Rockin\’ Thanksgiving

November 27 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

I spent my Thanksgiving replacing the giant concrete washtub in our basement with a smaller, plastic one that actually drains.  After getting all the plumbing hooked up, I stood for a good half hour, admiring my handiwork.  Then, my wife did the first load of laundry, and we immediately realized the tub was too small to hold the discharge from the washer, sending gallons of water on to my basement floor.  Back to square one.

We also spent the morning watching the Macy\’s Day Parade with my kids, who seemed enthralled by the whole thing.  I got shivers when my daughter pointed at Miley Cyrus and said \”Hey, it\’s Hanna Montana.\”  We have tried our best to shield them from overtly commercial junk like that, but it appears the force is just too great.  The seal has been broken.  The toothpaste is out of the tube.  The racoon is doing origami.  (I don\’t know what that means.)

My kids also enjoyed the Rockettes quite a bit.  My 3 year-old son jumped up and started doing the high leg kicks and everything.  But when you get older, you begin to realize what a sham the Rockettes really are.  I mean, there are probably a million women in America that can do what they do (beaten out slightly my the 1.2 million women who have refused to give me their phone number.)  The appeal of the Rockettes, as I see it, is not that they are great dancers, but that they all dance in unison.  The dance moves are pretty boilerplate – the hard part is syncing the kicking and spinning up with 30 other women.

But should we really give them all that much credit for doing things at the same time?  Aren\’t there other things that, if people did them simultaneously, we\’d be better off?  Like, paying child support?

I also noticed that there was one African-American Rockette, which got me thinking.  If the whole aesthetic goal of the Rockettes is to provide a visual demonstration of similar women doing the same thing, doesn\’t that kind of argue against having a Rockette of a different color?  Wouldn\’t she stand out and break the whole continuity of the visual?  If not, why do they exclude other people with differences?  I\’d love to see the first wheelchair-bound Rockette.

This actually became an issue later in the parade, when some high school dance team was doing their routine.  They were wearing skimpy uniforms, but since it was cold outside, they all had the flesh-colored long sleeves on.  But they showed one black girl on the dance team, and the flesh-colored shirts clearly weren\’t the color of her flesh – they were made for white girls.  So either she had some horrible pigmentation problem, or she was forced to be white from the neck down for a day.  Really bizarre.

The highlight of the parade had to be when America got Rickrolled.  Some puppet float interrupted their kids song, bringing Rick Astley out to perform \”Never Gonna Give You Up.\”  A brilliant move on their part, cashing in on the Rickrolling cultural phenomenon sweeping the nation.  Had to be weird for Astley, lip-syncing to a song that he recorded 20 years ago.

Now, for your aural pleasure:

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Thanksgiving Waves

November 27 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Since there\’s no real official Thanksgiving song, I\’d like to nominate \”Thanksgiving Waves,\” from Eef Barzelay\’s album \”Bitter Honey.\”

This suggestion is slightly tongue-in-cheek, as the lyrics are darkly disturbing and may give you nightmares.  Here, listen.

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As a side note, I never really understood what the term \”tongue-in-cheek\” means.  If someone tries to tell you something while they have their tongue planted in their cheek, are they not to be trusted?  Have you actually tried to say something while poking your cheek with your tongue?  It\’s impossible – and seems like it would be a tip off that you are saying something that might not be fully true.  Unless the term means something you say while planting your tongue in the cheek of the person you\’re talking to, which is usually followed by a restraining order.

Intoxicating

November 25 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

I cannot explain why I find this so amazing.  Yet I can not turn away.

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There are no jokes, and it barely has any meaning.  It is simply Dan Aykroyd rambling on about enlightenment and higher planes of knowledge while attempting to sell you vodka in a bottle shaped like a human skull.  There\’s a decent chance it is meaningless, but it could also be a brilliant piece of performance art.  I\’m not sure which it is just yet.

I Couldn\’t Possibly Eat That Last Zinger in My Passenger Side Car Seat

November 25 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

…or can I?

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Important Breaking Packers News

November 25 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Did you know that every time AARON RODGERS plays a professional football game, he\’s actually playing against BRETT FAVRE?  It\’s true – because TONY KORNHEISER told me so, and he is on television, so he has to be right.

