Sunday, November 30, 2008

What to do, when there's no softball.

Tonight I hooked up with Benny Baseball and the Sausage King Andy at Casey Moran's near Wrigley to watch the Bears game. We lost, in awful fashion with Orton throwing 3 interceptions after not having thrown one in 205 passes.

Anyway, Benny told me he was working on Thursday, yes Thanksgiving, and was doing something else on Friday. But Saturday came and he didn't know what to do. We didn't have softball and the weather wasn't nice enough to be out and about. So Benny sorted through his old clothes and sent off stuff he didn't wear to Salvation Army. It got me to thinking about the things I've been working on during this four day vacation span without sports events to participate in. This weekend I: actually reviewed and created several documents for work, ordered replacement glass from a hardware store for my jalousie window, purchased a sheet of plywood in order to build a wind screen to use for tailgating, started assembly of said wind screen, built a website and figured out how it could be hosted for free and re-initiated my fight against the rats next door. Softball really does take a lot of time. It's worth it, but it's good to remember that I can be productive when I'm NOT playing softball.

Things I'm grateful for:
7. ESPN and other sports networks. Because of them, Notre Dame isn't the only game in town, which means recruits can go to other schools because they'll STILL get on television and Notre Dame gets exposed as the shitty, obnoxious-alumni, fraud athletic program and school that it is. It's been a long time coming.
8. Having taken typing class in high school.
9. Oddly enough, a relatively creative mind.

Catalog Tally: 15 Total to beat: 24 Last year, 30 all-time

Friday, November 28, 2008

"You Towhead!!!"

Sister Bee used the word Towhead yesterday in reference to two of The Bobbsey Twins. Have to admit, I'd never heard the term before and if my sister were to call me towhead (pronounced "toe-head"), I would have been offended. No need it seems. Interesting derivation of the word though!!

While up in Wisconsin at Chateau Lanissimo a few weekends ago, we tossed some wine bottles into the fire pit we had going. Why? Mostly because the person doing it was drunk (MLM). The next three we tossed in were science experiments however. The bottles melted. Yes, melted. I'm not sure if I've done that before, but the next morning I checked out the carnage. There was no trace of one bottle. Another bottle still had part of the next left, but otherwise was melted into a puddle and melded with the coals. The other bottle was just a solid puddle. According to what I could find on the web, that means the fire was most likely around 1,475 degrees. Yowza!!!

While in Naperville for Turkey Day, I filled up my car for $1.73 a gallon. Sweet. I'm not even sure when gas was that low.....seems like many, many years ago. After some quick research for Midwest retail gas prices, it looks like April of 2004 was the last time prices were that low. Four and half years ago. Wow.

I apologize to you, me and the blogging Gods for missing my "grateful" entries yesterday. It will become a habit, but late at night I'm not my best when writing.

Things I'm grateful for:
4. That I can get together with my parents and siblings for holidays or for no reason at all.
5. That I can still play football, QB no less, and still get it done.
6. That I don't need to drink to enjoy my relatives.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gobble, Gobble Everyone!

With all of the economic problems, experts are expecting retailers to really discount merchandise this holiday season. It was quite a surprise though to see sale items already though when I went to Home Depot the other day. Then again, I wonder if this is really a sale??

I'm thinking I could pull some shit out of the ground in front of my house and sell it for 75% off too!!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I hope your travels are safe. I'll be playing football at 9:00 a.m. down in Matteson Illinois with the guys who sit in front of me at the Bears game. It should be fun and hopefully injury free.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wasps, I'm grateful that I didn't get stung by one today.

As I wrote last week, one of the topics I was going to write about this week was wasps. What the hell is wrong with you Sutton? Why wasps in the middle of winter (ok, technically not winter yet, but it feels like it), you ask?

Well, when I went up to Ricardo's chateau in Wisconsin, there was a huge hive for something hanging from a round electrical box high up a telephone pole. Apparently there was a circuit breaker for the area attached to the box as well. Anyway, it was one of those round, garbage can sized electrical boxes and the nest took up the entire bottom and hung down in more or less a cone shape. Of course though I had my phone AND my camera, I forgot to take a picture. Damnit.

