Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sorry I Missed This

The World Santa Claus Convention was held recently in Denmark. Looks like a worth while endeavor, huh?

That Santa dude is from Sweden. From the looks of this they have a parade of nations, just like the Olympic Games. And what else could possibly come to mind when thinking of the Santa Convention other than the Olympics? Fat, bearded, old white guys and world class athletes have long been associated with one another.

And, of course, sporting the traditional Santa "no-shirt look" and having Santa's helpers in high heels and skimpy outfits just reeks of the old fashioned Christmas celebrations we used to have at Grandpa Scott's. Sniff, sniff. Oh, the memories!

Well Cards- The Wildcard Is Looking Good Right Now

On 7/7/05 I predicted the wildcard would go to the Astros. But let's face it...

the Astros are the best team in the National League right now. Half of the Cardinals starters are on the DL. And I think barring some injuries to Houston, they are going to catch St. Louis. We saw how evenly matched these teams are at full strength during the NLCS last year. And the Cardinals at half-strength are not going to hold back the now-healthy Astros' onslaught.

I know the lead is still 8.5 games, but, come on. It's gettin' a little warm in here.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Play Station 3

What do you think of this? Looks pretty cool to me. I'm 41 and looking forward to the release of a video game console. I am officially certified as a loser.

But I'm not without great ideas. If I were Sony, I'd get Jimmie "J.J." Walker to market it.

"Sony PS3- I think it's 'Dyn-o-mite!'"

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Random Thoughts On A Warm Summer's Day

- Why did Barney call Andy "Ange"?
- I have an idea for a sure-fire hit TV show. Remember Hee Haw? It was all about country life, corn-ball skits and jokes, and great music. And I loved it! Well, just flip the premise over on its head, and bring back Hee Haw, only with the hip-hop/rap culture. Seeing Nelly in a straw hat and overalls singing "Where, Where Are You Tonight?" would rule.

-I'm no golfer, but wouldn't golf be better if the sand traps and water hazards were on the greens too? Half the game is played on the green, right? Something needs to be done to make this game more interesting. Or how about using cue sticks on the greens instead of putters?

- I predict the next organs to be transplanted will be teeth. Why haven't we done this yet? We've been harvesting other things for years.

- Why was the train in the song "The Gambler", sung by Kenny Rogers, "bound for nowhere"? How do you get on a train like that? Who's ever gone to the train station and seen "Nowhere" as a destination? And can you get on a plane bound for nowhere?

- I want to write a book. I have lots of good ideas (for me, at least). How do I get started? I'm afraid to ask somebody because I'm afraid they'll steal my ideas while I'm trying to figure it all out.

- How did we figure out it was oxygen that our bodies needed when we breathe? Did we strap people in chairs with gas masks over them? And then pump each individual full of a different gas? Therefore the last man alive was breathing the "good stuff".

- Why are a lot of people offended by the word "piss"? The word "pisseth" is in my KJV bible in the books of 1 Samuel, 1 Kings and 2 Kings.

- I don't think the Beach Boys would have been as popular if, instead of "Help Me Ronda", they wrote "Help Me Coco".

- If someone writes a post, but there is no one visiting to read it, does it really exist?

- When I was growing up it was fashionable to talk to plants. It was supposed to make them thrive. So now, whenever I'm driving by a cornfield, I roll down the windows and yell "GO CORN!"

- What is the difference between straw and hay?

- I used to love pork chops, until I began to recognize the vertebrae and spinal cord in this particular cut of meat. Now I eat them, but try not to look.

- I thought Cloris Leachman was dead. And James Arness. Thank God for
Who's Alive and Who's Dead! Now I know they're not. And how else would I know Miss Kitty died of AIDS.
- Here's a creepy thought- what if flies were the size of dogs? Or spiders? Ooooooh- I just got a chill.

- What's a better super power- being able to fly or being more powerful than a steaming locomotive? For me, it's flight.

- Chris Farley is my favorite all time SNL'er. I watched "Tommy Boy" the other night and laughed like I did the first time I saw it. The deer in the car is classic. Even though they sort of repeated this gag with the bat in the cabin in "Black Sheep", I think the bat scene is even funnier. For some reason I think Chris's comedy was like "The Three Stooges" in that it appeals mostly to guys. My wife doesn't get it.

- I can't take credit for this thought, but I am repeating it because it is a good one. One of the radio chicks this morning made a good point- in the summer, just give me the heat index, not the temperature. Because if it feels like it's 110, then I don't care if the temperature is only 99. Because my body thinks it's 110.
- And on another weather note, why don't we have wind chill factors this time of year? I think it would be funny to hear someone say something like, "the heat index is 105 with a wind chill of 104.
When we get sick, our stool sometimes turns to liquid. We call it diarrhea, right? Well, how come when we're sick, if this happens to our stool, why doesn't our urine ever turn to solid?
- Dittos to what I said above about Chris Farley and apply that to the Sklar brothers. ESPN Classic's "Cheap Seats" is hilarious- if you're a guy. I have yet to meet a guy who doesn't love that show. And yet my wife hates it. Are there any females who feel differently?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Would You Pay $41.99?

There's a new medication coming out this summer. It's a one dose antibiotic. All's it is is azithromycin, which has been on the market for 14 years. But now you take your 10 day course in one dose. That's right. One dose. Just go the pharmacy, they add water, and hand you this drug to drink down at one shot. And it is being quoted at $41.99.

The name? Z-max. But my question is, who is going take one dose of this stuff for that price and not complain about it? It is a hard concept to get your mind around. A regular ten day course of medication could cost twice that depending on what you were given, but at least they hand you 20 or 30 pills for the price. One stinking swallow for over $40? I don't know about that.

