Thursday, March 29, 2007

Not the Best Day

Today I attended the funeral of a friend's father out in the suburbs. I don't often attend funerals, fortunately I haven't had too much of a need. UNfortunately, when I do, I don't have the tolerance built up from an emotional standpoint to last very long. The part that always gets me, if it happens, is when a family member gets up in front of everyone and relates heart warming stories regarding the deceased's life. That pretty much does me in. Sadly, I don't even have to really know the people well (or at all!) for me to break down. And yes, I've gone to funerals for people I don't know as while currently single, I have dated women (and been married) in the past!! Don't tell anyone....I'm a big softy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


If you participated in a college basketball bracket pool this year or listen to sports radio or watch ESPN, you've undoubtedly heard the term "chalk" numerous times. Normally it's used in this context: "The games are really going by the chalk this year." Simply put, it means the favorites are winning the games. Now how you define "favorites" can vary, but for the brackets it means whoever has the higher seed. The final eight teams (The Elite 8), consisted of all #1's in each of the four brackets playing the #2 seeded team except for one where the #1 was playing the #3 team instead. Still, no #10 seeds, no #7's, no #13's, just the teams who were supposed to win, winning. I tend to think it's not as much fun this way, but that's because I don't follow the sport as much and pretty much always cheer for the underdog.

Question of the day: where and of what did Al Capone die? Look away from the screen and think about it for a second. What's your answer? In prison and of syphilis right? Everyone knows the story; he went to prison on tax evasion charges, had already contracted syphilis and then died in jail powerless and penniless. Well, he actually did die of complications from syphilis, so that part is true. But he was in prison from 1932-1939 and then was released. He actually died eight years later just after his birthday at his home in Florida at the ripe old age of 48 (48!!!!).

The Trib sports section today had an article on the front page by Rick Morrissey entitled "Oh the horrors of making $7.2 million: why the Bears should stick it to Briggs". Now, if (when) I'm drunk and spout off about the topic in this way, fine. Heck, I can even write about it my blog since no one truly believes I'm in any way an expert on anything nor that my opinions should be listened to much less repeated. But this guy is practicing irresponsible journalism in my humble opinion. Briggs could play and accept the $7.2 million contract and I actually like to think that many players would.

However, you have to realize that contracts in the NFL are not guaranteed unlike baseball (I'm not sure about basketball and that game they play on hockey, that's it). So it's not that Briggs was looking for more ANNUAL money, he just wants more GUARANTEED money. Pundits feel he could get $20 million guaranteed if he were to sign a new deal with another team. He wouldn't get $20 million a year, but he would eventually get it. If he played for the Bears, gets hurt in game one, that's it. I think he gets the $7.2 million, but he doesn't have anything else coming down the pipe. Viewed from that perspective, he's not being completely unreasonable in pulling the antics he's pulling and Morrissey doesn't address this issue. It's pretty irresponsible if you ask me. Not the first time....won't be the last.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

More interesting entry?

Thanks for bearing with me on the last entry. Sometimes you just have to work through those things on paper (even electronic paper) just so you know....kind of an itch you have to scratch.

An update from yesterday however: my headset is awesome!! Wow, what a difference in sound quality. Nice purchase Joe.

Today I accompanied a friend out to a home that they own defacto due to a sibling's.....let's say...indiscretions. Anyway, they are trying to figure out what to do with this place and the choices are: put on a new roof and try to sell it (about 10% of the home value), sell it as is (and maybe break even with the mortgage) or level the house and rebuild on a nice lot with a new home and then sell it (trying to make a profit). Three scenarios.....three risk/reward possibilities. It's a fascinating, real world risk evaluation questionnaire. What would you do?

Option A: put a new roof on and hope that you can sell it for more than the mortgage plus investment.
Option B: lower the price to cover the mortgage and maybe something extra.
Option C: invest some money in leveling the house, obtain a bridge loan to build a new one, then try to sell for more than the mortgage+financing costs+building costs. Potential payoff is 25% of the current value of the home.

Quite the quandary. I know what I would about you?

Finally, Joe Theisman agrees with me the Brian Griese is one of the better backups in football. I took it a step further though and fully believe that Griese would have been a better option than Grossman at the end of last season. I wouldn't rather have Batch starting than Grossman, but the number of QB's I would prefer to Grossman has to be up around 30 in the NFL. Certainly the other four would be preferable to Grossman in the short run now or at the end of last year.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cost Discussion

Not sure how this is going to turn out, but work with me. After my initial cup of coffee in the morning and refill in the afternoon, I often go back for a cup of decaf or two and only get charged $.55. So I started to think about it on per ounce cost basis, should I just have some OTHER beverage instead? The Starbucks is $.0275 per ounce. How does that compare?

I can normally buy a 12 pack of soda for $3.50 or so. Twelve, twelve ounce cans is 144 total ounces or $.0243 per ounce....clearly a better deal. However, some days I just like the water content of coffee.

So I move on to Crystal Light. A container of Crystal Light(retailing at $5.50) has six separate tubs each of which makes two quarts of drink. There are sixty-four ounces in two quarts. That means there are 384 ounces per container of CL and a cost of $.0143 per ounce...almost half the price! Considering that I buy CL usually 2-for-1, it's only $.007 per ounce! James Bond's number. Ha!

Thanks for bearing with me on that; it's been on my mind for a while and I keep forgetting to calculate it. See what happens if you're an accountant? This is my life.