So the discussion point came up as to whether Ricardo should somehow take it down so they didn't come back next year, or if it would be abandoned and was no longer a threat. Today I did some searching on the web to figure it out and came up with little information. It was certainly NOT a paper wasp nest as I thought it might be. Wiki has some great pictures of what these look like. I'm inclined to think, like Bear Bill, that the nest was a hornet's nest. Only the fertilized queen hornet will survive the winter months. All the other wasps will die in the cold. Everything starts all over again the next spring. Crazy huh?

Today I also read a summary of three studies involving keeping a "Gratitude Journal". A GJ is where you write down five things every day for which you are grateful. Apparently people who did this, compared to control groups who just wrote a journal and who wrote negative statements, they went to the gym more often, ate better and were deemed generally happier, healthier and less stressed.

So I thought I'd start writing three things for which I'm grateful at the end of every entry I make. Let's see what happens!

1. I'm thankful for the invention of Tivo. You thought I was going to go "sappy" off the bat didn't you?
2. I'm thankful for living in a city with a wonderful diversity of quality restaurants.
3. I'm thankful for being in pretty damn good health.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Movie Reviews and the Bears

So I did indeed watch Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Tropic Thunder. Joisey Ken had given me a warning about Tropic Thunder describing how, despite a huge tv screen and a surround sound system, he and his wife and another couple fell asleep watching it. Not promising. But it has Jack Black playing a heroin addict. Ben Stiller, playing a typical Stilleresque doofus character. Robert Downey Jr. playing an Australian actor playing a black soldier.....yeah, it was as bad as it sounds. At least his character was. The concept of the movie wasn't all that bad. A reenactment of Vietnam war hero's story. Then the shoot goes awry and the actors are dropped in Laos or some place drug infested and think they are still shooting the movie, even though the director gets blown up right in front of them when he steps on a landmine. There are few compelling reasons to see this movie, but one is to see Tom Cruise as a balding, overweight, hair armed movie producer. He was pretty funny. The movie all in all is a snoozer, though I didn't actually fall asleep.

Hellboy II was very different though. If you haven't seen the first Hellboy yet, then this one might not be interesting to you. If you saw HB though, the sequel is top notch. Guillermo del Toro and Brooke Burgess make a compelling team with their attention to detail. If you rent this movie, you need to see the extra cut where GdT takes you on a walk through the Troll Market. Awesome scenes and detail. The special effects are outstanding as you might expect. A very entertaining film.

Switching topics to the Bears! Yes, we had a solid win over a terrible team, but a win is a win. We're 6-5 and tied for the lead with Minnesota. Green Bay is a game behind at 5-6 after getting absolutely spanked by New Orleans. So next week we go to Minnesota with first place on the line. Though we beat Minnesota in Chicago, it will be a tough chore to beat them in Minnesota. It should be a good game, but it might hinge on on Orton's ankle. If he's healthy and they can move the ball on offense and keep Minnesota's offense off the field, we'll have a chance. A special teams score could be the difference.

Tonight I downloaded my first songs to my iPhone! Very excited by that accomplishment. Baby steps.....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bathroom, a retrospective

Instead of just posting pictures of my finished bathroom, which I did include at the end, I figured walking you through the long journey would be more fun. So
here we go!

The shower, sans the door, as it looked in January. Yes, January. I realize how long it's been, believe me, I know.

Here is the wall where the new window was installed. The new toilet and old toilet are in the same position.

That wall stripped away to show the opening for the window.

The ceiling full of debris! I took all of that crap out before construction began in July.

The old vanity. The new vanity is in the same position. The old shower basin is on the right.

That vanity removed with the wall that I removed and the pipes which we did not have to move.

The old wiring and ceiling supports. All of that was taken out and I raised the ceiling.

Towards the end of may, a guy from the burbs installed the glass block window inexpensively and efficiently. It would prove to be the only such thing in my bathroom!

The finished window furrowed out. Looking sharp!

The new ceiling light, electrical and exhaust vents. Not sure why it rotated on it's side when I uploaded this picture. Well, you get the idea.

The crazy pink, rubbery sealant used to super, duper waterproof the seals. Crazy looking, but it works.

And here's the finished product!!! The door is a pocket door by the way. This picture is from the hallway, rather obviously.

The new toilet, vanity and cabinet.

The cabinet and new window.

The mirror, vanity and new, higher shower door!

The new light fixtures.

The shower, from inside the shower!

The back wall of the shower with the new built in ledge for shampoo.