What happens if you spill half of it?

I really don't think the public is going to go for this. I think you could get a whole bottle of scotch for that price. Or a big ol' fancy supper.

Z-max? Ask for it by name.

My Bible Has This To Say:

Matthew 28:18-20:
"18And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen."

So how come non-denominational, anti-doctrinals love verse 19 and ignore verse 20? Doesn't verse 20 naturally follow verse 19? It seems to me Christ felt teachings (doctrines) were very important.

"The devil, too, can quote Scripture. But his use of Scripture is defective. He does not quote it completely but only so much of it as serves his purpose. The rest he silently omits."- Martin Luther.

So, if someone thinks our doctrine is unimportant and quotes the Great Commission while leaving out verse 20, he has defectively quoted scripture by that omission. Andthis person should be corrected, no?

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I Seem To Recall...

...saying three days ago that Rolen would be on the DL again soon. Well he's now there, alright. For how long, who knows?

Just stick with me kids, for all your Cardinals news before its news. (Funny, though, how they blamed the bad shoulder but didn't mention anything about the beard transplant. Maybe I should call Art Bell!)

Friday, July 22, 2005

Try This On For Size, My Crispy Friends

It's hot where I am. And I've had about enough of this thing you see above for now. So I've put some thoughts to paper. Record it at your own risk, ye budding artists.

"Stairway To Hell" , copyright 2005. Words by Scottius Maximus. Sung to the tune of "Stairway To Heaven."
With my deepest apologies to Led Zeppelin.

"There's a lady who states, that this heat wave is great

as she's frying an egg on my sidewalk.
It's so humid, I bet, I'll be soaking wet,
just by blinking my eyelids too quickly.
Ooooh, ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh oooooh, and she's frying an egg on my sidewalk.

It's so bright I can't see, as the sun beats on me,
'Cause my pupils constrict down to nothing.
I'll bump into the wall, and down the stairs I'll fall,
'Cause my eyes they're both nothing but iris.

Oooooooooooh, and it makes me sweat more.
Ooooooooooh, it makes me sweat more.

There's a feeling I get, as my eyes fill with sweat,
like the stinging of thousands of hornets.
And I stick to the seat of my car from this heat,
Like I'm glued by some resin from Saturn.

Oooooooh, and it makes me sweat more.
Oooooooh, and it makes me sweat more.

And I think that we fell, and landed in hell,
'Cause I know that my insides are melting.
But a new day will dawn, over my burned up lawn.
With no water we'll just have to drink dust.

Ooooh, it makes me sweat more.
Oooh, oh oh oh oh oh oh oh.

If you see fire raining down soon, don't be alarmed now.
'Til you see "EVACUATE" posted.
Don't leave the windows of your car up, or it will erupt.
And your own rear end will be toasted.

Oooh, and it makes me sweat more.
Ooooh, ahhh, ahh, ahh, ahh.

Your sweat's precipitating on you, leaving a white dust.
No you're not hallucinating.
Because the water level's so low, babe did you know?
It will be 4 years till you'll have to mow.

And as I drive on down the road.
Cursing that A/C that I sold.
I nearly faint as I am told
never again will it be cold.
The air is heavier than gold
so that I'm wheezing like I'm old.
The heat index is 2-0-4,
We need to go bathe in Crisco.
And we'll all be ready- to explode.

And she's frying an egg on my sidewalk."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Do Not Challenge Us- Your Suffering Shall Be Legendary

This is hilarious. Kudos to Viva El Birdos for posting this gem of a cartoon from Korea. The Cardinals dominance is indeed legendary. Here is Korean cartoonist Choi Hoon's depiction of the NL Central:

Hair Transplants And The St. Louis Cardinals?

Matt Morris beard has been getting trimmed thinner and thinner. It has to be the St. Louis summer heat. When I saw him pitching on Monday, I momentarily thought he had gone with the goatee, but close up shots showed he has thinned down the sides quite a bit. The Grizzly Adams look is gone. And who can blame him this time of year in St. Louis?

But the curious thing is, Scott Rolen was not in the lineup Monday night. Then on Tuesday night, he starts the game. And he has some thing growing on his face. I'm still not sure what it is, but it seems to be in 3 pieces. There are two pieces that end below his side burns on each side over the jaw, and then one central piece around the mouth. I'm not sure, but his hair, the jaw piece hair, and the mouth piece hair, all seem to have different colors.

Is it too science fiction of me to propose that someone has transplanted the trimmings from Morris' beard to Rolen? He's always had such a baby face that maybe he couldn't grow his own beard. Maybe Matt loaned him some shavings, which were transplanted Monday. Hence, he was not in the lineup.

And did you notice how every time he swung the bat and missed last night, Rolen was in obvious pain. He even yelled out on a couple of cuts that didn't connect in the 7th inning. Joe Buck and Al Hrabosky were quick to point this out. But I don't think it's from any injury, like Joe and Al. I think it's because when he follows through on his swing, not making contact whips his neck and head enough that the stubble from the transplant cuts into his still delicate facial skin.

Rolen needs to be on the DL. I think he will be soon.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Natural

Albert Pujols after Friday night's game winning 13th inning walk off home run.

"Pop Fisher: You know my mama wanted me to be a farmer.

Roy Hobbs: My dad wanted me to be a baseball player.

Pop Fisher: Well you're better than any player I ever had. And you're the best damn hitter I ever saw. Suit up."
- The Natural

Friday, July 15, 2005

I Had A Weird Experience With Levitra Last Night

Just let me say right off the bat that it's not what you think. Really. No, really. I mean it.

Let me explain. Last night I went to a dinner meeting sponsored by a pharmaceutical company that was supposed to be about...well, you know. The company is Glaxo Smith Kline.