Also on the financial side of things, today I redeemed credits accrued through my affinity card. My credit card is a Micro Center card and every month they send me $25 -$75 depending on how much I charge on the card. Since the card doesn't cost me anything to own, it's basically free money. I thought about getting an airline card, but I don't travel that much and it seems like such a hassle. This card allows me to get printer ink, paper, computer equipment, pretty much anything for free. Since I was all stocked up on ink and paper, today I opted for a higher end headset for my phone at home (my other one seemed to be losing volume), a high-end surge protector with an eight foot cord to protect my electronics (had one before but it had too many things on it I think) and finally a set of active noise canceling travel ear phones to use when I do travel or go to Bears games or whenever. It should work really well with my portable DVD player. Not bad for $100, which was all in store credit. Sweet.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Took off the birthday sue me!

Yes, yes, I was a bit of a slug this weekend regarding my blog. Guess old age is settling in already! Actually, Saturday was just kind of 'blue' day for me, which I haven't really had in a while. It was beautiful outside and I had nothing planned. It was the perfect day to have a significant other to: go somewhere for brunch, walk around the neighborhood and people watch, sit at the Starbucks, read the paper together on the chaise lounge in the sun, drive to the burbs and shop for whatever, or just hang out. What I DID do though was drive out to see my folks for a few hours. That was nice too, since I hadn't seen them in a while, but it was really a day for having your honey by your side. Maybe it's the whole spring thing....oh well. Onward and upward!

The nice weather did remind me of my upcoming trip to the Turks though! But that reminded me that the bed I'll be sleeping on is a twin, which just doesn't seem like it's physically possible. Maybe I'll just pass out down by the pool a night or two. In anticipation of heading down there and golfing, I just ordered a new sand wedge and shoes.....good stuff for the start of the long golf season too. Here's the course we'll be playing, Provo Golf Club.

By the way, I finally figured out how to make links like that in my blog! Normally I just copy the link from my browser, but I knew there was a better, cleaner way because I've seen it on Alexis' blog. Finally I decided to figure it out and, of course, there's a simple little button you hit. Enjoy!

Did you see Peyton Manning on SNL? OMG was it funny. They start off with him doing sor of a United Way commercial playing football in a park with kids in non-football clothes. First he audibles up on the line, then throws the ball and hits a kid in the legs and he falls down. Manning just goes off on him telling him "I can't even want to look at you! Go sit in the port-o-let for 20 minutes." Another play, another kid tormented. It was awesome. Then he teaches them how to break into a car and says that he'd kill a snitch.

Finally, more Bears news! And most of it is positive. The Bears lost defensive lineman Alfonso Boone who played pretty well for us all year. It's also likely that we are going to lose Ian Scott from the defensive line as well. With Tommie Harris and Dusty Dvoracek (a rookie) coming off injuries (also on the defensive line) and Tank Johnson probably getting a four game suspension next year, the Bears will be thin on the defensive line. So they signed a veteran named Anthony Adams from SF. He's probably not Boone or Scott, but he'll be a contributor.

By the way, if Briggs holds out or gets his wish and is traded, who do you replace him with? Just so you know, the guys on the roster currently would be: Leon Joe or Brendon Ayanbadejo. Not really going to strike fear into anyone with those guys huh? Certainly not like Joey Porter or Adalius Thomas on whom the Bears passed.

The Bears also re-signed Ruben Brown from the offensive line, so all five starters are set to return on the offensive side of the ball. Unfortunately Thomas Jones WON'T be starting at running back and nimrod Grossman will still be at quarterback. The latest from Rex was that he said if he made four or five more plays in the Super Bowl, it would have had a different outcome. Really? Definitely a candidate for the most obvious statement of the year award.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Turning 41

Thanks again to everyone for their birthday wishes. Last night, as I indicated I would, I headed out to Gale Street Inn for ribs and drinks with some friends. Here are some pictures from said outing:

Gale Street is close to Milwaukee and Lawrence. Then we headed across the street to a Polish bar called Martinis. Buddies Bill and Jeff are pictured with me in my Polish red.

Jeff, Ricardo and Bill taking time to pose. Joe with the beautiful Anna from the bar. Yowza. She bought us birthday shots!

Nice looking bar huh? The bartender isn't too bad either.

Anyway, Martinis had karaoke going which was fine by us because we were watching the basketball games anyway. The odd thing was though, since all of the patrons but us were Polish, they do the karaoke in Polish!! Too funny. The words are all in Polish and most of the songs you haven't even heard of because they are Polish. I don't think I realized how often the letter "Z" is used in Polish words. It's like our T or S.

Jeff asked Anna to name her top three Polish people of all time. The question arose because he said Copernicus was Polish and I called him a lying son-of-a-bitch and it turns out he was right. Anyway, Anna came up with mostly people we hadn't heard of. Our top three? JPII, our buddy Lech, Copernicus and we also wanted to throw in Casimir Pulaski (just because we get the day off in Illinois). Fun was had by all. Mass at 8:30 a.m. came awful early though.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

When in doubt, boil yourself.

Yesterday, as I often do when I catch a cold, or start to catch one, I fired up the jacuzzi tub and took a nice, hot, relaxing whirlpool batch. It really raises your core temperature and mentally at least, I feel better afterwards. Of course, the dehydration aspect isn't good, so you have to make sure you drink plenty of fluids, which I do anyway. This morning I felt much better, but not 100%.

This morning.....was my birthday morning!! My first call of good wishes came at 6:30 a.m. Fortunately, I had woken up 15 minutes prior and hadn't fallen back asleep yet, otherwise there would be one less "morning person" alive today. Two people sang me "Happy Birthday" over the phone and several people sent ecards. Thanks to you all!!!

Mystery solved on the gifter of the Chicago Bears Grill Cover. It was my ex-girlfriend from south of the border (at least heritage-wise). She also bought me a pocket watch that has a clip on it for clipping onto my golf bag or softball bag. Good stuff! It might seem odd to some that my ex is buying me presents, but they are reciprocated and I still love her dearly so it's not unexpected. Ahhhhh, unrequited love.....character builder or mental and emotional lupus?

