is 80 cents, a deluxe one with the plastic flangy thing is 93 cents.

And you know what I'll be doing on Saturday.


RE: The two girls stabbed in Zion, IL

It's the dad.

We'll find out in an hour or so.

Friday, April 15, 2005


We've had our first continuous week of Spring-like weather here in Flyover. I'm even playing golf this afternoon with my customer/pal, Gary.

I've spent the last several several weeks acting as a quasi campaign manager/director of communications for our local mayor, who was up for re-election. His opponent was "the guy who always runs for mayor and loses". Life in our small town is really nice. Managing growth is probably our biggest issue, one that our city council has done a great job at. However, the opponent (Bearded Monkey Bastard, as I called him) has managed to twist, misrepresent, and outright lie his way into the race. Responding to his attacks only brought out his insiped supporters, who spouted his crap over and over. It was truly frustrating. Between the campaign and dealing with my wife's anxiety over moving (it's a Jill thing), I've lost 10 pounds.

Anyhow, the election was on April 5, and the mayor won re-election by a 2-1 margin. There was no doubt in my mind that he would win, I was just hoping for an overwhelming margin so the naysayers would shut up.

I'm all for community service. I'm all for activism. I'm all for getting involved. I'm not too keen on lying and bearing false witness in order to get elected to public office. Especially at the local level. Especially when it's the assistant pastor at the Baptist Church doing the bearing false witness.

Anyhow, we'll see how much I want to stay an alderman in two years, when I have to run for re-election.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Rest, Terri

Maya Bell, Orlando Sentinel, writes about the death of Terri Schiavo:

For three years, Michael Schiavo kept vigil at her side, seeking aggressive rehabilitative therapy. He took her to California for experimental surgery, admitted her to a brain injury center in Bradenton and hired an aide to take her to parks, to museums, to the beauty shop -- anything to stimulate her. Later, he even became a critical care nurse so he could tend to her many needs.

But nothing drew Terri out of her cocoon and, by 1994, her husband accepted her doctors' prognosis. Her cerebral cortex was all but gone. She could not think, feel, reason or communicate and never would again. He decided it was time to let her go.

In 1998, he asked Pinellas County Circuit Judge George W. Greer to end his wife's artificial feedings and, over the objections of her parents, Greer agreed in 2000 that her husband had presented "clear and convincing evidence" she would not choose to subsist in a void, unaware of her environment, always dependent on others for her most basic needs.

The public may think that Michael Schiavo is a heartless bastard. I don't. In fact, I think he sets the bar very high for spouses. I wouldn't expect my wife to go through this for me. I wouldn't want her to go through this for me.

Before we villify Michael Schiavo, let's walk in his shoes. Eight years is a long time to wait for a miracle. What more could he have done? Wait? And wait?

I feel so sorry for everyone involved in this.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Shameless plug from a shameless guy

I'm known artist James Plakovic for over 20 years. I can't take credit for his talent, but I may have been in the room when a bolt of lightening hit him and he envisioned MusicArt.

Although he has created several wonderful portraits as MusicArt (including a truly inspiring John Lennon, which I kick myself for not purchasing), the man has a family to feed, so he also sells high quality prints of his work through Wild About Music, an Austin-based gallery (opening a branch in Santa Monica soon).

You can see his work by visiting . The folks at WAM also sell a T-shirt (yes, artists don't like to be hungry, and neither do gallery owners).

Recently, he was approached about creating a special print just for the folks at Signals, a fancy schmancy catalog. Go see and purchase at:

This print utilizes music that we composed many years ago. That's the extent of my involvement. All aspects of the work are hand-drawn, pen and ink. The precision is amazing; sadly, to keep it "pirate-proof", the various websites you can visit to see it purposely keep it fuzzy.

His own website/webstore is in the works at


All proceeds go to feed James and his wonderful family. And to buy more ink.

My compensation is vicarious in nature only.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


My heart goes out to Jessica Lunsford's father. Even though I'm weary of seeing him on TV, I would be happy to lend him the money to purchase an assault rifle. Hell, call it a gift.

There was a very brief moment when her murderer could be bailed out on $905 for his probation violation. I can envision the long line of people who would have liked to post that bail and take him on a one-way fishing trip to the Everglades.

"Gee, with the excitement of catchin' all those fish, we sorta lost track of him when that 'gator jumped into the boat and ate him. Yeah, well, we did cut him up is pieces so the 'gator wouldn't gag."

And here is the difficult question: Does a guy like Couhey deserve life in prison? Would I really lose sleep if he were put to death? Would some injustice occur because he got the needle?