I am from a mostly "white" town. I still am. There have been a number of minority groups moving to the area in recent years, from Asians, to Mexicans, to Middle Easterners, just like everywhere else I guess, except I always believed there were far fewer in my neck of the woods. Which there probably are. But last night as I walked in the room, for the first time in my life I am in the minority. Besides the speaker and a couple of pharm. reps, I'm the only white guy there. White chicks, black guys, black chicks, Asian guys, Indian guys, Middle Eastern guys were all there. Why I noticed this I do not know. But I did. I didn't feel uncomfortable, but I did feel different. So, am I a bigot?

And the women outnumbered the men. I don't know why, but I felt very uncomfortable about that. I guess it was having the topic, erectile dysfunction, discussed in mixed company that I found a little disturbing. And of course, the jokes are flowing as freely as cheap cologne at a cat house. Very unprofessional. But none of the jokes were from those who looked "Middle Eastern", they were all from American women and the most Americanized of the immigrants. It really disgusted me. Our culture is spiraling out of control. I felt like a fish out of water when I walked in, but after the discussions started in with the nonsense, I really felt different. So, am I a prude?

The crowning glory to this weirdness for me was the stupid Levitra pen that was proudly given to all of us. I am not kidding about this, but some "genius" thought it would great fun to make a Levitra pen that performed in a similar way to the drug. I am not sure how to put this in a delicate way. The pen comes folded up, but by pressing a button, it unfolds, erecting itself into a full size pen right before your eyes. Cute, huh? Not really.

Just where am I supposed to use this pen, oh Levitra-marketing madman? If you think I'm going to pull this suggestive pen out to sign the attendance card at church, you're out of your cotton-pickin' mind. I'd probably be ex-communicated.

And I can't use it at work. I don't want a lawsuit on my hands.

But everything was not bad. I did get a good meal. And there was one humorous story about some dude who saw the Levitra commercial with the guy throwing the football through the tire. Evidently he called his doctor the next day asking for that pill "that makes you throw the football better". Some people don't abstract well.

Anyway, I'm going straight home tonight. I think I'll feel better.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

You Think You've Got A Bad Job?

This guy comes in to my office today who is a meter reader. He reads gas and electric meters for the power company. So today he gets bit by a dog on the job. As I'm talking to him, I realize I have no idea how some people have to spend their days.

First of all, this man was attacked by a dog. Not a little dog. This one happened to be a German Shepherd. The owner thought he had put it in the house, but the dog jumped up against the door and the door came flying open. So now the dog's out with our reader friend, and after he had finished around back of this house he makes his way around to the front to angry German Shepherd looking for trouble. Well, thankfully, he was able to bob and weave around, and as the animal lunged at him he was able to take his meter recorder and hit it in the head. He thinks the dog's tooth caught his hand on it's way across his path, and before the dog could come again he was able to grab his dog spray and schnizzle Rin Tin Tin in the puss before anything else happened. He had to come in to get a tetanus shot nonetheless.

Not exactly how I'd want to spend my day.

But the worst part of it was that he matter of factly stated he has at least two dog "encounters" a day. This amazed me. His job is more dangerous than I would have thought. I consider myself a dog lover, too. But I wouldn't want to have to psych myself up just to go to work every day.

"Okay, here I go again, off to work. How many dogs will come after me today. One? Two? Five? Do I have enough spray? Am I alert enough? Can I do this again today? Will tomorrow be just like today, and will today be just like yesterday? Wait a minute...what was that? I thought I heard a noise behind me like an animal sneaking up or something. Must have been the wind. There it is again. I better turn around. No on second thought, I'll just...RUN!"

I mean, I have tough days and all. But doing what I do, at least I don't have crazed dogs running around my office looking to get a piece of me. Every day. Every single stinking day. At least I don't have to tell someone I can't get to them today because of the vicious dog blocking my way. Doesn't happen.

After years of this, this would, I think, really take years off your life. Or drive you to the edge. Which, thinking about letter carriers who are in the same predicament, might explain the whole "Going Postal" phenomenon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Prayers, Please, For Us Lutherans

In October of 2004, my fellow church members and I of Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Decatur, IL, voted to leave the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and become an independent Lutheran congregation for now. This was no reactionary undertaking after the disastrous Convention one year ago. This was a long time coming, after approximately 15 years of tolerating error, being accused of being un-Christian in our demands that "Lutherans" act and worship as Lutherans, witnessing back-room politicking at its finest, wanting pastors to live up to their vows, and fighting just about every battle in our district that is now being played out in the Synod as a whole. Our conclusion finally was that the idea of the "Missouri Synod" no longer existed, although it still existed in name. So we left.

We were not the only ones who did so. Our two wonderful pastors, who I think literally were prepared to go work at Home Depot rather than stay in the Missouri Synod political machine one more year, were contacted by another Lutheran pastor after their own hearts, in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, named Jack Cascione. His church, Redeemer Lutheran, had pulled out of Missouri just before our church did, and when he heard what we had done, he called. It turns out he had had similar experiences as our pastors had. And so a period of trying to become familiar with each other went by. Finally, one of my pastors went to Michigan to preach one Sunday, and Pastor Cascione returned the favor to us a few weeks later. It seemed we all wanted the same things. We are Waltherian by nature.

In May, our congregation and the St. Clair Shores Redeemer congregation agreed to come together to work on planting mission congregations. That would be congregations who are orthodox Lutheran. You know, that actually use the catechism as a teaching resource, who believe the Book of Concord of 1580 to be the true exposition of the Christian faith, who believe doctrine is important stuff, that the liturgy is important stuff, and that "contemporary worship" is as silly as John Rydgren's wacko-psychedelic god-speak. And so the United Lutheran Mission Association was born.

