Friday, June 30, 2006

Many a True Word Said in Jest...

The confession that John Evander Couey made to detectives that he kidnapped, raped, and then buried Jessica Lunsford alive has been tossed out by the judge in the case.

His confession came after he requested a lawyer, but wasn’t provided with one.

There is ample evidence against Couey. I have every hope that he will be convicted and sentenced to death for this heinous crime.

But if for some reason he is found not guilty and set free, I will make it my life’s mission to abduct him and either bury him alive or drown him.

I’m accepting applications for helpers. No experience required. Must be willing to serve jail time or accept the death penalty. I had previously offered to loan Jessica’s father the money to by a gun. Perhaps he has some buddies who’d like to help.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Vacation Hotels

We spent a week in Arizona in early June.  We saw the Grand Canyon and many of the sights of Northern Arizona.

We like to stay in hotels.  We really like nice hotels.  We stayed in 5 hotels over 7 nights, and here is my Hotel Review:

Night 1:  The Homewood Inn and Suites in Scottsdale AZ.  We enjoy suite hotels because it allows us to put the kids to bed at a regular hour and still be able to stay up and relax, plan the next day, and just generally unwind.  This hotel was clean, the staff was friendly, and the free breakfast was very good.  The outdoor pool needed to be “de-leafed”, as it is surrounded by many trees, but otherwise it was very nice.  At $79, this was a great value and we would stay here again.

Night 2 & 3:  AmeriSuites in Flagstaff AZ.  The staff was great.  That being said, let’s be clear:  this hotel is not a suite hotel.  The rooms were larger than regular rooms, but there was no separate bedroom.  This causes problems because it’s more difficult to put the kids to sleep (unless I want to go to bed at 8:30).  The rooms were not very clean, the furniture was beat up, the common areas were the same.  The breakfast was above average, which is a plus.  Some type of youth group was booked on to our floor during both nights.  Instead of socializing in the lobby common area, they chose to have open door gatherings in all the rooms around ours.  We had to call the front desk both nights around 9:30 to ask them to quiet things down.  The pool was indoors, but the water was cold.  The hot tub was okay.  At $98 per night, we were hoping for more.

Night 4:  Holiday Inn Express at the Grand Canyon.  The first room we were assigned had evidently hosted a cigar party recently.  We moved to another no smoking room without problem.  You can’t have a lot of expectations with a Holiday Inn Express.  The room was cleaner than AmeriSuites.  The indoor pool was sufficiently warm.  Not a lot of frills.  The breakfast was okay, not stellar.  At $122, this was the most expensive hotel of the vacation.  The price was based on the location.  Even the Wendy’s was expensive.

Nights 5 & 6:  Hampton Inn and Suites Flagstaff AZ.  This hotel is located across the street from the AmeriSuites.  We booked a regular room.  The room was clean, large, and very comfortable.  The indoor pool had very warm water.  The breakfast was very good, and the staff was nice, too.  The lobby was great, and the hotel was one of our favorites.  The price was $114, but after spending $98 at AmeriSuites and hating it, I wished we would have spent the extra money for this hotel for nights 2 & 3.

Night 7:  Embassy Suites Biltmore in Phoenix AZ.  Hands down our favorite hotel.  Lavishly appointed with very nice rooms.  The outdoor pool was huge, surrounded on 3 sides by the hotel as if set in the bottom of a canyon.  Could have stayed there a week.  Because we had to leave at 4:30 am, we couldn’t enjoy the breakfast.  The living room part of the suite was gorgeous and bedroom was huge.  I am strongly considering going back there for a ‘getaway’ weekend with the wife (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). At $92, how can you go wrong?  Great staff.

Friday, June 02, 2006

A Rawlings Guy

During our church softball tournament last year, my beloved Rawlings "Bill Madlock" infielders mitt finally gave up the ghost. I had it for over 20 years. It was a "hand me up" from my brother who had several gloves at the time.

My first glove was a Rawlings, given to me in 1968. I still have it. When I got it, I thought that I would never need another baseball glove. It seemed huge on my hand. I used it throughout my childhood, until I stopped playing organized ball at about the age of 13. I soaked it in "glovoleum" and it could practically field balls by itself. Today, the Rawlings label on the back of the glove worn away, and I can barely fit my hand inside.