Tonight, dinner with Ricardo and friends at Gale Street Inn. Should be fun. If I don't relapse tomorrow, some folks from softball are going out in the burbs, so that will be another birthday type celebration. Should be a good way to start my 42nd year on the planet (I'm 41 but this is my 42nd year).

Lastly, some notable passings as I ponder my short time left on this globe. Recently we saw the passing of Denny Sym. Who the hell is that you ask? Dolfan Denny is his better known name and he was a staple at all things Miami Dolphins. Back in the day, you'd see him all the time when the Dolphins were good. Similarly, Wilford "Crazy Ray" Jones passed away. He was the black Dallas Cowboy fan that you saw every Thanksgiving if you took a break from doing dishes to watch the game. Since Thanksgiving is a very important holiday to me, much more than Christmas, Crazy Ray will always be a part of my memories.

Also, Calvert DeForest passed away the other day, not to be confused with DeForest Kelley who played Leonard "Bones" McCoy the doctor on Star Trek and who is also dead. You might remember him as Larry "Bud" Melman on the David Letterman show. He was a funny character that made you laugh just by looking at him.

Finally, Captain America has passed away. While going to prison on several criminal charges (mainly related to not registering as a super powered being), he was shot by a sniper in the back. He died from the wounds.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Playing Doctor

Or more like self medicating. You've all done this right? Doctor tells you to do something and you do it....for a while and then either stop or change it up. Or maybe you start treating symptoms on your own instead of going to the doctor (a favorite of my family by the way).

Well, last night I decided to stop sleeping with my splint on my hand. The reason is that when I wake up in the morning, my hand is pretty stiff around the thumb area and as the day moves on it sort of loosens up a bit. Since there isn't much risk of injury to it now at night, I thought maybe the hand would start out less stiff in the morning and be even better as the day went on. So far so good. It wasn't as tight this morning and is feeling pretty good currently. Chalk one up for Dr. Joe.

Some of you know that tomorrow is my birthday! Yes, 3/22/66 was my birthday (I was destined to be an accountant since even the numbers multiply out 3x22=66). Today I received several cards from relatives, so thank you all! I also received a package from a sporting goods store in New Hampshire. Normally, even though I'm certainly NOT bombable, I'd be very suspicious of a random package. But around my birthday, I'll rip open anything. There's a lesson in there for both bombers and bombees. Anyway, so I open this package and inside is a barbecue grill cover with the Bears logo on it!! Perfect!! It'll replace the one I have now which is finally wearing out after four or five years. So to whomever sent it, thank you!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What a difference a day makes

As good as yesterday was, today was that bad (or close to it). Woke up with the beginnings of a cold. Ugh. Tired. Tickle in the back of the throat. Blah.

Then I went to get coffee and instead of making a 2% milk mix by combining equal amounts of whole milk (4%) and skim milk (0%), I mixed Half & Half with whole milk to come up with, what a 27% fat mixture. Ugh. Like drinking a hot shake. So after drinking a little, I went back and added more coffee to make it more drinkable.

Then I went to the office and was thoroughly unproductive and it didn't get any better during the day. Sorry folks, can't think straight so nothing great to write about. I'll try again tomorrow!

Oh wait! Just saw that the Bears picked up a safety from the Redskins, Adam Archuleta, who used to play for Lovie in St. Louis. Unfortunately he lost his starting job in Washington and was supposed to get paid tons of money, so they wanted to get rid of him. The Bears gave up (early reports indicate) a sixth round pick this year and restructured his deal to pay him "only" $8.1 million over the next three years with $5 million guaranteed. Joe thinks this is not a bad deal for the Bears and he might even like it.

Monday, March 19, 2007

What a Great Day!!

Some days are just da'bomb. Today was one of those days for me. Granted, I didn't do a ton of work, but other things went great!

First, the weather took a turn for the warmer which automatically puts the day ahead of most days so far this year. Going down to Starbucks was pleasant again.

Then I sent emails to two women with whom I had bad dates and they accepted my rejection without getting all nasty. Always a positive. It's nice when women act like's so rare.

After that good response, I had a meeting with the Red Cross's finance committee to discuss the budget for next year. The meeting went well (you'll be happy to know we're doing some great things in Chicago at least) AND they provided lunch: meatball sandwiches and cheese ravioli. I opted for just two meatballs and one ravioli (they all were bigger than normal). It was great.

A quick drive home and then off to the gym for an unscheduled workout (normally I go Tuesday and Thursday when Ricardo goes). After putting in 25 minutes on the treadmill (including four thirty second sprints and a five minute cool down) I saw a woman that I went to high school with who I think is really cute, and we talked for about ten minutes. Even though I know she's not interested, it was nice to see her again.

Finally, I headed back home to start on dinner, which tonight was to include plantains. About ten days ago I bought two plantains and they have finally ripened. A plantain is ripe when the skin turns black, that's when it's the sweetest. It's been about a year since I last made them and while foodies might think it's easy, nothing is easy for me. However, they turned out fantastic!! Yay for me!! Below is the recipe:

Ripe Plantain Dessert

2 ripe plantains
¼ cup butter (or a little less if you prefer)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup cooking wine (sherry)
¼ teaspoon vanilla

Peel the plantains and cut them in half and then cut those in half lengthwise. Sautee the eight pieces in the butter. When done, add the other ingredients and simmer over medium (or lower) heat covered for roughly 15 minutes. Serve warm with the sauce with the main meal or as a dessert either by itself or over ice cream.

You can save any extras in the refrigerator for up to five days (so I hear). Microwave them before serving.
One last thing, if you missed it this weekend, watch for two one hour shows on The National Geographic Channel called Galapagos. They play again at 7 and 8 p.m. on Thursday. These shows, especially on a 50" plasma, are awesome nature shows which not only have great footage of current animals, but they provide a historical context for the islands as well including Charles Darwin's history shaping visit.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

St. Paddy's Day is a plot by the English to weed out the Irish!!