Well, the first meeting of the United Lutheran Mission Association, is this Saturday, 7/16/05 in Chicago. The first mission site will be chosen. So far, several congregations have already asked for help. One from as far away as Germany. Most right here in the Midwest. And several congregations will send representatives to the meeting to observe, and possibly, become members of the ULMA as well. Here is the website link.

Here is what the ULMA hopes to accomplish with God's help:
"Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that Christ has commanded."

Matthew 28:16-20

United Lutheran Mission Association, ULMA, was founded in May, 2005 to unite the God-given resources of Lutheran congregations to establish and maintain traditional Lutheran Mission Congregations, and offer an organization for existing Lutheran Congregations of like mind.

Guided by the Holy Scripture, "Book of Concord of 1580" and many of the writings of C.F.W. Walther, a fine Lutheran theologian and first president of the LCMS, the Association has the following objective:

Establish and maintain independent, orthodox, Lutheran, mission congregations until they are self-sufficient. Primary duties include:

  • Consider and match funds to requests from laypersons or Lutheran pastors wishing to start or maintain a mission.
  • Seek and collect the names of orthodox, Lutheran Pastors who might wish to start or serve in mission congregations.

With assistance from the ULMA, new Lutheran mission congregations will be modeled on constitutions nearly identical to the LCMS congregational constitutions prior to 1969.

ULMA is actively seeking:

  • Potential mission sites in the contiguous United States
  • Lutheran Pastors who may wish to start/serve a mission site.
  • Laypersons and congregations interested in becoming members and supporting these new mission congregations."
Please pray that God will allow our representatives to choose the congregation that not only is most in need of support, but the congregation which He Himself wishes to be chosen. It is an exciting and yet humbling time. May we do the right thing.

So please remember us in your prayers. Thank you.

Trivia Anyone?

During the mid to late 1990s, I liked to go in to AOL trivia rooms at night and play the trivia games. I could hold my own. So, for all my fellow triviates, here is an easy yet fascinating question (at least I find it fascinating) for you.

There are only two days during the calendar year when no games of the big 4 professional sports (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA) are being played. What days are they?

Bonus question: In what sport are no games played during the entire calendar year?

All Star Game Thoughts

1. The Cardinals will not win the World Series, barring a trade or two. As I posted last week, the American League is too strong. The Cardinals next to last hope was home field advantage. That is now gone. So Walt Jocketty better make a move or two.
2. How many buns does Jeanne Zelasko have in the oven? Her tummy is growing exponentially.
3. While on the subject of Jeanne, can Fox buy her a wardrobe? There are some options in maternity wear these days. I don't know where to begin, but here goes:
- She was wearing the same dress she did on Saturday's broadcast. What's up with that? Even my aging brain can remember that thing from 3 days previously.
- It's summer time. Are there maternity clothes that are not long sleeved?
- What's up with the poofy shoulders? Is this popular now? I really don't know, but it's like Jerry Seinfeld's puffy shirt.
- I like Jeanne, but I don't look for her to be on the broadcasts much longer. She looks like she is going to burst soon.
4. All of the Cardinals made a good showing.
5. I'm glad Carpenter pitched only one inning. He was fortunate to get out of the first without any runs scoring. And Tony had the good sense to pull him before he would have gotten lit up.
6. Eckstein showed some glove right off the bat in the game. I was glad to see him complimented by Joe and Tim, as he has many detractors about his defensive abilities.

7. Joe Buck's blundering substitution of Carlos Lee for Derrek Lee while reading (maybe the problem was he wasn't reading) the lineups at the beginning of the broadcast I'm sure did not sit well with Cub fans. At least the Cubs are having a stellar year. Oops, that's right, they're not. Well, at least Derrek Lee is not having an historic year. Oops again, I guess he is. My first reaction was, did he really just say that? I kept waiting and waiting for Joe to be corrected, either from McCarver or some behind the scenes guy, but the correction did not come until after the game had started. So for those of you who didn't know, that was actually Derrek Lee, not Carlos Lee, who started at first base for the National League.
8. Joe sure has some funky looking glasses. He looked worse than Michael Douglas in
Falling Down.
9. Thanks for nothing Pedro Martinez.
10. Kenny "Roasters" Rogers got what he probably deserved. Booed and lit up for a home run seems about right for showing up when he should not have. I just hope I don't get what I deserve, because I'm probably farther from perfect than he is. Lord, have mercy on me.
11. The National League is more inferior than even I thought.
The American League will win again next year. So this "This Time It Counts" stuff is really beginning to annoy me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I'm Frightened!

I've never been a Star Wars fan. I saw the first two movies a few years back. I never understood what the big deal was. People just went nuts. I thought the first film was campy at best. The second film I do feel was better. By the time the third film came out I was in college and really didn't care. So I've never seen it.

Nor any of the three films made in the past seven years.

I think God may be punishing me now. Because I spent a good part of the last 20 years making fun of the geeks and dorks (oops, there I go again) who camp out in front of theaters and walk around in Darth Vader and Chewbacca costumes. I know it was wrong. I shouldn't have done it. But I did. The crowning glory in all this was two months ago, when I watched this video of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog interviewing Star Wars fans outside a movie theater in New York. You know, the typical Star Wars losers. Sorry, there I go again. But that was one of the single funniest video clips I have ever seen. If you haven't seen it, you've got to click on the link above and do so. It will only take 10 minutes of your time. I really am sorry for laughing so hard. It's terrrible. I know it is. I know that some of the comments are crude. I'm sorry. But it was just SO FUNNY.