So that's it. It's been a long time coming. I started the project on January 29th, and it was officially done on Friday the 21st of November. So that's what, 10 months? Ok, it was a little long in coming, but it's sweet!!! With two other bathrooms to use, I guess it wasn't a huge priority for me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Long week

It was a long week with el supremo de Mexico in town as client meetings and business meals dominated my time. As such, I haven't been able to research some topics on which I'd like to write. As a preview to next week, my topics will be:

-Wasp nests, which species come back year after year to the same nest and which won't? Mud? Paper? Hornets? I'll tie in why this is interesting.

-Bathroom pictures. Yes, it'll finally be done. Everything is in right now except for minor wood work actually outside of the bathroom. I'll be posting pictures of course.

-How does one make a web page? I need to do it, so I'll walk you through what I find out. If you know something though, spill!!!

-Bears!! Can they make the playoffs? This weekend will help determine whether it's possible.

-Review of Hellboy II and Tropic Thunder. Should be good movies!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Am I really out of pictures??

Well, I do have these last few from the weekend. It was a good time, without a doubt and despite the work involved. What I didn't have a picture of was us working on splitting logs and then stacking them with a fire brigade line. Since we had to move the wood from the trailer (which was filled near the splitter and driven to near the woodshed) to the woodshed and stack it, we found the best way was to form a six person brigade line. It worked really well. Whenever someone dropped a log on the chain, I yelled, "Man down!!!" We also had a lot of chain-gang talk going on:
"Switching directions Boss."
"Switching directions."
"Small logs coming Boss."
"Small logs coming."
"Hatin' the Packers Boss."
"Hatin' the Packers."

Obviously this was the grill being fired up. I think it was steak night.

This scene was 10 times more smokey than it looks here. Not sure why, but it was out of control for a few minutes. The chairs are near the pit which we sat around outside every night.

The group photo!!

Yeah, this didn't come out so well. The neighbors, Dick and Mary are in there somewhere. Really nice folks. Everyone should be so lucky to have such neighbors.

This week, el supremo has been in town so I've been working morning until night. Hopefully next week I'll more insightful posts!!!

Answers to yesterday's questions:
Did I survive the smoked filled Chateau? yes, but only for the short term. Longer term, the second hand smoke I'm sure has done me in.
Ricardo answers the question: how many packs of cigarrettes can he smoke?? I counted at least 5. Good Lord man....WTF??

MLM answers the question: how can he get out of work AND how many BAD cigarrettes can he smoke??? To quote MLM, "I'm a cook. I don't do dishes." Unfortunately for him, we ALL cooked at least one meal, so that didn't fly. He did dishes on Monday morning. And for the second answer, as many as he possesses.

Was Bill shaved and his body hair turned into a rug? No, but we threatened it all weekend!!

How many times did Smitty moon the rest of the cabin and why do his pants have trouble staying up???? I have no answer to the latter question, but I believe at least three times is the answer to the former. It was like alcohol made him 12 again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chateau Lanisimo Part Deux

So when I left you last, we had just finished our tour of the Joseph Huber Brewery, now the Minhas Brewery.

We went around the corner in Monroe to this bar/purveyor of cheese called Baumgartners. Look at this mural done by one of the local school teachers. Pretty cool.

What legit Wisconsin bar would be complete without a deer head on the wall? Smitty came out of the bathroom about 2 seconds later.

Finally the whole gang got together in Lodi at Fitz's bar and grill. Ricardo and Manual Labor Mike, both on the left, finally caught up to us. MLM was at his mother's in Elgin and Ricardo picked him up there. They made it to the Belvidere Oasis before MLM had to stop and go to the bathroom. We all had a's like 10 miles.

At the bar at Fitz's...waiting for the table pictured above. Smitty, Bear Bill (he's hairy) and Ricardo.

LCJ and MLM.

And clearly the highlight of the evening, the lovely and bodacious Amber. Stop in and say hi if you're in the hood. She's very friendly.

After dinner, we headed back towards the Chateau...remember, it's still Friday evening!! So to get there, we can either go around this huge lake, or take a free ferry across. The ferry is very efficient and takes only a few minutes to load, cross and unload. At 11 on a Friday night, it's even quicker!

It wasn't just the ferry that was loaded by this point!!

Here's the ferry unloading with Ricardo's car ready to get on the boat. Too many lights!!!