Since you\’re clearly not as smart as TONY KORNHEISER, you might ask yourself stupid questions, such as: How often does BRETT FAVRE\’S team give up 51 points?  Does BRETT FAVRE now play defensive back?  Doesn\’t BRETT FAVRE have completely different players on his team, and hasn\’t BRETT FAVRE played different teams throughout the year?  You may have uttered to yourself: Don\’t BRETT FAVRE and AARON RODGERS have very similar statistics this year?  Didn\’t AARON RODGERS play a couple games with his arm hanging off his body?

Fear not – all these answers have been answered by the Oracle, MR. TONY KORNHEISER.  He knows better than to muddy the water with FACTS.  And he is allowed to make the same inane points OVER and OVER by pretending there are SOME PEOPLE who sit at home and pretend AARON RODGERS is actually playing against BRETT FAVRE every week.  In fact, there ARE NONE.

Actually, there are likely people watching Monday Night Football that have NO LIPS.  In order to accomodate these people, RON JAWORSKI should have to announce how each play would have been different had it been made by a LIPLESS PERSON.  Since, after all, there are SOME PEOPLE wondering it, they should have to say it OVER and OVER, right?  Since STUPID people are sitting at home comparing AARON RODGERS to BRETT FAVRE on every play, it is necessary to accomodate those people by making the broadcast UNLISTENABLE for everyone else.

This message has been brought to you by Mayor Salty\’s Beard Softening Cream.

Sunday Insight With Charlie Sykes

November 24 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Is on… NOW

The Greatest Game Ever Played

November 24 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

At the behest of one of my friends, I recently began reading the 2007 edition of \”The Best American Sports Writing,\” edited by my boy David Maraniss.  For the first time last year, one of the selections actually came from a blog – and I loved it.  Read here about the Greatest Baseball Game Ever Played, and how Bugs Bunny played a large role in it.

In Maraniss\’ introduction to the book, he also has an interesting anecdote Wisconsin fans will enjoy.  When talking about his father, who was an editor at the Capital Times newspaper here in Madison, he says:

\”He took pride in the fact that one of his reporters at the Madison Capital Times broke a story that Bob Knight was leaving West Point to coach at the University of Wisconsin, and that Knight got so upset by the scoop – it was supposed to be kept secret for two days – that he backed away from the deal.\”

So apparently Bob Knight was that close to coaching at the UW, instead of Indiana.  Can you imagine how the history of college basketball would be different?  Maraniss goes on to mention how poorly Knight would have fit in in Madison, which is true.  But if The General were to have brought home three national championships, somehow I think the folks in Madtown would find a way to have accepted him.

When Hunters Become the Prey

November 22 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

During hunters\’ week in Wisconsin,  Sports Illustrated issues this fantastic article about the costs to humans and the ecosystem when the number of hunters drops:

But over the last decade the North American ecosystem has also seen an unanticipated trend upsetting the always delicate relationship between man and wildlife: The hunters have been going away.

Surveys by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicate hunting in general has tumbled precipitously, down 10% in the past decade alone. Bird hunting has dropped by a quarter during that time, and small-game hunting by 31%.

[...]

The news of hunting\’s decline will no doubt cheer those who see it as a cruel pastime. But what the critics do not realize is that as the hunters have stepped back, the animals (especially predators) have come forward-with potentially disastrous consequences for all.

Valerius Geist, a professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Calgary and an expert on the behavior of large mammals, calls what is happening \”the recolonization by wildlife.\” The first sign, he says, \”was when the herbivores returned,\” a reference to the overabundance of deer, moose and elk in North America. After the herbivores, Geist says, the carnivores are never far behind. \”We are just now beginning to experience that phase,\” he says. As recently as 1994 there were about 50 wolves left in the Yellowstone region (Idaho, Montana and Wyoming), but the population there now stands at more than 1,500; in Minnesota wolves climbed from about 500 in the 1950s to more than 3,000 today.

[...]

In Brookhaven, N.Y., officials are pondering how to handle the deer carcasses scattered across the town\’s roadways. In 2006 they removed 265 deer hit by cars. Last year they found 282. This year they\’re on track to remove at least 370 deer, and the cost-at $400 per animal-is straining the town\’s budget. (Across the U.S. deer-car collisions rose 15% over the past five years, costing annually more than a billion dollars in property damage and 150 human lives.)