So now, after saying all of this, what do you think has happened? No, I'm not now a Star Wars fan. Good gracious. Are you insane?

No, but it's just as bad. My poor son has recently seen the first movie due to a friend's recommendation. And he liked it. Yesterday he saw the second one. And liked it even more.

Now what do I do? I know I shouldn't have used the words dweebs, nerds, losers, freaks, and various other derogatory terms for Star Wars fans. Now my son may be becoming one. I guess my sin has found me out. I am truly sorry.

Is there an organization I can turn to? You know, for parents whose kids have become the very thing they used to have such a glorious time making fun of. I mean, I know to ask God for His forgiveness. I was really mean to do what I did. But how do other parents handle this. I know there are worse things to happen. At least it's not like I'm joining PFLAG or something. But I need support.

I know I can't be the only one out there in this predicament. There must be some organization. Maybe I should do a Google search. For POPSWK, or something. You know, Parents of Pathetic Star Wars Kids. Or something.

Maybe it's just a phase,though; it's just a phase he's going through. Maybe he'll just think it's a nice story and leave it at that. Maybe he won't want a "WOOKIE SUIT" for Christmas. Maybe playing with plastic light sabers won't appeal to him.

I've got to give him some credit. He'll figure it out for himself, I'm sure. If not, there is always the Triumph video to show him.

Is It Just Me...

Or does the National League really have no chance tonight? If the Cardinals make it back to the WS, it looks like it will be another road start, which would make that the fourth time in a row.

By the way, isn't Detroit's new ball park beautiful? I just loved Tiger Stadium, but the way the Tigers theme permeates this ballpark is just so cool. I hope St. Louis new ball park has as much of a Cardinals motif.

Dennis, I Love You, Baby

Some will not like me saying this, but it is how I felt this morning. I'm sure you folks in Florida don't like it much, but I do. You see, for the past 3 months, the area I live in has gotten less rain than in any similar period since the 1890s. Some of our farmers are really hurting.

It started to rain last night, and is still raining this morning. It is supposed to rain all day today and part of tomorrow.

And we owe it to Dennis. Well, not really. And I don't really love Dennis. Actually, we owe it all to God. So, for all those hurt by this hurricane, just remember, God has also used it for good. Even if we don't deserve it.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Decision 2005- --Sam, Or... Uh, Sam?

My dog's named Sam. Actually his full name as registered at his vet's is Samson Dale Scott. We usually call him Sam or Sammy. Unless he's in trouble. Then it's definitely Samson. He'll be 2 in August, we think. At least the vet says so. He's a big, strong, fast, and gorgeous creation God made out of retriever, husky, and some shepherd. This post is not about Sam.

But this post is in reference to an article about another Sam. Via the great Caffeine and Irony, which provided the picture you will see. Read the story before looking at the picture below. But be forewarned- what you are about to see is shocking. If you are alone, bring someone in the room with you before viewing, preferably a trained professional, lest you faint or have an anaphylactic reaction. If symptoms persist more than 24 hours, see your doctor.

"SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The owners of the other contestants in this year's World's Ugliest Dog Contest may have thought their pooches had a chance until they saw Sam.

The 14-year-old pedigreed Chinese crested recently won the Sonoma-Marin Fair contest for the third consecutive time, and it's no surprise.

The tiny dog has no hair, if you don't count the yellowish-white tuft erupting from his head. His wrinkled brown skin is covered with splotches, a line of warts marches down his snout, his blind eyes are an alien, milky white and a fleshy flap of skin hangs from his withered neck. And then there's the Austin Powers teeth that jut at odd angles from his mouth.

He's so ugly even the judges recoiled when he was placed on the judging table, said his proud owner, Susie Lockheed, of Santa Barbara.

"People are always horrified when I kiss him. He may turn into a prince yet. He's definitely a toad," she said. "I always thought he'd be great on greeting cards or on a commercial for Rogaine."

Sam, who's pushing 15, has something of a cult following after winning the contest and fans' hearts for three years running. Last year, huge crowds gathered around Sam and Lockheed at a local parade and Lockheed said she received letters and calls about her pup for weeks.

"So many people have told me they've got his picture on their refrigerator. He certainly has a little cult following," she said. "I did years of professional musical theater and never achieved the fame Sam has."

Sam will appear in this weekend's Fourth of July parade in Santa Barbara, but the recent events may be the cap on a long, ugly career. Lockheed says Sam's now suffering from congestive heart failure, lung and kidney problems and has definitely slowed down in his twilight years.

Still, he enjoys regular gourmet meals of sirloin steak, cheese balls, roasted chicken and flan (so he'll swallow his multiple pills). He also passes occasional weekends at the Gaviota ranch of Lockheed's boyfriend, where the World's Ugliest Dog rides in the back of an ATV with his few remaining hairs wafting in the wind."

Now I ask- who is the fairer Sam? Actually, how about one of those blog polls that were popular for a few days? Vote now. For Samson Scott. Or Sam "The Ugly" Lockheed.

Phone lines are open now!

Friday, July 08, 2005

All*Star Baseball

If you were a boy growing up in the late 1960s and early 1970s, you undoubtedly passed some of the most hot and humid afternoons of summer sitting in your own, or a friend's, air-conditioned home and playing "All*Star Baseball Game". The version to the right was the version we had. As we grew older, there were more realistic games to be played, such as Strat-O-Matic Baseball, but nothing captured the imagination quite like All*Star Baseball. This game has been around forever. My father even had one when he was young!

Part of the "mystique" was probably the fact the game "board" itself sat in the box and had a picture of the infield at Wrigley Field. On this picture were four holes where pegs could be placed around all 3 bases and home plate to keep track of your runners on the basepaths of a real diamond. So cool!