Once again I prove to the world that drinking and blogging are NOT good things. While my post from Friday night/Saturday morning wasn't too embarrassing, I probably wouldn't have written it in the light of day. Yet another instance where one of my inventions (a breathalyzer that is required to turn on your computer) would come in handy.

So on the heels of drinking too much wine on Friday, I opted to drink too much beer on Saturday. My buddy Rich and his wife kindly invited me to join their friends, Fred and Jen, and others at a bar downtown. Though it was snowing at times in the morning, some folks in the group (ok, only the women) wanted to go to see the parade for just "ten minutes".

Some background about Joe: 1) I hate parades. When I was 10 or 11, I was forced to march in a Memorial Day parade when the temperature was about 40 and it was raining. Worst two hours of my life and to this day I hate parades. 2) Standing in lines to pay a cover charge is close behind on the list of things that bug me. (so the count is up to four things that piss me off if you include falsely accusing me of something and hypocrites).

Back to yesterday: we all left Logan Square and headed by train down to check out what bar we could get into and some of the group were going to watch the parade for "ten minutes". Well, that's too long for me so I headed for the first bar that I could get into (The Boss) and I found a willing accomplice in Fred who had no love lost for cold weather parades either. After an hour or two on our own in the bar, Rich came back to get us to tell us they were at a bar down the street. After we finished our beers, we headed down only to find that there was a thirty minute line and a $15 cover charge. Ugh. To top it off, just before we got in, I was called by an eHarmony date, who I hadn't met before, who wanted to come by and meet in person. Unfortunately she showed up about five minutes after Fred got in, so I had to wait outside in line AGAIN for another thirty minutes with the prospective date.

When we finally got in (and paid the cover charge) I was a big baby about the whole thing and took it out on Rich since he wouldn't relocate the now ten people he had collected, to the bar Fred and I were at. In retrospect, another word for "cat" is probably more appropriate. Fortunately I was able to apologize to Rich and Jodi today and I think they understand that part of my problem was the disappointment with my eHarmony prospect not to mention the alcohol.

By the way, pizza, hamburgers and drinking beer for over 12 hours is NOT the way to lose weight. I'm not weighing myself until Tuesday because I don't want to see what damage was done.

Did you see The Pussycat Dolls skit on SNL yesterday? Ha! I'm ahead of the curve. See, read my blog and you'll be hip! Hopefully you didn't miss the new episode of Robin Hood on BBC America. Another great show. The character development is really intriguing. Robin Hood is not just a guy that robs from the rich and gives to the poor. Like any human, he has an ego. He wants to be loved by the people he's helping. It's pretty interesting.

Yet another blog entry without ANY mention of Tank Johnson going to jail or stupid moves by the Bears. Soon I'm sure though.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Interesting Day AND Night

Soooo many different things to talk about tonight, I'm not sure where to start. But since it's already Saturday morning, I'm not sure how long I can type either! Tonight I was the third wheel, yet again, with another great couple Tim and his wife Helaine. The interesting thing about them is that I went to Tim's bachelor party in Vegas, met both of their relatives, had such a great time with them all that they forced Tim to invite me to the wedding even though I had yet to meet Helaine. Since I've been married, I know it's really the bride's day, so I declined the very generous invitation from Tim to attend the wedding in New York. What do you think? Did I make the right decision? Now that I've met Helaine (two or three times), I feel like I should have gone. Wonderful gal.

For future reference, I have two pet peeves: falsely accusing me of anything and hypocrisy. One insecure date recently wondered into the realm of the former of the pet peeves. I picked her up at her house and we went out to dinner. After doting on her for almost the entire night, my date accused me of flirting with the waitstaff!! I mean, I was not only doting on her, we were sitting next to each other at the table for dinner just so we could be closer to each other. Really, do you think I would hit on a waitress in that situation? Puhlease. She pulled off the twofer though by also accusing me of being a player (note that she was a reader of my blog in the past). Wow, two false accusations in one night!! Actually, they were within five minutes of each other. Outstanding. The night ended relatively abruptly as you might imagine.

Also on the dating scene, as some of you know, I'm on eHarmony after being tired of women misrepresenting themselves on So far I haven't had any different experience on eHarmony, which is unfortunate. I'm still hopeful though! Well, today, for the second time, I've been matched up by the site with a person I know!! The first time was an ex-coworker, so no big deal. This time it was one of the five women I went to game night with just last month!! How about that? So should I have less or more faith in the ability of eHarmony as my newest match and I have been friends for years but have no sexual attraction? Interesting question. Happy St. Paddy's Day all!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hey, a foodie entry!

Yesterday I caught some flack for "gorging" on fish and vegetables (read the comment section). Trust me, half a bundle of asparagus, a large portobello mushroom (with flavored feta cheese), a six ounce portion of salmon and a six ounce portion of trout is very filling!!

"So how did you cook the fish Joe?"
"I grilled it."
"Yeah, I know. That's what you wrote in your blog, but HOW did you cook it?"
"I grilled it."
"Urghhhh, but with what did you season it?"
"I grilled it."
"How about the mushroom? How did you cook that?
"I grilled it."
"The asparagus?"
"I grilled it."
"Did you prepare the vegetables in anything?"
"Oh, yep. The way I grill most things: marinaded in olive oil and balsamic vinegar."
"Both of them? You prepared them the exact same way?"
"That's all I know....I grilled them."

And THAT'S why I don't cook for foodies. I'm a hack. Food to me is a means to an end (not dying) and if I can add flavor, that's awesome. If you give me a small portion that took 18 hours to prepare and has rare herbs and flavoring, I'll probably just say, "Where's the rest?"