Did I mention that I'm Catholic? Has it occurred to anyone that I'm more Republican than Democrat?

How is it that the party of State's Rights has intervened in this matter? While I may be a "Bush Guy" (on many levels -- har har) how does he reconcile sending all those prisoners to the gurney in Huntsville and then signing this piece of legislative pornography?

In my opinion, dying with dignity doesn't include having a feeding tube prolong you life by 12-15 years. Our parish priest spoke about the issue on Sunday, saying that we, as humans, do not have the right to choose the time of our death. However, hasn't the Lord been waiting for Mrs. Schiavo long enough? Forty years ago, she would have died in a number of weeks.

Five years ago, less than a week after my mom passed away (after several months of the most cruel suffering) my wife's grandfather had a sudden stroke. He just turned 81, and was a vibrant, energenic man until that moment. He was flown to the nearest large hospital, where the doctor told my wife's grandmother that while there was a slight chance that with heroic efforts, he would survive, but he would never recover. He wouldn't be able to communicate. He wouldn't be able to have his great grandchildren sit on his lap and make him smile.

Grandma told the doctor "Well, we talked about this. What we wanted to do if something like this happened. He would never want to live that way; not after the way he was so active." No one asked for a document to prove anything. They wheeled him upstairs to ICU and that is where he died 8 hours later. We miss him; but our memories of him are better because we never saw him like we're seeing Terri Schiavo now.

Selfish, perhaps.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Wrong, Cardinal

With all due respect.,1,2549424.story

I'm a Catholic. I "converted" 6 years ago. I listened to The Da Vinci Code on CD and loved it. Historical fiction is great. Was it Anti-Catholic? Maybe. Was I offended? No. Did I feel the urge to leave the Church? No. Did I do some research into the organization the book talks about? Sure.

What's the harm?

The Cardinal asks what would happen if someone wrote a novel that was Anti-Islam. Ask Salman Rushdie how that has worked out for him.

What a great opportunity for Catholics (and/or others) to inquire about their faith. Read the book, and then ask your priest about it. Have your priest read it, and then ask him lead some discussion groups about the genesis of these ideas, and explore where they came from and where they deviate from doctrine.

This isn't heresy; this isn't blaspheme.

The Avatar Meher Baba once stated that it is important to question your faith. If you truly believe, the questioning will only make it stronger.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Ides of March

note to faithful reader James:

Baaaa ba da bap ba daaaaa

Monday, March 14, 2005

Going, going, gone!

Two days on the market, 5 showings. Sold the house for more than we expected. Not bad for a few days of hectic cleaning, decluttering, and anxiety attacks. Once we get through the inspections, attorney's approval, and mortgage process, I may actually get excited about this move.

We took the kids over to see the new house. My daughter is thrilled. My son was hoping for something larger. He's 5. I envision walking down to the river and teaching my son to fish. Just the way that I had always dreamed it would be with my dad. The great news for my son is that we're actually going to do it. I sorta get misty just thinking about it.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Bunco Night

Well, it's Bunco Night (see earlier post about self-examination and materialism) (oh, there's more than one? sorry), and we did not buy a new house just to host the festivities.

We have, however, decided to buy a house.

A street in our neighborhood backs up to our community river. The houses there are modest, the lots smallish, but the view, quiet, and privacy afforded by the location are wonderful. It's a 3 bedroom house with a walkout basement, a deck, a nice den/office, open floorplan, etc. Just like all the others.

I wasn't that knocked out by the house. It is okay. My wife absolutely loves it. When I stepped out on the deck and looked over the backyard and saw the river flowing quietly 200 feet away, I fell in love. The property between the lot line and the river will never be built on. The City has advised the residents that as long as they don't build anything, they can "squat" on that property, using it for gardens, additional play area, etc.

Now we have to sell our house. We priced it to sell, and we think we'll pull this off.

The next time my wife hosts Bunco, she'll do it in the house of her dreams.

I'm that kind of guy.

Big Crime Solved

I'm not sure which is scarier, that white supremacists weren't involved in the Lefkow murders, or that it was a lone delusional psycho.

I think most people found it a reasonable assumption that a Hate Group was involved. And most people were wrong (myself included).

Now the Hate Groups want an apology. They say we were prejudiced to think they were involved.

Keep waiting, guys. You won't hear an apology from me. Especially after the way some of your groups celebrated the murders.

I read the letter that the murderer wrote to a local TV station explaining why and how he commited the crimes. It is frightening how far off the deep end a person can get. Is anyone safe?