At the same time Lyme disease-the crippling illness borne by deer ticks-has gripped the Hamptons. Suffolk County reported an estimated 585 cases last year, up from 190 two years ago. In response, some town leaders across the area turned to what they saw as the only practical solution: They contracted licensed hunters to stalk and kill deer in the tony beach towns along the Island\’s North and South Forks. Some residents ask that men like Walker do their work discreetly, so that their neighbors, or even their spouses, remain unaware of exactly what\’s going on in their backyards. But few protests are heard, in part because the deer, which eat expensive shrubbery and virtually everything else in sight, are often butchered for venison and donated to local soup kitchens.

\”I could shoot a deer every night,\” says Walker, as he stares out at the tree line, waiting for a deer to emerge. He is not complaining. He learned bow hunting from his father and his uncle, and he enjoys his night job, to the point of performing it as a free \”friendly customer service.\”

To all the boys up north:  Be safe, and bring home a big one.  It\’s for the good of all of us.

Goodbye, Louis.

November 21 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

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This morning a friend of mine, Louis Schubert, passed away, finally succumbing to the brain cancer he had carried for several years.  Louis and I met in 1999, when he worked for State Senator Gary Drzwiecki. He will be missed by everyone who knew him both from his days in the Capitol and as a lobbyist afterwards.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Heather, and his two young sons.

A Small Sampling of Information For Your Consideration

November 20 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

Well hello there.  I\’m sorry I didn\’t see you.  Please, come over and sit down.  Here, let me take your jacket.  Can I offer you some wine?  A nice riesling, perhaps?

There you go.  Get nice and comfortable.  The Yeats reading will begin in two shakes of a marmoset\’s tail.

Say, as long as I have you here, I\’d like to offer a small sampling of information for your consideration.  As it turns out, I will be a panelist on the Sunday Insight with Charlie Sykes show on the television this Sunday.  I know you don\’t have a television – neither do I – but I believe the show is also made available via computer telephone.

It promises to be a wonderful display of my vast knowledge.  I will, however, not be taking questions either before or after the show.  I will also not be addressing the incident with the lime pudding and the ski poles.  We all know what happened there, and I cannot bear to repeat it.

I do have to add, parenthetically, that before my last appearance on the aforementioned show, Charlie Sykes gave me quite a bear of a time about my affinity for a young actress named Megan Fox.  You see, until recently, I had frequently cited a woman named Jessica Alba as my muse – and Mr. Sykes accused me of turning my back on Ms. Alba, as I had previously been the state\’s pre-eminent \”Albatomist.\”  I can assure everyone that the transfer from Alba to Fox is now complete – the paperwork has been filled out, and both parties have been notified of my decision.  As one can see from the enclosed photo, if any woman in the world walks into a room with Ms. Fox, the best they can do is fight for the title of \”2nd most attractive woman in the building.\”

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Oooh – I can see from the rustling above that the reading is about to begin.  I\’m so happy to have you here as my guest.  Please, try the lobster dip.

Get Your Butt to Work

November 19 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

It was just a matter of time.  Back in May of 2006, a Wisconsin State Journal columnist suggested \”A Day Without Gays,\” to mirror the \”Day Without Latinos\” protests that spring up once a year.  On these days, Latinos stay home from work in order to demonstrate their value to the business community.

Now, it appears \”A Day Without a Gay\” is a reality – coming to you December 10th, 2008.  Back in 2006, I fully supported the idea, if only for the entertainment value:

You\’d have legitimately sick guys from all over the state push, pull, and drag themselves into work to avoid being absent. There would be 100% attendance in offices statewide. You\’d have men that get into car accidents on the way to work that would crawl out of their flaming cars, and drag their bloody stump of a leg all the way into the office to avoid missing work that day.