Speaking of food, my diet continues to hold steady. For some reason, I can't get under 189. Usually that reason is that I get to that point and then either go out to eat or cook like I did the other night or something like that. I'm not feeling too bad though. I'm five pounds under my softball weight this summer, so it's all good. The reason I went on the diet in the first place was to get into shape for Tampa and the softball tournament. I have to claim success there!!

Oh, 300 on IMAX was AWESOME!!! You have GOT to see it if you're a guy or if you're a gal who likes guys who are ripped and doesn't mind seeing guys who are ripped apart. The women sitting next to me seemed to squirm a little. Funny because I asked them why they came to see a guy flick. They said, "300 ripped guys in speedos." Touche. They didn't seem as happy with their choice at the end of the movie though. Two hours of dismemberment and dead body stacking (seriously) could do that I bet.

Two more really good tv shows if you have the time to watch: Raines (premiered tonight) and The Black Donnelly's. Good stuff both.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gorging and The Pussycat Dolls

The warm weather brought about an uncontrollable urge in me.....firing up the grill. Though the Lean Cuisines were calling from the freezer, the urge to grill some sort of living beast was very, very compelling. So off to the store I went. It started out pretty good as I was going to go with an old standard: grilled asparagus and salmon. Unfortunately, while walking through the produce section, I noticed one large portobello mushroom left. Mmmmmmm, that would be good grilled too. Then I walked past this piece of rainbow trout for like $3. Ahhhhh, what the hell. I'll get that too.

The other uncontrollable urge I have, which kicks in when cooking, is to cook too much food. Ugh. It was all delicious though.

After eating to excess, I sat down to watch some boob tube....literally. There was this show on called The Next Pussycat Doll. Sounds like a stripper show of some sort doesn't it? Well, for those people who aren't hip (like me), The Pussycat Dolls are a "band" of nubile women who, if I had to bet, have studio singers performing most of the singing while they gyrate around on stage. Apparently they are pretty huge around the world. Anyway, this show is one of the most unwatchable shows I've seen in some time. If not for the truly, truly gorgeous women on the show, it would be completely unwatchable.....though after about 15 minutes I switched channels so maybe the hot women isn't enough.

The weather started off great this morning at about 60+ degrees, but by noon it was into the 40's. Made me feel pretty stupid for wearing that short sleeve shirt. Crap.

Tonight I'm going to see "300" on the IMAX screen at Navy Pier. Should be fun. I'll give you the highlights tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Featherweight versus Heavy Weight

In this corner, fighting out of Albuquerque New Mexico, weighing in at 126 and
1/4 pounds, the IBF Featherweight champion, the WBO Bantam weight
champion, formerly the IBF and WBO Super Flyweight champion of the
wooooorrrlllllllddddddddd, Johnny "Mi Vida Loca" Tapia!!!!!

His opponent, hailing from Bolivia and fighting out of every major city in the
developed world; after taking out everyone from rock stars and athletes to
business executives and whores in every single one-on-one competition. Weighing
in at just under 4 oz, your #3 contending recreational drug of choice after alcohol
and marijuana.......cocaaaaaaiiiiiiinnnnnnneeeeee!!!!!!!!

Tapia didn't stand a chance and ended up in the hospital last night after overdosing.

On a separate note, I was reading the comics last night, as I do every night, which is in the Tempo section of the Tribune along with the weather forecast. Unfortunately, due to parties and my general night time activities, I'm about a month behind, so I'm reading the comics from early February. On the back page was the weather forecast for the week and it said for the highs: 10, 6, 2, 0 and 10 again. Ugh. What a difference 30 short days can make!! Yesterday it was 62 and today it was even warmer!! Summer's coming!!!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Mmmmm, the Caribbean!

Ol'Lefty still isn't up to snuff yet and it's getting a little frustrating. While I can turn doorknobs again (think about that for a second........pretty damn annoying huh?), twisting off container tops is a bit of a struggle. Shaking hands is still out of the question, because I can only give the limp handshake and I'd rather not give one at all than do that!

The weather has seemingly turned a corner here in Chicago and I welcomed it in by doing what? Working. What's wrong with me? Honestly, some times I'm just a little ass-backwards.

On my list of things to do this year, if you recall, was to go somewhere warm on vacation. After a problematic weekend, I decided it was time to get moving on that trip with my buddy Jersey Ken. So we're headed down to Turks and Caicos in April, but choosing between one of two weeks right now. The only thing holding us back at this point is that they have two choices for rooms: one king sized bed (not in this lifetime Ken!) or two twin beds. That's right, twin beds. These things are tiny!! One meter by two meters according to the hotel. Who the hell can sleep on that? So, if available, we're each going to get our own room with a king bed. It's a little pricier most likely, but seven nights on basically a cot just isn't going to work.

Here's an interesting section of ESPN that I found. I know sports isn't for everyone, but this section takes significant events in sports history and ponders what would have happened if the event took place differently. Interesting stuff.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Chicken or Egg?

After church today I headed out to my parents house in part because it was a beautiful day to be out and about and partly because I hadn't seen them in a coon's age. When I showed up though, they weren't home! Where do parents go on the weekend? Well, these parents took a drive of their own out to Farm & Fleet on route 30 (far west.....think almost Iowa, at least in my mind). When they got back though, they did have one interesting nugget to pass on.

As it turns out, today was "free chick day". Now, when I heard that, the idea of moving to the suburbs jumped dramatically on my life goals list. Maybe I've been going about trying to meet the right woman all wrong? Apparently in the suburbs, if you go far west enough at least, they just give them away! Take your pick. Wow!