So part of the reason we went up to the Chateau was to split wood for the next year. Here is the fruit of our labor on Saturday. This shed is 6' high, 8' long and four rows of wood deep. That's a lot of wood!! We also had to move the fresh wood to where we took this wood from, so it can age for a year and get split next year. Exhausting work even with a gas powered splitter.


Tomorrow, more pics from the weekend and LCJ answers the question: did I survive the smoked filled Chateau? Ricardo answers the question: how many packs of cigarrettes can he smoke?? MLM answers the question: how can he get out of work AND how many BAD cigarrettes can he smoke??? Was Bill shaved and his body hair turned into a rug? How many times did Smitty moon the rest of the cabin and why do his pants have trouble staying up????

Monday, November 17, 2008

Long weekend in pictures

Friday I headed up to Chateau Lanisimo in Merrimack Wisconsin. Five guys, including me were heading up there with a primary mission of splitting fire wood to last the winter until the same time next year. Along the way and while we weren't cutting wood, we had some fun.

On Friday, we started with the Huber Brewery tour in Monroe Wisconsin. Unknown to us, the brewery was purchased by the Minhas family two years ago and is now the Minhas Brewery. Fortunately the GPS on my iPhone saw them as the same place.

Here are the new beers produced by Minhas. They also brew Berghoff beer, by the way.

Here's the lobby of the brewery where the tour starts.

Two beers that Minhas brews behind the scene. The one on the left is 8% alcohol and the one on the right, I think it's Four-Zero, is 10%!!! Apparently both are sold most commonly in inner city stores of big cities. I didn't say that, the tour guide did.

And here we are. Smitty, LCJ and Bear Bill. Ricardo and Manual Labor Mike got a late start so they couldn't join us until later.

Here, Smitty is sitting on the best chair ever. You can sit either traditionally or turn it around. If you turn it around, there's a beer holder!!! Awesome.

Here's a better shot of just the chair. Pretty sweet.

Late Friday, Saturday and Sunday to follow!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some radio silence coming

I'm heading out of town Friday morning up to Chateau Ricardo in Baraboo Wisconsin. It'll be five guys up there splitting logs, literally, drinking heavily, maybe gambling, eating a fair amount and hiking through the woods. We'll also go tease the locals during the Bears/Packers game if Orton is QB'ing the Bears. If it's Grossman again, we'll lay low.

In completing my conversion to the high-tech world of cell phonery, I've now added blue tooth capabilities. I didn't get the blue tooth, but something like it, the Cardo 800. It works pretty well so far, but I haven't mastered it at all. After Naperville Greg got a ticket for driving and talking on his cell phone, I figured it would be a good idea to make sure I had the capability. Here's a pic:

It's very small and light weight. Good stuff.

Lastly, Friday is the a big day in the market. Many hedge funds require an investor to provide 45 days notice in order to redeem shares at the end of the year and they only allow redemptions a few times a year. With the market collapse, hedge fund managers will know tomorrow how much money they have to have (how many shares of current stock they need to sell) by the end of the year. That said, I'd bet a good chunk of the drop early in the week was from hedgefund shareholders who sent in their redemption notices early in order to make sure they didn't miss the deadline. So with the 15th passing, are we due for another rebound starting next week? I don't claim to have any clue, but I'll look good if we do!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

No mention of my iPhone

This morning I headed down to University of Chicago to have some blood drawn for lab work for a checkup I have in two weeks. It meant not having anything to eat or drink for some long period of time beforehand, so I got up early so I could get done before my caffeine headache set in. I brought a newspaper and this months Discover Magazine for the inevitable waiting periods. Much to my amazement, I got my file pretty quickly, headed over to the lab room and had my blood drawn all in about 15 minutes. I barely got through one article. Sweet!

Tonight I hit Redbox and rented Get Smart. Pretty funny show, despite being somewhat predictable.

Today was supposed to be D-Day for completion of the bathroom. With Manual Labor Mike doing work at his mom's Thursday and Friday, and travel on Monday from the weekend, he won't come back until Tuesday. So maybe by Wednesday the bathroom will be done....maybe.

Catalog Tally: 8 Total to beat: 24 Last year: 30 all-time

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Let's hug it out bitch!

Hopefully everyone is familiar with that reference from Entourage.

Had some more fun pictures from Sunday. Looking back, boy does it look cold. And it was! If you didn't see the game, it started snowing at one point in the third quarter.

