Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Son In-Law of the Year

Later today, I'm flying from Chioago to Tucson (at my expense) with my sister in-law to help drive my wife's parent's RV back to Illinois.

When they drove down at the end of December, it was noticed that my father in-law had some issues handling the 33 foot monster. Not wanting to lose my in-laws just yet, I offered to help them drive it home. They took along their car, and my SIL will help drive that. I've never been to New Mexico, and blowing through Albuquerque at 65 miles an hour appeals to me very much. Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois.

I am perfectly content to drive 10 hours a day for three days to make it back by Saturday. In the past, my PILs have preferred to take slower state routes in order to avoid OK City, Tulsa, and St Louis. That route takes includes Kansas and takes four days. I enjoy my PILs, but I would fear for their lives during the last day.

Dwight D Eisenhower commissioned our wonderful Interstate Highway System for a reason: To drive from Tucson AZ to Genoa IL in three days. One thousand, eight hundred and forty-one miles. Sure, the Kansas route is 20 miles shorter, but that 20 miles savings cost 6 hours of drive time and an extra night.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Profiles in Courage?

I don't have a snarky opinion about John Edwards continuing to run for president while his lovely wife, Elizabeth, battles what could be inoperable, fatal cancer.

I've always liked Elizabeth more than John, although they both seem to have a lot of character...I'm giving them a lot of credit because they have lost a child.

If there is a red flag, it is that the Edwards' have decided (now and in the past) to cope with unbelievable stress and grief in unbelievable ways.

They did lose a child, a heartache I would never hope to endure. Elizabeth chose to have another child when she was pretty much past the age when it is prudent to do so, placing herself and the new child at risk. (Before I get hate mail, let me say that it was her choice to do so, and bless her heart that she and the child overcame all the risk factors). Still, during the 2004 campaign, I got the impression that the reason they had the child was to replace the one they lost. Was this selfish? Who's to say.

Now, the poor woman is suffering from a recurrance of cancer, a seemingly metastized form of the breast cancer she beat years ago. My heart goes out to them both, and their children. Even if it is treated and controlled, the fear and anxiety one goes through is heartwrenching. I don't know if John's decision (with Elizabeth's support) is the best one for the family. Again, is it selfish? Who's to say.

Not having the same character, if my wife was diagnosed similarly, I would probably withdraw and turn away from the world. Heck, I wanted to do that during the three week cancer scare we went through 18 months ago. And that story had a happy ending.

I usually don't pray for smarmy personal-injury attorneys, but I will for him. And especially for his wife and their children.

If you came here for some snark, I won't disappoint you. I did not watch "60 Minutes" last night, but the overnight buzz is that Katie Couric "grilled" the Edwards about John's decision to stay in the campaign.

Milwaukee's Jessica McBride (very smart and very hot) sums it up best for me:

Katie Couric grills John and Elizabeth Edwards...what a witch. Look, I am NOT a fan of John Edwards-candidate. I think he's a class warfare demogogue and phony. But I don't question his devotion to his family. I think it's completely a personal decision for John and Elizabeth to decide whether or not to go forward with the campaign. I don't criticize them for that. Why should they allow cancer to control their lives? I can understand why they would not want to give up THEIR dreams (and, yes, the spouse of a politician shares his or her dreams often) because of cancer. What is Elizabeth supposed to do? Curl up on a bed and cry every day with John sitting there holding her hand?

I suppose Katie thinks her questions are "objective."

Didn't Katie Couric return to the Today show pretty darn fast after her husband died of cancer even though she had two little kids at home who needed her?

I really think these questions are mean. Katie Couric is a jerk

Looks like Katie needed some "tough guy cred" and got it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

What a Pal!

Our good friends and neighbors, Tom & Wendy, moved last weekend. Tom had made several trips to eastern Ohio with his 22' trailer, and he had one more load plus a 17' U-Haul left to move. I offered to drive the U-Haul and we left really early last Friday morning for New Waterford OH, which is just outside, Columbiana, which is about 20 miles south of Youngstown. Both Tom and Wendy grew up in the Youngstown area, and despite that, are really nice people who have a firm grip on reality and a plan for the future.

After spending all day Friday on the road, and all day Saturday unloading furniture and possessions at various storage units and homes in the area, Tom drove me up to Mineral Ridge, the town where he grew up. He gave me the 25 cent tour and then we pulled into the Ice House, a bar in Austintown (right next to Mineral Ridge). Tom told me that they had really good chicken wings, and he was buying the Crown Royal.