Alas, no, that is not the case and the suburbs are not some type of utopia. In fact, "free chick day" actually meant free baby chickens or turkeys. I thought this was quite odd. A mess of farmers actually go to Farm & Fleet and, of course, they do have chickens. Interestingly enough, both of MY PARENTS had chickens growing up. Really? Yep, my dad's family had a rooster and four hens. Now, I know nothing about chickens, except they provide the essential parts of both my Denver omelet and Hooter's wings. Mmmmmmmm.

So let's have a little chicken education. According to Wikipedia, hens can lay up to one egg every 25 hours and my parents confirmed that they lay pretty much every other day (which I thought was pretty amazing). With four hens, you could easily have a dozen eggs a week, not bad for any family much less a depression era family in rural Pennsylvania. Here's some more good info out of Wiki that I found interesting: "Chickens will try to lay in nests that already contain eggs, and have been known to move eggs from neighbouring nests into their own. Some farmers use fake eggs made from plastic or stone to encourage hens to lay in a particular location. The result of this behavior is that a flock will use only a few preferred locations, rather than having a different nest for every bird."

Where else are you going to find that kind of information except on my blog?

Did I mention this show on BBC America called Robin Hood? It's on Saturday evenings and if you haven't seen it yet, you have to set up your Tivo to record it. There have only been two or three episodes, so it's still early in the series. WATCH this show! It's awesome.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Clean Sheets

Happy Friday all!! Actually had a pretty busy work day today, but that's good. However, it means many of you won't even read this post until Monday if at all. No sweat though. That leads me into one of my topics: Why do I write a blog?

Well, to tell you the truth, I enjoy writing and trying to come up with interesting topics on a daily basis. Granted, I know any mention of sports automatically tunes out 90% of you, but without it, what would dejesus freak comment on? Would he ever read? :-) Actually, sports is a big part of my life, so naturally I gravitate towards interesting stories in that area. Anyway, writing is kind of fun for me and hasn't always come easy, which is possibly why I find it satisfying.

So I read a story on gas prices which I found interesting. The price of a liter of gas in Iran is $.08. That's not surprising or terribly interesting is it? Well, it turns out the price is subsidized by the government and they are not only going to kick the price up to $.10 a liter, but previously citizens could buy unlimited quantities at that price. Now the government is going to limit the amount of subsidized gas an individual can buy through a card that tracks their consumption. Turns out the government spent $4.7 billion (yes billion!!) to IMPORT refined oil from neighboring countries. Amazing. Because of the cheap price, they have to import 30 million liters of refined oil a day. A DAY!! It's crazy.

Look back up at the title again: Clean Sheets. Doesn't that just give you a nice feeling all over? I did laundry the other day (as I usually do after el supremo de nm leaves town.....sort of a fumigation process) and did my bed sheets as well. I tell you, I was looking forward to going to bed even more than usual!

Finally, further updates on the fiasco that is the Bears offseason. We did indeed lose two of our back up safeties and best special teams players: Todd Johnson and Cameron Worrell. Ugh. Add them to the list of losses along with players we didn't acquire, like Dominic Rhodes, RB for Indy and Willis McGahee, RB for Buffalo who was traded for a 3rd round and 7th round pick this year and a 3rd round pick next year, providing further evidence of how badly the Bears were pantsed by the Jets in the Jones deal. Randy McMichael, TE, just signed elsewhere as well, so there goes another quality tight end. Nice job Angelo. Are you going to pick ANYONE up or just rely on Grossman and Benson next year? Ass-munch.

Jeff Garcia QB, Brad Johnson, QB Trent Green QB
Kyle Brady TE, Daniel Graham TE, Randy McMichael TE
Ahman Green RB, Dominic Rhodes RB, Willis McGahee RB
Joey Porter LB (for as much money as Briggs is balking at!), Adalius Thomas OLB

Lost: Jones RB, Todd Johnson S, Cameron Worrell S

Nice to have pickups: Jake Plummer QB, Travis Henry RB, Brandon Stokely WR, Rueben Droughns RB

I added these last two categories because they may end up being significant as well. The first class are players definitely better than what we have currently. The second is self-explanatory and the third is players who could have easily competed for a starting job and might have won. Obviously the last class is a little more iffy.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Just call me lefty

Today was the big day: a trip to the hand specialist to see what was wrong with my hand which I hurt the week before the softball tournament in Tampa. It's been almost three weeks and it still hurts, so I was very much concerned about a break or a torn ligament.

My appointment was for 9:30 down in Hyde Park at the University of Chicago. Not a bad trip trip, but during rush hour, it's not fun. So I left my place around 8:30 and traffic at Belmont was all backed up due to some construction along Sheridan. That meant I wasn't going to make it on time or I had to find a different way to get onto Lake Shore Drive. Being ever ingenious, I opted to go NORTH to Irving Park, even though I eventually needed to go south. It started off fine, but then ended up in an alley with exit. Mind you, there previously was an exit, but now there is a chain link fence blocking it off. Nice.

While turning around from said alley, I ended up on a slope with the trunk of the car significantly lower than the front. Unfortunately, the sun had not made its way to the alley in days, so the slope was covered in ice and not only were my front tires just spinning, my car was actually sliding down the slope towards a parking structure. Not good. After sliding to an angle though, I was able to extricate myself from the alley and onto Irving.

The rest of the trip went smoothly until I got to the parking garage where, apparently, every sick person in Chicago was already parked. Finally, on the last of six very large parking levels, I was able to find a spot. Even with all that happening though, I was waiting in line to check in with three minutes to spare.

The doctor came in, said hi, looked at my chart, said "This isn't right." and left the room. About ten minutes later a resident came in to examine me. Finding nothing conclusive, she sent me for x-rays. After waiting again, I finally got to see the doc. Diagnosis: a sprain for which I would need a splint to keep it from being irritated. In the grand scheme of things, the diagnosis was about as good as I could expect.