Then there was a background piece of cardboard which had a photo of Wrigley's bleachers and outfield, and which sat propped upright on the board by four slots. On this piece was a fielding key, stolen base key, hit and run key, and some other stuff I don't quite remember. There was also a spinning wheel to keep track of outs and the number of runs scored that inning.

On the actual playing board were two spinners on top of a piece of clear plastic. Discs, representing individual players, were inserted into the clear plastic. The discs were divided into 15 or 20 areas around the outside of the disc, each containing a number. The numbers represented what could happen during an at-bat. There was a key as to what the number meant on the board just below home plate. So, for instance, if the spinner stopped pointing at the area with the number "10", your batter just struck out, because "10" meant a strike out. Each individual player who was an "All Star" for a particular year had a disc which was divided into the spaces. The sizes of the spaces were determined by the actual likelihood, from that real player's stats, of that player striking out, hitting a ground ball, hitting a fly ball, walking, singling, doubling, tripling, or homering.

Here's what the numbers on the discs meant:
1- Home Run
2- Ground ball III
3- Fly ball I
4- Fly ball I
5- Triple
6- Ground ball III
7- Single II
8- Fly ball I
9- Base on balls
10- Strike out
11- Double
12- Ground ball III
13- Single II
14- Fly ball I

The I's, II's, and III's directed your eyes to the propped up scoreboard area, and based on a second flick of the spinner, determined whether the fielder caught the ball or made an error, and how many bases the runners advanced, if any. So there was a lot of detail to the game, making no two games play the same. What a joy it was!

What happened if the spinner landed on a line dividing two spaces- the dreaded "liner"? Well, we counted that as a "foul ball", and the batting player just spun again.

Wilbur Wood, the famous knuckleball pitcher, had the biggest "10's" I have ever seen. He almost always struck out. There were few things worse than having your opponent bring Wilbur Wood to "bat", and Wilbur Wood getting a hit. He's my nominee for "Worst All*Star Baseball Player" ever.

Triples were invariably the smallest spaces on the discs. Lou Brock, Dave Cash, and, as I remember, Rennie Stennett, had the biggest "5's".

Pete Rose had a huge "13"; there was none bigger. I never understood why they made his "13" so big and his "7" just average. But they did.

And Willie Stargell and Nate Colbert had the biggest "1's". I know. I measured all the players against each other!

I have pages upon pages of statistics that I kept on loose leaf notebook paper. Batting averages, home runs, RBI's. I kept them all. Useless information, to be sure, but if anyone wants to know which players had the most successful discs, I could tell you.

The funniest stat I kept was ERA. ERA? And strike outs. What the heck did I do that for? Pitching had absolutely nothing to do with the outcome of the game. Or did it? After playing hundreds of games, I can tell you that some pitchers fared better than others. Call it the curse, or blessing, of run support, if you will, but on some level I did believe that who my pitcher was influenced a game's outcome. It seems strange to say, but if some pitchers were in my lineup, say, Jim "Catfish" Hunter, I would feel very confident about winning the game. Some guys racked up a lot of wins, while others a lot of losses. How can anyone explain that?

For a youngster, this is a great way to learn the"inner game" in a fairly simple, yet fun, way. There is some "strategery" to this game, because of the options to steal, hit and run, intentional walk, etc. And a lot of the fun was in deciding what players to choose (draft) for your team's position players and pitchers, and then making out the batting order. Something a 10 year old (or 41 year old for that matter) finds extremely entertaining.

Believe it or not, I still played this game regularly in college, although by then Strat-O-Matic was more interesting to me. The last time I played this game was in 1989, when my wife was pregnant with my son. I envisioned him playing this game at the time, just like my father had played before me. But, in this video-game driven world, that was not to be. So be it.

I have seen there is now a "Hall Of Fame Edition" of All*Star Baseball. It looks like there are now pictures of the players on the discs. Although it looks good, I'll pass on getting it. I still have my game in my basement if the urge ever comes. I guess I still have it because I couldn't bear to part with it. The hours of my life spent playing this game have prevented that. I only wish I could find my dad's old game. That, and his old baseball cards.

So, as the MLB All-Star Game approaches, everyone lift a glass (and unless you're The Hulk, preferably not one of these) to All*Star Baseball Game.

Man, I really love baseball. And I think All*Star Baseball Game is a part of the reason.



I just noticed something as I was drafting my next post. I have a Microsoft keyboard. On the key with the number "8" on it, above the "8" is a five pointed star. But when you shift and hit the "8" key, you get a six pointed star. See: *.

What's up with that?!!! I want my money back.

ADDENDUM 8:45 PM: WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?!!! When I am typing on Blogger, I swear the star is six pointed. I'M NOT KIDDING!!! But when I published the post, the star has 5 points like my keyboard. BLOGGER IS MAKING A FOOL OF ME! You think I'm nuts, don't you? This program is making me look like a DAD-GUM FOOL. And I don't need any help doing that.

I think I'm gettin' gas-lighted.

*********************************** You see all those stars I just typed. On blogger, they're six pointed. REALLY. I wish you could see this. But I bet when I hit the publish button again, those things will change to five pointed FREAKS. Was I right?

This is weirdin' me out.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

If I Were An Englishter...This'd Be Me

Thanks to Kiihnworld for posting about this letter today. There's not a single right thinking American who doesn't feel this same way right now. I wish I could say I'm shocked by today's London homicidal bombings. But we all knew it was going to happen, and it's going to happen again to one of us. Sorry to burst bubbles, but it's just the truth. It's still war-time, in spite of the fact I live my life like nothing is happening in the world. It's a lie. This war may not end in my lifetime, even if I make it to 90.