I took the kids mitt shopping last night, hoping to find a decent glove for around $50. I did a little research prior to shopping, and saw a 13.5" Rawlings for about $40 online. I also saw that I could spend as much as $280 for a fancy glove. Much to my kids' chagrin, I spent over 30 minutes looking at mitts. I picked out a Rawlings that I thought would do the trick, a dark brown model made for softball. I tried on lots of gloves, wishing that my talent could justify a larger investment. There was a Nokona glove that was gorgeous. American made from american cows. The leather was thick and soft, and even though it was only 12" glove, I had to battle my better self not to drop $100 to buy it.

I know that most mitts, and especially the ones in my price range, are made overseas. I flinch at the thought of buying a baseball glove, the crucial equipment of America's Passtime, that is not made in America. Think about how I must feel about Mizuno equipment. Major Leaguers who use Mizuno gloves are evil. What, Rawlings or Wilson or Easton aren't good enough? Yet, those Mizuno mitts are very, very nice. Especially those over $125. I am a Rawlings Guy, darn it.

I then laid eyes on a glorious glove, a Louisville Slugger glove. Again, my sensibility is offended. How dare a bat company make a mitt? Stay with your own kind, batmaker! I gotta tell you though, it was a cool glove. The leather was soft, the pocket was deep, and it had two (count 'em, 2) adjustment straps. My hands and fingers are long, but I do not have large wrists. I am scrawny. The 2 straps let me strap that baby to my arm, becoming an extension of my hand. I could see myself drifting back on a deeply hit fly ball, reaching out, and making the game saving catch with this glove.

Decisions, decisions. I really had a crisis. Do I spur my beloved Rawlings brand for comfort and performance? But it's a RAWLINGS! They were the same price. I had a similar attack last year when I bought some Sonoma brand jeans at Kohls instead of buying my beloved Levi's. How to choose? My son would have "Eenie Meenie Minie Moe'd" the decision. I was dumbstruck.

As I handed the clerk my credit card, I told her that it was a tough decision. "I'm an old fart, I've always had a Rawlings mitt. I'm a Rawlings Guy", I told her.

She put the Louisville Slugger mitt in the bag and just smiled.

I better have a good year in the field. Although I can always blame it on having a new mitt.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Open Letter to Jerry Hairston, jr


Sorry it didn't work out here in Chicago. While we don't miss Sammy Sosa, you were still just a throw-in on a bad trade. Your desire to be an everyday player never matched your true ability on the field. I know you didn't want to be a "Major League Utility Guy", but let's face it; it's better than being a "Minor League Utility Guy" which is, in fact, what you are.

Here are some tips that I hope will help you as a Texas Ranger:

1. Learn to hit in situations. Any situation would be fine. As a Cub, I could always count on you to move the runner over on a 6-3 fielder's choice with one out. Sadly, I really needed you to get a base hit so the runner could make it to third base, allowing him to score on a sacrifice fly (or more likely, be stranded as the next two Cub hitters go down on strikes).

2. Learn to field one position. Most Utility Guys can field at least one position REALLY WELL. You are more of a "jack of all trades, master of none" kind of fielder. You sort of play at 2nd base. You sort of play outfield. But you stink at both.

3. Learn to run the bases. Yes, I know, it's hard to run the bases when you get thrown out at first all the time. But in those rare circumstances when you actually reached base, I would win free drinks betting on you to get caught stealing or nailed at third trying to take that extra base. There's a time for speed, and if you ever get any, you'll know what I'm talking about.

4. Drop the jr, Junior. Yes, your father played (20 years ago) in the Majors, but no one confuses you with him. He was a good player. You suck. It's not hard to tell the difference. Also, whenever I hear "Jerry Hairston, Jr" it makes me think of your old man, who (although not a Hall of Famer) could hit for average, run the bases, and play a decent outfield. It depresses me when I hear your name. Think how he feels. Even Ed Begley dropped the "jr" after a while.

Hustle is all some of us have. But we play church softball, not Major League Baseball.

Good luck and continued mediocrity,

Jay Hansen
Waiting for next year since 1981