The good folks in the hand rehabilitation area made a custom molded splint for me and 30 minutes later I was on the road. It was noon and time for lunch.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Rats and Sports

For the first time in several months, I saw an indication of rats in the neighborhood. I haven't been able to find anything in writing that says rats hibernate, but it certainly seems so. It could just be that they went inside someones home for the winter, but why leave then come spring? Well, fortunately they only briefly set foot on our property last night (there was a dusting of snow and you can see their prints). Still, I don't like the idea that they are that close. Although I shouldn't necessarily say "they" as there was actually only one set of prints.

The other day a sports anomaly occurred that I found interesting because if similar feats happened in other sports, they would have made big headlines. The feat? Two opposing basketball players in the same game scored a combined 100 points. Doesn't seem all that fantastic does it? Ben Gordon of the Bulls scored 48 and Michael Redd of the Bucks scored 52 points. I seriously didn't give this story a second look. Then, on the radio, I heard that in the last 30 years, this has only happened something like four times. It's on par with perfect games in baseball, four home run games by the same player in baseball and 500 yard passing games in football. All are much more notable headlines.

Daniel Graham, TE, signed with the Broncos. Another miss by the Bears. However Trent Green might become available from the Chiefs at quarterback!! Go after him you idiots!!!

Jeff Garcia, QB Jake Plummer, QB Brad Johnson, QB Trent Green QB
Kyle Brady, TE Daniel Graham, TE, Randy McMichael TE
Ahman Green RB (especially if losing Jones!)
Joey Porter LB (for as much money as Briggs is balking at!), Adalius Thomas, OLB

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Amsterdam newspaper headline: Bears screw themselves

It's THAT big of a blunder. The Bears decided their oft injured running back Cedric Benson, is good enough to win a Super Bowl, even though can't seem to stay healthy longer than three consecutive games even with splitting the carries. So even though most NFL teams are going to the two running back system, the Bears have decided to trade the more successful of their two running backs, Thomas Jones, and their second round pick (62nd overall) to the running back-less NY Jets for their second round pick (37th overall). They gave up a starter who had 1,200+ yards two years in a row for not a whole hell of a lot. Moving up in the draft is fine, but it's no guarantee that you're going to get a starter the quality of Jones. Jets fans are ecstatic. The means it wasn't win-win. It was win-got screwed.

Why would the Bears do something that according to all football experts that I have seen thus far, amounted to them getting "pantsed" by the Jets? This coming season was Jones' last under contract and he wanted a new contract and was unhappy splitting carries. If you don't sign him to another contract, he would leave at the end of the season, probably, and you would get nothing in return.

The alternative course which the Bears chose, was turning the running game over to someone with limited carries in three seasons, who was the last player signed in all of the draft after being drafted and the only player to actually miss games by holding out after being drafted and has been hurt several times, including his knee in the Super Bowl. Once he goes down in game three, my current figure for the over/under on Cedric getting hurt, the Bears will be stuck with Adrian Peterson carrying the ball. Who? Exactly.

Now back to the list of players the Bears should have picked up to replace current players:

Jeff Garcia, QB Jake Plummer, QB Brad Johnson, QB
Kyle Brady, TE Daniel Graham, TE (not signed yet), Randy McMichael TE,
Ahman Green RB (especially if losing Jones!)
Joey Porter LB (for as much money as Briggs is balking at!), Adalius Thomas, OLB

There are some good safeties out there too that could take the place of Johnson and Worrell or possibly take over a starting role, but we'll see if the Bears go get one. Ugh.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ahhhh, the good old days of the BBC

One of my many fond memories of growing up was of a British television show which we were able to watch here in the States on public television (WTTW in Chicago). It was aired later on Sunday nights and I would watch after my bowling league ended. The show was called Dr. Who and starred Tom Baker, though there are many incarnations of the good Doctor who ages in reverse (gets younger as "time" passes).

While flipping channels this weekend I noticed a marathon of Dr. Who shows on the BBCA channel. If you were a fan of the show, it is still very compelling, but with better special effects. The big surprise to the 2006 series was that the Daleks are back even though the Doctor though he destroyed them all. It was fun to sip coffee while sitting in the sun on my chaise and catching up with the good Doctor. Ahhh, the memories.

The ten faces of Dr. Who and a Dalek circa 2005. Tom Baker is the upper rightcorner and the guy I was watching is the lower left.

By the way, BBC America also had a great show on called Robin Hood. If you have Tivo or are home while it's on, check it out. Very compelling.

The history channel had some good religious programming on talking about the devil and its creation and the end of days and such. As you know, the mark of the beast is 666 and many believed Ronald Wilson Reagan was an agent of the devil due to each of his names have six letters. I hope they are wrong said Joseph Edward Sutton.

No significant signings that the Bears SHOULD have made, though Ahman Green went from Green Bay to Houston. Great move for Houston, but we don't need a running back. The Cowboys signed a solid offensive lineman in Davis away from Arizona, but they paid top dollar for him and I don't think he was worth it based on what the Bears have now. Unfortunately Lance Briggs is now pissed about making $7.2 million a year and is going to "do everything in my power to keep from playing" for them. Nice. Way to go numb-nuts. Screw up a solid defense because you want $10 million instead of $7 million. Ugh. At some point, it's about winning and not about the money.....just ask Peyton Manning, who you might have considered sacking or at least pressuring during the Super Bowl. Bitch.

My hand still hurts and is weak, so I made an appointment to see a hand specialist whom I've seen before. It's not until Thursday morning, so I expect to be healed by then. Isn't that the way?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Schitzo entry today

Another day, another lunar eclipse. Actually it's the first one in three years, though another one is due on August 28th. Though I was thinking about it only 30 minutes before it was to start, I ended up inside a Hooters during the show. More on that later. Here's a cool photo:

It's the lunar eclipse with Big Ben in the foreground.