You can get your picture taken with some cuties representing Cadillac if you're willing to part with your email address. Totally worth it. Wow! These two were five foot nuthin' and cute as hell.

A banner day for Sutton and the ladies!! Tatianna took over the Sam Adams beer taps a few weeks ago for the very nice lesbian gal who had been there since last year. Talk about cute as a button!!! I'm fairly sure I'm not supposed to be back behind the taps. Thanks to Naperville Greg for bringing his camera!

Speaking of Naperville Greg, this must have been just after he arrived at the tailgate. I didn't have my 6th and 7th layers on yet.

And here are Da Boyz!! They wanted their face time and here it is. My bad for not bringing them up more often. They really are a big part of the reason why I enjoy going to the games so much.

The Bears randomly pick two people out of the crowds and put them in the "best seats in the house" according to the current sponsor, Staples. I've iterated that I would turn them down because the people around those seats can't possibly be as much fun as the people around mine!

In the pic left to right are: D, Gar (hiding back there!), Naperville Greg (my guest last week), me, Russ and Neal sporting a Matt Forte jersey.

Greg took this pic from our seats. It doesn't look terribly cold from this view does it?

Monday, November 10, 2008

iPhone Domination

As I mentioned yesterday, I got a iPhone over the weekend. Have you noticed how many commercials for the iPhone are running? They are for things called "apps". A lot of the apps you see advertised are actually free, but there are hundreds of them that you can buy, just like music from itunes.

These apps are pretty freaking cool. One of the apps I downloaded today was one of the recently advertised ones. It's called Urban Spoon. The phone can already find where you are on a map, so it uses that ability to also find restaraunts in your area of various cuisine types and price points and then randomly recommends one. If you like the price point, but not the cuisine, you can shake the phone and it does a little slot machine-type change of the area and cuisine and comes up with something new. You can lock the area, but "shake" the other two variables and come up with a different restaraunt. Pretty cool.

Another app, Shazam, will identify a song simply by holding the phone near the source of the music. In your car and hear a song and want it on your phone? Simply hit the app, hold the phone and it will identify the song and allow you to order it from iTunes and download it to your phone. Pretty awesome.

A third app, called Say Who?, will pull people out of your contact simply by saying their name into the phone speaker.

Yet another app lets you get onto Facebook quickly. Good stuff!!!!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Winter descends upon Chicago

A busy, Bears filled weekend. But first, drum roll please.........I bought a new cell phone!!! Yep, I was out and about in the suburbs on Saturday and purchased a new iPhone. It's pretty amazing from what I've seen so far and will be trying out it's various features before handing the number out.

Interesting story about the number, I was at the Apple Store all intent on buying the phone until I asked the guy for the specific last four digits that I wanted. He said the numbers were randomly generated, so I couldn't make a request. Having done this several times in the past, I politely told him, "No, YOU might not be able to do it, but it can be done." He agreed and helped me find the nearest AT&T store (just down the street actually). There I found a wonderfully helpful gent who sold me on the virtues of the iPhone and got me the number I wanted.

By the way, have you ever gone into one of those Apple Stores? What a pain in the ass!! I've never seen a place that makes it so hard to give them money. You have to make an appointment to get your computer examined. You have to wait in queue to talk to someone about a phone. You have to wait in queue to talk to someone about an iPod. The whole place is all about waiting. Here's a thought: how hiring the right freakin' number of staff to service people quickly?!? Stupid asses. And here's a thought, if you have to give your name to a "concierge" before ANYONE will help you, maybe you should a freakin' sign up stating that fact. Unbelievable. At least let me know the dumb ass rules that you play by.

From the frying pan and into the fire as far as my blood pressure went. The Bears put forth a fantastic effort to stop an unbeaten Titans team with an outstanding run game. More accurately, the defense stopped the run, but that was it. The Titans got only 20 yards rushing for the game, but they threw all over the place against us, often seemingly at will and won 21-14. Grossman was awful, often missing wide open receivers completely and at least throwing behind or high. Hester was wide open and streaking for the endzone but Grossman found a way to OVER throw him. This is one of the fastest guys in the NFL! It's almost impossible to over throw him. Ugh.

Fortunately we had a healthy tailgate despite the cold weather (35 degrees without the windchill). Naperville Greg, Sausage Andy, Benny Baseball, 5 cent Jack and his gal Leah showed up for the second week in a row. We had a hoot of a time and Andy got sauced!! He's a funny drunk.