The murderer took his life a few blocks away from my brother-in-law's house. The West Allis neighborhood where this happened is a quiet place, tree-lined streets with quaint bungalows. Working class families all getting along. You just never know when bad things are going to happen.

And no doubt, some schmuck running for mayor of West Allis will point to this and tell voters that the police aren't doing enough to keep the community safe.

Friday, March 04, 2005

About the train

This will be a two-part story. The second part will be written after I find a photo that will make it all sensible.

We were living in St Louis (Crestwood, to be exact) in 1964 in a neat brick ranch with a walk-out basement that had a driveway that went downhill around the house to the garage. Our backyard had a small, flat area to play in and then went precipitously downhill to a creek. I remember that some hornets lived in the hillside...and suffered my first sting as a result of that discovery.

For Xmas that year, I received a bunch of neat toys (a list of which I have courtesy of my Mom, who was still not too busy to make note of such things in my "baby book") including this train. I rode it all winter long in the basement, and when it was warm enough to play outside, I would ride it in the street (this was in the 60's, when you could play in the street without fear) and also ride it down the steep driveway. This bugged my Mom, not because I was in any danger (which I probably was, but this was the '60's when you could do all sorts of foolhardy stunts and not get hurt) but as a child, I always wore nicely polished shoes, either white or black, and when I would zoom down the driveway, I would drag the toes of my shoes along the pavement, scuffing them terribly. Poor Mom would have to polish my shoes all the time. My Dad sold shoes back then (actually, he was the shoe department manager) and didn't believe in sneakers for his kids.

The train was made of plastic, with a wooden steering handle, a metal bell, and a plastic horn that you could push to make a whistling sound. It was a glorious toy, and in my mind, I was riding that train all around St Louis, to the department store to visit my Dad, and to Nebraska to visit my grandparents.

I rode that train until, as Mom would later tell me, "the wheels were squared off". I had graduated to tricycles (my buddy Dave and I would lash them together to play Batman and Robin -- another skinned-knee waiting to happen) and the last time I saw my beloved train, it was being loaded into a Goodwill Truck. I recall feeling sad about seeing it go, but in those days bad feelings were soon forgotten.
1964 Favorite Toy of All Time Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Today is my daughter's birthday (as mentioned in a recent post). Yes, I have a wife, a son, and a dog; but my daughter is the reason I bother to work. It's not that I don't love the others as much, but I really want to be "The Best Damn Father in the Universe" because of her. The Firstborn always sets the tone.

I think she deserves "The Best Damn Father in the Universe". So many of us didn't have one of those.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

One Year In

Okay, we're a year into the Blogging thing.

I set out to use this blog as an excuse to write. Sadly, I have not been able to write enough. And a lot of the times I do get a chance to type, my thoughts aren't as well thought-out as I'd like them to be. I'll get on a rant, and then the phone rings and I'm back to work.

Yet other writers, better writers, can fight through the distractions.

It's called discipline.

Unfortunately, I was not born with the discipline gene.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Halfway There

My wife and I tuck our kids into bed each night.

We each take a turn to say good night to the kids, chatting about the day's events, what's going to happen tomorrow, etc.

Wednesday night, I mentioned to my daughter that her birthday was 2 weeks and 1 day away.

"You're going to be nine," I said. "It seems like just last month you were turning eight." She nodded. She knows me well enough that when I start talking about how fast she's growing up, chances are that I'm going to get sappy.

"That means that you'll be here with us for just nine more years, and then you'll be off to sleep-away college. You'll probably be so sick of us that you will be happy to go. It's okay, everyone gets tired of living with their parents by the time they turn eighteen."

Then it hit me. I'm at the halfway mark. Have I held up my end of the promise to be a good father? I think so. But as fast as the first nine years went by, the next nine years will be on such a fast, curvy track, that I find myself suddenly unsure of my Dadly abilities. Is she going to be a good kid, a good girl, a good person? It seems that in this day and age, the margin for error is very slim.

I told my wife about my epiphany. "There's not much time left with her," I said. "We need to take more trips to Disney. We need to enjoy her as much as we can."

Time flies when you're having fun.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The King of Pop

Mikey, just shut up already.

By the grace of the jury system, you will probably get off.

But we all know what you've done.

Friday, January 21, 2005


When I was 6 years old, I confused the word "inaugeration" with "assassination". I couldn't understand why Nixon would attend his own inaugeration. Mom straightened that out for me. If you recall, assassination was a hot topic on the news in those days.

In keeping up with my blog reading, I saw that one blogger was heading to DC for Bush's inaugeration and was going to wear a t-shirt emblazoned with the initials "FUGWB" I remember my first beer.