I'm 44 years old and a child of the seventies. When I stepped into the bar, it was like walking right into Ft Wayne in 1977. I had the shortest haircut in the bar. Until 10:30, there were no attractive women. It was St Patrick's Day, and the bar was hopping...although I was told that it was always this crowded. Lots of regulars, which I like. A 70-80's cover band opened at 10pm, (with Prince's "Let's Go Crazy") and played lots of Journey, 867-5309 Jenny, some Cars, etc, and to be honest, they were quite good. The guitarists had the long hair going, and the bass player was 300 pounds with short hair and a Mike Reno bandana. Tom knew the drummer from back in high school.

Sure, it was lame compared to the Chicago or Austin live music scenes, but I was in heaven. Well, except for the lack of cute girls, anyway. I was amazed at all the long hair on the men. What kind of job lets you have this kind of hair? Granted, I'm VERY conservative hair-wise. I'm fortunate to have more than most 44 year olds, although I have some forehead creep. But all in all, it's a good head of hair.

We drank quite a bit, but I was too tired to feel intoxicated. At one point, Tom asked me what time it was, and was really sad to hear "8:40pm". We were really dragging from moving furniture. Pianos are stinkin' heavy. Our goal was to see the band's opening set, which we did. I had a dozen really hot and really good chicken wings, and had a nice time.

On the way home, Tom asked me how I liked the bar. I told him it was a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. He agreed. He moved with his family to Florida when he was 17, and has seen a lot of the world in the last 23 years. Much different from the usuals at the Ice House.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Another conspiracy shot to hell

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, or KSM as he likes to be called, has confessed to carryijng out the 9/11 atttacks along with many other terrorist acts, including the bombing of a Bali dance club and the beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl.

I guess the air gets let out of the conspiracy geeks who claim the US was behind the 9/11 plane attacks.

The confession was extracted at Gitmo, along with the revelation that KSM also was behind the 'Bartman' incident at Wrigley Field in 2003 and is also the father of Anna Nicole Smith's daughter.

It's amazing what you can find out after a few months at Guantanamo Bay.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Hey, was it me, or does Patti Smith look like Howard (Sirius) Stern's older sister?

I don't mean it as a cheap shot. Patti was never the iconic rock frontgal. That being said, she gets it done. Singing the Stones "Gimme Shelter" was so damn smart. The stinkin' industry will never appreciate what she's about.

I admire how her talent transcended her looks. Like Townshend before her, she overcame a lack of 'curb appeal' to make a huge mark on rock.

The Van Halen thing was sadly hilarious. Hagar and Michael Anthony.
"Hot for Teacher" is still my favorite VH song and video. In 1978, I met a older kid form Temple Texas who saw them and talked about how Eddie would turn his back to the audience when he played so nobody could rip off his technique.

I played REM when I fancied myself a college DJ in 1984. Take a break, Driver 8.

Sorry, I'm not a Hip Hop guy, but I'm sure Grand Master Flash deserved to get in. The funny thing is that here in Flyover, when local news reported that GMF was the first Hip Hop act to be inducted, they 'apologized' by explaining that an artist's first album had to be released at least 25 years ago in order to qualify for induction.

The penultimate post on Couey

The jury in the Lunsford case in a 10-2 vote, has 'endorsed' the death penalty for John Couey.

During the penalty phase, the defense had witnesses testify to the condition of Couey's brain, his apparent (lack of) intelligence, and his childhood. A 2002 Supreme Court ruling makes it unconstitutional to put a mentally impaired person to death.

I don't know if Couey was congenitally stupid, or if it was the crack that made him that way. This case will be appealed, and will be kicked around for years.

The judge will officially sentence Couey in several weeks.

I'd like to think that I'm as compassionate as the next guy, but I have difficulty in thinking that mental impairment is a suitable defense in this case. It seemed that there were many outside factors that made Couey impaired that night, not natural ones. What if we start seeing brain scans of drunk drivers or chronic drug abusers at every homicide trial. If any of my frequent readers (hahaha) would like to weigh in, please comment. I'm not looking for "He's an idiot and he should rot in hell" comments.

I always appreciate well-crafted humor, however.

Monday, March 12, 2007

New Feature - AssHat of the Week!

One way to keep the ol' blog current is to have a weely feature.