But what really frosts me is the way the main stream media in this country is describing the "terror" in the hearts of Londoners. Reports on how the citizens were terrorized, and how PM Tony Blair looked "shaken" when he first spoke publicly on the matter. Sorry journalists, but that look from Tony Blair was not of a man who was shaken, but of a man who was resolute. Hurting, yes, but shaken? Who writes this crap? And I have yet to see any of the townsfolk of the great London looking fearful or terrorized. Pissed off, oh, yes, definitely.

Which brings me to this writing from a Londonite. Ya gotta love it. I'm so tired of the bull shit from the anti-war crowd in this country,and in particular flying out of the mouth of my Senator, Dick Durbin. Just for the record, I have never voted for him. He is an embarrassment to me. And because he is from Illinois, my state should be embarrassed. We have brought shame to our country. So when I see a real man (or woman- who knows?) who has more balls (or whatever) than my Senator has money, I just have to include it on my blog.

Here it is, in all its glory:

"A Letter To The Terrorists, From London
A Letter To The Terrorists, From LondonJuly 07, 2005

What the fuck do you think you're doing?

This is London. We've dealt with your sort before. You don't try and pull this on us.

Do you have any idea how many times our city has been attacked? Whatever you're trying to do, it's not going to work.

All you've done is end some of our lives, and ruin some more. How is that going to help you? You don't get rewarded for this kind of crap.

And if, as your MO indicates, you're an al-Qaeda group, then you're out of your tiny minds.

Because if this is a message to Tony Blair, we've got news for you. We don't much like our government ourselves, or what they do in our name. But, listen very clearly. We'll deal with that ourselves. We're London, and we've got our own way of doing things, and it doesn't involve tossing bombs around where innocent people are going about their lives.

And that's because we're better than you. Everyone is better than you. Our city works. We rather like it. And we're going to go about our lives. We're going to take care of the lives you ruined. And then we're going to work. And we're going down the pub.

So you can pack up your bombs, put them in your arseholes, and get the fuck out of our city."

Hey National League- Is That The NBA Eastern Conference In Your Pocket, Or...Yada Yada Yada?

Who doesn't believe the NBA Western Conference is much better than the NBA Eastern Conference? From top to bottom. And who doesn't believe the AFC is superior to the NFC right now? Well hold the presses, because I'm nominating the National League to join the National Association of the Downright Sucky.

Why would I promote membership in NADS for the National League, when my beloved St. Louis Cardinals are a part of it? Because the National League is truly NADS-worthy.

I may be looked upon as a heretic to say this- but I think I am only speaking the truth- when I say that if the Cardinals were in the American League, they would be battling for a wildcard position. The way this team has played the first half of the year, it is obvious to me that if the Cardinals should manage another NL pennant (and judging from the talent level in this league, it should NOT NOT happen), they will struggle to win more than one game against whoever the AL throws up against them. In other words, all of us fans who came in to the year thinking World Series Championship or Bust, should have come to the conclusion that this team and this particular make-up is not going to get the job done.

May Walt Jocketty make a move before August 31.

To me, there are at least 3 teams in the AL that are great, as good or better than St. Louis: The Sox Brothers and the Angels of Los Angeles Via Orange County.

The American League, in addition, has several teams that are good but not great: Minnesota, New York, Baltimore, Toronto, Cleveland, and Texas. And we all know New York and Minnesota have the POTENTIAL (there's that word) to be great.

Sounds like the NBA Western Conference, doesn't it?

The National League has one great team (El Birdos), and two good teams, Washington and Atlanta. The rest of the league is either mediocre or just plain awful.

Sounds like the NBA Eastern Conference, doesn't it?

So obviously the NL belongs in the NADS, no?

The two worst divisions in baseball are in the NL- the West, which is THE WORST, followed closely by the Central. Look at the breakdown of the Cardinals record:
Vs. NL East: 7-8
Vs. AL Central: 2-1
Vs. NL West: 11-8
Vs. AL East: 8-4 (which is misleading because 3 of the wins were against the D-Rays)
Vs. NL Central: 26-9!

YUCK! Folks, the Cardinals are not as good as they look on paper with a 54-30 record. They have a record of 28-21 outside their own weak division. That's not a team that's going to get it done. World Series-speaking.

I EXPECT St. Louis to win the pennant again this year. They are the best team in the National League, although I expect the Braves to give them a run for that title as the year drags on. But unless the Cardinals get better, another disappointment is going to follow.

How's the "Buffalo Cardinals", or "St. Louis Bills" sound? Not so good, eh?

Mr. Jocketty, you have my written permission to make some moves.

Where'd These Guys Come From?

Is it just me, or does anyone else think the Houston Astros are going to win the NL wild card again? Just a hunch. They've come from nowhere in practically no time. Watch out in the second half.

Memories Of Hank Stram

I have vague recollections of the great Green Bay Packers, and also Joe Namath, in the first three Super Bowls. But the first Super Bowl I have vivid memories of was Super Bowl IV. At the time of Super Bowl IV, I was in the first grade, and unlike my older brother, a fan of the establishment. By that I mean the NFL. And it's representative, the Minnesota Vikings. My brother was a fan of the underdog Kansas City Chiefs of the upstart AFL.

Superbowl IV- A common scene.

So on January 11, 1970, when the Vikings and Chiefs squared off in New Orleans, I was quite firmly ensconsed in the Minnesota camp, like my father. My brother was entrenched on the other side. It turned out to be a very upsetting day.