After sleeping in following the fish fry last night, the same third wheel couple from the fish fry (Greg and Kim, Hi guys!) gave me a call to say they couldn't make it over tonight to watch a pay-per-view Ultimate Fight match because they too got a late start and were still in the suburbs shopping. Then they asked if I wanted to join them in going to a movie, Ghost Rider. Sounded fun to me, so I drove out to York Town Mall, met them at Kohl's, went to Hooters for some quick food and a drink(every place was freakin' packed on Saturday at 6, ugh, even at Hooters we had to sit at the bar) and then hit the movie. If you haven't seen the movie and are planning on it, you might want to skip the next paragraph where I critique some scenes.

I realize with movies that there is a suspension of disbelief, and I'm fine with that, but inconsistencies bug me. For instance, while in Ghost Rider form, the character gets stabbed and the next day while in his normal form, he is getting the injury sewn up. Fine. Then later in the movie, he is shot up hundreds of times by the police and there is no problem the next day. I'm fine if you can't hurt the Ghost Rider, that's great, I'm all that. But don't do one thing and then contradict it later. His regular leather jacket never had holes in it either and that bothered me. Cage's character saying no to the unbelievably gorgeous Eva Mendes is just absurd. There's not enough weed on the planet for me to smoke to believe that's going to happen. Unfortunately they don't really have any chemistry on stage either, which is a shame. Also, towards the end, the old Ghost Rider rides his horse while Cage's character rides his motorcycle to the old ghost town 500 miles away. Then the old Ghost Rider just turns back to normal and dissipates. Why the hell make the trip if you're not even going to help fight satan's kids in the ghost town? Just stupid. I think I actually threw my hands up in the theater at that point.

Ok, on to other topics.

I think I've finally gone over the edge as a Bear's fan. Now, more so than in the past, no matter what happens in the NFL, I somehow relate it to the Bears. The latest thing that's been mentally taxing on me is free agency and the opening of trading season for the the NFL. As such, I've decided to keep track of everyone that switches teams through free agency (and possibly trades if it's for a draft pick) who I believe could have helped the Bears or is a better player than what we have at that position. Obviously MOST if not ALL quarterbacks are better than Grossman, so they will make the list almost by default. I'll leave off the obscene contracts that we couldn't afford (i.e. Nate Clements at cornerback, Eric Steinbach at guard).

So let's start the list!!

Jeff Garcia, QB Jake Plummer, QB Adalius Thomas, OLB Kyle Brady, TE

Daniel Graham, TE (not signed yet)

I anticipate the list growing quite long. Ugh.

Finally, I thought this was interesting when I ran across it on Wikipedia today. Can you name the last five vice presidents? Extra credit if you can name the sixth past VP. See yesterday's entry for the answer.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Third Wheel

Today I had lunch with Ricardo and his wife. We went to a great sandwich restaurant downtown in the west loop, which I need to get the name of before I forget. I just love these two folks. While probably many guys would have some problem with hanging out with a buddy and his wife, I have to tell you, they are two of the more enjoyable people I know and couldn't have envisioned a better lunch duet.

So what did I do for dinner? I had a fish fry with a childhood buddy of mine and HIS wife! Yep, third wheel two meals in a row. Again though, I just adore these guys and we had a great evening. The last time he and I got together for a fish fry, Newcastle and Jameson were passing out free booze along with our all you can eat fish. Today, oddly enough, the good folks from Guinness were there offering free samples of Guinness, Harp and Smithwicks. Awesome. The fish, conversation and drinks were fantastic. I tell ya, people often complain about being the third wheel, but when you have friends like I do, you'd just feel lucky to be invited. I'm fortunate to know such fine people!! And there are two or three other couples who I would be more than happy to go out with because I enjoy their company so much.

Hopefully I'll be able to find a fourth wheel that will fit in nicely to my fun meals!!

Answer to tomorrow's quiz: Cheney, Gore, Quayle, Bush, Mondale, Rockefeller

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Damn that hurts

One of my goals for the year was to take a trip somewhere warm. Now in January I went to Vegas and in February I went to Tampa, but that's not the type of trip that I was intending. Somewhere in the Caribbean or Mexico is what I really want to do. However time is running out! Now, my buddy, Jersey Ken, is more than willing to go with me pretty much whenever I want and he's just waiting for me to pull the trigger. The beach, scuba, snorkeling, golf, drinks, women in bikinis......geesh, I have to get that trip booked. What am I thinking?

Almost two weeks ago, I think mentioned previously, I was hit in the hand with a softball thrown by a teammate at probably close to 75 mph. Needless to say, it hurt....a lot. But I iced it and took some ibuprofen and thought I had it under control. Well, in the morning I still can't grip a cup of water and throughout the day simple tasks elude me: turning door knobs, twisting off anything, carrying handled bags, etc. So at what point to I break down and go to the doctor to get this thing x-rayed? I'm thinking next week, after el supremo de mexico leaves town is the right answer. If it's not feeling better by then, something is seriously wrong. Hell, something might be seriously wrong now!!

Just watched the hour long version of Are you smarter than a fifth grader? I basically learned two things: clearly I'm an idiot and Jeff Foxworthy is one of the worst hosts of a game show I've ever ever seen. With whom is he in competition? Well, it's been too long since I had a Wikipedia reference, so let's go explore:
Mike Adamle really was bad, but that whole Gladiator's show was terrible. Gene Rayburn of Match Game fame? He was terrible but in a moronic way that actually made him watchable. Michael Reagan, Ahmad Rashad, Betty White, Mario Lopez, Joe Garagiola, Anderson Cooper, all were probably bad hosts, but their shows weren't on long enough to find out. Foxworthy though...ugh.