Yes, it's really impressive to tell the President of the United States "fuck you", let's face it, I flipped off Bill Clinton every time I saw him on TV after 1996.

This particular blogger was steamed because the POTUS is against gay marriage. I say to her, and to others who disagree with the POTUS (whether it is Bush, Clinton, Nixon, etc) "Run for congress." In fact "Run for congress as a Republican".

Am I nuts?

No. If you want to make changes in our country, you need to subvert and convert. To borrow from an old "West Wing" plotline, if 2 million gun control advocates joined the NRA and called for a vote at the next convention, what will happen?

As a supporter of same sex marriage (SSM as I call it), I think it's time to make a rational strategy. First of all, you have to understand your opponents and their shopworn arguments. Someday, when I run for congress, I hope someone asks me where I stand on SSM. Here's my answer:

Thanks for asking me that question. Now watch how artfully I dodge your question with several questions of my own. Who cares where I stand on SSM? Don't my positions on healthcare, social security, education and taxes have a greater impact on the day-to-day lives of my constituents than who is qualified for marriage? Shouldn't the question be "What's my position on marriage?" Where should I draw the line? If I'm against SSM, shouldn't I be even more against infidelity, abuse and divorce? Where is the line drawn? Is it okay for a man and a woman to be married if only for convenience but it's not okay for a woman and a woman to be married because they are committed to each other forever? It is somehow okay for a man to beat his wife as if she were chattel but it is not okay for a couple of men to be legally recognized as a family? Is it just fine for a woman to engage in extramarital affairs and still be considered as a "married"woman, with all the "respect" and "privileges" that are somehow accorded on her as such? If I'm against SSM because it is somehow "not right", shouldn't I be more opposed to all the horrible things that some heterosexual couples foist upon each other? I'm for MARRIAGE.

It's so much more fun to jump into the pool of rhetoric and quote biblical passages, spit out hate speech, and talk about how much more better you are than "those people". But I wonder if the people who are afraid of SSM would be welcome to a culture that outlaws divorce, infidelity and abuse. "Gosh, we can't outlaw divorce. We should be allowed to be MARRIED TO WHOEVER WE WANT TO BE MARRIED TO."

Anyway, this is a rant is actually about the pointlessness of wearing t-shirts that say "fuck you" to the POTUS. If you want to to change his mind, you have to exert a lot more effort. Wearing a T-Shirt that intimates an expletive doesn't get your point across, sister. All you are doing is giving the people who are against your position more reason to be against your position. "See those awful lesbians, they're telling the president to fuck off".

If you are interested in making SSM a real issue and not a martyr, then let's commit to put a real face on the issue. Let's show the non-believers that REAL people are REALLY impacted, and that these REAL people are entitled to the rights that we all enjoy. Telling the large number of people who are against you that they are idiots isn't going to cut it.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Pride before a fall

My wife was asked to join a group of local gals who host a monthly card game. Not Poker, sadly. It's a game called "Bunco" and I have no idea how it works. All I know is that the few times Jill has "subbed" for a regular player in another group, she has enjoyed it for the most part. As of Friday night, she is now officially in a Bunco group, and we'll be hosting a Bunco game at our home in March.

With the exception of one or two others in this group, the women live in large homes outside of town. That's not to say that I (or we) are any less financially capable than the others, rather we have chosen (after years of grueling self-examination) that living in our modest home and paying it off soon is more important than having a large house on an acre+ of land and waiting an additional 15 years to own it. Of course, I fully expect Jill to decide that now that she's hosting Bunco, why don't we plop down an additional $150,000 and upgrade to a larger home...quick, before March 11.

Jill isn't superficial. For the last three years I wrestled with the idea that the size and cost of my home should reflect my level of career success. We have the money, why not? Jill has always reined me in. However, in the last couple months, she has become embroiled in a personal struggle. If we (meaning me at this moment, but we collectively over the next 15 years) are working so hard to earn this really nice paycheck, shouldn't we have the digs that reflect it? Afterall, real estate is the best investment you can make, right? We looked at a few larger homes and even made an offer on one, but the seller was a little nutso and wouldn't look at our offer until we sold our house.

I was surprised and amused that Jill was wrestling with this. I had always perceived her as immune to this type of materialism. So, more grueling self-examination is called for. You know the kind of self-examination I'm talking about. Like a double-amputee checking himself for testicular cancer. It hurts to check, even if you don't find anything.

As of RIGHT NOW, our position is that we stay in our house and spend our money on travel and fun things. Things can change, though, so I'm trying to keep an open mind.