I remember the Vikings could do almost nothing right that day. Joe Kapp, one of my favorite players, got knocked around pretty good. I remember almost crying when the Vikings fell behind 6-0 on two Jan Stenerud field goals. I think it had more to do with my brother's taunting than it did my loyalty to the Vikes. My father tried to reassure me that Minnesota would come alive and put these Chiefs guys in their place. That worked for awhile. But hope quickly faded and by halftime it was all but over at 16-0. My brother did his best to rub it in and bring my blood to a boiling point. That was the single longest half-time I ever remember.

The Vikings did put some life into my by then raggedy body by scoring a 3rd quarter touchdown, but as Kansas City immediately drove again for their last touchdown, I finally gave up on them. I remember watching that last quarter in the growing darkness of that winter day, playing an awesome board game called Green Ghost (I smell another post) with my father and brother. Looking back, I think this was his effort to bring some peace back to the family, what with the football-induced bickering between the two of us kids.

I remember hating the Chiefs for the longest time after that. I hated Len Dawson. I hated Buck Buchanan. I hated Otis Taylor. And I hated Hank Stram.

Hank Stram

After I had matured into my twenties, I finally had enough courage to relive that dreadful day, so I watched a Super Bowl video about it on ESPN. By this time, I had grown to appreciate underdogs. And I think I finally understood that it really wasn't the Chiefs who were the bullies in this game, although my first-grade mind had clearly perceived it that way. The Vikings were actually heavily favored, being from the "bully" NFL. My perspective on what took place that day changed 180 degrees.

And I changed my opinion of Hank Stram. I hadn't realized that Hank was miked during that game. I think this was the first time that had been tried. He sure was entertaining to listen to as we watched him watch his Chiefs destroy Minnesota. Perhaps Hank's second career was born that day, as I'm sure someone recognized his potential to become a great broadcaster. He was quite the show-man.

Of course, Hank went on to become a successful Monday Night Football broadcaster for CBS radio. Teamed with the immortal Jack Buck, they were by far the better broadcast team for "watching" MNF. Hank's football knowledge was incredible. He had a gift for teaching and for description, a combination for excelling as a color-man.

In Jack's book, "That's A Winner", he paid a short tribute to his radio partner. Mr. Buck relates how "the coach" was one of only two football people he worked with who could predict what play was coming next. Jack would ask him, "What's coming coach?", Hank would invariably call the play before the line was even set, and that scenario would unfold before their eyes. He was the poster boy for a great X's and O's coach.

One of the funny stories Jack told on KMOX, of which there are many, relates to Hank's apparent propensity to eat while broadcasting. He would constantly be gnawing on something. One night, Hank, looking for something to eat, picked up Jack's metallic slide-rule-like device that was used to calculate yardage quickly, thinking it to be a Snickers candy bar. Why he thought this I don't know, but Hank bit in to it. Jack's description of the sound of teeth hitting metal coupled with the sight of the sparks that flew threw the booth is a pure comedic classic.

So Hank died on Monday. He was 82. I didn't realize just how old he was. He always seemed youthful and vigorous to me, like in the picture above, and I'm sure that is how I will remember him. I am glad I have learned to appreciate him as I myself have aged.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Latest Reality TV News

From Jeff at the great "Beautiful Atrocities":


fnjul1.jpgResponding to nancy pressure-groups, ABC pulled the plug on its new reality show Welcome to the Neighborhood, in which white conservative Christian families confront potential new neighbors & say bad things like I want a family similar to what we are. This is too bad, because it's important to show that white conservative Christians are hoseheads & the source of most of the world's problems. Here's hoping ABC doesn't get cold feet over these other new reality shows:

Get Off My Dress: Circuit queens in San Francisco's gay ghetto throw a hissy fit when the neighborhood is overrun by 'Normas,' poorly-dressed lesbians - many of them gardeners - with no disposable income.

Hutsi-Tutsi: Amusing neighborhood conflict show set in scenic Rwanda.

Korean BBQ: Inner-city blacks prepare special welcome for recent Asian immigrants & their weird-ass habits, such as eating dogs, driving slow, & having a work ethic.

Miami Uber Alles: City ordinance requires Mexicans & Puerto Ricans to wear special identifying patches so that decent Cubans are not mistaken for peasants.

Blackball! University humanities professors unite to block job applicants who don't parrot their tired old paleoliberal canards.

Pardon-moi! Sophisticated 21st Century Eurowussies lose their heads when they find an army of humorless 12th Century Muslims parking on their lawn.

Take Me to Your Leader: PC Hollywood liberals crash-land in Bible Belt, something they have only read about in science-fiction novels.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Next, Let's Have Senior NASCAR...Just For Kicks

I know I should not be shocked by this, but just what are we trying to do to our old people? Just 10 days ago we learned about 95 year olds running 100 meter dashes. Now amusement parks are hosting "Senior Days". And at every amusement park I have ever seen, senior citizens get in for 1/2 price.

Why? Why do we want 85 years old hurtling down tracks in a mine-train car at 70 mph? Why do we want to entice an 80 year old to do cork-screws and loops at 5 or 6 G's? I mean, if you want to hurt them, why not just wax the steps on their front porch. Don't entice them to come to your park to get hurt by offering admission at half price.

If anything, you'd think for insurance reasons alone, an amusement park would want to double or triple the admission price for a nursing home resident, to keep them out. Half price?

I don't know about you, but when I go to an amusement park, I don't want to be "amused" at the sounds of osteoporotic vertebrae being crushed or of pacemakers short-circuiting.

All you need to know about this is to note all of the signs posted around these parks. "Do Not Ride The Vortex Of Hell" if you have back problems, neck problems, circulatory problems, or heart problems. (They also usually list pregnancy- but so far we haven't had a pregnant 75 year old...yet).

So what do we do? We entice some poor gent who can't walk 10 steps without wheezing to come in our amusement parks by giving him an admission ticket at 1/2 price.

I don't get it.