I can see a guy calling his elderly mother\’s doctor:

\”Yeah, Doc – I know she\’s wheezing quite a bit, and she\’s already gotten her last rites. But I really need you to prop her up for an extra day. If she says she\’s heading towards the light, just feed her another Brandy Old Fashioned – she\’ll be fine. I cannot miss work today!\”

Some poor guy will take a little extra time getting into work to get his office donuts, and for a half hour his coworkers will be shaking their heads and saying things like \”I knew the wife and four kids was just a show.\”

Productivity would be off the charts. The economy would boom. The Dow would hit 20,000. The only business to really take a hit would be golf courses (they\’d be empty). Of course, all those sick guys at work would probably cause some kind of viral epidemic that could wipe out the planet, but at least everyone would know they\’re swingin\’ for the right team.

On a more serious note, I think this might actually cause some tension in the gay community. I\’m sure that there are some more strident gays and lesbians who resent other gays who choose to remain in the closet. You\’d have a ton of closeted gays who would refuse to take part, which could cause a rift between them and the openly gay community. Not to mention all the effeminate straight people who will have co-workers come up to them and say, \”Um…weren\’t you supposed to be off today?\” Awkward.

If you are gay, you probably are much better off staying home on December 10th, if only to avoid all the sick guys who came in to work to demonstrate their heterosexuality.

(H/T Dean)

A New Payment Option

November 19 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

Not sure about you, but I think the utility company is being completely unreasonable here.

(Thanks to Matt P.)

Running on Empty

November 18 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Some of you may remember my sojourn to the doctor\’s office this summer, when the doc told me my blood pressure was creeping into the danger zone.  This little bit of news kind of freaked me out, so I have done my best to at least get outside for a run a couple times a week.  I\’ve lost a little weight, but not much – as I refuse to stop eating like a 10 year-old boy.

It was only this week, however, that I went and bought one of these little chips that you can put in your shoe that tells you how far and how fast you\’re running.  It really is an amazing piece of technology – and a little creepy.  Now, when I\’m running, it feels like someone is watching me.  I always resist the temptation to stop, since I know the watchful chip will tsk tsk me when I upload the data to my computer.

The chart below details the speed from my run yesterday.  As you can see, about the 2.5 mile mark I slowed down significantly – this was because it had snowed in the morning and Regent Street was still covered in ice.  Had I not slowed down, the line would have gone all the way to the bottom, as I would have cracked my head on the sidewalk and died.  Then someone would have stolen my chip, gone home, and claimed that 2.5 miles as their own.

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Perhaps the most fun of this technological advance will be seeing the chart after I pass a hot girl on one of my runs.  You\’ll be able to tell when I speed up significantly, as the line will spike at the moment I suck in my gut and pretend I\’m Roger f\’ing Bannister.  Lord knows it won\’t be because I\’m actually excited about exercise.

The more I think about this radio chip in my shoe, the more disillusioned I become.  I mean, we now have shoes that watch you while you run, a black president, the Brewers in the playoffs, and Jean-Claude Van Damme has made a movie that is getting rave reviews.  This is not a world of which I am familiar.

I\’m just hoping they don\’t make a new kind of chip that tracks how fast you are at other things.  That could be disastrous.

webcam

November 18 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

In the News

November 17 2008 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

Well look at that – I made the news for something other than sitting in the cole slaw at the Wendy\’s salad bar.  From Sunday\’s Wisconsin State Journal:

Who\’s to blame for state budget shortfall?

If Gov. Jim Doyle and Republican and Democratic lawmakers now find themselves in a $5 billion budget hole, it\’s because they\’ve all done part of the shoveling, budget experts said.

At least $1.6 billion of the state\’s massive budget shortfall stems from a spend-now, pay-later attitude pervasive in both political parties in the state Capitol, these analysts said.

Gov. Jim Doyle and other state leaders have blamed the two-year projected budget shortfall, which threatens everyone from taxpayers to students and the poor, on the souring economy across the country.

But commentator Christian Schneider, who predicted in January that a mild recession would lead to a $4.2 billion state budget shortfall, said the state also is paying for its failure to live within its means and to set money aside for the crisis that he and others warned could be coming.

\”We learned nothing from the 2001 downturn so now we\’re going to have to go through another painful process with this downturn,\” said Schneider, a fellow at the conservative Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. \”There\’s nobody who\’s without blame in this situation.\”

The impetus for this article appears to be this post I wrote over at the WPRI blog that criticizes legislators for creating a budget deficit, then whining about there being a budget deficit – as if they had nothing to do with it.