The guys who sit in front of me at the game wondered why they aren't ever in my blog. I have posted pictures in the past, but we took a picture with one of their phones and I hope to have it for posting tomorrow. In lieu of that picture, here's proof that I have indeed posted their picture!!! Granted, they have enough character to write about more often......

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Funny how two lives can diverge

It was 1998 and the NFL was excited about a tremendous crop of prospects as it is every year seemingly. At the top of the class were two high powered QB's, one out of Tennessee who was known for not being able to win the big game(he never beat Florida and lost 42-17 in the Orange Bowl) and the other out of Washington State, who lost to the powerful Maize and Blue in the Rose Bowl 21-16 despite throwing for 331 yards. Chicago had the fifth overall pick and they took Curtis Enis out of Penn State. I even got a limited edition rookie card of Enis for attending a sports memorabilia show. It really isn't worth much, unfortunately. Only three of the first 13 picks that year were busts and Enis and Andre Wadsworth, who was taken third were two of them, both due to injury.

When draft day came around I vehemently argued for the guy from Washington State to be taken number one over all. He wasn't. This guy was taken just behind Peyton Manning in the NFL draft and I admonished Indianapolis for taking Peyton. Peyton is a Super Bowl champion and regularly noted as one of the top 3 quarterbacks in the league. The young man from Washington State failed miserably and is apparently asking division II college kids for painkillers. Wow, I did NOT see that coming. Funny how very similar lives can be so divergent.

Signs of Christmas

The election is over....and Christmas is on its way. How do I know? Today I received four Christmas catalogs (the tally will be kept at the bottom of my entries again) and I've been invited to my first Christmas party already.

Today was the first in show/commercial cross promotion I've seen too. Jane Seymour's "Open Heart Pendant" (which looks like a cursive "Z") was the object of a character's desire on My Name is Earl. The first commercial after that scene? Yep, Kay Jewelers promoting Jane Seymour's pendant. Very sneaky these TV folks. You have to keep an eye on them......and that's exactly what they want.

Catalog Tally: 4 Total to beat: 24 from 2007 or 30 from 2006

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A terrible loss

No, not McCain. We lost Michael Crichton to cancer. Though I write this blog and have sketched out an outline for a book and enjoy writing very much, I don't enjoy reading a whole lot. Anything Al Franken writes, I'll read because he's so damn funny. Two of his books (Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Why Not Me? which was his fake run for the presidency against Al Gore on the platform of lower ATM fees) are definite must reads. Crichton was another author who I enjoyed immensely and would even take on vacations. Just a solid, fun, interesting read. The movies he worked on included: West World, Coma, The Andromeda Strain, Jurasic Park and The Great Train Robbery. Quite a talent.

Joisey Ken, whom I think I can safely catagorize as staunchly conservative, sent me a politically inflammatory email as we do to each other in good sparring fun. However this time, for once, he actually made me think something other than "Ken's been hitting the juice and listening to Rush Limbaugh again" (wow, two Rush mentions in the same post!!!). Ken took objection to my comments on the South and the rampant racism I implied....or actually just stated. Now, I'm sure Joisey Ken would agree that we can find racists and racism in all 50 states....well, maybe not Hawaii...that's just paradise.

But my commentary from yesterday used the South voting for McCain as a sign of our lack of racial maturity or racial tolerance evolution. But the South voted for Bush as well and in very strong numbers, so for me to imply they voted AGAINST Obama, is blatantly misleading. They could simply be conservative states who vote Republican regardless of the other candidate.

Next, I tackle the reason why, based on exit polls, 95% of blacks across the country voted for Obama. *I wonder what percent vote Democratic regardless of candidate? As it turns out, 88% of blacks voted for Kerry in 2004, so that's not a terribly high jump to 95%. By the way, am I the only person intrigued to find out that 83% of white jews voted for Obama? For some reason I thought they would be more conservative in nature.

Finally, another terrible loss that would have made us more European. In San Francisco, proposition k failed to pass. Fortunately I bought refundable tickets.

*Actually there's no way I'm touching that one. You can find the data on CNN.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Anything other than politics??

I called an Obama win by 2-1 in electoral votes and it looks like I'll be right. Wonder if I could have made any money in Vegas on that prognostication??