To that end, I'm pleased to announce "AssHat of Week", where (hopefully) a different jerk will be recognized for their terrible behavior.

Stop by each week to see who the lucky winner is. Tell your friends. Feel free to comment and suggest nominees. We're all friends here, right?

Disclaimer: Not all AssHatish behavior is equal. For instance, just because I'm calling NHL cheap-shoter Chris Simon this week means that I equate his actions to two-time winner John Couey, who raped and murdered a nine-year old child.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

With a capital G

Couey found guilty.

Saves me the trip down there.

All Couey, All The Time

Both the prosecution and defense rested yesterday at the Couey trial. The defense called only one witness, a forensic psychologist, who said that based on observation and an intelligence assessment, Couey is 'mildly retarded' with an IQ of 64.

As I predicted, the defense is simply "he's too stupid" to be responsible for this crime. Well, I think the defense realizes that with all the evidence and admissions, Couey would be found guilty. What they are trying to accomplish is keeping Couey off the lethal injection gurney.

If and when Couey is found guilty, there will be a penalty phase. The jury could take Couey's 'idiotness' into account and decide that prison without parole is the compassionate sentence. Even if they determine that death is more appropriate, the judge can also 'reduce' it to life without parole.

Nothing would satisfy my republican blood lust more than seeing this guy get the gurney.

I know, I know, I was glad that Andrea Yates was not given the death penalty (and later re-tried and found not guilty by reason of insanity). Perhaps I have gender punishment issues. Or maybe I believe that Yates was delusional, and Couey is just plain evil.

Friday, March 02, 2007


The jury for the trial of John Couey has been selected and the testimony has begun. I'm following the procedings at and .

The courtroom blooger (and boy, would I like to have that gig) notes that among the evidence in the courtroom today is a mattress that has not only Jessica's blood on it, but also Couey's semen. I have not doubt that the defense will say that the semen is there because Couey jerked off around the clock.

I've mentioned my admiration and sympathy for Jessica's father, Mark Lunsford. How that man can sit in the same room with that mattress and the man who killed his daughter* is beyond me.

*I don't believe the defense is going to deny that Couey killed her. He admitted it, even though the confession was tossed.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

It's a cold, cold ground

In northern Illinois, we are experiencing that special time of year when we get a large amount of rain on top of the existing snowpack and frozen soil, resulting in flood warnings and treacherous road conditions.

In the last two hours, we’ve experienced torrential downpours, flurries, and more downpours.

It is my goal this evening to put on non-working clothes, sit on my duff and stay warm. Because we’re getting the house ready for back-to-back birthday parties for the kids, I’ll only get to accomplish one of my goals.

I got a call last night from one of my father’s largest creditors. They were looking to settle the account for a mere 78 cents on the dollar. After explaining that there was no money available to settle the account, they dropped down to 68 cents on the dollar.

I explained (again) that there was no money available to pay the bill. I then had to suffer through attacks on my father’s character (probably well-deserved), then attacks on my family and then on me. If I really cared for my father, they said. I’d write them a check for the $16,000 right now.

I do care for my father, although I am very angry and frustrated that he put himself into this position. Whether he pays them or not, nothing is going to happen to him. He can’t go to jail, and he can’t lose any more than he’s lost so far. His recent lack of character is NOT a reflection on me.

The collector tried all sorts of other guilt trips on me, but I was immune. All I want is that they leave him be. If he had the money, he’d pay it back, I’d like to think.

He got this credit card in 2000. At that time, he was retired and had only social security income. My mother was not working (she spent most of 2000 in a coma), and yet Citibank managed to give him a $25,000 credit line. Shit, in 2000 I earned $80,000 more than my father did, and I don’t have a $25,000 credit card. I wouldn’t want one.

After the phone call, I was angry, anxious, and nauseous. Not angry with the debt collectors, they were just doing their job. I was angry with my father, who had been my hero and role model for the first 40 years of my life. What has been going through his mind? I’m anxious because I wonder how many more of these calls I’m going to have to deal with before these accounts get written off. And nauseous because deep down, the debt collectors are right….my dad is a bad man.

My father has stolen from them. He has stolen from Citibank, and Discover, and American Express. He’s stolen from Verizon and Macy’s, and truthfully, he's stolen from my sisters and me. And because my sisters and I care about him, he’s safe and warm in a nice apartment, and we’re looking the other way while all the creditors take a huge screwing.

Please, Lord, don’t let this apple fall close to that tree.