The South was Red (McCain) and the North was Blue. Racism and Jim Crow outdated concepts? I don't think so. Seems like maybe we haven't come as far as a country as we would like to believe that this election brought us. I'm not sold on our "racial maturation".

Loved Jesse Jackson's fake tears being so prominent on the news. It was only in July that JJ said he wanted to "cut his nuts off". Can we not have him in the public eye anymore?? What a joke he is.

Forty-eight states give all of their electoral votes to the popular vote winner. Two states, Nebraska and Maine, split them up. Why can't more states do that? It makes so much more sense and when an election is close in the popular vote, you actually WILL have incentive to stay up and watch more incentive to vote.

You need 270 electoral votes to win, this is the only day you'll remember that by the way, but there were at least five viable scenarios where each candidate received 269. So what happens in the event of a tie??

First, the vote goes to the House of Representatives, but each STATE gets only one vote. They have until March 4th to get 26 votes for one candidate. The Senate then selects the vice president while the house is wrangling over the president. There is not time deadline for the Senate however. If neither position are resolved by Inauguration Day, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi currently, would leave her post and be the acting president. Shudder. When the vice president was decided upon, and March 4th passes, they would become the new president. Good stuff.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Point of no return?

The other day I heard a financial services commercial which at first seemed like another irresponsible financial ad. Sort of odd to hear them after what we just went through/are going through/just begun to go through financially. Though I guess there are always predators out there looking to separate a fool and their money. Still, it's annoying to hear.

Anyway, the commercial talked about reaching "your financial point of no return". The point, I guess, where your debt load becomes so unbearable that you give up. They contended, that giving up is exactly what you should do!! "Stop paying your creditors until you talk to us!" Wow, that seems really irresponsible, I thought.

So the other day this potential client comes in and we start talking about his business. He was only a potential client because, as we soon found out, that he could barely afford to pay himself, much less us. However, we determined that this business had reached its financial point of no return. They were paying their bank loan, just barely, every month and the bank was not willing to renegotiate the terms of the loan with them or extend further credit. The bank wasn't even returning the guy's call. He already had maybe $500k in loans with the bank, maybe it was more.....I can't remember exactly.

This guy needed more money to finish a development project he already started, otherwise he would eventually, most likely, default on his loan from his bank. So we said that paying the bank on a monthly basis, when they are only prolonging his demise was not the right thing to do. We told him to not make his payment and that would get the bank's attention. Suddenly they are at risk of another $500k moving into their default portfolio which would be very bad for them during this financial crisis. Plus it would hopefully make them realize that allowing him to finish and sell the development was probably the best idea for everyone and, unless they wanted unfinished real estate to try and sell, that it was really their only option as well.

I don't know how it turned out with this guy and the bank, and I might not ever find out, but sometimes, just sometimes, what seems like the exact wrong thing to really the right thing. In this case, it was the only reasonable option.......for someone at the financial point of no return.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hmmm, where was "getting a dog" on the list of to dos?

The Bears, while winning today, suffered a huge loss with Kyle Orton going down with a high ankle sprain. He'll miss the next month at least....crap. That means they'll turn to Grossman.....double crap. It might not be long before they turn to Caleb Hanie, currently the third string QB. Or at least I hope so. The Bears were going to struggle against Tennessee next week anyway, but now it could be a real mess.

Fortunately my tailgating didn't suffer at all. Typical breakfast fare was enjoyed prior to the game and I made chili for afterwards. Good stuff. Here's the crew I invited:

From left to right: King Amar, Ricardo and EMoney. King Amar and EMoney are on my softball team. Later we were joined by another softball teammate, 5 cent Jack, and his girlfriend Leah.

My sofa cushions came back from the upholstery guy on Friday and it's like I have a whole new sofa!! It's great. Combining that with some orthotics for my shoes to help support my collapsed arches and my back is really feeling a lot better at the end of the day.

A friend of mine is a PAWS dog border. Borders take dogs for some period of time while they recover from an illness or something and give them a reprieve from the kennel while they await adoption. The dog my friend has is awesome and reminds me a lot of some-time-poster Dog Brian's pooch. This one is named Romeo (a terrible dog name by the way) and is about 6 months old. He has kennel cough, which is apparently fairly common and also very contagious. So this is a good break for Romeo.

The problem is, Romeo is sooooo damn cute that I'm thinking about considering adopting him myself!! What would Joe do with a dog around the house? Good question. Still just considering it.